Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Starbucks Everyday

We woke up and took Honey to the dog park early this morning.  Since daylight saving time started she doesn't get to play with her friends at the park that often, because it's dark by the time we get home from work.

I am not -- I repeat -- I am not a morning person.


But with the flick of a switch and a 60 second wait for my magical Keurig coffee maker to do it's thing, I am a pleasant person again.

Coffee doesn't just wake me up in the morning ... Coffee makes me happy. 

I don't know about you, but when I walk out of a Starbucks with a Cafè Americano in my hands, and the cool winter wind hits my face, I'm warm, smiling and content. Hot Starbucks coffee is one of the best things about winter.


Did you know that Starbucks makes K-Cups now? That feeling that I get when I walk out of  Starbucks, that happiness,  well I got that feeling this morning when we left the house for the dog park.  So easy.

Starbucks K-Cups coffee packs and my new coffee maker just made life better. Seriously. I know that sounds dramatic but it's true.

P.S. I have a holiday jello shot coming up that incorporates my favorite warm beverage ... It had to be done.  Stay tuned ...  

 As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a Keurig B70 brewer and samples of Starbuck's K-cup portion packs.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Marry Me Meatloaf

There is something about men and meatloaf ...  they go crazy for it.

A couple months ago I perfected this recipe and my boyfriend just can't get enough. We now enjoy "Meatloaf Tuesday" in our little apartment every week.



He has even asked me to make it for his friends and  for dinner parties. I know, I know ... it's not the prettiest dish, it's MEATLOAF.  But they don't care, trust me.

Men just want good meatloaf and mashed potatoes for the rest of their lives.


Ladies, write this recipe down.


He really loves this meatloaf.

He asked me to marry him about a week ago over a romantic dinner at home. Candles, caprese salad, and a  princess cut diamond.   It was perfect.  I said yes of course, and we have been drinking champagne ever since :) 

Check out some of my wedding board pins on pinterest!

Shopping List
1.5 lbs Ground Meatloaf Mix (your grocer carries it, should be next to the ground beef)
1 packed Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
1/2 Red Onion, chopped
4 oz. baby bella sliced mushrooms
3 eggs
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup ketcup
1/2 cup brown sugar
Fresh parsley

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place your mushrooms in a food processor, pulsing them about 4 times until you have tiny mushroom crumbles. Pour them in a large bowl with your chopped onions. Add your ground meatloaf mix Lipton Beefy Onion Soup mix, eggs, bread crumbs, and 1/2 of your cup of ketchup.

Mix together with your hands until combined. Don't over mix.

Line the bottom of a large casserole pan with foil, leaving enough to fold over the top later. Place your meat in the foil lined casserole pan. Shape into a loaf about 2 inches high and 6 inches long. (if your loaf is too tall it wont cook in the center)

Sprinkle your brown sugar on top and then your remaining ketchup. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.

Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving, your slices may not be perfect. If there is any fat that has cooked out of the around the loaf, remove with a spoon before serving.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Blueberry Pancake Donuts with Bacon

There is a small donut shop called Blue Collar Joe's in Daleville, Virginia that has the best donuts I've ever had in my life.

Last year, I had a pink lemonade donut and a buffalo chicken wrap (yes, the perfect combination) after kayaking down the James River, and I've been thinking about them ever since.


How could you forget a place that makes a Christmas Tree out of donuts, or that serves orange and cream "dreamsicle" donuts?


You can order the brown bag combo: a wrap, a donut, a bag of chips and a drink.  It doesn't get much better than that.


After an early morning out and about on Black Friday we stopped at Blue Collar Joe's (since I could not stop talking about it.)

It was everything I remembered it was, a little donuts oasis out in the country.


This year I tried the Blueberry Pancake Breakfast donut.  It has bacon on top ... drool.


Now I will be thinking about this donut all year ... and maybe even the rest of my life.



We saw another family coming in as we were heading out, a little girl with blonde pigtails and her grandpa, both smiling ear to ear.

Blue Collar Joe's has the magic. The magic that makes grandpa just as excited about his lunch as his granddaughter.


That is why this note posted on their door broke my heart...

Here is to hoping we can fix our economy, so we don't have to continue saying goodbye to magical small businesses that create these kind of memories.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes with a Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

How cute are these?!  I actually giggled to myself and clapped my hands while placing the gingerbread men on top.


Who would have thought that lemon, ginger and cream cheese frosting would be such a good combination?

I have to give my mom credit for the idea.  She emailed me recently to tell me about Trader Joe's Lemon and Triple Ginger Snap Ice Cream and a light bulb turned on over my head.


