Wednesday, March 3, 2010

last night was food heaven! i promised, i'm going to try and get better at the blog thing.

So last night I kinda went a little overboard here was the menu:

Stuffed pork tenderloin

Garlic Steamed Broccoli

Whole Grain Rice

Guinness Bundt Cake

Carrot Cake Muffins with Orange Cream Cheese filling

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Ice Cream

don't worry...we didn't eat all of it! I promise!

So i'm getting ready to go on this trip to visit some old friends on friday and I wanted to bring them all a baked good...its the suzy homemaker in me i guess. So I wanted to make this guinness beer cake, because if you haven't noticed i like to find as many ways to incorporate alcohol into my life without actually drinking it. (p.s. there was rum in the carrot cake muffins too! :) )

so anyway, i started the evening by prepping my cake, the recipe is below, altered by me:


1 can Guinness Stout (I had the tall can 14.25oz, and used it all)

½ cup pomegranate molasses (or regular molasses, which I used because who has pomegranate molasses?)

½ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 eggs

1 cup muscovado sugar (i used regular granulated)

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon ginger (i used slightly less than this because that much ginger scares me)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon white pepper (i omitted because i didn't have white pepper)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup cubed candied ginger (optional, and I chose not to include)

Confectioners sugar for dusting

PROCEDUREPreheat oven to 350°In a large saucepan, combine molasses, brown sugar, Guinness and baking soda and simmer over medium heat until the brown sugar has melted. The mixture will bubble due to the baking soda, so make sure your pot is large enough! Set aside.In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and all spices and salt. Set aside.In a standmixer with paddle attachment, cream muscovado sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between additions and scraping down the bowl.Add flour and Guinness mixture, alternate between the two, adding a quarter of each mixture with each incorporation.Stir in candied ginger, if using, and pour the batter into a non-stick bundt mold that’s been liberally sprayed with non-stick spray. I’ll say it again, non-stick molds stick. Be ever vigilant! Bake at 350° for about an hour. When the cake is cool, dust with confectioners sugar.

I brought the cake into work today and its ok, i mean it doesn't taste like beer, and i think it still has a little too much ginger, but it is moist and very flavorful. But it tastes more like a sweet bread, then a cake. So I'm thinking I'm probably going to make a chocolate cake instead for my friends. Sorry!

after putting the cake in the oven I realized it was already after 6 and I needed to start dinner. Luckily we found a tenderloin on sale at the grocery store yesterday so I butterflied it out, spread down some pesto and sprinkled some grated swiss cheese, rolled her up and basted with olive oil and blasmic vinegar and roasted in the convection oven at 425 for about 30 minutes give or take.

After that was in I threw down some whole grain rice and got out my wok to steam my broccoli. I have a steamer, but I find it easier just to toss the oil, garlic, water and broccoli in the big wok and cover. it steams perfectly. Everything fortunately was finished at about the same time...which i consider impressive.

We chowed down and oooo it was yummy. There is even some left over pork in the fridge for adam's lunch today. I will be having a veggie burger that I also found on sale, buy one get one free...yes please!

so then adam and i decided it was time for ice cream making attempt #1. my parents were kind enough to order me one of these for my birthday:

Yay! Attachment for my favorite appliance! It finally arrived Sunday, but then you have to pop it in the freezer for like 15 hours. So we flipped through the manual and all of the recipes called for a dozen egg yolks...which is crazy, then what do i do with a dozen egg whites...maybe i should make another bundt cake, like angel food? perhaps another time

So I had found a recipe for blueberry cheesecake ice cream the other day, so we adapted:

