The main reason for my trip to Cape Town was to volunteer in a surf/swim outreach program with underprivileged kids from the local townships. In the mornings, we taught computer classes at a local school. Then, in the afternoons, we taught the kids how to swim so that they can eventually go to the beach and learn to surf with future volunteers. On our days off we got surf lessons and had time to site-see.
Potatoes have been one of my favorites since I can remember. They were also my first “vegetable”. I also love how versatile potatoes are. You can really put whatever you want into your potatoes and they will, most likely, still be good.
I know that it may not be cold where most of you are, unless you are in Colorado I hear it is still snowing!, but I would suggest turning up your AC and still making this soup because it is just too delicious not to. If you have never had a loaded baked potato soup before, you need to. It is all of the goodness of a baked potato made into a creamy and delicious soup.
It was recently one of my best friend, Kevin’s, 21st birthday. We have been friends since the 6th grade, so I felt the need to bake him very special birthday treats! I don’t really like to mess with all sorts of baking flour, so I just bought packaged cupcake mix. I think that you can still get creative by making your own frosting and adding your own twist to cupcakes- such as filling them with little tasty surprises like cookie dough and raspberries!
These cupcakes were devil’s food cupcakes with a homemade buttercream frosting that is to die for. For an extra treat, I cut out a small circle of each and filled half of the cupcakes with cookie dough and the other half with raspberries and strawberry syrup. These cupcakes are easy to make for those of you who don’t feel that you are a baking expert, but still are a bit above your average cupcake.
I don’t know if I ever mentioned that my most recent job was at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (don’t ask me why they decided to make their name so much longer and more annoying to say). After working at restaurants for so long, this job was so slow some days that I would read the cooking magazines at the register and write down recipe ideas; my boss probably wouldn’t have been too stoked, but what can you do!? I am getting off topic though, being a cashier is pretty cool as a foodie for one reason- seeing what everybody is buying and spending all day thinking what you want to make for dinner that night. The other day at work, a lady bought taquitos and reminded me how much I loved them, and how long it had been since I had had them!
I went home that night on a mission to make my own, healthier, taquitos. I added roasted red peppers and green onions to give them some extra flavor. I also baked them, instead of frying them, which makes these tasty things much healthier. I would highly recommend making your own taquitos so that you can add your own twist like I did, it is much more rewarding! I also need to warn you that this recipe makes pretty big taquitos, three were plenty for me and I usually eat like ten!
Do you ever get that feeling where all you want to do for dinner is grill a steak and microwave a potato? Sometimes simple is better, but you don’t have to sacrifice flavor! This recipe is a simple way to add a little extra flavor for those days when your motivation is lacking. It is quick, easy and healthy!
After cooking many meals for friends, I realized that nothing excites people more than a delicious pizza. This week I threw a pizza party with friends. We only had one oven and two pizza trays, so we could only cook two pizzas at a time. In the end, I made six 14″ pizzas. We cut each pizza into ten slices, one for each person, and sampled one slice of each pizza. We would decide which pizzas were coming next while the previous two were baking. By the sixth pizza, we could barely take another bite!
We made all sorts of pizzas- from BBQ Chicken to Chicken Alfredo to Meat Lovers all the way to Hawaiian. Each time a new pizza was taken out, everybody was riled up- “This one is my favorite!” “Wait, no, THIS one is my favorite!” “Ah, no, THIS one is definitely the best!” I have never seen my friends so excited about something I cooked. This made me being to think about the wondrous pizza pie. A fresh pizza crust is like a blank canvas for a chef. You can combine any flavors you want to create your own unique masterpiece. I suggest to all of you that you make homemade pizzas at some point. My advice? Be adventurous, take risks, mix unlikely combinations- you’ll be impressed with the outcome!
This week’s Throwback Thursday recipe is a hearty spinach and pepper dip; great for a cold winter day. There is something nourishing about a warm cheesy dip with bread. This recipe is a great pick-me-up. It goes well with chips or bread and is a great recipe for a potluck or party, and can easily be doubled if need be.
This week I was asked by friend to cook something Italian for dinner. For me, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Italian food is pasta. I decided against making pasta, since I eat it at work constantly. Instead, I chose to make this double tomato bruschetta along with an Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup. Bruschetta is easy to make, and is a great appetizer for guests. The addition of sun-dried tomatoes to the bruschetta gives it a different texture and a little bit of a kick. These little snacks were very popular.
I love shrimp, but I feel like it is hard to find new recipes for shrimp so I am usually stuck making the same recipes over and over again. I liked this recipe because it was a bit different, even though it was just another lemon shrimp recipe. Broiling the shrimp gave it a different texture and kept the lemon and garlic flavor really strong. This recipe is quick and easy with great results, definitely one to try.
For Christmas this year, my Mom hadn’t planned on having a dessert. Since I am giving up excess processed sugars for my New Year’s resolution (no more sugary drinks or desserts… yikes!), I insisted that we have dessert on Christmas. We decided to go with a recipe that my Mom makes all of the time, the classic apple tart. This tart is easy to make and so delicious, definitely one to try!