Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gingerbread Ice Cream

I saw this cookbook called Gingerbread a couple of months ago and as I was flipping through it, I started to realize that I wanted to make everything in the book. I had no idea how I would ever narrow it down and choose a recipe to actually make. I thumbed through it again and bookmarked a bunch of things and then, last week I had 6 egg yolks hanging out in the fridge and I knew ice cream was the answer.

I saw Tracey's post about this ice cream last week and that just help verify the fact that I was going to make it.

This ice cream tastes and smells exactly like gingerbread! It is loaded with spices and molasses. Fresh ginger is steeped in the milk/cream mixture, so it really has a great ginger flavor. This is the perfect ice cream for the holidays. It tastes like the holidays! It also stays nice and creamy, even after spending time in the freezer. If you have a gingerbread fiend in the house, they will love this!

Here is the recipe for Gingerbread Ice Cream

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cranberry Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies

I always want to incorporate fresh cranberries into my holiday baking somehow. I usually find a bar cookie that contains fresh cranberries and this year I was hoping to find something a little bit different. I saw a link for these Cranberry Cinnamon Pinwheels on Pinterest and I knew that they would be made for the holidays.

First you make a fresh cranberry filling that contains a little sugar and some cinnamon. You have to set that aside and let it cool completely. The filling is spread over a basic cookie dough, flavored with cinnamon and then the dough+filling are rolled up cinnamon roll style. The dough has to be frozen and for good reason. I wouldn't want to try slicing these when the filling is gooey. The freezer time makes these cookies easy to slice and bake.

I haven't been eating sweets for a couple of months, but I tried one of these and thought they were really good. I was surprised that my kids really liked them too. They aren't very sweet, but they have just enough sweetness to be a great cookie. The cranberry filling is tart and delicious and the cinnamon in the dough and filling really brings it all together. Plus, they look festive and are fun to share!

Here is the link for Cranberry Cinnamon Pinwheels

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints

I saw these cookies in the latest issue of EveryDay Food Magazine and knew they were the perfect cookie for my holiday treat plates. A quick brownie-like cookie that is filled with a creamy, peppermint-chocolate filling- what could be better? These were received with rave reviews and quite a few requests for the recipe.

Chocolate-Peppermint Thumbprints
Makes 4 dozen


2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (3/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup each butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine.
  2. Place 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Place balls, 1 inch apart, on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 5 minutes. Remove sheets from oven; with the small end of a melon baller or the bottom of a small round measuring spoon make an indentation in center of each cookie.
  3. Bake until cookies are just set but still look moist, 4 minutes (do not overbake). Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
  4. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter in 10-second increments until melted; stir in peppermint extract. Let cool until thick enough to pipe, 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large zip-top bag; snip 1/4-inch hole in one corner. Pipe chocolate into cookie indentations. Store in airtight containers, up to 1 week.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cranberry Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits & Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Black Beans

Once again horrible, quick photos. You will have to overlook them please, because these two things are very tasty.

First up, Cranberry Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits. My son chose dinner the other night and he wanted fried eggs, sauteed swiss chard & spinach, and biscuits. I know for a fact that these were not the kind of biscuits he wanted, but I was ready to try them, so I made half of them without the cranberries. This recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour and it makes a very tender, delicious biscuit. My daughters and I thought the ones with cranberries were very good and my son enjoyed those that were cranberry free.

Second, this Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad. I'm happy to say that I have completely overcome my dislike of sweet potatoes. The key for me is to combine them with savory and/or spicy ingredients. I made this salad for a Christmas party and it was really delicious. Pretty simple too. I didn't follow the directions exactly because I wanted to add the lime juice and olive oil bit by bit, so I could adjust the taste and I also wanted the little bites of jalapeno to be in there, not pureed. I loved this salad. Many people requested the recipe. It is a fun, healthy alternative/salad that can be shared at this time of year.

