Unsolicited fact about me: I can ice skate circles around you ⛸ (@ LA Live Holiday Ice)
#FBF to these three amigos in their Baja Ponchos 🇲🇽
I baked my mom a pie, but her love for strawberry rhubarb doesn’t run as deep as mine. Good thing we got her sold-out Adele tickets as a back-up!
The highlight of my weekend was seeing my mom jump up and down and scream like a fangirl when she opened her gift. A very close second would have to be getting carded at the casino. Apparently, I look like I’m under 18 (#stillgotit). I was with my parents and Pammie who was not carded. And highly offended.
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
Gingerbread ale and memory jars (@ Common Theory Public House)
I spent my holiday vacation back home in San Diego making memories with family and old friends.
Just after Christmas, my cousin and her family were involved in a devastating house fire that took the life of her daughter and everything they owned. It has been a difficult year for my family in general, and this tragedy solidified 2015 as the worst year ever! Hopefully 2016 is kinder to us all. A friend of the family set up a GoFundMe account if you would like to make a donation to help.
My dear friend, Jay, also lost his mom over the holidays, and I met up with him and friends I haven’t seen in forever at her memorial. I love seeing these guys, because no matter how much time has passed, we can all still pick up right where we left off. The highlight of my day was when Pammie and I walked into the chapel and Jay’s brother greeted us with arms wide open and a simple, “Bitches.” Classic Rome. Jay trying to give me dating advice was a very close second. The lowlight of my day had to be when my ex-boyfriend brought his fiancé and his parents to the memorial, and all I brought was my extra holiday weight. LOL. Just kidding. (I brought my sister, too.)
My resolution this year is to be better about staying in touch with family and friends. I have a tendency to close myself off, and I’m trying to work on that. You really never know when you’re going to lose your loved ones…
When you give your friend LA’s finest taco sweater, and she gives you Mexico’s best-selling taco book…
CRANBERRY BLISS COOKIES
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
FOR THE COOKIES:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
FOR THE FROSTING:
1 (8 oz.) bar cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
2 tsp. orange extract
3 cups powdered sugar
FOR THE TOPPING:
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
TO MAKE THE COOKIES:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt until well-blended. Set aside.
Using an an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and the eggs one at a time, beating in between to incorporate. Then reduce the speed to low, and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium, and continue beating until well-combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips and cranberries, and mix until just-combined. (Do not overmix.)
Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour. Then place dough by rounded tablespoon-fulls onto a baking sheet that has been prepared with parchment paper, at least 2.5-inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Remove pan, and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack until cool. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are baked. Wait until cookies reach room temperature before adding frosting and toppings.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING:
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and melted white chocolate until combined. (**Be sure that your cream cheese REALLY is at room temperature before adding the white chocolate. Otherwise the chocolate could seize up.) Add in the orange extract and mix until combined. Then reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Mix until incorporated. Then use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat once more for 1 minute on medium speed until the frosting is smooth. You can add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting.
Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies. Then immediately sprinkle the frosted cookies with the chopped dried cranberries. And use a fork to drizzle on the frosting, swishing it back and forth over the cookies.
For Friendsgiving this year, I made an oxtail ragu that would bring you to your knees. It took me five hours to cook, and I didn’t finish until three in the morning! It was worth it, but I’ll probably never make it again (just like the chocolate babka I made in 2012). I hope you enjoyed my tender meat, because that’s the last time you’re ever gonna eat it! Ha.
Add a box of girl scout cookies and you’ve got my plans for this weekend.
Anthony had me create my own profile on his Netflix account so that my chick flick recommendations wouldn’t get mixed in with his chick flick recommendations, obvi.
If only Amazon Prime had this feature so I could stop getting his beard oil recommendations for a healthier, kissable beard.
You know you live in LA when free parking is a gift.
…or the only day Anthony gets to have his wood between my legs and his meat in my mouth! Not gonna lie, he smokes some damn good BBQ…
This is how my crazy family does christmas!
Sliding a cookie from your forehead to your mouth isn’t easy (I know it’s hard to believe since I made it look so effortless).
$5 richer and missing these clowns already ♥
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can (13.6 oz.) dulce de leche (you can find this at Target or most grocery stores next to the condensed milk in the baking aisle)
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 tbsp chocolate liqueur or heavy cream
Make the crust. Position an oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 325F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray.
Mix the graham crackers, sugar and butter. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then place on a cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes.
Make the filling. Spread the dulce de leche evenly over the graham crust, then place pan in refrigerator while you prepare the cream cheese layer.
Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat on medium-high for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the dulce de leche layer and spread evenly, and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely-about 2 hours.
