Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Sunday, September 4, 2011 0 comments

Ok, let me just say these are delicious! I would actually either make them smaller than the recipe suggests, or put only 4 on a tray so they have plenty of room to spread. It's amazing how few ingredients these cookies need to be so yummy! I got this recipe from Rhythm of the Home, but they are by Jules Clancy from The Stone Soup.

(makes about 10 huge cookies)
5 oz (150 g) unsalted butter, softened
9 oz (250 g) light brown sugar
1 egg
8 oz (225 g) plain all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
225-285 g (8-10 oz) dark chocolate
Whizz butter and sugar in a food processor or stand mixer until light and creamy. Add egg and mix until well combined.
Add 3/4 teaspoon baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon bicarb soda to the flour and mix to combine.
Fold butter mixture into the flour until only just combined.
Chop chocolate into chunks and add to the dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes but no longer than 72 hours.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 180 C /350 F. Line two baking sheets or trays with parchment paper.
Scoop 1/3 cup balls of dough and place on the prepared trays. Allow plenty of room for them to spread. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt flakes. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until cookies are golden. The bottom tray may need a little longer. Cool on the tray.

Pita Bread

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 0 comments

I was surprised at how easy this recipe was, and how great it turned out. The first time around, we never got to using the pita for falafel or anything else I had planned it for, because we just snacked on them. In South Africa things like pita bread and tortillas are expensive, otherwise I never would have thought to have tried this on my own. The recipe is from The Fresh Loaf, and it's worth checking out the link because there is a lot of great info there about pita and bread baking techniques.


3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 t salt
1 T sugar or honey
2 t yeast
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 c water, roughly at room temperature
2 T oil or shortening or butter


If using active dry yeast, follow the packet directions to activate. Otherwise, if using instant, mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add oil and water and stir with wooden spoon. All the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick, add more water.

Place ball of dough on clean surface and knead with your hands or mix in a mixer on low for 10 minutes.
Place the kneaded dough in a bowl lightly coated in oil. Roll the ball around till it has been coated in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or damp dish towel. Set aside in draft-free place, about 90 minutes, till it has doubled in size.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down, divide into 8 pieces (or however many good size pita balls you can make - I made more than 8). Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp dish towel, and let rest 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat oven to 400 F (204 C). Preheat a baking stone or upside down cookie sheet on middle oven rack, that you will back the pita on.

After the dough has rested, take each ball and roll to 1/8-1/4 inches thick on a lightly floured surface.
Put as many pitas as you can on the preheated tray in the oven. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes.

Vegetarian Eats - Saving Money

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 0 comments
Over here in South Africa, the one thing that is really cheap is produce. We go to a little produce store by our house weekly and stock up on tons of farm fresh vegetables and fruit. We can buy huge bags of avocados, potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut, apples, bananas, naartjies (similar to clementines), etc - all for about 60-80 Rand, which is equivalent to about $9-$11. We can only buy what's in season. So too bad if I'm craving strawberries (I am) because those won't be out for another few months. But it's a great way of eating healthier and saving money. We've decided the last several weeks to go meatless in our groceries to save money even more. We aren't vegetarian but the last few weeks have shown us we could be. Ok, Andy would object to that - he still sneaks out every so often to the meat stand in Masi, the local township, where he can buy a ton of pork for about $3 and have them grill it for him.
Anyway, here are some of the simple meals we've made meatless:

  • chili - just canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, tomato puree, canned red kidney beans, sugar, and a taco seasoning packet from the States. 
  • vegetable and white bean chowder - I did a play on our white chicken chili, using potatoes instead of chicken, and using canned white beans, chicken stock (I get chicken bouillon cubes cheaply here and use them in just about everything), and adding butternut and frozen corn.
  • pasta with veggies - this is a favorite we have been making awhile, and each week we adapt it. We just saute whatever veggies we have and serve over spaghetti. We serve it also with either shredded cheddar cheese or feta. Our favorite veggies to eat this way are mixed peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and baby marrow (mini zucchini). 
  • baked veggies with sauce - my mom always baked veggies and served with a cheese roux. So I did the same but did a play on the roux by using an old packet of cream of chicken soup I had in my pantry. I served it over a mix of roasted potatoes, butternut, sweet potatoes, and carrots. It was delicious. I added in some leftover mac and cheese, and liked it with the sauce. It also encourages Norah to eat more veggies when mixed in with pasta and sauce.
  • rice and veggies - just sauted a whole bunch of chopped veggies and cooked with rice and stock and curry 

Butternut Soup

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 0 comments
Butternut excellent!


1-2 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 large chopped onion
1 large chopped peeled butternut (or sub pumpkin)
1 med chopped peeled potato
2 med chopped peeled apples
1 t curry powder
Pinch ginger
Pinch salt
Pinch turmeric
Pinch cinnamon
1/2 t sugar
3 c chicken stock
1/2 c milk
1 bay leaf


Saute onion in oil/butter. Then add butternut, potato, apples, saute 2 min. Add spices, saute 2 more min. Add stock, milk, sugar, bay leaf, boil. Reduce heat, simmer 25 min. Remove from heat, cool to lukewarm. Remove bay leaf. Puree in blender. Return to pot and reheat. Serve with crusty bread and, optional whipped cream to garnish.

