Ava's Torte

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Hello, Creme Living Blog audience! To introduce myself, I'm Paula's daughter, Ava! In preparation of my parents's return to Omaha after an extended retreat to Mexico, I decided to surprise my mom with one of her favorite desserts: flourless chocolate almond torte!


But, this dessert in particular has its own backstory. Back in 2014, my mom graciously took me on my first trip to New York City. Siding with broadway shows, shopping, and your stereotypical New York City tourism excursions, was a visit to a little Italian restaurant a couple blocks down from Time Square called "La Masseria Ristorante". 

My mom and I in Time Square! (2014)

My mom and I in Time Square! (2014)

While enjoying our meals, we noticed a women near our table who was eating this gorgeous looking slice of cake. Although our stomachs were nearing overflow, we decided to order "what she was having". Soon, we met face to face with the infamous "Flourless Chocolate Almond Torte," and the rest is scrumptious history.

Although, since revisiting the establishment a couple years later, we were disappointed to see it had been removed from the menu. Thankfully, it didn't take more than a scroll through Pinterest to find our hidden treasure, and it's the same recipe (tweaked, of course! (-; ), that I use today.

 
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It tastes nearly the same as from the beautiful restaurant in the big apple! It's not only an easy recipe, it also makes your mouth water with even the slightest thought of it.

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With its dense dark chocolate, pairing with the ground almond, it is the richest chocolate cake you might ever have; I might even have to grab myself another slice!

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Nothing is better than a sweet surprise to welcome my parents with, and this cake really does the job!

Halloween Food and Festivities

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Do you love to cook for the holidays? If your answer is "yes!" Then you are in for a real "treat"! This is always the start of a fun holiday season of cooking and baking for me.

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As I always say what's more fun then food, friends and family?? And we had all three in the Creme Kitchen this last weekend. The goblins and ghouls came through for some laughter, music, (and maybe a little dancing!) and as always-food!

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Here's our spread:

 

Bat Winged Cheese Balls

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Mummified Hot Dogs

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Dill Dip from the Dark Side

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And no Halloween spread is complete without a Vomiting Guacamole Jack o' lantern (Thanks for the pumpkin carving, Adrian!)

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Here's wishing all your Halloween dreams and decadent foods came true!

xoxo

Paula

Kids and Caramel Apples

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A crisp Fall breeze nipped in the air this last weekend and the leaves blew past us outside the window. All we could think about while gazing outside was cozy slippers, some soup simmering on the stove, and some gooey delicious caramel apples! Who better to get working on this fun project but my girls? I knew their creative minds could help decorate (and eat!) some amazing caramel apples. 

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The key ingredients in this Autumn tradition are wrapped caramels, a little bit of cream, and sprinkles of course!

Taking your time to ensure the caramels melt slowly with the cream is important. If you try to rush this part, you will end up with sticky, hard caramel.

Letting the caramel sit and cool just a bit on the apple helps to keep the caramel in tact. Be sure to get your sprinkles, crushed peanuts, or whatever else topping you would like on the apple immediately after. Let sit on some wax paper for easy removal.

Once cooled and hardened a bit, you can now drizzle melted chocolate to your hearts content. 

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Happy faces, adorable caramel apples, and tummies full of soup made the end of this beautiful fall weekend perfection! Projects in the kitchen with your family are such a fun way to enjoy the season. 

Looking forward to more adventures in the kitchen as the holiday draw near. Can't wait to share them with you!

xoxo

Paula


Ingredients:

A bag of mini-apples

1/2 cup of peanuts

Desired amount and color of sprinkles

Four cups of individual caramels, unwrapped

2 tbsp. Heavy whipping cream

1 cup white chocolate chips

Wooden skewers

 
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Method:

Start by freezing the apples for ~15 min., so the caramel can adhere. While the apples are in the freezer, crush the peanuts in a ziploc bag (I like to use the smooth size of a tenderizer). Combine the peanuts with the desired amount and color of sprinkles. Mix and set aside.

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On increments of 30-45 sec., warm and stir the caramel and cream until melted. Take your time, do not overheat!

Once the apples come out of the freezer, clip the stems off and replace them with a wooden skewer (I found mine in the party isle of my grocery store). If water collected on the apples meanwhile, wipe off with a paper towel. 

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Now to get your kids involved! Prepare your workspace with wax paper. Take a skewered apple and dip it into the caramel until fully coated, and while lifting it, scrape off excess caramel with a butter knife. Set on the wax paper, or carefully set the apple in the peanut-sprinkle mixture, coating as desired. Once finished, set on the wax paper to let the caramel set for 10-15 min.

While the caramel sets, melt the white chocolate chips on increments of 20-30 seconds until melted. Drizzle onto the apples and let cool again for 20-30 min. Voila!

Chicken Coop

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We had some new additions to the Creme homestead this past spring. Chickens!!

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Two of my favorite breeds-the Welsummer and the Ameraucana. Both beautiful and docile birds. And bonus-they lay beautiful eggs!!

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As they grew I knew it was time for a new coop. So of course I had one built especially for them. Custom colors to coordinate with the house too!

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We hired our friend Ed Brown and boy did he do an amazing job!

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The chickens are settling in well and love their new home. Now....to keep Chomps and Fran from sniffin around....

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xoxo 

Paula

Hot Pot

So when twins are home from college, it's all about food here at home! (Okay...what day really ISN'T about food?!?)

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On the menu was an amazing hot pot! Hot pot you ask?! (It's SO good!) Hot pot is an incredible Chinese dish where the center of attention is a simmering pot of "hot" broth. And what's even better about this dish is that it has been around for more than 1000 years! Can someone say Jin Dynasty? Very cool.

You start by cooking a bunch of aromatics like star anise and dried chilies in a wok with some ginger and garlic. The house starts to smell amazing! The broth is usually a base of chicken broth and a hot pot soup base. We get that base at our favorite local Asian Market here in town. And then you prepare the feast by setting out multiple items to cook in your simmering pot! Noodles, veggies like bean sprouts and sliced bok choy, and any kind of sliced meat or seafood. We used tenderloin and chicken along with some fresh caught shrimp! Everyone gathers their bowls and puts in their own combination of goodness and into the hot pot it goes one at a time until just cooked through! Once done, you get to make your own secret sauce and then have it alongside your bowl of goodness. We usually go for seconds at this point!!

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Ava introduced this to our family after seeing this prepared on the tv show "Bizarre Foods" and thought it would be a hit. And guess what? It was! I'm not sure what's so bizarre about it, but I do know Sophia and Maya enjoyed making their bowls up too. Ava has become an expert! Many thanks to her for always being the chef in our home for hot pot family night:)

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What do you think? Would that be a hit in your family too? 

Keep on cooking with your kids. You never know what "bizarre" or unique food you may become addicted to. And the time spent in the kitchen will make it even more special for everyone.

xoxo

Paula

Garden fresh

This past Wednesday I had a bumper crop of Roma Beans!

This plant is gorgeous and makes summer grilling a breeze. I added some root veggies and slice onions and layered the dish with seasoned turkey burgers on the bottom of my pan. Cover with foil and throw on the grill and dinner will be ready in about 20 minutes!

And while harvesting I got to take time out to enjoy the view❤️

What's your favorite summer vegetable??

Xoxo

Paula