Archives for November 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Momma Renee’s Easy Breezy Blissful Brownies:


For the brownies:
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 1-pound can of Hershey’s chocolate syrup
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

For the chocolate frosting:
2/3 c. granulated sugar
3 Tbs. milk
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips


For the brownies:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fully incorporated.
3. Beat in the eggs.
4. Mix in flour and chocolate syrup until fully incorporated.
5. Stir in the nuts.
6. Pour brownie mix into a greased 13×9 inch pan and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
7. Take brownies out of the oven and allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes.

For the frosting:
1. Put the first three ingredients into a small pot and bring to a boil on the stove for 30 seconds.
2. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the semi-sweet chocolate chips.
3. Once the brownies have cooled, slather the frosting evenly over the brownies.
4. Top the brownies with pecan halves and cut into squares.


Guest Blog

Bonjour tout le monde!

This is Leslie here, Chelsy’s sister and roommate that gets to experience all of her wonderful cooking every day. As I’m writing this wonderful piece of extraordinary literature, I’m also eating some of this gluten-free pumpkin pie Chels made last night. Why gluten-free? Well, that’s why I’m here. To tell you all of the perils of food allergies.
Now, I’m not just intolerant to gluten. I’m also intolerant to dairy. Apparently 50% of humans that are intolerant to gluten also can’t tolerate the protein in dairy products. This is news to me just as it is most likely news to you.
What is a gluten allergy? Well, to state it simply, when I eat gluten I have severe stomach issues. I also break out in a mean rash on my arms, neck, ears, and face. Apparently this allergy can worsen over time, to where you can’t even use soaps that have gluten in them. This issue has currently occurred in my life. Thankfully, my dairy intolerance isn’t as severe as my inability to intake gluten. I have been able to eat yogurt in small amounts with the help of a Lactaid pill and daily probiotic.
The worst part about this allergy is not the everyday deprivation of ice cream, cake, whole-wheat toast, and delicious cereals. It’s the time around the holidays when I have to deal with my sensitivity to gluten, dairy, and the lack of understanding of those around me. Eating communally is always tough for me and I constantly have to deal with judgment from family members who don’t understand.
There are the funny harassments… which are usually funny if they last less than 1 minute… which is never the case.
And then there is the person who says, “Oh, come on, have a little bit, it won’t kill you.” Actually, I don’t really want to have stomach pains and skin rashes on Thanksgiving. It’ll ruin my holiday outfit, thank you.
And then there’s the person who just quite frankly wants to judge you for everything that you’re doing, and having a food allergy has completely set off their entire world. These people are the worst and they never cease to make me feel like grabbing my plate and eating alone, like a high school girl who sits in a bathroom stall because she doesn’t have any friends.
In order to be around my family, I have to calm my sensitivity levels and put my game face on. I have to be ready to refuse what I can’t eat, ignore those who have issues, and take the small jabs aimed at my situation. In order to combat this, I have a wonderful sister who has offered to help me make gluten-free green beans, pumpkin pie, and sweet potatoes. These two weeks up until Thanksgiving are trial runs, beginning last night, where she made this outstanding pumpkin pie that I can’t get enough of. By bringing my own food I can be faithfully assured that I will have an allergy-free Thanksgiving. So what am I thankful for? My sister, Chelsy, who puts her warm heart and sweet nature into a delicious allergy-free pumpkin pie. Enjoy!

Au Revoir.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie with a Ginger-Snap Walnut Crust


For the crust:
25-30 Gluten-Free Gingersnap cookies, crushed (makes about 2 cups)
1/2 c. walnuts, roughly chopped
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

For the filling:
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
1 1/2 c. vanilla almond milk, unsweetened (you can use any milk you like, or 1 can of evaporated milk will do just fine)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbs. Mexican vanilla
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves


For the crust:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Lightly grease a pie pan.
3. Using a food processor, process the gingersnap cookies until crumbly (the mixture doesn’t have to be extremely fine…it can have some cookie chunks in it). (If you don’t have a food processor, feel free to put the cookies in a ziploc bag and beat with a rolling pin…this works just as well).
4. Using an electric mixer, combine the crumbled cookies with the remaining crust ingredients.
5. Pour the crust into a pie plate, pressing the crust into the plate until evenly distributed over the entire plate (You should work the crust up the sides of the plate, but if you run out of crust mix…like I did…don’t worry about it…it will come out just as great!).
6. Bake the crust in the oven for 10 minutes.

For the Filling:
7. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, mix all of the ingredients for the filling together until fully incorporated.
8. Pour the filling into the crust and pop the pie back into the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Note: I don’t know what my obsession is, but I gotta have my pie with a glass of milk (soy milk for those with a dairy allergy)…that’s just the way I feel…it’s like the p.b. to my jelly…can’t live with out it! However…feel free to garnish this little delight with some whip cream (soy whip for those with a dairy allergy) and a touch of cinnamon! The pie is so flavorful…it could survive without a topping or accompaniment…but do what you must and eat to your heart’s content!


