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30 June 2013

No Bake Golden Oreo Truffles



Today is the hubby and I's one year anniversary! They say the first year of marriage is always the hardest (though when talking to married couples I got the first five years...oh boy....). I do have to say- there was some time needed to adjust to living with one another, getting to know each others little quirks in how each of us liked to arrange things. It's amazing how much you continue to learn about your significant other when you start living together, no matter how long you dated before. Though- quirks, bumps and all-- it went by fast! It truly felt like I married the hubby just a month ago! I have loved every minute of married life and being a "Mrs." :) I really feel lucky to be married to the hubby! Happy Anniversary to us! I'll save the rest of the corny talk for the hubby!


Our day started off by giving each other our "surprises." We agreed to not be too extravagant, as we just like simple things BUT I cheated. See, I married a gamer. I have come to terms with that ;) And the Nintendo Wii-U came out. And so I decided to splurge and get the hubby the new system, which I knew he wanted (sadly, I found out the Play Station 4 is coming out....so I see that in my near future ;). I also got him a game to go along with it. He was sooo excited! It was absolutely adorable! He was expecting something small- like a basket of treats he has never tried before, maybe some shirts for work, but not a gaming system. Score for me! And I am quite proud of myself- because I did the research and everything myself- and not being a gamer- I have to say, it's quite complicated. The hubby got me, by far, my favorite card ever! It was so sweet! And my favorite flowers and one of my favorite treats- cake balls :) I may have already eaten them all :/


For dinner we headed off to one of College Station's few "nice" restaurants.  It's called Christopher's World Grille. I like it because even though it is  "fancy" it's really quite simple and not pretentious. You can really sit down and have a nice quiet, romantic meal. For our appetizer I got the crawfish and shrimp fondue (for two- but the hubby's not a fan of shrimp or crawfish) and the hubby got onion soup. Then for our main course, I got a chicken with goat cheese mashed potatoes and fresh veggies. The hubby got a snapper with veggies. And for dessert- I got a napoleon and the hubby got a spiced toffee cake. This place had a TON of desserts. And I love it! I truly will pick restaurants based on their desserts and not their main entrees. It was super sweet- because when we had made our reservations they asked us if it was for something "special" and we told them our first wedding anniversary. Well- when my dessert came out- I got a specially decorated dessert from the chef :)We finished the night off by eating the top tier of our wedding cake! It was perfect!


And since it is our anniversary. I cannot share anything but dessert. And so I decided to do one dessert that did two things: (1) keep the theme of cake balls/truffles going and (2) make a pun on the hubby and I. I present you Golden Oreo Truffles. Have you ever had traditional Oreo Truffles? I saw this twist to the Oreo Truffle using the Golden Oreos instead. It seemed really cute, so I tried it. Plus it keeps to my anniversary theme of cake balls. Then- Golden Oreo balls, ::laugh::, are the hubby and me- a little bit of vanilla and a little bit of chocolate to make awesome ::cue corny:: COME ON...its funny right?







NO BAKE GOLDEN OREO TRUFFLES 
Slightly Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

INGREDIENTS

1 family size package of Golden Oreos, finely crushed
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
12 oz of baking chocolate (or Candy Melts)*
1-2 tsp. vegetable oil
Sprinkles

*Ghiradelli's Baking Bars are delicious but regular store brands work wonderfully too!

DIRECTIONS

Making the Oreo Truffles:
First crush Oreos. Here is what you can do:

  • The family size Oreo pack comes in three columns. I divided each column in half. I placed each of the these "batches," one at a time, in the food processor to get a nice, even consistency of crushed Oreo. If you put too many Oreo in the food processor at once, you are likely to get lumps of cookie that are not crushed
  • If you do not have a food processor- you can crush the Oreos by placing each batch in (1) in a blender or (2) in a freezer size Ziplock back and crushing them by hand or with a rolling pin.
After each batch was crushed, I dumped them into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment. Once all the Oreo have been crushed and placed in the bowl- add in the cream cheese. Mix until well combined and a dough like consistency has formed. When you have reached a dough like consistency- roll into 1 inch sized truffles. Place in freezer for 15 minutes or in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Dipping the Oreo Truffles:
In the meantime, melt either chocolate bark or candy melts according to package directions. This is my secret, once the chocolate is melted I stir in the vegetable oil. This makes the chocolate have a smoother and shinier coating :)

Now, I am going to tell you how I get perfectly dipped cake truffles but if you have your own method that works-- you are more than welcome to do it that way--this is just whats worked best for me. Once chocolate has melted, take an Oreo truffle and while holding the top half, dip the bottom half into the chocolate, then dip a cake pop stick into the chocolate (about 1/2 inch) and push into the center of the truffle until about, no more, than half way through. Let cool. This will make it much easier to dip the rest of the truffle- otherwise I have found that the truffle either gets stuck in the chocolate or falls off the stick.

