September 6, 2011

Cantaloupe Meringue Pie

Cantaloupe Meringue Pie

I know what you’re thinking. Seriously. Because I thought it, too. Cantaloupe pie?? That sounds weird and kinda gross. But you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. I would never share something gross and honestly? This recipe…it’s kind of amazing.

But let’s start at the beginning. You see, I got two big cantaloupes in my CSA box a few weeks ago. I knew Brandon and I wouldn’t be able to eat both within a week, especially since one of them was already well past ripe when I got it. So I set out searching for cantaloupe recipes. Something, anything to use these babies up. Unfortunately, unless I wanted some kind of fruit salad, granita or sorbet (I already had watermelon sorbet in my freezer) there just isn’t a whole lot out there. But I kept looking and finally this recipe for cantaloupe pie popped up. Like I said, my first reaction was that it was the weirdest pie I’d ever heard of but I looked at the recipe and the (all 4 or 5 star) reviews for it and when someone said it …

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September 14, 2010

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusal Buns

So I know the actual first day of Fall isn’t for a few weeks, but as far as I’m concerned Labor Day is the end of summer. After that it’s Fall. Even when it’s still 90 degrees outside. A year ago Brandon had just gotten a job here and we were preparing to make the move from Florida to Virginia. I cannot tell you how much happier I am in Virginia and the main reason for that is because of Fall (and Winter, Spring and even Summer). There are actual seasons here! Maybe I’m strange for being so affected by the weather, but I found the static-ness of Florida’s temperature and landscape to be utterly depressing (I probably would’ve felt differently if we had lived closer to the ocean, which I love, but unfortunately we were right in the middle of the state). Since I wasn’t here this time last year it’s nice to go out and see the beginnings of Fall; leaves are already starting to change color and fall off. In short, I’m really excited about Fall. Probably more excited than …

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January 19, 2010

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I didn’t used to be a fan of soup. I don’t know if that was one of those things that I turned my nose up at when I was a kid or if my mom just wasn’t a soup person and so she never made it. Regardless, the only soup I ate for years and years and years was Campbell’s chicken noodle or tomato. But when I started cooking for myself, I figured out two important things about soup: It’s generally healthy (even the creamier ones still have vegetables) and it’s really easy to make. Throw some stuff in a pot and you just made soup! I realize that making soup probably isn’t a big deal for some people, but for me, who only ate soup from a can for 20 plus years? Making homemade soup is something I feel proud of, the same way I feel about making homemade bread.

This winter I’ve been craving lots of soup since we finally live in a place that gets cold, so I’ve been expanding my soup repertoire. I usually make it once a week but I’ve …

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December 6, 2011

Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake

Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake
It’s finally December! Not only is it my favorite month with my favorite holiday, but it’s my favorite time of the year to bake since there are always so many fun recipes to try. I love gingerbread so this recipe has been on my “To Make” list for while and it finally seemed like the perfect time for it. I already have a gingerbread muffin recipe that I love, but this gingerbread cake turned out to be quite different and I love the twist of making it an upside-down cake, too.

The big difference from most gingerbread recipes I’ve made is that this recipe uses fresh ginger instead of ground. I was a little weary about this because I haven’t always been a huge fan of fresh ginger. It’s ok in small doses, but in a lot of recipes I find it really overpowering. Luckily, it turned out to be pretty great in this cake. My guess is that the molasses and all the other spices help to tone down the ginger just enough so it’s not overpowering. Despite that, you can clearly taste a difference between gingerbread …

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January 4, 2012

Butternut Squash Cakes with Maple-Cream Cheese Glaze

Butternut Squash Cakes with Maple-Cream Cheese Glaze

Hello January, we meet again. I used to try to make resolutions, the usual ones about going on a diet, exercising more, etc. but after years of pretty much not ever following through I’m officially giving up resolutions. I know it’s the New Year and that seems like a great time to “start over” but January just never works for me. The cold weather makes it hard for to get motivated to go walking (the only form of exercise I enjoy) and I crave lots of warm and hearty foods that are rarely low-calorie. And even if I do make some progress in January, February comes along and there’s Valentine’s Day and my birthday and I lose all my motivation.

So I’m not going to bother going on a diet this year or maybe ever again. I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been working on since I started this blog: eat more real food like fruits and vegetables and a little less carb, sugar and processed crap. That’s why I was really happy to get this new cookbook for Christmas, Green Market Baking Book

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May 20, 2009

Bread Bakers Apprentice Challenge: Anadama Bread

Anadama Bread

So I decided to do something a little crazy. The awesome Nicole at Pinch My Salt started a group to make every single recipe in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. When she first announced it on Twitter, I was interested but ultimately decided it would be too much work. But then more and more people started joining with her and I kept thinking about it until she announced she was closing the group to new members. As soon as I heard that it made me realize how much I wanted to do this, so I emailed her immediately to join the group.

