Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Strawberry Lime Pie

So sorry it has been awhile since I've posted anything. ALOT has happened in the past few weeks. Spring classes, finals and school have all come and gone. I've moved back to Tyler for the summer and in 3 days I'll start my summer job at Pine Cove.
Pine Cove is a christian summer camp for camper from 2nd-12th grades. I'll be working with 2nd-5th graders for 5 weeks, encouraging their walks with the Lord, playing in the sun, and having a blast! Because of camp, this will be my last blog for a while, but I promise I'll be back after July 4th! Now on to baking!!

Strawberry Lime Pie:
This is a recipe I created while having way too much free time on my hands and after watching a Foodnetwork episode of amazing pies!

1 bag of frozen strawberries
2 limes zested and one juiced (can use extra zest for garnish)
1 cup sugar
1 carton of fresh strawberries, cut in half
3 tablesspoons of cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1 frozen pie shell, pre-bake according to package
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons of powdered sugar

In your cooled pre-baked crust layer your fresh strawberries in a single layer. Then in a medium saucepan, combine first 3 ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring often. While strawberries are boiling, mix the water and cornstarch together and add to the strawberry mixture. Remove from heat and stir till thick.

Pour into your pie shell, decorate top with extra fresh strawberries (if desired) and chill overnight or at least 5 hours.

If you wish to garnish your pie: in a mixer whip heavy cream till it starts to thicken, while continuing to mix add the powdered sugar and whip till stiff peaks. Serve on the side or pipe pretty like this!

This recipe was so easy and super yummy! Good pantry staple for the summer and will also keep well in the frig so make more than one! Have a wonderful May and June of summer!!

Peace, Love and Baking <3

Monday, April 12, 2010

Surprise Party!!!

This past weekend my mom turned the big 50! Unknowingly to her, my dad and I have been planning a surprise party for her since spring break. Which is so hard to do when your mom knows everything and your living 8 hrs away. But dad and I pulled it off with the help of Susan and Kristi. I flew in the day of the party and went straight to work on my appetizers and dessert. Within a few hours, food was done, decorations were up and everyone arrived. And mom got surprised!

and here is another catch... mom didn't know I was there so here is her reaction to that!

So here is what I made: Stuffed Mushrooms and Gourmet Deviled Eggs

and for dessert.. Banana Pudding ( half eaten too, HA)

Recipe for Stuffed Mushrooms:
12 whole fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully break off stems and discard.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute till golden brown, taking care not to burn garlic. Set aside to cool.
When garlic is no longer hot, in a standing mixer or a large bowl with a hand-mixer, add cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Whip untill combined. Mixture should be very thick. Using a little spoon, fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of stuffing. Arrange the mushroom caps on prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the mushrooms are piping hot and liquid starts to form under caps.

Recipe for Gourmet Deviled Eggs
12 eggs, hard boiled and shelled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 slices bacon
4 tablespoons finely shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoon djion mustard

Place eggs in a saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, and cool. To cool more quickly, rinse eggs under cold running water.
Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Alternatively you can: wrap bacon in paper towels and cook in the microwave for about 1 minute per slice. Crumble and set aside.
Peel the hard-cooked eggs, and cut in half lengthwise. Remove yolks to a small bowl. Mash egg yolks with mayonnaise,cheese and djion mustard. Fill egg white halves with the yolk mixture and refrigerate until serving. I like to use a large star tip to make them look really pretty. Garnish with crumbled bacon and parsely for some green.

Recipe for Banana Pudding:
1 5oz. package of instant vanilla pudding mix
2 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 can of Eagle brand milk
1 box of vanilla wafers
3-5 bananas thinly sliced.
16 oz. container of cool whip

In a large bowl combine pudding mix, both milks. After combining, fold in cool whip till no lumps and set aside. Then in a 9X13 pan, line the bottom with vanilla wafers then top the wafers with banana slices. Pour about half of your pudding mixture on of the bananas and wafers. Add another layer of wafers and bananas and pour the rest of your pudding. Top the whole thing off with the rest of your whipped topping and crushed up wafers. This is soo good and so quick its fool-proof!

Overall, the night was a success, I was exhausted and mom was surprised. I love surprise parties!

peace, love and baking :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Baking

So it's Easter break and the LBK is dead because everyone went home for the long weekend. I did not, 8 hours is too far for me. So what will I do with all my spare time? O I will stay up till 2:30 a night decorating easter goodies! Not to mention my mom sent me a easter basket via mail, which contained the movie The Blind Side, and DVD of Julia Child's cooking shows and interviews. I haven't watched any yet but it wouldn't surprise me if an all nighter was coming soon ;)
People always say don't drink alone.. I think the rule can apply to baking: Never bake alone! My dear friend and Chi O sister, Hannah was staying in town as well and is a foodie like me so we were determined to practie our baking and decorating skillz over the weekend!

