Monday, April 30, 2012

Cheesy Beer Bread

I'm going to apologize now in advance for my next few postings. I left my Canon camera charger at my parents house so I have been using my old camera for all these pictures lately. I am getting my charger today though so this will only be temporary and maybe my pictures will be more appetizing soon! 

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I was supposed to have that yard sale and postponed it because all the weather models and forecasters were saying RAIN RAIN RAIN. I woke up Saturday morning at 7:30 and it was SUNNY! Whomp, whomp. At least it got cloudy within an hour but it didn't even rain until 1:00 PM and I totally could've had my sale. I just got a pedicure instead so that helped some. Alas, I will just wait until May 12 since we've rescheduled it for then. Come on by if you are in Crofton, I'll have cupcakes! 

Onto the subject of matter. Beer bread has always been one of my favorites but I haven't had it in years. My mom used to make it a lot because she got those Tastefully Simple packages. I used to feel so cool when I ate it cause it was BEER bread and I totally wasn't 21. Now I just feel super uncool for feeling cool. Yesterday my boyfriend bought some beef shoulder to make some BBQ brisket (recipe coming later this week) and he told me he always has it with beer bread. I was about to head over to see my family so I didn't have much time but I was like ok, I'll figure something out real quick! Want to know what really makes me even more uncool? I used Natural Light for this recipe. It was all we had so I changed up your typical beer bread recipe a bit just for fun and it was definitely a good idea. 

2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 12 ounce beer (any beer works depending what type of flavor you want, I'd recommend a pale lager)
1/2 cup cheese (I used pepper jack, cheddar works well too) plus a handful for the top
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then pour in the beer and honey and mix well. Last fold in the cheese. Grease your bread pan and pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter in, then pour in your batter. Next pour the last 2 tablespoons of butter on top of the batter. Bake for 55 minutes. When there are 5 minutes left, take out the bread,  sprinkle a handful of cheese on top, and place back in for the last 5 minutes.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nutella Chocolate Cupcakes

Yay Friday! I was super excited about this weekend because we were supposed to have a yard sale tomorrow and all the proceeds were going to go to my Crohn's walk. The darn weather had other plans for us though. This warm front and low pressure are saying "Sorry, but you're just going to have to wait to raise money for the CCFA!" That's not very nice, is it? Guess I'll have to wait two weeks since that's the next time we can do this sale. What is nice though, is this post! This is way more about the cake than the frosting too. It just so happened I put some serious frosting on these bad boys. I wanted to test some different chocolate cake recipes and when it came time to make these I realized I had NO chocolate chips. So I resorted to the next best thing, Nutella. These didn't taste especially Nutella-like but it must have done something because these were the best chocolate cupcakes I've ever had... hands down. 

Nutella Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield ~18 cupcakes/48 mini cupcakes

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Nutella
1/3 cup oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/ tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk

Vanilla Frosting
Frosting recipe without the coconut

Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl, add in the nutella and mix. Next mix in the vanilla extract, oil, and sugar, then the eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and flour then make a well in it. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry and mix together. Last fold in the sour cream and milk until completely mixed. Pour batter into cupcake tins and bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. I made some of these regular sized and some mini so baking time will vary. The minis took more like 15 minutes. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pineapple Upside Down Muffins

Hurry! If you're still at home and haven't left for work you might be able to make these little guys just in time for your breakfast. You really should since they're pretty heavenly. The whole idea for these started with pineapple upside cake. I've been reading Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books for almost 3 years now. I am now onto book 18 even though it came out in November. I just was able to get my hands on it at the library. Anyway, Stephanie Plum's favorite dessert is Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I make enough desserts at my house that I didn't need another cake sitting around for me to gobble up. That pie from Sunday was almost enough to make me diabetic considering it's gone already. So I thought muffins sounded like a good way to make it a little healthier, not so sweet, and a nice spin on a fantastic dessert. When I brought these to have the morning after the bachelorette party I went to this past Saturday, there were some very happy ladies!

