What do you do with two three pound tubs of cream cheese? No, really? What? Cause, I’m hyper focused on cheesecakes. Yes, I really do have that much cream cheese in my fridge. Costco and I are totally besties for life. But there is a reason behind it, I swear it’s legit. I’m not using it for a face mask or unseemly. I have been in wedding cake mode this summer, and somehow both brides nabbed cream cheese frosting as their keystone frosting choice. It’s summer – cream cheese frosting has not been my friend. But you wanna know what I have just found is my friend? These individual Oreo No Bake Cheesecake!!
The only problem with this is that I didn’t have a batch of Oreos to go with it. Ohhhh durn, had to go stock up. After five minutes straight staring at the cookie aisle – have you seen the different Oreos they’re out with now? I mean Coconut Fudge, come to mama. Peppermint, hello! Cake Batter in chocolate and vanilla cookie each almost fell into my basket and Peanut Butter and me are totally home skillets. Yes, I do infact subscribe to the Pre-teen Lindsay Lohan Parent Trap Oreo Trick of dipping my Oreos in peanut butter. Or Nutella. But ya know, whatever. Don’t be a hero and do it.
This is going to be known as the Week of the Cookbook Giveaway. I hope you don’t mind. I figured. This is a cookbook special to me because a fantastic blogging friend of mine put all her heart, the entire southern hemisphere’s worth of sugar and lots of sparkles and sprinkles into this beauty. And she wants to give one to you, too! Courtney of Pizzazzerie has whipped up this beautiful, sugary and sprinkled confection of a book to help you with all of your celebrating needs.
Courtney is a wiz a entertaining, all manners of celebrating and fun. I can’t get over how lovely and whimsical her creations are, and her decorating skills are top notch – simple, accesible and so dreamy!!
I’ve known Courtney for a while and we became real buds over our mutual love of sugar, frosting and our puppies. Her Henry is so regal and dapper with the prettiest ears ever. Mine loves cheese. They’d like totally be friends, too. Courtney’s a gem though and through with an light bright smile and a huge heart.
This book just overflows with adorable and creative frostings ideas and covers all of the basics you have to know in creating great frostings. From basic butter creams, to cooked frostings and fun glazes and ganaches this book is over brimming with fun. I wanted to share with you her recipe for Bananas Foster Frosting because well, it’s one of my favorite combos like ever. Banana and rum? I mean please girl. It’s where its at. This can of course be made with rum extract instead of the real deal for those who choose not to partake in the booze version, but either way it’s good. And with a whole banana in there – it’s considered a fruit right? I wish!!
To enter to win a copy of Courtney’s Frostings book check out the details below. If you don’t want to wait and would rather tell Lady Luck to stick it, get your mitts on a copy of Frostings now right here.
*Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of RecipeGirl’s new cookbook here, too!*
Leave a comment telling me what your favorite frosting is!
Don’t let your fresh summer berries go to waste! Learn how to freeze berries for later use using a few quick and simple tips.
I love summer season – and I’m one step away from being the kid with berry stains all over her face. Like a old broad with blue hair and bad lipstick. I can’t keep it up, it’s getting uncomfortable in my jeans here. And there is only so much a girl can down before you gotta do something with it. You know who else loves berries? Huck. He is named after a berry after all. And he loves blueberries. And cheese. And carbs, but that’s neither here nor there.
Sunday, my dad and bonus mom made a stop by the house after a morning full of berry picking to drop off some of their haul and Huck was more than eager to share in the spoils, bouncing into Bonus Mom’s face, and knocking a couple cups of berries onto the ground and into his face. Mission accomplished. But what had I done on Saturday? Just gone and bought a three pound clam shell of blueberries at the store for a price I couldn’t pass up. So now I have four pounds of berries and there ain’t no way my jeans can deal with the remnants of my Sunday burger slathered in sauce and topped with hash browns and a half vanilla shake and healthy, antioxidant filled berries to the top of it. Food logic fail.
After all those berries and burger in my belly, I’m not the only one writhing on the floor whale-esque – Huck is, too- but letting them go to waste is clearly not an option. So I gave the rest of the berries the big chill until I clear up my schedule to make some cobbler, crisps, smoothies, jams, syrups, pancakes, waffles, muffins, cupcakes, cakes, mocktails, cocktails, sorbets, ice creams, sorbet-linis, and well… uhhh eat them frozen. Cause I’m not above it.
