Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gingerbread Buckeyes

I finally got around to doing some more holiday baking.  Its now New Years but better late than never, right?  I made Gingerbread Buckeyes which were pretty simple to whip up and even better, they didn't need to be baked.  You just mix peanut butter, Gingersnaps, powdered sugar and a little butter together.  Then form into balls and set.  Finally, melt some white chocolate and dip the balls.  Voila, you're done and you're eating some wonderful peanut butter and chocolate candy with a hint of gingerbread for that holiday flair.  My only regret?  I wish I would have made them sooner.  They were easier than I thought and I could have shared them with all the company I had this season. 

 
Gingerbread Buckeyes

1 c. peanut butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. crushed gingersnaps (leave some pieces for crunch)
16 oz. white chocolate candy coating (I used Vanilla Candiquik)
additional gingersnap crumbs for topping


1. Mix peanut butter, powdered sugar, and softened butter in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

2. Stir in gingersnaps.

3. Roll mixture into balls and set on wax paper. Chill 30 minutes.

4. Melt white chocolate over low heat or microwave.  In the concept of saving time I used the microwave and it was melted in a minute and half.  Use a fork to dip peanut butter balls into chocolate. Immediately sprinkle with gingersnap crumbs.

5. Cool until hardened. Store at room temperature.
 
I found this recipe here, on Lemon Tree Dwelling's blog. 
 

 
                          Where did the other half go?  Oh, yeah, in my belly.  Happy New Year!  May 2014 bring you happiness! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013 Highlights

Christmas this year arrived way to fast.  I'm keeping so busy with my new twin boys that the days are a blur and the months roll by.  I didn't do as much as I usually do for Christmas but we still had a nice holiday.  It was special this year because it was the babies first Christmas.  We had a power outage on Christmas Eve so we packed up the boys and stayed at our cousin's house.  It was an interesting Christmas but still wonderful. 



 My mom gave my boys each a Baby's First Christmas ornament for our tree.  So special and cute!


 My mom also made us a wreath and baked some chocolate mint cookies.  My dad made some peanut butter fudge they mailed to us from Montana. 

 Every year my aunt makes peanut butter and chocolate buckeyes and she knows I love them.  She always mails me a box.  I didn't have time to do much holiday baking this year so it was great. 

 My husband brought this fruit and nut tart home from The Harvest Vine restaurant.  It was so delicious and I loved the selection of nuts, fig jam and the melt in your mouth crust. 

 A friend bought the twins this adorable mini Christmas tree for their room.  I thought it was so cute and I decorated it right away to put in the nursery.  I love all the little baby ornaments the tree is adorned with.

 For special occasions I like to drink some Martinelli's Cider.  This bottle was Apple-Peach and was so crisp and refreshing. 

We had Christmas dinner with my husbands' family.  As usual, there were over thirty of us.  We had quite the spread.  The roast beef my husbands' cousin made was the star of the meal. 

                                  Thanks for checking out my highlights from the holiday! 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving I had a lot to be thankful for.  I delivered my twin boys by emergency C-section in September at thirty three weeks.  I had a sudden onset of hypertension and my boys had to be delivered immediately.  I was swollen everywhere, had protein in my urine, my platelets were super low and my kidneys and liver were being affected.  Also called H.E.L.L.P syndrome, mine and the babies health were in jeopardy.  Thankfully the doctors were incredible and my boys were fine, just small and they had to stay in the NICU for six weeks.  They've been home now for almost a month  and we're all doing well.  So this Thanksgiving, the first holiday with our twins, I'm definitely feeling thankful.  A little sleep deprived, but thankful!

