Monday, June 27, 2016

Fourth of July: Flag Cake



This flag cake is a tradition for our family. Every Fourth of July we make homemade ice cream and eat this cake after we have our family barbecue. The fourth would not be the same without this cake!

I am so thankful for this wonderful country we call America. It is truly amazing and I can't imagine living anywhere else. I'm also very thankful we can celebrate the Fourth so that we can eat this cake, because let's be honest here, it's amazing!




The great thing about this dessert is that it's simple, easy, and way WAY good. Plus, who doesn't like a cute patriotic dish to go with the party theme?! This cake's secret is that it's actually brownies. So I probably shouldn't call it cake, but that's what we call it in the family so that's what I decided to name it here. If you just want to make the brownies you can find them here> DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES.


I hope you enjoy this delicious flag cake as my family! I'm sure you will!


Fourth of July: Flag Cake
INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
4 Tablespoons milk
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 melted and 2 in batter) 
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
1) Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit. 
2) Prepare a 9 by 13 inch glass pan with cooking spray and/or parchment paper (parchment paper makes it super easy to take the entire sheet out of the pan). 
3) In a medium sauce pan; combine sugar, butter, and milk. Heat on medium, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a small boil. 
4) Remove pan from heat and add 2 cups of chocolate chips. Stir in chocolate chips until melted. 
5) Let mixture cool and stir in eggs and vanilla. 
6) Sift flour, soda, and salt, and stir into mixture. 
7) Add remaining 2 cups of chocolate chips to batter.
8) Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (PS: try your best to not over cook them). 

Cream Cheese Frosting
INGREDIENTS
8 oz cream cheese  
1/2 cup butter (room temp)  
2 cups powdered sugar (or more) 
1 tablespoon cream or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla 

DIRECTIONS
1) Beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. 
2) Add powdered sugar, cream or milk, and vanilla. 
3) Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
4) Spread onto cooled cake and top with a square of blueberries and stripes of raspberries. 
    ENJOY! 


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Quick and Easy: Macaroni and Cheese



Well people, here it is: My favorite macaroni and cheese in the entire world! I have loved this macaroni and cheese since is was a tiny girl. It has forever been my request to my mother for dinner (and, lets be honest, all other meals).



When I was younger, my mom would let me go down to our storage room and pick out the type of pasta we would use for this recipe. Bow ties were always my favorite, of course. Because "they're just so cute". Then I would help my mom shred the cheese and we would stir it all together and eat it all up. YUM!

This recipe is so easy and so SO good. It is 100% better than any box stuff you could eat. And it takes about the same time to make, so that's a plus!



Besides the fact that this macaroni and cheese is just straight up amazing, it only has three ingredients AND it takes one pan. So what are you waiting for?! Pull out your pan and let's get cookin'!


Quick and Easy-Macaroni and Cheese
Serves: 4 people as a main dish or 6-8 people as a side
INGREDIENTS
16 oz. pasta (any shape)
2 cups high-quality cheddar cheese, shredded (we love Tillamook's medium cheddar cheese)
1/2 cup milk
Salt and Pepper
Parsley flakes (as garnish-optional)

DIRECTIONS
1) Cook pasta according to directions on package. 
2) Strain water out of pasta and place back in original pan. 
3) Add cheese and milk and stir consistently until incorporated (place back on the stove if the cheese isn't melting). 
4) Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
5) Serve immediately with parsley flakes sprinkled on top as garnish (optional). 




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Double Chocolate Brownies



Well. There's not much I need to say about these lovely things. AREN'T THEY ARE JUST GORGEOUS?! Believe it or not, they taste as good as they look! 



This is my family's go-to brownie recipe. This recipe consist of dense, delicious goodness that has to much chocolate (NOT) and the perfect amount of everything else.



So, funny story:
I made these brownies and then had to go somewhere for a couple hours.  I left the house, and told everyone that they could NOT eat the brownies. I got back home and my whole family was raving mad that I left them with such a temptation. But to my delight (and surprise) they were still untouched. Their frustration was hilarious and quite unintended.



Moral of the story:
Being a food blogger comes with a little bit of unhappiness from those around who aren't very patient. But then you always get a whole lot of love when they get to eat all the food.

Second Moral of the story:
These brownies caused the worst unhappiness and temptation for my family. Why? Well because they are the best! That's why!



