Quick ‘n Easy Summer Smoothies

I know it’s the end of summer but gosh was it HOT today! It was the perfect day to blend some strawberry banana smoothies. Here’s a quick way to quench your thirst! You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of sliced frozen strawberries (I slice and freeze mine at least a day before or you can pick up a bag in your frozen food section)
  • 2 bananas (sliced in thirds)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Toss everything in a blender and blend away. We get 2 full glasses from this batch. Enjoy!DAWN - WIN_20140831_190135

 

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Yummy Treats for Work

It’s been a crazy first quarter at work and I finally got around to baking some treats for my team using my BRAND NEW KitchenAid! Wow, I didn’t know what I was missing out on without one. 😀 I was craving chocolate and browsed my Pinterest Board and found a recipe with my favorite sweet combo—chocolate and hazelnet. You have got to try this Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Bars recipe—everyone loved them! Thanks to Maria!

Brown butter chocolate chip hazelnut cookies

Instead of using a pan, I pulled out my Wilton Brownie pan that my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas last year. It worked great! If you use something similar, make sure to reduce the baking time, I left mine in for about 17 minutes instead of the 25-30 min the recipe calls for and they turned out perfect. I took them out of the pan right away and let them cool on a rack. Be sure to spray that pan thoroughly!

Wilton Brownie pan

Also, let me tell you, this was the first time I have ever browned butter and OH-EM-GEE! It smelled SO good! I also loved the taste of the sea salt on the cookies. I will definitely make these again. Since I am a big fan of hazelnut, I will probably do 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1 cup of chopped hazelnuts next time. I used Chiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips but I would love to make a dark chocolate version. These tasted great right out of the oven too.

Enjoy!

Rockstar Birthday Cupcake Picks

I love making my own cupcake toppers for special events and parties. Since this little girl loves guitars and singing in her own pretend rock band, I personalized the toppers with pink and black guitars, microphones, and stars. I used pink-colored toothpicks and taped one design to the toothpick and then took the reversed design and glued it to the other piece. I also used giftwrap tissue paper to make fringe. Always save yor tissue paper! They can be used in so many projects. To glam up the cupcakes, I used silver liners and put silver crystal sprinkles along the edge of the cupcake. Pearlized silver jimmies also work great.

rockstarcupcakes1

Creative Handmade/Homemade Gifts

The holiday season is such a fun time in our department. Check out the handmade/homemade gifts by my talented and creative coworkers!

Monogram ornament from MK

MK made these monogram ornaments for everyone in our department!

Monogram coaster by Cynde

Cynde made monogram coasters for everyone. She even selected the fabric based on our office/cubicle decor!

Hand-drawn Christmas Card from Kristin

Hand-drawn Christmas Card from Kristin-I had to take a double take at this beautiful card because I almost thought it was printed!

Homemade granola from Dana

Homemade granola from Dana

Cheesy Potato Casserole

cheesypotatoes

It’s funny when you work with technical people, the utter of the word, “potluck”, let’s out a massive sigh and you end up with a table of groceries from Ralph’s. But when you work with creative people, it’s an event!

Casseroles are great for potlucks. One of my coworker’s, Gwen, made this dish years ago and I have adopted it as a regular on my menu for Thanksgiving and breakfast potlucks. In fact, every year starting in early October, my nephew never fails to remind me that I HAVE to bake this Cheesy Potato Casserole for Thanksgiving; he loves the corn flakes on top! You know it’s delish when your coworkers ask you for the recipe. There are a lot of variations on the internet. I had originally taken one that used frozen hashbrowns and modified it for fresh potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 8 medium-size potatoes
  • 1 can (10.75 ounce) of condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can (10.75 ounce) of condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 8-oz bag of shredded cheese (I like to use cheddar or a monterrey/cheddar mix)
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 2 cups cornflakes cereal
  • 1/2 cup melted margarine or unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper

Directions:

  1. Peel potatoes and cut in halves.
  2. Place in boiling water and boil for about 20-25 minutes. Make sure potatoes are not too soft.
  3. Drain and refrigerate potatoes.
  4. Once cool, slice potatoes and set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  6. In a large bowl mix together chicken soup, mushroom soup, diced onions, cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper. the frozen hash browns, onion, cheddar cheese, sour cream and salt.
  7. Stir in half of the potatoes gently. Once mixed well, stir in the rest of the potatoes.
  8. Transfer to a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish or two 9 x9 dishes.
  9. Melt the margarine and stir in the cornflakes. Pour over the top of the potato mix.
  10. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 30-40 minutes. Let stand about 15 minutes before serving.

