Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thai Coconut Curry

I found this recipe online and made some changes to it to make it ubber delicious!

1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 T. oil
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
2 T. red curry paste
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk (unsweetened)
1/3 c. water
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 T. brown sugar
2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 c. pineapple juice (you can add pineapple chunks if you want)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1/2 white onion, sliced
1 zucchini sliced

Chop meat and vegetables. Set aside to add to sauce once it is ready.

Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and stir rapidly. Do not burn. Add curry paste and half of the coconut milk. Stir with a wire whisk until mixed. Add salt, water, fish sauce, pineapple juice, and brown sugar. Let all the flavors mix together consistently stirring. Bring to a gentle boil. Add chicken. Let the mixture cook about 5 minute and stir occasionally.

Add vegetables. Cook until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are tender or to your liking.

You can add the vegetable a little later if you like a little crunch. Serve over white or brown rice.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Yummy Granola

I got this recipe from a friend a couple years ago and I have made some changes to it. Anyone who tried this granola loves it!

5 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 lb. coconut
1 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/3 c. flax seeds or sesame seeds
1/2 c. almonds (sliced)
1/2 c. pecan pieces
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. honey
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix in a large bowl. Spread out on a large cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes stir and cook 10 more minutes. 

If you prefer your granola to be crunchier, use two cookie sheets. 

Also, I have made this without the wheat germ. I have also substituted red wheat flour that I personally ground for the wheat germ. Both times it turned out. 

Note: The great thing about the recipe is that you can switch this up. If you prefer pumpkin seeds, you can add those or use them instead of sunflower seeds. The only thing you need to be careful about is making sure you have enough of the liquids if you add dry ingredients rather than substituting. If you want your granola to be chunky, add more honey. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Nick and I watched the last session of General Conference at Nick's sister Allison's home.  After conference we had a thanksgiving feast (Allison's tradition for conference).  I volunteered to bring rolls and dessert.  I didn't decide what dessert to make until Saturday night and I didn't want to go back to the store so red velvet cupcakes it was (and it was a great choice)!

All the recipes I looked up for red velvet cake had tons of red food coloring!  First off I only had half a bottle of it and second I didn't really see that turning my tongue and teeth red was really necessary so I cut down on the food coloring and they were still pretty red and very delicious.  Oh, and the cream cheese frosting on top is to die for!

If your cupcakes usually burn on the bottom place muffin pan on top of jelly roll pan/ cookie sheet and then place in the oven.

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 c canola oil
1 c buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp red food coloring
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 c butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 c powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 2 muffiin pans with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients.  Make a well in the mixture and add the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.

Pour batter evenly into muffin tins (about 2/3 full).  Bake for 20-22 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

In a medium bowl beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla with a hand mixer until smooth.  Slowly add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Place frosting in a pipping bag with a tip (1M) and top cupcakes with it.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013


When Nick and I were dating one of his favorite places to eat was Jason's Deli.  He would always get a pastrami sandwich and baklava.  Nick has occasionally suggested I make baklava for dessert but I was always intimidated by all the layers of dough and I had never seen anyone make it let alone heard of anyone make homemade baklava.  Well, we got together with some good friends to play games and decided to finally try it out.  We thought it would be fun to have our friends help make it with us and it was a good thing we did because another pair of hands to help handle the tissue paper thin phyllo dough is very useful (maybe even required).  Well it turned out awesome and we all really enjoyed it!

Ba-kla-va: (noun) A dessert originating in the Middle East made of phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey.

1 (16 oz) pkg phyllo dough*
1 lb chopped pecans
1 c butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c water
1 c white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c honey

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 in pan.

Toss nuts with cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.  Unroll phyllo dough and cover with a dampened cloth to prevent it from drying out.  Place 2 sheets of dough in the pan, brush with butter, and repeat until there are 8 sheets layered.  Sprinkle with 3 Tbsp nuts.  Top with 2 sheets, butter, nuts, and continue.  Top layer should be layered with 6-8 sheets.