Pineapple Upside Down Muffins
Yield ~12 muffins

2 tablespoons brown sugar 
1 10-ounce can pineapple chunks
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup  flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, (not drained)
1 large carrot, grated (~1 cup)
1/2 cup oats

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar in each of the muffin slots along with 2 pineapple chunks. In a bowl whisk together whole wheat flour, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, brown sugar, oil, pineapple juice, and vanilla extract together. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the liquid mixture in and mix together. Stir in crushed pineapple, grated carrot, and oats. Pour into muffin wells. They will be very full so don't worry. Bake for about 16 minutes or until slightly brown on top. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Banana Brownie Pie

When it's raining outside and 42 degrees all I want to do is curl up with a blanket on the couch... or bake. I did both yesterday, with more of the curling up with a blanket on the couch, almost 5 hours of it to be exact. By 8:30 last night my boyfriend decided it was about time for me to migrate to an actual bed so yesterday was the epitome of lazy Sunday. The only reason I even made this thing is because my  mom told me she and my sister had been wanting pie. She took a crust out of the freezer and told me to make one when I got up from my first nap. I started brainstorming but there was absolutely NO fruit in the entire house, so any type of fruit pie was instantly not an option. Then I checked the pantry for sweetened condensed milk so I could make a pie with that; nope. This meant the only thing left to do was make it chocolate and maybe add in some peanut butter or something. I settled on a brownie pie but then I saw it. A single almost blacky brown banana. Hmmmm... I like chocolate and bananas. I also had just dipped a banana in Nutella that morning so obviously I like it. I just mashed it up and added it into the batter and thus the banana brownie pie was born.

Banana Brownie Pie
Yield ~1 pie

1 pie crust

3/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons water
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 banana, mashed
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. You will have a little bit of extra mix, especially if you don't use a deep dish pie crust.
2. If you have a hard time restricting yourself from eating batter/dough/mixes, don't make this. If you are ok with eating all the extra mix, make this immediately.
3. Don't say I didn't warn you when you get a sugar belly ache from eating entirely too much of this mix and the actual final product of pie.
4. Don't mind the Christmas dish the pie is on. It's only 4 months past but I don't know. I don't have an excuse.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave. Add in the sugar, water, and vanilla and mix together. Next mix in the eggs. In another bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, and salt together. Mix into the liquid mixture. Last mash up the banana and mix that in with the chocolate chips and chopped pecans. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake in oven for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted to center comes out clean. Indulge!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Herb Crusted Leg of Lamb

Ladies and Gents, it's time for our first guest post! No, it's not the dogs but it is the dog's owner and she also just happens to be my "manager". She hears of all of my KBTM woes on a daily basis so I figured it'd be fun to have her chime in for once. Without further ado... Jill.

So I have a habit of only buying food that’s on sale that day. In fact, I have a hard time paying retail for something when I know I can get it for cheaper another time.  I blame groupon and Extreme Couponing for this obsession. It has also made me buy things that I never do because it’s too good of a deal to pass up.  And that’s how I bought a leg of lamb. It was half off, how could I pass it up?
I also don’t like spending too much time in the kitchen. I always have two distractions at my feet that I constantly trip over, so I try to make dinner as fast as I can. This is what I threw together:

Leg of lamb ~4lbs
5 red potatoes quartered
4 cloves garlic minced
4 tbs room temperature tears of Paula Deen (reference for PD tears aka butter)
3 tbs of chopped herbs  (I used rosemary, parsley, and thyme)
Salt and pepper

I mixed the butter, herbs, salt and pepper together and spread most of it on the lamb, covering the top. I tossed the remaining mixture with the potatoes.  I put the potatoes in a large glass baking dish and placed the lamb on top. I baked it at 500 degrees until it browned and then reduced the temperature to 400 and covered the dish with foil. I continued cooking it until the meat temperature reached 140 degrees. Let the lamb rest for a bit before serving.

Being the thrifty person I am, I cut up the leftover lamb and potatoes and made a stew for the next day. I added the leftovers to beef broth, and added celery, carrots and onions. Simmer the soup until the lamb is the texture that you like and serve it with crusty bread.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Maki Rolls

Let me explain to you how amazing these were. Wait, I can't. Hopefully the pictures will just do the explaining. A picture is worth 1,000 words, right? Maki Rolls, Sushi, Sashimi... any of it just makes me chuckle to myself. It is hands down one of my favorite dishes to gobble up these days. 1 year ago I wouldn't even touch any type of seafood unless it was shrimp. Now I'm eating raw tuna and salmon. Ashley from 2 years ago would say Who are you!?! I'd tell her, whatever you're just a scaredy muncher. Then she'd say, seriously, Who says scaredy muncher? (Side note: this term is what my boyfriend was called as a child if he wouldn't eat his food and I love it) Anyway, you probably think these look intimidating because in all honesty I have always been intimidated by maki rolls. Give them a try though! You will surprise yourself because it's much easier than you would think and you will feel like an artist by how pretty your food ends up looking. You might just think you're at an actual sushi place if you ONLY look at your plate.

