Oooh meeeee geeeee!

Mimi and Nick, what the hell is going on


5-Alarm/ 5-Bean Chili

YUM-O (<-- all rights reserved by Rachel Ray) :)

Ok, so last night I tried my hand at chili.
Simple enough recipe, with my little spin on some "hot" ingredients.
I followed THIS RECIPE and simply added a few 'extra' items.

My alterations were:
2 lbs of ground beef
1 1/2 onion
1 14oz can of diced tomatoes (w/o jalapenos)
1 14oz can of stewed tomatoes
1 4oz can of diced jalapenos (I figured I get more heat this way)
2 habanero peppers (I KNEW I would get some heat by doing this)

(here's where you have to pay close attention)
I originally thought that I forgot to pick up the chili seasoning packets.
It wasn't until 1 hour into the cooking time that I even realized that I didn't season ANY of the chili. Panicking I immediately reached for my inventory of seasoning. Hmmmm, now what do I think goes into chili?
Paprika, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, seasoning salt, pepper...(you know this drill... just grab everything and hope that it'll taste good).
So while I was pulling different seasonings out of the cabinet (and at the same time adding them to the crock pot) I came across 1 packet of chili seasoning (from God knows where). Now what do I do? Oh, hell... just add it in and see what happens.

4 1/2 hours later, we have chili.... and DAMN good chili if I must say so. Damn good, HOT chili if you ask my son (who was sticking his tongue into his glass of water.

Maybe next time I'll just use 1 habanero


I challenge YOU to...

This month's DB challenge was a simple one. Simply make frozen pops out of cheesecake. Phew! I thought it was going to be all hard, but NOPE just take approximately 2 days to make a dessert (including prep, cook, cool, firm time). Then when you cheesecake is, well, cheesecake, roll into balls, insert the stick and freeze. Voila.

Now, I'm hoping that you sense a hint of sarcasm in my tone. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT WAS FOR ME TO WAIT TO EAT THIS DESSERT? Sheesh! First of all it's cheesecake (can we just pause for a minute and honor the inventor of this dessert). On top of waiting the normal timeframe, we added another 2 hours of freezing time and another 24 hours of "refrigerate until ready to serve" time.


Nah.... it was really fun. The funny part was that I remembered that my daughter had to complete a diarama (sp?) project last year for school and we purchased like 1000 popsicle sticks from (good ole) Michael's. This was the first DB challenge that I've done where I didn't have to purchase any of the ingredients needed. Making the cheesecake was a breeze and when it came time to "roll; insert; freeze" I was all set. Until I went to get the sticks from out of our art supplies container, and realized I threw away all of those damn sticks, thinking that I would never need them again (or more likely that I would just purchase another box if I needed to).
So while improvising I decided to use the 4 "poker designed" cocktail stirrers I just purchased for my husband's party. I only had four so the other balls were S.O.L.

Oh, well. This time I'm taking a more literal approach to the challenge, and I'll be "popping" these little balls into my mouth. I guess, then, we can still call them Cheesecake Pops!

Thanks "Elle" and "Deborah" for such a wonderfully fun challenge.


Devil's Food Cheesecake

Ok, so I am taking this opportunity to say that I LOVE watching Bobby Flay's Throwdown Challenge, that comes on the Food Network. Ever since I've been watching this program I've learned a lot of new recipes for foods that I've always loved. About 2 weeks ago I watched him challenge Junior's Cheesecake to the best cheesecake. Bobby made a regular cheesecake with carmel apple topping (he actually won the challenge). Junior's, however, made a recently newly created Devil's Food Cheesecake that immediately caught my eye. The judges (on the show) said that, altough it was a great cake, the amount of chocolate used along with the cheesecake overpowered the cake. It was a "cheesecake challenge" so the cheesecake should have been more overpowering than the chocolate. (*scratching my head*)

All I have to say is that, chocolate is never a bad addition to anything.

Here's the recipe... Now even though the recipe does not create the same looking cake that is shown on Junior's website (the recipe states to make 3 9" cakes) the cake is still really good. I chose not to add more chocolate on the cake. Also, my fudge frosting did not come out as dark as shown on Junior's picture. I honestly think that they altered the recipe to save their originality. I can't say that I blame them either.


