Cracked Chocolate Earth Cake

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 stick unsalted butter*
  • 9 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.
Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1 inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs - this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate; then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.
Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan (spray the bottom with nonstick spray) and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then unmold.
While the cake is cooking, make the whipped cream. Whip the cream until it becomes light and fluffy. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar.
Serve at room temperature with the whipped cream.

Results: This was my first time using a springform and separating eggs.  The separating mostly worked out but my egg whites wouldn't whip up maybe because of a touch of yolk?  Anyway this was a touch denser than I wanted, I'm sure because of that but Rashan's sister, the chocoholic LOVED this cake.  Me?  WAY too chocolatey.  I don't like chocolate that much but I know other people do so I bake it.


Holiday Eats: Roasted Carrot & Parsnips & The Ultimate French Onion Soup

I just had one recipe left over from Thanksgiving and a few from Christmas since Rashan's mom and the HoneybakedHamCo. handled the bulk of the meal.

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled
  • 1 pound carrots, unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

If the parsnips and carrots are very thick, cut them in half lengthwise. Slice each diagonally in 1-inch-thick slices. The vegetables will shrink while cooking, so don't make the pieces too small. Place the cut vegetables on a sheet pan. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss well. Roast for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetables, tossing occasionally, until the parsnips and carrots are just tender. Sprinkle with dill and serve hot.

Results: Yum-o!  I decided to slather these with the leftover paste from the turkey for Thanksgiving and it was AWESOME!!  This is partly because I don't really like dill.  I really hate it on salmon... partly because I don't really like cooked salmon.  These were a hit.  And of the 7 people at the table, none of us had had parsnips before.  Downside?  I'm slightly allergic to carrots (throat itching) but may be all the way allergic to parsnips (uncontrollable nose running).

The Ultimate French Onion Soup
Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth (I used veg broth)
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere
Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.
Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

Results: Son.  There is a reason why this recipe has 316 five-star recipes.  OUT OF FIVE.   I used vegetable broth instead of beef broth so Rashan's sister could eat it.  She's an almost vegan vegetarian.  Even w/o the beef flavor, it. was. awesome!!  The red wine makes it amazing.  Caramelizing the onions gives it the brown color.  Rashan's mom raved over it and had two bowls the first day!  Gruyere is crazy expensive so you can sub any melting swiss.  How Ty had those giant "croutons" and I had little babies, IDK!  LOL.  You should definitely try this.  I already have requests for next year.


Blogger Meet-Up!

I met two delightful bloggers, Pserendipity & Nerd Girl, on my trip to Mississippi. Of course that requires a fabulous outfit! My seamstress grandma gave me this capelet she sewed up decades ago. My mom remembers it from her childhood.

My various fireplace poker stances had my grandma cracking up! My mom was the most patient she's ever been as my photographer. LOL. Thanks mom!

That's me holding the picture of my mom from back in the day with her super fro.  Too bad you can't see it.  :/  Ah well.  There's grandma on the mantel.
My grandma let me borrow what I call her blameo, her black cameo someone allegedly brought her from Africa.

Scarf: Etsy-ed
Sweater: Express
Capelet: Grandma sewed and gifted
Belt: Talbots
Jeans: Express
Boots: Nine West
Blameo: Grandma borrowed

The infamous bloggers after a delicious Indian meal!


Cornish Hens with Macaroni n' Cheese with Peas & Bacon

Cornish Hens Roasted with Rosemary & Garlic

  • 4 Cornish game hens
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Rub hens with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Lightly season hens with salt and pepper. Place 1 lemon wedge and 1 sprig rosemary in cavity of each hen. Arrange in a large, heavy roasting pan, and arrange garlic cloves around hens. Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a mixing bowl, whisk together wine, chicken broth, and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil; pour over hens. Continue roasting about 25 minutes longer, or until hens are golden brown and juices run clear. Baste with pan juices every 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer hens to a platter, pouring any cavity juices into the roasting pan. Tent hens with aluminum foil to keep warm. Transfer pan juices and garlic cloves to a medium saucepan and boil until liquids reduce to a sauce consistency, about 6 minutes. Cut hens in half lengthwise and arrange on plates. Spoon sauce and garlic around hens. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, and serve. 
Results: DELISH!  However... I thought about becoming a vegetarian for the first time when I was cleaning the cornish hens... Do you see them!?!?  They look like little babies!!  Why????  I felt like such a murderer m.olesting their soft.supple.skin.  As delicious as it was... I don't think I'll ever cook this again.

