Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pots Au Chocolat

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes!

So glad you stopped by!  I hope you are now ready for a dessert recipe.  It took me about a month after Christmas to get in the dessert making mood again.  These Pots Au Chocolat are sure to please as they are all about chocolate gooiness, all about speed, and all about sure success.

Tati, my 15-year old, made these for dessert the other day.

The pots waiting to be baked.

I first tasted Pots Au Chocolat at a church women's get together.  One of the ladies had just had a French chef come to her home and teach her how to make some French recipes, including how to make Pots Au Chocolat. That night she demonstrated how to make Pots Au Chocolat.   This was many years ago and I was intimidated by the "Frenchiness" of this recipe.  A while later I went to a Chinese dinner at my sister Jacqueline's home and we overindulged by eating both her Hot Lave Cakes AND her Mango ice cream balls, beautifully plated.  I use my sister Jacqueline's recipe today-- she calls them Hot Lava Cakes and I call them Pots Au Chocolat.   Let me make this clear, this recipe is basically a no-fail recipe -- once you and your oven have an understanding.  The first time you make these, be careful about the cooking time.  You are looking for a product that is runny in the middle. If you bake it too  little, you will get an extra runny middle.  If you bake it too long, you will not get a runny middle.

My daughter chose to make these with milk chocolate chips; we both agreed that from now on we would always used semi-sweet chips.

This is how they should look when they come out of the oven.  If you use semi-sweet chips, your pots will be darker.

Recipe for Pots Au Chocolat

1 cup semi-sweet chocolat chips
10 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs
3 yolks from large eggs
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Melt the chocolate chips and the butter in the microwave for about one minute.  In another bowl, mix the eggs and egg yolks, then add to chocolate mixture.  Mix in powdered sugar.  Then add flour.  Butter 6 (6-ounce) ramekins.  Fill each wth about 1/2 cup batter.  Place ramekins on a cookie sheet.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 12-1/2 minutes.  At this point, you can either serve the dessert in the ramekins (as we did) , or you can invert the ramekins and serve the dessert on a plate. Test, to make sure the Pots Au Chocolat are done by, running a knife around the edge of the ramekin and inverting the cake on a plate.  The center should be runny, but the cake should hold up on the plate.  If done, take all cakes out of the oven.  Serve warm  with raspberry sauce and whipped cream or ice cream.

Notes:  Instead of making a raspberry sauce, I usually just warm up a little bit of raspberry jam in the microwave and spoon a little bit on top of the ramekin. The ramekins I use all the time are the white ones picttured in this post.  They were from Pier 1 several years ago and were about one dollar a piece.  If you don't have ramekins, why don't you invest in some?

We also served the Pots Au Chocolat with Ice Cream and Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

I hope you try these because they are super easy to make, make up quickly, and they are fun to serve!

Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes and I hope you make these Pots Au Chocolat and add a bit of "Frenchiness to your life this year.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Snow Fairy Tablescape

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes!

It came!  It came!  Finally, some snow arrived!  I know I might be in the minority, but I love snow!  We hadn't had a snow storm since early December.  I woke up Saturday morning,  and I looked out the window and said "Yes!"  It snowed most of the day, and we received six inches of beautiful, sparkly snow!  Snow that sparkles in the sun like diamonds.  Snow that you can shuss your boots in when you walk.  Snow that covers the tan-brown world with a beautiful white covering.

Along with the snow came these whimsical snow fairies that grace my table.  Where there is snow,  there will always be snow fairies.

I do have "snow" plates, but the fairies chose the white plates.  The Snow Fairies are a bit partial to white.

They placed a furry snowflake in each glass.

They hung a furry snowflake from a silver candlestick.

More snow fairies come to join in the fun.

They say, "We hope for more snow so that we can stay and play!"

The Snow Fairies thank you for dropping by Red Couch Recipes!

