Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas . . .

To you and yours, from me and mine . . . basking in the light of our tree. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Quickie Friday: Taco Cups

What is as simple as throwing some taco meat into wontons, in a mini muffin tin, and heating it through 5 minutes before your favorite college football team officially gets sent to the National Championship?!

Nothing, that's what.  Here's the recipe:

1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup refried beans (I used my non-refried refried beans)
shredded cheese of your choosing
copious spices (I used white pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and a little bit of oregano) to taste
Wonton wrappers

Brown the ground beef, add the seasoning and beans, heat it through, plop tablespoons of the meat mixture into wonton wrapper-lined mini muffin cups, top with cheese, bake at 350 for 15 minutes and WATCH YOUR TEAM WIN!!!

I am excited, peeps.  January 7th can't come soon enough.

What did come soon enough is EVERYBODY knocking off the fabulous Isabel Marant sneakers.

Seriously?!  What is this world coming to?  Oy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Quickie Friday: Apple Oatmeal Raisin Bread

For the first time in our three years in Florida, we were paid a visit by the F's parental units.  More popular than our beloved Arnie was this bread.  God love a bread machine and simple ingredients.

Who doesn't love bread by the pool?  Amiright?

One thing to note - I had to take the bread out of the machine, when it beeped to add the raisins, and knead the raisins in by hand.  This bread is DENSE.  Worth the effort, but dense.

Bread + Les Mis mug containing cinnamon coffee with vanilla soy milk =  Breakfast perfection.

I love my bread machine.  It gets used no less than once a week, which is quite significant for a bulky, extraneous countertop kitchen appliance.  I love it so much.

We are attending the one and only holiday party on our social calendar, this evening, and I wish I had shoes like these to rock for the event:

They scream holiday AND "no, I'm not the kind of dork who gets immense joy from bread-making and musical mugs."  Right?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

My ability (and desire) to bake varies from day to day, but I had pumpkin leftover from Thanksgiving and a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread in front of me, so it seemed appropriate to bake over the weekend.

To say I was thrilled with the vibrancy of this orange would be an understatement.

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup + 1/4 cup chocolate chips, divided

As the blogger suggested, I lined my loaf pan with parchment paper and preheated my oven to 350 degrees.  I mixed my wet and dry ingredients separately, the combined them and folded in the first cup of chocolate chips, before dumping the whole thing into my loaf pan, topping it with another 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, and baking for approximately 70 minutes.  

I also watched my bread, which looks beautiful and delicious in this photo, sink before my very eyes when I removed it from my loaf pan to cool on my wire rack.  I still have no idea what I did wrong, but I know that it didn't matter because this bread tasted AWESOME.  It is dessert, to be sure, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

 These are, of course, great.

Giuseppe Zanotti via Barneys

I've always been comfortable in heels, but my legs are becoming stronger due to a new workout regime and I believe I'd be better in these heels than ever before.  And just think, if I stopped eating sweet, chocolate-chip laden breads I'd REALLY be in heel-walkin' shape.

But I would never do anything so drastic.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Triple Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate is not my favorite.  I don’t think anybody who reads this blog will be shocked by this.  But I do enjoy a VitaTop from time to time, so when I stumbled across this recipe for knock-offs I had to give it a shot.

Here's the recipe:

1 ¾ cup oats
3 egg whites
¾  cup unsweetened cocoa
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
½ tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar)
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup hot water
1 cup sugar substitute (like Splenda granular) OR 1/4 cup + 2 tbs stevia
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use white chocolate or peanut butter chips!)

Combine all of the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) in a food processor and blend until well-mixed, then fold in the chocolate chips.  Scoop into 12 paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 for approximately 15 minutes.

(No, I don't have a picture after they were baked . . . blogger FAIL).

Be warned:  after about 48 hours, these muffins start to get a little boozy-tasting.  Not a bad thing, but I recommend freezing them if you can’t chow down on 12 muffins in 2 days.  

Speaking of boozy . . . 

Charlotte Olympia via Nordstrom

You have to be a little boozy to wear these, right?  Or to even want them on any level?  They are ridiculous.  They also look like something a bride would wear on Four Weddings and expect everybody to love and give her high marks for.

I may watch too much TV.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Quickie Friday: French Dip Roll-Ups

Hello, my name is Ash, and I'm addicted to Pinterest.  I do, however, pin with a purpose, and that purpose is primarily to find food that I can make when football is on TV and I don't feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

These french dip roll-ups require three ingredients:  deli-sliced roast beef, a cheese of your choosing (I have made them with both provolone and pepper jack), and crescent rolls.  If you like, whip up some au jus on the side (Knorr makes a cheap packaged version that is great when you're cheering on the Crimson Tide and not cooking for real).  Roll the crescent rolls up with cheese and meat inside, bake according to the directions (375 for about 12-14 minutes) and you're all set. 

Another thing making my life easier:  the Neiman Marcus + Target collection.

These slippers are fab and at a totally reasonable price point.  I snagged myself these Carolina Herrera Travel Bags and fully intend on going back for more.  There's nothing better than a good collaboration!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Delayed Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Pie

I am blaming my absence on the greatest of news:  there's going to be a royal baby!  An heir to the throne!  A STUNNING pregnant princess with magnificent hair!  If I can't be distracted by that, then I don't know what's out there to distract me.

Moving on.

I made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving!  Sugar free pumpkin pie!  The recipe goes a little something like this (adapted from Painless Cooking:

1 15 oz can solid packed pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
½ cup cold water
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Splenda
1 unbaked pie shell

I whipped the first seven ingredients together in my stand mixer, the poured the delicious, pumpkiny goodness into my store-bought pie shell (I did a LOT of cooking on Thanksgiving, and making pie dough didn't make the list of priorities) and baked it at 350 for 50 minutes.

My knife came out clean, and I was a happy girl.  I should caution you, however, that this pie didn't keep worth a darn.  It was delicious the day of, and on Black Friday, and it saw me through the completion of my holiday shopping on Saturday, but after that it was a lost cause.  You've been warned.

I should also warn you that there is no shortage of shoes on my holiday wish list.

Manolo Blahnik via Barneys

The F has been asking me, incessantly, what I'd like for Christmas.  He obviously doesn't read my blog.