Tuesday, November 2, 2010

5-Step Cheesecake Truffles

Hey! Doesn't that look good?!?!

So, I was on a journey searching for a reason to make brownie and cheesecake truffles... You know--so that I could give a decent explanation to my rear end why I am eating such filling that doesn't go away unless you work it off in the gym sweets. Then I thought to myself, "I'm an AMERICAN for crying outloud! I don't NEED to justify my reasons for eating feel-good food! Because that's what we Americans DO! WE EAT COMFORTING, FEEL-GOOD FOOD! AND I AM *PROUD* TO BE AN AMERICAN!!" 

I bet that I just gave you goosebumps! Come oooooooon, I know that you whispered to the screen "Wow, that was strangely patriotic!" There's nothing wrong with the way we eat, though most studies show that we lack some kind of BALANCE in our diet... Well, if you want balance then I'll have TWO orders of a Crispy McBacon Extra Large Value Meal! THERE'S MY BALANCE!! MUAHAHAHA!! Just kidding... Sort of...

No, anyway, it's true that we need to tone it down on the FFATs (fast food and fats), but we live in a very hard-core era. Both parents work full-time jobs, kids are in school most of the day, parents get home late and the only time we can eat together in peace is on Thanksgiving and Christmas... So, really, fast food joints save us from starvation and is budget-friendly.

Anyway, that is WAAAAAY off the subject. I am here to share with you my deep love for CHEESECAKE.

I love cheesecake. I don't care for normal cake at all... It has to have that tangy-sweet richness to it! My birthday cakes have always been cheesecakes, pumpkin or strawberry pie. I don't like things that are TOO sweet... I like that salty-tangy-sweet balance. Which is EXACTLY what makes cheesecake speed up your heart rate and salivary glands just at the spout of its name! Cheeeeeeesecake. You got it, right? CHEESECAKE GOOD. CHEESECAKE DELICIOUS. CHEESECAKE MAKE YOU DROOL.

HOWEVER, Cheesecake is a PAIN to make!! It cracks and splits and is somewhat unpredictable and it takes forever to cook and makes a mess in your kitchen!! And with that in mind, you lose all desire to take the time to prepare it... BUT!! I HAVE A SOLUTION!! A recipe that is so easy with the same wonderful richness and flavor of cheesecake- coated in chocolate without the mess and stress!! In 5 easy steps, you have yourself the most scrumptious and decadent CHEESECAKE TRUFFLES!!

Here's the recipe!!

5-Step Cheescake Truffles

  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract Or Amaretto Or Rum
  • ⅛ teaspoons Salt
  • ⅓ cups Cream
  • ½ cups Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 8 ounces, weight Semi-sweet Chocolate Bars/chips
  • Rainbow Sprinkles For Decorating (optional)

Preheat Oven to 350*F
Mix all ingredients together with a whisk or a hand-mixer.
Pour batter in a greased brownie pan (I use 8″x12″) and place in oven to bake for 45 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and leave to cool. With a melon scoop, spoon out about 1 tablespoon of cheesecake and form into balls and place on a plate covered in parchment paper.
Place in freezer to freeze for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Melt chocolate (preferably using a double-boiler) and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Dip frozen cheesecake balls in the chocolate to coat. Before removing with a fork to transfer onto parchment paper or a cookie sheet, tap the side of the bowl with the fork to remove excess chocolate.
Upon transferring the dipped truffles, immediately sprinkle any topping of your choice on top like crushed almonds, rainbow sprinkles, colored sugar crystals or grey seasalt.
You can serve these or stick them back in the freezer for later! Don’t forget to remove them from the freezer 20 minutes before serving!

Friday, October 29, 2010

DIY Moulin Rouge Party

This is Gianna ------------------------------------------->>

She's my best friend.------------------------------------>>>>

She is fun, funny, crazy, goofy, beautiful, energetic, pro dancer AND
She's my best friend...

It's my best friend's birthday on November 2nd and I am throwing a SURPRISE party for her!!!

Now, she's turning 29 (four years older than me) and I couldn't think of what to do for her!!

Being a professional dancer, she likes the BLING. Being European (Italian, to be exact), she likes SEXY. Being that I bought her a corset for her gift, I thought MOULIN ROUGE!!


I searched the internet trying to find ideas and BOY, did I find IDEAS!! 

Unfortunately, I am on a tight budget and I thought to myself... 
"How many of us are on tight budgets but want to throw our best friend a surprise birthday party in a Moulin Rouge theme?" I don't know how many... But I am one of them!! 

My way of contributing to the women who want to throw a Moulin Rouge themed party on a tight budget for their best friend/sister/mom/colleague/cousin/whatever/whoever is to give them a list of items and ideas that they will need to re-create the atmosphere of MOULIN ROUGE. 

My main inspiration came from this photo... 

BUT, as I said before... "MOMMA'S ON A BUDGET, BABY!!" 

So here's what I am going to do... Think "MARDI GRAS" or "PHANTOM OF THE OPERA"... Feathers, beads, corsets, masks, lights!! 
My scheme of Moulin Rouge Re-creation is as follows...

-Tablecloth: You can purchase those plastic/paper tablecloths in BORDEAUX, GOLD, PURPLE
(note: black would be VERY dark, TRUST ME)

-Place Setting: Plastic martini/champagne glasses with a napkin (of any one of your main colors- red, purple,  fuschia or gold) folded and placed inside [the glass]. FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE DIRECTLY BELOW ...
Plasticware to the max!! Have fun with colors here!! You could also 
accomplish this look with simple white plastic plates and utensils and let the napkins and martini glasses do all the talking!!

