However you say it, they are delicious. I love tomatoes, I can eat them like apples. I don't necessarily recommend it, because that tends to be a messy endeavor, but if you are brave and/or keep a Tide pen in your purse, go for it! My favorite kind that I have found are called "Super Cherry" tomatoes. Whether that is a brand name or just some sort of variety of the plant, I don't know. What I do know is that I got them in a small plastic container (like what strawberries come in) at my local Newflower farmer's market and they are crazy delicious. They are a bit bigger than un-super cherry tomatoes (on average the size of a golf ball) and slightly sweeter. They are similar to Campari tomatoes, but a little smaller and less expensive. The PERFECT size for this dish that I discovered via Scrumptious Blog:
Juno from the Scrumptious Blog describes the finished product as "spangled with little sequins of butter." Isn't that a beautiful description? I love sequins, and while I'm not sure that my tomatoes turned out as glamorous as hers, I'd be willing to bet they were every bit as tasty. Juno is blogging and baking from South Africa, so I had to play a bit with the temperatures and baking times because she is using degrees Celsius. Her instructions say to bake the first go-round at 180 degrees, and the second at 160 degrees. After consulting Google, my estimate for that conversion in degrees Fahrenheit was 350 and 325, respectively. I guess my math was wrong because my first attempt at making this was not impressive. I used regular large-ish tomatoes on the vine and baked for 15 minutes at 350 and then added the cream and put them back in for 10 minutes at 325. The tomatoes absorbed the flavors of the garlic and the herbs, but they weren't soft so I put them back in the oven and would check back every 10 minutes or so. After an additional 30 minutes they were softER but still not soft, and were generally unremarkable. But I'm stubborn and wanted these to be amazing, so I pressed on. I played with the time and temperature on my next attempt and hit the jackpot. So I present to you, my Americanized version of Juno's recipe, Fahrenheit-425 Tomatoes!*
4 medium sized tomatoes 3 T softened butter 1 fat clove garlic, peeled and crushed 2-3 t of dried Italian-ish herbs (I used basil and rosemary) salt and black pepper 2/3 cup cream (Real cream. Not half and half, not low-fat. If you're gonna do this, do it right.)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the tomatoes and cut the top off, slightly angled in toward where the stem would be, sort of like the first step in carving a pumpkin- you want to cut into the top so you can pull off the 'lid,' but DON'T cut through the bottom skin. If you do that, all the deliciousness will leak out, and that pretty much defeats the purpose of all the work you are about to do.
Combine your butter, garlic and herbs, and then put a dab of the mixture into each tomato, add a little salt and pepper and then bake for 25 minutes. Then you'll take them out and gently pour the cream inside each tomato. Don't stir, and do expect a bit of a mess. You may have some cream left over but that's ok. You can save it for coffee or take a bath in it or whatever. Turn the heat down to 350 and bake for another 20-25 minutes. You want the walls of the tomato to be soft but still intact, and if the edges start to get a little bit dark that's ok, but we aren't roasting here, we don't want them charred.
My digital camera died so I couldn't take a pic of my finished tomatoes. Tragic, I know. But trust me, they did spangle with butter sequins. It was like having a disco ball in my kitchen, a decorating idea I had not previously considered but now I'm toying with.
Wow, Bekah is really blogging it up lately! I feel like such a slacker, but I've been so busy! Busy working, busy crafting, and busy babysitting. You may not know this but I am a 5-star babysitter. Seriously, the best. So good, in fact, that the main family I babysit for gave me a $50 mall gift certificate as a Christmas present! Now I just have to decide how to spend it. I am pretty sure that I'm going to get this foundation from Sephora:
It's called the Magic Wand foundation made by Too Faced. I almost got it a few weeks ago and I'm sort of kicking myself now that I didn't. WHY would I not get a foundation that actually blends with my skin (the color I tried in the store was called Paris) AND has a built-in brush?! I've developed this habit of not putting my makeup on in the morning until after I get to work, and putting foundation on at work without looking like a dumbass is tricky business. If I had this bad boy I could just toss it in my purse for just such an occasion. My only reservation is that it costs $32. That's not a terrible price point for department store foundation, but it's hard to part with 64% (plus tax) of my Christmas gift all at once. What a hard problem to have, right? The reviews on Sephora.com are encouraging though, and I figure I can always exchange it if I end up with buyer's remorse.
