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Chicken Massaman Curry

Massaman curry has somehow become my go-to comfort food.  When I’m cold, stressed, tired, or just annoyed, this particular curry—with its combination of soft and crunchy textures, its creamy sauce and slightly spicy bite—are like a warm, yummy hug.

Massaman Curry with Chicken

For years I went to the same Thai restaurant and ordered the same thing (Bangkok chicken, “baby mild”, no baby corn…it’s the BOMB), but then one day I decided that I needed to branch out, and this was the least spicy of the curries.  Plus, it didn’t have green peppers, which are truly disgusting, so that was a deciding factor.  One taste of this, with the silky avocado and the crunch of the onion, and I was in love.

Massaman Curry with Chicken cooked

I’m not sure what’s taken me so long to try making this myself.  Maybe it’s because I tend to find that ethnic dishes are just better at restaurants, so it’s worth shelling out for them on occasion.  Plus I’m lazy, and I tend to take one look at the long list of ingredients and get overwhelmed (not to mention my grocery store doesn’t just have this particular curry paste sitting around).

Massaman Curry with Chicken with Jasmine Rice

But you shouldn’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients.  Most of them are ones you already have around, and the others are easy enough to pick up once and have around for a long time (I ordered the curry paste on Amazon, because I’m also too lazy to drive around to a bunch of Asian markets looking for it).  Prepping the ingredients will take 15-20 minutes with one set of hands, but is quite easy, and then the dish comes together very smoothly.  It makes amazing leftovers, and can feed a serious crowd. [Read more…]

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Easy, Awesome Challah Bread

ISN’T IT PRETTY?!?!

Easy, Awesome Challah Bread

Seriously, this bread is just beautiful. And it’s not just beautiful, it’s amazingly soft and flavorful and perfect.

Easy, Awesome Challah Bread cut

I’d never had challah bread before this, but basically it’s a yeast-leavened, lightly-sweet braided dough made with eggs, then brushed with an egg wash before baking. It can be soft or dense, made with many different grains, created into other shapes (spirals, circles, birds, etc.), but at its heart it’s just a slighly sweet eggy bread.

Easy, Awesome Challah Bread with Honey

And I can’t imagine that it gets much better than this recipe! First-try bread recipes can be tricky sometimes, and rarely are they absolutely perfect the first time. But this recipe was super forgiving (I let it rise quite a bit longer than the recipe called for), the braiding was super easy, and the final product made me want to eat ALL THE BREAD. And I’m not even a bread person…

Easy, Awesome Challah Bread done

Let’s just look at it again, shall we???

Okay, moving on… [Read more…]

Pear Cake with Honey Glaze

Isn’t it great that breakfast means you can have all kinds of dessert-y things but it’s totally fine because it’s breakfast? Like, people would find you weird if you ate chocolate cake for breakfast, but coffee cake? Totally cool.

Pear Cake with Honey Glaze

This is one of those super-good-desserts-but-also-totally-appropriate-for-breakfast recipes. It’s adapted from an apple cake I made a while ago—I remember thinking at the time that I just HAD to try it with pears (one of my favorite fruits), but never got around to it. This winter break I found myself with several insanely juicy and fragrant Harry & David pears and knew right away what I must do with them.

Pear Cake with Honey Glaze done

This cake really is the best of both worlds. It’s my kind of dessert—lightly sweet, hearty, a mix of warm and comforting flavors. But it’s also really quite healthy. I use white whole wheat flour entirely, which not only gives it lots of fiber but also a wonderful nutty flavor and great texture. It’s made with oil, I cut back on the sugar the original recipe calls for, and it’s full of fruit and nuts as well. As breakfast goes from time to time, you could do worse.

pear cake with honey glaze pears

Look at these guys…aren’t they gorgeous?! [Read more…]

Dynamite Grilled Chicken

Last Sunday I just wanted something SIMPLE. I’d had a super long, exhausting week at work and even after resting up over the weekend I just found the prospect of cooking daunting.

Dynamite Chicken bite

I didn’t want to assemble 20 ingredients or spend an hour preparing different elements of a meal. I wanted quick and tasty and healthy. Also, I wanted ricotta, which is a weird craving but I went with it and threw together a delicious spinach, tomato, and ricotta frittata (bonus breakfast leftovers), then I added some more protein with this “dynamite” chicken.

Dynamite Chicken

Honestly, the main reason I made the chicken was so I’d have some leftovers for lunch, and also because I wanted to use my grill for the first time this spring. Aaaaand, that was a total fail because when I went out to grill the chicken like half an hour after turning on the grill, it was totally cold. I went to plan B (the stovetop), but still need to figure out what’s going on with my grill.

