Latkes, latkes, latkes

potatolatkesHappy  Chanukah! It may be coming to an end, but to me nothing says Chanukah like potato latkes also known as potato pancakes. Since I have mastered matzo ball soup, I figured it was time to move on to trying my hand at another Jewish dish and since I like to eat potato latkes, why not try and make them. Fair warning though, if you are shredding the potatoes by hand, set aside a good number of hours and have many paper towels on hand. I’m pretty sure I was wearing at least one whole potato by the time I was done shredding. If you choose to fry the latkes, the amount of oil you will use is a lot, so keep that in mind. I baked half of mine and fried the other half and I have to say the baked ones were by far my favorite and you use basically no oil for them as opposed to frying. I also did a batch with zucchini, but you could really through in any vegetable you want that goes well with potatoes. Click for the recipe. Continue reading

Are you ready for some football?

I’m not a football fan. I’ll watch football games and I finally understand the game, but I’m a baseball and hockey girl at heart. When it comes to the Super Bowl though, I will watch the game and not just for the commercials. My friends and I are having a mini-Super Bowl party so I decided to make a football field cake for the occasion.

I’ve made a football field cake before, two years ago when the New York Giants were in the Super Bowl I made this one with sprinkles to represent the grass and the Giants logo. This year since none of us has a favorite team in the game I decided to just make a standard field with green and white icing. I also did a little spin on making your standard cake mix from a box. I’ve stated on here before that I’m not a baker so box cake mix for me is always the route. I can cook from scratch but I’m not a fan of baking from scratch if I can help it. If I can make something healthier than it’s traditional way I’m always willing to give it a shot. I’m not talking about using applesauce instead of oil in the cake, I’m talking about using the cake mix and a can of diet soda. Yes, soda in a cake and it tastes great. I’ve also seen that people are adding egg whites as well to the cake mix and soda, so I tried it out this time. The batter turns out the same way if you made the cake using the ingredients on the box and has the same consistency when finished cooking in case you are worried about that.

Note: I was able to find green vanilla flavored icing. The last time I made the cake I dyed the vanilla icing green myself with food coloring which you can do if your local market doesn’t have the green icing.

Football Field Cake

cake_ingredientsIngredients:

  • Cake mix (I used Pillsbury Golden Butter Mix)
  • Can of Diet Pepsi (you can use any diet soda flavor you prefer)
  • 1/3 cup of liquid egg whites
  • Pillsbury Funfetti vibrant green vanilla icing
  • White decorating icing

Directions:

Pour the cake mix into a bowl and combine it with the soda and egg whites. Mix thoroughly and transfer to a greased pan. Cook cake according to package directions for your size pan.

cake_batter

Once your cake is done, let cool completely before icing it.

cake_icedCover entire top of cake with the green icing and let it sit for at least an hour before creating the rest of your field.

cake_finishedMy finished cake. Since I didn’t have the tips for the icing, my lines and numbers didn’t come out as perfect as I would’ve liked them to. If you have the icing tips, I highly recommend using them because I’m sure they make it much easier to decorate.

Easy as pumpkin pie

Since Thanksgiving is a few days away, I wanted to share a simple pumpkin cheesecake pie recipe. I originally made this as mini Oreo pumpkin cheesecakes at Halloween for a pumpkin food contest we had at work and it won second place. I usually make some sort of apple pie to bring to Thanksgiving but this year I decided to go the pumpkin route and since this recipe was a hit at Halloween I figured I could change it up slightly into a regular pie form.

You can use a regular pie crust for this recipe, I just happen to like the way pumpkin tastes with graham crackers so that is why I used a graham cracker crust.

pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Ingredients
– graham cracker crust
– 1 package 8 oz. neufchâtel cream cheese softened
– 1 cup pureed canned pumpkin (make sure it is pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling)
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 egg white
– 1 tablespoon cinnamon
– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– fat free whipped cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, egg white, cinnamon and vanilla extract in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix ingredients until it is all smooth. Pour mix into graham cracker crust, making sure not to overfill the pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until mixture has set. Refrigerate pie for at least 4 hours before serving. Top with whipped cream when serving.

