Quinoa Casserole

Okay this is not a baking project, but it was really good and pretty simple, so I wanted to share. I got the original idea from pinterest and this site: http://fitsuccess.blogspot.mx/2013/02/healthy-snack-quinoa-pizza-bites.html
I had just moved and started a new job and wanted to make dinner with my new coworkers. I did not have a muffin tin at my place yet so I used a pie tin. I also threw in any random vegetable I could find in my fridge. This went fast and was so tasty! It also looks pretty healthy to me, so that's a win win! 

1/2 cup quinoa
1 large egg
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup fat free shredded mozzarella
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of salt
2 diced peppers (one red, one green) 
tomato sauce for dipping

 Boil the quinoa and 1cup water and cover. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes (until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all of your ingredients (except the pizza sauce) in a mixing bowl until it is well mixed.

Poor the mixture in to the pie tin

Bake them for 15-20 minutes and let cool. Slice it up and serve them warm with tomato sauce. 


Fact of the Week: May 27, 2013

The Earth is closest to the Sun during the Northern Hemispheres winter, in the months December and January. This is due to the elliptical orbit of the Earth. The point when the Earth is closest to the Sun is called the perihelion.

 To learn more: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/06/110630-earth-farthest-from-sun-july-4-independence-day-space-science/


5 types of chocolate pie

My friends birthday was pi day. I really wanted to surprise him with his favorite pie, so I sent his roommate in to be my spy. His response to his favorite pie: "Something with five kinds of chocolate in it." 
Challenged accepted! 
So I hit the interwebs for inspiration. I found this: http://www.sugarhero.com/recipes/?recipe_id=6040885

But I needed more chocolate. And I disagreed with sugarhero; I think an ice cream pie would be fantastic!! So I came up with this cookie dough crust ice cream pie! 

PS He loved his birthday pie!


For the cookie dough crust:
2 cups bread flour
1 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz butter, at cool room temperature
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cups white chocolate chips

For the chocolate ganache layer:
6 oz chopped dark chocolate (about 1 cup)
6 oz heavy cream

Thawed Chocolate chip ice cream 

Cookie dough crust:
In a small bowl, whisk together the bread flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Place the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in the large bowl. Mix them together well-combined before it gets light and fluffy. Beating too much at this stage will incorporate too much air and make the cookie dough soft and you want it to be the crust of the pie.
Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract, with the butter sugar misture and mix again until combined. Next add the dry ingredients (bread flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt mixture) and mix till almost entirely incorporated, with just a few streaks of flour remaining.
Add the chocolate chips and stir them in by hand. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula and stir everything well. The dough will be stiff.

Butter a pie tin, a deep 11" tin works best. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan. Try to make the bottom thicker than the sides, so it will stay moist and soft while the sides get crispier and more firm. If you have the time, refrigerate it overnight to get the most optimal texture and flavor. If you don’t have time, refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, until firm.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 F and place the pie shell in the freezer to get really cold while the oven preheats. Once preheated, spray or butter the pie crust lightly with nonstick cooking spray and press foil over the bottom and sides of the pie. Fill the foil-lined shell with beans, rice, or pie weights to keep its shape.

Bake the shell at 375 F for 20-25 minutes. Bake it until the sides are light golden and look fairly set. Remove the shell from the oven and lower the heat to 350. Carefully take off the foil and beans, and return the pan to the oven. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the crust is puffed and light golden in the center. If the sides seem to be getting too dark, cover them with a ring of foil.
Let the crust cool completely before filling.

Chocolate ganache layer:
It’s a good idea to make the ganache when you make the cookie dough, so it’s ready as soon as you’re ready to use it. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heat-safe bowl. Pour the cream into a small saucepan, and heat it over medium-high heat until it simmers and is just under a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for one minute to soften the chocolate. Whisk the cream and chocolate together until the chocolate melts and the ganache is smooth and shiny.
Press a layer of cling wrap on top of the ganache, and let it sit and thicken at room temperature for several hours. (You can speed the process up by putting it in the refrigerator, but don’t let it get rock hard!) It’s ready when it’s the texture of peanut butter. 

