Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

This is seriously, the best grilled cheese I’ve ever made.  And I make a pretty good grilled cheese.  I made two at first, and as we sit down to eat Jayesh takes a bite, pauses and smiles at me.  As he finishes his sandwich he whispers to me, “Are you going to make more?”  That is a success!  Of course I made more!

 

This sandwich is packed with flavor and so easy to make.  

Here’s what you need:

Bread

Jalapenos

Cooked bacon (skip this to make it vegetarian!)

Cream Cheese

Shredded mozzarella

Pepper

Garlic Powder

Emeril’s Original Essence Seasoning

 

First set your oven to broil and put your jalapenos on a baking sheet and roast them.  Flip them and keep an eye on them.  You want them nicely charred on every side.  They should be cooked through as well.  Once they are done immediately put them in a ziplock bag.  They’ll be easier to peel.  I always skip this step, I don’t really mind the skins.  Most of it will flake away when you chop them up.  So once you’re done with that, chop them up.  Remove the seeds if you like, but we leave them in because we love the heat!

Next mix your cream cheese and shredded cheese together.  Just eyeball it.  You want the consistency spreadable but pretty full of shredded cheese so it will melt throughout the sandwich.  I sprinkled in garlic powder, pepper, and Emeril’s original essence.  Again I just eyeballed this, tasting it along the way until it was flavorful.

Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bread (every slice), top with chopped grilled jalapenos, and put a couple of slices of bacon on top.  

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Heat up your pan with some butter.  Once it’s hot enough, put your sandwich on and grill it until it’s nice and toasted on both sides and the cheese is melted.

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Careful it’s HOT, but SO SO good!

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Enjoy!

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Mint Mocha Coffee

This morning I got a little creative.  I don’t have pictures, and really no measurements because I eyeballed everything.  I had some Ghirardeli milk chocolate chips and half and half left over from the Red Velvet Trifle that I made so I wanted to use them up.  

I put a pot on low-med heat and put in about 1/2 cup of half and half.  You could use milk or heavy cream whatever you have in your fridge.  I added about a handful or two of the chocolate chips.  I didn’t want the mixture to be too thick or chocolatey so I went easy on it.  You could add as much as you wanted.  If you use milk you might want to add more to thicken up the milk a bit.  If you don’t have chocolate chips you could use Hershey’s Chocolate syrup.  

After the chips were melted I added in a few drops of Peppermint extract.  It smelled SO good!  While this was going on I brewed about 20 oz of coffee in the Keurig.  Currently we have a really strong French Roast so it’s almost like espresso.  

That’s it!  Easy right?  Tasted better than the coffee shop!  The flavor was a lot like peppermint bark which I am currently obsessed with.  It was cold and snowing this morning so this was the perfect warm drink to snuggle up to.  Enjoy!

Hello I am Mommy Dearest

I’ve taken on a new job.  Of course I still do hair and makeup, those are my passions, but I have a bigger passion.  Being Mommy!  I got the wonderful chance to stay at home with my angel and I jumped at it.  We put him in Montessori School a few months ago, but he started getting sick all the time.  We know that’s normal, but each time he was sick I would have to stay home from work and after a while it just seemed ridiculous to call in all the time.  So I quit my job and decided to stay home to nurture and grow my angel full time.  

 

So far it’s been a few weeks, and it’s been wonderful.  He’s such a smart kid and it’s really nice to watch him explore and learn new things.  He’s very curious and cracks the biggest grin when he learns something new.  Potty training is going so well.  Each day I feel so blessed to be able to do this.  Years ago I thought I’d never be able to stay home and just be Mom.  Now that I’m here and I have this wonderful child with the most adorable smile, how could I be anywhere else?!  We have a new routine, and he’s very quickly become my best friend.  There’s a special bond between mom and son and I’m experiencing it right now.  My favorite part of the day is when he hugs me tight and says ‘Love you!’  No paycheck, award, or recognition even matches what that feels like.  

 

I can’t lie, I did hesitate a bit to begin with.  I told my husband that I felt uncomfortable not contributing.  He looked at me for a beat and shook his head.  ‘You are contributing the most, you’re raising our child.  Who else is better cut out to do this?’  This man is a gem.  Instantly I felt comforted.  He had faith in me, and that feeling is contagious.  He supports my dream and now my new role.  Everyday he gives me a new reason for why I feel so lucky to get to have a family with him.  It gives me pride in my new role.  

 

I feel so incredibly blessed.  

Hocus Pocus 2013!

Well, we’re done with 2012 and on to 2013.  Looking back I think I’m overall pretty happy with the way the year went.  We learned a lot, laughed a lot, and made some big decisions that turned out to be the best.  I hope everyone had a year worth reflecting on and I wish you the best for 2013.

 

To start the year off right I’ve decided to share with you my recipe for hocus pocus rolls.  Why hocus pocus?  Because they’re MAGIC!  They taste like a cinnamon roll with none of the effort, there’s a disappearing act that is pretty cool, and they are magically DELICIOUS!  Did I have you at cinnamon roll?  I thought so.

Here’s what you need:

roll of crecent rolls

marshmallows – 1 for each roll

melted butter or ghee

cinnamon sugar mix

 

First POP that can of crecent rolls open and lay them out.  Then take a marshmallow coat it in ghee or melted butter and cover with cinnamon sugar.

