A few years ago, a neighbor of mine shared a recipe from her Mennonite cookbook, concord grape pie. I was baffled. Grapes in a pie? Quite intrigued, I made the pie, served it way too early, and though it was delicious, it was a hot mess, literally. I did not give it time to set up, so it spilled out of the crust and looked like grape soup with some crust in the middle. So here I am, a few years later, a much more experienced baker, and I ran into some concord grapes at our local market. My mind immediately fluttered back to that original pie, and I had to redeem myself!
I am not going to beat around the bush here, I LOVE chocolate. When it comes to cookies, I love a good traditional chocolate chip cookie, a little crisp outside and soft and chewy inside. Rosie from Sweetapolita posted an amazing triple chocolate cookie that she baked for her daughter’s birthday, complete with colored sprinkles. Well, its not my birthday, but I HAD to find out if these cookies were as special as they looked.
"How you doin’?"
Gender reveal parties are all the rage right now for new mommas. The parents-to- be entrust a friend to know the gender of their child and at a party amongst friends and family, the baby’s gender is revealed. This can be done multiple ways but my favorite is through cake! A few months ago a friend asked me to bake her a gender reveal cake, which was so fun. When one of my closest friends announced that she was pregnant, I basically demanded that she let me make her a gender reveal cake, okay, I did not demand, but I strongly insisted. This special friend of mine just happens to LOVE cake pops. You may think, yeah, they are tasty, but this girl LOVES them. Because of this, I offered to make a gender reveal cake ball cake.
I had never seen a cake ball cake in person, nor had I ever constructed one before so I knew it was going to be a challenge. Thanks to good ole Pinterest, I was able to find a few examples and one website that provided some instructions for constructing the cake. I did not take pictures as I went along to give more detail to the actual putting together of the cake so here are some detailed instructions instead.
Every summer I look forward to fresh peaches. I am in love with the peaches from the Brook Lawn Farm stand on the Lititz Pike here in Lancaster County. While living in California and visiting PA, I made sure to make a special trip for those delicious peaches. This last trip I definitely bought way too many for us to eat, so I’ve been mulling over what to do with them. Originally I thought peach ice cream, but then I came across a blog post from one of my favorite food bloggers, Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. I remember reading his post for a late summer stone fruit cobbler last September and I’ve been dying to try it since then. Luckily, its pretty easy to put together, so after the kids went down to bed, I got started.
For those of you that are unaware, a “stone fruit” is a fruit that has a fleshy exterior that surrounds a pit, or stone, that contains a seed. In addition to my peaches, I had about six apricots, one plum and a nectarine that really needed to be used as well. The good thing about this recipe is that you do not need to peel the fruit, just remove the pit and slice.
Today I hosted a baby shower for my dear friend, Jamie. A few weeks ago I had the special and amazing privilege of baking her a gender reveal cake. She has a beautiful 4 year old boy and now she is preparing for a baby girl!
I’ve known Jamie for about 6 years and one fact you need to know about her is that she loves peanut butter. At first I thought I’d make her the peanut butter cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery cookbook, but as I looked through Pinterest, I found a delicious looking recipe for Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes from My Baking Addiction. As I read over the post, I’m pretty sure I drooled on my keyboard. Everything looked great until I saw two questionable ingredients, Devil’s food cake mix and instant chocolate pudding! What?? Even the blogger warns the “cake mix haters” that they may want to make modifications. I’m no cake mix hater, in fact, bake me a Betty Crocker Yellow Cake with milk chocolate frosting from a can, and I could pound the whole thing in a matter of minutes. I enjoy baking from scratch, but I figured, hey, why not give this a chance!
We recently returned from a family trip to San Francisco. It was my first time back since baby girl was born and I made sure to visit all of my favorite spots. One of my FAVORITE places to visit is the Omnivore Books On Food bookstore. You could say that I have a bit of a cookbook addiction. When I get in there my hands get all grabby, so many delicious choices, so hard to decide! I was immediately drawn to Very Fond of Food by Sophie Dahl, and Mr. Wilkinson’s Favorite Vegetables by Matt Wilkinson. Both books boasted beautiful pictures and simple yet elegant dishes. For this round, I chose Very Fond of Food.
*picture from the omnivorebooks.com gallery
A few months ago my sister made what she called a “healthy” deep dish chocolate chip cookie pie from the Chocolate Covered Katie healthy food blog. I wondered how a deep dish cookie pie could possibly be considered healthy. When she directed me to the recipe, I was pretty shocked to see, garbanzo beans as a primary ingredient. Ha! Garbanzo beans, what are we doing, making hummus? I bookmarked the link and moved on with my baking life. How could I make something so crazy as garbanzo bean pie?
