Search This Blog

Pages

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

CREAMSICLE CHEESECAKE

If you've always enjoyed the flavor of a creamsicle, then this recipe is right up your alley!   Better still, if you are a cheesecake lover, this is a super simple no bake variety.

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST
24 Golden Oreo cookies, crushed (including center)
6 Tbsp. melted butter 
pinch of salt

FILLING
1 (3oz) box orange Jell-O
1 C. boiling water
2 C. whipped topping
2 (8 oz.) blocks, softened cream cheese
¼ cup sour cream
1 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

GARNISH
1 C. whipped topping
1 clementine, peeled and separated into segments


DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, dissolve Jell-O in boiling water.  Set aside to cool completely.

Make crust:  In a medium bowl, mix together the Oreo crumbs, butter, and salt.  Press into the bottom of an 8" springform pan.

Make filling:  In another bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth, then add powdered sugar, vanilla and salt.  Fold whipped topping into cream cheese mixture.  Pour half of mixture into the cooled Jell-O.   Whisk until smooth.

Onto the crust, alternate pouring ¼ cup dollops of cream cheese and Jell-O mixture until both mixtures are gone.  With a butter knife, gently swirl the layers.  Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours, or until firm.

To serve:  Place a dollop of whipped topping on the top of the cake.  Top with a segment of clementine, and serve.

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  www.delish.com

Monday, November 11, 2019

SWEDISH MEATBALLS

This my friends is a good one!  Great flavor, fairly quick to put together and it's a nice change up from your everyday meals.  Pardon the simple cell phone picture....
You can literally have this on the table in about 35-40 minutes.   Enjoy!                Serves:  4

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. ground beef
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ cup finely chopped onion
½ tsp. garlic powder 
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 egg
1 Tbsp. olive oil
5 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour 
2 cups beef broth
1 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
1 Tbsp. Worchestershire 
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
egg noodles 
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1.  In a medium size bowl combine ground beef, panko, parsley, allspice, nutmeg, onion, garlic, pepper, salt and egg.  Mix until combined.

2.  Roll into 12 large or 20 small meatballs.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter.  Add the meatballs and cook turning continuously until brown on each side and cooked throughout.  Transfer to plate and cover with foil.  

3.  Fill a large pot with water and follow the package directions to prepare 4 servings of noodles.  Drain.  

4.  Add 4 Tbsp. butter and flour to skillet and whisk until it turns brown.  Slowly stir in beef broth and heavy cream.  Add worchestershire and mustard and bring to a simmer until sauce starts to thicken.  Salt and pepper to taste.   Add noodles into the skillet and simmer an additional ten minutes.

recipe c/o:  www.therecipecritic.com

Monday, November 4, 2019

ORGANZA BRIDAL OVERSKIRT

I recently had the pleasure of working with a bride to create her signature look for her wedding day.  She had purchased a sample gown at a local wedding shop, but wanted a couple of modifications done to it.  In addition, she really was looking to have two different looks for the day. 

She wanted one look for her "first look" and reception and an entirely separate look for the ceremony.  Let me share how our collaboration went........but first, let me share a picture of Alex from this past weekend!
This is her ceremony look.  Isn't it gorgeous?   Very romantic, feminine and dramatic!  Just what she had hoped for.  

When Alex first came to me she brought with her the sample gown that she had purchased.  A beautiful sequined gown.  Since it was a sample, it needed a little TLC.... repairing areas where the sequins had totally fallen off,  and the straps were also completely frayed and stained.  As for the style itself, Alex felt like she wanted a lower back bodice and also wanted something at the waistline, but didn't know quite what it needed.   
  
