Sunday, February 26, 2012

Catching Up!!

I'm a terrible blogger.  My last post was June 3rd of last year.  Seriously.  I received 2 blog awards and then poof...gone!  I'm so sorry to my fellow bloggers, especially to Dee at Deelicious Sweets.  She is an amazing blogger with some AWESOME recipes, and I was so flattered that she took an interest in my blog!  Thank you, Dee!!!

Here's kind of the reader's digest version of what I've been up to.  My part time job quickly turned into a full-time job about a month after I started.  At the end of June, hubby, baby and I went on a mini-vaca to San Diego at my parent's timeshare for a week.  It was splendid.  Wish I was there now. 

In July, my sister got married in Napa.  Actually, forget San Diego. Napa is where it's at!  It was stunning, amazing, and nothing short of fabulous!!  We went to the incredible Bouchon Bakery.

Tiny inside, but everything is absolute perfection. The food looks like something right out of a Nancy Meyers film.

And then attended my sister's wedding in St. Helena at the stunning winery of V. Sattui.  Congrats again Natalie & Ryan!  Here are a few pictures from their big day.
Photo credit: Robert Cristie Photography

Gorgeous seating card by The Pomegranate Basket

Me and my other sister Liv at the reception.  Wine barrels surrounded the room.  Uh-mazing!

My 2 favorites, Hubby & Hudson

Before heading home, we decided to stay a couple of nights in the great city of San Francisco.  Went to a Dodgers vs. Giants game (Go Dodgers! I'm an L.A. girl. What do you expect?).  Ate a hot dog and drank a beer.  Shopping downtown.  Ate a hot clam chowder bread bowl at Fisherman's Wharf.  Rode the Trolley car.  Yeah, we did all of those tourist-y things, felt like complete dorks, and HAD A BLAST!

At the end of summer, I left my little part-time/full-time job.  Let's just say that it was the right thing to do for me and my family.  Fall of 2011 was just spent figuring out what the next step would be.  I got back to the basics and remembered that I've ALWAYS wanted to have my own business.  I daydreamed as a kid that I would have my own flower shop, book store, bakery....something creative.

Then, along came a little venture/adventure that I like to call Magpie Event Co.  I've been in event planning off and on for a number of years.  That combined with my love of sweets, I decided to specialize in creating beautiful custom candy stations for weddings, parties, and corporate events.  In just the few short months that it has been around, we have been seriously blessed by the outpouring of support from not only friends and family, but by other fabulous local creatives and our new clients!

We (my sister Natalie is my partner in crime) will be launching our new blog in the coming weeks.  I'll still be posting recipes for all my foodie friends, but we will also include some DIY projects, inspiration boards, real events, and other cool things like that.

So, stay tuned.  I'll keep you all updated on the things to come!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Compost Cookies

Okay, so this could very well be the best cookie recipe that you will ever encounter.  I mean it.  Seriously, it's amazing. This recipe comes from the fine folks over at NYC's Momofuku Milk Bar.  Weird name, I know.  But the name doesn't deter from its awesomeness.

I first heard about these cookies when I caught an episode of Live with Regis & Kelly last year.  You must know that I rarely watch this show.  Sorry Regis, but the only reason I caught this episode was because my anchor-crush Anderson Cooper (doesn't every girl have an anchor-crush?) was guest co-hosting.  He introduced the Compost Cookie as his absolute favorite.

I've read mixed reviews about people making this cookie at home.  I haven't had any major issues.  Just follow the instructions very carefully and watch your ovens.  You'll be fine. You'll be more than fine.  You'll be in cookie-heaven.

The Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie
recipe by Christina Tosi
(originally featured on the Regis & Kelly website, but it is no longer posted)

  • 1 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups your favorite baking ingredients (some options include: chocolate chips, Raisenettes, Rollos, Cocoa Krispies, oats, mini-marshmallows, toffee bits, etc. )
  • 1 1/2 cups your favorite snack foods (I go for salty such as chips, pretzels, etc.  On the show Kelly added goldfish to her batch.  The bottom line is, if you like it or your kids like it, go for it!!)
Note:  I change up the ingredients almost every time I make these.  This last time I used: chocolate chips, almond joy candy, M&M's, potato chips and pretzels.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for two to three minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides with a spatula.

