Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips
Happy Halloween!

I realize that nothing in this post is Halloween related but...well...sorry. I'm in that awkward stage where I don't go to Halloween stuff anymore (too old/don't do parties) and I don't have kids yet. So Halloween means very little to me currently.

Speaking about spooky events: Hurricane Sandy.
I know it devastated many people and caused a lot of damage. I am so very sad for everyone affected.
But, as for me, personally? Apparently where we live is like a great spot to be in a hurricane. That is the conclusion I've come to after Irene and now Sandy. We live in Astoria and it was rainy and windy but...that was it. Our power stayed on, nothing was damaged. There were just a lot of leaves and tiny broken branches. The end. Oh yeah...and the subways are messed up (that actually really sucks). We were very fortunate and I appreciate all of your kind thoughts and concerns :) You're the best and I love you! And I hope all of you were as lucky as us, and if not I pray that you're able to recover quickly!

On to happier thoughts! TORTILLA CHIPS! This is barely a recipe you guys. They're like...stupidly simple. Like...anyone can do this. Anyone. If you wanna be fancy (like moi) you can make your own tortillas for these, but you could totally just buy tortillas to be super simple. Ridiculously addictive. Michael used this for salsa, I used em for guacamole. Good times :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Homemade Flour Tortillas
YOU GUYS!
It's happening! 

This week I'm finally going to share with you the recipes for (most of) the stuff I made for Michael's birthday!

This week is all about these tortillas, because I used them to make the coming two recipes.

Turns out-homemade tortillas? SO EASY.
For serious.

The hardest part is rolling the tortillas into circles (*sob* I can't make pretty things!)

I'm sort of obsessed with how great they made the apartment smell.

And all the stuff I can maybe make with them.

Ohhh the possibilities.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Something Saturdays (10/27/12)

Life is CRAAAZY right now! This week I filmed for Rock-Star Cafe and a short comedic film. I also worked. And had 2 auditions. And tomorrow I'll be in Maryland for a premiere all day. I need to clean and do laundry you guyssss.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Baked Parmesan Chicken "Fries"

Baked Parmesan Chicken "Fries"
....
..
.
I have some chicken for you.
(somewhere Jen is squealing in delight)

But like...Ok...let me take you on a journey.

Imagine those thin, super crispy, extra delicious chicken tenders that you get at like...a carnival or a pizza place or something. Remember how salty and chicken-y and gloriously fried they are.

Now imagine that you can have that chicken at your house. And it takes you less than an hour to make them. And they're not fried, but baked. So your arteries thank you.

Do you like this scenario? 

Me too.

It's like if chicken fingers were french fries, ya know?

Seriously, one of my favorite new recipes. Michael wholeheartedly approves too. So...ya. 

Chickennnn.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Imagine, if you will, wonderful chocolate chip cookies. 

Cookies that are pillowy and soft on the inside, chewy and delightful.
Cookies with a satisfyingly crisp edge, full of delicious dark chocolate morsels.
Chocolate chip cookies that have just a little extra oomph to them.

Cookies made with almond butter.
Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
These are some of the best cookies, ever. I know I say that fairly often, but it's true!! The almond butter was surprisingly subtle (so much so that, when I asked Michael if he noticed anything special he made a face and asked, "Browned Butter?" I thought the flavor was more distinct than that, but then again, I made them). I felt like the almond butter flavor was more present the fresher they were, but with or without the cookies taste amazing. I really really did love what the almond butter flavor added, though. I really want them again, now. Oh boy, so yummy. You should make some homemade almond butter, then make these cookies! Yes. Yes, that is a grand idea. :D

Monday, October 22, 2012

Homemade Almond Butter

It's National Nut Day!
Would you care to celebrate with some homemade almond butter?
Homemade Almond Butter
This may seem odd to you*, but I did not even realize other nut butter existed, outside of peanut butter.
*(or maybe not)

When I was 20, subletting a room from a friend in Jersey City, I lived with 3 dudes. 3 health conscious dudes. I was also kinda dieting so I'd look ok in my bikini for that one movie. One such boy, a model, was telling me about almond butter and how it was healthier than peanut butter. I tried it. I was like "Huh..it's OK I guess...I'd still rather have peanut butter though."

