Friday, September 30, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

October is almost here and i am starting to think of Pumpkin.   It used to be i hated pumpkin, but i still have no idea why but one day i just seemed to like it and now i love it.  I have no idea why.  It was time for me to start the season with a Pumpkin Bread and i found this amazing Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.  It’s simple, very pumpkiny, spciy and just tasty.  All the flavors come out perfectly in this bread.  Even the frosting is spiced up.  You will not be dissapointed with this recipe.

Looking for other pumpkin or squash ideas for October?  Here is a short list of my favorites:

What are some of your favorite pumpkin recipes?  Please share a link with me in the comment.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Adapted from: Horizon Dairy

Yields: 1 Loaf | Prep Time: 25 Minutes | Bake Time: 65 – 75 Minutes

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour (you may substitute up to 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup Horizon Organic unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 large Horizon Organic eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp Horizon Organic milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour one 9×5-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt and spices. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined. Add flour mixture alternately with pumpkin, mixing well between each addition. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 65-75 minutes, until loaf feels firm and springy when pressed in the center and a tester inserted comes out clean (except for melted chocolate chips). Cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. To prepare glaze, sift powdered sugar with nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add milk until mixture is thin enough to drizzle. Pour glaze over cool bread. Bread will keep well wrapped at room temperature for two days, in the refrigerator for five days, or in the freezer for up to four months.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

No Bake Energy Bars

I love granola bars and energy bars but even better No Bake Energy Bars.  This adapted recipe comes from Jessica Seinfeld.  Not only does she have a great food blog but she has some great cookbooks especially for families with kids. Jessica finds ways to make ordinary foods extraordinary by loading them up with healthy ingredients, such as pureed vegetables and fruits.  She also uses healthy ingredients that you can add to make everyday food even better by adding whole grains to baked goods and boosts sweetness without a lot of sugar.

For example I have made these Maple Spice Muffins that have no sugar in them, they have whole grains and they are 198 calories per muffin.  You would never have guessed.  In some of her other recipes she has for example sweet potato puree in her Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Cauliflower Puree in Lemon Bars.  So imaginative.  I think every family should have this cookbook.

Today I am doing her No Bake Energy Bards. These energy bars are great for an on the go snack and they’re packed with all things good: vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. They are great for kids and adults snacks and best of all they are No Bake.

Share how you get your kids to eat healthy food below for a chance to win a $500 Mom’s Getaway Spa Day from BlogFrog in the conversation below.

No Bake Energy Bars

Adapted from: Jessica Seinfeld

Yields: 14 bars | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cool Time: 30 minutes

Cooking spray
¾ cup raw almonds
1 ¼ cups rice puffs
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
¼ cup flax meal
½ cup brown rice syrup
6 tbsp almond butter
½ cup raisins

Spray an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.

Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until evenly chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and combine with the rice puffs, oats, coconut, flax meal, and raisins.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the rice syrup and almond butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until melted and creamy. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until well combined. Press evenly into the prepared pan and let cool completely (about 30 minutes). Grab the ends of the parchment and lift onto a cutting board. Slice into bars.

One Year Ago: Honey Ice Cream

Want to exchange more healthy snacks ideas, money saving tips and back to school shopping advice with other moms? Visit the Horizon® Healthy Families Back to School Community

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon.  The opinions expressed by me do not necessarily reflect the view of the Horizon Organic brand. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Double Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

I was going to a 10 year old Birthday party and wanted to bring something sweet.  I found this recipe for Double Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes and thought they would be perfect and they were.  These are a chocolate lover’s dessert.  Not only are the cupcakes moist, fudgy and delicious but when you add the frosting it a double whammy.  Awesome cupcakes, they taste like brownies with frosting!

This is the Secret Recipe Club “assignment!”  Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date.  It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.  My secret blog this month was Lick That Spoon which is written by Louise.   Louise lives in Australia and is a mother, housewife and loves to bake. Her blog is adorable and some awesome recipes.  But since I needed a birthday dessert I knew what I was looking for.

Read more…

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies are always great to have around.  Just sweet enough to have for dessert or a snack and not feel too guilty.  This shortbread recipe i have made several times and i use 1/2 of he sugar that was originally asked for and also to make it more interesting and give it more texture i add almond meal which gives it a great flavor and texture.  If these are not sweet enough, you can always dip them in chocolate.

Today I also have some exciting news to share —–  I am pregnant and having a GIRL!  It is my first so I am very excited.  The due date is in February 2012.  I have been feeling great, no nausea at all and now in the second trimester i have my energy back so things are just great. Will keep you up to date as things progress, just very excited to share this news with you.

Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from: Ina Garten

Yields: 20 cookies | Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 30 minutes

¾ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups almond meal
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1/2 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour; almond meal and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Bread

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rustic Peach Tart

This Rustic Peach Tart is my kind of dessert – dough with some sweet fruit.  Simple, not too sweet and delicious.

