Monday, September 26, 2011

The Original Caramel Apple Jello Shots [With Real Apples]

Can you believe I actually spend time trying to figure out what kinds of food could be used as a vessel for jello shots?  I'm not a lush I swear ... although my blog would have you totally fooled.

It's just that, after filling lemons, limes, oranges and strawberries with vodka infused jello, I knew there had to be something else ...

So we tried apples... and guess what?  YUM.  Especially with my caramel flavored butterscotch schnapps jello.

(If you wanted something with a little bit more alcohol content you could always try them out with Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka instead of butterscotch schnapps) Or for a kid friendly, non-alcoholic version just use cold water mixed with two tablespoons of caramel syrup instead of butterscotch schnapps or vodka!

Shopping List (makes about 40 slices/shots)
10 small granny smith apples
1 envelope knox gelatin
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 drops yellow food coloring
1 envelope Land o Lakes caramel hot chocolate (Regular would do just fine if you can't find caramel)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butterscotch schnapps
lemon juice

1. Half and hollow out  apples cutting them from the stem down. I used a melon baller to hollow the apples and it worked well. After hollowing them squeeze some lemon juice on top to reduce browning.

2. Mix your 1/2 cup water with your envelope of hot chocolate in a medium sized sauce pan. Whisk it to make sure all the chocolate is combined. Add the 1/2 cup of coconut milk, whisk again.

3. Sprinkle your gelatin on top and let it sit a few minutes. Turn on low/medium heat and mix the gelatin until all is combined.

4. Add 1/4 cup sugar and simmer slightly until sugar is combined. Add your food coloring until you get the caramel color desired. I used two drops. Let mixture cool to warm. Pour in your 1/2 cup of butterscotch schnapps.

5. With your apples arranged so they fit tightly and secure on a cookie sheet, pour your caramel jello mixture into your apples. Refrigerate overnight.

Cut halves in quarters and those quarters in half again. Serve immediately. (The lemon juice can only prevent the browning for so long). Trim off the sides of the apples that have browned too much! For featuring on your website please make sure to contact

Friday, September 23, 2011

Coca-Cola Cupcakes

My new green Hunter wellies finally arrived in the mail yesterday!  I've been obsessed with collecting new pieces for my fall wardrobe and that was piece number one [check].

You can bet I wore them while I bopped around the kitchen last night whipping up these  Coca-Cola  cupcakes.

Coca-Cola Cupcakes

I made them for my co-worker Andy. Here is how it goes down in my office when it's your birthday ...

Brian likes "orange," so I made these.

Dee likes bananas, so I made these

Andy drinks a lot of coke ... so I made these!

Coca-Cola Cupcakes

There is real cola inside (which makes the cake incredibly moist) and the vanilla cream cheese topping is meant to look like fizz/foam.

I think I'll wear my rain boots to work today too... green boots and Coca-Cola cupcakes,  it's going to be a good Friday.

Don't forget about the $50 Sur La Table giveaway! It doesn't count without a facebook "like" (email me if you don't have facebook and we'll work it out!) 

Shopping List (makes about two dozen cupcakes)

For Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 stick room temperature butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup Coca-Cola

For Frosting
2 8oz packages cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 table spoons vanilla (sounds like a lot but it brings out the cola flavor)
1 package Haribo gummy cola bottles
Maraschino cherries (with our without stem, I wish I had picked up the one with)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cake mix, butter, eggs, heavy cream,and cola  until well combined. Pour into lined muffin tins, just about half way full (they fluff up a lot from the cola). Bake for about 20 minutes or until toothpick test works.

Let cool completely and frost using a piping bag. Top with cherry and gummy cola.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sur La Table Giveaway

Happy Birthday to my blog...  and Happy Birthday to my dog.... Happy birthday dear blog  and  dog.... happy birthday to you!

It took everything in me not to bring cupcakes for the staff at Honey's doggie daycare this morning. How cute would little honeycomb or doggie bone cupcakes have been!?

I do have something  for you   though ... Let's celebrate That's so Michelle and Honey's birthday with some shopping shall we? You like Sur La Table right?  I thought so!

This giveaway is for a $50 virtual gift card. When I notify the winner (One week from today, September 28th) I will give you a code number and a pin to enter at the Sur la Table website and you can shop immediately online and pick out what you what!

