Sunday, May 31, 2015

Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai

We're still having fun playing with the spiralizer and thought this recipe would be good, because it's a little play on Thai food. I already had almost all of the ingredients, so this recipe will probably be pretty easy on your shopping list, I think all I needed to pick up was the zucchini.

Recipe from Inspiralized

-2 whole eggs, scrambled 
-1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts
-1/2 tbsp peanut oil (or oil of choice)
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 shallot, minced
-1 tbsp flour
-2 medium zucchinis, Blade C

-2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
-1 tbsp hoisin sauce 
-1/2 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tbsp chili sauce 
-1 tsp honey

In a small bowl whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce.

Place the peanuts into a bag and crush them with a rolling pin -- you don't want huge pieces or a powder, somewhere in between.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add in oil, garlic and shallots. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots begin to soften.

Next add in the sauce, then the flour whisking quickly so that the flour dissolves and the sauce thickens. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until sauce is reduced.
Once the sauce is thick, add in the zucchini noodles, cook for about 2 minutes or until noodles soften and then add in the scrambled eggs and ground peanuts. Cook for about 30 seconds, tossing to fully combine.

This recipe was awesome, heating up the zucchini noodles really helped to soften them and this tasted just like any other pad thai we've made using traditional noodles. I was really happy with how this turned out, the peanuts added a little bit of a textural difference and the sauce was thick enough to stick to the noodles. Overall I was very happy with this. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Greek Stuffed Peppers

The sweet red pepper, salty feta and hearty couscous drive this dish that is delicious and easy to make. It captures many of the flavors of a Greek-style recipe and really satisfies, plus the red peppers are a stunning presentation.

Recipe from NoshOnIt.

-3 red bell peppers
-1 cup cooked couscous
-1.5 ounces sliced spinach
-7.5 ounces chickpeas
-1 teaspoon minced garlic
-0.5 tablespoons olive oil
-0.5 tablespoons lemon juice
-0.5 tablespoons oregano
-0.5 tablespoons onion powder
-3 chopped kalamata olives
-1 tablespoon chopped roasted red pepper
-1 ounce crumbled feta cheese

Start off by cooking the couscous, I found a bag of frozen 4 minute microwave couscous in the freezer section of the food store by the vegetables, it cooked really well and fast.

Rinse the chickpeas and cook them in a frying pan on medium with a half tablespoon of olive oil, some salt and black pepper. After a few minutes, add the garlic, then the spinach. Pour in the lemon juice and let the spinach cook and wilt. Mix in the oregano, onion powder, olives, and roasted red pepper. Remove from heat, stir in the couscous and let sit.

Cut the red peppers in half longitudinally and clean out the seeds and ribs. Leave the stem on for flair.

Pack the couscous filling into the half-peppers, then crust each with a layer of feta.

Broil in the oven for 4-5 minutes, rotate and cook with vigilance for another 2-3 minutes.

We loved these Greek-style stuffed peppers. I don't know if they have frozen couscous everywhere, I happened to stumble on it, as well as store-brand frozen 3-4 minute microwaveable quinoa, while looking for frozen spinach (for something else - this recipe calls for fresh spinach). It simplified the couscous step immensely and I was happy with the result. With or without convenient couscous, though, we will be making these again.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Greek Salad Layer Dip

This recipe is meant to be an appetizer, but we enjoyed it as a light dinner served with pita crisps. I think this would be perfect for a summer picnic, because it is fresh, colorful and easy to scoop out and serve on plates.

Recipe from iFood For Real.


-2 large tomatoes, diced
-1/2 long cucumber, diced
-1/2 cup red onion, minced
-1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
-1 tsp ground black pepper
-1 cup feta cheese, crumbled & divided
-1 + 1/2 tbsp oregano, dried & divided
-3/4 cup parsley, finely chopped & divided
-1 cup 0% Greek yogurt, plain
-2 cups Romaine lettuce, finely shredded & packed
-1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted & sliced
-1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced

In a 8" x 8" baking dish, spread tomatoes on the bottom. Top with cucumber, red onion, red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper spreading evenly. Sprinkle with black pepper, 1/2 cup feta cheese, 1 tbsp oregano and 1/2 cup parsley.

