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The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks athttp://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

I made chocolate frogs using a tempered chocolate technique, as well as some delicious truffles. It was basically awesome.

“Tempering is a method of heating and cooling chocolate in order to use it for coating or dipping. Proper tempering gives chocolate a smooth and glossy finish. Tempered chocolate will have a crisp snap and won’t melt on your fingers as easily as improperly tempered chocolate. Properly tempered chocolate is also great for molding candies because the candies will release out of the molds more easily and still retain a glossy finish.” - Ghirardelli


This was the first candy I made with tempered chocolate. They’re chocolate frogs! I love Harry Potter. haha. I filled 3 with peanut butter, one with honey, one with raspberry sauce I made, and one was just solid chocolate.

Daring Bakers July 2011 Challenge: Fresh Fraisiers

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to
make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

Warning: This post is extremely lengthy, but it’s really not as hard as it would appear. It just takes a while. But the end product is like strawberry shortcake that is infinitely more flavorful than anything you’ve ever had. Or at least, I think so.

I have definitely skipped these challenges for two months, and I apologize. I’ve just wanted to bake whatever I feel like. I don’t even have pictures of this one yet, but it’s good. I’ll add them back in tomorrow I guess. I just need to meet the deadline right now.

The fraisier consists of a basic chiffon cake, pastry cream, and fresh fruit.

I chose to make an orange chiffon cake. It was pretty tasty.

Read more for the rest of the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (270 ml) (5½ oz/155 gm) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) baking powder
3/4 cups (180 ml) (6 oz /170 gm) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) salt, preferably kosher
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon (3.17 fl oz/95 ml) orange juice
3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (3 gm) orange zest, grated
5 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1 gm) cream of tartar

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F
2. Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with parchment paper or foil. Do not grease the sides of the pan.
3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add in all but 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) of sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine.
4. In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, OJ, and orange zest. Whisk thoroughly.
5. Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.
6. Put the egg whites into a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed using a whisk attachment on a medium speed, until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat on a medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat on a medium-high speed until the whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.
7. Using a grease free rubber spatula, scoop about ⅓ of the whites into the yolk mixture and fold in gently. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until combined.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
9. Removed the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
10. To unmold, run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake from the pan and remove the spring form sides. Invert the cake and peel off the parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to four days.

Then comes the pastry filling:

1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) whole milk
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon (1/2 ml) (¼ gm) salt, preferably kosher
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (10 gm)cornstarch
1/4 cup (60 ml) (2 oz/55 gm) sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz/30 gm) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (4 gm) gelatin
1/2 tablespoon (7½ ml) water
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) heavy cream

Directions:
1. Pour the milk, vanilla, and salt into a heavy sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat and scald, bringing it to a near boiling point. Stir occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer add the cornstarch and sugar. Whisk to combine
3. Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
4. When the milk is ready, gently and slowly while the stand mixer is whisking, pour the heated milk down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture.
5. Pour the mixture back into the warm pot and continue to cook over a medium heat until the custard is thick, just about to boil and coats the back of a spoon.
6. Remove from heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for ten minutes stirring occasionally.
7. Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream a piece at a time until smooth.
8. Cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for up to five days.
9. In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes to soften.
10. Put two inches (55 mm) of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
11. Measure 1/4 cup (2 oz/60 ml) of the chilled pastry cream into a small stainless steel bowl that will sit across the sauce pan with the simmering water, without touching the water.
12. Heat the cream until it is 120 F (48.8 C). Add the gelatin and whisk until smooth. Remove from the water bath, and whisk the remaining cold pastry cream in to incorporate in two batches.
13. In a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium-stiff peaks. Immediately fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula.

Simple Syrup
Ingredients: 1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) (2⅔ oz/75 gm) of sugar, flavored or white
1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) of water

Directions:
1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil and let the sugar dissolve. Stirring is not necessary, but will not harm the syrup.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat and cool slightly.
4. Transfer syrup to a lidded container or jar that can be stored in the refrigerator. Simple syrup can be stored for up to one month.

