Browsing Category: Snack

Raspberry Chocolate Camp Cake
in a Dutch Oven, by Fire!

Raspberry Chocolate Camp Cake - using a dutch oven

I found this gluten-free chocolate cherry cake recipe and used it to make a raspberry chocolate cake in a dutch oven by campfire. Below are the basic steps re-written the way I did them. This was a good one to prep and fire up before dinner, and let sit and finish cooking while you eat the main meal.

Raspberry chocolate cake batter: before and after.
Raspberry chocolate cake batter: before and after.

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Herbed Butter

Some of you may be wondering why there hasn’t been a post in a while. Maybe one of you is wondering what happened with the spiralizer you loaned me, or what I ate on vacation in South America. Ooops, sorry, I’ve been busy seizing life by the throat and shaking it around. I do plan on recapping both those topics soon, but in honor of low maintenance recipes, herbed butter:

From Food52’s “Five Ways to Flavor Your Butter with Fresh Herbs,” I thought I wouldn’t use it a lot since I don’t eat toast much, but this little jar of deliciousness turned out to be a nice bonus to put on roast chicken, a green onion pancake egg sandwich, in a microwaved sweet potato at work, and anything else with a spreadable surface!

I used a tiny jam jar from a great wedding i went to, which was the perfect low commitment trial amount. I highly recommend trying out different flavor combos like in the article until it hits your taste buds just right.

Stick with the basics!
Stick with the basics!

Herbed Butter

2 Tbs unsalted butter
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1Tbs honey
Salt (to taste)


  1. Set butter out to warm to room temperature.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the thyme, removing stems.
  3. Once butter is warm enough to stir awkwardly, mix in thyme, honey and a dash of salt to taste.
  4. Serve immediately, or store in fridge at eye level for maximum usage.

Gift storage note from Food 52: “To gift or store the butter, dollop the flavored butter down the middle of a sheet of parchment paper. Using a straightedge, form the butter into a cylinder and roll the paper over it so that it keeps its shape. You can store it in the freezer for up to 6 months, slicing off coins of butter as needed.”

Herbed Butter

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
 4 of 5 stars.
It’s not a 5 only because i wouldn’t eat it on its own.
Likelihood of Repeat: 75%
prolly going to add this to my repertoire of edible gifts, for those I’m not worried abouy fattening up.
Lesson Learned: Do not underestimate the power of butter. Also: this will be a great way to use the herbs growing in my spring garden while also trimming them to grow bushier.

Spam Musubi – the best picnic sandwich ever!

I used to think vacations to Hawaii were over-rated and so cliche (cheap flights from the west coast! All your co-workers are doing it!), until i finally went. Then i realized why everybody in the Pacific Northwest tries to head out here in the Nth month of rain -it’s great! There’s a reason it’s a cliche.

I hope some day you will feel about spam musubi just as fondly as Pacific Northwesterners feel about Hawaii. One of the great gifts from vacationing there was the delicious spam musubis. Entertainingly, the best ones were from a Shell gas station on Honoapiilani Highway, on the West side of Maui near Kaanapali -the one next to Maui Grown Coffee Store. Luckily, my co-worker grew up there, so he gave me in-person advice on how to make it extra home-made-delicious. So after I impulse-bought a musubi mold from the local Japanese grocer in town here, I was set.

For my main proportion cues, I started with Two Red Bowl’s instructions.

Spam Musubi – extra meat!

make sure to get short-grained sushi rice. It's sweeter!
make sure to get short-grained sushi rice. It’s sweeter!

1 can Spam (used Spam Lite here)
1-2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce mixed with 2 tbsp water
3-4 cups cooked sushi rice*
3 sheets nori, cut into 2-inch strips (9 strips)
optional: rice vinegar, about 2 tsp

supplies: musubi mold and saran wrap

*0. Early prep: cook sushi rice, mix in about 2 tsp rice vinegar for sweetness.
1. Slice Spam into 9 or 10 slices. Some prefer thinner slices, your choice.
2. Heat a skillet over medium heat, turning until nicely browned on both sides.

Spam at start and spam after saute and soy sauce treatment.
Spam at start and spam after saute and soy sauce treatment.

