Super Sweet Valentine’s: Strawberry Funfetti Melted Ice Cream Cake

Happy V-Day! Whether single, attached, or somewhere in the middle, there’s one unifying reason for everyone to celebrate the holiday of love: SUGAR. Valentine’s Day is a no-holds-barred marathon of sweets. Chocolates, strawberries, truffles, cupcakes, whipped cream…the sugary possibilities are endless. Personally, I’m a “red wine and dark chocolate” type of dessert lover, but I do have a couple vices when it comes to sweets, and here’s my most guilty one: funfetti. I’m powerless before funfetti. You know what I’m talking about, that boxed rainbow cake you see at birthday parties? I love it.

Strawberry Ice Cream Funfetti Cake

Anyway, this is a recipe that was sent to me by our friends at Arctic Zero, so it’s festive and sweet but definitely lower in cals/fat than your average dessert made with cream, butter, etc. Meaning you can still feel H-O-T in whatever seductive outfit you want to flaunt after sharing this dessert with your love (significant other, friend, family member, TV screen?) of choice.

The cake itself is cute and pink and rainbow-y, and super moist thanks to using Arctic Zero versus oil or something in the cake batter. It tastes like a homemade birthday cake with a scoop of melted ice cream mixed together. What could be better than that?

Strawberry Funfetti Melted Ice Cream Cake

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Peanut Butter Toast Crunch Cereal Cake for One

Peanut Butter Toast Crunch Cereal Mug Cake

I know this looks weird.  It”s not exactly what you would think of when I say super rich and decadent peanut butter cake.  But that”s what it is, I swear.

Ever since my resolution, I have not been buying sweets.  It”s a sad time, folks.  Well, it was a sad time.  Until I rediscovered my love for microwave cakes.

I have two secrets I”m gonna let you in on.  This cake took me 1 minute to cook and like one more minute of prep time.  Also, it ended up being less than 120 calories (Obviously it depends on the ingredients you use; Mine was 112 calories–score!).

Oh, also.  You know how cereal is awesome?  I”m sure you know.  I may have bought three boxes of this goodness (I”m a weak human, folks, it”s true).

PB Toast Crunch

Here”s the method to my madness.

Peanut Butter Toast Crunch Cereal Cake for One

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My One-Item Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas is coming, which means that it’s time for many of my favorite blogs, especially the food ones, to give me their annual list of suggestions for the foodies in my life (see here and here, for example).  Now, I enjoy reading what other people like as much as the next guy, but the problem with lists like these, for me,  is twofold.  Uno, the things are often super-specific. I can already tell you that my mom will not like tea that tastes like pine trees, or even sounds like it might taste like pine trees.  Two, the gifts on these lists tend to offend my delicately frugal sensibilities ($24 for 12 oz. of olive oil?  Seriously? In my dreams.)

And so, ESers, I bring you the only food gift you need this holiday season: the classic cast iron skillet.  Here are five reasons why it makes the perfect gift:

1. Everyone needs one, whether they know it or not, and if they already have one, they probably need it in another size.  (Come on, so cute!)

2. It’s perfect for a tight budget.  They are a good value to begin with, and I find them often at thrift stores where, after simple re-seasoning, they are at least as good as new.

3. Not only functional, if you hang it on the wall, it makes you look like you know what you are doing in the kitchen.  Just be sure to use wall anchors.

4. It offers endless cooking adventures.  My new fav: cake baking (see photo above and recipe below).

5.  Even for the non-cook,  cast iron skillets always come in handy:

Skillet Apple Cake

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100 Ways to Use Beer in Food and Drinks: #14 Cake

Upon skimming through the latest version of Cooking Light, we fell upon a “breads” section—correction—“quick breads” section. You’re wondering why I’d be skimming through Cooking Light? The gf has a subscription and you do know I’m watching my girlish figure… Anyway, we decided to go with the maple stout “quick bread” recipe since I had some of my homebrew stouts left.

But first: I’ve come to the conclusion that the jerks at Cooking Light have some gall to call this thing bread…er “quick bread.” I have no f’ing clue what the hell quick bread is, but this thing is cake…and I’m proud of it. I’m not doing research on what quick bread is either—I don’t want to know. Okay, now we can move on.

