Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Bailey's Frosting

So I made these for my brother-in-law's birthday. And I must say, I'm pretty pleased with the results. I combined several different recipes, and then tinkered with it some more (because I can never leave well enough alone...) The picture is rather nondescript, but they taste like awesomeness. 

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes
1 stick butter
3 T cocoa
1/4 c coffee
1/4 c Kahlua
1 c sugar
1 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 eggs
1/4 c Bailey's
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cocoa and stir until smooth. Add coffee and Kahlua.
In Kitchenaid bowl, gently stir sugar, flour and baking soda together.
Add the cocoa mixture to the dry ingredients. Then add the eggs. Then add Bailey's and vanilla.
Bake for 20 minutes, and test with a toothpick.

Bailey's Frosting
1/2 stick butter, softened
3 T Bailey's
3 T milk
2 c 10x sugar
2 T coffee
1 t vanilla
1 c Cool Whip

Beat these together. (I didn't follow any particular order; I just threw everything in the Kitchenaid.)

Wait until the cupcakes are cooled, and toss some frosting on. And then, eat them. :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Tasty Week of Thanksgiving

I spent this past week hanging out with my family. We had a great time, and we also made some amazing food. Rather than publishing all of the recipes individually, I decided to put them all here. Some have pictures, but I forgot to take some of the others. I've linked to recipes when possible, or just posted what I used.

We cut the butter down to 3 T and used about 1/4 c brown sugar instead.

We followed this recipe, except that we mixed the mini chocolate chips in with the cream cheese instead of sprinkling them on top.

We followed this recipe, but substituted half and half for cream and used whole milk.

Spinach Bacon Quiche - from Chris & Becky Hagler

2 - 9" pie crusts
9 eggs
1 pint half and half
1/2 c diced onions
1 pound bacon, cooked and chopped
2 c your choice of shredded cheese
3 large handfuls fresh spinach, chopped

Prep crust in pie plates and follow directions for baking them.
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, half and half, onions, bacon, cheese, and spinach.
Heat oven to 425.
Split the batter between the two baked crusts.
Cover the crust edges with foil or crust covers. Bake 45-50 minutes.

Buffalo Chicken Dip - from Becky Hagler

2 - 10 ounce cans of diced chicken, drained
2 - 8 ounce cream cheese blocks, cut into cubes
1 c ranch dressing
3/4 c hot sauce
1 1/2 c cheddar cheese

In large saute pan on low, heat chicken and hot sauce.
Stir in cream cheese and ranch until smooth.
Add 3/4 c cheddar cheese, stir.
Move all contents to a slow cooker on low. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Baked Crab Artichoke Spinach Dip 

1 c mayo
1 c grated parmesan cheese
14 oz. can of artichoke hearts, diced
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
12 oz. crab
1 1/2 shredded pepperjack or cheddar

Preheat to 350. Mix mayo and parmesan.
Add in artichoke and spinach.
Gently fold in crab.
Pour into 1 qt. dish. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 15-20 minutes (until bubbly).
We served with bagel chips.

Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - started with this, and tweaked it

1 cup (dry) quinoa, cooked
1 pound ground turkey, browned
3 garlic cloves
1/2 onion, diced
6 colorful bell peppers, top and seeds removed
16 oz + 1 cup tomato sauce
1 T Worchestershire sauce
Prepare quinoa according to packaging.
Brown turkey with garlic cloves and onions.

Arrange peppers in baking dish (you may need to slice the bottoms a little to make them stand up straight).
In a mixing bowl, combine turkey, quinoa, 16 oz tomato sauce, Worchestershire sauce, and any other desired seasonings.
Spoon mixture into hollowed peppers.
Pour the remaining 1 c tomato sauce over the tops of the filled peppers.
Bake for about one hour.

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Icing

1 can pumpkin puree
1 box spice cake mix
2 eggs
Preheat to 350. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix until moist throughout. Spoon into muffin tin until 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
1 - 8 oz block cream cheese
1 - 12 oz jar marshmallow fluff
Blend together until smooth. Frost cupcakes.

Crock Pot Baked Apples - my Granny's recipe/ Mom's specialty
6 qt slow cooker
4 pounds apples; peeled/cored/sliced
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup hot water
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1/8 t ginger
1/8 t allspice
1/8 t cloves

Put all apples into slow cooker. (Ours overflowed, but as they heat up, they will condense and you'll be able to stir and fit them all in.)
Pour melted butter overtop.
Set on low/med heat for 2 hours.
Check on them after that time and see if you can squish them into the crock.
3 hours after start, take 1 cup hot water and mix all spices into the water. Pour spices/water over apples in cooker.
Check on the apples every 30 minutes-1 hour and stir them. Use a potato masher if desired.

We took our leftovers and ran them through a food processor to make applesauce. Delish!

Venison Stuffing Stuffed Shells - tweaked recipe found on Chef's Cupboard stuffing box
1 box cornbread stovetop stuffing
1 pound venison, browned
1/2 c mayo
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can broth (veg/chicken/beef)
24 jumbo pasta shells
Preheat to 350.

