Feb 27, 2010

{february daring bakers: tiramisu}

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

When I saw that the challenge for this month was tiramisu, I was very intimidated. The amount of steps required to create all of the components of the dessert was a little overwhelming and ended up being the most challenging part. I discovered that the actual assembly of the tiramisu was incredibly simple.

More pics after the jump

Feb 26, 2010

{chili take two}

recipe source: Cooking Light
So since the first chili didn't turn out as well as I'd have like it, I've kept looking for a new chili recipe. I think I have found a keeper. This one was a much better consistency and had really delicious flavors. We are not huge fans of chili powder since it gives us heartburn so I only put in about two teaspoons of chili powder instead of the two tablespoons it called for. I've never had chili that uses red wine it it but it really gave it some nice flavor. Of course it needed more salt than what was called for so if you make it, try to salt it throughout the cooking process. Top it with a little grated cheese and some sour cream and enjoy!

Feb 19, 2010


vanilla cupcake recipe source: Joy of Baking
chocolate cupcake recipe source: Joy of Baking
My best friend is getting married! In honor of that special occasion I threw her a party to celebrate with all our friends. She loves chocolate and vanilla cupcakes so I searched online for the perfect recipes. Joy of Baking had some good looking options for a chocolate cupcake and a vanilla cupcake that I decided to use.

More after the jump

Feb 17, 2010

{red pepper, red onion, goat cheese + bacon pizza}

recipe source: Love and Olive Oil
Not only was this pizza gorgeous to look at but it tasted just as good. The crust is brushed with a mixture of olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Its then topped with spinach, red onions, mushrooms, goat cheese, roasted red peppers and bacon. Lots of crunchy bacon bits. John loved this and said it balanced out all the veggies perfectly. This is by far one of the best pizza's we've ever had. It was incredibly simple to put together and has been added to our favorites.

More pics after the jump

Feb 16, 2010

{irish lamb stew}

recipe source: Eating Well
This stew was the exact comfort food needed for a cold winter night. The lamb was extremely tender and the seasonings perfect. The leeks were kinda stringy so I think next time I will chop them up to be a little smaller. Also, it definitely could have used more carrots and a little more salt. A very tasty stew though!

Feb 15, 2010

{curried butternut squash, caramelized onion + chicken pizza}

recipe source: Closet Cooking
Amazing. This is one of those cases when I wish I had multiple stomachs. The smooth butteriness of the butternut squash combined with the spice of curry and sweet caramelized onions was devine. I roasted the butternut squash halved, brushed with olive oil, topped with curry at 400ºF for 50 minutes until it was fork tender. Goat cheese is my go-to cheese so I used it instead of gorgonzola. I sliced up one and a half chicken breasts and cooked it in the pan with a chopped garlic clove and a little olive oil. Cilantro is one of those things that if you don't use it almost immediately it goes bad so I didn't have any on hand. I imagine it would have only enhanced the flavors. I brushed the pizza crust with some olive oil and grated parmesan cheese and popped it in the oven. It came out perfect.

More pics after the jump

Feb 14, 2010

{valentines weekend 2010}

John and I took a weekend getaway to Richmond, VA for valentines this year. It was a perfect weekend of climbing and eating delicious food. Even with the real fire at our hotel, it was perfect.

For our "fancy" dinner out we went to Kuba Kuba, a local Cuban restaurant tucked in a beautiful neighborhood in downtown Richmond. It is a small restaurant, but very popular. We waited for only about 30 minutes before being seated, all the while smelling the delicious aromas coming from the grills right behind us. Neither of us had ever had Cuban food before so we were excited to try it all. We tried the coconut soda to start with...it was very sweet but still tasty.

More after the jump

Feb 10, 2010

{tomato, goat cheese and carmelized onion tarts/pizzas}

recipe source: Piece of Cake
It took about an hour total to do the prep work, cooking and baking of the pies. Caramelizing the onions took about 30 minutes to do. Assembly took maybe 5 minutes and then they cooked for 20 minutes. The aromas in the kitchen were delicious throughout the entire process.

More pics after the jump

Feb 8, 2010

{dolmas wrap}

recipe source: Eating Well
The dolmas wraps are a delicious meal, but much better for a lunch vs. a dinner. Dolmas are a Middle Eastern food consisting of chopped veggies or ground meat stuffed into grape leaves. You can usually find them prepared in the grocery store's salad bar. The ones I found were veggie stuffed and about two of them fit into the size tortillas that we had. I chose to use flour tortillas instead of the lavash since its what we already had. It was refreshingly delicious and light. I think next time I'd add more lettuce and tomatoes just as slices inside the wrap...it would at least make the picture better looking.

