Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 311: Cauliflower Gratin

Yield: 1 med casserole dish
Time (Start to Finish): 1 hour

½ head cauliflower, cut into pieces
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup cream, warmed
salt and pepper
½ cup asiago cheese
¼ cup parmesan cheese, plus 2 Tbsp
½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. In boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower for about 3 min until it is still firm but just softening. Remove from hot water and plunge in ice water
3. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour with a whisk and then add the cream. Whisk until it begins to thicken
4. Add the cheeses (minus the 2 Tbsp), salt, pepper, scrape of nutmeg and cayenne and stir until it until it melts
5. Add the cauliflower, stir, and pour into the saucepan
6. Combine the bread crumbs with the parm cheese and sprinkle on top of the casserole and bake for 25-30 min until the top begins to brown

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: I remember working in New York at a catering company in their food design department and we would be able to taste a lot of the food they cooked. They made a KILLER cauliflower gratin and it is all I think of when I think of cauliflower. This is cheesy, yummy, and a great sub if you don’t want to eat mac and cheese. You must try it. It is also a great spread on toasts or pita pieces. I hope you guys make this. You can even change the cheese around to cheddar or jack or all sorts of stuff!

Day 310: Potato Chips

Yield: 2 chips
Time (Start to Finish): 45 min

2 slices of russet potato, skinned
½ stick butter
cayenne pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 475F
2. Take a cookie sheet and line with foil
3. Brush the sheet with butter
4. Take the potato slices and brush with butter, sprinkle a little salt and cayenne and put in the oven
5. Bake for 15-20 min or until they begin to brown
6. Remove and sprinkle with more salt and cayenne!

Rating: 3.5 strawberries
Notes: Ok, I have never made potato chips before, and in case you didn’t know, I get scared of cooking with oil, so I thought about baking them. I only cooked 2 slices because I was sure I was going to mess them up, but they turned out pretty good! I put on too much cayenne, and I folded one of the chips to see how it would cook, and it was fine! Use a slicer to slice them thin like I did, but you can cut them as thick as you like. Also make sure the slices are dry before you butter them. You can add any seasoning you like, and they are yummy! Also you may not use all the butter, but you can never have too much. Next time I will make more than 2!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Post Delay!

Hi guys, sorry for the delay in getting posts out, but don't worry, through thick and thin i have been cooking and working hard! I am in disneyland until monday, and will then fill up this blog with about 15 posts...chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes, oatmeal pancakes, chocolate strawberry muffins, and the star, dessert macaroni and cheese! there will be much more amazing things in this home stretch, and sorry for the delay. I have been busy with life. I appreciate though that i haven't missed a day, even as much as i wanted to, and your patience with me melts me butter
Thanks guys, and keep coming back to me!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 309: Stuffed Banana Bread French Toast

Yield: 1 sandwich
Time (Start to Finish): 25 min

2 slices banana bread
4 thin slices apple
peanut butter

1 egg
¼ cup milk
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp vanilla

butter (for pan)

1. Heat a pan to med/med high and make sure it is buttered
2. In a bowl combine the egg, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla with a whisk
3. Take the 2 slices of banana bread and spread peanut butter on one side of each of them
4. Place the slices of apple on one of the slices, and make into a sandwich with the other slice
5. Dip the entire sandwich into the egg mixture, flip so all sides are covered, and put on the pan
6. Cook until each side is browned in the butter and serve with syrup

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: So this is left over mom’s banana bread that I thought I would put a twist on. This stuffed banana bread is awesome. I might even suggest using honey on top instead of syrup. It is dense, so one sammy was enough for me. The apple stayed a little cold too, so it was nice and crisp. I used granny smith and I kept the peel on. I hope you make this! Store bought banana bread is fine too!

