Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Saltine Toffee

Kate asked me to guest post on her blog Thriftburgher for a Christmas cookie series, and I posted Saltine Toffee, which is the easiest, best thing ever. If you've never had it before, make it immediately and report back. 

So go see the recipe on Thriftburgher and look around if you haven't checked her blog out before.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

I know that Christmas was a couple days ago but what is awesome is that there are actually 12 days of Christmas! This means more cookies and for our readers, more cookie recipes.  What really happened was that I ran out of time to blog before Christmas! Whoops.

I made these cookies for 3 different families who we spent Christmas with. I have to say this was the best Christmas so far. There were babies (human and fur babies) all around!

Also, don't skip the frosting. It really makes the cookies. What's cool is that the frosting is baked along with the cookies. I followed the recipe exactly and doubled it because the more cookies the merrier.

Recipe from The Floating Kitchen.

For the Cookie Dough:
2 dozen+ maraschino cherries
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 heaping tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda

For the Chocolate Frosting:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. reserved cherry juice

Chickpea Blondies

Not all of the holiday desserts have to be unhealthy! These blondies taste fantastic. You can even eat the whole pan while feeling good about yourself. At least that's what I did. Then my cousins and sister proceeded to do the same. I made these before I went to Bethlehem, which is also known as Christmas city. They set up little shops all over town like in Europe with local crafts, etc. It was freezing but there was plenty of hot cider and mulled wine. Best of all, it was Rex friendly. Below is a picture of the Bethlehem steel stacks.

 I've made this recipe 3 times in 2 weeks so far. That's how delicious these blondies are. The recipe is from Chocolate Covered Katie, a healthy dessert blog. She's very vegan friendly, so check out the site!


1 1/2 cups (250 g) cooked and drained chickpeas
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
l/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup dark brown sugar 
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup ground flax seed or quick oats (both are great, though flax has more nutrients by far)
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
3/4 cup chocolate chips 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Tree Cheese Ball

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Tree Cheese Ball
Idea from Betty Crocker - check that one out for their version

Make your favorite cheese ball recipe (I don't use a recipe - I like cheese balls with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, chili pepper and a little horseradish.)

Shape like a cone and chill. Before serving, decorate with toasted nuts, parsley and dried cranberries or other dried fruit. It's basically an art project so just be crafty. A few of the commenters on the Betty Crocker recipe even cut star tree toppers out of cheddar cheese.

Serve with crackers, pretzels or fresh veggies!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gooey Butter Cookies

My sister's boyfriend's family makes a ton of cookies for Christmas. This year she got to take part in the tradition and brought back a tin of cookies. I ate pretty much all of them and these ones stood out to me the most. I knew just from the taste that cream cheese was in the recipe, but otherwise I had never had any cookie like it. After pestering my sister (and her bf) for days, we finally tracked down the recipe. It originated from Lottie + Doof. If you've ever had gooey butter cake before, you'll know what to expect but in cookie form. Nevertheless, these are amazing and should definitely be a staple from now on at my family's table!

Gooey Butter Cookies

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pound cream cheese
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, scraped 
3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for rolling and dusting

First make sure everything is at room temperature. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar with a wooden spoon. Then add the eggs, vanilla seeds, and extract until combined. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. The dough will be pretty light. Then cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Since it's cold outside, I just set the dough on our picnic table for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Fill a shallow bowl with about 1 cup powdered sugar. Form slightly heaping tablespoon size balls, roll between your hands, and roll in a bowl of powdered sugar. Place on prepared baking trays 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes and take out before any browning occurs. I let them bake until at least one of the cookies was very very lightly golden on the edges. 

Let cool on the baking sheets until the cookies reach room temperature. They will be very soft even when cooled. Store and serve cold since they are delicate. Another blog suggested adding an extra egg yolk for more stability in the dough. 

