Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Birthday/Valentine’s! Have some Brownies!

This post is dedicated to my friends Bree and Andrew who just happen to share a birthday and on a special day, no less!Happy Birthday

It is Valentine’s Day… Not my favorite “holiday” though I am assured by all the “marrieds” in my life that this will change when I finally find that special someone to buy me great things on this day. Just kidding, seriously I am constantly told that my opinion will change when I am no longer a “single” and have someone to share the special meaning of the day with. Until then I am perfectly content to loathe it.valentine'sday (Not my friend’s birthdays but Valentine’s Day in general.) For me this day is rife with the constant covert but yet somehow in your face competitiveness between women… Who gets the prettiest flowers, or who received the most romantic gesture from their partner? To me, romantic gestures, sweet words, or beautiful flowers would mean more on any other day of the year not just the day that is dictated by tradition and a successful marketing campaign developed by Hallmark. pink flowersI have never been a fan of the sympathetic looks or remarks when people ask what my “Valentine” is doing for me… I have only twice had a boyfriend on this day, once in High School and once three years ago. Both ironically enough turned out to be less than amazing at relationships or Valentines.

Though I am a HUGE fan of birthdays! It is like having your own personal holiday. No matter where you are or what you are doing it is your day, permanently. No one can take your birthday from you, just like they cannot take your name. There are few things in life that cannot be taken from us and I think more and more we should celebrate those things.

So as requested by Bree I “cooked” her up something special, and as a special nod to the holiday it is CHOCOLATY! chocolateI am not the biggest fan of chocolate myself; I really have to be in the mood for it. (I know I should hand in my girl card now…) The few recipes I have involving chocolate are amazing though! The one you will find below I did not actually prepare today as it is NOT diet food, and I have spent most of the day finishing a paper for my Composition class. However I assure you it is delicious and has been a big fudgy hit in my household many times. Serve it warm with a big scoop of Vanilla ice cream and maybe some whipped cream and I guarantee people will melt!

Simple Ooey Gooey Fudgy Browniesbrownies


· 1 cup butter (2 sticks)

· 6 squares of unsweetened chocolate

· 4 eggs

· 2 cups sugar

· 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract

· ½ cup All Purpose Flour

· 1 cup semisweet morsels

How To:take a bite

1. Pre heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Melt butter and unsweetened chocolate together in a sauce pan

3. In large bowl beat eggs

4. Blend in sugar and add chocolate/butter mix

5. Stir in Flour and Chocolate chips

6. Pour in greased 8 inch pan

7. Bake 45-55 minutes

8. Allow to cool (at least a bit, because they are like molten lava when they come out!) ShabbyBlogsTruffles

Easiest brownies in the world! Enjoy! Be creative! I think you could even melt the chocolate chips with the butter and unsweetened chocolate for an even fudgier brownie! Play with it! And take some pictures so I can see how they turned out! Let me know how your Valentines or birthdays were! Lots of love and warm wishes to all my readers! Happy Valentine’s Day!

bee mine

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Spring is coming and bringing Lemon Ricotta Cake!

What is likely the last snow of the season here in Charlotte fell overnight last night. Merely a dusting here in my area, but enough to make it soft and pretty for a small time until the sun chased it all away. The promise of spring is starting to pop up everywhere. My neighborhood has a flock of Canadian geese that spend spring and fall with us geeses They roost and raise their chicks every year. It is fascinating to watch them return every year and bear witness to their cycle of life. A few years ago a gosling was born missing one of his little webbed feet; he had the leg just no foot. I was saddened because I knew this was likely one that wouldn’t make it and probably would not be chosen as a mate if he did. The next spring he returned with a mate and for several years now has returned and helps raise a whole new brood of goslings.goslings It really is heartwarming! Without that missing little foot, I may never have given a second thought to the fact that it is the same flock of geese each year. Life really is a miraculous succession of events if you look for it.

The recipe I am giving you this week is decidedly NOT a diet food. I give this as a sort of peace offering begging your pardons for being busy with my school work and not getting enough blog posts out! This recipe could easily be converted to a diet recipe and I will tell you at the end how and how many points that would make it. I make no apologies for using real butter and sugar now and then; we have gone over that in the past. Real ingredients cannot hurt you when you eat them now and then! This recipe also gives you the opportunity to use your spring form pan or your Bundt cake pan, which I always find fun!

Lemon Ricotta CakeLemon Ricotta Cake-1


· ¾ cup softened butter

· ¾ cup sugar

· Lemon zest (How much you want depends on how lemony you really want this! I use about a tablespoon worth of lemon zest.)

