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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kale Chips, Butternut Squash Fries, and Bubble Tea

Happy Summer! I haven't been doing much baking lately, mostly because when I come home I don't feel like doing much besides this...
"mmmm, so cuddly"

But otherwise, I've just been lazy. I been wanting to make a few items that I bought ingredients for, but just haven't gotten around to it. As my father always told me (sarcastically, after seeing me bringing home my flute every night but rarely ever practicing) "All good deeds start with good intentions." So, in the same line of thought, I tend to buy ingredients for projects but it takes me awhile to get around to making it.

But veggies can only wait so long. This week, I had a few free nights so here's what I made.

Kale Chips

I saw this recipe somewhere online a few weeks ago and was immediately intrigued. Kale chips? All you have to do is wash the kale, pat it dry, spread it on a baking sheet (mine was lined with foil so I didn't have to wash the pan... ah laziness), mist with pam (or other spray oil) and sprinkle it with salt or other seasonings (I recommend garlic powder), and bake it for ~5-10 minutes in a 425 degree oven. The kale comes out crispy, light, and AMAZING. It has the taste of slightly overcooked potato chips. Its surprisingly good and satisfying. They're so easy to make and very healthy. You can eat the whole pan and its only about 50 calories.

Also on the same night (once the oven is hot I like to go with it...)

Butternut Squash Fries!

Butternut Squash fries are just like sweet potato fries. Similar texture and taste. Just cut them thin, spray with oil and sprinkle with seasoning, and the bake at 425 for ~30 minutes. I like them dark and toasty. This picture was taken after I flipped them. I didn't get a picture of the finished product as I was too busy inhaling them.

Last, I made bubble (boba) tea. If you're not familiar, brace yourself.

Bubble tea is a popular drink in Asia (at least from what I hear. I've never been there). Its a drink made from tea, juice, watered down smoothy, or whatever you want with "bobas" at the bottom. The bubbles, which look like what I imagine octopus eggs look like, are made with tapioca pearls. They come in a variety of colors, usually black, but the ones I found at my local oriental market (a fun place to spend a few hours, trust me) are green:

Bubbles! aka tapioca pearls

I followed the direction on the package, basically boiled water, dropped them in and let them boil until they floated, then reduced heat to medium and left them with the top on for 5-6 minutes. At the same time I made a simple syrup (1 c. water + 1 c. sugar, boiled) and put the bubbles into the syrup to cool. 

Finished bubbles

To make my finished drink, I put the bubbles in a cup, poured a few T. of the syrup on top, added milk, and cool peach green tea and mixed together. To drink, you need a big straw (I got this one from Panera... they use them with their smoothies). Yumm. The bubbles have a fun chewy texture and the drink is refreshing!


Monday, June 13, 2011

No-Bake Cookies

I babysit for a local family with four kids (ages 8, 6, 4, & 2) and to keep them busy and out of trouble, I always try to bring something to do with me. This weekend I brought over the ingredients to make No-Bake Cookies.

This recipe is great to make with kids because it only has a few ingredients, takes only a few minutes to make (perfect for short attention spans), you don't need a mixer, and you don't have to heat up the oven (although you do use the stove top, but only for a few minutes).

Here is the recipe:

No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies

From Rebecca Crump (
  • 1/2 CUP MILK
1. Place several sheets of wax paper on your counter or kitchen table.
2. Measure 3 cups of oats, the peanut butter and the vanilla into a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.
3. Place the butter, sugar, milk and cocoa in a small saucepan. Give them a quick stir. Turn the heat on high, and leave the mixture alone. (No more stirring.) Bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil, and let it boil for exactly 1 minute. Remove immediately from the heat, and pour the chocolate mixture over the oats and peanut butter.
4. Use a large wooden spoon to quickly stir the ingredients together. (If the mixture seems runny or it’s a very humid day, stir in the remaining half-cup of oats.)
5. Working with two spoons or a small ice cream scoop, drop the mixture by tablespoons onto the wax paper.
6. Let the cookies cool until set.

The final product (camera phone... sorry!)

My baking help

In the bowl (doesn't look very yummy, but it is!)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Time Frozen Key Lime Pie

So its been a few weeks since I've had a chance to do any real baking, but I did get around to throwing together some of my mom's awesome Frozen Key Lime Pie. But more on that in a minute.

This past weekend, at Gigi & Luca's Pet Boutique, they were holding a bake sale for a yorkie puppy that needed heart surgery. I didn't have much time to make anything extravagant, but I did make a cool recipe that I had seen on TV the previous Sunday morning (Hungry Girl... gotta find out more about this show). On the show, the host, who specializes in healthy but yummy good, made what she called "brownie cupcakes." All she did was mix one can of pureed pumpkin with a chocolate cake mix to make the under 200 calorie brownies. I did the same thing (too easy not to) and put them into mini-cupcake holders. They were pretty good, and with no oil or egg they were under 100 calories each. The only problem was that they weren't very sweet so I frosted them with a little chocolate frosting, just to liven' them up. I think next time I would either add a few chocolate chips or frost again.

I also made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from a bag. Ugh. They tasted like it. Nothing like my dad's recipe (which I will have to do a post on soon), but they worked fine for a bake sale.

Now, back to tonight's dinner:

Last weekend we went out to Longhorn's because we had a gift card. Chris ordered the Parmesan crusted chicken and loved it, so I thought I'd give it a go tonight. I cooked halved chicken breasts in olive oil with garlic and onion, then put a mix of panko bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, parsley, and "chicken seasoning" (mostly paprika and salt) on top of the chicken and broiled it on high until they were nice and toasted. Yum...

For dessert, earlier I had whipped up a Frozen Key Lime Pie. Here's the recipe:
1 graham cracker crust (either home-made or bought, I used a store bought)
~4 limes (preferably key limes, but you will need more with key limes bc they're so damn small)
1 can (14oz) of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
(you can also have whipped cream and limes for garnish)

First, zest about a tablespoon of zest from the limes, the squeeze 1/2 a cup of juice. Mix the sweetened condensed milk and the lime zest/juice together. In a separate, chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream with a mixer until you get stiff peaks. Combine the whipped cream into the lime mixture in 3rds, then put it into the crust. Put in the freezer for at least 4 hours, if not overnight. It will keep, covered for about a week.

We ate our pie a little early (we couldn't wait) so its soft, but it usually firms up nicely. This is perfect in the summer because you don't need to use the oven, its light, refreshing, and only takes about 15 minutes to make!