Monday, May 31, 2010


I have a slight problem. My family LOVES lasagna (and I enjoy making it), but...

it always looks so ugly.

This particular one is really tasty, and I like to substitute healthier alternatives whenever possible (ground turkey, cottage cheese, spinach, etc.). Still, even with all those healthier choices, I'm pretty sure that the benefits were negated by the massive amounts of cheese that my sister requires:

Sweet Cheesus.

Anyone have tips on how to make a better looking lasagna?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

omg cake

Gretroid sent me a video a few weeks back for "Better Than Anything Cake." Though I haven't tried it, I think it looks amazing. It has: chocolate cake, condensed milk, caramel, heath bar bits, and whipped topping.  I know that I would feel guilty after making and eating it, though!  So I'm going to need someone to make it and feed it to me, but don't tell me what it is/what is in it. Then I can pretend that it's all butter/oil free cake topped with fresh fruits. Yes?

View more news videos at:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Chocolate cake x 2

I recently posted about a chocolate cake recipe that I modified to be butter/oil free. I frosted with an easy peanut butter frosting that I found on It was a nice cake, but it wasn't *bam-doodily* fantastic, so I'm not sharing that recipe. (Although it had a dark chocolate flavor, it was kind of dry.) Do check out the pb frosting recipe though!

Later that week, I made some chocolate cupcakes for a friend's birthday, and used PIONEER WOMAN'S CHOCOLATE SHEET CAKE recipe. Instead of making it fully free of butter, I substituted half of the fat for mashed bananas, and the result was moist, chocolate-y, and bladow, ALL up in your face.* Please please please try this recipe today. My family and friends loved it at half fat level, so I'm guessing that a full butter batch can only be abso-freaking-lutely incredible.

  I love you too, my little lovecakes.

I did not use PW's frosting, but half ass(embl)ed my own. Combine: 1 can cream cheese frosting, softened cream cheese (I used neufchatel), baker's cocoa, confectioner's sugar, room temp. milk, vanilla extract, and dash of cinnamon. All of those amounts will vary by your taste and texture preferences, so just add a little bit at a time, and then whip it until light and fluffy.

Found these little star shaped sprinkles at Fred Meyer.

 Candy letters also from Freddie's.

* Translation: It was delicious.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

That's a complicated brownie...

26 page brownie recipe from the Pentagon...

Quote from the article:
      "One thing we like to say is, 'What would happen if you cooked a meal, stored it in a
      stifling hot warehouse, dropped it out of an airplane, dragged it through the mud, left it
      out with bugs and vermin, and ate it three years later?'" If it were a military meal, Whitsitt
      says, it would still be edible and maybe even tasty.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quick post

This is what I did with my morning:

Modified a chocolate cake recipe to make it free of oil/butter. Am cooling it now, and hope to top it off with peanut butter frosting later. The frosting will not be butter free, but I'm going to justify it by calling it a half fat cake. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cloud Bread

I forgot thank all of my friends/family who prayed/called/texted/emailed/sent messenger pigeons to make sure that I was okay. I don't know how to sincerely express just how much it meant that you all cared so much. It really helped carry me through last week, and I keep it in my heart now as I try to move on. I am so blessed to have you in my life.

 Poor baby fell asleep while we were shopping.

Ok. Remember this post? Well, I baked the hell out of that bread. It was therapeutic, but more importantly, it was DELICIOUS. I didn't get the crust (gross word?) perfectly, but it was still very good. The inside was soft, chewy, and flavorful--like eating a slightly buttery cloud. It went well dipped in the stew, but I enjoyed it even more by itself when it was still a little warm from the oven. I'm including the recipe below...I found it on allrecipes but I've re-named the recipe to suit my needs (b/c it's all about me).

"Oh you feel terrible? Would you like to eat a cloud?" bread
(With adaptations.) Original recipe here.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon cornmeal (I didn't have any on hand, but this might have helped)
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
  1. Mix 2 c. flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. 
  2. Melt the butter and add it to dry ingredients when it is warm, NOT hot (too much heat will kill the yeast).Next, add the warm water. 
  3. Stir it until blended. The dough will look wet, and not dough-like at all. That is ok. We're going to add more flour while we knead it. 
  4. On a well floured surface, plop that jank out. Get ready to knead.
  5. Add 1/4 c. of flour at a time while you knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. (If you can poke two fingers into the dough, and it springs back, then the dough is ready.)
  6. Form the dough into a ball, place it in a well oiled bowl, and turn the ball around a little so it gets coated with oil. (I usually use the same bowl that I mixed it in even if it's got little bits of dough stuck inside. I hate washing dishes!)
  7. Cover, and let rise in a warm place. Approx. 1 hour.
  8. Check out the size of that dough! It should be doubled in size. If not, then make sure your spot is warm, and then let rise some more.
  9. At this point, the original recipes says to do this: "Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends."
  10. This is what I did instead: Punch dough down, divide it in half, and then immediately try to roll each half into a log. If the ends are oddly shaped, just fold them onto the bottom, and hope that it will bake into the right shape. (which one you choose will depend on your experience level, and ability to follow directions).
  11. Grease a baking sheet, and place your loaves onto it. Brush the egg white with 1 tbs. water, and then brush it on the loaves. Cover, and then let it rise again for 30-45 min.
  12. Preheat oven to 375 F while the dough is rising. After the dough has nearly doubled again (or in my case, risen to the point that each individual loaf has crowded on each other), make 4 diagonal cuts in the loaves with a very sharp knife (about 1/4 in. deep).
  13. Bake for 20 min. Brush with more egg white, and then bake again for 15 min or until bread is done. 
I wish that I had taken pictures of this bread for two reasons:
  1. So you could see its odd shape.
  2. So you could see how amazing it looked regardless.
 It was the best bread recipe I've found so far. Please try it for yourself (or convince someone else to bake it for you, b/c that was a lot of steps, y'all). 

