Black and White Cookies

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Scandalous Day 5

Finally. FINALLY. Today is THE day, Gladiators. The wait for Scandal will officially be over at 10:00 p.m. tonight. I can hardly wait to see what Shonda’s got for us. I know it’s gonna be awesome, but I just hope my blood pressure can handle it. Scandal has a tendency to return with a real ‘bang’ that leaves me reeling.

Hopefully you’ve been following along with me in our countdown to today’s season return, but if you haven’t that’s okay. I’ll post links to all the other recipes in the Scandal series at the end of this post in case you want to check them out (which I highly recommend that you do).

I’ve wanted to make Black and White cookies for a long, LONG time. I’ve mentioned in the past that my favorite dessert is a thick, bakery-style sugar cookie. Anytime I find a recipe that’s even remotely similar to it, I’m gonna want to try it just out of curiosity to see if it will satisfy my craving and meet my ‘Sugar Cookie’ standards- that are actually pretty steep to be honest.

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Black and White Cookies are thought to have originated in New York delis. They’re much larger and thicker than the typical cookie, which the texture being a cross between a very soft, tender cookie, and a shortbread like cake. They get their name from the coating of icing that they’re decorated with; one side being white,  and the other being black or brown. When I was picking out which recipes I wanted to do for the Scandal series, these came to my mind for a few reasons, which I’ll get into in a second. First let me give you my general impression of they turned out:

I’m an absolute sucker for these kinds of treats, guys. After that first bite, literally the first thing that came out of my mouth was “Wow!” It was everything I want and love in a cookie: the dough had a pleasant lemony flavor all on it’s own, the texture wasn’t too dry and crumbly, and the icing (on both sides) provided just the right amount of extra sweetness that sent the taste of these cookies over the top with deliciousness. I didn’t expect to like them as much as I did, and I didn’t expect them to puff up so thick and lovely in the oven the way they did either. Typically I have to chill my cookie dough overnight to get these types of results, but these went straight from the mixing bowl to the sheet pan to the oven- it probably had something to do with that 1 tbsp of baking powder that’s in the recipe, huh?

Decorating tip: Use the vanilla icing FIRST, then let it fully set up before spreading on the chocolate. I also held a pastry scraper down the middle of the cookie while spreading the chocolate to make sure it didn’t smear with the white icing, but I could see the flat end of a butcher knife or something like that working in a pinch too.

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The Scandal inspiration for these cookies isn’t as obvious as you may think. Yes, obviously we have a Black-White relationship on the show, but my reasoning was a little more complicated than that. If there’s anything that 2 1/2 seasons of this show has made clear, it’s that in Shonda Rhimes’ crazy, but brilliant world, nothing- absolutely NOTHING- is ever strictly black or white. Just when you have one impression of a character or situation, the plot spins around to make you switch sides. One week, it seems like it’s Black. Another week, it seems like it’s White. Then other times, it’ll seem like it’s a little bit of both. You just never know in Shondaland. But regardless, we love it all the same..just like with a Black and White Cookie.

Well, we did it Gladiators. We made it to Scandal Day. I’ve had a blast with this series, and I hope you take the time out to try one of these ‘Scandal-ous’ Recipes below. You won’t regret that you did.

See you at 10:00!

ScandalousRecipes

Day 1: Cookies and Cream Popcorn

Day 2: S’mores Popcorn

Day 3: Texas Bowl of Red

Day 4: Blackberry Jam

Day 5: Black and White Cookies

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Black and White Cookies

Recipe Courtesy of King Arthur Flour

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon oil, or 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup milk (regular or low-fat; not nonfat)

Vanilla Icing:

  • 3 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional

Chocolate Icing:

  • 2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chips, or chunks), melted

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) To make the cookies: Beat together the butter, sugar, salt, baking powder, lemon, and vanilla till well combined.

3) Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4) Stir in the flour alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

5) Using a muffin scoop or a 1/4-cup measure, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten/spread the dough to a 3″-diameter circle. Leave 2″ to 2 1/2″ between each cookie.

6) Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they’re set, a very light golden brown around the edges. Cookies baked for 10 minutes will be quite moist. Cookies baked for 12 minutes will be drier. Bake for 11 minutes for an in-between cookie.

7) Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them right on the pan. As they cool, prepare the icing.

8) To make the vanilla icing: Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, and hot water. Spread the icing over half of each cookie. Place them on a rack to set while you make the chocolate icing.

10) To make the chocolate icing: Combine the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, hot water, and espresso powder. stirring till smooth. In the microwave, or in a pan set over very low heat, melt the chocolate. Add the melted chocolate into the sugar mixture, stirring till well combined. Spread the icing on the uncovered half of each cookie.

14) Set the cookies back on the rack, and allow them to rest for about 30 minutes, till the icing is set.  For best storage, wrap each cookie individually, in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature.

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Blackberry Jam

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Scandalous‘ Day 4

Gladiators! ONE.MORE.DAY.

We are one (just ONE) short day away from the long wait being over and FINALLY being able to get back to our favorite show. I don’t know about you guys, but I can hardly wait until tomorrow night. I know we all have our own ways to #CopewithoutPope, but there’s just nothing like the real thing.

The Olivia-Fitz relationship is undoubtedly one of the most popular aspects of the show, and for me, it is a sort of guilty pleasure. One one hand, I’m in love with Olivia and Fitz as a couple because #1, Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn have MAD chemistry with each other on camera. I have no idea how the two of them can manage to show so much emotion and raw passion within both their dialogue and even in their gazes. They’re both phenomenal actors in that respect. #2, I love the “I just can’t quit you” attitude that they have towards each other. I tend to be cynical about love/relationships/romance in real life, but watching the Olivia-Fitz relationship on Scandal frequently yanks at my more sappy side. The only thing more romantic about a man and woman who are crazy about each other is a man and a woman who are crazy about each other but can’t be together.

And last but certainly not least, #3…He.bought.her.a.HOUSE!

On the other hand, their relationship is something that my moral center just hates. Regardless of how Fitz and Olivia feel about each other, the facts remain: he’s the President  of the United States, and he’s married with 3 kids. Not only that, Mellie has sacrificed WAY too much for Fitz for him to continue to disrespect her in the way that he does with Olivia. Whether he knows the full extent of her sacrifice or not is irrelevant. She’s his wife, and he swore a vow to her. Until that changes, his affair with Olivia is wrong.

So in TV Land, I’m #TeamOlivia all the way. But in real life? I’ve gotta be #TeamMellie.

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The inspiration for this recipe should be obvious to us all. Who can forget the scene between Fitz and Olivia from the episode “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” where they begin to fantasize about what would happen if the stars would align and they would suddenly be able to have their Happily Ever After together:

Fitz: Somewhere, in another life, another reality, we are married and we have four kids, and we live in Vermont, and I’m the mayor–
Olivia: And I make jam.
Fitz: And you make jam. 

Sigh. I just caaaaaaan’t with them *wipes eyes with tissue*

This jam was the first recipe that I knew I wanted to make for the entire Scandal series before I even started. It’s not only ridiculously easy, it’s absolutely delicious as well. I decided to use blackberries because that’s the berry that my family likes best, but feel free to substitute strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or even a mix of all for this recipe. They all will work just fine.

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{Olivia’s Vermont} Blackberry Jam

Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 1/2 pints fresh (or frozen) blackberries

Directions

1. Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add the blackberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 20 minutes, until the blackberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate.

3. Pour carefully into 2 pint canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated.

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S’mores Popcorn

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Scandalous Day 2

It’s Day 2 of our countdown to the return of Scandal and I’ve got another popcorn recipe for you guys. On a general note, I loveloveLOVE the flavor combination of the s’more. It’s composed of three simple ingredients, that when smashed together and placed over the fire, give you something that is plain out of this world and turn into pure nirvana in your mouth.

The more that I thought about this when I was planning the next recipe for the Scandal series, the more that I thought I’d try to use a s’mores recipe in honor of our favorite Gladiators in Suits: Harrison Wright, Abby Whelan and Huck.

Side Note: I do know that Quinn is not included from this list. No, I didn’t make a mistake. Rest assured,  it’s completely intentional. We don’t have to get into a big discussion about it. Suffice to say, after witnessing her many fumbles & fails throughout the show, as well as her consistent habit of being just plain annoying, I’ve come to the conclusion that Quinn’s not a real Gladiator. At all. So, moving right along…

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Let’s break down the elements of this popcorn while also breaking down the elements of Olivia’s Gladiators in Suits. First, we’ve got the marshmallows, and I’ve decided to associate the marshmallows with Abby. What’s the bad news about that? Well, Marshmallows are all fluff and air.  On their own in a dry state, I really don’t think that they taste like much of anything, except that artificial, processed flavor which I don’t really care for. In the same way, in season 2 I had my suspicions about Abby’s ability to be a true Gladiator when it came to showing her loyalty to Olivia and putting that first, even above her relationship with David Rosen. To me, she spent way to much time on the fence deciding who she was going to stand behind, especially in light of how Olivia really helped her turn her life around after the life she had with her ex-husband. However, when placed under fire, marshmallows lose that artificial after taste and turn into gooey pillows of deliciousness. In the same way, when all the chips are down and Abby is under the fire that threatens her or Olivia, she loses her air of artificiality, and shows herself to be a true Gladiator that’s willing to do what it takes to succeed.

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Melted marshmallow is perfectly good all on its own, but in a s’more, it just won’t cut it. You gotta have the melted chocolate. Mmhmm. We need our Harrison. Everybody loves chocolate. Not only is he extremely attractive, but I don’t know any true Scandal fan that doesn’t love Harrison, from his finely tailored clothes, to his no-nonsense get up and go that refuses to settle for anything but the highest standard when doing his job. I notice that in most of the cases that Pope and Associates handles, Abby and Harrison are usually seen working together as a team to ‘handle it’. Harrison feels like a sort of brother to Abby and frequently does what he feels is necessary to support and help her in the ways that she can’t even help herself. Marshmallows and chocolate are the perfect combination in a s’more, and I think we can agree that Abby and Harrison are a tried and true team when they’re working together.

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I saved the best for last. Melted chocolate and marshmallows are all well and good, but by themselves they just make a big (albeit gooey) mess. They need the sturdiness of the graham cracker to hold it all together. In the same way, Abby and Harrison may be good at what they do, but I think that we all know that the true foundation of Pope and Associates isn’t even Olivia Pope. It’s Huck. We all remember the stunning episode ‘752’ where Huck’s post traumatic stress from being tortured and held captive by the CIA finally caught up with him. Each one of the members of Pope and Associates admitted during this episode that without Huck’s presence, the team just wasn’t the same. They literally needed him- just like marshmallows and chocolate need graham crackers.

Guys, this popcorn is SOOOO good. I literally have to limit myself to a handful ration each time I eat it, to keep me from polishing off the whole bag in one sitting. Like our Gladiators, each element brings something great to the table, but when they’re put together, they’re truly out of this world.

Gladiators Collage

Who’s your favorite Gladiator?

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S’mores {Gladiators} Popcorn

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white popcorn kernels, plus 4 separate kernels.
  • 1/4 peanut or vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers, lightly crushed

 Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. Pour vegetable oil into a large wok or pot over medium heat.*

3. Heat the 4 separate kernels in the oil until one pops. Add the other 3/4 cup  of kernels and cover the pot. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally until the popping stops. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Whisk melted butter with vanilla extract and kosher salt; drizzle over hot popcorn.

5. Toss popcorn with marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham crackers.

6. Spread on baking sheets and bake until marshmallows and chocolate are slightly melted, about 2 minutes.

7. Allow popcorn to sit on baking sheets, until cooled, about 30-40 minutes. Keep popcorn refrigerated once cooled off to keep chocolate from melting.

 *You can also use 2 bags of microwave popcorn to substitute for the freshly popped version.

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Cookies and Cream Popcorn

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Scandalous Day 1

I am SOOOO excited to be kicking off yet another themed series on Cooking Is My Sport. This one I’ve decided to dedicate to a special little television show that (hopefully) you all may have heard of, called Scandal.

Created by the brilliant Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy anyone?), Scandal centers around the life and career of the incomparable Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington), boss of a crisis management firm that primarily represent political figures in the public sphere, and handle their embarrassing crises and problems (and subsequently make them disappear).  Olivia is supported by a team of employees- the ‘Gladiators’- that help her smooth out and ‘fix’ the lives of her clients. However, Olivia’s own personal life is more often than not filled with more than its own share of drama and crises and the conflict of the show centers around how she handles (or doesn’t) all of that for herself.

I sincerely hope that I’ll be preaching to the choir for what I’m about to say here. It hardly needs further explication, but I’m gonna say it anyway. Just in case.

Scandal is the show, guys. And I do mean THE show.

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This series on the blog I’ve decided to do is a result of my extreme impatience/excitement/celebration/anticipation of February 27th…the day we’ve all been waiting for: the premiere of the 2nd half of season 3 of Scandal. The food that you guys’ll be seeing over the next few days was in some way, inspired by the show and its characters- some of those ways will seem obvious, while others may not seem so obvious. But don’t worry- as is the case with Scandal, nothing is ever ‘random’ or by ‘coincidence’, and I’ll be giving my explanation for the inspiration behind all the food- and hopefully we can get some lovely Scandal-ous discussion going here as well. (Because the only thing more fun than watching Scandal is talking about Scandal. Right? Of course right.)

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I don’t know about you guys, but in my house every time Scandal comes on, a bowl of popcorn is made. Apparently I’m not the only one who considers this a must. The combination of Scandal, popcorn and red wine is one that many a Gladiator swears by: the shows delivers the thrills and suspense, the popcorn delivers the cure for the munchies, and the wine has the job of mellowing out the viewer from the hour of intense drama that they’re about to see. This is all well and good for most people, but I happen to be one of those freaks of nature that just doesn’t enjoy alcohol that much- even wine. I don’t know why really, but all of it just ends up giving me a stomach ache. And stomach aches during Scandal is a no-go. So yeah, I just don’t ‘indulge’ when it comes to booze. My great secret revealed: I’m a light weight.

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However, I have absolutely no problem with putting away some popcorn. Especially this popcorn. My inspiration for including this recipe in the series should be pretty obvious. Cookies and Cream is a combination of something white/vanilla with added black/chocolate cookies to it. I’m sure that this sounds pretty familiar to Gladiators, right?

Let’s just imagine that the cream and white popcorn in this recipe represents President Fitzgerald Grant III before his election to office. He wasn’t too bad by himself, but Fitz still needed something more to get him to that next level. We all know what that ‘something’ was for Fitz. Olivia Pope. Once he had Olivia, Fitz just went to a whole new level (literally). In the same way, once this popcorn gets the Oreos added to it, it’s just out of bounds. You’ll be lucky if you can actually put it down or want to share with anyone.

And now that I’ve beat this metaphor to a pulp, let’s just let this recipe be called the ‘Olivia and Fitz Popcorn’ and leave it at that.

Any ‘Olitz’ fans? Where do you think their relationship will be going in the second half of the season?

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Cookies and Cream {Olivia & Fitz} Popcorn

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white popcorn kernels, plus 4 seperate kernels.
  • 1/4 peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 cups lightly crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreos)

Directions

1. Pour vegetable oil into a large wok or pot over medium heat.*

2. Heat the 4 separate kernels in the oil until one pops. Add the other 3/4 cup  of kernels and cover the pot. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally until the popping stops. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Warm sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle over the hot popcorn.

4. Toss popcorn with the crushed sandwich cookies. Spread onto a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Allow to sit until fully dry, about 30-40 minutes.

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Sticky Hoisin Chicken

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Throwing the word ‘sticky’ in front of just about any food has the potential to boost its appeal up by approximately 45%.

It’s true. Well…sort of. I kinda made that up. Just a little. Okay, so I made up the whole 45% thing.  But not because I don’t think it’s true, because I definitely could believe that it is. Think about it- foods that are sticky are usually the the types of things that make little messes on our fingers and lips that are good for us to lick and smack up to the last drop. We don’t care if they  make a mess- we’re willing to get down and dirty to enjoy them.

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Some of my favorite sticky foods consist of Snickers candy bars, crunchy peanut butter, honey, syrup, Rice Krispie Treats, caramel, sour gummy worms, sticky buns, Gushers (do they even still make those?), pecan pie-

I can definitely keep going, but you guys get the point.

One thing that I noticed about all those things though, is that they’re all ‘sweet’ things. But don’t think that my 45% Rule of Sticky Food doesn’t apply to savory food. It definitely does.

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Case in point: this dish. Guys- the word ‘sticky’ doesn’t just boost this chicken’s appeal up by 45%. Try doubling that number. And then some. Forget every takeout dish you ever had at your local Chinese restaurant. They don’t matter anymore. God knows I love chicken, but even this exceeded my expectations.

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For those unfamiliar with it, I always think of Hoisin sauce as the Asian version of ketchup or barbecue sauce. It’s quite sweet, but not quite as cloying as say, plum sauce. It’s my favorite ingredient to use when cooking Asian-inspired dishes, and the best part of it is that it has that ‘sticky sauce’ effect.

This recipe in and of itself didn’t create enough sauce for me, so I decided to tweak it a little bit. After the chicken was done baking, I poured off the excess juices that were in the pan into a saucepan, then I made the recipe for a marinade again and added it to the saucepan over high heat with about a tablespoon of corn starch. I let it cook until it began to bubble and thicken to that lovely, sticky consistency I was looking for. After it cooled down, I poured it over the finished chicken.

And voila. Sticky Hoisin Chicken. It was thoroughly enjoyed by yours truly and her family with these Baked Egg Rolls, but it would also go well with Low Carb Lo Mein Noodles. Or by itself- that would work too.

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Sticky Hoisin Chicken

Recipe Courtesy of Oprah.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or white wine
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 12 small cloves)
  • 4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts halves (about 3 pounds)

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine hoisin sauce, wine, ketchup, soy sauce and garlic.

2. Trim chicken breasts of any excess fat and place in bowl. Toss to coat and place in refrigerator to marinate, about 10 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. Cover a jelly roll pan with foil; arrange chicken skin side up, spooning marinade on top. Bake until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a breast reads 170°, 40 to 50 minutes.

 Transfer chicken to a platter; serve warm or at room temperature.

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Baked Egg Rolls

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Guys! I just realized that this is my 50th post for Cooking Is My Sport. 5…0…

I know what you’re thinking- who cares, Jess? And you’re right, it’s not the ‘biggest’ deal in the world. But the blog momma in me can’t help but get a least a little emotional when thinking about it. I’ve enjoyed making every single dish and writing every single post that I’ve put up on this blog. It’s truly a labor of love, and I can’t wait for the day where I’ll be posting my ‘100th’ blog post. So here’s to that.

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Okay. Moving onto the really important stuff. I think that most of us have a love-hate relationship with Chinese takeout food. On one hand, we love it because a): Nine times out of ten, it tastes great. b) You usually get a whole lot of food that makes good next day leftovers, and c) You can pretty much find it anywhere. On the other hand we may also hate it because a) It’s loaded with sodium and MSG. b) It’s not exactly low calorie food and c) You maaaay not know exactly what the ‘ingredients’ are in the food that you’re buying. (You know what I mean).

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I’ve made these eggs rolls for my family quite a few times now, and they’re always a big hit. I’m also gonna go ahead and blow my own horn here and say that these are just as good as takeout egg rolls- even though they’re baked and not fried. Seriously. This particular batch that you see in the pictures happens to be looong gone. I didn’t get any. But I got great feedback that they were delicious. There’s a silver lining for every cloud, right?

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of making egg rolls. It’s not a big deal at all, not even where the rolling part is concerned. Even if you slightly overfill your wrappers (as I am prone to do because me and my family all like big egg rolls) it’s okay, because these are double wrapped. I HIGHLY recommend this, as it makes for a thicker, crispy golden shell and also makes the rolls more durable and easier to happen. The coating from the cooking spray also helps, so don’t leave that part out. This recipe makes two half sheet pans,  so I rotated the pans halfway through baking in addition to flipping them so that they were browned and crisp on both sides.

These would go great with my Low Carb Lo Mein Noodles– it makes for a Chinese takeout meal that’s just as delicious as it is healthy.

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Baked Egg Rolls

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Ground Turkey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 16 oz bagged cabbage slaw
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 (1lb) packages of egg roll wrappers
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large skillet, brown ground turkey over medium-high heat.  Drain browned meat and set aside in a large bowl.

3. Place cabbage slaw and green onion in skillet and cook down until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic clove and cook, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and mix in large bowl with ground turkey.

4. In a separate small bowl, combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil and ground ginger. Pour over ground turkey and cabbage slaw and stir to thoroughly combine. Let mixture cool.

5. Fill a small bowl with water. Use a damp kitchen towel to place over the open egg roll package to keep the other wrappers moist as you go.

6. Dip your fingertips into the bowl of water and moisten all four edges of the egg roll wrapper. Use around 2-3 tablespoons for each egg roll wrapper (depending upon how well your ‘wrapping skills’ are.) To assemble egg rolls: Fold bottom corner over filling, then fold in side corners. roll up wrap tightly to enclose filling, sealing roll with top flap. Make sure that you moisten every seam of the rolls with water and press them together until they ‘stick’. Double wrap the egg rolls to ensure that they bake crispy and are more sturdy.

7.  Place completed egg rolls on the pans. Spray both sides of the rolls with non-stick cooking spray. Bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes, flipping egg rolls half way through to ensure even browning.

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Maraschino Cherry Tea Loaf

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Happy Valentines’ Day folks. You guys should know by now that I love my holiday ‘fun facts’, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you all today too.

  1. 73 percent of people who buy flowers for Valentine’s Day are men, while only 27 percent are women. You know, this may sound crazy and very ‘un-feminine’ (whatever that’s supposed to mean), but flowers and jewelry don’t move me. I can really take or leave them. Especially flowers. It’s like “Oh wow, how pretty!” for the first five minutes, then I’m thinking “….Ok, now what am I supposed to do with these?”
  2. Teachers will receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, sweethearts and pets. I remember V-Day as being a very big deal in elementary school when I was growing up. Me and my sisters all got to go to the store and pick out our own set of Cartoon valentines to exchange with our classmates. I usually tried to get some kind of Disney-themed set. My mom also baked all kinds of baked goods to share too- cupcakes, cookies, ice cream cone cakes, sandwich cookies- she made us very popular with the other kids in that respect.

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3. More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine’s Day. Unless it comes from Godiva, I don’t know why anyone would want to eat boxed chocolate. It’s been forever since I’ve had any, but from what I can remember, it tastes old, stale and plastic.

4. The most fantastic gift of love is the Taj Mahal in India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife. Now THAT is a gift that would move me. Don’t bother with flowers. I don’t need jewelry. Just build me an iconic palace. Then you’ll have my attention.

5. Every Valentine’s Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet. Okay, but…to what address? Where EXACTLY do these people think Juliet lives in Verona? I just, I don’t get it.

Source

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I knew I wanted  to make something for Valentines’ Day for the blog. For some reason Maraschino cherries kept coming up in my mind over and over again. Baked goods are the only way I like to eat them, so I knew I had to use them to bake something. For a while I thought it would be in some kind of cookies, but I changed my mind at the very last minute and wanted something else.  I’m really happy that I did, because  I love how this recipe turned out. It reminds me of something you’d eat at a fancy English tea party, which is why I decided to ahead and call it a Tea Loaf instead of just a regular bread. It practically begs for a nice cup of tea or cocoa to drink on the side. Plus, it’s just so cute and dainty and…pink.

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For all of you that will be celebrating this holiday with a special someone, congratulations. That’s really wonderful. I’m happy for you. Here’s to hoping that you go to super swanky restaurants, entertaining movies, and get and receive wonderful gifts.

As for me, well….I won’t be taking part in any of those things. Yours truly is a solo act. So celebrating Valentine’s Day is out. Unless of course, I choose to treat myself to all of the above things. Which wouldn’t be too shabby of an idea to be honest.

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Maraschino Cherry Tea Loaf

Recipe Courtesy of Food.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons maraschino cherries, chopped, juice reserved
  • 2 tablespoons cherry juice (maraschino juice)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy.
  2. Add the egg, almond extract and vanilla while beating. Add cherries and the juices. Beat to combine everything.
  3. Put flour in a small bowl. Add baking powder and salt. Add to the mixture of cherries.Stir just enough to wet the dry ingredients.
  4. Pour the dough in a greased loaf pan. Cook in the oven at 350 F for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in it comes out dry. Cut in 8 slices.

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Spiced Turkey Breast

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The president came to town two days ago, guys.

My town, that is. If any of you out there follow news from The White House, then you may have read or seen that President Barack Obama was in East Lansing, MI on Friday afternoon for a few hours to sign a new agricultural bill at Michigan State University (which also happens to be my alma mater). It’s not everyday that the President comes to town- especially this lame town- so, it created somewhat of a stir in the media in the days leading up to his visit. I’ve been a fan/admirer/supporter/whatever you wanna call it of Barack Obama since before he was even elected into office, so I was happy that he was stopping by my hometown and my school…partly.

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The actual signing and remarks that he gave were closed to the general public (meaning you either had to be a government official, related to one, or somebody with a lot of money & connections- of which I am neither), so I couldn’t be there in person to see him and was relegated to watching the whole she-bang at home on television. It all felt kinda bittersweet.

See, this isn’t the first time that Barack Obama’s been to East Lansing. He also came to Michigan State University all the way back in 2008 when he was still campaigning in his first bid for the presidency. I was just a sophomore back then, so I still lived on campus at the time. It was a Thursday that he came back then. I think that presidential elections usually bring about a general kind of high charged atmosphere, particularly in the fall when it gets close to Election Day.  But that first time that then-Senator Obama came to MSU…the atmosphere was positively electric on campus. Special police forces were called in for security and crowd control. Roads were blocked off. It was pretty much a given to most students on campus that if you didn’t have a test or quiz (or weren’t exactly…fans of the presidential candidate) then you were going to skip class to try and get a spot on the field where the rally was being set up. Heck, I even knew people that planned on voting Republican that year that were still planning on going to hear Barack Obama speak, if nothing else for the historical implications of the event. It was one of those things where “everyone” was going to go and be apart of.

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October 2nd, 2008-The day we made Obama an Honorary “Spartan for Life”

Which was why it sucked so badly that yours truly was not at the rally with everyone else seeing the man who would become the first African American man elected President of the United States speak, but instead at her job in the dorm cafeteria. Yours truly was a broke college student that couldn’t afford to take off work from either one of her three jobs at the time. So she missed her chance to see the future-President when he came to town for the first time, just like I was denied my chance to see him two days ago when he came again for the second time.

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February 7th, 2014- I’m not a member of, or family member of a member of Congress. I’m also not rich or ‘well connected’, so this is the day that I’m yet again denied the chance to see President Obama speak in person. Just saying.

It’s all good though, guys. I’m not bitter about it. Good things come in threes, so the way I figure it: the President will somehow, for some reason come back to Lansing for a third time within the next couple of years and the stars will somehow align so that I’ll be able to go and see him in person without any hindrances or obstacles- right? Of course right.

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I kinda liken this recipe to  this story in that they both feel like things that are definitely right place, but wrong time kind of things. For a long time now, I’ve had a crazy craving to have turkey and gravy with stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce. My American friends will know that these are typically foods that aren’t eaten at this type of year, but instead around November for Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas.  But yeeeeeah: my tastebuds weren’t gonna wait that long to kill that craving again, so I just finally decided to roast a bird and throw the other stuff together anyway, and to heck with holiday traditions. To make things easier on myself, I did decide to just cook a turkey breast (which is my favorite part of poultry anyway). I went with the same recipe for homemade cranberry sauce that I used for Thanksgiving, and also found a very quick and easy recipe for stuffing muffins using only Stovetop mix (I’ll post it later this week) that took me literally less then five minutes to put together. It all hit the spot…then made bomb.com leftovers when I smashed them all together between two pieces of toast.

Sometimes it’s about right place, wrong time- then sometimes it’s about right place and making your own time.

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Spiced Turkey Breast

Recipe Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 (4 1/2 to 5-pound) turkey breast, on the bone, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 10 cipollini onions
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°

2. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, garlic, cumin, oregano, allspice, chili powder, brown sugar and oil.

3. Place the turkey breast in a nine by thirteen-inch roasting pan. Spread the softened butter over the top and side of the turkey, then spread the mustard mixture over the top and sides of the turkey to form a crust.

4. Add the onions, carrots, and chicken stock to the pan. Roast for 45 minutes.

5. Cover the pan loosely with foil and continue to bake for another 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 175 degrees F. Allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes before serving.

6. Remove the vegetables and arrange on a serving platter. Remove the turkey and place on a cutting board.

7. Pour about 1/2 cup of the pan juices into a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the remaining pan juices. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Season the pan juices with salt and pepper and pour into a serving pitcher.

To serve, slice the turkey into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange the turkey slices on the serving platter with the roasted vegetables and serve with the pan juices.

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Apple Cherry Squares

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The view outside my window right now is not a very welcome sight.

It’s snowing. Again. A lot.

I know. I live in Michigan. It’s only the beginning of February. Winter here typically runs to the middle or even end of March. A sizable chunk of the of the United States is getting sucked into a polar vortex of snow storms and bitter cold temperatures. My case isn’t particularly special. I should be used to it by now. I get it.

But I don’t care. I’m not only ready for winter to go away, I’m ready for it go away then die a quick, painless death that leaves no traces or evidence behind. Maybe that’s being a little over dramatic, but it’s true.

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Complaining and getting bummed about the weather doesn’t do anybody any good, so I’ll just shift gears to a more pleasant subject. In case you guys didn’t know, Buzzfeed is one of the most effective tools of distraction/procrastination on the internet. It’s even right up there with Pinterest I think (which is really saying something). There’s just the right combination of serious topics blended with just the right amount of pure silliness that’s enough to keep you occupied at all the times when you’re feeling bored or in need of something to pass the time.

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Case in point in this particular instance would be a fun kind of personality quiz that I took today: “Which ’90’s Nickelodeon show Are You?” I don’t know how many 90’s kids are out there reading Cooking Is My Sport, but if you are a 90’s kid (or even had kids that grew up during the 90’s watching Nickelodeon shows), then this quiz would probably be just as fun for you to take as it was for me. I know everyone has their own version of nostalgia for their childhood, but I really do think that Nickelodeon was its very best during the 1990’s, as well as the first 2-3 years of the 2000’s. I won’t get into a rant about it; instead I’ll just share my results, post the link to the quiz and encourage all you guys to take it, then post your results in the comments section below so I can see what you got- sound good? Awesome.

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Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the food. Well, these are a little different than what I expected when I first decided to try out the this recipe, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t turn out nicely. They certainly did. I’m  HUGE fan of Kashi cereal, and I’ve been wanting to cook with it for a long time so I went to search on the website for some inspiration. For some reason the name of the recipe suggested to me that these would be similar to granola bars, but they’re not at all. The texture is VERY tender and soft, like a coffee cake that literally melts in your mouth. But, they’re actually not like coffee cake at all because so far as baked goods go, these squares are pretty healthy. So, if that’s your thing, then feel free to go ham on these suckers. Another thing: they practically scream for you to have an accompaniment of coffee, hot apple cider, or cocoa to go with them. So make sure there’s some close by.

Don’t forget to take the quiz, and share your results with me (because I’m nosy like that). Until next time guys- stay warm!

Which 90’s Nickelodeon Show Are You?

(My Results)

Which ’90s Nickelodeon Show Are You?

You got: Hey Arnold!

Way to go, football head! You’re city-savvy but still figuring it all out – it’s a big world out there past the stoop! You’ve encountered some crazy characters in your day, but you’ll always have your pals, and you’re as good a friend as they come. Just try to keep away from the sewer and you’ll be all set.

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Apple Cherry Squares

Recipe Adapted from Kashi.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 cups, finely crushed Kashi Go Lean Crisp Cinnamon Crumble cereal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup liquid sugar in the raw
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups apples, finely diced

 Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

2. In a medium bowl, mix first seven ingredients. Mix well, then set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together applesauce, liquid sugar in the raw, egg substitute, honey, oil, and vanilla. Then add diced apples and mix well.

3. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix well. Spread evenly in oiled and floured 8″ x 11″ bake pan and bake 40 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

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