The site says the cookies will last for a week in the fridge. I stored them in a cake dome layered with extra powdered sugar.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cornmeal Jalapeño Waffles

It would make sense to blog some cookies since I have been baking hundreds of them. Those will probably be posted tomorrow since we're busy spending time with friends and family! I've been making brown butter nutella stuffed chocolate chip cookies (find the recipe on Ambitious Kitchen's blog- they are as amazing as they sound). Instead of posting a cookie recipe, I'm going to share something savory that is perfect for brunch. It's the perfect follow- up post to Laura's. I've been meaning to make these cornbread waffles for ages ever since I found them on Warm Vanilla Sugar's site. I added some Jalapeños and cheddar cheese to make the waffles even better. I made these for breakfast the day my sister came home from California!

This is how I make my waffle:

This is Tiffy's waffle:

And they were too spicy for Kelly so she didn't get any :(


2 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal 
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp chopped green onions
2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Fried eggs
Shredded cheese
Soft butter and honey 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Make-Ahead Sweet Potato & Sausage Hash

I'm all about the breakfast foods, just usually not for breakfast. Later in the day pancakes, omelets, french toast and co. are awesome, and I make them occasionally for a weekend lunch or anytime dinner. However, I'm not a morning person, and I normally wake up with just enough time to get to work looking like a somewhat normal person - that doesn't leave enough time to make food.

I also don't want to spend time cooking on Christmas morning (and I don't want my mom to have to spend time cooking either). Especially since we started hosting Christmas dinner at my mom's house a couple years ago, Christmas morning is for presents and relaxing before all of the early dinner and holiday hosting crazy prep time.

Today I made sweet potato hash, inspired by a Kitchn post to make it ahead and reheat on Christmas morning in a cast iron skillet with some fried eggs for an easy brunch/breakfast. Hash is my go-to with eggs, like eggs florentine, quiche or scrambled eggs, but I never thought about making it in advance.

Sweet Potato Hash
Adapted from the Kitchn

2 tbsp butter
2 medium onions, sliced
1/2 lb Italian sausage
2 large sweet potatoes
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup rosemary leaves, chopped (about 4 stalks)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt, plus more to taste if necessary
Black pepper

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lavender Coffee Cake

This a a recipe I haven't made in years. Just this weekend my friend Kate came to visit in Philly which meant brunch!! This cake is great because it can be made the night before. It's really moist and the crumb topping is fantastic. There's just enough lavender flavor so the cake is not overpowered. I bet substituting 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs would work too (Rosemary, perhaps?). I know Laura would like that! 

Recipe from The Joys of Lavender


1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon

Mix together and set aside in a small bowl.

Chocolate Glazed Donuts

Ever since I bought a donut pan, I feel obligated to use it as much as possible! I especially feel this way since I generally don't like to buy any kitchen supplies that are beyond the basic ones. In fact, a friend of mine bought me a potato masher since I kept painstakingly and stubbornly using a fork. I have to say, this has been one of the most worthwhile additions to my baking collection. 

Donuts for brunch all the time!!! Also the best part is that I can double the glaze on the donuts! Nick and I made these ones twice already. I usually double the recipe from the Fauxmartha since they taste just like the chocolate munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. I've also made her apple cider donuts and they are delicious too.

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. buttermilk
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1 large egg

Glaze (doubled recipe)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk 
1 tsp vanilla
dash of sea salt

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pumpkin Red Thai Curry

I like my curry strong- like strong enough to punch you in the face just like they serve in Thailand. It needs to be super spicy and flavorful. None of that mild stuff. If you want something more gentle, try the recipe from Love and Lemons. My recipe is loosely based off of it. I also like to make about 10 servings at a time, so if you're not feeding lots of people, halve the recipe.

Also this is a picture of Rex eating a Turkey cake from the Dining Dog. It's the coolest pet store with food for animals and humans. I had a chai spiced yoghurt sample from there. So good.

