Black and White Raspberry Trifle

Trifle Side 1

Happy almost Fall! Summer is my jam so I’m always sad to see it go, but I do love Fall weather (and the outfits J ). This weekend my husband’s family came over for a little Labor Day BBQ and to send summer off to another continent. As always, I was in charge of dessert.

My goal when being assigned dessert is to come up with something new. I usually look to Pinterest for recipes and try to find something simple, but fabulous. This time I used my own creative juices (no pun intended).

Now, I’m sure someone has thought of this before, but this concoction shot into my head two nights ago like a bolt of lightning. Black and White Raspberry Trifle!!! One of my fave drinks at Starbucks is the Black and White Hot Chocolate, so meshing the two definitely made sense, and I love chocolate and raspberry together sooooooo -the offspring of the two became a combination of chocolate cake, homemade white chocolate pudding, and a luscious raspberry sauce topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

It was a crowd pleasure to say the least. My mother-in-law even gasped a little when she took her first bite. Bless her.

If you’re interested in this decadent dessert check out the recipe below! My apologies for the super dark pics…I’m still learning :/

Components for Trifle:

  • Chocolate Cake (Any kind you like) – I used the Pioneer Woman’s Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe.Chocolate Sheet Cake
  • White Chocolate Pudding – I used THIS recipe as my base, but I will detail below the actual recipe I created.
  • Raspberry Sauce
  • Whipped Cream
  • Fresh Raspberries
  • Trifle Dish

Ingredients:

White Chocolate PuddingWhite chocolate pudding

2 Cups Milk (I used 2%)

2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

2 egg yolks

½ Cup Sugar

1/8 tsp Salt

4 Tbs Cornstarch

2/3 White Chocolate Chips

1 Tbs Vanilla Extract

2 tsp Rum or Whiskey

In a medium saucepan whisk together cornstarch, salt, and sugar. Then add milk and heavy cream, heat to a low boil (Remember to stir often so your milk and cream does not burn). Continue to boil for another 5-10 minutes to thicken. Remove from heat.

Once the mixture thickens go ahead and quickly beat yolks then, whilst stirring yolks, slowly add ½ to 1 cup of the milk mixture and stir those together to temper the yolks. Then add yolk/milk mixture to the saucepan stirring to combine and place back over heat.

Heat pudding to a low boil. Once boiling add rum or whiskey and white chocolate chips stir for approx. 2 minutes or so (until combined and chips are melted) then remove from heat.

Place in fridge for 2-3 hours. I actually put mine in the freezer to speed up the process. This would be perfect to make a day ahead so you can just throw everything into trifle dish the day of.

Raspberry SauceRaspberry Sauce

16 oz. Bag Frozen Raspberries

½ Cup Water

Splash of Vanilla

½ Cup Sugar

2 Tbs Cornstarch

In a medium saucepan dump a 16 oz. bag of frozen raspberries (or strawberries would work), vanilla and sugar. Mix well. Let the flavors meld over low heat for a few minutes then add water. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. Let cool. While the sauce was simmering it seemed a bit thin so I decided to add a couple tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken it up.

Whipped Cream

2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

3 Tbs sugar (powdered or granulated)

1 1/2 Tbs Vanilla Extract

Place metal bowl with whisk attachment into freezer for 15 minutes to get cold. Dump all ingredients into bowl and whip until you reach your desired consistency. Stiff peaks are good :p . Perfect homemade whipped cream every time! Who needs ReadyWhip!?

Trifle - Black and White Raspberry

Trifle

Once all of your components are ready (don’t forget to make your fave chocolate cake!) grab your trifle dish and…layer, layer, layer! You could layer however you want, but I chose to do cake, pudding, raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries. Then another layer of cake, pudding, raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries, but added fresh whipped cream and more fresh raspberries to the top. If I had more time I’d add white chocolate shavings to the top as well. Yum.

Top of Black and White Raspberry Trifle

 

I hope you and your guests enjoy!

 

-Megan xo

Pre-Kindergarten – The First Born Begins School

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Last week my first-born, Rivers, began Pre- Kindergarten. Where does the time go?! I swear it was only a few weeks ago that I gave birth to him! I knew that I’d miss him, but I had no idea I’d miss him as much as I do. At the same time I’m glad he’s getting some Big Brother time to be his own little self. It was desperately needed.

