Valentines Day Post

I made these cheesecake brownie pops for Nick to take to work for Valentines Day (tags courtesy of Bakerella). First I tried to make them covered in pink candy melts with crushed conversation hearts. Unfortunately it was a miss. The pink color made them look inappropriate instead of holiday themed. I don’t know how else to explain it without being too graphic… I went back to classic fail proof chocolate.

I’ve been insanely busy with work and I am going to be extra lame and not include a recipe here. While these brownie pops were REALLY good I will be stepping away from desserts for awhile. I just got my Victoria’s Secret swimsuit issue and I’d like to look good in the new purple bikini I have my eye on. (If you really want it leave me a comment and I will tell you but I bet you are almost happy that I won’t be tempting you anymore!)

Take a last look at these sweet treats because it’s healthy meals and snacks from now on… Bring it on Spring!

Martha Stewart and Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

I picked up Martha Stewart’s cupcake book about a month ago and haven’t gotten around to try anything until now. All of her cupcakes are gorgeous but I decided to start off easy (these took maybe 30 minutes). I also cut the recipe in half and added a little extra sugar.

*1 package Oreo cookies *2 packages Philadelphia cream cheese (room temperature) *slightly under 1 cup sugar *1 tsp vanilla extract *2 eggs lightly beaten *½  cup sour cream *Pinch of salt
Makes about 15-18 cupcakes
FYI “easy” didn’t make them any less delicious! I had three yesterday and that’s when I had to get them out of the house. I brought them into work today and gave Nick the rest to bring to his office as well.

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.

2. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.

3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

4. Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

I got to thinking and Martha Stewart is basically the original womens lifestyle blogger. In the 60’s she was a model for Chanel. She could probably coordinate and photograph a 30 for 30 remix like no other! Isn’t she beautiful?

She picked up her knack for business (after her modeling stint) as a stock broker in the 70’s but didn’t stay in the business long. Her panache for home decorating became apparent after her and her husband bought and  remodeled their home in Westport, Connecticut (right next to where I grew up). She started a successful catering business next and it all spiraled upward from there.
Martha built an empire out of all the things I love. Her website and books are an endless source of material for bloggers like me and the network I follow. She is the original “Cupcakes and Cashmere,” with an array of content from baking and decorating, to gardening, fitness, sewing, weddings, entertaining and more.

Thank you for Doing My Taxes Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2010 was a year full of changes. Lucky for me they were all good changes. But changes also mean something the IRS likes to call a 1099 or sometimes 1098 and when you have more than one of them (try five) and lived and work in two different states it becomes really difficult to do your taxes on your own.

After a couple small tempter tantrums I got extremely lucky and someone offered to help. I made them these in thanks. I should really make them a couple more batches, that’s how fudged up my taxes were this year. As a matter of fact maybe that’s what I will make them next… homemade fudge.

(recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
*1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened  *2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
*1 egg *1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract *3/4 cup all-purpose flour *1/2 teaspoon baking soda *1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon *1/2 teaspoon salt *1 1/2 cups rolled oats
* raisins (as many as you like) * ½ cup almonds
Makes about 24 cookies  

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)

2.  Mix butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until creamy. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir together both mixes and then add oats, raisins, and almonds.

3. Chill the dough for about 30 mins. to an hour for thicker cookies. They will flatten if you bake right away. Which ever you prefer. Line up spoon size scoops two inches away from eachother on your cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and brown sugar. Cool and serve.

Fancy Watermelon Lime Jello Shots

I made these for our New Years Eve Party (with left over oranges and cherry jello we had in the pantry) and they were a huge hit. Who doesn’t love jello shots? Brings me right back to college. Unfortunately dixie cups don’t exactly look elegant alongside fancy cheese plates and party napkins. Not to mention the pink or blue stain on your finger all night from extracting.

Here is your solution! I am bringing them to a housewarming party tonight. Aren’t they gorgeous? The color combinations are endless.

*10 limes, *one box watermelon (or any kind of red color) jello * 1 cup vodka  *1 cup boiling water
– 10 limes makes 40 jello shots –

1. Prepare limes by cutting them in halves and hollowing out the peel. This may sound easier than it is. The trick is to take a paring knife and score around the insides carefully to loosen the citrus. Then spoon it out saving the fruit. (If you have a juicer for every 1 cup of lime juice add 6 cups of water and half a cup of sugar and 3 teaspoons of honey for an awesome limeade).

2. Boil one cup of water and add it to jello mix in a large bowl, stirring until it dissolves.

3. Slowly add one cup of vodka and stir. (For a kid friendly non-alcoholic version just use cold water instead of vodka)

4. Pour mixture into a cup with a spout (for an even pour). I use a measuring cup. Line up limes on a cookie sheet so they are secure and upright. Pour in jello mixture. Refrigerated over night.

5. Carefully (gingerly) quarter the halves with a sharp knife.
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My Love Makes Me Panko Crusted Salmon

Nick has made this salmon dish for me twice now and it is one of my favorites. I watched him make it last time so I could share it with you.

We try to have fish for dinner at least once a week for its health benefits. We choose salmon frequently because it’s low in calories and saturated fat and packed with omega 3’s which are proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, dry skin, fatigue and even mood swings. (Too bad it didn’t help out those mood swings this morning, right baby?)

*4 tablespoons unsalted butter *1 garlic clove, very finely chopped *1/2 cup panko bread crumbs *salt and freshly ground black pepper *2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice *1 tablespoon Dijon mustard *1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce *3 tablespoons honey

Purchase two fresh Atlantic salmon fillets from your local fish market (trust me the fresh stuff tastes better than anything prepackaged.)

Place your fillets on a parchment lined baking sheet. In a small bowl whisk the Dijon mustard and lime juice and then brush it over the salmon and the season with salt and pepper.

In a medium skillet melt the butter and add in garlic. Then add panko bread crumbs stirring until they are toasted and evenly coated in butter.

Pack the panko on top of the fillets generously and roast for 12 minutes or until cooked through (careful not to overcook. Dry rubbery salmon is not tasty).

While the salmon cooks simmer the soy sauce in a small saucepan until is reduces by half and then stir in the honey. When the salmon is out of the oven the last step is to drizzle the soy and honey sauce on top and serve!