Saturday, December 19, 2009

Peppermint Biscotti

Peppermint Biscotti

Ingredients
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup crushed peppermint candies

Frosting:
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

Directions

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in extract. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir in peppermint candy. Gradually add to creamed mixture, beating until blended (dough will be stiff).

Divide dough in half.
On an ungreased baking sheet, shape each portion into a 12-in. x 2-1/2-in. rectangle.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove to wire racks; cool for 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a sharp knife into 1/2-in. slices. Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until firm.

Remove to wire racks to cool. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over biscotti; sprinkle with candy. Place on waxed paper until set.

Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

12 days of Christmas cookies Day 9: Italian Anise Cookies

These cookies remind me of Christmas at my Grandma's house, these were always on a cookie platter that one of her friends would bring over along with the home made chocolates and peanut butter cups.

Italian Anise Cookies


Cookie:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons anise extract (or almond extract)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (may need up to 3 cups)
1 tablespoon baking powder
2-3 tablespoons milk

Icing:

2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon anise extract
food coloring
decorative candy sprinkles


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

For cookies, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add anise extract.

Blend flour and baking powder. Start by adding about 1/3 of these dry ingredients to the butter/sugar in your mixer, then add 1 T. milk. Add another third of the flour and another 1 T. milk. Finally, mix in enough of the remaining flour until your dough is like a brownie batter (it should be softer than a drop cookie dough).

Use a 1 T. cookie scooper to make simple round drop cookies - use wet fingers to pat any rough edges OR for an Easter-Egg look, roll 1 T. dough into an elongated ball.

Bake cookies 10-12 minutes (they won't be brown but the insides will be soft and cake-like).

For icing: mix sugar, milk and extract to make a sugar glaze.

HINT: When I make the icing, I make it thick but then I microwave it for 10 seconds so it is thin enough for dipping. Also, I like to divide the mixture in thirds, and then add ONE DROP of food coloring to each batch.

Hold cookie in your hand and turn upside down so you can dip the top half in the glaze; turn over and immediately top with sprinkles so they will stick.

Allow icing to harden overnight; then store in air-tight containers or freeze.

Monday, December 14, 2009

12 days of Christmas cookies Day 8: Thumbprint Cookies

I was a bit of a slacker over the weekend when it came down to blog posting, Christmas Shopping, Futon building (then taking apart because there was a broken piece, hauling it back to Ikea and building yet another, more complicated better one) took my WHOLE weekend up.

But have no fear (LOL) I’ve got more cookie recipes coming up for the last couple of days here.

Thumbprint cookies:

1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
jam or fruit preserves


Lightly toast then cool nuts; chop until very fine and set aside ~ If using a food processor for chopping, allow nuts to cool very thoroughly before chopping them in order to avoid turning them into a paste.

Cream butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment until extra light-colored and fluffy; stir in vanilla.

Whisk together dry ingredients; add gradually to butter mixture, stirring just until (do not overmix) dough comes together; stir in chopped nuts.

Chill dough if it seems too soft.

Form dough into 1 1/4" balls and place onto parchment-lined or ungreased baking sheets; indent the top of each ball of dough with your fingertip or with the dampened end of a wooden spoon.
Bake at 325° for 10-12 minutes or just until the cookies start to turn light golden-brown at the edges; remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar; fill each indentation with a bit of jam or fruit preserves ~ I like to use red raspberry preserves.

NOTES: Yield becomes 60 cookies when dough is formed into 1" dough balls. And any type of toasted and chopped nuts may be substituted for the almonds.

Friday, December 11, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, day 7 Drop Sugar Cookies

When you want sugar cookies but you're not in the mood to roll & cut the dough, don't have the time or you want to just decorate some sugar cookies with the little ones, this is the recipe you're going to go for over and over again.

Drop Sugar Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup Crisco




Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sift dry ingredients, all except sugar, together.

Cream margarine, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla.

Beat in dry ingredients until smooth.

Blend in milk.

Drop by tablespoon about 3 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.


12 Days of Christmas Cookies, day 6 Florentine Lace cookies

These are always a hit, they're delicate and fairly easy to make, they bake up quickly and if you work fast enough you can mold them into curls, cones or by placing over a small fingertip bowl you can make little cookie bowls. These cookies can be left plain or sandwiched together with chocolate.

Florentine Lace cookies


Dough 2/3 cup butter
2 cups quick oats, uncooked
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling

2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Melt butter in medium saucepan.


Remove from heat.


Stir in oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla and salt. Mix well.


Cover cookie sheets with foil.


Place small drops (about 1 teaspoon) of batter onto the foil. Leave about 3 inches between cookies. Using a spatula, flatten each drop and mold into a flat round shape using the sides of the spatula. Warning: these cookies will expand horizontally a lot! Make sure you leave plenty of room between cookies.


Bake for approximately 7 minutes or until edges are golden brown.


Let each sheet of cookies cool completely, approximately 15 minutes.


Peel foil away from cookies.


For the filling, combine chocolate, cream and vanilla and melt over a double boiler until completely blended.


To assemble, spread a layer of chocolate on the flat, shiny side of each cookie. Pair the cookie with alternate cookie of equal size and press together. Allow assembled cookies to cool completely.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

... AND THE WINNER IS.....

