Game on!

I love to bake and cook from scratch. All that homemade goodness is aah… just pure bliss. Although it can be time consuming and challenging, especially with my kiddies running wild, but i love it. I love it all! Even this horrid, hot humid weather nowadays cant keep me away from my oven. But really, the rewards of my labor of love are all truly worth the effort.

Plus i definitely love to try out new recipes posted by the more experienced and amazingly creative bloggers out there. And i certainly love reading their stories and recipes, but a voice at the back of my head keeps pulling me back from trying out anything and everything for the fear of ‘what if it doesn’t turn out right?’…but hey voice! I’m stronger than you think.

Wondering what am i going on about?!

Now is the time to confess. I’m addicted to Pinterest. I cant stop gawking at those absolutely beautiful food photos that keep appearing on my screen. They are seriously jaw dropping material. So i have this recipe board over there where I stash all my collection to try out for later. And that later is NOW. I have over 200 pins so far and I’m going to pick the 10 most appealing pins that I’m going to recreate (for now at least). By recreating I mean to follow the recipe from the pin to the tee. Then lets see if that recipe is a yay or a nay!

So yes, It’s a challenge alright! Yeah, go on throw me that curve ball. I’m all warmed up and readddyyyyy to roll-that-dough!  Doesn’t it feel good to do something that makes you feel all excited and good inside? Absolutely. Simply put, I’m challenging myself to recreate in my kitchen those delicious looking recipes on my Pinterest Board.

Link to my Pinterest Board: http://www.pinterest.com/myfoodielife/my-recipe-stash/

 

 

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #7

CLASSIC PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

I prefer feeding my kids homemade baked goods. Mainly because i love the baking part. I also wanted to introduce my kids to the famous world of creamy peanut butter that everybody seems to love, but apparently they are MY kids…not into peanut butter. Well, at least now i don’t have to worry about making homemade peanut butter.

The challenge for me here was baking the ‘cookie’ right. And trust me this time there were no tears involved. You can find the pin from my Pinterest board here. The recipe is originally posted on Sally’s Baking Addiction She is the queen of cookies. Will be trying her other interesting cookie recipes too for sure.

peanut butter cookies

Makes approximately 32 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150g) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250g) creamy peanut butter*
  • 3 cups + 2 Tablespoons (391g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. Using a hand mixer, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

2. Add the vanilla and peanut butter and mix on high until combined. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Add to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be thick, yet sticky. Cover dough tightly and chill for at least 3 hours (and up to 2 days) in the refrigerator.

4. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Roll balls of dough (about 1.5 tablespoons of dough per cookie). Place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Press fork into the tops to create the criss-cross pattern. Bake for 11 minutes or until very lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft and undone. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will continue to “set” on the baking sheet during this time.

6. Cover cookies and store at room temperature.

classic PB cookies, fresh out of my oven

My Verdict:

Ok so Im not a peanut butter fan, but honestly i would still rate these cookies 9 out of 10. They were easy to make and didn’t flop like my cookie baking usually does. That’s a big achievement in my books. So keeping this recipe as my basic cookie science, I’m sure i can play around with flavor as per my liking. And my better half loved them. So that’s a Yayy! for this recipe.

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #6

GLAZED LEMON RICOTTA CAKE 

Right now, right this moment I’m in a sweet, lemony heavenly world where evrything is fresh, bright and perfect. This cake, is perrrfect! As i type and devour this beautiful slice I feel a sense of eureka and boy am i glad i took on this Pinterest Recipe Challenge. Hee hee, Im sure you can already hear me scream out my verdict.

So basically i was looking for something to make with my homemade Ricotta cheese (yes, i made ricotta. smile smile) Thats when i found this. Pinned it instantly and just had to make it right away in my kitchen.

You can find the pin from my Pinterest board here. The recipe is originally posted on Bunny’s Warm Oven. A blog that Im going to be stalking from now on.

Glazed Lemon Ricotta Loaf

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
15 ounces (425 grams) whole milk ricotta
1 ½ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest and Juice of 1 large lemon (approx 3-4 tblsp)
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Lemon Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a cake pan and set aside. In the original recipe they used a bundt pan, I didn’t have one so i baked it in a loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the ricotta and blend until light and fluffy.

3. Mix in the eggs one at a time, incorporating well. Add the vanilla, lemon juice/zest and mix until fully combined.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients in 2 increments, mixing just until incorporated. Do not over beat.

