Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Banana split ice cream cake-food therapy

I am not an emotional eater.  I never have been.  So what do I do in response to emotional stress?  I don't know.  Listen to music, maybe.  Write.  Vent to my husband.  Text my friends.  But eat?  No.  When I'm emotional, food is usually the last thing on my mind.  
If you have been reading here you already know that the past few days have been rough for me.  Unfortunately, Duke had to work & that left me alone to mope.  Back and forth, back and forth, between my couch and bed.  Pathetic, really.  Finally around 4pm, I forced myself to get up & shower. 
Kawai (my sis-in-law)had texted me earlier to invite me over.  I had made Karlee these cupcakes for her official birthday party, but had prepared a smaller cake for the family to eat together.  I had to leave the party early and assumed they would have gone ahead and eaten the cake.  No, Kawai texted "we can't do it without the ohana*.  Come over.  And bring Akua(my other dog), too".  Aww, she loves me. I may not be an emotional eater, but that doesn't mean I'm not a hopeless, sentimental sap.  
Akua in my back seat, we headed to Kawai's home.  I was greeted by my niece & nephew.  Big hugs.  Kisses even.  A handmade card that featured Choco in the clouds.  My other sis-in-laws, Sissy, Pume & Titi, were all there too.  More heartfelt hugs.  
We let Karlee open her presents.  No matter how sad you are, who can help by smile as a child squeals with delight with each opened gift.  Dansen blew up balloons & passed them to all the family.  
I got the ice cream cake out of the freezer & placed the final touches on it.  I removed the sides of the pan & found the cake had started to melt.  "Uh-oh.  Can we have dessert first?".  Pume chimed in, "Yeah, dessert first".  
So please forgive the melty mess in the pictures.  This cake was really delicious.  So delicious we all just got our spoons and ate it straight out of the pan.  It's okay.  We're family!  We ate until we were full & barely had room for supper.  

Akua & I left that night in much better spirits than we had arrived.  Food therapy?  Maybe.  Family therapy?  Without a doubt.  

Oh and FYI, Karlee had an assignment on her favorite food that she had done in school that day.  Guess what it was?  Yup, banana splits.  Gosh, I'm a great auntie!

*Ohana(for those of you whom have never watched 'Lilo & Stitch')"means family.  And family means no one gets left behind...or forgotten.  

15 whole Oreo cookies
3 tbsp. melted butter
3-4 ripe bananas, sliced ½-inch thick
1 pint strawberry ice cream, softened slightly
1 cup hot fudge sauce, warmed
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
10 oz. frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed and drained
Whipped cream, for garnish
Chopped walnuts, for garnish
Maraschino cherries, for garnish
Chopped or crushed pineapple, for serving
Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with wax or parchment paper.  Place the Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until very finely ground.  Add the melted butter to the bowl with the cookie crumbs and pulse until evenly moistened.  Pour the crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan and press down firmly in an even layer to cover the bottom (not the sides) of the pan.  Lay the slices of banana over the cookie crust, fitting as many as you can into a single layer.  Add the strawberry ice cream to the pan and smooth in an even layer over the banana slices.  Cover and transfer to the freezer to chill until the ice cream is very firm.
Spread the hot fudge sauce over the strawberry ice cream and smooth with a spatula.  Return to the freezer until the fudge layer is firm, about 30 minutes.  Once the fudge layer is firm, spread the vanilla ice cream in an even layer over the top.  Cover and return to the freezer until the ice cream is very firm.
When you are ready to serve the torte, soak a towel in very warm water and squeeze out all the excess water.  Wrap the towel around the sides of the springform pan for about 30 seconds to help loosen them from the torte.  Carefully remove the sides of the pan.  Top with the thawed strawberries.  Garnish as desired with whipped cream, chopped walnuts, and maraschino cherries.  Let stand at room temperature about 15 minutes before slicing.  Serve with crushed pineapple.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Love, loss and comfort(food)

Today’s blog was supposed to be filled with all the joy that a five-year old’s birthday can bring. It was supposed to have pictures of birthday cake, kids batting a pinata, and running wild with reckless abandon as only little children can.

And then life happened.

A phone call from work usually means one thing. Someone called in sick and the ED needs staff. But today was different. “Angel your neighbor called and said your dog is sick. Really sick”.


Told my sis-in-law bye and flew home.

Found my Choco boy in the corner of the yard in a full-blown tonic-clonic seizure.


That’s what I’m trained to do.

Call the vet. Oh crap, it’s Sunday. They’re closed. Call the ER Vet.

Ok, get him in the car. He’s too big. I can’t lift him, especially while he’s seizing.


My sisters came immediately, without question or a moment’s hesitation.

Titi rode in the bed of the truck. I watched her in the rearview mirror and was overwhelmed by what I saw. She held my boy, stroked him, talked to him. She prayed the entire ride there. He is her family, too.

Sissy sat beside me & kept me grounded.

Get to the pet ER. All eyes on us. Brief history and the vet techs take him away, still seizing.