Day 308: Protein Banana Pancakes

Yield: 12 pancakes
Time (Start to Finish): 40 min

1 cup flour
3 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup vanilla protein powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 ½ cup milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp butter
2 bananas, chopped

butter (for cooking)
syrup (for topping)

1. Preheat your skillet to med, and melt the 3 Tbsp of butter in the skillet
2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, protein powder and sugar
3. Add the milk and the egg and stir until not totally combined
4. Add the butter, and stir until just combined. You want it thick, but a little runny, pourable, so you can add more milk if it is not. Add the bananas
5. On the buttered skillet, pour the batter about ¼ cup for each pancake
6. Flip when little bubbles appear on top, and cook till brown on both sides.
7. Butter the pan after each cooking

Rating: 3.5 strawberries
Notes: These pancakes are just the beginning…I know how to make these even better and more amazing, so expect and v.2 of these. I made these in the morning, and doubled the recipe because Mac wanted them as a snack later in the day. Nothing like cold banana pancakes with peanut butter and raisins. You gotta try these, but I must say, the fact that they have protein powder made me feel like it was ok to eat 5! They are fluffy, buttery, and just a great pancake recipe. Oh, and we cooked them on a grill pan which was kind of fun and left cool marks

Day 307: Zucchini Nut Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Time (Start to Finish): 1-2 hours

1 ½ cup flour
pinch salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 cup grated zucchini
½ cup chopped pecans

1. I use a foil loaf pan so I can give it to people, but if you don’t have that, grease a regular loaf pan, and preheat the oven to 325F
2. Take the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar and mix together
3. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix very well
4. Add the zucchini and nuts and mix until combined
5. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for about 45 min or until a knife comes out clean

Rating: 3.5 strawberries
Notes: I love this bread!! It is simple, sweet, and quite wonderful. My mom gave me a loaf of banana bread today, and I suddenly remembered how quick and easy zucchini is, and I wanted some quickly. I almost ate this whole loaf in one day…sorry moms banana bread! Its nice to have a one bowl quick bread too. Make sure to mix WELL, and it tasted best toasted with a skim of butter on top!

Day 306: Strawberry Hummus

Yield: 2-3 cups
Time (Start to Finish): 15 min

1 can (16 oz) chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained
¼ cup liquid from can of beans
2-3 lemons, juiced, about 4 Tbsp
2 Tbsp tahini
4-5 strawberries
2 tbsp honey


1. Take a food processor and put in all the ingredients.
2. Blend and adjust the flavoring, more lemon juice, another strawberry, salt or pepper
3. Serve with toasts for breakfast!

Rating: 4 strawberries
Notes: This is a simple hummus recipe and I changed it up so it was a little more sweet and breakfasty. The honey adds a lot of flavor and I just love strawberries. Also, the beans are a nice protein kick in the morning. A classic hummus has garlic and olive oil, so you can alter this one to make a savory one. You can even add basil or something to this one!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 305: Fruit Pizza

Yield: 4-8 servings (is half a serving?)
Time (Start to Finish): 2 hours

1 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ cup powdered sugar
1/8 cup cold butter
½ cup half and half
1 tsp vanilla

cream cheese
powdered sugar, sifted


fresh fruit

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Combine the flour, powdered sugar, salt, baking powder in a bowl
3. Add the cold butter and mix with your hands to make little butter pieces
4. Add the half and half and vanilla and mix until combines
5. Pour dough onto a floured table and knead with flour for about 1 min
6. Pat to ½ inch thick and with a sharp cutter, cut circles
7. Place on a cookie sheet
8. Brush milk over the top and then sprinkle with sugar and bake until brown, about 15 min
9. Take the cream cheese, however much you want, and mix with vanilla and sifted powdered sugar until it becomes a frosting, smooth and spread able
10. Take the biscuit and cut in half. Spread cream cheese mix on one half
11. Take fresh fruit, I used kiwis and blueberries, and place on top.
12. Serve!

Rating: 3.5 strawberries
Notes: yummy! Fruit, cream cheese, biscuits, cant get better. This didn’t get a better rating because I wanted the biscuit to be thinner. You can use a sweetened pizza dough, or make cookies, but biscuits are good too. I made this one extra sweet. They are good. You can even melt some apricot jam with some water and spread it on top to make it shiny, but I didn’t have time. A nice dessert, or even a morning thing. And you can use any fruit looks good to you guys!

