Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cherry Pie Jello Shots

I've had these shots on my mind for awhile now. They are super easy to make and if you have had my pumpkin pie jello shots you know that they are delicious too.

Not too much crust but just enough to make it taste like a mini bite of pie, boozy pie!

I used a basic black cherry Jell-O brand jello mix for this one with Three Olives Cherry vodka (whipped cream flavored vodka might be really good too!)

Keebler sells these mini pie crusts at most grocery stores in the pie/cake isle. You just pour your jello/vodka mix right in the pie crusts and let them work their magic over night.

Slice them in quarters and serve. Easy as pie!

I made a non boozy, plain jello version just for myself so I could eat them too. That's how good they are.

You could do any kind of jello you want for any kind of pie. These are perfect for holidays parties and would even be cute for summer parties as well.

(For a kid friendly, non-alcoholic version just use cold water instead of vodka)

Cherry Pie Jello Shots
(Makes about 24 slices/shots)
1 pack of Keebler mini pie crusts
1 box cherry or black cherry jello (regular/small sized box)
1 cup water
1 cup flavored vodka

Boil one cup of water, turn off the flame and then add your packet of jello. Stir until dissolved. Let cool slightly.

2. Pour in your cup of flavored vodka and stir.

3. Pour the vodka jello mixture into your pie crusts gently and let them harder over night.

4. Carefully slice your pie in to halves and then quarters. Using a fork as a mini spatula, carefully lift out your slices. Serve alone or with a little bit of whipped cream!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gingerbread Men Jello Shots

I've wanted to make gingerbread men jello shots for a long time now, but every time I looked up a recipe online it required three different types of booze (expensive!) and instructions to melt molasses and peel and boil real ginger.

Way too much work.

But ... you are going to love me, I found a solution to our gingerbread problems.

This little packet of flavoring is meant for frosting, but it works just as well in a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, water, gelatin and vodka.

It also has the perfect brown gingerbread coloring your shots will need. I found it in the canned frosting and cake isle at my grocery store (you can buy it online here too).

I layered the jello with cherries in the middle (just like I did with these, and these) so that you can pick up your little guys with ease.

The cherries also look kind of cute too, like a button or the gingerbread mans heart.

Of course I couldn't eat these, because I'm preggers. (Ba-humbug!) But hubby did and he said they were tasty and strong.

Cheers to the start of the Christmas season! xoxo

Gingerbread Men Jello Shots

Mini gingerbread men cookie cutter (I bought mine at Michaels, it's this Wilton set)
2 cups vodka (vanilla, whipped, or cake flavored!)
2 cups Water
6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 packet Frosting Creations mix, gingerbread flavor (Seasonal limited edition, they are with the canned frosting at most grocery stores or buy here)
4 envelops of Knox gelatin
15-20 maraschino cherries with stems, halved
30-40 mini nonpareils white sprinkles (these round ones)

(For a kid friendly, non-alcoholic version just use cold water instead of vodka)

Step 1 - Boil 1 cup of water with 3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. When condensed milk and water are combined  add half of your gingerbread Frosting Creations mix and stir. (Taste with a spoon to make sure it's sweet enough. If it's not add a few tablespoons of sugar and boil again until combined.)

Step 2 - Turn off the heat and let your mixture cool completely.  When mixture is cool sprinkle 2 envelopes of Knox gelatin powder on top. Let sit for for 1-2 minutes, letting it activate. Turn on the heat again and stir with a whisk until combined.

Step 3 - Add 1 cup cold vodka (Flavored vodkas like, vanilla, whipped, or cake is delicious)

Step 4 - Spray the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan with non stick baking spray. Pour mixture into pan. Place in refrigerator until firm (1-2 hours).

Step 5 -
Cut 15-20 Maraschino cherries (with stems) in half  and place them on your gingerbread jello. Make sure to space out enough room for your gingerbread cookie cutter (see photo 2).

Step 6 - Repeat steps 1-3

Step 7 - Pour your second batch of gingerbread and vodka jello on top of your hardened batch. Make sure your cherries are still spaced out and upright. Place back in the fridge until hardened. (1-2 hours)

Step 8 - When hardened, using your mini gingerbread cookie cutter slowly push down and cut out each jello shot. Wiggle the cookie cutter around to make sure the edges are separated and lift out using a mini spatula or fork. 

Final Step (optional) Place eyes on your gingerbread men. I used mini nonpareils white sprinkles (these round ones).

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 23, 2012

13 Weeks and Turkey Day

This year I am thankful for two Thanksgiving dinners, one with wonderful friends and one with family. I'm thankful for famous sweet tea, pomegranates instead of cranberries, dogs that are cowboys fan's (even if they lose), beautiful turkeys and crocheted pilgrims.

I'm thankful for my amazing husband who deals with me no matter how moody or sick I am. Who takes me to buy maternity clothes and makes me dinner. I'm thankful for my mom who is there for me when I need her and a pretty yellow dog that loves us more than anything else in the world.

But most of all I thank God for the little baby growing in my belly that brings so much love to our family already.  

