Archive for ‘Kitchen Adventures’

February 12, 2011

Microwave some dessert!

Here I sit on a Saturday night in Queens, craving something chocolatey and delicious.  I’m not quite in the mood to make a full batch, nor do I want a pan of brownies or a few dozen cookies calling my name.  (You know how that goes… willpower out the window in a flash, am I right?) I’ve been hearing lots of buzz about “mug” desserts lately.  My roommate has an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe she makes quite a bit.  Anyway, I consulted my good friend Google and found a recipe for a mug brownie that sounded SO easy, so I went for it.

(I know, this photo doesn’t make it look appealing… I took it on my Blackberry and it does it no justice.  I’m not even sure why I posted it.  Please don’t let this deter you from making this. Really.)


(I found the recipe here and used the alternate version towards the end of the post)

4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used 2 tbsp)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp water
1/4 tsp vanilla

Combine all of the ingredients in a large, microwave-safe mug, making sure there are no lumps.
Microwave for 1-2 minutes (depending on your microwave–I cooked mine for 1 minute and 30 seconds.)  Let cool and enjoy!

Now let’s pause for a moment.  In my mind, a single serving brownie in a mug sounded like the wise choice for someone trying to lose weight.  Again, no full pan of brownies calling my name.  Just one harmless brownie, right?… Wrong.  I’m sorry.  I want to tell you this is a great option for those trying to be healthier… however, when I plugged this into the Weight Watchers points calculator, I nearly had a heart attack.

17 points.  Yep, you heard me correctly.  SEVENTEEN! (WHAT?!)  To put this into perspective, I’m allowed 31 points per day.  Thus 17 points is more than half of my daily allowance.  Oy vay.  Good news is, I get an extra 49 points to use throughout the week wherever I choose.

Having gotten that out of the way, however, this brownie was ridiculous.  It was so incredibly easy and yummy and decadent and ABSOLUTELY fulfilled my chocolate craving.  While this won’t be something I treat myself to daily, it’s definitely worth a splurge every now and then.  (I also think I could handle halving the recipe as the serving was pretty large.)

Try this the next time you need a chocolate fix.  And just don’t think about the calories!

June 5, 2010

Brunch with friends.

I’ve been talking for a while now about making brunch and inviting friends over to enjoy it.  Last Saturday I was able to do just that, and I really can’t wait to do it again.  There’s a minor problem here though: I didn’t take any pictures.  I know, who am I?!

I made the following recipes, which all come pretty highly recommended:

Fluffy Pancakes – I planned on lemon ricotta pancakes but the ricotta in my fridge had gone bad… uh oh. But these were classic and delicious!!
Bacon Cheese Frittata – I omitted the bacon and added broccoli!
Banana Banana Bread – If I’m being honest, this isn’t my favorite banana bread recipe, but was still good.

I also made fruit salad (watermelon, strawberries & blueberries), bacon (the good stuff from the deli) and sausage.  Everything was a hit and I can’t wait to do it again.

I don’t know what it is but I really just love to feed people.  I was thinking recently about my Gramma Fowler (my mom’s mom) who passed away about 5 years ago.  She loved to be in the kitchen cooking and baking.  She refused to attend any family gathering without bringing something along.  I see more and more of her in myself these days.  I’m starting to understand the joy that she found in that, yet I’m not sure I can articulate it very well.  I really wish sometimes that she was still here and that I could share my love for cooking with her and learn from her in the kitchen.  I’m thankful for the incredible recipes we have of hers and can’t wait to try more of them in the future.  They’re recipes I hope I can pass down to my own children some day!  And hey, if you’re lucky, maybe I’ll have the chance to share of few with all of you. :)

May 14, 2010

What's cookin', good lookin'?

Forgive me for the cheesy title to this blog post.  It’s early, and these things are still funny to me.  Okay, fine, you caught me… I always think cheesy things are funny, 7:30am and any other time of day.

