Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornados, Ginger and Lemons! Oh my!

There have been tornado warnings all over the place in Virgina, DC and Maryland in the past couple of days. This is really unusual for our area. While trapped inside the other night with the TV blarring about monsterous winds and black clouds all I could think of was the Wizard of Oz.

I had this vision of a tornado with a cow, a man in a bathtub, pieces of furniture, a lady on her bike and whole houses were trapped inside. Clearly that is my only basis for knowledge on tornados.

I think the tornados got to my head because my dinner was a little bit of a tornado too. I mixed up quinoa, a jar of tika masala sauce I bought to try and some veggies. Strange and not my favorite meal I've ever made.

So when I decided to bake I was a little worried about the outcome.

I made soft ginger cookies which are even better than crunchy ginger snaps because they molassesy and soft and chewy and melt in your mouth with a serious kick of ginger to your taste buds.

I have this theory that ginger cookies go best with a glass of sweet and sour lemonade. I don't know where this idea first started but I love the combination.

The tornado in my mind was spinning and I came up with making lemon butter cream sandwiched between two soft gingery cookies.

The cookies bake up soft and golden brown and I sprinkled sugar over each one to get that glistening effect.

I filled my pastry bag and piped a little dallop of lemon buttercream sunshine onto each cookie while watching a special on the Royal Wedding of course.

Luckily this combination of flavors worked amazingly well, making my lemonade and ginger cookie theory that much more substantial. The tornado and royal wedding hoopla hadn't taken over my brain completely!

When you eat these cookies your "worries melt like lemon drops, way above the chimney tops"!

And I'm done with the Wizard of Oz references, even thought you secretly know you love them.

Soft Ginger Cookies:

~Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book

2 1/4 Cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 Cups butter

1 egg

1/4 Cup molasses

Sugar for sprinkling on top


Mix butter and sugar until it forms a light yellow paste. Add the egg and molasses and mix until combined.

In another bowl mix flour, baking soda and all spices.

Mix together wet and dry ingredients.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat and drop a small dollop of dough on the pan

bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned.

Sprinkle the top of cookies with sugar right after taking out of the oven.

Lemon Butter Cream:

1 stick of butter

2 Cups confectioners sugar

zest of 2 lemons

Juice of half a lemon


Beat butter and sugar until it forms a thick paste. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat again for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and lighter in color.

Fill a pastry bag with butter cream.

Place a dollop of butter cream on the back of a cookie and top with another cookie.

But to be honest simply making the ginger cookie and drinking a glass of sour lemonade on a beautiful summer day would be equally delightful!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Coffee Toffee Heaven

In the morning I have a routine. I clean out my green mug, add ice, and fill it up with hot strong coffee. A splash of half and half and a couple scoops of sugar swirled together and I am ready to start my day. I do love me some iced coffee!

But if you need a little jolt in the form of dessert, I got you covered.

Coffee Toffee Cookies.

Have I mentioned that I love toffee? Ok good.

These cookies were inspired by Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream. Smooth coffee flavored batter with chunks of chocolate and toffee swirled in and just because I felt like going the extra mile, a coffee glaze on top.

The trick to getting the coffee flavor was instant coffee. However, I under estimated the amount needed to actually pull off that roast bean taste.

I ended up using the whole box of instant coffee packets in order to be satisfied with the coffee flavor.

My arm got tired of mixing in the coffee so the boyfriend took over. How sweet.

These baked up very soft with a little crunch on the outside.

Two important things to note:

1.) These are probably more addictive than your average cup of joe.

2.) You might just get a little caffeine kick from just the glaze on these babies

Need a pick me up at 4pm? Grab yourself a cookie or 2 err 3 and you'll be set.

So if you are wondering if these cookies might be a good breakfast choice I would back you up 100%.

Coffee Toffee Cookies:

2 Sticks of Butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 bag of health bar bits

6 packets of instant coffee or 2 teaspoons instant espresso

Beat butter and sugar until it forms a paste. Add eggs one at a time and vanilla extract.

In another bowl add flour and baking soda.

