From Cupcakes to Traditional Korean Food and Everything in Between

Homemade Pizza From Scratch

I feel like pizza can save most problems.  Sound crazy?  Perhaps.  However, I speak from experience.  Whether I’m feeling happy or sad, I almost always want pizza.  It highlights celebrations, makes a simple Friday in feel more special, or lifts me out of a blue mood with each cheesy bite so for me, it’s a necessary staple in our house.  Recently, I discovered that I could assemble homemade pizzas in bulk and store them in my freezer  to enjoy at a moments notice the next time a craving would strike.  I can’t tell you how awesome and convenient this has been.  The topping possibilities are endless and you can get really creative with them too.

 

 

5.0 from 5 reviews
Homemade Pizza From Scratch
 
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Serves: 1 10" Pizza*
Ingredients
Dough
  • 1 ts yeast + ⅔ c warm water {at about 110-120*}
  • 1½ c unbleached flour
  • ½ ts fine salt
  • 1 ts sugar
  • 1 tb oil
Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tb olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, grated
  • ¼ onion, grated
  • ½ tb dried oregano
  • 1 c unsalted tomato sauce
  • ½ ts sugar
  • ¼-1/2 ts red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 ts sweet balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parmigiana bones {optional}
Desired Toppings
Instructions
  1. Stir the yeast with the water and set aside,
  2. Using either your hands or a mixer, knead everything together. It is ready when the surface is smooth and the dough comes together.
  3. Cover in a greased bowl for an hour or until it doubles in size. Make sure to place in a dark/undisturbed place.
  4. Press the dough out onto silpat/parchment then cover and rest for 1-2 hours. This will further develop the flavor of the dough.
  5. Finally, lightly flour and roll out the dough to your desired thickness. Par-bake at 450* for 8-10 minutes.
  6. Top with toppings of choice then finish baking for 10-15 more minutes
Notes
Size depends on how thin or thick you like/roll out your dough.

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

IMG_7557

People ask me all the time how I’m not a million pounds.  Simple.  I eat what I want but in moderation.  I never restrict and lately, I’ve been exercising to strengthen my core.  But let’s be real here guys.  What’s the point of living without dessert?  Sometimes, fresh fruit with greek yogurt and honey can do the trick but other times, lush deep chocolate just calls to me like a siren song.  In my heart, the queen of all warm pure chocolate goodness is the seductive molten chocolate lava cake.  Its hot fudge like center wrapped in soft luscious chocolate cake will make you fall in love with your first melt-in-your-mouth bite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.0 from 6 reviews
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
 
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Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • ½ c soft, unsalted butter
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • ⅛ ts instant espresso powder
  • 3 room temperature eggs
  • ⅓ c sugar
  • 2 tb unbleached flour
  • ¼ ts fine salt
Instructions
  1. Using either a double boiler or microwave, melt the butter and chocolate together low and slow. Stir to combine and cool.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and foamy.
  3. Pour the cooled chocolate into the egg/sugar mixture and blend thoroughly.
  4. Lastly, stir in the flour and salt until just combined- don't over mix.
  5. Using either greased ramekins or lined cupcake tins, pour in batter and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. When in doubt, slightly under-bake rather than risk over-baking. The edges should be set but the center should be very jiggly.
  6. Important: allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before attempting to plate.
  7. Serve warm with berries, mint, powdered sugar, whipped cream or ice cream.

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

Maraschino Cherries and White Chocolate Cookies

Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Cookies

Soft and buttery almond scented cookies bursting with maraschino cherries, cut into hearts and drizzled with white chocolate, these are sure to charm your friends and family this Valentine’s day.

 

 

 

 

 

5.0 from 4 reviews
Maraschino Cherries and White Chocolate Cookies
 
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Serves: 2-3 dozen
Ingredients
  • 3 c unbleached flour
  • 2 ts baking powder
  • ¼ ts fine salt
  • 2 sticks soft, unsalted butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 room temperature eggs
  • 2 tb almond extract
  • 2-4 tb maraschino cherry juice
  • 1 c chopped maraschino cherries
  • ½ c melted white chocolate
Instructions
  1. In the first bowl, sift/whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. In the second bowl, cream the butter and sugar together for 3-5 minutes or until soft and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs, extract, and juice.
  4. Toss the chopped cherries in the first {dry} bowl to coat.
  5. In thirds, combine the first and second bowls together, taking care not to over mix.
  6. Wrap in plastic and flatten to chill evenly in the fridge for 1 hour.
  7. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface, moving the dough around so it doesn't stick. Try not to use too much flour as it will make the cookies dry.
  8. Cut into desired shapes and chill for an additional 15 minutes.
  9. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
  10. Cool and drizzle with melted chocolate.
Notes
Prep does not include chilling time.

