Friday, November 28, 2008
First up, Blueberry & White Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cookies (what a mouthful!). A twist on the oatmeal raisin cookie it seems, I liked the goodness from blueberries and ginger.
The other recipe I tried out were Apricot Butter Cookies, which had the unique addition of dried thyme. To make these a real test, I tried using the Smart Balance 50/50 Unsalted Butter that I've seen in the store. I'd been intrigued and wanted to see if my testers could tell that real butter wasn't used. This was a winning flavor combination, and best of all my grandfather enjoyed the butter :) hehe, he's a stickler!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The star of the show is always the pumpkin chiffon pie. It started with my great grandmother (whom we always called Babci), got picked up by mom, and now I guess by me! It's doubtful I liked it as a kid, but I think this one is heads and shoulders above the traditional pumpkin :) Much lighter due to some whipped egg whites that get folded into the pumpkin mixture, and a delicious blend of spices. Without further ado...
1 envelope knox gelatin (anyone know about substituting agar-agar or arrowroot for this?)
1 cup of sugar, divided
1 1/2t ground ginger (that's not a typo!)
3 eggs, separated
1 1/4c canned pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
1 baked pie shell
chopped walnuts for garnish, if desired
Mix gelatin, 1/2c sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger thoroughly in top of double boiler (over simmering water).
Beat egg yolks with milk and add to gelatin mix. Add pumpkin, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. The notes say 10-12min... it seems like longer as you stand there stirring, but I forgot to time it until halfway through. You'll feel the mixture become harder to stir, and it will no longer fall off the spoon.
Once thickened, remove from heat and let cool. To speed this up, I transferred to a metal bowl and popped it into the fridge. It doesn't have to be cold, you just don't want it hot.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Then slowly add in 1/2c sugar (while beating). Fold this mixture into cooled pumpkin mix, then pour into baked pie shell. Top with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts and enjoy!
I prepared this last night and just stored it in the fridge until we were ready to dig in (who am I kidding, allowed to dig in!). It might not be the quickest, but being able to take care of it ahead of time really helps!!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Pomegranates are so gorgeous, I love the fact that they are all over right now. How can you turn down these jewels??
Ok, well maybe if you didn't know what was inside... Anyways I had picked up a few of these, and had some arils in my fridge awaiting consumption when I saw this on sale.
I've had a love/hate relationship with white chocolate throughout my life, but this stuff is pretty darn incredible. They're not kidding when they say it's made with vanilla--you can see the specks!!! Last year I had made these, so my idea this time was to make POM bark! The little bursts make for quite the interesting treat :) And very festive!
"Recipe" by Shannon
1 bar of really good chocolate (white or dark, i'm sold on green & blacks right now!)
Chop/break apart chocolate into smaller pieces and melt in a double boiler. While this is melting, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Once fully melted, spread chocolate on cookie sheet, sprinkle around arils, and lightly press the arils into the chocolate. Pop the sheet into the fridge to harden (mine took a few hours). Once hardened, carefully break into smaller pieces and enjoy! Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve, or to store leftover pieces.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Carrot Pumpkin Soup - I followed the recipe, using 2c chopped carrots and 1c pumpkin
Pumpkin Truffles - Made with Amaretto as I didn't have any Grand Marnier
And last but not least, the REALLY ripe banana on my counter found their way into a very small (4) batch of Banana Wheat Germ Muffins. I was a little short on wheat germ, so I did about half and half with ground flax seeds.
Ok, I lied... I made something else with ingredients I didn't have on hand. But I happened upon two Hiyacha persimmons at the store that seemed to be ripe (the acorn-shaped ones, which are supposed to be quite soft when ripe and better for baking), and I couldn't turn them down! When peeling one of my persimmons, you could definately tell there was a section still unripe (much harder) so I didn't use that for fear of astringency and inedible baked goods. This led to a smaller amount of puree than called for in this Persimmon Date Bread and the making of muffins instead! After popping one, ok, two, in my mouth, I packaged the rest up for the freezer so I can come home to some fresh-baked goodness after a long weekend home :)
Friday, November 21, 2008
Savory Pumpkin Souffle
Recipe by Shannon
Yield: 2 side servings
1 1/3T whole wheat pastry flour
5 1/3T skim milk, divided (you need 2 2/3T twice)
2oz goat cheese
5oz pumpkin puree (1/3 can)
salt, pepper, fresh sage to taste
1 large egg white
Preheat oven to 375º. Lightly spray 2 ramekins with cooking spray and set aside.
Whisk together flour and 2 2/3T milk in small bowl. Set aside.
Combine 2 2/3T milk and 2oz goat cheese in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until cheese melts. Stir in flour mix, cook until thick, stirring often. Transfer to large bowl, then add in pumpkin and seasonings. Mix really well (could also beat this), until mixture is smooth.
Using clean beaters, beat egg white with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Stir one-third of egg whites into the pumpkin mixture. Gently fold in remaining egg whites. Divide pumpkin mixture evenly among prepared ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake at 375º for 25 minutes or until soufflés are puffy and set. Serve immediately.
ps- true to shannon form, i had one of these for lunch the next day, and it didn't lose it's flavor ;-) just a little of it's lift!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This frittata had two ingredients that screamed "MAKE ME," so I listened :) Head over to Dani Spies to check out this recipe for a Butternut Quinoa Frittata. I think I cooked the squash a bit longer, so it didn't hold it's shape as nicely as in Dani's photograph. Regardless of how it looked, it was much enjoyed-- great combo of flavors in this dish! Oh, I used gorgonzola as I much prefer that to blue cheese. Sorry for the lackluster slice i'm serving up
And one more treat for today... Heather gave me the Superior Scribbler Award!! I don't know that I'm quite worthy, but here's the deal...
