Home Opener Baseball Dessert: Cookies and Cream Truffles

Today is the Tribe Home Opener! I’m super excited that baseball season is back and am looking forward to walking to many games this spring and summer. Last summer, my friend Devin and I had a friendly competition going  to see who could see the most games, and though we both lost count, I’m proud to say that B and I probably hit up at least 15 games.

In honor of Opening Day, last year I shared a list of some of my favorite baseball desserts – so this year I decided to share a new one: Cookies and Cream Truffles! Just buy a red edible color marker and these can easily become baseballs for any Opening Day or Home Opener celebrations.

Indians baseball cookies and cream truffles_labeled

Baseball Home Opener Dessert: Cookies and Cream Truffles

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 (16 0z) package of regular Oreos (don’t be tempted by the double stuff ones – I hear they don’t work as well)
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, room temperature (aka nice and soft)
  • Chocolate for melting – I used vanilla candy melts but you can probably use chocolate chips as well. These would be good with vanilla or regular/dark chocolate.
Here’s what you do:
    1. Put all the Oreos in your food processor. I may have eaten a few (quality control) so all 16 oz didn’t actually go into the food processor … but you get it. Blend them well until they are very fine crumbs.
    2. Add the cream cheese, one quarter at a time, into the food processor with the crumbs. Mix well until you have a dark mushy (but delicious) blog in the food processor.   When that happens, roll the mixture into small one-inch balls.  Place the balls on parchment paper and freeze for approximately 1 hour or so, or until hardened.
    3. After the balls are hard, melt your chocolate and then dip the little balls.  I like to use a fork and tap it against the side of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate.
    4. Place the dipped balls back on the parchment paper and let cool/dry.
    5. Enjoy!

Feel free to decorate (while wet) with sprinkles or Oreo cookie crumbs. I waited until mine were dry and then drew baseball stitching in honor of the Indians Home Opener. Go Tribe!

baseball cookies and cream truffles

Decorate them as you wish – I put red baseball laces

cookies and cream truffles

 

And I dare you not to sing this while making them:

Fall Cookie Inspiration (Pumpkin, Apple, Oatmeal and more)

Yesterday was National Homemade Cookie Day! I can’t believe I missed it. I actually didn’t even have it on my radar until last night when my friend Devin messaged me, “Today is national homemade cookie day – sounds like a good opp for Melissa Bakes!”

I dropped the ball and ended up going to the Indians game instead of baking; but, here’s a belated blog post to share some cookie recipes that are perfect for fall. I promise to make at least one of these recipes this week!

Caramel Apple Bars (from Betty Crocker)

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles (from Annie’s Eats)

Peanut Butter & Fudge Oatmeal Bars (from The Kitchn)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Sandwiches (apologies for the photo -it’s from my Tumblr – I made these last year)

Caramel Apple Cookies (from Midwest Living)

Pumpkin Blondies (from Inspired By Charm) – I am so making these this week!

Pumpkin Gingersnaps (from Two Peas in their Pod)

Did you celebrate National Homemade Cookie Day? What are you excited to bake this fall?

Red, White and Blue Dessert Inspiration for Fourth of July

Next week is the Fourth of July! I can’t believe we’re already nearly halfway through summer and it’s time to celebrate Independence Day. Can you? Usually, Fourth of July means spending the evening with B’s family, BBQ and beers, and watching the fireworks over Lakewood Park. This year, however, B and I won’t even be in the country! But that doesn’t mean I can still leaf through baking magazines (or Pinterest) to still find some drollworthy recipes! Here’s a list of some of the things I’d make if I were around:

Red, White and Blue Trifle (from Betty Crocker)

Flag Cake (apologies for the photo -it’s from my Tumblr – I made it last year)

fourth of july flag cake

Red, White and Blue Cheesecake Bars (from Recipe Girl)

Patriotic Oreo Pops (from Makoodle)

Firecracker Cookies (from Cookin’ Cowgirl)

Red, White and Blue Chex Mix (from Betty Crocker)

AND

Patriotic Rice Krispies Treats! (from Lil Luna)

Do you have any fun plans for Fourth of July? What are you making?

