Saturday, December 20, 2014

Crazy Ingredient Challenge - Holiday Edition

You know what's super fun?  Getting emailed two random ingredients and then figuring out what to make with them.  SERIOUSLY.  Everyone should do this on occasion, even if it's just finding random things in your fridge that need to go.  That works too.



In the spirit of the holidays, this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge was Cranberries and Gingerbread spice.  Obviously, I made cookies.

For my birthday, my sister gave me a couple of cookbooks.  I finally busted them out, and found a great recipe in The Working Class Foodies Cookbook.  If you don't have this and you're trying to cook on a budget (or just looking to save more money for important things, like beer and getting your nails done), definitely check it out.  As I was perusing it, I discovered a recipe that would adapt perfectly - Cranberry Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Lace Cookies.   Wow - mouthful.

Anyways, these cookies have cranberries and chocolate, so they're basically awesome.  The recipe called for cinnamon and nutmeg, but I needed gingerbread spice,  So, I just subbed the same amount of gingerbread spice to equal the amount of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Done and done.




Cranberry Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Lace Cookies:

For the Gingerbread Spice:
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Cloves
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Allspice

For the Cookies:
1 Stick Butter, Softened
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Egg
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Oatmeal
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soad
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Teaspoons Gingerbread Spice
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chipes
1/4 Cup Milk (maybe more, depends on your batter)

To make the gingerbread spice, mix all the spices together.  Store in a baggie in the spice place.




Pre-heat the oven to 350 and prepare your baking sheets (I now have silpats, but if you don't, butter, parchment paper, or spray stuff is fine).

Mix together the butter and sugars until fluffy, then add the vanilla and egg.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix.  Then, add the cranberries and chocolate.

Mix about half of the dry ingredients with the wet, then add the milk.  Add in the remainder of the dry ingredients.  Add a bit more milk if you think it's way too dry.

Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the cookie pans halfway through.  Remember to leave LOTS of space between the cookies - these spread out quite a bit and you don't want MEGACOOKIE.  Or maybe you do?  Whatever, do what you want.




These were delicious.  The gingerbread spice really shone through and added a little sommin sommin to the cookies.  I've actually never used gingerbread spice before (because I've never made gingerbread cookies...), so I wasn't entirely sure how it would turn out - sometimes I find myself either over or underwhelmed by spices (only just whelmed in Europe).

If you're a bloggy type, you should definitely join us for the next Crazy Ingredient Challenge.  It's pretty low pressure (participate when you can, it's always the 20th) and a lot of fun.


HunngryLittleGirl


Now, check out what my friends made!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Just Add Cooking!!

Hi, team!  How are you?  Busy busy?  I think we all are this time of year.  I've been cooking, baking, and running around like a crazy person lately.  I've seen the Nutcracker, gone out with a friend who was in from out of town, baked about a billion cookies, snuggled my new BFF baby Ryan, and been to an event for Just Add Cooking.

What is Just Add Cooking?  Glad you asked, dear readers.  It is Boston's newest meals delivery service. They know you're busy, but you still gotta eat, and while a dinner of cheese and crackers is never amiss, that's not really a solution.  So, they have partnered with a TON of local foodie types, including my one true love, Allandale, to bring you boxes of delicious food to make.  All you gotta do is just add cooking.  Glorious, and much welcomed, especially this time of year.

As part of the event, we got to try out a few of the recipes.  DELICIOUS.  It was held at Sur La Table, so in addition to delicious food, I also got a few new knife skillz.  And toys, but that's another discussion (my lack of self control in kitchen stores is not something I'm willing to deal with.  Ever.). The menu was:

Arugula Salad with Beets, Goat Cheese, and Pine Nuts




























Pan-Seared Scallops with Oranges in a Ginger Vinaigrette




























Mexican Cod with Garlic Mashed Potatoes























Doesn't that look amazing?  Trust me, it was.  Everything was delicious, but the cod was my favorite. I don't cook fish very often, because it always seems very difficult to me, but it's not.  This was so simple, just saute some veggies, add tomatoes, and then the fish.  Cover and cook.  Plus, with your box, you get simple, step by step instructions, with a break down of when you should start different parts of the meal, so it can cook together.  That right there is worth the price of admission, unless the rest of you have magical powers that allow all the food to cook at the right time and come out warm simultaneously.  In which case, let's chat, because I need to know your magic.