I had tons of peaches in my refrigerator and needed to find something to make.  I found this recipe from Melissa Harfield and knew this was my kind of recipe.  It is very easy and it tastes awesome.  My peaches were very ripe and sweet so I removed most of the sugar from the original recipe and it was still very sweet enough.  I would not add any more sugar.  For sweet fruit, if you are using tart fruit then more sugar would be good.

This was a perfect dessert for the end of the summer, Seattle had 90F this weekend with clear blue skies – I am sure it was the last until next year.

Print Recipe

Rustic Peach Tart

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 tbsp all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 package of puff pastry thawed
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cream cheese, the spreadable kind. Stir it up well so it’s very easy to spread
4 large peaches, pitted and sliced thinly
2 tbsp of orange marmalade, warmed and liquified
½ tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425F

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to a 12 x 14 inch rectangle. Trim the edges to make them even if you want or leave as is.

Place the pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a sharp paring knife to score the dough to form a 1 inch border. Use a fork to prick the dough inside the border every 1/2 inch.

Sprinkle the border with 1 tbsp of sugar. Refrigerate until slightly firm, about 10 minutes (you can leave it in the fridge up to a day, covered with plastic wrap)

Bake chilled dough until puffed and golden brown, 10 – 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, gently toss peach slices with 1 tbsp of flour and the remaining 1 tbsp of sugar and salt.

Remove baked pastry from oven when it’s puffed and golden brown and, with a fork, press dough inside border to make it level. Spread, very carefully, the cream cheese in a thin layer inside the border.

Arrange the fruit and its mixture either in rows on top of the pastry or, for a more haphazard look, pile it on top and then spread it out with your hands until even.

Bake, loosely tented with foil, until fruit has softened. This takes about 20 minutes depending on your oven so check it regularly from 10 minutes on. Remove from oven.

Brush the tart border and the fruit with the warm marmalade and turn the oven to broil and let it cook for another minute – just long enough to get a nice caramelized glaze but not long enough to burn.

Let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.  Cut into pieces and serve.

Adapted from: Melissa Harfield

 

A Year Ago: Peach Shortbread

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chicken Pasta Salad

 

I hope everyone had a fabulous summer – here in Seattle summer is still going strong and when it is warm i crave this chicken pasta salad.   This salad is great any time of the year and a perfect entree especially when you are craving a solid salad for dinner.   I have been doing this salad for years and never get tired of it.   I got it years ago from a Swedish magazine but it was so long ago i have no idea what magazine i just know the recipe in my head. 

The dressing is light and refreshing and the salad is not too filling but just perfect with the chicken and the pasta.  Sometimes i mix it up and use shrimp instead of chicken and sometimes i even just omit the lettuce. 

Enjoy!

Chicken Pasta Salad

Yields: 4 people | Cook Time: 40 minutes

7 oz (250g) grilled chicken
14 oz (400g) pasta your choice of shape
1 yellow pepper chopped into 1” squares
1 red pepper paprika chopped into 1” squares
1 English cucumber
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
1 full head of romaine lettuce
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
2 tbsp pie nuts
1 egg yolk
1/2 lemon juice
1 tsp vinegar
7 tbsp (1 dl) oliv olj
pepper
salt

Prepare your chicken to your liking.  I usually take chicken breast marinate them in some garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and bake them in the oven.  I have also just chooped up chicken breast and fried it on the frying pan with garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Let it cool.

Prepare your pasta and also let it cool.

Start preparing all your vegetables yellow pepper, red pepper, cherry tomateos, and English cucumber and chop them up and put them into your salad bowl.

Boil water and place your egg in boiling water for 2 minutes and then use that egg yolk for your dressing so you are not using raw egg.

In a food processor put your egg yolk in there, your parmesan cheese, pie nuts, lemon juice, vinegar and salt and pepper.  Then pules a few times.  Add your olive oil a little at a time and pulse.  Taste for more salt and pepper.

Stop here unless you are serving right away.  If you serving right away. Clean your romain lettuce and put it with your vegetables.  Once the pasta and chicken has cooled add them to the salad and then dress with the dressing and mix.

Server right away. 

One Year Ago: Peach Tartlette

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Berry Smoothie

Smoothies to me are so versatile.  You can have them for breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner or dessert. They are perfect for after workouts too.  You can really add anything you want to your smoothie and it is pretty hard to make it taste bad.  Usually this type of smoothie with milk, yogurt, honey and some fruit is my favorite.  Once you have your basics down you can add any fruit you want.  I usually always have a banana and then just add what ever fruit i have in the fridge or freezer.

What is your favorite smoothie?

Read more…

Monday, August 29, 2011

Muffin Pan Potato Gratins

I loved this idea of a Muffin Pan Potato Gratin. I am a potato lover and when I saw this recipe from Kate’s Kitchen and she mentions that this is a recipe she makes over and over again I knew I had to try it.  I love potatoes and grating is something I just make sometimes since I end up eating the whole thing.  In this recipe you only have to make as many as you eat.  You could use all 12 muffins cups but you don’t have to.

