29 April 2010

Hello, Foodie Blogroll!

If you check out my sidebar, you'll see a fantastic new feature: The Foodie Blogroll!

I'm pretty happy to be a part of it. Hopefully I'll learn lots of new things from other foodies and food bloggers, and even better -- get more followers!

28 April 2010

Flavor-full, photo-full, and recipe-full!

It's been a while since I've posted any recipes, and for that I am so sorry! Despite this, I have been baking like crazy lately, so this post will be full of many delicious recipes!

But, first...

My last recipe that was posted was a layered minty brownie. Despite the components of them tasting very good that night, when I brought them to work it was kind of disastrous. The frosting slowly melted while at work. It only took about 10 minutes out on my desk for it to start getting really messy. My coworkers also gave it mediocre reviews. Edible, but not delicious, so I don't think I'll make these again.

Determined, I continued on with the baking and came up with many other delicious things to compensate for this semi-failure.

Apple Doughnuffins
About 15 Muffins
Based on this recipe.
Full nutrition is here.

For muffins:
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
.5 cup sugar
3 packets Truvia sweetener
.25 tsp ground cinnamon
.75 cup light plain soy milk
3 tbsp egg whites
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

For topping:
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Earth Balance spread, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease muffin tray with non-stick spray.

Mix all wet ingredients until thoroughly combined, followed by dry ingredients. Distribute evenly in muffin tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until it passes the clean toothpick test.

For topping, melt the margarine. In a separate bowl mix the cinnamon and sugar. When muffins are done baking, brush tops with melted margarine and dunk in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve immediately or let cool.

Fun fact: The apple sauce I used was home-made by a friend's mother! It's so so so yummy! I named them "doughnuffins" because they are extremely airy like a doughnut!

What I learned: These muffins stuck to the paper liners. I never used to use liners, but decided on a whim to try them a few months ago. I loved how little clean-up there was after baking (hell, I'm lazy, so this was great!) but now I know that the less butter there is in something, the more it will stick... and holy crap... these were practically PLASTERED to the liners! Whoops. Now I know.

So, this was a bit of a failure, too, but what you could separate from the liner was yummy!

Mocha Brownies
Makes 32 Squares
Based on this recipe.
Full nutrition here.

Because I precisely followed the recipe (for probably the first time ever!) I'm not going to post the full recipe here. I even used all of the ingredients... even heavy cream! *shock!* The only thing I did differently was use two 8x8 glass dishes instead of one 13x9 dish. Because I'm a dork, I know that the usable square inches is nearly identical so I figured it wouldn't affect it too much... and I was right!

These were a complete and utter success!

What I learned: Firstly, I made ganache for the first time! This taught me patience, yet again.

Heating the cream on medium-low heat took a while, especially staring at it waiting for the bubbles to start forming. Letting the hot cream sit on top of the chocolate for 5 minutes was absolutely painstaking! In the end, it was totally worth it and it yielded a creamy, delicious ganache!

I also used a pastry bag for the first time! I only did some simple dots of ganache with a #4 tip, but it was still fun to use!

In the middle of the large dot in the center is not a jelly bean - it's a Trader Joe's Espresso Pillow! These things are delicious just as a snack, but they totally worked with this brownie treat!

Finally, I learned that sometimes the full-fat, original recipes can be the best. I was told by many of my friends and coworkers that this is the best recipe I've ever made. A few wanted the recipe, too, and I totally gave credit to the original!

Strawberry-Banana Bread
Makes 12 Slices
Loosely based off of this recipe.
Nutrition info is here.

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
.25 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 eggs
1/4 cup agave nectar
1.5 cup diced strawberries
2 tbsp ground flax meal
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 bananas, mashed
2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp light plain soy milk
1 tbsp quick oats

Spray the bottom and sides of a loaf pan with non-stick spray. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix the diced strawberries and agave nectar and set aside.

Mix together the mashed bananas, vanilla, flax meal, soy milk, apple sauce, and eggs in a large bowl. When combined, add the strawberry-agave mixture and mix.

Add all remaining ingredients to the mixture except oats. When everything is mixed together, pour into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle oats on top.

Bake for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake for another 25 minutes. Remove bread from the pan and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing.

