As you can imagine, our recent college graduate is walking on cloud nine - me, not so much. I'm still coming to terms with the fact that I'm old enough to be the parent of 2 college graduates. 😬😅
Despite my roller coaster of emotions last weekend, we had a great time celebrating the accomplishments of our recent graduate. And since her love languages are time and food - we filled two whole days with great friends and family and LOTS and LOTS of amazing food. Pasta, doughnuts, chicken and waffles, macaroni and cheese, quesadillas, a taco bar with nachos and queso and of course, chocolate, all had to be included in the celebrations. #sheknowswhatshelikes 💁🏻♀️
In case you were thinking that I made all of those delicious foods - let me just stop you right there. I employed a LOT of help to pull off those epic feasts. And I use that term "employed" loosely. It's an unwritten rule that anyone who happens to be related to me (or marries someone related to me) will be asked to pitch in with food prep on party days. 👩🏻🍳 😉
I may not have made much of the party food for last weekend but I did manage to make a batch of her favorite chocolate chip biscotti as my contribute to the weekend. I even did it ahead of time and put it in the freezer for safe keeping. Yea me! BUT, I got wrapped up in the whirlwind of events over the weekend and I completely forgot to take it out of the freezer. 🤦🏻♀️ Oh well, like we'll be celebrating Father's Day with biscotti this year. (Someone please help me remember to get it out of my freezer.) 😅
Chocolate Chip Biscotti
6 tablespoons butter room temperature
⅔ cup of granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips
2 tablespoons large crystal decorating sugar
½ cup melted dark chocolate
Reduce heat to 325. Let biscotti cool 10 minutes. Cut into 1/2" slices. Arrange on baking sheets and bake 25-30 minutes longer.
Dip one end in chocolate. Allow to cool.
I love biscotti and this chocolate dipped chocolate chip biscotti is amazing.
Over the last 5 weeks - I've been working my side hustle - part time strawberry picker (and taster). 🍓I'm not a professional - but picking enough fresh berries to keep up with my family's demand and my catering needs has turned into more than a casual gig. 😅
I sell a lot of chocolate dipped strawberries at this time of year but we eat a LOT of fresh strawberries too. Can you blame us? Who doesn't love homemade pound cake, drizzled with chocolate and topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream?
This Spring, I made strawberry cake, strawberry ice cream, chocolate drizzled strawberry skewers, strawberry cupcakes, strawberry pie, strawberry cheesecake muffins and strawberry cookies. Are you starting to see why I spend hours and hours at the strawberry farm every Spring?
To me, the best strawberry desserts are the ones that highlight the fresh flavor of the berries and don't mask it behind more dominant flavors. If I'm going to go through the trouble of picking each and every berry by hand, I want to taste them in every bite of my dessert.
I adapted this recipe for Strawberry Cream Pie from the Magnolia Table cookbook. If you have the cookbook, you'll notice that my version is quite a bit different from the original recipe. I really wanted to create a pie that was light and fluffy but also firm enough to hold its shape when sliced. A pie that everyone will love. 🍓
Strawberry Cream Pie
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 ounces condensed milk
2 Tablespoons fresh strawberry puree
1/2 fresh strawberries, diced
graham cracker crust
Swirl in the leftover strawberry solids. It makes more sense to do this before you pour it into the crust but... I forgot. 🤦🏻♀️
Garnish with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
Happy (early) Mother's Day
It's Wednesday. It's Cinco De Mayo and it's four days before Mother's Day so, what better time to post my Mother's Day dessert recipe? #mytimingisimpeccable 😂 Seriously though, I'm worried that since we have a lot going on this weekend, the special day would come and go without giving the moms in my life their proper recognition. I love you mom!!! ❤️
Full disclosure: I will NOT be making this beautiful cake for Mother's Day. 🎂 My youngest child is graduating from college and we're hosting a little graduation celebration for her on Sunday. I fully anticipate that my time will be consumed by party preparations and I won't have the time to make a special Mother's Day dessert but never fear - I ordered a special cake from a very talented friend. 🤫 Hopefully my mom will feel honored and celebrated despite the chaos of the day.
