Thursday, August 28, 2008

Whole Wheat Cookin'

I've made a new resolution to not bake every day anymore because it's really gotten out of control. All my waking up every morning at 5:30 am to go work my butt off at the gym was doing me no good when I just come home and load up on butter, sugar, and chocolate! So, I'm going to try to just bake once a week...or maybe twice. But for now, I've been trying some more healthy recipes that I'm actually really excited about!

I have to admit I was very proud of my beautiful, delicious, and mostly healthy pizza we had last night. I used the CPK Honey-Wheat Pizza Dough recipe and then loaded it with the goods. I had to take a picture before I cooked it just in case while it was in the oven my kids escaped out the front door and before I could catch up with them, ran to the back of the house, and then back to the front again and had me running circles for a few minutes before I could catch them. Don't worry, I saved it and it was perfect!

California Pizza Kitchen Honey-Wheat Dough
(makes 2 individual size pizzas)

1 tsp yeast
1/2 C plus 1 tsp warm water
1 C flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
5 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 T extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tsp for coating

Mix yeast and water and set aside. Mix all other ingredients in large glass bowl. Make a well in the middle to add yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon to combine. Once initial mixing is done, lightly oil your hands and knead for about 5 minutes before forming into a ball.

Lightly oil the dough ball and your glass bowl. Place dough ball inside bowl and cover with plastic wrap so it's air tight. Let rise until double in size, about 2 hours. Punch down, reseal bowl, and let rise again. You can refrigerate it over night, but I didn't plan that far ahead.

Divide dough into two even pieces and shape on a lightly floured board or counter. (I used cornmeal instead of flour) Top with toppings of your choice and bake at 500 degrees for about 8-10 minutes on a preheated pizza stone.

These were my toppings in the following order:

mozzarella cheese
crumbled bacon
pine nuts
carmelized onions
goat cheese
more mozzarella and goat cheese

My whole wheat cinnamon rolls turned out to be more of a dessert than breakfast because I started out healthy, but kept adding more and more goodness to them. They were so light and sweet even without a glaze, but I did have to add one anyway. The juice from the berries just dripped all over the place without making it soggy though. My mouth it watering just looking at the pictures! I can't wait to make these again!

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with Mixed Berry Filling

3 C white flour
2 C whole wheat flour
1/3 C sugar
1 tsp salt
2 pkg dry yeast
1 C milk
1/2 C water
1/2 C butter
2 eggs

1 C chopped berries (I used the frozen mix from Costco that has raspberries, blueberries, and marionberries)
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C butter, melted

Combine 2 1/2 C white flour and whole wheat flour in large bowl. Add sugar, salt, and yeast. Combine milk, water, and butter in pan. Heat until very warm. Gradually add to dry ingredients. Add eggs and flour. Let rise to double.

Combine all ingredients for filling.

Roll out to large rectangle (about the size of a cookie sheet) and spread filling over the entire thing. Roll up lengthwise and cut into 1 inch slices. Bake in 9x13 casserole dish at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Makes 15 rolls. Best served warm.

Top with glaze of powdered sugar, milk, and lemon juice, if you are like me and have to add more sugar to everything.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


If I use vegetables to make cupcakes does that make them healthy? If I eat 5 of them, can I count them as my "5-a-day"? I don't see why not!

A friend of mine gave me these recipes for Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes and for Carrot Cake that I couldn't wait to try, especially because the zucchini in my garden is still very plentiful and I have to be honest and say that my neighbors are probably as sick of zucchini bread as I am. This was a good way to mix it up a little bit.

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

1 1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C butter, melted
3/4 C vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C buttermilk
2 C grated zucchini (squeeze all the water out of it too)
1 C mini chocolate chips
2 C flour (I made an effort to make it a little more healthy and substituted
1 C flour for 1 C whole wheat flour)
1 C cocoa
1 tsp allspice (I didn't have any of this so I added a little cloves and nutmeg
and called it good)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda

In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, butter, and oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla, buttermilk, zucchini, and chocolate chips.

In a separate bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. Add to zucchini mixture and mix well.

Separate into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes for minis and 20 for regular size.

(Warning: this makes A LOT! It made 8 dozen mini muffins, so you may want to half the recipe if you aren't planning on making them for an event or giving them away to neighbors like I always have to do)

Ruth's Carrot Cake

1 C corn or canola oil
1 1/4 C honey
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 C flour
1 C whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 T cinnamon (be generous)
3 C grated carrots
1 C chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 C raisins (optional)

Heat oven to 325. Mix oil and honey well. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Sift flour and other dry ingredients. Add to oil and honey mixture and mix until just blended. Fold in grated carrots (and nuts and/or raisins). Bake in 2 greased and floured 8x8 baking pans for 30-35 minutes.

I made cupcakes, of course, and I baked them for 15 minutes. It makes 3 dozen normal size cupcakes...again, a lot!