...isn't strawberry season the best season??!! :)

Strawberry on Foodista

23 April 2010



Lazaro Cooks!  has nominated me for the "I Love Your Blog" award! Congrats, Lazaro, for having such a yummy and awesome blog and for sharing the award with me!

*Post the award on your blog*
*Link the person who has given you the award*
*Pass the award to 15 other blogs you’ve discovered*
*Remember to contact the bloggers you’ve nominated*

In no particular order...
  1. Bowl of Mush
  2. Almost Bourdain
  3. Beantown Baker
  4. Becky Bakes
  5. The Svelte Gourmet
  6. The Girl Who Ate Everything
  7. The Cooking Photographer
  8. Sweet Tooth
  9. Spache The Spatula
  10. Radishes And Rhubarb
  11. Lipstick Blogger
  12. Gonna Want Seconds
  13. Dozen Flours
  14. Lovin' From the Oven
  15. Meet Me In The Kitchen
I love your blogs! Keep it up, and spread the award!

18 April 2010

A Busy Baking Weekend

This was a busy, busy weekend for me. I had two events to bake for on Saturday, then I had to contemplate a delicious treat to make for my coworkers tomorrow. Be prepared: yummy photos ahead.

Event #1: Keeneland Tailgating

My goal was to come up with something not easily perishable or melt-able (since it was going to be sitting out in the sun for long periods of time) but easy to share among a large group. I took this recipe and made it my own:

Cinnamon Butterscotch Cake
Serves... many!

For cake:
6 oz (weight) unsweetened apple sauce
6 oz (approx. 1 cup) whole wheat flour
4 oz brown sugar
4 oz granulated sugar
2.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
3 tbsp light soy milk

For butterscotch glaze:
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup light soy milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8x8 glass baking dish with non-stick spray.

Mix the apple sauce and sugars until combined. Add eggs. When completely mixed, add in cinnamon and baking powder.

Slowly add in flour, alternating with milk. Pour into the baking dish and bake 20-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center.

Remove from the oven and put on a cooling rack. While cooling, prepare the glaze.

Heat soy milk until boiling (I did this in the microwave). Put butterscotch chips in a glass mixing bowl and pour the boiling milk on top of the chips. Let it sit for 3-4 minutes then vigorously mix until smooth. (If it needs to be melted more, put the bowl in the microwave for 15 second intervals, mixing after each time in the microwave, until everything is melted.)

Let the liquid sit for 5 minutes to thicken a little bit, then pour over the entire cake as evenly as possible.

You can serve immediately, but I recommend letting it sit overnight so the glaze can penetrate the cake and harden a little. When cooled, cut and serve!

Event #2: BBQ

This one had to also be able to sit in a car during the tailgating, since my friend and I were heading straight to a mutual friend's house immediately after the horse race. It had to also be able to be shared, and because my friends have been spoiled by my baked goods lately, it had to be different than anything I've made for them before. I chose to give this recipe an almond twist.

Almond Butter Filled Cocoa Cookies
Yields approx. 32 cookies

For cookies:
1½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup margarine, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup light soy milk

For filling:
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup natural creamy almond butter

Preheat oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a small bowl. In a large bowl, cream white and brown sugar with margarine. Combine wet and dry ingredients. It will be a little dryer than your average cookie dough because you'll have to manage the dough in your hands.

In a separate bowl, combine the almond butter and powdered sugar.

With your hands, scoop up about 3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter and form it into a disk. Place about 1 teaspoon of the almond butter mixture in the center of the disk and fold the sides of the disk up, smoothing out the seam. Place on the cookie sheet seam-side down.

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.

Event #3: Spoil My Coworkers

I've sort of been baking my coworkers things that I know they'd like. Now I'm thinking about myself. One of my favorite combinations is mint and chocolate, and I've been wanting to take a stab at cream cheese frosting, so I used this recipe and this recipe as inspiration for this funky-looking confection.

Icy Cool Layered Brownies
32 servings

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup sugar
12 packets Truvia
3/4 cup egg whites
3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp almond extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 lb powdered sugar
8 tbsp Earth Balance spread at room temperature
1 package 2/3 Philadelphia cream cheese (8 oz) at room temperature
1 tsp peppermint extract
24 drops blue food coloring

Chocolate Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tbsp Earth Balance spread
2 tbsp fat free sweetened evaporated milk
1 oz 72% cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Heat oven to 325-350 degrees. Grease 13x9 glass baking dish, or two 8x8 glass baking dishes.

