Thursday, October 28, 2010

Snickers Cupcakes

One of the positive things about working in a predominately female office setting is that when a holiday rolls around, so do potlucks. Or as our HR lady put in the email "potuck". That made me giggle for most of the day. Our Halloween potluck was of course a success. So much food and I enjoyed every bit of the point I was pretty sure I was going into a food coma. My contribution to the potluck were some Snickers Bar Cupcakes. I figured why not incorporate Halloween candy into my contribution. It was an awesome decision because these were crazy delicious! The only thing is for some reason they took me soooooooo long to make. Bake the cupcakes, let them cool, make caramel sauce, let it cool, fill cupcakes, make caramel butter cream, pipe on frosting, garnish...and finally eat. :) I felt like I was never gonna get to the eat part. There were so many different recipes for this particular cupcake. I used the cake recipe from the fabulously talented Annie's Eats and I used the caramel sauce from Simply Recipes. I highly recommend that you try these. Your mouth will thank you...enjoy!

The cupcakes filled with the Snickers and caramel mixture

Frosted with Caramel Butter Cream

Garnished with Snickers

Drizzled with Caramel

Perfection in Cupcake Form

Oh yeah and obviously I broke my no cupcakes for a while thing. I cant help it!!! I love cupcakes.

Listening To:
Giving Up The Gun-Vampire Weekend
Black Thumbnail-Kings of Leon
Blister In The Sun-Violent Femmes
American Girl -Tom Petty

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

Even when I was in high school I liked to bake. I was reminded of this by one of my best friends who put a comment on my facebook wall about how I told her I would bring her some cheesecake brownies. But instead of the large pieces I  promised, I brought her small pieces thanks to my little sister eating most of the batch. Of course I cracked up because all I remember is my friend's obvious disappointment at the small pieces. Not gonna lie those cheesecake brownies were the bomb and I don't blame my sister. Since then I have graduated from box brownies to making them from scratch. Not that anything is wrong with box brownies...they are still pretty tasty. Any-who I decided that my cheesecake brownies needed a little oomph! And I was like heck yeah Nutella you are totally nominated, but guess what? My grocery store didn't have any. Do you see what I am working with here people? Ugh! So I settled on peanut butter. And I pouted all the way to the checkout lane.
I got home and researched some recipes and found one I liked, modified it a little bit, scowled at the peanut butter and voila! Peanut butter cheesecake brownies. Enjoy!

I couldn't wait to cut into them...notice the jagged edges?

Admire the peanutbuttery deliciousness

Ok maybe I shouldn't have scowled at the peanut butter!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies
Nonstick cooking spray
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Peanutbutter Cheesecake:
8-ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil or parchment paper so you can pull out your brownies later. Make sure whatever you use comes up high enough on the sides. Spray with non-stick spray. Heat chocolate and butter in microwave safe bowl gradually until melted. Stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes. Stir/beat in sugar, eggs, and vanilla into cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir/beat in flour and salt. Spread the batter in pan
In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter, egg, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Be sure to not overbeat.
Drop large spoonfuls of the peanut butter cheesecake batter across the layer of brownie batter. Take a knife or skewer to swirl the layer of peanut butter cheesecake batter with the brownie mixture. Bring up some of the brownie batter to ensure the brownie mixture and cheesecake swirl nicely.
Bake for 32-35 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan is set, or a toothpick has just a few brownie crumbs sticking to it. Let cool, then lift the brownies up and out using the foil or parchment paper and peel it away. Cut the brownies. Stuff you face! :)
Source: Epicurious

Monday, October 25, 2010

Steakin' it Easy

My end of vacation steak dinner was so much better than I expected. My husband is totally a steak and potato man and as usual he was stoked for what was on the menu. I had found some pretty New York strip steaks at the grocery store and while I was walking around looking for some peanut butter I planned the rest our meal. I decided on some roasted rosemary potatoes and some of my "handy" bruschetta. Once home I put my husband to work taking care of the steaks since I am at home in the kitchen not at the grill. He seasoned them perfectly with some kosher salt, some garlic sea salt and some white pepper. For a nice medium/well he kept them on the grill for six minutes each side. While he was doing this I was making my roasted potatoes and was baking my french bread rolls to stuff with bruschetta. Wait...what? Yes I said I was making stuffed bruschetta. I found these cute french bread rolls in the freezer section and hollowed them out to stuff with my bruschetta mixture. It was cute and delicious. The meal was great and I had a wonderful ending to a vacation week! Enjoy!

