Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Back to School 'Wild About Teachers' Brunch {Gourmet French Toast}




This year we bought the teachers 5K worth of supplies.  The budget cuts have been terrible, and they have to beg for the basics, like paper, and just hope the parents are generous.

Thank you to Starbucks for donating the drinks, and to Rosy's for a great deal on the flowers.





Melinda came up with the 'Wild About Teachers' theme.  She used a roll of wrapping paper among other things to pull off the look.  We thought it would have been cute if we all dressed in animal print tops.

This was my favorite dish:
Bananas Faster French Toast (Cinnamon Campbell)

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

4 large eggs
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of shaved nutmeg
1 teaspoon of vanilla
8 croissants, halved
Butter for cooking

Bananas foster sauce:

8 tablespoons of butter, divided
1 cup of light brown sugar, packed
1 /2 cup of dark rum, room temperature (cold liquor does not ignite)
6 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
 In a bowl or stand mixer, whisk together the eggs. Add cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and whisk ingredients for about 30 seconds.


Melt butter (about 2 teaspoons) in a 12" non stick fry pan, around medium heat. Dip halved croissant in egg/cream mixture and put in frying pan. You can repeat with three more halved croissants. Four halved croissants fit in a 12" non stick frying pan. Cook until the underside is light brown and looking toasty. When the underside is toasty looking, flip croissants over and press down on them with a spatula so that they become flat. Turn heat down to medium low and let cook for about 2-3 minutes. You can leave the croissants in the pan on low heat to keep them warm while you prepare the bananas foster sauce.

In a 12 inch non stick frying pan, melt the 8 tablespoons of butter, divided on medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir until a paste forms. Add the bananas. Remove pan from heat and add the dark rum. Put pan back on burner. Using a gas burner, tip the pan to ignite the rum. If you don't have a gas burner, a lighter will do. You are burning the alcohol off, but leaving the taste of the rum. Let the flames keep burning, tilting the pan back and forth or shake the pan slightly, to reach all the alcohol. When the flames have subsided, your sauce is done.

 

My friends Courtney Dana, Trisha Combe & Melinda Bertrand did an amazing job putting the brunch together!  The teachers LOVED it!  So much better than having it catered.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fruit Bites & Mini-Raspberry Cupcakes


This is my favorite Mini-Raspberry Cupcake recipe:



Mini-Raspberry Cupcakes
Ingredients
Cupcakes
         1 stick(s) (1⁄2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
         3/4 cup(s) sugar
         1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
         1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
         2 large eggs
         1 teaspoon(s) raspberry or vanilla extract
         1/2 cup(s) milk, & 5-6 fresh raspberries
         1 1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
Raspberry Buttercream
         1 stick(s) (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
         4 cup(s) confectioners’ sugar
         4 tablespoon(s) milk, and 2-3 fresh raspberries
         1 teaspoon(s) raspberry or vanilla extract
         1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
         Red or pink gel or liquid food color (optional)
directions
1.            Heat oven to 350ºF. Line mini-- muffin pans with paper liners. (Don't worry if you only have one pan. After baking a batch, remove baked cupcakes to rack. Then place the pan in your freezer to cool quickly before lining and baking the next batch.)
2.            Beat butter, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Stir extract into milk. Beat in flour in three parts, alternating with milk, just until blended. Spoon 1 Tbsp into each muffin cup.
3.            Bake 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes before removing from pan to rack. Cool completely.

4.            Beat all ingredients in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Then increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy. Tint pink if desired. Frost cupcakes.  I love to use silicone, recyclable cake cups.  I let my kids top the mini-cakes with fresh raspberries for the final touch.  Enjoy!


These are pictures from a gathering my cooking club friend, Rupali hosted.  The theme was fruit desserts.












Friday, August 31, 2012

Beach Shrimp Bake {Moonlight Beach}

The chef's in our church congregation put on the most amazing seaside feast!  These men really know how to host a clam bake!  They had propane run burners boiling multiple pots of water, then threw in the ocean treasures.  It was AMAZING!




