25 October 2011

Vegan Sloppy Joe's

Pin It I know... vegan.  If you aren't vegan you probably have an idea in your skull that all vegan foods are flavorless, plant-y, and well... gross.  I happen to live with one of these people.  While I made these DELICIOUS vegan sloppy joe's alongside the regular beef variety, I got the approving head nod when the vegan grub was taste-tested right after the "real thing". 

You can make vegan or vegetarian joe's with the boca "meat crumbles", but I have a hard time trusting that stuff any more than meat, to be honest with you.  If you're going to go to the trouble of making vegan food, do it right! 

23 October 2011

Halloween Treats, part uno

Pin It Halloween is only a week away.  I may not be knocking door to door for candy, but I will certainly be participating in tricks AND treats.  I made these little reese's knock-offs today and they're pretty rockin'.  They taste almost identical to the real thing and are sans preservatives and nasty additives.  PLUS, they seriously took me 5 minutes of active time.

I made about half of them filled with peanut butter and the other with nutella.  While I am a huge fan of nutella (and anything hazelnut- DUH), the general consensus is the PB takes the cake.  

13 October 2011

Cuban Braised Beef with Avocado

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A few weeks ago we found a trail off the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.  Apparently, it connects to Jordan Lake and its secret status allows for afternoon frolicking with the dogs without running into boy scouts or super-mom joggers.

10 October 2011

Honey-Broiled Nectarines

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It's easy to think that making dessert takes a lot of work, time, and ingredients.  While I fully appreciate the thin layers of opera cake or the turns and folds that go into puff pastry, it's usually the simple recipes that please me most.  

Fall is in full swing and before we know it, Winter will be here.  Take the opportunity to dive into produce heavy recipes that you might be missing over the holidays.  Today's culprit?  Honey-broiled nectarines.

This recipe is good for most stone fruits, really.  I think plums would work amazing with this recipe.

Simply mix about 1/2 cup of honey and a few teaspoons of lemon juice in a small bowl.  Cut nectarines in half and brush them with the mixture.  Pop them under the broiler for about 8 minutes and you're all set!  Pair them with some vanilla (or ginger!) ice cream.  

What recipes will you miss when winter rolls around?

07 October 2011

Simple Cinnamon Apple Sauce

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This healthy little recipe for one is perfect for a midday snack.  All you need is two apples and some cinnamon and you've got the best applesauce of your life.  Added bonus?  No extra preservatives, sugars, corn syrups, yellow #5 (you get the picture) AND cinnamon is a natural metabolism booster.  Keep your life and snacks simple and your body will thank you.

Recipe for Simple Cinnamon Applesauce
2 apples (any variety, I used fuji)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Cut up your apples into smallish pieces.  The smaller the pieces, the faster they will soften.

Add them to a small saucepan with water and cook on medium heat.  When apples begin to soften, add cinnamon and cook until apples are smashable with the back of a rubber spatula.

Mash up until desired thickness.  I kept mine a little chunky.  If this isn't sweet enough for you or your little one, add a teaspoon or so of brown sugar!  

Did you know that applesauce was this easy to make?  

06 October 2011

Now what?

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There are endless possibilities with pumpkin seeds.  You can make them spicy and savory, cinnamon and sugary, or even just plain and salted.  With a thriving rosemary plant on the porch, I figured I'd use what I already had and toss my pumpkin seeds in rosemary and olive oil.  

Recipe for Rosemary Pumpkin Seeds
3 cups raw pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 generous pinches of salt
4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, roughly chopped

Toss ingredients and bake on sheet pan at 275F for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown.

These might just rival the beloved tamari almonds.  What do you do with your pumpkin seeds?

05 October 2011

Pumpkin Layer Cake

Pin It You know what's really cool?  Putting vegetables in desserts.  Treat yourself and your family this weekend and whip up this super easy pumpkin cake.

Recipe for Pumpkin Layer Cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted
4 large eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups pumpkin puree

Recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese
1 lb powdered sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract.

Whisk together sugar and butter.  Add eggs one at a time and whisk until smooth.  In separate bowl, mix glower, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and baking powder.  In three additions, add to wet mixture, mixing well between each addition.  Finish by folding in pumpkin puree.

Pour batter into two 9in round cake pans and bake at 350F for about 40 minutes.

Let cool, remove, and ice with cream cheese frosting.

Directions for Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth.  Slowly add sugar and vanilla extract and beat until desired consistency and sweetness.

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

Pin It So, now we've got a ton of pumpkin puree.  What are we gonna do?  Ya gotta use it or lose it!  Seriously, that mush is gonna get nasty in your fridge if you don't get on it sooner or later.

