White Bean Spinach Artichoke Dip

I got a food processor for my birthday!!! :D I’ve been waiting all week to use it, so when I finally figured out what to make and went to the store for my ingredients, I used it to make this dip. I wanted to make some type of hummus-like dip but knew that I wanted to use white beans instead of garbanzo beans. After looking around the internet and seeing a recipe for normal spinach artichoke dip, I decided to make a hummus style spinach artichoke dip.

This tastes great and would be perfect in a sandwich, with some carrots or pita chips, or in a tortilla.

Some of the ingredients

 

White Bean Spinach Artichoke Dip

5-6 cups fresh spinach, rinsed

1/2 lemon

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons safflower oil, plus extra oil for cooking spinach

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

A few light sprinkles of ground cayenne red pepper

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

 

In a large pan heat a little bit of oil on medium-low heat. Add washed spinach, squirt a little bit of the 1/2 lemon on spinach,  and cook on low until wilted, stirring around occasionally. While the spinach is cooking, chop the artichoke hearts into small pieces and set aside.

Once the spinach is done, let it cool slightly and then put into a food processor. Add the white beans, 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons of oil, garlic, pepper, cayenne red pepper, Parmesan cheese, and the rest of the 1/2 lemon. Process until smooth.

 

Scoop out the dip into a medium bowl and stir in the chopped artichoke hearts. I added half of the artichoke hearts first, and then slowly added the rest until I was happy with the amount. There were a few teaspoons of chopped artichoke hearts left out of mine.

Store covered in the fridge.

Hunger Games Cupcakes!!!

I have been so excited to make these! I have been imagining what I would make for a Hunger Games themed dessert for a few weeks now, and on Saturday I figured out what I was going to do. I made these cupcake toppers on Saturday night which were pretty easy.

My sister had a great idea to make chocolate cupcakes to look like coal and fill them with a raspberry filling to mimic nightlock. I didn’t have raspberries on hand, but I will get them sometime soon.  A recipe for those will also be coming soon. :). But first, here are the cupcakes I made tonight:

The cupcakes

I made a chocolate cupcake recipe and filled gold cupcake liners with the batter.

The frosting

I used my own recipe here-I kind of just went by tasting after adding ingredients.

2 1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons milk

In a small bowl, combined half of the powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of butter until crumbly. Add the vanilla and 1 teaspoon of milk. Stir until smooth and watery. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and stir to combine until thick. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the 1/2 teaspoon of milk. Once smooth, add more milk or powdered sugar until desired consistency is made.

To make the frosting look like fire, I grabbed a tall glass cup and a frosting bag. I put the frosting bag inside of the cup and folded the edges around the cup so that it would be easier to add food coloring and frosting. I painted some red, yellow, and a combination of both in three sections on the inside of the frosting bag. Then, I scooped in my frosting.

After my cupcakes were completely cool, I took the frosting bag out of the cup, secured the top, and cut a small tip off of the frosting bag tip. I started with a circle lining the top of the cupcake and then swirled up. I did this a second time after sticking the topper in so that the frosting would reach the top.

1. Put the frosting bag inside of a tall cup and wrap the edges of the bag over the edges of the cup. 2. Paint color dyes inside of the bag. 3. Scoop the frosting into the bag.

The toppers

I already made these ahead of time. You can see instructions and the final product here.

Baked Oatmeal with Fruit

I found this recipe just in time for my last visit home. I was so excited to make it since it looked soooo good! This baked oatmeal is delicious and definitely the best oatmeal I have ever eaten!!

Since it was just me and my mom eating this, I halved the recipe which filled up a loaf pan about halfway and gave us leftovers for the next day. I also made some modifications to the original ingredients. We both agreed that it tasted really good, and my mom said that it tasted like something you would get at a resort.

I can’t wait to make this again, especially as a bigger batch. This recipe seems like it would be great to make a larger batch of at the beginning of the week and have it as a quick breakfast throughout the rest of the week, although I’m not sure it would last that long ;) .

 

Baked Oatmeal with Fruit

(adapted from Inspired Taste)

1 cup rolled oats

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 tablespoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 ripe banana, sliced

1 cup milk

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375F. I used a bread pan for this recipe since I didn’t want to make a lot at once, but you can find the normal recipe here. Spray your pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine oats, brown sugar, baking powder, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnuts in a bowl. Add in half of the strawberries. Place this mixture inside of your baking dish and top it with the remaining strawberries and sliced banana.

In another bowl, whisk the milk, egg yolk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Pour evenly over oat mixture and give the pan a little shake so that it spreads over all of the oats. Place in oven for about 20 minutes (or longer if you are making more).

How to Make Hunger Game Themed Cupcake Toppers

Are you as excited about The Hunger Games movie as I am? I’m planning on going to the midnight premiere with my sister and some of her friends. As soon as I finished the first book, I knew I wanted to see the movie. I also knew that I needed to make some type of Hunger Games-themed dessert. I looked online for some ideas a few weeks ago and then kind of forgot about it.