This recipe was adapted from Halloween Oreo Pumpkin Cheesecakes.

No-bake Halloween candy

halloween_1

Every year around Christmas time I make something that is known as white trash candy. If you Google white trash candy, you’ll find a ton of different recipe variations to it. I call it the everything but the kitchen sink candy because you can add in whatever you want to the mix. I usually start with pretzels, Chex Mix and some kind of chocolate candy like M&M’s and then go from there. Since I’m heading off to a Halloween party tonight I figured I would make a batch of the candy to bring, but wanted to put a Halloween twist on it. I had my heart set on using the Halloween Oreos as the base for my candy, but after going to two supermarkets and having no luck finding them, I was stuck with the regular ones. When I think of Halloween candy, I think of candy corn so I decided to throw that in as well.

The great thing about making this candy is that it is so simple to do and between melting the chocolate and allowing it to harden it takes less than an hour for the whole process. The best part is, it is suppose to look messy so you don’t need to sit there and make sure everything is perfect. Plus it tastes really good.

Halloween Candy Trash

Ingredients:

– 1 bag of chocolate chips ( I used Nestle)

– 1 bag of white chocolate chips  (I used Nestle)

– 1 teaspoon of olive oil or melted butter

– 1 package of Oreos

– 1 bag of candy corn

– 1 bag of M&M’s

– Halloween colored sprinkles

* You also need a baking sheet lined with either parchment of wax paper.

Directions:

– Crush the Oreos and candy corn and keep in a separate bowl.

– Melt chips according to package directions. I melt my chips in the microwave. If you melt in the microwave just note that the white chocolate chips will take a longer time to melt than the regular chocolate chips.

– Once the chips are about 90% melted, add the olive oil or melted butter to the chips and mix. This will help keep the chocolate mixture a little bit easier to work with.

– Add the crushed Oreos and candy corn to the chocolate along with M&M’s and sprinkles and mix well.

– Once everything is covered transfer to your lined baking sheet and add some more sprinkles on top.

– Refrigerate for around 30 minutes or until chocolate has set. To tell if the chocolate has fully set, try and lift it off the paper, if it lifts cleanly than it is good to go.

– Once chocolate has set, break into pieces and enjoy.

Note: I made this in two batches, one for the white and one for the chocolate.

Green smoothies

When you think of a smoothie, fruit and yogurt sound like good choices to put into one, but you might think twice about putting in spinach and kale. I have been reading about hiding vegetables in your smoothies for quite some time, but I never found myself to be daring enough to try it. I get the occasional migraine and I know that spinach is known to prevent headaches. I like spinach so I figured eating some of it everyday wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that I would get tired quickly of steamed or sautéed spinach everyday, so I decided to give the green smoothie a try.

One of my favorite recipe blogs is Skinnytaste and there were a few smoothie recipes on the site. After reading through all of them, I decided to make a smoothie out of spinach, plain Greek yogurt and frozen fruit, and surprisingly I really liked the taste. Aside from the green color, you could barely tell that there is spinach in the smoothie. After making the first one, I have tried kale, cucumber, avocado and celery in the smoothies along with any kind of fruit — fresh or frozen — I have around. Through Skinnytaste I learned about natural food chef Julie Morris who wrote the book Superfood Smoothies. I highly recommend the book because there are 100 smoothie recipes to try and I’ve been introduced to so many different kinds of superfoods such as berries and seeds to incorporate into my smoothies that I never would’ve added in before.

green smoothie startWhen I make my daily smoothie I either make one from Superfood Smoothies, one I’ve seen from The Wholesome Life on Instagram or one from my own head. One of my favorites that I’ve come up with is my tropical smoothie.

Tropical green smoothie recipe
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
– 1 cup kale and spinach combined
– 1 cup strawberries
– 1/2 cup kiwi
– 1/2 cup mango
– 1/2 cup grapefruit
– 2 tablespoons hemp seeds

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice cubes to the blender and crush if desired.

green smoothie final