Cookie Dough Creme Brulee

Oh yes, you read that right! Let me tell you, this is one evil dessert! The first time I ever tried Crème Brulee was at a cute and cozy café in Sugarland, TX after Christmas shopping with my family when I was about 17 years old. Sitting by a warm fireplace with Christmas music playing in the background, and eating lovely Caramel Crème Brulee felt so fancy shamcy. Yes, this French dessert made my goofy 17 year old self feel so sophisticated…ooh la la. But the best part? It was so crazy delish!

After that I became somewhat obsessed with wanting to make Crème Brulee at home but was a little nervous because such a fancy dessert had to be super complicated, right? Plus it involved using a torch… yeah, me + a torch = potential disaster.  So there it sat on my “To Bake” list (yes, I have one those…don’t judge) for years. Revered. Honored. Feared. I knew it would take something special to come along one day to give me the push and courage I needed to finally step out and conquer the almighty Crème Brulee.

And it came, it came in the form of a recipe. A recipe I found on Pinterest (where else?) a few months ago for (drum roll) … Cookie Dough Crème Brulee!

Crème Brulee that involved one of my ultimate guilty pleasures in this world?! Yes, please! This was the push I had been waiting for, folks, and I knew I had to attempt it a.s.a.p. Turns out Crème Brulee (which means burnt cream in French) is actually one of the easiest desserts you will ever make… and you don’t even need a torch to make it. Though I must admit, I have a crazy urge to use one next time (insert evil laugh here). 😉

Cookie Dough Crème Brulee – 005

(Recipe from http://confessionsofarecipejunkie.com/)

So I don’t know about you but I will eat just about anything if the words “cookie dough” are present. Though this was not always the case. I will admit I used to think that people just ate cookie dough because it seemed like a “cool” thing to do. This for some reason seemed like a very “trendy” & “popular” thing to do in the 90’s  … right along with those silly tiny backpacks that every girl had to have and wear over one shoulder. Remember those? A trend that much to my mom’s disappointment I would not take any part of, no matter how hard she tried to get me to. Because I was an anti-conformist. And anything that was supposedly “cool” was something I wanted no part of. Yes, I was one of those kids. But anyways, I digress.

But now I think I may be making up for lost time… because whenever I make chocolate chip cookies it takes all the self control I have not to eat all the dough. (I’m serious, it’s like freakin’ salmonella feast…it’s bad.) So needless to say, this was the Crème Brulee of my dreams. And the cookie dough in this dessert is eggless so feel free to go to town… just leave some for the Crème Brulee. 😉

A thick & gooey layer of chocolate chip cookie dough on the bottom, a luscious & creamy custard in the middle, and a crispy layer of caramelized sugar on top. Getting all three layers on a spoon is the only way to experience this wonderful flavor combination.

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Like I said it’s super easy to make and fast as well. The longest part of this whole process is the baking and cooling time. If you are using your oven to caramelize the sugar like I did, know that it works great, but be sure to keep a close eye on it as it can go from caramelized to burnt rather quickly.

This dessert would make a lovely addition to your Christmas dinner and a great way to wow your guests. I hope you try making Crème Brulee for yourself… way sooner than I did. Bon appetite! 🙂

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Ingredients:

4 (3oz) creme brûlée ramekins

For Cookie Dough –

1/2 stick unsalted butter- room temperature

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons cream

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

For Custard –

3/4 cup of heavy cream

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup of turbinado or granulated sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300. Grab a pot and bring about 2 cups of water to boil, this will be used as a water bath for the brûlée later.

Ready for dough? Using your beater attachment, beat the butter & sugars together on medium until light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes. Then add in the milk and vanilla. Turn it down to low speed, and add the flour and salt. Take a spoon and enjoy a taste. Now spread thin layer of 1 heaping tablespoon of the dough on the bottom of each ramekin. Press 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate chips on to the dough of each ramekin. Set aside.

Custard Time! Grab a sauce pan and heat the heavy cream until it starts to steam, do not let it boil. In the meantime whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light in color. About 1-2 minutes. Now, carefully pour the warmed cream, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking vigorously until incorporated. Stir in the vanilla, and skim off any foam from the mixture. Pour the foam free custard into the ramekins.

