Friday, September 9, 2011

A Few Random Tidbits

I've obviously have been slacking on this blog.  Honestly, I have mostly forgotten about it, except for the occasional feeling of guilt for being such a slacker and never updating it.  So, here are a few of my thoughts on life, baking and creating. 

1) Since my last post was about our bun in the oven, I should tell you that bun is a girl!  I am now 23 weeks and thankfully feeling much better than I was early in the pregnancy.  Not a day goes by that I'm not very aware that I am growing a very tiny person inside of me, which is both awesome and totally weird.  I am getting very excited to meet this tiny person in several months.

Baby Girl at 19 Weeks

2) I honestly haven't baked a single thing since April.  It's crazy, I know!  For a while it was because I was feeling so horrible with the pregnancy.  But now, it's more because of a lack of motivation.  Part of that is because I don't have my own kitchen.  We are still living with my husband's family and though I am extremely grateful for the rent free living situation, things are just different for me when I don't have my own space.  I love baking but it's just not as much fun in a kitchen that's not my own.  My lack of baking will change soon as my husband has asked for key lime cake for his birthday in a couple of weeks!

3) With all that being said, the reason we are still living with my husband's family is because we have been saving and hoping to buy a house.  The good news is that we found a house we like and are now under contract on that house!  Hopefully all goes as planned and we will be in our own house mid-October which means there is still time to do some fall baking in my own kitchen!!  I can't tell you how excited I am!

4) I always like having a creative outlet in my life.  Baking has been that outlet but since I haven't been baking I've been feeling the need to create.  So instead I've been knitting a lot.  In the past few years, the only thing that I've knitted are dishcloths here and there to keep my mom and I supplied with the kind we like.  With the baby coming, I thought it might be fun to try to knit a little hat.  I found an awesome book with patterns at Michaels and have been knitting up a storm.  So far I've made two hats and have slowed down a little with the third (mostly because I have now had to start over twice!). 

Baby Beanie #1
Baby Beanie #2

And those are my thoughts at the moment.  Maybe next time I won't wait months before the next post... but don't hold your breath.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

I'm 'Baking' Something Special!

I've been a very bad blogger lately.  I swear I have a good reason.  Here it is:

Ultrasound taken at 8 weeks

Yep, it's a baby!  Or a gummy bear.  Or an alien.  I can't quite tell.  Right now, we calling it our 'Gremlin'.  You might find that offensive or odd, we find it rather fitting. 

I've been feeling pretty crappy the past few months.  And the last thing I've wanted to do is be around food because either 1) I feel nauseous and nothing sounds good when I'm nauseous and therefore the last thing I want to do is bake/cook.  Or 2) I'm actually feeling ok for a few minutes or hours and therefore I absolutely have to get stuff done that's been neglected because I feel nauseous most of the time.

Although I just entered the 2nd trimester, I'm still not feeling great.  Sadly, food in general rarely sounds good (but at the moment, I really want a doughnut).  Hopefully, that will change soon and I can get back to baking.  In the meantime, I will continue 'baking' the Gremlin.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Rainbow Chip Cake Pops

Sometimes, I need a change of scenery.  So a month or two ago, a good friend that lives in the Seattle area and I decided we needed to go on an adventure.  This past week, we met up in Charleston, SC where we stayed for about four days.  Neither of us had much money to spend, so we planned our trip as cheaply as possible.  We stayed at Charleston's Notso Hostel and bought all our meals either on or  We brought a lot of snacks with us, ate the free breakfast at the Hostel each morning, and did all our sightseeing by walking around the city.  Most days, we only spent about $10.  It was very nice to get away and enjoy just be with a friend. 

My friend's birthday was yesterday, the day after we got back from our trip, so I decided I wanted to make her some birthday cake pops for our trip.  She decided she wanted rainbow chip cake--which I had been wanting to try as a cake pop for a while.  Have you had rainbow chip cake?  It's amazing.  It's not that funfetti stuff--it's much better.  Rainbow chip was always the cake I wanted my mom to make for my birthday growing up!  So if you've never had it, go buy some and make it with rainbow chip frosting! Turns out, rainbow chip cake pops are pretty good, too!

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Louisiana Chicken Pasta

I'm always looking for my next good recipe.  I got this recipe off of Annie's Eats, one of my go-to blogs for recipes and ideas.  I'm really into spicy things lately--I'm loving anything with some spice and heat in it--though not too much spice because I am a little bit of a wimp.  So this recipe sounded like a winner when I read it and saw pictures.  And I'm happy to say that it's a keeper!

