Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Brandini Toffee

While I did so well with the peanut brittle I wanted to try and make something in the caramel, peanut brittle family again. I decided to make some toffee. It is very similar to peanut brittle but boils for longer allowing a deeper flavor and color. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Once the toffee was done I melted down chocolate and poured it over the top. Then I chopped up pecans to finish it off. It was super easy to do and everyone loved it. The only thing that I would do different is to thin out the toffee a little more. Maybe spread it over two baking sheets. Some of the pieces of toffee were too thick causing you to really have to bite down hard on the candy.

Just a couple of pictures fo the toffee. This was the perfect little treat to place in the Hoilday baskets I made for some of our neighbors. Like I said the toffee was so good just need to make it a little thinner next time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

White Chocolate Pretzels

This weekend I did a ton of baking. I was not able to complete everything I wanted but what can you do. I started off with some easy baking by making some white chocolate pretzels. They are very easy to make especially if you have a couple of little hints to melt the chocolate. One trick I like to do is add a tablespoon of light corn syrup. The corn syrup gives the chocolate a shiny exterior and allows for sprinkles to stick on the chocolate. One thing that I have noticed is when you are melting chocolate it can clump and lump. The best way to smooth chocolate when melting it is to add a couple of tablespoons of water. You don’t want to add too much and water down the chocolate but it does allow for the chocolate to melt more evenly.

The pretzels before they are dipped in white chocolate

Melting the chocolate, if you dont have a double bolier you can make your own with a pot of boiling water and a heat proof bowl on top.

The pretzels as they are cooling.

A close up of the pretzels.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sundays in the South

I bought this awesome cook book at the DC food convention called Sundays in the South by Ginny McCormack. In the book Ginny talks about how important dinners with the family are especially Sunday dinners. I know from my family I always looked forward to Sunday dinners. My mother would always put a little something extra into Sunday. So, I was so excited to see this cookbook and get to read about Ginny experiences with Sunday Dinner.

The first dish I made from this cookbook was a chocolate gooey fudge cake. I was just pure chocolate, so delicious. The icing itself was very simple just a little chocolate and some powder sugar. It was a very easy cake to make but the one thing that always seems to be reoccurring to me is it was too sweet. I love sweet things but next time I make this I am going to make sure that I cut down on the sugar a little. Check this book out, there are great recipes and great entertainment ideas.

Full view of the cake.

A piece of the cake after I cut it.

Dark Chocolate and Pecan Muffins

I love blueberry muffins as can be seen from my other posts, but after the same thing over and over again you need something a little different. So I decided to make dark chocolate and pecan muffins. It was an easy recipe to alter. I cut down the sugar and added one cup of wheat germ for one cup of flour. I also sprinkle some wheat germ and chopped pecans on top of the muffins to give them a little bit more color and a better taste. These are great muffins to make in the beginning of the week and eat for breakfast or, what I did was eat them at night when I was craving something sweet but did not want to eat a cookie. The muffins give you sweet with the dark chocolate and a crunch from the nuts.

Close up view of the muffins

Top view of the muffins. I made them small so they would be easy to eat in the car.

Peanut Brittle

I love to cook and bake one of the reasons why I started this blog was so that I could share my adventures in cooking and baking with others. I never cooked until I graduated college and moved out on my own to start my life. I realized very early I did not want to be eating grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup for the rest of my life so I better learn how to cook.

I was also able to meet and marry a wonderful man who I am thankful for everyday of my life. One great thing about my husband’s family is they used to own a bakery. However, the bakery closed when my husband’s grandparents could not run it anymore. Well, I was lucky enough to receive some of those recipes from their bakery. Now the hard part is trying to dial down the recipes. So with some help from Martha Stewart I was able to combine the two recipes and make peanut brittle. This is one of my father’s favorite types of candy besides black jelly beans.

I was so surprised at the way it tasted. So much better than anything you could buy in the store, and very easy to do. I did however suffer one battle wound. When I was spreading out the brittle I was getting upset because it was not spreading out as thin as I would like so without thinking I touched the brittle to try and smooth it out. My finger immediately blistered. Trust me a small price to pay for such a great product. I will be making this recipe again.

