Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Baby Heirloom Tomato Salad: Part II

Guys have this incredible way of messing with your metabolism. What do I mean? Let us examine the following case study: Boy is very sweet to girl in such a way that gives her butterflies, which causes her to feel so nervous that the very thought of food causes her to become nauseous, and maybe-- JUST MAYBE, she throws up a little bit of yogurt when she becomes SO unglued. This lasts for as long as said boy continues to say sweet things to said girl. She then begins to lose lots of weight due to her lack of food consumption. Once the budding relationship begins to normal out, girl regains her appetite and makes a conscious effort to gain two pounds so that her cute little pants once again fit correctly. Then out of nowhere, male fecal specimen begins acting like a hyena, which causes the female sweetheart to go into #fuckhim mode. She then begins to eat cookies-- and lots of them. And before she knows it, she has gained six pounds, four over her intention. Really, miss? Yes, guys, this shit really happens. All the time.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think I have found the answer to losing weight after a wildly intense relationship with E.L. Fudge. It's tomato salad. Last Friday, I gave y'all a recipe for a sort of Caprese salad, which I'm sure you immediately prepared because you're an intelligent person with good taste. 

So I ate a lot of that salad, and I loved it so much that I wanted to make it again last night. However, given that I am currently fighting the battle of the bulge, I did not want to include cheese; I fear that it, in conjunction with cookies, is responsible for the squish aka my recently gelatinous midsection.  So there I stood in Trader Joes, nearly stamping my feet like some sort of Barbarian, trying to figure out what to put in my salad to make it look abundant. 

Then, bitch, it hit me. Add more tomatoes. Really? Yes, the girl who hates tomatoes decided to add THREE WHOLE Beefsteak tomatoes to a pound of baby heirlooms. Aside from feeling like I was going to gag as I sliced those bad boys into chunks that I don't want to talk about, it was really good. I'm telling all of you non-believers out there, that once you douse them in oil and vinegar, you've got yourself a delicious bowl of antioxidants. 

So what are you waiting for? Do it up!
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Friday, May 10, 2013

Baby Heirloom Tomato Salad

Can I first start out by saying that I hate tomatoes? I think they're the grossest, squishiest things in the whole world. However lately, I have gotten brave and have been incorporating them into my diet due to their abundance of Vitamin C and allegid antioxidants. I should note, however, that I only really like them when they're accompanied by cheese and smothered in fat and vinegar. That's what makes them yum-a-licious. I should also note the difference between regular tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes. Heirlooms just taste better than that pale thing that often accompanies a restaurant burger. They're also harder, so you won't get that gross squishy feeling in your mouth that will undoubtedly make you gag on impulse, with an embarrassing vomiting incident to quickly ensue.

Anyway, because I like babies, I tend to gravitate toward miniature food items that are presented in a rather cute fashion. I realize this is ridiculous, but whatever; I do what I can to eat healthy! And since I have been eating cupcakes like they're going out of style, I need all the nutrition I can get. Sidenote: Can I tell you about how delicious my Oreo cupcakes were? I'll post on that later!

Okay, so back to this fucking outrageously delicous heirloom tomato salad. It seriously took ten minutes to whip up. I'm sure that allowing more time for it to sit would have made it even better, though. I'll let you know tomorrow after I ravenously consume it for breakfast. EFF oatmeal.

This salad is also as pretty as a picture. I think the next time I am invited to a cookout or party (hint, hint), I will bring this and put the hostess to shame. Don't worry, though, I'll bring a fabulous gift to make up for the fact that I have upstaged her. I'm only moderately bitchy.

1+ pounds of baby heirloom tomatoes (I bought a bought a pound of baby heirlooms and added the 7 leftover pearl tomatoes I had on hand)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 8 oz container mozzarella balls
shake of pepper
basil (You should use fresh, but I forgot to buy it, so I tossed in some good quality dried basil)

1. Obtain a bowl with a lid.

2. Cut your tomatoes in half. If there are any pearl tomatoes in there, cut them into quarters. They're actually quite large.

