June 17, 2014 12:21 pm · Posted by Lauren G
National Donut Day was a couple of weeks ago! If you went to Krispy Kreme, you could have gotten a tasty one for free. (I most definitely went). I've tried making donuts once before it and was a complete disaster, but I was crusing Ralph's and I found this adorable Betty Crocker Donut Cookie mix. Seriously...adorable. You can ask my roommate how many times I looked at these cookies and commented on how cute they were. I don't think they actually tasted like donuts, but I rolled them out and used my donut cutter (be sure to add a little extra flour to the mix). The instructions on the back of the bag said you could also roll the dough into a rope and form a donut shape. I tried that and it didn't turn out that well. If you don't have a donut cutter you could use two different sized round cutters or even get resourceful with a cup and bottle cap! If you don't want to use the pre-packaged mix, you can use the sugar cookie and buttercream frosting recipes I included below.
Time for frosting and sprinkles...
Delicious with a little coffee in my Krispy Kreme mug.
Perfect Sugar Cookies
- 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium; add eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture gradually, beating until incorporated. Shape dough into 2 disks. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let 1 disk of dough stand at room temperature until just soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Instead of rolling dough on a floured surface, I like to use plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out. Cut out desired shapes. Transfer to baking sheets. Roll out scraps once, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough. Freeze until cookies are firm, 15 minutes.
- Bake in batches, switching and rotating sheets halfway through, until edges of cookies turn golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.
- Spoon royal icing into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip, and decorate cookies. Let stand overnight or until icing dries completely.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (Ideal texture should be like ice cream)
- 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- up to 4 tablespoons milk of heavy cream
- Red food coloring
- Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed.
- Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn't blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter.
- Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract and salt and beat for 3 minutes. Add one drop of food coloring at a time until desired color is achieved.
- If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining cream 1 tablespoon at a time.
May 6, 2014 10:55 am · Posted by Lauren G
I can't believe I've never made bread pudding before! It's one of the easiest things I've ever made, and it's so gooey and yummy. I added raisins, but left out the nuts since I made this for a party and nut allergies always make me nervous.
I used two kinds of bread because I thought it would add more flavors. I really couldn't taste the difference, but wont of them is whole wheat so at least I can pretend it's healthy.
3 cups cubed bread, allow to stale overnight in a bowl
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 cups milk
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large beaten eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread cubed bread in an 13x9 baking pan. If desired, sprinkle with raisins and pecans.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
- In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, and butter.
- Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.
(Inspired by Food Network and Allrecipes)
April 17, 2014 12:36 pm · Posted by Lauren G
If you thought cauliflower was weird, you're going to think I'm crazy today. But seriously, why the heck not? Carrots naturally have a lot of sugar, so I actually liked this crust over the cauliflower one because it had a hint of sweetness. (If you ever had any doubt about my sweet tooth, I even like sweet pizza!) This recipe is even easier to make because you don't have to cook the carrots before forming the crust. Just remember to squeeze out all the carrot juice you can! And maybe save it and drink it because carrot juice is stupid expensive when you buy it from Trader Joe's.
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 400. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a food processor, blend carrots until very finely chopped.
Take the processed carrot and, using a cheesecloth or clean piece of material (like an old shirt or tea towel), strain as much water (carrot juice) out of the carrots as you can.
4. Place the strained carrots into a bowl - you should have about 1 cup of carrot.
5. Stir in garlic, cheese, and egg until well blended.
6. Using a spatula, spread out carrot mixture onto prepared cookie sheet to about an 8 inch circle.
7. Bake at 400 for 10 - 12 minutes, until just starting to brown around the outside and top appears dry.
8. Top as desired.
(Inspired by Jo and Sue)
February 25, 2014 12:22 pm · Posted by Lauren G
I've had spaghetti squash, but I've never tried cooking it before. Luckily, on one of my Costco excursions, I saw a couple and decided to be adventurous. Ummm, not to brag or anything, but these turned out amazing! Spaghetti squash isn't that hard to cook. Well, cutting it in half is really hard so prepare yourself, but the cooking part, not so much. You pretty much just stick it in the oven until the squash is tender. Then, you fluff it up with a fork. I was so amazed that it actually comes apart looking like spaghetti! Crazy! The spaghetti squash has a slightly sweet flavor reminiscent of a pumpkin, which in my opinion is way better than boring pasta and healthier too!
Cutting the squash in half is a little tricky. You need a big sharp knife and some muscle. Here is a helpful video if you're having trouble.
Ahh it's spaghetti!
FOR THE ROASTED SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
- 2 small spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeded
- 1 tablespoon oil
- salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE LASAGNA MEAT SAUCE:
- 1 pound ground turkey
- your favorite marinara sauce
FOR THE LASAGNA STUFFED SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
- 1 cup low fat cottage cheese or ricotta
- 1 tablespoon basil, chopped
- 1 cup partially skim mozzarella, shredded
FOR THE ROASTED SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Brush the inner flesh of the spaghetti squash with oil, season with salt and pepper.
- Roast, skin side up until tender, about 45 minutes.
