Saturday, December 25, 2010

Best Christmas Gift...EVER!!

Woo... a KitchenAid and an ice cream attachment...what could be better? Oh...the possibilities...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh Joy!

I found an even better rolled sugar cookie recipe from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. No pictures of the cookies because I ate them all before I could frost them or even get a picture. This is very encouraging, I may try more recipes out of this book in the future.

Title: Rich Rolled Sugar Cookies
Yield: 30 Servings


1 c Unsalted butter; softened
2/3 c Sugar
1 lg Egg
1/4 ts Baking powder
1/8 ts Salt
1 1/2 ts Vanilla
2 1/3 c All-purpose flour


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until very fluffy and well blended. Add and beat in the egg, baking powder, salt, and vanilla until evenly incorporated. Stir in flour until well blended and smooth.
3. Divide the dough in half and shape into circles. Place each circle between large sheets of wax paper. Roll out a scant 1/4-inch thick, checking the underside frequently and smoothing out any creases. Keeping the wax paper in place, layer the rolled dough on a tray and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cold and slightly firm but not hard.
4. Working with 1 portion of dough (leave the other refrigerated), gently peel away and replace 1 sheet of the wax paper. (This will make it easier to lift the cookies from the paper later.) Peel off and discard the second layer. Using 2- or 3-inch cutters, cut out cookies. With a wide spatula, carefully transfer them from the wax paper to the cookie sheets, spacing
about 1 inch apart. Roll any dough scraps between wax paper and continue cutting out cookies until all the dough is used. If the dough becomes too warm to handle at any point, refrigerate it again briefly. If desired, very lightly sprinkle the cookies with colored sprinkles or colored decorating sugar.
5. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in the upper third of the oven for 6 to 9 minutes, or until cookies are just slightly colored on top and slightly darker at the edges. Rotate sheets halfway through baking for even browning.
6. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cookies firm up, 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks and let stand until thoroughly cool.
7. Store, airtight, for 1 or 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 1 month.

This recipe yields 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 dozen 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-inch cookies.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Canadian Treats

Rick brought me back some treats from Canada!

Chocolate and Cheese.Yum! Who knew that Kraft makes and sells mouldy cheese?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Favorite Thing

Curry powder! It is my current favorite ingredient. So far this week it has been featured in egg salad, tuna salad, roasted potatoes, and the obvious chicken curry. The possibilities of curry cookies or curry cake are swirling around in my mind.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

You can't catch me

I'm the gingerbread man.After a completely thwarted, failed, atrocious, sad...etc...attempt at making gingerbread cookies using a recipe from an executive chef who will remain nameless. I tried again using my friend Betty Crocker's recipe. I didn't have enough molasses on hand, so I substituted some shortening and corn syrup. The dough was super crumbly, but it produced decent cookies (only tastes good when iced).

Gingerbread Cookies
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups dark molasses
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses and water with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
2. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet lightly with shortening or spray with cooking spray. On floured surface, roll dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut with floured gingerbread cutter or other shaped cutter. On cookie sheet, place cutouts about 2 inches apart.
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. 4. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Makes About 2 1/2 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thinking about it

I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to start an organic garden and composting. I saw a kitchen composter while touring the Smart Home in the Museum of Science and Industry. Behold...the NATUREMILL:Looks awesome doesn't it? Comes with a pretty hefty price tag, but I think it would be worth it, if I had garden.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ruff Ruff

Made some chocolate bark with ingredients I had on hand. Super easy! Melt chocolate coating, mix in goodies, pour onto lined baking sheet and eat.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Precursor

I saw these mini cupcakes at Healthy Living Market in VT next to the Vermont Brownie Company brownies. Can't resist sweet potato cupcakes topped with cream cheese icing by My LIttle Cupcake. Couldn't really taste the sweet potato, but definitely got the sugar rush from the super sweet icing. Really cute and really tasty. Mr. Monkey thinks so too.

Successful Brownie Quest

When I arrived in Vermont, I immediately thought of brownies laced with Chevre. Why? Because the Vermont Brownie Company was featured on Food Network's Throwdown. After a few thwarted attempts to locate a brownie, I finally ended up buying it from a local grocery store. Expensive, but delicious.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On Vacation?