Wordless Wednesday: Weekend Collage

I had such a great weekend – from a homemade Italian meal (thanks to Gallucci’s) Friday night, to Marine Week festivities (including checking out their live invasion of Lake Erie) and a Saturday night on the rooftop, to a Sunday Indians game with friends (thanks to Cari for the photos and Devin for taking/asking people to take them) and then Fathers’ Day celebrations.  It was so much fun, but I’m still too tired to write about it. So instead? A semi-wordless Wednesday post with a photo collage instead.

Weekend Recap – Parents, Art, Sports and A Marathon

This past weekend was the Cleveland marathon. As you may know, I was supposed to run it and my parents had planned to come in town to watch – but on Friday I learned that I would not be running. My parents still came into town and B and I showed them a great weekend and beautiful weather (for visiting not running) and more of what Cleveland has to offer.

Friday, I hobbled back into work after hearing the diagnosis from my new doctor. I was in a bad mood, as my coworkers probably could pick up on, and so I was grateful when two of them asked if I wanted to grab margaritas after work. Now if it had been two days before my race – I wouldn’t have been drinking. But two days before a race I couldn’t run? Margaritas sounded great!

margaritas from zocalo

Friday night,  my parents arrived and B and I introduced my parents to Greenhouse Tavern. Their first experience was not disappointing – they both loved their Ohio beef burgers, I enjoyed the seafood special (with local Lake Erie Walleye) and B enjoyed the lamb burger – which of course I snuck a taste of, yum! After dinner, we walked around and I showed off some of the new sights, including the new Casino. We didn’t go in, but the street was bumping!

Saturday morning we met my parents and headed over to the east side to experience the Rembrandt Exhibit. The last time I’d been in the Cleveland Art Museum was actually with my parents (last year), so I hadn’t seen this exhibit yet. It was really cool – not only was it a traditional art exhibit that showcased the artist’s work, but it also showed some works that were originally thought to be Rembrandt, but were later discovered to be either works by his fans or members of his studio. The exhibition showed how you could tell what was a real Rembrandt or not, and even showcased some work where it was yet to be determined if the works were his or not. The exhibition was also interactive- we tried out the audio tour and heard a few experts’ opinions on key pieces and played with the computer that let you digitally uncover a Rembrandt work (and see what had been done to touch up the painting through the years, so experts aren’t even sure it’s his). If I had better reception I would have been able to scan the QR codes to learn more about select paintings. If you haven’t gone yet, I definitely recommend checking it out – it’s here until May 28!

my family near the cleveland art museum rembrandt exhibit

Hanging out near the art museum

 After the art museum, we walked (I hobbled) around Wade Oval and then enjoyed lunch at Trattoria in Little Italy. I’m still eating leftovers of the spaghetti and clam sauce!

After our lunch, we headed to Progressive Field to watch an Indians game. Despite having to miss the first inning (for some reason, Will Call couldn’t find our tickets … and then they did but only found 3 of the 4 tickets … and then they still couldn’t find the 4th ticket and so on), we had purchased better-than-usual seats through the Cleveland marathon discount code and got to enjoy a fabulous game, up close. Both my parents were impressed with our affordable but still great seats (as you can imagine, being from NY, my parents are accustomed to pricier Yankees tickets) – and a great ending to the game (we won and Perez struck out three batters in a row in the last inning). Oh, and we also got up on the Jumbotron – the third time this season for B and me!

B and I at the Indians Game

After the game, B went home to relax before the race and my parents and I checked out Colossal Cupcake for dessert. We split two cupcakes – the chocolate peanut butter cup and the almond – which were delicious but slightly more expensive than I expected. Still, it’s nice to have a dessert shop open late downtown! (Dear awesome ice cream shop, like Yogurt Vi or East Coast Custard Truck– please come downtown soon! Thanks, signed Melissa).

Saturday night, in true pre-marathon fashion, B and I watched Saint Ralph. If you haven’t seen it and appreciate a Canadian feel-good (well, sorta) sports movie, I definitely recommend it. We watched it before we ran the Columbus half marathon and B watched it before he did the Tough Guy in England, so it was fitting that he watch it before his first marathon.

