Moving through life one recipe at a time

Moving through life one recipe at a time

Saturday, July 18, 2015


I'm not sure where my Snickerdoodle recipe came from but it is a handwritten card in my recipe binder. It is a quick and pretty little recipe!

I use my smallest cookie scoop and these are about the same size as a Nilla wafer.

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Sugar coating: 2 tbsp sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400F
In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar and then mix in eggs and vanilla
Add in dry ingredients and comibne until a sticky ball forms.
Shape into balls (I use my cookie scoops) and roll in the cinnamon sugar mix.
Bake 8-10 minutes. Cookies won't turn brown but the bottom edges will start to turn a light golden.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

WOW this is my 200th post!! I'm glad its a festive recipe!

I made these fun decorated sugar cookies for a bachelorette party!

The dough was easy to work with, the recipe is easy to double, and they were quite tasty!

The Sugar Cookie recipe was adapted from Sallys Baking Addiction. The icing recipe is adapted from All Recipes.

I doubled the cookie recipe and it made 60 cookies. The cookies were about 3 inches big. I used the Wilton 4 Piece Wedding Cookie Cutters. Unfortunately the bells did not frost easily and didn't look like bells so the evidence was consumed.

This is a recipe for softer sugar cookies but if you prefer a crispier cookie roll the dough thinner and cook for an extra minute.

You'll want the eggs and butter to be room temperature but you want the dough to be cold when you are ready to work with it.

While my dough was cooling in the fridge I made these cinnamon/sugar Snickerdoodle cookies!

I let the cookies cool for about 6 hours before adding the icing. After icing them I let them harden for 4 hours before stacking and bagging them.

It was about 2 hours of effort (making dough, cutting, putting in the oven) but a lot of other hours of waiting while chilling the dough and cooling the cookies and drying the icing.

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Sallys Baking Addiction
Yields: 18 medium size cookies or 30 smaller cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

In your stand mixer beat the butter until creamed and smooth.
Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy.
Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high until fully combined.

In a different bowl mix the flour and baking powder.
With the mixer on low slowly add in the flour until just combined.

Chill dough in fridge for about an hour or up to a day. If more than an hour, cover the dough so it doesn't dry out.

Remove dough from fridge and divide the dough in half. Put on piece on floured surface and put other half in the fridge. Roll to about 1/4″ thickness and cut into desired shapes. Put on cookie sheet (with parchment paper or Silpat mat) and place back in the fridge for 10-20 minutes. This allows the dough to firm back up and prevents spreading.

Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. I alternated pieces in the fridge and pieces to work with so that the dough was a little cooler.

Bake for 8-11 minutes, until very lightly colored on top and around the edges. My cookies took 10 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Make the icing and decorate the cooled cookies!

Adapted from All Recipes
Makes enough for 1 dozen cookies

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional, I would omit next time)
Food coloring (Wilton Gel Food Colors)

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup or milk by the 1/4 tsp.

Divide into separate bowls, and add desired food coloring to each. The food colors I used were very strong and ONE drop was plenty.

Put frosting into bag and snip the corner to easily frost the cookies. An easy way to add the frosting into the bag is to use a drinking glass and that holds it open while you put the frosting in.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Balsamic Glazed Steak and Veggie Rolls

Was this fancy looking? Was it labor intensive? Was it yummy? Will I make this again? Yes for all!

I updated the instructions below to be a bit more efficient. It took me about an hour and I had some downtime while I was waiting for things to cook.

To make this faster you can prepare the veggies the night before or purchase the pre-cut veggies. It also could be made with leftover veggies or the random veggies wilting in your drawer.

