Food

Weekend Re-cap: Family Time + Fall Fairs

I had such a busy weekend, but I got to do do two of my favorite things – spend some time with my family at my sisters UCONN family weekend & go to the Big E 🙂

I hope you enjoy this ‘mostly-pictures’ post…

A sister selfie
A sister selfie at UCONN
Family pic with Jonathan!
Family pic with Jonathan! [Minus Matt + AJ]
Princess all moved into her new dorm!
Princess all moved into her new dorm!

I went home and watched The Proposal [for the millionth time] and was just in awe of how thick & gorgeous Sandra Bullocks ponytail was. Weird, but I was honestly mesmerized. Enough to take a picture of the TV lol. #Gimmie
THIS IS SUPER RANDOM…I went home and watched The Proposal [for the millionth time] and was just in awe of how thick & gorgeous Sandra Bullocks ponytail was. Weird, but I was honestly mesmerized. Enough to take a picture of the TV lol. #Gimmie
The next day, Mike & I went to the Big E! My favorite fair of the year! We spent all day shopping, playing, and of course, eating.

Obviously, I had my list of foods that I wanted to try [some of which are kind of hard to find – so for those that I remember, I’ll be sure to name where I found them! 🙂 ]…

Fried lasagna. Game changer! 100% on my annual must-eat list from here on out. [Fried lasagna can be found in the food court at Chicken Express]
Fried lasagna. Game changer! This was SO SO SO SOOOO good. 100% on my annual must-eat list from here on out. I sliced it up & dipped it into the marinara, a little easier when you’re on the go than fork & knifing it. [Chicken Express in the food court – $8]
Butter balls. I've been looking for the fried butter for 3 YEARS & finally found ! Unfortunately, I'm sad to report that it was underwhelming - and in my opinion a bit undercooked. It was a tad doughy - ew. But Mike loved it! [Butter balls can be found at Marion's Fried Dough - near gate 9A]
Butter balls. I’ve been looking for the fried butter for 3 YEARS & finally found it! Unfortunately, I’m sad to report that they were underwhelming – and in my opinion a bit undercooked. It was a tad doughy – ew. But Mike loved it! [Marion’s Fried Dough, $6 – near gate 9A]
Chocolate covered bacon [$3]. I had been dying to try this the past two years & when stopping at a BBQ spot to grab a drink, I saw it on the menu! This was AMAZING - may have been tied with fried lasagna as my favorite food of the day.
Chocolate covered bacon. I had been dying to try this the past two years & when stopping at a BBQ spot to grab a drink, I saw it on the menu! This was AMAZING – may have been tied with fried lasagna as my favorite food of the day. [I am SO sorry I cannot recall what the name of this place was, but it was a small BBQ spot – $3]
Mike loves fried ores, and he LOVES red velvet - so the new Red Velvet Fried Oreos were a must try! Fresh out the frier, drizzled with vanilla icing and topped with powdered sugar these definitely gave regular fried Oreos a run for their money. I didn't try, but Mike love them! [Coffee Break]
Mike loves fried oreos, and he LOVES red velvet – so the new Red Velvet Fried Oreos were a must try! Fresh out the frier, drizzled with vanilla icing and topped with powdered sugar these definitely gave regular fried Oreos a run for their money. I didn’t try, but Mike love them! [Coffee Break – $7]
Cheese fries. Bomb! I told Mike, under NO circumstances was I allowed to get a loaded baked potato. 1) I eat them more often than a normal person 2) I didn't want to kill my appetite for all the other fun foods. So, these bacon, cheddar, ranch fries supplemented. I took these to go & ate them [all] on our walk to the car!
Cheese fries. Bomb! I told Mike, under NO circumstances was I allowed to get a loaded baked potato. 1) I eat them more often than a normal person 2) I didn’t want to kill my appetite for all the other fun foods. So, these bacon, cheddar, ranch fries supplemented. I took these to go & ate them [all] on our walk to the car! [These were $8 – but I don’t remember where – one of the MANY french fry spots]
Not pictured: Mike’s pumpkin beer – served with a cinnamon/sugar rim [New England Craft Beer Pub – $7]. Mike’s lobster roll – he only likes hot & buttered ones, the state houses are all cold or lobster salad [International Lobster House -$13.75], Corn Dog – our first stop every year! [a corn dog spot right next to the smoked turkey legs!]

And I THINK that’s it for food…

Mike won the basketball game!
Mike won the basketball game!…
...But they totally played us & gave us this dinky little donut.
…But they totally played us & gave us this dinky little donut.
Dinky donut served as a pillow on the way home.
Dinky donut served as a pillow on the way home. #NotAmused
Stupid donut.
Stupid donut.

I will keep this little donut forever. We couldn’t stop laughing about it. Over all – a super successful Big E Trip! And as a bonus – we took a different route & had ZERO traffic coming in or out ;). I already want to go back! 🙁

 

Do you go to any Fall festivals/fairs?

What’s your favorite fair food?!

 

XOX

[RECIPE] S’mores Bars

Have you ever seen something so amazing on Pinterest that you CANNOT stop thinking about it? Well, the idea of s’mores bars have been consuming my thoughts for the last week.

Over the weekend, I decided to try making my own (following the recipe from Imitation by Designs) & I must admit, unlike many of my Pinterest-fails…these were pretty darn incredible!

smores bars

What you’ll need:

The original recipe called for an 8″ x 8″ baking dish, but I used a 9″ x 13″ [which worked just fine]

1 stick [or 1/2 cup] salted butter, room temp
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 king-sized Hersey Bars [original called for 2, but I needed 3 for my larger dish]
1 1/2 cups fluff

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease pan & set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, beating until combined.  In another bowl combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.  Add the dry ingredients little at a time to the butter mixture, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Spread half of batter into pan.  Lay Hershey bars on top and lightly press into dough.  Spread marshmallow fluff over chocolate bars.  Take small pieces of remaining dough, flatten into discs and place on top.
  4. Bake 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned.

smores bars 2

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Bon Appétit!

I will DEFINITELY be making these again! They were easy enough & SO SO good 🙂

Let me know if you decide to give this recipe a try !

 

XOX

Recipe Testing: Cannoli Dip

Have you ever found a recipe that looked too good to be true? Welcome to my weekend.

Well, hello there beautiful. Could you really be so simple?
Why, hello there five ingredient masterpiece. Could you really be so simple?

I was going to be visiting family on Saturday and wanted to bring a fun dish [lucky | unlucky for them – they always serve as my recipe guinea pigs]. I’ve seen the infamous Cannoli Dip making its rounds on Facebook & Pinterest for a while now, and figured this would be the perfect opportunity to give it a shot.

I mean, put 5 ingredients in a bowl, mix them together & serve?! Was right up my alley.

canolidipmix.jpg
Obviously, I was thinking this would be a breeze – I was still pretty gung-ho at this point. [8 oz. cream cheese, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 /1/2 cup confectioners sugar, 2 cups ricotta cheese, 1 cup mini chocolate chips]
To cut to the chase, the recipe wasn’t that simple [but keep reading, it has a some-what happy ending].

Initially, my dip was too runny, a little gritty, and not very creamy. I was so bummed, but dead set on not giving up on my Cannoli soup disaster. In the midst of the stressful 2 hours or so it took to get this “easy dip” to it’s ideal consistency & picturesque status, I opted not to photograph the struggle. I apologize to those who were interested in seeing my aftermath of a tornado kitchen during this process. You can see snapshot of the end result at the bottom though! 😉

To fix the mess, I decided to add some corn starch [one tablespoon at a time] until it thickened up a bit. I also added another 8oz. block of cream cheese, some heavy cream, and beat that dip with my hand mixer until my little fingers went numb!

All in all – it was not the best thing I’ve ever made, but it wasn’t god awful. After googling what could have possibly gone wrong and how I could have made it better, I got some very helpful tips! See below.

How to not make Crummy Cannoli Dip:

1) DRAIN YOUR RICOTTA. This was not in the directions, but I think it’s 100% necessary. I had actually read elsewhere that draining was recommended, so I did give it a try. In a cloth, I scooped the ricotta & rang it out for a minute or two. Newsflash, this is not how you drain ricotta. To properly drain, wrap the cheese in a cloth, place in a strainer, and set a heavy brick or something of the sort on top for about 2 hours.

2) Try Marscapone? I don’t know if this would make much of a difference, but I may give it a shot next time.

3) Mix everything before adding the chocolate chips.

4) Try this recipe! It requires a little more work [like using a stove top – ew, more dishes], but I think it’s the secret to the creamier consistency.

My finished product!
Behold – my finished product!

I served it with Pizzelles, Fresh Strawberries, and Chocolate Chip Brownie Brittle.

It's all about the presentation, right? Who would ever think that this pretty little platter caused enough stress to probably take  3 years off of my life.
It’s all about the presentation, right? Who would ever think that this pretty little platter caused enough stress to probably take 3 years off of my life?

Honestly, I’m not much of a star in the kitchen, but I really love trying creative, new recipes when I have the time. Everything can’t be a hit the first time around [like my FAVORITE peanut butter cheesecake ], but you learn! I’m excited to give this dip another try.

Have you ever made a Cannoli Dip? How did it come out?

#TBT – Long Lost Photos!

I am so excited – for a few reasons! Last year, my parents bought me this wonderful Canon camera, and for a while it worked just perfectly! One day it began giving me strange error messages & stopped shooting. Getting it fixed has been on my eternal to-do list for months &this past weekend I finally decided to ship it out to be repaired. I got all of the equipment together to bring to the post office and to my surprise, while test shooting – it worked! So, for now, my baby is back in action 🙂

With it’s miraculous recovery came another bit of exciting news … on my camera were quite a few photos from the past year! I wanted to share some of them here.

Enjoy XO

IMG_0390
Playing around
turtles
Cayman Islands
Cutest little turtles
Cutest little turtles
IMG_0237
Mom with her coffee
IMG_0247
Is this not the WORST sunburn in the history of sunburns?!
So many pics with the sis :)
So many pics with the sis 🙂
IMG_0263
Mom & Dad 🙂
Beautiful sunset :)
Beautiful sunset 🙂
IMG_0218
My sweet Mama – totally modeling that hammock!
food
Obviously found some food shots. Y-U-M.
IMG_0307
Dinner on the beach
That one snowstorm where we got like 5' of snow...
That one snowstorm where we got like 5′ of snow…
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Helping Mike get ready for a photo shoot
Brand new Naked2 palette!
Makeup looks so pretty in focus. A brand new Urban Decay Naked 2 palette! (Which isn’t so new anymore lol)
At one of Mike's shows
Mike performed at a Lupus fundraiser last Spring
My beautiful little sister before her senior prom
My beautiful little sister before her senior prom

I’m so glad that I was able to get all of my pictures, especially the dozens on dozens from our vacation to the Cayman Islands! I can’t wait to print them.

I also cannot wait to start using my camera for this little blog of mine 🙂

Thanksgiving Dessert

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is only a week away! It seems like Halloween was just yesterday. Time is going by way too quickly – luckily, this is my favorite time of year and I cannot wait to indulge in all of the holiday traditions, recipes, movies, decorations & nail polishes 😉

Thanksgiving will be spent in New Jersey this year. My Aunt does an amazing job cooking for our large family. She takes so much pride in her recipes, place settings, centerpieces…literally everything! It makes the holiday extra special. I recently got our adorable invitation:
Screen shot 2013-11-20 at 1.09.58 PM

I LOVE that all of us “kids” are responsible for dessert…honestly, it’s really the only thing that I’m good at making anyways. I immediately knew what I wanted to bake this year & I thought that I would share the recipe here.

First off, have you ever seen a photo of something super delicious posted on Facebook with the complete recipe in the caption? Usually it’s been shared and “liked” by thousands of people. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but my friends & Aunts seem share them all of the time! There is never a link to a website or anything, it’s just all of the ingredients & instructions right there. Anyways, I like to screen shot & rename the files so I can make them at a later date.

Screen shot 2013-11-20 at 1.20.22 PM
My screen-shot recipe folder!

About a year ago, I found a Peanut Butter cheesecake recipe and couldn’t wait to make it!

Took 3 screen shots to save this one!

I whipped it up for my sisters birthday this past April, and loved it!

Can you spot it?
Can you spot it?
Did I mention that it has a chocolate rice crispy treat crust?! Huge selling point.
Here it is! Did I mention that it has a chocolate rice crispy treat crust?! Huge selling point.
Had to take an aerial shot ;)
Had to take an aerial photo as well 😉

As a (borderline dangerous) chocolate/peanut butter lover – it was probably the most delicious dessert I’ve ever had – really, I still have dreams about it! It takes a bit of time to make and is very rich – not something you’d want to serve on the regular – so I decided that this Thanksgiving would be the perfect time to give it another go! (Plus, I know that everyone will have Apple/Pumpkin on the brain – so I figured I’d hit them with something different)!

I’m not going to make you take a screen shot of my blog, so I’ve typed up the recipe below (with a few alterations/changes that I recommend)! I hope you give it a try! Let me know how you like it 🙂

Frozen Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 1/2 cups rice crispy cereal

1 (8ounce) package cream cheese – softened

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup frozen whipped topping – thawed (I used cool whip)

2 tablespoons hot fudge sauce for decor

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter for decor

Mini peanut butter cups for decor

Directions:

1) In a medium, microwave safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips in microwave for about 1 minute (or until melted). Stir together until combined. Add rice crispy cereal and stir well to coat.

2) Press coated cereal into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ spring form pan (I used an aluminum pie dish  which worked fine). Place crust in the freezer to chill while you make the filling (about 10 minutes)

3) In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sweetened condensed milk and 3/4 cup of peanut butter – mix until thoroughly combined.

4) Add the vanilla and lemon juice to filling. Mix until combined.

5) Gently fold in the whipped topping. Once folded – pour the filling into the prepared pie crust

6) Heat the 2 tbsp’s of  fudge and peanut butter in two separate small bowls in the microwave for 20-30 seconds . Drizzle each over filling. (I used the Breyers Hot Fudge Topping that you microwave in its package & squeeze, but the peanut butter I spread with a fork)

7) Freeze for 4-6 hours or until pie is firm (I HIGHLY recommend freezing for longer – like, overnight. I made it about 8 hours before serving the first time & it was still far too mushy – however, the leftovers the next day were perfect!) Remove the cheesecake from the freezer for about 10 minutes before serving to make cutting easier.

8) Garnish with mini peanut butter cups. (I loved this part 🙂 )

ENJOY! XO

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