These were amazing though, and actually healthy for the most part. I didn't add any frosting to them either, although it was really tempting to slap on a huge glob of cream cheese frosting. I was trying to be healthy though! I honestly ate 2 right out of the oven and 3 the next morning for breakfast!

I can't even get my kids to stop eating both of these yummy cupcakes. I'm actually not trying to stop them either because I like the fact that they are getting some vegetables of their own free will and choice. One less battle I have to fight today!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

O Henry Bars

This is one of my favorite treats because they are so easy and I love anything with peanut butter and chocolate, but it always makes SO much! It was perfect to share at a camp-out last weekend with our church in the beautiful mountains of Utah. I definitely don't recommend camping with your 4 year old, 1 year old, and 3 month old though. What a night! I was up all night making sure the baby wasn't too cold, the 1 year old was in my sleeping bag with me so he stayed warm, and my 4 year old cried from 2:30am-3:30am because she was thirsty. I finally gave in and got my shoes and flashlight to get her a water bottle from our car, trying not to wake everyone else up. About 3 minutes after she had a drink, you guessed it...she had to go to the bathroom! The campsite was really nice and had flushing toilets, but they were quite a little hike down a hill on a little path surrounded by trees and bushes and of course I had to walk through other people's campsites as well. I had never even been down to the bathrooms, but those were pretty much the instructions my husband gave me. I grabbed Brooklyn by the hand and we started our trek. We didn't get too far when I heard a BIG animal in the bushes not too far from us. Now, I'm not a good camper to begin with. I hate dirt and bugs and am terrified of bears, so this was a struggle for me to be there anyway. I didn't even want to see whatever it was I heard, so I grabbed Brooklyn and ran back to our tent. That's when I woke up my husband and told him he needed to take her to the bathroom in the bushes right outside our tent, and he did. So, after a cold and sleepless night, we decided to wait until the kids were a little older before trying that again. But, we sure did have some good treats! (p.s. I found out the next morning that a few weeks ago they had to move from that same spot because of bear problems! I'm glad I didn't come face to face with one in the middle of the night!)

After that long story, here's the recipe...
O Henry Bars

2 C Karo Syrup
2 C sugar
1 C peanut butter (creamy or chunky both work great)
6 C rice krispies

1 bag chocolate chips
1 bag butterscotch chips

Boil Karo Syrup and sugar for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and mix in peanut butter until melted. Add rice krispies and mix well. Spread on cookie sheet with raised edges. Let cool completely.

Melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips together. Spread over cooled krispie mixture. Let chill until frosting solidifies.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Butter Pecan Shortbread Minis with Caramel Icing

Yum! Can I just say that I was eating these so fast that I almost didn't have any left to take a picture?! I was really in the mood for some shortbread but have been thinking for days on what to do with it exactly. Today I didn't want to wait any longer and just started going with it. And yes, I was singing the shortbread song in my head as I was kneading the dough. ("mama loves shortnin' mama loves shortnin', mama loves bakin' shortnin' bread") I'm not even sure if those are the right words, but those were the ones running through my mind. Anyway, as soon as I could smell them cooking throughout my whole house, caramel popped into my head and I ran with it. My only complaint with this recipe is that it didn't make enough!

Butter Pecan Shortbread
1 1/2 C flour
3 T packed brown sugar
1/2 C butter, softened
1/4 C chopped pecans
1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325; spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray.

Mix flour and brown sugar with fork; cut in butter with pastry blender or fork. Add pecans and vanilla and knead until well mixed and smooth.

Divide dough between mini muffin tin and press down with finger tips. Cook for 20 minutes.

Caramel Icing
3 T butter
1/2 C packed brown sugar
dash of salt
1/2 C milk
1 1/2 C powdered sugar

Melt butter in medium saucepan on stove. Add brown sugar and dash of salt. Boil for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add milk. Return to boil for about 1 minute. Let cool to lukewarm and add powdered sugar. Add more milk as needed for the consistency you would like.

Holding the base of the cookie, dip the top it into the icing and roll a little to make sure the whole top is covered. Place on wire rack to cool completely.

(makes 24 mini cookies)

Someday, I really am going to start baking healthy. But, I had a really good workout this morning, so I'm justifying my baking as usual.

This is my daughter, Brooklyn. She is going to be 5 next month! She wanted to be in the kitchen with me so I kept her busy making a fruit loop necklace, which she was so proud of she wanted me to take her picture with it! Cute, huh!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tres Leches Cake

So it was our friend's birthday this past week and his request for a birthday cake was Tres Leches, or three milk cake. I had never tried to make Tres Leches let alone eaten it before, so it was a new challenge but lots of fun.

I did some research on the internet and found quite a few very different recipes. I pulled a little from each one that I liked and came up with my own very successful recipe. The cake was incredibly moist, but not soggy. It had a very rich flavor to it and I really liked the cinnamon I added too. It was a hit at the birthday party and that was the goal. If you ever need a recipe for Tres Leches, here is a good one!

