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.Baked Brie. Oreo Truffles

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We are severely understaffed at work. As a result, everyone has reached Office Space level exasperation! To help out team morale I thought I’d ask my coworkers what their favorite treat was, and bring it in to surprise the branch, and boost spirits. It’s working like gangbusters!! So for the next few Sundays… that’s right, it’s a coworker special. I’ll tell you who asked for what and how I efficiently (tried) to  make enough.

I must begin by saying, I adore my co-workers! Back in L.A., the ladies I worked with were always on a diet, and wouldn’t touch my treats with a ten foot pole. A girl will start to get a complex after a while. I thought my baking had tanked. Then I moved here, where locals are so active during every hour of daylight, they devour my treats and ask for more. LOVE IT!IMG_4817

The first surprise I delivered was Oreo Truffles! These are ridiculously easy.

.Ingredients.

1 package of Oreos 1/3 cup set aside for garnish

1 package of cream cheese

Chocolate Chips for dipping

.Instructions.

Smash Oreos very finely and combine with room temperature cream cheese. I use my hands for this process. It’s easiest, I promise. Melt your chocolate. I use the Barefoot Contessa’s microwave method. 30 second intervals on high in the microwave gives you just the right amount of control over your chocolate. I refrigerate the Oreo mixture to make the dipping easier. Dip and let cool on a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle your remaining cookie crumbs over the truffles before moving them to the fridge. IMG_4815Find yourself a stunning container and serve these up to very pleased coworkers! Make a lot. Im not kidding.

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.Baked Brie. High-Altitude Brownies

For my new Crested Butte readers, I have the golden ticket!

Since moving from sea-level, practically at the sea, to 7,700 feet, baking has been a challenge. Usually, Sally’s Baking Addiction usually gets me through. She teaches me so much. Her recipes are very sensitive to the very basic chemistry of baking, so they usually work out like aces up here! But when it comes to brownie, come boxed or from Sally, I just can’t get it right.

So I sat down at my computer, stumped, and searched pinterest for high altitude brownies. I found this golden ticket!

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Sweet And Saucy High Altitude Brownies

I’ve made a few changes and added a cookie dough frosting. Here we go!

.Ingredients.

.For Brownies.

1/2 cup of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup + 1Tbsp of Flour

1 cup  1Tbsp) of Granulated Sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3 Large room-temperature Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Stick of Unsalted Butter (melted and cooled)

.For Cookie Dough Frosting.

This is from trusty Sally!

3/4 cup of Unsalted Butter (softened to room temp)

1 cup + 1 Tbs of Light Brown Sugar

.Instructions.

Preheat the oven to 375. I used muffin tins and liners, but this recipe will also work with a greased 8×8 inch pan. So, grease that pan!

Mix the cocoa powder, flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk together melted and cooled butter with vanilla and room temperature eggs. 

Create a well in the dry ingredients and poor the egg mixture into the middle. 


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Gently fold together the ingredients with a spatula. It will take a while. Be gentle. Be patient, until it looks like this. I know we all say it, but don’t over mix!

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I left out the additional chocolate chips because…

Its fine how it is! The chips push it over the edge for me into the too-chocolaty range.

I baked my muffin tin brownies at 375 for 28 minutes and they were perfect.

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Now on to the frosting! This is a cinch. Look closely at the recipe. It’s basically chocolate chip cookie dough minus the raw eggs. Awesome.

Cream the butter and brown sugar at medium speed. Add the vanilla, beat until fluffy. Add flour and salt. Beat in milk until fluffy and fold in chocolate chips. Top your brownies with the frosting and hand these out to everyone you can. Good brownies are hard to come by up here!

 

 

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.Baked Brie. Impressive Tea Treats

My favorite day of the week is Sunday. You’ve already had your lazy day after a hard week of work and now you are ready to have fun. Since I don’t ski, I have to think of fun (mostly) indoor activities. Coloring is always fun. Gilmore themed days with my sister are on the horizon, and maybe tea with some friends!

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The treats we have today are tasty and fun and fancy free. This is a tea party in a blanket fort with thrift store tea cups and mismatching plates. Toss out the cucumber sandwiches and have some curry chicken, or peanut butter and jelly.

End the tea with these fun treats: A Salty Sweet Crisp and Breezy Fruit Treats!

/// Salty Sweet Crisp ///

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Ingredients ///

This one requires a trip to Trader Joe’s. If you aren’t near one, i’ll provide substitutes in parentheses.

1 box /// Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Crisps (or 3 Crunch Bars)

1/4 cup /// Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (or creamy peanut butter)

1 sleeve /// Ritz crackers

Instructions ///

smooth a generous amount of peanut butter on each cracker ///  top with crisp (or chunk of Crunch Bar) /// pile them up on a fun funky plate and serve with some delicious early grey!

/// Breezy Fruit Treats ///

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This is based off the idea of a fruit tart but is oh so easy! I was first introduced to these cookies in college by my roommates, and they were deemed ‘crack’ cookies.

Ingredients ////

1 Box /// ‘crack’ cookies /// sugar cookies with frosting

1 box //// blueberries

1 box /// strawberries

1 box /// raspberries

Instructions ///

slice up strawberries /// top each cookie generously with assorted berries /// have a fun vintage platter, or a set of funky plates? /// plate it up with style and serve in the fort, under twinkle lights.