ASSEMBLY

Fraisier Assembly: Components: 1 baked 8 inch (20 cm) chiffon cake 1 recipe pastry cream filling ⅓ cup (80 ml) simple syrup or flavored syrup 2 lbs (900 g) strawberries confectioners’ sugar for dusting ½ cup (120 ml) (5 oz/140 gm) almond paste Directions:
1. Line the sides of a 10-inch (25 cm) spring form pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan.
2. Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers.
3. Fit the bottom layer into the prepared spring form pan. Moisten the layer evenly with the simple syrup. When the cake has absorbed enough syrup to resemble a squishy sponge, you have enough.
4. Hull and slice in half enough strawberries to arrange around the sides of the cake pan. Place the cut side of the strawberry against the sides of the pan, point side up forming a ring.
5. Pipe cream in-between strawberries and a thin layer across the top of the cake.
6. Hull and quarter your remaining strawberries and place them in the middle of the cake. Cover the strawberries and entirely with the all but 1 tbsp. (15 ml) of the pastry cream.
7. Place the second cake layer on top and moisten with the simple syrup.
8. Lightly dust a work surface with confectioners’ sugar and roll out the almond paste to a 10-inch (25 cm) round 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) thick. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of pastry cream on the top of the cake and cover with the round of almond paste.
9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
10. To serve release the sides of the spring form pan and peel away the plastic wrap.

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to
make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

Warning: This post is extremely lengthy, but it’s really not as hard as it would appear.

I have definitely skipped these challenges for two months, and I apologize. I’ve just wanted to bake whatever I feel like. I don’t even have pictures of this one yet, but it’s good. I’ll add them back in tomorrow I guess. I just need to meet the deadline right now.

The fraisier consists of a basic chiffon cake, pastry cream, and fresh fruit.

I chose to make an orange chiffon cake. It was pretty tasty.

Here’s the long list of instructions:

Read More

"Killa Chip Dough Nilla" Ice Cream
Ha, I only wish I could say I made up the name, but I didn’t. I took it from an ice cream place in Estes Park, Colorado. It was just vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookie dough and caramel, but I spruced it up a bit.
So I present to you cookie dough FLAVORED ice cream with cookie dough chunks, mini chocolate chips, and lots of caramel. (The base of the ice cream was based on a recipe by The Kitchy Kitchen.
First off, here’s how you make the cookie dough pieces:
5 tbsp brown sugar6 tbsp sugar4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened1 tsp vanilla3 tbsp milk1 cup flour1/2 tsp salt1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, mix together  the brown sugar, white sugar, and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla  and milk. Mix in the flour until well blended. Shape into small melon balls, and freeze for 1-2 hours. When ready to add to ice cream, cut into fourths.
Here’s the rest:
 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate, chips or chopped (I used mini chips)
 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
 4 large egg yolks 
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
2 cups half and half 
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
 3 tablespoons unsalted butter pinch of salt
Real caramel syrup
 Directions: In a small sauce pan, melt the butter until it is a deep golden  brown color.  There will be little brown bits at the bottom.  You don’t want it too burnt, so be careful and watch closely.  Add half and half and heat until scalding  (not quite boiling). In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until  pale and fluffy.  Take the half and half mixture off the heat, and add a  little to the egg mixture while mixing.  This is called tempering the  eggs:  introducing hot liquid a little at a time to eggs while stirring,  as to not cook the eggs with the hot liquid.   Add a little more (just  over half of the hot mixture total) and the healthy pinch of salt, then  pour everything back into the sauce pan.  
 Heat, stirring very often or constantly, until about 170 degrees,  or until it coats a metal spoon.  As per Joy the Baker, “There’s a point after you’ve tempered the egg yolks, when you’re  reheating the whole custard, stirring constantly, and you’ll test the  concoction to see if it coats the back of a spoon.  Coat the back of the  spoon with custard.  Run a finger down the center of the custard, and  if a line remains separating the two custard halves, then your custard  is thick enough.  170 degrees F is you have a nifty thermometer.”  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and  chill.  Once the mixture is chilled, whisk in the additional 1 1/2 cups  of milk and add it to your ice cream machine.  When it’s almost fully  churned, (3-5 minutes left) add your chocolate chips and  a couple minutes later, your cookie dough pieces. At the last moment, scoop in lots and lots of caramel. Store ice cream in air tight container in your freezer.  Enjoy!