5. Pour into a parchment lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

6. Let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

7. For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle the lemon glaze over the top of the cake and serve.

Glazed Lemon Ricotta Loaf

My Verdict:

This glazed lemon ricotta cake is incredibly moist. Melts in your mouth and has that zing of lemon that everybody loves. Almost everybody. You MUST NOT skip the glaze. It makes this cake all that much better.

Like i initially said, this is the most perfect lemon cake I have baked to date. Although this is my first attempt at baking with ricotta, but like the writer of the original recipe post said….what took me so long to discover this super ingredient! Definitely worth all the calories. I have a feeling i will be making lots and lots of ricotta from now on.

Love,

Me, the cake addict.

 

 

 

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #5

HOMEMADE WHOLEWHEAT PASTA

There’s something about homemade, making something from scratch makes me feel totally on top of the word. I seriously get a kick out of it…yup, that’s me!

So of course like most other kids mine are big pasta and noodle fans too, and so i thought why not try the whole wheat version…healthier and better for their tummies. Looked up few recipes on Pinterest and decided on making this one. The recipe is originally posted on a blog called One Couple’s Kitchen.

I absolutely loved making this pasta. It’s a simple recipe with the very basic ingredients with delicious results. you MUST try this.

pasta dough

whole wheat pasta

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Water as needed.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place your flour on a clean counter or a large wide bowl. Make a well in the middle large enough to hold the eggs.
2. Using a fork or your fingers, break the yolks and start swirling the eggs around the well. With your other hand, start spooning in the flour a little at a time. Slowly the dough will start to mix together and form.
3. Now add water 1 tablespoon at a time until your dough begins to feel smooth and is no longer sticky. It should not be too soft like pizza/bread dough. And since we are using whole wheat flour here, the elasticity will be much less than regular flour.
4. Keep kneading the dough by hand for about 5 minutes.
5. After kneading, once the dough is nice and smooth, let it rest for about 30 minutes. After resting, cut the dough in half and you can work with a smaller more manageable amount.
 6. Now lightly flour your counter top and begin the rolling process. If you’ve kneaded properly, your dough won’t shrink back after each roll, and the gluten will have developed enough that you’ll be able to get really thin dough without tearing it.
7. Roll your dough as thin as you would like your pasta to be. Just slice straight strips with a knife or a pizza roller/cutter (approx 1/2 cm wide). After boiling they tend to puff up a bit, so thinner the better.
8. Toss your pasta noodles lightly with flour to keep them from sticking. You can cook immediately or let dry. Freshly made pasta will cook much faster than store bought pasta – it will only need between 5-7 minutes. The best way to check their if they are done is by tasting it. if you don’t get the raw floury taste, then you are good.
9. Strain out the water like you normally do when cooking pasta,, run under cold water.
10. To flavor it, i simply tossed my pasta in some marinara sauce. But of course you can add any and as much flavor as you prefer.
 homemade pasta
Notes:
  • I made half the recipe and the pasta was more than enough for 2 servings.
  • If you are used to working with dough, you will find the whole process easy peasy and very fulfilling :)
  • If you find working with whole wheat flour a little difficult, you can substitute half of the whole wheat flour quantity with regular white flour.
  • I cooked my pasta al dente…so in order to get that just keep a close eye and keep testing it.
  • Refrigerate any left over dough covered in cling film. But prefer to use within 24 hrs.

My Verdict:

YAY! This is a good, simple recipe. Definitely a keeper.

I had a great therapeutic experience making these. I find working with any kind of dough makes me feel relaxed and focused. Just what i need after a sleepless night and a rushy morning.

Happy Cooking!

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #4

ITALIAN BISCOTTI

There are so  many ways you can get creative with a plain old traditional Italian biscotti. These cookies are generally hard and crunchy. They go well with coffee and my caffeine loving hubby likes them more with Turkish coffee. Some recipes i looked up were too sugary, some not. We prefer our biscotti a little less sweet, just good enough for some dunking.

You can find the pin from my Pinterest board here. The recipe is originally posted on Ciao from Debbie. The website/blog has a great deal of recipes, giving us the taste of Italy.

Biscotti

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix together the sugar and zest, eggs and oil and beat with a whisk until incorporated. Add vanilla and almond extracts.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the liquid, stirring with a wooden spoon. The dough should be very stiff; if it’s too sticky to handle, add a bit more flour.
  3. On a floured board, knead in the nuts until evenly distributed.
  4. Shape dough into a log.
  5. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350° F (180° C) for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Cool for 15 minutes. With a serrated knife, slice the log into 1/2 inch slices.
  7. Lay them flat on the cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes more. Then turn them over and toast another 8-9 minutes.
  8. Now they should be all toasty and hard. Let cool on a wire rack.

