Monthly Archives: October 2011

Candy corn sugar cookies

How stinking cute are these tiny candy corn striped cookies?

I’m going to a halloween party tonight, and I wanted to bring something fun. So I started looking at spooky themed foods and stumbled upon these babies. I couldn’t resist!

You will need:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • red food coloring
  • yellow food coloring

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Filed under Dessert

Savory roasted pumpkin seeds

Happy Halloween! I hope your costumes are all set, your house is decorated and your pumpkins are carved. But if you’re a little late on the pumpkin carving front, here’s a simple recipe to roast those seeds!

You will need:

  • dry, clean pumpkin seeds
  • a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • a 1/2 tbs of melted butter for every cup of seeds
  • couple pinches of salt, cayenne and paprika

Step 1: mix the seeds together in a bowl with the butter and Worcestershire.

Step 2: spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with seasonings.

Step 3. bake at 250° for an hour, turning them over occasionally.

Step 4: be amazed!


Don’t be afraid of the Worcestershire. Even though your seeds will smell like an Arby’s before you bake them, when you’re done they will have turned salty. sweet and savory.

I’ll never toss the seeds in the oven with plain salt ever again!

*Check back in a few days for a special Halloween recipe, and to see pictures of my costume 🙂


Filed under Appetizer

Simple pulled pork (with beer!)

pulled pork, pork shoulder, crock pot, slow cooker, pork, barbeque sauce

There are a few things you need to know about this recipe:

1. It takes 12 hours to make, BUT it’s so easy and requires minimal effort.

2. It makes a LOT of meat, BUT it’s totally worth it for the leftovers.

3. It is so succulent and tender and mouthwatering and scrumptious and savory and…yummy! 🙂

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me point out that this is a starter recipe. In fact, it’s more of a method than a recipe. I’m sure there are a million ways to season and cook a pork shoulder, but this is the one that was suggested to me by a friend (Hi Adam!), and it sounded perfect for my first crock pot try!

*I apologize up front about the lack of pictures at each step, but because it has to cook for so long I started it at 11:30 the night before, and then set an alarm for 6:00 am the following day. Pictures were the last thing on my mind. So visualize me, half asleep, trying to lift a 10 pound pork shoulder at 6 am. There’s your mental picture.

You will need:

  • Crock pot (usually I don’t put non-food related things in the ingredients, but this is a crock pot specific recipe. Sorry, non crock pot people!)
  • Pork shoulder
  • Bottle of beer (a pale ale will work)
  • Head of garlic
  • Spices (I used cumin and cayenne, feel free to sub whatever)

The first thing you want to do is mix your spices together. I used about 1 tbs of each, but I would recommend using much more. Rub the spices over the entire pork shoulder, and then carefully sear each side in a pan, almost to the point of burning it.

Dump the whole thing into the crock pot (you might have to cut it in half if you have a smaller crock pot, but this is difficult as there is a bone) and pour the bottle of beer on top of it. Peel a large head of garlic and toss the cloves in, and then add just enough water to cover the top of the meat.

Turn the crock pot to the lowest setting, and go back to sleep.

Now you wait.

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Pizza dip

Fall is the perfect season for making delicious, indulgent dips to share with your friends while you gather around the TV!

Here is another super simple, delicious dip to throw together.

You will need:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup pizza sauce (we used contadina, tastes like lunchables!)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded (for the top)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan (for the top)
  • Pizza toppings: Pepperoni, olives, peppers, whatever you can think of!

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Roasted garlic and brie soup

roasted garlic, roasted garlic and brie soup, brie, brie soup, garlic soup, fall soup

Oh. My. Gosh. This soup was the most fantastic thing to ever come out of my kitchen, and that’s putting it mildly.

Let me put it a different way: I could live off of this indulgent, creamy soup, and are you surprised? We all know how much I love brie.

Hm, I’m still not getting the message across. *runs to mountain top* I LOVE THIS SOUPPPPPPP!!!!!

There, I think you understand now 🙂


You will need:

(Recipe taken straight from Gimme Some Oven, no changes were made.)

roasted garlic, roasted garlic and brie soup, brie, brie soup, garlic soup, fall soup

  • 2 heads of roasted garlic
  • 7 ounces Brie, rind removed and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finelly diced
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano)
  • optional: fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Start by cutting the tops off of a head of garlic, and peel the outermost layer off. Leaving the bulbs in their little paper shells, rub the outsides with olive oil, wrap in tinfoil and bake in the oven at 400° for 35-40 minutes.

Celery, onions, carrots, chopped

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Hello readers! I know I’ve been posting sporadically over the past few weeks, and this week even less often than usual. It’s been pretty busy.

Last weekend my sister and nephew came up (along with my boyfriend), and so we were running around trying to do all the fun, autumn-y things that a tenacious 10 month old would enjoy!

Like eating pumpkins 🙂

I did manage to cook a perfect fall dinner on Saturday night, and impress my family and boyfriend with my growing skills as a cook and menu planner.  I even set the table with pumpkins and candles! I’ll be posting a recipe soon that you definitely need to try, trust me! 😉

And then on Columbus day, I had to bring my beloved pet rat to the vet and have her put to sleep. She was 3 years old, and I “rescued” her from my lab at college (she was in the control group, and the professor gave her to me). She had been sick for awhile, but she was doing ok until recently. It was hard to say goodbye to my little friend.


After Jeremy and I buried her in the backyard, next to my rat that died last year, I realized I couldn’t bear to not have a rattie in the house. So we drove out to Petco and bought a little baby one! Yay!

Say hi to Daisy!

This weekend I’m going to be pretty busy, BUT I am going to try out my brand spanking new CROCKPOT!!! That’s right, I bought one. And I cannot wait to try making some pulled pork in this puppy. I’ll post pictures and recipes later next week, along with a super fun pizza recipe!

(My sister also bought a magic bullet blender for the house. These things are great! I’ve made so many smoothies already!!! Thanks Leah!)

So, long story short: It’s been hectic! Saw my nephew, sister and boyfriend, lost a rat, bought a rat, big crockpot plans, smoothie overload, recipes to come.

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Pumpkin spice cookies with cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin spice cookies, iced cookies, cream cheese frosting, autumn, fall

There’s no denying it now. Though I tried to hold on to summer for as long as possible, autumn is definitely upon us. And that’s ok, because each new season is a new challenge for me. Once I get comfortable with one set of flavors and a style of cooking, the weather changes and I’m forced to switch it up.

I’m especially excited for fall, because that seems to be the favorite season of food bloggers. And so, to ring in the changing of the leaves and the grill being put away, I decided to make a recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Gimme Some Oven. There are a lot of ingredients, but don’t let that stop you because it’s an easy recipe and the result is worth it!

You will need:

Pumpkin, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin spice cookies, iced cookies, cream cheese frosting, autumn, fall

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (she recommended using Libby’s, so I do too!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. cream cheese 
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

*I liberally added more spices to the mixture, so my cookies were especially flavorful!

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Filed under Dessert

Disney restaurant review: Chef’s de France

Disney world, Epcot, World Showcase, France, WDW, Chef's de France

Paris. The city of Love. The city of Lights. The home to some of the best food in the world.

Too bad I’ve never been there. But I have been to Epcot, which is pretty much the same thing, right?

The first time I read the menu for Chef’s de France, I knew that if I had to pick one restaurant at Disney World to go to, I wanted it to be this one. For a relatively new member of the “Look at me, I eat vegetables and fancy food now!” club, even the names of the food they served there sounded delicious:

-Canard au miel, haricots vert et Polenta

-Filet de saumon, epinards sur coulis de tomatow et poivron rouge

-Plat de cote de boeuf au cabernet avee pates

Even after I read the descriptions (in English of course), I was still enchanted. So I called and booked our reservation.

When that muggy, hazy Friday finally rolled around, we headed over to France for our early dinner. (Though we still hadn’t finished digesting our huge German lunch!)

Disney World, Epcot, World Showcase, France, WDW

Disney world, Epcot, World Showcase, France, WDW, Chef's de France

The French pavilion is set up as a darling little Parisian town with patisseries and perfume stores, artists and musicians, and is home to more than a few familiar Disney faces:

Disney world, Epcot, World Showcase, France, WDW, Cinderella

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Grilled plank salmon with garlic basil butter

2011 will forever be remembered as “the summer of barbecuing.” On that first warm day in April, when I rolled the small, dirty grill out onto the driveway and when, after staring at it for a few minutes, I had to go back inside and ask my mom how they hell you light it, I had no idea that in just a few short months I would have acquired grilling skills to rival those of my father.

And then I would surpass him in skill (Sorry dad, if you’re reading this. There was that one time where you had a gas leak under the grill and it was engulfed in flames!), at least when considering variety of foods I prepared and the consistency of quality. (Again, sorry dad.)

So in August, when I found out that was offering 12 cedar grilling planks for $9.oo, I jumped on that deal right away. I’ve always wanted to try grilling salmon on a plank, as apposed to the other hundred ways it can be prepared, because it seems so fancy. It was bittersweet when they arrived, however, because it had already started growing colder, it was getting darker much earlier, and I knew that grilling season was almost over.

But not before I tried out these planks!

You will need:

  • 1 cedar plank
  • 1 1/2-2 lbs salmon
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 6 -7 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt & pepper
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40-50 minutes
Serves: 4


The first step is to soak the plank in water. The longer you can do this, the better. In case you think you can get away with a ten minute soak, this is what happens:

That is me, holding a charred plank. It caught fire and before I could run in to the house, grab some water and run back out, it had completely ignited. The poor thing never stood a chance.

So yeah, soak your planks. You can weigh it down with a can of soup or spaghettios to keep it submerged.

*True story: my mom got really worried because she saw the can of spaghettios next to the salmon and thought I was taking my obsession a little too far, and was going to make spaghettios salmon. Gross…

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Filed under Entrée

Disney restaurant review: Biergarten

Epcot, Disney World, Epcot ball, Spaceship EarthAh, Epcot. The Disney park that takes you around the world in one afternoon, allowing you to cross the English Channel from England to France in minutes, and leap miraculously from Norway to Mexico without paying heed to geographic distances.

And why does the world showcase exist? Walt himself may have wanted to bring the wonders of far and exotic countries to the people of central Florida, but we all know the real reason:


It’s true, Epcot is a foodie’s mecca. It’s like a food court on a larger, fancier scale, where you can pick a country and then sample their culinary masterpieces without ever breaking out your passport.

On the final day of our trip, Jeremy and I wandered around Epcot before our flight with several sit down meals, quick service meals and snacks left on our dining plan. And what a place to have free dining vouchers! Pastries and quiches in France, pretzels in Germany, enchiladas in Mexico…it was great.

But on our first day at Epcot, we had a more scheduled approach to our dining: Lunch at Biergarten, dinner at Chef’s de France.

It’s interesting when you have a fairly early lunch reservation and you have to run through several different countries to make it to Germany on time. No time for you, Japan. Sorry, Italy, we’ll come back! Canada…psh. Who goes to Canada anyway?

But Germany? What a country! Beer, meat and potatoes, more schnitzel and spaetzle than you know what to do with, and did I mention the beer? But I’ll come back to that 🙂 Continue reading


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