"Killa Chip Dough Nilla" Ice Cream

Ha, I only wish I could say I made up the name, but I didn’t. I took it from an ice cream place in Estes Park, Colorado. It was just vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookie dough and caramel, but I spruced it up a bit.

So I present to you cookie dough FLAVORED ice cream with cookie dough chunks, mini chocolate chips, and lots of caramel. (The base of the ice cream was based on a recipe by The Kitchy Kitchen.

First off, here’s how you make the cookie dough pieces:

5 tbsp brown sugar
6 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, white sugar, and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla and milk. Mix in the flour until well blended. Shape into small melon balls, and freeze for 1-2 hours. When ready to add to ice cream, cut into fourths.

Here’s the rest:

  • 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate, chips or chopped (I used mini chips)
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter pinch of salt
  • Real caramel syrup


Directions: In a small sauce pan, melt the butter until it is a deep golden brown color.  There will be little brown bits at the bottom.  You don’t want it too burnt, so be careful and watch closely.  Add half and half and heat until scalding (not quite boiling). In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until pale and fluffy.  Take the half and half mixture off the heat, and add a little to the egg mixture while mixing.  This is called tempering the eggs:  introducing hot liquid a little at a time to eggs while stirring, as to not cook the eggs with the hot liquid.   Add a little more (just over half of the hot mixture total) and the healthy pinch of salt, then pour everything back into the sauce pan.  


Heat, stirring very often or constantly, until about 170 degrees, or until it coats a metal spoon.  As per Joy the Baker, “There’s a point after you’ve tempered the egg yolks, when you’re reheating the whole custard, stirring constantly, and you’ll test the concoction to see if it coats the back of a spoon.  Coat the back of the spoon with custard.  Run a finger down the center of the custard, and if a line remains separating the two custard halves, then your custard is thick enough.  170 degrees F is you have a nifty thermometer.”  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and chill.  Once the mixture is chilled, whisk in the additional 1 1/2 cups of milk and add it to your ice cream machine.  When it’s almost fully churned, (3-5 minutes left) add your chocolate chips and  a couple minutes later, your cookie dough pieces. At the last moment, scoop in lots and lots of caramel. Store ice cream in air tight container in your freezer.  Enjoy!

White Chocolate Triple Berry Swirl Cheesecake
Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted! I’ve made quite a lot, but I haven’t posted any of it. Anyway, I figured I’d try to get a couple things up. This is not my first time making this cheesecake, and that’s because I absolutely love it. I made this for Father’s Day, and I’ll tell you my dad loves it even more than I do, somehow.
So here goes:
Ingredients:
 1.5-2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (just makes sure you have enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
1 tbsp white sugar
 2 tbsp butter, melted
 12 oz frozen mixed berries (Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
 2 tablespoons white sugar
 2 teaspoons cornstarch
 1/2 cup water
 2 cups white chocolate (I used baking squares)
 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I used 2 regular and one fat free)
 1/2 cup white sugar
 3 eggs
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 1 tbsp sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a  9 inch springform pan. 
 In a saucepan, combine berries, 2 tablespoons  sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5  minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer  to remove seeds. This takes a bit of time and effort, but don’t get too frustrated, it’ll work out!
 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a  metal bowl over a pan of simmering water (a double boiler if you have one. I do, and it’s so handy), melt chopped white chocolate  with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth. 
 In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2  cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and  melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3  tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake  batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the  top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect. 
 Wrap bottom of pan in foil and set spring form pan in a baking pan full of about 1 inch of water to prevent cracking. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Turn off oven and open door, let sit for one hour. Remove from oven, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before  removing from pan. Serve with remaining berry sauce.