Chocolate Cake

Friday, March 4, 2011 1 comments
Shortly after we came to South Africa was Norah's first birthday party. I wanted to make her a chocolate cake, and since cake mixes are expensive here, figured it would be better to make one myself. I hate dry cakes, so I googled, "moist chocolate cake." This is what came up, and we've made it several times since.
Best Moist Chocolate Cake :)

2 c flour
2 c sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 c buttermilk
11/2 t vanilla
1 c vegetable oil
1 c boiling water

Preheat oven to 300 F or 150 C. This is a slow-bake recipe. Mix all ingredients. Pour into greased/floured 9x13 in square baking dish. Bake 1 hr (or 20 min for cupcakes).

Andy always makes our icing. He just mixes with an electric mixer vanilla, butter, and icing sugar (powdered sugar) together till he gets the consistency he wants. Sometimes we add cocoa powder or  food coloring depending on what kind of icing we want.

Quick Biscuits

Monday, February 28, 2011 0 comments
Quick, easy biscuits, scone consistency.


1 to 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
5 T butter or margarine
2/3 c milk

220 C/ 428 F
Sift dry ingredients into bowl. Cut butter in to make crumbs. Make well in middle and pour in milk. Mix, divide into 9 sections. Put on greased, floured baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Pasta with Zucchini and Toasted Almonds

From Cooking Light. Delicious, healthy, fresh, and even the kids liked it.


2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
1 t minced fresh thyme (or 1/3 of dried)
2 t lemon juice
3/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t sugar
5 t olive oil, divided
linguine (9 oz)
1 1/2 t minced garlic
3 c chopped zucchini
3/4 - 1 c chicken stock
1 T dried sage and/or thyme OR mint
cheese - parmesan, feta, or other
3 T toasted slivered almonds


Combine first 6 ingredients in bowl, toss with 2 t olive oil. Set aside.

Prepare linguine.

In skillet, saute garlic and then add zucchini in remaining olive oil. Cook zucchini about 3 minutes. Add stock, simmer. Then add in linguine, sage, remove from heat and add tomato mixture. Serve with cheese and toasted almonds.

Serves 4.

Linguine Alla Mediterranea

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 0 comments
I adapted this recipe from a dish I had at a restaurant and loved.


fresh basil
fresh rocket
feta cheese
kalamata olives
cherry tomatoes
olive oil
Italian herbs
salt and pepper

Cook linguine. In separate pan, saute the rest of the ingredients. When veggies are just cooked, toss with the linguine. Serve with garlic toast...yum!

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Monday, January 31, 2011 0 comments
This is a recent favorite of ours.

Serves 6.


  • 2  pounds  russet potatoes
  • 2/3  cup  fat-free milk
  • 3  tablespoons  butter
  • 1/2  cup  buttermilk
  • 1/3  cup  (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper


1. Prick each potato several times with a fork. Place potatoes in the microwave, and cook at HIGH 16 minutes or until tender, turning after 8 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes. Cut each potato in half lengthwise; scoop out flesh with a large spoon, and transfer to a bowl.
2. Combine milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until butter melts. Add milk mixture to potatoes; mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Stir in buttermilk and remaining ingredients.

Fettucine Alfredo with Bacon

Mmm this is so yummy (and a low fat version)! Cooking Light.

(Serves 4)

1 pack fettuccine
2 slices chopped bacon
1 t minced garlic
1 T all-purpose flour
1 cup low fat milk
2/3 cup grated cheese (preferably Parmesan)
1/2 t salt
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 t black pepper


Prepare fettuccine according to package directions.
While pasta cooks, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings. Add garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Sprinkle flour over garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly; cook 2 minutes or until bubbly and slightly thick, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Gradually add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in salt and reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add hot pasta to pan; toss well to combine. Sprinkle with bacon, parsley, and pepper.

Also can add chopped tomatoes.

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Breasts

Adapted from Cooking Light.
Makes 4 servings.


1 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 t salt, divided
1/2 t pepper, divided
4 bone-in chicken breasts, skinned
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1/3 c fresh lemon juice
1 rosemary sprig


Preheat oven 375 F.
Heat oil in skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t pepper on chicken, add chicken to skillet and cook 3 min on each side.
Arrange chicken in 13x9 in baking dish. Bake 25 min till thermometer registers 165. Remove from oven, cover and let stand 15 minutes.
Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add broth, juice, and rosemary. Bring to boil, scraping loose the browned bits; reduce heat, simmer 20 min or till broth mixture measures 1/3 cup. Discard rosemary sprig, stir in remaining 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t pepper.  Serve sauce with chicken.

Serve this meal with green beans and mashed potatoes.

Miss Betty's Super Quick Dinner Rolls

Found this at All Recipes when I didn't have any yeast for bread rolls. Delicious and really, really easy.


1 cup self-rising flour
2 T mayonnaise
1/2 c milk

Optional - add seasonings such as: 1 t garlic powder, 1 t rosemary, 1 t Italian seasonings

Heat oven to 175 C (350 F), mix ingredients together, grease 5 normal size muffin tins, pour in batter, bake about 15 minutes.