Doggie Birthday Cake

wpid-20140913_113812_richtonehdr.jpg

Call me a crazy dog mom, but I can’t help but find joy in making dog friendly treats for my precious pup. Aspen celebrated her six month birthday on September 13th so of course I baked her a puppy cake to celebrate. Yes I know it’s not her real birthday, but look at that face, how could you not want to celebrate her little milestones? We had a little celebration in the backyard with Whiskey, our new kitten. Aspen loved being the center of attention, but was kind enough to share her cake with Whiskey. While the recipe is completely dog safe and human friendly, it is definitely not a sweet treat in my book. Hope you and your pup enjoy!  As you can see in the pictures, Aspen truly enjoyed her cake, it took a few shots to get the perfect one of her admiring the cake!

wpid-20140913_113710_richtonehdr.jpg

ingredients:
1 egg
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp vegeatble oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 oz cream cheese
dog treats, to decorate

wpid-20140913_114723.jpg

directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 ramekins and set aside.

Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and honey, if desired, in a large bowl; blend well. Stir in the carrots and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour and baking soda and fold into the carrot mixture. Spoon cake batter into prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost with plain cream cheese, as desired. Garnish with doggie treats.

wpid-20140913_113808_richtonehdr.jpg

Just a taste, mom, please!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

So I may have put my blog on my resume, so what. What better way to show passion and commitment than to showcase something that’s been your baby for over a year?  Well let’s just say that news got around at my new job pretty quickly that I do in fact have a food blog. Let me do you a favor, if you just so happen to let it slip that you have a food blog or like to bake, bring something in ASAP. Get that first round of cookies or cupcakes out of the way. It doesn’t have to be something super impressive, just a little something something to prove yes, you can bake. You don’t let your fans down. Lucky enough for me {and my coworkers}, one of my direct reports had a birthday last Friday. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to share some home baked treats and celebrate a birthday the best way I know how– with sprinkles!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

ingredients:
Cupcakes:
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 lb confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
salt, to taste
Sprinkles, to decorate

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. This recipe makes about 12 large cupcakes or 18 smaller cupcakes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until completely smooth. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then half of the buttermilk. Gently stir and repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir until just combined; do not overmix. The batter won’t be very thick.

Spoon the batter into the liners – fill only halfway. Bake for 18-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely while you make the frosting.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, whipping cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes, until fluffy peaks form.

Frost cooled cupcakes, using a pipping bag and tip, then decorate with sprinkles.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addition

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Call me a weirdo, but I always seem to forget how much I enjoy the taste of crisp vegetables. This past weekend, Bill and I went up to Sacramento for a wedding of one of his family friends. While we were visiting, we stayed with his childhood friend and his wife. While trying to keep a low profile before our flight Sunday, we decided to stay in and watch the first half of the 49ers game {luckily we avoided watching the second half leading to their loss}. Our hostess with the mostess offered a delightful spread of snacks- including the sweet chili flavored Wonderful Pistachios we gifted them as a thank you. I munched on typical football snacks like chips and salsa, but then my eyes drew to the hummus and carrots blocking my straight shot for the pistachios. Hmmm I thought sure, I’ll have one or two, might as well eat something healthy. But look out– when was the last time you had a snack that was refreshing and light and didn’t make you want to run a 5k afterward? Needless to say, I found my new afternoon snack at work. As a result, I started brainstorming other dishes that I could make that would fulfill my desire for something fresh and tasty and keep those pesky calories in line. And that’s what brings us to maybe the tastiest Stuffed Bell Pepper recipe I’ve made thus far…

Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

ingredients:
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
6 large bell peppers, preferably red or orange
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1.2 lb lean ground turkey
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
a few good pinches of kosher or sea salt
a small pinch of ground black pepper
1-14 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes (not drained)
1 jalapeno, diced
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or cubed very small
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

directions:
Cook your quinoa according to the directions on the package. Substitute chicken broth for water. Bring quinoa and chicken broth to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to low. Cook 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork and set aside.

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare your peppers to be stuffed. Using a paring knife, cut the stem off of the pepper leaving a wide circular top. Trim out the ribs and seeds until the pepper is clean inside.

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and translucent, two to three minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add the turkey and seasonings. Cook, stirring to break up the turkey, until the pink is just gone. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, jalapeno, feta and quinoa.

Fill peppers firmly with the turkey-quinoa mixture. Mound it a little on top. Place peppers in a glass baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 -40 minutes. Serve as soon as possible.

Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Classic Meatloaf

Classic Meatloaf

I’ve been trying to replicate my dad’s signature meatloaf recipe for almost 3 years now and I think I’ve finally done it! Growing up my dad used to make his signature meatloaf at least twice a month. After he passed away, I started to crave that home cooked comfort meal I’d grown up eating. Little did I know that most meatloaf recipes include tomatoes or ketchup, which I never experienced in my dad’s recipe. It took a lot of tries, experimentations, and guesses to finally come up with a recipe I know my dad would be proud of… This one’s for you, daddy!

Classic Meatloaf

ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup bread crumbs

Classic Meatloaf

directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the beef, pork and beaten egg in a large mixing bowl with your hand. Add milk, working the mixture until the milk is well incorporated. Add salt, seasoning, parsley and breadcrumbs, working until mixed thoroughly.

Spray a glass Pyrex loaf pan with cooking spray and fill pan with meat mixture, being sure to fill any empty corners of the pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until meat is fully cooked.

Serve with gravy.

wpid-20140903_192150.jpg

Old Fashioned Patty Melt

Old Fashioned Patty Melt

Hands up, who’s on a diet?? Back away from this post. The butter, the cheese, the burger, so mmm mmm good. But oh so bad for you. Save this for a rainy day, a big fat old cheat day. You’ll thank me then but hate me now. It’s okay, Bill made me go on a 3 mile run before we could eat these bad boys.

wpid-20140901_205155.jpg

ingredients:
1/2 stick butter
1 whole yellow onion, halved and sliced
3/4 pounds ground beef
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 slices rye bread
4 slices Swiss cheese

Old Fashioned Patty Melt

directions:
In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat and add the sliced onions, cooking slowly until the onions are soft and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally so the onions do not burn.

While the onions are cooking, form the patties by combining the ground beef, Worcestershire and some salt and pepper and molding two even patties. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a separate skillet over medium heat. Cook the patties on both sides until totally done in the middle, about 3-5 minutes.

On a clean griddle or in a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoons of the butter and grill the sandwiches until golden brown. Layer the sandwiches: slice of bread, swiss cheese, hamburger patty, 1/2 cooked onions, swiss cheese and final slice to bread. Once one side is browned, remove the sandwiches and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Cook until bread is golden brown and crisp, and until the cheese is melted.