Friday, December 19, 2014

Non-Stick Baking Options

I just wanted to share how I've been making cookies, cakes and muffins lately and getting them out of the pan with no damage.

I have a few cake pans that will work for reheating leftovers but have lost their non-stick capabilities. I can't afford to make a cake only to have half of it stay in the pan...especially if it's for a special event! So recently I decided to try lining the pan with parchment paper. This particular kind contains silicone, so it works well, but is heat resistant only up to a certain temperature.

Trimmed a bit for the round pan...

What a relief to have the cake pop right out in one piece!*

*(that little crack is from flipping it to another plate...oops)
Continue reading...

Monday, November 3, 2014

How to Make a "Roasted Mushroom Medley"

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest, and it came out really well. The mushrooms are juicy and flavorful. You could serve it as a side dish (hot or cold) or as a way to pre-cook mushrooms for other dishes (pizza, sandwiches, etc.).

For mushrooms I just used regular fresh white mushrooms, so I guess it doesn't qualify as a "medley." It would be interested to try a mixture, but it's hard to get other types fresh here (without traipsing into the woods). Let me know if you try a different variation (click caption for recipe)!

Click for recipe: Roasted Mushroom Medley

Monday, October 20, 2014

How to Create an Autumn Scent in Your Home

I think I've always had a sensitive nose, but particularly since my pregnancy 3 years ago I have a really hard time with strong odors...think migraines. :/

Our apartment doesn't have the best ventilation even with windows on 3 sides, and the kitchen is the worst! Even when I've aired out all the other rooms, I walk back in the kitchen and smell whatever it is we had for dinner. Garlic and onions are nice when you're hungry, but not several hours later when you're trying to relax.

This evening I was starting to feel yucky after a long day and I finally decided to implement an idea I'd heard of but never tried...

Stovetop "Apple Pie" Aroma

-Apple parts (could be a core or a soft one you weren't going to eat)
-Cinnamon (a whole stick is better)

Stick them in a pot or pan with a few inches of water and put on to simmer for a few minutes or as long as you like.

It might not be as appealing as an apple pie, but it smells as good and only takes a few minutes to put together.

My only problem was that the dirty dishes didn't go I had to start up the apple pie simmer again! :)

I wonder what other spice combinations would be fun to try? Maybe an orange peel one? Cranberries?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Challah 2 Ways

This is too late for Rosh Hashanah, but I was frustrated to find that my blog's "search" feature refused to yield results when I went back to look for my Challah recipe from a few years ago. The labels are much more reliable, but they require ME to be very thorough...I wish the tools would work as promised. :/

No worries though; the recipe turned up. The original post and photo are here! 4 years life has changed.

And my second recipe variation is my mom's delicious Challah recipe that she fine-tuned herself, YUM!

Sweet Challah Comfort Bread


8 C Hot water
1 C Sugar
2 Tbsp Salt
¼ C Oil
3 C Flour
3 T Yeast
8 Eggs
Poppy seeds


1. Combine water, sugar, salt, oil, and flour
2. Add yeast and beat together with fork
3. Add eggs
4. Gradually mix in flour until dough is ready to knead, then knead
5. Let dough rise
6. Cut into 6-8 pieces, form into rectangles
7. Cut into thirds and braid
8. Brush with water and sprinkle with poppy seeds
9. Place on greased cookie sheets to let rise
10. Bake at 350° (ack, for how long??). Beware of burning.

6-8 Loaves

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to Make Garlic Squash Roll-ups

What do you do when you have summer produce but it's still cold and rainy outside (and the heat is off)? Baked concoctions out of said produce are an excellent choice!

Squash wrapped around a
tomato garlic filling
The following is a recipe of my own concocting. I just can't get enough of that creamy tomato/garlic/dill combination! I've included a few variations to accommodate your specific diet/grocery limitations.

There is some assembly required, but you can multi-task and get your other dishes together in the meantime.

Though it makes an elegant appetizer, I'm not sure if I would call this finger-food or not. Maybe if you were really careful about rolling them up neatly. :)


-2 medium squash of the zucchini/summer squash variety (or the light green kind we have here), OR eggplant
-1 large (2 medium) tomatoes
-1 c mayonnaise
-2 cloves of garlic
-fresh herbs
-1/4 cup cheese of your choice (for melting factor)


1) Slice the squash horizontally so you have long, thin pieces that you will be able to wrap around a filling.

2) Pre-cook the squash until tender: Either saute on the stovetop or cook uncovered in the microwave for 5 minutes. I used the microwave so I could use that time for other tasks, plus it's less greasy that way.

(pre-heat the oven to 400 fahrenheit)

3) Get the filling ready while the squash is cooling enough to handle. Slice the tomatoes into discs (halve them if too wide) and make a mixture out of the mayo, garlic (crushed), herbs, cheese, and salt and pepper.

4) Grease or line a cookie sheet. Take the squash slices one at a time, place a tomato at one end, then a dollop of the filling on top, and wrap the other end of the squash around it. If you have any odd bits of squash left, you can cut and paste a bit, just remember which ones are less stable when you go to pick them up. :) Brush the tops lightly with olive oil for a browning effect, if you used the microwave method.

5) Place in the oven for about 15 minutes, long enough for the cheese to melt and the roll-ups to brown slightly.

6) Serve hot or chill and serve later.