Sasha and I visited the Ben and Jerry's factory in Waterbury, VT. The bad news: the production staff was on vacation, so none of the equipment was running. The good news: I still got to eat ice cream anyway. Check out this cool podium!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Delicious Dumplings

Rick and I went to Qing Hua, the supposedly "best" dumplings in Montreal. We ordered the pork with cilantro, although quite good, I wouldn't classify them anywhere near my top ten list. They were very juicy, we ended up inadvertently squirting dumpling juice all over the table.

Oh la la!

When asking the front desk at our hotel where we could buy the BEST pastries in Montreal, the boy responded oh you know that place you walked past 25 minutes ago? Yea, right there. D'OH! Not about to brave the cold again, I opted to take the bus to Premier Moisson.
Cute little bakery:
Irresistible loot:

So True

Although not exactly food, definitely food related:A closer look:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Montreal Munchies

Rick's coworkers suggested the Montreal must-eats list which included poutine and smoked meats. So, we went on a trek towards Old Montreal and found Montreal poutine. Poutine is essentially fries that have been drenched in gravy and covered with cheese curds. Tastes about like it sounds. Maybe the place we went to wasn't very good, it tasted very bland. Not something I would order again. The unimpressive frites:
I walked for 1.5 miles to purchase smoked meat sandwiches from Schwartz's. Wow! What a difference, when going to try a city specialty definitely go with what the locals recommend. Delicious! I stood in line for about 15 min in the freezing cold only to learn that you don't need to stand in line for take out. Here's the deli in all its meaty glory:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Peter Peter

Pumpkin Cookie Eater. I felt the need to make Fall/Halloween cookies and used a Betty Crocker recipe. WOW. Totally delicious, even without the buttercream frosting. They turned out pretty well if I do say so myself!

Betty Crocker's Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Granulated sugar or colored sugar

1. Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
2. Heat oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease cookie sheet.
3. Divide dough in half. Roll each half 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes with 2- to 2 1/2-inch cookie cutters. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet.
4. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

Makes 5 dozen 2-inch cookies

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ghoulish Delight

My overgrown child-husband wanted ghost burgers for the Halloween season. And that's what he got! Sirloin burgers topped with Havarti cheese using a Wilton ghost shaped cookie cutter.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Take Two: Sweet Mandy B's

One of my very first posts on this blog was about Sweet Mandy B's. Well finally made it back! The cupcakes look a little more sophisticated and the shop has expanded into the next building over, but one thing hasn't changed, the cupcakes are still good.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Strawberry Stands!

Strawberry season has ended sadly, but not before I bought a basket from one of my favorite stands. Up until now, I have never had a ripe strawberry before. Who knew that when a strawberry is ripe, the inside is red?! Not me.The stand was also selling five zucchinis for a buck! These will become chocolate chip zucchini bread in the near future.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

That's a BIG straw!

I went to Burger King and ordered their delicious calorie laden Oreo Sundae shake. It was pure creamy chocolaty goodness and the best part about it? The straw! They call it the BK Pipe, it's big so you can suck up the chunky bits.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Mum's the Word

Ice cream cake! Ice cream cake! Ice creamy creamy cake! Ice cream cake! Look what Rick got me for Mother's Day! :)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

I Dreamt I Ate My Pillow

and when I woke up, I saw a train made out of rainbow marshmallows. I went to the Bellagio again and this time they had a new display next to the chocolate fountain.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Berry Good

I made some blueberry muffin/cupcakes today using yellow cake mix. Not too much of a recipe, I just added 1 cup of frozen blueberries to the mix, 3 tablespoons of whey protein, 2 tablespoons of benefiber (gotta pretend it's kind of healthy) and 1/2 cup white chocolate chips to half of the muffin cakes. Then I mixed and baked according to the instructions on the box. All the blueberries sank to the bottom of the muffin cakes when they were done baking. It looked like the muffin cakes had collapsed halfway through the baking process. What happened to the muffin cakes with the white chocolate chips? The cocoa butter acted like regular butter and just melted into the mix, which made for a kind of greasy muffin cake. I topped off the cakes with a lemon orange glaze, recipe below:

Here's the muffin cake with an orange glaze:MMM! The muffin cakes are incredibly tender and feel like they'll fall apart at a moments notice. The glaze was VERY tart by itself, but complemented the muffin cakes nicely.

