Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cake Batter Dip

I'm not crediting a source for this recipe because it's so ubiquitous at this point that I think everyone on Pinterest has either made it or eaten it at some point or another. I first had it at a friend's party in March and knew I needed to make it for my own party. It's very good. It tastes like Dunkaroos, if you remember those. Technically you could make it with any cake mix but the recipe calls for the Funfetti flavor. I've also seen varieties involving brownie mixes.

Anyway, it's good. I served it with some animal crackers and 'Nilla wafers.

dunkaroos

Cake Batter Dip
1 package Funfetti cake mix
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (or cream cheese)
2 cups Cool Whip

Mix together. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to three days.

Rum Punch

For my ladies' craft night, clearly I needed a solid cocktail recipe to feed the masses. I have a beverage dispenser that I've never had a chance to use, so it was fun to break that in. I made the full recipe, so you can see how much it makes based on the picture since the dispenser holds 1 1/2 gallons. It was VERY VERY good! It definitely needs to be chilled so either refrigerate it or serve it over ice. I used Malibu coconut rum, which was an excellent choice. I would definitely make this again.

punch

Rum Punch
Sweet C's Designs via Pinterest

3 cups orange juice
3 cups pineapple juice
3 cups ginger ale
3 cups rum
1/4 cup grenadine
Juice of 1 lime

Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher, add ice, and enjoy!

Real Food I Made

I made a couple of repeater-meals this week:

*Broccoli Parmesan Casserole with egg noodles
*Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

I made the latter for a ladies' craft night at my house. I made the whole recipe (instead of halving it), thinking I'd need it, but seriously: the recipe makes SO. MUCH. FOOD. You never need that much food. You'll have leftovers for weeks. (Which isn't terrible, since it's still yummy warmed up the next day.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cookie Monday: Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

For Cookie Monday this week, I really didn't want to have to go to the grocery store. I happened to have bought a bunch of Heath Bars awhile back when they were on sale, so I already had everything I needed for these. They're super-easy and even though I doubled the recipe (and got 7 dozen cookies), it didn't take that much time. The brown butter is really what makes this. It's nutty and goes so nicely with the toffee. Yum!

cookie

Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts via Pinterest

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
⅓ cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons milk
2 tsp vanilla
2¼ cup flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 package Heath Toffee Bits (or 4 Heath Bars, chopped)

In a skillet over medium heat melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, it will begin to foam. The foam will subside, and brown specks will form on the bottom of the pan. Once the butter starts to smell nutty, remove from heat and allow it to cool completely. (Be careful, the butter can go from browned to burnt very quickly.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once the butter has cooled completely add it to a bowl of an electric mixer. Cream the sugar, brown sugar, and butter together. Mix in the egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla until well blended. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until well combined. Using a spatula fold in chocolate chips, and toffee chips.

Scoop small balls of dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until just golden along the edges. Be careful not to over bake. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
Store in an air tight container for about a week.

Yield: 3 dozen

Monday, September 16, 2013

Caramel Apple Cookies

It's only September 16 and already everyone is clamoring for pumpkin-flavored everything. I feel strongly that, while fall is almost here, pumpkin is for October. Apples are for September. So for Cookie Monday this week, I found a recipe on Pinterest for a delicious cookie with apples in it, topped with a caramel drizzle.

I used a combination of gala and pink lady apples, and that's the only change I made. These are just wonderful. The graham cracker crumbs don't change the texture of the cookie but add a really nice flavor.

Well, I ran out of cookies by 12:30 this afternoon. They were very popular. I have never run out of cookies so early in the day before. For some reason I was met with a lot of skepticism about having fresh fruit in a cookie, but they ended up winning everyone over. When I got home, my gentleman was saddened that there were none left and requested I make them again around Thanksgiving. Yes. Yes, I will do that for you.

cookie

Caramel Apple Cookies
From HomeMadeModern via Pinterest

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 2/3 cups flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large apple, cored, peeled, and finely diced
1 cup vanilla caramels
3 tablespoons whipping cream

Beat butter for 30 seconds. Beat in sugars until fluffy. Then add eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the apples. Drop dough by the tablespoon-full onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes. Microwave caramels and cream in 30-second intervals until nearly melted, whisking until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cookies. You may have to re-microwave it a few times to keep it drizzly.

Yield: I got 5 dozen out of one batch

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Weekend Cooking

I have off from work tomorrow, so I have another week without a Cookie Monday. But! I've still been very busy in the kitchen making things.

*Last night I made vegetarian Banh Mis and I was just so happy. I haven't made that in forever.

*Today we had people over so we grilled burgers and vegetables and I made Crash Hot Potatoes and Cinnamon-Apple Cake. I don't know what kind of apple I used in this cake because it was an unfamiliar variety that I took a gamble on, but it is so juicy and appley and baked so well. Love.

*We also went to the Trapp Door for Bloody Marys, mimosas, and brunch this morning and vowed that it should be a weekly occurrence (it won't be, but it was so yummy!). I had eggs florentine and a bloody mary, and my gentleman got a mimosa, a glass of Weyerbacher Eighteen, and a German banana-bacon puff pancake. Excellent.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger-Peanut Dressing

I don't know what compelled me to make this, but the only ingredients I needed were red cabbage, cilantro, and cashews. Somehow I already had everything else.

So I threw this together last night, on a whim, for dinner. I've left the rest of it in the refrigerator because the original blog post says it tastes better the next day. We'll see about that.

This is just beautiful. It's so brightly-colored and pretty and has so many different textures. I really had to water down the sauce though, because the peanut butter just made it all so thick. I would add less peanut butter next time. Other than that, I really liked this a lot. I would make this again.

quinoa

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing
Ambitious Kitchen via Pinterest

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1-2 cups shredded red cabbage, depending on how much crunch you like
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup cashew halves or peanuts
1 cup edamame or chickpeas
Fresh lime

For the Dressing:
1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
Water, to thin if necessary

To cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa with cold water in mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.

To make dressing: Add peanut butter and honey to a medium microwave safe bowl; heat in microwave for 20 seconds. Add in ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, and both sesame and olive oil and stir until mixture is smooth and creamy. If you want a thinner dressing, simply stir in a teaspoon or two of water or olive oil.

Add as much or as little dressing as you’d like to the quinoa. Next fold in red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro into the quinoa. Garnish with cashews and green onions. Serve chilled or at room temperature with lime wedges if desired.

Servings: 6