Blueberry Oat Muffins

Hey!

So, things have been a liiitle crazy around here lately, so some quick and easy meals have been a must. These muffins have been my grab and go-to for breakfast pretty much every morning last week, not to mention a few quick lunches and snacks mixed in as well!

Luckily, I don’t feel too badly about making two of these and a handful of cherries my impromptu lunch because of all the good stuff that fills them up!

The recipe I derived these muffins from calls for you to process the oats in a food processor to make oat flour, but I prefer the texture difference of using the whole oats instead. Plus, I almost doubled the amount of blueberries used in the batter because…why not?! Who doesn’t est a blueberry muffin wishing there were just a few more blueberries scattered in there?

Make sure to give the frozen blueberries a toss in flour before mixing them into the batter, that way they won’t all sink to the bottom. You could use fresh blueberries if you have them, but for some reason I can never keep fresh blueberries in the house long enough to do anything other than eat them by the handful!

Go ahead a fill the muffin cups almost o the top, that way you’ll get big, puffy muffins. I also think next time I make these I’ll sprinkle some dry oats on the top for even more texture.

These will keep for about a week, but they are also great to freeze. I think they will be one of my “make before baby comes projects.” I wouldn’t mind having a dozen or so of these in the freezer for late night feeding snacks!

 

Recipe: Blueberry Oat Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups oats
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Mix flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) to oats; stir well. Make a well in center of mixture.
  3. Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients (through eggs). Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
  4. Toss berries with 2 tablespoons flour, and gently fold into batter. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle 2 tablespoons granulated sugar evenly over batter.
  5. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Guinness and Jameson Cinnamon Rolls

Yesterday I was issued a challenge. My friend Mike sent me a link to this recipe saying nothing but, “Thanks in advance.” Now, I’m not one to back down from a challenge, but as soon as I looked at the recipe I dropped everything and started baking.

And that’s what you need to do right now. Drop everything. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. And bake. More specifically, bake these.

These will be the perfect way to start off your St. Patrick’s Day!!

Enjoy!

Find the recipe here.

 

 

 

 

Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

Hey there!

 Did you ever have one of those days? I had planned to post this banana bread recipe yesterday but I ran out of the house without my work bag, in which was my computer, a bunch of stuff I needed for work, and my lunch. Major bummer, mostly because it meant an extra day keeping this amazing recipe from you! On another note, do you have any idea how hard it is to get through a work day without a computer?! There is almost nothing you can do to kill time ;)
Before we left for vacation, I had a few bananas that we hadn’t eaten. I knew they’d go bad over the time we were gone, so I threw them in the fridge. Did you know you can freeze bananas, peel and all? They will turn a very beautiful shade of dark brown, but they freeze really well. Then you have them on hand when you need to make this bread!
I love banana bread but hate the guilt I feel eating most of the butter, oil, and calorie ridden loaves out there. I have a recipe that calls for 1/2 pound of butter for ONE loaf! Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious, and perfect if you’re baking it to bring to a breakfast gathering where you will only have one luscious slice, but if you want something you can have all week and legitimately call it “breakfast” without the least bit of guilt – this is the bread for you! The secret is in my favorite ingredient: Greek yogurt! The addition of Greek yogurt gives you moist, tasty bread with wayyyy fewer calories and all the flavor.
Another secret to this bread is using really ripe bananas. Have you ever heard of using bananas as a substitute for butter? Well, you can do it (although I suggest only subbing it for half the recommended amount of butter) and it turns out great. I do it in chocolate chip cookies sometimes and in lots of my muffin recipes. Anyway, using lots of really ripe bananas allows you to get away with only a third of a cup of oil in this whole loaf. And trust me, if you didn’t know, you’d never know!
This batter mixes up really, really thick. But don’t worry, that’s just how it’s supposed to be! You’ll have to get your arm muscles going to stir in the walnuts! I love walnuts, so there’s lots of them in this recipe. If you aren’t so keen on them, feel free to use less or leave them out.
Don’t mind the mess!
You might think you are over stuffing the loaf pan with all this batter, but you’re just a little over an hour from a puffy, delicious, healthy loaf of banana bread. I mean, how many times can you actually say you are getting your protein eating a slice of banana bread???!? Greek yogurt, I thank you!
Enjoy!
*Note: I’ve heard a couple of people made a smaller loaf and put some batter into muffin tins. Great idea!!! Also, be sure to tent the bread with aluminum foil after about 20 minutes to avoid it getting too brown. 

