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My daily adventures in the kitchen, as I search for the most delicious and delectable dishes. Today is Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Mini Practice Cakes!


May27

I know I haven't updated with any new recipes or yummies in a while, but I just graduated!! I also got a great new computer, thanks to my wondeful parents for graduation!! So I've been trying to transfer everything from the old computer to this new one!! And on top of that, I'm moving back home to start my new job so everything is in boxes which makes it hard to bake or cook because there is no room in the kitchen...oops! But I've been doing some baking and making miniture cakes to practice on because I'd really like to start using my passion for cooking and baking to start a small business on the side! So I figured I should start practicing my skills and what I plan on selling. So these cakes are cool in theory, but still need a lot of work. As you can see the bottoms are pretty messy and I lack many of the tools needed to make some great cakes. But baking and decorating tools are soo damn expensive!! Honestly, I just graduated college, do you think I have any money?! No! But luckily I am starting my new job soon and will be earning an income! Finally! I'll also have a much more spacious kitchen to work with when I move home, I am very excited!

Here is the other mini cake:

I used whipped meringue frosting for the designs on both cakes, but the tip I used was too big. I just went and bought a #2 wilton decorating tip so I can try this again. I'm also taking the Wilton decorating classes next month! I'll keep you guys updated with lots of photos!

Both of these cakes are covered in homemade white fondant and I used Ina Garten's Chocolate Cake with a raspberry buttercream filling.  It was soo yummy! I also just purchased the book Cake Art by The Culinary Institute of America and it has a ton of great ideas and tutorials for cake decorating, so I'll be very busy the next couple weeks with my new job, cake decorating classes and overall adjusting to my new life as a real life grown up!!


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Caramelized Onions & Sweet Red Onion Pasta


May19

This was a GREAT recipe! And healthy too! With all fresh ingredients and very low fat. Even better! It was super yummy and tasted like something you'd order at a restaurant. Except restaurant food is usually covered in oil and fat, but surprise! This stuff is healthy, yummy and gourmet! It's probably kind of hard to find Sweet Red Onion Pasta.  My Mom and I went to the farmer's market in Davenport for the first time this weekend and it was great, so much good stuff! We also got a ton of herbs to plant in the kitchen and the garden.  And found some great wine that I just may have to go back and get next time I'm there. But the pasta is from Pappardelle's and produced fresh in Denver. They had all different kinds of flavors like Garlic Basil, Lemon Garlic, and I don't even remember the other ones but there was over 20 different flavors and each one came with a recipe!

Here is the recipe for the Sweet Red Onion Pasta

1 lb. Pappardelle's Sweet Red Onion Pasta

2 tablesppons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 large onions, halved, thinly sliced

3 red bell pepperes, roasted, peeled and chopped

1 cup water or broth (veggie or chicken)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1) Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and saute until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add roasted peppers. Saute 5 minutes.

2) Add water/broth, vinegar, and fennel seeds. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce reduces slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

3) Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain. Return to pot. Add sauce and toss to coat. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Serves 4-6.

I actually only used 1 onion because that's all I had but it definitely could have used more, you can really load up this pasta. I also forgot to roast and peel the peppers....ohhh well. The fennel seeds added a great taste and a little kick too!

Now I'm off to practice more cake and cupcake decorating, even though I'm broke :(

Why does cake decorating supplies have to be sooooo expensive???


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Caramel is Easy?!


May14

I have been putting off caramel making because I thought it would be really hard! Somehow I got the impression that making homemade caramel is something only for the pros....but I was wrong! I can across a great tutuorial on the simplicity of caramel making on BakedBree's blog, and I was inspired to try it.  Surprise, its not scary!  I even wore long sleeves and covered my hands because of the horrors I had heard when the caramel seizes and sputters...but nope, not even a spash!

Just a few tips:

Have everything out and ready because the caramel can change quickly.

Do NOT stir the water and sugar, otherwise it will form a mess of crystals on the side of your pan.

Wear long sleeves...just in case :)

Use a wire whisk, the silicone ones are too flimsy.

Here is what you'll need:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup water

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pour the sugar into the pan and cover with water. Cook over medium heat but do not stir.