For brownies:

Stir together apple sauce, sugar, and almond extract. Beat in eggs egg whites. Add cocoa, flour, and baking powder; beat until well blended. Pour batter into pan and bake 30-35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides and toothpick tester comes out clean. Cool completely.

For cream cheese frosting:

Beat together butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and pepperment extract. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until you have used it all and the frosting is smooth. Pour over cooled brownies and chill.

For the chocolate glaze:

Melt chocolate and butter in double broiler, mix with powdered sugar and add milk one tbsp at a time.

Pour glaze over frosted brownies. It didn't cover all of it for me, so I took a toothpick and swirled it around to give it a fun swirly look.

Currently they are in the fridge getting solid so I can slice them easier. These are the only things I've yet to taste... but based on how each component tastes separately, I'm confident it will all come out okay!

15 April 2010

One Big Lesson Polenta Has Taught Me

I attempted making polenta for the first time tonight and learned a few things along the way.

I used a 4-to-1 water-to-cornmeal ratio that I found in my Joy Of Cooking book for making polenta, cutting it down to two 1/4-cup servings. Browned 3 tbsp minced garlic, wilted some baby spinach, then added 2 cups of water on top. Brought it to a boil, added 1/2 cup of cornmeal, stirred constantly until thickened, and stirred in some black pepper and dried basil.

My original goal was to bake it, so I poured the partially-cooked polenta in an 8x8 glass dish, topped it with 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, and put it in a 350 F preheated oven for 30 minutes. I cut it into quarters and sandwiched some pan-seared tofu that I crumbled and added to tomato sauce (a fake-"meat" sauce, I guess, haha) to make it like lasagna.

Believe me, this is not a success story! Here's the #1 thing I learned from this: Patience.

I started off good. Really, I did! I patiently stirred the polenta as it cooked in the boiling water for exactly 10 minutes. I patiently waited the full half hour for it to bake in the pan. I even waited for it to cool to room temperature before cutting. Go me! However, The polenta was still runny on the bottom when I cut it, so I put it in a 400-degree oven on the bottom rack for 5 minutes. I saw it sizzling and took it out... then I was impatient.

I cut it again and it looked, uh, better (I guess). I tried using a spatula to take the first 1/4 of it out and onto my plate. I basically slopped it on there and rearranged it into the square it once was. While moving it from the dish to my plate, it started dripping off the side of the spatula and, stupidly, I tried catching it. Because I was too impatient to wait for it to cool this time around, the molten mush burned a few of my fingers.

After assembling the layers of "meat" sauce and polenta (and taking the photos) I was so freaking starving that I shoveled the first bite into my mouth. You'd think the feeling of the semi-burned dots on my hand from the previous incident would have told me, "Hey, stupid! Blow on it, or just wait a second for it to cool down!"

Nope, I burned the hell out of the roof of my mouth. Fan-freaking-tastic! (Note the sarcasm...) This was a yummy dish, flavor-wise, but definitely needs some perfecting before I'm confident enough to share it with others!

14 April 2010

Impressive [yet easy!] Tuna Cakes

Seafood doesn't have to be difficult. This recipe calls for so few ingredients (which I bet you have most of in your kitchen right now) that whipping it up is a complete cinch... not to mention, it looks much more complicated to make than it actually is! Took me around 15 minutes from start to finish to YUM.

Easy Peasy Tuna Cakes
Serves 2

1 five ounce can of tuna (I used Trader Joe's no-salt-added variety)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 egg whites (or one egg)
1 cup baby spinach
2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
2 tbsp ground flax meal
2 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp white wine

Drain the tuna. Wilt the spinach. Set aside half of the bread crumbs.

Combine all ingredients (except the bread crumbs you set aside) in a bowl until thoroughly mixed. Form into 4 equally-sized patties and lightly coat each side of the patties with remaining bread crumbs. (Use more if necessary.)

In a pan lightly coated with cooking spray, brown cakes 4-ish minutes on each side or until golden over medium-high heat.

