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Mini Pumpkin Cakes

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I've posted the recipe and instructions for my pumpkin bars/pumpkin cakes.

Spark nutrition:

Recipe Instructions:
Mini Pumpkin Cakes

Sugar Free Cream Cheese Frosting with Stevia

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYLADY4 11/8/2011 9:52PM

    I will so be making these this weekend. Thanks

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MRS.CARLY 11/8/2011 9:42PM

    They do look scrumptious

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MKPRINCESS007 11/8/2011 5:51PM

    Does look fabulous!!!!!!!!!!

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ARCHIMEDESII 11/8/2011 1:15PM

    So, this counts as a serving of veggies, right ???



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NAYPOOIE 11/8/2011 11:39AM

    They look delicious.

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Fall Cooking

Monday, November 07, 2011

I've been busy the past week with a number of different cooking experiments. I'll post recipe instructions on my website later this week, but here are a few of the things I've made.

Butternut Squash Soup

Very easy to make. Instead of adding cream to the soup, I added a dollop of sour cream as a garnish. Topped with shreds of capicola ham from the grocery deli. My SO who does not like squash loved this soup.

Herbed Pork Chops with Roasted Leeks and Carrots

I've been experimenting with leeks lately. They have a mild onion flavor, but less sulfuric and/or sweet than regular onions. It has added interesting dimensions to my recipes.

Balsamic Pickled Onions

I like pickled onions as antipasti and salad toppings. I thought it would be easy enough to make my own. This is a blend of red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, pickling spices and a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce.

Fruit cake

I hate most fruit cakes. I would not normally make it, and this one came out by accident. I was making a variation on the apple walnut bread recipe I shared with you earlier. My applesauce mixture was more watery than I expected, and the bread came out very moist with a fruit cake type texture. But it tasted good, unlike the fruit cakes of my Christmas past. I was pleasantly surprised, and will be making this for my parents when I visit for Thanksgiving instead of the store bought fruit cakes I hate.

Almond Flour Pumpkin Bars

My first baking experiment with almond flour. I blind taste tested it on my unsuspecting fiance. He said he wouldn't have known it wasn't regular flour if I didn't tell him. I made a cream cheese frosting with stevia, and topped with chopped walnuts and raspberries. Low calorie, low sugar, and low carb. Score! 1/4 cup of white flour has 22g carbs. 1/4 cup of almond flour has 6g carbs. Low carb baking for the holidays? Yes, we can!

Today I have a pot of chili simmering in my slow cooker for tonight's dinner. The house already smells so good. I love fall cooking!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BTVMADS 11/7/2011 6:49PM

    HALLELUJAH, I can make cookies for Christmas!! And the pork chops with leeks and carrots looks divine. Thanks for the inspiration!

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LUCYSUNFLOWER 11/7/2011 2:16PM

    I wish so badly you could be my personal chef!!! LOL I'd eat anything you fixed... I'm no baker but you're making me want to experiment with almond flour.

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NAYPOOIE 11/7/2011 12:08PM


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ARCHIMEDESII 11/7/2011 10:45AM

    Where is a Homer drool emoticon when you need it ? YUMMERS !!! I emoticon balsamic vinegar. I'll bet those balsamic drenched onions are absolutely amazing.

Oh and I'll take any fruit cake you don't want ! I loooooove fruit cake. preferably, the dark dark ones that are soooo heavy, you can anchor a boat with it. LOL !! Oh, and MUST be drenched with a good brandy.

Do you have your fruit cake soaked with brandy or rum ? If not, that might be the reason you don't like them. LOL !!!!

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MYLADY4 11/7/2011 10:36AM

    OMG, they all looked WONDERFUL. I can't wait to see the recipes, especially the almond flour pumpkin bars. I might try making some next weekend to take to MIL who is diabetic.


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KAYOTIC 11/7/2011 10:16AM

    It all looks and sounds so good....I have a butternut soup in the fridge I made yesterday....and toasted the seeds too, they were so good!

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Martha Stewart Sunday

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Since I learned to cook 7ish years ago, Sunday has always been my favorite day to prep veggies and food for the week. When I lived in Seattle, I used to take a morning walk around the farmer's markets, picking up a variety of veggies, fruits and meats. I'd then chop onions, celery, carrots, etc and store them in bowls for use in the week.

I affectionately call it my "Martha Stewart Sunday".

A long time ago, I didn't like Martha Stewart. I couldn't relate to her. Her cooking and crafts seemed so out of my league.

Then I learned to cook. As my cooking repertoire expanded, I found myself wanting to learn more advanced cooking styles and flavors. As I started eating at some really fantastic Seattle restaurants, I wanted to learn how to recreate them. Thus, I came to be a Martha convert. I totally get her now.

Fall is my favorite season for cooking. Summer months I prefer raw salads, vegetable side dishes and fruits because of the short prep time and no stove/oven required. Fall, however, opens up possibilities for my favorite foods. Stews and soups that fill the house and soul with warmth and aroma.

Some of the items I'll be making this week are chili, butternut squash soup, braised lamb marsala, and cuban shredded beef. I have a really fabulous 'formula' for making easy gourmet tasting soups I learned from Fine Cooking magazine that I will share soon.

I am still on the hunt for a new job. I have an interview on Tuesday, and another lead to follow up on in the week. I am also moving forward on a possible new direction. I'm looking into some freelance options. Also, I've been toying with the idea of creating a mobile application. I've settled on an idea that combines my love of cooking, eating and programming, and I'm really excited to get started!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYLADY4 11/6/2011 1:04PM

    Sunday is cooking day for me as well since I have to make all of my meals.

Just made stuffed chicken breasts last night and it was wonderful.

