Melissa's Cuisine: August 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Foodie Pen Pal

It's hard to believe that it's the last day of August already.  Summer has just flown by, and I was so busy, I still feel like there's so much I want to do in summer.  Like go to the beach...we live 15 minutes from the beach yet I've only been there 2 times this summer.  Fail!  We've been super busy working around our house and we've been camping for a few weekends.  This summer was fun, but went by way too quickly!
The Lean Green Bean

One positive about today being the last day of August is that it's reveal day for Foodie Pen Pal. This month, I was sent a fantastic box from Stephanie.  She visited her local health food store to pick out some items for me and she did a great job!

These snacks were enjoyed at work!  I had the licorice and I was super impressed with it--I read the ingredients list first and was a bit wary, but it was delicious!  I haven't tried the truffles yet, but I really liked the Ginger Snap Almonds.  They were a great mid-morning snack and I loved the ginger.
I'm really excited to try the Soba pasta.  I've wanted to try it for a while now and now Stephanie's given me the opportunity.  It is on the menu for next week!
Ah, the sun cups.  Stephanie must know that I adore PB cups, so these were a great choice for me.  I also liked the spearmint gum.  I ate some during church last week and the flavor was perfect.  Stephanie also included a handful of flavored honey candies.  Mike and I both really liked them!

Thank you for a great box, Stephanie.  I think you'll need to go back to the health food store :)

Are you interested in participating in Foodie Pen Pals?  Here's some important info for you!

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penpals is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re iinterested in participating for September, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by September 4th as pairings will be emailed on September 5th!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cheddar Rolls

These are the rolls that I made to serve the Mango BBQ Pulled Pork on a couple weeks ago.  These rolls were perfect for pulled pork because they are sturdy enough to hold up to the juices.  They were simple to make and the cheddar in the rolls added a great flavor.  The original recipe calls for jalapeno peppers to be added as well but since I didn't have any, I omitted those.  I think they would be a great addition though.  These Cheddar Rolls were perfect for cold sandwiches and I know they would make a great burger bun as well.  I think these will be my go-to roll for pulled pork sandwiches!
Cheddar Rolls

Makes 8 rolls

1 cup lukewarm water
2-1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons sugar
3-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped (optional)
1.  Pour warm water into the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, until frothy.
2.  Add the olive oil, 1 egg, and sugar to the bowl and mix.
3.  Add the flour, salt, and shredded cheddar cheese and mix on low speed with a dough hook until the dough holds together, about 2 minutes.
4.  Increase the speed to medium and continue to knead the dough for 5 minutes.
5.  Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
6.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured workspace.  Divide dough in half and then divide each half into 4 pieces. 
7.  Roll dough into rounds and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each roll.
8.  Cover dough with a damp towel and let it rise for 20 minutes plus oven preheating time.
9.  Whisk the remaining egg with 1 Tablespoon of water.  Brush over each roll.
10.  Bake rolls at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
Allow the rolls to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving them. 
These rolls freeze well.  (I made mine a few days before our dinner and froze them until the day I needed them.  I let them thaw on the counter and they tasted fresh.)  Store any leftovers in an airtight container, or freeze.

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Monday, August 27, 2012

Slow Cooker Mango BBQ Pulled Pork

A couple of weeks ago, Mike and I had some very special guests over for dinner.  Almost 2 years ago, my best friend married the love of her life, a man she met in Romania.  They met on a mission trip nearly 10 years ago and dated long distance.  Then, in 2009, he was granted a visa so he could come here and they could get married.  I’m ecstatic for my friend of course, but her husband moved a long way from his family.  After a lot of planning, his parents and brother were able to come here for a 3 week visit.  I’ve spent time with this family during my trips to Romania, so I was thrilled that they would be visiting our home.  I wanted to make a meal that we would all enjoy, but it needed to be something that required a small amount of work because I had to work the day they were coming over.

