Saturday, March 8, 2014
Oreos have been expanding into all kinds of different and creative flavors. When I was at "the" Walmart (since there's only one here on Maui it gets a title.....just like Costco is the Costco), I saw Lemon Oreos. It reminded me of the Girl Scout lemon creme cookies - and those are hard to find.
Naturally, I added them to my cart. And then I had to have a plan. Because eating Oreos out of the package is not a plan (at least to me....but it could be).
Know what else is a premium on Maui? Lemon cake mix. I found one box and it was not on sale. But the end result were delicious lemon cake bars, so I was happy. And so were my friends.
What You Need
1 box of lemon cake mix
1 stick butter/margarine (I used margarine), softened
10 lemon oreos, broken by hand into pieces
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 lemon juice
What You Do
Preheat your oven to 350. Line a 13x9 pan with foil coated with cooking spray, or spray your pan directly. In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, margarine, and egg until mixed into a dough. Add oreo pieces and incorporate into the batter. Press the dough into the bottom of the 13x9 pan.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the can of sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice and stir until smooth. Pour over the dough in the pan.
Bake for 23-27 minutes. Allow to cool and then cut into bars.
Meanwhile in Maui
Last weekend, I went on the Bamboo Forest hike. Gotta love hiking waterfalls!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Whenever there is hot sauce and ranch (or blue cheese) dressing, my response is always "buffalo it."
Salad. Quesadillas. Sandwiches. Pasta.
Sometimes buffalo chicken is all you want. Without the messy bones or sauce.
And that's where buffalo chicken dip comes in. Put all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and go to town. And then use vegetables, pretzels, chips or even a spoon to shovel the gooey mess into your mouth.
What You Need
1 8oz block of cream cheese, I used the reduced fat kind
1/2 cup ranch dressing....love the bacon ranch dressing from Safeway
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
1 12oz can of chunk chicken, drained, chunks broken into small pieces
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
blue cheese crumbles for garnish
What You Do
Combine chicken and buffalo sauce and heat through in a skillet until warmed through. Break up any of the big chunks of chicken. Stir in the cream cheese and ranch dressing. Continue to stir until it's all cheesy and warm. Add the shredded cheese. Stir until melted. Pour it into a shallow microwave safe container,sprinkle the blue cheese and warm in the microwave until the blue cheese is melted.
If you're traveling with the dip, as I did, simply put in a microwave safe dish or plasticware after adding the cheddar cheese. Keep it in the fridge until you're ready to go, then microwave it when you get to your destination.
What's your favorite dip?
Monday, March 3, 2014
Aloha Friends! I'm sorry to have been MIA on the blog for the past few weeks. A combination of sick co-workers, climbing waterfalls, the Olympics, whales and happy hour may be to blame. I'm also getting ready for my....wait for it....first trip back to the mainland.
Yes. I've acclimated enough to Hawaii that the word mainland is part of my regular vocabulary.
I'm excited to see friends and family, go to Trader Joe's, and hit up stores like Kohl's and New York and Company that aren't on Maui. I'm also probably going to have to wear socks.
I've pretty much given up on socks as an article of clothing except for the gym.
But enough about socks. On to cookies!
I've never purchased coconut oil before, much less baked with it.
Hop on over to check out the recipe. I didn't make any changes or modification this time, since the whole coconut oil thing was new to me. Coconut oil stays solid.....until you get to an average temperature of 75 or more. Since I'm in the tropics, just sitting in my cabinet, the oil returned to liquid. I put it in the freezer to firm it back up, just in case it made a difference in the recipe.
And for those of you who are living places where the winter this year is never ending, like my family in Wisconsin who are enjoying record amounts of days below 0....I hope that March really gets to the lamb stage early. That weather is crazy.
Meanwhile in Maui...
The whales are saying Hi...leave that vortex behind and come visit
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
When you make pulled pork BBQ, you usually make a lot. A whole crock pot full, for instance. It's a great meal for a party or a group.
If you're looking for a way to get that BBQ in your mouth without using a bun, try making nachos. It couldn't be any easier and when you make nachos at home you get only the toppings you want, the way you want them.
Nachos are personal. Getting everyone to agree on the same toppings is a challenge. Olives (eww!). Sour Cream (yay!). Guac (whatev). When you make them at home, everyone (or just you) can pick what they want.
For these nachos, I used both plain tortilla chips and the Doritos Jacked - Chipotle BBQ flavored. My pulled pork had Sweet Baby Ray's Raspberry Chipotle sauce. I topped them with some of the shredded Mexican/Taco blend cheese from the store and drizzled a little more sauce on top. Good to go!
What You Need
Your favorite chips
Your favorite bbq meat
Your favorite toppings (cheese, sour cream, sauce, onions, etc - you are only limited by your creativity)
What You Do
If your bbq meat is still hot, great. If not, you'll want to warm it up in the microwave.
Preheat oven to 350.
Line a cookie sheet with either foil or a silicone baking mat. Make a single layer of chips on the cookie sheet. Top your chips with bbq meat and cheese (and any other toppings that you want to heat up).
Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese melts. Pull out of the oven, put on plates and add any additional toppings.
