Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken

Serves 4-6

Easy-peasy and tasty too. I served over a brown rice and quinoa blend from Costco, but plain white or brown rice would work well too!
Source: Just a Taste

  • 3 large bone-in, skinless chicken breasts (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup blackberry jam
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
    1. Arrange the chicken breasts in the slow cooker so that they are not overlapping.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, blackberry jam, hoisin, olive oil, garlic, onion and crushed red pepper flakes, and then pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover the slow cooker and cook the chicken on LOW for 4 to 5 hours until the chicken is fully cooked.
    3. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the slow cooker (reserving the liquids) and place it on a cutting board. Remove the bones then use two forks to shred the chicken into smaller pieces. Place the shredded chicken in a large bowl.
    4. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water to make a slurry.
    5. Transfer the liquids from the slow cooker into a small saucepan set over medium-high heat and whisk in the slurry. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook it until it reduces and has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken, tossing to combine. Serve the chicken topped with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.

    Amazing Crock Pot Pork Carnitas

    Amazing Crock Pot Pork Carnitas

    Serves 10.

    These were so so good! Baking in the oven as the last step is key! Don't omit that!
    Slightly adapted from: Weary Chef

    3-4 lbs. pork shoulder roast
    1/2 cup taco sauce
    1/2 cup beef broth
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 sweet onion, sliced
    1 T. chili powder (optional)
    2 t. dried oregano
    2 t. cumin
    2 t. kosher salt
    1/2 t. cayenne pepper, or to taste
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup milk (do not add to crock pot)
    Small tortillas

    Cut roast into 3-4 large pieces. Pierce meat all over with a knife.

    Stir together taco sauce, garlic, onion, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, cayenne, and water. Add pork pieces, and spoon liquid over the meat to coat all sides.   
    Cover crockpot and cook on high 6-8 hours or low 8-10 hours, until meat shreds easily.   
    When meat is done, preheat oven to 275 degrees. Take pork out of the slow cooker and shred on a large-rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or a baking mat to make cleanup easier. Discard any large pieces of fat. (Leave most of the onion behind, but it’s OK if some is incorporated with the meat.)   
    Pour ½ cup of cooking liquid and ½ cup of milk over shredded pork. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes until brown and crispy. Remove meat for serving with tongs to leave excess fat behind.   
    Serve with tortillas, finely shredded cabbage, guacamole or avocado, and green salsa.

    Crispy Tofu Rice Bowls with Thai Peanut Sauce

    Crispy Tofu Rice Bowls with Thai Peanut Sauce

    Serves 4.

    Branched out a little with this one, but we both really liked it!
    Source: Coffee and Quinoa

    For the tofu:
    • 16 oz extra firm tofu, sliced into small triangles
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • about 2 Tbsp high-heat oil such as safflower or canola oil
    For the peanut sauce:
    • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
    • 1/4 cup sweet soy sauce (also called kecap manis, such as ABC brand)
    • 2.5 Tbsp creamy peanut butter*
    • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
    • 1 tsp red Thai curry paste
    For serving:
    • steamed rice
    • steamed broccoli
    • sliced green onions
    • chopped peanuts
    To make the crispy tofu:
    1. Mix together the cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Coat each tofu triangle in the mixture and set on a plate. (Also: you can skip the cornstarch and salt if you prefer; the result won't be as crispy but will still be delicious.)
    2. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of oil and, once hot, add tofu triangles. (You will want to do this in batches so that the pieces don't touch each other.) Fry until golden brown, about 6 minutes per side. Remove to a plate covered in paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining tofu, using 2 teaspoons of oil per batch.
    To make the peanut sauce:
    1. Blend together all ingredients. Warm in the microwave or on the stove before serving.
    To serve:
    1. Layer bowls with rice, broccoli, and crispy tofu. Top with peanut sauce, green onions, and chopped peanuts. Enjoy!

    Monday, October 26, 2015

    Bacon and Cheese Scones with Sea Salt

    Bacon and Cheese Scones with Sea Salt

    Makes 8 scones.

