Thursday, February 26, 2009

new treat

Lately I've been looking for a new idea for my etsy shop . It seems that only one item was selling well. And people who buy through etsy seem to like unique ideas, so I had to come up with something that was easy for me to make and something nobody else sells.

I suddenly remembered one of my favorite lotions from bath & body works, "coconut lime verbena" and decided I needed to try something along those lines. All of my other cookies were very rich flavors and I needed something bright for the upcoming Spring. So here is the recipe for my new coconut lime tea cookies. Super easy to make, and really tasty. Just don't burn the coconut when you toast it. I actually had mine come up in flames once ... suuuuuuuper scary.

Coconut Lime Tea Cookies
makes 2.5 dozen 1 inch cookies
1-1/2 C toasted sweetened coconut flakes
2~3 T fresh sweetened coconut flakes
2/3 C granulated sugar
zest of 3 limes
juice of 3 limes
2-1/4 C flour
3/4 C (1/5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 t kosher salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°.
  2. With the whisk attachment in place, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add lime juice and zest and whisk until combined.
  3. Add 1 C flour along with the salt and once that is encorporated, switch to the paddle attachment and slowly add the coconut flakes and the rest of the flour.
  4. For each cookie, take about 1 T of dough and form into a ball in your hand and place it on the baking sheet. Take a pinch of the fresh sweetened coconut flakes and press them into the middle of the ball of cookie dough. Press down with two flat fingers. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  5. Bake at 325° for 19 minutes or until the coconut flakes on top barely start to brown. Let them cool completely. Store them in an airtight container.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

happy memories

When I was a kid, there was a restaurant up the street from our house that I always looked forward to going to. From what I remember it was a steak house, and I love steak so that's all I ever ordered there. But my mom always got the amazing Korean dish, bi bim bop. And every time she got it and would give me a taste, I felt defeated in knowing that yet again she won the best dish of the night award. Well, in the last few years I've gone to several different Korean restaurants and never had bi bim bop that was quite as good as what I remember. And last week my sister made it for her family and said it was fairly easy, so I decided it was time that I create it for myself. It was going to be my new "I need to perfect this recipe" project. I went from website to website, looking up different recipes, and what I realized was that everyone has their own way of making it. So I kind of just did things my own way, just made sure it was very Korean.

And oh my gosh I am so glad I did! It was perfect. I'm sure I can still improve on it, but I was sure satisfied. It was as good as I remember, and it was actually really easy. So please try to this at home. You won't be disappointed.

Bi Bim Bop
serves 2
Just a note: usually this dish is served with a fried egg on top, which I LOVE, but if you aren't a hug fan or runny fried eggs, you can scramble and egg or make a simple scrambled egg pancake and slice it really thin, like I did for Blake's (below).2 eggs
1/2 lb steak, sliced very thin
1/2 lb bean sprouts
1 carrot, grated lengthwise
1/2 english cucumber, grated lengthwise
4 oz baby spinach
1 scallion
soy sauce
sesame oil
1 tsp granulated sugar
Korean barbecue sauce*
toasted sesame seeds

2 servings of white rice
  1. Marinate the steak in the Korean barbecue sauce for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, blanch the bean sprouts, drain, and place in a bowl. Add 1 t soy sauce, 2 t sesame oil, 1 t granulated sugar, and 2 t sesame seeds (those are very flexible measurement. Feel free to do it to taste). Toss to combine, and set aside.
  3. Boil the spinach until barely wilted, drain, and place in a bowl. Add 1 t soy sauce, 1 t sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Toss to combine, and set aside.
  4. In a large frying pan heated to medium-high, place the beef after shaking off excess sauce. Cook though, about 4~5 minutes. Don't over cook or it'll be tough. Place in a bowl and toss with sesame seeds.
  5. Fry the eggs, over-easy or to desired doneness.
  6. In each bowl, place the rice. Place each vegetable on top of the rice, side by side, in a wedge pattern in a circle. Place the beef in one section also. Top with the egg. (if you're serving the egg scrambled, I think it looks better with the beef on top, but that's just preference)
* If you can't get Korean Barbecue sauce, here's the recipe:

4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp rice wine,
1 tbsp chopped green onion
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame seed
black pepper to taste

Thursday, February 19, 2009

snack love

Even if you think you don't like tomatoes or pumpkins, you have to try these. They are nothing like you've ever tasted before. AMAZING.
You can get them at Asian Food Grocer . Come on, you know you want to.

fun activity

One of my Young Women at church came up with a really fun idea for an activity and I had to share. We made pizza box cookies. I baked 12 pizza sized shortbread cookies, and we went to town with decorating them. We wrapped the pizza boxes with Valentine-y wrapping paper (I wrapped the inside), and gave them to people we love. I made mine for Blake.
Those are the remains from a few big bites we took last night:)

Pizza sized shortbread cookies
makes four 9" cookies

4 cups flour
1-1/2 C butter (3 sticks), softened
1-1/3 C granulated sugar, plus some for sprinkling on top
1 t vanilla extract, optional