Mmmm... just look at that perfect brownie crust. Brownie crust: it's the top of brownies that crinkles just perfectly to be the most tempting thing in the world. It's a real thing, I swear. Okay, okay, yes I made that up. But it should be a thing we all rave about because it's glorious.




Okay I'm done telling you about how good these brownies are, JUST TRY THEM ALREADY. I promise you won't be disappointed.


Double Chocolate Brownies
INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
4 Tablespoons milk
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 melted and 2 in batter) 
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
1) Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit. 
2) Prepare a 9 by 13 inch glass pan with cooking spray and/or parchment paper. 
3) In a medium sauce pan; combine sugar, butter, and milk. Heat on medium, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a small boil. 
4) Remove pan from heat and add 2 cups of chocolate chips. Stir in chocolate chips until melted. 
5) Let mixture cool and stir in eggs and vanilla. 
6) Sift flour, soda, and salt, and stir into mixture. 
7) Add remaining 2 cups of chocolate chips to batter.
8) Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (PS: try your best to not over cook them). 
ENJOY! 



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Grilled Flank Steak with Balsamic Glaze


What says Father's Day better than steak?! NOTHING! This flank steak is a definite 10/10. A recipe that dad is bound to love!




Today I'm so thankful for my dad. He has been such a blessing in my life. I have learned so much from him and his "lessons". For example, just last night my dad stayed up to help me with my interior design materials board that was due this morning. I was stressed out of my mind and so he stayed right by me and even helped me cut out tiny slips of paper as labels for my project. More than anything, I have learned patience from him. He is the most kind and patient person that I know. 




Here's to father's who make us better people. Who teach us how to work. And who teach us EVERYTHING. We would be no where without them.  So show your dad how much you love him and make him the food that he loves. Here it is people: FLANK STEAK!



Grilled Flank Steak with Balsamic Glaze
INGREDIENTS
For Steak:
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For Balsamic Glaze: (You can also buy this already made)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS
For Steak:
In a small bowl, combine salt, cumin, coriander, and pepper and rub on all sides of steak. Preheat grill to around 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Place steaks on grill, flipping occasionally, until cooked to desired doneness (ours were super thin and cooked around 4-5 minutes each side).

For Glaze:
Bring vinegar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan; reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened and syrupy, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt. Let cool completely before serving (glaze will thicken slightly as it cools).



AND FOR DESSERT??? I'm thinking this DEATH BY CHOCOLATE CAKE


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Ginger Chocolate Cookies


I made these lovely cookies yesterday morning, because... Why not?! They are as delicious as they look, I promise!


During the hot summer months, my family uses the oven as little as possible, which is hard when you're all addicted to baked goods! It's like caging up 50 wild monkeys. Not a good idea, hah!  But, thanks to my genius grandpa who more than 50 years ago, put an outdoor kitchen on their patio, we don't have to suffer! So yesterday, after whipping these lovely things up, I headed down to my grandparents house to bake them. 

WARNING: Pretend i'm not telling you this... But there are no eggs in this cookie dough (not like its ever stopped me before). But it just justify's my cookie dough addiction so very well. Haha, ekkk! SOOO GOOD!



While I was baking these cookies, grandpa helped me sand and stain a lovely piece of wood as a backdrop for future food pictures! It's lovely and I'm SO excited to use it! I'm so thankful for a grandpa who is skilled at so many different things!



After finishing both the cookies and the board, grandpa and I went outside and sat on the patio and ate way too many of these cookies. They are too good to not eat a million of them at once! The ginger and chocolate just mix so perfectly!


After a few stories (and far too many cookies) later, grandpa and I decided that these cookies are definitely blog worthy (as if that's what we were trying to accomplish anyway hah)! Don't believe our judgement? Then try them out! I dare you!


Ginger Chocolate Cookies
Yield: 3 dozen
INGREDIENTS
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cut unsulfured molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
1) In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.

2) In an electric mixer, cream the butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add the brown sugar; beat until combined. Add the molasses and beat until combined. 

3) In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in 3 teaspoons of very hot water. Beat half of the flour mixture in the butter mixture. Beat in the baking soda mixture, then the remaining half of the flour mixture (Dough will seem a little dry, don't worry). Mix in the chocolate chips.  

4) Pat dough ball on plastic wrap until 1 inch thick. Seal the wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. 

5) Preheat oven to 325 F. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet. Bake cookies for 10 to 15 minutes until surfaces crack slightly. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.