Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Well... hello!

Well hello there!

It sure has been a while since you've heard from me on this blog. I had to take an unexpected break to take care of some personal things.  OK a lot of personal stuff. :) Life has changed since we last spoke! Where do I start? What do I say first?!
  1.  I'll start with SORRY. I'm really SORRY. No excuses. Just life. I was surprised that a few of you, who I didn't know even read my blog, asked what happened to it?! I'm sure no one actually cares THAT much that I went MIA, but now you're reading again, so there's that. :)
  2. In December of 2011, after years of many, many issues, tests and doctor visits, I discovered that I have a severe gluten intolerance. I get very sick when I eat gluten, even in minute amounts now that my body hasn't had any in so long. #TMI I do not have Celiac disease, but I avoid gluten as if I do. I have been 100% gluten-free for almost 3 years now. I also eat dairy-free most of the time to feel my best, so my new recipes will be very allergy-friendly. :) P.S. I also still make a ton of my old recipes using gluten-free substitutes, so if you're curious, just ask!
  3.  I accepted a new job and in July of 2012, I packed up my 9,571 boxes of kitchen gadgets and relocated to sunny, glorious & beautiful Colorado! I live and work in the Boulder/Denver area. I play in the mountains.I still do advertising stuff- for a company that also helps other companies come up with new food products. In a giant test kitchen. In my office. Umm...#Iwasmadetobehere
  4. I adopted a new fur baby. The light of my life. Tiny kitchen assistant (AKA floor licker). Meet Newman. Newman is officially a "potcake" from the Bahamas, but I'm pretty sure he's a "whippador" or lab/whippet mix. Quirky little guy.
  5.  I bought my first house.YAY! #grownupthings I have a big kitchen, so that's the most important thing. Can you really ever have enough cabinet space though?
  6. Fell in love with a mid-western boy. My heart. Child-at-heart kitchen (AKA eating) assistant. Meet R. Scroll down. :)

Newman. My model puppy

Loaded car on our first camping trip

This is Denver. Festivals. Roasted Corn. Yum.
OK. So now that you're basically all caught up on my life, how about we continue this blog thing, shall we? :) I'm not really sure what my blog will look like from here, but I would like to keep it up as an account of my new life & baking/cooking adventures.

Is anyone still reading? I'd love to hear from you! What is going on with YOU?!

Lots of love,

M

Monday, January 23, 2012

Soft & Chewy Molasses Cookies

Apparently I failed again and didn't take any photos of these cookies?! This one is from Food.com
Ginger is not a flavor that's just for Christmas anymore. Haven't you heard? :) There's nothing like some delicious, soft & chewy molasses cookies any time of the year. These particular cookies have a really strong flavor from the molasses. I think they tasted great & had the perfect texture- so  chewy- no crunch in sight! You can always tone down the molasses if you want a weaker flavor. Grab a glass of milk and give half away before you sit down on your couch or you will eat them all & have no idea why you can't stop... that's my last warning. :)



Soft & Chew Molasses Cookies
Recipe adapted from Food.com
Makes about 40 cookies
  • 3/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • white sugar for rolling dough in
Cream brown sugar & shortening in mixing bowl. 

Add egg and molasses & mix well.

Fold in dry ingredients & mix well.

Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough in fridge for 1-2 hours or until firm. Don't skip this step or your dough will be too sticky to work with & the flavors won't come together as nicely. 

Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough into small balls & roll in bowl of white sugar. 

Place on parchment-covered baking sheet & bake 9-10 minutes. Let cookies set for 1 minute on baking sheet before moving to cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.

Enjoy!

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Sesame-Crusted Chicken Fingers & Thai Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce





Sometimes I like to pretend I'm 5 years old and have chicken fingers & macaroni for dinner. But then, I remember that I'm actually like 20 years older than that and I need some veggies too. Add in the token broccoli and you have yourself a meal! Normally, I bake my chicken fingers using a few seasonings & panko crumbs. I love anything Asian-inspired and have had this little gem on my bookmark list for a while from Skinny Taste. Um LOVE! I did have to buy a jar of sesame seeds and some sesame oil for this recipe, but honestly I still have a ton left and I've made it like 3 times. So worth it!


