Hi Friends! Happy Monday!
I don’t know about you, but all of the sweets hanging around the office are really starting to catch up with me. That being said, Farmer Ben and I had a day off together yesterday and decided to do… a lot of baking. Typical
After making some boozey cookies, I wanted to make something quasi-healthy. We had some yogurt and a pear in the fridge that we had forgotten about, so I perused the internet to find a recipe that I wouldn’t feel guilty while
I ended up using this recipe… kind of (I am really bad at following directions). I am also super lazy and put all of the ingredients into one bowl. Yes, ONE bowl.
Note: These are NOT sweet muffins. They have some sweetness, but I would classify them as more of a breakfast on the run OR a snack, especially if you add a dollop of nut butter.
If you’d like them sweet, I would up the amount of maple syrup to 1/2 or 3/4 of a cup.
The siggi’s website has a lot of really great recipes, if you’re looking for something different, check them out!
Carrot-Pear Muffins with Skyr
What you’ll need:
About 2 Cups grated carrots (I threw mine in the ninja)
1/3 cup maple syrup (the REAL stuff, please!)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 splash vanilla extract
½ cup plain yogurt (I love siggis plain skyr)
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Tbs Flax seed meal
2 Tbs Hemp Seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground ginger
1 pinch sea salt
1 pear, chopped (an apple would also work well)
What to do:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or grease really well.
In a large bowl, mix all of your wet ingredients (including carrots, excluding pear). Fold in your dry ingredients until well combined.
Mix in chopped pear (Note: the batter is going to be pretty thick, don’t worry).
Pour into prepared muffin tin.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean).
Let cool and enjoy!
What are you baking these days?
Disclaimer: I am a siggi’s Culture Club Ambassador, but all opinions, per usual, are my own.
Interested in being a siggi’s ambassador? Send me an email for some info.
Happy Tuesday! I figured I’d stop in and share my latest obsession: Creamy Cheesy Dip/Spread (made in about 5 minutes with a blender). Seriously… I think I’ve made this dip about 5 times in the last month (3 times for social gatherings and 2 times just because I couldn’t stop thinking about it). I make it a little differently each time, but this way seems to be my favorite.
And if you have these ingredients… how can you go wrong, really?!
This is super easy to make and can be made with so many different flavor combinations… serve it with some sliced baguette, a good dip chip or some veggies… I’m also loving it as a spread on sandwiches.
Sorry for the lack of photos… but I didn’t think that blended cheese would photograph well.
Noelle’s Creamy Dreamy (cheesy) Dip:
*adapted from a cream cheese box–I can’t find it on the Organic Valley website or I would link it for you.*
- 1 package cream cheese, softened.
- 1 (8 oz) brick cheddar cheese (I am a big fan of Cabot Extra Sharp)
- 8 oz. Plain Greek Yogurt/Sour Cream
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tsp. onion powder or chives.
- 2-3 tsp. smoky paprika
- a pinch of sea salt
- a few good cranks of black pepper
- Juice of half a lemon (optional)
Grate your cheddar cheese.
Add all ingredients into food processor/blender–EXCEPT your cream cheese and lemon juice. Pulse until everything is chopped/well combined.
Add in remaining ingredients and pulse for a few more minutes until everything is incorporated.
Scrape into a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for an hour or so before serving–this allows the flavors to really come together.
Want to add in some veggies? Throw in some broccoli, spinach or kale.
This dip is real good. Please try it!
In my last post, Dad, Eileen, Gary and I were in Saranac Lake getting our local food on… I managed to pick up a few goodies….
After bringing Farmer Ben a surprise coffee, I took Gary and my Dad for a long walk on a bike path by the lake. It was hot…and sticky.
I then rushed home to clean-up and make some more delicious eats….
Here is what I whipped up….
What you’ll need:
- 1 baguette…preferably local
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling on bread
- 2 large tomatoes (or 3-4 small-medium)
- 15 fresh basil leaves (approximately)
- 1 tbsp. or a splash of balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
- 1 avocado
What to do:
- Preheat oven to 350
- Mince garlic.
- Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat, add garlic. Stir…cook garlic until it softens-do NOT let burn. This won’t take long. Pour garlic and oil into a metal mixing bowl and set aside.
- Chop/dice tomatoes (this will be depend on how big you want your chunks to be–side note: chunks is not an appetizing word.) Add to mixing bowl with garlic and oil.
- Also, if you don’t want soupy bruschetta, drain some of the juices before adding to bowl.
- Chop basil. (tip: stack some leaves on top of each other, roll them length-wise and slice into thin strips) Add to mixing bowl.