Maki Rolls

1.5 cups rice
3 cups water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Nori seaweed paper
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 full carrot, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1 tuna steak ~6-8 ounces
1 salmon steak ~6-8 ounces

Mango Salsa
1 mango, diced
1 jalapeno
1 serrano pepper
dash of pepper

Prepare all of your ingredients first. Boil the rice and water together until cooked through. Add the rice vinegar and sit to cool some. Next julienne your carrot and cucumber and slice your avocado. Next slice your tuna and salmon steaks into strips about .5 cm thick. If you are making the mango salsa, dice up the mango, jalapeno, and serrano pepper. Mix them all in a bowl with a dash of pepper. Next to begin making maki rolls wrap your sushi bamboo mat in plastic wrap if you wish. Take a piece of nori paper and cover 2/3 of it with rice about .5-1 cm thick. Flip the paper over so the rice side is on the bottom facing away from you. The 1/3 of the paper without rice should be closest to you. In that 1/3 add your fillings; tuna, carrot, cucumber, avocado, any sauces you wish. Roll over the area with your fillings and use the mat to help tighten it up once you start rolling. Make sure you tuck the beginning edge in tightly so that once you do start rolling it up the fillings will stay inside. Once you have rolled the paper all the way, the region with the rice will cover just the outside of your roll. Then you are set and you can start slicing your roll into pieces. If you would like to make it fancy we put a layer of avocado and thin slices of tuna on the roll then placed it back on the mat and rolled it up so they would stay on. It gives it a nice look.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Cake

Hola! Today's treat was our Easter cake and the flavors in this thing just worked out perfectly for the day. I had enough Peanut M+M's, Hershey's Kisses, and Reese's Cups to last weeks. Fruit made me feel better about that. I'm giving you all a throwback from Easter because I just did not have any time to bake this weekend, mainly because of a bridal shower and a 10K. The 10K was yesterday and required me to be lazy the rest of the day. This is how yesterday went. Wake up to go to Columbia for 10K, run 10K, participate in brunch at Clyde's, go home and lay out in the sun, take a nap, celebrate "date-aversary", bed. What this really means is all I did yesterday was eat and drink, sleep, eat and drink more. It was a great day though, that's for sure. I'd say I deserved it after doing this race through the multitude of people I ran with up tons of hills through Columbia. I looked at the trail prior to this race and when I saw there was only like an 80 foot incline I really didn't think it would be bad. So when I turned a left corner and this is what I saw...

I was a little less than encouraged. Especially when I see all those people far far off in the distance running through the hills way ahead of me. Someone behind me said "ugh, just look at the ground the whole time and don't look up!" It actually worked and I made it through since I did this for every hill after as well AND I ended up finishing in the first 1/3 of the race, barely, ok by top third I mean top 40%. So it was a success and the brunch after was a nice addition as you can see from this picture. I didn't know beers were included, but don't worry only half those are mine.

Lemon Blueberry Cake
Yield ~6-12 servings (in my world it's 6, yours may be 12)

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup fresh blueberries

Vanilla Frosting
1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
enough milk to get desired consistency
a handful of shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. First, start with your flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt mixed together in a bowl. Next add the butter, oil, eggs, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest to the liquid mixture and whisk together. Spray two 9" cake pans and pour the batter evenly between the two pans. Sprinkle your blueberries evenly across both pans as well. This way you won't have to worry about mixing them into the batter and squishing them by accident. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Wait for cakes to cool then place one of them on your cake stand or plate. Whip up your frosting by mixing the butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together adding the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Spread half of this on top of the first cake layer. Add the next layer on and spread the other half. Sprinkle a handful of coconut on top.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Butterbeer Cupcakes and Golden Snitch Cake Pops

My friends birthday was Monday. Of course I had to make her cake for her. Of course I thought about every possible type of cake I could make but there was one I had seen a while back that just stuck with me. Ever since we were in high school it was always Harry Potter. Through college and after college this Harry Potter theme never really went away... for either of us. So I just knew that's what I had to do! Butterbeer Cupcakes and Golden Snitch Cake Pops! Now, let me tell you, this friend is a very lucky girl because I don't normally spend this much time on anyone. I guess I was just feeling generous that day, maybe the whole Easter thing.