Month 10

Annie’s Current Weight: 128
Pleasures: well guys, we have finally hit the double digits in the month count, and we are under 100 days, so you cant get much better than that! I know I gained a pound, but I think I am gaining muscle with all my bike riding and working out this month. I also made a lot of cheesy soul food which was great. I didn’t go on any major trips this month, so I got to focus and really cook some stuff, but it got hard once in awhile with life getting in the way. I got to cook a lot with travis and Maggie and see my girl Christina take off. I liked the challenges I was put in front of.
Pains: Weight gain always sucks, but its great to gain some strength. I am getting tired, and its hard to motivate myself. I am getting a lot of congratulations for finishing, but, I have to remember I still have 2 months left. That is still a LOT of time. I was suck a bunch of times looking at my filled shelf of food and not knowing what to make. Everything I thought of I had done, and I always had to force myself to go to the store to get something exciting and new. Im scared im going to repeat something.
Promises: I promise to rock your socks off these last 2 months!! I have some trips planned…Disneyland, san Diego, LA, but I will work HARD to make some easy blow you out of the water treats! I promise to focus these 60 days and really make this a priority.
Ponders: you know, here is what has happened. This project began and I didn’t want to spread the word about it because it was too new and fresh I didn’t think people would believe I would commit to a year. Then it was in the middle of the project, and people would be psyched for a bit, but saw there was still time left, so no big thing. And now, well, it has become such a part of me to cook everyday and to think about it everyday, I don’t even find it worth while to share with others because I just cook and then move on. This cooking has just become my life. I do it every single day. I think something up every day. People have asked, do I plan it ahead of time? Where do the ideas come from. Honestly, I do not plan ahead ever. The only times I have are when I have to catch an early flight, or know I need to do it in the morning, but normally I will be at work, just thinking about what I feel like eating, and something will come up. Like, my greatest comfort food is cream of chicken soup and the other day I was feeling lonely, and it was what I wanted. Or I will go to a grocery store, see limes are good and make lime bars. I talk things through with people…would this taste good with this? Or think about my friends, like, travis is from the south, maybe pecans and caramel. It comes fresh everyday. The recipes are thought of THAT day. I sometimes look up recipes to get a base idea, and then bounce off of it, add wine or spices, and make it my own. It is fun, and has for sure changed the way I look at food. I feel more brave, and much more open to try things and be ok with failing. Failures bring the greatest rewards. I know this from experience, and I know this project will NOT be one of those failures. I learn from all my mistakes, and i have learned from this project something I didn’t see coming, which is I can commit to something hard, something where the end isn’t even remotely close, and where at time I have to tell friends, no, I gotta go do this cooking thing. It makes me smile to myself, and sigh proudly…but I gotta remember…its not over yet…

Day 304: Chicken Parmesan

Yield: 4 servings
Time (Start to Finish): 1.5 hours

4 chicken breasts, slightly flattened
1 egg
½ cup half and half
¾ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
olive oil
salt and pepper
cayenne powder
8 slices mozzarella
1 jar marinara sauce
½ cup white wine (chardonnay)
parmesan cheese
asiago cheese

1. Preheat a skillet to med migh, and preheat the oven to 350F
2. Take 3 bowls. In 1 put the flour with salt, pepper, and cayenne. In the second, whisk the egg and milk. In the 3rd, put the seasoned bread crumbs
3. Put olive oil in the pan
4. Dip the chicken in the flour, then egg mixture, then breadcrumbs and place on the skillet
5. While its cooking, take a 9 inch square casserole dish and place some sauce on the bottom. Then sprinkle with some parm cheese and some asiago. Also pour in the white wine
6. Flip the chicken. You want it to brown on both sides. Once it is cooked, place them on the sauce in the pan
7. Pour the rest of the sauce on top of the chicken
8. Top each chicken breast with 2 slices of mozzarella and sprinkle with more parm and asiago
9. Bake for 25-30 min or until it bubbles and begins to brown and serve alone, on a French role as a sammy or on some spaghetti!

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: oh wow, this is such a good dish!!! You can use any kind of sauce you want, or make your own, but this is really a quick dish. It is so homey and perfect, I am telling you! You can mix up the cheeses, add spices to it, anything you like, which is what I like. You can make 10 different dishes in one meal. I made this to have extra and ended up eating 2 and sharing 2. I must make more next time! The wine is really what seals the deal. You can add red if you want. I threw in what was in the fridge. Eat this and relax!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 303: Popovers

