Saturday, February 12, 2011


Okay, so I know it is only February, but I am looking for rhubarb!  Anyone have any ideas?  I checked at a few local produce stores to no avail- but I think I will check the farmer's market today, and maybe check the frozen foods section at a few grocery stores.  If I can find some, I plan to make little rhubarb tarts for a Valentine's day dessert.  Wish me luck!

PS- I plan to cook a lovely little meal for Valentine's day dinner- will  post pictures after the fact!

UPDATE: Found it!!! Frozen, but good enough! :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Two desserts, ONE easy recipe!!

Its almost Valentines Day!!  Well, we still have a couple weeks, but its never too early to start planning some fun Valentines themed treats- even if you don't have any plans!  This past week I decided there were two desserts I absolutely had to try- Meringues Chantilly and Eaton Mess.  Both desserts include homemade meringues, fresh whipped cream, and stewed berries. So yummy!  Both desserts can be made EASILY and look SO elegant when finished! I used the recipe from Barefoot Contessa for both desserts, but I did some serious simplifying and made them my own.  She uses raspberry framboise (liquour) in her berries, and adds orange liqueur to her whipped cream- I did neither!  I kept it really simple, making a basic meringue, whipped cream, and stewed berry mixture.  I want to say this dessert is SO SO easy, and it really is, the only thing is that it is also SO SO messy!  The hardest part for me was piping the meringue into little discs for the meringues Chantilly.  Bear in mind my only piping bag is not at all big enough and on its last leg, which didn't help matters at all. By the time I was done piping them out onto the cookie sheet, I was covered up to my elbows in meringue! I wasn't complaining though!  Anyway, here are the recipes! They are delicious- enjoy!!!!

Meringues Chantilly

  • 6 extra - large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of Saltt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided (You will want to fold in the last 1/2 c. at the very end)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Homemade Whipped Cream- feel free to make it as sweet as you like.  I found that adding a very small amount of sugar worked for me as it offset the sweetness of the meringue.  But its all up to you!
  • Stewed berries, (cook fresh or frozen berries of your choice on the stove with sugar.  Add water if it seems too thick)


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw 6 (3 1/2-inch) circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper face-down on the baking sheets.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a large pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy. Add 1 cup of the sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue. With a large star - shaped pastry tip, pipe a disc of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.
Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.
Spread some of the sauce from the stewed berries on each plate. Place a meringue on top and fill with whipped cream. Top with berries and serve.

Eaton Mess
The only difference with this one is that you crumble up the meringues and layer them with whipped cream and berries for an elegant look!  This is a very traditional English summer dessert, and typically made with strawberries.  But like I said, feel free to experiment with your favorite berries!  I used a mixture of raspberries and strawberries for both of these desserts.

  • So fun for Valentines Day, right!? And believe me, they are so yummy! My mom declared both desserts her "new favorite dessert."  Thats gotta mean somethin', right!?

Hello World!!

Okay, I know I have been completely MIA for the last month or so- sorry!! To the two of you who actually follow me and care- thank you!! You probably already know that since December I started a new full time job, a new school, and an internship! whew! To be fair, the internship itself hasn't actually started yet, but between getting paperwork together, doctor appointments, orientations and registration days I feel like it already has!!  Needless to say, I have been busy and blogging was one of the first things to get the boot!  Most of my weekends have been consumed entirely with internship stuff and school work and sometimes being completely lazy and refusing to move from the couch.  But I was inspired again this week and decided to find some time to indulge in some delicious homemade desserts! I will post the recipes and pictures soon! But for now, I'm a busy, blessed girl.....

Taking care of this little punkin' all week:
interning here:

and going to school... whew!

