Monday, May 30, 2011

Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Frosting...again

Did you know that today when I went to Target (aka just drop your whole paycheck off at the register store) I decided to let Indigo walk with me versus ride in a cart….Did you know not 3 minutes into the store trip she had managed to pick up a Luna Bar, bathing suit, lipstick, and get a piece of gum in her mouth…no I have no idea where the gum came from…no I refuse to think about it any longer.

I NEVER learn!

Any parents like me? Do you do the same thing over and over and expect a different result? It’s like I magically thought my little 2 year old was going to be my best buddy shopping pal and just gently suggest things she thought we should purchase…and tell me how great of a hair day I was having…I was really.

I also can’t believe I went to Target again thinking I could possibly get out of there without 16.5 more items then I originally went in for…DOH

Speaking of desserts, oh wait were we not talking about desserts? You don’t mind do you?

Some things are totally worth doing twice, not going to Target – gosh no, If I did that I couldn’t pay my mortgage this month. This dessert however is something that you can and should do over and over!

So make it for spouse
Make it for your neighbors

Make it for your toddler, and don’t tell them because you’re really using that as an excuse to make it for yourself…again.

INGREDIENTS (Red Velvet Brownies)
Delightfully borrowed this whole recipe from How Sweet It Is
{Printable Recipe}

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red food coloring
2/3 cups chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS (Red Velvet Brownies)

Preheat oven to 350 & Butter and flour an 8 x 8 cake pan (I ended up doubling the recipe for a party).

In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, red food coloring, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to create a paste.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add remaining teaspoon of vanilla. With the mixer on medium speed, add in cocoa powder mixture. Beat until batter is completely red.  Add flour and salt, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread in the 8 x 8 pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.  This recipe develops a thin top layer, remedy this by inverting the brownies and icing the bottom!

INGREDIENTS (White Chocolate Frosting)

1 stick of butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces white chocolate, melted
1-2 tablespoons milk

DIRECTIONS (White Chocolate Frosting)

Cream butter in an electric mixer until fluffy, then add vanilla. Slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time with the mixer on low speed. Add in melted white chocolate and beat until incorporated. To reach desired consistency, add in milk 1 teaspoon at a time with mixer on low speed.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stuffed Shells

Are we ready for the weekend? Quite frankly I am always ready for the weekend, unless it's donut day here in the office and then I can totally be here no questions asked...except for around 2pm where I ask if I can go home early. Southern California traffic is a nightmare.

Speaking of nightmares, just this past weekend I watched the new Nightmare on Elm Street. This was a big cheese fest seriously, I could have spent that cash in much better ways.

Speaking of cheese, I shared a giant plate of it last night. I shared a giant plate of it right after I also sampled 17 other restaurants participating in Taste of Little Italy in downtown San Diego. I also got to sample some homemade wines from locals, it's sort of tough not to feel pressured to buy wine when the maker is right in your grill.

Speaking of wine, I was told May 25th was National Wine Day (not into wine, how bout celebrating National "Whine" day?), I was also told that this was NO coincidence since this is also my birthday.

I am now 33 years happy, that's right folks - I'm happy. Word.

Speaking of happy, things that make me happy..

1. Family, duh.
2. Wine, duh.
3. Zombie Movies, double duh.
4. Good hair days, uh yeah!
5. Zombie Movies, just in case you do not understand yet my LOVE for them.
6. Stuffed Shells, with family, wine, a good hair day, and a Zombie Movie...Oh yeah that's heaven baby.

Delightfully borrowed from Simply Recipes
{Printable Recipe}

1 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 large egg
16-ounces ricotta cheese
10-ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, chopped further
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 28-ounce can tomatoes with herbs, including the liquid, tomatoes broken up (or your favorite tomato or pasta sauce)
2 9x13 shallow baking dishes


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta shells according to the instructions on the package. Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan, breaking up the sausage into smaller bits. Cook sausage until cooked through, and no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute more. Remove pan from heat.