Remember that the smaller you cut the veggies the quicker they will cook. My veggies were a bit bigger and I crowded the pan and it took about 10-15 minutes until tender.

veggies all sliced

Rolled meat and kept closed with a toothpick

Topped with the balsamic sauce

Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls
Adapted from Picture the Recipe
Yields 8 rolls and fed 2 hungry grownups

For the Steak
1 lb sliced skirt steak or top round cutlets
Salt & Pepper
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil

For the Veggie filling
1 carrot
1 bell pepper, any color
1/2 a zucchini or summer squash
5-6 green onions
2 cloves of garlic or 1 heaping tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp Italian herb seasoning

For the Balsamic glaze sauce
2 tsp butter
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup beef broth or red wine or water

Cut the steak into 3 inch wide strips or separate the steak cutlets.
Season the steak pieces with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
Marinate for 1/2+ hours.

While the steak is marinading... Melt butter in a large saucepan on medium heat.
Add the shallot and saute it for a minute or 2 until they turn soft and translucent.
Add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and beef stock and stir.
Bring sauce to a boil and then simmer until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. It will become thicker and syrupy. Turn the heat off and transfer the sauce to a bowl.

While the steak is marinating and sauce is reducing...Cut carrot, bell pepper and zucchini into matchstick size pieces, little longer than the width of the steak strips.

After the sauce is put into a different bowl, add a little olive oil and the garlic to the same pan.
When hot add add veggies, Italian herbs, and salt. Stir fry until tender. The smaller the slices the faster it will cook. (aka true matchstick size will cook quickly, mine took about 10 minutes...oops!).
Transfer the veggies to a bowl.

To assemble the steak rolls...
Lay out the strips of steak and place the veggies on one end and roll! Secure it with toothpick. Repeat the same with the other rolls.
Add some oil to the pan and heat for a couple minutes
Put the beef rolls in the pan, seam side down and pan fry for a couple minutes. Then turn roll and cook it on all sides in the same way. Cook until you’re desired done-ness.

Remove the toothpick and serve with the balsamic glaze sauce spooned over the top of each roll.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Vanilla Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust

After you go camping and you have leftover graham crackers...what to do?? So far I've made Martha Stewart's Key Lime Pies and now these yummy mini cheesecakes!

I've adapted this recipe from Tyler Florence's Ultimate Cheesecake recipe. Overall I halved the recipe. Instead of 1.5 eggs I used 2 eggs. Instead of 1 cup sour cream I used 1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt. I omitted the lemon zest and vanilla extract. I reduced the sugar from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup after reading a bunch of other recipes.

I didn't have any blueberries or fresh fruit to turn into a sauce to drizzle over the top so I put a little Strawberry Jam on mine.

These came out very soft unlike traditional cheesecakes. They freeze well. They are also delish out of the freezer and defrosted for about 10 minutes!

Vanilla Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust
makes 8 mini (6 oz ramekin) servings

2 cups finely ground graham crackers
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 (8oz) block, softened cream cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a food processor pulse the graham crackers, cinnamon, and melted butter.
Spoon into the glass bowls and use another bowl to press the crackers in. Put it to the side.
Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. 
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined.
Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add vanilla yogurt, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 
Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan. 
Put the ramekins on the cookie sheet and then place in the oven. 
Place a large pan of water in the bottom rack of the oven. 
Bake for 30 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling). 
Crack the oven door and let the cheesecake sit for another 30 minutes. 
Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Irish Soda Bread Recipes x3

I had some leftover buttermilk from the Broccoli Slaw and I was thinking of what else I could make... Irish Soda Bread! It is a little late past St. Patrick's Day but it is a recipe I've been waiting to try!

Since I don't do this in parts and I couldn't decide which recipe to make, I decided to make all 3!

I adjusted each recipe for 2 cups of flour and updated all the ingredient measurements. I did not use caraway seeds or the chocolate chips for a more even comparison.

I baked Recipe 1 and Recipe 2 as suggested. I baked Recipe 3 at 350 for 40 minutes. Recipe 1 follows an authentic Irish Soda Bread recipe. Recipe 2 was sweeter and moister. Recipe 3 was similar to a biscuit texture.

For a different variation use chocolate chips for the raisins.

If you give them a try let me know what you think!