What a blessed girl I am! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jalepeño Popper Dip

Jalapeño Popper Dip

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (4 oz.) can diced jalapeño peppers, drained
½ cup shredded Mexican style cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, green chiles, jalapeños, and shredded cheeses.  Mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula until smooth and evenly combined.  Spread the mixture into a baking dish (approximately 9 x 9-inches).
In a second bowl, combine the Panko and Parmesan and stir with a fork until combined.   Sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture in the baking dish.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and the topping is golden.  Serve warm with baguette slices, vegetables, etc. as desired.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Homemade Bagels

I had been wanting to try this recipe for homemade bagels for a while- So, I decided this cold morning was the perfect time to finally get to it!  I am a bagel lover and this recipe was easy, easy, easy and definitely hit the spot!! I think the yeast I used was a little dead, so my bagels weren't quite as big and puffy as most bagels- they were a bit denser and almost had the texture of a soft pretzel.  However, they were still delicious!  Next time I make them I'll make sure I use brand new instant yeast (my little yeast packet had been opened about a week ago and probably lost a lot of its spunk).  I decided to make 2 of my bagels with a cinnamon sugar topping, and left the other 6 plain.  I gotta say, they were both good but I LOVED the cinnamon sugar-- maybe I'm just in a sweet mood though :) You can top these with whatever you like- sesame seeds, onion, whatever!  Here's the recipe!

Homemade bagel recipe
Yields 8 bagels
4 cups bread flour
1 Tbls sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 Tbls vegetable oil
2 tsps instant yeast
1-1/4- 1-1/2 cups of warm water.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You don't have to worry about soaking the yeast when you use instant yeast (most yeast sold these days is instant yeast). The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it's really stiff, or you can't get all the dry flour incorporated.
Plop the dough down onto the counter, and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is uniform and smooth.
Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls, and let rest for 10-20 minutes.

Pre heat your oven to 425.
Now, take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll it into a little snake on the counter. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around your dominant roiling hand. Use your palm to squish/roll these two ends together. You should end up with a circle of dough-- but don't worry if its not perfect- none of mine were and it wasn't a big deal!

Let your bagels rest on the counter for about 20 minutes, and meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and grease a large baking tray lightly.
After the 20 minute wait, your bagels will start to look puffy, and it's time to get them boiling! Add them as many at a time as you can to your boiling water without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil for another minute. Take them out a let dry for a minute and then place them on your oiled baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.

Add the tray to the oven, and after 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, bake for another ten minutes; and they're done!
The bagels on the far left are cinnamon sugar- the others are plain.

Let them cool for a few minutes, get the cream cheese ready, and enjoy!
To add toppings to bagels, simply lay boiled bagels on a plate of desired toppings, then set on baking tray topping side up.

Source: HubPages

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie is one of my favorites, I make quite a few every fall.  However, recently I had been wanting to make one with home cooked pumpkin instead of just using the usual canned pumpkin. I was a little concerned about how it would come out, seeing as I have been eating canned pumpkin pies my entire life and I think a lot of my love for pumpkin pie comes from the nostalgic effects it seems to have.  However, I loved how this came out!  The color was a little different (more of a light brown than a bright orange) but the taste and texture were amazing!  It tasted so much fresher and was silky and smooth.  I absolutely loved it!  I may never go back to baking with canned pumpkin!  

2 cups pureed home cooked pumpkin (usually about 1 sugar pumpkin's worth)
1 9 inch single pie crust (see recipe below)
2 eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup evaporated milk 
1 cup heavy cream

To Prepare Single Pie Crust:
1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cold milk
1/3 c. oil

In a bowl, mix flour and salt. Pour milk and oil in same cup. Add all at once. Stir with spoon until all moist. Divide dough in half. Place half of dough on waxed paper. Dampen counter top with cloth. Place wax paper over damp spot. Place another sheet of wax paper over top and roll to thickness for 1 crust. Flip on pie plate; remove wax paper. Repeat for second crust.

