April 21, 2014

Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars



Happy Easter everyone! We usually do not celebrate Easter and the dogs wouldn't be keen in looking for Easter eggs. Since my husband is currently deployed, I decided to crash my friend Ana's Easter instead. We're not doing the usual Easter dinner with ham and the works. Instead, my friend Noel jokingly requested for a nacho bar buffet. Noel is making deviled eggs and I've settled for dessert as usual. Cookies didn't seem fitting, but after talking to Noel, we've decided cheesecake would be fitting.

I've only made cheesecake twice in my life, but thankfully this was an easy recipe and it turned out delicious! I'm not a fan of graham cracker crust, so I switched it to buttery shortbread and it's even better!



Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars
recipe from the bake chick

For the Crust:

1 1/2 cups shortbread cookies
4T butter

For the Cheesecake:

16 ounces cream cheese- room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of a lemon
4 tablespoons milk
2 eggs- room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Raspberry Swirl:

4 oz. of fresh raspberries (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

For the crust:

In a medium sized bowl mix together the crumbs and butter with a spoon until moist. Press into the prepared pan and bake for about 10 minutes or until crust is set around the edges.

Make the filling:

Beat together the white sugar, and cream cheese until smooth.
Add the egg, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Spread filling mixture over baked crust.

For the Raspberry Purée:

In a food processor or blender, purée the raspberries until smooth. Press through a fine mesh sieve, getting as much liquid out as possible. Discard the solids. Stir in the sugar.

Dot the raspberry mixture over the filling and use a toothpick or skewer to swirl together.

Bake for 30 minutes or until set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the center. Cool completely on a wire rack and then chill until cold before serving.

March 24, 2014

Frankie turned 5!



So much has been going in the last couple weeks and I apologize for the lack of updates. The hubby is deployed again and Thank you to my amazing friends Noel & Ana for spending the first day with me. ♥



Anyways, our handsome boy Frankie turned the big 5 on the 21st! I baked some doggy friendly carob cupcakes, bought him some treats (he absolutely loved the pizzle stick) and a couple new toys, which he completely neglected! Cupcakes were thoroughly devoured with delight and pizzle sticks to follow. I think Frankie had a great birthday. We definitely wished Daddy was home to celebrate with us. Poor guy missed Frankie's first birthday (he was in Iraq) and now his 5th. Probably some in between.





Frankie is still so gentle and sweet. He's a professional couch potato, but he loves to go on walks and observe people. He will cry if he can't find a space in our bed and even with the tiniest spot, he will curl up and snuggle. Did I mention that he's also the BEST snuggler. He also farts and yawns a lot. His farts surprises him. Human farts are scarier. He hates the water, cleans his paws like a cat, bath time is the end of the world to him. He's an amazing big brother and lets Maggie do whatever she wants to him. Frankie is an amazing dog and we are ever so blessed to have him in our lives. Happy birthday Frankie doodle!





After this photo, she completely inhaled that cupcake and ate the wrapper too. I have a feeling there's a rainbow colored cupcake wrapper somewhere in my backyard.

March 6, 2014

Crockpot: Beef & Potato Stew



The Husband is deploying soon and truthfully, I am absolutely not prepared for this. He went to Korea for a year and I was okay, but I swear, ever since I turned 30... my emotions have heightened. Too many feelings are happening. Ask my friends Ana and Noel.

Anyways, one of his requested meals was beef stew. I've tried a couple recipes in the past, but I think this is by far my favorite. Maybe it's from the added french onion soup or instead of making a slurry, the recipe calls for instant potatoes. This one was a huge hit for us and I can't wait to make it again when he comes back home.

Beef & Potato Stew
recipe from the chic site

1 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1- 10.5 oz can condensed French Onion soup
1 cup water
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
3 pounds stew beef
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half or quarters
1 medium onion, large dice cut
3 medium carrots, peeled, cut into large chunks
additional salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup potato flakes (instant mashed potato), as need to thicken stew

1. Add chicken broth, onion soup, water, tomato paste, and soy sauce into bowl of slow cooker. Whisk to break up and distribute tomato paste.

2. In a large bowl, season beef with salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

3. Add seasoned beef, potatoes, onion, and carrots to slow cooker. Cover with lid and cook on high for 6-7 hours until the beef is tender.

4. Stir in 1/4 cup potato flakes to thicken soup. Add additional potato flakes 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve desired thickness. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.



February 24, 2014

Filipino Coconut Cassava Cake



It's been an incredibly busy month with us celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary, my friend's friend Esther came to town, Hubby came back from his training, we're getting ready for another deployment and my MIL (Mother-in-Law) is in town. While my MIL has been here, she's made us some pancit and my favorite, her lumpias. Today, I'm sharing with you one of my favorite Filipino desserts, Cassave Cake.

Cassava roots are very rich in starch and tapioca is a starch found in the roots of the plant. You can read more about it on wikipedia.



Filipino Coconut Cassava Cake
recipe from my MIL, Evelyn

2 16oz defrosted shredded cassava (check the frozen section of your Asian market)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2-1 cup granulated sugar
1-2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, optional

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix everything together with a whisk until well blended.

Pour into a greased 13x9 glass pan.

Bake for 30 minutes and add remaining condensed milk on top. Bake an extra 5 minutes.



