Chocolate Cream Pie




 I love cream pies, especially a good chocolate cream pie. It satisfies the sweet tooth, without being to heavy or filling, This chocolate cream pie is easy to make and we never have any leftovers because it is so amazing. To make the large chocolate shavings, I use this technique

Print recipe here 

Ingredients

crust:
30 nabisco wafers (I buy these at wincos)
1/3 cup of sugar
6 TB butter - softened

filling :
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

topping:
  • 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • shaved chocolate

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Make the filling: place the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a heavy medium saucepan, on medium/low heat. In a  measuring cup, whisk together the milk and egg yolks. Add the milk mixture to the saucepan in a slow and steady stream, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, 6-8 minutes. Immediately turn the heat down to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly until thick. (to prevent eggs from scrambling)    
  3. Turn off the heat, add the chocolate and whisk. Add the butter and vanilla extract. Transfer the filling to a bowl. Press a piece of saran wrap directly over surface of the filling to prevent a film from forming; refrigerate until cool, 1-2 hours.
  4. Make the crust: Combine the chocolate wafers, sugar and butter in a food processor and pulse until the cookies are finely crushed. Press the mixture firmly into a pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes until crisp. Cool completely.
  5. Once the filling and crust are cooled, spoon the filling into the crust and spread evenly and chill for at least 6 hours or up to one day.
  6. Up to 3 hours before serving, make the topping: Place the heavy cream and sugar in a stand mixer. Whip on medium speed until the whisk leaves  tracks in the cream. Add the whipped cream over the filling and sprinkle with the grated chocolate and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Thanks for visiting, 


Packing School Lunches -Planet Box Rover Review


Lets talk about packing lunches. My daughter takes a cold lunch to school about 3 times a week, depending on what is on the lunch menu.

  I prefer to pack my daughters lunch the night before- to avoid the morning rush. All I need to do in the morning, is move there container from the fridge to her carry bag. I also fill up her water bottle and put everything into her back pack.

 I used to have to pack little individual boxes and ziplock bags of fruit, veggies, snacks, and the main meal. Then I would need to wash all the individual boxes when my daughter would come home from school-- not fun. So when PlanetBox reached out to me and offered to send me their Rover lunchbox, to review, I jumped at the opportunity. I have seen pictures of this lunch box on instagram,  and I was even planning to purchase 2 for the next school year, so I could pack the same meals for both kids, side by side. 

After using this box for a few weeks, I feel like I can give you an honest review. 
I think this is a fantastic lunch box! It has perfect portions for a child or an adult. I no longer have to wash 2 or 3 tupperware containers after school. I just wash the entire lunch box or put it into the dishwasher. 

My daughter is picky- like most kids, so if she saw something in a baggie or a little container that she didn't like, she wouldn't even bother opening it. Now, as she lifts up her lunch box lid, all the food is in front of her and she doesn't need to ask for help from the teacher with any containers or baggies.  

I have only one tiny complaint about this box, and that is you can not heat food in the the stainless steel container, I wish they offered a container that was microwave safe. My daughter's class eats in their classroom, and they have a microwave to heat up food.  So when I pack something that I know she will like to warm up, I slip a small paper plate into the carry bag. She is able to place foods like quesadillas or pizza on the paper plate and heat them up. 

As I did some more research on this, I found out that Planet box makes a bigger lunch box (the Launch) with a glass container inside, which can be used in the microwave. I decided that I will be getting my daughter the Launch box next year and keep this rover box for my son. He will be in kindergarten next year and this would be perfect for him. I will just buy a new carry bag :)

The planet boxes come with magnets which you can customize your lunch box with,  and you can choose the color of your carry bag. 


This lunch box is made of high quality steel, the main box is not waterproof, which is why it comes with 1 little dipper and 1 big dipper for sauces, applesauce, yogurt and so on.

 I like the separate compartments, It helps me make sure I pack a balanced meal.


Heres a peek into her past few lunches-




Chocolate Cake



Nothing will satisfy that chocolate craving better then a slice of this delicious, moist chocolate cake. We all love this cake, definitely something I will be making over and over again.
It is a combination of three different recipes which I put together to make one amazing cake. The cake recipe is from Add a Pinch, the condensed milk frosting is from Natasha's Kitchen and the buttercream is from my german chocolate cupcakes


Ingredients-

cake
2 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt 
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup veg oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup boiling water

condensed milk filling/frosting-
1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3  condensed milk
1/4 cup water
3 eggs yolks
4 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

buttercream for decorating and piping (optional)
2 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup of unsalted butter (softened)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 TB milk

Chocolates for decorating, I used milk chocolate DOVE 

Directions:

Fried Chicken Tenders


I absolutely love fried chicken, I really don't know anyone who doesn't. What I don't like is getting my hands dirty while eating around the bones. This is why I love using chicken tenders. This chicken is so tasty, it is seasoned well and the crunchy coating is amazing. 

