Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Event: 17 Days

Tonight I did a little late night shopping (fueled by a stop at Starbucks to get a hot cocoa) and now that I am home and doing the advent thing...I think it is time for a little midnight snack - holiday style. 
I saw these on one of the home shopping channels and I WANT!

Peppermint Ice Cream from the Pioneer Woman (if only she delivered)
We got a box of this popcorn just yesterday and yeah it is yummy!

And to finish orange.

Yes, that is really the order I would eat all these things.  And yes, I would eat each of these things in one sitting.  This is the reason I should go to bed before 10:30; then I can keep the midnight munchies at bay.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Advent Event: 18 Days

So I missed doing this last night due to a long winter's nap (I think my body thinks it is is a bear and it attempting to hibernate).  But this is what was on my mind all day yesterday:

Peppermint Bark

12 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
12 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp peppermint extract
6 oz peppermint candies

1. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with non-stick foil; make sure you let the sides overhang so you can pull the bark out when it is done. In a heavy duty zip-lock bag, crush the peppermints
2. In a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate, peppermint extract and whipping cream and stir until smooth. Pour the dark chocolate into the baking pan and evenly smooth out. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm.
3. In a double boiler, melt the white chocolate and stir until smooth. Remove the dark chocolate from the fridge and, with a paper towel, blot off any moisture that has accumulated on the top. Pour the white chocolate over the dark chocolate. Sprinkle the peppermint candies over the white chocolate.
4. Place in fridge to firm for about 1 hour. Remove and cut to your desired shape and size. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Recipe and picture from The Hungry Housewife

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advent Event: 19 Days

Ok, this one is way late in the day, but here it is.

Tonight we went to see our first movie since having our little one (she will be 6 months old on Sunday!).  It is not that we haven't had a babysitter (believe me strangers tell us they would babysit her...yes, strangers...the answer is no); but more that there hasn't been anything enticing enough at the theater to make the effort.  But as a foodie, the enticement is always the food at the movies. 

Popcorn and coke...and a snicker bar...and maybe a few nachos...and maybe a few Sour Patch Kids...and...ooohh, that ice cream sounds good!

What is it about the movies that stirs up the junk food addict in me?  I have actually gone to the movies not because I wanted to see the movie, but because I wanted to sit in a dark room and eat popcorn ravenously and drink a MASSIVE coke whilst thinking no one can see me!

So today's advent calendar foodie treat: permission to let your junk food flag fly!

And the good thing is there are some great movies that come out around the holidays that are just ripe for food pairings.  Here is a sampling:

If only the theater sold a spot of tea and some crumpets to go along with this one.
Only candy at this one (Skittles, Snickers, and a sugar coma) to match the squeaky voices.  You should check out this preview, it made me laugh out loud a couple of times!
For this one, I think I will go to one of those theaters where you can order a meal...hamburger sounds good.
This one has popcorn and a coke written all over it...pure indulgence. But maybe I should have two more things to eat to match the title.
By the way, we went to see the new Muppets movie tonight and I actually enjoyed most of it.  It was a little tedious in parts, but overall an enjoyable flick.  But the popcorn and coke were the best.  Good date night!

What is your favorite food/drink combination at the movies?  Don't worry, I won't judge what you shove in your face whilst you think no one is watching.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent Event: 20 Days

I can't believe it is 20 days to Christmas!  It is such a busy time and it flies by so fast!  Here is what is on  the calendar today:

Around here, we often have people over for dinner in the middle of the week, especially around the holidays.  When we do, I am always challenged to come up with a simple dessert to serve along with a simple meal.  It can't take too much time in the day to make, but has to be indulgent (what dessert isn't indulgent?).  This dessert is a perfect candidate for middle of the week entertaining during the holidays. 

