Saturday, August 11, 2012

Olympic-Themed Dish: Devils on Horseback.

The Olympics are awesome. It is so wonderful to have so many nations come together & have some good healthy competition going on. To me, the Olympics is the Triwizard Tournament for Muggles.

To celebrate this awesome-ness, the girls & I decided to do Olympic Themed dishes for our next blog post. Since the Olympics are in London this year, I decided to do something English-themed.

Now, the Brits aren't as appetizer crazy as we USA-ers are. So it was difficult finding an appetizer, but I found one!

Devils on Horseback
adapted from Martha Stewart's Recipe

I made 2 different kinds, half with cheese & half with almonds. Both turned out very tasty.

24 large pitted dates, left whole
12 slices of bacon, cut in half crosswise
24 toothpicks

For the stuffed cheese one:
Stilton cheese (it's like blue cheese), enough cheese to put a into 12 dates -- probably a 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup

For the almond one:
12 dry roasted whole almonds (one almond per date, depends on how many almond versions you want to make)
1/4 cup reduced sodium or regular soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup brown sugar

How To:
1. Take a small bowl and put the toothpicks in it. Pour some water in it, enough to cover the toothpicks. Let them soak for 15 minutes. Try not to let them soak longer than that, or else they will become too soggy.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

3. Take the dates & cut them in half, but not all the way through. I did this just by cutting one side of the date all the way through, but the other side was left intact.

4.  Take 12 dates & stuff a bit of cheese into each date. Then, wrap a piece a bacon around each date & stick a toothpick through it. Put the dates on a prepared baking sheet. I covered mine with foil.

5. Take the other 12 dates & stuff them with one almond each. Wrap a piece of bacon around each date & stick a toothpick through it. This version has a bit of a marinade, which was very tasty.

6. Mix together the soy sauce and ground ginger. Put the brown sugar in another bowl. Dip each bundle into the soy sauce mixture, then into the brown sugar bowl. Put the dates onto the same baking sheet.

7. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, just until the bacon is crispy.

A really great appetizer for parties!

Check out Rhiannon's Olympic Themed Dish, a quinoa salad.
& Cassie has an awesome Olympic Themed Cake too.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

summer cocktail: mango pineapple rum punch.

This week the ladies & I decided to take a break from all the baking & try something a bit more refreshing: summer cocktails.

The bf & I like to try & keep our bar stocked with the essential liquors, which can be tough to do as poor grad. students. However, we have a copious amount of rum in our collection, something I bought to make his tres leches birthday cake with. (I'll try to blog about that sometime.) We don't drink rum often, so I thought it would be a good idea to put that rum to use!

Mango Pineapple Rum Punch
adapted from Martha Stewart's Pineapple and Mango Rum Cocktails 

  • 2.5 small ripe mangoes, peeled and cubed, which is about 2 cups
  • 4 cups fresh pineapple juice (about 4 1/2 lbs of pineapple)
  • Rum. Put enough in for your taste preference.
  • 1/2 mango cut into slices with skin, for garnishFresh tropical fruit, such as dragon fruit and star fruit, for garnish -- optional
How To:
For my recipe, I am using our fancy juicer:
This juicer is WONDERFUL. It juices just about anything & keeps all the nutrients intact. The reason is because of the auger, a really powerful spinning ball in the middle of the machine that squeezes out all the fruit's juice. And the heat of the motor is not near where the fruit is being juiced, so even more nutrients stay in! And the juice is absolutely delicious. No sugar added, just pure fruit.

It is pricey, but totally worth it in the long run.
Click on this for more info about the Omega Juicer. 

1. Juice the mangoes & pineapples together. You may want to double this recipe to make sure you can serve all your guests!

2. Pour the juice into a pitcher that has ice, then add the rum. You have to taste it to make sure it has the right amount of rum. Just get out a glass and pour a splash in your cup to test!

3. This next step is optional, but you can chop up more mangoes, pineapples, and other tropical fruit for either garnish or to put into the pitcher.

