a trio of culinary sins

I found a very sinful recipe via pinterest for candied bacon chocolate chip cookies - which you know I just HAD to try.  I call it my trio of sins with bacon, chocolate, and sugar being in the mix.  Actually I should make that 4 sins because it's got a lot of butter in it too.  I will also say the candied bacon by itself it divine! =)

As I was making the dough, something seemed off to me with the original recipe.  From my mies en place I realized that there was not enough bacon (thank goodness I made way more than the recipe called for) and way too much chocolate.  Not only that, but I also felt that the chips should be milk chocolate, not semi-sweet to further balance the flavors.  The end result of my concoction?  My official taste tester who is NOT a fan of sweets said that they were *THE* best chocolate chip cookies he's ever had.  I have to agree, although I must say I am a bit biased...

candied bacon chocolate chip cookies

For the candied bacon:
12 slices of good thick center cut bacon (from your butcher would be best)
3/4 cup brown sugar

for the cookie dough:
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
1-1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Arrange bacon in a single layer on a foil lined cookie sheet with a rim. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top of the bacon.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from over and flip pieces over.  Bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until crispy.  You may have to do this step twice to accommodate all the bacon.
3. Remove from over and place on a wire rack to cool.  DO NOT put bacon on a paper towel or anything of the sort.  The melted sugars will stick a bit to whatever you put it on so make sure it's something you're not going to be picking off it later.  Dice bacon to around chocolate chip size once fully cooled.
4. Reduce your oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
5. In a large bowl, cream the butter with both the white and light brown sugars.
6. Add the vanilla, egg and egg yolk to the bowl and beat until light and creamy.
7. Add the flour and baking soda, mix well.
8. Add the candied bacon and chocolate chips.  Stir by hand until combined.
9. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Make golf ball sized balls of the cookie dough and place on the cookie sheet about 2" apart.  Bake for 13-15 minutes or until edges are brown.  Remove from oven.  lLt the cookies sit in the pan for about a minute before removing to a wire rack.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.  Enjoy! =)


sweet, salty, buttery goodness

i am a pretty regular watcher of ABC's "The Chew" and a while back Carla Hall made some potato chip cookies which i have been DYING to try for quite some time.  finally i decided i was going to make them this weekend, mainly as a treat for sticking to my half-marathon training program for 5 weeks now.   these cookies are fantastic in all forms - as raw dough, as a plain cookie, or with the chocolate and potato chip toppings.  they remind me of salerno butter cookies when plain, something i ate a lot of as a kid.  but enough already, i know your mouth is probably watering.  here's the recipe as i made it:

potato chip cookies

1 cup butter, partially melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cup crushed kettle cooked potato chips, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
confectioners sugar
1 bag hershey's milk chocolate chocolate chips

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. mix together with a mixer the butter and sugar til well blended.  change to a low speed and blend in 3/4 cup of the crushed potato chips.  add in the vanilla extract and mix til combined.  add the flour and use the mixer just a bit to get it somewhat blended.  finish by hand with a spatula as you do not want to overwork the dough.
3. make 1" balls and place them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper about 2" apart.  flatten them with your fingers.  dust with confectioners sugar.
4. bake cookies for 10 - 15 minutes (mine took about 12 minutes) or until golden brown.  allow to cool.
5. melt the chocolate chips, but not all the way.  with a small spatula, "frost" the cookies with the melted chocolate.  while chocolate is still soft, sprinkle more crushed potato chips on top.

makes about 3 dozen cookies.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


a trip to robotland

my next big project is going to be a series of little monsters...  i'm very excited to get those designs done as they have been in my sketchbook for years, but in the meantime a design i have had sitting around since june of 2010 was nagging at me.

i really liked these robots a lot when i first drew them, but they just weren't right to me.  they weren't original enough and i really wasn't sold on the shapes i used.  the one thing i knew for sure is that i wasn't going to change the feet.

after sitting down and reworking them this past week, i came up with this design and i couldn't be happier with it.

right now they can be purchased as cards in my etsy shop but will soon be turned into many coordinating items such as invitations and cupcake toppers.

with no more old designs calling my name, it is time to start making all my monster sketches a reality! 


cyber weekend sale!

it's that time of year again - my black friday, cyber weekend, cyber monday sale!  get 10 of my cute & whimsical handmade cards for $10 in my etsy shop today thru monday!  there are 6 new gothy designs (a yeti, skeleton angels, a dark angel, a skull and crosscanes, a tim burton inspired tree, and mr. and mrs. grim claus), and 3 new traditional (2 kitty and 1 dog card).  go take a peek!



