Chocolate and a Sweater. Summer 2015.

Ah Summer. I love summer. Sundresses and sandals. Long walks on the beach and picnics. Warm nights with a cool breeze and mosquito bites. Salads and meat on the grill.  This may be true where you are right now. Today, I’m in a sweater and muddy sneakers. I mean, it’s warmer in Alaska than it is here.  What’s up Mother Nature?  Who pissed in your Cheerios this month?  We only get 3 months of summer! Get your shit together and give us some sunshine! The up side of this weather rant? There is no snow.

Good news!! Everyone is moving on to the next grade.  Well, with a little help from summer school for the oldest. Now let the childcare games begin! And may the odds be ever in your favor.  I’m going to start petitioning for year round school. Seriously, I have 6 weeks in the middle of summer break covered.  This year, one week prior to camp, and 3 weeks after camp, I will be frantically looking for childcare.  My sister takes her a lot, which is greatly appreciated, but still there is so much running around.  Selfishly, I’m finally in a gym routine.  Not that I’ve lost a single pound, but still the routine is there.  All the running around mucks it all up!  Who has time for all that?

The. Whining. Stops. Now.  Moving on…

On a much brighter note, I helped photograph a wedding last weekend. It was a beautiful wedding.  Yes, it rained. Luckily, all the outside shots were taken before the heavens opened up!  Editing give or take 800 photos is a lot of work. Creatively, it’s a lot of fun. But time consuming!

5861   5948x2

Since I have about 200 more edits to do, I leave you with this.  If you are experiencing any sort of summer and are looking for an easy ice cream treat, this is it.  If you are in need of a chocolate fix, this is perfect.  Triple Chocolate Brownie Bites. We all need a little chocolate now and again, even if you are on the wagon.  That’s the great thing about these babies!  They are small. And super chocolaty.   The original recipe is from Food Network Magazine. The idea is they resemble Snow Caps that you get at the movies, but you eat them at home while watching movies there. They used donut holes not brownies.  Well, I tried the donut holes, and they didn’t work out so well for me.  The mini brownies worked great!  I was, like always, short on time.  I purchased the already-made-for-you-thank-you-Danny-Wegman mini brownies.  Of course, you can always bake your own using your favorite brownie mix and a mini muffin pan.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Bites

  • 1 package Mini Brownies
  • 1/2 gallon Slow Churned reduced calorie chocolate ice cream
  • 1-12oz package semi sweet chocolate chips
  • Nonpareils, optional
  1. Set the ice cream out at room temperature just to soften (about 10 min)
  2. Cut the brownies in half.  Set in freezer for about 10 minutes, just to set a little.
  3. When the brownies are hardened, and the ice cream is soft, spoon about a tablespoon of ice cream on the bottom half of the brownie. Set the top part of the brownie over the ice cream, making a sandwich.
  4. When all the brownies sammies are finished, set in freezer again to set.
  5. Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt chocolate chips. (I add a tablespoon of shortening in with the melty chips, it just gives it a shine)
  6. When the chips are melted, take the brownie bites out of the freezer; pour over chocolate sandwiches. Tip: if you set the sandwiches on a cooling rack, set cooling rack in a cookie sheet lined with foil, it makes clean up sooooo much easier.
  7. Sprinkle the nonpareils over the top.  Freeze.  Store in an air tight container in the freezer.

browniebites

 

Maybe if you eat one of these fantastical little babies, you will have a hot flash, and need not worry about a sweater!

 

 

Peanut Butter Cookie Lasagna-Just following the crowd!

Happy March!!  Whoo Hoo!!  We are on the upswing of this miserable winter.  Here in upstate NY we are starting March like a lion.  Snow, Ice, Rain, Snow, repeat.  Effing winter.  At least we, all fingers crossed, will go out like a lamb!

