Thursday, December 30, 2010

Countdown to 2011..

Santa spoiled me this year.. He always does!
I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating with your loved ones.
This year I had Christmas Eve at our place and then we went over to the King's for Christmas Day.
 I ate SO MUCH food!
You would think I would have taken more pictures but I was still trying to figure out my camera :/

Thanks babe! 

My tree after opening up all our presents!

Santa stopped by! He was hungry:)
Christmas day at the King's! (pictured below)

I was in charge of bringing dessert.. I made Paula Dean's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

1 (18 1/4 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
8 tbsp. butter, melted
1 (16 ounce) box powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Combine cake mix, egg and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 x 9 baking pan.
To make filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.
Serve with fresh whipped cream. (A MUST!)

Hope you have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Birthday is here..

Tomorrow I will have lived 1/4 a century..
I am a very lucky girl..
I have a wonderful boyfriend that loves me to death.. the best family and friends a girl could ask for... a cozy little place to come home to everyday.. and one adorable (pain in the butt) dog. I can't ask for more.
Thank you to everyone in my life that makes this all possible.

My dream cake by Sweet and Saucy 

P.S-  I am working with a web designer to recreate my blog. I think I did a pretty good job myself but there are some things I'll leave up to a professional :) Bobby bought me Yvette loves pink but I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. Now that I've turned it into a food blog I think MY CROWNED CREATIONS "Adventures in my cozy kitchen"
is more suitable. Excited to see the transformation soon!

Jessica from The Frilly Coconut my designer
Check her out!

The Frilly Coconut

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Shrimp Scampi

I surprised Bobby with this right when he got home from work yesterday. I couldn't believe I had everything ready on time. 
That never happens. 

The only thing that's not pictured is my HUGE tub of garlic. It would have taken up the whole picture. That's what happens when you go to Costco hungry. You buy everything in bulk haha
I had leftover chardonnay in the fridge from girls night with Jessica. We giggled at the brand name "Menage a Trios" :) She was obviously feeling frisky when she went shopping.
The recipe is from How Sweet It is

Shrimp Scampi

1 pound raw, peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons of butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of dry white wine, like Chardonnay
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 - 3/4 pound whole wheat linguine
1/3 cup parmesan or asiago cheese (or maybe more:)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Make sure shrimp is cleaned and dried off completely, then season with salt and pepper.
Boil your water for pasta and cook pasta according to directions.
Heat large skillet over medium-high heat, adding olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. 
Add minced garlic, then immediately add shrimp (this prevents garlic from burning) in one layer so each side can cook. Cook for only 60 seconds, then flip shrimp and cook for 60 seconds more. Pour in white wine and let mixture simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in last tablespoon of butter.
Add all pasta to a large bowl and pour entire shrimp and wine mixture over top. Add red pepper and cheese and toss until everything is combined. Add additional olive oil or salt and pepper to taste if desired. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with garlic bread.

What's the only thing that can make this dish even better?????????

A glass of wine, olive oil and balsamic vinegar we brought home from Italy!!
Enjoy :)

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Tater Tot Casserole

If you haven't figured it out yet my boyfriend is a meat and potato kind of guy. 
When we first started dating he mentioned that his Grandma Nema used to make him Tater Tot Casserole as a kid. I called Aunt Linda and she gave me the recipe. It's super simple and only has four ingredients!

Tater Tot Casserole

2 lbs Extra lean ground beef
1 (10 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 (2 lb) package of frozen tater tots

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Put ground beef in the bottom of 13 x 9 pan.
Spread cream of mushroom on top of ground beef (you can thin it out with a little bit of milk so it spreads easier)
Cover with grated cheese. Top with tater tots (At first I thought Bobby was being anal but he said that his Grandma perfectly aligned them in the pan when he was little :)
Cover with foil and bake until meat is thoroughly cooked. About 30-40 minutes.
Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.

Bobby always mentions that he wishes I could have met his grandparents. They sound like they were lots of fun! I hope to meet them in heaven one day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I survived Thanksgiving!!
It was a busy, busy week but SO worth it!
Thanksgiving menu:
Green bean casserole
Pumpkin Spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I made my first turkey this year for my church Thanksgiving food drive and it turned out delicious. In fact I bought another turkey yesterday so we can have some for the week :)

About to butter up my my turkey.. Isn't he cute??

Simple Stuffing: Box of stuffing, 1 apple (I use granny smith), cranberries, 1 chopped onion, chopped celery, and 1 chopped carrot.. so simple

Pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting 
Cream cheese frosting

2 packages of cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup of butter softened
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in vanilla, then gradually and confectioners sugar.

Thank goodness for my cupcake carrier my hunny got me last year. It's awesome!

You can take out the three levels and use it for cake too!

I'm thankful for my family, friends, boyfriend and dog Mia :)
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Au Gratin Potatoes

I've been sorting through our Germany pictures and every time I see the Hofbrauhaus potatoes in one of them my mouth begins to water. I browsed around for a quick recipe and found a pretty good one..

