Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Favorite Top 10 Recipes of 2010

This has been one of the best years of my life. I spent it with an amazing man who has made my life better in so many ways. I finally got the pug I have wanted all my life. I graduated from The Ohio State University with 2 bachelor degrees, one in psychology and one in communications. I found out a lot about myself and really grew up this year. I discovered my passions. I am passionate about food and cooking and baking. I discovered some sense of belonging by moving into my dream neighborhood, historic German Village. I got a job that I could only dream of to help me through school at a cupcake bakery. I discovered what I feel is my purpose and realized that what I really want to do is be an American Sign Language interpreter. I feel so lucky in that many people search their whole lives for their passions and their purpose. I still have a lot to learn but have taken such a huge mature step this past year in discovering who Tarrah Dame is...

I look forward to what 2011 brings and only hope it gets better from here.

I'm about as cheesy as they come.

I decided to end this year with my top 10 favorite recipes of the year. By no means was this easy....but here they are! (in no particular order)


There we have it! Those are my top 10 favorites though I really have like 50 favorites :) Happy New Year everybody!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Homemade Caramel Puffcorn

Does anyone else hate the couple days after Christmas too? I miss it! I had a very good one though. It was low key and my first year in a long time not going to Minnesota for the holidays. The dinner went well, I didn't mess anything up believe it or not! I got some nice gifts and some surprising gifts. Shawn got me a 32 inch flat screen tv. I was beyond shocked, I guess I had accepted my old 19in box tv from the 90's and that I wouldn't be able to afford a nicer one until after I get a real job. It is beautiful and I have yet to get off the couch and stop watching it...yes, I'm on the couch now.

Kirby got a lot of presents and is now a spoiled little boy. He has been depressed since my dad left with his dog, they were inseperable :( The day after Christmas I was privileged enough to spend the day with Shawn's family. We ate a lot, looked at family pictures and went on a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt was actually so much fun! I have a blast with them...they're simply awesome.

One of the things I made for Shawn's families goodie basket was this homemade caramel puffcorn. I remember once in High School a friend of mine got this stuff from a vending machine and it was one of the best things I have ever eaten. I am pretty sure I ate most of his bag. But since then, it has been nearly impossible to find in a grocery store. The craving was overwhelming me so I decided to make my own. is sooooo good!

Homemade Caramel Puffcorn


1 (8 ounce) bag corn puffs
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda


Place corn puffs in a large roasting pan. Cook together butter, brown sugar, corn syrup for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add baking soda to the mix. This will cause the mixture to foam so make sure you use a 2 quart saucepan.
Pour caramel mixture over corn puffs and stir until mixed. Place in a 250 degree oven for 45 minutes. Stir at least every 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and pour on wax paper and break apart.  Enjoy!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Breakfast: Gingerbread Granola

This is going to be a short post because I only have a matter of minutes until my dad, brother, mom and Shawn come over. I am actually hosting Christmas Eve dinner at my tiny one-bedroom apartment. I've been running around like crazy for the past 3 days cooking and baking up a storm. I made ham and cheese dip, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, spinach and cranberry salad, peanut butter pie, and pumpkin mousse pie for this dinner. My dad is bringing an 8 lb briskett all the way from Minnesota. My dad makes the best briskett so yeah. pretty excited!

Along with that I have been making up a little goodie basket for Shawn's family. Once again I was an overachiever and a little ambitious in all I wanted to make. I couldn't decide so I made small batches of a bunch of different things. I made homemade caramel puff corn, peanut butter fudge, peppermint fudge brownies, peanut pretzel bark, dark chocolate buckeyes, gingerbread trees, snowflake cut-outs, and iced pumpkin cookies. Yes, I am indeed crazy. But its cute because they all get their little bag with a small ornament, tag and ribbon :)

So this post...I actually did come up with a gingerbread granola! After making this I decided that a gingerbread oatmeal would be good too...but another day. Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

Gingerbread Granola
Dame Good


4 cups instant oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoons ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 400F. In a medium bowl combine oats, flax seeds, wheat germ, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, sugar and salt. In another bowl combine all of the rest of the ingredients (wet). Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix well.

