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24 November 2014

Mac n' Cheese Cups

Happy week of Thanksgiving :) I love this time of year. I have already busted out the cookie smelling candles, which aren't much different than my normal cupcake smelling candles I use the rest of the year ;) I have a bakery addiction and its bad. Speaking of FOOD, after coming back from Spain, I went to Miami!

I did a little Yelping and saw that this donut shop -- called Mojo Donuts -- got really high ratings. It is beyond this world cool. They make gourmet donuts, many of which are stuffed. Between the hubby and I we tried: chunky monkey, red velvet, s'more, deco, pumpkin, apple pie, Oreo, cannoli, Boston creme, creme brulee, key lime, peanut butter and jelly, brownie, Snickers and coconut creme. Usually when I travel, I bring the hubby back some cupcakes...this time I brought back half-a-dozen donuts....he was a happy hubby.

Do not worry...I had cupcakes too!!! Never forget the cupcakes! I went to Misha's cupcakes, which was soooo good! I highly recommend their Boston Creme Cupcake, which has sat at room temperature for a bit. You will not be disappointed. I visited Buttercream Cupcakes, which had average cupcakes except for their cookies n' creme cupcake which was amazing! I usually don't like frosting but on this cupcake I did. And I went to LA Cupcakes (I know LA...in Miami....weird) -- it was okay.

I finally got to try the s'more cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. It was not too "s'more-y" but it was deliciously chocolatey. If you do not like rich chocolate, do not try this cheesecake. It's basically a thin graham cracker crust topped with a chocolate cheesecake, topped with a fudge layer with a little marshmallow fluff. So good, but not s'more.

I got to try insomnia cookies again! They are expensive for cookies but so filling and definitely worth it. I tired the peanut butter cup and the chocolate chip...because chocolate chip cookies are my favorite food on earth!

And then I said, "Bye Miami..."

What would a Thanksgiving countdown be without mac n' cheese!?! I LOVE MAC N' CHEESE. Really, what would life be like without mac n' cheese? I will tell you -- a life I don't want to talk about ;) This recipe is a cute way to share some mac n' cheese with everyone. It's a bit more time consuming to make, since it is made from scratch but it is totally worth it. No big casserole dish to pass around just a little cup to throw across the table ;) JUST KIDDING.

For the Love of Dessert Original Recipe


Preheat Oven to 400F Degrees

2 c. of elbow macaroni
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
3 tbsp. + 1 tsp. flour
1 1/2 c. heavy cream (milk)
2 c. shredded yellow cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. panko bread crumbs* (optional)


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. Keep pasta in colander. Do not return to pot. 

After pasta is cooked, use the large pot to heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, saute garlic and  until garlic is browned and fragrant. Do not over cook, as this will burn the garlic. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in heavy cream, stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened. This can take some time, approximately 10-15 minutes-- but it will thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in shredded cheese until melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in macaroni and panko crumbs (for a little texture).

Grease a cupcake pan and lightly flour. Scoop mac n' cheese into each well. Bake for 10-15 minutes until gooey. Allow to cool and then use knife to loosen cups out of wells. Garnish with green onions.


23 November 2014

Double Cranberry-Apple Sauce

Our last stop in Spain, after Merida, was Madrid. We first visited the Royal Palace. Unfortunately, photography and videography were not allowed inside the palace. But take my word for it, it was absolutely breathtaking. There were many rooms, each decorated with a different theme.

The next day the hubby and I took a day trip to Toledo. It is known as the City of Three Cultures: Muslim, Arab and Jewish communities co-exited historically in Toledo and its architecture is influenced by all 3.

