Saturday, January 31, 2009

Shop With Me Saturdays

So even though our country is in a supposed recession, I say there is still room in every budget for a little gift to ourselves once and awhile, especially when they are $15 or under! =)

I couldn't get over how cute this coaster is! It will either entertain you, or get a group talking + it's only $11.99 over at
For all you bakers and/or butter lover's out there, this is a handy tool you should have! It cuts the butter for you, also doubling as a storage container, all with no mess.It goes for $14.99. Head on over to to snag one.

What's better than baking a fresh blueberry cake? Well, how about a fresh blueberry candle?
Don't delay--get one today for $8.50 at

And no, I didn't forget about the coffee lovers out there!(Mom, did you hear that?=]) Make your coffee drinking life a little more nostalgic with this cute chocolate stirring spoon. They have more too! Each one is just $8.50 at

Have a super weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January Daring Bakers Challenge: Tuiles

Today marks the first Daring Baker's Challenge I took part in. I thought January would be a perfect time to embark on a new adventure, since the month is associated with new diets, new goals, etc. So one of my 'resolutions' was to be a little more daring with my cooking & baking experiences.
So when I recieved a membership email, I went straight to the site and checked out my first challege; it was tuile. I had to actually Google it, because sadly I had never heard of it!! After some Wikipedia and other research I headed back to the recipe and dreamed up my own cute tuile creation. [At least I thought so ha ha!]

This month's challenge is brought to us by ((Karen of Bake My Day)) and ((Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf)). They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Of course there was a couple certain instuctions:

*We could use any kind of stencil, or make any size/shape tuile our heart desired.

*We had to pair it with something light--like a fruit, sorbet mousse, glazes, or dips.

[[Here's]]what I did.-->I used the recipe from "The Chocolate Book" and cut out circle stencils. Once my tuiles were baked, I rolled them up in a cone shape, and put together a filling of strawberry preserves mixed with a dollop of whip cream. These turned out to be a delicious and light treat! I am so glad I was introduced to tuiles; the possibilities are endless! =)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Food in the News

Good morning all. I had a nice and relaxing morning so far. "So far" being the key words just because I have half a morning to go that includes giving a pretend eulogy in my public speaking class--kind of odd to say the least. Anyhoo, I was reading my local newspaper this morning and came upon 2 articles! So I thought I would quickly share a little summary of each.
[First] off, as we all know the beloved peanut butter has been getting the cold sholder lately due to the salmonella outbreak craze. According the MN officials, at least one death is confirmed due to this and seven other infections are thought to be a effect of this. Almost 500 people so far have been sickened by this outbreak--yikes! Also production at the Peanut Corp. of America has been shutdown. Will peanut butter ever make a comeback? Let's hope so!
The [second] article is more of a satire one, but I think it still gets a serious point across. First off, I am totally oppposed to wasting food. It really irks me when people take more than they can eat and then can justify just throwing into the trash and forget about it. When I very rarely do throw food away, it's usually because it's rotten or no longer in an edible state. Well this guy (Tom Purcell) claims that the food police that are in Britain should and maybe are making there way over to the US. What they do is send contractors door to door to teach citizens how to manage their leftovers. The Brit gov. claims 1/3 of the food bought is trashed. That's bad not only because it's wasteful, but so many fossil fuels, and work goes into getting that food to your table in the first place. These "food champions" are teaching people simple ways to shop better, eat less and manage leftovers in a resourceful way. So shoud these people be making there way over to the US? Well if people continue to be wasteful, I would welcome them to my town! After all, if America keeps wasting in this already bad economy, will things ever get better? Hmm.. just a bit of news to keep you thinking for the day!
Have a super Tuesday!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Cookie For You & A Cookie For Me

So not only have I not been able to bake lately, since this semester is a full load, but I am seriously sad about it. =( There is something magical about whipping up a creation in the kitchen and being able to share it with the world of bloggers. I am so thankful for the slew of other bloggers I check out daily, because thankfully a handful can keep up with cooking/baking/and delivering ideas to those of us who cannot at the moment. I seriously can't wait to get my own apartment so I can have my own kitchen! A community kitchen is ok for awhile, until it gets extremely messy to the point where you don't even want to enter, and resort to cooking things in the microwave in your dorm. Can anyone relate? If you can't, don't worry your lucky. But it's all part of the college experience I suppose. Another thing I forgot to mention--on Friday the fire alarm went off at 2 am!!! Of course it was the coldest night here[[-30 below zero]] and we all had to shuffle outside in our pj's and slippers and stand in the cold for a half hour. Not my exact idea of a "fun night". Even worse, it turned out the cause was people smoking cigarettes. Yuck!

