28 April 2010

Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies!

So, I am gaining an addition to my sorority family today, and have no money to buy her a big monogrammed gift.  So I am doing what I do best, bake.  In this case, I am baking her a TON of warm, amazing chocolate chip cookies.  And really, I think she will like them more than a Vera Bradley bag.... maybe.... oh well.

This recipe is from Alton Brown.. and the cookies have this cakey consistency.  They just may be the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten.... And I have eaten a lot in my time, bonus? the batter is soooo good to snack on. And, lets be honest, who doesn't love to snack on cookie dough?!

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 and 1/4 cups bread flour (NOT all-purpose flour)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 T milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2.  Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

3.  Pour melted butter into a mixing bowl.  Add sugars.  Cream together the butter and sugar.

4.  Add the egg, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla extract to the pan and mix together completely.

5.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and mix completely.

6.  Add the chocolate chips.  Chill the dough.  Then spoon it out onto parchment lined baking sheets, and bake for ~14mins.  Cool completely and store them in an airtight container.

I threw in some white chocolate chips too... because that's just how I felt in the moment... but still only added 2 cups of chocolate chips total.

Happy Baking!

26 April 2010


Sorry for not posting much lately, my life is slowly becoming more hectic... Last week I had an exam, this week I have an exam, and I am very, very, very sadly moving the following week... so life is, needless to say, crazy lately.  BUT, this week I will be baking two cakes!!! One for a friend simply craving a good, homemade yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  And the other for my Grandlil's 21st birthday (if you don't know what a grandlittle is, no worries... sorority thing)! But I am sooo excited about her birthday so she can finally come out with us instead of us trying to sneak her into bars, lol!

SO, sorry for the delay, but stay tuned later this week for more recipes...

PS. Olivia, I know you are out there, I know you are moving, text me an idea for your "apartment warming" present/cupcakes you have been asking me to bake for 2 weeks now, lol!

Hope everyone has a great week! Now, back to not procrastinating... I'm in the library... Sorry Mom...

21 April 2010


Sunday mornings are my lazy mornings... I do nothing but sleep in, possibly go to church (though I still haven't found a good one in this city), lay out by the pool, oh! and bake random things :)  This past Sunday, I decided I just wasn't really in the mood for my normal cereal/banana/coffee combo for breakfast, well except for the coffee... that's a necessity. 

I decided to make pancakes from scratch instead!! Of course I turned to my favorite rancher, Pioneer Woman, for a good, hearty (fatty... shhhh!) recipe to satisfy my need for breakfast rebellion.  I really think the reason I decided to bake was that I woke up at 8am... which NEVER happens on the weekend...  and I was slightly delirious.

Since I am not a morning person... at all... and I was only half way through my first cup of coffee (emphasis on the first cup... I did say I woke up at 8am, right??)  Well, I just didn't feel like walking down 3 flights of stairs and back up 3 flights of stairs to get my camera... SO, like the last post, I have no step by step pictures... but it's ok, I SWEAR this recipe is soo easy!!!  You don't need the pictures... it's that good!!

So this is the picture from PW's website of the AMAZING pancakes!!
3 cups plus 2 T cake flour (see below if you don't have any)
1/2 tsp salt
3 T baking powder
2 T sugar
2 cups milk
2 whole eggs
3 tsp vanilla
4 T butter

*This recipe makes enough to feed 6ppl, so you may want to half it or you will be standing over the stove for awhile*

1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Mix together the milk, eggs, and vanilla in a seperate bowl.

3. Add wet ingredients slowly to dry ingredients, stirring very gently just until combined!

4. Melt the butter and add it to the batter, stirring gently to combine.

5. Cook on a greased skillet over medium-high heat.  I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to spoon the perfect amount of batter onto the skillet!!

Another awesome picture from PW... thanks Ree!

See?? You don't need pictures, this is the easiest recipe everrr. 

Oh almost forgot, if you do not have any cake flour, you can make it from all-purpose flour like I had to Sunday morning... because if I was to lazy to go get my camera, you know I was to lazy to go to Publix...