Cheesecake Ice Cream
4 oz Cream Cheese, room temp

1 cup Sugar

1 large Egg

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

3/4 cup Milk

2 tsp Lime Zest

1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream

1. Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Add the egg and vanilla, mix until creamy and set aside.2. Bring the milk to a boil over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and add a quarter cup of the milk to the cream cheese mixture and mix until combined and smooth. Continue with 2 more quarter cups of milk and then add the entire mixture back to the pan with the rest of the milk.3. Stir over medium-low heat until thickened slightly (should take around 3 minutes). Remove from heat, strain mixture, and let cool 10 minutes.4. Combine the zest, heavy cream and cream cheese mixture together. Pour into your ice cream machine and freeze according to manufactures instructions.5. When ice cream is thickened and finished freezing, slowly pour in the blueberry lime syrup and let 'swirl' a few times in the machine before turning off. (You can also do this by creating layers of the ice cream to a container and adding the syrup between layers , then swirl with a knife a few times.)

we pretty much followed the cheesecake recipe exactly but then instead of blueberry we swirled in caramel sauce at the end!

All I can say is OOOOO LA LA!!! this ice cream was amazing, fantastic, rich, creamy, sooooo perfect in every way. and really easy, my husband did it for goodness sake!

and then finally I made my carrot cake muffins. Adam so graciously grated my carrots in the food processor while I was working on other things. I love when he helps me cook! Here is the recipe that I adapted:

Carrot cake muffins with orange-cream cheese filling
Carrot cake:

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ cups carrots, grated (I used a bag of baby carrots I had lying around, well 2/3 of a bag)

½ tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

¾ tsp baking soda

1 ¼ cups cinnamon (I assumed this meant teaspoons and not cups...cuz EWWW!)

½ tsp nutmeg

1/4 cup raisins (i didn't have these, and don't like them so I omitted)

1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped (I doubled these to make up for the lack of raisins)

2 tbsp rum (i soaked the pecans in rum instead of the raisins HAHA!)

Cream cheese filling
6 oz cream cheese

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp orange zest


Soak the raisins in the rum for at least half an hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line a standard muffin tin (or grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan, if using).In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside.Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and scrape down the sides of the bowl.Slowly add the flour mixture to the bowl in three separate additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time. Drain the raisins from the rum, and fold them into the mixture along with the pecans. Set aside while you make the cream cheese filling.Using a hand or stand mixer combine the cream cheese, orange zest and sugar. Beat for two minutes on medium high. Drop a large tablespoon of the carrot cake into a muffin cup. Place a teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture on top and top that with another heaping tablespoon of carrot cake.Bake for 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed.Cool the muffins on a wire rack.

The muffins were easy to put together, taste wise, i'm not sure i like the filling, too much cream cheese, not enough anything else. I would have rather opted for no filling and maybe a light cream cheese frosting, so I might do that next time. But they are good. Took way longer to bake then 20 minutes though! and I still think i should have left them in a few more.

Anyway, had all these pictures but I can't seem to post them. Another time perhaps!

that's all for now! more tonight/tomorrow!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

so i've been neglectful

didn't know how busy life would be after law school.

Anyway, I haven't forgotten my dear blog, nor have I stopped creating wonderful food concoctions!

Tonight was breakfast for dinner. I'll need to start taking more pictures of my food, but tonight was pure laziness. We came home from the weekend at my parents and I hadn't set out anything to cook. So...breakfast it was. A few weekends ago my parents, adam, and I ventured to Costco, we have a Sams card, but my dad was in search of hashbrowns in a box. Yes, it does sound odd but you rehydrate them in hot water and then cook them. They are delicious. So he got them, and we spent about $200 in other food items. He gave adam and i a box to try so tonight I filled the box with hot water and watched them expand! Mom and Dad also gave me 2 cartons of eggs, the chickens are laying about 15 eggs a day!

So I started dinner by busting out my cast iron skillet and throwing down a big ole hunk of bacon fat. Yep, that's right i save my bacon fat in a little ramkin in the fridge it gets hard and then melts down lovely in my skillet. Then I dumped in the hashbrowns, seasoned and walked away. well not really. I opened up my freezer and pulled out the english muffin bread that I hide there for just these occasions and popped pieces in the toaster. then got to work on the eggs, beautiful fresh farm eggs over-easy in coconut oil! so healthy and so satisfying. after flipping the hashbrowns and buttering the toast, heaped up the plates and dumped on some red hot sauce for good measure. dinner was very satisfying!

before all that started i put all the ingredients in the bread machine for flax seed bread! healthy and yummy. I try to always make my own bread, its cheaper and tastes so much better, plus I know what is going in it!

