Where Have I Been? Recipes and New Cooking Ventures

The last blog (aside) that I wrote was nearly two weeks ago. Instead of blogging, I have been using some time to get some things done, but most of all, I have been cooking more!!!! I have made scones from scratch, biscuits, dinners, a peach cobbler with fresh sliced peaches, cakes, and interesting drinks! I have a few pictures of them prepared items and will try my best to share the recipes. (Some are from an app on my phone, so I’m not sure if you all will be able to access the same recipes I have used.) (Actually, the app is powered by allthecooks.com) Although I use recipes, I also get creative and add my own ingredients to it to give the dishes originality. So the way they come out will be a tad different from the ways your may if you do follow the directions very closely. Let me know if you are interested in anything else I have listed. I plan on doing a smoothie blog full of recipes and drink ideas I frequently use. Enjoy the 4 or 5 recipes!!!

  • Fun smoothies (like Green tea, mango, orange juice and lime an original- Heavenly!!!) and classic ones, like mango strawberry yogurt smoothies.
  • As of late, I have made three cakes from scratch (green tea and coconut with a glaze, and a pink grapefruit yogurt cake, which I covered previously, and layered  carrot cake with a cream cheese icing), however I decided to make a box cake. This is a French Vanilla Box cake, (with a homemade buttercream icing), but baked in as a layer cake, adding fresh strawberries (which I soaked in sugar and vanilla extract for 2 days). I then assembled the berried in between the layers, and frosted the cake, adding fresh sliced strawberries atop the cake for a pretty garnish. The cake was great, but the recipe I used for the buttercream icing was too sweet!  I will NOT use that recipe again! There is no other recipe to link, so I will just post a pic, and say that you can make layered cakes from the box, and add whatever flavoring, fruits, or icing you want to make it more creative. So think of this as more if an idea, not a recipe.
  • The lovely inside. See the itty, bitty berries?

French vanilla layered cake with homemade buttercream icing and fresh strawberries.

  • Tropical French Toast with bananas and coconut (with a hint of rum which I incorporated in the french toast egg/milk wash) This recipe calls for flour to be used, which makes the french toast more decadent. I also added approx.1 teaspoon of vanilla pudding mix to made the toast more creamy (which I got from another recipe) I did not have any thick bread on hand, so I used plain old wheat. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/fluffy-french-toast/Detail.aspx For the fruit, I simply took some banana pieces, added butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cook it until it got soft to my preferred desire. I then took some shredded coconuts, and sprinkled it over the banana.

Tropical French Toast with slightly caramelized bananas. They weren't super ripe, and I probably didn't use enough brown sugar. Still good,though.

  • Peach Cobbler with fresh peaches, and a “special ingredient” not listed. I again made it my own by using 3/4 cup of vanilla soy milk, less than 1/4 cup of half and half (to make it a tad fluffy), water (I do that sometimes) and 1 service which is a teaspoon of french vanilla creamer. I added an ingredient that gave the sweet peaches depth, and also some apple pie spice to round the spicy and sweet flavors out. The crust was a bit more dense that other cobblers I have had, and slightly cakey, but I actually liked its richness.

Goodness this was divine!

Cobbler before I tore into it like an animal.

Must Try Junk Food: Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies

Another limited edition product! Subway has added a new cookie to their line of cookies,but for a short time only! Their raspberry cheesecake cookie has been my favorite new indulgence cookie wise as the buttery cookie brims with tangy raspberry and sweet….white chocolate chips? Yeah, apparently, Subway thinks they can just rename the white chocolate chips as cheesecake chips, as people just shrug it off, but I know the difference, Subway. *Mojo-Jojo evil glare*

I hate to break it to you, but the cheesecake chips= white chocolate. *gasps*

For starters, the cookie is a whopping $.50, the perfect amount of money to try it, and if it doesn’t taste good, you didn’t go broke in being adventurous.  (I find that to be a plus. Anyone else with me, here?) Biting into it, one will notice the chewy texture, and the golden buttery taste of the cookie, and then boom… tart raspberry flavor bite and smooth white chocolate, ( or cheesecake for the politically correct).  These two flavors meld wonderfully to create a fancy, and pleasant mouthful of nom.

Pros– Different= exciting, $.50, raspberry in a cookie!!!