Below are the original recipes:

Recipe 1
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp Caraway seeds (Optional) or 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Put the dough on a well floured surface and knead until no longer super sticky. Place on a cookie sheet and slice the top lightly with an "X"

Bake 10 minutes at 375 and then 40 minutes at 350.

Recipe 2 followed Recipe 1 without the salt but the addition of sugar, eggs, and melted butter. I didn't use the caraway seeds. However, the recipe called for "T" and "t" which I didn't realize until after that "T" means Tablespoon and "t" means teaspoon. So the recipe wasn't followed as closely as planned, at least I can't remember. At any rate...

Recipe 2

3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups raisins
2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp melted butter
1 tbsp Caraway Seeds (Optional) or 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Grease and flour the cake pan. Pour batter into the pan.

Bake 45 minutes at 350.

Recipe 3 follows closely to Recipe 2 but calls for the butter to be cold instead of melted and for 1 egg instead of 2 eggs and no baking powder. There is also a difference in the flour to buttermilk ratio. I didn't use the orange zest.

Recipe 3

4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk
4 tbsp sugar
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp grated orange zest (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Put the dough on a well floured surface and knead until no longer super sticky. Place on a cookie sheet and slice the top lightly with an "X"

Bake 45 minutes at 375.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chicken Fajitas

I was looking for ways to change up our regular grilled chicken and this is one of the new recipes that I tried!  This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes.

It was nice that this whole meal could be prepared on the grill since it has been so hot outside! 

I made a couple substitutes based on what was available in the house. I used lemon juice instead of lime juice, garlic powder instead of garlic cloves, and red pepper flakes instead of jalapeno.


Chicken Fajitas
Serves 4

1 pound of chicken breast
3 peppers, sliced into stripes
2 small onions, sliced into stripes

2 tbsp lime juice or lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder or 1/4 tsp of cayenne powder and 1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Butterfly the chicken breast. Put into a pie plate.
Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over chicken.
Marinade for 1 hour at room temperature or in the fridge for 4-6 hours.

While grill is preheating, put the veggies on a large piece of tinfoil, fold the foil in half. Fold the edges in to form an envelope/packet. Put on the grill for 10 minutes while grill continues to heat.
Grill the chicken for 3-6 minutes per side. Once cooked remove from heat and onto a plate to rest. 
Continue to cook peppers and onions until charred.
Slice chicken and serve on a tortilla.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mild Taco Seasoning

This mild taco seasoning was adapted from The Daily Meal and was kid approved (at least this time!). It was determined to be not too spicy and not too bland. I did a heaping scoop for the cilantro and oregano but then to make it less green and more red I added a few more sprinkles of paprika until it looked like the packet stuff. 

Mild Taco Seasoning
for 1 pound of meat

1 tbsp chili powder (or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper + 1/2 tsp paprika)
1 pinch of ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Lemonade Yogurt Popsicles

Another stolen recipe from Angela! She made these the other night and I had to make them at home! These are very refreshing and tangy!

If you use an ice cube tray: Pour mix into the wells. Cover the top with tin foil and put popsicle stick into each cube hole.

Variations: try using substituting limes or oranges for the lemons!

Lemonade Yogurt Popsicles 
makes about 5 pops

2 lemons, about 1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 vanilla yogurt  (regular or Greek style)
Honey (optional)
Popsicle mold or ice cube tray

Zest the lemons, use only the color part and not the white part underneath.
Juice the lemons.
Mix juice and zest into the yogurt.
Taste, if it is too tart add 1 tbsp of honey until it tastes how you want.
Carefully pour into the molds and freeze 6+ hours

To remove from the popsicle mold: place pop under warm running water for 15-20 seconds and then try to remove. If it doesn't come out put under water and repeat.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Key Lime Pie

Boy it is hot out already!! This is Martha Stewart's Key Lime Pie recipe. My cousin made this pie for us last summer and it was so tart and refreshing!! I have been looking forward to making this for quite some time.

