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Showing posts from January, 2013

ferrero rocher brownies

My track coach is a very wise man.  He always pushes the point that although painful, the 200 meter dash takes up a mere 30-seconds of your life, and that sometimes, one has to suck-it-up for a little bit to reap serious rewards.



I've applied his wisdom to less painful pursuits than the 200-meter dash -- like getting a pedicure, shopping, and baking brownies. 


My friend Emilia and I treated ourselves to pedicures last weekend.  What could be better than an entire hour devoted to pampering yourself?  I can't think of many things I'd rather do than get a pedicure (except for maybe shopping or baking brownies... keep reading).  Every moment is pure bliss... except for those few minutes at the beginning when the lady scrubs the bottom of your feet with a pumice stone.  I am painfully ticklish, and it takes every ounce of will power to not start screaming/crying/laughing.  But once that's done, I've still got another 45 minutes of bliss to go.


I love shopping for shoes, …

creamsicle cupcakes

This morning, I got a text from my friend Tessa,
"2 hour delayyy! Woot woot!"

At first I thought, "thank god! no school!"

Then I realized that I had already gotten out of bed.
Then I realized that I was going to wear heels, but couldn't now, so I had to re-do my entire outfit to match my snow boots.
Then I realized that I would need more than a long-sleeve t-shirt for track, so I had to repack my entire gym bag.
Then I realized that my schedule would be different due to the delay. So I had to repack my entire backpack.
Then I realized that I was late.

Moments like these remind me why I can't wait for spring, when I can trade my clunky snow boots for strappy sandals,  my long-sleeve t-shirts with breezy tank tops, and my scalding hot coffee with Orange Creamsicles.  

Starting in March, the ice cream truck starts pulling up to my school.  They have Sno-Cones, Popsicles, and ice cream.  However, as a creature of habit, I always get the Orange Creamsicle.

Cr…

banana split cupcakes

Aren't these cute!?


At my track meet on Friday, I couldn't stop showing everyone the grainy pictures of these banana split cupcakes on my iPhone. 

"Hey, look what I made!"
"You can't see it in the picture, but they're filledwith banana pudding -- pretty fancy, huh?"
"Those are real maraschino cherries... in case you were wondering."

... sorry to my track team for being so annoying.  But hey, they should put up with my baking bragging, because I provided two trays of mybutterscotch blondies at the meet.  Sorry, not sorry. ;)



Anyways, since I've already told my track team about them, let me tell you why these cupcakes are awesome.

1) Banana splits are arguably more American than apple pie.  They're also retro, funky, and remind me of fun, colorful diners and jukeboxes.

2) Sometimes, it's too cold for ice cream (ahem, it was around 20 degrees yesterday).  These cupcakes are a warmer twist on a classic cold favorite.

3) The recip…

insanely easy nutella cookies

Would you believe me if I told you that you could make the fudgiest, butteriest, most delicious chocolate cookies on the planet without beating butter or chopping chocolate in less than 20 minutes?  Probably not. But hopefully by the end of this post, you will.

This morning, I had a cookie catastrophe.  Last night, I got home around 10 from a track meet.  I walked though the door and flopped into bed (I was still in my racing singlet).  I woke up around 11 this morning, and realized that I was meeting my friends Bella and Mimi for lunch at 12!  I threw on my leggings, and quickly slopped on some mascara.  Then I realized that there were no cookies. :0

I met Bella and Mimi at ballet school in seventh grade.  I have tons of great memories with them -- gossiping in the locker room, running to Starbucks before barre, and making fun of our ancient Russian instructor behind his back.  We used to play a game to see who could pay attention to him the longest (I always lost).  The three of u…

little bites copycat blueberry muffins

I read Mindy Kaling's book over the summer, and I literally laughed out loud through the entire book. One of my favorite quotes was:
“One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.” ― Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? While reading this, I immediately thought of my friend Emilia. She shares my love of running, baking, and meticulous gift wrapping (her tape and paper collection is bigger than mine -- which is slightly scary ...in an awesome way).  Oh, and just like me, she prefers fresh, zesty lemon to deep, rich chocolate.  She was the inspiration behind these lemon crinkle cookies.

Emilia and I take the subway home together every day from track practice, and we always whip out our phones and compare recipes on Pinterest (we also share a bit of an addiction to Pinterest...).  I often bake little treats to eat in the locker room after track (after 10 x 100 m dashes, we can all use s…

recipe showdown: reader's chocolate chip cookies

I haven't done a recipe showdown in a while, but one of the most interesting parts of Recipe Showdown is receiving your recipes.  Every time I conduct a recipe showdown, I encourage readers like you to challenge the winner with your own, amazing recipe.  Sure enough, I received a lot of feedback on my Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Showdown.  Christi from Burlap and Basil and Little B from Little B Cooks both submitted their own sublime chocolate chip cookie recipes.


My original plan was to first compare Burlap and Basil and Little B's recipes, and then compare the winner of that showdown to the reigning champion (Jacques Torres).  However, a problem arose... the results were split 50-50 even.


I started out with my family -- my mom liked Little B's, my dad preferred Burlap and Basil.  I then moved onto friends and neighbors.  Again, split down the middle.
So ultimately, the scientific method will force me to make each of these again, and then compare them to the reigning ch…

the perfect lunch (lox and rye and brussel sprouts!)

The perfect lunch is different for everyone.  Some may fall head over heels for a big, juicy cheeseburger and fries.  Others might go crazy for a kale and quinoa salad.


For me, the perfect lunch is dark, crusty bread, thinly sliced lox, a big smear of cream cheese, and a few leaves of spinach for color.  I (generously) butter the bread and it gets all crispy and succulent in the panini press.   Heaven.