- Note: You can also roast the spaghetti squash whole. Prick with a small, sharp knife all over and roast until tender when pierced with a knife.
FOR THE LASAGNA MEAT SAUCE:
- Meanwhile, cook the turkey, about 8-10 minutes, drain and add to your sauce.
FOR THE LASAGNA STUFFED SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
- Fluff up some of the inside of each spaghetti squash half, divide the mixture of the cottage cheese and basil between them followed by the sauce and the cheese.
- Broil in the oven until the cheese has melted and turned a light golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
(Inspired by Closet Cooking)
November 21, 2013 12:39 pm · Posted by Lauren G
I didn't like the way my first attempt at grapefruit cookies turned out. Luckily, my friend's tree is at it again, and he gave me another batch of fresh grapefruits. I loved these cookies! They were crisp and sweet with a beautiful cracked surface.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for dipping
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons Ruby Red grapefruit juice
- 1 tablespoon Ruby Red grapefruit zest
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of ground ginger
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and either lightly grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cream together the sugar and the butter until well combined. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit zest until well combined.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and ginger and then combine with the liquid ingredients until a soft dough is formed.
- Drop by rounded tablespoon two inches apart. They'll spread as they bake!
- Press bottom of glass into dough to grease, then dip into granulated sugar; press on shaped dough until about 1/4 inch thick.
- Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just set. They’ll be puffy when they come out of the oven but as they cool they’ll flatten and form those glorious cracks in the surface. Continue for the rest of the dough.
(Inspired by Homesick Texan)
September 24, 2013 12:25 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Pumpkin everything! Those cans of pumpkin are so big, and you usually only need a cup. What am I supposed to do with all of it besides make cupcakes, bread, and cookies (recipe coming next week). This secret family recipe came from a friend of mine. (I guess the secret is out now!) I still don't have a loaf pan, so I made a cupcake/muffin version. I just had to adjust the baking time, and they still came out moist and delicious!
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 1 (12-cup) muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
- Combine all ingredients and mix on low speed until well blended.
- Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake until the tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
To make a pumpkin bread loaf...
Pour into greased 55x9 loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-75 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
(Inspired by a secret!)
September 12, 2013 12:51 pm · Posted by Lauren G
I currently have an obsession with kale. I know it's been all the rage for a while, but I just recently started eating it when I discovered that Ralph's sells organic kale for only $0.99 per bunch! That's the same price as romaine lettuce, and I know I'm getting a lot more nutrients from kale. I've been pretty boring and either making salads or eating it sauteed, but why not try kale chips? They're actually one of the easiest things I've ever made, and so delicious.
- 1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
- Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt.
- Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.
(Inspired by Food Network)
August 1, 2013 12:14 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Check out this amazing list of ingredient substitutions courtesy of Greatist!
June 18, 2013 12:20 pm · Posted by Lauren G
March 19, 2013 12:27 pm · Posted by Lauren G
Here's another great article from Popsugar on how to cut back on butter when you're baking. Not to brag, actually yes I'm bragging, but I got a lot of compliments on my reduced fat oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies. I was so relieved that they actually turned out OK, and I'm so glad everyone enjoyed them! Who would have thought that just adding milk in lieu of butter would have been a success. Besides milk, here are some other ways to replace butter.
- Applesauce: Often used to replace oil in recipes, applesauce can also be used as butter alternative, and works best in cake-like recipes (like this Vegan Banana Apple Chunk Bread). Replace half the amount of butter in your recipe with applesauce; if the recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and half a cup of applesauce. If you don't mind a denser, more moist bread, replace all the butter with applesauce to cut even more calories and fat.
- Avocado: Substitute half the amount of butter in a baking recipe with mashed avocado (it works well with cookies); use the same method as you would when using applesauce. Using avocado not only lowers the calorie content but also creates a softer, chewier baked good, and is perfect if you want to omit the dairy.
- Earth Balance: Replace all of the butter with Earth Balance to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol. Using Smart Balance rather than Earth Balance will also save some calories, but note that Original Smart Balance contains whey, so it's not vegan.
- Canola oil: In certain recipes, replacing butter with oil works well, especially if the recipe calls for melted butter. Fiddle with your favorite recipes to figure out when canola works instead of butter; when baking chocolate chip cookies, I've had success substituting half a cup of canola oil for half a cup of unsalted butter. Although slightly higher in calories, canola is much lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
- Greek yogurt: Replace half the amount of butter in your cookie recipes with half the amount of full-fat plain Greek yogurt. For example, if the recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and one quarter cup of yogurt. You'll reduce the calories and the saturated fat. Play around with using more yogurt and less butter to see if you still like the taste and consistency. Here are more ways to use Greek yogurt in baking recipes.
- Prune purée: Often used to help little ones stay regular, prune purée also makes a low-calorie and low-fat alternative to butter. Whatever amount of butter the recipe calls for, replace it completely with store-bought baby food prune puree (unless you have time to make your own; just purée prunes in the food processor). This option works well in recipes that involve chocolate and cinnamon.
(Inspired by Popsugar)