Snow Fairies Table Information

Placemats and White Napkins:  Wal-Mart
White Dinner Plates:  Gibson
Large White Chargers, Salad Plates, Clear Glasses:  Tai Pan Trading
Silver Tree and Candlesticks:  Target
Flatware: World Market
Napkin Rings:  Style Sisters
Silver Runner:  Gift
Snow Fairies:  JoAnn's

Posted with the following:  Tablescape Thursday

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fun and Easy Harry Potter Mania Birthday Party

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes and to my recap of the Harry Potter Birthday Party I threw for my 11 year-old daughter Talley.  Before we started making plans for the party, she polled her friends asking them if they would like a Fablehaven Birthday Party or a Harry Potter Birthday Party.  As many of them hadn't read Fablehaven, they voted for a Harry Potter Party.  It also helped that the last Harry Potter movie had just been showing in theaters.  The year before, Talley had a Percy Jackson Party, which, of course, I blogged about.  Click HERE for the Percy Jackson Party.  It seems like we have a "book to birthday party" trend going on at our home.

We started out with a simple invitation inviting each of the girls to Hogwart's Academy.  I printed a black etched picture of the Hogwart's Castle on white vellum and placed the invitation behind the vellum on a white piece of paper.  I used one similar to the one sketched HERE.

I decorated the table with witch hats attached to the back of the chairs and with this scarf and cape my son had for a Harry Potter Halloween Party, oh so long ago.  My son Skyler, now 17,  fell for the Harry Potter mania in a big way.  I remember when one of the books came out, we of course, bought a copy on the first day.  When we were shopping that day he was sitting in the cart reading the newest Harry book.  Another time, we took a  picture of us sitting in a fast food restaurant with a Harry Potter book on the table. 

Another shot of the table.  I bought the tablecloth at Zurchers.  It has pictures of each of the three main characters.  I used a black cats, cauldron, and wizard hat from my Halloween collectection.  I love the effect of the well-worn Harry Potter books with the glasses on top,

When the girls first arrived I drew  a lightning bolt on their foreheads -- just to be like Harry.  We also gave them each a pair of Harry-styled glasses that I bought at the Dollar Store.  I have edited the photo because I haven't asked permission from the girl's parents for their photos to be posted on the Internet 

" I wish for Gryffindor!"

The big night arrived and nine girls showed up for the party.  They were greeted with a sign at the door that said "Welcome to Hogwart's."  The first order of business was sorting the girls into the Hogwart's House.  For the sorting hat, I used a Halloween witch hat and drew the house names, Sytherin, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw, out of a bowl.  The purpose of this was to divide the girls into teams to compete in a Harry Potter Trivia Contest.

At the end of this post is copy of the Harry Potter Trivia Contest.  I thought it was quite simple, but it did stump most  of the girls.

The girls were given Galleons, Gold Chocolate Coins, for their work on the Trivia Contest.  Of course,
the House of Gryffindor won!   I gave the winning team the most Galleons (6) and the  losing team the least (3).  They used these Galleons to purchase items on their trip to Honeyduke's.

The chocolate frogs were a hit -- Ribbit!

I used the following candy for Honeydukes:

Chocolate Frogs:  Made with Chocolate Chips and a Frog Mold
Dumbledore's Dum Dums:  Dum Dum Suckers
Pop Rocks:  Pop Rocks
Fred and George Weasley's Tongue Taffy:  Tongue Taffy
Pixie Poison:  Pixie Sticks
Lemon Drops:  Lemon Drops -- I used these because Dumbledore 's favorite candy was lemon drops.
Whiz Bangs: Zotz
Hermione's Sour Cubes:  Cubed candy I found at the Dollar Store

Jacqueline, if you are missing a frog mold, you now know where it is!

The trip to Honeyduke's was one of the favorite activities at the party.  I set up my buffet with candy labelled and with a price list.  Limiting the amount of candy they could buy at Honeyduke's by the amount of Galleons they earned from the Trivia Contest, made the trip extra fun for the girls.  It was as if they were really at Honeyduke's making choices with limited funds.  I really did keep their Galleons!

