Monday, September 6, 2010

Double Chocolate Cookies

A few weeks back I was in the mood for homemade cookies and decided to bake some while taking advantage of the last few carefree days of summer vacation. I had some semisweet Bakers chocolate that I wanted to use and saw this recipe in Ellie Krieger's book which I adapted to include the chocolate. Now, as a warning, these cookies are NOT your traditional oh so chewy and buttery cookies. BUT- they are chocolaty and able to maintain a delicious taste while being slightly healthier at the same time. Ellie uses part canola oil instead of all butter and uses cocoa powder instead of some of the flour, therefore lessening the calories and fat of traditional cookies. Try them out next time you want some chocolate cookies without all of the guilt. You won't be sorry!

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 ounces chopped semi sweet Bakers chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 F

In a large bowl, mash together the butter and sugars with a fork until well combined.  Add the oil and egg and beat until creamy. Mix in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa and salt. Add the flour mixture the the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in the chocolates and mix well. Using a tablespoon or a cookie scoop, scoop the batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until the cookies are just set, about 11-12 minutes (cookies do not flatten out like typical cookies). Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Enjoy!

Adapted from Ellie Krieger's Triple Chocolate Cookies

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ranch Oyster Crackers

Looking for a quick and easy snack food that's different from the ordinary? Well, here it is! I have had these a few times at parties and always love them. When I found out how easy it is to make them, I was thrilled! I don't make them often because they're addicting, but they are also SO simple! They take about 25 minutes from start to finish to make and are delicious! The perfect snack for a party or just to have around your house. Oyster crackers are not something that I typically snack on, but this makes them irresistible.

1 package ranch dressing mix (I typically use Hidden Valley Ranch)
1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
 1 bag oyster crackers (about 6 cups)
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ranch seasoning mix, dill, lemon pepper, garlic powder and canola oil. Gently mix in the oyster crackers until well coated.

Spread the crackers onto a baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, stirring carefully halfway through. Crackers will be golden brown when finished. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container for about a week if you're lucky enough to have them last that long!

Recipe is slightly adapted from Allrecipes

Monday, August 2, 2010

Maple Bacon Waffles

Bacon waffles? Yep, you read correctly and keep reading- you won't be sorry! Everything you thought you knew about waffles is about to change. . . for the better!

My inspiration for this recipe came from a local breakfast spot famous for their apple pancakes. Although, I've always loved savory dishes more than sweets, especially for breakfast and cannot resist the bacon waffles on the menu. They are the perfect combination of salty and sweet, soft and crispy. The secret to this recipe is separating the eggs and adding the beaten egg whites last. It makes the waffles light and fluffy. Try this recipe and you won't go back to Plain Jane waffles!

8 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup melted and cooled butter (5 1/3 tbsp)
1 tsp. maple syrup

Using a paper towel, lightly grease your waffle iron with canola oil. Preheat your waffle iron according to directions.

In a medium bowl, mix the egg yolks, buttermilk, syrup and melted butter.

In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients well. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, combining just until mixed.

In a third bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff. Using a spatula, fold the egg whites and bacon into the batter being careful not the over mix.

When your waffle iron is preheated, add enough batter to cover the iron and cook according to directions. Either serve immediately or keep waffles warm in an oven set to 225 Degrees F until all waffles are cooked. Serve with butter and syrup.

Makes about 4 Belgium Waffles

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guest Blog

Today I am guest blogging on  The Happiest Belly on the Block! Check it out!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vacation Food

Wow! It's been awhile, but I'm back. I'm trying to be more focused with the blog and am starting today. Thanks for being patient and thanks for reading!

Anyhow- this weekend we were on vacation, nothing fancy, but a vacation nonetheless. A trip to a small touristy midwest town with my husband and baby- the first trip with our daughter and it was a success! We had a great time, though it's definitely different vacationing with baby than without, but just as fun! For those of you who have babies or children, you'll understand.

