Tag Archives: dessert

“Froot” Cups with Cheese Filling – a Futurama Themed Party!

14 Jun

It’s time once again for a nerdy party recap! The theme this time was Futurama, the hilarious adult cartoon set in the year 3000, where a bizarre group of people, including a cryogenically frozen man from 1999, operate a galactic delivery service called the Planet Express. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s available in full on Netflix, and I highly recommend it! It’s funny, ridiculously clever, full of weird characters and situations, and brings a cartoonish approach to what the future might look like.

And it’s a perfect theme for a party! 12 of our friends came over to watch various episodes of the show, indulge in some themed food and drinks, and geek out over various elements of the series, commiserating the fact it ended three years ago.

FuturamaComposition1024

Chris went all out for this one, again. He got us a Futurama poster, a Planet Express wall cling, a magnetic note board, and new nerdy t-shirts.

"Froot" Cups with Cheese Filling - a Futurama Themed Party! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Our friends dressed their baby as Lord Nibbler, the lovable creature Leela saves from his planet shortly before its destruction. AND, another couple dressed as Fry and Leela! We obviously needed a “family” photo shoot 😛

"Froot" Cups with Cheese Filling - a Futurama Themed Party! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

"Froot" Cups with Cheese Filling - a Futurama Themed Party! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Leela & Fry posing with Nibbler (our friends’ baby).

We recreated the collection of Heads in Jars – when famous people die in the future, their heads are somehow salvaged and kept in jars, mostly on display in the Head Museum. These happened to be the perfect size for drinking 🙂

"Froot" Cups with Cheese Filling - a Futurama Themed Party! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

As for the eats, we did not disappoint! We had three pizzas straight from Panucci’s Pizza, Hedonism Bot bruschetta and crostini, president (puppy) chow, and dark matter bacon-wrapped dates. We drank Benderbrau, Slurm and Mom’s Robot Oil.

Panuccipizza

225px-Hedonism_Bot "Froot" Cups with Cheese Filling - a Futurama Themed Party! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Oh, and I made “froot” cups! In the episode “Fry am the Egg Man,” there’s a scene where the crew stop at Fishy Joe’s, a fast food restaurant. Leela isn’t pleased by the unhealthy options and simply orders the fruit cup…which she finds is spelled “froot.” Worse yet: the guy working the order window asks “What kind of cheese filling you want in that?” Cheese Filling

Now, being a Wisconsinite, I’m obligated to love cheese in and on everything. Except a fruit cup!! Spoiler alert: Leela gives up at the end of the episode and orders a froot cup with all the cheese fillings.

The “froot” cups I made for the party ARE in fact a healthy option, topped with a delicious lemony Greek yogurt sauce that merely looks like it might be a cheese filling 🙂 Whether you’re hosting a nerdy get-together or just want a tasty dip for a colorful fruit salad, this recipe is for you! I promise: there’s no cheese involved.

"Froot" Cups with Cheese Filling - a Futurama Themed Party! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

“Froot” Cups with Cheese Filling

Serves 8

“Froot” Cups:

  • 2 mangoes, cubed
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1 container raspberries
  • 1 container blueberries
  • 2 bunches grapes
  • 1/2 cantaloupe, cubed
  • Juice of half a lime or lemon, to prevent browning

Cheese Filling:

  • 2 C plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 4 tbsp canned coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 drops yellow food coloring + 1 drop red food coloring

Wash and prep all fruit. Mix together in a large bowl. Juice half a lime or lemon over the fruit and stir to coat, to prevent browning. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge while you prep the “cheese filling.”

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, coconut milk, honey and extracts. Taste and adjust as desired. Add the food coloring and stir to mix in. Store in a covered container in the fridge until ready to serve.

To serve, spoon “froot” into cups or bowls. Top with about a quarter cup of the sauce. And remember to enjoy fast foods in moderation! 🙂

 