December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookies!


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Christmas Tree Cookies

I may have gone a bit cookie crazy. Besides my Peppermint Fudge Pinwheels, I have two more cookie recipes to share. Well, it’s more like one recipe and one technique, but I’ll get to that.

I’ve never been able to find a sugar cookie that I actually like. I’ve tried about a million and they all just taste blah to me. But I think that’s just the kind of person I am. Brandon told me the other day that I have tendency to put too much flavoring in the things I bake and that may be true, but I just want something that tastes like…something. I hate blah food. Even something that has too much flavor is better than something that doesn’t have any. But I think this is just that age old debate of people who like vanilla ice cream and people who like chocolate. Of course I choose chocolate! The only time I’ll eat vanilla ice cream is if it’s covered in fudge or caramel.

Anyway, I’m not sure I even have a point other than to say that this desire for flavor translates into everything I cook and share on this blog. I make a lot of stuff that I don’t share here because it’s boring or basic. I always try to find recipes that are fun (at least to me). Which leads me to these totally adorable Christmas Tree Cookies. They are fun and easy to make and did I mention how adorable they are? But that’s not even the best part of them. The original recipe was for plain ol’ sugar cookies, but of course I modified them! The best part is that they taste just like cinnamon graham crackers, which are my absolute favorite. And my boyfriend, Mr. You-put-too-much flavoring, actually said that these were perfect! And he hates cinnamon, so if he likes these cookies, anyone will.

Christmas Tree Cookies Christmas Tree Cookies

I bet these cookies would be fun to make if you have kids. You divide the dough into three rolls which you cover in green sugar, then after they’ve chilled for a while, you just sliced them up and bake. I think kids would definitely have fun assembling the little trees; I did and I’m almost 30 years old! These would be really festive and pretty for a party and they keep well in an air-tight container. As with all Betty Crocker cookies I’ve made (or maybe it’s just a personal preference?) I think these taste better the day after you bake them.

Christmas Cookies

The other kind of cookies I made are technically called Stained Glass cookies, but I’m not sure that’s really accurate, especially after I modified them. I have seen recipes for stained glass cookies that actually have a little transparent window of sugar in them and these are not like those at all. These are just your basic sugar cookie recipe, but you divide up the dough and color parts of it with food coloring.

You are supposed to cut out shapes with cookie cutters in the uncolored dough and then cut up the colored doughs into little squares and arrange them on top of the uncolored cut-outs so that it looks like a stained glass window. But OH MY GOD, that is tedious. Seriously, I did about 3 cookies like that and I was done. It took forever and the colored dough kept getting too soft so I had to keep freezing it every 5 minutes. I was about ready to shoot someone and that is not the attitude you should have when making Christmas cookies! It’s supposed to be fun, not mind-numbing. So I pretty much just gave up on the whole “stained glass” thing and just cut out circles and whatever else I wanted. Then I took the colored doughs and cut them with cookie cutters and added more little details. It was much more fun when I could just do what I wanted to.

Christmas Cookies Christmas Cookies

Despite all that work, the cookies that came out were pretty but they were blah. Just about the blandest sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted: they weren’t even that sweet! So I won’t be posting that recipe, but the technique is still interesting and fun (as long as you do what you want and don’t try to kill yourself being “perfect”), and it should work with your favorite sugar cookie recipe.

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March 2, 2011

Spicy “Fried” Chicken Tenders with Glazed Sweet Potato Sticks

Spicy "Fried" Chicken Tenders with Glazed Sweet Potato Sticks

I generally put a lot of effort into making dinner. I comb through my cookbooks and bookmarks to come up with a meal plan every week and I try to make dinner most nights so that we won’t go out to eat instead. Brandon is a good sous chef and helps me prep everything, but sometimes I’m just not in the mood to put in all the effort, so over the past couple of years I have gathered a bunch of go-to recipes just for this occasion. I keep the ingredients in stock so that if I’m tired or I forgot to defrost the meat for my planned recipe or whatever else goes wrong, I can pull them out and have dinner within an hour. This is one such meal and probably the one I default to the most. I realized I had never blogged about it, which felt weird since we eat it so much. But I think it’s because these chicken tenders are so good that I’ve never wanted to bother with photographing them when I could be eating them …

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