Sunday, November 29, 2009

Vegan Coconut Heaven

I made these for football night a few weeks ago. THESE. ARE. AMAZING. The coconut flavor is awesome, the frosting is the bomb, and to boot...they are vegan. This is one of those recipes that I am going to make for the rest of my life. I don't need to look for another coconut cupcake recipe. This is it.

Seth even requested this cake for his birthday. I added toasted coconut to the top for both flavor and color. I doubled both the cake and frosting recipe to make a two layer cake. I can't say enough good things about this must try it!!

Coconut Heaven Cupcakes
Source: Vegan with a Vengeance
Yield: 12 cupcakes

1 cup flour
1/2t powder
1/2t soda
1/4t salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup sugar
1t vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine at room temp
1/4 cup coconut milk
1t vanilla
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tin.

Sift flour, powder, soda and salt. In another bowl combine oil, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour dry ingredients into wet and mix until smooth. Fold in coconut. Fill tins 2/3 full. Baked for 20 minutes and cool completely before frosting.

Cream margarine until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla and combine. Add sugar and mix until smooth. Add coconut. Frost cupcakes and devour.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Love My Runner.

This is my husband.

He ran his very first marathon over the weekend. He finished running 26.2 miles in 3 hours and 31 minutes. Out of 7475 runners he finished 1346. In his age group he finished 207 of 686. There were 4365 males that ran the race and he finished 1153. And he has signed up for his next marathon in the spring.

I'm really proud of him. At first I felt envious, like...what have I done that is so great?? What accomplishments have I done?? But then I remembered all the work I do for breast cancer education. The conversations I have with my friends and family about this new government task force recommendation and how red my face gets because I am so angry. I guess I'm not a sucker after all.

Plus, he needs me to be on the side lines of the course! Who else is he going to kiss at mile 6 (yes, he really did stop and kiss me and I loved every second of that sweaty kiss). Who would carry a backpack full of his stuff? Who would massage his muscles the night before? Who would meet him at mile 13 to take his hat and arm warmers and offer him a fuel gel??

Plus, if I ran with him I would have to beat him and I'm not sure I could ever do that.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

I like Mexican food. I was never a big fan. I'm not sure what happened, maybe my taste buds changed, maybe it was my husband's influence, maybe I never really gave it a chance. Maybe I had never had really good Mexican food. At any rate, I do enjoy it and have tried my hand at a few dishes at home.

This is a Martha recipe that caught my eye. One serving has about 330 calories. (Never mind that mound of cheddar cheese) I'm quite sure what Seth thought of these. He cleaned his plate, had seconds actually, but wasn't as vocal of his liking as he normally is. I thought these were really great, I loved the grit of the cornmeal. I served these with Mexican rice.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food
Yield: 4 servings

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in puree
1 jalapeno chile (ribs and seeds removed, if desired), minced
2 small onions, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled (2 whole, 1 minced)
Salt and black pepper
1 can (19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed

Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. In a blender, combine tomatoes in puree, jalapeno, half the onions, and 2 whole garlic cloves. Puree until smooth. Season with salt. Pour the sauce into a 9x13-inch baking dish and then set it aside.

In a medium bowl, combine beans, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, remaining onions, minced garlic, cumin and 3/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper.

Dividing evenly, stuff the poblano chile halves with the bean mixture and place in the baking dish on top of the sauce. Sprinkle the poblano chiles with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.

Bake until the poblanos are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until the sauce thickens slightly and cheese is golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Broccoli Soup

Sunday is soup night at 179. Well, at least in the fall and winter. Who wants hot soup in the summer?!

I had never made broccoli soup before and will certainly be making it again. I love this recipe. You can control the amount of fat that goes in to it and I love the chunkiness of the veggies. I ended up spooning out about a cup of the soup and blending it with the immersion blender. I also added a bit of cheese when I served it. Definitely a hit. And definitely great for leftovers!!

Creamy Broccoli Soup

Source: Cooking on the Side
Yield: 4 servings

4 cups broccoli florets
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken broth, low-sodium, may substitute vegetable broth
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In a large pot bring water and onion salt to boil and add broccoli, celery and carrots. Bring to a boil, drain and set aside.

Sauté onions in butter until tender. Stir in flour to form a smooth paste. Slowly add broth and milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute: add vegetables and remaining ingredients. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until tender.

Can be prepared 24 hours in advance – refrigerate any leftovers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Smores Bars

Do you know who Joy the Baker is? She is fabulous. I wish I could meet her. is a long ways away.

I saw these on her blog and had been drooling over them for about a week. I was home alone one night (the most dangerous eating time for me) and needed something sweet (more like I was bored and felt like making something and then eating it) so I whipped these up. I took one look at the recipe...3 sticks of butter??!?!? Good Gawd! I halved this recipe and it worked out fantastic.

