Bubble Tea = Love

This isn’t a blog entry about me cooking. It’s more about my mild obsession…that I miss SO much! When I was a resident assistant in the apartments on campus, one of the girls SWORE by this smoothie that she drank. She said it was so sweet, and it had these gummy surprise beads in it. I told her that I had to try it…I love smoothies! The place we went to had about 30 flavors of smoothies, and you could COMBINE flavors. They were mostly fruit…so needless to say, I was in heaven. I tried a strawberry coconut with the tapioca beads. I thought it was SO cool when they took the smoothie and vacuum sealed a lid on it. I felt like a giddy kid punching my extra large straw through (it allows for the beads to come out with the smoothie). Anyways, after many trips there, I was in bliss. Then, I graduated college…and I didn’t have bubble tea for a year or so, until NOW!

There I was, getting my hair highlighted, and my hairdresser told me that his boyfriend’s family was opening a bubble tea place. OMG OMG WHAT? It was a town away, and let me tell you, the week it opened, I went. I ordered a kiwi bubble tea. They did the same thing there…vacuum sealed top, tapioca beads, the big mega straw for the blend of beads and smoothie sippage. I thought for a moment there, well, this is bliss!

Anyways, here are some pictures of bubble tea….seriously consider trying this stuff. You can get HOOKED. If you are interested in making it at home, here is a website of supplies and kits. :)

The tapioca beads are the black balls at the bottom. I had a kiwi bubble tea here, and it maybe lasted me 5 minutes. I miss bubble tea!

Summer Exchange!!

As an engaged girl, I found the website, theknot.com. For the newlyweds who used the Knot, you then have the choice to move over to thenest.com. This site helps couples with everything they encounter in their married lives :). The resources there are absolutely wonderful!!

I stumbled across the Nest forums by chance. Around Christmas, I was looking for a sugar cookie recipe, and there is a “What’s Cooking?” board on the Nest. So, I lurked on there for ideas, and it seemed like SUCH a nice board. So, I stayed and started posting :). I’ve been there since.

Every season, one of the nesties, Joelen , hosts a gift exchange for the board. It’s a great way to just have a nice foodie surprise in the mailbox, and today, I got mine!!

Thanks to I&R.4.23.06!!! She sent me silicone spatulas, a cookie scoop, a silicone basting/pastry brush, and a pack of cake tips. These are gadgets I needed, and cake tips, you can never have enough of those. AND, what I’m also excited about, Penzey’s spices!! I got Northwoods seasonings, Cake Spice and Hot Chocolate mix :). She also gave me some lotion and body spray in peony (such a beautiful flower!)


Check out the spread!! Thanks so much, Intisar!!

Ina’s (Amano) Brownies!

I have been trying to figure out what to do with my Amano chocolate that I graciously received from Blake Makes.


Yesterday, I found on Annie’s Eats blog a recipe from Ina Garten of Food Network. Her post was great, because she compared two brownie recipes (Ina’s and Cook Illustrated), and gave a synopsis. Ina’s brownies won in her book, and I can totally see why. These brownies were so rich and chocolatey and gooey (I underbake my brownies a little, so what?)…just amazing brownies and I’m sure the Amano chocolate really tipped it over the edge. It was a really smooth, rich flavor…I could only eat 1/2 a brownie, but my mom, dad and sister went to town. This morning, there were only 6 brownies left!! (So much for sharing with coworkers lol!)

I ended up halving the recipe, since I had 6 oz of Amano chocolate and used that instead of the semisweet chocolate chips. Since there is over 70% cacao in this chocolate, I knew this would be more of a dark chocolate brownie. I also, in halving everything, forgot to half the 3 oz. of unsweetened chocolate, but really no big deal in the end. Very very good stuff here folks!

Ina’s Outrageous Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Amano chocolate here)
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I used a substitute of 3 tbs cocoa powder + 1 tbs butter for every oz.)3 extra-large eggs
  • 1 ½ tbsp. instant coffee powder
  • 1 tbsp. real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup and 2 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ cup and 2 tbsp. flour, divided – ½ cup for batter and 2 tbsp. .in the chips
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups morsels (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate or butterscotch)
    (for this recipe, I mixed Ghiradelli and Andes mint chocolate baking chips AND I didn’t half this haha!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9×13” metal pan. (I used 8×8 for the halved recipe)
  2. Melt together the butter, 1 ½ cups chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. (I don’t have a double boiler, so I placed the Amano in the microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth. Then I combined all the butter and cocoa powder to make a sauce and folded the two together.) Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
  3. Stir together ½ cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the chocolate chips with 2 tbsp. flour (I only needed 1 tbs of flour here) to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes, (mine took 20 minutes but I like mine a little underbaked) or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. (Oops! Forgot to do this…no big deal here) Do not overbake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well (didn’t refrigerate…just dug in!) and cut into squares.



Dare I get the nutritional facts on this??

