Simple, Flaky Biscuits

Sorry for my absence here.  Life got busy and hectic.

I’ll go into the past 2 months in more depth over the next few posts.  For now let’s just start with biscuits.

Homemade biscuits are actually quite simple to make.  And boy do they wow people when you pull out a fresh batch and respond: “Why yes, they are homemade.  Now try not to eat them all in one sitting.”

This recipe is easy to adapt.  Add a bit of cheddar for a great match for chili.  Serving it with chicken soup, add some herbs for extra flavor.  Or just make these biscuits plain and enjoy with a bit of jam.

So want to know the secret to making awesome simple biscuits?

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Frisky Puss Cupcakes

To start of my series of recipes inspired by plays is a cupcake inspired by David Ives’ adaptation of Georges Reydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear.

This witty French comedy is all about timing.  Characters bounce in and out of the house and hotel, often one person is walking out a door as another walks in another.  The second act takes place in the Frisky Puss Hotel, a shady place that caters to those with perhaps questionable morals.  All the characters end up in the hotel, running in and out of doors like their in an episode of Scooby Doo.

A line in the play likens the hotel to a chocolate covered cherry, a cheap chocolate covered cherry.  This was the starting point for my inspiration.

Not the cheap part, but the cherry and chocolate.

Maraschino cherry juice gives the cupcake a cherry sweetness.  Not the kind of sweetness that makes your teeth hurt, but the kind that leaves you licking your fingers for more.  It also adds a pink color to the cupcakes.  Whipped white chocolate frosting adds a playful flavor, meshing with the sweet flavor of the cherry.

This cupcake even has a surprise.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Things are changing.  News is coming in, both good and bad.

Sometimes chocolate is the answer.  If only temporarily.  These cookies were the answer last night.

Last week I received my two weeks notice at work.  It’s a hard economic environment, and the arts are often the first to go.  My company had to cut back somehow to stay afloat, and so for financial reasons I found myself holding a single piece of paper that shifted all my plans for the next few months/year.

There are two ways I could react to being laid-off.  Sink into despair and hopelessness.  Or, choose to see it as an opportunity to reassess my goals and try something different.

I choose the latter.  Thanks in a big part to R.  He took the news pretty hard, but instantly began to figure out how we could make things work.  “We’ll make it work” seems to have become our motto over the last few days.

So a door may have been unexpectedly shut on me, but I know I’ll find my open window.

In the mean time I will keep posting here.  R and I still have to eat, and one way we’re cutting back is by eating out less.  So you’ll be seeing more posts about our adventures in cooking.  And by ours I mostly mean R’s cooking and my assisting and baking.  I’m looking for sponsorship opportunities and planning a self-published e-cookbook.  So, while things may be changing it actually means I can set aside more time and effort for baking and writing.

Good news is that my toes are healing and I don’t need surgery!  Still wearing a protective boot to make sure they finish healing properly.

Now, on to those cookies.

While instability is a part of a career in the arts, these cookies are stable and comforting.

Everyone has a different idea of what the perfect oatmeal cookie should be.  My idea is soft, chewy, and chocolatey.  These cookies are exactly that.

Dark cocoa and molasses give these cookies a rich, velvety taste that’s accented by the salt sprinkled on top.  Did you know salt is a flavor enhancer?  Bite in and these are chewy, rich, and filling.  One will satisfy your chocolate craving, I won’t judge if you have four like I did last night.

So don’t let that closed door bother you.  Find your window and take these cookies with you in case you need a pick-me-up on your way.

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365 Week One

Sunset in the mountains.

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Green Monster Smoothie

It’s a new year, time to start it off right.  Diets aren’t usually my thing.  But as the days get colder I always find myself craving fruits and veggies, so a change in diet is a yearly habit.  After all the indulgence over the holidays, lighter meals and snacks are a welcome sight.

This smoothie is perfect for a light breakfast on your way out the door or an afternoon snack.  Light, refreshing, and so green! The color is what inspired the name.  I can just picture a fuzzy monster, like the kind in a Pixar film, drinking this on their way to work.

