Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sauteed Potatoes and Chorizo





This is a dish I made a while back for a potluck we had for the bakery. It was a "Merry Margarita Christmas" kinda thing. It was nice...we had lots of mexican food and strong margaritas. Mexican is my favorite so picking something to make was torturous. I kind of randomly selected these potatoes with chorizo because of the rave reviews on the Food Network.

Now this was good but I think I made a mistake. I think that perhaps I boiled the potatoes just a tad too long because they ended up more on the mushy side. It was still good, don't get me wrong but my heart was set on a crispy potato. My advice would be to boil the potatoes until just barely tender...maybe about 8 minutes.

The origional recipe did not have any peppers or anything, I just added some peppers for fun and color...this would be tasty even without.

Sauteed Potatoes and Chorizo
Adapted from Foodnetwork.com

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
10 ounces Mexican pork chorizo, casings removed
1 small onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and ribs removed, diced
1 red pepper, seeded and ribs removed, diced
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and ribs removed, diced
1 pound red skinned new potatoes, cut into small (1/4-inch) dice, and boiled (about 6-8 minutes)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking up the clumps, until dry and crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a paper lined plate to absorb any additional oil. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan and heat the pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers and boiled potatoes and saute until brown, about 12 minutes. Stir in the cooked chorizo and season with just a little salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Spicy Sweet Potato and Chicken Soup






I don't know about anyone else but I am so over this winter thing. We have gotten so much snow lately and I feel like I am constantly freezing. Snow before January=nice...snow after january=torture. One of the few things that makes me feel warm and fuzzy during this long and terrible season is yummy homemade soup. This is one of my new favorites...it is delish.

Sidenote: my digital camera broke! Not that it took the best pictures but it was okay enough. Now I am left with one that takes terrible terrible pictures so I apologize ahead of time...it will have to do until I can afford a nice new one. Does anyone have any suggestions for cameras that take good food pictures but don't cost an arm and a leg?

Sidenote #2: I just dropped Kirby off at the Vet to get fixed today :/ he seemed so scared. I'm nervous for the little guy and my house is so lonely without him. When I dropped him off their power was out but hopefully it comes back on today so we can get this over with...my poor little baby :(

Spicy Sweet Potato and Chicken Soup
From Foodnetwork.com

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled
2 ribs celery
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 to 2 chipotle chili in adobo, finely chopped, plus a spoon of sauce from the can
Salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon dry thyme, eyeball it
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine, eyeball it
5 cups chicken stock
1 large sweet potato
3/4 to 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite size pieces
4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, a generous handful, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream, for garnish, optional

Directions:

Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, about 2 turns of the pan.

While soup pot heats, chop carrots in half lengthwise then slice into thin half moons. Add the carrots to the pot while it heats, stirring to coat the carrots in the oil. Chop and drop in celery and onion, chopping as small as you can, but don't make yourself crazy. Add the garlic, chipotle, and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Season the veggies with salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook the veggies together 1 minute. Add the wine and reduce a minute. Add the stock to the pot, cover the pot, and raise heat to high. Bring the stoup to a boil, remove the cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into quarters lengthwise, then thinly slice into bite size pieces. Add the cut chicken and sweet potatoes and simmer 5 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through. Turn the heat off and add the scallions and cilantro. Serve each portion of stoup with a dollop of sour cream on top.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Apple Pupcakes






It has been a while since I posted a dog treat recipe. This might be because Kirby is spoiled and got tons of treats for Christmas...I scheduled Kirbys manhood-removal appointment for this monday. I'm worried for the little fella. Good thing Shawn has that week off and will be around in case Kirb's depressed or in pain. He likes Shawn more than me :(

Believe it or not, Kirb seems to have tripled since I last posted about him...my baby is growing so fast! For New Years I put a little bow-tie on him...Shawn thought I was mean but I thought he looked like a little man. It was cute, and he may or may not have gotten some extra treats that night.

video


Kirb is obsessed with apple dog treats so these are a favorite of his.

