Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dirt & Worms... Happy Halloween!

I have always loved Halloween and nothing gets me in the spooky spirit more than Halloween treats. This year I decided to make chocolate dirt and gummy worm pudding cups, a classic Halloween treat but with a delicious twist: the cups are made of cookie.

You will need:
1 package refrigerated cookie dough (see details below)
1 package instant chocolate pudding
6-8 Oreo cookies, crushed into crumbs
gummy worms

I started with a well-greased muffin tin and a package of refrigerated cookie dough. Ideally, a chocolate cookie dough would be best since it's brown and the idea is to look like dirt. I couldn't find chocolate cookie dough at Safeway so I tried it with both chocolate chip cookie dough and peanut butter cookie dough. You could also try using sugar cookie dough and adding cocoa powder to turn it brown. Note that cookie dough without chocolate chips is easier to evenly mold into the muffin tin and easier to remove the cookie cup when done baking.

Divide dough into 2-tablespoon balls. Press each ball of dough into muffin tin, making a thin layer of dough on the bottom and an even layer up the sides, creating a cookie dough cup. The layer on the bottom MUST be thin in order for it to look properly.

Bake about 10 minutes, until browned on the edges and still slightly gooey in the middle. Note that the dough will rise up and look poofy. Don't worry, the middles will sink back down during cooling. Remove tin from oven and let cups cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes. You can gently press down centers of cookie cups with a spoon to re-create the cup shape again, but be careful not to crack and break the cookie.

Once the cups are cooled, carefully cut around edges of cookie with a sharp knife, and gently lift out the cup with a fork. This is where chocolate chip cookies will be more difficult to remove: the chocolate chips stick more to the tin, and you might end up with some holes in the bottom of your cups if you do not remove them carefully.

After cups are cooled completely, lay a gummy worm in the middle of the cup and add a couple teaspoons of chocolate pudding on top. The pudding will help hold the gummy worm in place. Crush up some Oreo cookies into crumbs and sprinkle over pudding and worm.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Garden Veggie & Herb Fettuccine w/ Proscuitto

Look, cooking healthy yummy food is really simple. This pasta salad, for example, inspired by a pasta primavera salad at, is simply spinach fettuccine (or any pasta) with sugar snap peas, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, green onion, red onion and garlic--stinky breath but happy immune system! Everything is added fresh, along with olive oil, a little lemon (zest and juice), a couple pieces of proscuitto, and an optional sprinkle of parmesan cheese or a little of your favorite type of vinegar. Cheese and meat can be omitted for a vegan (and just as tasty!) option. Add as much or as little of whatever ingredients you want. If you have a pot for pasta, a knife, and a cutting board, you can make this! There is nothing threatening, expensive, or time-consuming about this, and, are you hungry? Go ahead, have guilt-free seconds or thirds, and get that 5-a-day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Peach and Creme Fraiche Pie

I wanted my first attempt at making pie and pie crust from scratch to be perfection. Simply put, it wasn't quite that. Actually, making this pie went smoothly for me, and I was sure I did everything perfectly. The final pie tastes amazing and was a great success for a first try. But the main problem is the crust. Making crust from scratch is a very picky process, and though I thought I did everything perfectly, mine turned out a little tough. The flavor is great, but it's hard to cut with the fork due to its off texture. I am not sure what I did wrong, but that aside, I'd still recommend this pie because it's simple and delicious and perfect for summer. As for the crust, only attempt if you have time and effort to spare on something that might not turn out!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My First Complete Menu

This recipe came from Lee Bailey's Cooking For Friends cookbook. It's a soy sauce and herb broiled petrole sole fish with onion-hot pepper topping, with sides of rice and peanut pilaf and warm green bean salad. I have to admit, my mom helped me a lot, and I'm too lazy to write out the recipe, but anyway, it was delicious!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Brioche Buns

Ok, baking bread from scratch sounds really scary, I'll totally be the first to admit it. But it's actually not that bad. These buns turned out so delicious and I had no trouble with the recipe. My whole family loved them, and they're good with anything: butter, honey, jam, cheese, burgers, or sandwiches! They are so good, better than store bought or bakery buns, I couldn't believe that I had made them!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

I know this blog is supposed to be healthy fresh fruit and vegetable recipes, but I was bored and felt like trying to bake something since I am still home with access to baking ingredients and a cuisinart. My first baking attempt was inspired by this recipe. I was curious to see if there were any other Stephs that cooked, so I typed Steph Cooks into Google, and this girl's blog was the first hit. I am very picky when it comes to chocolate peanut butter desserts. I have eaten countless versions of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. These caught my eye because of the picture of a poofy round little cookie. I thought my cookies would turn out like that picture on her blog. Clearly, I'm not joking when I say this was my first baking attempt, because I didn't realize that picture is of the cookie dough, not the final cookie.

