Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dessert Bar

A couple of weeks ago, I was in charge of doing the Dessert Bar for the Relief Society Birthday Dinner for our ward. I had seen a lot of yummy looking recipes on Pinterest lately and I was excited to finally be able to try a few of them.
Here's the recipes I used:

No-Bake Thin Mint Truffles
Recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff
-1 (9 oz) package of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies (or Keebler Grasshopper cookies)
-1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese, softened (I used fat free and it worked great)
-1 (12 oz) bag Guittard's Green Mint Chips (I just found these at the grocery store)*


In a food processor, pulse the Thin Mints a few times, and then blend them down until they are just crumbs. It might be easier to do this in two batches (even if you don't have a food processor, you can still make these. Throw the cookies in a big Ziploc bag and start pounding them with a hammer until you have a lot of fine crumbs).

Next, mix the cream cheese and cookie crumbs together in a bowl until well-mixed. Roll the mixture into 1 inch size balls, and place them on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so the balls are easier to dip in the chocolate and do not fall apart.
Once the truffles have been in the fridge for a while, melt the green mint chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Heat the chips for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each heat burst. Repeat until the chips are all melted.

Roll each ball in the melted chips until it is fully covered. I usually use two forks to push the truffle around until it is all covered. Then, using the two forks, carefully pick up the truffle and allow the excess mint chocolate to run off before placing back on the wax paper. Repeat with all the truffles.

Stick the truffles back in the fridge for a couple of minutes or until the mint chocolate is hardened.

If you want to decorate your truffles as I did, melt about 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips (or almond bark or white candy coating-whatever you want) the same way that you melted the mint chips. Spoon the white chocolate in a small Ziplock bag and cut a tiny bit of one corner off the bag. Start small at first, then if you need, make the hole a little larger. Drizzle the white chocolate over the green truffles.

Place back in the fridge until you are ready to devour eat them.

*I actually couldn't find these at the grocery store, so I used a package of Andes Mints and melted them down. 

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
Source:  adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
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For the Crust:
1 pkg graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Filling:
12 ounces (about 1 cup) dulce de leche*
2 (8 oz.) pkgs cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Glaze:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 Tbsp chocolate liqueur or heavy cream

1. Make the Crust. Position an oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 325F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray.
2. Finally grind the graham crackers with the sugar in a food processor. With the motor running, add the butter, blending until combined. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then place on a cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes.
3. Make the Filling. Spread the dulce de leche evenly over the graham crust, then place pan in refrigerator while you prepare the cream cheese layer.
4. Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat on medium-high for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract.
5. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the dulce de leche layer and spread evenly, and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely-about 2 hours.
6. Glaze the cake. Heat the chocolate, butter, liqueur and light corn syrup in a double boiler or in a microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth.  Cool for about 10 minutes.  Pour the glaze over the cheesecake, tilting the pan to ensure the top is coated evenly. Chill for several hours-or at least 30 minutes before serving.
7. Lift the cheesecake from the pan using the parchment handles and slice into squares using a sharp knife, wiping it clean after each cut. **

*You can generally find Dulce de Leche near the sweetened condensed milk or in the international isle at most grocery stores. 
**Let the pan sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before you lift the bars out and cut them.  The chocolate glaze will crack if you cut them while they are still very cold.  Learn from me, my friends.  :) 

White Wedding Cake Cupcakes


1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites


1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans (you'll need approx. 36).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and beat with hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until well blended.
3. Use ice cream scoop to fill prepared cupcake tins- fill about 3/4 full. Bake about 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


*Recommend: Duncan Hines "Moist" White Cake mix for this recipe.
*You can use either regular or light sour cream for this recipe, but heck... since it's a wedding cupcake and you want it to be as delicious and moist as possible, I recommend going for the full-fat kind.
*Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract (in addition to the vanilla) if you wish to have a different flavor.
*Using an ice cream scoop is perfect for getting the batter into the cupcake tins without spilling.
*You can also use this mix to make cake. Pour into greased and floured cake pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Source: (Adapted from

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Best Story Ever. REALLY.

Okay, you know that person in your life that can make anything sound funny? Just the way they tell it or the look on their face or even just the way their voice sounds? Well, I have a person like that, and she makes me laugh every time I see her. This is my favorite story of hers. I make her tell it a lot. It's not the same in print form (it's really a you-had-to-be-there kind of thing), but I don't EVER want to forget it, so I am including it in my blog. Thank you, Megan Mallicoat for making me laugh.

Once upon a time there was a pilot at Southwest Airlines who was boarding flight that from Burbank to Salt Lake City. As he was boarding and watching everyone come on the plane he kept saying hi and greeting people but he noticed that people were not sitting in the front of the plane, that everyone was continuing on to the back of the plane. He thought this is very strange because normally people like to sit at the front of the plane. So, the pilot decided to go back and check in with this woman that was sitting in the front that people kept looking at kind of strange and then walked past. As he approached the woman he realized that she was breast-feeding and he thought it may be a little bit uncomfortable to sit right next to somebody that was doing that but I mean cant you at least sit in the row behind her? Then he realized what the problem was,  she was breast-feeding a CAT. At that point he said ma'am we don't allow animals on our planes and we certainly don't allow women that breast-feed animals on our planes.


Well folks, it's official. Headaches suck. It is March 29th and I have had a headache (nonstop) since March 1st. That is WAY too long. I have tried less caffeine, more caffeine, less sugar, more sugar (that was fun), Tylenol, Advil, Alieve, drinking more water, exercising more, exercising less (that was nice too), eating more protein, eating less protein, essential oils, massage, more sleep, less sleep, and anything else I've been able to think of. The only thing that has helped was the Vicodin, and that mostly just made me not care about having a headache.

I had an appointment with a doctor today. The last time I went to the doctor, it was a really bad experience, so I decided to go somewhere new today. He helped Ben with his headaches, so I thought maybe he could help me. Instead, I sat in the waiting room for a full hour and then left. We'll try again tomorrow.

I left after an hour because I had an appointment to donate blood today at my mom's blood drive. She is the East Stake Blood Drive Coordinator and I've been helping her. (All of the scheduling is done online and she doesn't have a computer, so I've been doing that end of it.) I decided to try doing the Double Red Cell donation today instead of whole blood. Basically, they put two needles in your arm and hook you up to a machine. They take out your blood, separate it from the plasma, then put the plasma back in. Then they do it again. So you're donating twice as much, but you get all of your fluids back so you don't feel quite so yucky and woozy. But man, it sure made me cold! The plasma was chilly going back in. My teeth were chattering and my whole body was shivering.

The really interesting part, is that my headache went completely away while I was donating. When the blood was going out, my headache disappeared. When they started putting the plasma back in, it came back. The same thing happened the second time. I should have just asked them to keep the plasma and maybe the headache would have gone away for good.

So, I feel good that I donated blood (and saved up to 3 lives!!), but now I'm more confused than ever about this headache. Let's hope tomorrow brings answers... and a shorter visit to the waiting room.