Saturday, January 31, 2009

SOUPerbowl Menu:

*Cheddar Broccoli Soup
*Cheesey biscuits
*Mexican Layers dip
*BBQ tofu bites
*Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (Go Cardinals! Red & White!)

Just organizing my thoughts and shopping lists.

Can't wait to post pictures tomorrow!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A DomestiKatie Original.

Here is my recipe for a good night.

*1 order Mu-Shu Chicken delivered to my apartment.
*1 ice cold diet coke.
*1 hour of American Idol auditions
*1 hour of Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares
*a cozy couch
*a cuddly pup with one blue eye
*a brilliant husband
*plenty of love and laughter

Turn down the lights, wrap yourself in a blanket, and enjoy all of the above. Make sure to leave stress and worries in the hallway.
Serve with a view of New York City in the background.


That's all I have for you today, my lovelies.
It has been a long, difficult day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


last week dan and i hosted a fiesta dinner party at our apartment for some friends that live in the neighborhood.


the other people provided all the fixin's for tacos- tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, mexican shredded cheese, tortillas, refried beans, etc.

we mixed some morningstar farms soy crumbles with some taco seasoning in a frying pan and served it in place of ground beef.

but i made my mom's mexican layers dip (with a few alterations, because i'm a picky eater) and served it with spicy black bean tortilla chips- yum!
it was super easy to make and disappeared in about ten minutes.

Mexican Layers Dip:

*1 can refried beans (we use the vegetarian kind.)
*3-4 tbsp medium salsa
*2 avocados
*1 lemon
*1 pt sour cream
*1 pkg taco seasoning
*8 oz. shredded cheddar
*8 oz. shredded pepper jack (i really like the weight watchers mexican blend!)
*1 small can black olives
*1 chopped tomato
*handful of chopped green onions (optional)

1. mix together beans and salsa in a bowl and spread in the bottom of serving dish (we use one of those square pyrex baking dishes...i don't know the dimensions because i'm not at home to check!)
2. mash together avocados and juice of one lemon, and spread over bean mixture.
3. mix together sour cream and taco seasoning, and layer over avocados.
4. sprinkle cheeses over existing layers.
5. garnish with black olives and chopped tomato, and green onions if you choose. or, try adding jalepenos, corn, or other toppings you love.

all done! easy peasy!

now, here is the part i'm REALLY proud of.
i made dessert.
what kind, you ask?

and it was phenomenal.

Sopapilla Cheesecake:

* 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract (i actually used the paste from the inside of real mexican vanilla beans (2), because i liked the look and taste of it.)
* 2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent rolls OR one premade graham cracker piecrust
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
* 1/4 cup honey

1. preheat an oven to 350F. Prepare a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. beat the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract/paste in a bowl until smooth.
3. if you use the crescent dough crust, unroll the cans of crescent roll dough, and use a rolling pin to shape each piece into rectangles. press one piece into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent dough.
otherwise, pour mixture into premade piecrust.
4. stir together 3/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Dot the mixture over the top of the cheesecake.
5. bake until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 30 minutes. remove from the oven and drizzle with honey. cool completely in the pan before cutting.

note: if you use the graham cracker crust, the honey might be a bit much because the whole product is already quite sweet. the crescent dough is a bit more reminiscent of real sopapillas.

serve, and watch it disappear before your very eyes.

i'm sorry i don't have pictures of these! i made them before i started this blog. i'll be sure to post them the next time i make this.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

every penny counts...

this is not cooking related, but certainly helps those of us on a tight budget.

my mom just sent me a "recipe" for a laundry detergent mixture that yields 2 gallons- which each net 64 loads of laundry- for less than $1 per gallon. yowza!
she claims it works great, even in high efficiency washers.

all of the ingredients can be found in your local Kroger or similar in the laundry aisle, and the mixture takes just minutes to whip up.



Donna's Miracle Detergent:
1/3 bar of Feld's Naptha Soap
1/2 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Powder
1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax powder

Shave or chop up the 1/3 bar of soap into small pieces and add to a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Heat on stove until soap is completely melted. To that, add both of the powders and stir until dissolved. Add 6 more cups of water, and stir.

In a large stock pot or pail, add the soap mixture to 1 gallon plus 6 additional cups of water. Stir, and let set for 24 hours. Stir again, then pour into containers -- I'm going to use gallon size plastic milk jugs for now, and collect a couple old laundry soap containers for future batches.

Note, the mixture will congeal a bit as it sets. Simply stir it up again before pouring into the containers. Before using, shake the container a bit. Use 1/4 cup of soap per load of laundry, or 1/2 cup for heavily soiled loads.

From Mom-
"My total investment for the ingredients (one bar of soap and the two boxes of powder) was $6.85. After making two gallons of laundry detergent, I have enough powder left over to make about ten more batches (20 gallons), and enough soap for two more batches (four gallons). After that, the soap is just $1.29 a bar -- and each bar makes six more gallons! So, by my calculations, I will invest less than $11 for 20 gallons of laundry soap -- enough for 1280 loads of laundry. Goodbye Tide!!"

