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Showing posts from July, 2012

coffee ice cream

No cooking, ice cream maker, or hassle needed to make this delicious, creamy, coffee ice cream.

It may be disgustingly hot out, not the best weather for hot coffee -- but for those of you in need of a caffeine fix, this is the thing for you! This is nothing like those fake chain store coffee flavors, this packs in a deep, coffee punch along with the creamy consistency of ice cream.
The active time for this recipe is only 15 minutes! A little mixing, a little beating. The only hard part is waiting for it to freeze! My dad is from Rhode Island, and Rhode Islanders take their coffee ice cream very seriously. In fact, coffee milk was named the official state drink in 1993! The Newport Creamery is one of the most famous venues in the state to get a fix of delicious ice cream, or a shake known as an Awful Awful® for "Awful Big" and "Awful Good." If my dad says this is "awful good" coffee ice cream, its the real deal.
With love,

2 cups heavy…

blueberry buttermilk pancakes (guest post)

Today I'm so excited to be featured on Top With Cinnamon which is run by one of my favorite fellow teen bloggers Izy! Since breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day, and since blueberries are in season now -- I decided to share my Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake recipe. A big stack of these fresh off the griddle is the perfect thing to wake up to on a Sunday morning. In my opinion, the ultimate weekend luxury is a big stack of warm, fluffy pancakes covered in a shiny, golden layer of syrup.

Click here to get the recipe!

mall-style mini pretzel dogs

Nothing screams summer like baseball games, giant pretzels, and hot dogs.  Since we're in the height of summer right now, I thought I'd share this yummy, kid-friendly, all-American recipe with you. It’s an all-beef hot dog wrapped in a soft, homemade pretzel and sprinkled with just the right amount of coarse salt. I served mine for dinner with some gazpacho and potato salad. These would make such a fun appetizer for any summer picnic -- plus they're so darn cute!

When I was little, I remember loving "pigs in a blanket" -- hot dogs wrapped in pre-made crescent dough. These take those little piggies to a whole new pretzel-twisted level. Plus, I made mine a little more wholesome by adding some whole wheat flour, and using beef hot dogs from Applegate Farms, which are made with USDA certified organic beef, and are lower in fat than your average beef hot dogs.
There is something so irresistible about a warm, soft pretzel straight from the oven. A crisp, salty crust…

turkey avocado tartine

My mom and I both love Le Pain Quotidien -- a wonderful, Belgian chain bakery and communal table emphasizing fresh, organic ingredients. One of their specialities are tartines, or open faced sandwiches. These open faced sandwiches are so fresh, elegant, simple and fun to eat! Tres francais! They are also much healthier than traditional sandwiches, especially when using only one slice of bread. One of our personal favorites is the Turkey Avocado Tartine.Nutty Dijon mustard, moist slices of turkey, and creamy avocado come together perfectly on top of earthy, whole grain bread. I love Mestemacher Fitness Bread -- it's high in fiber, low in fat, and preservative free! This is the perfect simple, healthy lunch -- full of protein, fiber and healthy fats.
What are your favorite sandwich toppings?
 With love,
Ingredients (serves 2)
2 slices of earthy, whole grain bread (I used Mestemacher Fitness Bread)2 tablespoons Dijon mustard2/3 cup sproutsturkey slices1 ripe avocadoSalt + pepp…

peach cobbler ice cream

I don't have an ice cream machine, and have always shyed away from any ice cream related recipe. However, when I saw this easy method to make ice cream without a machine on Kevin and Amanda, I decided to give it a go... and it has changed my life forever. This method is so easy (just pop it in the freezer and forget about it) and so rewarding (we're making our own ice cream people!). My family couldn't get enough of this stuff, its so smooth and creamy that no one would ever guess that it's not churned. There's no doubt that homemade ice cream is the supreme summertime treat, and there's also no doubt there will be many more ice cream recipes to come now that I have this awesome method up my sleeve!

The peaches at the Farmer's market are perfect this time of year -- sweet, juicy, and not at all mealy. I think we bought around 20 of them! I was planning on making a peach cobbler, but then decided that ice cream would be a happy substitute since these days i…

pesto portobello pizza

Nothing says TGIF like fuzzy socks, some cheerful music, and homemade pizza. If you've never made homemade pizza before, I dare you to give it a go. Homemade pizza dough is so easy to make ahead of time and leave in the fridge to rise-- and it's ready to go when you are! I love being able to customize the pizza to my family's tastes. My mom doesn't eat very much dairy, so I usually make one pie with cheese, and one without. Not only are my homemade pies much healthier (hello whole wheat deliciousness and fresh veggie toppings!), but nothing beats the smell of fresh pizza baking in my oven. It’s Sunday night, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the next weekend. Don’t you agree?
 This is a great vegetarian dish to try out -- all of you meat lovers will forget all about the pepperoni when you taste this medley hearty mushrooms, sweet onions, and peppery pesto. Top this off with some bubbling mozzarella cheese for one of the most elegant and sumptuous pizzas…