In a large bowl, slightly beat eggs. Add brown sugar, flour, salt, 2 cups of the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, evaporated milk and cream. Stir well after each addition.
Pour mixture into unbaked pie crust. Place a strip of aluminum foil around the edge of the crust to prevent over browning.
Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove the strip of foil about 20 minutes before the pie is done so that the edge of the crust will be a light golden brown. Cool pie, and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Home Cooked Pumpkin Puree

Home cooking your pumpkin at home can be a great alternative to buying canned pumpkin from the grocery store.  It can be substituted in any recipe calling for canned pumpkin, and gives recipes a fresher taste.  Its all a matter of opinion, but I think home cooked pumpkin makes everything taste better!  You can freeze the puree and store it for use later also, and its super easy.  


Sugar pumpkins (2 sugar pumpkins generally fit on a cookie sheet once cut in halves)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half, stem to base. Remove seeds and pulp. Place face down on a roasting pan.  Fill pan with a small layer of water.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven 1 hour, or until tender.
  4. Scrape pumpkin meat from shell halves and puree in a blender. Strain to remove any remaining stringy pieces. Store in the freezer in freezer safe bags if desired.

Grilled Blue Cheese Chicken Quesadillas

These quesadillas are my dad's recipe. I remember him making them often shortly after we moved to San Diego.  I'm sure he was looking for any reason possible to fire up the grill and enjoy the perfect weather our new home had to offer!  Not to mention, these are a QUICK, easy fabulous dinner!  If you don't have a grill (or don't feel like going to the trouble of turning it on) you can easily make these in a pan on the stove.  They are crunchy and melty and completely delicious!

Flour Tortillas
Olive Oil
Monterey Jack Cheese
Blue Cheese
Black Beans
Grilled Chicken (cut into small pieces)
Grilled Onions and Bell Peppers

For Garnish:

Sour Cream

Brush outside of tortillas with olive oil.  Lay ingredients inside tortillas and grill until each side is brown and crispy and cheese has melted.  Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and limes.

So easy-- right!?  Throw in as much as you want of each ingredient, grill, and there you have it! Dinner is served!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Easy Bread Pudding

This is a really easy recipe that I got from a family friend.  The orignial recipe is for a Blueberry Bread pudding, but since I didn't have any on hand, I made it without.  It is delicious both ways!  It is rich and hearty, without being too overly sweet. A yummy desert for a cold day :)

Blueberry Bread Pudding:
3 Tbsp. softened butter
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 ½ cups milk
8 cups bread cubes (sourdough or French.. I use half and half)
1 ¾ cups blueberries
2 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon

For Golden Dessert Sauce:
3 Tbsp. Butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream

To Prepare Sauce: Combine butter and sugar in saucepan- cook over low heat until butter melts.  Stir in heavy cream.  Bring to boil then reduce heat.  Simmer 5-10 minutes until sauce thickens.  Set aside.

To Prepare Bread Pudding:
Preheat oven to 350.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter and sugar on medium.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat 3 minutes.  Slowly stir in milk.  Place bread cubes in large bowl and pour milk mixture over bread.  Let stand 5 mins.  Stir in blueberries.  Place in un-greased 9x13 in. pan.  Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over.  Drizzle 1/3 cup of sauce over.  Bake 35 mins.  Serve warm with remaining sauce.

Rooney on Lopez Tonight!

Check out Rooney on Lopez Tonight HERE

Woo Hoo Go Brando!


Ahhh what an amazing weekend I had!! This post will have absolutely nothing to do with cooking, but I felt like sharing how great my weekend was.  First, I took a girls trip with my friend Noelle on Friday to Julian, the land of pretty trees and apple pie. Loveeee it! We saw horses and donkeys and wild turkeys and the camel farm on the way, browsed the cute little shops, enjoyed the scenery, and stuffed our faces with freshly baked Julian apple pie.  Yum!! Its so nice to have a little girls day every once in a while!  We found the cutest little used bookstore and were in awe of the beauty of Julian in the fall.  Of course, our trip ended with BLASTING Celine Dion on the car ride home-- ahh, a perfect day!

