Jun 30, 2015
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Last weekend, I made a killer s’mores with grilled peaches, Nutella, a drizzle of honey and almost fainted from the fresh, chocolately loveliness.

IMG_4624I just sliced up a fresh peach, threw it on the grill that was almost died out from grilling dinner.  I spread Nutella on, added peach and my favorite blackened marshmallows, a small drizzle of honey and it was done.  YUMYUMYUMYUM.

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Today, I made 2 really delicious variations that were tasted and tested by my boys using these 3 spreads on the s’mores.  IMG_4671I started with a sweet and salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel S’more.  It was fantastic.  You will need chocolate grahams, which weren’t the easiest to track down, but I eventually found at Target.  I spread the top half of the graham with Nutella, the other half with peanut butter.  I stuck a few pretzels into the peanut butter then roasted my marshmallow.  Once it was nice and cooked (black and burnt) I stacked it all together.  A really nice mix of sweet from the chocolate grahams, marshmallow and Nutella, and a little salty with the peanut butter and pretzel.

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Then I put together a Cookie Butter Banana S’more, which was really different, but in a good way.

 

By the way, have you tried Biscoff European Cookie Spread??!  I mean, it’s European, which means it’s fancy.  It makes me feel like I am going on vacation…not because it tastes exotic, but because it’s made from those snacky little cookies that they hand out on flights.  You know the ones…yes, THOSE bad boys.  Well, them crush them up into a peanut butter consistency and add extra cookie flavor.  Tasty.

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I used the cookie butter in place of the chocolate/Nutella, grilled a banana in a pan on the stove (which smells great on it’s own), roasted my marshmallow and stacked and smashed it into my mouth.  The cookie butter got melty from the warm marshmallow and banana and made for a sweet little mess.  Dudes, I tell you, cookie butter is made from unicorns and rainbows, which translates into yumminess.

 

Verdict from the boys is the Cookie Butter was the winner.  My opinion was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel was superior.  They both were winners at my house.

Make your summer extra tasty by experimenting with new S’mores like these!

 

Jun 23, 2015
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Holy crap.  These are SOOOO good.

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I have been putting random fruit on my s’mores lately, and loving it.  Grilled bananas? YES.  I love every part of the s’more, except the chocolate.  I am not a fan of the junk in the brown wrappers, tastes like wax to me.  I was thinking of ways around the wax and “Nutella” popped into my head because who doesn’t love Nutella??  EVERYONE does!  So add in the almost too ripe strawberries in my fridge, and these tasty little numbers were born.  I browned the marshmallows on the stovetop, because there was no time to prep a grill!

Slice up some strawberries, throw a double coat of Nutella on your graham crackers and cook up the marshmallows.  Messy?  Yes, but worth it.

Make these immediately!  They are a perfect summer/winter/fall/lunch/dinner/breakfast treat!

 

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(I ate both of these…)

May 20, 2015
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I love a new cookie recipe.  Especially when I am out of chocolate chips, peanut butter and all of the normal cookie ingredients, I REALLY appreciate a cookie that has random ingredients that I actually have in my cupboards when I haven’t been to the store for weeks..  Like oatmeal and coconut.  Score!

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I had pinned this recipe a while ago and yesterday I wanted to bake something to help warm up the house (It was a chilly May day) so I went to my treat board and got the oatmeal and coconut.

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The recipe is adapted from Lil Luna’s recipe.  The change I made was instead of 2 cups of oatmeal, which seemed like a lot, down to 1 cup.  I am sure it’s awesome with 2 cups, but in addition to 2 cups of whole wheat flour, it seemed like it would have made the cookie dough rock solid.  With the 1 cup of oatmeal, the dough was perfect.  And my whole family loves the cookies, because, well, they are cookies and because they are delicious!!  I love the oatmeal-coconut combo.

 

And they are perfect dipped in black coffee.  Which I had for breakfast today.  And snack.  And probably lunch.

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May 06, 2015
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I made my fourth appearance on Twin Cities Live yesterday sharing some really easy, really last minute Cinco de Mayo recipes.

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I was pretty jazzed about this segment because I was there not just to sling tasty cocktails (don’t worry, I still shared a cocktail) but I showed some yummy food recipes.  I was glad to show that I’m not just the TV booze girl, I can do food and party ideas too.