Everything comes packaged in the exact amount you need, so there's none of that "ok, so now what do I make with a half a leek, a tomato, and some cilantro" nonsense.  And you don't have to leave the house. The delivery guy doesn't care if you're still in your PJs at 3pm, so don't even bother to get dressed.  Step out your door, grab your box of food, and Just Add Cooking!

Disclaimer: I was very kindly given a discount code for both Just Add Cooking and Sur la Table at this event.  However, all opinions are 100% mine and not affected in the slightest by this gesture.  As if I ever hold back, have we met? 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Today's post is brought to you by the letter "C".  Sing it with me, guys:

C is for COOKIE, that's good enough for me.
C is for COOKIE, that's good enough for me. 
C is for COOKIE, that's good enough for me...... 
OH, cookie cookie cookie starts with "C".

Also, did you know that Cookie Monster's first name is Sid?  Yep.  The more you know....

Anyhow, it's cookie swapping time around here.  I have actually participated in several this year, which is awesome.  One cannot have too many cookies to share with their friends.  I did the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and was gifted THREE delightful dozens of cookies from my new friends.  Seriously, amazing.  And I sent the same number to other new friends.  This is all kinds of awesome, although I'm not sure what my neighbors think now - I have gotten a TON of mail lately. Eek.  

I feel like I always make plain, chocolate chip cookies, which are amazing, but it's always nice to switch it up.  So, for this, I did some Peanut Butter Chocolate Sandwiches.  Basically, you make PB cookies, then glue them together with chocolate.  There are no flaws in this plan, unless you happen to be allergic to peanuts, in which case I cannot help you.  




Peanut Butter Chocolate Sandwich Cookies - From Tracey's Culinary Adventures
**Please note that I doubled this - if you're making a normal amount of food, you don't need to do this**. 
Cookies
2 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter, at room temperature (I had to use a little bit of Almond Butter, because 5 cups of PB is apparently more than the giant giant jar I got....who knew)
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Filling
10 Oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate (I used Chocolate Chips)
1 Stick Butter (8oz), cut into pieces















Pre-heat the oven to 350 and spray, line, silpat, etc some cookie sheets. 

In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, sugar, and baking soda, until well mixed.  Then, add the eggs and vanilla and continue to mix until smooth.  Bask in the delight of such a large and beautiful bowl of cookie.  
















Use a cookie scoop or two spoons or your hands to plop fairly evenly sized cookies on the pan.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Don't put them too close together, or else you'll end up with MEGACOOKIE.  Which is delicious, but probably damned hard to make into 36 individual sandwiches.  















For the filling, melt it all in your melty vehicle of choice.  Because I'm a rebellious hippie, I don't own a microwave and must do such things on the stove.  I know.  Anyways, melt it, then let it thicken and cool some - I actually put mine in the freezer to expedite this.  

Then, spread a little (or a lottle) chocolate onto the bottom of one cookie.  Wait for it to set up a little bit, and then sammich with another cookie.  Let them firm up before transferring into bags. 















Thank you SO much to the lovely hosts, Lindsay and Julie for hosting this.  I got delicious treats from Lexi and Lexie BitesLauren at Healthy Delicious, and Cyndi at My Kitchen Craze - Almond Crescent Cookies, Eggnog Sugar Cookies, and Gingerbread Kisses respectively.  Jump on over and say hello.  Make sure to check out the treats, because they were YUMMY!! 

I sent my lot to Jessica at Stuck on SweetChelsea at KaTom Blog, and Trang at Wild Whisk.  I hope everyone enjoyed them!!  I had so much fun participating in this :) 

And now, because I feel like it's been a while, here's a picture of Milton sample searching.  Lucky for him, Miya is a pretty easy target and he spent a good part of the day trying to figure out how to completely clean a jar of peanut butter the size of him. 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread

Hello, Everyone!!  Did you all have a nice Thanksgiving?  I sure did - there was SO MUCH food, a lot of fun with friends, and a fried turkey.  Milton was most impressed with the turkey.  That dog loves him some poultry.

