Wednesday, 30 May 2012

DIY Cake Stands

These are things that I've always wanted but never could justify spending so much money for. Then I saw a post on Pinterest the other day and it was a cake stand made out of flower pots and base. Although I didn't want to make one out of flower pots per se, I realized that I could make it out of something.



I went to the dollar store and picked out a few things. Best 10 dollars I've ever spent. 


I wiped all the surfaces with rubbing alcohol then applied a thin layer of the super glue. After placing on the bottom/base, I weighed it down with books and left it alone for a few hours.


I mean, it's not the best, I know. But with what I had I think I did pretty well. At least I'll have something cute and presentable to serve my cakes on.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Lemon Bars


These are dangerously addictive but I suggest that you make them anyway. The recipe is written for a 9-by-13 inch pan and yield about 40 triangular bars. The batch was gone in one day. Thank god I wasn't the one that ate most of them, but nevertheless I had my fair share.

These lemon bars have a shortbread crust that perfectly balances the sweet and tangy filling. There are moments where I pause and wonder if the bars are too tart, but then I look down at the empty plates and am reassured. I brought several pieces to work with me and the rest I left on the counter at home, all of which were gone by the end of the day. Nothing else makes me happier.

I had a break down just now when I randomly decided to calculate the calories in this thing. I did not know that there was 1628 calories in half a lb of butter...and to think that I went through 4 lbs of them last week. I've thought about turning this blog into a nutritious one, but that thought never stayed in my head for more than 2 seconds. I bake with so much butter and sugar that there's just no way I'm going to survive with substitutes.

Anyway, 1 cup of sugar is 774 calories and 1 cup of flour is 445 calories. After adding everything up, I was at a whopping 5949. Then I divided it by 40 (the number of squares this recipe yield) and it was at a less heart-stopping 148.7 per square. I guess that's not too bad.

I don't want to turn you off or anything...Just putting up a warning sign. I still highly encourage you to try this recipe but just feed it to your friends. You'll get a ton of compliments as long as you don't tell them about the calories.




Monday, 28 May 2012

Mountain Dew Cupcakes

The idea for these cupcakes came from "Mountain Dew and Dorito Cupcakes" that someone had posted on my Facebook wall. I didn't like the idea of eating Doritos off my cupcake so I left that part out. I also cheated and left out the main ingredient : Mountain Dew. I didn't think having soda pop in my frosting will do much for the flavour. Mountain Dew is basically a lime and lemon flavoured drink with bubbles. Since I was going to lose the carbonation anyway, I might as well just substitute the whole thing with lemon and lime juice.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Brunch



This is really a feast of all the things you love about brunch...or at least, all the things that I love about it. The process took 2 hours and the combined effort from Andi and I, and it was gone from my plate in seconds.

I worked on the eggs Benedict while Andi cooked the bacon and sliced up the ham and cheese. The hardest part about the eggs Benedict is the hollandaise sauce. I used a recipe from Tyler Florence but it turned out way to thick. I thinned it out with hot water right before serving and it was pretty good.

I was going to skip the instructions for the eggs benedict and move on to the sauce, but then I realized that there might be a need to explain what a Eggs Benedict is. It's basically a English muffin base topped with a piece of protein, an egg, and hollandaise sauce. The most classic version is with ham and a poached egg, but I've seen it done with salmon, bacon, and all sorts of different stuff.


Eggs Benedict:
2 english muffins
4 poached eggs
4 pieces of ham
hollandaise sauce

Hollandaise sauce:
2 egg yolks
1/2 stick of butter (1/4 cup)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of cayenne

Melt the butter in the microwave and slowly whisk into the egg yolks. To make it easier, put a ring of towel under the bowl and pour with one hand while whisking with the other. When all the butter is in, you can add the rest of the ingredients and adjust the seasoning.

Toast the English muffins and set them on the plate. Top each with a piece of ham and a poached egg. Drizzle over the hollandaise sauce.




Moving on to the crepes. I used Alton Brown's recipe here but noticed that it was a little on the thick side and thinned it out with a little bit more milk. Ladle some into a large pan and swirl it so that the batter covers the entire pan. When it looks cooked, flip it over to lightly brown the other side. Andi finished it off by rolling it up with cheese and ham.



The potatoes were my favorite. I wasn't expecting it but it turned out super crispy. I microwaved the potatoes for 10 minutes then cut them into cubes. I heated a large pan with half an inch of oil and fried it. I left the skin on so maybe that's why it crisped up so nicely. 




Friday, 25 May 2012

Mango and Strawberry Sangria


This is the ultimate sangria and I don't think I can use enough fancy words to do it justice. I've had my fair share of sangria, ranging from homemade to those from Mexico and Spain. This is, by far, the best one I've ever had. The ingredients are extremely simple and I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me to make it this way earlier. If you are not a fan of sangria, try this and it will probably change your mind.


