Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My FAVORITE baking and cooking blogs!

Reading other blogs inspires me: what topics to write, how I should sound, and it gives me inspiration for my personal baking and cooking adventures. Luckily, I am part of the Girl Power Hour (http://girlpowerhour.com/) Blogging Community, which gives me access to LOTS of different female bloggers in different industries.

Blogging is simple, that is why I started one for SC. I get to post amazing photos of the cupcakes I bake, interview fellow bakers and bloggers, geek-out on cookware, and tell all my readers all the fun foodie events that happen in the greater Seattle area.

I love reading unique, interesting, and well-written blogs. Check out my top blogs and see if any of your favorites are also mine!

Cupcakes+Cashmere
http://cupcakesandcashmere.com/
Emily, living in LA, writes about "things that inspire her." Food, wine, and clothing are often topics on her blog. My favorite? All the very in-style fashion outfit photos she posts.

Half-Baked: The Cake Blog
http://www.thecakeblog.com/
Written by Carrie and fellow bakers, it is THE blog for anything wedding cake related. Want fun, new, and fresh ideas for cakes? This is the blog to read and be inspired from.

Bakerella
http://www.bakerella.com/
Another sweet baking blog, mainly focusing on small bites like cake pops, cupcakes, cookies, and brownies.

Order in the kitchen
http://www.orderinthekitchen.com/
From fellow social media pal, Lynn, "Order in the kitchen" is a cooking tale while trying to destress from law school. Ever since graduating from school, she is now one obsessed foodie, blogger, and cook.

Smitten Kitchen
http://smittenkitchen.com/
One of the most popular cooking blogs out there, it is KNOWN for gorgeous photos. Deb writes and blogs from a tiny kitchen in New York to give the foodie community recipes worth drooling over.

Bella Cupcake Couture
http://bellacupcakecouture.com/blog/
Carrie, owner, is the creater of unique cupcake wrappers known as "Bella Cupcake Couture." Her blog is dedicated to anything wedding or event-related. Check it out for helpful decorating and holiday planning tips.

Bake or Break
http://www.bakeorbreak.com/
This blog is great for a beginner baker! The author writes about her test baking batches in her NYC apartment.  Plus, the recipes are simple and easy.

17 and Baking
http://17andbaking.com/
Elissa, now 18, started her baking blog at 16 while living in Seattle. She is a baking addict writes about her new hometown, Boston, delicious recipes, and new travels in her life. (PS: I love seeing young people starting a blog!)

The Plastic Free Chef
http://theplasticfreechef.com/
Mary Kat, only 17, is trying to make the world greener and less plastic! She has currently made her kitchen...plastic-free. She blogs about "plastic free" recipes she creates and how you can reduce the amount of unneeded plastic in your life. Wow!

Do you have a favorite blog? Let me know in the "comment" section or email me personally: kimmmoore63@gmail.com

Happy baking and blogging,
Kimm

Friday, October 26, 2012

5 ways to use Halloween candy in your sweet treats!

Halloween is right around the corner! This means: a true excess in overly sweet candy at your finger tips. Instead of consuming all of the sweetness at once, try adding it to your next baked good to make it extra special and unique.





5 uses for Halloween candy:

1) Candy corn: Add it your next batch of rice krispie treats! Now, are you worried that it may be too sweet? Try adding chopped nuts for a salty-bite to it.

2) Halloween-colored M & M's: Add it to your next cookie recipe, like chocolate chips. My personal favorite? Double chocolate with coconut.

3) Tootsie Rolls: A nice, gooey center for your cupcakes! When you are baking cupcakes, fill the cupcake liner half way with cake batter, then add a small piece of tootsie roll, and finally more cake batter. The filling will be soft and sweet, very similar to a ganache filling.

4) Mini chocolate-candy bars: I love chopping them up in bite-size pieces and adding them to my brownie or blondie recipe. Be sure to save a few for the topping as an easy garnish.

5) Chocolate bars: Since Halloween means fall has arrived, I love making homemade hot cocoa with leftover chocolate bars! Warm your favorite milk of choice in a small saucepan, break up your chocolate bar into small pieces, add it to the warm milk, and stir. Enjoy!






And, what is the best solution for leftover candy: consume with a friend! (My #1 choice!)

Happy Halloween,
Kimm

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why I LOVE non-stick cookware!

Yes, I love non-stick cookware.
Cookware comes in three mediums: nonstick, stainless, or cast iron. Most people have a favorite, and least favorite. I truly love my non-stick. Want to know why? My top 3 facts are.....

