Archive | April, 2012

Quick & Easy Ketchup

26 Apr

Playing ketchup here, not baking with it.

There were two desserts I seemed to leave out of my posts, one was a VERY impromptu honey oatmeal cookie, and the other a very quick and easy brownie “cake” for Cynthia’s birthday.

I made the weird cookies one night when we wanted cookies but didn’t want to go get any ingredients. I’m pretty sure I did some google-ing and found a cookie that used honey instead of sugar (something we were missing). I think I threw some Stevia and Splenda packets in there too and used oats as the base since we were running low on flour. I used cocoa powder and crushed (stale) ice cream cones as mix-ins. Did they turn out? Yes. Would I make them again? No, but maybe I would do more experimenting with honey and oats because it was a good combo, but definitely not the chocolate chip-ness we were craving.

For Cynthia’s birthday I had about 2 hours to help Linda decorate and create some sort of dessert. We were throwing her a surprise so there was no way I could prep in advance for the dessert. I, of course, turned to my quickest go-to sweet – boxed brownies. I made them in 2 8×8 pans so that they’d look cake-ish and then filled the middle and decorated with cool whip and sprinkles. I think it ended up pretty cute, and since the cool whip was still frozen when I started using it, it made a cool chunk of “frosting” on top instead up a small spread.

Cupcake ATM!

15 Apr

It should come as no surprise that for my birthday I wanted to spend the morning running around dripping sweat on the beach and spend the afternoon standing in line to buy a cupcake out of a machine in the wall. It was great.

The Sprinkles Cupcake ATM is quite an interesting invention and takes the gourmet cupcake shop trend to a whole other level… because it’s open 24-hours. I mean, how many times have you wanted a ganache filled cupcake in the middle of the night but just couldn’t get your hands on one. Apparently a lot for some people! I read that the ATM served an average of 1,000 a day during opening week, so good going Sprinkles!

It was pretty fun though Cynthia was let down that the cupcakes were pre-made, she was pretty excited about the idea of choosing the cake and then the frosting, but it was still worth the trip for me and my birthday craving.

Here’s the step by step process!

Check out the choices of the day

Pick your flavor

Scan your credit card

Voila! Your cupcake appears all cute and in its little box.

Then dive in! Happy cupcaking!

Brunch is Better than Lunch

11 Apr

Lunch just makes me think of my dad asking for a sandwich. Boring. Brunch is filled with all of the things you could ever want, really, there are not rules at brunch.

I think next year I’ll give up something other than dessert for lent.

My reasons are multi-fold. Number 1, it wasn’t actually as difficult as I expected it to be. This may be because I turned to pizza and toast as “fun foods,” or because I wasn’t really able to spend a lot on ingredients, Number 2, I didn’t gain anything but a stomach-ache for the last three days when I reintroduced (and by that I mean overloaded) myself with candy, and Number 3, I just missed baking, making and writing here! I’ll just have to rethink this in about 10 months.

I have three things to write about, but I think I’ll do them backwards, because the best was the most recent – Easter brunch! Because my parents were on a cruise up until 9:00pm the night before Easter, I was the leader of the brunch. I have no problems doing that, just hand me a credit card and a full day for prep work and I’m ready. Plus it helped that I have fun little people to bake for and fun grown-ups who supplied the champagne.

I spent some time (ok, I spent a few days) deciding what I wanted to make (technically these aren’t all desserts, but they all did bake in the oven). I wanted an easy, overnight french toast and then a completely opposite egg bake – no bread. We had toast, of course, but I wanted to make something slightly healthy or at least give my eaters a choice.

I found a super awesome recipe for what I called the Egg Bake, and then I michelle-ed it. The recipe calls for spinach, green onions, mozzarella cheese and 8 eggs. I changed it by swapping out the onions for asparagus (which I chopped and roasted the day before), and then I used a bigger pan, 9×13, so I used 2 cups of cheese and 10 eggs. It was super fantastic and relatively healthy.

Then I made another egg bake with the exact same idea, but much heartier ingredients – bacon and potatoes. I cooked some frozen hash browns in a wok and spread them on the bottom of a 9×13 and topped that with super easy oven-roasted bacon. Seriously, go buy some bacon, foil cover a pan, and then 25 minutes later at 400 degrees you’re gonna be very happy. I topped the potatoes with the bacon, a bag of cheddar cheese and 11 eggs. I cooked both at 375 for about 40 minutes.

Next up – apple fritter french toast! I’m usually anti-store brand items, mostly just Jewel and Dominicks brand. I don’t know if maybe we had some weird cookies, oatmeal or what growing up, but I just didn’t like those. Target, however, always has delicious store brand items. I spent about 10 minutes in the bakery aisle, and came upon pure genius, apple fritter breakfast bread. I had a yummy looking recipe picked out, from the Pioneer Woman, but wanted to make it my own, so I swapped the bread for the apple fritter loaf, used half and half instead of cream and accidentally used softened butter in the topping. It was really good, but I definitely want to try it with the right topping and see the difference. I was most excited that all three of my “bakes” turned out, cooked, warm and yummy.

As for dessert, I went to my staple, chocolate covered strawberries. Remember the video? Always throw a little shortening in the chocolate so they look pretty.

Finally, chocolate chip, Oreo, brown sugar, giant brownies. Betty Crocker never steers me wrong. I mixed up the red box, added in 3/4 of the snack size bag of mini Oreos, half a bag of dark chocolate chips, half a bag of milk chocolate chips and about 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Mini Oreos seems liked a better idea than chopping up big ones, I love chocolate chips and I had some weird yearning for brown sugar, so that’s where the add-ins came from. I decided to cut them huge because they looked pretty, but mostly because they were unbelievably gooey and I knew I’d have trouble if I tried to cut them smaller.

We also had pineapple, toast (thanks mom), champagne, and of course, Easter candy.


Then I took a 4 hour nap.

Happy Easter!

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