Recipe: Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 extra ripe bananas
  • 2 T vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine both flours, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In another bowl whisk eggs, oil, and sugar. Mash in bananas and stir in Greek yogurt.
  3. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (batter will be thick!). Stir in walnuts.
  4. Spray a loaf pan generously with cooking spray and spoon in batter.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes. Check to see if the top is getting too brown and tent with foil if necessary. Bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until a knife comes out clean from the center of the bread.

Raisin Bran Muffins

Hey there!

 Are you over your Super Bowl party weekend high?  What a game, huh?? I really thought the 49ers were going to pull it out in the end there, but despite all my cheering, no such luck. It was a major bummer to see the hometown boys loose, but it was such an entertaining game…not to mention that halftime show! Man, say what you want about her lip synching, girl can DANCE. I was jammin’ to all the old school hits with all the girls in the room…but I’m pretty sure the gentlemen were focused on something else… ;)
Did you like the commercials? I was pretty underwhelmed with most of them but there were a few pretty funny ones. I also cried during the Budweiser commercial when the horse came back to his owner. Come on, you know you got a little teary too!
This morning, instead of leftover buffalo wings and taquitos, I decided to go for a little more balanced breakfast. These Raisin Bran muffins did just the trick! I’m a big fan of the quick and easy breakfast. I need breakfast every day and with my hectic morning schedule which usually includes the gym, trying on seventeen different outfits, grabbing some leftovers for lunch, or checking work emails way to early, so I don’t always have time to make the balanced breakfast I want. Lucky for me, these muffins allow me to have a delicious, nutritious, grab-and-go breakfast every day! Well… for a week at least…until I make another batch!
These muffins are based off a recipe in the King Arthur Flour book. Do you guys have this? You have to get it! I got it for Christmas and I have been baking my way though it ever since. I love baked goods for breakfast, but I also try to be conscious of getting a healthy start to the day. With whole wheat flour, wheat bran, and flax seed, as well as some added chia seeds, these muffins are the best of both worlds: tasty and a healthy way to start your day!
If you’re not a fan of raisins, you could substitute with crasins, dried blueberries, dried cherries, or just leave out the fruit. You could also do a combo! Oooo I’m planning my next batch already!
Just pop leftovers in an airtight container and they’ll keep for a week in the fridge. I’d suggest a 20 seconds nuke before eating, but they are pretty good straight out of the fridge or eaten in your car, too :)
Enjoy!

Recipe: Raisin Bran Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons non-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup wheat bran
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Combine milk, oil, eggs, and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend.
  2. In a large bowl stir together next 6 ingredients.Add milk mixture and stir to blend.
  3. Fold in raisins.
  4. Scoop into prepared muffin tins, filling nearly to the top.
  5. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Hey there!

