Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

My all time favorite pie as a child. When my mom brought this pie home, I always asked her if I could have a piece (my mom ate pie for dinner, yes, it's true). It has been, at least over a decade since I've had strawberry rhubarb pie. Mostly because the bakery near our house went out of business a long time ago, and then I moved away. But I've been waiting to enjoy this pie again. I've made apple pie. And it's quite wonderful. I've made lots of tarts. And now this. If my mom were still around, she would be asking me for a slice, or in reality, the crust....

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

1 3/4 C four
1 TbL sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 C cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 TBL cold milk

In stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Scatter butter over top and mix on low speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes and the butter is in clumps about the size of butter. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolks until combined. Add it to the flour mixture and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds. The dough should just barely come together. 

Dump the dough onto an un-floured fork surface and gather it into a mound. Once in a  mound, with the palm of your hand, pull down on the dough to streak the butter as evenly as possible. You don't have to do it this way, the goal is just to streak the butter throughout the dough, while keeping it as cold as possible. The cold ingredients are what make the crust so flaky. once streaked enough, flatten into an inch thick disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.

1 16 oz container fresh strawberries (hulled and halved)
About 20 oz rhubarb trimmed in 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch pieces (I like my strawberry rhubarb to be heavier on the tart side)
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C corntstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Combine ingredients in a bowl, tossing together lightly to make sure everything is combined. I make my filling while my pie crust is baking. That way, it has time to absorb all the flavors.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and have a 9 inch pie dish ready. 

Take dough out of fridge and break off 3/4 of the disc and put the remaining quarter back in the fridge. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 12 inch in diameter circle. It should be about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Beautiful crusts is not my thing, so if I manage to get it all in one piece with nov racks, I'll take it. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin, and move it over to the pie dish.  Loosely place the dough in the pie dish, allowing about an inch of dough to hang over. Gently pat the dough into the pan.  Refrigerate the dough  for at least 30 minutes, or wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for a day. 

Remove dough from fridge and place parchment paper over it, and then put pie weights (actual pie weights or uncooked rice works) on top of the paper. Blind bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown. The edges can be a little darker. remove from oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack. Remove the other quarter of the dough from the fridge. 

Pour in filling. 

With the second piece of dough, roll it into a rectangle 10 inches long and 6 wide, about 1/4 inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or regular pizza cutter, cut the dough into 10 inch long strips. The width is really up to you.  You can arrange them however you want. This dough recipe (from Flour) says to arrange them at 45 degree angles from each other. I just work across one side and then do the other.  As I mentioned before, beautiful crusts is not my thing. As long as they taste wonderful. Anyways, once the strips are arranged, sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.  

Bake for 1 hour up to 1 hour and 20 minutes. When it's done, the top strips should be golden brown all over. Let cool on a wire rack before enjoying! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cinnamon Latte

I learned this from a friend who works at Starbucks...

Ignore the cinnamon stick... it's for decoration. Because, you know, I'm so fancy!

If you just add cinnamon to the milk before you heat it or froth it or whatever you do to make your milk hot, just add ground cinnamon.  I have a Nespresso maker and the milk frother that came with mine is pretty tiny, so I did a few dashes and mixed it in before frothing. it had a very subtle cinnamon flavor, which was nice for me. I would imagine for every cup of milk maybe 1 tsp of cinnamon. No, that sounds like too much, I'd go 1/2 a teaspoon at most. Or, it's really up to your taste buds. just make sure you mix the milk and cinnamon together completely (or as completely as possible). Then just sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top and bam, flavored latte with no extra sugar. 

Graham Cracker Bread

Graham Cracker Bread

1 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 C unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 dark brown sugar
1 C graham cracker crumbs plus 4 tsp more 
3 TBL creme fraiche
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C buttermilk
1 1/2 C raisins

Preheat oven to 350 and butter a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Dust the pan with the 4 teaspoons of graham cracker crumbs. 

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. set aside. 
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter, about a minute. Add the creme fraiche and graham cracker crumbs and mix on medium low speed for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs on at a time, and then add the vanilla extract. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Alternate adding the buttermilk and flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture.  Mixing in between each addition on low speed until ingredients are just combined. Mix in the raisins with a spoon. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 

Bake for 50-60 minutes. mine was done after 50, so you could even check before then. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then pop the bread out of the pan and let it remain cooling on the wire rack for 1-2 more hours. Once the bread is cool enough, drizzle honey on the top and serve!  

I'm debating if I should add a 1/4 C of canola oil to this recipe. When I make it again, I definitely will, but if anyone decides to make it with the oil, please let me know how it comes out! 

