Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sun Dried Tomato Lasagna

If there is one thing I should be ashamed to say I love, it's a basic cheese lasagna smothered in generic tomato sauce and a gooey cheese that is probably not mozzarella, and all in all, a true chef wouldn't put near his mouth. What can I say, I'm American. Sometimes cheap is good. But most of the time I love a good, heart filled, love infused lasagna, with ingredients I can stare at all day long. I'm talking about sun absorbed, rich red, wrinkled dried tomatoes. I'm thinking about fresh minty earthy aromatic basil. And I'm dreaming of creamy, salty, crumbly goat cheese. All of this is of course layered in universally pleasing al dente lasagna. This gives you a break from- no, a vacation from your stringy soupy boring old lasagna. The fresh flavors of all the ingredients are so pleasing, you will literally smile as you eat. So the next time you decide that lasagna is on the menu for dinner, your family will say "Oh, lasagna" with a smile. But when they take a bite, their reply will be "Oh! Lasagna!"

Sun Dried Tomato Lasagna
1 box of dried lasagna
2 jars of sun dried tomatoes in oil
1 cup (about 1 bunch) fresh basil, chopped
1 head of garlic, minced
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375.
In a pot of salted boiling water, add lasagna and stir often so that the sheets won't stick. Cook according to box instructions. Drain pasta. Set aside.

In a bowl combine coarsely chopped sun dried tomatoes along with a little extra oil from the jar, garlic and basil. Season with salt and pepper. In a baking dish, drizzle some olive oil and begin layering the lasagna. Place strips all in one direction evenly covering the bottom. Spread some of the sun dried tomato mixture on the bottom. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese. Place another layer of lasagna sheets in the opposite direction. Spread tomatoes and sprinkle goat cheese. Repeat, ending with the tomato mixture. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is sizzling. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

The 5 Sauces You Should Know By Heart

They aren't all exactly sauces, but I couldn't come up with another word to categorize, sauces, marinades and the sort. But let me tell you, these five recipes will become your go-to basics that will happily dress up most of your dishes. Most of the ingredients in these are probably in your pantry already. So if you are drawing a blank on how to make tonight's dinner a little different, think of these.


I'm sure most of you recognize this one. But most of you are probably using parsley instead. The parsley version has been one of my basics ever since I learned how to cook but in the past few months I have replaced the old standby with sage. The sage still gives you the lemony flavor that parsley would but it adds an incredible floral note that only sage can do. You will definitely taste the difference. 
The ingredients in this fresh and crisp tasting dressing remind me of a group of best friends. They know each other so well, and enhance each others greatest assets creating a beautiful and balanced flavor. This sauce works wonders with fish, and grilled vegetables. And it could be a great salad dressing as well, if you want something simpler than the now modern and fussy salad toppers. Take advantage of the lemon by using it's zest as well as the juice to give it more punch. And don't forget to season with salt and pepper. 

This robust marinade has lots of depth and plays positively to your sweet and savory notes. At first you might think, that each of these ingredients are too individually strong on their own to work well together. But actually they each have very different roles. And surprisingly somehow when you taste this on roast chicken or slow cooking meat, you will be able to taste all of the flavors in layers. While the balsamic vinegar is the anchor here, adding gorgeous depth, the honey sweetens, the garlic contributes a zing of spice, the paprika infuses an earthy smokiness, and the rosemary brightens everything up with its naturally lemony flavors. The soy sauce replaces salt and also mixes in its own nutty characteristic. This is probably one of my favorite marinades because it is so lavish that your guests will think you went to culinary school in Italy but it is so very simple to throw together, making any last minute dinner party a snap! I love this most on roast chicken but I've mixed this up into a great bread dipper, added with some nice coarsely ground black pepper. Don't try it on fish, as it may be very overpowering. But feel free to massage it over a nice roast and let it cook slowly for hours. It will absorb all of the flavors while adding the magical taste of roast meat. Yum.


