Friday, February 19, 2010

Getting Back On Track With Soup!

A fact about me is that I don't cook and I don't like to cook, baking is where it is at for me. However, I was just away for a week for work and every morning the lovely Hilton would leave newspapers for us. So as I drank my Starbucks and waited in the lobby a recipe caught my attention and I thought hmmmmmmm I could make soup and it could help me get back on track. I liked the soup a lot and it was super easy! I didn't add the optional sour cream or the garnish but sprinkled a little cheese on top instead.

(Source: USA TODAY)

1 Tbsp. canola oil (I used olive oil)
1 small onion, chopped (I used half of a medium/large onion)
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
3 cups water
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. lime juice
4 Tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
- Add beans, water, salsa and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice.
- Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree (use caution with when pureeing hot liquids).
- Stir the puree back into the saucepan.
- Serve soup garnished with sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baking for a Good Cause!

Awhile ago I came across this wonderful group called Baking GALS. This group is run by Lyndsay and she gets group leaders to host soldiers who are deployed abroad. Each host recruits up to 20 bakers and in a week to two week period everyone ships out their goodies and then bombards the soldier with baked goods. So many goods he or she has to share with their fellow troops.

I wanted to do this for awhile and thought that this would be a great thing to do with my 4th grade religion students; however, 2 weeks of snow in DC changed that plan! So I baked these on my own and will sign up for a future round to bake again.

This was my first time baking for soldiers so there are some things I will do differently next time. For now I hope the Lt in Afghanistan, who is responsible for Logistics and Transportation, and the soldier from Indianapolis, whose second was born while he was away, enjoy the cookies.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Molasses Cookies (nonvegan version)

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cabin Fever Deliciousness!!

After being snowed in all week I was actually excited to go to work today, sad I know! But I was also excited because it was one of my good work friend's birthday and my friends get to request what type of birthday cupcake they want. My friend requested Red Velvet Cupcakes and I made them last year for Valentine's Day and for another friend's birthday but I didn't love that recipe, even after tinkering with it. But after all the reviews today I think this is the recipe!!! So easy and delicious a definite home run! I used my trustworthy cream cheese recipe! These are perfect for Valentine's Day so enjoy and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

(Source: Allrecipes)


2 1/2 C flour
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn salt
1 C butter, softened
2 C sugar
4 eggs
1 C sour cream
1/2 C milk
1 (1 ounce) bottle red food color
2 tspns pure vanilla extract


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla.
- Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat.
-Spoon (or an ice cream scoop) batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. (Don't worry batter is thick)
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. 19 to 20 minutes was perfect for me.
- Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.



1/2c. of unsalted butter (softened)
2- 8oz. packs of cream cheese (softened)
3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1 tbsp of vanilla extract.


- Cream the butter and cream cheese together and then add the powedered sugar and vanilla.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Better Late then Never.......

For Thanksgiving I made Katie's Fall Harvest Bread as part of our appetizers. It was delicious!!!! It was also perfect because I hae some little cousins and this was a hit with the 2 year old!

(Good Things Catered)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 can (or 7.5 oz) pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium apple (I like granny smith) peeled, cored, and diced
1 c. fresh cranberries (I used the packaged craisins)
1 c. chopped pecans (I think walnuts would also work well)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Prepare 9x5 loaf pan or 5 mini loaf pans(or can sub muffin pan or double recipe for cake/bundt pan).
-In large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and whisk to combine.
-In another large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, applesauce, milk, vanilla and stir to combine well.
-Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just barely blended..
-Fold in apples, cranberries and pecans.
-Spoon batter into prepared pan (it will be all lumpy - don't worry).
-Bake for 60-70 minutes (35-40 minutes for mini loaves) or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.
-Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes.
-Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack completely (makes the slices much more clean.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gigantic Deliciousness

For a long time I lusted after the giant cupcake pan and I finally got it! It was fantastic! I made my Devils Food Cake and my begged for Peanut Butter Frosting recipe. Before I put the top on I injected some frosting into the middle of the bottom part and it was delicious!

One of the hints from the manual is to cook the bottom at first for a little bit longer then add the top so they cook evenly. THe only other problem I had was transporting it, with all the frosting on top I couldn't get my cake carrier to close.