Pages

October 30, 2014

Cumin Pork with Adobo Black Beans and Red Pepper Salad



I used to love Instagram. When it first came out I used it all the time and thought it was a great way to share my food photos and I quickly gained over 3,000 followers. Now it seems to be a little bit of a waste of time. It doesn't create any blog traffic the way that Pinterest does (Pinterest is awesome for blog traffic!), interaction is at a minimum, and there seems to be a large number of 20 year old girls taking photos of themselves in bikinis. Now I could rock a mean looking bikini if I wanted to, but that isn't something that at 36 I feel the need to want attention for doing. I think social media is stuck at a crossroads. One can only take so many selfies, be they making duck faces for Facebook, or full body bikini shots for Instagram, before the saturation point is reached. Then what. I think Instagram is at that point. How does it move from an over abundance of people taking photos of every little thing they ate and the full body bikini shot of them doing it, to something that can actually be of use to anyone from a business or professional point of view. In the mean time I refuse to start taking photos of myself holding a pie in a skimpy bikini for more likes.



My family is obsessed with pork. If my husband and two kids had their way we would pretty much eat pork everyday. While I love pork, I try to minimize the amount of pork, beef, and lamb that my family eats, so we only eat red meat approximately once a week. When we do eat pork it's normally in the form of pork tenderloin or bacon. The following is a recipe for Cumin Pork with Adobo Black Beans and Red Pepper Salad.

Recipe adapted from the Food Network Magazine.


Cumin Pork with Adobo Black Beans and Red Pepper Salad




Ingredients
  • 1 thinly sliced red onion
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from chipotle chili can)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 small red peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 15.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Cooking Directions
  1. In a small bowl combine half of the sliced red onion with the juice of 2 limes, `1/2 teaspoon cumin, a pinch of salt, and the chopped chipotle.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Rub the pork with 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin.
  4. Add the pork to the skillet and brown on all sides.
  5. Roast pork on a baking sheet in a 425 degree pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes (or until the temp reaches 145 degrees).
  6. Transfer to a cutting board, cover with foil, and let the pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the red peppers to the skills that the pork was browned in.
  8. Cook the pepper for approximately 4 minutes, or until slightly softened.
  9. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water.
  10. Cook until the water evaporates, approximately 4 more minutes.
  11. Add to the onion mixture in the bowl.
  12. Add the black beans to the remaining red onion, 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cilantro, and juice of one lime.
  13. Serve the beans, peppers, and sliced pork together.
Tips: 
  • You can substitute cooked beans for the canned. 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans is approximately equivalent to a 15 ounce can. 
  • If you don't use olive oil, canola, sunflower etc. can be substituted. 
  • Don't cut the cilantro until right before you are going to use it. Cilantro starts to lose flavor as soon as it's cut. That's why it's best to chop cilantro right before it is added to salsas etc. Cilantro is not one of the herbs that you want to pre-prep, just don't do it. 

October 29, 2014

Banana Eggnog Bread



My oldest is starting to get hormones. The hormones I don't mind, I could do without the back talking and general dislike of everything I do that goes along with it. One minute he will be angry and want nothing to do with me and the next he is wanting to sit next to me on the couch and cuddle. He is only 8, but he is definitely beginning to go thru puberty (thanks genetics for early puberty in my family!). My mother and I fought all the time when I was going thru puberty, I didn't think she could do anything right and I would be frustrated by the smallest things. I survived, but I definitely think it's easier to be the kid than the parent once hormones start kicking in. Plus my husband seems to be perfect, he's not baring the brunt of any of the dislike that is aimed in my direction. Apparently it's the beginning of years of good times to come.


Approximately twice a week I bake something for an after school snack. My two boys eat everything in site and without snacks they get cranky quickly. I'm a big fan of breads, sweet, savory, you name it. The following is a recipe for Banana Eggnog Bread that is great for this time of year.

Adapted from Taste of Home Nov. 2014 issue.