Cons– Knowing the difference between cheesecake flavor and white chocolate flavor, and then feeling swindled as Subway tries to get you to think they are both the same.  And they are not, Subway. They are not. It’s limited time. *tear-sniff combo*

Raspberry Cheesecake Cookie Yumfactor– 4.5 out of 5.

POLL/Question Time!! What Would You like me to blog about next?

So it’s clear this food blog has featured many coffee creamer reviews, a copycat recipe and money saving tips, but is there anything you’d like to see from me in the future? (More recipes I have tried/reviews-not that I want this to become a recipe blog, less junk food reviews or more even, money saving tips, or health related content, or a little of everything?) Let me know, and if I approve, I’ll be glad to take your opinions seriously. Thanks!

 

 

Opa! My First Greek Yogurt! (Then my second one)+ A recipe!

So, I have heard some talk about the epicness of the Greek Yogurt. Yes, I said “The Greek Yogurt” because people have been making it out to be the God of all Yogurts. Not only can it be consumed out of a small yogurt cup, but I was required to use it when I baked a “Pink Grapefruit Yogurt Cake” (<– Which was amazing), and have seen it being used in various exotic dishes on adventurous cooking shows. Dannon has also released their own line of Greek Yogurts, which I had the pleasure of trying. Firstly, this yogurt is NOT cheap in comparison to other yogurts(I’m used to paying $.50 for my regular ones). At Wal-Mart, I purchased one Dannon Greek yogurt for $1.00, however, I have seen other yogurts, standard size for $1.50 to $1.75. May not be a big deal to some of you, but I certainty was not expecting to pay that much (remember, I am a broke college student, and I’m exceptionally frugal as well, lol.)

Dannon's version of "The Greek Yogurt"

The first thing I noticed was the overall texture of the Greek yogurt. It was very thick and creamy, as if someone had frozen regular yogurt, and added a touch of cream after it thawed slightly. I actually thought the texture itself was fun, and an obvious change from thinner yogurts. Then, I tasted one spoon on the creamy yogurt, and first noticed a tanginess that was a little more obvious that regular yogurt- then a nice sweet cushion of vanilla sweetness. Overall, Dannon’s vanilla flavored Greek yogurt was pretty good, but I had to use the rest to make my cake, so I couldn’t really enjoy the whole serving. I did have enough to get an idea of why some people do like Greek yogurt. It’s thick, creamy, chock full of protein (12 grams!) and does vary from your typical very sweet yogurts out there. It also taste a tad bit more natural than say some other yogurts that are just full of sugar. Dannon also sells various flavors like blueberry, strawberry honey flavored, plain and of course vanilla. Other flavors they make I am currently unaware of. Anyone care to fill me in? I’d appreciate that 🙂 Yoplait also makes Greek yogurt, which I have not yet seen at the moment except online. *shrugs*

So…. I decided to buy another one, but only because I saw a coupon.  With the coupon and sale at Publix, I ended up paying $.75. That’s better. 🙂 I varied my brand, and purchased  Voskos Greek yogurt in exotic fig flavor.  The texture was a thick pile of yogurtness- so think that if you scoop some in a spoon and hold it upside down, it ain’t budging! As far as the fig flavor, it was not as sweet as the Dannon vanilla, and has more of a tartness to it. Quite honestly, it’s not my favorite flavor. I know that figs are not the sweetest fruit out there, but I have had figs where they were a tad bit sweeter. Sadly, this was the only flavor available for this brand at my local Publix, and although I so feel it is natural tasting and rich, I didn’t care for it by itself. However, I did add some Crunchy Nut cereal flakes to it,(I’ll review this later on) and WAO! it was better! 8) The hint of honey really danced delicately with the tart fig, and added a nice crunchiness to the yogurt. But eat it fast, for it gets soggy, and does NOT taste as magical! I’m pretty sure Greek Yogurts like these are ideal for mixing fruits and grains in them in you want, because the creamy texture I believe will accommodate any of the above additions and make for a yummy yogurt. Voskos also has other flavors available-honey, blueberry, strawberry and honey vanilla. I’m sure these probably have a higher chance of tasting better, and I may give it another try, because I truly think this yogurt brand has potential-just not in this fig flavor.

By the way, the nutrition facts for Voskos Yogurt is:

  • 0g of Total, Sat. and Trans fat, 0mg of cholesterol, 65g/3%  Sodium.
  • 170mg/ 5% of Potassium, Total Carbs. 28g/9%, 0g Fiber
  • 22g Sugars and 11g/22% Protein. <– My goodness! :O

The high protein content is perfect for those of you/us that work out regularly and seek healthy, low fat protein sources. That’s a plus.