And i just finished making chocolate covered peanut butter balls to take with me on Friday when I head back to where I graduated high school to visit with some old friends! tomorrow i'll make some peppermint patties and tuesday some thin mints. And there may or may not be a Guiness cake in there somewhere! yeah, i'm crazy!

anyway, that's all for now. pictures tomorrow i promise!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Swanky Shrimps

I LOVE Shrimp! No need to beat around the bush. They are easy to cook, go well with everything, and my husband eats them up! Since tomorrow I was planning on pigging out with our guests on some mexican food, I wanted a light supper tonight. For me light in synonymous with fast!

I stock up on raw shrimp when it is on sale and freeze it. Last I checked I had like 5 pounds in my freezer so I thawed some out peeled them and decided to make a pasta dish...because I also love pasta! SO healthy I know!

Sara's Swanky Shrimps...& Pasta:
1lb raw, peeled and deveined shrimp (doesn't matter the size really, I happened to pull out smaller shrimp from the freezer), 1/2 stick of butter melted, 1/3 cup of white wine (i had some leftover yellow tail), 1/4 cup olive oil, 4 teaspoons minced garlic, 1.5 teaspoons italian seasoning (or whatever you want), salt and pepper to taste, and half a box of spaghetti (I prefer to use whole wheat just for added nutritional benefit), cooked.

Mix everything but the spaghetti in the bottom of a broiler pan and broil for approximately 4 minutes, or however long it takes until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through, toss in the spaghetti!

My husband and I completed our meal with a fresh from the garden salad and topped the pasta with Parmesan cheese. It was pretty delicious and left us full without being stuffed. I will certainly be playing with this recipe again!

We are totally pumped to entertain our guests tomorrow night! Not many of our friends have come over to our new apartment so it will be nice to cook for others. I hope I remember to take a picture of our mexican night!

Good luck and happy eating!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

bad blogger...i know i know

So I was doing so well updating each night with a new recipe or idea. But then I went on vacation, then I got a puppy, and well now I'm studying for the bar exam! So needless to say, creativity is not on the top of my list. However I don't stop eating just because I'm busy, so here's my food experiences.

Wednesday night we left for a family reunion in Branson, MO, which got me thinking about food that travels well, is easy to fix in our small kitchen of the cabin, and can feed our family of 6. My parents try to plan out our meals and food seal a lot of it.

For the first night my parents prepped one of my suggestions, chicken burritos. So here's how this recipe came about. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are super expensive but are amazing in everything so when I can't buy those I buy split chicken breasts because they are the same thing only require a little more work. So a few weeks ago they went on sale for like $.69/pound, so I bought about 20 pounds! YIKES! My father and I steamed the breasts shredded the meat and food sealed it into 1-2 lb bags. I use this for quick meals! It is amazing!

So I took one of these bags out of my freezer a few weeks ago and combine it with some cooked brown rice, a can of rinsed black beans, and a can of Progresso Enchilada soup. The soup can be really difficult to find in stores, if you can't find it you can get a Tortilla soup and a cheese soup and combine them. I filled burritos with this mix and it was AWESOME. My parents altered theres by not putting in the rice. I like rice because it is very filling and provides an additional whole grain.

Another great meal on my vacation was our big family meal. Pot-luck style only this year instead of the main course being bbq we did a mexican theme...and yum yum yum! I LOVE LOVE mexican food or pretty much anything that can be associated with latin themed food! There were so many dips, enchiladas, salsas, rices, and casseroles that were so amazing. Thursday I'm going to be testing out a Creamy Green Chicken Enchilada recipe for friends of our who are coming to dinner! So look forward to my recipes for it and my FAMOUS guacamole! Trust me you won't want to miss it!

Anyway, back to studying for tonight!