Apple Pupcakes
From Healthyrecipesforpets.com

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 medium egg
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup apple, dried
1 tablespoon baking powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together water, applesauce, honey, egg, and vanilla. In a large bowl, combine flour, apple chips, and baking powder. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until very well blended. Pour into greased muffin pans, Bake 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Store in a sealed container.
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pumpkin Roll






It has been one of the most unlucky weekends of my life. Thursday, I got up to leave my last class of the day totally excited about my first hair appointment in 6 months (I know...not good). It wasn't long before I realized the weight of my keys was off and my car key and keyless remote were missing. I quickly went to campus police/lost and found only to receive the bad news that no keys were turned in.

Two girls from my class noticed I was distraught and offered to help me search (super nice of them I know...I'm making them goodies as a thank you). We followed my steps back and forth and sideways but no keys. I was sure my mother had my spare but she informed me she did not, and neither did my dad, or my ex. Crap!

One of the girls from class took me home and I started calling dealerships about getting a key made. They informed me they need my title...well sir, that would be in my locked car. CRAP! I headed back to campus to see if the campus police would unlock my car so I could get my title. Thank god they could. But as they broke into my car the alarm went off. The security guy or whatever he was informed me, with not an ounce of empathy, "your alarm will go off until your battery dies...cyah!" Gee...thanks.

I once again began calling dealerships who let me down one by one by claiming to not be able to make that key for my particular car. Of course there was one guy in all of Columbus. I quickly called him, very high in hopes as he was my only option, but apparently his internet was down and he needed it to look up my key code. Great!

The next day I called them up and they told me the internet was back. A friend of mine wisked me away to the dealership which happened to be in one of the worst areas in Columbus...yeah, scary. He made me a key in no time and I was as eager as ever to get back to my car. The moment of truth arrived and the key, yeah it didn't work. I call the dealership to ask them what I can do and they tell me "you're outta luck. this means the previous owner changed all the locks and we can't change them again because they've been discontinued." Whaaat?!

My next option was to call a locksmith. I was told one was on his way as my friend and I sat in an empty parking lot munching on caramel corn and complaining about life. 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes go by when I get the call that he can't find the code to make the key. I promptly explained that the code hadn't worked and I need a new key made off of my current lock. He didn't understand so I proceeded to call about 6 other locksmiths who all led to this same technician who barely spoke English. After 3 hours of waiting and crying and some mild freaking out we headed to my apartment to come up with a plan C....or would it be D...or W for that matter?

A friend from work saw my desperate facebook status and told me that Triple A has made her a key off her trunk before. I don't have triple A but immediately decided it would be more worth my money to buy a membership than pay some locksmith who is trying to rip me off by charging me $400. So this morning, after work, I called Triple A and had a locksmith meet me out in the parking lot. First he went to the wrong parking lot but I called and got him over to the right one. He saw the key the dealership made me and instantly knew it was the wrong one....yep...really.

He cut me a new one and got into my car like it was nothing. Surprisingly, it wasn't dead. The alarm was going off and because of that, it wouldn't let my car start. After what seemed like ages leafing through my manual he figured out how to turn it off.

I now finally have my car in my possession. I miss the keyless remote but feel like 3802 lbs has been lifted from my shoulders. It is amazing how much we (people) can take things for granted and how sometimes it takes something drastic to make us realize it. Much like this pumpkin roll...(had to tie it in somehow right?) :)

I love these. I personally think they are great any time of the year and not just for the fall or for the holidays. Its a lot easier to make than it seems and so worth the waiting time for it to cool. And that is coming from the girl who 9 times out of 10 burns her mouth because she just can't wait.

Pumpkin Roll
From Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

roll:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

filling:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in pumpkin puree, eggs, and lemon juice. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly.

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes.

Lay a damp linen towel on the counter, sprinkle it with confectioner's sugar, and turn the cake onto the towel. Carefully roll the towel up (lengthwise) with the cake in it. Place the cake-in-towel on a cooling rack and let it cool for 20 minutes.

Make the icing: In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.