Congrats to @jerseygirl137 who is the winner of the Kraft Foods gift basket! I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

12 days of cookies, Day 5: Mexican Chocolate Cherry Cookies

This recipe makes 5 dozen cookies, They're unbelievably good and you can freeze the dough with no problems at all.

Mexican Chocolate Cherry Cookies

2¾ hours | 2½ hours prep

SERVES 30 , 2 cookies


6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup powdered sugar
60 candied cherries, halved


  1. Stir chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water until smooth; cool.
  2. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat 1 3/4 cups sugar and butter in large bowl until light.
  4. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then vanilla and chocolate.
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating just until combined.
  6. Chill dough until firm, about 2 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  8. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets.
  9. Place powdered sugar in shallow pan.
  10. Form dough into 1-inch balls.
  11. Roll each ball in sugar to coat; shake off excess sugar.
  12. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart.
  13. Press 1 cherry half into center of each cookie.
  14. Bake until cookies puff and crack but are still soft, about 10 minutes.
  15. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely.
  16. (Cookies can be prepared ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month.).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

12 days of cookies, Day 4: Chocolate Suprise Cookies

I made these for the first time last year and watched my best friend's sister eat almost the whole plate over the course of the day, lol.. they're sooo good!

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

1/2 cup Butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
about 36 semisweet chocolate chunks or miniature kisses

Preheat oven to 350°f. In a large bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until combines, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer and stir in any remaining flour; knead dough together if necessary.

Shape 1 tsp of the dough into a ball & press a chocolate chunk into the ball and reshape dough into a ball. Repeat with remaining dough and chocolate. Place dough 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 12-14 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.


Monday, December 7, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, day 3 Rainbow cookies

Rainbow cookies (or Venetians as they are sometimes called) are my #1 favorite cookie Ever.. and after the first time I made them I understood why they are $7.99 a pound at the bakery. They are a LOT of work.. but the results are always so amazing that it is so worth the effort :)

Rainbow cookies


Ingredients:
7 ounces almond paste
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup margarine or butter, room temp
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour, Sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
15 drops green food coloring
15 drops red food coloring
2/3 cup apricot preserves (pressed into a coarse sieve to remove any large pieces of fruit)
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening

Directions:

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease 3 8"x8" metal baking pans. After greasing, line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, smoothing the paper down onto the pan. Grease the tops of the parchment paper and then flour the pans. Put aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, Beat together on medium-high speed the Almond Paste, Sugar, Almond Extract and butter until well blended. (there might be some small lumps of Almond Paste remaining and that's fine.).

4. Reduce speed to medium and beat in the eggs one at a time until blended.

5. Reduce speed to low and then add the flour and salt slowly to the mixture until combined.

6. Take two small bowls and add 1 rounded cup of batter into each bowl. (there should be another rounded cup of batter still in the original mixing bowl.).

7. Add 15 drops of red food color to one bowl and 15 drops of green food color to the other. Stir each bowl until evenly blended with color.

8. Spoon the untinted batter into one pan. With metal spatula spread batter evenly (layer will be about 1/4 inch thick). Repeat with red batter in second pan and green batter in remaining pan.

9. Bake until set and toothpick inserted in center of layers comes out clean. 10-12 minutes.

10. Cool in pans on wire rack about ½ hour. Cake should be cool to the touch.

11. Run tip of knife around side of pans to loosen layers.

12. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface that will be able to fit in refrigerator.

13. Take the green layer and flip over pan onto parchment paper. Gently pull off the parchment paper. Spread 1/3 cup of apricot preserves onto the green layer.

14. Take the untinted layer and remove from pan. Place it onto the green layer with the wax paper side up. Press down gently and then remove the parchment paper.

15. Spread remaining 1/3 cup of Apricot preserves onto the untinted layer.

16. take the remaining red layer and remove from pan and place upon the white layer again with the parchment side up. Press down gently and remove the parchment.

17. In a 1 quart saucepan, heat chocolate and shortening over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted.

18. Spread melted chocolate mixture on top of the red layer evenly. Do not put mixture on sides.

19. refrigerate until chocolate is firm, at least 1 hour. (at this point, if you want, you can cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days before serving).

To serve, with a large sharp knife, trim about 1/4 inch from the edges. Cut the stacked layers into 6 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 6 pieces. You will get 36 square cookies from this.

Place the cookies in a single layer in a waxed paper lined container. They can be refrigerated for up to one week or freeze up to 3 months. These cookies must be kept in the fridge.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, day 2 Ginger cookies


I made an army of gingerbread kids last night and these cookies are So good!

Gingerbread cookies

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger or 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour


In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, ginger, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in molasses and egg until combined. Beat in the while wheat flour and as much of the all purpose flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in and remaining all purpose flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill dough about 3 hours or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350°. On a well floured surface roll half the dough at a time until 1/8 inch thick. Using cookie cutters cut out dough. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges are firm. Let stand for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Decorate.




Saturday, December 5, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, day 1 Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Since I baked so many cookies for Thanksgiving (I didn't cook for the first time in years, I had to bring something, lol) I wanted to share some of the awesome cookie recipes that I have here in my cookie arsenal, lol... sure to please, easy and, oh yea, absolutely Delicious! Many of these recipes are Egg Free, I hadn't planned that but it works well for people with allergies.