Getting bored of basil pesto? How about sun dried tomato pesto. You can probably guess that I despise ready pestos. The whole beauty of a pesto are the fresh ingredients you grind up yourself! Now I know pesto can be an expensive thing to make. So this is the perfect less pricey version. Buying a jar of sun dried tomatoes is cheaper than buying a few bunches of fresh basil. After all, one bunch of basil will make a mere half a cup of pesto. So all you need for this version is a few leaves. Another price cutter I have used here are the walnuts. You will get all the rich nutty flavor of the original pine nut but for a fraction of the cost. In my opinion sun dried tomato pesto packs much more flavor than the basil version. Don't get me wrong, I love pesto, but I also love sun dried tomatoes. The sun mysteriously adds such intense and concentrated flavors that dance in your mouth. Use this pesto in your lasagna with goat cheese instead of mozzarella. You wont believe how delicious it is! And if you have any leftovers, it makes a mean gourmet sandwich spread. And of course, pesto was made for pasta. Try it on linguine or farfalle. 

Ginger has amazing health benefits but what I love most about it here, is that it makes fireworks when matched up with the fresh and fruity flavors of citrus. Sometimes I use only the orange, or only the lemon, but when I want to add just an extra dose of fancy, I use all three. And it's heavenly. The honey rounds out all the eager gusto of the ginger, citrus and garlic and creates an illuminating golden color when baked on chicken. But pour this on fish like salmon and trout and you have got yourself a fantastic and healthy dinner. Salads will love this too. Use a softer lettuce like bib or spinach for a new and nutritious lunch buddy!

I love aiolis. Mainly because I love mayo. That's right I said it. I loooveee mayo! And paired with divine Dijon mustard, lemon and garlic and it kicks your basic aioli up a notch. Originally I substituted this recipe when I decided I could no longer take the cheesy flavors of the original Cesar salad dressing. It's so good and tangy on icy crisp lettuce and croutons, that you will never turn back! But use this on salmon for a bright and creamy palate pleaser. And why not give your sandwiches a new best friend with this updated mayo spread? Trust me, it's perfect!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lemon & Yogurt Strawberry Popsicles

Ahhh summer! The temperature keeps rising, and the ordinary kid sold lemonade and dollar icees just wont cut it.  I got what you need. These homemade popsicles highlight the simple ingredients that scream summer. Strawberries, lemon, yogurt and sugar. The lemon brightens the flavors of the strawberries, while the sugar adds a little extra sweetness. Coating your throat with a luxuriously silky cool treat, the yogurt is what really makes this refreshing summer essential amazing. So whip up a batch and pop these into your icebox for hottest treat that will keep you cool.

Lemon & Yogurt Strawberry Popsicles

1 lb (16oz box) fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons plain low fat yogurt
Zest of one lemon

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until ready. Enjoy!

Inspirational Change

Ever since I learned how to cook, I have gravitated toward real homemade dishes that were on the better side of health. That may be the result of how I grew up, eating lots of homemade dinners and never garbage. Don't get me wrong, my brother and I enjoyed sinful snacks, but those tended to be homemade cookies, cakes and the occasional candy. So for me, fresh food just seems to be more appetizing. And seriously, some of the foods people are eating today are just...gross. So after hearing  Jamie Olivers talk on
(which by the way is a great site if you are in the mood to be totally inspired about everything), I decided as the owner of a food blog, the least I could do was help with some healthy inspiration.

As a mother, I know what kids like to eat, and what they don't like to eat. I also know that when you don't have the time, you  just want to get the fastest, easiest thing on the table. One thing that Jamie Oliver mentioned in this talk, was that if kids know where food comes from, they will eat it. On one hand that is very true. Because when shown to a class of kindergartners a potato, they all said ewe, and when asked what it was, they had no idea. But I also believe that if you take healthy ingredients and turn it into your kids favorite dishes, and also tell them that what's actually in it, they won't mind a bit. So here are some ideas of how to inject some serious and obviously delicious health into your families lifestyles. And they aren't just for kids.