    I wanted these to taste like the scones I have had at Northstar Cafe and Kittie's Cakes, both in Columbus.  I can't say I completely created a replica, but they came pretty close!
    Source: Our Nourishing Roots

    2 cups freshly ground or sprouted* whole grain flour, preferably a lighter variety like soft white winter wheat (I didn't use freshly ground flour, just regular, and it seemed to still work out okay)
    2 tablespoons baking powder
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    5 tablespoons butter, unsalted, chilled, cut into small pieces
    6 pieces of bacon, cooked, chopped into small pieces (about 1 cup)
    1 – 1 1/2 cups good sharp cheddar cheese
    1 1/4 cups heavy cream

    Preheat oven to 425.

    In a food processor, pulse together the flour, baking powder, coconut sugar, and salt.  Sprinkle the butter pieces over the top and pulse 10-12 times until the pieces are smaller and it looks like a coarse meal.

    Add the cheese and bacon, pulsing once or twice to incorporate them.  Dump the mixture into a large bowl.

    Pour the cream over the coarse meal, gently stirring with a rubber scraper until the dough just comes together.  Press the dough into a floured pie plate or cake pan and then turn out onto a lightly floured countertop.

    With a pastry scraper, cut the disk of dough into 8 wedges.  Transfer to a parchment-lined jelly roll pan, leaving space between each wedge.

    Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until the tops of the scones are nicely golden brown and the middle looks set.

    Cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before moving the scones with a spatula.

    Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies

    Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies

    Makes approximately 2-1/2 dozen.

    Source: A friend adapted this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and below is HER version - yum!

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon table salt
    14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
    1 cup sugar
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract (if you have on hand, vanilla bean paste is amazing
    2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
    6 ounces good-quality white chocolate bar, chopped (not “white chocolate”
    1 cup pecans
    1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt (like Maldon or fleur de sel) (for sprinkling on top)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
    Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and table salt in a medium bowl.

    Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl with rubber
    spatula, then add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down bowl
    again. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until just incorporated and smooth.
    Gradually add oats, pecans and white chocolate and mix just until incorporated.

    ***I chill the dough for about an hour or two here.

    Divide dough into 24 equal portions, each about 2 tablespoons. Roll between
    palms into balls, then place on lined baking sheets about 2 1/2 inches apart.
    Using fingertips, gently press down each ball to about 3/4-inch thickness.

    Sprinkle a flake or two of sea salt on each cookie

    Bake until cookies are deep golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating
    baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

    Overnight Apple Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

    Overnight Apple Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

    Serves 6-8.

    The recipe below is designed for a bundt pan, but successfully baked it in a deep 13x9 baking pan. It's rich and delicious. If you want a noticeable apple flavor, add an extra cup of shredded apple after you have formed the balls but before baking. The one cup in the dough itself seemed to get lost and wasn't as strong as I expected.
    Adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen and An Oregon Cottage
    1⅓ c. milk, warmed to 110-115 degrees
    2 T. butter, melted + 2 T. butter, softened (4 Tb. total)
    ¼ c. granulated sugar
    1 T. instant yeast
    3¼-1/2 c. unbleached flour
    1½ t. salt
    1 heaping c. peeled, grated apple (I used Granny Smith)
    For coating & glaze:
    1 c. brown sugar
    1 T. cinnamon
    6 T. butter

