Archive for the ‘homemade’ Category

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Taco Seasoning

Most store bought taco seasonings have extra ingredients and preservatives (such as Ethoxyquin) that seem silly once you realize how quick and easy it is to whip up your own in a matter of minutes.

This recipe is good for about 2 pounds of meat. A package you buy at the store contains about  2 tablespoons so use those equivalents when you’re using your homemade seasoning (1 lb. = 2 tablespoons seasoning). || Read more

posted by on guilty pleasure, Holidays, homemade

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Peanut Butter Balls via Flickr

…unless you have no oven. This year, I thought I would share a friend’s recipe for no bake peanut butter balls that she made for a Christmas dinner she hosted over the weekend.

Me and my college friend Abby at Ohana Christmas Dinner

Me and my college friend Abby at Ohana Christmas Dinner

Definitely looking forward to making these just as soon as I get a real kitchen back in my life.  **I do not have the fridge/freezer/counter space to make these but I wanted to share anyway!** || Read more

Chile Verde

Jul
2013
22

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Chile Verde - Roasted Peppers

I am so excited to have another post from one of my favorite people! Diana is back with her recipe for Chile Verde. 

|| Read more

posted by on healthy, homemade, quick

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No Bake Granola Bar

I hunted this down from my friend Lily on Instagram and she was kind enough to share with us. Check out her guest post + recipe for these no bake goodies. I know I can’t wait to try this recipe!  || Read more

Valentine’s Day

Feb
2013
14

posted by on baking, Holidays, homemade

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A year ago today I posted this recipe I had found on Pinterest so I thought I’d repost and share it with you. I didn’t have time to this year to pull out my collection of cookie cutters and make another batch. It’s been a rough week losing someone who was very close to us so I guess I’d rather take this time to spend with the people who I’m fortunate to still have in this short life. Don’t worry. There may not be any cookies, but there will be lots of red wine in our friend’s honor!

original post from Feb. 14, 2012 ————————–
I love Valentine’s Day! I found this cutout sugar cookie recipe on Pinterest and was anxious to try it. The ingredients list is short and you only need one bowl.

My almond cranberry glaze recipe below happened by accident but I’m happy with the results. You can switch out the almond for whatever flavoring you want or just add vanilla extract and food coloring. *The corn syrup adds that shiny look and sets up the glaze nicely so the cookies can be stacked when storing.*

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1½ sticks salted butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in bowl.
  3. Roll out to about ½ inch thickness.
  4. Cut with flour coated cookie cutters.
  5. Brush off excess flour & place on parchment covered baking sheets.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes & cool  on wire rack.

——————————-
Almond Cranberry Glaze

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-4 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 4-5 frozen cranberries
  1. In a coffee mug, microwave the cranberries just until soft (about 30 seconds).
  2. Mix all other ingredients in a small bowl until you have a spreadable consistency.
  3. Add the softened cranberries – mash with a fork to make them bleed into the icing and mix really well.
  4. Remove any big pieces of cranberry from the glaze and throw away.
  5. Dip the sugar cookies face down into the glaze and slowly lift up letting the extra glaze drip off.
  6. Let the glaze fully dry on wax paper.

posted by on baking, Colorado, Denver, high altitude, homemade, Phoenix, Q&A

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Questions & Curiosities logo

This is the first part of a small series I’m starting. I want this to open up conversation with people I’ve met along the way who inspire me, share similar interests (like Valerie below) or just have a great story to tell or recipe to share.  If you know of someone with a great story or want to have a chat with me, let me know! I’d love to do a post with you. Email me, Facebook, Twitter… ya’ll know how to reach me by now, don’t you? Let me know what you think! 

Valerie, I “met” you somehow through Twitter, right?I had just moved to Phoenix from Denver and you had just moved from Phoenix to Denver. We both love to cook and bake and we both love beer!
Although we have yet to meet IRL I can imagine how much fun you and I would have! You are always posting on Instagram photos of your awesome homemade meals fit for a queen now that you’ve moved to Denver. I appreciate you taking some time to chat with me! Tell us a little about yourself.

High Tea at The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa shortly after she moved from Phoenix to Denver.

Valerie enjoying High Tea at The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa shortly after she moved from Phoenix to Denver.

