TTSPTip: Play With Your Food! (Faking Your Way Into Baking)

In my view of things, a great way to learn how flavors interact with one another is to start with semi homade ingredients, and slowly add your personal touches to them. I think this lessens the pressure on the individual to make a “perfect dish” while making their way around unique seasoning combinations.  I started cooking, and most recently baking, but taught myself how flavors meshed together by experimenting with box cakes.  I am all about expressing one’s self creatively through food, and took it upon myself to create unique flavors, by adding things like pudding, or flavored syrups to cake batters.

Butterscotch pudding cake, with rum, coconut and a chocolate glaze. Semi-Homeade!

Why pudding? Pudding, (along with pieces of pineapple, carrots, and even apple sauce) add a richness to a cake, but also a lot of moistness.  My mother taught me this trick, an I have made it a point to experiment with fruits, pudding, and even Greek yogurt to discourage dry cakes.

One cake I experimented with was a yellow cake, but added about 1/4 of butterscotch pudding mix, (or less according to taste and awareness of sugar content) a little rum, and coconut flakes, and allow it to bake.  I drizzled melted chocolate icing from the package on the cake, giving the cake a somewhat homemade feel (because of the flavor originality) and a moist texture that made it much more indulgent. So, fake your way into baking by using semi homemade recipes

Two layer box cake with a homemade icing, and strawberries in the center and on top.

and jazzing it up! Now, I can say I have a much stronger sense that certain ingredients like vanilla can enhance other flavors, but nutmeg and cinnamon can be paired up with certain fruits to round it out or add depth. Now, I am a baked good snob, and often make cakes and other baked good from scratch. The same goes for non baking food; adding a pinch of garlic, or pepper, or even exotic ingredients to pastas, means, and rices can make cooking more adventurous and exciting. Play with your food, and you’ll have a better sense of how seasonings work, and more confidence!

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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.

Random Post: Saxby’s Strawberry Turnover.

I love Saxby’s coffee, and they seem to have an interesting flavor availability for their pastries. I tried their peach danish last week, and I almost lost myself in between bites. In public. Oh yes, it was that serious.*Thinks about a random and inappropriate way people could have have interpreted my food induced groans at my college, and then curses my over active imigination and short attention span*. -_-.

So anyway, I decided to try yet another unfamiliar flavor of their turnover-strawberry. I love turnovers. I love apply turnovers, because the rich complexity of spicy and sweet make for a fun chew. But I’m just gonna say that this strawberry one tasted like flaky strawberry lip gloss. Too sweet for my taste.  Bleh.No pictures for this post, everyone. Why? Because my tastebuds are too sad to inspire me to find a photo/take a photo of the pastry and post it. :/ Cost-$1.95 (If my memory functions correctly today)

Saxby’s Strawberry Turnover Yumfactor– 2 tongues. (2 out of 5) It was like eating warm strawberry jam that tasted too soggy to be yummy (the actually strawberries, not the pastry). Maybe next time, Saxby’s. Just kidding. Once I dislike something, it’s hard to give it another go. Manifestations of trust issues,perhaps? But hey, don’t fret! If you have a frenemy, you can gladly give this to them, and watch their face(s) contort in really weird ways. And then feel that internal sense of bliss, muhahaha!

Bored? Check out the ridiculous tags for this. Rate, Comment and subscribe? Please? *says with a quivering lip*

Mio Water Enhancer:Because regular water just isn’t fun anymore.

MiO Peach Tea.

Mio has released commercials of tiny silver bottles that add flavor and color to your water. I purchased this item at Target about 2 weeks ago, and was happy that I could practice a healthy lifestyle, while making my water less boring. Yes, I went there. We all know that water is incredible for health, but let’s be real- it doesn’t always taste fun, and I’m a fun kinda girl! XD So this product was ideal! A little info about my water drinking history- I’d only drink it if I was parched, averaging at about 3 glasses/day. The sad thing was, I was totally okay with that.

 

I had previously contemplated buying a fruit infuser for water to add a natural fruit taste to my water, but was concerned that the result would be watered down madness. So, seeing that I can buy a silver bullet looking product that can really pimp your water was cool. I paid about $3. 10-ish for 24 servings/ squeezes of water. Not bad. You can squeeze 1 stream into your water bottle, which yields a water down, bitter taste, or 4 for a more intense flavor- which may result in a Kool-Aid like flavor influsion.

Berry Pom.

I bought the “Mango Peach” flavor, excited that I could use this to increase my water intake, and pose as a healthy option for beverage drinking sexiness. So how healthy is this?

Nurtition Facts are as follows:

Og of: Fat, Calories, Sodium, Protein, Sugar, Sat./Trans Fat,and Carbs Not bad at all, however, let’s look at the ingredients, shall we? Water, blah, blah,blah, citric acid, blah, Ah! Sucralose and Acesulfame? So there is a small amount of sugar in the content, which is fine, but the only problem is not knowing how much sugar is in it. I have seen some other water enhancers that do not have any sugar at all, but obviously the taste will be compromised. Again, I still think 3 squirts of these in a bottle of water is much healthier than concentrated juice, or the dreaded soda. Yikes! High Fructose Corn Syrup! :O Def. is a must try, but hey if you like your water the classic, watery style, then it’s all good.

 

Cool! It's Like A Rainbow! (Even though it's missing really important colors)

Other Uber cool flavors: Strawberry Watermelon, PEach Tea, Berry Pomegranate, Fruit Punch, and Sweet Tea. I like this stuff, and plan of buying more, because I’m too cool for regular water8). Except for Fiji. That stuff is awesome.

MiO Water Enhancer Yumfactor- 5 tongues. (5/5) Cheap, fun, and exotic, you can be encouraged to drink more water with these. But of course, you can do what I do, and alternate between the party in a cup (MiO), to the party pooper in a cup (regular water). There are color additives, so that may turn some people off.

Thanks to all the voters of my last poll!  I really appreciate your input and participation.

 

DON’T FORGET TO RATE/COMMENT/SUBSCRIBE! (OR ALL THREE, IN THAT SAME ORDER! XD)