Tag Archives: dessert

Jar Lunch: Homemade Pudding Cups

The Jar Lunch: It’s like a bag lunch or a bento lunch, but the next big thing is lunch packed in a good ol’ mason jar. I have to microwave my lunch at work, so metal containers won’t work and heating up plastic has me worried. We often simply fill mason jars with leftovers, but sometimes it is fun to come up with a clever jar lunch and make a big batch. Lunch for the whole family is already packed.

I won’t turn down a Snack Pack, but nothing from the store compares to homemade pudding. Why not pack it in jars for lunch? Add a little whipped cream – even better. Any half-pint jar will do. If you can’t get the wide mouth half-pints, this would be adorable in the quilted jelly jars.

Being huge fans of lemon desserts (Lemon meringue pie! Lemon curd! Lemon bars!), we decided to try this lemon pudding recipe.

If only we had thought of this sooner.

In case you don’t have a favorite pudding recipe, how about a pudding recipe round-up:

Please add your photos to the Jar Lunch Flickr pool for this or any other jar lunches you make!

See our other Jar Lunches here.

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Jar Lunch: dessert edition

The Jar Lunch: It’s like a bag lunch or a bento lunch, but the next big thing is lunch packed in a good ol’ mason jar. I have to microwave my lunch at work, so metal containers won’t work and heating up plastic has me worried. We often simply fill mason jars with leftovers, but sometimes it is fun to come up with a clever jar lunch and make a big batch. Lunch for the whole family is already packed.

Everyone loves the occasional special sweet in their lunch. I remember the excitement of a Hostess cake in my brown bag. Tomorrow I will post the usual Friday Jar Lunch, but today you get dessert: Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes.

These are best warmed up in the microwave for about 45 seconds before eating so the brown sugar stays gooey and melty. If you don’t have access to a microwave, they are still quite delicious when cool, just a little crunchier.

All you have to do is divide your favorite pineapple upside-down cake recipe into wide mouth half-pint mason jars. I used this recipe and made 7 jar cakes. Pineapple rings are ever-so-slightly too big for the jars, so simply cut a slit in the ring and overlap the ends a bit. I also added maraschino cherries to some and home canned drunken cherries to others.

And if you have a plate available, you can always put your upside-down cake right side-up.

Enjoy!

Please add your photos to the Jar Lunch Flickr pool for this or any other jar lunches you make!

See our other Jar Lunches here.

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Are you ready for Pi Day?

We’ve got a house with both nerds and people of Irish ancestry, so I figure we need to celebrate Pi Day and St. Patrick’s Day this week. I have to admit, I’m most excited about eating pie. I may be working 60+ hours this week, but darnit, I’m going to make some pie. What kind of pie will you be eating?

Here’s a round-up of pie recipes I’m looking at:


Photo via CHOW


Photo via Epicurious


Photo via Serious Eats

Go forth and make pie!

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salted brown butter crispy treats with bittersweet chocolate

We are suckers for some good old-fashioned rice crispy treats. Yes, we are lazy vegetarians when it comes to marshmallows. It’s the s’mores in the summer and rice crispy treats that do it. My favorite variety is peanut butter crispy treats with chocolate chips. When I realized I had somehow never seen Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for salted brown butter crispy treats, I realized I needed to broaden my horizons in the world of rice crispy treats. Brown butter!

I may have detracted a little from the subtle flavor of the brown butter by smothering these in chocolate. I melted a cup of bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips and dipped the already cooled and sliced treats into it before sprinkling the tops with espresso salt. They were heavenly.

So what next? Nutella? Salted caramel? Cocoa puffs? What is your favorite variation on the rice crispy treat?

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Northwest Chocolate Festival

Somehow this is the third year we’ve had a chocolate festival nearby and we just found out about it this year. The three of us piled into the car and headed to Seattle with high hopes. We were not disappointed by the Northwest Chocolate Festival.

First we managed to squeeze our way into the chocolate and coffee pairing demonstration put on by Zoka Coffee and Intrigue Chocolates Co.. What exactly do you look for in a good pairing? What I took away was that each one should make the other better, and what fun to experiment with different flavors. It was most notable when we slurped our coffee (I wish I could recall which one) with the earl grey truffle. Whoa, suddenly there were brand new layers of flavor in my mouth!

