Saturday, April 28, 2012

Honey Beer Bread

3 words.

Oh. My. God.

This recipe was eye opening. Who would have thought to use the butter this way? GENIUS. 


1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cup bread flour (can use all-purpose)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp honey
12oz beer 
6 tbsp butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a loaf pan.

Whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add honey and beer and mix until just combined. You may want to warm the honey before you add it so it's easier to mix in. If the dough is too dry, you can add 1-2 tbsp of water. 

Put half of the melted butter in the bottom of the loaf pan. Add the dough and smooth out as best you can. Pour the rest of the melted butter over the top of the dough. Bake for 50-60 mins until golden brown. 

The butter being used this way.. GENIUS. I thought it was going to give it a soggy crust, but it was soggy in no way, shape or form. It was PERFECT. 

Now. I know that there are different types of beers. Lots of different types. For this one, I used PBR because that's what I had in my fridge.. 

I don't know that I would use something as dark as a Guinness or Arrogant Bastard, but you could definitely use a good amber and it would be wonderful. 

Now. It's time to slice.. Apply butter liberally.. And ENJOY!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecakes

Okay. We all know by now that I still despise cheesecakes, yet I keep making them. I figured out why today. THEY'RE GORGEOUS FOODS. Disgusting, but gorgeous. At least the co-workers like them. A lot. Well, I won't speak to these just yet, but they at least make for a good photo-op.



They look like amazing little edible dalmations! I love the little wrappers that I found. ADORABLE. Add in the fantastic splashes of purple from the blueberries, and it just makes it heavenly to look at. I have absolutely no need to eat them. Can I just preserve them to look pretty? For eternity?

Okay. Onto the recipe before I get myself into trouble rambling.


1 1/2 c Nilla wafers
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tbsp melted butter

3 pkgs cream cheese, softened (8oz each)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Juice & zest of 3 lemons (I used 2 HUGE ones)
3 eggs
1 heaping cup frozen blueberries, thawed 
68 blueberries for topping (depending on how many yours actually makes, one for each)


Preheat oven to 325º. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. 

Combine nilla wafers and cinnamon in a food processor, pulse until fairly fine crumbs. Add melted butter until the consistency of wet sand is achieved. If you want a more lemony flavor in the crust, you can also add a 1/4 tsp of lemon extract as well, or 1/4 tsp of lemon zest.

Cream the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer in a large bowl. Add sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, mix well. Beat in eggs until almost mixed, add blueberries and mix until eggs are finished barely mixing in. DO NOT OVER BEAT. Plus, if you get some of the juice from the thawed blueberries in, it'll make a pretty purple swirl. SCORE.

Place one teaspoon of crust mixture in the bottom of each mini muffin cup liner, press down with your fingers or the back of a spoon (I've been known to do either, they both work equally well for me). Place one tablespoon of filling over each crust. I tried to get 2 blueberries in with the batter in each cup. Place one blueberry on top of each cup.

Bake for 15-20 mins. Mine took 17-18, and my oven's pretty average, so adjust accordingly. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes at least before removing gently to a cooling rack. Cool for another 20-30 minutes then refrigerate (or freeze as my husband prefers).

Wanna see the pretties again? Of course you do. Especially since I only got one picture while I was making them.

GAWGEOUS, dahling. 

I'll be sure to post reviews tomorrow after the co-workers get at them!

Well, the co-workers devoured all 50 or so that I brought with me in a matter of hours. Several people came said they took one or two, but had to come back for more because they were ridiculously delicious!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

I'm Italian. (At least partially). Italian food was always big in my house growing up, and I can usually get my kids to eat it, so pasta is a staple in our house too now. Plus it's easy. Usually I boil a box of pasta then just throw in a jar of sauce, and maybe some sort of chicken or ground beef if I'm feeling fancy, but I thought I'd be adventurous tonight. We were browsing Cost Plus World Market today, and I found a bag of some YUMMY looking spinach pasta "nests".

I also happened to find a recipe for fettuccine alfredo this morning too. Match made in heaven? I think so. 