  I agreed that it could use something, but I also didn't want to compete with the sequins.  They really shimmered so beautifully.  So,  I took out a 1½ inch ivory ribbon and tied it at her waist with long tails down the back of the gown.....and that was it.               
When I did that, she absolutely loved it!  It truly transformed the gown and gave her the additional waistline accent she was looking for.  Understated, but elegant. 
                                                                                                       
Lowering the back bodice and creating more of a "v" shape, was also transformative.  It really showed off Alex's back and created a much more flattering line for her.  And of course, by removing those bodice  pieces I now had the sequins I needed to repair the bare areas where they had completely fallen off the gown...I replaced the straps with new ivory rattail and the gown looked amazing! 

At that same initial meeting, we began chatting about her vision for an overskirt.....when she originally reached out to me she shared a couple pictures of a tulle overskirt....but, once I saw the sequined gown she landed on and we chatted more about how she and her fiance' envisioned their wedding day, I knew she needed something much more dramatic....... Enter the large organza overskirt!

This was a challenging, but exhilirating project for me.  When I shared with her what I thought she needed (I may have used the terminology "let's Beyonce this thing!") she was really excited.   I knew organza with a horsehair hemline and lace accents would really create this statement piece that she was looking for!                                                                                                                              
I spent a lot of time draping fabric on Beulah (that's my dress form) to get the look I wanted.  Those fabric pieces then needed to be converted and perfected into the actual pattern pieces; they ended up being some of the most unusual pattern pieces EVER!       Once I had my pattern pieces created, I was able to determine how much organza and horsehair I'd need.......how about 18 yards of organza and 11½ yards of  horsehair.  Oh....and I had to order the horsehair from England!! 

The picture to the right is the overskirt prior to sewing the horsehair to the hemline.  I actually love this overskirt as well....very dreamy, and romantic....I've worked with horsehair a lot...but it still amazes me how it totally transforms the look and shape of a garment!


Once the horsehair was in place, I began pinning the 20 lace appliques into place.  Doing this while it was on my dressform allowed me to strategically place them where they would best accent the folds and curves of the piece. 

I chose to go with ivory organza and off white appliques.  It truly looked gorgeous with Alex's gown.  Depending on how the light hit the sequins, they could look ivory or off white.  I would say they were more of an opal color, so everything blended together beautifully.......

There was a lot of handstitching involved with the appliques and I also tacked some of the folds of the skirt per Alex's request so that her gown was pretty well camoflauged underneath the skirt. 

I have to say, I am thrilled with how this turned out!  I often tell people that the art of garment creation can sometimes require some engineering.  One that doesn't take as much math skill, thank goodness!, but it's an engineering feat none-the-less to get to the end result.

and....for me, there's nothing more rewarding than "nailing" a design....which in the end makes for a very happy bride.  And Alex......she melted my heart.....the first time she tried it on she got misty eyed and asked if she could give me a hug.   Whoa!   That's the best feeling ever!!

Some of you know I have my "wall of fame" in my studio.  Canvases of some of my favorite gowns that I've designed and created over the years.   Unfortunately, I don't have the room to put them all up....but this one will definitely be added. 

Here's one more look at this beautiful bride........I'll have tons more pictures, but since I've been dying to share this with you.....I had to snag just a couple from the photographer's "sneak peek" collection. 
Congratulations Alex and Kevin.  Cheers to a strong, happy and healthy marriage!

Friday, October 25, 2019

SMASHED POTATOES

Now the picture may not be much....................but the taste is awesome!  Smashed potatoes are super easy, offering a combo of crunchy and creamy at the same time!
Play around with flavors, or keep it simple like I did with just some salt, pepper, and rosemary.  You decide.

INGREDIENTS:

*Small red potatoes (I've also used Yukon Gold)
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil
seasoning options:  rosemary, parmesan, minced garlic

*serving size is 2-3 potatoes per person

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot full of boiling water, cook potatoes until they are fork tender  Approximately 12-18 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.   Drizzle some olive oil where each of the potatoes will sit on the pan.  Place a potato on the olive oil and rub to ensure the olive oil is on the bottom of the potato.  Using either a potato smasher, or I like a large glass with a flat bottom, smash each of the potatoes.

