Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tie-Dyed Cupcakes

This past Friday, April 3rd, I participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event hosted by my university. This was the second year that my university hosted this event and it was another great time spent, especially for a good cause. In case you do not know what Relay for Life is, it is a fundraising event to help fight cancer. You can find more information here: http://www.relayforlife.org/relay/whatisrelay.

I was a member of the GeoClub & Friends team with my fellow Geography Grad students. Our team's theme of the night was Woodstock. We tie-dyed our shirts and offered face painting for $1. A fellow student created a 12 hour playlist of appropriate songs and I truly believe she missed her true calling/time as a hippie. ;)

My contribution to the night, besides participating, was bringing baked goods! Through my constant recipe browsing online, I had come across a recipe for a rainbow cake, and thought it would be perfect for our theme. Since I have developed my skills in the kitchen more over the past few years, I no longer buy box mixes. Therefore, instead of using the recipe provided on the website, I decided to use a Golden Butter Cake recipe from my Good Housekeeping Cookbook. I previously used this recipe this past summer, so I knew it was delicious and would be easy to color.

Once I mixed up the batter, I divided it up into five coffee mugs and used Wilton Food Coloring. Mixing the dye into the batter definitely worked the muscles in my arm. Once all of the batter was dyed, I spooned various amounts of each color into baking cups in the cupcake pan. I tried to figure out how I could get the tie-dyed effect. I ended up using a toothpick and swirling it around in the batter. This provided a pretty neat effect on top of the cupcake, however did not do much inside.

Overall, I think these came out pretty awesome and everyone loved them. I even had one person, that came up to our table, ask if they were edible! I think these would be perfect for a child's birthday party, since they are bright and colorful. They are also pretty simple to make, since all you need is cake batter and food coloring!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadillas

I love checking out the recipes in food magazines because everything looks so delicious. However, I do not get around to actually making too many of the recipes in them. Before I went to the grocery store to pick up items for this week, I remembered bookmarking a recipe, Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadillas, in this month's issue of Cooking Light. I received this magazine as a gift subscription from my Aunt for graduation last May. I have only made one other recipe from it, but have found many that I would love to get around to try.

I was drawn to this recipe for several reasons. One, I love Mexican food and two, it involved cheese! What's not to like?! I also liked the fact that it had only a few ingredients, which kept it simple. This particular recipe is located in a section called just that: Keeping it Simple. The tag line states: Take five ingredients, make fabulous food - it's that easy! (p. 112). Now who can resist the idea of a recipe that claims to be easy, uses only a few ingredients, and you end up with a fabulous meal?

Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadillas
from
Cooking Light, March 2009
Serves: 4 (4 wedges per serving)

Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 2/3 cup (5 ounces) goat cheese, softened
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 1 green onion)
  • 10 tablespoon bottled salsa verde, divided
  • Cooking spray
Preparation

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn; sauté 2 minutes or until browned. Place corn in a small bowl. Add goat cheese to corn; stir until well blended. Divide corn mixture evenly among 4 tortillas; spread to within 1/4 inch of sides. Sprinkle each tortilla with 1 tablespoon green onions. Drizzle each with 1 1/2 teaspoons salsa; top with remaining 4 tortillas.

  2. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from pan; keep warm. Wipe pan clean with paper towels; recoat with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve with remaining 8 tablespoons salsa.

My experience with the recipe:
This recipe was extremely easy. Instead of fresh corn, I just used a small can of white shoepeg corn. For some reason, Green Giant has included Dora the Explorer and friends on some of their labels. I had to do a double take to confirm I was picking up the right can. I have made the mistake before of seeing something on the shelf, thinking it is what I am looking for, and later discovering that it is not what I wanted.

Also, to my luck the store was having a sale on goat cheese, almost half off! If you enjoy cheese like I do, you know it can be very expensive...especially the good quality types. Over the last few years, I have dishearteningly watched the prices of cheese rise and as a result, limit what I buy. Unless of course, it is on sale!

These quesadillas did not take long to assemble. Once the corn was roasted in the skillet, it was a matter of mixing, spreading, and topping the tortilla with the corn/cheese mixture, chopped green onions, and salsa. I unknowingly only had 7 tortillas left in the pantry, so one of my quesadillas was just folded over instead of having a second tortilla placed on top. I had some issues during the cooking time. I kept burning the tortillas and I'm sure it was probably because my skillet was too hot.

Overall these were a great change from the normal cheese quesadillas and I will be adding this recipe to my list of "Awesome, will make again" recipes!

video


Enjoy!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Oatmeal Cream Pies! Oh wait, isn't it Creme?

You are now probably thinking about one of Little Debbie's snack-sized goodies! I found this recipe on Recipe Zarr. The submitter (MizzNezz) posted:

I found this on the web, and since they're the absolute favorite of my grandson, I made them for him. We couldn't tell the difference!! The only thing is-these are a lot fresher!

Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies have always hit the sweet spot for me. However, they are a sweet that I do not have that often. Unlike other children at the lunch table I encountered growing up, my mother never bought them to pack in lunches. The only times I remember ever getting to eat them were the various vending machines I have come across over the years. Even now, I do not find myself buying them, as I tend to limit the junk food in my apartment. Plus, I love baking goodies and sweets myself, so I don't buy a lot of store-bought baked goods either.

Oatmeal Cream Pies from Recipe Zarr
Serves: 12 (2 dozen)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats

Cream Filling

  • 2 teaspoons very hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow cream
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.
  2. In large bowl, cream margarine, sugars, molasses, vanilla, and eggs.
  3. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  4. Add to the creamed mixture; mix in the oats.
  5. Drop dough by TBS on ungreased sheets.
  6. Bake at Bake for 10-12 minutes,or until just starting to brown around the edges. They will look moist; don’t overcook.
  7. While the cookies bake prepare the filling.
  8. In small bowl, dissolve the salt in the hot water. Allow this to cool.
  9. Combine marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl; mix on high until fluffy.
  10. Add the cooled salt water and mix well.
  11. Spread filling on flat side of one cookie, press 2nd cookie on top.


My experience with the recipe:
This recipe was pretty simple to follow and I did not come across any big issues with finding the ingredients called for. I must admit that I had to ask where the molasses was located after spending 10 minutes in the baking isle looking for it. This is the first time I have ever used it in a recipe and I must say, it has a peculiar smell to it!

These do take some time to make. Make sure not to overcook! I ended up with three rounds of baking time in the oven and it took me until the last one to get the timing right. Try to resist eating the cookies until you get the cream between them! I made the mistake of trying as I was adding the cream and by the end I had eaten too many. One or two will probably do the trick before you get the sickeningly sweet feeling.


video

Just for Fun Frog Fact:
Frogs can launch themselves over 20 times their own length.

Enjoy!