Just a Girl Trying to Find Her Place in This World

Oh I'm just a girl on a mission…

Tag Archives: Cooking

“Oh This is the Night, What a Beautiful Night…”

So I think I’m lonnnnnng overdue with a post… and since it’s been SO long, I’ve decided to include a special treat for you… A RECIPE!

However! This is not just any baking recipe, no…. this is a DINNER recipe! I’m broadening my horizon… Today I made Lasagna Cupcakes (which my friend named them, and, lets face it, it sounds so much cooler than individual lasagna cups…) I actually saw the idea on Pinterest.com – a website I have become absolutely addicted to… I just wish I could get my own invite for it… sigh. Anywho… Before I give you this fantastic recipe, a quick goal update.

First off: New Years Resolutions: I’ve lost 2 inches around my waist, and have been eating all healthy (I gave up pizza and only had one piece of lasagna today) other than on Saturday at work, when I ate a macaroni and cheese that contained 123% of your daily intake of saturated fat. That’s right. 123%. We sell them at work, and they’re oh so good… but oh so bad… Anywho, I hadn’t eaten anything all day, it was like 5:30pm….  Let’s just never speak of that again.

Monthly Goals: Saturday was another challange…. after going almost two weeks without Tim Horton’s (Saturday would have been day 11) I got stuck working in the freezer for 3 hours, and was then asked if I was going to Tim Horton’s…so I went. HOWEVER, my friend gave me a $5.00 gift card for Tim Horton’s for going, and told me to use it and keep whatever was left after I bought his tea… So TECHNICALLY I didn’t spend any money on Tim Hortons… I made a $1.95 for going…. So can I still count Saturday as a day I did not spend money at Tim Horton’s…. keep my streak going? Please?

Ok, so, before I bore you anymore, LASAGNA CUPCAKES! Now, if you make your own lasagna already, you can simply use your own recipe for the fillings… if you don’t never fear! I never have either!

So I got my recipe off a lasagna noodle box… but I had a bit of trouble converting the measurements… So I estimated a bit… and it turned out great! I got 3 opinions from school (two people I only met today) and 3 family opinions, and 2 work opinions… and everyone liked it, so yay! The outer shells were a little dry as they stuck out of the cupcake trays and therefore had no sauce on them to moisten them… but they were still edible. I am going to try something different next time to try and avoid the outer shell from drying up.

Lasagna Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 package lasagna noodles
680 ml of spaghetti sauce
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup of water (I actually think I skipped this… my spaghetti sauce was thin enough)
450 grams (1 pound) of Ricotta Cheese
1 egg beaten
2 cups shredded cheese (I bought a bag of 4 cheese Italiano mixed – Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, and Provolone  – but you can also use a mix of just Mozzarella and shredded Parmesan)
12 Cupcake papers

Directions:

(Keep an eye on the lasagna cupcake second from the left on the top row… I referred to it as the ‘perfect one’ as everything seemed to work out perfectly for it right from the very beginning.)

1. Preheat oven to 200C (375F) and line a cupcake tray with squares of parchment paper (I actually prefered using cupcake papers, I did some with parchment paper squares and some with cupcake papers… and I found the cupcake papers helped hold the shape better – the ‘perfect one’ was made in a cupcake paper)

2. Boil your lasagna noodles for 2 minutes less than the box instructs you to (I used oven ready lasagna noodles and boiled them slightly to soften them enough to work with. This may have been my first mistake. Next time I’m going to use the regular lasagna noodles that need to be boiled first… maybe boiling oven ready ones overcooked them?)

3. When the noodles are soft enough, allow them to cool slightly (so you don’t burn yourself) and form them into a circle in the cupcake  holders (the noodle will overlap a bit, about 2 inches) Cut the remaining noodles into squares (You’ll get approximately 4-5 squares per noodle, depending on the size your cupcakes – I also found it was easier if I removed the bumpy edge of the lasagna noodle from these squares)

4. In a saucepan, brown your ground beef. When it’s browned, drain the grease and add the pasta sauce to the pan and bring it to a simmer.

5. While your beef is browning, you can mix up your cheeses. Beat your egg, then add the ricotta cheese and the shredded cheese blend. Beat it all together with an electric mixer. (You can also add salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg if you desire)

6. Put a small drop of your sauce mixture on the bottom of each cupcake tin. Place a square of lasagna noodle on the bottom of the cupcake tin.

7. Add a teaspoon of your sauce mixture into the lasagna cup. Then add a teaspoon of your cheese mixture. Don’t be stingy. Top these two layers with a square of lasagna noodle. Repeat once more.

