I take pride in the fact that I’ve been eating healthy lately. I’ve cut back on a lot of sugar (my indisputable weakness: Mike & Ike’s) and carbs (my other weakness…maybe even more so than the previous). I’ve added a lot of protein. All that went out the window last night when Sean and I decided we wanted “something sweet” around 11pm.
For Christmas I was given a baking set from Sur La Table for homemade donuts, complete with mixing bowl, donut baking tray, spatula and mix. While I’ve used the utensils, I hadn’t used the mix…seemed like a good time.
They were delicious. Only problem is now I have a bunch of donuts in my kitchen. I want them to go away, but not because I ate them all. 😉
Hey, a little splurge now and again is OK, right?
Call me cliché but I will always like going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. This year Sean and I decided to try a restaurant we hadn’t been to before, Tico. It’s the sister restaurant of Radius, which we’ve been to a few times and really like.
Tico is tapas restaurant with food that is a delicious mixture of America, Spanish and Mexican. Overall the food was really good. I ordered the BBQ shrimp with mango salad and grilled brussel sprouts with bacon, grilled cumquats and pickled onion. Normally I’m not a bacon fan, but with the rest of the dish it was perfect and not overpowering. Sean ordered calamari and chorizo risotto with pasilla chiles, scallion and parmigiano. Delicious all around. I think the most flavorful calamari I’ve ever had. We also shared mini lobster avocado tacos. Also delicious.
Lobster Avocado Tacos
The service overall was good and the waitstaff attentive. I also appreciated that they didn’t jam too many tables into the dining room considering the holiday, like some places do (I don’t name names…).
After dinner we went to my favorite dessert spot: Max Brenner’s, where I promptly ordered a DELICIOUS chocolate martini. So. Good. We also ordered a dessert, which took a really long time to get to the table, but the bartenders were really proactive and apologized and even comped one of our drinks. That’s always helpful, right? For the record, this was our third or fourth trip to Max Brenner’s and this was the first time there was any sort of issue (which wasn’t even a big deal – I was busy enjoying my drink).
Chocolate Martini at Max Brenner's
Overall it was a fun evening – I would recommend both Tico and Max Brenner’s to anyone. Enjoy. : )
Last year my older sister bought me a cake pop recipe book for my birthday. (This recipe book, to be exact.) It took me some time before I was able to give the recipes in there a shot, but now that I have I’m hooked on these things. So far I haven’t turned them into actual “pops,” but “bites” are the same thing, just without the stick.
While I’m a fan of making cake from scratch, the book suggests using a mix because of the consistency, so that’s what I’ve been doing so far.
- 1 box of cake mix (and everything required to make the mix)
- 1 cup of frosting
- 1 package (14 oz) melting chocolate
- Prepare the cake as directed on the package. Bake and let cool completely (30 – 45 minutes)
- Cut the cake into quarters and, in a large bowl, crumble the cake completely
TIP: Break the quarters again and rub each half against the other to crumble the cake.
- Mix in the frosting as evenly as possible. The result should be a sort of thick mixture that can be easily molded.
- Mold the mixture into small, 1 inch balls and place them on wax paper
- Once complete, place trays in the refrigerator to harden for at least an hour to harden – this makes it much easier to dip the cake into the melted chocolate.
- Once the cake has further hardened, start melting the chocolate wafers in a double broiler
- As soon as the chocolate has melted, remove the coating from the heat
- Dip cake bites into the mixture with a spoon, using another spoon to add additional coating to the cake, coating it completely.
TIP: Do not roll cake around in the coating, this will cause small pieces to fall off and will prevent the cake bites from being covered smoothly.
- Rap spoon with the coated cake bite on the side on the melting pot to remove excess coating
TIP: I used multiple spoons to manipulate the cake in the coating. Have extra spoons on hand because they become covered in the coating.
- Carefully place coated cake bites onto another sheet of wax paper to cool.
So far I’ve done the recipe a handful of times using both chocolate and vanilla frosting, but have only used chocolate cake so far (the choice of the recipients). I’ve used chocolate as well as white chocolate-colored wafers. The ones pictured at top were sitting with red and green-covered bites, hence the flecks of color. 😉
A while back Sean bought me a Popcorn cookbook. For whatever reason we haven’t been able to try many of the recipes yet, but I just got around to trying the S’Mores bars – yum! Definitely for those with a strong sweet tooth and sense of nostalgia for camping as a kid.
Popcorn S'Mores bars
- 4 quarts popped popcorn – 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
- One package (16 oz) marshmallows note: recipe called for 5 cups, but there was only slightly more in the 16 oz package
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/3 cup Golden Grahams cereal note – the recipe only called for 1 cup, but I added a little more
- 6 TBS butter
- Butter a 9×13 inch glass pan
- Pop the popcorn and place in large bowl – use an air popper if possible – set popcorn aside
- Melt butter over low heat in medium-large saucepan. Add marshmallows once butter is mostly melted, stirring until butter and marshmallows are mixed and completely melted together
- Add melted marshmallow mixture to the popcorn, stirring quickly (faster = easier)
- Quickly add 1 cup chocolate chips and the cereal to the popcorn/marshmallow mixture until combined
- Place mixture into the greased pan
- Melt the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Right before adding the chocolate on top...
- Drizzle (or spread – your call) the chocolate onto the top of the bars
- Let set for 20-25 minutes
- Cut bars into squares to serve
Tip: try to make sure all the popcorn you use is actually popped! I tried to make sure kernels didn’t get into the bowl while it was popping.
Also – when I make these again (and I know I will be making them again) – I don’t know if I would add the extra chocolate on top. I don’t think it really needs it and there’s enough chocolate throughout. I think the addition of the chocolate topping would depend on whether I’m making them for “big kids” like myself, or little kids, who just may be their intended consumer.