In a deep baking pan arrange the ramekins, they should be spread apart with room for the water bath. Carefully pour enough boiling water unto the side of the baking pan so it fills up about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until the custard is almost set. The centers should be a little jiggly. Remove them from the water bath and let them cool at room temperature. After they cool completely, cover each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hrs or overnight.

That crunchy topping Remove from the fridge, unwrap, and sprinkle 1 generous tablespoon turbinado or granulated sugar evenly over the custard.

If using kitchen torch: Caramelize the sugar by moving it evenly over the sugar. Torch until the sugar is melted.

If using oven: Turn your oven on to broil. Move the oven rack to the top position; the closer the creme brulee gets to the broiler, the quicker it will burn. You want it to burn quickly without cooking the custard inside. Place the creme brulee dishes on a cookie sheet; this will keep your oven clean in case anything bubbles and spills over. It also makes for easy and quick removal when the sugar is finished burning.

Watch the creme brulee in the oven. It will take between three and five minutes to burn appropriately, so don’t walk away while they broil. Remove the creme brulee from the oven and allow it to sit for ten minutes to allow the sugar to harden. Serve warm or place back in the refrigerator for half an hour before serving chilled.

Serve immediately. (Serves 4)

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m happy to report that fall baking has commenced in my kitchen! There’s just something extra special about baking in the fall as well as around the holidays. With all the lovely seasonal ingredients you get to use such as pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves (this recipe has ‘em all, btw), baking takes on an even warmer aromatic experience. And as bakers we all know that by the time your done baking your treats, not only does your kitchen take on these aromas, but so do you. And that’s perfectly fine with me as I don’t really mind smelling like cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Ah, the signature scent of a baker, right? 😉

I had bought a can of Libby’s Pumpkin for a recipe that I didn’t end up making and I of course just couldn’t resist finding another use for it a.s.a.p.. But what to make?…I mean on Pinterest you can only find like, oh say thousands of pumpkin recipes. There’s pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin roll, pumpkin donuts, even pumpkin ice cream sandwiches! And I don’t know about you but I tend to have an incurable case of indecisiveness if given too many choices.

But I had the itch to make something with pumpkin and chocolate so when I saw these cookies on Pinterest I just knew, that was it. And I was ready to bake my pumpkin lovin’ heart out.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies –

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(Recipe found @ http://www.sporkorfoon.com)

These cookies are the taste of fall, let me tell ya! They are so light and chewy… and I’m told healthy (hmm, wonder if that still applies after your 3rd one in a row ;)).

First, start out by mixing your dry ingredients together; including all the lovely spices that will make it seem like fall is having a party in your mouth…mhmm, ignore that lame description. But really, just do something for me… take a whiff of each spice as you put it in; your cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Then mix it all together! You have to savor the scents of the season, after all. 🙂

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Mix your eggs and sugar together till smooth and light in color; then stir in the pumpkin. And watch as the whole mixture surrenders to the beautiful orange hue.

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Stir in the dry ingredients and last but certainly not least, add the chocolate chips! Always the best part. Drop your cookies by 1/4 cup measurements and bake!

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The pumpkin with the warm flavors of the spices, and chocolate chips is the perfect fall taste combo. Really pumpkin and chocolate were just meant to be. The texture of these cookies are almost like a cross between a cookie and a cake. They’re not cakey though just really light, airy, and soft.

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If your looking for a great pumpkin recipe to bake on a breezy fall day, give these lovelies a try! 🙂

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola or corn oil

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips, or any chip you like

Directions:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven . Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. Mix in the chips.

Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart. You could also simply use a 1/4-cup measuring cup if you don’t have a scoop. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar, if desired. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

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Roasted Greek Potatoes with Feta Cheese and Lemon

Hey fellow foodies! Today we’re making one of my new favorite side dishes. If you’re a potato lover like me, you’ll love these, trust me. In fact, you just may find yourself dreaming about them they are that delectable. Plus, they are super easy and add a touch of fancy to your dinner.

Now we all know that potatoes are a great side dish, but these potatoes are more than that. They demand your attention, they shout “Hey, we will not play second fiddle to chicken! We are lemony, flavorful potato-licious goodness.” Well, at least that’s what I heard anyway. Oh… your food doesn’t talk to you? Yeah… me neither. 😉

Roasted Greek Potatoes with Feta Cheese and Lemon –

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(Recipe found @ http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com)

Roasted potatoes with feta cheese, herbs, and lemon… yes, please! This has become my go-to side dish as it’s so easy to throw together. You start out by covering the potato chunks in herbs and roasting these babies in oven.

