April 14, 2014

Giant Deviled Egg


With just 6 days left until Easter, many of us are planning what to serve or bring to the big dinner, as well as how to decorate and add the extra touches that make our holidays memorable.  My friend Heather (Real: The Kitchen and Beyond) and I gathered 26 bloggers to share some of their Easter Entertaining Ideas with you!

From Jelly Bean Trees to a Giant Deviled Egg, we've got you covered!
To make this even more memorable, we have some amazing giveaways as well for a few lucky readers! There are prizes from John Boos (maker of incredible cutting boards, butcher blocks and more), The Spice House (my favorite on-line destination and THE place for amazing spices), Wilton Armetale (maker of both beautiful and functional serving and grill ware), Divine Chocolates, (a fair trade, farmer-owned chocolate company) & The Tree Hut (natural body products that do what they say! Follow along via #AllThingsEaster on social media this week, and visit our Pinterest Board “All Things Easter” for more ideas.
4 years ago, I attended my first in-person food blogger event - I met bloggers in person for the first time, made some friends, learned a few things and ate well!  One friend I made that weekend  was Jackie, aka The Diva That Ate New York, who brought to the event a Giant Deviled Egg (the event was called The Big Summer Potluck - so we all brought a dish...SO fun).  I have no clue what she called it, I actually didn't even taste it but the memory of the fun of it left an impression on me so I thought it would be a perfect thing to share this Easter!

Make it with your leftover eggs or make it just because anytime - I remember this quickly disappearing not a scrap of this was left, people loved it!  Add bacon, hummus, guac - whatever you like...Make it your own!  Deviled eggs are always a hit and delicious on their own BUT scooping up some of the egg whites and the yolk mixture with your favorite cracker takes the yum-factor to another level!  Above I used 12 Extra Large Eggs, however you can use any amount of eggs you choose,  -Before mt family devoured ate it, I actually made some fresh Guacamole Dip and topped it with that.  It-was-ridiculously delicious!

I really don't think I need to give you a recipe for this, just the idea.  Make the deviled egg part they way you normally do.  However, in case you do need/want a recipe...here you go :)

Giant Deviled Egg
12 large/extra large hard-boiled eggs
Mayo to your liking (about 3/4-1 cup)
1 tsp dry mustard
Salt and pepper
Paprika (just a dusting)
Chives
Crackers

Separate the yolks from the eggs.  I have found that if you hold an egg in your palm and gently slice just a bit of the white - not cutting into the yolk...you can pop the yolk out with almost no residue.  Which makes your while pure white.  If you do have residue, just rinse off the remaining whites or gently wipe them.  Place yolks in a small bowl and whites on your cutting board.

Dice whites up into bite sized chunks, set aside.  Mash yolks with a fork until no large bits remain, add the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper and mash until combined and creamy.  Add more may of necessary.  Grab a platter, mound the yolk mixture in the center, surround it with the egg white chunks, sprinkle with paprika and chives and serve with crackers.  Enjoy it!!

And now for a fabulous giveaway! The kids aren't going to be having all the fun this Easter! Two of you will win one of the amazing prizes below!
One of you will win this a-mazing Signature Spice Box Set from the Spice House (wait till you try the Vulcan's Fire Salt!) as well as this incredibly gorgeous John Boos Maple Cutting Board with Stainless Steel Handles...it has handles! Swoon! 
Prize Pack #1

And one of you will win a delicious Bakers Spice Box from the Spice House (the Chicago Sugar will change your life!), this gorgeous set of decadent chocolates from Divine Chocolate, this beautiful Egg Tray from Wilton Armetale and this awesome Tree Hut Duo of Shea Body Lotion and Sugar Scrub - time to pamper yourself!

Prize Pack #2
Check out all the posts in this fun, delicious and creative All Things Easter Event:

Ideas for Leftover Easter Eggs

Giant Deviled Egg | Souffle Bombay

Easter Breakfast Recipe Ideas


Easter Breakfast Casserole | How I Pinch A Penny

Lemon Blueberry French Toast Bake with Lemon Mint Cream | O'Boy! Organic

Dutch Baby | The Naughty Mommy

Easter Dinner Recipe Ideas

Scallion & Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes | Musings of a Housewife

Baked Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Casserole | We're Parents!?

