I Took a Baking Class (and so should YOU!)

I LOVE baking. It’s one of the first things that people find out about me – either because I tell them or because I shove baked goods in their face. Sometimes it’s both! I’m known as the “baking” friend in my little Dallas friend group and I love it – I always make the birthday cake for friends, I bake the pies for friendsgivings, and I’m expected (happily!!) to bring a delicious homemade treat to all of our get-togethers, no matter how casual.

While I feel like I have a handle on cookies and cakes and other various treats, there was one thing that I had always wanted to try and make myself but was kind of scared to try…. Macarons.

You know the ones I’m talking about? They’re so delicious and delicate and can come in so many colors and flavors – but they’re notoriously difficult to make. Everything has to be PERFECT. Beat the egg whites too much? Throw it out. Didn’t fold in the dry ingredients using the proper technique? Toss it. Made the batter too warm while piping out the shells? Ruined. I was so nervous to try it out on my own and ruin it and get frustrated, which was the most likely scenario.

There is a macaron shop (Savor Patisserie) in town that offers baking classes and I’ve wanted to take one there… basically since I moved to Dallas. I was finally tired of saying “I should” and I went ahead and signed myself up for one of their macaron baking classes! And it was…….. AWESOME!!!

Seriously – it was so great! I showed up at their new classroom (by downtown Dallas) and the space was perfect. I met all the other people also taking the class, and we were divided into tables. I was at a table with 3 other ladies, and together I think we did a pretty good job making these little treats!

The owner of Savor (also named Kelly) led the class and helped us step by step as we followed along with the recipe page we were given. There was plenty of room on the paper to take notes – and I took a TON of notes! She gave so many great tips and tricks and I’ll be glad that I wrote them down in the future.

There were a lot of flavor options that we got to choose from, and my table decided to make raspberry shells with champagne buttercream filling. There were also a lot of great color options, and we chose BRIGHT blue for the shells! The color was SO bright and So happy and I absolutely loved it. Piping the shells was more difficult than it looked, but I feel like I got the hang of it pretty fast and felt comfortable doing it. Since there were 4 people at my table, we all took turns piping out a few rows of shells and some of the ladies were…. less comfortable… with the process… so a few of our shells looked very “special.” They still tasted great, tho!

Even the baking process is extremely precise for these little goodies! The host took care of the baking for us, and we all sat together chatting and enjoying the DELICIOUS smells coming out of the oven.

Once they were done baking, we made the buttercream. Again, my table chose a champagne flavor, and I got to pick the color – so obviously I went with BRIGHT pink. I know I’m biased, but I think that our macarons turned out SO GREAT!!!!!

I had SUCH a great experience taking this baking class! It was my first time doing anything like this, and it definitely won’t be my last. I’m so glad that I learned how to make macarons from a professional first and I can’t wait to try making them myself at home! (Actually I’m going to try making them at my sister’s house because she has a nice new kitchen with a fancy new oven and my oven is probably 40 years old and it’s kind of terrible…)

Have you made these on your own before? Have you tried them? What’s your favorite flavor combo?!?

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The World’s Easiest Burrito Bowl

When I was getting ready to move into my new apartment and then once I actually moved in, I was SO LAZY when it came to cooking. (Lazier than usual, I should say.) I had legitimate excuses, because my kitchen stuff was all packed up and I didn’t know where my measuring cups were, etc. While I had dinner covered most nights (thanks to frozen dinners heated up in the microwave and more Chick-Fil-A than I care to admit…), I ended up buying my lunch quite often at work.

Downtown Dallas has SO MANY food and restaurant options, but with limited time to eat during the day, I ended up going to a little restaurant row across the street most of the time. The one meal I got most often was this DELICIOUS burrito bowl. It was all warm and delicious, and because it’s from a restaurant, expensive. As I sat eating it one day, I realized that all of the things I put in my burrito bowl were things I could get at the store and really didn’t have to cook! So, I went to the store after work, bought all sorts of canned things, and created the world’s easiest burrito bowl to bring for lunch for the rest of the week!

Again, since I was a lazy bones and didn’t yet have access to my knives or other cooking utensils, I used basically everything from a can or a bag. Obviously you can use the same ingredients not found in a can, otherwise known as “fresh”, but I mean, who are you trying to impress?!?! 🙂 Here’s what I used:

Canned chicken (shredded)
Spanish Rice
Black beans
Lettuce
Cheese

And that’s it! Just mix everything up in a big bowl, heat it up in the microwave, and eat your heart out! (It should be obvious, but add the cheese and the lettuce after you’ve microwaved the other ingredients. Nobody like soggy lettuce…) The great thing about burrito bowls, is that you can doctor them up and make different and delicious bowls every time. Try using ground or shredded beef! Add salsa or pico de gallo! Trade out the rice for some quinoa! Plop some guacamole on top! Add green peppers and chopped zucchini if you’re trying to be healthy! Add in crushed tortilla chips and queso dip if you’re not trying to be healthy! The possibilities are endless!!!

Now that I do have my kitchen all put together, I’m going to try and make this recipe again, but with “fresh” ingredients (aka cooking my own chicken and adding in lots of chopped veggies). What would your go-to burrito bowl combo be?!?