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You then whip up a simple and yummy marinade made up of lemon juice and parsley for the feta cheese to take a bath in.

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When the potatoes are done roasting do your best to resist diving in as they are not quite finished yet. To finish them off, pour the lemony marinade over the potatoes and back in the oven they go for just 5 more minutes.

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What you end up with is this lovely dish of potato heaven. I love the way the lemon and feta cheese give these potatoes a sweet and tangy taste. The flavors compliment each other perfectly. Hope you give ’em a try soon! 🙂

Ingredients:

4 cups potatoes, 3/4″ cubes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper

1/2 cup feta cheese, chopped/crumbled

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with oil.

In a large bowl toss potatoes with oil, thyme, oregano salt and pepper. Spread out on baking sheet and bake until potatoes are tender 30-35 minutes.

Meanwhile, marinate the feta in the lemon juice and parsley.

Remove from oven and toss the potatoes with the lemony feta right on the pan; cook 5 more minutes. Serve immediately. Yields 3-4 servings.

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Key Lime Pie

What’s better in the summertime than a nice slice of a classic dessert like Key Lime Pie? It’s cool and refreshing plus it takes very little prep and bake time. As much as I love baking sometimes the last thing you want to do is spend too much time slaving away next to a hot oven in the sweltering heat. Though it is nice to have a pretty pie that gives off the illusion that you did. Seriously this took like 5 minutes to whip up!

I made this around the 4th of July when I was on a weird key lime pie kick. I blame one of my favorite restaurants called The Local, about hour away from my town; they have an awesome key lime pie! And for some reason after I taste a really good dessert at a restaurant I always seem to want to attempt to make it myself…it’s a sickness, I think. 😉 

Key Lime Pie –

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I might as well admit, yes,  I used a … store bought crust {gasp}. This is probably one of the only times I will advocate store bought over homemade; it’s really just as good and makes the process even simpler. But you can make your own if you feel so inclined. On this particular evening, I just wasn’t. This semi-homemade pie turned out really delish; creamy and tangy with a little crunch from the graham cracker crust.

One thing I didn’t skimp on was homemade whipped cream to pipe on top. It takes a little extra effort but it’s so worth it! Trust me, once you make homemade whipped cream you’ll never go back to the store bought stuff again. I personally don’t really care for the taste of Cool Whip and Ready Whip melts like 2 seconds after you use it (learned this the hard way when it basically destroyed a dessert I had made). This whipped cream recipe is simple, only takes a few ingredients, doesn’t melt too fast, and tastes amazing!

I also garnished the pie with a slice of lime and a little zest. Happy pie making people! 🙂

Ingredients:

pre-made graham cracker crust (or you can make your own)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup lime juice

4 egg yolks

pinch of salt

lime zest

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, egg yolks, and salt and whisk until smooth. Pour into crust, leaving 1/8 inch at the top. Bake 20 – 25 minutes, or until filling is set around the edge; slightly loose in the center. Allow to chill in the fridge for a few hours then garnish with whipped cream, lime slices and zest.

Basic Whipped Cream Recipe –

( Recipe found @ http://melissaraydavis.hubpages.com)

Ingredients:

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Directions:
Mix the liquid ingredients in a bowl. Mix any additional dry ingredients with the powdered sugar then mix the dry ingredient mixture with the liquid ingredients.

Whip the mixture with an electric hand mixer until raised peaks form in it and hold their shape. It should take about four minutes (or much longer if using a manual hand mixer or whisk).

Serve over your dessert and enjoy! (Makes enough for at least 8 dessert servings.)

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Art Journaling: A Hobby/Obsession

Hey lovelies! Today I wanted to talk about one of my favorite past times, art journaling! I feel like the idea of art journaling and smash books are becoming so popular lately, and with good reason, they’re super fun! If you’ve never heard of it before, art journaling is kinda like a cross between journaling and scrapbooking. Holding all of your thoughts, photos, doodles, paintings, and more.

