Tag Archives: recipes

knitting projects and delicious links

When Fall comes around, everyone in Florida comes out of their Summertime hiding. My calendar has been packed with invitations from friends. It’s been nice, especially after a lonely August where four of my close friends moved away.

I’ve been doing a bit of sewing and crafting here and there, but haven’t finished any projects. Does anyone else suffer from “I can’t finish this project” syndrome? I can’t resist a good fall craft, so expect some soon.

In the meantime, here are a few delicious things I’ve made this week:

Key Lime Pie for the boyfriend
Banana Bread for friends
Banana and Sour Cream Pancakes for romantic breakfasts

I also started my first knitting project of the season. I learned how to knit years ago, but wanted a refresher, so I signed up for a “learn to knit” course.

Here’s what I got.

knitting project

It will eventually be fingerless mittens.

fingerless mittensExtreme close up.

extreme close up

I took those pictures at 6 a.m. this morning, so everything looks a bit more yellow.

nanaimo bars – chocolate and peanut butter goodness

I dreamed of a nanaimo bars recipe and It looked a little something like this. I thought about it all weekend. Apologies to those who are helpless against chocolate and peanut butter combos

chocolate pb bars

I really tried to avoid it, the cravings started Friday. Sunday night rolled around and I was utterly helpless. The good news is these bars are so intense, that just one resulted in complete chocolate/peanut butter/heavenly satisfaction.

Chocolate Graham Peanut Butter Bars
{adapted from here}

Yields: 9 big bars
Total Time: 45 minutes (plus an additional hour to chill)
Benefits: No oven(!) and had all ingredients in my pantry

Chocolate Graham Bottom:
1/2 cup salted butter
1/4 cup of sugar
5 Tbsp cocoa
1 1/4 graham cracker crumbs
(the original recipe had 1/4 cups nuts, which I didn’t add)

Freaking Amazing Peanut Butter Filling
1/3 cup salted butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Top Layer
8 oz. semi-sweet baker’s chocolate
2 Tbsp of sugar
1/2 cup of peanut butter

Creating the Chocolate Graham Layer:
Create graham cracker crumbs by placing approximately 10 crackers in food processor.

graham crackersYou can also do the old ziploc bag and hammer trick.

ingredinetsMelt the butter, chocolate, and sugar in a double boiler. Or you can do what I did (at your own risk) and melt the ingredients on the stove top over extremely low heat. Don’t forget the sugar like I did.

melt ingredientsAdd the egg and cook for about five minutes.  The ingredients will get smooth and creamy and thick.

meltedRemove from heat and add graham cracker crumbs.

GRAHAM CRACKERS

Once combined, pour the mixture into an 8 x 8 baking dish lined with parchment paper.

crustSpread the crust evenly across the dish.

Creating the Freaking Amazing Peanut Butter Filling

Combine butter, sugar, and peanut butter in mixing bowl.
pb ingredients

Using an electric mixer, start on low speed, gradually increasing speed to medium until combined and you get a nice whipped look.

peanut butter fillingTry not to eat it out of the bowl, but it is ok to lick the mixer attachments.

Spread the peanut butter layer over the chocolate graham crust.

pb layer

Creating the Chocolate Peanut Butter Topping

Next melt the 8 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate and sugar over low heat. Once it’s almost completely melted, add in 1/2 cup of peanut butter. It will blend quickly then remove from heat and spread the yummy topping over the other two layers.

adding th top layer

Place in the fridge for at least an hour then enjoy.

chocolate pb bars

p.s. This recipe is linked up here, here, here, and here.

samoas bars and the weekend

This weekend sloth truly overtook me. I spent most of my time watching this,

reading this,

kindle

snuggling him,

watson

and cuddling her.

riley

Somehow, I managed to bake something, but forgot to snap a photo (update, photo added). You’re going to like this one. Are you ready for it?

samoas-bar

Samoas Bars

Yes, everyone’s favorite girl scout cookie turned into a bar treat. Recipe adapted from here (she took step-by-step pictures).

Yields 20, total time 60 min.