let's talk turkey

well, maybe not turkey, but how about a holiday dessert? like something with maybe - eggnog? i loooooooove me some eggnog and when i discovered something called "eggnog pie" i was in heaven. as usual, i changed the recipe a bit - more eggnog, less milk, added almonds, and removed a layer of caramel and pecans.  it's super easy to make, and i think this is going to take the place of pumpkin pie during the holidays in my house from now on.  the hardest part is to wait the 3 hours while it is in the refrigerator!

layered eggnog pie

9" pre-made graham cracker crust (see below, or use a premade one from the grocery store)
2 packages vanilla instant pudding (3.4 oz. size)
1/2 cup cold milk (i used 1%)
1-1/2 cups cold eggnog (i used store-bought lite eggnog)
1 tub of whipped topping (i used lite cool whip)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1. whisk together pudding mixed with milk and eggnog, about 2 minutes.  spoon 1-1/2 cups of this into pie crust.
2. stir in half of the whipped topping to the remaining pudding mixture; mix well.  spread over the top of the pudding layer.
3. spread a third layer of the remaining whipped topping over the other two layers.
4. top with sliced almonds.
5. chill for 3 hours.

makes about 10 servings.  enjoy! =)

graham cracker pie crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar

1. combine all ingredients. press to the bottom and up the sides of 9-inch pie plate. bake at 400° for 10 minutes.

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


quick and simple and not your average grilled cheese sandwich

ok, ok, i know it's been forever... there's been too much going on to be able to sit down and write quality blog posts. but i have been taking photos of recipes i want to share and putting them away for when i have time to do it. now is one of those times.

so here's the scenario - i don't like cheese as a rule. but i was emailed a recipe for a more "gourmet" grilled cheese with some other stuff in it (cheese, ham, carmelized onions, apple). now that sounded good so i decided to try it.  if there are several other flavours besides the cheese it's much more bearable to my palette. my first try of the recipe as written was good, but it was missing something though as far as i was concerned.  it was almost too sweet... so i made a second attempt with my own version - which is this one. it's super simple and has tons of flavour. it looks impressive too when you serve it, like it should be much harder than it really is. now go try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

not your average grilled cheese sandwich

white bread
gouda cheese, thick slices
red onion, 1/4" slices
ham, thinly sliced
golden delicious apple, 1/4" slices

1. heat skillet to medium, medium-high.
2. put slices of gouda on each side of the bread.  layer one slice of bread with ham, onion and apples to taste.  cover with the other slice of bread.  butter up one side and put butter side down in the skillet.  let cook for a few minutes (i like mine lightly browned, my man likes his deeply browned so again - to taste).  while cooking, butter the top side of the sandwich.  flip and cook the other side to desired doneness.

enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


spicing it up for valentine's day

valentine's day is a day to spice it up - so why not start with dinner?  today's recipe is a soup i have changed quite a bit from the original.  i'm not much into cream soups so it became brothy instead.  i added rice and chicken for a little more substance, changed the spices up, and served it with tortilla chips to tone down that spice for those (such as me) who prefer their food with a little less heat.  needless to say this is another well enjoyed meal in our house, and as leftovers!  so get your heat on and have a happy valentine's day! ♥

spicy corn chowder with chicken

2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tbs. garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 pkg. frozen whole kernel corn
1 can petite diced tomatoes
3 tbs. chopped green chiles, canned or fresh
3 tsp. parsley, dried or fresh
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
2 cups cooked rice
tortilla chips (optional)

1. in a dutch oven, heat the oil on medium.  add the chicken and cook til the outsides turn white.  remove from pan, set aside.  add onion, bell pepper and garlic.  cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. add the rest of the ingredients except for the rice and tortilla chips.  bring to a boil over high heat.  reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.  stir occasionally.
3. optional - serve with tortilla chips.  we crush ours into our soup.

makes about 6-8 servings.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


wearing handmade wednesday: Girl Tuesday Jewelry

a few years ago, i discovered GirlTuesdayJewelry when i came across an adorable cherry pendant made from red heart glass beads in her etsy shop.  it's still one of my favourite pieces, and that purchase made me a big fan of her jewelry.  last year for valentine's day i picked up her tough love barbed wire hearts earrings.  they're so unique, fun, and edgy, and perfect for the holiday.

