Tag Archives: Baked Good

Healthy Brownies… well healthy-ish

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Most of the time I’m pretty content with being a Chihuahua. I get carried around all day. I can fit in really small places like under the bed or in mi mama’s purse. I have a personal butler to clean up after me, like when I leave my toys out or “accidentally” drop a little turd on the rug. People always assume I’m much younger than I really am because of my teeny stature and I still get carded at PetsMart when trying to buy a bag of DogNip. When someone tries to tell me what to do or if I’m bored with what they are saying, I can pretend I don’t understand English and quickly scamper away without seeming rude. The list goes on but I think you get the point.

However, there are a few situations when being a small (albeit awesome) little pup is not completely wonderful. I came upon one of these instances this past weekend when mi papa was having some of his rugby friends over for dinner. I, of course, was in charge of all the preparations and dinner menu and already knew what I wanted to make for the occasion (Butternut Squash Lasagna). I even knew what I wanted to have prepared as a dessert (Carrot Cake Cupcakes). Unfortunately mi mama had a different plan and suggested I bake up some brownies for our guests instead. Brownies!!! No, not brownies!! Chocolate– my nemesis!!!

It’s not that I dislike the taste of brownies. Quite the opposite really. What I do dislike, however, is the massive diarrhea and convulsive vomiting that goes along with sampling a little bit of brownie. Oh the perils of being a dog, and not having the corresponding enzymes in my stomach to be able to properly digest chocolate… and grapes and raisins and walnuts… oh don’t even get me started on those evil bastards nuts.

Now I don’t like to disappoint mis padres, especially mi papa, so I sucked it up and agreed to make a batch of brownies for the occasion. And oh holy frijoles did they turn out delicioso!

Well on that note, I better be going. And speaking of notes, I need to go practice mine on the piano. I’ve got a jam session with Billy Joel later today and I’m determined to become the next Piano Man– er Piano Pup.

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Three years!!! Wow, that’s like twenty-one in dog years

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Three years ago today, mi Tio Paul and his lady love Laura, walked down the aisle of the Moody Gardens Mansion and pledged their undying love to one another in a ceremony of marriage in front of all their family and friends… well almost all their family. I was forced to stay home and babysit their cat, Maddie, who I’m convinced is the only kitty in history to actually be more afraid of me than I am of her. It probably doesn’t help that I sneak up and pounce on her while she’s sleeping and scare her while she’s eating’s so I can eat the rest of her kibble. And I’m fairly certain if she were able to “crap her pants” whenever I’m around, she would. But I digress.

So I would like to take this moment to wish mi Tio Paul and mi Tia Laura a very happy anniversary as well as apologize for any amount of therapy I may have caused your fur-child to need following the mental abuse I inflicted on her three years ago. I truly am sorry. However, I would like to set the record straight and clarify that her recurring bouts of constipation are NOT my fault, and I really wish she would stop blaming me for that particular issue. Just because I slipped a couple Lego blocks and a few Fibercon tablets in her food bowl while she wasn’t looking does not mean that her inability to defecate is in any way my fault. Maybe she just needs to eat more veggies and go for a walk once in a while.

Anyway, in honor of mi Tio and Tias beautiful union, I made a delicious breakfast bread containing two ingredients that are also a match made in heaven– strawberries and bananas. And because mi Tia Laura is a vegan, I made this bread completely egg and dairy free. It’s also really low in sugar and contains no added fats or oils. Perfect addition to a romantic breakfast in bed or as a dessert to complete a candlelit dinner for two.

Feliz Anniversario Po and Rara!

If baking is an addiction, then call me a junkie

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I’ve been on a huge baking kick lately. Cakes and muffins and granola bars are being churned out of my kitchen pretty much on a daily basis and I can’t seem to put down my mixing bowls and spatulas for longer than 24 hours before I’m picking them up again to create something new. Mi mama and papa are definitely enjoying all my tasty concoctions and it seems their only complaint is not knowing which baked good to choose from amongst the huge surplus… well that and the fact that I’m so busy baking that I’ve sometimes forgotten to prepare anything for dinner. Let’s just say they’ve had a few “gourmet” meals provided by the lovely Marie Callendar. And there may have been a certain chef by the name of Boyardee helping me out once or twice. Hey don’t blame me. I can’t help what those two end up feeding themselves when left to their own devices.

Unfortunately, though, this past weekend I finally hit the creativity wall and I couldn’t for the life of me think of anything to either bake or prepare. Definitely not a good thing for my ego. I am the TeenyLittleSuperChef after all and genius ideas tend to pop into my brain as often and abundant as lame jokes pop out of mi mama’s mouth. I started to freak out a little bit. Now normally when I’ve felt as though I’ve lost my chefing mojo I take some to time to relax and either practice a little yoga or go for a walk down to the dog park, but this particular day I wanted to bake and I wanted to bake right then and there, without waiting for the inspiration to hit me. So instead, I turned to mis padres and asked them for their suggestions. And from what I gathered, mi mama loves strawberries. Mi papa loves chocolate. Obviously, I love mi papa more them both equally, so I decided to come up with a delicious treat that would encompass both of these items. And the outcome was a snack cake that mi papa exclaimed to be “the best baked good I’ve ever come up with!”

