Friday, May 31, 2013

8th Anniversary Cake

The Husband and I recently celebrated our eighth anniversary, and I wanted to make it special. I bought a nice bottle of wine and made stuffed shells for dinner, and for dessert I made a cake that was inspired by the Peanut Butter Crunch Cake from PF Chang's. I have no idea what they use to get the crunchy part for their cake (a server told me it was peanut butter wafers but in my test cake this resulted in a very soggy filling), so I had to improvise and use Heath candy bars to get a good crunchy layer. This cake is good. Like, REALLY good. It's very rich and decadent, and is perfect for a special occasion! I hope you will love it just as much as we did!

8th Anniversary Brownie Peanut Butter Cake

Brownie Cake ingredients:
1 cup butter
4 oz chocolate
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
¼ - ½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda

Melt butter and chocolate together. Stir together remaining ingredients, then mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Spread into two 8” round cake pans, and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (test with a toothpick to make sure it's done). Allow to cool completely.

Frosting for the brownie layers:
3 tbsp butter
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter, mix in remaining ingredients and spread over each brownie cake layer.

Filling Ingredients:
¾ cup peanut butter
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
3 Heath bars
½ -1 cup whip cream (homemade, preferably)
Caramel sauce

Put heavy cream in mixer and mix until stiff peaks form. Add the cream cheese and peanut butter and mix. Smash the Heath bars into small pieces and mix into filling mixture. Spread half on top of the first brownie layer. Spread as much caramel sauce as you want on the top of the filling, then place the other brownie cake layer on top. Spread with the remaining half of the filling mixture, and put more caramel sauce on top of this.

Glaze to spread on top:
3⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 to 6 teaspoons milk

Mix ingredients together and pour over the cake, allowing some to spread down the sides. Add crushed peanuts to the top and sides as well, if desired. Serve with whipped cream.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's been awhile...

I know back in August I said I was just going to take a short break, and that I'd come back with all sorts of new recipes to blog about. Well...that didn't exactly happen. I've had some personal things come up in the last few months, and because of those things I haven't even touched my camera since September. I have been making a few new recipes here and there, but mostly I've just been making repeats. Boring, but true.

At some point I hope to come back to this blog, but right now my heart just isn't in it. I've rounded up a few great blogs that I enjoy reading, and since I'm not posting right now you should check these out instead!

Iowa Girl Eats - she makes the most amazing meals!
Kath Eats - a dietitian with a passion for good food
Annie's Eats - her recipes have never failed me and they're always delicious!
PreventionRD - she puts a healthy spin on tasty recipes!
SwankyDietitian - a dietitian/foodie living in Vegas!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Taking a break

I've finally run out of new recipes to post, and I'm thinking I need to take a break from blogging for awhile. It's the summer and I'm sure you all want to be outside playing in the sun, not sitting on your computer reading my blog, right? :P

Hopefully I'll be back with new recipes to talk about in a couple months!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chocolate Swirl Buns

This recipe is incredible. I'm ashamed to say that these disappeared very quickly in our house - had to spend some serious time on the elliptical to burn these off! If you haven't checked out the Smitten Kitchen blog yet, you should - her pictures are amazing and so are her recipes! I did have a little trouble getting the dough to rise, but after putting the dough in a slightly warmed oven it did eventually rise and I was able to make these incredible buns!
Chocolate Swirl Buns
from Smitten Kitchen


1/2 cup milk, preferably whole but I used almond milk
1/4 cup plus a pinch of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 large egg, brought to room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus additional for bowl and muffin tins

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips)
Pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Prepare dough: Warm milk and a pinch of sugar to between 110 to 116°F. Sprinkle yeast over milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and remaining 1/4 cup sugar, then slowly whisk in yeast mixture.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Run mixer on low and add egg mixture, mixing until combined. Add butter and mix until incorporated. Switch mixer to dough hook and let it knead the dough for 10 minutes on low speed.
Butter a large bowl and place dough in it. Cover loosely with a lint-free towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.

Meanwhile, prepare filling: If your chocolate is in large bars, roughly chop it. Then, you can let a food processor do the rest of the work, pulsing the chopped chocolate with the salt, sugar, and cinnamon (if using) until the chocolate is very finely chopped with some parts almost powdery. Add butter and pulse machine until it’s distributed throughout the chocolate. Set mixture aside and generously butter a standard 12-muffin tin.
Form buns: Once dough is doubled, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and gently deflate it with floured hands.