Glaze the cake. Heat the chocolate, butter, liqueur and light corn syrup in a double boiler or in a microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Cool for about 10 minutes. Pour the glaze over the cheesecake, tilting the pan to ensure the top is coated evenly. Chill for several hours-or at least 30 minutes before serving.
Lift the cheesecake from the pan using the parchment handles and slice into squares using a sharp knife, wiping it clean after each cut. Let the pan sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before you lift the bars out and cut them. The chocolate glaze will crack if you cut them while they are still very cold.
- Our Thanksgiving dinner consisted of enough chinese food to feed a small village plus a turkey (which a chinese restaurant deep fried for us for $25). Ha. Is it weird that I’ve never had stuffing before?
Bingo, bitches! Now I know where I get my competitiveness and foul mouth from… I’ve never heard my grandma curse so much in my life!
The Debutante @ The Haven. Good beer and good pizza with good friends.
I haven’t been home in a while, and Rocky clearly misses me! I found this cuddle bug in my old bed every night I was in town.
We had more dessert than actual food on Thanksgiving, and this chocolate croissant bread pudding I made tasted like a slice of heaven! I’m pretty sure I saw the face of Jesus while eating it. This will probably happen again for Christmas.
Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
3 extra-large whole eggs
8 extra-large egg yolks
5 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
10 chocolate croissants (I used a box of 10 from the Vons bakery)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla. Set the custard mixture aside.
Slice the croissants into 1-inch cubes. In a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish, distribute the cubed croissants evenly. Pour the custard over the croissants and allow to soak for 10 minutes, pressing down gently.
Place the pan in a larger one filled with 1-inch of hot water. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn’t touch the pudding. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Now if only I could figure out how to roast a turkey…
Not gonna lie, I peed a little when I saw Lorenzo at work today.
My future is as clear as the shots of vodka my grandmas were doing on Christmas.
Oh hey, I’m just blogging from my new Macbook Pro with retina display. No bigs!
I bought it with two credit cards and the promise of my firstborn, but I don’t have to use my old macbook held together by binder clips anymore, so I’m just going to focus on that.
I never thought I’d be shopping on Black Friday or eating Hot Dog on a Stick at two in the morning (or at any time really), yet there I was at Parkway Plaza with my sister and my preggo bestie doing both of those things…
Enjoy Bill Hader corpsing while I go party at an abandoned whitefish factory in Little Israel.
I wanted to have red puffy paint blood dripping from the easter eggs, but I thought the bloody zombie bunny was morbid enough for my favorite 8-year-old. Maybe next year.
Christ promised a resurrection of the dead. I just thought he had something different in mind.
Half of my facebook friends announced their pregnancies today.
Way to steal my thunder, bitches.
St. Paddy’s Day doesn’t usually register as a blip on my radar, so I intended on having a low key movie night instead… which turned into beers with Shi and Anthony at Tiger! Tiger!… followed by house margaritas at my house… followed by me waking up on my bathroom floor (not pictured). So… just another Saturday.
I’d love to, but I already have plans to wear sweatpants and free up some space on my DVR tonight. Maybe some other time.
I picked the luckiest red envelope at work today! In other news, I’ve forgiven the white elephant gods for my booby prize.
It was my last NYE in my 20s, so I thought I would go out with a bang. Today, I woke up in Las Vegas sore as hell and $300 richer! Sadly, it wasn’t nearly as exciting as it sounds.
I was doing everything short of bending time and space to get these damn flans out of my supposedly nonstick brioche pans when my aunt turned to me and said, “It’s so hard being Martha Stewart, isn’t it?”
It really is.
Not only did I receive a reminder from Anthropologie that I’m turning thirty next month, but I also got stuck with a “family” frame (for the husband and kids I don’t have) at the white elephant gift exchange at my office today.
If only I had picked the booze that Jesse brought so I could drown my sorrows.
|3:18 PM||Jesse: so im going to the home depot parking lot in 15 minutes to buy nye tickets from dude off craigslist|
|me: i hope you have your gat strapped|
|3:21 PM||Jesse: if im not back in 30 minutes, call the police cuz ive likely been stabbed and robbed|
|me: can i have your white elephant gift if you don’t come back?|
|3:22 PM||Jesse: of course|
I’m pretty sure this is Jesse’s way of saying that he no longer appreciates hearing me blast Young the Giant in my shitty earbuds all the livelong day.
Merry Christmas to us both!
I always wish for two things during the holidays:
I figured out how to make my own bliss bars, and now I can have them anytime I want! These were good, but they would taste even better if they were made with a KitchenAid stand mixer ;)
I made bourbon pumpkin spice whoopie pies for Thanksgiving this year. They’re filled with cream cheese, love, and that mini bottle of Maker’s Mark that I keep in my purse.
