Devils Workshop

has been moved to new address

Sorry for inconvenience...

Two Peas and Their Pod: August 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I have been promising house are a couple! We are not completely situated yet, but we are getting closer every day. We love our already feels like home!
Before and Afters!

The living room before!

The living room after!

Another view before!

And after...we really toned down the walls:)

The dining room before!

The dining room after!

The master bedroom before!

And after!

Here is a corner of my kitchen!

So things are coming along. We still have lots of little touches to finish up! Sorry there are no pictures of the downstairs, guest rooms, etc. My camera died!! I will have to do a part 2 soon!! Come visit us anytime!!

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chewy Chocolate-White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

In case you haven't noticed, I love baking cookies! They are the perfect treat for me! So when I came across Brown Eyed Baker's "Oreo Knockoff" cookie, I knew I had to try them! I'll be honest, Oreo's aren't my favorite...I am kind of a cookie snob, I only like homemade cookies:) But for some reason these cookies jumped out at me! Maybe it was the rich chocolate cookie with white chocolate chunks...and my favorite colors are black and white!

The dough was easy to make...and quite tasty! There are no eggs involved so I figured it was ok to sample:) I chilled the dough for 15
minutes and that was the hardest part...I am not very patient!

The outcome was superb! These cookies are rich and delicious! The dutch processed cocoa gives them the best chocolate flavor...and the white chocolate is an added bonus. It balances everything out! They do have the flavor of Oreos, but the texture is so much better! They are soft and chewy and so much prettier!! Give these cookies a try. I am sure you will love them!!

Chewy Chocolate-White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
(Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride and Brown Eyed Baker)

1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dutch-process cocoa* ( I used Hershey's)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and room temp
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1-1/2 cups chopped white chocolate

*Substituting with natural unprocessed cocoa is not recommended. The Oreo-like flavor comes from the richer dutch-processed cocoa.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa, and set aside. Beat the butter on medium-high until light and add sugars, creaming well. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternately with the milk in one batch, mixing well. Chill dough for 15 minutes.

Scoop the dough onto a parchment- or silpat-lined cookie sheet, press down on them slightly, and bake for 13-15 minutes...for a normal size cookie. Let the cookies cool completely on the cookie sheet and store in an air-tight container.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pita Pizzas

We just picked loads of tomatoes from our plants...Josh's brother moved into our old place so we still have access:)

I am impressed with how many tomatoes we are getting since we only had a little growing space. I guess Josh has a green thumb! I can't wait until next year when we can plant a full garden, we have a great spot at our new house! But for now these juicy tomatoes will do! I love the little guys...they are so flavorful and easy to pop in your mouth!

Last night's dinner was quick and easy. We got home from a run and had things to do on the house so we needed something simple. I made pita pizzas with our leftovers from the calzones. I grilled the pita bread and spread on the toppings! I placed the pitas under the broiler for about five minutes and ta dah...Perfect Little Pizzas!! They were actually quite tasty!!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One Pot Chocolate Chip Cookies

I finally got to bake cookies in my new kitchen! I was dying to try out the new never know how different ovens will treat you. Luckily, this one seems to like me so far.

Chocolate chip cookies have been the talk of the town lately, everyone seems to have their own opinion on the best recipe. My friend,
Kym, said she has found her favorite so I decided to try it. I am always up for a new recipe...especially a cookie one!

This recipe comes from
The Weekend Baker. It is a "One Pot" it was super simple! You melt the butter in a pot and then whisk in the sugars, and add the dry ingredients. No mixer needed! These cookies were so easy to throw together.

Now onto the important part, how did they taste? They were fabulous! They were crisp around the edges and very soft in the center. They did not flatten out either. The texture was very nice, buttery and chocolaty with a hint of vanilla in every bite! They even stayed soft the next day...we ate them all in two days so I can't tell you about day 3:)

Overall this cookie is a winner! I will be making them again!

Whisking in the sugars! Love the one pot idea!