Italian biscotti

My Verdict:

It turned out well, but i was kinda short on almonds so that nutty almond flavor was lacking. Next time Im going to use whole almonds instead of sliced. This wasn’t the very hard kind biscotti…but it had a good crunch. I did come across another classic recipe that dosent use any oil or butter. Im assuming that its going to be drier and harder. Will give that a go too.

Over all not bad at all. And guess what? My kiddo loved it! So, a thumbs up for sure.

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #3

BANANA OATMEAL COOKIES

What do you do when you have over ripe bananas that no one wants? Get baking of-course!

when life gives you over ripe bananas,make banana oatmeal cookies. Yup, couldn’t resist saying that…just had to.

I have already tried the delicious banana bread and the banana muffins, so wanted to try something else this  time around. Found this recipe on Pinterest. Here is the pin. The recipe is originally posted on a blog by Jenn Segal, Once upon a chef.

The recipe itself is very simple and easy to follow, but it was a challenge for me because I have yet to make cookies that actually look and feel like cookies. Mine never turn out right. Hmph.

So, this is how mine turned out. A little puffy on the top and not flat as seen on Pinterest. Yes, they taste SO good…but if you eat one with your eyes closed you would be SO sure that you were eating a piece of banana bread. That’s how soft they were and not chewy. SIGH. what did i do wrong now?!

banana oatmeal cookies

Makes approximately 16-20 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup mashed bananas
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, a few minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg, mashed bananas and vanilla extract; beat until combined.
  4. Add the flour and oats mixture and mix on low speed until well combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Scoop balls of dough (about 1 tablespoon) onto the baking sheet, spacing at least 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating the pans midway through, until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

cookies

 

My Verdict:

Taste wise, these are good and also healthy, right? Oats and fruit. You cant dislike them. They taste just like banana bread. But these were not what i was hoping them to be – Crisp and chewy. The crunch factor was missing here, so i shall continue challenging my skills to get my cookies right.

Till then…nom nom nom.

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #2

#2 PEPPERONI & CHEESE STUFFED BREAD ROLLS

This one looked so good on my Pinterest board and was just calling out my name…begging to be recreated right here in my kitchen. And guess what, guess what?! They are just as good as they look.

You can find the pin from my Pinterest board here. The recipe is originally posted on a very interesting home cooking blog.

pepperoni bites

These gooey cheesy pepperoni bites were love at first bite. The best part is they are SO easy and quick to make. I love them even more because i have these ingredients in my kitchen all the time.

INGREDIENTS I USED:

- bread slices (quantity depends on how many rolls you want to make)

- slices of pepperoni (3 per slice)

- strips/slices of cheddar or mozarella cheese

- garlic powder to sprinkle

- bread crumbs

- 1 beaten egg

- 1 tblsp butter for frying/toasting

DIRECTIONS I FOLLOWED: 

1. Cut off the bread crusts.

2. Using a rolling pin, flatten the bread slices. That makes it easier to roll them up.

3. Arrange 3 slices of pepperoni across the middle of each bread and top with a slice of cheese.

4. Now carefully and tightly roll it.

5. Brush it all around with the beaten egg

6. Roll into the bread crumbs and pat to secure.

7. Heat and grease a frying pan with a tablespoon or less of butter. and fry up the rolls in it. Make sure the heat is not too high, just enough to get a nice toasty golden crumb and melt the cheese. Mmmm, perfect!

8. Once they are warm enough to handle, slice them into bite size pieces and serve!

My Verdict:

This is definitely a keeper. Yayy!

It can be served as an ideal appetizer, party food, and can be added to kid’s lunch boxes. And it’s got me thinking of all the variations i can make from this. Next time I’m thinking to add a filling of chicken + mushroom + cheese OR spinach + chicken + cheese. Tons of options, so go ahead make your own version of these bread roll bites.

Bon appetit!

 

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #1

#1 RED VELVET CAKE

Hey there! So this self imposed recipe challenge has finally begun, woohoo! I wanted the first one to be something special. A reason to celebrate (and eat cake of course). And what could have been better than celebrating a birthday!

Last week it was my brothers last bachelor birthday before he tied the knot :) and that was just the perfect excuse for me to bake a cake.

So what did i choose? A red velvet cakeThis first recipe i tried out from my Pinterest board was originally posted on globetrotterdiaries.com. Really like the blog itself featuring a whole lotta good looking, mouthwatering food from around the world.

The plan was to follow the recipe to the tee to see how it goes, but i admit i was kinda reluctant and a teeny bit scared JUST BECAUSE it was going to be a birthday cake and i didn’t want anything to go wrong.

