Tales from a 20-Something's Kitchen.

One girl's mission to take on Pinterest. And win. And eat some great food in the process.

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

Baked Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese



Legitimately, though, I’m pretty proud of myself. This recipe is great, although I would double the amount of cheese in the sauce. I put in extra and I still think there could have been more.

But, my family loved this recipe, so chalk this one up to a success!




Liebster Award Nominee

So, I looked in my comments today and got a really lovely surprise. Mandie from http://ohsodecadent.wordpress.com/ nominated me for a Liebster Award. Now, I had no idea what this was, so I did some digging and saw that it is used to promote small blogs. The funny thing is, I never set out to be promoted or anything like that. I made myself a challenge to learn to cook and I already had one blog, so I thought it would be fun to document the experience, and here we are. I guess that what makes this so awesome.

So, I’m totally honored that I would even be considered for an award, and without further ado:

Liebster Award Rules and Requirements

  1. Post eleven facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.
  3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.
  4. Go to their page and tell them.
  5. Remember, no tag backs.

Facts About Me

  1. I am a Junior in Ball State University’s BFA Acting program, so I guess that goes without saying that I love acting haha
  2. I am also a huge movie nerd. I have a rapidly expanding movie collection and I have a word document of over 7 pages long of movies that I still need to see. That’s actually why I started blogging in the first place, was my movie review blog, “All The Movie Reviews!” at http://jeleff11.wordpress.com/
  3. I started this when I was talking about my Recipe board on Pinterest at the end of the school year last year, when a family member said “well, are you going to do anything with the recipes, or are they going to sit on your computer?”
  4. I live in a house off-campus with three of my friends…well more like my entire group of friends, considering someone is always popping in for a random reason. That’s another reason I started the blog, was because I kind of needed to learn how to live on my own haha
  5. In the Theatre Department and BSU, we name our houses. Like in England. Ours is named The Speakeasy. We also have a fish named Harriet Tubman.
  6. I am re-teaching myself to play guitar. I took lessons when I was younger, but ended up stopping. I recently got a guitar, and am trying to learn again, maybe even be better than before!
  7. My plan after graduation is to move to Chicago and go for it. I set out to become a professional actor and that’s what I’m going to be haha
  8. Grilled Cheese and Mashed Potatoes are my all time favorite foods. If I find a man that will make these things for me, I will marry him.
  9. I have a total fangirl crush on Darren Criss. Hopefully he knows how to make grilled cheese and mashed potatoes…
  10. A lot of people ask me what my ethnicity is. The guesses are normally Latin American, Italian, or Native American. I’m actually Irish and Hungarian, which no one ever believes, but it’s the truth haha
  11. I am currently addicted to playing The Sims. I might need to start going to meetings…

My Questions

  1. If you could travel to one country just to eat, which one would you choose and why? Italy. Without a doubt. With all the pasta and carbs and sweets and more carbs, I would be all over that.
  2. What was the most impressive dish you have ever made? I made these Southwest Chicken Wraps (https://jeleff2014.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/crispy-southwest-chicken-wraps/) and they were absolutely delicious. Plus, it was the first time I made food for my friends. I’d done it before but it was more like “hey guys I’m making food and it might suck but you have to taste test it.” This was for a holiday party at my house, so it had to be good. And they were great!
  3. What is one ingredient you could never live without? Apparently milk. It is always ends up in a recipe, and I always have just a little bit under what I need.
  4. Name one thing about your kitchen that you love and one thing you wish you could change.  Well, I technically have two kitchens. The one at home in Cleveland, and one at school in Muncie. For the Cleveland one, I love the counter space, there is a lot of it plus an island. I would update the appliances, they can be a little unreliable. As for my Muncie kitchen, everything is almost new because we got them for the house, but it is so tiny, there is barely any room to cook haha
  5. Who is your biggest inspiration for your food blog? I actually don’t really have one, so I guess I’ll say everyone who posts their recipes online, because that is where I’m getting all of them from haha
  6. When you’re too exhausted to cook or bake, what store-bought food do you immediately grab? Cereal. Preferably something cinnamon-y
  7. What is the number one food that you crave? Mashed Potatoes. Could eat them all day every day.
  8. If you could trade places for a day with a celebrity chef, who would it be and why? Hm. I don’t really know many celebrity chefs. I think I would say Guy Fieri, just so I could do Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives haha
  9. If you had the choice that either all of your dishes would clean themselves after you finished cooking or that every recipe you made would come out perfectly, which would you choose and why? Dishes clean themselves. Without a doubt. I hate doing dishes. Plus, seeing how a recipe will turn out is half the fun, there’s no fun if you know it’s always going to be perfect.
  10. What is your fondest childhood food memory? Whenever my grandma would babysit us, my grandpa (who passed away when I was 10) would always bring Taco Bell. Every time. And he would always walk in and say “I have a surprise!” And we always knew exactly what is was. I know it’s a little unconventional of an answer, considering it’s fast food and not homemade, but I loved it and it always brings back great memories.
  11. Tea or coffee? Coffee. No hesitation.

