Jello Cupcake Fad

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They look yummy and delicious

Just like clothing, cooking/baking goes through fads and right now, I keep seeing all sorts of jello-this and jello-that recipes popping up.  They’re colorful.  They seem like a good idea.  And they are not for me.  I have found that they are far too sweet for my own sweet tooth and probably a hit with children… and that’s it.

In my pantry there was a chocolate cupcake mix and a box of jello so I grabbed up a random jello and cupcake recipe (extremely simple by the way) and went to work.  You simply make it up per the instructions on the package, separate and add jello to one half and layer it in your baking utensil.  On paper, this should be delicious, soft and yummy and full of flavor combo potential.  In practice, I prefer to use real fruit added to cupcakes than this sugary, almost rubbery mix.

I don’t think it was my choice of chocolate and strawberry.  Both are flavors that mix well together and in all honestly, it looks impressive and yummy.  I really just find the texture of the jello/cake mix a bit strange and the overall flavor too sugary sweet instead of rich-sweet which is my preference in a dessert.  It’s too bad because I really wanted this to be a hit.

They look impressive, don't they?

They look impressive, don’t they?

Some will love it and well, my family and I don’t and that’s what I really wanted to put out there with this post:  a recipe that wasn’t loved by all purely because of personal taste preference   If you don’t show the bad with the good, that’s not an honest venture in cooking and baking.

On the flip side, there’s a medium received posted about period biscuits next.

Banana’s for Breakfast…and Tea…and Everything Else

Can we say hold your horses!  I need more time in my day between cooking/baking/work/sewing and rehearsals.  But that’s alright, I’ll take it.  It just means those homecooked meals and goodies taste even better.

This comes from Wednesday, as I promised last week and they were promptly ate up in a couple of days.  Banana chocolate chip scones everyone!  Healthy and yet…not?  Oh well, they were yummy and considering I always failed at baking scones from a mix, something I thought might end up going the way of those scones as well.  Luckily, that wasn’t they case.

So fluffy and full of flavor!

So fluffy and full of flavor!

They are divine and so very easy to make.  All you need is one ripe banana, as apposed to banana bread or many others that require at least two and while my banana was just this side of not being overly ripe and perfect for baking, it did well enough.  I now, however, have two overly ripe bananas since you can’t exactly by one ripe banana at a time.  It’s a sad fact.  Aside from that, and using left over chocolate from Easter (I had a milk chocolate carrot that was crushed into chips), I followed the recipe exactly.  I will use dark chocolate next time verse the milk chocolate from my candy bit but quibbles.  They recommended the semi-sweet chips and I didn’t feel like getting some, so it’s all on my for that one.

My jumbo slices...this is only one tray.  There was a whole other one.  Whoops.

My jumbo slices…this is only one tray. There was a whole other one. Whoops.

The timing was a little different and I had to bake them at least ten minutes longer than their directions because, for whatever reason, I am horrible as gauging measurements in food when it comes to inches.  Give me fabric and I can do it almost exactly but food?  Nope.  I tend to over compensate and make them a touch big.  Now, that’s great for a scone for breakfast with a bit of Nutella on it, but you just have to remember to bake them longer and yet, not too long.

Now I’m wondering if I can do this recipe with other fruit purees, like strawberry and oh!  Blueberry… and it’s be so charmingly colorful!

…Next up is a brownie pie, which is baking as I type this…

Lemon Parsley Chicken

Very tragically, I missed last week.  It wasn’t that there was no baking or cooking going on, just that they were repeats and requests by the family and a few standbys for GV which stars next Monday.  This just means there are two recipes for this week to make up for it.

This one is rather easy.  I started with a lemon-dill chicken recipe and had to modify it per what the pantry and frig contained, which is often the case.  Happily, this recipe still tasted amazing after the tweeks which I think owes itself to the recipe.  I’m quite fond of recipes that allow that freedom in the kitchen, but don’t we all?

Look at it cooking away, smelling up the house with yumminess.

Look at it cooking away, smelling up the house with yumminess.

The changes I made were pretty basic anyway.  Luckily, there were a couple of lemons in the frig (which aren’t usually there but I’ll take it) and it allowed me to use my little, wooden juicer and I love using my wooden utensils.  I didn’t have any dill (though the next time I will make this with dill because it would be amazing) or any onions since the last one had been used for a dinner in which I hadn’t been home to notice.  My family didn’t miss it since they are not the biggest onion fans but I am and I wish I could have used them.

There's so much flavor in this and apparently only 173 calories, so score!

There’s so much flavor in this and apparently only 173 calories, so score!

In place of dill, I used the same amount of herbs but used parsley and some basil, plus I rubbed the chicken with just a little bit of poultry seasoning with the salt and pepper before the searing of it.  The only other issue was that the flour wasn’t quite enough to thicken the mixture and I had to add a bit to make it work but that’s all part of the process.

The result is delicious and I love the tang of the lemon with the chicken.  It’s definitely only to be one of those repeat recipes for me while I play with the herb combos.

The Koolaid Pie Everyone’s Talking About

Technically, these two posts were baked yesterday so that there was a new recipe each week but we couldn’t eat them until today.  Besides, I was stuck in bed all week with the flu and wasn’t allowed anywhere near the kitchen, which seems reasonable.  It was quite the bummer since I did have a few things I wanted to try.  I guess I’ll have to make up for it this next week.

Anyway…

Looks rather impressive but thank goodness it's easy.

Looks rather impressive but thank goodness it’s easy.

This first post is the kool-aid pie that has been floating around Pinterest and probably a few other sites and while I was skeptical at first, I was proven very, very wrong.  It’s a delightful, zippy pie and I’m really looking forward to making this in the summer when baking can get a bit irritating what with the heat and all.  Plus, it tasted like those push-up popsicles I had as a kid (I made the orange flavor) and that’s just a nice treat.

