Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dill Pickle Dip

We made it to the weekend!  
So reassuring that it happens every week.  

Working in the service industry, everyone has a weekend, but it's not always Saturday and Sunday.   I said "Happy Friday" to a friend at work yesterday and her response was "It's not my Friday."   True.

When it's your weekend, it's time for your favorite treats and snacks.   And I was thinking dip.   I don't make dip very often, but inspired by recently having Dill Pickle Soup, I was pondering what else could be dill-pickled.    If you love pickles, you'll love this.  

What You Need

1 (8oz) block of reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 (1oz) packet of ranch dressing mix
6 dill pickle spears (approx 1 cup) chopped
1 tablespoon dill pickle juice

What You Do

Combine the cream cheese, yogurt and ranch dressing mix in a medium bowl.  Mix with an electric hand mixer until smooth and combined.  

Add the chopped pickles and pickle juice.   Mix until pickles and juice are incorporated.

It's good to go right after making it, but if you'd like to give the flavors some more time to do their thing, let it chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to dive in.

Serve with chips, crackers or veggies or use it as a spread on sandwiches or burgers.

Meanwhile in Maui

It's still whale season.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Blondie Pie and Hong Kong Eats

All week I've been fighting jet lag and the general tiredness that comes with a full week of work after a full week of vacation.    Pi Day (3.14)  almost escaped me.   That would have been a crime.   A world full of people eating pie and missing out?   Not having it.  

Coming in to save the day was blondie pie.    Take your favorite blondie recipe that you would use in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan, bake it in a 8 inch springform pan and you have blondie pie!  

I haven't lived someplace with a Trader Joe's since 2005.   The TJ's in Denver opened after I moved to Maui and the odds of one opening here are pretty slim.    TJ's  always has that element of special - I have to go on a road trip or vacation to go shopping there, or someone has to bring it to me.    I used a box of my imported TJ Blondie mix to make this pie.   No regrets.

What You Need

1 box of Trader Joe's Blondie Mix (with the butter and egg required) or your favorite blondie batter
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup Kraft Caramel Bits
optional 1/4 cup chocolate chips (TJ blondie mix  has chocolate chips included already, so I didn't need to add any more)

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 350.    Coat an 8 inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Prepare your blondie batter, either from a box mix or your own recipe.   Add the butterscotch chips, caramel bits, or mix-ins of your choosing.  

Pour batter into springform pan.     Bake for 28 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  If you want your blondie pie warm, there's no shame in that either.  

Use a knife to separate the edge of the blondies from the pan before releasing the spring on the pan.
Slice into wedges.  Serve alone or with ice cream and hot fudge sauce.   It's a win either way.

Meanwhile in Travel...

I spent the first week of March in Hong Kong.  I started thinking about a trip in December and reached out to some friends to see if anyone was interested in a spring trip.  A friend from Wisconsin took me up  on the offer and we walked and ate our way through the city.   I love it when travel plans come together like that!

Hong Kong was still decorated for the Chinese New Year with lots of lanterns and all things for the year of the Sheep/Ram/Goat.   So festive!

Display in Tsim Sha Tsui

Display at Holywood Park

We also ate.   A lot.   We had a great time taking the Hong Kong Foodie Tasting Tour of Central and Sheung Wan.   We went into small, independent restaurants and tried some of their specialties.  We also got a walking tour of the neighborhoods and recommendations of other places to eat (how else would we have known to order Hong Kong French Toast?).    I enjoyed it so much that on my last day in Hong Kong, when my traveling friend had already left for the airport, that I took their other food tour of Sham Shui Po.   All. The. Food.

Amazing baked BBQ  pork  buns

Giant homemade wontons

In honor of Pi Day, what's your favorite kind of pie?

Is there a destination you would recommend just based on how good their food is?   
Please share in the comments or on Facebook.  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Baked Oatmeal with all the Good Stuff

Eating breakfast makes me a better person.   That's all there is to it.   

Aside from the whole not eating breakfast keeps your body in starvation mode after a night of sleep thing, it also just makes me hangry.    By 10am if I haven't had breakfast, the cranky comes out, and no one needs that.    Least of all me.

Making baked oatmeal is another way to keep the breakfast game fresh and this recipe  makes enough that you can have breakfast for a few days.