On the side, I love to have some veggies.  But not just any old veggies -- my famous candied Brussels sprouts.  Some of my friends who normally would never touch a vegetable with a hundred yard stick fell head over heels for these Brussels sprouts.  It's true, and mildly creepy -- almost like those Hidden Valley Ranch commercials where the kids choose cauliflower over popcorn.  These sprouts are mind-bogglingly addictive, in a totally good-for-you way. 

What's your idea of the perfect lunch?
With love,
Erica

Erica's Famous Candied Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
2 cups Brussels…

whole wheat apple blender pancakes

This past week has been pretty tough with exams and all.  I really wanted to treat myself to a big, luxurious, Sunday breakfast this morning, but I couldn't muster the energy to beat any egg whites, slice any bread, or even preheat the oven. Polynomials can really wipe a girl out.


This is a recipe was made for the extremely lazy morning -- the I-can't-even-stoop-over-to-grab-a-bowl-and-wooden-spoon kind of morning.  Dump the apple (peel and everything), some flour, and some milk in the blender, and voila, super cinnamon-y apple pancake batter with the push of a button!


These pancakes are not only embarassingly easy to make, they're also mindbogglingly healthy and delicious too!  They have lots of fiber from the whole wheat flour and apples, and are low in sugar.  So go nuts with the maple syrup!

What's your favorite lazy breakfast?
With love, 
Erica


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 apple, cored and quartered (peel on!)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp…

maple almond granola

This is the best granola I've ever made. 
I am the kind of girl who never makes the same recipe twice, I am always on the quixotic search for the best recipe out there (see recipe showdown).  However, this is my new "go-to" granola recipe (and this girl doesn't do "go-to" recipes!).


So I was telling you all about how I have justified that making granola as vital to my success in school.  I made my honey bunches of oats granola, a few days ago which was very crumbly, aromatic, and perfect for sprinkling on yogurt. But after drilling through 300+ Chinese flashcards, I was craving something with body.  I needed some real, chunky, clumpy granola.  So another batch was definitely necessary.  I tried a few granola recipes that I had lying around the kitchen, but they all turned out crispy and very un-clumpy... :'( I was about to give up and actually do some studying...

Then I found the one. 


This perfectly sweet, and super chunky recipestole my heart at fir…

caramel apple crepes

As much as I've been trying to focus on my exams, all I can think about is breakfast.  My eyes wander into cookbooks and onto blogs -- ogling pancakes, waffles and frittatas. Those of you who follow me on Pinterest know that I've been clogging your dashboards with every single granola recipe under the sun. #sorrynotsorry :)


Since I'm in a breakfast-y mood, let me tell you about those brown butter crepes that I made on Sunday.


The farmer's market in my neighborhood has the best honeycrisp apples ever.  Every Sunday, my dad picks up a huge bag of about a dozen apples (along with a gallon of apple cider).  Sure enough, all of the apples are gone by the following Sunday.  An apple a day keeps the doctor away! My favorite way to have my "daily apple" is slathered in warm caramel sauce and tucked inside a fresh crepe. ;). That should keep the doctor away.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:
1 batch whole wheat brown butter crepes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown …

honey bunches of oats granola

As I sat at my desk, wearing my fuzzy Ugg slippers, with a big mug of chamomile and an even bigger packet of derivations and proofs, all I could think about is how badly I want to be in the kitchen.


I wanted to feel the warmth of the oven on my face, and pound out my frustrations in butter and sugar.  I hardly recognized my yoga pants without two big hand-prints of flour on them, and my camera looked so unfamiliar without any big, buttery thumbprints.  All I wanted to do is bake something.

So, being the savvy procrastinator that I am, I came up with an excuse why I had to get my hands on my Kitchen Aid.


In order to perform well on my exams, I needed a breakfast fit for a champion. Granola sounded good.  Then my inner procrastinator's started to kick in:
Maybe this granola will knock those facts about the Hundred Years War out of me!
Maybe this will power me through that last derivation! 
Done. This granola had to be made. ASAP.
Those flashcards can wait...


So now on to the gran…

whole wheat brown butter crepes

This week is exam week at school, and things are starting to get crazy!  My desk is covered in flashcards, textbooks and binders.  I've been wearing yoga pants for so long that they may or may not be part of my skin.  My hair coils into my signature "messy ballerina" bun... without an elastic.  I hope you all who have been through exams can sympathize.

On Sunday morning, I decided to take a deep breath and have a nice, leisurely breakfast with my family.  Sometimes, I find I just really need a good break (not one of those "spontaneous" hours spent on Pinterest when I should be researching the Hundred Years War...).  
I needed something quick (I didn't have all day to wait for dough to rise or the oven to preheat), and I wanted something luxurious (scrambled eggs 'n ketchup wasn't gonna cut it).  Crepes were the solution.  I have been experimenting a lot with brown butter recently, and can't get enough of that rich, nutty flavor!  These crepes…

vegetarian hot and sour soup

When I'm sick, I crave hot and sour soup.  Since we're smack in the middle of cold season, I am surely not the only one out there with a nasty bug -- so it's the perfect time for me to give you all this recipe for vegetarian hot and sour soup.

Traditionally, hot and sour soup has a pork or beef base; however, I feel as though earthy dried mushrooms and silky pieces of firm tofu make this soup "meaty" enough.  This soup did a fantastic job both in clearing my head and lifting my spirits.  The heat from the ginger and pepper cleared my head and sinuses like a charm!  It's so easy to make that I could put it together easily even though I was still really drowsy from my cold medicine. Just a ton of veggies, some herbs and spices, and before I knew it, I was back in bed, all snuggled in blankets and slurping this yummy soup.  It was so good, I ate it for three meals in a row!


Now I feel super, this soup is not only delicious, but it's overflowing with vitami…