Monthly Archives: January 2017

Using Up Leftovers & How to Make Whoopie (Pies)

Plate o’ yumminess! *om nom nom* Oh, did you want some?

Whoopie pies. Ever made them? Ever eaten them? Ever even heard of them?

I’ve always read about whoopee pies (usually in novels set in Amish country) but never actually tasted one. They’re basically two super-puffy, cake-like cookies sandwiched together with some buttercream/marshmallow-y/fluffy icing-type filling. It’s always sounded rather unhealthy to me. Surely one cookie, sans icing, is healthier? (Not that I eat one cookie at a time. But theoretically speaking, it would be healthier, yes?)

Despite my love of health, healthiness, and moderation (except when it comes to chocolate), I decided to make some whoopie pies recently.

Why? Well, I had some leftover buttercream sitting in my fridge, and I really hate wasting food. I’m such a #wastenotwantnot sort of person. This even spills over into other areas of my life. The DH calls it ‘clutter’; I call it ‘crafting supplies’, and am forever whipping up pretty and useful things from leftover scraps of this and that. Which is sort of what happened in this case.

I had a whole pastry piping bag full of mint buttercream, leftover from various delicious baking sessions, and was brainstorming ways to use it up. Cupcakes? Did that recently. Mini cupcakes? Also did that recently. Frosting for soft cookies? Eh, doesn’t travel well, and I can’t eat a whole batch of cookies (well, obviously I could, and quite happily would, but my scale would be tsk-tsk-ing at me and I try to avoid that).

Then I thought…what about whoopie pies?!?!

It was the perfect opportunity to play around in the kitchen, bake something yummy, and use up that buttercream!

I made the cake/cookie part twice, just to make it was perfect. Not because I wanted to eat them. No, no, the second batch was purely for blog research purposes. (The happy tummy was just a happy coincidence.)

Choco-minty goodness!

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Buttercream Frosting

Depending on whether you want large or small whoopie pies, spread heaping tablespoons or heaping teaspoons of the dough onto a silicone baking mat or a greased cookie tray. Be sure to spread the dough out, as it will bake up super-high.

Bake according to directions, or until top is springy, but not tooo firm. Let cool.

Pipe buttercream between two cookies and squish together. Let sit (or chill in the fridge) to let the cookies suck some of the moisture out of the buttercream and really stick together.

Sprinkle with cocoa powder or icing sugar for a fancy touch just before serving, or wrap in wax paper if you’re packing them for lunches/snacks/picnics, or just bring a container of them to work (as I did) and watch them disappear.

They’re pretty delicious, aren’t they? I was told by a co-worker that the consensus was that from now on, I have to bring at least three servings per person whenever I bring any baked goods to work. I’ll take that as a compliment. 🙂

These whoopie pies are easily customizable, obviously. Switch up the fillings! Wouldn’t some vanilla-orange buttercream with flecks of orange zest be delicious in these? Or perhaps stirring in a bit of leftover mince-meat with some vanilla buttercream for yet another #wastenotwantnot taste adventure?

I mean, cookies and buttercream. How can you go wrong?

Next Post: Memories of (Lunchtime) Meals Past, or my grandmother’s Chocolate Vla (Pudding) recipe. Should I go healthy or nostalgic? Vote in the comments!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And Meal Plan Monday – Cookie Edition!

A Simple & Sassy Side Dish: Apricot & Zucchini Couscous

Only three ingredients, and ready in a jiffy!

Ok, it’s winter. Let’s talk soup.

So, I tend to cook a lot of soups. This is for several reasons: I can make it when I have time and stick it in the fridge for the next day, soups are easy to make, and I only have to make one dish if I serve it as a main course. Because side dishes? Such a pain to manage the timing of the cooking of all the different elements of a traditional meat-and-two-veg dish.

And then I came across this side dish!

Super-quick to make, it fits all my soup-er (ha!) criterion: I can stick it in the fridge and pull it out the next day, and it’s an easy way to add a side that a) delicious and b) healthy. It’s low-fat, has only three ingredients, and is chock-full of healthiness!

And did I mention it’s tasty? Because it’s tasty. 🙂

I’ve served this as a side dish, and I’ve also served it as a salad with a little balsamic dressing on it. (Hey, you do you!)  Honestly, it was MUCH quicker to make than you’d think. Try it, and see for yourself!

Apricot and Zucchini Couscous

  • 1 c. coucous (I bought mine at a local bulk food store)
  • dried apricots (also bought at the local bulk food store)
  • 1 zucchini

Boil 1 c. salted water. Add couscous and let sit for 5 minutes with a lid on the pot, until water is absorbed. Meanwhile, grate zucchini, and chop dried apricots into small chunks (1 apricot equals say, 8 to 10 chunks). Once couscous is rehydrated, stir in grated zucchini and chopped apricots. Let sit until flavours meld/the rest of the meal is done/the table is set. Bam, done!

The heat of the couscous will partially cook the zucchini, and the zucchini will release some water which will rehydrate the dried apricots.

Now isn’t that a quick side dish? And it’s a welcome change from my soup diet!

