Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

We spent the last week turning our kitchen into the cookie factory for Christmas. I decided to bake everyone cookies this year for 3 reasons: Because I wanted to bake cookies for everyone last year, but I didn’t because we were in the process of moving the day before Christmas Eve and nothing was even a little unpacked. Because I got a new stove (with a convection oven!) and I wanted to test it’s power! Because I didn’t want to buy anyone gifts. So cue baking massive amounts of Christmas cookies. And these cookies in particular have been calling my name basically since I discovered Pinterest and food blogs. So the stars of Christmas cookie baking and giant (cheap!) jars of Nutella at Costco aligned and I made them! And now that I have made them, it’s your turn to make them, too! It’s the perfect time! Right before New Year’s and any resolutions to eat healthier, or – god forbid – cut down on your cookie intake. Maybe stick to eating cookies. That way I don’t feel so bad, right? Right. I must thank Add A Pinch for this recipe! I did change up the method a bit, but the glorious ingredient combination is all thanks to her! I also want to add that it is my New Year’s Resolution to post original recipes regularly, to go back to doing Pinterest Recipe Fridays, to maybe add some other features, and to bring my blog back from the dead. So, any help that you would like to give me in the form of re-pinning, sharing, or even commenting on here will be appreciated...
Review: Seven Spoons

Review: Seven Spoons

I’ve always been into cookbooks from bloggers, or people I have some sort of connection to (celebrity chefs who I like to watch being another example) more than cookbooks from just any random person. I hesitate to admit, though, that I didn’t even know this was a blogger cookbook until it came in the mail! So as you can imagine, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m super pleased to finally be able to get this review done (and also make this my debut back into blogging), as this book has been on my dining room counter for more than a few months now begging me to finish reading it – and maybe, JUST MAYBE make something from it’s beautiful pages. Not to mention it has sustained a few feline-caused scratches on it’s cover from my fe-LIONS using it (and everything else on my counter) as a launching pad. First Impressions I’ll be brutally honest, I hate figs. Always, all the time, hate figs. Not that this is any fault of the book or it’s author – and the cover art IS beautiful. But I’ve never been of the opinion that figs were pretty or photographed well, despite that they are so pervasive in the current cookbook scene. The book is well-written, and even though not heavy on the photography side, has very beautiful pictures where they exist. I think the author does do a nice job of balancing a personal “blogger-style” voice with the more professional style of writing. There are no purposeful grammar mistakes here, folks. And in other news, I am so pleased that there is a table...
Clean Slate: Review

Clean Slate: Review

If you’ve read my blog for any period of time, you know I am all about that healthy lifestyle. In my head. Really, I like to eat cheese and Doritos. And buffalo wings. I want to want to be healthy. So, naturally, when I saw this book, I wanted it. And I know some people don’t like her brand, but in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with Martha Stewart. The lady knows her stuff!     First Impressions This book is so bright! Everything is white and light green and pink! It definitely stands out and gives a very CLEAN EATING LIVES HERE impression. It’s a paperback, but it’s pretty sturdy for a paperback. Although the pages are a little matte, they are in color and of good construction. I was pretty happy about the way the book was set up. There was a beginning section for a Reset which gave you tons of information about good fats, what kinds of foods you should choose, smart swaps (like swapping traditional croutons for walnuts). This is all stuff that I pretty much already knew, but it’s nice to be reminded, and it’s especially nice for people who may be starting their healthy eating journey here. The second half of the book is the recipes. The Recipes I’ll be honest here, the actual recipes in the book sound scary and sort of look like cardboard. Overall, that’s pretty disappointing because if healthy eating looks like it doesn’t taste good, people won’t eat it. Really, I’d prefer badly shot Pinterest-style photos over artfully crafted packing peanuts. Being someone who does cook, though,...
The Slanted Door: Review