You guys, I have a problem. Last week my Dad called me and said we needed to have a serious talk. I was like, “woah, what’s up Dad?” He told me he had to talk to me about something that he’d been thinking about for a long time, and he couldn’t keep quiet any longer. After he read this post from last week, he just knew he had to act. That’s when I realized…I was having a quinoantervention. That’s right, my dad told me there was only so much quinoa he could take. How can one live on quinoa alone?! If anyone could test that theory, it’d be me. So, here goes…I’m addicted to quinoa. There. I said it. Admitting it is the first step, right? So, in honor of my dear ol’ Dad, you’ll not find a speck of quinoa on the blog this week. Well, unless you have leftovers from making this…or this….or these... Ok,
Ok, I’ll stop.
Full disclosure Dad, the quinoa ban only lasts till all my Super Bowl leftovers are gone…enjoy it while you can. :)
So, as we continue our week to some of the best Super Bowl snacks in the world, I give you homemade soft baked pretzels.
I made these last year for Super Bowl and they were such a hit that I’ve made them for pretty much every large gathering since and they are always everyone’s favorites. If you search the internet, you can find lots of recipes for “quick” or “easy” soft baked pretzels and if that’s what you want, fine, but they won’t be anywhere close to as delicious as these are. It’s not even that these are difficult to make, it’s just that they take time. You use yeast, and when you use yeast you have to let it rise. You also boil the pretzels before baking them, which may sound unnecessary, you may even be tempted to try one of the recipes out there that only requires baking. But if you want that true soft pretzel soft on the inside crisp on the outside texture this is the only way to go.
Plus, the whole process is kinda fun :) Folding the pretzels was a little tough (for me!) at first, but I got the hang of it. Michael kept trying to get be to “swing and twist” them like the pretzel makers at the mall do. Let’s just say I ruined quite a few pretzels that way!
I highly suggest a side of nacho cheese to go along with these, as well as some good mustard. I also suggest making about twice as many as you think you need, and swiping some to save in the kitchen before putting them out for the wolves. I’m not greedy, I swear! It’s necessary.
Enjoy!

Recipe: Homemade Soft Pretzels

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt or Sea salt

Instructions

  1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
  3. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
  4. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
  5. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Oat Scones

Hey there!

I’m finally back in business! After a couple weeks of fantastic family, food, and fun filled vacation, it’s time to re-enter the real world. Bummer, right? :) Getting “back into the swing of things” is always so tough for me after some extended time off. I would not be exaggerating if I told you that the only thing that got me out of bed this morning was the fact I’d promised myself one of these scones for breakfast. Whatever it takes, right? :)
I know what you’re thinking…”scones?!” Doesn’t she know my New Year’s resolution was to lose 5 pounds/work out more/generally be healthier? And she’s giving me scones. On January 7th?!?! But don’t worry friends! These blueberry scones are not only mouth watering enough to motivate you to get your butt outta bed, they also won’t hurt your New Year’s diet one bit.
By swapping half the butter for applesauce, I slashed the calorie count and loading up on both whole grains and blueberries gives you a great kick start to your morning. I know some of you resolution-ers out there might be tempted to go full steam ahead and replace all the butter with applesauce, but wait! I’m telling you, it just won’t work. I’ve tried and tried, but the fact is that scones just need butter…a little butter.
You can use fresh or frozen blueberries for this recipe. If you’re using frozen, just don’t defrost them before tossing them in the batter. I actually used a combo of fresh and frozen. I like the mix because they cook at different rates – the fresh ones usually get baked to the point of bursting, leaving you with ooey gooey delicious blueberry explosions, while the frozen ones hold their shape a little better…that way you get maximum blueberry-ness in each bite. Exactly what I’m looking for in my breakfast :)
A sprinkling of oats on top adds some texture and further lets you know that there is all kinds of whole grain goodness in what you are about to sink your teeth into. If you want, you could sprinkle some raw sugar on top as well. I’m not a fan of super sweet scones, so I left the sugar off, but if you want to satisfy your morning sweet tooth, go right ahead!
After baking and cooling, store in an airtight container and these will keep for breakfasts (and snacks!) all week. I suggest popping them in the microwave for about 20 seconds before digging in, but they also taste pretty good straight outta the fridge ;)
Enjoy!

