Friday, March 25, 2016

"Death by Chocolate" Cake

So funny story: I never realized that normal people don't have a dessert every single day hah! When I was younger people would come to be house and be in awe by the fact that we had cake in the cupboard and cookies in the fridge at all time! Which seems so odd to my family because that is EVERY DAY! 

We started making this cake a few months ago and have had it every week since! It is SO SO good! And I don't always say that! (Well, maybe I do)... BUT TRUST ME. This cake is amazing!!! It is so moist and dense and just all around the best thing in the world. So what more do I need to say?! 

This cake will be the best thing you have ever eaten in your life. This cake has become and stayed our number one favorite. Eat it if you dare...You'll never want anything else. 

"Death by Chocolate" Cake
1 cup butter
3 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa
1 Tablespoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup brewed hot coffee (can be decaf) or hot water

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream butter, sugar, and eggs. Add vanilla, cocoa, soda, and salt. Sift flour and add into batter alternating with sour cream. Drizzle in hot coffee or water and stir. Pour batter into 3 prepared (sprayed with Pam and lined with parchment) 9 inch round pans. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Frost with chocolate butter cream icing recipe found HERE

Monday, March 21, 2016

Strawberry Shortcake aka 1234 Cake

Good morning! What a weekend it was. I turned 20 yesterday! The big 2-0! I can't believe it. I'm so old! 

Well it was definitely a birthday for the books! Our family went down to Zion National Park and did some canyonerring down a slot canyon called Fat Man's Misery (a silly name I know, but it sure was beautiful). After getting home from our trip, my brother and I pulled out the motorcycles and went for a ride because it was my birthday, so duh. Overall, it was just the greatest day ever! 

Before we left for Zion, I was insanely running around trying to accomplish everything. But this cake was never placed on the back burner. And considering the fact that I ate the entire thing, I'm pretty sure this cake actually fueled me for all the crazy hiking we did over our trip.

P.S. This adorable cake plate ^^^ is from Cath Kidston. I'm obsessed. 

So, considering the fact that I ate this entire cake, I probably don't need to tell you how good it is... But I will. Because it's amazing! It has the perfect fluffy yet crumbly consistency to be the best strawberry shortcake around. Top this cake with homemade whipped cream (recipe HERE) and freshly cut strawberries and you'll think you died and went to heaven. YUM!

Strawberry Shortcake aka 1234 Cake
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 eggs (separated)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 ยบ  Fahrenheit. Beat together butter and sugar. Separate eggs and add yolks to butter mixture. Sift flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with milk. Stir in vanilla. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter. Pour batter in two greased 9 inch baking pans lined with parchment paper (or one floured tube pan for strawberry shortcake) and bake for 25-30 minutes for 9 inch pans or 45 minutes for tube pan. Frost with cream cheese icing and cover with coconut and chocolate Easter eggs for a festive Easter cake. Or serve with fresh whipped cream and strawberries. 

The Very Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I came home to the whole family chowing down on these cookies... These chocolate chip cookies are our staple cookies without oatmeal (want a good recipe for some with oatmeal? Try Mom's Famous Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies). My family loves these cookies because they are chewy and oh so tasty! Remember to not over bake them or they will be hard. Also, you can easily through in some M&M or other chocolate chunks to mix things up a bit!

These cookies always remind me of my childhood. I used to beg my mom to make "Cinderella cookies" everyday. These cookies are known as Cinderella Cookies in our house because they are best before midnight! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups plus 3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 teaspoon soda
2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
2. Cream shortening and butter.
3. Add in both sugars, eggs, vanilla.
4. Sift dry ingredients and add to butter mixture.
5. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until barely done (do not over bake or they will be hard).

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Here's to Disneyland

My little sister and I are known for our love obsession with Disneyland. But what's not to like? Is there anything better than a Disney theme park full of princesses, churros, and spinning rides that give you all the feels (literally)? No!
In my perfect world we would wake up, eat Mickey Mouse shaped waffles, and skip down main street and through Cinderella's Castle. We would spin wildly on the teacups, soar through the stars on Space Mountain and gladly accept the back pain from the bumpy Matterhorn ride.

