Saturday, December 17, 2011

Blueberry Pizza: Happy Birthday, Mom!

This is like.... fruit tart made better. Or at least, made to optimize blueberry love. It's a sugar cookie-like crust with a thick cream filling, topped with blueberry pie filling. 
It usually looks awesome. And tastes awesome. I did it wrong tho, ha. It's supposed to have the blueberry pie filling on top, looking lovely and glistening on top. Mine got smeared. So then, I decided to make the best of it and smeared it all.

Ha, which makes it look like a blueberry hurricane. 

This whole round of making this had been a disaster. My crust, as you can see, is overcooked. It's crumbling apart too much, when I cut it the sides were becoming too jagged, and the outside was too browned. 
My filling was too lumpy so I overwhipped it. *Sigh* I was three for three with mucking up this recipe and so stressed I wanted to pull my hair out because there was no WAY people would like this for my work pot luck. So, I did what any good cook would do.

I called my mom. 

My mom is the best cook I know. This is probably due to the fact that, unlike me, she isn't a clumsy human being. She is efficient and follows the recipe precisely and really KNOWS food. If something is burning, she knows how to curb it or save it. Oversalted? Underspiced? Raw in the middle, burnt on the edges? 

Katie knows how to fix them all. She's a kitchen super hero. Or wizard. 


So when I called her in utter devastation over my sub-par baked good, I just knew she'd have a solution. I told her of my failures and she paused for a moment and then said "I know you think it stinks but, they'll probably love it". I told her that was crazy, NO ONE would love it, and she told me that I was getting too good at cooking.

Shocked me too.

"You are good at this, you can tell what's too burnt, too whipped, and doesn't look exactly right. As long as it tastes OK, and of course it does, you can bet people will like it. In fact, you'll probably get a reputation for being the girl who makes good desserts for the work potlucks." 

I pretty much told her, thanks for trying to make me feel better, but no way. We then chatted some more and I succumbed to feeling better instead of pouting, (I don't know about you guys but, my mom has that affect on me), and packed up my failed treat for work the next day.

Fast forward to the pot luck. Guess what?

People LOVED it. It got cleaned out. Every single bite! I was amazed. And people were asking me for the recipe, asking for the link to my blog, asking what I was going to bring to the Christmas potluck.

I texted my mom right then and there telling her she was right. Her response?

"Of course!"

Haha, to all you mom's out there, you are amazing! Your kids are amazed by you and your mom super powers, I promise. Mine had a birthday yesterday (when I originally wanted to post) but we are celebrating today now that I got into town so, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

You are, along with our whole family, my biggest blessing.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Roast Chicken: My Most Request Recipe, My Easiest Recipe, and My Favorite DC Dinners

Roast chicken is probably the easiest thing in the world to make. 

Seriously. It's so simple, it almost embarrasses me that people are so impressed with my roast chicken. It's not impressive. It's chicken.

The best chicken you'll ever eat, and I am being 100% honest there. But still, just chicken.

I came across this article online that was talking about how America is taught we are too stupid to cook. Which, hey, true. We are taught that. Even I- clutz in the kitchen- can cook. And it's just because I try. I never thought I could growing up because I was pretty much told I couldn't by marketing of food companies wanting to promote mixes, meals made fast, faster, fastest, and microwavable dinners.

Don't get me wrong, I love love love a good short cut/cake mix/simple fix. But some of these things are discounting the real simplicity of recipes. Like roast chicken. Recipe below.