Hocus Pocus Rolls

 

 

Next you want to place the marshmallow in the center of the roll and roll it up so that the marshmallow is completely sealed in there.  I only made four rolls because we don’t give much sugar to my son so I left the other four plain for him.  Anyway, I left a couple unsealed to show you what happens.  Nice of me, huh? 🙂

Hocus Pocus Rolls

 

Next I brushed some ghee over the top and dusted a little bit of cinnamon sugar on top.  Pop them in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until they’re golden brown.

Hocus Pocus Rolls

 

When they come out, they’ll look totally normal, but the magic is waiting on the inside!

 

Hocus Pocus Rolls

 

As you can see, if you leave them unsealed, they poop all over the place and it’s sticky and hard to unstick.  SO, make sure you seal them up.

 

Here’s what happens when you do it right:

Hocus Pocus RollsAs you can see, there’s no marshmallow in sight.  It’s just cinnamon sugary goodness with “icing”.  SO good.  SO easy.  Try it out!!

 

Red Velvet Sneezes

Hey all!  I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas filled with family, love, and great food!  We had plans to go to a get together at our cousin’s house.  The morning of Christmas we both woke up with fevers and our son was hacking up a lung in his room.  There was no way we were making it anywhere.  Especially with four other kids attending the festivities, we’d feel horrible if we got them all sick.  All week we had anticipated going to this get together so we hadn’t even grocery shopped.  In order to avoid the Christmas rush we put off our grocery shopping till after the day.  Bad idea.  Now that we were stuck at home all we had was the Red Velvet Trifle I had made for the party and a 3 lb. chub of beef.  We decided to make chili for dinner and dig into the trifle for dessert.  Oh what?  You want my trifle recipe…well…alright.

 

Here’s what you need:

Red Velvet Cake

 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder, set that aside.  Then in another bowl mix together the cocoa powder and red food coloring, it will be a thin paste.  Set that aside too.

Next mix together the butter and sugar until it’s fluffy then add in one egg at a time, vanilla, and the red cocoa powder mixture.  Add in a third of the flour mixture and once it’s mixed in add half the buttermilk.  Keep alternating like that until everything is incorporated.  Don’t forget to scrape down the sides.  

In a small bowl mix the baking soda and vinegar together.  It will fizz so make sure the bowl accommodates for that.  Mix it into the batter.

I baked mine in a 9×13 rectangle pan because I just wanted to cube them, but you could easily divide these into cake rounds or whatever shape you want.  I baked at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Just check on it and when a toothpick in the center comes out clean, it’s done.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup half and half
1 cups milk chocolate chips

Just heat up the half and half to almost boiling and take it off the heat and add in the chocolate chips.  No need for the double boiler, this is ganache made simple.  I used the Ghirardeli milk chocolate chips…seriously…out of this world good.  You could use dark chocolate if you wanted.

Cream Cheese Marshmallow Frosting

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup melted marshmallows or marshmallow fluff
1-pound box confectioners’ sugar (2 cups)

Mix together the cream cheese and butter until it’s fluffy, then add in the marshmallows and sugar.  Mix until it’s smooth.  You could also add nuts or coconut if you wanted.  I think coconut is really good with this frosting!  A good tip for using the marshmallow fluff – heat up your spoon under hot water and you’ll have a much easier time dealing with it.  This stuff is STICKY.

Now to assemble the trifle.  I just layered the red velvet and then covered with ganache then added dollops of frosting.  We don’t like a whole ton of frosting, but if you wanted actual layers with complete coverage I would just double the frosting recipe.

Once assembled mine looked like this:

Red Velvet Trifle with Chocolate Ganache and Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting

 

The color is unreal and it tastes SO good.  Moist, chocolatey, DELICIOUS.  Try it out!  Let me know how yours turn out!

Paying it forward

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The most incredible thing happened this morning. I decided to go to Starbucks to fuel myself and the woman in front if me paid for my drink. We were in the drive thru so I didn’t get a chance to thank her. She said to tell me happy holidays. I was in shock. I didn’t think such generosity existed. I felt so incredibly full of joy and I was compelled to make someone else feel that good. So I paid for the person behind me. I hope they paid it forward as well. What a wonderful start to my morning. What random act of kindness will you do today?

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

My phone DIED!  So I couldn’t take pictures of this fabulous dish.  Take my word – it looks, smells, tastes amazing.  The best part, it’s EASY!  Here’s what you need:

 

2ish pounds of boneless, skinless Chicken thighs or breasts (I used Thighs)

1 packet of Taco Seasoning (I used chipotle Taco Seasoning)

1 – 16 oz jar of Salsa (I used Old Dutch Restaurant Style Chipotle Salsa)

 

I used Chipotle stuff because my husband really likes that smoky flavor, but you can use pretty much anything you want.

Throw your chicken into the crock pot, coat it with taco seasoning, pour the salsa over it, and set it on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours depending on how cold or frozen your chicken is.

I cooked mine for 4 hours on high and it was fresh from the store.  It was SO good, nobody could guess there’s only 2 ingredients in it!  The even better part, with my crazy schedule I never have time to cook so this amount will last us all week.  We’ve had it as tacos and last night I made quesadilla’s.  Let me know what combinations you used and how it turns out!