I will confess though, it’s true, I may have become slightly obsessed with this hobby. Which may be evidenced by all the admittedly strange things it’s made me do… such as incessantly pinning art journaling ideas, racing to craft aisles to buy paint, stamps, washi tape, and lots of scrapbook paper. And maybe the strangest of all…  collecting receipts, ticket stubs, magazine clippings, and even wrappers from Starbucks to use on my pages. Okay, so I’m fully aware that it may sound a little nutty … but trust me, it can be addicting!

I was first introduced to the idea of art journaling and mixed media arts from blogger/crafter extraordinaire and owner of Red Velvet boutique, Elsie Larson. When I first started following her blog, A Beautiful Mess a few years ago she would talk about art journaling and show pages that she had done, and I was always so intrigued by the creativity of it all.

I’ve always loved journaling and have boxes of journals and notebooks I’ve kept through out the years, so this idea totally struck a cord with me. Actually, looking back at my old journals from when I was younger, I sort of did dabble in art journaling. I of course wouldn’t have thought to call it that at the time, but I would sometimes add photos, magazine clippings, and ticket stubs to certain pages.

In January, after having wanted to do it for a long time, I signed up for Elsie’s Art Journaling All Year E-Course. It’s a collaboration between her and her long time friend and fellow Red Velvet girl, Rachel Denbow.  They have both mentioned how art journaling was a shared hobby that they would do together when they first became friends years ago (this is one of the many e-courses they offer, so check out them all out here). It’s a series of prompts that you can do through out a years time. I really love it, there are so many creative and fun prompts to tackle. However, while I’ve done a lot of them, I don’t do them as often as I used to.

To be honest, I just fell in love with the whole creative process of art journaling and started letting my imagination take over to make my own pages. There’s just something so freeing and so fun about sitting down with all your art supplies and a blank sheet of paper and going wild with it. Making it whatever you want it to be. It’s a really great form of self expression. I think one of my favorite things has to be putting on some good tunes, sipping on iced coffee, and spending a couple hours art journaling. It’s just really fun and relaxing to me; to cut, paste, paint, stamp, and write. To create something that’s beautiful and special to you.

So I thought I would share some photos of my art journal pages and supplies with you guys! Now, disclaimer, while I adore art journaling I’m not claiming to be great at it. I’m still very much an amateur. But I try very hard not to focus so much on things looking perfect because that just sucks the fun out of it. I just want to keep it about self expression and creativity. These are some pages that were fun to make and are special to me, so I hope you enjoy getting a peak at them!

My Art Journal ~

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My jumbo journal that will now barely close, ha! I just embellished it with some scrapbook paper, doilies, and buttons. Not super fancy but I like it! 🙂

My Art Journaling Supplies ~

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Cigar box filled with found papers and other ephemera to use in journaling, and a bowl filled some supplies. 

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A few photos of my growing collection of art journaling supplies… the beginners kit, if you will. Mod Podge, paint, sponge brushes, washi tape (I have a love affair with washi tape!! Need more!), scrapbook paper, stickers, stamps, buttons, pens, markers, paint chips, ect. All of this stuff is super cheap at Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby. In fact, I got some of this stuff for 97 cents in the Wal-Mart craft section.

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A couple folders filled with magazine clippings and printed papers to journal with.

My Pages ~

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Some of these pages don’t have any writing on them yet as I sometimes just enjoy making the pages and filling them out later.

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The page with the photo on it is of me, my cousin, and my sister. This is a page that I made to document a really fun and goofy “photo shoot” that we did one night in 2008, I believe. I mod podged the photo onto a paper I printed out that had that quote on it. Oh so fitting for us! I even pasted in a little picture of a flower my cousin drew a long time ago that I saved; I think it gives it a nice touch. 🙂

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I made a cd of the songs I’m listening to this summer, pasted a cd sleeve into my journal, and slipped the cd in. That way I can always go back and listen to what songs were my summer 2012 soundtrack.

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Iced Coffee & Good Tunes ~

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Okay, so iced coffee is a must in the art journaling process… well, at least for me anyway. It just makes it so much more relaxing to me. Art journaling and iced coffee just go together in my book. I made this Caramel Macchiato by brewing two shots of espresso, filling a glass with 1 cup of milk (leaving room at the top for the espresso), 2 tbsp. Torani’s Caramel Syrup, 2 tbsp. Torani’s French Vanilla Syrup, and 2 packages of Splenda; stir and fill with ice. Then top it off with espresso, mix, and drink up! Trust me, this is delish!