3. Turn heat to medium-low. Sprinkle sugar evenly over Spam, then pour in water-soy-sauce mix, coating each slice.
4. Turn heat back up to medium or medium-high, turning Spam slices until the water evaporates and Spam caramelizes. Turn off heat and set aside.
5. Once Spam has cooled, set up musubi mold, rice, furikake, and nori.
6. Press one slice spam, sprinkle with furikake, then press rice firmly into mold (pick the amount of rice to your liking), and for extra meat, top with another spam piece so everything fits right into the mold. Fill in any gaps in the corners of the mold with rice and press it all in again for good luck.
7. Fold nori tightly around the musubi. Use several grains of rice or a little water to seal the nori.
8. See storage tips below in Lessons Learned.


I made you a gif, but WordPress wouldn’t let it work easily. So check the twitter feed..

Other references:
Chef B’s What I Ate on Vacation entry.

Photo Mar 20, 6 17 35 PM
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
5 of 5 stars.
I don’t think I ever had spam until I had it in spam musubi. Mind blown.
Likelihood of Repeat: 80%
The hard part is not making it every week (or else you may be left with fewer weeks in your life from all the sodium and cholesterol).
Lesson learned: These are definitely best when you plan to eat them the same day, so you can just wrap them in saran wrap and keep them at room temp (like for a picnic!)x. When you put them in the fridge the rice dries out, and while you can revive it a bit with a little time in the microwave, it’s not quite as delicious.
Photo Mar 20, 6 17 11 PM

Chef Crusoe the Dachshund on Bruschetta

File this one under: Entertaining Videos for Your Monday Commute
I even timed it so the East Coasters might get it in time..

While I have a special place in my heart for Martin Yan’s video from Saveur on how to make Cong You Bing (Scallion Pancakes), the latest food video I am captivated by is this one of Chef Crusoe the Dachshund, teaching you how to make bruschetta!  Saw a link to it from the Daily Meal a few days ago. This post is just to help spread the word more. I sent it straight to my friend at Wag Work Wine as soon as I saw it -perfect intersection of doggy adorable-ness and wine-related hosting tip! Entertainingly, I am also now convinced I should finally add bruschetta to my list of potential hosting recipes.

WARNING: you may end up watching a zillion youtube videos after this, with titles such as “Crusoe the Dachshund’s Bahamas Sailing Vacation.” Maybe you have a long commute?

Guest Blog: 
Lasagna Cupcakes!

Mmmm, cupcakes.
Mmmm, cupcakes.

Do you ever say, ‘I’m just looking’ and then you find something? I was cruising around Pinterest to find a new recipe for cooking Valentine’s Day dinner for my husband. I was intrigued with the notion of taking traditional lasagna into a cupcake shape. It was well worth it – each cupcake had it’s own crispness (much like the corners of a traditional lasagna) and wonton wrappers felt less filling than pasta noodles. Overall a fun spin on an original that I will make again!
-Jenni L.

Recipes source from: The Girl Who Ate Everything




Lasagna Cupcakes

1/3 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper
24 wonton wrappers
1 ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup ricotta cheese
1 cup pasta sauce
Basil for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
2. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray
3. Brown beef, season with salt and pepper
4. Drain beef
5. Return pan to heat and add tomato sauce
6. Cut wonton wrappers into circle shapes (using the top of a drinking glass)
7. Start layering; wonton wrapper, tomato sauce, ricotta
8. Repeat layers until add about 2-3 wonton wrapper layers are added per cupcake
9. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese
10. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are brown
11. Let cool for 5 minutes
12. Use a knife to loosen edges, then pop each lasagna out
13. Garnish with basil and serve

Buon appetito!

Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
3.8 of 5 stars
Likelihood of Repeat: 75%
The taste of melted cheese is like gelato on a warm day and that’s lasagna; however, lasagna in a cupcake shape is phenomenal. I don’t think I could ever go back to making lasagna in a rectangular pan. My cupcake tin is now reserved for lasagna!