I should probably go to bed before Santa comes. I hope you all have a lovely holiday weekend. Hug your loved ones, drink eggnog, and don't sleep with your makeup on. Merry Christmas!!
I can remember counting down the hours til' Christmas morning & even taking NyQuil (yes ma'am!) to help me sleep because I was always to excited to fall asleep. Luckily & unfortunately I sleep just fine the night before Christmas these days, partly because I work on Christmas Eve. (oh the joy of retail!) & I guess that's just what happens as we age. Work shouldn't be to bad today, so I can't complain. This year we are actually celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve so that we will all be able to be together. Since I am working my sister in law is taking over the cooking this year. All I made was the cake (red velvet, mmm my favorite!) & the best ever mashed potatoes you've ever had. No, I am serious, these are the BEST EVER. One of the best things about these mashed potatoes is the fact that you can make them ahead of time, you can even freeze them until you need to bake them off. Think twice baked baked potatoes, but alot less work and a billion times better! There is cream cheese, butter, and sour cream mixed right in, you don't even have to add butter, salt, or pepper to these bad boys. I am telling ya! They are the best ever! Haha, ok now that I beat that into the ground, get to mashing!
The best thing about these mashed potatoes is that they got me a KitchenAid Stand Mixer! While making the mash this past Thanksgiving, my Grandma B didn't like how my little ol' hand mixer struggled with mixing the potatoes, so she took me to Kohl's to pick one out. Not only are they the best mashed potatoes ever but this was the best gift EVER! (& thanks to Kohl's for Senior Day discounts)
I know it's Christmas Eve but you still have time to run to store & make these for your Christmas dinner! Merry Christmas Eve!
*All photos via/copyright their respective blogs*
--------------- Now Playing: New Found Glory - "Better Off Dead"
Even though I have already finished my gift wrapping (with the execption of Pete's gift, shhh don't tell!) I adore this idea! In 2010 I'll have to to invest in a rubber stamp collection so I can do this.
It SNOWED!Ok, so it snowed this weekend on the east coast, I'm sure you heard. Even my cousin Billy Wayne (who lives in Alabama)texted me to ask me about the snow. Luckily it worked out that the snow started just as I left work on Saturday, so Pete & I order a pizza pie, made chocolate chip cookies, & watched movies. A perfect night to cuddle with the one you love & watch the snow quickly cover everything. I wish I could have gotten better pictures but the blackberry couldn't capture the magic. ( I think its time for a new camera?!) So here a couple of my favorite shots, from some of my favorite bloggers.
Is this Christmas decoration overload? I am trying to get this all in before next Friday. Can it really be that Christmas is NEXT FRIDAY?! Whoa! Pete & I decorate our table top tree with things that out cats can't break. I have these beautiful glass ornaments that my Mama got us when we first got married but I am terrified to put them on the tree because of the cats. Check out these super cute & fun (cat friendly!)DIY ornaments for your tree. Maybe you can squeeze in some craft time by the tree this weekend.
I know it maybe a tad late, but here are some amazing wreaths for the holiday season. There are a few DIY projects in there that I need to get on. Even though they might not make it this year, they will definitely be around for next. Besides, who says you can hang a wreath all year long?!
This wreath is at the top of my list to make. It seems fairly easy to make, but a good time waster. I also think that it would be great as a winter wreath for our outside door, once the holidays are over.
So here we are, Hampton & Bekah blogging together! It is an obvious match made in heaven (to anyone that knows us, & those that don't, you'll catch on quick) & hopefully you will enjoy what is to come!
Since living on my own, and with some inspiration from Hampton (she doesn't know that!), I have become quite the Betty Crocker. I love my kitchen & what I have been able to create has given me a great sense of accomplishment. The feeling I get when I make a pot full of soup that my sister-in-law begs for in the winter months, to the batch of cupcakes I make for my co-workers is a great one to say the least. So it's no different when it comes to making Christmas cookies for my friends & family. If you follow my personal blog you'll remember my cookie post & here are the results!
