Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mint Brownies

In returning home for Christmas I was so looking forward to doing some holiday baking and documenting my tasty adventures on this here blog.  It simply wasn't meant to be, however, as just a few days after arriving home my computer did not want to cooperate, the screen broke, and I was without it for three weeks.  This may have stopped the planned blogging, but not the baking.  Thankfully the oven didn't break too.

The first dessert I baked was this pan of mint brownies to satisfy my grandmother's chocolate craving.  "Forget See's!" she said as she finished the first brownie.  This along with my grandmother's prediction that I will become a "great baker" were two of the nicest compliments I've received since I've been busying myself in the kitchen. 

There really isn't much to this recipe; but, simplicity can be delicious.  Bake up your favorite brownie recipe (mine comes from the back of the can of Ghirardelli cocoa powder can), and after the pan comes out of the oven, just cover the top with Ande's mints (creme de menthe candies).  The heat on the brownies will help to melt the chocolates; swirl until covered, and place in fridge until top is hard.

Is there anything better than melted chocolate?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Until about a week and a half ago I had not baked anything, or at least completely baked anything on my own!  I am fortunate to have a friend at college who lives in an apartment, and during this quarter I helped her to bake a cake, but using a box mix just ain't the same. 

You can imagine, then, my excitement to go home for Thanksgiving.  This was my first attempt at making pumpkin pie.  It was my first attempt at making any pie not made with a Jell-O mix!   I am pleased with the results, and I must say, for a beginning baker, the Betty Crocker Cookbook is practically the Bible. 

The pie crust was a challenge.  I think I may have "overpulsed" it in the the food processor, causing it to tear when I tried to unfold it into the pie plate.  However, I think I have answered the great debate of what makes a pie crust flaky: shortening!  Betty's recipe called for shortening, and this was a delicious, crumbly crust. 

Admittedly, I used canned pumpkin, so perhaps this wasn't completely from scratch, but who really cares when it tastes great?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Coconutty Pumpkin Snack Cake

Even the deliciousness of this cake cannot erase the sadness I must share.  I have baked my last this summer, and in one day I must return to college.  To ring in the new school year I decided to make something reminiscent of autumn and all its warm flavors, yet I wanted something easy and with as little mess as possible.  Snack cake! 

I suppose it is called snack cake because you can throw it together, like a snack; but this cake really sticks to your bones, so don't let the name fool you.  For a little extra decadence I added a broiled coconut and almond topping.

The cake is prepared in the pan, leaving you with barely any clean up and more time to enjoy your dessert!

Cake adapted from Betty Crocker's Cookbook; and "Broiled Coconut Topping" from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Cake ingredients:
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.  Mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices with fork in an ungreased square pan, 8x8x12".  Stir in remaining ingredients.
Bake for 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  While cake is baking prepare broiled coconut topping: beat 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 2 tablespoons softened butter until combined.  Stir in 1 tablespoon milk, 1/2 cup flaked coconut and 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds because that was all I had).  Immediately spread mixture on top of cake when it comes out of oven.  Broil for 3 to 4 minutes about 4 inches from heat until golden brown.
Cool in pan on wire rack.  
Serve warm.

For even more decadence, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Baked Banana Splits

Craving the symbol of old-timey ice cream parlors but missing a key ingredient, ice cream?  Well, even if you aren't, you should make this and eat it anyways.  It is yummy, easy, and fast to make.  Don't let the garish black peel scare you off, obviously you don't eat that.  The peel is simply the vessel in which warm, gooey, sugar heaven is preserved until reaching your mouth via spoon. 

Ripe bananna
(everything that follows is optionable, tweakable, etc.  The flavor combinations are only limited to what you find in the cupboard)
Sweetened shredded coconut
Peanut butter chips
Chocolate chips
(other fillings: butter and brown sugar, dried fruit, candy pieces, nuts...)

Heat oven to 350-375 deg. F (depending on how firm/mushy you want the banana).  Cut off banana stem.  Slit peel at base of banana (where stem would be) and slit lengthwise cutting into fruit, but not through the peel on the other side.  Fill center with anything that pleases your fancy.  My only suggestion would be, if you are using marshmallows, save that for the very top, as that creates a nice crunchy crust that is fun to crack into, and that also helps to keep everything below from melting out. 