4. Serve & drink up!

Don't be fooled. This looks like just plain ol' juice, but there is alcohol! :)

Check out Cassie's blog on Tinto de Verano.
Rhiannon's will be up soon! 

UPDATE: Rhiannon's entry is up! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

late night baking: homemade twix.

There is something so comforting about baking at night. I leave on the energy efficient lights that are near my kitchen & try to eliminate the use of that glaring florescent light. Thankfully there's a light over our stove that is warm & inviting and this was a perfect atmosphere to create this delicious candy:


When Rhiannon & Cassie brought this up (I'm not sure who... I'm thinking Rhiannon), I immediately thought, "I LOVE THIS CANDY BAR!"

The cookie, the caramel, and the chocolate are a perfect combination of texture & taste. I've never made a candy bar before, so I was excited to embark on another baking adventure.

My recipe is adapted from a food blogger named Tessa and her blog is titled "Handle the Heat". She brought the interesting component of salt on top of the candy, which I thought was genius. I'm totally into the salt & sweet combo. I think both bring out the best in each other.

Homemade Twix

--> This recipe is adapted to fit the tools I have in my kitchen! 
Makes about 20 bars, depending how you cut them.

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp cold water
  • 1 large egg yolk
For the Caramel Topping:
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Glaze:
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped --- can be chips
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • Sea salt out of a grinder --- set it to fine or medium (depends how big you want the salt to be)
How to:
This recipe is in 3 parts:
The crust first
The caramel second
The chocolate last

1. For the crust:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Coat a 9x13inch baking pan with margarine. Line with parchment, leaving enough to overhang, and coat parchment with margarine. You can also use nonstick spray.

  • There are 2 ways to make this crust: with a food processor or a standing mixer. I do not own a food processor, so I experimented with a standing mixer. It actually turned out good. I think with the food processor, the texture of the crust is coarser.
  • Blend flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
  • (For those of you with a standing mixer, read on. If you would rather use a food processor, refer to Tessa's post.)
    Take the butter & melt it in the microwave, heating it for 10-20 seconds. You don't want it completely melted.
    Gradually add the butter to the dry mix. Incorporate everything together completely, but do not over mix. A paste will form.

  • Add the cold water and egg yolk. Blend.
  • Pour dough onto bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Spread it evenly with a spatula.

  • Bake until golden, 22 minutes. Cool completely.
2. For the caramel topping:
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
    (I highly recommend a medium saucepan! Basically, don't use one as small as mine. It was the only one I had that wasn't in the dishwasher... haha)
  • Add brown sugar, stir until dissolved.
  • Whisk in milk, corn syrup, and vanilla and let come to a boil.
  • Boil gently, whisking constantly, until caramel is pale golden and thick, about 8 minutes. (If you have a candy thermometer, you want the caramel to get up to 225 degrees. I don't own one & found 8 minutes was fine.)
  • Pour caramel over cooled crust, spreading evenly to the edges. Cool 15 minutes.

3. For the chocolate glaze:
  • While the caramel is cooling, melt the chocolate with the cream in the microwave in 15 second bursts. Stir until smooth. I did it in three 15 second bursts.
    Be careful not to overheat!
  • Spread the chocolate evenly over the warm caramel.
  • Take out that sea salt grinder and grind some sea salt over the top. Not too much, just sprinkle it.
  • Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, at least 1 hour. (Mine set for over 12 hours. I'm not sure how I resisted trying it sooner...)
  • This can be made 3 days ahead. Just keep it covered & refrigerated. Cut the dessert into long bars before serving!

Sooo yummy.

& Cassie's Blog! Her Homemade Twix will be up soon. In the meantime, read up on her take on Scones. 
UPDATE: Cassie's Post is up on Homemade Twix! 

Brought the Homemade Twix to a birthday party & it was a hit! Everyone gobbled it up very quickly. The salt really does complement the candy, a couple people brought up how the flavors contrasted nicely. Yum yum. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

late night baking. peanut butter bread.