Use a spatula to spread a layer of Greek yogurt on top. Make a layer of Romaine lettuce and then top with remaining 1/2 cup feta cheese, olives, 1/2 tbsp oregano and 1/4 cup parsley.

 Serve cold with pita bread or pita crisps. 

This dip was light and refreshing. It's made up of mainly vegetables, but the Greek yogurt helps to hold everything together. This is incredibly healthy, because of the wide variety of vegetables and it's also low calorie. We divided this into 16 half cup servings, but you can divide it however you'd like. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Spring Panzanella Salad

I love panzanella salads...mainly because there isn't too much that's healthy about a panzanella salad, it's just a wonderful, delicious mix of bread and other ingredients. In this panzanella salad spring vegetables and lemon dressing mix with the herb seasoned bread to make a wonderful twist on a traditional panzanella salad.

Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod.

-8 cups cubed artisan bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
-1 half stick butter, melted
-1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
-1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
-1 large bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-3 cups mixed greens
-1 cup fresh or frozen peas (thaw peas if using frozen)
-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Lemon Dressing
-1/3 cup olive oil
-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
-1 teaspoon white or golden balsamic vinegar
-1/2 teaspoon honey
-1 clove garlic, minced
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

-1 tablespoon chopped chives
-1 tablespoon chopped parsley

First, in a small bowl, combine melted butter, chives, and parsley. In a large bowl, have the bread cubes ready and then pour the herb butter over the bread cubes and toss until well coated. Spread the bread cubes onto a large baking sheet in a single layer.

On another baking sheet spread the asparagus pieces out in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Toss until well coated. Season the bread cubes and asparagus with salt and black pepper, to taste. Place baking sheets in the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Make sure to stir both one or two times while they are baking. Once the bread cubes and asparagus are finished baking, remove from the oven and let cool.

Next, make the dressing, by combining olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, and garlic. Whisk until combined. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.

After that, combine the bread cubes, asparagus, mixed greens, peas, and feta cheese. Portion onto plates and serve with as much or as little lemon dressing as you'd like. 

This panzanella had wonderful flavor. The bread cubes really soaked up the butter and herbs and took on a the flavor of both during the baking process. The roasted asparagus and peas added a nice hint of spring to the dish. The lemon dressing and feta cheese added some nice contrasting flavor. Overall, I was happy with this dish, as was Dave. It didn't take us too long to eat all of the leftovers. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Toaster Strudel

I've been on a little bit of a rhubarb kick ever since we made the Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars which we thought were a huge success. This recipe is a little riff on the popular toaster strudels, if they sold this flavor in stores, I would be all over purchasing it.

Recipe slightly adapted from A Beautiful Mess. 

-1 cup finely diced rhubarb
-1 cup finely diced strawberries
-1/3 cup sugar
-1/4 teaspoon ginger
-one sheet of puff pastry, cut into 10 squares
-1/2 cup milk
-1 to 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and ginger in a small bowl and stir to incorporate the ingredients. Spoon about two spoonfuls of the mixture onto each puff pastry square, fold the square into a triangle over the filling and crimp the edges with a fork (to prevent the filling from escaping during baking).

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

While the toaster strudel is baking, prepare your glaze by combining the milk and the powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar is one cup results in a glaze that is too runny.

Once the toaster strudels are removed from the oven and cooled, brush the glaze onto the top of each.