Croissant Bread Pudding w/ Citrus Carmel Sauce

Bread Pudding
4 large croissants
1 red baking apple
6 eggs
1/2 c. plus 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
2 c. half and half
1 orange
1/2 c. pecans chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly spray baker with nonstick cooking spray.  Slice croissants from top to bottom into 1/2 inch slices.  Set aside 16 of the largest slices.  Cube remaining slices and place in bottom of baker.  Arrange reserved slices over cubes in an overlapping circular pattern.
2.  Core and slice apple, leaving peel on.  Tuck apple slices between croissant slices.
3.  In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and 1/2 c. sugar.  Warm up half and half in microwave (on HIGH) for 2 minutes or until hot.  Slowly add half and half to egg mixture; whisking until well blended.  Carefully pour egg mixture over croissants.  If necessary, lightly press croissants down to coat.
4.  Zest and juice orange (you will need about 2 tsp. zest and 1/4 c. juice); set juice aside.  Combine remaining 3 Tbsp. sugar, orange zest, and pecans; sprinkle over croissants.  Bake 30-35 Minutes or until golden brown and set in center.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

Citrus Carmel Sauce
3/4 c. caramel ice cream topping
1/4 tsp. rum extract
1/2 c. golden raisins (optional)
1/4 c. orange juice (reserved from above)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a Microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30-60 seconds or until hot.  Serve sauce over bread pudding.

The recipe is from Pampered Chef.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent Event: 21 Days

Because I love to cook and grew up around those who also loved to cook, I am so excited to be able to introduce my daughter to the joys of making special things for those she loves.  She has already visited me in the kitchen in the arms of her dad and she is showing interest in food...that's a great place to start, I think.

I might be getting ahead of myself here a little bit, but I can't wait to start looking at these things until she is bigger.  So, today's Advent Calendar is Kiddie Kitchen things.  They are great gift ideas for any of those little ones who show an interest in the culinary arts. 

pretend play fruit tray from Melissa and Doug

Kids gourmet play range from PBKids
Babycakes mini donut maker - I know a kid who want this one!

Kid's apron from The Mint Needle on etsy - so cute!
Placemats that teach manners!  Gotta love that!
And lastly, a cookbook for family time in the kitchen
Enjoy cooking in the kitchen with your kiddos...I know I will!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Seldom Saves on Starbucks coffee

One of my passions is saving money and I am all the time telling my friends about the great deals I have found (usually a bit too late for them to save too).  So, here is the deal I found for Starbucks coffee for the holidays at Target and Super Target.

Buy 3 Starbucks Coffee bags, Get a $5 Target Gift card.
Buy any 3 Starbucks Coffee products, Get a $5 Stabucks e-giftcard.

Here's how to get coffee on the cheap:

Purchase 3 Starbucks Coffee Bags (10-12oz) at Target ($7.99 each).
Use Maufacturers Coupons found in the paper 12/4/11 ($1/1 and $3/2 Starbucks coffee).
Use Target Coupons found in store (3 $1/1 Starbucks coffee).

Pay $16.97 out of pocket.

Get $5 Target Giftcard at checkout
Submit form for $5 Starbucks Giftcard through this link.

That is like getting 3 bags of Starbucks coffee for $6.97!!  Not bad!

And remember, you can get a free tall drip coffee in store by taking the empty bags in (see offer on bag).  That is another $4.95 in savings! 

The offer at Target is good through 12/10/11.  And the offer for Starbucks is good through 12/31/11.

I am going to check this week to see if the Target offer is also available for the VIA coffees because I love the iced VIA and could use my $5 Target card to make the deal even sweeter! 

Advent Event: 22 Days

Growing up, there were some things that I just would not eat (just like every other kid).  But now some of those things are growing on me and I have learned to appreciate them if not outright love them.  One of these things is the little beautiful cranberry. 

In the last couple of years I have learned that I do not like cranberry juice (still), but I love cranberry soda (go figure).  I also really like homeade cranberry sauce, but still won't touch the canned stuff.  And, shocking to both my husband and myself: our favorite dressing/stuffing for Thanksgving/Christmas has cranberries in it. 

So I thought, for todays advent calendar, I would give those little berries some love.  I short search through the interwebs gave me some really great ideas for how to test the waters a little bit more and possible deepen my love for what I used to hate.  Enjoy the cranberry goodness!

Just like Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars, from What Megan's Making
Cranberry Brie Bites from Recipe Girl
Cranberry Nut Bread from Once Upon a Chef
Cranberry Christmas Cake from Barefeet in the Kitchen

Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry-Raspberry Sauce from Delicious Shots