I do my best to capture how good it is with my little camera but I hope to have a better camera by December hehe.. 
This recipe is actually a video tutorial I found at Food Network from Aaron McCargo "Big Daddy's House."


8 tbsp. (1 stick)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup grated yellow Cheddar
1/4 cup grated American cheese
1/4 cup grated White cheddar
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. black pepper
3 lbs. russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed, peeled and sliced thin

Au Gratin:
1 stick butter, melted
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 tsp smoky paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In large sauce pot over medium high heat, add butter. Stir in the flour until pasty. Add milk; stir to remove lumps and let cook for 6 minutes until it gets thick. Lower heat and add the cheese, bouillon, nutmeg and black pepper. Whisk until well combined and sauce thickens, approximately 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, combine butter, panko and smokey paprika. Stir well.

Place potatoes into a casserole dish. Pour cheese over potatoes and sprinkle au gratin on top. Wrap with foil and bake in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 10 minutes uncovered. Allow to sit for 10 minutes... AND SHE IS READY TO EAT.. 

I cant wait to go back to Germany one day and have these all over again.. 
but for now these will work :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Good Eats

My good friend Jessica that lives in Seal Beach introduced me to this place called Beachwood BBQ. I used to play club volleyball with her back when we were in high school. She LOVES this place.
All the food is homemade. Takes a little longer to get your food but there is a LARGE beer wall that will keep you occupied in the meantime. There website has a 24 hour HOP CAM that keeps you updated on the beers they offer. It's always changing:)

My favorite is the pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries. It's served on a pretzel bun!
This beer wall makes me happy. 
There is about 24 beers on tap:)
Fondue appetizer. DOOO it!
Grown up mac and cheese (Dinner menu only)
Don't forget Dessert!! 

It's a small place but definitely worth the wait. 
Take a stroll down main street and Seal beach pier and catch the sunset after dinner.
Bobby and I took a good shot last week:)

Happy Labor Day Everyone!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Venice, Italy

What can I say.. the BEST pasta and pizza I've ever had.
From Munich we took a train and arrived in Venice.
It's one the of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. VERY romantic.
Everything looks fake it's so pretty.
Did I mention the food was amazing??? HAHA

Pasta, cannoli's, pizza and gelato.. Yes please?

Eating on the canal (above).. We were blessed with beautiful weather:)
Bobby and I went out one night to see Venice's nightlife and got LOST. So scary!! We kept running into water and had NO CLUE where we were. We ended up finding our hotel and having pizza and beer close by (pictured below). I don't recommend getting lost at night.. Venice is confusing HAHA

The gondola ride is a must when you visit Venice.. It's amazing to see the buildings and little channels through the city.
Next stop was ROME.. Did I mention they have beer and wine on the train?? (pictured above)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Leaving to Europe!!

The countdown is over!!

It's finally here... 
Munich, Germany
Prague, Czech Republic
Rome, Venice, and Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast!!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Black Bean Salsa

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I have been making a lot of dips lately...
What can I say.. I LOVE DIP!!
I made this for poker night on Thursday and the boys LOVED IT.
The recipe is from Brown eyed baker

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Bake Time: 30 minutes 

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1½ cups (6 ounces) finely shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Paprika, to taste (optional) 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Press the excess moisture from the spinach.                                               
 2. Combine the artichokes, spinach, 1¼ cups of Parmesan cheese, 1¼ cups of Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and garlic in a bowl and mix well.                                                                          
3. Spoon the artichoke mixture into a 1½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheeses on top, and then sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla or pita chips, crackers or vegetables.


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My Aunt Liz's Baby shower!

                            It was time for a makeover…

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day at the Beach..

The weekend is here!!
Hope you enjoy this 3 day weekend and soak up some
of this California sun.
My cousin Grace and I got an early start at the beach today:)

Happy Labor Day!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Banana bread with Amaretto

My intentions were to eat the banana's before they started to get brown but that didn't happen..
In fact they were black. So instead I made banana bread!
Until this day I always see brown bananas on my grandma's kitchen counter. She loves banana bread and says "the browner the better." I felt weird using these black bananas but it turned out sooo good.
I got the recipe from Annie's Eats.


1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
6 large, very ripe bananas (about 2¼ lbs.), peeled
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Lightly spray a loaf pan (about 9 x 5 inches) with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; whisk together and set aside.
Place 5 bananas in a microwave safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and make several slits in the wrap to act as steam vents. Microwave on high until the bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bananas to a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl and let drain, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes (you should have ½-¾ cup liquid).
Transfer the reserved banana liquid to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to about ¼ cup, 5-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. In a large bowl, combine the bananas and the reduced banana liquid. Mash with a potato masher or whisk until fairly smooth. Whisk in the melted butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. I ADDED 1/4 CUP OF AMARETTO :) Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the banana mixture. Fold together gently, just until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula.

Slice the remaining banana diagonally into ¼-inch thick slices. Layer the banana slices along both sides of the top of the batter, leaving a couple of inches in the center to allow an even rise. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the assembled loaf.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55-75 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool at least 15 minutes in the pan before removing. Continue to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

If you have a different recipe PLEASE SHARE....

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