Oh, yes. Totally nom-nom-nom-worthy!

Full nutrition information here.

13 April 2010

Gimme gimme gimme!

Must. Get.
Puff pastry dough! Sure, sounds so basic and "duh"-worthy, but while browsing through recipes linked to on Tastespotting, so many of the yummy and easy ones call for puff pastry dough! It seems to be so multi-faceted (in that it can be used in both sweet and savory recipes) that I obviously must buy some in the near future!

Just. Purchased.

Norpro 18-Piece Pastry Decorating Kit! I feel like this will be very useful since I've recently become a fan of baking. Making some filled stuff and frosting things a lot nicer than I have been should be fun! I have a bit of an Amazon gift card to spend so it went towards this lovely item!

In somewhat related news, I'm going to start a new page on my blog that will show what I currently use in my kitchen and things that I want to buy (whether feasible or not, haha). I'm also going to be working on updating the "Favorite Foodie Finds" page... I just need to think of some other things to throw on there, or just get out more and discover things worthy of blabbing about!

Overnight Failure

I wasn't prepared for disappointment this early in the morning. That pot with the brick-like object in the middle of a cloudy liquid? That's my crock pot as it was about 15 minutes ago this morning after an attempt at Overnight Oatmeal.

Epic fail indeed! About 85% of my steel-cut oats were nicely burned to the side of my crock pot, most of which was actually burned.

I was hoping that this morning I would be able to blog about how cooking oatmeal overnight is a great solution for those too lazy to make a nutritious breakfast in the morning. In the words of Borat... NOT! The only thing I did differently in this recipe was that my oats spent closer to 9 hours in the crock pot rather than 7-8, but 1/4 inch thick layer of burned oats doesn't just happen in one hour!

What to do, do? I need a quick breakfast with minimal effort!

Plain ol' oatmeal in the microwave.

1/2 cup quick-cook oats
1 cup water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 packet Truvia
approx 2 tbsp Craisins
approx 2 tbsp chopped walnuts

Combine ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl, stir to combine, microwave for 2 minutes, and enjoy!

I'd consider this a learning experience, but I used the last bit of my steel-cut oats (which means I need to buy more) and the Overnight Oatmeal was supposed to yield 8 servings; that's 8 meals down the drain... literally!

Epic fail this early in the morning? Yikes. At least my last-minute oats were yummy.

12 April 2010


Tastespotting was the main inspiration for me to have a regular food blog. I discovered it last Wednesday or Thursday, and on Friday I started this blog. Obviously a huge motivator for me!

Well, I submitted my first photo yesterday of my Sweet Potato Brunch but it was rejected. :( Something about composition and lack of sharpness on the photo. Was I bummed? Yes. Did I give up? Hell no!

I submitted another version of the photo and it was approved!!!!!

I am beyond elated right now! It's not as gorgeous or elegant as 90% of the foods that appear on there, nor was the photo taken with a $1200 DSLR camera (rather my $150 point-and-shoot)... but it's on there! I feel like part of an elite little foodie group (and I'm okay with blowing this out of proportion because I'm happy, okay?), haha.

Anyway, this is a great kick-off for the week. Thanks for the comments thus far! If you ever want to e-mail me, you can also feel free to do so!

11 April 2010

A Lazy Girl's Best Friend

The first time I've ever used parchment paper was yesterday afternoon when baking crackers. I've always substituted "parchment-lined cookie sheet" with "spray with Pam" due to sheer laziness, but now I think I'll always use parchment paper when I can! It's awesome!

I also used parchment paper when baking my version of Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Strawberry Cream this evening. I've been eyeing this recipe for a while and have all of the ingredients, except for strawberry preserves. All I did was substitute what I did have on hand: raspberry preserves!

Also, to cut back on the oodles of sugar, I cut the sugar in half and used 12 packets of Truvia. Sure, it was minimal since the cream has so much sugar in it, but you really can't tell because... well... the cream totally sweetens things up!

If you ever try this recipe (which I highly recommend!) just be forewarned that the amount of filling that the recipe makes gave me way too much for the number of cookies I yielded! I have at least half of it still in my fridge... I don't think I have enough cocoa to make another batch of cookies for it, but I'll have to find something to do with it. Maybe vanilla cupcakes? Any suggestions will be more than welcome!

