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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hot Drinks

Happy Holidays!


Here in Baltimore, we were treated to a white Christmas. Ordinarily, I'd be thrilled, but this year the snow came as a minor annoyance. This annoyance may have something to do with me being under the weather and unable to enjoy it. And since I've been sick, I wanted to something warm to drink. I wanted something sweet to counteract the medicine that I was forced to endure and since I couldn't have a cookie, I thought, "Hot Chocolate sure would hit the spot." Twas a good thing that I was stockpiling these hot chocolate recipes. While I can't claim to have convinced my kind caretakers to make me any of them, I sure hope that you will be able to enjoy them.


Hot Chocolates

Peanut Butter Caramel Latte or Cocoa
Almond Joy
Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate
Cookies and Cream 
Boozy Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Pumpkin Pie White Hot Chocolate
Red Velvet Hot Chocolate with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Did you happen to notice...

The music player lurking in the corner? I am a kid of a music teacher and I love all types of music. I even love holiday music. That said, Christmas music can get kind of monotonous... and bland. Heck, the "All-Christmas" music station here loves to feed you a steady diet of the same 50 songs. And guess what? These songs don't rock, swing, or have soul. Where is the seasoning, people?Is this happening to you, too? It is? I'm sorry and I offer you a tasty alternative; just click the player.

I hope you enjoy this playlist while you are surfing the site and I hope you make a recipe, too! If you have some song suggestions, please feel free to add them in the comments.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cooking with friends: The Bachelor

Cooking with friends is a tradition that started when I was in college; my friend Piper and I decided to bake cookies for some of our friends, one of whom was the Bachelor. Now that I have a food-based blog, I've decided to reconnect with many of my friends through cooking with them. Do you have friends who are foodies or just want to learn how to cook? I recommend that you invite them into your kitchen to cook! And please let me know that you did! Cheers!

The Bachelor's White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Photo styled and taken by The Bachelor. Largo, MD. December 2012.
The Bachelor about to make the magic happen.
What does one think of when they think of bachelorhood? Take out? Pre-packaged food? Beer? All of those faults do apply to my Bachelor, but he is willing to take things a step further...he cooks. I'm not entirely sure if he does things from scratch...

Or the semi-homemade way. Either way, the result is the same: delicious foods. He's got a thing for cheesecake, so he makes it regularly. Ok...maybe not too regularly; but enough that he didn't need to consult a recipe to make it. 

You can find the basis for this recipe on Kraft

Yes, those are premium white chocolate chips in the batter.

In the oven it goes! The house smelled so delicious while it was baking. I wonder if they have a candle that could mimic it?

The Bachelor's White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake 
adapted from Kraft
Prep Time: 16 minutes
Yield: 1 pre-made pie shell and 6 mini shells
Preheat oven to 325

1 pre-made Nilla cookie crust and 6 mini pie crusts
3 packages cream cheese
1 c sugar
1tsp vanilla
3 eggs
white chocolate chips
2 cans of canned fruit topping

Beat cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until smooth. Next beat in eggs, one at a time until no yellow appears. Stir in 1/2 bag of white chocolate chips and then pour into crust.

Bake in oven for until center is just set, around 45-55 minutes. Place in fridge for at least 4 hours or until ready to serve. Garnish with raspberries and remaining white chocolate chips. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Salted Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Baked unsalted cookies. 
If you follow me on either twitter or instagram (@foodiesmeow), you know that I received my Christmas gift a little early this year: a Kitchen Aid mixer in almond. Thank you, mom! Strictly for, uh, research purposes, I opened the box to ensure that the mixer works properly. This meant that I needed a recipe to christen it with.  Since my mother purchased it for me, I asked her what she wanted me to make; turns out she wanted cookies.  And not just any cookies, but the chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies that I perfected.
"Cool," I thought. "I'll just take out the butter and eggs to get them to room temperature."  Then I sat down with the Sunday paper, turned on In the Kitchen with David and relaxed... ok I went to sleep.
Fast forward a few hours later and I'm ready to bake. As I gathered my ingredients,  I realized that I did not have enough brown sugar to pull off the original recipe.  Halving the recipe wasn't an option either: how does one divide an egg and egg yolk in half?
Almond the mixer's maiden voyage!  Yes, I've named my mixer Almond.

Clearly I needed a plan B. So I went over to Joy The Baker's site and looked for her salted pistachio cookie recipe.  I knew I didn't have pistachios, but I had pecans. Then I realized that I might not have enough chocolate chips, but I thought, "Erins, you have coffee. Add that to boost the chocolate flavor. No one will know..." So, I did.

I decided not to toast these pecans because I though the salt would interact better with a raw nut. I also, wanted a super nutty cookie because I wasn't sure that I had enough chocolate chips. You can cut back on the nuts, if you like; just increase the chocolate chips.

