thanksgiving desserts, etc!

i didn’t make these for thanksgiving, but wanted to include them anyway because they are delicious – olive oil and chive fantail rolls. this is the second time i’ve made them and they are great! i didn’t have fresh chives this time, so used dried instead and they still tasted good.

MY PIES. i felt like the queen of pies this year because everyone went nuts over these and made me feel really good about my baking skills! these recipes are both super easy, but STILL, i love when people really enjoy the things i make. we do thanksgiving lunch with the mister’s mom’s side and then dinner with his dad’s side. when we were leaving dinner his grandma was offering everyone leftover pie and the mister says, “oh, i’ll take the last slice of apple.” and she responds with,”well, i’m going to keep the apple, but you can have the other ones.” CUTE.

the recipes: pecan pie (i really liked that his recipe did not use corn syrup – as most pecan pie recipes do) dreamy apple pie (and she is not lying, this pie was the most incredible apple pie i’ve ever had)

the mister made these amazing fluffy rolls. they are SO freaking good. he made them last year and got special requests for them for this thanksgiving. i don’t know where he got the recipe, but if i get it, i’ll update.

chocolate turkey tarts! i love how cute these are. we made gobbling noises the whole time we were assembling them. i want to make a christmas tree version, i think – maybe with green and red sanding sugar instead of white.

aaaaaaaaand – the mister and puppy in their joint post-thanksgiving coma. my life is pretty pretty pretty good.

chicken noodle soup

snow, ice, freezing rain – winter is upon us here in the midwest in full force and i’ll take any excuse to eat soup and stews all day long. here’s a fantastic recipe that smelled (and tasted!) so good i wanted to swim around in the pot.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
1 whole chicken
6 whole carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
½ medium white onion, diced
salt to taste (I used a combo of table salt & coarse ground sea salt)
1 teaspoon turmeric
ground pepper to tasted (the recipe used white, but I only had black)
1 teaspoon ground thyme
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

cover chicken in 4 quarts water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. simmer for 30 minutes.

remove chicken from pot with a slotted spoon. with two forks, remove as much meat from the bones as you can, slightly shredding meat in the process. return bones to broth and simmer on low, covered, for 45 minutes.

remove bones from broth with a slotted spoon, making sure to get any small bones that might have detached.

add the carrots, celery and onions to the pot, followed by the herbs and spices. stir to combine and simmer for ten minutes to meld flavors.

increase heat and add chicken. cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

mix flour and a little water. stir until smooth. pour into soup, stir to combine, and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until broth thickens a bit. test and adjust seasonings as needed.

dish individual servings of fresh noodles into bowls and ladle desired amount of hot broth, chicken and veggies over the top – let simmer a few minutes – add salt and pepper if needed and warm your insides with delicious soup.

EGG NOODLES (also from The Pioneer Woman)
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour

*we halved this recipe since we wanted to eat it all fresh and not freeze it at all*

rule of thumb: two eggs per one cup of flour

make a well in the center of your pile of flour and crack in your eggs. slowly mix together with your hands. turn it out onto a floured surface and knead (roll, punch, push, etc.) by hand until dough becomes smooth and pliable, adding flour to the board as necessary.

let the dough rest for a little while before rolling it out. you can sort of figure on one egg per person to determine how much dough to make. example: Two eggs and one cup of flour would make enough pasta dough for a dinner for two.

when you’re ready, roll it out on a floured surface as thinly as it’ll go. the noodles will plump up quite a bit when they boil in the water, so the thinner you can roll it, the better. cut the noodles really thin. you can use a sharp knife (if you can keep it in a straight line), a pizza wheel, or a long pizza/bread cutter.

to cook the noodles, just boil them in salted water (very important!) for probably two minutes. they cook lightning fast, so don’t let ‘em go too long.

(the best ever) chocolate peanut butter cupcakes


i have found my new go to chocolate cake recipe. so dark, chocolatey and ridiculously moist – the important qualities in a chocolate cake. i made these chocolate peanut butter cupcakes from Joy the Baker for an engagement party i went to on sunday (congratulations again chris & holly!) and WOW, this is a serious dessert. buckle your seatbelts for this one, kids.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES (found here)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 cups cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, water, vanilla extract and vinegar.

Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients being careful not to overmix. The mixture will be quite wet, but that’s ok.

*joy used a pitcher to pour the batter into the cupcake tin, so i did the same and found that made it super easy to maneuver the liquidy batter*

Pour the batter until the cups are two thirds full and place in the oven for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cup comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then place on a wire rack until completely cool before frosting.

PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING
(i halved the recipe because, though i am a champion dessert eater, i find that there is always too much frosting on everything. i originally made the full amount and piled each cupcake high, as you can see in the photos, and there was still a TON leftover – too much, people.)

