Thursday, June 28, 2012

What I'm Making/Made this Week - June 25 through July 1, 2012

I have been cooking.  It's just that I'm doing it a little at a time.  One thing for sure is that our mourning process for one of our pug clean-up crew requires a lot of comfort food and sweets.

Here's what I've made so far:

Monday is Vegan Day and I found another recipe out of Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson that I wanted to make.  Then I added it to one of my favorites from the book that I already made.  I present to you Home-Style Loaf with Garlic Mashers...

© You Want Me to Cook?
Home-Style Loaf with Garlic Mashers

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Be Back Soon... I Promise!

I've had a rough week.

First, I was working a town fair (having a blast by the way) with the salon I do freelance make-up.  Check out the pictures I posed on my sister blog, Day Spa Central, Facebook page.

Then my beloved pug (part of the pug clean-up crew) passed away suddenly on Friday.  

Needless to say, I have been pretty worthless for several days now.

I am getting back on schedule and did make some amazing vegan food yesterday, so hopefully I'll get those pictures up soon, as well as my menu for the rest of the week.

Thanks for being patient and until I post again... happy cooking!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sample: Quaker Honey Nut Oatmeal Squares

I love samples.  I really love samples.  I am a sample junkie.

There, I’ve said it and I feel much better.

I get a lot of links to free hair and skin care samples, but occasionally there will be one for food.  Like this one I got from Quaker.  It was a sample for their new Honey Nut Oatmeal Squares.  I happily gave my shipping information and waited patiently for it to arrive.

Now, I’ll admit I’m kind of a pessimist.  I didn’t expect anything more than a few squares.  Just enough to give me a taste leaving me wanting more and sending me to the grocery store in search of a full box.  Imagine my surprise – and try my best to admit when I’m wrong – when this box arrived in the mail.

Box from Quaker
Bowl, Spoon & Milk from my kitchen

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Advanced Gum Paste Flowers – Class #4: Final Project

I finished this class several weeks ago and just realized that I never wrote this post!  It’s a shame too because all of my flowers pulled together nicely.  The last class is always final project day and I decided to pull together all the flowers I made (including some more I made during the last week) into bouquets.

We still had a couple of things to learn.  Here is lesson plan for this course.  The red, bold text is what we covered in the final class:
  • Blossoms
  • Gerber Daisies
  • Sweet Peas
  • Ivy Leaves
  • Lily Leaves
  • Briar Rose
  • Stargazer Lily
  • Stephanotis
  • Assemble Blossoms, Leaves and Bouquets
  • Using Flower Spikes
I was excited to get my Stargazer Lily put together.  It is one of the most grown flowers today and if I ever want to take myself seriously decorating cakes, I’m going to need to be able to make this one.

What I Made: June 18, 2012

You know what today is?  It's VEGAN DAY!  All dishes came from "Vegan Diner" by Julie Hasson.  I'm about at the end of what I want to make in this book, so if anyone has any suggestions for a vegan cookbook, please let me know.  I want recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Back to the cooking...

I was supposed to make breakfast, but didn't get up early enough to do so.  Not feeling quite myself this week.  No matter, this dish is called Blueberry Loaf Cake and worked well for a late afternoon snack and dessert.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Blueberry Loaf Cake

Monday, June 18, 2012

What I Made: June 16 & 17, 2012

Ah, the weekend.  I often try to take it a little easy on the weekends since I cook a lot during the week.  For some reason this weekend, I was incredibly motivated to cook and bake.

Okay, well I wasn't motivated ALL weekend.  Saturday morning was spent running errands and I wasn't in the mood to make lunch, so we picked something up.  I kicked it into high gear for dinner.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Portobello Mushroom Burgers

I got the recipe for Portobello Mushroom Burgers from All You.  Initially, I was looking for a Mushroom-Quinoa Burger I found in January's issue, but for some reason it was nowhere to be found on their website.  Since I recycle my magazines as soon as I've read them, the recipe has been lost (to me at least) forever.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What I Made: June 15, 2012

Friday was one of those days that as I was running errands, I wanted to stop at every fast food place I could find.  I'm trying to recollect every place I squealed at when I passed, but here's a tentative list:
  • Columbia Gyros
  • Potbelly's
  • Starbucks (which I did stop at and get a iced latte)
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • Culvers
  • Five Guys
  • La Caretta (Mexican deliciousness)
  • Subway
  • Potbelly's
  • Arby's
  • The Bread Basket (some of the best homemade bread in the area)
Somehow, I managed to get home without over-indulging in anything other than a soy latte (with whip), but then my lunch seemed lacking.  I had planned a salad from the April 2012 issue of Food Network.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Warm Butter Lettuce Salad with Hazelnuts

Friday, June 15, 2012

What I Made: June 14, 2012

Yesterday was another busy day that started off right... with breakfast!