This isn't the bread that I baked that just didn't feel right to have such a wordy post with out a lot of photos!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Eggs in a basket

I received a gift in the mail last week from my friend Shelly in DC:

It's The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond!

ashslkiolkad! It was signed!

I read the desserts section first, then oohed and ahhhed my way through the rest. This morning was my first attempt at a recipe from her book--eggs in a hole, eggs in a basket, or oops I did it agains (j/k about that one). They have many names, but simply, they are:

Bread (wheat pictured) with a hole

Some butter is put into a hot pan. Bread goes in the hot pan, and then:

 You fry an egg in the hole. 

You'll want to flip it over so that the top cooks. If you're like me, you can freak out after you flip it because you're afraid that the yolk will over cook, and take it out of the pan quickly before the bread has enough time to toast. You can also throw that extra piece of bread that you cut out into the pan, and dip it in the yolk later.

Gosh. I know it seems so easy that this recipe shouldn't be written about, but the first (and last time) I had this was in Mrs. Terrell's 2nd grade class. It brought back memories of a really loving and wonderful teacher who did everything to make sure that I would be safe after she found out that my parents were going through a nasty divorce. This meal was simple, yes, but also warm and comforting. 

I like bacon. Bacon, bacon, bacon.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jim's Pancakes

I just saw this on Cake Wrecks' facebook page...
It's a shoutout to the flickr stream of Jim's Pancakes, and it is seriously, surrrriously amazing. It's all of your favorite things: art, architecture, and pancakes. All in one.


Banana stuffed french toast.

This recipe was so easy and delicious that I'm blogging about it as I eat it. I'm chewing as I type. This banana stuffed french toast is by far one of my favorite recipes to date. It looks fancy, but with minimal effort. OhmygoshI'msoexcited.

Once in a while, I'll find new recipes by googling the ingredients that I have. This morning, a search for baked + banana = baked banana french toast. I scurried over to allrecipes, and found Karen's Baked Banana Stuffed French Toast. After reading the comments, and making some of my own changes, this happened:

BAMF: Bad Ass Mother Fooder?
Baked And Mouth Feast?
Anyone? No?

Since I'm usually eating breakfast/brunch alone on Saturdays, I scaled everything down for one serving.

2 pcs. wheat bread
1 lg. egg (room temp)
2 tbs. warm milk
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
dash vanilla
1 med. ripe banana, sliced
maple syrup, strawberry syrup, whipped cream (whatever's healthiest)

  1. Preheat oven (or my rinky dinky toaster oven) to 375 F. Put a little dab of butter into your baking sheet, and let it all warm in the oven while you work.
  2. Combine egg, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a flat bowl/container. Now whisk it. Whisk it good. (Any Devo fans? No? Just me?)
  3. Slice the bananas (I sliced them at an angle to get longer pieces, rather than a bunch of short "o" shapes).  Place a double layer between the 2 slices of bread.
  4. Carefully dip each side of your banana sandwich into the egg mix. Just stuff any rogue banana slices back into the sandwich as they fall out.
  5.  Take the hot baking sheet out, jiggle the pan so the butter spreads, and place your sandwich onto it. Bake for about 5 min, or until the bottom side is light brown and crisp, then flip to the other side for another 5 min. (This step will change according to your preference. Some people actually fry theirs in a frying pan, then bake, but I'm lazy. Also, I prefer my french toast to be a bit crispier than most people, so pay attention to it as it bakes).
The ripe banana adds plenty of sweetness, and so syrup, strawberries, and whipped cream are totally unnecessary. The truth is, I had a terrible week, and I just wanted something really decadent, warm, gooey, and perfect. And, this meal was an amazing treat. I wouldn't recommend it for a balanced breakfast, but I do recommend it for special occasions, heart ache, stress, or after a really, really good cry.


