Friday, February 13, 2009

New Blog

Well, if you haven't noticed, I have neglected my poor blog oh so much. Since I knew I would be spending so much time updating it, I decided to go ahead and create a new one while I was at it. With the help of my husband, I was able to do something a little more personalized.

Please visit the new Little Miss Foodie Two Shoes where you will find a TON of updates. I promise I will keep this one updated!! :o) I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I know this may seem like a sin, but I had never had Challah bread until I met my husband who just happens to be Jewish.  Year's ago when we started dating, it didn't take me long at all to fall in love with some of his family's traditional holiday food.  Challah has to be at the top of the list as one of my favorites though.  
Since Greg and I have been together for over eight years, I have spent many Jewish holiday's with his family and traditionally they had store bought challah.  When Greg and I moved away for a couple of year's, I wanted to make sure that he was still able to have his traditional food when the holiday's rolled around, so I taught myself how to make some of the dishes.  When it came to the challah, I bought the frozen dough and made it that way.  It was very yummy and it seemed a bit more homemade to me than the store bought version.  
Well, this past year I decided that I was going to take a stab at making homemade challah and bring it to his mom's house for everyone to "hopefully" enjoy.  I was able to get a wonderful recipe from the blog, It's Melissa's Kitchen.  Hers looked beautiful and I was hoping that I would be able to make something that looked at least half as good.  So with my fingers crossed I headed into the kitchen for my attempt at challah.
Mine didn't turn out quite as perfect looking as hers did, but for my first attempt I was pretty impressed and happy with the way that it did turn out!  Luckily it tasted great too and was a big hit with the family.  His grandmother still compliments me on the challah and how she can't wait to have it again.

Fresh Baked Challah
3-3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 cup sugar
1 envelope instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
4 tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 large egg white (for the egg wash)

Whisk together 3 cups of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.  Mix together 2 eggs, egg yolk, melted butter and 1/2 cup of water in bowl of standing mixer fitted with the dough hook (note: I did not have a stand mixer at the time and made this recipe fine without it).  Add flour mixture to the wet mixture.  Knead at low speed until dough ball forms, about 5 minutes, adding remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed to prevent dough from sticking.  Whisk the reserved egg white with remaining 1 tbs. water in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Transfer dough to a very lightly oiled large bowl, turning dough over to coat with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  
Gently press dough to deflate, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size again, 40 to 60 minutes.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.  Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Divide dough into 2 pieces, one roughly half the size of the other.  (Small piece will weigh about 9 ounces, larger piece about 18 ounces).  Divide large piece into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 16-inch long rope, about 1 inch in diameter.  Line up ropes of dough side by side and pinch ends together.  Proceed to  braid the three ropes together, then pinch ends to seal.  Place braid on baking sheet.  Divide smaller piece of dough into 3 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a 16-inch long rope, about 1/2 inch diameter.  Braid together, pinching ends to seal. Brush some egg wash on top of larger loaf and place small braid on top of the larger braid. Loosely drape loaf with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until loaf becomes puffy and increases in size by a third, 30 to 45 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.  Brush loaf with remaining egg wash.  Bake until loaf is golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into side of loaf reads 190 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes.  Place baking sheet on wire rack.  Cool loaf completely before slicing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Guilt Free Brownies

There is no denying that Greg and I love sweets.  I tend to be more of the dessert person (i.e. cakes, pastries, etc.) while Greg prefers candy and ice cream.  He isn't much of a cake person, but he loves cookies and brownies.  So, that brings me to our dilemma....if there are sweets in the house, we will eat them!  Unfortunately our waistlines don't enjoy the treats as much as our taste buds do.
Thankfully there is this wonderful website/magazine called Cooking Light that lets us feed our sweet tooth without increasing our clothing size.  I frequent this site quite a bit to find healthy or at least semi-healthy treats.  I wanted to make brownies but I wanted something a bit different.  When I came across the Raspberry-Cream Cheese Brownies I knew I found a winner. Chocolate and raspberry are a match made in heaven and then you add cream cheese.....what more could you want?
These were definitely a winner and there is no doubt I will make them again.  The best part....they are delicious and I don't even have to feel guilty while indulging.

Raspberry-Cream Cheese Brownies
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup (3 oz.) 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg white

Cooking Spray or Parchment Paper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup of butter or stick margarine, melted
1 tbs. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
3 tbs. raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare the filling, mix the first 5 ingredients at medium speed of a mixer until well blended, then set aside.