Be careful to not overbake these babies! You want them to be soft!

They are tasty right out of the oven, just don't burn your mouth:)

One Pot Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Abigail Johnson Dodge in The Weekend Baker

Makes 26 cookies

8 tablespoons (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, cut in 4 pieces
½ cup (4 ounces/113 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (2 ½ ounces/71 grams) granulated sugar
1 ½ cups (6 ¾ ounces/191 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces/170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

1 – Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners (I like the Silpat).

2 – Put the butter in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Slide the pan from the heat and add the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk until no lumps remain. Set aside to let cool, about 5 minutes.

3 – In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended. Once the butter mixture has cooled, add the egg and vanilla and whisk until blended. Pour in the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and the nuts, if using.

4 – Using a small ice-cream scoop (about 1 2/3 inches/4.25 cm in diameter) or 2 tablespoons, drop scant 2-tablespoon mounds of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, arranging them about 1 1/2 inches (4cm) apart. (At this point, the loaded cookie sheets can be slipped into the freezer until the cookies are frozen, about 1 hour. Then transfer the cookies to heavy-duty freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, remove from the freezer, arrange on lined cookie sheets, and leave on the counter to thaw slightly while the oven heats.)

5 – Bake 1 sheet at a time (make sure to use a cooled sheet for the second batch until the cookies are light golden around the edges and puffed, about 12 minutes. If these cookies are over baked, the won’t come out chewy. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Using a spatula, lift the cookies from the sheet onto a rack and let cool completely.

Storage: Layer the baked and cooled cookies between parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container. They can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You don’t even need to thaw them completely. They’re just as delicious cold.

BIG Cookie Variation: Scoop 1/4 – cup portions and arrange 3 inches (7.75 cm) apart on prepared cookie sheets. Flatten the mounds slightly with lightly floured fingertips. Bake 1 sheet at a time until the cookies are light golden around the edges and puffed, about 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool as directed for the regular sized cookies. Makes 10 cookies.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Roasted Vegetable Calzones

We are finally back in the kitchen. That was the first room I wanted unpacked:) It is nice having a new kitchen to cook in. Sorry I haven't posted pictures of our new house...I will get them up shortly. It is a process getting settled. We are getting closer though.

We made a trip to the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning and found the best veggies and fruit! We made Roasted Vegetable Calzones to put the veggies to good use. I made a homemade tomato sauce and roasted the veggies, Josh also cooked up some sausage to put in his calzone. The dough was really easy to make. We will have to do these again!

The Roasted Veggie Platter. The choices were endless!

My homemade tomato sauce!

Josh working the dough.

Filling my calzone. The more veggies the better!

Ready for the oven!

Golden brown and ready to eat!

Basic Dough Recipe for Calzones

1 package of dry active yeast
1 1/4 cup luke warm water

Pinch of sugar

1 T olive oil

1 1/4 tsp. salt

3 1/2 cups flour (I use better for bread flour)


1. Dissolve the yeast in warm water, sprinkle with pinch of sugar. Let stand for five minutes.
2. Pour yeast water into your Kitchenaid Mixer, add in olive oil. Mix briefly. Add in flour and salt. Mix until combined and switch to your dough hook. Let the machine knead the dough for about 4-5 minutes. Take the dough ball out and make sure it is smooth and not sticky!

3. Place the dough in a oiled bowl. Turn it over to oil both sides. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth/towel. Let rise for about 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

4. Divide the dough in half, place the dough in separate oiled bowls. Let rise again for about 20 minutes.

5. Now divide the dough into four portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into four circles. Have fun by tossing it in the air and stretching it too:)

6. Add your sauce, toppings, and cheese to one side.

7. Fold the dough over and pinch the calzone so it is tightly closed.

8. Brush the calzone lightly with olive oil. We also brushed it with an egg wash to help them brown.

9. Bake for about 30 minutes at 450 degrees on a hot pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal.

10. Eat up!

Tomato Sauce

My sauce is very basic. I saute onions, garlic, fennel, crushed red pepper...and then I add in tomatoes. (diced or crushed from a can are fine...or you can use chopped fresh tomatoes.) I throw in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste to thicken the sauce. I really don't measure anything. I just eyeball it. I also add in fresh basil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Calzone Fillings

Use whatever veggies you like! We roasted eggplant, zucchini, green and purple peppers, and onions. We also threw in artichoke hearts and fresh basil.
Josh likes to add sausage too! And of course, don't forget the cheese!! We used mozzarella...and I think Josh even threw some feta into his!! Get creative!!