I have a feeling my coworkers are going to love me tomorrow when I bring these goodies in!

Full recipe & nutrition here.

"Who bakes their own crackers??!!"

That was a friend's reaction when I told him I baked crackers yesterday! But, it was another way to use my leftover sweet potato cubes that are patiently awaiting to be eaten.

I based these crackers off of this recipe; the only subsitutions I made was to use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Cooking & Baking instead of butter, whole wheat flour instead of white, soy milk instead of regular milk, and I used my own set of spices (black pepper, salt, nutmeg and lots of garlic powder!) instead of coarse salt, sesame seeds, etc.

I didn't have some of that stuff on hand... and I'm lazy... so there's no way I'm going out to just buy things I'm only going to use for this one recipe!

Full recipe and nutrition information here.

10 April 2010

A Brunch For One

Leftovers comprise about 75% of the food I eat. I live by myself (for now) and because it's difficult to find single-serving recipes, I make batches of food and refrigerate/freeze the extra portions.

Last weekend I bought some sweet potatoes and Thursday night I realized if I didn't use them soon, they'd go bad. I cubed them, baked them with minced garlic and olive oil, and the pot of sweet potatoes sit in my fridge waiting to be used.

I used some of them in last night's recipe but have a lot left over! I've never had sweet potatoes as part of breakfast, so figured a good after-gym brunch was in order!

I recently bought ramekins... and by "recently" I mean "yesterday", haha. I was so excited to use them today!

Sweet Potato Brunch
Serves One

    1/2 cup cooked sweet potato, cubed
    2 tbsp salsa
    1 ounce part-skim mozzarella
    1 slice whole wheat bread (I baked this bread with whole wheat flour last night), cut into cubes
    1 egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a ramekin with non-stick spray. (I forgot to do this because I'm a moron and now I have a ramekin with cheese stuck to it. So, don't make my mistake!)

Put the cubed sweet potato and bread into the ramekin and top with salsa. Tap the ramekin on a hard surface a few times to distribute the salsa throughout. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 7 minutes. Remove foil, crack the egg on top of the mixture, and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes or until egg white is mostly cooked and yolk is still a bit runny (mine was getting pretty golden on top).

Top with cheese and bake until melted and golden, which took about 3 minutes for me.

Serve immediately!

Full nutrition information here.

09 April 2010

A Welcoming Soup

I have a blog entitled Fast Food Facelift where I makeover fast food dishes in a healthy way. I love the blog and the comments and the followers of it, but I'm lacking inspiration and motivation to keep with such a stringent theme. That is why I've started this blog.

As you can see, despite just having created this blog today, I have imported all of my old posts from Fast Food Facelift. I still plan on and hope to continue making over dishes as I have done with my old blog, but I want to make them a feature of something bigger: my love of cooking (and my newly-found love of baking!) overall.

This new blog is called "Kitchen of a Lazy Girl" because I'm lazy and love to cook. A pretty accurate title, yes?

It is for this reason that I've entitled my first entry of this blog as I have: "A Welcoming Soup"

This soup is fragrant, which welcomes you to the kitchen. It has a great orange hue that invites your curiosity to taste it! It has a sweetness that welcomes you to enjoy it through the slightly spicy finish.

It's very multi-layered in taste and content, but it is extremely easy to make! I hope you all enjoy this soup as much as I did while creating (and eating!) it.

Sweet Potato Split Pea Soup
makes 2 servings

250g cooked cubed sweet potato
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup split peas (dried)
1/4 cup lentils (dried)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups hot water

Cook the sweet potato cubes however you see fit. (I simply peeled and cubed them, then put the cubes in the oven until done. I weighed the sweet potato cubes AFTER I cooked them!)

In a small pot, add the water to the lentils and peas. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes with the lid tilted to let off steam.

While the peas are cooking, process the sweet potatoes, garlic, and salsa in a food processor, blender, or immersion blender. When the peas are cooked thoroughly, add the spices and sweet potato mixture to the pot (do not drain the water). Stir to combine.

Raise heat to bring the soup to a boil, then lower to low, cover, and let it simmer for 5 minutes or until soup is thoroughly hot!

Serve immediately.