Prop bananas up on an upside down donut or muffin pan.  Bake for 8-12 minutes.  You can tell when the bananas are done because the skin will have turned black, and the bottom of the banana should be soft to touch.  If you are worried about the marshmallows burning, drape tin foil over top in last 2 minutes of baking.  Serve warm. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Frosted Peanut Butter Cookies

Earlier this summer, my mom and I were invited to a Pampered Chef party.  If you have never been to one, you are truly missing out, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to eat, or the kind of person who likes kitchen gadgets (very inclusive, you see).

After an hour of munching away on snacks, oohing and awing over the power of a special kitchen chopper, and socializing, it was time to buy something.  Mom insisted that I pick something out as a souvenir type thing.  I went with the miniature cookie cutters.  After waiting for five weeks for the little tin of cutters to arrive, I couldn't wait to use them.  Naturally, sugar cookies seemed logical, but I was in the mood for something a bit more decadent.

Recipe(s) adapted from Gold Medal No. 42: Cookies and Bars,
"Peanut Butter Spring Baby Cookies with Vanilla Frosting":

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Vanilla and/or Chocolate Frosting

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F.  Beat sugars, butter, peanut butter, vanilla and egg in bowl on medium speed until creamy.  Stir in baking powder and salt. 
Divide dough in half.  Roll each half of dough about 1/4" thick on lightly floured surface with a flour dusted rolling pin.  Cut into desired shapes.  Place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 6-7 minutes or until light brown.  Cool 1-2 minutes on cookie sheet.  Remove from sheet and cool completely on wire rack before frosting (about 30 minutes).

Vanilla (Chocolate) Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
(for chocolate, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder)

Mix all ingredients until smooth.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rocky Road Cake

In my pantry I have a box filled with magic.  While others may call it "cheating," I prefer the phrase "taking a short cut."  In the end, what matters is that it tastes good (which this cake does).  Using Bisquick I made a cake that is fluffy, not doughy like one would expect when using a biscuit/pancake mix.  Mixed with some brown sugar and binders for a few minutes you get a perfect cake base with which to top with almost anything.  In this case, I followed the recipe, covering the cake surface with everything that a good ice cream sundae of Rocky Road ice cream should have.  Those of you who like the "ice cream" parallelism will appreciate my mother's slice in the background of the photo, topped with a dollop of whipped topping.

Adapted from Betty Crocker's Bisquick Makes it Easy!

1-1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix (I used the HeartSmart variety)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg (or 1/4 cup EggBeaters - Say No to Salmonella! and lick the bowl of raw batter)
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter chips
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 deg. F.  Grease and flour round pan, 9x1-1/2".  Beat baking mix, brown sugar, water, shortening, vanilla and egg in bowl on low speed for about 30 seconds; scraping bowl frequently.  Beat on medium speed for about 4 minutes; scraping bowl occasionally.  Pour mixture into pan.  Sprinkle remaining ingredients over batter.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are such an American classic.  I would go so far as to argue that chocolate chip cookies are more American than apple pie.  Sure, the chocolate is grown in South America, and the sugar comes from somewhere in the Caribbean, but I would guess that more servings of chocolate chip cookies are eaten by Americans per year than servings of apple pie.

I made these on the same day as the ratatouille, and several days later they are even better.  They are easy to make, the dough is delicious, and they even facilitate aroma therapy.  Could you ask for more of such a humble dessert?  I think not.

I used Better Homes and Garden's recipe which calls for a little more brown sugar than the classic toll house version. I like a carmel flavor in my cookie, and these had just that.  This recipe makes the perfect milk dunkable cookie: crispy edges, chewy middle. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

White Bean Ratatouille

This meal is kind of special.  It is the first dinner meal (not heated up in a microwave, mind you) that I have ever made with zero assistance from my sous chef, Mom. 