Use a sharp knife and cut into diamonds or triangles.  Bake for 40-50 minutes until it is golden and crisp.

Meanwhile, make sauce while baklava is baking.  In a small sauce pan boil sugar and water until sugar is dissolved.  Add vanilla and honey and simmer for 20 minutes on low.

When Baklava is done, remove from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it.  Let it cool and then serve.  Leave baklava uncovered or else it will get soggy.

*Phyllo dough can be found in the freezer section near the frozen fruit.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Breakfast Croissants

One tradition that Nick brought with him from his family to our family is making and eating egg and bacon croissants for breakfast the morning of General Conference.  I had actually never had a croissant sandwich before I met Nick but they are super good!  Scrambled eggs, cheese, and bacon on a light flaky bun... who wouldn't love it?!?!  What makes it super good is the really thick bacon and cooking the eggs in some of the bacon grease.

4 croissant rolls, sliced in half
4 oz pepper jack cheese, sliced
8 slices of bacon
10 eggs
4 Tbsp milk
salt and pepper

Place bacon slices in a pan and cook over medium-high heat on both sides until browned and done.  Remove from pan onto a paper towel lined plate.  Drain off most of the grease leaving just enough so the pan is coated.

In a bowl whisk together eggs, milk, and salt and pepper.  Pour egg mixture into pan and scramble over medium-high heat until done.

Assemble the sandwiches by layering with cheese, bacon, and eggs.  Serve and enjoy!


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Baked Spaghetti in Garlic Bread

So, I love carbs. I can admit it. When I saw this on Pinterest, I knew I would love it! I decided to change it up a bit from the original recipe on the Rhodes Rolls website. I used a bread recipe that I love! I use it for pizza crust, bread sticks, garlic bread, and anything else I can think of. Its so easy and delicious! I even make it with half white, half wheat flour so its a bit healthier. I also use whole wheat pasta. Brett doesn't love whole wheat, but he doesn't mind it in this recipe. 

Bread Ingredients:
1 cup luke warm water
1 tbsp Honey
1 envelope Active Dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Spaghetti Ingredients:
1 box whole wheat pasta
3/4 jar of Spaghetti sauce (I always add brown sugar, oregano and garlic salt to enhance my sauce)
8 oz mozerella cheese
1 egg white
shredded parmesan
minced garlic

Combine yeast and warm water and let sit for a few minutes, long enough to be sure yeast is active. Add the honey and salt. I use my Kitchenaid with the bread dough hook. Turn on mixer, but don't turn on higher than a 2 on the Kitchenaid. Slowly add flour, about 1/2 cup at a time. When the bread starts to pull away from the sides and doesn't come off on your finger when you touch it, its done. Leave the mixer on for 5 minutes and let the dough hook do its work. 

After 5 minutes, cover with a towel and let rise about an hour, or until double in size. Roll out into whatever shape you are using the bread for. I roll it out into a rectangle size like in the picture below.

Prepare spaghetti according to your liking. I always use a pound of ground beef with mine. I also use a bit less sauce than normal to avoid the bread getting soggy at all. Combine the sauce, meat, and noodles (again, I use whole wheat pasta) and pour down the middle of the bread. Slice some slits down the edges of the bread, as shown below.
Note: be sure to use parchment paper, rather than wax paper. I've learned the hard way that the bread doesn't come off the wax paper well at all.

 Top the spaghetti with mozerella cheese, either cubed or shredded, about 8 oz. Braid the sliced edges of the bread together by pulling them all up and braiding them together. You can pinch the bread together. Pull up the edges to close up the bread loaf. Baste the bread with the egg white, sprinkle dried parsley, mined garlic and parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Cool and serve. I warmed some more pasta sauce to dip it in and it was delicious.

The Finished Product!

Delicious dinner!



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Chip Cookies

Unfortunately I just can't get my cookies to be as thick as what my mom made for me growing up.  Maybe cookies just turn out better when made in the midwest.  I made half of this recipe and added 1/4 cup more flour and then chilled the dough for 15 minutes before cooking and that seemed to improve the thickness a bit.

