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Showing posts from April, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

I am in love with this cake. I saw it on Pinterest a month ago, and have been waiting ever since for strawberries to go on sale. This week the stars aligned, I bought those juicy reds, and popped this wonderful cake in the oven. I couldn't believe how moist it was. It quite honestly was the most moist slice of cake I think I've ever eaten (I know, pretty bold statement, but 100% true!) The zesty lemon was such a beautiful contrast to the warm fresh strawberry pieces - and don't even get me started on the Greek Yogurt. It made this cake top notch. I was so psyched to buy a bundt pan. We received a Target gift card recently, and I knew I wanted to use a fraction of it for a kitchen toy. The whole time I was looking through the pans, I couldn't help but quote My Big Fat Greek Wedding, when they were fighting over what the name of the "cake" was: "Thank you! But what is it?" "It's a bundt." "bonk? bon? bont?" "No,

Perfect Cottage Pie

I've always called this recipe "Shepherd's Pie", but I learned recently that my label is a little off. I hadn't noticed until our buddy Alton used lamb while preparing this dish on The Food Network. I've never cooked lamb. I've never tried lamb. I'm sure it's excellent, and that day will come, but I wasn't about to throw myself into that experience this weekend. I chose ground beef instead to safe both time and money. This meat switch apparently transforms the dish from Shepherd's Pie (get it? lamb?) to Cottage Pie. Fine by me, as long as it tastes just as well. Alton Brown is one of my favorite guys on The Food Network . I've always enjoyed his show Good Eats . He has such a clever and entertaining way of teaching any type of audience about food. He makes it memorable. Even if he's just talking about squash or something, he makes it really interesting. He's a commentator on Iron Chef America , as well. Really good guy

Dreami Kiwi Lemonade

   Oh my goodness. Can you believe it? Did you know kiwi could ever be so gorgeous? The taste is equally as splendid. I loved the tangy lemon-kiwi combo - it's my new favorite (except for those darned Lava Flows).  Originally, I found this recipe from an Everyday with Rachel Ray Magazine (August 2008) . I've always saved the recipe, but have never tried it. With the weather warming up nicely, this drink was a perfect compliment. Originally they're called "Kiwi Martinis". Funny, the recipe didn't show alcohol of any kind - why the martini label? We actually don't drink, so I didn't mind the lack of ingredient. After tasting these little goblets of heaven, I've deemed them "Dreami Kiwi Lemonades". Yes, I know how to spell dreamy. I just enjoy the double i's a little too much. If you've been reading my blog, you'll know how much I love my melon baller. This afternoon it was such a wonderful tool for scraping o

Cherry-Almond Vanilla Cupcakes

I saw these on Pinterest a while back, and couldn't wait to make them! In fact, I had a dream I was making these last night. Great. Now I'm even dreaming about food blogging.  I'm a huge fan of gourmet cupcakes. Locally, we have some really tasty places to fill that craving: The Sweet Tooth Fairy , The Chocolate , The Cocoa Bean , and Cupcakes Take the Cake . Lucky me, eh? Recently, on the Food Network, they had The Sweet Tooth Fairy on 'Cupcake Wars '. And guess what? THEY WON the whole dang thing! Kudos, guys. I'm so happy I can just drive down the street and have one of their fantastic cupcakes whenever I want (or whenever the purse will allow). Their cake bites are ridiculous. My favorites are their vanilla coconut and salty caramel. Even if I went to a cupcake cafe every so often, it wouldn't be nearly enough to fill my sweets cravings (again, it's a good thing I'm a runner). So, it was time to bust out my D e s s e r t s board on Pin

Quinoa Breakfast Delight with Pecans and Blueberries

I love how you can see my reflection in the spoon Quinoa, we meet again. This time in breakfast form. This recipe is anything but normal Blondie breakfast. I usually have some Multi-Grain Cheerios and call it good. This little bowl of love, however, was pretty tasty (and very filling). I was a little frustrated, though, while making this. The recipe simply requires the milk mixture to come to a boil, and then to simmer for 15 minutes. Well, mine had been simmering for 20+ minutes and the quinoa was still undercooked. I put the lid on. The milk mixture flared up and spilled out over the side of the pan (even on a low simmer). I decided to just let it cook until the quinoa was somewhat cooked. Took a while, but we got there. Mostly. Blueberries are by far my favorite fruit. When I was in college, crammed into an apartment with 5 other girls, I remember buying frozen blueberries every week at the grocery store on the corner. I'd mix them in with my yogurt and granola, or even

Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing

If you ask my family, they know I'm not a ''salad dressing'' kind of person. If the salad has already been dressed, I'll eat it. But I don't prefer it. I'll eat my salad dry as a bone. Even when I order a Cafe Rio Pork Salad, I'll say No Thanks to the dressing. That gets me a confused look almost every time. It's the same look I get at Zuppas and order a salad without dressing. I must be insane to them. There are a few exceptions to my non-dressing preference. I really really love Olive Garden's Italian Dressing, I'll sometimes order a Caesar salad (on rare occasions, if it's not saturated in dressing), and I love the Sesame Dressing in this salad. I'm sure there will be more added to the list as time goes on, and new recipes are tried. I think I'm still a little traumatized from watching my peers glopping offensive amounts of Ranch Dressing on their Friday pizza slice in elementary school. They'd "pump" e

