Ladybug has been wanting to prepare a meal (or two!) using recipes from The Ultimate Final Fantasy XIV Online Cookbook, and we decided that spring break was the perfect opportunity. So last Wednesday, we had a day of Final Fantasy XIV-themed foods, starting with a “Sandwich Basket” for lunch. It included egg salad, roast beef with horseradish sauce, and lettuce, tomato, and avocado varieties:
For dinner, she choose “Deep-Fried Okeanis,” which was pretty much a schnitzel that would also work well for pork katsu sandwiches. It was served with some herb roasted potatoes that were really good.
Every good themed meal needs a special drink, so we made “The Black Shroud Lemonade,” which had a simple syrup made of honey and sugar…that gave it a unique flavor that I really enjoyed!
And for dessert, we made a “Rolanberry Cheesecake,” which had a combination of cherries, strawberries, and raspberries in the sauce. It was really delicious, and it didn’t crack at all!
I’m not really familiar with the game itself, but it certainly did provide us with a lot of good food!
You may have noticed that I like to take a theme and run with it, whether the celebration is big or small. MAR10 Day is no exception, and I had a fun time coming up with something special for our dinner on Friday. Last year, MAR10 Day fell during our “Markel Family Tour di Pizza,” but in previous years, I’ve chosen something Italian for dinner. I decided to do that again this year, but I wanted to make something new, so I found a recipe for beef ragu with pappardelle. It was excellent, and I will definitely make it again. I also found clementine Italian soda to serve with it.
For dessert, Ladybug and I made an Italian lemon cream cake, which was amazing:
I love finding fun reasons to prepare special meals!
Last year, I cooked a whole series of “Disney Dinners,” using Delicious Disney: Walt Disney World as one of my primary inspirations for Disney-themed meals and desserts. Well, Delicious Disney has a new offering this year…The Official Disney Parks Cookbook, so I’m back at it. Here’s a look at one of the first recipes I made from the book: Shrimp boil tacos with andouille sausage and corn from the On the Cob Marketplace stand at Disney California Adventure’s Food & Wine Festival:
No Disney Dinner is complete without a Disney Dessert, so Ladybug and I also made a Honey Crunch Cake from the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort:
Both of these recipes were amazing, and I’m looking forward to trying more recipes from the cookbook in the future!
Everybody knows and loves lemon bars, but I started wondering, what other flavors would work. I came up with this recipe for pineapple bars (with a hint of coconut), and they taste just like summer!
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. coconut extract
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Blend flour, softened butter, sugar, and coconut extract in a medium bowl until well combined; press into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden.
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
Powdered sugar for dusting
While crust is baking, whisk together eggs and pineapple juice. Whisk in sugar and flour until smooth. Pour over hot crust, then return to oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until set. Cool completely before cutting into squares and dusting with powdered sugar.
I’m not a big casserole person (I actually hate most of them!), but there is an exception, and I don’t just tolerate Reuben casserole, it’s one of my favorite dinners! I even like it better than the more traditional Reuben sandwich…I think it’s at least partly because the toasty Rye bread on top is so delicious!
1 lb. deli corned beef, chopped
1000 Island dressing
14 oz. canned sauerkraut, drained well
8 oz. Swiss cheese (you can use shredded or sliced)
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
8 slices Rye bread, chopped
Preheat oven to 350. Spread chopped corned beef on bottom of 9×13 pan. Drizzle about 1/2 cup 1000 Island on top. Sprinkle with sauerkraut. Top with Swiss cheese. Toss chopped bread with melted butter, and place over cheese. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes until the bread is toasty.
Perhaps “Kitchen Sink” is a bit of a misnomer, because I’m not suggesting you put ALL the things in the blondies at once. But what makes these blondies great is that you can add whatever mix-ins you want in whatever ratio you want (I did half dark chocolate and half dried cranberries here), and you can even frost them (cinnamon frosting is especially good!), and not only will they turn out great every time, but it seems like you’re never making the same blondies twice!
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
1 lb. dark brown sugar (you can use light, but I think the dark gives it a better flavor!)
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 cups of mix-ins (baking chips, nuts, dried fruit…you name it!)
Frosting of your choice (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 and grease (or cover with parchment paper) a cookie sheet with sides (about 15×10 inches…if your pan is a different size, you’ll have to adjust the cooking time).
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. When it’s completely melted, remove from heat and stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Let cool slightly, then stir in the eggs. Stir in flour mixture and mix-ins until just blended. Spread into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes (don’t overbake!)
Let cool completely before frosting (if desired) and slicing…make about 2 dozen blondies.
I was very disappointed when I went shopping for our New Year’s dinner and discovered that there are no longer jarred spiced apple rings available in my area. I really, really love spiced apple rings, so I decided to make my own. Most of the recipes I found included large amounts of Cinnamon Imperials, which doesn’t surprise me based on the taste and color of apple rings, but they were almost impossible to find at Christmas, so I had to come up with a recipe that had the right flavors without them. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and they weren’t even that hard to make!
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
3-4 drops red food coloring (optional…it adds that recognizable color)
3 slices lemon
3 large cooking apples (I used Granny Smith because they’re my favorite, but if you prefer a uniform red color, you could certainly use a different kind!)
In a large skillet, heat first nine ingredients to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors.
While syrup is simmering, core, but don’t peel, apples and slice into 1/4 inch thick rings. Cook half of rings at a time in the syrup. Simmer until tender but firm, 5-10 minutes…you don’t want the apples to get mushy or fall apart. Remove first half of apples rings and cook second half in same syrup (if it gets too thick, add a little extra water).
Discard lemon slices. Place all the apple rings in a wide, shallow dish (I used a pie plate) and pour syrup over. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week.
The holiday season is officially over, so let’s take a look back at all of the festive feasts and holiday baking we enjoyed, starting with Thanksgiving. I think the turkey turned out especially well this time around!
We had our “pick out dinner” on Christmas Day:
And our “fancy” Christmas dinner two days later. I never want to prepare a beef tenderloin any other way!
On New Year’s Eve, we had our traditional hot chocolate bar, but we made it fancy, with the addition of homemade hot chocolate bombs!
And on New Year’s Day, we had our traditional pork tenderloin, with an untraditional (for us) side of twice-baked potatoes:
On to the baking. Of course there were pies (seven!) for Thanksgiving:
We made five types of German Christmas cookies in Christmas School:
And another ten types of Christmas cookies besides!
There were eight different cakes throughout the season:
And some other various treats including Christmas cracker candy and lussekattes:
This was a fun and delicious season, but now the kitchen is closed!