Proud Mommy moment!  Ms. Autumn has been asked to participate in the NYS Solo Festival with her French horn. I’m not too sure what it all means, other than that judges get to listen to her mimic the dying moose and judge her on it. Not a job I would want, but whatev.  WAIT!!!  We get that job every night for 20 minutes.  Of course, I’m kidding about the dying moose. Sort of.  It’s getting better. *insert eye roll* At least she’s practicing!

alexander (2)
Photo courtesy of Mrs. Fabrizio

 

 

Well, today is National Pancake Day.  I didn’t even make pancakes for dinner! I’m a slacker today as a mother. But Sunday was National Peanut Butter Lovers Day.  As a good mother should, I frantically surfed Pinterest for a good peanut butter recipe to make and ya know, throw it up on the blog if it tasted good.  I was in search of a chicken with a peanut sauce sort of recipe. Like a satay or something. I didn’t get very far. All over Pinterest and Facebook for that matter, is this Peanut Butter Cookie Lasagna. As any good PMSing mother should do, I abandoned the healthy chicken search and settled on this.  The recipe I looked at was from Hugs and Cookies.  I altered it slightly, and if it were up to Ms. Autumn, it would have been altered a bit more.  She thought it needed more chocolate, and more chocolate cups.  I told her the recipe was highlighting peanut butter not chocolate.  She wasn’t impressed with my answer.

Peanut Butter Cookie Lasagna

  • 1 Box Nutter Butter cookies
  • Cool Whip (the small container worked fine)
  • Miniature peanut butter cups, roughly chopped (the more, the better according to Ms. Autumn)
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter, melted in the microwave (do not over do! It will burn 🙂 )
  • 1 Box instant vanilla pudding (I used the large box), made according to the box directions
  1. Line the bottom of an 8×8 pan with Nutter Butter cookies
  2. Top with a drizzle of the melted peanut butter (“drizzle” is interpreted differently for everyone! just sayin’)
  3. Add 1/2 the pudding
  4. Add 1/2 the Cool Whip
  5. Top with chopped peanut butter cups
  6. Repeat the layering
  7. Decorate the top with peanut butter cups, crushed nutter butter cookies and a drizzle of peanut butter (and melted chocolate according to Ms. Autumn)

cookielas

 

I brought the leftovers in to work.  If it were left at home, I personally would have eaten the entire pan.  As it was, Bobby called me a demon for bringing it in to work. I’m fairly certain he would have tried to eat the rest himself.  At work, I think it lasted a whole 5 minutes before it was gone. Really, it’s that good. Next week, we start the Eat Well, Live Well project at work.  I am the team leader.  With recipes like this, I’m leading my team straight to Hell. I really should have looked for that chicken recipe.

Fat Tuesday=Double time Wednesday!

Hurricanes and Gumbo!!  It’s Fat Tuesday, baby!! Sadly, I didn’t have a Hurricane, but I sure did have some gumbo! We had a little Mardi Gras party at work.  Definitely the highlight of the past few weeks.  From the Louisiana Breakfast Hash  to the Gumbo it all lived up to it’s name.  Except for the salad.  There was no fat in the salad.  Um, I didn’t have any salad.  I must do double time at the gym tomorrow.  Especially since I made….wait for it…wait for it..Red Velvet Oreo Balls.  It’s a good thing I’m the Wellness Champion for the department. Hey!  It’s not my fault they call it “Fat Tuesday”!

Red Velvet Oreo Balls

  • 36 Red Velvet Oreos
  • 1-8oz pkg Cream cheese, softened
  • White Chocolate Chips, melted
  1. In a food processor, finely crush Oreos, pour into a large bowl.
  2. Add cream cheese and mix until blended.
  3. Roll into 1-inch balls.  Freeze 10 minutes.
  4. Dip into melted chocolate, place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
  5. Refrigerate 1 hour, or until firm.

redvelvet

Warning: These are addicting.  I think more addicting than regular Oreo balls.  Proceed with caution, or plan on extra time at the gym.

On a completely separate note, we have caught up with Grimm; life as I know it can resume again.

