Friday Favorites: No Cooking Just Eating

Have I told you about my Trader Joe’s obsession? No, well you will soon become familiar. I just wanted to share some of my favorites and maybe they are some of yours too? I always pick up a few new things I haven’t tried to see what I’m missing out on as well. Last week was Banana Man’s long week of the month at work. He’s in accounting so when it comes to month close we don’t really see each other and I take a cooking siesta. Trader Joe’s makes it so easy to be a lazy cook and I mean that in a good way. Sometimes the last thing you want to do after a long day is cook some laborious meal just to scarf it down in 5 minutes. Yeah, I admit it…I have a lot of those days. I love to cook but sometimes I love to NOT cook and there lies the balance of domesticated life. I will never be a pretentious home cook who has to make everything from scratch or balks at people who microwave frozen meals. Sometimes frozen meals are true life savers but you have to smart about it. Banana man used to live on Stouffers and DiGiorrno…umm no, just no. I guess I am balking at those frozen meals.

One thing I always get at Trader Joe’s is their yogurt. It’s rich and creamy and absolutely the best yogurt I’ve tasted. This one is full fat and sweetened with honey which is obviously not the healthiest yogurt. I eat it for dessert with banana’s and dark chocolate chips or with granola. I’m sure you have plenty of ways you like your yogurt but if you haven’t tried this one give it a go. The only other yogurt I buy is Fage, original plain.

Trader Joe's Greek Honey Yogurt
I think this would be great frozen into yogurt pops
Trader Joes' Haul 002
Definitely not fat free
Trader Joes' Haul
These microwave in just 1 minute. That’s dangerously convenient. They are all warm gooey on the inside and rich choclate cake on the outside. It’s not dry at all and the perfect portion size.
Trader Joes' Haul 009
I thought there was no way these could be good but took a chance. You let them sit out over night to rise and bake them 20 minutes in the morning. They are buttery, flakey and not too sweet. Chris ate 2 1/2 in one sitting.
I added powdered sugar after they cooled a bit
I added powdered sugar after they cooled a bit

Almond Croissants

Then there are the Trader Joe’s Apple Blossoms. Oh how I love love love these. I always keep some of these on hand. Again they are perfect individual serving sizes and would please any discerning apple pie lover.

Trader Joes' Haul 011

Tonight Chris and I are excited to see the musical American Idiot based on Green Day’s music! It’s at the Belk Theater in Uptown Charlotte. We are going to dine at Blue Restaurant for the first time and doing their pre-fixe dinner they offer for show goers. I’ve heard all good things so hopefully it’s fabulous to celebrate my darling husband’s 35th birthday. I’m off to go get glammed up for the show! Have a great weekend!

Sunday Morning Scones: Blackberry Ricotta Whole Wheat Scones from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

I got some blackberries on sale this week and was thinking about ways to use them in baking. I immediately thought of scones although I have never before made them myself. I turned to one of my favorite bloggers recipes and adapted it for blackberries instead of rasberries.
I got some blackberries on sale this week and was thinking about ways to use them in baking. I immediately thought of scones although I have never before made them myself. I turned to one of my favorite bloggers recipes and adapted it for blackberries instead of rasberries.
I was so delighted at how easy and fast it is to throw scones together. With just a couple of steadfast rules to adhere to I'm already thinking of all the possibilities.
I was so delighted at how easy and fast it is to throw scones together. With just a couple of steadfast rules to adhere to I’m already thinking of all the possibilities.
Rule 1. Use very very cold butter to cut into flour. Many recipes recommend cutting butter into small cubes and putting it into freezer for 10-15 minutesRule 2. Do NOT overwork
Rule 1. Use very very cold butter to cut into flour. Many recipes recommend cutting butter into small cubes and putting it into freezer for 10-15 minutes
Rule 2. Do NOT overwork
I topped mine with Sweet Treat, a cinnamon sugar mixture I got from my last trip to New Orleans
I topped mine with Sweet Treat, a cinnamon sugar mixture I got from my last trip to New Orleans
They turned out nice and crisp on the outside and light at fluffy, not too dense on the inside.
They turned out nice and crisp on the outside and light at fluffy, not too dense on the inside.

Blackberry Ricotta Whole Wheat Scones

They are best served warm after resting 10 minutes or so. I think I might have to go eat another one now! Happy Sunday scone eating my friends!
They are best served warm after resting 10 minutes or so. I think I might have to go eat another one now! Happy Sunday scone eating my friends!

The original recipe was made with raspberries and heavy cream, I substituted with blackberries and buttermilk  with great results.

You can buy the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook on Amazon, I’ve had it on my wishlist since before it was published.

 

Given that this my first ever attempt at making scones I would give her recipe an A+!!! I think it is also helpful to watch a little video on making scones in general so here is one I liked. Laura’s video is on making rum raisin scones which of course is a totally different recipe but with the same basic rules: Cold butter, and do not overwork…

Do you have a favorite scone recipe? Have you made any recipes out of the Smitten Kitchen Cook Book? I’d love to hear what’s the next thing I should try.

 

 

Dessert and Jewelry Party

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I love parties, soirees, gatherings, shin digs…what have you. Any excuse to put together a social event and I am all over it! My favorite part of the day was baking with Katie and making everything (very hastily). I got a little later start than I should have even having done a full day of prep the day before.  I always tend to be overly ambitious in my menu planning than time actually allows. Ce la vie.

Menu

Coconut Macaroons

Strawberry Mini Bundt Cakes with Cameo Chocolates

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Key Lime Tarts Key Lime Cake Pops

Melon ball Skewers

Candied Bacon Ice Cream

Drinks

Lemon infused Water

Chocolate Wine

Champagne

Even though I didn’t get my candied bacon ice cream done I’d say it was totally successful. We ended up having tons of extra desserts which I had to immediately disperse to my neighbors so I didn’t eat it all myself! I would make everything again with just a few tweaks, mainly in presentation which I just simply ran out of time for. I would have chocolate dipped half of each macaroon, sprinkled the moon pies with confectioners sugars, glazed the strawberry bundt cakes and garnished the raspberry cheesecakes with a single raspberry each on top. The details just make everything look finished and more appetizing. Alas, I will let the perfectionist in me rest and be happy because it really was all just wonderful 🙂

The jewelry part of it was really fun too. I got to share all the baubles and bling that I love with my neighbors and girlfriends. Stella and Dot has traveled with me here to Charlotte as a part-time business. You can visit my website www.stelladot.com/kendraleelarsen if you liked some of what I had displayed you can order directly from my site. This month I am up to renew as a stylist and since I have been buying it more for myself than selling it to people I may not continue with it. (I’m just not the pushy salesperson type) Let me know what you think or if you are in the area and would like to host a jewelry party at your house! You just send me a guest list, I send the evites and bring over the bling and it’s as easy as that. I was hoping it would be a fun way to meet new people in the area too.  I’m looking forward to the next excuse for a party! Cheers!