Beat the egg lightly in a large bowl. Mix in the ricotta, chopped spinach, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, basil, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and sausage mixture. Fill each cooked pasta shell with some of the ricotta, spinach, sausage mixture.

Spread 1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes over the bottom of each of the baking dishes. Arrange the stuffed pasta shells in the dishes. Spread the remaining tomatoes over the top of the pasta shells.

Heat oven to 375°F. Cover the pans with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese, bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.

Enjoy your weekend..

Monday, May 23, 2011

Toddlers & Tiaras...umm,,,, I mean Tattoos

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
If you don’t check in on your toddler
This is what she'll do

I peeked around the corner
And to my surprise
My girl had tatted herself
All over her thighs

With black pen she scribbled
From her head to her toe
Making many a mural
Channeling Van Gogh

Then she flashed a smile
And I laughed so hard
Today she scribbles with pen on her legs
In a few years she’ll be stealing my bank card

PS – 3 baths later and it is still there…
PPS – OK now 4 baths *update*

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Earthy Chicken and Rice Casserole

I am having one of those days where I gave it my best mommy shot, but didn’t get the particular results I wanted. First things first, lets go over today’s timeline…just so you can know what I'm working with.

4am – Wake up to Indigo crying in her room.
412am – Bring Indigo to your room, snuggle, beg her to go back to sleep.
414am – Indigo says “Mommy, I have to pee.” Take her to pee
416am – Put the wiggle worm back in her bed. *She actually goes back to sleep* score!

418am – 718am – Suffer what can only be described as cramps from the devil monster horrific cramp inflicter all women should suffer man.

719am – Indigo is now awake
719am-1020am – This is sort of a blur, I do know that I managed to roast some beets.

1022am-1055am – Leave to go to a sing and dance play time at a learning center...sit in traffic since they reduced the freeway down to 1 lane. WHY???? Am I the only one who seems to find road construction around every corner and even on a Saturday morning for goodness sake? I sure hope not.

11am-1145am – Make a drum with Indigo at the Learning Center, watch her play games, think to myself this is a good last day if I am raptured tonight at 6pm – oh yeah and we got ice cream..and Chick-Fil-A, so sue me.

So after all this momma work I put in I thought FOR SURE nap time would be easy.

1205pm – Read a story, shut the door.
1215pm – Toddler party begins in her room. I stop my workout tape and angrily fly up the stairs. Politely talk to toddler in a stern voice, tell her to lie down and take a nap.

1225pm – Shut off work out tape again, run furiously up the stairs and launch a few stuffed animals over the railing.  (Total nerve release, you should try it).

1235 – repeat
1245 – repeat with more angry face then time before and also even once beg in a very nice mommy voice (revers psychology and all).

1255 – Call husband and say there is NO WAY you’re ready for another at the moment thank you.
105pm – eat

Delightfull borrowed from Simply Recipes

• 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces, patted dry
• Salt and pepper
• Olive oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 IL button mushrooms, sliced
• 1/4 cup dry white wine
• 1 1/3 cups chicken stock
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1/4 cup cream
• 1 cup long grain, white rice
• 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon each of Italian seasoning and poultry seasoning
• 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley & chives


Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high or high heat (hot enough to brown but not burn). Sprinkle a dash of salt on the bottom of the pan. Season the chicken pieces all over with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces on two sides, about 1-2 minutes per batch. Add a little more salt to the pan (and more olive oil if needed) after every batch. This will help prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan. Remove chicken pieces and set aside in a bowl. Chicken does not have to be cooked through, only browned.

In the same sauté pan add 1 Tbsp olive oil, lower the heat to medium, add the onions, and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cook 30 seconds more. Remove onions and garlic to a shallow (9 x 13 x 2) casserole dish.

Raise heat to medium high, add the sliced mushrooms. Dry sauté them, allowing the mushrooms to brown lightly, and release some of their moisture. Add the mushrooms to the casserole dish.

