Monday, November 22, 2010

Appetizer Spoons

I think I've just found my new obsession!

Appetizer Spoons and Amuse-Bouche!

It all started with these super cute spoons on a bambo tray from West Elm.

I also like these Trudeau Novella Spoons from Amazon.

I really like the look of these Windermere metal spoons with the curved handle from Gourmet Settings.

And then I saw these adorable stainless steel spoons from Crate and Barrel and I fell in LOVE!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie

Love the Pie

When I saw that Tidymom was having a Pie Party, I knew that I had to participate...and I knew the pie I needed to make is the one that's been on my mind for more than 16 years. 

When I was growing up my Dad got his pilot's license and many of his practice flights took him to the Cheyenne Airport. There was a little restaurant a few blocks away called The Owl Inn that had the most amazing Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie.

The last time I had a slice was in 1994.   I really, really miss that pie!

I decided that I'm accomplished enough in the kitchen now to figure out how to make it....or at least come close.  I came extremely close!  One bite and I was 14 years old again!

I am not good at pie's a skill I need to work on so I just use Pillsbury unbaked pie crust and bake it myself. Easy Peasy!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie
inspired by The Owl Inn

  • Pie Crust, purchased or homemade 

  • 2 8oz blocks of Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 container Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract

  • 1 1/2 cups Chocolate Pudding, purchased or homemade
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 -2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Bake the crust in a 9 inch pie pan according to package directions.  Cool.

Layer 1:
Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a stand mixer with the flat beater.  Once it's incorporated, add the cool whip and vanilla extract.  Put cream cheese mixture into cooled pie crust.  Chill for one hour.

Layer 2:
Apply the chocolate pudding to your cream cheese layer and then add a layer of chocolate chips.

Layer 3:
Make Whipped Cream.  Put cold heavy cream  in mixing bowl.  Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract per cup of cream, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar  Adjust to taste. With an electric hand mixer or a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream.  Start slowly -- if you set it on high at first, you'll have cream all over the place. Set the mixer so it goes as fast as possible without splashing.

As the cream thickens, turn the speed up. As it gets foamier, start checking for a soft peak, which is what you want. The peak should bend over at the top when you remove the whisk.

Add the whipped cream to the top of your pie.  Chill for another hour before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Coffee Talk: The Press Coffee Company

My little boy doesn't like the Library so we like to go on adventure walks.  We've recently become addicted to letterboxing so a nice hot chocolate and a coffee are a welcome treat.  Unfortunately...on this day, it was only 50 degrees in Colorado and our walk ended early so we headed over to Belmar Shopping Center to The Press Coffee Company.

On the menu:

  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • Hot Chocolate with Whip Cream
  • Drip Coffee

The cookie was a hit and the Hot Chocolate was delicious!  The Press is one of my favorite places to get coffee because it is always good and piping hot.  Plus there is a lovely seating area and nice music playing.

Press Coffee on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Coffee Talk: Whole Foods

I have a passion for coffee. I like Starbucks but I also like to check out Non-Starbucks coffee shops because there is so much great coffee out there in the world. I've been visiting some local shops so I thought I'd document them here.

Good Cookie
Every week I take one of my kids on a date.   The one who is not on a date goes to spend two hours with Nana.  We've been doing it for several weeks and once the temperatures got started to include a stop at a local coffee shop.

On this outing with my daughter we had been to the Library and then we went to Whole Foods for a few groceries.  What a bonus that they have a coffee shop located right next to the bakery!

On the menu:
  •  Blueberry Fritter
  •  Chocolate Chip Cookie
  •  Hot Chocolate with Whip Cream
  • Allegro Coffee
I selected the fritter because Mallory wanted a doughnut and this was the closest thing they had to one.  Imagine that!  No doughnuts at Whole Foods.  I was skeptical about it but it was great!  In fact...Mallory took a bite and let me eat the rest.  She was very happy with the cookie.  Mallory gave the Hot Chocolate 2 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Caramel Apple Muffins

You may recall a couple weeks ago I sent Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins to my husband's office and his bosses wife also sent in muffins. Well....last week I decided to try again and was sure the universe wouldn't jack me around twice.

I got this recipe for Caramel Apple Muffins from my friend Sue and I thought...YES, these will be great! children did not like them. Too sticky and too sweet.

Hubby's co-workers loved them! YAY!

Caramel Apple Muffins
Adapted from Taste of Home

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons Spice Islands®, All Natural, No Corn Syrup Added, Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup chopped peeled tart apple
12 caramels, chopped

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, butter and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apple and caramels.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake portion comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. Yield: 14 muffins.

Since my kids didn't care for the sweet and sticky Caramel Muffins...I decided to try a different recipe for them. These were a hit and I discovered that I don't like nutmeg.

Apple Oatmeal Muffins

2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oat
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tart cooking apples, cored,peeled,and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs; add milk and oil, stirring until just blended. Stir in flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, mixing until only just moistened (do not overmix).Gently fold in the apples.

Spoon batter into the muffin tin, dividing evenly among the cups. Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or cool; store unused portions in an airtight container.