One of the perks of this pie is that you can make it ahead of time. I also took a peek at the Pioneer Woman's Key Lime Pie Sorta Recipe and hers is pretty similar except that instead of room temperature she makes hers as a refrigerator pie  and chills it for 1 hour or more prior to serving. She also uses 2 eggs instead of 4. Maybe next time I'll use 3 eggs?

I used regular limes instead of key limes since there weren't any at the store. I made these in small bowls so that each was a serving and could be stored for a little longer. I used about 2 heaping tbsp of graham cracker crumbs in each and then pressed them in using the bottom of one of the other bowls. The filling was about the same thickness as the graham crackers, so if you'd prefer less crust use less of the crumbs. As these are a lot smaller I baked the crusts for 10 minutes and baked the pie with the filling for 9 minutes. 
Key Lime Pie
Makes 1 pie or 10 ramekins

1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs (1 - 1 1/2 packs of graham crackers)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt

Filling (makes about 2 cups worth of filling):
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh Key-lime juice
1 tablespoon grated Key-lime rind

3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled

Heat oven to 375°. Put graham crackers in the food processor and pulse until combined. Add butter, sugar, and salt and continue to pulse until combined. Press into a buttered 8-inch pie plate (or whatever container you are using), and bake 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool completely.

In a mixing bowl, combine condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice, and rind. Pour into the prepared, cooled crust.

Lower oven to 325°. Return pie to oven, and bake approximately 15 to 17 minutes, until the center is set but still quivers when the pan is nudged.

Remove from oven, and let stand until cool. Prior to serving, whip cream until stiffened. Decorate pie with whipped cream, and serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

My neighbor makes this dressing all the time so I had to steal it from her :) Thanks Angela! This Maple Walnut Vinaigrette Dressing is adapted from The Yummy Life.

It took about 5 minutes to take all the ingredients out and put it through the food processor. This made about 9 oz of dressing which is almost a regular size bottle of dressing.


Maple Walnut Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
approx 9 servings

1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper or 1/4 tsp black pepper
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients except the oils in a food processor. 
Blend until well combined and walnuts are pureed. 
With food processor running, pour olive in a slow steady stream through the feed tube. 
Transfer to jar or other airtight container and chill in fridge.

Note: If the dressing is thicker than you like, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until it's the desired consistency.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Broccoli Slaw

This is the broccoli slaw recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I loved this! It was refreshing and surprisingly light. 
I did use real buttermilk instead of my usual substitute (milk + white vinegar) because I wasn't sure of the flavor impact.

Next time I would add some dice chicken, or red cabbage or maybe sprinkle some crispy bacon pieces on top because...why not?! If I added more I would make more dressing too.

Broccoli Slaw
makes about 9 cups

2 heads of broccoli (florets and stems)
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds or walnuts
1/3 - 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

Buttermilk Dressing:
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt & Pepper

Trim broccoli and cut into bite sized pieces using a knife, food processor, or mandolin slicer.

Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds or walnuts, cranberries or raisins, and red onion in a large bowl (I used my largest cooking pot). 

In a small bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and toss it well. Season with additional salt and pepper if you'd like.

Store in the fridge until ready to serve for up to a week.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

I was looking to change up our menu from our standard Mr. Tom's Grilled Chicken and thought, why not try teriyaki sauce? Only problem was that I forgot to buy the teriyaki sauce at the store. I Google-ed several recipes and found it was a very straight forward fix and we have all the ingredients in the house!

I doubled the recipe below for 5 large chicken breasts (2 - 3 lbs?) and added in 2 smashed cloves of garlic and about 1/4 inch of sliced ginger into the pot to simmer. The corn starch will make the sauce thicker if you prefer. We were just hungry so I didn't bother trying to figure out the consistency :)

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

4 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. corn starch
2 Tbsp. water
garlic (optional)
ginger (optional)

Combine all ingredients into small pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally. 

