Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Cookies + Wine = Messy Cookies

I know I have not blogged in a while and I have a lot of making up to do. I have been doing a good bit of baking lately and I have quite a bit to share. Please stay tuned and until then here are some messy sugar cookies made with (drunk) love...mmmmm.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Peach Pie Part 2

As promised here is the recipe that I used for peach pie. I found this one online and changed it quite a bit. It was the first time I've ever made peach pie and I was really happy with the way it turned out. My only problem was trying to peal them. I tried to just peal them by hand but that didn't work. So then I tried the method of submerging them in boiling water for 30 seconds then peeling them. That didn't work either. I got mad. It's just a peach, it shouldn't be difficult right? It was kind of a mess so I decided to just cut them up and leave the skin on. I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first bite and realized that the skins softened up quite a bit. I would still prefer them to be peeled so if anyone has any suggestions I would much appreciate them!


1/4 cup white sugar + 1 tbs sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
7 cups sliced peaches
2 tbs butter


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine sugar, flour, nutmeg and salt. Add lemon juice and vanilla to mixture. It will be kind of like a paste at this point. Stir into the sliced peaches.

To save time I used a pre-made pie crust. The Pillsbury® pie crust comes in two circular sheets. Unroll the first sheet and lay in the bottom of a pie pan. Pour the coated peaches in then cut up the butter into even chunks and spread over the peaches.

Cover with the other half of the pie crust. Tuck the excess dough down around the inside of the pie pan. Slightly pinch the dough all the way around the edge. Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes. Now carefully sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar over the pie. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. You should have a delightfully delicious peach pie that looks like this:


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Peach Pie

With a WHOPPING 4 votes Peach Pie is the latest winning recipe in the baking poll. Which is great timing considering I have so many peaches because of this. I swear it's complete coincidence that peach pie won and that I have pounds and pounds of peaches. Just like me, people must love peach pie this time of year. I will be posting the recipe tomorrow since I left my recipe at home and cannot remember the exact measurements. This song was in my head while I was making the pie:
Sing along for fun.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

How to Extract Vanilla Bean Seeds

If you're going to use vanilla bean seeds for the recipe that I previously posted-and you've never extracted them before-take a look at this video. It's a simple 'How To' for extracting the seeds.

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Icing

This recipe is really great for the summer. It's light and refreshing. The vanilla flavor compliments the lemon really well. This is one of my favorites!


1 cup butter softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups non-fat vanilla yogurt


3 tablespoons butter softened
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
vanilla bean seeds from one whole vanilla bean
(for instructions how to scrape a vanilla bean go here)
1 tablespoon milk


In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar then beat in the eggs one at a time.

Add the lemon peel and vanilla and mix together. Combine all dry ingredients well in a separate bowl and add to creamed mixture alternately with yogurt. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and happy.

Happy cupcakes baking
Cool for about 10 minutes then place on wire racks to cool completely.

For frosting, cream butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Add the vanilla, vanilla bean seeds and milk. If necessary add more milk until you reach the desired consistency. Now frost the cupcakes and EAT 'EM UP!

Also, don't forget to vote ya'll!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Peach Picking

Rob and I took a little trip up to Michigan this past weekend. We went to a "You Pick" farm where you can hand pick your own fruit. Living in Chicago, the closest thing you get to really good fresh fruits and veggies are the farmer's markets that they set up throughout the city on the weekends. They always have a really good selection and great tasting fruit but there's nothing like picking your own. We found a brochure for a place called Fruit Acres Farm and decided to go there. On the way through Michigan we saw a lot of signs for other "You Pick" farms. So there is a plethora to chose from. The only option for fruit this past weekend was peaches so we put on our peach pickin' hats and off we went. When we got there the very nice girl who weighed the fruit informed us that we were going to be taking a HAY RIDE to the peach orchard. Yes, I said hay ride. We were so excited. We are definitely city boys. Here I am on the hay ride:

Can't you see, I'm beaming with happiness!

When we got there the driver told us to go ahead and eat some peaches while we picked. So we did! It was like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory except we were scrambling to eat peaches. I felt like a kid, running around, eating as much as I wanted. But then we got down to business. It really pays to be tall in situations like this because we were able to pick the big fat juicy peaces way up at the tops of the trees that no one else could reach. Here is a picture of Rob, umm, not staged AT ALL:

Also, beaming with happiness! Here are some of the yummy peaches we picked:

Now we have a whole lot of peaches to eat. I think I see some peach pie in my future.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

City Porch Pics in the Rain

This obviously is not food related but it was such a great moment I had to share. I woke up Saturday morning to a downpour. So I sat on the porch and watched the rain and listened. Is was so serene and beautiful. It rained for over an hour. After I enjoyed it a bit I took some pictures.

Also, don't forget to vote in the new poll!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

So I haven't blogged in FOREVER. Well at least it seems. The reason why is that I just really haven't baked much in the past few weeks. It's been hot, it's summer, it's HOT...did I mention the heat? I love summer but I just haven't been motivated to bake. The BF makes comments everyday like, "When are you gonna bake something?", "You really need to bake something!" and "I remember when you used to bake for me." Aaaawwww. So, I shall bake! Banana bread with chocolate chips. This was his idea. I used my banana bread recipe but added mini chocolate chips.


