Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Growing up, my dad would often cook breakfast on Sundays. It certainly wasn't gourmet. Often, he just made pancakes from a mix, or he'd fry up some eggs and make some toast. Whatever it was, I loved it when my dad made breakfast on the weekends. When the Munchkin was little, I started cooking breakfast on Sundays, and I loved it just as much. It was usually either pancakes or waffles, as he loves both of those. I had moved past the pancake mix stage of life, but will readily admit that my fallback recipes come from an old Betty Crocker cookbook that my grandmother gave me.

One Sunday while I was pregnant with Sprout, I just didn't feel like cooking breakfast. My mom picked Munchkin up a little early (he usually spends part of Sunday at my parents' house) and they stopped by McDonald's to pick up breakfast. It was all over after that. He only wanted McD's for his Sunday breakfast. At the time, I didn't have the energy to protest, so I let it go. And it's been going on ever since. Until a few weeks ago. To begin with, I was missing our Sunday morning pancake-mixing and waffle-ironing. Plus, as I'm sure you know, fast food isn't all that healthy for you, lol. And my parents were getting kind of tired of it. So, I made the decision that fast food Sunday mornings would be no more. At least most weeks. :)
So yesterday I was surfing around various blogs, and I came across a recipe for waffles that looked interesting to me, from Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Recipes. I've never tried one that calls for folding in beaten egg whites, though I've seen several like that. I decided to try it this morning! It was really, really good!! A little more work and a few more dirty dishes were required, but I think it might be worth it.
I did have to make a few changes. I didn't have any whole wheat pastry flour, so I substituted 1 cup regular whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour. Plain old table salt instead of fine grain sea salt. And I used powdered buttermilk, because that's what I had, lol! I loved the cinnamon and vanilla flavors; they were subtle, not over-powering. Munchkin must have loved them -- he kept going back for more!! They received Sprout's seal of approval as well. I personally warmed up some real maple syrup to pour over mine. Yum!
For the original recipe, click here! I highly recommend this one. It's going in my keeper file for sure!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

TWD - Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

Well, here it is. I finally just decided to throw one picture up and at least post my review. Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle chose Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding. I was excited about it -- it sounded very good. It was...interesting. All of my testers agreed that it was good, but they've enjoyed some of the other things I've made more. I concurred. It was good, very rich, but probably not something I'll be rushing to make again anytime soon. I will say that I used challah and it wasn't quite stale, so it didn't soak up as much of the liquid as perhaps it should have. Also, I left the raisins (or cherries) out. I don't wasn't bad, but it wasn't my favorite either!! At any rate, be sure to check out what the other TWD bakers did with this week's recipe (and hopefully I'll be more on time next time!!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie -- be patient!

LOL! It's coming, I promise! I did actually bake this week, but I had a pounding headache that just kept getting worse yesterday, and by the evening I could barely see straight. I still need to edit my pictures and get my post up...hopefully I can get that done by tonight. Hang in there with me, lol!! :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Cake Slice: Chai Cake with Honey-Ginger Cream

Finally, I baked a cake for The Cake Slice group!! :) And boy was it a good one. I'll admit, I wondered how this cake would turn out. I mean, chai tea in a cake?? Oh yeah, it was worth it! I even baked the cake last week, if you can believe it. I took it to my mom's office. She works at a CPA firm, and as you can imagine, it was crazy there last week with the tax deadline. They are always happy to see food heading their way, especially during tax season. It was quite the hit, and I had several requests for the recipe. I really enjoyed it as well. The cake was moist and fluffy, and the frosting was perfect!

The only change I made to the cake was leaving the ginger out of the honey-ginger cream (the frosting) because, um, I didn't have any fresh ginger. I thought I did, but alas, did not! It was perfectly fine without it, although I did add some cinnamon in just in case. :)

Here is a link to a printable version of the recipe (thanks to Gigi Cakes), which comes from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes. It's a really cool book if you ever get a chance to look at it!

You should also check out The Cake Slice Bakers to see what everyone else did with this delicious cake!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie...on Wednesday!

Yes, it's Wednesday. Not Tuesday. But I'm sure you knew that already! This week, Holly of Phe/MOM/enon chose 15-Minute Magic: Chocolate Amaretti Torte to bake. Here's my problem. Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until, oh, yesterday to even read the recipe. Shocker, but I didn't have all the ingredients needed to make the torte. Well, I was missing one...the amaretti cookies. A quick trip to the closest grocery store did not help me with my problem. Upon further investigation at the TWD site, you can apparently come across these cookies at Starbucks and World Market as well, neither of which I thought to visit yesterday. You can also make your own, which I did not have time for. So, while I had totally planned on baking with the TWD bakers this week, it was not meant to be. However, I am drooling over next week's selection so I will try to plan better, lol! Check out what the other TWD bakers did with this week's recipe -- it looks great!!! I'll have to scout out the amaretti cookies and bake it when I can. :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's been awhile!

So it seems I've been neglecting my blog lately. I've been neglecting the internet, in general, just getting on here and there to check email! I haven't been cooking much. Well, at least nothing exciting. Plus a sick baby and an exhausted mommy doesn't leave much room for exciting cooking! However, a night "off" on Thursday and a mommy margarita night with a good friend (thank you Christi!!) on Friday helped a lot! :)

So, tonight I worked on a new recipe - stuffed bell peppers. It was something Derek had mentioned a week or so ago, and so I thought tonight would be a good night for it. I started with this recipe as a base, and worked from there. And this is what I wound up with.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

8 bell peppers, any color
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tsp Italian herb mix
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers. The peppers will need to be softened. This can either be done by boiling them in a large pot of water for 3-5 minutes, or in the microwave. To soften them in the microwave, put them on a plate or large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and cook 3-4 minutes on high. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350'F. Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, celery and carrot. Cook until vegetables are softened. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes longer. Remove the vegetables from the skillet and set aside. Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until no longer pink.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processer, combine the vegetable mixture and the can of diced tomatoes (with the liquid). Process until smooth*. Reserve one cup of this tomato mixture. Add the rest to a large mixing bowl.

Add the ground beef to the tomato mixture in the mixing bowl. Stir in the Italian herb mix, salt and pepper. Work in the eggs, Parmesan cheese and rice, mixing thoroughly. Spoon the stuffing mixture into the softened bell peppers and place in a baking dish. Spoon the reserved tomato mixture over the filled peppers. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender and heated through. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the peppers and bake 5 minutes longer, or until melted.

*This is what I did for my non-veggie eating older child. If your family has no problem with chunks of vegetables, then drain the tomatoes, add to the vegetables, and proceed without processing them smooth! You'll just need a cup of tomato sauce to place on top of the peppers.

This was enjoyed by all! Well, Sean ate the stuffing out of one of the peppers. But even that is progress for him, lol. D really liked this, and Kade, we have discovered, is a bell pepper lover!!! I only had 4 bell peppers, so I put the rest of the meat mixture into my giant muffin tins, and I actually got 9 servings instead of 8. I will definitely make this again. The recipe is pretty good as is, although I intended to add some wheat germ in for added nutrition, but forgot until it was in the oven! I also thought some chopped up zucchini would be a good addition to the stuffing mixture. :)