Cooking Goals: What I’ve Accomplished and not yet accomplished

I love challenging myself and testing my willingness to step out of my comfort zone by assigning myself daring, fun and daily goals. I have a list of many items I have been wanting to cook, and will include them on here. So far, I’d say my progress has been pretty steady. I think cooking goals is a great way to break free of cooking the same dishes over again, and obviously a wonderful method to increase one’s cooking confidence! What cooking goals do you have for yourself? What are your general opinions on goals for success? Have you reached many of your cooking goals? What do you think of making a cooking goals list? (Restricting or innovative) If you has a list, what type of things would you include on it?

I’d love to hear your input, and if you like my posts, please comment, rate and subscribe! Thanks!!! 🙂

This is NOT my comprehensive list. These are just some of the more interesting items I have decided to include.  ENJOY! and feel free to add yours!

  • Peach Cobbler (with fresh peaches and brandy)
  • Chinese Orange Chicken

    Goodness this was divine! Original Photo

  • Thai Tea 
  • Naan
  • Curry Chicken (Jamaican Style)
  • A Breakfast Stratta (with herb sauteed mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, feta cheese, and artichokes)
  • Kimchee
  • Zabaglione Cupcakes

    Grilled Tandoori Chicken- a spicy Indian dish

  • Hummus
  • Crab Cakes (jerked flavored?) from scratch with some kind of an interesting pineapple and jalapeno relish/salsa.
  • Baklava
  • Bhakri
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Banana-Pineapple Upside down cake
  • Stir Fry the way my mom makes it
  • Pancit

    The popular and delicious Filipino dish Pancit

  • Korean BBQ Chicken
  • Spring Rolls
  • Sweet Potato Wedges with a savory garlic and chipotle mayo.
  • Asparagus cooked in a dry white wine, then topped with a garlic and herb hollandaise sauce OR topped with Italian seasoned panko break crumbs, still cooked in a garlic, butter white wine.
  • Thai Chicken in both light and dark soy sauces, fish sauce, spices, and oyster sauces, with sweet Asian chili sauce.
  • Green Tea and Coconut Cake with a Coconut Glaze
  • Falafel
  • At least 5 frostings from scratch (3 down 2 to go: buttercream, cream cheese, and a glaze so far)
  • Enchiladas
  • Mochi

    Mochi-A traditional Japanese dessert. A Similar delicacy is called "ttoek or Ddoek" in South Korea

  • Samosa (Veggie)
  • Tabbouleh
  • Paella (Seafood)
  • Chicken Patty Jamaican Style
  • Lox
  • Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Chinese Donuts (made during the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit 🙂
  • Bagels from scratch
  • Strawberry Chocolate Layer Cake
  • Veggie Lasagna
  • Orange Cranberry Scones
  • S’mores Cupcakes
  • Strawberry Chocolate Champagne Truffles
  • Pink Grapefruit Yogurt Layer Cake
  • Croissants
  • Layer Cake
  • Danishes
  • Red Lobster Biscuits
  • Guacamole
  • Sweet Mango Sticky Rice

    Add sweeteners to cheesecake, whip and dish it. Easy.

  • Berry Cheesecake (everything from scratch except crust)
  • Chai coffee cake
  • Seafood gumbo
  • Bruschetta 
  • Caramel
  • Pear Brandy Custard Galette with vanilla bean (and a caramel drizzle?)
  • Ginger Coconut Blondies
  • Flavored Frozen Yogurt
  • Nectarine Ice Cream (from scratch)
  • Fun Salads
  • Miso Soup
  • Carrot Cake (with a homemade cream cheese buttercream frosting)


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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.

Money Saving Tip: Quiznos Coupon! *Now Expired*

Save $1.00 of a regular sized sub, or $2 off a large sizd Quiznos sub! Click and print the coupon link to save! Expires May 16th, 2011

Quiznos prices.

http://www.couponsgalaxy.com/resources/brand/images/05_16_11_Quiznos_09_May.jpg

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.

Coffee Mate’s White Chocolate Caramel Creamer (Review)

Coffee Mate's 3 new flavors (1st on the left is the one being reviewed.)

In comparing Coffee Mate’s creamers to International Delights, I usually prefer International Delights, however there are exceptions in a few cases-Coffee Mate’s Latte Creamers. Firstly, the velvety, smooth, creamy texture provides the taster with the feel of latte goodness.  Not overly rich, nor too thick (unlike International Delight’s Breve Cream in my opinion) I get a pretty even taste of caramel, but a slightly less white chocolate undertone. I had thought that the white chocolate would overpower the subtle buttery caramel, however one taste’s the opposite.

I’d have to say that overall, I really enjoy this creamer flavor, and appreciate the smooth latte texture that makes me feel as though I have an authentic latte in my cup, although the white chocolate is subtle.

*TIP:* Also try coffee creamers in various teas (like Vanilla based teas, or even Chai teas) to experience a unique creamer experience. Sometimes, flavors that do not come through strongly in coffee make their entrance through teas.

Coffee Mate’s White Chocolate Caramel Creamer Yumfactor: 4 tongues. (4 out of 5)  With a rich texture and yummy taste, that doesn’t prove to be too fattening, you can be sure to enjoy this amidst the hassle and stress of your crazy mornings.

 

Don’t forget to Rate, Comment and Subsacribe!!

Godiva’s Vanilla Sundae Dark Chocolate Truffle

The Chocolate Drizzle; a perfect example of epic sultriness. But it gets better.