Making these cupcakes are a breeze, making the cake is a breeze. Creating cake pops is just a smidge more difficult but still not hard. Making sure you get the golden snitch wings to stay in the cake pops; That's hard. Let me tell you all of my mistakes so when you make these they are much less time consuming. We live and we learn, right? So snitch wings are made out of gum paste. 1. Do not use gum paste powder. Spend the extra dollar or 2 and buy the premade gum paste so you can just roll it out and that's it. No big messes or sticky gum paste stuck ALL over your hands. 2. Do not make the snitch wings as big as I did. They were about 3 inches long and too heavy so when I made these awesome culinary delights and the wings wouldn't stay I screamed profanity at them. I called little wings made of powder terrible things you would call a woman of the streets AND included some cuss words mixed in for good measure.

Anyway, save yourself the trouble and buy premade and only make the wings 2 inches long. OK! With that being said here's the recipe and don't let my mistakes deter you from making these cause they're so worth it. Especially the reactions from everyone including strangers who have no idea what they are.

Butterbeer Cupcakes
Adapted from amyBITES
Yield ~18 Cupcakes

2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup cream soda

1 1/2 sticks butter
3 cups powdered sugar 
1 cup butterscotch chips (melted)
1 tablespoon vanilla
milk (desired consistency)

In a bowl cream butter and sugar and brown sugar together. Next add in the eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, and cream soda. Last add in your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together and fill up cupcake tins 2/3 of the way. Bake for about 18 minutes. Meanwhile take your room temperature butter for the frosting and mix in the powdered sugar 1 cup at at time. Put your butterscotch chips into a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at time until they are melted. Add in the butterscotch to the frosting. Last, add in the vanilla and milk after to create your desired consistency. 

I used enough batter so I could make 12 cupcakes. I used the rest and poured it into a medium sized oval dish and baked it for about 40 minutes to create a smaller cake to make cake pops. If you are using this recipe to make cake pops you can just bake the batter as a cake. Before you make the actual golden snitch cake pops you will need to make the wings. I used gum paste to do so. I bought gum paste powder and added water in to make my own. I used about 6 ounces of the mixture. I would advise you to use the premade gum paste as it will save you so much time and messiness. Roll your gum paste out so that it is only about .5 cm thick tops. Cut out little wing shapes that are about 2 inches long and place the wings on some wax paper to harden. If you'd like to add a little character and make it look like they have feathers, press a fork into the bottom half of the wings. 

Now, to start making the cake pops, once the cake is entirely cooled crumble it up into a bowl and add in the frosting. Form 1 1/2-2 inch balls out of the mixture and place on a cookie sheet in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  After that, place bowl of yellow candy melts in the microwave and melt at 30 second intervals until completely liquid. You may want to add in a tablespoon of shortening to make the consistency less thick. Dip your candy sticks into the candy melts then place in the cake ball. After you have placed the sticks in all the cake balls you can start completely covering them. Swirl the cake pops in the melted candy melts and tap on the side of the bowl to get excess coating off. Continue for all cake pops and place in a styrofoam block to harden. Between each one immediately after you have covered the cake pop insert the snitch wings into each side. Make sure not to push them in too far or the cake ball will break in half. Yes, this happened to 2 of my pops...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chicken Summer Rolls

Finally time for a healthy recipe! I need it since we just had Easter. Speaking of Easter, I just ran a 4 mile fun run through downtown Annapolis on Friday to get in the spirit... or so I say. It was the Fleet Sweet Chocolate Bunny Fun Run. That's a mouthful, especially since we were required to eat a chocolate bunny half way through the run. I actually saved mine for later that night which proved to make running slightly  more difficult with a chocolate bunny flopping around in your hand as you try to only hold it by the stick so that the chocolate doesn't melt... I made it, but the wrapper may have come off mid run. I really only did this run because the Friday before I had a little mishap. It was Friday morning at 5:30 AM and I was just leaving to go to work. About 2 minutes after I left and was about to leave the neighborhood a hopping animal flew right out in front of me in a split second. Not even enough of a second for me to react. I was very sad and felt terrible about this so I decided that this run could be a sort of homage to the poor rabbit. I did it for you bunny!

