Wednesday, April 22, 2020

What I Made On My Isolation Vacation

Hi Friends!

I haven't been posting new content for a while (aka 2 years).    It's not because I haven't been in the kitchen, but there's been a lot of life going on and this has always been just for fun. 

And now here we are in the middle of, in the words of all the recent advertisements, unprecedented (or uncertain) times.   Like everyone else, I'm spending a lot more time at home and in the kitchen.   

I've even made the required quarantine banana bread, using my favorite recipe from Cooking Light.

Over the past month of primarily at home life, here's some of the other good stuff coming out of the kitchen - even over those few days where my oven was out of commission (sadness).  I enjoy the challenge of seeing what's in my cabinets and looking for recipes that let me use what I have.  Enjoy! 

Derby Bars
Recipe:  Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence Cookbook 

Banana Bread Biscotti
Recipe:  Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence Cookbook 

Double Chocolate Brownies 
Adapted from: Eagle Brand Classic Recipes Cookbook

Key Lime Pie
The original breakfast pie in our family
Straight off the Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice label

Breakfast Smoothie Bowl
No recipe - just winging it in the blender

Thai Pork Wraps
No recipe - but I highly recommend this
spicy Thai peanut butter from Eliot's

Artichoke Spinach Dip
Perfect for eating your feelings
Recipe written on an index card

Copycat Cheddar Bay Biscuits
So good.
Recipe:  Damn Delicious

Applesauce Bars

Breakfast Biscuit Cobbler
Recipe:  Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence Cookbook 

Dan Dan Noodles
using what I already had in the kitchen
rotini is not the usual noodle for these...
Adapted from:  Half Baked Harvest

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

Lemon Brownies
perfect for that impulse box of lemon 
cake mix I bought months ago
Recipe:  Family Saavy

Butterscotch Blondies
Recipe:  America's Favorites Bake Sale Cookbook

The OG:  Magic Cookie Bars
Recipe: Eagle Brand Classic Recipes Cookbook

I hope you and your family are safe and healthy no matter where you are or what you're doing!

Have you tried any new recipes recently?   Or made some long-time favorites?  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Lemon Crumb Bars

There is something about citrus desserts that I love.    It's that sweet and tart combination that makes your mouth so, so happy.

The citrus love probably started with Key Lime Pie.    In our family, it's a breakfast in, if there's any left from dinner, the first few people who get up in the morning might get a slice for breakfast.  Fortunately as a grown woman who does what she wants, I can make it any time and have it for any meal I choose.   

These bars have a filling that is just about the same as key lime pie, except using lemon juice.  You've got your sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and lemon juice. 

What You Need

Bar Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk,  regular or fat free
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (truth in baking - I'm not good about measuring zest - I usually zest the number of lemons that I use to get the juice I need for any given recipe) 
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large egg yolks

What You Do

Preheat oven to 350.  Line an 8x8 pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.  

Make the Bars - Part 1
Combine the dry ingredients:  flour, oats, salt and soda in a large bowl.   Then mix in the sugar and brown sugar followed by the melted butter and vanilla.

Take half of the bar mixture and press it into the bottom of the pan.   It's buttery, so your hands won't stick too much.   You can always spray your hands, or a flat spatula with cooking spray to help.    Bake the bottom crust for 15 minutes.

Make the Filling
Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, juice, zest and yolks in a bowl.   

Make the Bars - Part 2
After the bottom crust has baked 15 minutes, pull out of the oven and pour filling over the top.  Crumble the remaining bar mixture evenly over the top, then bake 20-22 minutes.

These bars slice better cold and you'll want to store them in the fridge as well.   Not that they'll last that long.   Especially if you have one for breakfast.    They are wonderful with coffee....just saying.   

Recipe Source:   Dinner Then Dessert

If you love citrus, you'll love these:

Meanwhile in San Diego...

Cocktails with Flowers
(Location:  BeShock Ramen)

Puffles Exist and are Wonderful
(Location:  Boba Bar & Desserts)

Happy Spring!

(and if spring hasn't found you yet...Wisconsin, I'm thinking of you - I hope it comes soon!)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Mint Oreo Brownies

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Even if drinking green or wearing green is not your style, eating green can be.
And I'm not talking kale or spinach.    Maybe that's for tomorrow's recovery.  

It's the weekend, so let's roll with mint oreos.      These brownies are simple with minimal ingredients, including a boxed mix.  You can indulge in these brownies hot and gooey right out of the pan or cool and slice them for later.    

What You Need

1 box Betty Crocker Fudge Molten Lava brownie mix, including the egg, water and oil as listed on the box
7 mint Oreos, cut or broken into pieces
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided 

What You Do

Preheat the oven per package instructions.    Coat a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.  I use a silicone pan for ease.   Prepare the brownies per package instructions and include 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips.

Pour half of the batter into the pan.   Squeeze the lava filling included with the brownies onto the batter and top with the oreos and remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.   Spoon the remaining batter on top of the cookies and chips and bake per instructions for 9x9 pan.     

Serve hot or at room temperature - your call.  Either way, these brownies will be devoured quickly. 

Meanwhile in San Diego

We're having more rain than normal, and in SoCal no one really knows how to drive in the rain.    
But, that means the roses at the Balboa Park Rose Garden are starting to bloom. 