1) Macaroni and cheese. Which child doesn't like this one. Which adult doesn't like this one? Everyone loves this silky, cheesy, gooey comfort dish. And you may think to yourself, that this can't be all that bad. Well if you make it out of the box, then you know that all of that processed powder cannot be good for you. And if you make it at home, you are probably using the classic recipe of lots of cheese, lots of butter and flour, maybe even some cornstarch. Well here is a much simpler, much healthier way to make this dish.
In a medium sauce pan, heat up some milk. Add your cheese, preferably a low fat mozzarella, and whisk until melted and cheesy. Yum. Now place this mixture into a food processor with shredded carrots. A lot of shredded carrots. I would say about 1-2 cups. Pulse until smooth. Place this back into the pot to reheat and season with salt and pepper. Pour this over the macaroni and your kids will love it. The carrots add some sweetness to this cheesy delight. I told my son that it had lots of yummy carrots in it and it didn't seem to bother him one bit. He devoured the entire bowl and asked for more! And by the way, this whole dish shouldn't take you longer than 20 minutes to make.

2)Hamburgers and/or latkes. You have probably already seen my post for carrot and zucchini patties. Well I fry them. But you can totally bake them up and they will taste just as crispy and delicious. Same goes for burgers. Nothings wrong with a good red meat burger once in a while. It's one of my favorite indulgences. Piled high with lettuce, mayo and tomatoes, yum! But how about a veggie burger? No, not the frozen kind. You can either add carrot, zucchini, and even chopped spinach to your beef, lowering the amount of red meat in each burger, or you can you omit the meat all together. In a food processor, blend carrots, zucchini, spinach and some garbanzo beans until course. The beans add a meaty bite filling in for the meat, and not to mention an earthy nutty flavor. Run through a sieve to drain all excess liquid. Place in a bowl and season with salt, pepper, freshly minced garlic and some paprika. Add one or two eggs (I'm giving you an eyeball recipe, which means depending on how many people you are serving, you can eyeball the quantity of each ingredient), and form into patties.  Bake or grill these for crisp and delicious burgers that will become your new favorite.

3)Pizza. Ohhhh this has to be my serious weakness. (whispering) ok, don't go spreading the word on this, but I could finish half a pie by myself. I always tell people this if I'm pregnant, but trust me, I don't need a bun in my oven to polish off half a box of this cheesy, doughy, tomato-y...goodness! Ok but let's be real. Pizza is fattening. All the oil on that cheese just can't be considered a good dose of calcium. So here is a better way to make it, and you know even making a regular pizza at home is better than ordering one.
First of all you can use flat bread. You will have a super crispy, authentic Italian pizza. If you don't like your pizza crust thin, you can make a wholewheat crust. And if you don't like wholewheat, which I don't know why not, they taste great, and even add a tad of sweetness, which I anyways like in my pizza doughs, WELL THEN JUST GO TO THE NEXT TIP!
Choose a low fat cheese. I love classic Mozzarella, but you can get fancy with other cheeses as well. If you choose to use goat cheese, which in my opinion is healthier than a cows milk cheese, you also wont use as much. You sprinkle dots here and there and you are good to go.
Throw on the veggies. Pizza is a great way to get your spinach! Think outside of the box, how about some sauteed cubes of butternut squash with goat cheese and spinach! That just makes me want to make a pizza right here and now. Hold the onions since they have a lot of sugar. Instead for some sweetness, how about leeks? They are from the onion family but are much healthier. And if you love your tomato sauce then go for it! Tomatoes are one of the only vegetables that are healthier the longer they cook! Believe it! As for the time it takes to make a healthy pizza, that all depends on if you buy your crust. Today you can buy healthy wholewheat ready pizza crusts and flat breads. So throwing on some nutritious toppings and popping it into the oven should take you no longer than 10 minutes.

I can go on forever. Give me any of your favorite indulgent dishes, and I will tell you how to make it just as tasty and healthier for you. There is no reason why we should be filling our families up on garbage when one of the best things about families is the tradition of passing on great cooking. So enjoy every bite you eat, and the knowing that it's good for you too.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Horizontal Flower Cake

Finally! The horizontal Flower Cake. I saw this one online and just from its beauty I knew I had to try it. This one has nothing to do with the flavor. Because, common, who doesn't like chocolate cake? Who doesn't like vanilla cake? Who doesn't like lots of white fluffy frosting?! So yea this one is definitely a pleaser in taste, so no worry about that. But when you pull this baby out, you will get serious points in the pro department.
...Oh, um.... just one tiiinnnnny thing... This cake takes a whole day to make.
Trust me it is so worth it. Especially if you are making this for a birthday, engagement (perfect wedding style) or a fancy dinner party. AND the actual baking, putting together and frosting is not what takes all the time. It's freezing and defrosting that takes time. What? Freezing? Defrosting? A cake? I know but whatever that's how you make it, trust me! OK so here goes.

