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Showing posts from November, 2012

sweet potato doughnuts

When I saw the pictures of these sweet potato doughnuts on Fifteen Spatulas, I had to make them.  Hers looked so fluffy and gorgeous -- just like this fluffy orange kitchen sponge that I love.

When it comes to doughnuts, health isn't really a selling point.  If I want healthy for breakfast, I'd rather grab some Greek yogurt or egg whites rather than some cardboard-like healthy imposter of a doughnut.

But these taste amazing, like fluffy, sweet, doughy orange clouds and just happen to be way healthier than your average doughnut. Sweet potatoes just happen to be full of beta carotene and other antioxidants.  These just happen to be delicious with just a few tablespoons of butter in the batter, and just happen to be baked, not fried.  They also just happen to be dunked in butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar.  So we have nothing to worry about.

My dad's a total traditionalist and I was worried he wouldn't be too keen on a doughnut with a vegetable in it.  I was pleasantl…

compost cookies

I recently made white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (recipe soon!), and the recipe called for 2 cups of chocolate chips.  I carefully measured 2 cups of white chocolate chips... and was left with a sad little quarter cup left in the bag. 
My pantry is overflowing with similar crumbled bags with just a smidgen of their contents left. 
Just under a 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips (a.k.a. not enough to make butterscotch bars)A rolled up bag of potato chips from my dad's lunch at Subway. The bottom half of a roll of Ritz crackers (no longer crunchy).A handful of craisins leftover from my cranberry bliss bars.A half eaten box of animal crackers The list goes on and on... and my kitchen cabinet seems to get smaller and smaller.  There's nothingI hate more than wasting perfectly good ingredients... but I've also never experienced frustration quite like having no room to put the sugar away when my hands are covered in butter. Behold the compost cookie. 


Throw all of your potato c…

everyday vita: thanksgiving

This year, my family and I spent Thanksgiving in Newport, Rhode Island, my dad's hometown. 
The journey got off to a great start.  We were an hour early for our flight (unlike last time where we literally ran through the gate).  Even better, there was a brand new Pinkberry in the terminal. I'm not the biggest fan of Arby's and Panda Express (airport staples), so this frosty, coconut-mango goodness put me in a great mood!


I was carrying two pumpkin chocolate chip loaves, a loaf of orange cranberry bread (recipe coming soon!), a huge Ziploc of cornbread cubes (for my apple cornbread stuffing), and a big panettone (also for my stuffing.  Just for the record, panettone works wonders in stuffing -- those sweet, citrus-y notes of panettone along with apples, cranberries and heavy cream are to die for.

Thank you TSA for not taking my baked goods from me.

Soon after we landed in Newport and said our hellos, the cooking commenced.

I made Julia Child's simple cranberry sauce. (…

recipe showdown: sweet potato casserole

I thought it would be a good idea to try four very different recipes for this showdown. However, each of these recipes were very good in its own way.  I'm not saying that to be diplomatic.  Just like their is a perfect outfit for every occasion, there is a perfect sweet potato casserole for every occasion. Here's the lowdown.
Martha Stewart's Sweet Potato Casserole:
Perfect for kids, with a beautiful presentation that adults will enjoy as well!
Martha's sweet potato casserole has a very simple base (just sweet potatoes, milk, and a dash of salt and pepper). But it's topped with a big, bubbly layer of toasted marshmallows.  It is by far the prettiest of the four casseroles -- the toasted marshmallows look so enticing and beautiful on the table!

Ruth's Chris Sweet Potato Casserole:
Oh. My. God. This sweet potato casserole is knock-your-socks-off tasty.  The buttery, brown sugar topping gets all crispy and delightful.  My mom said she is still thinking about this …

thanksgiving menu

Sides:
 Apple Cornbread Stuffing The perfect side, with an irresistible balance of sweet and savory
Custard Cornbread This take cornbread to a whole new level!
 Desserts:
Crunchy and Custardy *Apple* Tart Instead of a traditional apple pie, I plan on making my crunchy custardy tart with apples instead of peaches.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie Need I say more?

Pumpkin Spice Bread I am going to sprinkle this with Pumpkin seeds. We can have this for breakfast the following morning.

apple cornbread stuffing

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I've been busy planning my menu for a while now.  I've already found the perfect cornbread, we've ordered a turkey, I have six pie crusts in my fridge... the only thing left is the stuffing! Stuffing has always been my favorite Thanksgiving dish, so this year, it better be good.  We usually make stuffing from a mix, but  I want to make homemade stuffing this year.  I was getting frustrated finding a recipe that measured up to Kraft's Stove Top Stuffing Mix.  The recipes that I tried all have either too much chicken broth, are to mushy, or are too oily.