-omit the mayonnaise and use sour cream, cream cheese, feta, mozzarella, etc.
-use dried garlic/herbs or your favorite spice mix for flavoring

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How to Make Sesame Noodles

I'd had sesame noodles from the deli before, as more of a cold salad. But I figured they'd be good hot, too!

Sesame Glass Noodles and Baked Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

I was looking for a way to jazz up pasta, and found this recipe for sesame noodles on Pioneer Woman. I liked that we had all the ingredients on hand...except for sesame oil, that is. :/ Ironic, right? I used sesame seeds instead, browned a little in the frying pan.

My husband liked that it had a little bit of a kick to it, and he asks for this dish a lot now. In the above photo he actually asked me for the recipe and made it himself! You can adjust the spiciness, of course.

Also...did you know you can use any kind of thin noodle? We did use rice noodles above, but you can't really tell...regular spaghetti works just as well. If you're not a purist, I guess.

The only thing left to do now is to get some sesame oil and finally try it the real way!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

How to Make SHAVERMA! (Shaurma): Basic and Loaded

I guess it's about time I posted a "Russian" (it's actually more middle Eastern) recipe on here!

Shaverma is a favorite street food in St. Petersburg, not sure about other parts of Russia. It's the local version of various ingredients wrapped in a bread product and topped with a sauce! Gyro.... tortilla... kabob... nope, SHAVERMA! It's common to deny liking this popular dish, as the ingredients may be of unknown origins...but come on, it's delicious! All the more reason to make it at home without that stigma.

ALSO (see photo), Andrei and I discovered another version which is called "Shaverma on a plate." I'll call it "loaded" Shaverma here. We (he) recreated it at home, and it's awesome!

What's so yummy about shaverma? First of all, the meat is flavored nicely. And then, the sauce really ties it all together. It's sort of a homemade ranch dressing. Details below!

"Loaded" Shaverma (sans pita)...I can't get enough of that sauce!
Recipe after the jump...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

How to Make "Italian" Breadsticks

I wanted to make a savory treat for Bible study and I thought making breadsticks brushed with garlic butter would be a good choice. You know, the kind you get at Olive Garden or with an order of pizza. It's been really cold lately, so heating up the kitchen was a goal, too!

I was pleasantly surprised by the recipe I found via No test run or anything and they turned out excellent!

Managed to snap a photo before they disappeared!

Minimal ingredients and effort. The recipe is here and you can read the comment section for more ideas.

Here are my modifications:

-all-purpose flour (still totally fine and a good texture, but probably even BETTER with cake flour); or try whole wheat for a healthier version

-seasoning mix included butter, olive oil, garlic, salt, "Italian" seasoning (oregano, basil, thyme, etc.) and a little grated cheese...easy to mix up while they're in the oven

-proofing the yeast in the warm water before adding the flour (doesn't say in the directions but I did it just in case)

Really, really easy and I'm excited to add it to my snack repertoire. It would be fun to try with dipping sauces, too!

Monday, May 26, 2014

How to Make Folares for Easter

Another recipe from our family cookbook is this famous folares recipe from my childhood. This is the first time I had made it myself! Not bad, though I think I could have pulled them out of the oven a TINY bit sooner.

A reminder of the cross and the RISEN Savior!

The idea here is that you take a boiled Easter egg (they really should be dyed to get the visual effect, but you could use onion skins or another natural source of color if you're nervous about chemicals), place it in the middle of the dough, and form a dough cross on top. As they bake, they rise.

Folares-going into the oven

To make for breakfast, you can have them rising in the fridge the night before. To serve, you can have butter out and either eat them as a sweet treat with jam or make a little sandwich out of them with the peeled eggs as filling, whatever you'd like.

Recipe is after the jump:

Monday, April 14, 2014

How to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

The following is a recipe I found on the Pioneer Woman site and just tried recently....

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls- Fresh out of the oven!

Lately I've been trying about one new baking recipe a week. Cruel, right? :) In general I stick to banana bread, brownies, and yellow cupcakes (and more recently chocolate chip cookies), so I'm trying to branch out a little.

I've certainly made cinnamon rolls before, but not with the pumpkin twist. These are definitely nice and moist.

I don't think Pioneer Woman is original in this combination of flavors, but her recipe worked well! The dough is pretty low maintenance and easy to work with. I did a half batch as usual with new recipes, and it fit perfectly in the round baking pan you see pictured. The icing in her version looks darker because she adds maple syrup, but that's a rare commodity around here! I was excited to just find a good cream cheese brand.

Squished layers but you get the idea

This post is making me want to experience cinnamon rolls again ASAP. But I'm hoping to do something Passover or Easter-related this week. So we'll see.

Oh! I almost forgot-here's the recipe link. :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Food Art: Tomato "Ladybugs"

This is a little treat we had for a holiday, I think it must have been New Year's Eve. The smoked salmon with the tomato probably wasn't the best combination, but the visual presentation was great. I wonder what other fillings would work?

Tomato ladybug tea sandwiches


-sliced baguette or bread of your choice cut into appetizer size
-sandwich spread of your choice
-cheese or meat as a base (maybe a softer cheese would work because it would help the ladybug stay on at the same time?)
-black olives (some chopped, some left whole or halved)
-greens for decorating


-prepare the bread and assemble sandwiches, not yet adding the tomato
-close to serving time, cut tomatoes in half, then slice 3/4 of the way up to create ladybug wings
-use olives to add heads and spots to the ladybugs
-assemble festively on a plate, using greens for decoration
-serve promptly as tomatoes may saturate the bread, though it depends on your sandwich filling