First you have to make the cakes. You can use your favorite chocolate and vanilla cakes for this one but I added a recipe for moist cakes anyways. Then after you bake them, you have to freeze them in order for it to be easy to cut them. Then you have to put them together to create the horizontal effect, and then you have to freeze them again so that they will stick together. THEN you have to put them in the fridge to defrost, because you  never want to frost a frozen cake. And then you frost and enjoy!
....are you still here? Yay! Trust me! This is so much fun!

So here's how you make this beauty.
After making the cakes, like 5 minutes after, you have to remove them from the pan. After they cool you freeze both cakes for about 3 hours. Then its time to cut. Take a piece of cardboard and cut an even round. I used the same round cake pan that I baked the cakes in to trace. Once you have your cut round piece of cardboard. Draw about 3 evenly spaced circles with the center circle being about 2 inches in diameter.
Just like this. So you should have 4 layers.

OK now cut out the outer circle, so that now you only have 3 circles on the cardboard. Place the cardboard on top of one of your cakes and cut the cake all the way around. DO NOT remove the cut piece from the cake. Just leave it there. Now cut out the next circle from the cardboard and put it on the cake and cut. And keep going till you get to the center. Do the same with your other cake.

Cardboard Illustration:
Cardboard Illustration 2.

Cardboard Illustration 3

Now. Take your knife and make one cut from the outside of the cake to right before the center circle. So you are not cutting into the center circle. Do this to both cakes.

Cake Illustration.

Now carefully open up the layers and gently wrap every other flavor, chocolate around vanilla around chocolate, till you get to the center. This is why it is so important to freeze the cake so that it will not fall apart on you when its time to separate and wrap.

Cake Illustration.

So now you are probably figuring out that you have two layered cakes. Now I only layered and used one cake. I cubed the leftover layers and dipped them into melted chocolate and froze. Instant cake pops!

Once you have your cake assembled you need to wrap a strip of fabric or towel around it and tie it tight so that the cake stays together. Then its time for the simple syrup. I used one cup of sugar to one cup of water, poured into a sauce pan and cooked over medium heat, till boiling and the sugar has completely dissolved.
Carefully pour this onto all seams of the cake. This acts as your glue that will keep it all together.

Now more freezing. Freeze the cake for at least 3 hours. And then place the cake in the refrigerator for 2 hours to defrost. Once its defrosted you are ready to level and frost your cake.

Now since this cakes takes such a long time to prepare, I went out and bought ready frosting. Fluffy white, parve. I added 2 tsp of vanilla to make it taste more homemade. If you want to go a step further, add a teaspoon of liquor which will really make it special. Anyways. To frost this cake I used 2 and a half tall cartons of frosting. Once you have leveled your cake. Place your frosting in a piping bag fitted with a 1M tip. You can buy this at any Michael's or baking supply store. This will make these gorgeous flowers. Starting with your center point, pipe out a circle and just go around it about three times. It's so much easier than you think because the tip is actually making the flower for you. All you have to do is draw a circle. Cover the cake with these flowers and voila. You are baking pro.

Now its time to slice. You will get oohs and ahhs when people see that the cake is horizontal. They will die to know how you did it. Just smile and say "oh this? it's really easy!"

Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Recipes:

Vanilla Cake

Chocolate Cake
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 3/4 cup orange juice

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1/2 cup cocoa powder
    1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
    2 teaspoons espresso powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    3 large eggs
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    3/4 cup water
    To make the vanilla cake:

    Sift flour and baking powder together. In a seperate bowl whisk the wet ingredients with the sugar. Sprinkle flour mixture ontop and mix until well combined. Pour the batter into a generously greased round pan.
    Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick insterted comes out clean with a few crumbs.

