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A mostly healthy and budget-friendly cooking blog

April 18, 2014
by Erin Clarke
21 Comments

Double Decker Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding

Does it bother anyone else that Snack Pack puddings aren’t refrigerated in the grocery store? Let’s keep it cool with Double Decker Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding instead.

Dark-Chocolate-Vanilla-Bean-Pudding-2Pudding and I have a long, illustrious love affair. It dates back to an innocent time when I didn’t care (or notice) that Snack Packs weren’t refrigerated, and my greatest envy was my best playmate Brittany’s impressive collection of My Little Ponies.

When I brought the disparity of our pony menageries up to my mom, she explained that it was because Brittany’s dad was a plastic surgeon. I assumed that this meant he manufactured My Little Ponies. I also like to think that at this point in our conversation my mom handed me a chocolate Snack Pack, but I can’t be certain.

Like Wednesday’s outrageous Raspberry Chipotle Bacon Grilled Cheese (seriously please read this recipe! I’m obsessed, and it breaks my heart that my site went down the day I posted it), Double Decker Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding falls into the category of recipes that energize me the most: grown up twists on childhood favorites. (See also: Brown Butter Churro Crispy Treats; Skinny Greek Mac and Cheese; Chocolate Soft Pretzels with White Chocolate Chips.) My love of pudding began in childhood, and I still crave it at least once a week.

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April 16, 2014
by Erin Clarke
33 Comments

Raspberry Chipotle Bacon Grilled Cheese

I’m patenting a new line of therapy guaranteed to relive stress and promote mental well-being. It’s called The Raspberry Chipotle Bacon Grilled Cheese Diet. You heard it here first. Next stop: Oprah.

Raspberry Chipotle Bacon Grilled Cheese

Since starting a food blog, I’ve learned that every ingredient, recipe category, and Little Debbie snack cake has its own “holiday,” at least according to this list. Honestly, unless it’s a day when I’m a) freakishly organized, b) feeling kitschy, and c) totally obsessed with whatever food is “on holiday,” I tend to miss most of these events. I’m just not enough of a planner.

Lima Bean Respect Day? Sorry, no. Chocolate-Covered Cashew Truffle Day? Too specific. National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day? See you there.

Grilled cheese is an exception. For one, we eat it all the time, holiday or no. For two. grilled cheese has been deemed worthy of its own month. For three, I’m in need of some serious grilled cheese therapy right now, so the timing is perfect. {Continue reading and snag the recipe…}

April 14, 2014
by Erin Clarke
45 Comments

Strawberry Lemonade Coffee Cake

I’m not sure at what age we are forced to stop endearing ourselves to others by means of baked goods, but Strawberry Lemonade Coffee Cake gives me hope that the answer is: “never.”

Strawberry Lemonade Coffee Cake. An easy yeast coffee cake with fresh strawberries and lemon glaze.

An impossibly moist, streusel-topped, strawberry-stuffed, and lemonade-glazed breakfast treat, Strawberry Lemonade Coffee Cake is your ticket to swaying the universe in your favor. Have heavy objects that need lifting? Bribe your brawny neighbor with a big slice of Strawberry Lemonade Coffee Cake. Computer giving you the blue screen of death? Offer your favorite techie a piece in exchange for resuscitating it. Need a foolproof, yet impressive dish to bring to the in-laws? Show up with Strawberry Lemonade Coffee Cake and be named Grandma’s new favorite.

Nanna, Aunt Mildred, and Cousin Ed will think Strawberry Lemonade Coffee Cake—and by association you—are the most exciting thing to happen to family festivities since Uncle Harry’s toupee caught on fire.

As any affection-garnering coffee cake should be, Strawberry Lemonade Coffee Cake is smothered with an irresistible streusel topping. That sweet, crunchy, buttery layer is worthy of being designated its own food group. Don’t be shy; pile it high. We have hearts to win.

{Continue reading and snag the recipe…}

April 11, 2014
by Erin Clarke
54 Comments

Sparkling Rhubarb Apple Sangria

The moment I buy a house, I’m moving onto the porch with a bowl of avocados, a stack of oatmeal pancakes, and a pitcher of Sparkling Rhubarb Apple Sangria. You know, the essentials.

Sparkling Rhubarb Apple Sangria. Sparkling sangria recipe with fresh rhubarb syrup. Perfect for spring!

If this were a politically correct food blog, I would tell you that my favorite room in the house is the kitchen. And it is…until spring arrives. Once the “feels like” on my Weather Channel app reads 60, the only place I want to be is my hypothetical porch.

No, I don’t actually have a porch. Yet.