· Juice from one Lemon

· 3 Large or extra-large eggs, separate the yolks from the whites

· 1 cup Ricotta Cheese

· ½ cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

· 2 teaspoons baking powder

· Dash of salt

How to Make:

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray your spring form or Bundt cake pan, would also work with a regular cake pan, with some Pam type spray. Wipe out any excess; you just want a light coating.

2. Beat together the butter and sugar until you have a light and fluffy looking mix.Creamed butter and sugar

3. Add your lemon zest, lemon juice, yolks, and the ricotta cheese; beat until smooth.Add Ricotta, and Egg Yolks

4. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat until just mixed. Be careful not to over mix.

5. Wash the beaters really well or use different beaters and beat the egg whites until stiff, like making a meringue. Very gently (GENTLY) fold the egg whites into the batter using a spatula.Adding Egg Whites

6. Pour the batter into your cake pan of choice.

7. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the edges are just browned and a fork or cake tester stuck into the center comes out clean.

8. Allow to cool before serving.

I served with this cake topped with a mix of blueberries, a couple packets of Splenda, and about a tablespoon of Fat Free half and half mixed together. Though any fruit would be an excellent topping! Or just plain! This cake is elegant and remarkably simple. This time of year Florida strawberries are in season, the first big mark of the coming season in my humble opinion, and would go great on top of this cake! Makes about eight servings depending on how you cut your slices.Blueberry Topping

To lower the fat content in this cake you could use Fat Free or Reduced Fat Ricotta, replace the butter for a butter substitute, and Splenda instead of sugar. Cut into eight servings it makes it a 7 point dessert on the Weight Watchers Points Plus plan. (A bit heavy points wise, but well worth the indulgence.)detail of lemon ricotta cake

Please enjoy! Play with the recipe and let me know what you do with it! I love feedback!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Just an Update because I miss Y’all!

I have come to the determination that preparing diet food is not really my forte. Though I am trying, I scour my lovely new it isn't working... I love my kitchen too muchcookbooks from Weight Watchers and Hungry Girl. I find I have no real natural talent for interpreting my recipes into healthier versions. Practice makes perfect however and I am certainly doing a lot of practicing.

The other day I decided I would make us this recipe I had for “Red Velvet Cupcakes” straight out of one of these “diet cookbooks”. I was highly skeptical of diet cupcakes but went ahead and tried it. The red part of any red velvet cake/cupcake is usually made up of a lot of red food coloring. In this recipe it was done with pureed beets.beet Let it be known I love a good pickled beet now and then. However, I had never dealt directly with plain canned beets before. Please allow me to just say I am very glad I am not Russian and borsht is not part of my menu. I found these canned beets to be smelly and unappetizing. I kept on with the recipe thinking that surely the cocoa powder and all the other ingredients would cover the beet smell. Let me just say as most of the country was covered in Snowpocalypse 2011… I was left with these beet atrocities. What came out of the oven looked like a cupcake, but was no cupcake… more a frosted beet muffin.Chocolate Beet Cupcake They even tasted of beet, chocolate and beet isn’t the greatest combination. It truly was one of the nastiest things I have ever made. EVER. That includes the “pickle sauce” I made in the fourth grade; which was this green, dill scented uh… sauce and I can assure you was perfectly disgusting. Pickles

I can report that I managed to make it through my second term with a 4.0, even the dreaded, evil, math class. The new term has started and I am taking my first junior level class. So far I am a bit overwhelmed (especially with my desire to write this blog and actually keep up with it). I have joined the gym and I am working out more; I started going everyday but the ugly ballet injury I had as a young girl has complicated this. So I am going to start going every other day until I get that knee used to the when you search angry pictures of Mel Gibson pop up... hmmm....idea of working out regularly. Quitting smoking is still an ongoing project. Though I can say I have not had any at all today and I do not currently have a pack so… Sadly I am not a pleasant person to be around. I am told this will pass.

Currently I am working on getting settled into my classes and Itextbooks have an ongoing project of getting a post out on the care and keeping of Cast Iron pans. Many people do not realize the importance of treating them correctly. Please bear with me and I promise I will get it out to you! I love all of you! The support I have received has been awesome! Please keep an eye out for all my new advertisers! Williams Sonoma! I have hit the big time, just kidding but they are my happy place and now I get to feature them on my page!

Do any of you have favorite “diet type recipes”? Please feel free to share! As always keep cooking and keep being creative!