Thursday, August 28, 2008

Brownie's Brownies

I'm going to visit a friend of mine tomorrow who's nickname is Brownie. Well - she loves chocolate - I think that is an understatement. And, her birthday is coming up (within 2 weeks). So, since her husband is working tomorrow night we are going to watch movies, eat dinner, and then eat these wonderful brownies. I hope she has some ice cream to go with it! :)

Brownie's Brownies
2 T water
3/4 cup sugar
6 T unsalted butter
6 squares semi-sweet Baker's chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs (one at a time)
3/4 cup flour
3 pinches salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips/chunks

Heat 1-3 over medium heat until melted and boiling. Take off heat and stir in chocolate squares until smooth. Add in vanilla and then eggs, one at a time. Add in the dry ingredients and then fold in the chocolate at the end. Heat oven to 325 and bake in lightly greased 8x8 pan. Cook for 26 minutes (give or take depending on how gooey you like your brownies).
Enjoy with some ice cream.
The thing I love about these is that they aren't too sweet. Most brownies are too sugary sweet for me - these are a great blend.
And they may be a little more expensive then a boxed brownie, but they take under 10 minutes to prepare and they are so much better. Use GOOD Chocolate!
Lisa - I'll be there tomorrow - I hope you enjoy them. Happy Early B-day and thanks for letting me stay at your house! Love you - and I'm so excited for bonding time!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Whole Wheat Zucchini Craisin Muffins

Even with a non-working food processor - these still turned out pretty good. Zuks are in season right now so you can get them everywhere. What a great thing to use them for. And this recipe makes 12 (larger) regular muffins - yummy.

Whole Wheat Zucchini Craisin Muffins

3 cups grated fresh zucchini (I used 3 medium zuks)
1 1/3 sticks melted unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 t water
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup craisins

Beat the sugar and eggs, add in the slightly cool melted butter, water, and vanilla. Mix in the shredded zucchini. Sprinkle with soda and salt. Add in the flour and spices. Fold in craisins.
use a 12-cup muffin tin, sprayed with pam, bake for 25 minutes or until done at 350.
Enjoy! :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fresh Veggie Night

I love vegetable nights! Growing up we would often have vegetable Saturday - where we would go to John's and get some veggies and have them for lunch.
Last night Tracy came over and she brought makings to make a wonderful sauce for some whole wheat pasta: eggplant, zuks, squash, 3 peppers, onions, asparagus, tomatoes, basil. Really yummy - Thanks Tracy!
I made a wonderful salad from Foster's Market and some roasted peaches also from the same cookbook. We had some homemade Italian Bread to go with the pasta.
Roasted Corn, Avacado, Tomato and Mozzerella Salad2 ears of corn (soaked for 10 minutes minutes in cold water in husk), roasted at 400 for 25 minutes
1/2 large avacado
1/2 pint cherry or pear tomatoes
fresh mozzerella
Lemon vinaigrette
Put it all together on mixed greens!
It was a great evening of cooking, eating, walking, sweating (it was hot here in the ville), peaches and cream, and M. Night movie: Signs!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese Salad

Last night was a perfect opportunity to try this salad. I've seen many blog posts on this but never a recipe, so I just kinda went with it.

Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese Salad (6 appetizer salads)

2 bunches beets, peeled, chopped, roasted (olive oil, s/p, 400, 25-35 minutes)
goat cheese (1 small package, whichever one your knowledgeable Whole Foods cheese person picks out) - one of my new fave cheeses! Dr. W says it goes great on an omelette - so I will try that soon!
greens (your choice)
I used a lemon herb vinaigrette, but use a tart dressing

This salad was good. The only thing I would have changed was use a different dressing - or chop the herbs up more fine. But the contrast of the sweet (beets), salty and creamy cheese, and tangy dressing was great. Our tastes change over time. I never would have eaten beets with anything when I was younger. My salads were iceburg, tom, cuk, and cheddar cheese. Now, I never purchase iceburg, like different color grape or pear tomatoes (yellow pear are my faves), seldom put cuks on my salad and use all types of cheese. Usually beets, nuts, chick peas, craisins, toms, romaine or spinach, raisins, pumpernickel croutons (like at Ruby Tuesdays), red onions, that all makes for a great salad!

New Baby Peach Cobbler

Well, as many posts were last week on peaches - I had to use the rest of them. I was sad to see them go, but this was a great cause. My friend Chris and Mindy had Baby Rylee on Friday, so I brought them a peach cobbler on Monday! (There is a Popeye character that says something like that!)
Peach Cobbler (adapted from Betty Crocker)
1/2 cup sugar
1 T cornstarch
sprinkle of cinnamon
7 medium-small peaches, unpeeled, slice
juice of half of a large lemon
scant 1/4 cup crisco
1 cup flour
1 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

Bring peaches and syrup (all above peaches and lemon juice) to a boil over medium heat. Pour in ungreased casserole (2 qt). Then mix up the cobbler part and dollup over peaches. Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes. Take out and sprinkle with more cinnamon. Serve warm with ice cream!
Chris said it was good - so I'll take his word on it! :)
Congrats Chris and Mindy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sundays are MADE for Breakfast

I love going to church at night. That affords me things I haven't been able to do in the past on Sundays: prepare for church, sleep in a little, not have a rushed morning, and enjoy a great breakfast.

I love Sarah Foster. She is the chef/owner of Foster's Market in Durham and Chapel Hill. I like the Durham restaurant better because of the outside seating and the fact that Sarah is at that one more, plus it was only abou 1 mile from where I lived. Her cookbook, Fresh Every Day, is seasonal and simple - and a lot of recipes she uses in her restaurant! made my first Toad in the Hole. I know simple, but yummy.