Cookie#1 Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Makes appx. 48 cookies

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp. baking powder
1/4 Tsp. baking soda
dash salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl beat butter for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat until combined; scrape sides of bowl. Beat in sour cream, egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough n half. Cover and chill dough for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375°f. On a well floured durface roll half the dough at a time until 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Using desired cookie cutters cut out dough, place 1" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 7-8 minutes or until edges are firm. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Decorate =o)


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Orange Marmalade

I remember making Orange Marmalade one of the summers I spent at my dad's house back when I was a kid.. I think I was maybe 10 or 11. I don't remember the process or even how it turned out, but I love marmalade and since I had all these mason jars leftover from last week's experiment I decided to give it a go.. now I have 6 jars of sunny orange marmalade chillin' in the little storage space I have here under the stairs, it's dark and cool and I can keep checking on it so I can open up the jar that's 1/2 full when it's set and see how it tastes.

The recipe I used it from a Preserves book that I bought years ago at some little book store in NYC and it's pretty straightforward with few steps.. it just requires patience..

Orange Marmalade

2 lb. Oranges
1 Lemon
8 cups water
6-7 cups sugar

Scrub the fruit & slice fine. Let sit overnight in a bowl with enough water to cover (about 8 cups)

In the morning transfer all to a pan and bring to a boil, then simmer until the peels are soft and the contents are reduced by half, about 2 hours.

Measure the contents and add 1 cup sugar per each cup of fruit, stirring until dissolved. boil gently until set (about 40 minutes)

Cool slightly and carefully pour into sterilized jars (I used a funnel to reduce mess) place the lids on and screw on the caps. Invert for a few minutes and then turn back upright and let cool completely. Check the seals, label and store in a cool, dry place.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My First Holiday Giveaway

This is my first Holiday giveaway and I'm really excited!

I use many Kraft products and the Kraft Foods website has been a great help when I need a recipe or I’m looking for some ideas for dinner or dessert. They have also recently re-launched their Facebook fan page and The Kraft Foods Channel on YouTube. Both sites have delicious recipes and seasonal tips...just in time for the holidays! They also provide a forum to exchange ideas and recipes, ask questions and provide feedback.

I have a gift basket that has been generously provided by Kraft Foods filled with 4 delicious holiday recipes from the Kraft Foods Kitchens, a Zak Designs garlic peeler, an HA Mack olivewood mixing spoon, NEW Velveeta Rotini and Cheese Whole Grain, Planters cocktail peanuts, Planters pecans, Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate, Stove Top, Honey Maid cinnamon crackers, Jet Puffed marshmallows, Oreos, Kraft salad dressing, NEW Maxwell House Blend coffee, NEW Ritz Brown Sugar Cinnamon crackers and NEW Wheat Thins Flatbread crackers.

Initial Entry: Share your favorite Holiday dinner, dessert or appetizer (you don't have to include the recipe if you don't want to)

Bonus Entries:

  • Follow Me & KraftFoods on Twitter (Leave your Twitter ID) (1 entry)
  • Tweet this Giveaway (1 entry per tweet, Max of 3 a day, 1+ hours apart)–>Enter to win a Kraft Foods Gift Basket from @ChefAshbabe @ Memoirs From my Kitchen http://tinyurl.com/yb79fna #MMKraftGiveaway
  • Leave a comment anywhere on my blog from 11/21 to 12/6 and gain an entry for every comment! Leave the link to the post you commented on. (1 entry per comment)
  • Put this giveaway on a CURRENT Mr Linky, sweeps sites, forum or blog it. (leave the link) (1 entry per submission or 3 entries for a blog post)
  • Add my button to your side bar or link to your blogroll (Code on the right, leave a link to your blog)(1 entry)
Please leave a separate Comment for each Entry. Giveaway is open to US residents only who are 18 years of age or older. I reserve the right to remove any entry from this giveaway. This giveaway ends 12/6/09 at 11:59 pm EST.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Home made Vanilla extract

I started a project on Saturday, lets see how this pans out.

I have 4 pint size mason jars of home made Vanilla extract brewing in my kitchen cabinet. I’ll be keeping tabs and taking pictures weekly to keep this post updated and in February when it’s ready I will be offering up a jar (or two) to one lucky winner!

Home made Vanilla extract is surprisingly easy to make, you just need LOTS of patience.. Like, 3 months worth of patience, lol.

I went and did something I’ve never done before and went to the liquor store and bought a ½ gallon of vodka (cheapy stuff, it was like $14, I don’t care, I don’t drink & it smelled like poison to me anyway.. But that’s besides the point) and then I went and bought a case of 12 mason jars at the little family store in town (1 jar was $4, a case of 12 was $9.99, so I went with the case.. I’ll be making Marmalade soon too) I bought 30 vanilla beans on ebay a while back that I keep in a special bottle with a rubber stopper & latch so no air gets in, so I used those.

To make 1 cup of vanilla extract you need:
1 cup vodka
3 vanilla beans
1 tightly sealing jar

a cool, dark spot to let it brew.