When cooking for a crowd, one of the easiest recipes I can think of to serve is pulled pork. The hands-on time is minimal and if you use your crock pot, the meat can cook while you’re at work or preparing other aspects of the meal.  Of course, the delicious aroma of the pork filling your kitchen is an added bonus.

I love mangoes so when I saw a recipe for mango BBQ sauce, I knew I had to try it.  The mango flavor is subtle, but just enough.  I served the pulled pork on homemade cheese buns (look for that recipe on Wednesday!)  Everyone really enjoyed the meal.  We had plenty of leftovers that Mike and I have enjoyed for other meals.  My friend who watched Champ last weekend declared the pulled pork “awesome”—I’d have to agree with her!

Slow Cooker Mango BBQ Pulled Pork

16-20 servings

4lb pork loin
8 ounces Pepsi
2 mangoes, peeled and diced, pits reserved
1 bottle BBQ sauce (original flavor)

1.  Place pork loin and mango pits in your crock pot.

2.  Pour Pepsi over the pork.

3.  Cook pork on low for 7-8 hours.

4.  While the pork is cooking, puree the diced mangoes.

5.  In a bowl, combine puree mangoes and BBQ sauce.

6.  When the pork is completely cooked, shred it with 2 forks.

7.  Pour mango BBQ sauce over the shredded pork and continue cooking in the crock pot for 30 more minutes.

Serve warm pork on buns.

Inspired by: Little Kitchen Big Flavors

Friday, August 24, 2012

Blueberry Peach Cobbler

We're in the midst of peach season here and the local farmer's market is bursting with the scent of fresh peaches.  I love to use fruit that is currently in season because it is much more flavorful.

We had some friends from Romania over for dinner last week.  I made pulled pork sandwiches, which was fun because they hadn't had those before!  I wanted to top off our dinner with a fresh dessert.  The peaches were fresh and flavorful and I used the plump blueberries I had picked a couple weeks ago.  I topped each piece of cobbler with a dollop of whipped cream and it was a perfect summer dessert!
Blueberry Peach Cobbler

Serves 10-12

8 peaches, pitted and sliced (nectarines can be substituted if desired)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar, divided
3/8 tsp salt, divided
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour, divided
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

1.  In a large bowl, gently combine the peaches, lemon juice, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 2 Tablespoons flour.

2.  Pour into a greased 9x13" baking dish and arrange peaches in an even layer.  Sprinkle with blueberries.

3.  In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, and remaining salt.

4.  Place the butter and remaining sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

5.  Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

6.  Mix in the vanilla extract.

7.  Add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating between the two. 

8.  Pour the batter over the fruit and spread evenly.

9.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.

Serve warm.  Cover and store any leftovers in the fridge.

Source: Eats Well With Others

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hawaiian Cocktail

One of the best parts of a Hawaiian vacation is the views.  Absolutely breathtaking!

Another perk is the delicious drinks.  An ice-cold drink is a great refresher while you're soaking up the sun.  Of course, you don't have to be in Hawaii to enjoy a tropical drink.

I created this drink as part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemakers Program.  I was contacted and asked to create a drink using Sweet'N Low.  I searched some other blogs for inspiration, but struggled to find a drink that really looked good to me.  I decided to combine various aspects of other drinks, combinations of my favorites, into a delicous tropical drink.  I really liked using Sweet'N Low as a sugar substitute because it does not leave an aftertaste, and it doesn't add many calories to this drink.  Mike and I both enjoyed this and I think you will too!

Hawaiian Cocktail

Serves 2

2 ounces Vodka
2 ounces Triple Sec
2 ounces Coconut Rum
4 ounces Pineapple Juice (Unsweetened)
1 packet Sweet'N Low
1/2 ounce Lime Juice
2 cups diet Sprite

1.  In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, triple sec, coconut rum, pineapple juice, Sweet'N Low, and lime juice.