Louisiana Chicken Pasta
Source: adapted from Annie's Eats
Print Recipe Here

For the Chicken:
1 pound large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
Salt and pepper
Cajun seasoning

For the Pasta:
16 ounces bowtie pasta (I used penne)

For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

To cook the chicken, heat a small amount of butter or olive oil and in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and a generous sprinkle of Cajun seasoning.  Add to the skillet and cook until lightly browned and cooked through.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.
Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium heat and heat butter and olive oil until butter has melted.  Add the bell peppers and onion to the pan.  Mix in the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper.  Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the half-and-half and heavy cream to the pan and bring to a simmer.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, and add to the skillet once the cream mixture has started to bubble.  Allow to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
When the sauce has thickened, add the cooked pasta and chicken pieces to the pan.  Stir well to combine and cook at medium-low heat just until the chicken is warmed through.  Adjust the amount of Cajun seasoning if necessary to suit your taste.  Top with additional Cajun seasoning if desired.

Amy's Notes:
I made this over two weeks ago.  But now as I am writing this, I really want some again.  This pasta is really good.  It is spicy but not too spicy.  It is great warm but could also be made ahead, chilled and served as a salad.  You could also make it without the chicken for a pasta side dish. I will be making this recipe again soon!

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patty's Cake Pops

Remember these green velvet cupcakes I posted yesterday?  They were mini cupcakes and I made 24 of them.  The other half of the cake I made as a nine inch round cake so I could use it for cake pops.  The recipe I used makes more than a normal batch so my round cake was huge!  I ended up making about 40 cake pops from it.  With the cake part of the cake pop being green, I had to go with the theme and make St. Patty's cake pops!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Green Velvet Cupcakes

What better way to celebrate St Patrick's Day than with green cake?!!  How do you make green cake, you ask?  Easy. Make red velvet cake, but add green food coloring instead of red food coloring. Or if you are not a red velvet fan, you might be able to make white cake and add green frosting, but I've never tried it. 
Hope you all have a great St. Patty's Day tomorrow.  And don't forget to wear green!

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Friday, March 11, 2011

This is Genius

This is genius.

Sadly, 1) I didn't think of it first and 2) I don't have $200 to buy it.  I guess I'll have to keep on using my cookie scoop.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Carrot Cupcakes

I have so many recipes for cupcakes I've been wanting to try and this was one of them.  I love carrot cake but you just don't see too many carrot cupcakes so I thought I should find a recipe and make some.  I found this recipe on Martha Stewart's website which meant it had to be good!

Carrot Cupcakes
Source: Martha Stewart
Print Recipe Here

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, spoon and leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups grated carrots

1 package (8 Ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper liners.
In large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, egg, yogurt, and vanilla.  Stir in carrots.  Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture until well combined.  Divide among muffin tin.  Bake 25-30 minutes.
Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, use an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar until smooth, beat in vanilla and orange zest. 

Amy's Notes:
Note that this recipe is for 12 cupcakes.  I ended up doubling it, but wasn't quite thinking and didn't have enough ingredients to double the frosting.  So I improvised, but my frosting wasn't as good as it could have been if I would have followed the recipe.  The cake of these cupcakes is very good.  I love carrot cake but don't like all the chunks that some people put in it, so this recipe is great for me.  Next time, I am going to spend the extra money and buy the bag of pre-grated carrots because, ugh, I hated grating them!

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

BBQ Jalapeno Poppers

For Christmas, I got "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" cookbook, which is awesome and highly recommended.  This is the first recipe in the book and I'd been trying to find a reason to make it ever since I saw it.  The Super Bowl was my perfect reason (I know this post is a bit late!).  These would be great party food and even can be prepared ahead of time!

BBQ Jalapeno Poppers
Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook
Print Recipe

18 fresh jalapenos
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 green onion, chopped
18 slices thin bacon, cut into halves
bottled barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Begin by cutting jalapenos in half lenghwise (you might want to wear rubber/latex gloves while doing this or be prepared to to deal with a little burn later from the jalapenos).  Try to keep the stems intact. 
With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and light-colored membranes.  Remember: the heat comes from the seeds and membranes, so if you can handle the sizzle, leave some of them intact.
Now, in a bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and chopped green onion.  Mix the ingredients together gently. 
Stuff each hallowed half with the cheese mixture. 
Wrap bacon slices around each half, covering as much of the surface as you can. Be careful not to stretch the bacon too tightly around the jalapeno, as the bacon will contract as it cooks.
Brush the surface of the bacon with your favorite barbecue sauce.
Secure the jalapeno with toothpicks and pop them in the oven for 1 hour, or until the bacon is sizzling.
Serve hot or at room temperature. 

Amy's Notes:
The Pioneer Woman says that these can be made a day ahead of time and kept in the fridge before cooking.  Or they can even be cooked ahead of time and frozen, then reheated in the oven.  A full batch of these makes A LOT!  I made them for the Super Bowl where we had about 6 people and with all our other food, we had a lot of these left over.  I would probably make a half batch next time.  I used thick bacon when making this and it took much longer to bake because of that so I will use thinner bacon next time.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Broccoli Salad

The entire time I've known my husband, he's never like broccoli.  Until about two months ago when he ordered steamed broccoli as a side at a restraunt.  Since then, he says he likes broccoli and asked me to make this salad because he was 'craving' it.  Ha!  So, we made it together!