Last Thursday everyone was out of the house, and I fully took advantage of this time to cook and bake (be watching for a cookie posting!)  It took me an obscene amount of time to chop the vegetables, particularly to figure out how to cut up garlic and how to peel eggplant.  I have never cooked eggplant before.  In fact, I'm not even sure if eggplant has ever been cooked in my house even by someone who isn't me.  The kitchen has been christened.

Another reason why this meal is special?  It has a (minor) connection to the exciting news I am about to share.  Several times I have eaten the "white bean ratatouille" served up in the dining halls at my university, which is where I got the inspiration to add the delicious little beans to this recipe. Come fall quarter I will be working in the dining hall!  First real job! This may not seem exciting to those of you who understand "dining hall" to be code language for "cafeteria," but hey, I'd rather work around vegetables and desserts that I love than filing cabinets and office phones that I detest.  Think about that, and in the meantime, feast your eyes.

White Bean Ratatouille adapted from "Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book"

BH and G says that this recipe is "Mediterranean," but anyone who has ever seen that movie with the rat knows this is a bunch of bologna.

3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
5-6 cups cubed, peeled eggplant
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 14 oz can sliced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper (I like green)
3 tablespoons water

In a large skillet cook onion and garlic in hot oil over medium heat until soft.  Mix in eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, bell pepper, and water.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender.  Uncover and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.  Stir in basil.

This recipe serves about three people.  If you only have two people, that's better because in my opinion the leftovers were better, especially eaten cold!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I think that of all the textures of food, crunch would be my favorite.  So, ever since recovering from the whole popcorn/gum fiasco, I have been craving crunchy food.  Crusty bread, cereal, crackers...nothing could quench the desire until yesterday, when I made my own granola.  That's right, I didn't pay $4 for a box of oats covered in partially hydrogenated soy bean oil and sugar.  What I made was much more delicious.

I did my research on the Internet.  Most granola recipes that came up from Google had several things in common: oil, butter, sugar, molasses (i.e. more sugar).  Why was this necessary?  Granola has become synonymous with "health freak" in our society, but could it be that this was a misnomer?  I mean, surely any "health benefits" one garnered from eating the good oats and nuts would be negated by the fat and sugar.

So I did some more research, and after tweaking a few recipes, I came up with a recipe for granola that does not use oil whatsoever.  Eureka!

Recipe adapted from the New York Times:>

Yield: 8 servings (1/2 cup size)
  • 3 cups of rolled oats (I had no problem using quick cooking, though some people don't advise it, and feel free to substitute some other grains if you don't have enough; for example, I used about a 1/2 cup of Grape Nuts cereal for added crunch with 2-1/2 cups of oats)
  • 1 cup of mixed nuts and seeds (basically whatever I had around, some pecans, almonds, and sunflower seeds)
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
  • 1/2 cup of dry shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  •  Dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of maple syrup (I used sugar free syrup, plus a few packets of Splenda to taste.  Using sugar free syrup surprisingly still resulted in a crunchy granola, so have no fear!)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I prefer raisins and craisins)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl, mix together all ingredients except dried fruit.  Place on a sheet pan in center rack of oven.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so to prevent burning.
2) Remove pan and add dried fruit.  Allow pan to cool on a rack, stirring occasionally until granola reaches room temperature.  Keep in sealed container in fridge; it will last forever this way.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Popcorn, Peach Sorbet, and Deformed Lemon

I haven't been doing much baking, even though I have had access to a kitchen and a lot of time on my hands.  I guess that is the result of summer laziness. 

An outrageous occurrence in early June left me in a sad state of eating mush.  A bowl of popcorn is was my favorite night time snack when mixed with a handful of raisins.  Yet, in indulging one night a popcorn hull became lodged between my tooth and gum tissue and enjoyed itself wreaking havoc with my white blood cells.  Two treatments of antibiotics, a taste-bud altering mouthwash, approximately 10 injections of anesthetic, and a laser procedure to pull back the flap of my gum, and finally I am healed!  I was put on a "soft foods diet" for a week after all that fun.  Yay.  Not.

Thankfully, adversity breeds creativity.  Tired of eating pudding, soup, and ravioli, one night I decided to make a refreshing, fruit dessert.

