Food, Fun, Holiday, NYC, recipe, Sweets

St. Paddy’s Day #2 Flag Muffins

Most people have heard of zucchini bread and carrot cake, but what about spinach muffins?  I found this recipe on a blog and thought it would be a great treat for St. Patricks Day to make green muffins WITHOUT any food coloring.  Unfortunately I did not have a blender with the ability to liquify the spinach, but they tasted amazing.  I was able to weigh my ingredients since bananas vary in size and I adapted the recipe using frozen instead of fresh spinach.  I used almond milk as my milk choice, all whole wheat flour, and reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup as it was already sweet enough for my liking.  I folded in walnut pieces as well for a bit of extra crunch and flavor.  I also liked that I could taste the batter as there were no eggs.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (8.5oz)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 lb bag frozen spinach (6oz squeezed of water)
  • ½ cup mashed banana about 2 (7.5oz)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

I adapted this recipe from http://thegreenforks.com/popeye-muffins/

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, place oil, milk, and spinach. Blend on high for about 30 seconds or until completely puréed. Add banana and vanilla; blend on low just to mix.
  4. Pour puréed mixture into dry mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined.
  5. Fill muffin cups about ⅔ full and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Now I had fun with this photo opp creating a cupcake honoring the Irish flag topping it off with whipped cream and a shaved carrot.  These are DECEPTIVELY good… but I am hoping to make them again using the proper blender for vanity sake.IMG_4563

Standard
Food, Fun, NYC, Sweets

ATK Apple- Oat Crisp

Although I usually trust America’s Test Kitchen the most, I was not greatly impressed with this one but it did the job.  The recipe comes from “The ATK Healthy Family Cookbook”  It can also be made with pears which I would like to try next time as well as serving in individual ramekins.

IMG_2185

baked topping

What I liked:

The crispy oats atop the apples due to them baking separately for most of the baking.

The sweetness and flavor of the oat mixture.

What I DISliked:

The apples were still a bit crisp after baking and could have even more flavor and volume.

The presentation was horrible when plated.

IMG_2186

complete dish

FILLING

  • 2T Brown Sugar
  • 2t lemon juice
  • 1t cornstarch
  • 3lbs mixed apples (peeled, cored and cut into 1 in chunks)

TOPPING

  • 1/2C chopped almonds
  • 1/2C AP flour
  • 1/4C brown sugar
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/8t ground nutmeg
  • 5T melted butter, cooled
  • 3/4C rolled oats
  • 2T honey

Directions

  1. Set oven to 400 degrees
  2. Combine sugar, juice, and cornstarch before adding apples and during into an 8X8 in baking dish. Cover with foil.
  3. Pulse almonds, flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a food processor 10 pulses.  Add melted butter and pulse 5 times.  Finally, add the oats and honey and process until combined (3 more pulses).
  4. Bake topping on a lined baking sheet above the apples.  Topping- 8-12 min Apples 30 min
  5. When filling is done stir and add topping and bake additional 10 minutes

 

 

Standard

Whoa it has been nearly a week since posting and to say the least things have been a little crazy.  The highlight of my week was attending an event for Rosie’s Theater Kids kicking off the start of their 10th year.  It was a beautiful event in the penthouse apartment on the upper east side.  There was no wind and the weather, company, and private performances were all perfect.  The other perfect part of the evening were all  the dessert donations.

IMG_2482

Thanks to the girls at JustDesserts NYC we had some great teats from Alice’s Tea Cup, Sprinkles, and The Treat House.  I loved having a fun NYC party that wasn’t full of fancy food I couldn’t decipher.  The best and most simple dessert were the buckeye balls the girls made.  Chocolate and peanut butter…it doesn’t get much more simple than that.

IMG_2474

 

In honor of the girls simple creation, I wanted to post a cookie I made right before leaving my parents house in Ohio where I took the simple peanut butter cookie with Heath toffee bits (it is also the same recipe as the one on the back of the package).

IMG_2395Here is the dough.  Nothing special, but nothing wrong with simplicity like the buckeye balls.

IMG_2396

 

And here they are all done.  Well they are almost done because I did underbake them quite a bit.  My favorite new trick while baking cookies is the use of parchment paper.  Go ahead and spend a few dollars on the product, it does wonders for cookies!

