Thursday, December 29, 2011

Grand Cayman, BWI

It's finally December 29, 2011. We've been planning it for a year. Time for our trip to Cayman. After getting up at 3:30am in Richmond for a 6am flight to Charlotte. 3 hour layover in Charlotte followed by another 3 hour flight to Grand Cayman. Oh, and did I mention this was with an exhausted and teething 17 month old?!

We definitely earned our rum punch that night. :)

The next morning when I woke up to this view... made everything worth it. Happy Vacation to us. See you on January 6th, back in cold RVA.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup was my dinner tonight. It is quick to make, (even with a 16 month old running around) flavorful, and filling. Serve with warm corn bread or tortillas. This also freezes well. Garnish with chopped fresh avocado, Cheddar, Monterey Jack cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and green onion. Enjoy! (I certainly did!)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
1 cup white hominy
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless chicken breast halves,
cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
crushed tortilla chips
sliced avocado
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
chopped green onions


1. In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa Hat Brownies

Usually I'm the one asking for recipes and baking ideas. But I have to share this one I came across.
I discovered this adorable dessert on the site. (a new love of mine) A festive dessert to get everyone into the spirit of the holidays. I can not wait to try it. (And, of course I'll post my attempt!)

Santa Hat Brownies
Adapted from this recipe found on Erica’s Sweet Tooth
Yields 12-16 brownies
1 pan of your favorite brownies, cooled and cut into desired size and shape (I used a round cutter)
12-16 small strawberries, cleaned and hulled
vanilla-mascarpone buttercream (recipe below)

Mascarpone Buttercream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and mascarpone cheese until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and salt. Add 2-1/2 cups of sugar, half a cup at a time and continue beating until smooth. Add more sugar, if needed to reach desired consistency and sweetness.
To assemble, pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream on top of each brownie. Cut off the base of a strawberry so it is flat and place it upside down on each brownie, pushing slightly to secure in place. Top the tip of the strawberry with a dot of buttercream to finish the santa hat.