Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Better Home Cooking Basics: #22 For a Crispier Pizza Crust at Home Use Less Pizza Dough

Better Home Cooking Basics: For a Crispier Pizza Crust at Home Use Less Pizza Dough. cooking tips.

I'm really into making homemade pizzas. The crispier the crust the better. I'm constantly learning as I go. Lately, I had an epiphany which seems rather obvious but in order to make the crispiest crust you need to make sure you stretch it thin but more importantly & a sure way to make it thin is to simply use less dough. It's that easy. Use less dough & stretch & roll it out the same size as you normally would & you're on your way to a crispier crust. I also recommend heating your pizza stone  (this is by far my favorite one!) or pizza pan in the oven before you place the dough on it. That way the bottom of the crust gets a head start when you put it on the hot surface - you'll probably even hear it sizzle.

Check out more better home cooking basic tips here.

PS: happy 5th birthday this little beauty, my niece Gracie. I love you!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Whipped Coconut Milk & Pineapple Parfait

Whipped Coconut Milk and Pineapple Parfait, easy dessert recipe. vegan.

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking (to myself, not out loud) about coconut & pineapple & how great this combination is (hello piƱa coladas!).  I came home & Chris had bought some ice cream  - chocolate chocolate chip for him & coconut pineapple for me. (Do I have the best mind-reading husband or what?) I had never had coconut pineapple in my life & was a little mind twisted by the coincidence.  I happily ate it & loved it.

If you love coconut & pineapple then you will love this parfait - albeit lighter than the yummy ice cream Chris brought home but ever bit as tasty.

This whipped coconut milk is thicker than whipped cream & much healthier (& less hydrogenated-whatever-is-in) cool whip. If you like fresh whipped cream but could skip the endless whisking you need to make this. It takes just a minute to whisk & you have a fluffy, thick cream  that will actually hold it’s shape sans the chemicals of the stuff in the tub.  Plus, it’s dairy-free - so vegans everywhere can skip to the pantry & stick a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight - because it must be cold - & enjoy this dessert or breakfast.

PS: Happy birthday do my mom! Love you!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Splurge v. Steal: Leopard Print Slide-On Sneakers

splurge v. steal: leopard print slide-on sneakers
I was on the hunt for some “summer” leopard footwear. When I kept seeing these slide-on sneakers I knew these were the perfect ones for me.  One of the shoes shown above is $495+ & the other is $39.99. Click through to see which one I came home with.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cajun Chicken Pot Pie

Cajun Chicken Pot Pie. recipe. dinner.

I made this pie a while back when it was probably still snowing out but I would eat it again today or tomorrow. Yesterday was our first day of springish like weather that really had me convinced that spring is actually coming this year (hooray!). The weather is still cool enough to crank your oven & make something hot for dinner (soon to be replaced by deliciously charred-right-from-the-grill meals). I’ve made chicken pot pies before (like I did here & here) in different shapes & sizes but what makes this one different is that I put a cajun twist on it & made it with the flavors that you would find in gumbo.

What are you cooking during this in between weather?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Better Home Cooking Basics: #21 Always us a Rubber Spatula to Stir Melting Chocolate

Better Home Cooking Basics:  Always us a Rubber Spatula to Stir Melting Chocolate

This tip comes from my chocolate gurus over at Chocoley. Whenever you're working with chocolate like I did for yesterday's post, never use a wooden spoon to stir the chocolate. (Gasp! Yes I know I used to do this too!) Wooden spoons retain smells (mmm yummy garlicky broccoli) & moisture which will ruin the chocolate. So for best results use a rubber spatula. I'm going to work this into my baking in general because as much as I love garlic - it doesn't pair well with chocolate (or does it?).

Check out more better home cooking basic tips here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Homemade Chocolate Covered Easter Cream Eggs

Homemade Chocolate Covered Easter Cream Eggs. cadbury eggs. recipe.

Last Friday I came home to a package sent by the sweet people at Chocoley full of fun ingredients for this Easter project - homemade Chocolate Covred Easter Cream Eggs - so you have them to thank for this festive post (thanks Chocoley!).

When the Chocoley team first contacted me I figuratively & literally felt like a kid in the candy store.  They asked me to come up with something I'd like to make using their awesome ingredients! What would I make? So many options to choose from!

My decision became more clear with Easter on the horizon. I knew what I wanted to make & the Chocoley team was on board to advise me of which ingredients would make my Easter creation come to fruition. Chocoley truly has everything you need for creating beautiful & tasty treats.

While I was making these eggs I couldn’t help but remember the story my mom always tells of when I would make cookies as a kid. They would start out small & uniform but then as I continued & the initial excitement of making them wore off the cookies would grow in size. You could look at the assortment of sizes as a timeline of the cookies - the smallest were the earliest & the largest were the last to be baked. It’s a funny memory & my mom laughs every time she tells it - which makes me laugh. This is how I felt making these eggs. If you are going to make them at home - smaller is better - trust me. Mine grew in size - while still delicious they were a bit sloppier & wouldn’t stand on the lollipop stick, instead I had to rest them on their sides making them not completely round - but I covered them with edible confetti, silver sprinkles (like magic from a disco ball!) & pretty pink foils so you’d never know.

PS: Happy birthday to my dear friend Hely! I love you Hey Hey :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Better Home Cooking Basics: #20 Eyeball Measurements for Cooking & Measure Exactly for Baking

When I post cooking recipes (think chicken or veggies) you can usually get by with eyeballing the measurements - adding more or less here & there. When I post baking recipes (think chocolate chip cookies & cakes) it's best to use the measurements given exactly. Baking is a more precise chemistry so break out your measure cups & spoons so that the final sweet product rises when it should & cooks evenly without burning on the outside while the inside is soupy & raw (eww!). If you don't like to measure - stick to cooking & find a good bakery in your neighborhood.

Check out more better home cooking basic tips here.