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.Baked Brie. Copycat Avalanche

He was tall, dark, handsome, and had Avalanche! He was so dreamy. I had a crush on exactly one of my sisters boyfriends, and it was due to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. In my eyes, she’d struck gold when she started dating the boy from the candy shop. I did a little bit of digging and easily unearthed this copycat recipe for Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Avalanche Bar.

Ingredients///

1 Bag /// Ghirardelli White Chocolate Chips (Don’t go generic for this. When white chocolate is cheap it can really alter the taste of the end product)

1/4 Cup /// Creamy Peanut Butter

3 Cups /// Rice Crispies (This can definitely be generic!)

1 1/2 Cups /// Mini Marshmallows

1/2 Cup /// Mini Chocolate Chips

Instructions ///

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/// Melt together your white chocolate and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl, at 30 second intervals on high ///

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/// Once it has just melted together, but is still rather cool, microwave for 20 more seconds, so the mixture is liquid enough to coat the cereal///

IMG_2993/// Add rice cereal and coat gently ///  Let cool for a spell, and come to room temperature (I had blueberry pancakes with my family)///

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/// Once the mixture has cooled, fold in the chips and mallows /// Be sure not to rush this, you don’t want these ingredients to melt in /// For thicker bars, use an 8×8 baking dish, but this really is your preference /// Line the dish with wax paper and spoon in the mixture ///

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/// Let cool in the fridge for two hours /// cut into bars and pile them into your favorite vintage bowl /// I have these sitting in my pyrex on my coffee table for unexpected guests!

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.Baked Brie Sunday. Lavender Simple Syrup

Need an impressive last minute gift without costing an arm and a leg? Lavender simple syrup is the way to go!!!

Ingredients ///

1 cup /// water
3 Tbs /// dried lavender
2 cups /// sugar

That’s all!

Lavender may seem hard to come by, but go to your local whole food or natural food store and they will have plenty of it.

Instructions ///

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Bring the water and lavender to a boil /// stir in sugar until it dissolves /// let simmer for five minutes then take off the heat /// let cool for five minutes /// strain out the lavender /// pour into a beautiful bottle or a mason jar.

I got my bottle from Walmart for three bucks!! If you score such a deal, let the receiver keep the bottle, they’ll love it!

Uses ///

Sweeten tea /// make a fun cocktail /// add to a latte

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I added some to seltzer water with a few blueberries to make a delicious soda.

What would you use lavender simple syrup in?

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.Welcome Back.

Everything has changed! And I do mean EVERYTHING. First thing’s first, we had a beautiful baby boy! He is growing like a weed and absolutely hilarious.

2013-09-09 11.02.25And in other exciting news, we have picked up and moved to the great state of Colorado. Our world turned upside down just before our boy’s first Christmas, so we enacted a long dormant plan B to head for the safety of family in Colorado, not to mention, slash our cost of living.

IMG_2500It’s been wild here, freezing, but so far we are adjusting.

Because of this huge life change, many things have changed creatively as well. I got started on a series called Freckles, a collection of ink drawings with colorful stipples.

whimsy011The process has been very healing and calming.

Hamsterfood looks a bit different now. Here’s the break down. Each week I will post 3 different times.

We’ll start with .Baked Brie Sundays. where I will share recipes with you that are simply impressive. I’ll show you ways to whip up easy ten minute desserts that will knock the socks off your unexpected guests!IMG_1363

Next we’ll have .Try it Tuesday. where we will try anything and everything. Sometimes it will be a new recipe, or a Pinterest hack, or a place I miss from L.A. that I want you to try.

IMG_1109Send me things you want me to try and I’ll give it a go!

Back with a new name, and a little more whimsy, we have .Snap, Crackle, Pop Saturdays. What’s playing on Stella Blue? Quite a bit more children’s albums since the little one! I’ll also take you on my journey to find the best records Colorado has to offer.

IMG_0810Not only does the week look a bit different, the site has changed quite a bit. Feel free to click around and see what I’m up to with new show ideas and a brand new shop!

Welcome back! It’s been far too long.

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.BakedBrie. Make Lemonade

On my recent trip to meet the newest member of our family, my Aunt sent me packing with a bag of 17 lemons, after I had asked for 10!

Sam asked, “what will we do with all these lemons?”

I answered like my pop taught me, “Make Lemonade!”

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I put our juicer to work, slicing 10 lemons in half and grinding away.

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After every two lemons my juicer would get full of pulp. I’d just turn it over, tap, tap, tap, and the pulp dropped off into the trash can easily. The juicing process took me about 10 minutes. I got two cups of lemon juice from ten good sized lemons.

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Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade.

.Ingredients.

4 cups of water

2 cups of sugar

2 cups of lemon juice

4 cups of club soda

zest of one lemon

sprigs of rosemary

1lb of strawberries

.Instructions.

Boil water with sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Once the water is boiling add lemon juice, one sprig of rosemary, and the zest of one lemon. Remove from heat and stir.

Slice up your strawberries, leaving 5 aside for your garnish. Puree your strawberries to a fine pulp, add to your lemon mixture and stir until strawberries are well incorporated. Run through a strainer and set aside in the fridge to cool down,

After strawberry lemonade is cooled off, add the sparkling water and serve. Top this summery treat with halved strawberries and sprigs of rosemary. I know it seems like a lot but this fizzy refresher will go quickly. You’ll thank me that you have some left over!