These had an interesting flavor combination, I didn't think the ginger flavor would stand out too much, but that was the first thing Dave noticed when he tried one. The brightness of the ginger was nice with the sweet/tart combination of the strawberries/rhubarb. My glaze turned out a little too thin, but it helped to add additional sweetness to the pastries. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad

True food confessions -- I like to munch on raw pasta whenever I'm making a pasta dish. Everyone who has ever seen me do this has been incredibly alarmed. Including Dave. The use of raw ramen noodles is what intrigued me about this salad recipe, I thought it seemed like a fun salad, very different than a lot of other recipes.

Recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

-1 (16-ounce) bag coleslaw mix
-2 (3-ounce) packages of ramen noodles, crumbled (you will not use the seasoning packet)
-1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
-1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
-1/2 cup thinly-sliced almonds

Asian Honey Vinaigrette 
-2/3 cup vegetable oil (or any cooking oil)
-1/3 cup honey (or agave, to make this vegan)
-1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
-2 teaspoons soy sauce
-1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
-pinch of salt and black pepper

For vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients and whisk together.
Add all ingredients including the vinaigrette together in a large bowl, and toss until combined.

Serve immediately, if you don't the noodles will lose a bit of their crunch and the avocado will brown. 

I liked this salad, but I wish that I had kept the noodles separate and added them to each salad individually. The first day they were nice and crunchy (but slightly softened by the vinaigrette), on subsequent days, they we're pretty mushy.  However, the dressing had a nice sweet and tangy taste, the almonds added additional crunch. The edamame and avocado added some additional color to the salad. Overall, this salad was a win. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

French Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a traditionally vegetarian dish, and although it has a lengthy cook time, I think the results were well worth it. Especially since the cook time is mainly down time, it's the prep that you might need some assistance with, because there are quite a few vegetables to cut up and they will all need to be cooked separately initially to ensure that they are cooking and not steaming.

Recipe from The Kitchn.

-2 large eggplants
-2 yellow onions
-3 bell peppers
-6-8 medium zucchini 
-4 large tomatoes
-1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
-3-4 cloves garlic
-1 bay leaf
-3-4 sprigs thyme
-1/4 cup loosely packed basil, sliced into ribbons
-Extra basil for garnishing
-Salt and pepper

Chop the eggplants into bite-sized cubes and then transfer them to a colander set over a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of salt. Let the eggplant sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Doing this will help to draw the excess moisture out of the eggplants.

Dice the onions and roughly chop the peppers, zucchinis, and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Mince the garlic. The vegetables will be cooked in batches, so keep them all separate.

Warm a teaspoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions have softened and are just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the peppers and continue cooking until the peppers have also softened, about another 5 minutes. Transfer the onions and peppers to a large bowl.

Next, add another teaspoon of oil to the pot and sauté the zucchini with a generous pinch of salt until the zucchini has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to the bowl with the onions and peppers.

Rinse the eggplant under running water and squeeze the cubes gently with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Warm two teaspoons of oil in the pan and sauté the eggplant until it has softened and has begun to turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl with the other vegetables.

Warm another teaspoon of olive oil in the pan and sauté the garlic until it is fragrant and just starting to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, whole sprigs of thyme. As the tomato juices begin to bubble, scrape up any brown glaze on the bottom of the pan. Add a half cup of red wine to the pot to help deglaze the pot (if you don't have an open bottle, use some water or a little balsamic vinegar). 

Add all of the vegetables back into the pan and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Bring the stew to a simmer, then turn down the heat to low. Stirring occasionally, simmer for 1 1/2 hours. 

Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Just before taking the ratatouille off the heat, stir in the basil. Sprinkle the extra basil over each bowl. 

Dave and I loved this recipe. The ratatouille had a wonderful flavor and overall it was pretty easy to make, the most difficult part was the prep. The vegetable broke down to a nice silky, smooth texture. We thought this was best served with some good bread -- we picked up a loaf of rosemary olive oil bread from our local grocery store and that paired very well with the recipe. This would be the perfect way to use up a bounty of vegetables at the end of the summer.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Slow Cooker Frittata with Kale, Roasted Red Pepper and White Cheddar

This recipe is another that has been on my Pinterest board for a while. I thought the idea of making a frittata in the slow cooker was interesting, however, I don't think this is necessarily suited for breakfast since it takes 2-3 hours for the frittata to cook. It could probably be served at brunch, or like we served it, as breakfast for dinner.

