Blueberry Bars

Ever since I made the peppermint bark cookies back in December, I’ve been wanting to try a different variation. The shortbread-like crust opens it up for many possible pairings. For example, you could add chocolate chips and walnuts. I decided to keep it simple and use blueberries.

I mainly followed this recipe as a starting point. Some changes: I used egg whites instead of eggs and wheat flour twice instead of all purpose flour. I also cut down on the sugar, as I didn’t want it to get too sweet with the addition of the blueberries.

It was quick and easy to bake, with wonderfully tasty results. I’m looking forward to having these blueberry bars for breakfast all week.

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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I’m not a sports person at all. In fact, the only sports players I know are those that used to or are married/dating celebrities, for example: Lamar Odom, Reggie Bush, Kris Humphries, Tony Parker, etc. But the one thing that excites me about the Super Bowl is the opportunity to bake.

This year I made chocolate chip banana bread. I followed this recipe with some modifications:  using wheat flour instead of all purpose, egg whites instead of eggs, and throwing in some chocolate chips for good measure. The end result was delicious.

Tip: Warm up the bread so that the chocolate chips are slightly melting and pair with a hot cup of coffee/hot cocoa! Bliss.

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Happy Monday

This was one of those weekends that was defined by food. Whether it was making chocolate banana bread (recipe forthcoming) and salsa to eating to my heart’s content during the Super Bowl (you gotta love leggings). It was amazing – the food, not the game.

My favorite parts were the extended Hunger Games trailer (here) and the commercials of course. Which one was your favorite?

Hope you have a wonderful week!

(All images courtesy Pinterest.)

Holiday Goodies

So I originally intended to make this post much earlier in the week, but things got in the way.  It was only this morning I realized that my sweet obsessed brother and sister-in-law are coming into town tonight. So I frantically began baking.

I knew I wanted to make something from scratch and peppermint flavored. A few weeks ago, I was browsing on Pinterest and I came across the recipe for chocolate peppermint bark cookies.  I knew I had to make them. Here is the recipe.

They were surprisingly easy! A few adjustments I made: I only used 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter and 3/4 cup of sugar. I also put much less chocolate chips and candy canes than indicated, no white chocolate chips whatsoever and the end result was just the perfect amount of sweetness.

The final product. I used a knife to create swirly designs and cut them in unique shapes.

What are you baking for the holidays?

I wish you and your family a very happy holiday! Have a lovely weekend.

Where I’ve Been

I’ve abandoned the blog these past few weeks, but I’m back now. My brother got married a week and a half ago, so I was a tad bit busy with that!

My big brother and I on his wedding day!

The four days were an absolute blast filled with fun events, lots of pretty outfits, hair and make-up, dancing, and of course being surrounded by family and friends! Looking back, it all feels like one giant blur. Unfortunately, the minute all the festivities ended my body crashed, literally. All I did for a week was sleep, sleep and sleep. I couldn’t keep my eyes open for very long and ate very minimal. I lost weight. I was miserable.

Fortunately, things are on the upswing now in that I am able to stay awake. I still have very little energy, a bad cough/cold, and little appetite but I am able to enjoy the fun part of being sick now.

You know what I mean- being able to rest, take multiple naps throughout the day, catch up on all the TV shows I missed, and read a fun book. I just downloaded Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” on my kindle and it’s hysterical!

However, I am going kind of stir crazy since I haven’t left the house or worn anything other than sweats this past week. I can’t wait to become a presentable looking human being again and not to mention a productive member of society.

While in the depths of my exhaustion last week, I decided I would treat myself to something fun and/or nice. I desperately needed a pick me upper! Well, when my brother and sister-in-law returned home for a night after their honeymoon, they got me a sweet card and a gift certificate for 2 baking classes at a cooking school in San Francisco. :) I think they felt guilty I got so sick from their wedding (they better -just kidding), but I’m so excited! I’m thinking of signing up for the holiday cookie class — that would be so fun.

Anyway, I hope you all have been doing well and I am looking forward to regularly blogging again!

The Pizookie

For years and years, I thought that it would be near impossible to improve a chocolate chip cookie. I mean, it’s pretty much perfect right?

Enter BJ’s Brewhouse. BJ’s has an amazing dessert called the pizookie. It is essentially a freshly baked cookie topped with vanilla ice cream. It is the item that started my penchant for hot/cold dessert combinations (such as fried banana and ice cream, fried mango ice cream, etc).

