Tag Archive: Cooking

I found this recipe for Hot & Sweet Chicken Drumsticks. I always eat chicken thighs so I used that instead. It lists any hot sauce so of course I used Sriracha. From the picture on the site, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of sauce. I scaled up the sauce by 1.5X but it wasn’t needed. I really liked it. I think next time I will go back to less sauce and try a different type of preserve. They used apricot but I’m thinking of trying cherry or something berry like. I added enough Sriracha to make it really hot. I had never cooked with preserves before. It took a while for them to melt.

6 Chicken Thighs (skin, bone-in)
0.375 cup lite soy sauce (50% Less Sodium)
2 teaspoons black pepper
1.5 cup Apricot Preserves
0.75 cup ketchup
4 teaspoons garlic powder
0.25 cup Sriracha
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix all ingredients except chicken in a sauce pan
3. Heat over medium heat until the preserves are melted
4. Put chicken in a non-stick foil lined pan
5. Pour the sauce over chicken
6. Bake chicken for 40 min


Orange-Thyme-Honey Chicken This was my second attempt at making something from one of my German cookbooks. It was a much better result this time. I made Orange, Thyme, and Honey Chicken (Orangen-Honig-Hähnchenbrust) from The German Kitchen cookbook. The recipe called for “juice and zest of 3 oranges” but I only had 2 jumbo oranges. I had never tried to squeeze juice out of an orange before. When I do this again, I will probably use 100% orange juice. I didn’t like that the sauce was such a minimal amount. Chicken breasts can get so dry if you try to reheat them. I’m thinking of tripling the amount of sauce. Again, I had not worked with orange zest so I had a minimal amount. I won’t be using it next time. You definitely taste the orange and honey in the recipe.
4 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon olive oil
Juice and zest of 3 oranges
3 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1. Heat oil in sauté pan
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper
3. Sauté the chicken in a pan with the oil until golden on both sides at low-med heat
4. In a bowl, combine the juice, zest, honey, and thyme
5. Pour mixture into the pan over the chicken
6. Add salt and pepper to sauce
7. Simmer for 10 min or until chicken is cooked
8. Baste chicken periodically
Streusel Coffee CakeI realized that Streusel is probably German. So, I cheated by making coffee cake that I have made for years. It is based on a Betty Crocker recipe. For some reason now, when I try to make the streusel topping with butter it becomes a paste. I should be able to just sprinkle it on top. I think the world has changed the ingredients and properties of butter.
Streusel Ingredients:
1/3 cup brown sugar
0.25 cups all-purpose flour
0.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons firm Butter
Coffee Cake Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Country Crock spread
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1. Heat oven to 350 deg
2. Combine Streusel Ingredients and mix until crumbly
3. Combine Cake Ingredients and mix on low setting
4. Beat on medium speed for 2 min
5. Spread half the batter in a greased 13x9x2 pan
6. Sprinkle on half the Streusel
7. Top with remaining batter
8. Sprinkle on the remaining Streusel
9. Bake 35 to 40 min
10. Yields 9-12