And of course she sends this to me after we spent $12 at target for a bottle of cheer that yields a mere 52 loads. as soon as it's empty, i'm trying this!

my home.

this is where the "magic" happens:
i wish i had more counter space, as most of that extra room down by the fridge is now occupied by cookbooks and various appliances, like our toaster and our juicer, as well as a cutting board, etc. we have now hung on the wall under the cupboard a rack to hang my cooking utensils on, and installed lights over the sink so dan can do dishes in the evenings, because he is my hero.
all in all, not too shabby for a brooklyn kitchen. (we can even see the empire state building from the window by the sink.)

this is where i should serve dinner:
but rarely do, because as you can see, it is not a very delightful room. it is the middle room in the apartmment, so there is no natural light.
i have just recently hung a pakistani quilt my mother-in-law gave me for christmas on the wall behind the table, and it looks beautiful there, but we still have some work to do before it becomes the dining room of my dreams. and i don't think it'll happen while we are living here.

so, this is where i usually serve meals:
(and by serve, i mean unpack the bags of chinese food we delivered.)
(pictures taken at different times, in case you're curious about the varied decorations.)

and we eat on the coffee table...
...while watching a movie on our new tv.

and sometimes, dan is lucky enough to come home to this:
(with morningstar farms burgers on his plate, and turkey burgers on mine.)

it's small, but it's ours.

some healthy options, for those of us who don't look like cindy crawford without trying.

so, because i don't do a lot of cooking during the week, but i want to stay in the habit of updating this as often as possible, i think i'll fill in my non-cooking days with some helpful things i'm learning about cooking as i go along.

lately i've been inspired to research lots of healthy baking alternatives that don't alter the taste of my baking.
some of you know that i used to weigh a LOT more than i do now. seriously. we're talking 50+ pounds, here.
i don't really know how i lost it, but i sure as heck know how i gained it in the first place. so i'm trying to take steps to ensure that it doesn't ever come back.

keep in mind, i would not post, much less eat, anything that makes my food come out tasting, or feeling, like cardboard. i enjoy food way too much to do that to myself.

now, onto the things i've learned:

*feel free to do some plain reductions like cutting the amount of sugar called for down by half. also, skip the oil and salt that is recommended to add to boiling pasta as it is not necessary. (the salt helps the water boil faster, and the oil keeps the pasta from sticking. helpful, but definitely not required.)

*some natural sweeteners, such as agave or stevia, can be used in place of sugar. or, splenda works!

*we do a lot of this in our house, as my husband is a vegetarian- you can substitute most any meats with a vegetarian alternative, like morningstar farms meal starters. the ones we use the most often are the chick'n strips instead of real chicken, and the soy crumbles instead of ground beef. they taste delicious! or, if you need the nutrients often provided by meats, most stores carry a selection of various fat percentages of their ground beef. look for 92% leaner ground beef or use buffalo meat if it is carried. any chicken recipes that call for the whole bird or for dark meat can use chicken or turkey breast. in place of regular bacon, you can use 2 tsp of bac'n bits- and they don't have ANY meat in them! There are also reduced fat bacon and turkey bacons available.

*when breadcrumbs are needed to mix with meat or as a breading, use a mixture of unprocessed bran flakes mixed with oat flour. other choices might be crushed bran cereal, crushed whole-wheat crackers or oatmeal. if a recipe calls for potato or corn chips, use reduced fat or baked versions. even cornflakes, rice krispies or other cereals can be substituted.

*in place of butter in a baking recipe, you can use half as much margarine, or there is a product called Brummel & Brown that my friend katie boulter uses in her cooking. it's a yogurt-based butter product that she loves. to add extra vitamins, canned pumpkin can be used as a direct substitution for butter in some baked items like cookies. For greasing bake ware, use a butter flavored spray instead.

*cheese comes in plenty of reduced fat varieties and is an easy substitution. try using low-fat ricotta and cottage cheeses. Mixing the two works well, so 1/2 cup of cottage cheese and 1/2 cup reduced fat cheese for every cup of cheese.

*for every egg that is used in the recipe, replace it with 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute. this recipe for homemade egg substitute can be made and kept in the refrigerator for one week. mix 6 egg whites, 1/4 cup nonfat powdered milk, 1 tsp oil and 6 drops of yellow food coloring (found in a google search, but i have yet to try it.)

*milk substitution is easily done with using skim milk instead of whole milk. Water can be used in some cases, but it does not contain the calcium and other vitamins that milk does. sour cream has reduced and non-fat versions but fat free plain yogurt can be used (this also works for mayonnaise). replace cream with evaporated skim milk. whipped cream can be substituted with vanilla non-fat yogurt.