When Rhiannon & Cassie suggested to make bread this week, I got real excited. I think the only bread I've ever made was a banana bread when I was in high school, but it's been so long since I've actually baked something!

As a poor grad student, I'm trying to not buy so much stuff, so I did my best to find a bread recipe in which I had all or most of the ingredients. I got lucky! Stumbled across this peanut butter bread recipe & I had EVERYTHING in my cupboards. :)

I know that it's more of a dessert bread, but whatever. It's my goal to make a bread with yeast in the future.

Ok. Get ready for this yummy-ness. (It's baking right now in the oven and smells delicious!)

Peanut Butter Sandwich Bread
adapted from Jenna & her blog eat, live, run

(Thank you for this awesome recipe, Jenna! Excited to eat & share this!)

Ingredients (only 7!):
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 cups milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder

How to:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F & grease a loaf pan (or whatever pan you have close to a loaf pan) well. Mine is a CorningWare pan!
Tip: I use Country Crock margarine, scoop some out with a folded paper towel, then spread it around the pan.
 (please excuse my recycling in the background)

2. Take out that standing mixer! Cream together the peanut butter & sugar until well combined. Put the setting on medium.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon. Set aside.
Tip: In baking, it is important to make sure the amounts of each item are as close to accurate as possible. I use a butter knife to level out my measuring cups or spoons. In this case, I also used it to stir my dry ingredients together, haha.

4. Put the mixer on low, then slowly add the milk & dry ingredients by alternating between the two. Mix until smooth.

5. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan & bake for 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minute. You may take it out and cool it on a wire rack. I don't own one of those, so I'll just cut into it after 10 minutes, haha.


Some suggestions to top your slice (or slices) with:
marshmallow fluff
peanut butter
margarine or butter
SLABS of dark chocolate :)
any kind of melted chocolate
eat it plain!

Gonna try French Toast with it this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes!

As I was getting ready to eat this late-night-delight, I came across what Jenna recommends serving this with: Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate.

I know right?? Why haven't I thought of this before??

It's reeeeaaally simple to make. Takes less than 10 minutes.

This recipe is for one PB Hot Chocolate
adapted from Jenna & her Eat, Live, Run blog

1 cup milk (or just the amount of milk you need to fill your mug)
1 Tbsp peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
2 Tbsp of cocoa mix, already sweetened (if you don't have this, do 1 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder & 1 Tbsp of sugar)1 tsp vanilla extract
Whipped Cream, Salted Peanuts, &/or Cinnamon for garnish (optional)

How To:
1. Fill your mug with the desired amount of milk. Pour the milk into a small pot on the stove on medium heat, then add and whisk or stir together the cocoa mix and vanilla. (I don't own a whisk, really need to get one.)

2. Bring to a simmer, add the peanut butter, then stir well to get rid of any clumps. 

3. Pour into the mug and serve with a garnish of whipped cream, salted peanuts, &/or cinnamon!

Check out my sweet apron:
 Got it as a gift from my cousin when I visited WA recently. 
Yay Pike Place Market! 

Make sure to check out Rhiannon's Blog (she just made a Key Lime Pie. Her bread post will be up soon!) --- Update: Rhiannon's Chocolate Orange Bread
& Cassie's Dark Chocolate Almond Bread

Friday, July 6, 2012

a happy 4th of July with apple pie

So, I'm starting a lovely food cooking adventure with two lovely ladies, Rhiannon & Cassie. All three of us LOVE cooking and thought it would be a fun for each of  us to cook a themed dish of some sort once a week. We'll each do different recipes according to the various themes, then share with on the interwebs... Stoked to embark on this adventure with you awesome girls!

Our first adventure? APPLE PIE for the 4TH OF JULY!

