Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

S’Mores Brownies October 2, 2012

Filed under: Brownies,Chocolate,Cookout/Potluck,dessert,My Recipes — hmills96 @ 11:32 am

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went on our first camping trip. We’d both been dying to go, but these days it’s hard to find people who are willing to go out in the woods with no electricity, no running water, and no Internet. Not us–it was a perfect chance to unplug from the busy summer we had each had and get away from everything.

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A lot of memories were made on that trip–from the near-tornadic weather that flooded poor Richard’s side of the tent (I stayed relatively dry), to the massive toothache I had on Saturday that was only lessened by large amounts of Wild Turkey 101. We hiked 3-4 miles on Sunday, and listened to football all weekend. It was a blast, and we cannot wait until next summer so we can head out to the woods again.

Ever since that trip, I’ve been craving S’mores like crazy. Lucky for me, we had some graham crackers and marshmallows still in the cupboard from when we unpacked. These were amazing. It’s the same brownie base from my Oreo Brownies, with a graham cracker crust and toasted marshmallows on top.

A suggestion–make sure to leave plenty of room at the top of your pan for the marshmallows. They will expand quite a bit. Also, for that reason, don’t put them too close to the heating elements in your oven when you broil them. Line your pan with parchment paper, too. Butter and flour are not enough!

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S’Mores Brownies
Original Recipe

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup melted butter

1 cup butter
6 oz chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli 60% chocolate chips)
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder

2-3 cups mini marshmallows (or cut up big ones)
2-3 graham crackers, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9×9 pan with parchment paper.

In a food processor or blender, mix graham cracker crumbs, salt, and butter. Push into bottom of pan to form crust. Bake for 5-7 minutes, while making brownie batter.

Melt butter and chocolate over medium heat. Whisk in sugar, salt and vanilla.

Remove pan from heat, whisk in eggs one at a time.

Stir in flour and cocoa powder.

Pour batter over crust. Bake for 30 minutes. Toothpick should come out almost clean, but not completely.

Cover top of brownies with marshmallows. Place under broiler for 5-10 minutes, until toasted. Push graham cracker pieces into soft marshmallows.

Cool for 10-15 minutes, slice and mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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Cocoa oatmeal cookies May 14, 2012

Filed under: cookies,Cookout/Potluck,My Recipes — hmills96 @ 6:02 pm
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Yes, I’m still alive! I know it has been forever. I’m after two moves, some budget adjustments, and a lot of ups and downs, I’m finally cooking again.

Boy, does it feel awesome! I’ve been cooking 3-4 times a week, instead of taking the lazy way out with ramen or popcorn.

Yesterday I even got the urge to bake! These cookies were actually going to be muffins, but then I realized my muffin pan is in storage. It was a VERY sad moment. Until I made a few adjustments and pulled these babies out of the oven.

I think my new roommate is pretty psyched to be getting spoiled!

Cocoa Oatmeal Cookies
Original recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup white sugar
3 Tbsp molasses
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together butter, sugar, and molasses.

Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir into wet ingredients one third at a time.

Stir in oats and raisins.

Drop into greases cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Try really hard to let these cool. Fail. Burn your mouth on a scalding hot raisin. Keep eating.

Just kidding on the last part. Really…that raisin was HOT.

 

Crockpot Lean Pork Roast July 11, 2011

I have some big plans for my future. I can’t tell you what they are yet, only that I could use some prayers, thoughts, etc for the next several months. I’ll let you guys in to my secret as soon as I know what’s going to happen!

Part of this new plan is to lose weight. I need to lose 10 pounds at first, but want to lose 20 altogether. I started this plan Tuesday, and I’ve already lost 5 pounds!

I’m doing the Slimfast 123 plan, which is working really well. I’m doing a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, a slimfast shake at lunch, and some kind of meal in the evening. I usually stick a slimfast bar in there somewhere as a snack.

My biggest struggle with this diet is the variety. It’s a LOT of sweets during the day, and I’ve never been a HUGE sweets person. Occasionally yes, but I much prefer more savory foods. By the time I get home at night, I crave real protein. So yesterday I decided to braise a lean pork shoulder so that I could have some good things in the evening. This recipe is more of a how-to than anything. there isn’t much to the marinade–just a few things to tenderize the meat and bring out the flavor of the pork. I’ll use the meat to make tacos, pulled pork sandwiches (on lowfat bread and with a vinegar based sauce instead of a heavier one), etc etc.

Crockpot Lean Pork Roast
Original Recipe

1 lean pork shoulder
1 can light beer
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 Tbsp mustard
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp honey
1 large onion, quartered
Dry rub of your choice
1/4-1/2 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock

Trim most of the fat off of the shoulder. It’s ok to leave some, it will keep the meat moist. But mine came with a good 1/2″ of fat on one side…that’s too much!

In a large plastic bag, combine all ingredients, excepting the pork and onions. Add the pork and marinate overnight (or at least 4 hours).

Remove pork from marinade and pat dry with a papertowel. Rub on all sides with your favorite dry rub. Brown on all sides in a medium skillet over medium high heat.

Place in crockpot with onions, wine and chicken stock, and turn crockpot on medium low (mine is the 8 hour setting. Cover, and let it do it’s thing for 6-8 hours.

The meat should be fall off the bone tender when it is done. Literally. The shoulder bone was completely separated when the pork was done cooking. Use two forks to pull the pork apart. Use for anything!