Ingredients:
-1/2 cup sugar
-3/4 cup softened butter
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
-3 cups shredded coconut
– One 16 oz. jar of  Caramel Sauce (I used Hershey’s, or make your own)
– 6 oz. chocolate chips (plus a bit of olive oil)

Prep:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

The Crust First:
1. In a mixer, blend together sugar and butter until well-combined and fluffy.
2. Add egg and vanilla, blend on medium
3. Switch your mixer to low and slowly add in flour, a bit at a time, until it is all combined. The mixture will be really thick, kind of like a dry cookie dough.
4. Pour the dough into greased baking dish. Since it’s thick, it’s hard to spread. You’ll have to use a spatula to get it to cover the entire dish.
5. Bake for 20 minutes.

Toast the Coconut:
Once your crust is done, let it cool and start toasting coconut.  Here’s how I did it.
1. Start by bringing the oven temperature down to 300 degrees.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
3. Pour three cups of coconut flakes onto the sheet.
4. Place in oven for fifteen minutes. Remove from oven every five minutes to stir around the coconut.

You want the coconut to be nice and golden, not too brown. Once you take it out of the oven, give it a good stir. It will still toast a bit on the sheet. Depending on your oven or the placement of the baking sheet, these will brown quicker or slower than the 15 minutes it took me. Just keep an eye on it.

Melt the chocolate:
1. You can melt the chocolate any way you please: chocolate melter, double boiler, or microwave. I melted mine directly on the stove top at low heat. Add a tiny bit of olive oil, less than a teaspoon, to help it melt and mix well.
2. Once melted, transfer the chocolate into a pastry bag or a ziplock bag to help with the drizzling.

Put it together:
1. The first thing you’re going to want to do is mix the coconut with the jar of caramel sauce in a large bowl.
2. Pour the caramel coconut mixture on top of the crust.
3. Cut the tip of the chocolate pastry bag and drizzle.

This was a hit. I hope you enjoy.

perfect sunday brunch

This Sunday, my good friend came over for an impromptu brunch. Where I made this:

breakfast

An over-easy egg with polenta grits and sauteed shallots. Holy hell, these were good. I can’t wait until next weekend so I can make them again. Recipe from Big Girls, Small Kitchen.

We also ate these dipped in chicory coffee,

banana cookies

with some of this,

fruit

while we watched a couple of episodes of this.

daria

I’ve decided brunch might possibly be the best thing.

I also put out an herbal sun tea on Sunday.

sun tea

I added a whole bunch of mint, two lemon rinds and some blueberries to a gallon of water.

sun tea

Place it in the sun and eight hours later I had a refreshing drink. Sadly, the blueberries didn’t add as much flavor as I’d hoped, but it’s still great tasting water.

cheesy zucchini and squash pizza

There’s no denying it. Pizza is my favorite thing to eat and to make. It’s easy and, best of all, forgiving. So when I set out to make Smitten Kitchen’s Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza, and the boyfriend sort of freaked out (“There’s no sauce?” “You’re using goat cheese? What about Mozzarella?”), I was able to adapt it, and the pizza gods gave me their blessing.

Cheesy Zucchini and Squash Pizza
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza)

(sorry for the awful pictures, we ate 1/2 the pizza before I thought to snap a few photos)

Stuff you’ll need:

-Pizza Dough. I used Smitten Kitchen’s, which is fantastic, or you can buy some at the store.
-4 oz. goat cheese
– 2 Tbs pesto. I bought some at the store
-1 lg. zucchini
-1 lg. yellow squash
-1 Tbs. olive oil
-Salt & Pepper
-6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Do it:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Roll out the pizza dough. If you’re using the SK recipe above, I’d double it. The crust was small (appx. 10 inches), so keep that in mind if you’re feeding a lot of people.
– Place dough on pizza stone, or in our case an aluminum lined baking sheet. (square pizza!) Instead of putting flour underneath the crust, I used cornmeal, which worked excellent.
-Combine goat cheese and pesto to create a flavorful base, spread on crust.
-Slice the squash and zucchini into very thin pieces (appx. 1/8th an inch) and layer on the pizza.
-Drizzle it with olive oil. I didn’t measure this, but it was probably about a tablespoon.
-Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
-Cover with fresh grated mozzarella cheese.
-Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until cheese is bubbly and crust is slightly browned.