This is probably the most simple how-to yet, and I’m okay with that. I have some whale-esque writhing to get back to with Huck. He’s a champ at berry overeating. I’m catching up.
Step One through Three: Wash, dry and pick out all sticks, twigs, and sad looking berries out. Chuck ‘em.
Step Four: Lay the berries out single layer onto a rimmed cookie sheet and freeze for 2 hours, or until frozen.
Here’s the story – As berries freeze, the cell walls will break down and if you just chuck them into a bag and then freeze them, they will lump together into a massive wad of frozen fruit ball and they’re ugly! Who wants a berry wad? No one, that’s who! This technique works great on all berries, from raspberries and blackberries, to blueberries and huckleberries.
Step Five: Once the berries are frozen, pour them into a ziploc bag or a click and seal plastic container.
Step Six : Make a smoothie, or a sorbet, or feed them to positively perfect, sappy eyed, allergy riddled, hungry, berry loving puppy. You’re a sucker and you know it.
A simple, fresh and impressive appetizer for your next party. This baked brie is full of summer flavor and melted brie cheese.
Remember the good old days when you could eat whatever you wanted, not gain an ounce, feel like a champ after eating a large pizza all by yourself with a six pack of beer and not bat an eye? Okay, well maybe not the whollleeee large pizza, because obviously you still needed some of it for breakfast the next day… but still you get my point. The good ol’ days. Fast forward to the present and I’ve come to the unfortanate realization that can’t eat like I used to. Somehow a quarter pound burger has left me feeling like a bloated beached whale, writhing around trying, making the most ghastly of gutteral sounds. You’re welcome for that visual. Yet somehow – nearly a half pound of baked brie positively slathered in gingered peach and blueberry compote didn’t make me bat an eye. I’m not ashamed. It’s baked brie.
One of Lori’s “Change It Up” tips in this recipe was to add fresh blueberries to it. Well just as it happens I had some on hand. Talk about perfect!
My jeans be shaking with trepidation at the prospect of buttoning this morning but let me tell you right this instance – Worth. It.
This recipe comes from Lori Lange aka Recipe Girl‘s new cookbook! After getting my mitts on a copy of this beauty from Lori, I couldn’t help but flip through and see all of the gorgeous photos from Matt Armendariz who brought her creations to beautiful light. From the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Lover Brownies to the Butternut Squash Soup with Pancetta and Crispy Sage – I was sold. But naturally – the cheese was beckoning and calling to me. I simply had to heed the call. And ohhh did I. Me and that brie got to know each other very intimately.
This recipe was so simple and if it was set before me at a cocktail party – I’d just make off with the whole plate and not look back. You can’t stop me. Oh, and lucky me, I bought another slice of brie and have perfectly ripe peaches and a clamshell of blueberries to make foodie love too. Again, you’re welcome for that visual. Sorry, not sorry.
But so you will forgive me and come back again and not leave me forever – Lori has kindly offered up a copy of her cookbook to YOU!! Check below for all the details and get your mitts on this creation!
Easy, no-bake treats with Cocoa Krispie cereal and Nutella laden marshmallow ! These Nutella Cocoa Krispie Treats are perfect for summer.
Okay seriously, Dr. Quinn is making me cry. What the heck you fictional 90′s TV woman?! You just go on with your doctorin’, Sully lovin’ and pony riding. Ben and I don’t have cable. I know, how lame. Right? I agree completely. He We’re just that abhorrently cheap. But it’s probably for the best.
Because of that cheapness, we’re Netflixing our way through out favorite TV shows. Dr. Quinn is that latest show taking up that majority of our sittin’-on-our-ass time. My middle school Saturday nights at 8 were sacred time for me – I got my pony fix, and I’m pretty sure my love of bearded men came from Sully. I mean – that wild hair, that scruff. Daynnggg gurrllll. Ben wonders why I don’t let him shave….Well, blame it on Sully. It was ingrained deep in my teenage hormonal psyche apparently.