Dannon’s Vanilla Greek Yogurt Yumfactor– 3 tongues and a tastebud (3.5 out of 5 stars) I bet this would be capable of getting a 5 if mixed with fresh, ripe berries or even mangoes. Yummy!

Vosko’s Exotic Fig Greek Yogurt Yumfactor– 2 tongues and a tastebud (2.5 out of 5) It was a bit too tangy for me, however bumped up to a 3.5, when I added the honey nut cereal. I would recommend trying it in another flavor perhaps.

Agree? Disagree? Think that Voskos is indeed amazing in fig? Upset that I tainted the figness by adding cereal? Agree that the cereal is great in it? Leave a comment/rate this post! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Here is the link to the Cake I made via Nutmeg Nanny originally By:

Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish Grahams:Because Sprinkles Always =Cupcakes (Even if you can’t taste it)

See the sprinkles on the little fishies?

Cute little gold fishes are always a great snack, and stepped out of their signature cheese varieties into the land of graham. Strolling down the aisles, you may now see goldfishes in s’mores flavors, graham, and even vanilla cupcake. The reason why I got this is not just because it’s new, but because it’s cupcakey! Aww, Pepperidge Farms knows how to be cute!!!

I expected this to not taste that much like a vanilla cupcake considering it has a graham cracker base.  Upon opening the bag, you’ll notice that there are sprinkles on your goldfish grahams to imply that is it indeed a cupcake. (Nothing spells a cupcake like sprinkles, and don’t you forget it :)) With the first bite, I was only able to taste a graham cracker and maybe a bit more butter? Then when the crackers were 75% dissolved into soggy crumbles, I swore I was able to taste a drop of vanilla. As far as the cupcake flavor itself is concerned, the sprinkles were the only thing to remind me of a cupcake. (Even the little vanilla cupcake they have on their packaging

Nothing says cupcake like sprinkles, however, it doesn't equal cupcake flavor, P.Farms

has sprinkley goodness on it) So basically, I’d have to say these snacks are pretty good, and do slightly deviate from the usual graham cracker flavor, (and by this, I mean a little more vanillaey than the typical graham cracker flavor)but I can’t guarantee everyone will taste it. Give them a try, and let me know what you think!

Pros– Overall yummy, and made with whole grain! Yes!! *Doing the bent elbow, up and down yes gesture*. Cute sprinkles. Goldfish that aren’t cheese flavored=variety. A slight vanilla aftertaste,(more vanilla than cupcake) but only when the graham is a liquefied puddle of sogginess.

Cons– No cupcakeness aside the visual aspect of the sprinkles. *Crosses arms and pouts*

Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish Grahams Yumfactor: 3 tongues and a taste bud (3.5 out of 5 stars) Because they are good, even though they don’t taste like a cupcake.

Strawberry Shortcake for Breakfast? Sorta!

Isn't it pretty?

Dunkin Donuts has newly released a fun limited edition flavor for their line of ground coffees- Toasted Almond and Strawberry Shortcake! (If there are anymore, I do not know of them because I only saw these two flavors at Target).I was interested in the Shortcake bcecause I figured toasted almond was more easy to imagine taste wise and wasn’t as interesting compared to the pink prettiness of the Strawberry Shortcake. I picked it up, excited about what newness I’d experience upon tasting it. And I sniffed it a little.  OH goodness! It was heavenly! So juicy, sweet and flirty to my nostrils! SOLD!

I bought it for about $6.50-ish? at Target and when I first tried it, I literally wanted to spit it back out. (and yes, I did follow the instructions on the back) Slightly disappointed, I added Coffee Mate’s Italian Sweet Cream Creamer to it to enhance the overall flavor, and tone down the artificial strawberry taste. Sure, I’m sure some of you out there are saying “Well duh, of course it’s going to taste yucky! It is artificial!” But mind you, I have had coffees and even teas with strawberry flavoring that was magnificent.  Anyhow, I tried it again, but decided to add slightly more sugar to it, specifically a 1/2 a teaspoon more,a teaspoon of  Torani’s French Vanilla Syrup and to my relief, I ended up with a smoother strawberry flavor that seemed to blend better with the coffee.  On the the last run, (my third attempt at Strawberry Shortcake Coffee perfection) I added 3 teaspoons of turbinado sugar, realizing this coffee has to have quite a bit of sugar added to it to reduce the slight bitterness of the strawberry flavor and tasted pretty decent.