3. Cut your mozzarella balls in half and toss them with your tomatoes.

4. Combine oil, vinegar, pepper, and basil. Pour over tomatoes and cheese.

5. Put the lid on your bowl and invert repeatedly, so as to evenly coat your cheese and veggies.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Holy Bread Pudding!!

OH MY God... this recipe was right on the money! Last week, I whipped up a pumpkin beer bread, which was really great, but since I live alone, it went unfinished. In fact, I only ate a few slices because it was so dense (in a delicious sop-up-your-soup kind of way). Also, I hate throwing food away if it can be re-purposed, so I decided to use my leftovers to make a bread pudding. Now I know what you're thinking, "I'm never eating at Heather's because she'll feed me old food!" So not true, but when it comes to throwing away a perfectly delicious beer bread or taking advantage of its crusty texture and making a sweet comfort food, you'd better believe that sucker won't end up in the bin.

If you don't already have a beer bread on hand, you can make this one, substituting white sugar for brown sugar and adding 1/4 tsp of pumpkin pie spice. You won't be disappointed. Just be sure to use a beer that will complement the flavor of the other ingredients. Applehead is pretty delish.

This looks kind of disgusting, but it's bread pudding- it's not
supposed to be pretty! Fear not, though, it's delicious!
I gave up dairy milk eight or nine years ago and have been drinking almond milk since, so this recipe uses milked nuts rather than genuine baby cow formula. However, if you're more of a dairy fiend, feel free to make a substitution you're comfortable with. I also used eggbeaters rather than whole eggs, but if you'd prefer to use a more natural ingredient, use four eggs

Additionally, since I was a few slices short on beer bread, I improvised and used a few slices of whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread. Bomb diggity.

1 beer bread prepared as indicated above
1 cup eggbeaters
2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Yes, it's that easy!

1. Preheat oven to 350'.

2. Cut your bread into chunks.Try using clean kitchen scissors rather than battling with your bread knife, which probably isn't sharp anyway! Let's face it, your knife set is from Target, right?

3. Toss your bread into a prepared baking dish.

4. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix till your arm flab shakes like mad. (Not judging-- my tris could use a few reps, too).

5. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and do your best to completely saturate it.

6. Bake for about 45 minutes. Pin It

Chocolate Pistachio Icebox Cupcakes

As you may know by now, I gave up baking for Lent, which has since passed, but I have yet to have a moment to update my blog. That's not true; I just haven't felt interested in sharing lately. But I'm back and in generous form!

So as usual, I threw a birthday party for four of my coworkers, and although I ordered the majority of the food from LaSalle Bakery (OMG YUM!), I simply could not let a party pass without bringing something in. Add to that, the fact that the celebration took place two days before St. Patricks's Day, which meant that I felt compelled to make something green. Predicament #1: I had a sneaking suspicion that my coworkers (who think I'm crazy anyway) would not appreciate me blending up spinach smoothies. Predicament #2: I could not bake. What's a girl to do, what's a girl to do?

I pondered this for several weeks (hours, actually), and then it hit me. Icebox cake... in individual form! I'll admit that I was so excited about this idea that I bought the wafer cookies with which I would construct my masterpieces, one month in advance of the party. And there they sat in my cabinet, longing to be eaten. Worst month of my life, really.

So anyway, these are ridiculously easy, and would actually make a great kid-friendly kitchen project. I'll have to keep this in mind for when I have a slew of children running around my home.

A box of thin wafer cookies. There is a Swedish brand that makes them.
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 box pistachio pudding (Or you can use whatever you want)- Do not buy sugar free unless you enjoy the taste of chemicals.
Food coloring, if desired
Stuff to sprinkle on top. I wish I'd had rainbow sprinkles, but it seems as though mini CC's were all that were taking up residence in my food decoration pantry.

1. Combine heavy whipping cream and pudding in a large bowl.

2. With a hand mixer, beat the cream mixture for about five minutes, or until it reaches a thick, creamy consistency. This is actually how I make frosting the majority of the time!

3. Determine how high you want your cupcakes to be. These were made with three cookies. Then, count your cookies and divide them up!