Once cooled, dip the top of the truffle and a little part of the bottom, that was already coated into the chocolate. Immediately cover with sprinkles and allow to cool by sticking into flower foam. Once dried- holding the truffle with one hand, gently twist (while pulling slightly down) the cake pop stick with your other hand, and pull the stick out.

If you love these check out my No Bake Oreo Truffles and No Bake Red Velvet Oreo Truffles

Enjoy,
Chika

10 June 2013

Laughing Cow Mac n' Cheese



Today I have to begin yet again with an "I'm sorry." I have a major case of lazy-itis. After a long day of work- instead of keeping the momentum and continuing my work- I lounge around, cuddling with Ninja, and watching television. I think it has something to do with a lack of schedule during the summer- since I am definitely a creature that benefits from structure! 


Well- I left off with my flight to Singapore. Once the hubby and I landed in Singapore, we took a 4 hour bus ride-- watching the beautiful scenery and enjoying some zzzz's as we headed to Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. We stayed for two days only. On the first day,  we headed out to experience the famous Chinatown. Most tourists go there for their famous, name brand knock-offs. But I am just not a fan of knock-offs. But I did get some scarves, leather purses, a wallet and a make up bag. We enjoyed touring the local temples and seeing the architecture. We ended the night trying traditional Malaysian food- which I realized I was NOT a fan of at all :( The hubby though discovered his love of Pandan. 


On the second day, we took the train to the Batu Caves which was about an hour outside of Kuala Lampur. The city has an amazing rail system- so we took the train. The Batu Caves is a famous Hindu Temple that is built in a large cave. Their are wild monkeys EVERYWHERE! At first it's a bit scary but then you realize it's like squirrels there--though they are a bit more forward if they want your food and water-- so you do have to be careful not to have that out. To get to the caves you have to climb this really, really, really long and giant staircase. I got really winded and did not think I was going to make it. But it was amazing and breathtaking. 


After our long day, climbing and touring in the HEAT we went and enjoyed Japanese food (since we did not want a repeat of the Malaysian food). I ordered this Sushi sandwich! It was so yummy and so cute looking! I really wondered why we do not have anything like that here. We then finished the evening with dessert. I realized Malaysia is really into gourmet desserts, they have them everywhere- one of them being donuts. They have the most interesting flavors and choices. And best of all- they are decorated beautifully! The hubby enjoyed this beautiful yam doughnut. A good and bad of Kuala Lampur was that there were cupcakes there BUT they were very, very simple. I got this chocolate on vanilla cupcake and a Milo doughnut. If you do not know what Milo is- you are missing out!





The next morning we were off to Siem Reap, Cambodia! Until the next post-- enjoy this recipe for Laughing Cow Mac n' Cheese. I love Laughing Cow Cheese because you can get the low fat version, to be health conscious, and it taste just the same (for those that like "skinny" recipes). They also have different flavors- in case you want mac n' cheese with a twist. This dish is super easy to make and comes out creamy- just like you would order in a restaurant. Absolutely delicious! So if you have a little one who loves mac n' cheese- and want something simple, healthy and not from a box- try this!







LAUGHING COW MAC N' CHEESE
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats 

INGREDIENTS

8-10oz pasta shells (or other desired shape)
6 oz of Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges (I chose Creamy Swiss)
1/4 c. heavy cream or milk (optional- for creamy texture)

--- stop here if you just want plain mac n' cheese--

1 tbsp. olive oil
10.5 oz (1 1/2 chicken breasts) chicken strips, cooked (I used Tyson's grilled chicken strips)
10 oz broccoli florets
1/2 can of diced tomatoes drained (very well or use sun-dried tomatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste 
squeeze of lemon juice (for tangy taste- omit if preferred)

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot of salted boiling water-- cook pasta according to package directions. Drain excess water and run cold water through pasta to prevent sticking.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, saute chicken breasts until warm and fragrant (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
Once pasta is cooked and drained, dump pasta back into large pot over low heat. Then stir in cheese wedges. Using a spatula, continuing stirring pasta and cheese, until cheese melts and evenly coats pasta. Then add in chicken, broccoli and tomatoes-- tossing until cheese evenly coats all ingredients. Add in salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. 