Here is the recipe for Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Black Beans
* I didn't puree the dressing, I just added the jalapenos, lime juice and other ingredients
the the roasted veggies & beans
* I used less olive oil than called for, both when roasted the sweet potatoes and when dressing the salad

Here is the recipe for Cranberry Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits
* I used low-fat buttermilk
* I only added frozen cranberries to half of my biscuits

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dorie's Sugar Topped Molasses Cookies

These cookies are a family favorite that make the holiday treat rotation every single year. The dough is easy to mix together, can be made ahead of time, and they are just the perfect spicy/molasses cookie- crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. I made them again this year for a Christmas party and they were a hit. If you want an even chewier cookie, you can skip the step that flattens the cookies with a glass dipped in sugar. Merry Baking!

Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies
by Dorie Greenspan

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

a pinch cracked or coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 cup (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)

1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar, for rolling

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and pepper.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes or so to blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour and spices disappear. If some flour remains in the bottom of the bowl, to avoid over-beating the dough, mix in the last of the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula. You'll have a smooth, very soft dough.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The dough can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 days.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Put the sugar in a small bowl.

Working with one packet of dough at a time, divide it into 12 pieces, and roll each piece into a smooth ball between your palms. One by one, roll the balls around in the bowl of sugar , then place them on one of the baking sheets. Dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar and use it to press down on the cookies until they are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops feel set to the touch. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, if the cookies have spread and are touching, use the edge of a metal spatula to separate them while they are still hot.

Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the second batch of dough.

Yield: about 24 fairly large cookies

Storage: The cookies will keep for at least 1 week in the cookie jar. Wrapped airtight, they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club- Honey Glazed Almonds

This month's Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club theme was Holiday Hors d'oeuvres, chosen by Sandi.
You can see the full menu by visiting Val's blog here.

I decided to make Honey Glazed Almonds. This recipe is very easy and takes about 10 minutes to throw together. You toast the almonds in a skillet for a few minutes on the stovetop and then mix together the honey & spices. That mixture is warmed in the microwave and then added to the almonds. You just stir and cook for 2 more minutes and then spread the nuts on a piece of parchment to let them set up for 10 minutes. They couldn't be easier!

I didn't have chipotle chili powder, just plain chili powder and I was wishing these nuts had a little bit more spice. Next time I will double the spice. These nuts are slightly sweet and crunchy and they make the perfect finger food. They would make a great addition to any holiday party or table, and would also be great as a gift or snack. Very versatile.

Here is the recipe for Honey Glazed Almonds
* I would add more of the spices to kick up the flavor next time

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hazelnut Blondies

It's that time of year when everyone starts making cookies, candies, and other treats to share with their families and friends. Fun, fun, fun. The hard part is deciding which treats to make!

When my sister was here visiting about 2 months ago, we made these blondies together. I decided to save them until the holidays because I thought they would be a great addition to any party, plate, or whatever else you all might have going on this month. These are a very basic blondie with hazelnuts adding some extra texture and flavor and they are topped with Nutella.
My sister ending up taking them back with her and sharing them with her co-workers and everyone really enjoyed them.

Here is the recipe for Hazelnut Blondies

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime and Jalapeno

I wasn't planning on posting about any of the things I made for Thanksgiving, but everytime I eat some of this Cranberry Salsa that was leftover, I think about how good it is and how I should really share it. The picture is from a few days after I made it, so you can't see the intense green of the cilantro and jalapeno, but the flavor is still there. This salsa was so delicious on turkey and I have been eating it on almost anything since then. It is good with pita chips, on crackers with cheese, with fresh cut-up veggies, on salad greens, sandwiches, etc. It is so good. It has a nice spicy bite, thanks to the jalapenos, but it isn't too strong. Just the way I like it. Plus, right now there are still lots of fresh cranberries available and this would be a great dish to share at any holiday dinner, get-together, or for an ordinary day.