The Ultimate Mac N' Cheese with Peas & Bacon
Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups warm milk
5 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

extra virgin olive oil
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
leaves from ¼ bunch fresh thyme
2 cups frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the macaroni and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps form forming.  Gradually whisk in the milk and, whisking vigorously, cook until the mixture is thick and smooth.
Stir in the 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.
Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley and fold that all in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture.  Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 ½ cups cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
While thats going, heat a 2 count of olive oil in a sauté pan.  Add the bacon, onion, garlic and thyme and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onion.  Fold in the peas and season with salt and pepper.
 To serve, scatter the pea and bacon mixture over the mac and cheese.  Use a big spoon to scoop out servings, making sure you get some of the smoking pea mixture on each spoonful.
Results: Y'all.  If you're one of those mac & cheese purists, let it go one night.  You don't have to make this for the holidays or your family might kill you!  But do yourself a favor and make this!  So delicious!!

Also, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  Sorry it's been so long!  The remix wore me out!!!



I know some of you want me to stop talking about fashion already!  But!  I'm so excited that Elaine over at Clothed Much posted me and a host of other crazies who broke our fashion rules in the last week!  I love her blog because even though she dresses modestly and lets you know she repeats her clothes... in the same week... and it's really not a problem because she looks great!  Love that.  She's one of the fashion bloggers I stan for when it comes to inspiration!
Can you find me in the line-up??????  LOL.  I look like the cockiest fashion blogger in the whole world.  No one sent me to fashion blogger school!  They didn't tell me I'm supposed to look disinterested!  Okay I lied.  They told me.  I refused.  I'm interested in this outfit because I like it.  There.  I said it again.  I LIKE IT!  I LOVE IT!  I WANT SOME MORE OF IT!  UNH!  (I played softball as a child...)


Thanksgiving Meats: Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy, Honey Glazed Ham & Shrimp Bisque

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray 
  • 1 small (golf-ball sized) onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon, scrubbed clean
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • Large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1/2 cup, from 12 stems)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 boneless turkey breast halves, skin on (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds each)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup apple or regular brandy (recommended: Calvados)
  • 2 to 3 cups apple cider
  • Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Oil a roasting pan and set it aside.

Put the onion into the bowl of a mini food processor. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the lemon in thin strips, being careful not to cut into the bitter white pith. Add the lemon zest to the food processor and reserve the whole lemon for another use. Chop the onion and lemon zest until fine. Add the sage, parsley, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt and pulse until it forms a coarse paste.

Put 2 of the bay leaves and the butter into a small pan and heat over medium-low heat until the butter is bubbling. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Put the turkey breasts on a work surface. Carefully run your fingers between the skin and the flesh from 1 end, being careful not to pull it completely off, creating a pocket. Season the turkey breasts generously with salt and pepper. Stuff half of the herb paste under the skin of each breast, and spread it evenly under the skin. Transfer the breasts to the roasting pan, and slide 2 bay leaves underneath each one. (The heat of the pan will release the bay leaf oils and flavor the breast.) Using a pastry brush, baste the breasts with half of the bay butter. Place the turkey in the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 400 degrees F. After 20 minutes, baste the turkey breasts with the remaining butter, and roast for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked through, and a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast registers 170 degrees F.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a platter, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving while you make the gravy.

Put the roasting pan over the burner on medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the pan juices, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the apple brandy, and scrape the pan to lift the bits that are stuck to the bottom. Cook for a minute to burn off the alcohol, then, while stirring, pour in the apple cider. Bring to a simmer, and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the turkey breast on the diagonal, and serve with warm gravy.

