Tuesday, April 26, 2011


So last Friday was Random Musings' first blogiversary!  (It was also my 30th birthday.)  My goals for this year:

1.) A real, grown up camera!  So I can take fantastic pictures like all those super pretty blogs out there!
2.) At least 2 recipes per week.
4.) And last but not least, more followers!  I'm hoping the first three goals will help me come up with those.  I love all my faith full followers out there.  (Even you quiet ones)

Any feedback?  What do you like?  What don't you like?  What would you like more of or less of?  I'm all ears!

And one more thing, tell me... what was YOUR favorite recipe posted in my first year in the blog-o-sphere?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Carrot Cake

So I probably should have posted this BEFORE Easter, but hey, a carrot cake this good should be made more than once a year!  In fact, if you are a carrot cake fan, like I am, YOU MUST TRY THIS CAKE!!!  Did you hear that, I'm not kidding, please you have no clue what you are missing... TRY THIS CAKE SOON!

I LOVE carrot cake.  But you will almost never see me order it, because I'm almost ALWAYS disappointed in the outcome.  Even I have screwed up a carrot cake or two.  Oh I'll never forget the notorious two tiered carrot cake disaster that still gives me nightmares!  I'll never live that one down.  I swore I would never make another carrot cake again.  Oh but that's a story for another day, this as a happy story, this is a story about the last carrot cake recipe you will ever need.  This is the cake that your family will beg you to make.  And know, I pass it on to you!

PS... Do not, I repeat, DO NOT skip the GLAZE.  It is the MOST important part of this cake.  You may think it will be fine without it.  But you will be wrong.  And come on, do want a cake that is just "fine" or do you want a cake that is absolutely divine?  Enjoy!

Carrot Cake w/ Buttermilk Glaze & Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 8-oz can crushed pineapple in juice
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil; dust w/ flour. Whisk first 4 ingredients into a medium bowl. Set aside. Beat sugar, eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla in large bowl until smooth. Beat in dry ingredients. Fold in carrots, pineapple w/ juice, and pecans. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake cake for 30 minutes. Tent loosely with foil. Continue to bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 10 - 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Using bamboo skewer (or whatever), poke deep holes all over cake.

1 cup sugar
 ½ cup buttermilk
½ cup unsalted butter
1 Tbs light corn syrup
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Bring all ingredients but vanilla to boil in large saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until glaze is a deep amber color, whisking often, 4-5 minutes. Mixture will froth up and double in size before returning back to syrup like state. Remove from heat; add vanilla.
Spoon hot glaze evenly over warm cake. Cool cake completely in pan.

*Note: When boiling the glaze watch it carefully! It will boil over if you walk away and it will make a mess all over your stove! It’s not easy to clean, I learned this the hard way!

1½ 8-oz packages cream cheese
½ cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1 1-lb box powdered sugar
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon; beat until well blended. Spread frosting over cooled cake in pan. Cake can be made one day in advance, just cover and chill.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Healthy Treats... for Dogs

Yep, this post is dedicated to the four legged family members our there.

Last month, my sweet little Chihuahua, Martini, was diagnosed with Epilepsy.  The good news, it can be controlled with medication.  The bad news, the medication makes her extra hungry, all the time!  When I was faced with the issue of a constantly starving doggie I thought knew a few things things:

1.) I didn't want to give her a bunch of unhealthy treats filled with junk fillers.
2.) I didn't want to spend a ton of money on "designer treats".
3.) I wanted to find lower calorie calorie options for her if at all possible.

I don't mind paying a bit more for her food, but with the treats I figured I can find a way to keep it simple.  Here are are few healthy treat alternative that your pup should love.  Keep in mind when it comes to any treats, they shouldn't make up more than 25% of your dog's diet.

Green Beans
Green beans are especially great for overweight dogs.  Just wash & dry them, trim the ends, put them in a Ziploc bag, and throw them in the freezer.  Tini loves to eat one right out of the freezer.  I give it to her whole and she chews it until there is nothing left.

