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Finally… I am back with my Daring Cooks Challenge…Pierogies! August 15, 2010

Filed under: Daring Kitchen,Dinner — livelovetobake @ 8:37 pm

Wow… It has been quite some time since I have blogged.  Yikes!  I have been baking and cooking although unfortunately just not blogging about it.  I guess it had to take something near and dear to my heart to make me start blogging again. 

Can you guess what the near and dear is?



Daring Baker’s Challenge May 2010: Piece Montée or Croquembouche May 27, 2010

Filed under: Daring Kitchen,Desserts — livelovetobake @ 5:56 am

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

For this Challenge there were 3 Components


1. Pate a choux (Puff Pastries)

2. Creme Patissiere (Cream Filling)

3. Glaze


To be honest I am not a huge fan of creme puffs.  The puff pastry just does not do anything for me.  I guess as the saying goes though…. it is what is on the inside that counts!  Although for this challenge the outside or puff pastry was the part that would be seen not the inside.  Luckily, the recipe that we had to use for the puff pastries seemed pretty easy and they turned out beautiful!  The hardest part for me was the stirring of the eggs into the batter because it seemed to take Fooooorever.  Well it did not really take forever but my arm definitely got a workout since I was feeling the burn 🙂  The consistency of the inside of the puff pastries required some tweeking.  The first attempt was too custardy for me.  The second attempt was a perfect balance!  Finally, was the assembly and decorating of the croquembouche.  I was a little nervous about how it would turn out but I was sooo thrilled with the results!  Would you like to see some (more…)


1st week of my CSA Produce from Calvert Farm May 26, 2010

Filed under: Breakfast,Dinner,Lunch,Salads,Sides — livelovetobake @ 5:56 pm

For about a month now I have been looking forward to my 1st year of participating in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) produce program through Calvert Farm  .  I signed up for the Summer program that includes 20 weeks of fresh farm produce from their farm.  The farm is located almost 2 hours away from me in Rising Sun, Maryland so luckily they have various produce pick up locations that are much closer to me.  My location pick up is at Montgomery General Hospital located in Olney, MD which works out great since it is about 20 minutes from my work.

Basically, the CSA produce program works by asking for a particular fee prior to the beginning of the 20 weeks.  That money goes towards investing in your food share for the summer.  Then each week you go and pick up a box of  “surprise” fresh produce from your particular location.  It seems as though individuals that live closer to the farm can pick which items they would to have for the week.  Since I am so far away from the farm that was not an option for me.  I do not mind since I like the “surprise” and challenge of figuring out recipes to make with the items that were hand picked for me.  Each week we should receive about 6-7 vegetable and/or fruit items that would cost around $20.  Here is what I received for my first week! (more…)


Strawberry Lime Buttermilk Cake and ShortCupcakes! May 16, 2010

Filed under: Cakes,Cupcakes,Desserts,Fruit,Have the Cake — livelovetobake @ 5:12 pm

I was extremely excited when I saw this month’s Have the Cake Challenge!  So excited that it seems I have made the recipe three times with different variations!  I love strawberries and decided to change the recipe to strawberries and lime.  The first buttermilk cake I made was simple and delicious on its own.  The next two times I decided to dress it up some!  I thought that the recipe reminded me of a moist strawberry shortcake.  So when I made the cake as a birthday cake for someone at work I decided it needed some whipped cream with it!  Then the last take on the recipe was to make strawberry shortcupcakes 🙂  Both variations tasted amazing!  The best part is that the recipe is very easy to follow and you can make your own buttermilk!