At Disneyland, your age somehow disappears. You could easily find some cute old grannie crusin' in the sky inside a big, blue, beautiful, plastic dumbo. And she's enjoying the ride just as much as the snot blowing children who warmed up the seat for her just seconds before.
Another wonderful thing about Disneyland is the fact that appearance is not an important factor for anyone. Sure, you always get those teenage girls who obviously woke up hours earlier to paint on their make up. But most of us just rolled out of bed, rubbed our crusty eyes and ran out the door with our mouse ears in hand. We all accept the fact that our hair is just going to be whipped around on Thunder Mountain Railroad and then matted onto our heads after the first dip and dive in our trusty long on Splash Mountain.
Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. It starts right when you hear that whistle as you scan your park pass and slam yourself through the three prong hip bruiser that you will see far too many times. But then there you are, skipping down Main Street, dodging grandpa's in jazzies and little princesses with their hair slicked back with too much gel and that lovely sparkle hairspray (cause you're not a real princess without that stuff).

If you're in my family, you take a hard left after main street and head straight to critter country (stopping to get a fast pass somewhere on the way). My family is obsessed with Splash Mountain. Not really sure why... But it's just the greatest! You just load everybody inside a floating plastic log without any type of seat belt or hand rail and then send them through a river of singing animals and off a seemingly 1000 foot cliff. I can't explain it, but it's just the greatest ride ever! You always walk off Splash Mountain a little soaked in odd places, most commonly your left shoulder, right side of your bum and both shoes.

Then my family squishes off using the lower road to Thunder Mountain Railroad. Known as "mom's favorite ride" Thunder Mountain is the wildest ride in the West. It entails fierce screaming, plugging of ears during the uphills, and throwing both hands in the air while you wildly jerk back and forth. Just watch your hands, they may get sliced off when you go under that mine shaft roof or by the goat holding the dynamite in his mouth. After Thunder Mountain we usually run to the wild teacups and grab a churro on the way (because that's a great combination right there).
And then there's Space Mountain. Did you know it is now HYPERSPACE Mountain now? Because it is Star wars! YAY best thing ever! My family loves Star wars, so when we got into that rocket and shot into hyperspace it was all shouts of joy and happiness as dun, dun, dun, was blaring in our ears.
Goodness I wish I could talk about every single ride because they are all the best. From breathing that stuffy Disneyland air in Pirates of the Caribbean to becoming a limp noodle after being thrown around in Indiana Jones, there's nothing better.

So here's to the place where you don't have to grow up. To the place where children's cries become the happy norm and corn dogs and dole whip become your diet.
Here's to life long enjoyment from the age of 2 to 92.
Here's to your dream Mr. Walt.
Here's to Disneyland.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dangerous Oreo Milkshakes

HAPPY NATIONAL OREO COOKIE DAY! These Oreo shakes are the best. I learned how to make them from the Sundance Resort Deli. I have been obsessed with them ever since I started working in the General Store and I finally got one of the workers to teach me how to make them. YUM! I've had a lot of Oreo shakes in my life, but this one is by far the best! So go ahead and try it. I dare you! But don't blame me for your addiction, hah!

Dangerous Oreo Milkshakes 
Serves 4
4 huge scoops of Vanilla Ice cream
1 1/2 cup Oreo cookie crumbs (about  10 cookies)
1 cup Half and Half (or half milk, half cream)
White chocolate syrup (optional)

Put all ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. Top with crushed Oreo cookies and whipped cream (optional). 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Minestrone Soup

Say hello to this beautiful Minestrone Soup! My family loves this stuff! This is such a hearty, healthy and delicious meal (which is sometimes hard to find, right?!). 

Last night my family ate this soup with our favorite Braided Swiss Sunday Bread is was a great side for this delicious dish! Also, one more thing before I leave you, this soup is really diverse, you can put almost any vegetable you want in it (we added sweet potato this time). So have fun and don't stress! Kloveyoubye.

Minestrone Soup
6-8 servings
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped
5 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2- 2 teaspoons salt
1 stalk celery, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon oregano
Black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon basil
3-4 cups liquid, chicken broth or water
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can tomato puree (around 2 cups)
1 can tomato paste
1-1 1/2 cup cooked beans (pea beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans)
1/2 to 1 cup dry pasta (any shape)
1-2 medium sized ripe tomatoes diced (optional)
Parmesan cheese for garnish

1) Heat oil, onions, garlic, and salt. Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes.
2) Add celery and carrots. Let cook and then add zucchini and bell pepper. Add oregano, pepper, and basil.
3) Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Add broth (or water) and tomato puree and paste. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add beans and simmer 5 more minutes.
5) Bring to a gentle boil. Add pasta, stir and cook until tender.
6) Stir in diced fresh tomatoes.
7) Serve hot. Top with parmesan cheese.