    Make dough:
    Add milk, 2 Tb. melted butter, sugar and yeast to a large measuring bowl and stir to combine. Mix 3¼-c. flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook on low. Slowly add milk-yeast mixture and stir until dough comes together. Fold in grated apple. Increase speed to next level and knead the dough for abut 6 minutes, adding 2-3 tablespoons of flour (a tablespoon at a time) as needed for dough to clear sides of bowl (the dough should still be sticking to the bottom of the bowl, though).
    Remove dough from mixing bowl to a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Coat bowl with oil (I simply use the bowl I mixed in), replace dough in bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave to sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
    Use the 2 tablespoons of softened butter to liberally coat a 13x9 baking pan.
    Remove dough to a lightly floured surface (I use a tea towel for easy clean up) and pat into about an 8x9" rough rectangle. Use a long knife to cut into 64 pieces - it doesn't matter if they're even or not.
    Coat dough:
    Place melted butter in one small bowl and combine brown sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.
    Roll each piece of dough into a rough ball, dip in melted butter and then roll in the brown sugar coating. Place in buttered pan, layering and staggering dough balls as needed to make an even loaf. Sprinkle any extra sugar-cinnamon mixture on the top.
    Cover pan with plastic and leave out on counter for 30 minutes before placing in the refrigerator to finish rising slowly overnight.
    To bake bread:
    Remove pan from refrigerator abut 2 hours before you want to serve it. Leave at room temperature, still covered, 45 minutes to 1 hour and preheat oven to 350 degrees the last 15 minutes.
    Remove cover, place in heated oven and bake 20-25 minutes until the bread is JUST starting to brown and the sides are bubbling.
    Cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto serving dish and topping with apple cider glaze.

    Apple Cider Glaze - makes a little over a cup
    In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in apple cider, heavy cream, and salt. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, and then remove from the heat. Whisk in powdered sugar. Add more if needed. Allow to cool slightly before pouring over the pull apart bread.
    *If making ahead, store in the refrigerator in a microwave-safe container. Reheat before serving/pouring over bread.

    Sunday, October 4, 2015

    Zucchini Bread

    Zucchini Bread

    Makes 1 loaf.

    I came up with this recipe after combining a few different ones I found online. It's delicious and my new go-to for zucchini bread.

    1 c. all-purpose flour
    1/2 c. whole wheat flour
    1 c. sugar
    1 heaping t. cinnamon
    1/2 t. baking soda
    1/2 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. salt
    1 egg
    2 overripe bananas, mashed
    1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
    1 t. vanilla extract
    2 c. shredded zucchini

    Preheat oven to 325. Grease loaf pan.  Add egg, oil, sugar, and vanilla to bananas in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Fold in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in shredded zucchini. Bake for approximately 75 minutes, but check starting around an hour since every oven is different.

    Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Makes 1 dozen cupcakes, 2 dozen mini cupcakes.

    A fun and festive dessert!
    Source: Cooking Classy
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • candy pumpkins, for topping

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger for 20 seconds, set aside.
    In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together granulated sugar with brown sugar until no lumps remain. Add canola oil, set mixer with paddle attachment (one that scrapes the bowl is preferred otherwise stop and scrape bowl occasionally throughout entire mixing process) and blend mixture on medium speed until well combined. Mix in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in pumpkin and vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined, then stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl and fold batter to ensure it is well blended.
    Divide batter among 12 paper lined muffins cups, filling each about 3/4 full and adding a heaping 1/4 cup batter to each well. Bake in preheated oven 20 - 24 minutes until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in muffin tin several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
    For the cream cheese frosting:
    In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and powdered sugar and whip until light and fluffy (at this point I recommend freezing or chilling frosting in refrigerator for a bit, returning to mixer and stirring occasionally, for a more stable consistency). Pipe or spread frosting over cupcakes then store in refrigerator in an airtight container. Bring nearly to room temp before serving. Top with candy pumpkins, if desired.

    Monday, November 3, 2014

    Cucumber Boats

    Cucumber Boats

    Makes 2 boats.

    What did you say?  An appetizer that won't ruin your appetite?  Found it.
    Adapted from: Bite Delite

    2 cucumbers (about 1 pound each)
    2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
    1/4 t. salt
    1 t. fresh parsley or dill, chopped
    freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    Cut the cucumbers lengthwise, and remove the seeds.  Then, cut a small strip off the bottom of one side so that cucumber will set level, without falling over.

    Use the other half of the cucumber to dice into 1/4" pieces.  Combine the diced cucumbers with feta cheese, dill, salt and pepper.  Divide the mixture between the 2 cucumber "boats," then slice into 1-1/2" pieces.

    Friday, October 31, 2014

    One Pot Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage Alfredo

    One Pot Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage Alfredo

    Serves 4.

