How to make a Shaketail, or Drinking Yourself into a Sugar-filled Stupor

What’s great food without a great drink every now and then? My cocktail experience is admittedly limited so I have enlisted my friend Nick, the greatest cocktail expert I know, to help me out! As an experienced bartender, Nick runs a great blog called Broke and Thirsty to help those of us less enlightened on the drink. Here is his recipe for Chocolate Salted Caramel Shaketails. Check it out, and then head over to Broke and Thirsty for more amazing recipes!

Shaketail

Just as a great meal can change your day, I have always found that the right drink can make a world of difference. Ever since turning 21 I have whole heatedly embraced combining pleasures like cocktails and milkshakes. After all, guilty pleasures are a necessary part of life and what could be better than a shaketail?

Chocolate Salted Caramel Shaketail
o 1 cup vanilla ice cream
o 1.5 oz bourbon
o 1.5 oz (3 tbsp) chocolate syrup
o 1.5 oz (3 tbsp) carmel simple syrup
o 0.5 oz Creme de Cacao
o 1/8 tsp of Sea Salt

Blend all ingredients together and serve in a tall glass with a straw. This creates a nice blend of flavors with strong notes of bourbon and salt which fade into a rich chocolate flavor and a smooth caramel finish. The choice of ingredients is up to you, but for the bourbon I highly recommend McAfee Benchmark No. 8. This amazing cheap bourbon consistently is rated 90pts or higher and yet costs less than $10/fifth. Now that is a win/win if I’ve ever heard of one!

Making the carmel simple syrup is quite easy and is not only cheaper but also healthier than store brands of caramel syrup. Like any simple syrup, you will need one part water for every part sugar. To begin, place a 1/2 cup of sugar with a tablespoon of water in a saucepan on medium heat. The trick to making a good caramel is to resit every temptation and refuse to stir the bubbling mixture.

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Wait until the caramel becomes rich amber in color and then stir with a whisk. Once smooth, lower the heat. The next trick is that unlike normal simple syrup, the additional water that is added must be hot. If you add cold water, the caramel will seize and you will have to begin again. Continue stirring as you add the hot water and do not remove from the heat till completely mixed. Once mixed, remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool.

I am not going to make any claims that this shaketail is “healthy” but the quality of ingredients can go a long way to make this drink healthier and more delicious as well. Just as using a good bourbon makes for a better shaketail, using good quality ice cream goes a long way to making this drink taste great. But unlike most spirits, I am not a great authority on ice cream so I will not attempt to recommend a good ice cream. Just use your favorite brand and enjoy this wonderful treat.

Total cost per drink: ~$1.80

For more great and affordable cocktails, checkout my blog, Broke And Thirsty!

Make Your Own Truffles!

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Guys, if you haven’t noticed already, I’m into shortcuts. Especially when  it comes to making really good food in a very simple way. My most recent delectable experiment?

Truffles.

A treat so good it needs its own paragraph. Check out my guest post on chocolate-coconut truffles at my friend Nick’s blog, Broke and Thirsty! And while you’re there, make sure you scope out all of Nick’s fantastic tips and tricks for cocktail making on a budget. After all, what’s a sweet treat without something great to wash it down? 🙂

You’ll Never Find a Dessert Healthier Or Easier Than This!

Sometimes, you want a quick sugar fix but don’t have the time to whip up a batch of cookies or the strength to get out a million ingredients. This recipe will take care of all your needs in an entirely guilt-free way. Introducing: Honey and Cinnamon Glazed Banana Bites!

ImageI know this recipe looks incredibly simple – and the truth is, it is! But there’s never a reason why something simple has to taste less than extraordinary. Some of my favorite recipes are made with only a handful of ingredients. In fact, I generally dislike recipes that call for too many ingredients – as I’m sure most of you do.

This treat is not only incredibly sweet and satisfying – it’s entirely good for you! Its main ingredient is a banana, for crying out loud. A nice, ripe, naturally sweet banana.

ImageNow how does one make this heavenly but simple treat?

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Chop up banana into more bite sized pieces.
  2. Drizzle honey over it.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon to your desire.

And that’s it, folks. Enjoy this little treat without any guilty feelings because, that’s right, it’s pretty good for you!
Here are some more single-serving desserts to try, courtesy of Buzzfeed. Treat yo’ self.

Zero Calorie Cake

LOL, jk. But there is zucchini in it!

So more like Zucchini Chocolate Cake…at least the acronym is still accurate!

I always told myself I would never be one of those weirdos who adds things like black beans or avocados, or other non-desserty items to sweets. But, given a recent trip to the Farmer’s Market that left me in a zucchini surplus I had to give this Zucchini Chocolate Cake recipe a try. At least zucchini doesn’t have an incredibly distinctive taste like black beans, so any alterations in cake taste were bound  to be minimal.

