Monday, April 29, 2013
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Coconut Cream Bars
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
3 cups whole milk
3 tbs. room temperature butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F. Cream softened butter and sugar in mixes. Leaving the mixer on, add eggs. Once combined, add coconut. Add vanilla. Alternate adding flour and milk until well mixed. Grease a 13X9 baking dish and pour mixture in. It should be very thin. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and serve.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
For the meringues:
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
pinch of Cream of Tartar
Preheat oven to lowest setting (between 175F and 200F).
Spray baking sheet/s with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
Allow the egg whites to come to room temperature. In a stand or hand mixer, beat egg whites on low until they become frothy. Add cream of tartar. Beat on medium until egg whites for soft peaks. Add the sugar gradually. Beat on high until egg whites form stiff peaks.
Transfer egg whites to pastry bag (we cut the end off of a food storage bag), add a tip, and pipe swirls onto the baking sheet. Bake for two 90 minutes to 2 hours. Turn off the oven and leave meringues in there until oven has completely cooled. This helps them dry.
For the Fruit (the possibilities are endless):
2 cups chopped strawberries
1 cup blueberries
2 tbs. sugar
Combine fruit in bowl with sugar. Mix and set aside or place in refrigerator.
For the Whipped Cream:
1 pint heavy cream
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine ingredients and mix on high until cream has thickened and becomes stiff.
In a large bowl, break up meringues into small pieces, add whipped cream and fruit, leaving a little to pour over top. Mix gently until ingredients are combined. Top with leftover fruit.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Sour Cream Apple Pie (adapted from Bon Appetit)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. flour
1 1/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
4-5 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
Pie Crust (Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt;
pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until mixture resembles
coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. (To
mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in
butter with a pastry blender.)
With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed
tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough holds together
without being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Test
by squeezing a small amount of the dough together; if it is still too
crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half,
and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into flattened
disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the
refrigerator before using.
To make the topping, in a bowl blend the butter, sugar, cinnamon and flour until the mixture is well combined. (for this I used my favorite tool, my hands.). Cover and chill the topping.
To make the filling, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and flour until the mixture is smooth. Add the thinly sliced apples and stir the apples into the filling. Mix well.
Spoon the filling into the chilled shell and crumble the topping evenly over it.
Bake the pie on a baking sheet in the middle of the preheated oven for 1 hour to1 hour and fifteen minutes.
Plate a sheet of foil over the top of the pie during the last 15 minutes to prevent the top from burning. Transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely.
Get out your Lisa Frank stationary, spray it with Jean Nate, and be prepared to write it love notes.
Cut yourself a piece. Love it, and don't ever let it go.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Monday, March 11, 2013
|Lush Geo Phyzz Bath Bomb|
A few months ago, we noticed that all of our favorite YouTube beauty channels had at least one Lush review. After watching all of them and deciding that we could wait no longer, I did what I do best.
I went to their website and researched the hell out of them. I fell in love with their company. I loved how personal it seemed, was charmed by the fact that they don't use packaging in-store, made googly eyes at the products and made up my mind to order some online.
I decided to do one more search for a nearby store and as luck would have it, one had opened in Providence. For the next couple of days, I planned our shopping trip. I wanted to try their face masks, shampoo, bath bombs, bubble bars, bath melts and massage bars. I even picked out specific products after reading descriptions and online reviews. Everything was beautiful and promising. Within days we were walking through the Providence Place Mall, barely able to contain ourselves.
|Lush You've Been Mangoed Bath Melt|
Before we even stepped one foot inside of the store, a sign that something was horribly wrong hit us. The smell. The awful, unforgettable, migraine inducing smell. Like if there was a star made up of hippies and then that star collapsed in on itself and formed a super concentrated black hole and you could smell it as you were getting spaghettified, that's what Lush smells like.
We ignored it and pressed on. We were greeted by really friendly employees and we made our way to the bath bombs. I still had the highest of hopes. Maybe the individual products wouldn't smell like the store did. Nope. I was wrong. For two people who had planned on buying half of the store, we could not for the life of us decide on one single bath bomb. We split up and moved on.
It was at this time that I noticed everyone touching everything. Specifically, what I had found so lovely online was actually kind of gross in person. No packaging means that the bath melt you're going to use on your bare skin, has already been handled by countless people. For me, it was like all of those faceless people washing their hands in my bathwater. If that doesn't bother you, I wish I was you. I'm a legit germaphobe.
We went around and around without choosing any products. The freshly made face masks looked old, the shampoo smelled horribly, the super cute seasonal bubble bars smelled worse. I wanted to take to my bed in a fit of despair, but since Jane Austen is not writing my life, I just kept calm and carried on.
|Lush Sunny Side Bubble Bar|
After a demonstration from one of the salesgirls of the Lush Sunny Side Bubble Bar, we decided to buy a few of those. We also bought the Geo Phyzz Bath Bomb and the You've Been Mangoed Bath Melt, which was the only item I had actually planned to purchase, though I was very disappointed by its scent.
We bout the same products for my sister. Our total was a little over fifty dollars.
Here's where they lost me forever. In front of us in line was a child with a woman who was buying her lip balm. The cashier convinced them to buy something or other at the register and stuffed her large, paper bag full of samples. When it was our turn to pay, we declined the up-sell, got an attitude, and were handed our little bags (the ones you see in the photos). We just took them and left.