Permission to be mom again. No longer detached. Wait, worry. Worry, wait.

Mrs. Preza the doctor will see you.

“Guarded”, “no prognosis”, “gastric lavage”, “intubate”.

Back to the waiting room. Now Duke’s here.

Back to see the doctor again. Same story all over for Duke.

VIsit Choco. Prone, unconscious, unsedated and intubated.

“Go home & rest. I’ll call in the morning”.

10:45 the vet called. “He’s better. He’s swallowing and we extubated him. I’ll call in the morning”.

Stupid, stupid false hope.

11:30 another call. “Choco’s in arrest, respiratory and cardiac. We’re doing CPR”.

“Stop. Please. Just stop. We are on are way in to see him now”.

Sign papers. Pet my boy one last time. Go home. No, not yet. Just a second longer with him. One final time to touch his chocolate muzzle.

Ok, now. Breathe.

Purple collar in hand, we head home.

Woke up this morning with a sense of profound loss. But comforted by all the texts, messages, emails, and calls we have received. My friends, my familiy, you have comforted me.

Choco bear, you came into my life as a gift from Duke because I had a run of bad luck. 10 years you have been in our lives and have given us a hell of a time our “special” son. We love & miss you!

Now food is the last thing on my mind, but my comfort food as promised. 

Mini Mac and Cheese Pies

Servings: 8


1 and 1/2 cups Ritz crackers, crushed**I used one whole sleeve and used my food processor to crush the crackers

2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated and divided

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

4 and 1/2 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces uncooked)

One 5.2-ounce container of Boursin Garlic and Herb cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch red pepper flakes

Parsley, for garnish, optional


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Generously spray 8 cups of your muffin pan with cooking spray.

3. In a large bowl, combine the crushed Ritz crackers, 1 cup of the shredded white cheddar cheese, and the melted butter, mixing well until the mixture holds together and resembles coarse sand.

4. Divide the mixture among the 8 muffin cups and, using your fingers or the back of a spoon, firmly press the crust into the bottoms and up the sides of each muffin cup.

5. In another large bowl, combine the cooked (and still hot!) macaroni with 1/2 cup of the shredded white cheddar, the Boursin cheese, and the butter, mixing well.

6. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sour cream, salt, and red pepper flakes, mixing well.

7. Add the egg/milk mixture to the cooked macaroni, mixing until all the ingredients are melted and smooth.

8. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of the macaroni mixture into each muffin cup (you will probably have a little leftover macaroni-I did. Save this and bake it separately, if desired.)

9. Top each muffin cup with the remaining white cheddar.

10. Bake the mac and cheese pies until lightly golden on top, about 20-25 minutes.

11. Let cool slightly before removing from the muffin pan, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.
Source: Adapted from The Deen Bros. Take it Easy, via Epicurious.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Love and Strawberry Cupcakes


How do you show people that you love them? Yeah, you. How? Do ya buy flowers? Maybe you leave them a nice little love note on the mirror? Oh, I got it. Maybe you do your spouse’s chores for a week?! Yeah, that’s nice.

I think that there is a good chance you show love like I do. By baking. That’s what I did yesterday.

Five years ago today, my sister-in-law gave birth to my niece, Karlee.

I love her.

She’s my monkey. I’m her giraffe.

She gives me love unconditionally. Her snaggle-tooth grin gives me joy unparallel. When we have a family event & she snuggles up to me, it literally makes my heart melt. She’s told me that I’m beautiful twice. Those words made my year(trust me, all of my in-laws are gorgeous so for her to say that was a big deal).

So what could I ever do to show her how much I love her?

I show her love by reading to her. I take her to gymnastics. We play doctor & sculpt with playdoh. I teach her manners. She helps me bake. And she’s gone to Texas with me twice.

Yesterday I spent all day baking for her party today. One of the results of that labor of love are my strawberry cupcakes. Now mind you, I have tried to make strawberry cupcakes more than a handful of times, but these are the clear winner. Before I went to bed last night, I opened up the cupcake container just to get a whiff of that wonderful strawberry delight. They are light and fluffy and the frosting is truly, truly like strawberry ice cream.

Oh & those heart toppers, that’s just another way to show my love. I’m not so good with a knife, but I managed these fairly easily.

Strawberry Cupcakes


1 3/4 cups (12 oz/350 g) granulated sugar

1 (3 oz/85 g) package strawberry flavored gelatin (such as Jell-O)

1 cup (8 oz/227 g) butter, softened

4 eggs (room temperature)

3 cups (10.5 oz/300 g) sifted cake flour

1 tablespoon (15 mL/17 g) baking powder

3/4 teaspoon (3.75 mL/5 g) salt

1 cup (236 ml/8 liquid oz) whole milk, room temperature

1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup (2 liquid oz/4.5 oz/130 g) strawberry puree (puree itself should be closer to room temp, not frozen or icy)


1. If you’re making your own strawberry puree, remove strawberries (about 2 handfuls) from freezer and place in a single layer in a flat dish to thaw slightly. Place into food processor and puree the strawberries until smooth. Stir to ensure it is nice and smooth not icy. Measure out 1/4 cup for cupcakes and 3 tablespoons for frosting, and freeze the remaining puree for another use.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)., Line cupcake pans with 36 liners.