Fast forward to me having some Godiva truffles, including their roasted almond butter one-OMG. 

Fast forward to me making homemade peanut butter and realizing that I should totally make homemade nut butters all the time.

Fast forward to me making roasted almond butter. I had a smidgen bit of difficulty-the nuts weren't breaking down the way the peanuts had. I then realized I'd have to relent and add oil. So I did. Then, we had perfection. And it was deeelicious. I totally think it's amazing, now. Not better than peanut butter. But just like peanut butter's equally pretty and talented sister, ya know? And it's healthy, so, awesome.

Then I made cookies. Not necessarily so healthy. Whatever. I'll share those later. 

You know what I also did? Smeared some of this goodness on homemade graham crackers for breakfast. Yums-ville.

Discover almond butter. Discover yumminess.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Something Saturdays (10/20/12)

My boyfriend is gone you guys. Like...for the weekend. He went back to Ohio for a wedding. *sigh*

So I'm spending all my time in bed. And reverting to any and all of the behaviors listed here (by people who have apparently been spying on me for the past 4 years).

Oh yeah and I'm also working on a song that I'm going to be singing in an episode of this show I'm in, Rock-Star Cafe. For some reason singing seems much more nerve-wracking than acting.

Wish me luck *gulp*.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Scalloped Potato Leek Gratin

Scalloped Potato Leek GratinI need a mandoline.
Forreals.
Because...slicing potatoes all thin without one=not easy. No sirreee.

Also, writing a post the morning you're supposed to publish it because you forgot up until now and you just woke up=not so easy either. Good morning everyone. 

Anyway! This recipe is the first thing I made from the Savory Sweet Life cookbook! It totally holds up. Potatoes au gratin are delicious in general because, um, yeah, potatoes and cheese. But add some leeks in there and it totally elevates the whole thing. This is the perfect marriage of comfort food and a sophisticated dish to impress. With the holidays coming up I definitely think this would be a winner. 

I wish I could think of more to say, but just trust me on this one: make it. Eat it. Rejoice.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Uncommon Goods Garject Garlic Press-Review

Hi all!

