Reason #127 and #128 I fail at baking

Two super epic baking fails in two weeks??? Me? You better believe it. I never really share my fails with you, but I do fail. And often!

Just two weeks ago I decided to whip up Cooking Light’s healthier carrot cake (um…. Don’t even get me started about one slice of carrot cake being 1200 calories!!!). As I was mixing up the frosting I couldn’t help but cuss out my beaters, yelling to Nerd that I needed a stand mixer asap. I obviously couldn’t cook another day without equipment that didn’t read my mind. In other words, I thought it was the beaters fault for my frosting to be ridiculously sticky. Finally, I tasted it and knew immediately I’d made DOUGH, not frosting!! the one problem of buying in bulk and placing in Glass canisters is that if I don’t look at the bottom, where I’ve written the contents, I might use flour instead of powdered sugar. That was awesome(ish) at least I made the cake even healthier! It was still prety tasty:)

Then, last night, I mixed up my favorite chocolate cake so Nerd could practice his decorating skills, he proceeded to taste it (because it’s generally awesome) and asked why I made a brown salt cake? Say whaaaaa? Yeah so basically, I’m super glad it was a practice cake because I forgot to put in sugar. Seriously!? Who does that???

So here is why I have problems baking: I have ADD in the kitchen and end up doing dishes while sautéing, cleaning out the fridge, or starting something with my left hand while mixing with the right.

I’ve even been known to go to the laundry room while sautéing onions. Oh that happened last night too. Which leads me to why I prefer cooking to baking…. You can fix your mistakes! I made a few last night while whipping up this delish white bean and onion bake. But it was Alllll good in the end! White beans (or cannellini) are my current favorite. You could be fine with just a sprinkle of thyme! I was in the mood for some healthy comfort food so I created this dish to fulfill that desire while cleaning out the fridge! Easy, efficient, and delicious! My favorite!

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White Bean and Onion Bake

1 can of white beans or 1/2 cup soaked and boiled until desired tenderness is reached
Olive oil
2 onions sliced in half moons
Thyme
1 cup chopped kale (or other greens
Sausage*
3 oz shredded sharp cheddar

*I had 2 links of jalapeño chicken sausage that needed to be used, but you could easy make this vegetarian, or I think it’d be really good with chopped bacon.

Peheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sauté the onions in the olive oil until golden brown, turn off fire and add the chopped kale and thyme*. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a baking dish, Layer 1/2 the white beans, onions, sausage, and a little cheese, repeat until all ingredients are gone.

Bake until cheesy and bubbly!

* after doing laundry, I had a few crispy onions and then forgot to add the thyme, salt, and pepper and had to mix up all my nice layers in the baking dish to add them!

Moral of this story is that everyone messes up in the kitchen so don’t be discouraged:)

Xoxo

I’m back!

Like Voldemort!

Can’t promise for how long this time though:/ I still have too many yummy recipes to share to part with Krista Cooks. We have been living in San Francisco, you can check out my adventures at http://kdsf.wordpress.org, now heading back to Austin to get hitched! Then to honeymoon in Paris for a month! So if I can find anytime between all these awesome things, I’ve collected many recipes that I’d love to share. And in Paris, I will probably just be sharing my delicious food finds with you, as we are living in a tiny studio apartment, with a coffee pot in the kitchen :)

I’ll leave with an oldie but goodie. This used to be a staple in Nerd and I’s college cooking until I gained 10 pounds, put my foot down, and threw out the fry daddy. I’ve been CRAVING these but have a stronger to desire to fit in my wedding dress than to fry up these yummies! I would say they are best made to serve to a party because they yield such a high quantity and are DEEP-FRIED! EEEK!!! People love them and you won’t have any leftovers!

I don’t have pictures, so you will just have to trust me on this one.

Crab Rangoon

1 package of wonton wrappers, thawed (found in the frozen Asian section)
1 package of cream cheese (let’s just save some calories and go for fat free, there is so many other flavors you won’t miss the extra cream)
1 bunch green onions chopped***
1 package of crab (usually found near seafood, Louis Kemp makes them. Get the stick kind, as they are easier to chop) ***
a few garlic cloves to taste
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil for frying.

*** I like a good amount of crab and green onion in mine, if you like less go right ahead and not chop the whole package.

Mince the green onions, crab, and garlic. Combine with cream cheese in bowl and beat with mixer.
Take on wonton wrapper put ~1 tablespoon of the mixture in the center and pinch the opposite corners together. I suppose this is when a picture would come in handy, you can just fold it over and pinch like a dumpling or get fancy.

Drop in the deep fryer and fry until the wonton is looking golden brown and puffy and remove. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.

You will NEVER want to pay $5 for 5 crab rangoon again as it costs about $8 to make 50 of them!

Enjoy!

Oven – Baked Ratatouille

To be honest, until about a month ago, I had no idea what this dish consisted of but ever since that cute little mouse mastered the dish I couldn’t get it out of my head!

Mom has an amazing garden in her backyard and showered me with vegetables the last time I was visiting. Which was awesome considering I was in San Francisco for 2 weeks and came home to empty cabinets and banking account…

I am also excited about this recipe because it is made of 90% homegrown ingredients (minus bell pepper, onion, and garlic)!!!!

Found this oven-baked version in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. I chose this method because, hey, convenience is key here. The toughest part is the chopping (as usual) but that’s it folks!

1 pound eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick and salted if time allows

1 large onion, sliced

1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into large chunks

1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced.

1 round tomatoes, cored and chopped

10 cloves of garlic, halved

Fresh herbs. I used fresh basil and oregano out of my very own patio garden. Mark says you can pretty much use any of the savory herbs.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

In addition, if you have potatoes and/or mushrooms you can throw those in, as they are the most common added ingredient to ratatouille, but Mark says any vegetable will do great in this recipe!

Here is the beautiful array of vegetables pre-oven :)
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Heat oven to 350 degrees F. If you salted the eggplant, squeeze out extra liquid, rinse and dry.

Film a casserole dish with a couple tablespoons of the olive oil, then layer the vegetables. I did onion, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper, and the garlic. But then it didn’t matter because you drizzle the remaining olive oil over it all and swish the veggies around a bit.

Bake for about 1 hour, pressing down on the vegetables occasionally with a spatula, until they are all completely tender. When they are tender remove.
Garnish with more herbs and drizzle a bit more olive oil, if you please. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

I boiled a few shrimp tonight and threw them in the mix. It was delicious!
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Enjoy this easy, healthy recipe!

Summer Munchin’

Hey there… anyone still, um, there? Wow. It’s been a good long while since I was here. So I can’t blame you if you aren’t there any longer.

Now that school is out, I’m back from San Francisco (best place in the U.S. of A. if you weren’t already aware), left my Nerd/Stud there for an internship at Apple, and the summer is rolling I am ready to work this baby back into my life!

I am determined to lose and keep these last lingering, yo-yo’ing, 15 pounds off! So I’m back into health food mode, as I seem to attempt every summer. Usually works out but only until around October 31st……..

In addition, this summer, I am challenging myself to use only the growing stack of cookbooks I have around the apartment for recipes! I have become entirely too dependent on technology for good food! No more internet diving for what sounds good, surely that recipe is somewhere. in. one. of these. That is the intent anyway! There is no point in having fabulous cookbooks if one isn’t going to use them!

I look forward to sharing healthy recipes from my own collection with you this summer!

Stay tuned for Ratatouille tomorrow!!!

Krista:)

Caribbean Black Bean Soup

Once again another great find from Cookie Madness. But alas, not a dessert! This soup is so very easy and yum! I made it vegetarian so omitted the chicken, but the flavors are so great you will please the whole family!

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Ingredients
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (14-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 pound chicken breast tenders
2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, drained*
1/2 teaspoon salt
Toppings: diced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream

* Since I opted for the vegetarian option, I used 3 cans of black beans to insure a hearty soup.

Preparation
1. Sauté onion, brown sugar, chili powder,cumin, and coriander in hot oil in a Dutch Oven, or other large pot, over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is tender and fragrant. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute.

2. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, orange juice, and tomato paste until well blended. Stir in chicken. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 2 hours. Shred chicken with two forks in Dutch oven.** Add black beans, and cook 10 more minutes. Stir in salt. Serve with desired toppings.

**For the vegetarian option, I let the mixture simmer for ~45 minutes, then added the black beans.

Note: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days, or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator. When reheating, add water or canned broth to reach desired consistency.

Enjoy!

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