Boil shells according to package directions, drain, and separate so they don't stick to each other.
Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Add venison and mayo. Mix well.
Stuff mixture into shells and place in casserole dish.
Mix can of soup and broth; pour overtop of the stuffed shells.
Cover with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies - from me! 
2/3 c butter, softened
2/3 c packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c oatmeal
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1 1/2 - 2 c dried cranberries
1 c white chocolate chips

Preheat to 375.
Beat butter and sugar until mixed. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
In separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Add dry mix to wet. Fold in cranberries and chips. Spoon onto cookie tray. (We made about 30 cookies... but my assistant and I may or may not have eaten some of the batter...)
Bake 10-12 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

And there you have it! My week in food!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Opal from Jennifer Armentrout!

If any of you have listened to me blather on about books at all, you'll know that Jennifer Armentrout is my favorite YA author. Her Lux and Covenant series are straight awesomeness.
To win the third installment of the Lux series, check out her site here!
Good luck and happy reading!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Corn Chowder - needs CPR!

I've been addicted to Pinterest lately. (But who hasn't?) I found this recipe for Sweet Corn Soup. I decided to make it tonight. Ick. However... here's how I think it could be made better:

1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 T butter
(Saute these for a few minutes until browned.)
To this mixture, add 2 c water. Boil.
Add 8 ears of fresh corn, removed from cob
Simmer this for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Then add 1/2 - 1 cup half and half. Blend some more. Taste. Add salt/pepper/whatever your favorite seasonings are. Or more half and half. Use your tastebuds.
Serve with bacon bits, sour cream (if you think it needs a little more dairy oomph), and croutons.
I know the original recipe was meant to be healthier... but healthy doesn't have to mean yucky. I was so overwhelmed with onion taste and it was so extremely runny in the original version... it was bad.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Best Drink Ever!

1 mango: peeled, chopped and frozen
1 peach: peeled, chopped and frozen
2 cups of your favorite moscato

Throw it all in a food processor or blender, serve, and enjoy. So delicious!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Obsidian Book Trailer

Recently, I've been a smidge obsessed with any YA book by Jennifer Armentrout. She just knows how to get it done. She has two series that just rock my socks. One is called Covenant. The other is the Lux Series. Smoking hot boys, and compelling female heroines.

Check out the trailer for Obsidian, Book 1 of Lux, here:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Smoothie Muffins

Yep. You read that correctly. I just made what I'm affectionately referring to as "smoothie muffins." I initially was going to make mango muffins, but before I starting mixing the batter, I failed to check to see if I had ripe mangoes. I did not. Emergency plan: raid freezer. I discovered about a 1/2 cup of frozen mango, 3 giant frozen peach slices and about 10 strawberries. I pureed them, tossed it in the batter, and thought to myself, "What the heck? It's just fruit."

Smoothie Muffins (Makes 12 full-size muffins)
1 c all purpose flour
1 c wheat flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3/4 c brown sugar (or honey if you prefer)
1/4 c applesauce (or veg. oil)
1 c almond milk (or regular milk)
1 egg (I used 1 T flaxseed and 3 T water instead)
1 1/2 c of whatever fruit you want

1. Preheat to 400 degrees F.
2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, applesauce, milk and egg.
4. Add dry to wet just until combined. Avoid overmixing. Fold in your fruit.
5. Spoon into greased muffin tin or baking cups and bake for around 20 minutes. Test with a toothpick a few times to make sure they're baked through.
I added a crumb topping that I had leftover from another recipe, but it's certainly not necessary.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wheat Pancakes

Wheat flour is not my favorite substance to work with. Food made with it is generally tough and dense. This weekend's breakfast experiment was to make decent pancakes with wheat flour. Overall they were good. It's hard to compare them to buttermilk pancakes, because those are in a class all their own. But I will definitely make this recipe again.

Adam's pancake with fresh berry syrup:

I opted for apple butter and honey with a side of strawberries:

Whole Wheat Pancakes:
2 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

2 beaten eggs
3 T brown sugar
2 c almond milk
1 T grapeseed oil
2 T nonfat Greek yogurt

Combine top set of ingredients in a large bowl. Combine bottom set of ingredients in a separate medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Add wet to dry. Try not to over-mix; it will be lumpy and you just want everything to be moistened. Cook on preheated griddle/frying pan on low/med heat until bubbles form and edges start to dry. Flip and cook until lightly browned.

I prepared these in grapeseed oil, but I highly recommend coconut oil instead.

Fresh Berry Syrup - from "The Dolce Diet"
4 oz water
1 c strawberries
1 c blueberries
Add water and fruit to small saucepan. Cover on low-medium heat. When fruit softens, reduce heat and mash with spatula.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Green Pear Smoothie

1 pear, cored
1/4 c blueberries
1/4 c apple juice
1/4 c almond milk
1/4 c nonfat Greek yogurt
3 T honey
cinnamon to taste
1 large kale leaf

If you're not used to green smoothies, you may want to add more honey. I could definitely taste the kale since the pear was not overly sweet. It really just depends on your individual taste, as well as how ripe the pear is.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Yes, more smoothies.