Monday, May 7, 2012

Cranberry Chicken Salad


My mom buys a chicken salad from a store called Great Harvest up in Utah.  I always look forward to eating that stuff.  It is simple and delicious.  If you're like me, you don't like crunchy celery or onions in your chicken salad - and the Great Harvest chicken salad is free from any unwanted crunch.  Well...we don't have a Great Harvest here in California and occasionally I get a craving for that yummy salad.  So - I decided to take a stab at re-creating it, and I think it's pretty darn close!



3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 cup mayo
1 1/2 TBSP cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of sugar

Toss all ingredients in a bowl until combined.  You can serve immediately of let it chill in the fridge so all of the flavors mingle.  Serve on a bed of lettuce, a roll, crackers, sliced bread, or on its own!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Stew {An American Tradition}

About Saint Patrick’s Day:
St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated in America 1737 and has long been synonymous with celebration. Once confined to Irish neighborhoods, this March 17th holiday has grown dramatically in popularity over the years with over 100 U.S. cities hosting St. Patrick’s Day parades this year.
Folklore Note:
Leprechauns are believed to secretly live and work as cobblers. If you follow the sound of their little hammers and lay eyes on a leprechaun, you must apprehend him so that he will tell you where to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
St. Patrick’s Day Stew
INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds boneless stew meat, cut
into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large
chunks
4 cups beef broth
3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
(optional)
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
(optional)
DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add beef pieces and cook, stirring gently, until evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the onion, and carrots and cook gently alongside the meat for a few minutes. Stir in the water. Cover and bring to a boil before turning the heat down to low. Simmer for 1 hour or longer, depending on the cut of meat you used and if it is tender yet.
3. Stir in potatoes, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, before adding rosemary. Continue to simmer uncovered, until potatoes are tender but still whole. Serve piping hot in bowls garnished with fresh parsley.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars


Rockin Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 C margarine or shortening
1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 C flour
1 bag mini recesses peanut butter cups
SPRAY PAN - really well - Mix all together roll into balls about a tablespoon
size. Put into mini muffin pan.
350 for 7-10 minutes
take out of oven - immediately press peanut butter cups into the center of the cookies. Let cool completely then take out of pan.
** for the shower I put whipping cream and shaved chocolate on them... they didn't look very good, because the whipping cream, fell.....*** I normally don't put anything on top of them. Really easy and YUMMY!
Recipe compliments of Amy Kirby:).


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bananna Chocolate Trifle

Pound cake, whipped cream, banana pudding, and vanilla wafers are layered to form this easy trifle that's sure to please!



INGREDIENTS:
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant banana
pudding mix
1 quart cold milk
2 bananas, chopped
4 cups heavy cream4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 (12 ounce) package prepared pound
cake, cubed
1/2 (12 ounce) box vanilla wafers (such
as Nilla®), crushed
Directions:
Whisk pudding mix with milk until smooth. Stir in chopped bananas; set aside.
In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, or cream will become lumpy and butter-like.
Layer half the pound cake cubes, half the pudding, half the whipped cream, and half the crushed vanilla wafers in a trifle bowl. Repeat with the remaining cake, pudding, and whipped cream, and top with the remaining crushed wafers. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.













Recipe compliments of Kerry Smitheram.

Friday, April 29, 2011

M&M cookies


M&M cookies:

(Recipe from the M&M website)

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 12-ounce package M&M’S® MINIS® Milk Chocolate Candies (I couldn't find Minis so I just used regular sized and they worked fine).

3/4 cup chopped nuts (I didn't do nuts, but that might be yummy).


Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla.

In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; blend into butter/sugar mixture.

Stir in M&M’S® MINIS® Milk Chocolate Candies and nuts, if desired.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and centers are still soft.

Do not overbake. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; cool completely on wire racks. Store in tightly covered container.


I took a before picture of the M&Ms in the dough.


All done!


These cookies were fairly easy and very yummy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lemon Curd



I love all things lemon - especially desserts - here is a basic lemon curd recipe that can be used to pair with scones, as filling for a cake, or in a tart - like I did here. All I did was bake a pre-made pie crust and fill it with the curd. I then topped it with some fresh berries.