Banana Eggnog Bread



Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine butter and sugar and beat until well creamed.
  2. One at a time, add eggs.
  3. Beat well.
  4. In another bowl beat bananas, eggnog, and vanilla.
  5. Add to butter and sugar mixture.
  6. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mix well.
  8. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining nutmeg.
  10. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 60-70 minutes.
  11. Tent top of bread with foil if it browns too quickly.
  12. Cool for 10 minutes in pan and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Tips
  • If the batter is too thick add additional eggnog. I have made this a few times and the amount of eggnog has ranged from 1/4-1/2 cup. 1/3 cup seems to be approximately the right amount. 
  • Make sure to tent the bread if it browns too quickly. Sweet bread will often overbrown on the sides and be raw in the middle, so make sure that you tent the top if it starts to get browner than you would prefer before the middle has set. 

October 28, 2014

Sausage and Peppers Burgers



I don't dress up for Halloween. My husband takes my kids trick-or-treating, I stay at home, some years I hand out candy, but most years I don't. I don't dislike Halloween, I just am not a fan of the sugar rush that comes with all the candy. I'm a mean mommy, I don't allow my kids candy or junk food. I do bake things at home, but we have very few packaged foods in our cupboards besides rice, flour, and spices. My kids complain that I have only ingredients, but no food, Personally I don't see that as a bad thing. We eat fresh everyday and I make almost everything from scratch (with the exception of cereal which we don't eat, milk, eggs etc.). So on Halloween my kids become candy monsters. As soon as they come in the door, I take their treat bags. Most of the candy goes with my husband to share at work the next day and my kids are only allowed to keep one small plastic bag full of sweets, no suckers or sugared gum (I hate cavities). Honestly, I am looking forward to when they are old enough to want to go to parties and not door-to-door.



My family used to eat burgers frequently, but now we only eat them once every couple of months. We try not to eat a ton of red meat (my family is finally beginning to love tofu), so when we do eat burgers I try to make them different than the ordinary. This recipe for Sausage and Peppers Burgers combines two types of meat for a juicy and delicious burger combination. The recipe is as follows.

Recipe adapted from the Food Network Magazine.


Sausage and Peppers Burgers



Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 6 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 red onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • warmed marinara sauce
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine the sausage, beef, garlic, oregano, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1.4 teaspoon salt in a bowl.
  2. After well blended form into 4 patties.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat add olive oil, peppers, and onion.
  4. Sauté until peppers and onions are browned and soft, about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Preheat a grill (or grill pan) to medium high heat.
  6. Add the burgers and cook until browned and cooked all the way through (4-6 minutes per side).
  7. Top with cheese for the last 2 minutes of cooking time.
  8. Add burger to bun, toping with peppers/onions, and warmed marinara sauce.
Tips
  • These burger can be made into smaller patties for children. I make my kids burgers into 1/8 of a pound since they couldn't finish a 1/4 pound burger. 
  • If you don't have a grill a grill pan or a skillet would also be fine for cooking the burgers on the stove. 
  • I have also tried this with chicken sausage and ground chicken. The taste was different (I also added Greek seasoning), but the flavors were still great together, plus it cut down on fat. 

October 27, 2014

Moist Double Chocolate Muffins



I had a baking fail kind of day today. Everything that I touched seemed to end badly. I tried a new Food Network Magazine for S'more Bread and it was a disaster. It didn't rise, was greasy, and ended up having to be thrown away, which I absolutely hate. I hate wasting food and my time on recipes that don't work. Most recipes I try at least work, they might not be great, but they work. However, then there are days like today where everything I try to make ends in utter disaster. Two separate recipes were complete failures and I felt like throwing in the towel half way through the day. Luckily I was able to bake a loaf of Banana Eggnog Bread that turned out great this afternoon and my stir-fry for dinner was delicious. Hopefully things calm back down tomorrow. Regardless never feel bad when you have recipe failures, they happen to all of us, including me. Just keep trying in the kitchen and in time you will have fewer failures, but don't feel bad about the failures that happen. Oftentimes a magazine or online recipe just isn't great, even if you make it perfectly.