*this is one i use frequently- applesauce can be used in baked items such as muffins and quick breads. It replaces oil, margarine or butter. i like to use the cinnamon kind in things like pumpkin bread or muffins. yum!

*for baking products with chocolate, i learned that you can use a one for one replacement with pureed prunes. prunes sound gross, but they help retain the moisture and richness, and i've heard there is hardly a taste difference. also, baking chocolate can be substituted with cocoa powder. the conversion is 3 tbsp per 1 oz. instead of using chocolate chips, try using carob chips- though chocolate is a natural mood-elevator, and therefore i firmly believe is irreplaceable and if enjoyed in moderation, the positive benefits far outweigh the negatives.

so there you go.
i haven't tried all of these, but i will be sure to let you know when i do.

and of course, there will be times when i just don't care, and will consume every calorie with delight.

Monday, January 26, 2009

on being broke, the arizona cardinals, and starbucks.

so, i am totally excited about this blog, in case you can't tell.
4 posts in one day? unheard of.


i just wanted to say that i work pretty late during the week, so most often i don't get to do any cool baking or cooking in the evenings. i'm just way too exhausted.
for example, tonight dan and i shared a can of vegetarian black bean chili. a CAN. gross. actually, not that gross, but still.
i can't wait until i have heaps of money to buy cool groceries to play with and all the time in the world to put them together. but i'm a real girl, with a real crazy job, so it's just not feasible.

this weekend i am hosting a Souperbowl Party.
i will be trying a recipe for Cheddar Broccoli soup, and if the funds and time allow, i'd like to make some breadbowls for it. this might not happen, because i'm still not sure exactly how many people will be showing up. it's starting to sound like more than i can afford to provide anything fancier than plastic bowls for. oops!
if i don't do breadbowls, i'm going to whip up a batch of cheesey biscuits...mmm! might be cheese overkill, but to me there is no such thing.
also, i'll be trying elle sawa's recipe for bbq tofu bites, and perhaps some eggplant balls, among other treats, as appetizers.
still deciding on a cupcake idea.
anyway, i'm posting this to let you all know that as soon as i can, i will be posting recipes and pictures of these endeavors.

in other news, on my walk home this evening, i walked past a starbucks and was struck with the idea of making some sort of soy chai latte cupcake!

what do you think??

new treasures!

i stopped by bed bath & beyond this evening on my way to pick up a bunch of hand-me-down clothing from a super-fashionable pal of mine (woohoo!!) and snagged some cute things.
figured i'd post them here.

new measuring cups, as all of our old ones seems to have disappeared.
measuring cups

bear cupcake holders! because the mister and i collect anything grizzly, in case you were unaware.
bear cups
i'm also excited about these, because i can double my baking capacity with these, as they don't require a muffin tin. i can just set them on a baking sheet and let 'em rise!

a small beginner's set of icing bags and tips, to make my creations even lovelier.
icing tips

can't wait to use these!

crystal light raspberry lemonade cupcakes

i made these cupcakes last night for dan, (and kate & joe, our friends who live downstairs.)
they were consumed, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

clrl cupcakes 2
(photo and recipe courtesy of

Crystal Light® Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temp
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 packets Crystal Light® On The Go Raspberry Lemonade mix
zest of one lemon (i didn't have a lemon, so i omitted this. still delightful!)

4 oz. (half a box) cream cheese, at room temp
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons water
1 packet Crystal Light® On The Go Raspberry Lemonade mix

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In a small bowl, whisk or sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer on high speed for 2 minutes.
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating on high speed for 30 seconds between each addition. Scrape sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.
5. In a measuring cup, combine milk and lemonade. Mix well.
6. Add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. (You should have 3 additions of flour and 2 additions of milk.) Mix just until flour is incorporated.
7. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (a few crumbs are fine). Cool on a wire rack. When cupcakes are completely cool, make the frosting.
8. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on high speed for 20 seconds. Slowly add confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until combined.
9. In a small measuring cup, mix water and lemonade until completely dissolved. Add lemonade mixture to the large bowl. Beat on high speed until frosting is thick and creamy.


Next weekend, the mister and I are joining two other couples upstate for Valentine's Day weekend, which happens to be a long weekend for many of us, thanks to President's Day!
Since we'll be hanging with some health-conscious eaters up there, I'm going to try to recreate this with some healthy alternatives. I'll be sure to post pictures of them, and let you know how they turn out!

my baking wish list:

so many of you know that this foray into cooking and baking is a very recent one, and not one that i am well prepared for.
to get myself started, i'm going to have to make a few delightful purchases.
they include, but are not limited to:

pretty paper liners for cupcakes:

embellishments to top off my creations:

serving platters and plates (most likely from target!):
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

more baking pans:

daisy cupcake mold:

mini-muffin pan:
mini-muffin tray

a stand mixer:

icing tips and bags:

and a way to showcase my delights:

this list is to be continued...