3 eggs
3/4 C sugar
1/3 C fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP lemon zest
4 TBSP butter, at room temp - cut into small pieces

1. Combine eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth. Over a double broiler with simmering water whist mixture for about 10 minutes until it is thickened and coats a spoon.
2. Remove from heat, stir in lemon zest and butter. Cool to room temp before using and store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Luau time!

Hi Everyone, I am Marianne! I am really excited to share with you all today a party I planned for my cousin last month. (And it involves some food too!)

A while ago My aunt asked me if I would be in charge of planning my cousin Cammi's 7th birthday party. I agreed to and I'm glad I did! I'm going to take you step by step into Cammi's party in case you want to throw a party like this too or just see some cute ideas. Cammi wanted Bright colors, so I thought of a Luau theme! I worked great.

1.
Invitations. I started by looking for invitations on Etsy and I found Pink Pickle studio's etsy shop. I loved their cute Luau invites so we ordered those. You can see them HERE. We just printed them out at cosco and then hand delivered them or emailed them.

2.
The set up. We had the party in Cammi's backyard. We set up 2 tables and lots of chairs for where the kids would eat. We got the cute table clothes at Party city.


3. Food! The party was at 1:30 so we made it simple and just did snacks and cupcakes. The kids loved the food! We had: Tropical juice pouches, Rainbow goldfish, Cheesy sun chips (Cammi's request), A fruit rainbow, and cupcakes!



My mom made this fruit rainbow out of different fruit and marshmallows... Don't you just want to eat it?!



4. The cupcakes! I am SOO happy with how they turned out! I found the idea at Family fun's site. They took a long time to make but were really yummy.




Here is the recipe in case you want to try making these cute fish! I got the recipe from Family fun and was very impressed with it.

You will need:
  • 24 cupcakes (I did half chocolate & half vanilla)
  • vanilla frosting (I just used a butter cream recipe I love)
  • food coloring (yellow, orange, blue, green)
  • M&M's
  • candy fruit slices

Directions:
  1. Spoon 1/3 cup of the frosting into a ziplock bag ( I used a piping bag) and set it aside.

  2. In a bowl, tint 1/2 cup of the frosting with yellow food coloring. Evenly divide the remaining frosting among three more bowls and tint one portion orange, one blue, and one green.

  3. Frost the first group of colored cupcake fish, then press four rows of identically colored M&M scales into each as shown ,you'll need two 1-pound bags of M&M's altogether. ( I just bought one of the huge bags of M&Ms) Add 2 red M&M lips.

  4. Snip a corner from the frosting bag, then pipe a frosting eye onto each fish and press a brown M&M on top. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes and frosting, then assemble them into a fish shape.

  5. Attach a candy fruit slice onto five or six of the cupcakes as shown.

I had this idea then to make Cammi a Rainbow fish! She was the only one who had it and it was a special birthday treat for her.


5. The activities. We split them up into 4 different groups and the rotated to each different activity

Activity #1.. Limbo! Sorry no pictures...

Activity #2 Digging for treasure!

We bought a kiddie pool at Walmart, bought sand at home depot and filled it with fun prizes from the 99 cents store! The kids loved this activity and thought it was so much fun!



Activity #3 Donuts on a string! It was very fun for everyone.
Activity # 4 Games with Hula hoops and balls!
I was in charge of this station. All I did was come up with a few quick games with the balls and hula hoops, but everyone had fun. They also blew bubbles and danced to Hawaiian music!



6. Pinata time!

Here is the cute fish pinata we bought at party city. We filled it with candy and let the kids hit away!


7. The party buckets
We found sand buckets that were a great price and filled them with some fun stuff. Like their own canteen/water bottles, rubber duckies, a Hawaiian kit to make a bracelet, bubbles, a noise maker, candy from pinata and the prizes from sand digging. They also got a Lei at the beginning of the party from the birthday girl.


The Birthday girl was very happy and I hope she had a great birthday! ( I just had to take a picture with her and the amazing clouds in the background!)