I have a little review for you today.
Uncommon Goods Garject Garlic Press-Review
Photo credit: Uncommon Goods
The wonderful people over at Uncommon Goods (a website you should totally check out btw) gifted me with the offer of receiving one of the products from their site
After browsing a bit, and coveting a lot (um...hi...you can definitely do some holiday shopping here), I decided on the Garject Garlic Press. Why? I'm not sure if you've noticed but...I love garlic. And I use it...a lot. I had a garlic press but it didn't work very well (AKA...couldn't even smash a garlic clove...like...at all. Definitely could not remove the peel), so I was optimistic about the Garject. And boy...was I right! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe---it has a bit of a reputation. And I have been dying to try it ever since I first laid eyes on the recipe. The only thing that took me so long? Bread flour and cake flour. Due to my tiny NYC digs, I don't keep them around, and-in fact-had never even used them before! But when I received bags of King Arthur Flour organic flours to review-and 1 of them was bread flour-I knew I needed to make this happen! I already knew of a cake flour substitute-so that was no problem :) Can I tell you how excited I am that King Arthur Flour has organic varieties?? I try to go organic as much as possible, and I use flour SO MUCH-so I was beyond ecstatic. And I've been having so much fun playing around with the different varieties--but you'll hear more about those later. Moral of the story: organic flour=awesome and they all do an absolutely perfect job. And, hi, yeah, I got to make these cookies:
The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
If you keep up with my facebook page or Something Saturdays, then you know that my old hand mixer died, making these cookies. (Still totally worth it!) Apparently this was too much for her. So, due to this fact, I wasn't exactly able to make this dough according to the exact specifications in the recipe, because it died during the creaming of butter&sugars phase. I ended up mixing most of this by hand. The good news is: the cookies still turned out amazing! So, I don't know if all the exact instructions are necessary, or if this cookie would have been even better if I had been able to follow them. All I can say is-don't freak out if something in the mixing process doesn't go exactly according to plan. Everything will probably still turn out delicious. And, on the bright side of the tragic death of "Mixy" the hand mixer, I was able to buy a brand new one! Woohoo! I think there are many more delicious cookies to come :).
The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
 In Memorium
Mixy the Hand Mixer
2008-2012
"She died doing what she loved best...making cookies"
The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Anyway. Now that we've talked flour and hand mixer drama, let's get down to the nitty gritty about these cookies. What makes them special? They use bread and cake flours, for one thing. They contain delicious, good quality chocolate (hint hint). The cookies are larger (about 5 inches when baked)-providing more distinct textures within one cookie. A little sprinkling of salt on top creates the perfect marriage of sweet with a touch of salty (just enough to bring out the flavors, not enough that you feel like it's a pretzel.) And, the big one: You let the dough rest for, preferably, 48 HOURS! (I know, that is a long time to wait for cookies. Trust me, though, it makes a difference, and is totally worth it!) There's some science behind this, The New York Times article explains it best: 
"A long hydration time is important because eggs, unlike, say, water, are gelatinous and slow-moving, she said. Making matters worse, the butter coats the flour, acting, she said, “like border patrol guards,” preventing the liquid from getting through to the dry ingredients. The extra time in the fridge dispatches that problem." and, it turns out, the originator of the chocolate chip cookie, Ruth Wakefield, chilled the dough too, "At Toll House, we chill this dough overnight,” she wrote in her “Toll House Cook Book” (Little, Brown, 1953). This info is left out of the version of her recipe that NestlĂ© printed on the back of its baking bars and, since 1939, on bags of its chocolate morsels.
Um..yeah...that should not have been left out. Cookies that rest longer bake more evenly, turn a richer shade of brown, and have more complex, nuanced, flavors. I am here to tell you people: these cookies live up to the hype! They delivered everything that I was told they would. I don't have words to express it better. I love these cookies. Are they definitively the best? Matter of opinion. They are definitely SOME of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. Michael prefers the browned butter ones I make (ironic since the boy is never entirely sure what "that flavor" is, lol). I think that's OK. I don't want to, or need to, choose. I can have more than one favorite cookie. So can you. But I definitely recommend this become one of your new favorites. Because...you just do. You'll thank me, I promise.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spotlight on The Messy Baker

Do you guys know Jennie, The Messy Baker? You should.
Jennie is amazing. Her blog is gorgeous. Her food is delectable.
And for some reason she always acts like she likes my blog. MY blog?! This little thing? She was one of the first people that started liking The Cooking Actress and I was just like, "Hi, I'm not sure if you're aware but your blog is like way out of my blog's league." But she appears to not care. And, thusly, has become one of my best bloggie buds! I absolutely adore her and I know you guys will too! Jennie and I are doing each other a solid and sponsoring each other (AKA featuring each other's buttons on our side bars, and writing a special spotlight post about the other)-hence this splendiforous post. Which is pretty much an ode to how much I love her. Sorry guys. Don't puke. We just adore each other, k? We're gonna have a lil Q&A, a round up of my favorite Messy Baker recipes, and some great ways you guys can all go follow The Messy Baker! Oh, and also, go check out what Jennie did for my spotlight over on her blog. (hint: it might be these cookies!)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread
You guys.
I LOVE making bread.
There's something so satisfying about it-and I always am slightly in awe at the finished product, and quite proud of myself. Everyone is right when they say it's addictive. It totally is.

This is a bread that is perfect for breakfast-time. It has a cinnamon swirl, you see. A pretty, happy, delicious cinnamon swirl. And when you toast it and put some butter on it...oh yes. Or you could totally whisk a little milk and powdered sugar together and drizzle it over the bread, and you darn near have yourself a cinnamon roll. I may have even snuck a little whole wheat flour in there. Keeping us all healthy and what-not.*

I wish I could have made my mom some of this-she loves cinnamon swirl bread! She likes to make it into toast for breakfast, so I'm pretty certain she'd like this bread. She was certainly impressed when she saw the pictures. Funny story: on her last visit I was showing her some of the pictures that I've taken of food for the blog and on one of them she was all, "Ooh who took that?" and I was like, "Me, mom." and she was so pleasantly surprised and kind of proud, lol, it was super cute. She's been reading the blog more now. It makes me happy :). This bread makes me happy too. And it will make you happy. So you should totally make it. 

