Mini Espresso Cheesecake Bites

Though my internal clock adjusts to nocturnal mode for the weekends, weekdays are a very different story. When I’m not doing something extremely exciting (like checking my blog stats), I tend to fall asleep on the couch at 9:30, wake up and move to my bed at 10:30, then tell people that’s the time I actually went to sleep to avoid being shunned as a complete loserpants.

Last night, however, I would be damned if I missed the midnight showing of The Hunger Games. In an effort to stay awake for 2 hours and 20 minutes of sadistic bliss, I made up a very espresso-filled recipe that I hoped would keep me from drooling on my neighbor in the theater. Mission accomplished, I’m 70% certain.

The movie was amazing. I didn’t even need the espresso to stay awake, because I spent most of the time actively ogling the male tributes. The film was not 100% true to the book, but I could let the details go for the sake of not sitting through a seven hour movie. And not eating the entire batch of these by myself.

Making these little babies is very simple. The trick is to make extra filling so that when you bring them to whatever gathering you’re going to, it doesn’t look like you’ve eaten half of what you made. Your secret is safe with me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package mini phyllo shells (found in the freezer section – comes with 15 shells)
  • 1/3 c mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 c cream cheese
  • 3 Tbsp espresso powder, dissolved in 3 Tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh raspberries
Directions:
Mix cheeses together until smooth. Add espresso and vanilla, mix well. Stir in powdered sugar and salt. Pipe filling into phyllo shells. Garnish with raspberries (don’t leave these out – they add a lot of complexity to the flavor).

Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your flavor.

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Sneak Peek: Mini Espresso Cheesecake Bites

Tonight, I am going to a midnight showing of the Hunger Games.  Generally, I behave in a grandmotherly fashion and go to bed at 10pm on weekdays, since I obviously need to conserve my precious energy for weekend boy scouting. This, however is a special occasion.

So since it will be late and the it is the Hunger Games, after all, I decided to make an espresso flavored treat to help my fellow tributes and I stay awake past our bedtimes. I think this proves that I am Peeta’s real soul mate. We can bake together and it will be beautiful.

As long as I don’t kill him in the games first.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

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Love, Unrequited

Last night, for the second time since my annulment, I went on a first date.

[this is the outfit I wore]

Leading up to the date, I was less than nervous. Probably because he kept sending me text messages telling me how amazing I was and how much he was looking forward to getting to know me. A normal lady might find this considerate and thoughtful, but it mildly induced my gag reflex.

An hour before the date, however, my suitor redeemed himself by prank calling me. He kept a stoic voice and accused me of already being late before cracking up and saying he’d see me soon. It was admittedly weird, but had me blushing with playful delight.

When the time came, I went to our designated meeting place by the plants in front of Whole Foods and waited for him to arrive. That’s when I spotted him. Not my date – Back Alley Way Lover. Yes, my first first date in Austin had the gall to purchase whatever bananas, eggs, and contraception he needed smack in front of the place I was meeting my new date. Plain rude if you asked me.

Being the dodger that I am, I instantly dropped about 3 feet attempting to duck behind the most robust bunch of thyme. I don’t think it worked, but my date managed to arrive before BAWL finished checking out and we walked away faster than you can say “awkward confrontation.”

[when all else fails, hide behind small foliage]

My first impression of new boy was: I should have worn flats. I know I had a lot to drink when we met, but could my depth perception have been that affected? Or had he possibly been wearing man heels? I mean we are not talking midget stature, but the man could use a lift.

About ten minutes into dinner, I had already decided things weren’t going to work out. He was a really nice guy, but just too outgoing and hyper. Look, buddy – that’s my job. There can only be one spotlight hog in a relationship, and it’s going to be the girl who blogs about her dates for attention.

That’s when he started rummaging in his pocket. “I almost forgot, I have something for you,” he said. “I couldn’t get you flowers because I knew we’d be walking around, but I know you like to cook so I got you these tomato seeds. Maybe you can give me one if you ever get around to planting them.”

[the actual tomato seeds. they can grow like our love.]

Oh Lord, I thought. This letting him down thing is going to be much more difficult than I thought.

I spent the rest of dinner sitting on my hands to prevent him from reaching for one. I don’t think he read the body language correctly. He didn’t want to end the night and I felt like a bitch telling him I was ready to go home, so we went down the street for a drink and some live music.

“I’m really glad I’m on this date with you,” he confessed.

“Thank you.” I replied.

“Aren’t you supposed to be glad, too?” he said with a wounded face, tomato seeds in hand.

Well, fuck. I’ve been caught.

Apparently that didn’t matter because he brushed off my faux pas in stride and went to get us drinks. Meanwhile, I crafted my exit strategy. Potential text messages with a firm, yet gentle let-down swirled through my head. And then a brilliant idea came to me.

I will scare him off, I thought. I will hit him with everything I’ve got, he will no longer be interested, and I don’t even have to send a break up message. How am I so fucking smart?

[muahaha, you’ll never want to date me now]

Suddenly, I was excited for his return. I couldn’t wait to share my secrets and go back to doing more interesting things, like folding laundry. It was every first date’s nightmare: not only would I bring up my ex, I would bring up my ex-husband.

I spilled the beans and waited. And then came the kicker.

Surprise! He was married before, too.

And now we’re bonding.

[they call that a backfire, folks.]

Things just went from “he’s way too into me” to “he thinks the fates have brought us together,” and I am in hell. He was so proud of me for how strong and brave I was for having the guts to tell him. We actually had a really nice conversation about our respective breakups and subsequent depression, but there was just still no spark for me.

When he finally walked me home, he gave me a hug goodnight, marveling at what an amazing time he had. Then he pulled me in for hug round two, because much like me, round one was just so special.

How do I let this sweet boy down gently? He even got a haircut just for the date.

Much like his poor little heart will soon be, I am at a loss.

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Roasted Vegetable & Avocado Medley

In a “Hail Mary” effort to fit back into my pants before tonight’s hot date, I decided to eat something mildly healthy. As an added bonus, it’s the first day of spring and this recipe just might make me look less like Rosie O’Donnell in a bathing suit when summer rolls along.

Regarding tonight’s dinner date, I have high hopes. Supporting reasons for this include:

1. My date has not yet tried to feel me up in a dark alleyway.
2. He has not yet found my blog.
3. I am 90% certain he is not secretly gay.
4. Yesterday, an ugly bird shit on my head. Apparently this is a good omen.

With any date, it’s important to detox beforehand and wear something figure flattering, but not slutty. Which is unfortunate because I may have just eaten a slice of birthday cake and forgotten to launder half of my wardrobe. So I suppose the corset will have to do.

But even when I don’t need to squeeze into a corset, I love fresh vegetables. Not as much as I love cake, but they have their moments. This little diddy that I threw together showcases all of the fresh, flavorful, juicy, creamy, and acidic flavors that nature has to offer.

I like to consider avocado a vegetable to excuse the quantities I eat it in. In this dish, the avocado almost coats everything, giving it a luscious and rich texture that it just to die for.

To make this springtime wonder, you’ll need:

  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 2 tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/8 c mild soft cheese, cubed (I used goat’s milk mozzarella and it was a good decision. Slightly melted with the roasted veggies and gave it a tang.)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, cut into strips
  • salt & pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the zucchini and cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until warmed through. Combine in a bowl with avocado and cheese. Add olive oil, lime juice, salt, & pepper and mix. Top with basil ribbons.

And for the record, I am not really wearing a corset. I’ll save that for the second date.

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