Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

GUYS!  Guess what?  I made up a baked good!  What, you're not in total awe of my mad skillz? Whatever, I am, and that's good enough.  See, I'm decent at improvising with regular cooking, but baking - not so much.  Once, I subbed PB chips for chocolate chips, but other than that, baking for me is strictly a follow what other people have done endeavor.  Mostly because science.  Baked goods rise and hold their shape and taste good because there is a lot of science behind it; regular food tastes good if you put things together that aren't nasty.

But, I had all this pumpkin cream cheese leftover from the bacon poppers and it needed using.  I don't love sweet cream cheese on my bagels, so that was out.  So, I thought, well maybe I can make some kind of bread with this, like a banana or applesauce bread, but with pumpkin cream cheese.  So, I looked at a couple of similar recipes (it's easier to see how to make it if you look at a recipe as ratios of wet to dry ingredients, instead of amounts of specific things - according to something I Googled), and had at it.  I figured it was a low risk project, because I already had everything I need, and didn't really have another plan for it.  And low and behold, a delicious bread was born.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread - A Cooking with Milton Original




2 Cups Pumpkin Cream Cheese
1 Cup Sugar 
2 Eggs 
1 Teaspoon Vanilla 
3 Cups Flour 
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda 
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon 
1/4 Teaspoon Each Nutmeg, Cloves, and Allspice 

Pre-heat the oven to 350.  Grease a loaf pan well and set it aside. 

In a large mixing bowl, add the pumpkin cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Blend until combined and smooth. 

Then, add the flour, baking soda, and spices.  Blend until just combined - I find the best way to do this is to use the mixer for the first part, then when you scrape down the sides, just stir the rest of it with a spoon.  Try not to over mix, as it can make your bread kind of tough. 

Bake at 350 for 45 min to an hour (I don't think my oven is particularly accurate, because mine always seems to take FOREVER).  It's done when you can stick a fork in it and have the fork come out clean. 

Serve toasted with apple butter.  




Question of the Day?:

Have you ever done any experimental baking?  How did it turn out?  


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Apple Butter - The Leftovers Club

Hi, everyone!  Are you enjoying your fall?  We are.  Milton loves fall because it's finally cool enough for his permanent fur coat to come in handy.  I love it because it's time for apple picking.  When I first moved to New England and people talked about how fun apple picking is, I may have thought they were being a little crazy.  I mean, you walk around and take apples off a tree - seems pleasant enough, but this isn't major excitement.  Except it is; I'm not sure why, but apple picking is super fun.

However, there is a small downside - all the apples.  I think I ended up with about 10 pounds.  That's a lot of freakin apples.  So, since I knew I wasn't going to eat them straight up for the next 10 years, I decided to make apple butter.  If you've never had apple butter, you're missing out.  Basically, it's super concentrated apple sauce that you can spread on french toast, bread, rice cakes, a spoon, etc.  It's so easy to make I almost feel silly posting a recipe about it - the general premise is cook the ever loving crap out of some apples and spices.  Puree.  Shove in face.

I sent a jar of this to Shashi at Runnin Srilankan for this month's Leftovers Club.  She sent me some really tasty cookies that have beets in them.  Obviously, since they have a vegetable in them, that makes them a health food.  Put some apple butter on top and it's basically a complete meal.  If you join the leftovers club, you get food treats from your new internet friends in the mail once a month. It's awesome and you should definitely sign up. 




Crock Pot Apple Butter: 




Enough apples to fill your crock pot, peeled and sliced (I used about 20)
1 Cup Sugar (there are many recipes that call for substantially more sugar.  Since I don't love overly sweet things, I tend towards the low side, but if you have a sweet tooth, use more.  It's just a matter of personal preference) 
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Cloves 
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg 
1/4 Teaspoon Salt 

The hardest part of this is peeling and cutting the apples.  Don't worry too much about the cutting part, you're just going to cook them until the fall apart anyways, but do try hard to peel them very carefully; it really helps with the texture. 

Once you've finished peeling and cutting, dump everything into the crock pot and turn it on high.  If you're home, check on it periodically and give it a stir, but if you leave it while you're at work it will still be fine. 

After it starts to really fall apart (7 hours or so), prop the lid open so that some of the moisture can evaporate.  Once it's a little thicker (about another 2 hours), take the lid off, turn the crock pot off, and let it sit.  Please note that this is just what my particular crock pot did - yours might be completely different.  