© You Want Me to Cook?
Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

These Strawberry-Banana Smoothies from Food Network's April 2011 issue were fantastic.  The creamy Greek vanilla yogurt was healthy for us and tasted great!  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What I Made: June 13, 2012

Yesterday I decided to take it a little easy on the cooking/baking and make a nice dinner with a drink.  For as little as I made, I sure did make one heck-of-a mess in my kitchen.

I've heard much bally-hoo about kale.  Everyone has wanted me to try it, cook with it, make it into chips... blah blah blah.  So this evening I decided to make a Pasta with a Kale and Walnut Pesto.  I got the recipe from Real Simple's May 2012 issue. I partnered it with another recipe from that same issue of Real Simple - Spring Lettuces with Avocado Dressing and Pistachios.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Pasta with Kale & Walnut Pesto and
Spring Lettuces with Avocado Dressing & Pistachios

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What I Made: June 12, 2012

I'm getting ready to make tonight's dinner and I can't stop thinking about what I made for dinner yesterday.  I'm worried I'm going to be disappointed.  Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself here... we're talking about yesterday's meals, not about my fears for tonight's dinner.

Did that make any sense?  Yeah, it didn't on this end either.  I honestly don't know what day I'm supposed to be writing about.  I think I'm getting punchy.

Okay, let's talk about June 12th's yummies, starting with breakfast...

© You Want Me to Cook?
Chai Banana Bread

This is a Chai Banana Bread I got from Cooking Light's May 2012 issue.  It was moist, very "banana-y" and unlike the muffins I made the other day, had a great hint of chai.  I have half a loaf in the fridge and I'm really thinking about munching on a piece while I write this.

Side note: I got interrupted while writing this and when I came back, my last sentence read "...while I eat this."  I guess I really DO have that bread on my brain.

What I Made: June 11, 2012

After recuperating over the weekend, I got right back on track with my Meatless Monday.  Not just Meatless, but Vegan too.  I'm still making my way through Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson.

I do have a complaint about the book... not enough pictures.  I know that sounds silly, but when you're making your own protein/meat, it would be really helpful to know what the end result is supposed to look like.

Good recipes though.  Anyway...

I've already tried my hand at making meatless-meat and it tasted really good.  Today, I was going to make some homemade Rough Rider Barbecue Sauce and make Barbecue Ribz.

How did they turn out?

© You Want Me to Cook?
Barbecue Ribz with Rough Rider Barbecue Sauce

They look good, right?  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What I Made: June 8, 2012

I was a cooking fool on Friday.  

I'd like to stress the "fool" part.

I slightly overdid it and then was out of commission for the weekend.  The good news is that I was back to cooking on Monday and I have a lot of delicious pictures for your consideration.

For breakfast, I went with Pistachio-Chai Muffins from Cooking Light.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Pistachio-Chai Muffins

I have to admit, I'm more of a sweet breakfast muffin kind of gal, but my opinion isn't the only one that counts.  My husband took well over half a batch to work.  He returned with empty containers and said they got a big thumbs up.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What I'm making this week: June 11 through June 17

Well I did "okay" keeping up with posting my meals as I was making them.  I didn't do so great in making everything I said I would, but I've got an excuse... I'm lazy.

Not the excuse you were expecting?  Just keeping it real.

I've got the pictures from Friday that will be going up soon, but I wanted to share what I'll be making this week.

  • Monday - all recipes from Vegan Diner
    • Barbecued Ribz with Rough Rider Barbecue Sauce and salad with a baked potato
    • Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding
    • And I'm finally going to get around to decorating my cupcakes
  • Tuesday
    • Breakfast: Chai Banana Bread (Cooking Light)
    • Dinner: Pork Tenderloin with Mango Salsa (Cooking Light) and Spiced Peas with Cilantro and Lime (Real Simple)
    • After-Dinner Drink: Watermelon Killer Chiller (Every Day with Rachael Ray)
    • Dessert: Banana Cream Pie-in-a-Bowl (Betty Crocker)
  • Wednesday
    • Dinner: Pasta with Kale and Walnut Pesto (Real Simple) with Spring Lettuces and Avocado Dressing with Pistachios (Real Simple)
    • Drink: Homemade Ginger Ale (All You)
  • Thursday
    • Breakfast: Strawberry Banana Smoothies (Food Network)
    • Lunch: Garlic Ham and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Food Network)
    • Dinner: Mustard Turkey Cutlets and Orzo with Peppers and Spinach (Simple and Delicious)
    • Dessert: Gerbera Daisy Cupcakes (Wilton Design)
  • Friday
    • Lunch: Warm Butter Lettuce Salad with Hazelnuts (Food Network)
    • Appetizer: Marmalade-Glazed Asian Meatball Cups (Pillsbury)
    • Dinner: Soy Shrimp with Rice Noodles (Healthy Cooking)
    • Dessert: Browned Butter Bananas with Toasted Pecans (myRecipes)
  • Saturday
    • Breakfast: Panko-Topped Curried Eggs Breakfast Pizza (Pillsbury)
    • Appetizer: Quick Pizza Rolls (Simple and Delicious)
    • Dinner: Portobello Mushroom Burgers (All You) with Scalloped Potatoes with Tomatoes and Bell Peppers (Food Network)
    • Dessert: Chocolate-Hazelnut-Coconut Bars (Pillsbury)
  • Sunday
    • Breakfast: Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes (Every Day with Rachael Ray)
    • Dinner: Creamy Tomato-Stuffed Chicken  
    • Dessert: Lemon Cheesecake Bars (myRecipes)
Wish me luck and I'll be checking in with you later to give you my progress.  Until then... happy cooking!