This beautiful cake masterpiece was actually a birthday cake for my dad. Once again - my timing is on point. 😂 And even though I will not be making this 6 layer dessert creation this weekend - I feel like there are followers out there who are looking for a handcrafted dessert to make for mom this weekend. Moms love homemade gifts from their kids and I have a feeling that she will love this cake even more than a handprint turkey or a cheerio necklace. 🖐🏻😅
Now is the perfect time to start planning for your Mother's Day cake. 🍰 That was totally my plan when I posted this recipe 4 days early. 😅Anywho, now you have extra time to gather up your ingredients, find your cake pans and carve out time in your schedule to make this cake. Just a tip: You'll want to start this cake on Saturday if you want to gift it to your mom on Sunday.
Italian Cassata Cake
For the Filling
30 ounces ricotta (whole-milk)
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 lemons (zested)
For the Cake
2 white cake layers
1/2 cup rum
2 tablespoons water
For the Frosting
2 cups coconut whipped cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon rum
Frost sides and top of the cake with coconut cream frosting.
Decorate with strawberry halves.
Maybe I'm feeling extra sensitive about my age right now because I'm approaching a milestone birthday, but I feel like it's been the focus of conversation all weekend. On Sunday, I was informed by an adorably, innocent six year old that I look "waaaaaay older" than my 22 year old daughter. I mean - I don't want to look like I'm in my twenties but the way he drew out and emphasized the "waaaaaaay" was a little too much. 😅
So much for my plan to deny the fact that my half century birthday is right around the corner. 😂 At this point, I might as well embrace it, right? Part of that is accepting the fact that, the older I get, the healthier I need to eat. More plants, vegetables and lean protein.
This simple dish with shrimp, orzo, tomatoes, zucchini and fresh mint seems like the perfect way for me to kick off this new decade of life. 🍅🥒🍤 I'm not sure if I'd define this as a stew or a pasta bowl but it's loaded with vegetables and it's delicious. 💁🏻♀️Oh, and before you start thinking this is food for "old" people, this recipe has been taste tested and approved by family members in waaaaaaay younger age groups than myself. 😅
Shrimp with Orzo and Zucchini
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound extra large shrimp
3 celery stalks
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup orzo
2 zucchini, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest.
Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with fresh mint. It probably would have been more appropriate for me to wait until mid summer when my garden is overflowing with tomatoes, zucchini and fresh herbs to make this dish but, I couldn't wait. I'll just have to make it again in a couple of months. 🤷🏻♀️
For those of you following along on my kitchen remodel roller coaster - I'm here to update you. 🎢For those of you who stop by the blog just to get new recipes and could care less about my kitchen drama - skip down to the recipe. #itwonthurtmyfeelings 😅
This week we got our first look at our new kitchen design. We're working with an amazing designer who was able to take all of my crazy ideas and put them together into a workable and realistic plan. She worked her magic and sketched my dream kitchen that included everything I ever wanted in a kitchen and some things I never even knew were possible. 😂 I was flying high until I saw the price tag that was attached to my kitchen. 😢 Turns out - my dream kitchen comes with a really big price tag . 💵 wha waaaaaaaaah
After I got over the sticker shock, (and picked myself up off of the floor) I revisited my kitchen plan and made some adjustments to the original design. We also had a meeting with both our designer and our contractor that lasted nearly 3 hours and in the end, I think that we came up with a plan that's more within our budget and still significantly improves our current space. I may not have gotten EVERYTHING that I wanted in the new kitchen but I'm happy with the compromises that had to be made.
My head was absolutely spinning by the end of our marathon kitchen planning session. 😶So many decisions to be made in such a short amount of time. (No one ever said designing a kitchen would be easy.) 😅 Chocolate is a non-negotioable on kitchen planning days. 🍫Turns out - a chocolate chip muffin takes the sting out of having to give up cabinet space to fit in duct work. 💁🏻♀️
Chocolate Chip Muffins
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
coarse sugar for sprinkling
Make your muffins jumbo...
or make them mini.
Chocolate chip muffins should be a staple on every weekend breakfast menu. Bacon, eggs, pancakes, waffles - chocolate chip muffins. 🍽 Sweet vanilla muffins studded with dark chocolate chips and sprinkled with sanding sugar is just about the most perfect way to start (or end) my day.
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