I have never made a pie in my life. I don't even own a pie pan. So obviously had to go get one. Haha. I did a variation on an Apple Raspberry Pie with a Gluten-Free Crust. I was out celebrating the 4th with friends & one of them is gluten-free. I always try to make gluten-free things for get-togethers because I want everyone to have the chance to indulge. :)

Apple Raspberry Pie with a Gluten-Free Crust
adapted from Joy the Baker's Apple Raspberry Pie
& from About.Com's Gluten-Free Crust Recipe

for the Crust:
1/2 cup of shortening
1.5 cups of organic rice flour
4 tablespoons of water

I doubled the recipe for a top and bottom crust. Then just split the dough in half!

for the Filling:
2 1/2 pounds baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced ¼-inch thick
     (I used a combo of Granny Smith & Fuji. Joy also recommends Pink Ladies)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
     (I used the already powdered nutmeg. Already had it in my cupboard.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch                
1 heaping cup fresh raspberries
1 egg, beaten
Sugar, for liberally sprinkling
how to:
1. Made the crust first!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, gradually add in the shortening as you mix the flour. I used my hands to mix it all together, much easier. Then add the water last. 

Should have read a person's comment below the recipe post before making this recipe. This person recommended adding an egg to get to get the rice flour to bind better. I DEFINITELY would have done that, had I known. Also, next time, I would sugar to this. Could be sweeter. 

3. Take half of the dough & roll it up into a ball with your hands.
Take your pie crust pan (I used a 9-inch pan) and put the dough in the middle of the pan.
Mold the dough to the pan! Use your fingers, way more fun.

4. After you finish that, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Prevents buckling.


5. Bake the crust at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
When done baking, take it out of the oven & set aside. 

6. With the other half of the dough, roll it into a ball with your hands.
Take some parchment or wax paper and place the dough ball in the middle of it.
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it can cover the top of your pie.
Cover the top of it with another sheet of parchment or wax paper, then set aside.

7. Let's move on to the filling!

Take a large bowl & combine the apples, lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Toss it all together to mix. Do it by hand, again more fun. Cover apples (I used foil) and allow them to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to a maximum of 3 hours. The apples will develop and release juices.  

Due to time constraints, I let mine rest for 2-2.5 hours & a lot of juices were released!

8. Get a colander and put it on top of a large bowl. Take the apples and their juices and transfer them to the bowl. The bowl will capture the liquid. You will have at least 1/2 cup of liquid.

9. In a small, preferably non-stick, saucepan boil down the liquid over medium heat with the butter. Boil it down to about 1/3 cup or until syrupy and lightly caramelized. If you have more than 1/2 cup of liquid, then boil it down to a little more than a 1/3 cup. Be sure to swirl the liquid and not stir!

10. While the sauce is cooking,  transfer the apples to a bowl, add the raspberries, then toss with the cornstarch until it's all dissolved.

11. Pour the syrup over the apple and raspberry mixture, tossing gently. I used a spatula to toss it.
Don't worry if the liquid hardens on the apples, it will dissolve when it bakes.

12. Take the bottom crust of the pie and transfer the apple & raspberry mixture to it.

Take the top crust and gently place pieces of it on top of the mixture. (Due to how delicate the gluten-free crust is, it will be difficult to get the top crust on the pie in one piece. Just take big pieces of it, it's like a crumble topping.)

13. Before preheating the oven, set oven rack at the lowest level and place a foil-lined baking sheet on top of it. Then preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Do this at least 20 minutes before baking!

14. Beat the egg. Brush the top crust with it. It'll help the crust become golden brown. Then, liberally sprinkle sugar all over it.

15. Put the pie directly on the foil-topped baking sheet and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices bubble through the top and the apples feel tender but not mushy. Use a fork to test the apples' consistency.

16. Cool for at least 2 hours before cutting. It will be a bit crumbly, but that's part of the fun!
 Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

The one thing I would try differently next time is to make adjustments to the crust. Beating an egg into it and adding some sugar. It was too crumbly for me and a little too bland in flavor. But this was my first time making a pie and I'm pretty proud of myself! :)

Check out Rhiannon's Pie
and Cassie's Pie

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

pizza & white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.