Thankfully, the sun came out for a few minutes today so I could take photos and share the recipe with you!   Have I mentioned that daylight saving time really makes life hard for food bloggers?

Happy Thanksgiving, I hope you get to enjoy it among those you love and care about most.

Shopping List (Makes about 18 cupcakes)
1 box lemon cake mix
1 1/3 Cups Water
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil (as I've mentioned I use this stuff, Kelepo Coconut oil is the best)
3 Large Eggs
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature (1 1/2 packages)
2  1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tsp ground ginger (you could use fresh ginger as well, I just didn't have any on hand)
Pinch salt
18 mini gingerbread men

Prepare cupcakes according to directions on box, replacing the vegetable oil with coconut oil.

While your cupcakes are baking, mix your cream cheese, sugar, ground ginger and salt with an electric mixer in a medium sized bowl. (Add more sugar if it's not sweet enough for you)

Break your mini gingerbread men in half saving the upper half to top the cupcakes. Place the bottom halves in a food processor (or crush them yourself) and add it to your cream cheese frosting for more flavor and texture.

Place your frosting in a piping bag and top each cupcake. Top with upper halves of gingerbread men.
Note: You may have a little left over frosting depending on how much you like on your cupcakes

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gingerbread Cheesecake Cookies

What is the worst thing you could do before you need to wear a bikini in the Caribbean?

I will tell you ...  it would be to make a dozen of these cookies.

Chewy, spicy gingerbread goodness, rounded out with soft and creamy cheesecake. Oh that sounds like irresistible trouble ... Can't. Stop. Eating. Cookies.


Life is tough lately  ; )

Shopping List (makes one dozen)
Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cake & Cookie Mix
1/4 Cup hot water
2 Tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
4 oz. Cream Cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp. sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Cheesecake: Mix together cream cheese, sugar and salt with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg yolk, sour cream and vanilla. Refrigerate while you go on to the next step of making the cookie dough.

Cookies: preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir gingerbread mix, water, and butter in medium bowl, using spoon, until dough forms. Shape dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on an un-greased cookie sheet. Make a deep indentation with your thumb in each cookie.

Bake cookies for 5 minutes and remove from oven. Re "thumb" the indentations if they widened in the oven. Using half of a teaspoon fill the indentations in the cookie with the cheesecake.

Return to the oven for another 5-6 minutes. Cool completely  before removing from cookie sheet.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Feature Friday!

Happy Friday! New recipe post coming soon, I promise. It's been a very exciting week for That's so Michelle, so much to do and it's already Christmas cookie time (or Christmas jello shot time!).

In the mean time check out how gorgeous this magazine feature came out in Ladera Ranch.  



Monday, November 14, 2011

Maggie Gets Married

Our friends Maggie and Ben got married on a beautiful, sunny day in Charlotte, North Carolina this past weekend. 


She looked absolutely gorgeous, Bridal Barbie to a tee!

My favorite part was seeing Maggie walk down the isle with her father. He was red faced and crying, she was sparkling and smiling from ear to ear.  I just about lost it.

I always cry at weddings, in fact I am actually tearing up as I write this right now (ridiculous!).


Their reception cocktails signified their hometowns, Maggie from Tennessee and Ben from Florida (and a big Gators fan). Then of course the city that they met in (and now where they tied the knot), Charlotte.


And I loved the personal touches added to each table around the centerpieces, old photos of Maggie and Ben growing up. Maggie has impeccable taste and I knew it would shine through.


Here is the cake in all it's pink, purple and gold glory.


Congrats you two, thanks for making us a part of your special day. I can't wait to be there with you through out the rest of your journey together as Mr. and Mrs. <3

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pumpkin Pizza

It's been a pumpkin extravaganza this week! After I pulled off the pumpkin mac and cheese I knew there had to be another savory pumpkin dish I could try.

Voila! 

This pumpkin pizza is very Mediterranean tasting, healthy, and quite addictive.


And one more thing...  If I don't mention to you, that pumpkin is high in fiber, my mother might kill me.  She's brought it up several times this week.

I told her my blog isn't really about fiber.  That you guys like stuff like jello shots and cupcakes (the other fiber of life).

But anyway,  she's right.  As usual :)


Fiber  is  awesome for weight control.  Fiber is filling, has almost no calories, and helps control hunger due to blood sugar levels.

Ladies ... this is a good benifit ... am I right? Almost up there with the joy that jello shots and cupcakes bring us.

