Monday, August 25, 2014

.apple brie eggrolls.

part three of my eggroll series has arrived. as you can tell, i was serious about using up my entire pack of eggroll wrappers. here's the sweet triplet - apple brie eggrolls. 
preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
pick your favorite apples. and by pick, i mean grab a couple from your market; unless of course you have access to an apple tree and then you can truly pick. now i'm jealous thinking you may have an apple tree. i'm apple green with envy.
slice and dice your rinsed apples.
in a roasting pan, sprinkle your apple chunks with cinnamon. bake for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
once your apples are soft and cinnamony, place them in an eggroll wrapper with a hunk of brie. then, drizzle a blanket of honey on top of it all before you roll up all this goodness. 
before you put your apple brie eggrolls in your oven (still heated from the apples), spray them with baking spray and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. 
crunchy on the outside, warm and delicious on the inside. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

.back to school cupcakes.

going back to school always has brought me flurries for a fresh start. new notebooks, crisp paper, sharpened pencils (i prefer mechanical), and the hope of something new. as a teacher, i still get these same good jitters at the beginning of every school year. i have the perfect cupcake to go with all this freshness. apple buttercream vanilla cupcakes. 
 for the cake to these cups, i used a recipe that i have used before from magnolia bakery to achieve a simple cupcake platform to the apple buttercream frosting to come.
no flavor reminds me of "school" as much as apples. so, to school basic buttercream frosting, i added a quarter cup of apple butter. the end result was a truly autumn-flavored frosting. 
i made several batches of the frosting until i finally landed on one i liked best that had a little cinnamon and a little more vanilla in it. 
while there isn't much taste in decor, there's a whole lot of visual appeal. so let's pretty these up!
raise your hand for sprinkles!
raise your hand for bright color!

raise your hand for back to school excitement! i hope you have fun with these cupcakes. i know i did.

back to school cupcakes
vanilla cupcakes
from magnolia bakery

what you need
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

what you do
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

apple buttercream
what you need
1/4 cup apple butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter
3-4 cups confectionery sugar
up to 4 tbs milk

what you do
beat the butter in an electric mixer for a few minutes until creamy. add the apple butter and vanilla. sprinkle in your cinnamon. then, slowly add the confectionery sugar and mix on medium-high. you're trying to whip the frosting into a fluffy buttercream. the milk is to add in a little silkiness or fluffiness as i like to say. if it is too stiff, you need a splash more of milk. if it is not stiff enough, add a little confectionery sugar at a time. 

after your cupcakes are cooled, frost and then decorate as you see fit. back to schooly is my suggestion. 


Sunday, August 17, 2014

.pizza eggrolls.

this is the second installment in my eggroll series. wow, that sounded uppity and official. let's just get to the gooey, ummy (my babycakes' version of yummy) pizza-stuffed eggrolls. 

while i could get on my soapbox about how there is no wrong cheese, i'll instead just tell you to stuff your pizza rolls with whatever cheese tickles your fancy. i started wtih a hunk of gouda and a little marinara sauce. 
throw in whatever pizza toppings your little hungry heart desires. i added pepperoni for my eye guy, seasonings, and some fresh mozzarella. more cheese you ask? wait, why would you even ask that?
roll up the eggrolls, par usual, spray with olive oil, and bake at 400 for about ten minutes.
have a bite of this classic comfort dish wrapped in a new package. 

pizza eggrolls
what you need
your favorite cheeses
marinara or pizza sauce
your favorite pizza toppings
eggroll wrappers
olive oil spray

what you do
preheat the oven to 400 degrees
stuff your eggroll wrappers with all your pizza toppings. roll them up, spray with olive oil and bake for approximately 10 minutes.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

.fireplace remodel.