1 cup cake flour= 3/4 cup and 2 T all-purpose flour + 2 T corn starch... sift them together to get 1 cup!

Happy Baking!!

19 April 2010

Pasta with Mushrooms

So, this weekend I had some friends over for dinner on Saturday night.  After a little thought, I decided to make this Mushroom Rigatoni Bake... its easy, only takes a hour, and is from the Cooking Light cookbook... aka its a healthy pasta... that seems like an oxymoron, oh well.  It was fantastic though!!

Here's the thing though, I didn't take any pictures of it.... at all... You see, my friends were there, and I thought they would think I was reallyyy weird if I busted out my camera to take a picture of mushrooms in a pan... even though they all read my blog... oh well, one day I will not be camera shy!! When I make it again, I will post pictures.  Just trust me when I say you should make it!

This is the picture of it from the cookbook!!
8oz uncooked rigatoni, radiatore, or gigli pasta
2 tsp butter
1/4 cup shallots, sliced
12 oz mushrooms (cremini and shitaki)...I used the "gourmet mixed pack" at publix!
1 T chopped, fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 T dry sherry (I used cooking sherry)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups 1% reduced fat milk
1 cups (4 oz) grated Asiago cheese
Cooking Spray

Directions: (Makes 4 servings)
1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Then cook the pasta according the directions on the box, just until al dente.  Set aside.

2.  Melt butter in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Add shallots, saute 3 mins.  Add mushrooms, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Saute 8 mins.  Add sherry, cook 1 min, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.

3.  Place flour in a dutch oven or a large pan over medium-high heat, and slowly add milk, whisking constantly.  Bring mixture to a boil, cook 1 min or until it's thick after it begins boiling.  Remove from heat, add half of the cheese (1/2 cup), stirring until melted.  Add mushrooms and pasta to the cheese mixture.  Tossing well to combine.

4.  Spoon mixture into an 8in baking dish.  Sprikle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top.  Bake for 30mins.  Then devour it in 15 mins like we did!!! 

Happy Baking!!

15 April 2010

Chicken Salad... the way I make it!

If you are from the South, or your name is Sarah, you consider chicken salad to be its own level on the food pyramid.  Seriously, name 5 people you know who hate it... I dare you! BUT, if you could only hear the stats from most restaurants, you may never buy it again... It's all in the sauce, these places LOAD up on the mayonaise, and they are NOT using the fat free mayo either..

Panera Bread: 680 cal, 26 g of FAT... why you ask? mayonaise...

Zoe's Kitchen: 365 cal, but 31 g of fat... aka 50% of daily fat intake... wayy too much!

Chick-fil-a: 500 cal, 20 g of fat, 95mg of cholesterol... that's a lot!

and the killer...
Arby's Pecan Chicken Salad: 870 cal, 44 g of fat... WTF!?

If these stats don't convince you, then you should try this recipe below... because not only is it low fat and easy to make, but it also tastes better than anything you will buy at the store!!

My Easy Chicken Salad Recipe:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Grapes or Apples (or both)
Fat Free Mayonaise
Fat Free Sour Cream
Lemon Juice
Little bit of light brown sugar
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)

1.  Place your chicken breasts into a large dutch oven, cover with large amount of water.  Bring water to a boil.  Once it's at a boil, continue to cook for ~30-40 mins.  Remove from water and allow it to cool for a little bit.

2.  Cut up the chicken with two forks, or your fingers, whatever floats your boat.  Place in a large bowl.  Throw in your celery and apples/grapes/both.

3.  In a seperate bowl, make your sauce.  I never use exact amounts, but use a 2-1 mixture of mayo to sour cream.  Add 1 T lemon juice or vinegar, whichever you like better.  Then throw in 1 T or so of brown sugar... this counteracts the acidity of the lemon juice. 

4.  Mix the sauce together.  Taste it.  Add salt and pepper to your taste.  Add chopped dill and a couple sprinkles of tarragon... because fresh herbs just make everything taste better...