The Slanted Door: Review

I was pretty excited to get this book! It’s a food genre that I’m not really that familiar with. We have a couple of Vietnamese restaurants here, but I’ve only been to one and I can’t say I remember a lot about the menu. It was Vietnamese, Chinese, and also included Dim Sum. I’ll definitely be throwing some recipes out of it up on the blog as I make them! I am very excited about that part. It’s not often that my kitchen gets to see Asian ingredients or Asian methods. First Impressions I love that this is a big, sturdy book. When I’m reading novels I want them to either be paperback or I want them to be on my e-reader. But with a cookbook, I want it big, heavy, and able to stand up to abuse. I have my things so I can USE my things! It’s not that I don’t take care of my things, it’s just…. No, it’s that I don’t take care of my things. My laptop sits on the counter while I’m cooking and is almost always splattered with foodstuffs, and my cookbook pages have stains and are worn in some places. You get the idea. I am a huge texture person, though, and this book kind of has a rough burlap-like cover. Not my thing. But it’s not like I’ll really be holding it much, right? The pages themselves are pretty glossy, though, which is nice for the pictures! The Recipes First I’ll start off by saying that I really thought it was cool how the recipes in the book were ordered by...
We bought a house!

We bought a house!

We bought a house! We’ve been living here now since December 23rd! Probably the worst time ever to move, but Merry Christmas to us! It’s a 3 bed, 2 bath, and it’s got a 2 car garage. It’s on a little under half an acre, and it’s not fenced on one side, but we will handle that as soon as the ground thaws so that the dog can run freely. We don’t have it all the way set up yet, so I don’t have any images of the house since we’ve been living here. Even though our housewarming party is on Saturday and I need to get on that. I do have real estate photos though! The kitchen is totally gorgeous, too. And bright! I am so excited to be able to take real blog photos. And to be able to post more about things which I don’t need to plan ahead to be done in the brightest of daylight so I can take it over to the window to take pictures. And I’ll be able to take real progress photos or videos, which will be awesome. I’m looking forward to our new lives in this house! Our new kitchen with two pantries! And also all of the living posts I will be able to make and hopefully gardening too, this summer! Now, time to look at some...
Sugar Rush: Review

Sugar Rush: Review

In the past, I have never been super attracted to pastry and sweets books. But now that I am in culinary school and considering going into the Baking & Pastry side of the program, I figured it would be a good time to check one out, and this one looked very good from the preview. That, and I am in love with the fact that it actually teaches people how to COOK the food and not just gives them a recipe for it. It shows them how to make it, and why they do the things they do – and for a successful recipe, with something as temperamental as most desserts – that is so, so important. If you don’t understand why you are doing a certain step, what’s to stop you from trying to skip it to save time? First Impressions Okay, this is a huge book. And it’s such a solid book, which as a collector I like, but also as someone who COOKS from the books, I like. I want a book which will resist some water and which will not start to crack around the binding if I keep it open for too long. It also has very high-quality pages, which I adore for the same reasons as above. But I also adore them because they are gorgeous! This whole book is beautiful. Everything from the glossy dessert sauces, to the creams, to the piped meringues makes me want to make it. I just want to go over to Johnny Iuzzini’s house and eat everything that comes out of his kitchen. The Recipes I think...
#MadeWithChobani Chicken Tikka Masala and Mango Lassi

#MadeWithChobani Chicken Tikka Masala and Mango Lassi

Probably my favorite kind of restaurant food is Indian food. I love curry and naan bread and mint chutney. It’s just a little too expensive for weekly feasting, so I had to learn to make my own. I was inspired by Chobani’s #MadeWithChobani Project to create a recipe, and I knew exactly what I was planning to do – Indian food! It’s the perfect way to use yogurt, and it also gives me an excuse to make an entire Indian feast. And I am not one to turn down the chance to create an entire feast. Or eat one. Chicken Tikka Masala is in my top two favorite curries (the other is vegetable korma). And Tandoori Chicken is delicious (yes, even if you’re me and you make it in the oven instead of a Tandoor). This is the only picture I got of the chicken, somehow. I was hungry, man. We’re lucky I got any pictures at all! But as good as the curry is, lassis are totally the best. Totally. Even in the middle of December when it’s freezing rain and I haven’t seen sandals in three months. Because they’re refreshing, but they’re also filling. Really, you could eat them as a breakfast shake, sometimes I do. Here’s the printable recipe card! I added both recipes to it so you can just print one page for the entire thing! Chicken Tikka Masala and Mango Lassi   Author: Sam (Sizzling Mess) Recipe type: Dinner Cuisine Type: Indian Print   Ingredients Tandoori Chicken 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (I like to buy the...
Steak Fajita Nachos