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I went all out for this segment.  In addition to bringing really delicious and quick recipes to celebrate Cinco, I crafted my ass off.  I found cute mini pinatas which weren’t in my color scheme, so I spray painted them gold and bronze to and a touch of glam to the table.  I used cactus instead of flowers, but instead of just throwing them in a pot and calling it done, I found cans of Mexican tomatoes, salsas and enchilada sauce and used those to bring more color in.  I also found a colorful papel picado banner that I hung in the background of the TCL kitchen.  Then, I made my own papel picado stir straws with a Martha Stewart paper punch and some colored paper.  They were they cutest!

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As for the food and drink, I made Shrimp Avocado Ceviche, which is amazing on it’s own (I just fill a bowl and eat it with a spoon), or as a dip served with chips, or you can make it a main course and eat it as tacos.  SO GOOD.

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I also made Beergaritas to wash down the ceviche.  I’m not a margarita person, but add some beer to cut the sweetness, and hot damn, I love it!

 

For dessert, how to Margarita Cupcakes with Tequila Lime Buttercream sound?  They are fantastic.  Along the same lines as the Beergaritas, adding the tequila to the cake mix and frosting cuts the sweetness and makes it easy to have more than one.  This is definitely for people who don’t like overly sweet treats.  It’s sweet, but not overpowerly sweet.

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You want the recipes??  Here you go!

 

Beergaritas:

1 can (12 oz) frozen limeade

1 12 oz bottle of Mexican beer, I used Negra Modelo

12 oz water

6 oz tequila, I used Sauza silver tequila

ice

lime wedges

Pour limeade, tequila, water, beer in larger pitcher.  Stir until the limeade has melted and is well mixed.  Add ice and pour into cups.  Garnish with lime wedges.

Shrimp Avocado Ceviche:

16 oz cooked shrimp, tails removed, diced

4-5 ripe tomatoes, diced

1/2 large red onion, diced

2 tsp minced cilantro

2 limes, juiced

1 tsp kosher salt

few dashes of pepper

2 avocados, diced

Combine tomatoes, onion, lime juice, salt, shrimp and cilantro in a large non-reactive bowl.  Refridgerate for at least 1 hour to let flavors combine.  Add avocado right before serving.  Serve with chips as a dip or in tortillas as tacos.

 

 

Margarita Cupcakes with Tequila Lime Buttercream Frosting:

to make cupcakes:

1 box white cake

4 egg whites

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup lime juice

1/4 cup tequila

(replace lime juice and tequila with a good margarita mixer for non-alcoholic version)

Mix all ingredients until well combined.  Pour batter into cupcake papers 3/4 full.  Bake for 18 minutes at 350 degrees.

to make the frosting:

1 cup of butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

2 tbs lime juice

2 tbs tequila

fresh lime zest and sugar to sprinkle on top

(omit tequila and replace with lime juice for non-alcoholic version)

Beat butter with an electric mixer on high until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add powdered sugar in 1 cup at a time, with mixer speed at medium.  Add lime juice and tequila and beat until smooth.  If frosting is too runny, add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.  Frost cupcakes and sprinkle lime zest and sugar on top.

Apr 01, 2015
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You know I love a good contest. I have the 411 on a good one, if you love cooking, beer and Ireland.

Twin Cities Live is hosting a cooking (with beer!) contest and if you win, you win a TRIP TO IRELAND. Enter, already! The contest closes this Sunday, April 5th.

I have terrible luck winning contest so win this one for me, friends!

 

Here is the link to the rules and submission page!  Win that trip!!

Mar 16, 2015
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From working in the wedding industry for almost 10 years, I have a lot of friends who have a lot of unique and awesome skills.  Tami Cabrera is one of those friends.  She is the owner and head baker at Muddy Paws Cheesecake, in St. Louis Park.  Plus, she is honestly one of the nicest, most wonderful people you will meet.

 

If you have been lucky enough to have been a guest at one of Tami’s 400 cheesecake-filled weddings a year, you have eaten Muddy Paws Chicago-style artisan cheesecake.  She has 222 flavors on the menu at all times and has over 600 flavors in her arsenal.  All sorts of candy, alcohol, fruit, coffee, cookies (and more) tops, swirls and melds with the creamy goodness of her cheesecakes.  Top flavors include Raspberry Swirl, Key Lime, Chocolate, and New York make the list.  My personal favorite is Bailey’s Irish Cream.  Because, DUH.  She can sell by the slice or entire cheesecakes and she offers a cheesecake sampler pack if you want to try some of the 600+ flavors.