Orange glaze:
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1 t orange zest
1/4 T butter
1/2 C powdered sugar

1. Combine powdered sugar with juice and microwave for 10 s, mix
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and microwave for 10 s, mix
3. Glaze away!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Everything is Better with Bacon

I went to Country Waffles today, which is a staple out in this area. I ordered the bacon cheddar waffle. It was okay, dense and crispy. The waffle was pretty big and I couldn't finish it. It came with a side of cooked apples, which crumbled into mush in my mouth. I think they used WAAAAY too much thickener for the sauce. I took one bite and left those alone.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Carbs and Meat

Here are the steamed meatballs that I made from the leftover dumpling mixture:All I did was pop them in the rice cooker for 20 min and serve them up with soy sauce.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Humina Humina Hummus!

Made roasted red pepper garlic hummus today. Yum. I had some left over roasted red pepper from the panini and incorporated it into the hummus today. It was so very tasty, I forgot to take a picture, but believe me it looked good. I served it up with honey wheat sandwich thins made by Arnold's that I used scissors to cut up into little wedges.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tommy Toes

I cooked up the ravioli that I made on Saturday and topped it with a fresh tomato sauce. Wow. I used to despise tomatoes and I still do, but this simple tomato "sauce" had my mouth watering for MORE MORE MORE tomatoes.The ravioli cooked very quickly and stuck together because they were made from wonton wrappers and were too big. Lesson learned, make triangular ravioli OR turn them into tortellini. I modified the recipe because this point in my life, I know what I like in my food. Did I mention it was DELICIOUS? This was probably one of the best dishes that I have tried out of that book. It just looked so fresh. I think I am going to try this for all my sauces. Heh...or we can stick to Ragu. But it's so simple! Here's that I used for the tomato "sauce" it will make you one serving:

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 clove garlic, sliced THIN or minced
1 T olive oil
1/4 t salt
1 T dried basil (if you have fresh, even better!)
1 t red pepper
1 t black pepper

1. Add olive oil to pan on medium heat until hot
2. Add everything else and heat for 5 min
3. Smoosh some of the cherry tomatoes
4. Remove from heat
5. Add 3 T of pasta water if you desire more of a sauce consistency
6. Top your pasta and grate TONS of parmesan cheese on to the dish.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

First Panini I Ever Did Make

Use a pan, looked like grilled cheese, tasted divine. Whole wheat bread filled with "grilled" chicken breast, pesto, home roasted red pepper, and mozzarella.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Worst Walmart Buy Ever

Today I was really excited to cook a honey glazed salmon recipe only to be thwarted by REALLY crappy product. Wow. I was extremely dissappointed when I opened up this package to find four vacuum sealed tail fillets. Okay, that wasn't the most disappointing part, the disappointing part was when I went to remove the fillet from its own bag, the fillet split into two! That's right, they packaged two super slim (I'm talking almost sliced smoked salmon thing here) into one bag. UGH! Talk about false advertising. Never going to purchase this product again:Anyway...enough of the ranting. Here's the final dish:Since the fillets were paper thin, obviously the cooking time was cut from 4-5 min per side to 1 min per side and the fat STILL oozed out. Sigh... The sauce was lovely and paired well with the steamed broccoli. Omega 3s and folic acid...

