Monday, October 27, 2008

easy peasy

With more pressing issues to take care of (e.g. cleaning the bathroom), I baked something quick and simple.

Brownies w/ Mini Pretzels

Step 1- Make packaged brownie mix.

Step 2- Mix in crumbled chocolate covered mini pretzels.

Step 3- Bake.
Step 4- Eat!

I feel like a cheater... but who cares. Its yummy AND I have a clean bathroom!

But there's going to be more to look forward to in weeks to come... behold! My cake/sweets making stash! (well, more stuff anyways. Shame on me. Tsk tsk.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Carving Day!

My fab friend threw a pumpkin carving party today... and it was great fun... and of course, there was yummy food!

Mini Breadbowls w/ Chili

Veggie Pizza Squares w/ Cream Cheese Spread and Garden Veggies

I contributed a Pumpkin Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese filling and Icing.
I used the Pumpkin Bar recipe was from Paula Deen that I've kept since first making it 3 years ago.

I made the frosting according to the recipe as well, but also stirred in a half bag of melted white chocolate chips (and food coloring, duh.) Not the most ideal pumpkin shape... but you get the idea. Sculpting and icing cakes at midnight really doesn't make me be much of a perfectionist.
For the "stem" I spread chocolate on plastic wrap- for that rough ribbed look. Then, I simply broke off chunks and stuck them in the top for a more "abstract" pumpkin stem.

>> As I'm browsing the 'net right now, I stumbled across this "Great Pumpkin Cake" on! Well! I could have watched this for pointers.

And after being inspired to make some really cute cake pops from Bakerella, I wanted to use the scraps left from shaping the pumpkin cake to make them. However, that didn't go quite as planned.

The crumbled cake was way too moist, and forming a ball out of it created this gross raw dough thing. So, I bagged that idea. I'll try again with boxed cake mix and see how that goes.

Anyways, happy carving! (and happy early Halloween!) Brush your teeth.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I have always been a fan of shaped pastas; It probably stems from those childhood Macaroni and Cheese (in the blue box!) of cartoon character shapes. They just taste different! So good!

I did have an unfortunate run in with "super" macaroni and cheese, seems it was fortified with vitamins and minerals (or whatever) for kids nowadays - needless to say, it tasted like CARDBOARD. I'm glad I grew up before all these "healthy" alternatives started popping up everywhere in kids' foods.

So, since I rarely have non-spoilt milk in the fridge to make macaroni and cheese with, I think I have found a nice alternative.

Rotelle with a little bit of butter and salt.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

big o' breakfast

On days that I am fortunate enough to get breakfast at work... I LOAD UP! Well, today my co-worker set aside a plate for me. So sweet. And plated up better than I would EVER do for myself.

Sliced Grilled Honey Ham w/ Scrambled Eggs and Peppered Hashbrowns
Fresh Fruit and Homemade Breakfast Danishes

And... of course, I drop my only strawberry into the ketchup. Boooo.

Then for dinner, the boy and I tofu'd. (We're on a "health kick"- except it still includes soda and dessert).

I "made" my tofu w/ ponzu sauce, as I've already raved madly about before.

The boy had "marinated" his tofu in balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, dried basil, pepper, and olive oil. Then he blackened it. Not too bad, except I might be more of a tofu purist. Rarely is my tofu so "seasoned". Soy sauce and Thousand Year Old Eggs? HELL YEAH. Ponzu? FOR SURE. Blackened?... maybe.

All in all, relatively healthy eating day. (Minus the 40oz. Coke I got at the local AM/PM, and the several cups of Diet Pepsi I drank at work.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cupcake Success!

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
adapted from JustJenn & 500 Cupcakes

1 Stick (1/2C) unsalted butter, softened
1C granulated sugar
2tsp Vanilla extract
2-1/4C Flour
1 Tbsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1C Heavy (Whipping) Cream*
1C Crushed Oreos

I made a half batch: (yields approx. 8 regular sized and 6 small sized)
1/2 stick (4tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
1/2C granulated sugar
1tsp Vanilla extract
1C + 2 Tbsp AP Flour
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2C Heavy (Whipping) Cream*

350 for 20 min - toothpick test

*I used heavy whipping cream since I had it in the fridge. I don't know if it makes a big difference if I just used whole milk as the other recipe calls for. But this time, the cake cakes came out better. Can't say why though since there are so many changes I made.
*Also, I added in a bit more heavy cream than the recipe states- just added a bit more for a nice smooth batter.

Cream butter and sugar until pale pale yellow.
Add vanilla.
Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add eggs. Beat well. (Batter will be thick.)
Add heavy cream. Use more if want to thin out batter even more.
Add crushed Oreos. I used the electric mixer and beat them in... this made the batter darker colored since I destroyed most of the chocolate cookies. You can fold them into batter if you prefer. I did a combo of mixer and hand. I didn't measure out how many Oreos I added either. I like Oreos, so I added a lot.
Pour 3/4 cup full and bake.