Lesson Learned: Use cooking spray and let the lasagna sit for 5 minutes after removed from the oven. Removing the lasagna cupcake from the tin is delicate and letting the lasagna rest for 5 minutes after removed from the oven is key (reserve a little cheese to munch on in the meantime). ☺

So easy to eat!
So easy to eat!

Sunday Prep Day:
Chardegg Cakes for Breakf*st

Dear Readers,
I hope you enjoyed the guest blogs! Many thanks to both Alex and Kris for their generous contributions. In honor of the J_______ brothers’ penchant for delicious chicken dinners, check out HuffPo’s “8 Chicken Dinners that are Anything But Boring,” Relatedly, I may share a lettuce wrap combo in a later blog too.

New year, new plans!
This is a recipe I’ve been trying out in my efforts to build more muscle, to pack some protein into breakfast. I imagine my paleo friends will approve.
Breakfast is the most logical target for amping up nutrition to me. It has the highest chances of getting the fatty parts burned off in the day, and often follows a workout (timing recommended by fitness sources from the internets). My usual oatmeal (or quinoa) and fruit -or the under-nourishing half a grapefruit with sugar- were getting a little stale anyway. How to combat the morning time crunch? By cooking up a storm on Sundays for the next week!
You’ll laugh, but the first sign of minor minor success? Not having trouble opening sticky garlic jars from the fridge! …lately, at least..

Left: cups are prepped and ready for baking. Top right: sauteed onions. Bottom right: turkey bacon...still bacon.
Left: cups are prepped and ready for baking. Top right: sauteed onions. Bottom right: turkey bacon…still bacon.

Chardegg Cakes for Breakf*st
*So fast you can eat it while you run out the door and skip the ‘a’.
Original inspiration from: Paleo Living Magazine‘s Paleo Kale and Chives Egg Muffins + I Breathe I’m Hungry’s Swiss Chard & Ricotta Pie.

4 eggs
1/4 cup almond milk
1 cup chard, finely chopped
1/4 c onions, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
6 slices turkey bacon, or coconut oil to grease cupcake cups

1. Sauté onions 4 minutes on medium, add garlic, fry 1 minute more until garlic is golden.
2. Grease 6 cupcake molds with coconut oil or lay out turkey bacon in each cup.
3. Whisked together eggs, almond milk, chard, and onion-garlic mix.
4. Filled 6 cups with mixture, top with tomato bits.
5. Bake 30 minutes, then pop out egg cups to eat for the week.
Storage Note: if you make a double portion, these also freeze for a pretty decent breakfast later (defrost the day before you want to eat them). If you are a toaster oven devotee, you can pop them in to toast and it crisps them right up.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
 4 of 5 stars.
The is the second round, I may update if I find the ham was even better (or maybe tasted more virtuous to eat than turkey bacon, which may or may not be better for you than using prosciutto).
Likelihood of Repeat: 90%
This has been a household hit too, increasing the chances of repeat. It’s also so portable and satisfyingly filling.
Lesson Learned: Yes, there is such a thing as too much kale.
Also: you burn through a lot of eggs when you’re trying to eat more protein. See below for other variations I’ve tried. Check out the update on this recipe from March!

The finished product mid-bite.
The finished product mid-bite.

Other variations:
Italian sausage lining instead of turkey bacon – I tried this and found it too fatty-feeling. Plus, I am not a big fan of the fennel seeds in italian sausage mix.

Prosciutto lining – Ironically, this felt less fattening, since the prosciutto crisps up nicely, and makes the “muffins” easy to hold. However, I didn’t feel I could justify eating prosciutto for breakfast every single weekday.

Just egg, no liner – Boring, but functional if you don’t want to spend on more meat than egg protein.
Kale instead of chard – I tried this one, but accidentally put too much kale in. It is much better with tomato on top for a little variety in flavor. Chard seemed to bake a little softer.

Salsa or ketchup on the side – if you find whatever combo you’ve made a little bland, salsa can perk things up –or ketchup, if you are up for the added sugar. The American kid in me says, “ketchup makes everything better!”

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

…because some things are worth trying again after the first time didn’t quite turn out 10 years ago.

left: sweet, right: bbq, bottom: salted
left: sweet, right: bbq, bottom: salted

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Source recipes: the first search result off google + Food Network combinations

boil, season, bake.
boil, season, bake.

