Saturday, January 31, 2009

Apple Crumble Bars

Mariquita Farms had a special add-on of 10 lbs of apples to the mystery box this past week. I decided that I should try these apples because everything that I've had from Mariquita has been amazing. Also, I had been holding onto a recipe for Apple Crumble Bars that just sounded basic and tasty, so I thought it would be the perfect excuse to try this recipe with these apples that had to be fantastic.

It was absolutely fantastic!! I really like a good light apple pie, but I also like a bit of a shorter crust. This recipe was the best of both worlds!! The bottom crust was short like a really good shortbread cookie. The middle is the apple pie filling which tasted absolutely great. I substituted the nutmeg in the recipe for additional cinnamon. The crumbly top was really tasty as well, a bit like the top of a dutch apple pie without the cinnamon. The next time, I make this recipe, I think I'll add some additional cinnamon to the crumbly top part and see if that makes it a bit more like a dutch apple pie.

All in all, this is one of my favorite desserts lately. It was so tasty and really brought out all of the flavors that one would find in a mini apple pie. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of these tasty treats before the Dessert Night crew gobbled them up. If you'd like to make your own Apple Crumble Bars, go here for the recipe.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Piece of Italy

My grandparents spent a good deal of time traveling once my grandfather retired. The traveled to Europe, Australia, and Alaska taking cruises and tours or just going on their own. My grandfather is Scottish, so they traveled to Scotland and toured the countryside often tasting Scotch and checking out castles. My grandmother was Italian, so they also visited a variety of cities in Italy.

On their first trip to Italy, they went to Venice and commissioned several etchings from a local artist. They had one done of a famous bridge in San Marcos square and another of the view from their room on the waterways of Venice. They hung for years in the downstairs hallway of their house along with a similar set of etchings from London. When the moved out of their house and into an apartment, my grandma gave them to me for my new apartment as I had just recently moved as well. It has taken me years to get them reframed so they just made it on my wall last week.

I've included a pic of one of the two etchings. My apologies for the flash in the picture. It was the best that I could do. This etching is the the view from my grandparent's hotel room in Venice. Seeing it on my wall is a nice reminder of all of the happy memories of the times that I had with my grandmother.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Amaretto Cheesecake Bars. Really?

Dessert night has been in existence for almost a year now. Sometimes the recipes result in particularly amazing dessert and sometimes they're just ok. Never before have I actually not wanted to serve what was made because it was so unflavorful. I guess there had to be a first for this. It was this week's Amaretto Cheesecake Bars.

Last September, I made a very tasty Chocolate Amaretto Cake so I thought I'd give another amaretto flavored dessert a try. I found this recipe on Cookie Madness who has had great recipes in the past (remember that awesome Pumpkin Bread?). Sadly, I was thoroughly disappointed. These cookie bars were slightly labor intensive which led me to have slightly higher expectations for the outcome than I would if the recipe was very easy. Nonetheless, these bars were relatively flavorless which was slightly disappointing. They were definitely dessert-like because they were sweet, but the crust didn't really have any sort of a flavor to it. The lack of flavor in the crust would have been fine if they amaretto cheesecake filling was really flavorful. It wasn't. The amaretto flavor slowly accumulated as you ate the bar, but even at the end it didn't taste strongly of anything.

If you're considering making an amaretto flavored dessert, I'd recommend sticking to the Chocolate Amaretto Cake and skipping the cheesecake bars. Btw, the cake will be making an appearance at ChuThis's famous annual superbowl party!!!

Should you really want to make these Amaretto Cheesecake Bars, the recipe is here. Let me know if you have any questions for how to make it more flavorful.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Maple Pecan Pie

Pie is one of my fallback desserts for Dessert Night because it's always tasty, comes in a variety of flavors, and is very easy to make. My mom had given me some pre-made pie crusts and I had very little time to make this dessert because of applications, so pie it was. Mostly, I do berry pies because it's nice to get some fruit into the dessert, but I had recently come across this recipe for Maple Pecan Pie and I just had to try it. Nut pies have been my favorite for almost as long as I could remember. I like the nutty taste along with the sweetness of the sugary filling. My grandma used to make an amazing walnut pie that I really really like, but also thoroughly enjoy pecan pie.