So with that in mind, on to the recipe. I make a lot of muffins (most of which turn out). My kids love them and I love that muffins are easy for little hands to hold and eat. Chocolate is always  favorite in my house and these Moist Double Chocolate Muffins are moist and full of chocolatey goodness.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com


Moist Double Chocolate Muffins




Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1 egg
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine dry ingredients (first 4 ingredients) in a bowl and stir.
  2. Combine oil, yogurt, egg, vanilla, and milk in a separate bowl.
  3. Stir.
  4. Stir dry ingredients into bowl with wet ingredients.
  5. Add 3/4 cup chocolate chips, stir well.
  6. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin and fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full with batter.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the tops of the unbaked muffins.
  8. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Let cool for 10 minutes in pans and they move muffins to a cooling rack.
Tips: 
  • Muffin liners can be used instead of greasing the muffin cups. This saves time and if you are making them for a party keeps hands cleaner (plus they look great on display). 
  • I prefer semi-sweet chocolate chips for baking, but dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips can also be substituted. I have not tried these muffins with peanut butter chips, but I bet the combination would be delicious! 
  • I have used both Greek yogurt and regular in these muffins and both types worked. I often bake with Greek yogurt since it's higher in protein and the fat free version works well in baking (I prefer to eat 2 percent if it's not being used in baked goods). 
  • I have not made these muffins gluten free, but I have tried similar recipes with success using an all-purpose gluten free baking mix and xanthan gum (1-2 tablespoons). 

October 26, 2014

Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches Using Dave's Killer Bread

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer as a MomsMeetsSM blogger,
I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

My kids are sandwich obsessed. They will literally eat anything on a sandwich, including cereal (they have done this more than once). I try to make all my bread from scratch, but even I have those weeks where I run out of time or I'm not feeling up to spending hours in the kitchen. Three weeks ago was one of those weeks. My throat was hurting, my kids were acting up, and things were just in general chaos in my house. Luckily I had been sent a few loaves of Dave's Killer Bread to try out in my home kitchen and I came up with two sandwiches that were easy to put together and delicious. 

If you've never tried or heard of Dave's Killer Bread here's the background info. Being originally from the Pacific NW myself, I love that Dave's Killer Bread started as a favorite organic bread at the local farmer's market in Portland, Oregon. In less than a decade they have become the number one selling organic bread in the country. All of their bread is non-GMO, organic, and available in 12 varieties. Plus each slice has as much protein as an egg. 

So what did I make with the Dave's Killer Bread I was sent? I made the following two recipes, my kids preferred the Fried Banana and Peanut Butter Sandwiches, while my husband liked the Curried Egg Salad.

Recipe modified from Allrecipes.com


Fried Banana and Peanut Butter Sandwich

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 2 slices Dave's Killer Bread
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Cooking Directions
  1. Butter one side of two pieces of bread.
  2. Flip the buttered side of the bread over and spread the peanut butter on the unbuttered side.
  3. Place the sliced bananas on top of the peanut butter.
  4. With the buttered side of the bread on the outside place the other piece of bread on top of the sandwich.
  5. Heat a skillet with a small amount of butter on the stove over medium heat.
  6. Place sandwich in the skillet and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com 



Curried Egg Salad

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mango chutney
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 chopped scallions
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. In a bowl combine all the ingredients except the eggs, celery and scallions.
  2. After stirring well, add the eggs, scallions, and celery.
  3. Place desired amount of egg salad between two pieces of bread and enjoy!

For more information go to the following websites: 

Frontier Soups Review

Discloser: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.


It's fall and the weather where I live has been all over the place. Some days it's 35 in the morning and 70 in the afternoon and other days it just stays cold all day. The start of colder weather always makes me a little miserable. I love the foods, smells, and beauty of fall and winter, but I hate cold weather. To combat the cold I make a lot of soup in the cooler months. When I say a lot, I mean a lot, normally at least twice a week. Recently, I was given the chance to try Frontier Soups and share my experience with all of you.