 

 

Fun, NYC, Sweets

Simple Saturday Rosie’s Theater Kids and Cookies

Image
Fun, NYC, Ohio, Sweets

Wonderful Wednesday Mascarpone Mini Cupcake

I am such a planner that before I left Ohio I made sure to make my mom bite size birthday treats.  I had a tub of mascarpone and no idea of what to do with it.  Only one famous chef Giada de Laurentiis uses mascarpone frequently so I looked to her for inspiration.  She has a simple recipe of mini white cupcakes with strawberry glaze.  After reading the 138 reviews, I found that the mascarpone cheese made the cupcakes delicious, but cannot be made into larger muffins as they will fall in the middle.  I also read that the strawberry glaze was to runny and sweet and many said it  did not have a good taste.  I decided to go with my no fail buttercream (butter, vanilla, milk, and confectioners sugar).  I was surprised the number of people that read the reviews and were still unhappy with the glaze.  I was not about to be one of those people.

I also thought it would be more presentational to pipe the frosting, but found that the old fashioned way with a knife made them look better in a more rustic way.

The only other amendment I made was to make a fresh raspberry frosting to give it more flavor.  My accident turned into a success because I ended up making al natural food coloring giving them a beautiful platform for the goofy pig sprinkles I found in the cabinet.  After simmering fresh raspberries and straining out the seeds, I stirred it into white frosting and it did not add any taste so even dad ate them not knowing (until he reads this) there were raspberries in the frosting or mascarpone cheese for that matter.

Here are a few pics to show what I was describing and to get those taste buds going!

IMG_2386 IMG_2387 IMG_2388 IMG_2389

Giada’s Recipe

  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese (about 1 cup), softened
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup frozen strawberries, thawed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Directions
  • Special equipment: 4 mini muffin tins and 48 mini muffin paper cupcake liners

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the mini tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl combine the mascarpone cheese, egg whites and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, beat the ingredients until combined and creamy. Add the cake mix and water and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Fill the mini cups to just below the rim and bake until puffed and golden, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly in the tin then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack.

Meanwhile, puree the strawberries in a blender or small food processor. Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Pour in the strawberry puree and whisk until smooth. Top the cooled cupcakes with the strawberry glaze. Let the cupcakes sit for a few minutes for the glaze to firm up, then serve.

Per piece (48): Calories: 102; Total Fat: 4.5 grams; Saturated Fat:1.5 grams; Protein:1 gram; Total carbohydrates: 15 grams; Sugar: 12 grams; Fiber: 0 grams; Cholesterol: 6 milligrams; Sodium: 77 milligrams

Now even though this is her recipe, I am claiming it mine!  I also found that these little devils are dangerously addicting, and there is proof after you eat 6 of the paper wrappers exactly how many have been eaten!

oh and Happy Birthday Mom!

 

Standard
Food, Fun, NYC, Sullivan, Sweets

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cream Pie

IMG_2016 IMG_2017

I finally had the day off on Monday, so I went to a local garden and picked up some fresh Kale with my “adopted” theater parents.  They also gave me some homemade pie crust to use up.  Now I will never go back to the store bought crap because this crust is killer.  It is pretty much all crisco and flour, but so flaky and tasty in comparison to the premade frozen stuff I usually buy out of convenience.

IMG_2031

After having some fun in the sun it was time to bake in the kitchen.

The ingredients in this dessert is best described in the title.  My first thoughts were a berry pie, which are my favorite, but I wanted to do something more creative.  Mandy and I did a lot of searching and thinking about this one so we were able to create a pie off of no recipe.  Some may call it cheating as it is “semi”homemade, but we just wanted it to turn out well so we figured the more premade ingredients we bought, the better.  We came up with four layers starting with the thickest on the bottom.  

  1. Pie crust
  2. Peanut butter
  3. banana
  4. Chocolate mousse

I did not have a proper pie pan so I used a simple round dish and found a recipe online to bake the crust.  In order for it not to puff up, I poked the raw dough with a fork and covered it in foil and weighed it with dried beans.  

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cream Pie

Pie crust

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup vanilla almond milk 

2-3 ripe bananas

chocolate pudding

whipped cream (light or regular)

 

IMG_2021 IMG_2022

I want to say 425 degrees for 10 minutes before lowering the temperature and removing the weight to cook another 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until the edges were just golden.

While that was cooking we combined the peanut butter, almond milk, and powdered sugar and a splash of extra vanilla until it tasted sweet.  We layered it on the pie crust while hot because it was easier to spread.

IMG_2025

Then lined the whole thing with bananas.

Finally this is my cheat.  I thought I should make homemade chocolate pudding, but that would have been a lot of ingredients to buy and if it turned out too runny, the whole pie would be ruined.  To avoid any problems, we combined two “snack packs” of chocolate pudding with about a cup of whipped cream to lighten it up and covered over the bananas.