Other than that, this bread was yummy, especially as my breakfast this morning. :)
P.S. you can store it in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cajun Turkey Burgers

One of my weaknesses for food (yes, I actually do have favorites) are turkey burgers. More specifically blackened turkey burgers or sometimes called cajun turkey burgers. a good turkey burger, in my opinion, is harder to do than a good burger because turkey isn't as flavorful as beef.  Nor as juicy and can become dry quite easily. For these reasons, I usually stick to beef burgers and have had my fair share of terrible turkey burgers. I'm thinking frozen patties and stale turkey taste....

So, I decided to create my own turkey burger.  To enjoy and eat whenever I felt like. 

Cajun Turkey Burgers

2 lbs lean ground turkey
1 sweet onion
3 green onion stalks
2 cloves of garlic
2 egg whites
3 TBL flour
1 tsp garlic powder
black pepper
cajun seasoning
olive oil

In a large bowl, combine onions, garlic, garlic powder, the egg whites, and flour together. Mix them together using whatever pleases you: a whisk, a fork, a spoon, whatever. Just make sure to break up the eggs and evenly distribute the flour. Then add the turkey meat and mix the onion-egg mixture into the turkey thoroughly. Place a strip of wax paper on the counter and begin rolling the meat-onion mixture into patties.  They can be however big or small, fat or think, you want them to be. I made mine about 1- 1 1/2 inches thick, and about 3-4 inches across.  They were fat little burgers. Place them on the wax paper. Once all the patties are put together on the wax paper, season them with salt and pepper (to your taste) and then cover the top with cajun seasoning. If you don't have cajun seasoning, you could substitute chili powder or paprika.  I'd go easy on the chili powder though.
Over medium heat, pour about 1 TBL of olive oil into a frying pan or skillet.  Let heat for about 5 minutes. Add 2-3 patties at a time to the pan.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of your burger, and also the first time will take a little longer.  When you flip the patty over, it should be a dark golden brown.  I had to flip my burgers at least twice on each side to cook them all the way through. I also seasoned the patties with cajun seasoning on both sides (I seasoned the second side after the first flip). Pour more olive oil into the pan for every new wave of patties, but 1/2 TBL will work. I put them on a plate after they were cooked through and sprinkled them with a 6 cheese blend and some fresh cilantro. Mozzarella or Swiss would be yummy here too.
I love onions and garlic, so feel free to lighten the load there too. But basically, these were delicious. Even my brother who hates turkey said theses were amazing. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

4 Side French Braids

It's four french braids starting from the side and going across. Then weaved together and put into a side bun. You could also just do three and braid them together at the side and wear it down. I think that would look nice, as well. As long as all the braids were braided in the right direction for a low ponytail. . . or high one if you're feeling very 80s. 
Makes for a classy up-do, I think. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dueling Braids

One french braid starting at the nape of your neck.

One french braid from the top of your head. The braids meet in the middle and you can do whatever you want with them. We opted for messy bun.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hair Twists.

Take a section of hair and pull it back into a ponytail. Then loop it through (over and under, though under and over could work too, I suppose.  I connected the top two then started fresh for the bottom two, and then pulled it all into a ponytail at the bottom. It looked nice hanging down as well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Key Lime Cupcakes

I love Key lime Pie. I like to incorporate its flavor into anything and everything. Cookies and cake being top priority. Cookies to come, but first...cupcakes or cake. I chose cupcakes because they are infinitely easier to give away. 

Key Lime Cupcakes
1 3/4 C cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 tbls butter, room temperature
1 C sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp key lime zest
1 1/2 to 2 tbls key lime juice (depends on how tart you like your key lime pie)
2/3 C buttermilk
1 bag white chic chips (the smaller size)

1 C confectioner's sugar
1/8 C key lime juice 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffing tin with baking liners.  
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a stand mixer, blend together the butter and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs, zest, and lime juice, and mix until combined. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk into the butter-egg mixture, mixing after each pour until all ingredients are blended together. First 1/3 of the flour, then 1/3 of the buttermilk, until you have added all of both. Fold in white chocolate chips. 
Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full, or more if you like bigger cupcakes, and bake 18-20 minutes (12-14 minutes for mini-cupcakes). To test for readiness, insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, they're done! Allow cupcakes to cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, or until cooled.

To make the glaze, combine the confectioners sugar and key lime juice in a small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. I even added a little zest to my glaze. You can also add as much sugar as you want to make the glaze thicker or thinner. AND, if you wanted to make this frosting instead, you would need to add about 2 tablespoons of butter and add an extra cup of confectioners sugar....at least. I am also guessing at this, since I didn't make icing, but you basically want it to have the consistency of frosting as opposed to a glaze....