I altered the recipe a bit by adding 1/2 cup peanut butter chips which only took these chocolate goodies to the next level (who doesn't love chocolate and peanut butter, except those who are allergic?!).  My sister-in-law quickly stopped by our place the day after I made these cookies and she took one on her way out the door and right when she got to her car she texted me and said that these were her favorite cookies I've ever made!  It was a great compliment and just shows you how delicious they are! ;)

-Don't over cook!  I only cook mine 8 minutes and mine were still soft and chewy the second and third day but I'm not sure about the forth... they were too irresistible to last that long in our home.
-Only cook one pan of cookies and save the dough already formed into balls in the fridge so that you can have fresh cookies in a few days after you eat (devour?) the first batch.
-You can also easily make pizookies by putting a ball of dough straight from the fridge into a custard cup and then onto a pan and cook for about 14 minutes.  When done let cool for a few minutes and then use a hot pad to place the custard up on a plate and then top with ice cream and serve immediately.  Nick and I really enjoy these! :)

1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 c flour
1/3 c cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a medium bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  In a large bowl or mixer beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy.  Add eggs and beat well.  Add flour mixture a little at a time and mix well.  Add in chocolate chips and drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet using a cookie scoop.

Bake 8-10 minutes.  Let cookie cool for a few minutes on the pan and then remove onto a wire rack.

Yield: 4 dozen


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Scones

Nick and I wanted some dessert the other night but didn't want to run to the store.  Some how we thought to make blueberry scones with the frozen blueberries we get from Costco (I highly recommend them!  We eat them just plain for a healthy snack, in smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, these scones...).  I tried to find a recipe on Pinterest but all the pictures made the scones look really dry so I just used the recipe I did for my Raspberry White Chocolate Scones since I knew it made a light and flaky pastry.  Nick really enjoyed these!  In his words, "These are so freakin good!"  I love that Nick appreciates my cooking!

I am not big on pastries with lemon which is why there is not too much lemon in my glaze.  I thought it had the perfect amount but you can always add more lemon juice and lemon zest if you're a lemon lover.

1/2 c milk
1/2 c sour cream
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter
1 1/2 c frozen or fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp melted butter
2 tsp sugar (to sprinkle on top)

Lemon Glaze:
1 Tbsp butter, softened
1 1/4 powdered sugar
3 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix milk and sour cream in a small bowl and refrigerate.  In a medium bowl mix flours, 1/2 c sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Dice butter and cut into flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until it is the size of small peas.  Remove milk mixture from fridge and add to flour mixture by folding in with a spatula until just combined.

Flour counter and empty dough out.  Sprinkle dough and hands with flour and knead 6-8 times adding flour as needed.  Roll dough into a 12x12 inch square.  Fold dough into thirds like a letter and then roll into a 12x12 square again (flour surface as needed).  Sprinkle dough with blueberries.  Roll dough into a tight log.  Lay seam-side down and press into a 12x4 inch rectangle.  With a sharp floured knife, cut log into four equal squares and then cut each square diagonally to make 2 triangles.  Transfer to a baking sheet and brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 18-22 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

While scones are cooking make the glaze by combining butter, powdered sugar, and lemon juice with an electric mixer until smooth.  Place glaze in a plastic bag.

When the scones come out of the oven transfer to a wire rack.  Cut off the corner tip of the bag with glaze and then drizzle on the tops of the scones.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tomato Florentine Soup

In the Dietetics Program at BYU one course that I took was Food Production Management Lab.  In this class I gained hands on experience of managing and being a part of a food production facility (The Pendulum Court).  We made all the food (lunch entree  salads, sandwiches, desserts, muffins...) and took turns working in the different areas of the kitchen as well as manager.  We made delicious food!  The best position to have was in the bakery.  We were taught that we were to sample everything (also taught on Master Chef by Gordon Ramsay. haha!).  Well you can't sell a cookie or muffin with a piece broken off so when in the baker position one got a little more than a sample and as you can tell I have a big sweet tooth. :)  Since it was a 5 hour class we also got a free lunch!

