Saturday, December 10

great holiday appetizer

are you sick of boursin cheese? if you're like me and are ready for a change, here is a new and pretty easy recipe to make your own herbed cheese spread. you can use whatever type of cream cheese you'd like (fat free, 1/3 less fat, or the real deal) to help cut out some calories! as for me, i went with the 1/3 less fat cream cheese and the fat free feta (i find mine at trader joes)

herbed cheese spread
what you need...

1 package cream cheese, softened
1 (8-oz.) package feta cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (note: if you dont have fresh, make sure to read the conversion on the spice jar...a pinch of dried tarragon goes a LONG way!)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, pressed

what to do...
Beat first 9 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Line 2 (10-oz.) ramekins with plastic wrap, allowing 3 inches to extend over sides; spoon cheese mixture into ramekins--this helps them keep their shape/not slide around. Any small bowl in the desired end shape would be fine. Cover and chill 24 hours. Invert cheeses onto serving dishes. 

Friday, December 9

Thursday, December 8

christmas in a jar

one of my fabulous co-workers, kristin, gave me some festive goodies when she was in atlanta this week. one of them is something i have definitely seen before but never really looked into how to do. if you're like me and can burn through 5 evergreen candles in the month of december, this is a perfect way to get a festive smell about your house without burning it down!

christmas in a jar
what you need...
1 pint Mason jar
3 whole cinnamon stix
2-3 Tbs whole cloves
3 whole bay leaves
1 slice lime
2 lemon wedges
2 orange slices

Place contents in 1 pint Mason jar, then fill with water.

how to enjoy...
Dump contents onto saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer. Continue to add water, as needed. Return contents to jar. Refrigerate to keep fresh.

Wednesday, December 7

tiramisu layer cake

this may be the most involved recipe i've ever posted but boy oh boy does it sound like its worth it! joe loves tiramisu and i am going to try this out and bring it to christmas at the Davis house!
according to southern should look like this...i'll keep you posted!
tiramisu layer cake

what you need...
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 egg whites
Coffee Syrup (see below)
Mascarpone Frosting (see below)

what to do...Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Stir together milk and 2/3 cup water. Combine flour and next 2 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla bean paste and almond extract. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
Prepare Coffee Syrup & Mascarpone Frosting (see below)...Pierce cake layers with a wooden pick, making holes 1 inch apart. Brush or spoon coffee syrup over layers. Place 1 cake layer, brushed side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread top with 1 1/3 cups Mascarpone Frosting. Top with second cake layer, brushed side up, and spread with 1 1/3 cups Mascarpone Frosting. Top with remaining cake layer, brushed side up. Spread top and sides of cake with remaining Mascarpone Frosting. Chill 4 hours before serving.

coffee syrup
what you need...
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup brandy

what to do...
Combine sugar and 1/3 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high 1 1/2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, stirring at 30-second intervals. Stir in coffee and brandy. Let cool 1 hour.

Mascarpone Frosting
what you need...
2 (8-oz.) packages mascarpone cheese
3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar

what to do...Stir mascarpone cheese in a large bowl just until blended.  Beat cream and vanilla at low speed with an electric mixer until foamy; increase speed to medium-high, and gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. (Do not overbeat or cream will become grainy.) Gently fold whipped cream mixture into mascarpone cheese. Use immediately.

i'm interested to know if anyone else steps up to this challenge!

Monday, December 5

soup season is here!

another great soup recipe from Southern Living that i have stumbled across and plan to try out this coming week! 

baked potato soup

what you need...1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large chicken bouillon cube
1 (24-oz.) package frozen steam-and-mash potatoes
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Toppings: cooked and crumbled bacon, shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, sliced green onions

what to do...
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, 5 to 10 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle onion mixture with flour, and stir until coated. Stir in bouillon cube and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Meanwhile, microwave potatoes according to package directions. (Do not add butter or milk.) Stir potatoes, milk, and pepper into onion mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until thickened. Serve with desired toppings.

Sunday, December 4

caroline, at your service!

caroline-my blog design & invitation extraordinaire-produced our christmas cards & its not too late to do yours too!!!

happy anniversary pig & kent