I believe it’s been a while since I made you all hungry by writing about my recent adventures in the kitchen.  I’m not sure how many photos I have to truly taunt you with (you’re welcome!), but I do have some… Including some glamor shots of the LEMON RICOTTA PANCAKES I made last Saturday.

I suppose I’ll start by telling you about those…

There’s this great brunch spot in the city called Sarabeth’s.  It came highly recommended and if you know me at all, you know I love a good pancake.  Breakfast/brunch foods in general bring me much joy.  I think this is the case for two reasons: 1. Breakfast foods are delicious (it’s that simple); and 2. As a kid, my parents used to make a big breakfast on the weekends. Sometimes it was Dad making french toast, other times Mom making monkey bread. Either way, I just remember the huge spread on the dining room table, complete with real Vermont maple syrup (for which there is NO SUBSTITUTE), and eating breakfast together as a family or with friends after a sleepover.  Brunch just brings me back to those happy memories and makes me feel like a kid again.  I often say I wish I could be five again.  A much simpler time, and I was also a little peanut (seriously, I was adorable… and I’ve got pictures to prove it.)


Anyway, back to Sarabeth’s… so not only was their restaurant on the Upper West Side quaint and the outdoor seating lovely, but I got these pancakes… these delicious, sweet, creamy (and did I mention DELICIOUS?) pancakes: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  Now, while I anticipated them to be good, I have to admit, I was still a bit unsure.  I mean, does liquid gold (real maple syrup) go well with lemon ricotta pancakes?  Because, as a Vermonter, I can’t NOT use maple syrup… it’s an egregious sin.  Well, here’s the verdict on these pancakes:

  1. Delicious (because I think I forgot to mention that before… Oh, I said it twice already?)
  2. They taste like lemon poppy seed muffins turned pancakes and sans poppy seeds
  3. The texture is really light and creamy and fantastic
  4. They taste amazing WITH maple syrup or without (but as I mentioned, the maple syrup is a must for me)
  5. If I was a guy and Sarabeth was a real girl and not a restaurant, I would propose

Alright, that last one was awkward… but I dare you to try these pancakes and disagree.

After trying these amazing pancakes, of course my first thought was: How can I recreate these at home? So, I went on a little search for a recipe.  I found one on my favorite community-based recipe site, Tasty Kitchen, and decided I would start there.  I’ve also bookmarked several other recipes that vary, be it using more ricotta, less flour, etc.  I’ll be trying a new one either tonight or tomorrow morning and will continue to search the whole wide world until I find the recipe that creates the most Sarabeth-like lemon ricotta pancake.

Here’s a look at the pancakes I made (click here for the recipe):

Told  you it was a glamor shot…

These pancakes were, taste-wise, on the mark.  Super yummy.  In terms of texture, though, they were a bit fluffier than the Sarabeth’s version.  I’d like to get that creamy texture and think that the recipes that call for less flour and a bit more ricotta will definitely achieve that.  I’ll certainly keep you posted.  However, if you like a fluffier pancake, the recipe linked above is worth trying.  My roommate Anna said they were the best pancakes she’s ever had, so you can’t argue with that!

Next on the list are cookies I’ve made a few times before, but I think are probably the best cookie recipe I’ve found to date. Nothing too crazy: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip.  I love cookies with oatmeal but raisins ruin everything.  It’s funny because I love a good Raisinet, I really do… but start throwing raisins in cakes and cookies and I start throwing a fit.  I’m sorry, I don’t know why, but it can’t be stopped.  Carrot cake? Love it. Carrot cake with raisins? Don’t you dare.

I’ve gone a long way to tell you that this is why I love Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies… they’ve got everything good going for them.  The oatmeal, chocolate chips, and don’t forget the pinch of cinnamon that gives ’em that little something extra… And this recipe I’ve been using is nearly perfect in my opinion.  When I first made it I thought the amount of oatmeal was a little absurd, but really, I just love everything about these delightful cookies.  And you can verify all of this information one of two ways: 1. Make them yourself; or 2. Ask the friends I’ve made them for.

