Monthly Archives: May 2012

Extra Moist Chocolate Lava Cakes- Muffin Tin Chef Review


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If you’re looking for quick, from-scratch, appropriately sized meals, then I highly recommend you get the cookbook Muffin Tin Chef.  Who knew that a muffin tin is the most versatile piece of cookware in our cabinets?

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Muffin Tin Chef, and to be honest, I put it aside for a while during the last busy weeks of my college semester.   When I moved back home and was finally able to read the book, I was kind of surprised at how much I liked it.

It really is clever how many dishes Matt Kadey was able to downsize into the size of a muffin tin.  I think I liked the book so much because:

  1. Easy portion control.
  2. Quick cooking time.
  3. All from scratch.
  4. Small batches.
  5. Variety of desserts, dinners, lunches, breakfasts, appetizers, and snacks.
  6. Easy to follow instructions.
  7. Simple to make a 3-course meal quickly.
  8. Well.. anything muffin tin sized is just cute.

So, if you don’t have this book, I suggest you buy it… even if it’s just solely to get the recipe for these chocolate lava cakes.  These are like flour-less cake, except for a minor addition of flour.  They taste so good though.. the gooey chocolate had me at hello.


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Muffin Tin Chef- Extra Moist Chocolate  Lava Cakes

Found on page 122.


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Healthy and Hearty Oatmeal Cookies

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I eat my fair share of unhealthy desserts, but sometimes, I get on health kicks and even my desserts have to be healthy (doesn’t happen very often).  This was one of those times.

Most of the time when I try to make healthy desserts, they taste like crap… but these actually turned out really well.  The honey and little bit of brown sugar somehow gave them just enough sweetness and the chia seed added a nice crunch.  These are yummy treats for snacks and/or breakfast.

What’s your favorite healthy dessert?



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Healthy and Hearty Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from: Food 

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup brown sugar (depending on taste)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup ap flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Using a mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the oil, brown sugar, honey, egg and water thoroughly.
  3. Sift together the dry ingredients then stir in the oats. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix. Add any additional ingredients you’ve chosen.
  4. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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Pizza Flavored Homemade Wheat Thins

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Remember the new savory Kernel’s Seasons flavors?

Well, I used the pizza flavor to make homemade wheat thins.

I was going on a trip and wanted to make snacks.  When Kellen suggested crackers, I jumped at the opportunity because I’d never made them before.

I was extremely satisfied with them,  but next time I think I’ll add a little more liquid to them because they were a tad dry.  But, the flavor is great and I felt pretty proud that I made healthy, homemade crackers, thanks to Kitchen Stewardship.

What’s your favorite homemade version of a store-bought food?


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Homemade “Wheat Thins” Style Crackers Recipe
Adapted From: Kitchen Stewardship 


¾ cup white
¾ cup wheat flour
1 ½ Tbs. raw honey, melted (or honey)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. paprika
4 Tbs. butter
¼ cup water
salt for topping


  1. Combine the flour, salt and paprika in a medium bowl.
  2. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter thoroughly into the dry mixture until it looks like large crumbs, no bigger than a pea.
  3. Combine the water and honey in a measuring cup and add to the flour mixture.
  4. Mix well until combined and dough forms, but only as long as necessary for the most tender crackers.
  5. Use parchment paper, a lightly greased cookie sheet, or an ungreased baking stone.
  6. Only use one fourth of the dough at a time. Cover all your surfaces with flour and roll the dough as evenly as you can. You might flip the dough to make it easier to roll. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as humanly possible without tearing. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife and cut the dough into squares or triangles, about 1 1/2 inches each.
  7. Fork pokes make them look extra authentic. If you want all beautifully square crackers, you can trim the edges square.
  8. Make sure your oven is preheated to 400 F. If you have used a mat or parchment paper, just slide it onto a cookie sheet. If you don’t have either, you’ll have to move each cracker individually. Sprinkle the squares lightly with real salt, if Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
  9. Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, 5 to 10 minutes.  If some of the thinner crackers on the edges brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking. These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely – even 30 seconds can turn them from golden brown to toast!  You want them to be almost crispy, but not totally breakable to deem them “done”, because they will crisp up a bit as they cool.
  10. Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan or on a rack; they cool quickly. These crackers will stay crisp for many days, but are best stored in airtight containers.