 

Pasta Salad with Cantelope Dressing May 22, 2011

Filed under: Cookout/Potluck,Fruit,My Recipes,pasta,Quick and Easy,Salad — hmills96 @ 6:13 pm

One of the biggest challenges of going back to being single is learning how to budget groceries for one person. It might seem really simple–just buy less food! But for a cook who is used to cooking for others, it’s really hard! I go to the grocery store and get lost in the produce section, grabbing everything that looks good. It’s just really a bad way to do things. I’ve tried making meal plans, lists, but I can’t help it. I always buy way too much, and spend way more than I should.

Enter Angel Food Ministries. Every month there are a few different options on boxes you can buy, each ranging within $25-50. You order online by a certain date, then go pick it up at a local church. It was so easy, and the food is pretty good quality. I spent $60 and got at least $150 worth of groceries. Not only is it discounted food, it’ll keep me from buying everything in the store and wasting it all.

One of the boxes I got was a produce box. It had a melon, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and a few other things, even a whole pineapple! I’ll have to learn how to break that down. It is super hot and muggy today, and a salad was just the thing to cool me off. This recipe needs some tweaking–I wish I would have had some mint, or dill. But overall, really good.

Pasta Salad with Cantelope Dressing
Original Recipe

1 cantelope, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cucumber, cut into 1/2 cubes
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
Olive oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Lime Juice
1 chicken breast, roasted in lemon juice, cubed

Set aside 1 cup of melon aside. In a food processor, puree the rest of the melon and half of the cucumber until smooth. Add vinegar and lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Blend. Slowly add olive oil  while food processor is on until you get your desired consistency.

Mix together cooked bowtie pasta (chilled), melon, cucumbers, tomatoes and dressing. Serve cold.

 

Black Forest Cake Day! March 28, 2011

Filed under: Berries,cake,Cookout/Potluck,dessert,holiday,Parties — hmills96 @ 10:00 am

My foodie fame at work goes beyond my delicious weekly offerings. It actually started long before my first pitch-in. We have a special, in-house instant messaging system that allows us to not only talk to people at my branch, but also the St. Pete location.

We cannot access Facebook and Twitter, and I almost hate to admit this…when I first started my new job I was having social networking withdrawals. Plus, I wanted to get to know the people I was working with. There’s a status update feature on our IM system. One day, I updated my status to tell everyone Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

The rest was history. If I don’t post an update every morning, I get 10 IMs asking what the food holiday of the day is. It’s started quite a few discussions–What’s your favorite soup/candy/pop? Every day its something different.

Today is National Black Forest Cake Day! I knew I had to make something for this holiday. It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up. I turned this recipe into one of my trifles–it’s easier for me to transport to Indy without the whole thing falling apart. But feel free to make this into a layer cake as it was originally intended!

Black Forest Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light

Filling:
2 cans cherry pie filling
2/3 cup cranberry juice
1 Tbsp Chambord

Cake:
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Cool Whip (I used two small tubs to make the trifle, you won’t need nearly as much to make the cake version)
1 Tbsp Chamboard (use Kirsch if you can find it)

Combine cherry filling, cranberry juice, and 1 Tbsp Chambord in a saucepan. Stir over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook about 1 minute. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray cake pans heavily with PAM or line with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In your mixer, combine butter milk, milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Mix until well blended.

Pour batter into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool.

Mix together Cool Whip with 1 Tbsp Chambord or Kirsch.

Layer cake, cherry filling, and Cool Whip either in a trifle dish or on a cake plate. Garnish top with cherries and chocolate curls.

 

Jalapeño Popper Dip March 13, 2011

Filed under: appetizers,Cookout/Potluck,dip,Parties,Quick and Easy — hmills96 @ 4:16 pm

I have gotten to be so famous at work for my cooking that people constantly beg me to bring something in. However, cooking for 50 people can get expensive, so for a while I hadn’t brought anything in. A couple of the girls on my team put their heads together and before I knew it, I had a big donation jar on my desk! I felt guilty at first–I thought it was awkward to ask for money, but it’s actually been really popular. I’m not out to make money, but it helps me pay for ingredients to feed all my guinea pigs!

It’s great for me, because I get to try out the dessert and snack recipes that I wouldn’t make for just me. I get to use some of my creativity to come up with some fun recipes and adapt them so they are easy to bring to work. Plus it gives everyone a nice little break.

I’ve had this dip in my binder for awhile, but had not had a reason to make it yet. When I took this dip to work the other day, I used all pickled jalapeno, but I’ve adapted the recipe below to include about half and half, fresh and canned. The canned were just not spicy enough for most of my GPs, although the flavor was excellent.

Jalapeno Popper Dip
Adapted from Cooking This and That

4 bricks of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups mayo (I used the Olive Oil kind)
8 oz diced green chiles, drained
4 oz pickled jalapeno peppers, drained and chopped
4-5 fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack

Mix ingredients together in a crockpot. Heat on medium high until you are able to blend everything. Serve hot with tortilla chips.

 

Tuna Salad February 9, 2011

Filed under: Cookout/Potluck,Fish,Quick and Easy,Salad,Sandwiches,Seafood — hmills96 @ 11:57 am

I posted the other night on Facebook that I had never had tuna salad before. My friends couldn’t believe that I had never tried it! It’s such a popular thing around here, where mayo-based salads are king at graduation parties and funerals.

I’ve only just recently started to enjoy mayo salads, and usually, I have to make it myself with the olive oil mayo. The original stuff is just way to…Mayoie. Plus, tuna was not something my mom ever kept around the house or cooked with. But, I’m on the lookout for really cheap, filling meals, and tuna is definitely inexpensive.

Overall, I enjoyed this. Simple, but good. It made enough for 4 sandwiches.

Tuna Salad
Adapted from AllRecipes.com

12 oz can of tuna
3 Tbsp olive oil mayo
3 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
1/8 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate.

Easy enough? Gotta love those kinds of recipes!