Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart
This dark chocolate salted caramel tart screams Happy Valentine’s Day, at least for me. While my husband doesn’t eat chocolate, I haven’t had trouble sharing this tasty treat with the other Valentines in my life..
Seriously… this is a crunchy chocolate crust, filled with an ooey gooey sweet caramel, topped with a slightly bitter chocolate ganache and dusted with salt. Amazing. There are several steps to this recipe, which each require cool time, but it is definitely worth the effort! Read through the entire recipe to make certain you have plenty of time prior to serving. While the cool times may be several hours, each step only takes a few minutes to complete.
Try this… your loved ones will thank you!
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie… I had every intention of making a special treat for my lovely non-chocolate eating, Allen. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to make it happen this week, so not only am I a *wannabe* foodie tonight, I am also a *wannabe* sweet wife. There is always next year, right? (shame)
Disney Frozen Ice Cream Cake
We are in full-on mermaid mode in our house. I am not sure if our two-year-old is subconsciously dreaming of warmer days to cope with all this snow and cold, but there is not much we can play, read, listen, watch, or color if it is not somehow associated with a mermaid! While I love The Little Mermaid, I was pretty excited that my niece requested a “Frozen” cake for her 5th birthday. I haven’t actually seen Frozen yet (apparently there are no mermaids in Frozen), so I hit Pinterest for some inspiration. How amazing is this Frozen cake from Bubbly Nature Creations!
I had to try those blue ice shards! Seriously.
Turns out simple sugar candy is surprisingly easy and the shards turned out great! We also created a simple vinyl stencil to put over one of the shards, and then scratched the surface with sandpaper to create the etched 5. I say “we,” because that was actually both Allen’s idea and execution.
Disney Frozen Ice Cream Cake
I made a simple ice cream cake, frosted with Cool Whip, and then kept the decorations simple to show off the shards.
Fairly simple and definitely fantastic!
You can alter the amount of ingredients in your ice cream cake depending on how many people you need to serve, available space in your freezer, and the size of your bowl. I did have a huge bowl, so I just went to town.
Confession of a *wannabe* cake decorator…. Sometimes while brainstorming, you find an idea that is so fantastic, there aren’t many improvements to make! Thanks Bubbly Nature Creations for such amazing inspiration.
Happy World Nutella day!
It is so cold and snowy in St. Louis these days, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to warm up the oven for these ultimate comfort brownies.
I am always looking for any excuse to bake and celebrate!
These Nutella brownies are a fantastic way to celebrate the merging of two cultures! Combining chewy chocolaty American brownies, with creamy delicious hazelnut Italian Nutella, is a fantastic tribute to our culinary and cultural histories. The Nutella flavor is somewhat subtle in these brownies, so don’t forget the chopped hazelnuts to really amplify the chocolate hazelnut goodness!
Bake, eat, share, love!
Nutella Coffee Creamer
February 5 is officially World Nutella Day. World Nutella Day.
Let’s take a minute to let that set in.
One glorious day when the whole world unites to celebrate the smooth, creamy, chocolaty, hazelnut goodness that is Nutella. One day to look beyond our political, religious, and economic differences to indulge, in solidarity, in one celebrated snack spread.
I will never forget my introduction into the world of Nutella, in 1998, during a spring break trip to Spain to visit my sister. I shortly thereafter spent an entire year immersed in the Nutella motherland of Italy. Nutella smeared on crusty bread, Nutella oozing out of warm croissants, Nutella churned into creamy gelato, Nutella encased by pillows of fried dough, oh the delicious Nutella.
Supper Club is the greatest invention on the planet and, while I am obviously biased, I think our supper club is one of the best… seriously.
The plan is simple (other than the collaborating of calendars!). There are 10 of us that participate in Supper Club and we are split into 5 pairs. For each meal, each pair is responsible for a course: drinks, appetizers, soup/salad, main course, and dessert. The host cooks the main course and gets to select the theme. The theme is announced between the main course and the dessert course of the previous supper club.
Our Supper Club been going strong for well over 6 years. If you can imagine, after 6+ years, we have exhausted the standard supper club staples of international cuisines and key ingredients. Fortunately, this is a pretty creative and adventurous club that continues to select unique themes that, while occasionally challenging, are always unique, tasty and delicious.
This past week was our turn to host. Our theme was “Brought to you by the Letter C,” which we quickly adapted to “Courtesy of the Character C.”