Hopefully I’ll have some more delicious recipes for you to try out in the near future.  I really need to find some taste-testers to keep on hand.  Is that what getting married and having kids is for?  Sign me up!

March 31, 2010

girls night!

I’ve been a part of Pastor Mike Doyle’s Tuesday night Bible study since July of last year.  I feel like I’ve grown a lot in my time there and have really met some amazing people.  Finally, after a lot of talking about it, us girls got together for dinner and fellowship on Saturday night.  We probably had too much fun.  I made lasagna, Tara brought salad, and Amber…. Amber brought the bread from Balthazar and the cupcakes from Crumbs.  This is just one of the many reasons we love Amber.  We ate, Tori played the guitar and we sang worship songs, and we talked. A lot. (Hey, we’re girls… it’s just what we DO, okay?)  We decided that it’s going to be a monthly thing and frankly, we can’t wait till next month! (Mark your calendars, ladies: APRIL 24!)

Sunday Tori accompanied me to church, Amber went to her church and the three of us met up afterwards for more quality time.  We got lunch at Chipotle in Union Square, headed back out to Queens to grab the guitar, headed to midtown east for Aroma Coffee (you’ve gotta try it) and finally, we ended the evening with Sunday night prayer & worship.  Our prayer meetings are always a really refreshing time and a great way to wrap up the weekend and head into a new week at work.

This week is already coming to a close, which is hard to believe.  Tomorrow is “fake Friday” for me at work, as we have Good Friday off.  I’m thinking I’ll spend some time in Central Park, as it’s supposed to be a beautiful day on Friday.  Then I’ll head to a church service, but I still haven’t decided on where… Hopefully I’ll have another post for you by the end of the weekend.

For now, though, let’s talk lasagna.  The recipe I made can be found HERE.  It’s delicious.  Seriously.  Some photos to prove it to ya:

Needless to say, there are no leftovers. :)  And those cupcakes I told you about? Well, we made sure everyone got to try as many flavors as they wanted:

And a few more photos from the evening:

(I understand that photo of Amber & I is a little awkward… okay, a lot awkward. But I love it.)

I leave you with this:  that lasagna recipe makes a decent amount of extra sauce.  Today, I came home, sliced & halved some zucchini, sauteed it in a bit of olive oil, added some leftover sauce, mixed with whole wheat penna rigate… and VOILA! Dinner:

March 15, 2010

lemon-rosemary chicken pasta.

I came home tonight excited to do some cooking.  I made some lemon-rosemary chicken with zucchini tossed with pasta.  I don’t typically cook from a recipe, so below is a very general idea of what I used.  You can alter it to suit your tastes!  It was super light and yummy, and pretty healthy, too!


1/2 box Barilla Plus Farfalle
1/2lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast (I used 1/2 a package of tenders, I prefer them because the cook faster and more evenly in the sautee pan)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, halved
Rosemary (dried or fresh, I used dried)
2 medium zucchinis, sliced and cut into quarters
2 tbsp butter or margarine (I used Brummel & Brown spread)

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, cook farfalle al dente.
  • Place the chicken in a shallow bowl (I used a pie pan) so that they don’t overlap.  Squeeze the juice from 1/2 of the lemon over the chicken then top with the rosemary. Make sure the chicken gets well coated on both sides.
  • Put olive oil in nonstick pan over medium heat, cook chicken through and remove from the pan.
  • Add zucchini to the pan, cook until fork-tender.
  • Drain water from the farfalle and pour pasta into serving bowl.  Put butter or margarine in the bowl and stir until melted.  Squeeze the juice from the other half of the lemon over the cooked pasta, and add lemon zest if desired.
  • Cut cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add chicken and zucchini to the serving bowl and toss with farfalle.

Clearly I’m not a skilled writer of recipes, and hopefully I remembered everything.  Bon appetite!