Three different pictures of the Peanut Brittle

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chocolate Caramel doughnuts

I wanted to make something special for breakfast. I was sick of the usual eggs, pancakes and waffles. So I asked my husband what he wanted for breakfast and I guess I should not have been surprised when he said doughnuts.

I needed a quick and easy doughnut recipe one that did not require waiting for yeast doughnuts to rise or a huge amount of oil needed in order to fry them. I found a very quick and easy recipe on the internet for chocolate caramel doughnuts, so I decided to try them. They were very easy to make, the dough was a little messy and you definitely need to have flour on your hands to help and prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. Next time I make them I will also leave out the caramels. They did not melt in the center like I wanted. So next time I will use a glaze for the doughnuts. I am excited to try and make a couple of different varieties of this.

I dusted the top with a little powdered sugar. Just a little finishing touch.

Close up of the doughnuts, they were so good hot right out of the pan.

Another close up.

The center of the doughnuts, I wish the caramel melted a little better. I dont think I will do caramel again.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Photo Wall

In the beginning of the year I made a list of items I wanted to get done around the house. Well from the previous posts, we all know the contractor didn’t work out and my front room still remains unfinished. I was a little upset but wanted to make sure I accomplished something on my list. So, I FINALLY ordered my wedding pictures and they were delivered right before Thanksgiving. My goal was to have my picture wall complete before we left for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

For a normal person this goal would not be too hard to accomplish but for me it was. One of my biggest pet peeves (along with 1,000 others) is crocked photos. My roommates used to move the photos in our dorm room because they knew how much it irritated me. So you can only imagine what I had to do make sure the photos lining my entire stairway were straight and exactly what I wanted.

I re-did the photos three times. Haha I thought my hubby was going to kill me. He was not pleased when he came home from a walk with the dog and I had all the photos off the wall in a huge pile. Good thing we are already married. I am very happy with the results and I love that every time I walk up and down my stairs I am able to remember one of the happiest days of my life. I love my husband and am so happy I will be with him forever.

Please ingore the color of my walls. It is just one more thing on my list.I call this the kissing wall becasue all the picutures are of me and the hubby kissing.It looks really cool walking up the staris and seeing all the photos. I cant wait until I can add some baby pictures.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jingle Bell Wreaths

I have had the Christmas feeling since September (my pinecone blog), and I was super excited to begin to decorate the house. We will be spending Christmas with my family this year so we decided not to get a Christmas tree. I was a little upset about the tree so I decided to make sure we still decorated the rest of the house.

I wanted to start off with something simple and small to try and make so I could build up my confidence with crafting. I have the type of personality where if the craft, recipe or whatever I am working on does not turn out perfect I become very frustrated.So, I was very excited when I made the jingle bell wreath and it turned out to be super easy. All you need are jingle bells, wire and wire cutters, that is it!! How much easier can it be! I made a total of four wreaths while sitting in bed with my husband watching tv.

I made four different color wreaths, 3 solid color and one multi – color. Theses will be the cutest hostess gifts with a bottle of wine for all those holiday parties. I was also thinking about making one for the dog as a holiday dog collar. I am not sure if he will wear it haha I guess we will have to see.
This is the sliver Jingle Bell Wreath, it was the first one I made so it is not a perfect circle but they got better as I went on. I love this one because it is red, green and gold and matches all my Holiday decorations.

This one is my favorite. It is gold jingle bells with white paint to look a little like snow. I made two of them and gave one to my Mother-in-Law. I hope she likes it.!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Homemade Snowflake Marshmallows

Some of my favorite holiday memories have happened around the fireplace in our living room at my parent’s home. We have a wood burning fire place and it seemed every weekend in the winter we would start a fire. I just loved the smell of the wood, how the fire looked and the sound of the wood cracking. The memory made me very nostalgic for my family and home. This will be the first Thanksgiving at my in-laws. While I am excited to be celebrating with my new family, I am going to miss my family in NY.

To try and get myself out of my little pity party I decided to make one of my favorite comfort foods hot chocolate and marshmallows. I love hot chocolate, it just makes you feel warm all over and the milk (I like to think) makes it healthy. The best part are the marshmallows on top, they get all gooey and soft from the hot chocolate. There is nothing better in the world.