Yield: 6 popovers
Time (Start to Finish): 30 min

1 cup flour
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk

2 Tbsp butter, melted

jam, salted butter, and marmalade

1. Popovers are sensitive, but once you do them, you will see they are easy, so follow the instructions and all will be ok!
2. Preheat the oven to 450F and place the rack the second highest from the bottom
3. Take a popover pan or a 6 muffin tin and place it on a cookie sheet
4. Place it in the oven to get hot
5. In a bowl, place the flour and the salt
6. Warm the milk and vanilla in the microwave so it is a little warmer than room temp, and add the eggs to it. Mix to combine. You want this mixture room temp, and completely mixed.
7. Whisk it into the dry ingredients until it is barely combined. Tiny pieces of flour is ok, you don’t want to over mix
8. Take the pan out of the oven and brush with the melted butter. Brush the top of the pan too
9. Pour the batter into the pan (its nice to use something with a lip so its easy to pour) about half way full and put in the oven
11. Bake for 17 min at 450F and then lower the heat to 375F and bake for 10 min. check now and if they are golden brown, remove. Otherwise bake another 5 min
12. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: Popovers are one of those foods that blows my mind..why does it do that in the oven? It is so cool! They are so fun! They taste like a sweet roll, and they are best right out of the oven. They turn hard as a rock the next day. I ate these all morning. I dipped them in melted butter…I was intense…I recommend it only for those crazy enough to try. A nice flavored butter would go great, and serving at dinner or breakfast is the perfect way! Enjoy this crazy rolls!

Day 302: Strawberry Shortcake

Yield: 5 servings
Time (Start to Finish): 2 hours

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp butter, cold
pinch salt
¼ cup milk
2 tsp coconut milk
2 tsp cinnamon

2 baskets strawberries
1 pint vanilla ice cream

1 egg
splash milk

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon
3. Take the flour and cut into cubes. Use your hands and rub the butter into the flour to make it grainy like corn meal. You don’t want the butter to get warm. This is the same as if you were making scones
4. Add the 2 milks and mix until it comes into a ball, and then knead it on a table for about 30 sec until it all comes together
5. Take a rolling pin and roll it so it is about ½ inch thick. Take a glass, biscuit cutter, or anything round and cut into rounds. I made them small.
6. Place them on a baking sheet
7. Whisk the milk and the egg and brush the top of each biscuit. Sprinkle with sugar and bake until they puff and brown, about 15 min
8. Open up the biscuits, 2 in a bowl, and fill with berries and a scoop of ice cream and serve on a warm day and to order.

Rating: 4 strawberries
Notes: YUMMY! One of the first real wonderfully warm days in the city, and I had to work, yuck! So how to make it better? Bringing strawberry shortcake for everyone! It is so so good, and I ate it in the backyard in the sunshine. It was marvelous! The biscuits are nice and the cinnamon adds a lot of flavor. I like the small ones so they are easier to eat and you can put a few in your bowl. I hope everyone at work liked this treat!

Day 301: Ravioli Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Time (Start to Finish): 3 hours

¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour (plus more for rolling)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt

strawberry jam
chocolate chips


1. In a bowl, cream the butter and the sugar together.
2. Add the eggs, vanilla and scrape the bowl
3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until combined. If the dough is really wet, you may need to add more flour, I did
4. Roll the dough into 2 or 4 balls (depending on if you want to make them all) and wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
5. Preheat oven to 375F
6. Roll out the dough and cut into squares, about 2 inches each side, and about a quarter inch thick
7. Place them on the cookie sheet, they will spread a tad, and place a dollop of jam in the center, and a couple chocolate chips
8. Take a little milk and rub it along the edges of each square. Place a second rolled out square on top and press with a fork around the edges so it seals and looks like a ravioli!
9. Brush the top of each cookie with milk and sprinkle with sugar. You can use larger grained sugar if you want to make it look even more pretty.
10. Bake for 15 min or until the edges begin to brown, and enjoy with a glass of milk!

Rating: 3.5 strawberries
Notes: I have been wanting to make these for a long time, and I wanted to fill them with a cream cheese or white chocolate, but it turned out to be chips and jam. The chops didn’t melt like I wanted, and they are better hot than cold, so I suggest if you make these, try a different filling. A date filling would make for a fig newton type cookie, or cheesecake filling. I like the way they look, and they are a person stopper. People always want to eat one to find out whats inside! I think you should give them a try. Oh, and the sugar cookie recipe is nice and simple. Feel free to add lime or lemon zest to give it a kick!

