4th of July Cobbler

Today was a lovely, low-key day to relax and enjoy some much needed down time with my husband. After a lazy morning we hung up the flag and then went out for bagels and a trip to one of our favorite places - Microcenter (it is the best we have since Colorado doesn't have Fry's...super sad). On the way home we picked up a couple things at the grocery store so I could make peach cobbler with some peaches that were very ripe and needed to get used quickly. 

Paula Deen's Peach Cobbler recipe was super easy with minimal ingredients and dishes required. Before cooking I also took the 5 minutes to watch the Food Network video so I would have a good idea of what the steps would be. Here's how easy it was:

Melt 1 stick butter in 3 quart pan while oven preheats.
Slice peaches (I used 6).
Add 1 cup sugar
Add 1/2 cup water

Bring peaches to boil & simmer 10 minutes.

Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour, 1 1/2 cups milk.
Pour mixture over melted butter (don't mix).

Add peaches to top of pan, bake in 350 oven 30-45 minutes, and voila!
The final product with some old fashioned vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful day and continues to have a great weekend.

After an incredibly long hiatus I am back to taking some (not-so-good) pictures of my cooking and documenting my trials and tribulations in the kitchen. My newest issue is altitude, and it has become my arch nemesis! I have lived in quite a few states considering my age, but all of them have been at sea level. I never had a problem grabbing a recipe off the internet or from my overflowing cookbook shelves, until now. Almost every.single.thing I cook or bake since arriving in Denver in July has been below average or practically inedible. I have always loved to bake, and when we moved to California on our own I started baking a lot and getting fairly good at it. I was known at work for the yummy baked goods I brought in often. It was a sort of IT Manager meets Betty Crocker dynamic, and I quite enjoyed it. I never realized that recipes could be written poorly, because at sea level you never notice the imperfections that become glaring at above 5,000 feet. Now that I am in Colorado I have to be picky about the recipe I use, make sure it is from a credible source and can be adapted to the altitude. I've tried brownies - they puffed up over the pan and then sank in the middle, creating a valley of chewy crumbles that refused to leave their pan; I searched for days in October for the perfect recipe to make spice cake for the hubby's big 30th birthday - it came out tasting like some spiced chemistry experiment gone wrong (I then whipped up a box mix and it came out fine, boy did that frost my...well, you get the idea); after a number of other failed baking trials I decided to invest in something to help me out. Everything I read praised the cookbook Pie in the Sky - Successful Baking at High Altitudes... by Susan G. Purdy. "Aha!" I thought, you can't go wrong with a cookbook made specifically for struggling bakers at high altitudes, can you?

Another blogger's carrot cake post gave me a hankering, and the name of the recipe in the book is "Colorado Carrot Cake" - it must be a sign! So I set off to baking...

I followed the directions to a T, greased and floured my silicone bundt pan like it was going out of style (one of the common problems for baking here is things not wanting to release from their pans properly), and made sure to test a few spots on the cake when the timer went off. When the tester came out clean I removed the cake and let it cool for a good hour or so before trying to get it out. After much coercion, I got the cake to come out fully intact (a success in itself). I made the frosting and lathered it over the cake before cutting out 2 generous pieces for myself and the hubby. The result? The flavor was fine, but the consistency was solidified on the edges and gooey in the middle. For the next few days I tried to salvage what I could by eating out little chunks of cake on the edges, but once the cake was about 1/2 gone I couldn't manage any more and it went into the garbage ='(

What went wrong? Honestly, I think if I knew my baking would be a little better after being here for 10 months. Someone told me they don't use silicone bakeware, so I am going to nix using my lovely pans and see if that makes a difference. I also heard that the metal cake testers sometimes lie compared to the good ol' toothpick. A local baker recommended a scale for baking so I can be accurate with my measurements, so I picked up a Cuisinart one with my 20% off coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond.

I am determined to bake something successfully, so I will keep trying things and see what works. I just hope something goes right soon, because I need my baking relaxation back!

Spa Specials

Hawaii - NCL Pride of America 3/14/2009

Here are the cruise documents from our wonderful trip to Hawaii. More detailed review and some trip advice to come soon. If you have any questions please post as comments and I will try to answer them asap.

Freestyle Daily Embarkation Day Honolulu

Freestyle Daily Maui Day 1

Freestyle Daily Maui Day 2

Freestyle Daily Hilo

Freestyle Daily Kona

Freestyle Daily Kauai Day 1

Freestyle Daily Kauai Day 2

Disembarkation Freestyle Daily

My Sweet 100

This morning while trying to catch up on the hundreds of blog entries I have missed in Google Reader, I saw that Judy of Judy's Gross Eats posted a list of the 100 sweets she has eaten. These are quick and fun, so here is mine:

1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!
2) Bold all of the sweets you’ve eaten!
3) Cross out any of them that you’d never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your “To Do” List.