Godiva’s Vanilla Sundae Dark Chocolate Truffle is a sexy as it sounds.Oh my goodness. The dark chocolate bars are Golden, literally. Godiva’s dark chocolate bar, packaged in a sexy gold and cream wrapping makes one think of luxury. This item is part of their “Ice Cream Parlour” collection that showcases their rich, decadent chocolate with fresh mint,velvety vanilla,toasted hazelnut and bright orange (to name a few). I saw this item at Target for $2.99 and decided on trying this. WINNING!

Although I am not the biggest dark chocolate fan, I can appreciate it when it is thoughtfully paired with a lighter, or more sweet flavor, or an exotic, spicy infusion. The first thing you will notice are the inscribed “G”‘s on each bar, which must stand for “Gold” or “God” of chocolate, as this item is as precious as it in my opinion. Biting into it, there will be a sharp note  of bittersweet, rich dark chocolate, followed by a  delicate vanilla taste with a creamy, buttery undertone. Its texture mirrors caramel (though it is cream in color), and though no vanilla beans are absent, there is a complexity of the satiny vanilla that stems from the product’s quality ingredients; White chocolate, vanilla powder, and vanilla work hand in hand to stand out on their own, but bow down humbly to the dark chocolate’s authority, both harmoniously defining each other’s tastes. It’s limited time, so act fast!

"G" must for "The God of Chocolate" or "Gold". Whichever works for you.

I could see myself feeding this to a special someone on Valentine’s Day, as it is as sultry as a romantic evening, and is sure to be treasured as a luxurious indulgence. (Sorry mom and dad O_0) Now I get what all this Godiva fuss is about (although I have had some of their other chocolates and had a “meh” reaction) TRY IT PEOPLE!!!! 🙂

Pros– Sexy, sensual and succulent. Beautiful vanilla dances with rich chocolate, working together to tame each other. Dark cocoa is a natural mood booster and contains antioxidants. It’s also Kosher.

Cons– Huh? Ah..Not being able to taste this because living under a rock functions to perpetuate eternal lack of exposure.Being allergic to chocolate/being a hater of dark chocolate, and allowing your hatred of it to close your mind to the finer things in life (a.k.a. this product). Shame on you.

Godiva’s Vanilla Sundae Dark Chocolate Truffle Yumfactor– 5 tongues. (5 out of 5)

Think I’m weird because I called out people who live under rocks? Think I got a little too into this candy? Rate. Comment.  Subscribe.

International Delights Cinnabon Coffee Creamer Review

{UPDATE/ Possiblly TMI}-Hi everyone! I apologize for a slight delay in my postings! Here I return with *another* coffee creamer review! I promise I’ll switch it up nest time. I’m actually contemplating including another copycat recipe, and then a produce review (of a non coffee product) and a health tip.

**********************************************************************

Int’l Delights Cinnabon Creamer Yumfactor- 2.5 tongues (3 out of 5 stars) (Coupon link below.)

In their inclusion of new  flavors such as Chai Latte, and their Coffee House varieties, International Delights decided to ante up the fun by including 2 new limited edition creamers:Almond Joy (in which I have reviewed ina previous post: please click link below to read) and Cinnabon Creamer. As a fan of variety and all things new, I decided to give both a shot. I’ll have to start by saying that I’d prefer the Almond Joy to the Cinnabon, but there’s more.

Yummy Cinnabonness, slathered in oooey-gooey nomnom.

The flavor description promises to include spicy cinnamon and tangy-sweet cream cheese, which are both highly detected in the tastebuds upon sipping.  Int’l Delights does a good job to replicating the cinnamon bun taste, as I have previously tasted Coffee Mate’s Cinnamon Bun creamer(which only tasted like cinnamon. No icing was detected.) Inl’t delights has done a great job in being detail oriented in terms of taste, considering that their audience would actually want a creamer that tasted authentically cinnaboney.

Although I liked their replication of the bun, I wouldn’t buy it again, because the inclusion of a cream cheese undertone in my coffee is just plain weird. I even considered that it would be when I was considering purchasing it, but I figured the cream cheese icing flavor would be obsolete. It’s not extremely strong, but the flavor does make its presence known. Probably a better Fall/Winter Creamer versus a summer flavor the warm cinnamon tastes like Autumn on my tongue, but it’s summer,so my mouth gets a little confused.You may, however,enjoy this flavor yourself, but my tastebuds, have moved on. One thing that I think makes it taste better is adding a teaspoon on French Vanilla/Sweet Italian Cream Coffee Creamer to tone down the cheesiness. You may like this if you have more than 1 creamer in your fridge at a time. 🙂 I have included a link for a printable coupon below. Hope it works!

Pros- Authentic Cinnabon taste, cream cheese and all. Spicy cinnamon goodness as opposed to your traditional sweet creamers. New!

Cons- Cream Cheese in my coffee is kind of awkward. *Better with the addition of a teaspoon of any Vanilla based creamer.

Where’d I buy this? Wal-Mart. I believe it was about $1.58-ish? There is a coupon on their website on the left bottom part of the screen. They will ask you to log in/register (lame) but if you have a facebook profile, you can use that.

Coupon Link: https://idregistration.icmodus.com/default.aspx?bhcp=1

Almond Joy Creamer Review: https://thetalkingspoon.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/coffee-creamer-review-new-international-delights-almond-joy/…)