Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homemade Iced Coffee with Godiva Coffee

Hello everyone! Man, is it hot or is it hot? Here in the Midwest, these past few weeks have brought hot and humid days that have had a heat index of over 100F! On a day like that, an iced drink sounds good doesn't it? To start off my day, I usually have some coffee with milk, but recently a hot drink just doesn't sound appealing. However, I've never made an iced coffee drink before, just have had them from coffee shops. Making my own coffee drink sounded so.... hard! Well friends, that is SO NOT the case!!! Let me show you how!!!
First of all, let me introduce the STAR of the drink: coffee! And not just any coffee, amazing French Vanilla Godiva Coffee. The wonderful people at Foodbuzz and Godiva Coffee sent selected food bloggers two 12-oz bags of Godiva Coffee goodness as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. I received the French Vanilla and Chocolate Truffle flavors, and let me just say they are both great! My favorite of the two is the French Vanilla, but maybe because I am a vanilla girl myself :) This coffee has the wonderful flavor of French Vanilla, but it is not sweet! This gives you the flexibility of adding your own sweetness to it, if you so desire.
The flavors: French Vanilla and Chocolate Truffle

So once you have your favorite coffee in hand, brew it to your liking. The recommended ratio that was included in the Godiva Coffee bag is about 3 Tbsp of ground coffee to every 12oz of water.
If smells could only be included in a picture... you would be DYING right now! It smells so heavenly!!!

While you "patiently" wait for your coffee to finish brewing, gather the co-stars of your drink: a glass full of ice, and milk. Now, here is where we can be flexible with the ingredients because it really depends on what you like. I like my coffee unsweetened with just milk. I've seen some great ideas at Pioneer Woman with her method of cold brewing. Next time I want to give cold brewing a shot; as people have replied, it takes away the acidity and bitterness of coffee. The downside: it takes longer to brew, so plan ahead if wanting to try this method!

Once the coffee is brewed, add it on to the glass full of ice. I fill my coffee halfway up the glass. Note: the hot coffee does melt some of the ice, which in turn dilutes the coffee down. I didn't mind that, but if you rather not have diluted coffee, you may want to let the coffee cool down completely or make it from the cold brewing method.

Next, add the milk up to the top. I love how the milk swirls in the coffee. So pretty!

Then you mix it all up with a super-duper ultra fancy stirrer, aka chopstick! >.<

Then to finish it up, steal one of your daughter's straws to slurp up all that coffee goodness!  I feel like such a bad mommy, but it was worth having the straw!
By this stage, the whole HOUSE smells like coffee, and you just can't wait another second to drink it all up! I had my iced coffee with my toasted bagel thin with almond butter. And all of this I was able to accomplish BEFORE my daughter woke up! It was the perfect way to start my day off from work. :) 

If you want to try Godiva Coffee (which you should btw!), check out the $2 off coupon they have on their website.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Anniversary to my parents!

Thirty years ago on July 11th, 1981, my wonderful parents made their vow to become husband and wife. Today my sister and I threw an anniversary celebration party for my parents and invited some of their closest friends to join us. It was a wonderful party with great food, good laughs, and many fun moments.
We celebrated this party at Piepers Gourmet Catering, a local restaurant/caterer in Columbus, IN. I must tell you; their food is delish! I frequently eat lunch there during the week, but when I saw that they also cater for parties, I got in touch with the owner and planned my parents’ anniversary party.
Here is some of the yummy food provided by PGC:

Caprese Salad

Greek Salad Bruschetta

Rosemary Lemon Chicken

Fruit Salad in Lime-Mint Syrup

Now for such a special occasion, I just had to make my own cupcakes! To make it more bite-sized, and of course, so people won’t feel guilty of eating several ;), I made mini-cupcakes. 
I used my favorite Red Velvet Cupcake recipe, the Lime Cupcake with Strawberry Frosting I made for my sister this past spring (and I tweaked the recipe to make it fluffier!), and a not-yet posted recipe for Coconut Cupcake (well, now it is posted below).

This Coconut Cupcake recipe is from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat recipe book, and it is one of my favorite cupcake recipes from this book! I got this book for Christmas this last year from my mother in law and I have been slowly making my way through the recipes. I did tweak the recipe just a tad bit (increased shredded coconut, decreased sugar, and changed egg requirements), but all in all it’s pretty much the same. It is fluffy, moist and wonderfully coconut-y! Any coconut lover MUST try this recipe! I dare you!!!

Coconut Cupcake with Coconut Frosting
Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes

1 ¾ cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut (I use Brazilian shredded coconut)
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pulse shredded coconut in a food processor until finely ground, and whisk into flour mixture (if you use American shredded coconut; the Brazilian coconut is already pretty fine so I leave it as is).
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of coconut milk, and beating until combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each ¾ full. Bake rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester (good ol’ toothpick) inserted in centers come out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven; turn out cupcakes onto wire racks and let cool completely.

