Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

As you all know I ask everyone what they want for Pizza Friday.  I love making anything, anyone wants.   I have been requesting a dessert suggestion lately. It is nice to have something sweet after all that pizza, right?!  This week Martin suggested something with bananas, chocolate and peanut butter.  I told him that sounded kind of yucky.  He thought I was crazy.  I resisted but came home and checked for some recipes.  I thought I would try a variation of  this recipe and see what they think.  A couple of things; I ended up making 2 batches of the peanut butter mix and chocolate.  I used bittersweet chocolate the first time and milk chocolate next.  I am looking forward to tomorrow to see which chocolate goes over the best.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

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3 medium bananas (cut into 1/2 inch slices)
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiaradelli bittersweet chocolate chips)
Sea Salt

Directions

1.  Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside.
2.  Whisk together confectioners sugar, peanut butter and heavy cream.  Put in a mixture in a sandwich size ziploc bag and snip a corner.
3.  Top peanut butter mix on top of banana slices. March 29 2013 003
4.  Melt 2 ounces of chocolate in double boiler or place chocolate in bowl set in pan with about 2 inches of water.  Melt chocolate, remove from heat and add the remaining 2 ounces of chocolate to the bowl.  Stir constantly until blended together.
5.  Now the tricky part.  I used a spoon and put chocolate on top of peanut butter and spread around the banana.March 29 2013 004(I know I was kind of sloppy.  The more I did the less messy it was.)   **When I woke up the next morning to check on my little treats I did not like that I didn’t chocolatize the entire bite.  I flipped them over, melted some semi sweet chocolate,covered the entire treat and topped with just a little sea salt.  Much betterer!**  😀 (I am aware I used 2 words that aren’t words for the grammar police!)
6.  Put in refrigerator to set.  You can eat pretty quickly or save for the next day to serve on YOUR Pizza Friday!

We will see if these are a hit or miss tomorrow.  I tried one and thought they were quite tasty.  I will check back tomorrow to let you know how the rest of the crew likes them.  ** The Pizza Friday crew ate every single one.**Another Simple and Delicious sweet treat!!

Sopapillas

Paige was visiting over spring break.  Her requests were chicken enchilada pizza and sopapillas. ( I tried something a little different with the chicken enchilada pizza this time.)  The sopapillas were super simple and delicious.  It was great having Paige over for the week.  She is another addition to this crazy family.  Looking forward to her coming back in the summer and staying for a few weeks!

Sopapillas

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4 cups all purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons shortening
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 quarts of vegetable oil for frying
Cinnamon and sugar

1.  In stand up mixer combine flour, baking powder, salt and shortening.  Add water and mix until smooth.
2.  Cover with damp towel and set for 20 minutes.
3.  Roll out on a floured board until 1/8-1/4 inch thick. March 23 2013 005 Cut into 3″ squares
4.  Heat oil in deep fryer or in frying pan over medium heat.  I used a heavy bottomed saucepan which worked really well.
5.  Fry until golden brown. They will puff upMarch 23 2013 002March 23 2013 001
6.  Place on paper towels to drain.  As I took them out Paige dipped them in cinnamon and sugar.  March 23 2013 003

 

Paige enjoys sopapillas by putting honey in the middle of them.  We had these for Pizza Saturday and they were gone in seconds.  Thanks for the idea Paige!!

Snickers Cheesecake

Today was Martin’s birthday.  Not our Martin but his boyfriend, Martin (believe it or not).  Another wonderful addition to this crazy family. For his birthday I wanted to bake him something I thought he would enjoy.  He  is a foodie and really appreciates a delicious meal.   Martin suggested a Snicker’s Cheesecake since this is Martin’s favorite candy bar.martin martin 2 002  I combined a couple of recipes I found online and came up with this one.  I do believe from his first bite that Martin thoroughly enjoyed this cheesecake.  😉

Snickers Cheesecake

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1 package Oreo Cookies (wafers only)
4 Tablespoons Butter (melted)
1/4 cup sugar