    Delicious.  Easy.  Impressive.  Perfect for when friends come over!
    Source: Host the Toast

    ¾ lb Italian sausage
    4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1½ cups milk, plus ¼ cup for the sauce
    1½ cups chicken broth, plus ¼ cup for the sauce
    1 (16 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained and pureed (you can do this in a food processor or blender)
    8 oz goat cheese
    ½ cup grated parmesan
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    3 handfuls fresh spinach
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    12 oz pasta of your choice

    Remove the casing from the sausage and discard the casing. To do this, simply cut along the side of the sausage with a sharp knife and peel off the pierced casing with your fingers.
    In a large pot or high-walled pan, saute the sausage meat with the garlic and olive oil over medium heat, until browned.
    Stir in chicken broth, pureed roasted red pepper, milk and pasta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 12 minutes. If the liquid has all been absorbed, add the additional milk and chicken broth.
    Stir in spinach, 1 handful at a time, and cook until wilted and hot.
    Stir in the goat cheese and parmesan. Continue to stir until melted. Remove from heat and serve.

    Thursday, October 30, 2014

    Birthday Cake Batter Pancakes

    Birthday Cake Batter Pancakes

    Makes about 6 pancakes.

    The kids loved these.  We used regular syrup instead of the glaze, but next time, I would try it, so I'm including it here.
    Source: Happy Food Healthy Life

    For pancakes:
    3/4 cup all purpose flour
    1/3 cup yellow cake mix
    2 teaspoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    pinch of salt
    1 egg
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 to 1 cup milk
    assorted sprinkles
    whipped cream and additional sprinkles for topping, optional

    For glaze:
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1/2 tablespoon milk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    assorted sprinkles

    To make glaze: Mix milk, extract and powdered sugar until glaze forms. You may need to add a little more sugar or water/milk to reach desired consistency. Mix into glaze and drizzle on pancakes.

    Combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. Add 1/2 cup of milk, egg and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. You want the batter to look like regular pancake batter; not too thin, not too thick. This will vary greatly on the brand of cake mix you use. Start with 1/2 cup of milk and add more if needed.

    Preheat a skillet on medium heat. Fold desired amount of sprinkles into batter. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto skillet and let cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Serve with vanilla glaze.

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    Chocolate Chocolate Cake with Brownie Batter Frosting

    Chocolate Chocolate Cake with Brownie Batter Frosting

    Serves 16?
    A rich, chocolaty cake perfect for a birthday, special occasion, or just because.  A brownie layer is sandwiched between two layers of chocolate cake, and it's all wrapped in a delicious brownie batter frosting.  And who doesn't love extra chocolate chips on the outside?

    Inspired by: Baby Gizmo and Beyond Frosting

    Chocolate cake mix, any chocolate flavor
    Brownie mix (13x9 family size)
    5 eggs (to be used for the cake and brownie mix)
    Vegetable oil
    One 12-oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
    Two (or three) 8" round pans

    2 tsp Pure vanilla extract
    1/3 cup + 1 tbsp  Unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I used Hersey’s Special Dark)
    1 cup powdered brownie mix (from a box)
    2 tsp Milk
    3 heaping cups Powdered sugar

    8 oz. dark chocolate chips
    • Cake Layers:
    • Make the chocolate cake according to the box. Pour batter evenly into two lightly greased 9″ round pans and bake at 350 degrees for 32-37 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a plate to cool completely.
    • Brownie Layer:
      Make the brownie mix according to the package. Pour entire brownie batter into one (1) lightly greased 9″ round pan. Make sure the brownie pan is the same size as the cake pans that you used!  Bake the brownie at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Watch the brownies carefully as not to overcook them but make sure they aren’t completely doughy in the center.Cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a plate to cool completely. I found it was easiest to remove the brownie carefully using a wide spatula underneath.

