Tag Archives: baking

Delicious Winter Chili (and some epic choco-chip cookies!)

Happy 2017, everyone! I hope your holiday season was well too. Since I bake/cook more often for holiday potlucks and my annual cookie run, I decided to also post one of my recipes I made recently for it! My friends at Otaku Recipes featured my beloved chocolate chip cookies (I was a previous collaborator).

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Click for the cookie recipe! (Thanks Kar for the photo!)

Lately I’ve been putting together a recipe box featuring the best of my recipes, as well as family recipes from my mom and my grandmothers. I used the cards from here but next time I plan to enlarge them, since they kind of run small.

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Magic is in this box :)…

Now finally, onto the dang chili!

Delicious Winter Chili (4-qt. slow cooker)

Yield: 10 to 12 people

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 (15.5 oz.) cans red or kidney beans, washed and drained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 large red peppers, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup beer (use whatever you like to drink)
  • 2 hot chili peppers, deseeded and chopped (depending on the crowd I use jalapeños or habaneros)
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp. ground sage
  • 3/4 tsp. ground thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Put all ingredients except the ground beef in the slow cooker and stir to combine.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the beef until cooked. Drain the fat and add the beef to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  3. Cover the slow cooker and set on LOW for 5 to 6 hours, or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. Do not lift the cover! 
  4. Serve warm with cheese, rice, and/or tortilla chips, eggs, etc!
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Gosh, I can just smell it from here.

What are your favorite things to cook or bake in winter?

Chinese Almond Cookies

Gung Hay Fat Choy! (Slowpoke News much) As mentioned from my red velvet cake recipe post, here are the Chinese almond cookies I did the week earlier at the potluck at work. They were fun to make and were nice and nutty, just like I remembered them as a kid!

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Assembling the cookie army!

 

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Chinese Almond Cookies (adapted from AllRecipes)

Yield: about 24 cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ sticks butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
    (or ½ cup granulated and ¼ cup raw/turbinado (like Sugar in the Raw®)
    for a slight crunch)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons almond extract
  • About 30 whole, blanched almonds; one for each cookie
  • Canola oil for brushing

    1. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and egg until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix. When halfway combined, add the almond extract, and mix until it comes into dough (will be a little flaky; shouldn’t be too wet).

    2. Form the dough into a ball, and wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill down the butter.

    3. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Take a teaspoon of the dough and roll the piece into a ball. Place on a lightly greased cookie tray, approximately 1 1/2 inches apart. Flatten each ball on the tray with the palm of your hand so that it’s about ¼ inch thick. (You can also flatten with a glass cup, just flour the bottom to prevent sticking.) Place an almond in the center of each cookie and press down lightly.

    4. Brush each cookie lightly with the canola oil before baking. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until they start turning golden brown at the edges or an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the cookies feel slightly crunchy. Cool and store in a sealed container up to a week.

*After you put the first batch in the oven, chill the remaining dough immediately so it stays cool. Take out again and repeat the cookie process when you’re ready to make the additional batch(es).

Old-Fashioned Red Velvet Cake with Orange Creamsicle Glaze

There was a big week-long potluck at work this week, since Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day were fairly close to each other this year and we had a feeling a lot of us would want to make something to celebrate. I volunteered to do something for both holidays, but this post will just be for what I did for Valentine’s Day. For Chinese New Year, I did Chinese almond cookies, which you can find here.

Oddly, red velvet is not my favorite type of cake. The crazy anime-hair red doesn’t even bother me, it’s just that I find most don’t have enough chocolate in it, or none at all. I also don’t like how a lot of recipes from scratch call for a literal bottle of food dye. I’m fine with food dyes, but from past experience red leaves an awful bitter taste if too much is used. (The notorious one is black though. I’m still convinced my friends spared my feelings from my Super Smash Bros. cupcakes last year.)

So on my journeys to find a red velvet recipe that actually has good bittersweet chocolate flavor but is still red, I heard of the old-fashioned method of using beets. I never grew up eating beets, and only started eating them a few years ago so now I love them. I also saw a yummy cream cheese frosting recipe using candied orange peel, and I just HAD to make it with this cake.

I’m so glad I did, because my coworkers pretty much told me I found my second career XD.

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The only thing with red food dye here are the sprinkles in the middle for decoration, but that’s totally optional.

Old-Fashioned Red Velvet Cake
(adapted from With A Spin’s Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes)

makes a 2-layer 8-inch cake

Ingredients:
– 2 medium beets for 1 cup puree
– ¼ cup water, set aside for 1 cup puree
– 2 teaspoons white vinegar
– 3 eggs
– 1 cup vegetable oil
– ¾ cup granulated sugar
– 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
– ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 2 tablespoons milk
– 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To make the beet puree:
1. Scrub and wash beets before putting in medium saucepan, filled with enough water
to cover. Put in vinegar and stir. Boil on medium heat until soft, about 45 minutes
to 1 hour.