When it's a bit cooler, blend with an immersion blender.  If you don't have one, you can use a regular blender, just do small batches and be extremely careful.  It's really hot. 





Put into jars.  If you're planning to eat it all within the next couple of weeks, there's no need to boil the jars to seal them, it will stay fresh.  However, if you'd like to keep it around for months, feel free to actually can it (which I didn't do because putting glass into boiling water scares the crap out of me). 

This goes really well on all kinds of treats.  I made some pumpkin cream cheese bread the other day and put this on top.  Then, the fall gods came and asked me to join them as their leader.   




Check out what my friends made!! 



Monday, October 20, 2014

Crazy Ingredient Challenge - Bacon and Pumpkin



I just love a challenge, especially in the kitchen.  So when I saw that there was a group called the Crazy Ingredient Challenge, I had to learn more.  The concept is pretty simple, each month, the group votes on two ingredients, and then you make something with them.  I missed last months, since I apparently don't know how to read a calendar, but I'm in for this month, and the two ingredients are bacon and pumpkin.

So, I know that this is some what blasphemous, but I actually don't like pumpkin that much.  I mean, it's fine and all, but we need to calm it down with this pumpkin spice everything obsession.  First, pumpkin spice doesn't taste like pumpkin, it tastes like preservatives.  Second, it's not even that awesome.  I mean, pumpkin pie is delicious and all, but chill, it's just squash.  Bacon, on the other hand, now there's some good eats. 

Because I don't love sweets or pumpkin spice anything, I thought I'd go in much more of a savory direction with this.  I got a TON of peppers in my farm share, of all different kinds, so I decided to make Bacon Wrapped Pumpkin Jalapeno Poppers.  Not going to lie, this is probably my best idea to date.







Bacon Wrapped Pumpkin Jalapeno Poppers: 

1/2 Sugar Pumpkin, Roasted (or buy a can of pumpkin, just make sure it's completely plain, and not pre-flavored)
1 8 oz Package Cream Cheese (I used 1/3 less fat, but you can use whatever you usually use) 
6 Slices Bacon 
6-8 Peppers (Since mine were from the farm share, they're not all jalapenos, but if I was going to buy specifically for this, I'd get all jalapenos.  Make sure that they are fat enough to really hold some stuffing) 

To roast the pumpkin, pre-heat the oven to 375.  VERY carefully cut it in half (use a very sharp knife and lots of caution!), scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, and place into a pan, cut side down.  Mine was pretty big, so I had to cut it into a few pieces to get it to fit.  Put a little bit of water in the pan, to help it steam.  Cook for about 45 minutes, until it can be easily pierced by a fork (this is my preferred squash roasting method). 

While it's cooking, cut all the peppers in half and scoop the seeds and ribs out.  Then, wash your hands about 100 times before touching ANYTHING, unless you like getting burned. 

After the pumpkin is ready, mix it with the cream cheese.  I didn't add any other kinds of seasonings to this because I figured the bacon and peppers would help me out.  I was right. 

Blob some pumpkin cream cheese into the peppers, then wrap with some bacon.  I cut my bacon into pieces, because the peppers really weren't that big.  If I did this again, I would definitely secure with toothpicks, because they kind of fell apart.  Bake at 375 until the bacon is at your desired level of done - they could also be grilled, if you're into that.  

These would be a great party snack, or a nice addition to your tailgate.  They're a little bit labor intensive, but not too bad, and SO tasty that it is definitely worthwhile. 

Look at what my friends made!! 




HunngryLittleGirl

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

You know how sometimes you see something in about a million different places?  But you're not sure what it is or if you should jump on board with the latest trend?  I mean, let's face it, trends aren't always the best idea - I mean, just look at this.  Eeek. 

So, when I kept seeing Chia Seeds popping up everywhere, I kind of wondered what the fuss was about.  I mean, is this new kale?  And as a society, are we ready for the new kale?  But, I'd heard good things about how healthy they are, how you can incorporate them into smoothies to bulk them up, and about pudding.  Shockingly, the pudding sold me. 

Now, let me remind you, dear reader, that healthified things aren't exactly like the unhealthified one. Kale chips are delicious, but they aren't chips.  That doesn't mean they're not good though, so give the chia pudding a try.  If you're worried, check the bulk bins at your grocery store and just pick up a few.  I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised. 



Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding - From Food Doodles

2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1/2 Cup Milk (I used Almond, you can use whatever you have/usually drink) 
1 1/2 Tablespoons Sweetener (I used Agave, but honey, syrup, etc would also work)
1 Tablespoon Coco Powder (Make sure that it's unsweetened baking coco powder, not something like Nesquick, or else it's going to be insanely sweet) 
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla 

Put everything into the jar - I find it easier to put the dry things on the bottom and then top with the milk, like I do when I make hot chocolate.  



























Stir everything up.  Be careful, or else the coco powder will blow up everywhere.  



























Now, you have a few options.  You can either just let it sit on the counter for about a half hour, or you can put it in the fridge for several hours.  I've tried it both ways, the result is the same.  The chia seeds just need time to soak up all the liquid and expand.  That's how it turns into pudding. 



























Top with strawberries and enjoy!  

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite afternoon snack? 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spicy Kale and Eggs

Is it odd that when I typed the title, I actually put "Kegs and Eggs" instead? Even though I'm entirely too old for such nonsense (jk - we just call it brunch now). Hopefully some college kids will make the same mistake, click on over, and realize what adulthood is all about. Kale, guys, it's about kale. There is really nothing in the universe that matches the feeling of moral superiority that comes with eating kale.

I'm not sure when it happened, but a few years ago, the universe went nuts for kale. NUTS. It's actually a little comical, except I shouldn't laugh because I was one of those people. I may or may not have had a kale smoothie a few times (not as enjoyable as I had hoped). However, I do love me some kale. Also, I feel that my stance on breakfast is pretty clear (that'd be PRO, for those of you who keep lists of my personal preferences on your fridge), so kale and eggs was a natural fit.

I mostly followed this recipe from Williams Sonoma, except I halved it and skipped the lemon, since I was out. And I used a very tiny about of regular onion in place of the green onion because I was out. Then I put it on toast, because hello. Why wouldn't you do that?



Spicy Kale and Eggs - from Williams Sonoma


1 Tablespoon butter

1/4 of a Small Red Onion, Minced (or green onions, or whatever you have)

1 Garlic Clove, Pressed or Minced

1 Bunch Kale, Chopped

1/2 Cup Liquid (I used veggie broth, you could also use chicken broth or water)

2 Eggs

Salt, Pepper, and Red Pepper Flakes to Taste

In a large pan, melt the butter.  Add in the onion and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the kale and stir until it begins to wilt.  If it seems like way too much for one pan, do it half and half.  Once it's wilted, add the liquid, and some salt and pepper.

Simmer and stir occasionally until the kale is tender.  It took mine about 5 minutes.

Make a little pocket for your eggs with a spoon and crack them in there.

Reduce the heat to medium, season the eggs, and cover.  Let them cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on how done you like your eggs (I did about 3 because I like my eggs runny, but do you).


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread - The Leftovers Club

Guys, I cannot believe how quickly time has passed this month!  It seems like I just made Leftovers Club treats.

For those of you who don't know, the Leftovers Club is a group of bloggy friends who send treats once a month.  It's a great way to get to know some new blogs and try some tasty treats.  This month, I was paired with Shaina from Take a Bite out of Boca.  She made me some DELICIOUS peanut butter and jelly sandwiches - with banana bread.  I can't even do it justice, you're just going to have to go check out her blog and see for yourself.  And, if you live in Boca (or the area), definitely check out her reviews.  You won't be eating poorly, that's for sure.



Since fall is coming (not ready, but Mother Nature has never seemed to care..), I thought I'd make something a little more seasonally appropriate this time around.  Although my parents, who live in Florida, but further north, have assured me that fall is no where to be found down there, I can't stop thinking about chili, soups, stews, and their sidekick cornbread.

This cornbread uses some of summer's farm share bounty to bump up the flavor.  There are many different ways to make cornbread, and I'm sure someone's lovely southern grandma is having a fit over the way I'm sharing.  But, if you send me her recipe, I'll do that next time.  It's all delicious.



























Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread - Adapted from Cookie and Kate

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1½ cups cornmeal (I actually used a touch more because didn't have quite enough flour)
1½ cups flour 
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Few twists' freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1½ cups buttermilk (you can make buttermilk yourself by adding vinegar to milk and letting it sit, so don't feel like you have to go out and buy special for this)
½ cup honey
3 large eggs
1 cup fresh corn kernels (feel free to sub frozen if it isn't corn season)
1 jalapeno, grated or chopped (I grated it, which I feel concentrates the flavor, so I actually only used half, which was plenty)

Pre-heat the oven to 375.  Put the butter into a cast iron skillet or baking pan and let it melt in the oven for 5-10 minutes, just long enough to get nice and browned. 

