Friday, January 27, 2012

Blackberry Coffee Cake

I am starting to think I buy extra berries on purpose these days, as way too many of my blogs are cakes, pies etc with so called "extra berries" in them! So again, I had some extra blackberries. But honestly, I did not plan to bake anything with them, I just did not feel they were sweet enough for my liking to eat alone! I did look up some recipes but then I remembered about a year ago I made a blueberry coffee cake that I had found on another blog that was adapted from Cooking Light! I knew it was really good, so I thought why not try it out with blackberries!
I must say it was just as good as I remembered that is for sure!

Recipe is highly adapted from Cooking Light ( I made a few changes myself as well) and originally found on Abby Cat Chat

Please note- I did not have cream cheese, so I used a low fat Greek yogurt and I also added slivered almonds to the top for an added crunch!

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ (8 oz) package low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salts
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups fresh blackberries
  • cooking spray
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Beat butter and cream cheese together with electric mixer at a medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Slowly add sugar, then add egg and beat well. 
  3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture on low speed. Stir in vanilla and fold in berries.  Pour batter into pan.  Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over batter. 
  4. Bake for 55-60 minutes, cool completely on wire rack.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

e2 Emeril's Eatery Review!

Last week I got a very exciting email inviting me to the practice dinner at Chef Emeril Lagasses's new restaurant, e2-emeril's eatery! I had no idea how I got the email, but was extremely pumped, as I am a big fan and I love trying out new places! I RSVP'd immediately for myself and a guest!!

Our reservation was for Monday night at 7:30pm! When we got there the place already had a pretty big crowd. Now I will say upfront, my pictures DID NOT come out the way I would have liked and I was super disappointed about that as they do not do the food or the ambiance the justice it deserves! The front area of the restaurant is filled with tables and a nice size bar area...once you pass through that, you are into a larger dining room and area where you can sit and watch the chef's prepare meals! It was very open, really nice decor, just an overall good vibe!
When our waitress came to the table she welcomed us and let us know we were able to pick anything from the menu and as much of it as we wanted! I was in heaven and kind of wished I had worn my sweat pants;) The menu has a lot to choose from (again my picture is not that great and unfortunately, I can't find the menu online yet)
So we started off with a cocktail, I had a glass of the house Cab and Josh had a vodka drink (as they were included as well!) They brought the MOST amazing bread to the table! I could have eaten 20 of these rolls! They were warm, slathered in butter and topped with sea salt, I felt like I was eating a pretzel, which are my favorite, so I loved them. They also give you corn muffins as well and they were quite tasty too!. For an appetizer we got the cheese plate and the chicken thigh and waffle!
Both were really good! The cheese selection was awesome, but to be honest, it would have been nice to have the option of having crackers with it. There were several soft cheeses on the plate and it could be easier to eat that way..but even without, we pretty much cleaned the plate! The chicken was really juicy and the skin was cooked to perfection!
For our meals, I got the Duck and Josh got the Prime Rib! We both asked for the purple sweet potatoes and he got roasted veggies as well with his meal.


The duck had amazing flavor, I really enjoyed it and the purple sweet potatoes were really tasty as well. It was the first time either one of us had tried them and we were both impressed. Josh must have really enjoyed his steak as before I knew it his plate was clean!

Now on to dessert! One would think, how could anyone put another bite of food in your mouth, but we somehow managed and there was no way on a night when we could order whatever we would like to not try the desserts!!! They had a great selection of coffee, teas and cordials, but we just stuck to the dessert! I got (and this might not be the exact title- but I can't find the menu) a warm boysenberry upside down cake, with brown butter ice cream- IT ROCKED!!!
The ice cream paired with the cake was super delish! Josh is a huge pecan pie fan, so he got the chocolate pecan pie!
The crust was so yummy! Actually the whole thing was! And although really chocolaty, it did not over power the taste of the pecan at all! So overall, this was a great dining experience. I am looking forward to going back and trying more things!! They have their official grand opening this Thursday, January 26! So if you are a fan of Emeril, or just a fan of food in general, it is somewhere I 100% recommend checking out!!! ENJOY!!

e2 emeril's eatery
135 Levine Avenue of the Arts, Ste. 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
Phone: 704 414 4787
Monday - Thursday: 5pm - 10pm
Friday - Saturday: 5pm - 11pm
Sunday: Closed

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Key Lime Pie for Tina's Birthday!