 

She offers so many options, and sells and donates to so many places in the Twin Cities, it would be hard to believe if you have never tried her craft.  In addition to the weddings and events she books year round, she sells to restaurants, hosts charity events, does fundraising for schools and ships nation wide.  She offers gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free options.  Think you have a unique idea for a flavor??  She does custom cheesecakes too.

 

I spent a few hours with her in the bakery recently and shot this fun and informative video where Tami shows me how to make a successful cheesecake.  But, Recipe Thief’s beware.  She doesn’t give away any trade secrets on how exactly she makes her delicious cakes…just guidelines on how to make an ass kicking cheesecake.  She did pass on 2 cheesecake recipes that she thinks are pretty swell and that you should try out.  Or, just call, email or Tweet her your order!

 

Here is how to get ahold of Tami and her tasty treats:

Muddy Paws Cheesecake Website

Muddy Paws on Facebook

Muddy Paws on Twitter

Or just call her immediately with your order at (763) 545-7161

 

Or, if you want a go at making your own cheesecake, here are 2 recipes that Tami recommends.

 

Philadelphia Classic Cheesecake Recipe

New York Cheesecake Recipe from Allrecipes.com

Nov 24, 2014
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This bread.

OMG.

I LURRRRRRVE this stuff.

Cranberry Orange Bread is the kickoff of the holiday season in my kitchen.  I make it for Thanksgiving and continuously until after Christmas.  OBSESSED.  I love it for breakfast with coffee or OJ, or for a snack, or for dinner if I am feeling lazy.  You can freeze a bag of cranberries (and save it for summertime, which I have done.) because cranberry season is short–it’s mid- September through mid-December, typically.

 

Cranberry Orange Bread is sweet and tangy and I am addicted.   It’s a thick and dense bread with flavor jam-packed in every slice.  Those little cranberries are quite impressive.  I now have to make 2 loaves at a time because my kids will eat it right out from under me.  I will strong-arm a toddler over this bread.   It’s that good.

 

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Making it with Stephany’s Cranberry Orange Bread

makes 1 loaf of bread

 

2 cups of flour, I always use whole wheat flour, it’s great

1 cup of sugar

1.5 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1, 12oz. package of fresh cranberries, chopped in blended or food processor

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) of butter, softened

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon of orange peel

3/4 cup of orange juice

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Start by combining all of the dry ingredients.  Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  Then add egg, orange peel and orange juice to the bowl.  Stir until the mixture is evenly moist.  Fold in cranberries.

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Pour batter into a greased loaf pan, I like using a thin coat of shortening rubbed in with a folded (and clean) paper towel.  You can use non-stick cooking spray but that stuff bakes on to your pans and is a beast to get off.  The batter should fill the pan about 2/3rd full.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 10 mins.  Do the toothpick test, if it comes out clean, it is done.  Cool loaf in pan for 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

makingitwithstephanycranberry_007Eat. Enjoy. Repeat.

Nov 10, 2014
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I’m not a banana fan.  Every so often I have a banana.  Otherwise, fresh bananas are the opposite of my jam.  And we still buy them, and they disappear slowly off of the counter.  And sometimes, if you are an extremely lucky person, 3 very brown and mashy bananas appear on your counter AT THE SAME TIME.  We all know what having 3 very brown and mashy bananas means, right?!  It’s banana bread time, bitches!  But, I don’t really like banana bread that much either.  Until today, when I realized that I had no Nutella in the pantry to make some Nutella banana bread.

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“What if I used peanut butter, instead?”  I thought to myself.  “Yes, Self, you are very clever!”  Just to make sure I really was clever, I Googled peanut butter banana bread, and sadly, I found out I was not that clever.  But it seemed none of the recipes were exactly what I wanted.  Some had a small amount of peanut butter, some had honey added, some had WAYYYY too much sugar and some just had the ugliest picture of the bread that there was no way I was even going to click that recipe.  So I flipped through a few different recipes that I liked and made some much needed adjustments.  I added what I liked, omitted what I didn’t like and made sure to take some pretty photos.  Here is what I came up with:

Peanut Butter Banana Bread, MIWS-style

makes 1 loaf of bread

 

3 very brown and mashy bananas, add a 4th if you love bananas

1/2 stick of butter, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky

1.5 cups of flour, I used whole wheat flour, but all-purpose flour will work well also

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup of honey

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (omit if you hate nuts)

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl mix everything together, hold off on adding the flour until last, stir in slowly.  Stir until everything is well incorporated.  Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.  I like using a thin coat of shortening rubbed in with a folded (and clean) paper towel.  You can use non-stick cooking spray but that stuff bakes on to your pans and is a beast to get off.   Put the loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, do the toothpick test, if it comes out clean, it is done.  Cool loaf in pan for 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.  My oven is a little wonky and I needed to add 10 minutes to the bake time, so keep an eye on your LOAF!