I wasn't originally going to post about this, but (as an after thought, looking into my very empty bowl) realized just the epicicity of this sauce. Yes. That's a word. Or at least it is now. Even if it's only in my "crazy words I make up" dictionary. I didn't quite have enough parmesan shreds on hand, so I improvised (SHHH don't tell my husband!) with a little ricotta. Add in some spices of my choice, and voila! EPIC ALFREDO.


1/2 cup butter/margarine (1 stick)
1/2 cup half & half
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 cup ricotta
1/2 tsp garlic powder (could subs a clove or two of fresh garlic too)
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste


Heat the butter and half & half over medium heat in a large sauce pan until butter is melted. Add the cheeses and stir until melted and bubbly. Add the seasonings and simmer for 1-2 mins until thickened slightly. Add pasta of your choice and toss to coat, serve warm.

Excuse the crappy pictures. Please refer to the above comment about pictures not really happening because we all scarfed our food. This last bowl was my 2 year old's. Thankfully only one kid is eating like they're growing. I can't afford to feed AND clothe both of them in growth spurts anymore! My 3 year old however ate two full bowls of this. And four pancakes this morning. And french fries and chicken nuggets for lunch. SWEET JESUS. 

Anyways. Like I said. This was epic pasta sauce. It was the perfect amount for about 8-10oz of pasta, so you could maybe double it if you're doing a full pound? The ricotta adds the perfect little bit of subtle texture and creaminess that the cream and parmesan can't. PERFECTO. 

Okay. I'll leave you all with that for now. Next round of stuff to post? Blueberry Lemon Cheesecakes. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 16, 2012

BBQ Beef Roll-ups

I work. A lot. And I have two VERY hungry, growing kids. Oh, did I mention how picky they are? Yeah. Dinner sometimes can be a challenge. This, however, is possibly one of the simplest things I've ever made. Our local grocery store had their pre-made shredded BBQ meats on sale as I was looking for dinner after work, and that was shortly after I passed the refrigerated croissant dough that was also on sale. Needless to say, between that and the remnants of the Costco bag of shredded cheese I knew was in my refrigerator, I knew what to do! The best part about this is that you could do anything really with it. I used butter croissants (because we all already know my affinity for butter), shredded beef (because hubby doesn't like pork, and I didn't feel like chicken), whatever type of cheese you have on hand (or none at all!). Heck, you could even add in some bacon! YUM! Who doesn't like bacon? 

They're messy. I'll warn you now. But oh-so-good. 

Ready? Hungry yet? Good! 


1 can refrigerated croissant dough
1/2 cup (give or take) shredded BBQ meat
1/4 cup shredded cheese


Preheat oven according to directions on croissant package.

Unroll  dough to triangles. Place about a tablespoon of filling at the top of each triangle, and sprinkle with cheese. Mine were different size triangles (yeah, yeah, yeah, so I buy the off-brand..), so I  had to adjust for the variations. 

Roll up from the wide end.

Place them on a foil lined cookie sheet, evenly spaced. Once all are filled, throw it in the oven for the time specified on the croissant package. (Yours won't look this full if you use one package. My kids are monsters that eat like we'll all starve tomorrow..)

Bake until golden brown on top. Let cool for a couple minutes, then serve! (Keep in mind that the center will be HOT for awhile. Learn from my desperation.)

Again, there are so many variations of this that you'll possibly never be bored. Possibly. If you're not like I am. Otherwise you'll be sick of it after two nights in a row. 

If anyone else thinks of any other fun variations of these, let me know for sure!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

I found this recipe a couple months ago, and decided it was definitely an Easter recipe. My family is big on strawberry shortcake. As in, a hunk of angel food cake smothered in smushed strawberries (I know, very technical, right?), and a pile of whipped cream on top. Yep. Fancy. I know. My family is also pretty big on chocolate, so of course the idea of this went over pretty well. 

The original recipe was from Pillsbury. I really didn't change anything, other than using my cheap substitute for cake flour (regular flour with a little corn starch added in). 


12 egg whites (room temp)
1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup cake flour (or 3/4 cup regular flour with about 1 tsp corn starch mixed in)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375º.

Whip egg whites until foamy, add cream of tartar and salt. Continue beating until stiff, adding 3/4 cup sugar, one tbsp at a time. 

