Please bring me butter…peanut butter.

A long time ago, I was assigned this ridiculous orange rental car that i dubbed “the venga bus.” My boyfriend wanted badly to drive the monstrosity, so even though I had miraculously found a parking spot in front of his place, I let him take it for a spin around the block. Naturally, the spot was gone when we’d finished joyriding. We spent the next ten or so minutes driving around Roscoe Village, hunting for a place to park.

We ended up parking on a really busy road, having totally given up on finding a spot on a residential street. As we made the seemingly epic journey back to his building, a voice called out to us from the gated window of a garden apartment. Actually, the voice was in no way intended for us, but we heard it.

“You tell him, don’t bring me nothing with no butter in it!”

Nothing special there. Just a lady on the phone. Moving along.

“…No peanut butter!”

That was the beginning of what has been a long-cherished inside joke for us. Reading back over what I just wrote, I find myself giggling in very much the same way I did when I first heard that amazing woman. I also realize that it might be not at all funny to persons who weren’t there that night.

It was the gravity with which she explained exactly which kind of butter she did not want to be brought. That’s what made it so amazing. When I’ve had a few beers, that’s what makes me randomly remind my man not to bring me any peanut butter. Ever. For any reason.

The really funny thing is that lately, he’s been on a peanut butter kick. When I insisted he let me bake his birthday cake, guess what he asked for.


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Daring Bakers Challenge! Cheesecake Pops

Cheesecake Pops

Okay so if there’s one thing I can’t do, it’s follow a recipe. If I don’t have an ingredient on hand, I know an easy substitution. If I think I can one-up the writer of the recipe by tweaking the technique, I do it. But that’s not how the Daring Bakers thing works. There’s approximately 46 million of us, and we all have to do the same exact recipe. And we all have to follow it to the letter. So here goes nothing.

Cheesecake PopsCheesecake Pops

So basically, this is a recipe in which you bake a cheesecake, and then you dig your hands into that beautiful cheesecake and you roll up a bunch of 2 oz balls and put them on lollipop sticks and decorate them. It was a really simple recipe (Except for following the rules. That part was rough.), but it did require a lot of time, and rolling the pops was not easy. Even though I let the cheesecake firm up over night in the fridge, it immediately melted in my hands, making it really difficult to form good looking spheres. Other than that, no problems.

Cheesecake Pops

As much as I’m going on about having the follow the recipe, this one was actually pretty lenient. We were allowed to garnish the pops any way we wanted, as long as we covered them in chocolate. I used bittersweet chocolate and graham cracker crumbs. It was pretty yummy.

Cheesecake Pops

recipe after the cut!

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Rosca de Reyes

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I never celebrated Three Kings Day (or Epiphany) until my boyfriend introduced me to the holiday in 2006. Lots of countries celebrate by taking part in different traditions. In Mexico, before bed, little ones leave shoes filled with hay for the camels of the wise men, and in the morning they have been given small presents. I don’t know if this is how F celebrated when he was a little one in Mexico, but these days, we just eat Rosca de Reyes, which is a delicious ring of rich, sweet bread, flavored with orange blossom and topped with colored sugar and candied fruit.

The secret ingredient to the Rosca de Reyes is of course a tiny baby Jesus. Whoever finds the little plastic baby has been specially blessed, but must now throw a party for everyone in February. It’s a fun game to play while you’re dipping this awesome dessert bread into hot chocolate. I don’t have a recipe for the Rosca, but I can tell you how to make excellent Mexican hot chocolate. We like to buy a loaf of warm bread and dip it into the chocolate when it’s cold.

Fill up a sauce pan with about 16oz of whole milk and start it simmering. Drop in a half block of Mexican chocolate, like Ibarra or Nestle Abuelita. Stir until the chocolate is melted into the milk and let it simmer until it gets nice and foamy over the top of the sauce pan. Put the liquid into a blender and blend to make sure everything is incorporated.

(Since you have to dirty up the blender anyway, you may as well make 4 times that amount :] )