On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate.  Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.

When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix for 45 - 60 seconds just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

On the same low speed, add your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30 - 45 seconds until they evenly mix into the dough. Add in your favorite snack foods last (and no, you don't need to crush the regular pretzels or chips), paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.

Using a 6 oz. ice cream scoop, scoop cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan.  They will really expand so leave plenty of room between your cookies.

Wrap scooped cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.

NOTE: DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 F.  Unwrap the cookies and bake for 9 to 11 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread.  At 9 minutes, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional couple of minutes if these colors don't match up and your cookies still seem pale and doughy on the surface.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage.

I love this cookie because you can really make it your own.  Get the kids in on the action--they'll enjoy the process of picking and choosing what goes in it, and they will definitely love the end result!  Enjoy!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pan Seared Salmon with The Sauce

It's been waaay to long since my last food post! My apologies. We've been a little technologically challenged lately. Not only with computer issues but camera issues too!  Technology hates me--what else can I say? I think we have it all under control now. Anywhoo, onto the salmon...

Outback Steakhouse used to make a sauce that they served with their salmon entree.  After years of ordering it every time I went there, it suddenly disappeared (the sauce I mean). When I asked the server about it, he said they no longer made it. I was heart broken. Okay, maybe not heart broken, but seriously disappointed. So, this recipe was born out of my desire to recreate the Outback sauce.  Over the years, I have changed The Sauce several times.  It now looks nothing like the original, but I'm very happy with the results every time I make it. 

  • 2 salmon fillets-skin on (4-6oz each)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cooking Spray
For the sauce:
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. of Old Bay Seasoning (This stuff is great for seafood. You should definitely think about investing in it if you don't already have some.  Supermarkets carry it.)
  • 1/4 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. minced capers

Season salmon by sprinkling it with salt and pepper. Spray cooking spray on a non-stick skillet and when the pan is nice and hot, place salmon flesh-side down and cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the salmon is cooked through, about another 3 to 4 minutes more. 

While your salmon is cooking, assemble your sauce by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Serve the salmon with a little lemon slice, the sauce and a fresh veggie.  I found some gorgeous asparagus today at the farmer's market, so that's what we had for dinner tonight.  At the end, we were begging for more, but chose not to be total gluttons about it.  We had dessert instead. =)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another Chapter Begins

I have loved every moment being home with my sweet, adorable, precious baby Hudson.  But the time has come where mommy needs to get back to reality.  The reality being...WORK (gasp, sigh, pout).  I'm not even sure if this gig is gonna last longer than the next 6 weeks, but still.  This means I'll have to shower before 10am.  Dang.  That stinks.

Things definitely don't always turn out as we plan.  For instance, Hudson was supposed to have been a gorgeous black baby boy that we adopted from Haiti.  As you can see by his picture, he doesn't even have a tan!  Right about the time when we were going to start our adoption paperwork, we found out I was pregnant. Huge shock considering that a couple of different doctors told us our chances without medical intervention "weren't good."  God had a different plan than we had for ourselves.  And I'm so grateful He did!  I mean, seriously.  Look at that face!

Here we sit again.  Working after kids was NEVER part of the plan.  But, God has other things for us yet again.  First, let me just say that I am counting myself so blessed that I don't have to work full-time.  2-3 days a week is all.  Second, I'm even more blessed to have family and friends to look after my sweet little guy, so I can rest assured that he's in loving hands--every day.

And so, another chapter begins......wife, friend, chef (to my own family, that is), baker, event planner, blogger, and now WORKING MOMMY!!!

So, cheers to all you working moms....I'll be seeing you...on the freeway...during rush hour!!!! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Go-To Pound Cake

I made this a few weeks ago when we had company over on back to back nights.  Instead of making two desserts, I decided that my Go-To Pound Cake was called for.  Well, that's what I call it now because it truly is my Go-To recipe when it comes to Pound Cake.  I can't take credit for this scrumptious thing.  The delightful Paula Deen gets all of that. It's her Grandmother Paul's Sour Cream Pound Cake.  This cake is moist with a fantastic crumby texture, and when it bakes up, the outer part gets this lovely sugary crust.'s "out of this world" as Paula would say.

