Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Wonderful Adventure

I haven't been very food oriented lately I feel. Sorry for blathering on about my life. That's probably not what you're here for. But let me tell you about my spring break? 
I want to be a jello queen. 
Working for others changes you, makes you better. And being surrounded by people who are willing to give up their time and money serving others...those are people worth spending time with. It makes me realize how good my life is. 
Just chipping lead paint off a house, no big deal.   
In Chicago, storms canceled our plans to pick up trash in parks, so we went to a museum instead. Just minutes away from the poverty we'd been working in were the grand, lakefront museums, swarming with tourists. I had been to this part of Chicago many times; I never realized what I'd been so close to. This trip made me so grateful that I have a safe place to sleep, warm showers, and food every day...I definitely take these things for granted. 

Oh, and I got the barbecue I wanted. I have never eaten barbecue so delicious. If you're in Nashville, eat at Jack's. That's a command. 

I'll carry this experience with me for a while. Next time, more recipes.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Not a Typical Spring Break

Hey guys, this is going to be a short one. My spring break starts tomorrow, and I'm not going to have access to a computer. As I walk around the school, I see posters up informing students to be safe on their holidays and to drink responsibly. I guess I kinda forgot that stereotypical spring break involved heavy drinking in some tropical location. 

My break will consist of driving around the Midwest and upper regions of the south in a large bus doing community service and sleeping on church floors. It'll be a new experience for me. I'm kind of sad I won't get to see my family until Easter, but this will be an adventure I'm sure. I'll try to take pictures and hopefully eat some really good barbecue. That's my goal. 

Here's a biscotti recipe I made earlier this week. Enjoy, they won't break your teeth. Safe spring breaks everyone. 

Chocolate Chip Biscotti
adapted from All Recipes

(feel free to adapt this recipe with whatever flavors you like. biscotti is nice that way)


  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar and almond flavoring until well blended. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough. Add chocolate. Form dough into a roll as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down to 1/2 inch thickness.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. When The cookies are cool enough to handle, slice each one crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Slices should be lightly toasted.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place.

The tsunami in Japan has me a little shaken. I have friends in school with families over over there, and I can't begin to imagine what they're going through. It's weird, because people on one side of the world could be completely oblivious to the suffering going on on the other side. 

It just puts everything in perspective for me. Makes day to day problems seem so petty. I think people need to stop focusing on themselves so much (hey, it's something I'm totally guilty of doing myself). Instead of complaining and wallowing in self pity, stop, think about what you're doing, and then focus your energy on something productive you can do for someone else. 

Why do I bake? Why is this trivial little thing so important in my life? I enjoy creating something out of nothing, but more so, I like making people happy. There are different ways to change the world. When someone is having a bad day, going out of your way to offer someone a warm cookie and a kind word can mean a lot. Speaking from experience.

I stayed at a friend's house this weekend, getting supplies for our upcoming community service trip this spring break. I was so grateful to his parents for opening their house to me, and letting me use their kitchen to make some muffins. They never fail...so if you need a self esteem boost, or know someone who does, these are the way to go. You may notice some changes over here at A Dusting of Sugar. More words, more thoughts. Hope you enjoy. 

Best Banana Muffins Ever
adapted from All Recipes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 peanut butter chips (optional) 
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Stir in chips. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Milk Muffins

My family was here but they left me. Boo.
If you're wondering how I can make so many things in my dorm, it's, uh, because of this.

Um, sometimes I'm weird. Obviously. So I assembled these incognito muffins in my room. They're easy. So. Easy. Honestly, if you don't botch anything, they shouldn't take more than 25 minutes, prep and bake time.

Have you ever had Chichi Dango? It's a Japanese dessert often made for White Day (which is coming up March 14, I encourage boys to participate, haha). Well, uh, anyway, these muffins taste vaguely like chichi dango. Just lightly sweet, great with a cup of tea. 

If they aren't sugary enough for you, drizzle the leftover sweetened condensed milk on top. Hooray! I'm a bit iffy about the cooking time, since I made large muffins instead of minis like the original recipe, but I'd start anywhere from 11-15.
Milk Muffins

Makes 20 mini muffins or six normal muffins

Makes 20 mini muffins
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder,
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 20 mini-muffin cups with mini paper liners.
2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the egg, sweetened condensed milk, and milk until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, then add it to the egg-milk mixture, and whisk together. Whisk in the butter. The important step here is not to overmix the batter (overmixing will overdevelop the gluten in the flour which will cause a tough muffin with tunnels and a compact texture). Only 10 to 15 strokes are needed to moisten the ingredients. The batter can still be lumpy—don’t worry, the batter will continue to blend as it bakes and the lumps will disappear.
4. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. The muffins are done when the top springs back when gently touched with a finger and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.