July 23, 2012

hello again.

If I ever stay away this long again, I give you permission to slap me.

Life has been full of wonderful things.

I would like to make a cupcake toast to all my friends who have told me they miss my writing. 
You're the best.

This could have turned out to be a big disaster, but it's been one of my favorite recipe experiments. 
These cupcakes are delicious and lite and full of chocolately goodness.  

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 container of Greek yogurt ( 6 oz.) 
(I use Fage 0%)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
Using a mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until pale and creamy on high speed.
Add the eggs, one at a time on medium speed.
On low speed, gradually add the flour, alternating with the yogurt.
Fill cupcake liners about three-quarters full and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 
about 24 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely, then we frost...

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbs Greek yogurt

Combine powdered sugar and cocoa powder. 
Stir in the butter and vanilla. 
(This will be thick.)
Stir in Greek yogurt (add more or less as needed).


May 10, 2012

chocolate sheet cake.

Late last Friday night I was in the mood to bake something.

When I bake it's usually a spur of the moment-in the mood for-hope I have the ingredients-type of thing. 

But recently I found that there has been nothing that I have been dying to make. So to get back to my baking self, I decided to turn to my Pinterest baking page and figured maybe I should actually start making the things that I pin? 

Yes, I'm pretty sure that is what you are suppose to do. 

So after reviewing my options, based on time and ingredients on hand, I decided to make a chocolate sheet cake. It is quite large which is why it is popularly referred to as "Texas Sheet Cake" and apparently every good southern woman has this recipe on hand.

I don't know any to confirm, but I can tell you that is it is delicious and moist and the icing really seals the deal. This is one of those recipes to make if you have some guests to impress. It is really easy and doesn't even take up much time. 

Chocolate Sheet Cake 
Adapted by The Pioneer Woman

For the cake:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 heaping tsp cocoa powder
2 sticks butter
1 cup boiling water
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

For the frosting:
1 and 3/4 sticks of butter
4 heaping tbs cocoa powder
6 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla
3-1/4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a jelly roll pan, I used a 11 x 17".

Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large glass bowl.

In a saucepan melt butter, add cocoa powder.
Stir together.
Add boiling water and let mixture boil for 30 seconds.
Stir and turn off the heat.
Pour this into the bowl of flour mixture and stir together lightly.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs.
Add buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla.
Stir together. 
Stir into the butter/flour mixture.
Make sure it is fully combined, it will take a few stirs.

Pour into your sheet pan and bake for 20-23 minutes.
A toothpick should come out clean.

While you are baking the cake, make the frosting.

Melt butter in a saucepan.
Add cocoa and stir to combine.
Switch off heat.
Stir in the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar.
Use a whisk to get it completely smooth.

Pour this over your warm cake.
And devour :)

p.s- don't let a sheet cake fool ya, it will go quick

May 7, 2012

happy monday.

A few phone pics from the past week...

[ rooftop view at work spotting the Enterprise ] 
 [ delicious avocado ice cream & potato chip cookie sandwich ]
 [ food truck festival at the seaport ]
 [ freedom tower ]
[cute shop in Chelsea ]
 [ sweet little school garden ]
 [ speakeasy ]
[ blackberry brambles ]
[ obsessed these cocktail books ]

cheers to a great week ahead!

April 26, 2012

couscous-stuffed peppers.

Before I get into anything I just want to say that I love my friends. 
Like really.
I don't have a ton of best friends, but the few that I have are truly amazing women. 
I wouldn't be able to do anything without their support and encouragement. 
I am so thankful to have them in my life 
and so grateful for when they catch me when I fall.
(literally, FC)
You're the best.

And so I need to get this blog back into the swing of things. Today I am sharing an actual food recipe. Yes, I can cook and I don't just eat sweets all day long :)

The first time I ever made couscous I couldn't believe how fast and easy it was. Mind blowing, I tell you. I love this recipe because I think of it as the healthier version of the stuffed peppers loaded with breadcrumbs that I love so much. And it includes so many of my favorites- cranberries, feta, chickpeas, and of course spinach! (seriously)

And though I am more of a sauce-on-the-side type of girl, the pesto sauce pulls the whole dish together. 

Couscous-Stuffed Peppers with Pesto Sauce adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Start with 4 bell peppers, whatever colors you prefer.
Slice off the tops and remove all the seeds.
If you need to, cut a very thin slice off the bottoms to make them stand up straight.