While at Honeydukes we bought some Bertie Bott's Beans.  I found them at the "Candy Barrel" at the nearest mall.  They are still available, but they are not as easy to find as they used to be.  This was a highlight of the party.  I gave the girls an extra Galleon to spend at Honeyduke's if they would just try one -- they all did.

The girls had a lot of fun tasting the beans!  As you probably know,  there are good beans and bad beans.  The bad bean flavors include flavors such as booger, grass, and baby wipes.  All of the girls took the gamble and we had fun tasting them.

Not so sure about that bean!

A bad bean. 

Next we went to Potions Class and made some Rosmerta's Butter Beer.  Surprisingly I liked the flavor.  I say surpisingly because the base of the Butter Beer is cream soda, and I am not a huge fan of cream soda.  I used my sister Jacqueline's recipe (and natch it was good) and unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of  the Butter Beer because you have to act quickly because it fizzes over the cup.  It was a fun  fizzy and bubbly drink.

On the table I had displayed ingredients that were used for the "Potions Class."

I printed the labels and got the ideas off the web HERE,  They are all things easily pulled together around your home, and there are free printable labels.

Every party has to have a cake.

We ended the night with pizza and Birthday Cake.  You may have noticed that "Happy " and "Birthday" are spelled wrong on the cake.  This cake, was to be like the cake that Hagrid brought Harry when they first met.  He misspelled the words Happy and Birthday on the cake.  It was Harry's birthday and he was so touched by the cake, because the Dursley's never celebrated his birthday before, and this was the first birthday cake he ever had.  Of course, Dudley eats the cake and then Hagrid gives him a piggy tale. 

Harry Potter Trivia Contest

(Caution:  There May Be Spoilers)

1.  Ron and George Weasley are twin  brothers.  T or F (False)

2.  Albus Dumbledore does not like Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.  T or F (True)

3.  The cry of a fully grown mandrake can kill you.  T or F (True)

4.  The Dursley Family lives at 4 Privet Drive.  T or F (True)

5.  Harry Potter's wand happens to be the brother wand of Albus Dumbledore's wand.  T or F(False)

6.  Sirius Black,  Harry Potter's Godfather, is an Animagus and can turn into a big, black dog.  T or F

7.  Sirius Black eats rats while he lives near Hogsmeade.  T or F (True)
8.  The name of the candy store in Hogsmeades is Honeycakes.  T or F (False)

9.  Hagrid tried to turn Dudley into horse in the first Harry Potter book.  T or F (False)

10.  Bellatrix LeStrange kills Dumbledore.  T or F (False)

11.  Lord Voltemort's followers are called Death Cheaters.  T or F (False)

12.  Harry's first task in the Triwizard contest is to steal a dragon's Egg. T or F (True)

13.  The Mascot for the House of Gryffindor is the Eagle.  T or F (False)

14.  In the end, Harry marries Hermione.  T or F (False)

Thanks for dropping by my Red Couch , and I hope you enjoyed your visit to my Harry Potter Mania Birthday Party!

Posted with the following parties:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Let It Snow Tablescape

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes! 

I took a vacation from tablescaping for a month or so and I am glad to be back! 

Today I bring a "Let it Snow" tablescape to hopefully help bring on some snow.  We have only had one snow storm this year, and I have missed the snow soooo much!  January is the month for snowmen for us.  We put away Christmas and bring out snowmen.  It makes our home not seem so bare after Christmas.

This table features these cute snow plates that I found at Wal-Mart on clearance last year.

Love these cute "furry" snowflakes.

I always love using these red "berry" napkin rings.

This snowman cookie jar serves as a cheery centerpiece on a dark and dreary day here in Utah. 

I borrowed this sign hanging on a wall in our home.  Please, can we have some snow?

I always like to include a glass view when I set my table with bubble glasses. 

The full view of the table.