Below, you will find an adaptation to a classic: Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies. Salting these cookies adds a crunch that highlights the pecans.  Baking a pan, without salt, yields a softer, chewier cookie. I suggest you bake a pan with the salt and one without salt; you'll be glad that you did and BONUS (!!) this recipe is a "twofer" getting two cookies out one recipe. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker's Dark Chocolate, Pistachio & Smoked Sea Salt Cookies, which you can find here.


Yield 18-22 medium to large cookies

1/2 stick of softened butter
1/2 cup each of brown sugar and white sugar
1 large egg
1 generous tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coffee
1 1/4 c milk chocolate morsels
1 c coarsely chopped pecans, un-toasted
kosher salt for sprinkling on top

Parchment lined cookie sheet
Cooling Racks

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl that you will use the electric mixer in, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Be sure that the mixture is pale, which means no clumps of brown sugar. Next, beat in an egg, for about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.

In another bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and coffee. At once, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low until fully incorporated. Stir in nuts and chocolate. Dole out rounded spoonfuls onto prepared pans and space cookies apart by at least 2 inches. Sprinkle salt on cookies, where desired.

Bake the cookies for 18 minutes, checking at 9 minutes to flatten the dough and to rotate the pans. Bake to your desired doneness; 18-20 minutes for chewier cookies and 22-25 minutes for crispier cookies. Remember that every oven is different!

Cool on pan for 5 minutes and then move to racks and cool completely. Store in an airtight container for as long as they last or up to 5 days.

I suggest you designate a pan for the salted and a pan for the unsalted cookies. The dough is soft and will spread, so give the cookies enough space to get crisp and delicious! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Photos from my phone, Pt. Deux

Remember the 80s? Everything had a Part 2. Since I'm an 80s baby, I thought I'd carry on the tradition by having a sequel to my "Happy December" post.

If you've ever worked with a mandolin, you know that it is super sharp. So sharp that it is almost impossible to actually cut something to its completion without cutting yourself; you should always leave a "nubbin" or fruit or vegetable. Now you have to ask, "what do you do with this nubbin?"

I suggest you use the nubbin, and slices that are either too thin to eat as an apple chip, to make a pie.

Please note: You may also find "mush" from the apple left on the back of the blade. Yes, you can eat it. You could also toss it in the bin (not recommended, but an option nonetheless).

I came up with this recipe because I had scraps of pie dough, the mush, nubbin, and slices of the apple. When I looked around, I found a packet of cinnamon sugar from oatmeal from Chick-fil-a; You could also use packets of honey! Either way, look around your house and find ways to use your scraps. The upside? Having a sweet bite that doesn't ruin your figure!


  Scrap Apple Pie

Equipment Needed:

Mini muffin tin


Mix of Apple mush, nubbin of your apple, and left over apple slices
Scraps of pie dough, graham cracker crumbs or cookie crumbs
Packet of brown sugar seasoning from Chick-fil-A
Lemon juice, apple juice or water (liquid)


Make a crust with the crumbs of cookies or graham crackers by moistening them with butter and then pressing them in the bottom of the mini muffin tin. Alternately, you may use scraps of pie dough, if you have them.

In a bowl, combine all of your apple scraps with a little liquid and sprinkle with the brown sugar packet.

Spoon mixture into the prepared crusts and dot with butter. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until bubbly and fully baked.

Cool and serve!

Happy December!

Before I started this blog, I would use my phone to take photos of my creations. The following posts will be, in a sense, me clearing my photo cache by uploading the photos from my phone. By the new year, i'll be using a new camera...promise!

Best to you,


Apple* Chips

Equipment needed:

Mandolin or sharp knife
Parchment paper
Cookie or baking sheets
Cooling racks

1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

2. Using a mandolin, thinly slice the apple of your choosing. This apple should be firm, with little to no soft spots, and something that you would enjoy out of hand.

3. Place the slices in a water bath seasoned with either lemon juice or apple juice, as you slice them.

4. Once you have finished slicing your apple(s), drain them on some toweling.

5. Place your slices on parchment lined cookie sheets. Do not overlap them!

6. If seasoning* is desired, sprinkle on each side.

7. Place in the oven to crisp for 1 1/2-2 hours. Do not open the oven for at least 45 minutes. 

8. Check after 45 minutes, if you smell them. Otherwise, wait an hour and then rotate the cookie sheets. If the slices seem extra soggy, turn them over.

9. Once slices have reached your desired crispness, take them out of the oven, remove them from the cookie sheet and allow to cool in the racks. The air circulation allows the slices to crisp up more.

10. Store up to one week in an air tight container.

* You may also use pears.