Recipe: Blueberry Oat Scones

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (plus 3 tablespoons for sprinkling)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 3/4 cups chilled low-fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and coarse salt in a bowl. Add butter and mix with a pastry blender or fork until butter is worked into the mixture. Add oats and blueberries; stir to blend evenly.
  3. Stir milk, applesauce, and vanilla in small bowl. Gradually add to flour mixture, tossing until dough just comes together (dough will be very moist).
  4. Drop dough in mounds onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Sprinkle tops with remaining 3 tablespoons oats.
  5. Bake 15-17 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Transfer scones to rack and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Scones will keep in an airtight container for a week.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetite

Jalapeño Corn Dog Mini Muffins

Hey there!

Guys, I have so much to share with you! Last weekend Michael and I went to Las Vegas! It was one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in awhile and I am so excited to tell you about our travels, all the fun we had, and the food! OH THE FOOD! One particular meal may have changed my life. Just sayin’.

But first…It’s Thanksgiving week! Yipee! I love Thanksgiving. Who doesn’t? A holiday centered on food? Sign me up. One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is the variety of food you get to eat. And it’s not just dinner, oh no, there are appetizers too. And if you are in the need for a Thanksgiving appetizer that will knock your socks off, look no further.

Jalapeño Corn Dog Mini Muffins.

You’ve got all the things you love about a corn dog (don’t lie, you know you do) packaged up in a perfectly pop-able bite. Just for good measure add a kick of jalapeño and you’ve got a crowd pleasing app that will keep everyone around the coffee table and outta your hair in the kitchen. Just make sure you keep a few in there for yourself!

This recipe starts with a pretty basic corn muffin recipe. Mix it up and all you need are a couple “embellishments.”

The only trick to making these super simple muffins is filling the muffin tins. You need to grease the pan really well, then add a little bit of batter to the bottom, then drop in the hot dog, then fill the batter up the rest of the way. As an alternative, you could chop the hot dogs up into small pieces and stir them into the batter with the jalapeños. I’m sure it would taste delicious, but I like having the hunk-oh-hot dog in the middle like a Thanksgiving surprise!

I’m telling you, this quick and easy appetizer might just become part of you Thanksgiving tradition!  Give it a try and you’ll see!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Jalapeño Corn Dog Mini Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4-5 hot dogs, cut in 1/2″ chunks
  • 2 jalapeños, finely chopped
  • Cooking spray
  • mini muffin tin

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine the first 3 ingredients.
  3. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add milk mixture; stir just until moist.
  4. Stir in chopped jalapeño.
  5. Coat mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon a little batter into the bottom of each well. Add hot dogs. Fill with batter to just below the top.
  6. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Let cool for about 5 minutes then remove from the pan and serve warm with a side of ketchup.
  8. Note: You may find that the tops crack due to the steam created from the hot dog…don’t worry, they taste just as good! :)

 

Garlic Bread to die for!

I admit it. Sometimes I judge the quality of my recipes by how quickly and ravenously they are eaten. If I’m using that criteria, this might be the best thing I have ever made.

Then again, it helps when you are feeding 10 hungry boys on a Sunday afternoon…but still. It was like light lightning struck: and they were gone.

Just like any good garlic bread, this one starts with lots and lots and LOTS of garlic.

We all know I love garlic. I use about 3 tablespoons or 5-6 cloves. I chop them up super fine, but I don’t grate them, I like to have some chunks in the finished product so you can see the garlic as well as smell, it taste it, and have it be coming out of your pores later :)

The next very important ingredient? Lots of soft butter. I like to whip mine in my stand mixer with the garlic so it gets fluffy and the garlic gets incorporated all throughout the butter.

Then, you slather the garlic butter onto some good french bread. I love garlic bread on french loaves, but if you like sourdough, go right ahead!

Chop up a bunch of fresh parsley. I like lots of it. So much so that one of the boys asked if the amount of parsley on the bread counted as his vegetable for the day! To which I replied absolutely not! Eat your broccoli! I mean…I’m not your mother, you’re an adult, do what you want!

The trick to this bread is double baking. First, you wrap the entire loaf in foil at bake it for about 20 minutes. Then, you remove the foil, open up the halves, and bake the bread again so it gets brown and crispy.