probably, i should start with the actual remodel of the original fireplace before we brought it in the house. why do things the right way? instead, let me just show you how we made it look a little less empty.
*disclaimer: this fireplace is not meant to have a fire in it for two reasons. 1) there is no chimey or gas attached. 2) we live in florida.
here's the mantel before; with nothing but wall behind it. oh, and a really, really cute baby in front of it. now on to how all that changed. first of all, my eye guy cut a piece of wood to fit the back of the mantel. he then climbed a ladder to climb in a tree to saw down a limb or three to make my vision a reality. he had really nice background music that sounded a little something like this, "what are you doing? why do you need a ladder? that's dangerous! please don't do that! yes, i want the limbs, but aren't there lower ones? nevermind. let's just do something else. be careful! are you sure you're not going to fall? are you done? do you have to go up there again? don't cut yourself with the saw." soothing, right? 
after he cut all my little wooden rounds, i got to work putting it together. 
well, my eye guy painted the board black and nailed it to the back and THEN i got busy putting it together. 
 good thing my daddy taught me how to use a caulking gun way back when because that came in handy on this project. i pushed out some liquid nail onto each individual wood round and placed it on the board. my eye guy suggested i do one at a time so they would not dry and i did just this until he left the room. 
 i soon realized i could load about a dozen up at a time with the adhesive and put them all on the background. this made it go MUCH quicker and i am not great with patience. win win. 
 head's up- this project can be messy with the real wood and little pieces of outside falling off. so, use a towel like me. 
also, it was important that the wooden rounds looked like "stacked wood" instead of lining up evenly in orderly rows.
*disclaimer number two: i am fully aware that no one would truly believe this was stacked wood. it is more of an artistic take on the idea. so there. 
 i stacked and stacked until i had stacked enough. then, i wish i had stacked a little less. oh well, life goes on. all in all, i'm much happier with this look than the emptiness it had before. ta da!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

.buffalo chicken eggrolls.

what do you do when you have leftover blue cheese from a cheese platter? make buffalo chicken eggrolls of course! these bundles of flavor are amazing. 
 preheat your oven to 400 degrees. simply lay out an eggroll wrapper and say goodbye to all the traditional fillings. let's go rogue! dish out a bit of cole slaw mix towards the nearest corner. 
 next you're going to add your buffalo-sauced chicken. there are many ways for you to get your chicken into eggroll sized pieces. pull from a rotisserie, pull from a breast, etc...i drenched mine in buffalo wing sauce. let me take an aside here. i keep saying "mine" when i should be saying my eye guy's. i don't eat chicken, you see, and really just microwaved a vegetarian chicken patty and used the same process for "mine," but anyway...back to these scrumptious eggrolls. 
 the final, and most delicious step for the filling, is to crumble some blue cheese into the wrapper. blue cheese has such a rich and unique flavor that pairs wonderfully with buffalo sauce. 
wrap all the ingredients up tightly like a middle school slumber party sleeping bag. seal with a little water using rolling instructions from the wrapper packaging.
spray a cookie sheet with extra virgin olive oil spray and place eggrolls on the pan.  spray all of them with the same spray. bake for about 10 minutes, until your buffalo chicken rolls are toasty and golden on the outside. 
ok, now we come to the first bite portion of the program. go for it. these are t-a-s-t-y! the blue cheese melts and makes this nice paste for the crunch of the cole slaw and the flavor of the buffalo chicken, all inside a crisp wrapper. enjoy!

buffalo chicken eggrolls

what you need
eggroll wrappers
chicken (in whatever form you prefer for shredding)
buffalo wing sauce
cole slaw mix
blue cheese
evoo spray

what you do
preheat your oven to 400. 
stuff your eggroll wrapper with a dollop of cole slaw mix, a plop of buffalo sauced shreds of chicken and a smidgeon of blue cheese. roll each one up nicely and neatly. 
spray a cookie sheet with extra virgin olive oil and then spray the tops of all your buffalo chicken eggrolls with the same thing.
bake for about 10 minutes, until outwardly crispy.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

.crustless veggie quiche.