Pumpkin Thai Curry

4 cups Kobocha + pumpkin squash purée
1 jar Red Curry paste
7 kefir lime leaves, sliced
5 cloves garlic
1 medium red onion
3 shallots
2 inch piece ginger, peeled
1 red thai chili, whole
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
Splash fish sauce
4-5 cups water

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pumpkin Pie

No one in my family really likes pumpkin pie. I usually end up eating the entire pie by myself after thanksgiving, which I completely don't mind doing. This pie, however, I had to share. It was a hit with my cousins and even my mom who doesn't even like pumpkin. The recipe is from 101 Cookbooks. I knew it was going to be good since none of Heidi's recipes have failed me yet. Anyways, the recipe is unique since it calls for coconut milk and fresh spices to make the pie really special. If I had access to Penzey's spices, I would totally use their spices. Instead I used regular old pumpkin pie spice. Next time, I'll try to use the spice grinder. I also really like graham cracker crusts for pumpkin pie which you all can feel free to switch out. What really makes the recipe awesome is the fresh pumpkin purée.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp honey
Pinch sea salt

Mix all of the above together and press firmly into a 9 inch pie pan. Then make the filling. No need to prebake the crust.

1/2 cup real dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 1/2 cups of roasted pumpkin puree from pie pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 extra large eggs
1 cup coconut cream from can

Prejeat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Pour into pie crust and bake for 50 minutes until the center is just set. My sister, Tiffany, was in charge of taking the pie out of the oven and she pricked it with a fork, haha. So don't do that. Let pie cool before serving.

Coconut Cardamom Squash Soup

At the organic apple festival back in the fall, there was a farmstand complete with a mountain of squash. Literally all of the pumpkins and gourds. I picked out a couple I've never heard of before and decided to make soup with one pumpkin. I completely forget the name, so I've been calling it mystery squash. I saw this recipe on Love and Lemons and knew this is what the mystery squash was destined to become.

1 medium squash or pumpkin
2 cooking apples
3 leeks
1 medium yellow onion
1 head garlic
1 can coconut milk
1 inch piece ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Vegetable broth, to thin
salt + pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice squash in half, remove seeds, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast, cut side up, for about 30 minutes until fork tender. Let cool, then scoop out all the squash meat.
At the same time, I roast all the veggies. Peel and quarter the onion. Slice the white parts of the leek into coins. Halve and core the apples. Peel ginger. Peel garlic. Place everything on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. I like to roast until the edges of the onions are black.
Once everything is cooked, place all vegetables and fruit into the blender. Add spices and thin a little with vegetable broth. Blend until completely smooth. Then add coconut milk and season with salt and pepper.

I ate my soup with some cheese ravioli with garden peach tomatoes and prosciutto on the side.

The mystery pumpkin:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pig Candy Devils on Horseback

Linda got a new job!! 

I had made normal Devils on Horseback (bacon-wrapped dates, sometimes stuffed with cheese, big '70s appetizer) for our Halloween party and I still had a lot of leftover dates. For a special new job treat I decided to upgrade with some brown sugar and chili pepper because pig candy is delicious

2 dates for each slice of bacon
brown sugar
chili pepper

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Creamy Cheesy Enchiladas

This is an enchilada for when what you really want is 80+% nice creamy cheese sauce, 20-% enchilada. You could of course adapt this to have a more hearty filling (that's what Michelle would do - there would probably be more vegetables involved and it would be awesome), but Linda and I wanted something warm and cheesy. 

My mom, her best friend and her friend's daughter, whom we've known for about 20 years, came over for dinner and to check out our apartment, which is still kind of new to us since we moved in mid-July. I got home from work at about 5:15 and they were coming to eat at 6:30, so I wanted to make a dinner without much prep. Butternut squash soup, rice and these enchiladas soup fit the bill.

For more traditional-ish or different enchiladas, try:

Vegetarian Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
Enchiladas with Mango Sauce
Pumpkin Enchiladas with Green Tomato Sauce
Pumpkin Enchiladas

And for normal enchiladas, make your own enchilada sauce.