*(if I'm so healthy, why is it that my jeans are tighter than they were? HMM!?...sorry...dealing with some weight panic here. I think I need to start exercising. Ugh.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Something Saturdays (10/13/12)

For those of you who follow my Facebook page-you already know about the untimely (Ok..it was cheap..maybe timely) death of my hand mixer. I appreciate all your condolences. Apparently that cookie batter was too thick for the old girl. On the bright side, I got a new hand mixer and um...it's awesome:
That baby is the Hamilton Beach 6 Speed Hand Mixer (with case). It got amazing reviews and was one of the lowest priced hand mixers I could find (at Bed Bath & Beyond). I cannot wait to break it in!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mini Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes

Mini Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes
I know I've been a terrible tease.
I shared all those photos of the deliciousness that I made for Michael's birthday, and I haven't shared any of the recipes yet. I'm truly sorry.

I promise-I will eventually get around to posting them all! 
In the meantime, if there are any that you're absolutely dying to have, like, right this second-let me know. I'll make sure to put them on here A-tothe-SAP.

So. Cheesecake. Not my cup of tea. Just being honest-I'm not a fan.
That said-I'm aware I'm a minority on this. And Michael, like, completely loves cheesecake. So, I decided to be nice, and make him these adorable mini raspberry cheesecakes for his birthday. And boy, these have lasted! Warning: this recipe makes A LOT. Be prepared for tons of leftovers. That, or make these for a big party or something. I'm serious. We just finished the last of them. His birthday was almost a month ago. Yeah. I also had a really hard time just baking the large volume (#1-I only have 1 muffin tin and #2-only so much room in my oven), I had to do multiple batches and that led to some difficulty. And, after the first batch all sunk down and cracked, I decided to do a water bath for the rest-which is annoying, but I completely recommend you do. All of the difficulties were worth it, though, when I saw how much Michael loves them! Michael likes the size a lot-they're great portions. He says the graham cracker crust is really good and the consistency is nice and fluffy and light-not too heavy like some cheesecakes can be. And there's raspberry-which he really loves. So, all in all, a winner :). I definitely recommend you try these sometime!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Whole Wheat Double Corn Cornbread

Whole Wheat Double Corn Cornbread
So...it's like...cold here now. It actually feels like fall (blech).
We're using the comforter. I have a blanket on at all times. I even wore a *shudder* hoodie!

Do you know what I like to do when it's cold?
Eat comfort food.
"but Kayle you eat comfort food all the time-" Shush!

Cornbread. It's hearty and thick and is served with warm food that helps you chase away the chill.

I don't know about you but, I'd like to have my comfort food and eat it too-without gaining, like, hibernation weight. Because...I didn't really lose anything over the summer so...we just can't have me getting bigger.

 So, when I tackled making this cornbread, I decided to tweak it a smidge. Add more corn to up the veggie level. Sub out some of the AP flour for whole wheat. (I totally messed around with the flour to make it whole wheat-and so can you! You can try to make it all with whole wheat flour, use some white whole wheat flour for part/all of it, go crazy! Go nuts! Experiment!) You can even use coconut oil, if you want, or canola oil, or whatever your favorite healthier oil is. Honestly, there's not much that's bad for you here. It's a pretty satisfying and low guilt dish. And Michael liked it, and so did my cousin Amy (who was visiting after I'd made this and had a little leftover), and of course I did-so really, anyone should :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Waffle Iron Hash Browns

Waffle Iron Hash Browns
I like hash browns.
Do you?
Sure ya do!

One thing I don't like, though: greasy, fried hash browns (especially the ones at like...McDonalds...blech).

Wanna know a super easy way to make your own, non fried, hash browns at home?
Do you have a waffle iron?
Yes? Yes?

Good! Let's make us some hash browns!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Something Saturdays (10/6/12)

It's National Cookie Month. Oh Yeah. So you should hop on over to my recipe index and make 1 (or more) of the bzillion delicious cookie recipes I have over there. Go on. I'll wait.

Ughh you guys! I've been so busy this week! I've been working a ton and the 1 day I had off I had a major allergy attack, so I couldn't even get, like, anything done. Can't wait until tomorrow, then I can relax for a minute (fingers crossed I don't get another allergy attack!).