- Add in remaining balsamic, salt and pepper and stir. Set aside
- Slice baguette on the diagonal into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices. Place on baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
- Place in oven and let brown. Meanwhile, dice up your avocado and add to the bruschetta mixture–do NOT do this until ready to serve.
- Remove toasted baguette from oven and top with bruschetta mixture.
If you’re feeling extra naughty, grate some parmesan over the top.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Garden Delight Pasta
(Or…trying to use up all the veggies on your counter/in the fridge pasta)
What You’ll Need:
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta (I used angel hair)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion (or 1/2 a giant onion like I used…), diced
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 1 medium eggplant, chopped
- 6 large kale leaves, sliced (I just ripped it up)
- 2 large Swiss Chard Leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped (about 1-2 tbsp.)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 large tomato, chopped (or, if you have leftover bruschetta mix, that will work too!)
- 3 oz. goat cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
- Heat water for pasta and cook according to package
- While your water is boiling….
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add in onion, until it starts to soften.
- Add in zucchini and eggplant, stirring occasionally, be careful not to let veggies stick/burn. Reduce heat to medium low. (This should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on your veggies/size of pan)
- Add in Swiss chard and kale, cover and let wilt. Stirring occasionally.
- Stir in cooked and drained pasta (it should be hot) and mix in remaining ingredients.
Remove from heat and Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.
Favorite seasonal meal? How do you use up all of your leftover veggies? Goat cheese in pasta, yes or no?
Stay Tuned for Scenes…Part 3!
Oh boy… this cake is sinful. And comforting…can something be sinful and comforting at the same time? If this cake is any indication, then yes….It’s like a warm hug from your great, great aunt…followed by a slap in the face…does that make sense? Or maybe I have that backward…
The cake is fluffy…like a pancake, but the cinnamon swirl adds pretty marbling and buttery goodness…enough buttery goodness to satisfy old school Paula Deen. The frosting is just the right amount of sweet and creamy.
Sidenote: This was actually made as a sample dessert…my amazing friends are getting married at the end of the summer and I am lucky enough to be doing their wedding dessert (cake wasn’t the only option).
I followed this recipe… mostly. I didn’t have any cupcake liners, so I used two 8 inch rounds, I also cut the sugar in half, made a couple of ingredient additions and substitutions and used my own frosting recipe (which has drastically less sugar).
The frosting recipe is a little more complicated than a regular frosting, but it is so worth the extra step or two. Trust me.
Also, please see my notes on the frosting regarding quantity and sweetness.
By popular demand, here is my version.
Cinnamon Bun Cake
Adapted from Every Craving, via Tasty Kitchen (see link above)
FOR THE CUPCAKE:
- 2-½ cups All-purpose Flour
- 2-½ teaspoons Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon smoked Salt
- 1 stick Unsalted Butter, Softened
- 1 scant cup sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
FOR THE CINNAMON SWIRL:
- 1/2 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1/3 cups Brown Sugar
- 1-½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoons Salt
*NOTE: I followed the original recipe instructions for the swirl, but it made too much… so I am cutting it in half to save your insulin levels.
FOR THE FROSTING*:
- 8 oz (I think) Heavy Whipping Cream
- 8 oz. Mascarpone, room temperature
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
- 3/4 cups Confectioners Sugar**
- A splash Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup (please use the real stuff to avoid breaking my heart!)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
*Note: This makes more frosting than you’ll need. I would suggest dividing your frosting into two dishes then adding the maple syrup and cinnamon to one, saving the other half for a different dessert (mixed with crushed up Newman O’s, or on red velvet cake? Anyone?)… OR you can just half this recipe…I know mascarpone is a bit fancy for a regular old cake, but trust me, it’s worth it.
**Second Note: You’ve probably figured out that I am not a huge super sweet frosting fan..so adjust to your taste.
What to do:
Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease two 8 in round cake pans and set aside.
Make the Cinnamon Swirl
- Melt butter in a small-medium sized bowl over double-boiler. Once melted, remove from heat.
- Stir in cinnamon, sugar and salt until smooth. Set aside.
Make the cake
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
- Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl (I use my trusty pastry blender for this…you can also use a mixer).
- Beat in eggs, one at a time (If using the pastry blender, switch to a solid serving spoon or rubber spatula for beating).
- Stir in vanilla and sour cream.
- Beat in milk and flour mixture, adding a little of each at a time until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- This is going to make a pretty thick batter. That’s okay, don’t panic.
- Divide half of the batter into each of the prepared pans.
- Give the cinnamon swirl a quick stir and lightly drizzle 1/3 of it over batter.
- Divide the rest of the batter into each pan and, using a rubber spatula, spread evenly. Drizzle 1/3 of the cinnamon swirl over the top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before frosting.