Looks like my baking mojo is back! Thank goodness, now I am able to kick back and smell the flowers once again. Speaking of which, check out the muy bonita tulips I planted last fall that have finally begun to bloom.

Gardening is just another little side hobby of mine… TeenyLittleSuperGreenThumb 😉

Rainy days and Sundays always get me down

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Well, unfortunately I think I may have spoken too soon. After pressing the publish button on Friday to post my last blog installment, the skies opened up and it’s been pouring down rain ever since. The blue skies have turned back to gray and the warm temperatures have cooled way down and I’m back wearing my knitted sweaters and furry slippers (oh yes, I have furry slippers). I guess that silly groundhog was right, and it really is going to be closer to April for it to be officially Spring-time. Some days I think I should just pack it up and move down to the Virgin Islands to be with my Tio Tony. From what I hear, days down in the islands are spent sunbathing on the beach, staring out at the clear turquoise-blue waters of the Caribbean, all the while sipping fruity concoctions with little umbrellas in hollowed out pineapples… sounds muy bueno to me. Not at all like my typical day up here in Oregon which mostly consists of shivering profusely under a pile of blankets, staring out the living room window at the howling winds and rain, all the while praying for mi papa to come home soon so I have a warmer lap to sit on and a bowl of plain old tap water to drink… with no little umbrellas, of course. Not exactly living the dream. So if you’re reading this, Tony, I’ve checked my schedule and I’m pretty much free and available to come visit you anytime in the near future… seriously, anytime. I don’t shed much and I eat very little. My poops are fairly small and I sleep a good portion of the day. I’m sort of like a furry, mute newborn, except I can cook meatloaves and bake cupcakes and lick my own eyeball with very little effort. Now if that hasn’t sold you on the idea of my coming down for a visit, well then I don’t know what else will.

Actually I may have one more thing up my sleeve in order to persuade you. I promise if you let me come visit you, I will make you this incredibly delicious breakfast bread every day of my visit. Or at least until you get so sick of it that blueberries and bananas are beginning to seep out through your pores and you beg for some homemade strawberry doughnuts instead. Or a cranberry-pecan coffee cake, perhaps. Or maybe even some apple-cinnamon muffins. Seriously, Tio Tony, whatever you want hombre. Just send me an invite and we can make this happen. In the meantime, drool a little over this lovely baked beauty.

Alright, that’s all the begging asking politely I can handle for right now. My paws are getting cold from typing and I think mi papa is home to warm me up before bedtime.

Hey, I’m down here Big Guy.

Superfood and Super News

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First off, I have to tell you some exciting news that occurred over the weekend. Mi mama’s younger brother, Tio Tony, and his lady love became engaged and plan to get married sometime soon– Woohoo! Which means I’m going to have a brand new tia who can spoil me and love on me and scratch my belly and sneak me carrots and Greenies, as well as a totally new lap to sit on. Oh happy day! I still haven’t met her yet as she and Tio Tony have been out of the country for the past month and a half but I plan to mark my territory welcome her with open paws in May when they get back into town. Felicitaciones to the happy couple!

In other exciting news, mi mama came home with a huge carton of fresh blackberries from Costco on Saturday! Okay so maybe it’s not as exciting as an engagement but it sure did make me happy. I love fresh berries and blackberries are one of my favorites to use in healthy recipes for mi familia. Considered a superfood by nutritionists and dietitians, blackberries are among the top ten antioxidant-containing foods. They are high in fiber as well as Vitamins A, C, E and K, all of which help prevent cancers and heart disease. All this wrapped up into a plump little purple berry that looks adorable and tastes muy delicioso. Oh and did I mention blackberries grow as wild and crazy here in the great state of Oregon during the summer months as the back hair grows on mi papa’s best friend’s Italian great-uncle Vincenzo. Pretty fantastico, if you ask me.

I began thinking of all the wonderful ways in which I could use these little nutrient-packed powerhouses, and after throwing around ideas such as, in smoothies or cobblers, I finally settled on coffee cake. But not just any kind of coffee cake. A blackberry-almond coffee cake. Yowza! Talk about tasty. And with the addition of almonds (also a superfood) this ended up being one healthy and antioxidant-rich little breakfast treat.

Blackberry-Almond Coffee Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tbsp butter or Earth Balance, softened to room temperature

2 tbsp canola or safflower oil

2 large eggs or 1/2 cup egg substitute

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup plain low or nonfat yogurt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon ( I recommend Vietnamese)

2/3 cup chopped almonds

1 cup fresh blackberries

Directions:

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8″ square cake pan with cooking spray.

2) Whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt in a medium size bowl.

3) In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter and oil until well combined. Beat in the eggs and then the vanilla and yogurt until fully combined.

4) Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until just combined.

5) In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon and almonds.

6) Spread half the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle half the almond mixture on top of the batter and top with the blackberries. Spoon the rest of the batter over the berries, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture over the cake.

7) Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Let cool slightly and then unmold to allow to cool completely on a cooling rack (or just leave it in the pan, if you wish).

So there you have it. Two exciting items I just shared with you today. An engagement and a coffee cake. Talk about a great start to the week, if I do say so myself… and I do.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a meeting with a couple of the local ducks down the street about the upcoming neighborhood picnic. They’re requesting I bring loaves of bread… shocking.

Bugs Bunny, eat your heart out

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Once again, an important national holiday in the TeenyLittleSuperChef household has come and passed, and I was completely unaware of it even being in existence until just now. How could this possibly happen? Was anyone else aware that February 3rd was National Carrot Day? How could I have not known? Seriously! I am the ultimate carrot connoisseur. The master of all orange root vegetables. The supreme daucus carota officionato. If the carrot was a college, I would be the Dean. If the carrot was a country, I would be the President. If it was the best TV sitcom from the 1950’s, I would be the Desi Arnaz… I think you get my point. Carrots are the end-all, be-all of my existence and yet somehow, the one special day that is dedicated to my beloved little orange beauty came and passed as though it were just any other day. You would think someone would have sent me an e-mail or a card or at the very least, Facebook messaged me. What’s it take for a little guy to get Tweeted these days. I mean, come on.

Alas, while I should have been spending the 3rd of February celebrating the almighty carrot, instead I was nursing my post Super Bowl party hangover and preparing for what I thought was the next most important holiday, National Organ Donor’s Day. No offense, organ donors, but carrots take the cake when it comes to random things being honored.

Speaking of cake, is there anything more awesome than carrot cake? Well, other than carrot cake in cupcake form? I think not. So even though I’m over three weeks behind in celebrating this momentous occasion, I’ve decided it’s still better late than never to do my part. Therefore I’m declaring today, February 27th, as National TeenyLittleSuperCarrot Day. Yay!!! So crank up those ovens and get ready, because it’s carrot cake cupcake time.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 eggs, beaten or 1/2 cup egg substitute

1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large carrots, finely shredded (about 2 cups)

4 oz. Neufchatel cheese (reduced-fat cream cheese), softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

walnuts, finely chopped, for garnish

Directions:

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

3) In a large bowl, combine the eggs, canola oil and brown sugar. Stir well. Whisk in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots.

4) Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined. Fold in the walnuts.

5) Pour the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6) To make the frosting: Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

7) Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining walnuts.

Enjoy!

Well compadres, I must be going now. I’ve got a whole plate of orange deliciousness waiting for me to devour, and only 6 more hours left in the day to do so.

Happy TeenyLittleSuperCarrot Day, mi amigos!

P.S. If you’d like to buy me or one of your loved ones a muy bonita present in celebration of this day, check out this delightful, authentic Louis Vuitton purse mi tia Marisa is selling on E-Bay! Perfect for taking a stroll through the dog park mall.

Protecting your heart, one little muffin at a time

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 Hip hip hooray! Tomorrow is National Organ Donor Day! What are you doing to help celebrate? Donating some bone marrow? Giving your significant other one of your kidneys? Or baking some deliciously tasty muffins? Well, given the fact that I’m a Chihuahua and not quite a match for mi mama or papa when it comes to organ or tissue donation, I have to celebrate with the last of those suggestions and will be baking up some decadent little muffins. The good thing is, they contain three very important ingredients when it comes to maintaining one’s heart health so in a way, I’m still doing my part. I may not be donating my heart to someone in need but I am doing what I can to keep everyone else’s most vital organ in tip-top shape.

These muffins are really special, if I do say so myself. They contain bananas, chocolate (mmm, chocolate) and the not-your-typical-muffin-ingredient… avocado. Avocado?!?! Yes avocado! The mother of all green fruits. Avocados sometimes get a bad reputation for being high in fat and calories, but the truth of the matter is, the fat contained in an avocado is of the heart-healthy mono-unsaturated variety. As in, the kind that help lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol inside the body. So don’t fear the avocado, people. Love the avocado. And then spread the love by baking these healthy little baked treats.

ABC (Avocado-Banana-Chocolate) Muffins

2 large ripe bananas

1 large ripe avocado

1 tsp lemon juice

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup canola oil

1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

2) In a large bowl, mash the bananas and avocado until creamy but still somewhat chunky. Add the lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, oil and egg. Mix well.

3) In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

4) Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Do not overwork the dough.

5) Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, about 3/4 full.

6) Bake 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

7) Allow to cool 5 minutes before removing muffins to a wire rack. Enjoy!

Now if only I had a heart-shaped muffin pan, these would be totally perfect… hint hint, mama or papa. Just putting it out there in case you hadn’t figured out what present to get me for tomorrow’s big holiday. I’ll even settle for a bag of heart-shaped baby carrots. Your choice.

As for me, I better be going now. I’m performing my magic tricks this evening at a black-tie affair and I need to go practice a bit before I leave. First up, making my wooden rolling-pin magically disappear.

Abra-cadabra

Oops!