Snickerdoodles! They turned out moist, chewy, & with the right amount of sweetness. The perfect alternative to feeling overloaded by all the chocolate.
A holiday staple in the Wortmann household, Seven Layer Bars. Give them any name you want, they are super easy to make & always delicious no matter what you throw in them.
I was pleasantly surprised when these Oatmeal Raisin cookies turned out as chewy & yummy as I hoped! I wasn't always a fan of the oatmeal raisin cookie, but this recipe made me a believer!
These Neiman Marcus cookies where definitely the surprise favorite at work. They aren't soft or chewy, but perfectly crisp & airy. In my opinion the ultimate dipping-in-milk cookies, if you're into things like that. (I sure am!)
MmmmHmmm, Coconut Macaroons. These are some of my favorite cookies & I thought they were the perfect surprise to my cookie mail-out.
Now you might be thinking these are waaaaaaay too chocolatey, but you're wrong! The only part that was chocolate was the dough, the rest was yummy toffee & walnuts. Chocolate Toffee cookies, a sweet companion to a nice cup of coffee.
I saved the best for last. Chocolate Chip! Not any ol' regular chocolate chip but my good friend, April's Ever Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. She really should sell this recipe because these were amazing, my only regret is I didn't make enough to have left overs! (no worries, I'm making more next week) They are crisp on the outside & chewy on the inside. You could have sworn you bought these at Mrs. Field's but I have to admit they are WAY better than a mall cookies, ANY DAY!
With the permission of April, I get to share the recipe with you! This is seriously a must try recipe, you won't regret it. (copied just how she sent it to me) ---------------
April's Ever Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies Preheat oven to 375'
3/4 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C butter (soft)
1/4 C butter flavored Crisco (shortening)
1 1/2 t. Vanilla
1 t. baking soda
2 C. Flour
1/2 t. salt
1 pkg. Hersey's Choc Chips
mix all wet ingredients until nice and mixed, then add sugars, mix until well mixed.
stir in choc chips
slowly add flour
refrigerate for no less than 2 hours... or at least til the dough is cold thoroughly.
Use your cookie scoop and make 1 inch balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Cook 8 - 10 . or until its too your liking.. .I like mine still a little chewy... but don't under cook them... I cook mine for 9 mins...
Without the help of my amazing Grandma B, Krysta K, & Pete, I couldn't have completed this project nearly as flawlessly on my own. As far as a good baking tip, CHILL THAT DOUGH! I truly believe that chilling the dough made all the difference. I can say that because I didn't chill all the doughs, and the ones I did turned out the best. I am sure Alton Brown could give us a good run down on why that is key, but just trust me on this one. A big thanks to my wonderful family & friends for all your help & I hope all the recipients enjoy the season with some sweetness. (sounds kinda lame, but it's true :) )
The boxes filled & ready to go!
Pete giving the final sign off to the boxes, ready to ship.
Now get to baking people, you're friends & family will be thankful for it! (your waistline might not be, but that's what New Year's Resolutions are for!)
-------------- Now Playing: Blink 182 - "Feeling This"
i like to think i stay pretty current with new music releases, but sometimes things slip through the cracks, ya know? so have a tendency to 'discover' bands or songs well after they've made themselves known to the rest of the world. so i'm fashionably late, so what? i guess sometimes it would be better described as a re-discovery. i'll hear a song and not really pay any mind to it, but then i will hear it a few months or even years down the line and it will jump out at me in a way it didn't before. i think it's about the curse of expectations, and the beauty of context. if a million people tell you how AMAZING such-and-such album is, often times you look so hard to find the AMAZINGNESS that you miss it. forest for the trees, yo. amazing things are better when they creep up on you. that way you can just love them for what they are, rather than because your friends or billboard or blender or pitchfork whoever said that you should. (i'm quietly stepping down from my soapbox now...)
such is the case with we are scientists. i first heard their music when i was looking at lonely island videos on youtube. the lonely island channel included a video for the band's song "after hours" because island dude kiv directed the video. true to island form, the video is hilarious. i posted the video on my personal blog and then promptly forgot about it.