      Using a stand mixer, combine the softened butter and vanilla extract, beating on a medium speed until smooth.
      In a separate bowl, sift cocoa powder and brownie mix together. Yes, you must sift this! The fine powder ensures it will properly mix into your batter. I prefer to use the special dark cocoa powder because I love how the dark chocolate flavor enhances the brownie taste. Add your butter and mix on medium speed until well combined.
      Next, add 2 tsp of milk and beat into the frosting. I added the milk because it adds a real creaminess to the frosting. The frosting will be a little grainy, which is very reminiscent of actual brownie batter. I tested this frosting will several different amounts of milk, the more milk you add, the creamier the frosting will be, but it will dilute the taste of the brownie batter.
      Continue to slowly add your powdered sugar while beating on a medium speed. Your batter will be come very thick. Once you have added all of your powdered sugar, quickly add your corn syrup and continue to beat until well combined.
      Lastly, add 2 tsp hot water and increase speed to medium-high for 30 seconds until well mixed. I like to increase the speed at the end to help make the frosting a little bit lighter.
      Frost the top of the brownie layer with about 1/6 of the frosting. Sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips on that layer. Carefully place the 2nd cake layer on top of the brownie layer. Carefully frost the top and sides of the cake with the remainder of the frosting.

    • BEFORE THE FROSTING SETS, you need to apply the chocolate chips to the outside. Take a handful of chocolate chips at a time and firmly press against the side of the cake until most of the chips stick. Some chips will fall to the plate and you will use those to fill in the holes.
      Repeat this process around the entire cake. Take the fallen chips and the chips that you have left and fill in the holes and sprinkle on top.
    Pick the plate you want the cake to be displayed on and start with one (1) cake layer. Frost the top of the cake layer with about 1/6 of the frosting . Sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips on that layer. (Note: Any chopped up candy – Reese’s, M&Ms, Heath Bits etc can be substituted for the chocolate chips to add another flavor!) Carefully place the brownie layer on top of the cake layer.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Bars

    Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Bars

    Makes 8x8 pan.

    Oh boy.  Sinfully yummy.  Excuse the poor photo and just trust me on this one.
    Source: Inside BruCrew Life
    For the Cookie Dough:
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup shortening
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1 cup Reese's peanut butter chips
    1 cup Hershey's baking melts

    For the Cheesecake:
    1 package cream cheese (8 oz.)
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 egg
    1/4 cup peanut butter

    For the topping:
    1/4 cup Reese's peanut butter chips
    1/4 cup chocolate chips
    1 teaspoon shortening
    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, shortening, and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt and cream again. Sift together the baking soda and flour. Slowly add to the butter mixture until incorporated. Stir in the peanut butter chips and baking melts by hand. Press half the dough into the bottom of an 8" pan. Set aside.
    In another bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and peanut butter and beat until smooth. Pour on top of the cookie dough.
    Press small pieces of cookie dough onto the top of the cream cheese layer. Continue until all the dough has been used and the cheesecake has been covered. Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes. Remove and let cool completely. Cut into 16 bars.
    In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter chips and 1/2 teaspoon shortening. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir until melted and smooth. Spoon into a plastic bag that has one corner cut off. Drizzle over bars. Repeat with chocolate chips. Keep refrigerated. Makes 16 bars.

    Monday, October 27, 2014

    Banana Crumb Cake

    Banana Crumb Cake

    Makes (2) loaf pans, (2) 8x8's or (1) 13x9

    My good friend Cheryl turned me on to this recipe.  Easily the best banana crumb cake I've ever eaten.  So flavorful and moist, and the crumb filling/topping is to die for!
    Source: Southern Plate

    For the crumb cake:
    2 c. sugar
    1 c. milk
    1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
    2 c. self-rising flour
    1 stick margarine
    2 eggs
    3 bananas
    1 t. vanilla

    For the crumb topping:
    1 stick (1/2 c.) margarine
    1 c. brown sugar
    1 c. flour (self-rising or plain)

    Spray two loaf of 8x8 pans with cooking spray (you can also use a deep 13x9).  Place peeled bananas in mixing bowl, add sugar.  Mix until bananas are liquefied.  Add margarine, mix until creamed together with banana mixture.  Add all other ingredients and blend well.

    In medium bowl, place all topping ingredients.  Cut together with a long-tined fork until well blended.  Pour 1/4 of batter into each pan, top with 1/4 crumb mixture.  Pour remaining batter over and top with remaining crumb mixture.  (If you are using a 13x9, pour 1/2 batter, than 1/2 crumb.  Then remaining batter and remaining crumb.)

