Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sweet and Spicy Walnuts Recipe by Cookie + Kate

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sweet and Spicy Walnuts (Image Credit: Cookie + Kate)

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sweet and Spicy Walnuts (Image Credit: Cookie + Kate)

I dare you to look at that salad and tell me it doesn’t look delicious. On a hot summer day, a light refreshing salad is my go-to lunch (for some reason the thought of eating anything heavy with the heat bearing down on me makes my tummy very unhappy) and this Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sweet and Spicy Walnuts from Cookie + Kate tastes even better than it looks. Continue reading

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An Open Letter to HelloFresh

(Image Credit: HelloFresh)

(Image Credit: HelloFresh)

Dear HelloFresh,

I’ve always been a little skeptical of food subscription services. Perhaps it’s my fear that food that’s been shipped, no matter how well the box of ice is insulated, is going to be bad by the time I get it. Or worse, that it will be bad and I won’t be able to tell until I’m doubled over, regretting my decision to order and ship food from the internet.

But let me tell you that you’ve surprised me in the best way possible. I first caught wind of your service when my mom sent me a free box and I failed to use it in time. Ever since that moment though, you had been on my mind and I finally decided to try your service.

I signed up for 3 meals for 2 people per week – the carnivore one. I missed the deadline to pick my recipes, but figured no better way to immerse myself into the world of HelloFresh than with a random set of recipes. I waited around all day for the delivery, and when you came I was hesitant but excited.

When I opened my package I was surprised to see all the meals pre-portioned and separated into their own box. I was still hesitant though; concerned that those ice packs weren’t enough to keep my food (read: meat) at the appropriate temperature and free of bacteria. But my husband reassured me you wouldn’t be a business if you couldn’t ship your food.

Touché, smart husband.

So, irrational thoughts behind me, I was ready to make my first meal. We got California style cheeseburgers, a recipe for salmon, and garlic pan grilled chicken; we opted for the burgers on night one.

Holy delicious, Batman.

It was amazing. All these meals were amazing. I was so impressed, and my husband was literally licking his plate to savor all the deliciousness that you packed into this meal. And that sauce you put with your potatoes with the jalapeno and lime? I literally could have eaten just that for dinner.

So. Freaking. Good.

After three meals that blew our socks off, we are now talking about continuing our subscription at 5 meals per week for 2 people, every other week.

I’m all about healthy, delicious meals, and in a world where both my husband and I work, making dinner can be a chore and super expensive. Between gathering the ingredients, portioning them out correctly and having to buy way more than we need just to make a recipe for two, making our own meals is a serious sore spot.

But I’ve discovered that with you, HelloFresh, cooking is easy because 90% of the prep work is done, everything is already gathered together and there is no waste in ingredients because you give us exactly what we need. You’ve taken the hassle out of cooking, and for that I’m thankful.

So the moral of this story is I think I can trust you – that is, until you give me a reason not to. And thank you for reminding me why food is my favorite hobby.

 

Sincerely,

A new HelloFresh fan

Featured Recipe: Amazing Lemon Cupcakes from Zoom Yummy

(Image Credit: Zoom Yummy)

(Image Credit: Zoom Yummy)

With summer coming to a close, I’ve been searching for one last taste of sunshine and these lemon cupcakes from Zoom Yummy just might do the trick! Continue reading

Featured Recipe: Frosted S’More Cups by Easybaked

(Image Credit: Easybaked)

(Image Credit: Easybaked)

It’s not officially summer yet, but it is just around the corner. What better way to kick it off than with a fun twist on a summer campfire favorite, s’mores!

Easybaked’s Frosted S’More Cups combine classic s’mores ingredients – graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallows. But instead of mixing them into  a hot, sticky (though admittedly delicious) mess, Easybaked has worked them into a cool and refreshing frozen treat, no sticky marshmallow fingers required!

These single-serve cups look very easy to make in a mini-muffin tin, and with just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep time, they are a perfect make-ahead potluck dessert. As an added bonus, these no-bake cups won’t force you to crank up your oven on an already hot summer day.

You probably thought s’mores couldn’t get any better, but Frosted S’More Cups definitely give the classic version a run for its money. Be sure to check out the full recipe at Easybaked!