Now, with that said, I have concluded the following:

  • This coffee flavor is unique, complete with pretty pink packaging and smell goodness. Your nostrils may actually thank you for sniffing the bag a little. You have my permission 🙂
  • This coffee is not exactly pleasant unless 3 teaspoons or more of sugar (in my case Turbinado Sugar) is added to reduce the sharpness of the strawberry taste.
  • This coffee doesn’t necessarily need Vanilla flavoring to be added unless you do indeed feel you have been shortchanged in the cream department.  (On the package, not only does one see the berries and the fluffy sponge cake but also whipped cream) Sadly, the whipped cream flavor, or cream flavoring for that matter, fails to be tasted. Yes, I am literal with my flavors. If you promise or imply  cream, I expect to taste the cream,too.
  • This coffee is basically made or broken depending on the sugar content. May not be suitable for patrons who have diabetes and/or persons who want to enjoy coffee without very much sugar in it. (And I don’t have to add that much sugar to most of my coffees and teas, nor do I really like the idea of doing so.)

Pros: It’s pretty pink color, sinfully yummy smell, and unique flavor. Pretty good with (2 1/2 to maybe 4?) teaspoons of Turbinado Sugar. (just being specific with the sugar. I’m sure regular ole white sugar will work fine as well)

Cons: Not very tasty unless I piled on the sugar. Not for persons who want to go easy on coffee that doesn’t have lots of sugar; may end up being too sweet for some of you out there. Oh, and adding vanilla creamer didn’t really do much. Can taste artificial and sharp to some taste buds. Not cheap,either. Coupon usage is highly recommended.

Strawberry Shortcake Coffee Yumfactor: (Without the heaping amounts of sugar) 2 out of 5 tongues and a tastebud. (2.5 out of 5)(With the extra sugar helpings) 3 out of 5 tongues and a tastebud and a half (3.75 out of 5). It’s not too bad with the sugar.

Liked it ? Didn’t? Then why not lave a comment?

Coffee Creamer Wars: Sweet Buttercream Vs. Sweet Italian Cream

                                   

 Lately I have become  more adventurous in trying assorted flavours of coffee creamers (Either that, or I have too much time on my hands). Considering I’m a foodie who appreciates variety, I thought the challenge of being open to the arms of non dairy flavoured cream would be fun.  So far, I have enjoyed my coffee tasting richer and more exotic. Sadly, I have come up disappointed on a few occasions, but hey, maybe I expect too much to begin with.  Firstly, there are the two main companies I will be referring to: International Delights and Coffee-Mate. Both have strong flavours and much variety thus both appearing to be winners at slight.

With all the brouhaha over coffee these days, it’s no wonder companies are trying to capitalize on consumers need for variety.  Luckily for you, consumer, you can have fun trying all the different flavors to give your coffee a facelift.  If you shop at any main grocery store, like Wal-mart or Publix, you will see a huge assortment of coffee creamer flavors from these two main brands. Both reasonably priced, both different in flavor.

 Now, according to my taste buds I would prefer International Delights coffee creamers. They offer a more naturally flavored variety. Take their French Vanilla for example the creamy, smooth strongly vanilla flavor in soaked in richness and topped off with a beautiful aroma.  If I were to compare it to Coffee Mate’s French Vanilla, I would get a similar scent experience, with a slightly more artificial vanilla quality.

 The above photos shows two distinct products by both companies. Though I’d generally prefer Int. Delights to Coffee Mate, I will make an exception in these two flavours. The Sweet Buttercream is one to try as the scent is a dead on duplication of buttercream. A plus is that is not too sweet and even has a sweetened cream cheese undertone.  My favourite would be however, the Sweet Italian Cream. This lovely flavour is delicate yet bold in a sweetened vanilla taste that is surprisingly unartificial. It does justice to the brand, almost contradicting its normal artificial concept. This is also very versatile, as it can enhance any flavour you add it to, be it original coffee, or flavored coffee. It is also heavenly in tea. As for the sweet buttercream, I cannot say the same, though it is good in its own right. (Remember, I am comparing the 2 so results are based on the other’s flavor and not their own.)

Sweet Buttercream Yumfactor: 3 out of 5 tongues and a taste bud.

Sweet Italian Cream Yumfactor: 4 out of 5 tongues and a taste bud.