Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate and strawberry bliss! My Mom’s “magical” jello popped into my mind. She used to make jello squares and pour heavy cream into the jello mix (including water); placed them in the refrigerator and a couple hours later, 2 tone jello… creamy on top and jello on the bottom. Our family and friends used to think it was pretty neat!

I love the color contrast! Poured into 4 stem glasses for a charming, Valentine style. It’s meant to share or not. Lol! 

Ingredients: 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, cut into pieces/chopped – 3 ounces 60% Ghiradelli – 1 cup cold heavy cream, – 3 egg whites 

Strawberry – 3 oz strawberry jello  (follow jello directions) – 2 cups heavy cream – allow jello to cool before adding whip cream/cool whip. At least 30 minutes. Whisk together the strawberry jello and whip cream until smooth. 

Fill a medium saucepan with 1-2 cups of water and bring to medium heat. Place chocolate and 1/4 cup heavy cream in a heatproof bowl. Put remaining heavy cream back in the refrigerator. Place bowl over the saucepan (bowl should not touch the water). Melt chocolate, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. I suggest medium low heat. Carefully remove bowl from the saucepan and set aside to cool. Place egg whites in a separate medium/large bowl and whisk (you may use electric whisk) for 3 minutes until stiff peaks form. Place the remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream into a third medium bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Use a rubber spatula to fold half of the whipped cream into melted chocolate. Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture. Thoroughly combine. Spoon mousse or pipe it from a pastry bag. 

Diagonal inspiration TipBuzz on Pinterest.

Homemade Whip Cream – 1 1/2 cups heavy cream – 2 tablespoons sugar – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract/vanilla bean paste 

Angel Food Cupcakes

Cupcake-a-licious! You can’t be sad while holding a cupcake : ) 

I have never made angel food “cupcakes”.  It was an interesting experience with a sweet outcome. Angel food cake is a delicate & soft dessert, especially as a cupcake. It’s important not to over fill the cupcake liner. I lost a few that were filled slightly below the liner. My suggestion is to use foil liners as well. Be gentle with these little suckers. 

 The strawberries were roasted and smelled amazing … with a splash of maple syrup and granulated sugar. A summer scent that always makes me smile! 

#haveyouhadyourcupcaketoday #berrysweet

Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted – 1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar – 1 1/2 cup egg whites, at room temperature – 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice – 1 tsp cream of tartar – 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract – 1/4 tsp salt – 1/2 teaspoon almond extract – 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced,  1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons maple syrup – 1 teaspoon granulated sugar  – 1 1/2 cup heavy cream – 2 tbsp sugar – 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract – 2 cups fresh strawberries – 2 tbsp maple syrup – 6 oz strawberry jam; preserve – 2 tsp granulated sugar  Optional: red swedish fish valentine heart candy decoration

Pre heat the oven at 350 degrees. Do not spray or butter the pan. In a large bowl, sift together 3/4 cup granulated sugar and all of the flour. In your mixer or another large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. About 2 minutes. Add the cream of tartar, lemon juice and vanilla extract and salt. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar. Scrape sides if necessary. Sift the flour mixture (gradually, 1/4 cup at a time), gently fold into the egg whites. Spoon into pan/liners. Reminder: fill 3/4 or slightly less, use your discretion. Bake 350, 12 – 15 minutes. Allow to cool. 

Glaze: Place sliced strawberries in a single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle maple syrup evenly followed by sprinkled sugar. Roast strawberries, 400 degrees 10-12 minutes. Berries should be tender and release juices. Place strawberry jam into a bowl, spoon roasted strawberries on top and mix together using a fork. Optional: add a few teaspoons of warm water if the glaze is too thick. 

 

 

 

Spaghetti and Meatballs

A classic dinner, that many of us love! 

Do you call it red sauce or gravy? Twirl or cut your pasta? As a teenager, I was invited to my boyfriend’s Nana’s home for dinner. We were all seated at the table and I began to cut the spaghetti with my fork & knife, Nana was not pleased! She scolded me — you should never cut spaghetti. That was the day I learned how to twirl spaghetti with a fork & spoon.  

Between you and me, I use the spoon and fork twirling method while dining at restaurants or in a new social setting however, in the comfort of my home …. I do not.   

I think meatballs tastes even better the next day : ) 

 #spaghettiMEETball  #Nonna

Ingredients: 1 cup bread crumbs/panko – 2/3 cup finely grated parmigiana – 1 teaspoon salt – 1 teaspoon pepper –  1/2 small red onion finely chopped and sauteed  – 1 to 2 teaspoons butter or olive oil to saute – 1 tablespoon parsley pieces, chopped – 2 eggs, slightly beaten – 2.5 to 3 lb ground meat

*Allow sauteed onions to slightly cool prior to combining into meat mixture* 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Layered Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

Winter layers, not clothes… dessert!