8. On top of your last lasagna noodle square, place another teaspoon of your sauce mixture, then sprinkle with some shredded cheese (or use half a teaspoon of your cheese mixture if any remains)

9. Bake for 30 minutes in the oven or until the edges are a dark golden/light brown colour and the cheese on top is darkened. Remove from the oven, sprinkle each cupcake with a pinch of shredded cheese, then place them back in the oven only long enough for the cheese to melt on top.

10. Remove from oven and serve hot. (You can add a teaspoon of lasagna sauce to the finished lasagna cupcake in order soften the outer shell a bit if you’d like)

Just as a side note, the next time I try this recipe, I’m going to cover the cupcake tray with aluminum foil to try and lock the moisture in and stop the outer shell from drying out. I may also try soaking the outer noodle in pasta sauce to help it keep the moisture…

“We Will Still Be, Friends Forever…”

Ooh do I have a treat for you today!

So while I’m still refining my list of new year resolutions, and sulking about going back to school in less then two days, I decided to try my hand at a new recipe. I was reading Cosmopolitan the other day and came across a recipe for ‘Superlight Chocolate Chip Cookies” and saved the recipe for later. Not only are they low calorie (which is great for my new health kick that I’m going on) but they’re also flour/gluton free. As some of you may remember from my post on the flourless chocolate torte I made, one of my best friends of almost 15 years just discovered this summer that she was allergic to white flour, so when I find these gluton free recipes, I get a little extra excited now. It’s because I’m such a great amazing friend!

Before I give you the recipe, I have to tell you. These things are amazing. They’re so light and fluffy, and they actually taste really good! I won’t lie, I was iffy at first about the recipe, but I really enjoyed them. The recipe is really easy to follow as well… one of the easiest ones I’ve made so far on my baking discovery journey. Enjoy!

Superlight Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

4 Large Egg Whites
¼ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
¾ Cup Sugar
½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
¾ Cup Mini Chocolate Chips (I used regular sized ones)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks begin to form.

3. Pour in sugar ¼ cup at a time until incorporated.

4. Add vanilla and beat until glossy, stiff peaks form – be careful not to overbeat.

5. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

6. Drop by spoonful onto baking sheet and bake in the oven for 40 minutes (This is where I found the problem. I have little to no patience… So after about 25 minutes, they were golden brown, so I took them out. Tasted them. They tasted great. The second tray I let cook longer… didn’t like it as much. Still good, not great.)

After 25 minutes

After 40 minutes

7. Let cool before storing – you can store them for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

I know, I have no patience, but honestly, they tasted better after 25 minutes… But if you prefer to cook them the whole 40 minutes, they taste good that way too. I’m just a rebel like that.

“We Gonna Party Like, Like it’s 2012…”

Happy 2012 everyone!

This is officially going to be my New Years Eve post, as I was in no state to write a blog last night… and I plan on writing another one tonight. So… Happy New Year!

I hope all you lovely people have a fantastic year ahead of you, full of health and happiness and good reading! 🙂

Today I’m going to go over my December Self Challenges (*cringe*) and see what I did with my first official challenge month… I think I need to focus more on the challenge aspects daily… or even just bring them up once a week so I can remember them and keep them in focus.

December Challenges, Recap!

Cook Healthier: Yea, the beginning of the month ruined me. I was in exam mode for the first week and had the largest sweet tooth I have ever had. And the more sugar I ate, the more I wanted. The more chips I inhaled, the more I bought. It was horrible. Then the Christmas rush came at the end of the month, and… well… This was a nice epic failure this month, but I don’t want to give up. I’m more determined now to get back on track, I didn’t really realize how bad I had actually gotten until I look back at this month. The amount of  junk I ate was ridiculous.

Tone up for Christmas: Alright, again, the not eating right kind of threw this one off. But I still managed a little to keep it up. Just not as well as I had hoped. The problem with this challenge I think was that it was too generic. I’m going to have to get more specific.

Save Tim Horton’s Money: Hahahaha…. Fail. Enough said.

Write Some Stories: I haven’t failed this one!! I got some of my rewriting done! Yay! I still have more writing I want to do though…

Try at Least Three New Recipes: Check, check, check! Hot Chocolate Truffle Balls, White Chocolate Truffle Balls, Shortbread, Cinnamon Rolls, Funnel Cakes… CHECKMATE!

Read Some Good Books: Umm….

Try Some New Hair Styles: I did this too! Another check! I did pigtail half braids, fancy little updo for Christmas… CHECK!

 Take Some Winter Photography: So, I did attempt this. I got some nice shots of the Christmas trees… but we haven’t gotten any snow, so outside winter pictures just aren’t happening yet. But I did get a few seasonal shots… so Check?

Well, I guess it was a sort of win-lose month. Not a complete failure, but I could do better.