Here is the recipe for Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime and Jalapeno
* I used about 2 Tbls less sugar than the recipe called for, but used white granulated sugar and not a sugar substitute

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole Cookie Bars

I still had some sweet potato puree left in my fridge and decided to try out these beautiful cookie bars I saw on Pinterest. Mine are not quite as delicately cut, but here they are none the less. This is a basic cookie batter and then sweet potato puree is folded in at the end. I only made 1/2 of the recipe and it still made quite a bit. My daughter declared that they are delicious and the rest are headed to work with my husband. These would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving dinner or fall outing.

Have a great Thanksgiving! I hope you get to share it with your family and friends!

Here is the recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole Cookie Bars
* I omitted the ancho chili powder
* I substituted 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice for the canela
* I made 1/2 recipe

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sweet Potato Biscuits

I've made Sweet Potato Biscuits before and they were good, but I never had much luck getting them to rise very high. I made a version of this soup (with adaptations) last night and had a bunch of sweet potato puree thawing in the fridge, so I decided to try a new recipe. I used reduced fat buttermilk instead of skim milk, because I like the way buttermilk works in baked goods, especially biscuits. I wasn't sure what to expect, but these biscuits were light, fluffy and very delicious. I thought about adding some spices, like cinnamon or nutmeg, but since we were enjoying them with soup, I left them alone.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

adapted from Cooking Light

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chilled butter
  • 1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 400°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add sweet potato, milk, and honey; stir just until moist.

Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface; knead lightly 5 times. Pat dough into a 9-inch square; cut into 16 squares. Place biscuits on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes and Perfect Pumpkin Cookies

Once again, I present horrible photos! Sorry about that. I kinda forgot about the time change and how it gets dark early and etc., etc. But, I wanted to share these 2 quick, easy and delicious pumpkin treats with you that we made this past Sunday for a family dinner.

I wanted to make a soft pumpkin chocolate chip cookie and decided to give this recipe a try. I thought they turned out really great. My kids loved them too.

I had 3/4 cup pumpkin puree left and didn't really feel like letting it sit in my fridge, so I quickly found another recipe that used exactly that much pumpkin. They aren't technically donuts, but a mini muffin that kind of tastes like a donut. They are dipped in melted butter and then coated in cinnamon-sugar. Similar to the ones I made last year, but the ingredient list is a little different.

Here is the recipe for Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes
*I only dipped the tops into melted butter instead of the whole thing

Here is the recipe for Perfect Pumpkin Cookies
* I made 42 cookies

Friday, November 11, 2011

Self-Frosting Pumpkin Nutella Muffins and Chocolate Pumpkin Peanut Butter

There is a small problem with opening a huge can of pumpkin puree- You must make more and more yummy pumpkin treats! Of course, I am joking, but I found myself with some leftover pumpkin puree after I made parfaits and donuts and decided to make these muffins. I sent them to work with my husband and didn't even get to try a crumb. I had made this banana version a couple of weeks earlier and thought the pumpkin ones would be perfect for fall.

I had just 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree left, so I made this Chocolate Pumpkin Peanut Butter that I saw on Pinterest. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of it because it disappeared too quickly. But, I guess that could be a good thing since it just shows how delicious it was! Very good on whole wheat toast.

Here is the recipe for Self-Frosting Pumpkin Nutella Muffins

Here is the recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Peanut Butter
* I didn't have dark chocolate peanut butter, so I just followed her other instructions and
added a little bit of honey, to sweeten it, to taste

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Curried Lentils and Butternut Squash with Kale

I recently went through the 3-ring binders I have been collecting for 8 or 9 years, that are full of recipes. I would go through magazines and tear out recipes I wanted to try or recipes that I printed off the internet. I won't mention how many of these binders I have collected over the years, but needless to say, when I saw them all together, I was more than embarrassed!

I decided to take a few recipes that I had forgotten about and try them. I found this in Parents magazine and it was supposed to be a side dish for Thanksgiving. The link below has the original recipe, which I didn't really follow. The butternut squash was supposed to be cooked along with the lentils, but I like it better roasted in the oven. And I had some kale that needed to be used, so I sauteed that and made it a bed for the lentils and butternut squash!