Friday, June 8, 2012

What I Made: June 7, 2012

I had a lot of things planned for June 7.  Then my body decided to not agree with me and I had a pain flare.  While my dogs enjoyed me sitting around and napping, I didn't get a lot of cooking/baking done.

That doesn't mean I didn't make ANYTHING.  It just stopped once I couldn't take it anymore.

My morning started off with a smoothie from my archives.  Good Housekeeping had this Jump-Start Smoothie in their September 2011 issue.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Jump-Start Smoothies

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What I made: June 6, 2012

Today I was like a crazy cooking ninja.  And there was some alcohol involved.  

That may explain why my notes are a little difficult to read today.  Oh well, let's get to the food.

I had a crazy morning and afternoon so my breakfast and lunch dishes had to be rescheduled.  It was time to start dinner, but I was parched so I made myself a Pink Lemonade found in All You's July issue.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Pink Lemonade

What I Made: June 5

So 2 days in and I already fall behind.  Figures.

It doesn't mean I haven't eaten in two days.  Nope, I've been busily cooking, taking pictures, coating my pug in Fondant...  you know, the basics.  What?  You've never spilled melted marshmallow on your dog before?

For the record, I'd highly advise against it.

So this day, I made myself a little lunch.  I made Bacon Fried Rice from a recipe I got from

© You Want Me to Cook?
Bacon Fried Rice

If you don't read my blog regularly, let me let you in on a not-a-secret: I LOVE BACON!  I overcooked it a wee-bit this time, but it still was delicious.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What I made: June 4, 2012

Monday's are Vegan days and all my recipes came from Vegan Diner, by Julie Hasson!

Since I was making a sandwich, I decided to tackle making my own hamburger buns.  Why?  Because any vegan bread I've ever bought was dry and icky.  The bread I've made (and I've only made non-yeast breads) has been delicious, so I gave it a try.

It wasn't as hard as I thought and the results... well look for yourself:

© You Want Me to Cook?
Old Fashioned Hamburger Buns

Monday, June 4, 2012

What I'm Making This Week - 6/4 through 6/10

I've been cooking so much, I've gotten REALLY behind on posting.  It's ridiculous.  I still want  you all to see what I'm doing, so I thought I'd do two new things:
  • I'm going to post my meal plan for the week every Sunday.
  • Each night, I'm going to post the things I've cooked for the day.
I'm really hoping I'll be able to stay on top of these two things so you can see what I'm doing.

If this were me, I'd be missing a finger... probably two.
This week's meal plan is:
  • Monday - Vegan day!!!
    • Old Fashioned Hamburger Buns (for sloppy joes)
    • Very Sloppy Joes
    • Crispy Chickpea Onion Rings
    • Ooey-Gooey Brownies
  • Tuesday
    • {lunch} Bacon Fried Rice
    • {dinner} Beef and Black Bean Enchiladas
    • {dinner - side dish} Spicy Black Beans
    • {dinner - side dish} Mexican Red Rice
    • {dessert} Marshmallow Fondant
  • Wednesday
    • {breakfast} Pistachio-Chai Muffins
    • {lunch} Shrimp Cobb Salad
    • {dinner} Penne with Pancetta, Sage and Mushrooms (served with salad & crusty bread)
    • {drink} Pink Lemonade
    • {dessert} When I Grow Up Cupcakes
  • Thursday
    • {breakfast} Jump-Start Smoothies
    • {lunch} Cheddar & Pickles Grilled Cheese
    • {dinner} Sage & Prosciutto Chicken Saltimbocca with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes & Asparagus
    • {dessert} Chewy Peanut Butter-Caramel Bars
  • Friday
    • {lunch} Quinoa Stuffed Avocados
    • {appetizers} Baked Clam Dip with Crusty French Bread Dippers
    • {dinner} Chili-Braised Fish with Tomatoes & Potatoes
    • {drink} Butterscotch Martinis
    • {dessert} Coconut Rice Custard
  • Saturday
    • {breakfast} Bacon-Egg Breakfast Bites
    • {lunch} Mushroom-Onion Stuffed Potatoes
    • {dinner} Spaghetti with Bacon Meatballs
    • {dessert} Roses to the Occasion cake
  • Sunday
    • Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Empanadas
Check back in daily to see what I've made!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Wilton Portfolio – Chapter #1

Last week, I finished my final Wilton class.  Four Classes in three months.  Sounds exhausting, but I really had a great time and I’m sad it’s over.

