Tuesday, September 29, 2009

National Free Coffee Day!!

Good excuse to drink a cup of joe! (or two...or more! :) ) Sorry I've been neglectful. Falling behind a bit on sleep and homework. My cup of joe is now teetering between a hot and cold beverage as we are working our way into Autumn.

And in celebration of today I am drinking both the hot and cold beverage as I am typing! Also- here is a little history for those of you who would like to brush up on your coffee savvy!

I have a new favorite, but late-bloomed (due to the season change) iced coffee drink::Vietnamese Iced Coffee. I have been able to enjoy some this morning, but it needs an overnight sleep in the fridge while the coffee steeps, for those of you who want to jump on this coffee drink right now! Check it out! By the way- this is probably one of the most caffeinated iced coffee drink you can make because of the concentration of the cold-press coffee! Yay!

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Need (my version for others see alternative links):


hot water

cheese cloth or a fine strainer

chicory based coffee (regular works fine too; just not as authentic)

sweetened condensed milk

Now, I have found many varieties for making this drink and I have come up with one that is easy enough for me to make. Here is a recipe that allows you to do it more authentic, but make sure you have some allocated time for preparing it this way. I really like this drink, and I don't have a lot of time to prep this in the morning so I made cold-press coffee with chicory based coffee (its a little spicier than normal coffee; more authentic Vietnamese coffee) ahead of time in a large quantity and put it in a pitcher in the fridge. When I am ready to serve it I use the amount of sweetened condensed milk I would like for that particular cup of coffee. Some days I want it sweeter and some days I want it more bitter!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pizza Party

Last night my boyfriend Dan and I made some homemade pizza! Dan usually gets roped into my cooking and baking adventures because he likes to cook and we usually have great success cooking together!

We cheated with the pizza a little because we used Boboli ready-to-bake pizza crust. However, I feel that the sauce made the pizza! I didn't think this was going to be a fantastic feat so I didn't take any pictures unfortunately :( . This picture is similar to the slice of heaven it resembled.

Pizza Sauce Ingredients

2 garlic heads (medium sized), roasted*

1 medium onion, diced small

2T extra virgin olive oil

28 oz. can Italian plum tomatoes or 5 to 6 fresh

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1T sugar

Kosher Salt

10 basil stems, whole (leaves reserved for the topping)

In a deep saucepan, combine sweet onion & oil over low heat until the onions are translucent. Crush tomatoes & drain well. Add to pan with sugar, garlic, & cayenne. Season with salt. Place on medium heat for 15 mins., stir occasionally (we used homegrown tomatoes so they had a lot of water still after draining so we let them simmer longer to evaporate some of it). Add basil stems sans the leaves & cook another 5 to 10 mins. Do not puree. Remove the basil stems, adjust seasoning to your taste, and spread on pizza crust!

After we spread the sauce on we chose to top last nights pizza with pepperoni, Mexican cheese blend (would have preferred moz. but Mexican was what we had on hand); from my garden the basil, banana peppers, and jalapenos!

After the masterpiece was done we popped it in the pre-set 350 degrees oven for about 15 mins. (or until the cheese melts completely and starts to brown on the edges).

*here is a simple garlic roasting how-to that I found very helpful...and fragrant!

Muy Delicioso!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cupcake store!

This is the kind of bakery I want! The look the feel.... Mmmmm...

Enjoy Cupcakes located in Santa Barbara, CA has captured this irresistible 1960's flare that I think is just adorable. I love the clean and dainty interior. I would invest in less of a '60's feel and go more towards a fun and whimsical flair with this dainty interior.

...and of course I would have every pastry imaginable! This is a bake shop that I am putting on my list to visit!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Butternut Basil Soup

This week I am going to take advantage of the bright fall produce and I am going to make Butternut Basil Soup. (it is a little different from this picture above, but the color is very much the same!) I pulled this recipe from the Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook.