Feb 7, 2010

{superbowl extravaganza part two}

onion ring recipe source: Eating Well
boneless buffalo wing recipe source: Eating Well
For our main superbowl course I used two recipes from Eating Well to create a healthy version of onioin rings and boneless buffalo wings. I only had panko breadcrumbs, but figured they'd work good enough. They didn't coat the onion rings as well as a finer breadcrumb, but it was suffiecient. The buffalo wings were made with boneless skinless chicken breasts. They came out very moist and with plenty of spicy flavor. I used a package to make the ranch dip that was the least healthiest thing on the plate, but helped to cool your tongue. Everything tasted just as good as the unhealthy version but came with much less guilt.

More pics after the jump

{superbowl extravaganza part one}

recipe source: Lifes Ambrosia
John and I are not pro-football people at all. However, we watch the superbowl each year simply for the commercials. This year I planned a typical superbowl party meal for the two of us that was slightly healthier than the norm.

The menu:

cream cheese and bacon stuffed jalapenos
boneless buffalo wings
onion rings

See more pics of the cream cheese and bacon stuffed jalapenos after the jump

Feb 6, 2010

{beef chili}

recipe source: Eating Well
What better way to warm up after canon balls in two feet of snow than with some warm chili. The recipe didn't actually call for using a slow cooker, but I used one anyway. Playing in the snow sounded more fun than spending my snow day cooking. I cooked it on high for 4 hours and it turned out just as well as if I had done it the way they called for. We topped it with a little goat cheese and light sour cream and scooped it up with tostitos.

I altered the recipe by using ground beef instead of beef round. Now that I'm looking at the recipe again, I think I forgot the beer, that might have helped the flavor out. It all tasted good, but was just not the best chili I've ever eaten. It didn't really thicken up like the picture Eating Well shows, but maybe the beer would have helped. I think next time, I'd add more salt and possibly a small can of tomato sauce to help it out.

More pics after the jump

{snow day + mexican breakfast burritos}

We were hit with an awesome snow storm that dropped two feet of snow on us! Since it snowed for about two days we were stuck inside for the most part.  It was a perfect day for some delicious mexican breakfast burritos. I've been making these for John in the mornings to take with him to eat on the road on his way to work since they are very portable. So far we've done several combinations that we like. Eggs, mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese. Eggs and turkey sausage. Black beans, eggs, sour cream, salsa and turkey sausage is the combo we chose for the snow day.

Recipe and pics after the jump

Feb 5, 2010

{butternut squash carbonara}

recipe source: Closet Cooking
John has been telling me that butternut squash is good and I found a recipe that looked good enough to try it out. I did learned you have to cook the squash ahead of time in order to make this dish so I roasted the squash halved and seeds removed for about 40 minutes in the oven at 400ºF. I brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled a little thyme and cinnamon on top for seasoning. I made the mistake of adding the egg mixture to the pan while still cooking so the sauce ended up getting cooked, but I also really didn't want to eat raw egg so it worked out. The flavors were a delicious combination of the creamy butternut squash and crispy bacon. I tossed it with some orecchiette noodles and grated some fresh parmesan cheese on top to finish it all off.

More pics after the jump

Feb 4, 2010

{chicken taco chili}

recipe source:: Ginas WW Recipes
This is hands down the best chili we've ever had. The flavor was a perfect combination sweet and spicy. Since the chicken ends up being shredded, I only put in 1.5 pieces of chicken and it turned out to be plenty. There is so much stuff in this chili that it didn't matter if there wasn't as much chicken. It definitely made 10 or more servings and has kept very well in the fridge. We served it over some yellow rice with a little sour cream and grated mozzarella cheese on top. One of the best things about this chili was that it was ridiculously simple and cheap to make since most of the ingredients were canned items. Make this.

More pics after the jump

Feb 3, 2010

{spaghetti with sauteed chicken + grape tomatoes}

recipe source:: Ginas WW Recipes
Six cloves of garlic. Need I say more?

The chicken was seasoned with some oregano, basil, cinnamon, salt + pepper. Six cloves of garlic were chopped up and sauteed with the grape tomatoes. I used orecchiette pasta instead of spaghetti noodles and tossed it all together. Topped with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and it took all of 30 minutes to do. It was a very light and delicious dish.

More pics after the jump

Feb 2, 2010

{hungarian beef goulash}

recipe source:: Eating Well
This was amazingly delicious. The flavors were really good and the red peppers were very flavorful. I added a few carrots into the mix since I had them and needed to use them. We bought some potato gnocci to try with this and it turned out pretty good. Next time I think I'll use noodles though. Since I didn't have any paprika, I substituted some cayenne which gave it a really nice spicy flavor.

More pics after the jump

Feb 1, 2010

{mini mushroom + sausage quiches}

recipe source:: Eating Well
Breakfast this week were these delicious min quiches. I made them Sunday afternoon and individually wrapped them in plastic to be reheated quickly each morning. The recipe made 12 quiches that have lasted most of the week. One was just enough for me and I sent two with John to eat on his beautiful drive through snowy mountains to work. The turkey sausage was delicious and I opted for white button mushrooms since they were on sale.

More pics after the jump