Currently my favorite (food) thing

Pumpkin, cranberry, & apple baked oatmeal

I made a couple of small tweaks to the recipe: I substituted ground flaxseed for wheat germ, added a teaspoon of cinnamon, plus a bunch of other spices (ginger, cloves, nutmeg). I also used vanilla soymilk instead of regular milk.

I made it once over the weekend, and substituted almonds for pecans (because I didn’t have any pecans). I made it again today to eat for breakfast for the rest of the week, using pecans this time. (The almonds were good, though…you could probably use any nut you like)

I am loving this blog, and there are all sorts of recipes I want to try! I’ll be sure to update you when I do…

(emily bites, the blog linked above, is one I found through Pinterest. Come, follow me! Or ask for an invite if you need one…)

Gale Gand’s Brunch! recipe review

brunch cookbook

My friend Stephanie offered me the opportunity to receive a copy of this cookbook in return for trying a recipe and posting a review. I agreed. I mean, who doesn’t love brunch?

When I flipped through the book, there were plenty of recipes that sounded interesting to me. Since I’m not a big fan of eggs, they were mostly of the sweet variety. Ultimately, though, my love of ginger won out and I decided to try the Ginger Scones with Peaches and Cream.

I had never made scones before, so I figured it would be an adventure!


As always, I was very happy to have this at my disposal. Oh Kitchenaid mixer, what did I ever do before you?

The recipe was simple enough and easy to follow. When the time came for me to “use a biscuit or cookie cutter” to cut out the scones, I had to improvise. Luckily, I had a small round Rubbermaid container that was perfect!

scones going in the oven

The recipe said to bake for 15-20 minutes. I set the timer for 15, checked them, and left them in a little while longer. I’d say they were in for about 18 minutes.

scones fresh out of the oven

Mmmm…I found the scones themselves *very* tasty. The bits of crystallized ginger are perfect…and although the recipe didn’t call for it, I added a bit of ground ginger as well. Like I said, I love ginger.

I made the whipped cream as instructed in the recipe. It has sour cream in it, which was interesting. I found it to be somewhat like clotted cream. I had to use canned peaches rather than fresh, because fresh peaches are a little hard to come by this time of year.

ginger scones with peaches and cream

The flavors were interesting together, but as I said, these scones are very good by themselves as well!

Rand agreed. He said I could go into business selling scones. 😉

I would make these again, and look forward to trying some of the other recipes.

Holiday baking begins

Thursday night, I decided to make a cheesecake to bring in to work. It was the holiday luncheon day, and people were bringing in desserts to pass.

This is the recipe that my mom has used for my entire life. It has a sour cream topping, and it is most decidedly not New York style. It’s meant to be made in a store-bought graham cracker crust. I have adapted the recipe to make in a springform pan, but as I don’t currently have one (and didn’t feel like going and getting one), I just made the regular recipe.

cheesecake slice



  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • dash salt
  • 2 eggs (add one at a time)

Pour into crust. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350

Mix topping–

  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Pour and spread over cheesecake. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Let cool two hours and chill.

I find this recipe to be tasty on its own, but it’s also very good topped with fruit. (raspberries are my choice)

Since we had a snow day, I sent the cheesecake in with Rand…they got sent home at 10, but at least one person got a slice! I had a piece today, and I’m happy with the way it turned out. Rand had some too, but he prefers NY style cheesecake.

Here’s the half of the cheesecake that remains. Someone appears to have carved their name into it with a fork…not sure what that’s about!


