Archive from March, 2009
Mar 30, 2009 - File Icon Bread, In The Kitchen, Yeast Bread   Comment Icon Comments Off on Disasters


I think everyone will have at least one disaster while learning how to cook. At LEAST one. I think I’ve made hundreds, but that’s a whole other story.

This whole cooking thing has been a journey for me, from not knowing that some foods like marshmallows could actually be made by hand, to actually making the things that cause others to say “You did WHAT?”

That has to be the best reaction ever by the way.

I have to say my biggest disaster was my Franken-bread.

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Mar 28, 2009 - File Icon Dessert   Comment Icon Comments Off on Marshmallows!


The best type of reaction you can get while cooking or learning to cook is the look and exclamation of “You made WHAT?!”

This has happened to me more than a few times. Mostly with these lovely home made marshmallows.


Yes! You can actually make marshmallows at home. However they are completely different than anything you buy at the store. The store bought varieties are usually very firm, chewy, and while they taste good they remind me of chewing on rubber.

If you have ever had a home made marshmallow, you will be instantly spoiled and be hard pressed to eat a store bought one again. They are sweet, tender, and melt in your mouth.

Most people don’t realize that marshmallows can be made by hand. Of course they can, they had to be invented somewhere, likely in someone’s kitchen. It just seems so out of place for them to be made by hand now since it’s rare for someone to do so. They just think the rubber they buy in the store is the only way to get their fix.

Not true, and the best way to surprise your friends is to make them the best home made marshmallows ever.

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Mar 25, 2009 - File Icon Dessert   Comment Icon 2 Comments

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This cooking I did over the weekend just seemed to go so well!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Last week I ran out of flour. No really, I actually forgot to buy myself some flour. I was at a loss all week because I wanted to bake something. I don’t know that I would have baked something but since there was no flour, I REALLY wanted to bake. I was going through withdrawals of having my flour container full.

I am such a freak.

So all last week I was looking for something fun to bake without flour. I came across the recipe for a flourless chocolate cake! How ingenious. No flour, lots of chocolate, I did a happy dance.

I didn’t get around to making it until this past weekend because of sheer laziness. Everything seems to feel more of a chore lately, so I just didn’t feel like cleaning the kitchen after cooking.

The texture of the “cake” is not cake-like at all, but more of a mix between a truffle, brownie and fudge. It’s very silky and creamy, not spongy like a cake. It is truly a decadent dessert.

They say that you should use the best quality chocolate when making something that will have that as the main flavor. While that’s true and could have an impact on the final product, I just used semi-sweet chocolate chips from the grocery store.

The recipe is just simple ingredients, definitely not low fat by any means, but you only have tiny small pieces. It’s just that rich. Even our resident chocoholic (Husband) had to eat it slowly and only a small piece. I think it would be lovely with some fresh strawberries to go with it.

Holy crap its good, go try it.
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Mar 23, 2009 - File Icon Bread, Yeast Bread   Comment Icon Comments Off on Naan


Naan, the delightful flatbread.


I was first introduced to Indian curry from a friend in college. She loved this stuff and was absolutely convinced that it would cure the common cold.

She was a little…unique. But in a good way.

My favorite is tikka masala, but I just can’t find a place that makes something as good as the little hole in the wall Indian place she would take me to. Spicy but mild in heat, and oh so flavorful. I haven’t ventured much out of the realm of tikka masala, I think I need someone to teach me the different styles, and most importantly, how to cook it.

Well here’s a start on it. Naan is a flatbread that is usually served with curry. Its warm, flavorful and wonderful for wrapping around some meat while dipping into the sauce. Absolutely wonderful I think.

I was leery about making naan for a while since most of the recipes called for lard or shortening, and that for some reason didn’t sound right. It sounded more like a giant tortilla than a soft and wonderful piece of naan. But I did find this one and really thought I could do it. And I did. I don’t have any curry in the house, but right now I’m enjoying it plain, warmed up in some foil in our toaster oven.

I love this bread and I think it could be used for a lot more than just plain bread to dip in curry sauce. My husband agrees that it would make some pretty awesome individual pizzas, and maybe brush some garlic butter over it to have with pasta. I could probably even roll it flat enough to use as a basis for a sandwich wrap.

So many possibilities.
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Mar 21, 2009 - File Icon Dessert   Comment Icon Comments Off on Dark Chocolate Truffles

Dark Chocolate Truffles

I have a new thing I want to start making. Finger food. I love the idea of being able to eat with your hands. Simple one bite packages that deliver taste and you don’t have to use a fork.

For my first foray into the little bites section of my cooking experience, I give dessert: Dark Chocolate Truffles.

Dark Chocolate Truffles

I love making these and part of me is posting these not only for the fact that I’m loving the idea of finger foods, but also because I had a coworker who would always ask me when I would next be making them. I saw him again this week, unfortunately he didn’t see me. He isn’t a coworker any longer since he suddenly lost his sight last year. He’s a cool guy and I’ve been wanting to post these while they were on the brain.

Truffles bare the same name as the funky looking mushroom that we consider a delicacy and spend LOTS of money on. I really don’t think I’ve ever eaten a real truffle, but I am quite content with the dessert look-a-like version.