Day 300: Apple Cheddar Purses

Yield: 2 servings
Time (Start to Finish): 45 min

1 sheet pie crust
2 apples
4 oz cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
splash milk
large grained decorating sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350F
2. In a bowl, chop the apples, peeled, to bite size chunks. Make them a little large, they will get a little smaller
3. Toss with the sugar and cinnamon
4. Take a cookie sheet, like with parchment, and spray with cooking spray
5. Take the dough and cut into 2 pieces. You can round them off if you want
6. Place the circles on the parchment.
7. In the center put the apple mixture, some cheddar cut into equal sized chunks.
8. Wrap the sides of the pastry around, twist a little on top to secure and put in the fridge to chill
9. Mix the egg and the milk and then brush over the top of the pastries
10. Sprinkle with the sugar and bake until they turn golden brown, about 20 min

Rating: 4 strawberries
Notes: Happy 300 days!!!! Only 65 to go!!! Not bad at all!!! Everyone always talks about putting a slice of cheddar on apple pie, and I have made things with apple and cheese, and I thought I would try it out! It turned out pretty good. WAY better hot than cold, so if you save them, you must reheat them before serving. Wow, 300 days!! So cool! What I like about this is you can add any filling and its like a pie on the go. I know, I should have made my own crust, but I didn’t have time this day. Try it with my crust from the cherry apricot pie I made if you want a good from scratch one. Yummy!

Day 299: Nachos!

Yield: 15 chips
Time (Start to Finish): 25 min

15 chips
cheddar cheese
asiago cheese
parm cheese
bacon, about 4 slices, cooked
½ avocado
salt and pepper
garlic powder
1 lime, juiced

1. Preheat the broiler in your oven. Take a cookie sheet that fits under it, and line with foil. Also, move the rack so it is not directly on the heat (don’t want to burn the chips)
2. Take the chips and line them on the cookie sheet
3. Take the cheddar cheese and slice up onto each chip. You can shred them if you want to
4. Then sprinkle with asiago and parm cheese and broil until the cheese melts and just begins to bubble
5. Take the cooked bacon, cut up, and place on each chip
6. In a bowl, blend the avocado with salt and pepper, garlic powder and lime juice until it is the flavor you like
7. Spread on top of each chip and serve! An easy recipe to make way more than 15 of

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: What I like about this is how much cheese is on each chip! Normally nachos have some chips with a lot of cheese and others with none. This one has it on all chips! They are so yummy, and when broiled it crisps up the edges of the chips which I like! You can just bake them, or even microwave them, but I think broiling is the best. Also, STAY WITH IT. When you broil something it cooks fast! This recipe also has a sad part to it. It was Christina’s last recipe before the project is over! She is out of the country and has been one of my best taste testers/helpers. Thanks for all the help girl! Anyways, these are killer. Try them for sure.

Day 298: Twice Baked Potatoes

Yield: 2 potatoes. 4 servings
Time (Start to Finish): 2 hours

2 russet potatoes
1 cup agiago cheese
8 oz sour cream
3 Tbsp butter
¼ cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup green onion
3-4 slices bacon, cooked
1/8 cup parmesan cheese

1. Bake the potatoes until they are cooked through. I put them in the microwave for about 10 min. poke a few holes in them with a fork. You can bake them in the oven at 350F for about an hour
2. Take them out and let them cool for about 7 min. cut them in half and with a spoon scrape out the filling into a bowl, keeping the shell of the skin intact. You can leave some potato there to hold its shape
3. Preheat oven to 400F
4. Take the butter and melt it on the stove with the garlic, chopped as fine as you can, and the onions, chopped up. Just cook until the butter melts. Add it to the potatoes with the cream and stir.
5. Add sour cream, as much as you like. I usually add about ¼ cup and stir
6. Add salt and pepper
7. Take the cooked bacon and chop it up. Add it as well
8. Add the parmesan cheese, and about ¾ cup of the asiago cheese
9. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can add more cheese, more cream or butter. However you like
10. Take the potato skins and put them on a foil lined cookie sheet
11. Fill the potato skins with the filling, mounding it up
12. Sprinkle on top more asiago cheese and bake until the cheese melts and browns.

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: I remember a time in New York a man working in a restaurant asked me if I wanted a bag of potatoes. They were giving away tons of bags (I guess they had ordered too many. I never knew why) and I took one home and had a baked potato party. I made these. They are so homey and warm! It is a little rainy out and the perfect comfort food. You can change up the cheese, add anything you like, and that is why I like them. They are different every time depending on what I have in the fridge! Someone also told me I should try seasoning the skins, which I might try next time…maybe soak it in a broth? Spice rub?