Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Three's company cookies

Visiting with company gives us a warm, cozy feeling that's hard to match with any other Sunday afternoon event. Maybe you're having people over to see you're new renovated kitchen with marble counter tops (I will marry any man who can do this for me), or going to a boyfriend's grandmother's home for a first visit. Either way, sharing cookies that have the same comforting characteristics as those fuzzy feelings we get while chatting the afternoon away is a perfect match for the occasion.

The following recipe is for small, not too sweet cookies that are expensive to make, but delicious in every taster's thus far opinion.

In medium bowl combine 3 cups flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda

Using a microwave or stove top, melt 1 cup (2 sticks) margarine

In separate bowl combine 1 cup brown sugar, and 3/4 cup white sugar

Pour melted butter into sugar bowl

Stir butter and sugar until evenly mixed

Add 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract to sugar mixture

Pour sugar mixture into flour mixture

Stir until dough is evenly mixed

Chop 3/4 cup macadamia nuts

Add 3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts, 1 cup white chocolate chips, and 3/4 cup dried cranberries to dough mixture

Mix ingredients until blended evenly

Roll dough into small circles and place on greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cookies are ready when tops first begin to turn golden.

Let cookies cool, but be sure to serve the company a few while still warm

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teacher's favorite

The air is cooling down, and we've hit the month of September. For 17 years that meant going back to school for me. Now, the only school shopping I do is looking for a new ruffly white button up for the nine-to-five, and instead of waiting for the yellow bus to come, I'm waiting behind a cloud of exhaust at the Starbucks drive-thru window.

However, I did learn something this weekend. A few things actually... on my skateboard. I now have a little more fun rolling around thanks to friend Ian Milner for being the best teacher I've come across for learning things on the oblong piece of wood.

I felt the need to say thanks. What do teachers like? Apples. What is a stereotypical autum food? Pumpkin. Ian is a sweetheart for getting excited with me over a frontside grind on a three foot miniramp. That calls for sugar. Ian likes breakfast, but doesn't usually wake up in time to call it that. Well here's the thank you I came up with. I think pretty much any teacher would like this. Even if they can't stand on a skateboard to save their lives.

Sift together 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of white sugar, 1 tablespoon of nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt

In another bowl mix together 2 eggs, 1 cup of canned pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Pour wet mixture into dry and stir until even

Dice up two cups of fresh granny smith apples

Fold apples into wet mixture until even

In another bowl mix together 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/4 cup of white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 4 teaspoons of cold small chunks of margarine

Now, this is suppose to be a muffin recipe. Pour the mixture into a muffin pan if you're feeling like going along with the norm. If your teacher is like Ian, and eating these treats after noontime doesn't seem right to have them be muffins, drop small globs of the mixture onto a greased baking sheet. Whether you make the muffins, or the cookies, sprinkle the cinnamon mixture ontop of each treat. It may be too sweet for muffins, but for the cookies, try topping it off with a few white chocolate chips.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes for the muffins and 10 minutes for the cookies.

While waiting for the apple-pumpkin-sweet-treats to rise and firm, watch a quick video of Ian skating. He's in the black tee-shirt.

You should end up with a bunch of back to school, teacher inspired treats that look something like the sort...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Banana Nutter

I've always been intrigued by what people do to lose weight, and more by how the body reacts to these lifestyles. Three days ago I started a liquid-only diet just for the pure fun of seeing how hard it would be, and how much my body decides to hate me. I'm on day 3 and in dire need of protein and potassium, I made this thick delicious drink:

Slice two bananas into small pieces, and put into a blender with 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/4 cup soy nuts, and 3 ice cubes.

"Liquify for 45 seconds, or until smooth, and pour into glass. Sprinkle a little ground cinnamon on top and serve.

You won't finish this fast. Not because it's not delicious, but because it's heavy and filling. While enjoying, fill in the conversations for this banana inspired comic from the Dole company.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brussel Stacks

This past weekend I visited Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz. There were wonderful walking trails leading visitors along the oceans edge.

The ranch grows roughly 12% of all brussel sprouts consumed in the United States. Hmm, that got me thinking I should try cooking the small vegetables that look like miniature lettuce heads.

Brussel Stacks recipe...
Start by washing 1 lb. small brussel sprouts and removing any dead outside leaves. Cut the ends off and slice each sprout in half.

Pour olive oil into a large skillet over low to medium heat on stove top

Place sprouts flat side down on skillet and cover. Let cook for 15 minutes, or until flat sides are beginning to brown

Meantime, Slice 1 inch thick pieces of crispy loaf bread, such as Dutch bread, and one log of fresh mozzarella cheese

Add desired amount of diced garlic (around 2 tablespoons) and another small splash of olive oil to sprouts, and stir. Let cook for another 3 minutes.

Remove sprouts from skillet. The greens should be tender, and the flat sides a golden brown.

Place slices of bread on a large baking pan. Place 1 slice of cheese onto each slice of bread. Place at least three sprouts ontop of each slice of cheese. Bake in preheated oven at 250 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is soft.

The final result should look pretty scrumptious..

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Love the Earth Granola

On my way outside to grab the morning newspaper, I found a friend. He, or she, reminded me today is the best day, Earth Day.

For all you hippies out there, and hipsters who now recycle because it's the "in" thing, here's a crunchy, earth loving snack.

Start by mixing 1/4 cup vegetable oil with 3/4 cup honey and stir until even

Mix in 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In separate bowl, combine 4 cups rolled oats, 1 cup sunflower seeds, 1 cup chopped walnuts, 1 cup coconut, and 1 cup Craisens

Stir all dry ingredients until even

Pour wet mixture into dry and stir until even. Pour raw granola onto greased baking pan and place in preheated oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove every 10 minutes and stir granola.

Remove baked granola from oven and allow to cool. When completely cooled, break into small pieces and place in airtight bags, or because we're trying to stay green - tupperware, for future use. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vice Cake

We all have our vices. A couple of my favorites are beer and coffee. Surprisingly enough, these two can be mixed together for a delicious dessert.

The inspiration for this recipe came from parties at my friend Danny's apartment. His roommate E-Train is a manager of a Starbucks, and instead of buying the classic red cups for beer pong, they use cups from the buck's.

Today is E-Train's birthday, and last night a party was thrown in celebration. I made him these vice cakes, because well, he loves these vices too.

The recipe...

Start by making the Oreo crumble crust. Crush about 1/2 a package of Oreo cookies and mix in 1/3 cup melted butter.

Set aside. Now for the beer cake.
Mix together 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup stout beer (Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout is delicious), and 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

In separate bowl mix together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/3 teaspoon salt.

In another bowl mix together 1 egg and 1/3 cup sour cream.

Combine three mixtures, and stir until even.

The final mixture should look something like this:

Now, the espresso cake.
Mix together 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

In separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup cooled brewed coffee.

Combine mixtures and stir until even. The final combo should look something like this...

Now for the layering. Grease a muffin pan. Pat a 1/8-1/4 inch layer of Oreo mixture into bottom of each hole, then pour a layer of the beer mixture ontop of the Oreo.

Fill the rest of the hole with the espresso mixture.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until they look done.

Allow the cakes to cool, then remove from tray. When completely cool, serve with whip cream topping, just like at Starbucks.

It's about time those vices paid off.