{Luxardo cherries aren’t necessary for this recipe but please use maraschino cherries with natural flavors/colors.  This may not impart the brightest hue but if that’s desired, you can always use food coloring, if necessary.  The splash of juice here is to lightly flavor the dough with a blend of almond and cherry flavor.}

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

Homemade Candles with 2 Ingredients

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These homemade beeswax candles are wonderful for a number of reasons.  They’re 100% natural with air-purifying beeswax and only require 2 ingredients without any fancy equipment.  Plus, they’re easy and fast.  These were actually part of every gift basket I gave out this Christmas and the possibilities to tweak and personalize are endless.  If I’m going for simple, a light dose of bergamot or lavender will do me {on a basic level, quality beeswax will impart a natural honey scent} but if I’m gifting, pressed herbs or flowers provide a lovely aesthetic and filling vintage tea cups is even nicer.

 

 

If you can’t find beeswax near you, you can find it online here: http://amzn.to/1vzUPKa

5.0 from 3 reviews
Homemade Candles with 2 Ingredients
 
Author:
Serves: 3-4 mini jelly/mason jars {4 oz each}
Ingredients
  • .375 lbs organic beeswax
  • 4 tb coconut oil
Other materials
  • 3-4 jars/teacups/shells {4 oz each}
  • Square braided wicks w/ tabs {I had #4 on hand}
  • Optional: pure essential oils/dried decorations
Instructions
  1. Grate the beeswax {or use pellets}.
  2. Melt the beeswax either in a double boiler or in the microwave. Go low and slow and gradually reach 180* Do not go high or fast.
  3. Off the heat, stir in the coconut oil.
  4. Wait a couple minutes and add drops of your favorite essential oils, if using.
  5. Coil the excess wick on a stick and balance on the tops of each jar to help stabilize the tab.
  6. Pour a bit into each glass. Wait 3-5 minutes and pour in the rest.
  7. Allow to set a few hours, trim each wick and enjoy.

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

Real Homemade Chocolate with 3 Ingredients + FAQ

Today, I’m going to show you how to make an unbelievably easy homemade chocolate using just 3 ingredients.  This chocolate is incredibly silky, buttery, and delicious.  It’s truly a little piece of heaven that melts in your mouth.

 

 

This is the cacao butter I used: http://amzn.to/1ERvA5P

5.0 from 5 reviews
Real Homemade Chocolate with 3 Ingredients + FAQ
 
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Serves: 1 dozen pieces
Ingredients
  • 100 grams cacao butter
  • 40 grams natural unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
  • 20-25 grams powdered sugar* {depends on how sweet you like it}
  • Optional: pinch of fine salt and instant espresso
  • Other options: fruits, nuts, or extracts.
  • {My favorite add ins are hazelnuts, goji berries, fleur de sel, or cayenne but the possibilities are endless!}
Instructions
  1. Using either the microwave or a double boiler, heat even size pieces of cacao butter low and slow. Heat until it just melts- no more, allowing the residual heat to melt the rest. Let this sit to slightly cool for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Sift the cacao or cocoa powder with the sugar and stir into the cacao butter. Add the salt and espresso, if using.
  3. Pour into molds of choice. Toss in other add ins, if desired.
  4. Allow to set in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
Notes
*You can use any sweetener of your choice. The powdered sugar just makes the chocolate a bit more stable.

Q: What are the benefits of eating chocolate?

A: When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and is even said to protect against cardiovascular disease.  Though, keep in mind that not all chocolates are made equal.  More on that below.

Q: Why make homemade chocolate?

A: Unfortunately today, a very common industry practice is to stuff chocolate with fillers like soy lecithin {which is the sludge leftover after soybean oil is refined} or vegetable fillers. It’s used in place of cocoa or cacao butter simply for the reason that it’s cheap.  A homemade chocolate is made with pure, all natural ingredients without chemicals or alterations and what you’re left with is …just chocolate.

Q: What are the differences between milk, dark, and white chocolate?

A:  Dark chocolate could be considered “the bare essentials,” if you will.  It contains no milk fats whereas milk chocolates do.  There’s a lot of debate on whether white chocolate is even chocolate at all.  It is typically a mix of cocoa butter, milk, and sugar.  Generally chocolate with higher percentages of cacao is better for you.  I personally dig an 85% bar.  But no matter what your personal preference, please choose one that is fair trade.

Q: What is the difference between cacao butter and cocoa butter?

A: They’re very similar but it comes down to how they’re individually processed.  Cacao butter is the cold pressed oil of the cacao bean. Considered a superfood, it’s had less heat applied to it than cocoa butter and is generally more pure with higher antioxidants.  When purchasing cacao butter, look for one that is 100% pure, organic, and raw.  Cocoa butter is from the cacao mass using heat, pressure or alkali salts and is lower in active flavenols.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions!

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

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