1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torte
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
7. Black and White Cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar (aka Magic Bar or Hello Dolly Bar)
9. Fried Fruit Pies (sometimes called hand pies)
10. Kringle
11. Just fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with Clotted Cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle, or Pandowdy
14. Halvah
15. Macaroons
16. Banana Pudding with Nilla Wafers
17. Bubble Tea (with tapioca “pearls”)
18. Dixie Cup - I don't know what this is, and couldn't find it online...can anyone help me out?
19. Rice Krispie treats
20. Alfajores
21. Blondies
22. Croquembouche
23. Girl Scout Cookies
24. Moon Cake
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
28. Nanaimo Bar
29. Baba Au Rhum
30. King Cake
31. Sachertorte
32. Pavlova
33. Tres Leches Cake
34. Trifle
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
39. Napoleon/Mille-Fueille
40. Russian Tea Cake/Mexican Wedding Cake
41. Anzac Biscuits
42. Pizzelle
43. Kolache
44. Buckeyes - I didn't think I had had these, until I Googled it and apparently they are peanut butter balls - a recipe I make every Christmas that was passed down from my dad's mom, to my mom, to me.
45. Malasadas
46. Moon Pie (this is a repeat I think)
47. Dutch Baby
48. Boston Cream Pie
49. Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
50. Pralines
51. Gooey Butter Cake
52. Rusks - I have had zwieback toast, does this count?
53. Daifuku
54. Green Tea Cake or Cookies
55. Cupcakes from a Cupcake Shop
56. Creme Brulee
57. Some Sort of Deep Fried Fair Food
58. Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
59. Jelly Roll
60. Pop Tarts
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An “Upside Down” Dessert (pineapple upside down cake or tarte tatin)
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a Mold
65. Black Forest Cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
67. Kulfi
68. Linzer Torte
69. Churro
70. Stollen
71. Angel Food Cake
72. Mincemeat Pie
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle/ Lobster Tail
76. Pain au Chocolat
77. A Piece of Gingerbread House
78. Cassata
79. Cannoli
80. Rainbow Cookies
81. Religieuse
82. Petits Fours
83. Chocolate Souffle
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstashen
87. Homemade Marshmallows
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or Cake made with Candy Bar Flavors (Snickers Pie, Reeses Pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
92. Gateau Basque
93. S’mores
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas Foster or some other Flaming Dessert
96. Joe Froggers
97. Sables
98. Millionaire’s Shortbread
99. Animal Crackers
100. Basbousa

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Chocolate Brownies

As soon as they came out in the stores the Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses became famous on the cooking board I frequent, and I ran out to Target to try them. Unlike the solid chocolate kisses I am used to, these flavored kisses are soft and have a different flavored filling inside. At first bite I was not a huge fan, probably due to the soft texture (well..it was in the 80's here in California), so I stuck some in the fridge and found the cold version to be more enjoyable. When I saw Erin post this recipe in her blog, Dinner & Dessert, for brownies and these kisses I knew I had to try it.

Erin's recipe was adapted from "Baking From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan, and although I have been eager to try one of Dorie's famous recipes I had to pass this time because I didn't have bittersweet chocolate on hand. Instead I looked around and tried Katie's Smooth Chocolate Brownies.

The final product turned out ok, my husband says he likes the texture of these brownies but I think I overcooked them a bit because they are more on the chewy side than I like. I also had some serious technical difficulties when I was melting the kisses. After the alotted minute they did not seem melted enough, so I popped them back in for another 30 seconds and it was all down hill from there =/ The longer I cooked them the harder they got and I think I went past "melting" and had moved on to "cooking" them. Oops! I knew I could not swirl them into my melted brownie batter with them chunky, so I added a little water to try to loosen the batter. It started to look promising and then quickly began separating. I warmed it up a bit more, mixed vigorously, and quickly globbed it into the pan. It hardened before I could swirl it in, but the end result after baking was alright. Not the best dessert I have ever made, but you cannot really go wrong with pumpkin flavored chocolate and a glass of milk =]

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Chocolate Brownies
(inspired by Erin of Dinner & Dessert. Brownie recipe courtesy of Katie at Good Things Catered)


2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. Sugar
2/3 c. unsalted butter
1/4 c. water
3 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
45 Hershey’s Pumpkin Pie Spice Kisses

- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare 13x9 baking sheet
- Combine flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside
- In small saucepan over medium low heat add sugar, butter, and water and bring to a boil
- As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from heat and add chocolate chips and vanilla
- Stir constantly until chocolate is melted and combined
- Pour chocolate mixture into bowl of stand mixer
- Turn mixer on low and beat in eggs, one at a time
- Slowly add flour mixture until just combined
- Unwrap kisses into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. - - Stir until smooth, and then drop by spoonfuls into the brownie batter.
- Using a knife, swirl the batter to create a marbled effect.
- Pour into pan and bake in oven for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean

Mom's Baked Macaroni and Cheese (w/ Ham)

There are a few signature dishes that I fondly remember my mom making all my life, and this mac and cheese is one of them. When I moved to California 6 years ago she gave me the Betty Crocker cookbook she uses for the basic white sauce/cheese sauce. Whenever I pull it out I always think of mom and can picture the little red paperback sitting on the table or near the stove, usually with a little bit of flour on it. I am thankful that my mom always let me cook with her and "help" in the kitchen, even though it probably doubled the time for her to get a meal on the table. I can't wait to share these classic recipes with my kids someday, and to teach them the basics of cooking for the day when they set off on their own adventures. I especially am excited to have moments in the kitchen with my mom and my kids, I think it will be a really exciting new chapter in the great relationship my mom and I have to make those memories together with 3 generations. Thanks for teaching me so much, mom, especially this homemade mac n cheese that always makes my husband happy ;) I love you.

Mom's Baked Macaroni and Cheese (with Ham)


4 tbsp Butter
4 tbsp Flour
1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
2 cups Milk
1 cup Cheese (I usually use sharp or medium cheddar)
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Cups Elbow Macaroni
1 Package of cooked, diced/cubed ham (you can also use leftovers or substitute cooked sausage, keilbasa, broccoli, asparagus, or green beans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, cook macaroni to package specs until al dente and drain.

Meanwhile make a basic white sauce: melt the butter and slowly stir in the flour and dry mustard. Once incorporated begin to add the milk gradually. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and add cheese a small amount at a time until fully melted and incorporated. Add salt and pepper.

Combine cooked macaroni, cheese sauce, and meat/vegetables in a 2 quart casserole dish and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Copyright © 2008 - Tyrna's Modest Morsels - is proudly powered by Blogger
Smashing Magazine - Design Disease - Blog and Web - Dilectio Blogger Template