Archive | May, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

11 May

When I woke up this morning, I was thrilled to learn that dwittopinions (http://dwittopinions.wordpress.com/) had nominated me for a One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you!

In accordance with accepting this award ~ these are the guidelines:

* thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post

* share 7 things about yourself

* nominate 15 or so bloggers you admire

* contact your chosen bloggers to let them know

Here are seven things about me that you might not already know:

1. My mother taught me pretty much everything I know about cooking/food/recipe preparation.  In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, this blog post is for you, Mom!

2. My mother also has an uncanny knack for knowing when a recipe is meant for “show” versus for “eating”.  Case in point is a mandarin orange & cranberry side dish (recipe here) that I insisted we prepare for Christmas Dinner last year.    The dish looked stunning, but it tasted terrible – bitter, sour and unappetizing are the three adjectives that come to mind.  I guess even Bon Appetit doesn’t get it right all the time and I am still learning to distinguish what will make a tasty recipe versus a “pretty” recipe.

3. My boyfriend encouraged me to write this blog because he hopes I’ll be on The Food Network someday.  So if in ten years, I’m the next Martha Steward or Rachel Ray, you were reading my stuff here first. 🙂

4. The piece of equipment in my kitchen that I use the most is my convection oven.  It’s great when you’re cooking for one or want to warm something up quickly without waiting on a full size oven to preheat.

5. I do triathlons and run half marathons in my free time.  In my mind, this is how I reconcile cooking (and eating!) some of my less healthy dishes (See examples A, B, and C).

6. While I believe in indulging, most of the time I eat a generally healthy, low-sodium diet with lots of fruits and veggies.  Normally, the only (non-alcoholic) beverages I drink are water, skim milk and (decaffineated) tea.

7. There’s nothing I like more than relaxing on my roof deck, enjoying a glass of wine and watching the sunset, all the while hearing the noises of NYC faint and far below.

Roof Deck

View Uptown from my Roofdeck

The blogs I would like to honor/nominate* are:

The Blue House – http://www.1700louisiana.blogspot.com/

Deceptive Domestic – http://deceptivedomestic.wordpress.com/

Frugal Feeding – http://frugalfeeding.wordpress.com/

Nibbles with a Forde – http://forde-nibbles.blogspot.com/

R U Going to Eat That – http://rugoingtoeatthat.wordpress.com/

Savory Simple – http://savorysimple.net/

Snoopy Kitchen – http://snoopykitchen.blogspot.com/

Suburban Academic – http://www.suburbanacademic.com/

Talin Orfali – http://talinorfali.wordpress.com/

Unwind Cooking – http://unwindcooking.wordpress.com/

A Woman’s Paris – http://awomansparis.wordpress.com/

*This list is in NO way comprehensive of all of my favorite blogs that I follow (and also follow me!).  I was under the impression that I could only nominate blogs that had not previously been honored, so everyone above has not been (to my knowledge) honored yet.*

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars

3 May

Chocolate caramel oatmeal bars are one of my favorite desserts to make for a party or to bring when visiting friends.  They are very easy to make and are super rich, gooey and decadent.  The best part is, because they contain oatmeal, you can claim they are healthy! 🙂  You can find my recipe below.  Be careful with this dessert – they are so addictive that my friend Marc who runs a fitness company and has the best diet and self-restraint on the planet can’t even resist them!

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal
2 cups milk chocolate candies with soft caramel centers*
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

* I prefer to go the decadent route and use Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate & Caramel Squares cut into quarters, but mini Rolos or Rolos cut in half also work.  If you are going to use full size Rolos or Ghiradelli squares, refrigerate the candy before trying to cut each piece.  This way will be significantly less messy.

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9″x13″ banking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a small size bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.
3. In a medium size bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy.
4.  Add flour mixture to medium size bowl.  When mixed, add oatmeal and mix until incorporated.
5. Using floured hands, press about 2/3 of the mixture evenly into the baking pan.  Bake until deep golden brown around edges, about 25 minutes.  Meanwhile, add 1/2 the chocolate-caramel candies to the bowl with the remainder of the oatmeal mixture.  Mix well with floured hands.
7. When the bottom layer is finished, remove from oven.  Evenly drizzle condensed milk over hot base.  Sprinkle chocolate chips and remaining chocolate-caramel candies over condensed milk.  Finally, add oatmeal mixture containing the chocolate-caramel over this.  Note: This top layer will not fully cover the pan.
8. Bake until topping is deep golden brown and edges are bubbling, about 25-27 minutes.
9. Cool in a pan on a wire rack.  When cooled, cut into small bars.
10. Serve warm with ice cream or alone at room temperature.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.