December 20, 2012

Mint Chocolate Double Delicious Cookie Bars

Mint Chocolate Double Delicious Cookie Bars

I always have grand plans every Christmas. This year I’m going to send homemade Christmas cards! This year I’m going to make peppermint bark and send it to everyone in pretty tins! This year I’m going to make cookies for Brandon’s whole office! Over the years, I have actually accomplished all of these things—though rarely all in the same year—but sometimes it doesn’t work out. I get too busy with work or I’m just too lazy to make all the effort.

This is definitely one of those years. This month has gone by so fast, and I can’t believe we’re less than a week from Christmas. I have a few (store-bought) cards and (not handmade) gifts to send but who knows when I’ll get to the post office. I still have quite a few people to find gifts for! Besides all that, I also have work deadlines hanging over everything. I hate being this stressed, especially during my favorite time of the year! All I really want to be doing this week is watching Christmas movies and …

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October 16, 2008

Gingerbread Mini-muffins

Gingerbread Mini-muffins

Jason’s Deli is one of my favorite places to eat. Brandon and I go there at least once a week just to eat their salad bar. But the real draw of this place are their mini-muffins. They are complimentary and they are DELICIOUS. In fact, they might possibly have crack in them because they are so addictive. I decided a few weeks ago that I just had to figure out how to make them at home. Four batches later, I think I’ve gotten as close as I can. It’s hard to tell since I can’t do a side-by-side taste test, but these are pretty darn close. Brandon said he thought they tasted exactly the same. I think the original muffins are a bit sweeter, but that’s probably because they have high fructose corn syrup or 8 pounds of sugar or something like that, so I’m willing to sacrifice some sweetness if it will reduce the calorie count (according to my google research the original muffins are 220 calories, which is a lot for something you can eat in one bite).

August 6, 2009

Asiago-Crusted Pork Chops with Sweet Pea and Pepper Toss

Asiago-Crusted Pork Chops with Sweet Pea and Pepper Toss

I started making a meal plan every week and now that I’ve been doing it for a little while, I have to wonder why I haven’t been doing this all along. It’s saving me so much trouble. Here’s an example of a typical nightly exchange between me and my boyfriend pre-meal plan:

Me: What do you want for dinner?
Him: I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?
Me: Whatever you want.
Him: I want whatever you want.
Me: I forgot to take any meat out of the freezer.
Him: So…pizza or chinese?

It was just unbelievably frustrating and there was no excuse for it other than laziness on our part. Now I’ve been making a meal plan for the upcoming week on Sunday and then I go to the grocery store and buy only the ingredients I need (so I’m saving some money as well since I’m not buying produce or anything that goes bad before we get a chance to eat it). I have it written out on a big white board in my kitchen, so the night before I’m reminded of what I’m making the …

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July 13, 2009

BBA Challenge: Ciabatta

Ciabatta

The seventh recipe for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge was Ciabatta. This was one I was really excited about attempting but also pretty apprehensive. It’s probably one of the most complicated breads we’ve done so far and from surveying other BBAers on twitter and the forum it was pretty apparent that “results may vary”. Good Ciabatta is full of big giant holes and that involves having a very wet dough, which you can imagine, is hard to work with. In addition to working with the very wet dough for the first time, making this bread involves some special tools as well as setting up your oven in a very specific way, so there’s quite a bit of prep involved.

There were two different versions, using different kinds of pre-ferments: poolish or biga. These are just mixtures of bread, water and yeast that sit out for a certain amount of time to develop flavor and texture. Later you add the rest of ingredients to make the final dough. I chose the biga because the consensus seemed to be that it resulted in bread with bigger holes. I …

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July 28, 2011

Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet and Popsicles

Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet

Are you tired of hearing people complain about the heat yet? Well, sorry, but I live in Virginia and it’s hot here. I am literally counting down the days until Fall because I HATE this heat with a passion. No wonder I was so miserable when I lived in Florida! Fortunately, the fact that I have a real Fall and Winter to look forward to makes Virginia much more bearable, even when it’s 100 degrees outside. I had a whole different recipe prepared to post, but it involved chile powder and a 400 degree oven and I just couldn’t post it. It’s too damn hot outside to even think about turning on the oven that high.

Instead, I decide to make the complete opposite. It involves no cooking (well…unless you count boiling a cup of water) and it’s frozen. And it has my new obsession: watermelon. I’ve always loved watermelon, but at the grocery store earlier this month I realized that I hadn’t bought one in years. I have no idea how that happened, so I’ve been trying to make up for it by eating …

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January 6, 2010

Individual Cranberry Apple Crisp with Snow Ice Cream

Cranberry and Apple Crisp with Snow Ice Cream

Well, it’s January and you know what that means. It’s time for my annual “I’m going to completely change my lifestyle this year…I swear…for real this time.” Sigh. Honestly, I wasn’t really going to bother until Lori at RecipeGirl.com started her “Ten in 10” Challenge. What I like about it is that it’s not about weightloss, it’s just about trying to become more healthy in whatever way you define that.

I like food. I like to eat food. I even like to take pictures of the food I eat because I just like it that much. So going on a diet doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe it’s something I can do for a few weeks but eventually I get, you know, hungry. So my goal for the next 10 weeks is not another diet, but just be healthier (more fruits/veg, whole grains, etc.) and more active. I did that this past summer/fall and lost about 15 lbs. But if you’ve been reading my blog since November you know I, uh, indulged a bit …

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March 29, 2011

Tex-Mex Potato Soup

Tex-Mex Potato Soup

It feels weird to be posting a soup recipe when it’s almost April, but it actually snowed in Charlottesville this past weekend so Spring isn’t quite here yet, at least for many of us in the top half of the country. And you know what? That’s kind of okay with me. Spring is beautiful time of year up here, but I actually prefer cold weather. Plus I get to eat more soup! I don’t think there’s anything I love more than soup (well anything that doesn’t have sugar in it, anyway).

During the colder months I make soup at least once a week, but I’ve been making it less in the past few months. So last week when the temperature dropped and brought rain and snow with it, I knew I had to make some soup. I figure it’s my last chance before it gets too warm. I recently had some potato soup at Panera Bread and it made me remember how much I love it, so I decided to improvise my own version at home. I love spicy soup like my favorite Chicken …

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November 8, 2011

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Biscuits

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Biscuits

I went to high school in a teeny-tiny mountaintop town in Tennessee. At the time it only had two options for fast food: Hardees and a rundown Dairy Queen (it later got a McDonald’s because even teeny-tiny towns on a mountain need a McDonald’s) I don’t even like Hardees, but when you’re in boarding school and the only other option is cafeteria food, you’ll eat pretty much anywhere else when you get the chance.

But there is one thing at Hardees that I always looked forward to eating: their Cinnamon ‘N’ Raisin biscuits. If you’ve never had one before, it tastes like a cinnamon roll but it’s a cinnamon biscuit covered in icing. So basically it’s like crack. I could eat those biscuits all day long. It seriously brightened my day when my friend would come into school carrying a carton of cinnamon biscuits just for me. I don’t eat much fast food anymore, especially not for breakfast so I’ve only had the biscuits a handful of times over the past 10 years. It’s probably better that way! But they’ll still pop into my head on a weekend morning every once in …

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