What You Need

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

the good stuff
1 cup berries, divided  I used strawberries and blueberries
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, divided
1/4 cup shredded coconut, divided
1/2 cup chocolate chips, divided

2 cups skim milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter/margarine, sliced into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ripe banana, sliced thin

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 375.    Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.

Combine the oats,sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and then half of all the good stuff (1/2 cup berries,  1/3 cup walnuts, 1/8 cup coconut,  1/4 cup chocolate chips), in a medium bowl.    Pour this dry mixture into the bottom of the 9x9 pan.

In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk  together the milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.   Pour over the oat mixture, then add the other half of the good stuff.  Finally, top the whole thing with the sliced bananas.     

Bake for 30-40 minutes.    It's delicious right out of the oven with the melted chocolate chips and all the other good stuff.       Slice what you don't eat into breakfast sized pieces and put in an airtight container, using wax paper to separate the layers, and store in the fridge.  

Meanwhile in Maui

Did you know that Maui has Rainbow Eucalyptus trees?    You'll catch these on the Road to Hana.

How do you feel about oatmeal - baked or otherwise?

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a great week.    Next Sunday I'll be landing in Hong Kong for a week of vacation.   And possibly eating all the things.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Peanut Butter Nutella Popcorn

World Nutella Day was on February 5th.    Somehow this notable and edible holiday escaped my notice until I saw it all over social media.   Nutella is loved all over the world.  As it should be.  

I wanted to make a little Nutella snack:  a little more than just eating it out of the jar, and a little less than turning on the oven.    This recipe is a small batch, if you share with a friend, you'll probably eat it in one sitting.   That's ok.   It's Nutella we're talking about here.

What You Need

1/4 cup popcorn kernels (or 7-8 cups popped corn)
drizzle of oil 
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon Nutella 

What You Do

Use the kernels and oil to pop the popcorn on the stove - or use your favorite corn popping method.   Pour popped corn into a bowl.   

In a small or medium sauce pan, combine brown sugar and corn syrup, bring to a boil over medium high heat while stirring frequently.     Remove pan from heat and whisk in the peanut butter.  Reserve 1/4-1/3 of a cup of the peanut butter caramel mixture and  pour the remaining over the popcorn and toss to coat.    

Mix the tablespoon of Nutella with the reserved 1/4-1/3 cup of peanut butter caramel mixture.   Take one cup of the coated popcorn and add it to the Nutella mixture to coat it.   

The popcorn will be sticky.  Cool all popcorn on waxed paper.   Break up the pieces that are too big and make sure the Nutella pieces are evenly disbursed.   We don't want any Nutella envy, do we?

Meanwhile on Maui

It's whale  season!   

Have a great week and be sure to eat all the Nutella.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Where did January go?


Somehow the first month of 2015 is already in the history books.    How did that happen?   It was Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and now it's mere hours from being February.  

I have a snarky calendar for 2015 and the page for this weekend says that February is the Tuesday of months.   How do you feel about Tuesdays?  Or February?

Not a whole lot of cooking went down in my kitchen in January, although I did a lot of eating between New Years, a long weekend in Oahu, and my birthday week celebration.  

Two recipes from food bloggers that I tried this month. Notice that it's not dessert.   Yes.  I'm eating dinner.   And trying not to put as much temptation in my path....or that of my friends.  Let's just go straight to their posts to see the step by step and drool-worthy photos.

Joy the Baker - One Pot French Onion Pasta
Frugal Foodie Mama - Light & Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Eating All The Things

Maui has plentiful farm stands, but not the big farmers' markets that I used to go to in Denver.   While visiting a friend in Oahu, we went to the Kailua Sunday market.     Small batch hand crafted sausage, crepes, coffee and more.  

Why yes, I am a farm lover
Shave Ice is a part of Hawai'i life.  Of course.   Getting the goods at Island Snow.

If it's good enough for the first family...
Not to mention chocolate that is made bean to bar in the islands.   
Check out these freshly stamped bars at Madre Chocolate.  

Freshly stamped for my enjoyment

We had an office birthday dinner celebration.     This filet mignon was perfect in every  way.  

And a few days later, it was time for more birthday treats.   Because you can never have too much birthday.  Never.  Ever.