My version pictured doesn’t actually look like a truffle, they are usually round or misshapen to resemble their namesakes. I just thought it was going to be easier to just cut them in squares instead of shaping them. Really its just because I’m lazy.

You can coat them in anything that you want. I think my favorite is just cocoa powder or powdered sugar. But they can be covered in sprinkles, toasted nuts or shredded coconut. In the recipe I mix milk chocolate and semi-sweet, I think it makes a great combo since just semi-sweet can be quite powerful along with dusting them in cocoa powder.
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Mar 15, 2009 - File Icon Breakfast, Vegetarian   Comment Icon Comments Off on Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

I don’t know why exactly, but I suddenly got the idea to make pancakes. Not just any pancakes, but banana pancakes! I’ve never had or made banana pancakes but it seemed like a great way to have a sweet pancake without adding a whole lot of sugar to them. The natural sugars from the bananas really come out when you cook them, and you really don’t need syrup.

So off I went into the internet and came upon a very simple recipe for banana pancakes on All Recipes. Lovely. I also had JUST enough flour to make one batch of the pancakes.

I have to say they taste pretty darn good. The texture is SO different from regular pancake. Because of the banana bits it’s rather gooey on the inside, which is not really a bad thing texture wise. I also now have pancakes in the fridge to warm up for breakfast tomorrow!

I want to make them again, but possibly use half whole wheat flour instead of only all-purpose flour. I think that will give them a nice and nutty flavor along with the sweet banana. Not to mention it will give it some extra fiber. I also am thinking of using applesauce instead of the vegetable oil, more fiber and less fat.

This could be one of my favorite sweet breakfasts, paired with some fresh strawberries and powdered sugar.
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Italian Grilled Cheese

Italian Grilled Cheese

It’s the breakfast of champions! Well maybe not, but it’s what I had for breakfast this morning after craving it for weeks. What I call the Italian Grilled Cheese, others would probably call a Panini. To me that’s just a super fancy grilled cheese. Call it what it is people, a grilled cheese!

I have started having a love of tomatoes when I was given tomatoes from a friend’s garden. They taste nothing like the tomatoes from the store, but more flavorful and sweeter. It’s sometimes hard now to buy tomatoes from the store, but sometimes you just have to buy them and make your favorite dish.

I first started making these using fresh garden tomatoes, along with some super fresh artisan bread. I first used fresh basil, but found that unless it’s chopped very small, it tends to get pulled out of the sandwich when you bite into it so I ended up using dried basil instead.

I love how the cheese melts, and you get the kick of spice from the basil, garlic and pepper. I know there probably should be a proper recipe for this one, but it’s more of a “soul food” type of dish. A little of this, a pinch of that. I don’t follow a recipe but more of a method and I know what I like. Much of this is just to taste, and I can be very heavy handed on the garlic and basil, but its personal preference.

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Mar 11, 2009 - File Icon Hints/Tips   Comment Icon Comments Off on Sticky Problems

Sticky Problems

Floured PanYou know what I really hate? When you go to all the trouble of baking something wonderful and your food sticks to the pan or has a chemically taste to it because of baking spray.

I grew up with my mother using the old fashioned way of making pans non stick, butter and flour. Now granted my mother isn’t the best cook and extra brown was considered done sometimes, but she knew a few tricks to getting her box mix cakes from the pans.

Over the years I’ve had to do my own experimentation on what works for making my quick breads, yeast breast and cakes not stick to their pans.
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Mar 10, 2009 - File Icon Bread, Dessert, Yeast Bread   Comment Icon Comments Off on Baked Donuts

Baked Donuts

Homer J. SimpsonJust like Homer Simpson, I love donuts. However, I don’t really eat them very often because they are really greasy and sugary. I’ve been toying with the idea of baking donuts, I even picked up one of those donut pans from the local thrift store but just haven’t tried it yet.

Now that I am finally feeling better from this evil-death-flu that has been going around the nation, even though it only took a whole month out of my life, I finally have the bug to start cooking again.

I always know when I’m feeling better when I start wanting to cook again. So I bit the bullet and decided to do it.

I made the baked donuts I’ve been wanting to make. It’s basically the same recipe that is used for making the yeast donuts, but instead I baked them.

Pretty Donut

I didn’t have any frosting handy so I dipped them in butter and then in cinnamon sugar. My husband already has deemed that he likes them, but would rather have a frosting or a glaze on them. Read more »

Mar 9, 2009 - File Icon Side Dishes   Comment Icon Comments Off on Artichoke Spinach Dip

Artichoke Spinach Dip

I’m on a mission. To create versions of my favorite recipes that have less fat and I can fee less guilty about eating.

My husband turned me on to Artichoke Spinach Dip a few years ago. I had never had it and suddenly I was hooked. I love the warm, cheesy gooeyness eaten with chips or crackers. Who could hate that? Plus the added bonus of having the vegetables in it makes it seem not as bad for you.

There are so many recipes for this dip out there, yet so many of them made me wary. They all contained mayonnaise. For some reason, the thought of cooking mayo just really doesn’t sit well with me. I finally found one that had sour cream instead. I had to do my own modifications to it, such as low/reduced fat items and reducing some of the items as well.

It turned out pretty well and even made it for others and they loved it. I achieved my goal of making it better for you, and not have anyone notice.


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