Monday, April 30, 2012

Mini Disneyland Vaca

Sorry for the very late post but today was a bit hectic. I worked a half day, drove straight to Santa Monica to take care of some business, and then headed back to Orange County to start my mini Disneyland vacation (wheee!!!!!!). Although I have been to Disneyland almost every year since I was a baby, this is my first time staying at one of their hotels. This has always been a dream of mine because I've always wanted to live the true Disney experience. But it's kind of hard to justify staying at their hotel because it's really expensive and I literally live 10 minutes away. However, I got incredibly lucky and am able to stay here for free!! Sadly, my time here will be a short one - from today until tomorrow night, but it's better than nothing and I will take what I can get (esp since it's free).  So, please forgive me for not posting any recipes but I will be posting pictures of my Disney adventure.
View of California Adventure from my hotel room
My Winnie the Pooh chillin on the bed









 

 Tonight's agenda: Rides then dinner at Catal and finally partay in the hotel room. Toodles until tomorrow. =) 










Friday, April 27, 2012

Cookies 'n Cream Kettle Corn

It's not lunch time yet and I feel like I've gotten a lot done today.

4:25 am - woke up and went to the gym
6:30 am - came home, showered, ate breakfast
7:15 am - made a batch of magical kettle corn

So, last weekend, I went to Downtown Disney with my friend and my sister. The good and bad thing about Disney is that all of Downtown and both parks constantly smell like kettle corn. Now, their kettle corn tastes pretty amazing but it's also $8 for a small bag, which is not so amazing for my wallet. So, ever since then, I have added kettle corn onto my to do list. And 6 days later, I finally checked it off my list.

Cookies 'n Cream Kettle Corn 


Ingredients:

1 bag of kettle corn
20 oreos 
1 can of frosting 

* I used double stuffed oreos and vanilla frosting but feel free to use any flavor your taste buds desire.

Directions:

Crush the oreos either with a food processor or place them in a bag and use a rolling pin or your fists.(I used my fists because I find that it's a good way to release negative energy. Not that I'm filled with lots of anger or anything =]) You want the oreos to be crushed but not to the point of them turning into crumbs.
After crushing the oreos, set it aside and place a cookie pan on your kitchen counter. If you want to save yourself from washing it, cover it with aluminum foil or parchment paper. (I used aluminum foil because I don't have any and I find that aluminum foil works just as well.) Pop the bag of kettle corn in the microwave and follow the suggested cooking instructions on the box. 
When it's done, pour onto the cookie pan and try to separate the unpopped kernels. Combine the crushed oreos and mix together as best as possible.
Melt the can of frosting in the microwave at 30 second intervals and stir after each interval. I only had to microwave twice. With a butter knife or frosting knife, drizzle the frosting completely over the cookies 'n cream kettle corn. Give it a quick mix so that the frosting coats as much as possible. Drizzle again one more time and wait for the frosting to harden.


When it was finally ready, I set aside a sample portion for me to taste test and then promptly packed the rest for my mom and friends. (Btw, I am running out of taste testers. I need to find more.)





I am so glad that I gave away 95% of this Cookies 'n Cream Kettle Corn because it was to.die.for.  Seriously, make sure to put on your stretchy pants when you eat this stuff because it's addicting. Unless, you don't like sweets, which in that case I have no words for you and will look at you like you just said something to me in a foreign language that I am not fluent in.

And if you want to experience that same magical feeling that you would at Disney but can't, just do what I do. Put on your favorite Disney move or play your favorite Disney soundtrack while your cooking/eating and you will almost feel like you are at the happiest place on earth. If you do make this, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. =)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Buzzin On Sweets

This morning I was buzzin on sweets. I woke up at 4:30 am to bake cupcakes for my friend's birthday. It took me awhile to figure out what kind of cupcakes I wanted to bake though because she is a very good friend of mine. So, I wanted to make sure that hers were extra special. I finally decided on margarita cupcakes that I found on the blog, I am baker. I wish I could take credit for this recipe but sadly I cannot. I pretty much followed the entire recipe. The only change I made was that I used Betty Crocker's Pineapple Upside Down Cake Mix minus the canned pineapple. For the recipe, please click on the link below.

Margarita Cupcakes

With sparkling sugar as the "salt" rim
Lime Buttercream frosting

Of course I had to taste test these desserts before giving them to my friend. Overall, they were delicious. My only complaint is that I couldn't really taste the tequila. So, I think next time I will add more. But other than that, this is a pretty good recipe.

