Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Three Things I'm Loving Right Now

Sorry I have been MIA for the past couple of weeks.  With visitors, and C's graduation it's been very busy.  I should be back on track next week.  Until then, here are three things I'm loving right now.
Gelato from Central Market.  Because I need to get my taste buds ready for an Italy trip this fall.
video
Mia (kinda) learning how to swim.  Because, minus my weird man laugh, you can't help but smile.
Neon nail polish.  Because, well, do I need a reason?

Hope you all have a great week! 


Friday, May 11, 2012

Trailer Cakes - Richardson, Texas


Unbeknown to me, there's a cupcake shop in C's apartment complex.  Via twitter @trailercakes I found out it's located in the bottom of an office building within walking distance of where he lives.  I had been passing it for months, and hadn't even noticed.  Am I disappointed in all of the cupcakes I could have been partaking in all this time? You betchya.
One Friday, my sweet tooth got the best of me and I was able to stop before they closed for the week to pick up some weekend treats for C and I do to a cupcake tasting.  Similar to a wine tasting, but well, better.  I picked out three different cakes, and dug in!
I will say, the attention to detail was very nice to see.  The to-go box I was given was decorated very cutely with their logo, as well as this bit of advise inside.
First cupcake: peanut butter and jelly, with an added peanut butter cookie.
Second cupcake: red velvet cake, so hard to resist as it's one of my favorite flavors anywhere.
Third cupcake: Chocolate peanut butter, with a chocolate grenache and a Mini-Reese's on top.  Chocolate + peanut butter = always a great option.
The middle of the peanut butter and jelly one was pretty awesome.
I think my favorite was the red-velvet.  It had the perfect amount of frosting, and it was delicious.  All of the flavors were great, and there are many more options I would like to try!  Take a look at their site here, they offer a wide, unique variety.  I will be heading back for sure!  Next time I might not share with C ;)

Happy Friday everyone, have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Three Things I'm Loving Right Now


In an effort to keep giving you new material to read every week, I thought every once and a while I'll post about things I'm really loving right now!  One of my favorite bloggers, Emily at Cupcakes and Cashmere, does this on Fridays, and always has very inspiring, beautiful things.  As an example, that's what I'm aspiring this to be!
1.  Fifty Shades of Grey.  Because honestly, I can't help but fall into the masses that love these books.  Don't judge me until you're through chapter 4 and can't put it down.
2.  Trail mix.  Because the bulk section at Whole Foods must be taken advantage of.
3.  Florence and the Machine.  Because I went to her concert last week, and her voice was beyond amazing.

Weekend's almost here!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chocolate Times Two


I realize some people don't like chocolate, and aren't dessert people.  To those people my only response is: you're crazy and we can't be friends.  As a treat for a co-worker I made this chocolate cakes with chocolate frosting, which is her favorite, and makes me like her more because she enjoys chocolate on chocolate :)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cupcake tin with liners, or spray a 9x9 inch pan with non-stick spray.  With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  
Turn the speed to low, and add in eggs, buttermilk, oil, extract and water.   Beat until smooth and combined well.Divide the batter into the cupcakes, or in the prepared dish.  Bake until a cake tester that's inserted comes out clean, around 20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool while you making the frosting.
For the frosting, combine the cocoa and the boiling water until cocoa has dissolved.
With an electric mixer, beat butter, powdered sugar and salt until pale and fluffy.
Reduce speed to low and added melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined.
Beat the cocoa mixture into the chocolate.  Spread over the cooled cake or cupcakes.
I topped the cake with crushed peanut butter M&M's, which made the whole cake look so colorful and added some crunch on top.  These were delicious, moist and very hard to limit yourself to one piece!  Enjoy.

Chocolate Cupcakes or Cake
Serves 18 *I cut in half
Adapted from Martha Steward


1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup water water
1/2 bag peanut butter M&M's


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 
Line a cupcake tin with liners, or spray a 9x9 inch pan with non-stick spray.  
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  
Turn the speed to low, and add in eggs, buttermilk, oil, extract and water.   
Beat until smooth and combined well.
Divide the batter into the cupcakes, or pour in the prepared dish.  
Bake until a cake tester that's inserted comes out clean, around 20 minutes.  
Transfer to a wire rack to cool while you making the frosting.


