Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Mummy Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles

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Halloween desserts are probably my favorite themed desserts. Each year I find dozens of cute ideas on Pinterest and then I put them on my Halloween board and then on October 30 I decide I want to make all of them. But that never happens.

So this year I’m starting early! Today is the very first day of autumn and I’m kicking the season off with a Halloween pumpkin treat because it doesn’t get more seasonal than that!

After my peanut butter chocolate acorn Oreo truffles went over well last week (aren’t they adorable), I wanted to make more truffles!

Initially, I was going to make truffles that look like ghosts. But then I realized that if I make mummies I won’t have to worry about making sure the chocolate coating is perfectly smooth because ultimately I’ll drizzle white chocolate on top of the truffles for a “wrapped” effect.

The flavor of these truffles is absolutely outstanding. If you love pumpkin, you’ll love them. If you don’t love pumpkin, you’ll still love them. I must say, I was even impressed with the flavor!

Because of the addition of pumpkin puree to these truffles, they’re very moist, and I recommend keeping them cool as much as possible.

Also, if you don’t have red food coloring, you can absolutely use chocolate chips instead for the eyes or a red icing pen would work well too!

And if you plan on transporting these little mummies, try putting them in a clean egg carton!

Mummy Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles
Yield: Makes about 24 truffles

Ingredients
  • 36 golden Oreos
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 16 ounces white chocolate
  • Red food coloring

Directions
  1. Put Oreos into a food processor and pulse until the Oreos are fine crumbs.
  2. Mix Oreo crumbs, cream cheese, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together until they're completely combined. Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes.
  3. Form mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and freeze for 30 minutes.
  4. Melt white chocolate and dip each ball into chocolate with toothpick; set on parchment paper to harden.
  5. Drizzle leftover white chocolate onto balls and let harden.
  6. Stick a Q-Tip into bottle of red food coloring and dot onto truffles to make to red eyes. Be careful not to touch red food coloring until it dries.
  7. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.





Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Peanut butter chocolate acorn Oreo truffles

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I am the biggest sucker for festive baked goods. It’s my favorite part of every holiday season. I mean seriously, there’s nothing cuter than jack-o-lantern cupcakes and Christmas tree rice krispies treats.

So last week I started getting really excited about all the fall treats that are now in season. And I’ll tell you what – trying to decide on a single fall dessert to make is very overwhelming! To be quite honest, I was stressing out about it!

But when I laid eyes on these Oreo acorn balls, I knew I had to make them! These are so stinkin adorable.

The first batch I tried to make wasn’t necessarily a disaster, but they weren’t exactly the cream of the crop.

The issue was that the acorns were very difficult to dip in the chocolate.

First of all, it is imperative that you use a toothpick to dip the acorns in the chocolate. I tried dipping with a candy scoop and a fork, but nothing worked as well as using a toothpick. The reason being is that you want the chocolate shell to look smooth in order for the acorn effect to really come out. And nothing looks as smooth as using a toothpick.

But this is where it gets tricky.


The acorns are a little bigger and longer than regular Oreo balls. They are also heavier and easily break off in the chocolate. Fix that problem by freezing the Oreo truffles for 30 minutes before dipping them in the chocolate.

And since there are so few ingredients in these truffles, it's important that you only use premium ingredients. I only use Challenge cream cheese because it doesn't have any preservatives and it's made with real milk and cream so it's really smooth and blends with the other ingredients well.




Peanut butter chocolate acorn Oreo truffles
Ingredients
  • 30 peanut butter Oreos
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 ounces milk chocolate
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Pretzels, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Directions
  1. Put Oreos into a food processor and pulse until the Oreos are fine crumbs.
  2. Mix Oreos and cream cheese together until they're completely combined. Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes.
  3. Use a tablespoon of mixture and form into a ball. Pinch one end of the ball so it's slightly tapered and looks like an acorn. Then freeze acorns for 30 minutes.
  4. Melt milk chocolate and dip each acorn into chocolate with toothpick; set on parchment paper to harden.
  5. Melt dark chocolate; dip tops of acorns into dark chocolate and immediately add chocolate sprinkles.
  6. Stick pretzel into top of acorn and return to parchment paper to harden before serving.
  7. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerate for up to one week.





Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Easy One-Pot Chicken Alfredo

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It’s that time of year again when everyone is busy busy busy with fall activities!

Between work, school, soccer practice, football games, homework, etc. making dinner may seem nearly impossible!

But as well all know, eating out constantly isn’t very good for your health.

So what’s the solution?

This recipe is the solution. Easy One-Pot Chicken Alfredo comes together in minutes. And just like the name states, there is only one pot so that means little cleanup.

I only use premium ingredients in this recipe, like Challenge cream cheese. Challenge doesn't have any preservatives and it's made with real milk and cream for a taste that's unmatched.

And even though alfredos have a bad reputation for being fattening, this version is actually pretty heatlhy, especially if you use low fat milk, low fat cream cheese, and whole-wheat pasta!



