12.31.2012

Just Can't Stop


Ok, I know I just put up a post with my rad-tastic pink heels, but I couldn't resist wearing them again!
I took these pics on my last chance before the "BIG" snow we had that lasted all of one day...
Yea, people in PA tend to over-react about flurries.










But it was freezing out!
I would dash to my coat between every shot and my hands were numb by the time I was done!

And speaking of dashing, I drove out to this little covered bridge (first seen here) and parked my car on the only road that leads to and from the bridge to the main road. 
Well this huge construction truck started barreling out of the woods toward the main road, where my car just happened to be blocking!
So I had to haul ass and run back to my wheels, lugging my tripod and pink shoes and all the while this truck driver is watching me and probably so confused to see me!
Cheers to the good times of the past, and of the present, and the future!
Happy New Year!
~Naomi



Dress: thrifted
Shoes: Forever 21




**Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a Peter Pan Collar necklace! Winner will be picked on Jan 3rd! Click here to enter!**

12.29.2012

Cinnamon Bourbon Truffles

Have you ever made truffles before?
Me neither.
These were my first and only attempt so far, and let me tell you, I am aching to make them again because they are just THAT delicious!
My sister and I spent an afternoon rolling these bad boys out and dipping them in dark chocolate.
And then we spent the evening eating them and trying not to eat them.
Good thing I doubled the batch!
I packaged them up in little boxes and sent them to friends and family!



Cinnamon Bourbon Truffles (adapted from this recipe)


Ingredients
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 beaten egg yolk
  • 3 teaspoons Jim Beam bourbon
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 lb chocolate flavored candy coating (I used Wilbur's dark chocolate discs with a little sunflower oil) 
Directions
1. Combine chocolate, butter, and whipping cream in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat.
2. Gradually stir about half of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolk. Return egg mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in bourbon and cinnamon. Transfer chocolate mixture to a small mixing bowl. Chill about 1 hour or until mixture is room temperature and smooth, stirring occasionally.
4. Beat the cooled chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on medium until slightly fluffy. Chill about 15 minutes or until mixture holds its shape. Drop mixture from a rounded teaspoon onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Chill until firm. Shape into smooth balls with hands, working quickly so the truffles don't get too soft.
5. Bring water to boiling in the bottom of a double boiler or a saucepan. Remove from heat. Place chopped chocolate-flavored candy coating in top of double boiler or in a heatproof bowl and set over the boiling water, making sure the bottom of the top pan is not touching the water. Stir frequently until coating melts. Or, melt coating in the microwave oven: In a 2 1/2-quart microwave-safe bowl, microwave candy coating on 100% power (high) for 2 minutes. Stir. If necessary, microwave 30 seconds more or until almost melted. Coating may not look melted until stirred.
6. Drop truffles, one at a time, into melted candy coating; turn truffles with a  fork to coat. Lift truffle out with the fork without piercing the centers. Invert truffles onto a waxed-paper-lined baking sheet.
7. Let dipped truffles dry until coating hardens. If the candy coating becomes too thick while dipping, reheat it in the microwave. Or, for coating that's been melted in a double boiler, replace the cooled water with warm water. Stir coating constantly until it once again reaches dipping consistency.

 Makes about 30. Store truffles, tightly covered, in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.


My make-shift (read: ghetto) double broiler method for melting the chocolate for dipping! Place a pot of water on stove, heat to boiling and turn down heat. Place a mesh screen on top of pot, and a ceramic or glass bowl with chocolate atop the screen. I used a fork and dipping tool to coat truffles.

*Don't forget to enter my giveaway for an adorable Peter Pan collar necklace! Click here to enter!*

12.25.2012

Hang A Shining Star Upon The Highest Bough

...and


For unto us a child is born!
~Naomi



Sweater: Kohl's
Dress: thrifted
Belt: handmade
Shoes: Me too


*Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a Peter Pan collar necklace! Click here for details!*

12.23.2012

Gingerbread Pancakes & A Giveaway!



Today's entry is my 100th post!
To celebrate, I am giving away a pretty little peter pan collar necklace!
But first, the recipe for those scrumptious pancakes above :9

Healthy Gingerbread Pancakes  (source)

Ingredients (makes about 3 pancakes)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk, well-shaken
  • powdered cane sugar, optional
  • maple syrup, optional
Instructions
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the first 7 ingredients (flour through cloves).
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white, molasses, and buttermilk.
  • Stir dry ingredients into the wet just until moistened. Set aside to rest.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray or a bit of oil/butter.
  • When hot, spoon the batter into the skillet by the 1/4 cupful.
  • When bubbles appear on the surface of the batter, (about 1-2 minutes), the pancakes are ready to be flipped.
  • Flip pancakes and let cook for another minute or so, or until golden brown.
  • Serve with powdered cane sugar and/ore maple syrup if desired.