Combine dry and wet ingredients until incorporated. Then add coffee. And lastly the toffee.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes


3/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon of milk

1 packet of instant coffee

Mix all ingredients together until smooth and until it slightly holds it shape.

Top cooled cookies with plenty of glaze

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Belated Easter!

Happy day late Easter!

Easter ended up being a beautiful day in DC. Sunny and warm with a great breeze. Perfect for walking around the city in a cute sundress or skirt.

And a bonus, my parents came down to visit me this weekend. We did a lot of the touristy things in DC, like the National Mall, the Natural Museum of History and the National Zoo. But the best was Easter brunch on Sunday!

Sadly I have no pictures of brunch but I got the French toast which was heavenly and a mimosa, probably the best morning beverage ever. Champagne in the morning...yes please!

You can't go wrong with holidays that end with chocolate in the shape of bunnies.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Everybody's doing it

Around the blog world I have seen a lot of posts related to bloggers favorites things of the moment, whether it be books, movies, songs, food, kitchen appliances etc. Well I don't want to be left out and well I'm letting peer pressure take over.

Things I love right now....

1.)Grace Potter and the nocturnals

2.)Black beans

3.)Lululemon yoga pants

4.)netflix documentaries

5.)The 30 day shred with Jillian Michaels, lets not get carried away she is helping me fit in my jeans so I love that

6.)Peanut butter Chocolate Chip Larabars

7.)Sun dresses because its finally getting warmer!

8.)Staying in on a weekend night...I know a little nerdy but I go through phases like this

9.)Disposable pastry bags

10.)Trader Joe's 3 layer hummus

What do you love right now?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Not a Werthless Game

You know you love this title.

On Wednesday night I went to a Phillies game in DC!

I love Phillies fans, we are a special breed. And considering that 2/3 of the people there were Phillies fans made it feel a little bit like home. Every once in awhile you could hear people screaming "Chooooooooooch" or "Rauooooooool". Ah home sweet home.

Look at these seats!

I would love to tell you that I ate a ball park hot dog and washed it down with a $7 beer but alas I did not however, my boyfriend did. I don't actually like hot dogs but I scarfed down a big soft pretzel in no time and thus no pictures. But I totally should have gotten cracker jacks if for no other reason then to get that prize inside.

I love baseball games. I don't have to pay attention intently the whole time but I still know whats going on and I actually understand what’s going on.

Pardon the no makeup and grossly pasty skin happening here.

Now if you look at where I was sitting you'll see that it was right field. Guess who plays right field for the Nationals now?


While I didn't personally yell at him, many many others did. Every once in while you would hear someone scream " Werthless". Classic.

But don't worry we won, 3-2.

You can take the girl out of Philly but you can't take the Philly out of the girl.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You light up my life

Yesterday was a dreary rainy day here in DC and even more so because the day before was sunny and 85 degrees. April showers better bring May flowers or else!

What is one to do when they feel like all the sunshine has left their life? (dramatic much?)

Eat chocolate..lots of chocolate

I contemplated what to bake for awhile but one thing just wouldn't leave my mind.


I love Italians for creating this sweet, rich, creamy, thick, chocolate hazelnut spread. Swoon. The sunshine returns immediately when you put a spoon full of it in your mouth.

Don't worry I may or may not have eaten the nutella stuck to the counter.

I decided I needed to bake something with the nutella rather than eat the whole jar for my own well being, so I give you nutella brownies.

To be honest, I don't love brownies, I know, strange right? I love chocolate but brownies aren't really my thing, I'd actually eat a blondie any day over a brownie.

But today I actually thought a brownie with nutella and cream cheese icing might be the best idea ever. Rich chocolate with cream cheese icing cutting the sweetness...yes please.

I mixed up brownie batter and added nutella to the mix and baked the brownies in muffin tins.

When the brownies came out of the oven I noticed that each one had a small hole in the middle of the brownie.

Clearly the universe was trying to tell me something and I wasn't going to go against the universe.

So naturally I used a piping bag to fill each brownie.