The day before was Open House. All the parents met at the school and the kids got a chance to meet. In the middle of Open House, while playing with some new friends, Rivers motions to me with his hand to leave. Ouch. Guess I’m not needed here.

Needless to say, the kid is doing just fine and told me “You can come visit some time if you want”; thanks kid. :/ I’d like to think that my husband and I have done an OK job thus far if he’s confident enough to conquer the world (the world of Pre-K that is) at the ripe ‘ol age of 4.

I hope the rest of schooling goes this smoothly. One can dream, right?

First day. A OK

first day ice cream

Everyone deserves an ice cream after the first day of school

-Megan xo

noosa Yoghurt / Giveaway

Noosa

Ok, I L.O.V.E. yogurt both fresh and frozen. I declare my love at least twice weekly for frozen yogurt, but that’s another post completely. Today I’m here to talk about my newly discovered obsession, Noosa Yoghurt, as my second installment of My Life through Food.

During my frequent trips to Target I have been noticing this simply simple and sleek yogurt packaging. To be honest, it was a little on the pricey side for how quickly my fam goes through yogurt so I never purchased it. Last week however, I walked by and saw it was on “clearance”. This was my chance! Even though the yogurt was only a measly 30% off I took the dive and boy am I glad I did!

Noosa has got to be the most decadent store bought yogurt I have ever consumed in my life. In my life! (movie quote for those of you with littles) It is so unbelievably rich and tangy yet sweet all at once! It reminds me of an extra creamy butter, delish. Noosa would be absolutely perfect for parfaits, put into smoothies or used in desserts.

I had to see where this gold came from so I checked out the website [here] and was surprised to read that Noosa is made in Colorado, but it’s product is derived from the ways of Aussie’s (Australian folk) meshed with Greek goodness and made in the good ‘ol U.S. of A.

I hope to come up with some rich recipes to share with ya’ll, but until then, as Noosa founders put it, Cheers!

I contacted Noosa and they have given me 5 coupons, each for a free 8 ounce container of their yogurt! Subscribe to my blog (if you haven’t already) and leave a comment below about what your favorite food is and why. The first five subscribers will get a coupon to try out this decadence for free!

 

-Megan XO

“Banana Bread Go To”

Muffins

One of my weaknesses is bread. I’ma carb and sugar lovin’ kinda gal and bread gets me every time. One of my personal goals is to successfully create my own recipes. My family and friends keep telling me I should open up a bakery or dessert joint, but I have to remind them that it’s illegal to steal others’ recipes and call them your own. So, if I can come up with my own it’s smooth sailin’.

My new “Go To Banana Bread” is my first successful recipe! Disclaimer: I have taken a pumpkin bread recipe that was given to me when I got married and changed ratios as well as eliminated/added ingredients to make it my very own! This essentially is my creation, minus the crux of the recipe (i.e. flour, salt, oil and baking soda amounts).

If you’re interested in trying one of the tastiest banana bread recipes out there, please proceed.

Ingredients:

3 ½ Cups Flour (I dare you to experiment with different types of flour! Think I’ll try coconut sometime).

2 Cups SugarMuffins

2 tsp Baking Soda

1 ½ tsp Salt

5 Eggs beaten

1 Tbs real Vanilla Extract

2/3 Cup Water

1 Cup Oil (I use coconut oil, but any will do)

3 Bananas medium in size and very ripe (brown spots galore!)

Heat oven to 350 and either prep your loaf pans (probably 2-3 pans) OR line your cupcake tins (this is what I prefer; can’t beat on the go goodness).

Now, I’m not one who has the patience to sift stuff sooooo…

Dump the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into a medium sized bowl and mix well with a whisk, fork (or heck) even a spoon.

If available use a stand mixer and toss the eggs, water, oil and vanilla into the mixing bowl. Mix using whisk attachment. Remove peel from bananas; throw those (the naked bananas not the peels) into a bowl and mash until you reach a smooth consistency. Pour your mashed bananas into the liquid mixture and combine.

