Monthly Archives: September 2010

Zucchini Muffin Top Cookies

Was anyone else enticed by Tina’s Zucchini Cookies as much as I was? It seemed like a great way to use up some extra zucchinis and “health-ify” chocolate chip cookies so that I could eat as many as I wanted guilt free! :-D

These cookies are definitely foodgasmic. Anytime I eat one, I end up going back for at least two more. I can’t help myself. I only have one problem with them… I don’t think they’re cookies! To me, they taste like muffins hiding in cookie shape. If it’s soft like a muffin, and moist like a muffin, but looks like a cookie… what do you call it? After much deliberation, I decided that referring to these as Muffin Top Cookies seemed most appropriate.

Zucchini Muffin Top Cookies

(from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle)

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup zucchini, finely shredded
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions: In a medium bowl (or stand mixer), combine egg, butter, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Combine dry ingredients with wet and mix until full combined. Stir in shredded zucchini and chocolate chips. Spoon cookies onto a greased baking sheet and cook in a 375 degree oven for approximately 12 minutes.

I’m just going to tell you upfront, it really is impossible to eat just one. The soft, spiced cookie, the sweet chocolate chips… I’m telling you, unless you lock these up in safe, you’ll be going back for more.

I was debating that the next time I make these, I would just go ahead and bake them in a muffin tin, but the idea of eating just the muffin top is growing on me! Who wants the stump anyway?

Caramelized Onion and Pear Pizza

Let me introduce you to my new lover…

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I’ve already proposed and we have plans to elope in Vegas this weekend. You may think that this is all too rushed, but when it’s love, you just know!

Let me begin by saying that this pizza represents everything that I love about having this blog. Before this blog, my pizza strictly came out of my freezer and in to the microwave. Before this blog, the last time I ate a pear was when I was 7 years old. Before this blog, I never thought outside the box when it came to food. So thank you for coming here and reading my ramblings and supporting me in my food journey!

Alright, back to the good stuff!

The other day in the grocery story, I bought a pear. I don’t know why, since like I said, I haven’t had a pear in close to 20 years! But I saw the pears and they looked pretty, so I said, “why not?” For five days, I let it sit in my fruit bowl and just admired its color and shape. Finally, I realized that I better do something with it if I didn’t want to have to throw out a rotten pear.

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After a little internet research and a little imagination, I braved the challenge of putting the pear in a pie of the Italian variety.

Caramelized Onion and Pear Pizza

*This recipe is for a personal sized pizza – double the recipe and use a 12” crust to get more servings!

  • 8” prepackaged pizza crust (like Boboli)
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese (or other crumbled cheese of choice)

Directions: In a small pan, heat the butter over medium heat. When melted, add onions. Allow to cook 12-15 minutes until edges start to brown. In a small bowl, mix together ricotta cheese and honey. Spread ricotta mixture over the crust in a thin layer. Distribute onions evenly over cheese. Arrange pear slices on top. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on, and top with walnuts and goat cheese. Place on a baking sheet and pop it in a 400 degree oven for 14 minutes or until cheese gets hot and bubbly!

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Wanna bump it up a notch? I think a balsamic reduction drizzled on top of this pizza could put me in foodgasm heaven. I don’t know if there’s anything else I can say besides this pizza will rock your socks off. Please try it.

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P.S. Apparently I really do need to get out more! Thanks for sharing your favorite kitchen gadgets!

I Need To Get Out More

The other weekend, I was wandering around downtown Bainbridge Island, when I stumbled upon a quaint little kitchen store. There were several neat knick-knacks lining the shelves (most out of my price range), but one really managed to grab my attention.

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$5.95 for a set of two silicone egg poachers? I’m sold! My favorite breakfast to order out is some sort of variation of eggs benedict (sans ham/bacon) or eggs florentine. Along with Mister E asking me to make this at home, I too have been wanting to give it a go. However, the idea of poaching an egg scares me to death! A silicone poacher was just what I needed!

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When checking out, I told the sweet, old woman behind the counter that I was so happy to find a gadget like this and was just so thankful to whoever invented such a thing. Her response? “Oh, Honey, we need to get you out more!”

Hm, she may have a point. Regardless of little old ladies criticizing my social life, I couldn’t wait to get home and try these poachers out! The directions were simple. Just bring 1-1/2” of water to a boil, crack an egg into the cup, set the cup in the water, cover the pot and allow to cook for 6-8 minutes.

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To serve, I toasted up a piece of bread and then stuck it under the broiler with a slice of swiss cheese and then topped it with tomatoes. Served with a side of  ballin’ watermelon, this was one happy little meal!

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I was really happy with the results, but I did miss the shape and texture of an authentic poached egg. You can’t have everything, I guess! Thank goodness I can have my liquidy gold yolk to satisfy me!

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Question:

Since apparently I’m missing out on a lot in life, tell me, what’s your favorite or most useful kitchen gadget?

Beating The Blues

Contrary to popular belief, it really doesn’t rain as often as people think it does in Seattle. Really. But, there are the occasional days….

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Although my hair is still struggling to come to terms with the weather, I’ve learned to deal with it for the most part. I’ve learned that a water resistant coat with a hood is more practical and effective than an umbrella. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t wear cute, little ballet flats unless I want to deal with wet leather and freezing toes. I’ve also learned that I’m not the Wicked Witch of the West and dealing with a little water will not be the death of me.

So like I said, for the most part, I can tolerate the weather. However, there are some days when I wake up feeling like I want to go back to bed. And on those days, the gray skies only add to my misery.  What’s a girl to do?

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Have a Grayish Green Monster of course! This one included a secret ingredient – Emergen-C! Also in the mix was spinach, OJ, pineapple Greek yogurt, and strawberries.

