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Showing posts from October, 2010

Birthday Cake and Stand Mixers

It was my birthday on Friday! My lovely friend Amy came to visit and spent the night, and on Saturday morning I made myself a cake for Sunday's celebration with my family. I originally wanted to make this chocolate opera cake, but it would have been far too time consuming to undertake without a stand mixer... which I didn't own until Sunday afternoon!

For my birthday I really wanted just one thing - a Kitchenaid stand mixer. And I got one!(Reference: See picture above) A 5 quart mixer in pistachio (which I really think should be renamed mint green). Words just can't equate how happy I am - every time I walk into the kitchen it makes me smile :) and now I can cross it off the list!

Oh yeah, so back to the birthday cake. Since I didn't have a mixer yet, I wanted something impressive but not too labor-intensive. I decided to go with Deb (smitten kitchen)'s chocolate peanut butter cake. The only change I made was to use a tad more chocolate in the peanut butter chocolate…

Herb & Garlic Dinner Rolls

My contribution to Saturday night's dinner were homemade herb & garlic dinner rolls. I've tackled yeast doughs on a few occasions before, so the technique and all the waiting is nothing new to me, but these are the first fancy looking rolls I've made!

1 1/4 cups bread flour, + more to work into dough
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon combination of dried herbs: oregano, basil, thyme

- Stir together the yeast and 1 1/4 cups of flour.
- In a saucepan heat and stir together milk, sugar, butter, salt, garlic and herbs until the mixture is warm to the touch and the butter melts - about 120 to 130 degrees. (You don't want it to be too hot because the heat will kill the yeast.)
- Add the milk mixture to the flour and yeast. Stir it all together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go, until it all comes together and starts to form a sticky dough.
- Gradually add more flour in (I added about …

Saturday Night Dinner Party

I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend; ours was both enjoyable and more eventful than usual! Saturday night my friend Alina and her boyfriend Ryan came to visit us for the first time! We had our first small dinner party in the apartment - Alina made stuffed bell peppers, I made some herb&garlic dinner rolls, Ryan took the awesome photos that you see in this post, and Shawn took it easy for the night and enjoyed not having to cook.

tomatoes, mozzarella & basil + tabbouleh - 2009

Alina and I have known each other since our early high school days. We met during lunch period freshman year, and then we had Biology together sophomore year (where we made homemade yogurt to the tunes of Madonna and we also dissected a fetal pig together!) and we've been friends ever since! So you might not believe me when I tell you that she and Shawn had never met each other prior to Saturday night... I know, I'm ashamed. They've both known of one another for years, but Shawn's elusiv…

Did someone say "Food Recap"?

Sometimes you need less words, more pictures! We'll start with what I'm good at and work our way through Shawn's awesome dinners from the past week!

Mini s'mores tart - graham cracker crust, shaved chocolate, marshmallows, more shaved chocolate - and then you throw it in the oven to melt the marshmallows, and right back into the fridge to solidify the tasty goodness again.

Marine makes perfect pancakes!

Shawn's first-ever meatloaf, served with mashed potatoes and stuffing. You wouldn't even know it was his first time making meatloaf!

Mini grilled cheese sandwiches...

.... and homemade hot wings...

... equals an awesome Football Sunday Dinner!

And on another night, homemade fishsticks, rice, heirloom tomatoes and sweet peppers - yum!

Also, our friend Christine introduced us to Virgil's Rootbeer - it's micro brewed! And it's the greatest rootbeer ever! Beats any rootbeer I've ever had prior to this straight out of the bush (and I'm really not a fan of…

Inspiration Filled Tuesday

This morning we watched Julie & Julia for the first time. Numerous people have told me I needed to see this film because they thought I would relate to it, and the whole being French and baking thing aside, it took finally seeing the movie to understand why.

The movie is funny and touching and all sorts of nice things, especially the scenes in Paris and all the delicious looking French cuisine. Julia Child's story was well played and fairly spot-on, but it's Julie's story that touched me. It reminded me of where I came from - I started my first blog, The Sweet Tooth Blog, a couple of years ago when I had hit a rut in my life and wasn't sure what to do with myself or my free time. So I decided to start baking simple recipes every day and blog about it. I maintained the blog for over a year and with it gained a huge repertoire of recipes, and most importantly, developed my passion for baking. This growing passion led to me applying for and attaining a job as a pastry …

How We Spent Our Monday

Boys will be boys. Shawn's friend Justin came to visit today and they did some recording, then they played a few rounds of Halo 3 while munching on candies before heading over to their other friend's apartment to hang out for a few hours.

I can honestly say this is the first time I've had the apartment to myself for such an extended amount of time since we've moved in; since Shawn is still looking for a job he's always home before and after I get back from work, so we don't spend much time apart. It might seem strange to other people, but we actually enjoy each others' company, and we can spend time together without getting on each others' nerves! But I must admit, it is nice to have the whole place to myself for a few hours. But only for a few hours. After a while, it just feels empty and strange, and I don't know what to do with myself. I baked off some chocolate chip cookies, but I have no one to share them with.

Speaking of cookies, it's about…

We Love Trader Joe's!

We've already praised Trader Joe's for their cream sodas and chocolate, but we love them so much we decided we needed to write a whole post about it.

Tribute to Trader Joe's

I was so happy to find out that the only ingredients in Trader Joe's brand peanut butter (only $1.79 for a 16oz jar!) are, well, just dry roasted peanuts - and nothing else! No added sugars or oils- even the name brand 'natural' peanut butters still have added sugars and oils, and they cost almost twice as much. Thank you, Trader Joe's, for keeping it natural and affordable.

When Shawn and I moved here from New Jersey we thought the prices everywhere were already a lot cheaper than what we were used to. We thought people were crazy when they said the local grocery stores were expensive! (eastern PA's Acme and Genuardi's equate to NJ's ShopRite and A&P - in terms of product and service...) But after a few months, we discovered Trader Joe's and everything was really put i…

Busy Rainy Weekend

If you caught Shawn's post before this one, or if you live on the east coast, you're aware that it's been raining on and off here for the past week and a half, and the sun hasn't shown much of its face in days. Waking up to grey skies is a huge de-motivator for us, so we've been laying around all week. But this weekend we were tired of being tired.

My mom's birthday was on Sunday so I spent Saturday evening baking up a storm; I needed to make a dessert that would travel well and brave the rain and humidity, so I made pot de creme and chocolate brownies; I have no photos of either, but trust me when I say they were delicious. The pot de creme were insanely rich and so filling that two people could share one ramekin and both be completely satisfied. And my brother claims the brownies were the best I've ever made. You'll have to take his word for it!

Shawn's friend and bandmate Dan came to see our new digs for the first time and stayed to watch some foot…