Leftover pumpkin seeds from carving 2 medium-large pumpkins
Arbitrary Amounts of…
Olive Oil
Seasoning combinations (amounts to taste):
BBQ: brown sugar, ground cumin, chili powder
Sweet: Sugar, cinnamon
Plain: salt



  1. Clean the seeds.
  2. Boil for 10 minutes in salt water.
  3. Drain the seeds in a colander.
  4. Spread seeds onto a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, plus seasoning of your choice (see above for what I did).
  5. Roast seeds at 325F for 15-22 minutes, taste testing a few seeds at 15 minutes.
  6. Optional step: accidentally touch the burning hot pan and spill 1/6 of the seeds.
BBQ roasted pumpkin seeds
BBQ roasted pumpkin seeds

This Week’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5
I tried roasting fresh pumpkin seeds once years ago, and it was dry and not tasty. This method with boiling first was delicious!
Likelihood of Repeat: 75%
Totally worth doing in 365 days when I have fresh pumpkin seeds again!
Lesson Learned: Boo!
11/1/14 edit: these are not as crispy and tasty second or third day, unless you toast them up a little again.

Happy Halloween!

BBQ roasted pumpkin seeds + rogue farms pumpkin patch ale
BBQ roasted pumpkin seeds + rogue farms pumpkin patch ale

Oven-baked Sweet Plantains

In honor of the South American countries and their gracious hosting of the World Cup: baked plantains. A little late in posting, but better than never. Recipe was from my local grocery store (see photo)!

Slice, oil, bake, flip, bake.
Slice, oil, bake, flip, bake.

1 plantain (ripe = black spots all over)
high heat cooking oil and a pastry brush, or just cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Coat a non-stick pan with spray, or cover with parchment.
3. Cut plantain diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.
4. Arrange in single layer on pan and coat with oil.
5. Baked for 10-15 minutes, flipping each one until golden and very tender.

If you need another reason to try plantains, here’s an article on the recent worry that they will soon be extinct due to a deadly disease dubbed “the HIV of banana plantations” by the media, slowly making its way around the globe.

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5 stars.
I don’t eat bananas much, so this was pretty novel.
Likelihood of Repeat: 15%
Bananas are still just too sweet for me. They might go good as a treat atop of cold ice cream or whipped coconut dessert, might be interesting in thinner pieces too.
Lesson Learned: All that sugar can burn really fast if you don’t keep an eye on it.

“Heat Wave!”
Frozen Coconut Limeade

Here in the Northwest, this week has a “heat wave” forecasted, by which I mean highs in the low 80s and somewhat sunny. Possibly laughable in the rest of the U.S., yes, but still a great excuse to try Smitten Kitchen’s Frozen Coconut Limeade. Did I mention I’ve been in a coconut obsessed phase? Anything coconut sounds delicious to try to me. Plus, watching all those soccer players sweat it out in humid Manaus makes me thirsty. The only thing I added was mint for garnish.

Squeeze, blend, garnish, sip, aaah!
Squeeze, blend, garnish, sip, aaah!

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars.
Mmm, so refreshing on a warm day, and has a more zippy bite to it than the usual smoothies from my house (made of frozen berries + almond milk).
Likelihood of Repeat: 65%
Lesson Learned: A little tart citrus adds even more pep. Note for next time: maybe try some almond flavors to add, and maybe try an alcoholic version too..

Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese

Had some freshly-fallen zucchini squash blossoms in the garden I’ve been busying myself with..


removed stamens before stuffing blossoms, per internet

So I cribbed a recipe for goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms from Gena Knox for a trial run, baking at 350 for 15-20 minutes. 2018 post-script note: since the source URL appears to have morphed and eliminated the recipe, here it is, based on my 2014 notes.


2.5 ounces goat cheese, softened
1/2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 squash blossoms
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield 3 tiny servings
Cook time: 15 minutes
Scaling note: Gena’s recipe did 4 oz cheese and everything else doubled except the egg, for 6 servings.

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