Table Information

Red Plates, Snow Plates, Placemats Napkin,  Candlesticks:  Wal-Mart
Bubble Glasses:  Tai Pan Trading
Flatware:  Cost Plus
Snowman Cookie Jar:  Target, years past

Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes!

Posted with the following:  Tablescape Thursday


Friday, January 13, 2012

Fiesta Cheese Spread

Welcome to everyone to Red Couch Recipes!  So glad you dropped by.

I made this Fiesta Cheese Spread and it went so quickly that my husband didn't get any!  This spread is perfect for the "Big Game" that is upcoming, and it is quick and easy to prepare with only four ingredients.  The spread is laced with cilantro, which I am a big fan of.  How about you?  Some people love cilantro and some detest cilantro; they think it tastes like soap!  Thanks to my mother, (who had me put soap in my mouth for bad words) I do know what soap tastes like and I don't think cilantro bears any resemblance to soap!

Fiesta Cheese Spread Recipe

2 (8-ounce) blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 can mild Ro-Tel, drained
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, diced

Place all ingredients in medium-sized mixing bowl and stir until blended well.  Serve with crackers.

Notes:  Make sure you drain the Ro-Tel well.  Ro-Tel is the brand name of a tomato and green chili sauce.  If you are not able to locate the Ro-Tel, substitute a similar product.  Make sure you don't include the stems along with the cilantro leaves; the stems are just too woody for this recipe.

Thanks for dropping by my Red Couch!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Red Couch Recipes Most Read Posts for 2011

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes.  Today I share with you my Top 10 Posts for 2011.   I am a little late to the game, but that is how life has been lately.   The fun Internet tool Pinterest has really shaped and increased my readership during the latter part of 2011.  I am by nature a real holiday girl, so it should be no surprise that all of my top five posts are holiday-related.  I want to thank you for reading my Red Couch Recipes posts this past year.

1st Most Popular Post -- Grandma Utahna Felix's English Toffee

I am pleased, that with Pinterest, Grandma Utahna's English toffee received an astounding 50,700 views!  It really is the best toffee recipe ever.  I made six batches myself this Christmas.  I know that my husband's grandma would be pleased that so many of you tried her toffee recipe -- it's a no thermometer recipe that whips up in no time!  Grandma Utahna passed away over 22 years ago and it is fun to see her remembered with this recipe.  Thank you to those who commented or e-mailed me to tell me how much you liked the recipe.  Never before, have I received so many comments about a recipe.

2nd Most Popular Post -- Patriotic Groove Cookies

I developed these cookies from an old, tried and true, Betty Crocker Recipe.  Someone who administers this blog, posted it on the Betty Crocker Facebook page and almost 8,000 people viewed this recipe.  One commenter on the website on the Betty Crocker Facebook page said something like this , "I see something like this everyday when my preschoolers play with play-dough!"

This was a popular Halloween Post made by Zoulah in 2010 and 2011 with over 6,500 views.  I had so much fun developing the concept and making these with my children.  They are easy to make and your imagination is the limit.

Zoulah needed a new pair of shoes, so I created her several pairs.  These little shoes come together in a hurry and are so verstalie for many holidays and reasons.  I have made some for Christmas and they are just the perfect size to tuck a few treats in for someone you want to treat special.  Zoulah's Witch Shoes was a popular post in both 2010 and 2011 with over 5,000 views.

I saw the concept for these cookies in a summertime issue of the Martha Stewart Magazine and knew I was going to make them.  They are so fun, and easy, to make and I love the effect!  I love a good, soft, thick sugar cookie and if they are frozen, they are not safe in my kitchen.  Click on the link above the picture for my favorite sugar cookie recipe and for a diagram on how to swirl the royal icing.  This posting received over 4,000 views and 64 comments This was the only posting that I made in 2011 that made it in the Top Five for this year.

Thanks for reviewing my Top Five Most Popular Posts in 2011 and dropping by Red Couch Recipes!