After having this delicious item at BJ’s a few times, I realized just how easy it is to make at home as well. It’s a simple dessert that can be made at the spur of the moment, for as little as one person to five people.

Happy Friday!

TGIF! The weekend is a mere hour and a half away for me. It’s been a long week and I am excited to unwind. Here’s why:

- It’s supposed to be in the mid-70s this weekend. In FEBRUARY. I love it. As much of the country was stuck in a snow storm this week, I am glad to live in not such an extreme climate. My parents always say “We pay for the weather” and it is so true!

- Our annual Super Bowl party: I am not a football fan at all, but this gives me an opportunity to bake. What’s on the agenda? Chocolate chip cookies and zucchini bread. Yes, zucchini bread..don’t knock it until you try it! It’s a recipe my mom got from way back when we used to live in the Midwest. It became a fast favorite with our family and my mom’s specialty, but she passed the torch to me. :)

We also have a lot savory goodness at the party, ranging from homemade salsa, seven layer dip, spinach dip, and of course our Indian favorites. So, while everyone is enjoying the game I will be sitting in the corner, happily enjoying all the food.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Happy holidays!

I love the holidays. It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside, like I’ve just drank a gingerbread latte (my holiday drink of choice!).

I’m so excited to spend this Christmas at home. We have family coming in tomorrow from Seattle and Vancouver and they are staying for a week. We have no real plans except to eat and spend time with each other..and I cannot wait.

I love holiday baking, so I probably have make sugar cookies with my 4 year old niece. Also, we will go see Christmas lights and decorations in San Francisco.

We don’t really do gifts, but we got something for my niece and family that are coming over.

Do you have any holidays traditions or customs? Is there something you are excited to do during this holiday season?

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The arrival of my first paycheck coincided nicely with the holiday season. I made my first BIG purchase and bought the latest Kindle as a Christmas present! I’ve always been a bit hesitant, because I love the feel of books, but after playing around with the Kindle for only a few minutes I fell in love. It is so light and sleek. Plus, I love that I don’t have to wait forever to buy a paperback version of a book now.

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More importantly, this holiday season I am very grateful for all that I have: a roof over my head, never having to worry about when my next meal will be, good health, and supportive family and friends.

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season, however you are planning to celebrate!

$1 million from baking? Not bad.

Baking is one of my favorite things to do.  Whenever I have people over, I love to bake something for them. Whether it’s cookies, cupcakes, or a cake..I enjoy it! (Red velvet is my favorite, just so you know :-))

A good friend and I never pass up an opportunity to bake.  We’re always on the lookout for new, fun baked goods to experiment with.  Lucky for us, I came across exactly that today!

I caught the end of Oprah’s show, where she announced the winner of Pillsbury’s Bake Off. The grand prize being one million dollars. Can you imagine? That is pretty amazing. Who knew that my insatiable cravings for baked goods is worthy of a million dollar prize?

Anyways, the winner was a woman from New Jersey whose item was Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups. They look amazing and not to mention delicious! It also looks pretty simple, with room for your own creativity.

I’m excited to try them soon..perhaps at the next party/get together? (Hint, hint friends! ;-))

Thanks, Oprah!

Here is the recipe:

Servings: Makes 24 tartlets

Ingredients:

Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups

  • 1 package (16 ounces) Pillsbury® Ready to Bake! refrigerated sugar cookies (24 cookies)
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped Fisher® Chef’s Naturals® chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Hershey’s® semisweet chocolate baking chips
  • 1/4 cup Smucker’s® Seedless red raspberry jam
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla bean ice cream , softened
  • 24 fresh raspberries

Directions:

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Start to Finish: 45 minutes

Heat oven to 350°. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Place 1 cookie dough round in each muffin cup. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Place 2 teaspoons of the sugar in small bowl. Dip end of wooden spoon handle in sugar; carefully press into center of each cookie to make 1-inch-wide indentation. Cool completely in pan, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix walnuts and remaining 2 teaspoons sugar; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High 30 to 60 seconds, stirring after 30 seconds, until smooth.

Run knife around edges of cups to loosen; gently remove from pan. Dip rim of each cup into melted chocolate, then into walnut mixture. Place walnut side up on cookie sheet with sides.

In another small microwavable bowl, microwave jam uncovered on high about 15 seconds until melted. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon jam into each cup. Freeze cups about 5 minutes or until chocolate is set.

Spoon ice cream into cups, using small cookie scoop or measuring tablespoon. Top each cup with fresh raspberry. Store in freezer; let stand at room temperature 5 minutes before serving.