Make the Frosting
- Whip cream to soft peaks, place in refrigerator/set aside.
- Place mascarpone and cream cheese in stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until combined and smooth.
- Beat in vanilla and add in powdered sugar, a little at a time, until completely incorporated.
- Fold in whipped cream by hand (I use a rubber spatula)
- *Refrigerate until ready to use. *See note above.
- Right before frosting, add in remaining ingredients.
- Frost your cake, top with remaining cinnamon swirl.
PS. How to use up the leftover frosting, two ways:
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but up until last weekend, I had never oven-roasted garlic. My chef husband probably judged me for this. Luckily he was at work while I was playing in the kitchen so he missed the huge mess I made.
I can saute garlic like a champ, but now, after trying the roasted variety, I don’t know if my life will ever be the same.
Seriously. I may or may not have stood over my oven, shoveling an embarrassing amount of baguette into my mouth and burning my fingers as a result of not wanting to waste any of this delicious-ness that didn’t make it into the above mentioned pesto. It happens.
If you’ve never roasted garlic, here is an excellent tutorial, courtesy of the Pioneer Woman. It’s crazy easy and totally worth it.
I must note, that I only roasted my garlic for about 30 minutes, but I think it’s because my oven is possessed and chooses its own temperature… but that’s a different story… Moral of this story, use your best judgment for roasting times.
Anyway, onto the pesto.
I don’t know if you knew this or not, but it rained like crazy in Upstate NY last weekend…like 8 inches of rain in three days. Or, if you live near Whiteface Mountain, you got three feet of snow. In May. I’m not kidding. This made national news…
Luckily, I missed the snowfall. And just got stuck with wind, rain and cold. And it was in this lovely weather that I ventured outside to pick arugula from the garden. Brilliant, I know.
But I had to… I had pesto on the brain. And it was totally worth it.
Roasted Garlic & Arugula Pesto
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 cups arugula (less if you want a less peppery pesto)
- 2 good handfuls spinach
- a few tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (more or less depending on how wet you like your pesto)
- 4 sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
- Rinse spinach and arugula and let dry.
- Roast garlic (if necessary, see tutorial link above). Once garlic is cooled, gently squeeze cloves out of the skin (also in tutorial).
- Put all ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth.
The pesto will be perfectly delicious at this point. So you can serve over warm pasta with or without lots of parmesan cheese, spread on a baguette…or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
Roasted Garlic and Arugula Pesto Version 2.0: Rollatini
- Goat Cheese, about 4 oz.
- 1 package lasagna noodles.
- Diced tomatoes (Optional)
- Mozzarella (Optional)
What to do:
- Cook lasagna noodles according to package, drain and lay out on a cookie sheet to dry/cool.
- Pre-heat oven to 375.
- Prepare a large casserole dish by putting a thin layer or diced tomatoes or tomato sauce in the bottom, set aside.
- Prepare pesto exactly the same way as above. Transfer to a medium-sized dish and mix in goat cheese. (If you don’t like lasagna noodles, you can just add the kicked up pesto to cooked pasta of your choice…or bread.)
- Using a rubber spatula, spread pesto-goat cheese mixture along 2/3 of the lasagna noodles, as pictured below. If using diced tomatoes, sprinkle those on as well (be sure to drain so they don’t get soggy).
- Roll noodles spread-side first.
- Place prepared noodles, open-end down, in prepared casserole dish.
- Top with leftover diced tomatoes.
- Bake for 20 minutes, covered.
- Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until noodles are hot.
If using cheese, add at the same time as you top noodles with diced tomatoes.
Follow same baking instructions. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbling.
Makes about 5 servings (2 rolls per serving).
So as you may or may not know, I recently read Born to Run.
Anyway, chia seeds are discussed in the book and I totally bought into the hype. I immediately went to the co-op and picked up a small container (in case I didn’t like them). And yes, if you’re thinking of the infamous Chia Head, these seeds are the same…and so much more!
After purchasing this tiny super-food, I set out to find ways to use them. I used them in a gluten-free flatbread recipe as a substitute for gelatin (they worked better than expected), we also put them in smoothies.
Thus far my favorite way thus to eat them is in overnight chia oatmeal.
This is super easy, and kind of fun to make. Below is the version I’ve been making most recently, but as usual, this is easy to adapt and change to your liking. I’ve seen some recipes call for adding sweeteners, but in my opinion, the fruit is enough. I’ll leave that up to you.
When mixed with liquid, the chia seeds get a fun gelatinous texture, similar to tapioca.