Oh and I didn't discover the dipping sauce until take 2, but its fabulous! It has a little kick but you can adjust the spice to your taste. It seriously takes these little chicken fingers over the edge!! You could even go crazy and make these into nuggets. Explore your wild side. :)


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Creamy Stove Top Macaroni & Cheese


Cheese is amazing! I love me some mac & cheese. I try to limit my pre-packaged foods as much as I can. I figured, why can't I make my own mac & cheese? Now I've made some fancy baked mac & cheese before. It's GOOD. but I wanted a recipe I could make that would take like 5 minutes and still be good & way better than the boxed kind. A quick Google search and done. Thank you Alton Brown! It's like so easy you will die. Then you will die again when you taste the cheesey goodness.

P.S. Those are sesame chicken fingers- recipe coming soon!

The surprising ingredient for me? Hot sauce! It just adds enough of a twang. Or a tang. Whatever it is its good, but don't worry its not spicy at all. I've tried with regular elbow pasta & brown rice pasta and both were fab.

Creamy Stove Top Mac & Cheese
Recipe adapted from The Food Network

Makes enough for 3-4 people. Easily doubles
  • 1/4 lb. elbow macaraoni or shell pasta (2 cups dry)
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 ounches (1/2 small can) evaporated milk
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp dry mustard
  • 5-6 ounces cheese of choice - sharp cheddar, Jack or Mexican work well
Cook pasta to al dente according ot directions in large pot of salted boiling water. While pasta is cooking, whisk egg, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper & dry mustard together in a small bowl. 

Drain & return pasta to pot. Add butter and stir until melted.Turn heat on low & add egg mixture. Add cheese and stir until melted and well combined- about 3 minutes. Serve right away.

Enjoy!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Oreo Truffles

Most of you may already know the bliss that is Oreo Truffles, but I just had to share it again. It's too easy & everyone is always so impressed with these little guys. You don't have to have food processor, but it really makes the process much quicker, easier & less messy! I like my truffles with white chocolate coating on the outside, but you can do regular chocolate too if you prefer. They are fun to decorate with sprinkles for whichever occasion you are making them for. I made these for G's brother & his family at Christmas time. They were wrapped tightly in a tin and survived the mail!



One trick, I always use the same kind of almond bark- I think its called Candi Quick and it comes in a blue package. I have tried other kinds (even expired versions my mother had of the same kind!) and they did NOT give the same results. Another trick is to refrigerate/freeze the balls before you dip them in the bark. These keeps them pretty.


These don't even taste like cream cheese, they just taste like amazingness!! I hope you make these soon- they are great for crowds & can be made a few days ahead. I always keep mine in the fridge & serve cold.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Easy 3 Ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream

Believe it! It's true! You can make yummy ice cream with 3 ingredients or less. Apparently you don't even need an ice cream maker to make this (I did use one). You can also experiment with add ins, extracts, candy, etc. to find your favorite flavor. The best part is that seriously you don't have to make a custard over the stove and burn yourself like I did! Anyone can make this! One mistake I did make was to use milk instead of all the cream- mine was a little icy. Next time I would stick to 100% cream or at least do 50% cream, 50% milk.






Easy 3 Ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • splash of vanilla extract
If you have an ice cream maker- In a large bowl, mix together cream & condensed milk until combined. Condensed milk should be mostly dissolved. Add vanilla. Pour into ice cream maker & freeze as directed.


If you don't have an ice cream maker - Whip cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Pour condensed milk into a large bowl. Slowly fold cream into condensed milk until combined. Spread evenly in an airtight container and freeze until firm- about 6 hours.



Enjoy!!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spicy Green Beans (Similar to PF Chang's)

I failed and did not take a picture when I made it- this photo is from All Recipes.com
Tired of making the same ole green beans? Look no further! I love the flavor these beans pack- it is almost like the spicy green beans at PF Changs! I loved the recipe because I already had everything in the cupboard. Feel free to adjust the amount of spice to your taste with the chile sauce. Personally, I would add more. They have a lot of flavor though- so don't pair with an entree with a heavy sauce as well - they do better with grilled chicken, etc.

Spicy Green Beans
Recipe from All Recipes
  • 3/4 fresh green beans, ends trimmed (you can use frozen if you want, just steam for longer)
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic chili sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp canola oil
Steam green beans for 3 minutes in a steamer basket or in the microwave. I prefer to put mine in a microwaveable bowl with a tiny bit of water & cover with plastic wrap. Fresh beans only need about 2 minutes & frozen need about 4 (Depending on amount of beans). If you like crispier green beans, than you can skip the steaming as long as they are at room temperature (i.e. not frozen). 

In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, garlic, chili sauce & honey and set aside. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add green beans and cook about 3 minutes. Add sauce and cook 2 more minutes, until sauce is mostly absorbed. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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