Saturday, May 29, 2010

pistachio honey biscotti

attention bakers and biscotti lovers:
this treat is SO simple and easy to make!!
i commission you to go forth and bake a batch.
do not be scuuuuured of the biscotti.

i made these for our coffee house at church last night.
i had a delicious matcha green tea chai tea (how redundant is that name!!?) and dunked one of these biscotti into it.
it was the perfect late night treat.

the dough was very sticky and flat.
i thought they were a big flop when i pulled them out of the oven because they were still so flat.
but they had puffed up just enough to be cut in to that recognizable biscotti shape ;-)

this dough is very basic and easy to play around with.
you can substitute the pistachios for cranberries, chocolate chips or pecans.
what every you have laying around.

Pistachio Honey Biscotti
yields:: 24 cookies
{print recipe}

3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup light olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together sugar and lemon zest. With the back of a spoon press the lemon zest into the sugar to help release the oils. Add the oil and honey and mix until well blended.
Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, then beat in the eggs. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture in thirds making sure ever addition is well incorporated before adding more.
Mix in pistachios by hand until just combined.

Divide dough in half on to a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. I poured the dough out to form two logs about 12x2 inches. Dough may be sticky and flat; wet hands with cool water to handle dough more easily. Its ok if it spreads out...that's what happened to my dough and it turned out fine.

Bake for 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are very light brown.
Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes so you can cut the biscotti.
Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C).

After the logs have cooled for 10 minutes, cut them into 3/4 inch thick slices.
Lay them on their sides back on the parchment covered cookie sheet. Return to the oven and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes to dry them out.
Cool completely before serving.
adapted from: all recipes

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

let summer BEGIN!!

i don't know about you but i am read for some grilling and tanning.

guess what this monday is?!
the unofficial start of summer!
memorial day is upon us.

check out my guest blog post over on create my event on how to make these adorable hamburger cupcakes for your memorial day festivities.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

weekly dose!!

hope this update finds you happy and healthy this week!

i am still recovering from my beloved LOST and its finale.
for the record i loved how it ended.
i cried like a little bebe....
sobbing like a mad fool at the end.
happy to report that i'm not confused one bit.
loved it!

my little munchie has kept me busy lately.
she is finally a full time walker.
its fun to watch her toddle all over the place.
i can not believe how big she is getting.
she will be two in august.
make it stop.

she is a little parrot repeating everything she hears.
she constantly points asking "what's that??"
daddy built her a little fort in the living room and she hides in it giggling.
she is a lover of berries, tofu and meat.
we call her the little carnivore.
chicken is her fave and she says
"mmmm, mmmm, MMMM!" when she gets to have some.

last week i was exhausted from back to back events.
one morning i watched her as she methodically destroyed the living room.
i could do nothing to stop her... i was too tired.
she sure had fun.
 ohhhhh...ahhhhhh....a clicky pen.
 good thing i'm cute...huh mama!!?
 scrunchie face!!
surveying the damage.
looks like she is satisfied with her work.

our good friends james and lacey recently welcomed a beautiful little girl!
we went to visit them at their home so the munch could meet her new little friend.
 saying hi to the baby.
 sweet girl!
 love me some baby feet.
here is the munchie is trying to make nice with the doggie.
she is attempting to pet him.
she was walking by the doggie and he tried to lick her. 
she was having NONE of that.
i LOVE this picture!!
hope you have a wonderful week.
summer is almost here...yippeeeeeee!
the munch and her exhausted mama

Monday, May 24, 2010

hello cupcake!

i made these cute cupcake cut out sugar cookies last week.
i had so much fun making them!
my cookie cutter collection is growing at a rapid pace.
these cookies are such an inexpensive and sweet surprise for a thank you favor or for someone's birthday.
just takes some time and love to put them together!

here is the recipe to make your own.
just a reminder that practice makes perfect.
and here is another cute lil cupcake....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

as simple as that.

this is my all time favorite dessert.
for real.
i was introduced to it when i worked at the halekulani.
it was one of the turn down and romance amenities that was sent to the guests room.
fresh, sweet strawberries with dark brown sugar and sour cream....regular or light sour cream works, as does light or dark brown sugar.
dunk a ruby red strawberry into the sour cream first then in to the brown sugar.
sit back and take a bite of HEAVEN.

this is one of the most simple yet elegant desserts you can place on your dining room table.
be careful!
people have been known to polish of a pint or 2 of strawberries this way.
not ME mind you....just people in general ;-)

don't say i didn't warn you!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

coffee cake muffins


this is one of my all time favorite treats.
i remember when i was little, i thought this cake was only for adults because i assumed there was coffee IN the cake.
i felt very grown up when i was granted a piece to nibble on!

these muffins are a great alternative to a 8x8 pan.
they freeze well and can be reheated in the microwave in about 30-45 seconds.
keep a frozen batch on hand and you'll always have something special to serve a surprise guest.

Coffee Cake Muffins
yields:: 24 muffins
{print recipe}

For Streusel Topping
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces

For Muffins
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles large coarse crumbs; refrigerate until ready to use.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

4. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, sour cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. With mixer on low, beat flour mixture into butter mixture, scraping down the sides as needed.