Broccoli Salad

2 bunches broccoli
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 pack bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4-1 cup mayo (or Miracle Whip)
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (or more) vinegar

Combine broccoli, cheese, onion, and bacon in bowl. 
Mix mayo, sugar and vinegar in seperate bowl.  Pour over broccoli mixture.  Combine well and serve.

Amy's Notes:
This is one of those recipes that I ask my mom to make when I go home to visit my parents.  I don't know why I don't make it more myself because it's not hard to make, just a little labor intensive because of all the chopping involved.  It's also a salad that everyone has their own recipe--some people add raisins or sunflower seeeds with various ingredients as the dressing.  But this is what I grew up with so it's the variation that I like the most!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cake Pops For Sale, Part Two

When I made my Valentine's Day cake pops, I sent a few of them in a box just like the one in the picture below to my family.  I had several reasons why I did this.  First, my dad mentions pretty regularly that if I have extra time that he would be willing to eat anything I bake and mail to him.  And let's face it.  I don't have a job so I have LOTS of extra time.  Second, I have had a few people asking about buying cake pops but because most of the people asking are across the country, I need to figure out a way to mail cake pops quickly and safely, with minimal damage to the pops. 

Well, the pops I mailed to my family arrived quickly and only a few had a couple cracks in them, so I would say the experiment was a success!  Plus, my family loved the pops.  My dad took one to his work to share with a coworker and she ended up asking if I could make more and mail her some.  Two ladies ended up wanting to 'order' cake pops from me.  I mailed each of them 12 cake pops in small flat rate boxes, which cost about $5 to send. 

They wanted the same cake pops I made for my family, which was easy to duplicate since I had already made them once.  Overall, the whole things turned out to be a success.  So, if you want a few cake pops I might be willing to make some and mail them to you--for a small fee.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Football Cake Pops

It only seemed appropriate that I make cake pops for the Super Bowl. 

Pretty much the only reason I watch the Super Bowl is for the commercials and the food.  Don't judge.  A lot of other people have the same exact reason. 

It only seemed appropriate to have cake pops in the shape of footballs for the Super Bowl.  I hand shaped each one, dipped them in chocolate, and added a few sprinkles for the laces (I have no idea if that's even the right term...). 

They definately look like footballs, but didn't turn out as great as I had hoped.  Oh well, they were still delicious.  Because I made these little suckers on Thursday, only one or two of them even lasted until Super Bowl Sunday!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Rice Krispie Teats

There is nothing particularly 'Valentines-y' about rice krispie treats.  But I was at the grocery store and saw those boxes of pre-made rice krispie treats and really, really wanted some.  Instead, I grabbed a box of rice krispies and a bag of pink, strawberry flavored, heart shaped marshmallows and put them in my buggy...err, I mean, grocery cart.  I can't believe I've converted to calling them buggies... Anyway, I went home an made my pink rice krispie treats later that night.  And they were delicious. 

Rice Krispie Treats

3 tablespoons butter
1 10 ounce package marshmallows
6 cups rice krispie cereal

In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows for intervals of 1 minute, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth.
Add rice krispie cereal. Stir until well coated.
Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 9 x 13 pan coated with cooking spray. Cool and devour.

Amy's Notes:
I always use microwave directions when making rice krispie treats--it is much easier and faster!  I used strawberry flavored marshmallows and so the rice krispies were festive and pink for Valentine's day.  And the strawberry flavored marshmallows were good for something different!  I also usually use more marshmallows than the recipe calls for--just about one cup or so more so they are a little easier to mix together.

Pink rice kirspie treats, though it's hard to tell they are pink in these pictures!

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine's Day Cake Pops

So after I made my Valentine's Day cupcakes, I made Valentine's Day cake pops!  I split my batter between 24 mini-cupcakes in my last post and one large 9 inch round cake that made about 30ish cake pops. 

I had white, pink and red candy coating to use for these cake pops and a variety of Valentine's Day sprinkles to choose from that I've been snatching up at the grocery store when I see them.  I chose to leave the pink ones un-sprinkled for a little contrast.

To form the heart shape, I used a cookie scoop to form a ball, rolled that into a tighter ball with my hand, which I pressed and fit into a small heart shape cookie cutter and then gently pressed out of the cookie cutter.  It's quite a bit of extra work for the heart shape, but Valentine's isn't the same without heart shaped cake pops!

After each heart was dipped, sprinkled and dried, I packed each in a small plastic bag tied with pink ribbon.  I ate one to test, mailed a package of 12 to my family in WA (which arrived very quickly with minimal damage!!) and gave the rest away to people here in town. 

All in all, I was very happy how these little cuties turned out!

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