Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Greek Orzo Salad

I love parties. I've never made a secret of this love of mine. I love going to parties that have food. I love to bring food to parties. I troll blogs looking for perfect party recipes. Do you? If you do, you are i luck today my friends. This is the PERFECT party recipe. Easy to make, easy to pack up, travels well and is friggin PHENOM! Make this. Trust me. Then have a party and invite me :)

Greek Orzo Salad

1 pound orzo (1 of those little bags about the size of your hand)
2 cups cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 container pitted kalamata olives
1 jar marinated artichokes
1 bottle of Greek dressing.
Juice of 1 lemon

Feel free to tweak the ingredients here. If you don't have fresh tomatoes, use sun dried. If you want to make your own greek dressing, please do (i just don't know how to. yet...)

Boil pasta for 10 minutes until tender. Let it cool off a bit. Then simply toss everything together. Its too easy, i know. But it is so so soooooo good. Please make this and tell me how much you loved it :)
Smooches! - gigi

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

7 layer bars a.k.a Holy Awesome Bars

My aunt's sister in law (i know), used to make these all the time. I LOVE them. They are sweet and pretty and delicious. When i asked her for the recipe, she simply whipped out a piece of paper and 20 seconds later she had it written down and in my hands. It is THAT easy. The best part is that when you get invited to a party without ample warning to run to the store, i am positive that you will have these ingrediants at home. They are a party saver!!!!!
(sorry about the lame pics, cybelle was "busy"....)

You will need:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick of butter - melted
1 bag of chocolate chips (you can use any flavor you like, or even mix it up!)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 to 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 to 1 cup of shreddedcoconut

1. Combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs so that that they are nice and moist. Pat the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish
2. On top of the graham crackers crust layer the chocolate chips, nuts and coconut
3. Top the entire mixture with the sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for 35-45 minutes or unitl the top is lightly brown at 350 degrees.
Let it cool for at least 1 hour before attempting to cut it up otherwise it will fall apart and they will look stupid and you will be cookie-less. Thumbs down.

Now go find yourself a party and share these! Enjoy!!!
Smooches! gigi
Below here is a picture of lola's behind, she was hiding. Why did i take this picture and post it here? Because she's so darn cute!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Hey all! Its garden season! Which can only mean that it is stupid hot outside and that you can bake anything by simply going into your (or your parents, or your friends etc) garden and picking your main ingredient :)
I tasted chocolate zucchini bread for the first time last year. It was like biting into a huge soft chewy melted chocolate bar. I mean seriously, what could be better than that! And!!! It is healthy! ha!! Check it out cupcakes...make this recipe and then invite me over for a piece ;)

Chocolate Zucchini Bread (adapted from Eating Well)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts - optional (i opted against this step)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cups sugar

3/4 cup applesauce

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted

2 cups grated zucchini, (1 medium)

3/4 cup mini-chocolate chips


1.Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans with cooking spray.

2.Spread walnuts in a pie pan and bake until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool. (if using)

3.Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

4.Whisk eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate in another large bowl until blended. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops.

5.Bake the loaves 45 to 55 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto rack and cool completely.
This makes 2 loaves and only gets better as it sits so wrap one up and give it to your favs!
smooches! gigi

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

I LOOOOVE coffee cakes, and i love blueberries. After every summer season, i have a freezer packed with frozen blueberries that i failed to use up when they were fresh - which is why recipes like this are perfect! I know it seems like i used a lot of liquid in this recipe, but i made it the first time without the additional 1/3 cup of yogurt and it was super dry, like so dry that it took you a while to swallow. ick. grrrr. Dry + coffee cake = unhappy Gigi. No worries, the extra liquid does the trick.
Now, go blueberry shopping, buy too many, freeze a bunch and make this cake!!!

Streusel -
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Batter -
5 T unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
1 3/4 cup flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries


Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9-inch spring form pan.

To prepare streusel: In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter with your pastry blender or fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts. Set aside.

To prepare batter: Cream the sugar and butter together, then add the eggs, vanilla, buttermilk or yogurt and milk, afterward, slowly add the dry ingredients until everything is included (except blueberries) in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan and scatter blueberries over the top.

Sprinkle streusel mixture evenly over blueberries. Bake for 1 hour (check at 50 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake for 15 minutes in pan on wire rack. Remove side of pan and cool for another hour before serving.