2.  Divide the mixture evenly between 2 tall glasses. 

3.  Pour Sprite over the alcohol mixture.

4.  Add ice and a lime garnish, if desired, before serving.

As part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker Program, I received Sweet'N Low samples and a stipend.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Mike and I just spent the weekend up north at a lake cottage with some of our friends. We had a fabulous time enjoying a little bit of sun, pontoon rides, campfires, fun games, and delicious foods.  According to Mike and the friends we were with this weekend, the perfect accompaniment to a brownie is a tall glass of cold milk.  I'd have to disagree, but that's simply because I dislike milk.  I think I probably have my usual glass of water with a brownie...boring, I know!  What about you, what do you like to drink with your brownies? 
When I received my Secret Recipe Club assignment this month, I spent a few hours reading through Gloria's blog, Canela Kitchen.  It took quite a while to get through everything because she has been blogging since 2007.  I made a long list of recipes that I wanted to make, most of them were blueberry recipes because earlier this month, I had an abundance of berries.  Unfortunately, time got away from me and I forgot about the blueberries and those recipes.  I realized late last week that I hadn't made my recipe yet and it was nearly time to post!  I quickly went back through my list and came upon this recipe for Dulce de Leche brownies.  I love brownies and I love Dulce de Leche, so I knew this was a perfect recipe.  Plus, I wanted to make something to bring up north with us. 
Secret Recipe Club
These brownies certainly did not disappoint.  They were rich and gooey.  I enjoyed the layer of Dulce de Leche in the brownie.  We enjoyed eating these brownies with lunch this weekend. I'm glad I ended up making this recipe...thank you Gloria!  I know I'll be visiting your blog often and I will be making some of your delicious blueberry recipes too.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Makes 1 9x13" pan, about 16 servings

You will need:
8 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup Dulce de Leche

1.  Melt the butter in a saucepan (or in the microwave). 

2.  Add chopped chocolate to the butter and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

3.  Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth.

4.  Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.

5.  Stir in sugar, vanilla, and flour.

6.  Scrape half the brownie batter into a greased 9x13" pan. 

7.  Drop 1/2 of the Dulce de Leche over the top of the batter by the spoonful.  Use a knife to swirl it through the brownie batter.

8.  Spread remaining brownie batter over the swirled mixture.

9.  Top with spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche.

10.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean.

Cool completely before cutting and serving.

Source:  Canela Kitchen

Friday, August 17, 2012

Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Cake

Blueberry season came and went in the blink of an eye this year.  The hot weather earlier this spring has done a number on a lot of the fruit crops here.  Last year I picked blueberries at a local farm.  I spent about an hour picking and picked nearly 15 pounds, most of which I froze and used for smoothies through-out this past year. A couple of weeks ago I went picking again.  I was out for an hour when it began to rain.  I picked a total of 4.8 pounds of blueberries, yes, way fewer than last summer!  I ended up stopping by a farm market to pick up some more blueberries to make up for the lack of those that I picked.
I ate quite a few of the fresh blueberries that I picked, most of them on the way home from the farm.  They were so delicious, I just couldn't stop eating them!  I decided to use some of the blueberries to make a cake.  This blueberry cinnamon roll cake was fantastic.  It's basically a coffee cake, but it's amped up with a delicious swirl of blueberry sauce.  I'm glad that I made this cake, and I'm sure I'll be making it again and again!
Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Cake

Makes 1 9x13" pan, about 16 servings

Blueberry Sauce 
2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons milk (more if needed)
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.  To make the blueberry sauce, place blueberries, water, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.

2.  Cook over medium heat, mashing blueberries with a potato masher as you go.

3.  Once the sauce is thickened, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Set aside to cool while you make the cake.

4.  Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl.

5.  In a small bowl, combine the milk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter.  

6.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  

7.  Pour half the cake batter into a greased 9x13" cake pan.

8.  Pour blueberry sauce evenly over the cake batter.  Pour remaining cake batter over the blueberry sauce.

9.  In a small bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon until it resembles wet sand.  Sprinkle evenly over the cake batter.