This is taken as an excerpt from the very interesting article found here:
"The World’s Most Difficult Roasted Chicken Recipe
Turn your oven on high (450 if you have ventilation, 425 if not).  Coat a 3- or 4-pound chicken with coarse kosher salt so that you have an appealing crust of salt (a tablespoon or so).  Put the chicken in a pan, stick a lemon or some onion or any fruit or vegetable you have on hand into the cavity.  Put the chickn in the oven.  Go away for an hour.  Watch some TV, play with the kids, read, have a cocktail, have sex.  When an hour has passed, take the chicken out of the oven and put it on the stove top or on a trivet for 15 more minutes.  Finito.
(But be careful, you might find this so boring that you’ll start thinking about making stock next.  Don’t. Too hard.  Takes too long.  You’ll have to clean the pot.  I’m telling you now.  Don’t risk it.  Consider yourself warned.  Don’t blame me if you wind up with something delicious on your hands.)"
Ha, and that's all there really is to it! I always use a lemon because I am a sucker for lemon chicken. I also always ALWAYS poke holes all over the surface of said lemon/fruit/garlic. That way, the juices steam out and seep into the bird. Yum. If the chicken is big enough, I do combinations like that, lemon and garlic, lemon and lime, lemon and apple, lemon and onion, etc. Usually though, I'll just do one lemon or two if I am working with a big bird. 
Just envisioned working with Big Bird. Totally not what I meant.
I coat my chickens with just the salt I have (not necessarily sea salt) and then I go a step further and always smother the SOB in spices. SMOTHER. I love seasoned chicken and spices add kick, flavor, and a crust. Yum. My favorite combinations: Rosemary Infused Salt/Lemon Herb and Oregano; Lemon Infused Salt/Cajun Seasonings; Salt/ Lemon Herb & Cajun Seasonings; Salt/ Lemon Herb, Packet of Italian Dressing Mix; Rosemary Infused Salt/ Oregano, Basil, Thyme, and Rosemary. 
I also always squeeze the roasted lemon so the juices pour all over my chicken once it's done resting for 15 minutes. Guh, it's life changing. 
Make this chicken. It's spectacular, simple, and pretty healthful. Your family and friends will be amazed and you alone will know how easy it was :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Garbage Omelet Casserole

My family has a lake house on this little lake in a little town in Wisconsin that has a little local diner that is packed with GIANT flavors. 

One particular favorite of my family is their Garbage Omelet. 

Let me break this down for you. It's an omelet filled with what veggies and breakfast meats are in the kitchen, stuffed with cheddar cheese, and then (and this is the beautiful part) topped with chili.


Oh. Yeah.

For Thanksgiving parade time/brunch, I decided to try and recreate this legendary omelet in a casserole form for my family. I searched the web for a recipe that was veggie and meat heavy that I could adapt with the flavors I wanted and could amp up by topping with chili. Below you will find my adapted recipe. I've gotta say, this is now a family favorite and I think it'll be showing up in DC for my roommates pretty soon too. It makes two 9X13 pans worth so, you could make one and save one. That lends itself to a lot of flavor joy.

I mean look at that. 

Just. Yeah. Yum doesn't begin to describe the savory flavors packed here.

Make it and enjoy :)

-1 lb breakfast sausage, browned and drained
-1/2 lb diced ham, cooked
-2 packages pre-cooked bacon, chopped
-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-12 slices of bread, crustless and torn into cubes
-2 cups chopped veggies (I used spinach, red peppers, onions, and mushrooms)
-12 eggs
-4 cups milk
-3 tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning/spices to taste
-1 to 2 cans microwavable chili (heated to desired warmth at time of serving)

In a large mixing bowl, combine meats, cheese, bread, and veggies. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, milk, and seasoning. Pour the egg mixture over the veggie/meat/bread mixture to combine. Pour into TWO 9 X 13 inch pans, or one extra large casserole dish, and let set for at least an hour or cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, serve with some chili spooned on top. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Post 3: Pumpkin Cake

This was my favorite Thanksgiving recipe of all this year. 

Pumpkin Dump Cake. 

I don't know if I would even call it a cake. It was like... pudding pumpkin pie bars. Yet cakey. And with a crumble. It's dessert of joy. It's the crack of pumpkin. 

Look at this. 

What is it about pumpkin that can make me swoon?

And this? This was seriously the best pumpkin thing I have ever tasted. 

I have seen variations of this but, I honestly think this one is the best. Check it out:

I used a can of pumpkin and then added a teaspoon of cinnamon instead of pumpkin pie filling.

But I am weird like that.