All packed up and ready to go!

After I had finished making the frosting, the cupcakes still weren't cool enough to frost, so I decided to attempt to bake S'mores Donuts. That's right. I said BAKED S'mores Donuts. As much as I love regular donuts, it requires frying and a ton of oil. I don't have oil by the gallons at home and even if I did I don't know if I'd necessarily use it for frying donuts for a few reasons. (1) Using that much oil for donuts seems kind of wasteful. (2) I think seeing the process of donuts being made would disgust me and the last thing I want is to be traumatized because donuts are awesome. It's just something I don't want to see made. So, I decided that baking them would be a healthier alternative, both physically and mentally.  So, here is the breakdown:


Baked S'mores Donuts

Ingredients:

1 Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuit dough (do not get the flay version)
1 C milk chocolate chips
1 C mini marshmallows
1/4 C ground graham crackers

Directions:

Bake buttermilk biscuit dough according to the directions on the can. While they are baking, place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals. Stir the chocolate chips after each interval. It only took me 60 seconds to melt the chocolates but it really depends on your microwave. When the biscuits are ready, dunk the biscuits into the chocolate and cover it halfway. (If you want to cover the entire biscuit, melt 2 cups of chocolate chips instead of 1). Place the chocolate covered biscuits onto a rack. Top with mini marshmallows and sprinkle ground graham crackers. You can either let the chocolate completely dry before eating or immediately dig in. Your choice. Since I have no patience, I ate it right away. Yum.  









Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Failness Rolls On

Yesterday, I announced that I had failed in the recipe/cooking department. Well, unfortunately, that failness has rolled on over today. I attempted to make another dish, which was so bad that I'm not going to share it this time. It was that bad. Then I received bad news X 3. I had an impromptu meeting at work near lunch time. When it finally ended, my co-worker beat me to lunch break so I had to wait till she returned. When she came back, I was going to pick something up at Ralphs since I didn't bring lunch today but I gigantic moving truck was blocking my car. So, I was forced to buy lunch from an expensive restaurant nearby only to discover that the moving truck was just leaving when I picked up my food. Perfect timing. It's okay though because my lunch ended up being quite fantastical.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cupcake from It's All About the Cake

I always eat dessert first because I find that there's usually no room after you eat your entree. I don't care what parents tell you or what social protocol calls for. Dessert first. Always eat dessert first.


Paninni au Poulet from What a Dish Cafe

Chicken, dried mission figs,arugula, caramelized onions, smoked gouda cheese, and mango honey drizzle.


Tomorrow morning I need to bake cupcakes for my friend's bday. I'm praying that the cooking gods will be nice to me and break this kitchen curse I've experienced for the past 2 days. =)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A for Effort?

This morning, I experienced another fail moment in the kitchen.  For quite some time, I have been curious as to whether cake mix can be used to make cookies. Apparently, I'm not the first person to think of this because I googled it and saw it ablaze on other blog and other cookies sites. Bummer. And an even bigger bummer? The cookies did not live up to my expectations.
My original plan was to make Chocolate Wine Cake Mix Cookies. It sounded good right? Sadly, it did not turn out that great. The texture was very cakey? I know that shouldn't come as a shocker since I did use cake mix but for some reason I thought the texture would turn out cookie-like. Although my grand idea and recipe did not create successful cookies, I believe that it would make awesome cupcakes or cakes. If you are remotely interested, here is my recipe.

1 chocolate cake mix (I used Ghirardelli)
2 eggs
1/3 C oil
1/2 C red wine (I used Merlot)
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1.25 oz chocolate pudding mix

Whisk the cake mix, unsweetened cocoa powder and chocolate pudding mix in a bowl. Beat the eggs, red wine, and oil together. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until they are just combined. 

For cookies:

Scoop 1/4 C onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350* for about 8 minutes.

For cupcakes:

Fill regular cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake at 350* for about 18 minutes.


No pictures today because I didn't think this was picture worthy.