4. Arrange wafer cookies into single layers and pipe or dollop whipped cream onto the bottom cookie. Press another cookie on top of the cream, and repeat.

5. Pipe one more dollop on the top cookie and sprinkle with fancy stuff, if desired.

6. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours so that the cookies get soft. I let my chill (ha ha... I love puns) overnight, then brought them to work in the morning, and served them around 1pm.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Super Green Avocado Smoothie

Since giving up baking for Lent, I've been off the blog for a while and have been living off fried rice and smoothies for the past, eh... three weeks or so. I hate to admit that I've also been consuming my fair share (and yours) of biscotti and bagels slathered with more cream cheese than you can imagine. But it's cool- it's "reduced fat". Ha! I wish I can consider myself to be "reduced fat" since Ash Wednesday. Whatever, though- dieting is what tomorrow's for right?

I will say, though, that despite the constant existence of fried rice (home made, thank you very much) in my system, I do manage to pack in some essential food groups. Fruits and veggies, my friends... fruits and veggies. 

Do you want to know why I love smoothies? It's because unless a salad is loaded with nuts and goat cheese, I would never go out of my way to order one at a restaurant. So, since I'm not one to shovel greens into my mouth with a more civilized version of a pitchfork, I drink my vegetables. Yes, ma'am, I do. And about five servings of them per meal!

The smoothie that I am the biggest fan of contains avocadoes, spinach (which you cannot taste), mango chunks, lite coconut milk, and a bit o' water to increase the drinkability of this mega nutrition shot. If you're trying to save calories, you can certainly skip the coconut milk. I have also used Earl Grey Creme tea in place of water, which adds an interesting flavor. 

This makes two servings. 
1 avocado
2 cups frozen mango chunks
1/3ish cup coconut milk
A giant handful of spinach... maybe 3-4 cups?
1 1/2 cups water

1. Blend. 

2. Enjoy. 

Store the left over serving in the refrigerator. It'll last a few days. 
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Double Chocolate Lovehandles

Have you ever had one of those days (okay, fine, months) when all you want to do is ravenously devour all forms of chocolate? Do you ever have those mornings  when you weigh yourself and swear off all food for the next seven days in order to get back down to your normal weight? Well, my friends, I have those months and mornings all the time. Everyday, in fact.

As you may have noticed by now, I simply adore chocolate... especially brownies. The problem with brownies, though, is that each batch only makes about 16 squares, thereby forcing you to consume a portion of cellulite-in-the-making that may be satisfying to the taste buds, but not to your pants, which barely even button when laying down on your bed, sucking in your stomach, by the way. That's why I was determined to make something that tasted like a brownie, but was only a portion of the size. A smaller portion, to be exact.

The brownie cookie. I won't tell you that I consumed fewer calories than I would have had I made real brownies, but I will tell you that every delicious bite was totally worth it. I basically subsisted off these and salty ghetto noodles during the recent snow storm, but ended giving away two dozen to my gracious neighbors who helped me to dig my car out from behind a five-foot snow bank. True story, my friends. It's a darn good thing I gave them away, too because after consuming over a dozen on my own, I was beginning to wonder if I had ANY self-control. I mean seriously-- what girl eats a dozen cookies when she has the ability to sip on an avocado smoothie before it rots in a non-working fridge? A single girl who doesn't have anyone to look sexy for, that's who.

I didn't take cookies because I forgot. So sorry to have inconvenienced you.

Anyway, let's go on, shall we? These cookies are really delicious, but really rich, so watch out now! I tried these when they were warm (against my better judgement because I'm not a fan of warm cookies), and thought they were icky. Once I let them solidify, though, I decided that they were as tasty as can be and definitely blog-worthy. So what are you waiting for? Make 'em!

One last thing... I should warn you that the dough is effing amazing. I actually reserved a container of raw dough for snacking on later. A wise decision.

2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375'.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Incorporate eggs and vanilla.

3. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Add chocolate chips. Taste the dough. It's so delicious, right?

5. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. I say 10-12, but mine definitely took 12 minutes.

6. Allow to cool slightly before moving to cooling racks. I always store my cookies in the fridge to extend their shelf life. It works amazingly well.

Yield: 4 dozen Pin It

Monday, February 4, 2013

Eat Your Hips Off Double Chocolate Clusters

"What the fuck? You're asking me to eat my hips off?" No, I'm asking you to make cookies that are made with ingredients that aren't bad for you. In fact, these are probably a good indulgent "diet snack" for you to stock your cookie jar with. Jeesha kapeesha!

These cookies are awesome! They're soft, smooth (not gritty in the least), and best of all, super flavorful! They're made with whole wheat flour, oats, and a bit o' olive oil. See what I mean? I'm willing to bet these dream clouds contain fewer than 100 calories each. It's a damn good thing, too, because I seriously ate six of them over the weekend. And yet I still managed to step on the scale this morning and see that my weight is only 1.6 pounds from where I'm comfortable, and down 1.8 pounds from the week before. Score!

This is a really easy recipe that should be fool-proof. The biggest problem I had was keeping my fingers out of the bowl and away from my mouth. I wish I could wear this dough as lipstick. That may look weird, though, right? It may not complement my skin tone.

6 tbsp butter, softened in such a way that... nevermind.
2 tbsp olive oil (of course if don't have olive oil, you can just use more butter)
1 egg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup oats (I always use old fashioned)
1/2 cup-ish chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350'.

2. In a large bowl, combine all of your wet ingredients.

3. In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients, less chocolate chips.

4. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet. Use a hand mixer and grind the oats ever so slightly. You don't have to do it this way, but that's how I did mine, and they were fabulous! And I mean f-a-b-o-l-o-u-s. BTW, I love this song. I know, it's a shocker considering my main musical squeeze tends to be David Crowder. But I digress.

5. Stir in chocolate chips.

6. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet.

7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. You won't be able to tell when these are browned, so just use your best judgement. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to cooling racks.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thai Coconut Rice Pudding (Khao Niaow Ma Muang)

I decided to throw a Thai-themed office party at work yesterday, and wanting to be the only person to contribute to said theme, I decided to whip up a traditional Thai dessert of coconut rice pudding. For those of you who have travelled the world, or know anything about the world in general, you know that American pudding is not what people in other countries consider pudding. In most countries, pudding is very, very thick  and custardy, or is more like a cake. This pudding is more like a thick custard.

Let's talk about this little piece of heaven. First of all, it's incredibly easy, but it does require you to wash two pans. Oh my God! I've just lost half of you. It also requires the use of sticky rice (what most of you know as "Chinese restaurant rice"). There goes two-thirds of the remaining half. I ended up scoring my sticky rice from a Chinese coworker because I didn't trust myself to find the right thing at the Asian market. Sue me for not knowing how to read another language. 

My mangoes... and the remnant of my coconut cream can. 
I had a bit of trouble with the coconut milk. The market I went to had lite coconut milk and coconut cream, but not coconut milk. I decided that since the recipe specifically stated that I should use thick coconut milk, I went against my aspirations of a trim waistline and went to for the cream. Now, I want you to be very careful when purchasing liquid coconut products. Cream of coconut is very different from coconut cream. Do not buy cream of coconut. You will ruin your dish. 

Fast forward to the party.... The pudding was a smashing hit! Everyone loved it and was surprised when I told them how easy it was. Many people even came back for seconds! Winning! The recipe below makes about 20 small servings. Obviously, you can cut it in half and serve it as the only dessert and get about 6 servings. 

2 cup sticky rice
2 ripe mangos, cut into slivers
1/2 cup  brown sugar, divided
1/2 tsp salt
2 cans coconut cream
water (for boiling or steaming the rice)

1. In a pan, soak the rice in 2 cups of water for about 45 minutes. Do not drain after soaking. 

2. After 45 minutes, add 1 1/2 cups of water to the rice and water. Also add 1/2 can of coconut cream. So what happens with this is what the top of the can is solid, and the bottom contains liquid. Make sure you get some of the liquid out. It doesn't have to be perfect. 