3 packages Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate Ghirardelli chips (or any chocolate chips you want.  You can use semi sweet too)
4 – 1 3/8 ounce snicker bars, chopped
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wrap the Springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent melted butter disaster.  Also, place the Springform pan on a baking sheet when putting in oven to bake.
2.  I bought a package of oreo cookies.  I used the entire package but the wafers only.  (Yep, I threw out the middle!)  I put the wafer in the food processor and mixed until crumbs.  Put the crumbs in a small mixing bowl, sugar and melted butter.  Mixed together well.
3.  Put the crumb mixture in the springform pan and pressed down bottom of pan and worked up the sides.
4.  Bake in oven for 5 minutes ONLY.  Take out and let cool.
5.  While the crumb mixture is baking I chopped the snicker bars.
6. TAKE OUT THAT CRUST 😉
7.  I used my stand up mixer.  Mix the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed. Continue on medium speed and add the eggs 1 at a time.  Blend together well.  Add the vanilla, mix well.
8.  Add the sour cream and fold in by hand.  Add the chopped snicker bars and chocolate, mix in by hand.
9.  Pour into crust.  Bake for 60-70 minutes.  When done, shut off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with door ajar for 1 hour.March 23 2013 024

You will need to let the cheesecake chill.  I let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.  Here are the recipes I used for the caramel sauce and chocolate ganache.  The next day I topped with caramel sauce, drizzled chocolate ganache, topped with nuts, and drizzled some more ganache.  This cheesecake was AWESOME.  Somewhat Simple and extremely Delicious!  I am glad it was Martin’s gift so he could take it home with him or I would have really been in trouble!  March 23 2013 026

Caramel Sauce

This was so Simple and extremely Delicious!  Be sure you have everything ready.  You will not be leaving that pan until this is done.  It will take about 5-10 minutes.  Great for topping on ice cream or a delicious cake or whatever you desire.

Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1.  Using a heavy bottom sauce add 1 cup sugar over medium high heat.  Constantly stir the sugar until it becomes a syrup.March 23 2013 010

March 23 2013 011March 23 2013 012March 23 2013 013March 23 2013 014I wanted you to see the progression.  Takes no time!

2.  Add butter and mix until blended.  It will bubble but that is okay.March 23 2013 016
3.  When blended remove from heat and add the cream.  Mix well.  VOILA!  March 23 2013 020Caramel Sauce!!   YUM 🙂

 

Cork and Canvas

“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
Vincent Van Gogh

Remember Denver Part I.  (I still have not put in Part II!)  If you don’t, you may want to check it out.  What a blast I had with Scott and Kathleen!

Cork and Canvas is similar to what I did in Denver.  When I returned from Denver in October, I contacted The Art Garage in Green Bay to see if they had anything like the “Painting & Vino” class I attended.  They did not.  The Art Garage had a meeting and ended up scheduling a “Cork & Canvas” evening.  Katie and I attended the event tonight.  I had some other friends join the event.  Tina and Pam came with some of their friends.  It was a little different than the one I attended in Denver but still a fun evening.  The way they did it was to give everyone a template to paint over.  It was really amazing to see how a black and white template art day 001 could transform into so may different, colorful images by all who attended.

The drawing they presented had a main attraction which was a human heart,  a bird, and the words ‘love” and “forever”.  A few people found the human heart to be stumbling block.  Not sure what to do with it.  The nice thing about art is no matter what you are given you can turn it into whatever your “art” may be.  No worries there! 😉

Katie and I had a great time.  She enjoyed mixing paint colors and making all different kinds of fabulous colors! I started with a green background.  art day 003  Katie went with more colorsart day 005(Like I said she was definitely enjoying mixing up colors.)

When Eric moved out I turned his room into my “green” room. Therefore, I went with a green theme this evening.  The canvas we had to paint this evening was a bit smaller (10×10).  I will be able to  fill a small place on my wall.  The painting I made in Denver March 17 2013 221 was a tad larger (16×20) and will eventually make it on a wall.  Hanging out on the floor for now.  🙂

I really enjoy bringing out the very tiny artist in me.  art day 004 It makes me feel like I actually have purpose art day 006 You start with nothing (or a black and white template) and end up with your very own piece of art.  art day 009  It was hard for me to stop painting tonight but I finally decided to put the brush down.  art day 011

I loved how everyone came up with such different ideas for their template.  Katie art day 012 and Tina art day 010 had the same canvas.  Just check out their masterpieces! 😀

Looking forward to the next time!  I am not sure I will wait until the next Cork and Canvas.  Maybe I will try this painting thing on my own.  😉  What about YOU?

Tarator (Bulgarian Cold Cucumber Soup)

Martin loves this soup.  He requested this for Pizza Sunday this week. He enjoys it with some fresh homemade bread (YUM) or a loaf of Village Hearth white bread (not so YUM).  Quite the extreme, huh?! This is also a great soup for the summer.  Summer is almost here, right?!