Oh and a big shout out to all my Aussies out there! You can go see the movie I was in, You Can't Kill Stephen King, in 2013 in Australia!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Creamy Chicken on Biscuits

Creamy Chicken on Biscuits
A few months back my mom is talking to me on the phone, and she's all like:

"Oh, Kayle, I found this old recipe that your grandma use to make me and I've made it for Josh (my brother) a few times. I think you might like it. I just cook some canned shredded chicken, chicken broth, and cream of chicken soup together, then you spoon it on top of some Grands biscuits."

Me: "Yeah, that sounds pretty good. And I could make some homemade biscuits, and my homemade cream of chicken soup recipe, and just roast and shred some chicken."

Mom: "Oh, Kayle. That is so much work, it's unnecessary. Really, it's fine."

Me: "Yeah...no. I'll probably make it my way. It's not that much work, really. It's much easier than you think!"

Mom: *sigh*

Sorry, mom! I did try it her way, first, when I was visiting home back in June and she made these for me. It was good. But...you know...if I can avoid the processed stuff...I will. I have made these like a bzillion times since then. If you see on my Something Saturdays posts that I've made my Simple Biscuits and Cream of Chicken Soup, that means I've been making these. Did you go and look? Yeah, I've made this a lot. Even without the shortcuts (ok...admittedly...I do use the canned chicken usually) this is SUCH a quick and easy dinner. And it's like RIDICULOUSLY delicious. I'm sort of in love with it. Perfect for if you're busy and need to put dinner on the table quick! In fact, if you want to be like my mom and do it the extra quick way, I won't even judge you.

I even put some veggies up in there to make it a real meal. You may notice veggies were not mentioned in that previously transcribed conversation with my mom. Here's a little more from that convo:

Mom: "The recipe calls for some veggies, but I just leave those out."
Me: "Yeah, I'll probably put some corn in there."
Mom: "Really? Hm. Ok."

Do you see where I come from? You guys, she acts like I am way too healthy. You don't even know. All of you who always shake your heads at me and chuckle, "Oh, that silly Kayle. Always eating so unhealthy, never having veggies, just lots of cookies." You just have no idea how far I've come. I was raised in a world where it was totally OK to eat a whole carton of Oreo's in one sitting. Where chips were practically considered lunch. And where dinner came out of a box. I'm not blaming my mom. I adore her. But...yes. I have come quite a long way.

That was a bit off track. I'm serious guys. Eat this for dinner. You will love me. And thank me. If you're a mom this recipe will probs become your best friend. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
So, you know, sometimes I try to be healthy.
Sometimes.

Not like in a, "Oh yes let's eat a bunch of vegetables* for lunch." kind of way, but in more of a "well...these cookies aren't quite...unhealthy."

Obviously.

These are one of the first recipes I'd bookmarked, back when I was stalking sites like "Eating Well" and before I'd discovered what a food blog was. I gotta say, though, this cookies hold up! I tweaked them a smidge according to some comments I read and my own personal tastes and needs, so feel free to play around with it some yourself, too. These cookies really are quite delicious and comforting-they don't taste much different than any other oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. They're just a little better for you :) 

My kind of healthy.

*(As I type this, I have just come back from a 9 hour Green Giant promotion, telling kids to eat more vegetables. The irony is not lost on me. Also-I'm sleepy. I worked a lot these past couple days. Zzzzz)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Nun's Puffs

Nun's Puffs
Nun's Puffs.
Not a clue where that name come from.
Perhaps these were invented by...nuns? I dunno.
My feelings about these little breakfast time treats extends beyond the name-I just can't figure out how I feel about the taste. The recipe made them seem sweeter, and said to serve with honey. But, they're quite egg-y. They taste more savory than I had thought-I'm pretty curious what they would taste like with some cheese and scallions baked in, or something like that. Michael liked them a bunch, either way, and I'm still curious to play around with them more. They're definitely unique, and a good thing to give a try!

(Sorry this is such a short post. I'm working 11 hours for an event out in Manhattan today. Blech. The pay check will make it all worth it...when I finally receive it, 2 months from now. *sigh* The life of a person with a non-real job.)
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