Apple Pie Seasoning
Cinnamon and Sugar
Cinnamon and Nutmeg

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's Cooking: A Review

With so many cook books, websites, magazines, and blogs, one does not want for recipes and inspirations. Through trial and error, I've discovered a few trusted sources and some that I wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy. That said, I want my knowledge base to be diverse, so I will continue to seek out great recipes. Please be assured that I am not stingy! I will share the websites that have great recipes and review books that I have picked up from the library. Have a book or site that you want me to visit or review? Please let me know.

What makes a source good to me? Simply put, the recipe should be accessible. This means that the ingredients must be obtained easily and are reasonably priced. This also means that the reader does not need a plethora of professional materials, such as a standing mixer or a food processor. While I understand that equipment such as these are common in many home cooks and chefs alike, I want to be mindful that some cooks do not have the means to possess them and use blenders and a hand mixer instead. I want the result to be the same, if not supremely similar. Further, the instructions should be clear and photos are always helpful, but not required.

With those factors firmly in place, I offer my first review.

First up, Cake Love: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch

Cake Love is a bakery in the DMV area, known for it's fantastic cupcakes. Since I was a fan of these confections, I excited to see the cook book at the library.

While, I was impressed with the photos, recipe ingenuity and general thoroughness with instructions, these recipes failed to meet my accessibility rule. Many of the recipes required equipment and ingredients such as a food scale, crunch feet, vanilla powder and potato starch.

That said, I do like the instructional nature of this cook book; it almost reminds me of a text book.

Final verdict: I can't say that I would recommend purchasing this book to add to your forever book collection. I would suggest, however, to seek this book out at your local library and review it. I'm sure that you'll find something that tickles your fancy. And if you are in the area, please be sure to visit Cake Love!

Recipe to try: Chocolate Butter Cake

Post on the go!

I downloaded the blogger app for my phone. In addition to allowing me to post on the fly, i'll also be able to post the pictures on my phone of all of the food that I've been hoarding. Those posts will be coming soon, but first, here is the meow of foodies meow: please meet Senior Mouserkins.  He is the inspiration to find the cat treat for the finicky eater.

Until later, take care!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving: A Play List

As we prepare our Thanksgiving meal, including clean up, it is good to have some music that will soothe or energize you, depending on your need. Here are a few of my recommendations:

                                        The Makings of You by Gladys Knight and the Pips

                                  Be Thankful (For What You've Got) by William de Vaughn
                                                         Gratitude by Paul McCartney
                                            I Could Not Ask For More by Sara Evans
                                                     Thank You by Led Zepplin

What would you add? What did you listen to?

Thanksgiving: The Superbowl for Foodies

I'm told that Thanksgiving is the Superbowl for foodies. I agree. For foodies, Thanksgiving is the opportunity to wield creativity, create tradition and reign supreme. Growing up, Thanksgiving was my Grandmother's holiday. She prepared the meal at her home, where she offered crudite platters, had assigned seats, and would roast a second meat such as goose or venison; everything had to be perfect. She would allow my mother to contribute one dish-something that the "children" would eat, but was beneath her culinary skills, such as macaroni and cheese. By the time I entered college, my grandmother allowed me to host Thanksgiving dinner, because she was getting up in age and it became too much for her. She also wanted to ensure that I would be able to follow her traditions. I did, for two years. Then, I wanted to get experimental. I wanted to create a Jamaican-themed Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I shared my plot with my older brother. That usurper decided to claim Thanksgiving for himself, claiming that it would be too difficult to travel with his then four children to my house, so he decided he would host and equitably split the cooking duties between us. Truthfully, he just wanted to ensure that the main dishes would be traditional. If I wanted to slip in an exotic side dish, so be it, but he was not having me experiment with the beloved turkey. They were cowards. I don't usually tolerate cowards, so the heckling or armchair quarterbacking tradition began. Ok, really it began with my grandmother overseeing me, but I like to blame this on my brother.

Two years ago, my grandmother passed away...a week before Thanksgiving and then the summer before last, my father, her son, passed away. As a true consequence of these losses, our holidays haven't been the same. It seems that we haven't even been in the mood to plan a holiday. I try to rally and carry on the traditions, but it is hard. This year, on Tuesday, my brother and I decided that we were going to take control of Thanksgiving and create some normalcy; so we cooked. The menu consisted of:

Smoked Turkey
Sage Roasted Turkey Parts
Grilled Baby Asparagus
Onion Roasted Spice Mashed Potatoes
Smoky Macaroni and Cheese
Cornbread Stuffing Souffle
Green Beans
Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hocks
Candied Sweets
Sweet Potato Pie
Sour Cream Pound Cake
Spiced Apple Cider

Everything turned out beautifully and I think that we would have at least made it to the championship game with this menu, if we didn't make it to the Superbowl. That said, I'm thankful for my family; thankful that we had an abundance of food to eat and thankful to you for reading this post.