fast forward to this january when i saw the movie nick and norah's infinite playlist. it's a cute story that stars the city that never sleeps and features the adorably awkward michaelcera. it's a little teen-angsty in parts, but the central characters ARE teenagers, so... there ya go. as you might expect from the title, the plot weaves around nick and norah's mutual love for good and often underappreciated indie music. almost before the end credits were finished rolling, i was downloading the soundtrack. i recognized "after hours" and felt in a new way. it's held it's place as my favorite song for 6 months now, a pretty solid run. lead singer keith has reportedly said the song is about death (although after perusing the scientists' website and getting a sense for their humor, i really doubt that he was serious), but that's not how it reads to me. i hear a sweet upbeat song about getting drunk with your dear friends. so unless you are morally opposed to such things, i recommend you download the album (either WAS'sbrain thrust mastery or the nick and norah soundtrack will be sufficient), gather your peeps, and proceed to soak up the hours that everyone else throws away. cheers, y'all.
so you know that song 'good girls go bad' by cobra starship? of course you do. it's obnoxiously catchy and i'm surprised you don't have it stuck in your head right now. you may not know that you know it, but you do. you've heard it playing over the speakers while you were shopping at forever 21. or you've caught snippets of it while you were channel surfing past MTV. or it has undoubtedly otherwise found a way to work itself into your subconscious. and you'll recognize it when you hear it. here, i'll prove it to you:
oh! that song! yeah, see, i told you. the song is poppy and fun and infectious. i wasn't totally sold on it my first listen, but it really grew on me. like a rash. that's why these songs are described as infectious. before you ask, yes, that is leighton meester in the video. (she sings the female vocals as well.) and the grocery store** deli guy by day and hipster by night that blair waldorf would be stupid to trust? that's gabe saporta, the band's lead singer. he does have a delicious sort of bad-boy aesthetic that lends itself well to the song. the combination of baby face, sharp features and cocky smile (jess from gilmore girls, anyone?) has always been dangerous to me. maybe it's just the new jersey italian pretty boy thing i like. but i digress. truth be told i've been celeb-crushing (pseudo-celeb) on gabe for many years now. cobra starship's debut single was featured on the 'snakes on a plane' soundtrack in 2006, and when i saw the movie i made my friend stay with me long after everyone else had left the theater because the video was features at the end credits of the movie.
see, he's got that yummy jackass-ish smirk working for him here too. but before gabe saporta was gabe from cobra starship, he was gabe from midtown. i have grown to dig cs, but i don't always adjust well to change, and sometimes i listen to them and want them to be midtown. but you don't always get what you want. midtown disbanded sometime in 2004, so perhaps it's time for me to let go a little.
that being said, the whole point of this post is to share some midtown love for those of you who are late to the gabe saporta party. i think he has a really cool voice (it's probably one that you either love or you hate) and i like that midtown is more guitar-driven musically. 'living well is the best revenge' is probably my favorite album, but in the interest of full disclosure i'll leave you with a song from each one (in reverse chronological order, since that's what i've already been doing) and you can decide for yourself.
give it up, from the album forget what you know:
more like a movie, from the album living well is the best revenge
and just like rock and roll, from the album save the world, lose the girl
there is no video for this song, but some of you may remember it as the theme song for MTV's ' real world/road rules challenge: battle of the sexes.' you can listen to the song here, and if you are hard pressed for a visual just picture bunch of idiots simultaneously playing beach volleyball, bungee jumping, and taking themselves too seriously.
enjoy! love, hampton
**side note: is that the same grocery store from the 'jizz in my pants' video? i'm fairly sure it is. i know my grocery stores, people.
welcome, friends! we are two bff's who, despite the 1500+ miles between us, seem to constantly find ourselves in the same places. anam cara is a celtic phrase that means "soul friend," which we think is a pretty good description of our relationship. this blog is meant to be a way for us to connect on a (hopefully) daily basis about the things we see and hear and taste and love... and you're welcome to join us, because we think you might love them too.