The next few weeks is filled with friends birthdays! First up, Tina! It has been a while since I have done birthday cakes, so I was super excited to see what she would like! Like me, she is a big key lime pie fan, so I was all over it!. Her birthday is this coming Wednesday, but I wanted to get it to her before then as her man is in town and they have romantic dinner plans;)
Now I have made key lime pie once before for a supper club and it turned out great, but unfortunately I could not find that recipe so I searched around and combined a few that I thought looked good. I knew right off the bat I wanted to do a gingersnap crust, and most recipes for the filling were very similar, but I ended up using the one with only two egg yolks, versus 3-5 I saw on others.
Key Lime Pie Recipe- adapted mainly from Nellie and Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice
For the filling:
  1. 2 egg yolks
  2. 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  3. The zest of one lime
  4. 1/2 cup of Nellie and Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice or fresh lime.
For the Crust:
  1. A little over a cup and a half of crushed gingersnaps
  2. 2 tablespoons of sugar
  3. 6 tablespoons of melted butter.
I used a spring form pan and cooked the crust about 8 mins at 350 degrees.
Once cooled I added in the well mixed filling and put back in the oven for a little under 20 mins. Let cool about 10 mins and then stick in the fridge for at least an hour to cool!

Quick, easy and super delish!!! Happy Birthday Tina:) Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Oatmeal Encrusted Tilapia, Quinoa Salad with Tomato, Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts and Banana Cream Pie with Gingersnap Crust!

Last night was so grody out, rainy and cold and a perfect night to make a home cooked meal! I looked in the kitchen to see what I already had and then came up with, If I do say so myself, a KILLER dinner! I already had Tilapia in the fridge, quinoa in the cabinet and pine nuts and tomato. As per usual I went to to see what came up for Tilapia. I really did not want to fry it, so was looking for something really different and I certainly found it! Baked Oatmeal Crusted Tilapia courtesy of Kohler Created!
Now I will say this, I followed the recipe exactly as far as the mixture went to top the fish. I will say I am not sure how big her filet's were but I had an abundance of topping left...but not to worry, I kept it for another time as it was really quite tasty! So I would say if you try to make this, you should kind of eye ball how much you use of the dry ingredients as it calls for 2 cups of oats and honestly I could have used maybe one cup. I wish I took a picture of the fish on the pan, but I forgot and so on the plate next to my quinoa, you don't really get a good view of it, sorry:(. I think also if I were to make it again, I would add in a little olive oil and lemon to the dry mixture, just to help bind it a little and crisp it a bit when it cooks. As it still looks dry and if you look at the blog I got the actual recipe from, hers did not look like mine, it looked crisper...but again, it did have great flavor.

Oatmeal Crusted Tilapia- courtesy of Kohler Created


  • 4 tilapia fillets (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise, you may need a little extra if your fillets are bigger
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chives (***I actually did use green onion as I could not find chives)
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone liner. Defrost/rinse fish and pat dry. Place fish fillets on baking sheet.
3. In a bowl, mix together oats, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, chives, parsley and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl measure out mayonnaise before adding lemon rind and juice. Stir
4. Brush tops of fish with mayonnaise.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes when forked.

Now on to the Quinoa! I have only made this once before, quinoa that is, not this particular recipe. Last time I made it, it was served at room temperature, as it was more of a summer salad. So I based this recipe based on what I had in my kitchen and from reviewing recipes over time.