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Nutella No-Bake Cookies

nutella no bake cookies

When I was a kid, I used to love when my mom would make no-bake cookies.  She rarely ever made them, so they were an awesome treat when she did.  Since she rarely made them, I thought they were some magical treat that was really hard to make.

I didn’t realize how easy they were to make until the first time I made them on my own.  Even though they still tasted great, it kind of ruined the “magical, really hard to make” feeling I had for them as a kid.

Which is why I had to switch them up to make them taste better.  Adding Nutella shouldn’t make that big of a difference, but it really did.  When you add Nutella, they kind of taste like fudge.  Fudgy oatmeal cookies that take 10 minutes to make… what gets better than that?  The magic was back for me after I made these!

how to make nutella no bake cookies

nutella no bake cookie up close

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nutella no bake cookies on cookie sheet

What was your magical treat as a kid?

Nutella No-Bake Cookies
Adapted from: Food Network 


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal


  1. In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk.
  2. Let boil for 1 minute then add Nutella, vanilla and oatmeal.
  3. On a non-stick surface, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls, until cooled and hardened.

nutella no bake cookie recipe

Apple Pie Bars


When I went to the cafeteria at school, I’d always take an apple or 2 or 3 with me when I left.

Since I did that every time, I ended up moving out of the dorms with 10 extra apples.

I don’t like to waste food, so of course, apple pie was my first thought.  I was feeling a little more creative, though, so I made apple pie bars instead.

These are great…every slice is like a mini pie.  The crust is super thin and the filling isn’t overwhelmingly sweet and they would taste awesome with ice cream.  I suggest making them when you want to make pie for a big crowd, but pie won’t serve enough.

steps for making apple pie bars

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apple pie bars with cinnamon topping

What’s your favorite dessert to make in the summertime?

Apple Pie Bars
From: Land O Lakes



Land O Lakes® All-Natural Egg, separated, reserve egg white
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold Land O Lakes® Butter, cut into pieces


1 cup crushed corn flakes
8 to 10 medium (8 cups) apples, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 reserved Land O Lakes® All-Natural Egg white
2 tablespoons sugar


1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Beat egg yolk in small bowl. Add 1/2 cup milk; mix well. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour and salt in medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in egg yolk mixture with fork until dough forms a ball. Divide dough in half.
  3. Roll out half of dough on lightly floured surface into 15×10-inch rectangle; place onto bottom of ungreased 15x10x1 inch jelly-roll pan. Sprinkle with corn flakes; top with apples.
  4. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl. Sprinkle over apples. Roll remaining half of dough into 15 1/2×10 1/2-inch rectangle; place over apples.
  5. Beat reserved egg white with fork until foamy; brush over top crust. Combine remaining cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar in small bowl; sprinkle over crust. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Combine powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk for desired glazing consistency in small bowl. Drizzle over warm bars.




vanilla icing dribbling from apple pie bars

Kernel’s Seasons Review: 3 New Savory Flavors

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Did you know Kernel’s Seasons has 3 new savory flavors?  Pizza, Bacon Cheddar, and Buffalo Wing.

Let me give you the run-down:

1) Pizza

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If you like pizza, you’ll like this flavor.  It kind of reminded me of  Pizza Pringles, only better because you can control the amount you use.  I made crackers with this flavor and it added a subtle taste of pizza.  The crackers were so good (I’ll have the recipe up soon), and I give credit to the flavoring.  Taste (on a scale of 1-10): 8.

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2) Bacon Cheddar

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I’m kind of obsessed with this one.  Every time I make eggs now, I put this flavoring on them.  It tastes like bacon and cheddar and for all you calorie counters, you can get the taste for 90% less calories.  If you don’t care about calories, it’s still good. Taste: 9.