1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter or margarine (room temperature)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups very ripe bananas mashed up
2/3 cup of mini semi sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add bananas and stir. Slowly combine with dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips. Line a 9 x 5 non-stick bread pan with parchment paper. Use enough parchment paper so that it hangs over the outside of the bread pan. See photo here. This makes it really easy to remove the loaf and saves you from having to grease the pan. Fill pan with batter and bake for 50 minutes.

And then you will have this:

Also, the winning recipe in the latest poll was for the lovely Lemon Blueberry Tarts. Look for them soon!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lime Squares with Graham Cracker Crust

Ohhh, ohhh, ohhh this recipe is so good! As you may or may not know the winning recipe for the latest recipe poll was for Martha Stewart's Lime Squares with Graham Cracker Crust. I am so glad that this recipe won. Since I have an allergy to certain nuts I replaced the pistachios with oats since that is what I had on hand. I wasn't sure at first how the crust would taste with the oats but honestly you couldn't even taste them. It did however give it a really good texture. I also would like to add that this would make a perfect tart recipe. So when I make it next (and that will be soon) I will make them as tarts!

Printable Recipe


1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2/3 cup oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large egg yolks
14 ounces sweetened condensed non-fat milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking pan with butter like so:

Just like with the Banana Bread and the Raspberry Loaf, line the bottom of the baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the sides.

In a food processor, finely grind the graham crackers until you have one cup worth.

Then in a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, oats, sugar and lime zest.

Melt the butter and cool for about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla to the butter and blend into graham cracker mixture. Vanilla is not called for in the original recipe but since I love it so much I couldn't control myself-I had to add some.

Press mixture into the bottom of the pan and about 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 8 minutes then set it aside to cool completely-about 30 minutes.

To make the filling mix together the egg yolks, condensed milk and the lime juice. Mix well then pour onto cooled crust.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Set aside and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, refrigerate for one hour before serving. The parchment paper makes it so easy to lift out of the pan. You can set it on a serving tray and slice it as needed. I swear, parchment paper is my new best friend. For recipes like this it's wonderful!

Now if you want to make the recipe with pistachios measure 2/3 cup and grind them in the food processor along with the graham crackers. It's that easy!

Also, don't forget to vote in the new poll!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I 'Heart' Tarts

It is time once again for another recipe poll. This time it's all about tarts! So Pleeease....

Also, the winning recipe for the last poll will be featured tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Raspberry Swirl

So the BF needs credit for this one-well at least partial credit! After I made the banana bread he had the idea of making a loaf similar to the banana bread but with raspberries somehow incorporated. So I put my handy-dandy thinking cap on and this is what I came up with:

Raspberry-Lemon Loaf

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
1 cup raspberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a big mixing bowl. Mix vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, milk and lemon zest in a separate bowl. Add to dry ingredients and mix well.

Fold in the luscious raspberries. They're not looking so luscious though in this picture...

Line a 9 x 5 non-stick bread pan with parchment paper, just like this. Use enough parchment paper so that it hangs over the outside of the bread pan-just like we did with the banana bread. See photo here. This makes it really easy to remove the loaf and saves you from having to grease the pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes. At least I think. I was drinking amish wine OK! So...I think that's pretty close...

Let cool on wire rack. Now let's make some yummy icing!! It's so easy I can't even stand it!

1 teaspoon butter
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Melt the butter and add to rest of ingredients. Mix until creamy. That's it! Now spread it on top of that yummy loaf. If you want it to be thinner-more like a glaze-just keep adding milk until you reach the desired consistency.

The only problem that I had with this recipe is that the raspberries sank to the bottom. I'll need to do a bit more experimenting with this recipe to get it just right.

Also, the winning recipe in the Martha Stewart poll were the lime squares. They will be featured soon. Thank you to all who voted!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Not Food Related

I really like these pictures and I wanted to share them even though they are not food related. The BF and I planted some flowers on our back porch and I just love them. Aaahhh.....I love summer.

Also, Raspberry-Lemon Loaf coming soon...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

After much anticipation the winning recipe for the last poll was Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies. Thanks to everyone who voted! I have added a new poll, one that is in honor of Martha. I picked 4 recipes from her cookie of the day section. You can look for the individual recipes here before you vote.



3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of small semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 (4.5 ounce) packages chocolate covered thin mints


In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar, butter and water, stirring occasionally until melted.

Remove from heat, stir in the chocolate chips until melted and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

I was so tempted to eat that right out of the pot right then and there...but I didn't.

Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl, and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the chocolate mixture.

Let the dough sit until it is room temperature then stir in the small semi sweet chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets. Roll cookie dough into walnut sized balls and place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

I wanted to eat those little round chocolaty treats right then and there...but I didn't.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, be careful not to over bake.

When cookies come out of the oven, Press one mint wafer into the top of each cookie and let sit for 1 minute.

When the mint is softened, swirl with the back of a spoon or toothpick to make a pattern with the green filling of the mint wafer.

Ooooohhh look how pretty!!

Let cookies cool for about a half an hour. Now eat them!! I was I did!!