Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Creamsicle Cookies

I've been on a bit of a cookie kick I suppose. I made oreo chunk chocolate chip cookies, butterfinger chunk chocolate chip cookies, cream cheese filled snickerdoodles, and now creamsicle cookies! Can you say cookie monster?! These were super amazing and are one of my favorite flavor combos- no going wrong with orange and vanilla. I had many a bowl of orange sherbert/ vanilla swirl ice cream at Grandma and Grandpa's house growing up and more recently many an adult beverage with orange soda and vanilla vodka (try it- it'll change your life!). Plus it's a great, refreshing flavor for this killer hot summer we're having here in Houston. 109F? Seriously?! Her are the goodies:

Creamsicle Cookies (from A Bitchin Kitchen)

2 1/2c flour
3/4t baking soda
1/2t salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2c sugar
1/2c light brown sugar
1 egg
1t vanilla
1t vanilla bean paste
Zest of 2 oranges
1T juice from 1 orange
2 c white chocolate chips

Preheat to 375F. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanillas until thoroughly incorporated. Gradually beat in flour mixture until just incorporated. Mix in orange zest, juice and white chocolate chips. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and drop tablespoon-sized scoops of dough onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool completely.


Bye Bye Shuttle!

This weekend I went all NASA nerd and attended the party on-site to celebrate the Shuttle. In case you aren't aware, the current administration decided to cut funding to the shuttle program and the last shuttle returned to Earth on July 21, 2011. Anywho, in celebration of all that the USA accomplished with the shuttle, NASA had a huge party/ ceremony/ concert this past weekend. There was tons of yummy food and bouncy castles for the kiddos. They were also running tours of building 9 (where all the mock-ups are housed), which was amazing because building 9 is air conditioned and Saturday was the hottest day of the summer thus far (record-matching 109F). After the sun went down, there were lots of fancy-pants NASA speeches from astronauts and other important peeps. They followed up the whole shindig with a concert by the lead singer of Five for Fighting, very cool!

Thanks NASA!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Snickerdoodles Stuffed with Cream Cheese

I recently came across an easy recipe that required no out of the ordinary ingredients and decided to give it a try that day. Oh my goodness are these cream cheese stuffed snickerdoodles ah-mazing! Super easy and a great twist on a classic. I made mine ginormous so that they pretty much fell apart when I picked them up, but you can always opt for more reasonably sized cookies. Here are some pics:

Cream Cheese Stuffed Snickerdoodles (from Cookies and Cups)

1 (8oz)pkg cream cheese
1/4c sugar
2t vanilla

1 1/2c sugar
1c butter, softened
2 eggs
1t vanilla
2 3/4c flour
2t cream of tartar
1t baking soda
1/2t salt
1/4c sugar
2t cinnamon

Make filling by creaming together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat to 400F. In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 1/2c sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until combined. Mix in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, mix together the 1/4c sugar and cinnamon, set aside. To make the filled cookies, I made a large ball of dough and made a crater with my thumb. I added a smaller ball of the cream cheese mixture to the crater and then smoothed the cookie dough over the cream cheese until there was no longer any cream cheese showing. Then roll the ball of dough in the sugar and cinnamon mixture until completely coated. Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet with plenty of room between each one (lots of spreading in the oven) and bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely on rack.

The original recipe has a different method for assembling the cookies, but my dough was way too sticky for their method. Check out the link at the top of the ingredient list if you want to try their way. Enjoy!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Skyler and Corey Beth's Wedding

Last weekend was the Galveston wedding of my soccer homie, Skyler, and his now wife, Corey Beth. They managed to put together a fun wedding in about 2 months, craziness! All the usual Club Haven etc crowd was there and it was a really fun, albeit hotttttt, time. Here is a pictorial recap of the reception:
Club Haven guys:

Stephanie, Me, and Randi pre-sweat-a-thon:

Me, Anders, and Amy (that night Anders was in the habit of jumping in pics saying "these are my ladies")

Getting the dance floor started:

Cheers to the groom:

Me and Steph on the dance floor (note super high pony due to overheating):

This is a really bad pic but I wanted to document the back of CB's dress, which I love:

Saying goodnight to Krista and her new baby bump!:

Newly married couple headed out for the night:

Thanks for including me on your special day, best wishes Skyler and Corey Beth!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Swatches are in!

I've finally received all the swatches I requested for the fabric for my headboard project! You can see all my options here and how well (or not well) they match the new chair:

I'm going with the bottom-most swatch which is awesome because it A) matches really well B) is super soft and C) was practically the cheapest of all the fabric I swatched! It is a velvet upholstery fabric from DIY Upholstery Supply in case you're interested. I'll be ordering 2 yards of it, which should be more than enough to cover the whole headboard and make welting. Now I'm on to pricing upholstery foam. This is going to be the most expensive part of the project so I want to make sure I really do my research on this one. Can't wait to give more updates!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dynamo Game

A couple of weekends ago I went to a Dynamo game with some of my soccer ladies. While I like to make it out to at least one game a season, I've really got to get better at the whole going to the games before the dead of summer- it was hotttt. We had a good time despite the heat because we started the night off in the Budweiser tailgate! Yum. Dynamen came through with a win and I even got to see some UMD alum action when Jason Garey played for the last ~10 minutes, yay!
Please disregard my signature giraffe neck while self-photographing look:

Trying to capture all the confetti after a Dynamo goal:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Frozen Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert Terrine

Today is my 4 year TX-iversary. I feel like it can't be 4 years since my Dad and I packed up the ol Focus and drove half-way across the country to a city (and state) I'd never been to before. Time sure does slip on by, craziness! Well since it's just as hot here now as it was 4 years ago, I recently decided to make a dessert that required zero oven time and very little stove top time, a peanut butter chocolate dessert terrine. It sounds fancy, but it's really just easy-peasy deliciousness.

Frozen Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert Terrine (original from Sprinkle Bakes)

12oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1c creamy peanut butter
2 1/2c heavy cream (I ended up using only 2 cups because that's how cream is sold-pint)
1t vanilla bean paste
1/4c powdered sugar
1 1/4c roasted, salted peanuts
Wax/parchment paper
baking spray

Coat a 9"x5" loaf pan with baking spray. Line the pan with the wax/parchment paper (use one giant piece and let there be excess hanging over the edge for removing the loaf later). In a saucepan, melt chocolate chips on low-be careful to avoid burning the chocolate. Stir peanut butter into the melted chocolate until completely incorporated. Allow mixture to cool. In a large bowl, whip 1 1/4c of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold together the chocolate mixture and whipped cream (I also whipped the mixture to regain fluffy consistency). Pour into prepared pan. Whip remaining heavy cream (for me this was 3/4c because I wanted more chocolate than vanilla-you can divide yours however you like), gradually adding the powdered sugar and vanilla bean paste. Beat until stiff peaks form. Spread vanilla whipped cream over the chocolate layer. Cover with peanuts. Press the peanuts into the whipped cream slightly with your hands. Pick up the pan and drop it once onto the counter to settle the layers. Freeze for 3 hours. To remove loaf from pan, simply lift the paper out of the pan. I removed my paper and wrapped the loaf in plastic for storage in freezer.

This dessert is delicious and wonderfully refreshing in the ridiculous Texas summer!