Monthly Archives: November 2012

Catch My Breath

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

A little over a year ago I went to a party celebrating the launch of the Food 52 Cookbook, and at that time had some of the most amazing cookies ever.  These cookies were simple and delicious, and could easily be converted to a vegan version making them perfect for family gatherings.   Since then I’ve been messing around with the recipe, adding this and that to get the perfect flavor and consistency for my family.  Currently I have three versions of this cookie: vanilla, chocolate, caramel and working on a nutella variation.  These cookies are easy to put together, and feature ingredients that most people probably have on hand at all times making it even quicker and easier to have fresh cookies.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

Serves: makes 30 2in cookies


1 stick of butter (soy or milk), at room temperature

3 oz cream cheese (soy or milk or other), at room temperature

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup 2 tbsp flour

1/2 tbsp 70% (or higher) baking cocoa

1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Blend for about 4minutes, or until mixture is fluffy.
  3. Meanwhile sift together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Slowly mix into the cream cheese mixture until everything is blended.
  4. Spoon onto cookie sheets and bake for 11 minutes. Allow cookies to sit on the sheet for at least 3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Enjoy!


Cookies will flatten some while cooling, this is okay!

I’m submitting these chocolate goodies to this week’s r/52Weeks cooking challenge, which is all about chocolate.  Nothing like some chocolate indulgances right before the next round of holidays, will have to do my best to avoid recreating some of the recipes I’m seeing!

To make the vanilla, caramel, or peppermint versions leave out the cocoa powder and add 1 tsp of the desired extract.  I’m sure other variations are out there and I’m looking forward to trying them all!!!!

Fly, Fly, Baby

Oregano Sourdough Pizza Crust

Every now and then it feels good to make something that is not super healthy…or even moderately healthy.  Normally when doing pizza I make a standard crusty crust or a semi-healthy cauliflower crust, but this time I decided to try something different.  I have mentioned my sourdough starter, Gunther, before and decided to give a sourdough crust a try.  My bread machine cookbook has a recipe for sourdough, but after a quick glance I realized it need a boost to make it more pizza like.  The end result was a delicious deep dish experience that was filled to the brim with toppings.

Oregano Sourdough Pizza Crust

serves 4-5


3 cups bread flour

1 tbsp oregano

2 tbsp EVOO

3/4 cup starter

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup water

1 1/2 tsp yeast


  1. Add ingredients to bread machine per instructions, setting it for Pizza-Dough Medium if you have the options.
  2. Once dough is ready roll out onto a 12 inch pizza pan. Fold the crust under and allow to rise for 30minutes,
  3. Top as desired and then place in to a cold oven. Turn heat to 450 and bake for 35 minutes, the crust should be brown and cheese bubbly. Allow to cool and then enjoy!!!

I’m also hoping that my doctor is not reading this because I have a feeling she would not approve of the insane amount of cheese used in this recipe.   Probably shouldn’t eat something like this on a regular basis, but hopefully she can overlook the occasional indulgence.

and Roll

Pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

 Time for November’s Random Recipe entry!   This month Dom at Belleau Kitchen switched things up this month by having us use our birthday to pick the cookbook, instead of a random number.  For me this meant the 7th book on my shelf was the lucky winner, Vegetables from an Italian Garden.

 I got this book last year and it has quickly become one of my favorites, especially since the first section of it is a planting guide for the vegetables featured in the book.  For the winning recipe, Joe picked page 257 which was a picture of a very large pumpkin.  The opposite page gave a full description of pumpkins, including the pages to flip to for pumpkin recipes (304-315).  I went to the first page of recipes and settled on Crema Alla Zucca – Pumpkin Cream Sauce.  The first time I made this recipe, things went wrong along the way and I had to change up dinner plans.  The second time around I made more than a few changes while keeping the basic integrity of the dish for much better, read: edible, results!

Crema alla Zucca

Serves 4-5


1 lb pumpkin, split in half and seeded

1 lb tubular pasta ( I used Barilla Whole Grain)

3 tbsp EVOO

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

1/2 onion, chopped

2/3 cup milk (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or Daiya Shredded "cheese" (optional)

pepper (to taste)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 and grease a large roasting pan. Place the pumpkin flesh side down on the roasting pan and cook for 45minutes. Once finished scoop out the flesh and set aside, should have at least 1 1/2 cups, anything more store for the future.
  2. Once the pumpkin has finished cooking, preheat the EVOO in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the garlic, thyme, oregano, and onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add the pumpkin flesh and the coconut milk. Stir, turn heat to low, and cover. Cooking for 15 minutes, stirring on occasion.
  3. Meanwhile cook the pasta per instructions, drain, and add to the sauce. Mix well adding pepper if needed, stirring in the cheese (optional), and then serve!

