Category Archives: Other People’s Recipes

Brownie in a Mug

BiaMAt some point in my brief and very inconsistent history of using Pinterest, I pinned this recipe for Brownie in a Mug. For the past month or so, this recipe has been liked and repinned like crazy. It’s not mine. I don’t know how long ago I pinned it and I never made it. Until tonight.

Spring break is over and it’s time to go back to the reality of school and work. We aren’t really thrilled about this but it is what it it. So what better time to take comfort in a warm brownie than right now.

Brownie in a Mug
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
The tiniest dash of salt you can manage
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp water
Dash of vanilla (not in the original)

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in the mug.
  2. Add the water, oil, and vanilla and stir until smooth. Add more water if needed. I needed to add at least double the water and did so one tbsp at a time.
  3. Microwave for 90 seconds.
  4. Serve topped with ice cream or whipped cream or both, like I did.

It was not the most exciting spring break for My Faithful Assistant. He broke his hand, which I may or may not have mentioned and is uncomfortable and unable to do much of anything. School is going to be difficult for him tomorrow because, naturally, it’s his dominant hand which leaves him unable to write. He also can’t play his cello (not that he’s heartbroken about that) or swim. So a nice warm brownie was the perfect treat for him.

As for the brownie, it’s dense and rich. I do miss the slight crust on the top of a fresh baked brownie but this was a very tasty and fast treat. And this would be easy for a child to prepare on their own. I also liked that it contains no eggs. In case you didn’t notice, it’s actually vegan! You can keep it that way by topping it with your favorite non-dairy ice cream or whipped cream.

We make Nutella Mug Cake from time to time, which you can find on my friend Jen’s blog, The Whole Bag of Chips. It’s the Faithful Assistant’s favorite treat. He is a huge nutella fan. I can live without the stuff. Please don’t tell Jen. She may disown me.

If you are headed back to the reality of life tomorrow, I hope you have a good day. And if it isn’t the greatest day, take comfort in the fact that this yummy treat can be ready to make you feel better in under five minutes.


Asian Fusion Pork Tostadas

AFPTMy Spouse was off this past Monday and decided he wanted to use the smoker. That works for me! It means that I have minimal cooking to do for the many days it takes us to consume all he has smoked.

This go round, he did a pork shoulder and some salmon. We are good for the meat without anything other than sides for the first meal. We all like the freshly smoked goodness. But it quickly starts to get boring and I need to get creative very fast.

My mind went to some sort of Asian fusion thing for the pork. I googled just that and saw some interesting things, including this recipe for Mini Moo Shu Pork Pizzas from a site called Bev Cooks. It’s a beautiful site. Take a look!

I knew I wanted to make sure whatever I made had plenty of veggies in it. I ended up with my Tostadas. Actually, I ended up with Asian Fusion ________. It wasn’t until I described what I made to my friend Aimee that they actually got a name. Aimee is a clever, clever gal!

Asian Fusion Pork Tostadas
4-6 wonton or egg roll wrappers
1 cup chopped pork (previously cooked of course)
4 oz chopped mushrooms
3 chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
Goat cheese
Baby greens
More Hoisin

1. Bake the wonton/egg roll wrappers according to the package instructions.
2. Saute everything else until the mushrooms are done.
3. Spoon your pork mixture on top of the wrapper. Drizzle with more Hoisin.
4. Add some goat cheese and a little handful of greens.

My creation was deemed “Fancy”. I’m not sure that I agree but it definitely looked festive and flavorful. Turns out it was. It was also a little hard to eat. The Spouse chose to break his in half and eat it like a taco. I left mine open-faced and tried to take delicate little bites so the whole thing didn’t land in my lap. I imagined getting this in a restaurant and having the waiters huddled in the corner, laughing quietly at everyone who tried to eat it without having it land, face down on the floor.

The sweetness of the meat and Hoisin sauce was offset nicely by the goat cheese and the greens. This would be super tasty with no meat too! In fact, I think I would prefer it that way! The greens were a combination of radish and sunflower and they were so good. They added a lot to the dish.


Honey Sesame Chicken

hscMany of the best slow cooker recipes require you to cook for just a few hours. This doesn’t usually work for me. I guess if I could prep things on the weekends and have them all set in a ziplock, I’d be golden. My kids could put them on when they got home from school. But that doesn’t usually happen.

With snow days number 8 and 9 this week, I had plenty of time to give one of these short time slow cooker recipes a try. I started with this recipe for Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken from The Kitchen Whisperer. I didn’t have all the ingredients so I modified it a bit and I used chicken thighs, not breasts. My version is below. Click on the link above to see the original recipe.

Honey Sesame Chicken
2 lbs chicken – I used thighs
1/2 cup honey – original called for a full cup but I didn’t have enough
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp grated ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger
4 tbsp ketchup
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp cornstarch
6 tbsp water
Green onions and sesame seeds to garnish

1. Place the chicken in a 5 quart slow cooker that you have sprayed with cooking spray.
2. Combine honey – cayenne (no water, cornstarch or garnishes yet!) and pour over the chicken.
3. Cook on high for 2-3 hours.
4. When done, take the chicken out and leave the sauce in the pan.
5. Combine corn starch and water and make a slurry.
6. Pour that in the slow cooker with the sauce and mix. Cook for another ten minutes on high until it thickens slightly.
7. Chop up your chicken and put it back in the sauce. I also added about two cups of broccoli florets.
8. Serve with rice and garnishes.

