Monday, April 30, 2012

And now, back to our program; or, The Ultimate Turtle Cupcakes

While I was AWOC (absent without computer), I made you cupcakes. But I couldn't get in touch with you, so I fed them to my friends and labmates instead.

These treats couldn't be simpler. Start with a nice, deep, dark chocolate cupcake, like these.

Cut out the center of the cake and fill with a super-simple, decadent turtle filling.

How simple? Just buy a jar of caramel ice cream topping and stir in lightly roasted, salted pecans.

About half of that bowl of filling ended up in my stomach. True story.

Top with a dark chocolate frosting-- I used this recipe, which is my go-to -- and drizzle more caramel and sprinkle pecans on top.

Oooh, man.

And it just keeps getting better...

Note that as soon as you make these, you MUST get them out of your house. I almost called them "The Ultimate Crack Cupcakes," but figured that that would not be politically correct.

Get on it!

Friday, April 20, 2012

AWOL; or, Friday I'm In Love

So no personal laptop = no photo editing software = no posts this week. HOWEVER, next week will be better, I promise!

Since today is Friday...

I'm in love: with mint chocolate chip cake. How stinkin' cute and easy is that decoration on top, too?!

I'm in love with: quotes like these that keep me going (one month to half marathon!)


I'm in love with: this quick, cute craft project-- wine charms!

I'm in love with: the idea of going on a date at one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in Minnesota.

I'm in love with: seeing this movie when it comes out in a week!

Monday, April 16, 2012

There's nothing in this world that can't be solved with food; or, Double Chocolate Mini Muffins

All of those exciting plans I shared with you on Friday made for quite the weekend.

First, the DetermiNation team and I served dinner at Hope Lodge (buttermilk biscuits, baked ziti, steamed veggies, and brownies). It was a success!

Well, except for the fact that someone didn't follow directions and made one giant ziti (heretoforth known as "the Beast") instead of the three smaller trays suggested. It was a workout getting it to and from the kitchen!

The next morning was Relay for Life kickoff! It was incredible to be able to speak about the American Cancer Society's dedication to funding research at the event. I had pictures, but my camera was stolen (hang on, we're getting to that part of the story).

Then, after an afternoon in the cities with my good friend Deborah (the one who makes the crazy amazing charoset), I met up with someone for dinner at the Lowry, only to leave the restaurant and find my car had been broken in to and my camera (and computer and... and.. and...) were all gone.

What's a girl to do when she's down one camera, a laptop, and one makeup bag?

Go home, file a police report, freak out, bake muffins, eat said muffins, and enter a strange state of calm due to food coma induced by said muffins.

These muffins are all kinds of amazing-- they have healing powers that you probably didn't know muffins could have.

(Cue muffin joke)

Dense, super-chocolatey (I used a double-dutch dark cocoa powder and really good mini chocolate chips), with just enough oats to make it *feel* healthy.

Even Roo wanted in on the action... clearly, that's a sign that you need to make and consume these babies pronto, even if you aren't in a pickle.

P.S. Good golly, my feet look strange. The point of the above picture is Roo... don't look at my gross runner's feet!

Double Chocolate Mini Muffins

Adapted from Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers

1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp beaten egg
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Line mini muffin tin with pretty liners and set aside,

Combine the sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and egg with a whisk. Sift together the dry ingredients in another bowl, and slowly add to wet mix. Stir to combine; then fold in oats and chocolate chips.

Fill baking cups 3/4 of the way. Bake until toothpick comes out clean (about 20 minutes). Allow to cool, then serve with a tall iced mocha.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday I'm In Love!

This week has felt as though it's gone at a crawl, with all the exciting things I have lined up for the weekend, including a ten mile run, a trip to the Twin Cities, serving dinner at Hope Lodge-- oh, and the end of Passover!

In love with: Nutella Scones! (The first thing I'm going to make after Passover passes over).

In love with: the prospect of checking out this restaurant!

In love with: the idea of this sandwich post-run on Sunday (minus the bacon!)

In love with: this quick and dirty weekend craft!

Happy Friday, all!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wait, how many more days of matzah?; or, Double Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

I made you some mocha cupcakes, with the help of Joy the Baker's enJOY program.

I made them for you, photographed them... then forgot about them. Until Passover began, of course, and I *happened* to upload these pictures onto my computer.

Let me tell you, looking at these and remembering how gosh dang good they were was torture.

So now, I'm passing them along to you.

I added chocolate chips to Joy's recipe. Because I could.