I decided on Peach Sorbet.  Out came the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker!

First I blended:
1 C fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 C frozen diced peaches
3 TB lemon juice, mixed with 1 TB water

After about 10 minutes in the ice cream maker, I put the good stuff in a container in the freezer for about 3 hours.  When I came back to enjoy, I was disappointed with how hard it had become.  Perhaps this was the result of not enough fat, or too much liquid?  The freezing also took away some of the sweetness, so next time I might add a little sugar or *gasp of horror* Splenda.  The mixture itself, however, would make a great smoothie, especially for those who like them a little sour with that splash of lemon in there.

Before I close, a note about lemons:
I have a lemon tree in my back yard (yes, I am very lucky, I know).  The lemons are always delicious, even though one that I used in the dessert isn't what one would call "classically beautiful."

Case in point:

(A lemon that wanted to be a chili)

Cross sectioned:

Believe it or not, this little guy actually tasted good.  I guess this is mother nature also trying to tell us that it is what is on the inside that matters...haha, cliches.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bananna Bread

First let me say, I am horrible at spelling the word "banana." I always want to spell it like this :
So, to make it easy on myself, I am going to spell it the way I want to.

An extra "n" doesn't make a recipe any less delicious. Although this one was a little dry upon first eating it. It tasted much better after sitting, wrapped up in plastic overnight. Yes, maybe the recipe did instruct to wait and slice the loaf the next day, but who could wait when it is warm out of the oven and looks like that?

I used the recipe from the "Better Homes & Garden Cookbook." The topping is a streusel-nut crumble made from flour, brown sugar, butter, and chopped walnuts. In all honesty, the bread would only be O.K., not good, if it weren't for this stuff. Next time I may try Betty Crocker's recipe as I was dissatisfied with the dryness of the bananna bread considering the 1/2 cup of butter that went into the batter. Well, at least there are people in my house to eat it. I'll just eat the top.

Also, I can't get this annoying highlighting off of the preceding text; apologies.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lemon Jelly Roll

A jelly roll cake is daunting. Delicious, dainty, but daunting. I decided to take a leap of faith last weekend when I was home for Memorial day and make a lemon filled jelly roll cake as the lemon dessert I had promised.  Let me give a big shout out to my Mom who served as sous-chef on this one, especially when it came to the lemon filling (the first batch of which flopped, because the sauce pan I used to make it in was too big.  How was I supposed to know this would affect the chemistry of the whole thing?  I am a literature major, not a sciency person, thank you). 

The cake is only about 1/4 of an inch thin, and is spongy, allowing it to be rolled up in a powder sugar covered towel after coming out of the oven, unrolled, and then rolled up again after being filled with lemony goodness.
Although I couldn't resist having two slices in one night, you will notice that there is only one slice on the plate (don't let convention stop you from eating the whole thing though!)  It was paired lovely with some freshly made whipped cream with a topping of lemon zest.  Oh, the recipe also called for two drops of yellow food coloring in the lemon filling (which is very much like a lemon curd), but I thought that was kind of gross.  So maybe it looks like you're eating Vaseline; I think what matters most is that it doesn't taste like Vaseline. 

For both the lemon filling and cake I used recipes from the Betty Crocker cookbook.  Gotta' love Betty.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Going home for Memorial Day weekend and planning to make something with lemons off the tree in the back yard.  What will it be?  Lemon bars?  Lemon bread?  Lemon cake?  Only time will tell; but it will taste like summer, that I know.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Survival Cooking

Some RAs from my building just put on a program for us helpless little college students to teach us how to cook easy meals for when we go out on our own in the years to come.  I appreciated the event, but I couldn't help but notice that there were only about 5 residents at the program while the food was being made (that would be the important part, the instruction, you see); yet, as the smell of food wafted down the hall, our kitchen/lounge area became flooded with college students.  Therefore, I watched, I ate, and I left. 

Unfortunately I didn't have a chace to take pictures, but the RAs made some delicicous (and EASY) bagel concoctions.