This one is definitely a keeper!

Smores Icebox Candy Bars
Source: Joy the Baker
Yield: 15 bars

3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 14-ounce box graham crackers, lightly crumbled
2 big handfuls of mini marshmallows, plus a handful more for sprinkling on top

Line a 9×13-inch baking sheep with parchment paper, set aside.

In a large bowl, crumble the graham crackers into large chunks. Add two handfuls of mini marshmallows and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter together butter, cocoa, corn syrup and a pinch of salt. Stir and heat until smooth. Once melted, let chocolate mixture cool for 5 minutes.

Pour chocolate mixture over graham crackers and marshmallows. Stir so that all of the graham crackers are moistened by the chocolate mixture. Dump into lined baking pan, and a few more marshmallows on top and press down with the back of a spoon. Cover the top with another sheet of parchment and press with your fingers. Let cool on the counter for 30 minutes, then place in the fridge to solidify for a few hours or overnight. Cut into bars. Wrap individually and store in the fridge.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Smashed Chickpea Salad

This is another recipe that I've been meaning to make for about a year. I first saw this on Smitten Kitchen and thought it looked so simple, healthy, and delicious. Finally this past weekend I made it.

While chopping and rinsing vegetables I thought of my friend who married me and Seth. This is a dish she would love. She was always bringing into work some sort of amazing salad. And for the most part she just did these off the top of her head! For pot luck lunches she would share salads with combinations that I wouldn't think of; always healthy, always delicious. So this one is for you J.M.! I think you will really like it! :)

I ate some of this on rosemary bread and found it to be a little tough to eat as a sandwich. The next day I did the same and ate it open face and that worked pretty well. The last day I added a big scoop on top of my salad and that was great too! Very versatile!!



Smashed Chickpea Salad
Source: Smitten Kitchen
Yield: About 4

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons pitted, halved and very thinly sliced black olives
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Zest and juice from half a lemon
Couple good pinches of salt
A few grinds of black pepper
A few glugs of olive oil (the original is quite oily, like bread-soaking oily, I went a little lighter. Both ways are delicious)

Mix everything but the olive oil in a small to midsize bowl. Very lightly smash the chickpea mixture with the back of a fork or a potato masher. You’re not looking for a hummus-like puree but something closer to a coarse chop with a few smaller bits to hold it together. Add the glugs of olive oil, mix it lightly and enjoy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I often wonder what I'm going to have for cravings when I'm pregnant. My sister said that she liked mustard on everything. Another one of my friends said that on the hottest day of summer she made her husband drive her to the store for baked beans and that they had never tasted as good as they did on that sweltering day. Of course there are the legends of women loving pickles and ice cream during pregnancy. I'm sort of a weird eater in the first place so I'm curious. I will tell you what...I will miss sushi.

I made these homemade Oreos and had to bring a few to my expecting friend Annie. She emailed me later in the day and said she didn't share them with her husband. Of course not!! I made them for her and the little one! They have growing to do and what better way to grow than eat some chocolate.

I have to say, these don't really taste like Oreos. At all. They are delicious...I mean...they are chocolate cookies with buttercream sandwiched between them. How can you go wrong with that?!

If you decide to give these a whirl give yourself some time...they need time to chill.

Source: Food Network Magazine
Yield: 32 cookies

1 1/3 cups Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare the dough: Sift together the cocoa powder, flour and salt in a large bowl.

Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, incorporating each ingredient before adding the next. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces; place one piece between 2 lightly floured sheets of parchment paper and roll into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Refrigerate both rectangles, covered with the parchment sheets, until firm, at least 1 hour or up to several days.

Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut the dough into 64 circles. (You can reroll the scraps once.) Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets and chill for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Bake the cookies until they are set and slightly darker around the edges, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Using a mixer, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla.

Flip half of the cookies upside down and top each with 1 level tablespoon of filling. Press the remaining cookies on top to make sandwiches.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Blistered Cannelli Beans

I went through a phase where I ate these A LOT! Do you do that? Find something easy to whip up and then end up eating it for a week straight? It just tasted so good and gourmet but it is was a cinch to make. Love dishes like that!

Garlic and crushed red know we are off to a good start!

I'm honestly drooling just looking at these!