Creamy Cheesy Enchiladas
Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

2-1/2 cups Cooked, Shredded Chicken
2 cups chicken broth
3 Tablespoons canola oil
12 whole corn tortillas
1 whole onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 whole 4 oz cans whole green chilies, diced (I didn't include these this time - apparently canned chilies are a seasonal food at TJ's - have to make way for all the pumpkin..)
1 whole jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (Didn't include this either because my mom is very sensitive to spice - the rest of use just used hot sauce)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour (I used gluten free flour for Linda and it worked fine)
1 cup sour cream
2-1/2 cups monterey jack cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
hot sauce (optional)
cilantro, chopped

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

My family recently sent my younger sister a care package. It was Nick's idea really. Kelly and my mom contributed goodies from Sephora, my dad added chocolates from Germany, and I baked her cookies. Specifically pumpkin oatmeal chocolate butterscotch chip cookies. That's a mouthful! Anyways, she's living all the way out in sunny California and loved the package. We miss her lots and are so excited to have her back for Thanksgiving.

By the way, I was trying to get Rex out from under the table with the cookie though I didn't give it to him. He gets enough treats. My mom gave him a whole hot dog the other morning :) The recipe is from Taste of Home.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
I cup pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start with all room temperature ingredients! Cream the butter and sugars together in a large mixing bowl. Then add the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla and combine with a whisk. Combine the dry ingredients in a smaller bowl and stir with a fork. Then stir the dry ingredients into the wet in 3 parts. Then stir in the chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

As soon as fall hits, I start making all things pumpkin. I like to go a little overboard. I've been seeing all different sorts of pumpkin spiced foods online - pumpkin peanut butter, yogurt, pasta, etc. I figure if you make this syrup you can basically turn anything pumpkin spiced. This is great for making pumpkin spice lattes (iced or hot), drizzled over pancakes or waffles, or even added to hot chocolate for some decadence. I found the recipe on The Messy Baker.
I made this for for my family right before we did an 8 mile corn maze in the dark. We had some little flashlights and the light of the moon to see. There was a food truck at the farm that served pumpkin funnel cake (topped with cinnamon sugar) and other treats. We made it through 2/3 of the maze before calling it a night so we finished up next to the bonfire with some hot chocolate. Rex decided to eat lots of corn during the adventure. We tried letting him lead us but he kept trying to go off the trail.
Pictured is the syrup plus two pumpkin spice steamers!

For the recipe you will need:
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup pumpkin purée
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract 
Add the water and sugars to a saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Add the pumpkin and spices and simmer for 8 minutes gently. Don't let the mixture boil.* Then strain the mixture using a thin tea towel. Once cool, add the vanilla extract and store in the fridge. Add about 1-2 tbsp per latte.
*I let the mixture boil and then didn't strain the syrup. It becomes really thick this way and difficult to strain. If you decide to do this, you just have to add the syrup to the milk in a blender since the syrup won't dissolve completely otherwise.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Peach Tart

As it is peach season, I've been making this tart continuously. My family loves it and even if they didn't, I could eat it all on my own. I made this for the first time in the early stages of labor along with some slow roasted tomato sauce.
One month later I'm finally finishing this post. It's been a little hectic here and blogging hasn't really been on my mind. At least, I've been failing at taking pictures when I cook. In the future, there are some posts about apple butter, peach cobbler, and all things apple and pumpkin coming up.
Anyways, back to the recipe and feel free to substitute apples for peaches since it is now apple season. I found this on Sally's Baking Addiction and excluded the strawberries.


For the filling-
3-4 firm peaches, sliced 
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/3 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crust-
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
ice water
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
Turbinado sugar for the crust

To make the crust, blend all the dry ingredients together. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or food processor. You want the mixture to resemble large, coarse crumbs. Add water one tablespoonful at a time and toss with a fork until the dough just comes together. Knead into a ball quickly, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
For the filling, toss peach slices with other ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. If the peaches are really ripe, add more cornstarch. Drain the liquid.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the crust to about 10-12 inches in diameter on a floured surface. Place the peaches on the center in a pretty design leaving 2 inches of dough on the edge free. Fold over the edges. Brush with egg wash, then sprinkle the whole tart generously with the coarse sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and serve with homemade whipped cream.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Apple & Blue Cheese Pizza

More apples on pizza! I'm still not over it, almost two years after I first made the apple & cheddar pizza, which is still a favorite. I actually haven't made pizza at all in the new apartment because I lost my jar of yeast in the move. I still have not gotten around to buying yeast, so this pizza was made on a Trader Joe's dough. Not as good, but definitely good enough.