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used Light Sour Cream)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated.

Sift the baking soda and flour together.  Add to the creamed mixture alternating with the eggs, incorporating each egg 1 at a time.   End with the flour mixture. 

Add the vanilla and pour the mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch bundt pan.  Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.

This usually makes me 14 servings, so it was easily spread out over 2 nights.  This is in no way low in fat or calories.  It's not supposed to's pound cake.  Just a lovely little indulgence to have every once and a blue moon.  My guests enjoyed it enough to jump at the chance to take some home (good thing because if it were here I wouldn't have stopped eating it).  It's delicious with fresh berries and cream or even a little vanilla bean ice cream, if you're really feeling naughty. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Last Minute Easter Treats!! Chocolatey Butterscotch Peanut-Buttery Easter Nests

I'm a little behind on my Easter "to do" list.  I needed a fast and easy treat to whip up to take to my in-laws tomorrow.  So, here is a little something for you just in case you're in a similar bind. =)

This chocolate peanut-buttery treat (we call them Haystacks) is actually a recipe that my mother-in-law gave me (Thanks Nancy B!).  With a little twist to make it fun for Easter.

I got the idea to take Nancy's Haystacks and turn them into these cute little Easter nests from a great food blogger Carrots N Chocolate.  I didn't use Carrots N Chocolate's recipe since Haystacks are a family favorite in my house, but hers look delicious too (and maybe even a bit healthier since it uses a fiber cereal in place of the chow mein noodles).  Thanks for the great idea Carrots N Chocolate!!

You only need 6 ingredients!
  • 11 oz (1 bag) butterscotch chips
  • 11 oz (1 bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups crunchy chow mein noodles, slightly crushed
  • 1 cup (approx.) of Cadbury Mini Eggs (or any other hard shell candy shaped like an egg.  M&M's work nicely too)
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  (Of course, I ran out of wax paper, so I used non-stick foil).

Melt your butterscotch and chocolate chips in a double boiler (to be super fast and easy, you can also use your microwave).  Once it is melted, add in your peanut butter, chow mein noodles, and pecans.  Stir until well combined.

Spoon the mixture onto your cookie sheet.  Gently place the mini eggs in the center to form your nest.

Cool in the fridge until it has set.

This literally took me 5 minutes to throw together.  Love that!  And they are just as tasty as they are cute.  I promise.

Happy Easter everyone.  May you have a blessed day tomorrow.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crock Pot Baby Back Ribs

So, it's been a couple of weeks since my last food post.  Mostly because I've just been too preoccupied to remember to take pictures until AFTER we've cleaned our plates.  Oops.  But last night, I was inspired to take photos because these ribs just turned out so pretty!  Can ribs be pretty?  Probably not, but you get the idea.

I love this recipe because it's sooooo easy.  Seriously, make it once and you'll remember how to do it forever (or as long as it takes you to forget).

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 Slab of Baby Back Pork Ribs
  • 1/3 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (I have yet to make my own.  It's on my list of things to do sometime in the next century.  For now, we enjoy Sweet Baby Ray's.)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
Cut the ribs in order to make them fit in the crock pot.  I usually have to make 2-3 cuts.  Don't cut them individually though.  You would just end up with a big mess at the end of the day.

Give a generous coating of equal parts salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Place ribs meat side up in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours.  No liquid necessary.

Once these babies have cooked low and slow for 8 hours, fire up your BBQ.  This is what helps it get that good smoky flavor without all the extra work.

While your BBQ is heating up, remove the ribs from the crock pot and brush on your BBQ sauce.  When your grill is nice and hot, place your ribs meat side down on the grill.  Flip them over after a few minutes to char the other side.  Then flip one more time so that your meat is sunny side up again to give it one more basting of BBQ sauce before you remove it from the grill.  Keep in mind, you just want to leave them on long enough for them to char a little.

When it's done, your rib meat will strip from the bone easily and it will taste like you've babysat it on the grill for hours.  It's kind of awesome.  Serve this alongside a salad or veggies to complete your meal.  Enjoy!!