We liked it anyway. I mean, clearly. We aren't dessert people. I should say:
We didn't like this one either, ha.

 Happy Thanksgiving, a week late :)

Thanksgiving Post 2: Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with a Nutella-Chocolate-Swirl

The other recipe I made this Thanksgiving was for my brother for his birthday. 

I WAS going to make him the traditional yellow cake with chocolate icing that he always is so keen on.

But my mom called dibs and made it herself! Upsetting, ha. I already had a cake mix and some of the ingredients and wasn't sure where to go from there.

And then I remembered a pin of mine. 

A cake made with just two ingredients. 

Could it be possible? 

When I had both in my pantry and was flush out of ideas?

Oh yeah. It's possible. 

I adapted it slightly. I swirled nutella and fudge into the top instead of dealing with icing the cake. I also added a bit of cinnamon to the cake batter for flavor and a bit of gingerale into the batter to make it fluff up. 

Worked like a charm.

We didn't like it at all, ha

Best try and make a better version yourselves and let me know what to do next. 

Thanksgiving Post 1: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

So, Thanksgiving! I made 3 recipes I found online. This is the first:

Twice baked sweet potatoes. They are crunchy, sweet, and phenomenal.

I really, really can't recommend them enough. My family had the following comments:

"This is the first time I've liked sweet potatoes!" -My lovely sister
"We should do this as a casserole for Christmas! So yummy!" -My super mom
"I gotta be honest... a little too sweet for me" -My honest brother, ha

If you agree with him, perhaps you could take the sugar out of the inside, or reduce it, and keep it just as a crumble on top. 

I enjoyed the sweetness but I only ate half of one, the others had whole potatoes. 

Maybe the awesome was just too overwhelming, ha. 

Make these! Now. Recipe can be found here:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Halloween's Finale Recipes: Heart Attack Hotdogs and Devilish Cupcakes

Halloween is, funnily enough, a holiday my family friggin' loves.

We eat it up. Seriously. The costumes, the kids strolling through our neighborhood, the candy... the entire silliness and scariness of this spooky holiday charms my family completely.

And as if the candy wasn't enough, there is a Luby tradition to make Halloween Hotdogs that is done each and every year.

And they are so scary good, so ghoulishly packed with cholesterol, you may need to try these bad boys as a part of your own Halloween tradition. Or you know, your next Monday night.

What we have here, ladies and gentleman, is a Heart Attack Hotdog. Mouth is watering just thinking about it... 

What that means is, this is an all beef hotdog, sliced open and stuffed with american cheese, wrapped in bacon, and baked into delicious submission.

Yep. Yeppppppppp. Phenomenal. 

Exact recipe directions:
Preheat oven to 350, line a 9 by 13 pan with foil. Slice open each hot dog to the middle (not all the way through the dog, part way.) Stuff with american singles to liking (I usually use half a piece of cheese per hotdog but, I know other family members use a whole slice for optimum cheese gooiness). Wrap in a piece of UNCOOKED bacon. Place in lined pan, bake 45 minutes or until bacon is cooked (red/crackling). 

Allow to cool slightly so you aren't biting into hot grease. Place on toasted bun and top with confiments. I always do mustard, ketchup, relish if I have all 3. Tomatoes, onions, and pickles couldn't hurt.

Yum. Nothing could really. These guys are so rich, such a shock to the system, that once a year is more than enough to make them. I do think they are well worth a try though.

And now, devilish cupakes!

I adore how they look like little murder victims :)

Lots of you were wondering how I made the knives. I wish I could say I did but, I didn't. I bought them in a package at AC Moore. They were sugary and delicious and I am SURE we could replicate them with fondant ourselves. Pretty simple design! 

We COULD make them... but we could also buy them. Which is easier/cheaper, ha. And just as cute.

I used this recipe with chocolate cake/chocolate pudding for the cupcakes and they were a smash! Poor little murder victim cupcakes were also eaten, brutally, on Halloween night. 

I know we have 11 months but, cannot wait for next years Halloween already! 