Well, it came to pass that it was my turn to make the sweet snack at our small group. It just happened to be a friend’s 30th birthday, a friend who appreciates making a dessert healthy. We also have a friend with Celiac’s disease in the group so I figured, why not, lets try the dessert for small group, I just won’t tell anyone whats in it!
Basically, you open two cans of garbanzo beans, rinse them off and throw them, along with a few other ingredients into your food processor, process until smooth, fold in some chocolate chips, and then throw in in a spring form pan. Place that pan in the oven for around 45 min and you have yourself a deep dish chocolate chip pie! Be sure to use certified gluten free quick oats if you are trying to be “allergy” friendly. It actually looked quite beautiful sitting on my stove cooling off. Once it was cooled a bit, I popped open the spring form pan and placed the beauty on my cake stand.
When people started to arrive for small group they could not wait to dive into the pie, so I whipped up some whipped cream and cut her open! I’ve never seen a cookie pie disappear so fast! There were reactions of, “YUM!” and “This is amazing!” and the sarcastic, “Man, this is so bad, no one else should eat it, I’ll just take it off your hands because its so bad…(as they tried to steal the whole pie)” Excitedly I grabbed myself a piece. My first bite was amazing, nice and gooey, with lots of chocolate! I had to restrain myself from shoving my face into the rest of the pie and basically settled for licking my plate clean. At the end of the night, I gave the last two tiny pieces to the birthday girl and wished I had stashed a piece for myself before bed.
Next time you have a special event, make this pie, especially if you have friends who have food allergies, or even if your kids have them. You will find no eggs, dairy, or wheat here (just leave out the whipped cream)! Enjoy!
Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Pie
As we approach summer, and I try to lose my baby weight, I’ve tried to become a bit creative/healthy with my lunches. One of my favorite sandwiches is the grilled asparagus sandwich I found on Pinterest. I basically have it once a week, and this week, I felt like shaking it up a bit. Why not try it out on a salad? I’ve actually made the salad twice this week, once with a hardboiled egg, once with a fried egg. Both were amazingly delicious!
To start, get yourself to your local farmer’s market and buy a mix of lettuce. I just bought a pound and a half of romaine, butter, and red leaf lettuce. Chop it all up together and put some on a plate. Take your asparagus and snap off the ends. Snapping off the ends, rather than cutting them, naturally removes to woodiness that is not fun to eat. Drizzle the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place on a heated grill pan. Do not have a grill pan yet? I am in love with mine. It’s an amazing tool to have in your kitchen. Anyway, put the asparagus on the pan and cook until you have a nice green color and a few grill marks. Slice them up on the diagonal and place on top of the salad.
The other toppings are up to you. I love peppers, especially red, orange, and yellow, and they just make the salad look pretty. Dice up some red onions and put them on top as well. Then comes the egg. When I used a hard boiled egg, I topped the salad with a vidalia onion dressing. If you chose the fried egg, just bust that baby open and use the yolk as your dressing. Top with some pepper, Muldon’s flakey sea salt, and some shaved parmesan reggiano cheese. I definitely enjoyed my runny yolk egg. Nothing beats that warm, creamy “sauce.” Make yourself this delicious spring salad and enjoy the bounty of the season. Enjoy!
Hey there food lovers! Its been a while. Life has been quite crazy here. We all have had quite an adjustment with baby girl, but things are finally getting back to normal. I have so many things to share with you from the last 8 weeks, so be on the look out for some new posts.
Today, I will talk morning buns, a treasure I discovered at the Tartine bakery in SF. The morning bun is similar to a cinnamon bun in that you roll it up with goodness inside, but different because it uses croissant dough, adds citrus and is tossed in sugar, after it gets caramelized while baking.
Today I had the amazing privilege of baking a cake for dear friends to reveal the gender of their newest baby! Up until today, I have never attended one of these parties, but they are getting more and more popular. If I had amazing will power, it would have been fun to do for one of our babies, but I have no will power! Her ultrasound was yesterday and she had her doctor’s office call me with the good news.
For the cake, I baked a delicious vanilla layer cake from the Primrose Bakery cookbook. Its a simple cake, with lots of butter and eggs. The recipe calls for the use of 8 inch pans but I only had 9 inch, so I doubled the recipe. This actually left me with enough batter to make a about 12 cupcakes.