Spread combined mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir granola and break up large chunks. Bake again for 15 minutes or until golden and crunchy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Breakfast: Peach French Toast Bake

I love french toast bakes! They are so yummy and comforting and easy! All you do is throw everything together the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning. Peaches are my favorite fruit, as I may have said before, so this was an awesome breakfast for me. It reminded me of peaches and cream. Serve this with some fat-free cool whip maple syrup and it is deeeelish!

Peach French Toast Bake
Adapted from


Cooking spray
1 large whole-wheat baguette (about 8 ounces)
4 whole eggs
4 egg whites
1 cup low fat milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups sliced peaches, fresh or frozen
1/2 lemon, juiced about 1 1/2 tablespoons
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Slice the baguette into 1/2-inch slices and arrange the slices in a single layer in the baking pan. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the pan. In a medium bowl, toss peaches with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar. Scatter the peach slices evenly on top of the bread. Combine the remaining brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake for 40 minutes.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Breakfast: Egg and Sausage Casserole

This is a breakfast recipe that would be great for Christmas morning. What's so great about it is you can make it a day ahead and just pop it in the oven in the morning. You wouldn't even have to worry about waking anyone up because the smell of this baking is phenomenal. It has all you need for breakfast (minus the coffee) in one pan. Not only is this easy but its healthier than your average breakfast too.

Egg and Sausage Casserole
Adapted from


5 ounces turkey breakfast sausage, (4 small links), casings removed
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 large eggs
4 large egg whites
2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
10 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed


Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat, crumbling with a fork, until browned. Transfer to a bowl.

Add oil, onion and bell pepper to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk eggs and egg whites in a large bowl until blended. Whisk in milk, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup Cheddar.

Arrange bread in a single layer in prepared baking dish. Pour egg mixture over bread and top with reserved vegetables and sausage. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake casserole, uncovered, until set and puffed, 40 to 50 minutes. Serve hot.


Holiday Breakfast: Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

This is one of my new favorite breakfast recipes. I personally cannot get enough pumpkin but these pancakes are really satisfying. I served them with toasted pecans and sugar-free syrup on top and they were delightful :)

This is a "baby" post because I am currently wrapping presents and doing a ton of holiday baking...the end!

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Adapted from


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup skim milk
3 large egg whites
2 tsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
butter flavor cooking spray


Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine milk, egg whites and pumpkin butter or canned pumpkin in a bowl and mix until smooth. Combine wet ingredients with the dry and mix well with a spoon until there are no more dry spots. Don't over-mix.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Spray oil to lightly coat and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter. When the pancake starts to bubble and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes. Repeat with the remainder of the batter.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Breakfast: Pumpkin French Toast

I have discovered that I have quite a build-up of breakfast recipes yet to share and decided to group/feature them as holiday breakfast recipes. Many of them would be great for Christmas morning or to make when family is in town. They are special enough for the holidays and easy enough so that you can spend more time with family rather than cooking long laborious meals.

I love breakfast. Especially breakfast in bed. I was wanting something a little different and "fall-y" one morning and decided to take a crack at some pumpkin french toast. It somehow managed to work out and was fantastic. Luckily I only made enough for one serving or I would have eaten way too much of it. If you have any extra pumpkin leftover from Thanksgiving or you are like me and enjoy pumpkin all year round then give this a shot. It's not only delicious but an alternative way to enjoy classic french toast with a new twist.

ps: this recipe serves about 2 people :)

Pumpkin French Toast
Dame Good


1 egg
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon skim milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 slices whole wheat bread
1 teaspoon butter (or more if needed)


Beat the eggs, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and milk together in a bowl. Dip the bread slices into the pumpkin mixture and coat on both sides. Do not soak or you will get soggy bread.

Melt some of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Place bread slices into the skillet and cook until browned on both sides, about 2-5 minutes per side.

Serve with maple syrup.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Homemade Reeses

As I said in my last post, Saturday was Shawn and I's 1 year anniversary and I made him the candies that he got me a year ago. I made ginormous Whatchamacallits and Reese trees. Whenenver there is a special occasion or a birthday, we normally throw one of each in along with our gift. It's a little weird but thats how we role. I used leftover ingredients to make Whatchamacallit bites and mini reese cups.

