Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Treats: Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

This was the recipe I brought to Supper Club on Thursday night.  If you love cheesecake and chocolate, you will love these!

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 package of chocolate and peanut butter chips
2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 large eggs

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Combine crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup sugar in medium bowl.  Remove one cup of mixture and reserve for topping.  
3.  Press remaining mixture in an ungreased 9 X 13 pan.  Sprinkle 3/4 cup morsels on top.
4.  Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, flour and vanilla in large mixing bowl until smooth.
5.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth.
6.  Pour over crust and morsels. 
7.  Top with remaining cup of crumb mixture and morsels.
8.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set.
9.   Let cool completely.

10.  Refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars and serve.



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Springtime Fun

It's FRIDAY!  Let's dance!  
I can only hope this coming week is as wonderful as the last. 
Last Saturday, after a wonderful baby shower for one of my best friends, we took Bax to run around outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.  Afterwards, I headed downtown to celebrate my friend's 31st birthday!  This is the top I found at Forever 21 for a mere $18 to wear that night!  

Found the perfect gel nail polish color to match it and it's so nice and spring-y!
I stopped in to get my friend a gift certificate for some pampering when I spied this mascara. 

I cannot believe I'm going to say this…but I'm giving up my beloved Bobbi Brown mascara that I have sworn by for years on end in exchange for this Smashbox Full Exposure mascara.  It is a miracle worker!

After a fun night on the town, I headed home for a good nights sleep.  In the morning, we decided to make a nice breakfast and I wanted to try something new…Baked Bacon.

It was delicious and SO much less messier!  I recommend this highly!

After a nice breakfast, we headed over to Fort McHenry to take Bax for a nice walk around the water.  We stopped in at Dogma and got him an ice cream treat which he loved in the heat of the morning!

We wanted to continue to spend the day outside, as it was beautiful.  We headed over to the Tiki Barge…yup, Bax came too!  He enjoyed his first Orange Crush ;)

We had a nice little cookout on the deck when we got home and headed to bed early with the windows open- my favorite!
Monday, after I saw patients, we headed to Annapolis.  We couldn't help ourselves with the weather!

Of course, since we both came from work, we were in clothes that were not so comfy for the heat and walking around.  I found these cute shorts at The Pink Crab with a navy blue top and had to add a pink and white seersucker skirt to the bag!  Ahhh…felt so much better to change out of work clothes and into these!

That evening, the girls from work came over to enjoy a cocktail on the deck and have some appetizers.

This is by far one of my favorite things to serve on the deck.

Crab dipping chips with Roasted Pepper & Ramano Bruschetta…both from the local grocery store, Graul's Market.

Tuesday, after work, I headed out to happy hour with some old friends from GBMC, the hospital I used to work at a couple years ago.  It was so nice to see the girls and catch up!  I've missed them!

Afterwards, we went to dinner at Bistro RX downtown.  
It was my first time there and even though we were provided with some interesting entertainment (Baltimore's finest), we had a great meal (at least I did).  I got the shrimp and grits salad.  It was different…and delicious.  Salad greens with shrimp on top and grit/cheese croutons!  YUM! 

Wednesday, after work, I decided to stay in for once and get some things done around the house.  I cleaned out all the closets and took loads to the dump, Goodwill, and the local consignment shop (too much with tags still on them!  Whoops!)
Next up…I tackled the refrigerator and freezer.  Took everything out and washed it down with baking soda and dishwashing liquid (a recommendation on Pintrest) and it looks and smells great.
One thing I noticed…I sure have more (adult) beverages then food in here….Hmmm...


Thursday after work I had my first Supper Club.  It was so nice to meet up with girls on a week night and just hang out.  We all brought something…of course I did a dessert.  One day, I'm going to have to go outside of the box and try something else!  I made these

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars
Courtesy of Pintrest, Recipe to come next week

One of my favorite things about spring is the fresh fruits, veggies, and beautiful flowers. 
I was given these tulips this week and it puts a smile on my face every morning when I see them!

Hope you all have a wonderful week(end)! 


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Annapolis Book Signing

A couple weeks ago my sister and I were able to attend a book signing with one of our favorite cooks…Giada!  Williams - Sonoma hosted the book signing in Annapolis Mall.  We had a great time meeting her, if it was only for a quick second.  She is just as cute and fun in person as on television!  

This is her new book that we purchased for her sign.  I haven't had time to try out anything yet, but as soon I do I will let you know how it turns out.  I have only heard good things so far!

In the meantime, I tried her lemon pasta, per request.  I was nervous, as the "tester" said his favorite lemon pasta was from Italy and wanted me to try to recreate it…YEAH RIGHT!  I used Giada's lemon spaghetti recipe but added shrimp to it, for a little protein.

