Hi! I'm taking a little break and it might take me a few days to reply to comments and emails. I'll be back soon! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shine, Sweet Freedom, Shine Your Light On Me

The blog title is a line from a Michael McDonald song, but this post is not about Mr. Soulful Voice - it's all about Sweet Freedom, an awesome cookbook by the very talented Ms. Ricki Heller from the blog Diet, Dessert and Dogs.

This isn't really a cookbook review; instead, it's more like a showcase of a few of the fabulous recipes that I have tried and loved. Writing cookbook reviews makes me feel like a snob. I didn't make all these treats since my last post, I've been collecting them for a while. What do you think I am, a big glutton? Maybe a little glutton!

Berries And Cream Tart - Sweet FreedomLet's start with my favorite: the Berries and Cream Tart! We had mini ones instead of one big tart. They are so good I could have them every day!

The recipe calls for fresh mixed berries, but all we had were frozen berries which worked wonderfully anyway. The thawed berries were extra juicy, and the juice began to fraternize with the smooth Pastry Cream filling which made every bite downright heavenly.

If you think that sounds good, then go grab a bib before you hear what I scooped on top of it...

'Soy Soy Free, Sugar Free Coconut Whipped Cream! Words cannot even begin to describe how good this stuff is. Oh wait, yes they can - amazing, delicious, divine, stellar, exquisite, yummy, gimme gimme, nom nom nom!

This is a fairly involved recipe, but the whippy deliciousness is totally worth the effort. I messed up a little because I thought it would be a good idea to keep it in the freezer while I took the photos of the tart. The fridge is plenty cold to keep it perfectly perfect though. However, if I hadn't done kept it in the freezer I never would have known how good it is slightly, barely frozen!

My super photography lights started to make the cream soften on top of the tart as I took the pictures, which made it even better!

Berries And Cream Tart - Sweet Freedom
Fake slice! I cut the mini tarts in thirds. 

Chocolate Satin Tarts - Sweet FreedomChocolate Satin Tarts. Oh, the richness! Oh, the smoothness! Oh, the chocolateness! They are a chocoholic's dream come true and I never want to wake up from it.

The ganache filling was so easy to make it was ridiculous. Something so good should take lots of effort and be incredibly time consuming. Not that I'm complaining.

I had mine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. I should have taken the picture before the ice-cream gluttony impulse, but c'est la vie.

Next up are the Banana Chocolate Chip Mini-Loaves. Ricki, you had me at mini-loaves! I have a thing for tiny breads, just like I prefer cupcakes to cakes, I'll take mini-loaves over a big one any day. These were amazing, and I'm not usually a big banana-in-baked-goodies fan. You can substitute nuts or sunflower seeds for the chocolate chips, so I used half chocolate chips and half chopped walnuts. Do you like Mr. Wing-It's banana split dish? Very appropriate for this picture, I thought.

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Loaves (with nuts!) - Sweet Freedom

And last but not least are the Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudgies of love. They were a breeze to make and they are so so good! I forgot to add chunky peanut butter to our shopping list and all I had was the creamy kind, but I figured it would be just fine to shell some peanuts (we always have peanuts for the squirrels and the Blue Jays), chop them up a little and add them to the dough. Sure, that would have worked... had I remembered to add the chopped peanuts to the dough! Doh! What an airhead! They were delicious even with the smooth peanut butter.

Ricki's Peanut Butter Fudgies

I wanted to bake and photograph the Ultra Fudgy Brownies too, but my tummy hasn't felt too happy these past few days. There's always next time!

Sweet Freedom is on sale at the special price of $25 (shipping included!) until December 1st. Ricki will even sign your copy! It would be the perfect gift for a loved one on these Holidays. Call now and we will include this amazing, one of a kind... er... sorry... I went all infomercial host on you there. Anyway, you can find more info on Ricki's website. The book could be yours by Christmas! Signed, sealed, delivered! :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Kitchen Cart Edition!

A couple of months ago I rescued an ugly-duckling kitchen cart from certain death. Mr. Wing-It's mother was going to get rid of him because she had bought a new one to replace him. I have to admit that he used to be rather unattractive back then, but he was just a diamond in the rough waiting for someone to polish him... or sand him down. You've heard the story: Kitchen Cart meets girl, girl notices a certain je ne sais quoi about him, girl gives Kitchen Cart a makeover and they live happily ever after.

Exaggerated reenactment of the rescue:

Mr. Wing-It's mother: I've had enough of your unsightly stains and crookedness! I've found a new Kitchen Cart, and he's sturdy, and he's taller, and he has doors and a drawer! You're a disgrace! Go! Shoo!

Me: Noooo! *standing in front of Kitchen Cart*

Mr. Wing-It's mother: Don't try to defend him! He's a squeaky piece of junk! He's out of here! He's firewood!

Me: No! Not firewood! I'll take him! I'll give him a home! I will love him, and hug him, and call him George!

Here is what Kitchen Cart looked like before the makeover. He had some very ugly stains and scratches on the surface, some of the boards were crooked, and until a few minutes before I took this picture he used to lean like the Tower of Pisa. Mr. Wing-It very skillfully tightened up some screws and made him nice and straight, but I forgot to take a picture before the tightening-upping.

Kitchen Cart ~ Before

After lots of sanding-down and several coats of acrylic paint, Kitchen Cart became a beautiful swan!

Kitchen Cart ~ After

That wood thing that looks like a house is a bread box that I made a while ago, but that's a story for another time. Isn't Kitchen Cart handsome now? He has cream colored legs and an olive green top and towel bar.

After all his scars were gone, he looked like he had lost all his character. He needed something to make him unique and different from all the other kitchen carts. Enter the crackle medium. I applied the crackle medium in between coats of paint, which was easier said than done because the paint kept curdling up on me. I learned that a little crackle medium goes a looong way.

Now Kitchen Cart has a few crackly areas on his legs that give him lots of personality. He's not just some bimbo kitchen cart with a perfect paint-job.

Well, what do you think? Isn't this a happy ending? Would you like to see more furniture-makeovers or home-improvement posts in the future?

Well, I'm off to click around Chocolate Covered Katie's blog to participate on her "Chocolate Covered Kindness" Page View Charity Drive. For every page-view on her blog, one of her favorite charities gets some cash. Just like that! I will probably look at her dirty pictures while I'm hanging out there. Maybe even check out that hot boyfriend of hers. It's his suspenders that take the hotness to a whole new level!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nothing to see here...

Never mind this blank post, blogger is being silly. The post below is the one that counts! :)

Wing-It Zombie

A little birdie told me that Wing-It is coming back from the dead... could it be true? :)