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip

24 May

Can you believe that before this past weekend, I had never been hiking?! This fact seemed to shock quite a few of my friends. After all, I’m a runner and a lifetime Girl Scout – week-long summer camp was a regular annual experience for me, but aside from walking from our tents to the mess hall, I’ve never been on a proper hike. Until now.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Boy, have I been missing out! Our friends Adam and Jill invited Chris and myself to join them on a hiking day trip in Utica, IL. Sounded like it could be fun, so we were in. Starved Rock State Park is a 2.5 hour drive from Milwaukee, so we left early in the morning to arrive around 10:30am. Being the over-planner that I am, we had figured out all the food & drink, clothes, first aid and emergency supplies that we could possibly need for the day. I was tasked with making a pasta salad that could sit in the cooler all day, homemade trail mix, and some kind of granola bar or bite to replenish the carbs we’d quickly burn through.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Once we walked up to the two “tourist” spots in the park – Starved Rock and Lover’s Leap, we had had enough of all the slow pokes, so we moved the car to a parking lot further away from the visitor’s center to do some real hiking.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.comA quick lunch of sandwiches and fruit salad from Jill, my veggie pasta salad, chips, and perhaps a little something from Wisconsin (cheers!), we hiked out to see a few gorgeous canyons, complete with small waterfalls. The closer we got to the canyons, the cooler it became – a welcome relief from the hot, sunny 80+ degree day. The ground was pretty easy to walk on with a handful of muddy spots. The streams were what got me – too big to jump over (mostly) but too small to warrant turning around. Thankfully, Chris was really good at finding me the best places to cross where my shoes would become only slightly wet (they dried off quickly, too).

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The views really were beautiful. Everything was bright green, we were relatively well-shaded, and the rocks of the canyons had this amazing layered yellow hue to them. Hiking to and from each canyon spot made us work up an appetite, so we stopped for a snack break before hitting the final, steepest trail. The granola bites I ended up making are filled with a tart roasted rhubarb puree. The crust is made up of ground oats, 7-grain cereal, coconut oil, peanut butter, flax, and cinnamon – definitely a hearty, compact snack! I wanted to make sure we were set with carbs, protein and fat, and I think I nailed it! These had to stay in the cooler and the perfect snack break.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Our final trail of the day was the most challenging. The view up looked daunting. It was steep, and lacked a lot of footing. There is a wooden staircase built in for the steepest portion (which is also right next to a county road), but we had to manage the rest on our own. And it was well worth it! A few water stops later, and we were presented with a fantastic view of the river and surrounding park. I can see why people enjoy this! I can now say I’m one of them 🙂

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The descent to the bottom of the trail was almost just as challenging, as we worked to avoid slipping and falling. When we returned to the car, I experienced the most wonderful feeling of taking off my shoes and socks! Haha, yeah, that felt great – I’m so glad I brought flip flops to change into and rest my feet.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

We headed home, with a pit stop along the way for a bathroom and much-deserved cold beer, and finally reached Milwaukee again. I had so much fun, that the four of us are already working on our next hiking trip! In the meantime, I’m going to be making these roasted rhubarb granola bites pretty often. It’s a great way to use your rhubarb harvest, and is a much healthier snack than cake or pie. They’re easy to make, and can be frozen for enjoyment later on!

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites
Makes 12 bites

  • 3 C chopped rhubarb
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp creamy nut/seed butter of choice
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 C Maple
  • 3/4 C Oat flour
  • 1 C Bob’s grain cereal
  • 2 tbsp Flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking pan with foil and spray with PAM.

Spread chopped rhubarb on the baking sheet. Drizzle with honey. Roast for 25 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through, to prevent burning.

Transfer rhubarb to a bowl and mix in the cornstarch. Use an immersion blender to puree the roasted rhubarb. Set aside. Note: leave the oven on!

In a medium bowl, melt together the nut butter and coconut oil. Mix in the maple syrup, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the oat flour, cereal and flaxseed meal until well-combined and hydrated.

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the crust mixture into each paper liner and pat down with the back of the spoon. There should be some crust mixture remaining.

Spoon in a scant tablespoon of the rhubarb puree. Finally, spoon about a teaspoon of the leftover crust on top of the rhubarb.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely in the tin. Transfer the tin to your fridge and let chill a few hours or overnight. This will help set it up.

Remove from tin and serve. Refrigerate leftovers up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting

3 May

The word is getting out! Yep – I love to bake, and it’s even more fun when those baked goods are packed with booze 😉 This past weekend, my friend recommended my cupcakes for a joint bachelorette & birthday party. The bride-to-be wanted to surprise her sister, who was celebrating a birthday, with beer-infused cupcakes.

As soon as I learned that the birthday girl’s favorite beer is the Belgian Tripel style, I knew what I had to do: bake La Fin Du Monde into a cupcake and smother it with creamy, dreamy dark chocolate ganache frosting and a sprinkling of pink sea salt. For the non-beer lovers out there, La Fin Du Monde is a Belgian ale from Canadian brewery Unibroue. It’s effervescent, sweet, banana-y, clove-y and rather high in alcohol content. Certainly an obvious choice to bake into, and soak onto, cupcakes!