My favorite soup we made was the Tomato Florentine Soup which I had my very first day of lab.  I made it today and it tasted better than I remember (I tweaked it by changing some measurements and adding and substituting some ingredients.  The recipe below is my version of the soup and served in this bread bowl recipe).  My husband liked it but also informed me that he doesn't usually like tomato based meals (ex: spaghetti, probably his least favorite meal and I make the sauce very well from scratch) and this is a tomato based soup.  I on the other hand LOVE tomato based food like this soup, spaghetti sauce (I eat pasta with my sauce), and pizza (my favorite part is the sauce, not the cheese).

Sometimes tomato based things can be acidic and when I first tasted my soup it was a bit acidic.  I remembered reading somewhere that baking soda helps to reduce that since it is basic.  I gave it a shot and added 1/2 tsp baking soda to the soup and it actually decreased the acidity.  I am going to try it next time I make spaghetti and chili too!

2 Tbsp butter
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb ground beef
1/2 box (5oz) frozen spinach, chopped
1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 c water
4 c (32oz) tomato juice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c orzo pasta

In a medium pot melt butter and add celery, onion, and jalapeno.  Cook over medium heat until tender and onions are translucent.  Add garlic and cook 1 more minute until garlic is fragrant.  Remove from heat and set aside for later use.

In a large pot, brown ground beef.  Drain off fat and add the cooked vegetables, spinach, diced tomatoes, basil, pepper, salt, bouillon cubes, honey, vinegar, water, and tomato juice.  Stir to combine and then mix in baking soda.

Add orzo, bring to a boil, and then reduce to low.  Cover and allow soup to simmer for 20 minutes and then serve.


Bread Bowls

I had all afternoon Sunday to lounge around so I decided to use the time to make dinner a little more fun by making bread bowls (and I still managed to take a 2 hour nap)!  I had never made them before but they turned out pretty well!  I think that the bowls would be better for a cream based soup because it really soaked up the water in the broth based soup but it was still good.  I got the recipe from one of my favorite blogs: MelsKitchenCafe, but I added some sugar to the dough and made it half whole wheat (posted is my version of the recipe).

I think I have only eaten soup from a bread bowl once before.  It is a fun way to eat soup this way but it's a lot of bread (the equivalent of 4-6 slices when one would usually eat 1-2 slices).  Nick managed to eat his whole bowl plus what I pulled out from the middle but my little baby just didn't allow me to fit all that inside.  This little girl is starting to push on my ribs and make me uncomfortable... only 3 more months left though!  I have been eating small meals and snacks about every few hours and have been able to avoid the common and uncomfortable pregnancy symptom: heartburn.  Hopefully I can avoid it in my third trimester too!

1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 c warm water
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 c whole wheat flour
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp corn meal

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Mix, cover with a towel, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Mix in salt, oil, and whole wheat flour.  Add the white flour 1/2 cup at a time mixing well between each addition.  Add the white flour until the dough is soft and no longer sticky.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead for 6 minutes until smooth and elastic (add flour as needed to prevent sticking to hands or surface).  Lightly grease a large mixing bowl and place dough in it.  Cover with a cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place until double in bulk (about 40 minutes).

Prepare a baking sheet by lightly greasing and sprinkling with corn meal.  Punch dough down and divide into 6-8 equal pieces and then form each into a round ball.  Place on prepared baking sheet and use a sharp knife to make 2 cuts on the top of each ball.  Cover lightly with a towel and let it rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until double in bulk.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 16-18 minutes until golden brown.

Let bread cool completely and then cut off the top of each loaf as you would cut the lid of a pumpkin.  Gently pull it apart from the rest of the loaf and then dig out the inside of the loaf leaving a 1/2-1 inch wall remaining.  Fill bread bowl with soup and serve immediately.