Notes:

The goat cheese/pesto combination makes a great “sauce.”

Make your own crust, it’s perfect. I tried to spread a tiny bit of pesto on the crust to give it some flavor, but it really didn’t need any tweaking.

And next time, I’d like to forget the mozzarella and add a stinky cheese. Are there rules to mixing cheeses? Mixing sharp and stinky cheeses? Is that like stripes and plaids? I have no class.

Either way, this thing was delicious.

Happy cooking!

p.s. I’ve linked this up here, here, here, and here.

the weekender 5/6/2011

from via weheartit

It’s Mother’s Day weekend! Do you have anything special planned? Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see my mom, but a phone call is planned. My boyfriend ordered a great grill [the other one broke], and it should arrive today, so I think we’ll spend all weekend eating grilled food. I can’t wait.

In honor of that, I spent a good twenty minutes reading The Kitchn’s 33 Recipes & Tips for Grilling, Gardening, and Eating Outside. Which included a recipe for grilled pizza and grilled guacamole.

And more links to make your Friday a happy one:

Here’s a cute way to make those left over toilet paper rolls into a pretty piece of art.

Save your leftover sewing scraps and transform them into fancy cartography.

I just love images of bento and want to make my own. Here are five tips for packing a bento lunch.

I’m dreaming of these vibrant kitchen towels.

Since not all of us have professional make up artists on call, this tutorial on how to contour your face can help enhance facial attributes.

And finally, slow cooker mac and cheese – yes and yes.

Have a happy Mother’s Day and a great weekend.

green food: zucchini fritters

I’m a southern lady and we believe in two things: sweet tea and frying. We even fry healthy things like zucchini. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I made zucchini fritters. Not because they pertain to the holiday in any way, they’re just green.

You will need:

4 Tbs olive oil
1 lg. zucchini
1 lg. egg
3/4 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
1 green onion
white pepper
garlic powder
salt & pepper

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Repeat after me: “I will not use more than 4 tablespoons of oil.” There’s no need.
2. While the oil is warming, use a food processor or cheese grater and grate the zucchini.
3. Chop the green onion
4. Beat the egg
5. Combine the zucchini, egg, bread crumbs, green onion, and spices (to taste) in a large bowl.
6.  Using your hands, five small patties from the mixture. Mine were about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
7. Place patties in the oil. My skillet comfortably fit about two at a time. Cook them on each side for about five minutes or until golden brown. Use medium heat. I’ve tried doing this with high heat oil and they fall apart.

I hope you enjoy!

 

the weekender 3/4/2011

Hey, it’s me!

You bet I did that in Microsoft Paint. I had some time to kill, so I started taking glamor shots with my webcam. Don’t pretend like you don’t do it.

Happy Weekend! Oh, right, and Spring Break! I have the next week off of work. It’s one of the perks working in education. Here are a few links for the weekend. But first a confession – My Google Reader queue is over 1,000+ right now. I’m really behind, so it’s slim pickins for this edition of weekender. Does an excessive blog reading queue happen to anyone else? What do you do to remedy it?

Yums:

Two words: Homemade Poptarts. Truth, I love the frankenfood that is a poptart. From Broke Ass Gourmet

Chocolate Avocado Nutella – via the 10 cent designer

How to frost a cake – this would have been helpful earlier this week. Via Whisk Kid

Design:

I love the color scheme in this room.

Mustard yellow, black, and teal – I think I’m falling in love.
Found at NorSkein Interior Blogger

How cute is this circus-themed party?

The circus cookies are so cute: elephants, seals, giraffes. I could eat them all up! (And maybe feel a little guilty afterward.) Look at the tent cake in the back, what a smart interpretation. Found at Hello Lucky via Jordan Ferney.

D.I.Y.

