Saturday, June 26, 2010

Disney Vinylmation Trading Event!!!

I am so thrilled to say that the meet we had been planning for a few months was today and it went GREAT!

We had a much better turn out than we expected. I really didn't know if anyone was going to come down but we had  11 of us altogether. We had a fun time trading our Vinylmations and chit chatting about Disney. It's always great to find other Disney Geeks like me.

Of course I baked, because who doesn't like baked goods?! :)

And of course I shouted out the blog. ;)

We all took out our little armies of Vinyls and traded away.

I for one had a great time with everyone. We def plan to do it again, and probably add some pin trading into the mix as well.

Thank you so much for coming out everyone and a special thanks to Keith (, I hope we didn't embarrass you too much with all our praise of your art!

The group!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chicken & Biscuits AND Oatmeal Crisps

So I have been backlogged with the stuff I have been baking and cooking for posting, so much so that I never took any pictures of the most recent things I made BUT they both turned out so good I want to share the recipes anyway!!!

Chicken & Biscuits


  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour, spooned and leveled

  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 1 large egg white

  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk

  • 5 carrots, thinly sliced

  • 5 celery stalks, thinly sliced

  • 1 box (10 ounces) frozen pearl onions, thawed

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together whole-wheat flour, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white, 3 tablespoons oil, and 1/4 cup milk; add to flour mixture, and stir until moistened. Drop four 1/4-cup scoops of dough onto a baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Bake until golden, 12 to 14 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a 5-quart Dutch oven or large heavy pot, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, and onions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle vegetables with remaining 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour; stir in remaining 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, and thyme. Simmer until liquid is thickened, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken; simmer until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve chicken stew with biscuits.
Things I changed or added......

I sprinkled the chicken with poultry seasoning before cooking. 
I added a couple of spoons of already chopped garlic to the veggies.
I used a jar or small onions because the supermarket was out of frozen pearls.

I think this came our really good, very tasty and filling. We did eat 2 biscuits each tho so the next day we had the leftovers for lunch and I made more biscuits. 

I plan to make the biscuit recipe a staple- it was so easy and so easy to flavor up and change it. KC like the 2nd batch of biscuits better because I used all white flour (he isn't that into whole wheat) but they were both yummy. 

Dessert was Oatmeal Crisps

  • 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix butter, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth; mix in rolled oats.
  2. Drop firmly packed teaspoons of dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets. Bake until golden, rotating sheets halfway through, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheet 1 minute;  transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

These were really good! Maybe a bit salty. I ended up adding too much sugar so I doubled the recipe right off the bat, and it barely made any, so it was a good mess up. 

I couldn't get over how simple this was and thats why I wanted to try it. That and the fact that it didn't have tons of sugar in it. I plan to enjoy them again this evening for dessert with a nice cappuccino. :) 

Fruity Coconut Coffee Cake & Pumpkin Pancakes

I have been less than enthused with the computer these days, and sitting down to do anything on it.  My 6 week engagement as a Census employee has ended and so I have more time on my hands, hopefully to bake better than I have been because all the mistakes and mess ups are killing me!

These are last weeks baking/cooking endeavors.

Fruity Coconut Coffee Cake

I searched this recipe out online because I threw away the copy I had once I was done because it was not my finest hour and in the end wasn't something I'd make again. It was tasty and we ate it for a week (with a small after modification) but it's not a keeper.


Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

2 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 cup PET® Evaporated Milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 (12 ounce) jar Smucker's® Peach Preserves, Pineapple or Apricot Preserves (1 cup)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup PET® Evaporated Milk

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 large egg

1-1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with the no-stick spray. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Combine cream cheese, butter and sugar in the mixer bowl. Attach mixer bowl and flat beater. Turn to Speed 4 beating until the mixture is light and flugffy. Stop and scrape the bowl. Turn to Stir Speed; add eggs one at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add 1/4 cup evaporated milk and vanilla to bowl. Turn to Stir Speed; gradually add dry ingredients to bowl. Stop and scrape bowl. Turn to Speed 4 and blend just until moistened. Evenly divide and spread 1/2 of the batter into the two prepared cake pans. Evenly divide the preserves between the two pans. Evenly divide and spread the remaining batter over the preserves in the pans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

**After reading this version of the recipe I would have liked it better than just spreading the preserves on top, as the version I had said to do. Live & Learn. 

They baked up kinda weird because the preserves were on top not in the center. I should have realized this was not cool but it was a bit too late then. I also had one other major screw up...before putting the 2 cakes in the oven i turned around to pick something up and realized that i never added the evaporated milk! The batter seemed fine, but only time would tell on that one. 


COMBINE sugar, 2/3 cup of evaporated milk, butter and egg in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Spread over cakes, dividing mixture evenly. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.

I also used the broiler on my oven for the first time. I kid you not! Our oven is small and crappy so I never bothered. When we opened it to try it out (Hubby helped) we found some old cookie sheets and a second muffin pan! Score! 

So the final verdict: it was good. I ended up buying another jar or preserves and spooned a bit over top of each piece so we'd get the flavor that was intended and it helped a lot. The leftover evaporated milk made no difference at all, the cake was moist enough. 

Edible for sure, but won't be made by me again. I think I may need to give up on coffee cakes in general as they seem to not like me much. 

The same night I made these for dinner:

Pumpkin Pancakes 

I was planning on making a batch from scratch but decided I should use the Bisquick in the cabinet so.....


