Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nutella Tres Leches Cake

There is nothing better than a Tres Leches Cake - except of course a Nutella Tres Leches Cake! If you are not familiar with Tres Leches, let us explain. Tres Leches is the Spanish phrase for "three milks." Imagine a moist vanilla cake being drenched by three types of milk - condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream - then topped with fluffy white whipped topping. Now imagine putting Nutella in it too. This cake will taste good no matter how bad of a baker you are! You can't go wrong with this cake! Plus, if you are like us and love Nutella, then you need to place a lock on your refrigerator door to stay away from this edible sponge of deliciousness.  We had to give it away when we made it to avoid eating the whole thing. In fact, we made two cakes and gave one immediately away to Mrs. P's cousin who had just had a baby. She was very happy to have something sweet to offer her guests visiting her after the baby was born. This is a great dessert to take to a pot luck party or just make it for yourself!

Note: This cake needs to be refrigerated overnight for best results.


For the cake:
1 box of vanilla cake mix
Milk and eggs according to the instructions on the box

For the Nutella mixture:
1 14 oz. can of condensed milk
1 14 oz. can of evaporated milk
1 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of Nutella

For the merengue topping:
5 egg whites
1 1/4 cup of sugar

Kitchen Essentials:
Stand mixer
Pattle attachement
Whisk attachment
13x9 inch pan 
Cooking spray
Can opener
Measuring cups and spoons
Large bowl
Cooling rack
Butter knife

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the 13x9 inch pan and spray with cooking spray. Follow the instructions on the cake mix box and allow the cake to cool when it comes out of the oven. 

In a large bowl, combine the three milks and Nutella and whisk until combined. Set aside. Carefully poke holes in the cake with a butter knife all over the surface of the cake. Make sure you do not poke holes through the pan if it is a disposable aluminum pan because the Nutella mixture will soak through. (Trust us, we have been there!) Do not be afraid to poke holes in the cake. Once the cake is decorated with the whipped cream, you will not see the holes. You need plenty of holes so the Nutella mixture could soak through the cake. 

Once you are done stabbing the cake, drizzle all of the Nutella mixture over the top, making sure it seeps through the sides of the cake. The wetter the better! Place in the fridge and let it sit over night. The next day, make the whipped topping by whisking the cold egg whites on high speed and adding the sugar until stiff peaks form. Then spread it over the top of the cake. Garnish with some Nutella.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Kitchen Door Makeover

In the beginning of the summer, Mrs. P went on a yellow craze! Suddenly it was her second favorite color (her first favorite color is pink) and she began buying everything from home decor to nail polish in sunny yellow. Well, the kitchen door also got a splash of yellow this summer. At first, Mr. P was hesitant about such a bright color in the kitchen, but he warmed up to the idea after we painted a small sample and realized it went really well with the Mexican tile in the kitchen. This DYI project was relatively easy and wallet-friendly. It took a few hours on a Saturday, but we've received tons of compliments. It was definitely worth it. Here's how we did it.

P.S. In case you are wondering, the color we chose is Mark Twain House Yellow by Valspar.

Window cleaner
Quart of paint
1/4 inch paint brush
1/2 inch paint brush
Screw driver
Metal scraper
Paper towels
Painters tape

Step 1: Clean the inside and outside glass 
with window cleaner and paper towel.

Step 2: Scrape any traces of old paint with 
a metal scraper. 

Step 3: Place painter's tape on the glass as 
close as possible to the edge of the door frame. 
Warning: don't rely on chihuahuas for 
help. They could care less! :)

Now the fun part...

Step 4: Remove the hardware from the door 
with a screwdriver and begin to paint. 

Step 5: Wait until the first coat dries, 
then give it a second coat.

All done!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Looking for a light and flavorful pasta salad that will stand out amongst other pasta salads? Look no further than our sun-dried tomato pasta salad. This salad reminds us of a salad we had in Greece, which had most of the ingredients we used in this recipe. The sun-dried tomato dressing is the star of the show. You will love it even if you are not a fan of tomatoes. Dig in!

1 box of Ditalini pasta
6 oz. can of pitted black olives (drained)
8 oz. bottle of sun-dried tomatoes (save oil for dressing)
8 oz. can of sweet green peas (drained)
12oz to 16 oz of marinated artichoke hearts
8 oz. feta cheese
4 gloves of minced garlic
4 tbsp. dijon mustard
9 tbsp. of red wine vinegar
14 tbsp. of olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes

Kitchen Essentials:
Small bowl
Large pot
Cutting board
Can opener
Small mixing bowl
Large bowl

Drain the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl using a colander and save the oil for the dressing. You will need to measure and see how much oil from the sun-dried tomatoes you end up with. If you are short, add extra virgin olive oil to ensure you have 14 tablespoons.

Put a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta for 10 minutes and drain. In the meantime, finely chop the garlic cloves.