Plus, there’s no better  way to counteract any guilt associated with chocolate cake than reminding yourself that THERE’S ZUCCHINI IN IT. It’s basically zero calories at that point, right?

….We’ll go with that.

The most aggravating part about cooking with zucchini is that many recipes involving this vegetable require a food grater. If you have  a grater, you’re in the clear. If you’re a college  student whose kitchen tools are a hodgepodge of things acquired for free and bought basics – you will have to meticulously mince this stupid vegetable by hand like I did.

But no worries, just start the latest episode of The Colbert Report and by the time Stephen’s finished covering Anthony Weiner’s latest junk shot scandal, you’ll have a perfectly minced zucchini at your plate.

I cut this recipe in half and eliminated the walnuts to make the cake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/8 cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray pan with cooking spray.
2. Grate the zucchini, or mince into  very small pieces.
3. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, then mix in eggs and oil. Finally, add zucchini.
4. Bake for about 50 minutes.

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If you’re as clueless as me about this mystery vegetable, check out Holly’s 5 Things to do with Zucchini for more recipes!

Peach Cottage Cheese Pancakes: A New Frontier

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Have you ever shopped at your grocery store and  thought to yourself, “I should really give soymilk another try” or “Have I even been fair to kale all these years?!”

On   my most recent shopping expenditure, I added cottage cheese to my cart in a deliberate attempt to amp  up my morning protein consumption. With a  whopping total a of 13 g of protein per 1/4 cup, cottage cheese is a protein powerhouse. And by grabbing the lowfat option, you don’t even have to sacrifice in calories for the protein. There are no disadvantages to cottage cheese – except, I realized, the taste.

I don’t really like cottage cheese. It’s a most unfortunate dilemma actually, because  it’s probably the best way to get a quick and natural protein fix. So, of course, with the help of a few ripe Farmer’s Market peaches, I found  a way to incorporate cottage cheese into a recipe that enhances the taste without compromising the nutritional value of the meal. Get at me, Peachy Cottage Cheese Pancakes.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 peach
  • maple syrup ( optional)

Directions:

  1. Crack egg and whisk.
  2. Combine egg with flour, oil, and cottage cheese.
  3. Chop up peach into small pieces,
  4. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add batter and heat for a minute before adding peaches. Flip over and cook on other  side.
  5. Add peaches on top of cooked pancake and swirl maple syrup over.

I think I’ve found the perfect use  for cottage cheese. I couldn’t get enough  of this delicious meal! Looks like I may actually buy cottage cheese more often…Maybe I’ll try these cottage cheese cookies next?

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On the Importance of Dessert

I have a deep mistrust  of people who claim they’re not “dessert people.” First of all, everyone is a dessert person. Your body is literally programmed to respond like a rabid monkey to anything that is loaded with sugar and smells like heaven. Second, walking away from  a delectable pastry without any remorse clearly reveals a few psychological problems). You just can’t go  to a coffeeshop and not have your soul quiver for at least one cookie on display. More importantly, “desserts” encompasses a wide breadth of foods from scones to parfaits to ice cream. There’s a dessert for everyone, whether you like it or not. So I’m sorry, sir, but I will not entertain your notion that you are not a “dessert person” because  I don’t even know what that means.

This also brings me to another dessert-related rant. You don’t have to eliminate sweets for dietary purposes. It is a noble and difficult choice to cut our sugar, but if you’re responsible in how you do it and maintain the right exercise plan, it’s not necessary. Of course, sweets are easy to overindulge on, due to their ability to hit every neurological pathway in our system ( or something like  that). It takes vast fortitude to withstand the temptation of sugar-loaded goodies, so for those making this arduous battle, remember that a little indulgence every once  in a while is not only healthy, it can also save you from more extreme dietary break later. Just something to think about in this world of delectable treats! If you need me, I’ll be over here, where the cake is…

Starbucks in Your Kitchen: Easy Homemade Iced Mocha Coffee

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I spent the first two years of my college career devoid of coffee. Yes, you read that right. No coffee. Two years.

I just didn’t understand this weird, bitter and seemingly over-hyped drink rumored to turn the most mellow individual into a carrot-overdosed jackrabbit. The smell was always so rich and enticing – but anytime I took a sip, I felt an overwhelming urge to spit the weird brown contents back into its cup.

But then Junior Year came along and 9 AM classes became increasingly more difficult to shlump to and obscure political theory articles more frequent in my assigned readings. You could say the years were getting to me. But clearly something needed to change in my life as a tired, winded Junior. And that’s when I turned my attention over to the mysterious brown liquid I had rejected all these years: coffee. And before I knew it, I was another caffeine-addicted collegiate with one hand flipping through notebook pages and another steadfastly gripped to my coffee mug.