    After five minutes, remove from pan onto cooling rack.

    To make the chocolate cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
    Bake the cake for about 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
    Remove the cake from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Freakishly Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

    Mornings are my favorite time of day. So naturally Sunday mornings are the ultimate for me. There is nothing more amazing and refreshing about waking up with the sun beaming through your window, and  your kids jumping on your bed and knowing you don't have to rush anywhere. You can wake up and enjoy the moment. Pancakes are so easy to make (no, I'm not talking about the shake and pour kind) and they are so comforting on a Sunday morning. My favorites are blueberries. They add just the right amount of extra flavor and sweetness without taking over the spotlight the way chocolate chips would.
    These are not heavy, not doughy. They are pillows of heaven.
    These pancakes really evolved for me. They started out as Martha Stewart blueberry pancakes. But over time I tweaked them here and there, and I think I am pretty much the closest I have ever been to the ultimate fluffy pancakes.

    First of all I decided that melted butter in most recipes really weighs down the batter. So I got rid of it. So you can probably guess that I hate buttermilk pancakes. I prefer good old fresh milk. It keeps the batter silky and rich without the heavy flavor. Second of all I add an extra dose of baking powder. That was actually probably the first tweak. Oh yea and NO SALT. I think that salt in any dessert makes it taste like you bought it at the supermarket. Very commercial. Trust me, omit the salt and your desserts will taste insanely homemade. And the real secret here is in the eggs. I separate the eggs, beat the yolks with the milk till they are bubbly and airy. And I beat the egg whites with the sugar (just like making a meringue) till soft peaks form. The result is an extravagantly whipped airy perfection that I then fold into the rest of the batter. Another important tip is that I never mix in the blueberries before they are on the grill. You guessed it, it weighs the batter down. When it comes to start making the pancakes, I never pour. If you pour the liquid that doesn't make it to the pan will fall back into your bowl or cup and get heavy. The trick is that you want to disturb the batter as little as possible once all the ingredients are mixed. So use a classic ladle and gently scoop out the amount needed and put them on the hot pan. When putting your blueberries in, don't drop them on. Gently place them scattered around the pancake.

     Once they are cooking, DO NOT TOUCH THEM. Don't even check them. Wait till you see lots of bubbles at the top and the edges of the bottom start to get golden. Then flip them. The same with the other side. No patting them down with your spatula, no moving them around. Just let them do their magic. You will see them rise to unbelievable heights. And then when you take them off the heat. Let them sit for about 5-10 minutes to let any excess steam escape. Because steam = liquid = weight. Now, a little note I should mention to you. I never believe in first pancakes. The first pancake always comes out wrong. I don't exactly know why, but its always the odd one out. So no worries if your first pancake is a flop. :-p
    When you cut into them you will see a world of fluffy goodness. Trust me the little extra time is so worth it, and you will never go back to plain old hot cakes again.

    Freakishly Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes
    Makes 8 medium pancakes

    2 cups all purpose flour
    3 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. baking soda
    3 tbsp. sugar
    3 eggs separated
    2 cups milk
    1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
    2 tbsp. butter, for greasing the pan.

    In a bowl sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda and set aside. In another bowl whisk the egg yolks with the milk until lightly frothy. Beat the egg whites using a whisk attachment on medium- high speed for 1 minute. Lower the speed and sprinkle in the sugar. Raise the speed and let it beat for 3-5 minutes or until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle the flour mixture onto the egg yolk and milk mixture and whisk to combine and eliminate any lumps after each addition. After all the flour is mixed in, using a rubber spatula, gradually fold in the egg white mixture, careful not to break the air. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted, using a ladle, scoop out batter filling 3/4 of the ladle and pour them into the center of the pan. Don't tilt the pan. Let the batter spread by itself. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until there are lots of bubbles on top and the edges of the bottom are lightly golden. Gently flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or so until golden. Let the pancakes rest for 10 minutes before eating.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Lick Your Fingers Sweet & Sour Meatballs

    This is going to sound really odd but the elementary school I went to made the best sweet and sour meatballs. I can hear 90% of you saying at this moment, "ewee school food!". But I am telling you, they were the best. I waited all week for meatball day! My school is the reason I love sweet and sour meatballs. This recipe is so fast and easy, and anyone who tastes it will swear they were cooking all day. The meat stays soft and tender and the sauce is the perfect balance between sweet, sour and savory. I made this dish from start to finish in probably 30 minutes. So it's a great option for when you don't have a lot of time to whip up dinner. And I call them Lick Your Fingers because after the meatballs were gone, there was just sauce in the pot. And my husband and I literally dipped our fingers in the sauce and licked. It was just so good.