Here is the inspiration for this recipe, but I did my own thing

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Parfaits and Baked Pumpkin Donuts

I finally got into my first can of pumpkin for the season and also used my donut pan for the first time. I had some cooked quinoa in the fridge and saw this fun idea for a Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Parfait. I've tried other recipes that use quinoa in a non-savory breakfast way and this was a great one. Very original and a great way to change up the humdrum of your normal breakfast, snack or dessert.

I also saw this recipe for Baked Pumpkin Donuts that uses melted ice cream in the batter. I had just the perfect amount of leftover vanilla ice cream in my freezer from a recent birthday and whipped these up just in time for my husband to take them to work with him in the morning. I didn't get to try one, but my kids really enjoyed the mini donuts!
Here is the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Parfaits
* I used plain nonfat greek yogurt and added a little bit of pure maple syrup
* I used less graham crackers crumbs than called for
* I topped it off with some crumbled pecan nut clusters

Here is the recipe for Baked Pumpkin Ice Cream Glazed Donuts

Friday, November 4, 2011

Baked Quinoa Patties

I saw this recipe for Baked Quinoa Patties on 101 Cookbooks and wrote it into my meal plan as soon as possible. Our family loves quinoa and this was a fun way to eat it. These patties have kale in them and some herbs which give the nice flecks of green. I love that these are baked in the oven and they still get nice and crispy.

I roasted some broccolini, asparagus, and green beans in the oven also and we had a delicious dinner.

Here is the recipe for Baked Quinoa Patties

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club- Warm White Beans with Roasted Fennel

For this month's Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club, Roz chose the theme of Late Autumn Harvest. Check out Val's post here to see the rest of the menu.

I decided to make Warm White Beans with Roasted Fennel, a reader recipe that came from the
October issue of Cooking Light. I have really grown to love fennel and it is delicious when roasted in the oven. This recipe mixes roasted fennel with warm beans and wilted spinach. It is a very quick recipe to make and it is absolutely delicious. My kids loved it, especially the beans.
Check out the rest of the menu and enjoy the Autumn Harvest!

Here is the recipe for Warm White Beans with Roasted Fennel
* I added the ground red pepper to the adult portion after I had served my kids

Friday, October 28, 2011

Salmon with Red Pepper Pesto

If you need a quick dinner idea for this busy weekend or any busy weekend, this is a great one. It has just a few steps and tastes fabulous. My kids absolutely loved it. I found a great deal on some wild caught fresh salmon and had some roasted red peppers in my fridge, so this dinner was a no-brainer. The salmon cooks up in no time and while it cooks, the sauce is blended quickly in the food processor. Fast and easy, but also delicious.

Have a great weekend!

Here is the recipe for Salmon Red Pepper Pesto

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crustless Sweet Potato Pie with Hazelnut Streusel

When my sister was visiting, we also made this Sweet Potato Pie with Hazelnut Streusel. I haven't ever made sweet potato pie before, but I figured this was a good recipe to start out with. My sister isn't a fan of pie crust and we were looking to save time, so we made it without the crust.
It was easy and delicious. The streusel gave a nice crunch to the whole thing and we didn't miss the crust at all.

Here is the recipe for Sweet Potato Pie with Hazelnut Streusel
* I added some oats to the streusel

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sweet Potato Graham Muffins

Like I mentioned before, when my sister was here for a quick visit, we had huge sweet potatoes that we needed to use, so it was basically sweet potato weekend. I had seen this muffin recipe from Whole Foods and thought it looked great. My sister was excited about it too, so on Sunday morning before church, we whipped them up. I made a few changes, mostly because I've discovered that with muffins, you can exchange most of the butter/oil for low-fat or nonfat buttermilk and still get a nice, moist, delicious muffin. I like muffins that are healthy tasting and not too sweet and that's exactly what these muffins were. Now, if you care about the taste of your graham crackers, I would use a brand that you think tastes great, as they are crushed up in the batter and also on top. This is no time for a cheap store brand (unless they taste amazing).