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup couscous
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup baby spinach, packed
1/2 cup feta
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Turn off the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover the pan.
Wait about 6 minutes.
The couscous should be tender and all broth absorbed.

Mix couscous with all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Stuff the peppers with the filling and drizzle the tops with olive oil.
Bake the peppers standing in an 8x8 inch pan filled with 3/4 inch of hot water.
Bake 55- 60 minutes.
The filling should be golden brown and the peppers should look cooked through.
If the tops are browning too quickly then cover with foil.
( I did this after 30 minutes)

2 tbs pesto
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs water
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt, add extra if needed
1/4 tsp pepper, add extra if needed

Mix all ingredients together, done.
{You could make your own pesto base of course but I already had some pre-made in the fridge and I love convenience. You can also use fresh garlic...use what you have!}

Serve and enjoy!

April 23, 2012

birthday love.

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years."

happy birthday girlfriend.


April 18, 2012

words for thought.

"But the dreamers of the day are dangerous people.
For they dream their dreams with open eyes
and make them come true."

April 16, 2012

happy monday.

Well I did it. I survived my first week of work!

There is so much to adjust to, from learning every detail of the job, to getting used to the new schedule, to remembering everyone's names, oh and of course there is that awkward newbie feeling.

But it all makes me so much more grateful for the weekend!

I have to admit I spent most of it in the city drinking margaritas...it was sort of a Mexican fiesta kind of weekend.

[ I don't even want to count how many I consumed ]
[ grand central ] 
[ nutella ice cream with a shot of espresso @ the Cafeteria..amazing! ]
 [ fun with friends ]
[ sunday baking ]

As for my Sunday baking, I had some ripe bananas on hand so I decided to bake mini banana muffins. Bethenny Frankel's banana bread recipe is the only one that I have ever made. It is a healthy version and is so good that I never had a reason to make any other; even my skeptical brother loves it. This time I added peanut butter, just because :) 

If you are looking for a low-fat peanut butter then I recommend Better'n Peanut Butter. It does not have the same consistency as real peanut butter, its sort of syrupy. When I bought it at Trader Joes I was doubtful, but I ate it on toast and apples and didn't touch real peanut butter for a solid month (that's pretty big). 

Mini Banana Peanut Butter Muffins adapted from Bethenny Frankel
(Makes about 24 minis)

1 tbs butter, softened
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large)
1 cup raw sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash banana and butter.
Mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir well.

Pour batter into a well greased mini muffin pan.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Have a great week :)

April 11, 2012

week one.

My alarm went off at 5:30 Monday morning.

You can imagine that I didn't jump out of bed. I sluggishly hit the snooze button on my phone.
But before I hit the button, I stared at the date for a good solid minute, 
took in the moment and thought to myself...
welcome to the first day of the next chapter of your life.
This past weekend someone commented to me that I like change, that I embrace it.
That if I don't like something, I'm not afraid to well... change it.
Transitions can be quite scary but they are worth it. (in my humble opinion)

Onto the next, as I love to say.

p.s.-  I have been a horrible blogger this week... it's just the transitions promise :)

April 8, 2012

happy easter.

How was your Easter? Or if you don't celebrate, your Sunday funday? 
I hope it was lovely.

I have to say that I had a great time spending the day with my family. I spent the entire morning cooking, getting ready, and trying every kind of Easter candy we had in the house (I gave it up successfully for Lent). 

We ate, laughed, caught up on each other's lives, drank wine, and indulged on many sweets. 

The sugar overdose was primarily my fault. If you would like to know what I baked, here you go!
- black and neons (aka jazzy black and whites)
- tri-color cookies in pastel colors (a big time family favorite), I like this recipe
- chocolate covered oreos, which are super easy to make if you buy a sandwich cookie chocolate mold, I added the sugar decals for a special touch
- this peanut butter pie, I used a chocolate graham crust and topped with chocolate sprinkles, it is low-fat and delicious!
- one of my favorite brownie recipes, which I topped with chocolate frosting and sprinkles and served in a pie dish for a super rich chocolaty dessert

I tried to keep it simple and I think that I did a pretty good job :)
Now I have to go get ready for work tomorrow, wow wow wow.