Cheesy Potato Casserole | Coupon Cutting Mom

Easter Dessert Recipe Ideas

Peanut Butter Eggs | Real: The Kitchen & Beyond

Toasted Angel Food Cake Parfait | What the Heck's a Bonbon?

Easter Lemon Cookies {Allergy Friendly} | Chockababy

Individual Lemon Meringues | Pandora's Deals

Peeps in the Pond Trifle | Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Rice Krispie Pops/Chocolate Covered Pretzels | A Grande Life

Easter Cocktail Recipe Ideas

Raspberry Beer Float | Teaspoon of Spice

The Peter Cottontail Cocktail | Can't Google Everything

Bunnytail-tini | Mommy Snapped

Easter Decorating Ideas

Easter Printable | Diapered Daze and Knights

Easter Centerpiece | The Vintage Mom

Jellybean Tree Centerpiece | Look What Mom Found

Easter Gift Ideas

Allergy Friendly Non-Toxic Easter Basket | Mom-Blog    

Naturally Dyed Wooden Easter Eggs | Inspired Family

Sugar Free Easter Basket Ideas | philly fun 4 kids

Easter Fun

5 Easter Activities for Kids | Mama Teaches


Taking Great Easter Photos | Life with Kaishon

Frugal Easter Basket Ideas & Menu


Easter Egg Pass | A Life in Balance

a Rafflecopter giveaway


We would like to give a huge thank you to the companies that made this give away possible! Thank you to John Boos for the beautiful maple cutting board, The Spice House for their spice and baking gift sets, Divine Chocolate for their luxuriously rich Fair Trade Chocolate gift basket, Wilton Armetale for the elegant egg plate, and Tree Hut for the body scrub and lotion.





April 11, 2014

Guacamole & Spicy Shrimp Tostadas


Ever meet someone and you just instantly click?  That is how it was for me when I met Linda of Giggles, Gobbles & Gulps.  She calls me her "Foodie Crush", something which always cracks me up!

We had never met in person and found ourselves at the same conference a little over a year ago.  Soon after the conference began, she was commenting on my Tweet saying "YOU ARE HERE??" Needless to say, as soon as the first break started we met and bonded.

Since then we have had some fun times together, we even did a TV show together and misbehaved a time or two (just a bit)!  I adore her fun personality, sense of style and her imagination when it comes to cocktails and food!

Today, while she is in Disney Land (ummm...not jealous one bit...) I am guest posting for her.

I would love for you to check out her both site and my recipe for these fun and delicious Spicy Shrimp & Guacamole Tostadas.  The combo of shrimp & avocado is what I call Heaven!


Enjoy!


April 9, 2014

Stolen Moments


Stolen Moments...

You know what I am talking about, right?

Maybe you are a mom, a wife, a big sister, a teacher, doctor or the head of a state.  Sometimes, no matter who you are, you just need to get away for a few minutes and indulge, maybe reconnect with yourself or just be still.


Some of us try to be the best x-y and z we can be and that is awesome if you can always be "on" and always be perfect but  know my limitations.  I need chill out time for me it can be a TV show I hope to be able to watch straight through with no interruptions, a glass of wine, a girls night out, or this...

Swinging on this swing is my favorite thing to do once winter is finally through with us and lets spring start to take over.  This, is my escape and guess what I usually escape with a piece or two of dark chocolate and sometimes a glass of wine. No one seems to look for me here, I lay down, relax and recharge.  I listen to the world around me, remember all the things I am grateful for and dream a little. For me THIS is a perfect pairing.


I am a dark chocolate girl through and through - I happily pass up anything milk chocolate...I just don't have an interest in it.  Give me the intensity and velvety smoothness of a well made piece of dark chocolate. Ghirardelli fits the bill perfectly for me with their Intense Dark Twilight Delight, you get undertones of cherries, blackberries and mocha.  It's perfect! Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark Chocolate bars are the ultimate indulgence and can be paired with anything from food to drink to an experience.   Plus, every time I open a new bar and begin to peel back the beautiful foil, I feel like Charlie hoping to find a golden ticket!  Love it!! I keep a stash of a few of my favorite things including Ghirardelli in a secret spot that no one in my house has yet to find for just such stolen moments.