This is the Secret Recipe Club “assignment!”  Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date.  It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.  My secret blog this month was Kate’s Kitchen which is written by Kate.   Kate is a financial planner and lives in Indianapolis and she lives to cook.  Her blog is adorable and had so many delicious recipes to choose from.  But when I came across this one I just had to try it out.  And it is a keeper.

Muffin Pan Potatoes Gratins

Adapted from:  Kate’s Kitchen

Yields 12 servings | Prep Time 20 minutes | Bake: 35 minutes

“B” sized red potatoes
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Garlic powder or 1 clove of garlic
12 tsp finely shredded romano, parmesan cheese or gruyere cheese
12 tbsp of Horizon Dairy Organic Cream

Turn on the over to 400F.

Slice the potatoes very thinly with the skin on.  A mandoline is best.  Spray muffin tins with cooking spray or brush them with unsalted Horizon Dairy Butter.

Lay two slices of potato in each muffin cup.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder or garlic.

Add two more slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little grated cheese about 1 tsp per muffin cup.  Add two more slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Keep adding slices and varying the seasoning as you wish.  End with just salt and pepper.

Pour one tablespoon of cream over each individual gratin.

Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes.

One Year Ago:  Basil Pesto

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pesto Pasta Salad with Feta and Tomatoes

Some leftovers are just better than others.  And this Pesto Pasta Salad with Feta and Tomatoes make a great leftover for any day especially lunch.

This week we were having a work BBQ and I needed to bring a pasta salad.  I had been looking around for awhile for a good, simple, easy and delicious pasta salad.  And when I saw this I new it was a winner.

It’s simple, delicious and I first threw this salad together to try it out and it was delicious.  On top of that is taste just as good the day after and you do not have to heat it up.  I just kept it in container in a refrigerator.  This has to be one of the more simple salads I have made and also one that stores really well.

Pesto Pasta Salad with Feta and Tomatoes

Adapted from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Yields:  6 servings | Prep Time: 20 Minutes

1 pound bowtie pasta
1 cup basil pesto
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces (about 1 cup) crumbled feta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tbsps olive oil, as needed

Cook the bowtie pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water just until it cools slightly. Drain the pasta well.

Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Stir in the pesto and gently mix until the pasta is coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon each). Add the halved tomatoes and feta cheese. Toss to combine.

Cover the pasta and refrigerate up to an hour before serving. If the pasta seems at all dry before serving, you can stir in the additional olive oil to moisten the pasta.

One Year Ago:  Ice Cream Petite Fours

Please go to Horizon® Healthily Families Back to School Community and please share your back to school money saving advice below for a chance to win a $500 Back to School Shopping Spree from BlogFrog! 

Want to exchange more tips and ideas with other moms about back to school topics such as healthy snacks, school supplies and saving money?  Visit the Horizon® Healthily Families Back to School Community!  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Caramelized Onion and Feta Puffs

I always love simple and delicious appetizers.  These Caramelized Onion and Feta Puffs are always a huge hit.  Usually I always have vegetables and dip, or lots of good cheese and crackers for appetizers.  But I remembered those delicious Trader Joe’s appetizers we used to get years ago.  If you are ever in a crunch for appetizers and need something quick, try these out, Trader Joe’s Pastry Bites with Feta Cheese and Caramelized Onions. You can find them in the freezer section of Trader Joe’s.

I decided to make these from scratch during a party and they were a huge hit.  But I needed to find an easier way to make them also, and decided to try the frozen puff pasty – they were awesome and so easy.

On top of that today Monika at Splendid Willow is featuring some great simple appetizers for her 2 cent series and she is featuring these Caramelized Onion and Feta Puffs.  There are some other great appetizer ideas from other bloggers too, if you are looking for some great ideas.

If you want to make these Caramelized Onion and Feta Puffs you can either buy the dough or make it yourself. They are both good but one is a bit quicker.

Caramelized Onion and Feta Puffs

Makes: 24 puffs | Thaw: 40 minutes | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake: 15 minutes

1 box (17.3oz) Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets or use recipe for Galette Dough
2 large yellow onions
4 tbsp of butter
8 oz feta cheese

Thaw the pasty sheet at room temperature 40 minutes or until easy to handle.  Heat over to 400 F.

Slice your onions and caramelize them with 4 tbsp of butter in a pan.  It should take you about 15 minutes to caramelize your onions.  Remember to keep the onions on low temperature and stirring constantly.

Once the puff pastry has thawed cut the sheets into 2″x2″ squares and place into a tartlette pan or muffin pan.  Fill each pasty with onion and then feta.  You should use abut 1 tsp of onion in each and about 1 tbsp of feta in each pasty.

Once done seal each pasty by combining each corner together. Place in the over for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Galette Dough
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup and 1 tbsp  ice water

Using a food processor add the flour, sugar and salt together and pulse.  Then cut butter into flour mixture and pulse again until the butter is completely incorporated.  Add ice water and continue to pulse until mixture comes together to form a mass.Add more ice water if necessary, one tablespoon at a time. Gently form mass into a ball and divide into two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight. (Dough can be frozen, too.)

One Year Ago: Rhubarb, Strawberry and Blueberry Crumble

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