Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Simply Simple Meringues

2 egg whites
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat egg whites on high until very white and foamy. Add sugar in three stops. Add the cream of tartar and vanilla with the last of the sugar. Beat mixture until very shiny and stiff peaks.  

Using a teaspoon, spoon dollops of meringue on parchment lined baking sheets while your oven preheats to 200 degrees. When the oven is finished preheating, put the meringues in and set a timer for two hours. When the two hours is up just turn off the oven and the timer and let the meringues stay in the warm oven for a few hours to overnight until they are crisp. They won't burn. They won't go bad. They go very very good. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chocolate Chip Goodness!

Everyone needs a go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies. This one is mine. It is fail-proof, or at least it has been for me!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder (can be omitted)
2 cups chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet, feel free to change)

Beat together oil, sugars, and vanilla until sugars are dissolved. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cocoa. Add to liquids in three batches and beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is preheating, use two teaspoons to form balls of dough and place onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment or foil, or roll little balls of dough in your hands. Place about two inches apart to allow them not to run into each other.

When you put the cookies in the oven, set a timer for 10 minutes. Pull them out and let them cool when the timer goes off. Repeat as many times as needed to get through the dough. It helps to have two cookie sheets to interchange. These cookies become crisp-chewy as they cool. You may think that they look underdone at the 10 minute mark, I promise that they are not.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I want to give kudos to a company in this post. Click Espresso Protein! This stuff is usable in so many ways and it gives you a protein kick to so many things without a ton of added sugar! You can make ice cream with it, I've made no sugar added espresso pudding with it, I make hot and cold coffee and spice up hot cocoa drinks with it. It's so versatile! My Patrick is diabetic and a 911 communications officer, so it has been essential for us to find something that fills him and keeps him energized to do his job while not making his sugar skyrocket or causing energy crashes. This stuff gets it done! They have mocha in caf and decaf, and they have vanilla. We prefer the full caf mocha flavor, it really is delicious!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sometimes you feel like cooking or baking and just don't have ingredients to work with. This is a great time to work out some of the things you would like to make when you do have them. Come up with funky ideas to change the classics. That is what I'm going to be doing right now.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Vows

Do you guys want to read my vows? I've written them, and I don't think I'll change them much. I know it's a long shot for Patrick to write his, but I'm going to read these regardless. I want the world to hear how I feel about him. I want my mom and his mom to understand that this really is forever for both of us. Neither of us believe in divorce. We wouldn't be going through with this if we weren't 100% sure that we could tolerate each other for the rest of our lives should something happen to go wrong. We are realistic about things, and we know that people fall away from each other. He's still my best friend, and I'm still his. Nobody gets me the way that he does, or tolerates me the way that he does. No other chick could tolerate him, so I know I'm good there, lol. (That really was a joke, guys. Sort of.)

'You are the greatest man that I have ever or will ever know. You are the example of what every man should be when it comes to being understanding, patient, reassuring, chivalrous, and kind. It didn't take anything for me to fall head over heels in love with you, and it takes nothing for me to fall for you all over again every day that I get to spend with you. You always somehow manage to make every day as good as it can be. You give me everything I could ever need or want, even when it's unreasonable, just because it makes you happy to see me smile. You're always my number one friend, and I always seem to be yours. You understand almost everything about me, and that's really saying something considering how weird I am. Things may get rough, but we'll both know that we have each other in times that we may feel that nobody else is around. You show me a compassion that is almost limitless, so much that I sometimes find it hard to think that it's possible that I could ever deserve you. It will be an honor, a privilege, and the greatest gift you will ever give to me when I walk back down this aisle with you as my husband. Thank you for you, the good parts and the bad ones. For as long as I live you will know that I cherish you. I love you with all that I am.'
If anyone ever needs supper ideas, lunch ideas, breakfast ideas, dessert ideas, snack ideas...I'm always here. Email me at I check my email daily. I'm here to enrich others' lives in any way that I possibly can, so feel free to come to me. Even if you just want to whine about your day, even if I don't even know you, it's really okay.