Pour the vodka into the jar, slice the vanilla bean down the center leaving 1 inch intact at the top of each bean. Place the beans into the vodka, seal the jar and give it a good shake. Store it in a cool dark spot and give it a shake every day. The extract will be fully mature in 3 months but will keep indefinitely. Add more vodka as you use it and you can also replace the old beans as you go along too to keep it going.

Happy baking!

Vanilla Extract day 1


Vanilla Extract day 7

Friday, November 6, 2009

The best Creamed spinach I've ever had!

I get a LOT of emails.. I’m on a ton of email lists so I get a lot of different newsletters and such and I find a lot of great recipes from a lot of pretty unlikely places.. Like this absolutely amazing creamed spinach recipe that I got from the Real Simple magazine newsletter a few weeks ago. Now, I’m really lucky to have a kid that is NOT a picky eater, there are very few things he won’t eat and he’s always game to try something new.

Last night I made roast chicken and decided to give this recipe a try and HOLY COW, it was so good! It’s got very few ingredients and it’s quick and easy (really, can it get much better than that?) It makes a huge portion too.

Creamed Spinach

Serves 6 Hands-On Time: 20m Total Time: 20m
Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 8-ounce bar reduced-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup 1 percent milk
2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, 6 to 7 minutes.

2. Add the cream cheese and milk and cook, stirring, until the cream cheese is melted.

3. Squeeze any excess liquid out of the spinach, add the spinach to the sauce, and cook until the mixture is heated through and thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the nutmeg.

I got my cupcakes

I was going to get my cupcake from Mo'Joe's after the ladies came back from lunch yesterday.. but as things tend to go around here I got psycho busy and before I knew it, it was time to go home and it's bad enough that it's dark at 5:00 now, but it was Raining.. Yuck!

I figured to save myself the stress I would just go home, and if my cupcake was still there tomorrow, that would be absolutely awesome.. if not, well.. then I would have understood that too. So on my way in this morning I went and stopped to get a cup of that amazing cocoa and see if my cupcake was still there.. AND IT WAS!! I was really, honestly so happy that they were cool enough to put it back in the display case in the box, you just have no idea. It was totally cool of them! So, I decided to be cool back and get another cupcake to share with the kid later. So in addition to my carrot cake cupcake I got a Samoa cupcake.. Oh yeah! chocolate, toasted coconut with a caramel center.. {Drool!}

ok, the pic isn't great.. I'll try again when I go to lunch to get a better pic with my cell.. but the fluorescent office lighting doesn't help, lol..

Mmm.. Cuppycakes!


(yea, I need to redo this pic later, it's bad!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Café Mo'Jo

I had to run out today at lunchtime.. I HAD to get gas or there was gonna be trouble. Now, I very, very rarely take a lunch hour and even more rare do I have to drive anywhere.. But this was a biggie since it was creeping too close to Empty and I am not too fond of it being dark by the time I get home now (Farking daylight savings) but anyway..

I decided to stop at this little teeny place on the corner that I’d been to about 2 years ago with The Kid when he was off during the summer and lunch break is mandatory. Well.. This little place has made themselves known, that’s for sure! Café Mo’Jo in Mineola, NY is what looks to be a little converted garage on the corner of Mineola Boulevard and 2nd street down by the train station in Mineola, NY. This place is funky and cool without being overwhelming or “too much”. The tables are wooden and are so cool that I wish I could grab one for my apartment! They are scattered with change and postcards that are lacquered over like an old Gymnasium floor with the lacquer dripping down the sides as it dried.. It’s just, well. It’s very unique and I like it! They have a few coin operated old school arcade games scattered around (although I’m not sure if they work or not) 2 comfy leather sofas in the back along with a sign that says “please act appropriately’ I really loved that one!

The lighting is dim, but it’s got a very relaxed atmosphere and an absolutely impressive menu! I went there today seeking French Toast and boy was I in for a treat! I got 2 thick slices Challa bread cut into 4 triangles that were perfectly flavored and cooked topped with powdered sugar with a big helping of granny smith apple chunks and honeydew melon on the side and a nice container of syrup. It was Perfect! It was So good even, that I ate 3 pieces and saved the last for The Kid. Since it was already almost 12:30 when I got there instead of coffee I decided on a cup of hot chocolate.. And WOW.. It’s REAL hot chocolate.. Not anything that comes from a packet.. This is the stuff that I make at home with Hershey’s coco, sugar and milk.. It was FANTASTIC!.

To make this place even better.. THEY HAVE CUPCAKES!! I got a carrot cake cupcake (then like a dummy I left it on the table when I went to grab my lunch and leave, but miraculously it was still there when I got to the office and realized I was missing something and called) Good peeps there, they said they would hang onto it until I could get back after work.. Sweet! The guy behind the counter told me they usually have Red Velvet cupcakes (which, I have never tried, but will soon!) But the carrot one caught my eye today.

All in all, I’m impressed, I liked them 2 years ago and I really love them now! They have a great menu, great people working there and the service is pretty fast even during the lunch rush.. And did I mention the portions are HUGE? Best of all.. The price is right! I got 1 cupcake, an order of French toast and a small hot chocolate for $10.65. Everything was fresh and delicious and now I just have to find out if they deliver because I will be getting lunch there again soon, I just don’t always have a chance to run out and go that far.