Blistered Cannellini Beans
Source: The Kitchy Kitchen
Yield: 2 servings

3 15 oz cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili flakes
about 3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
Zest of one lemon

Add the garlic and chili to the oil over a medium flame. Once it starts crackling a little add the rosemary and stir for about 10-15 seconds, careful to not burn the garlic. Add the beans and gently stir to combine everything. Bring the heat up a little, and let the beans sit, getting browned and crisp on the outside. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir, and let them rest for another minute. Pour them onto a serving dish and sprinkle the zest over.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Oatmeal

This has been on my "to make" list for a few weeks. Sunday was the perfect time to make this. Seth wanted eggs before going to work and I figured I could quarter this to feed just me. It worked out perfectly and took just a few minutes to whip up.

This was AWESOME. I used walnuts instead of pecans and loved the crunch. I added quite a bit of milk once it was done...I like milky oatmeal. I am definitely going to be making this more often. This would also be great for little ones. Nix the nuts, use raw organic sugar or no sugar, add some raisins. Great source of vitamin A, fiber, and folic acid!

Pumpkin Oatmeal
Source: Craftzine
Yield: 4

1 cup old fashioned oats not quick cook
1 Tbs whole flax seeds (optional)
2½ Tbs brown sugar, packed
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
⅛ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp lemon zest (I didn't use this)
2 tsp butter, softened
¾ cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup milk

¼ cup pecans, chopped (I used walnuts)
2 tsp butter, softened
1 Tbs brown sugar

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 4 individual-sized ramekins. Set aside.

Step 2: Combine the oats, flax seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Stir well.

Step 3: Zest the lemon.

Step 4: In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla, lemon zest, butter, pumpkin, and milk. Whisk thoroughly. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the oat mixture. Stir until combined.

Step 5: Divide the mixture evenly between 4 individual-sized ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet (this makes it easier to move in and out of the oven.). Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes.

Step 6: Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the topping: chopped pecans, butter, and brown sugar. After the oatmeal has baked for 10 minutes, remove and divide the topping mixture evenly between the ramekins. Bake an additional 7 minutes.

Step 7: Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top with a splash of milk and raisins, if desired.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

These sugar cookies cause me nostalgia. We made these for Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day as kids. I remember sitting on the counter, my sister and brother sitting in the bar stools at the counter and each of us had a big piece of dough rolled out in front of us. It was really fun to pick out which cookie cutter to use next and of course we ended up fighting over the cutters. My sister has my mother's cookie cutters (shouldn't we have shared custody of them?) and I have my own batch. Mine aren't as cool or original but they do just fine.

I love my mother's handwritten recipes.
I'm quite the mess maker.

Normally I would frost these with a fluffy white frosting but I wanted to try my hand at royal icing. I think I tried it in high school with Tina and it was a flop. This time it went pretty well. I did my research and found some great tutorials. This one really helped. The first batch of "flood" icing wasn't thin enough, the second batch was too watery and by the third batch I had mastered it. I had a lot of fun with these.

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Source: My Momma!
Yield: 2 dozen

4 cups flour
1 t. soda
1/2 t. powder
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 t. vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients. Beat butter and egg with paddle attachment until fluffy. Add egg, sour cream and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients. Chill dough at least one hour. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

I like to freeze half of the dough for another time.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dead Bread

El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated today, November 1st in Mexico. I'm no expert but it sounds like today they celebrate kids and then tomorrow they celebrate those that have passed. Thanks Wikipedia.

I've been meaning to try this recipe for over a year. We had a rainy weekend and the timing was perfect to get this done in time for Halloween and Day of the Dead (no relation). My major tip for this is to make sure you put the "skull" really close to the crossbones because as the whole thing rises the "skull" will move. So mine sort of looks like a blob and an X. Eh. I love this bread toasted. It is slightly sweet...sort of like a porteguese bread. I brought one loaf into work and it was a hit. Slightly over shadowed by the homemade Oreos but I think it held its own.

Pan de los Muertos
Source: CHOW
Yield: 2

1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon anise seed
1/2 ounce (2 packets) active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk beaten with 2 teaspoons water

Combine sugar, salt, anise seed, and yeast in a small mixing bowl. Heat milk, water, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is just melted; do not allow it to boil. Add milk mixture to dry mixture and beat well with a wire whisk.

Stir in eggs and 1 1/2 cups of the flour and beat well. Add remaining flour, little by little, stirring well with a wooden spoon until dough comes together.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured wooden board and knead until it is smooth and elastic, and no longer sticky, about 9 to 10 minute . Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow it to rise in a warm area until it has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Punch down dough and divide into 2 pieces. Cut 3 small (about 1-ounce) balls from each half and mold them into skull-and-bones shapes. Shape large balls of dough into round loaf shapes, and place skull-and-bones on top. Place breads on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let rise another hour.

Brush loaves with egg yolk mixture and bake. Halfway through baking, about 20 minutes, remove loaves from oven and brush again with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. Return to oven and bake until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, about another 20 minutes.