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Actress Lauren Bowles and RED BREAD Founder Rose Lawrence / RED BREAD Blackberry Crumble Pie (Image Credit: Joe Cannon/The Daily Quirk)

VIDEO: ‘Red Bread’ Blackberry Crumble Pie Recipe Tutorial with Rose Lawrence and Lauren Bowles

Actress Lauren Bowles and RED BREAD Founder Rose Lawrence / RED BREAD Blackberry Crumble Pie (Image Credit: Joe Cannon/The Daily Quirk)

Actress Lauren Bowles and RED BREAD Founder Rose Lawrence / RED BREAD Blackberry Crumble Pie (Image Credit: Joe Cannon/The Daily Quirk)

Ever wanted to learn to make the perfect Blackberry Crumble Pie? Rose Lawrence, of Organic Kitchen and eGrocer Red Bread in Los Angeles has you covered! Watch the exclusive tutorial below where Lawrence and Actress Lauren Bowles provide step-by-step instructions for how to create this amazing dessert using minimal ingredients and fresh fruit. From how to roll the perfect pie crust to how to create a crunchy streusel topping, the recipe tutorial will let you in on all of Lawrence’s secrets for creating a delicious pie and will leave you drooling for a slice! Find out how to make the pie below, then watch our exclusive interview with Rose Lawrence! Continue reading

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Recipe by Jenny @ Bake

(Image Credit: Jenny of BAKE)

(Image Credit: Jenny of BAKE)

A few months ago I shared my recipe for s’more cupcakes and my slightly over dramatic sad tale of how I had never had a proper s’more.  Well those days are over! Because quite by chance I found a packet of graham crackers in a Chinese import store of all places, in Chinatown, whilst wandering around central London. Continue reading

Cooking (Image Credit: Laura D'Alessandro)

5 Tips for the First Time Cook!

Cooking (Image Credit: Laura D'Alessandro)

Cooking (Image Credit: Laura D’Alessandro)

Cooking is not everybody’s idea of fun. It’s also not something everyone is good at, especially if it is a new experience. If you are a first time cook, follow these tips to help get you on your way to making meals.

First, make sure you start with the exact ingredients and proper equipment. If your recipe calls for powdered sugar, don’t use regular granulated. Speaking from personal experience, even though it may taste the same, the texture makes a huge difference to the end result. Similarly, if your recipe says to use a certain kind of pan or type of utensil, follow the directions exactly, unless the recipe specifically says another substitute will work. (Butter and margarine are a common example.)  Oftentimes, close enough is not close enough when working with food, and when you are new to the kitchen, it is best to stick to the original recipe until you become more familiar and comfortable with the process.

Second, start with some easy recipes. Something more complex than cereal, but not as difficult as crème Brule. Simple things like macaroni and cheese, box mixes of muffins or cake, or homemade pizza using a packed dough mixture are all good choices. It may not seem like these foods would be good for teaching any cooking skills, but it can be surprising how easy it is to make an error and ruin the food. Boiling the macaroni noodles for too long or not long enough can make or break the dish. Adding too much of one ingredient to a box mix will throw off the whole recipe. Baking a pizza too long or not long enough will leave you with burnt or uncooked dough. Gaining confidence with easier meals is a good stepping stone for beginning your cooking career.

Third, don’t expect to be a natural on your first day. Like learning any other skill or hobby, patience is key. Allow yourself to make some mistakes, and learn from them. Know your limits as to what recipes you attempt, but don’t be afraid to try newer, more difficult ones as you continue to master the simpler ones you try. Starting out with realistic expectations separate from goals you set for the future will keep you motivated, and stop the frustration that comes with doing something unfamiliar.

Fourth, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you have friends or relatives with a knack for cooking, ask for some tips. Sometimes, it can be embarrassing to admit you don’t know much about a certain subject. Just remember people like talking about what they know, so your friend or relative will enjoy sharing their knowledge with you rather than using it as an opportunity to make fun of you. If you are too shy to ask, find a time when the person may possibly need help preparing food for an event or family gathering. The person will appreciate the extra hand, and you’ll get extra practice and a free lesson. It’s a win-win.

Finally, be sure to be familiar with kitchen and food safety practices. Certain foods need to reach certain temperatures to ensure they are safe to eat. Invest in a thermometer to ensure you don’t make yourself or anyone else sick. Another common practice to follow is not mixing raw vegetables and meat. Don’t use the same cutting board for these items and be sure to wipe up any liquids or juices that may come out of a certain food while preparing it. When cutting anything, always point the blade away from your fingers and face. Even the best chefs in the world slip and hurt themselves. A quick Google search can provide you with tons of other important tips for keeping you and your food safe.

Cooking is not an easy job. There are many things that could go wrong during the process, but with practice and determination, anyone can learn – Even you!


 

Image courtesy of Laura D’Alessandro
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S'mores Cupcakes (Image Credit: Jenny @ BAKE)

S’mores Cupcakes Recipe by Jenny @ Bake

 

S'mores Cupcakes (Image Credit: Jenny @ BAKE)

S’mores Cupcakes (Image Credit: Jenny @ BAKE)

One summer, when I was about seven and growing up in a small English seaside town, I became completely fascinated by s’mores.  I can’t quite remember which book or show I first discovered them in, but I was obsessed.  There is no English alternative,not even something close, which probably due to graham crackers not being available here.  Every time my Father lit the BBQ, I felt like I was missing out.  That there were thousands of other girls participating in the same summer ritual of charred meat and potato salad, who were being treated to this magical dessert at the end of their meal.