In a mixing bowl add the garlic, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and begin to whisk while slowly pouring the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. The dressing will thicken as you continue to add the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Place the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, green peas, artichoke hearts and feta cheese in a large bowl with the pasta and toss. Pour the dressing over the top and toss until evenly coated. It's that simple!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Strawberry Crostata

We love strawberries! But sometimes, we go a little overboard and buy too many of them, especially in the summer. So what do we do with all the extra berries? Why make a Strawberry Crostata of course! A crostata is an Italian name for a tart in the form of a pie. You can't go wrong when putting together strawberries and pie! Besides the strawberries, our other favorite ingredient in this recipe has to be the turbinado sugar. This "sugar in the raw" gives this tart a crisp layer on the top that feels like you are biting into little chunks of edible diamonds. Yes, it's that good!

Ingredients for pie crust:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick of cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 tbsp. ice cold water

Ingredients for filling:
3 to 4 cups of fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
5 tablespoons of turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon of heavy cream or milk

Kitchen Essentials:

Stand mixer with paddle attachment (or food processor with dough blade)
Measuring cups and spoons
Plastic wrap

Parchment paper

Clean work surface
Rolling pin
Baking sheet
Large bowl

Cut the cold stick of butter lengthwise in half. Then cut the halves lengthwise again. You should have 4 long pieces. Next cut each piece into eight small squares. Return the cut butter to the fridge. Next, fill a cup with ice and water. Keep to the side, so that the water gets really cold. This is the water you will add to make the dough later.

Directions for pie crust:

Stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the cut-up butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal. At this point, add the 3 tbsp. of cold water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together.

Pat the flour into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

Directions for Filling:
While the dough is chilling you can begin making the filling. Cut off the tops of the strawberries and slice into 1/4 inch slices and place in a large bowl. Try to cut all the strawberries to the same thickness so they bake evenly. Add the lemon juice, cornstarch and 4 tablespoons of the turbinado sugar to the berries. Softly toss and place in the fridge. 

Assembling the Crostata:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Liberally flour your work surface. Take the dough out of the fridge and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough. Try to roll out in a circular shape with a 1/2 inch thickness. Transfer the rolled out dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Using a spoon, begin to place the strawberry mixture in the center of the rolled out dough. Spread the strawberries but leave about a 2 inch border around the edge of the dough. Now begin to fold the edge of the dough inward. There is not wrong or right way, this is a rustic dessert.

Once you have folded all the edges of the dough in, brush the edge of the dough with the heavy cream or milk. Generously sprinkle turbinado sugar ontop of the crust and over the berries, this will create a nice crunchy crust. Place into a 375 degrees oven for 30 - 35 minutes until the crust is golden.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Nutella Milkshakes

It is so hot in Miami right now, that sometimes even an ice-cold glass of water won't cut it! Last weekend, after a scorching hot afternoon of gardening, we decided to cool down with a nice frosty cup of old-fashioned milkshakes with a twist. Nutella makes any dessert better, so we added some of our favorite spread into the blender. The result was absolutely amazing! The hardest part about this recipe is pausing to take a photo before taking a delicious sip. Enjoy!

3 cups of vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup of Nutella
1/2 cup of milk
Whipped cream
Nutella for drizzling

Kitchen Essentials:
Measuring Cups
2 cups

Measure out the milk, Nutella and vanilla ice cream and place in the blender. Turn on the blender and mix until creamy and fully incorporated.

Pour into 2 cups, top with some whipped cream and drizzle with Nutella! Its that simple!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Craft Box Organization Tips by Mrs. P

Having my own craft room is not in option in our cozy 1940s house. Not even a craft "corner" will fit into our starter home, so I need to settle with a plastic box in our laundry room. Our laundry room is outside, so I usually find myself crafting at night and putting the supplies away all over the house. Last week I had enough and decided to collect all the scattered items and organize my very messy craft box. It only took me about 30 minutes to take everything out, clean the box and organize the supplies. I am so glad I did because it is a lot easier to find what I am looking for now that everything is labeled.  If you find yourself like me and need to organize your crafty stuff or anything else really, here are my tips.

Here's what you will need:
1 clear plastic box with lid
Large freezer bags
Medium freezer bags
Sandwich bags
Sharpie marker
Small plastic bins from Target

What to do:
Step 1: Collect all miscellaneous craft items from around the house.
Step 2: If you already have a bin, take everything out and clean out the dust.
Step 3: Throw away anything that you haven't used in over a year.
Step 4: Take a look at everything you have and group all related items together.

Step 5: Determine how to best store each group of items. For example, I stored glue and scissors together in a small plastic bin, and put all the loose pearls, rhinestones and glitter in a large freezer bag, which I labeled "bling." I placed all the different color raffia I had in one bag and labeled it as well.

Step 6: Use the freezer and sandwich bags to store the rest of the items and label them, such as "bling," "stickers," "paint brushes," and "misc."
Step 7: Tape all the loose ends of ribbons to the plastic part of the stool.

Step 8: Place everything back into the craft box in a way where everything fits together like a puzzle.
Step 9: Maintain your box by making sure to put everything back where it belongs.

I hope this helps keep your craft supplies organized and relatively available when you need it!

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