And…yeah. Sorry, I’m getting distracted again. I just can’t stop staring at Sully. *Hi Ben*
Anyway – this weekend I’ve got another wedding cake to make for one of my oldest friends! I should be working on that tonight, too. Damn you Sully! Dani, said friend, and I have known each other since we were in middle school – playing on softball and fast pitch leagues all the way up through high school. We’ve seen each other through those awkward teenage years, TV crushes (of which mine obviously still continue today), real life crushes, softballs to the faces, strike outs and a Chevy muscle car obsessions. Yeah, I was the girl in high school with a subscription to Super Chevy magazine. Cosmo? Puh-leeze. So I’m super thrilled to be baking the cakes for her wedding this weekend.
*See local Portland eateries and food culture through my Instagram lens*
You follow me on Instagram, right? Cause if you do you probably noticed Ben and I were eating ALOT last weekend. Like, a gargantuan amount of food. And simply said – it was spectacular. We adventured down south to Portland to take in and savor all of the cheese and food culture that this self proclaimed “weird” city has to offer. Portland, the land of the Hipster. Or as I like to think of it, the land of everything local, tasty, quirky and hand made. The Portland food scene takes immense pride in sourcing local ingredients and hand crafting quality food in all forms. If you have a craving for anything under the sun, you can find it in Portland just around the block.
Ben and I stayed downtown Portland, right along the Willamette River at Hotel Fifty. After a plane ride that morning we wanted to soak in the sun and took a stroll along the river before venturing to our first stop Foster and Dobbs for wine tasting and of course cheese! Johan Wines was the featured tasting of the night and so we sat at the shop for a good two hours tasting and eating delicious hand crafted local cheeses. Since we were in PDX we figured local was the way to go. We started with the most mild cheeses and wines and worked out way up to the dark red wines and robust blue cheese of the night.
The next morning Ben and I nabbed some coffee and walked over to Portland Saturday Market to explore what local craftsman and women had to share. I picked up a few things for friends and tried to resist the powers and smells of the fry bread stand as I walked by…I’m a carb-oholic, there is no denying it.
For lunch we decided on Urban Farmer, a steakhouse downtown, where I had the Shrimp and Pulled Pork Cheese Grits and Ben had a cheeseburger between a crispy english muffin. It tasted like a high-end locally raised Big Mac. But better. My shrimp and grits made me swoon a thousand times over. The poached egg on top was the clincher. On the menus, and on the chalkboards around the restaurant proudly displayed the names and farms where they sourced their ingredients. Portland is proud to proclaim the high quality and craftsman ship of their producers, farmers and foragers.
After that we needed a walk – and dessert. Of course, that means ice cream. And the one place you need to stop at for ice cream in Portland is Salt and Straw. Salt and Straw incorporates seasonal ingredients into many of their ice creams, and with all the berries out and ready to be picked, they had a whole new array of berry flavored treats – one that I wanted to try, was sold out right before I got to place my order! It’s popular stuff. So I went ahead and tried their Stumptown Coffee and Burnside Bourbon ice cream. Not a bad trade in my eyes! Ben went with his good ol’ stand by double vanilla bean vanilla. He’s a creature of habit.
Last but not least for dinner, we joined one of my dearest friends and Portland food connoisseur, Josh, at his favorite restaurant in town The Woodsman Tavern. Josh recommended the Country Ham tasting plate for a starter and it was a winner. Much like a cheese plate, you start with the lightest and work your way up to the saltier and more complex. I ended up with the salted and butter braised trout with sun dried tomatoes. Josh went with the meat loaf you see below, loaded with crispy onions and gravy laden mashers, while Ben dug his fork into the basil and garlic sausage and mussels. It was a tummy full of winning.
Our last stop on Sunday was to Homestead Farm Supply where I positively fell to pieces at all of the homegood for all forms of urban and country homesteader. There were kits for making laundry soap, hand soap, canning, raising your own chickens and of course – cheese making!! With classes for locals who want to make more of their own stuff, Homestead Supply is the go to place for people to take in all they can and try something new. The list of cultures and my new list of possible DIY cheeses at home just spilled over the brim – Thankfully they will be coming out with a catalog this fall, so I will be ordering my own cultures to give more cheese making a try. I mean sure, I’ve made my own ricotta before, but I want to dive right in and get my curd on!
Portland was a treat and a half. I’ve had the chance to dive deep into the food scene and take in all of the passion, art and craftsmanship that goes into every dish that gets created in this town. I have a whole new outlook on it all and value every bite I take even more.