Luckily, I have far more cheerful holidays to keep me occupied this month :)

Sorry #168: Or, My Blog's New Mantra, "Everything that Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong"

Hello. I know on October 31st, I tempted you guys, my lovely, patient, and far too kind readers, with a photo and blurb about some devils food cupcakes that look devilish and stabbed. These guys:

I was all "This is part 1! Part 2, with the recipes and more pics, will be up tomorrow when I have more time!"

And then, once again, life took a meandering course. Part 2 never happened. 

I had been so proud of myself. I wasn't letting you guys down at all before that point! I had written consecutive posts. I had successfully launched a giveaway (even though it took me awhile to get the daggum prize in the mail. Ever get that book, Mercedes? You are super awesome, again, for your patience there). 

I think I dared the forces of the universe with my overall joy at being the kind of blogger you guys deserved. I was all "I am good at this! And working the routine like it's no big thing!" And life was like "Routine?! BAM!"

Ulcers (MISERY! no cooking, no eating, just blech), 2 trips with 2 missed flights, bronchitis, multiple doctors, 2 dogs running rampid through the house, 1 having seizers, 1 attempting to lick himself to death/the point of bleeding, 5 roommates at war, 5 roommates making up, 100 Halloween decorations being torn down, 1 thanksgiving holiday with the family, 150 Christmas Decorations (including one charming tree) being put up, 2 birthdays, 4 football games, 1 novel writing month, and then my supposed routine later...

And this blog once again got rocked with nothingness. 

I apologize for breaking routine a lot on this blog since I moved to DC. It seems like my life out here is full of excuses, energy, and exhaustion. This time, my apology will not be empty. I intend to make up for my failings in full. What that  means is: I should have posted 4 entries and have not. By Friday, I have 5 planned. 

I know, empty so long and now just jumping back in, full force. 4 make up entries, 1 for this week. We'll be back on track and updated if it kills me :)

Which, it won't, I actually have my life in order again so, and let's hope this doesn't dare fate or any other forces, we should click back into a nice rotation once more...

Knock on wood.

So, without further ado, expect Halloween Part 2 and then some lovely Thanksgiving recipes in the near soon. No, this is not an empty promise, which I know you have heard before. This is really true. 

Hey, also. You may notice that I added two buttons to my side panel. One looks like this:
20 something bloggers has also been neglected by me as of late but, that doesn't make it any less awesome. I frankly lost here by not having enough time to bond with the group of people who run these pages and who rock the chat room. If you are in your 20s (or close enough, kind of fluttering at the borders) you should check it out. These people are great, their blogs inspiring, hysterical, and engaging. 

Pretty much, go to them. Please. I have been trying to make the time myself (obviously failing) and that is one of my biggest regrets of the past month. They are awesome over there. 

Alright, on to my other web addiction. And I do mean addiction:
I am not sure if I have HAD time this past month or MADE time for Pinterest. Pinterest is a web page that, if you don't know/use, you need to start now. Most of you have food blogs yourselves, blogs I follow, and I pin recipes up from you on a pretty consistent basis. When I have spare time at lunch/breaks, I am pinning. On the metro on my phone, I will take a few minutes to pin. 

It's routine now. Like checking my e-mail. But worse because this is way fun.

Anyway. If you follow me on Pinterest, I will find and follow you. If you don't have an account, you can scroll through my recipe boards anyway and likely find some recipes 

For those of you who think I am talking like a crazy person (pins? boards?), the basic premise of Pinterest is that you create an account to manage your own online cork "boards". You then "pin" to these boards whatever you like. I have boards for food, fashion, crafts, holidays, etc. When I come across great recipes online, I pin them to my food board. You can also "explore" Pinterest's main page, see what people are pinning, and if you like something someone else pinned, repin it for yourself.

It really is simple once you start, promise. Sorry if that all still causes small explosions of the mind.

Alrighty, enough of this. We are going to figure out together a good pattern to continue down for the future. In the meantime, this week you get 5 posts. Look for them please and try and trust me again slowly to be a blog worth following :)

Love you all very very much <3