1) It requires little maintaince: A little dish soap plus a sponge equals my pans clean up minutes. No use of special cleaners, polishers, or seasoning is required. Now, some non stick pans are dishwasher safe, making it even more convientent for busy people.

2) Little fat is needed: This is the main reason why non stick pans where created in the 60's. The demand for a healthier style of cooking that will require very little or zero oil. Many health freaks, people on diets, and newbie cooks love this feature about non stick cookware. I can cook a chicken breast with zero fat!

3) Beginner cooks can use it with ease: I always stress any level of cook can use non stick cookware versus stainless or cast iron. That is why it is the choice to have when living in a large household with multiple cooks!
 
Remember, non stick cookware has greatly improved in the last 5 years. It has become stronger, safer, and more durable than 10, 12, even 15 years ago!

To make your non stick pans last longer, please:
-Avoid aerosol non stick sprays!
-Hand wash only.
-Pre-heat your cookware before adding your food.
-Medium heat only.
 
Here are my top 5 answers to my most commonly asked questions about non-stick cookware:
 
1) What makes a non-stick pan different from one another?
A: The patent. Thus, every cookware line owns their own non-stick "recipe." That recipe is held top secret so no other cookware company can copy it.
 
2) How safe is non-stick cookware? I heard it causes cancer and illness?
A: No proven cancer/illness case has been linked with non-stick cookware. Cookware companies have to follow rules given by the FDA before we can selling it to the domestic market.
 
3) What is PFOA? I heard it is horrible for you and your body!
 A: Perfluorooctanoic acid is a synthetic chemical compound, made from DuPont.
FACT: Good non-stick cookware is naturally PFOA free if the coating is applied correctly and at a very high heat.
A sad FACT: About 98% of us have PFOA in our blood stream because it is found in pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, take-out containers, frozen food boxes, carpet and house hold cleaners.
 
4) What is all this buzz with ceramic cookware? I heard it truly is chemical free!
A: Yes, it is truly chemical free. The down fall? Ceramic-base coatings are naturally soft and weak. Thus, they tend to wear down faster than a non ceramic coating.
 
5) Non-stick coatings can go in a stainless steel pan or hard anodized pan, which is better?
A: Non stick in a hard anodized pan. Hard anodized aluminum is very porus, thus the coating attaches itself better than a super slick stainless steel pan.
Overall, pick a cookware line that uses and advertises a great non-stick patent. Check with the manufactures directions about proper care and use.
 
Happy Cooking!
Kimm


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cooper cookware: the pro's and con's!

Cookware can be created from 4 different materials: Aluminum, stainless steel, cooper, or iron. For your best heat conduction, a combination of the metals deliever superior and even heat for your food. Let's focus on the most expensive metal to make for cookware: cooper.




Cooper has a classic and professional "look" to it and delivers optimal heat control out of all the metals. Used since historic times, cooper is well-known for controlling heat throughout your pot or pan. Today, it is rare to find 100% cooper pans. Now, cooper is only lined at the bottom or exterior.

The facts:

Pros:

-Controls heat the best.

-Cools down the fastest, thus reduces "warpping" (AKA: dented/uneven) at the bottom.

-You only need a small amount of cooper to get its benefits.

-Very attractive in your kitchen.

Cons:

-Expensive, especially if the exterior is fully lined with cooper.

-Tarnishes (AKA: discolors) over time. Polishing is required on a regular basis.

-True, full cooper pans are heavy and hard to find.


Cooper cookware comes in two main forms: Combined with stainless steel and aluminum (AKA, "clad") or combined with hard anodized aluminum. Both constructions distribute heat evenly.

-Clad construction: Multi-layers will provide a well-heated pan, but may be costly in the end. Also remember, cooking on stainless steel will require more oil/fat, "elbow grease" when cleaning, and attention in the cooking process.

-Hard Anodized Aluminum (with a non-stick coating over it) : Hard Anodized aluminum is just a stronger, more durable aluminum. A protective coating goes over it so cooking is fast, easy, and less oil is needed.




When cooper is combined with the two constructions, your cookware is automatically going to heat more even! Think: evenly cooked chicken breast, tender stir fried veggies, and perfectly scrambled eggs. Delicious!


Are you just an every day, basic cooking chef with a busy life? Then fully lined cooper pans are not for you. I always recommend buying cookware for: your cooking ability, lifestyle, and schedule. Cooper core cookware is an excellent choice for serious cooks/chef who enjoy cooking gourmet meals and love to entertain. Looking to experiement with cooper cookware? Buy a small skillet and test out your culinary skills on it.


Happy cooking!
Kimm