How to Enter:

1. Leave a comment below with what you would buy with your Sur la Table virtual gift card.  AND...

2. Click here and "Like" That's so Michelle on Facebook. The entry doesn't count unless I see the like on Facebook (sorry, shoot me an email if you don't have a Facebook account)

For an extra entry you can tweet about the giveaway (be sure to include @ThatsSoMichelle so I know you did)

[This is not a sponsored giveaway, just a gift from me to you because you're awesome]

  A special thank you to my friends and family who never thought that starting a food blog was "silly" and a very, very special thanks to the love of my life for always being my biggest fan  

Congratulations to Lora Anne Morrow ! Email me soon so we can get you you $50 dollars toward that Le Creuset Wide Oval French Oven. (I've wanted one of those forever too!)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Candy Corn Jello Shots

What's orange and white, jiggly and tastes like a creamsicle?

Yes! Candy corn jello shots! How did you guess?

Without a doubt, my mini watermelon jello shots are the most popular post on my blog, so I knew for That's so Michelle's birthday week I definitely had to revisit them ... and why not make them seasonally appropriate too?

Slightly modified mini watermelon jellos shots = candy corn jello shots!

These little babies are super cute and the coconut jello on top mixed with the orange is  de-li-cious.  They taste like little orange jello creamsicles (yet there is almost an entire bottle of Pinnacle whipped cream flavored vodka inside, watch out!)

For a kid friendly, non-alcoholic version just use cold water with a teaspoon of vanilla instead of vodka.

The step by step is the same as with the mini watermelon jello shots, with the addition of one more layer of jello.

Shopping List
10 oranges
1 box orange jello
1 can coconut milk
1 envelope Knox geletin
1/4 cup sugar
1 bottle Pinnacle whipped cream flavored vodka

1. Prepare oranges by cutting them in halves and hollowing out the peel. This may sound easier than it is. The trick is to take a paring knife and score around the insides to carefully loosen the citrus, then spoon it out. Arrange the hollowed out orange bowls on a cookie sheet (securely upright) or in a cupcake pan. 

For Orange Layer

2. Boil one cup of water then stir in packet of orange jello. When dissolved slowly add one cup of vodka and stir. Pour orange mixture into the orange peels, filling half way. Let refrigerated for at least 2-3 hours or until firm. 

For White Layer

3. Pour 1/2 a cup of water and 1/2 a cup of coconut milk into a sauce pan and then sprinkle1 packet of Knox gelatin on top. Let is sit for one minute, then turn on medium heat and stir until dissolved. Add 1/4 cup sugar and heat until dissolved.

Turn off the heat and wait until the mixture is just warm and then add 1/2 a cup of vodka. Pour into oranges on top of orange jello layer.

4. Let refrigerate overnight.

5. Quarter the halves with a sharp knife, then cut those halves in half again.

For featuring on your website please make sure to contact

Friday, September 16, 2011

Big Things


Happy Friday!

I don't have anything for you today except for this adorable picture of my happy dog with a pink nose, and a promise that next week is going to be soooo good.  Guess what next week is?

It's the Honey Bear's 1st birthday !!!

and  "That's so Michelle" will also hit her one year mark.

That means big things are coming to a computer screen near you very soon. Try and get some rest, and stay hydrated ..

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Best Virginia Wines

The sun finally came out for us this past Saturday... after days and days of rainy weather in the DC  area, we were finally able to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors.

We were up bright and early for a 5k run and then later headed over to the town center for the Reston Wine Festival.

Lucky for me, my good friend Liz, (from Reston Style) brought her camera and let me use her photos for this post. 

Isn't she fantastic?  [Check out her photography blog as well]  I live vicariously through Liz's style blog because I am too much of a wimp to post photos of myself.   Head on over to her blog and peep the cute top Liz wore while we all drank too much wine ;) 


As for me, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the wines we really liked. Wine and cheese ... that's my calling in life.

All wines  are available for order online, or of course if you are in the Virginia area check with your local package store. [And by package store I mean beer, wine and liquor store. It's a Yankee thing.]


It was warmer out and we were partial to whites and chilled dessert wines, my apologies for the lack of Merlot and Noir. Perhaps I will do another post with mostly reds when the temperature drops.