To prepare the brownies, coat the bottom of an 8 inch baking pan with cooking spray (I prefer to line the pan with parchment paper for easy release).  Lightly spoon 3/4 cup flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Combine (in another bowl) 1 cup sugar with cocoa, butter, water vanilla extract, egg and egg whites, mixing until smooth.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring just until moist.  Spread 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Pour the cream cheese filling over the batter, spreading evenly.  Carefully drop the remaining batter and raspberry preserves by spoonfuls over the filling.  Swirl together using the tip of a knife to make a marble effect.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.  Cool on a wire rack and then ENJOY!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tasty Tools: Bakeware - Low Fat Pumpkin Muffins

This month's Tasty Tools hosted by Joelen's Culinary Adventures, is bakeware.  Since everyone seems to be catching the Fall bug I decided to use my muffin pans and make Pumpkin Muffins.  This is my first time participating in the event (actually any event that has been advertised on the WC board) so I am very excited!

Okay so let's get to the muffins.  I have been trying to cut calories lately so these muffins are actually low fat and were inspired by a Weight Watchers friendly recipe that a friend told me about a few years ago.  The original recipe was good and extremely easy but I just wasn't crazy about the texture; they were very dense and the tops were always gooey.  I decided to do a little research and attempt to make the recipe a little more pleasing without making it unhealthy.  

I was very pleased with the outcome.  The muffins have more of a cake like texture and do a better job of resembling a full-fat muffin.  Pumpkin muffins that you don't feel guilty about eating, what more could you ask for??

Well, you could visit Joelen's Culinary Adventures to see a ton of other delicious recipes in the Tasty Tools September Round-Up! 
In they go!  I have to give the Tasty Tools a spotlight too.

A hill of pumpkin yumminess.

Low Fat Pumpkin Muffins
1 box of spice cake mix
1/2 cup instant oats
1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
1 to 2 egg whites
3/4 cup water (or milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine cake mix and instant oats.  Add pumpkin, egg whites, water (or milk) and vanilla extract.  Mix until well combined.  
Line your muffin pans with paper liners (I suggest spraying the liners with a little cooking spray since the recipe has no oil in it).  Fill the liners 3/4 of the way up.  Place in oven and bake 20-25 minutes. Recipe should make 24 muffins.

It doesn't get much easier than that!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Grandma Smalley's Brownies

We had a family gathering at my husband's grandparent's house this weekend.  When I asked if she wanted me to bring something of course his grandmother said no, we just needed to bring ourselves.  Well, I haven't really done any baking since we moved and I was really itching to get in the kitchen and do what I love most.  I decided to make my grandma's "famous" brownies.  I had asked her for the recipe quite a while ago but never got around to making them.  For as long as I can remember she has always made these brownies for pretty much every holiday or family gathering.  We all always look forward to these brownies (hence why I called them "famous")!  Needless to say they were a hit with my husband's family as well.  The tray was more than half empty before it was even time for dessert.  
I am really glad that everyone enjoyed them as much as I always have.  It is always fun to share a recipe that has been passed down.  Next time around I may even try to put my own twist on them....Greg has already put his request in for adding chocolate chips.  :o)

Marshmallowy Goodness!!

Time for a close-up.  It really doesn't get much better than brownies topped with marshmallow and chocolate icing.  I must say my grandma usually adds nuts as well but since Greg isn't a fan I decided to leave them out.  
Oh and I guess the "it doesn't get much better than this" comment is up for debate due to Greg wanting to add chocolate chips next time.

Grandma Smalley's Brownies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup flour
2 eggs
2 tbs cocoa
1 cup nuts (optional - I left them out)
pinch of salt
small marshmallows (about a half a bag)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream sugar and butter.  Add the eggs and mix until combined.  Sift the flour, salt and cocoa together and then add to the egg mixture.  Mix in nuts (if desired).  Line a square cake pan with parchment paper (this isn't necessary but it makes for easy removal - otherwise make sure to grease your pan).  Pour batter into the pan.  

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes (33 minutes for a glass pan).  When brownies are done remove them from the oven and immediately spread the marshmallows on the top.  You can add a tin foil tent over the pan for a few minutes to make the marshmallows melt nicely but it isn't necessary.
Let cool and cover with icing (recipe follows).

Chocolate Icing
1/4 cup butter (softened)
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tbs cocoa
2-4 tbs half & half (I didn't have any so I used milk and it worked fine)

Mix the butter sugar and cocoa in a bowl until it starts to combine.  Add two tbs. of half & half and mix well.  Add additional half & half until you reach the correct consistency.