Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies with Candy Cane Filling

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Call me crazy, because I totally am. I am the weirdo that is still holding onto candy canes from over a month ago when February is just hours away. Maybe most people have thrown the seasonal winter treats out of the way, but I could not resist this recipe. Plus, February brings Valentine's Day, and these cookies have a pale pink filling. That justifies making these, right? Since they're pink?

Also, I kept thinking about this recipe because they reminded me of Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe Joe's. Then, I made them, and this recipe definitely produces a homemade version of candy cane joe joe's. One difference, though, is that the chocolate cookie part is not quite as crisp. The cookies are softer, and have a slight brownie texture to them. They are wonderful.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Roasted Asparagus with Mozzarella and Croutons

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I love to cook meals with multiple components and lots of ingredients that require a generous chunk of time, but a lot of the time, I really love just a simple lunch or dinner as well. Sometimes, I guess it is better to tone things down a little and simplify them. This lunch is definitely an example of simple.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Apricot Scones

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Apparently, we have been in the new year for 25 days. That's crazy! It's really insane how fast time can go, and how very slow as well.

Remember when I wrote about 13 foods that I want to make in 2013? Well, I have finally made one item off  of that list: scones! I've made scones before, but I wanted to search for a really perfect scone recipe in the new year, so I just attached it onto my list.

How very lucky and fortunate was I to have made the ultimate scones this past weekend. And, with apricots. It can be so easy to mess up a scone, but this is such a solid and amazing recipe that I cannot wait to make again. Although I was planning to make blueberry muffins this weekend, they might just turn into scones...

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Quinoa with Chickpeas and Feta

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Although I've been baking like crazy the past few months and days to keep away from the cold, I am so ready for the light and freshness of spring. I am excited for the days to be lighter for longer, for the temperature to be slightly, but not too much, warmer, and for the first fresh strawberries.

Right now though, we are stuck in January, and then February, for just a little while longer. I am so excited for fruit and warmer temperatures, so I decided to make something a little lighter, not baked. I always associate fall and winter with heavier baked goods, and spring and summer with lighter fare.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Chocolate Chunk Brownies

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I try to be adventurous and different with the things I make and eat, but in reality, I'm not really the person to go out and try some crazy flavor combination. I like to try new things, but I tend to lean towards things I know well, such as cookies, grilled cheese and apples. And pretty much the ultimate food I know the best? Brownies, of course! 

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I may or may not have discussed this subject before, but I am not a great cake decorator. I love making cakes, don't get me wrong, but I just do not have that great hand of arranging the icing. Not yet, at least. I really need to push myself to make cakes more often so I practice my icing skills more, but pretty much nothing frustrates me more than having a cake in front of me I'm having trouble icing. So, I'm going to try and start icing 6-inch cakes. Hopefully their smaller size will prove to be more manageable for me and my decorating troubles. In the meantime, though, does anyone have any sources or advice for great cake decorator? I want to read all about it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Avocado White Cheddar Grilled Cheese

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Some things are really easy to mess up. Examples include going a full day without tripping, taking a bad photograph and letting flowers die.

On the contrary, some things are really easy to get right. Examples include procrastinating and tearing paper.

Now it is time for another category: things that are super easy to do, but at the same time, you can seriously mess up if you just cross that thin line. This category includes walking, cooking caramel and making grilled cheese. Grilled cheese is so easy, simple and delicious to make, but it can turn out to be pretty terrible, too. Hard, burnt and plasticy orange are not components that should be in a grilled cheese.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cream Puffs with Vanilla Pastry Cream and Chocolate Sauce

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It seems that many people have a general love of french pastries and desserts, but there also seems to be a general fear to some of making them as well. Maybe this reputation is because of their pristine perfection when made by professionals or the glistening exterior of a fruit tart, but I do try to put their difficult reputation out of my mind.

Maybe I haven't mastered macarons or learned how to properly use a pastry bag, but one thing I have learned is that pate a choux dough is wonderful and not too difficult. Granted, I've only made it three times, but I think it's super non intimidating with an amazing final result. I am so looking forward to trying different flavors of pastry creams and eclair fillings for the future.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Six Current Reads

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I've collected several new cookbooks recently that are really fantastic and I guess the appropriate thing to do in this situation is to write about them. Even if I don't always cook too many recipes from a particular cookbook, I read these books over and over again just for the recipes and knowledge that gets thrown into cookbooks. This is the same reason why I love reading blogs because you can learn so much about a topic by just reading a recipe and a person's takeaway and personal experience with a recipe.

Also, cookbooks are a major de-stresser for me. I read them every night before I go to sleep because they are so calming and soothing. The only problem with this is that I sometimes get a little too carried away or excited about a recipe, and stay up later and later thinking about and re-reading the recipe.

Anyways! Let's get into the books!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Kale Apple Cherry Salad with Pecans

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I know that I've seen kale on lists of "food trends that must disappear in 2013" and I think that many may be getting tired of this green, but I'm not going to let go of it. Also, I am sure that there are also lots of people out there that really love kale, so I'm going to keep on with kale.

Also, if you have apples, cherries and pecans involved, how could you go wrong?

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Apple Crisp

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I usually read, and reread, and reread recipes before I start them. After I check, and recheck, that the flour is measured, the correct amount of butter is softened, and everything is ready to begin, I start baking.

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But with this recipe, yet again, I just skimmed over word and it just did not register in my brain to do it on my own: peel. Peel! Peel the apples!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

13 Food Resolutions for 2013

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I've never really made a point to make resolutions for the new years, but I thought it might be a good idea to record 13 foods that I want to make in 2013. I guess these aren't resolutions, but rather just a list. This list is usually in my head, not written anywhere, so I don't always remember everything that I want to make. Maybe this list will help me accomplish everything this year!
So, in no particular order, I want to...

1. roast a chicken: It sounds like a simple, really delicious technique that I want to learn how to do.

2. make scones: I'm thinking of lemon blueberry first. 

3. make homemade pasta: we don't have a pasta maker, roller, attachment or anything like that right now, but I'll hopefully be able to find a way to make pasta this year. 

4. bake beet chips: although I've never tried beets before, maybe this will make me try them. 

5. fry doughnuts: just because! 

6. make sourdough bread: I need to plan a time when I can prepare a starter, first. 

7. make biscotti: I've only had biscotti one time, but it looks really fun to make. 

8. bake a cake with fondant: I don't make cakes too often, but I want to try a small cake with fondant. 

9. make croissants: why not! 

10. bake an ice cream layer cake: just another something that looks fun to make!

11. make some kind of meringue cookies: I've made basic meringues before, but I want to try a variation with chocolate or something like that.

12. make truffles: all different kinds!

13. make popsicles: fudge, strawberry, mango?

So, in 12 months, I'll see how it goes! 

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