We made sure to stop by the Intrigue table so we could try the basil truffles. The chocolatier had talked them up; basil bringing up the nostalgia of grandma’s kitchen and a summer garden. Basil and chocolate – who knew? It’s incredible. We will be taking a field trip to the Intrigue shop in Pioneer Square for sure.

As we wandered from one vendor to the next, I pressured Jess and Levi into trying samples of chocolate with broccoli. They hated it. I thought it was… interesting. Not terrible, but certainly not something I plan to explore further.

Nobody had to twist my arm to try Olive and Sinclair’s Salt & Pepper chocolate. I loved it. No surprise there, really. I love good ol’ cracked black pepper. I’ve tried black pepper soda, so why not chocolate? This company is from Nashville, and they have some quality southern chocolate. I see on their site they have a buttermilk white chocolate bar coming soon. I need to try that. And maybe order a whole bar of salt & pepper, too.

So what makes chocolate exceptional? After reading a lot of informational posters and tasting a lot of chocolate, we all agreed that we truly appreciate these chocolate nerds artisans who perfect their roasts. We tried some raw chocolate samples and hated them. Levi couldn’t stop talking about how you couldn’t really taste the chocolate, you were just tasting the flavors they added. Then we tasted some chocolates made from the same variety of beans from the same part of the world roasted different ways. Mmm, dark roast!

Next we fell in love with Hot Cakes Confections.


Exhibit A: they were smoking chocolate outside. We never did get to try any, but how cool.


Exhibit B: their vintage van


Exhibit C: take and bake molten chocolate cakes in MASON JARS!

It looks like we will have to visit some Seattle area Farmer’s Markets to find more.

It goes without saying, we ate a lot of chocolate. In fact it was so much chocolate, we had to take a lunch break and go get some vegan Chinese food before going back for more. There is so much to show you, it is too much for one post. We will have a little more of Northwest Chocolate Fest to share with you tomorrow.

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Autumnal Cupcakes!

We have mentioned how much we love Cupcake Royale, and you know we’re crazy about pumpkin. So when you combine the two, we suddenly find an irresistible reason to drive to Seattle. Behold! Pumpkin cardamom cupcakes!

Pumpkin goes well with all the spices you find in pumpkin pie, but it wasn’t just cinnamon, allspice and clove. The cardamom elevates this cupcake to another level. I’ve eaten a lot of pumpkin-flavored baked goods, and this was an especially tender and delicious morsel.

Oh, but that’s not all. Cupcake Royale must have been struck by a lightning bolt of genius recently. They have a tiramisu cupcake that can be ordered affogato. The traditional affogato is a scoop of vanilla ice cream with espresso poured over it. We’ve been affogato fans for quite some time. However, Cupcake Royale takes a delicious tiramisu cupcake and drowns it in espresso.

From the moment I heard about the cupcake affogato, I thought it sounded like a good idea. It’s hard to explain how much of a very, very good idea this is. The cupcake soaks up the espresso like a ladyfinger. The icing is mascarpone mixed with Stumptown coffee – a great companion for the coffee-soaked cake. So, basically, there’s nothing about this cupcake that isn’t awesome.

These cupcakes make me want to wear a plaid scarf and my favorite legwarmers while I walk through a big pile of autumn leaves.

xoxo,
Jess

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design-inspired cookies

Jess and I both gasped when we saw one of our favorite design trends on a cookie: CHEVRON!

Check out these chevron-striped cookies from The Adventures of Sweet Sugarbelle.


(Photo by The Adventures of Sweet Sugarbelle)

You know, this could save me a ton of money if I focus on putting some of these design trends we are obsessed with on baked goods instead of around the house.

Be sure to see the list of links on the bottom of her Pinterest inspired cookie post. There are more cookies to “ooh” and “ahh” over, including MUSTACHE COOKIES. Amazing!

And if you’re not on Pinterest yet, you should be! I see something wonderful on there everyday. Organize the gorgeous and inspirational stuff you find online.

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a little solstice indulgence

Since we recently took our first jar of honey from the bees, I decided we should make something a little extra special with some of that honey. What could be more special than homemade ice cream? And what better day to do this than yesterday, the longest day of the year (not to mention it got up to 79 degrees for us and our tomatoes).

While Jess and Levi were at work I prepared a simple mixture of four ingredients: organic cream, organic whole milk, honey from our backyard, and two vanilla beans.

Yes, we like to do some things old school around here. Ice and rock salt and man power.


Clementine helped oversee Levi’s work. He insisted he do all the cranking, which was fine by me.