So what are Frontier Soups? Frontier soups are an easy way to get dinner on the table within only 30-45 minutes. The soup mixes are all-natural, with no added salt, preservatives or msg. Plus many of the soups are gluten free, which to me is important since I can't eat gluten. Additionally all the corn and rice ingredients are non-GMO, which is something a lot of people are looking for in their foods today.

Frontier offers a variety of mixes including: South of the Border Tortilla Soup Mix, Connecticut Cottage Chicken Noodle Soup Mix, Florida Sunshine Red Pepper Corn Chowder Soup Mix, West Coast Kale and Quinoa Vegetable Soup Mix, Mississippi Delta Tomato Basil Soup Mix, and Little Schoolhouse Alphabet Soup Mix. I was sent a big pack of soups to try and I will share my experience with the two I photographed, Quinoa Vegetable Soup Mix, and South of the Border Tortilla Soup.



The first soup flavor I tried was the South of the Border Tortilla Soup. I added shredded chicken from a chicken I had roasted the previous day. The soup was easy to put together and by adding chicken it made it a meal. The only complaint that my family had was that it needed a little more salt. I was fine with it, but I rarely salt anything, so I'm not the best person when it comes to salt content.

The second soup that I tried was the Quinoa Vegetable Soup Mix. I added butternut squash as the package suggested. I found that it needed longer to cook than the package stated and needed additional chicken stock. My soup came out more like a quinoa bowl, than soup. I wasn't able to taste this soup since quinoa doesn't agree with me, but my husband and two boys ate it. They liked the flavor, but once again though it needed a little more salt. 

Overall, I like how easy the soup mixes are to put together. For my family meat needed to be added, with 3 males they just can't do without a meat protein in soups. I like how most of the soups are gluten free, since I have celiac disease and can't eat gluten. The only downside to the soups were that some of them needed more seasoning and/or salt, but that can easily be added when preparing. Also make sure that you cook to taste, I found the suggested times weren't long enough to fully hydrate some of the ingredients. 

To learn more go to the following links: 

October 23, 2014

Sweet Asian Meatballs



My youngest son is not a morning person. He wakes up angry and stays angry pretty much until the bus comes in the morning. By the afternoon he is normal again, happy, and content. It's not that he doesn't get enough sleep, he does. He just hates waking up in the morning and lets his feelings be known to everyone around him. Most mornings I have to get him dressed and carry him half way to the bus stop. This isn't bad since he is skinny and only 5 years old. However, I'm hoping that he starts being more of a morning person before he gets taller and bigger than me.



I have had a lot of baking recipes lately since they are the easiest to have time to photograph. Fresh foods such as meat have to be photographed pretty much as soon as they're made without allowing them to get cold so they can still be eaten for dinner. This week I have finally gotten back into my blogging grove and feel that after almost 3 months my schedule has finally settled now that both of my kids are in school. So the recipe I am sharing today is for Sweet Asian Meatballs, the recipe is as follows.

Adapted from Taste of Home.


Sweet Asian Meatballs





Calories per serving: 52
Fat per serving: 2 g

Ingredients
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp plus 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine turkey, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, ginger, and minced garlic in a bowl.
  2. Shape turkey mixture into balls (approximately 1 inch, I ended up with 25 total).
  3. Place meatballs on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, turning once to ensure even browning.
  5. Combine remaining soy sauce, molasses, tomato paste, Tabasco, and vinegar in a sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  6. Add meatballs and cook 5 minutes, or until sauce has reduced.
  7. Serve as an appetizer or with rice for a main dish.
Tips
  • If you don't have Tabasco, another type of pepper sauce would also do. 
  • I prefer 93 percent lean ground turkey. A leaner cut ends up too dry, and fatter cuts end up grisly and fatty. 