Questions for My Nominees

These are probably going to be all over the place haha

  1. You suddenly remember you have a party to go to. It’s a potluck so you have to bring something. It’s in two hours. What’s your go to dish? Go.
  2. I have to ask it. What’s your favorite movie?
  3. You are only allowed to eat three food items for the rest of your life. What are they?
  4. Current addiction? (Food or otherwise?)
  5. You are allowed to make a meal with your favorite celebrity. Who are they, what do you make with them, and why?
  6. What is your “cooking personality”? For example, I sing and dance around like an idiot, all while cooking. Are you like me, are you very serious and focused, or somewhere in between?
  7. I’m going to steal this from my questions. Because it is very important. Tea or Coffee?
  8. Biggest kitchen disaster?
  9. Biggest kitchen success?
  10. Guilty pleasure? (Also food or otherwise)
  11. Pick your favorite inspirational quote. Can be about anything.

My Nominees (in no particular order)

  1. mayasingredients (http://mayasingredients.com/)
  2. Life is Short. Eat Hard! (http://lifeisshorteathard.wordpress.com/)
  3. Ringing the Dinner Bell (http://ringingthedinnerbell.com)
  4. cocoa and crafts… (http://cocoaandcrafts.com/)
  5. When Toasters Go Pyro (http://whentoastersgopyro.wordpress.com/)
  6. Charles and Kimberly’s Recipes (http://charlesandkimberlysrecipes.wordpress.com/)
  7. Food Observations (http://foodobs.wordpress.com/)
  8. Confessions of a Grad School Foodie (http://confessionsofagradschoolfoodie.wordpress.com/)
  9. Foodie Trapped in a Dorm (http://foodietrappedinadorm.wordpress.com/)
  10. Collegetown Kitchen (http://collegetownkitchen.wordpress.com/)
  11. The Quick and Dirty Kitchen (http://thequickanddirtycook.wordpress.com/)



Layered Strawberry Tiramisu

So this turned out…interesting.

So, I go to the store, start to get the ingredients, and I try to find strawberry cool whip. There is none. Ugh. So I settle for regular cool whip.

Then, I try to find lady fingers. One of the key ingredients in tiramisu. There are none. I looked everywhere and asked two different people. They don’t have any because Christmas is over? Whatever. So, I had to figure something out. My sister suggested shortbread cookies. Whatever at this point, so I bought those.

I get home, start making everything, and there aren’t enough cookies to line the bottom of the pan, let alone make another layer. So, I crush them into crumbs and make a layer that way. So there was that.

And then I noticed about halfway through this recipe that there is no alcohol, so I was confused.

So, after all was said and done, I made something. It wasn’t tiramisu. But at least it tasted ok.



Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Christmas baking part two!

Now this was a lot better. A fairly simple recipe, and it was so. good.

Now for the lemon part is says you need zest and juice. Well, we didn’t have a zester so I just did the juice and I didn’t even need the zest, it was definitely lemony.

But yeah, I totally recommend this one. My family loved them!



Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Christmas baking!

So…I actually wasn’t amazed by this recipe. All it is is chocolate chip cookie dough and more chocolate chips. It was actually…and I never thought I would say this…too chocolatey. The cookie part was delicious, obviously, but other than that, shmeh.