A dessert red infused with chocolate (you could really taste it!) and hints of black cherry and raspberry. This one was definitely the most memorable for me... I would serve it with a brie cheese plate and raspberries!

Cooper Vineyards Sweet Lousia 
 Intense Concord grape flavors and aromas make this wine a "grape juice with an attitude." Best served chilled. This may sound a little crazy but I want to pour this one over frozen yogurt! Yum.

Cooper Vineyards Sangria Party Pack 
3 bottles of perfect Cooper wines and frozen limeade and orange concentrate. Dark sangria in the Fall is 100% acceptable, and this one was some of the best I've ever had. I plan on ordering some for our Halloween get together next month.

A dark red color with wild cherry aromas, Hints of bitter sweet chocolate and coffee make this wine a natural with beef lamb and red sauced pasta. This wine tasted like Christmas to me! You know the aroma of fresh cloves stuck in oranges? That was it. I would serve this with a strong cheddar or blue cheese. 

Belle Mount Vineyards Sweet Breeze  
The hint of honey in this tropical fruit flavored white wine really popped for me. It would be really good with anything spicy. Spicy Thai food, a spicy flank steak or even fish tacos!

Stone Mountain Vineyards Bacon Hallow Sunset 
Come on ... bacon in red wine? Yes please. Would be really good with spaghetti or pizza, this wine was awesome! 

Chateua O'Brien Virginia Apple Wine 
An apple dessert wine that "captures the essence of apples at their peak of fall ripeness"  So true. I would sip this warm even, like a spiked apple cider.

North Mountain Vineyard Tom's Brook Red 
A lightly sweet blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. Enjoy the fruitiness and full structure, along with a lightly sweet finish. This was my favorite red! It was light and sweet and would be great with any thing off the grill or a honey glazed ham.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pumpkin Cheese Plate

Can you tell I am a little over excited about Halloween this year? Look at these adorable little cheese pumpkins!

I love cheese. I know I say that about a lot of food  [see Apple Cider Float post below]  but it's different with cheese. I mean I. really. love. cheese. It used to be my password when I called the cable company and had to confirm it was really me.

"And your password Miss?"

"Uh.... it's cheese. Cheese is my password."  Ridiculous.

I love Swiss cheese on apples or with mustard, Stilton blue cheese with lavender honey, goat cheese with cranberry marmalade, St. Andre triple creme with ... anything basically.

I could go on and on.

This easy Halloween party treat was a no brainer for a blog post. I might just have to make these with the apple cider floats at the beach too!

Shopping List (recipe from Betty Crocker)
About 8 tablespoons smoked Cheddar cold pack cheese (from 8-oz container), well chilled
finely chopped peanuts (I used pecans)
pretzel sticks, broken in half
tiny pieces fresh parsley leaves

Roll each tablespoon of cold pack cheese into a ball; place on waxed paper-lined serving plate. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes for easier handling.

With end of toothpick, draw ridges around balls to resemble pumpkins. Dip bottoms of cheese balls in chopped peanuts. (or nut of choice)
Just before serving, insert pretzel halves into cheese balls for pumpkin stems and place on a cracker. Decorate with parsley for leaves. Store in refrigerator.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Apple Cider Floats

I love caramel apples... I know that fall has truly arrived when I start to see them covered with chopped nuts and cased in plastic containers in the produce isle at the grocery store.

The flavor combination of the crisp, tart apple and the sweet, gooey, rich caramel gets me every time... (100% better than candy apples, don't you agree?) So when I saw this recipe for an apple cider float drizzled with caramel, I couldn't resist.

We are spending Halloween at the beach house this year. I am super excited for ghost stories on the beach around a bonfire with some pumpkin ale and s'mores!  I've been making a list of all the fun treats I can make while we are there.

After one sip of this float I've decided we will definitely be making these.

The contrast in temperature between the warm apple cider and the cool, creamy vanilla ice cream was amazing. "Better than a milkshake" is the response I got, and that's pretty darn good. 

Happy Friday!

Shopping List (from the Everyday with Rachael Ray Staff)
2 cups apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1 tbsp. caramel sauce
1 pinch of nutmeg

 In small saucepan, heat cider with cinnamon stick. Pour cider into 2 float glasses. Top with ice cream, caramel sauce and some grated nutmeg. Serve with spoon. TIP: It helped me to put the ice cream in the glass first then pour on the cider!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What could be cooler than my blog being featured on Glamour Magazine's website? Nothing, right?