  • Mini bagels, cut in half
  • Cream cheese
  • Pesto
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Grated cheese blend (like a bag of Kraft)
Lay out bagel halves on a cookie sheet.  Spread with 1 T of cream cheese.  Then spread with 1 T of pesto.  Cover with a slice of tomato.  Sprinkle each bagel with a little cheese.  Place sheet in the oven on low heat (300F-350F) until cheese on top melts. 

I was happy with the taste and texture of the little appetizer.  However, I think this is one of those meals that could benefit from being "healthified."  I think if I made it, I might substitue whole wheat mini bagels, low fat cream cheese, and low fat 1% grated cheese.  Even the pesto could be substituted for some lemon pepper, as one of the cooks said.  If anything, the substitutions might make the dish even more delicious.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Banana Experiment

I had a banana.  I had a mini-fridge with a freezer compartment.  I had to try it.  The results looked kind of disgusting, and it was very hard to peel, but it tasted a bit like a banana smoothie...that you have to eat with a fork (?)

Don't think I'd "make" it again, just because the clean-up is more than my laziness will permit.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Delicious Dinner

I may not have a kitchen, but I do have a salad bar. 

It was good.  Spinach, croutons, parmasean cheese, mandarin oranges, red onions, red cabbage, chickpeas, and a little balsamic vinaigrette.  Now, if only that unsightly blotch of vinegar on the edge of that white plate wasn't staring me in the face and laughing.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I want a suitable kitchen, dagnabit!  I wish that my school would explode so I could just go home, and among other things do some baking!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Giant Ginger Cookies

This is definitely one of my favorite Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season cookie.  However, it is almost Easter, so why did I just make them?  Because they are good all freakin' year round!  Oh, and my Grandma was craving them.  So, with my mother working as my assistant (ha) we produced a delicious batch and the house was left smelling wonderfully like holiday spices.

From the "Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook"

Giant Ginger Cookies

Makes: about 25 cookies

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ghirardelli Brownies with a Surprise


It was finally time for me to make something sweet during this vacation.  What would it be?  Coconut cake?  Oatmeal raisin cookies?  I was really at a lost until my mother suggested making brownies.  Of course, only the best recipe would do, and without a doubt that would the Ghiradelli brownie recipe.  Upon taking the first bite my grandmother said that she had never eaten a brownie that good and "You just can't get a box mix that good."

The recipe calls for walnuts, but since I am not nuts for, well, nuts I substituted in a surprise.  It ended up adding a welcome bit of tanginess to the otherwise overwhelmingly (but good) chocolatey brownies.  These brownies will simply melt in your mouth, surprise or not. 

Adapted from the back of the Ghiradelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa can

Makes: 16-20 brownies

2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c butter or margarine, melted
3/4 c Ghiradelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa
2/3 c unsifted flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c of walnuts (original recipe, but my SURPRISE substitutes in dried cranberries, like Craisins!)
1 c 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (the can of cocoa says "optional," but I say "essential)

"Preheat oven to 350 F. Using a spoon, stir eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter. Sift Sweet Ground Chocolate with flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into egg mixture; add nuts (or surprise). Stir in chips. Spread into a greased 8" or 9" square pan. Bake 20-30 minutes (or if your oven sucks, like mine, 35 minutes). For extra chewy brownies, use 8" pan and less baking time. For cake-like brownies, use 9" pan and longer baking time. Cut into squares."


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pasta Salad

This is another one of my favorite meals, so it simply had to be made for my week home.  I ended up having pasta salad two dinners in a row, because it is just SO good.  In my opinion, the dish is almost better the second day as the dressing really soaks into the broccoli and croutons...mmmm, yes.  I almost begin to salivate as I write this.  Good thing there is a pan of fresh brownies sitting just feet away from my keyboard.  No.  Restraint, have a little self-control.  Anyways, pasta salad.  The original recipe was called "pizza salad," but as I don't make it with the pepperoni, I felt the snazzy name would be a bit ridiculous.  I guess that just goes to prove, as my good friend Willy says, "A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet," or in modernspeak "this recipe is delicious no matter what you call it.

