Magnolia Bakery 14 Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Blondies

After suffering a baking dry spell for more than two weeks, I finally had the opportunity (and the desire) the bake once again. I can’t really explain why I wasn’t in the mood to bake over the last couple of weeks. Perhaps it was just a lack of free time issue, or maybe it was the increase in the cost of ingredients was starting to make an impact on my wallet. Whatever the issue was, it seems to have fluttered away.

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Magnolia Bakery #11 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

Friday was the first day of October, and to be honest, I couldn’t have asked for a better Fall day! The sun was out, but it was a cooler day, and the air was nice and crisp. After taking my usual morning walk, I had the urge to make yummy Fall treats. I was craving the scent of pumpkin spice, warm baked goods, and maybe even chocolate!

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Magnolia Bakery #8 – Blueberry Jamboree

I had a few days off from work this week. I didn’t go anywhere, I was able to take some time for myself. While I didn’t get everything done that I wanted (mainly due to my own laziness and poor planning skills…and the fact that I took a nap one afternoon), I did spend the majority of Tuesday in the kitchen making something tasty.

I also took the time to try and take some halfway decent photos of what I made, which you can see in this post! I am really working on upping my photography game.

So what did I make?

It appears that I am on a Magnolia Bakery kick lately. I’m not sure if it’s because of an article about their vanilla cupcakes is making the rounds online or I’m still just infatuated by the cookbook itself. Whatever the reason, I decided to tackle a recipe from the Icebox Desserts chapter this week.

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Fridays Are For Cakes (Magnolia Bakery Recipe #1)

My father’s birthday was last Saturday. For me this date had a little more meaning this year than in previous years since it is the day I coincide with the end of the “before times” prior to COVID-19 changing our lives.

So, as a way for me to stay distracted, I offered to bake his birthday cake. He gladly accepted the offer. So, I turned to a book that I have fallen in love with ever since I purchased it last Fall. It is The Magnolia Bakery Handbook: A Complete Guide for the Home Baker. This is a MUST BUY for anyone who enjoys baking, even in a casual sense. The recipes are flawless and so easy to follow. You will honestly feel like you are a master baker every time you try one of these recipes!

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Barefoot Contessa Recipe #32 – Panko Crusted Salmon

This recipe is from How Easy is That?, page 152

For Friday night dinner, I made my first fish recipe in the Ina cook-through saga. My family usually eats fish about once a week, typically salmon. So, a salmon recipe seemed like the logical choice. We already had the fish and almost all the ingredients to make the panko crust. I think I only had to buy a lemon for the zest.

This recipe is pretty straight forward. But, to be honest, it’s nothing special. The dijon mustard does give the salmon an extra flavor and it plays nicely with the panko crust. The panko prevents the salmon from drying out which, obviously, make it more flavorful. If you’re looking to dress up your run-of-the-mill salmon filet, then definitely try this one. One of the perks is all the ingredients are pretty standard, so it won’t break the bank either. That was a nice reprieve from some other Ina recipes.

To my dish, I decided to throw in some of the pine nuts I used for the gremolata I made a few weeks ago. Those little nuts are expensive and I don’t want them to go to waste!

In addition to this recipe, I made a side dish. That recipe review will be posted later in the week.

See ya then!

Ina Garten Recipe #31 – Perfect Roast Chicken

This recipe is from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, page 130.

It’s been a minute since I’ve made an Ina Garten recipe, hasn’t it?

In fact, I think this is the first recipe I made of hers in the month of February. Guess I won’t be matching or beating last month’s total of 8 recipes!

Anyway, I decided to make an Ina classic this time. In fact, I think many fans of her show would argue that this is one of her signature dishes. Roast Chicken!!

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New Year, New Recipe

For the first weekend of 2021, I decided to try something new on the blog! Post a recipe. It is below and I hope you find the muffins as tasty as I did!

This weekend I was rummaging around the fridge and discovered that we had some cranberries that were waiting to be turned into something tasty. I decided that muffins would be something nice to have around. It’s been a while since I baked muffins.

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Christmas Recipes

I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Christmas!

I did not do too much cooking over the last few days, but I did end up making a Yule Log cake and keeping with the theme of this blog, I learned a few things.

I found a recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction for the cake, but I chose to modify it a bit. For example, I did not use hazelnuts. Instead, I used peppermint extract and crushed up candy canes to give it a little peppermint flavor. Unfortunately, the cake ended up having a little too much peppermint flavor overall.

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Recipe # 5 – Turkey Meat Loaf

From The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, page 138-139

I have to admit, I was not as productive this week when it came to cooking. I made dinner for the household last night and it took me quite some time to figure out what I wanted to make.

Did I want a one-pot meal type of thing? Or did I want to combine a couple recipes as an easy way to knock out more than in one day?

Well, after some deliberating and flipping through numerous pages of cookbooks, I decided I would combine three recipes to make a full meal. I also decided that I would probably be easiest for me if I kept the recipes to the same book.

That was the real challenge, though!

The first hurdle was figuring out what the main course would be. Eventually, I stumbled upon the Turkey Meat Loaf recipe out of Ina’s first cookbook. Next came figuring out the sides. Seeing as I wanted to keep the recipes in the same book, I found a recipe for fingerling potatoes which I thought would complement the meat loaf well. Tried as I might to find a vegetable recipe that interested me to pair with the meat loaf and potatoes, I realized that the The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook would not be doing it. Eventually, I found a recipe in Make it Ahead for peas and pancetta. (Post about making the fingerling potatoes and peas dish coming Sunday!)

The turkey meat loaf recipe, as written, serves a small army of 8 to 10 people (though I think that would allow for large portions), so I decided to cut the recipe in half since I only needed to feed three and I knew I would still have leftovers.

I needed a few items at the grocery store for this one, so I went and picked up the ground turkey, grown thyme, the Worcestershire sauce, and ingredients for the other recipes. When I returned home, I started to create the meat loaf, even though dinner was hours away, I figured it wouldn’t harm anything to let the meatloaf sit in the fridge for a few hours while the flavors mingled with each other.

I cooked the onions and spices as directed, letting things go for a little longer than recommended in the recipe. It wasn’t until I added the chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce that things really started to heat up — or I guess in my case, smell up!

While the onion mixture was cooling, I mixed the ground meat, eggs, breadcrumbs, and then added the onion mixture. I formed it into a loaf shape on a cookie sheet, spread ketchup on top and placed in the fridge with a piece of foil.

When dinner time arrived, I set the oven to the 325 degrees, as the recipe states. Now, since I halved the recipe, I assumed it would take about 50 minutes to cook fully. Well, that wasn’t the case. It look over an hour and the full recipe says the 5-pound meat loaf would only take 90 minutes! I think my oven temperature may be off, or Ina uses a really high-scale oven….probably both.

Once the meat loaf was done and plated, I tried some. I was impressed with how moist it was. There wasn’t a salty flavor that is usually present in the meat loafs (loaves?) I make following the Lipton soup recipe. It paired nicely with the sides I had chosen…again separate post coming at you tomorrow about that!

I think this recipe will be made frequently in my life. It’s pretty easy and really flavorful. I wonder if the flavors would be more pronounced if I had made the larger loaf? Maybe one day I’ll find out!

(Sorry, readers, no picture of this. The house was crazy around dinner time and I was also dealing with a pot of boiling potatoes and cooking a vegetable.)