Uno, Dos, Tres Leches

Howdy everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the weekend as much as I did. This weekend was full of family fun and relaxation. I spent my whole day Saturday with some of my family members, in particular, my aunt, uncle, and three cousins, whom I never get to see, soooo needless to say I was very excited to get to spend time with my loves. All this talk of family brings me to explain the dish of the day, Tres Leches. You see, it all started two years ago when I was at Fiesta. Now listen…I never shop at Fiesta, usually because they aren’t the cleanest super markets and because I have bad childhood memories of shopping at Fiesta and being encountered by supermarket creepers. Anyways, on that day Fiesta was my last option and surprisingly, this Fiesta was very clean and free of supermarket creepers. As I was quickly shoving fruits and veggies into my shopping cart, I couldn’t help but notice the sweet smell coming from the panaderia. My body became paralyzed as my feet guided me towards the bakery case, where I encountered a variety of Mexican galletas, in particular those ginger-like pig-shaped cookies…yum! However, the cookies became a distant memory as my gaze turned towards a bakery woman who was cutting and serving fresh slices of some sort of homemade cake. As I approached the woman, she gave me a “sample” of the cake, which to my luck was really an actual slice of cake. I took one bite of the cake and I was sold! The woman smiled and simply said, “mmmmm…Tres Leches es muy bueno.” With a mouthful of cake I gave her an “o my god I think I have died and gone to heaven” thumbs up. The cake was sooooo dense and moist, melting in my mouth upon contact. I could really taste the vanilla which kept me coming back for more. Not to mention, the whipped cream topping was simple and sweet, accompanied by a few freshly sliced strawberries. From that moment on, I decided to create my own recipe for Tres Leches…and if I must say so myself, I have succeeded. Not only did I succeed, but if I was of Mexican heritage, I am pretty sure my “abuela” would be pretty ecstatic that her little “nieta” could pull off such an authentic recipe. Nevertheless, for a white girl, I guess you could say I can really “throw down” on some Three Milks Cake. One day I was speaking with my Aunt Shelly, and somehow in passing, we were talking about baking and I told her about my Tres Leches. Coincidentally, she explained that it was my cousin Parker’s favorite cake in the world. Sooooooo…of course I had to be the best cousin in the world and make it for him for his birthday. Now, if I know my cousin I was sure that he would like it…but I underestimated his excitement…he didn’t like it, he LOVED it! I remember that birthday very well, where I trudged into my grandmother’s house carrying Parks’ birthday cake. I don’t even remember him finishing his pasta before tearing into the cake. The best part is that this is what I live for…to cook for my loved ones and to see their smiles as they enjoy a dish that I made. I think that because I put so much love into my cooking, in turn, that love shines through my food. Needless to say, that cake was “muy bueno” and I took home an empty cake pan! This weekend I had a great surprise for my cousins when they came to vist…see the recipe below! Let’s just say they ate, enjoyed, and hauled home with left overs!


For the cake:
2 c. of cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt
6 large eggs, separated
2 c. of granulated sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 Tbs. Mexican vanilla
1/2 c. whole milk
1 tsp. cinnamon

For the tres leches syrup:
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 c. coconut milk

For the frosting:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 Tbs. Mexican vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray.
3. In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
4. Separate the egg yolks and the egg whites.
5. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they form mountainous peaks (looks foamy/frothy). Transfer the egg whites to a bowl and set aside.
6. Using the electric mixer, cream the sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla.
7. Continue mixing, and slowly add the milk.
8. Then begin to add the flour mixture into the batter a little bit at a time (usually about three 1/2 c. sizes) until all the flour is incorporated and the batter is smooth.
9. Add the cinnamon and mix well.
10. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter until fully incorporated.
11. Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.
12. Allow cake to cool completely, about 20-30 minutes.
13. Once the cake has cooled, pierce the entire cake with a fork.
14. Make the milk syrup by whisking together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and coconut milk together in a large mixing bowl.
15. Pour the syrup over the cake, a little at a time, until the cake is completely soaked through.
16. Cover the cake with aluminum foil and refrigerate until ready to serve (usually around 3-4 hours).
17. To make the whipped cream frosting, beat the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla using an electric mixer.
18. Before serving the cake, spread with the whipped cream frosting.

Note: I usually eat my Tres Leches sprinkled with a little dust of cinnamon and a big ole’ cup of hot coffee. It is also excellent with drizzled cajeta (caramel), dulce de leche, or a few freshly sliced strawberries…MANGIA!