Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts.  These cute little cabbages have a bad rap.  Despised by children everywhere (an most adults if we're honest here).  But, like most veggies, with a little olive oil and oven time, even brussel sprouts can taste good.

We first ventured into brussel sprout consumption when we were searching for another common veggie.  See, Dave and I don't like pretty much any of the same vegetables and we were looking to get out of our pea rut.  So, we bought our first bag of sprouts, roasted them up and they were...mediocre!  But, good enough that we kept tweaking the recipe and now have found something special.  Well, as special as veggies can get, I mean, they aren't like birthday cake or anything.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

  • 25-30 brussel sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper (you could use some red pepper flakes if you are feeling especially sassy)
  • 2-3 tablespoons vinegar of your choice (I like red wine, Dave prefers balsamic)
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan (or equally stinky) cheese, optional 
Trim the ends off the brussel sprouts.  Peel the first layer of loose leaves off the sprouts.  Cut sprouts in half.  In a large bowl, toss together brussel sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread sprouts onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silpat.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  You want the outsides to be dark and crispy but not burnt and you want the insides to be cooked all the way through.  Thorough cooking of the sprouts subdues their intense flavor.  

When the brussel sprouts are done, top with vinegar and grated Parm.  Enjoy! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pecan Pie Mini Muffins

I have a real love/hate relationship with mini muffins.  On the one hand, they are lovely to just pop into your mouth.  On the other hand, a recipe typically makes, oh, about a million and I am standing around scooping tiny amounts of batter into tiny cupcake wrappers for ages.

This recipe, however, is designed to make minis.  Only about 2 dozen, which happens to be exactly how many my mini muffin tin will hold.  (OK, maybe the recipe makes like 26 or 28 and maybe the batter was so good that I didn't bother with a second round of muffins and just scraped the bowl).  And they really do taste like little pecan pies.

Pecan Pie Mini Muffins

adapted from "Taste Of Asbury"
makes about 2 dozen mini muffins

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs

In a large bowl stir together melted butter and eggs.  Add in brown sugar and stir to combine.  Stir in flour until just combined.  Fold in the pecans.  Line mini cupcake pan with mini cupcake papers or grease well.  Dollop teaspoonfuls of batter into cupcake liners until about 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Remove from pan as soon as possible (unless you did not use cupcake liners, in which case you should let them cool)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Funday

Happy Sunday!  I hope everyone is enjoying this lovely fall weather.  I have purchased and consumed my first round of apple doughnuts and am thinking about all things pumpkin.

Last night we got all dressed up and went to Girl and The Goat for dinner with some friends.  It was so tasty.  Not one dish was bad (and between the four of us, we ordered a lot of dishes).  Everybody must know how good it is though, took us a couple months to get reservations for a normal time on a Saturday night.  Well worth the wait, though.

Some interesting things from this week:

Beer brownies...need I say more?

I'm not super crafty, but this no-sew elephant might be doable.  Miss Lotus might have to get one for Christmas.

I have started using Canava for design stuffs.  I kind of love it.  It's so easy to use.

I am always looking for a good granola bar recipe.  These Chia Energy Bars might just be the ticket.

Totally never thought of this, but um, duh.  Maybe that is why I have so much trouble with pie.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Bites with Cream Cheese Buttercream

pumpkin, spice, pumpkin spice, cookie, frosting, cream cheese

Ok, so basically these are the same recipe I published on Wednesday.  But here's the thing.  Now they are bite sized and have frosting.  Better right?

The cool part is if you make a batch of these pumpkin spice muffins, all you have to do is leave a bit of batter at the bottom of your bowl and scoop it out onto a cookie sheet.  Frost them with that leftover frosting in your freezer.  (You do have leftover frosting in your freezer, right? I'm not the only baking weirdo who does that, am I?)  Instant dessert/snack/breakfast/whatever floats your boat.  Or, you can make the whole batch into bites and have a million of these little guys floating around, begging you to pop one in your mouth.  Both are good choices.  It's all about choices.

Pumpkin Spice Bites

  • 1 spice cake mix
  • 1-15 ounce can pumpkin

Stir together cake mix and pumpkin.  Drop by the teaspoonful onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • 1 package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5-6 tablespoons water
Cream together cream cheese and butter.  Add in vanilla and beat to combine.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar and beat to combine.  Add in the water 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.  Frost pumpkin spice bites as desired.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Well, I can't deny it anymore.  Fall has come here to the midwest.  I had been hoping it was maybe just a bit of a cold snap and we would warm back up to a few more weeks of summer.  I don't think that is going to be the case.   I bought my first jug of apple cider and have been dunking my tea bag in it all week.

I guess that means it's okay to crack out the pumpkin and start some fall baking.  Remember these two ingredient muffins?  These are a variation my aunt told me about.  I realized it was totally brilliant and had to share.