Samosas

I was having a busy day at work and had to stop by our on-campus deli for a quick lunch. It was just taken over by the local popular Indian restaurant, 8Elements. As I browsed the menu, my eyes immediately lit up at the word — samosas! These samosas were so good, I was inspired to make my own! I found an easy recipe on RasaMalaysia.com that featured a guest post from Prerna of IndianSimmer.com. Since I made these on the spur of the moment, I was missing a few ingredients and made some substitutions but they still turned out tasty!

samosas

Try these substitutions if you don’t have the ingredients handy…

For the pastry:

  • 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp semolina
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ ajwain seeds (optional) <-omitted
  • A little over 2/3 cups of water

For the filling:

  • 2 medium sized potatoes (I use Yukon gold) I used 3 1/2 Russett potatoes
  • ½ cup sweet green peas
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds <- 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp minced green chili <-I used 4 minced green chili peppers
  • 1 tsp turmeric <-I used about 2 tsp curry powder (which included salt, turmeric, coriander, cumin, red pepper)
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander powder (optional) <-omitted

For recipe, photos, and instructions, visit RasaMalaysia.com.

Piggy moon cakes

Which one to eat!

Which one to eat!

So cute!

So cute!

Ready to go in the oven!

Ready to go in the oven!

Here’s my first attempt at making piggy moon cakes.  The filling is made from dried lotus seeds and the eyes are red beans.  The recipe was simple to follow but took some time  to shape the piggy’s nose and ears.  They were a big hit at Thanksgiving.  I will definitely make this again!  The recipe is courtesy of Run Away Rice.  It even includes a video with step by step instructions.

Pizza Making

Today I attended a pizza making class at Great News Cookware and Cooking School. We had a lot of fun and we found that making the pizza dough was actually really easy.

To make the dough, we mixed yeast, water, and sugar and let it sit for 5 minutes, then added evov. In another bowl, we combined all-purpose flour, granulated sugar and salt. After that, we put the liquid ingredient mix in and kneaded the dough. It was THAT simple! Take a look at my creations below 🙂 I had my friend Gabe snap these before and after baking.

pizza

Before

After

After

 We will definitely sign up for another class at Great News!

Chinese Pork Dumplings

If you’re looking for an easy recipe for Chinese Pork dumplings, you’ve come to the right place! The girls had a cultural project at school and wanted to share some good eats from the Chinese culture. We had fun making them and they learned how to make dumplings from scratch. The class loved them. Their classmates were even asking for more later in the week!

Take a look at these beauties!

Chinese Pork Dumpling-beforeChinese Pork Dumpling-after

Here’s the recipe I used from allrecipes.com:

Ingredients
Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped Chinese
chives
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce (such as
Sriracha®)
Dumplings:
1 pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons finely chopped Chinese
chives
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
50 dumpling wrappers
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
1 quart water, or more as needed
Directions:
1. Combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon chives, sesame seeds, and chile sauce in a small bowl. Set aside. (This is the dipping sauce)
2. Mix pork, garlic, egg, 2 tablespoons chives, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Place a dumpling wrapper on a lightly floured work surface and spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle. Wet the edge with a little water and crimp together forming small pleats to seal the dumpling. Repeat with remaining dumpling wrappers and filling.
3. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place 8 to 10 dumplings in the pan and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Pour in 1 cup of water, cover and cook until the dumplings are tender and the pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Repeat for remaining dumplings. Serve with soy sauce mixture for dipping.

Some helpful tips I discovered using this recipe:

  • It was definitely easier to boil first then fry. Plus, I like that crispy wrapper on the outside. I had two pans side by side so that I could transfer the dumplings to the frying pan after boiling them.
  • The ingredients displayed don’t indicate which are for the dipping sauce and which are for the pork filling. They are actually listed in order; the dipping sauce is first.
  • The dipping sauce was not too spicy, which was perfect for me and the kids. Just add a little more sriracha if you like that extra spice.
  • The recipe actually only made about 40 dumplings and I used less than 1 tablespoon of filling.
  • We used a fork and pressed the edges of the dumpling to seal the meat in and to make it look pretty before frying.
  • I couldn’t find sesame seeds so I excluded this from the dipping sauce and it turned out fine.
  • I used regular vegetable oil instead of sesame oil and it worked great.

That’s it for now, be sure to follow my Good Eats pinterest board!

Thank you to Mish, Vi, and Vi2 for your help 🙂