PIZZA! I love making my own pizza. It's so fun to personalize. From the toppings to the amount of cheese, it's so much fun to make. Plus, making my own pizza means: Portion Control. Whenever we order pizza, we always have way more than what we need to eat. Like, I'm still full after the 2nd slice, but I eat more 'cause it's there. But with the size pan we own, I still make a good size pizza, but only need to eat 1 big slice (which equals 2 smaller slices).

Here we go.

Annelih's Supreme Pizza:
Pizza dough from your local supermarket --- (I have yet to make my own pizza dough. Although I love cooking, I haven't ventured into making my own breads or doughs yet. One day.)

Pizza Sauce --- (This I did do from scratch!)
[thank you to for the recipe! ---]
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground paprika  

Mozzarella cheese. (About 2 cups. More or less. I measure by the handful. But I have small hands.)

Your favorite toppings! I chose:
Green Peppers, diced - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Fresh Mushrooms, diced - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Red Onion, diced - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Pepperoni - 1/4 cup
Canadian Bacon, diced - 1/4 to 1/2 cup

A little bit of oil to grease the pan


Can opener

Pizza pan. Whatever size you want. Just be aware that your pizza dough has got to cover the majority of the pan.

Rolling pin (optional)

Pizza cutter (also optional, but highly recommended)

how to
1. If your dough comes with a label on the front (like mine did), read the directions. Mine said to preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, so I did that.

Leave the dough out so it has a chance to relax at room temp. It will be easier to work with later. 

2. Whenever there is chopping, slicing, and dicing, I always get that outta the way first.
Chop up the green pepper, fresh mushrooms, & Canadian bacon into bite size pieces. Chop until you think you have enough to cover the entire pizza. Set aside.

3. Make the pizza sauce. It is SO EASY. Like the name!

a. Open the cans of tomato sauce & tomato paste. Spatula both into a medium bowl. Stir until smooth.

b. Add the dried herbs in & mix! Done.

4. Now, the fun part: Workin' the dough.

Ok, there are a couple ways to do this:
a. Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it's to the size you want.

b. Stretch the dough out by hand on the lightly greased pan until it's to the size you want. (I obviously chose this option because I don't have a fancy device like a rolling pin.)

This takes a few minutes.
  • Lightly grease your pan with oil. I pour a little bit of oil on the pan, then take a paper towel, and spread it around, covering every inch of the pan. 
  • Take the dough of the bag and place it on the center of the pan. 
  • Now, the fun part! ---> start working that dough, stretching it, flipping over from one side to the other, all the while gently doing this so that there are no tears in the dough, but so that it covers the entire pan.

There will be air bubbles, so be careful of those. Try not to tear the dough! And try to work the dough as evenly as possible over the pan. It does not have fill the whole pan, but the majority of it. Doesn't have to look perfect 'cause that's the beauty of homemade!

 5. Spread the pizza sauce all over the dough, as evenly as possible. You won't use all of it. Put the rest of it in a plastic container & fridge it. 

6. Top the pizza! I do it in layers:
1st layer: Mozzarella -- 2 handfuls
2nd layer: All the veggies & meat
3rd layer: More mozzarella -- 2 handfuls

7. It's ready to go! Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes. 

And it comes out like this:

At this point, I realized we do not own a pizza cutter. Oops! I used a big knife, still served the same purpose. 

My serving:

I cut it up into 4 big slices, but that was according to my pan size. 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

So I learned something new about my bf. One of his favorite cookies are white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. I had no clue! I've never been a fan of cookies with nuts in them, but I figured if he loves them, why not give them a shot? And I'm glad I did. They are so delicious. Especially this recipe. They just Melt. In. Your. Mouth. 

adapted from Joy the Baker & Betty Crocker

This recipes makes about 2 dozen small cookies. 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (Joy says to not use margarine, so I didn't. Had to actually go out & buy butter!)
  • 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar 
  • 2 Tablespoons milk 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 coarsely chopped macadamia nuts (These took awhile to find. They were not in the baking aisle. Had to go to the chips aisle where they have peanuts and found a can of macadamia nuts. Not chopped up already, but they are easy to chop!)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chunks
how to
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 

2. Take a medium saucepan and put it on medium heat. Melt the butter, stirring the butter until it browns. This takes about 5-7 minutes. Once the butter is browned, remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool a bit.  