Easy One-Pot Chicken Alfredo

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups penne pasta
  • 4 ounces Challenge cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken​

 Directions
  1. In a large saucepan, add olive oil and garlic and sauté over medium heat for one minute.
  2. Add chicken broth, milk, salt, pepper, and uncooked pasta to saucepan.
  3. Bring to boil, then cover saucepan and reduce heat to medium.
  4. Simmer on medium heat for 12 minutes.
  5. Add cream cheese and parmesan cheese and mix until combined.
  6. Stir in rotisserie chicken.
  7. Remove from heat and serve topped with fresh parsley if desired.
Recipe loosely adapted from No. 2 Pencil.




Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Celebrating National Read a Book Day with my favorite books

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I usually don’t talk about any other than food. Well, because why would I? I mean this is indeed a food blog!

But when I saw that today is National Read A Book Day, I knew I needed to say something. In fact, when I was younger I used to ask for books for Christmas (yeah, I was that kid).

In high school and college I didn’t read as much as I would have liked. But now, I always have a book in tow. The app Overdrive is my favorite app ever because it connects to your library account, and you can check out books and audiobooks.

In the past year, I’ve read more books than I have in any other year. So I wanted to share the list of books I read and how I would rank them.

I’d like to preface this by telling you a little more about the books I like to read.

Gone Girl is my favorite book! I read it when it first came out, so I didn’t know anything about the plot and it was SHOCKING! I won’t reveal anymore in case you haven’t read it yet.

I also LOVED the Hunger Games and Harry Potter, and I like to dabble in historical fiction. That being said, here’s the list of books I’ve read in the past year…

1.     The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
a.     Yes, yes yes! I loved everything about this book. Obviously they’re making it into a movie, BUT you MUST read it before you see the movie. Some people have been calling it the British Gone Girl. Other people don’t like that it’s being called that. I don’t care either way, but I definitely love it!
2.     Cartwheel by Jennifer DuBois
a.     Another one of my favorites! The plot will remind you of the Amanda Knox story.
3.     Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
a.     As with all Gillian Flynn books, this one was crazy. And I loved it.
4.     Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
a.     While I was reading this book, I could not stop thinking about it! So good!
5.     Dare Me by Megan Abbott
a.     Nah, didn’t care for it.
6.     Everything I never Told you by Celest Ng
a.     This had potential to be interesting, but in the end I give it a thumbs down.
7.     Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
a.     Mindy Kaling is obviously hilarious. There’s a reason she was a writer and then actor on The Office. Her book is everything you would expect and more! I highly recommend it!
8.     Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
a.     See above answer.
9.     Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
a.     Two thumbs up! I couldn’t put it down!
10. Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin
a.     Ehhh it was funny in some parts, but I wasn’t excited to read it.
11. Bossypants by Tina Fey
a.     Hilarious! And Tina dishes out some good life lessons.
12. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
a.     I think this book had a meaningful message – a message that I think about almost daily. However, it definitely wasn’t an exciting read.
13. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
a.     Amy Poehler is hilarious. Enough said.
14. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
a.     This was not what I thought it would be at all. It was like he did a study on online dating and then reported on the results of the study. I didn’t find it interesting.
15. Lean in for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg
a.     I liked this book, but I ended up skipping around a little bit. It’s an advice book, and those type of books don’t always keep my interest.
16. Me before You by Jojo Moyes
a.     It was a good book, but the ending was just ehhh.
17. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
a.     This book made me actually cry. They were happy / sad tears, but they were good tears nonetheless. It was a beautiful, beautiful book about young love.
18. Paper Towns by John Green
a.     It was okay. Just okay.
19. Looking for Alaska by John Green
a.     It started out really good, and then it wasn’t.
20. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
a.     Ehhhh. I’ll leave it at there.
21. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
a.     Wow. Just wow. This book really changed my life and my perspective on life. Read this book!!! It’s truly amazing what our veterans endured during the wars.
22. American Sniper by Chris Kyle
a.     It was good! It had a happy ending which is sad because he wrote this book before he died.
23. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
a.     Everyone should read this book! Once again, it changed my perspective on life. Soooo good!
24. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
a.     It was definitely very interesting.
25. We are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
a.     It was okay. I wouldn’t put it on your “must read” list.
26. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
a.     I enjoyed about 80% of the book.
27. Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
a.     Very funny! But I rank it below Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler’s books.
28. My Story by Elizabeth Smart
a.     I could not put this book down! Her mindset and brain as a 14-year-old is incredible.
29. Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
a.     The book started out slow, and then 60% of the way through I loved it! And then the ending was not good.
30. All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage
a.     Ok so I’m still kind of mad at this book. It’s as if the author forgot to write an ending.
31. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
a.     Everyone talks about how good of a movie this is. And I have never seen the movie, so I can’t comment on that. But I decided the book is not good.
32. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
a.     I give it one and a half thumbs down. It wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read, but I didn’t enjoy it.
33. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
a.     Sooooo good! I couldn’t put it down.
34. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
a.     Don’t read this book. That’s all I have to say about that.


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