Friday, April 17, 2015

Lemon & White Chocolate Truffles


If it is not clear by now, I will just go ahead and announce that I have an epic sweet tooth. Sugar, butter, and chocolate bring out the best in me! I grew up in a house where baking was a daily thing. For every holiday, play date, or snowy day, there was a coffee cake or pastry ready to eat.

However, candy making was never our milieu. Double boilers, candy thermometers, and the seemingly complex 'give & take' between sugar and heat always seemed so intimidating to me.

Nevertheless, one day I tried making a caramel sauce... and it didn't turn out half bad! Confidence bolstered, I tried making some molded chocolates, to the delight of my (then) one year old son. Emboldened, I next decided to break out the ganache and roll out some dark truffles.

As an afterthought, for the lemon-loving members of my family, I made these lovely Lemon & White Chocolate Truffles... Of all the desserts on the table, those tart little bites of sunshine stole the show! Sweet white chocolate with lemony punch and creamy texture, these candies are encased in a thin - but crunchy - deep dark chocolate shell. They are the perfect one bite dessert for any chocolate lover!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Jicama



In the same way that fans get excited over a new movie, or for the premiere of a beloved TV drama (Game of Thrones, anyone?), I get excited for a new farm-share season. I'm a food geek like that. Opening a box stuffed to the brim with fresh veggies, leafy greens, and a bounty of fruit, makes my fingers itch for kitchen tools.

Unfortunately, we aren't quite there yet. The good news is that we can cheat a little! The first greenhouse beauties are coming into the local markets, and even in early April, we can still get some pretty good produce to lighten up the menu.

This recipe for Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Jicama is flavorful, easy, and super-healthy...really everything a spring dish should be! Bibb lettuce acts as a crunchy green cup for tender ground chicken flavored with soy, rice wine vinegar, and jalapeño peppers. The unexpected crisp bite of jicama makes a great textural counterpoint to the softer chicken & mushrooms, and is also a fantastic healthy alternative to the hard to find (at least in my area) traditional fresh water chestnuts. No canned stuff for us - it's springtime, baby!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pineapple Caramel Crepes


I am, by nature, a planner. A visit to my kitchen would prove the point: a fully inked-in white board calendar, a bulletin board pinned with every school/activity/holiday schedule, and several post-it notes scattered around the inside doors of cupboards. I like to be prepared.

But life, especially with children, can be far from predictable. After shopping, planning, and cooking for my oldest son's upcoming birthday party, weeks of planning went down the tubes when both boys contracted fevers, chills, and nausea. Doh! A last minute cancellation left us with disappointed kids and enough food to feed an army.

Most of it was easily managed: unfrosted cake layers went to the deep freezer for another day. The veggie tray and appetizers served as a quick dinner.... Still, I was up to my eyeballs in fresh fruit. What do you do with not one, but two, pineapples?! Well, if life hands you pineapples, make it into a blog post!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Blackberry-Cherry Sidecar Cocktail


Is it spring yet? As I peek out from beneath my warm comforter every morning, before the children's giggles (and shrieks) begin from across the hall, I gaze outside at the bare trees and realize it hasn't sprung up on us yet, darn it. It feels close, though! The days are lengthening, the sunlight is starting earlier; we just need to get through the fierce March wind that is blowing out there. 

Fine.

I'm just going to fake it.

What can be more warm-weather inspiring than the combination of ripe blackberries with lemon? Add a splash of amber cognac & an unexpected burst of tart cherry juice, and you have a sophisticated cocktail to beat back the Ides of March. This Blackberry-Cherry Sidecar reminds us that cherry blossoms, warm breezes, and long afternoons are just around the corner.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Double Dark Chocolate Cookies


There is a lot of Valentine's Day grumpiness this time of year. Don't get me wrong; a lot of the arguments are totally valid, and I was definitely a complainer during my topsy-turvy twenties (at least, in the romance department). Still, even if you don't love the sentimental stuff, there are some great bonuses that go with this holiday...for example, when else do you get a free excuse for limitless chocolate?

Chocolate bon-bons, chocolate roses, and even chocolate body paint (if you're into that sort of thing). Chocolate & Valentine's Day go hand in hand, platonically or romantically.

For me, there is nothing like a perfect almost crisp, yet slightly chewy, chocolate cookie. Made with premium cocoa powder & rich dark chocolate, my Double Dark Chocolate Cookies are just the treat.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Liebster Award!


I am thrilled to share that Straight to the Hips, Baby, has been nominated for a Liebster Award by the very kind & talented Alexandra from Occasionally Eggs! Thank you! The Liebster Award is an effort to bring attention to smaller blogs from fellow bloggers. This is a fantastic opportunity for newer blogs to get some notice, especially in a sea of more established food bloggers.

Rules:

-Link back to the person who nominated you

-Answer all the questions they asked in their post

-Nominate eleven more blogs you like

-Ask eleven questions for your nominees to answer

-Let all your nominees know either through their blog or social media

Alexandra had some very entertaining questions and I had a blast answering them! I hope this gives you a better idea of who I am and what my blog is about. At the bottom of this post, you will find the fantastic bloggers I have personally nominated for the award. All of them have delicious recipes and beautiful photographs to share. Cheers!