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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another Blog, More Delicious Food...

HEY! I made another cooking blog! It's called Swavory Stuff (a combination of sweet and savory foods). It's REALLY cool, so you should check it out :) 
Keep using the recipes on this one though along with Swavory Stuff, because both are delicious.
NEW FOOD BLOG! Click here!  http://swavorystuff.blogspot.com/
(Don't forget to become a follower)
-And Thanks for being awesome!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pi Squared


So guess what? It was Pi Day on Monday (3/14, er 3.14?)!
And so I made PIE, of course! But in this case, we will call it Pi.
However, here is the dilemma...the pie I made is actually called a cake, a cheesecake in fact.
And cheesecake is literally a pie, so why do we call it a cake? I have no idea.
Anyway, I made a Chocolate and Vanilla Swirled Cheese Pi (or cake?) and it was too delicious for it's own good, because it disappeared in less than a day.
(Oh yeah, I also didn't have a circular pie pan, so I had to use a square-shaped one. Oh the irony.) 


Yay for menus!


And yay for Pi!


Chocolate and Vanilla Swirled Cheese Pi

  • Graham Cracker Pie Crust
  • 3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, sour cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla in large bowl on medium speed of mixer until smooth. Gradually add flour, beating just until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  3. Combine cocoa and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in medium bowl. Add oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1-1/2 cups of cream cheese mixture; stir well. Spoon plain and chocolate batters alternately over prepared crust, ending with spoonfuls of chocolate on top; gently swirl with knife for marbled effect.
  4. Bake 10 minutes. Without opening oven door, reduce oven temperature to 250°F; continue baking 30 minutes. Turn off oven; without opening oven door, leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes. 
  5. Remove from oven. Immediately loosen cheesecake from side of pan with knife; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate several hours or overnight; remove side of pan. Cover; refrigerate leftover cheesecake. 10 to 12 servings.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Popcorn (Poppy Chow)

Okay, so I have a serious weakness for chocolate and peanut butter. It is even more amplified when there is a sweet /salty combination. This just sounded too delicious to resist. It is called "Poppy Chow" not "Puppy Chow", because it is made with popcorn, of course! I love the original Chex cereal "Puppy Chow" but this one comes up pretty close in scrumptiousness. So for all you chocolate, peanut butter, and popcorn fans out there, get ready to fall in love.


Chocolate & Peanut Butter Popcorn (Poppy Chow)

Yield: About 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes

  • 9 cups plain popcorn
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
1. Put the popcorn in a very large bowl.
2. In a microwave or over a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter until melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
3. Pour the chocolate mixture all over the popcorn. Using a large spoon, stir until all of the popcorn is evenly coated with the chocolate/peanut butter mixture.
4. Sift the powdered sugar over the chocolate-covered popcorn and stir until each piece is evenly coated. Spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate is set.
5. Break it up and serve! Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Harry Potter Party

One of the foods in Harry Potter: Pumpkin Pasties. These pumpkin pastries have a sugar cookie crust and are filled with spicy pumpkin goodness.

Good morning! Look at those beautiful faces.

 Our snacks throughout the day: Cockroach Clusters, Licorice Wands, and Fudge Drops. The Cockroach Clusters were by far the favorite.

Our friend, Rob, went and bought a Harry Potter poster--Lego style! It was legit.

Look what's for lunch...one of Ron Weasley's favorites: Bacon Sandwiches (aka) BLTs. And some delicious baked french fries to finish off the meal.

One of the most tasty drinks: Butterbeer. Wow, that's all I have to say about this one.

A classic English dish: Shepherd's Pie. I really liked this dish. Rosemary and Parsley flavored well with the beef, and the garlic mashed potatoes. Hmmm :)

And don't forget about the Pumpkin Juice. I loved this, a lot.


Well if you haven't guessed, I made a bunch of food for a Harry Potter Party.  A group of us got together for a Harry Potter movie marathon.  Lots of good food and hours upon hours of movies.  Yeah, it was epic.