3. Measure out the dry ingredients, combine in a bowl, and set aside.  
Chop up the macadamia nuts, set aside in a different bowl. 

4. Take out that stand mixer! (Mine was dusty from neglect, sadface) In a stand mixer bowl, add the brown sugar and slightly cooled butter. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Add egg and beat for another minute. 

Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
mixer in motion

5. Turn the mixer off, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the dry ingredients all at once. 
With either the stand mixer on low, or by hand with a spatula, incorporate the dry ingredients until just mixed in. I did it by hand, more fun.

Fold in the chopped nuts and white chocolate chips.
Tip: Turn the bowl while you are simultaneously folding in the nuts & chips. Incorporates easier. 

6. Take a spoon and measure out little balls of dough the size of 2 teaspoons onto a lined baking sheet.
all gone

7. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cookies are deliciously golden. Remove from the oven and let them rest on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before enjoying!

Shout out to my friend, Rhiannon, who mentioned my blog in her food blog! Thanks, girl!
She makes delicious cupcakes & as well as other goodies. Her latest post has some British nomsnoms to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee (60 years, holla). Check her blog out at:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I usually don't feel like cooking on the morning during weekdays, but today I was craving something savory rather than a sweet cereal. It doesn't take long to make and I change it up every time! What I love about omelettes is how diverse they can be. Whatever you have in your fridge that sounds good with eggs & cheese, then that's the makings of an omelette!

This was my omelette this morning:
nice filling breakfast, complete with my favorite mug!

a clove or 2 of garlic (I love garlic, so I always put in a little more.)
about 1/2 cup of chopped onion (whatever onion you got)
1/2 cup of fresh tomato, chopped
a tablespoon or so of parsley
2-3 slices of thin deli ham, shredded up (by hand or slice!)
2 eggs
Salt & pepper
Butter, margarine or oil for the pan
1/4 - 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (whatever you got! I'm using 4 Cheese Mexican Blend.)

how to
1. Take out a small to medium sized pan and put it on medium heat. It depends how big you want your omelette to be.

2. Chopped up the garlic, onion, tomato, parsley, and ham & put them all together in a medium to large sized bowl.

3. Crack in the 2 eggs. Season with salt & pepper.

4. Beat everything together.

5. Put butter or oil in the hot pan. I use our staple, Country Crock's Margarine! Coat the entire pan, even the sides.

6. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, taking care to spread the veggies & ham evenly. 

7. Let it cook on one side for about 3-5 minutes. It's gonna get nice and toasty brown.

8. Turn it over! There is a trick to this. And it DOES NOT have to be perfect! Because there is so much yummy goodness, it makes it difficult to flip the omelette over in one go. I slice mine up into pieces (usually 4, depending) and then flip the pieces over. A LOT easier.

9. Let that side cook for 3-5 minutes.

10. Add the cheese! Put it on one half of the omelette. Stack the other half on top of the cheese layer. Allow the cheese to melt. It may spill down on the pan, which was deeeeelicious. I love grilled cheese.

11. Finished product:
good morning :)

Off I go to teach my Acting for Non-Majors class!

Monday, June 4, 2012

shepherd's pie. take 2.

Two of my Summer 2012 Resolutions:
1. To cook more
2. To cook from cookbooks that we already own

On Valentine's Day 2010, my boyfriend gave me this awesome cookbook called The Irish Pub Cookbook & I've been anxious to try out every single recipe! Up to just recently, the only recipe I've done is the Bread & Butter Pudding with Hot Whiskey Sauce (sooo delicious), mainly because we had most of the ingredients. But now, I'm ready to try more recipes & the 2nd one I've tried is:


my pretty plate!

I had to do a couple of things differently because we didn't have the ingredients that the book calls for. I think it still turned out super delicious! 

Recipe adapted from The Irish Cookbook


3 tablespoons oil (I use any oil that's safe on high heat...or margarine.)