Coconut Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 Tbsp meringue powder (optional)
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp coconut extract

With an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter and meringue powder (optional) on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. After every couple of additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium. This whole process should take about 5 minutes, and frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
Add coconut extract, and beat until frosting is smooth.

Happy 30 years mae and pai!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Que? Lime Pie

Like the name for my pie? I have been watching “The Next FoodNetwork Star” show, and in one of the episodes, a team of chefs wanted to make a key lime pie, but could not find any key limes, so they made a regular lime pie, but added the “Que?” as in “What?” in Spanish. I know, I know… it’s a bit corny, but I love silly jokes! I’m one who laughs her head off at the silly jokes on Laffy Taffy candy wrappers… *head slumps down in embarrassment*

Anyways, back to the pie. I made this pie for this year’s 4th of July gathering at my mother-in-law’s house. Both my husband and his mom love key lime pie, so I thought I would attempt making one. The key limes at the store weren’t looking so hot, so when I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman Cooks, I knew I had to make it! I modified it a little bit by decreasing the amount of crust that it originally calls for, and I also added the meringue topping, as my husband INSISTED on a meringue topping. Now if you know my husband, you can attest that he is very laid back and doesn’t put his foot down for much (usually that’s my job), so when he was so adamant about the meringue topping, I just had to oblige. And I must say it was a good change! The meringue topping recipe is from Paula Deen’s lemon meringue pie recipe.
I want to try this same recipe one day and actually make it with lemons instead, to see how it turns out. I think you could make it with either key limes, limes, or lemons and it would be wonderful. Bom apetite!

A half eaten pie was all I could get in my camera, sorry!

“Que?” Lime Pie

·         1 1/2 cup Graham Cracker crumbs
·         ¼ cup sugar
·         6 Tbsp unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted
·         One 9-inch pie plate (I used a glass one)

·         4 whole egg yolks, room temperature
·         3/4 cup lime juice (~ 3 limes juiced)
·         1 Tbsp lime zest
·         1 can (14 Oz) sweetened condensed milk
·         1/3 cup heavy cream

Meringue Topping
·         4 egg whites, room temperature
·         1/2 tsp cream of tartar
·         6 Tbsp superfine sugar (if not available, process regular sugar until fine in a food processor)
·         1/2 tsp cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust:
Crush crackers in a food processor or Ziploc bag. Pour them into a bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter with a fork. Press mixture into bottom and sides of pie plate and bake for 5 minutes or until golden and set. Remove from oven and set aside to cool to room temperature before adding the filling.

For the filling:
Beat egg yolks in a mixing bowl until smooth and slightly lighter in color. Add in lime juice, lime zest, condensed milk and heavy cream and mix on high until smooth and thick. Pour mixture into crust and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly before adding the topping.

For the meringue topping:
Mix sugar and cornstarch together; set aside. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar mixture until stiff peaks form. Spread over filling; seal to edge of crust. Set oven to broil mode and bake for 1 minute or so (don't take your eyes off; it browns very fast!) Alternatively, bake for 10 minutes on 350 degrees F or until meringue is golden brown.
Remove from oven, allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour—more if possible.

Recipe adapted from the following recipes:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chocolate Mint-Chocolate Cookies

Hi everyone! Remember me? Maybe you don't, since I haven't posted anything in a couple of months... I am so sorry about that; life has gotten so hectic that this blog sort of got put on the back burner. So here I am again, ready to share some more yummy treats!

This treat was made for my future brother-in-law (Brian)'s birthday. Last year I made him some cute penguin cupcakes, and this year he requested a giant cookie with ice cream! He loves the big pizzookies from BJ's and wanted something similar for his birthday. His favorite flavor? Chocolate with mint!!! So I looked around FoodBuzz to see if I could find a good chocolate cookie batter recipe, and found a wonderful recipe at Big Fat Baker, although this recipe had candied ginger. Instead of that, I added my own twist for the mint part: Andie's chocolate mint chunks. I also had some mint M&M's, so I added those too, along with actual chocolate chips. On top of this giant cookie, we placed heaping scoops of mint chocolate ice cream. 

Needless to say, the birthday "boy" was very happy :) Happy birthday Brian!

Chocolate Mint-Chocolate Cookies

·         1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
·         1/2 cup brown sugar
·         1/4 cup white sugar
·         1 large egg (room temperature)
·         1 tsp vanilla
·         1 cup flour
·         1/4 cup cocoa powder
·         1/2 tsp baking powder
·         pinch of salt
·         ½ cup Andies mint/chocolate chips combo (or other fillers – white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, chopped candied ginger, nuts, etc)

1.       Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2.       Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside.
3.       Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
4.       Beat in the egg until well incorporated, then add the vanilla.
5.       Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then fold in the filler(s) of your choice.
6.       Bake for 7-10 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies) and enjoy!

Adapted from Big Fat Baker