First up on the menu was BBQ Chicken Pizza for dinner:
- 1 Pillsbury pizza dough
-1/2 cup marinara sauce
-1/2 cup BBQ sauce (whatever you have or like)
-1TBS of fresh cilantro
-2 chicken breasts
-2 cups mozzarella cheese grated

In a medium skillet on medium heat,cook your chicken breast with 2 TBS of BBQ sauce. After cooked, cut into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl combine the BBQ sauce and marinara. On a greased cookie sheet, lay out your pizza dough and spread the sauce all over. Use as much or as little as you like.

Now to your crust add your cooked chicken and cheese. Bake for about 18-20 minutes and let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting into and stuffing your face, cause that's what Hannah and I did!


Now onto decorating spring cupcakes! Hannah is a pro at youtubing and looking up videos on de-mything decoratng technics. Here it is the beautful spring flower!

Looks alittle scary right? Thats what I thought too but it was so easy! Here is the how-to

- 12 pre-baked cupcakes, completely cooled and iced a spring green
- 1 bag of mini marshmellows
- 1 box of dot or colored candies for the middle
- a variety of sanding or fine colored sugars ( we got ours at Michaels)

-pour your colored sugars into individual bowls with lids. Then using scissors, cut your mini marshmellows on the diagonial like this:

And keep cutting them till you have about a cup or so of each in each color. Put the lids on and shake to coat, they should then look like this:

Now with your iced cupcake pick one color and line the edge of the cake with the marshmellows. And continue doing this till you get to the top middle!

Then top it off with a colored dot or candy of your choice! And TA DA the final product!! People will think you are brillant and you can all the credit for cutting those marshmellows!

Peace, Love and Baking:)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Homemade mayonnaise

As I've said before, Im a RHIM major, focusing on culinary and event planning. One of my classes this semester has a food lab. In which, we had to buy chef coats and we cook for 3 hours once a week. This week we were making mayonnaise from scratch. Now to most people this sounds so dumb when you can buy great stuff from the store. But to us foodies out there, it's just one of those thing you have to try! Naturally, I was so excited unfortunatly that did not last long. We had to way to make it in class, you could make it with a immersion blender (hand blender) or in a food processor. My group chose to make it with the hand blender. Our recipe called to dump everything in a container and slowly pulse till you have mayonnaise! Sounds really easy right?! NOT EASY!! The first time was a totally bust from the start. But our second time was looking so promising till I added alittle too much oil and it all fell apart. See when you make mayonnaise from scrach you have to literally add oil drop by drop. This takes forever and if you make the smallest mistake like me, you will have yellow oil mess. All this being said I will never make mayonnaise from scratch because the store bought already is easy and taste better than what mine would have. So learn a lesson from me and BUY YOUR MAYONNAISE!

peace,love and mayo-less :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Spring Break Cooking

After making,key lime pie my creative juices were going. On Wendesday, my little sister Hannah, was practicing her dance for cheerleading tryouts on Friday. She continued to ask me what she should give for good luck gifts. Then TA Da! The ladybug cupcake was formed! My sister said the ladybug is a symbol of good luck so it would be perfect! Now even though I'm loving blogging, sometimes I forget to take pictures along the way. This would be one of those times. So I'm very sorry but all I have is a picture of the final product. Sorry I promise I'm going to get better at this!

This is a picture of all 16 I had to make. They are alittle ladybug colony :)))

Peace, Love and Cooking :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Key Lime Pie

So after a weekend of perfect skiing with one of my bestest friends, Megan!! It was back to Tyler for relaxing and of course baking!! Well being that my sister and meg's brother's favorite dessert is key lime pie, it was a must. Now I wish I could take credit for this, I found this recipe on the side of the key lime bottle. So Im sure you are thinking, " What she bought key lime juice instead of the fresh squeeze?" Well in case you havent seen a key lime before, it's about the size of a bouncy ball. So squeezing them would have been a pain. So bottle it is. So here we go:
Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Pie
9" graham cracker pie crust (how to make below)
14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks (whites not used)
½ cup Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice

For the crust you need:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
mix all ingredients together and using your fingers press into your pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes at 350*F or till golden brown. I would suggest baking the crust first and letting it cool for about 10 minutes before making the filling.

For the filling:
Mix all the ingredients together with a hand or standing mixer. Pour into cooled pie crust and bake for another 15 minutes at 350*F. chill for 4 hours or overnight. can be garnished with a slice of lime or whip cream.

