Sunday, January 27, 2013

i finally made banana bread!

 banana bread is one of my favorites!
today, while taylor and i were sofa shopping
we wondered by the baking section of crate & barrel
and i finallyyy got a bread pan

i have to say, for the first time baking banana bread,
it was pretty darn good
moist, rich banana & nut flavors and chocolate-y goodness
i didnt even use butta!

what you need:
1 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 ripe bananas, smashed
1 egg
3/4 cups greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional -- my secret touch)

what you do:
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees & grease a large loaf pan
2. mix together bananas, egg, greek yogurt, vanilla and sugar.
3. gradually stir in the pastry flour, baking powder and salt.
4. add in chocolate chips and chopped walnuts (optional)
5. evenly pour batter into the pan about 3/4 full. bake for 45 minutes  or until toothpick comes out clean. cool completely before removing and cutting.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

apple of my eye

 nothing makes me more happy than my little frenchie
she's the apple of my eye
the sweetest thing... sweeter than pie!
(didn't mean to rhyme)
and nothing makes me happier than coming home after work
and seeing her all cuddled up with taylor
...she loves being taylor's girl

the two things in this world that i love more than everything
how lucky am i!?!

Monday, January 14, 2013

la zoo

yesterday taylor and i had a day-date at the l.a. zoo
it is the perfect time of the year to go
... a little chill brings all the animals out
it was like they were performing for us!

watching taylor was the most fun
he went back to a child-like state
excited to see all the animals
his favorite was the jaguar
we spent about an hour there... went back twice
he's never seen one before and was enthralled!

my favorite was the elephants
they were soo cute! and had so much personality!

i leave you with some photos of our animal adventures....

Sunday, January 13, 2013

chocolate & guilty pleasures

flourless chocolate cake has got to be towards the top list of guiltiest pleasures
if i could justify $22 a week at whole foods for their's, i'd do it

....or I can just make my own. (theres the justification!)

with the help of "my precious" -- viola!
i did all the cooking and taylor help with the stirring of the chocolate
(he said he felt like willy wonka)

so here it is
i won't be able to tell you how GREAT it is until tonight
when we celebrate taylor's mama's 50...something... birthday

(recipe below)

flourless dark chocolate cake

what you need:
2 bars (8oz each) semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
4 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raspberry jam (optional)
whipped Cream (recipe follows)

what you do:
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F. grease 9-inch springform pan & set aside.
2. melt chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until well blended. remove from heat. add egg yolks, sugar, water and vanilla & mix well.
3. whip egg whites in large clean dry mixer bowl with electric mixer at medium speed. gradually increase speed to high; whip until stiff peaks form.  fold in one-third of chocolate mixture at a time until no white streaks remain. pour batter into prepared pan & smooth the top.
4. bake 22 to 25 minutes or until center is set. cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. microwave raspberry jam on HIGH 30 seconds or until melted. drizzle cake with jam and top with whipped cream.

whipped cream

what you need:
1 cup cold whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

what you do:
whip cold whipping cream and powdered sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form.

(adapted from kitchenaid cookbook)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

some new year recipes

i don't think it is any secret that i love to cook.. love! and one of my new year goals is to try a new recipe every week.  the list goes on and on and on, but here are a few things i'd like to try in the near future. 

stay tuned for pictures and successes (and hopefully no failures...)

Monday, January 7, 2013

dear brother...

my baby brother, alex:

i wish to get to know you again, the brother that i used to dress up in my clothes, the brother that i used to build forts with and build go-carts with out of the radio flyer.  the brother that i used to wake up with at 6am on christmas morning to open all the christmas presents (yes even ones that weren't ours) - we were best friends...

... and now i feel like i don't even know you any more. i look at you and your eyes are empty.  it hurts me to watch you hurt yourself. and the sad thing is you don't even know you're doing it.  "you're thinking is what got you here" and i wish you would take a step back and realize that your family is not trying to hurt you. alex, i'm not trying to hurt you.. i want to help you. it kills me to be around you.  you're so angry, you're so lost. life is such a beautiful thing... a very beautiful thing, and you're wasting yours. 

i'm reaching out my hand to you, please take it and lets take the first step together. i don't want to see you in pain, mom in pain, and everyone else around you.  there is so much more to life than smoking pot, doing drugs and staying up until the wee hours of the morning on facebook. 

my one birthday wish would be for you to find peace in sobriety and to get help for the anger and confusion you must feel everyday. you're breaking my heart. i hate watching you sink in this sickness. its been too long. its time to live your life.. and to be happy. its time to grow up.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

cooking therapy

sometimes when i'm having a stressful, not so very good day
i find peace and therapy in cooking.

its been a little bit of a wild ride lately
dealing with some downs with my family
namely my brother
and though tonight my heart feels a little bit broken
i still have hope that everything will be ok.

and so, to make myself feel a bit better
 i set a little date with my kitchenaid tonight
and baked my favorite cake
carrot cake!
and shared it with the person that is always by my side
to hold my hand, stroke my hair and wipe my tears
.... my b

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

holiday cooking

if you were to ask me what are the holidays all about, i'd answer...

1) spending time with family and friends
2) giving
3) the days leading up to christmas
4) parties

...and 5) EATING

one of my favorite gifts this christmas was my kitchen aid.  i call it "my precious".  its everything i thought it could be and more!  i spent the holiday break cooking... and cooking... and cooking! and, here are some bits and pieces of what i put together (unfortunately i didn't get pictures of christmas eve dinner - sea bass and crab cakes!)

spaghetti bolognese
(made with ground beef brisket, cooked for 5.5 hrs)

orange zest cake

oatmeal peanut butter cookies with dark chocolate chunks and walnuts 

my precious & me