 

Love is in the air…

Superbowl? I got nothing.  I was cheering for the Seahawks, simply because Tom Brady wasn’t playing in his underwear. I’m kidding!  Of course I’m kidding 😉  Autumn and I had our party. We decorated with Seahawk colors. Filled our table with appetizers. Katy was decent. Lenny had too many clothes on. Missy Elliot was awesome! Never does the team we are rooting for ever win the game. This was the first year I was like “Yes!!!  They have it in the bag.” Oh. My. Gawd.  Sorry true Seattle fans.  Worst. Play. Ever.  But hey, our food was as awesome!!

Now we are on to the next event. Sort of frustrating how we live our lives holiday to holiday. Wait! Maybe that’s just me. And Wegmans. So, even though Valentine’s Day merchandise has been out since December 26th, I’m now just getting around to thinking about it. I guess I’m sort of indifferent to Valentine’s day.  Spread the love all year round I say! I was helping a friend with her daughter’s 5th birthday party this weekend.  It was a Frozen theme, and we set up a hot chocolate bar.  I was thinking that would be a great idea for Valentine’s day if you have all the kids. I wish I had taken a picture. We started with crock pot hot chocolate. Then had marshmallows, chocolate chips, Red Hots, crushed Andes candies and whipped cream to mix in. OOO maybe I will do that this weekend.

Personally, I refuse, absolutely refuse to eat out on Valentine’s Day!  Restaurants are CRAZY!! I just assume stay in, stay cozy and make something delicious.  I will see what I can do about getting some recipes for two out in the next 11 days. I will start…now! Naturally, I’m going to start with dessert.  I’ve been making this recipe for years. It’s so rich, and delicious.  It says love in about 5,000 calories. Make plans with your loved ones to go to the gym on the 15th.  Nothing says love like sweat! But this dessert is totally worth it!

Chocolate Mousse for Two (realistically, for Four)

  • 2 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tbsp. Water
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Egg Whites, stiffly beaten
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Cool Whip
  1. Place chocolate and water in top of a double boiler.  Stir until blended. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar with a fork until pale yellow and creamy.
  3. Add chocolate to egg yolk and sugar mixture. With a mixer, blend well.
  4. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture.
  5. Fold in cool whip.
  6. Pour mousse into individual goblets or dessert dishes.
  7. Chill several hours or overnight.
  8. Garnish with a little whipped cream.

mousse42

Happy Thanksgiving! And a last minute dessert

First, Happy Thanksgiving! Whether it’s chillin’ in front of the game waiting for the damn turkey to cook or playing bingo with your super fantastical family, or helping out at the local soup kitchen;  I truly hope you get to do what you want to do today.  Personally, I will be playing bingo with my super awesome fantastical family, and overdosing on tryptophan. And I’m so very thankful that I am able to do this.

Second,  I totally meant to put this post up last night!  Unfortunately, life happened and it didn’t get posted.  But the good news is it takes very little time to prepare and most likely you already have all the ingredients!  If you don’t, I’m pretty sure Wegmans is open until 5pm. If you don’t need a last minute dessert today..this pie is great for Christmas or  say any given Tuesday.  No matter when you make it,  it’s delicious!

This recipe is a pass down from my mom’s mom, Grandma Doris (although I’m pretty sure she probably made her own crust). It’s a French Cream pie with no cream! The recipe is for a regular normal pie.  I just made it a few weeks ago, doubled the recipe, and made 12 individual little pies. Perfect for little ones!

French Cream Pie

  • 3/4 C          Sugar
  • 1/2 C          Butter
  • 2 or 3         Chocolate squares, melted (I used Bakers semi sweet)
  • 2                 Eggs
  • 1                  Ready made graham cracker pie crust
  1. Mix sugar, butter and melted chocolate.  Beat eggs in one at a time. Beat 15-20 minutes.  Chill for at least 2 hours.

 

frenchcreampie

 

From my family to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Gobble Gobble!

 

Pumpkin Balls. Yes. Balls, not truffles.

I love balls.  I said it.  You read it. I know this is a family oriented blog; but some things just need to be out in the open. There you go. Whether they be meat, cheese, chocolate or Schweddy, I love them all.  And even though the ol’ man and I are um..on a break;  no, this is not my next online dating pick up line!  These are facts!

