I’m one week behind on this post, technically last week was Brazil week over at /52weeksofcooking but thankfully they have a three week grace period. When I saw the challenge was to cook something from Brazil, the first thing that came to mind was meat – and lots of it. Brazilian steakhouses are pretty popular and every year most of my GenCon friends go there for dinner the final night. Obviously that’s not going to work for my blog but some research pointed me towards a simple and delicious dessert recipe. Generally I stay away from the super chocolate heavy desserts in favor of caramel but these truffles seemed so easy I just had to give it a whirl. I found a number of different recipes online, all of which had different cocoa:butter:milk ratios so I gradually added the cocoa until I got the right taste and consistency.
Sprinkles are the traditional topping, or so Google tells me, but any small treat would work – shaved coconut, mini chocolate chips, nuts, or anything else that goes with chocolate! One word of caution – I used Wiltons sprinkles for these and while they tasted normal to me both of my family members with nut allergies said they tasted very nutty. I’m not sure if that’s unique to the white ones but will be avoiding this brand in the future!
Also want to wish a Happy 5th Birthday to my favorite nephew 😀
Three Cheese Swiss Chard
Mac & Cheese
Sometimes it’s fun to be a bit indulgent, for example using three types of cheese to make mac & cheese. I try to keep my dairy intake to a reasonable amount as I’m slightly lactose intolerant but sometimes have to just take a lactaid and enjoy the cheesiness of life! In attempt to tease myself into thinking this dish is at all healthy, I added some swiss chard. Regardless, it’s all 52weeksofcookings fault as they were the ones who posted a Mac and Cheese challenge – so totally blaming them for all the calories in this dish!
This Mac&Cheese is so rich that we actually had leftovers for lunch the next day which is something that normally doesn’t happen. I warmed everything back up on the stove, adding just a bit of olive oil as this dish did not need more diary. Joe then topped his with Old Bay (shocker!) while I enjoyed mine as is.
Mee Goreng: Malaysian Stir Fried Noodles
This week’s challenge for /r/52weeksofcooking sent me back to Asia – this time to figure out a malaysian dish. I’ve always had a thing for noodles so was instantly drawn to the all the street noodle images popping up as I searched for recipes. I also wanted something with a bit of heat, as I’m still trying to figure out how spicy I can get without it upsetting the little one. I’ll admit that I’ve been avoiding spicy foods so happy this challenge came along to push me out of my comfort zone.
Even though we’re no longer around an Asian market my mom is, so I sent her on a shopping trip to get some ingredients for me. I used Lee Kum Kee sauces for this dish as they are vegetarian and husband safe – the second part being more important!
In an attempt to get my kitchen mojo back, I’ve once again joined the /52weeksofcooking group in the hopes that their weekly challenge would get me going again. They are now on week 10 while I’m just now doing my second post – needless to say I’m still a work in progress! This week the challenge was Japanese and while I debated doing a tempura I couldn’t get over the idea of trying a Japanese curry similar to one I had in Pittsburgh a few summers ago. Luckily the internet provided me with lots of ideas, so I took the common ingredients from all of them and then winged the rest of it!
I could say this was a huge hit but that doesn’t begin to cover it – this is one of the only curries where husband has wanted seconds! He couldn’t get over how savory it was – all the flavors working together. So good he didn’t believe it was vegan, BIG bonus there.
Make sure to come back Monday for February’s BONUS Secret REcipe Club post. It’s the 5th Monday of the month and this time the special theme is Spring & Bunnies.
Banana Cream Pie
A bit late, but finally have my post from Pi Day! Since Pi Day was also game day I knew I had to make something, and it had to be something awesome. Thankfully /r/52weeksofcooking pointed me in the right direction with their banana theme. I had never made/had a banana cream pie but figured it couldn’t be too hard – just a more solid version of banana pudding. I searched the internet for inspiration but most of them involved ingredients I didn’t have on hand, and since I was doing this last minute the day after an embryo transfer going to the store just wasn’t going to happen. So I decided to use a custard recipe I acquired many moons ago and just modify it as needed. For the crust I went with my standard push-in-pan using vanilla wafers. One day I’ll figure out how to roll a pie crust but until then push-in-pan it is!
Hope your sweet tooth is ready for this week as I’ll have another dessert recipe on Wednesday as part of #15Cheesecakes!
Spinach and Shells
Trying something new with my site, in theory things should now be MUCH faster and hopefully posts/updates will stop disappearing. Today’s post is a healthier twist on my standard lazy night dinner, a recipe that started back in college as it is easily double and can be made on little to no sleep. Just requires some pasta, a leafy vegetable, and shredded cheese of some form! In college this normally meant thin spaghetti, frozen spinach with onions, and whatever fake stuff was on sale. Now that I have a bit more money, and still no time, I’ve been able to upgrade this recipe while reducing the sodium that goes along with fake cheese and fake (or canned) vegetables. It still comes together in under 30 minutes, so perfect for late nights after work or for a late lunch when the day is slipping away. As a bonus – it’s a green dish perfect for St. Patrick’s day!!!
I’m also sending this over to /r/52weeksofcooking for their hangover challenge as I’m fairly certain the first time I made this in college that was the case. This recipe is also a great way to clean out the fridge or freezer, and no need to stick to just one vegetable!
Not a surprise to anybody who knows me in real life, but I’m a HUGE fan of reading – and have been from a very young age. Reading was a way to escape to a different time or place or both and whether it be a galaxy “far far away” or a war between cousins, I’ve always had an appetite for expanding my world via the written word. Which is why I was BEYOND thrill to see /52weeksofcooking was doing a challenge based on book inspiration. The hard part was finding a book to pick from the hundreds on my shelves, but in end I had to go with one of my favorite “YA” books. Eleanor & Park is technically a YA book, but it’s also a great “remember when” book for anyone that grew up in the 80s – or anyone still bitter about the cancellation of My So Called Life (or Freaks and Geeks) during the 90s. Without giving too much away, we’ll just say that Eleanor’s home life is bit rough and while she loves her mom things aren’t always the best between them. However one happy moment between the two takes place in the kitchen when her mom dabs vanilla extract behind her ears as a cheaper perfume option.
'I do it,' her mom said, 'because it's cheaper
than perfume, but it smells just as good.'
This smell is the one Park remembers, lingering while they are on the school bus – causing him to think of sugar cookies and other vanilla treats. However, I knew that I couldn’t just make any sugar cookie to represent Eleanor & Park, it needed to have some sort of a twist. So I decided to merge my favorite snickerdoodle recipe with my favorite sugar cookie recipe in order to create and sugar cookie with a bit of added texture and just slightly cracked.
These cookies didn’t last long, becoming a treat for my co-workers to celebrate a recent achievement for one of then. Before anyone gets concerned. I did allow Joe to have the ones in the photo as it’s only right to pay the photographer!