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3) Buffalo Wing

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Wellllll… I liked this one when I tried it plain.  But, for some reason, when I put it on popcorn and ate the popcorn it gave me (and everyone else who tried it) a burning sensation in my nose.  Not pleasant.  I’m sure it would be good on chicken, but I wouldn’t suggest putting it on popcorn.  Taste: 6. 

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Kernel Season’s sent me three sample bottles of their new seasonings in order to write this post. The opinions expressed are all my own.

Rice Krispie Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

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My friend’s uncle drives a cereal truck, so anytime he gets cereal, everyone I live with gets it, too.

This time, we got Rice Krispies, so I wanted to do something creative with them.  (Don’t worry, I’ve also made rice krispie treats twice now.)

I found a recipe for Rice Krispie Chocolate Chip Cookies, used it, and took it to another level.  They turned out really good.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but they tasted like brownies covered with crunchy chocolate chip cookies.  Weird, huh? 😉  My brains not doing so well with descriptions right now, I think it’s because I just finished FINALS!! Yay!!!

What’s your favorite recipe for Rice Krispies?

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Rice Krispie Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Adapted from: Rice Krispies and  All Recipes



  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup rice krispies
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  • ½ cup oil
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. First, make the cookie dough.  In large electric mixer bowl, beat together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well.
  3. Mix  flour, baking soda and salt into butter mixture  until combined. Stir in rice krispies and chocolate chips. Set aside.
  4. Then, make brownies.  In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, and sugar. Beat in eggs.
  5. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended.
  6. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.  Drop cookie mixture evenly over the top of the brownie batter.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Chocolate Almond Brownie Balls

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Hang in there guys, finals week is over on Thursday for me, then I’ll be posting all the time.
Until then, enjoy some yummy brownie balls… they won’t disappoint you.

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Chocolate Almond Brownie Balls
  • 4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour


  • 1/4 cup butter, softened (you can use margarine but the flavor will not be the same)
  • 1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar , sifted
  • 1/8 cup half-and-half cream (can use unwhipped whipping cream in place of half and half) or 1/3 cup milk (can use unwhipped whipping cream in place of half and half)
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder , sifted
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Chocolate coating:

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Microwave chocolate and butter or margarine in large bowl at high for 2 minutes or until butter or margarine is melted.
  3. Stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour.
  4. Spread in greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 35 minutes (do not overbake).
  5. Let the brownies cool.
  6. Mix all frosting ingredients, and crumble cooled brownies into the mix.
  7. Form into balls and freeze for 20 minutes.
  8. Microwave heavy cream for 1 minute.  Put in chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute.  Stir until smooth.
  9. Dip brownie balls into chocolate, let sit.
  10. Eat!

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A Cinco de Mayo Interview: Ingrid Hoffmann

Article from: A Bull’s Eye View

You may know Ingrid Hoffmann as the bubbly host of her Food Network show Simply Delicioso and Delicioso on Galavisión. But if you ask Ingrid what she does, her answer is a bit different. “My official title on my bio is ‘professional eater’,” she says. “I never set out to become a cook. I just set out to make my loved ones and myself delicious meals.”

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, the Latin cook shared some festive and authentic recipes with us. Her mouth-watering menu is not only delicious, but also pays homage to the Battle of Puebla (when the Mexican army defeated French forces on May 5, 1862).

Before we get to her recipes, we sat down with Ingrid to chat about her early days in the kitchen and how she celebrates the holiday in her own home. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!


When did you first start cooking?
Ingrid Hoffman: I started at a very early age in my mom’s kitchen, where she started a catering company from our little house. She had just come back from studying at Cordon Bleu in France, so I was always coming home to crazy quantities of food being prepared in our kitchen. I was a curious child, and they were always trying to shoo me out, but somehow they couldn’t. And here I am.

Has your background influenced your cooking?
IH: Living in different countries expands your palette.  I grew up in a house where we ate everything—Colombian, Mexican, Peruvian, Bolivian, Argentinian, Caribbean and Basque food. I make food from 22 Latin countries, including Spain. I do a little bit of it all.

What are some of your favorite ingredients to work with?
IH: I would say cilantro, avocado, quinoa and chiles.