towards the end of last year while browsing her shop i decided i wanted barbed wire hoops, as seen on me below.  i love the hearts, but the hoops are more versatile for my wardrobe.  i picked rachel's original hoops, 1.75" in diameter.  i also requested to have them oxidized to make them a little more raw and rugged like real barbed wire.  needless to say i LOVE them and they are the perfect accessory to toughen up any outfit.

i've got a couple of other things i have my eye on in her shop - a stars lariat, ball and chain earrings, and a big heart pendant - so until they make their way into my jewelry drawer i'll be stalking them often.  you can join me in stalking her creations in her etsy shop, at her website - www.girltuesdayjewelry.com, and some of her rocker chic items can also be found at www.punk.com.


talking tacos

i'm back! =)

finally my life is starting to get into order again, which means new recipes for the blog!  this week's gem began in the kitchen of rick bayless.  i was lucky enough to work a few blocks from his restaurants in chicago and ate there several times.  i even blew my entire football pool winnings one week on a dinner at topolobampo.  believe me, it was worth every penny of the $150 that was spent.  so when i learned rick bayless was going to be on "top chef masters" needless to say i was thrilled!

they had an elimination challenge to make street food using animal parts we americans don't normally eat.  rick did tacos with tongue.  as much as he's a master chef, i can't say i wanted to go run out and try tongue.  i did, however, want to try his recipe using something else for meat.  with trial and error, i was able to reduce the recipe to a 2 person (with a bit of leftovers) serving size and i originally began to make it with beef steak.  it was great - until one time i was craving these tacos and adding the steak was out of the food budget that week.  it turned out i didn't even miss it!  the funny thing is i'm not a fan of chorizo, avocados, or pecorino romano but together they are DIVINE!  i *promise* you these tacos have so many flavors to experience, your tongue won't be missing anything. ;)

bacon, chorizo and potato hash tacos (tongueless, adapted from Rick Bayless' recipe)

1 lb bacon
1 white onion, diced
1 lb chorizo, casing removed
2 large potatoes, cubed
pecorino romano (or queso anejo)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
white corn tortillas

3 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
4 jalapeños
3 avocados
1 large white onion, finely diced

1. very lightly boil potatoes in salted water.  set aside to cool.
2. make the guacamole: puree the tomatillos and jalapeños.  mix that into the avocados. add onion.  add cilantro and salt to taste.  put in refrigerator to chill.
3. in a bowl, cover the red onion with very cold water.  salt generously.  let stand for 10 minutes and drain.
4. fry the bacon.  remove and blot.  cook the onions in the bacon fat to carmelize.  in a separate pan cook the chorizo until cooked through and browned.
5. chop the potatoes into small cubes (about 1/2").  add the potatoes and chorizo to the onions and cook until crusty like hash browns.
6. warm tortillas on a slightly oily griddle.  layer tacos with the hash mixture, a couple of strips of bacon, guacamole, red onion, and top with pecorino romano.

makes about 6-8 tacos.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


sometimes you need to take 5

sometimes life doesn't go as planned, as the last month has been for me.  i had big plans of handmade gift guides, wearing handmade wednesdays AND weekends, and many recipe postings of all my holiday baking.  instead i feel like i've been crazy doing things i HAD to, and didn't get much time to devote to things i really WANTED to do...  the holidays seem to do that to me.  maybe that's why i'm not the biggest fan of them.

anyway, one of the things i did manage to get to was making these cookies.  i really love all the flavors of hershey's take 5 candy bars (chocolate, pretzels, caramel, peanuts, and peanut butter) and was looking for something that was similar in cookie form.  i spent hours looking for recipes a few months ago and found nothing remotely close so of course, i decided to make up my own.  i'm pretty pleased with them as i ate a lot of them in the last couple of weeks.  i'll be seeing the treadmill a bit more in the next couple of weeks, lol!

deb's "take 5" inspired cookie bars

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup butter, melted
1-1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 11.5 oz bag (2 cups) hershey's milk chocolate chips
1 cup (or more if you like more pretzel taste) pretzel sticks chopped into 1/2" pieces
heath bits o' brickle toffee chips

