Monthly Archives: December 2012

What Christmas Is All About

Fudge.

Fudge 2

Amiright? Okay, maybe Christmas is also about cookies and family and presents. But in this case, we’re focusing on fudge. Mostly because (a) it was sofreakingdelicious and (b) I didn’t have time to bake anything else this holiday season.

Dan and I  have a surprising amount of Christmas traditions piling up, considering he’s Jewish and I’m Jew-ish. I threw this awesome fudge together in less than 30 minutes, and we were off!

Holiday Traditions 2012:

  • Chinese food and a movie with Dan’s parents on Christmas eve. (Usually, we would do this on actual Christmas, along with all the other Jews in America, but we decided since we had a full day on Christmas we would go the day before.)  Lunch was great (P.F. Chang’s), and we saw Lincoln. Although it was a bit slow at times, I sort of liked it. I was apparently the only one in my party that did… so… let’s move on.
  • Christmas Eve night was spent at my sister’s and her husband’s eating chili and watching Miracle on 34th St (the Matilda version), and then home so Santa could come!
  • Santa came!Family christmas
  • I cooked a Christmas Dinner and my whole family and Dan’s parents came over to eat it! (14 humans and 5 dogs were in our little house. It was fabulous.)

But back to the important matters at hand. The fudge! Re-blogged and slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is.

Loaded Chocolate Whiskey Fudge

What You Need

  • 20 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (15-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons bourbon
  • 10-12 caramel-filled chocolates/fudge, such as truffles of Ghiradelli squares, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chocolate toffee pieces, like Heath toffee chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, melted

What You Do

  1. Line 8×8 pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray
  2. Chop up all your little candiesCaramel
  3. Create a make-shift double boiler out of a pot and a bowl (or use a real one if you have one. I obviously don’t.) Add semi-sweet chocolate to a double boiler, and melt completely.Double Boiler
  4. One melted, remove from heat and slowly add in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract, stirring until mixed. The chocolate will be thick. Begin in stir in bourbon 1 tablespoon at a time – mixture is going to get super thick but slowly stir and just fold the chocolate mixture over until combined.
  5. Use the spatula or a large spoon to spread the chocolate in the pan. It will be thick! Don’t worry about the top looking pretty because we are going to cover it up. Just spread it evenly. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.Fudge Layer 1
  6. Melt the milk chocolate and remove the pan from the fridge. Take a few small spoonfuls of the milk chocolate and using the back of a spoon, spread it evenly over the top of the fudge. Immediately cover it with the chopped caramel-filled candies, chocolate chips and chocolate toffee pieces. Take remaining milk chocolate and drizzle it over the top to set some of the loose candy. You can also use any additional sweetened condensed milk that may be left in the bottom of the can and drizzle it over top. Let set in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.Top
  7. When ready to cut, fill a large cup with hot water. Pull the fudge out of the 8×8 with the parchment paper and lay on a flat surface like a cutting board. Dip a sharp knife into the water, then blot on a towel. Use knife to cut fudge into your desired size of squares.Fudge 3
  8. Note: the melting can also be done in the microwave. Jessica from How Sweet It Is suggests melting the chocolate first on medium power in 30 second increments, stirring after each time. Once melted, add in remaining ingredients and stir until smooth.

 

 

 

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Salted Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies from How Sweet It Is

I ate so many cookies today.

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So many cookies. And there are bags and plates and platters of cookies on my counter. So. Many. Cookies.

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Don’t worry – I would never complain about such a thing. That’s what the holidays are for! Cooking! Baking! Eating! Time with friends and family and the presents are just byproducts. We alllll know it’s about the eating.

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We had our department cookie-swap today, and man, the girls I work with… we could (should?) open a bakery! So much talent. So much delicious. I made these Salted Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies from How Sweet It Is. Mine turned out looking pretty different from her’s, but they were still delicious. I’ve eaten way too many of them, but they’re just so, so good with a glass of red wine milk.

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Check out the recipe from my favorite blog.

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Read This Book.

Have you guys ever worked really, really hard at something and thought you would never finish but you pushed through and DID finish and it was the best thing you ever did?

Yeah, me neither.

But Gretchen did! My very good friend Gretchen wrote a book novel part one of an awesome trilogy and today, 12/12/12 it is officially published! Gretchen gave me an advanced copy of the book, and I read it over Thanksgiving break during my trip to Tucson. Like. In less than a day. I was the annoying girl in the corner, nose shoved in a book, while everyone else waited patiently for me to “just finish this chapter” before we went on a hike, when really I was never going to stop until I finished the whole thing.

And the best part is, since I read it, she’s supposedly made story changes and updates and edits and I kind of can’t wait to read it again to see how she could have possibly made it better. So yeah, you should definitely buy it.

Before you do, you might be wondering what the heck it’s even about? Well, what else would make me obsessive other than an end of the world trilogy targeted towards young adults? Here’s the official Book Description from Amazon:

“In the distant wake of a plague that has decimated the Earth’s population, humanity is split in two. The rich and powerful live in skycities that float overhead, while those who remain on the ground have gathered in settlements strewn across a dying planet. Eighteen-year-old Terra Rhodon makes her living as a scav, scouring the earth for discarded scraps and metals to recycle for profit. While on a routine scavenging run, she discovers something that shocks her home settlement of Genesis X-16. Terra suddenly finds herself asking questions no one will answer. Fueled by curiosity, her search for the truth ultimately leads her to Adam — a beguiling boy with a secret that has the power to change humanity’s existence forever.”

The book is available in a bunch of different places and formats, most notably for Kindle and Nook in e-reader format (only $4.99!) and as a paperback from Amazon ($9.99).

Be careful, though. I believe the first thing I said to her after finishing was, “I hate you for making me read this and not having the next one ready to give me.”

It’s only because I loved it. And you will too!

Congratulations Gretch! <3!!!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Twilight Saga… What?

So apparently I OMG NEED to blog about this Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread that I made on Saturday night, because I wasn’t going to but then three different people asked me for the recipe so I will (even though I have one sad lonely picture of the empty bread pan. Fail. New Year’s Resolution!)

Banana Bread

But a picture of an empty pan means it was enjoyed and not wasted, so I’m not complaining!

But before the recipe, a brief review of Breaking Dawn Part 2 – the end to the Twilight Saga:

(Spoiler alert – I felt the same way when the book series ended.)

Wow. I just did that. Again. It was worth it. I’m glad it’s over.

Okay but really it was the best of all the Twilight movies, which isn’t really hard to accomplish. The acting was slightly less awkward, and there was an epic fight scene (and a bit of vampire sexy time), so all in all, not a bad flick. But I am not-so-secretly glad I won’t be shelling out $12 a pop for any more of those gems. The time spent with Sabrina though, priceless 🙂

Okay, so, this bread. Of course the original recipe came from my favorite blog How Sweet It Is, but I changed it a little. I actually 1 and a halfed the recipe (not quite doubling it) and it made: One bread loaf, one 8×8 pan of brownie like bread, and one muffin pan (12 muffins). That’s a lot of bread. You probably don’t need to do that, but I have a bad habit of buying bananas, not eating them, and throwing them into the freezer saying, “I’ll make banana bread some time!” and then never making banana bread…

Also, instead of PAM or other spray, I’ve been using a mixture of olive oil and water in a spritzer, and it works just as well and makes me feel better about my ozone contribution. And arteries. Slightly.

Enjoy!

What You Need:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 4 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

What You Do:

Mash yo bananas.

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter until smooth. Add brown sugar, egg and vanilla, mixing well for about 2-3 minutes. Mix in bananas and heavy cream until smooth. Add flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter in a greased loaf pan and bake for 60-70 minutes.

PS Happy Chanukah/Hanukkah/however you choose to spell or celebrate it! I had latkes twice this weekend and I could not be happier!

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It’s the Most…Busiest Time of the Year

Weeks are so weird.

They can feel so short and so long at the same time and I do not understand. My last week was so fun and so busy and so wonderful and so exhausting. And yet I still only have like two pictures to share. What the heck? I need:

  • A professional photography sidekick – I’m lookin at you fiancé. You and your fancy camera. That still has no lens due to my clumsiness. Crap.
  • A constant reminder to take pictures every time something exciting happens
  • Two more arms while I’m cooking so my phone/camera doesn’t get all sticky when I try to take action shots
  • A bigger hard drive on my iPhone since it always tells me there is not enough space

Maybe that can be my New Year’s resolution. Lord knows I’m definitely not going to lose those X pounds that I’ve been promising to lose the last X number of years. Let’s try for something new, shall we? Maybe while we’re at it, I can also resolve to blog more regularly. Because holy crap it’s hard to recap almost two full weeks of awesome in one post. And it’s even harder to prioritize and recap two full weeks of awesomeness in separate posts.

But, I’ll try!

It’s December! My halls are fully decked, and just as confused as every year. Our tree is up and lit and decorated with Target bobbles and a few sentimental ornaments. Our stockings are hung by the (empty) fishtank with care… on the stair railing. And our Menorah is sitting proudly in the center of our living room coffee table.

Tree

And of course, what’s December without a Puggle dressed up like Santa Claus? Nothing I tell you. Nothing. That’s what. My team lead had the whole team over last week for our department holiday gift exchange, but she wouldn’t let anyone take this little guy home. How rude.

Bugsy Santa

I was able to see my current obsession, Pentatonix, in concert last week with my sister at the Howard Theater, which is awesome. (Thanks again Brice and Emily for thinking about us!) Listening to them on repeat for the past few weeks has really made me think about why I haven’t done anything musical since 2006. I don’t have a good answer, so I think I’m going to look into joining or starting a singing meetup group. Any takers? Watch anything from Pentatonx’s YouTube channel and you’ll probably have delusions of grandeur that you’re as awesome as them and that you want to join me. At least that’s how I feel.

I also took a few videos at the show, but since my phone was out of space I didn’t get to tape the songs I wanted. So watch YouTube instead, it’s better.

Weekend recap soon. For now – Moar Puppies!!!

Jameson laundry

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