January 25, 2012

Tomato Noodle Soup (Homemade Spaghetti-Os!)

Tomato Noodle Soup

Ok, it’s confession time. While my eating habits have improved a lot over the past couple of years, I still have a lot of weaknesses for the unhealthy processed food I used to eat all the time. Things like corn dogs and snack cakes and store bought cookies. But the good thing about learning to cook is that you can learn to make all the “bad” stuff you love. Yes, it may still be unhealthy, but at least you know every single ingredient that went into it and you aren’t consuming any weird chemicals or preservatives. I’ve learned to make Oatmeal Cream Pies and Oreos and chewy Granola Bars and while I can’t say I totally gave up the processed versions of those things, more often than not when I really want them I’ll make them at home.

Spaghetti-Os are another one of my weaknesses. I’m calling them Spaghetti-Os because I think that’s how they are best known, but those are actually made by Campbells. The kind I grew up on was from Chef Boyardee and they were called …

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February 23, 2012

Mini Grapefruit Angel Food Cakes

Mini Grapefruit Angel Food Cakes

I mentioned last week that I had a lot of egg whites left over after making my king cakes. I wanted to make a cake since I was still in birthday mode, but after a fairly indulgent month eating chocolate cookies and cream cheese filled cakes, an angel food cake seemed like a nice alternative. A sweet treat without any of the guilt!

But I didn’t want a plain angel food cake and I already made a chocolate one a few years ago so I decided to incorporate my current obsession: citrus! I just can’t get enough of oranges and lemons and grapefruits lately and a citrus cake sounded really refreshing. I always feel like grapefruit is kind of underrated compared to other citrus fruits, so I decided to make the grapefruity-est dessert I could come up with. This grapefruit angel food cake is flavored with grapefruit juice and zest and then drizzled with a grapefruit syrup. I also mixed a little grapefruit juice and zest with strawberries to use as a garnish. Obviously, if grapefruit isn’t your thing you can substitute your favorite citrus but despite how much …

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April 19, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip “Soft Batch” Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip "Soft Batch" Cookies

If you couldn’t tell from previous posts I have quite a long list of store-bought-food-I-want-to-learn-to-make-at-home. After I cleared off Spaghetti-Os, Soft Batch cookies were next on the list. They’re probably my second favorite kind of store-bought cookie (because nothing is better than Oreos). I like them so that I can only ever buy the small packs that you get from gas stations because I can’t trust myself around an entire package. If you’re unfamiliar with these cookies, they’re basically what they sound like: extremely soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies. It’s sort of like eating cookie dough but without the threat of getting sick since they’re baked.

I bookmarked this recipe for Soft Batch cookies a while back and finally got around to trying it out earlier this month. That’s when I realized that although I love the texture of those cookies, they don’t really have much flavor other than the chocolate chips. So I decided to change the recipe a bit and add one of my favorite ingredients: peanut butter! I had to do several tests (Is Cookie Recipe Tester a real job? Because I …

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February 4, 2010

Quickie: Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Smores

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter S'mores

I’m doing Project 365 this year, which is a challenge to take a picture every single day for a full year. It’s a month in and I’m already starting to run out of ideas of what to take pictures of. Last week I was sitting in my kitchen trying to come up with something, but my mind kept wandering to dessert (this is not unusual). Then I realized: I should take a picture of dessert! Perfect.

This is my favorite go-to snack. I always have all the ingredients in my pantry and when I’m having a chocolate craving I can make a couple of these in 5 minutes, which is much faster (and healthier) than making up a batch of cookies or brownies. It’s not a mind-blowing dessert or anything, but when I posted this picture on flickr a lot of people commented saying how good it looked, so I decided I should share it with all my wonderful foodblog readers as well! Because maybe you guys have never thought to add peanut butter to s’mores? Seriously, peanut butter makes everything better.

June 10, 2010

Light and Fluffy Buttermilk-Oatmeal Pancakes

Buttermilk-Oatmeal Pancakes

Since I already found a healthy waffle recipe that I liked a lot, I decided it was time to find a better recipe for pancakes, too. I’d seen some recipes for oatmeal pancakes and was intrigued by the idea. Before last winter I hated oatmeal, but moving to a place that actually gets cold and my desire to eat something warm in the mornings finally converted me into an oatmeal lover (also finding out about steel-cut oats helped a lot). But I was still unconvinced about oatmeal in pancakes. Mainly, I was worried about the texture. Would they wind up being lumpy or mushy? Would they be really heavy or dense? Also, all the recipes I’d seen required that the oatmeal sit in liquid overnight to soften and I just don’t have that much forethought about whether I’m going to want pancakes when I get up in the morning. So when I found this recipe that only required the oatmeal to soak for 20 minutes (though you can soak it overnight if you think that far ahead), I decided this was definitely worth a try.

March 31, 2010

Roasted Cornish Hens with Grapes

Roasted Cornish Hen with Grapes

Do you ever make roast chicken for dinner? A while ago a fellow food blogger I follow on twitter asked this question to her followers and said she was surprised to learn that many people had never roasted a chicken before. I also found this somewhat surprising but then I remembered that I used to be scared of making a whole chicken, too. After I roasted a chicken the first time, it became one my favorite dinners, but I can still understand why people would be apprehensive.

So for anyone still on the fence, I present to you: Cornish Hens. They’re basically miniature chickens and as such are even easier to handle and only take about 30 minutes to cook. Cornish Hens are a great stepping stone if you’re not quite ready to make the leap to a whole chicken yet. Plus…it’s pre-portioned! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know how much I love pre-portioned meals. If there’s one thing I dislike about roast chicken it’s having to carve/divide it up. With a Cornish …

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March 24, 2009

Quickie: Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pie

My boyfriend skyped me from work on Friday with a link to the article on Whoopie Pies in the New York Times. “You need to learn how to make these”, he said. Not being one to pass up a baking challenge I made them later that night.

Apparently, whoopie pies are the new cupcake, but I don’t know…I’ll stick with cupcakes thanks very much. Not to say they aren’t good because they are, but my issue was with the filling. Personally, I HATE making frosting. It was a miles better experience with my new stand mixer (I completely gave up making frosting with my hand mixer as it was just disaster after disaster with that thing), but it was still a pain and in the end I wasn’t that impressed. I know it’s called Buttercream, but geez, it’s 2 whole sticks of butter! I thought it was butter overload.

Next time I’ll be cutting the amount of salt in the recipe by half as both the cakes and the filling were a bit too salty. Also, I’m going to skip the frosting and fill …

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August 4, 2010

Caramelized French Toast (Plus Homemade Raisin Bread!)

Caramelized French Toast

I’m not 100% happy with the name of this recipe. Caramelized Cinnamon Toast might be better, but calling it French Toast is more descriptive of how it’s made. I would say this is a combination of French Toast and Cinnamon Toast, but Caramelized Cinnamon French Toast is way too long, so we’ll just keep it simple. Everyone knows what French Toast is, right?

I’ve never been a big fan of French Toast. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never disliked it, but in the world of breakfast foods, I’d usually rather have pancakes or pastries. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever even made it at home before. I remember my mom used to make it when I was a kid (though not as much as pancakes or waffles) and of course I’ve had it at restaurants, but I guess it’s never occurred to me to actually make French Toast myself. But Cinnamon Toast? Well, that is one of my most favorite things in the whole world. I make that all the time. So much so that I have a bottle just to store my …

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