Thursday, August 18, 2011

Caramel Spice Latte

I can honestly say i'm in love with this drink.  I saw a recipe online that had you add pumpkin puree to it. Yes, it sounded delicious. But it also sounded like too much work and i didn't have pumpkin puree on hand. I was pretty surprised at how good simple pumpkin spiced worked. This drink is soo simple to do at home, especially if you have left over coffee from the morning and want a nice warm, comforting drink at night. My boyfriend tends to like more bitter coffee drinks over latte-like drinks, however, he devoured this.

Caramel Spice Latte
(1 serving)

¾ cup hot coffee
1/3 cup half-and-half (milk also works)
2 tsp caramel topping
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Whipped cream, for topping

  • Combine all in mug. Enjoy! :)

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Ok so i'm going to be completely honest... i didn't exactly love this. Don't get me wrong though, i didn't think it was bad though either. So why am i putting this up here if it was just ok? Because my family and my boyfriend's family devoured this. I can't put my finger on what i thought was wrong with it, but i'm a VERY picky eater so i'm just gonna assume that's why. In any case, many people have confirmed this is delicious. So i hope you enjoy!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
(Makes 4 cups)

2 ½ cups roasted butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ apple, peeled and chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup Italian cheese blend (parmesan, asiago, romano, mozzarella)
2 tbsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper
½ tsp nutmeg
A few dashes seasoned salt
1 cup mushrooms, chopped

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To roast squash in oven, cut the squash in half and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 2 cloves of garlic over the squash. Fill pan with 1 inch of water.  Cover and roast in oven for about 1 hour. It should be easy to poke with fork when done.

  • Heat olive oil and butter in skillet over medium-low heat, and cook the onion, garlic, and apple, stirring frequently, until softened and brown, about 15 minutes. Add butternut squash and chicken broth, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat just to a simmer, and stir in the milk and cheese blend. Stir until cheese has melted and sauce has reached desired thickness, 5 – 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  •  Place entire contents into food processor and puree to desired thickness.
  •  Sauté mushrooms in pan, about 5 minutes, then add to sauce.
  • Enjoy over pasta or ravioli. Adding sausage or ground meat is recommended. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

I've been craving cinnamon bread for a few days now. I thought about buying it from the store, but why buy it from the store when i can make it twice as good at home?! I googled cinnamon bread recipes and wondered upon this recipe from Joy the Baker. It was delicious! Especially perfect with a cup of warm tea, Mmm. It's so good it barely lasted to the next day. 

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread Recipe

For dough:
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp puree vanilla extract
For filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 oz unsalted butter, melted until browned

  • In large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Set aside.
  • Whisk together eggs and set aside.
  • In small saucepan, combine milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from heat and add water and vanilla. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115-125 degrees.
  • Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and mix with spatula. Add eggs and stir mixture until eggs are incorporated into the batter. add remaining 3/4 cup flour and stir with spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky.
  • Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour. **The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning. If you're using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.
  • While the dough rises, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for filling. Set aside. Melt 2 oz of butter until browned. Set aside. Prepare 9x5x3" loaf pan. Set aside.
  • Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tbsp of flour into the dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. The dough should be 12" tall and about 20" long. If you can't get it 20" long, that's ok, just roll it as large as the dough will go. Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter across all the dough.  Sprinkle with all the cinnamon mixture.
  • Slice the dough vertically, into 6 equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into 6 equal slices again. You'll have 6 stacks of 6 squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow to rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until almost doubled in size. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 30-40 minutes, until top is very golden brown.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Homemade Pizza Rolls

Pizza rolls and marina sauce.
I bought won-ton wrappers at the store the other day on a whim. I didn't really have anything in mind, i just wanted to make something. Then i remembered these Pizza Logs my family ordered from a fundraiser back when i was in tech school. They were wrapped in a crunchy outer shell and looked like an egg roll rather than a doughy ball. They were delicious. I never really gave it a second thought about what the crust was until today. It may not have been a won-ton/egg roll wrapper, but these surely did the job. These are some of the best pizza rolls i've ever tasted. And i can honestly say, i'll never buy pizza rolls from the store again. They just don't even compare to these. Mmm! And these are so easy/cheap to make a lot and freeze them for later. This "recipe" really depends on how much pepperoni/cheese you want in each one, and how many you want to make.

