2014: A Year in Review

The year is coming to a close and I wanted to do a quick recap of some ofย  the recipes Angie and I have shared with you throughout the year. These are some of out most viewed posts of the year, so for our returning readers, we’re showcasing your favorites! Although the second half of 2014 wasn’t the most consistent year content-wise, we still managed to put out a couple really good ones, and we hope that you enjoyed them as much as we did!

1. Quinoa Fried Rice

One of our first posts, this is my go-to quinoa fried rice recipe. Guaranteed to spice up your plain old quinoa, it’s a clean and healthy alternative that stands out from the rest of our usually decadent blog posts. Filled with chicken and veggies, it can just as easily be altered to fit your vegetarian/vegan/picky-eater preferences.

This actually sold really well to my brother, who usually hates quinoa. Yay!

 

2. Rocky Road Brownies

We took your go-to brownie recipe and took it to the next level with walnuts and a browned marshmallow topping, turning it into a ice-cream flavor inspired variation. Best served warm and gooey, this recipe has gotten tons of love on foodgawker and tastespotting because it’s honestly that good.

browning the marshmallows with the broiler after baking was the perfect finishing touch

3. Blueberry Scones

Crumbly and flaky in all the right ways, this classic blueberry scone recipe was a favorite among you guys this year. Perfect on crisp winter mornings with a cup of hot tea, it’s definitely a keeper.

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4. XXL Cowboy Compost Cookies

A variation on the classic cowboy cookie inspired by the idea behind Momofuku’s compost cookie. Made XXL so its big enough to share, but small enough to keep all for yourself.

IMG_39505. Naan Flatbread Pizza

Y’all really have quite the savory palette. These naan flatbread pizzas were one of our very first posts, and is still something that I make to date. It’s such an easy and versatile dish, there’s no wonder why you guys keep coming back to it.

naan pizza

– This year, I traveled toย  San Francisco andย  the East Coast and was fortunate enough to be able to share all the great food that I had while I was there.

– We also put out our monthly favorites (for most of the year) in hopes of getting better connected with you guys. Iย  included everything from the music I liked, to the snacks I obsessed over, and the clothing trends I fell in love with each month.

And that’s a wrap for 2014! It’s been such a busy year for us, and we’d like to thank you from the very bottom of our otherwise cold souls. We genuinely thank all of you for staying with us through our extended absences and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading our content as much as we’ve enjoyed sharing it with you. Cheers to 2015!

Snowball Cookies (pecan/almond shortbread)

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I have a funny story. My mom told me today that one of my dad’s patients once brought him these delicious cookies as a gift. My dad, who can rarely consume sweets due to a history of stomach cancer, LOVED them. After devouring all of these “nutty ball-shaped cookies”, my mom and dad asked the patient for the recipe. She refused. Either a family secret, a secret recipe, or maybe there were drugs inside of the cookies. That would be one way to describe how good they tasted. So, when I came home from school and an undeniable urge to bake struck me, I committed myself to finding and making these cookies. Once I discovered these “snowball” cookies, and found it matched the description of Ms. Secretive Patient’s, I got to work. The results were scrumptious. Currently, my mom and dad are finishing the last of the cookies I made about 30 minutes ago… And that’s proof enough to me! So enjoy this recipe, because sharing is caring! ๐Ÿ™‚

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cups finely chopped pecans
1 cup almond meal
ยพ teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
โ…“ cup granulated sugar
1ยฝ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar for rolling cookies (I omitted and it tasted great)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

2. Mix the flour, 1 cup of the chopped pecans, and the salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Stir 1 cup almond meal into the flour mixture and set aside.

4. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the dough just begins to come together but still looks scrappy, about 15 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and continue beating at low speed until the dough is cohesive, about 10 more seconds.

5. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands and place on the prepared baking sheets. The cookies will only spread a little bit, so you can place them fairly close together. Bake until the tops are pale golden and the bottoms are just beginning to brown, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time.

6. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

7.(I omitted this step) Place the powdered sugar in a large zip-top bag. Working with 3 or 4 cookies at a time, place them in the bag of sugar and gently toss to coat them thoroughly. Gently shake off any excess. Allow the cookies to sit for at least an hour, or up to overnight, and then repeat the process. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
(Recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Brown Eyed Baker: (Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)

Blueberry Banana Nut Buttermilk Bread

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What time is it?! SUMMERTIME!
After surviving (barely) sophomore year, my goal is to sleep all day and play all night. Beach days, disney dates, and the baking craze are on the way! Unfortunately, the only dates I had this past week was with my SAT II Chemistry Prep book. But, even with dreaded studying, I can always muster together time for baking!
So, blueberry banana nut buttermilk bread. Isn’t that a mouthful? Well you’ll have your mouths full for sure after a nibble of this delectable bread. This was my first time making banana bread AND using a bread pan, and it was an absolute success! I’ve made it 3 times in the past week. Twice for my family and once for my chemistry tutor! (This lady deserves major kudos for helping my poor soul get an A in Honors Chemistry). She liked it so much, she told me she ate half of it fresh out of the oven with coffee on the way to her next student! As for my parents, my dad loves it with margarine and my mom devours it plain. So whether you sip coffee with it, slather it with margarine, or find your own personal pairing, I hope you enjoy this beautiful loaf!