Most people may have stopped here and thought "brownies+nutella is enough", me on the other hand, I had to take it to the next level.

Cream cheese icing.

Like my roommate Elise said "When life gives you lemons, make nutella brownies".

Truer words were never spoken.

* Truly and honestly, I believe that boxed brownie mix is just as good if not better than making it from scratch. This is the only time I will say this about a baked good but a boxed mix will make you that perfect squiggy brownie you desire and there is no shame in that. So go ahead and make these brownies with a boxed mix, I won't tell.

Nutella Brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup nutella

Mix the sugar, oil and vanilla and then add each egg. Mix together

In another bowl mix cocoa powder, flour and baking soda

Combine and add 1/4 cup nutella (or however much you really feel like)

Grease muffin tins and fill 1/3 full

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes

Let cool

Pipe a small (or generous) amount of nutella in each brownie

Cream Cheese Icing:

1 package of cream cheese

1/2 cup of confectioners sugar or to taste

Mix sugar and cream cheese until sweet and soft

Top each brownie with plenty of icing.

Just try to eat only one, I dare you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I love it, I love it not

She is not very nice....

I decided that sundaes after work, sitting at a desk all day and not exercising regularly was not working out. Why?

This is why

These are a little too snug. More like way too snug- thus being scattered on the floor like so.

Exercise and I have a love hate relationship. I don't love working out, there I said it. Every once in awhile I'll enjoy a run or a class but honestly the best part is how you feel afterwards. Those endorphins are magic workers and fitting into those jeans isn't so bad either.

So after a long break-up, exercise and I have decided to reconcile.

In comes Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. The 20 minute workout that kicks your behind. Jillian is no joke, she means business. 3 intense circuits of strength training, cardio and abs and 3 levels of workouts. I use to do this workout DVD a lot and I barely made it past level 1 and then one day I just put Jillian in the corner and forgot about her. Sundaes just seem so much more fun, don't you think?

But I made myself do it today and yes it was hard and though I was shaking at the end, I'm proud that I got myself to go it!

I am hoping that I can finally get into a routine with cooking, baking, exercising and working now that I'm finally more settled.

First day being back with exercise was pretty good, I actually felt fairly confident and optimistic. I will even go as far as to highly recommending the 30 day shred to all.

Tomorrow could be a different story.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rosemary Parm Oven Fries

After my sundae after work on Friday I decided that maybe something a little lighter would be good. But what to make?

I remembered that my mom had given me a bunch of herbs to bring back to DC with me. At home we grow most of our herbs and use them year round in our food but alas in DC the lighting and temperature and moving from peoples couches for so long wasn't the ideal situation to plant my own. So my mom gave me some fresh rosemary and thyme (if you are singing Simon and Garfunkel in your head now, you're pretty darn cool).

What do I like to make with Rosemary?

Why, rosemary Parmesan oven fries of course!

My mom use to make these healthier fries for us all the time as kids. I now know why, they are easy, they don't take long and they taste great.

Rosemary Parm Fries

1 Idaho potato

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

a block of parmesan cheese

1 clove of garlic

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary

salt and pepper

Cut the potato length ways into fries and place on a baking sheet.

pour oil over the potatoes and coat evenly.

Chop or mince garlic and put on potatoes.

chop the rosemary roughly and sprinkle over the potatoes

Add salt and pepper to taste

And last but not least grate a generous amount of parm over the top of the potatoes

bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes or until potatoes turn golden brown.

These are great on the side of any kind of burger! But if you're like me they are delightful just as a meal in themselves.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Sundae

What is the best thing you can do for yourself after a long week?

Make yourself a sundae obviously!

I was driving home from work today and thought to cream with home-made chocolate sauce would hit the spot right now. I had some heavy cream and chocolate chips in my fridge so I made a quick stop to pick up some ice cream on the way home.

When I got back I went to work right away. I literally didn't even take my coat off. I double boiled some chocolate chips and heavy cream until thick and lovely.

I dished out the ice cream and topped with the chocolate sauce and bliss ensued.

You should totally make this now. Your taste buds will thank you.

It's officially the weekend!
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