Here's their info.. If you're in the area.. Stop on bye =o)
Café Mo'Jo
95 Mineola Blvd
Mineola, NY 11501
(516) 294-0714

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Atom cake project

'
Thursday night my kid says to me "Hey mom, I have an extra credit science project to do..."

I’m pretty sure any mom reading this knows what comes next... so I asked my kid “well, when is it due?” Um... November 3rd. That’s Tuesday! Arrgh! So, what’s this project about? “Atoms” ok, so what are you going to make this atom of? “Well, I told the teacher that I was going to make it out of cake and share it with the class” Oh, so loosely translated this means that mom has to bake the cake and put some icing on it and then he will decorate it as the atom of his choice. *sigh*

Science is 4th period, which means it’s 10:07-10:50 so I figured ok, I have some super ripe bananas and I was going to make banana bread anyway, so lets make a banana cake.. At least it’s kinda healthy-ish for that early in the morning.. Banana is fruit after all, right? (LOL. Like the 13 year olds really care)

So I collect all my ingredients and I realize I’m short on sugar, I have 1½ cups and need 2½ cups grr.. Fine, there’s a bag of ‘splenda for baking’ in the cabinet so I use a cup of that to make up for the rest of the sugar... that was my big mistake, my total downfall in this cake making process. Now, I should have known better.. I’ve made this mistake before with the lemon bars but the result was not this... um... disastrous, at least those were edible... these.. Um, notsomuch really.. More of hockey pucks. They were dense and chewy at the same time, yet I’m sure had I tossed one on the floor it would have bounced.

This is the recipe:

Banana Cupcakes
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/8 cups canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard sized muffin pan with muffin liners or spray with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix until just blended.Fill muffin cups a little more than 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 - 24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely.

The failed batch..they baked for almost 40 minutes because after 25 minutes they were.. GLUEY and then the cupcakes stuck miserably to the paper cups.. I had greased the aluminum pan with Crisco and so it slid right into the trash can with ease *sigh* maybe I should have tossed it out to feed to the birds.. but then again.. I don't think they would have eaten it either.

Ok, so good thing I decided to do this Sunday night when the project is due on Tuesday.. I was leaving time for the cake to rest and cool so that it could be decorated as an atom today.. But no, that wasn’t going to happen with that frisbee.. So off to the grocery store I went on my way home tonight to get more bananas and another bag of sugar and there we went again.

The result...

Moist and fluffy and perfect.

This recipe makes a TON, I made a 9" round cake and 12 cupcakes (this recipe makes 36 cupcakes!)

Cake is cooling now and it will be iced & decorated later by the kid and I'll get a pic before it goes off to school tomorrow :)

Update!

The finished cake:

(BTW, it's a Potassium Atom)

Finished cake = kids report & presentation =90%
Sweet!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Coffee, Coffee.. I need my coffee.

Alright Guys, I need some good advise here. I’ve been totally faithful to my Senseo but my senseo died on me Sunday.. Actually.. It didn’t even die, but that sucker BROKE. The plastic latch at the top that snaps down just snapped right off and water came spilling all over my kitchen counter. So now I’m on the hunt for a new Coffee maker.. But I have about 150 Senseo pods at home since I have them on auto ship with Amazon (because it was absolutely impossible to find the Senseo Cappuccino in stores and when I did they were $5+ per bag.. INSANE!) I don’t know of many other Pod brewers other than the Tassimo, but I’m open to Suggestions since there don’t seem to be any Senseo’s out there for sale since the Recall a few months back (mine wasn’t one, but damn do I wish it was.. Although from what I’ve read many people still haven’t gotten their replacement machines yet)

All suggestions are appreciated. I’m even open to trying one out for a review here. I hear Keurig’s are great.. But I just can’t plunk down $150+ for a coffee machine when I’m pretty much the only one who drinks it every day (and 2-3 cups on the weekend). I like the idea of pre measured coffee, because it takes the guesswork out of it all and I make really gross coffee otherwise, ROFL!!

Thanks guys!
Ash~

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's getting to be that time of year again...

It's getting to be that time of year again... time to bust your butt to find the perfect gift. Whether it's just for that special someone, the kiddo's or you go all out and try to get something for everyone (even on the tightest budget I try to get a little something for everyone).

Now, I'm not a girl like all the others.. I HATE TO SHOP! I don't like lines or messy stores, I hate getting all the way there only to find they don't have the thing I went there for, I can't stand dealing with cranky customers or nasty store employees, I get enough of that during my 9-5, thank you very much.

I did 100% of my shopping online last year. I came home every night to another box or 2 full of goodies that I ordered online. I got something for everyone and quite a few things for the kid and stayed well within the budget that I had set for myself. How did I do this you might ask, well I'm a sleuth. I shop around online for the best deal and then I look for a coupon or a code to use for either dollars or a percent off and if I can get free shipping on top of that it makes the deal even sweeter!