Labels: ,

Friday, August 22, 2008

Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

I love salads, especially in the summer when it is hot and you don't feel like cooking! I am sharing my favorite salad dressing of all time. It is so delicious! I could almost drink it...ok, maybe not but you get the point!

I usually serve this dressing on mixed greens with candied nuts and fruit. Almonds are my nut of choice but pecans and walnuts are good too. Any fruit will work, but I like using pears or apples, red grapes, and of course Craisins! They make the salad pretty and add a nice sweetness. Go crazy and add some feta cheese too! It makes it really good!

Maple Mustard Dressing
makes 2 cups
4 cloves garlic
1T Dijon mustard
1T Grainy mustard
1/3c real maple syrup
1/3c imitation maple syrup
1/3c apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1c canola oil
Process garlic, mustards, syrups, vinegar, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor.
With the machine running, pour in oil in a slow steady stream to emulsify. Serve over salad greens, etc.
Store extra dressing in the fridge. It makes a lot!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cranberry Orange Scones

We are finally moved into our new house. We got everything unloaded, now it is just a mess! Everything is still in boxes and thrown everywhere. I can't wait to get settled and organized but that wasn't going to happen last night.

Since I can't find my way to the oven yet, here is one of my favorite recipes...Dorie's Cream Scones. This is what I wish I could of made for breakfast:)

I tweak the recipe a bit...instead of currants I use Craisins and I add in lemon or orange zest. I also brush the tops with cream and sprinkle them with sugar.

This recipe is a staple at our house! The scones are flaky and tender...and the Craisins give them a sweet punch! So enjoy them for me...hopefully I will be able to bake soon!

Cream Scones

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's, Baking From My Home to Yours

  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup cold heavy cream, plus extra cream to brush the tops
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 3/4 cup dried currants, roughly chopped (I use Craisins)
  • Lemon Zest or Orange Zest
  • Sugar in the Raw to sprinkle on top

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. Stir the egg and cream together.
  3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. **I add in lemon or orange zest here.** Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (my favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between—and that's just right.
  4. Pour the egg and cream over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together. Don't overdo it. [The recipe didn't say when to add the currants, or Craisins in my case, so I added them here.] Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times.
  5. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that's about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place it on the baking sheet. **Sometimes I make them into round discs, see the picture. They are good both ways** [At this point, the scones can be frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight. Don't defrost before baking—just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.]
  6. Before baking I brush the scones with cream and sprinkle them with the sugar. Bake the scones for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish. Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for them to cool to room temperature.

Serving: Bring to the table in a basket and serve with sweet butter and any jam.
Storing: These keep longer than baking-powder biscuits, but they are best the same day they're made. If you want to save them, wrap them airtight as soon as they cool to room temperature and freeze them for up to 2 months. If you've frozen the scones, reheat them in a 350-degree F oven.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our Painting Project

We are official homeowners! We got the keys to our house on Thursday and we have been working ever since. We wanted to paint the entire house before we moved in because every wall was a different color...yellow, orange, green, periwinkle, maroon, etc. It was hideous!

