Insomnia Cookies – Center City Philadelphia

A while ago Mr. Curly Fry’s brother told us that we have to try Insomnia Cookies. That they’re really good and that we would love them. So I looked them up and at the time they only had locations in West Philly and one out near Temple. I’m willing to travel distances for cupcakes, but not cookies. So I kind of forgot about them and went on about my business.

Fast forward to yesterday. I saw something on Philly.com about this new Insomnia Cookies store that opened up in Center City. I was intrigued. So I looked up the location and what do you know?! They are located not even a full block from my office. Uh oh. This could get dangerous! So I knew that I’d have to make a pit stop on my way home from work to pick up some cookies. How could I not? As I was walking down the street I could literally start to smell the cookies. So I followed the scent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and I ended up in their store!

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Cake Batter Pudding

So I was sitting on my sofa one afternoon trying to think of something to make for dessert for that evening. I wanted to make something easy; I didn’t want to spend all afternoon in the kitchen. I thought about making cupcakes, but I like to set my butter out hours in advance and I hadn’t done that. So my mind immediately went to thinking about cake batter flavored things. So then I thought about Cake Batter Pudding. I hadn’t seen anyone post anything about that before, but I knew it had to be done by someone. So I googled it and came across a post from Mrs. Happy Homemaker. We must’ve been on the same wavelength since she posted this at the beginning of March.

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Oreo Pudding Poke Cake

Jell-o Poke Cake has always been a New Year’s Day tradition for my family. My Mom would always make one for dessert that day. And the jell-o that my Mom used was almost always either raspberry or cherry jell-o in it. I normally like buttercream icing on my cake, but this is the one exception that I make. Because the cool whip on top of the poke cake is delicious! It just goes with it. So I don’t mess with it.

Now…I love cake. I love oreo pudding. Put the two together and I’m a happy camper! My sister actually emailed me a recipe that she came across that was for an Oreo Pudding Poke Cake. So when I saw it I knew that I had everything on hand so I made it.

Now the original recipe calls for a regular sized box of cake mix and two boxes of instant oreo pudding, but I wanted to half the recipe since I hadn’t made it before. And because having an entire Oreo Jell-o Poke Cake in my fridge wasn’t really the best idea.

[Adapted from this recipe]

INGREDIENTS

  • one 9 oz box Chocolate Cake Mix (this is the box that makes 12 cupcakes or an 8 inch cake)
  • Ingredients needed to make cake (usually eggs, oil and water)
  • one (4 oz.) package of Instant Oreo pudding
  • 2 cups milk (2% or higher)
  • Crushed Oreo Cookies (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on package. Bake in a well-greased 9×9 pan.

 

Start to make the pudding. In a medium bowl, add milk to the pudding mix and whisk until it’s a smooth consistency and the milk and mix are combined. Please note that it will be lumpy since there are oreo pieces in there.

Let pudding mixture sit for about 2 minutes. You want it to thicken slightly so it isn’t overly runny but not fully thickened into pudding.
When cake is finished, while still warm, poke holes all over cake (about 1-inch) intervals using a wooden spoon handle or a straw (as seen above). Pour the pudding mixture over warm cake.

 

Allow the cake to cool for several minutes on the counter then put into the fridge to set up. About an hour.

I like to wait until the piece of cake is on the plate to top with Oreos, otherwise they’ll get really soft.


Top with Crushed Oreos and enjoy!

I thought that this recipe was pretty good! I think maybe the next time I may try mixing in some cool whip with the pudding mixture to “fluff” it up a bit, but it was good the way it was!

Souper Bowl Sunday ['11] ~ Week Six

It’s a beautiful fall day here in Philadelphia and the perfect day for soup! I wanted to try something different, so I decided to throw together a Creamy Tortellini Soup. I’ve seen Tortellini Soups before, but they were different from what I had in mind. Most of them were broth based, but I wanted mine to be creamy so I decided to get creative and come up with my own.

  •  4  tablespoons  butter
  • 1/2 cup leeks
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 3/4 cup half & half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley
  • two 9 oz packages Tortellini (I used Wegman’s brand)

In a Dutch Oven, heat the butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and leeks; reduce heat to medium low.


Cook, stirring frequently, about 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft and golden.

 

Start to bring water to a boil in a large saucepan so that you can cook the Tortellini. Once the water is boiling, cook the Tortellini as directed on the package. Do not overcook.


Drain and place in a bowl. Set aside.

 In another pan, heat the olive oil over low to medium heat. Smash the garlic and add to the pan. Make sure it doesn’t burn. Add in the spinach and season with a pinch of salt & pepper.


Cook until wilted.


Transfer to a bowl and set it aside.

Add in the chicken broth, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or so.


Add in the milk and 3/4 cup of half & half.


In a large screw-top jar, combine 1/4 cup of half & half and flour. Cover and shake until combined and smooth.  Add that into the soup mixture.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
Add in the Spinach (drain it), Thyme, Parsley, Nutmeg, salt (to taste) and pepper.
Add in the cooked Tortellini and let it simmer over low heat for a couple of minutes to incorporate all of the flavors.

Serve with your favorite bread.

I must say that this soup was pretty good, if I do say so myself. I was very happy with how it came out. I thought it was packed full of flavor and this will definitely be put in my recipe box to make in the future. The Spinach added a lot of flavor to the soup. The nutmeg is a key ingredient that really brings all of the flavors together. This recipe as written is vegetarian, but if you want to add in some chicken or another kind of meat it would work well for that too.

Souper Bowl Sunday ['11] ~ Week Four

The weather here in Philadelphia is beautiful ~ the highs are only in the 60′s and there’s a nice cool breeze. I had the craving for a nice, juicy Cheeseburger while I was trying to think of what kind of Soup to make for this week’s post, and it hit me. How about a Cheeseburger Chowder? You can probably turn almost any sandwich into a soup, right? So I gave it a shot…

 

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup leeks, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Emeril’s Essence (recipe at the bottom)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • scallions, for garnish (optional)

 

In your favorite dutch oven, brown the 1 lb. of ground beef. Once it’s done, spoon it into a colander and set aside. Reserve one teaspoon of grease in the dutch oven.

Add in 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the grease in the dutch oven. Add in your leeks, celery, onion, carrot and garlic.


Cook until the vegetables get soft; about 4-5 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Add in the potatoes and the chicken broth.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Add in the thyme, essence, and pepper.  Hold off on adding the salt until the end. You may not need to add it all. It all depends on how salty the broth was that you used, the cheese, etc.

Mix 3 tablespoons of flour with 1/2 cup milk and add it in. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of milk and the 1/4 of heavy cream. Stir.


Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Let the Soup simmer for about 5 minutes, until thickened. It should look something like this:

Add in the Ground Beef and the Velveeta cheese; stir.

Continue to stir until the cheese is fully melted. Add salt, if necessary.

Sprinkle with scallions and serve with some toasty bread.

 

I loved this Cheeseburger Chowder. It was so nice and creamy, and so flavorful. I think Emeril’s Essence really adds a lot of flavor. It’s a spice combo that I always keep on hand.  I truly felt like I was a eating a cheeseburger, but in the form of soup. This is definitely a chowder I’d make again. The next time I’m going to add some bacon – how wonderful would that be?!

 

Emeril’s Essence   (source)

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.