Pumpkin Pasties
  • 16 oz pre-made Pillsbury sugar cookie dough
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cut sugar cookie dough into 12 separate pieces; press into the bottom of muffin tin, spreading as thinly as possible without leaving holes.
  3. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in milk.
  4. Add 1 Tablespoon of pumpkin mixture into each cup.
  5. Bake for 17-22 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Cool and Serve.

Cockroach Clusters
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups thin pretzel sticks, broken into 1-inch pieces (or crushed pretzels)
Directions
  1. Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted.
  2. Remove from microwave and stir in raisins and pretzels.
  3. Drop by tablespoons onto waxed paper.
  4. Let stand until firm.

Licorice Wands
  • 6 ounces white chocolate
  • 24 licorice twists (any flavor)
  • sprinkles
Directions
  1. Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted.
  2. Remove from microwave. Dip ends of licorice twists into chocolate and place on wax paper. Top off each one with colorful sprinkles.
  3. Let stand until firm. Serve in a tall glass.
Fudge Drops
  • 12 ounces any flavor chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • dash of salt
  • handful of sugar
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • powdered sugar
Directions
  1. In microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips. 
  2. Stir in butter and cream. Mix in salt and sugar.
  3. Return bowl to microwave and heat for about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in oats. Form fudge into 1-inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar.
  5. Cool on waxed paper.


Bacon Sandwiches (aka) BLTs
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 leaves lettuce
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 2 slices bread, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Directions

  1. Cook the bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Arrange the cooked bacon, lettuce, and tomato slices on one slice of bread. Spread one side of remaining bread slice with the mayonnaise. Bring the two pieces together to make a sandwich.
Baked French Fries
Click here for the recipe...
Butter Beer
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (whipping cream), divided
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 4-12 oz Cream sodas
Directions 
  1. Combine the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 whipping cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature. (Note: Can put it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling.)
  3. Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of whipping cream. Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass). Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each.


Shepherd's Pie
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound groundbeef
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (any fat content)
  • Garlic salt to taste + garlic powder
  • Parmesan Cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil, then add the onion, carrot, and meat. Cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the fat and add the broth, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes, then add the peas.
  4. Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish; set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain.
  6. Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk, garlic salt and garlic powder.
  7. Spread them over the meat mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.



Pumpkin Juice
  • 1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
  • 2 quarts apple juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Directions
  1. In a saucepan, combine 2 cups apple juice with sugar and spices. Bring to a boil.
  2. Allow this mixture to cool. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. In a blender, mix together the pumpkin with the sugar mixture, incorporating the remaining apple juice.  (This will have to be done in 2 batches)
  4. In a large pitcher, stir all the batches together.
  5. Serve chilled.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

for the LOVE of food...

Valentine's Day with the roomies :)

Stuffed Chicken Valentino, Penne Alfredo, Parmesan Crusted Asparagus

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake


Valentine's Day. The day hated by singles, the day of chocolates and flowers, the day of giggly girls and blushing boys. For years, I have hated this day. But this year was wonderful because I got to make a romantic dinner for my roommates. I made Stuffed Chicken Valentino, Penne Alfredo, Parmesan Crusted Asparagus, and Chocolate Molten Lava Cake for dessert. I had a blast and the food was delicious, according to my roommates.



Stuffed Chicken Valentino
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers and onions (see below)
  • 4 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slice a chicken breast in half lengthwise, leaving the halves attached on one side: opened and laid flat, the chicken breast should resemble a butterfly. Place between two sheets of plastic wrap, and pound flat. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
  2. Combine Parmesan cheese and cream cheese with Italian seasoning and spread over chicken breasts. At one end of each breast, place 3 strips of roasted pepper. Top with 1 tablespoon shredded Mozzarella cheese. Roll each breast up, starting on the side with the peppers and cheese. Insert a toothpick in each roll to prevent unrolling. Place in an oiled baking dish. Season rolls with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Set oven to broil, and continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, slice to display the colorful filling, and serve.
  4. *For the roasted peppers and onions: Cut 1/2 red pepper into slices. Cut 1/2 onion into slices. On a baking dish, drizzle pepper and onions slices with olive oil and garlic. Roast for about 30 minutes at 425 degrees, until soft.