But enough about that, lets bring about a happy topic. =) Chocolate chip cookies anyone? I recently came across an article in Woman's World magazine that claims they scoured the experts on the perfect chocolate chip cook for anyone. Let's see if you agree shall we?

And what is my favorite you ask? Well I like to resort to homemade of course, and I actually prefer the healthy route on this one. These are a guilt-free and delish indulgence. Please try them!

Recipe: Courtesy of Hungry Girl

Chippity Doo Dah Cookies Ingredients: 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour 1/2 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated) 6 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce 1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin 1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters) 2 1/2 tbsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips 2 tbsp. brown sugar, not packed 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract 1/4 tsp. baking soda & 1/8 tsp.salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips (flour, Splenda, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt). Mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together all wet ingredients (applesauce, pumpkin, egg substitute, and vanilla extract). Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir until completely blended. Then, fold in the chocolate chips. Spray a large baking pan with nonstick spray, and spoon batter into 8 evenly spaced circles. Place pan in the oven for about 10 minutes (until cookies appear done and feel firm). Remove pan from the oven and allow cookies to cool slightly. For best results, enjoy while the cookies are still warm and the chips are still melty! Makes 8 Servings!

Stats: Serving Size: 1 medium-sized cookie (about 1.5 oz.) Calories: 88 Fat: 1.5g Sodium: 93mg Carbs: 17g Fiber: 2g Sugars: 6g Protein: 3g

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Soldier Sunday

Today's post has nothing to do with food, it pertains to something more important to me[yes more important than my everlasting love to cooking]. Awhile back around Christmas time, I did a post showing how I adopted a soldier and sent a giant box of baked goodies over to him and his fellow soldiers in Iraq. When I sent the package, I had a jolt of excitement when I realized he might possibly write back to me! [Kind of like a soldier pen pal of sorts] But of course I didn't expect him to, seeming how he is fighting a war and I am sure a letter back wasn't on the top of his to do list. So I was so surprised when I received a letter back, and it was two whole pages long! He thanked me numerous times for the cookies and said they brought back a little taste of home, which was my intentional goal in the first place! =] He said he was writing with a flashlight and soon had to go off to work again, but he does want to keep in touch via snail mail. He explained that he is actually part of the marine branch in the navy and that he appreciates all my prayers and thank-yous, although he claims he's just over there doing his job. I beg to differ; he is risking his life for all of us Americans back home, and spending his days, months, and years to fight in other countries so that we can have freedom in ours. I couldn't express my gratitude to him enough, and that's only one soldier! Imagine getting a group together to support a bunch?! An idea popped into my head randomly[like usual ha ha], and I thought why not get together some fellow baking/cooking bloggies and even if your not a cook/baker, you can still contribute! We can all adopt soldiers and send them goodies, care packages, etc. and then blog about it. Please do let me know if your interested, I am still trying to come up with some kind of group name, so don't feel shy to shout out some ideas. If we can't bring em' home, let's bring home to them!!! Amen =]

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's Soon to be Superbowl Time

Okay people, so is it fair to say that the Superbowl is pretty much a national holiday in the US?! I would say it pretty much is, although some would argue. And I am not even a football fan, but I just think it's a great excuse for everyone to get together and of course throw together some great appetizers. You don't have to feel the pressure of making a gourmet meal, because most people are too busy having their faces glued to the TV that they just grab whatever is offered. This year for me the college is having a giant Superbowl party right down the hall from me in our student lounge. I think I will have to make an appearance, rather or not I make food (probably not because they are advertising free hot dogs and stuff), I thought I would give everyone who needs some new appetizer ideas a couple of my favorites to spice up your night!
Kickoff Shrimp Kebabs
(A nice spicy party pleaser)
Prep Time: 5 min Total Time: 10 min
1 Tbs. each olive oil and fresh lime juice
1 Tbs. ground chili
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 red and/or yellow pepper, seeded and cut into 1" pieces
1 red onion, peeled and cut into 1" wedges
18 shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbs. fresh chopped cilantro
1) Heat grill. In bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. Add peppers, onions, and shrimp; toss to coat. Alternately thread shrimp and veggies onto 4" skewers.
2)Grill 4 minutes or until shrimp are pink, turning once. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Makes 18 Servings
Cal:23 Pro:2g Carb:1g Total Fat:1g Sat&Tran=0g
Nutty Pepper Touchdown Taters
(Make ahead marvelous)
Prep time: 5 min. Total time: 15 min.
1 lb baby red bliss potatoes
1 cup toasted walnut halves, chopped
1 jar (16.5 oz) roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs each lemon juice and honey
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
In saucepot, bring potatoes and enough salted water to cover to a boil. Cook 8 min., or until tender. Drain and cool. Cut top 1/3 off potatoes; reserve. Using melon scoop, remove flesh from center of potatoes, leaving 1/4" border. In food processor, pulse reserved potato tops, flesh and next 8 ingredients about 5 times. Divide mixture among potato shells.
Serves: 16 Stats: Cal-84 Pro-2g Carb-7g Fiber-1g Fat-6g(Sat-1g)
Tangy Tomato Cups
(Guilt free pop 'ems!)
Prep time: 10 min Total Time: 10 min
1 container (17.6 oz) reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 seedless cucumber, peeled, grated and drained
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbs. fresh mint
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. cherry tomatoes cored
In bowl, combine yogurt, cucumber, garlic, mint, lemon juice and salt until blended. Spoon mixture into resealable plastic bag and snip corner. Pipe mixture into cored cherry tomatoes. Garnish with cucumber wedges, if desired.
Serves: 32 Stats: Cal-14 Pro-2g Carb-1g Total Fat-og