White Chocolate Triple Berry Swirl Cheesecake

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted! I’ve made quite a lot, but I haven’t posted any of it. Anyway, I figured I’d try to get a couple things up. This is not my first time making this cheesecake, and that’s because I absolutely love it. I made this for Father’s Day, and I’ll tell you my dad loves it even more than I do, somehow.

So here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (just makes sure you have enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 12 oz frozen mixed berries (Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups white chocolate (I used baking squares)
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I used 2 regular and one fat free)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 1 tbsp sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. In a saucepan, combine berries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds. This takes a bit of time and effort, but don’t get too frustrated, it’ll work out!
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water (a double boiler if you have one. I do, and it’s so handy), melt chopped white chocolate with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.
  5. Wrap bottom of pan in foil and set spring form pan in a baking pan full of about 1 inch of water to prevent cracking. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Turn off oven and open door, let sit for one hour. Remove from oven, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining berry sauce.
Grilled Fish Tacos with Roasted Corn and Pepitas
This recipe is actually really specific, so not much ambiguity here. I forgot about this when I said another meal was my favorite. This might be it. I really love seafood.
1 1/2 pounds firm fleshed fish fillet, 3/4 inch thick (I used mahi-mahi. If it’s not thick, it will fall apart on the grill, so you’ll have to use a frying pan) 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt 1/2 teaspoon paprika 2 teaspoons olive oil 1 ear corn, shucked 1 large tomato, 1/4″ dice 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro 8 corn tortillas 1/2 cabbage, shredded 2 limes, cut into wedges 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
For the sauce (stir together) 1 cup light sour cream 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder (substitute with regular chili powder)
Preheat your outdoor grill. Cut the fish into 8 thick strips, about  1″ wide x 4″. You’ll be using 1 fish fillet per taco, 2 tacos per  person. On a plate or bowl, toss the fish with the garlic salt, paprika  and olive oil. Brush a bit of the oil onto the corn on the cob. Grill  the corn on the grill over direct heat, rotating a few times.
Three minutes after starting the corn, it’s time to grill the fish  for 2-4 minutes each side, depending on thickness of the fish. During  the last 2 minutes of grilling, throw the corn tortillas on the grill,  flipping halfway. The corn, fish and tortillas should be ready around  the same time.
Use a serrated knife to cut the kernals off the cob. Toss with the  tomato, salt and cilantro. Assemble tacos with cabbage, a piece of fish,  a spoonful of sauce, grilled corn/tomato, a squeeze of lime and a  sprinkling of pepitas.
Serves 4
Thanks go to Steamy Kitchen :)

Grilled Fish Tacos with Roasted Corn and Pepitas

This recipe is actually really specific, so not much ambiguity here. I forgot about this when I said another meal was my favorite. This might be it. I really love seafood.

1 1/2 pounds firm fleshed fish fillet, 3/4 inch thick (I used mahi-mahi. If it’s not thick, it will fall apart on the grill, so you’ll have to use a frying pan)
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ear corn, shucked
1 large tomato, 1/4″ dice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
8 corn tortillas
1/2 cabbage, shredded
2 limes, cut into wedges
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

For the sauce (stir together)
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder (substitute with regular chili powder)

Preheat your outdoor grill. Cut the fish into 8 thick strips, about 1″ wide x 4″. You’ll be using 1 fish fillet per taco, 2 tacos per person. On a plate or bowl, toss the fish with the garlic salt, paprika and olive oil. Brush a bit of the oil onto the corn on the cob. Grill the corn on the grill over direct heat, rotating a few times.

Three minutes after starting the corn, it’s time to grill the fish for 2-4 minutes each side, depending on thickness of the fish. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, throw the corn tortillas on the grill, flipping halfway. The corn, fish and tortillas should be ready around the same time.

Use a serrated knife to cut the kernals off the cob. Toss with the tomato, salt and cilantro. Assemble tacos with cabbage, a piece of fish, a spoonful of sauce, grilled corn/tomato, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of pepitas.