October 22, 2014

Chicken Meatloaf with Spinach and Feta Cheese



Christmas season is fast approaching and I am dreading the shipping portion of the holiday. While many women love to go to the store and shop, I am missing that gene. Don't get me wrong I like going and buying shoes and the occasional birthday gift, but there is something about Christmas shopping that makes me feel like a deer caught in the headlights. The crowds are always large, patience is at a minimum, and parking lots turn into madhouses. The whole situation just stresses me out. I end up drinking too much coffee to cope, making me even more agitated and cranky. I wish the holidays would have less importance placed on gifts and a little more focus on just enjoying the company of loved ones.

My family absolutely loves meatloaf. They would eat it multiple times a week if I let them. Since I can't eat gluten I am always looking for recipes that I can modify to fit my needs. The following is a recipe for Chicken Meatloaf with Spinach and Feta Cheese that works with both regular and gluten free panko breadcrumbs.

Recipe adapted from Redbook Magazine and Heather Cristo.


Chicken Meatloaf with Spinach and Feta Cheese





Yield: 8 servings
Calories per serving: 252
Fat per serving: 10 grams

Ingredients
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 1 small onion, shredded
  • 1/4 cup rough chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine together panko breadcrumbs and whole milk in a small bowl.
  2. Let stand until milk has been completely absorbed into breadcrumbs.
  3. In another bowl combine chicken, onion, parsley, dried oregano, spinach, cheese, eggs, Greek seasoning and ground pepper.
  4. Stir in panko/milk mixture.
  5. Form meatloaf into a football shape and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons grainy mustard, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar.
  7. Brush the top of the meatloaf with the glaze.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven.
  9. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Tips: 
  • This recipe works very well with gluten free panko breadcrumbs. If you eat gluten free and have never tried gluten free panko breadcrumbs, they are great in meatloaf and meat dishes. 
  • If you don't have Greek seasoning you can just add salt or another variety of seasoning salt. 
  • Make sure to completely squeeze your spinach dry. If the spinach stays too wet the meatloaf will be soggy after baking. 

October 21, 2014

Banana Muffins Made with Homemade Baking Mix



The men in my family can't seem to find the clothes basket or the trash can. When I wake up in the morning most of my first hour of the day is spent picking up dirty clothes from the living room and bedroom floors. I have tried training them and it lasts for about a week. Then they are back to leaving things throughout the house. It's almost like they are Hansel and Gretel and need a trail to find their way between the bathroom and their bedrooms. My husband isn't much better than my kids. He normally keeps his clothes in one pile, but he has pairs and pairs of shoes all over the house. Seriously the man changes his shoes 3-4 times a day. I tried charts to modify their behavior and honestly the charts became more of a chore than picking up the mess. Maybe I need to train myself to not pick up after them so they start doing it themselves. Realistically though I can only go a couple of hours before it would start to drive me nuts.



My kids run in the house every afternoon and ask what I made for their after school snack. They are always starving after school and will literally eat everything in the cupboard if I gave them the chance. I try to make foods that are easy to hold such as muffins, crackers, etc so they can do their homework while eating. Having a baking mix made up ahead of time is a nice way to save time, making it so I only have to spend less than a half an hour in the kitchen. This recipe for Banana Muffins is made using a Homemade Baking Mix that can also be used to make scones and biscuits (recipes to come).




Recipe Adapted from Martha Stewart Living


Homemade Baking Mix

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 sticks frozen unsalted butter, grated
  • 6 cups all-purpose or bread flour
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine sugar, baking powder, salt, and flour.
  2. Stir in butter, making sure there aren't any large clumps.
  3. Store in fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Banana Muffins

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups homemade baking mix, room temp
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2-3 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large egg, beaten
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine baking mix, sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Break up any large butter clumps with your fingers.
  3. In another bowl combine milk, eggs, and bananas.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
  5. Stir well until completely combined.
  6. Divide batter into a greased (or paper lined) 12 muffin cup muffin pan.
  7. Fill each cup about 3/4 of the way full.
  8. Sprinkle each cup with granulated sugar.
  9. Bake muffins in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 22-25 minutes.
  10. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Tips: 
  • This is a very versatile baking mix. You can also use it to make scones, biscuits, and pancakes. 
  • If you want to add a little chocolate to your banana muffins this recipe would work well with dark chocolate chunks or with a few tablespoons of peanut butter. 