Spread the soften ice cream over the cooled cookie crust. Poor the ganache over the ice cream layer and let cool in the freezer.
My ganache mixed with the ice cream creating that marbled look.


Fact of the Week: May 20, 2013

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the most common known non-genetic (non-inherited) cause of mental retardation in the United States. It is estimated that as many as three babies in 1,000 will have FAS. And it is completely preventable! There is no safe amount to drink while pregnant. (credit to @https://www.facebook.com/honeylea88 for this info and inspiration...cite: http://www.chw.org/display/PPF/DocID/23415/router.asp)  


Fact of the Week: May 13, 2013

The Sequoia sempervirens (Coastal Redwood) of the central and northern California coast (and only a couple of miles into Southern Oregon) is the last of its genius currently alive today.
cite: http://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/47373-Sequoia

No Bake Cake Truffles

For my birthday this past year I made peppermint red velvet cake truffles. These are a no bake recipe. The kind of cake and flavors added to it can vary. I just wanted something festive and easy for my December birthday. The hardest part is dripping the cake balls into chocolate. I need to work on this technique to prefect it, but look nice and rustic this way…yeah I'll go with rustic.
I found the recipe here:


1 cup red velvet cake mix dry (or any cake mix)
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. Agave nectar
1 tsp. peppermint extract (optional and changeable to any flavor you feel like adding)
- - dipping chocolate


In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients, except dipping chocolate, and stir to combine.This mixture should be quite solid and not runny, but not so dry that you can’t mold it into balls. If you find that your mixture is a little too runny, add a touch more cake mix. If it’s a little too dry, add more sweetened condensed milk/agave.
After you’ve made the dough, refrigerate or freeze for 15 minutes and then remove and roll into balls. 
Lay parchment paper down on a cookie sheet or pan.
Melt the dipping chocolate, and dip the chilled cake batter balls into melted chocolate. After the balls are dipped in chocolate, place on parchment paper.
Place truffles in freezer or fridge to set up.

Yields: 20 to 30 truffles depending on size preference. Store in refrigerator or freezer.


Fact of the Week: May 6, 2012

Fact of the week: It takes the light from the Sun 8 minutes and 19 seconds to reach the Earth.

Fact of the Week (April 30, 2012)

Fact of the Week: If the Earth's timeline was your arm span and your left fingertip was when the Earth formed, 4.6 billion years ago, then humans wouldn't show up on this timeline till the end of your right fingernail, 200,000 years old.

Fact of the Week: April 22, 2013

Fact of the Week: Earth Day was started 43 years ago today. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson is cited as the founder of Earth day. It is suggested they selected April 22 to maximize college student participation. Now get off fb and go love your mother!

Chico Chai Cookies!

So I am in LOVE with Chico Chai! I miss it so dearly. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a homemade chai this women in Chico, California makes. You can get it as a latte in most coffee shops and the farmers market in Chico, and really no where else. Anyway, I found this recipe on some blog somewhere and deiced to make it with lose leaf Chico Chai! It is pretty simple and there isn't a lot of ingredients.  It is not a very sweet cookie which makes it a prefect paring to Chai tea! 

Chico Chai Shortbread Cookies


1 cup butter (softened)
¾ cup sugar
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp loose leaf Original Chico Chai

Cream the butter and sugar.
Grind loose leaf Chico Chai in a coffee grinder or blender.
Once tea is fine, stir into sugar/butter mixture. 
Then sift in flour and stir until well combined. 
Chill dough in fridge for a few hours. 
Roll dough till about ¼ inch thickness, then cut out into shapes. 
Preheat oven to 350 at this time as well. 
Bake on cookie sheets at 350 for 12 mins.
Cool on a rack and then they are ready to go! 

Tea Time!

Fact of Week: (April 15, 2013)

Fact of the Week: The Sierra Nevada's have the worlds greatest diversity of Chipmunk species, Genus Tamias. In the central Sierra, nine species are zonally distributed.

Hello interwebs!

Hello world!
I created this blog to do two things: share my love of baking and share my weird hobby of posting a fact of the week! So here you will get both baking recipes and facts that are on a knead to know basis (get it? Well I think it's funny). There might be some other random things that make it here too, so just stick with me.
Hope you enjoy!