Monday, September 1, 2014

Parmesan Gougeres

Confession: I maaaay have overbaked these. So they're a smidge overbrowned.

Sorry. It's okay though because they still turned out AWESOME!
Gougeres are pretty much French cheese puffs, made with choux (the same sort of pastry that brings you cream puffs). For these Gougeres I worked with what I had--which is Parmesan cheese and some chives and basil from my overflowing herb garden. But you can totally customize these to your preferences/what's in your kitchen!
So here we have airy little mounds of heaven. They're all crisp on the outside and they taste like Parmesan and herbs and they're so light on the inside. These gougeres are crazy addictive-I may have eaten the whole batch within an hour of baking them. Oops. 

It's ok, though. I can always make more. And maybe use cheddar and chives next time! ooooh yum!

Make em. Trust me. They're so much easier than you'd think (don't let the French name fool ya) and they're whipped up crazy quick. Gougeres are also the perfect thing if you're entertaining-instant "oooohs" and "ahhhs" for minimal effort! Huzzah!

Parmesan Gougeres 

Adapted slightly from Crumb

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tbsp. finely minced chives
  • 1 tsp. finely minced fresh basil
Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 425F degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine water, butter, salt, and pepper and heat until the butter is melted.
  • Add all the flour and stir vigorously until it forms into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Add one egg and stir until fully combined. Repeat with the 2nd egg. (I promise it WILL smooth out eventually if you keep stirring.)
  • Add the fresh herbs and 2/3 cup of the grated cheese, stir until evenly distributed. 
  • Space circles of the choux about an inch or so apart on the prepared baking sheet. You can do this by scraping the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a wide plain tip and piping small cherry-tomato-sized mounds of dough, or you can use a 1 tbsp scoop or a regular spoon to drop dollops of dough onto the cookie sheet. (I did the latter because I don't have a piping tip or pastry bag).
  • Sprinkle the top of each dough round with the rest of the cheese.
  • Bake 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375F and bake 10-25 more minutes, until golden brown all over. 
  • Serve immediately, if possible! (If serving leftover reheat in a 300F oven until warm and crisped.)
  • Make ahead method: Once the dough mounds are on the sheet, you can either refrigerate the dough to bake later in the day or, for longer term storage, place in the freezer and then transfer the frozen gougeres to freezer bags (they’ll keep up to 2-3 months frozen). If using the frozen puffs, add an extra 5 minutes(ish) to the baking time.
Bites of airy, cheesy, goodness.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Something Saturdays (8/30/14)

The struggles of having small wrists. My life.

This map of "if each state had an official dessert"=awesome. Ohio got Buckeyes, which makes perfect sense.

This week Michael started school. So far, so good! He seems to really like his professor's and be excited about classes-fingers crossed he stays happy and it doesn't get too overwhelming.

Mostly I've just been working and getting things done around the house this week! I also have been working on setting up florist appointments (and getting sticker shock when realizing how pricey those flowers are gonna be...ugh! And no-silk flowers or no/almost no flowers aren't gonna cut it. *sigh* I am trying to keep it under control with as few of flowers as I can get away with, so I suppose we'll seeeee)

One highlight was Michael doing another groom tux try on with American Commodore-he looked so good! I'm so excited for how handsome he'll look at our wedding! LOVE the tux! AND-that night Michael and I went to eat at The Office (a restaurant we love) downtown. It was one of the only times we've been able to have a nice dinner out just the 2 of us since we moved back, so it was really nice.

Another happy point was Victoria's Secret Swim Sale--woooot for 2 bikinis that cost less than 1 usually does!! Plus...they're both white. Hello honeymoon :D.

Tomorrow I have my dad's family's family reunion-this will be my first time seeing most of that extended family since I moved to NY-I'm excited to see some of the people (but bummed that when people ask if they can see my engagement ring I'll have to show them a picture, since Jared still has it while they make my wedding band).

Friday, August 29, 2014

Why I Smile-and a #FreshGuard Review #spon

I'm a very bubbly, happy person. I generally have a smile on my face. And it's been a requirement of pretty much every job I've ever had: as a hostess, promotional model, actor, and childcare professional-smiling is key! Even so, I've had people come up and tell me "Why do you smile so much?" "You smile a lot!" etc.
My response? The more I smile the happier I feel! Plus-why not smile? Life isn't perfect but life is GOOD.

Why do I smile?

I have people who love me and that I love. I'm planning my dream wedding to my best friend. I'm home, surrounded by family and friends. The sky is a beautiful shade of blue. The sun feels divine on my skin. Chocolate chip cookies are delicious. My steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare. And I spent 3 years in braces-I might as well show off this smile that it took me so long to get!!

Here's my little dental story: I was 10 and realized one of my teeth was turned almost completely sideways. I went to the dentist. She sent me to an orthodontist. Turns out, I was losing my baby teeth so fast that there wasn't enough room in my mouth for my adult teeth-causing "crowding". Plus, I had an overbite. So then, after I lost my last baby tooth (not too long later, I was still 10-almost 11) I got braces. And a bite plate. And then I had headgear to wear at night for 6 months. I had a variety of bands. I generally went through a decent amount of pain until I was 13 and finally got my braces removed (for the record-it was all worth it)! Then I had to wear retainer (upper and lower) for a year...and ever since I have worn them at night (not every night, but most nights). And after all these years? My retainers got kinda gross.

Fresh Guard™ to the rescue!!

Fresh Guard™ is specially formulated to clean mouth guards, retainers, and clear braces. Fresh Guard™ Soak kills 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria in just 5 minutes while Fresh Guard™ Wipes offer a convenient on-the-go cleaning solution with no water needed. Visit http://freshguardclean.com/ for more information, store locator and coupons!
Up until now, I've only been able to use a toothbrush to clean my retainers-which doesn't quite pass muster. Fresh Guard™, however, "is specially formulated for retainers, mouthguards and removable braces. It delivers a Complete Clean – 1) prevents the build-up of mouth film for a clean feel, 2) removes odor-causing bacteria for a fresh and clean smell, and 3) reduces yellowing and helps remove stains for a clean look."

Since I only wear my retainer at night-and since it was in such dire need of a good clean-the Fresh Guard™Soak was best suited for me. I just followed the super easy to follow directions and then-in only 5 minutes-my retainers were magically cleaned! Fresh Guard™Soak does say that for especially dirty retainers it may take a couple soaks (and even then some stains are not removable). I soaked my retainers twice (even though they were pretty clean after the first time!)-by the end my top retainer was perfectly clean and the bottom just had a couple stains, which is totally understandable. These things are over 10 years old, so I was very impressed by how clean they turned out! I'm definitely going to be using the Fresh Guard™Soak periodically to keep my retainers sparkling clean and minty fresh-another reason to smile! :)

To learn more about Fresh Guard™ visit their website or view this super informative (and fun!) video. And, an added incentive to try Fresh Guard™, click on this link to get Fresh Guard™ coupons and special offers!

What puts a smile on your face?

(Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Fresh Guard™. I received promotional items and Fresh Guard™ products in exchange for my participation. The opinions and text are mine.


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