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And of course, I always need good tunes to listen to while art journaling! Milo Greene, The Civil Wars, and a couple summer mixed cds.

Hope you enjoyed looking around, and consider picking up art journaling yourself! I’m actually gong to be taking part in another art journaling class over at the blog, Everyday Is A Holiday. Blogger/designer, Jenny Holiday and her husband Aaron are avid art journalers (is that a word? …spell check doesn’t like it apparently) and will be giving the classes every week.

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They also have a link up so everyone can show off their finished pages. You can stay tuned to my blog, Ink & Frosting, to see my progress! And click here to take part in all the fun!

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Review for Milo Greene’s Self-Titled Debut Album

Milo Greene, contrary to what it may sound like, is in fact not a real person but a 5 piece indie/folk band hailing from Los Angeles, CA. The band, made up of Robbie Arnett, Andrew Heringer, Marlana Sheetz, Graham Fink, and Curtis Marrero, got their moniker from a fake booking agent they created in college to help their then individual bands book gigs and sound more professional. So when they got together to form this band, they decided to pay homage to the “booking agent” that helped them get their start.

I first discovered Milo Greene last fall when I heard their song “Autumn Tree” on a music blog and fell head over heels for it. I must have pushed the repeat button at least a hundred times that night… and thus, my love/obsession with their music began. I’ve followed them ever since then, listening incessantly to their bandcamp and watching live performances on YouTube. For a band that did not have an album out at the time they created quite a buzz and quickly developed a cult following.

I think I can speak for all Milo fans when I say we were all beyond excited when July 17th rolled around and they finally released their self-titled debut album (Chop Shop/Atlantic). Let me tell you, it was worth the wait! I don’t think I’ve been this excited about an album release in a long time. What Milo Greene has created is a cohesive album that is stunning from start to finish. It hasn’t left my cd player since I got it in the mail.

The album instantly captivates your attention with ethereal sounding bells and the bands signature harmonies as it leads into “What’s The Matter”. I love the haunting sound of this track which is carried by the smooth and rich vocals of Robbie Arnett, who has a voice you could seriously get lost in. Next up is “Orpheus” which is one of the four instrumental interludes on the album. The interludes, which also include, “Wooden Antlers”, “Moddison” and “Polaroid”, are a nice surprise that add to the dreamy vibe of the album. My favorites being “Wooden Antlers” – which features pounding percussion and a great guitar riff, and the atmospheric but all too short, “Moddison”.

“Perfectly Aligned” is a soft and romantic track that builds to dramatic cymbal swells and gang vocals. It also features the pretty and pristine voice of Marlana Sheetz. It should be noted that one of the things that makes Milo so unique and interesting is that they have no lead singer. All of them except for drummer, Curtis Marrero, take turns singing lead. They are also multi-instrumentalists who are known for switching instruments from song to song during their live shows. So it’s really cool to get to hear each vocalist individually as they all have pretty distinctive voices.

The mellow “Silent Way” has a melody that sticks with you and lyrics that feel nostalgic, “When when when we’re older can I still come over”. Fan favorites “Don’t You Give Up On Me” and “1957” are highlights on the album; with the latter having you randomly break out in song, singing along to the infectious bridge, “I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go I” all. day. long. (yeah, might be speaking from experience here) . “Cutty Love” which features Graham Fink on lead, quickly became one of my favorites with the sweet lyrics always sticking in my head, “Even if your heart stops I will be there to hold you up. And even as the world turns I will be there to watch the fire burn, burn us both alive”. Other favorites include “Take a Step” – can’t stop listening to this almost sultry sounding song, and the sweet and comforting sounds of “Son My Son”.

The album comes to a beautiful close with “Autumn Tree”. This song is seriously just as breath taking to me now as it was when I first heard it last fall. It’s still the track that I will stop whatever I’m doing just to savor every single note. The song, featuring Andrew Heringer on lead, starts soft and sparse, with haunting lyrics, “Under the autumn tree, the chair where you would swing. A yard so full of leaves comfort me”. Everything in my world seems to get peaceful and quiet when this song plays. And I can’t think of a better way to end the lovely journey this album takes you on.