While that's happening, mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, and half the cheese in a bowl.  Set aside. 

In a separate, larger bowl, mix together the buttermilk, honey, and eggs.  Combine the two bowls. 

Remove the butter pan from the oven and VERY VERY CAREFULLY slosh it around a bit to make sure the butter gets up the sides of the pan.  Seriously, be careful, it's hot.  

Add the corn and the pepper to the hot butter and let cook for a minute.  After about 1 minute, add the batter.  Stir to combine.  Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.






















Check out what my friends have made! 



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cheddar Bacon Waffles with Fried Apples - Waffle Week 2014

So, yesterday I had the privilege of guest posting at Feed Me Seymour with my buddy Kim. Kim and I first bonded over a mutual love for our furbabies and a mutual loathing of raisins, especially those sneaky ones that hide in cookies.  ICK.  She also has some SERIOUSLY good recipes, like this Grilled Fruit Sangria.  So, obviously, when she invited me to participate in Waffle Week 2014, I was all like DONE - where do I sign (on a non-raisin covered line)?

Now, you guys kind of know that I don't have much of a sweet tooth.  Sure, I taste test all that I make (because I wouldn't want to be rude and give people gross food), but it's just not my thing.  Cheese on the other hand...oh boy.  I might have a problem.  True life: I once told my friend that the cheese section of Wegman's wasn't a safe place for me.  I love it that much.

Therefore, clearly, my waffles were going to involve cheese and not very much sugar.  Just a touch of sweetness somewhere to balance it out.  Growing up, my mom always paired apple and pear pie with cheddar, so I thought that would be a great starting point.  As always, I got by with a little help from my friends at Pinterest.  Seriously, you can find everything there.  Including a ton of awesome recipes for cheddar waffles.  Inspiration - BAM!






Cheddar Bacon Waffles with Fried Apples - Inspired by In Sock Monkey Slippers

For the Waffles:
2 Cups of Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Sugar
1 2/3 Cup Milk (I used Fat Free Half and Half, but had planned on using 1%....until I realized it was sour.  I'm pretty sure whatever you usually drink would work fine)
1/3 Cup Melted Butter
2 Eggs
6 Slices of Bacon. Crumbled (I used Thick Cut Applewood Smoked)
3/4 Cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded (I used a combo of extra sharp and caramelized onion, which is just as good as it sounds)

For the Apples:
3 Apples, Sliced (I used Gala, but whatever your preference, you should go for a crisper apple, since you'll be cooking them for a while.  You don't want it to turn to mush)
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Ginger, Nutmeg, and Cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Cup McGillicuddy's Apple Pie Liquor (You can definitely use apple juice if you're worried about alcohol content, or if you don't want to buy random booze for this one recipe)

Start out by making the bacon, so it has time to cool.  I do mine in the oven, on a baking rack.  Just pop it into a cold oven and set it to 375.  It should be nice and crispy about 10 minutes after the oven comes to temperature.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet.  While that's melting, chop the apples and mix them with the sugar, spice, and everything nice.

Add them to the pan and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes.

Then, add the booze/juice and let it simmer until the apples are nice and soft and the liquid has thickened.

To make the waffles, begin by mixing together the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Melt the butter and mix with the eggs and milk.

Fold them together and stir in the bacon and cheese.  Don't over mix!!!  It should just come together; lumps, bumps, and my humps are all ok.

Try not to overfill the mess out of your waffle maker - it just wastes the delicious batter!!  And don't freak out if the first one turns out funny - mine stuck to the top and bottom and completely split apart.  I then asked my friend if he would like a waffle taco in exchange for helping me move a bookshelf - #problemsolver.

Serve the waffles with a scoop of apples on top and an apple mimosa on the side.





These can definitely be frozen and reheated later, if you want to make a big batch to impress your friends and family.  Added bonus of being able to yell, "and in the mornin', I'm making WAFFLES" at sleepovers.

The batter comes together quickly, and most of this stuff is a pantry staple (unless you have to find a million fancy cheeses).  I actually thought that waffles were difficult to make before this and was pleasantly surprised and how easy it was.  I will DEFINITELY be having more brunches from now on! Or just random waffles on a Tuesday, because, why not?

Now, go forth and impress people.