1 large butternut squash
1 large onion, finely chopped
2T butter
2T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4t dried basil
1 quart well-seasoned veggie or chicken broth
4 slices American or soft cheese
1t balsamic vinegar
Brown sugar, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

I'll let you know how it goes!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Top'o the Mornin'

I love breakfast. So, my crazy recipe searching typically is densely geared towards breakfast/brunch. Here is a breakfast that is one of my new favorites! I didn't have flax seed, but it still tasted great. It has such a rich but smooth flavor. The combination of the banana and the vanilla soy milk really bring the whole drink together into a sweet (but not-to-sweet) breakfast drink! If you want it to be more bitter add more cherries! This recipe would work with any fruit! Try it out for yourself.

Cherry Vanilla Flax Smoothie
From Kashi

Makes 2 servings.
Cooking time: 5 minutes


2 tablespoons organic flax seeds
1 cup organic low-fat vanilla soymilk
¼ cup frozen organic dark tart cherries, defrosted (use fresh when available)
½ medium organic banana
3 ice cubes


Using a coffee grinder, grind flax seeds to a fine powder. Pour the flax powder into a blender and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Nutrition Facts

Number of servings: 2 servings. Serving size: 1 cup, Calories 139, Calories from Fat 47, Total Fat 5.2g, Saturated Fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 65mg, Total Carbohydrate 18.8g, Dietary Fiber 3.7g, Sugars 10.5g, Protein 5.8g, Vitamin A 1%, Vitamin C 6%, Calcium 5%, Iron 7%

Friday, September 11, 2009

Breakfast of Monkeys...

Yesterday morning I made one of my favorite recipes: Monkey Bread. The recipe is a quick way to impress anyone you are serving for. It looks incredible in the end and it is SO easy to make. I am using the recipe from Pillsbury, but I was not happy with their caramel recipe so if you have a favorite I would recommend using that. I will be on a mission to find mine and I will surely substitute it!

Ingredients (pulled from the Pillsbury website)
1/2c. Sugar
1tsp Cinnamon
2 Cans Buttermilk Biscuits (the ones that come in the tubes you pop open)
1c. Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
3/4c. Margarine

First you mix the sugar and cinnamon in a medium size Ziploc bag. Then you cut each individual into quarters and toss them in the bag (about 2 individual biscuits at a time). Shake them to ensure they get coated very well with the cinnamon and sugar. Then place them in a pan. Some people prefer bundt pans because it makes it easier to cut portions, but I personally just like to keep it in a 9x9 glass pan and just dig in. I would use a larger pan than 9x9 or an additional smaller pan like a bread pan (that is what I did::one for work and one for home!) because 2 full biscuits is a lot to fit in one with out it exploding over the edge once it bakes. After you have placed all of the biscuits in the pans drizzle the caramel topping over them and place them in the oven for about 30 mins. with the oven on 350 degrees.

When they are all done they should have a slight crust on the top. Tip them upside down in a pan or on a plate and serve them up! They are the best to eat the day you make them. All fresh out of the oven!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Healthy Pasta!

I was brainstorming today about what to eat; as I usually end up doing in the middle of my mug of coffee or on my bus ride between classes. I often find that I rarely have any time during the week to make a meal meal more than a couple of times. So subtracting out the days for left-overs that usually leaves me with at least 3-5 meals where I don't have a lot of time to prepare an extravagant dish.

Lately I have been finding everything that I can whip up quickly is usually not the healthiest for you.... anything prepacked with an expiration date that is longer than three months from now is probably chalk full of preservatives that are unnatural for our bodies.

Pasta is my favorite go-to dish for a quick meal, so I decided to do some research for everyone and find some pasta dishes that are healthy to for your body and quick to make.
(These pictures are not pictures I have taken. They are pictures from the website that the recipe is located on.)

No Bake Mac&Cheese
from: EatingWell

This recipe contains most of the ingredients you would have on hand. I would advise switching the cheese depending on what you liked. I even kick it up a bit by adding some spices and additional veggies like red peppers and some Sriracha sauce! And for those meat lovers, this dish would be very youthful with some chopped up hot dogs or more fancy with some thinly sliced prosciutto.