It was from a small bakery in Toledo that the hubby got his favorite dessert of the whole trip. It was called Rosquillas de Alcala. I also found a dessert that I loved. I have to take a step back first. Have you ever had Keebler Magic Middle Cookies? You have to be a 90s child to get it but they are by far the BEST. COOKIE. EVERRRRR. Although I did not find that in Spain, we did stumble upon this cute, traditional cookie shop which sold cookies stuffed with chocolate...just like Magic Middles. I bought a pound of cookies to bring back to Texas :)

On our last day in Madrid we went to the Museo del Prado -- which is an art museum. I HATE museums. The hubby LOVES museums. Whomp whomp. Usually he just goes by himself, because he says I bug him. Well since we were in a foreign country, there was no way I was okay with the hubby going by himself. So I went...and waited patiently...for 8 HOURS! Yes, 8 hours! I sat on a bench while the hubby spent -- did I say 8 hours -- on just ONE FLOOR out of 3 total!?! Cray..

Thankfully I was rewarded with yumminess. I had a chocolate truffle from La Mallorquina and then some chocolate con churros from San Gines. Which is like dipping awesomeness in more awesome? It's possible. And then I had even more awesome -- a lemonade icee with lychee bolba... you read right! If you love lychee or bolba, you will appreciate what I just described :)

And so the hubby and I ended our trip in Spain and headed back, but not before I stocked up on a lot of chocolate. I mean A LOT of chocolate...GIANT bars of chocolate to be exact. Milkas and Kinders to make my heat whole and warm. To make the brunt of going back to school much better. Except for the fact that I was a chubster and took down my entire chocolate stash in a week :/ #dontjudgeme

For the 4th day in our Thanksgiving countdown, I wanted to share a twist on the classic cranberry sauce. I never was fond of cranberry sauce. But I do love apple sauce. So when I stumbled upon a recipe for cranberry apple sauce, my reaction may have been Whaaa?!? And by may, it definitely was...but in a freakishly excited way. It is simple yes, but you need this on your Thanksgiving table....do it.... it is peer pressure...I think all the cool kids are doing it. Though I can't really tell you because I was a big fat nerd...hahaha

Adapted slightly from MyRecipe


6 large Fuji apples, peeled and diced
12 oz. package of french cranberries
2 tbp. lemon juice
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. water
3/4 c. sweetened dried cranberries


In a large saucepan over medium-heat, combine apples, cranberries, lemon juice, sugar and water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Continue stirring until cranberries pop and sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in dried cranberries. Allow to cool before serving.


22 November 2014

Cheesy Green Bean Casserole

After we left Seville, we headed to Merida. Because this is a small city there wasn't much tourist traffic like the other cities. But I think that was one thing I loved about it. The hubby and I originally wanted to go to Italy but needed a destination that was a little more budget friendly. However, Merida gave me a chance to explore ancient Roman ruins.

We saw the Roman Amphitheater! This was, what I thought, one of the more interesting ruins we saw and it was huge, so you got to walk around and up and down the stairs and rows of seats.

We also saw the Temple of Diana. What is neat is that this is randomly seen as you walk around town. It is not a "set aside" monument where you have to buy tickets to enter. It was just a ruin that we stumbled upon trying to figure out how to get to the hotel! Side note: I love wandering the most...I guess that's why they call it wanderlust....it's when you wander that you see the best things. 

My favorite thing we saw in Merida were the Roman Aquaducts. They just looked so grand and neat. And when the hubby explained to me how they worked, I just thought they were so clever!

Merida was HOT. I mean HOT HOT HOT. So, the hubby and I wanted to cool off with some fro-yo. We love fro-yo. We saw this place that seemed really popular and wanted to see why (and we are glad we did). It was traditional, tart fro-yo but the way it was done was cool. It was served in a cup and you picked: what you wanted the cup to be lined with (I got nutella), then picked a filling you wanted (I chose mini chocolate cookies), next fro-yo was placed in, followed by two more toppings (I again chose extra nutella and mini chocolate cookies). I discovered I had a great passion for the flavor pair of tart fro-yo and nutella...mmmm.

The hubby was much more adventurous in his flavor pairings. We went to this place every day we were in Merida :)

The green bean casserole. One of the must have dishes in a Thanksgiving Dinner. One of the few dishes besides the turkey that screas Gobble, Gobble. However, not everyone just loves good old, plain green beans. Thankfully, there are so many variations of this dish that it's easy to find one that matches you and your family's taste preferences. I chose a CHEESY one because cheese is one of my favorite things ever!!! I also love this recipe because I topped with a ton of french fried onions...another food that makes me drool. So if you love cheese and french fried onions as much as I do -- this recipe is right up your alley! Plus, it's EASY!

