Rainbow Confection

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Pumpkin Bread

It’s technically fall, so I was required to make something pumpkin flavored in honor of the change in the season. (It doesn’t seem like it’s optional anymore, does it?) From pumpkin spice lattes, to pumpkin spice milkshakes, pumpkin goes hand in hand with fall. I don’t necessarily adore the flavor combination as much as some people seem to, but this pumpkin bread seems like a good middle ground. It’s an easy quick bread, has some pumpkin flavoring, but it isn’t over the top. 

Plan ahead because it needs to spend a while in the oven to cook evenly. I prepared this first and tossed it in the oven while I was preparing other things for a brunch, and it worked out nicely. Bonus: this cooks at the same oven temperature that I usually cook bacon, so halfway through I tossed my bacon in as well so they would be done at about the same time. 

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Polenta Lemon Cookies

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I’ll admit it - I spent way too long looking for polenta / corn meal in the oatmeal and breakfast section of the supermarket. I kept searching through the oatmeal boxes, and I saw the grits right next to them, so I KNEW that the polenta had to be there as well. It turns out that they stock it in the baking section next to the flour, so keep that in mind if you’re planning on making these cookies. 

These taste almost like a butter cookie in their consistency, but the cornmeal adds a nice texture and grittiness. (Try to think of a grittiness with a positive connotation - for some reason I can’t say that word without thinking about getting beach sand in your mouth. These cookies don’t taste like that.)

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Beef Chili

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Well, it’s official. Summer weather is over in Oregon. I looked at the 5 day forecast, and it’s rain 4 out of the 5 days. That being said, it’s time for some heartier meals. Most of what we ate this summer was on the grill - it’s easy and delicious. Unfortunately, I’m not the kind of person that is going to grill under an umbrella. 

I especially like chili because it reheats so well. It’s one of the few foods that is as delicious as leftovers as it is fresh. This recipe doesn’t take too much of a time commitment - the simmering is under an hour, so you don’t have to start thinking about making it early in the day. 

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Strawberry Shortcake

I know that I’m a couple of days late, but look at how patriotic this dessert looks when you put it on a blue plate! I’m going to keep this in mind for next year’s Fourth of July festivities. 

Due to the fact that fresh whipped cream doesn’t keep for an extremely long time, you probably want to whip it up (literally) right before serving. 

This dish has just the right amount of sweetness, and if you prepare it in the summer with fresh strawberries it is aaamazing. 

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Deviled Eggs

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Deviled eggs are a classic party food. The easiest way to bring this snack up a notch is to bust out your icing tips for the filling - it’s almost easier than spooning the filling in, and it looks fancy and polished. I like to use a large open star tip to get what is shown in the pictures, but you could also use a basic round tip, or even cut the tip off one of the corners of a regular Ziploc back. 

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Mandarin Orange Cupcakes

OK, so these cupcakes are good enough that I thought it was a good idea to bake / use the oven in my kitchen on the hottest day of the year (so far). It was 80+ degrees outside, and I sweated it out in the kitchen to make these because I wanted to eat them THAT badly. 

I made these cupcakes for the first time a few years ago, and they’ve been on my to-blog list for a while. Honestly, I prefer to make things more from scratch, so the fact that this recipe incorporates a boxed cake mix gave me pause, but this recipe is too good to pass up. 

The frosting is essentially Cool Whip, so it’s hard to make them look “cute,” but these are the kind of cupcakes that you shove in your mouth as fast as possible rather than admire. On that same vein, they do need to be refrigerated until right before they are served. 

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

I think I’m one of the few people that is actually squicked out about the idea of eating normal raw cookie dough. I just can’t get over the fact that there are raw eggs in there. As a result, I LOVE making things that include egg-free “cookie dough” such as the recipe below and the cookie dough stuffed cupcakes that I blogged about a year ago. 

My coworker, Nick, actually sent me this recipe, and it immediately jumped to the top of my to-try list. These are delicious, and they disappeared fast.

Based on the recipe source, I actually created two 8x8 pans of brownies, but then I used all of the cookie dough on top of one of the pans so that there was about a 50/50 ratio of brownie to cookie dough. As written, the recipe will have enough cookie dough to cover both 8x8 pans of brownies, but you will have twice as much cookie dough as what is shown in the pictures. 

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Maple Oatmeal Cookies

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My favorite thing about oatmeal cookies is the fact that you can eat them for breakfast and pretend like it is a reasonable thing to do. A few of these, and you can practically say you ate a bowl of oatmeal, am I right?

Delusions aside, I love the texture that oatmeal gives to cookies. The maple flavor provided by the syrup takes these cookies up another notch, and these are pretty quick to throw together. 

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Broccoli with Spicy Cheddar Sauce

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I actually just love broccoli. As a result, I’ve never really felt the need to add a cheese sauce to this vegetable to make it “more delicious” (while also making it less healthy.) Regardless, the idea of it always sounded awesome - I think one time I lazily purchased one of those “steam in a bag” broccolis with cheese sauce in the freezer aisle and was less than impressed with the flavor, and since then I’ve wanted to make a sauce from scratch. 

I picked up this Vegetable of the Day cookbook by Williams and Sonoma from the library about a week ago; I have the W+S general cookbook along with the breakfast and brunch one, and I actually really love not only the recipes, but their presentation. I started skimming through their vegetable cookbook for some ideas, and when I had taken about 15 pictures of recipes by page 20, I was pretty convinced that I actually need to purchase this book. 

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Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Something about it being springtime made me really want to bake something with strawberries. We had a couple of beautiful days last week, but it was too good to be true, and it has been raining a ton this weekend. As a result, I thought today would be a good day to hole up in the kitchen for a couple of hours to try this recipe out. 

The frosting is AMAZING. I haven’t made a cream cheese frosting before that incorporated heavy cream, but I was intrigued by its promises of being good for piping as the cream cheese frosting recipes I’ve tried in the past don’t hold their shape that well. Not only does this hold its shape for piping, but it is very light and delicious. This recipe is absolutely one to keep. 

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