Homemade Corned Beef

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Oh gosh, it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! After last night’s ridiculous Pancake Tuesday dinner party and Pi Day coming up next week, March is a month full of amazing food. This year, keeping with my drive to make as much homemade food as I can, I decided to try out homemade corned beef. The boyfriend picked up a 7-pound brisket at Costco, and I quickly got to work!

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I started the brine (based on recipes from Amazing Ribs and good ol’ Alton Brown!) at the end of February, not realizing just how early I was, and I just figured I could vacuum seal the corned beef and cook it when we got closer to St. Paddy’s Day. But then I posted a picture on my Facebook and Instagram, and a few friends requested the recipe. So I decided to cook it up this weekend and feature it on the blog.

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This is the first really non-baking related post, creating a whole new category! I’ve pondered the idea of expanding the blog to include more than just desserts and breakfast foods as I’ve become a better cook and started this homemade journey. I’ve been successfully curing homemade gravlax the last few months and am hoping to start up bacon soon, so those posts should end up here too!

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What’s great is that none of these things are particularly hard to make, and the effort is rewarded greatly, as the homemade versions taste significantly better than store-bought! And they can frequently be cheaper than store-bought, depending on where you get your ingredients and in what quantities. (Yay for Costco and online retailers!)

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So, this year, how about skipping the pre-packaged overly salty corned beef? Why not try making your own? Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! 🙂

Download the recipe!

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Homemade Gummies

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I had a few lofty goals for Valentine’s Day this year. First was a cheesecake experiment, which unfortunately failed. The cheesecake was tasty, but the presentation just didn’t work out. 😦 So I bumped up my Panna Cotta post to Tuesday, and I tried to come up with something new. Last minute, I decided to make some heart-shaped homemade gummies.

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I started grabbing the equipment and ingredients from my baking “office”, but then realized that I didn’t have nearly enough corn syrup. Since it’s snowing in DC and I didn’t have enough time to go to the grocery store, I starting flipping through cookbooks to come up with other options.

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Tada! The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook has a recipe for super-easy homemade gummies, using Jell-O! And what do I have in my baking cupboard, but a box of cherry Jell-O. All was not lost! And within 45 minutes, I had fresh, homemade sweet and sour cherry gummies.

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These gummies are perfect for a last-minute Valentine’s Day treat. Bring them to work, send them to school with the kiddos, or just nibble on a few yourself! You can make them with any flavor of Jell-O and as sweet or sour as you choose. The only ingredient that may be hard to get last-minute is the citric acid, but look for it in the canning section of your local super market or hardware store. (It may be labeled as Sour Salt or Lemon Salt!)

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Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

Download the recipe!

Homemade Eggnog

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Last year, during the holiday season, I had this really long list of things I wanted to make and bake. Unfortunately, as always, life got in the way of completing my entire list. It was pretty ridiculous list, so I’m not surprised that I didn’t finish all of it… 😉

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While I did get to cross off several things, most of the rest got pushed off in to the mysterious “future”. Well, this year, I get to cross off Homemade Eggnog!

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I’ve never really been a huge fan of eggnog. I don’t actively dislike it; I’m just kind of indifferent. But buying the packed stuff from the store always kind of creeped me out, in the same way that buying grocery store cake is usually on my “NO!” list. I like to avoid chemicals and preservatives when I can, so I figured that I might as well make some eggnog myself.

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After doing a little research, I settled on following an Alton Brown recipe. (He’s never steered me wrong!) Of course, I changed a few things to suit my tastes. Also, I decided to go with the cooked method because I knew the nog would spend a few days in the fridge while the boyfriend and I slowly work our way through it.

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If you’re going to go with the raw method, be sure to use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean eggs and avoid contact between the eggs and their shells. (Pasteurized eggs are of course best to avoid salmonella.)

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Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel to ask in the comment section below. And check back tomorrow to see what I decided to make with some nog! 🙂

Download the recipe!

Homemade Horchata

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With Cinco de Mayo coming up this weekend, I decided to make up some homemade Horchata. The boyfriend and I would almost always pick up a large cup of Horchata to share from our awesome local Mexican restaurant in DC, and now that we’ve moved, I wanted to experiment with making my own!

Horchata recipes vary greatly across Latin countries, but generally is a sweet “milky” drink, flavored with cinnamon. It can be made from rice, nuts, morro seeds, or sesame seeds and can have cow’s milk, coconut milk, or evaporated milk added. There are so many recipes and varieties published online!

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I decided to go with an easy (and lactose free!) recipe: easy enough that I could prep the base before bed one night this week and finish off the Horchata after work the next day. I combed through my email to find the recipe from an Imbibe Magazine newsletter that I saved a few months ago. I modified the recipe slightly because it wasn’t quite sweet enough, but feel free to cut back on the sugar if you want yours less-sweet.

The only “problem” (I guess you can call it that?) I had was that my blender was not strong enough to fully pulverize the cinnamon stick. So I ended up straining the mixture multiple times through a fine mesh strainer. If you have a regular blender (and not one super-strong like a Vitamix), you may have the same problem. In that case, remove the cinnamon stick from the mixture before blending it, and add about 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon when you add the sugar.

Serve the Horchata over ice, sprinkled with a little bit of cinnamon! It is wonderful and refreshing as-is, but you can also add a splash of spiced rum for a fun and easy adult drink. 😀

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂 Continue reading