If using as a marinade - pour sauce (and garlic and ginger) over the chicken (or whatever you are marinading) and let it sit for about 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile start to preheat the grill. 
When grill is ready put the chicken on the grill and let it cook. 
Thicker pieces of chicken will take upwards of 6-7 minutes per size while thinner pieces can cook about 3-4 minutes per side. 
If you gently push down on the chicken you'll be able to tell the difference between squishier uncooked chicken and firmer cooked chicken. If you cut it open you can also see if it is cooked through.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chicken and Clouds

This was a creamy, filling, and comforting soup from The Pioneer Woman. If you go to her site the not chicken and dumplings.  However, As I'm assembling the soup Anthony says, "Oh yum! Chicken and Clouds!" Well then, if you think of this as chicken and clouds you won't be disappointed.

The comments on the origional recipe are great. People have definite opinions on what is a noodle and what is a dumpling and how her recipe is

Because I had some time and enjoy this stuff, I decided to take the more labor intensive path and so this soup was a labor of love. It took me 2 days to make but you can also make it in less time if you don't buy an uncooked chicken and use canned broth.

Roasted Chicken - I took a little 3lb chicken and rinsed it in cold water. I seasoned it with salt and pepper on both sides and rubbed it in with olive oil. I roasted it about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the chicken cool on the stove. While I was waiting I made Brown Butter and Toffee Cookies. Once the chicken is cool remove all the meat from the bones. The meat goes into a container for use the next day and the bones went into a larger pot. 

Homemade Broth - large chop about 1 cup of carrots and a stalk or two of celery. Cut an onion into half. Nestle it all around the chicken bones. Cover with water (I did about 8 cups of water). Season with salt and pepper if you'd like, add thyme or rosemary or any seasoning if you want as well. Bring to a boil on high heat and then reduce the to a simmer on low. Let it hang out on the stove for about 2 hours while you do other things. Like the dishes. When it is done, pour the broth through a strainer into another pot. This will remove all the bones and weird chunks. Then let it refrigerate overnight. Before using I skim the coagulated fat off the top of the broth. If you have never made broth before, it will be a squishy almost jell-o like consistency. It is OK and will be fine. 

Now that you have done this prep work, follow the directions below!

Some changes for next time (and updated below)
- omit apple cider (I just didn't like it)
- omit thyme (because I had made the broth with thyme it was a bit over powering)

Changes I made (reflected below): 
- I used half and half for whole recipe because it was cheaper than purchasing both heavy cream and half and half
-As the chicken was already cooked I put it in the bottom of the soup bowls. The chicken heated up when the broth and dumplings were put on top so that way the chicken didn't over cook.

I'll make this again! It was so good!

Chicken and Clouds
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Serves 4

1 whole Chicken, meat is bite sized
Salt And Pepper
1/2 cup Finely Diced Carrots
1/2 cup Finely Diced Celery
1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
1/2 teaspoon Ground Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
6 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Half-and-half

1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Yellow Cornmeal
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1-1/2 cup Half-and-half
Salt As Needed

In the large pot, add diced onion, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir in ground thyme and turmeric, then pour in chicken broth. Stir to combine. Cover pot and simmer.

While chicken is broth is simmering, make the dough for the dumplings: sift together all dry ingredients, then add half-and-half, stirring gently to combine. Set aside.

Add cream into the pot and stir to combine. Drop tablespoons of dumpling dough into the simmering pot. Cover pot halfway and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Check seasonings; add salt if needed. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Put meat in the bottom of the bowls (and some spinach) and cover with dumplings and the broth.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This takes a bit more effort but based on everyone's responses it was worth it! These are soft, chewy, salty, sweet, chocolate-y, and actually pretty good! 

I think these cookies would be better larger rather than my normal small bite size cookies if only because it was more difficult to sprinkle the salt. 

Keep your eyes on the browning butter. It is similar to making caramel where nothing happens and then it happens all at once! 