Pour one third of the dry ingredients into the banana mixture and mix until incorporated. Continue to add a third and mix until all dry ingredients are united. Then take your handy ice cream scoop and deposit a little less than one full scoop of mixture into each wrapper OR fill your loaf pan 2/3 of the way full. I’m not sure if 2/3 is correct loaf making etiquette, but it worked for me and when I filled my loaf pan ½ way it was not a pretty result. J

So there you have it! Bake those puppies for approximately 11 min. Yes, I said 11. That gave me the perfect Banana muffin with the perfect sweetness and a little chewiness to the top of the cake. Peeeeerrrrrfectioooooooon! Of course you should pay attention to your oven to make sure the bread isn’t overcooked nor underdone.

Hope you enjoy as much as me and my fam did. Me, my mom and two kids ate almost all 15 that I baked in one sitting the first time I made these.

Banana bread

-Megan xo

 

My Life through Food

 

cerea, breakfast

Although not completely on topic it’s still food related :/

O.K. so I’m one of “those people” who love taking pics of their food and a Self Proclaimed food critic. Don’t ask why, cuz I don’t really have an answer. Ever since I’ve had a phone with a camera [Genius] I take pics of my food, amongst other things, wherever I go. When I think it looks awesome, smells good, it’s something new, and old favorite, something I’ve made or I’m just happy about eating it. I take a picture of it. Sometimes I think rehab might be in my future [Sigh].

I have decided to begin a series I’d like to call “My Life through Food”. I’m not sure I’d call photographing my food an addiction, but I do do-it often. :/ . I fantasize about one day making an album of all the pics I’ve taken of various dishes throughout my life so I can share these scrumptious memories with others, or just myself. I think for me, by photographing my food I’m marking that memorable time in my life. It’s all about making memories, right?! And if 90% of my memories have food in them, so be it.

I find that I typically take photos of my, and some times my family’s, meals when it’s a special occasion or I’m particularly proud of what I’ve made (i.e. homemade pizza, various indulgent desserts, cupcakes, smoothies and the list goes on).

I’d like to start this series off with Mother’s Day. If you read in my previous post [HERE], my family and I had Mother’s Day brunch at my favorite restaurant Catal and Uva Bar at Downtown Disney. This is by far the best restaurant I have ever been to. Before having kids my husband and I went so often we new all of the servers and they all knew our order by heart.

Without further a due (a-do, a do, adeau – Whatever)…

 

Organic Greek Yogurt

Organic Greek Yogurt

 

Salmon with Hollandaise and Asparagus (Mine)

Salmon with Hollandaise and Asparagus (Mine)

 

French Toast (The Hub's)

French Toast (The Hub’s)

 

Dessert - Panna Cotta

Dessert – Panna Cotta

 

Gorgeous. I’d love to hear about your favorite dishes to indulge in or places to dine!

-Megan XO

Nightmare Before Christmas And Mykel Jean’s Birthday!

Birthday Girl!

Birthday Girl!

So I’ve been on a little hiatus. Lots has happened, mom broke her wrist, two family members passed away and my family is now considering buying a home with my parents, gulp, or having them move into our home. So needless to say a bunch of stuff has been goin’ down.

My rambunctious daughter Mykel will be turning two on July 30th. My how time flies. I love that little girl more than words can even describe. She knows what she wants and when she wants it and no one can tell her otherwise. I respect her for that.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’d know that all my parties are themed. Since Mykel’s movie of choice, for the past year, has been Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas that clearly was a no brainer. I’m not sure what intrigues this (almost) two-year-old, not to mention my four year old, about Halloween, ghouls, goblins and witches, but it does. So on with the show…

The perfect colors for this bash were purple, orange and black. By no means typical two-year-old party colors. Tule, spider webs, Christmas trees, black crows, and 36 inch balloons were just some of the décor. Not to mention Santa hats, monster wreaths, streamers and sweet flower arrangements.

Welcome!

Welcome!

 

jack n sally

One of M’s bday gifts. Drawn and hand painted by my cousin!

Lanterns

Edible goodies in flower arrangements. Love this!

Edible goodies in flower arrangements. Love this!

