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?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Squares

How is almost March already?   2017 is moving much faster than I was anticipating!

So far, I've been alternating adventures every other weekend or so:  Joshua Tree,  Maui,  Disneyland, and Rancho Cucamonga.   You might have to look up R.C. on the map.  I know that I had never heard of it before.  If you head into the Inland Empire of California, can I recommend lunch at North Woods Inn?  You need the cheese bread and red cabbage salad in your life.  Also cheese butter for your baked potatoes?  WHAT!

We don't speak of winter much in San Diego so I was excited to go to the snow last Friday!  


We went skiing at Snow Summit in Big Bear.    My legs remembered what skiing was like, even after four years.    As you know, ski trips require snacks and that's where these oat squares come in.    A short list of ingredients, no baking required, and you've got peanut butter chocolate goodness in the palm of your hand.

What You Need

1 cup butter/margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter (I used natural creamy)

What You Do

Line a 8x8 pan with foil.

In a saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar and vanilla over low heat.   Then add the oats, cinnamon and salt.   Stir constantly for 4-5 minutes.    Remove from heat and press half the oat mixture into the bottom of the pan.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate and peanut butter.   Heat for 30 seconds, stir, and then heat for another 30 seconds (or more) until smooth.     Pour the chocolate mixture over the oat layer, reserving a small amount of the chocolate for drizzling over the top.

Spoon / Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer, press it down a little if you can, and drizzle with remaining chocolate.    Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight before cutting into squares.   

What are your favorite snacks to make for skiing or other winter fun?    

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Eating In Hungary

Vegetables are fun in Hungary

Happy November!

One of my favorite things about travel is enjoying new and different foods.   Earlier this fall, I went to visit a friend living in Téglás, Hungary before meeting up with my mom in Budapest.  We went to the Cabbage Festival in Hajdúhadház and my friends had me get something from all the food vendors. Best way ever to enjoy the local flavors.    If you're heading to Hungary, here are some of the things you might get to try!  

Team Cabbage Fest

Defined as a "spit cake."  Don't let it deter you.  It's a yeast dough wrapped around a wooden spit and roasted over charcoal.   This one had cinnamon and sugar on it...yum!  

Potato Pancake
Cooked in a pan over a small fire at the festival.   
Plus, I got to pose with these party pants.

Cabbage Rolls
Cabbage rolls with sour cream and also cabbage and pork.  
What would a cabbage festival be without it?

Apple Strudel
Pastry all the days of my life.   Please.

LángosFry bread with sour cream, garlic and cheese.   The ultimate fair food.

This cappuccino was especially cute.   Coffee is often strong in a small cup.   
I need my Nescafe fully diluted. 

Sausages and Pickled Vegetables
The Wisconsin in me loves a sausage on the grill.   Sausage, bread, and big pickles for a solid lunch.
Peppers and pickles stuffed with cabbage from the grocery or deli are also a hit.

School Lunch
When was the last time you had school lunch?    I went to school with my friend, a teacher, and enjoyed a filling lunch.    If you think this looks like soup with soup?   You're right.

Fruit Soup
Why isn't there more fruit soup in life? 

Do you have a favorite Hungarian food?    Where have your food travels taken you recently? 

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