It’s the Freakin’ Weekend

The bench in front of Donuts Delite in Rochester. I got excited as we drove by and The BF said, "You know, you can't eat that."

The bench in front of Donuts Delite in Rochester. I got excited as we drove by and The BF said, “You know, you can’t eat that.”

If you’re reading this blog for the first time today (and hello to you!) then you might not know but tomorrow, July 13, is my birthday. I. love. my. birthday. It’s smack dab in the middle of summer so childhood birthdays included big family parties in the backyard, the weather is warm so I can always wear a cute dress to any type of celebration, and it’s a full day where I’m bombarded by texts and phone calls and Hallmark cards from all the people in my life that I love. Seriously, what’s better than that?!

This year The BF is taking me to Red Rooster Harlem for dinner (one of my top 5 favorite restaurants in NY) and I’ll spend the rest of the day eating pancakes and avoiding the rain. Perfection? That it is.

Here are a few links for your weekend! Enjoy!

I’m baking this recipe for my birthday cupcakes! FACT: Rainbow chip and funfetti are NOT the same.

“What’s in Prince’s fridge?” (yes, THAT Prince!) is perhaps the funniest and weirdest thing I’ve read in a long time.

My mom made this incredible white cake with lemon frosting and raspberry filling last weekend when I was home in Rochester and it was DIVINE.

Speaking of Rochester, Donuts Delite in Irondequoit has a cannoli donut… yes… a CANNOLI DONUT… that is essentially heaven in pastry form (or a powdered sugar yeast donut with cannoli cream filling). Why they don’t have a line like the cronut, I’ll never know.

And a final reminder to sign up for Spice to Meet You. Next month’s spice is a total winner.

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Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

Fudgy chocolate brownies from LaurenFoodE
It’s my lifelong goal to make brownies that taste just like the box but without all the preservatives and chemicals.

Oh no WAIT. It’s not MY lifelong goal. It’s The BF’s own personal goal for me.

In any case, there was one time where I plucked a recipe for brownies off the internet at random and the brownies that recipe yielded were perfection. And you know what? I never bookmarked the recipe and then I lost it. And The BF reminds me of it at least once a week.

So here is ANOTHER brownie recipe (I do this to you guys a lot, you realize) and this one is deliciously chocolate and fudgy and if you’re like me, you’ll undercook them just a touch so they stay nice and soft. Maybe you’ll add a scoop of ice cream on top. Maybe I’d salute you.

On the menu:
Fudgy Chocolate Browies
Makes 12 large brownies
Adapted from MommiFried

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups white sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
2 1/2 Tbsp water
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, butter, and water until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and stir to combine.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Pour into greased baking sheet and smooth until the batter is evenly distributed in the pan.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the top is crackly and the corners are firmed up. Let cool completely* before cutting.

*Note: We have a running joke in our house that the brownies never, ever get to cool completely before they’re cut into. If your house smells like brownies and you can wait a full hour until they cool to eat them, then I have a medal here for you.

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Spice to Meet You

Spice to Meet You
Hi Friends! Just a quick reminder that it’s not too late to sign up for Spice To Meet You, the monthly spice delivery service that brings a specially blended mix of spices directly to your door, ready to toss into your boring old recipes to make them brand spanking new again. For a limited time you can try Spice to Meet You for one month totally free! Tell ’em Lauren E. sent you.

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Amurrica, Amurrica…

cake
Happy 4th of July, friends! May your weekend be filled with deliciousness and fireworks and beaches and sun. This is one of my favorite holidays, not just because it’s a week before my birthday (did I mention my BIRTHDAY is coming up?), but because it’s a full out summer fest. Everyone gets the day off of work and school (sorry, retail friends) and celebrating includes all things American: processed foods, explosions, and bad country songs.

YEEHAW HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

I sang this song during my summer job performing at an amusement park, and squeezed in “ROCHESTER USA” awkwardly at the end, instead of James Browns’ original “Chicago and LA.” It was pretty memorable, guys.

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Grilled BBQ Pork Chops with Peach Salsa

One of the most frustrating things about living in New York City is the lack of outdoor space. Sure, there’s Central Park and a variety of restaurants with back patios for outdoor seating, but what about a nice patch of grass in the backyard where I can drink my morning coffee in PJs without terrifying other park goers with my lack of makeup and bed head?

That’s right. I got nothin’.

So to make up for my nonexistent backyard and subsequent lack of a grill, The BF bought me a grill/griddle pan. It’s this magical device that sits over two burners on your stove and basically gives you a nice, grill-marked crust on various meats and veggies, while on the other side waits a griddle for pancakes. It’s a New York City home cook’s dream.

This dish was created on such a grill pan, and you’ll find the full recipe over at Spice to Meet You.

BBQ Pork Chops with Peach Salsa

Which brings me to my next point. I’m super fortunate to be guest blogging over at Spice To Meet You for the next few months. I’ll be contributing recipes and possibly video posts to the blog, and basically pushing this AWESOME service on you. I don’t hawk anything I don’t truly believe in so I’m really serious when I tell you to go take a peek at this monthly spice delivery service that also gives you access to delicious recipes that show you how to use said spices.

The monthly service starts at $6 a month (hey perfect birthday/mother’s day/father’s day gift) and the perfectly blended spices can be used on anything… anything like BBQ pork chops. Just an idea.

The site is also offering a one month free trial! So you really have nothing to lose by trying it out. Go on. Go now.

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Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Muffin
I have a confession to make: I am the ultimate ricotta-waster. I hate wasting food in any capacity but for some reason I more-often-than-not have a moldy container of ricotta cheese in my fridge. I use a cup for one recipe and then cut to three weeks later and I haven’t used it since. It’s becoming a reeeeeal problem in my life.

Anyway, on the brink of ricotta expiration, I made these muffins. I loooove love love ricotta in baked goods (it gives them this strangely spongy but not-too-fluffy texture, kind of like ricotta cheese itself) and have made a promise to myself that I will no longer waste ricotta – I’ll just bake it up.

On the menu:
Lemon ricotta muffins
Makes 12

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 Tbsp (for topping)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Zest of 2 lemons
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tin cups with muffin liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, blend the sugar, butter, and zest. Beat in ricotta cheese until smooth. Add egg, fresh lemon juice, and vanilla extract and blend until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix by hand until combined.

Fill each muffin liner with batter. Cups will be almost completely full (don’t worry, they don’t really overflow but just puff up nicely). Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar over the top of the muffins.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost completely clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before removing them from the tin and letting them cool completely.

PS: I apologize for all the lemon-themed baked goods lately. If you can believe it, I even made lemon lime cookies that I didn’t post because I forgot to take a picture before I gave them away. What can I say, it’s summer time and I’ve got lemon on the brain. So sue me.

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Words to Live By

Words to Live By

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June 17, 2013 · 4:03 pm