    I'm kind of adding a second recipe here, but it's not really a recipe. It's just a quick tip. As a side to the meatballs I made grilled asparagus. Except I don't have a grill. I used my panini maker for the fastest grilled asparagus ever and they had fancy grill marks on them and were so juicy and delicious. I simply drizzled them with olive oil, salt and pepper and threw them on the panini grill with the lid down! It took about 5 minutes. :)

    OK back to the meat balls. I don't know how big you make your meat balls but 2 lbs of beef made 20 balls for me. So here is the recipe.

    Lick Your Fingers Sweet & Sour Meatballs
    Makes 20 meatballs.

    For the meatballs:
    2 lbs ground beef
    1/2 cup bread crumbs
    1 egg
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 tbsp paprika

    For the sauce:
    2 cups packed brown sugar (light or dark is fine, I always mix my brown sugars and use that)
    1 cup soy sauce
    2 generous tablespoons ketchup
    2 tbsp white vinegar
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tbsp. paprika
    1 heaping tablespoon corn starch
    2 1/2 cups water

    In a bowl combine the ground beef with the egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and paprika. Mix well to combine, set aside.

    In a pot combine all the ingredients for the sauce and heat over a medium flame, covered, until boiling. Lower to a simmer and begin forming the meatballs and put them into the pot. Cook uncovered on low for 20-25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. The longer you cook the meatballs the harder they will become. So I advise to turn off the heat as soon as they are cooked through.

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    The Best Rugelach You Will Ever Have!

    I always want to make rugelach. It just seems like the dessert, that if you make a great batch, you have climbed to the top of the baking ladder. I think the reason that rugelach is so hard to make is because you have to get the perfect dough, one that's moist and fluffy. And you also have to master the perfect filling, one that is also moist and not thin and dry. The first recipe I ever tried was from Ina Garten and that was a disaster. Who ever thought to make rugelach without a yeast dough, instead using sour cream in the dough is crazy. You cant make rugelach without a yeast dough. I found this recipe online from But it took me a while to get the recipe because she only talks about it and says that she got it from a recipe on google books from Delights of the Jewish Kitchen by Tzipora Kreizman, which BTW I saved in my bookmarks. Whatever. I got it. This recipe takes a lot of time but is so worth it! It's a different type of rugelach dough. She makes it almost like you would a crescent dough, but not as intensive. So it's basically a combination of traditional fluffy rugelach dough, and layered flaky croissant dough.
    It's heaven. After you bake them and take a bite, you can literally see the layers and layers of flakiness. It's so cool to think 'wow! I made that!' I didn't follow the filling recipe because I wanted a cinnamon filling instead of a nuts and jam filling, but as long as you got the dough, you can fill it with whatever you want!

    OK so basically she makes a yeast dough, and then she spreads it with a butter/margarine + flour mixture and folds it. She then refrigerates it and rolls it out and then folds it again and then refrigerates it again and then fills it. I know, it's kind of time consuming, but if you are a multitasker in the kitchen like me, while you wait for the dough in the fridge you can do a million other things.
    There are 2 things I changed about this recipe and I will tell you why.

    1) The recipe calls for caked yeast. I didn't have any. I used active dry yeast. So I THINK that with caked yeast, you don't need warm water and you don't need to wait? Correct me if I'm wrong, because that's how she asked it to be done. Just dissolve the caked yeast in the liquid and continue. So when I made these, I used my own active dry yeast insted of caked. The thing is I usually mix active dry yeast in a warm liquid. OK so here is how I would change it. I would still use active dry yeast but sprinkle it over a warm liquid and wait for it to bubble. Then after making the dough, I would let it rise before spreading the butter mixture and refrigerating. You know to get MAXIMUM rise out of the dough. I think it will be way fluffier! Trust me.