It will start to bubble quickly, but it stayed at this stage for a good 10 minutes.

When it begins this stage, keep a close eye on it. Don't walk away.

At this point, when it turns a dark amber color add the heavy cream.  If you happen to have a candy thermometer, it should read 350 when you add the cream. When you add the cream it will bubble like crazy and seize a little bit, just keep whisking and it will all come together. Add the vanilla off the heat.

And just like magic...you have caramel! It will stiffen up as it comes to room temperature so pour it in a container and put it in the fridge to set. And believe it or not, it didn't ruin my pan or cause a big mess to clean up!

As for the taste....wow. I will never buy caramel from a jar again. This stuff is so good, amazingly good....dangerously good. Every time I walk by the fridge I take a least a couple finger fulls of it. And its great on top of some ice cream, a buttery pound cake, brownies...or what have you! The possibilities are endless!  


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A weekend full of cake and good memories!!


May11

I seriously spent about 3 and 1/2 days in the kitchen this past weekend, baking and decorating....plus making my own meals!! Erica's (my bestie) baby shower was this weekend and I made the cake for her and lil Teagan. It was so much fun and it was great to see everybody, its hard to get all of us in one place like that! All of the baby stuff was freaking adorable...he is going to be one cute baby!!

The cake I made was a vanilla pound cake with strawberry buttercream and a combination of homemade and storebought fondant.  The homemade fondant turned out really well except that it was slightly dry, but I made another batch later and it was perfect.  I also should have thickened the buttercream more before icing the cake because it was a little to slippery and made it hard to work with...oh well...it still tasted AMAZING! Here is a picture....I'm no pro as you can see...but I'm improving from my other fondant adventures!

We all enjoyed it and there was more than enough to go around, so I think the cake was an overall success! :)

That night I was back in the kitchen...after a good glass of wine of course (I definitely needed it!) to bake the cake for my mom for Mother's Day. This time I made Ina Garten's chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and homemade fondant.  That chocolate cake is aaamazing! Probably the best anyone will ever create...ever. I'm serious. Try it. It's moist and chocolately and oh. so. perfect.

As you can see...my handwriting kind of sucks lol but I'll just have to practice there as well and definitely build up my cake decorating supplies because as of right now I don't even have a rolling pin or sifter...I use a glass cup for a rolling pin. Yes, I'm ghetto. However, I must say I'm pretty proud of my fondant flowers and they were easier than I thought!  Next time I'll post a quick tutorial on how to make them. But it was great to see my family and spend some time with them for Mother's Day!

But until then I have a test to study for...or procrastinate for...either way I think I'll have a glass of wine :)

Also....meet Noah the cutest little puppy and the newest edition to the Sellers' family!


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The Run for the Roses! and college life is almost over :(


May05

This is going to be a really long post so I'm sorry!

As most of you know, the 136th annual Kentucky Derby was this past Saturday and being a horse fanatic, it's something I look forward to watching every year! This year I even tried betting, but good thing I didn't because I definitely would have lost (wouldn't have been the first time though)! It was an extremely rainy day for the most exciting 2 minutes in sports which made the track really muddy. Even still, Super Saver and Calvin Borel won in 2 minutes 2.4 seconds! This is the 3rd win in 4 years for Borel, if he's not the best jockey, then I don't know who is! Super Saver's trainer, Todd Pletcher also received his first Kentucky Derby win out of 24 tries! So congrats to him as well! Hopefully this year we'll see a triple crown winner with Super Saver, the last time a horse has won the triple crown was in 1978 with Affirmed, so I want in a winner in at least my life time!! For you non horsey people, the Triple Crown consists of 3 Thoroughbred races exclusive to 3 year old horses: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont.  All are difficult races with some of the best races horses in the world and they're timed very close together, especially considering the length of each race.  The last jewel, the Belmont is the longest race in the United States. So it is quite the feat for one horse and rider combination to win all 3 races, but hopefully 2010 is the year!