Anyways, once again, time has totally gotten away from me and all of a sudden, it's Leftovers Club time again.  In case you're new here, welcome, the Leftovers Club is a group of bloggers who send delicious treats through the mail.  It's a nice way to get your blog out there and eat.  Win-win.  Sign up.  This month, I was paired with Ginger at Stark Raving Delicious.  She sent me some awesome lemon cranberry shortbread cookies.  They were also packaged super cutely in a little box with a tag...I have got to up my game here :)

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread - from What's Cookin' Italian Style







FYI - This makes two loaves, so plan accordingly :)

3/4 cup butter, softened 
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese 
2 cups sugar 2 large eggs 3 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed (about 1 1/4 lbs. or 4 medium) 
1 teaspoon grated orange peel1 cup of fresh or dried cranberries1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Pre-heat the oven to 350.  Grease TWO loaf pans (or one casserole pan, if you wanted to do it cake style) and set aside.  Do not try to cram this all into one pan, you will then have to spend 10 minutes staring at it, trying to figure out how to separate it into two pans without making a huge mess (use a small spoon, go slow).  This is time you will never get back.  

Cream together the cream cheese, sugar, and butter, until smooth.  Then, blend in the bananas and eggs. 

Add in the other ingredients and mix lightly until just combined - I usually use a whisk or a spoonula for this instead of the mixer.  

Divide into two equalish portions and bake until a fork comes out clean - around an hour.  

You could add a glaze of some kind to this, if you wanted, but I felt like there was already enough going on with the orange zest and the berries and the bananas.  It is actually so good that I don't even feel the need to toast it and add a bunch of crap on top when I eat it (not that there's anything wrong with that).  And, as a bonus, 1 cup is about the amount of cranberries left in the bag after you make cranberry sauce #winning.






Check out what my friends made: 








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.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Tomato and Zucchini Pie

So, apparently many of my northern friends haven't heard of the delight that is a tomato pie.  For those of you who are uninformed, it's basically tomatoes in a pie crust with pimento cheese on top.  Then baked.  Don't think about it too much, you'll be sad about the calories.  I can assure you though, it is absolutely worth it.  It's kind of like a combination of my two favorite summer sandwiches: tomato and mayo and tomato and cheese.  Clearly, I enjoy summer tomatoes.

I thought that I'd try to lighten this up a little bit, and add in some other farm share goodies that are about to go bad.  So, I lightened up the cheese topping with Greek yogurt, and added zucchini.  The results?  Amazing.







Summer Tomato and Zucchini Pie:

For the Pie:
2 Medium Tomatoes
1 1/2 Zucchini
1 Pie Crust

For the Topping:
1/2 Cup Mayo (please God get the full fat - the low cal isn't worth it)
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 1/2 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
4 Sweet/Spicy Cherry Peppers (I found mine at Trader Joe's, but any kind of jarred pepper/pimentos would work)

Pre-heat the oven to 350.  Roll out your pie crust and place into a greased pie pan.  Poke a lot of holes in it, then pre-bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is a little brown.  Allow it to cool somewhat before filling, but do not turn off the oven.

While that's cooking, chop the zucchini into circles and the tomatoes into slices.  Place the tomatoes onto paper towels and salt both sides.  Allow to drain for 20-30 min; this helps the pie crust stay firm.

Next, make up your topping.  Since my peppers were large, I threw them into the food processor for a second, so they'd be chopped up.  Mix everything together, adding more cheese if it seems too loose. Salt and pepper to taste!

To make the pie, simply layer the tomatoes and zucchini into the pie crust.



























Top with the cheese mixture and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.



























I like mine a little more on the crispy side, so I did about 40 minutes.




























Allow to cool, then enjoy!