Serves 4

Thanks go to Steamy Kitchen :)

Grilled…Array of Awesome Food?
There’s not much of a recipe, here. But it was really delicious, so I thought I’d share. My dad and I just grilled a bunch of red, orange, and yellow peppers, chicken sausage (with peppers inside), and a mixed bag of baby potatoes—red, white, and purple! (the insides were purple too!).
We did season the potatoes with a random array of spices before hand. I believe it was cumin, chili powder, and maybe some garlic salt if I recall correctly.

See? They really were purple! :)

Grilled…Array of Awesome Food?

There’s not much of a recipe, here. But it was really delicious, so I thought I’d share. My dad and I just grilled a bunch of red, orange, and yellow peppers, chicken sausage (with peppers inside), and a mixed bag of baby potatoes—red, white, and purple! (the insides were purple too!).

We did season the potatoes with a random array of spices before hand. I believe it was cumin, chili powder, and maybe some garlic salt if I recall correctly.

See? They really were purple! :)

Most Incredible Banana Cake Ever
I mean it. I love this cake. It takes a lot of prep/cooking time, but every time I make it, it’s entirely worth it. And it gets better every single day, so if you’re making it for an event, I suggest making it at least a day ahead, even though it’s fantastic eaten immediately as well. It’s basically just great all around. And because I adapted it quite a bit from the original recipe, it’s not too unhealthy, either.
Here goes.
 1 1/2 cups  bananas, mashed, ripe (about 3 large)  
 2  teaspoons  lemon juice   
 2 1/4 cups all-purpose   			 flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour (if you  don’t wanna use this, just use more of the all purpose)
 1 1/2 teaspoons  baking soda   
 1/4 teaspoon  salt   
 1/2 cup  butter, softened 
1/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened
 1 3/4 cups  sugar   
 3  large  eggs   
 2  teaspoons  vanilla   
 1 1/2 cups milk (skim or 1% is best if you’re cutting down on fat) with 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 275F
Grease and flour a 9x13 pan
In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with 2 tsp lemon juice; set aside.
In medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, and salt
In a large bowl, combine butter, applesauce, and sugar, beating until fluffy
Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla.
In a small bowl, combine milk and 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice. Let stand for about 2 minutes.
Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately into bowl with butter mix.
Stir in the mashed banana mixture
Pour into prepared pan and bake for about an hour, until toothpick comes out clean. This baking time will vary from one oven to the next. In mine it took about 1 hr and 15 minutes.
Immediately after removing from oven, place the cake in the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake really moist and awesome.
You might like to frost it with cream cheese frosting. It is good that way, but I honestly love it so much I have eaten it without anything on it for the most part. In the picture I drizzled a little chocolate on top too. Honestly though, it’s fantastic alone.
I also like it best when kept cold in the fridge, so I’d recommend storing it that way.
This is, without a doubt, my go-to cake.

Most Incredible Banana Cake Ever

I mean it. I love this cake. It takes a lot of prep/cooking time, but every time I make it, it’s entirely worth it. And it gets better every single day, so if you’re making it for an event, I suggest making it at least a day ahead, even though it’s fantastic eaten immediately as well. It’s basically just great all around. And because I adapted it quite a bit from the original recipe, it’s not too unhealthy, either.

Here goes.

  • 1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe (about 3 large)
  • teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose  flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (if you  don’t wanna use this, just use more of the all purpose)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • large eggs
  • teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (skim or 1% is best if you’re cutting down on fat) with 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 275F
  2. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan
  3. In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with 2 tsp lemon juice; set aside.
  4. In medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, and salt
  5. In a large bowl, combine butter, applesauce, and sugar, beating until fluffy
  6. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla.
  7. In a small bowl, combine milk and 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice. Let stand for about 2 minutes.
  8. Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately into bowl with butter mix.
  9. Stir in the mashed banana mixture
  10. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about an hour, until toothpick comes out clean. This baking time will vary from one oven to the next. In mine it took about
    1 hr and 15 minutes.
  11. Immediately after removing from oven, place the cake in the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake really moist and awesome.

You might like to frost it with cream cheese frosting. It is good that way, but I honestly love it so much I have eaten it without anything on it for the most part. In the picture I drizzled a little chocolate on top too. Honestly though, it’s fantastic alone.

