Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: Anniversary Dinner Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

Happy 3rd Anniversary to us!  Chadson and I have been married for 3 years, as of yesterday.  Best three years ever.  And instead of going out for dinner, we cooked at home.  And I made this beautiful rendition of a pinterest pin that I will tell you allllllll about:

Pinterest is a veritable smorgasboard of delicious ideas.  I thought, being a completely incompetent cook, I would try something new for our special dinner.  Chad was in charge of steaks and salad.  I was in charge of dessert and decided upon those charming little strawberry cheesecake bites.

The original recipe is on the link above.  Feel free to follow it exactly, or try my altered version below.  If you're like me and pretty incompetent in the kitchen, you might want to read on for a step by step.

Here's what I used:

1 pint of strawberries
1/2 brick of 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 - 4 tablespoons of agave honey (depends on your taste)
graham crackers
dark brown sugar for sprinkling

I made the filling first.  I took the cream cheese, agave honey and vanilla and beat it in a bowl until it was nice a creamy.  Luckily, I had my awesome finger scraper to assist me with getting the sweetness level juuuuust right.  I used 3 tablespoons to start and that was about right for me...but someone else might like it a smidge sweeter.  So add a bit more a 1/2 tablespoon at a time.  Remember, you can always make it sweeter, you cannot unsweeten.

Once you've got it just right, spoon it into a ziplock baggie like so.  I've always made a mess of this in the past, so I thought I'd take a blurry picture to help you.  Fold the top of the bag over your hand to help with the mess and glob that cheesy sweet goodness into your bag covered hand.  No need to close it.  Once you're done, just leave it on the counter to hang out while you get your strawberry on.

What I learned about strawberries....they're holey!  Yeah, I didn't know that.  I cut off the tops and did a little surgery to uncover the natural cavern that exists inside the berry.  Then I cut of a bit of the bottom (and set aside to use on a salad...or just eat) so it would sit flat in the pan.

I love how pretty and red the strawberries are.  Makes me think of summertime ( summertime sum sum summertime!).  Once you have them lined up like little soldiers, it's time to add your delicious filling.

Remember your ziplock bag of filling?  Cut a teeny, tiny hole in one corner and get to squeezin'.

How impressive is that??  Once you have the berries at this point of completeness, put away in the fridge until about 15 minutes before serving.  You'll want to garnish before you serve, so give yourself time for that.

If I had chocolate sauce, I would have been drizzling, but I didn't.  Instead, graham cracker triangles it was...I wanted a little flair and not to get involved in trying to make crumbles.

This still didn't seem quite finished, so for extra lovely, I added a sprinkle of dark brown sugar.  I'm quite impressed with myself...but really, this is a SUPER easy and impressive looking dessert.  Use an egg carton to transport and you'll surprise the pants off people.

Enjoy!  If you try it, I want to hear how it goes.

Hugs and Kisses,


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Booze Fueled Crafting - Tiny Champagne Chairs

Something I found on Pinterest recently stayed with me.  Because around 4pm, after several hours of drinking mimosas (and eventually Coors Light) on a gorgeous back porch in Alabama in delightful 70 degree weather, I felt the need to create.  My wonderful hostess produced a pair of pliers and I was set.

The Flora-Bama coozie is very important to this project, but if you don't have one, substitute as best you can.  Basically, without going through our dear Martha's very well layed out tutorial, the base of your tiny champagne chair is the top of the wire ring and the four braids coming down either side that hold the cork on.  The top/arch of your chair is the twisty ring that you have to loosen to open the champagne.

So first, open a bottle of champagne.  Then cut the bottom big ring like it shows above.  Then, you will want to detach the bottom big ring from the future base of your tiny champagne chair.  Have some more champagne.  Then mold the piece you cut into a fun shape.  I had been drinking for a while, so I didn't try too hard.  But still, even with the lack of chair seat (the particular brand we were drinking did not have a metal cap), this thing is darn cute.  Please use buzzed creativity responsibly.

Hugs and Kisses,