Pizza on Ciabatta

Thursday, April 28, 2011
I loved everything about this recipe when  I saw it. I stole this from How Sweet It Is, like a lot of the recipes I have tried. But it's the highest form of flattery I believe=)

This pizza was soo good and really easy. I love how flexible the recipe is. You can honestly do anything with it. It's nice that you can skip the dough step of pizza making. And it's definitely a step up from frozen pizza.

I can't wait to try this again, but I'm definitely going to expand on it. New flavors and maybe try a spin on buffalo chicken dip?? I have a major obsession with buffalo chicken dip and I really don't show it enough on this blog.

Pizza on Ciabatta
Idea from How Sweet It Is

Your choice of baguette type bread (I used ciabatta)
Pizza sauce
Shredded cheese
Toppings of your choice

Method: Preheat oven to 350. Slice baguettes in half, lay on baking sheet, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes so bread can get crispy. Remove bread, add toppings, and place back in the oven for 10 minutes. Broil for 1 minute to get cheese brown and bubbly.

Lemon Bars

Monday, April 25, 2011
We have a tried and true lemon bar recipe in our house, why try another? Oh because maybe whenever I spotted this recipe over at Lick the Bowl Good, I knew I would have a new house favorite on my hands. What really got my attention was how thick the bars were, which I loved. I remembered the old recipe we used having pretty thin bars; delicious, but thin. I wanted thick, gooey, creamy, buttery, lemon-tastic bars!

Besides the juicing of the lemons, this recipe is sooo easy. Juicing does take some time, but the result is worth it. And I'm pretty sure a lot of people can juice better than I can. Zesting is fun and easy, though=) I'm insanely in love with my zester. I went so long without one and I'm so happy to finally have one in my life! Okay, enough about my zester love affair.

I know that lemon is the obvious star of lemon bars, but there needs to be given an M.I.P. award for this recipe. The buttery thick shortbread base is beyond phenomenal! These bars definitely delivered. I brought them into school and got rave reviews. I also ended up eating a number that need not be spoken out loud amount of bars by myself...

Lemon Bars
adapted from Lick the Bowl Good
Makes 24ish bars

For the crust:
  • 3/4 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
For the filling:
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Butter a 9 x 13 x 2" baking pan, then line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper.

For the crust: Cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter mixture until just mixed.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the bottom of prepared pan.
Chill the pan while the oven preheats to 350° F.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling: Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon and lime zest, lemon and lime juice, and flour.
Pour over the crust and bake for 35-45 minutes, until filling is set.
Let cool to room temperature. Cut into squares or triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.

My kitties! Millie and Howie, respectively. They are so happy it's getting warm out because then they can sit in front of our door and watch the world outside. They are they cutest!

Dinner Updates

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I have been making some fabulous dinners. I may sound a little full of myself, but that's because I am. I'm full in my stomach from all these incredible dinners! Get it?! Me neither... But seriously, I need to give some shout outs to where I've been getting my dinner inspirations from. Now, I'm not very skilled at the whole photography thing, so I decided not to take pictures of most of the meals. But I captured a few for you=)

Pizza Mac N' Cheese- This in in my family's top 5 favorite meals I've made! Cassie Craves is such a great dinner resource whenever I don't know that to make. She has never steered me wrong and I love this recipe. It sounds like a heavy dish, but there's a ton of veggies in there surprisingly. I definitely will be making this again.

Chicken with Pesto Mushrrom Cream Sauce- One of the comments we kept saying about this dish was how juicy the chicken was! I don't know if that was more due to the recipe or me, but we loved that. The pesto mushroom cream suace was great and great for dipping breadsticks into. This meal packed so much taste and it reminded me of something you would get at Olive Garden. Thanks again Cassie!
Garlic Breadsticks- I was so excited to make these! I've never thaought about making something like this from scratch and it always seemed impossible. But really, these were incredibly easy. I loved adding butter, garlic, italian seasoning, and tons of parmesan cheese on top. We really personalized them to our tastes. I made them really huge, but that didn't stop me from having seconds=)
Mexican Sour Cream Rice- This was from quite awhile ago but I remember we defnitely enjoyed it!

Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers- These were some fantastic looking burgers! They were so fun to make and I loved the avocado aioli sauce that came with it. I went a little crazy with the red onion, so don't do that. Overall, these were a disappointement. They looked great and had some great components, but the taste just wasn't there. No amount of salt could fix it either, though ketchup helped.='(

Cowboy Quesadillas- These were very easy to put together and since we haven't had quesadillas in awhile, they were much welcomed. I especially loved the bbq ranch dipping sauce, but I am a lover of all dips=) So this gets a thumbs up!

Well these are some of the meals I have been cooking up for my family! It's a little strange for an 18 year old girl to be cooking dinner for her family most nights, but I love it! Hopefully I post up our dinners sooner so I can remember what we thought of them while it's still fresh in my mind. It was one of my New Years Resolutions to cook more homemade dinners for my family, and so far  I think I'm doing fabulously=)

Coffee and Walnut Cake

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So I made another recipe from this really obcure baking book I received for Christmas. Obscure like, it has no author listed anywhere. My friend found it at Half Priced Books, and it's a little strange at times. Baking times and temperatures aren't always important, and neither is any kind of order. But that's only for some recipes=)
Anyways, I had been dying to try another recipe out of the book to see if it could actually produce some good stuff. I choose another coffee item. What can I say? I love coffee even though I don't drink it. Well that's actually a lie. I could drink any variation of iced coffee everyday for the rest of my life! Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, the cake. I happened to have some walnuts around and a perfect storm of flavors had my mind and taste buds intrigued.

I made this awhile ago, but I remember liking it a lot! I remember the frosting being pretty sugary, but then again I did go fristing heavy=) Overall this worked as a nice snack cake. I do not think I would serve it to use for a celebration cake, but tea time or a brunch would be a good option.

Coffee &Walnut Cake
from What's Cooking, Baking
serves 8

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp strong black coffee (I always use Nescafe packets and dissolve them into water)
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (I used regular flour with extra baking soda)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup walnut pieces
walnut halves to decorate with

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottoms of two 8-inch round layer cake pans.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Beat in the coffee.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture, then fold in lightly and evenly with a metal spoon. Fold in the walnut pieces.

Divide batter between the prepared cake pans and smooth level. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 mins, or until golden brown and springy to the touch. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

1/2 cup butter
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp strong black coffee (same method as before)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Beat together the butter, powdered sugar, coffee and vanilla, mixing until smooth and creamy.

Use about half of the frosting to sandwich the cakes together, then spread the remaining frosting on top and swirl with a metal spatula. Decorate with walnut halves.

Buttermilk Waffles

Friday, April 15, 2011
Guess what the lovely CSN store fairies brought me this time: a waffle maker! Woot woot! I have never made homemade waffles before (I mean well duhh since I've never owned a waffle maker) and when I see recipes for waffles on blogs I immediately skip them because I know I'll never be able to make them anyways. But now I can!!

So needless to say I don't have waffles. Like ever. My only memories of having waffles at home are of the frozen ones that you pop in the toaster or microwave. Why did people ever like those? I know I never did. They were always dry and... well just gross. So for my first try at homemade waffles, I had no idea what to expect!

You should also know that I'm a pancake girl through and through. Since I didn't grow up with waffles, we ALWAYS had pancakes growing up. For a year or two, we even had chocolate chip pancakes every Sunday. And anytime I go to breakfast places to eat, I ALWAYS order pancakes. You can bet on it. So turning to waffles almost felt like treason!

Shhhh! Don't tell pancakes but: I am in love with waffles. This recipe rocked my world! I honestly don't think I need to try any other basic waffle recipe. That's pretty ballsy to say after only trying one period, but they were too good! They buttermilk made them so soft and moist. They were actually pretty eggy, but I really enjoyed it. So if you're not into that then maybe you won't like them as much. But really, you should give these a try!

Buttermilk Waffles
from Sugarcrafter

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
Preheat the waffle maker to medium-high heat, and preheat your oven to 200 degrees (for keeping the cooked waffles warm). In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla until well-blended.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.

Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and whisk until smooth. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg white until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into each well of the waffle maker and close the lid. Cook until crisp (it took 5-6 minutes for my waffle maker). Repeat with the remaining batter. Transfer the finished waffles to a baking sheet, and place them in the oven to keep warm until you are ready to serve them. Serve with butter, jam, maple syrup, fruit, whipped cream…whatever your heart desires!

I can't wait to try more waffle recipes! I need to be more creative, though.  
Any suggestions for what waffle recipe I should try next??

Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Brownies

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Ugh. So my computer is dead once again. My sister is gracious enough to let me use hers here and there so I can check blogs and such things. Since I've been MIA for a little bit, I haven't gotten to show you guys what I have been making. Granted, I haven't taken too making pictures either=/ Oops. But bear with me here.

These brownies were OMG good. Really really good. Like eat half of the 8x8 pan in one evening good. But you should probably not do that. Do as I say, not as I do.

It calls for a white chocolate frosting which threw me a little because I'm used to the classic pairing of cream cheese frosting. But I trusted Jessica at How Sweet It Is (I mean who couldn't possibly trust her?). The brownies were soooo good. Raise-the-roof-swing-low-sweet-chariot good.

So I told you they were so good and that I had to eat so many, right? Well... I made a second batch. And doubled the recipe. And dyed them green. And made a cream cheese frosting for good ole time's sake! Holy yumm. Green for St. Paddy's day. (See how behind in my posting I am?) I brought the pan to school (or else you know I would have eaten then for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and my friends helped me gobble them down. Although I will say that bringing your friends green my give you some strange looks. However, one bite will change their minds!

Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Frosting
from How Sweet It Is

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red food coloring
2/3 cups chocolate chips (optional, I omitted)

Preheat oven to 350.
Butter and flour an 8 x 8 cake pan.

In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, red food coloring, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to create a paste.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add remaining teaspoon of vanilla. With the mixer on medium speed, add in cocoa powder mixture. Beat until batter is completely red. (If at this time your batter is NOT red, you can add a little more food coloring if desired. Color will depend on brand.) Add flour and salt, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread in the 8 x 8 pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Frosting
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces white chocolate, melted
1-2 tablespoons milk (or more if needed)

Cream butter in an electric mixer until fluffy, then add vanilla. Slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time with the mixer on low speed. Add in melted white chocolate and beat until incorporated. To reach desired consistency, add in milk 1 teaspoon at a time with mixer on low speed. If frosting becomes too liquidy, simple add additional sugar.

 Pretty blurry huh? Well you get the picture. See Jessica's blog for a drool-worthy post!

Hello...? And Cinnamon Rolls!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wow. It's seriously been so long. I mean I had an intense Spring Musical to deal with that did phenomenally, and then there was when our computer crashed=( Thank goodness for the web enabled phone I got for my birthday in January. I seriously don't know if I would have made it the week and a half. But I'm back! (I know I said that last time, but this time I mean it!) Though my blogging skills have been mediocre as of late, I promise my baking has been doing just fine. For example:

Oh yeahhhhh. Those are indeed cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. And guess what? I made them again about a week or too later. It is completely necessary. Andddddd, I have some ideas for new twists on cinnamon rolls that I can't wit to try and then show you guys. (I actually tried one of my ideas and let's just say it didn't work out too well. I burned it completely.) So, make some cinnamon rolls, and sit back and wait for the blog posts to come rolling in! In my absence, you won't believe the number of these cupcakes I had to bake. In fact, some just came out of the oven less than an hour ago.

Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe given to me by my mother. I will NEVER EVER use another recipe. This one is perfect. Same with the icing. NOTHING beats it.

1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/3 white sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 cups of flour

Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the rest of the ingredints and mix well. Knead into a ball. Let rise until doubled in size. When ready, roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Spread with filling.

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon

Spread butter evenly over dough. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over dough evenly as well. Roll dough up. Slice roll into 1 inch slices. Place in a parchment paper lined pan. Let rise again until doubled. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 oz. cream cheese
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Beat until fluffy. When rolls are hot, spread lots of icing on them.

Tip: To make these the night before,skip the final rising step. Let rise in the fridge overnight and bake them in the morning.