Chocolate Frosting
Makes around 5 cups
Adapted from Martha Steward


1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
2 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled


Combine the cocoa and the boiling water until cocoa has dissolved.
With an electric mixer, beat butter, powdered sugar and salt until pale and fluffy.
Reduce speed to low and added melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined.
Beat the cocoa mixture into the chocolate.  
Spread over the cooled cake or cupcakes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Creamy Shells with Tuna & Spinach


I still can't believe it's May!  I have some very exciting changes coming up and time seems to be flying faster because of it.  Stay tuned, I will reveal more as the days go by :) I tried this recipe because although I'm not a huge fan of tuna, I love tuna casserole.  I also had large shells that I had bought on a whim from Whole Foods because they were on sale that needed to be used.  This was the best recipe to use them for!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a medium pot, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, around 6 minutes.
Add flour and and cook and stir together.  
Gradually add milk whisking constantly, and cook until it slightly thickens and bubbles.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
In a food processor, combine bun Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.  Process until fine crumbs form.
Transfer half the mixture to a large bowl and combine with spinach, tuna, and half the sauce. 
Fill each cooked shell with 2 heaping tablespoons of tuna mixture and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish.  
Top with remaining sauce and breadcrumb mixture.  Bake until sauce is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden, around 20 minutes.
This dish was delicious.  I used skim milk in place of whole milk to cut calories, but the sauce was still creamy and tasty.  This is a great make one night when you have time some, stick it in the fridge, and cook for 20 minutes on a night when you're too tired or busy to spend time making a meal. 

Creamy Shells with Tuna & Spinach
Serves 4
Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 hamburger bun or piece of bread, torn in large pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 10oz package frozen spinach, thawed
2 6oz cans light tuna in water, drained
6 oz jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to directions


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  
In a medium pot, heat oil over medium high heat.  
Add onion and cook until softened, around 6 minutes.
Add flour and and cook and stir together.  
Gradually add milk whisking constantly, and cook until it slightly thickens and bubbles.  
Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
In a food processor, combine bun Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.  
Process until fine crumbs form.
Transfer half the mixture to a large bowl and combine with spinach, tuna, and half the sauce. 
Fill each cooked shell with 2 heaping tablespoons of tuna mixture and place ina 9x13 inch baking dish.  
Top with remaining sauce and breadcrumb mixture.  
Bake until sauce is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden, around 20 minutes.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Russo's NY Pizzeria - Richardson, TX

Sometimes C and I dog sit for a friend's dog, Jack.  Jack's Mom pays us in gift certificates to different restaurants around the area.  It's been a great way for C and I to try some new places!  Russo's happens to be right next to where C lives, so it was the perfect place to walk to for a mid-week outing!  Started out with a bottle of red wine.  Olive oil on the table is always a good sign!
We decided to share a few appetizers and an entree, so we could try a few more things without wasting food.  Calamari takes some getting used to, but if it's done right it's so delicious.  It had great batter and cooked to perfection.  They served it with a marinara sauce, but to be honest the sauce wasn't needed!
Also ordered garlic knots.  What else do I need to say here?  These speak for themselves, bread, butter, garlic... heavenly. 
Finally we shared Gemelli Carbanara, which is pasta with a cream sauce, with red onions and garlic topped with prosciutto.  So delicious.  The cream sauce was awesome, and the prosciutto added the perfect flavor.

I really enjoyed this place, they also have nightly specials that really can save you money, and gives you an opportunity to enjoy your meal even more.  I hope to be back very soon!

Have a great weekend everyone, see you on Monday.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nutella Meringues

 
I've never made meringues before, and after this recipe I will definitely be trying them again.  It's very simple, although they need some love and care.  The nutella addition makes these even better. 
Heat nutella in the microwave until warm.  Cool while you make the meringue.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick spray.  In a bowl place the egg whites, and beat on medium high speed until they're foamy. 
Once they're foamy, add the cream of tartar and salt.  Continue whipping on medium high speed.
Whip until soft peaks form, this will take a few minutes.  Once you have reached soft peaks, increase speed to high and begin adding sugar a few spoonfuls at a time until you've used all the sugar.
 Meringue should be very thick, almost stiff after all the sugar has been added.  Drop in all of the nutella into the meringue.
Don't over mix, as you want to keep the swirled effect.  
Using two spoons, drop the meringues onto the baking sheets.  Place in the oven for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, lower the heat to 200 degrees and bake for an hour.  After an hour, check on the meringues, if they're completely dried turn the oven off and leave them in the oven for a few hours to cool with the oven.  If they still look wet, continue baking for another 20 minutes or so. 
When you remove the meringues from the oven they should be completely dry and cool and will be hollow.  These were so amazing tasting, and a little soft which was perfect.  If you're a nutella lover, you will for sure enjoy these.  It's a decant treat, but easily made.  Enjoy!

Nutella Meringues
Serving size 15-20 meringues

3 large egg whites, room temperature
a pinch of cream of tartar
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup Nutella

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick spray.  
Heat nutella in the mircorway until warm, and cool while you make the meringue.
In a bowl place the egg whites, and beat on medium high speed until they're foamy. 
Once they're foamy, add the cream of tartar and salt.  
Continue whipping on medium high speed.
Whip until soft peaks form, this will take a few minutes.  
Once you reach soft peaks, increase speed to high and begin adding sugar a few spoonfuls at a time. 
Drop in all of the nutella into the meringue.
Using two spoons, drop the meringues onto the baking sheets.  
Place in the oven for 10 minutes.  
After 10 minutes, lower the heat to 200 degrees and bake for an hour.  
Turn the oven off and leave them in the oven for a few hours to cool with the oven.