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cheesecake bitesMy daughter found a picture on pintrest, the recipe was in another language, so here is my recipe for the little treats.

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

Combine sugar and butter until creamed. Add flour and bs until crumbly. Press 1/2 Tbls of mixture into bottom of mini muffin cups. Bake 5 minutes in 350 degree oven.

Filling

8 oz cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1/2 cup caramel or dulce de leche

Cream cheese, sugar and sour cream. Add vanilla and egg, combine until smooth.

Fill muffin cups and bake in 350 degree oven about 15 minutes until set. Remove and cool. Pipe dollop of caramel on top of each treat. Refrigerate

 

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Wow, it’s been a long time but I am going to try to stop in now and again. Here is a recipe I made today from Cooking Light to go with Parmesan Buffalo Burgers

Balsamic Ketchup

1 Tbls olive oil

3/8 tsp salt

2 lbs small tomatoes, halved

3 Tbls fresh basil

2 tsp Balsamic vinegar (I used 1 tsp balsamic reduction)

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp ground red pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Combine oil, salt and tomatoes in large bowl. Toss gently to coat. Arrange tomatoes, skin side down, on a rack set inside a shallow pan. Bake for 3 hours. ( I baked them on a sheet of foil sprayed with canola oil)

Combine tomatoes, basil, and remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Refrigerate in an air tight container, up to a week.

NOTES: I only roasted the tomatoes for 2 hours and pressed them through a sieve before pureeing them. It was a little thin, I think from the shortened drying time.

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When my son was young, his birthday was coming up the next day. As a busy mom and owner of A Chef of Your Own, all I wanted to do, was buy cupcakes from the local grocery. I asked him if that would be ok or did “I have to make them” He told me I had to make them. When I asked him why, he said “because you put love in them.” Well, I made the cupcakes. Today I am putting love in a cake again and making home made buttercream and marshmallow fondant. This recipe comes from the wilton web page.

Rolled Marshmallow Fondant

  • 1 package (16 ounces) white mini marshmallows (use a good quality brand)
  • 2-5 tablespoons water
  • 2 pounds (about 8 cups) sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

Makes: About 2 pounds marshmallow fondant.

Instructions:

Step 1

To make marshmallow fondant, place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds on high; stir until mixed well. Continue microwaving 30 seconds more; stir again. Continue until melted (about 2 1/2 minutes).

Step 2

Place 3/4 of the confectioners’ sugar on top of the melted marshmallow mixture. Fold sugar into marshmallow mixture. Flavoring can be added at this point if desired. Place solid vegetable shortening in easily accessed bowl so you can reach into it with fingers as you are working. Grease hands and counter GENEROUSLY; turn marshmallow mixture onto counter. Start kneading like you would dough. Continue kneading, adding additional confectioners’ sugar and re-greasing hands and counter so the fondant doesn’t stick. If the marshmallow fondant is tearing easily, it is too dry; add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time) kneading until fondant forms a firm, smooth elastic ball that will stretch without tearing, about 8 minutes.

Step 3

It’s best to allow Marshmallow Fondant to sit, double-wrapped, overnight. Prepare the fondant for storing by coating with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in resealable bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Marshmallow Fondant will keep well in refrigerator for several weeks.

Step 4

When not working with fondant, make sure to keep it covered with plastic wrap or in a bag to prevent it from drying out. When ready to use, knead fondant until smooth. Roll out fondant 1/8 in. thick.

Step 5

To color fondant: If you need to tint the entire batch of fondant, add a little icing color to the melted marshmallow mixture before adding confectioners’ sugar. For smaller amounts of tinted fondant, add icing color to portions of fondant as needed.

 

 

 

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Please help me welcome Rachna, to my blog sharing a little of this great city I live in, Orlando.

Orlando Concerts

The home of Mickey Mouse, Orlando attracts tens of millions tourists every year for its world-class theme parks, white sand beaches, fabulous cruise trips, notable shopping malls and concerts. Universally known as The Theme Park Capital of the World because of Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando is also called “Hollywood East” as there are a number of movie studios.  Family vacationers find no better place than Orlando to escape from the boredom of daily hectic schedules and rejuvenate themselves with rock music, reggaeton, hip hop and Latino music concerts after a day at the thrilling rides and spectacular shows of the world’s best theme park.

The Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival, The Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays, and Orlando Cabaret Festival take place during spring, yet Orlando welcomes the lover of art and music in the months from Jan to March too. There are various venues that host concerts regularly, such as House of Blues and Hard Rock Live. Orlando tour without attending a concert in House of Blues or Hard Rock Live is incomplete, especially for music aficionados.

Spring and summer months are the best time to visit Orlando and most of the headlining concerts take place during these months. However, concerts in Orlando take place year round and keep the entertainment live in the city in all the seasons. Both of the venues, Hard Rock Live and House of Blues, offer an exceptionally delightful experience round the year to make sure the tourists have an insight into Orlando’s love for music, no matter what time of the year they visit.

House of Blues vs Hard Rock Live

The House of Blues located at the Walt Disney World Resort is renowned widely for the intimate performances it hosts; Universal’s Hard Rock Live is in itself the best because it enjoys the title Orlando’s “Coliseum of Rock.” With double capacity and versatility to adapt the seating arrangement as per the acts, Hard Rock Live enjoys more patrons.

Second to none, Hard Rock Live is host to other performances as well besides just music concerts. Performances of top comedians such as Wand Sykes at Hard Rock Live catch the attention of tourists and locals alike. Over the years, it has become a top-notch nighttime hub in Orlando.

House of Blues is fine dining restaurant too that serves lip-smacking American and international cuisine. The Sunday Gospel Brunch at House of Blues is just amazing: buffet of Southern cooking as well as music performances by top gospel groups. Whether you visit the place during day time or at night, rest assured you would get to enjoy the best of gospel, jazz, rock and reggae performances by renowned and up-coming performers.

 

Author Bio: Rachana is an adept travel writer. She writes travel tips, guides and news. Presently, she is working with CheapOair – Cheap flights.

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A Chef of Your Own would like to welcome guest blogger, Kevin Maw from Total Orlando, Editor of Orlando’s Premiere Travel Guide.

 

Linda’s remarkable success as Orlando’s best personal Chef service connects beautifully with the origin of our Orlando Travel Guide.

After years of visits to Orlando, punctuated with frustrating lunches and dismal dinners, our family vacations swiftly became a little seed for our pet project!

Our passion for great food gradually evolved into our humble but ‘almost tasty’ Orlando vacation guide that now fills our entire working day (and many evenings)!

We didn’t originally set out to spend our vacations in Orlando’s finest (and worst) restaurants, but, inadvertently, we quickly amassed a huge catalogue of restaurant reviews that we thought might be fun to share on the Internet.

We felt it only appropriate to add in some detailed theme park information, complete with some really nice photography and then a section of activities ‘beyond the parks’ and www.totalorlando.com was swiftly born in the Spring of 2012!

Our restaurant section is the most fun and is of the most comprehensive Orlando Restaurant Guides out there as far as we are aware!

Our tech guy; James has made it really easy to pick out the very best restaurants by selecting ratings or cuisine types to find your perfect places to eat.

Our food qualifications are minimal, but our decisions can be trusted we feel.

We are consistent, never accept free meals, we never announce ourselves to the restaurant staff and we only consider the very highest of standards to be worthy of a 5 star rating only!

The most difficult part of any restaurant review is splitting that final decision down.   Many great restaurants complain that we only rated them as a 3 star.  In our book, a 3 star is a great achievement, as it literally means ‘good’.

So many guides have in our opinion gone astray and that is perhaps reflected in our rating system!

Now, if we dare leave the table briefly, and move off to those all-important theme parks, we have also tried as hard to be factual and objective.

With young children in our team, we were often frustrated by expeditions deep into a park just to face being ‘split up’ unexpectedly as a result of pesky ride height restrictions!

Our Find Your Park tool fixes so many problems for families like ours.  Enter your kid’s height and all of Central Florida’s rides show up in a flash!  If you want to narrow that down a little by ride speed or just pick out the shows, again, they appear right in front of you, all of them!

One thing that we have learned as a result of our many trips to Orlando, is that planning and preparation is the key to success, an opinion that is very much shared by Linda as she creates her amazingly tasty dishes!

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I found this recipe on line and is adapted from Paula Dean’s Home Cooking
Molten Lava Cakes
10 Tbls butter
8 oz (1 cup) semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 lagre eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
optional: 2 Tbls coffee liquor or coffee
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 6 – 6oz custard cups, set aside. In a medium bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter either in micorwave or over a double boiler. Add flour and sugar to chocolate. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Add vanilla and coffee if desired.
Divide the batter evenly between the cups. Place cups on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes (I let them bake for 15 minutes) The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert into dessert plates or serve in the cup.

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A Chef of Your Own made these as a request from my oldest child, and have been told that these are the best cookies ever!
Oreo Cheesecake Cookies
1/2 c butter
3 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 mini chocolate chips(i used 1/2 cup heath chips)
1 cup crushed oreos (I used 1/2 cup regular oreos and 1/2 cup blond oreos)
Process oreo’s seperately to fine crumbs. Place in seperate bowls.
Cream butter and cream cheese and cream together. Add sugar and vanilla and mix together.
Add flour and stir in chips. Scoop into 1 inch balls and roll in crumbs. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake 10-12 minutes until golden on the edges and puffed in the middle. Remove from oven and let cool 2 minutes before removing from trays.

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