Archives for March 2012

Welcoming Spring.

Happy Thursday y’all!

After welcoming the first days of spring round’ these here parts with wet and stormy weather, I was positive that I wouldn’t see the sun for days! Then, low and behold, I was cruising around in M.J. (that is my little white Jetta…short for Mary Jane (duh, Spider man? Yes I name my cars), and the sun started beaming down upon me as the clouds opened up, revealing a gorgeous crystal blue sky. It was heaven. Anyway, it finally felt like Spring yesterday, and I welcomed it with open arms, and a bit of baking.

 Let’s just say that I am so overjoyed to share this recipe with all of you. Now, I love family shopping trips. I mean, they have been happening for like, as long as I have been alive in my family, so they are somewhat of a tradition, right? Sure. There are those random moments where my family just gets bored out of our minds on the weekend, so we think of the necessities that we need to shop for, and plan a mall stakeout. By necessities I mean those glitter stiletto’s from BHLDN  that I had a conversation with about how great they would look on my feet at the next wedding I attend. Yes. Anyway, after so much shopping, we all get exhausted pretty quick. 

Oh, oh. Then you know what time it is. Re-charge time. Best way to re-charge? Cookies from the Great American Cookie Co. I have always been a sucker for their white chunk macadamia nut cookies…its just something about those macadamia nuts that remind me of a tropical island…because macadamia nuts are totally from Hawaii, right? Yes. Well, we will just say that they are. I decided that it was about time that I try to re-create these cookies, but instead, up the WOW factor. So, how did I do that? 

BROWN BUTTER + TOASTED COCONUT. 
 Because  
 what says spring 
 more than brown butter and toasted coconut?
Now, who wants to go on vacation with me? Margaritas anyone?
Brown Butter Toasted Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies:

Ingredients:
1 c. (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
1/4 c. milk
2 c. brown sugar
2 t. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 c. roughly chopped macadamia nuts
2 c. white chocolate chips
1 c. unsweetened, shredded coconut

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread coconut out onto baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Immediately transfer to a small bowl to cool.
2. For the brown butter,melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam and crackle (don’t stand too close, it might spit at you!) That is a great sign. Once the crackling subsides, keep an eye on the butter as it will begin to brown. You will begin to smell the butter as it browns. This takes between 5-7 minutes. Once the butter is completely brown, remove and place in a small bowl to cool.
3. Once the butter has cooled, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the brown sugar and butter on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes. 
4. Add the eggs and beat again, the batter should look pretty silky after this.
5. Add milk and vanilla extract and beat again. You should scrape down the sides of the bowl after this to prepare for the dry ingredients.
6. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda all at once to the mixer. Beat on low until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed.
7. Fold in the white chocolate chips and the macadamia nuts (I did this with a couple of slow turns on the mixer).
8. Fold in the coconut.
9. Make tablespoon-sized balls using your hands and place each ball of dough on the prepared baking sheet.
10. Bake for 9-11 minutes.
11. Cool on baking sheet, or transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes around 38-40 cookies.

MANGIA!!!

A Good Laugh.

Hey there y’all! Don’t you just love my Texas accent. What’s funny is…I am actually saying that out loud in my best “California surfer dude I listen to the Beach Boys music all day, every day” voice. Yes. Okay, so remember those little yummy oatmeal cookies that I made yesterday? Yea, those. Well, my Dad took them to work and sent me this note he wrote to his co-workers. 

I heard that they thoroughly enjoyed them. Thanks for the love Dad!

Anyway…I had a good laugh over it. Okay, okay…it made my day!

Later in the day my plan was to make the new cookie recipe that I am just DYING to share with all of you.

So, I started to prep the yummy stuff that is going into the cookies and then I found myself creating a three course meal.

Yes. Instead of staying on track with the cookie plan, I decided to hold off on cookie baking until today, and just went along with my off-course recipes. 

Like I said, 3 course meal. Now, I am certainly not going to overwhelm your brains with 3 recipes but give you a little taste of what I created.

Let’s just say I pretty much knocked my socks of with this one.

Gee…I hope I can fit my head through the front door tomorrow.

That would be tragic.

I wanted to make something corn-bread esque yesterday, especially with the yucky weather and all.

So I threw some ingredients for some cornbread-y stuff in a pot and…
then I added my favorite cheese in the world
because Parm is the cheese of God.

Then I baked the cornbread stuff off in the oven and 



BOOM!
I didn’t see that coming.
So, yea. This blew me out of the water. Literally. So much so that I didn’t even know what to call it at first. It was cheesy and buttery like a casserole, yet slightly crumbly like a corn bread, and at the same time, unbelievably crispy on the outer edges.

I settled with spoon bread, Sweet and Spicy Parmesan Spoon Bread.

For now, that. Tomorrow, cookies.
Sweet and Spicy Parmesan Spoon Bread:

Ingredients:
2 c. cornmeal
salt, to taste
1 t. ground chili powder
1 t. ground red pepper
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, finely minced
6 c. water
1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. unsalted butter


Instructions:
1. Bring cornmeal, salt, spices, and water to a slow simmer in a heavy sauce pan. 
2. Stir constantly for about 20 minutes.
3. Stir in cheese, rosemary, and butter. Mix well. The mixture should be pretty thick by now.
4. Spread the mixture out into a 9×11 baking pan that has been greased with butter.
5. Bake at 375 F for 45-50 minutes, or until the outer edges are golden brown. 
6. Allow to cool, spoon the bread out of the pan, or cut into slices.

Makes about 20-22 squares.

MANGIA!!!

Storms are here.

Happy Tuesday all!