And now for a little love from Maui. Saturday February 15 was World Whale Day. I went to Kihei to see the parade and go to the festival. There is a sculpture of a whale at Kalama Park....to celebrate the occasion, it had a big whale sized lei on.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Now for something different and shocking:
A recipe that is NOT dessert. Never fear, I also need to share the awesome first attempt in baking with coconut oil, but first. Lemon Orzo.
I've also started to take advantage of all the beautiful flowers that are growing near the house to include them in the photos. I don't know what this pink one is called, but it's growing on a big tree right off my lanai.
What You Need
6 cups of chicken broth (I used bouillon cubes)
1 (16oz) box of uncooked orzo
1/4 cup butter/margarine
the zest of two large lemons
the juice of one large lemon (and if you like lemon flavor a lot - add the juice of the second one...you zested it already)
1 cup refrigerated shredded Parmesan cheese
ground pepper to taste
What You Do
Bring the bouillon to boil in a large covered pan/pot. Stir in the orzo and cook uncovered 9-11 minutes until tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain (I didn't have much to drain....thirst orzo loved that broth).
Melt the butter/margarine in the same pan you used to cook the orzo. Add the cooked orzo back into the pan along with the lemon zest, lemon juice and the cheese. Stir gently until the cheese just melts. Dig in and enjoy while hot.
Greetings from Maui
As you may know, I moved to Hawaii last fall in a transfer and promotion with work. I enjoy exploring a new place and culture and jumping head first into new experiences. So let's share some Maui love, shall we?
This honu (sea turtle) was swimming in Napili Bay last weekend.
Who can resist a honu? Not this girl.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
A week and a half ago, this was the snack mix of victory.
Of Super Bowl victors.
As you probably know, that's not exactly how it went down. This is still the spirited orange and blue snack mix of my "home" team (3300 miles away) as well as my alma mater (4164 miles away).
Fear not. I didn't waste any M&Ms. All the colors were represented, representing peace and harmony, just like the Olympics. I just pulled some of the orange and blue aside for this special bowl.
This recipe is super easy, made in the microwave and a giant bowl. No special skills required. Perfect for your snacking pleasure.
What You Need
10 cups of the Chex type cereal of choice (corn, wheat, rice, your choice)
3 cups mini pretzels
3 cups Fritos
12.6 oz bag of plain M&Ms
2 (11 or 12oz) bags of white baking chips
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
What You Do
Combine cereal, pretzels, Fritos, and M&Ms in a large bowl. Lay out wax paper or silicone baking mats on your counter.
In a smaller microwave safe bowl combine white baking chips and the oil. In the microwave heat the chips and oil on medium heat for 2 minutes (stir after 1 minute) - do NOT over heat. Stir until white chocolate is smooth.
Slowly pour chocolate over cereal mix, tossing with a spoon/spatula so that every piece is covered with chocolate. Pour coated snack mix out onto the wax paper and smooth out to one layer. Wait until it cools and then break it into pieces and store in an airtight container.
In addition to the Super Bowl last week, it was also the celebration of Chinese New Year. Last Friday I went to the celebration on Front Street in Lahaina. The dragons dance and then you "feed" them (red envelopes of money) for good luck in the new year. First time ever celebrating the Chinese New Year!
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I love chocolate chip cookie dough. Seldom do I make chocolate chip cookies. Primarily because I want to put the dough in a bowl in the microwave until melty and then shovel it in my mouth with a spoon.
There's another issue. I've pretty much always been a chocolate chip cookie failure. The cookies always spread real thin. Or look overcooked. Or look undercooked. In Colorado I also blamed it on the altitude...even when I tried high altitude recipes.
Now that I'm at sea level I don't have that excuse. I've also noticed a trend on the food blogs that I follow and that's of using corn starch to create "soft batch" style cookies. And since labeling myself as a chocolate chip cookie quitter is NOT something I'm willing to do - it was time to try again. I used the base recipe from Averie Cooks for her Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies. The recipe (and her blog in general) is awesome. Lots of chocolate is key - you want your friends to say "Are you sure you put enough chocolate chips in these?" I island-styled these by adding coconut and chopped mac nuts as well.
I have now moved from chocolate chip cookie failure to success!
What You Need
3/4 cup of butter/margarine (I used margarine), softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 12oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of dry roasted macadamia nuts with sea salt, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
What You Do
Combine the flour, starch and soda in a medium bowl and whisk with a fork.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until fluffy. Keep that fluffy trend going by adding the sugars and beating for 3 minutes (I actually timed myself since I figured my odds of success were greater if I really did follow the recipe). Add in egg and vanilla.
Add in the flour mixture and beat for one more minute. Stir in the chocolate chips, mac nuts and coconut. I think one of the keys to success in Averie's recipe is scooping the cookies and the chilling them for at least 2 hours. It really helped to keep the cookies in a nice dense shape rather than spreading all over the place. I used a small cookie scoop and made 3 dozen cookies (they were about 2 inches wide when baked).
Once your dough has chilled for 2+ hours, preheat oven to 350. Line your baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. I put nine cookies on a pan and baked them for 8 minutes (4 minutes and then rotated the pan for another 4). Let them cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes and then on a cooling rack until you've either eaten them all or they've actually cooled and you can put them in an airtight container.
What's your most recent recipe success?