I just mixed up the dough for the best ginger cookies evah, so I’ll be baking those later (will post photos, and recipe). I’ve got lots of plans…let’s see how it goes. 😉

These brownies are delicious

Sadly, I did not take any photos…

Rand’s office Christmas party was this week, and I wanted to send along a treat. I decided to try out the brownie edge pan (which was a fabulous wedding gift from Jen!) and a new recipe.

brownie edge pan

Here’s the recipe:

Dense Fudge Brownies


1 cup  Unsalted Butter, room temperature
7 oz  Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
5 ea  Eggs
2 tsp  Vanilla Extract
3 1⁄4 cups Sugar
1 2/3 cups All Purpose Flour
1⁄4 tsp  Salt
6 oz.  Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
1 cup  Pecans, chopped (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 425.  Lightly spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place the 7 oz. unsweetened chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water.  The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.  Stir frequently until chocolate and butter are completely melted.  Set bowl aside.
3. In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar on high for 10 minutes.  Reduce speed to low, add melted chocolate/butter mixture, and beat until combined.  Scrape the bowl well.  Next add the salt and flour and beat on low until combined.  Do not over beat.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the 6 oz of semisweet chocolate pieces and pecans.
4. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.
5. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs.  Cool brownies completely in the pan.

They got a good review from Rand’s coworkers, and I sampled the leftovers. Mmmmmm. This is the first recipe that’s convinced me it’s worth making brownies from scratch. (Unless they’re something special, like Eden’s peanut butter swirl brownies, I’ve always preferred box brownies. Specifically Duncan Hines chewy fudge brownies.)

Recipe and pan can both be found at Baker’s Edge.

I’ll take pictures next time!

Best. Cookies. Ever.

I’m reposting this for the benefit of both Debbie and my blogging-by-mail swap partner.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

(from the NY Times…you have to be a member)


Here’s the full recipe:

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons

(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)

Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

I used Ghirardelli baking chips, which I got at Wegmans. I also made much smaller cookies than the recipe says to make, so the baking time was cut down to about 12 minutes.

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It’s the small things

I managed to upload some photos to flickr today, with titles and descriptions even. Whoo!

Here’s a little sample…all photos of things I’ve baked recently:

pumpkin bread

Pumpkin bread

blackberry pie

Blackberry pie





Could we start again, please?

Seriously, this day needs a do-over.

It started out just fine…except for the fact that I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, and so I did NOT want to get up.

I had a 9 a.m. appointment with the superintendent, where I was *officially* told that I have the job (of course, pending board approval…).

I don’t think I’ve talked about this online, but my provisional certificate expires at the end of January. I had to apply for an extension, but of course it will take weeks and weeks before it actually goes through. On the up side, I will be able to apply for my permanent certificate at the end of the year.

New York State certainly doesn’t make it easy to ask questions of an actual live human being regarding teacher certification. There’s a local office at BOCES in West Seneca, but they apparently don’t take phone calls. Or voice mails. One phone number directs you to another phone number, which directs you to an email, which takes a good week to get a response to. Sigh.

Where was I? Oh, yeah…after the meeting with the superintendent, I went into my classroom for a bit…I’m still trying to organize, and get some things ready for next week. As I was typing up my course outlines, I realized how strange it felt to be calling myself “Mrs.” to me, Mrs. feels old. Matronly. It made me wish that Ms. had caught on as it was originally intended…to be the female equivalent of Mr. and not have a married vs. unmarried distinction. Eh. Whatever.

Came home and decided to try a new recipe in 500 Cupcakes. I spent WAY too much time and energy trying to make this recipe work properly. Something about tempering eggs. Gah. I went through nearly a dozen eggs (counting the one I dropped on the floor) and wasted a cup and a half of honey.

Thankfully, the resulting cupcakes are tasty. I took some pics, and will share sometime later. And what the heck…I learned something new.

My afternoon brightened when I got a package from Amazon containing some birthday goodies from Stephanie! Yay!

I was going to blog a bit about the weekend, but I’m out of blogging energy. 😉

I have new teacher orientation tomorrow and Wednesday. Woohoo! Here’s hoping I’m well-rested and a whole lot less cranky!

Fun with baking

Friends, my shiny new Kitchenaid mixer is sitting on the counter, beckoning to me.

“Erin,” it’s saying, “make something.”

I just don’t know what to make! I’m itching to bake, but I’m not craving anything in particular. And so I turn to you, dear readers…share with me a suggestion, a favorite recipe, whatever, and help me break in my new mixer!