Storms are a brewing round’ these here parts. You know what that means? A day full of cooking and baking, oh and studying for my personal training cert. Almost finished! Yay! So, yesterday I had a little disgruntled storm between myself and another person. What? Normally I don’t like confrontation, unless it’s with a family member…then I just say what is on my mind. For the most part, I like to talk things out in a calm and rational manner. Hey, it works. Try it. But yesterday, yesterday, was an exception. 

You see, my dad requested that I go to Sam’s Club (that’s Costco for you non-Sam’s ppl) yesterday and pick up a package of pork steaks. We call them pork steaks, but the are really boneless pork chops…it’s whatever. Anyway, I have always used my dad’s company club card that he has had, mind you, since 1992. So, I head to the checkout with my little buggy filled with a few goods, grinning ear to ear, for what is to come with these pork chops. Not to mention, the fact that I was about to save $20 buying bulk items. Yes! However, the check-out lady proceeded to tell me that I was “out of line” using someone else’s card when they were not with me at the store. 

That’s when things got good. I politely responded, “Excuse me? I have used this card before and have never had a problem. It is my father’s card. I can even show you my i.d. with the same last name (at which point I whipped out my i.d., which, btw is expired).” She wouldn’t budge. Oh, oh…then she called the manager on duty to join our conversation, where the m.o.d. informed me that they were just trying to “do the right thing.” What am I a criminal? Since when is it illegal to use your father’s form of identification at a supermarket? I wasn’t trying to actually pay with the card…I was using my own money, I just needed his club identification. Anyway, I told them that my service would be better appreciated at Costco and left. 

Oh, oh…this is the icing on the cake. My Dad was a little peeved about my experience and wrote the manager an email, at which she replied absolutely horrified that a customer was treated like this at Sam’s. Well, I guess we will see how this pans out, but if she expects me to return to Sam’s, she better role out the red carpet and tack on a $100 gift card! ha ha! Long story, short is…I came home and worked on a recipe for a chewy oatmeal cookie, as per my father’s request. After doing some research, I learned that for a cookie to be “chewy,” you should slightly under bake it. 

Bada-Bing
Bada
Boom!
I call these Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Everything Cookies. 

I added some Chocolate Chips to the last batch
 just because you can never go wrong with chocolate chips in a cookie

I am
speechless.
I can tell you one thing: the ladies at Sam’s aren’t getting any of these babies!

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Everything Cookies:

Ingredients:
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 T. pure vanilla extract
2.5 c. all-purpose flour
1.5 c. rolled oats
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
3 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. raisins 
1 c. chopped Walnuts
optional add-ins: 1 c. of each: chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark, or milk), chopped pecans, coconut (really the sky is the limit).

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugars together until smooth.
3. Add the eggs and the vanilla and beat again, mixing until fully incorporated.
4. Add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix well, scraping down the sides as needed.
5. Add the oats and mix again until everything comes together.
6. Fold in the raisins, and walnuts (at this point, also fold in your add-ins to the mix).
7. Refrigerate the dough for 20-30 minutes.
8. Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls, place on the prepared baking sheet, and press each ball of dough down with the palm of your hand to flatten.
9. Bake for 11-12 minutes (this time will very depending on your oven).

MANGIA!!!



Secret Recipe Club!

Happy Monday beautiful people!
Well, well, well, look what we have here. Another Secret Recipe Club reveal. O yes. This month I was super excited to find out that my secret blogger was Amy from Savvy Kitchen. Now, Amy is Italian, so you can imagine that I felt we could definitely be bff’s. After browsing some of her delicious recipes, I ironically didn’t settle on one of her delish Italian dishes, like Chicken Parmigiana, but instead went for something I have been really craving…donuts. O yes. When I read Amy’s recipe for Baked Apple Donuts, I knew that they were going to hit the spot, especially. Now, because my little celiac seester was in town on spring break this weekend, I decided to make the donuts gluten-free, and o.my. gosh-ness…they were out of this world.
 
I mean, really? You just can’t go wrong with a cinnamon sugar topping.
 Tip: mix it into softened butter…and boom! Out of this world!
 
 
Cinnamon sugar makes everything better.
Boom!
Kid-sister approved!



Baked Apple Donuts (GF):


Ingredients:
For the donuts:
1 c. almond flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. coconut sugar
4 eggs
1 small apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped


For the topping:
1/4 c. melted coconut oil
1/2 c. coconut sugar
1 t. cinnamon


Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place a cooling rack over a sheet of parchment paper.
2. Grease a donut pan.
3. Place the almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl, mix well.
4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut sugar.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well using a spatula.
6. Pour the batter into each donut cup, filling each 3/4 the way full.
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
8. While the donuts are baking, make the topping.
9. Melt the coconut oil in a bowl. Set aside.
10. Combine the coconut sugar and cinnamon on a flat plate and distribute evenly over the plate.
11. Take the donuts out of the oven, and using a knife, twirl it around the outer edge of each donut, until the donut comes out of the pan easily.
12. While the donuts are still hot, dip both sides in the coconut oil, then press both sides into the cinnamon sugar mixture, making sure to coat the donut well.
13. Place the donuts on the prepared cooling rack.


Makes 8 donuts.


MANGIA!!!

Insta-Gratification.

Guess what? 

I have pretty ah-mazing, life-changing news.

Well, okay. Not really, really, ridiculously life altering, but let’s just say that I entered a whole new world (cue the Aladdin music) of cellphone technology this weekend.

Yes, people, it happened.

I got an Iphone. 

It has seriously changed my life within a couple of hours.

First things first: Instagram.

Boom!

Test Run.
I bought these flowers for my mom almost two weeks ago!
 Proves that I can keep something alive.

Momma and Daddy
Yes, this is what I look like before I go to sleep
Bedtime buns are apart of my beauty routine.

Oh, oh. And a little dog too.
This is EPIC.

MANGIA!!!