If you think all you can do with pumpkin puree is make pie (awesome, but snooze fest for the sake of this blog), you're wrong!  We made an amazing chipotle pumpkin soup that is smoky and spicy AND sweet.  A winner combination, if you ask me.

Recipe for Chipotle Pumpkin Soup
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 chiles in adobo, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
5 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream
nonfat yogurt (or sour cream) for serving

Sautee garlic and onion in bottom of large soup pot until softened and fragrant.  Add chiles and cumin and toss to combine.  Add puree, stock, and cream and blend with immersion blender (or transfer to regular blender in batches and then back into pot).  Cover and let simmer on low for twenty minutes or so before scooping into dishes and serving with a drizzle of yogurt.

Are you daring enough to eat this spicy pumpkin recipe??  Come on, you know you are.

04 October 2011


Pin It The pumpkin patch recipes are piling up. But before I even lift a spatula, there's the ominous roasting of the pumpkin!  I was intimidated at first.  Is this thing going to explode in there??  Does fresh pumpkin taste as good as I think it will?  WHAT have I gotten myself into?

Turns out it's not so crazy.  REALLY COOL, but not crazy at all.  Actually, just a larger version of what I did last week with spaghetti squash.  I can be such a drama queen.

You start off with your regular ole dirty pumpkin from the patch (or g-store).  I asked the nice ladies at the farm what kind of pumpkin is best for baking and they said that the smaller the pumpkin, the more meat you've got to work with.  In my mind of ratios and math equations, I somehow determined that this pumpkin would give me more than two of the little baby pumpkins, and maybe some extra seeds?  I don't know how it compares to the minis, but it worked for me!

Scrub it down reeeaal good in your sink.  Make sure you get the stem and star (on bottom).  You don't want dirty pumpkin flavor... or do you?? weirdo.

Rub it down with some oil (I used canola) and put it in the oven, on a sheet tray, at 375F.  No need to preheat.  It's going to be in there so long it doesn't make a bit of a difference.  Leave it in there for a good 90 minutes to two hours.  Catch up on the new season of Grey's Anatomy, while you're at it.  OMG!

You know when it's done when you can easily pierce it with a knife.  It should be like buttah.  Then, just take it out and let it cool for a few minutes.  Cut it into a few pieces and scrape out the seeds- save them!

Now, just scoop out the flesh, blend it up in the food processor, and save it for plenty of pumpkin recipes!  I got about 10 cups of pumpkin, which should be enough for the recipes I've got lined up.  You can keep it in your fridge or freezer (I did half and half) until you're ready to use it.  Don't be afraid to try it on it's own, though.  SO sweet and good and way better than anything that comes out of a can.


03 October 2011

Chef Boy-ar-Julia

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With weather getting colder and my sniffles getting sniffly-er, it seems all I want to do is spend time over the stove.  Maybe it's the radiating warmth, or possibly my body trying to nourish itself, that keeps me making hearty meals.  Regardless, this beautiful recipe was born last night.

Chicken, Apple, and Walnut Ravioli in a Brown Butter Cream Sauce.

I know, a mouthful.  But, I promise you- that is one happy mouth. 

fresh sage
fresh pasta. recipe via food and wine.

roughly cut ravioli

Recipe for Chicken Apple Walnut Ravioli in Brown Butter Cream Sauce
1 recipe fresh pasta via food and wine

for filling
3 medium apples, diced
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons fresh, chopped sage

for sauce
1/2 cup unsalted butter (or use salted and omit adding more later)
1/2 cup cream

1 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano
lemon wedges, for garnish

Sautee apples in large skillet over medium heat.  When softened, add chicken.  Once chicken is cooked thoroughly, add walnuts and sage.  Toss and keep on heat for another few minutes to release oils in nuts and aroma of sage.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop tablespoon sized portions of filling into thinly rolled pasta dough.  If using a kitchen-aid pasta attachment, take the dough to the smallest setting.  Cover with another sheet of dough and press around filling pockets with fingers to secure.  Toss into boiling water 2 or 3 at a time until ravioli float.  Transfer to bowl and cover until all are done.

While ravioli are cooking, make your sauce.  Simply melt the butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat.  When butter is browned and smelling sweet, turn off heat and slowly add the cream and whisk until combined.

Pour sauce over ravioli and top with a generous pinch of parm and a lemon wedge to brighten up all of the rich flavor.

Doesn't that just look like it could cure a cold?

02 October 2011

Pumpkin Head

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With lots of pumpkin recipes in my queue and an apartment begging for harvest adornment, we made our way over to Ganyard Farms late this afternoon.  It's been years since I've been to a pumpkin patch, but I figured I'd get something local instead of your usual grocery store fare.  Besides, it makes for a fun afternoon and some more exploration in our new town. 

Stay tuned for some fresh pumpkin recipes.  I have a feeling it's going to get out of control.