Sunday, B woke up early to head to the starting line at 6:15 a.m. I couldn’t sleep, and made it to my parents’ hotel by 7:45 to join them for breakfast and stake out our first marathon watch point-  just about the halfway point. B came by, feeling dehydrated, and at the last minute, his sister Katie (who wasn’t supposed to be running), jumped in and decided to run/walk the rest with him. A few hours later (and some sunburn later), my parents and I cheered on hundreds of other runners and saw B finish strong. I’m so proud of him for finishing the race – especially in the heat – but still disappointed that it’s not something I can cross off my bucket list. I’m so glad my parents were around – it was so great watching all the runners finish, but still was a constant reminder of the fact that I wasn’t able to compete with them all, and my parents helped to cheer me up. Anyone want to train with me for another marathon as soon as my aircast is off?

Me, B (with his Steve Prefontaine mustache) and Mary after their marathon

Hope you all had a great weekend in sunny Cleveland! Did you try something new this weekend?

Baseball Dessert Inspiration for #OpeningDay!

Today is Opening Day! While I won’t be at the game again (I was lucky to go to the Home Opener a few years ago and sit in the Social Deck), I will be dreaming of baseball and summer games – peanuts, cracker jacks, giant pretzels and beer!

To get me in the mood for baseball, I decided to bake something baseball-y. Well, I decided to, but then was tired after my 8-mile training run and went to bed. Woops! Anyway, here are some of the recipes I looked into – maybe later in the season. It’s never too late to enjoy a baseball cake pop!

Baseball Cookies and Cream Truffles (from me!)

Indians baseball cookies and cream truffles_labeled

Baseball Cake Pops (from Sweet Designs)

Baseball Cake (from Rachael Ray)

Baseball Cupcake Balls (from Kids Fun Reviewed)

Baseball Cupcakes (from Martha Stewart)

Baseball Cookies (from Fam Friends Food)

AND this amazing cake:

Baseball Glove Cake! (from Parenting)

Did you make a special treat to celebrate your Opening Day? Go Tribe!

The Cleveland Indians Have Gone Social!

Have you heard about the new Tribe Social Deck?

The Cleveland Indians are doing something really cool and, well, social. They’ve created a new social media section at Progressive Field for social media folks (bloggers, tweeters, and other nerds  cool people like myself) to have an exclusive view to the game. No longer is traditional media the only group who gets an insider’s view — now social media people can as well!

As you may know (but probably don’t because  I should have written a post about this already), I was lucky enough to be one of the first social media folks to try out the Social Deck at the Indians Home Opener. I received an email a few days before the game from the Indians’ new PR pro, Rob Campbell, that read:

“As a fellow member of the Cleveland social media community, we at the Cleveland Indians have identified you as a key player with a passion for the City of Cleveland, as well as our baseball team.  The Indians organization would like to extend to you the opportunity to attend Opening Day at Progressive Field … seated in the newly created Tribe Social Deck. The Tribe Social Deck sits atop the left field wall at Progressive Field near the base of Section 180 in the bleachers and provides not only stunning views of the action on the field, but also the opportunity to network with 9 other social media peers in your very own private section.”

I was slightly skeptical, having not heard of the Deck before, but accepted the invite to see for myself what the Social Deck was all about. Basically it’s an “invite only” section behind third base, right next to the bleachers. There are ten seats (two rows), a TV for another look at the game AND a sign that reads “social deck” right behind you, so you can feel REALLY special.

I had a great experience at the game with only one gripe — no wireless! I was able to tweet and check into foursquare (thus earning my first swarm badge!) using my Treo, but the reception was spotty and for most of the game I was unable to go online. I’ve heard that since that game, the Indians have installed electrical outlets and special WiFi for laptops/iPads/other cool things, so hopefully this should no longer be a problem.

So why am I writing about this experience (which yes, happened nearly two months ago) now? Great news — the Indians have now opened up the social deck to everyone — meaning you no longer have to wait to be contacted by them! They’re accepting applications, so if you’d like to participate you can visit this page on the Tribe website.

I definitely recommend you apply. It’s a great way to meet other social media folks in Cleveland and catch an exclusive view of the game. Plus, there’s a rumor that if it’s a fireworks game you can watch the fireworks from the dugout!

I think this is the first MLB team to try something like this – ESPN the Magazine did a short blurb about the social deck a few weeks ago, which you can see here.  (yes, that’s me in the red sweater!)

Thanks again to @tribetalk and the Indians for this invite. Kudos to what you’re doing. I hope to be back later in the summer!