Sorry for the glare :/

Sorry for the glare :/

Living Room

Mantle

Dining Room table

Entertainment center

The Ghoulish Delights included pizza (her fave), gummy worms (Oggie Booggie worms), Zero’s kibble (yogurt and chocolate covered raisins – Thank you Pinterest!), Jack Skellington cupcakes – banana and chocolate with cream cheese frosting, various salads, Sally’s hair (Red Vine licorice), Sugarplum Pops, orange Slop (a family fave) and Slimy green punch.

Sallys Hair

Sallys Hair 2

Buffet

Candy

Sugarplum Pops

Festive Straws

cupcakes

Of course gifts were placed under the Christmas tree and we played the movie through out the party. A great time was had by all, especially the birthday girl! With some help from family and the assistance of my husband (to hang stuff) this party went off without a hitch! If that’s how the saying goes. :/

tree

Hope you enjoy the pics! And as always please don’t hesitate to ask questions or use these ideas for your own shin dig and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog! You know you want toooooo. :)

Happy Camper

Happy Camper

I got my COLORS done!

headshot colors

In December I met with my fabulous sister in law, Amanda, who has a color consulting business, Amanda Roberts Color Analysis. “Color Analysis, what is that?!” you ask. Well, allow me to enlighten you. Color Analysis is a process based on the science of vision. It (Well rather the consultant) examines the interactions between your skin color/tone and the colors you wear. In the wrong colors you may look tired and your skin may seem blotchy, but in the right colors you look vibrant, awake and your skin tone looks more healthy and glowy.

The consultant uses a set of perfectly calibrated fabric drapes to determine which color hues, value, and chroma make you look your best. Breakdown? Hues are the warmth and coolness of a color, Value is the lightness and darkness of a color, and Chroma is the amount of clarity or mutedness of a color.

You and the consultant, as a team, work your way through the process of elimination by draping the groups of fabrics denoted by a season (Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter) to determine which season best fits you! At the end of your session, which takes approximately 2-3 hours, you have the option to purchase a color fan [some consultants include the fan in their price]. I must say, I didn’t want my session to end. I’m so fascinated by this whole darn thing. :)

I cannot tell you how awesome this is! I’m not the most fashionable person out there, but I love me some cute clothes and awesome makeup. Color Analysis is the most fascinating process [have I said process enough yet?] and I had to share this gem with you. I use my fan every time I go shopping for clothes or make up and since using the fan I haven’t come home with anything I didn’t end up truly loving.

I remember after my consultation with Amanda going out to buy some new makeup. I bought a couple eye shadow pallets (which she recommended to me) and a blush. OMG! I couldn’t believe how bright and glowy my skin looked; and I barely had any make up on! The colors were just perfect and all I did was use my color fan.

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Playing with my new makeup

Anywho, just thought I’d share some beauty fabulosity with you. I think every woman and man should get their colors done. Money well spent! $$

True Spring Color Fan

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drapes

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Have you had a color analysis? Are you thinking about getting your colors done? I’d love to hear about it!

-Megan xo

A Perfect Mother’s Day (Better Late than Never)

My Babies

My Babies

I’m not sure what it was about this particular Mother’s Day, but it felt different. Maybe it was because my babies are getting older and our experiences are, well, just different. Newborns are like night and day compared to a toddler and a freshly crowned four year old. Everything seemed much smoother; no freaking out we’re going to be late (that would be me), no over flow of stuff in the diaper bag (again, me), no abundance of snacks (lets not get crazy, we brought snacks just not 10 varieties). Less crying in the car during the long distance journey and better behaved children at the restaurant (for the most part).

We started out the day with our yearly tradition of going to brunch at Catal and Uva Bar located in Downtown Disney. My husband and I have been dining there for over 10 years and every time we go it’s like visiting family. They seated us in this fab “Round Room” and it was if we had a private meal, just the kids and us. We had the room to ourselves for half of our stay. We then went to Sanük so I could check out some shoes I’d been wanting. I think I could buy the entire store! They are the most comfortable shoes. I just love how they look and “Happy Mother’s Day to Me!”, I got a gray pair! We then tried going on some rides at Disney’s California Adventure Park, but we can’t stand huge crowds so we pretty much walked in and right out, grabbed some smoothies at Jamba Juice and hit the road home. After some naps we had a pretty low-key evening with some pizza and Pirates of the Caribbean the Curse of the Black Pearl and called it a night.