Yogurt is a good source of calcium and protein. When choosing yogurt, pick one that has live active bacteria and no sugars or artificial sweeteners.  If your pooch is pudgy, make sure that you pick fat-free yogurt but not one that contains fat substitutes. For a great summer treat, make your dog Fro Yo! 

Mix 32 oz Yogurt, 1 cup melted Peanut Butter and 1 Tbls Honey.   Pour into ice cube trays or lined cupcake tins and freeze.  Once solid pop out and place in a Ziploc bag to store in the freezer.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are great sliced and dehydrated as a chewy treat for your dog.  Sweet potatoes are loaded with beneficial nutrients like Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Potassium, and Iron.  Your dog will love these treats and they will keep him or her occupied for a little longer than some treats cause they are dehydrated, almost like a rawhide.

Just cut a clean, dry sweet potato into 1/3"-1/4" slices.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours, turning halfway.  Cool completely and store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to three weeks or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

More tasty doggie treat ideas to come, but for now I hope you and your pooch... Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Every time I go into the grocery store and see lemons prices at 2 for $1.00 I cringe!  Especially when I realize those things hardly ever have any juice in them.  Then I walk over to the organic section and see them priced at $1.38 each.  $1.38 for ONE lemon... are you KIDDING me???  Oh those lovely little lemons, they drive my mad!  Grocery store are definitely not the place to get lemons.

Imagine my delight when my bestie hands me a bag of BEAUTIFUL lemons freshly picked of her very own giant lemon tree!  Oh the joy one must feel having their very own lemon tree, I could only dream.  At least I can share in her good fortune!  So off to the kitchen to whip up something lemony and delicious!

I decided lemon ricotta pancakes were just what I was in the mood for.  So I perused the blog-o-sphere a bit and of course found a yummy looking recipe over at The Noble Pig.  I wish I would have had blue berries so I could have topped them with her Blue Berry Sauce!  It looks DEVINE!!

If you're in the mood for something a little different in your pancake routine give these a try.  The best part, they're low fat! But they are so delicious, you'll never know.  Enjoy!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (do not substitute fat-free)
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 Tablespoon canola oil, more for brushing on the griddle/skillet

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, egg, egg whites, lemon juice, lemon zest and canola oil. Fold this mixture into the dry ingredients to make a thick batter.
Brush a nonstick skillet with canola oil and heat over medium-low. With a 1/4 cup measure, drop the batter onto the skillet, spreading it slightly.
Cook the pancakes until browned on the underside and beginning to set, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the second side and cooked at the center, about two minutes longer.
Transfer the cooked pancakes to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Brush the griddle or skillet with the remaining oil and repeat with remaining batter.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Did I Mention...

So I didn't JUST go to Vegas for the food, the main purpose of the trip... CELINE! We went as an early celebration of my (gasp) big 3-0 to see my very most favorite singer on the planet.  If you love her, if you even like her and it is at all possible for you to make the trip to Vegas, DO IT!

Now, I promise I will return to our regular scheduled blogging tomorrow, maybe even tonight.  I have a couple of dishes saved for ya! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm Back...

Yes I've been quiet for a while.  While I may not have been doing a whole lot of blogging as of late, I did plenty of eating!  I spent four days eating my way through Las Vegas!  Too much food & all of it so good!  This little beauty was just too pretty not to take a picture of!  Hello S'mores Pie!

I have a serious weakness for s'mores.  Well marshmallows actually.  Adding a graham cracker and chocolate (when do you ever have all there ingredients laying around?) is just extra special!  My boyfriends finds it pretty ridiculous when he comes into the kitchen and finds me "roasting" a one on a bamboo skewer over the stove top, just so I can have a toasted marshmallow!  Yeah, I admit, it happens pretty often.  Hey, sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girls gotta do!

Tip:  Wanna whip up s'mores for a crowd but no time to build a camp fire?  Skip the microwave!  Rubbery marshmallows aren't tasty.  You can get the crispy outside and melty inside using the broiler setting on your oven.  Place your mallows on a foil lined baking sheet and toast 'em under the broiler.  Just be sure to keep a close eye on them as they will go from toasted to flaming rather quickly.  Enjoy!