    2) After mixing the ingredients for the dough, it was EXTREMELY dry. Like to the point that it seemed like there was obviously not enough liquid. Weird right? I measured correctly I promise. So I added a little oil and an extra egg. I recommend you to stick with the original recipe, and if the same thing happens to you, THEN add the extra oil and egg.

    OK so I will post the link to the original recipe. And my altered version. I wouldn't advise you to alter the recipe unless I was sure it would make a better difference. So I think you should try mine but whatever. I do however REALLY want anyone who will read this, and make the recipe, PLEASE comment back here and tell me which version you used and how it came out! Thanks!

    Original Recipe: (when you get to the page just click the blue "page 134" to get to the recipe) Folded Dough Crescents

    My Version of Folded Dough Crescents:

    Dough #1
    5 cups flour
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
    1 cup warmed orange juice- 110 degrees (I did mine in the microwave)
    3 eggs
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    4 tbsp sugar

    Dough #2
    2 cups flour
    2 cups (4 sticks) butter or margarine. (Another thing changed I used UNSALTED margarine)

    Filling: Fill with whatever you like. The baking temp and time is the same.

    Sprinkle the yeast over the warmed orange juice and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and create a well in the center. Pour the yeast into the well. Add eggs, oil and sugar and knead for about 3-5 minutes until dough is soft and smoothly textured and is a pliable dough. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for one hour.

    In the meantime, make dough #2. In a bowl combine flour and butter or margarine, and mix until very well combined. Divide into 3 balls.

    Divide dough #1 into three even pieces. Roll each piece out to about a 15 inch round. The dough shouldn't be thicker than 1/8 inch. Spread thickly and evenly with one of the butter balls (dough #2). Fold in the sides and then the top and the bottom flaps. Fold the bottom flap on top of the top flap and fold in half (confusing? Pictures below! :) ) Wrap in plastic. Repeat this with the rest of the doughs and refrigerate for 2 hours.

    Generously spread dough #1 like this.
    Fold in the sides first. And then the bottom...
    ....and the top... 
    and then fold them together......
     and then like this, but I just folded it in half.
    Unwrap the dough and roll out to the same 15 inch round. Fold again like before and wrap with plastic and refrigerate for another 2 hours.

    Preheat oven to 375.
    When the dough is ready, roll out, fill and roll up your rugelach. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until rugelach are LIGHTLY browned.

    Patriotic Parfait

    It's 4th of July weekend. Whether you are going on a family picnic or doing an at home BBQ, this dessert is the perfect way to end a heavy meal. It's light, cold and refreshing and super easy. Plus it will be a crowd pleaser sure to impress your guests with its patriotic colors. Unlike most fruit and cream desserts, where the cream is ready made or plain whipped cream, I came up with a way to make the whip cream more decadent but still light and airy. Combining fresh whipped cream with a vanilla pudding makes this all the more indulging. Then I turn fresh raspberries in to a sinful homemade jam topping. Throw on some fresh blueberries and this is everything you could want from a parfait. Enjoy this with your family and friends for a fabulous 4th of July!

    Patriotic Parfait
    Serves 4

    2 packages of instant vanilla pudding, prepared as instructed on box
    1 small carton whipping cream (or use heavy cream and add 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar)
    3 cups fresh raspberries
    1 cup blueberries
    1 tbsp sugar
    1 tbsp cornstarch

    In a mixer with whisk attachment, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the prepared vanilla pudding and set aside. In a medium pot combine sugar and 1 tbsp water and whisk until sugar melts. Add raspberries and cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes until simmering, pressing down on some of the raspberries to release flavor and juices. Sift in cornstarch and whisk well so that there are no lumps. Cook for another 10 minutes until thickened. Should be the consistency of a runny jam. In individual cups layer the whipped cream mixture with the raspberry topping. Top with fresh blueberries. Refrigerate to chill before serving.