Till next time,
Peace, love and cooking :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Christmas Tradition

Since I can remember, every christmas eve my family gets together to make scotch eggs. What is a scotch egg? Its a heartattack in a ball, a deep fried sausage ball that is so unbelieveable, my mouth is watering thinking about them. I know it is the middle of Febuary and I said that theses are a Christmas tradition but time flies in college, so here they are now! This is really fun to get a lot of people involved since it's assembly line.

Scotch Eggs:

- 1 dozen hard boiled eggs, peeled
- 1 large package of owens sausage(regular seasonings)
- 1 container of italian breadcrumbs
- 6 raw eggs beaten with milk ( just eyeball it)
- 1 cup flour with a tablespoon of both salt and pepper
- cookie sheet
- the biggest pot you have and lots of crisco!

Here is goes!
To begin set up each of the ingredients in an assembly line like so... Boiled eggs, flour, sausage patties, egg/ milk mixture, then breadcrumbs, cookie sheet.
Take a few of your hard boiled eggs and cover them in your flour mixture.
Then one at a time, take two sausage patties and wrap them around your floured egg.

Now take your sausage ball and dip it into the beaten egg then into the breadcrumbs. Repeat this step again: beaten egg, then breadcrumb making sure you get a good even coat.

and here is what it should look like after all the breading!

Now to the fryer! This part takes some trial and error. Too hot of oil will burn your egg before its cook and too cold with absorb too much oil. I would test the oil by dropping some breadcrumbs into the oil. If it burns up quick its too hot, if it doesnt sizzle its too cold. Good Luck!

Ta Da!!!! The finished product!!

Even though these might be a little time consuming, trust me they are well worth it! Plus they are great for a crowd we make about 40 every Christmas!


Friday, January 29, 2010

Snowed In = Apple Brown Sugar Tart

I woke up this morning to find my apartment covered in snow and school cancelled, which means...baking time!!
So being the foodie/nerd that I am, when I get alittle bored I pull out a cookbook and start reading. Well a good family friend of mine, let me borrow her dessert cookbook. So I started reading...and what I found to my delight was an tart recipe, a skill I have not yet tried! Here it goes!

What you need:
Filling: Crust:
- 4 green apples, peeled and thinly sliced - 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1/3 cups of sugar - 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 Tbs. flour - 1 large egg plus one yolk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract - 1 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 tsp. cinnamon - 1 Tbs. baking powder
Brown Sugar Topping:
- 3/4 cups flour
- 1/2 dark brown sugar
- 6 tbs. butter
- 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Lets start with the filling. Begin with thinly slicing your peeled apples. Put them into water as you slice, so that they don't turn brown. Put the rest of ingredients into a plastic bag and add your drained and dried apples. Shake around till the apples are all coated. Set aside.

Topping Time!
Mix all the ingredients except, butter, together in a large bowl. Then using your fingers pull apart the butter and mash it into the flour mixture. It's alittle messy but it should look like little bits of of butter covered in flour..
Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the finished topping, so here it is pre-butter

Crust, its a must!
With a mixer, blend sugar and butter. Slowly add the egg and extra yolk.Then add the flour till it comes together.Pull out the dough, and start pushing it into the tart shell with your fingers. Till the the crust comes up the sides of the shell. Use a measuring cup to help you press the dough into the shell.

Now with every part together, put the filling into the crust, and cover the apples with the crumble mixture.

Bake in the oven for 50 minutes at 325. And Ta Da!!! Apple Tart!!

Best Night Ever...with Chicken and Dumplings!

So tonight goes on my top 10 list of great nights.... Watching Julie and Julia, and eating homemade chicken and dumpling, college style! Now don't worry of course I'm going to share it with ya'll... so here it goes!

This recipe is from my mother's cookbook. I love this book, it's practically falling apart, recipes torn out and stuck back in random spots, it's the best! It was created by my grandmother( or Gran as I call her) when my mom got married and moved off!

What you need:
- 2 chicken breast thawed
- 3 cans of low sodium chicken broth
- one can of biscuits ( not the flaky kind)
- pepper and salt to taste

So first you need to bring both your water and broth to a boil in separate pans. Once the water comes to a boil place your chicken breast in the water for about 20 minutes or till the chicken is firm to the touch. Take your chicken out to cool off before handling. After cooling, using your fingers shread the chicken into bite size pieces.

While you are waiting for the water and broth, take your biscuits and cut them into fourths( as seen in the previous picture). Depending on the size of your biscuits, you might want to cut them smaller because they puff up!
Now add your biscuit pieces slowly till they are all combined. Wait 5-10 minutes for biscuits to puff up and cook.
Then add your chicken back with the dumplings, bring to a boil and ENJOY!!

Almost like mom's, maybe better, and definately easier!