Daring Cooks May Challenge:Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas

Filed under: Daring Kitchen,Dinner,Lunch — livelovetobake @ 2:56 pm

I was very excited this month when the new daring cook challenge was revealed and it was enchiladas!  Two things that would be new for me was making our green chile sauce from scratch and the option to make tortillas.  I ended up making a yummy tasting and suprising not spicy green chile sauce and the tortillas needed work.  Luckily, my parents decided to come into town and help with my challenge.  It seemed to have taken forever…perhaps because I had my heart set on making two sauces, a green chile and chocolate mole, as well as a mexican flan.  The chocolate mole sauce was too spicy for me but we used it as a dipping sauce.  I am not going to post the recipe but I linked it above.  Since the tortillas turned out okay I decided not to post that recipe either and will have to find a better recipe.  All in all it got done and the taste was worth all the hard work that went into it.   

 Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.



Bake Sale Recipes :) May 9, 2010

Filed under: Breads,Breakfast,Cakes,Desserts — livelovetobake @ 6:27 pm

DC Food Bloggers Bake Sale Table


I cannot believe that I am finally getting around to posting these amazing recipes that I made for the DC Bloggers Bake Sale.  Yikes…I guess these other baking challenges have taken over my time and I am spending more time in the kitchen than in front of my computer!  Without wasting any more time I will get right to the recipes 🙂 



My 1st Have the Cake Post: Mexican Flan with Tequila April 28, 2010

Filed under: Desserts,Have the Cake — livelovetobake @ 7:07 pm

When I recently web surfed into the I became really excited!  I liked the idea of trying a new dessert recipe each month and having the freedom of deciding which variation to make.  Not to mention that I did not need to buy a book in order to be part of the baking group!

So rather than waiting less than a week to join the group.  I decided to jump right in and start baking for the April challenge.  This month’s host was Jen from pieces of me and she chose to do Flan.  I was familiar with flan because I remember my mom making Flan for us.  It was a great challenge because I definitely had wanted to try making it myself.  One of the hardest parts of making flan is the carmelizing of the sugar and making sure that you do not burn your sugar.  Additionally, you have to keep your fingers crossed until the flan is done baking and hope that when you turn it out onto a plate it comes out in one piece.  

My parents were coming into town and I decided to have a mexican themed dinner.  Therefore, I chose to make a Mexican Flan recipe AKA Best ever Flan: Flan al Tequila that I found here   Luckily, since my mom was coming into town I asked her to bring her flan pan that she has used before and it worked out great.  It also helped that I just so happened to have tequila on hand!  Overall, this flan was easy to make and tasted good although I could not taste the tequila.  Surprisingly, my husband enjoyed it enough to go back for seconds and said it reminded him of waffles!  This is a pretty big deal because usually he does not like trying new foods.  Speaking for the rest of us I think we are holding out on this flan getting the Best Ever Flan title 🙂

Mexican Flan with Tequila



Flan Mixture

4 – Eggs

1 tsp – Vanilla Extract

1 – Can (14 oz.) Condensed Milk

1- Can (14oz.) Evaporated Milk

2-4 Big Dashes – Tequila


Carmelized Sugar Topping

1 Cup – Granulated Sugar

1/4 Cup – Water


1) Pre-heat the oven to 350°C .

2) In a saucepan over medium high heat stir the water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves.  Let the sugar mixture heat and resist the urge to constantly stir it.  The color should turn from clear to light brown. Every now and then swirl the mixture so that the color is distributed evenly.


3) When the sugar has carmelized to a light brown color remove from heat and quickly pour into desired baking pan.  Rotate the pan in a circle to ensure that the carmelized sugar is evenly distributed throughout the pan.  Set aside to cool.

4) In a large bowl mix together the condensed and evaporated milks, vanilla extract, eggs, and big dashes of tequila.  Then pour this mixture into the prepared baking pan with the carmelized sugar.


           5) Next, place your baking pan that has the flan into a baking dish (I used a 9 X 13 pyrex dish) and make a water bath with hot water about 1-2 inches high.  Place baking dish with the flan into the preheated oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes.  Check the flan with a knife to see if it is finished.  When the knife comes out clean the flan is done.

6) Remove the flan from the oven and let cool.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

7) Invert the flan onto a plate and admire your baking!