2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup packed brwn sugar
1 egg
1 tspn cinnamon
1/2 tspn giner
1/4 tspn nutmeg
1/4 tspn salt
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup of milk
*Extra milk to thin if needed. 

Mix together until blended and cook up in a frying pan with cooking spray or butter. 

I added a bit of extra milk in mine to thin it out some. They came out really yummy!  I used the rest of the yummy maple syrup leftover from my Maple Bacon Cupcakes from last month. Very tasty stuff! KC agreed they were really good. We had enough for us both to have dinner, he had them for lunch the next day and breakfast the day after that!! 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Cherry" Cornmeal Cookies

These are a cookie I found on the  Martha Stewart site. The cherry is in quotes because the original recipe calls for dried cherries...I had some blueberry flavored Crasins so thats what I put in!


1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries, finely chopped (or Craisins if you have 'em!)

In a bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in in vanilla, egg, and orange zest. Gradually add flour mixture; beat until just combined. Stir in "cherries".

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; pat into a log, 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. Wrap dough in parchment (I used saran wrap with no issues).Twist ends of parchment to seal. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Slice dough 1/4 inch thick, rotating log 1/4 turn after each slice. Place 1/2 inch apart on baking sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

They came out really good! KC & I really liked them. They have a neat texture because of the cornmeal. It didn't make than many cookies so when making them again I will probably double the recipe. And the only other addition would be a teeny bit more sugar (prob 1/3 cup instead of 1/4). Def yummy tho!

Menu Planning 101

So we are only a 2 person household but we realized at some point that we spent WAY too much on random groceries that we weren't ever eating. We live in a studio apartment and that means limited space as far as stocking up a pantry was concerned. So we thought we'd menu plan. We started out doing every 2 weeks. We'd sit down, get ideas and plan 2 weeks worth of lunches and dinners. It saved us tons of cash! We were buying things we were actually using and we weren't wasting money or space in the house.

Then we decided we spent too much time shopping and would try out monthly menu planning. A bit crazy but it worked for us! We have been monthly planning for about 5 or 6 months now. We do one big shop a month and pick up produce from the places closer to the house in between. It's been a huge money saver.

I am also a huge advocate of the crock pot and cooking larger amounts than you need and saving them for lunches and leftover dinners. I swear by my crock pot!!!

Recently we joined a gym too, so I have been cooking the same amount of stuff but we have been eating more human portions and stretching the food that much more.  When the month is through we go through the plans and transfer the ones we didn't end up making (everyone gets lazy and does take out once in a while) and move them to the next months, because we already have everything to make it with!

So what did we have from last week.....

Monday - went shopping, ate cold cuts when we got home.

Tuesday -cold cut wraps with a pre-made side dish (broccoli mac & cheese)

Wednesday - Turkey Kielbasa with Sauerkraut & Rice

Thursday -   Greek Spiced Ribs and mashed potatoes

Friday - Leftover ribs & potatoes (there was plenty!)

Saturday - The plan was to make pork tacos of the rest of the rib meat...but KC brought home leftover catered food from work, who am I to not take a  non-cooking night !?

Sunday - If it rains it will be pork taco night (I even picked up fresh tomato and avocado to top it already) but if it's nice out then we will be doing our new tradition of dinner out on Sundays with a close friend.

It's a bit tedious to sit and plan, and to come up with new ideas but it's def worth it!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Avocado Pound Cake

Yep, thats what it says...pound cake and avocados. I know, weird right? But I have a fixation with the weird, in more things that just food.

This recipe came from Here. I always try every recipe the way I find it the first time, then I mess with it, if I like it enough.

it makes makes 2 9 inch loaves.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
flesh of 1 1/2 ripe avocados, just over a cup to a cup and a half of avocado, mashed

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease and flour two loaf pans and set aside.

I had a sous chef for this pound cake, someone who is recently obsessed with avocados and is the reason I was trying this out in the first place.....I give you KC (Hubby, Geek & for about 1/2 hour, my sous chef & food photographer)

In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Set aside.  Set the four eggs out on the counter to come to room temperature while you beat the butter and sugar.

I prepped everything ahead (I always do)'s what it looks like....

Avocado mashed by my handsome sous chef, BTW.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until softened and pliable.  Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Add the avocado and beat another minute to incorporate.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is thoroughly mixed.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after the addition of each egg.  Beat in vanilla extract.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture, all of the buttermilk, and then the rest of the flour mixture.  Beat just until combined.

It turned a really purdy green color.

Divide the dough between the two loaf pans and place in the oven.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

So you see those very dark loaf pans I used to make this? Yea well I somehow forgot that it would take longer to bake in them and after 50 minutes I was too afraid of burning the loafs so I took them out. The toothpick going in came out clean.  They looked really nice when they came out too, all even and brown.

I let them cook on the racks for a while and KC said "Let's cut into them!". And this is where it all went wrong.  The inside....

Yeah, those green blobby spots are the spots that didn't cook all the way. So rather than ditch them completely and have wasted an evening, I proceeded to hollow them out and throw away the blobby icky parts. 

This is whats left.... 
I asked if I should fill it with flowers or something to camouflage the lovely hole. LOL. But alas, I'm not perfect...who knew?! Still it was a tasty cake (the parts you could actually eat) but was deemed too sweet by KC. I think I'd make it again and somehow change the sugar content but thats after some more, much needed, pound cake research. 

All in all it turned out ok. I think the people at KC's job (Hi TCH!) will be the happiest of them all because they prob get to eat a loaf of it because there is a LOT of cake in my house right now. 

Coming later this planning.