Thursday, October 30, 2008

CEiMB: Sweet and Sour Brisket

In case you missed it a couple weeks ago, I've joined a new cooking group, Craving Ellie in My Belly. We are cooking from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger.

This week's selection was chose by Natalie from What's For Supper? It was a perfect pick for a comfort food night. I have been craving pot roast and this definitely hit the spot!

I cut the recipe in half and put the other half of the brisket in the freezer for a future meal. I only made a few minor ingredient changes. I left out the allspice berry of which I didn't have and added a pinch of both cinnamon and nutmeg. I also added a bag of carrots and cut up a few potatoes as a side.

I don't own a Dutch oven (yet, its on the Christmas list!) so I used my slower cooker. I put the carrots and potatoes right on the bottom and brisket on top with all the sauce. It could have used just a bit more sauce since the carrots and potatoes soaked some of that up.

I was pleasantly surprised by the ingredients and the flavor outcome. I never would have thought that beef, tomato sauce, raisins, chicken stock, cinnamon and nutmeg would all got together. But, I really loved it and my husband requested it to be a a regular meal this winter.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

This week's recipe was chosen by my very good friend Clara!! I was not surprised when I learned that Clara's selection was a cupcake. She has a LOVE of cupcakes! I was also not surprised to learn that Nikki twisted her arm to get the cupcake and that Clara really wanted to chose the White Chocolate Brownies! LOL You both never cease to make me laugh!!

Clara suggested that we decorate the cupcakes for Halloween. I'm not really a fan of the holiday, never really was but I do LOVE fall! In an effort to be festive, I purchased mini-cupcake liners decorated for Halloween which sadly you can't really see with a chocolate cupcake. I also purchased black and orange sprinkles. Then I added the fall pumpkin sprinkles that I received in a care package from my mother-in-law!

As for the cupcakes, I chose to make mini cupcakes in order to send them to Jake's rehearsal and feed the starving actors and actresses! I realized about half way into the baking process that the bittersweet chocolate I thought I had in the freezer I had already used. No problem, I have lots of chocolate stock piled! I pulled out some milk chocolate chips! They worked great.

Unlike many of my fellow TWD bakers, my cupcakes were not dry. Knowing that some were having trouble, I was careful not to over mix them and since they were mini I only baked for 10 minutes and pulled them out a tiny bit gooey so they didn't dry out.

These were very good, not mind blowing in flavor but still delicious!

Jake participated in decorating the cupcakes. He was Sprinkle Boy!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

CEiMB: Banana Cream Pie

Sorry folks. I know its only week 2 and I'm already having to bail. Wednesday afternoon bossman called and said I need you in Philly for the next 2 days. Its both a pro and con for my job. As much as I enjoy the traveling, it is not always convenient. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to make this as a re-wind. I was really looking forward to a healthy version of Banana Cream Pie.

Please visit Craving Ellie in My Belly to see what everyone else came up with. Thank you to Heather from Randomosity and the Girl for selecting this week's recipe.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TWD: Pumpkin Muffins

Yum, yum, yum!!! These were amazing, easy to make, delicious, flavorful, sweet and spicy! A new favorite in my book. I don't think I need any more words except, GO MAKE THEM!!

Thank you to Kelly for this week's selection. A fabulous fall recipe.

Ok, for the details of the recipe. I left out the nuts because all I had were peanuts and I just didn't feel like they were going to do justice. I also didn't have sunflower seeds for the top and didn't feel the need to spend the extra money.

I bought a fresh pumpkin and pureed my own instead of canned pumpkin. It was super easy, more to follow on that in another post.

Lesson learned this week: Don't crack the egg on the side of the bowl, while the mixer is running. For example, the beater might bump your hand, causing you to drop the entire egg into the batter. Luckily, my quite reflexes stopped the mixer so the shell was still in large enough pieces so I could pick them out easily. So far no one has complained of a crunchy muffin!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

CEiMB: Steak Tacos with Cucumber Avocado Salsa

Are you tired of cookies, chocolate, and only seeing baked goods on my blog? Then you've come to the right place because......I've joined a new event!! This time its a cooking and eating healthy event! Craving Ellie in my Belly or CEiMB is cooking out of Ellie Krieger's book The Food You Crave.

I must be a glutton for punishment as my blog has been severely lacking this past month. But, I'm thinking this might be just what I need to get my game back and better for the waistlines in this house.

My husband is excited about this one as well because he prefers cooking over baking so this is an event we can do together. We are always looking for healthier recipes. He also said this is something we can actually eat rather than taste and give away to someone! (Side note: Don't for a second think I'm leaving TWD though!)

So, thank you to Leigh for starting this new event! And thank to my good friend Clara for a hosting a great pick this week!

Now about this week's was a great one for us to start with. We LOVE tacos and the like. I really loved the flavor of the steak. I omitted the cayenne pepper because we didn't have any but probably could have used that kick.

The salsa I was a little nervous about and therefore I ended up changing quite a bit. Basically I diced the cucumber and avocado and added the lime juice and salt to taste. My husband added red onion to his tacos and I diced up some tomato for mine. I had a bad experience with cilantro one time making my own salsa and hated it. I love things with flavor but not super spicy so I left out the jalapenos.

In the end I wanted to add sour cream and cheese for more flavor since I left most of it out but I resisted the urge to add fatty calories to my healthy dinner. I will be making this again, especially since I have a lot of red cabbage left even after buying the smallest one! Any good cabbage recipes out there?

For more information about this new event or to join us go to Craving Ellie in My Belly!

(I'm working on my photography skills. What do you think?!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TWD: Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

To my fellow bakers at TWD I am sorry for my slacking recently! My kitchen has not been dark; I just fell into a funk about posting to my blog. I really envy some of you!

I was really excited to make this recipe. If you look at the picture in the book, it makes you want to salivate all over the picture. Unfortunately I was disappointed with the end result. The recipe calls for an 8" springform pan, my is a 9" so I cut my baking time and my brownie came out dry. I also had more than a slight crater in the middle which is supposed to be normal, mine looked like a cave in.

As disappointed with the cake as I was I LOVED the caramel. I have never made it homemade before and I was really impressed. I was very careful to watch for fear it would burn but I had great success. I love this recipe just for learning how to make caramel.

Thank you Tammy for this weeks selection!

TWD: Chocolate Chunkers

I am not going to make this long an drawn out since this is so late and everyone has moved on from these but better late than never right! I can promise you these cookies were made on time and they were fabulous! Thanks to Claudia for hosting.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My blog needs a facelift!

Check this out! You could win a blog makeover! For those who actually read mine, I certainly could use something new here. However, for all my computer knowledge, I have no knowledge of graphic design!