Know what else I love to do with Ghirardelli 72% Intense Dark Twilight Delight?
  • Break it into small chunks and scatter it into freshly made ice cream, especially vanilla ice cream with roasted cherries!
  • Put chunks of it into my brownies.
  • Dunk it into THIS ridiculously yummy 5 Minute Peanut Butter Dip pictured above.
  • Use it for a making delicious Dark Chambord Hot Chocolate
  • Eat it all before my husband gets any...just kidding honey xoxo!

Thank you to Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate for sponsoring today’s post and allowing me to indulge a bit and share my perfect pairing. If you would like to share your perfect pairing, upload your Ghirardelli Intense Dark photos here or #IntenseDark on Instagram. What's your favorite way to pair?

April 8, 2014

Chunky Turtle Ice Cream & A Scoop Adventures Giveaway


I finally made homemade ice cream last summer with the wonderful ice cream maker I had had sitting in its box, purchased about 4-5 years ago.  There it sat, patiently waiting for me to come to my senses.  I have no idea what the heck I was waiting for.  The Roasted Cherry & Vanilla  Ice Cream I made last summer when I finally cracked her open was so much better than anything I could buy at the grocery store!

A few weeks ago I received the new cookbook Scoop Adventures "The Best Ice Cream of The 50 States" by Lindsay Clendaniel and I had SO much fun looking it over.  I decided right then and there that each member of my family could pick 2 ice cream flavors from the book to try between now and the end of summer.  Oh boy are we in for some treats!  Lindsay gathered the best of the best when it came to specialty ice creams from local ice creamery's across the country - tough job, right!!  Ummm, hellloooo, does anyone need me to travel across the country or world and eat then replicate what I tasted?  I'm in if you do (wink!)!


A few standouts from the book in my opinion are the Balsamic Fig ice Cream (Oh my gosh!!), Steen's Molasses Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream, Key Lime Pie Ice Cream, Chipotle Raspberry Ice Cream and this Chunky Turtle Ice Cream.

I chose to omit the salted pecans when I decided to let my minions make the ice cream (my kids are allergic to nuts).  My 9 year old daughter and my 9 year old niece are the ones who are to be credited with making this ice cream.  They did a wonderful job!  Both prepped the ingredients, Samantha helped man the stove, while my niece Skylar, kept reading and re-reading the steps aloud.  We had fun in the kitchen and tasted what we were making along the way and all three of us found it delicious!



This result was a slightly salted caramel ice cream with bittersweet dark chocolate chunks and it was de-licious!

My next "Must Make" from this book is the Blueberry Mojito - OMGee! And yes, it does call for some rum!  Oh yeah!

My daughter wants to make a strawberry ice cream, so stay tuned and see what else we might make and share!

One of you can win a copy of this fun and delicious book just in time BBQ season!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Chunky Turtle Ice Cream
Inspired by Wholly Cow Ice Cream, Charleston, South Carolina
-Scoop Adventures

MAKES 1 QUART (940ML)

Caramelized and almost burnt is one of the best ways to eat sugar. Caramel has been a favorite in candies and chocolates for a long time, but more recently ice cream shop owners have discovered the goodness of using caramel to flavor ice cream. Salted caramel is one of the most popular flavors in ice cream shops today. Wholly Cow adds glorious South Carolina pecans and chunks of chocolate to their version of caramel ice cream, resulting in a sweet, salty, crunchy, chocolate-filled scoop.

ICE CREAM BASE
1 ½ cups (355ml) whole milk, divided
1 tbsp (9g) cornstarch
⅔ cup (133g) sugar
1 ¾ cups (414ml) heavy cream
½ tsp salt
¾ cup (128g) salted pecans (see below)
2 oz (56g) dark chocolate, finely
chopped
SALTED PECANS
¾ cup (128g) unsalted pecan pieces
1 tbsp (14g) unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp salt

To make the ice cream base, fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons (30ml) of the milk with the cornstarch, whisk and set aside. Measure the sugar into a large, deep saucepan and place over medium heat. Do not touch the sugar until all edges begin to melt, then cook the sugar until it begins to brown, stirring gently and frequently, allowing the sugar to reach a deep amber color. Immediately and carefully add about ¼ cup (60ml) of the cream. Be careful: The mixture will bubble and spit when adding cream to the hot sugar; the sugar will harden but when returned to heat will melt again. Add remaining cream until complete, stirring to combine.

Return the pan to medium heat. Add the remaining milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, or until all caramelized sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Pour into a medium bowl. Whisk in the salt. Set the bowl in the ice water bath to cool, 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

To make the salted pecans, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl, tossing to coat the pecans. Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once, until slightly toasted and aromatic. Let cool completely before adding to the ice cream.

