Crispy Potato Cake

Crispy Potato Cake from Bon Appetit Magazine

Normally when I think of the word “cake” I think of a chocolate mixture with frosting or a sweet concoction to celebrate one’s birthday. But, when I saw this savory Crispy Potato Cake in Bon Appetit Magazine I just couldn’t resist.

Now, although this just looks like a glob of potatoes (it is), it does pack a ton of flavor due to its smothering in butter, garlic and herbs. It is as delicious as it is decadent. The good news is that this can easily be prepared ahead and then brought to a friend or family’s house to share. Whichever option you choose, you can’t go wrong!

Step 1: Clean, Peel and Chop Potatoes

Crispy Potato Cake from Bon Appetit Magazine
Cut Potatoes for Crispy Potato Cake from Bon Appetit Magazine

Step 2: Cut and Saute Garlic

Garlic for Crispy Potato Cake from Bon Appetit Magazine

Step 3: Cook Cut Potatoes in
Butter, Salt and Pepper

Cooking Potatoes for Crispy Potato Cake from Bon Appetit Magazine

Step 4: Press into Pan and Bake

Baking Potatoes for Crispy Potato Cake from Bon Appetit Magazine

Step 5: Add Garlic and Parsley; Eat!

Crispy Potato Cake from Bon Appetit Magazine

This recipe is very simple to make and requires few ingredients (definitely bonus points in my opinion!). Next time, I’d suggest to add more garlic throughout the potatoes as well as a few more herbs for additional flavor.

This is definitely a perfect recipe to kick off celebrating the Fall season!

Cheers!

Crispy Potato Cake from Bon Appetit Magazine

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Everything is Bigger and Chocolatey-er in Texas!

My eyes lit up as soon as I found a recipe for a Texas Sheet Cake. In order to look forward to my upcoming trip to Austin, Texas (yes, I am so incredibly excited), I figured that I absolutely, positively had to make it. Plus, did I mention it was ranked #2 Best Dessert in Cooking Light magazine and it has copious amounts of chocolate? Sold.

Step 1: Combine Dry Ingredients

Step 2: Mix Wet Ingredients Together;
Add Dry Mixture

Step 3: Bake Batter; Combine Butter,
Cocoa, Powdered Sugar and Pecan; Spread & Eat 

After making this cake, the phrase “everything is bigger in Texas” kept ringing in my head. But, according to this cake, the phrase really should be “everything is bigger and chocolatey-er in Texas”. This was definitely a delicious cake with plenty of chocolate-y goodness. Perhaps my stomach size needs to increase before my upcoming trip!

Cheers!

Pumpkin Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

“Let them eat cake!”

No, but really, everyone should eat cake (at least before everyone’s New Year’s resolutions starts!). After hearing this phrase on the television (this phrase was supposedly spoken by a princess who learned that the peasants had no bread and was rumored to have  been Marie Antoinette, but no actual proof exists), I became inspired to bake a cake for our annual Christmas dinner.

Now, although the original recipe called to make homemade frosting (Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake With Caramel and Cream Cheese Frosting), I copped out and bought store-bought frosting because I was in a pinch and used a bundt pan instead of creating multiple layers. My deviations resulted in an easier version; however, although I saved myself time and energy, I am sure that the original version (complete with homemade frosting!) would have been more flavor-filled and fulfilling. But, that adventure will have to be saved for another day – at least everyone could eat cake!

Step 1: Mix Together Liquids


Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients Into Liquids


Step 3: Bake and Add Frosting


Now, truly after this recipe, I swear that my healthy New Year’s resolution will actually start (I swear!).

Cheers!

Halloween Cupcakes Part 1: “Mummy” Cupcakes


I love stumbling across old photos. I happened to find a picture of these Halloween-themed cupcakes from last year on a photo from my phone. Although I’ll be making a different Halloween-themed cupcake for this year (in a future blog post coming soon), I wanted to share these because they are extremely simple and oh-so-cute. Plus, you never can go wrong with cupcakes!

How to Make “Mummy” Cupcakes:

Step 1: Bake chocolate cake mix into cupcake tins and let completely cool once done baking.

Step 2: Frost cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

Step 3: Pipe white frosting in strips across the cupcakes for the “mummy layers”.

Step 4: Add M&Ms.

Step 5: Eat!

Cheers!

Strawberry-Almond-Cream-Tart

So, continuing with this past weekend’s trend of using almonds, I found a recipe for a Strawberry-Almond Cream Tart during a recent shopping excursion at the local grocery store. After looking through recipe after recipe in the grocery store magazine aisle, I finally settled upon this one. But, I’m not going to lie, at first glance, I solely wanted to try this recipe because it looked “pretty” and it contained almonds. It wasn’t until after my impulse buy and I was in the car already on the way home that I realized that this would be a perfect dessert for a dinner party: light, summery, and the strawberries I had chosen were actually ripe!

Step 1: Crush Graham Crackers (You
Can Use a Food Processor — I Just Chose
to Smash Them in Bags!)


Step 2: Combine Crushed Graham Cracker
Crumbs With Butter and Sugar 


Step 3: Spray Pan With Cooking Spray;
Press Graham Cracker Crumbs Into Pan 


Step 4: Mix Cream Cheese With Almond
and Vanilla Extracts Plus Sugar 


Step 5: Cut Fresh Strawberries


Step 6: Add Strawberries and
Almonds to Top; Bake and Enjoy! 