5.  Pour this over your chicken.  Mix it all together.  Then, and this is the most important part, refrigerate this for at least an hour or so before eating it... this allows all the different flavors to gel together and just taste yummy.

6.  Make yourself a sandwich (in which I use spinach and honey mustard) and eat up!!

Happy Baking!

14 April 2010

Wrap ideas!

So I am reallyyyy trying to lose these last 7 lbs that I swore to my personal trainer I would lose by December (just a little fyi... its April) so that when I come back to him in May we could work to lose the FINAL last 5 lbs.... so needless to say, I have some work to do.  Therefore, Welcome Back strict/evil diet!! (jk, its not that evil... just strict). 

So, part of my diet is seriously cutting back some carbs, keeping a food diary, limiting/cutting out my already limited alcohol intake (even though I enjoy pretending wine has 0 calories), and not snacking... serious problem with the last one.  SO, when I went to the grocery store yesterday, I brought back all the stuff for my awesome wraps!

Get the La Tortilla Factory wraps, they specialize in low-cal, low-carb wraps!!  On these wraps I put a spoonful or two or plain hummus, a large handful of spinach, a couple slices of tomato, and turkey or chicken.  Its good to have a least 3oz of turkey or chicken (not ham, too fatty), so you can get enough protein in you to keep you full!!  I eat this with a handful or cheddar rice cakes, an apple, or a small salad with low-cal dressing.  AND a large glass of water. 

Later today I am going to be making my homemade chicken salad, and giving you the god awful nutrition stats of store bought chicken salad to convince you to always make your own, so stay tuned!!

Happy Baking!

11 April 2010

Early Birthday Love.

So one of my best friends from college came home this weekend!!  She took a break from her new life in the Big Apple (totally jealous by the way) and came back to see friends and family, it was a great weekend!  Her birthday is at the end of April, so duh I wanted to celebrate it early so she could have cake with all of us.... so I baked an awesome chocolate cake with strawberry meringue buttercream frosting... so delicious.... just trust me.

The cake recipe I have already given before, so click here for it (for a 2 layer, 8in cake double the recipe).

The strawberry frosting has this really good, creamy texture that only Martha Stewart can achieve.  I'm uncertain about a lot of things in this world.. but this frosting isn't one of them... try it on something chocolate (because everything is better with chocolate.... I think I've said that before...).  And, of course, in honor of Mallory's birthday, drink it with some champagne, because that's what she does.

1.25 cups sugar
4 egg whites
3 sticks (1.5 cups) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
12 oz strawberry jam, pureed in a food processor

1. In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the sugar and egg whites.  Cook, whisking continuously, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch.

2. Attach the bowl to the mixer with the whisk attachment, and beat on a high speed until it holds stiff, not dry, peaks.  Continue beating until the mixer is fluffy and cooled (~6mins).
You can tell when the peaks form, it will look like this when you put your finger into it.

3.  Switch to the paddle attachment.  With the mixer on a medium-low speed, add the butter a couple tablespoons at a time, it must be at room temperature, and beat well after each addition.  If the frosting seems to seperate after all the butter is added, mix on a medium-high speed for 3-5mins.

4.  Add the vanilla.  Beat on the lowest speed for a few mins to eliminate any air bubbles.

5.  Stir in the strawberry jam with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.
Just puree the jam first...

Pour it over the frosting...

And mix it all together!! (I only used about 3/4 of the pureed jam)

Frost the middle layer of your cake!

Then frost the rest of it...

Add some chocolate covered strawberries... some candles... and sing Happy Birthday!!!

Oh, and don't forget the champagne...it's a celebration after all!!!

Happy Baking and Happy Early Birthday Mallory! Miss you a ton!

07 April 2010

Carrot Cake

So Saturday when I got to my parents house my Mom immediately asked me what I was baking the next day... Me, not having given it that much thought, had an interesting revelation, it went something like this in my head:  Easter.... bunnies.... bunnies eat carrots.. ummm "Carrot Cake!" Mom: okay, sounds good... Thanks for the enthusiasm Mom... Well, at least my Dad freaks out everytime I bake a cake, Mom doesn't let him have sweets, you see... poor guy (sorry I outed you Mom).