This was a huge hit. I knew it would be and I really can’t wait to have it again. I plan to make up some more sauce this weekend and have My Faithful Assistant put it on for me on Wednesday when he gets home from school.

This would be great with beef or pork, too. And it would be fantastic with some crispy vegetables.



pufflesI’ve made some fun stuff in my waffle iron, including waffles. I’ve made Cauliflower Waffles which are having a strangely huge run on the blog. I’ve made Cinnamon Roll Waffles which are now My Faithful Assistant’s favorite weekend breakfast. Imagine my delight when, a few weeks ago, Epicurious introduced me to another way to use the waffle iron. Puffles! Puff pastry, stuffed or not.

We’ve had a rough couple weeks in our house and haven’t been able to spend a lot of time together. Honestly, I was kind of hoping for a dismal weekend with no homework so we could all snuggle on the couch and binge watch something. That isn’t going to happen. But since we were at least all in the house together, I broke out the puff pastry and tried my hand at making them for an afternoon treat.

I was a little skeptical since the recipe involved measuring the waffle iron to determine how large to roll your puff pastry. Plus, let’s face it. Epicurious probably has a little nicer kitchen to work in then the average person reading this blog. And of course, food stylists. We all know I am not a food stylist. Thinking about all of this almost sucked the fun out of making this fun treat. Then I noticed that the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry was folded in thirds and that each of the thirds was approximately the same width of each of the sections of my waffle iron. The length looked good enough for me. I spread Nutella on one half of the pastry, being careful to leave room around the edge. I placed two Puffles in the waffle iron (prepped with cooking spray) and let them cook for about five minutes until they were golden brown and puffing.

They were delicious! We will absolutely make these again. I’m looking forward to trying a savory version with ham and cheese or spinach and pesto. If you want to make Puffles yourself, follow the instructions on the Epicurious page (link is above).


Sneak Peak of The Counter at Whole Foods

photo 2 (2)It’s so nice when someone else makes dinner. And it’s even nicer when that dinner is served by smiley, happy people. That’s what my dinner was like yesterday. I was invited to a sneak peak of The Counter’s new menu at the Whole Foods in Columbia, MD.

While I wasn’t too busy stuffing my face with everything from Sweet and Spicy Brussels Sprouts to Wheat Free Pancakes and syrup, I did learn a few things. First, this location is the only location with diner style dining available at a counter. The counter is open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm daily and, you’ll love this, they serve breakfast all day. The menu was designed by the in-store artist (how cool is that), a really amazing young man named JesseFutter ( who went to Wilde Lake High School and came back to work full time in his old neighborhood.

What did we eat? OMG SO MUCH and something for everyone! Here’s the list:

Wheatless pancakes – I never learned what they were actually made with, but I don’t really care. They were so yummy!

Counter Fave – This is basically an egg sandwich with braised kale and kielbasa served on a whole wheat English muffin. Again, so yummy! photo 3 (2)

The Biscuit – Another egg sandwich with spinach, cheese and chipotle remoulade on a biscuit. This may have been my favorite. Maybe.

Tofu Scrambler – I have to say, when I got the invitation to this event, it was the tofu scrambler that caught my eye. I do love tofu and I rarely see it on the menu anywhere. This was delicious, and comes with hash browns and fruit. So. Good! photo 1 (2)

Now to the lunch and dinner menu:

Chicken & biscuit – Not a huge fan of this in general but knowing that it was made with whole foods and not anything processed made me thing this is something I could learn to love. Fried chicken thigh and a buttermilk biscuit with sausage gravy. I felt my family drooling from five miles away.

Curry Laska – I’m going to say this was my actual favorite. It had a spicy coconut curry broth, tofu, brown rice noodles and more. There was quite a kick but it was perfect for a cold winter day. Yum!

Avocado Tacos – So, I am not a big fan of warm avocado. I like it cold on a sandwich or in guac. Not much else. But the deep fried avocado on these tacos with the cabbage slaw and chipotle remoulade was so good!

Do you think that’s a lot? So did I but there was MORE!

Columbia Burger – Big tasty burger on a brioche roll with carmelized onion and mushrooms. By the time I got this, I was so full. I had a couple bites and I do have to say, it was one of the best burgers I have ever had outside of my home.

Last but not least…

Cacio Pepe – Think Mac and Cheese with spaghetti noodles and pecorino served with black pepper. I was full at this point. If my pocket had been lined with plastic I would have brought this home for my mac and cheese fanatic. They weren’t. He didn’t get it.

Entree prices range from $4 to $18. Not terrible, I thought, considering the quality of the food. And I am notoriously cheap.

There is something about Whole Foods. The people who work there are so genuinely happy. Everyone I’ve met from chefs to cashiers. Just. Nice. And these days, it is so nice to go somewhere and just have people be nice.

I hope you’ll go try out these tasty treats!