Friday, December 30, 2011

Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

I would not consider myself a baker and many of you have requested that I post more dessert recipes. Unfortunately, I did not make these but my cousin did and they were a huge hit this past weekend. She said they are really easy to make and it looks like it from the recipe!
Adapted from Crunchy Buckeyes
1+1/4 Cups smooth peanut butter
1/4 Cup butter (room temperature)
1 Cup powdered sugar
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1+1/2 Cups of Rice Crispies
1+3/4 Cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease mini muffin pan with non-stick spray and add a scant Tablespoon of chocolate chips into each cup. Melt in the oven for 5 minutes. With the back of a spoon, smooth out the top of the chocolate chips while they’re still warm. Set aside. (You could also melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or on the stovetop and spoon into cups.)

2. In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, then mix until combined. Pour in Rice Crispies and mix again until combined.

3. Drop heaping Tablespoons of the peanut butter mixture into each mini muffin cup. Smooth with the back of a spoon and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before eating. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Simple White Bean Chicken Chili

Seriously, this took me only 10 minutes to prep. Chopping the onion and red bell pepper are 
the most time consuming parts. This is a great recipe to throw together at the last minute.
I made a few changes but this recipe originally was named one of the top ten recipes from the
Seattle Times in 1994.
1 finely chopped small onion
2 medium garlic cloves (minced)
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
2-15 ounce cans of Northern white beans, DO NOT DRAIN
4 ounces diced green chiles
1 can of corn
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
14 1/2 ounces chicken broth, low sodium
1 rotisserie chicken, peeled and torn into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Finely chop the white onion and red bell pepper.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the chopped onion, red bell pepper and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.
Stir in the northern beans, corn, chiles, cumin, chili powder and chicken broth.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Finish with the lime juice and half of the chopped cilantro.
Garnish each bowl with cilantro. 

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

24 Hour Egg Casserole

This recipe comes from my mom and it is my all time favorite egg casserole! We have this for brunch every Christmas and I am happy to finally share this family recipe with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
24 Hour Omelet (make ahead recipe!)   
Serves:  8
1 round loaf of King Hawaiian Bread (you can use a package of the hawaiian rolls if they do not have the round loaf or you can use a round loaf of Challah bread)
6 EggBeaters and 6 medium-sized eggs    
(if you buy the carton of egg beaters, 1 egg beater=1/4 cup)
8 oz. mild low fat cheddar cheese shredded (not fat free)-you can use less cheese if you desire
1 ¾ cups milk (fat-free is great)
½ stick butter (1/4 cup)
½ tsp. dry mustard (mix with a tiny bit of the milk or it will clump & not  mix in very well……and this is a key ingredient for taste)
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. chopped green onion (only green tops)
1/8 tsp. cayenne
14 oz. package of turkey sausage (Eckridge smoked turkey sausage is good but any kind will do)
Cut your turkey sausage into bite size pieces and cook in the microwave for about 4-5 minutes on paper towels. Blot off any liquid/grease that may have accumulated.
Remove crust (outside part) of the King Hawaiian bread. Give the scraps to the ducks!
Tear bread into chunks and place in a 9 x 13 greased casserole dish.  
Melt butter and pour over bread.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese and then sprinkle with cooked- bite-size pieces of sausage. 
 Beat together eggs, milk, salt, mustard, pepper, and green onion.  
Pour over bread, sausage, and cheese mixture.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  
Bake COVERED in a 325 degree oven for 50 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. 
You can serve this with fresh fruit cut up (grapes, strawberries, and throw in a small can of mandarin orange sections), mini biscuits, rye toast, or bagel halves.
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Friday, December 23, 2011

More Gifting

Hopefully everyone is done with their Christmas shopping by now! I wanted to share with you an engagement gift I recently bought for one of my best friends! You may be wondering what this is. It is actually two different Christmas ornaments. One has the date of their engagement and the other has the first initial of her and her fiance's names.
Besides using it as a Christmas ornament, my friend told me she plans on hanging them on the wall year-round.
Oh how I love dual purpose gifts! I found these on my favorite website, Etsy!
So if you are in need of a gift, this is pretty clever and personable too. Pin It

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Tablescapes

Timeless china perfect for any occasion, especially the holidays!

I love how they mix and matched the dishes here and the green accent plate is so appropriate for Xmas.

Classic and simple.

Amazing table for Chanukah.

I love everything about this setup! Rustic yet refined with a pop of color from the Christmas ornaments.
Gorgeous Christmas Table Decorating Ideas
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Creative DIY Lightbulb Vases

This comes from and I think this idea is brilliant. I can't wait to try it out myself.

What You Will Need:
Lightbulbs - I used ones that were already burnt out
Glasses for eye protection

 First, remove the bottom metal piece with a pair of pliers.

Once the bottom piece is removed, use your pliers to break the black glass bottom. Be careful! Glass could fly which is why you should be wearing glasses. Use your pliers to remove the big pieces.

 Most lightbulbs will have an interior glass inside of them. Break this with your pliers.

 Remove the insides and glass that might have fallen to the bottom of the lightbulb.

Rinse out with water to remove the powder. Use your wire to tie a handle. String twine from the top to hang from branches!

I hot glued some twine to the top metal pieces for a more rustic look. You could easily do the same with ribbon!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cottage Pie aka Shepherd Pie

This is comfort food at its best and healthy too! Enjoy!
Adapted from Jane Leeves (as seen on the Nate Berkus show)
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Celery sticks, finely chopped
2 Carrots, finely chopped
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp of olive oil
2 lbs lean ground turkey
3 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tsp of sage
1/2 Tsp of rosemary
1/2 Tsp of thyme leaves
2 Tbsp of flour
1/2 Cup of chicken broth
1/2 Cup of frozen peas
1/2 Cub of frozen corn
Mashed Potatoes (You can make your own or buy them pre-made but make sure they are fluffy!)
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Finely chop the carrots, celery and onion.
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Saute until onion is translucent.
Add the carrots and celery and saute until the carrots and celery become soft. Then, add the turkey and continuously chop meat to a fine grind until brown.
Add worcestershire sauce and sage, thyme and rosemary.
Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of flour and add 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Stir.
Add frozen peas and corn and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon mixture into a pyrex casserole dish.
Cover with mashed potatoes using a spatula.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
***Afterwards if the top is not brown, you can turn the oven to broil and cook the casserole for 10 more minutes. 
Inside of the pie!
I found this recipe very easy to make but it does take time to prep especially if you make your own mashed potatoes! 
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Monday, December 19, 2011

5th Street Seafood-Austin, Texas

My husband and I rarely eat at the same restaurant twice. However, there is one place we frequent quite often and that is Whole Food's 5th Street Seafood Bar. We love it because the menu changes daily and they only serve what is in season. Last night our entire meal cost $30 which is a bargain for seafood!
Check out these portion sizes!
You can create your own dinner by choosing a fish and two sides. I chose the sea scallops, kale and roasted Brussels sprouts! Yum!
For those days when I don't cook and we do not want to go to a fancy restaurant, this is our go to place that I had to share with you because I love it so much. Since Whole Foods started in Austin, I think these tiny "restaurants" within the grocery store are unique to this location only so sorry to all you out of town folks! 
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Friday, December 16, 2011

My Favorite Candles

I love candles and wish I had more. Here are my two all time favorites! Both of these candles come in smaller versions which is the perfect gift for a teacher or a friend this holiday season!
Trapp No. 24 Wild Currant
Trapp Candles
*Wild Currant smells wonderful!
Diptyque Candles
It maybe hard to justify spending $60 on a candle but this candle is well worth it. My husband used to have a roommate who had one of these candles and their apartment always smelled amazing.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

For those of you who did not see this the first time, I am reposting this recipe because it is not showing up in my archives! I love a good homemade pizza and this pizza could rival most restaurants' pizzas. Also, it is much healthier because I used multigrain pizza crust and low fat cheese. I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband and I did!
Adapted from My Baking Addiction Website
1 Store bought pizza crust or homemade pizza dough (Central Market multigrain dough is my favorite!)
1/2 Cup barbecue sauce (I love KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce.)
1 Cup of cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 Cup thinly sliced red onion
1 Orange pepper diced
Monterrey Jack Shredded Cheese (Low Fat)
Mozzarella cheese (Low Fat)
Cilantro (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash and slice red onion and orange bell pepper.
Saute red onion and orange bell pepper on medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
Place pizza dough on a foil-lined pan.
Spread barbecue sauce on pizza dough. Add shredded chicken, red onion and orange bell pepper.
Generously top with Monterrey Jack cheese and Mozzarella cheese.
Bake until crust is golden brown. Time will vary depending on what kind of crust you use. In order for my crust to be crispy, I cook the pizza for 20 minutes.
Before serving, garnish with cilantro.
The cilantro really made this pizza standout. I never would have dreamt to put cilantro on a BBQ pizza but I am a big fan now!
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Couscous with Shallots and Parsley

Instead of making my usual couscous with sun-dried tomato pesto, I decided to try this recipe. The hardest part of this recipe was finding the shallots. I think most specialty grocery stores, like Whole Foods and Central Market carry shallots which is where I found mine. Did you know that a shallot is a cross between an onion and a garlic clove? I did not know that until I "googled" what a shallot was. I really enjoyed this couscous and found it was much better the next day after it had been refrigerated because you could taste all the flavors, especially the lemon and parsley, when it was cold.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 Cup of israeli couscous (pearled)
1 Tbsp of olive oil
8 Shallots, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 Cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the shallots in half lengthwise and then slice really thin.
Boil water and cook couscous on medium-high heat until al dente. This should take no more than 10 minutes at the most.
While the couscous is cooking, heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add shallots and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, for 3 to 5 minutes.
 Add to the bowl with couscous and toss with parsley and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Tom+Cuc+Onion Salad

This salad is simple and very flavorful. It goes great with just about any entree you are serving. I get sick of eating a garden salad every night so this is a good alternative.
30 Grape Tomatoes, cut into quarters or 15 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1 Small Cucumber, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 Small Red Onion, chopped
1 Celery Stalk, chopped into 1/4" pieces (OPTIONAL)-Keep in mind you will have to buy the entire bundle of celery but usually it is only a $1 or $2
Feta Cheese for garnish (OPTIONAL)
1/3 Bunch of Cilantro, chopped
Fresh Ground Pepper
3-4 Tbsp of Hendrickson's Fat Free Dresssing, Original Flavor (marinade)
Wash and dry thoroughly the tomatoes, cucumber, celery stalk and cilantro.
Peel your cucumber. It is okay to leave a little skin on as it will give it an extra crunch.
Chop all of your ingredients.
Combine all of the ingredients including the marinade together in a large bowl. Start by adding 3 Tbsp of marinade and add more if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You should make this at least one hour before serving so all the flavors can meld together.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Oh Louie

When it comes to shopping, I am the most indecisive person alive. I am usually the one who hogs the dressing room because I try on the same outfit 5 different times. Unfortunately, I think I inherited this trait as my mom and grandmother do the same thing. The reason I am telling you this is because I have been thinking about this particular Louis Vuitton purse for 3 weeks now. I love this bag because I do not have a purse in this color and it can be worn three different ways! You can wear it as a clutch, shoulder bag or as an across the body bag.
Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Eva Clutch
Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Eva Clutch

Here is why I am still contemplating the bag. I would have to get the strap that goes across the body shortened because the bag is too long on me. My other concern is about the color of the bag. Remember the white bags with the Louis Vuitton emblem written all over them in different colors? I feel like those bags were a trend and now they are out of style. If I am going to spend this much money on a purse then I want it to be timeless and not trendy. With that being said, I am still deciding whether I should treat myself to this bag!

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Best Burger in Austin, Texas

I am about to make a very bold statement here. If you want to enjoy a good burger in a modern atmosphere, Stack Burger Bar is the place to go. From start to finish, I had a wonderful experience here. This place just opened a few months ago so business is still slow. However, I anticipate this place will be booming in the next month or two when word gets out. This restaurant is very inviting from the moment you enter. It is located in an old building that has been restored in downtown Austin on 4th Street. The ceilings are high and most importantly this place feels clean which is the opposite of most burger joints. If you want a hole in the wall burger joint, I recommend you go to Casino El Camino as this place maybe too trendy for you!
They have a great selection of specialty burgers and my "Arbor" burger was worth every calorie. The Arbor burger was made of beef, portabello, sunny side up egg, garlic aioli, arugla, parmesan tomato and balsalmic onions. 
My husband had the spicy "Southtown" burger (Beef, Jack Cheese, Avocado, Lettuce, Grilled Red Onion, Michelada Tomato, Red Pickle Relish & Poblano Aioli).
The fries are thin and crispy. I did not try their sweet potato or garlic fries but they looked equally as delicious as my regular fries. Also, there is a large selection of specialty cocktails and milkshakes which I highly recommend trying! I had the White Russian Smores milkshake which was to die for. The milkshake was made of vanilla icecream, kahlua, Famous vodka, charred marshmallows, chocolate flakes and graham cracker sprinkles. My favorite part of the drink was that is was garnished with a perfectly roasted homemade marshmallow. Amazing. My only complaint was at 12pm on a Saturday they were out of vanilla ice cream which I found weird. I substituted chocolate and it was still heavenly. 

While all four of the places below have great burgers, Stack Burger Bar comes in at number 1 because it is the total package. If do not want to smell like the restaurant when you leave (Casino El Camino), if you want to avoid long lines (Hopdoddy), and if you do not want to eat in the dark (Roaring Fork), then you will love Stack Burger Bar!
Stack Burger Bar
208 West 4th Street
(512) 457-8225

Casino El Camino
517 East 6th Street  Austin, TX 78701
(512) 469-9330

1400 South Congress Avenue  Austin, TX 78704
(512) 243-7505

Roaring Fork
701 Congress Avenue  Austin, TX 78701
(512) 583-0000

Go here for happy hour (4-7pm daily) for their famous RF "Big Ass Burger." It's name lives up to the expectations. Pin It

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Timeless Brown Boot Trend

Every girl needs a pair of brown boots to stay warm this winter. I found the most perfect pair last week at a vintage store in Dallas. Lucky for me, these boots had never been worn. Here are some of my other favorite brown boots for this season
Designer Unknown
Dolly Python Vintage Store
Steve Madden Intyce (Cognac)
BP Runway Boot
Available at
Tory Burch Tall Flat Boots Chestnut
On sale for $256 at

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