But this carrot cake was SO GOOD, and yea, I know I say that about everything I bake.  But, so far, everything I've made has been that good!  This one is from PW and has an awesome cream cheese frosting on top! I'm kind of sad I left in such a hurry Monday morning, I left it all there... You see it was 85 outside that day, and I wanted to layout all day, and left the cake in Huntsville... super sad day...

Ingredients: (I am going to preface this by saying I halfed the recipe, the whole recipe makes a 9x13 sheet cake)
For cake (whole recipe):
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bakind soda
1 tsp  ground cinnamon
2 cups grated carrots

For frosting:
1 lb powdered sugar (~4 cups)
1 stick regular butter, softened
8oz cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, chopped finely

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Choose a pan and decide how much you want.  For the full recipe, you can use a sheet cake or a bundt cake.  I halved the recipe and used an 8x8 pyrex dish.

2.  Start by grating 1 cup of carrots (2 cups for full recipe).  Then set it aside.

Hold the carrot like so (after you chop the end off).

Then grate it up! Now, isn't that the prettiest orange you've ever seen???

3.  Mix together the sugar, oil, and eggs in an electric mixer with the whisk attachment.

4.  In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Add to the sugar/egg mixture and mix it all together.  Make sure you scrape down the sides.

5.  Add the carrots to that mixture, and mix it all together!!

Ahh that color... that batter.. sooo good!

The carrots turn the color of the batter to a prettier color!

6.  Bake at 350 for 25 mins (for sheet cake or smaller) or 50 mins (for bundt cake).  Insert toothpick to make sure its cooked all the way through!!  And please, before you clean out the bowl, lick it... I had to jerk the bowl away from my Mom because she was licking it so much...

Now make your frosting!!!!
These are the only ingredients you need!!

1.  In an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese.

2.  Add the sugar and vanilla into the mixture, and mix all together, make sure you scrape down the sides.

3.  Chop up the pecans, and add them to the mixture.  Mix throughly.

4.  Smooth over a cooled carrot cake, and serve!!

If you're like me, once you cut it up, you immediately need a little bite... I told my Dad that Mom did it... I swear im not 5...

HEAVEN... Easter heaven :)

Happy baking! And have a great week!

01 April 2010


I need a baking hiatus for a few days... aka I will probably be baking in 3 days with my Mom on Easter, but three days is long enough, right? RIGHT??? Fine, I will just do more Body Pump! (what, swimsuit season!)

So random things I wanted to talk about, because I can.. it's my blog and I will write what I want to.  So since it is finally lovely, 80 degree, beach weather, you all need some good beach/pool side reading!  So I'm just going to list some good ones:

-He Just Not That In To You!- best. book. ever.- Hilarious, insightful, awesome, if you are female and not married, read it. NOW.

-I hope they serve beer in hell- This guy is the biggest ASS in the entire world. But he is hilarious. Read it, love it, read it in the car during a road trip to Tampa like I did, and then read the above book to make sure you NEVER EVER end up with someone like him... EVER.

-The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks- Actually has a bittersweet ending that won't make you want to jump off a cliff like all his other books do... Yes, I know Miley Cyrus is in the movie (and, while I am secretly obsessed with her), you need to read the book, then see the movie if you want to (ps, its good! Saw it yesterday)

-Chasing Harry Winston, by Laura Weisberg- She also wrote the devil wears prada, It's a story about 3 amazing New York women, who vow to be married in one year.. read it, its amazing, these three woman are empowering and insightful.

-Something Borrowed and the sequel Something Blue, by Emily Griffith- Two great books about two incredibly different best friends, who, through stealing each other's men, realizing they are both snobby bitches, etc, find themselves... Great pool/beach read, or just a great one to curl up with in a hot bubble bath.

Need more?? I could give you a hundred, I frequent Barnes-n-Noble more than is necessary... message me if you need anymore ideas! 

Hope ya'll have a Happy Easter!

K, back to the pool to layout... I need a tan, I glow in the dark...literally...