Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Michele's Totally Awesome Gourmet Popcorn!

Boy was I excited to arrive home to this box...
Michele's Totally Awesome Gourmet Popcorn began when the wonderful Michele decided to start selling her beloved whoopie pies...yes...whoopie pies. She began to research how to run such a business. During this time she was also sharing some amazing white chocolate popcorn, and enough people raved about it and told her that she should sell it that...well..she did! She decided to set aside the whoopie pie idea and focus on gourmet popcorn. A family run business, Michele's is run by Michele, her husband, and her 3 children in New Hampshire. All of the flavors are hand-crafted in small batches with quality ingredients and always fresh! You can order their savory and sweet popcorn varieties online, in select stores, and they've recently opened their own store-front in New Hampshire! They've even been selected for the official SWAG bags of the Daytime and Sports Emmy's of 2010, and the 2012 Kid's Choice Awards!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Oat Scones

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Oat Scones
Scones--they evoke imagery of having an English tea on floral patterned, Victorian, furniture and talking about the "Queen Mum". (Who...I...suppose...is this Queen's mom? Yes?).

In my never-ending quest to make more new and delicious breakfast foods (because I have a hard time eating normal, quick, breakfasts for some reason), I decided it was time for scones to make an appearance. And these looked like such a yummy way to introduce myself to them! Brown sugar-yum. Cinnamon-yum. Oats-I'm a fan. Whole wheat-woo hoo! Admittedly, I had a smidgen of a hard time with these. The dough was so wet I wasn't really able to separate/move them to the baking sheets without causing most of the scones to become horribly misshapen. I'm unsure how to solve this issue/what I did wrong. Perhaps I should have put more flour in. However, since this was my first foray into scones, I thought perhaps they were supposed to be that way? But if they are...how in heaven's name can you get them to the baking sheet/separate them from each other after cutting? All my scone making friends-I'd love any feed-back!

Anyway, technical issues aside-these tasted phenomenal! Satisfying, hearty from the wheat and oats, and with just the right amount of sweetness. Definitely one of my favorite things I've made for breakfast...honestly I even ate some as snacks because I had such a hard time keeping myself away from these. They really are so delicious! I suggest you give these a try, they make morning times happy :).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Something Saturdays (7/28/12)

Hello again!


Now, let's talk about my new baking friend, my buddy: The Chip Clip Cookie Scoop.
I first read about these on Averie Cooks and knew I had to get to Bed Bath and Beyond and buy myself some, ASAP. These little beauties are a Godsend. They're super cheap (coming in 2 sizes, the smaller for 3.99 and the larger for 4.99...I bought the larger one...I like big cookies), and work better than I could have imagined! They're very simple: you just scoop the dough, press the big button on the back of the scoop, and the dough easily releases! And you're left with gorgeous, uniform cookies! I'm in love. I've made 1 batch of cookies with the new scoop and I can already tell they are superior in appearance and baked more evenly than any cookies I've made in the past. This was a very, very, very good buy! Yay!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

Guess whaaaat?
That's right.
Another chicken recipe.

I love you, please don't leave me! (although I'm sure Jen is still happy about this :P)

I'm picky! 
But I need some variety! 
So...just be prepared for lots more chicken recipes in your future. 

This recipe is actually more about the sauce than the chicken, so...that's better, right?

The chicken is tasty and juicy, and the basil cream sauce really is unique--Michael was a big fan. He wanted to try putting it on other stuff, too. I adapted the recipe slightly to lower the fat content, by replacing the heavy whipping cream, originally called for, with fat free evaporated milk. It worked perfectly, and tasted awesome!


Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce


Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Herbed Oatmeal Bread

Herbed Oatmeal Bread
I love baking bread.
It's hilarious that, not too long ago, I was terrified of it.
Now I'm a lean(ish), mean(ha!), baking machine!

This herbed oatmeal bread is one of the best breads I've had the pleasure of making! 

And...now...this is going to sound strange but...it tastes sort of like Pizza Hut's breadsticks. But not like greasy. Just delicious. I don't like Pizza Hut's pizza (because it's disgusting, and this is one area where Michael agrees). I used to have to eat at Pizza Hut fairly often, because of some sort of school-related reading program (you read a certain amount and your reward was a personal pan pizza--did anyone else do this/remember this?), so I'm sure that has contributed to my aversion to Pizza Hut, and then there's also the fact that it is the opposite of everything I like in a pizza (I prefer thin crust, not a lot of sauce, and I think Pizza Hut's cheese is one of the grossest things in the world). But, I have always had a weird soft spot for their breadsticks. This bread is a beautiful, fluffy, delicious version of that taste--it's the herb butter, I'm sure, that accounts for the similarities in flavor. I'm not complaining.