So in true Kentucky Derby fashion I decided to make the signature dish, no....not the mint juleps (gross! I hate mint!) but Hot Brown.  It has a rather unusual name and to be honest, the dish is somewhat unusual too but it ended up being really good! I ended up combining 2 recipes to make the dish simple, but still good so I used allrecipes.com and Bobby Flay's recipe.  Here is what I did:

Hot Brown

1-2 lbs sliced roasted turkey

1 tomato slicced

salt and pepper to taste

8 slices thick white bread

16 oz. crispy bacon

grated parmesan and chedder cheese

For the Sauce:

2 tablespooons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2.5 cups whole milk

2 cups grated sharp white chedder (if you can't find white chedder then mild chedder is fine)

1/2 cup grated parmesan

pitch of nutmeg

Directions for the sauce:

Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and the flour has cooked out, about 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in cheese and cook until the cheese has melted. Season with nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste.

For the egg bread:

4 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

salt

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions for the egg bread:

Whisk together the eggs, milk and salt in a medium bowl. Dip each slice of bread in the mixture and let sit about 30 seconds, or until completely soaked through.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook 4 slices of the bread at a time until golden brown on both sides. Remove and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bread.

Directions for assembly:

Preheat broiler. Place the egg bread on a baking sheet, place under the broiler and heat on both sides for 20 seconds just to warm through.

Top each slice of bread with 2 to 3 slices of turkey and 2 slices of tomato, ladle sauce over the top and divide the cheddar cheese and Parmesan over the top of each slice. Place under the broiler and cook until bubbly and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven, top each slice with 2 slices of bacon and sprinkle each slice with chives and parsley.

 

It ended up being really good and creamy! Also very filling, it would be a perfect dish for brunch! Even though the end result isn't that photogenic or pretty, it still tastes good...trust me!

 

And then today I decided to make some fruit pizza (I told you its going to be a long post)!


O-M-G yum! It was so good! Even Ben and his roomie liked it, and Ben is so picky its hard to remember he's a man! It was really nice to get back to baking something yummy because school has been so hectic and busy that I've either been too tired or too busy to bake, much less take pictures and post it on my blog! But school is almost over already, I can't believe how fast this year has gone! And especially the past 4 years, I don't know where the time has gone! It is kind of a bittersweet feeling. I'm glad to be done with homework, tests and projects but I'm really going to miss my friends and all of the great memories we have made together :( The best times of my life have occurred at good ole Loras College and it's been the most amazing four years of my life.  It's kind of sad that we're all growing up, getting jobs, getting houses, getting married, having babies. When did this all happen??? Can't I just go back to having recess and nap time??? But still, it will be nice to get my life started and start making money for a change! Other than my friends the thing I'm going to miss about college the most is how laid back things can get...right now I only have 1 class most days and other than that I can basically choose my schedule...can't complain about that!

But anyways, doing a little bit of baking today really helped on the stress relief spectrum of things but I wanted to get out of the norm of chocolate chip cookies and brownies that I usually make so I thought this would be a great and yummy idea! The recipe was so easy too, and so much better than store bought fruit pizza! I feel like the stuff from the store tastes really chemically and cheap. (no offense Hy-Vee!)

But here's the recipe:

Fruit Pizza

1 package store bought sugar cookie dough (or you could use home made, if you're feeling really ambitious)

Variety of fruit for the topping

Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe at the bottom)

Directions: Spread the cookie dough in a pan of your choice, I used a tart pan with a removeable bottom because it would be easiest but you can really use anything you want.  Also, you can either spread it outwards from the middle in the pan or roll the dough on a floured surface and transfer it to the pan (I just spread it in the pan).  Bake according to package instructions. While baking make the cream cheese frosting to spread on top of the dough (recipe follows). 


Also prepare the fruit that you wish to use as a topping.  If you visit foodgawker.com and search for fruit pizza, there are some great suggestions for topping and designs that are a lot more creative (and fruity) than mine.


Let the sugar cookie crust cool completely before frosting, then frost evenly and arrange the fruit topping!

Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz. package cream cheese

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners sugar

Whip the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2-4 mintues.  Add vanilla extract and mix again.  Then gradually sift in confectioners sugar, or add 1/2 cup at a time until incorporated. 

And the finished result is sooo yummy! And so easy, why not try it???


