Friday, April 30, 2010

Mango slash Everything I Could Find "Salsa"

I was looking for a snack today and realized, as usual, we don't have your "typical" snack food in my house. I wanted something fresh and yummy, and then realized we had perfect ingredients for some sort of salsa. I use the word salsa loosely because the one I created isn't saucy. It's chunky and not runny as most salsa is. So, here is all you need to create a quick, fresh, and easy "salsa"

What ya need:
1/2 mango
1/2 avocado
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 bell pepper (I used 1/4 orange and 1/4 red)
1/2 red onion
Lime Juice
(If you have cilantro, it would be perfect in this dish!!)

Chop into tiny smaller-than-bite-size pieces and combine in big bowl. Add lime juice and cumin to taste. Enjoy with chips, on chicken, alone! Yummy!

It just so happens that I only had 1/2 of's really a smorgasbord of what I had laying around.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cake

I'm a peanut butter fanatic. I like it on bread. I like it on fruit. I like it with jelly. I like it on it's own. You can't go wrong with it. And this cake is ohh soo right...

All that being said, I've never had a peanut butter cake. I've had a gooey butter cake; I've had peanut butter chips in my cake, but never have I ever had peanut butter cake. So, tonight marks the first adventure into one of my favorite flavors.

What ya need for the cake:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
4, eggs
1 (18.25 oz) package butter cake mix
2/3 cup water

What ya need for the frosting:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tbsp heavy cream (you can also use milk here)

But WAIT, there's more! We added an additional frosting because we're devious little ladies. So get this too:
1.5 cups chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter
What ya do:
Peaheat the oven the 325 degrees and grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans

Combine 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/2 cup softened butter... (not melted, see above). Cream until light and fluffy. Salivate and try not to devour.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add cake mix and water (alternating) Stir until just combined and pour batter evenly into pans.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake (ours took about 32).

ALLOW IT TO COOL! (We always, always struggle with this part)

While it's cooling, you can make your frosting!!

Combine the cup of peanut butter with the butter and cream (yes, again) until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar. Mix in enough cream/milk until the frosting is spread able. Apply it to middle layer of cooled cake.

In small saucepan, melt 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips with 1/3 cup peanut butter.Use the chocolate peanut butter sauce to frost the top and sides of the cake. Garnish as desired.

Now, this is also where you can get creative.
Some might enjoy this with a topping such as chocolate chips, reese's, or even roasted peanuts. Just some ideas (and I wish mine looked this pretty!) But, below is our little masterpiece. We just weren't satisfied following the recipe exactly. If you LOVE chocolate/peanut butter/the combination of the two, this is right up your alley. I think this little creation is my favorite yet. You will die of a perfection coma. 

Let me tell you... this is honestly one of the best cakes I have ever had. Not just recently but ever. It's like a buttery creamy reese's with a rich chocolate icing (ummm yeah, I know; amazing). The peanut butter frosting can be doubled and used for the whole cake as in the original recipe but we're chocolate people and we do chocolate things.

We added some chopped up Easter Reese's Eggs on the top and side to make it look prettier but really if you make this cake it will be devoured so fast no one will remember the intricate details you put on it. It's up to you though. For us, this isn't a profession or something we plan on pursuing (yet... check for us in a few years haha) so we just make it good enough to eat.

Enjoy!!! And if you start convulsing from how amazing this is, just relax and enjoy the high

May, oh May

May, oh May. To me, the first week of May has always been one for celebrating. It's my dad's birthday, cinco de mayo, and also two of my close friends birthdays all within the same week. Now, it's also my boss' birthday the second week. This That is four cakes I need to make within the next two weeks! Geez oh man.

I know two for sure. And the one that is coming will surely be sublime. Peanut butter cake. I'm also planning on making a rainbow cake next Thursday and two others which are undecided. Father, what is your preference? Thanks. Dev, I must say, since we've been in our long distance frandship, I've forgotten what might tickle your fancy.  Rach, since I wasn't so heavily into this cake craze for your birthday, you're pretty much deserve one too! So let me know, k great thanks. Amie, we should do  a cinco de mayo themed one next week. Okay enough shout outs.