Since my conversion to a member of the coffee-driven masses, this phenomenal recipe from HonestlyYUM has caught my eye!

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What’s great about this recipe is that it looks and tastes like an incredibly expensive $5.50 iced mocha from your local hipster coffee shop, but is actually nothing more than a simple three-ingredient drink made with items found in anyone’s kitchen. And as anyone with a caffeine addiction knows, a lot of coffee ain’t cheap. On days that I don’t get to sip on this wonderful drink, I get by with a little help from my Mr. Coffee machine and bulk bag of ground coffee from Costco. If you are in the process of developing a similar caffeine addiction, make sure to invest in these early so you and your wallet don’t regret it later!

Iced Mocha with Coffee Cubes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of your favorite brewed coffee
  • 2 cups of warm milk
  • 4 tsp of cocoa powder

Directions:

1. Brew the coffee. Let it cool for about five minutes, then pour the coffee on your ice tray. Leave them in the freezer overnight.

2. Warm milk in the microwave for 90 seconds. Add cocoa to the bottom of the cup/jar you’re using for the drink, and then add 1/4 of the warm milk. Stir to dissolve the cocoa.

3. Once cocoa is dissolved, put in the coffee cubes. Add more or less depending on how much coffee flavor you’d like.

4. Add the remaining milk. And sip up!

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As you can see, the recipe is extremely simple and fun to make! Oh what’s that? You ask what those beautiful baked goods are next to the coffee? Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies, of course, and they make the coffee particularly phenomenal 😉

Until next time!

Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies

Baltimore can get a little boring in the summer time, so when I heard that my best friend was coming down for the weekend from her big important internship in NYC, I was ecstatic!

Reunited with my fun-loving friend for a weekend before she goes home and then spends fall semester in London?! I’LL TAKE IT.

And what do two busy 21-year-old women need on a summer weekend to wind down from an exhausting week? Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies.

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I’m on somewhat of a “blondies” kick these past few weeks. Blondies, which are just cookie bars, are some of the most convenient desserts to make. They have a low time committment (only 18 minutes in the oven!), involve simple staple ingredients, and are easily stored (just slice them up, put a tupperware container in the freezer, and you’re good for three months). More importantly, there’s something about adding a fistful of sprinkles in a recipe that says – “listen, nothing about this can go wrong.”

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With that in mind, I’ve been meaning to make these babies for a long, looooooong time.

All credit for this recipe goes to the wonderful Averie Cooks. This is certainly not the first, or the last of her recipes that I’ve used. The only difference between the ones I have pictured and her blondies is that I didn’t use semi-sweet chocolate chips or white chocolate chips. I hope I get a chance to make them with additional goodies later!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon clear imitation vanilla extract (or real vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
  • 1/4 cup rainbow-colored sprinkles, for batter
  • 1 tablespoon rainbow-colored sprinkles, for sprinkling top surface

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place aluminum foil over the cookware you plan to use, and then spray with cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter for 60 seconds in microwave. Add sugars, imitation vanilla extract, and egg and whisk to combine.
  3. Mix flour and salt in a separate bowl to combine.
  4. Add dry and wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Do not overmix as this changes the texture of the blondies when they bake.
  5. Add in the sprinkles (and if you have them, white and semi-sweet chocolate chips).
  6. Place in oven for 18-22 minutes. (I took them out right at 18 because I love them moist and chewy!)

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Bon appetit! Pour in a nice cold glass of milk and enjoy!

Make your own summertime popsicle!

In early June, it seemed like I couldn’t log onto a foodie website without seeing several dozen new popsicle recipes on each page. Here was white wine with raspberries and here was basically an oreo cookie on a stick. It was like everyone wanted to jump into the season with  the most stereotypically summer-y treat of all time. What was this madness?! And how could  I immediately sign up for it?!

Thankfully, popsicles are not difficult to create on your own. Even without those super-cool popsicle trays or fancy wines.

Enter, Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Popsicles.

This recipe began as an attempt to mimic someone else’s recipe, and ended up as a spontaneous creation of our own. Many of my favorite recipes have similarly started out that way. Never be afraid to substitute ingredients in your own pantry for items called for in recipes. It might come out terribly (in which case you’ll learn never to try that combination out again) or it might end up better than you could imagine!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Heat milks, sugars, and salt in a saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, let it cool, and then stir in the vanilla.

2. Add half to the chocolate chips to  the bottom of popsicle trays/ cups. Add in the milk mixture and place in  the freezer for about two hours until partially frozen.

3. Take out popsicles and add the other half of the chocolate chips to the cups. Place back in freezer until popsicles are fully frozen.

Check out some more popsicle recipes here!

Just a little ghetto, improvisational popsicle making!

Just a little ghetto, improvisational popsicle making!

So good it hurts.
So good it hurts.