The Kitchen Prep: March 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On The Rise

I recently made a fantastic discovery in my cooking world: Bridgford Ready-Dough. You can call me a cheater. Go ahead, I don't care. This stuff makes things very easy when life does not allow for homemade bread dough {or when you cannot use the dough hook on your KitchenAid due to a very stuck paddle attachment which, as the case may be, is my exact problem}.

I love, love, love this stuff because of its versatility. Breakfast breads. Pizza crust. Sweet bread. Savory appetizers. You name it, Ready Dough is... well... ready.

I've used this dough for a few different recipes so far, including the Easy Sausage & Cheese Breakfast Bread that got rave reviews from my father-in-law. This past weekend alone, I used it three times {I'm obviously out of control} for three very different recipes, and I was very pleased with each result.

But, guess what? I was a horrible blogger and didn't take any pictures of the finished results, which is a shame because they all looked lovely if I do say so myself. Not to worry, though. I will redeem myself and recreate every last doughy dish just so you can see the many faces of Bridgford. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Absence Makes the Stomach Grow Hungrier?

Why, hello, friends. 'Tis I, the delinquent blogger. Things have been a bit busy in my world, hence my failure to share with you all of the wonderfully tasty things I've made lately. I've also been organizing my ideas for some new features that I'm going to be adding to The Kitchen Prep soon, so my absence should be worth it. ;) {Or so I hope!}

We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend of family, friends, food, and fun... all of our favorites... but, man, am I glad to get back to peace and quiet! With a house full of crazy boys and an eventful Saturday out on the water, I'm more than happy to have some quality time alone. Just me and the whir of the Kitchen Aid. It's the little things. ;)

Here's a quick list of things that have come out of my kitchen in the past few days that I'll be blogging about as the week goes on!
I'm linking a few of the recipes that I made exactly as directed {we all know that's a rare thing around my kitchen}, but I'll definitely be coming back to the rest to share how I made them and any interesting tidbits I learned while cooking. When am I not learning something new while I cook?!

I hope your weekend was just as fantastic {and less exhausting!}.

Here's a pic of the hubby & me heading out to enjoy a day of friends & sunshine on Peanut Island.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Birthday Cake with a Tropical Twist

Few things say a heartfelt "Happy Birthday" better than a homemade birthday cake. So, when my big sister {who is shorter than I am, ironically enough} celebrated her birthday last week, I volunteered to bake a cake of her choice from scratch. While many would've opted for a classic chocolate cake, vanilla cake, or even a Red Velvet cake {which I still can't understand the obession with. We're talking copious amounts of artificial coloring, folks. Not my idea of mmm, mmm good.}, my sister requested a Guava Cake. Hmm. Unique, but definitely requiring some research on my part.

Lucky for me, we live in South Florida and are in no shortage of guava products at most grocery stores thanks to the high volume of Cuban customers {such as my family}. That still didn't help in deciding how to incorporate guava into a birthday cake. Should I use guava nectar in the batter? Guava paste in the filling? Guava jelly in the frosting? Where to begin?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

No Use Crying Over Spilled Cupcakes

Other appropriate titles for this post include: "Haste Makes Waste", "Don't Count Your Cupcakes Before They're Frosted", and "Oh, Why Dontcha Go Blog About It, Ya Big Sissy." :P

So, today might be known for the Luck of the Irish, but I should have known that wearing green does not automatically entitle you to some of that fortune. Although, I must tell you, I was convinced that good St. Pat was winking at me this morning when I started to bake my Mini Irish Cream Cupcakes.

You know how some days you wake up and you think to yourself, "Self, let's do something completely on a whim!" and it just magically works out? Well, that's how it seemed to be going with me this morning. I decided that I wanted to honor St. Patty's day with something sweet, but I didn't have any particular ideas in mind. After some Food Network browsing, I settled on Old-Fashioned Cupcakes because I didn't feel like getting too fancy. {Yes, it happens.} With an recipe in mind and a spring in my step, I was ready to hit the kitchen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm CocoNUTS for Brigadeiros!

Pardon my incredibly cheesy post title, but it just seemed over-the-top enthusiastic enough to explain my feelings about the recipe I'm about to share with you. Picture this: Ooey gooey, super sweet, fudge-like coconut flavor rolled into a ball and coated in a shredded coconut blanket of sorts. Hello, heaven! {And hello cavities, too, if you're not careful. This stuff is sweet, people. But sooo worth it.}

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

King Cake, that is! We may not live in New Orleans, but this year we decided to get into the spirit of Mardi Gras and celebrate Fat Tuesday with a King Cake. It is most definitely a king of a cake, big enough to feed quite a few party goers and certainly festive enough with the colorful sprinkles.

What do you think of my Polaroid effect? Just trying to keep it interesting, kids!

Monday, March 7, 2011

That's a Tasty Meatball... Sub!

Last Sunday, Steve and I decided to mix it up and replace Pasta Sunday for Meatball Sunday (although we did sneak in a little pasta as well). And boy was it a good decision! 

A trip to the grocery store, some recipe browsing, and a small mess in the kitchen later... we had this:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Smooth Moves

Confession: I go through unhealthy food phases.

While I do opt for healthier choices the majority of the time, I definitely have my food funks now and again where my diet is very incomplete. (Read: I eat only a sweet potato for dinner. Not so healthy, folks.)

In my home, it's hard to get away with such things under the watchful eye of my very health conscious husband. He is always reminding me that it's important to get a good mix of nutrient rich foods in, even when my tummy is begging for nothing but a bowl of cereal for dinner. And most of the time, I smile and nod... and ignore him completely. Bad, I know.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Recipe Rant

Today's post is brought to you by the letter "G" as in "grumpy", so I do apologize if it comes off a bit bah-humbug. Being in the kitchen is usually very zen for me, a natural mood booster, if you will. But there's one thing that really puts a damper on my cooking experience: Inaccurate Recipe Ratings.

You know what I'm talking about - those little stars, thumbs up, spoons, etc. that show you how other home cooks have rated the recipe. A lot of times, when I'm browsing my favorite websites for recipe ideas, I like to sort them by rating so that I don't waste time and ingredients on a recipe that most agree is not a winner.

How exactly can a rating be inaccurate, you might be wondering? After all, ratings are subjective, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. This is true in most cases. But then you have those recipe raters that DO NOT follow rating rules. {That's a bit of a tongue twister, isn't it??}