July 20, 2010

Homemade Buttery Croissants

I’m always up for a baking challenge so when Julie over at Willow Bird Baking challenged her readers to make croissants, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I love croissants, but like donuts, I rarely eat them because of how bad they are for you. But there’s just something about making something from scratch that makes it seem less bad for you. I guess because you have to put actual time and effort into making it instead of just going into a store and buying it. Plus, it’s Brandon’s birthday this week and that is one of the 4 times of the year (along with my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas) that I let myself eat whatever I want without feeling guilty about it.

And these croissants? Are absolutely worthy of much guilt, but they’re just way too delicious and way too much work to feel guilty about. I mean, I made these croissants. From scratch. All by myself. That is an accomplishment, not something to feel bad about. These croissants taste better than any that I’ve had from a bakery or store. It could just be because …

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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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February 18, 2009

Quick Gumbo

Quick Gumbo

I’m way behind with posting recipes due to being overwhelmed with work lately, but I just had to post this recipe in preparation for my next baking adventure.

Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday” and while I haven’t lived in a place that really celebrated Mardi Gras in almost 20 years, I grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where it is a really big deal (not as big as in New Orleans, but pretty big). It’s one of the things I miss the most about living there. Mardi Gras and my birthday (this Friday) are always closely linked me for since they are usually so close to each other. There have been a couple of years that they have even been the same day (the date of Mardi Gras changes every year depending on when Easter is since Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday which is 40 days before Easter). In the past, I’ve gotten King Cakes for my birthday, but this year I’ve decided that I’m going to attempt to make one myself. It’s basically like a big …

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July 2, 2009

BBA Challenge Catch-up: Brioche, Casatiello and Challah

Poor Man's Brioche

So I’m still going at a normal pace for the BBA Challenge, but I’m behind on actually posting about it. I keep going back and forth about whether I even want to post about every single bread and that leads to more procrastination. But I think ultimately, I do want written and photographic evidence that I did in fact bake every single bread in this book, in order. I may do these combo posts for bread I have less to say about, but for instance, I have LOTS to say about the Ciabatta I did this week, so that’s going to be it’s own post (hopefully next week).

May 24, 2011

Cherry-Rhubarb Fool

Cherry-Rhubarb Fool

After discovering my love for cherries late last summer, I was ecstatic last week when I went to my grocery store and they had cherries in the produce section for the first time this year. I’ll just tell you right now that you should be expecting lots of cherry recipes this summer. I wasted too many years turning my nose up at them and I gotta make up for it!

My grocery store also had some rhubarb in stock and I grabbed some since I’ve never tried it before and I’m all about trying new fruits and vegetables these days. I’m not going to make the same mistake I made with cherries! When I was looking through a new cookbook and saw this recipe, it seem like it would be a great use for the rhubarb.

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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July 14, 2008

Easy Enchiladas

Simmer

Mexican and Italian are my favorite kinds of food. While I have a pretty good handle on cooking Italian food, I’ve always thought Mexican food to be beyond my reach. Until I found this recipe. Now, if you are looking for totally authentic Mexican food, then you need to be going to your nearest Mexican restaurant, because this recipe won’t be anywhere near as good as the food you get from there. But this recipe is easy and relatively low fat and despite those things it still very much fulfills my Mexican food cravings. It’s gotten to be a staple in my house and whereas we used to go out for Mexican regularly, we’re now more likely to stay in and have this instead, which is definitely better for our bank account and our diets.

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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