If you’re in Portland, be sure to visit any of these fine establishments and find some more to add to your must-see list.
*fine print* I have been working in partnership with Cracker BarrelCheese and this immersion into the Portland food scene to experience the craftsmanship, heritage and culture of food was sponsored by Cracker Barrel. All opinions are my own.
Try this easy weeknight roasted broccoli and tomato summer pasta skillet for a fresh and light meal with lots of seasonal vegetables.
The British Royal heir is coming, the British Royal heir is coming!! The day nine months in the making is finally here and my productivity level at work has absolutely tanked…Oh wait I’m not even at work yet. I just barely made it into the shower and got dressed into the first thing out of my closet to remotely match and go together because I’m furiously checking tweets, news outlets, cosmic signals and everything trying to get the latest updates on this royal babe. It’s stooopidddd…. To say that I’m obsessed would be a categorical understatement – but you already knew that I was a little bit touched. Sorry, not sorry. And things are getting totally crazy around here (ie – my mind).
Ben and I just got back to a weekend in Portland where we ate, drank and soaked in our weird neighbor to the south – and with all the time I was on my phone, about half of it was spent on checking twitter to see if there were any new “The Royal Womb is EnRoute” tweets. I have a VERYYYYY understanding husband. But I’m not sure he can take much more of my excitement over the whole ordeal. Don’t worry hunny, it’ll be over soon – and I’m betting it’ll be a GIRL. And you heard it here first – her name will be Eugenia Sophia BananaHammock. KIDDING!!!
I know Alexandra has been top of the betting names list – and since the beginning that was my guess too – but with all that hype, there is no way that will be the baby’s name!! I’m betting Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Carole Cambridge. For a boy – George Arthur Charles Michael William Cambridge. But really you can toss about five names into the royal baby name and you’re bound to get ONE of their names right… Put all the names into a hat and pull ‘em out one by one and BAM! Royal Baby Name!!
So if you’re like me and hanging on every baby update – make sure you eat in between refreshing those tweets. We have to keep our strength up! I love this roasted broccoli and tomato summer pasta skillet. I made it MONTHS ago and haven’t been able to tell you all about it because it was on a new product from Star Fine Foods. They’ve just released an all new line of mono-varietal olive oils that are divine. Mono-varietal means that each oil is made from a single type of olive which gives it unique flavors and characteristics. Each type of oil also has great pairings with certain types of food. The Fresh Olive Oil is light and airy, and perfect for roasting these veggies and coating this pasta. A little parmesan cheese never hurts either – so this is a very light and simple dish for summer. And if turning on your oven isn’t in the cards – try grilling your broccoli with some of this oil coating it. How delicious!
A simple cocktail, perfect for summer – this Strawberry Basil Sorbet Bellini is a twist on a classic peach belini with champagne poured over homemade strawberry basil sorbet.
You get bubbles! You get bubbles! EVERYBODY gets BUBBLES!! Just call me the Oprah of Bubbles, I don’t mind, because it’s summer and all of you need a respite from this heat and dang it I have a respite for you!! It might be the three glasses of this in me while I type – but I’m pretty sure bubbles are the new black. And red. And green. This beaut has summer strawberry and basil sorbet playing the role of fruit puree in the traditional bellini.
Strawberry +Basil = Sorbet + Bubbles = Sorbellini
Or would that be Sorbetellini?
That rogue “t” trips me up every time I type it. And the same thing goes for Sherbet! How many of you pronounce your sherbet with an “R”? I never even realized that sherbet didn’t have an “r” in it until one of my midwest blogging buddy told me about it! Naturally I had to investigate the next time I went down the ice cream aisle – and there is no R in sherbet!! I feel like my whole ice cream filled life has been a lie. I just chose to ignore the missing “r” much like I chose to ignore that Matthew Crawley is dead. (He can’t be dead! It’s a cruel joke! Damn you, Downton!!) What is this all about? Rachel said that we all say it right, but it’s the ice cream people who have been misprinting their labels for years. I happen to agree.
So is it Sor-bayyy or Sor-Bet? Rogue letter everywhere…
But we Washingtonians are rather apt at putting rogue r’s into places they don’t belong. Anyone ever hear their grandparents drop an “r” into “wash”… You going to go warsh that darn car? It makes me cringe! And as G-ma would say, we’re “Warshingtonians”.