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Am a Daring Baker!

Today is another day gone by and I am so glad tomorrow is Friday! I am definitely feeling the pull of Spring semester vs. my relaxed life at home during Christmas break. I just can't wait till weekends so I can make my way into the kitchen for a date with my spatula and some special recipes! I just wanted to announce that I am now and official member of the Daring Bakers! I can't get over how cool I think this concept is. Fellow bloggers join together and bake a recipe, each giving it their own flair of creativity. Then we all post on our blogs about our experiences and give tips, chat, etc. It's a giant baking community! It really is for the daring I might add, because so far none of the items posted for challenges would have been something I would venture to on my own. Some of the things I have never even heard of! But it is always a little exciting to jump out of your comfort zone! I mean, how else would we learn? So stay tuned for the first challenge I participated in... and I encourage all fellow bakers to head on over to and email the hosts to become a member!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Website Wednesday

I am enjoying my relaxing morning before classes start at noon. I like my Wednesday's specifically for this reason! :-] Every other day it's a 10 am class, which isn't early, but I do like to take my time some mornings. Okay, all morning if I had a choice ha ha. Yesterday we got a heat wave! It was 25 degrees ABOVE zero. I was out walking and soaking up the little sun that did peek out. I think I am seriously lacking on vitamin D from no sun. So anyway, today is supposed to be another warm one, and I am actually watching the sun come out while typing away on my laptop. That brings me to another topic; I think I am on the computer a lot. Does anyone else ever feel like that!? But it is not all a bad thing; I have found many websites I visit daily and I thought today would be the perfect day to share them. Please check them out if you get time!

I go here when I need inspiration for a cake to make--TONS of ideas!

What about user reviews on a slew of restaurants across the globe? I say yum!

This site literally has all fun stuff (my fav is the fun kitchen gadgets of course)!

If you are traveling, or just curious about the healthy restaurant options in your town, go here--

Let me know your favorites please! :-]

Friday, January 16, 2009

Chilly Days=Warm Meals

I don't know about you, but I have already had enough of this cold weather thing called winter. And unfortunately, it's only about half over(at least here in Minnesota). The past week or so, our area has been featured on the national Weather channel, which is unusual, due to our cold temps getting down to -50 F with windchill. It is actually dangerous to be out for more than a couple minutes and they try to tell all people to stay inside as much as you possibly can. To me, that's just a good excuse to stay inside and cook up a creation that will warm you from the inside out, which is exactly what this ham and cheese brunch ring does. Not only is it a great way to use up some leftover ham you have sitting around(which was another reason for making this), but it pairs perfectly with a steaming bowl of tomato soup! Believe me, you will get rave reviews, no doubt! Of course, if you don't like ham, or any other of the ingredients, you can change it up to your liking, and possibly come up with a completely different and stunning recipe!