So I decided to make my own homemade marshmallows. It was so easy!!! I made them while waiting for my husband to finish walking the dog so we could go to the store. The one trick about marshmallows is some non-stick cooking spray. Spray the spatula you use to smooth out the mixture and any cookie cutters you use. Also you must make sure to mix equal amounts of powered sugar and corn starch and sprinkle them over the marshmallows to ensure they don’t stick together when you place them in storage. They were so easy and good I can’t wait to try different variations and flavors. People are so impressed when you make your own marshmallows little do they know how easy they are.

A look at the marshmallows on the baking sheet before they harden.

Cutting out the Marshmallows in the shape of snowflakes to get in the Hoilday spirt

A close up of the finised marshmallows. They looked so cute.

It makes alot, which is good becasue they were a HUGE hit with the entire family (both sides).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hold Tight

I am asking you just hold tight for one more day. I am wrapping everything up at work this week and after that I promise to have some awesome stuff coming your way. Just to give you a little sneak peak of some upcoming posts homemade marshmallows, jingle bell wreaths, pumpkin bars and gift wrapping 101. So stay tuned, it will be well worth it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Butterscotch and Walnut cookies

As always no matter how busy I am I make sure that I make my husband cookies. This week I make some butterscotch and walnut cookies. My husband loves butterscotch, I am not a fan but I make it because of how much he loves them. I decided to put some walnuts in them to ensure that the cookies had a little bit healthy. The cookies make so much; I never know what to do with all the cookies. I have decided that I am going to try and bring in a dozen to work each week to ensure that they don’t go to waste.

A close up of the cookies. This is only about a 1/3 of what the batter makes.

My hubby took this picture. How cute is he, he wanted to make it look like a bakery. I love him so much.

Friday, November 12, 2010

French Onion Soup

It was such a chilly weekend, not as bad as the winters in New York that I am used to but it was still cold. The leaves are changing and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is almost here. Where did the time go! So to get in the cold weather sprit I decided to make some soup. I was debating between broccoli cheddar soup and French Onion. After some careful thought and my husband pretty much telling what to make (haha) I decided to make French Onion.

This is one of my favorite things to make. It is so easy, only a couple of ingredients and you have a great warm family dinner. It is really easy to make and is always a crowd pleaser. The one thing you have to do when making French Onion soup is the onions HAVE to be a deep, deep brown. If the onions are not cooked down, they will give the soup a raw taste. The recipe calls for cooking the onions for less time than I would recommend. I cook the onions for at least an hour and half or two hours depending how much time I have. I cooked the onions for two hours. My husband and I were both very happy with the outcome. It was delicious.

This is what the onions look like after they have been cooked for an hour. The onions are still a little raw (you can see it in the pictures) so I contiuned to cook them for another hour.

I could not get the picuture to turn around, but you still get the idea. The cheese was perfect and there was a great crust on the top. Which I think is the best part.

I think this is my favorite picture. You can really see the cheese and how it melted over the bowl. LOVE THIS SO GOOD!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hot Spinach Dip

So I had my Halloween potluck awhile back and I made a couple of different things for it. One of my all time favorite dips and always is a huge crowd please is my Hot Spinach dip. I only make it for special occasions because of the ingredients. The dip contains mayo, cream cheese, pepper jack cheese and spinach. Haha the spinach is the only healthy ingredient in this dip. I top it off with a little pepper jack cheese to give it a little more kick and it is good to go. It is always a huge hit and can be made the night before and just cooked through that day of you party. I look forward to holidays when I can make it and not feel bad for eating it. This is definitely not a low fat dip.

Here is a picture as soon as I came out of the oven. Please ignore my dirty stove top. I was cooking alot that night and did not have time to clean up until after I was finished.

A closeup look of the dip. It is so good with homemade crackers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Parmesan Fish Sticks

My husband loves fish sticks, but I rather not buy the ones at the store. So I make my own. Salmon is my favorite fish it is a nice firm fish so I knew it would hold up with all the handing. I used Italian breadcrumbs to give them a little extra flavor because I didn’t have any fresh parmesan cheese. I always drizzle a little oil over the fish sticks so that they come out golden brown.

We just used regular tartar sauce to dip the fish sticks in they taste great. The fish stays surprising moist. The prep and clean up is not too bad you need about 3 bowls but other than that these are a definite keeper. Love them and they make great left overs.