Gently fold in flour, cocoa powder, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 at a time. Fold in vanilla. 

Pour into an angel food cake pan with a removable bottom. Even out the top, and place in the oven to bake for 33-37 minutes. Invert pan after removing from oven. Don't worry, it won't fall out. I promise. It's wonderfully sticky. 

After the cake is cooled, run a sharp knife around the outside edge of the cake to loosen it, invert onto a plate. Next, run a sharp knife between the cake and the bottom of the pan that came out with it. Flip once more, and VOILA. Chocolate angel food cake!

I'm trying desperately to be good and not dig into this, but I will definitely post reviews within the next couple of days as to how it turned out. 

******Later that weekend******

Poor light, fluffy cake. It never saw it's demise coming.. RIP moist, wonderful, chocolatey cake. 

If you find yourself needing a way to not waste the egg yolks that you have leftover, take a peek at this site. There are recipes for 1-12 egg yolks available!

Apple Pie Cheesecakes

As we all know, Easter is coming up (TOMORROW! Holy cow!), and that usually means lots of food. Well, at least with my family it does. I may have gone overboard with contributions this year, but I don't think anyone will complain. Today's agenda? Apple pie cheesecakes, Chocolate Angelfood Cake (coming soon!), and possibly an orzo chicken salad (if I can get back to the store tonight since I forgot to get orzo on this morning's trip). First on the agenda is my "small batch" of apple pie cheesecakes. Please note that all of my cheesecakes are either made to be cupcake sized or mini-cupcake sized. I do not make full sized cheesecakes. Period. At least not yet. Today I made cupcake sized cheesecakes. I had some super cute little ladybug wrappers I needed to use up (they were originally valentines day wrappers, but I figured ladybugs are spring-y too, right?)

Okay. Enough chit-chat. Time for the recipe! (And the tons of pictures I took since my camera is finally charged!)


2 pkgs cream cheese (8oz each), softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup "apple pie shots" (see below for details)
2 eggs
1 tbsp apple pie spice


Preheat oven to 350º. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners. 

Place softened cream cheese in a bowl.

Beat until creamy and broken up a bit. 

Add vanilla..

And applesauce..

And apple pie shots.. (And sugar, not pictured)

Mix until well combined..

Add apple pie spice, mix again until well combined.

Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined. 

Let the batter rest while you make the crust. In a food processor, crush 1/2 cup of Nilla wafers, add 1/2 cup broken graham cracker crumbs and 1 1/2 tsp apple pie spice, pulse until fairly fine crumbs. 

Add 2 tsp melted butter and pulse until mixed. Dump into a bowl (or keep in there, but it'll be easier to get it all out in another bowl), and break up any lumps.

Add 1 tbsp crust to each liner and press down with the back of a spoon or your fingers.

Add 1/4 cup filling to each liner. 

You'll really need to scrape the bowl to get enough to fill all 12 cups, but it's just the right amount. 

Bake for 20 minutes, or until they barely jiggle anymore. They will probably crack, because I haven't figured out how to make them so that they don't. Once I figure it out, I will let you know. I didn't do a waterbath with these like I did the last couple cheesecakes I made, so they cracked pretty bad. I doubt it affects the taste much though, if at all. 

For these cheesecakes, I used organic applesauce. I don't think it will make a difference if you use regular, but I think it would have been fun to use a chunky applesauce for even more of an "apple pie" effect. This is all I had on hand though, because I was dumb enough to buy a whole case of it from Costco awhile back..

Okay. Onto the "apple pie shots". My dad makes this for Christmas, and last year he gave me a bottle. Considering it's still in my fridge, sitting a little under half full, I figured I'd try to use it somehow. 

He told me once that it was apple cider boiled down to syrup-y goodness along with a cinnamon stick or two, and then a bottle of rum dumped in. I found versions online made with vodka or everclear, so I would imagine it would be a similar process, just with rum instead of vodka or everclear. 

Anything else..? Oh yes! The finished product! I've chosen to unwrap one and drizzle a little caramel over it. It looks delectable! ALMOST good enough for me to stomach cream cheese! Almost. 

For the time being, the hubs will still be a good guinea pig for cheesecake. 