 


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Yummm....Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade


Apr30

So here I go with more strawberries! I normally don't like lemonade very much, it's either too tart or too sweet for my taste but I found a great recipe where you can adjust the sweetness. And I just love the freckled strawberry lemonade at Red Robin (if you haven't tried it, you should!) so I thought I'd try my hand at it. Plus, Benjamen was doing his physical and written test for becoming a police officer that morning so I thought it would be a refreshing treat when he came home. Awww, I am such a good girlfriend!! It it so easy to make too, I've already made another batch and each time it's been gone in a matter of hours...its THAT good! The hardest part is squeezing the lemons so if you have a juicer or something to help on that aspect it would be very helpful, or I'm sure you could substitute store bought lemon juice also. Here is the recipe, I told you it was easy!

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade

4-6 lemons, enough to equal 1 cup of lemon juice

1-1 1/2 c. simple syrup  (recipe follows)

16 oz. container of strawberries, cleaned and hulled

1 quart sparkling water

Juice the lemons to get 1 cup of lemon juice.  Blend the strawberries and 1/2 c. of the simple syrup in a blender or with an immersion blender, until smooth.   Strain to remove the seeds. (I didn't strain the seeds because I didn't have anything that small! It still tasted just fine!)  Pour lemon juice, strawberry puree, 1/2 c. simple syrup, and sparkling water into a pitcher.  Add more simple syrup if needed to achieve the sweetness you like.  Add ice and chill.

Simple Syrup

1 part sugar to 1 part water

I used 3/4 cup sugar to 3/4 cup warm water. This can be done on a stovetop but it is much easier to just use warm water.

Of course I added all of the syrup because I like things sweet, but it wasn't too sweet at all, the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness! The sparkling water also gives it a little extra bite. Either way it was aaaamazing!!

P.S.-I graduate in 3 weeks and I got a J-O-B!!!! : )

Also, check out Sugar High where my Chocolate Ganache Tart with Strawberries was featured! http://blog.onsugar.com/Molly-Ringwald-Gets-Pretty-Back-Great-Spring-Recipes-8274211

 


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Sooo it's been awhile....but its finally spring time!!


Apr23

So I know it's been FOREVER since I've updated or added any new recipes but I have good reason! First of all I had spring break and my family and I went down to Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, MO. It was so warm down there and I got to lay out all day long...which meant I also got a pretty nasty sunburn :( but we had a lot of fun and it was a beautiful time of year to go. The trees were just starting to bud and the flowers were blooming!

As you can see, it was beautiful! My mom and I got a ton of great pictures of all the flowers, I only wish I could garden like that someday! I also got my own very first cookbook...courtesy of Mom and Dad (thanks guys!) so now I have an overload of recipes to try and blog about!

The next week I went down to Florida with Benjamen and one of our buddies to my best friends wedding! So I got a two week spring break, how luck am I??? The only bad part was driving down but Ben was nice enough to take the brunt of driving and we stopped in Georgia to see his brother where we took a good nap. The wedding was BEAUTIFUL and it was wonderful to see my friends again so soon (my other bestie got married in January!). Even Ben had a good time....here is a recap of his events: first and foremost, all of the people at the gay bar/drag show thought he was "too pretty to be straight" and then he did quite the little shindig dance with Sarah's 85 y/o grandmother, THEN he caught the garter at the wedding so therefore he HAD to do a striptease to the bride's new sister-in-law. Needless to say, I was slightly mortified to be claiming him by the end of the trip.  Oh Benjamen, what shall we do with you?

To top it all off, I got horrible food poisoning on the drive back from Florida. NEVER EVER order 50 chicken nuggets for $10.99 at McDonalds. Man vs. Food only applies to food that hasn't been severely processed and ripped of all it's nutritional value...right boys???

But I survived, as did the boys and we entered into hell week at school where it was not only make up work but presentation after presentation, paper after paper and test after test. But the good news is, that is over now too! : ) And now I can not only get back to cooking and baking but also to blogging! yay!

I have been itching to make some sort of dessert with strawberries in it. It is strawberry season afterall! I've also been looking to get away from the usual cookies and brownies and bars that I usually bake. I decided that a Chocolate Ganache Tart with Strawberries would do the trick. It was super easy to make too. And perfect for spring time!

