Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gobs AKA Whoopie Pies

So here I am... in a  'baking emergency." As you all well know, I am baking/ blogging for a purpose (of course you all have read my About...) Tonight, the purpose is to distract my overly busy mind, to make something that reminds me of home and to feel comforted.  As you have probably guessed, I had a shitty day!!

In the past year, I have taken to my bed when the "going has gotten really, really tough."   I am not ashamed of that fact, but tonight after driving around aimlessly for a while, talking to my little sister, and having some BFF intervention, I began to crave what is comforting to me.  I needed to be busy and what better way than to bake. Still in my work, dress clothes I begin to dig through cabinets. I needed something that is home; PA home that is. I also wanted something chocolate. What better recipe than Gobs; a western PA favorite?? As I began to mix, measure and muse ( baking therapy at it's best),  I realized that nothing is going to keep me down; no matter the pain, no matter the obstacle, I will persevere. I am strong, I am beautiful, and I am worthy of the best things in life. And while the escape of my bed can make me feel good for a little while, I am a "stand up and fight kinda girl." I am my Daddy's girl. I say it how it is, never back down to something I truly believe, and love those who love me back with every ounce of my soul.

As you all know, my blog's logo is... Love Begins In The Kitchen.  Tonight I wasn't mixing up love for others. I was prepping myself to be a stronger person and mixing in a whole lot of love for the most important person in my life..... ME!

OK... I will admit a few Gobs helped in that strength process. Ahhh chocolate.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Peanut Butter Cheesecake

If you LOVE Peanut Butter Cups you have to make this cheesecake!!

One thing that I love to do is make some one's birthday a little more special by baking them something that is really fabulous. Usually I end up choosing something complicated, I am not sure why.... I guess it is my chance to try out some really amazing recipes that I have been hoarding and not have to eat the whole thing by myself!  Sometimes, after spending 4-6 hours on one of these recipe endeavours, the finished product is truly a labor of love. So why do I do it? Because in my family, my Mom always made sure that we had a beautiful, homemade cake of our choice; one that would set the theme of our birthday. My sister and I would wait and watch her construct a cake in different shapes or characters, excited about every piped rose or scalloped edge of icing that was lovingly put on our cake. Then, at our party, dressed in our new birthday outfit,  we would proudly sit behind our Alf or Pink Palace Cake and get that important birthday cake picture. Some of those pictures are the best of my childhood;  with a huge smile and light in my eyes. I was always so proud of my cake but I was always more proud of my mom! Although she had her Master's in Education, she decided to give it all up for a little while to raise my sister and I.  Early on in that process, she was gifted a cake decorating kit from my Grandma C. Whether out of boredom or her love for all things artistic, she began to practice her "cake art skills." Soon with the encouragement of others, she had a pretty popular cake business. Since she is artistic, friends and family could bring her a napkin with E.T. on it or a picture of their favorite 57 Chevy and she would draw the design freehand, transfer it to the cake and with piping bags and icing, make it come to life. Due to the time and love she put into each cake, her cakes were in high demand and her customers really appreciated the chance to have a custom cake.

Me with my 4th birthday cake

Until I left my parent's house, my mom made every birthday cake that I ever had. She also took on the large task of making my sister and my wedding cakes. Every one of the cakes that were made for me are still special to me. The memory of cakes being prepared and decorated in my house is something that  I associate with my childhood (it is one of those "kitchen memories" that I spoke about in my "About" section.) My Mom's cakes were ever present in our house, as were the happy people who would come to pick up her masterpieces. In our little community, my Mom helped many families celebrate their birthdays, weddings, retirements and all of life's big milestones.  She became part of their personal stories; part of their history.

I guess in some way, I hope to do the same thing. I bake for others to show my love, to see them smile, to let them know I appreciate them and to become part of their personal history...


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Bonbons and Biscotti is proud to announce that we are participating in the 2nd annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012. What is the Cookie Swap? Well read on...

"Bloggers sign up. Receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. Send each of them one dozen delicious homemade cookies. Receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers. Eat them all yourself (or, you know, share. If you want. No judgement either way.) Post your cookie recipe on your blog. See everyone else’s cookie recipes. Salivate. Get lots of great ideas for next year's cookie swap. Rinse and repeat."

And even better then that, some 500 bloggers have signed up to participate and each of us has made a donation to Cookies for Kids with Cancer.

So this past weekend, I have received the three lucky participants that will receive my cookies and now I am pouring over possible recipes that I can bake and send out. They have to be post office friendly since one of my recipients is all the way in Seatle, WA.

Hmmm....... so many recipes! Will I go with a family fav, a Rebecca original or some kind of fandanged crazy internet find? Well, stay tuned because whatever my choice, I will be sharing the recipe right here on Bonbons and Biscotti. Happy Baking!!

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash soup with Arkansas Black apples and a little Gorgonzola cheese

So it is fall. Although this is not one of my favorite times of the year, I do love some of the foods that this time of year allows me to start making. It is time for casseroles, roasted veggies, pies, and everything  pumpkin but I am especially fond of different types of soup. I love taking  time over the weekend to make a different type of soup that I can eat all week. When I come home from a long day of work and I am tired I know that I have some great soup and a glass of wine that will warm my tummy and my spirits. Since I am not a TV watcher, I curl up on the couch, usually with my laptop, and eat and read blogs. LOL!

One thing that a lot of my girlfriends all say, is that they love soup or salad for dinner. It is something to snuggle up with at the end of the day that is light, healthy and does not come with a lot of guilt;  no meat and potatoes, if you know what I mean. What girl needs meat and potatoes??? Wink! Wink!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Where have I been? I bet you are thinking I have gone into winter hibernation. Well that is kind of true! We are moving into my least favorite season of the year.... COLD! I hate Cold Season. LOL! No really, I have been busy cooking, but not baking so much. I have been on a 21 day cleanse and for those of you out there who have cleansed you know energy is at a minimum. But.... I AM BACK! And while Cold Season is my least favorite time of the year, I have a tons of comfort food recipes for this time of the year as well as holiday recipes from my family. So.... with any luck, for the next few months, you will be reading so many recipes from me that you will wish I was hiding in a cave somewhere!

So, when we were on our 21 day liver purification, we were restricted to only veggies and fruit for the first 10 days and then thankfully after day 11 we were allowed to eat lean meat. In the fall, on Sundays, there is nothing I love more than to put a pot of chili on in the afternoon and watch football (GO STEELERS!) While on the first 10 days of veggies, I kept saying I want chili, but I was restricted to what ingredients I could use. On day 11 the challenge was on: I was chili or bust.!!  I have had this recipe in my book of tricks for sometime and while it intrigued me, I was a little leery of whether or not it will WOW! me. Boy, am I glad I gave this a try. I think that this will be "my go to chili recipe" now. I have tried so many healthy chili recipes in the past and all were mediocre. This one is fabulous and you don't even realize that is is ground turkey or pumpkin for that matter. When I made this chili and told my friends it had pumpkin in it they looked at me like my cleanse had also erased my common sense but after the first taste they realized that this healthy, vitamin A and C packed chili was Pumpkin-licious!

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