Monday, December 26, 2011

Champagne Jello Shots

I have so much to celebrate this year that I just had to create a champagne jello shot.

Perfect for a New Years Eve party!

I used pineapple jello with strawberries and they taste like champagne gummy bears, it's delicious and refreshing.

The champagne foam on top is created by whipping some thickened champagne jello with a high speed hand mixer until it foams up and then re-settles.

 I can't lie, I didn't use Perrier Jouët, that was given to us by family when we celebrated our engagement. I used $10 dollar bubbly and it worked just as well.

I just think the Perrier Jouët bottles are gorgeous and I can't throw it away! Any ideas on how to keep it in the house with out it looking like I'm collected empty bottles of booze?

Happy New Year!

Shopping List
(Makes about 20 shots) 
2 boxes of pineapple jello (4 serving size boxes)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 1/2 cups champagne
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 oz. plastic or glass shot glasses (mini champagne flutes would be adorable if you can find them)

Mix your pineapple jello and boiling water in a medium sized bowl, stirring until jello powder has all dissolved. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Stir in champagne and refrigerate for another 30 minutes or until jello has just slightly thickened.

Set aside about 3/4 cup of your jello and champagne mixture for creating the foam top and put it back in the refrigerator.

Pour jello and champagne mixture into your shot glasses, then drop a few sliced berries in each glass.

Refrigerate overnight. Before serving whip your 3/4 cup left over jello until it becomes white and fluffy and resembles foam. Spoon "foam" on top and serve.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best of 2011

Below are a few of my personal favorites posted on That's so Michelle in 2011.

They might not have been the most popular (caramel apple jello shots cough, cough) but I crave salmon pizza for breakfast every weekend and must have made at least two dozen apple cider floats.

Which one is your favorite?

1. Smoked Salmon Pizza 

2. Apple Cider Floats 

3. Pumpkin Pie Jello Shots

 4. Broccoli Salad 

5. Tuna & Avocado Ceviche

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jingle Bell Brunch: Birch and Barley

Instead of a Christmas gift exchange this year my girlfriends and I thought it would be nice to treat ourselves to mimosas!

We all love a good brunch in the city and Birch and Barley on 14th Street in Washington, DC did not disappoint.

The decor was cozy and rustic, and even though we were all (frantically) running 5 minutes late, the host was not snobby at all. He smiled and let us sit down and wait until our whole party arrived. Mimosa in hand and all!

I highly recommend the "Boozy Brunch" special. It's the best bang for your buck, because let's face it, you're probably going to get more than one mimosa.

I ordered the House-Brined Corned Beef Hash served with two fried duck eggs, potatoes and parsley. Best corned beef hash I've ever had. No joke. Just look at it!

Oh, and what are these below? These are the freshly fried donut holes, covered in chocolate -- and in some cases topped in bacon -- that come with the special. Heaven in your mouth.

Ariana got the Huevos Rancheros, a pepper jack-avocado omelet, pupusa, and poblano sausage. Ari is a vegetarian and they had no problem leaving off the sausage.

Ericka got the Huevos Rancheros as well, but she opted for apple-wood smoked bacon instead of the sausage.

I can not say enough about how great the service was. Our waiter took a photo for us, didn't care that we looked like the paparazzi snapping photos of our food, and let us sit as long as we needed while we talked our heads off about girl stuff.

If you are looking for a place to brunch with your ladies (or even your man) check out Birch and Barley. You won't be disappointed.

Birch and Barley
1337 14th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C.
(202) 567-2576

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Snowman Cheese Plate

♫ Frosty the cheese ball was a salty, savory treat!

With a cracker hat and and carrot nose,

and two eyes made out of a capers! ♫

Not really the fanciest cheese plate but probably the CUTEST one you can make for a holiday party!  He's delicious too, I felt bad digging in.

Shopping List
1 package 8 oz. cream cheese
quarter of a stick of butter
1/2 envelope of powdered ranch dressing
1 teaspoon horseradish
sliced black olives
capers, for eyes (you could still use the olives if you don't have capers)
pretzel sticks, for arms
crackers, for hat
carrots, for nose

In a medium sized bowl add your cream cheese and butter, mix until combined with an electric mixer. Add your ranch dressing and horseradish. Test the flavors to make sure they have the intensity you want, remember you can always add more.

When combined form two balls, one large and one small. They wont be perfect yet, the cheese is too soft. Place the cheese in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Slice your olives for the buttons and mouth and the carrot for the nose.

When the cheese has firmed up smooth it out and place the large one on the bottom and small one on top for the body, add your extra pieces.

Tip: Leave some of the extra olives on the plate, they are really tasty with the cheese and crackers.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Caribbean Christmas Rum Cake

Im back! Although, I can't say I am very happy about it. Anyone want to run away and live on Grand Cayman Island with me? We could drink pina coladas and eat rum cake all day!

What? You have a real job? ... oh, yeah me too... sigh.

We tasted samples of rum cake while sight seeing in George Town and I knew I had to try and make some on my own the minute we got home.

The recipe is really simple and even though he says it all the time, my taste tester told me "This might be the best thing you have ever made." 

I think he just wants to go back to Grand Cayman too.

Check out our drinks!

And thanks to Liz (Check her out over at Reston Style) who was also vacationing on Grand Cayman (ironic right?) we got to lounge at this amazing resort. You know when there is a pool right before the beach you are doing something right.

So are you ready for a vacation yet? I bet you are. Well if you can't go, you can atleast make this rum cake. You wont be sorry.

Shopping List (Fills one large bunt cake, or two medium loaf pans)

1 package yellow cake mix
1 3.4 oz. package vanilla pudding (Jello Brand)
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup dark rum (use the good stuff)
1 teaspoon artificial banana flavoring (optional, but I liked the extra hint tropical flavor) 

Rum Glaze
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup dark rum

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your pan of choice.

For the cake, mix your cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, coconut oil, rum, and banana flavoring in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Don't over mix just combine until smooth. Pour into your pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a butter knife in the center pulls out clean.

While the cake is cooling prepare your glaze.

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan on medium heat, when melted add water and sugar until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Turn off heat and let cool to warm. Add rum.

Place cake on desired serving plate. Poke holes in cake all over. (The non ink side of a pen would work fine) Pour your glaze all over your rum cakes to fill the holes and let the glaze soak up inside.

Refrigerate until serving. The long the cake sits the better flavor it will have.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Eggnog Jello Shots

Because I will be basking in the glorious Caribbean sunshine and not cooking or blogging next week,  I decided to hit you with a double whammy. Another holiday jello shot, and this one is a no brainer.

Eggnog jello shots!

Love it hate it (and I love it) eggnog is a Christmas classic.  Seeing at groceries stores is an indicator that it's okay start planning holiday parties, making holiday cookies and rocking out to Christmas music in your car.

Oh I love Christmas.

These jello shots are SUPER tasty and they are firm like a custard would be. Enjoy! And drink responsibly, these babies are strong!

(For a kid friendly non-alcoholic version just use more eggnog [cold] or water instead of rum or brandy)

Shopping List  (Makes about 15 Jello Shots)

1 Cup Golden Eggnog
1 Cup rum or brandy of choice
1 packet Knox gelatin
Cinnamon sticks
Whipped cream
Grated nutmeg
2 oz. clear plastic shot glasses (can be purchased here if you can't find them in a store) 

Pour your cup of eggnog into a medium sized saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin packet on top and let sit for a couple minutes to activate the gelatin.

Turn stove on to medium heat and stir until your gelatin is dissolved. Turn off heat and let eggnog cool to warm. Pour in your rum or brandy.  Stir.

Pour into shot glasses,  and refrigerate overnight. Before serving stick in appropriate sized cinnamon stick (broken to fit) and top with whipped cream and grated nutmeg.

The cinnamon stick helps to extract the jello shot from the glass without making a mess. Tip: Leave a small decorative bowl for your quests to place their cinnamon sticks after taking their eggnog shot. Don't eat the stick!

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Peppermint Mocha Holiday Jello Shot

Okay, here it is as promised....

Caffeinated  jello shots ...  Why did I not think of this sooner?! It's the perfect combination of my two favorite things!

The candy cane on the side is not only perfect for the holidays, but it also helps you extract the jello shot out of the cup! (We know how much I hate sticky fingers

I also used a Starbucks K-cup for the coffee portion, which is the perfect amount (exactly one cup and really convenient for cooking) and rich in flavor. It tastes just like the coffee you would get for a peppermint mocha at a Starbucks storefront!

P.S. I usually offer a kid friendly, non alcoholic version of all my jello shots, but this one is best for grown ups only. With coffee and booze there really is no good adjustment.

Peppermint Mocha Caffeinated Jello Shots (Makes about 15 jello shots)
2 envelops Knox Gelatin
1 cup warm coffee
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup Godiva chocolate liquor (you could use chocolate vodka if you wanted to bump up the alcohol content)
Mini Candy-canes
Whipped cream
2 oz clear plastic shot glasses

1. Pour one cup coffee into a medium sized sauce pan.  Sprinkle two envelops Knox gelatin on top. Let sit for 1 minute so the gelatin can activate. Add your sugar and turn on medium heat. When the gelatin and the sugar has dissolved turn off the heat.

2. Pour cold chocolate liquor or vodka into the sauce pan.

3. Pour mixture into shot glasses and refrigerated for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Right before serving stick in your candy cane and top with whipped cream. Do not stick your candy cane in while the jello is forming, it will dissolve.

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