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

2 – 3 cups powdered sugar (depending on your desired consistency)

1/2 tablespoon milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, beat butter and peanut butter until creamy and virtually no butter lumps remain. Scrape down the bowl. Add two cups of powdered sugar and beat on low for 1 minute. Add milk and beat on medium high for 1 minute. Add the remaining cup of powdered sugar if you’d like your frosting a bit thicker.

Slather frosting onto cooled cupcakes and top with coarsely chopped peanut butter cups (i skipped the peanut butter cups because i did not want my teeth to fall out).

sunflower sesame crackers

one of the things i love about living in the twin cities is that we have a really fantastic local food scene here. and through the wonders of the internet, i have been lucky to find local food bloggers that have quickly become some of my favorite blogs to read and learn from. today’s recipe comes from one of those blogs, Stephanie at Fresh Tart. i often drool over the lovely photos of the things she cooks for herself and her family. i never would have thought of making my own crackers, but when i saw this recipe on her blog – i was inspired. and turns out, homemade crackers are really tasty!


(i topped these with brie and pepper jam – umm, tooooooo good!)

SUNFLOWER SESAME CRACKERS (found here)
1 c. raw sunflower seeds
1 c. raw sesame seeds
1 tsp. coarse salt plus more for sprinkling
3-4 Tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, process the sunflower seeds for 2-4 minutes or until very finely ground and flour-like.

Add the sesame seeds and pulse a few times, then slowly add the water (note: start with 3 Tbsp. of water, add more if necessary) until seed flour comes together in a thick dough.

Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough to 1/8″ thick (cracker thickness). Remove the upper piece of parchment. Lightly score the dough into desired cracker shapes. Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt (and/or other herbs/seasonings).

Bake until golden and crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly before gently breaking into pieces along score lines. Store in an air-tight container.

ice cream bread

last week i came down with a bad cold that promptly evolved into a bronchial infection. that wasn’t fun. but a trip to urgent care resulted in a round with my trusty friend, the nebulizer and prescriptions for an inhaler and some pills – now – one week later, i’m ALMOST fit as a fiddle again. i don’t imagine that anyone wants me making them food while coughing all over the place, so the past week has been full of canned soup, takeout and even going to my parents’ house for dinner.

a few days ago, we had our friends chris and sara come over to watch the movie Clue and play the game Clue. i was still phlegmy, so i instructed dave on the making of the bread while i stood a safe distance away. oh, and i did the chocolate drizzle 🙂

CARAMEL CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM BREAD (adapted from tasty kitchen)
2 cups caramel cheesecake ice cream – stone ridge creamery brand
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

*do not use low fat or fat free ice cream
*i made my own self rising flour – for every 1 cup of flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt

preheat oven to 350
grease and flour a loaf pan
stir ice cream and flour together until flour is moistened – spoon batter into pan
bake 45 minutes
cool slightly, loosen sides of bread with a butter knife, pop bread out onto a plate
melt chocolate chips and drizzle in criss-cross motion over top of the loaf (i filled a zip loc with the melted chocolate and snipped the corner, but you can drizzle with a knife also)

enjoy while the ice cream bread is still slightly warm!

the hunger games trilogy


add these books to your reading queue immediately. if you are a fan of ender’s game/battle royale type young adult post-apocalyptic stories (and i am) this is right up your alley. i’m not going to say much about it, because i don’t want to give anything away, but i cried twice and got teary-eyed probably like 6 times. i flew threw all three books in three days. i could not put them down – i just HAD TO KNOW what was going to happen next – the storytelling is riveting (for the most part – some parts i felt were filler, but then i had to remember these weren’t written for a surly 27 year old – they were written for a bright-eyed teenager)

next up, the geography of bliss.

hello out there!

i made these for my friend nathalie’s birthday at the beginning of october and totally forgot to post this picture i took of them. they were as delicious as they look, trust me. this is one of my all-time favorite cupcake recipes. i’d highly advise you trying it out.

i hit the mother of all sales at urban outfitters last week. the sale racks were actually FULL of decent stuff (rare, i know). i got 2 dresses and a sweater for $19. the dresses are going to be perfect for vietnam in january. and this sweater is one of the comfiest articles of clothing i now own (that is not pajamas).

once summer ended, i needed to retire my yellow and white striped purse. i wear so much black at my job that i wanted i new fall/winter purse to replace my black one – i stumbled upon this one at forever 21 and thought it was perfect. muted enough for winter, but still bright enough to keep in rotation once summer rolls around again, if i want.

aaaaand. here is pineapple all partied out from a doggy halloween party that the mister took him to on saturday. the cutest puppy bee there ever was.

i decided to take tomorrow off work – just as a doing whatever i want day and i can’t wait. i have plans to make chicken noodle soup from scratch (even the noodles!) and my friend mike and i are going to the walker to check out the alec soth exhibit. stay tuned!