3. Add salt and 2 tbsp brown sugar. 

4. Over medium-low heat, bring the rice to a gentle boil. Put the cover on the pot, an simmer for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off, and let the rice sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes longer. 

5. In the meantime, pour the rest of your coconut cream (1 1/2 cans) and the rest of your brown sugar into a saucepan. Heat the ingredients on low heat until the chunky parts have liquified and the ingredients and mingled nicely. 

6. To serve, divide the rice into serving dishes and pour the sauce over generously. Top with mangoes. 

The recipe I sort of used suggested that I serve this hot, but because I brought it to work, I served this at room temperature, and it was so, so good!! Don't worry, the sauce won't solidify once it's heated the first time. Also, I think Americans are used to eating pudding on the colder side, so don't worry! :)

I also made it two days ahead of time, and it was perfect on serving day. I also put out the leftovers today, and it was still delicious. This is an excellent make-ahead dish. You'll have to keep the sauce, rice, and mangoes in different containers, though.
This is a crappy picture because I took it at work, where there
is bad lighting. The ugly black countertop doesn't exactly
make for an appealing backdrop, either. 

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Almond Flour Triple Cs

Okay, so I suppose I lied about only cooking and baking food items with ingredients that are found in an ordinary kitchen, as the cookie recipe that I will soon unveil requires the use of  almond meal. Now, almond meal isn't so uncommon, but it also isn't considered a staple in the average American household.

The other day, I had the brilliant idea to milk a bunch of almonds in order to save money on the packaged stuff at the market. As it turns out, if you make your own almond milk, you'll undoubtedly be left with a crap-ton of almond meal. As I am somewhat like a Native American in that I try to use "every part of the buffalo" I could not let the byproduct of my milk go to waste. I did some googling and realized that I could almost use the almond meal like wheat flour. No kidding, huh?

This is how the almond flour chocolate chip cookie was born. I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical, and I mean, who wouldn't be? I was basically replacing a whole grain with a nut. I've replaced flour with legumes with great success, but never with a nut. UNTIL NOW.

When these bad boys came out of the oven, I swear my downstairs neighbors must have thought that I had a special friend over because of my reaction of ecstasy! "Ohhh my Godddd! Soooo good!!!" may have slipped off my tongue a few times. You have no idea. If you like chocolate and nuts together, you are in for a real treat, my dear.

Also, because these do not contain any flour, they're gluten-free. They also have fewer carbs than traditional chocolate chip cookies, being that they're not made with real flour. It is only fair to offer you this warning, though: Almond meal does contain significantly more fat that traditional flour. But fear not, young skeptic. The fat content is mainly comprised of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which are actually good for you. They can help lower cholesterol, and when you replace empty calories with MUFA calories, you may actually lose weight. GTFO, I know! For those of you who would like it in layman's terms, it's full of good fat.

So without further ado, I present the gluten-free, super MUFA-powered chocolate chip cookie!

3 cups almond meal
1 stick unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
shake of cinnamon (per usual)
chocolate chips as you see fit (chocolate chips are also a MUFA food)

1. Preheat oven to 375'.

2. In a large bowl, combine butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla. Beat until nice and fluffy.

3. Mix dry ingredients. Give it a good stir and scrape down the sides with a spatula.

4. Add chocolate chips and mix.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. You should get about 3 dozen.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Yellow Split Pea Soup

I am addicted to soup. It's cheap, easy to make, freezes extraordinarily well, and makes great leftovers. I also work in substandard conditions and am frequently cold for one-third of my day. Therefore, consuming warm beverages and food is essential for maintaining a normal body temperature. Actually, I do not work in a poor environment, but I do sit near a window, which likely contributes to the unchanging presence of goosebumps on my arms, legs, and neck. 

Being that I do not buy meat (I'm not a vegetarian, but I live alone and am incapable of cooking in small scale, which means that meat products have a high probability of spoiling), I live off vegetables, legumes, and pasta and am always looking for new recipes that offer some variation from traditional vegetable soup. I've been wanting to make pea soup for a while now, but have always been a bit apprehensive because of a horrible pressure cooker story that I'd heard years ago. Then I remembered that I don't own a pressure cooker, so the chances of my pea soup hitting the ceiling are low. 