Take it out. Slice it up. Watch it disappear.

Just make sure you get a slice or two before it’s gone!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Garlic Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 loaves french bread
  • 1 lb butter, softened
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Slice bread in half
  3. Beat softened butter and chopped garlic in the bowl of your stand mixer
  4. Slather the garlic butter on your bread
  5. Put halves back together and wrap in foil
  6. Bake for 20 minutes
  7. Remove from oven, remove foil, separate halves and return to oven
  8. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until bread is golden brown

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

 

Plum Butter

Happy Friday!

I am so excited. Why? #1 It’s the weekend! #2 I’ve been itching to share this amazing plum butter with you guys!

I have this thing about wasting food. I absolutely hate doing it. So, when I came home from vacation and found these very over ripe plums in the fridge I set out finding something to do with them.

They were too soft to bake with. I thought about doing something savory, but decided against it. Then I found a recipe by Martha Stewart for Plum Butter which I altered a bit to get this creamy, fruity, perfection.

I’m sure you’ve seen them in the grocery store…all kinds of fruit butters. I love them. I use them a lot in granola. I’ve seen all kinds of flavors, apple, mango, fig…but never plum!

I also never really knew exactly what these fruit butters were. I mean, I knew they weren’t actually “butter,” but beyond that, I wasn’t sure. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out how simple this is to make!

Put simply, fruit butters are just fruit and sugar reduced down, cooked long and slow until the natural pectin in the fruit tightens it up. Slice up the plums, skin and all, and let them cook with the sugar until they start to fall apart. Then dump it all in the blender and smooth it out. Then put it back in the same pot and let to cook until it thickens.

After a few hours of cooking (yes hours! it’s worth it though!) you are left with a thick, smooth, sweet, slightly tart, delicious spread. Top off some toast, slather it on pancakes, make some granola, or eat it straight out of the jar!

This recipe is going in my “definitely-going-to-make-again” file. Hope you love it as much as I do!

Plum Butter
Author: 
 
adapted from Martha Stewart
Ingredients
  • 3½ pounds plums
  • 1¼ cups sugar
Instructions
  1. Split plums in half, remove pits, and cut into chunks. Do not peel. Place in a 6-quart nonreactive saucepan, and add 1 cup water and the sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until fruit is very soft, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat; puree fruit and liquid in a blender or food processor.
  3. Rinse saucepan and return puree to pan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until thick enough to spread, 2½ to 3 hours. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

 

 

Spicy Tofu Sandwich

Cheers to Friday everyone!

I am super into tofu right now. It it totally the culinary equivalent of this season’s rainbow colored jeans in my kitchen. And this sandwich is my reserved for special occasion Saturday night happy hours with the girls hot pink skinnies!

This tofu sandwich is not only packed with tons of flavor due to a delicious spice rub…

but you also get double the flavor by grilling the tofu for the sandwiches!

The rub is earthy and spicy. You toast the spices whole and grind them yourself to pull out as much flavor as you can.

Then, marinating the tofu for several hours really lets everything sink in.

This sandwich isn’t one of those “trick you into thinking it’s meat” tofu dishes – but that’s OK! It has a flavor all its own. And it’s definitely big flavor. Oh – and if you want to kick it up even another notch? Mix 1 cup of Greek Yogurt with 2 tablespoons of the marinade and use it as a spread for the bun!

Pile the tofu up high and then load it up with greens, tomato, onion, and pickles, or whatever your heart desires! This is a light, fun, summery dinner that I think you are going to love!

Enjoy!

Recipe via Food & Wine. See it here!

 

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

You guys. I have been on the edge of my seat waiting to share this recipe with you. I kept meaning to get to it but other things kept getting in the way. But now…it’s time. And let me tell you, it will be worth the wait!

I have been wanting to make cheese ever since I found out how easy it was to make at home. Seriously, all you need is 4 ingredients, cheesecloth, and a strainer!