Awhile ago, I posted about Oreo Balls and Coconut Lime Balls.  Of course, let’s not forget about Monster Meatballs.  Witch, (get it, “Witch” not “Which” because it’s Halloween time?  Nevermind) by the way, are quick and easy for Halloween night!! Must focus.

Last week I came across Pumpkin Bread Truffles by  Inquiring Chef.  These, in my opinion are balls, not truffles.  Regardless of what you call them, they are so good.  If you are about pumpkin anything this time of year, like everyone is, you have to try these. Easy, and delicious!  And I used the light cream cheese, so in my mind..healthy!!

Pumpkin Bread Balls (I changed the recipe slightly so I’m calling them balls!)

  • 1 loaf           Pumpkin Bread
  • 6oz              Cream Cheese, (softened to room temperature)
  • 10 oz           Dark Chocolate ( I used  dark chocolate chips, there’s a shocker!)
  • 1 tbsp          Shortening
  • Optional toppings: toasty walnuts, sprinkles or grated chocolate
  1. Thinly slice and discard the outer edges of the pumpkin bread.  Using your fingers or fork, crumble the bread into very small pieces in a mixing bowl.  Add cream cheese.  Using a fork, mash the bread crumbs and cream cheese into a creamy consistency.
  2. Roll the mixture into even 2 inch balls.  Any bigger than that, and it’s a little weird.  I’M KIDDING!!  Make them any size you want. Place balls on a baking sheet lined with wax paper for at least 30 minutes, but as long as overnight.
  3. Melt approximately 8 oz of the chocolate and shortening in a double boiler. After it’s melted, stir in rest of chocolate.
  4. Dip the chilled pumpkin balls in the chocolate, letting the excess chocolate drip back in the pan. Place on the wax paper baking sheet. Add any additional toppings.
  5. Allow to cool at room temp.  Store in fridge for up to 3 days.

 

pumpkinballs

Candy? Maybe. Cookies? Definitely!

It’s Monday, and I usually never blog on a Monday.  But here I am.  Lucky you!!  At least, I’m sharing ghostly treats with you today.  Woo hoo!!

Four days until the start of the Christmas season!  I mean, Halloween. The lil’ one’s costume is set. I’m not thrilled with it. But she’s old enough now to dress herself, I suppose.  I’m still hoping for cute and cuddly.  She’s the devil.  I mean, tricks or treating as the devil.  With a really bad wig. Again, whatev.  It’s supposed to snow anyway.  I have a feeling Tricks or Treating will be cut short.  Which sucks for me.  I MEAN HER!!  It sucks for HER!  I know how much she likes the candy.  Clearly, I’m having issues with posting tonight. My words are all jumbled.   Let me try this again. My lovely, perfect, angel of a daughter is going to look delightful in her devil costume. Unfortunately, for the innocent one in red, she will have limited candy acquisition due do weather conditions beyond her control. Then Christmas will be here.

I’m coming back at a later date when I can focus.  Let me leave you with these cuties! They are all over Pinterest, and Facebook.  Which, by the way, you can follow me on both.

 

Nutter Ghosts

  • 1 pkg        Nutter Butter cookies
  • 1 pkg        White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tbsp      Shortening
  • 1 pkg        Mini Chocolate Chips (some for ghostly eyes, some to eat)
  1. In a double boiler, melt white chips and shortening, stir often, otherwise it gets clumpy and gross.
  2. Dip one end of the Nutter cookie into the melted chocolate
  3. Lay on wax paper
  4. Use 2 mini chips as eyes.

pbghostcookies

 

 

Saturday Night’s Alright…..OOOOOOOOOO

It’s Saturday! My 9yo is currently mid-meltdown.  I’m just letting her have it.  I haven’t even raised my voice to her. I simply walked out of the room. She’s stressed out from U10 soccer tryouts, and I think lack of sleep.  At this very moment, I am “the meanest mother ever!!!” because she is being mouthy and I have made her turn the TV off and making her go to sleep.  Meanest. Mother. Ever.