It’s also pretty great because you get tons of fruit in your first meal of the day and you can just grab it and throw in your purse (great for people like me who are bad about eating fruit and are always running late for work in the morning).
If you’re like us, you have an abundance of mason jars in your house and are trying to figure out how to use them when not canning. Today, you’re in luck. You don’t have an abundance of mason jars? That’s okay, any airtight container will work.
Overnight Chia Oatmeal:
- 1/4 cup rolled or steel-cut oats (I don’t remember what we have, either will work), uncooked
- 1 tbsp. Chia Seeds
- 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 banana, sliced
- 1 Saturn peach, pit removed and chopped (a regular peach or 1/2 cup frozen/canned peaches will also work, just avoid anything with added sugars or syrups).
- 1/2 cup milk (I used regular whole milk but almond or coconut milk would also be wonderful)
- 1 pint mason jar with lid (if you’re missing the lid, use parchment paper and cover with ring, or use any airtight container).
- Nuts of your choice
- Nut Butter
- Chocolate shavings
What to do:
- Combine all dry ingredients in jar, add milk. Seal, give the container a few good shakes and place in the fridge.
- Let sit overnight and eat for breakfast with or without the toppings of your choice.
That’s it. Boom Done.
PS. I’ve totally been holding out on you but I will be back. Pinky Promise. The delicious-ness and ridiculous-ness to follow will be worth it…at least I hope so.
I woke up this morning to a delicious aroma wafting ever so delicately into my bedroom. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I thought about what this smell could possibly be…. after about five minutes of sniffing and drooling, I finally realized…
“Oh yeah! Overnight Black Beans!”
Last night, I pulled out the slow cooker and set it up so I’d have lunch ready at 6 am. Special thanks to Aunt Terry for our sweet crock-pot. So fancy!
You see, I am all about food prep/easy cooking these days. I’ve been ridiculously busy and I don’t see any signs of my schedule opening up…in fact, it’s only going to get busier in the next few months. So, in order to keep myself (and Farmer Ben) sane, I’ve been scouring some of my favorite food blogs, and discovering new ones, to find easy-to-put-together meals…and when that fails, I pester the hubs.
Luckily, we keep a supply of good staples in our house and that makes the whole food prep thing a lot easier. I can take no blame for this, Farmer Ben is totally responsible for keeping the kitchen well stocked and for that I am so thankful. He’s the best…and not a total space cadet like his wife.
Anyway, I was going to do a chicken crock-pot meal…but I over-estimated our chicken supply (see space cadet note, above). Black beans were next on the list.
Let me tell you, these beans were the such a good idea! So easy and soooooo gooooooooood.
The beans came out perfectly, just a little bit of crunch but not too hard and not too soft.
What you’ll need:
- ~2 cups dried black beans
- **3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (water will also work)
- About half an onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 Serrano peppers (I was going to chop but after squirting pepper juice all over myself, I threw them in whole).
- 1 tbsp. taco seasoning (cumin, pepper, paprika, salt, pepper, etc.)
- About 1/3 cup of Farmer Ben’s JD Barbecue Sauce (you could also use a hot salsa, chili sauce or a savory/spicy barbecue sauce–avoid the sweet stuff!)
What to do:
Rinse and drain beans. Pick out any stones/non-bean items.
Throw all the ingredients into crock-pot and give it a quick stir.
Turn crock-pot on low and forget about it for 8 hours (I started mine before I went to bed).
Serve over rice, with a fried egg or with tacos/nachos. Perfection.
**Note: Depending on how dry/wet you like your beans, adjust the liquid. These would have been just as good with 2 cups of chicken stock for a drier bean, I had some extra liquid but the beans were still firm and so not mushy. If you’re using 3 cups of beans (or a 16 oz package), use 3-4 cups of liquid.
I have a confession to make. It is a two part confession.
First , I made another batch of fro-yo bites today and they were tasty. A new favorite snack…better than the last.
-1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
-1small banana chopped
-1/3 cup dried cranberries
-1/3 cup dried coconut, shredded
-1 handful cocoa nibs (1/2 cup maybe?)
-1cup heritage o’s (or cheerios)
Mix in large bowl, scoop into ice cube trays and freeze.
The second part of my confession?
I happened to sneak a bite of the vanilla yogurt and–gasp!–I kind of enjoyed it!
I don’t know what to say. Was it a fluke? Or have I turned over a new leaf in the yogurt department? I just don’t know!
In other news… stir-fry for dinner. I am so spoiled!
Local beef, butternut squash, carrots, beet greens, red onion, mushrooms, garlic and Farmer Ben’s Thai sauce, cooked in coconut oil and served over rice.
What did you eat today?
Cheers! Happy eating!