Although I altered a few things from the original recipe, I’m happy with how it turned out. I really liked implementing nuts into this dessert because I often don’t ever think to add them to desserts. The key for the best flavor is to toast the almonds and the key to the best construction of this dessert is to use enough cooking spray (I didn’t and had some architectural failure when taking it out of the spring form pan). Anyway, all in all, this is a flavorful dessert that is light and doesn’t leave you feeling too full which is just perfect for summertime!

Cheers!

July Fourth


So, in true patriotic spirit, I attempted a few “July 4th-like” desserts. Of course, I did the classic cake July 4th cake, complete with strawberries and blueberries. Note to self: always make sure to dry the strawberries before putting on the cake… if they are juicy, they will fall, drip, and make a complete mess/unelegant presentation.


Happy July 4th!

So, I tried to be creative with the inside of the cake with red, white, and blue layers. Unfortunately in this case, the red dye didn’t turn out quite red. Apparently America’s colors are now “pink, white, and blue.”


In addition to a cake, I made these very simple chocolate and sprinkle dipped marshmallows. I found this awesome recipe from Lauren Conrad‘s blog (as seen here). These were a definite hit that I will look forward to making next year!

Cheers!

5 Things in February

February has been quite the surprising month. Basically, the weather couldn’t seem to make up it’s mind and teased everyone with bouts of sunshine and plummeting rain, I became addicted to the HBO show The Wire, and have started to widen my vocabulary through increased studying for the GRE test. I also celebrated many birthdays of friends and family and listened to both lovers and haters of Valentine’s Day on February 14th. All in all, it was a great month. But, I am definitely looking forward to March which brings St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, and hopefully more sunshine!

The following highlights just a few of the many sparks, laughs, and tidbits that kindled my interest in February:

1. Summer Skirts & Hats — Yes, it is technically still winter; however, I am completely sick of the dreary and gray weather. All of the clothing stores I frequent have already started sporting spring trends on their websites and stores. It’s tempting me too much! So, while on the hunt for some new boring black pants, I managed to become sidetracked by a bright colored skirt at H&M and a summery hat from Urban Outfitters. For now, I’ve hung both on a rack for a quaint reminder of warm weather to come!

2. Jerky — A large group of my friends ventured to the Oregon coast this past weekend to celebrate a friend’s birthday. For the trip, my friend’s boyfriend happened to purchase some beef jerky as part of an impulse buy while stocking up on groceries for the trip. At the time, he deemed this purchase to be a smart choice; however, upon first bite, he was completely aghast by the bland taste and texture of the $4.99 jerky. After witnessing this terrible incident, we all were scared to buy beef jerky again.

Picture this: a run-down road-side tent selling beef jerky conveniently placed next to a Dairy Queen out in The-Middle-of-Nowhere, Oregon. Sketchy right? We spotted this stand on our return trip home from the Oregon coast. After careful consideration, we decided to abandon our fears of beef jerky and try the stand. The 6 foot 5 inch scruffy man working the tent proceeded to explain his business to us and assured us we wouldn’t be let down. And let down we were not. I’m glad we trusted his roadside stand and I just wish there were more of these stands so others can experience authentic jerky over store bought jerky any day!

3. Reo’s Ribs — 2,500 miles. The previous figure is the approximate distance between the Northwest and New Orleans, Louisiana. Although the distance is vast, I hope to someday find myself  enjoying the sights, sounds, and tastes of the South. Until then, I can only dream and occasionally try Southern-style restaurants in the Northwest. Now, that’s not to say that the places I’ve tried here haven’t been great, because I’ve definitely enjoyed every sip, bite, and calorie of it. But, I’ve longed for a true Southern restaurant. Well, last week, I fully achieved this desire through Reo’s Ribs. We went there for my brother’s birthday and were treated like family. In fact, upon being seated, the waiter reached out his hand to introduce himself to each of us. He entertained us with stories of the South and gave my brother a free Red Velvet Cake for his birthday. Besides the fact that the food was phenomenal, the hospitality and aura seemed to help transport us to the South. Although I quickly awoke from my teleportation, I plan on visiting this place again sometime soon. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that the owner is Snoop Dogg’s uncle? Pretty darn cool.

4. Personalized Birthday Cake — I’ve helped celebrate many birthdays of friends and family this February. Especially amongst my friends, funfetti seems to act as the “go-to” cake to eat for birthdays. So, with that request, I made a funfetti cake for a friend for her 23rd birthday. In typical fashion, I couldn’t just frost it and add candles, I had to add some type of frosting decoration!

5. Painting Pottergy — Although my artistic flair for painting is definitely lacking, I do enjoy painting at pottery places. The place I visit always has a new piece of interesting pottery to paint everytime I go. I happened to make a typical plate the last time I visited; however, next time I want to paint a “spoon rest.”

[Don’t make too much fun of my plate — the big blob is supposed
to be pasta — it didn’t quite turn out like I thought it would… oops!]

To recap: February was an oddball month, but wouldn’t have been complete without spring/summery temptations, random jerky stands, traditional Southern food, birthdays, and the occasional adventure of painting!

Cheers!