And you do need to wait a couple minutes before removing the cookies from the baking sheet otherwise they will become awkward oval shapes and you'll have to eat them because they are funny looking :)

Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from Two Peas and Their PodYield: 32 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch (if you don't have any use an extra tablespoon of flour)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (milk or dark)
1/2 cup chopped Heath  or Skor or toffee candy bars
Coarse sea salt, to sprinkle on top

Place 1 stick of butter in a medium skillet. Melt the butter over medium heat, swirling it in the pan occasionally. The butter will foam and pop. Continue to swirl the pan often. Remove pan from heat once the butter starts to brown and smells nutty. There will be small brown bits on the bottom. The butter should be an amber color. Pour butter into a small bowl and cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

While the brown butter is cooling, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining 1/2 cup butter with dark brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat until creamy and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Add the cooled brown butter and mix until smooth.

Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. Gradually mix in the flour on low speed until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks and toffee chunks.

Chill dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Silpat baking mats and set aside.

Remove dough from fridge and form into 2 tablespoon sized cookie dough balls. Place on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely. Store cookies in an air-tight container for 2-3 days. These cookies also freeze well.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Italian Bread

I found this recipe on AllRecipes. I didn't wait for the water to get hot enough for the yeast so the bread didn't rise as well and we ended up with a flat loaf of bread. Still very tasty but my Dutch Oven Bread Recipe came out better and was less "touchy". Italian bread needs a bit more attention. It also would have improved if I added some Italian herb seasoning or garlic into the bread dough.

Italian Bread
Makes 3 loaves

3 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
7 cups all-purpose flour

Add the sugar and yeast to the warm water and let proof.
Stir in 4 cups of flour and beat until smooth. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
Beat in the salt and then add enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Knead until as soft and smooth as a bambino's behind. Turn in a greased bowl, cover, and let double in size. (I put it in the oven with the light on - perfect rising temperature.)
Once doubled, punch down and divide into three. Place back in the bowl, cover, and let rise.
Once doubled again, punch down and form into three fat "footballs." Grease heavy cookie sheets and sprinkle with corn meal. Place the bread on the sheets, cover with a towel, and let rise.

Once risen, mist with water and place in a preheated 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) oven. Mist loaves with water and turn occasionally while they bake. Bread is done when golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Meat Lasagna

I found this Lasagna recipe on AllRecipes. I made a couple tweaks but nothing major. I omit the parsley and used oregano instead of basil. I used spicy sausage and ground turkey. I reduced the sugar from 2 tbsp to 1 tbsp and I think the sauce was still very sweet. Next time I will omit the sugar completely and add some red pepper flakes.

Served with my Italian Bread recipe!

Meat Lasagna
Makes a heaping 9 x 13 baking dish

1 pound Italian sausage (sweet or spicy)
3/4 pound lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves (or oregano)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1 box lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned.

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange noodles over meat sauce. Spread with one third of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with handful of the mozzarella. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella and repeat the layers.

Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia

Continuing on the fish meal experiments. This recipe is from Martha Stewart.

It was tasty but very heavy and made a bit more of a mess than I wanted to deal with. I also think it would be better if I had made some veggies to go with it. I forgot to separate the thick part from the thin part of the fish so the edges were a bit overcooked so that the middle part would be cooked.

Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia
serves 4

1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons paprika
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 (6 to 8 ounces each) skinless tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup prepared tomato salsa

In a shallow dish, combine cornmeal and paprika; season generously with salt and pepper. 
Separate fillets into thick and thin sides. 
Dredge each piece in cornmeal mixture, patting it on to coat completely.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. 
Cook as many pieces as will fit (without crowding) until golden brown and firm, about 2 minutes per side for thin pieces and 4 minutes per side for thick ones. 
Transfer to a plate; sprinkle with salt, if desired, and cover loosely to keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and fish. Serve with salsa.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Steamed Fish with Soy Sauce, Ginger, and Scallion

Happy Lunar New Year! I used the Steamed Fish with Scallion-Ginger-Soy Sauce recipe from Nomnomcat. What a taste of home! My mom and my grandmother used to make this for the family.

The only change from the recipe is that I omitted the sugar.

At banquets this is an entire steamed fish, not just the fillet. But you can make this with fish fillets and it can be microwaved! I used the individually frozen tilapia fish fillets.

