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Leena Makes and Bakes: A Butterfly Birthday Cake!

By on Jun 1, 2014 in Cakes, Desserts, Leena Bakes | 0 comments

Hey guys. I’ve been busy for the past few months writing food articles for Chow.com, but I’m back and full of food stories and recipes to share. My daughter’s third birthday was a little while back, and I had a lot of fun figuring out how to make her dream cake: pink with butterflies. I ended up making a cream cheese frosting flavored with homemade strawberry jam for the pink requirement. I used the jam because I have tried using fresh strawberry puree in the past, and it ends up making the frosting too wet, which makes it drips off the cake and just look ugly. For the butterflies, I ended up using this tutorial from How To Cook That for chocolate butterflies. And you guys—it was actually pretty easy! Do you remember making those butterfly paintings in preschool? The ones where you paint one half of the butterfly, then fold the paper in half, smoosh it a little,...

Leena Cooks and Bakes: Ella’s 2nd Birthday Party!

By on May 28, 2013 in Cookies, Cupcakes, Desserts, Fruit, Leena Bakes, Leena Cooks, Meat, Pickles, Recipes | 0 comments

I can hardly believe that my baby, my first kid, my Ella has finally turned two. Except when she pitches the LOUDEST FIT EVER because I won’t let her do something obviously fun, like drive the car home from the grocery store or poke the cat with a stick like a pinata. Then I am pretty certain she is two. As much as I didn’t want Ella to become obsessed with licensed characters at an early age, somehow, probably during a road trip or a morning when I was sick on the couch, she discovered Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and of course, the infamous Minnie. The obsession came fast and fierce, and when I stumbled across a dress that looked exactly like a Minnie Mouse knock-off at Old Navy (aka–affordable!), I knew I had found her birthday party theme. In December. 5 months BEFORE her party. Some of my fellow mom friends thought I was being quite ambitious, starting party planning...

Leena Bakes: Banana Bourbon Chocolate Muffins!

By on Jan 25, 2012 in Breads, Desserts, Fruit, Leena Bakes, Muffins, Recipes | 2 comments

Not too long ago, a pal and fellow food blogger Emily Hanhan of Nomnivorous hosted the first of many supper clubs called Whisky and Salt in the NYC area. In her awesome and drool-inducing post about it, she revealed that she made whisky and chocolate chip muffins as take home gifts from the supper club. I have been looking for an excuse to pop these bad boys out, and a small party with some fellow parents and babies on NYE gave the perfect excuse. But let’s be honest, vacuuming the living room is the perfect excuse for these muffins, they are that damn good. The recipe and heaps of food porn after the jump.         Banana Bourbon Chocolate Muffins : Inspired by a recipe from Very Small Anna http://verysmallanna.com/2011/01/a-balanced-breakfast/ 1 3/4 cup AP flour 3/4 cup sugar 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 cup melted...

Leena Bakes: GF World Peace Cookies!

By on Dec 21, 2011 in Cookies, Desserts, Gluten-free, Health food, Leena Bakes, Recipes | 3 comments

Last year when I had gestational diabetes, I had a real taste of what life is like for people with health-related eating issues–it sucks. Sure, there are “alternative” foods for all your unhealthy favorites (fyi–everything but Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches are CRAPPY), but generally speaking, most of the world, from restaurants to food blogs, don’t really consider these people. I had an incredibly difficult time finding restaurants that even knew if their food was diabetic-safe or not, and forget about baking. And that was only for a few months—how the hell do people with celiac disease or dairy allergies function on a day to day basis without going crazy? They or other people in their lives research their butts off until they find food that is safe AND crave-worthy. If you read my last post, you know that my sister in law is a celiac (allergic to...

Leena Bakes: Cranberry Gingerbread Sorbet Sandwiches!

By on Nov 23, 2011 in Cookies, Desserts, Leena Bakes, Leena Cooks, Recipes, Sorbet | 0 comments

Rumor has it Turkey day is just around the corner, so I thought this would be the perfect time to roll out my new favorite winter dessert recipe: cranberry gingerbread sorbet sandwiches. Technically, I made these for my pre-Turkey day chili cookoff, which you’ll read about soon. But since cranberries only seem to appear in the market from November-December, this is a really great way to enjoy the short but delicious cranberry season. The recipe and more food porn after the jump! The idea for this recipe came from my original cranberry sorbet recipe, which I have rocked out for the past three years or so. This isn’t your typical cranberry sorbet. It’s got a bit of tartness, yes, but enough sugar to balance out the flavors. There is a hint of orange and ginger, not so much that you can pick it out in this recipe, but just enough to make the cranberries taste fragrant,...

Leena Bakes and Eats: Iron Cupcake SF October 2011- Candy

By on Nov 9, 2011 in California, Cupcakes, Desserts, Leena Bakes, Leena Eats, Recipes, San Francisco | 0 comments

It’s been a few months (and a baby) since I last participated in Iron Cupcake SF (January 2011, as a matter of fact). But with most of the baby weight and ALL of the gestational diabetes gone, I was ready to take on Iron Cupcake by storm. The monthly challenge: candy. Something I have made into an entire food group for the better part of my life! So I got to work creating my dream candy-inspired cupcake. Heaps of food porn and a killer cupcake recipe after the jump.  So, I knew I wanted to recreate the Whatchamacallit candy bar, which is essentially a peanut butter rice krispie treat topped with caramel and dipped in chocolate. I wanted to recreate all the layers of the candy bar, but I felt they would come across best on top of the cupcake, instead of in the cupcake. So I made my favorite dark chocolate cupcake in mini form. My dark chocolate mini cupcakes, ready to turn into a...