Recipe from Kayln's Kitchen.

-5 oz. kale
-non-stick spray or oil 
-6 oz. roasted red pepper, diced fairly small
-1/4 cup sliced green onion
-4-5 oz. diced white cheddar 
-8 eggs, well beaten
-1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or other all-purpose seasoning blend)
-fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Saute the kale to wilt it down and then spread it out in the bottom of a large slow cooker that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Add the chopped red pepper, sliced green onion and diced white cheddar to the slow cooker with the kale. Beat the eggs well,and pour over other ingredients in the slow cooker, and stir so all ingredients are well-combined. Season with any all-purpose seasoning that you like to use, and add some pepper as well.

Cook on low for 2 - 3 hours, or until the frittata is well set and cheese is melted. Cut into pieces and serve hot.

This got mixed reviews. I really liked the idea of this recipe, but I don't know if I liked how it turned out. Even though it was full of ingredients that I enjoy, I just though the recipe was lacking something. Maybe it would have been better if I had served it with the suggested sour cream. Dave didn't seem to have a problem with it, he ended up eating all of he leftovers.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Roasted Eggplant with Spinach, Feta and Quinoa

I've been making an effort to try to incorporate some recipes which have been on my Pinterest board for quite a while. This pin was intriguing to me, but sat for quite a while at the bottom of my Recipes to Try Board. I'm really glad that we put this together for a quick afternoon lunch.

Recipe from Julia's Album.

-1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-salt and pepper
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-2 cloves garlic
-10 ounces fresh spinach (to taste)
-1 and 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
-1/4 cup Feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a foil lined baking sheet and spread the chopped eggplant onto baking sheet. drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until eggplant softens. Midway through roasting, shake the pan to help redistribute the eggplant

While eggplant is being roasted, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, add spinach and 1 minced garlic clove and cook for a couple of minutes, constantly stirring, just until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.

Once eggplant is done, immediately remove it from the baking sheet and add it into the same skillet with spinach, off heat. Then add the quinoa and another clove of minced garlic. Mix everything together to combine.

Serve topped with Feta cheese.

The eggplant in this dish roasted quite nicely, which helped to remove some of the bitter flavor that eggplant sometimes can have. Make sure not to put too much salt on the eggplant, because the feta cheese will be quite salty and you don't want to overpower the dish with salt. The spinach and the eggplant paired well with the quinoa, which is pretty bland on it's own, while the feta added a nice salty element. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Spinach and Pea Orecchiette

This quick and easy pasta dish features spinach and peas which are both incredibly nutritious. This pasta is very easy to make and has a light sauce which helps to bring together the pasta and the vegetables.

Recipe from Savory Nothings

-12 ounces orecchiette
-1/3 cup 1% milk
-10 ounces spinach, thawed from frozen
-½ cup peas, thawed from frozen
-1 cup grated parmesan cheese
-Salt, pepper and ground nutmeg, to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and add back into the pot. Over medium-high heat and add the cream and spinach. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the peas and cheese. Season to taste before tossing with the pasta.

I thought this was a nice, easy to make dinner. It didn't involve too many pots and pans and the sauce had a nice amount of flavor. This was something that I enjoyed as a quick week night meal and I think it would be successful with variations on the vegetables as well. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars

This is one of my new favorite summertime recipes. these crisp bars turned out incredibly gorgeous. They also made for a nice snack or dessert -- I even ate a few for breakfast. Rhubarb is pretty bitter, but when paired with strawberries, the flavors of both make something pretty harmonious.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

-1 cup rolled oats
-3/4 cup plus up to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup light brown sugar
-Heaped 1/4 teaspoon table salt
-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
-1 teaspoon cornstarch 
-1 tablespoon lemon juice
-1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
-1 cup small-diced rhubarb (from about 1 1/2 medium stalks)
-1 cup small-diced strawberries
-Powdered sugar, for decoration, if desired

Line the bottom and two sides of 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, this will help you easily remove the dessert.