But read on and hear me out and my experience with this recipe.

INGREDIENTS I USED:

- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

- 1 tsp of salt

NOTE: the original recipe calls for 2 tsp, which i thought would be way too much so didnt take a chance there. Plus if you are using salted butter, you better cut down the salt then.

- 2 tsp of baking powder

- 1/4 tsp of baking soda

- 1/4 cup cocoa powder

- 1 1/2 oz red food coloring

- 1 cup of butter, softened

- 2 cups of sugar

- 3 large eggs, at room temperature

- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

- 1 cup of buttermilk

Frosting:
– 225 grams of butter, softened but not melting
– 24 oz of cream cheese, at room temperature
– 3 cups of icing sugar, sifted

NOTE: Now for me the amount listed in this recipe made frosting that would probably be enough for 2 cakes. Next time i would definitely make half of this to frost one 9″ layered cake.

DIRECTIONS I FOLLOWED: 

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 9-inch cake pans with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a separate small bowl, whisk the cocoa powder and red food coloring together until it turns into a thick maroon paste.

3. Using an electric mixer beat the butter for about 30 seconds until it is creamy.  Add the sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating for about 15 seconds and scrapping the sides down in between.  Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add in the vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture until the egg is incorporated before adding the next.  Add the red food coloring and cocoa paste and mix until the it is evenly incorporated and scrape down sides if necessary.

4. Add the flour mixture in thirds alternating with half of the buttermilk.  Beat just until it is incorporated.  Be careful not to overmix the batter, because it will make your cake tougher.

5. Divide the batter between the two pans and using a spatula even and flatten out the batter as much as possible.  Place the pans in the oven on the middle rack.  Cook for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through cooking.

6. Allow the pans to cool on a rack for 10 minutes and carefully move a small knife around the sides of the pan to ensure your cake isn’t sticking to the sides.  Invert the cakes and remove parchment paper.  Be careful that your cake doesn’t break or tear, otherwise it will make frosting the cake a pain as the exposed red crumbs will get caught in your frosting.

Directions for the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 30 seconds until creamy.  Add the cream cheese and beat until evenly incorporated.  Add a third of the sugar and start up your mixer but on a very slow speed until all the sugar is absorbed. Repeat until all the sugar is incorporated into the frosting.

To assemble the Cake:

1. When your cakes are completely cooled, use a serrated knife and trim the rounded tops of both cakes so it is flat. Place one cake on the bottom, with the flat un-trimmed side face-up.

2. Put a big dollop of frosting in the center and using a flat spatula (or something similarly long and flat) push the frosting towards the edge of the circle creating a even layer of frosting.  Place the second cake, trimmed side down on the frosting.  Add another big dollop of frosting on the top and working outwards, frost a layer on the top.  Continue to frost the side of the cake by adding and spreading the frosting around with your spatula.

*If you get some red crumbs into your white frosting, do an initial layer of frosting and put the cake into the refrigerator until the frosting hardens.  Then add another layer over the first one and your red crumbs will be covered.

SAD NOTE: All sounds good right? no problemo!  But no, here is the moment where i was about to curl up in a corner and cry. Yup, believe it or not but i messed up this part of the cake. The MOST important part! ugghh. So i started beating the butter, added the cream cheese and everything seemed fine. The texture was nice and smooth. And then i started adding sugar. And it started splitting :( and in the hope that all will be well, i added all of the sugar gradually but it was a mess. Truly a heart sinking moment. So in a panic i just threw the whole thing into the freezer and crossed my fingers. After about 30-45 mins the consistency was okayish. I was able to spread it over the cake without it melting away. But it wasn’t as pristine as i had imagined. It was just enough for it to survive. SIGH!

So frosted the cake with as much enthusiasm i could muster, sprinkled the top with chocolate shavings and let it sit in the fridge until it was time to serve.

Not the prettiest slice of cake, but that's all i could save before the entire cake was gobbled up!

Not the prettiest slice of cake, but that’s all i could save before the entire cake was gobbled up!

birthday boy

So is it a yay? yes it was a YAY recipe because everyone loved it!

My Verdict:

Preparing the cake batter and baking it was all smooth sailing. It turned out pretty good just as i had imagined. The cake was melt in the mouth kind with the cream cheese frosting to compliment it. I did manage to mess up the frosting but still it tasted just fine.

Being true to myself i know i will be trying out other red velvet cake recipes until i settle down on the most loved one :) And also must figure out the deepest darkest secrets of perfect frosting!