10.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

11.  While the cake is cooling, whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together to make a glaze.  Add just enough milk to reach your desired consistency (mine was a little too thick!)

12.  Pour glaze over the cake.  Allow the cake to cool for 1 hour before cutting into it.  

Adapted from: Eat Cake For Dinner

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Garlic Bread Pizzas

Mike’s favorite food, hands down, is pizza. We typically plan to have pizza for supper at least one night per week, usually Fridays. Last week, I asked Mike what sounded good for supper. He replied, “pizza”. Of course, pizza always sounds good to him! Lucky for him, I had planned to have pizza for supper that night.

This pizza is based off of a pizza currently being made by a popular restaurant. The advertisements look so delicious that I knew I had to make it at home. These garlic bread pizzas are easy to make and taste fantastic.

If you don’t have the time or desire to make your own garlic bread, you certainly could use store-bought. I went ahead and used the entire loaf of bread so that we would have extras. These pizzas freeze great and Mike is thrilled to have the leftovers to take to work. Feel free to spice it up with extra pizza toppings—we’re pretty boring around here and we prefer just pepperoni!

Garlic Bread Pizzas

Serves 8

You will need:
16 slices of garlic bread (the amount made by one loaf of this recipe)
1 jar pizza sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used a pizza blend)
32 slices of pepperoni

1. Spread pizza sauce on one side of each piece of garlic bread.

2. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top of the pizza sauce.

3. Top with 2 pieces of pepperoni. You can also add any other pizza toppings you desire.

4. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Garlic Bread

How was your weekend?  Mine was super busy, but great!  I started Saturday morning with a 8 mile run, which went great.  When I got home, Mike was busy at work in our backyard.  We had a random clothesline pole right in front of the stairs to our deck, and we decided it was time for that to go.  He dug around it, hooked up a chain, attached it to our truck, and that sucker popped right out.  Then we decided to tackle some over grown and ugly bushes in our front yard.  We cut down 3 and pulled out 1 with the truck.  He'll finish the rest this week, because we were exhausted!

To help us refuel, we needed carbs!  Carb loaded foods make everything better, right?  While not the healthiest food choice, this bread sure does taste good.  It's quite easy to make, though the rise time does need to be taken into account.  We enjoyed some of this bread as garlic bread, and then used the rest for another recipe I'll be sharing with you Wednesday.  Be sure to come back then--you don't want to miss out! 

Garlic Bread

Makes 16-18 slices

You will need:
1-3/8 cups water, 110 degrees
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
1-1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups flour
garlic salt

1.  Pour the warm water into the bowl of your stand mixer.

2.  Sprinkle yeast and sugar on top of the water.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, until it becomes frothy.

3.  Add in olive oil, salt, and flour.  Mix on low speed until the ingredients are combined and the dough begins to pull away from the edge of the bowl.

4.  Increase speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pliable.

5.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel.  Set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

6.  When the dough has risen, punch it down and form it into a long thin loaf.  Place on a greased cookie sheet.

7.  Cover dough again with a damp towel and set it aside to rise for 20 minutes, plus oven preheating time.

8.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

9.  Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing it into 1-inch thick slices.

10.  Spread both side of each slice of bread with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt.

11.  Place on the cookie sheet again and broil for 2 minutes, until the butter is melted and the edges of the bread become golden.

12.  Flip each slice and broil for 2 more minutes.

Serve hot.  Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Friday, August 10, 2012

S'mores Puppy Chow

Did you know there's a holiday for just about everything now?  That's right, there's a Nutella day, a Blueberry Cheesecake day, an Eat a Peach day, and a Cotton Candy day. And of course, we can't forget National S'mores Day.  Which just happens to be today, August 10! 