Chocolate lovers dream. I wanted to try a no-bake; flourless cheesecake. Thanks to Yummiest Food on Pinterest — the texture reminds me of mousse. The layered combination is delicious! ❤️🍫

8 ingredients

Vegetarian

Baking & Spices

16 oz
Bittersweet chocolate

1 tbsp
Granulated sugar

1 cup
Powdered sugar

2 tsp
Vanilla extract

Snacks

2 1/2 cups
Oreo cookie crumbs

Dairy

6 tbsp
Butter, unsalted

4 (8 oz.) packages
Cream cheese

2 3/4 cup
Heavy cream

To make crust:
  1. Finely crush the cookies in a food processor, add melted butter and blend until it’s all moistened.
  2. Press crumb mixture onto the bottom of the prepared 9-inch springform pan by lightly greasing the edges of the pan with cooking spray
  3. Place in the freezer while you make the filling
To make cheesecake filling:
  1. Melt 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate and set aside to cool
  2. In medium bowl, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth
  3. In separate bowl, mix 2 cups heavy cream until soft peaks form, add vanilla extract and continue mixing until stiff peaks form
  4. Add cream cheese mixture into beaten heavy cream mix on low speed just to combine
  5. Divide mixture into 2 equal portions in separate bowls
  6. To the first half of the mixture add melted chocolate and mix on low speed to combine then pour the filling over the crust then second half of the mixture carefully spoon over the top of the chocolate mixture
  7. Place the cheesecakes in the refrigerator and refrigerate for at least one hour
To make chocolate topping:
  1. In a medium saucepan stir together cream, chocolate and sugar on low heat until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
  2. Cool and pour over the cheesecake.
  3. When the topping is set and cooled again run a thin knife around the sides and remove the springform pan sides.
  4. To serve cut the cheesecake into slices using a sharp, thin, non-serrated knife. Drizzle chocolate sauce if desired.

Avocado Toast

Happy Sunday!

I’m slightly obsessed with avocado toast! Avocados pair well with a variety of vegetables, fruits, dips and salads.

Sundays are a cooking day! Breakfast or dinner or even a new recipe. I enjoy cooking and baking plus it’s an amazing stress reliever.

Slice or mash avocados, blend with sea salt, splash of lime, olive oil, lemon, tomato or whatever your heart desires. Simple, light, healthy and delicious!

I added mangoes, fresh lime, a pinch of sea salt and cilantro.

#avocardiocooking 🥑😃

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

As a kid, I used to help my Mom and Grandmom make chocolate chip cookies. We always looked forward to licking the beaters or spoon …. fast forward 30 plus years it’s highly recommended not to eat raw batter….Sigh. Cookie dough is super delicious! When my son was younger, of course he would help stir and pour chocolate chip morsels into the mixture. I’m grateful for the ‘believe in the magic’ memories from my son’s childhood. He always helped prepare milk and cookies on Christmas Eve for Santa too! 

Mom and Grandmom would make Tollhouse cookie recipe. I used that recipe for years but eventually tried Crisco’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip cookie recipe. Note: I replace one crisco stick with a regular stick of butter.

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday and New Year! #milkandcookies #believeinthemagic

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup Crisco® Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Pillsbury BEST All Purpose Flour (I use 1 3/4 cup per their older recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (6 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Directions:

HEAT oven to 375ºF.

BEAT shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl with mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

DROP by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto baking sheet

BAKE 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Caramel Apple Pie

This is not your classic American pie —- a caramel apple pie with holiday cheer, rum! I couldn’t help but smile while simmering the apple ingredients together. Every room filled with this wonderful aroma. I was eager to try Williams-Sonoma’s salted caramel apple pie recipe.  Let me state the recipe does not call for rum but it should, Lol. The flavors are on point and scrump-a-licious! The salted caramel sauce was purchased on sale and it’s amazing! I’m not just saying that. For those non-sweet n’ salty people, do not let the salted caramel sauce fool you. It is delightfully sweet. 

I use Allrecipes buttery pie crust and replace regular butter with Irish butter. My apologies about the yellow tone photo as I forgot to photograph prior to egg wash. 