Serve while hot- so mac n' cheese is nice and creamy!

Enjoy,
Chika

03 June 2013

Cake Batter Cupcakes



I love baking, cooking, and blogging. But since I have gotten back, I have been so tired. I expected jet lag, but I never knew it could be like this. Though, on Saturday Luke told me that for every one hour of time difference to where you travel, it takes a day to recover. What's worse, is that I have been baking and cooking, but just not posting :/ (and that's like my favorite part!). But by the time I am done baking and cooking, I am ready for a nap. The silver lining: a have tons of recipes to share with you all!


Well, I thought I would pick up where I left off: heading to Southeast Asia. Before we left, I bought some reading books and a large book of crossword puzzles.  I really love crossword puzzles. I also downloaded some games on my iPad. Since the flight was 22 hours long, I was a bit worried, since I get too antsy. Though we did have a stop over in Moscow- where we got to get out and stretch. Though, I have to say the Moscow airport was scary....the people were a bit harsh. I felt like I was part of a heard of cattle that was trying to be directed. Not a feeling I would want to relive.


The hubby and I booked Singapore Airlines. Trust me if you have the opportunity to fly this airline, I would. Singapore Airlines was fantastic. The food was delicious! And they feed you constantly! My favorite part, was before the flight began, they handed out MENUS! Are you serious?! I have gotten so used to not being provided any food or entertainment. Granted, this was an international flight, but in Asia, their domestic flights are really nice too (I'll share abut that later). Anywhoo- it was an awesome menu! There in-flight entertainment system is fantastic. They have all the latest music and movies. They have Hollywood movies as well as international movies. They also have television series. I watched the newest season of Big Bang Theory, Two Broke Girls, as well as The Guardians, Silver Linings Playbook, I Give it a Year, and Now is Good (I loved that movie....so sweet :) The plane was not that full...so the hubby and I had a row to ourselves, which was nice, because the rest of the time, I got some much needed ZZZZZZZZZZZ's :)






I made these cupcakes in April for an end of semester party in one of my favorite classes. They are cake batter cupcakes! I love batter- cake, brownie or cookie dough (okay, that is "dough" but it is about the same). Plus cake batter anything- looks so cute! I love sprinkles. I mean can you really have too much sprinkles. Pretty much impossible! To top it off...hahah...the frosting (get it? top? frosting?) was a cream cheese cake batter frosting!? Say what?! Yes, you are correct! They are super easy to make- so go on and make them for your next get together!







CAKE BATTER CUPCAKES
Adapted from Your Cup of Cake

INGREDIENTS

Preheat Oven to 325F Degrees

FOR THE CUPCAKE
1 box yellow cake mix (I love Duncan Hines)
1/3 c. oil
3 eggs
1 c. of water
1 c. of sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. multi-colored sprinkles*

FOR THE FROSTING
4 tbsp. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, cold
1/3 c. of yellow cake mix (dry)
4-6 c. of powdered sugar
Sprinkles for topping

*I recommend using the long sprinkles or shaped sprinkles rather then the beads, because the color runs easily. I learned that the hard way :/

DIRECTIONS

For the cupcakes:
Before you begin, sift cake mix to make sure there are no lumps and line a cupcake pan with liners. Then in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, combine cake mix, oil, eggs, water, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined. Then add in sprinkles. Instead of using the mixer, use a spatula and fold in the sprinkles. Do not over mix. Also do not worry if the color on the sprinkles begin to bleed. That is normal. Folding the sprinkles in by hand will help with the color bleeding. Using an ice cream, fill each liner 2/3 of the way full. An ice cream scoop is the perfect amount. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to completely cool.

For the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Do not over mix, you want the stiffness of the cream cheese for your butter cream. Then add in cake mix and 3 c. of powdered sugar, slowly until well incorporated. Then add, 1 c. of powdered sugar at a time until desired consistency is reached. The frosting should be stiff enough to hold shape when piped. Garnish with sprinkles.

Enjoy,
Chika