Since the album has released, Milo Greene has been on quite a whirlwind, playing Lollapalooza, landing at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, and not to mention rocking it out on David Letterman, where they played hit, “1957”. They’re also about to add film making to the list as they will soon be releasing a short film entitled, “Moddison” (click to see the trailer). The album acts as a soundtrack to the film which they have been releasing clips of as music videos for certain songs. You can click here to see the band talk more about it. They are currently on tour with Family of The Year and have been playing to sold out crowds. If you get the chance to see them live, take it, from what I hear they put on a show that’s not to be missed.

Rare is the gem of an album where you don’t want to skip a single track but so is the case with Milo Greene. With melodic, dreamy tunes and beautiful harmonies it sweeps you away to a different place. Even the album cover, which is actually a painting hanging in Andrew’s house, adds to the artful vibe. It’s an album that stays with you long after you hear it. Be sure to buy it a.s.a.p and let it become the soundtrack to your summer… or maybe even your life.

http://www.milogreene.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MiloGreene

https://twitter.com/milogreene

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Chocolate Espresso Shaker

If you’re looking for a delicious drink to cool you off during these scorching hot summer days and happen to be a chocoholic like me…you might want to keep reading.

I’ve never been much of a summer person; even after living in TX all my life I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the humidity and triple digit heat. So I can’t deny that I’m counting down the days till happy pretty fall… which for us Texans doesn’t usually show up till late October. But if there is anything that can make the rest of these summer days bearable it just might be chocolate and espresso shaken over ice, poured into a glass, and topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Can I get an amen? 😉

I got this lovely concoction from a new cookbook that I bought called “Chocolate Bar”. It was written by Matt Lewis and Alison Nelson who are the owners of a chocolate shop of the same name in New York City’s West Village.

(Yes, a bar of chocolate can double as a very delish book marker when you need it to. ;))

This shaker is the shops most popular summer drink and after you taste it, you’ll understand why. So may I suggest putting on some awesome summer tunes, relaxing in your favorite lawn chair or hammock, and cool off with a Chocolate Espresso Shaker on us! 🙂

Chocolate Espresso Shaker –

(Adapted from “Chocolate Bar” by Matt Lewis and Alison Nelson )

This drink is a rich, creamy, and frothy treat. It takes very few ingredients and is really easy to whip up.

It starts out with a base of Versatile Hot Chocolate. Owners, Matt and Allison have actually nicknamed it “Liquid Candy Bar”, “Melted Chocolate”, and “Party Pick-Me-Up in a Cup”… so that should give you an idea of just how decadent this hot chocolate is. And trust me, it lives up to those names. This would be awesome all on its own in the wintertime but since it’s summer, we’re going to put this baby on ice.

Next comes the happy shot of espresso! I picked up some ground espresso at my local bookstore/café and used my sister’s espresso machine that she got for Christmas like two years ago and only used once. Which I believe we named Preston Jameson … for reasons that I just simply cannot recall right now.

Once the espresso is brewed you toss it, along with the chilled chocolate, into a shaker with ice and shake it till frothy. Then if you want to get a little fancy with your chocolate (and who doesn’t?), you pour it into a pretty cocoa rimmed cocktail glass! Which I did by first dipping the rims of the glasses in water then in a mixture of cocoa and sugar. Last but not least, finish this lovely off with some whipped cream and chocolate shavings (yes, because what this drink really needs is more chocolate, right? ;))!

My only complaint about this drink is that the espresso could have been more prominent… two shots next time maybe? Other than that, you have the perfect drink to keep you cool and impress your dinner guests this summer! 🙂

Versatile Hot Chocolate:

Ingredients:

3 ounces bittersweet (60% to 70%) chocolate, chopped into small pieces

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

2 tsp. light brown sugar

Directions:

Place chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Bring water to a boil and pour over the chocolate pieces, making sure all the chocolate pieces are submerged. Set aside for about 3 minutes. While waiting for chocolate to melt, place cream and milk in a medium saucepan and bring mixture to a simmer. Stir in brown sugar.

Whisk chocolate and water mixture until smooth, then pour immediately into milk and cream mixture. Whisking constantly, bring mixture just to a boil.

Take off heat and let it chill in the fridge. Yields 2 to 3 servings.

The Shaker –

Ingredients:

1 shot of espresso

8 ounces of chilled chocolate

handful of ice

whipped cream and chocolate shavings (optional)

Directions:

Place the espresso, chilled chocolate, and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake over ice. Strain the ingredients into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings if desired. Yields 1 serving.

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