Adapted from Kraft


Preheat Oven to 350F Degrees

48 oz. frozen french cut green beans, thawed
2 (10.75 oz) cans of condensed cheddar cheese soup*
1.5 lb (12 oz) of Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
6 oz. can of fried french onion 

*Can substitute with another condensed soup, such as cream of mushroom or mix and match


In a medium bowl combine beans, condensed soup and Velveeta cheese. Grease a 4 quart or 9x13 baking dish. Spoon green bean mixture into baking dish. Bake 40-45 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Garnish with french fried onions and bake for an additional 5 minutes until toasted.


21 November 2014

Cornflake, Pecan, and Marshmallow Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

Next stop after Granada was Seville. This was my favorite city that we visited! It was also perfect timing as the hubby and I got to celebrate our anniversary in one of the top 10 most romantic cities in the world. And when you visit this city, you will instantly know why....it is just so sweet :) The hubby and I spent most of our time just holding hands, wandering around and enjoying the beauty!

It was in Seville that we got to see the COOLEST site ever! We visited the Catedral de Sevilla which was, yes beautiful BUT it housed the TOMB OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS! Yes, I said Chistopher Columbus....the 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue...guy. I was so excited and oddly star struck! It was crazy! To be able to stand next to and see his tomb was a history pseudo-nerd's dream :)

We went on a walking tour of the city which was really great but A LOT of walking. We got to see the Plaza de Torros where the bull fighting occurs, Alcazar (which had this gorgeous bath house in it), and old tobacco plantation house and commerce center, and Seville's colorful neighborhood.

Seville is where the hubby and  I had some of our favorite dishes while in Spain. Just another reason why I loved the city so much. Everything about the food was beautiful and delicious. I am drooling now, just thinking of the food that I enjoyed there.

And it was the only place I have seen cupcakes on a stick. Okay...not technically cupcakes, more like peep cupcakes...but still pretty darn nifty!

Spain was definitely not the hubby's favorite. He loved Southeast Asia so much more. And I agree, but I am so glad we got to experience Seville. It is definitely a gem in Spain. Also, when you think Spain, tourists always go to the major cities (Barcelona and Madrid), which don't get me wrong, the hubby and I went to also. But it was always the small cities that the hubby and I enjoyed the most.

Happy Day 2 in the countdown to Turkey Day! I thought I would mix up our savory with some sweet (with one of the longest titles everrrrr): cornflake, pecan, and marshmallow topped sweet potato casserole. And its the first post which I did not technically make, one of my Thanksgiving guests made it. Since they are not a culinary genius or one that enjoys cooking, I can only guess that this recipe is easy peasy to make :) I do know that everyone enjoyed this casserole and it was eaten up quickly!

One note: in the picture, we had marshmallows which melted a bit during baking so I added fresh marshmallows. Though looking back, I do wish I toasted the tops a bit. 

Adapted slightly from My Recipes


Preheat Oven to 400F Degrees

2 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes or about 5 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. of milk
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/4 c. cornflakes, crushed
1/2 chopped pecans
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. melted butter
1 1/4 c. mini marshmallows


Bake sweet potatoes on a lined and greased baking sheet for 1 hour or until tender. Allow to cool. Then peel and mash sweet potatoes. Reduce the oven heat to 350F degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix on medium speed, sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar, milk, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Grease an 8x8 or 7x11 baking dish with cooking spray and spoon sweet potato mixture into baking dish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine cornflakes, pecans, brown sugar and melted butter. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture in diagonal rows about 2 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow the casserole to cool for 15-20 minutes. Then sprinkle mini marshmallows in the alternate rows between cornflakes and bake until marshmallows are slightly toasted and golden brown on the top. Watch carefully as marshmallows can overcook quickly.