    Bake for 45-60 minutes for loaf pans or 8x8s.  For 13x9, bake for 50-70 minutes.
    Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

    Sunday, October 26, 2014

    Grilled Chicken with Avocado Salsa

    Grilled Chicken with Avocado Salsa

    Serves 6

    A deliciously fresh meal.  Easy, yet visually appealing.  A good meal for entertaining.
    Sources: Avocado Salsa comes from Better Recipes 

    3 avocados, seeded and chopped
    3 medium roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
    6 T. finely chopped onion
    1-1/2 t. minced garlic
    4-5 T. lime juice
    salt and pepper

    Grill or bake using your favorite standard seasoning. 

    Cook chicken. Top with salsa.  Serve over saffron rice.

    Gnocchi, Sausage, and Spinach Soup

    Gnocchi, Sausage, and Spinach Soup

    Serves 4-5.

    Delicious.  I will make this again and again!
    Source: Cinnamon-Spice and Everything Nice

    1 yellow onion, diced
    1 roasted red pepper, diced
    olive oil, for sauteing
    sea or Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
    1 pound Italian sausage, ground or removed from casings, hot or sweet
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed between fingers
    32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
    1 pound potato gnocchi
    2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, rough chopped
    3/4 cup half & half or heavy cream (light is ok)
    1 heaping tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
    fresh grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

    In a large sauce pan or soup pot saute onion and red pepper in a couple of tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat until tender. Season well with salt and pepper. In a separate, large skillet brown the sausage, breaking it apart as it cooks. Add garlic to onion mixture and saute until fragrant.
    Drain sausage and add to onion mixture along with the basil and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper, simmer for 20 minutes.
    Add gnocchi and spinach, bring to a simmer and cook until gnocchi puff up and start to float (check package for cooking time). Add half & half and fresh basil, bring to a simmer for three or four minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

    BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

    Serves 2

    A delicious, healthy, fresh option for lunch or dinner.
    Source: me

    romaine lettuce, chopped
    1 large chicken breast, grilled and chopped
    1/2 cup corn, cooked and chilled
    1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    1/2 avocado, chopped
    6-7 cherry tomatoes, chopped
    4 baby carrots, chopped

    To make dressing: combine equal parts Ranch dressing and BBQ sauce

    Cover lettuce with toppings, then serve with BBQ Ranch dressing.

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    20-Minute Applesauce Breakfast Cookies

    20-Minute Applesauce Breakfast Cookies

    Makes 36.

    The word "cookie" is used loosely here.  Let's not get carried away and think that these taste like true cookies.  But if your toddler likes them, call them cookies as much as you'd like.  
    Adapted from: Shape

    3 ripe bananas
    2 c. rolled oats
    1/3 c. applesauce

    2 T. honey
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 t. cinnamon
    1/2 c. dried cherries

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a fork, mash the bananas in a bowl. Stir in oats, applesauce, honey, dried cherries, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Mix batter well. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

    Monday, January 20, 2014

    The Book Thief

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    Better read this before the movie is released!  Great book.

    School Library Journal review from

    Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when shes roused by regular nightmares about her younger brothers death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayors reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents. Zusak not only creates a mesmerizing and original story but also writes with poetic syntax, causing readers to deliberate over phrases and lines, even as the action impels them forward. Death is not a sentimental storyteller, but he does attend to an array of satisfying details, giving Liesels story all the nuances of chance, folly, and fulfilled expectation that it deserves. An extraordinary narrative.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    Sugar Cookie Dip

    Sugar Cookie Dip

    Makes about 2 cups.

    Wow.  I could eat WAAYYY too much of this.
    Inspired by: Cooking with Christine and My Honeys Place

    1 package sugar cookie mix
    1 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, softened
    1/2 stick (4 oz.) butter, softened
    1 T. flavored coffee creamer (I used brown sugar and vanilla flavor)

    Combine all ingredients with a mixer or efficiently by hand.
    Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    Serve with pretzels, vanilla wafers, animal crackers, or whatever tickles your fancy.