I also like it best when kept cold in the fridge, so I’d recommend storing it that way.

This is, without a doubt, my go-to cake.

Spicy Shrimp and Chicken Linguine
I’m way behind on posting recent meals, but I’ll try to catch up some now. This was dinner tonight, cooked by me and my dad.
I know sometimes people ask for very specific instructions, but I’m sorry to say I don’t generally cook with recipes or measurements :/ I can give you a basic idea, but just use your best judgment.
Ingredients:
Whole wheat linguine, 12 oz.
1/2 lb shrimp, deveined and peeled
1/4-1/2 lb chicken, chopped
Jar of Arrabiata Pasta Sauce, 24 oz.
Italian seasoning
Spinach leaves, cut into fine strips
Oregano
Roasted garlic
Capers
Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup grated
Begin boiling water, and add in pasta, cooking for indicated time (about 10 minutes—until al dente). Meanwhile, season shrimp with italian seasoning or oregano and cook for recommended time—generally about 3 minutes—in olive oil on stove top. Set aside. Chop chicken into small pieces and cook in olive oil on stove until done. Set aside.
While pasta is cooking, pour sauce into saucepan, and add in oregano, Italian seasoning, about 2 cloves of roasted garlic (finely diced of course), a couple tablespoons of capers, and cut spinach. Heat on stove top until bubbling some.
Drain pasta. Plate, topping with sauce, some Parmesan cheese, and shrimp and chicken. Garnish with strips of spinach leaves.
Serves about 6.
*If you can’t find the proper kind of sauce, you can use regular pasta sauce and add in a little extra garlic, crushed red pepper, and some chopped onions. Arrabiata sauce is spicy.

Spicy Shrimp and Chicken Linguine

I’m way behind on posting recent meals, but I’ll try to catch up some now. This was dinner tonight, cooked by me and my dad.

I know sometimes people ask for very specific instructions, but I’m sorry to say I don’t generally cook with recipes or measurements :/ I can give you a basic idea, but just use your best judgment.

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat linguine, 12 oz.
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, deveined and peeled
  • 1/4-1/2 lb chicken, chopped
  • Jar of Arrabiata Pasta Sauce, 24 oz.
  • Italian seasoning
  • Spinach leaves, cut into fine strips
  • Oregano
  • Roasted garlic
  • Capers
  • Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup grated

Begin boiling water, and add in pasta, cooking for indicated time (about 10 minutes—until al dente). Meanwhile, season shrimp with italian seasoning or oregano and cook for recommended time—generally about 3 minutes—in olive oil on stove top. Set aside. Chop chicken into small pieces and cook in olive oil on stove until done. Set aside.

While pasta is cooking, pour sauce into saucepan, and add in oregano, Italian seasoning, about 2 cloves of roasted garlic (finely diced of course), a couple tablespoons of capers, and cut spinach. Heat on stove top until bubbling some.

Drain pasta. Plate, topping with sauce, some Parmesan cheese, and shrimp and chicken. Garnish with strips of spinach leaves.

Serves about 6.

*If you can’t find the proper kind of sauce, you can use regular pasta sauce and add in a little extra garlic, crushed red pepper, and some chopped onions. Arrabiata sauce is spicy.