Here is the original recipe for Sweet Potato Graham Muffins
* I used 1 1/2 Tbls canola oil instead of the butter
* I used 1 cup nonfat buttermilk instead of the yogurt
* I added 1 tsp ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients
* I added 1 tsp vanilla extract to the wet ingredients

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sweet Potato-Peanut Bisque

My sister came to visit for a quick weekend trip and I told her to find some recipes that use sweet potatoes, because I had a couple of extra large ones that really needed to be dealt with. She emailed me the recipe for this soup and I thought it sounded pretty interesting. When she was here, we decided to make this for lunch on a rainy day.

This soup is pretty easy to make, but as I was throwing it together, I was getting a little worried about the final product. V8, green chiles, sweet potatoes and peanut butter?? I was a tad bit hesitant to try it, but once I did, I realized that it was fabulous. It was spicy, creamy, and had great flavor from the sweet potatoes. As I was eating this, I realized that I no longer despise sweet potatoes. In fact, I can honestly now say that I like them. Thank you Sweet Potato-Peanut Bisque!

Here is the recipe for Sweet Potato-Peanut Bisque
I added chopped peanuts as a garnish

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spinach (Swiss Chard), Pasta, and Pea Soup

Besides eggplant, I've still got swiss chard growing in my garden out back. It just keeps growing back and I am happy about that. I love being able to go out and cut my swiss chard when I need some for a recipe.

I found this soup in a recent issue of Cooking Light and since it was a "superfast" meal, I knew it would be perfect to make on a night when my son has Cub Scouts. I added some green pepper (also from the garden) and used swiss chard instead of spinach. Quick and Easy!

Here is the recipe for Spinach, Pasta, and Pea Soup

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Butternut Squash and Hazelnut Lasagne

A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me if I wanted to get together and make this lasagne with her. I thought that cooking together sounded like a blast, so I quickly agreed to come over later that week with all my supplies to put this lasagne together. I usually avoid recipes that have tons of cheese and milk, since we have some lactose intolerance issues with certain members of my family, but not this time. My friend had tried this recipe before and loved it. She said that lots of the comments on epicurious said it took forever to put together, but we didn't think it was so bad. I prepped my squash, herbs, nuts, cheese, etc., before I went to her house, so we just cooked the squash, made the sauce and then assembled the lasagne.

It was so nice to have this made and waiting in the fridge, so that when dinner time rolled around, all I had to do was put it in the oven. This made a ton of lasagne! I know the recipe said that it serves 6, but in order for that to happen, someone would have to eat a ton of this. We did even eat half of it that night. The butternut squash, sage and hazelnuts go perfectly with the cheese and sauce. All we had on the side was a huge salad of mixed baby greens and it was a filling meal. I ended up freezing the leftovers, so we could enjoy them later.

Here is the recipe for Butternut Squash and Hazelnut Lasagne

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Red Lentils, Eggplant and Chickpeas

My eggplant plant is still producing quite a few eggplants. A few weeks ago, I harvested 12 or so in one week and the next week I had about 10. That is a lot of eggplant. Even for someone who really likes it! I had to share some of it with friends, but I used most of it.

This recipe is something similar to what we eat on a regular basis. More often than not, I take a a look at what veggies I have on hand and pick a protein/whole grain to compliment it and then I make up something for dinner. I did kinda use a recipe as a base for this, but, like usual, I didn't really follow it. The result was delicious and very comforting.

Here is the recipe which I use mostly used as an idea to go from, I didn't really follow it
* I didn't use barley- I added bulger when I added the lentils
* I added chopped green peppers with the onion
* I added chopped kale
* I added curry powder
* I added more tomato paste
* I didn't puree it or cook it as long