Next Post: Speaking of soup, should I post a soup recipe? Or those chocolate mint whoopee pies I was talking about before? So many delicious things!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday!

Candy Cane Redux Cookies & What Happens When My Baking Cred is Challenged

Leftover candy canes? Now in cookie form!

Hello dear blog readers!

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been blogging (or baking) as much over the last few weeks. Between some health  issues (now resolved, whoot!) and trying to cut down on my baking so that the DH could lose some weight (it’s hard to watch your weight when your wife is always making delicious things), plus some technical challenges (*shaking fist at combination of mailchimp, hellobar, and sumome apps, plus at self’s lack of technical know-how*), well, the result is blog bog.

I’ve been making and photographing some healthier treats (cough*salads*cough) lately, so those will show up on the blog soon. In the interim…let them eat sugar! Or at least cookies.

Because the DH came home yesterday and handed me a giant container of candy canes. I looked at him. He said that his coworkers had mentioned the recent dearth of delicious baked goods, and challenged me to use up the leftover candy canes lying around the office that no one would eat.

Well.

Challenge accepted!

I went on pinterest, I googled different search terms, I experimented with baking different things (did you know that you can bake and shape candy canes?), and came across some interesting options for leftover candy canes.

I told the DH, I bet that if I turn it into candy cane vodka, it’d be gone in a snap!

He agreed. (I mean, obvs!)

I decided to try something else instead, as I’m pretty sure that however laid-back the DH’s office culture is, the higher-ups would frown on a workforce giddy on peppermint vodka.

So, cookies it was! This is a basic cookie base, with the addition of ground candy canes. It’s really not that minty; it just gives a hint of flavour to a buttery, crunchy, sweet cookie.

Candy Cane Redux Cookies (adapted from www.momvstheboys.com)

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. crushed candy canes (I crushed mine with a mortar and pestle, but I think a sturdy plastic bag and a rolling pin would work just as well)

Mix butter, eggs, sugars, and vanilla together until creamy-looking. Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir into butter/sugar/egg mixture. Once mixed, stir in crushed candy canes.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-9 minutes. They will harden as they cool, so take them out of the oven when they’re still a little soft. Let cool on the tray for two minutes (so they don’t fall apart), and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Eat, drink, and be merry! (Makes about 50 cookies.)

These cookies are much easier than you’d think, and really are a great way to use up those candy canes that are festive in December and mere unwanted calories in January. Best to turn them into delicious, wanted calories, yes? Tee hee!

Next Post: More minty goodness, with chocolate peppermint whoopie pies! Or…faro salad with baby spinach and roasted greens? Hmm, choices, choices.

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday! And Meal Plan Monday – Cookie Edition!

New Year, New Blogging Goals (Plus Dreams of Chocolate-Dipped Kale)

Happy New Year to all!

Happy New Year to all!

A New Year means Big Dreams for my blog! And more importantly, lots of delicious things! I’ve got some pea soup simmering on the stove right now, and dreams of faro and quinoa dance in my head. I was watching a cooking show last night and now I’m all about the ancient grains! (For about two days and then it’s probably back to chocolate. Mmm…chocolate! I wonder what chocolate-dipped kale tastes like?)

I rarely do New Year’s resolutions, as my attitude is why wait until the New Year to make life changes or achieve goals? If there’s something I want to do, I generally go after it when I think of it. (As in the case of chocolate-dipped kale. I think this is something I need to pursue!) However, I do have some goals for my blog for this year. I like to dream big — as P.T. Barnum once said, if you aim for the moon, you may hit the stars! So, my goals for my blog for this year include:

  • complete the Elite Blogging Academy 3.0 course (I’ve signed up already, and am waiting for the doors to open)
  • get a sponsored post
  • monetize my blog (specifically by adding in ads, looking into affiliate marketing, but first and foremost, by putting up a page that states my ‘ethics in blogging’ promise to my readers, followed by a ‘work with me’ page)
  • switch platforms to a more polished and professional one (I’m thinking of the foodie pro theme on the genesis platform)
  • switch to an automated email platform (probably paying for mailchimp, as well as continuing to pay for a P.O. Box)
  • hit 10,000 views/month
  • revamp my pinterest strategy
  • build my email list

So, you know, nothing big! *Any readers who blog will now be clutching their sides and roaring with laughter*

These are all doable goals, but will require consistent, sustained effort. Which is slightly at odds with my no-stress-no-editorial-schedule-blogging-as-fun-not-side-hustle approach to blogging. Which I also want to keep. Hmm. But I’m confident that I can reconcile the two! (As in the case of chocolate dipped kale — healthy AND tasty! Now on my list of recipes-to-make.)

Do you have any New Year’s goals? Any recipes that you’re longing to make/conquer/eat? Regardless, Happy New Year’s to all! And may this year be a fruitful and tasty one!

Next Post: For all my talk of ancient grains, I still have some peppermint buttercream sitting in my fridge and staring at me with limpid eyes. So the first thing on my baking list is probably the chocolate whoopie pies with peppermint buttercream that I mentioned earlier! Definitely an achievable goal. 🙂