Monday, May 10, 2010


One thing that is always consistent is God's love. Another thing is baking.
With cooking/baking, it's never a guarantee that the amount of work you put into it will always yield positive results. Sometimes, you can spend hours letting a sourdough rise, but if you put too much salt in it, that beautiful crumb isn't going to equal wonderful taste. (That happened once. It was one of the most beautiful loaves of bread I'd ever produced, but I put WAY too much salt in it.) BUT I can always expect the mixing and kneading process of bread baking.

I don't have a bread machine or a stand mixer, but I enjoy the kneading process especially. It is always a work out, and a stress reliever. I actually crave the feel of dough under my hands, and the slight push it gives as I work it into a smooth product (why does that sound so weird, yet give me thrills???).

My life is changing. There are things that have happened recently that I'm not even sure how to explain to some of my closest and dearest friends. It's not like me to keep things so private, b/c I'm usually the TMI girl. But today, I can't even wrap my mind/emotions around my life.

Since I don't know how to talk about it, I'm going to bake. I'm going to knead that dough like nobody's business, and hopefully it will produce a warm, crusty on the outside, soft in the middle french bread that I can dip in the pot of Vietnamese curry stew (cari ga) that's sitting in my kitchen. And even though my life is uncertain for least I can be certain of the process.

Oat french bread from earlier this year

Lady Gaga

Ok, so I have a bunch of food related posts lined up, but that's not what I'm sharing with you today.

Please watch this:

I love it. So. Much. Did you notice the poster's username? anotheraznpianokid. Amazing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I ate another baby

I loved making/eating that dutch baby yesterday. I enjoyed it so much that I made it again for brunch today (with a few changes).

 Well, hello there.

So, I halved the recipe for one serving, and cut some of these bad boys up:

This time, instead of browning the butter in a skillet on the stove, I just added a dab of margarine to my heart shaped baking pan that Lycheeyum bought me for V-day this year (what romance), and popped the thing in the preheating oven. (Before pouring the batter into the hot pan, it helps to swirl the butter/marg around.)

Once the sides rose up high, I reduced the heat from 425 to 375 so it would be a bit lighter in texture.

Take a look, decide it doesn't look right and...
Dump a whole pile of strawberries on top. Ahhhh, yes.

First bite, this song starts playing.

I liked it this time, but I missed the custard-y texture of yesterday's baby. That's my fault though, since I was trying for a lighter one. Also, I think I put too much margarine in the pan, so I'll have to try again sometime (soon) to get just the right amount. That being said, it was amazingly simple and delicious. I loved it. Can you tell???

On a related note...check this out. Lots of dutch babies.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Brown Butter Dutch Baby

Oh sweet deliciousness...I never thought I'd love eating a baby so much.

I'll have to talk about this recipe more later. Let's just say that it's delicious, and was easier (for me) to make than those boxed pancakes. Gotta go sister is rushing me to hit garage sales with her...Oh, also, I found this recipe through this fellow CNU alum. She's pretty hilarious, and I wish that we had been friends in college. Now, post-college, I just stalk her blog. I'm not creepy at all.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Blog Barf

I realize that I'm posting a lot. I've had a lot of posts planned for a while now, but just haven't had the time to update. Until now, apparently. Anyways, this isn't one of those planned posts...

I was sitting here & downloading exercise videos online (when I should be writing cover letters for my resume), and came across this cake from 17 and Baking:
This is totally her picture--I haven't made the dang thing (yet)!

Isn't it beautiful? (You should totally check out her other stuff on there. She's a Seattle-ite, too!) So I was thinking that maybe I'll make it for Cinco de Mayo. No? I guess I'll have to wait until July, then. Anyone else find it funny that I stumbled upon this beauty while downloading exercise videos? Yeahhhh.

Edit: I forgot to share this link with y'all...Ghettoblaster. It has a tv and straps for your shoulders. How convenient. My Lycheeyum bought a Ghettoblaster today at a church yard sale. He got it for $5, was totally excited with it, called me about it, and I made fun of him. "What are you going to do with a Ghettoblaster stereo??!!" I laughed. Oh, how I laughed. And judged. I guess he got the last laugh.

It is upon us...

I had a beer tonight at dinner, so I'm finally ready to do it...This post is the one that I've been warning you about. The one that I've been trying to put off for a very long time. Once you see the image, imagine horror movie music playing in the background, like this.

 Here goes...


Yeahhhh, when I found the recipe, I excitedly wrote about it. It sounded simple and easy enough for my first try at making pasta. Why didn't I choose to stick with the boxed variety? It started out simple enough. I mixed the ingredients, and kneaded the dough, blah blah blah, and it looked like this when I hung the strips to dry:

 It didn't look good, but I was hopeful. Oh, what naivete...The Italian bread I baked that night to go with the store bought pasta and marinara was delicious, however. The pictures I have do not look as good as it tasted.

 Mmmm, you made up for all of my failures

The next day, to make myself feel better about the "fettuccine fiasco of 2010", I made myself a cheese sandwich using the Italian bread and muenster cheese, and popped it on the foreman grill along with some butter. Oh holy night, the stars are brightly bursting in my mouth, it was so delicious. (That's what she said, btw.)