In my original batch, I put no sugar, only the applesauce. Hubby has deemed that it DEFINITELY needs the sugar. I've added it to the ingredient list above, and if I make another batch, it will definitely have some in there. In the meantime, these will be made edible by drowning them in caramel sauce. Not every made-up recipe is a success! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

So, I discovered this afternoon as I was getting things ready for Molasses Cookies that.. I'M OUT OF MOLASSES! I'm not sure how that happened, but it did. *SIGH*. I'm really in a cookie-making mood tonight, and I had to figure something else out. Besides, I need to test my new mixer out on a stiffer dough! After browsing the interwebs, I came up with a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie recipe. I have some oats I needed to use before they went stale, so what better way? OH YES. Chocolate, chocolate chip, and oatmeal cookies. YYUUMM!! 

Since it's past my bedtime already, I'll get to the point.


1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup oats (you can put more, by all means, this was just all that I had left)


Preheat oven to 375º. Grease baking sheet(s). If you have a GOOD nonstick sheet, you may not need to. I have one good and one not so good, and the not-so-good sheet EVERYTHING stuck to, even with me greasing it after the first batch. The good sheet though, only one or two cookies stuck the entire time (and I made a double batch..). 

Mix the butter, sugars, vanilla, eggs and cocoa powder together until well blended. Dump the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on top of the wet ingredients and gently blend with your fingers. Mix in the dry ingredients until well blended. Fold in the chocolate chips and oats.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the greased baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes. These are a bit tougher than regular chocolate chip cookies to determine if they're done since they don't "brown", but if you bake cookies at all, you'll know. 

The results? Nice chewy, gooey, chocolatey goodness. MMMM. These are sure to a be a hit with the coworkers tomorrow. Gee, they're so lucky to have someone who bakes for them all the time! 

Cookies & Cream Cheesecakes

At work, I've made it clear that if anyone has a recipe that they feel needs to be seen, to run it by me and I'll see what I can do. My first subtle hint was a printout of a cookies 'n' cream mini-cheesecake recipe. The recipe that was printed out involved sour cream, which I didn't discover until I sat down to actually look at it once I was home, and I rarely have sour cream in my house since the only person who will eat it is my husband. So, being the diligently wonderful coworker I am, I searched for a cookies N cream cheesecake recipe that involved ingredients I already had on hand, and I came up with this. Since I don't have a spring form pan (yet!), and several coworkers aren't big on the possibility of other people touching their food, I adapted it to be cupcake sized, like the one I had dropped on my desk. Normally, when I make something to take into work with me, I generally use my mini muffin pan. It makes more, and people feel less guilty about eating one small one than a regular size one. However, the recipe dropped on my desk was clever. Too clever.. It used a whole Oreo as the crust. That particular bit put into my head made me a bit too lazy to dig out my food processor to crush some up into an actual crust. Therefore, sorry coworkers, you'll get fat from my cheesecakes on Monday, or you'll learn to share. I'm too lazy to make them smaller. 

Okay. Onto the recipe. The original is slightly more cream cheese than I had (called for 4, I had 3.. Master of adaptation!). This is my slightly smaller version, it made 22 cupcake-sized cheesecakes. 


30 Oreos, divided
24oz cream cheese, softened (3 pkgs)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs


Preheat oven to 325º. Line cupcake pans with 22 liners, and place one whole Oreo in the bottom of each. 

In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla, mix well.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between. 

Rough chop the remaining 8 Oreos, add to the cheesecake batter. You can either fold them in, if you'd like larger pieces, but I just blended the pieces in with my mixer to make them slightly smaller. (Yes, I FINALLY got an electric mixer! I'm in LOVE.)

Place 1/4 cup of the batter in each liner. I use my 1/4 cup measuring cup for a lot of things, but the 1/4 cup was the perfect amount with the Oreos in the bottom. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set. I use a water bath in the oven (just a pan with some water) to keep the moisture, but I'm not sure that it affects cooking time. It's supposed to help with the cracking on top of cheesecakes, and I have to admit, I do see less cracking when I use it than when I don't. I will someday master the crack-less cheesecake. Someday.. 

Later, I will post pictures of the inside, if I remember to nab a picture before hubby destroys one. I will also post reviews within the next few days!