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

With that flavor profile in mind, I packed these treats with fresh bananas and ground clove. I view the frosting almost as a pairing – like what you’d get at a good beer bar. And what goes better with banana than dark chocolate? So of course, I had to frost these cakes with my simple yet indulgent dark chocolate ganache frosting. Whipped to perfection, this frosting is piped on and sprinkled lightly with sea salt, to bring out the natural sweetness of the chocolate.

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The end result? Let’s just say I could SMELL the beer in these goodies as they baked in the oven. The cakes are sweet, with hints of banana and clove, and you can absolutely taste the inclusion of the beer. Especially because I employ the “poke and soak” method post-baking: poke each cupcake with a skewer or chopstick and soak 1/2 tsp beer right on top. It really provides that extra punch, which is just to die for. Which is good, considering that La Fin Du Monde is French for “end of the world.”

Buy a bottle of Belgian ale, bake these cupcakes, and impress everyone at your next party!

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Makes 24 cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting:

  • 1-1/4 C heavy whipping cream
  • 15 oz dark baking chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp flaked sea salt

Heat heavy cream in a pan on medium heat until it comes to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in the chopped baking chocolate until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Transfer the chocolate to the bowl of your stand mixer and allow to cool in the refrigerator for one hour. Bake the cupcakes while this chills.

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes:

  • ¾ C butter, room temperature
  • 1 C white sugar
  • ¾ C brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 C flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C La Fin du Monde Belgian Tripel beer + more to soak
  • ¼ C milk
  • 2 medium bananas

Preheat oven to 350. Line two muffin tins with paper liners.

Beat butter with sugars until creamy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and ground clove.

In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the eggs with vanilla, beer, milk, and mashed bananas.

Alternate adding the dry and the wet ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat until just combined.

Scoop batter into 24 lined muffin tins.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 and bake for 18-23 minutes, rotating the tins halfway through baking. Let cool completely before frosting. TIP: speed this up by popping the cupcakes, still in the baking tins, straight into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Poke four holes into the top of each cupcake using a skewer or chopstick. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon additional beer on top and allow to soak in.

While the cupcakes cool and soak, whip up the ganache frosting.

Use the paddle attachment with your stand mixer and beat the ganache for 5 minutes on medium speed, or until it starts to create stiff peaks. Scoop the whipped ganache into a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with flaked sea salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve, allowing 30 minutes out of the fridge before enjoying.

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Tahini-Honey Flourless Brownies

28 Apr

My office is almost always abundant with treats and snacks. Whether it’s someone’s birthday, a holiday, or a big team meeting, the temptation is rampant and usually difficult to resist. So when my manager asked what she could bring to a two-hour long team meeting this week, I quickly volunteered to bring a pan of brownies – healthy, whole food brownies that I knew everyone would love, and I wouldn’t feel guilty enjoying!

Tahini-Honey Flourless Brownies | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

These brownies are based on my flourless peanut butter swirl brownies – a recipe I’ve made frequently because they’re so darn good. This updated version uses half the sugar and is swirled with a mixture of tahini and honey. The result is an insanely fudgy brownie, with the nutty-sweet flavor of the tahini-honey swirl. I promise, no one will know they’re healthy, they’ll just know they will want more than one!

Tahini-Honey Flourless Brownies | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Tahini-Honey Flourless Brownies, adapted from this recipe

Makes 16 brownies

  • 1/4 C nondairy or skim milk
  • 3/4 C nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg or flax egg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C old-fashioned rolled oats (uncooked!)
  • 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C tahini, stirred well
  • ¼ C honey or maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8×8 inch pan with PAM.

In the jug of your blender, first add the liquid ingredients, and then the dry ingredients, but leave out the tahini and honey (this is for the swirl on top). Blend until completely smooth – you may have to scrape the sides of the blender with a spatula once or twice.

Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan – the batter will be thin. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the tahini and honey and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well and drizzle over the batter. Use a knife to create a marbled effect.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350, or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove to a cooling rack to let the pan cool down. DO NOT cut them yet! You must let these chill in the fridge at least a few hours or overnight before slicing into 16 brownies. Serve and enjoy!

Cellular Peptide Cake with Mint Frosting (aka dessert for a Star Trek Party!)