How will you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
IH: With lots of food and drinks! To me, it’s a day to make a one-pot meal. I don’t want to fuss.


Ingrid shared three easy-to-follow recipes with us. It’s easy to fill up on the bacon guacamole and guava-jalapeño margaritas before making it to the main course: Tinga Poblana (Mexican pulled pork), but we promise it’s worth saving a little room!

“To me, entertaining is about smart menus and recipes. Place guacamole and tortilla chips next to the pulled pork and set up a great self-serve station.”

“Have all the garnishes ready for the margaritas. You can pre-make the mix and pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it, so you have a bucket of flavored ice cubes that won’t water down your margaritas. The guava-jalapeño margarita is a fun twist on your typical margarita—you’re really making homage to this incredible country with foods that represent it.”

“Tinga Poblana is a lot of bang for your buck and little effort,” says Ingrid. “You set it to boil, shred it, mix it with a few things and you’ve got your main meal done.”


Bacon Guacamole
Serves 6

What You’ll Need:
8 to 10 bacon slices (about 1/2 pound)
3 medium Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 tomato, halved, cored, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 serrano chiles, finely chopped (seeded and ribbed for less heat)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 1/2 limes)

What You’ll Do:

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until each side is brown and crisp, about 7 to 10 minutes total. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and let it cool completely. Chop the bacon into small bits and set aside.

2. Mash the avocados in a medium bowl until the texture is semi-smooth. Stir in the crumbled bacon.

3. Pat tomatoes dry with a paper towel and add to the avocado mixture. Gently stir in the onion, chiles, cilantro and lime juice. Taste and add salt if necessary; the bacon may add enough saltiness on its own.


Guava-Jalapeño Margaritas
Serves 4

What You’ll Need:
3 jalapeño chiles
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons tequila
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 5 limes), plus extra lime wedges for the glass rims (optional)
1/4 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier
3 tablespoons guava juice
Coarse salt or margarita salt (optional)

What You’ll Do:
1. Place 2 whole jalapeños and the tequila in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for a day.

2. Pour the tequila into a pitcher or large punch bowl and add the lime juice, Cointreau, and guava juice. Stir to combine and chill in the refrigerator.

3. If you would like to have a salted rim for your margaritas, place the salt on a flat plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of each glass, turn it upside down on to the salt, and then twist the glass in the salt to coat the rim.

4. Thinly slice the remaining jalapeño. Serve the margarita straight up in a martini glass with some jalapeños floating in the glass or slit one side of the jalapeño ring and hang on the side of the glass.


Mexican Pulled Pork (Tinga Poblana)
Serves 8

What You’ll Need:
1 pound (about 3 medium) russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (2 to 3-pound) pork loin
1 yellow onion, chopped, plus 1/2 yellow onion left whole
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
12 ounces raw chorizo, casing removed
5 small tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped
2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, finely chopped (seeded and ribbed for less heat)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

For serving
16 corn or flour tortillas
4 medium Haas avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

What You’ll Do:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

2. Place the pork in a large pot of water. Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the pork is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove the pork from the water and set it aside until it is cool enough to handle (discard the cooking liquid). Using your fingers or two forks, shred the meat into small pieces and set aside.

3. Break the chorizo into small pieces and fry it over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chorizo to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the chopped onion to the same skillet and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shredded pork, potatoes, tomatoes, and chipotle chiles and cook until the tomatoes break down and release their juices, about 15 minutes. Return the cooked chorizo to the pan and stir in the vinegar, thyme, marjoram and some salt. Continue to cook over medium heat until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

4. While the pork cooks, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tortilla and warm for 10 to 15 seconds. Flip the tortilla over and continue to warm until the tortilla is pliable and heated through, about another for 10 to 20 seconds. Place on a plate, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside; repeat with the remaining tortillas (or simply warm the tortillas in the microwave).

5. Place pork in a serving bowl or bring it to the table in the cooking pot. Arrange the tortillas, avocado, and cilantro on a platter so guests can fill a tortilla with some of the meat and accompaniments. Pass a bowl of lime wedges around the table to squeeze over each serving.