Tag Archives: sweets

Birthday Weekend & Holiday Decorating

9 Dec

We had gone through a rough holiday season last year in the middle of a double move, lost our cat Riley, had to miss out on holiday celebrations due to illnesses, etc. So with this being our first holiday season in our new home I wanted to make sure it’s full of fun, celebration, and lots of happiness.

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday in my typical style- casual and lots of good food! I went to brunch with my girlfriends, dinner at Paul Martin’s with my hubby and Madeline and then had lunch with my family the next day complete with mini cupcakes from A Sweet Design.

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After going back and forth about whether to get a real Christmas tree or to get a ‘reusable’ tree we decided to go with the natural option this year and I can say that it just smells so nice! With the Arctic front that is chilling the western states right now, it definitely felt like Christmas when we went to the tree lot- it was freezing!
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If you have read any of my posts, you will know that I love Pinterest and I use it to get great recipes I would have not otherwise seen and craft ideas, etc. I generally don’t do gifts friends for the holidays but I wanted to make a little something for my girlfriends so when I saw these two ideas I thought- that’s perfect! I love most things that are white a gold, so when I saw this idea to design a mug for my coffee and tea loving girlfriends I had to make it: Tidy Mom’s hand painted holiday mugs. And then I saw what turned out to me SO amazing, decadent and just plain easy- Peppermint Oreo Truffles! I had a couple snaffues with the white chocolate- it did not cooperate, so I did half in white chocolate and half in semi sweet chocolate, which ended up looking nice anyway. I love polka dots too, so I made the mugs with gold polka dots and wrote one of the pet names I call everyone “lovey”. I popped a couple of these in each bag and put them in the decorated cappuccino cups.
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I had so much fun making these gifts and was happy to have a couple left over to snack on (and so was my hubby). I am still working on decorating our little tree and will post on that soon! I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season so far!

The Dreamiest Rice Pudding

30 Sep

First, welcome October, I didn’t see you sneaking up on me… where did September go?? I love how everyone is stepping it up on the fall front, from decorating to baking to checking out the local farm’s Harvest Festival, which opened last weekend. I just wish it was slightly cooler out, it’s a tad too warm for my taste midday but the evenings are definitely starting to get chilly and that leads me to want more cozy dinners and treats.

I happen to be a big fan of comfort food, if you couldn’t tell. When you are in the mood for a sweet treat on a chilly evening (or pretty much any time) one of the most delightful desserts in my opinion is Dreamy Creamy Rice Pudding. This recipe is slightly adapted from my mom’s recipe, I added heavy cream to the recipe to make it that much more amazing.
In my last post I mentioned some of the things I do to help me get home cooked dinners on the table after work midweek. I used another to help me make The Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Stewed Beef with Creamy Cheddar Grits by cooking the beef (which takes 3 hours to prepare) on Sunday afternoon (yesterday) and storing in the fridge overnight and then reheating it on the stove top while I was making the grits.

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It was really tasty, I love the grits especially. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that Pioneer Woman, she really knows what’s up! I could only hope to be as clever and creative as her one day.
After a delicious dinner I was in a mood for dessert, the possibilities were nearly endless. I considered chocolate chip cookies, bundt cake, brownies, etc but the only option that sounded truly amazing was rice pudding. I love rice pudding with it’s gentle sweetness and creaminess that cannot be beat. I like this particular recipe because it doesn’t involve multiple pots and baking dishes like most, it’s relatively quick, and requires few ingredients. This dessert is wonderful chilled or served warm, it just feels like home.

Dreamy Creamy Rice Pudding
3-4 servings
Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup medium grain white rice
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon for dusting

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Directions:

 Add milk, rice, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt to a 3-quart saucepan.
 Over medium low heat, heat milk mixture until tiny bubbles  form around the edge, stirring mixture frequently (about 5 minutes).
 Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 40 minutes or until rice is very tender, stirring occasionally. (about every 10 minutes). Do not leave unattended, this can and will boil over and make a huge mess on your stove top if left unattended. If you see it bubbling up and starting to try to escape the pot remove the lid and stir. When done the rice should be tender, it should be thickened and not overly liquidy.
Transfer to a bowl, dust with ground cinnamon. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and serve warm.

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This is like a hug in a bowl, I love it and I hope you do too!

Pumpkin Obsesssion

18 Sep

If you have been following me through my journey from summer to fall, you will have noticed that not unlike many people – once September hits – my life is full of pumpkins. Be it a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, pumpkin decor around my house, my friends searching Trader Joes for their oh-so-yummy pumpkin muffin mix, or beginning to make those holiday treats such as pies (my personal favorite). When preparing for entertaining some friends over the weekend I searched through my cookbooks, personal recipes and Pinterest to find the perfect delectable treat to finish off a cozy meal of pot roast, mashed potatoes and roasted carrots, one thing definitely jumped out at me: Pumpkin Dump Cake. Now that may sound like an odd name for a cake but it simply refers to the fact that you are pretty much dumping a bunch of ingredients in the baking dish. It couldn’t be easier!

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My coworker, Jessica (a huge proponent of Pumpkin Dump Cake) was the first to introduce me to this cake and I couldn’t thank her enough. It’s kinda of like a pumpkin pie and a crumb cake. Totally amazing!

I accessed the recipe from The Country Cook.

It has few ingredients and is a synch to whip up. I served mine with homemade whipped cream which I made by adding 2 tablespoons to 1 very cold cup of cream in a bowl (I used a chilled metal bowl) and used by hand mixer to whip until I achieved soft stiff peaks. It took about 3-4 minutes.

Pumpkin Dump Cake

Ingredients:
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 box spiced cake mix
1 cup butter melted

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Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a 13X9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, and cinnamon until combined. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle dry cake mix over the top of the pumpkin mixture (should float on top). Drizzle melted butter over top of cake mix.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, may be a little jiggly in the middle when done (not sloshy). Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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My whole house smelled amazing while it was baking away.
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My friends loved it, the topping was crunchy, sweet, and buttery and the pumpkin was a perfect pie filling. I foresee this in my kitchen time and time again. And the best part? I had leftovers! 🙂