I've determined that February, aside from being the Tuesday of months, will be a month of whales.   It's peak  whale season and for three weekends in a row, I will engage in a whale-related activity.   Today was the Run for the Whales.   Next week I'm going on a Whale Photo Safari (yes, a safari, here in Maui, be jealous).  The week after that it's the Parade of Whales.   So many whales and so much time to enjoy our visitors from Alaska.

What did you do in January?   
Did you eat all the things?  
Or were you good while sticking to your resolutions?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Puffy Peppermint Brownies

Aloha Friends!

It's almost Christmas, are you ready?   Since I had to ship all my presents, they all went out last weekend, so there was nothing to do this weekend other than embrace sheer laziness.   A Christmas party, some wine and holiday movies rounded it out.    I'm officially *done* with my baking in as much that I've taken and given cookies everywhere they are supposed to go.    

But I still have baking supplies.   Including peppermint  mini marshmallows.    So, did I stop?  No.  I baked again.   

A friend was asking me for fitness motivation last week...and I struggled.  I've been putting eggnog in my coffee and eating cookies for breakfast.  Except for today, when I had pie instead.     The gym is still a thing, but more like 1-2 days a week instead of 4.   Maybe I can get motivated to sign up for the New Year's Eve run here in Ka'anapali.  It's the last run in the US for 2014 and the 1st run for 2015 (it starts at 11:50pm - very sneaky).     But in the meantime?   It's time for brownies.    

What You Need

1 box brownie mix of your choice, along with the ingredients to make them (Trader Joe's truffle brownie baking mix all the way!)
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 cups of peppermint mini marshmallows

What You Do

Line an 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking pan with foil coated with cooking spray.   Preheat the oven per your brownie mix instructions.     

Prepare the brownies according to package directions and including the peppermint extract.    Bake following package instructions, but remove them from the oven 5 minutes earlier.

Sprinkle the top of the brownies with peppermint baking chips, then the marshmallows and top with the chocolate chips.    Bake for an additional 5 minutes so that the marshmallows get all puffy.

Remove from oven.    If you want them hot and gooey, allow 5-10 minutes to cool and then cut and serve.   To serve as regular brownies, allow to cool, then pull from pan with foil and cut into squares.

If you want to return them to their hot and gooey status later on, just pop them into the microwave for 15-20 seconds before you eat.

Meanwhile In Maui

Santa arrived on Friday via canoe!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Peppermint Pretzel Sticks

Aloha Friends!

We are racing towards Christmas and the inevitable flip of the calendar from 2014 to 2015.   It also means you'll be dating things 2014 for at least a month or two of the new year.     Winter in Hawaii looks a little different than in much of the rest of the country.   It's definitely cooler and people are grabbing their hoodies and sweaters for those crisp, cool nights where it gets down to 65 degrees.

I know, right?

Mom and I went to Oahu for a couple days earlier this month to visit the big city and check out the Christmas decorations.    Waikiki was really in the spirit - there are gorgeous trees in all the hotels and shops.  

All the trees!

When we came back, I jumped into my holiday treat-making with enthusiasm, making some old favorites and trying some new recipes.      If you ever need to make something that looks fun and festive while investing less than 20 minutes, pretzel sticks are the way to go.    Get yourself some pretzels and Wilton candy melts or chocolate/white candy bark from the store and you're in business. Use the appropriate colors or sprinkles for the holiday, sports team etc.   

No oven or stove needed.   Just a microwave safe bowl and some wax paper.

This year I found Candy Cane Wilton candy melts for the first time.    They are bright and minty.   I think dipping Oreos might be a solid plan.    

What You Need

Pretzel Rods (or any other pretzel of your choosing)
Candy Melts

What You Do

Melt the candy melts per the package directions.    It's key that you use low power on your microwave.   When the candy is mostly melted, stir it to melt the rest rather than putting it back in the microwave.      You can dip the pretzels into the candy, or use a large spoon to scoop the melted candy and then roll the pretzels on the spoon (that's what I did).  Put the pretzels on waxed paper to set.  

In a climate with no humidity, candy melts dry super quick.   If it's warm and/or humid where you live, put them in the fridge and they'll be set in no time.

Mele Kalikimaka!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...