Monday, July 30, 2012

Cook Like It's 1945: Wacky Cake

America's Test Kitchen has embarked on a ten week journey of Cooking Through The Decades where they are bringing retro recipes back to life.

This week was a visit to 1945 with a recipe for Wacky Cake, a really interesting recipe for chocolate cake that contains no butter or eggs due to the strict rationing in the 1940s. It was really moist and delicious. And I especially love that it's made in the pan in which it gets baked (no extra dishes to wash!)

Wacky Cake (from America's Test Kitchen)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
confectioners sugar

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8-inch-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in pan. Make 1 large and 2 small craters in dry ingredients. Add oil to large crater and vinegar and vanilla separately to remaining small craters. Pour water into pan, and mix until just a few streaks of flour remain. Immediately put pan into oven.

Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan, then dust with confectioners sugar.

this recipe is also shared at some of my favorite food blog hops




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Friday, July 27, 2012

The Olympics begin today!

Today marks the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Summer Olympics! Will you all be watching? Do you have a favorite event that you just can't miss? Here is the full schedule for your perusal.


Get into the Olympic spirit...
Create your own Team USA polo shirt at Ralph Lauren
Host an Olympics themed potluck 
Summer Olympics in a box
Order a fun vintage style tee from Gap
Drink a bottle of Olympics branded Coca-Cola
Make some cupcakes with the Olympic Rings
Olympic themed picks on etsy
Check out these London Olympic-inspired beauty products
Watch Beckham surprise fans in an Adidas/Team Great Britain photo booth
Pick up a cool print of the Olympic Rings done in masking tape
How to create an Olympic Rings candy bar

...And don't forget to sign up so that you can stream all the events!

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Judging Books by their Covers

I came across a blog post on babble written by the mother of a six year old. She showed her daughter some covers of classic books, and had her guess the plots merely based on what's happening in the cover. Here are a few of my favorite responses.


"It doesn’t really have a story. The cover is weird. It doesn’t give you like any clue to what it is about on the cover, like other books do. "


"It’s about a person who is a robot, a very colorful robot. He’s pretty fancy for a robot."


"I think it's a book about a haunted theme park and it stars a magical magic guy and he's good and evil and he's trying to get rid of the ghosts. And I think at the end, since it's haunted by a ghost, he tried to make the park go on fire and it did. "


“It looks weird. I think this must be a book about a tree. I would not read a book about just a tree. And it looks like it’s a sad tree too since it has no friends.”

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Southern Sweet Tea

I generally take iced tea unsweetened, but having a Southern mom gives me the hankering every once in a while for traditional Southern sweet tea.

Southern Sweet Tea
6 teabags (any plain old kind will do, I use Lipton or Red Rose, but Luzianne is the classic if your store has it)
1/2 gallon water
1 cup sugar

Cut paper tags off teabags and put them into a pot filled with 1/2 gallon of water. Bring this to a rolling boil. Boil for two minutes and then turn off heat. Allow tea to steep for 10 minutes before removing the teabags. Pour in sugar and stir until completely dissolved.

Let cool and serve over ice with lemon on the side.

this recipe is also shared at some of my favorite food blog hops



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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Emmy Nominations

Nominations for the 64th Annual Emmy Awards were announced just moments ago. You can view the full list of nominees here. The Emmys will be on Sunday, September 23 at 7 p.m. EST, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.  Did your favorite shows and actors make the list?




Here are the noms for the top categories:

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
Mad Men

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Kathy Bates, Harry's Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES

The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Girls
Modern Family
30 Rock
Veep

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louis
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Flaco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

OUTSTANDING MINISERIES OR MADE FOR TELEVISION MOVIE

American Horror Story
Game Change
Hatfields
Hemingway and Gellhorn
Luther
Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE

Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Idris Elba, Luther
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Clive Owen, Hemingway and Gelhorn
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Bill Paxton, Hatfields and Mccoys

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE
Connie Britton, American Horror Story
Ashley Judd, Missing
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Julianne More, Game Change
Emma Thompson, The Song of Lunch

via


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vaca Redux

Last week I was up in Maine with my family for days of sunshine, reading, eating lots seafood, and ultimate relaxation. I stayed at the lake for most of the time, with a trip to the beach on one day. I took a ton of photos while there, but here are a few of my favorites

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Lobster Traps

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Loon  

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What's your favorite summer getaway?

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Slow Cooker Cider Pulled Pork

Nothing says summer like BBQ. Our apartment is unfortunately grill-less, so I have to find other ways to enjoy BBQ at home. Here's a great way to make some pulled pork inside without heating up the whole place by turning on your oven.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
5(ish) pound pork shoulder
1 12-oz bottle hard cider (Woodchuck is my favorite, I used their Amber variety for this)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is mine) plus extra for serving

Place onions in the bottom of your slow cooker. Put pork shoulder on top of onions and pour in the cider.

Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours, or on high for about 5 hours (temperature should register right around 190 on a meat thermometer). Remove pork from slow cooker and shred with two forks, discarding bone and fat.

Skim fat off of the top of the cooking liquid (these handy little things make it so easy, and it'll catch all the onions in the top which you definitely don't want to lose) Pour BBQ sauce into crockpot, add 1 cup of the cooking liquid and the onions back into the pot, stir well.

Add pork into the sauce and cook for another hour or so. Serve warm on squishy rolls with extra BBQ sauce.

this recipe is also shared at some of my favorite food blog hops


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Friday, July 13, 2012

Christmas in July

Tomorrow Hallmark stores will be holding their first ornament premiere of 2012. They'll do another in October, and then the full launch will be in November. The stores tend to have yummy snacks for the premier parties, and there are always some exclusive ornaments you won't be able to get after this weekend.

I know it's too early to really start thinking about Christmas, but I can't help but get swept up in the fun. I love looking at all the new ornaments so I'll be stopping into a shop at some point over the weekend.

Here are the exclusives that you won't be able to get after this premiere party:

  



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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Etsy Love: Spooning

petekdesign on etsy is a shop filled with creative photos and posters. My favorite things in his shop are the wonderful prints of 'unique spooning', depicting actual spoons laying in bed. Aren't they adorably clever?




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Monday, July 9, 2012

What's on my nails: Chanel Frenzy

Chanel's autumn makeup collection (named Les Essentials de Chanel) recently went on sale, and the nail color Frenzy was the first item I knew I would need immediately. It's this kind of grey/kind of taupe/kind of lilac color that I just love.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Fun: Writers Favorite Snacks

This is kind of old, but I only discovered it recently. The New York Times put together these great little illustrations of the favorite snacks of different writers. Some of them are kind of odd, but some absolutely delicious (I am in full agreement with Emily Dickinson on the fresh baked bread).


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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

One Year Later...

I can't believe it was one year ago today that I started this blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed this past year, thank you to everyone who reads my humble little blog, I truly appreciate every one of you and love seeing all your comments.

For my first 'blogaversary', I decided to make one of my all time favorite treats, Boston Cream Pie. This dessert was invented here in Boston and is not a pie at all, but is still completely delicious.

Boston Cream Pie

Yellow Butter Cake (from the Kitchn)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Add eggs and beat until fully incorporated and light. Add in dry ingredients, then the milk and vanilla. Beat everything together on low for 30 seconds, then on high for 3 minutes.

Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans on rack for 15 minutes before removing cakes from the pans. Allow cakes to cool completely before assembly.


Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream (adapted from the Kitchn)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Mix together sugar, flour and salt until well combined in a large bowl. Add in egg yolks and whisk until texture is a thick paste. Set aside.

Combine milk, vanilla bean scrapings and pod in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until it begins to steam but not simmering or boiling. Remove from heat.

Pour a little of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk thoroughly to temper the eggs. Then continue to pour the milk into the egg mixture slowly while mixing constantly. Once everything is combined, pour the mixture into the saucepan and return it to the stove over medium heat.

While heating the pastry cream, be sure to whisk constantly, pausing occasionally to check the heat of the cream, once it reaches boiling whisk for just a few seconds more and then remove from heat and pour through a strainer into bowl, using a spatula to help press it through the strainer. Cover with plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate.

Chocolate Ganache
 (from Cook's Illustrated)
4 ounces chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons corn syrup

Heat cream and corn syrup to a simmer and remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir until smooth. 


Cake Assembly

Place one cake layer on cake stand and spoon pastry cream on top of it, smoothing it while leaving a 1/2 inch perimeter of plain cake.

Stack second cake layer on top of pastry cream and press down lightly until the pastry cream makes its way to the edges.

Slowly pour ganache over top of cake, smoothing it over the top and edging it over the sides. Let ganache set before serving.


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Monday, July 2, 2012

Stuffed Shells

I love all things pasta, which makes Italian food one of my favorites. These stuffed shells are delicious and pretty simple to whip up.

Stuffed Shells
30(ish) jumbo pasta shells
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg
1 1/4 cups cottage cheese
2 cups shredded cheese
1 teaspoon parsley
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 batch of simple tomato sauce, with the onion mashed and stirred back into sauce

Cook shells in boiling water until slightly underdone (about 5 minutes) and drain.

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Cook ground turkey until lightly browned and no longer pink, drain off fat.

Mix the parmesan cheese, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, cottage cheese, egg, salt, pepper, and parsley together in a large bowl until smooth. Add ground turkey and stir until well combined.

Preheat oven to 375

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in baking dish. Stuff turkey filling into shells and place them in dish, top with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is brown and sauce is bubbly.

this recipe is also shared at some of my favorite food blog hops

 
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