Let it rest for another 5 minutes. Once rested, roll dough into a large rectangle. The short sides should be a scant 11 to 12 inches. The other side can be as long as you can roll it.

 Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough's surface.
Tightly roll the dough back over the filling from one short end to the other, forming a 12-inch log. With a sharp serrated knife, gently saw 1-inch segments off the log and place each in a prepared muffin cup. Loosely cover buns with plastic wrap or a lint-free towel and let them rise for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F.

Bake buns for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and brown. Let cool completely before serving. Enjoy!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Not your usual mac 'n cheese

I like to make healthier versions of old favorites, and I thought this recipe sounded interesting. It was good, but it was nothing like real macaroni and cheese. I might make this again, but I kind of doubt it. If you love quinoa, give this a try. Just don't expect it to taste like your old favorite.

Quinoa Mac 'N Cheese
from Monica Nelson Fitness

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 med. leek white and pale green parts halved and sliced (1 cup)-OR chives are fine too
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato, or red/green pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of water (or stock)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup soy milk, non-fat milk, or milk of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling
  • Optional- Crushed Red Pepper, Panko Bread crumbs for topping
  • Toppings (optional)- salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, scallions (you get the picture)

Heat oil in med. saucepan over med. heat. Add leek and tomatoes. Cover and cook 5 mins or until tender. Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook, uncovered, 3-4 mins, or until grains start to turn opaque.
Add 3 cups water (or stock) and season with salt. Cover and reduce heat to med-low and simmer 15-20 mins or more, until most liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 5 mins.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13x9 inch dish with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese (if you feel you need more cheese, add here.) Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt.

Transfer to prepared baking dish and if using Panko Crumbs or Bread crumbs, add now. Bake 25-35 mins, (or until browned around edges.) Now you can toss with your toppings. Enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Another one pot wonder!

I love one-pot meals (my dishwasher recently broke and meals like these were life-savers). This dish comes together in a snap and is healthy, too! I've been looking around for quick and easy weeknight meals and most of them incorporate processed ingredients, which I would prefer to avoid. Luckily this meal is full of the good stuff, including lots of veggies (you can add whatever veggies you have on hand, this dish is pretty versatile). I did leave out the anchovies just because I didn't have them, but next time I make this I plan on putting them in.

Pasta Puttanesca
from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped onion (white or red)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (or 2 minced anchovies), optional
  • salt & pepper
  • 28oz can good quality petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups water
  • 12oz dry rotini pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley + more for garnish, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons capers

  • Heat oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, red chili pepper flakes, and anchovy paste. Season with salt and pepper then saute until onions soften, about 4 minutes.
  • Add petite diced tomatoes, water, pasta, and salt, then bring the liquid to a boil. Place a lid on top of the skillet then keep the pasta at medium-high heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring often, or until pasta is al dente. Do not overcook, and do not worry if there is extra liquid still in the skillet.
  • Turn the heat off, add the olives, parsley, and capers to the skillet then stir to combine. Serve topped with freshly chopped parsley.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Like a volcano

Our anniversary was back in May, and I cooked a special meal to celebrate. We had pork tenderloin with baby potatoes and a fresh salad. For dessert I wanted to make something really special but relatively easy, so I settled on Molten Lava Cakes. These little cakes are decadent and will make any event feel extra special. I cooked them a tad too long so they weren't as "molten-y" as I would have liked, but they were still delicious. Next time I'll only cook them for 10 minutes. I also doubled this recipe and in my ramekins it only made 3, so definitely double or triple the recipe if you want more servings.

Molten Lava Cakes
from A Couple Cooks

2 8-ounce ramekins (or 4 5-ounce ramekins)
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil (or substitute 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature)

Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour, 3 tablespoons regular flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3 tablespoon cocoa powder. Then whisk in 1/4 cup milk, 1/3 cup honey, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon oil. Whisk until smooth
Liberally grease the inside of the ramekins with oil or butter, especially the bottoms. Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins.
Bake the ramekins until just hardened on top, but still liquid in the center – between 12 to 15 minutes for larger ramekins, and around 10 minutes for smaller ramekins. When you remove the ramekins from the oven, let them cool for a bit, then run a knife around the edge and carefully invert them onto a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.