I got out my Vanilla Cafe Con Leche Stout and we started baking. Typically, when the two of us do some form of cooking/baking, there is an ample amount of bickering  (and in my case, exaggerated *sighs*) occurring.  However, this time we did well as a team; I had a good feeling about this.

The cake came out really well, with rave reviews from the fam. Probably the best of these cooking with beer recipes to date.  I claim fame to this recipe for two reasons:

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Apple Cider Gone Wild! Top 10 Cider Recipes

I had my first real fall moment of the year this morning: drinking apple cider. The crisp, cool, thirst-quenching drink is the perfect inauguration for autumn.  You can have it with any meal, for a snack, or warm it up and froth it if you want to go frou-frou. But did you know it can be enjoyed in more than just a glass?

10. Apple Cider Gravy

Though a bold choice for Thanksgiving, a little sweetness may go a long way with your savory turkey. Not convinced? Have you ever put apples or cranberries in your stuffing? Or enjoy spreading some sweet cranberry sauce on your turkey sandwich? Well now your gravy can do you a personal, sweet, favor.

Recipe: Nourish Network

9. Apple Cider Upside-Down Cake

Summer is over. Pineapple is no longer the seasonal fruit, and apples are in. So what do you do with that huge bag of apples sitting in your garage? Make cake…apple cider upside-down cake.

Recipe: Mid-Century Menu

8. Apple Cider Caramel Cake

More cake. This time, adding some creamy icing and caramel will make this a true dessert. Think of it as an alternative to carrot cake. No chunks of orange…just smooth, sweet and creamy cake. Does it feel like fall for you yet?

Recipe: Simply Fine Living

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Peach Cake: A Dessert So Nice I Made It Twice

I don’t like baking.  I don’t like cake.  And I really don’t like turning on my oven in the summer.  Why then, did I recently find myself making this peach cake twice in the same week? Let me tell you why. It is freaking delicious.

Every summer since I discovered my favorite farmer and his one-man market, I have gone a little peach crazy.  Each week beginning in mid-July, he sets aside a box of bruised, super-ripe or otherwise slightly inferior peaches, which I then purchase at a deep discount, typically about 80 cents a pound.  I usually buy 10-15 pounds at a time.  People ask me what I do with all these peaches—can them or freeze them or something? But here’s my guilty little secret: I really just eat them all, with substantial help from my husband and son.

Somehow, though, a few weeks ago, I ended up with a bowl of cut-up peaches in the fridge that were a little ripe to eat raw, even for me. So, I got it in my head that I would use them to make a peach cake.  I even went so far as to purchase a little bottle of buttermilk so that I could follow the recipe, which I have now slightly adapted from Lisi’s Luscious Desserts.  Company was coming, so I figured that I better do this up right.  And it. Was. Good.  So good, in fact, that a few days later, with my new crate of peaches on hand, I made another one for an Olympic-themed party.  Apple pie may be the quintessential American dessert, but the peak of apple season is still a month away, so peach cake was it.  And let me tell you, there was no complaining about my substitution.

Super-Moist Peach Cake Deliciousness

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Cookies Gone Wild! Top 10 Ways to Eat an Oreo

If you haven’t noticed, next to beer, I favor sweets.  I’d go so far as to say if it was an ideal world, I’d subscribe to Elf’s main food groups. Maybe not that far…but pretty close. Oreos are one of those foods that integrate sweet creaminess and crunchy chocolate to a different level. I’m sure there are Oreo purists out there who will only eat it one way—but for the adventurers among us, here are ten more ways to eat the number 1 sandwich cookie in America:

10. Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie-on-cookie action! Some cookies you need to eat warm or wait until they get crispy. It seems like this one is enjoyable no matter when you chomp down on it. I’d still go for right out of the oven. Really—what’s better than the warm insides of a cookie?

Recipe: veryculinary.com

9. Individual Oreo Cheesecake

Some people feel overwhelmed by a large piece of cheesecake. At least this gives you the perception that you are controlling your portions. Until you have another…and another..and…

Recipe: deglazing.com

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