This is why I haven't posted anything in the last week:
My Cousin Tena flew in from Canada on her way to Florida and we spent 20 glorious layover hours together.
I'm still trying to find all the stuff that I stashed off the kitchen counters in an attempt to impress her with my fabulous housekeeping.
The kids were off of school on Monday.
My husband went out of town on Tuesday.
I've spent approximately 27 hours in the car trying to single handedly shuttle four kids to 198 different activities this week.
We're re-siding our house.
I have a 20 yard bright orange dumpster in my driveway.
I have made multiple trips to the paint store and have thus far bought six different quarts of sample paint trying to determine the new right shade of brown for our shutters.
I'm attempting to purge our basement in time for the upcoming school garage sale.
I'm not very good at purging.
I am really good at getting sidetracked when I find old pictures of my sweet little children who are growing up much too fast. I completely lose momentum when I see those chubby little cheeks. I smile. I cry. I'm forced to take a Diet Coke break. But enough about my sentimental woes.......
Let me tell you about something amazing! When my cousin was here, I took her to my favorite Greek-Italian restaurant, Sugo's. We snuck in just minutes before 11PM on Saturday and I begged and pleaded with them to serve us their amazing Bacon Wrapped Dates. Sugo's Bacon Wrapped Dates are so incredible that, on Sunday, we decided to forego sightseeing and spent the afternoon recreating them.
To make our version, start with the biggest, plumpest, juiciest pitted dates you can find.
Slice a pecan in half and insert it into the pit hole.
Take 1/3 of a slice of fairly thick bacon and wrap it around the date.
Make a lot of them. You'll thank me later.
Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Pour some maple syrup into a small bowl.
Brush maple syrup over the bacon.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until bacon is crispy.
Halfway through the baking time, feel free to brush with more maple syrup.
Serve with Balsamic Glaze.
Sweet and Salty. Crunchy and Chewy.
Savory Candy Bites that melt in your mouth and linger on your tongue.
Thanks for visiting, cousin!
Large, fresh, pitted dates
Slice Pecans in half, lengthwise. Insert Pecan half into date. Wrap 1/3 slice bacon around date. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush bacon with maple syrup. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until bacon is crispy. If desired, brush with more maple syrup half-way through baking. Serve with Balsamic Glaze.
I just love the annual father-daughter dance, when my husband dons his best suit and polishes his shoes, knowing full well that by the end of the night, the shoes will be scuffed with the marks of princess slippers and his suit might not survive the anticipated chocolate fountain. This is what real men do. They set the prince charming bar so high that, someday, only the worthy few can reach it.
This month's Martha Stewart Cupcakes Club selection was Raspberry Marble Cheesecakes. These beautiful little classic cheesecake "cupcakes" turned out to be the perfect Valentine's dessert, but they were so delicious, you should make them any time any time of year.
The cheesecakes had three basic components: The graham cracker crust, the cheesecake filling and the raspberry swirl topping. The delicious graham cracker crust is made from melted butter, sugar and crushed graham crackers.
Mix the crust together, put about 1 tablespoon crust mixture in the bottom of a lined muffin tin and bake until set. Now FYI, these little cheesecakes will turn out just fine if you forget to pre-bake the crust. Don't ask me how I know this. Just go with me on this one.
Next mix together the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt.
You probably didn't need to see a picture of this, but I thought that yellow egg was so pretty!
Scoop three tablespoons of cream cheese filling over the crust.
Finally, the raspberry swirl.
Here's how you make this part if you don't have a food processor or a fine sieve.
Get out your trusty blender and add the raspberries plus the sugar. Blend until it turns all beautiful and syrupy. Leave the seeds. There is nothing wrong with raspberry seeds. It's not that I'm lazy, it's just that we are making cheesecakes, not performing brain surgery. Seeds are good. And pretty. And raspberry-y.
Next, take a moment and admire the beautiful thumbnail in the corner. My "twin" cousin, the marathoner and world traveler, is flying a million miles from Canada to see me for 20 hours this weekend. Since I won't be able to train for a marathon, or a 10K, or even a 5K in the next four days, my only hope at preserved self-esteem was to get an OPI-gel manicure. I hope you understand. I love her and I can't wait to see her!
Take that beautiful raspberry puree and make three baby spoonful on top of each cheesecake.
Make a spiral through the puree with a toothpick for these beautiful swirls.
Top the finished cheesecakes with fresh raspberries.
Be prepared to hear comments like, "Mom, these are the best things EVER!"
I was sitting and waiting at the orthodontist last week (one of the many places at which I seem to sit and wait these days) when I discovered a surprisingly great selection of current magazines! Inside this month's Country Living I found these adorable paper airplane valentines. It included a template and instructions on how to fold them. I decided to make some for my kids - especially the 8th grade boy. He needs to know I still love him, even though he's almost six feet tall and wears a size 14 shoe. Maybe I'll even put it in his lunchbox :-)
You can embarrass your own teenager or delight your younger ones by printing out this free PDF HERE, on the Country Living website.
After you have folded the airplane, a simple paperclip placed below the wings will hold the plane together nicely.