Cookies and Cream Buttercream Frosting
adapted from 500 Cupcakes
3C powdered sugar
2 sticks (1C) unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of Salt
Crushed Oreos

I made a quarter-recipe: (Could have made half-recipe)
3/4C powdered sugar
1/2Stick (4tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla
Oreos (not crumbled yet)

Cream sugar and butter VERY well, until white. Add vanilla extract. Add pinch of salt.
Scrape off Oreo centers from cookies and mix into the frosting. Then crush/crumble cookies and fold in. I liked to keep the frosting white.

Notes: I REALLY liked this frosting. Usually, my buttercreams come out WAY to sweet. But this one was good, and went well with the cupcakes, since those weren't very sweet either. Good balance. Hooray! Today was a good baking session. I didn't make an overabundance of stuff (i.e. frosting) that would end up going to waste since I wouldn't use it all and/or no one would eat it. I could have used a little more frosting though. I planned to make another quarter-recipe of a chocolate frosting, but changed my mind. So I ended up a little bit short. But not by much- only 2 mini cupcakes were left unfrosted. Anyways, I'm very excited to take this half batch of frosted cupcakes to work to share!
And, I even made up this recipe myself! (Well, I combined 2 difference recipes... but I still had to come up with mixing and matching the ingredients.)

Since I ran out of regular cupcake liners, I started in on my hoarded baking stuffs I bought on my most recent trip to Daiso. Damn I love that place.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Ever since beignets from Jazz Kitchen at Downtown Disney, the boy and I have been making beignets. I'm not sure if this is the easiest/tastiest/bestest recipe out there... the boy found it; we made it; it worked. While not quite the same as Jazz Kitchen, its pretty good!

I just HATE deep frying. It makes everything (EVERYTHING!) smell like oil. And that's actually kind of sickening to me.

Cupcake Week! Oct 20-26

From Zen Cupcake, I learned that it is Cupcake Week next week! Its actually the 5th annual Cupcakes for a Cause for supporting Cancer Care for Kids.

Visit here to create an e-cupcake to send to friends and family! $1.00 is donated for every cupcake sent! Its easy and fun! Get creative and do something good!

Hopefully, I will have some time (fat chance) to visit Five Sweets in Costa Mesa that's participating in this!

Five Sweets
130 East 17th Street, Suite D
Costa Mesa CA 92627

caprese salad a la ila

I scored some burrata cheese from ila... and the fixin's for a caprese salad... and voila!

Easy and delish. This is one of the few ways I eat tomatoes un-cooked. (The other, salsa.)

And this started off the "health kick" for me and the boy... went out and bought more tomatoes and basil. I even got a basil plant! He doubted my ability to take care of it (given my lack of experience/knowledge in the matter- who cares?! its a $3.00 plant). So hopefully, I will make lots of wonderful basil dishes in the future with my burgeoning basil plant! Time to start looking for basil related recipes!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

cookies galore

Sooooo I baked off the remaining half of the m&m cookie batch, and the ENTIRE batch of chocolate chip. HOLY MOLEY... that's A LOT OF COOKIES. Friends beware... cookies coming at 'cha!

Cookies on the pan...
Cookies on the rack...
Cookies on the stand...
Cookies in the oven...
(these were all at the same time too!)

FINALLY! The last of it!

lunch time!

Every Wednesday, at work, I eat particularly well. and A LOT.
... I PIG OUT.

Beef Stroganoff w/ Buttered Noodles and Sauteed Veggies and Rolls
(I "accidentally" forgot to get salad and fruit. OOPS.)


Almost forgot.

Grape Clafouti: made by Ila

I always inhale whatever she makes, as is seen with my hand not even willling to put it down for a "decent" picture. Lame cell phone camera. BOOO.

when all else fails

I'm (temporarily) anti-banana bread making. I'm close to getting it down... buttttttttttttttt not quite. and I'm over it. for now.

I re-attempted the recipe from Orangette: Banana Bread w/ Cinnamon Crumble Topping

Turned temp down to 325, baked for 1.5 hrs. Bread DID bake through... chocolate chips were burned. Next attempt (far far down the line) will be just plain ol' regular banana bread. No fancy schmancy mini chocolate chips for the boy. No siree. I might have more luck. Maybe.


Since I was prepared for a semi-fail, I also whipped up a couple batches of cookie dough. Now, baking cookies I love. ESPECIALLY chocolate chip cookies (and variations thereof). I mean, since childhood with the frozen cookie dough chunks from Costco to watch bake up in the oven, I'm pretty good at identifying this "or until golden brown" sign of doneness. Plus, if some cookies get stuck in the hotspot of the oven... oh wells. I actually like a semi-overdone cookie. It adds flavour.