1/2 banana
1 mango
8 strawberries
2 T honey
1/4 c Greek yogurt (plain, non-fat)
1/4 c almond milk (or water/apple juice/etc.)
a few ice cubes
Fill to the top with spinach.
This was probably my favorite that I've made thus far. The mango was delicious. I had almost let it get too ripe, and it was extremely sweet.
I probably don't need to include pictures anymore, since pretty much all of them are green...

I've been on a major smoothie kick lately. Here are some of my other recent concoctions.

Dessert Fluff:
1 banana
1/2 avocado
1/4 c plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 c water
2 T honey
1-2 T cocoa
1 t cinnamon

Strawberry Kale:
1 banana
8-10 strawberries
15 raspberries
1/3 c plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 c apple juice
3 kale leaves (I removed the largest part of the stem)

Send me any of your favorite recipes!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Spinach Berry Smoothie

Here is this morning's smoothie experiment.

-7 strawberries, capped
-15 raspberries
-25 blackberries (this was probably too many, but I wanted to use the remainder of the box I had)
-1 banana
-handful of spinach leaves
-1/2 c almond milk
-1/4 c plain Greek yogurt

Throw everything in the blender. If you like iced smoothies, toss in some ice cubes. Next time, I will use fewer blackberries because I'm not a huge fan of seeds. This made 2 medium-sized servings. All in all, this was extremely tasty and very filling.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Living Lean

So hubs and I ordered Mike Dolce's book Living Lean. We've both read through the "book" portion, which is about 1/4 of the total. Another 1/4 is recipes. The remaining 1/2 is exercise recommendations and diagrams. We've tried 3 recipes inspired by the book thus far.
1. French Toast using Ezekiel bread
2. Pan-roasted chicken and broccoli
3. Honey glazed salmon
Once we've had some more experience with this, I'll have some more blog posts. Perhaps I'll even have hubs be a guest writer!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Banana Bread

Aside from zucchini bread, banana is my favorite. Today I wanted to share my banana bread recipe with you. I'm in the process of trying to tweak this into a healthier recipe, but it's just so good like it is. (Also, I need a lot of overripe bananas to experiment with, and that's not a common occurrence.)

Without further ado, I give you banana bread a la Aly.

2 c bread flour (you can use all-purpose too)
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t cloves
1/2 t allspice

1 stick butter
1/2 - 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like yours)
2 1/2 c mashed bananas
2 eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degress F. Spray a 9x5 bread pan with cooking spray, or you can grease it.
Large bowl: combine all your dry ingredients. (Top section of list.)
Medium bowl: Cream together butter and brown sugar. Once that's combined, add bananas, eggs and vanilla. Remember: if you don't have enough banana, throw in some applesauce. I almost always do that anyway because it keeps the bread super moist. If you use sweetened applesauce, I'd recommend only using 1/2 c brown sugar.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry. This goes against everything I was ever taught about baking growing up, but it seems to work best to get all the dry moistened. Stir as little as possible to combine the ingredients - the bread will be tough if you over-mix.
Bake for 60-70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in several spots comes out clean. (Make sure to test more than one place, because you might stick the toothpick into a chunk of banana.) Let cool for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack. 
Happy eating!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Crockpot Lasagna and Pull-Apart Garlic Bread

My wonderful college roommate and her boyfriend came to visit me for New Years, so it gave me the chance to try out some new recipes! I was rather skeptical when I came across a recipe on Pinterest for crock pot lasagna. I wasn't sure how the noodles would cook.
The recipe itself sounded fine, but I am the kind of person who has a difficult time following instructions in the kitchen - even the first time I try something. The link above will take you to the original, but here's the one I made, and my sample audience loved it. (Sorry I didn't take a picture... but I figure most people know what lasagna looks like...)

1 pound ground beef (I used 90% lean)
1 pound ground pork
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 onion, diced (I usually puree onions as my hubs doesn't mind the flavor, but hates the texture)
32 oz pasta sauce
Lasagna noodles
1 1/2 c ricotta cheese
3 cups mozzarella cheese, divided 2 and 1
2 eggs

Spray your crock pot with cooking spray or brush down with olive oil.
Brown the meat in a skillet with the garlic and onion. Drain off the grease. Add the pasta sauce to the meat mixture. I retained a little of the sauce to put on the very bottom of the crock pot.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine cheeses and eggs. Keep one cup of the mozzarella cheese to put on top.
Spread 1/4 of the meat sauce on the bottom of the crock pot. Arrange a layer of noodles above that. My crock pot was not large enough, so I did need to break the noodles apart. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mix over the noodles. Repeat meat, noodles and cheese layers twice more, ending with the final 1/4 of the meat mixture.
Sprinkle remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese on top.
Cover and set on low for 8 hours or med/high for 4 hours.

This made enough for 4 people to eat dinner, and leftovers for a few more days.

With it, I prepared a Pull-Apart Garlic Bread.

2 cans refrigerated biscuits, cut into quarters
Half stick butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed and pureed
1 t garlic salt
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Melt butter, stir in garlic, garlic salt, and parmesan cheese. Dip each piece of biscuit into the butter mixture, and place in a pile in a greased bread pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until top layer is browned. To serve, flip pan upside down on a plate.