2 pounds of ground lamb (Didn't have lamb, so used ground beef! I imagine this recipe would be tasty with ground turkey or chicken. Not legit shepherd's pie, but as long as there's a tasty protein, that's all that matters to me!)

Salt & freshly cracked pepper

1 medium onion, chopped up (I use sweet onion or white onion.)

2-3 carrots, chopped up (Didn't have regular carrots, but had baby carrots! Just chopped a bunch up and estimated what 2-3 carrots would look like. Also, if I were to use regular carrots, I would choose not to peel them. More rustic and healthy! Would wash them first, of course.)

2 tablespoons of parsley, minced

a teaspoon of fresh thyme, minced

1.5 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

3 cups of beef stock or broth (Either homemade or from the store. I used 3 beef bouillon cubes mixed with 3 cups of boiling water.)


2 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled & chopped up into 1 inch pieces

1/2 cup of milk

2 tablespoons of butter (They recommend Kerrygold Irish butter, but I didn't have that, so used good ol' Country Crock Margarine!)

3 tablespoons of cheddar cheese, shredded (They prefer Irish cheddar, but all we have is the shredded 4 Cheese Mexican Blend! Still yummy.)


For the filling:
1. Get out a large skillet and put it on the stove at medium heat. Put in some oil, enough to coat the bottom. Once it gets hot enough, add all of the ground meat and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the meat is browned. Make sure to season with salt & pepper! Take off the heat and transfer the meat to a large bowl. If you want to drain some fat off, transfer the meat by using a slotted spoon. 
2. Leave the pan on medium heat. Add a little bit more oil to the skillet. Put in all the onion and cook for about 3-5 minutes, just long enough for the onion to be soft, but not browned. 

3. Add in the carrots, parsley, & thyme and stir a little bit, cooking for 2-3 minutes. The vegetables need to be coated with the oil. 

4.Then stir in the flour, cook for about 1-2 minutes. 

5. Add the beef stock and bring it to a boil, making sure to scrape up all the delicious browned bits at the bottom of the pan (the best part!). 

6. Then add the meat back in, reduce the heat to low, and simmer it, uncovered. Stir every once in a while for about 20-25 minutes, just so that the meat is tender and the sauce is thickened. Season once more with salt & peppah!
 look at that yummy stew goodness

7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 

For the topping:
1. Take out your large pot and cook your potatoes in boiling water for 12-15 minutes, just until they're tender. 
Tip: Don't heat the water beforehand! You want your potatoes to cook evenly, so put the potatoes in the pot first, put cold water over them (just enough to cover them) and then bring to a boil.

2. Drain the potatoes & mash them up! If you have a masher, great! If you're like me and have never thought of owning such a device, improvise! I use my detachable beating whisk from my electric mixer, haha.
doing what I can as a poor grad. student

3. Add the milk & butter and stir until it's smooth.

Putting it together:
1. Spoon the meat stew into a large casserole dish. You can do individual casserole dishes if you want separate portions. 

2. Spatula the mashed potatoes on top of the meat stew, trying to layer it on as evenly as possible. The recipe recommends piping it, if you're feeling creative. 

3. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes!

4. Take it out of the oven, then preheat the broiler. 

5. Sprinkle this already delicious-smelling pie with CHEESE. The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons, but I use a few HANDFULS. Just enough shredded cheese to have a nice crust on top. 

6. Put it back in the oven, underneath the broiler, 4 inches away from it! (Don't wanna burn it.) Broil for 1-2 minutes. The potatoes will brown slightly and the cheese will bubble. Yum.

Then, VOILA!:

Thank you, Irish Pub Cookbook! This is the 2nd time I've made it and it was just as easy as the first time! Fun to make & even more awesome to eat. The boyfriend approves of it, that's for sure. :)

Plus, it makes scrumptious leftovers. I personally think it's better the next day because the flavors have even more time to get all marinated with each other. 

This was a perfect meal to make after the end of a wonderful weekend! 

Cheers to the week ahead!