And now for the giveaway!

Dainty little necklace from Forever 21 up for grabs!


Open to all readers everywhere in the world!
To enter, just tell me how you follow my blog and leave a comment on this post, below!
Two entries if you follow on bloglovin AND google friend connect.

Don't forget to leave a way for me to reach you in your comment.
Winner will be randomly picked on Jan 3rd!

Thanks for making this little milestone with me!
~Naomi

12.09.2012

Black Bean & Pumpkin Soup

Second recipe in a row?!
Yup, that's right :)
On Friday, I pretty much spent the day in my kitchen preparing meals for the week ahead.
I had never done that before.
I must say, I like sleeping in that extra 15 minutes that it would normally take me to make my lunch, knowing that I already have it ready!


Black Bean Pumpkin Soup (via Smitten Kitchen)

Yield: 9 cups

Ingredients:
Three 15 1/2 ounce cans black beans (about 4 1/2 cups), rinsed and drained
1 cup drained canned tomatoes, chopped
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
4 cups beef broth
a 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup dry Sherry
1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into 1/8-inch dice
3 to 4 tablespoons Sherry vinegar

Directions:

  • In a food processor coarsely puree beans and tomatoes.
  • In a 6-quart heavy kettle cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened and beginning to brown. Stir in bean puree. Stir in broth, pumpkin, and Sherry until combined and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Just before serving, add ham and vinegar and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper.
Serve soup garnished with sour cream and/or toasted pumpkin seeds.



My husband remarked several times during dinner on Friday that the soup was "Soooooo gooooood!"
I made it once before, vegetarian style with veggie broth and no ham.
This time, I made it as written.
Finger licking good!
Still yummy and scrumptious as lunch at work the next day.
Your co-workers will be all like, "What are you eating?! It smells so good!"
~Naomi

12.07.2012

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes w/ White Chocolate & Rosewater Buttercream

I know the title is a mouthful, but it's my best gourmet cupcake so far and I just had to make her sound fancy.
I imagine this being the perfect little treat for a bridal or baby shower.
Or a tea party!


The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake (via The Cupcake Project)
  • 1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. (I used 1Tbsp vanilla bean paste! Worked like a charm)
  3. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
  6. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes.  Because there is so little butter, you'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  8. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  9. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined.  The batter will be liquid.  (Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong.  It's supposed to be that way.)
  10. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  11. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it.  The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown.  If they are not done, test again in two minutes.  If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
  12. When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don't own a cooling rack) to cool.
White Chocolate & Rosewater Buttercream


4oz white chocolate
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp rose water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
pink food dye

1. Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl.
2. Pour whipping cream and rosewater into a small sauce pan. Simmer on medium on stovetop.
3. Once cream has started to froth and foam up a little, remove cream from heat and pour into bowl over chocolate. Let sit in refrigerator until chilled.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter and slowly incorporate powdered sugar. (You will want to add your pink food dye at this point if using.)
5. Pour chocolate/cream mixture into butter mixture and mix until fluffy. I suggest using the buttercream frosting the same day you make it. If not, refrigerate and bring to room temperature before using.


I made 24 mini cupcakes (using little condiment cups I acquired from local fast food restaurants) and 12 regular sized cupcakes! 
How many I ate while typing up this post will be for me to know and you to find out :P
~Naomi

12.01.2012

Shiny Happy People

Hooray for indoor porches! 
I couldn't persuade my husband to venture outside for photo taking, so I froze all alone on our porch/stairway area of our apartment.

It's quite gray outside. 
I dressed for the color of the clouds, but I am not feeling gray.
I am feeling red!
So I put on my brightest shade of lipstick.
Abe says it's fancy, I say it's happy!
So that's how I picked the name of this post, from that old '80's song.
It fits, no?
You can't help but feel happy in a shiny top and red lips.
I won this adorable and comfy shirt from the ever lovely Kacie over at Kacie's Kloset when she was holding a giveaway for her online shop.






That's my wreath!
Abe and I (but mostly I...) made it a few years back when we still lived in Michigan!
What's hanging on your door? 
A real wreath or a crafted on?
~Naomi



Lipstick: Wet n Wild #909d
Pants: Maurices