this is my very first quiche. and like many firsts, there's a healthy mixture of nerves and excitement. will it be a disgusting, thick omelette worthy of a fast food drive-through? will it be so fabulous that martha stewart would cry tears of bliss upon first bite? well, folks, i've tasted this quiche and i have to say that it is pretty darn good. i can guarantee that meat lovers wouldn't even miss the meat in this savory, satisfying dish. let me show you how to make one of your very own.

roast a couple diced cloves of garlic. can't you just smell it already? either slice up two small or one large of each squash and zuchhini into slender rounds. dice up an orange bell pepper. if you have a preference for yellow, red or green bell peppers, that would work too. aren't the vibrant colors of these three together pretty though?

over medium-high heat, with a little olive oil, saute your veggies with the garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. now pinch yourself to prove you are awake and not dreaming that this recipe really is this easy. after about 7-10 minutes, your veggies should be tender and you can set them aside in a bowl to rest while you prepare your egg mixture.
go ahead and preheat your oven to 350.

whisk together your eggs, egg whites, milk and the remains of your salt and pepper. whisk thoroughly until your forearm begs you to stop.

line a sprayed pie plate with your cooked veggies. alone, this looks like a delicious side dish, but keep going. you'll be glad you did. 

top with shredded cheese. i was a little heavy handed with mine because i'm a bit of a cheese nut.

pour your egg mixture on top; then place the dish in your preheated oven. this is the most challenging part of the entire recipe- waiting. tick tock. tick tock.

after about forty-five minutes, make sure your quiche is firm and not jiggly. after you do your firmness check, it is ready to cool for about ten minutes before slicing.  my eye guy and i had this tasty dish for dinner and it was filling, satisfying and just plain delicious! i hope you'll try making it for yourself.

crustless veggie quiche

what you need
2 small yellow squash, sliced
2 small zucchini, sliced
1 large orange bell pepper
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves roasted garlic
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2/3-1 cup shredded cheese
2 tbs grated parmesan cheese

what you do
after slicing your squash and zucchini and chopping your bell pepper, saute in a skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat.  add the roasted garlic and a pinch of your salt and pepper. stirring often, cook until veggies are tender. (7-10 minutes) set veggies aside in a bowl to cool.

preheat oven to 350. spray 9 inch pie plate with nonstick spray and set aside.

in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg whites, milk, and the rest of your salt and pepper. arrange your veggies in your pie plate. top with shredded cheese and then pour your whisked egg mixture on top.  then, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 

bake your crustless quiche for 45 or until it is set and no longer jiggles.  allow the quiche to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.  enjoy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

.blueberry banana bread.

it would only be fair to let you know that i'm distracted as i write this. the andy griffith show is on and i'm a sucker for manners and kindness. speaking of kindess, laura brought be a few overly ripe bananas thinking i may be able to use them to make a banana bread. well, just as deputy fife's lines are spot-on, so is this twist on traditional banana bread. 
if you want to make blueberry banana bread too, follow this script. whisk together the dry ingredients and then mix together your wet ones and sugars in a separate bowl. 
 ever had one of these brown bananas on your countertop before? this browning happens a little too often on my countertops. they make for the best ingredient in banana bread, luckily. 
stir your dry ingredients into your wet ones until they are immersed as one. one love. 
fold in as many blueberries as your heart desires. one to two cups is probably reasonable, but i may be a little more unreasonable next time. i really love blueberries.

i'm sure a loaf pan or muffin pan would do just fine, but i was feeling bundty and decided to use my bundt pan. 

my blueberry banana bread turned out pretty tasty and was easy to throw together. as simple and delightful as a sunny day in mayberry.

blueberry banana bread
what you need
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large ripe bananas, smashed
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1- 2 cups blueberries

what you do
whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  in a separate bowl, mix your sugars, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla. then, stir in the smashed bananas. 
preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
stir your dry ingredients into the wet ones and make sure they are completely immersed. 
fold in, rather gently, your desired amount of blueberries. voila. 
bake for 35 minutes and check your bread with a toothpick. if it isn't ready, continue to add a few minutes on at a time. i have a phobia about overcooking baked goods and drying them out. join my phobia.
enjoy the bread!