Happy Holidays! #baketheworldabetterplace #applelicious 

For the Filling: 4 lbs Granny smith (I combined granny smith & fuji apples) peeled and sliced – 1/2 cup light brown sugar – 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon – 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg – 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice – 3 Tbs. cornstarch – 1/2 tsp. sea salt Note: I added 3 tablespoons of Captain Morgan rum – 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar 

Salted Caramel recipe: 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar – 1/4 cup  water- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice – 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) heavy cream- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt OR purchase Williams Sonoma’s salted caramel sauce on line or in stores

 

 

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Baking season is here! I love carrot cake ….who am I kidding I LOVE cake. Period. 

Did you know Fall is peak carrot season? I never cared for this dessert until my 30’s. The first recipe I made the icing was way too sweet. After an Oprah episode airing Patti Labelle’s Over the Rainbow Macaroni n’ Cheese, I purchased her recipe book. Her Heavenly Carrot Cake is just that …heavenly. 

The little decorative carrot chocolate melts are perfect on top. I googled these adorable carrots — practice and practice some more. I modified the icing with less confectioners sugar.

A cupcake is happiness with icing on top 🥕😋#bakemyday

Cake Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour – 2 teaspoons baking soda – 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon – 1/8 tsp ground allspice – 1/2 tsp salt – 2 cups sugar – 1 cup vegetable oil – 2 large eggs – 2 tsp vanilla extract – four 4 oz jars carrot baby food – 8 oz can shredded pineapple, well drained – 3/4 cup chopped walnuts – 1/2 cup raisins

Frosting Ingredients: 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature – 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature – 1 tablespoon half n’ half or milk – 1/2 teaspoon almond extract – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract – 4 cups confectioners’ sugar (I modified to 3 cups)

Creamy Cole Slaw

This is my Grandmom’s recipe — I can hear her southern accent calling it “slaw”. Her laugh was contagious, stories were funny and her slaw was a tradition passed down.

I love a side of good coleslaw with seafood, ham, burgers, ribs (anything barbecue) and Thanksgiving dinner. For our family, Grandmom’s slaw became a holiday tradition!  I sat with my Mom and Grandmom shredding an enormous amount of cabbage & carrots the day before Thanksgiving….for years. 

Grandmom always added raisins. My older sister disliked having raisins combined so we made a separate bowl without too. It wasn’t until years later, I realized everyone’s idea of dressing does not include mayonnaise.

I find myself shredding a small portion throughout the year for home made happiness on the side. Serves 4-6 people, depending on portion. This recipe is definitely creamy with a slight crunch. 

#southernslaw #tradition #sidesalad 🥕

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium cabbage head, shredded
  • 1 1/2 to 2 fresh carrots, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ounce small box of raisins, optional

Directions: 

Remove outer layers of cabbage. Cut into 4 pieces. Shred cabbage (watch your fingers), place into medium/large mixing bowl. Rinse and peel carrots, shred and combine with cabbage. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise & vinegar stir and then add sugar. Mix well. Pour dressing over the cabbage and carrots, stir together. Allow to refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Optional: for extra creamy coleslaw, allow to marinate overnight.

Smokey Gouda Mac n’ Cheese

Cheese…yes please! Smoked gouda might just be my new favorite. A creamy texture and hickory flavor that melts beautifully.

I’ve made the same 5 cheese macaroni n’ cheese recipe for years…thanks to Patti LaBelle. It is delicious however, it’s time to switch it up.

A tad reluctant while whisking the flour & butter. It crossed my mind, what if we don’t like it? My motto is, try it! If you don’t like it, spit it out into a napkin but at least you can say you tried it. Something I taught my son while growing up.

The View from Great Island originated the recipe however, I modified this macaroni & cheese recipe to my taste.

I will definitely make this again! The smoked gouda gave a hint of flavor different to cheddar and it was amazing. We all went back for seconds… it’s all Gouda 😀😋

#sundaydinner #itsallgouda #cheeseplease

Ingredients:

  • – 3 cups cooked macaroni, follow instructions on box
  • – 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • – 1 TSP salt and pepper
  • – 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • – 2 cups smoked Gouda, shredded
  • – 2 to 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • – 1 egg, slightly beaten

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 350. Melt 2 tbsp butter in saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour, whisk together; stir constantly. Add the milk and whisk to combine over heat and simmer. Over low heat or remove saucepan from stove top, begin adding the shredded Gouda. Handful or so at a time, stir until melted and repeat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook pasta, al dente. Drain. Whisk or beat egg, pour into bowl with cooked pasta, stir until combined.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine cooked pasta with melted cheese mixture. Stir. Pour into a baking dish or individual dishes. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly.
  • * Optional – After cooking macaroni, I add extra butter. Stir until melted and then add egg. Sprinkle shredded cheese to top and broil until golden brown*