2~4 (9") cake pans
glass tumbler with flat bottom
kitchenaid stand mixer
  1. Preheat oven to 350° with rack in middle position.
  2. In the bowl of the kitchenaid stand mixer with the paddle attachment affixed, beat butter and sugar until properly creamed, scraping down the sides periodically. Add vanilla extract and incorporate.
  3. One C at a time, add the first 3 C of flour until well mixed.
  4. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add the last C of flour. Scrape down the sides and bottom often, and continue to mix until mostly mixed.
  5. Using your hands, kneed the dough either in the bowl or on a very lightly floured surface until most flour-ey lumps are gone. This will be a fairly crumbly dough. Make the dough into one big ball and with a sharp knife, cut into 4 equal pieces.
  6. Take one quarter of the dough and place it into a cake pan. Press with our fingers until you have a fairly even layer on the bottom of the pan, touching all sides. With the glass tumbler, roll out or press down the dough with the bottom of the tumbler to make the layer more even. Cover the top evenly with 2 t of sugar. Do the same with the second cake pan, and place them both in the oven.
  7. Bake for 35~45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and even. (If you only have 2 cake pans, do the second batch once the first batch is completely cooled) Once cooled, using your whole hand, put a little pressure on the cookie, twist it to loosen it from the pan, and flip upside down. It should come out easily.
This cookie can be enjoyed without frosting because it's very sweet on it's own. But feel free to frost it:) If you want them to be traditional shortbread cookies, score the dough into 8 wedges before baking and once cooled, break them along the scoring.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Per Lori's Request

My dear friend Lori Mower asked for the waffle recipe, so here it is:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup quick oats
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
2 Tbsp sugar

Combine wet ingredients, and then stir in the dry ingredients until well incorporated.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Saturday Brunch again

We've been waiting to buy the perfect waffle iron, but as we were walking through Target they had a cheapie one for $7.99, and since Blake LOVES waffles, I thought it was worth it as a stand-in until we get a better one. And they were fantastic waffles. Thanks for the recipe, Lisa!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Just in case you were wondering

What do they mean by "great for recipes"? I could understand writing "great for cooking" or "melts smooth" on the packaging, but "great for recipes"? Isn't anything that goes into any kind of food considered part of a recipe? The word I'm thinking of might be "ingredient". So I guess I could also say that chocolate chips go great in recipes as well. That and all-purpose flour, sugar, butter.

Sorry, was that too critical? It was too hard to resist.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Tonight I was visiting a friend who just had a baby, and I had to leave to work with the Youth at church early this evening, so it was a night for a really quick meal. So I grabbed some leftover creamy tomato sauce and added some chicken broth for the best creamy tomato soup ever. Then, I made a few simple little crostini panini, and it was complete.

Creamy Tomato Soup and Mini Cheddar Panini
Serves 2

1 C creamy tomato sauce
1~2 C low-sodium chicken broth

12 thin slices of day-old baguette
thin sliced sharp cheddar
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken broth and creamy tomato soup over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until warmed through. Add a couple tablespoons of heavy cream if needed.
  2. Sandwich the cheese in between the bread slices (don't worry about the holes, it makes for great crusty burnt cheese) and drizzle outsides of sandwiches with olive oil. Grill on a panini press or in a skillet until cheese is melted and bread is nicely browned.
  3. Serve soup with mini cheese panini on the side while hot.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dinner Tonight

Last week I was thinking about the Italian dish pizzocheri and I suddenly really wanted some hearty pasta with thinly sliced cabbage. And since I had some Italian sausage I added that, and it was really really tasty. Since pizzocheri is made with buckwheat noodles, I thought I would use Barilla plus spaghetti, and it added a nice richness to the dish. I decided that since it's such a cheap and easy meal, I wanted to make it again this week. This week I used smoked turkey sausage instead, and added carrots an I liked it a whole lot more. Of course it doesn't beat the real deal "pizzocheri" and barely resembles it at all now, but it was a nice new Winter pasta that I plan on making a lot from now on. Oh, but this time I made it with normal pasta and I might actually like it better with the multigrain type. But I don't think I would try whole wheat, much too brittle for this delicate sauce.

My Veggie Sausage Pasta
serves 6~8
1 package turkey smoked sausage (about 14 oz), cut in half lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces diagonally
3/4 head of cabbage, sliced thin
1-1/2 onions (I used 1/2 spanish onion and 1 red onion), sliced thin
2 meium carrots, peeled and sliced very thin
1 lb multigrain long pasta (I use Barilla Plus spaghetti or thin spaghetti)
6 T heavy cream
3 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot bring water to a boil. Add salt and cook pasta to al dente, about 7 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile in another large pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat until just starting to ripple. Add the sausage and let brown just a little on each side. Add carrots, a slash of pasta water (or white wine or chicken broth) and scrape up browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add cabbage and onions, tossing often. Add 1/2 t salt and place the lid on the pot. Let the cabbage cook down and soften. Check on the vegetables once in a while and toss them to make sure they all get cooked evenly.
  3. Once vegetables are tender, add the pasta and heavy cream and toss to coat. Add some salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.