This recipe makes the deepest, darkest, chocolate-y-est cake I have EVER had in my life. And I've eaten a LOT of chocolate cake in my short twenty-something life.

Oooh, only two more days until I can make and consume these! Challenge accepted!

Double Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

Adapted from ENJOY! From Joy the Baker

For the cupcakes:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup double dark dutch cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp instant espresso
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup almondmilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven through 325F. Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside.

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl, and slowly mix in to dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 25 minutes; remove and allow to cool completely.

Once cooled, frost with chocolate buttercream and top with chocolate sprinkles. Eat with friends.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A rabbi, a priest, and a duck...; or, Scallion Potato Pancakes

Lunch yesterday was basically a Seder plate salad. That's right-- I just took everything from the seder plate, chopped it up, and put it over lettuce.

And added avocado. Because I could.

But something told me that wouldn't make a great recipe...

So here, I give you an Asian-style potato pancake! Think of it as the latke's more exotic cousin.

Potatoes get cooked, scallions get sliced, spices get added...

And blend!

Shape into pancakes, bake, and boom! Flavortown, fools.

Scallion Potato Pancakes

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

2 pounds russet potatoes
1 cup scallions, sliced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce or salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Chop potatoes and boil in salted water until tender. Remove from water and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a bowl, combine all ingredients using an immersion blender until creamy. Shape into pancakes, dunk in additional breadcrumbs, and place on baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes; flip over and bake another 8 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with soy sauce and sriracha.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chag sameach! Photos from a Passover Seder; or, Cranberry-Orange Charoset

Beautiful table!

Seder plate!


Yup... Even Roo had a belly full o' matzo!

Cranberry-Orange Charoset (gluten-free, vegan, and low fructose!)

From Deborah's crazybrain

1 Cup dried cranberries, chopped
½ Cup dried apricots
1 Tbsp orange zest, minced
1 Tbsp lemon zest, minced
½ Cup simple syrup
1/3 Cup dry red wine
½ Cup each: dry roasted pistachios, sliced almonds, pecans (all unsalted, chopped)
½ tsp minced rosemary, fresh

Combine all ingredients until well mixed; Serve!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday I'm In Love!

As a result of my addiction to Pinterest, I've decided to start off every weekend by sharing with you what I'm digging/looking forward to/planning on doing/coveting/eating/etc.

In love with: This chocolate toffee matzah recipe. Seriously, this will get you through Passover every time.

In love with: This baby shower gift.

In love with: Chocolate-dipped kiwi. Do it!

In love with: Coffee from here. 

In love with: This mantra.

Happy Friday, all!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

And now, back to the show; or Roasted Purple Potatoes, Parsnips, and Sweet Potatoes

After a whirlwind week of seminars, presentations, and discussions, I am back home from my conference.

Which means back to feeding myself instead of expecting others to do it for me.

I looked in my fridge and found some of my farmer's market goodies were still lookin', well, good, so I whipped up a roasted carbfest in my oven.

Gorgeous colors!

Diced, salted, peppered, and ready for the heat!

I may be crazy, but this could totally pass for modern art.

Super-simple Roasted Root Vegetable Medley

4-6 small purple potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
2 parsnips
olive oil
lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F. Clean potatoes and parsnips; peel the parsnips, if desired. Cut vegetables into a chunky, rough dice (perfection is overrated), toss in olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake 20 minutes, tossing vegetables halfway through. Serve alone, or atop a salad with a poached egg.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

On the Road Again; or, Soy-curry Fried Tofu

I'm back in my hometown of Chicago for the next few days for a conference, and boy, does it feel good to be having all the great cuisine here!

Not going to lie-- spent the entirety of yesterday's 8.5 mile run thinking about the sweet potato fries waiting for me at  the end. Heaven!

In preparation for five days of gluttony (I love Minnesota, but Chicago still rules for food-- sorry!), I had a nice, healthful, simple meal Thursday night.

Tofu, a six-ingredient marinade, and a salad. Something you can feel good about. The meal that holds you and tells you you're pretty.

Make it. Feel virtuous. Then run away to your pile of fries and oreos and munch (almost) guilt-free.

Soy-curry Fried Tofu

1 cup vegetable broth
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons curry powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
8 ounces tofu, pressed and cubed
Olive oil 

Combine the first six ingredients in a medium bowl. Toss tofu in marinade, and let sit overnight.

When ready to cook, heat oil in skillet. Carefully place tofu in skillet. Fry until browned, and serve over greens.