Red Velvet Cupcakes

So, this is a Paula Deen recipe, so I was expecting it to be deliciously unhealthy. And unfortunately, I was a little disappointed.

There is a LOT of olive oil in this. (it’s supposed to be vegetable oil, but i substituted the olive oil to make it a tiny bit healthier) As I was making it, I checked it three times to make sure it actually said 1 1/2 cups. It did. Maybe that was a typo or something. But the batter itself and the cupcakes had an oily taste to them, my sister and I could taste the olive oil, like it was the predominant flavor. So I was a little disappointed.But, everyone else that ate them said they were really good, so I don’t know.

Also, did you know that the little bottles of food coloring contain 1 tbsp? Found that out. Because you need 2 tbsps for this recipe and I used the entire bottle and only had 1. Thankfully red food coloring is strong, because they are still red, just not as red as normal red velvet things.

Then, this recipe yields WAY too much frosting. I completely frosted 24 cupcakes with only 1/4th of the frosting I made. So unless you’re piping it, or you like a giant mountain of frosting, cut the frosting recipe in half. And with that, this cream cheese frosting was good, but I’ve made better.

So, in the end, this wasn’t a bad recipe, but I’m sure there are better red velvet recipes out there.



Honey Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf

Once again, ignore the stupid burn marks on my loaf pan.

So, I thought this went pretty well. I will say though, it has a kick to it. I never thought I would eat spicy meatloaf, and here we are. You can probably make it milder depending on the type of barbecue sauce you use. There’s almost a cup of it in the entire recipe, so it’s kind of a factor haha.

For the sauce part, the recipe says use only half to go on top, and the rest as dipping sauce, but that recipe yielded just enough to go on top, so double that if you want to use more.

And I’m sure you can make it with chicken, or whatever, too, turkey is just healthier. You would probably just have to adjust cooking times.



Beef Stroganoff with Cheesy Garlic Bread

Ok. So. Last night, I go up to my mom and say “hey I was going to make this garlic bread recipe tonight, does it go with what you were planning for dinner?” And she says “Well, I have one of those sauce packets for beef stroganoff, so why don’t you just make it?”

…I’ve never made actual dinner before. Mostly appetizers and desserts. If I ever had made an actual main dish, it was to go along with something else someone else made in case I screwed up.

And my mom just said go for it.

So I did.

So, the Garlic Bread was super easy, I ran out of garlic powder though, so it was a little more cheesy than garlicky (if that’s a word). But I would definitely make it again as a side dish

So, like I said earlier, the stroganoff was with one of those sauce packets where you boil the noodles, then make the beef, then add in water and packet and ta da. Well boiling noodles is easy, so that was done. But I’ve never really cooked meat before, the last time I made chicken, my roommate actually cooked it, I just cut it.

Anyway, basically by the time I was done cutting up the beef, it looked like a crime scene on my cutting board. Ew. But cooking it actually was ok, took less time than I thought, and once I added everything together, it actually worked.

And bonus, my family actually liked it! I asked my mom after dinner if she thought it would have turned out if she had asked me to do it at the beginning of last summer (when I started this whole project) and she said she probably wouldn’t even have asked me haha. So mission accomplished! I think I’m making dinner again tomorrow too 😀

Recipe (Garlic Bread):


All Caught Up!

Welp, I’m all transferred over from my other blog site.

I’m going home to Ohio for the holidays on Saturday, so expect to see some more recipes popping up!

Until then!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Dessert Thing

So last night was Peasant Feast, the unofficial theatre department holiday potluck party thing.

And I made this awesome thing. Although I will say, the website has no official title for it. And Pinterest didn’t either…

Anyway, so for the most part, this was pretty easy to make. Although we didn’t have a 9×13 pan, just a 7×11, so I was worried I was going to have too much to put in. But actually, I had just enough of the oreos and reese’s. Then, for the other two layers, I simply put in less cool whip, it gave those two layers less volume.

So, this was really easy, and everyone who ate it last night said they loved it, so mission accomplished!


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