Organic Yogurt and Berries

Organic Yogurt and Berries

Main Course

Main Course

Panacotta

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

It was the perfect day! My husband and kids made me feel so special and loved! I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

I’d love to hear about your Mother’s Day adventures!!

Mac N Cheese!

Mac N Cheese!

Baby Girl

Baby Girl

My new Kicks

My new Kicks

Cheesecake Mousse

Finished product

My in-laws have come over once a week, every week, for the past four years (since my son was born). It’s family time we look forward to every week and it helps that the kids are completely tuckered out after they visit. The deal is that they bring dinner, usually some sort of take-out, and I make dessert.

As much as I love baking and making desserts there are days when I want something that tastes awesome, but isn’t a lot of work. Soooo, I pretty much use Pinterest as my recipe book (for those of you interested, here is my Pinterest link if you’d like to see the recipes I’ve pinned). A few weeks ago I found this awesomely decadent “No Bake Cheesecake Mousse”! It’s so simple too! My family thought I spent hours and it literally took minutes.

Below is the recipe I’ve altered from the original site (Click HERE for original recipe by letsdishrecipes.com)

No Bake Cheesecake Mousse

8 oz package of Cream cheese

1 cup Heavy Cream

¾ cup plus 2 Tbs Powdered Sugar

Splash of Vanilla Extract (the real stuff)

* I also made a mixed berry sauce to drizzle. It was to die for! See below.

Instructions:

1. Remove cream cheese from fridge and let it warm up for about 30 minutes or so.

2. Then, in a medium sized bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer  until smooth.

3. Mix in ¾ cup powdered sugar and vanilla until combined and smooth. Set aside.

4. In a separate medium sized bowl, beat heavy cream and 2 Tbs powdered sugar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

5. Fold half of the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Once incorporated add the remaining whipped cream until just combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

6. Pipe or spoon mixture into serving dishes or glasses and add favorite toppings just before serving. I placed mine into cocktail glasses and then into the fridge.

 Cheesecake Mousse

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Mixed Berry Sauce

2 cups Frozen Mixed Berries

½ cup sugar of choice

Splash of Orange juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

Bring berries, sugar, and vanilla to a simmer over medium heat. Some times I add a tablespoon or two of water, but this time I choose orange juice (I always feel like I might burn the berries or somethin’ so I need some liquid.) Once those beauties have melded together give it a good stir and pour that goodness into some kind of pureeing machine (i.e. small food processor, Ninja Bullet, NutriBullet, a blender whatever you got laying around that’ll get the job done); OR you could even use the mixture as is, I suppose. That’s it! Poor that berry goodness over anything!! Cheesecake mousse, pancakes/waffles, ice cream, cake and the list goes on. This recipe is great with other fruits as well!

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Hope you enjoy! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

-Megan xo

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

smoothie

Chocolatey Goodness

Well, I’m not one to toot my own horn, but “Toot, Tooooot!”. This Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie is fan-freakin-tastic. Ever since going to the Lazy Dog Café and having their PB and Chocolate smoothie I’ve wanted to create my own. This morning I finally did.

It’s the perfect breakfast smoothie if you like, well, chocolate, peanut butter, and bananas and this could be a great dessert option as well!

 

Recipe:

1 frozen banana

1 not so frozen banana

1 ½ – 2 cups almond milk

2 Tbs Coco powder

1 heaping Tbs Peanut Butter of choice

¼ Cup oats

1 Cup or so of ice (might need more to reach desired consistency)

Splash of Hershey syrup for sweetness and more chocolateyness

Splash of vanilla

 

What Now??

First things first – Into a blender dump the oats and blend them up.

Then, dump the ice, bananas, coco powder, peanut butter, vanilla and almond milk.

Blend, blend, blend!

I then added my splash oh Hershey syrup and blended 30 seconds more and TaDaaaaa! Breakfast/ Dessert smoothie perfection.

 

Enjoy!!

-Megan xo