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1-15 ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl stir together cake mix and pumpkin puree.  Fold in the chopped walnuts.  Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners or spray generously with cooking spray.  Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.  If desired, sprinkle with raw sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Be sure to test for doneness with a toothpick.  Baked goods with pumpkin are notorious for staying raw in the middle.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tiffany Birthday Cake

Here's a look at the Tiffany box cake I made for my darling little niece's first birthday.  The cake is funfetti cake with a double batch of American buttercream frosting.  Covered in fondant.  Bow is made from gum paste.  Writing hand painted on with piping gel.

It is a 10 inch square cake that is made up of 2, 2 inch cakes with a layer of buttercream in between.  There was about 40 people at the party and I had about 1/2 the cake left over.  It was a bigger cake than it looked.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Salted Caramel Coffee

I used to work fairly near this little local coffee shop.  It was the kind of place with eclectic knicknacks and live music on Friday night.  The owner of the shop makes your coffee and he would serve it in a mug so big it took two hands to hold it.  It was a place of refuge for me all winter long.

It was here that I had my first affogato, dark rich espresso poured over sweet homemade ice cream.  It was this wonderful blend of hot and cold, sweet and bitter.

This drink has all the same attributes.  Creamy, sweet caramel ice cream plopped into dark bitter coffee.  The result is heavenly.  I'm sure that you can probably buy salted caramel ice cream, but take the time to make your own, you won't regret it.  Salted caramel ice cream is completely addictive.
This recipe from David Lebovitz is perfect.  It takes a bit of time but is well well worth the effort.

Salted Caramel Coffee

  • 1 cup favorite blend coffee
  • 1 (or 3) scoops salted caramel ice cream   
Make your coffee.  Add in as much ice cream as desired.  I like a little bit more, but if you are interested in a little less sweet, it can be made just to your liking.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Maple Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

It's another Monday.  Maybe you're like me and ate a little too much junk and drank a little too much soda over the weekend.  Maybe you're like me and you went for a run and felt like that justified eating about 20 Rolos.  Maybe your thinking cause this is Monday, I should snack on some fruit or something with a little less refined sugar.

This fruit dip is packed with protein from the peanut butter and Greek yogurt sweetened with just a touch of pure maple syrup and spiced with a hint of cinnamon.  Only four ingredients.  If you're like me, you don't want to put too much pressure on yourself this early in the week:)  Perfect pick me up for a Monday.

Maple Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff)

Stir ingredients together.  Serve with fruit.  Crazy easy.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Funday

Hope everybody enjoyed their shortened work week.  I know we are supposed to be headed into fall, but here, everything is still super hot and humid.

I went to the county fair on Thursday night and it was wonderful as usual.  As kids, my grandparents would take us.  We would ride a million rides, the tilt-a whirl being my favorite.  We would play games, each hoping to win a goldfish to take home.  My mother really loved that the years that we won (nothing quite like taking care of a stinky goldfish).  And of course, there was cotton candy.

Now I go to the fair to look at the animals and the baked good entries, but mostly I go for the food.  I have been going with the same people to the fair nearly every year for more than a decade and each year the food strategy is a bit different.  One year, we bought cups for bottomless homemade rootbeer.  That was a pretty bad call.  We drank so much rootbeer we ended up with quite a tummy ache.

This year, among other things, was the first year I tried the deep fried Snickers bar.  It was good, but certainly not $7 (plus  the damage to my arteries) good.  Next year I will know to stick to the funnel cakes.

Fried Snickers

Here are some interesting reads from this week:

Plum season is here and this plum cake looks like the perfect weekend snack.

As you know, peanut butter and chocolate are some of my favorite things so Yammie's flourless chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting is right up my ally.

These cinnamon roll cookie bars look like all of the awesome of a cinnamon roll and about half the work.

This article by Allison Vesterfelt speaks to me.  Actually, almost everything this girl writes is gold.

Lemon cake is one of the best kind of desserts and these lemon cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting are calling my name.

Love this interview with Valerie Jarrett.  "Put yourself in the path of lightning."

And of course, if you missed it, I made some peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies with whole wheat flour this week.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  Tell me, did you do anything fun?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies

Feeding people is my love language.  (Not just people, really, I love feeding my critters too).  One of my favorite things is to whip up a batch of cookies or bake a loaf of bread for a friend.  It's my little way of telling them I love them.

I read, once, of a woman who prays over her knitting for the person the project is for.  That is a little bit of what I do when I bake for you.  I think about you as I cream together butter and sugar.  I am grateful for you as I sprinkle in baking powder.  I pray for your struggles as I fold in the chocolate chips.  And I hope, that with the gift of these cookies, you know that I love you and am always here for you.

So, if you get the chance this week, make some cookies for someone you love.  These even have whole wheat flour in they are kinda healthy, right?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces (1/2 bag) mini chocolate chips
In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter and peanut butter together.  Stir in brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla.  Add in flour 1/2 cup at a time.  It is always possible you will need slightly less flour than the recipe calls for.  Your dough should be thick but not dry.  Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet (or line it with parchment paper).  Scoop cookie dough by the tablespoonful onto cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  Allow to cool and enjoy.  Preferably with a tall glass of milk.

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