    Monday, January 13, 2014

    Baby Spinach and Cheddar Quiche

    Baby Spinach and Cheddar Quiche

    Serves 8.

    I used a store-bought crust... a refrigerated one, not a frozen one.  But either would work.
    Source: Big Flavors Tiny Kitchen

    Store-bought frozen deep dish pie shell
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon shallot, minced
    4 ounces baby spinach
    Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
    Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
    5 large eggs
    3/4 cup milk
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Place frozen pie crust on a baking sheet and set aside.
    Heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet over moderate heat. Add garlic and shallot and sauté until soft. Add spinach, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, and cook until the spinach wilts down, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
    While the spinach mixture is cooling, beat eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in cheese.
    Place spinach mixture in the bottom of the pie crust, spreading it out in an even layer. Pour egg mixture on top and bake for 45-50 minutes, until eggs are set. Remove from oven and let stand a few minutes before diving in. Enjoy!

    Friday, January 10, 2014

    Chocolate M&M Cookie Cups

    Chocolate M&M Cookie Cups

    Makes about 30.

    Rich and chocolaty, with extra chocolate bursts from the M&Ms.
    Adapted from: The Daily Dish

    1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    1 c. sugar
    1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
    1 egg
    1 t. pure vanilla extract
    1 t. baking soda
    1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
    1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
    1 12-oz. pkg. M&M’s 
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In medium bowl, combine the baking soda, flour and cocoa. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet, stirring until combined. Stir in the M&M’s.
    Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls into a mini muffin pan. Place baking sheet on the middle rack in oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and let cool in pan for about 10 more minutes. Remove cookies from sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    The Snow Child

    The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

    The perfect read for a cold, snowy day.  This is a fantastical book that will leave you wondering for days after you close the back cover.  A great book club choice too!

    Book description from Amazon:

    Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

    This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

    Monday, January 6, 2014

    Overnight Egg Nog French Toast

    Overnight Egg Nog French Toast

    Serves 8.

    Adapted from: Chef in Training

    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
    • 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
    • 2 loaves French bread, sliced into 1" slices
    • 1 cup egg nog
    • 1 cup half and half
    • 10 eggs
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnmon
    1. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
    2. Heat the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until the mixture begins to boil; remove the mixture from heat, and pour into the prepared baking dish.
    3. Place slices of french bread on top of the sugar mixture.
    4. Combine egg nog, half and half, eggs and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk together until completely combined. Pour evenly over bread slices.
    5. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, and refrigerate 8 hours to overnight.
    6. Once it has refrigerated for designated time, Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
    7. Bake at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes. Then, remove foil and raise oven's temperature to 375 and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until french toast has started to brown on top.  Serve with syrup.

    Friday, January 3, 2014

    Egg Nog Coffee Cake

    Egg Nog Coffee Cake

    Serves... a lot.

    A dense coffee cake with a hint of egg nog flavor... and a thick, rich, crumbly crust.  Perfect for Christmas morning!
    Source: Gonna Want Seconds

    For The Coffee Cake:


    1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350. Spray a tube pan generously with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in eggnog, sour cream, nutmeg and vanilla extract.
    3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    4. Add half of the dry ingredient into wet ingredients and blend just until mostly combined. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and blend just until combined.
    5. Spread batter into prepared pan. Tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles. Set aside.
    6. Meanwhile make the Crumb Topping: In a medium bowl blend sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until mixture becomes smooth. Add flour and combine thoroughly.
    7. Crumble crumb mixture into big pieces over top of unbaked coffee cake.
    8. Bake Coffee Cake for 35-45 minutes in preheated oven just until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
    9. Cool on rack for 10-15 minutes. Place a plate on top of the cake and flip the cake over onto the plate. Place a serving plate on the bottom of the cake and flip the cake over to right-side up. Cool cake completely before icing it.
    10. Make Icing: Whisk together the butter and eggnog in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring mixture to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Cool slightly and whisk in powdered sugar until mixture is smooth with no lumps. Drizzle icing over completely cooled cake.