Results: A.MA.ZING!!  I used one 7.7 lb. turkey breast and it was one of the best turkeys I've ever eaten.  I think my mom didn't like me saying THE best... I mean...   I didn't use the brandy in the gravy after I bought that $34 thing... UGH.  Because of my Muslim guest.  I don't even want to know if she used it.  Let's just say she BETTER HAVE!!  Anyway.  I was very scared to use the apple cider... it was DELICIOUS!  I was very happy with the result!  The cider melted into the gravy deliciously!  Didn't taste cider-y at all.  Use cider, not cider vinegar.  As high maintenance as this recipe sounds... it was SO worth it!

Honey Glazed Ham
Recipe courtesy of Allrecipes.com

1 5 lb. ham
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. honey
1 /3 cup butter
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Score ham, and stud with the whole cloves. Place ham in foil lined pan.
  3. In the top half of a double boiler, heat the corn syrup, honey and butter. Keep glaze warm while baking ham.
  4. Brush glaze over ham, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Baste ham every 10 to 15 minutes with the honey glaze. During the last 4 to 5 minutes of baking, turn on broiler to caramelize the glaze. Remove from oven, and let sit a few minutes before serving. 
Results: I used the suggested amendments from another user and halved this recipe.  I didn't baste nearly enough but this ham was still quite tasty!  I forgot to photograph it!

Shrimp Bisque
Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 1eeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and rinsed well
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into big chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into big chunks
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 strips orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Finely grated orange zest, for garnish
  • Finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and melt the butter into it. Then add the shrimp shells, the leeks, celery, carrots, 3 sprigs thyme, the bay leaf, orange zest, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the shells are red and the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
Take the pot off the heat and carefully pour in the brandy. Ignite the brandy with a long kitchen match and let burn until the flame subsides. Return the pot to the heat, sprinkle in the flour, give it a stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Now add water to cover and deglaze, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to low and gently simmer until the soup is reduced and thickened, 30 to 45 minutes. Strain into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper.
Chop the shrimp. Return the bisque to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes just to cook the shrimp through. Give the bisque a final taste for seasoning, pour it into warmed soup bowls and serve garnished with the orange zest and chives.

Results: I doubled this recipe and felt like it needed less orange zest and more flour to thicken.  Turns out it thickened a bit in the aftermath but I would've liked it thicker when I first served it.  The orange was overpowering and stuck out.  Someone RASHAN AND S said it tasted like fruit loops... but still delicious.  I hate them.  They still loved it.  I also think it might have been better if the veggies had been pureed into the bisque instead of discarded.  I liked it okay.  Do yourself a huge favor and make sure you cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes.  Deliciously perfectly cooked.



I didn't go out with a bang but pretend 29 was 30 and I win!  I've been wanting to wear these pins together for a while.  I love mixing colors and I love this polka dot scarf I got from Etsy.

I also have a confession... I bought a sweater.  I know, DING.  But it was HALF OFF!!  And it was Black Friday!  Whatever.  I hated 79% of this challenge.  I'll tell you about the rest of it later!


30 for 30 Remix: Feelin Fine at 29!!!

Y'all I'M ALMOST DONE!!  I HAVE A LONG LIST OF STUFF I'M BUYING!!  What?  I'm... I'm... I'm... just being honest.  Some of it will probably be Christmas gifts... for me... from me... and maybe from others...   Dee dee dee!  Y'ALL! (2 y'alls, one post.)


NEVER. EVER. EEEEEVER would I have put this together without the remix!!  I don't mix patterns... And I haven't worn this silver mesh belt in at least 3 years...  And I don't really like open toed booties or booties period.  But I knew these shoes would haunt me if I didn't snatch them up.  I wore this to a ladies breakfast with the girls from my program.  Please forgive me for the indulgence but it was difficult for me to even take this outfit off...

 Love a good pair of earmuffs!  And yes I did thread my pearls through my scarf!