1. preheat oven to 350.  spray a 13 x 9 x 2 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. in a large bowl beat peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and eggs til well blended.
3. sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  add this to the mixture and beat just a little bit (dough will be dry at this point).  add in milk and vanilla and beat until all is well blended.  when done, spread the dough in the pan.  use a lightly floured glass as a rolling pin if needed.
4. bake for 15 minutes.  add the entire bag of chocolate chips to the top and bake 3 minutes more (you may need an extra minute or so for the chocolate to melt thoroughly - test by trying to spread the chocolate with a spatula).  remove from oven.  sprinkle pretzels over the top of the chips.  immediately start to spread the chocolate and pretzel mixture into a nice layer across the top with a spatula.  when finished, sprinkle toffee chips over the top.  if needed, put in refrigerator to harden the chocolate.
5. to serve, cut into bars.

makes about 3 dozen cookies.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


wearing handmade wednesday: Stellar Cheri!

for those of you who know me personally, you know i'm REALLLLLLLLY into shoes.  i have a pair of vampiress shoes that are wonderfully wicked but when i wore them out i realized i did not have a bag that truly compliments them.  enter StellarCheri...  she listed some lace bags in her shop and i noticed the lace matched my shoes quite nicely.  so i asked cheri if she could make me a red wristlet.  when i received it i couldn't believe how closely they really did match, both in the red and the lace!

besides accessories, cheri makes some fabulous DIY clothing.  she's great with custom orders as i will personally attest to.  so if you need a gift this holiday season for someone who is reallllllllllllllllly into accessories, go check out her shop.  i'm sure you'll find something that will be an instant love!


friday fuzzies: handmade gift guide

this week's friday fuzzies is going to be a little different, particularly because it's such a big shopping weekend.  i'm all about buying handmade no matter what the occasion is, so i'm going to profile some shops that i've bought from - and think you should check out too!

for purses, scarves, and other cool and edgy accessories, check out warning label creations...  my favourite item in her shop is this executioner clutch bag which will one day be mine. in purple i think.

for handmade polymer clay and resin jewelry, check out pet zombie creations...  i picked this damask necklace from her shop because i have one myself and i LOVE it!

for cute punk rock clothing for both kids and adults, check out rocky the zombie...  zombie love was the first design i purchased from her shop and it's still one of my favourite tees.

for fingerless gloves, check out zen and coffee designs...  i have several pairs from this shop already, and my pick is only one of many from my wish list - who killed mr. moonlight gloves.

for reading pillows and recycled gifts, check out Inverness Studios...  my pick is this alice in wonderland reading pillow - cute and functional!

for dolls, accessories and other cute stuff, check out camamiel...  just about everything in this shop is on my wish list, and it was hard to pick one thing!  plush felt doll lulu is a super cute doll that is in need of a good home.

for stocking stuffers such as burn busters, hair clips, and other cute little things, check out The Biting Gnome...  i have a jack skellington burn buster and it is such a wonderful thing to wrap around my morning tea.  this hello kitty love burn buster would made a perfect gift for any kitty lover, or HK fan!

for bra tops and other cute clothing, check out rad rocket...  my pick from her shop is another wish list item, a halter bra top with a black and white skull print.

for gifts for your pet, check out Fabulously Fierce Pets...  deck out your pooch or kitty in something more fun this holiday season.  my recommendation is this green striped small dog collar.  and she's got some great picks for the punk rock pet, such as a the black & white skulls collar my cat wears.

for alternative punk rock jewelry, check out Headless Tess DIY...  there are several necklaces on my wish list from this shop!  do you have a harry potter fan on your list to buy for?  then you might want to pick up this ravenclaw house crest necklace

and last but certainly not even close to least we have Indiscretion/Haute Indiscretion...  i love her street couture/shabby chic/steampunk point of view and i have a top and a dress that she's made.  my pick would be this wallpaper party dress, perfect for YOU for all your holiday get-togethers. =)


as good as gold!

this week's recipe is something i've been making since i was a kid.  i have heard it's similar to "monkey bread".  maybe this is where my love of baking began!  it is actually a family recipe that's been handed down a few generations, and i am the one who still makes it for every holiday breakfast for my parents, my siblings & their families...  well, when i still lived close enough to share it with them.  now it is all mine when i make it, hee hee hee. 

this bread is so coveted in my family i could probably use it as currency if need be.  i actually had to parse out loaves and tag them at holidays just to make sure everyone got equal amounts.  i have even had requests to make it for people as their birthday gift.  my brother came to visit me in may, and i baked some the first night he was here.  he ate half a loaf within minutes of it emerging from the oven.  need more convincing to try making it yourself?  just check out the photo below.