Pasta Salad

Serves: 16


  • 1 lb spiral colored macaroni; cooked and drained
  • 1-3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/4-1/2 lb cheddar cheese cubed
  • 1/2 bunch slice green onions
  • 3 oz pepperoni (or salami, or NEITHER)
  • 3 crowns of broccoli

 Dressing (combine in a small bowl):
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2/3 c grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
Mix salad and dressing well, refrigerate several hours. Top with croutons before serving.

Looking for a little spice? Make Southwestern Pasta Salad! This is my mother's fabulous variation on the original recipe. In place of the usual vinaigrette use a mixture of 1-1.5 C ranch dressing, 1/2 c green taco sauce, and 3 Tb dry taco seasoning mix. Then, substitute 1 can of black beans, and 1 can of corn, pepper jack cheese, and crushed tortilla chips for broccoli, cheddar, and croutons. Other nice add-ins to the original recipe: kidney beans, and black olives (not to my taste, but some like them).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chinese Napa Salad

For St. Patrick's day (also my first dinner home during spring break), my mother taught me how to cook my favorite meal. Cabbage and Corned Beef wasn't an option for the lucky day as I am was vegetarian (going on 8 months!), but cabbage was.  So, out came the recipe card for Chinese Napa Salad, a recipe my family got from an old friend some ten years ago now. The recipe here is how it is on the card, however, my mother makes a delicious lite version that I will get on here as soon as she WRITES IT DOWN (hint, hint Mom.  I know you read this).  Still, I think it's best to try the authentic recipe first and then adjust it to your own tastes.

Chinese Napa Salad

Servings: 8


1 large head of cabbage, shredded
5 green onions, sliced thinly
1/2 stick of butter
2 packages of Ramen noodles, without seasoning packet
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Dressing ingredients:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2-3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup-1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce


Wash and drain cabbage.

 Melt 1 stick of butter in pan, and add 2 packages of Ramen noodles (no flavor packets) broken up.

Add 1/2 cup sesame seeds and 1/2 cup slivered almonds. Sauté until golden brown. Cool.

Shake dressing and mix all ingredients just before serving.

Suggestions: Put ramen in a Ziploc bag and place a towel beneath; then, use a meat pounder to break up brick of noodles. Works great!

(Yeah!  Live action shot!)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Grandma's Famous Tom Thumbs

As promised: sugar-high gold, aka the recipe:

Yields: 36

  • 1 C shortening
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 C brown sugar
  • 2 C sifted flour
  • tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 4 Tb flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 C shredded coconut
  • 2 C coarse chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine shortening and salt. Add 1 C brown sugar and cream thoroughly. Add 2 C flour and blend well. Spread mixture in a greased and floured large pan (16.5''x12''). Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees or until delicately browned. Add remaining 2 C brown sugar and vanilla to beaten eggs. Beat mixture until thick and foamy. Then add 4 Tb flour, baking powder, coconut, and nuts; blend. Spread over baked mixture, carefully, so as not to tear it. Bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool for AT LEAST an hour (this will be hard as they smell so delicious that you want to devour the entire piping hot pan, but please resist) or else topping will separate from crust. Cut into small bars.

Suggestions: Don't like walnuts? Perhaps pecans would taste good; or, for an even richer bar try chocolate chips!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Get the recipe here!

Living in the dorms, there is a kitchen, but by no means can you cook or bake with it. I believe someone cooked fish in there a few months back and there is still burnt fish skin around the stove, and spots of olive oil on the area where a back-splash should be.
So, when I go home, I bake. Next time I would like to try my hand at some bread, and maybe a little cooking. The purpose of this blog, therefore, will be to chronicle those adventures. I will try to include recipes, yet for now, some pictures will have to suffice.

I went home for the long weekend last week (this is an old blog reposted here, because I have been dissatisfied with Tumblr and have moved here, but keep reading knowing that "last week" was now about a month ago, heheh...), and while home I was able to bake some Tom Thumbs. I have been eating these cookies for as long as I remember. They definitely have a target audience, as not everyone appreciates shredded coconut or walnuts, but that’s ok, because if no one else eats them, I sure will.

Following, are some photos:

It's messy...I know.

"Mix until fluffy."

First Layer Baking


Final Product. Yum.