My first attempted at making International Foods was not great. I decided on a main dish (Hungarian Paprika Chicken / Ungarisches Paprikahähnchen), side (Cheese Spätzle / Käsespätzle), and dessert (German Christmas cookies / Coconut Macaroons / Kokosmakronen). I borrowed 2 cookbooks from my local library: The German Kitchen and Grandma’s German Cookbook. The former had the dessert recipe.
Cheese SpätzleFirst, the spätzle was a complete disaster. It is basically macaroni and cheese with egg noodles. The recipe had me make my own noodles. I couldn’t get the dough non-sticky enough to handle it. I added flour then it was too much so then I added more club soda. It was just a vicious cycle. I got fed up and just ripped off pieces and put it in the boiling water. I got chunks of pasta. I thought try it anyways so I added the mild gruyere cheese. It smelled gross while at the same time having no taste. I’m not making that again. It was too much like macaroni and cheese for me to bother with.
Hungarian Paprika ChickenI was unsure about making the Hungarian Paprika Chicken since this is supposed to be German food month. But, it was listed in my German cookbook so I figured it is fine. This recipe had some ingredients that I couldn’t find in my local grocery stores. They listed sweet Hungarian paprika and hot paprika. I had to make do with regular paprika (origins unknown) and cayenne pepper (the internet says they are different). I also tend not to use things like fresh onion, chilies, and garlic. As replacements, I used onion flakes, Sriracha, and garlic powder. The general idea was to put all those together with diced tomatoes to make a thick sauce. The recipe called for 3 tablespoons of paprika which is a lot for a spice. The chicken is browned and then simmered in the mixture. Somehow the chicken was tasteless. I know. It’s crazy. The sauce was hot but it didn’t really stick to the chicken at all. The sauce was a greasy mess. I know I can redo this recipe in a whole new way to make it work. I will leave out the tomatoes.   Stay tuned for the remake of this.
Coconut MacaroonsI made a few mistakes with the cookies. First, I added 1.5 cups of sugar instead of 1.25 cups. The recipe called for dried shredded coconut. I had non-dried sweetened coconut. They didn’t mention if it was sweetened or not. I also added in some vanilla because all cookies should have vanilla. This was the first time I used a water bath (i.e. a pot of boiling water) to cook anything. I had to heat the coconut mixture to 158 oF / 70 oC. The candy thermometer I have was covered with sugar half way through so I switched to a metal meat thermometer which worked much better. I also melted some “chocolate flavored” chips. I dipped the bottom of the cookies in it.  I thought they were good but not great.  I ate 2 of them and took the rest to work (it yielded 15).  Several people came up to me saying it was really good so it must have been fine.  I just had too thick of a chocolate layer on the bottom for me.  I’m not a big fan of chocolate.  I’m not sure if I would make them again but I listed the recipe below.  This is the only recipe I can share because the others were not what I wanted.
There are a few other recipes I want to try in the books, but they were very similar to things I had had before. I wanted to try things that were different this first time around. I ended up making it into for my daily meal for the week which I had not planned on doing. I learned not to do that again. It’s hard to shrink down recipes like these for 1-2 portions.
4 Egg whites
1.5 cups sugar
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
3.5 tablespoons up all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

  1. Prepare a water bath by heating water in a large pot
  2. Separate egg whites and transfer to a custard cup
  3. Add sugar to the bowl and place it in the hot water bath
  4. Mix egg and sugar until the sugar dissolves
  5. Add coconut
  6. Heat the mixture to 158 deg F or 70 deg C while stirring frequently
  7. Remove bowl from the water bath
  8. Add in flour and vanilla
  9. Let cool to room temp
  10. Heat the oven to 325 degrees
  11. Cover baking sheet with non-stick foil
  12. Use a plastic bag to add batter to the sheet
  13. Bake for 25 min
  14. Cookies should be light in color and just slightly brown
  15. Heat chocolate chips in a bowl with the water bath
  16. Dip cookies into the chocolate
  17. Makes about 15 (large) cookies

I decided on German cuisine for my first month. I got 2 cookbooks from the local library and I will be looking online for suggestions as well. Also I know someone from Germany so that helps some. So far I learned that Germans eat a lot of potatoes and fruit in their desserts. I’m not a fan. I don’t like chocolate much either so no black forest cake. I plan on finalizing my choices today.

Mountains in Northern Alabama

Mountains in Northern Alabama

I am officially living in Northern Alabama. My new job relocated me to a temporary place for 30 days and I have been in my permanent place for 2 weeks. I’m going to slowly get into a real routine as far as my blog goes. Working full time again limits the time that I have now. So far the area looks good. I know how to get to the key locations I need. Soon I want to find some activities to do that will allow me to exercise without doing gym stuff.
I’m rethinking my TV show reviews. I’m going to be getting a TV (waiting for the sales) so I’m not sure if all written reviews are needed. Maybe for some of the shows I review I can do live tweeting or something like that. I still have time before the fall shows start again to think about it.
I have a new idea for my cooking adventures. Each month I’m going to focus on a couple new recipes from a specific region or country. I think I’ll do a meal and a dessert. It would be a good way to try a variety of food. Plus, I could try to make the new recipes healthy as well. At the moment, I’m considering Thai for September. I’ve only been to 2 Thai restaurants but I think I had really spicy shrimp dishes which is always good to me.   Again, I have time to look around and of course I’ll document it for the blog. Any suggestions for any types of food would be greatly appreciated. I’d probably include vegetarian and vegan as types of cuisines.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

As usual, I did not have the traditional Thanksgiving meal. I don’t like turkey. For the main course, I had Roast Beef, Homemade Macaroni & Cheese, Broccoli, and Crescent Rolls (Pillsbury). I made Shrimp Cones with Spicy Avocado Sauce (with fresh pineapple) for my lunches and Oat Pecan Pie Bars for dessert. I also made a Pound Cake for my breakfast/snacks. It is a Betty Crocker recipe. It all turned out well. I’m 99% happy with my mac & cheese recipe. I just need some minor tweaking.  I still wanted to try to eat well so I have macaroni with added fiber, cut the amount of sugar in the pound cake, and had more fruit & veg than I usually would have.

I felt like baking something new this weekend so I decided to make some changes to a Betty Crocker recipe for Butter Pecan Chews.  I used ingredients that I already had which included sliced almonds, oats, and sweetened coconut flakes.  I was a little concerned with having to separate eggs since I had not done that before but it was really easy.   I replaced the flour with ground up old fashioned oats to make the base of the chews.  It was a thin layer at the bottom of the pan and after it was pre-cooked I was able to spread it out more evenly.
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I cut the amount of brown sugar in half mostly because I thought it may be too sweet with the sweetened coconut.  Below are the pictures of the egg yolk/almond/coconut mixture before and after adding the foamy egg whites.
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The recipe called for the bars to be cut into 36 pieces but I did 16.  It still ended up being very sweet but good.  If I had to do this with new ingredients, I would use unsweetened coconut but still have half the brown sugar.
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3 eggs (separated)
1.5 cup old fashioned oat flour (2.125 cups of oats)
3 tablespoons sugar
0.75 cup Country Crock spread
1.25 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
0.5 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced almonds
0.75 cup flaked coconut

  1. Heat oven to 375o
  2. Grease 13×9 in pan lined with non-stick foil
  3. Grind up old fashioned oats into flour
  4. Mix flour, granulated sugar, and butter in a medium bowl
  5. Press mixture in the bottom of the pan
  6. Bake for 12-14 min or until light brown
  7. Beat egg yolks, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt with electric mixer
  8. Stir in almonds and coconut
  9. Beat egg whites until foamy in small bowl
  10. Fold into egg yolk mixture
  11. Remove partially baked crust from oven
  12. Spread filling over the crust
  13. Reduce oven temp to 350o
  14. Bake for 25 – 30 min or until deep golden brown and center is set

I decided not to make my own cake this year.  I bought an ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery.  It was ok. I’m not a chocolate fan and it has much more chocolate than I thought it would. Carvel still has the best ice cream cakes.
Cookies & Creamery Ice Cream Cake (Cold Stone Creamery) Cookies & Creamery Ice Cream Cake (Cold Stone Creamery)
I had a simple dinner and made some changes to my previous Shrimp Cones with Spicy Avocado Sauce recipe.  I used a different seasoning on the shrimp which made it a million times better (new ingredients below).
48 large shrimp
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
0.5 teaspoon cilantro
0.25 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
0.25 teaspoon black pepper
0.75 cup Ranch dressing
Avocado (200 g)
1 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

Looking for a New Snack

I figured out from the variety of after dinner snacks I eat that things with oats and nuts keep me the most full. So, I’m looking for something I can make that is not too fattening/sugary. I have thought of just making some oatmeal-almond cookie bars but I thought I would ask some of my followers that bake for some new suggestions. I thought of some kind of granola bar type things maybe but sometimes I have those for breakfast.

Any suggestions welcomed. Feel free to give a link to one of your recipe posts. (I should say I’m not a huge fan of chocolate.)

Christmas Cooking 2013

I thought I would share my cooking adventures from Xmas. I didn’t try for a theme like I did for Thanksgiving. I just put together some new recipes for my meals.

Shrimp Cones with Spicy Avocado Sauce

I am still trying to incorporate new healthy foods into my diet. My last attempt with avocado was ok but this was a great improvement. I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website.  Instead of a yogurt sauce, I made a sauce made with avocado, Sriracha, and ranch salad dressing. I really like the sauce so I think in the future I may use it as my normal salad dressing (without the Sriracha). This is also the first time I cooked with tortillas. All I had to do with these is cut them into fourths and roll them in the shape of cones. The cones are “sealed” with a toothpick so you have to remember to take them out before eating. I marinated the shrimp in olive oil and various things overnight. I’m not too impressed with that. Next time, I will use different spices. The shrimp was heated in a pan while the tortillas were browned in the oven. I put some of the sauce in cone and then 3 shrimp. It turned out better than expected.

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m_IMG_1735  m_IMG_1736

48 large shrimp
2 tablespoon lime juice
0.25 cup olive oil
0.5 teaspoon cilantro
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon salt

0.5 cup Ranch dressing
1 large avocado
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas, cut into fourths
16 wooden toothpicks


1. Peel shrimp and wash in colander
2. Mix Shrimp Ingredients in a medium bowl
3. Cover and refrigerate overnight
4. Blend Sauce Ingredients using a Magic Bullet
5. Heat oven to 350 degrees
6. Shape tortilla wedges into cone shapes; secure each with toothpick.
7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
8. Bake tortillas 3 to 5 min or until light golden around edges.
9. Drain shrimp, discarding marinade
10. Heat in a skillet over medium-high heat
11. Add shrimp and cook 3 to 5 min until shrimp turned pink
12. Drizzle 1 tablespoon sauce inside the cone
13. Place about 3 shrimp inside of each cone
For dinner, I had roast beef, homemade macaroni & cheese, and broccoli. This is my first successful homemade macaroni & cheese. I’m not showing a recipe here but I do have a picture of my plate.

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Dessert: Oatmeal-Nut Ice Cream Cake

I again used my oatmeal-nut cookie crust since I like it so much. I made it to create a shell that I put ice cream (light ice cream) inside and topped with homemade frosting. I was disappointed in the frosting colors. My idea was to do red and green frosting but apparently it is impossible to get red with food coloring. So, I ended up with pink and green frosting. I created a checkered pattern with the center swirled. I thought it was interesting looking enough for me. I’m not trying to buy any fancy icing that I’m not going to use again. On my first time trying to cut the cake, I broke my knife. I think it was just the angle because the next one worked fine. I still had to wait for my piece to thaw a little bit. Overall, I was happy with the cake and my meals in general.

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Crust Ingredients:

2.25 cups nuts (1 cup pecan and 1.25 cups almonds)
2.25 cups regular oats
0.75 teaspoon salt
0.375 cup brown sugar
0.75 cup cold Country Crock spread

Filling Ingredients:

3 cups Ice Cream

Whipped Frosting Ingredients:

0.375 cup whipping cream
0.125 cup confectioners’ sugar
0.25 teaspoon vanilla
Red and green food coloring

Crust Procedure:

1. Line a 8 in x 8 in pan with a piece of parchment paper
2. Heat oven to 350o
3. Grind the nuts and oats into a fine crumble using a Magic Bullet
4. Transfer crumble to a bowl
5. Use a pastry blender to mix in salt, sugar, and cold butter
6. Mixture until it is easy to handle
7. Press the crumble firmly into the pan
8. Bake until set (about 25 min)
9. Let the crust cool completely (about 1.5 hr)

Filling Procedure:

1. Remove ice cream from freezer to soften (about 30 min)
2. Spread ice cream over the crust
3. Freeze for 3 hr until the ice cream is firm

Whipped Frosting Procedure:

1. Chill mixing bowls
2. Add sugar, vanilla, and cream to the mixing bowl
3. Add food coloring to bowls
4. Mix on high until stiff peaks form
5. Frost cake
6. Freeze until serving


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