Luckily, this one is different.  It's not a traditional stuffing (i.e. you can't actually stuff a turkey with it), but boy is it good. It's technically a bread pudding, but when served in a casserole dish, it can totally pass for stuffing. It is a wonderful medley of sweet and savory flavors.  Apples, fluffy bread, and whipping cream complement sage, cornbread and …

twix fudge swirl ice cream

I asked you all on Twitter what I should do with all of my leftover Halloween candy.  While I was dreaming up wacky recipes that would most likely end up in the garbage disposal (crunch bar souffle anyone?), SLC Foodie recommended I chop them into brownies or fold them into ice cream.  I stopped calculating how I could brulee Almond Joys and remembered that sometimes, the simplest things are best.  As a self-proclaimed foodie, I am always yearning to try the newest, craziest, most labor-intensive recipe.  But often times a simple slice of avocado toast is better than avocado-bread-pudding-supreme (ew...), and a grilled cheese from a frying pan is always better than a "gastronomically engineered" one.  Another word of wisdom before you go off and make this ice cream:

Almost everything tastes better when swaddled in whipped cream and condensed milk.

Now let's get churnin'.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream
1 (14 oz.) Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Mil…

chicken tortilla soup

Who said comfort food can't be healthy?
Yeah, I know I kicked off my series of "comfort" recipes with the quintessential butter-and-cheese-laden maceroni and cheese casserole
But I think you all deserve a little bit of comfort everyday, not just on mac-and-cheesy days.
So I came up with this soup.


It's full of nutrients, vitamins, lean protein, light chicken broth, warming spices.
Oh yeah, and it tastes like a fiesta!
This soup is so hearty and satisfying, it could be a meal on its own. But tonight, I decided to make some fun sides to accompany it.

I fried some plantains in coconut oil.  I also tossed some extra tortillas into the oil to make homemade tortilla chips.  I cannot emphasize how much I love cooking with coconut oil, it adds such a rich, subtle sweetness to everything it touches.  I served it all with my favorite Peach Mango Salsa and some fresh guacamole from the store.

A healthy, delicious dinner that warms the soul. What more could a girl want?

With …

panettone

I love preparing breakfast the night before.  There is nothing better than going to bed knowing that there is a super delicious breakfast waiting for me in the fridge... especially when that breakfast is this Italian panettone.

Panettone originated in Milan, and is traditionally eaten around Christmastime. Many traditional panettone recipes are very labor intensive, but this one is quite simple, and just takes a little bit of planning ahead.  I throw in whatever dried fruit happens to be in my pantry -- this time I had cherries, cranberries and some golden raisins.

This is going to be my go-to breakfast when we have guests over this holiday season.  I can make the dough the night before, and everyone can wake up to the sweet smell of freshly baked bread (and I won't have to wake up early to knead anything!).   I may even make it in double batches so that I can have leftovers. This would make some delicious french toast.  I even found some very cool recipes for panettone stuffing

recipe showdown: baked mac and cheese

Most of the trees in my neighborhood have lost their leaves.  I have to wear a coat to school everyday.  I've swapped my iced chai teas with pumpkin spice lattes.
What does this all mean?  It's time to whip out comfort food recipes!
Nothing hugs the soul on a chilly day like buttery, cheesy goodness.


I can't think of anything more "comforting" than a bowl of buttery noodles, swaddled in gooey cheese and topped with toasty bread crumbs.
I have a bunch of comfort recipes up my sleeve (mainly because they all look oh-so enticing when they pop up on my Pinterest board).  However, mac-and-cheese is the ULTIMATE comfort food, so I had to get this recipe out to you before Thanksgiving rolls around!

I tried recipes from some of my favorite blogs: The Cooking Actress, Martha Stewart, Brown Eyed Baker, and A Cup of Jo.
The winner of this Showdown was the Cooking Actress' Brown Butter Mac and Cheese. It won me over with that lovely, nutty aroma of brown butter.  I got…

everyday vita: the eternal weekend

We had parent teacher conferences last Thursday and Friday, and I had the best, most leisurely 4-day weekend ever.
It was chilly on Wednesday.  I wandered over to Whole Foods with a huge, chunky scarf wrapped tightly around my head.  Honestly, I think that I could spend the rest of my life at Whole Foods and never get bored.  I would spend my days contemplating different types of frozen veggie burgers and perusing the seemingly endless varieties of granola.

I unearthed a gem in the dairy section: Vermont cultured butter with sea salt and maple.  This butter is so good, I ate you could just eat it plain in little slivers.  The maple and the sea salt provide the perfect balance between sweet and salty.  Bliss.

Thursday morning my parents were at parent teacher conferences.  I woke up around 10 o'clock and fixed myself a nice breakfast.  The fact that I was eating alone didn't stop me from making something a little bit fancy! I made an egg white omelet with Parmesan and spinach …