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar(I actually used 3/4 since my parents don’t like things too sweet)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3(1cup) ripe bananas, mashed(overripe is best)
1 cup blueberries
1 cup(or amount desired of nuts of your choice; I used pecans)

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs, buttermilk and vanilla until well combined. Beat in bananas until well combined. Gradually add flour mixture to the sugar mixture at low speed, beating just until incorporated.
Add blueberries and gently toss to combine.
Scoop the batter evenly into the loaf pan. Place into oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before inverting the cake onto a wire rack.

Recipe used from http://damndelicious.net/2012/06/23/buttermilk-banana-blueberry-bread/

Oreo Cheesecake

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It’s all sorts of cheesy ๐Ÿ™‚ This past week being the week before Prom, I got to see all sorts of creative and adorable askings by hopeful boys and acceptances by excited girls. Excitement was in the air. Being a sophomore, I didn’t expect to go to Prom this year. But seeing the all the askings was adorable and heart warming, especially admit the stress of AP test. Since baking always relieves stress, I decided to take some time off of studying and bake this cheesy cheesecake ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
-2 8oz packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese(room temperature)
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-3 eggs
-Oreo Pie Crust(I bought mines at Stater Bros)
-about 9 Oreos, crushed (more to taste)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325
1. Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl on low with hand mixer
2. Add eggs, one at a time, until mixture is incorporated
3. Fold in chopped Oreos
4. Pour batter into Oreo pie crust
5. Bake in oven at 325 for 40 minutes
6. When finished, let cheesecake cool completely
7. Put cooled cheesecake into refrigerator for at least 4 hours
8. SERVE AND ENJOY!

Monthly Favorites: March 2014

We’ve decided to add a dash of personal posts into our recipe-filled blog, starting with these monthly lists of favorites. I’ve seen this done mostly on fashion/beauty/DIY YouTube channels, but I thought it’d be a super fun way for you guys to get to know us a little better and for us to share some of our very favorite things with you! BECAUSE WE JUST LOVE YOU GUYS THAT MUCH ๐Ÿ™‚ Our favorites could be books, clothes, foods, restaurants, blogs, or pretty much anything else we’ve been into during the month. Hopefully it’ll create some common ground between us and you guys (our lovely readers), or introduce you guys to some great you stuff that you’ll love just as much as we do. So here are our favorites for the lovely month of March!

CHRISTINE:

1.Herschel Supply Co. LIttle America Mid-Volume Backpacklittle america

 

photo via Royalcheese

It was about time for me to get a new backpack this month, and so I began doing some searching online for the perfect pack. I was looking for something both stylish and durable, and after much debate between the Little America and the Classic, I went with the Little America. And all I can say is that it has not disappointed me in anyway! Since I got the Mid-Volume version, it is slightly smaller than the original, but it still fits everything I need for school and looks super cute at the same time! The cinch opening does is a bit of a hassle at some times, but hey, everything good has a price, right?

2. Nike Flyknit Trainer+Nike Flyknit Trainer Nike Flyknit Trainer | Squadron Blue & Blue Glow

ย photo via eukicks

I have a rather large obsession with shoes, I probably have one too many pairs for my own good to be completely honest. But I’ve had my eyes on a pair of Flyknits for a while now, and when I saw they were on sale at Roadrunners, I made the splurge and copped a pair. I really can’t resist a good deal… They’re light, comfortable, and perfect casual wear athletic shoes. I’ve gotten so many compliments on these shoes, it’s ridiculous. But at full price, they’re definitely a bit of a splurge (150 dollars, yikes!)

3. Joe’s Italian Icejoelatti

photo via Phoenix NewTimes

ย I finally got the chance to try Joe’s out, and I have to say it lives up to the hype! When I visited during the night, the line was around the corner and the place was bustling, but it definitely not as busy during the afternoon. Their most popular item is the Joelatti, which is Philadelphia-style Italian ice layered with vanilla soft serve. Sounds weird, but tastes so so good. I’ve had the pomegranate, pineapple, and strawberry Joelatti, all of which are flavors that I would totally recommend. However, they change their flavor menu daily, so there’s always a new flavor to try. And if you are one of those indecisive people (me), do not fear! They offer samples!

4.Cannella Vita

Erica’s blog has been a favorite of mine for quite a while now, and it is about time I share her with all of you. Her photography is clean, her recipes mouth-watering, and her posts are always relevant. Since she herself is a junior in high school, I’m always amazed at how she’s able to manage such a great blog and keep up with everything at school. She’s a inspiration of mine, so check her out at: http://www.cannellavita.com/

5. Acai Bowlsacai bowl

ย photo via OrganiGrowth

Thick blended acai, banana, strawberry, and blueberry base topped off with granola, agave nectar, and sliced fruit. Full of antioxidants, and pretty darn good too! I was first introduced to acai bowls at Nekter, and boy was I hooked. I made regular trips at least once a week, and after a while of watching the workers blend, I realized it wasn’t that hard. So I stopped by my local Sprouts, picked up a bag of frozen acai, and got blending! My homemade recipe is almost perfect, so keep an eye out for a post in the near future!

6. Pom-pom Trim Shortspineapple shorts

ย photo via Pinterest

My entire being is screaming for summer’s arrival, and these shorts just embody the sunny, fun vibe of summer. I just adore the pom-pom trim, it adds a interesting texture to an otherwise pretty plain pair of shorts. I’ve been prowling Etsy and the Internet in general for the perfect pair, but have yet to meet my match. Sigh…

Nutella Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Everyone loves nutella! That perfect of chocolate and hazelnut all in a creamy jar. Mmmmm. I remember when nutella first became a big thing. The perfect childhood sandwhich was a little bit of nutella, peanut butter, and some sweet honey all on plain white bread. This love for nutella, after baking numerous treats, drove me to search for something more substantial, yet satisfyingly sweet to mix up. In luck, I chanced upon this nutella and chocolate chip muffin recipe from motherthyme.com! It was an instant hit at school because it was both filling and sweet! I ran out before lunch! I even sprinkled some powdered sugar on top, giving it a sweet topping and a cute finish ๐Ÿ™‚ These are perfect for those late night sweet tooths or early morning breakfast munchies! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips(I used normal ones and they turned out fine!)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners or spray with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
In another large bowl, stir butter and sugar until combined. Stir in eggs one at a time. Stir in milk followed by Nutella until mixture is smooth.
Gradually stir in flour mixture into wet ingredients until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter about 3/4 full in prepared muffin pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes until cake tester comes out out clean.
Cool in pan for about 5 minutes. Serve warm or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
*I sprinkled some powdered sugar on top(not shown in picture) and it tasted amazing!
HAPPY BAKING!

Cookie Butter (Speculoos) White Chocolate Chip Blondies

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Cookie. butter. Two simple words. Two amazingly delicious delectable words. If you’ve never had cookie butter (aka Trader Joes’s Speculoos), you are missing out! It’s basically a spreadable cookie that you put on sandwiches, cookies, brownies, cakes, or eat by the spoonful. It’s amazing. As I was pondering the different uses of cookie butter, I stumbled across this amazing recipe for Cookie Butter Blondies. If you didn’t know, a blondie is a vanilla brownie. These are AMAZING. Many of my friends, and my mom, had seconds or thirds of these heavenly squares. If you’ve never tried cookie butter, a blondie, or either THIS IS A RECIPE FOR YOU. Do your stomach a favor and whip up some of these!

Ingredients:

1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons (1/3 cup or 75g) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (200g) light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Biscoff spread (or Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter)
1 and 1/4 cups (225g) white chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir the melted butter and brown sugar together until combined. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk, then add the vanilla. Stir in the Biscoff spread. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Be careful not to overmix, which will result in crumbly, hard blondies. The batter will be very thick. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 25-26 minutes. The blondies may appear very soft, but they will set up as they cool. Allow the blondies to cool completely- about 3 hours – before cutting into squares.

*Recipe taken from (sallysbakingaddiction.com)

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Hi you guys! It’s Christmas Eve and the perfect way to celebrate this holiday season of red and green is with some soft and scrumptious Red Velvet cookies ๐Ÿ™‚ Everyone LOVES red velvet and it’s so simple to make! You only need red velvet cake mix, white chocolate chips, eggs, and vegetable oil! Here’s the recipe:

1 box red velvet cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Powdered sugar(optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil in a bowl using a hand mixer (it will get pretty thick and difficult to mix)
3. Carefully fold in white chocolate chips
4. Form teaspoon sized balls 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet or baking pan
5. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until tops of cookies crack
6. While warm, sprinkle powdered sugar on top of cookies(not pictured above)
7. Serve and enjoy!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE EVERYONE!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tomato Crustine

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Hi everyone! For our very first post we’d like to bring you a light and savory tomato crustine! Using simple ingredients, you can make a tasty appetizer in a few minutes!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
French baguette
4 Romano tomatoes-cut into small cubes
1T chopped fresh basil
2 chopped garlic cloves
2T extra virgin olive oil
1t oregano
Balsamic vinegar
Salt, pepper

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and keep it cool. (Both the balsamic vinegar and the salt and pepper are to your taste preference!) Feel free to tweak the recipe to your individual preference as well!
2. Preheat oven to 350F
3. Slice the French baguette diagonally into thin slices
4. Heat the slices in the oven for 7 minutes, or until the edges are nice and crispy.
5. Remove from the oven, and spoon your delicious tomato mixture onto each baguette slice
6. Serve and enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