-Centerpiece: Go to any craft or party store and find long 'Big Bird' feathers in black, red, pink or white (two of those colors). While you're there, pick up a long slim plastic (clear/black/red/gold-tone) vase to put them in. If the end of the feathers are not long enough, tie them together and tape them around a stick that you will later insert in the vase. Arrange the feathers before you tape them and make sure that they really "fountain" out of the vase. If you're like me AND YOU CAN'T FIND THE FEATHERS... You can purchase one of those tinsel fountain centerpieces or damask candlesticks, or the floating candles in a large bowl or flowers or balloons or you could make one of these... 



Lighting: You know all those tea candles they sell at the dollar stores that come in sets of 20? GET THEM. You know those Christmas lights you use only once a year for a total of 3 weeks? GRAB THOSE (preferably white lights). You know where I'm heading with this? GO THERE!! Have fun with the lights!! Let's get that dark French-theater look... Wrap the lights around a column or, if you have enough of them (like 5), pin/tape the end of each light in the center of the room on the ceiling and branching out like a star-beam (5 angles) like a circus. I don't have that many, so since there are two mirrored columns, I am going to wrap them around those. 

Mirrors: Mirrors!! DON'T BREAK ONE!! But you SHOULD use them!! They enhance the chic atmosphere and they will REFLECT THE LIGHT... 

Photo Corner: A lot of people are camera shy and need some encouragement to take pictures... I am one of them, which is why I wanted to creat a Photo Corner. You'll need a large black backdrop (translation: big black sheet or cloth that can be hung/nailed to the wall). Nail/hang it on a wall in/near a corner. On it, you can attatch the sign "Happy Birthday, Jane" or whatever. Beside the backdrop, I am putting a little table filled with party masks that I made myself (printed the template and decorated them) for the women and moustaches and hats for the men. I printed out the templates on cardboard paper, cut and colored them and glued them to a stick!! 

Paper Lanterns: I found a ridiculously simple paper lantern template that took me 1 minute to make!! I printed different designs on full-computer paper (I recommend you use cardboard paper) and cut and folded them into a stylish paper lantern. I'm going to hang them from the ceiling. Here's what they look like... 

I though about games... and I wanted to use a classic birthday game, but modified for this theme... "PIN THE HAT ON THE DANCER". Blind fold your guests, spin them around, and have them pin the hat on the dancer!! Paper, tacs and corkscrew board!! Use an image like this... 

Next thing you'll need is FOOD... Which is why I thought that Brownie and Cheesecake Truffles would be a great way to add to the RICHNESS of the evening and atmosphere!! RECIPE COMING UP!!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Talk about falling off the atmosphere!!

Why, hello, blogworld!! I know, I know!! I've been gone for a LOOOONG time... But I've been SUPER busy... So busy that I have barely had any time to cook!! It's been fast food heaven for me over these past 8 months!! Don't believe me? Ask my spare tires and back flab!! They'll vouch for me!! 
Anyway... In light of this new information that I am CERTAIN you can die happy now knowing... I have a little piece of summer paradise to bring you!!

hahahaaaaaa.... U tink eye gon shea zat info MAY shun wichuuu??? muahahahahaha!! 

okay... being serious now... sort of...


Wait for it.... Waaaaaaait fooooor iiiiiiiiiiit....


(( crickets ))  




wait for it.... waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait for iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit....


still no good??

alright.... FINE!! 

sheesh... tough crowd, here... 

((drum roll, please!!))












 What do you think??
 It is an AWESOME side to any chicken or red meat dish and absolutely PERFECT by itself.

A healthy, delicious and easy cous cous dish where the couscous is cooked in a puree of  homemade minestrone, topped with shredded parmesan!! 

Sure to please any palate!!

Now, before I share with you one of my reasons for living (a.k.a delicouscous recipe),
I want you to know that I will by NO means be offended if you prefer to substitute (AT HOME WHERE I CAN'T SEE AND THEREFORE CANNOT JUDGE OR THROW WOODEN SPOONS ACROSS THE COUNTER AT YOU) the veggies or spices with different ones, you can!! 

However, the MAIN ingredients are cabbage (or any leafy vegetable like spinach), carrots (use less carrots if you don't like the color orange or if you prefer less keratin), zucchini and my secret to a flavor-packed delicouscous is to use as little water as possible without the couscous being dry!! 

Oh!! And if you like, you can add a bouillion cube (chicken, meat, veggie--all the same)
to the cooking veggies to give it a real punch!! or kick... 
whatever tickles your tastebuds...


hehe... sorry...


(for four servings)

-1 cup couscous
-4 or 5 leaves of cabbage (use more if using spinach)
-1 medium carrot, chopped
-1 large zucchini, chopped (or 2 small zucchini)
-4 tablespoons of olive oil (1 tbsp per portion, basically)
1/2 tomatoe, diced
-salt and pepper to taste
-boullion cube (optional)


1. Throw veggies in a pot and fill pot with JUST ENOUGH WATER TO COVER VEGGIES.

2. Pour in oil. Cover pot and boil for 20 minutes. Stir frequently.
You know that it's ready when the carrots are tender and the water has evaporated.
(at that point, if you wish to add a boullion cube, do so at this time)

3. When most of the water has nearly evaporated (the veggies are cooking in the 'sauce') and the carrots are tender, remove from pot and pour veggies directly in a food processor (or hand process or blend) and puree the veggies. NOT IN A CREAM, JUST LUMPY!!

4. Pour the puree back into the pot and bring to a boil. Add couscous and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat. The couscous will continue cooking.

5. Allow to cool and SERVE!!