Once the ice cream base is chilled, pour it into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When churning is complete, gently fold in the salted pecans and chocolate pieces. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Enjoy & Good Luck!


5 Minute White Chocolate & Peanut Butter Dip


I am often descended upon by my children's friends.  We are that house where they all come to hang out at and often sleep over.

The boys are easy...the girls, well let's just say they are a little bit nosier, drama-filled, attention seeking, incredibly messy, room destroying...ummm, harder.  9 year old girls might be harder however its the boys who are like a plague of locusts! They can eat more than I ever knew possible!

My son is 12 and one of the ways I let him be explore his increasing independence is by letting him organize hang-outs with his buddies. However they always seems to be here, at our house, lol.  I am not sure who to "blame" for that.  My son I guess.  But that's ok, he obviously likes it here, his friends like it here and at the end of the day it lets me have him more and anytime I can be around my kids makes me happy (except when they are reeeaaallly messy that is)!

I plan when I can, and make sure I have baked goods, extra food, water and juice on hand for these gatherings.  This 5 Minute Peanut Butter Dip is perfect for just such an occasion.  It's easy, gives them some protein and fruit can be served as one of the vehicles.  BUT don't forget the chocolate!!  This dip tastes just like the inside of a peanut butter cup, smooth and creamy and you know what the best dipper for that is don't you?? 

CHOCOLATE!!

For me, deep dark chocolate is the best with this, just one square and one dip and Colleen is a happy, happy girl!

What kids?


5 Minute White Chocolate & Peanut Butter Dip

1 cup of creamy peanut butter 
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS softened butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup melted white chocolate

Combine all ingredients in your mixer bowl, mix until smooth and creamy.

Serve with apple slices,banana segments  pretzels, chocolate squares or soft pretzel nuggets.

Enjoy!!


April 2, 2014

Cannoli Cupcakes


I will start this off by saying nope...I don't live under a rock.  I have heard of "The Cake Boss" but had no idea who that was.  I actually thought it was the motorcycle looking dude with the chainsaw but I think that is Duff.

A show called Bakery Boss caught my eye one night when I was flipping through options on On Demand to watch.  So I watch it, and I was instantly smitten!  This guy Buddy, was going around to bakeries and "fixing them".  Maybe their food was not up to par, maybe they were confused about just what kind of a store they should be, maybe their location just didn't say "bakery" or maybe their was more to the story. That guy Buddy is SO stinking sweet!  I seriously think I could watch 50 episodes back to back!

My 2nd or 3rd episode in, my Little Chef, who is 9, walks in and says oh, hey its Buddy!  I was like wha?? You know him?  She's like "M-oooom, he's the Cake Boss" (a show she is OBSESSED with and literally has watched every episode on You Tube that exists, sometimes with her 9 year old cousin and sometimes by herself.  She was sick for days last month and she sat in bed watching episode after episode...I began watching with her them and of course that show is cool too.

Who knew!  Seriously am I/was I the only one?



Anyway on one episode of Bakery Boss, buddy challenges a guy to come up with his bakery's signature cupcake...and he did a Cannoli Cupcake and I was like "Woah"! "THAT is a great idea" And there you have it!

I give you the Cannoli Cupcake, a fun twist on a standard cupcake!!  You can choose chocolate or vanilla and use your go-to recipe for those. If you need a chocolate one, I swear by this Incredible Chocolate Cupcake Recipe.  If you need a vanilla one, see below.  You can simply but the cannoli filling at your local pizza place or Italian deli, if you need a recipe for it I have tried this one and it was delicious!
If you adore cannolis and want to try a cannoli with a twist...Check out my popular Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cannolis.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar

Dash of salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste


In your mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add in your butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolk, and vanilla.  Beat at medium speed until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl with your spatula if necessary.

Divide your batter evenly among  cupcake cups. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool.

Cannoli Cupcakes

Chocolate or vanilla cupcakes
Homemade or store-bought Cannoli Filling
Cannoli shells, broken
Mini chocolate chips if your cannoli filling doesn't already have them

Once cupcakes are cooled, dollop each one with cannoli cream (and chocolate chips if they are not already in there and you want them...you know you do!) and place broken bits of cannoli over-top.  

Enjoy!