October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting



I used to have really great time management. Apparently it has gone away, or my kids have taken it I'm not sure which one is to blame. Regardless of the cause I can't seem to get things done as quickly or in the same amount of time that I used to. I make lots of plans and 10,000 things seem to sprout up to waylay them. I never used to be late for weddings or funerals. The last wedding my family went to we missed everything except the reception and the last funeral we made it in time to drive to the graveside burial. Granted my youngest was car sick both times and there was road construction that we were stuck in for an hour (we were literally 20 feet from the exit, we could have walked quicker). Still I hate being late, or not getting things done early and the older I get the more things seem to be getting done last minute. However, I have also learned that sometimes last minute strokes of genius aren't so bad. I once made a dragon tail for my son's music performance out of an old towel and some newspaper after I found out all the other mommies had sewed costumes for weeks. My son's tail ended up being a hit and he felt like a superstar. So maybe not all things that happen last minute are so bad.



It's fall and that means one thing, pumpkin recipes. I love pumpkin, in drinks, breads, sweets, you name it. One of my favorite ways to incorporate pumpkin in is cookies. Pumpkin cookies are a great way to celebrate fall and the following recipe for pumpkin cookies has a beyond delicious recipe for a browned butter frosting. The frosting alone is worth making the recipe!

Adapted from Betty Crocker Website.




Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting


Recipe by Foodie in WV

Yield: 30 Cookies

Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk or heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
Cooking Directions
  1. With a mixer combine sugars, 3/4 cup unsalted butter, and vanilla.
  2. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Add in pumpkin and eggs.
  4. In another bowl combine flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add to ingredients in mixing bowl and beat on low speed for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Roll into one tablespoon balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven.
  8. In a saucepan melt 1/3 cup unsalted butter oven medium heat.
  9. Stirring constantly cook butter until it turns light brown.
  10. Take butter off stove and add to mixing bowl along with powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.
  11. In mixer beat on low speed for 2 minutes until combined.
  12. Add more milk if needed.
  13. When cookies have cooled, frost with browned butter frosting.
Tips: 
  • If you don't have ginger, cloves, and cinnamon, 1-1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice would also work well in this recipe. 
  • Make sure to constantly stir the butter while waiting for it to brown in order that it doesn't burn. Browned butter can go quickly from browned to burnt, so make sure to not leave it unattended. 
  • If you don't have parchment paper a greased or foil lined baking sheet would also do. I prefer parchment paper since it allows for even baking of cookies and other baked goods. It really does make a difference. 

October 19, 2014

Perfect Homemade Hamburger Buns



While I love fall, I have a strong dislike of holiday decorating. The worst part is that I have a closet full of decorations that I put up every year like clock work when my oldest was little. Then I had my second son and things got a little less fun. Now I am lucky if I get the table top tree up for Christmas. I always make big holiday meals and my table looks great, but decorations annoy me. I think they look great in other people's houses. In mine they spell dust, sifting through closets, and generally too much effort. I don't mind the putting up as much as the taking down. One of the funniest memories I have growing up was my dad wrapping yards and yards of christmas lights around a wrapping paper tube to put away. After the 10th one he just threw the rest away and decided to get new ones the year. My mom got mad and decided that we wouldn't decorate the next year. Instead of being upset, my dad and I remember it as the best Christmas ever since we were always the ones that had to do all the decorating and putting away. Luckily my kids are happy with lots of food and just one decorated table top tree. I am happy that it literally takes seconds to put everything away after the holidays. So at Halloween my house won't be the one with the decorated pumpkins, ghosts, and witches. It will still be full of laughter, fun, and food just with a little less decorating than the other houses.