We enjoyed the town we went to, but were quite unimpressed with the restaurants and food where we were. Now, this may not seem important to all of you, but when we vacation we often look over restaurants ahead of time, make reservations and even try to plan our trips around the food in our destination. I know- slightly lame, but that's our style. This time though, we didn't research restaurants or make reservations, probably because we knew we'd be eating with our 8 month old daughter and likely eating at odd times (i.e. dinner at 5:00) in order to help stick to her bedtime routine. Yep, for those of you without kids, routines are important and babies often go to sleep around 6:30 or 7:00, right during dinner time- so a restaurant during bedtime is not possible, thus the reason for the 5 O'Clock dinner time.

Instead, we walked around the town until we found a restaurant that looked appealing and I don't think any were memorable. The first night both my husband and I ordered Chicken Marsala- a favorite of both of ours. Well, we think they forgot the Marsala. The next night we were at a brewery with dirty tasting beer and overcooked fish and chips. Breakfasts consisted of greasy eggs and ordinary coffee. Although, biscuits are always delicious!

Likely our favorite meal was from the sandwich shop, which doesn't say much, but is likely the truth. Although- I have to say that the ice cream was delicious and the farmers market had the best blueberries I've ever eaten! So, it wasn't all bad! But- next time we'll do a little more research so we don't get stuck with Marsalaless Chicken.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dinner Time

I absolutely LOVE dinner time. I insist on having a sit down dinner every night and can't wait for my daughter to join us once she starts eating more solid foods that aren't pureed! We plan our menu every week so that we know what meals we are making and are sure to have the ingredients on hand. It makes it so much easier after a long day to prepare a meal when you know what you are making and aren't playing the "what do you want?" game.

Dinner isn't fancy at all, but we make meals we enjoy. Anything from pierogis (my husband's favorite) to tacos or even chicken cordon bleu. Although, I do have to admit that sometimes a good grilled cheese and tomato soup hits the spot! 

After cooking our dinner, often times together, we sit on our stools and eat while talking about our days. Sometimes even silence is nice just because we are together. We talk about the meal, our days and our family amongst other things. It's the calm before the storm since after dinner is when we often are doing chores around the house and rushing around. Dinner time though- that's sacred.

What are your favorite times of the day? What are your dinner time traditions?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Speaking of Healthy- Is this for real?

Now that I'm on this health kick I have been dying for some yummy treats. I pretty much became addicted to dessert during my pregnancy and over 7 months later have not been able to kick the habit. So, while shopping for whole wheat pizza dough for an oh so too healthy dinner, I spied this box of Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Brownie Mix.

I did a double take. . . could it be? I snagged a box and promptly went home to calculate the points per brownie. Those of you who are also counting points will be glad to know that 1 brownie is 2 points. By definition, 1 brownie is 1 of 12. So, after dinner, I made the brownies, drooled while they cooled and cut 12 brownies. I'm proud to say I only had 1 (that night). While they are definitely not the best brownies I've ever had, they are definitely better than their 2 point calculation. Sweet, chewy and full of chocolate goodness. Please head on over, well run on over, to your local Trader Joe's and get some of these brownies. Even if you aren't on a health kick, you won't be sorry! You're welcome!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Healthy Eating. . .

Is Healthy Eating an oxymoron or is it possible? I've ALWAYS been a huge snacker, but thought I was eating balanced snacks with mostly balanced meals. But, I'm realizing that it's the little things that add up. After having a baby in November, I have a little extra weight to lose and recently joined a weight loss diet program. Some of you may be familiar with this program- daily points are given and all food items are given points. I'm realizing how frustrating this can be and how even something as healthy as an apple can change your daily point value just by 1 point. Because I am fairly small and only have a few pounds to lose I don't receive many points per day so something as small as an apple truly can change my ability to have something such as an extra meatball for dinner. And, when given the choice, of course I'd rather have a meatball than an apple, wouldn't you? Then again, maybe that's why I am in this predicament- too many meatballs!

image credit-

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

San Diego Chicken?