Tres Leches Cake

1 1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 C sugar plus 2 T sugar
1/3 C oil
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla plus 2 tsp vanilla
1 C plus 1/2 C milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 C plus 1 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1/8 tsp salt
cinnamon for sprinkling

combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. In medium bowl, combine oil, sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Add eggs to sugar mixture one at a time, mixing well after adding each egg. Add 1/2 C milk and mix well. Add flour mixture and mix well.

pour batter into two 8 inch round cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until cooked completely and inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cake cook until room temperature and then turn them over onto a cookie sheet with raised edges. Prick all over cake with fork and cool completely in refrigerator.

Whisk 1 C milk, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 1 C heavy cream together. Slowly pour over cooled cake. Refrigerate for one hour, occasionally spooning milk mixture over cake as it spills off.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 1/2 C heavy cream, 2 tsp vanilla, and 2 T sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Frsst top of one of the cakes and sprinkle with cinnamon. Put the other cake on top and frost top and sides. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon.

(sorry I don't have a pictures of what the inside looked like...I thought that might be a little weird to bring it to the party already cut up, or to start taking pictures of it while I was there. I'll have to get over my phobia, I guess!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Choco-Blonde Brownies

I know I have a new post almost every day, but I really just get so excited about food, especially since I started this little blog of mine.

So today, my 4 year old asked if we could make m&m cookies. I got so excited that she wanted to bake with me, but I thought cookies would be a little boring, so why not jazz it up a little bit. The recipe on the m&m baking bits bag was for rainbow blondies, but I wanted to go even a little beyond that, so I modified it just a bit and the result was definitely blog-worthy. I did a layer of chocolate brownies, and a layer of m&m blondies with more m&ms on top. So rich and delicious!

Choco-Blonde Brownies
1 C butter
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 T cocoa powder

Grease 9x13 baking dish and preheat oven to 350.

Combine butter and sugar and blend well. Add eggs, vanilla, flour, and baking soda and mix well. Pour half of the batter into a separate bowl and add cocoa powder. To the other bowl, mix 1/2 bag of mini baking m&m's.

Spread chocolate batter on bottom of pan and blonde batter with m&ms on top of that. Sprinkle with more m&ms.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Cool, cut, serve, eat! Yum!

Now I just have to get them out of my house before I eat them all.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

I made this recipe a few years ago for a breakfast gathering and lost the recipe, but I just found it again and because I'm on this lemon kick I couldn't wait to make them! These muffins are so lite and flavorful with the blend of lemon and almond. They are perfect for a summertime brunch! Yum! Of course I like to make them mini because small things are always cuter and then you can eat more than one and feel okay about it.
Lemon Ricotta Muffins
Recipe courtesy of Giada Dr Laurentiis

2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C sugar plus some for sprinkling on tops of muffins
1/2 C butter, room temp
1 T grated lemon zest
1 C ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/3 C thinly sliced almonds (I opted out of these this time, but it's good either way)

Line muffin tins with liners or spray with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend well. In separate bowl, beat 1 C sugar, butter, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the ricotta, egg, lemon juice, and almost extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.

Divide batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle the sliced almonds and then the sugar on top of each one. Bake for 20 minutes for regular sized cups and 10 minutes for minis.

Makes 12 regular size, or 30 mini muffins.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Surprise Filled Cupcakes

How frustrated am I that I have consistently gone to the gym Monday through Friday mornings at 6am for 4 weeks now and only have lost 1 pound?! Well, then I made these cupcakes for the 2nd time in that 4 week period and as I was eating one, hot out of the oven, I realized this could be a good reason why.

The cupcakes are absolutely amazing. They are so unbelievably moist and light and fluffy. And when you get to the middle, there is a yummy surprise that makes the whole thing completely rich and satisfying. Of course, I like to top it off with a huge pile of hot pink butter cream frosting and some white nonpareils. Yum!

Surprise Filled Cupcakes Filling:
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/3 C sugar
1 egg
pinch of salt
1/2 C mini chocolate chips

3 C flour
2 C sugar
4 T cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 C vegetable oil
2 C water

Mix filling ingredients in small bowl and set aside.

Mix dry ingredients for cupcakes in medium bowl. I've mentioned before that I like to use a whisk to mix my dry ingredients to keep everything light. Add wet ingredients and beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium speed.

Prepare your muffin tin with cupcake liners. To fill them, it works perfectly to use my pampered chef medium and small scoops. Put a medium scoop full of batter in the liners (approx. 2 T), a small scoop of surprise filling (approx, 1 T), and top it off with another medium scoop full of batter.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
Makes 24 yummy cupcakes.

Buttercream Frosting
1 lb powdered sugar
1/3 C melted butter
3-4 tsp cream or whole milk
1 tsp vanilla or other flavoring
food coloring of your choice