Sorry, but you can't blame that on not wanting to use packaging as a lip balm was just unnecessarily placed in a giant bag.
As we were walking to the car, we became more and more annoyed at the service we had just received. We were nothing but nice while we were there and no, there is no delusion there whatsoever. Even if we had been rude, we just spent fifty dollars in your store! We were so depressed and angry that we didn't even stop in at Sephora. If you know us, you know exactly how angry and sad we must have been to skip out on our favorite place.
When we got home and tried the products, we were more disappointed than ever. Though the bath bombs left our skin feeling soft, it was certainly nothing to write home about. The smell was just as bad outside of the store and we still have some of the bubble bar left over. My sister was also not impressed with their products and she wasn't at the store with us, so her opinion was as unbiased as it comes.
There is good that came out of that excursion. We were so incensed by being treated so dismissively and so disappointed with their products that the same weekend, we learned to make our own organic bath products which our friends and family love.
I still wish I had fallen head over heals in love with their products and there is a good chance that we'll give it another go in the future, but for now, we'll happily use our own products which don't come with attitude and smell heavenly.
We were very happy with the way these noodles turned out. It was our first time cooking with rice noodles and I plan on stocking up this weekend. The only thing I would do differently would be to make less. I made enough food for three days worth of meals. Also, a lot of sweet and spicy recipes call for sugar, but I have this weird thing about adding sugar to fruit and vegetables so I used honey instead.
Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Vegetables
vegetable or olive oil
1 pound of shrimp
1 package of rice noodles
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup of mushrooms
1 cup of bell peppers
1 1/2 cups of broccoli
Korean Sweet and Spicy sauce to taste (it is really spicy)
ginger to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of honey
toasted sesame oil (optional)
Soak the rice noodles in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Heat wok until it begins to smoke. Add oil. Once the oil is very hot, add garlic and onion. Allow a minute to brown slightly. Add vegetables. Keep the heat high. Add seasonings. Once vegetables are almost cooked, add shrimp and drained noodles. If needed, add a little water for the noodles to finish cooking. The shrimp will cook in a couple of minutes and will turn pink. Keep stirring everything so it cooks evenly. Once you turn off the heat, you can drizzle some toasted sesame oil over the noodles.
Friday, March 8, 2013
I hate to admit that it took us until last month to realize that, "Hey, we're grownups! We can make these whenever we want!".
So, Monique combined her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe with a portion of her famous cheesecake bar recipe, and magic happened. What I love most about this recipe is that the cookie part is made from scratch. You can definitely use store bought dough, but in my opinion there is a huge difference in quality. Where the ready made cookie dough becomes too crispy, homemade cookie dough remains a little soft and chewy. We also use semi-sweet chocolate chips so the sweetness won't be overwhelming.
If you bring these bars to your next function, everyone will love you forever.
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
For the cookie:
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of packed light brown sugar
2 sticks of room temperature butter (1 salted, 1 unsalted)
1 tsp. of vanilla
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. of baking soda
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
cooking spray or butter for greasing the pan
For the cheesecake:
2 8oz packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 tsp. of vanilla
1 cup of granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350. In a stand or hand mixer, cream both sticks of butter with granulated and light brown sugar until well combined and fluffy. Stop to scrape sides of bowl so ingredients become well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk flour and baking soda. Add to sugar and egg mixture in batches. Once well combined, mix in chocolate chips by hand.
Grease a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Evenly spread most of the cookie dough along bottom of pan, reserving about a cup of dough for topping.
Mix cream cheese and sugar until soft. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. You may have to scrape down the sides of bowl a few times. Once well combined, spread cream cheese mixture evenly over cookie dough.
Add pieces of remaining cookie dough to top of cheesecake and bake for 35 minutes or until cookie topping is golden brown. Allow to cool before covering and placing in refrigerator. Cut into squares when ready to serve and fall in love.
We visited Newport, Rhode Island, a lovely town by the sea which was once the home of the very wealthy and very fabulous. Since we had about one hundred dollars between the two of us, we were also feeling very wealthy and very fabulous. My mother's hand me down Michael Kors bag made me feel especially glamorous.
Unfortunately, our favorite Newport restaurant was packed, and after driving around the block a billion times, we spotted the Spring Seasons Inn (86 Spring St.) advertising their tea room with a cute flag.
Since we couldn't believe our good fortune at having found this tea room, and since we were into being very classy, we proceeded to speak like Downton Abbey extras the entire time we were there. I think I shall indulge further.
Upon parking the automobile, we made our way up the steps and rang the door bell. We were promptly greeted by a young lady (we assumed her to be the innkeeper's daughter). We were lead down a hallway, taking notice of a quaint gift shop which was positively delightful. The gift shop was filled with darling, little teacups and loose tea.
Dainty sandwiches. Roasted red pepper hummus and black olives on a sun dried tomato wrap, egg salad with dill and cucumber cream cheese with mint. So good.
Petits fours. Red velvet, lemon bars, carrot cake and cheesecake.
The cranberry scones with raspberry jam and clotted cream were delicious.
This is what the table looked like before we filled our plated with delicate delicacies.
I think in our minds we were all:
But then we pulled out our cell phones and started taking pictures so we were more like: