Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shrimp and Cashew Nuts

Another Lenten meal for ya! If you remember back a few weeks to my "Chicken and Cashew Nuts" post, this recipe will look mighty familiar. I just swapped out the chicken with shrimp and succeeded in creating a way healthier version of my favorite (American) Chinese food dish. Here it is:

Shrimp and Cashew Nuts (adapted from Cook Like a Champion):

1 1/2T cornstarch
6T water
2T hoisin sauce
1T soy sauce
1T white vinegar
1T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2c roasted, unsalted cashews
1lb peeled deveined shrimp
green bell pepper, chopped
cayenne pepper to taste
Brown rice for serving

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water, whisk until smooth. Stir in hoisin, soy sauce vinegar, set aside. Add oil to large skillet and set over med-low heat. Add garlic and cashews and stir until garlic is golden and fragrant, be careful not to let it burn. Season shrimp with S&P and add to skillet. Cook until opaque, then add green pepper, cayenne, and cornstarch mixture. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened a little. Serve with rice.



I recently received an amazing Chocomize chocolate bar from my sister to cheer me up about my car dying/ celebrate buying a new car. I LOVE this company and have been sending peeps their bars since I discovered them about a year ago. The bar Jesse made me had dried raspberries, pistachios, coffee, and rice crispies- and was extremely delicious! You have to check them out if you want to send a little hello to someone. The idea is that you pick a chocolate flavor (dark, milk, or white) and then add whatever flavors, nuts, candies, spices you want until your perfect chocolate confection is born. They often have edible messages around holidays like Valentine's day and Mother's Day. So, if you don't feel like counting on the Easter bunny this year, order yourself a Chocomize bar and get exactly what you want!

P.S. Sign up for their newsletter because they send out coupon codes for 10% off. I believe the last one was "springfever" but I'm not sure how long that will be working.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Starbucks Cake Pops

Awhile back Starbucks premiered some new treats they call Starbucks Petites. They include mini cupcakes, whoopie pies, and other mini treats as well as cake pops! Bakerella really changed the bakery world with these babies, I tell ya! I recently stopped into a Starbucks and tried out a rocky road cake pop just to see how a commercialized company would do with a pretty labor intensive treat. I gotta say, it was really good! The marshmallows weren't the freshest but then I got my pop at 3pm, so I can't really expect perfection there. Here's a peek at my treat:

They also have birthday cake and tiramisu cake pops. Check em out!

Evan's Puffy Quilt

Awhile back (like summer or fall 2010) I bought some crazy fun fabric from the Monaluna Circa 50 line that had rockets and moons on it. I figured it would be perfect for someone eventually (hello NASA), but after seeing how much Evan liked his sister's puffy quilt I knew I had to make him one too. The Monaluna fabric had teal and orange in it which I decided would be so much fun for a little boy and thus Evan's puffy quilt was born! Here are some pictures of the finished product:

When I dropped the quilt off on Monday, I was treated to delicious dinner involving some seriously yummy grilled asparagus as well as some good conversation with Evan. I may have only understood about 25% but he sure does have a lot to say nowadays, so cute! Thanks for having me over, Crisps!

Remember, if you want to make your own puffy quilt, you can buy the tutorial from HoneyBear Lane here: PUFFY. Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Car!!!

As you know, my poor 2000 Ford Focus died last Thursday and needed a new engine, which was going to cost way more than the car was worth. So, I (in a panicked state) began the search for a replacement. I was first focused on used cars because they seemed like a more economical way to go, but actually pinning down a car I wanted and financing and a ride to go buy it proved to be rather difficult. I ended up buying a new 2010 Corrola S! Just in time for the weekend! I'm super excited and happy with my purchase and I promised the fam that I'd post some pics. Sorry about the dew, it was first thing in the morning when I took the pics:

I was also even able to sell my old car on Craigslist for a good price, which surprised me. Yay!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fave St. Patty's Day cakes from around the 'net

This post is a little late coming since I've been all consumed with buying a car (my car died on Thursday, tear). I wasn't able to make any delicious confections for St. Patty's day, but I thought these were the best the web had to offer, both looks and recipe-wise:

Pot-O-Gold Cupcake from HeyGabe on Flickr:

Shamrock Cake from i am baker:

Stout Cupcakes with Chocolate Covered Pretzels from my baking addiction:

and The Guinness Cake by Katie Quinn Davies via Design*Sponge:


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Carrot Cupcakes for Joey

It seems I have never shared my recipe for carrot cupcakes here, which is odd since they're my favorite cake (except in the fall and then it's pumpkin). Technically Carvel ice cream cake is my favorite and what I like to eat on my June birthday every year, but since it doesn't actually contain any cake- carrot cake is the fave. I made these for my friend Joey because he is also a fellow carrot cake lover. Here is the carrot cupcake:

Carrot Cupcakes (recipe from Grandma):

2c flour
2t baking soda
1/4t salt
2t cinnamon
1/8t nutmeg
1 1/2c sugar
1 (8oz) carton sour cream
1/2c vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2t vanilla
2 1/2c shredded carrot
1c walnuts (optional)

Preheat to 325F. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, combine sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour mixture to oil mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrot and walnuts. Fill liners 3/4 full. bake for 15 minutes. cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jungle-Themed Baby Puff Quilt

My friend Leslie recently asked for another baby puff quilt and I was more than happy to oblige, I think they're my favorite thing to sew nowadays. The bedding was a compilation of animal prints with an orange pillow and there was also a green painting int he room. I chose to use just the giraffe print (Leslie's request, but also my favorite of the animal prints), an orange polka dot pattern, and a jungle leaf pattern in green. Here is the result:

As always, major props to Heidi of HoneyBear Lane for her puff quilt tutorial, which you can now purchase from her site! Let me know what you think of my jungle-themed design and thanks again for letting me make this, Leslie!


Chipotle Lime Shrimp with Salsa and Brown Rice

I made this recipe for the first time when Christine was leaving Texas for good (tear), so you can tell how far behind I am on photographing it and posting, whoopsies. Anywho, it's seriously one of my most favorite things to eat. If the Kroger near my apartment sold fresh peeled deveined shrimp I'd be making this weekly. I currently have to drive only slightly out of the way to HEB for the shrimps so I still make this pretty regular. I thought now would be a great time to finally get my butt into action since it also happens to be a great meal for Fridays during Lent. Check it out:

Chipotle Lime Shrimp:
1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped
1T olive oil
1T brown sugar
1 lime, juice and zest
2T fresh cilantro, chopped
1lb peeled deveined shrimp

3T balsamic vinegar
1T olive oil
1/2t salt
1/2t sugar
1/2t ground black pepper
1/2t cumin
2T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15oz) can corn, drained
1 red pepper , diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

Mix all ingredients in a small skillet and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. Cook on med-high heat until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.

In a small bowl mix together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, sugar, pepper, cumin and cilantro. In a medium bowl mix together black beans, corn, red pepper, and jalapeno. Toss with vinegar mixture.

Layer salsa and shrimp over brown rice. Serve immediately.

Note: this mixture can also be used to make delicious soft tacos, I would just leave out the rice so you don't double up on carbs.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Comic Relief: Baloo

My dog loves ice cream.

San Antonio Trip with Mom!

Two weekends ago I took a little trip to San Antonio, TX with my Mom. I've been to SA before with Christine, but we could only stay one night and I felt that there was probably more that SA had to offer. I was definitely right in that assumption! We had a great time shopping little antique shops, visiting the Alamo, cruising the riverwalk and especially tasting all SA had to offer! Here are some pictures from our trip (as per usual I didn't take as many as I should have):
It was the Anniversary of the Alamo battle and there were tons of reenactors around as well as a parade and this huge floral display of yellow roses in the shape of Texas (I took it on an angle):

Me and the roses (note: the wind was blowing like a million miles an hour, please forgive the hair):

Mom and I at the Alamo:

Inside the main building of the Alamo fort, you can see where the roof has been rebuilt:

Second half of the '6 flags that flew over Texas':

Token cannon pic upon exiting the Alamo:

Pearl Brewery complex:

Faux space needle in the SA skyline:

While in San Antonio we made a trip to nearby Boerne (pronounced burn-eee like journey). In Boerne there were tons of little antique shops and boutiques. Some of them were weird and contained mostly crap, but some were amazing. I personally hit decorating pay-dirt at: Cielo, The Alley on Main, and Barn Owl Collectibles. Def worth the 30 minute drive outside SA, oh and they have the most amazing little wine tasting/ wine bar called Boerne Wine Company-check them out!! Here are a couple of my shopping finds:

In addition to the mini-antiquing trip, Mom and I also went in search of Zuni fetishes (remember them from my Sedona, AZ trip??). The first store we went to had been closed and turned into a post office, major let-down. So, I fired up the ol Droid and googled us another vendor. The only other store that sold Zuni fetishes in the SA area was in Schertz, TX called Paul's Desert. It was literally the front two rooms of this couple's house, but they had some great pieces. My mom left with an amazing jet bear the size of my palm. Here are my goodies:

As far food goes we had some really spectacular meals. We went to Luke, Biga on the Banks, and Il Sogno. Luke was super yummy, I had pepper seared tuna and my mom had a pizza-like thing with caramelized onions and fancy cheeses. At Biga on the Banks we ended up sitting at the bar because their earliest reservation was for 9pm! The place was decorated very interestingly with dried gourds everywhere and some of the booths were made private with sheer curtain panels. My mom's meal came with truffled mashed potatoes and they were sooo delicious. I think I may have to work on procuring a black truffle in the near future. I believe our best 'dining experience' was at Il Sogno in the Pearl Brewery complx. They don't take reservations so we made sure to get there nice and early (we got there at about 630 and tables were filling up fast). Our waiter told us about the Antipasti bar and we were easily swayed into this appetiser route. They showed you an example of each antipasti option and you were to choose 3 or 5 options. All of our choices were delicious and perfectly portioned to share just a taste before our meals. We decided to split a pizza and split a pasta dish, so essentially we ended up with a 5 course meal (with the tiramisu at the end). We left with half a pizza, full bellies, and definite intentions to return (at least on my part). Check out this review from Texas Monthly if you want to hear more about them: review. I wish I had pictures to share of all our meals, but the restaurants were quite dim and nothing turned out clear.

All in all, I'm definitely becoming a huge fan of San Antonio and I can't wait to see what I find on my next trip (which is coincidentally already planned for April hehe).

I hope you've learned a little about San Antonio and be sure to let me know if you're headed there, maybe I'll join you! Also, read about a few of San Antonio's cupcakerys in my two previous posts. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cupcakery Review: Cupcake Couture in San Antonio, TX

The second cupcakery that my mom and I stopped at while in San Antonio was Cupcake Couture on Broadway. This wide open shop displayed a great variety of cupcakes (be sure to check the refrigerator for the cold ones too). I was impressed by the different flavors such as pistachio, but I felt that some of the cupcakes ran a little dry. To be fair, not all of the cupcakes were eaten right away because this shop only offers regular sized cupcakes. I ate the turtle cheesecake cupcake in the store and my mom tasted her cappuccino cupcake first. The cheesecake was right out of the refrigerator when I tried it, so that dampened the cream cheese flavor a bit, but overall it was delicious. the flavors that I tried later were red velvet (little dry and I don't like the maraschino cherry on top, it makes me think I'm eating black forest cake), pistachio (icing was divine but the cake was quite dry), Mexican chocolate (totally dry and uninteresting), and chocolate with peanut butter icing (cake dry, icing yummy- Baloo especially enjoyed the icing). I would have to rate this cupcakery a B- due to dryness, but I'm loving that they are trying interesting flavors. Here are my pics: