Friday, January 28, 2011

Anything Quiche

...and here is that quiche I was talking about.


Premade pie crust

6 large eggs (or 7 small)

3 tbls milk or cream

Salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic chopped fine

1 pkg shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 ½ c.)

1 pkg frozen chopped broccoli (or fresh that has been chopped and steamed)

4-8 strips cooked bacon – crumbled

½ chopped onion

1 c. chopped mushrooms

-Pre-bake pie crust for 5 min at 350

- Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper, and garlic together

-Stir in remaining ingredients

-Pour into pie crusts. You will have remaining filling, either pour into a second crust or save for a yummy omelet

-Cover edges of crust loosely with aluminum foil

-Bake at 350 for about 25min or until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Can you really eat cheap but healthy?

I have been battling this idea for the last few weeks. As my budget gets tighter, my meals seem to get less healthy. I know there have been studies that eating well will lead to savings down the road with less medical bills and medications, but what about the right now? How am I supposed to eat this week until I make it to the next paycheck? I found this article of a photographer comparing prices of food. Each picture is of $1 of a certain food. From 7 Ramon noodle meals to 10 organic blueberries. When it's time for dinner, which would you choose?

I am finding more and more the missing factor here is time. You can eat well and pay more but do so for less time. This may be grabbing the freshest thing at the grocery store close to you, or going straight to the the gourmet store, or buying organic prepared food. It is when you really start to spend some time that you realize it is possible, but how much time are you willing to spend. I love to make my own spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes, or even the tomatoes that are slightly bruised and on sale, but the time it takes to prepare that sauce is exponential to the time it takes to grab a jar of the discounted store brand full of preservatives. To buy discounted produce you also have to eat it within a day or two. Who has time to go to the store every other day.

So my new challenge to myself is to not only save money at the store but to create healthy meals for myself that don't take too much time. tonight I'm making a quiche that should last me the rest of the week, but I was in hurry at the store last night and carefully watching my budget, so I bought a premade crust and frozen broccoli. All of which were cheaper than buying the ingredients or the fresh version.

And lets face is impossible to make a hamburger, fries and a drink for what a happy meal costs at the drive through. Especially if you are trying to do so with quality ingredients.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cheap Eats

So the theme for tonight was making more with less. I went to the store with the goal of getting all the food I needed for the next week for $30. I am very proud of myself for spending a total of $35.49 with 6 bags of groceries. So I decided to see what I could make with the following ingredients that were on sale or I already had in the fridge. I decided on a play of a childhood favorite, Hot dogs and Mac and cheese.

Quick Mac and Cheese Bake:

1 box Mac and cheese + ingredients listed

½ pkg ranch dressing mix

2 tbls mayonnaise

2 pieces of sliced bread

A bit of olive oil

Make according to the directions on the box. As soon as you start boiling your water, brush two pieces of sliced bread with olive oil and put in the oven or toaster oven on 250. Bake until crispy. After Mac and cheese is ready, mix in ½ pkg ranch dressing mix, 2 tbls mayonnaise, and ½ c. shredded cheese. Place in a shallow baking dish and crumble bread on top. Bake for about 10 min at 350 or until top is golden brown.

For the hotdogs, I did a quick search online and found this recipe.

Glorified Hot dogs:

Hot dogs

Sliced cheddar cheese

Dill pickle (sandwich stacker or whole)

1 slice bacon for each hotdog

French baguette

Salad dressing


Cut hot dogs in half-length wise. Place strips of cheese and dill pickle between the two halves and wrap with bacon. Secure ends with toothpicks. Cook hotdogs in a skillet or on the grill until the bacon and hotdog are cooked through (about 3 min each side). To make them a little more fancy I also used a baguette instead of the hot dog buns and instead of mustard or ketchup I used the Greek vinaigrette dressing we had in the fridge. All in all it came out pretty well and I have more than enough left overs of the Mac and cheese for lunch tomorrow!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


This weekend I was lucky to sell one of my Carrot cakes to a lady I work with. This is one of my favorite recipes. It is a 3-layer Carrot cake with Roasted salted pecans, White chocolate drizzle and Candied Carrot curls. This cake was fun to make and I hope her family enjoys it!

Now just to sell many, many more! If you know anyone in the Hampton Road’s area looking for a cake send them my way!

So the more I try to get my financials in order the more it is looking towards me getting a second job. I put together a little teaser of the cakes I had done and sent it along with my resume to about 12 bakeries in the area. I figure if I need to work it may as well be in something I enjoy. So far the responses have been positive but they don’t seem to be hiring. I am going to try my best to not end up back to the world of waiting tables. Fingers crossed this works out in the end.

Cake Ball Craziness!

Last weekend turned in to cake ball craziness. I decided I wanted to try three new cake ball recipes to make a kind of Valentine's sample pack. I was hoping to try to sell them on etsy but realized I wasn't going to have time. The office got quite the treat instead.

Coconut cake bites

follow the recipe but bake the cake in one full 11x8 sheet pan, skip the syrup and make ½ the amount of icing.

Once the cake has cooled completely crumble it into a large mixing bowl taking out any crispy edges. Next mix in the icing and coconut filling mixture. This should form a moist dough. Place wax paper on a cookie sheet and begin rolling the dough into about 1 ½” balls. you can either put these in the fridge to chill for about 2 hrs or the freezer for about 15min.

Once the Balls are nice and chilled melt white candy melts, or white chocolate almond bark 30 seconds at a time. Dip each ball into the chocolate until coated and place on a sheet to harden. Because the balls are chilled the chocolate should set up fairly quickly

Chocolate Raspberry cake bites.

Follow the steps above but use the chocolate cake recipe attached and substitute the icing. For icing Boil down 1 pig fresh raspberries, 1 small jar raspberry preserves with a little bit of water. Cool and mix with ¼ can vanilla pre-made frosting. These were also dipped in milk chocolate

Strawberry Chocolate chip bites

For this I used a package of Duncan Hines Vanilla cake and substituted the water with1 ½ c. freshly pureed strawberries (frozen could also work) and added 1 extra egg. Follow the steps above but use ¾ can cream cheese icing and when you mix in the icing mix in about ¾ c. mini chocolate chips.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Coconut Cake

So for Christmas I got: new mixing bowls, an apron, new pot holders, 3 new spatulas, my grandmother's antique cake stand (with matching cover) and a real life stand mixer! I guess people do read this blog. So with M1 making a pretty new white dining room table and having my "new to me" white cake stand I thought a White Fluffy Coconut Cake would be the perfect recipe to start off the new year! I think it came out well, and I'm doing my best not to stalk the fridge for the leftovers.

1 ¼ cups heavy cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
1/4 c. coconut milk
1 T cornstarch
1 T milk
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup shredded coconut

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ c. unsalted butter, softened

confectioners’ sugar to taste
Remaining heavy cream

1/4 c. coconut milk

½ tsp. Vanilla extract

Syrup and Garnish:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
¼ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup shredded coconut.


1 box Vanilla Cake mix: Make cake by following directions on box. Divide into thirds into three 9” round pans greased and floured. Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Prepare the filling:
Place the heavy cream, sugar, and coconut milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Stir the cornstarch and the milk together in a small bowl until there are no lumps.

Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the simmering cream until it’s smooth; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes longer.

Add the butter and shredded coconut and continue cooking, stirring, for 3 more minutes.

Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until thickened, about 2 hours.

Bake Cake while filling is chilling

Prepare the syrup:
Place the sugar, water and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally

Remove from heat and brush the top of each cake layer with the syrup using a pastry brush. (You don’t have to use all the syrup).

Prepare the icing:
Whip remaining Cream on high speed until stiff peaks form, place to the side.

Place the cream cheese and the butter in a bowl and beat with a mixer until creamy. Add the remaining icing ingredients; beat until smooth and soft. Turn off mixer and fold in whipped cream.

Assemble the cake:
Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Brush with Syrup.

Spread it with half of the filling and top with another layer of cake. Top with remaining filling and third layer of cake.

Ice the top and sides of the cake with the icing and then sprinkle the top with ½ cup shredded coconut.

Cut and enjoy!

This cake was from a recipe found on a random recipe. I originally followed their recipe for the cake portion but was sadly disappointed when the cake came out hard and flavorless. I immediately reached for a box of Duncan Hines I had hidden in the cupboard. I think that a boxed cake with homemade fillings and frosting can fool even the toughest of critics .

Original site:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Starry Night Dress for sale

Starry Night Dress is for sale!

Quick update

On the fight front - I've been to the gym 3 times in the last week or so. Each time working harder and longer focusing on cardio. I also bought a new stabilization ball I am thinking of bringing the office to try to sit on for a few hours a day.

Current weight Calc = -5lbs. I know most of it is water, but it's still nice to see the number go down :)

I had money in hand to go to the vending machine and turned around to get my carrots and hummus out of the fridge. If you haven't had Trader Joe's Horseradish hummus it is kind of amazing! i want to try to make roast beef wraps with sharp Cheddar cheese and this stuff as the spread. Maybe I can get the supplies this weekend.

Testing- other than about an hour spent studying while waiting for my car at the shop I have been slacking on this regard. I'm waiting to see how some deadlines play out but plan on hitting the books soon.

Etsy fun - I sold my first set of cards the other day. I got so excited I immediately put them in the mail. It wasn't until I was laying in bed last night that I realized that I had forgotten to include the envelopes. I put them in the mail this morning along with an apology note and email. Fingers are crossed for an ok review from the buyer. I also hope to have my Halloween dress up for sale soon. I'm having trouble photographing it but have a few ideas in mind.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Etsy Shop is open for business!

Etsy shop is open for business so come take a look!

So far lots of photo cards, they make great gifts!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year’s Resolutions 2011

2010 was a year of fun, food, and friends. It was so much fun that I am now forced to ground myself for the entire year of 2011….no more fun, food, and studying will most likely keep me from friends. Sad I know. It sounds worse than it is. Pretty much, last year I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and now I need to deal with the consequences.

Fun: Trips to Vegas, NYC twice, Home, London, and Scotland along with the purchasing of two new cameras and three new designer chairs has pretty much drained all of my funds. I am starting the New Year with a little over $30 in my savings account and more credit card debt than I care to mention. All is not lost, but it is just time for me to take care of things. As a reward for being good this next year I want to take a trip the next summer to either Greece or Ireland, or maybe both J. That is if I can get my financials under control. Today I made an appointment to take my car in for its 15,000 mile checkup. I will be using the money my dad gave me for Christmas for this instead of the printer I have been stalking online. Boo for being a grown up L

Food: as you may have noticed I have gained approximately 42lbs since college and 53lbs since high school. I know I will never be back to what I was when I was 17 (or do I really want to) but this year is time for a lifestyle change. I have to stop eating what I want, when I want it, and start using my gym membership that I pay for each month. I am not promising to get up at 5am everyday and run 5 miles, but my goal is to go at least 3 to 4 times a week. This coupled with a healthy diet consisting of reduced proportions and less baking should help me get my weight to a more manageable number. I’m not saying I’m going to stop experimenting the kitchen all together, more that I’m going to try to limit it to people’s birthdays and the weekends. No more baking just for the house, if it is coming out of the oven it needs to be going out the door! Sorry roomies.

Friends: Although I am always looking for new friends and always up for a goodtime, this year must be a year of discipline. I have been approved to start taking my ARE’s (architectural licensing exams) and I am giving myself this year to take 6 of the 7. There is a structures class only offered in January that I will wait until next year to take. Each test will cost almost $300 and I am only reimbursed if I pass, so this kind of goes hand and hand with my money goals.

This post is stating my goals out loud and on paper therefore if I don’t meet them I will have to face not only myself but all of you at the end of the year! Hopefully most of the following posts will be me writing in triumph, not whining about how it's too hard. Wish me luck, 2011 here I come!