15 Apr

“Live Long and Prosper!” was exchanged frequently at my house this past weekend. My boyfriend and I, along with 14 of our friends, celebrated a pre-holiday that all Trekkies should know: First Contact Day. Yep, the Star Trek movie, First Contact, predicts that in 2063, an alien race will decide finally to make contact with humans on Earth. A much-anticipated event that requires drinks and food of all kinds.

Ok, not ALL kinds, but Star Trek kinds! We basically hosted the nerdiest Trek party around – complete with a viewing of the aforementioned movie and other Star Trek episodes; our living room was decorated to look like we had gone to Red Alert; guests were wearing all sorts of Trek garb (including my new set of Captain’s pips from Chris!!); and themed treats to indulge in while partying it up.

Cellular Peptide Cake with Mint Frosting (aka dessert for a Star Trek Party!) | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Last year, I shared a few of those recipes, such as Captain Sisko’s Ratamba Stew, Constable Odo’s Bruschetta, and the blue-hued Romulan Ale. This year, I baked some Cookies. Earl Grey. Sweet., a Cellular Peptide cake, and we even had Fuzzy Tribbles (in both cake bite and adult beverage form).

Cellular Peptide cake comes from an episode in The Next Generation, “Phantasms,” where the android Data kind of loses his mind and starts having dreams, which is uncharacteristic of androids. One of the most bizarre scenes is when he approaches the Klingon Worf, who states he’s eating a “cellular peptide cake, with mint frosting.” Ok, if that wasn’t strange enough, we come to find out this “cake” is really the Counselor Troi in cake form! Check out the video clip. It’s weird.

But the point is: there’s cake! In the episode, the cake appears to be a white or yellow vanilla cake. But because Deanna Troi LOVES chocolate so much, I opted for a chocolate cake. In the mood to keep things somewhat healthy, I found a healthy version of a Texas sheet cake on Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog – it’s the perfect size for a cake that needs to be shaped into a human torso without it being overly huge.

To make the mint frosting, I opted for icing made with coconut oil, powdered sugar, milk and peppermint extract. Get this: this frosting is made in the FOOD PROCESSOR. I swear, it was done in less than 5 minutes. I can’t rave enough about this! And it’s coconut oil, so that’s totally healthy, right? 🙂

Some food coloring and artistic patience later, I’ve got a cellular peptide cake with mint frosting. One friend commented that the final product tastes like a cake version of Thin Mints. And she was right!! So whether you’re an equally huge nerd, or just like the flavor of Thin Mints, this cake is totally for you. Throw on an episode of Star Trek and get baking! Neelix would want you to 🙂

Cellular Peptide Cake with Mint Frosting (aka Thin Mint Cake)

Serves 20

First, make this healthier Texas Sheet Cake, from Chocolate Covered Katie. (I made no alterations to her recipe, so just follow along! Be sure you use a 9×13″ rimmed baking sheet – nothing larger.)

Let the cake cool completely in the baking sheet. Make the frosting in the meantime.

Mint Frosting

  • ½ C coconut oil, room temperature – you want this in a solid state
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/4 C nondairy milk
  • Optional: food coloring

Combine the coconut oil, sugar, extract and milk in your food processor. Cover and blend until it mixes together completely. Add more milk as necessary to keep the frosting moving.

If using food coloring for cellular peptide cake, transfer 2/3 frosting to one bowl, and 1/3 frosting to another. Color the larger amount to make it a deep blue, like Counselor Troi’s uniform. Color the smaller amount with equal parts green and red food coloring to achieve a dark gray (or buy black food coloring). Mix well until the colors are incorporated throughout.

For cellular peptide cake, you’ll want to trim the cake to make it look like a torso – basically like a T-shirt. Cut a V-neck, cut some shoulders, and trim a half inch off either side of the “stomach” area.

Scoop colored frostings into two separate plastic sandwich or piping bags. Follow my picture or one online to achieve the look of Deanna Troi. I used three white chocolate chips to represent her Lt. Commander status pips (the third one of which I added a dot of the gray frosting to signify that it was a hollow pip).

Tip: pipe a border on the edges of the cake first, and fill it in from there. The frosting is fluid enough that the piping lines will set and blend into each other for a seamless finished product.

If you’re just making this as a tasty Thin Mint cake, spread the plain white frosting over the entire cake – no need to trim anything off of it! Optional: dye the frosting green to evoke a minty look. Let it set an hour before slicing and enjoying.

Cellular Peptide Cake with Mint Frosting (aka dessert for a Star Trek Party!) | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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