February 14, 2014

Twix Cookie Bar



I went to my first ever Super Bowl Sunday this past weekend at my friend Ana's and I was asked to bring a dessert. I decided to bring a fruit platter with marshmallow fluff dip and a side of cookie butter, but I also wanted to bring something chocolatey.

I was instantly hooked to a dozen recipes while browsing Bakers Royale and decided that since I was short on time, I would go with twix cookie dough cheesecake bars. I loved that the recipe used pre-made ingredients for those that are short on time (like I was) but I'm sure it would taste even better if you used homemade cookie dough with homemade caramel.

The Twix cookie bar turned out really sweet, but oh so good. Great with a glass of milk. Even though I was filled to the brim with Ana's delicious homemade nacho bar and grazing at the fruit and veggie tray all through the game, I was able to stuff a small piece of it. I literally could not move for hours after that!

Highly recommend making these or pretty much anything on Bakers Royale's page. Her desserts do not disappoint!



Twix Cookie Bars
recipe from bakers royale

Crust and topping

one 16-oz. package of ready-made chocolate cookie dough
one 16-oz. pacakage of ready-made chocolate chip cookie dough
5 Twix, king size packages or 8 regular packages

Cheesecake layer

8oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup caramel sauce (I used the one from Trader Joe's)
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (for topping)

Create a sling by lining the pan with foil so that there is a one inch overhang on each side. Cover foil with bake spray.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cookie Crust:

Flatten chocolate fudge cookie dough to a 1/4 inch thickness using a rolling pin. Pinch off chocolate chip cookie dough into pieces and then drop it on top of fudge cookie dough. Using a rolling pin roll chocolate chip cookie dough into chocolate fudge cookie dough; set aside.

Cheesecake:

Add cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla and caramel sauce into a bowl and beat until blended. Set aside.

Assembly: Cover the bottom of the pan with a little more than three-quarters of flatten dough. Set aside remaining dough to sprinkle on top. Place Twix bars side-by-side directly on top of crust.

Pour cheesecake mixture on top. Crumble remaining cookie dough and sprinkle on top of cheesecake layer along with remaining 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips all over top.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees F. Remove from oven set on wire rack to cool.



February 11, 2014

10.



10 years ago, I married this amazing guy. With tears in his eyes, he proposed to me the night before he left for basic training. We spent the next many months, writing letters, waiting for his phone calls and he'd surprise me with flowers at work. After basic, he got his first duty station in Korea which was a million miles away. Many calling cards purchased and late late night phone calls. He came home on leave just so we can get married. After being married for a mere 2 weeks, he had to return to Korea for another 6 months.



We've gone from Virginia to Washington state to Florida to New York and now back to Washington State. Including 2 deployments and one on the way. Through the happy and the oh so ugly times, 2 fur babies Frankie and Maggie, purchasing our first home later... We've made it!



We've never had a proper ceremony, let alone proper photos taken, so I was ecstatic to get some done for the big 10! Thank you so much to our photographer Shelby for taking time out of her day to capture this special moment for us.



All photos © SG Photography


January 13, 2014

Violet Vox Box



I haven't received a vox box in forever and was excited when I was chosen for a violet vox box. I love every product especially the travel size of NYM clean freak dry shampoo. NYM clean freak dry shampoo is absolutely one of my favorites because it's affordable and gets the job done. I've tried other dry shampoos in the past and was disappointed to find out that I only got one use out of it.

SoyJoy is one of my favorite on the go snacks. Ground whole soy baked with high-quality, non-genetically modified ground whole soy—retaining all of soy’s naturally-occurring nutrients. Soy is the only plant-based source of the complete protein that our bodies need. They also use real fruit flavors, no artificial colors or hydrogenated oils. For those who are GF sensitive? They're also gluten free.

If you follow me on my beauty blog, you'll know that I'm obsessed with face masks and I was over the moon excited to try out montagne jeunesse clay spa face masks. I'm not a huge fan of the kind where you have to wash off, but I figure I might as well give this one a go.

Goody athletique reversible quick dry headband is probably one of my least favorite products I've received. I don't wear hairbands let alone while I'm working out.

I love me some nail polishes, but was disappointed in the color I received- Sally Hansen in Play Koi. I already own a similar color and honestly, I haven't even applied it. I think I will be gifting this to a friend or put it up in a giveaway.


I was not paid to write this post. Voxbox was kind enough to select me to try out these products and all reviews are 100% my own. If you would like to join Influenster, please comment with your email & I'll send you an invite!

January 1, 2014

12 Favorite Posts of 2013

*click images to view recipes*





What a year! Cheers to 2014!

We were able to celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary during his R&R.
Nate made the promotion list & got promoted to SFC! So proud ♥
My Rosina came to visit me!
Went to California to see my bestie Jeannie get married in June & hang with my favorite person Jenny.
After Nate was gone for A WHOLE YEAR, he came back the end of August!!
I had the BEST 30th birthday in Cali with an amazing dinner and spent with some of the best people.
Went to LA in November to surprise my Mom for her 60th birthday.
My friend Ana & I went to The Pioneer Woman's book signing in Seattle!
Got to spend our first Christmas in our new house! He missed out last year, so this year was extra special.