I've been to San Diego before but don't remember a specific type of Chicken being eaten, but our new recipe of the week was San Diego Chicken from this book.
My husband had gotten this book as a gift and we have never cooked anything from it, but as a joke he suggested San Diego Chicken for this week's recipe. Turned out better than we both expected and we actually would eat it again. Basically, orange juice, tomato sauce, lemon and lime juice and garlic and mixed together and chicken is marinated overnight. Sounds a little odd, but after marinating and grilling the chicken it looks like this.
It was delicious- charred on the outside and juice on the inside. We served it with Mexican Style Rice and green beans which made for a healthy and tasty meal. Simple and delicious! A perfect weeknight meal. Yummy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mariscada Salsa Verde

Being that my husband is from New Jersey and we live in the Midwest now, we can't always get the food that he craves- New York Bagels, NY Pizza and the most recent addition, Mariscada Salsa Verde are all foods that he often craves, but aren't readily available where we live. So, for his birthday he requested Mariscade Salsa Verde and I agreed to make it. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the dish, as I was, it is a Portuguese seafood dish similar to a stew. So, I cooked it for my husband. It started out like this:
Some clams, parsley, garlic and onions sauteing in a pan. Smells delicious and garlicky!

Then, more seafood was added to the pot:
Mussels, Shrimp, Lobster and Scallops- Yummy!

After adding wine and fish stock, the final product is served:
Please excuse the blurry image- steam will do that!

The overall result was a hit! My husband loved it and had memories of his time out east while enjoying his birthday dinner at our Midwest home!

What recipes make you feel at home or give you memories of your childhood? Are they the traditional comfort foods like macaroni and cheese or are they something more unique like Mariscada? Whatever they are, enjoy them and enjoy the memories that go along with them!

Sparkle Gel

Have you ever seen this?
Because it is the best thing ever! Well, maybe not ever, but definitely the best way to decorate cakes! It is easy to use, fun and sparkly! What could be better??

It turned this boring chocolate cake

Into this delicious birthday cake for my husband!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Brussels Sprouts. . .

Does anyone really like these?

Personally, I think Brussels Sprouts are one of the most unappetizing and flavorless vegetables, but maybe I have never had them prepared in a can't resist way. What is the best way to prepare them? Roast them? Steam them? Saute them? What's the best seasoning to top them with? Butter (makes everything better)? Salt and pepper? Seasoning Salt?

I'm out of ideas when it comes to Brussels sprouts, but am curious to hear your suggestions. Maybe I'll try a new recipe next week with Brussels sprouts. Or, maybe no one does like them and it won't be worth my effort!

photo credits-

Monday, May 10, 2010

Steak Monday

It's no secret that Monday nights are possibly the worst night of the week. You've worked all day after a great weekend and have no desire to cook a nutritious dinner for you and your family. So, what do you do? Heat a frozen pizza, scramble some eggs or even order Chinese. What should you do? Have steak!

What? Steak? On a Monday? Yes! A meal that is typically reserved for a weekend or special occasion is equally delicious, make that more delicious when served on a Monday. What a great way to end a long workday. Serve it with some mashed potatoes, salad or even garlic bread. Whatever you choose, steak is sure to spice up your Monday! Go ahead, indulge and make yourself something special- you deserve it!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A new recipe

It has become a recent goal of mine to try a new recipe each week. We've gotten ourselves into a rut lately- eating the same meals over and over again- and it's boring! So, we have tried a new recipe each week for the past 3 weeks. It's enlightening, like reading a new book or watching a new movie. It's also exciting- at least when the recipe is delicious!

I have to say that my favorite recipe that we have tried lately was this one from from Ellie Krieger. Ellie is one of my favorite chefs on the food network. She's definitely not one of the most popular, but she has delicious, healthy recipes that don't make you feel guilty about eating yummy meals! I love that she gives you suggestions on how to make your favorite meals and allows you to eat chocolate and salty snacks- just healthier ones! This chicken is sweet and flavorful and the sauteed spinach makes a gorgeous side dish. The balsamic vinegar adds a unique touch to an easy chicken dinner. This is easy enough to make on a weeknight, but delicious enough for company. Try it and you won't be sorry!

The Beginning

Today's the day. I have been meaning to start a blog for awhile now- ever since I began reading other blogs and became fascinated by strangers' thoughts, lives and interests. I just wasn't sure where to begin. I didn't really want my life story all over the internet. I didn't want my family photos available for strangers to view and I didn't want personal information everywhere. Yes, I know I have a Facebook account, but it is only available to friends, which is how I justify that as being different. So, I decided to write about food. Eating food, cooking food, reading food blogs, anything food! We'll see how this goes. . . Thanks for reading this far!