Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring is in the about a giveaway!?!?

I have been so absent, please forgive me. How about a giveaway to help you forgive me! Deal!?! ;o)

Spring is now here, finally! It feels like it has taken FOREVER to get here, anyone else feel that way?? It is so nice to have the warmer temperatures and all the flowers starting to come up. Spring always brings the sense of happiness, which is definitely what I need right now. I love being able to go for walks on my lunch break and drive on my way home for work and still see daylight. Simple things like that just brighten my day even more!

How about I brighten your day now!?!?

I feel so honored to have been approached to do a cookware giveaway! CSN Stores is a great resource. They have everything your shopping heart desires - from kids beds, to fitness equipment, to furniture, to cookware...the list goes on and on. Go on check it out, I'll wait!

La de de da...what's that, you are still wanting to know about the giveaway!?!? LOL I don't blame you, it's a GREAT ONE!

CSN Stores has been kind enough to sponsor a giveaway for drum roll please.....

A Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker!!!!

Cue applause now!!! ;o)

That's right you heard me, AN ICE CREAM MAKER!! I am super excited about this giveaway for many reasons: 1 - I LOVE ICE CREAM! 2 - My sister is giving me an Ice Cream maker (which I will finally get this weekend), so we can make ice cream together!! and 3 - 'Tis the season for ice cream!!! (although, is there really a season for ice's year round for me!)
So here's how to enter:

1. Become a follower of my blog (if you aren't already) and let me know that you have in your comment. Also in your comment, let me know the first flavor of ice cream you would make (should you win this Ice Cream Maker). If you want, include a link - I'm always looking for new exciting flavors to try out myself! Please be sure and include your email address too, so I can contact you if you win.


The giveaway will end on April 5 at 6pm central time. A winner will be selected by, and I will notify you by email. US residents ONLY please.

***Disclaimer: I was not paid to do this giveaway, nor did I receive any compensation. I was simply contacted regarding the opportunity to provide my lovely readers with a wonderful giveaway. ***

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I am a part of a Dinner Club, where we pick a theme each month and plan our meal around that theme. This particular theme happened to be Italian. I did some research on Italian recipes, but I kept coming back to Profiteroles. I have had these several times before and loved them, but was always somewhat nervous about making them. I didn't really know what to expect, but they ended up being fairly easy to do! And of course the outcome was SOOO worth it!! These babies were D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!!!!

(recipe adapted slightly from Tyler Florence)
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

To make the pate a choux: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring to melt the butter completely. Add all the flour and baking powder at once and continue to stir until all the flour is incorporated and the dough becomes a mass that pulls away from the sides of the pot. Remove from the heat and scrape the dough into a mixing bowl. Using a standing or hand-held mixer, beat the dough on medium speed to cool it off a bit. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically. When all eggs have been incorporated, the dough should be a thick, smooth, and glossy paste.

Form 24 golf ball-size mounds on the lined baking sheet about 2-inches apart allowing room for them to spread; keep the mounds as high and round as possible. You can use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip or a large spoon, your choice. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. and continue to cook for 25 minutes. Do not open the oven door or remove the pans from the oven until the puffs are firm to the touch. (I kept my eye on them throughout the 25 minutes looking for that golden brown color. After 25 minutes were up I opened the oven and touched them to make sure they were firm to the touch.) The profiteroles should be golden brown and well-risen. Allow the shells to cool before filling.
**There seem to be MANY varieties of Profiteroles out there. Tyler Florence filled his with Vanilla ice cream. I didn't quite think that would be as good as a cream filling, so I went with that instead. But use whatever you want. If you want to try the ice cream, follow the instructions here. Otherwise, this is what I did:
Cream Filling:
(Liesl's recipe)
4 ounces cream cheese
2 cups milk
1 and a half (or about 5.25 ounces) packages instant french vanilla pudding mix (I use the 3.5 oz boxes, and just use half of one box.)
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and milk and beat until smooth. Add pudding mix and beat until thickened. Cool until set. (I used Wilton squeeze bottles to fill my Profiteroles, but you could try using a zip-lock bag or a small round piping tip.) Carefully pipe pudding mixture into each pastry. You want a good amount of pudding inside, but not too much. I would say it ends up being a tablespoon or so.
Chocolate Sauce:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, cut in chunks
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the cream and butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture until bubbles appear around the sides of the pot, but do not allow the cream to boil. Mix in the chocolate and vanilla; remove from the heat and stir until the chocolate melts and the sauce is smooth. Carefully dip each cream filled pastry into chocolate sauce. Be sure to cover only one side with the chocolate sauce. Place on wax paper to let chocolate harden.
If you aren't eating these right away, place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
**Special thanks to Erin for letting me borrow her camera, since mine was in the shop getting repaired because my stupid self dropped it :o(