This bread is great on the side of a delicious dinner (if you wanna be Italian about it, eat it with some pasta and use it to sop up the sauce), dip it in soup, or just eat it by itself (my preferred method)! The oatmeal in it gives it a nice hearty quality, in addition to the fluffiness, and you get the explosion of flavors from the cheese and herbs that have been baked on top. Magnifico! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Crisp and Fluffy Whole Wheat Waffles

Crisp and Fluffy Whole Wheat Waffles
WAFFLES!
WAFFLES!
WAAAAFFLES!

OK, I don't know who amongst you remembers All Dogs Go to Heaven--but there's this one scene where the little girl eats a bunch of waffles. And they look like the best waffles you've ever seen. 

These waffles blow those waffles out of the water. 

I'm for serious.

These waffles are not only pretty healthy (whole wheat flour and canola or coconut oil!)-but they are the best waffles I've ever had! The outsides are perfectly crisp and inside they are fluffy and wonderful. And, I threw some chocolate chips in mine because that's how I roll (Michael's were plain-he eats waffles like a normal person with butter and syrup. I eat mine with peanut butter on top).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Something Saturdays (7/21/12)

I got something very exciting in the mail a couple days ago:
I won the Savory Sweet Life cookbook from a giveaway on Two Peas and Their Pod (1 of my favorite blogs)! I am so psyched and cannot wait to dive into this (Nutella Lava Cakes, anyone?)!
My cookbook collection is beginning to expand--I need to find some more space in this little NY apartment of mine :P

Friday, July 20, 2012

S'mores Crème Brûlée

S'mores Crème Brûlée

Tomorrow is National Crème Brûlée Day!

S'mores Crème Brûlée

If you've never had regular creme brulee before I can sum up what it tastes like: vanilla pudding with a yummy, crunchy, caramelized top. Pretty great but nothing super life changing. I've never personally made it, however. What I have made are S'MORES CREME BRULEE! WHAAA?

S'mores Crème Brûlée
Yeah. You heard me. 

S'mores. 
Creme. 
Brulee.

Soooo good!

I'm like super in love with all things s'mores. Like really. It upsets me I don't get them more. They are one of my most favoritest things. So when I found this recipe, I made it very soon after. Now, if you know me--you know I prefer desserts warm, in general. And that goes double if toasted marshmallows are involved. So, in spite of what the instructions told me, I had made up my mind to eat one of these while still warm. It was...pretty good. Very runny in texture, though, and nothing spectacular. So I decided to let them chill before I attempted another taste. MUCH BETTER! That'll teach me to ignore instructions. The chilling process really does wonders for the texture, and the flavor, of the custard base (which, when cold, is chocolatey and rich and velvety and absolute perfection). Then you have that amazing crunch of graham crumbs and the warm, gooey flavor of toasted marshmallows. I loved these. I ate them up so quick! 

I WANTED S'MORE! (teeheehee...I'm hilarious...yup)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ultra Thick Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ultra Thick Chocolate Chip Cookies
Hello my darlings! I have a super extra amazing delicious treat for you today: a new chocolate chip cookie recipe! These are the thickest chocolate chip cookies I think I've ever had! You can find some tantalizing photos of their beautiousness and the recipe over at The German Foodie! I'm so excited to guest post for Sofie today, you'll really love her! She's super smart, super sassy, and has gorgeous photos of the delicious (mostly German) dishes she shares. Another fun fact? She lives in a small Ohio town that neighbors the one I'm from-crazy coincidence! Anyway, head on over there now to find the recipe for Ultra Thick Chocolate Chip Cookies and stay awhile once you're there! Enjoy the awesomeness that is Sofie, The German Foodie :).

Unfortunately, Sofie is no longer blogging (I wish her so much luck with her current endeavors and hope she's doing amazing!). Since her website is now gone, I'll repost the recipe for the cookies here:

Ultra Thick Chocolate Chip Cookies


Makes about 16 cookies.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, to be browned 
  • 1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
  • 2 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted, chopped, walnuts
Preparation:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crock-Pot Giveaway/SlimKicker Contest (CLOSED)

THE WINNER OF THE SLIMKICKER CONTEST/CROCK-POT GIVEAWAY IS AMY MARANTINO!:
"i try to add extra excercise by doing jumping jacks while i wait for the microwave to ding or for the coffee pot to brew. those minutes of aerobics add up each day."
CONGRATS AMY--You've won!! Please email team@slimkicker.com to claim your prize!
I have something super fun today!
A CONTEST!
With a fabulous, fabulous prize: a Crock-Pot SCR300SS 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker in Stainless Steel (retails for around $24.99)!
 I'm so jealous. I want that. You guys are so lucky.

This contest is courtesy of:

Slim Kicker is a tool for calorie counting + a game!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Momofuku's Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

Momofuku's Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies
The #1 item I most want from Momofuku's Milk Bar?:
Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies.
Because they sound awesome.

So imagine my excitement when I found a recipe online! 

