Monday, June 28, 2010

pizza. fruit. does it get any better?

Ally, here.

For the past 21 years, I've hated cream cheese. I don't know why, but I have refused to eat anything involving the substance. Cheesecake, cream cheese frosting, you name it.

I have changed my ways. And it has been so good.

The fiancé (a cream cheese lover his entire life) is thrilled. I crave cheesecake on a regular basis. But lately, with all of this summer fruit floating around, I've been in the mood for fruit pizza.

Fruit pizza may be one of the best desserts ever. Or breakfasts (if you are my mom). The fruit makes it seem healthy, so you won't feel guilty for indulging in an extra slice.

Here's what you'll need:

-2 rolls refrigerated sugar cookie dough
-1 1/2 packages cream cheese
-3/4 cup sugar
-the fruits of your choice (I used pineapple, strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, and raspberries)

Here's what to do:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread 3/4 of the cookie dough on a round pizza pan. Use the remaining dough for individual cookies (to make into little pizzas).
3. Bake as directed on package.
4. While the cookie cools, mix cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Prepare the fruits of your choosing.
5. After cookie cools, frost with cream cheese and sugar mixture. Top with assorted fruits.

You can get really creative with your decorating, so go wild! If you are making this for a party, I'd recommend making individual sized fruit pizzas by baking a few dozen cookies, rather than one giant pizza.

Try it. You're going to love it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

holy guacamole!

Ally, here.

Confession: I love tortilla chips. I can resist every other type of chip, but put a bag of Tostitos in my hands and we're all in trouble. Make them lime, and I may love you forever.

This passion for tortilla chips also leads to a love for salsa and other tortilla appropriate dips. We're talking guacamole, here.

My love for guacamole began in Costa Rica about three years ago. I was on a mission trip, and some kind soul placed a bowl of freshly made guacamole in front of a few very hungry teenagers. It was magical.

Years later, I get guacamole a few times a year, only when with the fiance's family. They make incredible guacamole, the future brother-in-law in particular.

After doing a little guacamole research, I ventured out on my own and made what I'd consider a pretty darn good success. You should try it.

Here's what you need:

-3 avocados, cut in half, peeled, with the seeds removed
-juice of 1 lime
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 onion, diced
-1 tomato, diced
-2 cloves garlic

Let me give you a little tip when it comes to the avocados. Get some that are kind of soft when squeezed. This means they are ripe (and significantly easier to mush). My recommendation for slicing is to cut the avocado in half, lengthwise. You won't be able to cut through the seed, so pull the two sides apart and then slice around the seed. Then you can peel the avocado halves.

Here's what to do:

1. Place avocados in a bowl and drizzle with the lime juice.
2. Use a potato masher to mash the avocados to your liking.
3. Add the salt and cumin and mash.
4. Mix in the onion, tomatoes, and garlic.
5. Enjoy with the tortilla chips of your choice (I recommend chips with a hint of lime).

Try it for yourself. You're going to love it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

mulberry experiment #1

Ally, here.

I've made several treats with the fresh mulberries over the past few weeks, but I've forgotten to take pictures of all of them. So I'll share what I do have.

Mulberry-blueberry coffee cake. Yum.

I should tell you from the beginning that there are very few things I love more than coffee cake. In fact, Becca and I first became friends because of our passion for this perfect dessert/breakfast/meal. Goodness, I'm drooling a bit just thinking about it.

Anywho, here's how to make the version I tried with my mulberries.

Here's what you'll need for the coffee cake:
-1/2 cup butter
-1 cup sugar
-2 eggs
-2 cups flour (I always use whole wheat flower in an attempt to make baked goods healthier)
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-dash of salt
-2/3 cup milk
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-3 cups of blueberries/mulberries/any berry you'd like

And what you'll need for the streusel topping:
-1/2 cup butter
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup light brown sugar
-1/2 cup flour
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make your streusel topping.

2. Beat the butter, sugar, and eggs together.

3. Add other ingredients (except berries) and beat until well combined.

4. Stir in berries.

5. Sprinkle with streusel topping.

6. Pour into 9-inch square pan.

7. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the cake is set in the center.

It's a great time to make this because berries are plentiful this time of year. So try it. And let me know what you think. You're going to love it.