Tag Archives: birthday

b’s birthday – part 2: checkerboard cake

I didn’t mean to wait this long in between posts about the same meal, but the rest of life sort of got in the way. SO! here’s part two. Like I said in my last post, B had had a pretty rough week before her birthday, so I was trying to make it extra special. I had also had a recipe for a checkerboard cake – from scratch – for a while and figured now (or then) was as good a time as ever.. so, I decided to sweat it out and cook it up!

After telling my sister about it, she showed me the pans they now MAKE specifically for a checkerboard cake! but at the time, I knew nothing of it, so while it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as perhaps that pan would’ve made, I tried pretty hard. I also asked B what her favorite candy/color was for decorating purposes, but “peanut m&ms” and “green” weren’t exactly what I expected in return.

So, while there’s now perfect-sized pans and box mixes that would’ve made this recipe way easier, there’s something to be said about the satisfaction that comes from imperfect checkerboard patterns and from-scratch cakes. Recipe and pictures after the jump.

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b’s birthday – part 1: pork chops with balsamic-maple glaze

holy birthdays! It seems all my cooking/baking these days has been for birthdays and this post – as well as tomorrow’s – are no exception. My friend B has been having a rough couple of weeks (that could be an understatement, with multiple hospital stays under her belt), but she was turning 22! and I wanted to do something special, so instead of just going out to dinner, I decided I’d cook her up something new, from scratch. Matt’s been proud of his risotto cakes since he learned how to make them a few weeks ago (and they are so delicious! – I may have him do a guest post soon just for them!) I wanted to let him make them for part of dinner – if not only to keep him busy enough in the kitchen to let me do my thing!

I’ve been struggling to come up with much to pair with risotto cakes. While they soak up sauces nicely, I’m hesitant to cook anything whose sauce doesn’t normally pair well with cheese/rice. B’s only stipulation was no seafood, so I started searching the interwebs for some sort of white meat (I still associate steak with potatoes and can’t convince myself to pair it with rice, ever). Matt and I had cooked pork saltimbocca with risotto cakes a few weeks back, but always wanting to try something new, I tried to find a different dish and found success at Elly Says Opa: Pork Chops with Balsamic-Maple Glaze. The only difference I made to the recipe was to add extra maple syrup, just to make sure it was a sweeter sauce to balance with the saltier risotto cakes. We also made some green beans, but nothing too snazzy. Pictures and recipe after the jump.

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brownie-bottomed peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake

aka BBPBCCC or B2PBC3 or just straight up delicious. I originally found this recipe at Group Recipes, a food social networking site. I stumbled on it (actual, Group Recipes terminology) and knew I HAD to make it. Someday soon after that (sometime back in January), I dragged my poor boyfriend to the grocery store and then made him do all the heavy mixing of cream cheese and peanut butter when we got home. In typical, spontaneous-baking fashion, I had no intention to eat the entire cheesecake myself (and Matt doesn’t even like cheesecake) so I needed to bring it elsewhere .. so I could have a slice and not be tempted by the rest. I attempted to bring it to work on MLK Day, only to find the office closed, so it sat in my fridge a few days more and then I brought it to staff meeting that week and everyone there devoured it. Noga, my RD, made me promise to make it for her again for her birthday, which happened to be this past Friday (just like Sarah!)

Being home on spring break, I took advantage of my mom’s heavenly Kitchen Aid stand mixer and baked up my 2nd-ever brownie-bottomed peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake. I’ve only got some beginning pictures and an end picture, with the cake still in the springform pan, seeing as transporting it any other way would’ve likely done some damage. If Noga saves me a slice, I’ll update this with a piece of the “cheesecake heaven” as she called it.

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a fitting beginning: a birthday.

The saddest part about this blog is that it took me so long to start it — who knew naming a food blog could be so difficult?! I’ve had other blogs in the past – though not dedicated to my cooking or baking adventures – and they’ve all failed at some point or another when I decide nothing is exciting enough in my life to post to the interwebs. BUT – I have faith in this here blog because this last year or so has been a whirlwind in the kitchen.

Rewind a few years and I was probably only in the kitchen waiting for the water to boil for macaroni and cheese or licking the bowl after my mom poured brownies and cakes into the pan. “Following in my sister’s footsteps” or “copying my sister” – something I’ve been doing for 20 years and has probably gotten on her nerves 20,000 times – I started baking and I remember thinking – all I’ll ever do is bake! Think of all the cakes and cupcakes and brownies and desserts to be made! Everyone loves dessert and chicken is just so .. bland in comparison.

And then sometime this year (probably around the time I decided I didn’t need want a meal plan) I realized the more practical thing to do is cook (this is a very easy realization when you don’t have a meal plan and are tired of eating out, but get hungry). Since then, I’ve done a lot of cooking and (still) a lot of baking and I’ve gotten good enough at it that when I mentioned to people that I was thinking of starting this blog.. they actually thought it was a good idea. So, here goes nothing.

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