Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mediterranean Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Everything is better grilled and buttery. But not every day calls for deep frying donuts. Sometimes you just need to put it on a hot grill and listen to the sizzle.  This grilled cheese sandwich is on crack, the good kind of crack.  Not the plummer or illegal kind.  It's fairly healthy, has great flavors and easy to make.  Plus as always the cost: a 6 inch sandwich costs under $2.  We believe that's cheaper than a $5 foot long.  Sorry if we got that obnoxious jingle stuck in your head.

Start with some bread. A thick bread, like Ciabatta, is needed.  We took a loaf from Trader Joe's and cut it into fourth, then in half again.  Because the bread is raised on the top we cut a section of it off to make it level.

The next step is to work on the onions. Cut 1/2 an onion and then saute them in some olive oil.  Let them sit when you are done.
Rinse some basil and let dry on a paper towel.

Buy a jar of fire roasted red peppers from Trader Joe's.  They are arguably the best part of the sandwich. (They're not hot just in case you were concerned).

Slice a tomato.  It's about 3-4 slices per sandwich depending on the size of the tomato.

We used 2 types of cheese. Monterrey Jack and Sharp Cheddar.  The cheese needs to be grated. You will use a little less than 1/3 cup of each type per sandwich.
Butter the bread on both sides.

Heat a non-stick pan with olive oil.  On medium heat, place the inside of the bread and let brown.  This will only take a few minutes.  Then flip. 

Place Monterrey Jack on one side, the cheddar on another.  Add basil, tomatoes, grilled onions and peppers to the sandwiches.  Let sit for a minute.

Check the bread to make sure it does not burn.  In order to further melt the cheese place in the microwave for a 30 seconds.

 Cut the sandwich and prepare for greatness.  It's really hard to only eat one side, so good luck!


Ciabatta bread
1/2 Onion
1 jar Trader Joe's Fire Red Pepper
1/2 cup Basil
1/3 cup Monterrey Jack
1/3 cup Sharp Cheddar
3-4 slices tomato
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

1.Cut bread and butter
2. Saute onions. Let sit.
3. Rinse basil, slice tomato, grate cheeses,
4. Medium heat non-stick pan, poor in olive oil, place inside bread on top. Flip bread
5. Place one type of cheese on each slice. Add basil, tomato, onions, and peppers on top.
6. Microwave for 30 seconds. Cut in half. Eat!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It's sooo Fluffy Strawberry Ganache Cake

Clearly we are obsessed with Despicable Me ("It's sooooo fluffy" - Agnes). If you don't know what we're talking about, view it here.  Our baking all started with the Cake Pop Minions and here we are two years later with a cake that has the most fluffy-est frosting ever.  The best part is it's super easy to make as well as super easy to eat.  Cool whip plus strawberries, a little sugar and jam plus one box cake equals..... $3.50!

Start by baking a regular devil food cake.  While the cake is off in the oven we get to make the frosting.

Cut approximately 1 basket of strawberries or 2 cups.  Chop into small pieces and place in a medium size bowl.

Here's the fun part. Mash the strawberries. Leave some of the strawberries in small chunks, but you want to create a pool of liquid made out of the strawberry juice.

Add one tablespoon of strawberry jam and one teaspoon of sugar into the mashed strawberries.  Then fold an entire container of 8 oz cool whip (aka whipped topping).

Continue folding in the cool whip until the strawberry mix is completely intermixed.

If there is extra liquid (if the strawberries were extremely ripe there might be more juice from the strawberries), then it might not be as fluffy. In case this happens remove a bit of the liquid before adding in the cool whip.

Once the cake has cooled add the frosting in between the layers, on top of the cake, around the side of the cake.  Basically add the frosting in whichever way you want. Or don't and eat it by itself.

Make sure to eat it up quick! We kept it in the refrigerator topped it with our homemade ice cream and called it a day.

It's so Fluffy Strawberry Frosting Recipe

2 cups chopped strawberries
8 oz whipped topping
1 tablespoon strawberry jam
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine strawberry jam and sugar into a medium bowl which contains the 2 cups chopped strawberries.
Add the whipped topping to the medium bowl and slowly fold the whipped topping into the strawberry mix.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

We have been making homemade ice cream for years.  Our grandfather was raised on a farm and he almost made a science out of making ice cream from home.  In fact he had to use a hand crank ice cream making.  Thank goodness we have a motorized one, because otherwise making the ice cream was almost more trouble than its worth... just kidding.

Considering the cost to buy ice cream is almost $5 for 1 quart, homemade ice cream is cheap in comparison at around $4 for 2 quarts.

After thoroughly researching ice cream according to Ben and Jerry we have decided that making homemade ice cream is extremely easy.

We doubled the batch because we like ice cream and our ice cream maker is pretty large.  However it's really easy to divide in case you want less. (also this is the regular recipe)

Start by whisking 2 large eggs for 1 to 2 minutes until the eggs are  light and fluffy.

Slowly add in 3/4 cup of sugar while continuing to whisk.

Then whisk the mixture for another minute.

Pour in 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 1 cup milk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.  Continue to whisk until all the ingredients are combined.

Pour this mix into the ice cream maker container and let the ice cream be created.

Here's the secret ingredient that's in all ice cream. Ready? Well, it's air. Yup while the ice cream mix is turning in the ice and rock salt mix the ice cream liquid is being frozen while air is being added.  This is what makes it light and fluffy.

High quality ice cream is approx. 2/3 ice cream and 1/2 air, while low quality ice cream is almost 50/50. So... if you want thick/dense ice cream add more to your container, so less air is added.  We did ours a little more than half though.

While the ice cream is being made make sure to keep the ice up to the top of the container, and the rock salt included.  Rock salt is key because it makes the ice colder which freezes the ice cream.

Also during this process its the perfect time to enjoy a game of croquet. (we did!)

Aubree won one game, Ashley won the other.  Our brothers lost both!

Check the container after 30 minutes.  If your hand cranking.... keeping working on it.

Once the ice cream looks like this it's time to freeze the ice cream further.

All ice cream is soft when made, so by freezing it for 30-45 minutes it makes the ice cream appear more like store bought.  It also won't melt in two seconds anymore.

Scoop it up. Add bits of candy, or hot fudge or whatever you want.  Of course vanilla by itself when handmade is always delicious as well!


2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl for 1 to 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Slowly add in sugar and then whisk for another minute.
Pour in cream, milk and vanilla.
Pour ice cream mix into ice cream maker.

Makes 1 quart

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Peanut Butter Brownie

So Aubree was craving peanut butter and chocolate.  As a strong advocate of that combination on a daily basis, Ashley went right along with helping Aubree find a fix. lol. But truly we wanted peanut butter and chocolate and we had a brownie mix on us, so one thing led to another.  This recipe is rich. And by rich I mean you need a glass of milk/can't eat two in a row unless you like super rich things.  It's really easy to make in general, but in case you don't want something super rich then just leave off the frosting.

The cost you might ask? $5

Start by making the peanut butter mix that will be added to the brownies.  In a small bowl add 1/3 packed brown sugar, 1/3 crunchy peanut butter, and 1 egg.  About the actual peanut butter--we only had smooth peanut butter (remember people in the house don't like nuts), so use what you have.  In hindsight the nuts might help cut down on the richness but it's your call.

Make the brownie mix according to the box.

Preheat the oven depending on what pan you bake this in.

Here comes the fun part.  Put 3/4 of the brownie batter into your pan.
About a tablespoon at a time (give or take a bit) drop the peanut butter mixture into brownie mixture.  Spread it out so that you have peanut butter throughout the pan.

Then cover the peanut butter with the remaining brownie mixture left over.

Take a knife and gently sweep it back and forth mixing the peanut butter and brownie batters.  It's not an exact science you just want to mix the two.

Bake according to the box.

While the brownies are baking it's time to make the frosting.  Take a container of vanilla frosting and scoop 3/4 into a bowl.  Then add 1/4 peanut butter (you probably want smooth but it's up to you) and then 2 teaspoons milk.

Combine the ingredients together and there's the frosting.  Now just wait for the the brownies to cool and then add on the frosting.

Here's a secret: it's sometimes really hard to cut brownies or bars.  So you can use a knife or a plastic knife and gently saw. Or you can use a pizza cutter. Yup a pizza cutter.  If you get any brownie on the blade just wipe it off, but it leaves pretty clean lines.  So easy now. Do you have a good way to cut brownies?

Recipe (adapted from Betty Crocker)

1 box brownie mix
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 egg

2/3 cup vanilla frosting (from 16 0z container)
1/4 peanut butter
2 teaspoon milk

Combine brown sugar, peanut butter and egg in small bowl.  
In separate bowl make brownie mix according to package.
Put 2/3 of brownie mix into 13 x 9 pan.
Scoop tablespoons of peanut butter mixture into brownie mix
Cover peanut butter with remaining brownie batter
Bake per box
Make frosting by combining vanilla frosting, peanut butter and milk in bowl.
Allow brownies to cool on a wire rack.
Frost brownies and have milk ready to drink!

Monday, April 2, 2012


Aebleskivers (pronounced: able-skeevers) ... have you ever heard of them before? They're small Danish pancake donut holes.  Its a fried and puffy like a pancake, but can be eaten in 1 bite like a donut.  They are delicious, addicting, and it takes less than two seconds to eat one of them.  The key to making these is the pan... shockingly it's cast iron.  We bought ours years ago in Solvang, CA.  However if your not planning on making the trip to the Danish town, then you can find them online here.  The best part is that 1 batch of aebleskiver batter makes approx. 42 at a total cost of $4.00.

To make the batter start with 2 1/4 cups flour in a bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cup baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder and mix together.

Separate 2 egg yolks from the whites.

Beat the egg yolks in a separate container and add 2 cups buttermilk.

Combine with the dry ingredients.

 Add 3 tablespoons melted butter.

Beat the remaining egg whites and fold into batter (fold the dough to add air in to make the aebleskivers fluffy).

Put the aeblskiver pan on a burner and turn to medium heat.  The pan will get hot fast and remain hot, so if they burn you can turn it down quickly.

Also watch out for the handle... (I, Ashley, accidentally burnt myself while having a blonde moment).
Spray the pan with non-stick pan and we use two small dessert size spoons to add batter into the individual places.  Don't fill the whole all the way--it will expand.

Once the dough separates itself from the pan it's time to flip the aebleskivers.  This is probably the hardest part of the entire recipe.

Take a fork and gently stick in under the aebleskiver.  Move the fork in a clockwise and upward motion to lift it up.

Quickly remove the fork as the uncooked batter hits the pan and starts to cook.

Move through all the aebleskivers until they are all flipped.  The second side will cook much quicker than the first side.  Let sit for a couple of minutes until fully cooked.

To remove use the same fork to slide the aebleskivers out of the pan.

Coat with powdered sugar and top with jam or syrup for a classic danish treat.


2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons melted butter

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl
Beat egg yolks and add to milk
Combine with dry ingredients mixture
Add melted butter
Fold in beaten egg whites
Fry in pan.