I only baked off one cookie batch today. (I let the dough "rest" in the fridge for a night.)
Same dough and recipe as from the last post... used the same Halloween peanut butter M&Ms.

AND! I happened to stumble across Mint Crisp M&Ms! I am devastated at the loss of the crispy m&ms. Those were delish. But this is just as good. Very crispy crunchy minty goodness. Nice holiday colors too. (But could also be very school spirit. Go team go!)

My only issue is that these M&Ms are larger and rounder than just plain M&Ms, so they stick out like... I dunno... something gross, a huge pimple or something. Anyways, minor detail. Still good.

The other batch of cookies is simply chocolate chip. But as I've done before, and gotten good feedback on, I'll sprinkle salt on the cookies. Except for the ones for the boy, since he doesn't like that. Whatevs.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

hit and miss

Banana bread and I (and the oven) do not seem to get along. At all. FAIL #2.5

I used a smaller loaf pan this time. It was still wet in the center after the initial 40 min. I added another 10. Then another 12. At which point the bread was done, and of course, burnt. Maybeeeee I should have added on only another 5 minutes. or something. And to think, I was excited 20 minutes into baking time that THIS TIME would actually be successful.

My cookies are good though!
Basic Cookie Dough Recipe w/ Add-Ins
adapted from Real Simple

Notes: I let the dough rest for 1.5hrs.
Added in Mini M&Ms, Peanut Butter Halloween Mix M&Ms, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, and Holiday Sprinkles (to test the colors). And a made a couple just plain.
Yummy base.
11-12 min. bake time. Easy peasy. Yields approx. 30-40 cookies.

Oh. And even though this is a crappy picture from my cell phone, and it looks pretty gross to begin with... this is a DELECTABLE PLATE-LICKING DROOL-WORTHY piece of flourless bittersweet chocolate cake. (Too bad I didn't make it.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

fun times

From Cakespy
The Sweet 100

1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!
2) Bold all of the sweets you've eaten--or make them a different type color.
3) Cross out any of them that you'd never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your "To Do" List.
5) Optional: Post a comment here linking to your results--or just post a comment letting us know how many you've tried, or what you're going to try next!

  1. Red Velvet Cake
  2. Princess Torte
  3. Whoopie Pie
  4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
  5. Beignet
  6. Baklava
  7. Black and white cookie
  8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
  9. Fried Fruit pie (sometimes called hand pies)
  10. Kringle
  11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
  12. Scone with clotted cream
  13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
  14. Halvah
  15. Macarons
  16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers
  17. Bubble tea (with tapioca "pearls")
  18. Dixie Cup
  19. Rice Krispie treats
  20. Alfajores
  21. Blondies
  22. Croquembouche
  23. Girl Scout cookies
  24. Moon cake
  25. Candy Apple
  26. Baked Alaska
  27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
  28. Nanaimo bar
  29. Baba au rhum
  30. King Cake
  31. Sachertorte
  32. Pavlova
  33. Tres Leches Cake
  34. Trifle
  35. Shoofly Pie
  36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
  37. Panna Cotta
  38. New York Cheesecake
  39. Napoleon / mille-fueille
  40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake
  41. Anzac biscuits
  42. Pizzelle
  43. Kolache
  44. Buckeyes
  45. Malasadas
  46. Moon Pie
  47. Dutch baby
  48. Boston Cream Pie
  49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
  50. Pralines
  51. Gooey butter cake
  52. Rusks
  53. Daifuku
  54. Green tea cake or cookies
  55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
  56. Crème brûlée
  57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)
  58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
  59. Jelly Roll
  60. Pop Tarts
  61. Charlotte Russe
  62. An "upside down" dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)
  63. Hummingbird Cake
  64. Jell-O from a mold
  65. Black forest cake
  66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
  67. Kulfi
  68. Linzer torte
  69. Churro
  70. Stollen
  71. Angel Food Cake
  72. Mincemeat pie
  73. Concha
  74. Opera Cake
  75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
  76. Pain au chocolat
  77. A piece of Gingerbread House
  78. Cassata
  79. Cannoli
  80. Rainbow cookies
  81. Religieuse
  82. Petits fours
  83. Chocolate Souffle
  84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
  85. Rugelach
  86. Hamenstashen
  87. Homemade marshmallows
  88. Rigo Janci
  89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
  90. Divinity
  91. Coke or Cola cake
  92. Gateau Basque
  93. S'mores
  94. Figgy Pudding
  95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
  96. Joe Froggers
  97. Sables
  98. Millionaire's Shortbread
  99. Animal crackers
  100. Basbousa

Meet Tag. Newest family member.