I knew painting a house was a big job...especially for two people and to do it in a weekend. But we were determined! Ok, Josh was more determined than me. I didn't think it would be that bad, but it was. I got SO sick of painting:)

We started after work on Thursday and didn't finish until late Sunday night. We didn't even stop to eat, sleep, sit down, etc. The only breaks we got were going to the paint store for more supplies. I cherished those breaks:)

On Saturday I quit. I had enough. I went home around 11...we worked ALL day so I thought that was good enough, but Josh stayed until 3 a.m. He is a real trooper. I have never seen anyone work so hard! He didn't even complain once...but I guess I complained enough for both of us:)

In the end it was worth it, the house looks amazing! Talk about an Extreme Home Makeover!

Look at those colors! You may need sunglasses they are so bright.

The dining room, we were tempted to keep these colors..ha!
We had to tape off everything!!

The basement living room. We used 11 gallons of primer in the house!

Josh using the spray gun!

The Dust Bowl! The spray gun went fast but made it hard to breath!

Josh is the MAN!

We had new carpet put in our basement yesterday. It looks great! I will post before and after pictures soon! We cleaned up the place last night so we are moving in tonight. The work never ends, but we are excited to have a home!

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Splish Splash

Aubrey got a new swimming pool and boy does she love it! I wish I was a kid again!


Friday, August 15, 2008

White Chocolate Brownies

We have a TON of leftover chocolate from our wedding. My dad went overboard in his figuring:) But I am glad because now our freezer is stocked with dark and white chocolate discs! When I saw white chocolate brownies on Tartelette's blog, I knew I had to try them!

Measuring out the chocolate. We love our new food scale!

Melting the white chocolate with the butter.

Mixing the batter, bittersweet chocolate chunks
are now included.
An added bonus!

I let them cool, then I sliced them into squares!

A close up look!

And to top things off I added a chocolate drizzle.

I took them to a dinner party and they were gobbled up!

White Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Tartelette

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces white chocolate
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used bittersweet chocolate chunks)

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease and flour an 8 inch square baking pan, or line with foil.
Melt butter and 4 oz of white chocolate together in top of double boiler over hot water. When melted remove from heat and add the remaining white chocolate. Stir to blend well. Set aside. Beat the eggs and sugar until pale and thick.Add white chocolate and butter mixture, vanilla and flour. Beat just until smooth. Add chocolate chunks and mix in by hand, being careful not to overmix.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Cut into squares or bars. Drizzle with bittersweet chocolate if you desire.

Thanks Tartelette for the fabulous recipe!

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Grilled Vegetables with Pita Bread and Hummus

Last night we made a quick dinner with all of our fresh veggies! Josh grilled some zucchini and eggplant and I made a cucumber tomato salad. We also grilled some pita bread to go with our hummus! Everything was delicious!

Our first big heirloom tomato! It was gorgeous...and so juicy!

I threw together a quick salad...Armenian cucumbers, fresh tomatoes from our garden, red onion, feta cheese, salt, pepper, and a balsamic drizzle!

Josh was in charge of the grill. The veggies were perfect!

The final plate. All of the flavors were so good!
A healthy, fresh meal in minutes!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dorie's Chocolate Oatmeal Drops

Dorie did it again! I made her Chocolate Oatmeal Drops from Baking From My Home to Yours and they were fabulous! This cookie has cocoa and bittersweet chocolate, so if you are a chocolate lover, this is the cookie for you! They are similar in taste to a brownie but the texture is crisp and chewy, due to the oatmeal and brown sugar. The center of the cookies are soft and rich! Grab a glass of milk and enjoy!

Mixing away! I didn't even need my Kitchenaid for this one!

I love my Silpats!

Right out of the oven! YUM!

Makes about 50 cookies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 sticks (8oz) butter
1 Tb. water
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and cinnamon.
Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl and add the water, then the brown sugar and the chocolate. Melt on low heat, stirring occasionally. Don't let the ingredients get too hot, the mixture will remain grainy.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Whisk in the dry ingredients, then the oats. Do not stir too much.
Drop by tablespoonfuls on parchement paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool to room temp. The soft center will harden once the cookies are out of the oven.

Thanks Dorie! I will be making these again when I am in the mood for a chewy, chocolate cookie! These were delightful!

Labels: ,