Week 13: Baby is the size of a peach

Average size: 2.9 inches, .81 oz.Teeth and vocal cords are appearing...
Total weight gain: Not sure yet. I don't have a scale at home. (12 lbs as of last week)
How I'm feeling: Still getting sick in the evenings from about 7pm until I fall asleep like clockwork. I've been having some heartburn, headaches and back pain that feels like a pinched nerve.
Maternity clothes?
  Nick took me to the Motherhood store and bought me some more pants last weekend. A pair of leggings that felt so good I cried when I put them on (I cry at everything) and a pair of jeans that look pretty good actually.
Stretch marks? No. Is the coco-butter thing a myth? Some say it's just genetics, you either get them or you don't.
Sleep: This week I have been waking up only 2 times through out the night to pee. My insomnia is still bad though and if I don't take unisom (safe to take) I don't sleep at all.
Exercise: I still haven't had the energy to work out. There is no way in the mornings or after work I would feel good enough or have the energy and when I do have energy I try to make something for the blog or clean around the house and run errands (things that I have fallen behind on) I am hoping that by next week I will be able to break open that Lindsay Brin workout DVD. P.S. I get winded even walking out to the car.
Best moment this week:
Putting on those amazing leggings.
Miss Anything? I really miss bubble baths :(
Movement: None yet, but I've been told maybe by week 16. I had some really vivid dreams of being able to feel baby last night though.
Food cravings: Food has been hard for me this week. I'm not craving anything which means that nothing sounds good to me. I'm indifferent. I have been eating a lot of fruit lately though. Mandarin oranges, pears, canned peaches (weird) and grapes. 
Anything making you queasy or sick: The smell of Honey when we pick her up from daycare and strangely enough, gusts of fresh air make me nauseous.  Weird I know.
Have you started to show yet: Same little bump as last week.
Gender prediction: Still thinking it's a boy
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mediterranean Halibut Sandwiches

Since I've been pregnant I've been spending a lot more time in bed on Saturday mornings. I enjoy my daily allowance of coffee and watch all the Food Network recipe shows. I saw this sandwich on "Giada at Home" and I had to have it.

(I know this isn't a Thanksgiving recipe, but when I have a craving for something ... it's happening.)

This sandwich was really simple and Nick and I had it for lunch while watching football last Sunday. We also had left overs for dinner the next day.

While eating lunch he said to me "Baby, all your other food is always good, but this, I really mean it when I say this is good."  The truth comes out!

Step 1
: Season 1 (12-ounce) or 2 (6-ounce) center-cut halibut fillets, that are skinned with salt and pepper and olive oil. Bake the fish at 450 for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and the flesh flakes easily with a fork. Let the fish cool completely.  (I used whatever frozen white fish we had in the freezer and it worked)

Step 2: Pour some olive oil on a halved (length wise) loaf of Italian bread. (Giada makes her's on ciabatta bread but Italian was all I could find at the store and it worked well) Toast your bread in the oven on broil watching it carefully so it doesn't burn and when it's just golden brown remove it and gently rub one garlic clove over the top of both halves. 

Step 3: In a large mixing bowl add 1/2 cup mayo, a handful of flat parsley, 3 tablespoons of chopped sun dried tomatoes (I like the kind that have been soaked in olive oil), 3 tablespoons of capers, and the zest of a large lemon. When the fish is totally cooled flake it with a fork (so it looks like canned tuna) and add it to your bowl and mix.

Step 4: Add your fish mixture to your bread.

Step 5: Top with arugula or a spring mix. Cut in quarters and serve.

Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving. Look for a baby update and some holiday photos soon!

Mediterranean Halibut Sandwiches (Giada's recipe here)

1 (12-ounce) or 2 (6-ounce) center-cut halibut fillets, skinned
Salt and pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 loaf ciabatta bread or Italian bread
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
I handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
3 tablespoon capers, drained
Zest of 1 large lemon
2 cups arugula or spring mix

Steps above

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I made my first pineapple upside down cake this weekend. It's my father in law's favorite and it's his birthday very soon. I was nervous that it wouldn't be good enough, but he loved it! Everyone loved it actually.

My father in law takes his pineapple upside down cake very seriously, so I knew I had to get this one right.

One time on Fathers Day I saw my husband literally sweating trying to find a pineapple upside down cake at the grocery store (we actually went to three different stores just to find one).

I used a semi home made recipe and it was really easy! (P.S. Thanks for all the tips on Facebook!)

Step 1: Melt a 1/2 cup of butter and pour it in a 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle 1 cup of brown sugar over the melted butter and then place your sliced pineapple rings and halved cherries on top.

Step 2: Mix your boxed cake mix (I used yellow cake but you can use pineapple too), box of vanilla pudding mix, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup canola oil, 1 cup pineapple juice (use the juice from the canned pineapples) in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and combined.

Step 3: Pour caked mix on top of pineapples, brown sugar and butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. (use the toothpick test to make sure it's done, the top of the cake will be brown)

Step 4: Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it in the pan. Let the cake cool down. Flip over your cake on to a flat surface before serving. (I had to use a spatula to ease the cake out of the pan)

Step 5: This step is optional but I made an extra brown sugary pineapple sauce to heat up and pour on the top for extra moisture. 