Question: What desserts would you be interested in me making?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Food Montage

This weekend was jam packed with cooking and eating.  I wasn't able to take pictures of everything but here is the run down of all the important stuff. I present to you what I'd like to call, Food Porn:

First Stop: Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen @ Downtown Disneyland
Andouille Grits
Oysters on the 1/2 shell
Asigo Garlic Fries
Drunken Chicken
Bayou BBQ Ribs
Jorge's Land Mine: Moonshine whiskey, rum, gin, vodka, midori, sweet & sour.
Bloody Mary
Double Chocolate Bread Pudding Souffle



Next: Saucy Chef Meetup (a local cooking group I joined)

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon I made courtesy of Rachel Ray

Roasted Red New Potatoes with Sweet Paprika Butter and Parsley I made courtesy of Rachel Ray

Complete spread of dishes made by all the saucy chefs.  

The winner for the best dish is without a doubt the homemade cinnamon rolls. Best cinnamon rolls ever!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Festive Mood


I don’t know why but this week has seemed to have really dragged by, so I am super happy that it is finally Friday. I’m also excited that today is 4/20, which is weird because I don’t like herbs of any nature (btw, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, go on google and find out what holiday falls on 4/20). My dislike for it is so strong that if I see cilantro, parsley, basil, or any other type of herb, I will either not order the dish or meticulously pick it out. I don’t find herbs to be visually appealing nor do I care for the flavor. So, I’m not sure why I find it exciting that today is 4/20. It’s a mystery.

I’m also pretty psyched for this weekend. Baseball season has officially started and tonight I’m going to the Angels vs Orioles game. I’m gonna be completely decked out in my Angels gear – baseball jersey, cap, and blankie.

Tomorrow night, I’m going to dinner at Disneyland. Hooray! It’s been far too long since I’ve been to Disney. I think it’s been a month? I know that may not seem long to a lot of people but I heart Disneylandia very much and feel like it’s my duty to be there at least once a week due to my annual pass.

Then on Sunday, I’m attending my first ever Saucy Chefs Meetup group brunch. The group is strictly female, which honestly kind of scares me since women are notorious for being catty. <insert scary stare you down and then look you up face> I’m praying that the event won’t turn into a Mean Girls kind of thing and that everyone will be super nice and be in a kum by ya funk mood . 

But before all the festive weekend starts, I began my day with a fun 2 hour workout at the gym from 4:30 – 6:30 am. Then, I came home, showered, and dug into this morning’s stellar breakfast – overnight oats in a jar.

The base consisted of the usual mix: 1/4 C raw oats, 1/4 C greek yogurt, 1/4 C milk, 1 tbsp of strawberry jam, 1/2 tbsp of chia seeds, and a dash of ground cinnamon.


 In the morning, I topped it with unsweetened shredded coconut, cacao nibs, and a spoonful of Peanut Butter & Co’s Dark Chocolate Dreams PB. I didn't really need to add another spoonful of pb but I'm majorly in love with this flavor of pb.
Chocolate + PB = happy taste buds

Counting down until 5pm when the weekend officially begins! Wheeeeee!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Scones Bread Pudding

Remember the chocolate chip oatmeal scones I made a few weeks ago? Well, I stored that batch in the freezer so I could save it for a day where I didn't feel like cooking or didn't have enough time to cook. Last night, I felt like having bread pudding for breakfast and was going to make it with some bread until I remembered about those scones. Now, I have never had bread pudding made with scones before so I thought that this would be kind of fun.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Scones Bread Pudding


3 mini chocolate oatmeal scones
1 egg
1/2 C milk
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Serves 2
Grease a ramekin or an oven safe dish. Chop scones into 1" chunks and place into the greased dish. In a bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and vanilla bean paste or extract. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, white sugar, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Pour over the chopped scones and lightly press down to help the scones absorb the mixture. Cover and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the cover and bake for 35 minutes. Place a toothpick in the center of the bread pudding. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the bread pudding is ready to eat. 

** I used two mini ramekins to bake the bread pudding because I made it for my sister and I. But this will work just as well in a larger baking dish.



Since the oven was already on, I decided to bake banana foster as well. I sliced a large banana length-wise and drizzled honey on both sides. I baked it at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Delish =)


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Banana Bread Pancakes

So, not only did I go a bit overboard with buying avocados I also went kind of crazy with buying bananas. Ralph's had them on sale for $.49/lb and I snatched a few bunches. It seemed like a good idea at the time because I haven't seen that price in eons and knew that it would be a long time before it was sold at the price again, if ever. But now they are all super ripe to the point that I won't have enough time to eat them one by one. So, I needed to figure out how to get rid of them asap before they turned black on me. And then I remembered that the Management (sorry, I don't know your real name!), the incredibly hilarious blogger behind A Prince and Prozac said that her favorite dessert for breakfast is banana pancakes. So, I thank her for today's foodie post. Well, her and Jessica, the blogger behind How Sweet Eats, because I adapted the recipe from her.

Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Banana Bread Pancakes
adapted by How Sweet Eats



1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 C milk
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 tbsp butter, melted

Toppings:
Maple Syrup

Makes 6 pancakes

Whisk the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, and unsweetened cocoa powder in a bowl until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a potato masher until lumpy with very small banana chunks. Pour the milk, butter, and the vanilla bean paste into the mashed bananas and mix. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients but be careful not to over mix. Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat. Use butter or oil. With a 1/3 measuring cup, pour pancake batter onto the pan into a circular shape. Cook each side for 2-3 or until the top bubbles and the bottom is golden brown. If you want, you can keep the pancakes warm in the oven at 180 degrees so that all the pancakes will remain warm until you are ready to serve and eat.

I decided to cook my pancakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head with the help of a cookie cutter. 



Ear went first. Chomp!

And now, I will smell like pancakes for the rest of the day, which I think works as a pretty good perfume. 
 
**Btw, Marisa I hope you enjoy these pancakes for your breakfast this morning =)


 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Ralphs is practically giving avocados away right now because it's on sale 3 for a $1. So, needless to say, my kitchen counter has been taken over by avocados. This has resulted in many of my meals being centered around this fruit (btw, the word avocado comes from the word ahuácatl, which translates as testicles. It was given this name due to its shape. Interesting...). I made lots of guacamole, baked an egg in the avocado, and chocolate avocado pudding.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding


2 medium avocados
4 tbsp cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
1/2 C milk

Toppings:

Cacao nibs or chocolate chips
Pistachios or other nuts 
Fruits
Shredded coconut
Chocolate Syrup

Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it turns into a pudding consistency. Transfer into a bowl or container and chill for at least an hour. Serve cold. Toppings are optional but sprinkle on top right before serving.






















Many people wouldn't think to combine chocolate and avocado. I certainly did not until recently. I have been thinking of making chocolate avocado pudding for quite some time but I was kind of scared despite making a chocolate avocado protein shake a few weeks ago mainly because I was afraid that it would taste disgusting. I understand that this combination isn't for everyone but for me it works. I find that the sweetness and creaminess of both ingredients mesh well together. And it's a healthy alternative for when you are craving a chocolate dessert dish. So, it works as a 2 for 1 deal because it's relatively good for you and it satisfies your sweet tooth at the same time.  Now that's my kind of dessert =)


 


Monday, April 16, 2012

Chocolate Filled Churro French Toast

You know that saying, "don't mess with a good thing" or "if it's not broken don't fix it"? That's how I feel about churros. I love everything about churros. I love how it's sweet and doughy on the inside but sweet and crunchy on the outside. I love how the sugar dissolves right in your mouth and the cinnamon sugar residue on your hands that is perfect for licking. And as tasty as the original churro is, the chocolate filled version is pretty amazing too. I ate one at Disneyland once and omg it was soo good! Now, the only problem with churros is that it's not exactly something I can pick up at the supermarket or a fast food place. I know Costco sells it but theirs suck. So, I decided I would try to make my own but in the form of french toast.

Chocolate Filled Churro French Toast

2 slices of bread
1/4 C graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp cinnamon sugar
1 tbsp cacao nibs  
 1 egg
1/4 C milk
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tbsp butter


Whisk the graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon sugar until thoroughly combined. This will serve as the "churro" mixture. Beat the egg, milk, vanilla bean paste in a separate bowl. Spread the butter on each slice of bread. Sprinkle the cacao nibs (chocolate chips will work as well) over one slice of the buttered bread. Place the other slice of bread on top, buttered side down. Carefully dredge the bread into the egg mixture for 1 minute per side and then transfer to the "churro" mixture. (FYI - this part might get a bit messy because of the cacao nibs/chocolate chips.) On a heated skillet/pan, cook each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. 



I wasn't 100% happy with this recipe mainly because I had a bit of a tough time with the cacao nibs. Some of them wanted to jump ship from the french toast. It still turned out pretty good but I think I will also experiment with melting the chocolate before hand and then spreading it onto the bread?