Friday, September 30, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

I don't know what the weather is like where you are....but it's COLD here in Indianapolis.  Like really cold.  I think what makes it so bad is the wind, it blows my dog Winston (get to know and love him, I'm sure I'll mention him a lot) right over.  And then I laugh, and then I feel like a bad's a vicious cycle I tell ya!

Anyway, when I'm cold there is a list of things I want; sweat pants, obnoxious fuzzy socks, soup, hot tea, and warm cookies....just to name a few. Well, I've taken care of everything on the list except for the soup.  I'll save that for when it's so cold I avoid going outdoors.  It's happened. Don't judge. 

Warms your heart doesn't it.

My favorite item on my cold list are the cookies. And this week I made gingerbread. Soft, chewy, warm gingerbread.  The smell alone is enough to make you die and go to heaven.  And yes, I realize my gingerbread is in the shape of a heart and not a man, I just can't eat something that is smiling at me.  It ain't right! It is like when people get cakes that look just like their dogs, who wants to cut into their dog?!

Make sure you cool your cookies before you frost them.  Don't take them straight from the oven and scarf one without expecting to burn a few taste buds like SOME people ( me )

When they cool just pipe a little glaze on. Or you can dunk the whole cookie if you want to get crazy with it.  I'll support you in that!

Gingerbread Cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

If you have a kitchen aid mixer with a paddle, I highly recommend using it! Cream butter and brown sugar together, add egg until mixed completely.  In a separate bowl sift together flour, backing powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Make sure the dry ingredients are mixed together.  Add molasses and vanilla to butter mixture. Slowly incorporate dry mixture. Once everything is mixed well together wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate dough for 1 hour, remove from fridge and let it sit at room temp for 30 minutes. 

Flour your surface and rolling pin, roll dough out to about 1/4 inch and use whichever cookie cutters you'd like.  (you can even make little smiling men if you're in to that)

Bake for 7min (for soft) and up to 11min (for crunchy) at 375.

Quick Glaze
2 tablespoons softened butter (just use the two you have left over from the cookies)
1 tablespoon half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar ( eye ball it to desired consistency)


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Salmon and Spinach alFREEdo

When I was younger my mom said the only thing green I would eat was green m&m's.  NOT TRUE! I totally did damage every holiday on green bean casserole. Wait....canned green beans with fried onions and cream of mushroom soup have no nutritional value?! Say it isn't so!
Much to my mom's delight as I got older I started eating many more vegetables (and many less m&ms).  Along with my addiction to little chocolate delights I also L-O-V-E alfredo sauce. Creamy cheesy bubbly goodness.  But, due to a metabolism that moves at the pace of a tortoise, alfredo every day isn't the best idea. I have to give a special shout out to my roomie (ayyyyy roomie) for sending me some ideas for dinner. Because it was through a sugestion that I came up with this delightful recipe for salmon and spinach alFREEdo (haha get it?)
So now my mama can sleep soundly, not so against my will I am now eating tons of veggies instead of things dipped in chocolate, covered in cheese, or wrapped in bacon. mmmmmmmm....baconnnn

Maybe that will be in a future post...come back and see!

Salmon and Spinach AlFREEdo

2 fillets of salmon
garlic powder
1 1/2 cups frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
1 1/2 cups plain fat free yogurt
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp dry dill
1 tsp horseradish
1 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 gloves pressed garlic
whole grain spaghetti noodles
garlic olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt, and add whole grain noodles.
Heat a skillet with high sides spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle salmon with pepper and garlic powder. Add salmon to skillet and cook until it is half way done (about 2 minutes per side).  Remove salmon, add garlic cloves and spinach.  In a bowl combine yogurt and corn starch; add to spinach mixture.  Stir in horseradish, dill, and lemon juice.  DO NOT BOIL MIXTURE. Reduce to medium/low. Shred or chop salmon fillets and add them to the sauce.
Drain your spaghetti and drizzle with garlic olive oil. 

Put your noodles on your dish and top with the sauce!  Yum!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Life's a peach.....cupcake

Well, I broke my weekly blogging rule (again).  I'm not going to promise to be better about it, because who are we kidding?  BUT....I've been doing a lot of baking lately, and I thought I'd share.  (as in the recipe, those cupcakes are alllllll mine)  well, maybe if you ask nicely......ok take the entire batch.

I'm such a pushover.

I like peaches. I like raspberries. And I like cupcakes.  So I decided I'd put them all together and hope for the best. Turns out they are pretty darn tasty!  My honey was on a conference call in the other room while I was baking these little pieces of heaven.  When he came out of the room he took the call in he headed straight to these bad boys. 

I'm a pushover and an awesome girlfriend.

Does this mean I am breaking even?  I think so!

Ok, enough typing. MAKE THESE!  And let me know what you think! Seriously, let me know I altered the recipe slightly to what I think would make the cake more peachy and a little more moist.  More recipes to follow...

Peach Cupcakes:
2 ripe peaches (chopped and then smashed)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (softened)
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
1/2 cup half & half
1 tsp peach extract (available at specialty baking stores. if not, use peach oil which can be found at places like Michael's in the candy making section)

Preheat your oven to 350.
Using your paddle attachment mix butter, sugars, peaches, and oil.  Add one egg at a time until combined.

In a separate bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Begin adding into wet mixture. Alternate with half &half until everything is combined.  Using your spatula, mix in peach extract. (also add a dash of cinnamon if you're feeling spicy)

Pour into cupcake tins (lined with pretty papers...or just plain $1 ones if you're on a budget  like me!) and bake for 20-25min.

Raspberry Buttercream
1 cup raspberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 sticks softened unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
1 tsp vanilla

in a saucepan combine raspberries, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Stir until a syrup forms and all berries are broken down.  Take off of stove to cool.
With your paddle attachment whip butter. Strain raspberry syrup so it is free of seeds.  add syrup to butter and mix. Add powdered sugar and mix until all is light and fluffy.  Use a spatula to mix in vanilla.  If you need some additional moisture mix in half & half 1 tbsp at a time.

Once cupcakes have cooled, frost, enjoy. Repeat!