Question of the Day:

What's your favorite thing to make with summer produce? 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Liebster Award

So, the other day, something really awesome happened.  I was nominated for a Liebster Award by the delightful Lizzi at Relish the Scoop.  I'm super excited, especially since I never win anything, and am touched that she nominated me.  Also, her name is Lizzi, so she's clearly amazing.  Thanks girl!  And, what a great way to get to know each other better.








The rules for a Liebster Award are as follows:


  • You must link back to the person who nominated you. 
  • You have to answer all the questions you were given by the person who nominated you.
  • You must choose 5-11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers (I used Facebook likes), and come up with a new set of 11 questions for them.
  • Let your nominees know they are nominated.
I have chosen the delightful bloggers at:
Bagels to Broccoli




1. How did you decide what you were going to write about on your blog?

It was pretty easy for me; cooking was the only hobby I had that I felt would translate into a blog. I'm not super fitnessy (I go to the gym just enough to moderately offset the cookies), I don't really craft, etc. I do love to read, but I didn't think that would be a great blog topic for the long haul. So, cooking it was.

2. Do you have any children? How do they influence your blogging?

I don't have kids, but I do babysit a lot, so I'm around them. A couple of them have starred on this blog before here.  I try to cook with them as much as possible, since I want them to have good life skills, but I don't think they really influence my blogging. Definitely my life though.

3. What is your favorite thing to read?

Honestly, basically anything.  I just really, really love reading.  A lot.  Right now, I'm reading Conduct Under Fire, which is about 4 American doctors who become POWs under the Japanese during World War II.  I find that time period absolutely fascinating and kind of (definitely) wish that I had lived in it.  Before this, I read The Poisonwood Bible, which is about a Christian missionary family who goes to the Congo right before/during their independence.  I seriously love to read everything, so any suggestions are more than welcome.

4. How has blogging changed your life?

Well, it's definitely made me a more confident cook.  There are many things that I'm not sure I would have tried, had I not thought that putting them on the blog would be fun.  Some of them are fails, which is ok.  So that's maybe the other thing it's taught me - failing isn't the actual end of the world.  Even if you put in on the internet.

5. What is your favorite blog?

Ooooh, that's a tough one.  The first blog I ever read was Cheap Healthy Good, so that obviously has a special place in my heart.  But I think my current favorite is How Sweet It Is.  The women who writes it is absolutely hilarious.  Clearly, we share a sense of humor.  And her recipes...gah.  SO GOOD.

6. What is your happy thought/place?

Milton

7. Do you like to cook, bake, or both?

I used to prefer baking, but I think I've switched and now prefer cooking.  Don't get me wrong, I still love to bake, but I think cooking better lends itself to experimentation.  There is a lot more science in baking, and while I'm a good directions follower (which I swear is really the key to being a decent baker), to be a good cook, you don't have to be as precise to get a delicious result.

8. What could you talk about for hours?

Basically anything.  I'm chatty.

9. Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Oh so very many.  In no particular order: Applebee's, Wendy's, trash TV, day-long naps, Pinterest, Danielle Steel novels....I could go on, but it's just getting embarrassing now.

10. Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Dog person all the way.

11. What is your favorite board game?

Cards Against Humanity.  I love anything that brings out the most ridiculous and sketchy in people.

Now, love ladies listed above, it's your turn!

1) Why did you start blogging?
2) What is your favorite Robin Williams movie?
3) Do you have any pets?
4) If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
5) What's your favorite book?
6) What do you do to relax?
7) If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want the most?
8) Did you go to college?  If so, where?
9) If you could chose to go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
10) What is your favorite 90's television show?
11) What is your ultimate comfort food?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Almond Butter Thumbprints with Espresso Chocolate Truffles - The Leftovers Club

Once again, it's Leftovers Club time, that joyous club in which I make yummy things and then I get other yummy things in the mail; if you have a blog (or are considering starting one), you should totally join.  You get food in the mail.  How is this bad?

This month, I've been paired with Ruthy, from Omeletta.  As always, she's got some delightful looking treats on her blog, as well as a really adorable baby.  I'm a total sucker for a really adorable baby.  And, the baby food she's making looks amazing.  She also has a really cool series called 5 Great Recipes, in which there is a main ingredient or theme and then 5 recipes using it.  Genius, pure and simple.