It's not too surprising that I love these cinnamon-sugar rolled cookies -- perfectly soft and chewy in every bite. This recipe is adapted from Mrs. Sigg's famous, perfected snickerdoodle recipe, which has been tested and loved by many. It is one of the easiest cookie recipes ever -- and I always have the ingredients on hand, so it is perfect for midnight baking when the supermarket is closed.  Why mess with something so simple and perfect? This cookie has a thin, crunchy cinnamon-sugar exterior and a soft, chewy, melt-in your mouth center -- just the way I like them. If you’re a fan of a more firmer cookie, just let them bake for an extra minute or two. Pop one in the microwave before devouring for a cinnamon-spicy warm treat. Do you have a special recipe for midnight baking? With love,  Erica
Ingredients 1/2 cup butter softened 1/2 cup shortening 1 1/2 cups white sugar 2 eggs …

Starbucks' Vanilla Almond Biscotti

Today I am super excited to share with all of you one of the lovely friends that I have made through my adventures writing Cannella Vita. One of my favorite things about food blogging (besides getting all these baked goodies) is meeting and connecting with so many other people who share my passion for food. Izy is a lovely teenage food blogger (just like myself) from England. Her emails always make me smile, and all of her pictures always take my breath away. Without further ado, here's Izy!

Hiya everyone! I'm Izy, another teen blogger, and I blog over at Top With Cinnamon. I'm super excited to share this recipe with you today, here on Erica's amazing blog :)

I love crunchy, crispy food the most! Fresh grapes from the fridge while they're crisp and juicy, cereal (no milk on mine, I don't want no soggy cereal) and biscotti. Not ones which should come with a tooth hazard warning, but crunchy and crumbly with creamy almonds and a sugar-speckled crust (I…

carrot muffins

My Dad bought a 5 pound bag of baby carrots that was about to go bad, so I had a lot of fun experimenting with various carrot recipes -- carrot cake Lara bars, carrot cake granola, carrot pancakes... but my carrot-fest would definitely not be complete without a real carrot cake! 
This is the famous, perfected recipe by Grandpa Sam, which has been tested and loved by many
I altered the perfect recipe ever so slightly, adding some cloves, allspice and a bit of freshly ground ginger root.
These are extremely moist, tender and sweet, with a rich, warm, spicy aroma. Simply put, the best carrot muffins I have ever had. Delicious with a big shmear of cream cheese. Oh, and these get even better with age, so pop them in the fridge for a while for an even better treat (if you can wait that long!).
What's the best muffin you've ever eaten?
With love,
3 eggs 3/4 cup buttermilk 3/4 cup vegetable oil …

watershed's chocolate chip cookies

This is a recipe from Watershed, a hip seafood restaurant in Washington D.C. In addition to their succulent seafood and hip Southern sides (hushpuppies anyone?), they are famous for their chocolate chip cookies. They serve out countless batches of these soft, classic cookies with a cold glass of milk for dipping -- the ultimate comfort food.
 And let me just say, these are some good cookies. Adding milk chocolate—in addition to the more-bitter dark chocolate—"gives the cookies a little extra gooey texture" says Tom Wellings, the pastry chef at Watershed. To add another flavor dimension, Wellings recommends sprinkling some sea salt on the cookies right before baking. I love the crinkley, soft, chewy texture of these cookies. There are so many overcomplicated chocolate chip cookie recipes out there (bacon chocolate chip cookies? what in the world?). This is a simple, easy, straightforwardly delicious recipe. Perfect with a glass of cold milk.

I am sending a batch of these a…

carrot cake lara bar copycat

Bars are one of my favorite snacks to pack myself during the day, they are compact, non-messy, and delicious! Lara bars are some of my favorite bars to carry around with me because of their simple, pure ingredients and delicious flavors (unlike the dreaded Power Bar!). The one downer about these bars is that they are so expensive (a $2 price tag per bar!). That's why I learned how to make them even better and cheaper at home!
Sometimes I find Lara bars a little too sweet from all of the dates. Although these bars are sweetened with dates (no refined sugar!), dates are not the main ingredient. I used some of the huge bag of carrots (the same one that led to a carrot cake, carrot pancakes, carrot cake granola, and some moist carrot muffins), some spicy cinnamon, sweet plump raisins and some shredded coconut -- and they  tastes just like big slices of carrot cake. 
These bars are moist, dense, and a little bit chewy. They have no refined sugar (naturally sweetened by dates and rais…

carrot cake pancakes

So I told you about that huge bag of carrots sitting in my fridge? I've been going to town making all sorts of carrot treats, like carrot cake Lara bars, carrot muffins, carrot cake granola, and a big ol' carrot cake. But I was forgetting about one of my favorite kinds of cake... pancakes.

