Thursday, July 12, 2012

Avocado Egg Salad

4 hard-boiled eggs
4 whites of hard boiled eggs
1 avocado
1 tablespoon mayonaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
2 tspn of red wine vinegar 
salt and pepper to taste

Chop, mix, and enjoy!

I adapted this from something I saw on pinterest. I feel like I want to get rid of the vinegar and add fresh herbs. Maybe a little cilantro and lemon juice? Or parsley?

Leave the gun...

Cannoli Cupcake from Whole Foods Market. Vanilla cupcake, cannoli cream frosting, chocolate chips, and cannoli shell. Don't get me wrong, the cupcake was good, but I'd settle for a piping bag full of the frosting...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Carrot Zucchini Bars

I'm a sucker for anything covered in cream cheese frosting, so when I saw this post on Pinterest for carrot zucchini bars I was eager to try it out. 

  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, honey, and vanilla.  Don’t worry about clumps of the brown sugar, those will dissolve as it sits while you prepare the remaining ingredients.  Then fold in the carrot, zucchini, and walnuts
  2. In another bowl combine add the flour, baking powder, ginger, and baking soda.  Whisk to blend together.
  3. Add to flour mixture to the wet mixture. Stir just until combined. Spread batter into an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  4. Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  5. Once the cake is cooled prepare the frosting.   In a medium mixing bowl, beat the fosting ingredients with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy.  Spread or pipe the frosting over the cooled bars.  Makes 36 bars. 
I made a couple of tweaks. Specifically I didn't have any walnuts on hand and I only had a 8x8 pan so they are thicker and there's far fewer than 36 bars and my cream cheese was not low fat. A bunch of comments on the original post suggest subbing applesauce for the oil which sounds yummy as well. Maybe adding cinnamon too. As is though, I thought they were very yummy and super cute. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Homemade Hummus

I've made hummus before with canned garbanzo beans. Since my goal is to see just how cheaply I can keep my lunches I decided to go full tilt and try it with dried beans.Obviously the first difficulty is making sure you plan ahead and soak the beans. The second issue I had was compensating for the fact that since they are packed in liquid i need to add a bit of moisture to the mix. Neither of these were big enough problems to put me off using dried beans. 

 As far as a recipe I just kind of throw things in to a food processor. Of course tahini is a must, then I added garlic, a bit of chipotle powder, some nutritional yeast, and some Bragg's liquid amino acids for a bit of salt.
I had totally forgotten about these mini Ball jars in my cupboard, but they are the perfect size for lunch time portions of hummus. Plus they're wicked adorable.

Orange Mascarpone Stuffed Dates

I made these stuffed dates at work for our full serve case. During the holidays we sell dates stuffed with gorgonzola, but I wanted to try something lighter for the warmer weather. 

These are Medjool dates stuffed with Vermont Butter and Creamery Mascarpone, fresh squeezed orange juice and orange zest, and crushed pistachios.
I'm really happy with the way these turned out. They're a bit labor intensive since I have to pit the dates. But once you get going they are totally worth it. I would suggest only making them in large batches, they go fast and its a bit of work for a small snack.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Summer of Living Frugally: Brown Bagged Lunches

In an effort to avoid spending way too much money buying my lunch and snacks everyday at work, I'm going to try to prepare a lunch and take it with me. Hopefully I'll be able to see those dollars adding up after a while. (Seriously, I spend at minimum $3/a day just on coffee. That's $60 a month I could be saving.)

And since I make lunches like I'm still in elementary school, i.e- dessert is the most important part, I decided to make a nice big batch of chocolate chip cookies. Although this batch has a special surprise guest.

 I started with a no-fail recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. I cannot say enough great things about this book. Everything I've tried is delicious and super easy. One tip though, read all the way through recipes and make sure to give yourself plenty of time. They ask for a lot of things to chill or rest that I wouldn't expect needed it (like chocolate chip cookies for instance, they want the dough chilled for 6 hours!)
 I started putting my ingredients together when I realized I didn't have quite enough dark brown sugar. A comment on my post about Dave's Coffee Syrup suggested using them to make cookies so to make up for the 1 tablespoon of brown sugar I was missing i added 2 tablespoons of coffee syrup. I also cut back on the white sugar, from a half cup to a third so they wouldn't get too sweet.
 Also, instead of chocolate chips I used a block of Callebaut bittersweet chocolate broken in to chunks.
I think I might have been overly worried about the sweetness. Between the bittersweet chocolate and cutting back on the white sugar these aren't terribly sugary at all. In fact next time i might add another tablespoon of coffee syrup. They are still very good. I think the coffee syrup adds some caramelly undertones which are really nice. And I won't induce a sugar coma half way through my shift.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mexican Inspired Grilled Cheese

I saw this spicy grilled cheese posted a ton of times on pinterest and it sounded amazing. I still had some manchego left in the fridge so it seemed like fate.
 I started by combining a tablespoon of soft butter with a sprinkling of chipotle powder. The original recipe calls for a mix of garlic, paprika, and chili powder which also sounds delicious. But I'm completely in love with the smokey heat of chipotle. I think the slow heat lets me think I'm a spicy food loving badass since it doesn't hit you all at once. Who doesn't love an ego boosting spice?
 Being a good Iowa girl, I always have frozen corn in my apartment. 9 times out of 10 when Jim and I are planning dinners he'll ask "Should we have a vegetable?" and I'll respond "Well, I have some corn..." regardless of what we're making. So the bread has been slathered with chipotle butter and placed open faced on the pan. I added shredded Manchego, corn, and pickled jalapenos (again, I somehow always manage to have these on hand).
Do I get points for getting this far in to the post without using the phrase "It's like a fiesta in your mouth!"
While I love my version, I do think her use of Texas toast would make this even better. I would have liked to add a bit more corn and jalapenos but was afraid my sandwich would collapse under the pressure. Definitely getting added to the rotation!