But, with less than a week until the movie comes out, it’s almost all I can think about. I’m so excited to see it-and to bake something for it! After I finished the last book about an hour ago, I got on my computer and searched for cookie designs. Isn’t that what everybody does after finishing a book? ;)

Anyways, I found some really cute designs for cookies, but when I saw the term “cupcake on fire” on a sidebar, I decided I wanted to make cupcakes. I’m not sure on the flavor yet, but I do know what will be on the top of it…

These are really simple to make and took me less than an hour to put together. Since I started the project late, no craft stores were open so I printed out black circles for the background. I would recommend buying black cardstock for a more sturdier backing, but normal paper (like I used) will work just fine.

What You’ll Need

A computer and printer

Scissors

Tape

Glue

Toothpicks

1. Find your picture online. I just searched “hunger games” and looked through the images until I found a simple one that I liked. Once you find a picture, save it to your computer and open a word document. Insert the picture and make it the size that you want. Then, copy and paste the picture until you get the desired amount of pictures (1 for each cupcake. I made a set of 8).

2. Print the pictures and cut them out. Set the pictures aside. Next, you will need to choose your backing. I chose a black circle for mine, but it can really be any color/shape you want. You can either buy some construction paper in your color of choice and cut your desired shapes out, or make your shape on a word document and follow the steps from step 1 to copy and paste until you have the same amount of backings as you do of the first picture.

3. Print and cut out the backings. Place each backing on a flat surface with the color side up. Roll up a piece of tape (about 1.5-2″ long) so that it is all sticky on the outside. Cut the roll of tape in half and place one half on the center of one of the backings. Do the same with the other half on another backing. Repeat until all backings have a piece of rolled tape on them.

4. Gently press a picture onto the tape, making sure that it is centered. Do this with each paper until all backings have pictures on them.

5. Glue (or tape) the backing onto a toothpick and let dry.

You can expect to be seeing a Hunger Games themed cupcake sometime soon!

See, it’s really simple! And the best part is that this method can be used for any type of backing. I think I might be making a lot of homemade toppings and cupcakes this summer… :)

My new favorite snack… and an oatmeal recipe!

One day last semester I was craving something peanut-buttery at college so I went to the student store and found a peanut butter Clif Bar. It tasted great, but at almost $2 a bar at the student store, I knew it wouldn’t be something I would be able to have very often (especially since I don’t have a job!). So after that, I kind of forgot about Clif Bars for a while.

But, they came back to my mind last Monday when I needed to add something to my purchase at the cafeteria in order to be able to use my debit card. I grabbed the closest thing-a Clif Bar. It was the Oatmeal Raisin Walnut one and later that day when I tried it, I decided that it was delicious.

Yesterday I needed to go to Target for some note cards and since the energy bars are on the way to the office supplies, I stopped in that aisle. I found many boxes of Clif Bars in many different flavors but it was hard to choose just one. And then I saw the box of mini Clif Bars. It saved the day! I could get 18 mini bars in 3 different flavors! One box set had the oatmeal raisin kind I had tried earlier this week. At first I thought it was a no-brainer to buy that one, but then I noticed that one of the other flavors was blueberry. While I like blueberries, I do not like them so much in baked goods or treats. So, I put the box down and looked at the other one: peanut butter, chocolate chip, and brownie. Yum.

I bought that box and happily munched on a few last night… they are mini after all. And then I had a brilliant idea for my breakfast this morning. Why not put a mini in my oatmeal! I crumbled up a mini Crunchy Peanut Butter bar on top of my warm oatmeal and it was great. It turned warm and slightly melty in some spots and added some flavor to my oatmeal. I think I love oatmeal even more now!

 

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal with Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bar

1 small apple, diced

1/3 cup oats

Water

Cinnamon

1 Crunchy Peanut Butter Mini Clif Bar

In a microwave safe bowl or mug, add diced apples and cinnamon (add however much you like). Stir so that the apples are coated with cinnamon. Pour in the oatmeal and stir again. Add as much water as you prefer (less water=thicker oatmeal, more water=thinner oatmeal). I added enough to cover the top of the oats with water and it was in the middle of thick and thin.

Microwave for two minutes and let oatmeal sit for a minute or two to thicken. Crumble the mini Clif Bar and sprinkle over the top of the oatmeal. Eat and enoy!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

My sister and I made these around Thanksgiving and they were SO good!! They were gooey and sweet and had a bit of a crunch to them. They were also very easy to make. They would be great to bring to a party, although I’m not sure you’ll want to share!

Check out the link to Mel's Kitchen Cafe underneath the title of the recipe to see her pictures. They look much more delicious than mine!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

(From Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)

2 1/3 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional, we didn’t use any)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 package toffee bits, divided

Preheat an oven to 350F and line a 9×13″ baking pan with foil. Set aside

In a bowl, combine flour, salt, and brown sugar. Cut in the butter so that you get a crumbly texture. Add in the eggs and mix well. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate chips and, if using, all of the nuts.

Take 1 1/2 cups of the dough and set it aside. Press the remaining dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the can of condensed milk over the crust. Top with all but 1/4 of the toffee bits and sprinkle bits of the remaining dough over the top. Pour the rest of the chocolate chips evenly over everything. Bake for another 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining toffee bits over the top. Let cool before serving.