Today, Ben and I are kicking off our house/condo hunt, which is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. Our conversations at the dinner table have shifted from the latest episode of The Colbert Report to intimidating, adult-sounding words such as “escrow” and “origination fee.” We’re debating downtown vibe versus resale value, old-home charm versus new-home convenience (dear 1920s, could you not have built me a two-car attached garage?), and yard size versus lawn mower.

My two deal breakers: a spacious kitchen and a porch. Any home without these two simply will not do.

{Continue reading and snag the recipe..}

April 9, 2014
by Erin Clarke
41 Comments

Berry Coconut Frozen Yogurt {Baby Shower for Steph of Girl vs. Dough}

Berry Coconut Frozen Yogurt is the flirty little sundress of desserts–pretty, pink, and ready to play lawn games in the sun.

Berry Coconut Frozen Yogurt Recipe - Strawberry frozen yogurt, made with Greek yogurt and coconut milk

I owe this sweet little number to the bright, happy things in half-empty containers that littered my fridge: straggling berries at the brink of overripeness; a scrap of jam I was saving for a small piece of toast (or midnight graham cracker dunk); a half-empty can of coconut milk. I hate throwing food away, not only because I find it wasteful, but also because I feel that by doing so, I have given up on its potential. No flipping burgers for my lagging spoonful of jam and orphan coconut milk–their future is beaming with Berry Coconut Frozen Yogurt!

Though simple stir fries and creamy quiches are my usual outlets for repurposing extra ingredients, these savory dishes cannot rescue me where sweet leftovers are concerned (though if anyone has a quiche recipe that calls for excess peanut butter glaze, I’ll venture a bite).

A few weeks ago, I checked out the ice cream Bible from the library, and in it, author King David David Lebovtiz mentions that he often uses ice cream as a vehicle for the excess dessert bits he has strewn about his kitchen from the week’s assorted baking projects. Besides prompting me to declare David Lebovtiz’s apartment a place I could exist quite happily, this idea struck me as brilliant. I often top my leftover caramel brownies with ice cream, but for some reason, the idea that I could put them in the ice cream itself never occurred to me. Life hack. Also, I’m slow.

{Continue reading and snag the recipe…}

April 7, 2014
by Erin Clarke
48 Comments

Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls

Swirl rolls and I have a special relationship. Our time in the kitchen together is restorative and creative. We dream fluffy dough dreams, cherish the process of rising and rolling, and transform our favorite flavors into carb-wrapped goodness, à la Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls. Then, I gobble them up immediately. I promise our relationship is healthier than it sounds.

Goat Cheese Spinach Swirl Rolls. Whole wheat swirl bread with spinach and goat cheese filling. Easy make ahead recipe.

One of the questions I receive most often is, “What’s your favorite thing to bake?” Asking me to answer this question is like asking me to name my all-time top Back Street Boys tune—practically impossible. Under duress, however, I will answer: swirl rolls of all sorts (and “I Want It That Way.”)  Nothing makes me quite as giddy in the kitchen as dreaming up all manners of fabulous fillings, wrapping them in carbs, then baking them into fluffy, puffy, golden swirls of glory. They make me a lot of friends, too.

Goat Cheese Spinach Swirl Rolls. Whole wheat savory swirl buns stuffed with spinach and herbed goat cheese.

Psst! Want to know what other questions I’m asked all the time? Check out my FAQs!

The swirl rolls I dream up most frequently are of the sweet variety (reference: Chocolate Chai Cinnamon Rolls; Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls; Yukon Gold Cinnamon Rolls), but lately I’ve been feeling that a practice as marvelous as wrapping tasty things in carbs shouldn’t be restricted. Spinach Goat Cheese Swirl Rolls are my first foray into savory swirl roll baking, and I am a believer.
{Continue reading and snag the recipe…}

April 3, 2014
by Erin Clarke
47 Comments

Sunburst Spring Vegetable Quiche with Puff Pastry

My feelings manifest themselves as baked goods. If I ever take the couch, the therapist should bypass my childhood and ask me about Sunburst Spring Vegetable Quiche with Puff Pastry Crust.

Sunburst Spring Vegetable Quiche with Puff Pastry Crust. An easy, gorgeous quiche with asparagus, carrots and leeks.

Understanding my mood and emotional state is not difficult—just check my pantry and fridge.

I bake to remember those I’ve loved and lost, to celebrate milestones, and to relive adventures. My time in the kitchen offers me the opportunity to recreate memories of times gone by and to express hopes for the future.

Sunburst Spring Vegetable Quiche with Puff Pastry Crust is every fiber of my being longing for springtime picnics, temperate outdoor runs that don’t necessitate layers of spandex, and an abundance of fresh produce. I might not be able to force tulips from the ground or consecutive 60+ degree-days into the forecast, but I can bake my favorite spring veggies into a gorgeous quiche that shines like the sun.

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