All twenty toes!  I love their little baby feet, so very precious!
Thanksgiving is all about counting your blessings and remembering what you're thankful for.  Don't forget about all the delicious pumpkin desserts though! I got my fill of pumpkin pie for another year. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Salted Caramel Roasted Almonds

I recently read that Oreos are more addicting than cocaine.  Forget about Oreos, these almonds covered in caramel are probably the most addicting things ever.  This treat packs quite a protein and sugary punch and they taste amazing.  Try and just eat a couple, I dare you.  And I though nuts were hard to eat a small amount of before they were coated in caramel.  Today I made Salted Caramel Roasted Almonds which seemed like quite a production.  First, roast the almonds, then make a caramel sauce and stir constantly while it cooks or you'll be in trouble and ruin it, then dump in the nuts and bake, then bake some more, then lay flat on wax paper to set.  Quite the process, but wow, they're so delicious and kind of unforgettable.  I may never look at almonds in the same way. 

                                                 Salted Caramel Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light Karo syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch sea salt
  •  
    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spread raw almonds on a large baking sheet so that they are just one layer.  Roast the almonds for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring butter, brown sugar and Karo to a boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly.  Stir in vanilla, salt and baking soda.  (This will cause the mixture to bubble up.)  Once the almonds are roasted, carefully pour them into the butter mixture.  Stir until well coated.  Reduce oven heat to 250°F.  Cover a large baking sheet with foil.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the coated almonds from the saucepan and place in a single layer on the baking sheet.  (Don't touch the coated almonds with your fingers... the mixture makes the almonds very hot!)  Place in the oven for 15 minutes.  Stir, then do another 15 minutes.  Remove the almonds from the oven. Using a spatula, place almonds on a piece of waxed paper until cool.  Sprinkle with sea salt. Store in an airtight container until ready to eat. 

    Recipe found on dineanddish.net.



    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    October is National Dessert Month

    Ooh, dessert.  It has got to be a favorite word of mine.  October's National Dessert Month so here's some desserts I've eaten and photographed from this year that have really stood out.  All of the desserts below are from local Seattle businesses.  I'm fortunate to live in a city like Seattle where people are passionate about food, giving us an abundance of places to go eat and try delicious things. 

    Caracolillos from The Harvest Vine.  These pastries are everything a pastry should be-flaky, moist, sweet, soft and just plain mouthwatering. 

    The Harvest Vine
    2701 E Madison in Seattle

     Cupcakes from Cupcake Royale.  My cousin surprised me with these cupcakes recently.  Red Velvet, Lavender, Praline Crunch and the pink one is Dance Party. 

    Cupcake Royale
    108 Pine St. in Seattle

     Red Velvet Cake Balls from 3.14 Bakery.  This little bakery in White Center has these tasty cake balls that are so moist and so good, you have to try them. 

    To see my post from 3.14, click here

    3.14 Bakery
    9602 16th Ave SW in West Seattle. 

     The Ice Cream and Valhrona Brownie Sundae with Pear Caramel, Carmalized Bananas and Candied Pecans from Toulouse Petit.  Do I need to say any more? I went there for Happy Hour with my family and the four of us shared this.  We all only had a few bites but those few bites were memorable. 

    To see my post about Toulouse Petit, click here

    Toulouse Petit
    601 Queen Anne Ave N. in Seattle

     The Washington Cherry Bomb dessert from Steelhead Diner in the Pike Place Market.  My husband and I had our Anniversary dinner there this year and shared this.  It had a hazelnut streusel over this awesome and sweet cherry pie with caramel and vanilla ice cream.  It tasted so good that I craved it for days afterward. 

    To see my post from Steelhead Diner, click here

    Steelhead Diner
    95 Pine St. in Seattle

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    Cafe Munir

    Last night I attended a dinner with my husband at Café Munir.  It was a party for the company he works for and we were celebrating fifteen years in business.  His boss loves Café Munir, a Lebanese restaurant in Ballard.  Below is copied from the cafe's website and tells a little about the place.

    Cafe Munir is a family-friendly, local, neighborhood restaurant and whisky bar.
    Cafe Munir was born of a desire to reconnect with the flavors and smells of my youth. The familiar tastes  I grew up eating in Lebanon and Jordan. Tastes that were not well represented by the Seattle food community.
    I want to have these flavors work, unadulterated and authentically, not re-purposed through the guise of Fast-food!
    The food of the Middle East and especially Lebanon are some of the most delicately balanced, wholesome and varied cuisines in the world and it is my goal to represent them as truthfully as possible.