Chicken Summer Rolls
Yield 8 rolls

1 pound chicken
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/2 cup basil and/or mint
carrots, cucumber, jalapeno all julienned
rice paper

Slice chicken into thin strips so they can fit inside summer rolls and place in bowl with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and fish sauce to marinade for about 30 minutes. Cook chicken on medium high in pan. Let cool. After, run a rice paper wrapper in warm water for few seconds so it can absorb the water. Place the paper on a working surface and add filling (chicken, basil/mint, carrot, cucumber, jalapeno) on bottom third of paper as shown below. Start rolling up the paper and tuck it as tightly as you can as you roll.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Remember that one post a while ago and I said I had 6 cookies? I lied. I had 6 baked cookies and probably 7 cookies worth of chocolate chip cookie dough. That was a painful evening. My lovely sister decided to make chocolate chip cookie dough just to eat the dough. Meanwhile, I was making these cookies. Once she was sick from eating too much cookie dough she just left the half full bowl on the counter. What the heck does she or anyone who knows me expect to happen next!? This was like 3 weeks ago and this post is just making it up now. I should probably stop making all these desserts though. Easter definitely did not help as I made a cake for that and my friend's birthday is today so you know I made cake for that too. It's been such beautiful weather the past couple weeks which means bathing suit season is quickly approaching, Ahhhhh! It seems I'm slightly confused and preparing for hibernation.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies
Yield ~25 cookies

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup crushed pretzels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and brown and white sugar together. Add in the flour, salt, and baking soda. Next mix in the egg, water, and vanilla. Last fold in the chocolate chips and crushed pretzels. Bake for about 10 minutes or until slightly browned.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Egg Carrot Cake Pops

It's almost Easter which means lots of yummy food. Not that I don't already get lots of yummy food but it will be an abundance of it which is just better, sometimes. I am in charge of dessert for Easter this year, naturally, and I have quite the cake planned. I also made these in anticipation of Easter but knowing the reaction they got I'm not so sure I should have! I bring these babies in and place them on the table by the sign in sheet. An hour later when everyone else starts to come in I hear reactions. They are good reactions at first saying "Wow! You are so creative!" or "These are so pretty!" Then comes the "You must have a lot of free time on your hands..." and the "So YOU'RE the one who always brings things in for us" and the "Do you do anything else besides bake?" HELLOOOOO!? Of course I do! I only bake a few days a week and I run and go to yoga and some other classes at the gym. I go out on the weekends and party it up and I also take naps on the regular after work as well before I do any of this working out. I actually have a life; baking is just one of my many hobbies, OK!? Yeesh. Maybe they won't be getting those rain shower cupcakes I was planning on making next week. THERE! I hope they learned their lesson.

Carrot Cake Cake Pops:

Carrot Cake:
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup apple butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded carrots

1 stick of butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 package of cheesecake flavor pudding mix
milk, enough for desired consistency

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs, oil, apple butter, milk and vanilla. Add all remaining cake ingredients except carrots. Last fold in carrots and pour into greased baking dish. I used an 8x11 dish. Bake for about 50 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool. While cooling, cream butter and pudding mix together. Add in powdered sugar half a cup at a time. Add in milk to get desired consistency. Crumble cake into bowl with frosting. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and roll balls of cake/frosting mixture into egg shapes. Place cookie sheet in freezer for about a half hour. After that, place bowl of candy melts in microwave and melt at 30 second intervals until completely liquid. You may want to add in a tablespoon of shortening to make the consistency less thick. Dip your candy sticks into the candy melts then place in the cake ball. After you have placed the sticks in all the cake balls you can start completely covering them. Swirl the cake pops in the melted candy melts and tap on the side of the bowl to get excess coating off. Continue for all cake pops and place in a styrofoam block to harden. If you want to make it pretty you can add in Easter grass in an Easter basket, but don't go overboard or you might get made fun of.