I eat a lot of blue cheese, especially on salads, and Twilly always thinks he wants it since it is cheese, but I don't think he actually likes it.
We've been here since mid-July, but I'm still getting used to my new kitchen here. For the first time ever, I'm using an electric stove! Where's the fire?? I think I'm pretty accustomed to it now, but for the first few weeks I kept turning on the wrong burners and wondering why my pan wasn't heating up. As the weather starts cooling down, I'm starting to feel more like cooking again, so I'll get more use out of this apartment's kitchen in the next few months.

Apple & Blue Cheese Pizza

1 pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's this time but see this recipe for my homemade dough)
1 cup mozzarella, grated
1 small apple, thinly sliced
2 tbsp blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 white onion, sliced
honey, drizzled

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dino Kale Salad with Garlicky Vinaigrette

I went to the new Squirrel Hill farmer's market this morning, and it was so nice! I wish I had started going earlier this summer. It's spread out between two parking lots between Bartlett and Beacon, parallel to Murray. Along with a pie pumpkin, I got some dino kale from One Woman Farm. For lunch I made this basic salad with a great garlicky dressing. I'm also making chicken broth right now, and the apartment smells amazing!

Dino Kale Salad with Garlicky Vinaigrette 
Serves 2 or 1 for a huge lunch salad

10-15 leaves dinosaur kale (depending on size)
1/2 apple
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2-3 tbsp dried cranberries, cherries or raisins

3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt & pepper

Chop up the dinosaur kale into little pieces - cut the ribs out and fold up the leaves to make thin slices and keep slicing into they are little 1 inch strips. Put the strip in a bowl and crush them a couple of times in your hands. (Your hands will turn a little green, and the kale will become a shade darker.) Cut up the apple into chunks. Mix the kale, apple, feta, sesame seeds and dried fruit.

Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a knife. Mince the smashed garlic. Mix and stir all of the dressing ingredients (garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper). Toss well with the salad.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pecan Raisin Spaghetti

This is my attempt to copy the sweet pasta dish on the buffet at Zenith. I think I got pretty close! It's one of those things that doesn't sound good at all, but it works somehow, especially as a side dish.

Inspired by Zenith Tea Room & Antiques

2 servings uncooked spaghetti
1/4 cup raw pecan pieces
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 pinch cinnamon
salt & pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
extra virgin olive oil

Boil up the pasta according to the directions. Toast the pecans until lightly browned (when they start to smell toasty, turn off the heat). Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the shallot and garlic. Once they are lightly browned, add in the pecan pieces and the raisins. Add in the cinnamon, salt and pepper. Let it cook for a minute and then add in the brown sugar and mix it up. Stir it all into the spaghetti and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Blueberry Boy Bait

This boy bait was baked in honor of 2 baby boy dogs and 1 baby boy human.

This baby boy is unconcerned with gender stereotypes. Also, FYI for the lady dogs, his ideal bait would definitely be meat-flavored.
Of course, there is a cute story behind blueberry "boy bait": 

"In 1954 a 15-year-old Chicago teen named Renny Powell submitted a blueberry coffee cake recipe to the Pillsbury $100,000 Recipe & Baking Contest (precursor to today's Pillsbury Bake-Off). Renny took second place in the youth division for her creation, named in honor of its powers with the opposite sex. The recipe has been in circulation for nearly 60 years now, including here on, where our adaptation is one of the most popular recipes in our archive."

