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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes and Toasted Garlic

Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes and Toasted Garlic

It's been hilarious watching Brecken's facial reactions as she tries new foods. I'm proud to say that (so far), she hasn't rejected a single food. Girl loves to eat, just like her mom and dad! I remember when we were flying home from New York in September, she reached for a pickle and I gave her a try, fully expecting her to spit it out. Instead, she immediately grabbed it and made it clear she had no intentions of sharing. Although I was pretty cautious when we first started giving her solids, making sure to wait a few days before introducing a new food and avoiding giving her anything with strong flavors, we've pretty much thrown caution to the wind and are letting her try bits of most things now. 

She seems to have a penchant for spicy foods, or at least tolerates them, which is exciting for Ryan and me, as we prefer our food with quite a bit of heat. I made this spicy broccoli side dish before Brecken was eating solids, but something tells me it'll get her stamp of approval next time I make it. Looking at the ingredient list, you'll notice this dish is simple, but bold. If you're like me, you don't have time to make a fifteen ingredient side dish, but you want something a little more flavorful than steamed broccoli. If your little ones (or big ones!) can't tolerate a little heat, skip the red pepper flakes during the cooking process and add them at the end to individual servings!

One Year Ago: Freekeh with Thyme-Roasted Grapes, Chickpeas, and Spinach
Two Years Ago: Sautéed Cabbage with Red Onions and Bacon and Nacho Black Bean Burgers
Three Years Ago: Salty Caramel Ice Cream and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Capers, Walnuts, and Anchovies
Four Years Ago: M&M Cookies and Shakshuka
Five Years Ago: Cereal Dessert Bars and Black Bean Burgers

Monday, October 20, 2014

German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake | The Sweets Life
German Chocolate Cake 
When I threw my friend Katie's baby shower a few months ago, I was determined to keep the food fairly simple. After all, the shower was scheduled for a weeknight and there's nothing that screams STRESS more than trying to throw together a bunch of fancy foods after working all day. One area I refused to go simple, however, was the cake. I don't get many opportunities to make fancy layer cakes, my sister had promised to make a cute cake topper, and the beauty of most layer cakes is that they're actually better when made ahead of time. The decision to make a German Chocolate Cake came after consulting Katie's husband, Matt. Actually, truth be told, my original query to Matt left me a bit befuddled, as he suggested I find a way to combine what he believed were her favorites: chocolate, strawberries, and coconut. While I'm sure there's a way to deliciously combine those into one cake, I instead did a little more digging and discovered that Katie's loves German Chocolate Cake. German Chocolate Cake it was!
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German Chocolate Cake | The Sweets Life
I made the cake layers the weekend before, froze them, and then made the frosting two days before the shower. I assembled and frosted the cake, stuck it in my cake dome, and let it sit in the fridge for two days. I have no idea whether this helped the flavor at all, but it certainly didn't hurt anything. This cake was magnificent! The cake layers are closer to a dense brownie than a fluffy cake and while the frosting is a bit sweet (I even reduced the sugar some), it's not too cloying since it's only between the layers and on top, and small slices go a long way. Because we were leaving town the next day, I stuck the rest of the cake in a tupperware and froze it, completely experimentally to see how it'd fare. The pictures you see are actually after I came home and thawed it once again (I was too busy the day of the shower to take good cake photos, which is why there aren't any decent ones of the entire cake), and spoiler alert: it was just as good the second time around! Next time you want a dessert that impresses, but prefer something you can make ahead of time, here's your answer!

One Year Ago: Odds & Ends
Two Years Ago: Roasted Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salad
Three Years Ago: Spiced Pear Bundt Cake and Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Four Years Ago: Easy Turkey Chili and Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies
Five Years Ago: Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie and Pumpkin Cake