Tarator

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Ingredients

1-2 cucumbers, peeled, deseeded and diced or grated.  (I don’t totally deseed, but cut most off.  I also dice the cucumbers vs grate.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups greek yogurt (not low fat, no fat, use the real stuff please)
1 cup water
2 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 Tablespoon oil (I use vegetable, olive or sunflower oil depending on what is in the pantry)

Directions

1.  Mash the garlic and salt together
2.  Add cucumbers, garlic and salt mixture to large bowl.  Mix together.March 17 2013 321
3.  Add yogurt to above and mix together
4.  Add water.  Depending on your preference for thickness you may want to add more than 1 cup.  It should be the consistency of whole milk
5.  Add dill and season with more salt to your taste.
6.  Serve chilled.

Enjoy this Simple and Delicious Summer soup!

Asparagus Pizza

I hated asparagus when I was a kid.  Now, I love it.  I thought since spring is around the corner (YES IT IS!) I should make an asparagus pizza.  I used my bread dough recipe (used my stand up mixer this time) for this one.   I thought this pizza had great flavor and was of course “Simple and Delicious’.

Asparagus Pizza

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Ingredients

12-15 ounce pizza dough
3 oz Pancetta (you could use bacon)
1 1/2 cup Monteray Jack
1 1/2  cup Mozzarella
6-10 Asparagus stalks, cut into 1/2-1 inch pieces (depends on the size.  I had thinner stalks and used 10 believe it or not.)
2 green onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, choppedMarch 17 2013 324
6-8 basil leaves, chopped
Crushed red pepper
Olive Oil

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees. (As a reminder I preheat my oven with the stone inside for at least an hour.)
2.  Heat a non stick pan over medium high heat.  Add the pancetta and cook until browned.  Remove pancetta and place on paper towel lined plate.
3.  Spread cheeses evenly over dough. (you may not use all the cheese, it depends on what you like)
4.  Top with asparagus, pancetta, green onions and basil. Season with salt and pepper and crushed red pepper.
5.  Bake 15 minutes and chow down!

If you love asparagus, you will really enjoy this pizza.  Happy Spring!!

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Bean Soup)

Martin’s friend Martin (yep, another Martin) works at the Olive Garden.  In discussing Olive Garden it got me thinking about their lunch special; Antipasto and Pasta e Fagioli.  Their soup is so delicious!!  I went online and checked to see if I could find a copycat recipe (like I did with Chick Fil A) and found this one.  I did make one change and instead of using white vinegar I used balsamic vinegar.  If you know me, you know I absolutely love balsamic vinegar.  Anytime I can substitute, I do! 🙂  This was really flavorful and made enough for left overs, which were also delicious.  I am sure you could cut the recipe in half and it would be just great.  ENJOY!!

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Bean Soup or Just Bean Soup)

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Ingredients

1# ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, julienned
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 – 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can red kidney beans (with liquid)
1 15 oz can great northern beans (with liquid)
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 12 oz can V8 juice
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 package ditali pasta

Directions

1.  Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Drain off most of the fat.
2.  Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for 10 minutes.
3.  Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.
4.  Cook pasta.
5.  Add the pasta to the pot of soup, mix and serve.

I do not add pasta to any soups I make.  I add it to the bowl of soup as I serve it.  The reason I do this is I don’t like how the pasta can get very starchy if left over night in the soup.  If you make 1/2 this recipe or if you are serving a larger crowd and make this entire recipe you could add pasta to the soup and serve.  Also, I happen to enjoy the soup without the pasta. 2 meals in one!!   Either way, this soup is Simple and Delicious.  CIAO!!

Super Easy Focaccia

This is a super easy recipe and incredibly delicious.  You can put anything you want on Focaccia bread.  You choose what you want and make it as tasty as you want.  Here goes:

Herb Focaccia

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2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Directions (Preheat oven 475 degrees)

1.  Place 2 cups warm water in a large bowl.  Sprinkle dry yeast over water and stir with fork.  Let stand until yeast dissolves and blooms, about 10 minutes.
2.  Add flour and salt to yeast mixture.  Stir to blend well.  Mix on medium in stand up mixer for 8 minutes.  Oil large bowl; add dough, turning to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
3.  Punch down dough.  Coat 15×10 inch baking sheet with 1 Tablespoon of oil.  Transfer dough to prepared sheet. Let dough rest for 25 minutes.
4.  Using fingertips, press out dough to 13×10 inch rectangle.
5.  Drizzle 2 Tablespoons oil over dough.  Press fingers over dough, forming indentations.  Sprinkle herbs and cheese evenly over the dough.
6.  Bake bread until brown and crusty, about 20 minutes.  Serve bread warm or at room temperature.

This was fabulous.  Super Simple and very Delcious!  eric birthday 027 Ciao!!