Now I have to figure out what to do with my newly acquired skills.  Truth is, I’ve learned a lot, but I’m by no means an expert at decorating cakes, cupcakes and cookies.  I need practice!  So what I’ve decided to do is bake and decorate my way through the lesson books.

To keep from getting bored with one medium, I’m going to alternate between each of the four class books starting with the first one – Decorating Basics.

My first chapter of this undertaking is found on page 16 of the Decorating Basics book and called Party Partners.  (P.S. You can buy the lesson manuals from Joann's Fabrics without taking the class, so if you want to follow along, but don't want to take the class, jump on-line or head over to the nearest store)  Wilton has a lot of their designs on-line, but unfortunately, there’s no picture available for this one so I’ll give you the quick run-down of what the lesson entails.
  • Preparing Roll-Out Cookie and Chocolate Roll-Out Cookie Recipes and cut using a round cookie cutter.
  • Decorating the Chocolate Cookies with:
  • Snowflake Star
  • Spiral of Stars
  • Baby Carriage
  • Large Star
  • Daisy Flower
  • Decorating the Plain Roll-Out Cookies with:
  • Star Flower
  • Blue Star
  • Heart
  • Number 1

Wilton’s Roll-Out Cookies

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – May 19, 2012
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Wilton’s Roll-Out Cookie recipe located on their website.

Since I already used Wilton’s Chocolate Roll-out cookies, I decided to go ahead and make their recipe for the regular roll-out cookie.  I did have a couple of sugar cookie recipes that I have yet to try in my archives, but why mess with a good thing?

© You Want Me to Cook?
Wilton's Roll-Out Cookies
These are your basic cut-out cookie.  Mine are too brown around the edges since I made them larger than normal.  They had to cook a little longer for the center to set and the edges browned first.

I also had the same issue as I did with the chocolate roll-outs – a little uneven on the top and a few bubbles.  They are acceptable for decorating though.

Wilton’s Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – May 19, 2012
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Wilton’s Chocolate Roll-Out Cookie recipe located on their website.

As I am baking and decorating my way through my Wilton Class Books, I needed a good cut out cookie recipe.  Actually, I needed a good CHOCOLATE cut-out cookie recipe.  Oddly enough, I didn’t have any in my archive of recipes, so I took the suggestion of the book (Class #1 – Decorating Basics) and went on their website for their cookie recipe.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies
They are basic roll-out cookies. 

Yep, kinda boring without any decorating, but I’ll get to that in a future post.

There is no photo of these cookies on their site, so I can only go based on what I see in the book.  Although my cookies aren’t as “smooth” on top – and I wish I could figure out how to do that – they look very similar.

Just take my word for it.  Please?

Weekend Recipe Round-up for May 19 to May 20, 2012

If anyone makes one of these recipes, I’d love for you to let me know, give me your thoughts and even take a picture or two.  I’d LOVE to start posting updates from other Cooks, such as myself.  Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect.  That’s the point of this blog.

All pictures came from the website specified.  You can click on the picture or recipe name to follow the link to their website.

Food Network

Total Time: 4 hr
Prep: 3 hr 9 min
Cook: 51 min
Yield: 4-6 servings
Level: Easy

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Daily Recipe Round-up for May 18, 2012

If anyone makes one of these recipes, I’d love for you to let me know, give me your thoughts and even take a picture or two.  I’d LOVE to start posting updates from other cooks, such as myself.  Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect.  That’s the point of this blog.

All pictures came from the website specified.  You can click on the picture or recipe name to follow the link to their website.

Food Network

Total Time: 2 hr 10 min
Prep: 1 hr 40 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

Friday, June 1, 2012

Daily Recipe Round-up for May 17, 2012

If anyone makes one of these recipes, I’d love for you to let me know, give me your thoughts and even take a picture or two.  I’d LOVE to start posting updates from other cooks, such as myself.  Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect.  That’s the point of this blog.

All pictures came from the website specified.  You can click on the picture or recipe name to follow the link to their website.

Food Network

Total Time: 1 hr 25 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 1 hr
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy