Monday, July 07, 2014

Tuna Melts My Heart

Instagram has it's stars and while I never want to see another selfie of Mylie with her tongue sticking out, I flock to Instagram to see cute fuzzy faces... and one of my favorite is Tuna. He's not actually fuzzy and some might say he's not cute... but I think he's utterly adorable and I love his Human's commentary.

Tuna was rescued after being rejected because of his lower jaw deformity and now he is loved worldwide, appropriately so!

Here are some adorable pics of Tuna.







Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Egg Puffs (or "the best thing I ever ate" per my daughter)

NOTE: LLC is my daughter's nickname.

In an effort to eat more veggies and fruit - after learning that hubby has an indicator of higher risk for Kidney cancer - as I was making breakfast the other day, I turned to a book I bought when LLC was little - Jessica Seinfeld's, Deceptively Delicious.



The Egg Puffs - with hidden Butternut Squash - looked tasty enough... and I happened to have some already-pureed squash in the freezer from a recent CSA haul (though I'm more than happy to use my Vitamix to make more when needed!)

So I made the Egg Puffs with the hope that they wouldn't be terrible... and that I could get LLC to eat one. As I checked the oven with about 5 minutes to go, the eggs still hadn't puffed and I was sure this was going to be a huge failure... but sure enough, 5 minutes later... puffing had ensued. I still had to cook them about 5 minutes longer than the recipe - but they turned out looking pretty adorable and apparently appetizing enough for LLC to give one a try.

Mine didn't come out nearly as pretty as Jessica's, but it was still tasty enough to elicit a resounding seal of approval from LLC, as she declared, "this is the best thing I ever ate!"


Here is the recipe:

BAKED EGG PUFFS

2 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup yellow or butternut squash puree (baby food perhaps?)
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Oven --> 400ºF
4 ramekins (or coffee cups) , coated with cooking spray

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg whites, squash puree, cheese, flour, baking powder and salt until combined. Divide it among the ramekins and bake about 13-15 minutes (note: mine had to go longer), until the tops are puffed up and the eggs are no longer funny in the center.  Serve immediately.

Note: mine also deflated a bit... whomp whomp whomp.







Saturday, March 29, 2014

Checking in

Well, for reasons I can't explain or just choose not to acknowledge consciously lest my psyche suffer, I haven't blogged in AGES. Life changes... and moves at a steady clip... and things happen... and you must move on.

So a fresh start - and I'll mainly hold true to my blog title, DAILY BITE. My addiction to The Food Network + Pinterest + more time at home + Vitamix purchase + trying to eat healthier + great cookbook gifts = renewed love of baking and cooking and more time to experiment.

Over the past year or so, I've tried many new recipes... some came out great, some not so much (I'm still scarred from the horror that was homemade Pop Rocks).  So with that, I definitely have stories and recipes to share... the good, the bad and the ugly.

To start, one of my favorite things to make, sugar cubes. They are so easy to make and can be made adorable (or Sweet & Cute - as I like to call the goodies I sometimes sell at craft sales and at Enjoy Cafe in Honeoye Falls)... by either molding them or putting them in (one of my other addictions) - a Weck jar.



Sugar cubes are insanely easy to make... here's the original recipe.

Handmade Sugar Cubes
1C sugar
1Tbsp water

Use a rubber spatula to mix the sugar and water to a wet sand consistency. Smoosh mixture into mold. Place a piece of parchment over the mold, then a sturdy piece of cardboard, flip the mold, place on table, tap - tap - tap to unmold the cubes.  Let dry a few hours or overnight.

I found these molds from Amazon work best for square cubes. You can also use chocolate molds for more adorable shapes.



If you don't have a mold, you can use an 8x8 pan - smoosh mixture into pan as evenly as possible (yes, this is a challenge), score square cuts by dragging a sharp knife through, let dry a few hours, remove from pan and snap into squares.

From this basic recipe, I experimented to make flavored cubes - substituting in extracts, adding in spices and using brown sugar.

OK - so, I really hope to continue my posts and even add in videos as I bake, cook, and Vitamix!








Friday, October 11, 2013

Sweet & Cute Sugar Cubes

Been making these adorable and delicious sugar cubes - and my Sis has had success selling them at Enjoy Cafe here in Honeoye Falls.
Chai Spice

Packaging (which will change a bit)

Setup at craft fair

Looking forward to selling them at the Mayday Underground craft fair on Nov 2. I will have many in jars, since jars are just the cutest!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cookie Swap: Grandma's Italian Lemon Cookies

I was so excited to be selected to participate in this year's Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I've done a Soup Swap before, put on by Jenny, but not an official cookie swap!

This summer I realized I had my Gram's Lemon Cookie recipe. I had overlooked it because I always loved her Chocolate cookies more, but thought I'd give it a go. It turned out to be magical. The lemony goodness brought me back to a time when our family would gather for dinner at Mom's and eat Gram's cookies for dessert as we played Scrabble (ok, we ate them as appetizers too).

My Mom and Gram are both gone now and are deeply, deeply missed, so to have these memories come rushing back was a treat beyond the "treat".

For the cookie swap, I wanted to try a twist, so after reading that cardamom paired well with lemon, I tried a batch with cardamom. I was pleasantly surprised! The cardamom was subtle but enhanced the flavor.  So I sent 6 traditional and 6 Cardamom Lemon Cookies to Fran at Fran's Faves, Lacey at Small Town Cookie, and Adrianne at Bake Not Burn.


The cookies fit nicely in recycled Birchbox boxes. I wrapped the bottom with plastic wrap to keep the cookies fresh and wrapped the top with wrapping paper to make it look festive.


I also had a big red bow and was including some Sweet & Cute sugar cubes... but had a bit of a fiasco with shipping, trying to stay within budget. I found myself removing ribbons and sugar cubes and cramming to fit the small Priority Mail boxes. So I'm sure packages were not the epitome of cookie swap beauty I had envisioned, but hopefully stayed in tact and tasted good!

I also received some awesome cookies from Mercedes at Satisfy My Sweet Tooth, Amanda at Culinary Quirks, and Rosie (also my Gram's name!!) at ForkPenMouth. They were all adorable and delicious! Thank you Ladies!
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Here is my Gram's recipe. It is the opposite of exact, but I'm lucky she at least could provide me something to go by, because after making them for 50+ years, she did not follow a recipe!

Grandma Rosie's Italian Lemon Cookies
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp lemon extract
~ 1 1/4 cup flour

optional: 1 tsp cardamom (Tina's touch)

Glaze
confectionary sugar, lemon extract, water (should be a bit runny and pretty lemony)

Gram gave me no instructions other than "Roll then shape into circles"...  so I just whisk together the oil, sugar, and milk, then whisk in each of the next ingredients: egg, baking powder, extract, then add in the flour and stir with a rubber spatula, adding more flour as needed until it makes a thick, not too sticky dough. I almost always have to add more flour than the recipe call for.

Roll into ~1" balls and bake at 350º for about 10 minutes, let cool for a couple minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

Once cookies are cool, glaze and add sprinkles if desired - they add a nice crunch.


Once the cookies are dry, eat them, quickly. If not, store them in an airtight container. I save the parchment paper full of glaze runoff and, while eating them standing over the stove, I drag my cookie through to add EXTRA glaze.  It's both a sad and beautiful thing.

It has been a lot of fun to be part of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and I look forward to doing it again next year!



Saturday, December 08, 2012

Sweet and Cute

Getting better with the sugar cubes, packaged some up and sold them last weekend at the South Wedge Holiday Festival.

Everyone really loved tasting the samples except one girl - got "the disgusted face" from her!

Still some learnings - people seemed to prefer the jars with cubes over the larger adorably-molded ones.

Can't wait to try some new flavors - caramel and coconut.

Friday, November 09, 2012

How Sweet it is - Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cubes

I tried my hand at making homemade sugar cubes recently. Mainly because they are adorable, easy to use, and turns out, extremely easy to make.  I am now on a silicone mold-buying spree because the molded ones are exponentially cuter than the squares (but the squares are just as delicious).

Funny, as I decided I wanted to make pumpkin spice cubes, I looked online for a silicone pumpkin candy mold. Found perfect mold, but it was $7 plus shipping, so I skipped it (and made the squares you see in the pics). Then I popped into the dollar store to see what they had - LO AND BEHOLD, the EXACT pumpkin mold for A BUCK - $1.  I danced. The pumpkin cubes came out totes adorbs (I had that phrase, but it is fitting ;)

Here's how to make them if you feel so inclined:

To about 1 cup of white sugar, add about 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I made my own with this recipe from Dollhouse Bake Shoppe) and about 1 tablespoon water.  You can play with the ratios, make sure it smells pretty pumpkin-spicy and is mushy but not too wet.

You can either smoosh the sugar into silicone molds, pop them out & let them air dry (or bake in the oven at lowest temp for a while) or you can do the squares.

To make sugar cube squares, smoosh the mixture evenly into a pan (I made a double batch and used an 8x8 pan).  Shoot for about 1/2" thickness. Score the mixture into squares by pulling a knife through - otherwise you won't get squares later (size them to your level of sweetness - I like coffee with my sugar, so I made them pretty big). Bake at lowest heat for 30min - 1hr until very dry, then break into squares.

Here are pics of the steps:










That's it, you should get delicious cubes (or pumpkins or any shape you like that is a decent size - not too small or too big) to add to your coffee or tea. You may want to play around with the amount of spice - I've been doing so.