Okay, I could go far too down that rogue letter path and never recover – so let’s move on.
If you are tardy to the party – it’s BERRY WEEK! The usual suspects and I are teaming up to celebrate summer in every berry filled way we could imagine. And trust me, there are some doozies of recipes in this line up. These women are inspired, each and every one of them.
Now go get cho’ berry awwnnn!! It’s awwn. Like donkeh Kawwng!!
Learn how to quickly and precisely de-bone chicken and other poultry in easy to follow step by step photos.
We are getting truly hands on today folks. This is one how-to that has been on my list – yes, there is a list – of things to learn and show you for MONTHS. Actually, I think this is the How-To that started it all. Months ago, my step dad had told me about de-boning a chicken and he volunteered to show me when I went out to my parent’s house last fall. Well, between the wedding, Ben going back to school, working, honeymooning, blogging, and everything in between the lessons in deboning birds went by the wayside. I’m so sorry!! I had no idea how 1) practical and 2) Serial Killer-esque this could be, but I have got to tell you right this second before you click off this page for me dropping “serial killer-esque” into a post – that this made one of the best chickens Of. Myyy. LIFFEEEE!!!!
Ben has been trying hard to institute a weekly menu rotation at our house – because he is a creature of redundancy habit, and he firmly stated this stuffed chicken is going to be on the top of the imaginary Weekly Menu. At least I will get lots of opportunity to practice this technique.
Surprisingly enough, you don’t need a knife for this nearly as much as you would think. Most of your knife skills will come in handy when you remove the wishbone, separate the joints, and remove the meat from a few bones. The rest is all you and your mitts.
This Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing is fantastic with a deboned chicken barbecued over a grill. Try this stuffing for a southwestern flair.
Man, it’s hard getting back into the swing of things after a nice relaxing stint on the beach! And in a hot tub. With a glass (fine, three. Okay, four) of wine. And lots of chicken and chorizo and cornbread stuffing to devour. For months Ben, Huck and I had been meaning to visit my parentals down on south Puget Sound to take smell of salt water, the rumble of the few boats going by and the totally amazing qualities of sitting on your ass in a lawn chair for 24 hours straight. It was just enough time to work in a nice butt groove. Me and that chair became one. I’m only marginally ashamed.
Besides the sitting on my ass time, there was swimming time for Huck, and we came to the conclusion that SKIN SHOULD NOT MOVE THAT WAY!!! He loves his swimmy time. Heaven forbid he get that excited about tubby time at home! The smelly the water the better, apparently. But at least the salt helped calm his raging allergies. My dog is like that poor little third grader that constantly has Kleenex poking out of his pockets and is sneezing all the time. I would show you the comically long list of his doggie allergies, but it is too long for print. And it includes his allergy to feathers…He’s a bird dog allergic to feathers? This is your lesson in Irony 101.
But other than that – the pinnacle of the weekend relaxing was that I got to learn how to de-bone a chicken.
To say that it is amazing would be an understatement. Nutella is amazing. The space program is pretty amazing. Deboning a bird is freakin’ AWESOME!! And not “awesome” in the One Direction is like so awesome (which they’re not) – but Awesome as in a whale breeching out of the ocean kind of awesome, or the Duchess Kate having a girl to continue the long line of the British Monarchy kind of awesome. Yes, I’m a Royal-holic. I’m well aware.
Deboning a bird – is awesome. And I now have a littel insight into the mind of a serial killer… which would be a little more disturbing if the end result of a deboned and chorizo and cornbread stuffed chicken wasn’t so incredibly delicious!!
So be SURE to come back tomorrow, because I took step by step photos of my entire deboning and stuffing a chicken lesson from Bonus Dad so you too can learn how to do it. And I mean really people – you need to learn this. It’s super impressive. Come on, let’s be impressive together! In the mean time, go make this stuffing and stuff your deboned bird with it. I ate it, fell over, died, revived myself, ate another bite and died again.
Welcome to Country Cleaver, where country comfort and convenient cooking come together. Follow my adventures of self-reliant country cooking and baking from scratch with a little life mixed in for kicks! ...more