I try to make everything I can from scratch, including almost all breads and baked goods. For years I tried to find the perfect hamburger bun recipe with mixed results. I found one that was quick, but the shape and texture just weren't perfect. Then about a year ago I tried a new recipe and loved it. It was perfect and I have been using it ever since. Here is the recipe, it makes the perfect buns!

Adapted from the Food Network.




Fluffy Homemade Dinner Rolls

Perfect Hamburger Buns


Recipe Type: Side
Preparation Time: 4h, 30m
Cooking Time: 0h, 40m

Ingredients
  • 1 cup warmed milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temp
  • 5-5 1/2 cups bread flour
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the milk and 3 tablespoons butter on the stove, just until the butter melts.
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the 1/2 cup warm water and the remaining 3 tablespoons butter.
  3. Add the salt, sugar, egg, and egg yolk.
  4. Stir to combine.
  5. Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup warm water.
  6. Wait until it foams (about 5 minutes) and then add to the bowl.
  7. Add flour until the dough comes together.
  8. You may not need the full 5 cups.
  9. Turn dough onto the counter and knead for 5-8 minutes.
  10. Adding more flour (or warm water) as needed (you want a soft, but not sticky dough).
  11. Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours (or until double in size).
  12. Punch down dough, re-cover bowl and allow dough to rise for another hour.
  13. Punch dough down once more.
  14. Make dough into 10 pieces.
  15. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball.
  16. Cut each ball through the center (like you would if you were cutting a bun to place a hamburger within) into two pieces.
  17. Place the two pieces back together (the same way they were before you cut them) and pinch the seam close.
  18. Tuck the pinched seam under the ball.
  19. Place the finished bun on a parchment lined baking sheet and slightly flatten the bottom.
  20. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  21. You should end up with 10-12 total buns.
  22. Cover and allow the buns to rise for 30 minutes.
  23. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  24. After rising brush the tops of each bun with melted butter.
  25. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  26. Brush the buns once more with butter.
Tips: 
  • This recipe may seem daunting at first with all the steps, but it really isn't. Once you have made it once it is very easy and it takes me less than a 1/2 hour of actual work. 
  • If you have a bread maker the steps up until the second rise work great in a bread maker. I normally use my bread maker on the dough cycle to prep bread, it's so much easier. 
  • If you have instant or bread maker yeast, you can skip the step of proofing the yeast in water. I just combine my yeast with the flour and then add it to the wet ingredients. I only proof my yeast about once a month to make sure it's still active. 
  • These also make great sandwich buns, so don't just limit yourself to burgers! 

October 14, 2014

Fluffy Homemade Dinner Rolls



I am becoming more sensitive as I age. For the most part I can let things go and other people's actions or words don't bother me. However, when they do bother me they tend to bother me more than they did in my 20's. I think part of it has to do with the fact that as I've gotten older there are more things to worry about, my kids, my husband, my father. When someone then does something that is mean or hurtful I have no more room to want to deal with the aftermath. So I tend to cut ties. I let friendships last through bad patches a lot more 15 years ago. Now honestly if someone is hurtful more than a few times, I let the friendship naturally end. I allow myself to be the number one priority in the relationship. My sense of worth is high enough in my middle 30's to know that the people that care the most are not the ones that are hurtful. I also understand that as a society the birth of the internet and a connected world has made us all more jaded and oblivious to some of the behaviors that we all exhibit. I have to watch myself from saying things that I would have thought hurtful before we started sitting behind computers instead of face to face. At the end of the day I try to surround myself with people that make me feel better just by being in their presence. In my 30's that circle has gotten smaller than it was in my 20's, but the bonds are much stronger and I cherish the relationships I have forged.

I have been offline for a while. My youngest started kindergarten this year and has managed to bring home every sickness known to man, including a nasty case of hand, foot, and mouth (yuck). So I have been cooking and baking, but not taking many pictures due to time. No pictures means a lack of blog posts, but I will eventually get back into the grove (hopefully before my kids leave for college). There is one recipe in my house that came from my mother-in-law that makes the rotation in my kitchen at least once a month and at every holiday gathering. It's delicious and works perfectly every time. So without further babbling here is my mother-in-law's recipe for Fluffy Homemade Rolls.