I look around online and I post all the great deals and bargains I find at Smoking Hot Deals. There you can find some of the best coupon codes, bargains, freebies and there's much more to the site than shopping. You can sign up and chat with us in the off topic forum, find recipes, enter online contests & sweepstakes, print out in store coupons and find rebates on products you use every day. I've been doing this for years.. It's a great community of people and I can't even begin to tell you of some of the amazing deals that I've gotten that I would have never even found without Smoking Hot Deals, from Free blankets to practically free orders.. It's amazing the things you can get with just a little help.. And in this economy, you need all the help you can get, and all the better when you can get great gifts for everyone on your list and still keep money in your pocket.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

3 minute Cocoa

I Love, I mean, absolutely LOVE hot chocolate.

But don't bring me a packet of some store bought stuff..

Just hand me the canister of sugar and the Hershey's cocoa powder.. oh yea.. and the milk.. NEVER water.. never, never EVER.

The weather's getting colder here in NY.. I'm not happy about it since we barely had a summer this year, but the one good thing is sitting and enjoying a cup of hot cocoa at night before bed.

Photobucket

This is the recipe I use:

Hot cocoa for one

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa
1 dash salt
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1 Add sugar, cocoa and salt into a large cup.

2 Heat milk in microwave on high for 1 minute or until hot.

3 Pour milk into cocoa mixture; stir.

4 Stir in vanilla.

I like to add a little dash of cinnamon into it for a little kick too.. just be careful not to leave your cup alone for long.. I sat mine down.. and half of it was mysteriously gone
Photobucket

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What to do with Tofu?

On a whim one night as I was running through the supermarket to grab something to make for dinner (ya know, it was just one of those days) I stopped to get some won ton wrappers and picked up a package of extra firm Tofu.. hoping to incorporate it with dinner the next night.. that was um... a week and a half ago and I still don't know what to do with this stuff... so.. I'm shouting out to y'all to PLEASE help me out with this.. what do I make with this stuff? How do I use it? Helllllllllllp!

LOL!!

Thanks!

Friday, September 11, 2009

SPECIAL OFFER: Save 15% Off The HBA Conference and Receive a FREE Exhibits Pass!

I got this in an email.. and I'm pretty sure that even though I can't go that someone else can take advantage of this offer.. so I'm sharing.


HBA Global Expo &  Conference
SPECIAL OFFER: Save 15% Off The HBA Conference and Receive a FREE Exhibits Pass!
This special offer is exclusive to CosmeticIndex.com subscribers, when you REGISTER with Priority Code: EHCA9 to attend HBA Global Expo, the annual beauty event to source, network and educate on all things involving personal care, fragrance, wellness and cosmetics.

BIG Saving and BIG Benefits:
  • Save 15% off any HBA Conference Pass PLUS receive a FREE Exhibits Pass

  • Hear from Keynote Speaker: Horst Rechelbacher, CEO/Founder of Intelligent Nutrients and Aveda as well as join us as HBA honors nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, producer and actress, Mary J. Blige, as she receives the First Annual HBA Positively Beautiful Award

  • Innovative sessions to impact your bottom line, which included: "THE NEXT BIG TREND: The Ethnic Market Driving Sales in the Beauty Space", "TWEET, TWEET: Social Media Calling", "CREATING A SUCCESSFUL BEAUTY BRAND" as well as "THE PRESTIGE MARKET: Identifying Recession-Proof Strategies for This Year AND BEYOND" for a full educational program, click here

  • Receive access to the Beauty Innovations Theater, the New Products Innovations Showcase featuring 100's of the new products and services from our exhibitors as well as Networking Roundtables — for more information about this year's activity visit "What's New" at HBA!

  • Hear from industry leaders! Click here to view this year's faculty.

  • Join us for a cocktail reception at booth 1607 as we make a toast to this year's International Package Design Award (IPDA) Winners, starting at 4:45pm on Tuesday, September 15th

Use PRIORITY CODE: EHCA9 when REGISTERING to attend the HBA Global Expo and to SAVE 15% OFF your HBA Conference Pass as well as a FREE Exhibits Hall Pass. For the latest show information visit us at www.hbaexpo.com (Note: This offer is valid until Monday, September 14th and for conference upgrades ONLY.)

Registration Questions? Please contact John Morabito at (203) 846-0083 or email.

September 11, 2001, My Story

September 11, 2001 is a day in my life that I can recall almost every detail, it has been permanently etched into my memory because I have replayed it over and over so many times.

The morning started normally, I got myself ready for work and got the kid on the bus to Kindergarten which had started just a few days earlier and I got on the subway from where I lived in Queens, NY to my job in Midtown Manhattan.

I was already at work in the kitchen of a place called The Emerald Planet that was located in the mezzanine level at Rockefeller Center when a friend of mine called and told me that I had to get home ASAP, a plane hit the towers and NYC was under attack. I had to wait for my manager to get back from the errand he just ran and then I told him I was leaving, he had already heard people talking and he was ready to close the place anyway so I ran to get on the subway back home and on the train there were people coming from the WTC site, crying & covered with soot, praying & talking with each other. In the area where my bus stop was to get home was in what they call 'little India' & I saw a man dressed in military fatigues & I just prayed. I got off the bus and when I looked to my left I could see that the Empire State Building was still there, so I thanked God, and ran down the block to my house.