Oh well…it was worth it in the end, because the flavors on this chicken will knock your socks off. It’s really got some tangy bite, which was a nice complement to the more soothing, mellow frittata. Also, it was super easy, which is always a win in my book. [Read more…]

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

Oh boy, I’ve been wanting to try this one for a while but the universe kept conspiring against me. Mostly by making me too full after my traditional Saturday night thai food to even think about dessert. But after our eventful snow day in Atlanta yesterday, I decided it was time for a treat.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

Yet again, I didn’t prepare for the snowpocalypse. And by “snowpocalypse”, I mean 1-2 inches of snow that literally ruined Atlanta. People stranded in their cars for 20+ hours, having to abandon them on the highway and walk to safety and warmth. Parts of it enforced my lack of faith in humanity (yes, I’m looking at you, asshat who knowingly ran the red light and blocked a major intersection for 20 minutes), while others were pretty amazing (thousands of people offering up spare rooms, couches, bringing food to stranded drivers). My hour-and-a-half commute home looked like a walk in the park by comparison, and while I don’t have much food at home, I do have wine.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake bite

Mug cake recipes are hit-and-miss, but this one was a winner for me. First, you can never miss with peanut butter and chocolate, and the texture was fudgy and creamy and awesome. The fact that it doesn’t use eggs is handy as well.

double chocolate peanut butter mug cake mug

It helps to start with a super cute mug. This is one of my favorites, it actually was the first mug in my somewhat-eclectic collection. Got it in Seattle at Pike’s Place Market back in college. [Read more…]

Easy Sesame Chicken

How have I not tried this recipe before?!

Easy Sesame Chicken with Veggies

This is one of those things that has sat on my Pinterest board for a couple years now, and every week I look at it and then pass it over for something else. Why? I have no idea. Sesame chicken is my jam when I get Chinese food. But over the winter break I decided to give it a try since it looked simple and I was already making a dessert as well. And I’m so glad I did—this recipe is simple, delicious, and mostly healthy. You can add whatever veggies you want and it can be ready in the time it takes to cook your rice.

Easy Sesame Chicken with Veggies finished

The one major change I’d make is to double the sauce recipe…as you can see in the picture above, there is NO sauce to spare. I like my sesame chicken saucy, so it can soak the rice a little, so double the sauce and you’re good to go. [Read more…]

November Cakes a.k.a. Gooey Delicious Orange Buns

Have you ever read a piece of fiction that describes some kind of food in such rich, real detail that the food becomes real to you?

It’s a talent, writing about completely made-up food in a way that’s so real to the reader that they have a visceral need to create (re-create?) the food in their world. As an avid reader, I’ve certainly run across these kinds of fictional foods from time to time, but rarely has a recipe captured my imagination like the November Cakes from Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Scorpio Races”.

November Cakes

In the middle of a chill, windy, haunting Irish November, Stiefvater describes these rolls as “oozing honey and butter, rivulets of the creamy frosting joining the honey in the pit of my hand.” Pretty amazing, right?

November Cakes with Gooey Icing

I actually tried a recipe for this a year or two ago, but was disappointed with the dry, somewhat bland results. When I saw this particular recipe and heard people rave about it, I knew I had to give it another try.

November Cakes with Orange Glaze

And these were everything promised. The dough itself isn’t that sweet, just an orange-tinged yeast roll. It’s the combination of the honey-caramel glaze (which I also spiked with orange extract) soaking into the rolls and the sweet white orange-flavored icing on top that elevates this to complete indulgence. [Read more…]

Fresh Apple Cake with Honey Glaze

My sister made this cake for us while they were visiting, and we LOVED it! It kind of feels like a tease to post this recipe during the Days of Unleavened Bread, since I can’t make it or eat it. But since we made it a couple weeks ago, we’re in the clear!

honey apple cake finished

I love desserts, but I really tend toward ones that aren’t quite as sweet, and often ones that involve fruit. We actually made a few tweaks to the original recipe to make it healthier, namely substituting white whole wheat flour for regular and cutting 1/2 cup of sugar out. It was still plenty sweet for us, and personally I think the whole wheat added an even better flavor to the whole thing.

honey apple cake apples

honey apple cake apples chopped closeup

Plus, apples and cinnamon! What’s not to love?? [Read more…]

Aunt Kristy’s No-Fail Whole Wheat Pie Crust

When I meet people who don’t love pie, I’m not quite sure how to relate to them. I mean, what’s not to love? Flaky pie crust? Check. Completely versatile filling that can change to your heart’s desire? Check.

But here’s my secret. I actually love healthy pie crust the best. You can take your butter and lard crusts, your white, flaky layers. Because my Aunt Kristy’s whole wheat and oil pie crust is the bomb.

The pictures below have very simple directions with them, but if you scroll down to the bottom I’ve provided VERY detailed instructions, including for different sizes of pie pan (or 9×13 if you’re making a pot pie) and topless or covered pies. I’ve also included a link to download a Word document you can easily print as well. [Read more…]

Down-home main dish (Easy Chicken Fried Chicken)

I grew up in the Midwest, on and around farms, so the food I ate growing up would probably be classified as “meat and potatoes”. My grandma occasionally made some chicken fried steak, but it was still pretty healthy and bore little resemblance to the super Southern comfort food chicken fried steak I experienced when I moved to Atlanta. And that’s when my great love of chicken fried steak began. It is possibly one of the best foods in the world.

When I was in Dallas a few weeks ago, my friend and I decided to make a big cooked-from-scratch dinner for a couple friends, so we perused recipes on Pinterest and in some magazines to get ideas. She insisted on some kind of cheesy potatoes, so we decided to go with the whole “down home cooking” theme and have chicken fried steak for our main dish—but since she already had chicken breasts on hand, we switched to chicken fried chicken.

I’ve always been a little afraid of frying things (plus lazy, since that’s a lot of extra work and mess), but this was super easy. We looked at a few recipes, but ended up kind of making it up as we went along. This recipe is super easy, takes only a couple of ingredients (all of which you should already have on hand), and is basically foolproof. Plus, it’s really not that horrible for you, diet-wise.

[Read more…]

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