These cookies came out pretty standard. I'd be short cutting them if I said they were ok, but I would be totally lying if I said they were the best. The cookie dough was delicious though.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Peanut Buckwheat Noodles w/ Tofu and Veggies, and Why Sunlight is Photography's Best Friend

Fresh cucumber, orange bell pepper, and green onion with buckwheat soba noodles and tofu. The sauce, as with any Asian peanut sauce, does have a lot of ingredients, but we already have the sesame oil, rice vinegar, and those types of ingredients. The sauce is made in the blender, and it was my first time using fresh ginger and garlic to cook with, and after seeing how easy and healthy it is, I will use it more often. The original recipe is here, but I made some changes. Most obviously, I used wheat noodles instead of white ones. I also found the sauce too thick so I added more water (and it was still thick after that), and a little too salty so I added extra honey. I also heated up the tofu in a small frying pan in some oil before adding it to the dish, I think it makes it taste much better after being slightly stir fried as opposed to straight out of the package.

I started this recipe late as the sun was going down. By the time I was done with this recipe, there was no sun out and the kitchen is not well lit for digital macro photography, resulting in a blurry final image. The cut veggies were photographed when it was still a light outside and the window shades open, and the noodles were photographed using only my kitchen lights... what a difference a little sunlight makes in photography! Also, my standard 5+ year old digital camera isn't the best, but it's all I have to work with.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Multigrain French Toast w/ Blueberries and Cinnamon

Quick delicious breakfast with multigrain bakery bread (I used one with sesame seeds on the crust) dipped in a mixture of egg, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Brown to perfection, and dust with cinnamon-sugar and fresh blueberries.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte

I was home for the week and decided to try a real, complete recipe that required some kitchen appliances and pans that I definitely do not have with me at college. The recipe is thin-sliced yellow squash, thin-sliced yukon gold potatoes, and a seasoned parmesan cheese and green onion mixture, all layered in a round cake pan and baked in the oven. I used my mom's cuisinart with a 1/8" slicing blade to cut the veggies and a 8" cake pan. Find the whole recipe here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bean & Pepper Burritos w/ Avocado and Cilantro

The filling in these burritos was inspired by a black bean confetti salad from, but with limited budget for ingredients, I made my own simple version and made it into a burrito recipe. I mixed black beans, diced white onion, diced bell pepper, lime juice, and olive oil together for the filling. I bought freshly made California flour tortillas from the farmers market and heated one up in the toaster oven. I added the filling to a hot tortilla and sliced avocado and fresh cilantro on top.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Roasted Beets and Lentils on Watercress

The original version of this recipe came from The Detox Cookbook: Cleansing for Food Lovers. I was new to all aspects of this recipe: cooking lentils, roasting beets, and buying live, roots-still-attached watercress from the co-op grocery store. It was worth it, and this salad is the most anti-cancer, antioxidant superfood imaginable. Roasting beets is as simple as wrapping them in foil and baking in the toaster oven for 45 minutes and peeling them when they've cooled, and they turn out as sweet as candy. The base of this salad is the watercress with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh chives. The original recipe might have had more things, but I keep things as simple as possible. On top, in addition to the roasted beets, are the French green lentils (just simmer for 20 minutes), avocado, and fresh chopped chives.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fresh Veggie Sandwich w/ Greek Yogurt on Naan

For this simple sandwich, I layered grated carrot, red onion, tomato, cucumber, clover sprouts, and herbed mixed lettuce on toasted naan Indian bread with non-fat organic Greek yogurt. If you're going for an A+ healthy sandwich, you can use whole wheat bread, but if you're going for an A+ in delicious, use Indian naan. :)