Two decades later and if I am being honest I would love to end this tale by saying I have finally tried my first sticky s’more, mashmallow oozing out the sides with every bite.  Not yet, but on my next trip to the State’s it will be high on my list.  In the meantime I will be more than adequately satiated by these delicious cupcakes.  Turned on their head the chocolate, rather than the cracker becomes dominant, carrying the light and fluffy marshmallow buttercream. Due to the high fat content of the frosting when I tried to burn it a little to give the cupcake the iconic smokey toasted marshmallow flavour it just melted.  I shared these with good friends, sat enjoying the last rays of sun, talking about anything and everything. There was no campfire, but the spirit was the same. Maybe, I’m not missing out on s’mores as much as I think.

S’more Cupcakes Recipe

Makes 12 cupcakes

S'mores Cupcakes (Image Credit: Jenny @ BAKE)

S’mores Cupcakes (Image Credit: Jenny @ BAKE)

For the Chocolate Cupcakes

125g butter at room temperature
2 eggs
115g self raising flour
125g brown sugar
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
50ml milk

Preheat the oven to 175C and line the cupcake tin.

Beat all the ingredients together until well blended.

Divide into the cupcake cases and bake in the middle of the oven for 17 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool.

For the Marshmallow Frosting

Adapted from Buttercream Chantilly Factory

60g butter at room temperature
100g (about ½ a jar) marshmallow fluff
190g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 digestive biscuit/graham craker , crushed into crumbs

Beat the butter until light and fluffy then add the marshmallow fluff and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and creamy.

On a low speed slowly beat in the icing sugar until well mixed. If using a stand mixer I find covering it with a tea towel helps to reduce mess.

Ice your cupcakes and sprinkle with biscuit/cracker crumbs.

Previously posted on BAKE 


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Farmers' Market (Image Credit: Edsel Little)

Your First Time… Visiting a Farmers’ Market

Farmers' Market (Image Credit: Edsel Little)

Farmers’ Market (Image Credit: Edsel Little)

Summer is great for so many reasons, but the abundance of outdoor farmers’ markets is one of my favorite parts. The produce is fresh, the baked goods are made locally, and the food is just generally all around delicious. Before you make your first trip, check out these tips to make your experience even better!

Continue reading

5 Products Under $100 to Spice Up Your Kitchen

Spice Up

Food is an extremely vital part of life, and cooking can be a love language of its own. It’s no wonder then that so much of our foot traffic is through a kitchen. For a space so dear to humanity, kitchens deserve some fun products to spruce them up. Here’s a list of five budget-friendly products that will add a little fun to your kitchen today. Continue reading

Roasted Pumpkin-Poblano Soup (Image Credit: Yes, More Please!)

Roasted Pumpkin-Poblano Soup Recipe by Yes, More Please!

Roasted Pumpkin-Poblano Soup (Image Credit: Yes, More Please!)

Roasted Pumpkin-Poblano Soup (Image Credit: Yes, More Please!)

I have been a vegetarian for about two-and-a-half years, and I am always game to try a new dish (meat-free of course). Soups, in particular, have always been a favorite meal of mine, and I get excited when I find new vegetarian recipes in cooking magazines, on the menu at restaurants, or in the aisle at the grocery store. Who doesn’t love warm, flavorful, colorful soup at the end of a long day?! Continue reading

Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake Recipe (Image Credit: Jenny @ Bake)

Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake Recipe by Jenny @ Bake

Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake Recipe (Image Credit: Jenny @ Bake)

Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake Recipe (Image Credit: Jenny @ Bake)

I am a spring baby so in some ways I have always identified more with this time of year.  More likely that that, I probably have some sort of subconscious preference, because not long after daffodils start brightening up the garden I receive presents.

Spring in the English countryside is a wonderful time of year.  Fields that have been brown and barren for months become a vibrant and vivacious green.  Rapeseed, which is commonly grown where I live, shines gold for as far as the eye can see.  The air is full of bird song, and residential streets are lined with trees heavy with candyfloss coloured blossom.

This cake sums up spring for me.  It has the bright citrus flavours I crave as soon as the sun starts peeking out through the clouds, and warm comforting spice from the cardamon to combat the fresh wind whipping through the trees.  The simple orange glaze in place of frosting means it packs well, and makes for the perfect accompaniment for a flask of tea, and a long walk to appreciate this glorious time of year.

Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake Recipe

Based on a recipe from Cake Days | Makes 1 loaf

Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake Recipe (Image Credit: Jenny @ Bake)

Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake Recipe (Image Credit: Jenny @ Bake)

For the sponge:

190g unsalted butter plus extra for greasing

190g plain flour plus extra for dusting

1 tbsp finely grated blood orange zest

190g caster sugar

3 large eggs

60g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

25g plain yogurt

1 tsp vanilla essence

6 cardamom pods – seeds ground

For the glaze:

Juice of 1 blood orange

50g caster sugar.

Directions:

Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake Recipe (Image Credit: Jenny @ Bake)

Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake Recipe (Image Credit: Jenny @ Bake)

Preheat the oven to 170C, then butter and line a 2lb bread tin

Cream together the butter, zest and sugar till pale.

In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients.

Whisk a tablespoon of the dry mixture into the butter and sugar, then slowly incorporate the eggs.

Add the dry ingredients to the mix in two stages then beat in the yoghurt and vanilla essence.

Pour into the tin, and bake in the middle of the oven for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

When the cake is nearly completely baked, heat the orange juice and sugar in a pan until the sugar dissolves.

Remove the cake from the oven and repeatedly prick with a cocktail stick until it’s covered in little holes.

Slowly pour the syrup over the cake, trying to get an even coverage.

Enjoy!

Previously posted on BAKE

 


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Roasted Tomato Soup and Garlic Croutons Recipe (Image Credit: Jelly Toast)

Roasted Tomato Soup and Garlic Croutons Recipe by Jelly Toast

Roasted Tomato Soup and Garlic Croutons Recipe (Image Credit: Jelly Toast)

Roasted Tomato Soup and Garlic Croutons Recipe (Image Credit: Jelly Toast)

When the temperatures dip below freezing, there’s a tradition in my family to have a soup night. This originated with my mom, who on cold nights would make tomato, potato and minestrone soups in very large pots. We’d feast for days, and it was the perfect addition to a warm blanket and PJ’s on those rather chilly evenings.

After this recent cold spell, I decided to take it on myself to bring soup night to my apartment. I always thought I’d had the best tomato soup that had ever been made… until I stumbled on Jelly Toast’s Roasted Tomato Soup and Garlic Croutons recipe.

As with every tomato soup you have to have fresh herbs, tomato puree and a good amount of garlic, but the ingredient that helps Jelly Toast’s tomato soup stand out is the slow-roasted tomato halves. You have to trust me, you need to take the time to follow her instructions and roast the tomatoes yourself. It really makes all the difference, and the store bought ones in the can don’t have nearly the flavor.

In under an hour, you can have a rustic tasting tomato soup and even top it off with home-baked garlic croutons. To finish off the recipe right, you can add a grilled cheese to dip in your soup. Then just sit down, bundle up and enjoy the comfort you get from this instant anytime classic.

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The Mobile Foodie Survival Kit (Image Credit: PLANT)

Quirky Item of the Week: Mobile Foodie Survival Kit

 

The Mobile Foodie Survival Kit (Image Credit: PLANT)

The Mobile Foodie Survival Kit (Image Credit: PLANT)

Calling all foodies! If you are the type of person who considers him or herself a foodie, or a person with a particular interest in food, then rejoice in the genius that is the Mobile Foodie Survival Kit. When you are a true foodie you seek the best in cuisine and savor in unique foods and tastes to satisfy your hobby. However, the reality is that not every dish you come across is going to be exactly to your liking.

The Mobile Foodie Survival Kit (Image Credit: PLANT)

The Mobile Foodie Survival Kit (Image Credit: PLANT)

Whether you find yourself at restaurant or enjoying a dinner at a friend’s place chances are you are going to come across a dish that could use a little more flavor, or a dish that is lacking in a certain spice. Or perhaps you like certain seasonings on your foods that some may consider unconventional. Enter the Mobile Foodie Survival Kit. This pocket-sized set of organic seasonings could just be the thing to save your meal, and satisfy your taste buds without the risk of offending the chef.

This stack of seasonings is not only organic, but it is moisture and humidity resistant and customizable because you can remove the seasonings that you do not want! And you can feel good about your purchase because adults at Brooklyn Unlimited with physical, medical, mental and emotional disabilities assemble each Mobile Foodie Kit in Brooklyn, NY. And while the food you are putting the seasoning on may not be organic you can rest assured that the seasonings are certified by the Department of Agriculture as products grown entirely without hormones, pesticides, or bioengineering. After all, your body is a temple and you cannot pollute it with non-organic seasonings on top of that cheeseburger/pasta dish/or double fried French fries!