And then she took a nap because it kind of takes forever to make ice cream.


We peeked inside 3 or 4 times before finding this.


Yes, it does taste as good as you imagine. Better, even.

I used this recipe.

And Jess is celebrating extra. Now that I’ve tasted the rewards of all the work we’ve put into the bees, I don’t want anything to go wrong so I’ve agreed we could fit another hive or two into the yard. I’m so proud of her for keeping these bees going through their first year, and now we have two busy hives pollinating the neighborhood and making our lives a little sweeter.

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day twenty-seven


(Click here for an explanation of the project.)

Here’s what we ate for $4.53 yesterday, January 28, 2011.

BREAKFAST

steel cut oats (from 1/3 cup dry) $0.10
1 tablespoon slivered almonds $0.06
2 teaspoons brown sugar $0.02

LUNCH

Big-Hearted Macaroni & Cheese with Artichokes $1.21
grapefruit $0.25

DINNER

tempeh bacon & egg sandwich $1.50

DESSERT

affogato (Tahitian vanilla bean gelato with stovetop espresso) $1.39

total $4.53

Here’s an inside shot of the sandwich. It is locally made six grain bread with chipotle aoili, tempeh bacon, tomato, a fried egg, clover sprouts, and avocado. We planned to make coleslaw for the side, but dinner was running late and everyone was tired. Turned out the sandwich was a very filling and satisfying meal on its own.

We love chipotle aioli around here. We simply used a tablespoon of light mayo for each person, a teaspoon of lime juice, and pureed chipotles in adobo to taste.

For once we didn’t buy day-old bread. We found plenty of day-old options, but all of them were mostly white flour. Even at full price we found fairly affordable whole grain bread for 23 cents per slice.

And what good is Friday night without dessert? While we were out shopping we found a fancy $3 pint of gelato.

One of our all time favorite simple desserts is an affogato. The word is “drowned” in Italian. You simply drown some ice cream or gelato with espresso. You end up with this wonderful, creamy ice cream espresso float. You can also add liqueur to kick it up a notch, which we skipped this time since we’re on $5 a day.

Happy bellies all around and still under budget.

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day twenty-five


(Click here for an explanation of the project.)

Here’s what we ate for $2.74 yesterday, January 26, 2011.

BREAKFAST

whole wheat peanut butter waffle $0.18
2 tablespoons maple syrup $0.15
banana $0.25

LUNCH

tempeh curry $0.66
1/2 cup cooked quinoa $0.18

DINNER

leek & potato soup $0.52
1/3 block baked high protein tofu $0.66

SNACKS

2 peanut butter no bake cookies $0.14

total $2.74

Leeks! We haven’t taken much advantage of our rule that stuff from our garden is free during this project. Even though we try to change up our garden, leeks are something we will probably grow every single year. Leeks are not cheap, never mind organic leeks. We have a ton of them despite our less than stellar gardening weather this past year. Go leeks!

This soup tastes like a big bowl of buttery leeks and creamy potatoes. The orange color comes from carrots. We used vegan bouillon cubes instead of chicken broth and omitted the bone marrow. To keep the cost down we also used dried dill. We splurged on organic carrots and potatoes. And with the biggest expense, the leeks, being free, it was only 52 cents per bowl.

Our cost for the day was so low we decided to go for dessert, and our friend Patrice’s chocolate oatmeal refrigerator cookies had reminded me of the cookies my dad used to always whip up without warning when we were kids. There are about a billion recipes online for chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies.

Now that I’ve made them as an adult, I get why my dad loved to make them. They are super delicious, incredibly cheap, and take like five minutes to make. Seriously, you dump a few ingredients in a pot, bring it to a boil, boil for a minute, and then stir in peanut butter, oatmeal, and vanilla. You do have to wait a bit for them to set up, but you can speed the process up in the fridge or freezer. They are sugary, fattening cookies. They aren’t exactly healthy, but as far as cookies go, at least these ones have some protein and fiber.

THE COST:

2 cups sugar $0.50
4 tablespoons cocoa $0.32
1 stick butter $0.63
1/2 cup milk $0.13
1 cup peanut butter $0.64
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal $0.59

Makes 40 small cookies (we made a half batch and got 20).

Total $2.81
7 cents per cookie

The only ingredient I haven’t priced is vanilla. We don’t do Costco, but we buy a big bottle of vanilla at the local restaurant supply store (you don’t have to pay to shop there!) and it lasts an eternity.

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