5. Divide half the batter among prepared muffin cups. Top each muffin with a teaspoon of the streusel mixture, then remaining batter, and top with remaining streusel. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

adapted from :: genesis of a cook 

Friday, May 14, 2010

tutti fruitti

hope you had a wonderful mother's day celebrating those fabulous women in your life that have raised you in to the fantastic person you are today!!

for mother's day i wanted something visually beautiful and it needed to travel well.
we drove to my in-laws house about 2 hours away from us.
i knew i could assemble this tart once i arrived at their home.

i made the crust and the pastry cream about and hour before we left the house.
the pastry cream chilled in a covered container and i packed it in a small cooler for the car ride.

i TOTALLY winged this.
early sunday morning, i made a delicious pastry cream from scratch.
i just knew i did something wrong and it wasn't going to set in time for the trip.
that's what happens when you don't pay attention and read instructions BEFORE you make something. ;-)

when i realized the cream was a dud...i scanned my pantry for something to replace it.
i found one box of instant vanilla pudding.
pastry cream and vanilla pudding to me tastes NOTHING alike.
me no likey the taste of the boxed stuff.
but beggars can't be choosers.

i made some adjustments to the ingredients added to the instant pudding and lo and behold!
it tastes exactly like pastry cream. no joke.
praise the LORD!

this beautiful dessert will be ready to impress your guests in about an hour and a half!

Fruit Tart with Quick Pastry Cream
yields :: 8-10 servings
{print recipe}

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pastry Cream:
3oz. box of instant vanilla pudding
1 cup half & half
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

Here is a rough estimate on what I used, but I recommend using your favorites and what ever is in season:
3 peeled and sliced kiwis
15-20 strawberries sliced
2 oz. blackberries

To prepare the crust preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In medium bowl, mix together butter or margarine, flour and chopped nuts. Press into 10 inch tart pan that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. I have an 8x12 inch tart pan that I use and there is enough of the mixture to cover the bottom. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Cool completely.

While crust is baking in a medium bowl, combine half and half and instant pudding.
Mix with a whisk until pudding is dissolved about 1-2 minutes.
Add heavy cream and vanilla and beat for about 1-2 more minute.
Place in fridge to chill for about 1 hour.

Prep and slice your fruit.
When ready to assemble, spread pastry cream over cooled crust with an offset spatula.
Layer your fruit on top of the pastry cream and serve!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

do me a favor....

another guest blogger installment over on create my event!

with wedding and shower season quickly approaching what will your go-to party favor be??
hopfully something edible ;-)

for some fun ideas read my post on edible favors.

peace out....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

weekly dose!!

HELLO there.

we are alive and very well!
things have been crazy around these parts to say the least.

i have taken on a different aspect of my event planning business and to put it lightly...
it has really taken off!
praise the LORD!
for He is so, so good.
blogging will have to be the thing the "gives", taking a back seat for the time being.

per my mama's request and because it is mother's day week,
here is a loooooong over due weekly dose!

jere jae and i celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary on april 23rd.
thank you Lord for such a wonderful, sweet and caring husband.
you really surpassed all i asked and prayed for by blessing me with him.

we took a quick trip up the coast to monterey, spreckels and santa cruz to see my family.
the munch was a very good girl for the 5 hour car ride.
it was her 1st time facing forward in her car seat. ever.
we have a tv and dvd player in our tahoe.
we used it one time when we first got the car.

you should have seen her blue eyes light up when we turned that thing on and there in technicolor was her beloved sesame street and elmo.
she looked at me as if to say "has this TV been in the CAR the whole time i've been facing backwards?!?!"

it definitely made the long car ride more enjoyable for her and her mommy and daddy!

my auntie julita and uncle alexis/lou were gracious enough to open their beautiful home to us.
on our anniversary they watched the munch along with my my auntie ani who drove over from santa cruz. jere jae and i had a wonderful dinner at montrio bistro. we were even able to go see clash of the titans! we had such a great time.

some other highlights of the trip were a visit to the wild animal refuge, the monterey bay aquarium and santa cruz beach boardwalk with my cousin kaili, her fiance darius and her lovely roomie robin. my auntie ani prepared a scrumptious beach picnic for us...grilled marinate lamb chops, sausages and orzo salad. yum.

with out further are some highlights!
playing with uncle's very expensive equipment.
she is her daddy's daughter for sure!!
in LOVE with the keyboard.
uncle alexis spinning the munch in the cool chair!
a visit to wild things
pretty intimidating being [thisclose] to a lion.
the guide told us that they call this zebra the stripped elephant.
it seriously thinks its an elephant.
the munch got to feed an elephant!!
pretty amazing thing to have done by 20 months old.
ok...that's enough.
monterey bay aquarium.
always stunning.
she would have JUMPED in to the touching pools if we let her!
she loved it!
watching feeding time at the kelp forest.
my favorite exhibit...the jellies.
she was making the funniest faces!
then she made this sweet, sweet face.
my favorite picture ever of my two favorite people ever.
i am pleased to announce we finally have a WALKER!!
get a good look.
here is an actual picture of me.
we then headed over to the fisherman's wharf to get some dinner.
calamari and fries.
never ending bowl of clam chowder.
best he's ever had.
we gave the munch a lemon to dine on.
she actually likes them.
santa cruz
the boardwalk
jere jae, kaili, darius and robin all went on the big dipper.
i ran down the boardwalk pushing the stroller
to position myself to get these pictures.
true wuuuuv.
she liked laying her face in the sand.
have a blessed week!

the munch and her mama


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