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread


I woke up yesterday staring at the 3 over ripe bananas that have been sitting in the cabinet for almost 2 weeks. I thought to myself that If I was ever going to get on that banana bread recipe, it might as well be now. My mornings are getting better and better, and for the first time since I have started baking, it was therapeutic.

A week ago I started waking up in panic and then the panic turned into depression. I think I've finally started to realize what it feels like to be single and I wasn't used to it. For the past 2 years and a bit I thought I was an introvert. I spent most of my time with Chris so I adored the little time that I had alone. I realized now that that's not the case. Without "that" person constantly there, I needed people, girlfriends, to keep me company. A couple of us also got together for brunch yesterday but that will be a different post.


 I washed dishes while I waited for the bread to bake. I remember thinking that if this is what being single is like, then it isn't too bad after all. But maybe because it was the morning and it was sunny. I'm always in a good mood when it's sunny outside.

Anyway, I was happy with how the banana bread turned out. I had added a a tbsp of instant coffee to the batter and wasn't sure what it would do. Why instant coffee? I'm not exactly sure. Maybe because I love coffee, or because I was going to add chocolate into the batter and coffee brings out more flavour, or maybe because at that point in time I craved caffeine in my system.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Monster Burgers- Stuffed With Cheddar and Wrapped With Bacon


This is probably the most outrageous thing I've ever made and I'm sure glad I did. I stumbled upon this idea on Pinterest and it was the day before a BBQ get-together with a group of friends...what perfect timing! Somehow, when you combine all the fattiest things in the food category, you will end up with something disgustingly delicious, and will have all the boys cheering for you.

Three of us girls got together in the morning and made a bunch of them. We couldn't stop saying "Oh..my ..god" during the entire process. They were humongous and I can bet a lot of money that each one of them is over 1000 calories. Sorry to those that are looking for a slimming recipes, not going to happen here.


So the idea is that you stuff the cheese in the center and then wrap the whole thing with bacon so it doesn't fall apart. The one I saw online requires a little mold to help shape the patty. I didn't have one so I just flattened the patty, placed the cheese in the middle, pulled up the meat from the sides to close it. I had to use extra meat on top to close because I never started with the right portion.


I'm pretty sure we've impressed all the boys at the BBQ and we truly believed that we would get marriage proposals. It didn't happen. But to be fair, it must have been pretty close. Anyways, I think it would be a great dinner idea to make for any man and they will be impressed... and maybe fall in love with you. You never know until you try! 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Breakfast Pizza


This one really lived up to it's name because it was actually made at 8am in the morning. I should start keeping pizza dough in the fridge from now on, it's incredibly convenient. The whole thing took about 30 minutes to make...Okay maybe that's a little too much time to devote to breakfast but I was doing other stuff while it was in the oven.

Also, I got a new camera, as you can probably tell from my last post! I still don't know how to use it well so I haven't gotten a good picture yet. Still working on it. The pictures from this morning turned out way better, but that can only be determined by "Foodgawker".

Anyway, all I put on the pizza was marinara sauce, cheese, sausage, and eggs. In my opinion, that's all that is required to make a pizza taste good. I added some more herbs after just because they've been sitting in my pot and needs to be eaten.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Margherita Pizza

I'm all about adding as many ingredients into a dish as possible. As long as the ingredients are complementary, the dish is only gonna taste better. But! when it comes to pizza, I'm a minimalist. My rules for making pizza: use quality ingredients and use just a couple of them.

I'm in Toronto for the weekend and I can stay at Anna's boyfriend's place under the condition that I make dinner. That sounded like a pretty good deal to me. We made pizza and it was delicious because I used water packed mozzarella and fresh basil. I'm still trying to figure out if 8 dollars for a piece of mozzarella was really worth it. If there is a cheaper way of getting them then I would be making pizza everyday. The basil is from my herb garden that I had planted about a month ago. They are still babies but they were the best!



I made two kinds of pizza last night, a Margherita pizza and a sausage and cheese pizza. Obviously Mike loved the sausage pizza and ate a chunk of it before I could get a picture. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

Bear Cake



This is my first "official" post since school's over, since I started my internship working 9-5, and since I ended my 3-year relationship. I'm still in the process of finding a new camera but for the time being, I'm borrowing one from a friend.

This cake was SO last minute. I was marking exams when Tyler told me that it was Jordon's birthday. Obviously I had to make a cake. Jordon is a big, big guy so Tyler suggested making a bear cake just to be funny. Another frustrating baking event because I had no idea what I was doing, and had to figure it out along the way.



I left all my baking stuff in Toronto so I had to improvise. First mistake, baking a HUGE cake in a 9 by 13 inch pan. The outside was almost crispy and the middle was still in liquid form. I think the cake took something like 90 minutes to bake I'm extremely impatient.