And let me tell you, after making this ricotta at home I will never buy it again! It is so rich and creamy and has tons more tangy flavor than any store bought ricotta I’ve ever tried. Plus, you can not only control the thickness of the ricotta by the amount of time you leave it in the cheesecloth, but you can also control the calories and fat by your choice of milk. Now, most recipes call for whole milk to which I say, “No Way!” Ok, ok, I will admit that had I made this with whole milk it would have been delicious, but let me just say I made it with 2% and it was UH-maze-ing! I’m trying it with 1% next, just to see. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work very well with non-fat, but knowing me I’ll probably try it out.

This process is also SO.MUCH.FUN. There is just something about making things by hand that you usually have to buy in the store. I felt so great checking my cheesecloth, simmering my milk, testing my cheese.

And the eating. Oh, the eating.

I served mine up with a fresh loaf of this and a hefty drizzle of this. This ricotta is so fluffy, velvety, and rich I was literally eating it with a spoon. But then I put it on toast. Ut oh. I had guest over when I served this as an appetizer and I was the worst host ever. I set down the tray right in front of myself. I don’t think I said a word for 20 minutes as I stuffed my face full of ricotta slathered toasts. Sorry Auntie and Uncle, the ricotta has priority here. (p.s. that’s why you have family over, they can’t judge you for stuff like that!)

Try this out immediately, it will be a new favorite for sure!

Enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Author: 
 
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
Ingredients
  • 4 cups milk (I used 2%, but whole works too)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Cheesecloth
Instructions
  1. Line a colander with 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth
  2. Place milk, cream, and salt in a large pot or dutch oven
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat (make sure to stir a few times)
  4. Add vinegar and let stand about 2 minutes
  5. Strain through cheesecloth and let stand 15-30 minutes (the longer you let it sit, the thicker the cheese will be)
  6. Transfer to an airtight bowl-ricotta will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

 

 

Strawberry Almond Cakies

Happy Friday!

I could barely contain myself with this recipe. IT. IS. AMAZING. I hope your schedule is cleared so you can make these immediately. Cancel, the dinner plans, put your shows on tivo, tell your friends if they want to see you they have to come over…it will be worth it.

I have been eating strawberries like crazy. In fact, even though I had an entire 1/2 flat in my fridge, I couldn’t resist a few more baskets when I saw how gorgeous they looked at the farmer’s market.

You couldn’t say no to these guys either, right?!? Soooo, because I had so many even I (the strawberry monster apparently) couldn’t eat them all so fast, I came up with these cakies.

What’s a cakie you ask?? Well, half cake, half cookie. These are cakes in a cookies clothing. They have the texture of a light fluffy cake in the perfectly snack-able form of a cookie. The absolute best of both worlds!

Another great thing? These cakies are packed with fruit and almonds, making it perfectly acceptable to eat them for breakfast….riiight?? :)

As they bake the strawberries get all roasty and start oozing out of the cakies. It starts to smell pretty amazing in your kitchen right about then. In addition to the almonds in the batter, I sprinkled some on top before baking. They get brown, toasty, and extra nutty as the cakies bake and make for a perfect crunch to contrast the light fluffy texture of the finished product.

Yum. Good thing I have so many strawberries. I might have to make another batch. Right. Now.

Have a wonderful, fruit filled weekend!!

Enjoy!

Strawberry Almond Cakies
Recipe type: Tara
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • about ½ cups chopped strawberries
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup slivered almonds plus ¼ cup for topping
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt together.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one by one, until thoroughly combined. Add the milk and blend.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir.
  5. Add strawberries and almonds, stir gently to combine.
  6. Scoop ¼ cup amount of batter onto a lined baking sheet, about 3 inches apart.
  7. Top with additional slivered almonds.
  8. Bake cakies for 20-25 minutes, until golden.
  9. Let cool on the sheet pan then move to a wire rack.

 

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