Thursday, January 31, 2013

Black Forest Chocolate Cake

It was my boyfriends birthday last week, so I of course made him a cake. He wanted a black forest cake. I wanted to make him a cake that looked like a monkey. So I combined them for a cake he wasn't allowed to see till it hit the table. I hurt my eye somehow this past weekend so I was all about some shortcuts for this cake. I made 2 Devils Food Cake boxed cakes. First off, it had to stay together. I was making a layered, shaped cake with one eye. So I cheated. Do it! Its not a big deal, you add so much to it that it doesn't matter.

I loosely followed this recipe below, because I've never made a black forest cake and I needed some guidance.

I made it like a standard Black Forest Cake, brushed the cakes with cherry syrup to add some moisture. I did whipped Cream between the layers with cherries, unlike this recipe says. And I did chocolate icing on the top/outside to make it look like a money, star piping like hair! I also didn't add any liquor to the recipe like this one or standard recipes, because I decided it didn't really matter plus there were a few kids eating away at this cake and the liquor wouldn't have been cooked out.

In my excitement I forgot to take a photo. My boyfriends Mom got one though, so once I get ahold of it I'll post it. In the mean time, here's the recipe - sort of. But I would definitely do this one if it didn't have to look like a monkey. Maybe next year.

Black Forest Mousse Cake

Carb Lovers Diet Book + Recipe Peek

I've been ignoring my blog for a little while in favour of trying to get back on track eating wise. I don't like to think of it as a diet. Because, I'm still having lattes, smoothies and I'm not feeling hungry. When I start to get into blogging, I go out and look for things to make and blog about. 90% of the time, its not good for you... but its always so delicious.

So I thought I'd write a little about the book I'm following right now (String Free, I really just Love it). The name says it all - Carb Lovers Diet. And that's me! Cheese, Bread, Pasta... all at one meal? Yes please. I know a few other people that have tried this plan, they've all felt hungry during the first week (1200 Calories/day). This has never been a problem for me. Sometimes if I go for a run I'll grab an extra snack, but that's it. The biggest plus for this book is that my boyfriend loves the food. First off, he's not a small guy, so he needs more than the 1200 calories a day if he doesn't want to pass out. But an extra apple or egg, no big deal.

An average day consists of a smoothie type drink for breakfast, a solid filling plate for lunch and something that usually includes pasta for dinner. I thought I'd put up a few of the recipes in hopes of helping/converting a few people. Sometimes, I'll just do the breakfasts and lunches because (guilty) I don't eat those meals on a regular basis. I get up, have coffee and go to work and might have a snack when I get home.. apparently that's not a good thing to do. So that in it self probably makes this plan a little easier to handle for me.

If you're not a morning eater like myself, this smoothie is perfect. It tells you to add 1/2 cup of ice but I use frozen berries so I'm ok with out that. It also tells you to add honey, I add a heaping 1/3 cup of berries instead of the 1/4 cup. I also have started throwing in a spoonful of Flaxseed Meal. There are so many good things going on about it, I figured it couldn't hurt and it only adds 25 Calories or so. I also only use 1 Cup of 1% milk, makes it a little thicker.

Here's the base recipe:

1 Banana
1 1/2 Cups Milk
2 Tsp Honey
1/2 Cup Ice

Put in a blender till smooth.


Add 2 Tsp Flaxseed meal

Add 1 Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa

Add 1/4 Cup Berries (any)

So I basically do 2 variations in one with less milk, water and no honey so it pretty much balances out with the same calories. This is my breakfast every day now. I have been cutting down on the lattes but I still get them in. Since I make them at home myself they're only about 60 Calories anyways... but probably something that can be more of a "while I Blog treat".  There's a ton of other recipes but I'm the person that can eat the same thing over and over.

The lunch plate is probably my favourite lunch because its so easy and really fills you up. Sometimes I'll have a latte instead of the cheese.. but that's all.

1 Large hard boiled egg
1 oz Cheddar Cheese
1 Apple
3 Rye Crispbread Crackers (Ryvita or Wasa, both great)

I'm not a huge egg fan so I salt and pepper the crap out of that egg, but its a great little meal.

There's a few dinner recipes I love but this one was probably the most surprising because I was always the person that if I didn't have meat or pasta it probably wasn't a meal. This one has neither.

Black Bean Tacos

1 Can Black Beans
6 Corn Tortillas
6 Tbsp Shredded Cheddar
2 Cups Shredded Romaine
1 Cup Grated Carrots
1/4 Cup Salsa

Microwave beans at high for 2 minutes or until heated.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tortillas, one at a time and cook about 1 minute on each side.

Divide beans evenly among tortillas. Top with even amounts of toppings.

Serves 2.

So those are my 3 sneak peak recipes into this book. If they interest you, I totally suggest you look into purchasing the book. I love it. I think of it more as a cookbook than a diet book. If its not up your alley, its the Superbowl this weekend (Go Ravens!) so there will be plenty of the unhealthy, wonderful recipes we've come to love. Sort of waist-line friendly.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Shrimp and Feta Linguine with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

For my first recipe post of 2013 I thought I try to go a bit lighter. This is a recipe I've made several times now and its well loved and requested. I've added things, taken things out, put in extra, made less, made more, pretty much everything I could do, I've done. Since we're having it yet again tonight I thought tonight was a good night to post it.

This recipe is seriously great as is but here are the things I've done in the past and currently. I've added a roasted red pepper, but I found I liked the tomato flavour it has on its own. Tonight I used Arugula instead of Spinach and it added a bit more of a peppery taste to it. I pretty much always add extra hot pepper flakes and garlic because why not? I also recommend using a little better quality Olive Oil since it will affect the taste of the dish. I always use a Rose wine vinegar. I find that you don't need as much feta. If you have read my other posts you know I like cheese but I just don't think you will need as much. Even half a cup is good.

This recipe should serve around 6, it can be served hot or cold and you can BBQ the tomatoes and shrimp in the summer.

Here's the original recipe:

Shrimp and Feta Linguine with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette
(Adapted Slightly from Best Recipes Ever)

1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
24 jumbo (21/25) raw shrimp, (1 lb/500 g), peeled and deveined
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
12 oz (340 g) linguine
3 cups (750 mL) packed fresh spinach
1 cup (250 mL) crumbled feta cheese

Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette:
8 plum/roma tomatoes, (about 1-1/2 lb/750 g) cored
1/3 cup (75 mL) extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp (18 mL) sherry vinegar, or wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
1 pinch hot pepper flakes, (optional)


Core tomato's, just scoop out the little end on them with a small paring knife. It'll come out like a little cone.

On small rimmed baking sheet, broil tomatoes, turning every 5 minutes, until well charred, about 15 minutes. Let cool. *I always do this on low broil for about 45 minutes, only turning once. If you do it on high your tomato's will turn black - fast. Which is ok, but I also find they explode open quickly and you lose alot of the juice on the baking sheet. You can't save it because it will burn to the sheet.

Dice tomatoes and place in strainer set in bowl; let stand for 5 minutes to several hours to accumulate juice.

In the bowl, blend together tomato juice, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and hot pepper flakes (if using) until smooth. Return to bowl; add diced tomatoes. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before using.)

In skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute shrimp, salt and pepper until pink, about 3 minutes. Add to tomato vinaigrette, tossing to coat.

Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until tender but firm, about 8-10 minutes.

Drain and return to pot. Add shrimp mixture, spinach and all but 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the feta; toss to combine.

Serve sprinkled with remaining feta.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Just a Blog Post

This post doesn't have any recipes. I just wanted to say thanks to all of the people who have been following my blog and me on twitter. Its really great to know that even as a random night time kitchen blogger, just for fun, that I'm getting out there and (hopefully) helping people out in the kitchen.

I personally love trying new things for dinner and obviously dessert. Although most of the things I do for dessert I end up giving away and sharing, we all had a bit too much over the holidays. I'm not making a New Years Resolution to lose weight or anything unachievable or crazy. But I'm going to try to eat a little lighter and smarter. You know, half whole wheat and half white pasta, less cream and butter and more vegetables. That's probably the biggest one. I like them. But I just don't seem to get enough of them. Make yourself a little more full with almost the same amount of food. Just little substitutions. Because I'm certainly not cutting out Dairy or Pasta anytime soon!

With that being said, my "Blog" resolution is to post Double plus 5 of what I posted in 2012. Because, that's what happened from 2011 to 2012. So, 71 new posts and recipes is the goal! Which is really only a couple a week. I hope that maybe, my blog will also get twice as many views as last year. I'm going to start the year off on a bit of a cheat (Just like most people's resolutions!) since I have a few recipes from December that I didn't get a chance to do before the New Year... But those are only going to get me through January.

Thanks again for checking out my blog, hope to see you in there for this post next year! Here's to an inspired year.