Anyways, once the cupcakes are cooled to room temperature, you may spread on the glaze. Let sit for at least an hour to let the glaze set before putting them in an airtight container, or just eat them all. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Caramel Latte

Mmmm my very own caramel latte.  Thank you Nespresso machine for making all my dreams possible.   I can make regular lattes and then drizzle caramel on top...homemade caramel too! Recipe is with the salted brownies. :)

What a nice morning I had for a change.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chai Concentrate

I love chai tea, chai lattes, chai anything really. I will make anything involving chai. As much as I enjoy a nice chai latte from starbucks, I know there's better out there. So, I decided to endeavor to make my own chai concentrate. I originally took this from my pinterest account (http://pinterest.com/bosticme28/) and then I tweaked it to how I like it. 

Chai Concentrate

4 1/2 C water
12 whole cloves
10 whole cardamom pods
2 sticks cinnamon
1 3 inch piece ginger, chopped
2 whole star anise pods
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp freshly grated orange zest
12 bags black tea (I mixed and matched)

1/2 C brown sugar
1 tbls honey
1 tbls vanilla

In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil. remove from heat and add: cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, black pepper, nutmeg, orange zest, and tea bags and let steep for about 20 minutes. The longer you steep the stronger the taste, so watch out! Once done with the steeping, strain the mixture into a bowl, and discard the spices. Add the brown sugar, honey, and vanilla and stir until the sugar dissolves. I let it sit until it cooled down some, then poured it into a jar and stored in the fridge. Then add 1 part concentrate and 1 part milk, hot or cold, and so much yummier than a store bought one. :)  

Hair Clip

A hair clip made by my lovely friend, Liz! 

A round piece of blue felt painted with the water symbol from Avatar Last Airbender (the real Avatar). Don't forget a slit in the back for a hair clip! So cute!

Also...sorry for the lack of posts. Life is tough.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Salted Caramel Brownies.

I have never been good at making brownies. I can do the box kind no problem, but homemade is another story. To be fair, I've only tried once, but they came out really grainy.  To top that off, I've also only attempted homemade caramel once before, and it's safe to say that tasted like rusty metal.  So, I took this mission as one that I would not fail.  Yet, after the 4th attempt at caramel, I was having misgivings. I didn't actually burn it once. I just continually messed up the ingredients. I was trying to combine three different recipes for caramel, and for whatever reason, my brain was not comprehending conversions very well. Anyways, I'm glad I didn't stop, because these brownies are offing delicious.


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 C and 2 TBL unsalted butter, melted
5 eggs
2 C sugar
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Place bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave proof bowl. Or you can boil water and place the bowl above the water without touching.  I do not have a bowl that will do that, YET, so microwave it is.  I generally do 30 seconds, mix it up a bit, then do 20 seconds, and then mix the chocolate until it is completely smooth. The most I would microwave it after that is 10 seconds. Whisk in the butter, and let the chocolate-butter mixture cool slightly. 
Place the eggs in a stand mixer with the whip attachment. On low speed, slowly add the sugar and beat for about a minute. The mixture should be frothy and somewhat thick. With a  rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate-butter mixture. In a separate medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; then fold in the flour mixture to the egg-chocoalte mixture until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan with the rubber spatula (it will be thick) and place in oven.
Bake for 30-35 minutes but start checking around 20. the knife check is a pretty sure way of knowing where your brownies are in terms of being cooked. If you stick the knife in and wet batter comes out, they need more time. If you stick the knife in and nothing is on the knife on the way out, then they are overcooked. Well, they will be more cake like and when they are done cooling will be harder. You want somewhere in the middle. I took them out when I got some gooey batter on my knife.  And I'm usually the person who makes rock brownies, so I took a chance there. 
Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours. The brownies must be completely cooled before you start slicing them. if you get impatient, then you will have a lot of yummy brownie bits. Once they are cool enough, I went ahead and covered the pan with plastic wrap and left them on my kitchen counter. Or you can cut them into squares and store in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days.


1 1/2 C sugar
3/4 C water
3/4 C heavy cream
6 TBL unsalted butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

OKAY...here we go... 