New York Strips seasoned by my husband

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

French Rolls stuffed with "Handy" Bruschetta

Put it all together and you get....dinner!! Yum!

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, stems removed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 1/2 pounds white potatoes diced into 1 inch cubes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking dish with non-stick spray set aside. In a bowl whisk together olive oil, rosemary, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Next add in potatoes and stir to coat completely.
Transfer potatoes to prepared baking sheet. Spread into single layer.Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and turn. Bake for 20 more minutes or until the edges of the potatoes are golden brown. If you like them extra crispy turn on the boiler for 2 minutes. Enjoy!

"Handy" Bruschetta
4 ripe roma tomatoes chopped
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 can chopped black olives (4 oz)
2 cloves of garlic, minced plus one clove left whole
4-5 leaves basil chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and pepper to taste
Hollowed out French bread rolls or French bread slices

Make sure you have drained most of the moisture from your tomatoes. Combine chopped tomatoes, bell pepper, black olives, minced garlic, and basil. Stir gently and set aside. In a separate small bowl whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add to tomato mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Rub garlic clove over bread slices or inside hollowed out bread roll. Top (or fill) bread with the bruschetta mixture or serve separately and let people construct their own. Enjoy!
Source: Alex Original

Listening To:
Black Balloon-Goo Goo Dolls
The Distance-Cake
Ain't No Sunshine-Aaron Neville
Three Little Birds-Bob Marley
Under Pressure-Queen

Friday, October 22, 2010


This week was my week long vacation from work!! I spent all weekend stuffing my face, watching movies, and shopping. Between the delicious brewery food and to die for sushi in Tennessee, I had an awesome hamburger experience. I know that this place is a chain and maybe I was so starved out of my mind that the taste was ten times better than it really was. But the idea of putting whatever I want on a hamburger is like heaven. So thank you Five Guys! You made me realize how much I want to move back to civilization and enjoy your deliciousness. Who cares if you were two thousand calories and the reason I gained six pounds while on vacation? I don't! Ok maybe I do a little....
As this great week comes to an end I realize that being busy is what makes me want to cook. Having the opportunity to sleep in just makes me unmotivated for the day. I have some yummy desserts planned for this week. But tonight I make steak! Some great NY strips with roasted rosemary potatoes and bruschetta to start. Yum!! Cant wait to share...have a great weekend everyone!

Behold the Greasiness. MMMM!

Do see my happiness?

See this little guy? He caught my face on fire.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Potato Gnocchi with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

I am not Italian...I just love Italian food. I don't know how to cook authentic Italian but I really try. Being a Hispanic girl I love posole, enchiladas, and a fresh tortilla more than anything. And yes it sometimes irks me when people butcher the authentic Mexican recipes....but I understand that it is so hard to emulate a food style that doesn't often use written recipes. It is all about the experience and knowledge learned in the kitchen.  I fully plan on going back to my roots and start blogging about the delicious food I grew up watching my Nana and Tias make. But I guess for now I am just going to butcher some Italian recipes hehe sorry. I could also be craving Italian food because Giada will be in Kentucky in approximately a week and I feel some inspiration reading her recipes. Sadly I will not be able to attend the food show she will be at thanks to my job and a charity costume party I will be attending. But I will be there in spirit plus I doubt they would let me in with my Lady Gaga costume.
When I started making this recipe I really expected my husband to not like it, but he loved it. Of course he asked. "Is there any way you could add meat to this?" I should have expected that.Other than the gnocchi this was an easy recipe. The sauce was very easy to make and my house smelled like heaven. I had no gnocchi left over but plenty of sauce. The leftover sauce totally has a date with some pizza crust and parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Potato Gnocchi with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives
One batch of  Basic Potato Gnocchi
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 pepperoncini chopped
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 6oz jar pitted kalamata olives, chopped
½ cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded parmesan cheese

Warm olive oil in saucepan over medium low heat. Add onions, garlic and pepperoncini and cook until onions are soft. Once onions are soft (about 5 minutes) add fresh tomato, can of crushed tomato and red pepper. Let simmer for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. After simmering add chopped kalamata olives and basil. Continue to simmer for five more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over your potato gnocchi and top with parmesan cheese. Devour!
Source: for Gnocchi and Sauce is an Alex original

I really ate way too much of this

The sauce totally made the dish

Listening To:
These Arms Of Mine-Otis Redding
Hey Jealousy-Gin Blossoms
Fell On Black Days-Soundgarden
Come Rain Or Come Shine -Ray Charles
Against the Wind-Bob Seger