Happy long weekend! Don't forget to thank a veteran and EAT YOUR FIBER!

Shopping List
1 Thin store bought pizza crust
1/2 can organic pumpkin puree (or homemade, whatever floats your boat)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 lb ground beef
about 1/2 a packet of taco or chili seasoning
1 bunch arugula
10-12 pitted kalamata olives, cut in quarters
1 cup feta cheese
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Mix your garlic powder into your pumpkin puree and spread it on top of the pizza crust.

Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until your crust turns golden brown on the edges.

Cook your ground beef in the taco seasoning. Top the pizza with your seasoned ground beef and half of your feta cheese on top of your pizza (after you remove it from the oven). 

Top next with your arugula and olives, finish off with the rest of your feta and drizzle on some olive oil.

Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Truth about Pumpkin Pie Jello Shots

I have good news and bad news.


We'll start with the good news first ... They taste really good.  Just like pumpkin pie with a kick of rum, strong rum, the kind that warms up your whole body as it goes down.  I actually couldn't stop eating them ...

The bad new is, you would be forced to eat them with a spoon rather than a bite or "shot" so to speak.

Several recipes on the web claim you can serve them in Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crusts. These pie crusts, while they are "mini" they are about the size of the palm of your hand, which is not mini enough.

So, I cut mine in quarters ....


Not bad, but still not as pretty as serving them whole.

So I tried to bake them in my own mini filo crusts. Nope -- didn't work -- the jello collapsed the filo.

My suggestion is DO make the jello, but stick to traditional plastic shot cups, unless you are comfortable with less than perfect quarters.

And this my friends is this is the truth about pumpkin pie jello shots. Good luck!  Let me know if you have better results or ideas!  Maybe pumpkin pie pudding shots?

Shopping List (if quartered makes 24 shots) 
6 Keebler mini graham-cracker piecrusts1 cup cold water
1 envelope Knox gelatin
1 and 1/4 cup water

1/3 cup canned pumpkin pie mix (already spiced)
1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup rum
1/2 tablespoon cold heavy cream
Whipped cream, for serving if desired
(For a kid friendly, non-alcoholic version just use cold water instead of rum)

1. Pour 1 cup of cold water in sauce pan and sprinkle the gelatin packet on top. Let it sit for a minute or two. (No heat) 

2. Turn heat on to medium and add pumpkin mix and sugar stirring until combined. Turn off heat and let cool.

3. Mix 1/2 cup rum, remaining 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 table spoon heavy cream in a separate bowl, then add to the gelatin mixture.

4. Pour mixture into pie crusts and refrigerate overnight. Top with whipped cream if desired. Cut pies in halves then quarters to serve small bite sizes.  



For featuring on your website please make sure to contact thatssomichelle@gmail.com

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Ready for the creamiest mac and cheese you've ever tasted? I've always thought Velveeta had the trademark on creamy, but it looks like pumpkin is about to give them a run for their money!

I might just put pumpkin in my mac and cheese from now on actually.


By the way, I went through a lot to make this mac and cheese. I blame it all on my sinus infection induced haze.  Earth to Michelle are you in there?

Why did you buy regular potatoes for (upcoming)  sweet potato tartlets? And why did you buy canned  sweet  potato puree instead of   pumpkin  puree for this mac and cheese, oh and did you really just break the can opener?


Luckily I had a back up can of pumpkin, although I did have to run to the store AGAIN for a new can opener.

Good thing this mac and cheese tasted amazing, or I might have tossed it at the wall. Stay tuned for those tartlets. Let's hope I have better luck in the kitchen tomorrow.

Shopping List (serves 4)
8 oz. pasta, about half a box (your choice, I went with ziti)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
4 Kraft Singles Cheddar Cheese
1/4 stick butter
1 cup organic pumpkin puree
Fresh cracked pepper
Fresh chives

Boil pot of water for pasta. While pasta is cooking in boiling water (boils for about 15 minutes), melt butter in a separate sauce pan on medium heat. When mostly melted add your cream and milk.

Bring milk cream and butter sauce to a slight boil then add your cheese singles one at a time, tearing them in small pieces and adding more as they melt, stirring constantly. A thick cheese sauce will form. When all your cheese has been added a thick sauce has formed add your canned pumpkin puree.

Whisk until combined.

Strain cooked pasta and return to pot, pour pumpkin cheese sauce over pasta.  Top with fresh cracked pepper and chives. Serve immediately.

(Tip: If you need to reheat pasta, add a splash and stir to regain creaminess)
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