I made this puppy chow when Mike and I went camping with his cousins a few weeks ago.  A few other people had munchies out so I went to the trailer to grab ours.  Mike asked why I was bringing out a snack so close (2 hours) to dinner time?  I said I was hungry and others might want some too.  I was right and I saw quite a few people munching on this s'mores puppy chow right up 'til dinner time.  I also heard comments like, "this is so good!" and "what's in here?" and "what makes this so yummy?"  My secret?  It's made with love.  Just kidding! (Kind of...)

I followed my basic recipe for puppy chow, but I added in broken pieces of graham crackers and mini marshmallows.  This version was certainly a hit and Mike and I scraped the bottom of the bowl clean.  The sugary pieces at the bottom are the best!
S'mores Puppy Chow
Makes 18-20 1/2 cup servings

You will need:
9 cups Chex cereal
2 sleeves of graham crackers, broken into pieces
2 cups mini dehydrated marshmallows
2 cups (maybe more) powdered sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Measure cereal into a large bowl (preferably with a cover).  Add graham crackers and marshmallows and set aside.

2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and peanut butter.  Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for another 30 seconds, until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.

3. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal mixture and stir to coat thoroughly.

4. Pour about 1 cup of powdered sugar on top of coated cereal. Put the cover on the bowl and shake to coat. Add as much powdered sugar as you need to cover the cereal.

Store in an airtight container.

Here are a few more of my favorite s'mores recipes!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Can you believe it's August already?  I don't know where this summer has gone!  We've had a great summer, I just wish it wasn't nearly over.  Soon we'll be enjoying the crisper temperature of fall weather, along with delicious caramel apples--the inspiration for this cheesecake!

When Tina announced that this month's Crazy Cooking Challenge was Cheesecake, I was in luck.  I knew exactly what recipe I was going to make--in fact, I had already made it! 

I am typically in charge of making dessert for our Sunday dinners with my parents.  The Sunday that I made this dessert, we had dinner with my parents and Mike's parents, so I chose to make a fancier dessert than I typically would.
Everyone really enjoyed this cheesecake.  I loved the crunch of the apples on top, and the sweetness of the caramel topping.  This is a recipe I'll definitely be making again!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Serves 12-14

You will need:
2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large apple, diced
1/4 cup caramel ice-cream topping

1.  In a small bowl, combine the crushed vanilla wafers and butter.

2.  Press into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9" springform pan.

3.  Place pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust at 400 for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set pan on a wire rack to cool.

4.  In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.

5.  Add the sugar and flour to cream cheese and mix well.

6.  Add in the eggs; beat on low until just combined.

7.  Stir in heavy whipping cream and vanilla.

8.  Pour filling into crust.  Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, until the center is almost set.

9.  Cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the crust.  Cool for 1 hour.

10.  Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight.

11.  Before serving, remove the sides of the pan.  Garnish with diced apples and caramel sauce.

Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

Slightly adapted from: The Taste of Home Cookbook

You can check out the other recipes I've made as part of the Crazy Cooking Challenge:
Double Coconut Fried Chicken--July 2012
Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies--June 2012
Pizza Grilled Cheese--May 2012
Giant Streusel Topped Bluebery Muffins--April 2012
Spaghetti with Apple Tomato Sauce--March 2012
Chocolate Root Beer Bundt Cake--February 2012
Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles--January 2012
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge--December 2011
Garlic Mashed Potatoes--November 2011
Chocolate Chip Cookies--October 2011
Beer and Bacon Mac and Cheese--September 2011

Don't forget to click on the thumbnail picture for my recipe to vote for me! :)  Thank you :)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Cookie Dough Ice-Cream Cake

Melissa's Cuisine: Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake
I have a confession to make:  I made this cake for Mike's birthday.  No big deal?  Well, his birthday is in November.  That's right, I've been holding onto this recipe since then.  Why?  I thought that an ice-cream cake was much more appropriate to share during the hot month of August rather than the chilly month of November.  This cake was too amazing not to share, so of course, I'm sharing it with you today. 
Melissa's Cuisine: Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake
This cake begins with a layer of Chocolate Chip Cookie "Cake".  It's amazing just by itself, and it's what I made Mike for his birthday the first year we were married.  If I have to keep improving upon his cakes, this year's going to be insane...I better start thinking of ideas.  And what about 20 years from now, oh boy!