When the cake has cooled 20 minutes, unroll it and spread icing onto it. Immediately re-roll (not in the towel this time), and wrap it with plastic wrap. Keep the cake refrigerated or freeze it for up to 2 weeks in aluminum foil. Cut the cake in slices just before serving.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf






January is kind of an odd month. It's cold and snowy leaving you to long for some hot comfort food but at the same time the guilt begins to creep in from eating those that extra holiday cookies and that little voice in the back of your head keeps trying to remind you that you vowed to lose that 5 pounds this year starts to get really annoying. So you have the constant push and pull between wanting a chicken pot pie and wanting to succeed in that darn new years resolution you made to eat healthier and lose the jolly pooch you got for Christmas.

It is not easy to find satisfying comfort food that you feel good about eating without having to spend the whole week at the gym trying to work it off. This is kind of my goal this winter; to balance the longing for comfort food and still be able to get into my jeans without having to do the "please fit" wiggle, or jig if you will. I don't think the guy below me appreciates the sound of someone jumping up and down and rolling around on the floor above him. I am not a big fan of his loud music or video game playing at all hours of the night but that is a different story.

This here meatloaf might be my first success this winter. I got the idea to use quinoa in meatloaf from a recipe on allrecipes.com and went from there combining different recipes to achieve what I think is a perfect balance of indulgence and guilt-free food. I love the glaze on this (thanks to Alton Brown) and the use of turkey. You barely miss the fatty ground beef...I promise :)

(little disclaimer: it looks like a lot of ingredients but a lot of it you should already have in your pantry)

Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf
Adapted from allrecipes.com and foodnetwork.com

Ingredients:

For the loaf:
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 (20 ounce) package lean ground turkey
1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme

For the glaze:
1/2 cup reduced-sugar ketchup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrot and pepper; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from heat to cool.

Stir the turkey, cooked quinoa, onions, carrots, pepper, bread crumbs, tomato paste, hot sauce, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, egg, salt, cayenne, thyme and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. The mixture will be very moist. Shape into a loaf on a foil lined baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 50 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F. Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Combine the ketchup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and honey. Brush the glaze onto the meatloaf after it has been cooking for about 10 minutes.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cake Mix Cookies






I haven't talked a whole lot about my educational journey. For my 4 years at Ohio State I was sure I wanted to be a marriage and family mental health counselor. I volunteered at the suicide hotline for a year and realized that my patience and control was not at the level it needs to be for that field. When I actually helped people, I felt wonderful but man was it a frustrating experience.

I then took American Sign Language for my foreign language requirement. I had always wanted to learn and had an interest in deaf culture. I was born hard of hearing and have worn hearing aids since second grade. Kids would always ask me if I knew ASL and I would pretend I did because I really wanted to! So, in a way, I have always wanted to be a sign language interpreter, but never knew as a youngster that it was something I could grow up to be!

After taking ASL, I fell in love. I'm truly passionate about the language and the culture. It really is a beautiful and amazing thing. I never realized how ignorant, myself included, people are about deafness. So now I am working towards getting an Associates degree in American Sign Language interpreting and I cannot wait until I attain that goal.

I bring this all up because last night I experienced my first real ASL social outside of class. It took place at a restaurant/bar in a suburb of Columbus where deaf people and ASL students alike meet up to conversate. I did not really get to communicate with any deaf people but the observations I made and being in the "conversational" environment was eye-opening. I was nervous about approaching a deaf person I don't know because I want to be so good and so fluent but I am not there yet, nor am I supposed to be, but I feel embarassed. Hopefully next time I will get the courage to make some deaf friends.

This has nothing to do with cookies but it is just something on my mind :)

Moving away from things irrelevant to cookies...I had boxed cake mix left over after making the cupcake and funfetti bark and needed to do something with it. I decided to try out cake mix cookies. I have heard about them but never tried it. They turned out pretty good. It's a different thing you can do with cake mix and theres a lot of room to play around with it. You can throw sprinkles in the batter or if you have some frosting you can make cute little cookie sandwiches (which is what I did).

Cake Mix Cookies
Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

2 eggs
2 1/4 cup dry cake mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions:

Mix together cake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl. If it seems a little too dry, add a tablespoon or 2 more vegetable oil. Make little 1/2-1 inch balls with the dough and set on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees F  for 4 - 10 minutes.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Funfetti Bark






Yep, I'm still on a bark craze. Well actually I made this when I made the Cupcake Bark because I wanted to play around with the idea. Not only am I now obsessed with bark but I have always been obsessed with cake batter. Yep, I'm a bowl licker. Many times I prefer the batter over the baked good...and I am well aware that that sounds just a tad bit crazy but I'll accept that.