The fish sticks before. I know these are not the best picutes. My regualr camera was not working so I had to use my old one and the picuture quality is not the best. But dont let the pictures fool you these are the BEST!!

The fish sticks after they were cooked. Again dont the picutures fool you these are great.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Scallop Provencal

I have been so busy the last couple of weeks with a huge meeting I was helping to plan for my firm I have had no time to blog. In between my normal client work, I was calling different venues and caterers trying my best to fit our budget and still make the partners happy. As you can imagine it was extremely time consuming. So of course something had to give and, that was my blog. I still continued to cook ( I had to make a whole week’s worth of food for the hubby with all the late nights I was working) but I was not able to write about them. So this weekend, I finally feel like I was able to catch up on everything.

With being so busy with work and planning this meeting I was defiantly neglecting my husband. So I wanted to make him something special for dinner. I decided to make him Scallop Provencal. I have not made it since News Years and it is one of my husband’s favorite. It is very easy to make but scallops can be very expensive. I buy the ones from Whole Foods. The great thing about scallops is they soak up the flavors from the sauce so well, you can taste the sauce in each bite. However, because the sauce is so rich (made with butter, wine, garlic and some flour to thicken) I wanted to make something to cut the richness of the sauce. So I made simple red roasted potatoes with just a little rosemary, to complement the sauce. It is so quick and easy to make I love it, and what makes it even better is that I know how much my husband loves them.

I sprinkle some parsley over the top of the dish to open up the taste buds even more.

The red potatoes before I placed them in the over,

The potatoes after they were roasted. So good love these they are so quick and easy to make.

The Scallops cooking in the pan. The sauce was so good. I am going to try and make the sauce and place it over pasta.

The finished product. Haha looking at these pictures makes me realise I need to work on my plateing. The presentation does not make the dish look any better.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pecan Waffles

My hubby bought me a waffle iron a couple months back and I love it. However, I am starting to get bored with the same old waffle batter I have been making. So this weekend I decided to try something a little bit different. I love nuts and by far my favorite ones are Pecans. I found an awesome Pecan waffle batter recipe from They turned out great. I am not going to lie the first one I made was definitely left in the iron too long and the nuts burned. Anyone who has burnt nuts before know the horrible smell and bitter taste of them. Once when I got the timing down right the waffles turned out great.

I also roasted some pecan and chopped them up and placed them in my butter syrup combination. My hubby is dying for some type of banana waffle. I told him I need to get the basic ones down first before I try the more advanced ones.

Waffle before the syrup.Butter and syrup with toasted pecans, so good!!

Best waffle ever. Cant wait to try some gingerbread ones around Christmas.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


My favorite thing to cook is breakfast. I don’t drink coffee so my pick me up is cooking something first thing in the morning and having it come out perfect. That is all the caffeine that I need. Because of our very very busy work schedules the weekend is the only time that I can really make a big breakfast and I am always looking for way to dress it up a little.

This weekend I made eggs –n- toast. I take my ravioli cutter that I use and cut the center out of the bread. It is pretty easy to make. You just place the bread in the pan like you would for grilled cheese or french toast and wait until it gets a little crisp on each side and then crack the egg into the center of the bread. Sounds more complicated than it really is. I then used the last bit of bacon from the farmers market will have to make sure I get there before it ends in November so I can stock up for the winter. This is a great recipe to try and you can creative by using different cookie cutters. For Valentines Day last year I used my heart cookie cutter.

Not the best picture I have ever taken but you get the general idea.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Whoopie Pies

I love fall (hate the cold weather) but love the leaves changing, the clothes and especially the holidays. I love Halloween; I just think it is so much fun. So to get the hubby in the Halloween spirit I made Halloween whoopie pies. They were a delicious moist chocolate cake and I made cream cheese frosting for the center. I then rolled the cookies in sprinkles so that they were decorated with black and orange on the sides to stay in the Halloween spirit. They were so cute and tasted even better.

Next time I make them I will double the batter recipe it only makes 12 cookies (remember each whoopie pie needs two cookies). They are just too good and my husband and I keep eating them there are going to be none left for lunch this week.

What the pies looked like when they first came out of the oven.

So I have tons of picutres of the cookies, I really loved them!! I have a Halloween party at work and I am thinking I will make them for the party because they are a definte crowd pleaser.

They just look so cute sitting on their cake tray.