The truth is that I plain have no life outside of the kitchen. I chose this life, so don't think that I don't appreciate it. I'm just saying that I really do live in my kitchen or at my laptop. I love to cook and bake. I'd love to teach you how to cook or bake things that you would like to learn. If you have a request for something that you'd like me to put on my blog, or you have a recipe that you'd like me to test and then put here, I'm all ears (or eyes!)...
And another one!!!

Simple Bread, Made Delicous! (You can use this one for cinnamon rolls, I'll tell you how!)

1 pkg yeast (use either active or fast acting, I've used both and both work, I'll explain)
2 cups milk (100 degrees if using plain active yeast and not fast acting)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted (use a little more if you want a more buttery taste!)(can substitute oil!)
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt

Pour yeast into milk and add your sugar to activate and let it sit for 10 minutes if using active and not fast acting. If using fast acting, no wait! Add melted butter or oil, stir. Add half your flour and the salt, mix up some. Add the rest of your flour. Knead for 10 minutes until it's soft and shiny, using as much flour as needed to keep it from sticking to everything(or cheat and use a stand mixer, or dump it all into a bread machine and let it do all the work! I've done all three with this dough!). Oil a bowl and place your ball of dough in it, turning it over to coat it. Cover it with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rise for at least 45 minutes. Punch it down and put it on/in greased pan(s) you're baking on/in. Let rise 45 more minutes, or go ahead and bake it for a more dense bread. I've done it both ways, and both ways were delicious.

The oven temperature that I have found perfect for this dough is 375 degrees. Bake times vary depending on how you have decided to cook your dough. Poke it at 20, if still wet on the toothpick/knife, cook 10 more and re-poke. If still wet, 10 more. When your baking is done and it's ready to come out of the oven, plop the bread out of or off of the pan and put on a cooling rack or a counter top to cool. Don't cut into the hot bread, it may deflate on you, or it possibly will not have completely rested and finished cooking the very middle.

Now, if you'd like this dough to be cinnamon rolls, I'll tell you how to do it. Roughly, anyway. After your first rise (that's the one after the muscle exercise!), punch it down and roll it out onto a well-floured surface. Brush it with butter, sprinkle lots of brown sugar and cinnamon (and nuts and raisins if you like) and roll it up. Cut in inch increments and put into/onto the pan you will cook the rolls on. Let them rise for at least 30-45 minutes and then cook them at 375 degrees. When they are golden brown, they are done. This is generally 20-30 minutes into cooking.

I made sticky buns with this dough also! When you've done cutting up your cinnamon rolls, plop them into a pan that is coated well with spray or butter, brown sugar, and nuts if you want them. Bake the same as the cinnamon rolls, watching for that golden brown color!

If you have any questions, ask me. I know I write like an excited middle schooler.
Let's post some recipes! I'm sorry I've been MIA, I've had a lot happening in my life that has affected many parts of it. Sick kitties, foster kitties, re-homing foster kitties, pending hurricanes, and much much more has been part of it. I'm sick myself, but I'm not going into that. It's better to spread good things than bad, telling people about the bad doesn't affect it.

Citrus Sugar Cookies!

2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup vegetable oil (olive oil works too!)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated citrus rind (I used an orange, you can use a lemon or two limes, or a combination!)
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine eggs, oil, vanilla, grated rind, and sugar in a mixing bowl until well blended. I literally just used a spoon, this recipe is that simple.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl, then add to the egg mixture until well mixed.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto parchment or an ungreased baking sheet and flatten with your hand or the bottom of a greased glass dipped in sugar.

Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven to a preferred place to cool. Store in a container or zipper bag.

These are best once they've sat overnight. If you overbaked by a minute or so, it is especially good for them to sit overnight. They remoisturize themselves! Don't judge the cookie by the taste and texture when it first comes out, I promise that it changes most wonderfully!

Monday, August 20, 2012

I'm raising money to help me pay for excess stomach skin removal to reduce and hopefully eventually eliminate recurring staph infections on my skin. These are very dangerous for me and I know that now is the time to get fundraising started to maybe be able to have the surgery this fall. Please help. I'll bake you whatever you want, promise!

You can donate using the site above or donate through PayPal with the link on my blog. Thank you again!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Banana Bread and Pancakes...Or Pancakes with Banana Bread...Or Banana Bread Pancakes...

