Tonight I was thinking about why I don’t love to bake, besides the fact that I am awful at it :) There’s one thing about baking that really frustrates me. And do you want to know what that is? Thought so!

I don’t like how baking isn’t very flexible, and you have to follow the recipe to a TEE. It stresses me out! I don’t like measuring everything exactly and worrying about whether or not I packed the flour too much so it may actually be more than a cup, or wondering if I need to add more melted butter because I couldn’t get it all out of the bowl. Ugh…

With cooking, if I want to add an extra jalapeno pepper, I add an extra pepper. Or if I want to substitute tomatoes for onions, I can do that. I rarely follow recipes when I cook. I use them more as a guideline. To me, cooking is flexible. If I added an extra stick of butter to cookies, or an extra cup of sugar it would screw them up big time. Right?

With that being said, I both cooked AND baked tonight.

Let’s start with the cooking, shall we?

I tried another new recipe that I intended to use during my vegetarian challenge, but never got around to it.

Mexican Bulgur Salad with Citrus-Jalapeno Vinaigrette

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As you can see, I added some shrimp :)

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The verdict? Love it! This would also be great for lunch. Especially if you have to pack your lunch every day.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1  cup  uncooked bulgur or cracked wheat
  • 1  cup  boiling water
  • 1 1/2  cups  diced zucchini
  • 1  cup  fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) diced Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
  • 3  tablespoons  minced fresh cilantro
  • 1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4  cup  fresh orange juice
  • 1/4  cup  fresh lime juice
  • 2  tablespoons  minced seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 1  tablespoon  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • Lime wedges (optional)

Preparation

Combine the bulgur and boiling water in a large bowl. Cover; let stand 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add zucchini and next 4 ingredients (zucchini through beans); stir gently. Combine orange juice and next 5 ingredients (orange juice through cumin); stir with a whisk. Pour juice mixture over bulgur mixture; toss gently. Serve salad at room temperature or chilled. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

Yield

4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Of course this recipe simply served as a guideline for me :) Here’s how I modified it:

  • I used 2 cups of yellow squash rather than zucchini, because that’s what I had
  • I added a cup of onion
  • I added 1/2 cup of scallion
  • I added shrimp
  • I used dried cilantro
  • I added a little more than 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • I sauteed the squash, onion, and scallions – the recipe doesn’t say to cook the zucchini before adding it)

Can you imagine what would happen if I made this many modifications while baking? Or perhaps I’m just not skilled enough to modify a recipe while baking?  Hmmm… this is a new thought…. :)

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You should try this.

So what did I bake tonight?

Pumpkin Dessert Squares!

 

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When Chris and I were in Williams Sonoma yesterday, they had a sample of these babies and they were TDF! I have a get together tomorrow night in which I need to bring dessert, so I happily purchased the pecan-pumpkin butter so that I could make the squares.

Of course I had to make sure the pumpkin squares were edible after I baked them, so Chris and I had a bite tonight.

Even though I followed the recipe to a TEE  they still didn’t taste as good as they did at Williams Sonoma! Grrr…

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They were still good simply because they tasted like sugar & butter :)

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Hopefully they will be a crowd pleaser tomorrow night?

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients

  •  1 box yellow cake mix, set aside 1 cup
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 jar Muirhead pecan pumpkin butter (or 13 oz pumpkin butter)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsbp ground cinnamon

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 inch baking pan
  • Stir together the remaining cake mix, 8 tbsp melted butter, and 1 of the eggs. Pour into the prepared pan.
  • Stir together the pecan pumpkin butter, 2 eggs and the milk. Pour over the cake batter in the pan.
  • Add the flour, sugar and cinnamon to the bowl with the reserved 1 cup of cake mix. Add the 4 tbsp of cold butter. Using a pastry blender, but in the butter until pea-sized crumbs form and the mixture clumps together. Crumble over the pumpkin butter mixture. Bake until golden, 35-40 minutes. Transer the pan to a wire rack and let cool. Cut into square and enjoy!

If you try this recipe, please let me know how it turns out!

Before all the baking and cooking took place, I went for a quick 3 mile run on the treadmill. My workout had to be a quickie as I had to take Nylah to the vet.

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Poor puppers looks terrified! Her eyes are as wide as saucers! I guess I might have the same expression if someone were about to stick something up my bum?

Q for you – Which do you prefer – cooking or baking?

Nighty night!