Here is the recipe...I told you it was easy! And the sweet tart dough crust is really good too!

1 Sweet Tart Dough (adapted from Fanny Farmer-recipe below)
8 oz good dark chocolate
8 oz Heavy Cream
2 baskets fresh strawberries, rinsed, stem end cut flat

Once the tart shell is cooked and cooled, heat the cream in a heavy bottomed pot, just until it gets very hot; do not boil. Put the chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Whisk until all the chocolate is melted. Yield is approximately 2 cups.

Pour the chocolate into the baked tart shell and chill in the refrigerator for about 1/2 an hour until it is almost firm. Place the strawberries across the top of the tart. Cover with glaze if you want, especially if you are making a day in advance. I did not use glaze because I knew we’d be eating it within a few hours. The glaze keeps the fruit looking fresh and moist and keeps it from drying out in the refrigerator. An easy glaze can be made out of melted and strained apricot jam.

Sweet Tart Dough -baked shell
(adapted from the The Fannie Farmer Baking Book -large enough for a 10″ tart pan with removeable bottom)

1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp Sugar
12 Tbsp Butter (1 1/2 sticks, cut into 1″ pieces)
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp cold water
1/4 tsp. salt (only use if you are using unsalted butter)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Directions for making in food processor.
Fit bowl with metal blade. Add flour, sugar and butter to bowl (add salt if butter is unsalted). Put on the lid and process in short bursts, about 10 times to break up the butter into the flour. Mix the egg yolk and water in a small bowl and with the processor on, pour the egg/water mix through the tube in the lid into the bowl. Keep mixing until the dough forms into a ball inside the bowl. Remove and form into a small cake.

If you don’t have a food processor and want to make it by hand, that works too. Just follow the same steps you would for pie dough; cut the butter into the flour and sugar, working it through by hand until it becomes like coarse meal or breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg/water mixture with a fork until it’s incorporated and the dough comes together in a soft ball.

At this point you can press the dough into the tart pan, or do what I did which is roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Once it was rolled out, I put it in the pan and pressed the dough into the edges, pulling off any excess.
Because the filling for this recipe is not cooked in the tart shell, the crust needs to be fully baked by itself. To keep the center of the crust from puffing up and cracking during baking, you’ll want to weigh it down.

Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork and put the paper on top.
Weigh down with pie weights or beans.
Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges of the crust begin to color. Remove from oven, and carefully remove the paper and beans. Put the tart back in the oven and bake until crisp and golden, about another 8 minutes. Remove and let cool. Fill.

If you can't tell by the pictures...this tart is extremely yummy!! And the strawberries add some nutritional value....right? ;)


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Carb and Sugar Overload!!!


Mar27

Last weekend I went home to try to make some money before Benjamen's birthday so I could buy him some gifts and while I was home I wanted to take advantage of the well stocked and spacious kitchen that my mom has to make a yummy dinner for the fam.  I had this great idea to make it an Italian food night so I found this recipe for Tuscany Garlic Chicken...similar to the entree at Olive Garden.  It had this wonderful creamy white wine sauce with red peppers and sauted spinach...mmmm...with Italian Herb encrusted chicken. That just sounds like Italian heaven. Not to mention the Herb and Parmesan Bread Knots with it....can you say carbohydrates?? Then for dessert we had a big ball of cheesecake that you could dip cookies in, in this case...Ladyfingers..an Italian cookie. Here are the visuals

Creamy, artery clogging, parmesan cheesy goodness.

MMMM...buttery

The cheesecake ball was clearly the best dish of the evening. At first, I was a little skeptical about how much the ball would taste like cheesecake because the consistency was a little too ooey gooey for cheesecake but it ended up being perfect and the ooey gooeyness was good for dipping cookies. 

However, the pasta sauce was a little too bland for my taste, it needed some more kick and flavor which is a a little disappointing. Ah well, I guess thats how you learn as an amauter cook! :)

Here are the recipes, pretty simple really!

Bread Knots

  • 1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits ( I used Pillsbury Golden Layers Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  1. Roll each biscuit into a 12-in. rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under. Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; brush the warm knots with the mixture.

