Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cookie Butter Swirl Brownies

If you didn't see my first post about pumpkin cookies with cookie butter, then welcome to the magical world of Speculoos cookie butter!  Now I wouldn't go as far to say it's better than peanut butter, but cookie butter does give it a run for it's money.

I promised you I'd do some baking soon and even though it's no one's birthday just yet, I baked.

I used this Alton Brown recipe for cocoa brownies.  I know, I know, Alton Brown's name conjures up images of dirtying a dozen kitchen utensils and prepping for countless hours.  This recipe is not like that at all, I promise.  Of course the one extra step he asked for (sifting the dry ingredients) I opted out of.


For the cookie butter swirl, I melted about a cup of it in the microwave until it was soft enough that I could pour it.  Then I had a blast swirling it around with a knife.  I made this adorable heart.  It symbolizes my love for cookie butter and brownies and you.


Now get this, this picture was taken in the darkness of night!  Thanks to my lightbox studio! Wooohooo!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Roasted Vegetables and Polenta

I'm sorry I made you wait so long to see what I've been cooking and all I've got for you is another polenta recipe.   To make matters worse I only took one picture of the final product!  I am so sorry, I've failed you all.

I will describe what I did to create this lovely dish.  I roasted up a large tray of zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, onions, garlic, and carrots.  The veggies got sprinkled with olive oil, Italian seasonings, salt, and pepper.  For the polenta, I mixed in a hearty helping of parmesan cheese.


I really feel like I've been failing this blog lately.  I need to get back on my cooking schedule and it needs to be someone's birthday so I can bake something dammit!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brewery Ommegang

Sorry kids, I haven't been cooking a whole lot lately.  One reason is I went on a super awesome weekend get away with my family.


We traveled to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and made a pit-stop on the way home at Howe Caverns.  I would highly recommend both of these places.  They impressed and fascinated me.  If you happen to want to take an upstate New York vacation check out these two joints.


Our third event of the weekend was not to be outdone by the majestic sites at the Hall of Fame and Howe Caverns.  We went for a tour, tasting, and lunch at Brewery Ommegang.  I'm not going to tell you the tale of how terrifyingly hungry we were, the foul moods we were in, the crowded space, and the long wait.  I'm going to focus on the positives here.  Because I will say in the end, it was worth it.


I mentioned how scary hungry we all were.  That being said, we started the meal off with 3 orders of Belgian frites.  Since each order came with 2 sauces, we got to try all 6 they had available: garlic aioli, truffle-soy aioli, spicy chili aioli, Abby Ale and cumin ketchup, and my personal favorite, mustard with Witte Ale and honey.


I ordered the chicken and waffle: fried chicken on a Liege waffle with a vanilla and pepper sauce and strawberry jam.  I will let you know that this was most likely the most delicious chicken and waffle I've ever eaten.  Seriously amazing and I ate every last bite of it.


Our bellies were full and our hearts were light again as we went off to our tour and tasting.  We sampled 6 different beers: Abby Ale, Witte, Three Philosophers, BPA, Rare Vos, and Hennepin.


I must say, I had a pretty killer 3 day weekend.  P.S. Cooking will commence soon.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Deep Dish Polenta Pizza

I used this recipe from Real Simple as my inspiration for this meal.  I pretty much didn't follow a single instruction here, except for the amount of water to cook the polenta in.

I took this ingredient shot, but failed to include the spinach and the parmesan cheese that I also included.


I sauteed a box of frozen spinach in some olive oil with garlic, salt, and pepper and spread this mixture on the polenta crust.  Then came the tomato sauce and the mozzarella cheese.


I cooked it until the cheese got nice and golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes.


I served it up with a salad on the side.


This was a hit, there were no leftovers.  I will definitely make it again and maybe mix up the topping selection.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pumpkin Cookies

3 ingredients kiddies! 1. Cake mix 2. Canned Pumpkin 3. Pumpkin Pie Spice.  How simple is that? No measuring!


When they came out of the oven I topped them with some Speculoos Cookie Butter.  I guess technically that makes these 4 ingredient cookies, but I'll say the icing is optional.  FYI this cookie butter business is amazing.  It really just tastes like ground up cookies.  I can't wait to swirl it into more desserts.


Anyone notice that kickass blue background in the above photo?  That's all thanks to my new lightbox studio I got for Christmas.  So yea I'm basically a professional photographer now.  Ok not quite, but I look forward to using this baby when I bake in the darkness of the long winter months.  Hooray for good lighting at my fingertips! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Healthy Alfredo

You are not going to believe this one.  Seriously, I'm going to tell you this dinner was crazy delicious and you are just not going to buy a word of it.  Why is it so unbelievable? Because this alfredo sauce is made with....... wait for it..... cauliflower!!!!! Whaaaaaaaaaaat?! Yea I know, it's nuts. But it's also damn good.

This brilliant recipe is from Pinch of Yum and I followed it as exactly as I could.

The way this recipe works, you cook the cauliflower in broth and then blend it up in the blender.  Below is a before shot.


And now here's the cauliflower after being blended with a little milk, salt, pepper, garlic, and a pinch of nutmeg.  I was dazzled how easily this turned into a silky smooth sauce.


Now, the original recipe didn't call for any Parmesan cheese whatsoever, but I mean let's get real here, I don't want to be that healthy.  Hey, I used milk instead of heavy cream so I could afford to live it up with the cheese alright?


Trust me on this one, it's delicious.  Make it, you won't be sorry.  Also don't worry that busting out the blender makes this a complicated meal, it really isn't.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cinnamon Roll French Toast


I made this easy breakfast for my family on Christmas morning.  The recipe for cinnamon roll french toast can be found here.  Don't tell Pillsbury, but I bought Stop and Shop brand cinnamon rolls!

Check out this icing drizzle. Oooooo yeaaaaaaa. P.S. no need for the maple syrup the recipe calls for.



If you're looking to dazzle someone with an amazing breakfast, this one's for you.  It's super simple too so you don't have to wake up extra early to make it. Holler.

While I'm hollerin', I might as well holler about the award I just won.

Vector empty photo frame

What uuuuuuuuuuuup babies!  I got it for the photo below and I got a hundred buckaroos for it. Yea, I'm pretty proud of myself.  Thanks for voting!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bacon Jam

Do not be alarmed by the name bacon jam.  I assure you that there are not weird fruity gelatinous qualities to this jam.  Just some wonderful bacon goodness.

This was another of my crock pot wonders courtesy of Martha Stewart, recipe found here.


First you cook up the onions and the bacon in a frying pan.  The rest of the ingredients hop in when its time to slow cook it.  Don't worry, I took an unattractive photo of this murky slow cooker for you all to see.


Here is what the bacon jam looks like after it congeals in the refrigerator. 


I ate it atop an egg and cheese sandwich.


Someone else ate it atop a slice of bacon, because well...why not indulge?


I think this would also make an awesome burger or pizza topping.  Where would you jam your bacon jam?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I supplied some tasty desserts for my party....champagne cake pops!


I mixed champagne into the cake mix, instead of the water it called for.  I also mixed a bit into the frosting.

I also made this ridiculously awesome display for them.  Behold my craft skills!


I have my sister to thank for this cute little 2013 touch. 


I hope everyone had as much fun and as much food as I did this new years eve.  Happy new year! I wish you all a tasty 2013!