He got us tickets to go to the Funny Bone, which I am estatic about! I had mentioned before how I really love comedy clubs and want to go see stand-up with him. He actually listened and got me a really thoughtful gift for our anniversary. We are going January 2nd and I can't wait! You have to go on special/fun/different dates when you are in a relationship to hold on to the excitement and avoid getting to comfortable and into a routine. See? This is that effort thing I was talking about :) He makes me sigh...

Homemade Reese Trees and Reese Cups
Adapted from


3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, or as needed
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon All-Vegetable Shortening
1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips


Combine peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on LOW until blended. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until blended. Add cream until desired creaminess is reached. It shouldn't be sticky. If you are making trees, refrigerate dough for 10 minutes. When cool and firm, roll out to desired thickness and cut out trees using a tree cookie cutter. Then, refrigerate the trees for about 10-15 minutes again to firm up the peanut butter.

Place chocolate chips and shortening in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until mixture is smooth. Reheat as needed while coating peanut butter.

To make trees, cover one side in chocolate, refrigerate until firm. Then repeat the process on the opposite side. To make reese cups, put mini cupcake liners in a mini muffin pan. Fill up each liner with chocolate about 1/4 of the way up. Then shape peanut butter into small balls (size them about the same size around as the tip of your index finger). Flatten the top a little bit and place on the chocolate already poured in the liners. Cover the peanut butter with chocolate completely until no longer visible. Refrigerate until firm.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Homemade Whatchamacallits

Yesterday was Shawn and I's one year anniversary :). With it being so close to Christmas, it was hard to think of what to get him. I am poor and stumped enough when it comes to getting Christmas gifts. I then remembered that the day we became an "official" couple he brought me a Christmas present. In a pretty shiny Victorias Secret bag was a Victorias Secret gift card, Reese trees and king-size Whatchamacallits. I had never had a Whatchamacallit, but being that I am obsessed with peanut butter and chocolate, Shawn insisted I try one. Yeah, they rocked. Between the two of us we ate like 64789 calories worth of candy that night.

I thought it might be a cute/fun idea to try to homemake Whatchamacallits and Reese trees for him. I figured it was a little personal thing I could do that was special to us. It took me forever but I finally put something together that I thought was the closest homemade take on a Whatchamacallit. The recipe made a ton, so I think he was quite overwhelmed when I handed over the 10 lbs worth of homemade candy after a big meal at a fancy restaraunt in German Village. Our meal was finished off with a creme brule trio, so I think sweets was the last thing on his mind. Oops!

1 year ago
Today (well yesterday) :)

This is so cheesy and I know it but this past year has been amazing. I graduated college, I got my pug that I have wanted for as long as I can remember, I got my own apartment in a neighborhood I am absolutely in love with, I got a job at a cupcake bakery and I got to spend it with a man whose existence is beyond my wildest dreams. Seriously, he is everything I could ever ask for and more. With him being away and traveling all the time for work it is hard. But because of that we don't take the time we have for granted and we spend quality time together rather than worrying about the quantity of time. Our relationship needs a lot of effort because of the distance and he actually puts in that effort. I have never had this before; what I have with him. I am the luckiest girl :) really.

Okay that's enough cheese. Candy anyone?

Homemade Whatchamacallits
Dame Good adapted from and


For peanut butter treats:
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 (10 ounce) package regular marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter
6 cups Crisp Rice cereal

For the caramel:
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 pound (1 cup) light brown sugar
1/2 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 pinch salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate:
2 12oz bag (about 3 cups) milk chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon shortening


In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter until melted.

Add Crisp Rice cereal. Stir until well coated.

Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (112 to 116 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface. Cook for 2 minutes at that temperature. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.

When the caramel is ready, pour on top of the rice crispys. Allow to cool completely at room temperature.

Over a double broiler, melt the chocolate chips and shortening stirring constantly. When the caramel has cooled. Cut into desired sized bars. Move the bars to a cooling rack with something underneath to catch the chocolate (baking sheet, parchment paper etc...). Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel side first. Transfer to fridge for 10 minutes to cool. When chocolate has hardened, remove bars from fridge. Flip each bar over carefully. Cover the peanut butter treat side with the melted chocolate and move to fridge to cool again until chocolate has completely hardened on both sides. Enjoy! :)
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