Fluffy Homemade Dinner Rolls

Fluffy Homemade Dinner Rolls


Recipe Type: Side
Preparation Time: 2h, 20m
Cooking Time: 0h, 40m

Ingredients
  • 4 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6-7 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 6-7 cups water
Cooking Directions
  1. Measure sugar, salt, oil, and water in a bowl.
  2. Add yeast and 2 cups flour and beat.
  3. Knead in additional flour to make a soft elastic dough and continue kneading for 5-8 minutes.
  4. Place dough in an oiled bowl and let rise until double in size (about 1 hour).
  5. Punch dough down.
  6. Divide dough into 20 rolls.
  7. Make rolls by rolling each piece into a round ball and tucking the ends under the bottom.
  8. Place rolls into one greased 13x9 inch pan and one 8x8 (the 8x8 is normally only half full of rolls).
  9. Instead of rolling the second pan into rolls the dough also works well for cinnamon rolls or sweet buns.
  10. Let rolls rise until doubled (about 1 hour).
  11. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.
Tips
  • This recipe also work wells when done on the dough cycle in the bread machine. Then you just have to shape the rolls and do the second rise. 
  • I have tried these rolls with half white whole wheat and half bread flour and they worked well. You could try increasing the amount of white whole wheat even more, but you would also need to increase the amount of yeast. 
  • I am determined sometime in the next year to make pepperoni rolls with this recipe. I think they would be delicious, so stay tuned eventually I will get around to it! 

October 2, 2014

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies



My kid's bus stop has turned into mommy drama central. I try to stay away from drama as much as possible. I'm not one of those people who loves to be involved in other people's business, I would prefer things to stay pretty vanilla. However, I am also a person that when I see bad behavior repeatedly for weeks at a time I do finally say something. This week I had to go into drama central and I'm not feeling awesome about the whole thing. Here's the back story. My kid's bus stop is on a very busy street. There are approximately 15 kids at the stop, 7 of which are boys. Recently the boys have been standing at the very edge of the curb almost into the street for over 5 minutes while waiting for the bus. Then they fight, hit, and shove each other. Yesterday I hit my breaking point. I had tried telling them not to do it, but since their mommies were not at the bus stop they chose to ignore me. Then yesterday one of them talked back to me and told me that there was nothing that I could do about it. That did it. I got them written up by the principal. I had to deal with the aftermath of my decision with a confrontational mom at the bus stop this afternoon. Luckily I am quick thinking and turned the anger into laughter about raising boys. I hope the whole thing is over, two weeks of dealing with drama is way more than I am equipped for, it's making me tired and sick of the whole thing.



On to the recipe! I love cookies, but most cookies made with gluten free flours are either too dry, or just taste lacking. Peanut butter cookies are great gluten free and can be made completely without flour and only a handful of ingredients. The following is an easy recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies.



Adapted from Southern Living.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies


Recipe Type: Dessert
Summary:
With only 5 ingredients and one bowl this is an easy and delicious dessert recipe.
Preparation Time: 0h, 5m
Cooking Time: 0h, 15m

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • optional : 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cooking Directions:
  1. Stir together all ingredients (except chocolate chips), add chocolate chips if using.
  2. Roll into one tablespoon rounds and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes.
  4. Wait 10 minutes before moving cookies to a cooling rack.
Tips: 
  • These cookies are crumbly if you do not allow them to cool before moving them. For best results allow them to cool completely on the baking sheet. 
  • I have tried these cookies both with chocolate chips and without and they work well either way. They would also work with peanut butter chips or toffee bits. 
  • If you do not eat granulated sugar you could experiment with coconut sugar or sugar substitute. I have not tried these substitution, but I have tried coconut and date sugars in other recipes and they have worked well. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...