 

The Cookbooks are Calling My Name

Ugh. You guys. I’m still not even unpacked yet… Some of the stuff I don’t care about. The box with my beach towel and swimsuits? That’s fine, stay in the corner of my closet a while longer. The stack of pictures and frames just waiting to be hung up? Whatever – I’ll get to it eventually. But the thing that is actually starting to get on my nerves a lot now, is my kitchen. AND YES I KNOW IT’S MY OWN FAULT AND I AM THE ONLY ONE TO BLAME BUT JUST LET ME COMPLAIN FOR A MINUTE.

I’ve got half of it unpacked… but I also have junk just ALL OVER the counters still. It’s not that I’m necessarily that particular about where it all goes, but also yes I am. I have limited space in my cabinets, and I’m just not sure how I want to organize everything yet, and so it just sits out. I know I could probably just put it away “for now” and then organize it later, but “for now” would turn into “forever” and I would be forever disorganized and I’m 29 now I’m trying to get my stuff together.

The fact that my kitchen is in shambles means that I have not really been cooking since I moved into my new place. I’ve been microwaving things, and I did cook some chicken, but that’s about it. My cookbooks have been sitting on a shelf (again, not sure where they’ll go eventually, but this is where they’re at for the moment) staring me down and BEGGING me to use them again! Someday soon…

Looking at all of the cookbooks I love has made me want to share some of my favorites! Maybe talking about them will give me some motivation and finally get that unpacking and organizing DONE! Maybe.


Anyone Can Cook || This one is great for beginners! It shows you what kitchen staples you might want to have in your kitchen, has almost every type of recipe possible (including drinks), and even shows you techniques to use. I like this one because it makes me feel like a professional chef, even though I’m SO far from it.

Hungry Girl 1-2-3 || I got this cookbook while living in my first college apartment when I had limited kitchen equipment and next to no skills. It has the easiest recipes ever and they’re all pretty delicious! It’s less cooking and more throwing things together, if that makes sense.

Lexi’s Clean Kitchen || I got this one pretty recently, and it’s already made it to the top of my cookbook list. The recipes are amazing and not too difficult, and it feels great to know that you’re making delicious AND healthy recipes.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime || I got this one as a gift (thanks, Mom!) and I have made quite a few delicious meals from here! It’s definitely good comfort food, and I know that I’ll always have a TON of leftovers aka I won’t have to cook again for a few days aka I’m a happy camper.

Recipe | Cheesy Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Back when I lived in my college town, my boss at the time (hi, Brandi!) would take me and the other girls in the office out for a little night on the town quite often, which was always a fun time. Our favorite place to go was a restaurant and lounge called Touch because it had such a fun atmosphere and DELICIOUS food and drinks. One of our favorite things to order were these little dates that were filled with some sort of cheese and wrapped in bacon. They. Were. So. Good. And they were only $1!! We spent many dollars on them.

When I was thinking about what snack I wanted to make and bring to my friends’ house for the Super Bowl, these dates came into my mind almost immediately. I knew I didn’t want to make anything too sugary, and I was ready to try reincorporating cheese into my diet after the Whole30, so these dates were the perfect option.

I googled around to try and find a similar recipe, but nothing sounded exactly right. Basically, I knew that I needed delicious bacon, soft cheese, and dates, and the rest took care of itself!

The recipe is so easy – you cook a few pieces of bacon, mix those up with the cheese (I used goat cheese) and some dates, stuff the mixture into the pitted dates, wrap em in bacon, and bake! That’s it!

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See? So easy. And SO delicious! I bet other types of cheese would work, too, and be great, but y’all… the goat cheese was SO GOOD!

These little date bites are the perfect party snack or appetizer and they were at hit for the Super Bowl. What was the best snack you had during the big game?

dates recipe

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The Prettiest Cake I’ve Ever Made

I LOVE to bake! It’s no secret. All my friends and family know this about me. I’m always the first to volunteer to bring dessert to a potluck, bring cookies to a movie night, and so on. I even prefer to make my own desserts for my birthday! I knew that I was going to a good friend’s birthday dinner this past weekend and I was dying to bake her a birthday cake! SO I DID!!!

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It ended up being a 4-layer cake (chocolate, white, chocolate, white) with an almond buttercream frosting. The cake was just from a box (I know, not from scratch…) but the frosting… Oh man… this stuff was GOOD!!! It was the first time I’d ever made a buttercream frosting and I’ll definitely be making it again! (I obviously used almond extract for the flavoring, but I bet vanilla would be delicious, too!)

I also tried a new “recipe” for getting the cakes to easily come out of the pan and it was fantastic! I’ve never had a cake come out of the pan just like that before! The only downside was that the edges of the cake got a little crispier than normal, but definitely not too crispy. Still edible. Still delicious!

This was my first attempt at a *fancy* cake and I’m pretty proud of how it turned out! It was very… bright… but I like bright things so there ya go! I don’t have one of those fancy cake spinner stands, so I plopped the cardboard cake board onto a lazy Susan and it worked out very well!

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The birthday dinner was a lot of fun and everyone said that the cake (but mostly the frosting) was delicious – which is always great to hear! Now if only I had some leftovers… 🙂

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