Thursday, August 28, 2008

WC Summer Exchange Gift!

This was the second exchange I've participated in with the What's Cooking board that I frequent. I think they are so much fun. I sent my gift off to Kelly (kellyandjustin) in Kentucky. I sent her 3 baking goodies and 3 grilling goodies which she said both her and her husband were excited about. I got my gift this past weekend from Robyn (googly). It was a huge box filled with a lot of nice gifts: a calphalon cookie sheet, a cookie scoop, flower cookie cutters, a 'kiss the cook' wooden frame, a decorative glass pear, a Ghiradelli chocolate/caramel bar (yum!), red/white sugar sprinkles, a package of buttermilk/maple pancake mix and a jar of apple cinnamon syrup. The very next day I whipped up some of the pancakes to have with the syrup. They were so delicious. I can't wait to make them again. Thanks again, Robyn, for the awesome gifts.

Mac&Cheese is good for you...

Warning: This is not a healthy recipe. My aunt gave me this recipe awhile back but hers apparently used less cheese. When I wrote the recipe down, I somehow thought she said more cheese. Anyways, now Mike won't let me use less cheese because he said it's too good this way and we shouldn't sacrifice. haha. If you are feeling brave, go for will enjoy!

Mac & Cheese

3/4 lb of noodles
1 small velveeta block (cut into small chunks)
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1/2 stick of butter (I did use light!) (cut into 4 pieces)
1 cup of shredded cheddar
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Cook noodles as directed on package. In a sauce pan, heat evaporated milk on medium. Add in butter to let melt. Slowly add in chunks of the velveeta, stir and let melt before adding more. Stir occasionally so the cheese does not burn onto the bottom of the pan. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Once noodles are drained, pour into 9x13 baking dish. Pour melted cheese mixture over top and stir throughout. Bake on 350 for 15 mins (until cheese is bubbling in pan). Top with shredded cheddar and return to oven. Bake until cheese on top is melted and browning...about 10 minutes. You don't want the cheese in the noodles to thicken too much so that it will still be creamy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

1-2-3-4 Cupcakes!

I wonder where the name of this recipe came from. Kind of strange, don't you think? It's probably really obvious and I just am clueless. I saw this recipe on Lovestoeat's Weblog recently and knowing that my cousin Nikki would be in town visiting this past weekend, I decided to whip up a batch of mini cupcakes. On Saturday, we went to tailgate at the Rascall Flatts concert with Lani & Chad really they were for Lani too. She and Nikki both prefer vanilla over chocolate so I thought these would be perfect to try. These turned out great...both taste and texture. This is definitely a great and easy go-to recipe for white/yellow cake. I went with rainbow chip frosting from the can because Nikki suggested it. And you can never go wrong with that one. They were scrumptious little minis.

1-2-3-4 Cake
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

*** I halved this recipe and got 12 regular size cupcakes and 24 minis. So this is a big recipe!

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour three 9 inch cake pans (I used cupcake liners and cupcake pan). In a mixing bowl cream butter and gradually add sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with milk and flavorings, beating after each addition until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 mins (I baked mini cupcakes for 10 minutes and regular cupcakes for 15 minutes). Cool in pans 10 mins and remove from pans to finish cooling.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A TWD Rewind

I've been thinking about this week's pick for awhile now. Dolores over at Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity (very original name, don't you think?) picked Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream. As much as I love ice cream, that one just didn't 'scream' at me, if you know what I mean. I guess I could've tackled it by hand, but I'm not sure how well that would go over with my very first ice cream making experience. Sure, I watched my grandmother make it many times but it was always with her trusty little maker. And as much as I love me some ice cream, I surely didn't want to mess it up on my first try. What if that made me hold a grudge against all ice cream...forever? Yea, ok, that's going a bit overboard...never gonna happen. The leaders over at TWD gave us a chance to pick a past recipe if we didn't have an ice cream maker...yea, I went for that option. I remember seeing these brownies (French Chocolate Brownies, to be exact) on everyone else's blog so I thought I should go ahead and add them to my list of completed Dorie recipes.

These were very easy to whip up and they are very tasty. I left out the raisins and the rum (not to keen on raisins), and I also used semi-sweet chocolate chips in place of the bittersweet chocolate. I baked for exactly 50 minutes. Delish and perfectly moist!

I went back and checked out some of the blog entries when this was the pick of the week. Here are some eye-catching ones. Just click on any of the blogs listed and you can find the recipe (new rule: only the person who chooses the recipe can post the recipe).

Better yet, you can just go buy Dorie's book Baking: From My Home to Yours. If you want to check out the blogs to see the blueberry ice cream entries, just head on over the TWD website.

Spending Tuesday night with 2 of my favorite friends. I mean 2 of my favorite foods, of course! :-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Proof is in the Oven!

This Week's TWD: Black and White Banana Loaf (pg 232 of Dorie's Baking: From My Home to Yours) -- this pick belongs to Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen so make sure you check out her blog, which includes the full recipe. You can also check out all of the other members' entries by visiting the TWD blog.

Nothing like procrastinating. I decided at the last minute that I was definitely participating in this week's TWD. Lucky for me, I had everything on hand...well, except the loaf pan, that is. Oh, you heard right, I didn't even own a loaf pan...take one guess if I had ever made a loaf before. Yep, you catch on quick. After work, I took a slight decour to Marshalls where I picked up a nice Wilton loaf pan for $5...sweet! Did I mention I first had to assemble 2 pans of for our dinner tomorrow night and one to drop off at our friends' house on Thursday (they just had an adorable baby boy last week)? Ok, back to the loaf. I got started on it a little after 9:00 p.m. but it came together very quickly. It's the baking that takes forever. Keep in mind when starting that it bakes for 1 hr and 20-30 minutes. Yea, that's why I'm sitting here posting this at 11:00 p.m.(hey, hey, better late than never... and it's still Tuesday so I made it). And it's not even ready yet. The above picture will get me through until tomorrow when I actually cut it and can take a nice picture of the finished product. So far, so good....even the marbling looks nice. Go me! On second thought, the top marbling could mean absolutely nothing when it comes to the middle. Let's hope for the best, shall we? You shall see the inside tomorrow morning when I'm sure to be enjoying a piece for breakfast with a cold glass of milk. And then tomorrow night for dessert, I will definitely be trying it with a nice scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt. Can't let this pretty loaf go to waste now, can we? Didn't think so. Enjoy.

Update: This turned out great. It's a really nice texture and it's the perfect amount of banana and chocolate...and not too sweet. I'm so glad I decided to make it. Thanks for the great pick, Ashlee!

P.S. I baked for exactly 1 hr and 20 minutes...not bad but maybe next time, I would cut the time down by about 5 minutes. Also, I omitted the rum and the lemon zest. Instead of 3 oz of bittersweet, I used what I had on hand which was quite a mix... 1/2 oz of unsweetened, 1/2 oz of milk chocolate and 2 oz of semi sweet. I though it turned out great.