Clif's big BIRTHDAY weekend

The big 3-0!
So the weekend of April 8-13th (and yes there are more than 2 days to this weekend) began with us celebrating the end of Clif's 20s. We had a small gathering of friends and family, with a small cake (see my previous post for details) to say goodbye to his 20s. We were joined by Aimee, Mariah, Kiara, Chynna, Porche and then our family.

4/9 began with Clif getting his birthday gift from the kids (a hat) and then dinner with some more friends for SAKE BOMBS. Richard, Porche, Uriah joined just the three of us.

4/10 (in lieu of Clif trying to set up an outing to Saddle Ranch) included our good friend Art surprising Clif by driving down from Northern Cal to spend some time with the birthday boy, and showing up at our door. That night Clif, Felix, Art and Jorge heading out to The Standard for an evening of male bonding, but ended up at Barney's and then to Lucky Strike for bowling.

4/11 started off real slow. I headed over to the laundry mat, while Clif and Chris slept in. Art gave Clif a call and wanted him to get him from the Palms area of LA. He then managed to get Clif out of the house so that I could set up for Clif's surprise party (Poker and Spades Party). At ~9:30 Clif walked through our house door to be surprised to see Tanya, Malika, Malcolm, Dontay, Felix, Aimee, Richard and Porche. Art, Tony and Jimmy were all with him so they were not as much of a surprise. The night was filled with poker (Clif took home the pot) and a long, interesting game of spades (as only Malika could make it).

4/12 began at 12:00p when Malcolm and Dontay arrived to join Clif and Art in a game of laser tag. Malika and Tanya showed up late for tag, but were early to hang out at Lucky Strike, which was our next destination. The 6 of us began a game of bowling and was soon joined by Felix, Yasi and Dariush. After Clif swallowed the surprise of seeing D and Yasi, in walked cousin Lucy (and her friend) for yet another surprise.

After a few games of bowling, good food and drinks we had to leave Lucky Strike to get ready for our next outing which was Saddle Ranch in Universal Citywalk. We arrived at 8:30p and it wasn't long before we signed our life away to be able to ride the mechanical bull. Shawna and I cheated (holding on with 2 hands) while Jimmy and Clif were honorable bull riders (Clif got tossed though).

4/13 arrived (sooner than we liked it) and we were off to meet up with the last of Clif's surprises for brunch in Hollywood. Patty, Garett, Mia and Cameron were unable to make the trip to the Griddle Cafe, so the 5 of us (Clif, Chris, Malika Tanya and I) ate enough to cover any loss food that was not ordered due to the shortened guest list.

We arrived home that afternoon EXHAUSTED but very fulfilled.

Here is a album of photos to enjoy of this past weekend. Enjoy.

Clif's Big 3-0 Weekend


The End of a Decade

To celebrate Clif turning the big 3-0, I made a "Last Day in Your Twenties" cake for him and our neigbors. Since my group has been BIG on Dorie lately, I selected to make the cake that graces the cover of her book, From My Home to Yours (page 247).

This cake was a HUGE success and it was a great way for Clif to end his 20s on a high note. What he didn't know was that the upcoming weekend was going to be filled with parties, special guests and lots of surprises.

I now give you Devil Food's White-Out Cake

As you can see I have the book opened to the page in the book that shows the inside of the cake. This cake lasted all of 5 minutes, and so there were no "cut slice" pieces for me to photograph.

I'll definitely be making this again.

Bacon to DIE for

Ok, so I have to get all caught up on my posting, but I wanted to be sure and get this one out of the way. This past weekend was filled with partying (Clif turned the big 3-0) so coming up next is a full re-cap. Before I do that, I have 2 things that I must post about.

Thing 1:

While watching Emeril Live (I so love the way that man cooks) he did an entire segment on "breakfast for dinner." Aside from his killer omeletts and fruit waffles, he made the most wonderful looking bacon I've ever seen. The next day (Friday) I couldn't help but make this wonderful creation to see if it tasted as good as it looked.

I'll never eat bacon the regular way again.

1/2 cup brown sugar (fresh, not hard and stale)
2 tsp of black pepper
bacon (however many slices you can drown in the sugar will (just about) do

Mix sugar and pepper in a bowl. Dip bacon in mixture. Place bacon on a wire rack, ontop of a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes. Enjoy.