I like to marinate the the chicken overnight, this insures that the chicken tenders are moist and seasoned well. 


Ingredients:

marinade-
2 pounds chicken tenders
1 cup butter milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika


for the breading-
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tb buttermilk

2-3 cups vegetable oil for frying

Instructions:

 In a large ziplock bag, combine chicken tenders and all the ingredients for the marinade. Seal the bag tightly and mix it all together. I like to place the bag into a bowl (incase there is any leakage) and place into the fridge overnight, or at least 4-6 hours.

To make the breading, in a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and baking powder. Stir together to combine. Add the 3 TB of buttermilk, and stir. This will make some lumps in the coating which will adhere to the chicken and make that yummy crispy crust. 

Dip the marinated chicken tenders into the flour coating and set aside onto a parchment lined sheet. Press the coating in firmly so the clumps adhere to the meat 

Heat 2-3 cups of veg oil on medium-high heat in a skillet with high sides. 
Prepare a large plate lined with paper towels. Place chicken into the hot oil, do not overcrowd. I fry 3-4 pieces at a time. 
Cook until golden brown on the bottom, and then flip and cook until the other side is golden. Remove the chicken onto the prepared plate. 

Fry the remaining chicken. This chicken tastes best when it is fresh and hot. 
But we still eat it the next day to. Kids love to dip it into ranch and bbq sauce, It is also amazing in a hoagie bread for a chicken sandwich (with some ranch, lettuce and tomatoes).

Enjoy!


Zoo in January


We had no school today! Yay! Plus there was a break in the rain, so I decided to take the kidos out to the zoo followed by lunch. It was a last minute decision, and after a swift breakfast, we bundled up  in hats and coats and headed off. Apparently, we were not the only people who had the same idea, the parking was packed and the lines were long. But thankfully we didn't have to wait in line since we are members. 

We strolled though the zoo, and the kids took in the sights. I love seeing their excited faces when they see something new. William loved the penguins, and didn't want to leave them, he kept waving to them, disappointed that they didn't wave back :)

After pushing the stroller up and down, we were tired and hungry. We ate the the Zoo restaurant. We had cheeseburgers and chicken strips with beer battered fries. Yum!

It was quite a lovely day, and I am glad I decided to do something spontaneous, instead of doing the usual cleaning and cooking all day long :)

Heres a look into our day 







William's 2nd Birthday



My little boy has turned 2! It seems like just yesterday that we celebrated Williams 1st birthday, but here we are a full year later. I went back to look at his new born photos and I still find it hard to grasp that this little itty baby turned into such an energetic toddler.




William adores Curious George, so naturally we went with George for the party theme. 

Sunday Fun-day



We try to go out with the family every Sunday although it doesn't always work out-- sometimes hubby gets an emergency job call and sometimes we just want to stay home especially if it is raining outside. But today it was sunny (although still cold) so we decided to get out of the house after our yummy breakfast of pancakes and eggs. 

We went to the children's museum (one of the kids favorite places). Afterwards we went out for pizza at our favorite pizza place, which did not disappoint---- YUMMY :)

Here's a peek into our day -








Chicken Tenders in Creamy Sauce


I came up with this recipe by accident a few months back, I had some chicken tenders and wasn't sure what to do with them, so this is what I came up with... It was so good that since I have made it atleast a handful of time. I absolutely love these chicken tenders, they are so tender and the creamy garlic sauce is amazing. 

You have a choice to make this in a casserole dish or finish it in the skillet. I prefer the casserole dish because I can prep the chicken ahead of time and clean up the the kitchen before the hustle of dinner time. Then I just stick the casserole dish into the oven 30 minutes before dinner. 

Print recipe HERE

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken tenders
salt/pepper
paprika
4 TB olive oil
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 cup of heavy cream
basil, oregano, thyme


1. Rinse and trim chicken tenders.
2. Leave the chicken tenders on the cutting board and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Rub in the seasoning on both sides. 

Rustic Apple Tart




I  adore apple tarts, especially fresh from the oven. The flakey crust and cinnamon glazed apples give it the apple pie flavor without the time and effort of making an actual pie. 
I make the crust in my food processor, which takes about a minute and then stick it into the fridge while I peel and chop the apples. Then I just roll out the crust on some parchment paper, spread the apples, pinch the sides and transfer to a cookie sheet. No need for pie dishes, and clean up is easily contained on the parchment paper. 
 This is a quick and easy recipe that anyone can make. You will not be disappointed. You can serve it for brunch, tea or dessert. Its simple and delicious. 