Then, Saturday morning Kev and I took off to LA for the day, where we met up with Brandon and Cayla and embarked on a crazy, psychotic, frightening, beautiful hike in Eaton Canyon in Pasadena.  This place was off the charts BEAUTIFUL!
 We hiked up the mountain until we reached a gorgeous 35 foot waterfall, a sort of "natural water slide" that we slid off of!! It was so fun, but a little terrifying.  The water was FREEZING, so right when you hit it you lost your breath completely.  I ended up thinking I was drowning because of how badly my lungs hurt and my inability to catch my breath while in the freezing cold water.  I thought I was swimming to shore, but my arms actually weren't moving! I just froze.  It was such a scary feeling! Kev ended up having to get back in the freezing water (he had already done the slide twice and was all dried off) and come save me.. yikes! It was a complete rush. Definitely something I didn't really believe I was going to do until I found myself sitting on the top of the waterfall and pushing myself off of it. Its a beautiful hike though, that I will definitely do again sometime! (Pictures and video of our trip to come)
After our hike, Kevin had a horrible headache (we are pretty sure he got a concussion from the waterslide) so we rested a while until he felt better, and then headed to Pasadena to get a bite to eat with Brandon and Cayla. We ended up eating at a cute little pizza place called Bella's gourmet pizza (I think?) and spending the rest of the evening browsing around cute little Pasadena.  Unfortunately, I let myself go into Pottery Barn-- Dang it, I want everything in there!!!! After dinner, we said our goodbyes to Brando and Cayla and went to meet one of my best friends in the world, Kate, at her hotel in Pasadena.  (She lives in Oregon and was in town for a football game)  It was so fun to see her and her sister in law Lydia.  I love them!  Kate is one of those friends who I can go months without seeing (and unfortunately often have to due to the long distance) but we always pick up right where we left off. She is such a great friend, I only wish I could have spent more time with her this time!  Hopefully Kev and I will make a trip up to Corvallis soon to visit :)  

Ahh, as if all of that wasn't enough, on Sunday the Schwartzel's came over to me and my mom's apartment for dinner.  We had yummy grilled quesadillas (with chicken, monterey jack cheese, blue cheese, cilantro, grilled onions, black beans.. yum!) as well as plenty of side dishes (jalepeno popper dip, corn souffle, spanish rice, etc.) and some bread pudding for dessert.  It was so fun to have them over.  What a great family they are, I am truly blessed to know them.  What fun I had!  It is so nice to spend time with Family and friends that feel like family.. I love you all!

Enjoy your Tuesday everyone!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I made cheese!!!!!!!

I have always wanted to make cheese!! Alwayssss!  I love cheese. Sooo much.  I am still somewhat in a state of shock that I actually made cheese.  But guess what, it is SO easy.  Maybe I shouldn't be so proud of myself, it is honestly one of the easiest things to make ever. Maybe everyone makes cheese and I just don't know about it? Anyway, all you need out of the norm is a candy thermometer and some cheesecloth.  This recipe is for Chevre (goat cheese) served on warm mini toasts.  Yumminess!  Once the cheese is made you mix in salt, garlic, and herbs of your choice.  I didn't really have any herbs except parsely, so I added that and a little bit of finely chopped green onions.  Sorta random, but it turned out UH MAZING! Here's the recipe!


  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 carton goat's milk
  • 1/2 clove freshly grated garlic
  • A few pinches coarse salt
  • Herbs (up to you) but recommended: Rosemary, chives, parsley, herbs de Provence, fennel fronds, dill, etc.

  • Fill a medium saucepan with goat's milk. Heat gradually until it reaches 180°F. Watch closely. You can run in and out of the kitchen, but don't get too distracted. It shouldn't take more than about 15 minutes.

Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth—really, several. Otherwise you'll lose precious goat cheese through the soggy cloth. Place over a large bowl to catch the whey drips.

Ladle milk into colander. Pull up and tie the four corners of the cheesecloth together and hang on the handle of a wooden spoon. Set over a very deep bowl.

Allow whey to drain until a soft, ricotta-like consistency is reached inside the cloth, about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Transfer to a bowl and fold in salt, garlic, and flavors of your choice. Serve on toast or crackers if desired.