Sweater: Banana Republic
Tank: Wet Seal (Don't judge.. it was cheap)
Skirt: Forever 21
Tights: Free from my sister
Belt: No clue... been too long
Shoes: Nine West


30 for 30 Remix: Days 27 & 28

YESSSSSS!!! TWO MORE OUTFITS!!  I'M GOING OUT WITH A BANG AND SO EXCITED!!  I'm beginning to lust after my own shoes... That is just sad.  The first pictures were taken during the first snow of the season here Saturday.  It's incredibly unusual to have snow in NC in the first week in December.  And for it to even stick on the grass???  Crazy.
 Being backlit makes it look like I have new clothes! *drool* New clothes...
 Got a 2nd use out of this sweater!  And in a consecutive outfit!  Amazing!

 The "got toffee in my teeth from this eggnog cappuccino heath milkshake" pose. *dig, Naima, dig* LOL 
 It never occurred to me before this outfit to let my sweater drape open... LOL
 Brooklyn?  Rapper?  Brooklyn rapper?


30 for 30 Remix: Days 25 & 26

Dude... I need to have my sister's photography skills more often! I love how I look in these pics! Even through the silliness! LOL. She works at our sorority's national headquarters so this is at HQ when I went to visit her Friday.  I wore two outfits and each featured a sweater I hadn't worn!  NO MORE UNWORN PIECES!!!!  You can't really see sweater number 1 but it's navy and sleeveless so I wore this with a cord jacket and a scarf all day.  These jeans make me feel tall.  Yes, I'm such a midget I should be wearing them with heels only but I felt like rebelling.

Clearly the face of a rebel...

Sweater: Anthropologie
Jacket: Forever21
Jeans: Express
Shoes: Nine West

Outfit 2 was for a dinner party from Hades with my sister!!!  Most uncultured beasts in the world at dinner with me!!  Good thing I likely never ever have to see them again.

 Ooh! Pin-up! :)
Sweater: Guess
Dress: Ann Taylor
Scarf: University of Florida Bookstore (GO GATORS!)
Belt: Came with the dress
Shoes: Nine West

So I now hate this sweater a little less.  It took me until the 26th outfit to figure out a way to wear it!  I also figured out the scarf thing!  Definitely needs to be a bulkier scarf.  But I also think Naima may be right.  It's probably one of those endless scarves in Kendi & What Would a Nerd Wear's outfits.  Anyway I think this is a good start but I had all this scarf fringe in my back.  I'm trying this again this week.


30 for 30 Remix: Days 23 & 24

This is my "I need something to cover my gym clothes so it's a quick and smooth transition, I now know I don't like this jacket anymore, it's the first cold day and HOW DO THESE PEOPLE TAKE PICS OUTSIDE W/O A COAT WITHOUT DYING" outfit.
 It's also my rubbing in the fact that I have an eggnog milkshake from Cook-Out in my hand outfit! MMMMMMM!

 The "Are we done yet? It's cold." face.
The following day I was feeling bored (again) so I tried drawing some inspiration from Sydney and What Would a Nerd Wear... (No. 6) About that...  I couldn't get the scarf to look full enough (How do they do that?? Longer scarf??) so I had to go in a different direction.  I still ended up surprising myself and liking the result.  Rashan wasn't sure about it but I'm okay with that. :)
 I don't like leopard that much but decided to make it peek out for a few hours.
 Yes! A certified catalog model!


30 for 30 Remix: Day 22

How did I accidentally miss this outfit???  I finally felt like I got this dress to work and I went and forgot it!  This was number 18 I think.  Whatevs!  Less than 10 to go.  Um... is it over yet?  Did I ask that already?  I like doing new things with my clothes but I don't like feeling forced into using part of my closet.  PLUS I have 2 things I haven't worn.  I have a third that I hate.  (I put in that cranberry velvet jacket to force myself to wear it and now know it's time to let it go.  I will also let that black sweater I haven't worn yet go.

Definitely wouldn't have done this outfit w/o the remix.  Black jacket & suede shoes, white shirt over dress, belt.  I liked it.