    Well, the owner and chef, Rajah Gargour, definitely did represent the flavors well!  We all loved the food and appreciated the new food we were able to experience. 


                          The wine was flowing freely and each table had a couple of bottles of red. 

     Because they closed the restaurant for us, the food was served buffet style and we were able to try very many things.  There was countless kinds of hummus and each one had its own flavors.  At each table was a plate of naan, a leavened, oven-baked flatbread, to dip in the hummus.  So good! 


     My little plate, loaded up with hummus, feta and sheep cheese, green beans and tomatoes. 


     The servers brought this little plate of goodness over to each table.  I can't recall the name but its a pie with chicken and a flaky crust with cinnamon on top.  It was the perfect blend of savory and sweet and reminded me of Mincemeat Pie, a Venison pie from my childhood. 



     Then it was time for the meat course.  This was also served buffet style and we tried three different kabobs-lamb, chicken and beef.  So tender and absolutely delicious. 

     After eating for three hours it was time for the final course, cheese and dessert.  The Baklava was wonderful.  I've never met a Baklava I didn't like.  How can you go wrong with layers of phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with honey? The other dessert was something new, none of us had ever tried.  I loved it.  It was a Lebenese savory dessert called Fragole E Farfalle.  It had cheese with a crunchy texture.  I love trying new desserts from around the world. 

    We had so much fun at Café Munir and I would like to go back and order off the menu sometime. 

    To see Café Munir's website and to read more about it, you can click here.   

    A Birthday Lunch at Le Pichet

    I don't care about receiving presents on my birthday.  All I care about is the food.  A successful birthday is all about good eating.  So I took my husband and we decided to have a little French food for lunch at Le Pichet near the Pike Place Market.  We had never been but I've heard many good things about this place.  I love eating at restaurants that specialize in cuisines from all over the world.  If executed correctly, the diner can be transported to another region for a couple of hours. 





     After having a little bread and butter we shared a salad which I thought packed a lot of flavor and tasted delicious.  This salad had Belgian endives which were tossed with candied pumpkin, pecans and sherry vinegar. 


       My husband ordered the chicken liver terrine.  It was very smooth and something new to try for both of us. 

     I ordered something from La Charcuterie portion of the lunch menu.  I had the cold cut selection, the chef's choice, and they picked three different kind of meats for me to enjoy.  The names are eluding me right now but all three were so good.  One was a salami, another a prosciutto and the third was really tasty but I don't know what kind of meat it was.  All that mattered was that is tasted good.


    Le Pichet on Urbanspoon 

     
     
     


     

     

    Sunday, September 8, 2013

    Another Baby Shower!

    Today I had another shower thrown for me!  This was our family baby shower and was held at my sister-in law's house.  Unlike the one my friends threw me, the men where there too.  My husband enjoyed hanging out with his family and playing the games.  Who doesn't love guessing baby food flavors and trying to figure out what kind of candy bar is melted all over a diaper!  We loved it and had a great time.  They had quite a spread of food including a whole table of desserts.  I enjoyed catching up with everyone and showing off my bump! 

    Aren't these so cute?  My sister-in law made these and it was perfect that there was two since I'm having two babies!

    My niece knows that cupcakes are my favorite dessert and she made these for my shower.  They were tasty! 

    There was also cheesecake, fruit kabobs, jello and these pies.  I haven't tried one yet but there's a couple in my fridge.  They look yummy! 

    At my other baby shower I discovered how creative my friends are.  They really went all out on decorations, favors and more.  At my family shower it was the same thing.  I never knew how creative my sister-in law's and my niece were.  My sister-in law made this corsage for me to wear at the shower.  It was so cute and I love the pacifier. 

    She also made this tie for my husband to wear today.  I really like the elephant fabric and the pacifier's. 

                           Even Noodle, our cousin's dog, made an appearance at the baby shower. 

    Here was one of the many games we got to play today.  Hmm, turns out baby food doesn't taste so great.  At least there were cupcakes to wash it down!