I got home & saw the video of the second tower being hit & watched the towers fall in absolute horror because I was there the Saturday before for a job interview at a restaurant called the Coco Marina that was located at the back of the WTC by the river. I got myself together and then went and picked up the kid from school where parents were already picking up their children, the kid was sitting in the lunchroom with his head down in his arms crying, not because of what had happened, he didn’t even know yet, but the noise in the lunchroom made him upset. I’ll never forget that, he was so sad just sitting there, and when he saw me he was so shocked to see me and then he was so happy that he practically jumped into my arms. I was just happy to get him and go back home where it was safe.

I lived very close to LaGuardia airport & I'll never forget the silence when they shut the airports down & then the deafening roar of the fighter jets taking off & patrolling the area.. it was just.... I don't even know words for what that felt like.. But it's something that I hope we never have to go through ever again. I remember the first time I rode the subway after 9/11 and the panic I felt.. I think it was the first time I ever rode the subway alone without having music plugged in my ears. Going to work was weird. and very stressful for the first weeks back. Manhattan was seemingly covered in a black cloud.. And that smell.. Oh God, that smell was so horrible and it just hung in the air for weeks and weeks.

September 11, 2001 is a day that I'll never forget because I knew people who worked at windows of the world & lost their lives that morning, I went to college 1 subway stop away & remember looking at the towers from the 16th floor of the building where my school was.. it's just so painful to go there now & to see pictures that it's just gone.. the Christmas after 9/11 I was there and I took many pictures.. but they're tucked away in a box in my closet. The memories will always remain for so many people, those who were in NYC at the time and those miles away.. It doesn’t matter where you lived at the time or what you were doing because it’s almost guaranteed that you remember it exactly.

©AMVG, September 11, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Home Made Ricotta- 4 ingredients in 3 steps

I never knew it was so easy to make my own Ricotta. I've had some pretty bad experiences with the store bought stuff, it's always too watery and it spoils really quick.

If I had known that it was so easy to make my own Ricotta I'd have been doing this for years!

Lemme tell y'all, I made the best Lasagna I've ever had in my life tonight!

Try this recipe just once, and you'll be won over! In total, this recipe made 2 1/2 cups of fresh Ricotta and cost me around $4 and was 1,000,000 times better than the crud that you get in the plastic container for $7 at the supermarket.
(Yep, that's all it takes!)
Home Made Ricotta

  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Directions:

Line a large colander with a layer of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.

Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching

.


Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2-4 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the lined colander and let it drain 1 hour. After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 2 days.

The finished product:

This was the most absolutely delicious Ricotta that I've ever had in my life! It was light and not watered down.. next time I'm making Cannoli!!

The Lasagna:


Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Miss Go Getter Launches in the Tampa Bay, Florida Area

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Miss Go Getter Launches in the Tampa Bay, Florida Area

Riverview, FL – August 11, 2009 - Kim Carlisi is excited to announce the launch of a new business venture in the Tampa Bay Florida market, Miss Go Getter, a concierge service providing much needed services in the Tampa Bay area.

“At Miss Go Getter we handle the details that you don’t have time for”, Kim Carlisi, CEO, Miss Go Getter

Miss Go Getter is currently serving Riverview, Brandon, Apollo Beach, Fishhawk, Valrico and Tampa, FL for all your concierge needs.

Services offered by Miss Go Getter:

*Mobile Notary

*New Mom Assistance

*Dog Walks

*Elderly Assistance (prescription pickup, grocery shopping, coffee delivery etc…)

*Grocery Shopping

*Errand Running

*Small Business Owner Assistance

Please visit http://missgogetter.com for details on all of the services provided.

For additional information please contact:

Kim Carlisi, Owner and CEO, Miss Go Getter

813.493.3787

info@missgogetter.com

http://missgogetter.com

Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/missgogetterfl to be updated on what Miss Go Getter is doing in the Tampa Bay area.

About Miss Go Getter

Miss Go Getter is a woman owned personal services company, geared towards the small business owner and working professional. In this economy, where employees are expected to put in more hours, they have less time to take care of personal needs that can’t be completed after their work day ends. Miss Go Getter provides the Tampa Bay area with competitive prices and wonderful customer service.

Please visit us online at http://www.missgogetter.com to find out further information about Miss Go Getter.

###

Friday, August 14, 2009

So I guess it's time to tell this story

If you follow me on Twitter you know this all already, but for my bloggy friends, and even my close message board friends.. I haven't told the story.. it's been really upsetting for me to talk about and so after 2 weeks of trying to get things straightened up...

I got into a car accident on July 30th, my car.. (my first Freaking goddamn car that I waited 13 years to finally have) was hit by some 20 year old jackass who blew a red while I was passing through a yellow while I was on my way home from work. I am fine and The Kid is fine.. my car.. not so good.

My 1985 Mercedes 300TD after the accident

So what that is was 24 years old? It was a great car and ran great and got me to where I needed to go with no problems at all.. and I got 300 (yea, you read that right THREE HUNDRED) miles per tank of Diesel.

