6.30.2012

Wiggle Wiggle Dress

It has been such a gorgeous week! I can't help but wear a dress when the sun is out and hotter than a Two Dollar Pistol! Naw in all honesty, I just like to show off my legs now that I've lost some weight. 

I had to let my husband use my car to drive to school on Wednesday. So since I thought I would be indoors all day, I felt I should get all gussied up for myself. Then my friend called me up and offered to pick me up to go to lunch together. So this is what I wore to lunch with Kaitlyn.


That swoop on my head is supposed to be a Victory Roll hair doo... supposed...



My newest shoe purchase!

The last time I wore this dress was at my college graduation in 2008!






Stay cool, cats!
~Naomi

Dress: JCP (old)
Shoes: Guess from TJ Maxx
Purse: Thrifted

6.29.2012

Two Meals in One

I didn't realize how much food I would be making when I started making Stuffed Peppers on Tuesday. My husband invited friends over and we had a jolly good time eating and drinking til 10 o'clock. :P I had to work the next day, that's why we were up so late. Haha! I had never made stuffed peppers before, but they were a hit and I will definitely make them again. Especially because I had a lot of left over stuffing and made wet burritos the next day! Shazaam!

Mexican Stuffed Peppers
  • Olive Oil
  • 3 bell peppers, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 (15oz) jar salsa
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream for topping

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat the peppers with olive oil. Place on a cookie sheet and bake about 20-25 minutes just until cooked through. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow peppers to cool until you can handle them.


Brown turkey and onions in a med sized skillet. Drain grease off and put into a large bowl.


In the bowl with the turkey and onions, add the taco seasoning, black beans, corn and rice. Add in the jar of salsa and mix well.


Carefully spoon the turkey mixture into each half of the bell peppers and place back into the baking dish. 


Cook the peppers for another 15-20 minutes or until the peppers are cooked all the way thru. 


Before removing from the oven sprinkle the tops of each pepper with shredded cheddar cheese. Place back into the oven just until the cheese has melted.


Remove from the oven and top with sour cream just before serving.




Wet Burritos:

Leftover stuffing (from above)
6 burrito sized flour tortillas
1 jar taco sauce
Shredded cheese

Pre heat oven to 400*
Divide stuffing amongst the tortillas. Wrap and roll to make tight burritos.

Place in a glass baking dish. Pour taco sauce over burritos. Sprinkle cheese on top. 
Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melty and burritos are hot throughout.

Almost forgot to take a picture! They were so good!
I was so excited to have leftovers from the stuffed peppers. Usually I do not like a lot of leftovers in my fridge, I like to just make a fresh meal each day... but I *almost* made a fresh meal by using the stuffing to make the burritos! I made them after a long day at work and had dinner in only 20 minutes.
Have a great day! 
~Naomi

6.27.2012

Blue Suede Shoes



Well, it's one for the money,
Two for the show,
Three to get ready,
Now go, cat, go.

But don't you step on my blue suede shoes.

You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes.




A glimpse of what I wore:
Shoes: Mossimo for Target 
Skirt: Francesca's
Ribbon as belt

6.23.2012

Tassel-hoff

On a typical day off, most people would prefer to lounge in comfy clothes because they had been in work attire all week.
I am a bit different. 
Seeing as I wear scrubs when I'm on the job, I miss dressing up!
I try to make up for it by wearing a dress or skirt even if I have no plans to leave my house. 

This outfit is my version of nautical chic pattern mixing.
The belt is actually a tassel that I wore for high school graduation!
I'm glad I've kept it all these years.

It was super hot when I was taking these pics, so I felt I should have my hair up. Also the top is cute in the back, so I didn't want to hide it by wearing my hair down. This hairstyle was pretty simple to do. I just formed the waves while my hair was wet, pinned them in place, and spritzed with hairspray! The back is basically a bun except twisted into a figure 8. 

The hubby said it looks like it's from the 1920's. 
Sweet!




 
Resting in the garden

 




Doesn't my hair look so short?!
~Naomi

Shirt: Francesca's
Skirt: thrifted dress altered
belt: graduation tassel
shoes: JCP Worthington (old)
earrings: gift from cousin Fran

6.22.2012

Almond Joy Cupcakes

If there is one thing about me you should know, I love cupcakes.
If there are two things you should know, I love contests.
When I saw that The Cupcake Project was hosting a contest with Scoopalicious,
I knew I would be entering!

I decided to make an Almond Joy Cupcake. 
I saw a few recipes online that said they were "Almond Cupcakes" but they were not.
You can not take a simple vanilla cupcake and add almond extract to it and then call it an almond cupcake!
Um no!! While I'm sure the taste was good, I wanted a realllllly good almond cupcake.
I'm kind of a snob like that.

So without further delay, my entry to the contest. 
The gosh-darn-most-truest almond cupcake, with a layer of dark chocolate ganache, topped with a scoop of coconut gelato. It. is. heaven.

Almond Joy Cupcakes
based on this Canadian Living recipe
makes 6

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg 
1/4 tsp almond extract
 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
1/4 cup almond flour/meal
10 raw almonds, ground to medium coarseness
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/8 tsp salt 
1/4 cup milk
6 whole raw almonds

Preheat oven to 350°F.
 In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, then beat in egg and almond extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. 
Stir into butter mixture and slowly add milk. Spoon into cupcake cups or greased cupcake pan.
Place a whole almond atop each filled cupcake cup.
Bake in 350°F oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. 
Transfer to rack; let cool. 
Chocolate Ganache
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dark chocolate mini chips
Place chocolate chips into a small heatproof bowl
Heat cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat until boiling.
Pour hot cream over chocolate chips into bowl.
Let sit for a few minutes so the chocolate melts.
With a fork, stir the cream and chocolate together until smooth and evenly dark.
Let the bowl sit on your counter until cool enough to be spreadable, but not hard.
Spread evenly over the 6 above cupcakes.
 To Assemble
Once the ganache has been spread over the almond cupcakes, use an ice cream scoop to scrape a layer of coconut gelato out of the dish and gently place gelato atop the frosted cupcake.
Garnish with 5 whole almonds each, placed to form a star.