Using a brush, generously coat the potatoes with olive oil.   Season with salt, pepper and crushed rosemary.  

Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes,  until brown and crispy.  Garnish with sour cream, and fresh parsley prior to serving.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

CREAM CHEESE SWIRL BROWNIES

Super rich...and super yummy!  A perfect combo of brownie and cheesecake flavors to satisfy everybody.
This recipe has been around awhile, so you may have already added it to your collection.  If you haven't, definitely give it a try!

INGREDIENTS:

FILLING
*8 oz. cream cheese, softened 
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1 egg, separated, yolk reserved for brownie batter
½ tsp. vanilla

BROWNIES
*1 box Betty Crocker Supreme original brownie mix
water, oil and egg called for on the mix box
reserved egg yolk
½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom of 9 inch square pan with cooking spray.  Add a layer of parchment paper leaving it long enough to create "handles" to use when removing the brownies from the pan.  Spray the parchment with cooking spray.  Beat cream cheese and sugar using a mixer.  Add flour, egg white and vanilla; mix until well blended.  Set aside.

Make brownie batter as directed on box, adding reserved egg yolk.  Reserve ½ cup batter; set aside.  Spread remaining batter in pan.  Spoon filling evenly onto batter using a tablespoon.  Create large dollops making 3 rows x 3 rows.  Spoon 1 Tbsp. of the reserved batter in center of each dollop.  Draw knife through mixture in four straight lines horizontally, then vertically for swirled designs.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips. 

Bake 28-32 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean.  Cool 30 minutes on rack.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour until chilled before slicing into squares.  

**NOTES:
Many recipes call for only 3 oz. of cream cheese, but feedback suggested that wasn't enough, so I opted to use an 8 oz. package instead.   Also, I found a Betty Crocker mix that included chocolate chips, so I used it versus adding my own chips

recipe c/o:  Betty Crocker

Enjoy!

Monday, October 7, 2019

BROCCOLI, GRAPE, AND PASTA SALAD

I was recently in need of a second side dish for a family gathering we were hosting.  I knew that I  really wanted something with veggies in it, since the other side was potato salad.

 
This broccoli, grape and pasta salad I found was an awesome choice.  It is super tasty and got really good reviews from the family!  

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup chopped pecans
1 lb. fresh or frozen broccoli (I used frozen)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped red onion
5 Tbsp. granulated sugar
8 slices cooked bacon
2 cup seedless grapes, cut in half
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 box (16 oz.) bow tie pasta (farfalle)
1 tsp. salt


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place a single layer of pecans on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet.  Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.  Set aside. 

Cook pasta according to package directions.    If using fresh broccoli, clean and cut florets from stems, separate into small pieces.  Discard tough outer layers. 

Place drained pasta and florets into a large bowl.  

In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, onion, sugar, red wine vinegar, and salt.   *Pour sauce over the pasta/florets.  Cover and chill for 3 hours.  Just before serving, Toss in pecans and bacon.  Serve.  

Note:  *One individual shared that they pour half the sauce over the pasta and broccoli initially and chill the remainder, then add it at the same time the pecans and bacon are added.  I actually chose to assemble mine this way.  I liked the way the additional sauce "refreshed" the entire bowl. 

recipe c/o:  www.southernliving.com

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

FROSTED BANANA BARS

How is it that bananas look great one day, and the next day they're all brown?  So, what to do.....I have an awesome banana bread recipe, but I thought it was time for something a bit different.  In scouring the recipes on the interest, I stopped with frosted banana bars.  I mean.  How could they not be good? 
Here you go....so moist and full of banana goodness finished off with a cream cheese frosting!  They're so good and this recipe makes about 3 dozen!!  I actually froze some to save for another time.

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1½ cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda 
dash salt

FROSTING: 

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS:
 

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, bananas and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until blended.

Transfer to a greased or sprayed 15x10x1 inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.  Frost bars.  

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  Taste of Home