Steak Fajita Nachos

I had my wisdom teeth removed last Monday. Complete bony impaction. On Sunday I developed mild dry socket. Today is Monday (again!). I can’t eat super solid food, or especially crunchy food, so I think it’s a good day to make a post about nachos which I ESPECIALLY cannot eat. We have a local Mexican restaurant “chain” here (if three restaurants counts as a chain). I went there one time on the way home from a horse show as a kid and had their fajita nachos. These nachos stuck with me for YEARS. Until one day I went back as an adult, and, by some grace of god, found the same dish and ordered it. And somehow it was still exactly the same as before. Ooey, gooey, goodness. I also went back last Saturday before my tooth extraction so I could have a last crunchy meal before weeks of no chips. And then I followed it with huge margaritas, which I also cannot have. But, it’s not super cheap at that place, and I eat out way too much, so I needed to learn to make this one at home. And mine is maybe a bit better, if I do say so myself! First is learning to make cheese sauce at home. Here’s a spoiler: That white cheese sauce at Mexican restaurants? It’s not some fancy Central-American cheese. It’s white American. I use Swiss flavored American. It’s all whatever. And then is learning to blacken the crap out of some vegetables. Never done that before. But it’s easy. Just have some steel wool ready for your pan and DO...
Moosewood Cookbook (40th Anniversary Edition): Review

Moosewood Cookbook (40th Anniversary Edition): Review

If you did not know (which, why would you?), I was a vegetarian for many years. And I was raised in a house that didn’t really eat that much meat anyway. So the Moosewood books were a staple. Vegetarian recipes that don’t feel “vegetarian”. I love cookbooks, I have an ever-growing collection of them – but it never even occurred to me to buy any of the original Moosewood cookbooks for a couple of reasons: First, my grandma has them and I can borrow hers. And second, they’re really hefty paperbacks and I have limited apartment space. First Impressions I was VERY pleased to see a heavy-duty and durable hardback. I love paperback books to read, but they don’t stand up to constant use in the kitchen (and I promise I will be using this one a lot). It was also much thinner than I am used to seeing with Moosewood cookbooks, so my overcrowded bookshelf was pleased with that. I feel like this book was a part of my childhood, and when I opened the anniversary edition I was not quite sure what to expect. It was thinner, and newer, and I was wondering if it had maybe been updated for modern times “Joy of Cooking style”. So, I don’t have an original to compare it to – but from what I can see (and from what the author included in her note) it has been tweaked for modern tastes in some parts, and “about 25 new recipes” have been added! Sounds good to me! Not to mention: They still have the original introduction from 1977, and a history of the...
The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Review

The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Review

When I saw this cookbook, I immediately put it on my “want to own” list. I hate to admit I was wholly unfamiliar with the blogger, but I was drawn in by the photography and the fact that I agree with her philosophies. A cookbook that is low calorie, but not necessarily low fat. Another person who does not believe in artificial sweeteners and low fat dairy and who just thinks you should use the good stuff in moderation. Who thinks that eating real food and being healthy is better than being skinny (even if being skinny is nice, too). First Impressions The photography is stunning, and the food looks like something I would order in a restaurant. Not something that is “low calorie”. Huge plus there. Personally I love books which are written “blog style”. As in, lots of high quality photos, a little story that goes with each recipe, and super easy-to-follow directions. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate more professional-level books. But for every day use, these are the books I am drawn to. They are also the books that I recommend to friends. Not my culinary school friends, but my regular ones. The ones who would scoff at Keller’s The French Laundry and vow never to cook again. This is a book for an average person, who works full time, who maybe has kids, and who only has an hour to make dinner. This book is realistic. The Recipes So, I love the philosophy behind these recipes. These are recipes I would make (I AM going to make), they are my idea of healthy...