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Balsamic Brown Butter Ravioli

Lately all I have been craving is pasta. Which is the opposite of what my husband is craving. All he wants is protien. He has been devouring tuna, eggs, meat. But I think he could live without carbs. Me on the otherhand need some bread, pasta and pastries in my life. I could live without meat. So when I told my husband that I was making pasta for dinner with no meat sauce, I think he was already planning his next protien binge. Since I am a big browned butter fan I found a pasta recipe that incorporated it and I was really looking forward to making it (and eating it). I think that overall I would rate this recipe an eight. I found it a tad bit heavy and I think that it would be better with a mushroom or even a pumpkin ravioli rather than a cheese ravioli. Other than that this is a perfect meal for a chilly fall evening. Enjoy!

Balsamic Brown Butter Ravioli
18 to 20 ounces store-bought or homemade ravioli ( I suggest squash, pumpkin, or mushroom)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the ravioli and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain ravioli and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan cook the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the foam subsides, and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat. Let cool for about 1 minute. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Transfer the ravioli to the pan saucepan with the balsamic brown butter. Sprinkle walnuts and Parmesan over the top. Serve immediately.
Source: Giada De Laurentiis


You can see the specks from the browned butter. mmmm!

Listening To:
Livin' On A Prayer-Bon Jovi
Everybody Loves Somebody -Dean Martin
Check Yes Or No-George Strait
She-Green Day

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cake Cake and Cake Balls

My life last week was taken over by cake!!

The only downside of taking on large scale projects is that my life gets put on hold. I did not get on the computer. I did not watch my favorite TV shows. I did not get much sleep. I did not make dinner. And I did not pay attention to my cat Andy. (He is still getting me back for this by the way) Instead, I made 200 cake pops and a groomscake for a wedding. The couple chose University of Kentucky colors because they are both HUGE fans. Of course I faced a dilema because my local store was out of lollipop sticks....go figure. Thank you to my amazing sister in law for wrangling me up some. You rock my face off! And even though my days began at 6:00 am and ended at 2:00 am four days in a row, I was really proud that I got it all done. So when all the baking plus the work from my real job (end of the quarter madness) was done, I decided to treat myself to a girls only roadtrip. It was chock full of shopping, eating, and dancing. It was just what the doctor ordered. Now I can go back to feeding my husband and sketching my next cake. So here it is, the cakery that took over my life for the last week. Enjoy!

Blueberry cake with Lemon frosting

After dipped and sprinkled

Bagged, Tagged, and Ribboned

I loved these!

The UK Groom's Cake
Chocolate with Chocolate Mousse Filling

Listening To:

I'm Not Over-Carolina Liar
Lovefool-The Cardigans
The Joker-Steve Miller Band
The Pretender-Foo Fighters

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm Just a Po' Boy, Nobody Loves Me

I find myself wishing I had a little more access to quality ingredients. I have a better chance of spotting Sasquatch than I do of finding fresh herbs or even arugula where I live. Arugula? The produce man seemed a bit confused when I asked if they would ever get any more in stock. On my last shopping trip I was lucky enough to find some fresh basil (the last pack) and have been using it like a crazy person. I cant seem to find enough recipes to use it in. So yesterday I made some spicy mayo! It was the perfect accompaniment to some shrimp po' boys I had made. I chose to not fry my shrimp and used a sourdough sub roll rather than just white or wheat. Add some muenster cheese, sliced tomatoes and lettuce and you have a yummy lunch. I really think that I will fry my shrimp next time to add a little crunch. But overall I was pleased. Enjoy!

Spicy Mayonnaise

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 serrano chili pepper, thinly sliced (I like it spicy)
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn in smaller pieces
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 lemon, juiced
Freshly ground black pepper

Add 1/4 cup olive oil to a large saute pan over high heat. Add the garlic and fry until just starting to turn golden brown, add the chili peppers to soften them a bit. Add the basil leaves and stand back, the basil will crack and pop. Let the basil get crispy. Pour the mixture onto a plate and put in the refrigerator to cool. Meanwhile mix the mayonnaise together with the lemon juice. When the basil/chili mixture has cooled, fold it into the mayonnaise Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and return mayonnaise to the refrigerator.

You could smell the spicyness!

The Constructed Po' Boy

Source: Michael Chiarello

Listening To:

Every Day Is Exactly The Same-Nine Inch Nails
Possum Kingdom-The Toadies
No One Knows-Queens of the Stone Age