Ingredients:

Dough-
1 3/4 cups of flour (2 TB more for rolling out crust)
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 stick of cold butter (12 TB)
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of cold water

Apple mixture-
4 apples (peeled, cored and thinly sliced)
1/4 cup of flour
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

2 TB heavy cream
corse sugar


Directions:

1. To make the dough- combine flour, salt, sugar in a food processor, cut the cold butter into chunks and add to the food processor bowl. Shut the lid and pulse until combined and the butter is pea sized. Add the sour cream and half of the water, pulse to combine. Add the rest of the water. The dough should still be crumbly, but when you pinch it together it holds together. 
Place the dough onto plastic wrap and shape into a disc. Refrigerate for atleast 20 minutes, or until you have your apple filling ready. 

2. Preheat over to 375

3. Filling- In a medium sized bowls, combine your cored, peeled sliced apples, add the four, sugar and cinnamon. Mix and combine. 

4. Flour a large piece of parchment paper and roll out your dough into a circle about 14-16 inches in diameter. Spread the spread the apple filling on the dough, leaving about  a 2 inch border.
Fold the edges of the dough so that they overlap the previously folded edge. 

5. Transfer the parchment paper with the apple tart to a large cookie sheet. 

6. Brush the tart with the heavy cream and sprinkle the crust and apple with the coarse sugar. 

7. Bake for 45 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Allow the tart to cool atleast 10 minutes before serving.   
Enjoy 


Mushroom & Pesto Rotini


We all love pasta, and this one is another favorite of ours. It is inspired by noodle co (one of our favorite "fast food" places) It is quick, easy is very yummy. 



Ingredients:

1 lb of rotini pasta
salt/pepper
olive oil
approximately 10 cherry tomatoes (sliced)
6 oz of sliced mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of white wine
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup pesto
Parmesan cheese


1 lb of chicken thighs 
paprika 
garlic salt/pepper

In a large pot, bring water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tb of olive oil in a large non stick pot, add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes. Once the the mushrooms are slightly brown, add minced garlic, and sliced cherry tomatoes. Stir and sauté for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the white wine and heavy cream, pesto and bring to a boil.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper, taste to make sure it is seasoned to your taste. Simmer until the sauce has slightly thickened (about 2 minutes)

Add the pasta to the sauce and stir well, serve topped with parmesan cheese. 
I like to add chicken for some protein.

Chicken (optional)
Trim the chicken thighs, and season both sides with garlic salt, pepper and paprika. Rub in the seasoning.
In a large skillet, heat approximately 4 TB of olive oil.
Add the chicken thighs and sauté until golden brown on both sides. 
Transfer to  cutting board and let rest for about 2-3 minutes. Slice and serve on top of the pasta.

Enjoy






Snow Day!

We had a snow day and the first day back to school after winter break has been canceled! Wahoo!! Although this is not as much snow as we saw on our winter vacation in Sunriver Or, it was still fun to get outside and play with the white fluff and pull the kids around on sleds. I pulled William and Nico and Daddy gave Emily a ride around the block. She was so happy, she came in with rosy cheeks and the biggest smile on her face. 

After playing outside to our hearts content, we spent the rest of the day doing some schoolwork (nico) and drawing/painting, reading.

We had a great relaxing day with no where to go and nothing to do but relax, eat and watch movies :)





New Years Eve with the Family (2016)


Happy New Years from our family to yours!

Another year has come to an end, I can't believe how fast it has gone by, we have made alot of memories this year. Just two days ago I spent some time looking through our family album from this year. We have filled up the entire thing with photos from our family vacations, local trips, birthdays, weddings, parties and just everyday life! It feels great to welcome another year with a brand new album to fill up with new memories. 

I made a yummy dinner for our family, a cake for hubby and and cake pops for the kidos.
We set the table with all the candle sticks we had for a beautiful candle lit dinner.

The kidos didn't actually make it till midnight, but we celebrated all evening long.
By 8, the kids had their baths and were in their pjs. We cuddled on the couch and watched 2 movies and then it was bed time. Hubby and I stayed up till midnight, popped the champagne open and watched FRIENDS until midnight :) sounds like a perfect evening to me.

We had a great time, and I am glad I made an effort this year. I am usually so tired after the kid's birthday party and the holidays to do anything for new years, but now that the kids are actually understanding the whole point of New Years Eve, I thought it would be fun to dress up and celebrate. 

Here's a peek into our evening-