Place oats, 3/4 cup flour, brown sugar and salt in bottom of the 8x8 baking pan and mix. Pour the melted butter over the flour/sugar mixture, and stir until clumps form. If the clumps feel soft or look overly damp, add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour to help firm up the mixture. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumble mixture and then press the rest of the crumb mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan.

Next, spread half the fruit over the crust. Sprinkle it evenly with cornstarch, then lemon juice, and 1/2 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Spread remaining fruit over this, and top with second 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Scatter reserved crumbs over fruit and bake bars for 30 to 40 minutes at 375. Mine took a little on the longer side, you'll want the fruit to be bubbly and the crisp portion to be golden.

Let the bars cool in pan, once cooled, remove from the 8x8 and cut into squares. Store the leftovers in the fridge. 

Before baking.
After baking.

We thought that these were excellent. The crisp bars weren't too sweet, but I didn't feel the need to add powdered sugar to the top before serving. The tart flavor of the rhubarb pairs perfectly with the sweet tartness of the strawberries. The bottom of the bars became nice and crisp and the crispy topping over the fruit was full of flavor. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Black Bean Breakfast Burrito with Mango Salsa

A sweet and savory burrito, substantial enough to be filling, but so enticing as to make you come back for bite after bite, or even another burrito. Great for packing and eating later.

Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times.

-1 mango
-2 tablespoons lime juice
-15 ounce can black beans
-1/2 cup prepared mango salsa
-4 flour tortillas (8 inch)
-1 cup shredded cheese blend

Dice mango, then add to a frying pan with lime juice, 1/4 cup water and a pinch of salt. Cook on low-medium for 5-7 minutes.

Drain the beans, then cook in a separate small frying pan with the salsa on medium heat, for 3-5 minutes.

Microwave the tortillas for a few seconds to make more pliant, then add about 1/4 mango, 1/4 bean and salsa, and 1/4 cup cheese. Tuck in the top and bottom, and roll from the side to complete the burrito.

This recipe pushes out the boundaries of a normal bean burrito, inviting the exotic mango into the salsa, then amplifying it with the addition of the cooked mango. The burritos are an easy to prepare and fun to eat lunch or snack.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Key Lime Truffles

A variation on Oreo truffles with a crunchy outside, creamy filling, and a key lime twist!

This is the 1,050th post on Vegetarian & Cooking! To see other Milestone posts, check out the Milestones tab above.
Recipe from Wishes and Dishes.

-4 ounces neufchatel (cream cheese lite)
-1/2 package Golden Oreos, crushed
-1/4 cup flour
-5 key limes, juice and zest (about 2-3 tablespoons juice)
-Lime green candy melts, white chocolate or vanilla
-1 sleeve crushed graham crackers

Beat the cream cheese well, together with the Oreos, flour, and lime juice and zest. Form a cannonball and divide into 4 equal pieces. Further divide each piece into 3 or 4 truffle balls. Put the truffles on waxed paper on a cookie sheet in the freezer for half an hour.

Take the truffles out of the freezer and roll in melted white chocolate or vanilla candy melts, then toss in crushed graham crackers. Return to waxed paper, and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

These truffles would be an excellent party treat, sweet and creamy with a crunchy candy shell and the surprising and delightful pop of lime flavor.

Monday, May 18, 2015

White Cheddar Leek Dip

On Friday nights I usually try to make a dinner that is more fun. Those are the nights that we'll have pizza or fondue for dinner, something extra special to break up the routine of the work week and to kick off the weekend. We served this fondue with the Roasted Brussels with Chili Sauce.

