Category Archives: Recipes/Cooking

Who Doesn’t Love Red Velvet?

Yesterday, in preparation for dinner with my brother and his wife, I decided to make some cake balls. Now, if you’ve never had cake balls, you are definitely missing out; they are akin to little pieces of heaven. Of course, you can create any flavor combo you like, but since the four of us are all HUGE fans of red velvet, I thought that would be the way to go. And boy, was I ever right! Even before dinner, my brother’s wife had several of them, which prompted the boys to sample some as well. You know it has to be a pretty good dessert if the men are willing to put down their beers to eat them!

Here is the extremely easy recipe, if you would like to try them!

1 box of Red Velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Supreme)

1 container of Cream Cheese frosting (I used Duncan Hines whipped frosting)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 box semi-sweet baking chocolate

1 box white baking chocolate

cocoa powder (for dusting)

1. Bake the cake according to package directions, and let it cool for about 30 minutes. When the cake has cooled, crumble it into a bowl.

2. Add the vanilla to the frosting and mix well; add the frosting to the cake crumbs and combine well (it’s best to do this with your hands).

3. Roll the mixture into balls (golf ball-ish size) and refrigerate for at least an hour.

4. When you are ready to dip them, melt chocolate in two bowls (one for white, one for semi-sweet) in the microwave. Dip each ball in the chocolate until it is completely covered.

5. Place dipped cake balls on parchment to let the chocolate harden (approximately 2 hours). Dust with cocoa powder and serve. Enjoy!

Why Don’t I Have a Bakery???

Whenever I have a bit of time off, I am always asking myself this question, as I LOVE spending my spare time in the kitchen. To a lot of people, baking is somewhat of an arduous task, but I enjoy it to no end. It doesn’t matter whether I am making an old favorite, or creating something new, I just relish the time that I can spend making yummy treats and snacks for my family and friends (and our sweet dogs too!). Today, I only had a few errands to run, so I knew that I would get to spend some time with my KitchenAid mixer and my Sil-pat (which made me very excited!). While I did bake something familiar (peanut butter-pumpkin dog treats), I decided to get a little creative when making my second treat: rather than make “regular” oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, I decided to make a bar cookie with a similar base, but with a texture more similar to a granola bar. I must say, I really do like how they turned out, though my husband might disagree; since he wanted actual oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, I don’t know if he’ll be too crazy about these, but I think he’ll come around to the idea.

That being said, if you’re interested in trying a new recipe, this is a good one, since it’s not complicated, and you don’t even have to form individual cookies!

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Bars

1/2 c. sugar

3/4 c. brown sugar

2 sticks of butter, softened

2 eggs

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 c. oats

1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

1. Cream butter and both sugars; add eggs and vanilla.

2. Combine dry ingredients (except for oats and chocolate chips) and add to creamed mixture; beat until combined.

3. Add chocolate chips and oats, and stir in by hand; press into an ungreased 13×9 pan.

4. Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes; cut into bars and enjoy!

 

Yummy Treats (No, Not For You, But For The Dogs!)

I know, I know. It’s been way too long since I posted a recipe, especially since the word “recipes” is actually in the title of my blog description. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, I just really haven’t had any time to do that AND blog about it. Well, now that school is out and the wedding festivities are finished, I can get back to doing both!

Seeing as Boxers are notorious for their sensitive stomachs, my husband and I are VERY careful about what we feed them. They are on all-natural food, and the only treat they get is a daily milk bone at lunchtime (we call it their “midday snack”). While this may seem a little bit too restrictive (even to me, as my childhood dog would occasionally eat bacon and eggs with us on the weekends), it has really helped to keep them healthy and happy (and us too, as it has cut down dramatically on their gas!). Whenever I have the opportunity and the luxury of a little extra time, I like to make homemade treats for them. Though they don’t get a lot of treats, I still think that it’s better for them to be eating something that’s not full of junk.

This recipe originated in a cooking class that I took a few years ago, and it has really evolved into my own. I make several different versions, but here are the two that I use the most:

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Dog Treats

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup water

*** Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls and flatten slightly. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. When they are done, they should have the texture of slightly-underdone cookies.

Peanut Butter-Pumpkin Dog Treats

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup water

*** Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls and flatten slightly. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. When they are done, they should have the texture of slightly-underdone cookies.

If your dogs are anything like mine, they will LOVE these treats. And if your father-in-law is anything like mine, he will tell you that they aren’t bad, but could be better with a little sugar (after mistakenly eating them, thinking they were “regular” cookies)!

Yum!

As my family and friends (especially my husband) will certainly tell you, I hardly ever follow a recipe. Even if I start out intending to use a recipe, I usually stray from the original, adding a little bit more of one ingredient, a little less of another, or substituting something completely different altogether. That was very much the case today when I had the idea of combining three of my favorite dessert items: cheesecake, chocolate and Girl Scout cookies (in this case, Do-Si-Dos). While people in my day-to-day life might not consider me to be terribly creative, the kitchen is where my creativity really comes out. I feel like I have a knack for combining things that people might not always think would “work,” and I must say, they usually do.

I would consider myself a cheesecake aficionado, of sorts, both in terms of eating it and baking it. I love all of the different textures and flavors, and I feel like cheesecake is the kind of food you can really “play with.” I am constantly trying out different recipes, and I have to say, I haven’t found many that I don’t like. The one that I decided to use today is a little different from some others, as it uses a little bit of flour. I figured that this might be a good pick for the particular dessert that I was making, since it was going to be baked in a 13×9 pan, as opposed to a springform. I made the crust using Do-Si-Dos (any cookie would work just fine though), then “peppered” the cheesecake batter with semisweet chocolate chips (chocolate & peanut butter, do you see where I’m going with this?). These cheesecake bars have just the right amount of everything: a little saltiness, sweetness, creaminess and a crunchiness. They were delicious! In case you want to try them for yourselves, here’s my recipe:

Crust

1 1/2 boxes of Do-Si-Dos (roughly 2.5 cups), crushed

1/2 cup unsalted butter (I prefer Kerry Gold or Plugra), melted

Filling

4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

3 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 tbsp. vanilla

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

How-to:

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Combine the butter and cookie crumbs, and press them into a 13×9 pan, either greased or lined with parchment paper. Bake the crust for 8 minutes, then remove from oven to let it cool.

3. Beat the cream cheese until it appears to have a creamy, yet whipped, consistency (about 3-4 minutes). Add the sugar and flour gradually, and beat until well mixed.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Finally, stir in the vanilla and chocolate chips. Pour the batter onto the crust, making sure that it is evenly distributed.

5. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. After removing it from the oven, let it cool for about 30 minutes. When it has cooled, transfer it to the fridge to chill for 4-8 hours.