Yes, unfortunately I discovered you on Twitter the month I was moving from Phoenix to Denver, and learned that you had just moved to Phoenix from Denver… crazy! Not unfortunate that I discovered you, just unfortunate timing – because we would have been beer and baking soul mates!

I left the Wasatch mountains (Utah) for desert dwelling about five years ago in January, and after almost five years of cactus and monsoons, I returned back to higher altitude to explore rocky mountain living. As sweltering as the desert was, I really enjoyed my time there and met a lot of interesting people. I did feel that my adventures started becoming one-dimensional, though, and now I’m really thrilled to be living in 4-seasons once again. The thrill of the first week of a new season is one I’d never be able to live without again. The tiny, colorful buds in the spring, my first adult garden this past summer, raking golden leaves in the fall, and now tumbling (very ungracefully) down a giant snow-covered mountain in the winter. These are all the reasons my husband and I are enjoying our new Colorado life. We definitely feel lucky to be here.

For me, being in the kitchen while my mother was baking was something I loved as a kid. I guess it stuck!  When/how did your passion for cooking/baking start for you?
Looks like we have even more in common! I come from a homemade, from-scratch family, and watching my grandmother and mother cook were common occurrences from a young age. I think a lot of people may come from that kind of background in some way or another, but it only resonates with a small number of us – mostly because you have to keep trying despite the kitchen fires, over/undercooked food, and straight up colossal disasters that seem to happen weekly during that first year – and regularly every year after as well!

When I moved to Arizona, I discovered that cooking and baking seemed to equate with meeting new friends, so I jumped on that wagon and never looked back. Food brings people together in a really basic and important way – it’s a method of forging friendships over meals, learning about other people’s cultural backgrounds, and sharing the harvest that is unique to a particular region throughout the year. Sharing my cooking failures/triumphs with others has been, hands down, the easiest way for me to meet new friends, and to go out in the world with confidence – knowing that I have something to share with others. I think once you’re passionate about something, your hobby will take you places you never could have imagined!

Who are some of your culinary inspirations? 
Of course I have a million cookbooks and read a million food blogs, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandmother and the way she carried herself in the kitchen. She did a lot of preserving – peaches & pears, strawberry jam, etc, and that is now becoming one of my favorite hobbies. Also, she made food that was memorable without being overly complicated. A rustic vegetable stew and homemade chocolate cake are two of her specialties that stand out to me.

I think we get caught up in the newest trends and forget that food is meant to be shared and enjoyed by everyone – you don’t need a degree in molecular gastronomy to create a dish with soul. My grandmother always cooked with soul, and that seems like an emotion I’ve been trying to capture recently in my own dishes.

I used to live in Denver and making the transition from baking in what my dad calls the “high plains” to high altitude was something I talk about on my blog. Many tears have been shed over a recipe I had worked long and hard on to try and get to work in a high altitude atmosphere. Tell me, what’s one cooking/baking experience you wish you could forget?
Oh dear… honestly I’m savory over sweet – so baking is something I do occasionally, and usually only for parties and holidays. I do enjoy breads, though, and I’ve had decent success at altering my recipes for the high altitude.

Every single cake and brownie I’ve attempted since I’ve been here has sunken in, though, and despite my efforts they don’t seem to be getting any prettier. I hosted my cousin’s birthday party this summer and found a gorgeous strawberry shortcake recipe with a delicious strawberry glaze and whipped cream. I did everything according to the recipe and the cake just collapsed.

I scrambled to put it together in a way that actually looked like a cake with candles for the birthday song, but it was mostly a sloppy mess. The one photo I caught that night shows a strawberry shortcake blurred by candle-lit flames, and it actually looked really pretty. So I’m happy with that photo – and it telling a very different story of the strawberry shortcake. I will try that recipe again this summer and I WILL get it right! 🙂 (Val, I address my issues with Angel Food cake and other high altitude problems/recipes in these blog posts )

What’s been the biggest challenge/transition in your kitchen moving from PHX to Denver? 
This question makes me laugh, because it’s been one challenge to the next! I thought the kitchen in our condo at Papago Park in Tempe was pretty damn small. Like really, really small. Then we showed up to Denver and walked into the house we knew would be ours. I turned the corner and saw the kitchen – even smaller than my shoebox from Tempe – and no dishwasher! I couldn’t say no to the house, though, because it was charming and had Griswold written all over it.