Recipe for Quinoa salad with tomato, toasted pine nuts and feta:
I used a little under a cup of quinoa and about a little over a cup of water based on the directions on the box.
1. Cook the quinoa based on the directions on the box.
2. Add in diced tomato ( I used one vine ripe tomato)
3. Add in toasted pine nuts- I think how much you use depends on how much you like them...I again used what was left in my bag, maybe 1/4 cup and toasted for about 5 min on the stove top.
4. Add in about 1/4 cup or so of the Feta- I will admit, I really did not measure that out- guess that is the Italian in me, I tend to eye ball a lot! So basically just put in enough to mix throughout to you liking.. I love feta, so I put a good bit!
I also drizzled with olive oil and a big squeeze of lemon before mixing everything together!

I have to say quinoa is becoming one of my favorites, it is so easy to make and really you can put just about anything in it to flavor it up!
I also made my asparagus again as it is my boyfriends favorite and it came out yummy just as I thought;)

Now, on to dessert. So since the New Year, I have been trying to eat healthier and cook more, but I must admit, I have a horrible sweet tooth. While at the store, I had to get the ingredients for a key lime pie I am making for a friends birthday tomorrow. So I thought to myself, what could I make that would not be too fattening using the gingersnaps I bought for the key lime crust....and then it hit me, a pudding pie and what would go better with gingersnap than banana cream!!! So I got two boxes of pudding (sugar free and fat free) and some lite cool whip, so not only somewhat healthy, but easy too! Now I will say, it did not help that I ate TWO pieces, there went the somewhat healthy, but this was so good, I could not help myself.
Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of it, but please don't let that deter you from making it, it rocked!!!

Recipe for banana cream pudding pie with lite cool whip:

2 boxes of sugar free, fate free banana cream pudding
1 container of lite cool whip
About a cup and 1/2 of crushed gingersnaps
6 tablespoons of melted butter
2 tablespoons of sugar
Mix gingersnaps, butter and sugar together and pat down in pie dish.
Cook at 350 for about ten mins (depends on oven)
Once completely cool, add in the pudding (directions on the box)
Slice and serve with cool whip!

ENJOY!!! I know we did!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Strawberry Bundt Cake

Ok, so I guess I really got too many berries this week, as I still had one more pint of strawberries and was kind of in the mood to bake again, so why not make something else right! I went on to and typed in strawberry cake and you would not believe how many pics pulled up. Most of them had very similar recipes and they all looked really good, but unfortunately they called for buttermilk and I did not have that in the fridge. So I finally found one that did not!!
I pretty much followed the recipe as directed, except...I added in about 1/2 a cup of lite sour cream and I used a bundt pan. I have to say this turned out so moist and delicious. Oh and it also noted to only put strawberries on the the top of the batter, but since I did it in a bundt pan, I layered some at the bottom and then mixed them through out as well.

The recipe also called for the oven temp to be at 350 for 10 mins, then drop to 325 for about an hour. I did drop the temp after ten mins, but it only took about 45 mins in my oven, so I would just keep an eye on it. It was slightly browned on the top and the toothpick came out clean at 45 mins, so I just took it out! It was perfect!! I can't say it moist and delish! ;)

Strawberry Cake- Highly adapted from "The Kitchen Sink" Blog and Martha Stewart
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons raw or sanding sugar ( I did not do this as I used a bundt pan)
** I added in about 1/2 a cup of lite sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate or bundt pan. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.
Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, milk, and vanilla.
Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered pie plate. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible or mix through out if using a bundt pan. Sprinkle raw/sanding sugar over berries.
Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.

I would make this again for sure, it would be a great compliment to a yummy brunch for sure...Enjoy!

From scratch blueberry, strawberry muffins!

Last week strawberries and blueberries were on sale at the grocery store! I had some left over pound cake and thought it would be yummy to make a strawberry, blueberry short cake, and I must say it was quite delish. However, they were buy one get one free and although I have blueberries pretty much every morning, I knew I would have way too many to finish before they went bad. Therefore I thought what can I make, and my boyfriend was quick to say muffins as he loves blueberry muffins, and how could they get any better but to add strawberries too!
When we got home I got onto the computer to search for the perfect recipe. I found one on All Recipes and it got rave reviews! They were called to die for blueberry muffins. Now I did not follow the recipe exactly, as obviously I added in strawberries and I did not make the topping they suggested.