The little jerk who hit me said his light was green even though I know it wasn't and I also know that the little Jerk wasn't going 30 miles per hour when he hit me in his Saab. I didn't have collision (hell, I didn't think I needed it) and with no witnesses there was nobody to say otherwise so in the end the little rich kid who hit me probably got a new car from his dad and I'm stuck with nothing... again. After 10 days of my car sitting at the place where it was towed to, the guy finally got back to me with an estimate.. $1,600 for parts.. and almost $4,000 in labor! Sadly, the car isn't even worth that much... sucks that I'm not eligible for cash for clunkers (you have to have owned the car and have it insured for at least a year, I looked it up) and there is no trade in value to it I'm looking into seeing if someone wants to buy the car for parts (because everything is original to the car) or restore it (which would make me insanely happy) so far I've had no luck. If all else fails I'll donate the car because I can't afford to fix it.. which really makes me sad.

But in the end what really matters is that the Kid and I are fine.

I have to go back to riding the bus on Monday.. after 2 weeks of renting (which was going to put me in the poor house if I kept it up) I had to bring back my rented Nissan Cube today (and lemme tell y'all that car really grew on me this week, I had it since this past Monday) If by some stroke of luck I win the lottery, or someone wants to buy Grandpa off me or someone at Nissan has a Really Big Heart and would like to give a hardworking single mom a break and let me get one at a really good deal I would be eternally grateful.

But for now.. I have no car.... and I'm back at Square One once again...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Summer food safety tips & a quiz

Here are some great tips from a great site: HomeFoodSafety.org

Now that temperatures are on the rise, so is your risk of contracting a food-borne illness. These safe food preparation tips are from the American Dietetic Association, in conjunction with ConAgra Foods:

  • To reduce the spread of bacteria, use hot, soapy water to clean your grill before cooking each meal.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before, during and after food preparation. If you are on the go, pack moist towelettes or a hand sanitizer in the cooler.
  • Thaw frozen foods in the fridge or microwave. Never defrost food on the kitchen countertop or outside.
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator, and never reuse any marinade that has touched raw meat or poultry (it’s a good idea to make separate batches for marinating and then basting food!).
  • Refrigerate all foods immediately below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (°F). Keep your cooler stocked with ice packs or plenty of ice to last during parties. Freeze bottles of water, and use them to keep the rest of the food in the cooler cool. Buy and use a food thermometer to make sure the cooler stays cold. Transport the cooler in your air-conditioned car, not in the hot trunk.
  • Clean out your cooler with plenty of soap and water after each use.
  • Keep raw meat or poultry in separate dishes from other foods, to prevent cross-contamination. The same goes for utensils; use different forks, knives and spoons to taste, stir and serve the cooked food.
  • Use a meat thermometer when grilling, to ensure hamburgers are cooked to 160°F, chicken is cooked to 170°F and hotdogs are reheated to 160°F. Never partially grill meat or chicken for further cooking at a later time.
  • Don’t leave cooked food outside in hot weather (90°F or higher) for more than 1 hour. Throw away any perishable food that has been unrefrigerated for more than 1 hour.
Take this Quiz.. even I'll admit that I got one wrong.

Summer Food Safety Quiz

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Picture of Curiosity


I’m gonna say this is a picture of what utter curiosity looks like.. For my kid at least..

While The Kid was at camp yesterday he found a baseball that’d been busted, so being the curious kind of person that he is wanting to know really what was inside the baseball he went about pulling it apart, yards and yards of string, then yarn, then more string.. Then there was a little red rubber ball inside of it all. it took about an hour to get to the end of this, he started pulling it apart at work, there’s white string pieces all over the parking lot, lol.. some went into the trash, some went out the car window when we were stopped at a red light (which got him yelled at!) but the main part is this blob of yarn & string that he finished up on the ride home last night.. the little ball in the middle was a surprise to both of us.. I remember there being rubber bands in baseball “guts” when I was a kid, but then I suppose, like a lot of things it depends on the manufacturer.

Still.. it’s pretty cool... I told the kid he should try and put it back together.. he asked me if I thought he was crazy.. well, no.. but it would surely be a challenge, LOL!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

OMG, I love this!

Ah, Sweet, my 200th post and I get to talk about my mom and Perpetual Kid.. YAY!!

My mom was famous for her Revlon Back cherry lipstick which is a purple-ish red color and it was always on her mug, on the glass she used, on the faces she kissed, lol.. But this Mug, it’s freakin’ Hilarious because I’m pretty sure that nobody else would want to use it, especially when those marks aren’t going to rub off anytime soon, lol.

Check this baby out:
DIRTY MUG


Yes, yes. We know how it goes. You wash your coffee mug and leave it to dry in the office kitchen. Next thing you know, Nasty Joe from three cubes down is using YOUR coffee mug. Our Dirty Mug is sure to fend off other people from using your cup. Even when it's clean it looks... well dirty! No one will ever steal your mug again! Ceramic.

This is what Revlon's Black Cherry Lipstick looks like:
Revlon Super Lustrous™ Lipstick

This mug would be so perfect for the office, but I don't drink the mud they make here.. in that ancient coffee machine that we have.. this is the mug I use at home:



I know that Perpetual Kid has the Master of the Messy Desk mug, I hope they are able to get some of the Mistress ones in too.. Mine’s a little chipped & I’m gonna need to keep a backup around just in case, lol.