Slightly adapted from Simply Scratch.

-1 leek, trimmed {keep white and light green parts only}
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
-8 ounces Nuefchatel cheese, softened
-7 ounces sharp white cheddar, grated and divided
-1/4 cup Miracle Whip
-4 tablespoons of your favorite beer

Trim, halve and slice the leek into half moons. Place the leek slices in a bowl of water and swish them around, breaking them up with your fingers. This will help any of the sand that might still be in between the leaves fall to the bottom of the bowl. Remove the pieces of leak, drain and pat them dry.

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted add the leeks. Cook for about 10 minutes or until softened stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and remove the skillet off of the heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the Nuefchatel cheese, Miracle Whip, two-thirds of the grated cheddar and the beer. Add in the cooked leaks and stir until smooth.

Spread the leek dip into a small baking dish (we used an 8x8) and top with the remaining grated cheese.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees or until bubbly and lightly golden.

Dave and I really enjoyed this dip, the leeks had a nice mellow flavor and the cheese combined nicely with the other ingredients. Overall this was a nice easy meal for a Friday night.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Scales of Justice Cookies

Today is graduation day for Dave and me! We're excited that all of our hard work has paid off and we plan on spending the day celebrating. When I was looking for some cool ideas for this post, I was mainly finding dessert recipes for college graduations, but I finally found the idea to make Scales of Justice cookies. I had never worked with royal icing before, but Dave and I decided that we were up for the challenge.

In order to save some time (and because it's been 85+ degrees here and I have no desire to turn on my oven), I purchased some pre-made sugar cookies from the grocery store. They didn't have any plain ones, so the ones I purchased  already had some chocolate drizzle on them. If you'd like to make the sugar cookies yourself, this is the cut out sugar cookie recipe that I usually use.

Inspired by Haniela's.

Glossy Royal Icing Recipe from All Recipes.

Glossy Royal Icing
-1/4 cup warm water
-1 tablespoon light corn syrup
-1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla extract)
-3 cups confectioners' sugar, or more as needed

-8 sugar cookies
-Food coloring or gel
-Scales of Justice Stencil
-Exacto Knife
-Piping Bag
-Tooth Pick

Royal icing traditionally has meringue powder (which I couldn't find at the store) or egg whites (my mom hates when things have raw egg whites), so although some reviews of the original recipe complained that it's not "traditional" royal icing, I was pretty happy with how it all turned out.

First, make the batch of the glossy royal icing. Combine the warm water, corn syrup and the extract in a small bowl. Stir until the corn syrup dissolves. In a larger bowl have the powdered sugar waiting. Add the wet ingredients and then using an electric mixer on medium speed combine the ingredients until they're thick like frosting.

Divide the frosting into two batches. Using food coloring or gel, dye one a dark color (you'll want the dark color to be the base) and then add the frosting to a piping bag. Cover each cookie with the frosting, you can leave a little unfrosted cookie around the edge if you'd like. Allow the cookies to dry.

While the cookies are drying, make your stencil by either free handing a design (if you're brave like Dave) or tracing a print out onto a notecard or thick piece of paper. Use the exacto knife to cut out the design, don't cut out the chains which are holing up the scales, that will make the stencil too flimsy, you'll just free hand that portion of the icing.

Once the blue icing is dry, lightly sketch the pattern onto the blue frosting using a tooth pick. Stir the remaining frosting (it may have hardened a little while you were waiting) and then add two additional tablespoons of powdered sugar to the frosting. you'll want it to be really thick. Fill another piping bag with the remaining frosting and then fill in the etched out design.

Let harden and then serve. 

I was so happy with how these turned out, The blue frosting wasn't as thick as I wanted so some of the edges weren't very clean. The scales turned out great though, We cleaned up any mistakes with a the end of a toothpick. Happy graduation day to us!