 

Tuscany Chicken Pasta

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cups flour, plus 1 tbsp.
1 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
5 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 lb fettuccine pasta, cooked according to package directions
5 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
1 red pepper,  chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 lb whole leaf spinach, stemmed
2 cups heavy cream
1 cups Parmesan cheese, grated

1. In a shallow dish, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.
2. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large skillet. Cook chicken breasts 2 at a time over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp. Add more oil for each batch as necessary.
3. Place cooked chicken breasts on a baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until done.
4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a sauce pan. Add garlic and red pepper and cook for approximately 1 minute. Stir in 1 Tbsp flour, wine, spinach and cream and bring to a boil. Sauce is done when spinach becomes wilted. Complete by stirring in parmesan cheese.
5. Coat cooked, drained pasta with sauce, then top with chicken and remaining sauce. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese.

Cheesecake Ball

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened (not too soft)
1/2 cup butter, softened or 1/2 peanut butter (not all natural)
1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or other flavor of your choice
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, (whatever you want) for the outside of the ball

1) In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter/peanut butter until smooth. Mix in confectioner’s sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if you're using them. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until firm.

2) Scoop cream cheese onto a big piece of plastic wrap and using the wrap, shape into a ball. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight. If it's really soft, pop it into the freezer for a half an hour. Right before you're ready to serve, cover (or roll) the ball with mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts (or whatever you want).

 


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Healthy Avacado Salsa Sandwich


Mar19

 

I had been wondering all morning what I should make for lunch/dinner, since it's lent there's no eating meat on Friday!! What I came up with is an ooey gooey, yummy...but healthy sandwich! I had been dying to use the avacado in the fridge for a while now and it was going to go bad if I didn't use it for something and Ben got some salsa at the store last night...so the wheels starting turning and low and behold...the Salsa Avacado Sandwich! Here's a rough estimate of the recipe and ingredients I used

*1/2-1/4 ripe Avacado

*1/8-1/4 cup Organic Muir Glen Medium Salsa

*1 ounce Pepperjack cheese

*1/2 tablespoon honey mustard

*2 slices toasted Ezekiel bread

*Salt and pepper to taste

Throw it all together and you get a wonderfully yummy and healthy sandwich for lent, or any other time of the year for that matter!!

TGIF!!

 


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King Arthur's Fudge Brownies


Mar18

So here I am...starting this crazy food diary.  Between the classes, the homework, the internship, the babies (not human babies, 2 dogs and a kitty cat), the hubby and the relentless job search I try to find the time to try new recipes and create yummy treats, especially ones that satisfy my sweet tooth.  This past week I haven't had as much time...or energy...to bake and cook as much as I would have preferred but my goal is start making more homemade meals and photographing it. Speaking of photography, there is much work to be done on that as well. I am a complete beginner in the world of photography so I try to learn from my limited experience.  Well anyways, I made some brownies today, and let me tell you...they were delicious. I had gotten the recipe from a blogger I came across on FoodGawker...one of my favorite recipe discovering websites! They were the perfect balance of chocolate and sweetness...not over the top sweet but not too bitter either. I should mention that I didn't follow the recipe exactly either. But anyways, here is the actual King Arthur Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter (i only used 1/2 cup and salted, because that is what I had on hand)

2 1/4 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa (I used regular cocoa because that I still can't find Dutch processed)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional (I did not use)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups chocolate chips (I used Hershey's Special Dark)

 

1)Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.

2)In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter then add the sugar and stir to combine.  Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot, but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

3)While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla until smooth,

4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

5)Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

6)Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.

7)Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crums clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

 

Well I didn't add the espesso powder because I didn't have any, but I think I will try it again with it because it really brings out a great chocolate flavor rather than just tasting like coffee. It would have been especially yummy if I can find some Dutch-processed cocoa. I didn't add the other 1/2 cup of butter by accident but I think it ended up making the brownies more fudgey, which is not a bad accident to make! I also ran out of regular sugar so I substituted powdered sugar and I think it worked out well also! Maybe tomorrow I'll have to make another batch and actually use the recipe as directed and see how it turns out. I'll keep you updated!


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