Prep time: 20mins
Total time: 25mins
Per serving: 412 Calories; 13 g Fat; 7 g Sat; 1 g Mono; 37 mg Cholesterol; 56 g Carbohydrates; 22 g Protein; 7 g Fiber; 640 mg Sodium; 236 mg Potassium

Athena Pasta Primavera
from: EatingWell

What I like about this recipe is that everything is literally fresh. The recipe is so simple that you could change it depending on what veggies are in season. You could also tailor it to your favorite veggies. It is a very filling dish, but with the nutrients you gain from the veggies and the whole wheat pasta it is a quick and healthy dish to keep handy!

Prep time: 30mins
Total time: 30mins
Per serving: 305 Calories; 6 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 13 mg Cholesterol; 51 g Carbohydrates; 10 g Protein; 8 g Fiber; 326 mg Sodium; 236 mg Potassium

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil

from: MarthaStewart

This is probably the easiest pasta recipe I could find. Once again, like all of the other pasta recipes, this one could be tailored to what you like to have in pasta. Personally if I'm feeling like something a little less sharp I would replace the parsley with basil and I would definitely add some tomatoes. Preferably cherry tomatoes!

Sorry guys, Martha doesn't have the nutritional values nor length of time it would take to make. If I were to guess though:
Prep time: 5mins
Total time: 15mins

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Exploring the New French Bakery!

Today I visited the New French Bakery to get some bread! This is where Local D'lish gets all of their fresh bread. They have many great sorts of breads from a cinnamon raisin loaf to baguettes to certified organic rolls! They make new batches daily and have markdowns for their breads that weren't made that same day!
I snagged a baguette and the raisin loaf for myself! A hearty loaf of bread is also on my list of foods to tackle and be really good at making. Leslie greeted me from behind the counter, and Rebecca chimed in on information about their store. The New French Bakery is located on 26th ave and 26th street in south Minneapolis accross the street from a popular hang-out Memory Lanes. Check them out! Also, check their breads out at Local D'lish! Buying local is soo rewarding and SOO fresh!
(The baguette picture was found on the New French Bakery website, and unfortunately I didn't have my camera with to take a picture of the outside so I found that on Google)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cinnamon&Sugar Biscotti

For my first upload into my "journalBlog" I am starting with a Biscotti. I have always wanted to learn how to make a biscotti and I have heard that they are very easy to make and I feel that they would be easy to modify!
Diving on to Epicurious I found this recipe for Cinnamon & Sugar Biscotti's. They were delightful. I made these tasties last night and I was too busy figuring out how to blog.. (I know I'm in my early twenties and still don't really know how to blog. Sad.)

(Reminder: I am still an amateur food photographer!)

The original Epicurious recipe:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I changed this recipe a bit due to the repeating comments on Epicurious. I cut the sugar to about 3/4ths cups because I thought 1 full cup would be a bit much. Many of the reviews also said to add another egg. So I did!
Over all the recipe was easy to make and worked really well. The texture of the biscotti was a little more moist than biscotti's should be so next time instead of adding an additional whole egg. I might try just adding another egg yolk to see if that helps. This recipe would be an easy one to make sweet or savory! For savory I will try to toss some fresh rosemary and some olive oil (perhaps as the egg substitute!) in the next batch!


This may sound strange to some, and maybe completely normal to others, but I love to search the internet for new recipes on any down time that I have. On my lunch break at work I am searching...in the mornings before I go to work instead of checking the news or weather I am looking at new recipes...at school when my professor is taken a breath I'm searching...

I love it. It is a thrill for me to find something that I want to try. I love cheeses, salt, sugar, you name it. I have just this year started an herb garden in my kitchen window sil. I have found it more rewarding and exquisite to cook with fresh herbs. After realizing this I would purchase the herbs recipes needed from the grocery. Being a scrounging college student I decided that this new habit would get expensive fast so I started diving into information about growing herbs to cook with. This grew into a small kitchen herb garden, which grew into a small front yard herb garden. About a month after I found the success in this herb garden I decided to grow some fresh veggies too!

I can't stop. I have been reading and experimenting with anything and everything cooking related since. It is becoming bittersweet seeing the sun come up more slowely in the morning and faster at night. I have been reading advice online about how to bring gardens inside, but it seems very expensive.

If anyone has any advice they would like to share about thier successful indoor gardening PLEASE speak now! Thanks!

PS. I promise my other blogs won't be this long! Whew!