1 egg

1 piece of bread (I only had whole wheat no added sugar, but any would be great)

olive oil, butter (tsp of each)


Heat oil and butter (I probably used too much olive oil - I need to even it out for the taste next time). Heat bread, dump egg in a hole created by a cup or something (cut out). Cook for about a minute on the first side, then flip. Cook till desired doneness of egg. I never used to like mine runny, but it isn't that bad.

Then I had one of my peaches and tomatoes, some milk, water, and read in the Proverbs to help prepare for church tonight.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fridge Pizza and Pasta Night

Ok - so...its not quite for a day ending in Weight Watchers, but so yummy and fresh and healthy!
1 whole wheat pita
1 T tomato paste
oregano, garlic powder, pepper
sliced fresh mozz balls
2 slices fresh tomatoes

Broil till cheese is melted! :)

Pasta was some leftovers I had made. Whole wheat pasta, lean ground beef, shredded onions and carrots, almost a can of tomato sauce, and some 2 % cheese. It is so good for leftovers - I have enjoyed it much more as leftovers than last Sunday when I just made it.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Tex-Mex Flat Iron Steak

I don't grill that often, but I found a recipe in a Weight Watchers cookbook, and found this piece of steak on sale - so why not? My Le Creuset grill pan has gotten a lot of work this summer, and I'm getting better - but still not as good as Alan at the outdoor grill! My friend brought some fresh green beans and caprese stacks (tomatoes, mozz, basil with a delicious balsamic, evoo, sugar, basil sauce - thanks Lisa).
3 T tomato paste
1 chili in adobe
2 T adobe sauce
1 tsp cumin powder
3 pinches kosher salt
zest and juice of one lime
1 lb flat iron steak
Take all and put in a big ziplock bag, marinate over night. Grill in a hot pan with olive oil for about 6 min on each side for medium (like in pictures). Alan would have flipped out if he saw me eating steak this raw - but it was yummy! I wish I could have gotten the marinade more even on the meat, but one end of the meat definitely had more of the "kick" then the other. But, it was good. Flat iron is a tender cut of meat as well - also tenderized with the acid from the tomatoes and lime juice.

Peaches and Cream Amaretto

Fresh peaches are delicious. I got about 10 lbs today from Hubers. A friend was coming for dinner, so I created a dessert! It was inspired by Bananas Foster (which is an amazing dessert), but I actually like this one better, I think. The different textures were great and the flavors were incredible!
2/3 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup amaretto (almond liqueur)
2 T slivered almonds
2 fresh peaches, sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
Vanilla frozen yogurt
Melt butter over med-high heat. Once melted, add in brown sugar. Add cinnamon, almonds, and peaches. After cooking some (3-4 minutes), add in amaretto. Let concentrate over medium heat.

For plating: spoon some of the syrup on bottom of bowl. Then a scoop of ice cream. The cover with peaches and more syrup. Top with almonds.

Incredible! :) Lick the plate good!

Monday, August 04, 2008

"Blondies" Do Have More Fun

I am a brunette, and the girl I am making for is a brunette - but these blondies are amazing. I've never made them - but after tonight - they will become a staple. I don't particularly love brownies - I mean they are good, but I can pass. I can rarely pass up a homemade chocolate chip cookie. These are a mix.
This is a Better Homes and Garden recipe. Not too time consuming and are incredible. It almost takes like you are eating a piece of caramel and chocolate - which I love both! :)

2 cups brown sugar (packed)
10 2/3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup ss chocolate chips

350, greased.
heat (on about 3) brown sugar and butter till smooth. Make sure it doesn't burn. It doesn't take very long, but it is mind-consuming. Let it cool. Add vanilla and eggs (one at a time). Add the dry ingredients. Pour into a 13x9 prepared pan. Cover with 1 cup chocolate chips. Bake for 40-45 minutes until done. Cut and enjoy! :0

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Birthday Cheesecake Brownies

I really should know this - never try new recipes for a friend's birthday, when its hot, and you are trying to get skype to work on your computer.
Oh, well.
Brandi - I hope you had a fantabulous birthday. TCF has much more to brag about their cheesecake.
I made this recipe and they looked great, so I said why not? Brandi loves cheesecake - so how bad can chocolate and cheesecake be? Right?
Well, the cheesecake doesn't end up this high in comparison to the brownie. I love the brownie part. It is very rich. I actually used 3 oz of dark chocolate instead of just 2. But I did everything that the recipe said. I didn't hear my buzzer go off the second time, so they probably cooked 3-4 minutes too long. The ratio is too much brownie, not enough cheesecake. Good thing the brownie is good.
They taste good, they just aren't perfect and amazing. So Brandi - know that I can bake better for this - and this will just mean that I'll have to make something else cheesecake for next year's birthday - and there are just a few days before that for me to redeem myself. I hope you enjoy them!

Mushroom Chicken Soup

Yes, it is 95 degrees outside, no A/C inside and I am making soup. I love soup!
Anyway, I got the idea for this from Cooking Light. But, ended up changing it quite a bit - and absolutely love it. It will become one of my favorite soups to make - right behind the WhitePlains Chili and White Chicken Chili. Enjoy!

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 med onion, chopped
3/4 cup carrots
3/4 cup celery
1 regular can of sliced mushrooms (not the small can)
olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp each oregano, celery seed
2 cups water
32 oz homemade chicken broth (much more flavor)
scant 1/4 cup cooking sherry wine
1 6 oz box Uncle Ben's Whole Grain and Wild Rice, mushroom version
3 cups chopped cooked (boiled) chicken

Saute veggies in oil about 5 minutes. Add flour and seasoning, coat. Add in liquid and rice (and flavor packet). Cover and let cook until rice is almost done. Add the chicken. Cook until rice is done and chicken is heated.
This is so yummy - even at the beginning of August! :)