LET’S DRINK! And hopefully not end up hungover. Last round of soccer tryouts is tomorrow morning before cuts are made.  I’m fairly certain mama puking on the sidelines would not earn her any points.

The name says it all.  It has vodka and my favorite “F” word.  How bad can it be?  Totally got this recipe from Tipsy Bartender.  I’m not a huge Tequila person, but this was tasty!  Could I drink enough of these to puke on the soccer field? Nope.  But it was fruity and sweet, and most 23 yo ladies will like it!

Adios Mother F*cker

  • 1/2 oz.       Vodka
  • 1/2 oz.       Rum
  • 1/2 oz.       Tequila
  • 1/2 oz.       Gin
  • 1/2 oz.       Blue Curacao
  • 2 oz.           Sweet & Sour
  • 2 oz.           Lemon Lime Soda

I just put everything except the pop (soda for those not in Upstate NY) in a shaker.  Poured and topped off with the Lemon-Lime sodipop!

Adios MotherEffer

 

Next up: Cinnamon Toast Crunch with a twist.  Now this is going to get me in trouble.  Delicious.  Does anyone remember a  restaurant named Ground Round? They used to serve this little dessert of doughy cinnamon sugar triangles with a side of warm chocolate sauce to dip them in.  This tastes just like it.    Autumn should have made sure I had one of these before she decided to meltdown.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch (Twisted)

  • 2oz      Rum Chata
  • 2oz      Fireball Whiskey
  • Chocolate Syrup

Line a martini glass with chocolate.  Swirl it, twist it, or just line it up and down. In a shaker, add whiskey and rum.  Pour in the chocolate lined glass.  I threw in an ice cube.  Goes down easy.  Careful ladies!

Chocolatecinn

 

Up next:  Results of cut throat kickball tryouts, Allison turns 16 and marathon training (doing 6 miles tomorrow)!  And maybe a recipe! Or what’s this???? Maybe a scrapbook page!!

Drum roll please!!!

Milkshake Throwdown.  It was on! How dare he tell those poor innocent children that his milkshakes were better than mine?? We prepped, shopped, and planned.  Ok.  So I prepped, shopped and planned.  But I wanted to win damn it! Simply because I know mine is better.  And guess what?  Mine won!!  It was super DELICIOUS!!  So, not SUPER delicious.  It could have used more chocolate.  ‘Cause EVERYTHING is better with more chocolate. He tried to throw them off by serving his with fancy whipped cream. Whatev..taste out weighed fancy tricks.

The winning recipe you say?  All to taste of course, but here’s the general gist:

Award Winning Milkshake

  • 2.5C      Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (I used Edy’s Slow Churned)
  • 1/2C      Milk
  • 1/4C     Caramel Sauce (see below)
  • 1tsp      Vanilla
  • Chocolate Syrup
  1. Blend and serve with a cup labeled “B”.

Ree Drummond’s Caramel Sauce (Previously posted)

  • 1C            Packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4C       Butter
  • 1/2C       Cream
  • 1Tbsp    Vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook while whisking gently for 6 minutes, until thicker.  Serve warm or refrigerate until cold.  Sauce will thicken when cool.

throwdownthrowdown2

 

Snow. Again.

I live in upstate New York. Snow is pretty common for us from November to March. This year seemed particularly crazy with the friggin’ snow, when in reality, it was probably closer to a “normal” winter. Today sucked. Schools closed last night for today. On the way to work it was raining. I thought, “HA! Another blown-out-proportion weather forecast!” Guess what? Joke’s on me. By noon, all unnecessary travel was banned.  And It. Hasn’t. Stopped. Snowing.  And Mother Nature is giving us a lavish gift of an additional 8″-10″ of snow tonight. Here’s hoping I can get out of the driveway to get to work tomorrow!

Rob shoveling the driveway, poor thing!
Rob shoveling the driveway, poor thing!

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