Ham and Broccoli Brunch Ring
Adapted from Pillsbury Cookbook
Makes: 8 servings Time: 1 hour

1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup diced cooked ham (4 oz)
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray large cookie sheet or 14-inch pizza pan with cooking spray. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Add broccoli and onion; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender.
In medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, milk, salt and pepper; beat well. Add egg mixture to vegetable mixture in skillet. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally from outside edge to center. Cook until eggs are set but still moist. Stir in ham and Cheddar cheese.
Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 16 triangles. Arrange triangles on sprayed cookie sheet with short sides of triangles toward center, overlapping into wreath shape and leaving 4-inch round opening in center. Lightly press short sides of dough to flatten slightly.
Spoon egg mixture onto widest part of dough. Pull end points of triangles over filling and tuck under dough to form ring. (Filling will be visible.)
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Luscious Loaf

Sometimes store-bought bread just won't do it when you want to quiet a carb craving. So that's when you have to whip out the recipe books and make your own! But sometimes this craving can be so intense, that you don't have time to knead, let dough rise, or dig out the big bread maker from storage. To the rescue--->this wonderful & easy English Muffin Bread. If your a fan of English muffins, then no doubt you will like this similar bread, possibly even better! And another good thing is you can whip this up in a flash! It's a mix and pour method versus a type that you need to flour a surface, knead, clean up, etc. So don't wait any longer;Click Here For the Recipe. From trial and error, this is the best muffin bread recipe my family could find, stemming from my dad's mishap English muffin bread that turned into a brick. So that of course created a competition of who could find the recipe that actually worked. We all stood around the oven as I carefully pulled the bread out and sliced it. Needless to say I won the competition--again. =)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Good for You Goodies

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by moving various times within a short period? I never thought I would get sick of packing and transferring stuff from place to place; then again I have never moved in 17 years, and the only time I would pack would be to go on vacation, which is associated with fun. Well now that I am in college, I am constantly moving stuff back and forth, and on top of that I had to pack for vacation.(not complaining!) I will be glad once I am again settled, but for the time being, I recieved an awesome package in the mail the other day that made me briefly forget about the chaos! The awesome company Vitalicious sent me a complimentary sampler box full of all their goodies. I had heard about them various times while browsing the internet and was skeptical as to buying them just because I know products that claim to be good for you, and even better tasting, can sometimes end up as an expensive splurge you pass onto your dog, or better yet the garbage disposal. So when they said they'd sent a *free* package, I jumped at the chance! I recieved the giant package and was instructed to place it in the freezer immediately because their products are preservative free. I got the SuperSampler Pack (100 Calorie Brownies & Muffin Tops)that contained all of these- 4 Deep & Velvety Vita Brownies 2 Low Carb/Sugar Free Velvety Chocolate VitaTops2 Low Carb/Sugar Free Banana Nut VitaTops 2 Double Chocolate Dream VitaTops 2 Deep Chocolate VitaTops 2 Fudgy Peanut Butter Chip VitaTops 2 Golden Corn VitaTops 2 CranBran VitaTops 2 AppleBerryBran VitaTops 2 MultiBran VitaTops 2 BlueBran VitaTops. And if you decide to buy this on their website it retails for $35.99 + shipping which isn't bad at all! So far, the only ones I haven't tried are the Deeo&Velvety Vita Brownies, the MultiBran VitaTops, and the Golden Corn. But I have no doubts they will rock my tastebuds like all the others! These are no way a diet food by any means(nutritionally they are, but not taste wise), which means double whammy for you; you get a good for you goodie + tons of vitamins and minerals & fiber to keep you full all day. Just one of these muffin tops kept me full for about 3 hours. =) I am already planning on ordering up my next box. As for my favorite; it was a hard pick, and I would have to say it's a tie between the CranBran and the Fudgy Peanut Butter Chip.

Banana Nut VitaTop

Friday, January 9, 2009

Back to Reality

My vacation to California was by far the best trip I have been on so far! I am having a hard time deciding if I like Florida or California better. I can't judge yet because there is still so much to see and do in California, and I can't compare it to the past 5 years I have vacationed in Florida quite yet. Each of the 6 days we were there was jam packed with things to do. I finally got to go to Disneyland. It was a great time and we got to see the famous Disney Christmas Parade which is something I recommend everyone see once in a lifetime.
Then there was the day spent on the streets of Hollywood! It was such a rush to know that I was surrounded by places all the stars have been.(although I didn't see any!) I did eat at the famed Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt where all the stars stop to get a treat; I had it topped of with Captian Crunch cereal and it was a treat that can't be beat! If you're ever in the area, you should not pass it up.
Our day at Universal Studios Hollywood was another exciting adventure. I think I learned more about movies in those 6 hours then I have in my whole entire life! I got to see Wisteria Lane where the Desperate Housewives is filmed, along with hundreds of other movie sets.
But, now after a day of rest and recouping, I am ready to start the full swing of life again. Back to college soon, which means not a lot of baking time, but I do what I can! I just want to thank all you followers and fellow readers again for joining me on my journey as a new blogger! Have a super Friday =)