Just four simple ingredients make this easy to whip up and won’t weight you down.  The kale adds nutrition and allows the pear to take the lead a the main flavor.

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Kale Chips

For the last year I’ve read and wondered about Kale.  I’m not a big salad person, sure I enjoy salads and occassionally crave something green but for the most part Kale didn’t sound that appealing.  Well, I’ve tried it finally and I’m jumping on the Kale train cause these chips were amazing!

Raw Kale tastes like grass to me.  These chips taste nothing like grass.  Instead they took on the flavor of the topping.  Light, crunchy bite size chips with tons of flavor and no guilt.

The salt kale chips almost taste like popcorn.  I think I’ve found a new movie snack.  And the sesame seed chips were even better; flavorful, crisp and so good.  I can’t wait to try more toppings like Parmesan, curry, or red pepper.

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Top 5 Recipes of 2011

2011 was a big year for me.  I started the year in New York City working on an exciting new show.  Pursued and received a promotion that took me into a new area of theatre.  R and I got engaged and moved into a place of our own.  And I ended the year in the snowy mountains with new family.

Looking back, a lot of big things happened for me in 2011.

Not to mention 2011 is the year I started this blog and really gave myself permission to pursued my passion for writing and baking.

If you’re just tuning in, or have been following since the beginning, here are the viewers top 5 recipes from 2011.

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Peppermint Marsmallows

So I had great plans for last week.  Recipes to make, recipes to post, holidays to celebrate.  But life got in the way and a week ago I was in the ER.  It was a freak accident, just the right combination of factors and I didn’t get out of the way fast enough.  Nothing too big, but I did end up breaking two toes.  Which is an annoyingly painful injury for such a small part of the body.  So last week is a bit of a blur of pain meds, couch time, and netflix.

The ER was not that bad, once I was seen the staff was really great and kept cracking jokes at the formal wear R and I were in.  We were suppose to go the company holiday party, but my foot got in the way.  R luckily was able to help take care of me and we both had a nice quiet holiday in.  Yesterday was my first day back to work, and the change of scenery was very welcome.

Before my injury I did make up a batch of fluffy, peppermint marshmallows.  Perfect for the holidays and gift-giving.  Just plain they pack a wallop of peppermint in tiny clouds of sugar.  These make a great addition to hot cocoa if you want a more festive holiday drink and fresh breath.  It’s too late for most of the holidays, but if you’re looking for something to bring to a New Year’s Eve Party you can whip up a batch of these and ring in the new year with a refreshing treat.

How did you spend your holiday?

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Hot Coco Recipe

Alright guys, this weekend it hit me:  I have less than two weeks to finish getting gifts, wrap them, and mail most of them.  EEK!

How did it get to be the middle of December?  Why is it going to be in the 70s this week?  I know I’m below the Mason Dixon line, but I’m not that far south.  Just last year I woke up the day after Christmas to a blanket of snow.

Well, even though the weather seems a bit confused, the calendar says it’s the time of year for cuddling up in front of a crackling fire with a warm cup of cocoa.  There is nothing wrong with store-bought cocoa.  But if you want to treat yourself or your loved ones then you can make your own.

Rich, chocolaty comfort in a cup.  That’s what this cocoa is.
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Spicy Spice Cake with Orange Frosting

R made a cake while I was stuck in tech.  R made a delicious, spicy cake.  It was wonderful the next morning as breakfast… don’t worry I also had coffee for breakfast.

This spice cake is spicy.  I tried some without the frosting, the cloves and nutmeg gave a wonderful spicy heat.  The frosting is sweet, but not overly, a strong orange zest accents the spice of the cake.  You don’t need much of this cake as it is packed with flavor.  Bake this cake for someone special just because.

If you were to top this cake with a chocolate frosting be prepare for a very rich dessert.  Chocolate would go well with the spiciness of the cake, perhaps vanilla would work too.  The orange frosting would go great on a white cake as well to add some zest.

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