The recipe was really easy because I started with a premade crust and literally within 15 mins the pie was already in the oven. Generally, pecan pies are usually made with another liquid sugary syrup, most likely corn syrup. The maple flavor added a different flavor to it.

All in all, it was a very tasty, quick, and easy dessert night dessert. If you'd like to make your own, please check out the recipe.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Red Wine Poached Apples, Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce with Chocolate Liqueur

I know it's very poor blogging form to blog about the most recent dessert night before blogging about the previous dessert night, but I blame the craziness of the last couple of weeks and the fact that ChuThis and NG took about 15 photos of last week's dessert so it's too hard for me to choose.

Nonetheless, I will be first talking about the Red Wine Poached Apples that Tara brought over this past week. First of all, I want to sincerely thank Tara for volunteering to help out with dessert on Tuesday. Despite being done with my apps, I was in no state to have planned and baked a dessert on only 2 hours of sleep.

The apples were a really nice treat to the usually non-fruit-based desserts that we enjoy at dessert night. The warmth of the apples was a great complement to the vanilla ice cream and the chocolate sauce on top was a fabulous touch. I really enjoyed that the dessert was light as well. All in all, a fabulous way to celebrate the completion of all of my applications. Unfortunately, I didn't remember to take any photos. I promise I will get my act together on the photos for next week.


I was thinking that I should start this post by apologizing for my recent silence lately, but then I realized that there was absolutely nothing to apologize for. I've been working like crazy to get my last application in!!! Luckily, I just made it and so did some awesome last minute essay feedback from J.

I know, I know, you're saying that you were done at noon on Tuesday and you waited until Saturday morning to blog about it?? Yes, I know. I'm sorry. Not only have I been celebrating the completion of all of these applications, but I've also been catching up on sleep and all of the other things that I've put off to get these essays done.

To those of you still working on your applications, good luck!! I hope they go well. To those of you who are anxiously awaiting to hear back from your Round 1 apps, I totally feel ya and I hope that you can just celebrate the accomplishments that you've made thus far and continue to realize that each of us is going to get into the schools that we're meant to go to regardless of what we want.

In the mean time, I'm just enjoying being done and having time for fun things, like making marshmallows (I will post pics of that too)!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sunnyside Up's Best of 2008

Since everyone else has been doing a best of 2008 blog post, I thought I should join in and pull one together as well. I'm borrowing the format that JulyDream used in her best of 2008 post to use in mine. I aimed to come up with the best 25 things of 2008 because I turned a quarter century in 2008, but I was only able to get to 17, so here goes the best 17 of 2008! (Note: these are in no particular order)

1. the beginning of dessert night
2. starting the business school application process
3. taking the GMAT finally
4. the Valentine's Day pillow fight (well the whole valentine's day experience)
5. the beginning of Sunnyside Up!
6. switching to a new job that didn't require traveling
7. leaving that new job and moving to one that required my brain
8. Spinsters' Annual Ball
9. J's Hanukkah adventure
10. MixMatch's trip to Baltimore
11. discovering Lululemon & Bar Method
12. Elizabeth's wedding trip to Longmont, CO
13. getting my dream Kitchen Aid mixer
14. the puppy cam
15. the Fois Gras appetizer at Ecco (technically discovered in 2007, but so tasty that it carried over)
16. finally getting decent knives
17. learning to wakeboard and ski

All in all, 2008 was a great year. I can't wait to see what 2009 has in store.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Oh yeah! Another One Down!

I'm taking a total of 30 mins to celebrate the completion of my latest application. Another 5 essays down! I can't tell you how excited I am.

That said, I still have 10 more essays and 2 more applications to go before I'm totally done, but a week from today, it will all be behind me!!! I definitely can't wait. I will keep this short, so I can spend my remaining 15 mins of celebration out tonight celebrating with friends.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Home Stretch!!!

I have to say that I'm very excited to be in the home stretch of the application process!!! Wow, I really never thought that I'd see this day. I'm still only exactly half of the way done with my applications thanks to Kellogg's 2 part application which I know others of you are wading through at the moment. I can't wait until next week when I get to celebrate being done. Until then, I'll be pondering influential life experiences, challenges and what I will bring to my peers at b school.

Good luck to all of the rest of you Round 2 applicants out there! Get through this final push on apps and we can spend the rest of our time awaiting the decision of our fate!