These are one of the most amazing things I've ever tasted.  Crispy, buttery, sweet, complex, just amazing! All the deliciousness of the cornflake crunch + marshmallows + chocolate chips+a perfect cookie base=mmmmmm. They're huge cookies, also. Like, HUGE. And I somehow ate 3 right out of the oven. I got a tummy ache. Worth it. These cookie did not last long. I couldn't control myself around them. My thoughts constantly went back to how delicious they are. If you're on a diet-do yourself a favor, don't tempt yourself with these. You will not be able to resist.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Something Saturdays (on a Sunday) 7/15/12

AHHH! IT'S ALIVE!
For any of you following on my facebook page/twitter, you'll know a mean (apparently very creative) virus took hold of my computer on Thursday, so I have been unable to post. Thanks to the AMAZINGNESS of Michael's friend Christian, my computer has now been returned to me (not only virus free but also with all of my programs, etc. still on it!) So I am SO SO SORRY to all of you since you were deprived of my awesome Friday post, but don't worry, I shall have it on the blog tomorrow :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cornflake Crunch

Now, technically I'm sharing this recipe because it's a component you'll need for what I share on Friday. But here's a secret: this stuff is delicious all on it's own. Like...really delicious. But trust me, what I've got for you on Friday is like...CRAZY delicious. Out of the world scrumptious. Inconceivably tasty!

Which totally makes up for all the self control you'll need to not just scarf this stuff down. It's really addicting. I had a hard time stopping myself from constantly eating little pieces. So good!

Have you heard of Momofuku's Milk Bar? It's an amazing dessert spot in NYC that I somehow still haven't gone to (and that serves some of the most unusual, yet out of this world delicious, stuff). Christina Tosi, the genius chef behind Momofuku's Milk Bar, shared her delicious brilliance with the world through a Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook! And, through the wonder of the internet, many of these recipes are view-able (from bloggers, articles, etc.) on the internet :). That is where this (and Friday's) recipe comes from! Powdered milk is apparently a big component of a lot of her stuff (milk bar...get it?!) Anyhow, enough back-story, to the recipe!:

Cornflake Crunch

From Momofuku's Christina Tosi via Daily Candy

Cornflake Crunch

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls

Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls
Hey look! A breakfast recipe on a Monday, it's just like old times. :)

This is the first time I have ever made any kind of (non-Pillsbury) cinnamon rolls! I have a bunch of cinnamon roll recipes, but I knew I wanted to start with something a little on the easier side. These were a perfect first effort! They were fairly easy, and only required 1 hour and 15 minutes for rising time. They taste amazing, too! I love the glaze, especially. I'm not a huge fan of thick frosting on cinnamon rolls, and tend to err towards glazes just like this one :). Oh, and they make your house smell amazing. So, you know, there's that.

Anyway, try these cinnamon rolls! The sour cream gives them a little something special, Michael and I loved them, and they're pretty simple to make!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Something Saturdays 7/7/12

We're gonna try a new thing over here at The Cooking Actress!
What is that thing?
...Something.
These Saturdays will be, in addition to a round up of all my posts from the week (in case ya missed something), also just a time and space for me to share anything/everything that is on my mind that day. These posts may not all have the same components. Some stuff may be random. But, I'm gonna ask that you join me on this little journey, because I think it might be fun-k? K :).

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chicken and Biscuits

Chicken and Biscuits
You know what I love?
A dish that is an entire meal. Side dish, veggie, meat and all.
It's just so convenient!
A few weeks back I mentioned I did a promo job at the Book Expo. In addition to seeing a few celebrities (Michael Bolton, Jane Seymour, Chris Colfer...), there were a lot of different booths with a lot of different stuff. But, you know the things that got me really excited? ALL THE COOKBOOKS! I was so excited when I went to the America's Test Kitchen booth and-in addition to some little pamphlets-I got an advanced, un-edited copy of The America's Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook! It is chock full of quick, simple, and delicious recipes! The only thing I'm not in love with, from the book, is all the shortcuts. I'd much rather make things from scratch. So, I adapted this recipe a bit (i.e. making biscuits from normal ingredients, not Bisquick). I can't wait to try out a bunch more stuff from my wonderful, free, cookbook :D

Oh, and this chicken and biscuits recipe? Awesome. The biscuits taste delicious, and add just the right amount of flavor to the rest of the dish. Michael really liked this, and so did I! And so will you!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gervasi Vineyard Review (and Happy 4th of July!)

I'M BACK!
Thank you so much to everyone for all your sweet thoughts and wishes for my trip home! And also, a very special thank you to Kristina and Jen for being awesome enough to guest post for me so you guys had something to read! I love my food blog family :) And, I had an extremely wonderful visit with my family and friends in Ohio. I miss them already.
Today I have a little review to share from my trip. On Saturday, my mom, grandma, Aunt Cindy, and cousins Megan and Lindsey, and I all had a girl's lunch at Gervasi Vineyard.
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