Anyway, the cookie cake is topped with Mike's favorite ice-cream--Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  Then it is covered with a layer of chocolate ganache.  And to top it off, I used my recipe for Ready to Eat Cookie Dough to make cookie dough truffles for the decoration.  The result?  This cake was out-of-this world delicious!

Melissa's Cuisine: Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake

Cookie Dough Ice-Cream Cake

Serves 12+

1 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake (without the melted chocolate on top)
1 carton Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice-Cream
1 batch of Ready-to-Eat Cookie Dough, rolled into 1 inch balls

3/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1.  In a microwave safe bowl, microwave cream on medium high for 2 minutes.
2.  Pour over chopped chocolate and stir until smooth.

To assemble cake:

1.  Allow the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake to cool completely.

2.  Let the ice-cream thaw at room temperature for about 10 minutes, until it is spreadable.

3.  Spread the ice-cream in a thick layer over the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake.

4.  Pour ganache over the ice-cream.  It may harden quickly so work fast to spread it out.

5.  Place the cookie dough truffles on top of the ganache.

Serve immediately or freeze until you're ready to serve.  Let it thaw at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.  Freeze any leftovers in an air-tight container.

Note: If the Ready-to-Eat Cookie Dough is too sticky to roll into balls, add a small amount of flour or refrigerate it until it is easily handled.

***Edited to Add:  I've heard from a lot of you that this cake has presented issues.  Here are a couple suggestions I've come up with to help you:
-Instead of spreading the ice-cream over the cake as suggested in step 3, line a cake pan (the same size as the one you baked your cake in) with plastic wrap.  Spread the ice-cream into the pan and allow it to freeze.  Then flip the frozen ice-cream over the cake and remove the plastic wrap.  This should make that step a lot easier!
-Per the suggestion left in the comments, make the entire cake in a 9x13" pan. 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Fruit Popsicles

I started running about 20 months ago.  I'd never been much of an athlete, but for some reason I thought I'd give running a try.  Little did I know that I would end up loving it!  Since then, I've competed in 6 5k races and I'm currently training for my first half marathon (13.1 miles) in September.  I never thought I would be the person who runs 7+ miles at 7:00 on a Saturday morning for fun, but that was me last weekend!

One of the greatest things about running is the community.  I have a few "gym friends" who offer training advice as we're on the treadmills, as well as a great group of friends from church who are runners.  I've also discovered a fantastic group of running bloggers, I'm sure you've heard of a few of them!  This group, the Red Faced Runners, has set out to encourage others to get active.  On the weekend of September 8 & 9, the Red Faced Runners will be joining together to run various 5k’s all across the country.  I've signed up to join in the fun and there's always room for more!
When I run, I get really hot and sweaty (TMI? sorry...), so I try to find ways to cool down quickly when I've completed a run.  I drink a lot of cold water, but I've recently started making my own popsicles.  These are 100% natural fruit popsicles and they definitely do the trick of helping me to cool down!  They're healthy, simple to make, and they are a fantastic summer treat.
Fruit Popsicles

You will need:
fresh strawberries
fresh blueberries
pineapple juice
small dixie cups and popsicle sticks or popsicle molds

1.  Cut strawberries into quarters.

2.  Place a few pieces of strawberries and some blueberries in the bottom of the dixie cups.

3.  Pour pineapple juice over the fruit, filling the cup about 3/4 of the way.

4.  Place the cups on a tray and freeze them for about 1 hour.

5.  Then stick the popsicle sticks in the center of the popsicles and freeze 2-3 more hours, until completely frozen.

Peel off the dixie cups and enjoy!

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