Recipe for "To die for Blueberry (and strawberry) muffins..highly adapted from
Servings- 8, mine made 20! I think it just depends on how big you want them, also, mine were over loaded with fruit! (oh and I made two batches! ha) they were a great size though!!


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.
Now I will say I started out making just one batch, which made about 9 muffins. To me the batter was quite thick and then when I re-read the recipe I realized I did not follow the instructions exactly when it came to the part about how to mix the egg, oil and milk. I did make a 2nd batch and followed exactly and it was a much better consistency. But to be honest, both batches tasted the same. I did also add in cinnamon sugar to the batter on the second batch and topped both with the same!
I have to say this was the first time I have made muffins from scratch and I will 100% use this recipe again. I loved the amount of fruit through out, they were moist and delish! I shared them with quite a few friends and all of them loved them, so overall, they were a great success! Enjoy!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mom's Chicken Marsala! DELISH and EASY!

One of my favorite dishes that my mom makes is her Chicken Marsala! It is crazy how easy it is to make and how delicious it is. Before the new year I decided to make a nice home cooked meal as while away for the Christmas holiday we ate out way more than I would like, so I was ready to cook a good meal. My boyfriend loves chicken and mushrooms, so I thought what better dish to make!
The meal turned out killer, it was however a little semi homemade as I used some Omaha Steaks potatoes as one of the sides, but I must say, they are super tasty! I also made my asparagus, which is quite easy as well to make. Check out the recipe and final pics below! Enjoy-

Recipe for Chicken Marsala:

1 package (amount of chicken depends on how many you are feeding- I got about a pound of thinly sliced and we had two pieces each and two left over) of chicken breasts or already thinly sliced chicken breast. ( If you get the normal chicken breast you will have to butterfly and pound out).
2 containers of mushrooms- personally I think you can use whatever you like, I typically get crimini and they are presliced.
1 bottle of Marsala cooking wine ( Holland House is pretty popular and what I use).
About a stick of butter
The first thing you need to do is lightly flour the chicken breasts as you will then need to brown them in the butter. Once browned take them off the heat and set aside. In the same pan, add a little more butter and the mushrooms, cook those down until they are almost completely cooked, then add in the Marsala wine and place the chicken back in the pan. I would say I leave that all together to simmer for about 15 mins or so. Just enough time for all the flavors to marinate together.
While that was cooking, on about 375 degrees I had the asparagus in the oven, I keep that recipe simple. On a cookie sheet I lay out the asparagus, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle on your favorite mixed seasoning, I used Paula Dean's The Lady and Sons salt mix. I would say I turned them around a few times in the 25 mins they were in the oven. I like them a little crispy as well, so keep them in to your liking!
So that was it, pretty fast and simple, and super delish meal!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sweet Tooth Festival!

This morning I was doing my usual blog of my favs, Eat My Charlotte, part of Creative Loafing...had one of the best bits of info I have heard today, other than The Challenge on MTV coming back this month;) I have to admit that is my most FAV guilty pleasure! Anyway, the blog today was about the Sweet Tooth Festival being held in Charlotte on February 19th! I have pasted the details below. Unfortunately I will be out of town, so if you go, please eat LOTS for me and do tell how it was!! Enjoy-

Article Courtesy of Eat My Charlotte!

Cavities beware: Sweet Tooth Festival tickets on sale

Posted by Kimberly Lawson on Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 10:32 AM

For a dessert indulger like myself, those have to be the three greatest words to put together for the name of an event.
The first ever Sweet Tooth Festival happens on Sunday, Feb. 19. That means you've got a month and a half to diet, exercise and go hard-core on that New Year's resolution to lose weight so you can reward yourself by attending this event.
Scheduled for 2 p.m.-6 p.m., the sampling festival will feature 25 of the area’s top bakeries, chocolatiers, pastry artisans or home-based businesses at Black Lion (10605 Park Road). If you love all things sweet, this is where you'll want to be. Tickets are $25, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Joe Martin ALS Foundation. For more information, visit their website.