Chicken Pot Pie Cups

  Have you ever started a recipe and then realize you actually don't have all the ingredients? That happened to me this afternoon. I didn't have Cream of Chicken Soup for these lovely Mini Chicken Pot Pie Cups. If you've been reading my posts, you know I improvised . And I've never going back. Once again, have you ever started a recipe and then realize you actually have double the ingredients? This happened to me yesterday, too. I had bought a bag of frozen veggies, but then I realized I have fresh carrots, snap peas, corn, and celery. Why cook up some 'ol frozen veggies if I have some fresh ones on hand? It only took around 7 minutes to steam them up, and they tasted just wonderful. Maybe I'll save the frozen veggies for the man child's finger food. These Mini Chicken Pot Pie Cups were so comforting, and absolutely flavorful. As you may know, I'm a huge fan of "cup" dinners: Petite Lasagna , Cowboy Cups , and Pizza Muffins . These are

Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

I was throwing dinner together today and started to panic when I couldn't find any cream of chicken soup in my cupboard. We usually have a few cans in our food storage, and I must have thought I had some left when I didn't buy more at the super market. Catastrophe! (Yes, I've been watching waaay too much Gaspard and Lisa with my son). I was pretty bugged, but wasn't about to drive to the store to buy a couple cans on Sunday. Thankfully, I found made-from-scratch recipe online. This added a few more unwelcome steps to my "quick-and-easy" dinner this afternoon. However, after my little adventure, I don't think I'll ever go back to buying Cream of Chicken in a can. The depth of flavor this added to my recipe was beyond fantastic. Why have I never done this before? It's kind of fun to learn the basics, and make things from absolute scratch. I'm glad we didn't have any canned Cream of Chicken Soup - it led me to this tasty little gem of a r

Mini Pie Bites

Tonight we had a wee little gathering to play games. They asked everyone to bring pie... so of course I don't just bring a pie. I'm complicated like that. I'm not really a pie-kinda-girl. I mean, I really love making peach pie in the fall, and apple pie is lovely. Strangely enough, I just find it hard to make it through a full slice of pie in one sitting. It's great and all, but I feel like I'm much better at tackling cookies, cakes, and bars. Not pies. So what to do? Peaches aren't in season. I thought I was doomed. After seeing these beautiful little mini pie bites on Chef in Training , I thought they'd be perfect to bring. I mean, you can only have a couple slices of pie, and that only leaves you tasting a couple of flavors (no offense to pie or anything). With these min pie bites, you can have one of each flavor of pie in a little mouthful, and still have room for more. It was so fun playing around with the different flavors! Here are the ones I

Liebster Blog Award

I am SO psyched to be chosen twice in the last week for the Liebster Blog award! You guys rock! If you're like me, you probably aren't familiar with what this award means exactly.... in fact... My first thought was what the heck is Liebster? Is it a like a lobster? I'm afraid of lobster. It's one of my husband's all-time-favorite foods, and he doesn't get it nearly enough (only if we, on rare occasion, are out for dinner and he orders it for himself). I think my ultimate cooking experience will be to serve him lobster that I made.... as in made myself.... as in throw the living, moving lobster into a pot of boiling water Julie and Julia style. Don't laugh, you! I can do it! Just not anytime soon. I hope. I guess those nightmares can now begin.. I did a teeny bit of research, and it looks like 'Liebster' actually means ' beloved' or 'favorite' in German.   This award is used to highlight smaller, start-up websites, with

Primavera with Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Carrots

Primavara, my friends! What do we know about it? I've learned recently that the word primavera actually means "the season of Spring", and that the main focus of a primavera is to highlight the veggies. How fitting, eh? And thanks to spring, we have quite the beautiful veggie selection to choose from.  This recipe is jam-packed with some excellent veggie dosage: artichokes, sugar snap peas, and carrots. Aren't the colors just beautiful? The taste was so fresh and light. The sauce wasn't overbearing, and allowed the veggies to speak for the dish. I couldn't find prosciutto at my local supermarket, so I settled for some premium ham steaks (for a great price, too). I loved the ham, but I think next time I'll make the extra trip to the "fancy-rich-people-food" place to pick up some prosciutto. I think it would have added some delicious saltiness to the overall flavor of the dish. Don't '86 the heavy cream on this one. It blankets the

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

I love this twist on your typical chocolate chip cookie. There's just something perfectly wonderful about the way shortbread-style desserts melt in your mouth. This cookie is no exception. I don't think I could get through even one of these cookies without a glass of milk nearby. This recipe didn't make very many cookies - just about 21 small ones. So if you're planning on them lasting more than an hour in your house, double the recipe. Heck, triple the sucker. This isn't your usual "roll the cookies into little balls" type of cookie. You actually roll the dough up in a log, wrap it in wax paper, refrigerate it for a while (I felt like a little girl waiting on Christmas Eve), then slice it up into discs. It reminded me of those store-bought refrigerator dough cookies with the cute little holiday design shape on the inside - except these taste a hundred times better. I originally didn't have this recipe on my list this week, but that dang Pinteres