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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cori's Frosted Brownies

These have been favorites of mine since I was a teenager. And they are ridiculously fast and easy to make.

My best friend Cori always whipped these up when she needed a quick dessert, and it was my favorite thing to have at her house (she is waaaaaaaaaaaaay older than I am).  Now I whip it up for my company and kids' friends when I need a dessert quickly, deliciously, and chocolate-ly satisfying.

My almost-five-year-old, Mollie
{She likes the brownies more when I add sprinkles}
You know how sometimes food tastes better in your memory than it does when you try it again years later?  This is not like that.  I can't believe the only chocolate ingredient is cocoa powder--these are so rich and satisfying.  If someone tells you you can't make brownies as good as "from a box," . . . RUN.  That is patently FALSE, and these brownies are the proof.

Plus, why not put frosting on your brownie?  Live a little.

These brownies will have a perfect, light brown crust when
they are  finished baking. Let the pan cool before frosting.

Perfect dessert for a neighbor gift or thank-you!
Include the recipe and write a note on the back.
If you think this is good, you should check out Cori's other contributions.  Two of my all-time favorite dinners are from Cori: Oven-Fried Chicken Monterey and Chicken Parmesan Magnifico.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Greek Feta Dip with Baguettes

My sister Bonnie is one of the best hostesses around.  Not only does she make delicious food that people love, she is also better at setting a pretty table and arranging everything to look its best than anyone I know.  When she told me about this Feta dip, and raved about how quickly it had been devoured, I knew I had to try it.

I made it when I last hosted book club, and it was a hit!  I had people calling me the next day for the recipe.

The best part is that this has got to be one of the easiest recipes on this blog.  There is no actual cooking involved.  It's all knife and spoon work, people.  In fact, you can make it by looking at these pictures--you don't even (gasp!) need the recipe card.

Step 1: drizzle olive oil in large platter
{Dice your tomatoes & chop your green onions}
Step 2: scatter diced tomatoes over olive oil
Step 3: add green onions
Step 4: crumble Feta over top of tomatoes & onions
Greek seasoning is what MAKES this.  You can find it with the
spices in almost any grocery store.  I have never had it before this
recipe, but it's delish!  Plus "an ancient Greek formula" sounds
soooooooo official . . . 
Step 5: Sprinkle generously with Greek seasoning
Step 6: gently combine all ingredients in platter
Serve and enjoy!
I made TWO platters of this stuff at book club and they were all gone before the night's end.  I loved it so much I made it again three days later so my husband could enjoy some.  Thanks for the great party food, Bon!
Book club party food.  We read the book The Egg and I by
Betty MacDonald--one of my all-time favorites.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dutch Apple Cheese Muffins

These muffins are just a tad more time consuming than most, but so worth the effort. I got the recipe from Cook's Country, the best cooking magazine ever [click here for more of my C's-C favorites].  The picture in the magazine was so mouthwatering I had to try them myself.

The only "extra" things you are doing with these muffins is coring, peeling, and slicing two apples, and making a yummy glaze that you brush on halfway through the baking time.  They really don't take that long, particularly if you have a corer/peeler/slicer.  I used one Pink Lady and on Jonathan apple this time around, because that's what I had in my fridge.

Arrange the apple slices on top of the thick muffin
batter, pressing gently to help them adhere
It looks pretty even before you bake it . . .
This is after it's baked for 15 minutes.  Remove the pan
and brush glaze on top of each muffin
Mmmmm . . . Glaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaze . . .
Bake till it gets all caramelly on top . . . mmmmm . . . caramelly
I had to make fancy muffins to use the totally
and beautiful muffin tier that my sister
Bonnie MADE for me!!!  It was such a thoughtful
gift and it really dressed up the table. 
Muffins + oatmeal + pretty place settings = perfect breakfast
The glaze makes the muffin liners sticky, so I put each muffin in an
extra liner so they wouldn't stick to the tier or the table.  Bonnie
also gave me a ton of cute muffin liners for my birthday . . .
you can never have too many, people.
Muffin, Undressed.
The cheddar cheese in each muffin is what puts them over the top.
You cannot go wrong with these ones.  Not only are they delicious and satisfying---they're so pretty that they put cupcakes to shame!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brigham City Peach Pie

Peach pie.  I mean, it sounds good and it looks good . . . but I don't think I ever would have made it if it hadn't been a birthday request.  So I'm glad it was, because it turned out to be a great recipe (I got it from allrecipes, one of my favorite cooking sites).