How about the author of that feature on being the author of the book I couldn't put down this summer vacation!?!!  Remember this post? How cool is that?

Did anyone else read The Violets of March? What a double whammy of blogger good luck!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coconut Moon Pies

There is something about moon pies that seem a little magical to me...

Maybe it's the Marshmallow Fluff center.  That big white tub of sugary mallow goodness, with the red lid, brings me right back to my childhood, remember peanut-butter and fluff sandwiches?

I actually don't think I was allowed to eat them, only when I was at a friends house.

Also, after making these I haven't been able to get the Breakfast at Tiffany's  theme song "Moon River," out of my head.  Simply because of the word "moon."

That song makes me think of Mr. Big on "Sex and The City" dancing with Carrie in his empty apartment before he moved to Napa... remember that episode?  

Childhood lunches,  Breakfast at Tiffany's, Sex and the City... all from one. little. cookie.  Magical.

(Honey Bear certainly likes moon pies and marshmallow fluff.  See, she told me )

Shopping List (recipe adapted Betty Crocker's Best Halloween Recipes 2011)
1 box white cake mix
1 box coconut instant pudding (4 serving size)
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
Marshmallow Fluff
Whipped frosting

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer whip the butter until it's smooth, then add cake mix, pudding mix, mil and eggs. Mix until combined. 

Place one small tablespoon full of batter on your cookie sheets at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, careful not to over bake.

In a medium mixing bowl combine about 1/2 cup frosting and 3/4 cup Fluff. When cookies have cooled completely. (You can speed up the process in the freezer) place a dollop of the filling in the center of the cookie bottom and the top with another cookie.

These cookies were VERY sweet. Next time I might opt for something like pumpkin or carrot cake instead.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Smoked Salmon Pizza

I think this is definitely a breakfast pizza ... best served with a mimosa or two.

Actually, lets take out the orange juice and just have smoked salmon pizza and champagne for breakfast.

It's your day off, on a long weekend. Who cares if it's before 12 noon?

Food blogger "KEcker" enjoyed her Wolfgang Puck inspired salmon pie on the beach in Los Angles, while watching the sunset with caipirinhas, a Brazilian cocktail, and retro clam dip.

Kind of makes it seem tame to just enjoy yours on the back porch at 10am with some champagne. See, no biggie.

Shopping List
1 store-bought partially baked extra thin pizza crust
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 finely sliced shallot
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3/4 lb. Sliced smoked salmon

Preheat the oven to 450°. Drizzle the crust with olive oil, arrange the shallots evenly on top and season with salt and pepper and dill. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Spread the room temperature cream cheese on top of the crust then arrange the salmon pieces on top evenly. Sprinkle on your capers and more dill

Serve in wedges or squares.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Final Hot Dog Friday: Apple Slaw on a Smoked Cheddar Dog

It's with a heavy heart that I say good bye to Hot Dog Fridays... but seasons change and so do cravings.

I will close with this tangy and healthy  apple slaw on a cheesy smoked sausage.

This is the perfect hot dog to serve at Labor Day bbqs,  apples and smoked sausage are fall classics but hot dogs and slaw are so summer! A seasonal medley.

Here is a look back at some of my delicious (but incredibly hard to photograph) summer hot dogs.

Good bye hot dogs, I miss you already.

And now off to the pool, where I will live all weekend until they drag me out kicking and screaming.

Shopping List  (inspired by The Kenwood Dog, thanks Mom!)
Johnsonville "Beddar with Cheddar" smoked sausages
1 Granny smith apple sliced into matchsticks
1 cup Matchstick- cut carrots 1-2 stalks celery, cut julienne 2 Tbsp of low fat vanilla yogurt 1 Tbsp of Dijon mustard 1/2 tsp of Salt 1 Tsp of Honey 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar 1/2 Tsp of poppy seeds 1 cup Matchstick- cut carrots 1-2 stalks celery, cut julienne

Whisk together yogurt, mustard, salt, honey, cider and poppy seeds.  Mix the carrots and apples and celery together in a large bowl pour half of the dressing over them and toss. Add slaw on top of grilled sausage.
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