November 12, 2009

Low Fat Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

Pumpkin Apple Streusal Muffins

Remember when I said I wanted to try out more things with pumpkin in them. Well, be prepared because I’ve gone a little pumpkin crazy. I had a giant can of pumpkin pie mix that I used for those cupcakes and still had a bunch left over afterward so I went in search for some muffins to use up the rest. But those cupcakes were decidedly not good for you and I wanted to make something that I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating. But it still needs to taste good, you know? Well, this recipe totally satisfies both of those requirements.

Basically, I found a recipe that sounded good and I “healthed” it up. I replaced some of the white flour with wheat flour and I substituted the oil with applesauce. That might make these sound kind of boring, but it’s the streusal that makes them awesome. That’s the only part that I didn’t try to fix. In fact, I doubled the amount of streusal because it’s the best part. Even doing that, these are still only about 2 …

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December 27, 2010

Holiday Cheesecake Sampler

Mini Holiday Cheesecakes

I hope everyone had a nice weekend! Brandon and I had a pretty laid back Christmas, we stayed in and watched movies and played video games all weekend. It even snowed a little bit on Saturday so we got the proverbial white Christmas. After going all out for Thanksgiving last month, I really wasn’t in the mood to kill myself making a big dinner again so instead we had a small ham and I made my favorite Pineapple Stuff to go with it. But it is Christmas, so I couldn’t resist having fun with dessert.

One of my presents this year was a set of mini springform pans. Cheesecake is most definitely our favorite dessert, and we agree that the recipe I use is the best cheesecake we’ve ever had (two years later I still get regular comments from people who love the recipe) but I only make it on special occasions for two reasons: 1) a 10″ cheesecake is A LOT for two people to eat and 2) we never ever agree on which flavor …

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October 22, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie Soup – two ways

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

You could also call this Creamy Chicken Vegetable Soup. We’ve already established how much I love Jason’s Deli. Well, this is another item they have that I love almost as much as their muffins. When I was searching around for a similar recipe, I wound up finding two. One was made from scratch and kinda high in fat, while the other was uber simple (10 minutes to make it – TOTAL) and low fat. I decided to make both and see how they compared. In end all taste-testers (which would be me and Brandon) agreed that the made from scratch version was better, but the other version was definitely still good and the fact that it was so simple and also low in fat made up for the taste discrepancies.

July 17, 2008

On Failed Recipes

Is it is just me or is it really depressing when you spend a bunch of time to make a new recipe and then it tastes awful?  I think this is one the main reasons I’ve never been a very adventurous eater.  I find things I like and I eat them over and over.  Maybe it gets a little boring to eat the same stuff, but at least I don’t have the disappointed (and hungry) feeling when I try something new and it turns out badly.

But the thing is I am trying to be a more adventurous eater, and I’ve actually been really lucky with all the new recipes I’ve tried since I started cooking.  Until now.  This week I’ve made two things that I just couldn’t finish eating.  And it’s not that I cooked them wrong, it’s that I didn’t like the taste.  Luckily, I think I can make some ingredient changes in both that would make them better.  I guess that’s part of the fun of cooking, though?  Trying new things, seeing what works and what doesn’t.  And hopefully that disappointed feeling doesn’t stay long because instead of dwelling, I’m thinking of ways to make it better next …

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December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookies!

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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October 27, 2010

Homemade Twix Bars and Pumpkin Twix Bars!

Homemade Twix Bars

Well, I tried. I told myself I was going to stay away from desserts for a while. But….TWIX BARS. I really tried, but come on. TWIX BARS!!! Plus, with Halloween coming up I actually had a good excuse to make them. It’s not me, it’s Halloween. Halloween made me do it. Really, it couldn’t be helped. (In my head this is a perfectly logical argument.)

Whatever the excuse, I am so glad I made these because they are fantastic. Brandon, cynical person that he is, would like you to know that they are not exactly like a Twix because the ratio of cookie to caramel to chocolate is off, but BLAH BLAH BLAH (I am sticking out my tongue right now). No they aren’t exactly the same, but they have the same essence. That’s all I ask for in a homemade version of something, I don’t need an exact molecular copy. In fact, I love that there’s more caramel and a thicker cookie because I like those parts the best (and even if you don’t you can control how thick you …

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April 5, 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Syrup

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Syrup

I realized the other day that the majority of the food I eat is breakfast food. I eat a lot of eggs, muffins, fruit bars, smoothies and cereal, not just at breakfast time but throughout the day. It’s not at all uncommon for me to have a bowl of cereal for dessert. My absolute favorite thing is breakfast for dinner, but I have a boyfriend who is a weirdo who likes, you know, dinner-y things for dinner. So that’s why I started “whatever” nights, which are nights 1 or 2 times a week when we just fend for ourselves. I get my breakfast for dinner and Brandon can order Chinese food or pizza. Everyone is happy.

My recent breakfast related obsession is blueberries. I’ve generally been ambivalent toward blueberries, but after putting them in my fruit bars, I realized how delicious they can be and now want to use them in everything. I’ve been making tons of blueberry pancakes lately, but last night I really wanted waffles. I know it can be done, but blueberry waffles sound messy to me. …

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August 12, 2009

Butterscotch Brownie Tart

Butterscotch Brownie Tart

Diet? What diet? Oh, yeah, actually I made this right before I started the diet and am only getting around to posting it now. I guess it was sort of my last hurrah and it was oh so worthy. I was looking for something to make in my new tart pan and found this recipe on Epicurious.com, but had also come across a recipe for butterscotch sauce that I really wanted to make, so I decided to combine the two into one glorious dessert. Ok, well maybe not glorious, but if you like chocolate, brownies and butterscotch like I do, then it’s pretty damn close. The brownie part is rich and fudgey and the butterscotch sauce is buttery and sweet and silky and I just wanted to lick the whole saucepan clean after I made it. It’s especially great when still warm or rewarmed in the microwave. But even at room temperature the sauce never hardens.

As a whole this recipe is very easy to make. There’s some waiting time while you freeze/cook/cool the components to get them ready, but I think that’s pretty …

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