I'm starting over. What used to be an idea to share recipes with the world has now turned into it actually happening (again, for real this time). I've missed sharing recipes and ideas with people, mostly because my household is now only two people. I have friends close by that could have been tasting and testing my recipes, but I guess I just didn't have the want or the energy for a while. I'm back in the swing now. 

In the past week, I have baked what seems to feel like endless amounts, though few recipes have come out of it. I have made delicious banana bread, delectable sandwich bread, and chocolate chip cookies that are simply 'to die for'. Here is where I will share my successes and my failures. There have been quite a few successes, and quite a few more failures. 
Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
4 large bananas, mashed
1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans)

Preheat oven to 325°F

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until well combined. In a separate bowl, sift together salt, baking soda, and flour. Add into the butter mixture slowly until all is well combined (I use 1/3 cup measure). Stir in your mashed bananas and nuts. 
Scrape into your medium loaf pan with your utensil of choice and flatten out the top of the mixture. 

Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check if done with a toothpick inserted in the middle. If it comes out clean, it's done. If it comes out with a thin layer of batter, leave in the oven with the heat turned off for 10 extra minutes and then test again. 

When the bread has cooled down to a temperature that you can handle with your palm, remove the bread from the pan by inverting into your hand and set the loaf on a cooling rack. Cut it when you wish, how you wish. I like mine cooled completely when the banana has has time to really permeate the bread. This is an easy bread to bake and give as a gift. It keeps well at room temperature, even better in the fridge. 
I composed (baked twice, failed once) and perfected the banana bread recipe after a friend said it was a favorite. I enjoy pleasing people and I enjoy baking, so requests are always welcome. It posed a bit of a challenge, as I had never before made fruit bread of any kind. 

I have a lovely waffle/pancake recipe that I have yet to add fruit to, only chocolate chips. I think I might consider mixing in some banana, strawberries, or blackberries the next time I make it to see how it would do. I'll post the basic recipe here so you can try yourself if you like. 

Waffles or Pancakes

1 1/4 cup self-rising flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup half & half (can substitute milk if you have to, no worries)
1/2 cup milk (I've never substituted buttermilk, but you could try)
1 egg
2 Tbsp oil

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix together sugar, liquids, egg, and oil. Make a well in the sifted ingredients and add the liquids all at once. Mix until just combined, if you stir until all the lumps are out your waffles/pancakes will be tough and not fluffy. 

Heat your waffle iron or pan (medium heat) thoroughly before use. Use oil/butter/spray just before putting batter in/on your preferred cooking method for prevention of sticking. Cold oil in a hot pan is the best way to prevent sticking with any food, but most of all for eggs or batters. 

If having waffles, follow the manufacturer's directions (adding fillings at the time that you put the batter in the iron...sprinkle, not dollop). If having pancakes, use a cup measure that is the appropriate amount for the pan you are using, and the size of pancake you like (1/3 is perfect for me). Once it is in the pan do not touch until bubbles are developed along the edges of your pancake, then it is time to flip. 

If you are wanting to use fruit or chocolate in your pancakes, now is the time to sprinkle them. If you're impatient, you could always spread the batter onto a sheet pan and bake at 350°F until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (if you're a nervous flipper...or an early flipper...or a burner...)!

Working patiently is key. Slide the very tip of your spatula up under the edge of the pancake to avoid upsetting it over much if your spatula is a bit thick. Once you are under the edge, feel free to slide it the rest of the way and flip. When you poke the pancake with your finger and it bounces back, it is done. 

Place cooked waffles/pancakes on a sheet pan inside a 200°F oven until all batter has been made, or you have enough. Serve them with warm syrup, fresh fruit, or (my personal favorite) peanut butter and jelly. 

This batter stores well for two-three days if you aren't making it all at one time. The waffles or pancakes themselves store very well in the fridge or freezer. Fridge for up to two weeks, freezer up to two months. 

The waffle/pancake recipe is another that I wrote on my own, and had quite a few 'almost perfect' outcomes. The recipe put here makes waffles/pancakes exactly the way that I like them for putting peanut butter and jelly on them.