Monday, February 28, 2011

Fancy Cupcakes With Pearls

Today is my little sister Ariel's birthday, and even though she is my little sister she is no longer little because today she turned 20. So to celebrate my family actually came down to Fresno and we all went out for lunch and did some shopping before they headed back home. Well last night I ended up making some banana cupcakes because I was bored and since my family was coming down for the day I put some candles on a few and when my sister came up to the door I surprised her with the cupcakes. I soon learned that she didn't like banana cupcakes, but she did think they were pretty. They were very easy to make, they were just a little time consuming so I didn't decorate all the cupcakes. All I did was swill on the frosting with a frosting tip and then I took the white pearl sprinkles and went around some, not all, of the edges of the frosting. They came out very elegant in the end. I really love using those pearl sprinkles. So if you ever see them in the store I highly recommend buying them.
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

3D Hello Kitty Cake

Saturday was my friend's daughter Jillian's 4th birthday party. So this year she wanted me to make her a Hello Kitty cake for her birthday. Since I have already made a Hello Kitty cake once before I decided that I wanted to challenge myself and have her sitting up this time instead of laying flat. To make this challenge easier, I went and bought the 3D teddy bear pan put out by Wilton, but instead of frosting it to look like a bear I frosted it to look like Hello Kitty. For her whiskers I used some black plastic string because I couldn't find any black licorice rope, but I didn't look at too many places for the licorice in the first place :) For the words and border around the cake I used edible pearl sprinkles in pink and white. The pearls were very time consuming because I placed each one on the cake individually. Because I used the pearls for the words, they ended up a little off centered, but because they took a while to place on the cake I didn't want to spend more time fixing it. I don't think Jillian cared or even noticed that the words were off centered, all she cared about was that she got a cake with Hello Kitty on it just like she wanted.

Here is a close up of the pearl detail.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Brownie Bites With Heart Chocolate Centers

I know Valentine's Day was over a week ago, but I still wanted to share the treat that I made for my work. I was craving brownies so I wanted to make bite sized ones that involved no cutting. Now I was a little worried at first when I failed at making brownie bites a while back, but I didn't let it get to me and I attempted to make them again. Which they totally turned out great because this time I properly greased the mini muffin pan. Since it is no longer Valentine's you can put a different chocolate candy of your choice. Be creative and have fun when you make your own tasty brownie bites.
Brownie Bites With Heart Chocolate Centers
1 package of brownie mix (and ingredients listed on the back)
1 package of heart shaped chocolates, unwrapped
Festive sprinkles (optional)
Preheat the oven according to package directions. Mix the ingredients together according to package directions. Grease the mini muffin pan very well and fill with the brownie batter about half to three quarters way up. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and instantly insert chocolates in the center. Once all the chocolates are inserted sprinkle the sprinkles on top and remove from pan using a spoon or fork. Cool and enjoy :)
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Roasted Asparagus with Herb de Provence

Roasted asparagus with Herb de Provence is one of the dishes that I made for our Valentine's Day dinner, along with the chicken Marsala which I have shared on my blog a while back. Anyways, my boyfriend Tomas loves asparagus prepared this way. Not only is it delicious it is very easy to make. I originally got the idea for this recipe from another recipe on all recipes, but when I went back to find it I couldn't remember what they called it and how they made it. Therefore I will share for you the way I made it. The measurements are an estimate, because depending on your taste you may want more or little of the seasonings listed below.
Roasted Asparagus with Herb de Provence
1 bunch of asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt, or regular salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons Herb de Provence
Preheat the oven to 450*F. Wash and cut the asparagus. Lay the asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the the tops of the asparagus and sprinkle the salt, pepper, and herb de Provence. Toss the asparagus to make sure evenly coated with the oil and seasonings. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Serve and enjoy. :)
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Key Lime Cheesecake

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day yesterday because I know I did, even though I had to work. Well while I was at work my boyfriend Tomas surprised me by bringing me a dozen roses and some balloons. I was extremely surprised because he already got me a pair of Burberry sandals, so I was not expecting anything else. Because of his sweet an special delivery I was all smiles for the rest of the day. Well after work I had a special dinner planned for Tomas and his sister Monika and her boyfriend, but since no one would be home until 10PM I had a few hours until they all came home. So over the next few days I will share some of the things that was on the menu, but first I will share what we had for desert. I didn't want to make key lime pie, like I did last year, so instead I made key lime cheesecake. It came out amazing, especially since it was the first cheesecake I have ever made. It even tasted better the next day, at least what was left of it. Now I got the original recipe from however I made a change to one of the ingredients in the crust. Instead of using graham crackers I used ginger snaps because I feel that it is a more flavorful crust. So whatever way you decide to make it I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. :)
Key Lime Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups ginger snap crumbs
6 tablespoons butter, melted
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 eggs
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
2/3 cup key lime juice
Combine ginger snap crumbs with butter or margarine. Press into bottom and partially up sides of 9 inch springform pan. Refrigerate. In a large bowl, beat with an electric mixer the cream cheese, sugar, lime peel, and cornstarch until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, blending just until smooth. Add key lime juice with mixer on low. Finish mixing by hand. Do not over beat, or cake will crack during baking. Pour batter into prepared crust.
Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 55 to 65 minutes, or until set. If possible place a shallow pan half full of hot water on lower rack during baking to prevent cracking, if you cannot then just place the cheesecake in the oven. Turn oven off, and let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes with the door open at least 4 inches. Remove from oven. Refrigerate cake overnight, and up to three days.

This is the place setting for our Valentine's Day dinner.

Here are the beautiful flowers and balloons that Tomas gave me. :) I love him so much.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Chocolate and Vanilla Sugar Cookie Hearts

I just love Valentine's Day, in fact I would have to say that it is probably one of my favorite holiday's. I always liked the holiday, but I loved it even more once I began dating my wonderful boyfriend Tomas. Besides the whole love thing, I also love this holiday because it involves hearts. Because I love hearts so much I decided to make cookies in the shape of hearts, but I decided to take it one more step further and cut heart shape holes in the center of the cookies and replace with a different color heart shape. My mom gave me this idea for the cookies back during my high school years, but I never made them because I didn't have anyone to make them for until I started dating Tomas, whom I have been with for four wonderful years and counting. I look forward to the many more Valentine's Days that we will spend together. :)

Chocolate and Vanilla Sugar Cookie Hearts

1 package of Betty Crocker Cookie mix (as well as the ingredients listed on the back of the package).
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 375*F. Prepare the cookies according to the package directions. Split the dough in half and mix the cocoa powder into one half of the dough. Turn one of the doughs onto a floured surface and roll to a 1/4 inch thickness. Using a medium sized heart cookie cutter cut heart shapes out of the dough. Then take a small heart cookie cutter and cut a small heart out of the center of the larger heart and set aside. Do the same to the other half of the cookie dough. Place the larger heart cookies on the ungreassed cookie sheets and then place the opposite color little hearts in the centers of the larger hearts. Bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy.

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