Good luck and happy eating!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

unCANny tomato soup

After last nights scrumptious homemade pizza, I still had some remaining tomatoes and basil. Since we are leaving for vacation tomorrow, I wanted to get good use of them. Also having a lot of bread that will likely get bad before we leave, nothing sounded more delicious than homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese! YUM!

I will admit I have historically been a canned soup consumer. Not that I haven't made some from scratch before, but I can't resist picking up a few cans each time I notice a sale! While every recipe I found used canned tomatoes I figured I'd get the best of both worlds by using canned soup and fresh tomatoes. Here is my recipe:
unCANny Tomato Basil Soup: 2 cans condensed tomato soup 2 cans of milk plus a dash 2 roma tomatoes chopped and unseeded small bunch of basil dash of seasonings: sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and italian seasoning blend teaspoon or so of minced garlic

Dumped in everything, heated through and then blended with an immersion blender. The only difference I made with mine is I added some other tomato flavored leftovers, a splash of leftover V8 spicy juice, and a wee bit of organic tomato sauce, I just needed to use those leftovers!

With a side of grilled cheese, this was a very satisfying meal! I only wish I had some crustier bread other than split-top wheat. Maybe a homemade sourdough grilled cheese next time?! YUM!

The husband even ate his whole bowl! So I know this works for us! Next time I'll probably not use canned soup, but I just had to get rid of what's left in my pantry.

As always,

Good Luck and Happy Eating!

Monday, July 6, 2009

When the moon hits your eye... a big pizza pie that's amore!

I had been struggling to decide what recipe to start this blog with for the last few weeks. After many dishes not seeming quite amazing enough to be THE first dish, looking at a few roma tomatoes finally convinced me. PIZZA!

There is a little Italian in me and my husband and I do like our pizza, but its usually our go to meal when we are too lazy to cook and don't feel like fast food. These days pizza isn't the cheap meal it used to be, with frozen pizzas costing nearly as much as delivery...I figured I could do it for pretty cheap. So I sent the hubby to the grocery store for his topping selections and started kneading.

My first goal was to find a crust that didn't require overnight refrigeration. I don't mind doing things ahead of time, but when I want pizza, I don't want to wait until tomorrow! I researched several recipes and settled on one I found on a blog Fab Food Friday. Of course I doctored it to my specifications, so I'm only going to list my recipe:

Wheat Pizza Crust (after all we are Kansans): 1 cup warm water 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (I used bread machine yeast as it was all I had on hand) 1 teaspoon honey 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 1/2 cup bread flour 1 tablespoon fine sea salt 2 tablespoon olive oil First mix the water, yeast and honey and leave set for 5 minutes. This is to give the yeast time to activate. Second I used my mixer to whisk the flours together while the yeast activated. Switching to my dough hook, added the yeast mixture and the salt and olive oil and mixed for 8 or 9 minutes. Finally, place the dough in a greased bowl in the turned off oven next to a bowl of boiling hot water and allow it to rise for 60 minutes.

I took this opportunity to cut up and prep all of our toppings. My meat-loving husband chose traditional sausage and pepperoni toppings, but I also chopped up some roma tomatoes, black olives and sliced up some fresh mozzarella cheese! YUM!

After a very LONG hour, I divided the dough into two pieces and kneaded for a few minutes before flattening. It was a little difficult for us to flatten the dough as it sprung back easily, we ultimately used a rolling pin.

After turning on the oven to 500 degrees, and getting the pizza stone nice and hot we topped our pizzas and cooked them for just under 10 minutes. Depending on how thick you have your crust it might not take that long! Just keep an eye on it.

My toppings and those pictured are: a brush of olive oil, sprinkle of Italian seasoning, some tomato sauce, sliced roma tomatoes, black olive slices, fresh basil, mozzarella slices, and a final sprinkle of Italian seasoning.

Needless to say one of the best pizzas I've ever eaten, and certainly the best that has come out of my oven! I will probably make up more pizza dough and package in individual ziplock bags so I don't have to wait for it to rise. If I come up with a different dough recipe I will post it. Otherwise, the wheat crust wasn't tough or dense, it was nice and light. Mixing the flours really aided that.

Good luck and happy eating!