I had every intention of making green split pea soup because that's all I've ever known. However, when I made my weekly pilgrimage to the market, I quickly realized that the green bits were straight up sold out, with yellow being my only option. Ah, whatever... I bought them and hoped for the best. 

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp pepper
8 carrots, chopped
1 pound dried split yellow peas (about 2 1/4 cups or one standard-sized bag)
10 cups stock
salt to taste

1. First and foremost, soak your peas for a little bit. This will release some of the starch. Dump them into a bowl and cover them with water and let them sit while you chop and saute your carrots and onions. 

2. In a stock pot, saute onions in oil. Once they are translucent, add carrots and garlic. Continue sauteing for a few more minutes. 

3. Drain pea water. 

4. Add peas and all remaining ingredients to the stock pot. Let simmer for about 45 minutes, skimming foam off top every so often. 

5. So here's the deal. When I tried this as the recipe was originally written (not as written here), the soup was too thick and was almost like a thick puree. So, I decided to add more water and blend. If the soup is not too thick, cool; enjoy as written. If it's too thick, add some water and blend it. 

** You can also make this in a crock pot if you so choose!
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013


As some of you may know, I have been extremely stressed and nauseous for the past... I don't know, month or so? I was getting to the point where I would vomit up nearly everything I ate, and was losing a lot of weight as a result (the benefit of having a broken heart)!  So what's a sweet girl to eat during times like this? POPOVERS. They are light and barely contain any ingredients, making them an awesome food candidate for people whose stomachs are sensitive.

Most of the popover recipes that I have found involve a two-step baking process, which requires a non-preheated oven and turning the temperature down in the middle of the baking process. The first time I made these, I wasn't in the position where I wanted to sit by the oven and wait for the timer to go off so that I could knock the temp down a few notches. Screw that, I had better things to do... like cry in bed. Ha ha.

That's when I turned to my first edition (not sure which printing, as the title page has been removed) Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook. The thing is old as fuck, but has some really great recipes. By the way, excuse my bad language, but really, if you can't handle it, don't read my blog. Anyway, this recipe involves a single step! Woot! And best of all, it has four ingredients! And to BOOT, it didn't make me want to puke up my innards! Win-win-win (as Michael Scott would say).

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 425'.

2. Combine all ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth.

3. Pour batter into greased muffin tins (do not line with papers). You should get about 10.

4. I don't really remember how long I baked them for. Check them around 30 minutes. The cookbook calls for 40-45, but had I let them bake that long, they would have been completely burnt.

5. Enjoy right away! Rip the tops off those bastards and give the halves a good smear of jam.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Accidentally Delicious Brownies

You can tell by their namesake that these brownies turned out deliciously by accident. The truth is, they are the result of several massive fuck ups, but it turns out that my inattention to detail actually had a positive ending this time. Hosannah!

I know this is a crappy picture, but what do you really
want from me at 10:30pm? You're lucky you got this!
As I wandered around my apartment in my flower-print bathrobe last night, I was overcome by a tremendous urge to experiment with a new recipe. Therefore, I whipped out a cookbook given to me ten years ago, flipped straight to the brownies section, and decided on a recipe that didn't call for a lot of butter (I didn't want to waste it on a recipe that may have failed). The recipe was simple enough: Put butter, water, and sugar in a saucepan. Melt, then add chocolate chips. Then, combine baking soda, flour, and salt in another bowl. Two strikes. Then I realized that I didn't have any vanilla left. Three strikes, and you're out. Halt! Not so fast!

I quickly worked my magic and made the necessary modifications to prevent a potential disaster from occurring. I don't like warm brownies, so I had to wait till the morning to find out that God was looking down on me when I scrambled around the kitchen that fateful evening. 