While I realize “Courtesy of the Character C” may be a supper club theme that only appeals to those of us with last names that begin with C, here are a few highlights to get you thinking! I love using a few simple standards to sass up a themed event (sorry for the alliteration… still in “C” mode): an invitation, great food, a playlist, coordinating attire, a centerpiece and a photo opp.
Roasted Lemon Garlic Cauliflower
I am a firm believer that pretty much any vegetable is delicious tossed with a bit of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and roasted. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and even cauliflower. The theme for our Supper Club was “Courtesy of the Character C,” and I could not pass up the opportunity to serve Crispy Cruciferous Cauliflower with Citrus, Cheese & Chopped Chives!
This roasted cauliflower really is delicious and keeps everyone in our house happy, even our 2 year old daughter.
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie… It is tough for me to willfully choose to roast any vegetable other than Brussels sprouts. I would eat roasted brussels sprouts everyday, if my family would let me. I am happy to be expanding beyond my Brussels sprouts obsession to include other cruciferous vegetables!
Pork Crown Roast
I am seriously intimidated by cooking large cuts of meat indoors. My intimidation definitely comes from my lack of experience. With only two adults at home… a roast is a serious dinner party gamble or left-over meal commitment. We do a lot of barbecuing, pan-cooking, soups/stews, and meatless meals, but it is time…
I realize that I could have started with a pot roast roast, roast chicken, or roast beef, but in honor of supper club and our new dining room table, I decided to conquer a crown roast of pork. I called a local butcher a few days in advance to prepare the crown roast, and had a great experience in St. Louis with Kenrick’s Meat Market.
What a beautiful and impressive presentation of a tasty cut of meat! The crown roast was surprisingly easy to prepare and a great choice for a dinner party. The majority of my work in the kitchen was actually done a few hours before our guests even arrived!
Cranberry Apple Cornbread Stuffing
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a dining room table! We also have an amazing cornbread, cranberry and apple stuffing that was definitely worthy of the inaugural meal at our new table.
One of the most exciting things about moving into a house with more space was the prospect of comfortably hosting dinner parties with friends and family. I am not going to say that we ever let a small house stop us from cramming our previous home in the name of a good party, but I anxiously awaited the day to seat friends and family around a large dinner table for a comfy and tasty meal.
As we unpacked our boxes and started to get the lay of our new land, Allen decided that he wanted to build our dining room table. I instantly agreed and immediately began to romanticize how this table would hold and cherish our family history. Our friends and family would gather around this table to share amazing food, beautiful stories, and endless laughter for holidays, birthdays, dinner parties, sleepovers, and more for years and years to come. This table that would proudly be passed down from generation to generation.
I could not wait to get started…. I should clarify…. I could not wait for Allen to get started!
Elmo Birthday Party Fun
I frequently lust after the parties I see on some of my favorite party planning blogs, like Hostess with the Mostess and Pizzazzerie. The parties are amazing, the details are creative, the photos are beautiful, and the people appear to be having the time of their lives. While I would love to host parties that are featured in blogs and magazines, I consistently run into a few “minor” details… such as budget and available free time.
While I enjoy planning parties, making decorations, and baking cakes, these are just a few hobbies that compete for my ever dwindling free time and funds. I am on a mission to create the perfect party plan that maximizes a few quality decorations, stays within a reasonable budget, and sets the stage for fabulous fun!
As I continue on my quest for the ultimate party plan, here are a few components that will definitely make future party plans: (more…)
Chicken, White Bean & Kale Stew
The past three weeks were a pretty a fantastic blur of friends, family, coffee, wine, cheese, ginger cookies, caramel popcorn, dark chocolate salted caramel tart, roasted jalapeno artichoke dip, lasagna, roast beef, pizza, and… did I mention wine… and coffee?!?
It is now January, however, the holidays are officially over and it is cold in St. Louis. It is no longer the kind of cold that is trimmed with twinkling Christmas lights and warmed with hot cocoa… it is just January cold (and dark, but I will save the dark drama for a post on the February-funk).
In an attempt to not blow my New Year’s resolution(s) on January 1 or 2, I decided to head in the kitchen and tackle the remains of a roasted chicken. I chopped and reserved the remaining meat for the stew and used the bones to make a quick and easy slow cooker stock, in an attempt to maximize our use of food and reduce our waste.
This is a pretty great way to up-cycle a protein and an easy and satisfying stew that will help you wean off your holiday indulgences.