A fresh healthy dinner in less than 10 minutes! And another perk? This recipe pretty much creates NO dishes. Seriously, for dishes I had: a rice pot and lid, a pie plate, a plate, scissors (from the scallion, cilantro, and opening the fish packets), a knife from cutting the ginger, and chop sticks.

If you don't have a rice cooker, here are straight forward white rice directions that I wrote up a while back!

Fish in the soy sauce with ginger on top

Noonk! This is the rice at the bottom of the rice pot that gets crispy.
Take the rest of the rice out of the pot and leave a thin layer.
While you are eating put the rice pot on low and let the bottom cook.
Pry it out of the pot and put some butter and salt on it and enjoy!

Steamed Fish with Soy Sauce, Ginger, and Scallion
serves 1-2 people

White rice, cooked
2 fish fillets, tilapia, defrosted
2 green onion stems, sliced
3 stems of cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp cold water
1/2 tsp fresh ginger or 1/4 inch of fresh ginger in chunks

In a glass Pyrex pie plate combine soy sauce, sesame oil, cold water. Mix to combine.
Toss the fish in the mix to coat.
Put the ginger on top of the fish.
Cover with saran wrap tightly.
Cook for 5 minutes, until fish is opaque and flaking.
Carefully remove the saran wrap.
Put rice on the plate, top with fish and garnish with green onion and cilantro. Then pour the sauce from the pan onto the fish and rice.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pennsylvania Activities

Roundtop - Sledding, Lewisberry, PA
We have gone here the past two years (2014 and 2015) What fun! We get the full day pass and arrive about 15 minutes before they open. This means we have been to the bathroom and are in our gear and ready to go the second the magic carpet starts! We are able to get about 15 runs in before it gets crowded. Around 1 it starts to get a lot busier and can take about 20 minutes a run.

There is a small hill for those under 5 years old but I wouldn't pay to do that... you can probably find a similar hill in your neighborhood.

The lodge has bathrooms and the lodge is separate from the ski lodge. You can purchase food and drinks and there are tables that you eat at. We bring our food and hot chocolate because it is typical expensive lodge fast food.

Philadelphia, PA - Check out my post from our weekend trip in January 2014!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Peanut Noodles

I have never tried any of Melissa d'Arabian's recipes because I wasn't a fan of her show (Ten Dollar Dinners or her cooking on Food Network Star). But this recipe is great and I think I'll try some more of her recipes later on. This is her Peanut Noodle recipe which was delish! I will be making this again. It was very easy and came together in about 25 minutes.

I added chicken to the meal for protein and I increased the peanut dressing to make sure it would cover the additions. Tofu would also work nicely. This could be a great base to add any veggies wilting in your fridge. I think the sauce would also be good with rice too... but then again I just love peanut butter.


Peanut Noodles
Serves 2 very hungry people

3 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
12 ounces linguine
2 chicken breast

1/2 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/3 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup roughly chopped skinless roasted peanuts, for garnish

Peanut Dressing:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Sirracha
1 ½ teaspoon sesame oil
Zest and juice of 1/2 lime

Chop and combine salad ingredients, put into a large strainer. 

Heat medium size frying pan. Add a little oil, soy sauce, and sirracha. Stir occasionally and cook until chicken is done (about 8 minutes). Set aside.

Put the peanut butter in a medium size glass bowl. Microwave about 15 seconds to soften. Whisk in with the soy sauce, vinegar, canola oil, ginger, honey, Sirracha, sesame oil and lime zest and juice in a small bowl.Thin with the starchy pasta water if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. (Dressing should be thick, but pourable.) 

Toast sesame seeds in a frying pan until light golden in color, 4 to 6 minutes, and set aside. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Pour the pasta over the salad in the strainer. The hot water will soften the veggies. Put back into the pasta pot. Pour the peanut dressing over the pasta and veggies, combine.

Top with the chopped peanuts and toasted sesame seeds and serve.