Valentines Day Recap

For Valentines Day, Marshall took me to a delicious dinner in downtown Opelika (like 15 minutes outside Auburn University in Alabama)! It was an Italian restaurant that neither of us had been to before called Ma'Fias. It was nice going somewhere new since there are VERY few nice restaurants to pick from here in Auburn! It was a special Valentines Day meal where you pay one set price and you got to pick from two options for each course. We started off with a big pitcher of Sangria (that we finished...) and a pizza for an appetizer. It was dripping in olive oil, pesto, cheese, and red peppers and was probably the best pizza I've ever eaten! For the entree, I had veal and Marshall had scallops with shrimp and risotto. Obviously we loved it since we completely forgot to take a picture until we had just about eaten it all! For dessert we both had a big ole' slice of chocolate truffle cake!

The next night, I made dinner for Marshall as my Valentines day present to him. I have a ton of work right now for school so I wanted to make something easy but still delicious! Marshall loves seafood so I made shrimp and bacon risotto. I accidentally cut the recipe in half (I have no idea how that happened!) and there was still plenty for the both of us! Then for dessert, I made Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes! I had seen this recipe on Pinterest a while back and immediately knew it would be perfect for Marshall! Im not even exaggerating when I say that cereal is his absolute favorite food!

Shrimp & Bacon Risotto
(serves 3-4)

- 1 cup arborio rice
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
-1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock + more if needed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 6 oz cooked shrimp
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1.) Heat a saucepan on medium heat. Chop bacon slices and add to pan, frying until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel, leaving bacon drippings in pan. Measure one cup of rice and add to pan, along with minced garlic. Stir to toast rice, about 2-3 minutes. 
2.) Pour in one cup of white wine and turn heat down to a simmer, and follow rice to soak it up. Add chicken stock one cup at a time, allowing rice to absorb it. The easy way for me to do risotto is to pour enough liquid in so it is about 1/4 inches above the rice, let it absorb, then taste it for doneness. If it is not soft, add another 1/2 to 1 cup. 
3.) Stir in shrimp (I used pre-cooked but to add a little extra flavor, sautéed them in a pan with a little olive oil and garlic first) and fold in bacon, reserving a few for garnish. Stir in parsley and serve immediately. 

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes

- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup oil
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- Vanilla Cake mix (not white cake mix)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch, lightly crushed

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Buttercream:
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder (crushed in a bag)

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with liners. 
2.) In a large bowl, gently combine eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. 
3.) Mix in sour cream.
4.) Add cake mix and cinnamon and mix until smooth. 
5.) Stir in lightly crushed cereal.
6.) Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
7.) Buttercream: Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Adjust the consistency using milk if it is too thick. 
8.) Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with cinnamon sugar and Cinnamon Toast Crunch squares. 

And then after all that decadent food, I was in serious need of a Detox Smoothie! When it comes to food,  I have the same taste as a kindergartner. So if I like this smoothie, Im pretty sure anybody would! Just take 1 pear diced up, 1 banana, 1 1/2 cups orange juice, and 3 big handfuls of Kale (hence the green color). I learned about kale from a few of my friends in the Nutrition school. It has sooo many health benefits PLUS, when blended in a smoothie, you cant taste it at all! I had heard of these Skinny Cow Truffle bars in Self magazine as one of the healthiest desserts if your craving something chocolatley and sweet. I loved it! It tasted just like a fudge bar! Perfect for late night cravings.    


  1. love the blog! it's so fresh!!