Here's what it was supposed to look like (you can also click on the photo to zoom in for the recipe):

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ring in the Chinese New Year

with pot stickers. I made some pot stickers mostly from scratch today, with a few shortcuts. A couple years ago, my aunt gave me the advice of buying coleslaw mix instead of processing a head of cabbage to save time. Of course nothing beats hand rolled wrappers, but that was for another day and age. See modified recipe below:I blanched the coleslaw mix and SQUEEEEEEZED every last drop of water out (which was very easy with a bath towel and my body weight). I mixed that together with some ground turkey that I purchased. Another shortcut was using "fresh" ginger from a tube:Mmm mixy meat:Here are the raw/frozen pot stickers:
I'll post the cooked ones later on. I also made pearl meatballs with the excess meat to be steamed at a later date:

20 oz ground turkey
1 coleslaw mix
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 T fresh ginger root, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 T soy sauce
1 teaspoon sushi vinegar
1 (12 ounce) package wonton wrappers


1. Boil water and blanch coleslaw mix. Drain and squeeze when cooked through.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the all the ingredients except for the wonton wrappers. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple hours, or overnight.
3. Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture into each of the wonton wrappers. Fold the wrappers, and seal the edges with a moistened fork.
4. In a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium high heat. Place the pot stickers into the oil seam sides up. Heat 30 seconds to a minute. Pour water into the skillet. Gently boil 7 to 8 minutes, until oil and water begins to sizzle, then add remaining oil. When the bottoms begin to brown, remove pot stickers from heat.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The days after....I am a big fan of paying less for the same thing, just through the virtue of patience. Yea...I stocked up on all kinds of Valentine's candies (didn't permit Rick to buy them before/during Valentine's day). The clerk that checked me out at CVS couldn't stop chuckling to himself when he saw me drop an armful of candies on the conveyor belt.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Giant Pocket-Sized Cookbook

I planned this week's meals out using our new book that Rick picked out.His favorite part? The "NO-DIET" part of it. My favorite part? It's like reading an A.D.D. magazine.

Best V-Day to date...(get it?)

Rick and I did movie and lunch for Valentine's Day today. We made the trek up to Fresno and ate at Limon after some Yelping. The emptiness of the restaurant worried me a little bit (every other restaurant within a one mile radius was packed and had 25 min waits to get seated), but we stayed anyway. The prices were far from astronomical, which was nice. I ordered the Papa a la Huancaina which was priced at $6.50. The description stolen from their menu: Traditional Peruvian Plate, steamed potatoes served with aji amarillo cream cheese sauce with olives and eggs. Here it is:
The cream sauce tasted like a spicy Hollandaise, overall a solid dish. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be piping hot or cold? It was served a little bit above room temperature. Rick ordered the Pollo Latino which was priced at $17.75 and described as: Pan-roasted chicken breast, truffle-infused macaroni and cheese, served with Dijon mustard sauce. Yum. The dish took them 15 minutes to prepare, but it was worth the wait. Well the mac and cheese made it worth the wait. Sooooooo....delicious!! I couldn't stop scraping the mac and cheese off of Rick's plate. The pasta was cooked al dente, the cream sauce was rich, but not overwhelmingly so and had a nice woodsy flavor. The chicken was nicely flavored, the critics at Yelp! were right, the chicken too salty, ONLY if you ate the skin. The meat itself was flavorful and pretty moist as far as white meat goes. MMM...mac and cheese! What does delicious mac and cheese look like?
I left the place stuffed and Rick was hungering for a little DESSERT!

What's best for dessert? ICE CREAM CAKE! We picked one up at Baskin Robbins.Below is the world's most annoying and catchy commercial. I found myself chanting it involuntarily one day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Suuuuper Healthy Pancakes

I woke up around 4AM with one thought in my head. Blueberry pancakes. Fluffy delicious blueberry pancakes. I made myself go back to sleep and woke up again around 6AM with the same thought in my head, so when I finally crawled out of bed at 7AM, I was on a mission. I looked up a whole wheat blueberry pancakes. I used the following recipe and since we have a GIANT container of whey protein, I added some powder to the pancakes. The batter turned out really thick and I had to add an extra milk.The pancakes were dense and chewy. They were so filling that I couldn't eat more than two pancakes.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whey protein powder
1 egg
1 1/4 cup milk, plus more if necessary
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup blueberries


1. Sift together flour and baking powder, set aside. Beat together the egg, milk, salt and artificial sweetener in a bowl. Stir in flour until just moistened, add blueberries, and stir to incorporate.
2. Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, and spray with cooking spray. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan for each pancake. Cook until bubbly, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn, and continue cooking until golden brown.