Linguine with Tuna & Crab Puttanesca
"Linguine Puttanesca" means "whore-like linguine" in Italian. There is some debate as to why exactly this dish got that name, but one of the explanations is its hot, frisky flavor. (Ha!)
Anyway, this dish does have a little bit of a kick, although I think next time I make it I’ll up that kick even more. But it was a healthy dinner with some good flavor, and my family seemed to enjoy it enough to go back for seconds and thirds, and we don’t eat enormous quantities of food.
So! Here’s the recipe: I’ll go ahead and say that the crab meat is optional. I added it in, but it’s not super cheap, and I don’t think you’ll be missing out on a ton if you only go with the tuna. Normally I’m all about fresh seafood only, but the canned tuna tasted just fine in the sauce.
Okay, recipe now. Promise!
Salt & Pepper
12  ounces linguine (I prefer to use whole wheat pasta or at laest the kind that includes a serving of vegetables. Just a bit more nutritious.)
2  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
4  cloves garlic, diced—using roasted garlic from the jar adds a little more flavor too.
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (Adding more next time!)
2  tablespoons capers, drained 
1/3 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives 
20 oz petite diced tomatoes (more or less—I didn’t use the entire big can)
Oregano—just pour some in. You’ll notice I don’t always do measurements. Most of these are approximate, and I apologize.
1  5-ounce can albacore tuna, packed in olive oil 
1/4 cup crab claw meat (make sure it’s cooked already, because I’m not going to mention that in the recipe)
Cook pasta until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until slightly  toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the capers and olives and fry 2 more  minutes. Crush the tomatoes in a bowl (I used a potato masher) and hold on to  the juices (don’t pour in all the excess juice yet). Cook until the tomatoes are slightly dry, about 2 minutes.  Add the extra tomato juice, the oregano, and salt to taste (probably 1/2 tbs? Not sure how much I added, I just poured a bit in. But better to be safe and just wait to add more to the individual plate) and cook  until the sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tuna with its oil,  breaking it up with a fork, and season with salt. Add crab meat, breaking up with a fork as well.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water, and return it to  the pot. Add the sauce and the reserved cooking water and toss. Season  with pepper, and add more salt to taste.
At first bite I wasn’t totally impressed. It was by no means bad but I could taste some of the flavors. However, a little salt goes a long way in bringing out flavor, and a little bit more on the plate really made it great! I’m adding more spices next time because I’m a big fan of spicy, but overall it was a good, healthy meal.

Linguine with Tuna & Crab Puttanesca

"Linguine Puttanesca" means "whore-like linguine" in Italian. There is some debate as to why exactly this dish got that name, but one of the explanations is its hot, frisky flavor. (Ha!)


Anyway, this dish does have a little bit of a kick, although I think next time I make it I’ll up that kick even more. But it was a healthy dinner with some good flavor, and my family seemed to enjoy it enough to go back for seconds and thirds, and we don’t eat enormous quantities of food.

So! Here’s the recipe: I’ll go ahead and say that the crab meat is optional. I added it in, but it’s not super cheap, and I don’t think you’ll be missing out on a ton if you only go with the tuna. Normally I’m all about fresh seafood only, but the canned tuna tasted just fine in the sauce.

Okay, recipe now. Promise!

  • Salt & Pepper
  • 12 ounces linguine (I prefer to use whole wheat pasta or at laest the kind that includes a serving of vegetables. Just a bit more nutritious.)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced—using roasted garlic from the jar adds a little more flavor too.
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (Adding more next time!)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives
  • 20 oz petite diced tomatoes (more or less—I didn’t use the entire big can)
  • Oregano—just pour some in. You’ll notice I don’t always do measurements. Most of these are approximate, and I apologize.
  • 1 5-ounce can albacore tuna, packed in olive oil
  • 1/4 cup crab claw meat (make sure it’s cooked already, because I’m not going to mention that in the recipe)

Cook pasta until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until slightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the capers and olives and fry 2 more minutes. Crush the tomatoes in a bowl (I used a potato masher) and hold on to the juices (don’t pour in all the excess juice yet). Cook until the tomatoes are slightly dry, about 2 minutes. Add the extra tomato juice, the oregano, and salt to taste (probably 1/2 tbs? Not sure how much I added, I just poured a bit in. But better to be safe and just wait to add more to the individual plate) and cook until the sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tuna with its oil, breaking it up with a fork, and season with salt. Add crab meat, breaking up with a fork as well.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water, and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and the reserved cooking water and toss. Season with pepper, and add more salt to taste.

At first bite I wasn’t totally impressed. It was by no means bad but I could taste some of the flavors. However, a little salt goes a long way in bringing out flavor, and a little bit more on the plate really made it great! I’m adding more spices next time because I’m a big fan of spicy, but overall it was a good, healthy meal.