2. Let beets cool before peeling. Chop into 1 inch pieces and put in blender to puree.
If the mixture is too thick for the blades, slowly put in water to loosen it up (should be
thick like yogurt). Pour into container and put in the fridge for 1 hour.

To make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans, and set aside.

2. Sift and combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate medium bowl, cream together the oil and sugar. Add the eggs, mixing
one at a time, then add the vanilla extract. Stir to combine.

3. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in the milk
before combining the remaining flour mixture. Fold 1 cup beet puree into the batter,
and pour into cake pans, filling halfway.

4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. While it’s
baking, prepare the orange creamsicle glaze for the filling and top. Store in the fridge
immediately after to set up.

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Red and au-natural!

For the orange creamsicle glaze, I followed AllRecipes’ Basic Cream Cheese Frosting, halving the recipe to make 1 cup of glaze and added 1 teaspoon of candied orange peel.

I’m so excited about how this recipe turned out that I will definitely make it again in the future! Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Spicy Bacon Drunkaroni and Cheese

I didn’t think I was gonna post another recipe again so soon, but I had to share this one. My folks were away seeing my brother last week, so after finishing up leftovers and being the lady of the house, I wanted a bombin’ mac and cheese. And not just any regular mac and cheese from a blue box.

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The house smelled amazing after this was out of the oven!

I would definitely make this again, but with some tweaks. If I find other substitutions or other ingredients to add to jazz it up, this will be updated.

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I’m thinking of adding more bacon next time, as well as greens such as spinach or peas to give it more color.

Spicy Bacon Drunkaroni and Cheese
(adapted from Abbey Robb’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese I)

Yield: 6 – 8 servings (or 5 – 6 very hungry persons)

  • 2 slices bacon
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, plus 1 cup for topping
  • 1 tablespoon chili flakes, optional
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 -8oz. can/bottle beer (lighter brew is best; I used Brooklyn Lager
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a large pot with boiling water, cook penne pasta until al dente and drain. Put pasta in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, cook down bacon in a skillet over medium high heat until evenly brown. Take out bacon and chop into bite-size pieces.
  4. In the same skillet, saute the onion and garlic with olive oil under medium-low heat. Take off heat when almost caramelized and add the chopped bacon back in. Mix together for about a minute and put in the pasta bowl.
  5. To make the sauce, in a medium saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Once melted, add the flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes to make a blonde roux. Add in the cheddar cheese, dried oregano, chili flakes, and beer, and stir constantly until thickened.
  6. Combine cooked pasta, sauteed vegetables, and cheese sauce in the large pasta bowl. Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish and spread out evenly. Add the last cup of grated Cheddar cheese to top of mixture.
  7. Bake uncovered in preheated oven until cheese on top is melted and brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Hope your’s turns out just as yummy as mine!

Basic Muffin Recipe (featuring dried fruit and nuts)

While this is mostly a craft blog and my shop blog for my Etsy, I love baking and anyone who knows me always looks forward to my next set of treats. Now and then I’ll post some of my more successful (and possibly famous) recipes, but even explaining all of this just reminds me of how every food blog out there has some sidestory before getting down to business. I know it’s out of formality, but let’s face it, even I scroll past those paragraphs just to find what I’m looking for. I’m a terrible person like that. Please forgive me.

Anyway, the short end behind this update is that I brought these muffins in for work today and they were gone within moments. Everyone asked me for the recipe so here it is!

The tray used is from fellow Etsy shopkeeper mymimi! Click on the photo to check it out!
The tray used is from fellow Etsy shopkeeper mymimi! Click on the photo to check it out!

Basic Muffin Base (good for adding dried fruit and nuts. Sadly I lost the original source of this recipe years ago but if I find it I will let you know!)

Yield: 12 muffins

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts*
  • 1 cup chopped dried fruit*

*Use whichever fruits or nuts you like. For mine, I made half a batch of dates and walnuts, and another cranberries and walnuts.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom of your muffin tins (or a 9″ loaf pan if making a quick bread), or place cupcake liners into muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the buttermilk and eggs; blend well.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Add the dried fruit and nuts, and mix well. (You may also add in the orange peel at this point but I prefer smothering it on top before baking for a big burst of citrus flavor. The co-workers also agreed.) Add to buttermilk mixture and stir until moistened.
  4. Scoop batter into muffin tins or pour into loaf pan, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and tops are golden brown. (Depending on your oven it may take up to 55 minutes but mine bakes pretty fast.) Set muffins or loaf pan out to cool for 15 minutes before removing.

This muffin base is easy and delicious, good for all sorts of fix-ins and delicious with a little spread of butter on top (or not)! Happy baking!