Cake batter ice cream also happens to be my faaaavorite ice cream. Give me a pint of Edy's Light Take the Cake Ice Cream and call it a day. And...believe it or not...funfetti cake is my alltime favorite cake. Yeah, I realize it comes out of a box and I'm not a fan of using a boxed cake. I did find a pretty good homemade funfetti recipe that does the trick but every now and then...a girl needs a box of funfetti.

Yeah, this is what I call funfetti bark...proceed to drool.

Funfetti Bark
Dame Good

Ingredients:

3 cups white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons funfetti cake mix (dry)
sprinkles (nonpariels)

Directions:

Melt 3 cups of white chocolate in the microwave for 45 seconds at a time, stirring each time. It will take about 2-4 minutes. Once the chocolate is completely melted, stir in 3 tablespoons of the cake mix. When that is completely mixed in, stir in desired amount of sprinkles. Pour the chocolate on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Top the bark with additional sprinkles. Put the chocolate in the fridge until it hardens, about 30-45 minutes. Once cool, break into uneven shards and store in airtight containers. Enjoy!

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cupcake Bark






So far my 2011 has been a decent year :) I hope everyone had a safe and happy new year! I'm not typically one to make new years resolutions. I try to set goals for myself year round but this year there is one thing I want to do and that is make more time for my girlfriends. I miss them all the time since I graduated but I am so exhausted from school and work that by the time I get home, I just want to lay on the couch and do nothing. The fact that I tend to be quite lazy probably doesn't help either. With Shawn only being in town a very limited amount of days (mostly only on the weekends), its gotten hard to prioritize my time with my friends. So this year, I am going to improve on this and give them the effort they deserve. I don't want them to think I take them for granted or that they are not a priority in my life because they are...those girls mean the world to me...

Anyhoo....

I rang in the new year with pork and sauerkraut. My family always did the sauerkraut on new years. It's a German tradition that is supposed to bring good luck. Because pork is a fat pig, it is supposed to symbolize an abundant year ahead and sauerkraut is made with cabbage and the green in cabbage symbolizes wealth and money. I went over to Shawns and his roomates and I filled 2 large crockpots with our "good luck" and had a nice hungover feast. Crossing my fingers!

So I think my first blog post of the year should be kind of epic. That's how I feel about this bark. Bark is fun because you can throw whatever you want into melted chocolate and hope for the best. I've been on a abit of a bark craze for the holidays so I was inspired to say the least...

I had a couple of boxed cake mix in my pantry that my dad had sent me and they have been sitting there collecting dust because I prefer to bake from scratch. I absolutely cannot waste any food so I decided to play with them and see what I can do with cake mix other than cupcakes. I made cake mix cookies sandwiches and a couple kinds of bark...

This first one is what I call a "cupcake" bark because I made it in 2 layers. The first layer has yellow cake mix and is colored yellow and the top layer is colored pink to resemble frosting and is topped with sprinkles. This would make a great little diy birthday gift because it's so cute!

Cupcake Bark
Dame Good

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons yellow cake mix (dry)
yellow food coloring (use an oil-based coloring, a water base will shock the chocolate, or use colored melting chocolate)
pink food coloring (use an oil-based coloring, a water base will shock the chocolate, or use colored melting chocolate)
sprinkles

Directions:

Melt 3 cups of white chocolate in the microwave for 45 seconds at a time, stirring each time. It will take about 2-4 minutes. Once the chocolate is completely melted, stir in 3 tablespoons of the cake mix. When that is completely mixed in, stir in desired amount of yellow food coloring. Try not to add too much, you just want a light yellow. Pour the chocolate on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Put the chocolate in the fridge until it hardens, about 30-45 minutes.

While the first layer is cooling, melt the remainging 1 1/2 cups of chocolate in the microwave. When it is completely melted, stir in desired amount of pink food coloring. Pour pink layer over the yellow layer and top the pink layer with sprinkles. Put the bark in the refrigerator until cool. Once cool, break into uneven shards and store in airtight containers. Enjoy!

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