p.s. for best results, use the actual brand ingredients i use (something i still have to convince my mother to do, lol)

tear off a piece/TOAP (cinnamon-sugar bread)

for the bread:
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet cream salted butter, melted (i use land o'lakes)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
5-1/2 cups bread flour (i use gold medal better for bread)

for the yeast:
2 packages dry yeast (i use fleischmann's rapidrise)
1/2 cup lukewarm water (between 105 - 115 degrees F)
2 tsp granulated sugar

for finishing the bread after rising:
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet cream salted butter
3 cups granulated sugar
3 tbs ground cinnamon

1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. make the yeast by mixing together the water, yeast and sugar in a 2 cup measuring cup.  set aside.
3. scald the milk by putting it in the microwave on high for 3 minutes.  it should start to form a skin on top.
4. in a large bowl, combine the milk, butter, sugar, eggs, and 3 cups of flour.  mix well.  once the yeast has risen above 1 cup, add it to the bowl along with the remaining 2-1/2 cups of flour.  knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic.  cover with a towel and set aside.  allow to rise for about 2 hours.  punch down with a fork.  recover and let rise another hour.
5. melt the second stick of butter in a bowl or small pot.  in a bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar.  i usually use a glass bowl and a fork to do this so i can see it has truly been mixed well.
6. divide the bread dough in half.  knead one of the halves for about a minute or two.  shape into a french loaf.  cut into 10 equal pieces.  dip each piece in butter, then roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  place side by side in a bread pan as seen in the picture above (i use airbake pans, and i find that they by far work the best).  do the same with the other half in another bread pan.  bake for 28 minutes.

makes 20 pieces.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


pumpkin cupcakes!

when i found a recipe for pumpkin cupcakes i was ready to make it immediately.  now add some cheesecake flavor to the pumpkin.  yes, please!  then top it with cream cheese frosting...  i am one happy, happy girl!  these cupcakes are so moist and tasty, and a great alternative to vanilla and chocolate.  they're perfect for the season too and were a big hit last year.  while sampling my finished cupcakes yesterday, i had an idea.  i think i'm going to try a marbled version of this next time i make them by using a toothpick to swirl the cheesecake layer throughout the cupcake.

i also tested out Reynolds Baked For You StayBright baking cups in their black and white damask pattern.  it's foil lined on the inside so that the pattern on the liner stays vibrant after baking.  i'd say they worked well!

pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes

1 pkg (8 oz.) package of cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
1 large egg white
1-1/2 tsp vanilla, divided (1/2 tsp, 1 tsp)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. using a mixer, beat the cream cheese and confectioner's sugar for 2-3 minutes in a bowl.  add in the egg white and 1/2 tsp vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
3. in another bowl, mix the pumpkin, eggs, sugar, oil and 1 tsp. vanilla.  mix well.  add in the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt.  continue mixing til all is well blended.
4. line a muffin pan with foil lined baking cups (i've found they work best).  put a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin mixture into the bottom of each cup.  layer with a measured tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture.  top with another tablespoon of pumpkin mixture and level it off a bit if needed.  don't worry if it doesn't look pretty, it will bake nicely.  bake for 25 minutes in the lower third of your oven.  let cool and frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

makes 1 dozen. enjoy! =)

cream cheese frosting

1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla

1.  beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended.  add sugar gradually and continue beating until well blended.

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


friday fuzzies

[fri'dā fuz'ēz] n. handmade finds of pure cuteness to make fridays even better

every friday i will share with you something or things that i found which meet the following criteria:
1. it's cute
2. it's handmade
and most of all,
3. i covet it

this week's theme is dessert...  i've been baking a lot this week and all i have is sugar on the brain!  the great thing about these cute confections is that they won't go straight to your hips!

dessert ornaments by araleling...  pick one (or more!) to decorate your holiday tree with some cute and yummy goodies

sugary sweet rubber stamp set by nikoart...  you'll get a milkshake rabbit, a cupcake dog, an ice cream bears, and a popsicle cats stamp in this cute as can be stamp set

chocolate is good medicine hobo bag by redvelvette...  and who am i to say otherwise? ;)

kawaii loaded sweets and desserts charm bracelet by gaylevictoria...  cupcakes, donuts, ice cream, pie, chocolate - it has all my favourites and more!

sweet stuff fabric by scrumptiousdelight... if you sew you can make your own concoction with this adorable fabric.  i think it would make great potholders and oven mitts!