Monday, September 26, 2011

Coffee Cake

So, in the past I've listed for you guys a few things this New England girl is totally missing out here in paradise. Now, I would never ever in a million years move back to Massachusetts because Hawaii living is just too darn amazing. However, I miss 2 items in particular sooo much: Coffee Milk and Fluff.

Those reading who aren't familiar with these items, let me explain. Coffee Milk is a Rhode Island thing apparently but anywhere you go in MA, you can find it. It almost tastes like those frappuchino in the glass bottles things that Starbucks sells. Fluff is marshmallow creme. Out here they offer the Kraft brand and no offense to Kraft but they ain't got nothin' on the Fluff brand. Not to mention its three times the price I paid for Fluff back east.

My wonderful friend Casey sent me Fluff and Coffee Syrup to make coffee milk and I was beyond excited. It inspired me to get a little creative, so I chose to use some of the coffee syrup in this Coffee Cake. (If you don't have access to coffee syrup like me, I would just substitute some vanilla extract or even a little Kahlua if you're feeling sassy.) I always wondered why it was called Coffee Cake and it had no coffee flavor. Then I realized it's because you're supposed to eat it alongside coffee. Duh, Cait.

Anyways, When making this coffee cake, I realized a little too late I didn't have enough all purpose flour. So, I ended up using some whole wheat flour. I wanted to explain because I didn't want you to read the recipe like "dude, this has 2 sticks of butter in it, did this chick honestly think swapping in some whole wheat flour was going to make a difference?!" So, I'm listing the recipe exactly how I made it but you can feel free to go all purpose, all the way if you'd like!

Total fail on getting a decent picture of this one, Sorry!

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp coffee syrup
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coffee syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 9x13 baking dish. Beat together butter and sugars. Add in egg one at a time. Mix in sour cream, vanilla extract and coffee syrup. In a separate bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly add into wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, melted butter, cinnamon and coffee syrup until well combined and "crumbly".

Pour half of the wet mixture into baking dish. Cover with half the crumble. Layer remaining wet mixture and top with remaining crumble mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Drizzle with a glaze if desired (1 cup powdered sugar whisked with 2-3 tbsp milk).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My 25th Birthday Wish

I am going to be 25 soon! I am actually incredibly excited about this because I am so happy with where I'm at in life and I just have a feeling 25 is going to bring me more good fortune. For my birthday, my wish is to give back to the universe for making my first quarter century as awesome as it was. That's where you all come in...

I have been a supporter of Make a Wish since I started out as a seasonal cashier at Things Remembered 7 1/2 years ago. Things Remembered sells products that a portion of the proceeds benefit Make a Wish. They also host contests for the employees to encourage us to raise money through fundraising for the Make a Wish foundation. This culture really got me inspired to support the foundation and read the inspiring stories of what these wishes did for families. Learning about Make a Wish and being able to support it over the years has been a really amazing experience.

For my 25th birthday, I am asking that everyone donate to Make a Wish on my behalf. If you have ever used a recipe of mine, laughed at one of my corny stories, or just thought my dogs were cute, please thank me by donating whatever you can give to this amazing foundation. I know times are tough, but no dollar amount is too little. $1, $5, $25... Whatever you can give will mean so much! Here is where you can go to donate to my birthday wish.

This is the story of the first "wish kid", which I think is so adorable.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seven Things

I was reading a few blogs on my gReader and I saw this "challenge" on quite a few of them. It looked like fun so here goes!

1. The Most Beautiful Post:

Food photography is definitely not my strong suit. I am amazed by the photography I see on some of the blogs out there. I take pictures of my recipes with my cell phone camera, and every once in a while pull out my 10mp Canon point-and-shoot if I'm feeling fancy. I imagine I will eventually invest in a DSLR because I know people eat with their eyes. For now, I'm focusing on just creating the recipes. I do however take lots of pictures of my beautiful dogs and the gorgeous Hawaii sunsets with that point-and-shoot so that is the post I'm sharing.

2. The Most Popular Post:

Spinach and Artichoke Dip This is literally my #1 most requested recipe. It was one of the first dishes I had created on my own that I felt comfortable feeding to people other than Jon. I don't know why I don't have a picture of this because I make it for every party I host or attend. I swear next time I make it, I will make sure to get a pic.

3. The Most Controversial Post:

Turkey Feta Burgers So, I really don't have anything controversial on this blog. However, these burgers were controversial in my house because Jon is a beef burger guy. He honestly didn't think he would ever enjoy these burgers since they were made with ground turkey breast. Turns out, we enjoy these burgers waaaay more than the standard beef burger. Also, every other person I have fed these burgers to, says the same thing. You have to make them!

4. The Most Helpful Post:

Whole Wheat Spaghetti I took lots of time to try and type this recipe out to be as helpful as possible. I had such a great time making homemade pasta, I really wanted to share it with everyone.

5. The Post That Was Surprisingly Successful:

Oreo Cheesecake I couldn't decide if I wanted to put this in the surprisingly successful or the most proud category. I went with this because I decided I knew I would be able to pull off the turkey, but didn't think I'd ever be able to pull off this cheesecake. Seeing this picture makes me want to make another one RIGHT NOW.

6. The Post That Didn't Get the Attention it Deserved:

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms O.M.G. I have a lot of recipes that are requested frequently. I don't understand why these don't get requested more. They are unreal.

7. The Post I Am Most Proud of:

Thanksgiving Turkey Pulling off my own Turkey for Thanksgiving was a big deal for me. I used to mess up hamburger helper, so the fact that I was able to roast a turkey and not burn down my kitchen or need to throw it away after it was done is nothing short of a miracle. Thank Heavens for the Food Network.

Chicken Empanadas

I absolutely LOVE when I'm able to throw ingredients I have on hand for a quick weeknight meal. I have already told you guys how much I love salsa + cream cheese + shredded Mexican cheese. So for these chicken empanadas, I stuck with what I love. It was a super quick and easy meal and came out delicious.

2 packages of puff pastry (4 sheets)
4 cups shredded chicken, fully cooked (such as a rotisserie chicken)
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
1 cup salsa
Zest & Juice of 1 lime
1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 tbsp water (egg wash for top of empanadas)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Thaw puff pastry sheets as instructed on package. Roll out the puff pastries until there are no creases. Using a biscuit cutter or top of the cup, cut puff pastry into circles with about a 3 inch diameter. In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, cream cheese, Mexican cheese, salsa and lime juice & zest. Fill each pastry circle with about 1 1/2 tbsp of filling. Leave about 1/4 inch around, fold over and seal edges by pressing with a fork. Brush each empanada with some of the egg wash. Line on baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Simple Grilled Chicken

I feel like everyone needs a good basic recipe for grilled chicken. I know it's not the most exciting or creative post, but it's something I think everyone could use in their recipe box.

4 chicken breast
1 c olive oil
1/4 c lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Pound chicken breasts between parchment paper until 1/4 inch thick. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl until well combined. Marinate chicken breasts in mixture for 3-4 hours. Season with salt and pepper and grill 5-6 minutes on each side.


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