“A hoodie is not just a hoodie.”Dornob features great tutorials to fold your hoodie into a laptop sleeve, a backpack, a baby carrier, and a pillow. Originally found at Conceptual Devices.

Also, this song has been stuck in my head all week. Truly bizarre.

make your own chocolate balsamic vinegar sauce

Balsamic vinegars seem to be gaining in popularity, especially the thick, rich varieties that you can drizzle on top of almost anything like a delicious condiment. Some of them are very acidic and have a strong bite to them, but some of them are sweet and can almost be used in place of a chocolate syrup. You see where I’m heading with this?

You can definitely buy your own chocolate balsamic vinegar at a tap room, but if there isn’t one close by, making your own will work just as well.

I adapted a recipe I found at the Kitchn and thought it was rather unique.

Chocolate-Balsamic-Vinegar-Final

The original recipe was a little too tart for my taste, so I added about 1/2 cup of sugar more and an additional 1/2 cup chocolate chips (to melt). If you use the chocolate chips, I recommend getting true dark chocolate without any milk.

It turned out spectacular – sweet and tangy. It’s thick and syrupy like a true balsamic reduction.

I made this chocolate balsamic vinegar for my boyfriend’s sister. It has to go on a plane, so I wasn’t able to package it nicely. However, mason jars work just fine. I bought a drizzling bottle for it to go in.

Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar

One day I’ll focus on making pretty labels. Until then, my cursive is all I’ve got.

Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar

chocolate balsamic vinegar
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This recipe creates a balsamic reduction with chocolate and sugar. It's perfect for drizzling over fresh fruit or on ice cream. This recipe yields 16 oz.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar (If you have a really high-quality vinegar that is already thick and syrupy, you can skip the reduction and use 1 cup of vinegar).
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened chocolate chips
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
Reduce the Vinegar
  1. In a saucepan, reduce the vinegar by cooking over low heat for about 20 - 30 minutes. It should become thicker and reduce some of its volume, so you're left with about a cup of vinegar.
Create the Chocolate Sauce
  1. In a separate saucepan, use a medium heat to dissolve the sugar and salt into the water. Stir constantly until it begins to thicken.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and add the cocoa powder and the chocolate chips, stirring constantly until it becomes thick and syrupy.
  3. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
  4. Wait until the chocolate sauce and vinegar have cooled before you mix them.
  5. Stir until well-combined and smooth.
  6. Pour the vinegar into a sterile jar.

Be warned, this will create a really strong vinegar stench in your house. But it’s worth it! Just to play it safe, I’d store this one in the fridge after it’s opened.

Recipe: Zucchini & Squash on French Bread

Here’s the deal. I’m sick of eating zucchini and yellow squash. It seems like it’s always in season at the farmer’s market. It’s also cheap. So lately, I’ve had to get creative with this mixture. Today this one popped in my head:

it may not look pretty, but it was delicious.

Zucchini & Squash on French Bread
Yields 4
Prep time 10 min.
Total time 20 min.

Ingredients:
– 1 small French loaf (or large cut in half) cut in half and sliced lengthwise
– 1 large zucchini, sliced
– 2 small yellow squash, sliced
– 2 Tbsp of pesto (I made my own, it works best if it’s a thick pesto)
– 1 tomato, sliced
– 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions:
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees
– Sauté the sliced zucchini and yellow squash until tender
– Remove from heat and stir in pesto
– Place sautéed mixture on flat surface of French bread
– Top with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella
– Place bread on baking sheet and bake for ten minutes.

mmm…

I’d also like to welcome the newest member of my family, I think her name is going to be Riley. I’m really not in love with the name, so if you have a suggestion, I’d love to hear it.

I already have a cat, Watson, and he’s the love of my life. Unfortunately, he’s destructive and aggressive. After putting up with it for a year, I finally decided to take my vet’s advice and get him a companion. It’s been two days and I’ve been bite and scratch free. The cats are getting along nicely, as well.

Hey, did you notice the pictures I took with my new camera? I’m satisfied with it.