For 16 servings (with half the recipe), here are the facts…

Calories 275.8
Fat 14.8 g
Fiber 1.3 g

Points* 7

Wilton Course 2…

This was a great course. It took me a while to catch up and learn these flowers but my favorite is highlighted in my final cake.

The filling is fresh blackberries (adapted from Katie’s recipe), the cake is Pillsbury mix (get over it LOL) and the frosting is white chocolate buttercream (oh yeh, yum!)

The coworkers are in for a treat Friday 😉

Mixing filling…looks like something out of Dr. Seuss

Cake from the top…I lovers the LSU colored pansies!

Cake from the side…check out that weave peeps!

A zoom in of those LSU colored pansies..nature has pansies colored right. Geaux Tigers (I need football season again..)

Camo Cake!

This is just a cake I was requested to make…it’s a simple camo cake made with thin consistency icing smeared all over :) I highly recommend to cake decorators to invest (not really invest but buy) the 8 in x 3 in pan. It’s one big cake that you just cut in half when it’s done. It cooks evenly and just (in my opinion) makes things simpler (less cleanup with one pan too!). I bought mine for 50% off last week, so for less than $4….not too shabby right?


TCHO Chocolate



Thanks to Blake Makes and TCHO for the sample of the decadent dark chocolate. It tasted wonderful, very rich and chocolatey! My family especially loved it. :)

You should definitely give TCHO a taste if you are a fan of really dark chocolate!

A Fun Idea for Kids!

I am a volunteer teacher for Junior Achievement, which I do one day a week during my lunch hour at a local elementary school. It’s a great program, and it’s nationwide, so if you think this is something you would be interested in, seriously contact your local office! It’s so fun and rewarding :)

Anyways, I always like to get the kids something for their last class as a congrats, besides the certificates that are given out by Jr. Achievement. I decided to make them large lollipops!

I don’t even remember how I found this idea, but I came across it on This Mama Cooks!

Apparently, these little foil pans are hard to find, but I found them at the local Dollar Tree. So, 24 of these for a $1?? SCORE! I bought the lollipop sticks at Wal-Mart in the crafts section and I used two bags of 14 oz. Jolly Ranchers for the candy, as recommended on the website.

Here are the directions for these fun lollipops!

* 8 Reynolds® FunShapes™ Stars or Hearts Baking Cups
* 8 (6-inch) Lollipop sticks
* 40 Jolly Ranchers

PREHEAT oven to 300°F. Place Reynolds FunShapes Stars and/or Hearts Baking Cups on a cookie sheet with sides.

MAKE a hole in one side of each of the baking cups near the bottom of the cups with a toothpick. Insert the lollipop sticks from the inside of the cup through the hole made with the toothpick and push it to the outside leaving at least 1 inch inside the cup.**

ARRANGE 5 candies in each baking cup, placing one candy over the lollipop stick. (It does not need to lay flat, it will melt around the stick.)

BAKE 5 to 6 minutes (it took my oven 9 minutes) or until candy is melted. Carefully remove baking cups from cookie sheet onto a tray to cool; immediately twirl stick to completely coat with candy. Prop sticks with handle of a wooden spoon if necessary to keep the sticks straight in baking cup while lollipop cools.

REMOVE lollipops from baking cups by tearing foil and peeling away from lollipops.

I then wrapped them in little cellophane bags and tied them for cute presentation. The kids LOVED it and the teacher kept asking how did I do that with Jolly Ranchers? LOL!

This was super easy and I recommend giving this little project a try! You can make cute bouquets with these for kid’s gifts or parties too!

Some fun things…

Why I need to take a Wilton class…

Here is a picture of my mom’s bday cake. I’m not posting the recipe for it, since the actual cake taste is questionable…I messed up on baking. However, it’s white with strawberry filling! Well, I tried…at least I put lots of love into it!

Also, thanks to jessesgrl from the What’s Cooking forums. I’d link to your blog, but I couldn’t find it on the forums. Anyways, this girl loaded me up with tons of goodies…see below!!



Do you like Spring stuff? I sure do!!

I absolutely love my Google reader! I’ve been inspired by so many people who share a passion in the kitchen like I do, and it’s great to brag on a few people :). I added Megan from Megan’s Cookin’ to my subscriptions today since Abby from Abby Sweets gave her a shout out, and her blog just looks great!

Megan is giving away free spring kitchen/baking stuff! Who can hate free? All you have to do is reply to her blog to gain an entry, subscribe to gain another entry, and then if you post in your blog about this giveaway you get 5 more entries! 7 chances to win cutesy spring stuff? Heck yeah!!

Here is a pic of the prize :) Have fun!!

Happiness = New Apron!

I went to Etsy and bought this, because I’m all about supporting fellow crafters! It’s more cute than I thought it would, so this girl rocks!

Thanks again to indulgeaprons

Packaging is SO cute!

The happy chef!