Penne Alfredo
  • 16 ounces dry penne pasta
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 dash powdered garlic, or garlic salt
  • 1 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter into cream over low heat. Stir in cheese over medium heat until melted; this will thicken the sauce. Add salt, pepper, and garlic to taste.
  3. Serve immediately with warm pasta.


Parmesan Crusted Asparagus
  • 1 pound thin asparagus spears
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, or to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Place asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus spears in a single layer. Spread Parmesan cheese over asparagus, and season with freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and asparagus is tender but crisp. Serve immediately on warm plates, sprinkling with balsamic vinegar to taste. 


Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, or bars, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • 8 extra-large paper muffin cups (or use regular paper muffin cups, which will make 12 cakes)
Garnish:
  • 1 cup raspberries or sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Melt butter and chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; remove from heat. Beat eggs, sugar and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat egg mixture into chocolate until smooth. Beat in flour until just combined. (Batter can be made a day ahead; return to room temperature an hour or so before baking.)
  2. Before serving dinner, adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard-size muffin tin (1/2 cup capacity) with 8 extra-large muffin papers (papers should extend above cups to facilitate removal). Spray muffin papers with vegetable cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups.
  3. Bake until batter puffs but center is not set, 8 to 10 minutes (it is very important that batter is not cooked all the way through). Carefully lift cakes from tin and set on a work surface. Pull papers away from cakes and transfer cakes to dessert plates.
  4. Top each with strawberries or raspberries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Man-Catching" Beignets


Beignets are pastries made from fried dough and sprinkled with powdered sugar. The word beignet actually means "fried dough" in French. They are popular in New Orleans. The other day, my roommate and I were talking about the Disney movie: The Princess and the Frog. In that movie, the main character, Tiana, makes beignets (or "man-catching beignets" as she says). We thought they looked delicious (even for being a cartoon).  I decided to give them a try. They were super yummy, and let me tell you, they were definite "man-catching beignets" because we could not keep those boys out of our kitchen. I have never seen food go so quickly!


"Man-Catching" Beignets
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions
   1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the butter, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
   2. Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Let it rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fry in 360 degree F (180 degrees C) hot oil. If beignets do not pop up, oil is not hot enough. Drain onto paper towels.
   3. Shake confectioners' sugar on hot beignets. Serve warm. *You can also add cinnamon to the powdered sugar...yum :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

INDIAN FOOD!

South Indian Curry, Coconut Cilantro Rice, Naan Bread

Naan Bread: puffed and delicious

Dinner Group. I was really hot and sweaty from cooking :)


I LOVE INDIAN FOOD! So much. It is just one of those things that brings a smile to your face. Warm, comforting, mouthwatering. I made a meal for my dinner group. I cooked up South Indian Vegetable Curry, Coconut Cilantro Rice, and Naan Bread.  They really liked it, and so did my roommates :)



South Indian Vegetable Curry

1 large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 (2-inch-long 1-inch-diameter) piece peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 serrano chile, seeded, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice + 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
1 pound sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 yellow squash, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 can coconut milk (15 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions
Puree first 8 ingredients in processor until paste forms. Cook in large pot over medium heat until aromatic, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste. Cook until mixture starts to darken and brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes longer. Add broth, brown sugar, and lime. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring often and scraping up browned bits. (This can be made 2 days ahead.) Cool, cover, and chill. Bring to simmer before continuing. Add sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mixture in pot. Stir in coconut milk. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Stir in yellow squash and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer curry to bowl. Garnish with cilantro and serve.



Coconut Cilantro Rice

3 cups basmati rice
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeño including seeds (from 1 chile)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed fresh cilantro sprigs
4 scallions, chopped (1 cup)

Directions
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Wash rice in several changes of cold water in a bowl until water is almost clear. Spread coconut in a shallow baking pan and toast in oven, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Cool completely. Cook ginger and jalapeño in 1 tablespoon oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until chile is softened, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in water, coconut milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. While rice cooks, pulse together coconut, cilantro, scallions, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until finely chopped. Add cilantro mixture to cooked rice and stir gently until combined well.



Naan Bread

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted
garlic salt

Directions
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume. Punch down dough. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.
You can also cook bread in the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.  Place dough on a cookie sheet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Brushed uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from oven.
*Note: Naan bread does not necessarily have to puff up while cooking.
Before serving, brush warm bread with butter seasoned with garlic salt.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Granola Madness!

Sarah's Super Granola

Peanut Butter Granola

Okay, so I know that I just barely posted a granola recipe, but I love this stuff. It's healthy and so scrumptious. (Plus I am having a blast inventing new recipes.) So far, these granolas have been a hit with family and friends. My friend Tennyson really liked the Peanut Butter one, so I am posting that recipe for him. But Leah's favorite is the Fruit and Nut one (which I like to call Sarah's Super Granola). I add in coconut oil, which gives it a wonderful sweet flavor. Whichever you choose, both are pretty amazing.


Sarah's Super Granola
8 cups rolled oats
1 cup oat bran
1/2 cup flax seed
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup shredded coconut

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray two large baking sheets with oil. Combine the oats, oat bran, flax, almonds, pecans, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir together the salt, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a medium sized bowl. Warm in the microwave for about 45 seconds, or until mixture is starting to bubble. (This can also be done on the stove.) Make sure mixture is smooth. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets. Bake in the oven until crispy and toasted, about 30-40 minutes. Make sure you stir the granola every 10 minutes (this is very important). Cool. Stir in the raisins, cranberries, and shredded coconut.



Peanut Butter Granola
4 cups rolled oats (or 2 cups oats with 2 cups rice crispies)
1/2 cup flax seed
1/2 cup peanuts (optional)
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup peanut butter (I like using crunchy)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray one large baking sheet with oil. Combine the oats, flax, and peanuts in a large bowl. Stir together the maple syrup, peanut butter, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. Warm this mixture in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Make sure mixture is smooth. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir to coat. Spread out the granola on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes (or so), stirring every 10 minutes. Cool. Stir in the raisins.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mini Cheesecakes

Cherry Garcia Mini Cheesecakes

Peanut Butter Mini Cheesecakes


For the past couple weeks, Leah and I have been catering for weddings. For the last one, one of the desserts we made was mini cheesecakes. These were a big hit. Plus they were scrumdiddlyumptious. You just can't go wrong with cheesecake.


Cherry Garcia Mini Cheesecakes
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
  • 1 package vanilla wafers, for crust
  • (or) coconut-flavored cookies mixed with melted butter (I recommend this crust because the nutty flavor pairs deliciously with the cherry and chocolate.)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line miniature muffin tins with mini paper liners. Crush the vanilla wafers (or coconut cookies with butter) into each paper cup. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in the maraschino cherries. (You can also add red food coloring to make the cheesecakes more appealing.) Fill each mini muffin liner with this mixture, almost to the top. Bake for about 15 minutes. Cool. Top each with a dollop of whipped cream. (We mixed cool whip with cream cheese, and added about 1 cup of powdered sugar.) Drizzle each with dark chocolate.



Peanut Butter Mini Cheesecakes
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • a splash of milk, as needed
  • 1 package vanilla wafers, for crust

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line miniature muffin tins with mini paper liners. Crush the vanilla wafers into each paper cup. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in the peanut butter. Mix in the milk. Fill each mini muffin liner with this mixture, almost to the top. Bake for about 15 minutes. Cool. Top each with milk-chocolate and sprinkle with crushed toffee (we used Almond Roca).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Poached Egg Salad with Sweet Chipotle Dressing


If you don't know, I am in love with poached eggs. The first time I ate a poached egg was at a joint called Blue Plate Diner in Salt Lake City, UT (highly recommended). I ordered the eggs benedict. It was love at first bite. Since then, I have thinking of ways to incorporate poached eggs into dishes. Well I am a salad connoisseur, so I decided to put a poached egg on my salad. It was amazing! The Sweet Chipotle Dressing makes is a great companion to this lovely salad.


Poached Egg Salad

  • a bed of greens (romaine is recommended)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup beans (any type), seasoned with cinnamon, cumin, garlic
  • 1/2 cup corn, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 poached egg
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions
Lay all ingredients on the chopped lettuce, in a pattern. (I like this because it lets me pick and choose which toppings I eat. I know, I am a weirdo.) Place poached egg in the middle. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle salad with balsamic vinegar. Top with Sweet Chipotle Dressing (see below).
*Never poached an egg before? No worries, click here to see how: It's Egg Poaching Time!
**Tip: Rather than free-handing it, simply oil a canning jar lid and poach your egg in there (in simmering water of course), or just buy an egg poacher.


Sweet Chipotle Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2/3 cup vinegar (rice wine, white, or balsamic)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (seeds removed)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions
Combine all ingredients (except olive oil) in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. While blade is running, pour olive oil in a small stream into mixture. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Maple Nut Granola

The other night, my dad was talking about how he didn't have much to eat in the morning besides packaged cereal. He said he wanted something healthy and asked me if I would make granola. So I came up with this granola. There is no processed sugar or even honey in it, just pure maple. I got kudos for it from Leah and dad, so that's a sign that it must be pretty darn delicious :)

Maple Nut Granola 
6 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup chopped pecans (you can use any type of nut)

1/2 cup hulled sunflower seeds

1 teaspoon fine ground sea salt (use a tad less if using iodized salt)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegetable oil+3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl, stir together oats, nuts, sunflower seeds, salt, vanilla, oil, applesauce, spices, and maple syrup. Spread mixture evenly in 2 large shallow baking pans (1 inch deep) and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, stirring and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes total. Cool granola completely in pans on racks, then stir in dried fruit.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Black Bean Salsa

This salsa is wonderful. It is full of black beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. It is also really versatile, you can adjust the spices according to your taste. I made some homemade baked tortilla chips to go with it. Delish!

Black Bean Salsa
3 (15 ounce) cans black beans
16 ounce package frozen corn, thawed
2-3 large tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Combine all the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours or so (this allows all the flavors to mingle together). Serve with tortilla chips and guacamole.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving: Maple Pumpkin Pie

This Thanksgiving was a small one. There was only Leah, Isaac, and I at home...oh, and the parents too :) Mom, being the angel that she is, decided to invite over an elderly woman by the name of Elizabeth. She was a character to say the least. We were glad to share our Thanksgiving dinner with her.
Once again, we ate like kings. Leah and I did most of the cooking, but mom did make her traditional stuffing and pumpkin pie.
I was determined to make a healthier pumpkin pie this year and to my surprise, I succeeded :)  While mom made her traditional pumpkin pie, I made a maple pumpkin pie (no sugar added, just simply pure maple syrup). It is amazing what a bit of maple flavor can do to any ordinary recipe! Sweet and creamy, this pie bursts with that "little extra" flavor.

 
Maple Pumpkin Pie
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup real maple syrup (feel free to add in more, sweeten to your liking)
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk, but you can even use half & half)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of cornstarch
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt. Stir in maple syrup, milk, flour, and cornstarch. Mix in eggs one at a time. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell.
  3. Bake for 1 hour, or until center is set.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Butternut Squash Pizza

Butternut squash on a pizza? Wha? Don't let this odd topping freak you out. It is surprisingly delicious, trust me. The caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar make this yummy pizza even better.
And for a side dish, whole wheat pita chips and hummus. It doesn't get much better than this :)

Butternut Squash Pizza

  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1/2 butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • A drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 (16 ounce) package refrigerated pizza crust dough (I use pita bread)
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sliced onion and squash in a roasting pan. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; toss to coat.
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until onions are lightly browned and squash is tender; set aside.
  3. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F. On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into an 8 inch round. Place the rounds on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (you may need 2 baking sheets depending on their size). Distribute squash mixture over the two rounds and continue baking for 10 minutes, checking occasionally, or until the crust is firm. Sprinkle with cheese, remaining tablespoon olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Cut into quarters, and serve.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
 
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Flour for dusting

Directions
Pour water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer with dough hook attached. Add yeast, olive oil and honey. Allow yeast to bloom until it begins to foam, about 5 minutes. Add flour, then salt. Mix on medium speed for one minute. Turn the mixer down to low and mix for 2 minutes longer. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix 2 minutes longer. If at any point the dough wraps completely around the hook and is no longer kneading, turn off the machine, scrape the dough off the hook back into the bowl and return to mixing. Transfer dough to a clean work surface and knead by hand for one minute longer or until you have a round, smooth, elastic dough. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a medium sized bowl. Place dough into bowl and coat with the oil by turning over. Cover with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap and place in a moderately warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, usually about 2 hours.
Position an up-side down 18 x 13 aluminum sheet pan or a baking stone on the middle rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Transfer the proofed dough to a clean work surface and knead it by hand until it is round, smooth and elastic, about one minute. Divide the dough into 16 pieces, (2 ounces each) and shape into balls. Cover with a clean towel and allow to proof until expanded slightly in size, about 20 minutes.
Dust a clean work surface with all-purpose flour (I like to use cornmeal). Roll dough into 6-inch circles. You may stack them between parchment paper or clean towels. Carefully and quickly place them in the oven directly on the baking sheet or stone. You may bake 2 or 3 at a time. Cook pitas for 2 minutes or until puffed. Remove with a metal spatula. Repeat with remaining dough. Serve hot or at room temperature. Once cooled, pitas may be stored in a re-sealable plastic storage bag for up to 2 days, they may also be frozen for a few months. (To keep them soft, put them in a towel or plastic bag right after you remove them from the oven.)


Hummus

  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more, for drizzling
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini paste, and garlic. Process until smooth. With the machine running, add 1/4 cup olive oil, a little at a time. Season with salt and pepper. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fish and Chips

 Fish and Chips is your popular eat 'n run food that originated in the United Kingdom. Usually, it consists of deep-fried fish (cod) and deep-fried potatoes. Well as you know, I am a health nut, so I decided to "healthify" this classic dish. Instead of deep-frying, I marinated the fish and cooked it in a pan. For the fries, I swapped the normal starchy russets for vitamin-packed sweet potatoes, which I baked in the oven. The result: a super duper tasty meal :)

Delish Fish
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 (6 ounce) fish fillets (salmon, tilapia, halibut, etc.)

Directions

  1. Combine the black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, onion powder, and salt in a small bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to make a paste. Spread the paste all over the fish fillets, and set aside to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat some oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the fillets in the hot pan until golden brown on each side, and no longer translucent in the center, about 4 minutes per side.
 
 
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into French fries
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, cinnamon, cumin

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. In a plastic bag, combine the sweet potatoes, olive oil, and seasonings. Close and shake the bag until the fries are evenly coated. Spread the fries out in a single layer on one large baking sheet (sprayed with oil).
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until crispy and brown on one side. Turn the fries over using a spatula halfway during cooking. Thinner fries may not take as long.
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