3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the milk, strawberry puree, and the vanilla. Set aside.

4. Sift and whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, and set aside.

5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar, gelatin, and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy–about 5 minutes.

6. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with spatula.

7. Add the wet & dry ingredients to the creamed mixture by alternating–beginning and ending with dry ingredients and mixing just enough after each addition to incorporate, but not overmix.

8. Use an ice cream scoop and divide the batter evenly.

9.Bake 18-20 minutes or when a toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake. (also these have rather flat tops, so don’t be alarmed)

Whipped strawberry frosting


3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (13 oz/375 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

4 cups sifted (18 oz/500 g) confectioners’ sugar (icing, powdered)

1 tablespoon (15 mL) heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoon (7.5 mL) pure vanilla extract

pinch of salt

5 tablespoons (45 mL) strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries (if you want the frosting seed-free, you can put the puree through a sieve before adding to frosting)


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.

2. Add remaining ingredients, except strawberry puree, and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.

3. Add strawberry puree (can be cool, but not frozen or icy) and mix until incorporated.

4. Best used right away, but can be covered in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

Source: Adapted from Sweetapolita @

Friday, September 23, 2011

Garlic cheddar biscuits

Unfortunately my post on Hello Kitty cupcake toppers has been postponed. However, had this not been the case, I would not have been able to share these savory garlic biscuits with y’all.

Duke has received the okay to go back to work from his orthopedist. That made today our last day off together before he heads back to work. As much as I grumbled about “me time” yesterday, I will give him much-deserved credit for cooking for me every single day for the past 3 weeks. And if that wasn’t enough, in and of itself, well, my chef extraordinaire managed to prepare me tasty meals that were also healthy.

Today we visited our local farmer’s market and stocked up on fresh fruits & veggies-kabocha, green beans, bananas, watermelon & tangerines. Duke made a wonderful soup with chicken breast, kabocha, and green beans in chicken stock base. Perfect comfort food & a great way to welcome autumn.

These biscuits had been on my “to make” list for a while now. Delicate & buttery, they were the perfect compliment to Duke’s kabocha soup. I halved the recipe-even though we all know I could easily put away -five or six -a couple of these babies. They came together in a matter of minutes & disappeared just as quickly. Enjoy!


For the biscuits:

2 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces

1 and 1/2 cups white cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon garlic salt

For brushing:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

3. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, add the butter, pinching and mixing it thoroughly until the dough resembles coarse sand.

4. Add the white cheddar and stir to combine.

5. Add the buttermilk and garlic salt, stirring well to combine. **If the dough seems a little dry, add a little more buttermilk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough holds together.

6. Drop the dough onto the baking sheet, spacing each biscuit about 2 inches apart.

7. Bake the biscuits for about 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden.

8. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and garlic salt.

9. Remove the biscuits from the oven and lightly brush each one with the melted butter/garlic mixture. Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from Gourmet, the curvy carrot


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dark chocolate meringue cookies

Wow, I have dreamed about this day for a long, long time. I’ve wanted to start a foodie blog for over a year now. At the suggestion of one of my fans on Facebook, I ventured into unknown territory-to the land of food blogging. For hours, half-watching the season premier of Law & Order SVU, I familiarized myself with this microblogging platform. Hopefully I have the jest of it, although I’m sure I will learn much more through trial & error. Without further adieu, I give you Sin CIty Cookies.

Today, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Perhaps it was because I had to go the dentist, though truth be told, I have no irrational fear of dentists. Maybe it was because my day off had a to-do list so long, it was really nowhere close to the veg-out day I had hoped for. Regardless, I was a grump.

My husband had PT in the morning and then an appointment in the afternoon. He left the house all to eagerly. After a few apologetic texts on my part, it was agreed that the past 3 weeks of his recuperating from knee surgery had left me with no “me” time. This turned out to be the perfect time for this to happen. He had an invite to watch a live episode of “Man Vs Food Nation” with his coworker.

Ahhh the house all to myself. Nice rainy day out. Cue pumpkin spice candles, a little Ray LaMonagne, my obligatory cleaning and finally, oh finally, baking…

A month of dieting has left me jonesing for some QT with my kitchenaid and my oven. After scouring all my favorite food blogs I came across these beauts. Behold my friends, a scrumptious, decadent, lighter than a cloud, treat. Crisp & delicate you can eat several in one sitting. Not that I would know anything about that. And oh yeah, after popping several of these in his mouth at a time, I would say my husband is glad I had my ‘me time’ too.

Sin City Cookies

2 egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

2 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.

Gradually add your sugar and beat on high until stiff peaks form. Add cocoa slowly and continue to beat on high. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon onto baking sheet and place in oven.
Important****Turn oven off****

Let sit for 8 hours. Do not open the oven door