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SNOWHIT 11/6/2011 12:03PM

    Enjoy your day to cook and prep and good luck on the interview.

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BUTEAFULL 11/6/2011 11:59AM

    now you have me curious about this mobile ap

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JECKIE 11/6/2011 9:39AM

    I do the same. Sunday is a day to relax, put on some good tv or music and float about the kitchen making wonderful things to last the week.

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Apple Walnut Bread

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Continuing to use the apples I have, I made an apple walnut bread last night. I based it off a recipe from Everyday Foods magazine.

It was actually supposed to be an apple walnut "cake", but I did something wrong and the texture didn't come out right. The original recipe was for a large 9" loaf, but I scaled it down for a mini loaf size. I think I added too much baking powder, and it rose like a bread. It was still delicious!

I didn't take step by step pictures because baking isn't my strong point. I heard someone on Food Network say once there are bakers, and there are cooks. I am a better cook than I am a baker. I think part of it is I didn't grow up with it as a tradition. My mom is Korean, and asians in general don't make a lot of baked goods. If I had cookies, it came in a package from the store. Pie at Thanksgiving was frozen Marie Calender's.

On the other hand, my mom was very good at make-ahead marinades and fast cooking. On that front, I am a pro. I know how to organize my ingredients, and look in the fridge for what I have to make a menu on the fly. My favorite Food Network shows are Iron Chef and Chopped. I imagine myself competing with them! If there is ever a home cook edition, I am totally auditioning!

I made the batter with 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp orange zest, 1 egg, 1/2 finely chopped apple, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and 1 cup apple sauce.

I looked at the recipe before putting in the pan and noticed I forgot to add baking powder. I added about 1 tsp of baking powder, but this was too much. I wanted a flat top on the cake like in the magazine picture, but the top rose like a bread. I decided to decorate the top with whole walnuts before putting in the oven.

It was delicious! I ate a piece this morning with butter and a touch of honey with my coffee. The apples, walnut and orange zest blended together in a really wonderful trio. It was mildly sweeter than a bread, and less sweet than a cake. The apple sauce gave it most of the moisture and a very nice apple background flavor.

The fiance liked it so much, he ate half of it last night. Glad I made a mini loaf! I am going to try it again today, but with half the baking powder, and more chopped apples and walnut.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOAN_HEO 11/4/2011 11:10AM

    Wow! That looks wonderful!

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W5VEOTX 11/3/2011 10:01PM

    I'm hungry now!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/3/2011 6:12PM

    I'm pretty sure I couldn't handle the temptation of having carbs like that around. I'd inhale 'em.

Sounds like you're having a good time with your kitchen experiments!

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CHEFSOPHIE 11/3/2011 5:00PM

    That sounds and looks great.

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CTTAGENT 11/3/2011 12:48PM

    Looks good!

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SNOWHIT 11/3/2011 12:00PM

    Looks yummy! I love the walnuts on top.

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IMNENA23 11/3/2011 11:43AM

    Judging from the pictures, you ARE a baker! Looks very delicious!

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FITGIRL15 11/3/2011 11:13AM

    You are making me hungry!!! Great job!

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ARCHIMEDESII 11/3/2011 10:16AM

    That's still a pretty good looking loaf to me !! YUM !

I've been looking at recipes for my crock pot. I've been dying for sweet potatoes. tis the season. LOL !! So, I'm looking for a good crock pot sweet potato recipe.


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LUCKYPRESENCE 11/3/2011 10:14AM

    looks yummy!!

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Easier Apple Pie!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Ok! I've done it! Easy as apple pie, apple pie!

I remade my apple pies, learning from flubs on my previous attempt. Still not the perfect apple pie of my dreams, but it's an improvement.

I mixed 2 diced/cored apples in a saucepan with cinnamon/sugar, dash of nutmeg, 1 tablespoon of agave nectar, and 1/4c water. I let it simmer about 10 minutes until the apples were slightly soft. Much better liquid content!

I skipped lining my pot with pastry, and directly filled my pots 2/3 full with the apple filling. I'm serving them directly from the pots, so I don't need a pastry base.

I pureed the remaining mixture into apple sauce.

I had only a small amount of pastry left, so I couldn't make a full topper. I made strips for a pseudo lattice. Baked in 350F oven for about 30 minutes.

Verdict for round 2? Apple pie that is easy as apple pie!

Now I'm unhappy with the presentation. But I'm tired of apple pie, so it may be a while before I make another round. I'm moving on to an apple/walnut cake today, using the leftover apple sauce.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/3/2011 6:07PM

    Now you've got the basic algorithm for fruit pie filling. Works with almost every kind of input, although you might want to adjust the sugar and acidity.

You can program a wrapper around it to change the presentation. Besides the pastry crusts you've experimented with, you can also do these:

A crisp is even easier. Same prep except the crust is a combination of oatmeal, cinnamon, sugar, butter, stuff like that.

And a cobbler is pretty easy. Just make drop biscuit mix and spread it on top.


Comment edited on: 11/4/2011 12:14:16 AM

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SNOWHIT 11/3/2011 12:03PM

    They look great! Skipping the bottom pastry is a nice touch.

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JOAN_HEO 11/3/2011 9:30AM

    Oh YUMMMM!! They look good enough to eat! I swear I can smell them from the photos!

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FROSTY99 11/2/2011 9:07PM

    Way to go! Don't let it beat you.


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CHEFSOPHIE 11/2/2011 6:23PM

    That looks and sounds great. I sometimes throw dried cranberries of dried cherries into my apple pies this time of year.

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FITGIRL15 11/2/2011 4:59PM

    Nom Nom! Looks amazing! emoticon

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NAYPOOIE 11/2/2011 4:23PM

    There ya go!

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