I made this pie for Troy--he's a great friend and his wife, Brenda, is an even greater friend (sorry, Troy).  He's a pretty generous guy and has made the birthdays in our family special.  So, I told him I'd make him an apple pie on his birthday and he quickly countered, "How 'bout peach?"  

Peach it shall be.  (I used my flakiest pie crust recipe).

Our family before the hour-long wait on a busy Thursday
It seemed fitting that he requested a peach pie only a few days after my family and I visited Brigham City, Utah---peach capital of the state.  We went there to tour the inside of the newly competed Latter-day Saint temple.  Before a temple is dedicated, it is open to the general public, and I highly recommend taking a tour if you ever have the opportunity!  There's no better way to find out what "Mormons" believe and why temples are central to our focus on strengthening families, both now and in the afterlife.  Here's a sweet video clip about part of our temple experience:

But back to the pie.  I think it's the only food on this site that I have not actually tasted myself {update: I had it on Pi Day 2013 and it is delectable}.  Both Troy and Brenda assured me that it was delicious--even better than the pastry that Troy ordered for himself on the Internet for his birthday.  I could have told you that, Troy . . .

Any recipe that calls for you to cut butter into a crumbly stage
is bound to be delicious 
Layer the peaches in the bottom of your pie crust, then generously
layer butter crumblies.  Repeat with remaining peaches and crumblies.
Troy got his bull elk with a BOW the day before his birthday,
so I thought I'd pay homage to his prowess with an antler design . . .
T for "Totally"
I used an egg yolk wash: water and egg yolk
beaten and lightly brushed over the crust
Troy took this picture and FBed it to me.
It wouldn't have been a true birthday gift without a poem from yours truly.  I would have printed it out for Troy, but my printer was/is out of ink.  Still, I can share the digital version with my Internet audience.  I think Troy would want it that way.

Aren't limericks the best?  Poo on sonnets and haikus . . . you can't convey this kind of emotion in those rigid forms . . .

Celebration-worthy, people.
I added pecans to my streusel the second go-round and it was
over-the-top good.
National "Pi" day: 3.14 every year.  Circles never looked this tasty . . .
Finally, the actual recipe card:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oat & Cranberry Muffins

I think maybe the reason I like muffins so much is because they are like cake, but without cake guilt.  My friend, Cori, has been teasing me about my muffin addiction. She claims that she went through a "muffin phase" when she had small children, and thinks that it is something that will pass for me.

I don't think so.

I do so adore muffins. Doesn't the word "muffin" itself make you think of happy times? (With the notable exception of "muffin-top", which is slightly more apt than "spare tire" or "love handles"). Muffins are pretty much the perfect food, and baking muffins is not only relaxing for me, it also makes my house smell like heaven. Plus, I can always hide a couple and save them for midnight forays.  Or freeze a whole bunch and have one or two every morning for a week with my oatmeal.

I realize I am waxing whimsical . . . but that's what delicious home-baked foodstuffs do to me.

{As part of her muffin-heckling, Cori sent me a link to a funny little muffin website called muffinfilms. Truman loves number 8: "Feed Me" the best, while I prefer the slightly macabre number 6: The Muffin Tree.}

If you know me, you know that gifts are my love language.  So when my Aunt Kristie sent me this book out of the blue (about four years ago) it was the most delightful surprise!  I think of her every time I use it and it is one of my all-time favorite gifts.

One of my favorite recipes from the book is my cream and spice muffins--especially on a cold day, they are delicious with hot cocoa.

But I just discovered this healthy gem: oat and cranberry muffins.  The first time I made them, I didn't have any dried cranberries, so I used one cup of my precious frozen huckleberries.  And I used five-grain cereal instead of plain rolled oats.  DELISH.  Even though they are healthy!

Cori may make fun, but she still gave me
my favorite SQUARE muffin pan
The five-grain makes the muffins nice and chewy, but they are still moist and flavorful thanks to the kefir and huckleberries.

I finally bought some dried cranberries, and the muffins turned out beautifully.  They taste great, too.  (TIP: If you have ever wondered how to get a muffin out of its wrapper without leaving half the muffin stuck, just let them cool--then the wrappers peel all the way off).

Before going into the oven
Out of the oven and ready to eat
My favorite way to have any muffin:
buttered and dipped in honey-sweetened Cream O' Wheat