I gave it my best shot and this is what I came up with…

1 pound spaghetti
1 pound raw, peeled and deveined shrimp
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
salt and pepper (I omit salt in almost everything and did again here…shhh don't tell the tester…he's a salt-aholic!)
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1.  Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salt water (I did add salt here) for about 8 minutes.  Meanwhile, saute shrimp in skillet with lemon juice for added flavor.
2.  Whisk the oil, parmesan cheese and lemon juice in large bowl to blend.
3.  Drain pasta, saving 1 cup of cooking liquid.
4.  Toss the pasta with lemon sauce and cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time.  
5.  Add shrimp and toss to coat.
6.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with lemon zest and basil.  



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spicy Parmesan Shrimp

I thought I had blogged about this recipe a while ago, but apparently not.  It was super easy for a week night dinner!

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined 
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and extra for sprinkling on top
4 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce (I used low sodium)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta

1.  In bowl, whisk olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce and pepper flakes together.

2.  Add shrimp to large ziplock bag, pour marinade over top, seal bag, and shake to coat.
3.  Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or over night.  
4.  When ready to eat, cook pasta accordingly.  
5.  While pasta is cooking, heat large skillet over medium-high heat.  Dump contents of bag in skillet and cook until shrimp pink (about 2 minutes per side). 
6.  When shrimp cooked, add pasta to skillet and toss to coat.  
7.  Top with additional parmesan cheese and serve.



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday Treats: Cookies and Cream Brownies

This chocolate lover was in heaven with these brownies!  Topped with a little vanilla ice cream, I couldn't ask for more!

1 box brownie mix (and eggs, oil per baking instructions on box)
6 ounces Cookies and Cream ice cream
1/4 cup hot fudge topping 
Oreo Cookies

1.  Preheat oven according to brownie box directions.
2.  Spray 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray.
3.  Combine brownie mix, eggs, and oil according to box, but do NOT add water.
4.  Add ice cream and hot fudge to brownie mixture and stir.
5.  Pour half or brownie mixture into pan.
6.  Layer with Oreos.

7.  Top with remaining brownie mix.
8.  Bake for 40 minutes, or as directed on back of brownie box.
9.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.



Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter (Popcorn)!

Salted Caramel Easter Popcorn 

6 cups popcorn
2 cups chopped pretzels
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups Easter candy (I used peanut M&Ms)

1.  In large bowl, combine pretzels and popcorn.  Set aside

2.  In large saucepan, bring sugar, salt and water to a boil over medium heat. 

3.  Boil, undisturbed, until mixture is amber in color (about 7-8 minutes)

4.  Remove from heat and add in cream, slowly, as it will bubble.  

5.  Stir until smooth and add in vanilla, marshmallows (and red food coloring if desired for Easter).  

6.  Stir until marshmallows melted and smooth.  

7.  Pour caramel over popcorn and pretzel mix.  

8.  Use rubber spatula to coat popcorn.  

9.  Add Easter candy to mix and toss.

10.  Spread evenly on large baking sheet.  Sprinkle with sea salt and let cool completely.

11.  I bagged mine up in little bags to give to neighbors and family for an Easter treat.



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday Treats: Caramel Brownie Trifle

I hosted a Girls Night over here last week as I felt as if I haven't gotten to spend much quality time with my very best girlfriends from forever and a day ago.  Each of them is pregnant or has an infant so life is crazy busy to say the least.  It was so nice to spend time with them and catch up with them about their lives (and bellies)!

Since the girls could not enjoy sipping wine with me, I felt the need to make a dessert that would fill up their bellies just as well.  

Caramel Brownie Trifle

Brownies (made just as the box calls for!)
Chocolate Pudding (2 large boxes…and the milk to make it)
Cool Whip (one large container)
Caramel Sauce 
(I used the Smucker's Sundae Sauce because its so easy to squirt out)
Heath Bar Candy Bars (4 bars)

1.  Make brownies as directed on box.  The recipe I used suggested using a jelly roll pan to make thinner brownies.  I did this, however, I think next time I will be doing a regular 9 X 13 pan for bigger chunks of brownies…I had a lot left over (no need to worry, they are all in MY belly now).  Cut into bite size pieces.

2.  Prepare instant chocolate pudding as directed on box.  
3.  Crush Heath Bars into small tiny pieces (FYI…I found a bag of them already crushed for a reasonable cost and just used them).
4.  Start layering…
Spoon a third of pudding on bottom…
Add layer of brownie pieces…
Sprinkle around some Heath Bar…
Drizzle on some caramel sauce…
Top with about half of Cool Whip…
Decorate with Heath Bar pieces

I was on the phone with work when I was layering and I KNOW I must have messed up somewhere, but it tasted just as good!
Just refrigerate after assembling and serve within 2 hours.  After 2 hours, the brownies can get a little mushy (however, I ate more the next day and it tasted JUST as good to me!)

Serve on little plates, dessert dishes, or if you aren't using your wine glasses for vino, fill 'em up!

Either way you serve it, I assure you, this is what your bowl will end up looking like...