Add 1/4 cup dry white wine to the pan to deglaze the pan, scraping off the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

 Let the white wine reduce to about 1 Tbsp, then add the chicken stock, and remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, the cream, and the sour cream.

Add the raw rice to the casserole dish. Then pour the stock, white wine, cream, sour cream mixture over the rice. Add the Italian and poultry seasonings to the dish. Stir the rice, onion, mushroom, herb mixture so that they are evenly distributed in the casserole dish.

Place the chicken pieces on top of the rice mixture. Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in a 375°F oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil. If the casserole is still too liquidy, let it cook a few minutes more, uncovered, until the excess liquid has evaporated away.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley and chives before serving.  I like to dub this dish, Thanksgiving in a bowl..with chicken of course.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Indigo and the S'more

First comes rolling over, then comes sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, counting, potty training..but do not I repeat do NOT forget to have your kid try S'mores. It is an American Past time and must be strictly enforced if you are not to be deported.

I got this S'mores kit for the kids intro, how cute is this! I bought it at a blogger bake sale from Meandering Eats. Quite a treat if you ask me, and I’m a sucker for packaging.

Let’s crank up the gas stove top shall we…

I have no excuses for my ugly stove, Magic Erasers can’t cure everything. So please just move your eyes down to the bomb photo below. I am not the biggest fan of Smores…but homemade makes it OH SO NICE.

Now Let’s check out how my munchkin provided from pops. First you have to do a finger check, must make sure not to burn your lips off.

Take a bite..contemplate…savor…think about elmo..whatever floats your boat.

Look at daddy with loving eyes, and a S'more smeared face.

Resume eating…and dreaming of Elmo…seriously what is this kid thinking about?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies with White Chocolate Frosting

Was it a good weekend? I sure hope it was. I did you normal run of the mill things.

1. Spent 1 hour trying to find a park that was only 3 miles from my house. Once I finally got there after calling my husband 35.9 times…it began to rain. All I can say is “Really Dude??”.

2. Went to H&M after seeing 3,000 commercials about their bathing suit tops only being $4.95. Once I got there I was told that anything I saw on a mannequin was what they had left. All I can say is “Really, Come on Dude!”.

Don’t worry I went and got truffles for my trouble, and I thank the nice lady who checked me out for giving me extra samples…well I thank you, but not my thighs.

3. Next I went to Target to try and find a bathing suit….6 items limit for the dressing room – It’s not fun trying on bathing suits in the first place but when you have to get re-dressed ever 6th item to come get 6 more…you start to break a sweat and it’s not all nice and pretty under those lights. “Target, really Dude…up the limit to the 50 I need during bathing suit season!”.

INGREDIENTS (PB Cookies, makes about 50)
Delightfully borrowed from David L
{FULL Printable Recipe Here}

8 tablespoons (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120g) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (200g) creamy salted peanut butter (see Note)
1 3/4 cups (250g) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Sprinkles are so not optional, get em!


With an electric mixer, or by hand, make the cookie dough by beating the butter, brown and granulated sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended. If using an electric mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the peanut butter.

In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture and stir until there are no patches of flour. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours.

After chilling, pre-heat your oven to 350, scoop up tablespoon-sized portions of the dough. Roll into nice balls then place on cookie sheet, refrigerate for another 10 minutes before baking. This will help hold the shape well.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until just golden.

INGREDIENTS (White Chocolate Frosting)
Delightfully borrowed from How Sweet It Is

1 stick of butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces white chocolate, melted
1-2 tablespoons milk

DIRECTIONS (White Chocolate Frosting)

Cream butter in an electric mixer until fluffy, then add vanilla. Slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time with the mixer on low speed. Add in melted white chocolate and beat until incorporated. To reach desired consistency, add in milk 1 teaspoon at a time with mixer on low speed. .


Place cookie in hand (a cooled one), top with a *BIG OLE* dollop of frosting, smooth, give it a dose of Sprinkles…Place cookie in mouth…repeat…..repeat…repeat.