**notes**
  • The whole almond inside the cupcakes sinks down to the middle and makes a nice crunchy surprise. 
  • The ground almond and almond flour make the cupcake nice and moist.
  •  I suggest using Wilbur Chocolate for all your baking needs. It is simply the best, I'm not being paid to say so! The ganache I made twice: first with nestle, and that was so awful I pitched it. It was gritty! The second, I was about to run to the store for some Wilbur when I remembered I still had a small bag of chocolate chips! I was so happy I was close to tears. Chocolate does that to me. Especially good chocolate.
  • Serve the cupcake at room temperature, top with the gelato just before serving. It is so much better than freezing the whole thing and serving a frozen cupcake.
  • Lastly, I made only 6 because I knew I would eat them all! Feel free to make in multiples! 
The orange flecks shown in the picture do not actually exist in the gelato. I checked the ingredients before I purchased it to make sure there was no other fruits in it.


I sincerely hope you try this treat. Even if I do not place in the contest, these cupcakes are still a treat worth savoring and I'm glad to have them in my repertoire.



Have a lovely day! ~Naomi

6.21.2012

Shy

I am on Skype with my younger sister at present. I have just introduced her to my blog. Yes, I have waited this long. Why? I dunno... I think I was shy. Ha! But how could I be shy when this blog is public for the WHOLE WORLD?! 


 I think it's different because when I think of people reading my blog at this stage, I think it it just people to happen upon it. Or nobody at all. Which is cool. I mean I would hope someone reads this fluff... but just not people I know. It's like being on stage. It's completely less vulnerable feeling if I am singing to a room of strangers as opposed to friends and family. Anyone else feel similar?


I'm sure I'll get over these butterflies. Until then... thanks for understanding!

~Naomi

6.20.2012

Sweltering Heat

With beads of sweat upon my brow
I swig the cool, iced coffee.
 With the sun beating down my door
I perch in front of the A/C.
With a heat I know as summer
I dream of island escapes.

Marie Claire Italia


Wishing you a cool, crisp lemonade.
 ~Naomi

6.18.2012

Lavender Honey Ricotta Cheesecake

My husband's favorite dessert is cheesecake. If I bake other treats or goodies, they usually go un-eaten by him just because he doesn't have much of a sweet tooth. 

So I take it upon myself to make cheesecake for the special occasions: his birthdays and our anniversaries. 

I also like to make a different cheesecake each time. 

As this is my blog, and I can do what I want, I'm gonna make this post about the cheesecake I made for his 27th bday this past February.

Lavender Honey Ricotta Cheesecake
based on Giada de Laurentiis's recipe on foodnetwork.com


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces purchased almond cookies
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (12-ounce) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lavender honey
  • 4 large eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. 
  3. Finely grind the cookies in a food processor. 
  4. Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan. 
  5. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.
  6. Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. 
  7. Blend in the honey. Add the eggs and pulse just until blended.
  8. Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. 
  9. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. 
  10. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. 
  11. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).
  12. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.

6.17.2012

Nicole's Cherry Almond Cake



See that picture above? 
 That was one lucky girl's birthday cake. Mine? Ha! I do all my best work when I'm going to give it away. No, this lucky girl, Nicole, was a coworker. And she was turning 25 and had to work night shift on her birthday. And when that happens, parties will be had in the break room! Surprise!

Red Velvet & Brownie Swirl Cake

 1 box red velvet cake mix
1 box brownie mix
2 cans chocolate buttercream frosting
sliced almonds for decoration
large jar of maraschino cherries
water and eggs as needed for box recipes
replace vegetable oil with almond oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to temperature stated on red velvet cake mix.
In a large bowl, mix ingredients for red velvet cake as stated on box, except using almond oil in place of regular vegetable oil.
In a separate large bowl, mix brownie mix as stated on box but also using almond oil instead of vegetable oil.
Lightly grease 3 round 8" cake pans with cooking spray.
Divide red velvet mix equally between two pans.
With brownie mix, make several stripes of batter on top of red velvet. Marble brownie mix into red velvet with a knife. (Or see this blog for another example of marbling)
Bake until tooth pick come out clean, approx 20 min.
Baked, the brownie batter is hidden 

Cool on rack completely.

Cooling, with the extra brownie batter in ramekins

To Assemble:

Place one of the cake layers on a plate, frost top only. 
Place second layer atop the frosted bottom layer. Frost top only.
Place third and final layer on top. Frost top and sides evenly.
Next, decorate side of cake by pressing sliced almonds against it one by one.
Now place remainder of frosting in a piping bag fitted with a star shaped tip.
Pipe small spots along bottom rim and top outer rim of cake. You will want to make a nice thick rim on the top of cake so the cherries don't roll off if your cake is rounded on top.
Decorate the top with cherries covering the whole top and then pipe dots of frosting in between the cherries. 

There was none left by the end of our 12hr shift!

 This was such a delicious moist cake! Any chocolate lover will adore it.
~Naomi