2/3 cup flour
1 scant tsp baking powder (original recipe called for 1/4 tsp baking soda)
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz bag of chocolate chips (I used minis)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract (original recipe called for vanilla)
Generous sprinkle of cinnamon (this wasn't in the original recipe, but I added for good measure)
I hope I'm not forgetting anything critical

1. Preheat oven to 325'. 

2. In a saucepan, combine sugar, water, and butter. Heat over a low flame and stir continuously until the butter is melted. I accidentally added the sugar to the flour, which meant that I was heating only the butter and water. Whatever. 

3. Once your butter mixture is melted, stir in half of the chocolate chips and stir until smooth and melty. Pour into a mixing bowl. Add eggs and almond extract.

4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to your chocolate mixture. Scrape bowl with a rubber spatula.

5. Mix in remaining chocolate morsels. 

6. Pour into a prepared baking dish and level out by shaking. I believe I used an 8x8.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. My oven is a little bit ghetto, so I think it took about 30 minutes to get these suckers cooked all the way. 

8. Allow to cool completely and stuff your face with chocolatey goodness.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bodacious Beer Bread

I owe this recipe to my friend, Charlotte, who inspired me to turn my favorite beer into something edible. When she sent it to me, I was a bit skeptical because it was so easy. I mean, there were only a few ingredients, and I thought to myself, "How can something with so few ingredients be translated into something tasty?" Well, I gave her recipe a try, making only one and a half modifications, and it was sensational.

I can't speak for the original recipe since I used half whole wheat flour, but the texture is dense and grainy- but in a very good way, almost like cornbread. This would be awesome when consumed with chili or as toast. I have been eating it plain and with lentil soup. 
After approximately fifty minutes of baking

Let's talk about the taste, shall we? It does not taste like beer. In fact, it is very sweet and not at all hoppy. Perhaps that's because I don't drink very hoppy beer, but I did use something that is a combination of both smooth and bold. Redhook ESB. Boy, oh boy, was I thrilled to learn that my local packy carries this stuff because let me tell you, not many do. Thrilled. I was absolutely just thrilled beyond belief when I stumbled upon this in the cooler. 

1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
5 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
12 oz. bottle of beer (The taste will vary based your beverage of choice. I would not recommend using anything that is marketed as the king of anything.)
butter for spreading and greasing

** The original recipe calls for 3 cups self rising flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 12 oz. beer, and butter.
See all that foam? That's beer. YUM!

1. Preheat oven to 375'.

2. Butter a loaf pan. Use real butter, not cooking spray.

3. Combine all ingredients and mix. The dough will be sticky, but worry not. It's supposed to be. 

4. Dump your concoction in your loaf pan and smooth the top a bit. 

5. Bake for 40 minutes. Spread butter all over the top. Bake for another 10 minutes. 

This shit is amazing. Make some for me?

Just before it went into the oven

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Laudable Lentil Soup

I have been living off lentils, macaroni and cheese, beer bread, and split peas for the last two weeks, so as you can imagine, it's a damn good thing that I've got an awesomely easy recipe for lentil soup! Yes, the recipe is better than the one you've been using for years. How do I know? OH... I KNOW.

So the thing about lentils is that they're extremely versatile. You can use them to make Indian cuisine, veggie burgers, soup, salad, and things that I don't even know about yet! Hell, in a few years, I bet the next big thing will be lentil milk. Gross, but I may actually be on to something. Did you hear that? It's the sound of my bank account exploding because of my brilliant money-making venture! Anyway, because soup is cheap and low in calories if you do it right, my dear, I am a soup girl. I could seriously eat soup all day, every day, for the rest of my life, provided you slip me chocolate cupcake every now and again.

So here it is: My lentil soup recipe that doesn't call for anything weird. Cross my heart.

8 cups chicken stock
2 cups uncooked lentils
1/2 tsp thyme (I didn't have thyme the second time I made it, so I used sage, and it turned out just fine)
1/2 tsp pepper
4 carrots, diced
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp oil for sauteing
4 bay leaves
salt to taste

1. In a large stock pot, saute your onions in 2 tsp oil. I don't generally do this because I prefer to keep fat out of my soup. However, sauteing the onions makes them sweet, which nicely complements the salty stock. So this time, branch out and saute those suckers until they're as transparent as a trampy top.

2. After your onions have become a bit clear, throw in everything else. Be reckless; dump everything in with no rhyme or reason. I am in no position to judge.

3. Simmer on medium for about 45 minutes or until your lentils are nice and soft.

4. Tell your husband to call his mother to tell her that your cooking is better than hers. There's no sense in keeping your talents a secret.

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Monday, January 7, 2013


Shawwwwtay! No? Okay, then forget it, you humorless lump. Go ahead and make your old boring shortbread and I'll make it my way- the fun way. Just don't call asking for advice on increasing the probability of shortbread success.

As I mentioned when I first started blogging, I enjoy making and creating recipes from ingredients that I have at home. I don't like having to go out of my way to purchase a two-pound bag of weird crap that I'll use only once. With this philosophy in mind, my quest for the ultimate shortbread recipe was not tremendously difficult, but it did prove to be a bit search-intensive due to the fact that many recipes call for rice flour or something else that I don't typically have on my shelves. I sat in agony for days, crying out loud, "Dear God, will I EVER be able to make shortbread?!"

Yes. The answer is absolutely yes! And you won't have to use anything you don't already have in your cucina. Or at least I would hope you have flour, sugar, butter, and lemon extract laying around. I mean, they ARE staples.  Ugh, now I've gone and offended you again, huh? Wah, wah, wah...

1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
splash of lemon extract
sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350'.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Mix in your lemon extract. I suppose I used a quarter of a teaspoon, but I didn't really measure. All I know is that they turned out fabulous.

3. Mix in flour. Give it a good stir, why don't you.

4. Form the dough into teaspoon-sized balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. In the center of each cookie, press your thumb down slightly.

5. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. I would recommend doing this. You don't want to be boring, now do you?

6. Bake for about 12 minutes.

7. Obtain a gym membership because these might cause you to gain weight should you decide to eat the whole batch (speaking from experience). Pin It

Cinna-licious Chocolate Bar Cookies

I've been on a blogging hiatus for a while, but I'm back, biotches. I don't know if you're crying tears of joy or agony, but either way, I'm glad you're expressing some sort of emotion on the subject! So with that in mind, I've been a sort of emotional wreck lately, and the only solace I can seem to find is in baking.

That's how I came to whip up this bitchin' batch of bar cookies that will certainly leave your tastebuds longing for more. It's likely that you'll also provoke me to be sad more often so that I'll deliver more tasty recipes. If this is the case, kindly remove yourself from my social circle. Otherwise, please feel free to send me lavish gifts as a token of gratitude.

So one of my favorite flavor combinations  is cinnamon and chocolate. I don't know why, but whenever these flavors share a recipe, the results are amazing. This is true 100% of the time, especially in the case of hot cocoa. I shall also tell you that these are NOT blondies. So far, I have remained anti-blondie throughout the course of my life due to the fact that I loathe butterscotch, especially in chip form. Traditional blondies are merely a cop out for people who can't bake, but would like to give off the appearance of  having spent hours in the kitchen. Here's why: All that sugar shocks your nerves and the human body doesn't know what to think. So, it says, "Oh, sugar! It must be delicious!" And before you know it, you have a band of loyal followers banging down the kitchen door of some poor schmuck who can't bake for crap. Oh, was that mean? Oh well.

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
scant 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips (Use Ghiradelli!)

1. Preheat oven to 350'.

2. Grease a square baking dish. I prefer glass.

3. Melt butter and brown sugar together over a low flame. Stir constantly. Once the sugar is melted in, wait ten minutes.

4. Beat in egg and yolk.

4. Mix in cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.

5. Add flour. Once the flour is well incorporated, stir in the chocolate chips. Dip your finger in and lick the scrumptious batter off. Oh la la.

6. Pour the batter into the baking dish and pop that bad boy into the oven and let it bake for about 25 minutes.

7. Allow to cool completely before slicing into 16 squares.

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