I love baking with booze… and sometimes I even put it in the food ;)
True story. I’m not sure why I have a Google+ account. Most of the gmail contacts they suggest to me are people that I know, but deliberately choose not to be friends with, and the rest of them are craigslisters I’ve risked my life meeting for
casual encounters concert tickets. And so I’m left with 7 friends in my circle. I’d ask them what they’re doing for Halloween, but I really have no idea how to use this thing.
Arlene’s 7-year-old daughter, Gisella, made me a Valentine’s Day card at school because she knew I didn’t have a Valentine this year. Thanks for the reminder, kid! Haha. I love that little munchkin. I would pin her card up in my cube at work, but it’d be overshadowed by Belle’s gaggle of heart-shaped balloons!
It’s Monday. It’s Valentine’s Day. Some deep tissue action at Zen Sanctuary was def necessary.
Yes, I realize there’s more footage of food than there is of my grandma. Get off me.
Should I consider it a warning sign that all the presents I got for Christmas revolve around food and liquor?
- Tickets to Sam the Cooking Guy Live!
- Sam the Cooking Guy: Season 2 DVD
- Anthropologie gift card for a Kitchen Apron
- Calphalon Classic Nonstick Bakeware
- Pillsbury Fast & Healthy Cookbook
- Moscato Wine
- What’s New, Cupcake? Cookbook
- Big Top Cupcake Silicone Bakeware
- Cocktail Stirrers, Drink Charms, Deluxe Straws & Cocktail Jigger
You guys know me so well.
Chel gave me this awesome idea to put red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting inside jars for the holidays! Could these be any cuter???
I’ve been winning tons of stuff lately… an autographed CD from Meaghan Smith, Konami’s Glee Karaoke Revolution Wii game, that pizza eating contest at Marechiaro’s… (is it a contest if I’m the only one participating?)
Last week, I won tickets for Day 10 of The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s 12 Days of Giveaways! Pammie was the one who signed me up in the first place, so I took her with me to the taping in LA. It was one of the best days of my life, and I’m not lying like I usually am when I say that.
We laughed at Ellen’s jokes, drooled over Mark Wahlberg, listened to Olivia Wilde talk about Tron, danced with Ciara as she performed her new single, and screamed as Ellen unveiled all the Amazon.com gifts we were going home with:
- Amazon Denim Shop Gift Card, $100
- PlayStation 3 320GB System and Sports Champion Move Bundle, $399.99
- Rock Band 3, $59.99
- Rock Band 3 Wireless Keyboard, $79.99
- Plantronics Voyager PRO PLUS Bluetooth Headset, $99.99
- TomTom GPS Go 2405TM with Lifetime Traffic & Maps, $299.95
- Basic Instinct by Ciara, $11.98
- Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi, $25.99
- Kindle Wireless Reading Device, $139.00
- Panasonic TA-1 Ultrathin HD Pocket Camcorder, $169.95
- Calphalon Unison Nonstick 8-Piece Cookware Set, $499.99
- Calphalon No Peek Waffle Maker, $99.99
Whoever said that material things can’t fill the void in your life has never been given $500 worth of Calphalon Cookware, obvi.
The Town DVD from Amazon, $17.99
Ben Affleck grows a fierce beard (and does some other stuff, too) in this movie.
Apron (any style) from Anthropologie, $28.00-$38.00
I love to bake, and I’m pretty sure my treats would taste even better if I made them while wearing this fabulous apron.
Laptop Desk (Walnut with Chocolate Cushion) from Brookstone, $29.95
I like to browse the interwebs how I like to do most other things—in bed with no pants on.
- Madison Op Art Sateen Large Wristlet (Black/Silver) from Coach, $98.00
I once left my whole purse inside Macy’s. And lost my wallet in Vegas. And found my ATM card in the freezer. Clearly, I need a purse that attaches to my wrist.
External Hard Drive (1TB) from Amazon, $78.99
Jay’s folder labeled "NOT PORN" is taking up too much space on my desktop. There really isn’t any porn in there, but it does have R. Kelly’s entire discography (which might actually be worse, I think).
Stella Im Hultberg’s “Never Mind” Gelaskin (iPhone 4) from Gelaskins, $14.95
I want this partly because Stella is my favorite artist, but mostly because the bottom corner of my phone is chipped from dropping it.
Pink with a Splash All-Over Body Mist from Victoria’s Secret, $15, 2/$22, 3/$30
There are eight different scents, and they all smell delicious. Pick one (or eight).