IMG_2026

Then we wanted to top it off to make it pretty because we figured it would be very messy to plate…

IMG_2027 IMG_2028

Lucky us, after refrigerating about an hour, the slices came out perfectly!

IMG_2029

Look at that layering! Mmmm it was gone very quickly so it is time to think of a new recipe to share with those who missed out.

Standard
Dining, Food, Fun, savory, Sullivan, Sweets

Dip Contest 2013

Second Annual Food Contest

Yesterday could have been one of the worst days.  Cold and rainy for our day off and nothing to do.  As mentioned on Friday, last year was the mac-n-cheese bake off.  It was great but by the end of the day I was ready to die from a mac attack.  This year a DIP OFF was the way to go.  Everyone likes small bites and can grab as much or as little as possible, and it is something that can be easily modified and hard to ruin by over or undercooking.  It was such a success with 16 dips in the contest. 

It was broken into three categories.

  • Best Savory Dip
  • Best Sweet Dip
  • Most Creative Dip

IMG_1835 IMG_1834

Here are most of the dips with their names attached.  There were plenty of varieties and not one that was alike.

Savory Dips included

  • Skyline Chili Dip
  • Jalapeno Popper Dip (my personal favorite)- MOST CREATIVE WINNER
  • Cranberry Salsa
  • Crack Dip (cream cheese, rotel, and sausage-another favorite)
  • “Dirty Girl Dip” (blended black beans, onions, tomato, cilantro, and cheese- least favorite)
  • Sriracha Chicken Dip- SAVORY WINNER
  • Sweet potato fry dip
  • “Hot Girl Dip” (cream cheese, some sort of salsa and melted cheese in a frying pan)
  • Cold layered dip (refried beans, secret recipe layer, cheese and tomatoes)

Sweet Dips included

  • Ambrosia salad
  • Nilla wafer stacks with bourbon chocolate
  • Brownie batter dip- with a variety of dippers
  • “Dunkfetti Dip”- MY DIP!!!
  • Pumpkin spice dip
  • “This Shit is BANANAS” dip with angry birds dippers
  • “Flirty Girl Dip” (Marshmallow fluff, toffee topped )- SWEET WINNER

We started the party with a presentation of the dips explaining what they consist of and their names (shown below).

IMG_1836 IMG_1837

Then we voted and dressed the winners with their prizes.  Although my dip did not win and it is a fairly common recipe it is a skinny and delicious dip I will share for all tomorrow!

Look at the happy winners after a successful day off… hope everyone else is enjoying theirs!

IMG_1845

So if anyone is ever in need of a great easy party idea…this is it. 

Standard
Dining, Food, Fun, NYC

rainy day baking away- Palmiers

Well it is rainy here in the city meaning I will be cooking away.  Since I am trying to use up leftovers I have found the biggest challenge being the puff pastry because it comes in two HUGE sheets.  The best thing about it is I can make whatever I want with it and so not really need to measure ingredients like most baked desserts

IMG_1717Any guess what these are?

Well they’re delicious and remind me of my favorite carnival dessert the elephant ear.  These are so simple I am almost embarrassed to count this as a post.  After reading up on what a palmier is, a small french crispy cookie, I decided to make the cookies because they look and seemed like they would taste great.  Also because it did not require me running to the store to buy any additional ingredients.  I used up a whole sheet of puff pastry and brought in the final product to a place I was volunteering.  

Before and After

IMG_1719 IMG_1720

 

Elephant Ear Puffs

  1. Spread cinnamon sugar mixture on both sides of a sheet of puff pastry.
  2. Fold sides into the center twice and press together so they do not spread too much while baking.
  3. Let sit overnight in fridge.  I just did this because that is what other recipes said and I wanted to bake them fresh in the morning so they were nice and crisp.
  4. Bake on parchment paper at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.  I added extra cinnamon sugar to each after laying them out.
  5. Flip and bake another 5-8 minutes or until crispy.

Everything about this is simple but waiting and smelling the cinnamon baking is so painful.  Needless to say I ate them as my breakfast.

Since it is so simple I have another quick bite I baked as a dessert yesterday with the puff pastry and I STILL have some leftover.  I used a plum I got free from work.  The one with jam was better.

IMG_1733 IMG_1732

Since it is rainy I think I am going to make the mystery ingredient today! Another hint… it does not have to be refrigerated until after opening it.

Standard