If you hadn't noticed by the title, I made her some FANCY treats this month.  And, they're totally worth every step.  They're basically a more sophisticated version of the beloved PB thumbprints that people only seem to make at Christmas.  Why is that, it's as if PB and chocolate isn't delicious the rest of the year.

Almond Butter Thumbprints with Expresso Chocolate Truffles: Adapted from The Kitchn

For the espresso truffles
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (10 ounce) bag bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Kahlua liqueur

1 teaspoon espresso powder

For the Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup almond butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk (I actually used Fat Free Half and Half, because I had it, but I'm sure whatever kind of milk you usually drink will be fine)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate espresso truffles (recipe above)

Start by making the truffles.  Heat the cream over medium heat until simmering.  In a separate bowl, combine the espresso powder, Kahlua, and chocolate. Combine with the cream until melted (I actually mixed it all together and put it over the heat again, but you could also pour the cream over the chocolate and melt it that way, off the heat).

Allow the chocolate to cool for about 10-15 minutes.  Then, load it into a bag of some kind (I just use a gallon storage bag, and start piping.  You want it to be runny, but not overly so.  I think the easiest way is to line a plate or sheet with parchment paper, cut a VERY small hole in the tip of the bag, and go to town.  If the hole doesn't seem big enough, then you can always make it bigger.


























While those are setting, start on the cookies.  Pre-heat the oven to 375.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Beat together the butter and almond butter, then add the sugars and cream together.

Mix in the eggs, milk, and vanilla.  Finally, add in the dry ingredients.

Roll the cookie dough into small balls and place onto a baking sheet.  Push a thumbprint lightly in the middle, so the chocolate has somewhere to go.  Cook for approximately 10 minutes.  Press the truffle into the middle as soon as it's not too hot.


























I absolutely loved these.  So much, that this is the second time I've made them - and I usually don't do that. They're not overly sweet, but instead a lot nuttier than typical PB cookies.  I hugely recommend subbing out some Almond Butter once in a while, this can only lead to good.

Check out what my friends made!!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread - The Leftovers Club

I swear, time is just speeding up over here.  Didn't I just post this awesome cake like three days ago? Anyways, it's that time again.  If you're unfamiliar, The Leftovers Club is a group of foodie type bloggers who send each other food once a month.  If you have a blog, you need to do this.  There are free treats.  In the mail.  Waiting, at your home, for you to eat.  Best. Idea. Ever.  Also, new people come to visit your blog, and you make new friends.  I love all these things.

This month, I have been paired with Kim, who blogs at Feed Me Seymour.  You should definitely check out her blog ASAP; she's got some amazing looking recipes, including Tomato Bacon Jam.  I mean, hello, she made jam out of bacon, she has precious puppies, and she hates raisins.  This is the beginnings of a beautiful friendship.



Anyways, I have this CSA thing in my house, so there is a lot of zucchini.  And lettuce, but I couldn't figure out how to turn that into a baked good that people might want to eat, so I went with zucchini bread. Specifically, the kind with chocolate chips.  Because chocolate chips make everything amazing.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread - Adapted from Mom on Timeout

This is the basic "dump things into a bowl, stir, put it in the oven" type quick bread recipe.  Definitely my favorite kind.


























1 1/2 Cups Mashed Banana (3-4 bananas)
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
6 Tablespoons Butter
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Grated zucchini (most of a decent sized zucchini)
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Chocolate Chips (I don't like to put amounts on this, because it's not up to me to tell you how to live your life.  Put as many as you damn well please in there)

Pre-heat the oven to 325.  While it's heating up, mash the bananas up.

Then, add in the butter, egg, vanilla, and brown sugar.  When that's all nice and combined, stir in the the zucchini. 

Add the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.  

Dump in the chocolate chips.  Stir and put into a greased baking pan. 

Cook at 325 for around an hour, or until a fork comes out clean.  

This stuff is delish, it ships decently, and with the bananas and zucchini, it's pretty much a health food. I did wait until late in the day to bake it, because it's hot.  Milton is melting. 



























Now, go forth and see what other goodies people have made!!