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This Green Monster was truly a jolt to my body. Within an hour, I had my sunny attitude back, even if it was still gray outside. Just for good measure though, I figured some good ol’ comfort food would do me good. Enter the grilled cheese and tomato soup.

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Believe it or not, this was my very first time having tomato soup!!! The idea of it always creeped me out, and to be honest, it did remind me of eating warm ketchup. But then I realized that I really do like ketchup, so eating it in a soupy form really wasn’t all that bad!

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, someone is asking me to go cuddle some more.

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That face can always make me smile, no matter what my mood!

Question:

What are your favorite ways to beat the blues?

How I Spent My Sunday

Yesterday, there was only one goal that lay before me. Cook, bake, cook, bake, and cook some more. I went in armed with my list, recipes, and a sink already full of dishes.

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Nearly eight hours later, I emerged tired, but victorious! Some of us, however, weren’t so lucky.

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The day involved chopping -

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Shredding -

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and mixing -

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While all of that work did require some sweat and muscle, nothing compares to the workout that I got with my spaghetti squash.

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And while it wasn’t the death of me, it did manage to kill my knife.

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Four Easy (yeah right) Steps to Spaghetti Squash

1. Split  the spaghetti squash open by driving a knife through the middle and whacking it against your cutting board until the crack propagates all along the edge. (Try not to break your knife during this part)

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2. Breathe a sigh of relief because the hard part is over. With a fork (and a little assistance from a spoon or knife), remove the seeds and pulp from the center.

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3. Place both halves in a baking dish filled with 1” of water. Place in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

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4. Allow squash to cool after removing from oven. With a fork,  shred the squash to produce strands resembling spaghetti.

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Stay tuned to see how I serve it!

September Lessons Learned

Read some of my previous Lessons Learned here and here

I must repeat to myself when going out at night, “I’m no longer in college and am unable to  stay up late.” My college roomate visited me two weeks ago and she kept me out until 4:30 am Saturday morning eating cream cheese hot dogs and taking shots of straight up orange juice. Say what? I’m still recovering.

Judging by the season premieres of Glee and The Office, I’m going to be one happy TV camper this year!

Saying goodbye to summer is made much easier by saying hello to Spiced Pumpkin Lattes and all other things pumpkin related. Oh, and boots. These are my new black ones from Target that I’m in love with.

Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries are amazing. So simple, but so tasty! Just cut a sweet potato into wedges (I used half of a large sweet potato). Toss in oil, salt, brown sugar, and rosemary. Bake 40-45 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping halfway through. Amazingly simple and simply amazing. How fitting that this idea came from the latest issue of Real Simple.

I’m declaring it a fact that adding rosemary to a dish automatically bumps you up to gourmet chef level. It doesn’t matter if the dish is fries or mac ‘n’ cheese. Rosemary makes the food fancy and that makes you gourmet.

There are some nights where having a big ol’ honk of cheesy garlic bread for dinner is acceptable. Not every meal is going to be nutritious. Think of it as feeding your soul.

Kaylie is one smart cookie. I like to shut my bedroom door in the morning to keep the animals off my bed while I’m at work. Sometimes I can’t locate Kaylie in the morning so I’m forced to keep the door open so I don’t accidently lock her in. This morning, I finally found one of her hideout locations. Gotcha!

It’s ok to pretend that I have the same je ne sais quoi as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as I’m daintily slurping down my coffee while wearing my too-long-for-me yoga pants.

Spider bites hurt like a mother of pearl.

It’s ok to get frustrated that you are still confused as to what a sweet potato and yam actually are. I grew up calling orange potatoes ‘sweet potatoes’ but then learned that they are actually ‘yams’. Now I’m all confused again.

I’m 99% sure that time starts to slow down around 1 p.m. on Friday afternoons.

I’m not as flexible as I thought I was. This is my college roommate doing a fancy pose showing off her skills from her yester years of ice skating. And that would be me on the right trying to imitate her.

Fail.

Enjoy your first “official” fall weekend and please share some of your recent lessons learned!

So Bad In All The Right Ways

Hello lucky duckies! It’s been a while, no? Sorry for the absence. I’m not really going to try to offer an excuse – you’ve heard them all before… things got hectic, I got lazy, writer’s block, boring eats, etc.  But let’s get back into the groove of things with something spectacular, alright? :-D

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I bet you’re drooling right now. Trust me, this was just as every bit as good as it looks. The story of this dessert started way back when I saw Tina’s recipe for Sweet Potato Blondies. The idea of a sweet potato dessert immediately caught my attention, so I bookmarked the recipe to come back to when I had a spare sweet potato to use up. Well, that day finally came this week!

I followed Tina’s recipe (with a few additions) and also her suggestion to double the recipe. I ended up making a few tweeks to the amounts based on the consistency of the batter.

Sweet Potato Blondies (from Carrots ‘N’ Cakes)

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions: Combine all ingredients except walnuts and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Pour mixture into a greased 9” cake pan. Sprinkle walnuts and chocolate chips on top of the batter. Place in a 350 degrees preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.

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The combination of sweet potato and cinnamon made for the perfect fall treat.

The only problem that I had with the recipe was that the mixture came out very thick, almost like the consistency of a pizza dough. I had to spread the mixture out to the edges of the pan with my fingers. Also, I had difficulty telling when my blondies were finished baking. The end result was delicious, but I’m positive that a better consistency could be reached for the mixture. If you try this recipe, you may want to play around with the amounts listed for the ingredients.

So the blondie above looks really good, right? I thought so too. But then I let my imagination run away from me a bit, and I pictured an even better looking blondie. One that involved ice cream, and caramel sauce, and spoons. Oh my!

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Sweet potato blondies definitely make for an excellent dinner. I mean dessert. I mean dessert before dinner?