Anyway, so aside from the finals/projects/papers I should be working on, I'm choosing to indulge my inner fat kid and make cakes instead. It makes me happy! So, keep checking in because I've got a lot of cool stuff coming atcha.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I was so excited about this oatmeal. You know the saying don't judge a book by it's cover? Well, don't judge a food product by it's box.

Yes, the Mmmmuffins box got me good. Something about the colors and the picture of the muffin just sold me. I'm a huge oatmeal fan, so I figured why not try out a new brand. Maple is my favorite flavor, so I didn't think I could go wrong.

Worst. Oatmeal. Ever.

So plain! The consistency was more sticky than "thick and hearty." It lacked that little sweetness that makes oatmeal good. I suppose if you added in a tablespoon of brown sugar it would be do-able but kiss the healthy aspect of oatmeal bye bye after you do that. I was super bummed. Back to Quaker, I guess.

But wait, I also recently tried the Trader Joe's Maple Brown Sugar oatmeal (not apples and cinnamon, as pictured). Also not that exciting. What a bust. I mean, Quaker is the king, but I was looking for some substitutes. Guess I'll keep on truckin'.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Six Quick Fixes

Okay, I've come to a realization. I'm not a college athlete anymore. This may not seem like such a statement, but to me, this is huge. Know why? I can no longer eat like a college athlete. The days of mindless munching are over! And in walks my new passion for cooking. I'd like to think I cook pretty good food, and with great food comes great responsibility. So, I've also come to another realization. I'm a planner. A list maker. A crosser-offer. I need direction. I need a POA. I'm not spontaneous and as laid back as I'd like to think I am, I do much better with a little structure. So for those of you like me, I'd like to provide you with a list of helpful diet tips. Wait a minute, let me preface this... YOU SHOULD NEVER GO ON A DIET! The mere idea of "going on" usually leads to going off...thus, you won't be able to sustain it. So, throw out your Atkins book and Fat Melting Pills, and prepare for some real, helpful tips. The best part is that these aren't major changes...just little things you can do everyday to keep you on track.

1. Only eat when you are seated, and try not be watching TV
2. Drinking 1 can of regular soda everyday for one year can add on 15 pounds, so ditch it (and other sugary drinks)
3. Don't eat in bed!
4. Try writing down what you eat before you eat's like a self fulfilling prophecy
6. Drink water. All day. Every day.

I have a million more but I'm limiting it so I don't overwhelm anyone. Try them out!

Mexican Lasagna

Okay, Mexican Lasagna.. I had you for the first time in the Penn State dining commons my freshman year. I am embarrassed to say I LOVED IT!

I love all things lasagna. I love all things Mexican (well, sort of). The combination? Incredible. If you like tacos/enchiladas/melty cheesy goodness (I know I got you on that one) then you will feel immense happiness making and eating this easy recipe! There are a bunch of variations involving using your own combination of spices (think cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper) but if you don't have the time or energy, this recipe uses a quick fix taco seasoning packet. Dig in!
Now, this is supposed to be in a 9x13 and serve 8 people. I cut the recipe in half for 4 people and put it in an 8x8 pan. The recipe below is for 8 though.

What ya need:
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
2 (16 ounce) cans refried beans
4 (10 inch) corn tortillas (these hold up better than flour, plus they're better for you!)
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Salsa (as much or as little as you'd like...we're big salsa people)
1/2 medium onion
2 green onions, chopped
2 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
Sour Cream (optional for the side)
Olives (I HATE OLIVES WE WILL NOT BE INCLUDING THEM IN THE RECIPE!) if you don't feel as strongly as I do, toss em in!
What ya do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
In large skillet over medium heat, cook beef and onion until browned. Drain. 

Combine beef with taco seasoning and refried beans.
Spread half of mixture in 9x13 inch baking dish.
Top with salsa and two tortillas, trimming if necessary, and half of cheese.
Repeat layers again. 
Bake 35 to 45 minutes until heated through and cheese is bubbly.
 Top with green onions and tomatoes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. 

Serve alongside more salsa/sour cream
Tasty, tasty!!! This will give you 8 generous servings. Not counting added sour cream, the recipe comes out to:

Calories: 521
Fat: 22.4 g
Carb: 41.9 g
Protein: 30.8
Fiber: 7.4

Serve it along side a salad and you have a pretty well balanced meal. It's hearty, filling and satisfying!