Make sure all of your ingredients are on hand. There is no time to be searching for them during the baking process.
Pour the sugar into a medium saucepan.  Slowly add the water as well. Scrape any sugar crystals off the side with a wet pastry brush. Place the saucepan over high heat.  The first step is getting the mixture to a rolling boil. It will start boiling vigorously and turn a very light amber color. This is good. If you think you smell burning you're wrong. It won't smell the best. Do not move the pan at all, or stir its contents. Let the sugar and water boil. The mixture will start to thicken and it will not boil so furiously and will start to slow down.
Soon the syrup will start to darken in color around the edge, gently swirl the pot around to evenly caramelize the syrup.  As you swirl the pot, the mixture will begin to turn golden brown and then darker and darker. To check the true color of the caramel, tilt the pot forward, so you can see the bottom of the pan. It will be lighter, and you want this layer on the bottom to be a rich amber brown.  You MUST check constantly because it is seconds before you had perfect caramel then rusty metal caramel. 
Once the caramel is the right color on the bottom, reduce the heat to low, don an oven mitt, and pour the cream slowly into the caramel. You don't have to wear the mitt, but the steam that comes off the caramel is hotter than boiling water, and makes the cream warm in less than a second. Let the caramel and cream sputter for a few seconds then gently whisk them together. Turn the heat back up to medium and continue to whisk, the mixture will bet thicker, for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter, salt, and vanilla. 
Remove from the heat and pour into an airtight, heatproof container. You can either let it cool or place it in the fridge at this point, but I suggest letting it cool because once refrigerated, it's quite hard. 

You can then drizzle, spread, or whatever you want to do with the caramel, over the brownies. Then sprinkle sea salt across it all, and you're ready to enjoy! 

**You can easily cut the caramel recipe in half (it makes a ton). I just have plans for this caramel with other things as well. The caramel can be stored in your fridge for a week.


I grew up in a family that never cooked anything but frozen pizzas and boiled pasta.  my mom, was cooking inept. Not to mention, that her diet consisted of ice cream, cinnamon rolls, pies, and cheesy fries. No joke (she was tony too). Except for one thing my dad would make. Tacos. When my dad said he was making tacos, we would all scramble to be home, no matter how far or how old. It was alway a big deal. I remember the first time I tried to replicate them. Not successful. Apparently, the tacos were more unique than I thought. Now, I can make them, and I thought it'd be nice to put this down in writing for a change.

Baked Tacos.

12 Corn tortillas (hard shell)
1 lb lean ground beef
2 Packets El Paso reduced sodium taco seasonings
1 lb mexican blend shredded cheese
Chili Powder
Garlic powder
Dried minced onion
Black Pepper
Cajun Seasoning
Anything else you might want to add to your tacos

In a medium sauté pan, cook the meat over medium heat.  Break it up, and turn it over constantly, so as to cook all of the beef and not to burn any. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes. Once the meat is cooked, I drain the fat, but you don't have to. I just like to pretend I am healthy. If you do decide to drain the fat, just put a lid over the top of the pan but leave a small crack for the fat to drip through, hold it over something disposable for the fat, tilt and drain away. 
Once the fat is or is not drained, add water to the pan, so that all the meat is submerged.  Place it back on the stove and lower the heat to medium low. Add the 2 packets of seasonings, mixing into the water. For the rest of the seasonings, it's really up to you. I love spicy anything, so I add at least 3 Tablespoons of chili powder. That may be overkill for some of you. I would at least add three tablespoons of both the minced onion and garlic powder. And, if you really wanted to get fancy, you could even add 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder. And you can feel see to add a real onion instead of the minced onion. And a red pepper too. I've tried that as well. Here's all my seasonings....haha.....

Once you've added all your seasonings and mixed them into the water and meat, you have to wait until all the water is absorbed. Anywhere from 20-45 minutes. You can turn the heat up high to speed it up, or lower, if you want to make something else in between or whatever you want to do. Though, at this point, you do want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line the shells up in a baking pan, usually 9 x 13.   
When the water is completely absorbed into the meat, spoon the meat into the taco shells. you can use all of it, or you can save some and make a dip out of it. Once you've put the meat in the shells, put the cheese on top until you can't see the meat anymore, or until the top of the shell. Place the tacos in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted. And voila! Tacos baked in the oven! You can serve them with whatever you want: sour cream, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, taco sauce. 
They're best the night they are served, but if you don't finish them, you can put them in the fridge in a n airtight container and refresh them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 325 degrees.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Braids, braids, braids.

Hair experimentation time!

All three of these braids start with a french braid with the front of your hair. . .

Pretty self explanatory...just weave the fresh braid around your scalp.  You don't have to tie all the hair together at the end either....

Braid around in circles.  :)

 This one is hard... Once the front section is french braided...then you start a waterfall braid going in the opposite direction. then when you hit the side again, go back the other way, using the strands you used for the first waterfall braid for another waterfall braid. the longer your hair, the more waterfalls you can make.