 

“I Wanna be a Billionaire, So Freakin’ Bad…”

I think my post was magic yesterday… I said “let it snow” and it snowed today! So I’m going to try a magic post again…  fingers crossed this one comes true too! 😛

But completely unrelated to my title, today’s post includes a special treat…. another recipe! Yay!!! Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I would write about today, all I really did was work…. There weren’t even a bunch of crazy customers in today that made a funny story… nothing! But while stocking the canola oil on the shelf, an idea hit me! It’s been AGES since I made my own funnel cakes! Then of course, once I get an idea in my head… well… guess what I made? Hahaha

So for those of you who might not be familiar with funnel cakes,they’re mainly a carnival/fair type treat, also known as Elephant Ears or (mainly here in Canada) Beaver Tails! The Wikipedia definition states that ” Funnel cakes are made by pouring batter into hot cooking oil in a circular pattern and deep frying the overlapping mass until golden-brown.” They’re delicious! Most typcially, they are topped with icing sugar, strawberries, and whipped cream or ice cream…. or just icing sugar. But they can be topped with any fruit really. Or anything I guess… the ones I always see are topped with strawberries though…. and not just because strawberries are my favourite…. really. I think strawberry topping is the most common… 🙂

Anywho, I’ve made them before, but I couldn’t find the recipe… but guess what!? I found an even BETTER recipe! They’re fluffier and yummy… it’s so good!

When I make them homemade however, they don’t look exactly like that… and I’m too lazy to get extra toppings for them…. maybe next time.

Without further ado though,

Funnel Cakes:

1 egg
2/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

1. In a deep skillet, heat about two cups of oil over medium-high heat until hot. Test the temperature by dropping a pinch of flour into the hot oil. If it sizzles right away without smoking, it’s perfect.

2. Beat egg and milk together.

3. Mix all other ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly add to the egg mixture, beating until smooth.

4. Using a funnel (or my personal favourite, a ziploc baggie with the corner cut off – which also allows you to decide how thick you want the dough to be) drop into hot oil working from center outwards in a web pattern. (Or just make a crazy pattern…)

4. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, (About a minute per side) remove from the oil when golden brown and crispy.

5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve

Just for the record as well, those are two different funnel cakes…. hence why the pattern is different. I made some, ran them to work for a friend, and then made more. I’m also sorry for the picture quality… I was using my phone.

Honestly, this is one of the easiest recipes I’ve tried, and they were so good and fluffy! Give it a shot! Trust me, they’re awesome!

“Blame it on the Mistletoe, What Happened There Nobody Knows…”

HAPPY HUMP DAY

Soooo it’s Wednesday, middle of the week, another day closer to Christmas (10 more days!)

To mark today, let’s do a Challenge update:

1) Cook Healthier: Ok, I’ll admit, not doing the greatest on this one, I have been EATING healthier, more fruits and veggies, less chips and pop…. but cooking, well…. not really. I did make macaroni and cheese the other day though from scratch, and a chicken and vegetable pie… that was pretty healthy I guess.

2) Tone up fro Christmas: I got another great workout in today, so that’s good, slow and steady.

3) Save Time Hortons Money: Haha…ha… yeaaaaaa…. About that….

4) Stories: I haven’t written any new stories, but I have been editing/re-aquainting myself with my fanfiction trilogy so I can finish it this month… so, kind of getting in more writing. But to be fair, I took a mini break after the week and a half of straight essays I had. Lol

5) Try at least three new recipes: Well I did the hot chocolate truffles… and the whie hot chocolate truffles? But I guess we’ll count that as one. Then the shortbread cookies I made are two…. and the other shortbread cookies? Well, We’re going to say two, I’m sure I’ll fit something else in before New Years!

6) Read Some Good Books: Yea, no. I’m sorry. I’ve been too busy consuming my free time with baking and Christmas movies.

7) Try Some New Hair Styles: I’ve done this a bit… crunched my hair the other day because it was raining, and when ever I walk home in the rain my hair curls a bit, but by the time I got to school it had stopped raining and it kinda looked pathetic (my hair)… planning on a different type of braid tomorrow though 🙂

8) Photography: I’ve done this! What I can at least… still waiting for some snow…. Check it out!

9) Daily Christmas Movies: I’m on top of this one and y’all know it! Today’s Daily Christmas Movie: Holiday Engagement! It’s about a girl who hires a ‘fake fiancee’ after hers breaks up with her to advance his career. The break up comes a week before Thanksgiving, where her entire family is anxiously waiting to meet the long awaited fiancee. Her mother is very adamant about all three of her daughters being in relationships, and naturally, all hilarity breaks out when David is hired to pretend to be her fiancee Jason. It’s an incredible movie! One of my new favourites! Go check it out y’all!

On a side note, I also got to watch Glee’s Christmas special/midseason finale. That was really enjoyable as well.