The cactus garden at the park thrives all year, because that's how cactus do their thing.  

What are the signs of spring where you live?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Glorious Soups of Southeast Asia

From mid-January to mid-February I took an extended vacation.   My co-workers called it a sabbatical, probably because it felt like forever for them.   For me, I could have traveled even longer and still been full of joy. 

And soup.    Let's be honest.  I would be full of soup.

I didn't have the proper appreciation for Phở and it's cousins prior to this trip.    I do now.

Here were just a few bowls of glorious soup that I enjoyed in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.    Often at breakfast.   Sometimes with a mimosa.  Because that's how vacation soup rolls.  

First bowl of Phở in Hanoi

Soup aboard the Indochina Sails in Ha Long Bay

Breakfast soup with a watermelon mimosa in Siem Reap

Breakfast soup in Luang Prabang

Do you love soup?    What's your favorite?
Have you discovered or rediscovered a favorite food while traveling?  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

Happy Fall!

Second day of Fall in Oceanside, CA

America in general, particularly on social media, seems to be thinking about sweaters, boots and all things pumpkin spice.   

San Diego, meanwhile, is saying "summer isn't over yet."

Summer or Fall, I'm thinking about baking.   Especially with chocolate. 
Enjoy these chocolate chip oatmeal bars with your coffee, whether you're watching the leaves fall or the waves crash.   

What You Need

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats
2 cup chocolate chips, divided

What You Do

Line a 9x13 with foil and coat with cooking spray.   Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars.   Add the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla.
In a another bowl, combine the salt, soda, powder, flour and oats.    Slowly add dry ingredients to the butter mixture until combined.    

Stir in one cup of the chocolate chips.    

Divide the dough in half and spoon half of it into the pan.   You may need buttered/floured fingers to press the dough to the bottom of the pan.    Sprinkle the remaining cup of chocolate chips over the dough.  Spoon / Drop the remaining dough on top of the chocolate chips and press to create the top layer.  

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.    If you want to slice into a corner while it's still warm for quality what feel right.     If you're planning to share, let them cool, pull out of the pan with the foil and slice into bars.   Slice them small and your friends won't feel any guilt if they have more than one.   

Traveler Out of the Kitchen

In addition to my weekend adventure to Long Beach in June,  I also went to San Francisco,Wisconsin, and Colorado.    Follow along with all the food and travels on Instagram at @travelerforgood.
Public Art in San Francisco

Door County, Wisconsin (aka 'Up North')
Colorful Colorado 

What adventures did you have this summer?   

What are you baking this fall?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Spicy Peanut Sauce

Summer is officially here! 

See also:  recovering my kitchen mojo.    

I've been baking and trying out new dinner recipes, aiming for recipes with more protein and veggies.

As I ponder dinner, spicy peanut sauce sounds good with everything.    Meatballs?   Stir fry?  Chicken wraps?   Peanut sauce it ALL.

If peanut saucing it all sounds like a plan, you can have homemade sauce in just a few minutes.

What You Need

5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons  honey
juice of half lime (the other half was sacrificed for my rum & coke)
1/4 cup Huy Fong garlic chili sauce,  less if you don't want as much of a kick
1/2 cup peanuts (I used dry roasted)

What You Do

Pull out your trusty food processor.       Put all the ingredients except the peanuts in and process for 15-20 seconds to combine everything.    Add the peanuts and pulse briefly, so the peanuts pieces are small but not completely obliterated.    If you want it completely smooth, keep going until it's the texture you desire.   

Pour into a bowl or liquid measuring cup and you're good to go for all your peanut sauce needs.   

Recipe adapted from this salad on Pinch of Yum.  

In other summer news...

I took a weekend road trip to Long Beach.

I made it to my first Padres game of the season.

I wore bowling shoes for the first time in a long time.

I made this Raspberry Crumb cake.

What good things do you have going on this summer?   

Monday, June 19, 2017

Raspberry Crumb Cake

Summer is the season of eating.

Who am I kidding?   Every season is the season of eating.    But I've actually been back in my kitchen trying new recipes and baking things over the past month, so that's a win.   

In fact, I've been making dinner - thinking that vegetables and protein should probably be a thing.   Eating cheese is also a thing, however, there needs to be a balance.

If you're looking for vegetables and protein, can I recommend this recipe for Egg Roll in a Bowl from 40 Aprons?  I've made it twice in the past month.   Yum!

Now...back to the cake

Cake with berries.  
Cake with a cream cheese layer.
Cake with a crumb topping.

Have your breakfast cake and eat it too!

Giving credit where it's due, this delicious crumb cake recipe came from Sally's Baking Addiction.   I just traded the blackberries for raspberries.   So in the spirit of making a summer breakfast cake that will make you sing into your coffee cup, bust out your springform pan and hop over to the recipe on her page and get on it.    

In other summer food news....

Have  you tried these Doritos?  It's two (count 'em) experiences in one chip.    
How do food scientists do it?      
You can't just eat a chip, you have to have an experience!

I love ahi.  
Sushi - yes
Poke - yes
In this sandwich at Sally's - yes

I went to Long Beach a week ago, and happily stumbled upon the Pie Bar.  
Talk about the perfect bar.    Hello Mississippi Mud Pie.  

If you ever have the chance to visit, you should go.    

What are you eating this summer?   Recipes you love?  New things you're trying?

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