For the most part, I really do love cooking in a small kitchen. Everything you need is within arm’s reach, and there’s a real ownership over the methods and the organization that plays into everything you do in that space. I love my kitchen – I love that I’ve discovered myself as a home cook here. I love that I need a step-stool to reach just about everything above the sink, and that I sometimes spend 5 hours a week doing dishes. Actually, I really hate that last part. That’s my attempt at a joke.

Favorite dish right now? Favorite ingredient you can’t live without in your kitchen? 
This is an easy one based on the weather – soup! I made one batch of soup a year while I lived in Phoenix, during that one really rainy week in January or February every year. I got really excited this fall dreaming about all the soups I was going to make on cold winter’s nights in Denver.

Dan and I took a little weekend trip to Winter Park and I found the Ski Town Soups Cookbook. I’ve been making my way through that book and having a lot of fun with it. Soup is not only comforting to eat, it’s comforting to make. Standing over my dutch oven, taking in the aroma of spices, broth, garlic and onions is my happy place.

Do you have a personal recipe you liked to share?
I know I just admitted to being savory over sweet, but there’s only one dish that really completes me and tickles all my taste buds – spice cake. My mom made a flavorful and dense spice cake growing up, and I’m pretty sure I was the only child out of 5 that was even remotely interested in it. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger – these are the things that make my heart sing! The hills are alive – with the smell of spice cake! Yes, it turns me into a version of myself that’s rather embarrassing. Sorry.

I’ve made many different recipes, but since my mom never remembers to email me her recipe, I’ve come up with two favorites on my own. America’s Test Kitchen has a nice version that is clean and balanced, and Martha Stewart has a molasses spice cake that is over the top in every way possible, which means you should all put your weekend on hold and make it right away: Martha Stewart’s Molasses Spice Cake

posted by on baking, homemade, juice

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Orange sweet rolls. Do I need to say anything else? I didn’t think so! The dough is the same exact recipe from my homemade cinnamon rolls in 90 minutes or less post so you won’t be spending time waiting for these puppies to rise and bake!

I prefer to prep them the night before and let them rise overnight for baking in the morning, but the recipe is built so you only have to let them rise until double in size and then bake them right away. Whatever fits your fancy!

Here’s what you’ll need:
For the dough –>

  • ¾ cups milk (any kind)
  • ¼ cups butter
  • 3¼ cups flour
  • 1 (0.25 oz.) dry active yeast
  • ¼ water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. salt

For the orange filling —>

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • grated orange rind

For the orange glaze —>

  • the juice of one orange (fresh squeezed is best!)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (more or less depending on how much juice you have)

Start the dough:Sweet Rolls Step 1

  • Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in the butter and stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix 2¼ cups flour, yeast, sugar & salt. Mix well with whisk.
  • Add the water, egg and milk mixture and beat well. You should have a very stick dough as shown in the photo.
  • Add the remaining flour, ½ cup at time, stirring well after each addition. (I only use about a cup of the remaining dough. More will be used to roll the dough out and you don’t want it to be too dry.)

Sweet Rolls Step 2

  • When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  • Cover the dough with a damp cloth or paper towel and let rest for 10 minutes (I leave it on the counter – don’t worry about transferring it to a bowl).
  • While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. In a small saucepan melt your butter. Once melted add the sugar and orange rind. Mix well and once it starts boiling, remove it from the heat. Set aside to let it cool a bit.
  • Roll out the dough into a rectangle about ¼-½ inch thick.

OrangeFilling

  • Spread the dough with your orange sauce, leaving about ½ inch margin.
  • Roll up the dough lengthwise and pinch the seam to seal. Turn over so it’s seam-side down on the counter.
  • Using a piece of string, mark out 12 pieces and cut.

Cut to Baked rolls

  • Place rolls into a greased pan. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes- could take less depending on how warm your kitchen is). I use two pieces of saran wrap that have been sprayed with olive oil so the dough doesn’t stick when it’s finished rising.
  • Bake in 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, just until the tops are golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Pour glaze (recipe below) over the top and continue to let the rolls cool all the way through.

OrangeGlaze

Prepare the glaze:

  • Mix the orange juice and powdered sugar with a whisk until a slightly runny consistency. 
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