When the bread was done, it was gorgeous!  I cut a (big) slice and I was really glad I upped the peanut butter to 3/4 cup.  It was a really good mix of sweet from the sugar, honey and bananas with a mild saltiness with the extra peanut butter.  And the bite from the walnuts–perfection.

If you love a dense, chunky bread, this is for you.  I will be having some of this bread with my coffee tomorrow morning, I may even dip it in the coffee.  IMG_0202And now, banana bread is my jam.  Just add peanut butter.  The End.

Oct 17, 2014
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Do you want a flavor explosion IN. YOUR. MOUTH?!?

Yes!  Yes you do!  Indian food is where that kind of flavor lives.  If you hate cream & butter, you should keep scrolling, this fabulous and savory meal isn’t for you.  But if you love perfect rice in a creamy tomato sauce that is simple, than this addicting curry recipe is for you.

Indian food may sound difficult but believe me, it is just a sauce with chicken and rice dish…anyone can do it.  This recipe is inspired by my favorite local Indian restaurant’s Chicken Mahkani dish.  The spices and basmati rice are readily available at most grocery stores if you don’t already have most of them in your kitchen, so don’t use that as an excuse not to make it.

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Here is what you will need to make the tastiest and surprisingly easy Indian dish:

cooking time, about 30 minutes

 

1/2 stick of butter

1 medium chopped shallot

1 cup 1/2 & 1/2 (or heavy cream)

1 cup plain yogurt

1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tbs garam masala

1 tbs coriander

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp ginger

at least 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 of pepper.  Adjust based on your taste preference.

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more depending on how spicy you like your food)

3 cups basmati rice

1 pound chicken thighs, cubed

cilantro, for garnish

 

 

Put rice in pot, cover with water for 15 minutes to rinse starch away and drain.  Then pour 4.5 cups of water over rice for cooking.  Salt water.  Bring rice to a rolling boil, turn heat to low, cover, and set timer for 10 minutes.  Rice will absorb water and become fluffy and light.

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In another pot, melt butter and cook with shallots, medium-low heat.  When shallots are starting to brown slightly, add cream, yogurt, and tomatoes.  Stir.

Add spices, salt, pepper and stir completely.

As sauce and rice are cooking, cube chicken and add immediately to the sauce on medium heat.  Chicken should be cooked in about 10 minutes.  Add rice to large bowl.  Pour sauce and chicken into a large bowl and incorporate all ingredients together.  Garnish with cilantro.  Serve and enjoy!

 

Trader Joe’s sells a frozen whole wheat Tandoori Roti bread that goes great with this dish or a nice crusty bread will do if you don’t have access to traditional Indian bread.

 

Get this in your belly ASAP and let me know how it goes!  This is a crowd pleaser!!!

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Mar 04, 2014
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1__0391 copyHi.  Let’s keep this short and sweet, shall we?

If you know me, you know I am not much of a writer.  I’m more of an animated, dramatic person who uses a lot of hand movements and eyebrows in my conversations.

If you don’t know me, I welcome you with warning: I am kind of weird.

If you know me, you know that this site has been a long work in progress.  Shooting, re-shooting, pitching ideas, pitching better ideas,  and so much research.  Finally it’s here.  It’s about damn time.

If you don’t know me, this site has been nothing but a piece of cake!  I wake up every morning with amazing ideas that just materialize in a blink of an eye!  I don’t know how I do it!!

If you know me, you know I love the path less traveled, everything oddly unique, and cursing.

If you don’t know me,  see above.

For all of my friends old and new: this blog isn’t going to be about how to make your life seem perfect and sunshiny, filled with fluffy kittens, souffles, perfect children and white sofas.

Forget that shit!  This is the real world!

I will show you unbelievably easy and practical DIY projects for you and your home, in quick and fun little videos.  Or, if you are anti-DIY, you can watch for entertainment…I make a lot of interesting faces.

 

It is now time to start  Making It with Stephany.