In a medium saute pan, melt a 1/2 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar until combined. Lower the heat and carefully add 3-4 table spoons of crushed pineapple and 3-4 tablespoons of powdered sugar.

Spoon on top of individual pieces when serving.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 (20 ounce) can sliced pineapple
1 can crushed pineapple (small can is fine)
3-4 tablespoons of powdered sugar
6-8 maraschino cherries, halved
1 (18 ounce) box of yellow or pineapple cake mix
1 (5 ounce) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup pineapple juice (use the juice from the canned pineapples)
1/2 cup canola or veg oil
4 large eggs

(Step by step above)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Italian Stuffed Cherry Peppers

My grandpa used to eat these. I think everyone's grandpa used to eat these if you're Italian!

I saw them in the latest Food Network Magazine and the flavors all came back to me. Tangy and spicy from the pickled peppers but salty and soft from the cheese and salami.

The kind we ate growing up came out of a jar though. I know that sounds gross but when they are in a jar, they marinate in all the juices from the peppers combined with the olive oil and cheese and meat.

Probably the only time something taste better out of a jar.

These only took me about 15 minutes total to make. Nick ate all of them because I couldn't eat the salami (pregnant ladies can't have any of the good stuff).

I wasn't sure if he would like them since he didn't grow up with them around the house like I did, but he loved them.

They are a perfect appetizer to put out around the holidays.

Italian Stuffed Cherry Peppers (Recipe from Food Network)

12-24 Hot or sweet pickled cherry peppers (from a jar or olive and pepper bar)
Thinly sliced salami
Aged provolone (cubed, you can do this yourself, best if you can  the size anyway)
Olive oil (For drizzling)

1.Stem and seed hot or sweet pickled cherry peppers. Wrap strips of thinly sliced salami around cubes of aged provolone and stuff inside the peppers. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with toothpicks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Big News: Remember when ...

Remember when I didn't post a blog for 2 whole weeks? Well... I have a confession to make. It was because I couldn't stand the sight or smell of food and I hardly had the energy to get up in the morning let alone cook. And why is that?

I can finally tell you! We are expecting! I am 12 weeks pregnant and baby is due in late May. We are beyond excited and over the moon happy.

You should have seen me chasing Honey around the house with this sign. She was suppose to wear it around her neck. As you can tell, she wanted nothing to do with it.

Rest assured, this does not mean I'll stop coming up with jello shot ideas, I just won't be able to eat/drink them! I admit that I might talk about the changes in my life though and my interests may change. I already can't wait to post things like pancakes shaped like little monkeys and other fun kiddo food.

Week 12: Baby is the size of a Plum

Average size: 2.1 inches, .49 oz.
Almost all vital systems are fully formed...
How far along? 12 weeks
Total weight gain: 12 lbs (sigh)
Maternity clothes?  1 pair of AMAZING black work pants. Before I got these pants I just looked like I was getting fat, but these wonderful confortable pants show a teeny tiny little baby bump.
Stretch marks? Nope, bring on the coco butter
Sleep: I wake up to go to the bathroom 3-5 times through out the night. Not cool.
Best moment this week: Finally being able to share the news with my co-workers and friends!
Miss Anything? Tuna Sashimi
Movement: None yet
Food cravings: The tuna tartare I couldn't have while out to dinner for a girls night in Baltimore :(
Anything making you queasy or sick: Breathing. Okay, okay, it's starting to get a little better but I'm still sick at least once a day.
Have you started to show yet: Just a little bit.
Gender prediction: After we saw baby dance in our last sonogram we are thinking boy.
Labor Signs: No
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: Mostly happy, except around bed time when I really start feeling sick and achy. Husband has been a doll. He's so helpful and tolerant. I am a lucky girl. 
Looking forward to: I can't wait to start showing more! I think it's going to be pretty darn cute.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Siracha Garlic Bread

A week or so ago a friend emailed looking for some ideas on what to make as a side dish with her Martha Stewart pot roast. It had to be a really good side dish too, she was cooking for the first time for her new guy.

The hard part ... he doesn't like potatoes and they both can't have dairy.

I suggested garlic bread and then she brilliantly decided on Siracha garlic bread. It sounded so good I had to try it myself.

It was really simple: You melt some butter, chop some garlic, mix in some Siracha and spoon or brush it on your bread.

Toast it up in the oven and then sprinkle some fresh parsley on top.

Since I can have dairy I shredded some Parmesan on top too.

I have some big news coming this week, maybe even tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Siracha Garlic Bread (recipe from Bon Appetit)
1 loaf Italian bread sliced
1/2 stick butter
2 diced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons Siracha (1 if you don't like more mild)
Fresh parksly
Shredded Parmesan (optional)

Whisk Sriracha, minced garlic, and melted butter in a small bowl; brush over cut sides of bread. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino or Parmesan and broil until toasted.
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