Homemade Pizza Rolls
won-ton or egg roll wrappers (Depends how big you want them. I used won-ton wrappers.)
shredded mozzarella cheese
pepperoni (I bought a stick and shredded it. Slices should work fine too.)
oil, for frying
marinara sauce, for dipping

  • Start heating enough oil to cover pizza rolls in a pot to 350 degrees. Around 1-2 inches.
  • Place a single wrapper on a clean surface. Place amount of cheese and pepperoni you want in the center of the wrapper. Make sure to leave enough room to roll up. 
  •  Start by folding two opposing corners together. Use water as an adhesive.
  • Fold one of the remaining sides into the middle, using water to help it stick.
  • Roll the pizza roll starting on the enclosed side.
  • Fry the pizza roll(s) in preheated oil until golden brown. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Falafel, cucumber, onion, tomato and ranch dressing on a tomato basil tortilla.
My boyfriend has been BEGGING me for around a month now to make falafel. It's not that i didn't want to make it, i just didn't think i was going to particularly like it very much. Turns out i LOVE falafel. It's like delicious fried goodness. I really don't know how to describe it, honestly, it just tastes good. And as a plus, this is so easy to make! If you have a food processor at least, which i don't...
At the start of this we just thought "Oh the blender and food processor are generally used interchangeably." NO. We almost broke our blender! It was smoking and everything! My grandfather successfully made homemade horseradish sauce with our blender but it couldn't take cooked chick peas? What?! Ugh. We ended up grinding the chick peas up in small batches in our tiny, tiny 1 cup food chopper. Pain in my butt! Anyways, i'll stop my complaining and get to the recipe, because i seriously recommend you making this!

Falafel Recipe
(this is a decently small batch, suitable serving for 2-3 people)

1 cup chick peas, cooked
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cummin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp bread crumbs
1 tsp lemon juice
dash paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash onion powder
dash seasoned salt

  • Once your chick peas are cooked, put all ingredients in food processor and grind until it reaches a thick paste. Form into ping pong sized balls, then slightly flatten. Fry in 350 degree oil until browned.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Take 5 Cookie

    A few days ago when i took a nap i had a dream about a Take 5 cookie. When i woke up i decided i HAD to make one! I've never heard about anyone making a Take 5 cookie before, which made it even more appealing. Ever since the Take 5 candy bar came out a few years ago i loved it. I decided to go with a peanut butter cookie dough as the base with chocolate chips and caramel chips in it and crushed up pretzels on top. After the first batch came out of the oven i realized that most of the salt fell off the pretzels when crushing them up... and to me the contrast of sweet and salty makes it soo delicious... so i sprinkled some sea salt on top. Boy did it do the trick! My boyfriend ate half a dozen alone last night! These may be my favorite cookie!

Take 5 Cookie Recipe
(Makes 4 dozen)

1 cup butter or margarine
1  ¼ cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 cup caramel chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
about 1 cup sugar, to roll dough in
sea salt
pretzels, broken up

  • Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  • In separate bowl, sift together baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into batter. Add caramel and chocolate chips, mix until just combined. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  • Roll into 1 inch balls and cover with sugar then put on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with fork, making a criss-cross pattern. Bake 5 minutes.
  • Take cookies out of oven. Sprinkle with small amount of salt. Carefully press pretzels into cookies. Place cookies back in oven and bake about another 5 minutes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to: Gumpaste Calla Lily

My attempt at them; not too shabby ;).

 Today i had to fill an order for 3 dozen cupcakes each with a gumpaste calla lily. Thankfully youtube has just about every how to you could want on it because i've NEVER made gumpaste calla lilies before.  I've only just recent begun using gumpaste and fondant... but i must say i do like it! Anyway, i wanted to share the youtube video(s) that helped me soo tremendously to learn how to do these flowers. The woman's name is Edna and her videos answer just about every question you could ask about how to do these and what you need.

It's a set of 4 videos, each with a different theme: 
1) What you need to make the flowers. -->
3) How to construct the calla lily. -->
4) How to paint/decorate the calla lily. -->

I thought about posting my own tutorial, but i feel no need to with how descriptive hers are. These flowers are very simple and can look so elegant!