This time the recipe worked MUCH better!  I’m not sure what changes made it work, since I did make more than a few changes.  Make sure to head over the Bellaeu Kitchen for more amazing Random Recipes!

I’m also sending this recipe over the /52weeks since there isn’t any thing more “Harvest” than pumpkin, especially this time of year.  Plus, this recipe is a great way to use up any extra pumpkin, be it canned or fresh.  Also, for more great recipes join GoodLife Eats for the Surprisingly Nutritious Spaghetti Link-Up sponsored by Barilla pasta

Mr. Postman

Eggs over Haystack

Happy Thanksgiving!  Today is one of the biggest food holidays of the year, filled with all sorts of delicious treats.  However before one can start the cooking marathon, one needs a protein filled breakfast that will keep them going until the big bird (or celebration roast) is ready to go.  This simple breakfast features ingredients already on hand for the big day, and can easily be scaled up or down depending on how many cooks are on hand to help.  This breakfast is also great for the morning after as a way to use up any potatoes, regular or sweet, that weren’t used for the big meal.

Eggs over Haystacks

serves 2-3


3 tbsp EVOO

1/2 tbsp oregano

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

3 cloves garlic, diced

3 butter potatoes (or 2 butter potatoes and 1 small sweet potato), cut matchstick style

3 eggs

2 tbsp cheese, shredded (optional)


  1. Toss the garlic and potatoes in the EVOO, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until fully coated. Pour into a large skillet and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Potatoes should be slightly brown.
  2. Even out the potatoes on the skillet and then make three small holes. Slowly crack the eggs on at a time in to the holes and cook sunny-side up until eggs are done - 5 minutes for over easy, 8minutes for over medium, and at least 11 for over hard.

I finished our eggs three different ways in order to figure out which was best, and to make sure it worked for all styles.   Another option would be to beat the eggs in a separate bowl and pour them over the potatoes for a variation on the Spanish Omelette.  Regardless of how you enjoy your eggs, Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Waiting for the Rain

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes with Creamcheese Icing

Another week, another /52weeks challenge!  This week the theme is desserts, meaning that I HAD to make something all sorts of decadent.  Sure there are tons of “healthy” desserts out there, but there is something to be said about a truly scrumptious (calorie heavy) chocolate dessert.  For the challenge this week I let Joe pick the dessert, and he was very clear about what he wanted: chocolate, cupcake, cheesecake, and caramel.  I wasn’t able to fit in the caramel due to a miscalculation on my part with my caramel syrup, but everything else found a home in this recipe.  For the cheesecake filling, I decided to use the technique I learned doing my cookie-dough cupcakes.  The basic idea is freeze the filling and layer it in the cupcake dough, that way it doesn’t “bake” and stays soft and moist.

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcake

Serves: makes 12 cupcakes



3 oz creamcheese, room temperature

1 tbsp white sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 oz dark chocolate, finely crushed


1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup baking cocoa - unsweetened

1/4 tsp salt

6 tbsp butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1 cup milk, divided


  1. In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Fold in the crushed chocolate. Place in freezer for at least 30 minutes but no more than 2hrs. Keep in freezer or fridge until right before filling the cupcakes.
  2. In a small bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking cocoa, and salt. Set Aside
  3. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with a dozen regular size cupcake foils.
  4. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes. Add the egg and continue mixing, slowly adding in half the milk. Add half of the dry ingredients and make sure they are blended before adding the remaining milk. Mix until everything is just blended.
  5. To fill the cupcake liners, fill the tin halfway then add 1/2 tbsp of the cream cheese mixture before filling the rest of the liner. Each liner should be 3/4 full. Bake for 17minutes, then allow to sit in cooling oven for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
  6. Fully cool before icing

Creamcheese Icing


5 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

2 tbsp milk

2 tbsp white sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Slowly add in the milk and vanilla extract.


For a creamier icing substitute powdered sugar for the regular white sugar!

These cupcakes are really rich,  so perfect for hard-core chocolate lovers like my husband.  Since I have to be careful about what I’m eating, I left the icing off of mine and had to make due with a test spoon of the icing to make sure it was just right.