It looks fresh and it's just as fresh on your tongue

It looks fresh and it’s just as fresh on your tongue

It’s extremely easy to make.  All you need to do is combine a package of koolaid, whatever flavor you want, with a can of condensed milk (a 14oz to be exact) and a small tub of cool-whip, which I tend to favor in the fat-free, ‘lite’ version just to make myself feel a bit better about it all.  Add to that a homemade graham cracker crust and you got a yummy, colorful dessert.

my first homemade graham cracker crust... and without a food processor...

my first homemade graham cracker crust… and without a food processor…

It does need to set for about three hours before eating and is actually really good fresh from the frig with a bit of cool-whip on top or some fruit.  If you have kids, give this one a go, or if you just like something creamy, rich and almost ok for you, make this.  I certainly will… cause I always have koolaid on hand and the other two ingredients aren’t too bad on the wallet.

One Minute Buttermilk Mug Cake

Just as promised, here is the second post of the day.

I have a dessert problem and I have no intention of fixed it, though I have every intention of making it as healthy as possible and thus my search begins.  For a quick dessert without a ton of it left over, I went to Pinterest and found myself a one-minute mug of cake recipe to give a try and the good news?  It was fairly healthy, yay!

My little cake pancake

My little cake pancake

The original was made for a chocolate version, and then I found one that added some instant coffee which I will be trying very soon.  I, however, was not in the mood for chocolate.  Shocking!  So, trying a little experimentation, I decided to forgo the cocoa powder in this recipe and substitute it with flour, and then use low fate buttermilk instead of 2% milk, which according to their labels, is the same about calorie-wise.

The result is a tasty little treat that’s dense (I find that buttermilk cakes are like that but that’s alright with me) and pretty flavorful.  I’d like to try this out with flavor extracts and see what happens but for a one minute, microwave cake?  I’ll take it.  Plus, it allowed me to play with applesauce as a replacement for oil/eggs that’s so popular on pinterest right now.  The applesauce flavor is ever so faint in this and I almost wonder if I can’t make it more pronounced.  Hmmm.  Food for thought.

Oh, and I’d probably make it in a smaller mug so it didn’t end up so pancake flat like…

This is my modification of the original:

4 tbsp + 2 tsp flour
pinch of salt
1 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
3 tsp applesauce
3 tbsp low-fat buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients well, then add in the wet and stir.  Bake in the microwave for about 40-50 seconds depending on your wattage.

Cheesy Fish

It’s a two for one today!  But we’ll start with the main course since it’s so yummy.

Now and then, Rachel Ray will make it onto my television screen.  I kinda like her show but it’s always at a time when I’m busy doing other things so I default to The Chew instead but that doesn’t mean I don’t try her recipes now and then.  The Parmesan-crusted Tilapia being a fine example.

Just before hitting the oven

Just before hitting the oven

We eat tons of tilapia in my house.  I’d prefer salmon personally, having an extreme fondness for it and given half the chance in a restaurant, will order it above any other selection of protein and meat.  Sadly, my pleas go unanswered and I have to search about for interesting fish recipes and here is a good one.

Flaky, parm covered and oh so good.

Flaky, parm covered and oh so good.

It’s super easy and requires very little in the way of ingredients and that’s always a good thing.  Most people have these ingredients already in their kitchen and that’s a big bonus with quite a few of her recipes.  If you don’t, they aren’t too expensive to get.  We didn’t have any parmesan handy being fresh out though we usually have it for our pastas.  This time the shredded was picked up verses the grated which worked out just as well.  It isn’t as ‘crusted’ as it probably should have but it tasted just fine.  I might not even ever try this with the grated since I liked the shredded well enough.

Since it is a quick recipe, I’d say it’s pretty ideal for those on the go and those wanting to be a bit more health conscious.  Thumbs up from me and the whole family on this one.

Stuffed Pretzels

After a bout of baking, I decided to switch things up a bit, partly because there were several boxes of Girl Scout cookies that needed to be consumed first and consumed they were.  (Also, if you mix pudding instant mix, about 3/4 cup milk and a thing of lite whipped cream topping and then crush a couple thin mints in a little serving of that, it is delicious).

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

Pretzels were on my mind lately, and requested by the family since the last time I made homemade German pretzels during the fall.  I didn’t just want to make those again since it’s a big batch and we couldn’t eat them fast enough which was horribly sad for all involved since they are so yummy.  Therefore, I came across this recipe for pretzel bites that uses a different pretzel based recipe.  I’m always up for a new version of a loved yummy, so I set about making it.

I do love that there’s no butter or egg involved, better to say those ingredients for baking goodies, and lucky for me that we had left over ham from the night before.  It is a time consuming project, just to beware of that with the rising and the resting and then finally the baking, but I’m used to making bread and foods that take time so I was able to set things up and do a few other things around the house.

You can see how I got carried away with the size.  Whoops but yum.

You can see how I got carried away with the size. Whoops but yum.

The directions are very straightforward, though you should follow the whole one inch rule about how big to make these bites.  I’m not the best gauge of that when it comes to food (oddly, I am with fabric, huh) and I tend to make things a bit big… and yes, I did that this time.  They expand both in the resting and in the boiling process so these pretzel bites are more like pretzel biscuits but they sure are yummy.

The pretzel is fluffy and light and the ham to cheese ratio is nice.  It isn’t overwhelming for those who don’t like that sort of thing (I’d put way more cheese in there but that’s just me).  And they stuck to the pans but I have a feel it is the pans.  They have done that consistently with just about everything placed on them.  Sad news, but yay for shopping for replacements.

Definitely give this one a shot and I’m already looking forward to putting chocolate chips inside instead of ham and cheese for a bit of salty/sweetness.