These are extremely moist, fluffy pancakes with the warm and spicy aromas of carrot cake.  Carrot cake has always been a favorite of mine, probably because it is usually covered with luscious cream cheese frosting. Although there is no frosting on these pancakes, I made a killer cream cheese and Greek yogurt glaze to slather on top of them. Cake for breakfast anyone?

Plus there are a ton of fun add-ins you can throw in these pancakes, I added some big, buttery walnut pieces, some sweet, plum raisins, and topped it all off with some toasty coconut shavings. These are such a fun twist on traditional pancakes (because some one can only eat blueberry pancakes for so long...)
Do you have an…

five seed almond bars

I love to decipher and reverse engineer recipes -- whenever I taste something yummy out and about, I always say smugly to my friends "I bet I could make this at home for much cheaper." This is exactly what happened when my mom brought home a bag of Five Seed Almond Bars from Trader Joes. If you want to go out and buy these amazing bars of goodness, you can find them in a little white bag near the biscotti, but if you want to make them yourself... keep reading.

These bars are delicious and healthy.

Delicious: These bars are moist, nutty, with just a hint of cloves. They have a satisfying chewiness, kind of like a oatmeal cookie. Their warm, spicy aroma reminds me of gingerbread or spice cookies. Basically these bars are the love child of a gingerbread man and a chewy bar.

Healthy: These bars have 53 mg of omega 3 fatty acids, and each bar has only around 110 calories and is full of delicious, healthy fats.

Have you ever reverse-engineered a recipe?
With love,


carrot cake granola

Yes, I've been going crazy for carrots lately -- carrot Lara bars, carrot pancakes, some carrot muffins and a big moist carrot cake slathered with cream cheese frosting. I can say that my dad's 5 pound bag of carrots was a blessing in disguise, as it left us with a ton of carrot flavored treats.

I always feel ripped off buying granola at the store. Its so expensive, and I can't help thinking "I could have made this even tastier at home for much cheaper" with every spoonful I eat. Plus, who knows what really goes into the store-bought varieties? (even those super-pricey organic ones). Personally, I find the aroma that fills my kitchen when a batch of granola is toasting in the oven incentive enough to make it at home. (check out my tropical hawaiian granola here)

This granola captures the essence of carrot cake perfectly -- full of rich toasty coconut flakes, big buttery pecan pieces, and chewy, sweet raisins . In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if my neighbors…

brown butter cinnamon rice krispie treats

I recently sent a care package to my counselors who led my New Mexico service trip. I sent my Watershed Chocolate Chip Cookies, and my favorite Snickerdoodles. However, one of my counselors had a gluten allergy, and I couldn't leave him out of the fun! That is why I made this gluten free (and delicious) treat.
Rice krispie treats bring back so many childhood memories. I remember in 4th grade we used to get some sort of packaged snack to our classroom in the afternoon, usually raisins or pretzels or teddy grahams. On some occasions however, we would get those big rice krispie treats in the shiny blue wrapper. Those were the days.
This recipe takes the sweet, gooey, crispy treats of childhood to a new level that both adults and kids will love. I love recipes that put a twist on classic food items. These have a nice nutty, flavorful taste due to the brown butter and aromatic cinnamon as opposed to the sickly sweet store-bought treats.
Plus this recipe is fail proof and reliable, i…

nutella swirl banana snack cake

The recipe that I'm sharing with you today is on the verge of magical. It's delicious, chocolatey, hazelnut-y... oh, and did I mention its healthy? Yes this Nutella swirl banana snack cake tastes decadent... and is actually pretty good for you.
Shall we start with the decadent part? The chocolate banana combination is everywhere -- take Starbucks' ever-popular banana chocolate chip coffee cake. What could be better than bananas and chocolate? bananas and nutella. The nutty spread couples perfectly with the sweet banana flavor, and along with a pinch of instant coffee, it takes this plane-jane banana cake to a whole new crazy level.

Now for the healthy part. What's to argue with fruit, a little bit of butter sugar for good measure (cause this is a cake after all),  whole wheat flour, and healthy Nutella (I used the reduced sugar version from Justin's Nut Butter).
This cake is the prefect snack and the perfect excuse to eat cake for breakfast!
With love,


blue corn bread

Simply put, cornbread is delicious. It is the perfect "accompaniment" to countless soups, salads, stews... especially chili. I love how cornbread is the perfect marriage of sweet and savory -- with  crumbly, fluffy texture and sweet, buttery flavor in every bite. Why mess around with something so simple and perfect? This recipe is the most simple, straight-forward, fool-proof cornbread recipe out there. It's delicious, so why fuss with it?
I picked up a bag of blue cornmeal on my service trip to Santa Fe, so this loaf brought with it many memories from my unforgettable trip. Blue corn is also known as Hopi maize and is grown primarily in the Southwestern United States. It is an essential ingredient in New Mexican cuisine. In addition to a beautiful, vibrant color, it has several nutritional perks as well -- having 20% more protein and a lower GI than white corn. It also has a sweeter, nuttier taste.
I love to eat my cornbread with a big pat of coconut butter and a dol…