Blueberry-Chocolate Boy Bait
Slightly adapted from the Smitten Kitchen

2 cups white flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
16 tbsp unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3 eggs
1 cup milk (I used 2% but whole milk or even buttermilk would be the all-out way to go)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup fresh blueberries + 1 tbsp flour
1/3 cup chocolate chips

To sprinkle on top:
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp Turbinado sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kate's Pasta Salad

This recipe is from my high school friend, Kate. It was a staple at her house and recently she made the salad for a mutual friend's bridal shower. I was reminded how great it was and made it twice this month already.
Lately we've been exploring Philly and my hometown with Rexie. We take him to lots of dog parks and restaurants. Yesterday we went to yappy hour with him at Loews hotel downtown. There were about 30+ dogs there and lots of good food for them. They had rice, peas, carrots, and ground beef made special for them. We had doggie themed cocktails. Rex decided to eat about three bowls and then go back for more. He's definitely as into food as we are!

1 lb penne pasta
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup packed fresh basil, thinly sliced
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1/3 cup herbed goat cheese, crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and drizzle with olive oil. Let cool. Toss with all the ingredients together in a large bowl and drizzle with more olive oil and just a touch of balsamic vinegar. It doesn't get any easier than that.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Couscous with Eggplant

Linda got a nice new cookbook called Jerusalem, and one of the recipes got me craving some couscous. Of course, I did not follow that recipe because didn't have the main ingredient and because I'm not good at following recipes. Instead, I made this dish, which was way better than I was expecting and definitely my favorite thing I've made in a while.

Linda, Dan and I moved to a new apartment in Squirrel Hill last month, so I have a new Pittsburgh kitchen now! I was able to move most of my plants over, and there's a spot I can turn into a raised bed in the backyard. I've been eating outside as much as possible!

Tomato & Onion Couscous with Eggplant

1 medium eggplant, chopped
olive oil, salt, smoked paprika
1 lemon, thinly sliced & seeded
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp sugar
salt & pepper
1 cup couscous
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp turmeric 

Monday, August 4, 2014


Nothing says summer to me like a bowl of cold gazpacho. Right now, the tomatoes are all coming in from the garden! Finally! I feel like I've been waiting for tomato season all year. Anyways, all the ingredients are available right now. I went to the farmer's market with my sister and Rex and we loaded up on so many fruits and vegetables. We made a vegan stone fruit cobbler for dessert which I sadly forgot to photograph! For a lot of people, this gazpacho is hit or miss. It's pretty acidic but I love it as is! You can cut the acidity by using canned tomatoes but you would miss the point of gazpacho entirely. Just saying.

3 large ripe heirloom tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1½ green peppers, seeded
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Diced green peppers for garnish
Throw everything in the blender for as long as you like. I like my soup super smooth. Then place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to chill. Taste and season it according to your tastes. Garnish with fresh globe basil and lemon thyme. Serve with warm bread.

Frittata with Pasta and Cherry Tomatoes

I haven't made this dish since undergrad but it's a quick and easy one. Mainly, it's perfect for summer. I wanted to make a quiche but didn't have butter to make a crust. Anyways, it was a hit with my family (mostly Kelly and Nick) because of the large amounts of cheese I used to make it.

We just spent the past weekend with my cousin Kara and her family (twins + two year old + doggie!). We celebrated my uncle's birthday and helped watch the babies. Mostly we had snuggles with babies and watched Thomas the train engine. It was a blast! Rex was mostly terrified of their dog, Gaia. Probably because she's so refined and he is completely nuts.

3 1/2 cups cooked pasta (rotini or macaroni)
5 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
herbed goat cheese, for topping
1 tsp dried italian herbs
salt and pepper

Grease a 9 inch round pie pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the swiss chard finely and cook in a saucepan over medium heat until wilted. Drain excess water.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the italian herbs. Then add in the pasta and cooked swiss chard. Stir to incorporate. Then mix in the mozzarella and season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Top with cherry tomatoes, cut side up. Then sprinkle parmesan and goat cheeses all over the surface. The frittata is done when it is almost firm in the center and the top is golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. If the cheese is browning too quickly, just cover with aluminum foil.
We ate this with fresh gazpacho on the side! Yay summer!


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