1. Post the award on your blog
2. Link to me for giving it to you
3. Link the originating post here
4. Pass it on to five deserving people
5. Post these rules for your recipients.
I have such a hard time picking just a few! What I think that really means is that I read too many blogs :) Based on the award, I am passing this award on to...
A couple roses :)
--Rose @ On A Lobster Placemat: her oatmeal is so creative I wouldn't be able to eat it! I love the stories that accompany every bowl :)
--Rosiecat @ Life, Love, and Food: her kitchen conversations and beautifully written posts almost outshine the recipes she so lovingly shares! (i said almost!!)
--Shauna @ Gluten-Free Girl: the tagline food-stories-recipes-love says it all! I highly doubt she knows my blog exists, but the way she writes always brings a smile and some inspiration!
and two fitness-inspirations
--Carla (Miz) @ Mizfit: along with the bumbling band, she makes me think way too hard that early in the morning!! but i love every minute of it.
-- Angela @ OhSheGlows: I stumbled upon her blog all of 5 days ago and quickly realized it's chock-full of inspiration :)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Enter Mel over at bitchin camero, she always gets me with her lovely photos and recipes! Using steel cut oats in this Risotto with Shrimp & Asparagus made for a nice change in texture--still creamy but with a nice chewiness. Don't forget the freshly ground pepper! I've also been meaning to try risotto with barley, or maybe even with some fruit or sweetness... the possibilities are endless :)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
First up, from the BSI challenges, a thank you to Sabrina, for the halloween-themed goodies she sent along for the Chocolate Polenta Cake I made (sorry I don't know what I was thinking, but I forgot to take a picture!) Also to Gina, who liked my Pumpkin Surprise Cupcakes enough to send me some homemade macaroons that were just incredible--girl i want the recipe if you don't mind sharing!!!
Next up were some freebies thanks to Megan's Munchies :)
And finally, a huge shoutout goes to Kalyn over in her Kitchen, who has been running the fabulous Weekend Herb Blogging for 3 years. To commemorate the event there were several giveaways, and I was the lucky recipient of some new cookbooks! So excited for the new readings I can hardly contain myself!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The first third or so of the book is chock full of information about whole grains (some of which I hadn't heard of before!). I had a ball reading this part :) Recipes utilizing each of the grains for different courses account for the rest of the book. Another useful tool is the index of mail-order sources if you cannot find some of the grains mentioned.
So the food? I've tried two recipes so far-- the oat pudding was just ok, but I really enjoyed the quinoa chowder with spinach and feta. Tonight I tried the Chili-Scented Pork Chops with Quinoa (with a much longer name in the book). For this dish, quinoa is tossed with corn and a roasted red pepper vinaigrette, then topped with a pork chop and served alongside lightly dressed cherry tomatoes. A really nice combo of flavors!! I'd recommend this book for its information alone, but it seems the recipes are winners, too :)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Goat Cheese Panna Cotta
adapted from Enlightened Cooking
1 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/2c and 2T skim milk
1T vanilla caramel coffee mate (I added this to get some fat, as my dairy products were fat-free and wasn't sure how it would turn out)
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 ounces goat cheese
1/2c plus 2T Trader Joe's European Nonfat Yogurt
optional, for garnish: fresh berries, arils, and jam
Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Bring milk, coffee mate, vanilla bean, and powdered sugar to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove pan from heat; remove vanilla bean and, with tip of knife, scrape seeds into milk mixture (discarding the bean, or use it to make vanilla sugar if you so desire!).
Whisk in gelatin mixture and goat cheese until smooth. Whisk in yogurt until well combined. Divide mixture evenly among 4 (6-ounce) ramekins. Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight.
Loosen edges with a knife. Place a plate, upside down, on top of each cup; invert onto plates. I topped mine off with some warmed up fruit spread and fresh berries and arils just to make it look pretty :)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
ps- please excuse the tupperware, this batch went in to work for lunch!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
what to do...
Ok, here we go...
6. I CANNOT wait to get a dog. I'd get two though, so they could keep each other company! So keep those pet pictures coming people!!!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I'm a novice when it comes to dough making, so I followed the instructions pretty closely... all i can say is I tried my best and made a mess of my kitchen counter :) Since it came from the book, i'm not going to infringe on any copyright... let's just say it did contain equal amounts of potato and eggplant! Here's some of the steps I managed to take in between hand washings :)
Could've sworn I had pasta sauce, but when I went to find it, I could not :( Oh well, guess I'll have to get on that! These actually came out pretty good, you could taste both the eggplant and potato, and I don't think they were too heavy at all. ~phew~ Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!!!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
This is my mom's way of doing things, and I love it so much I couldn't mess with it. Nice and easy, too. She always used to cook up a BIG batch and freeze some to enjoy the rest of the year. We'd get excited there was some defrosting for dinner :)
Mom's tried and true recipe
See, I told you it was simple! You can do this with as little or as many apples as you have and your cooking vessels permit. Peel and slice the apples (you could even keep the skins if they look better than mine did!). Here's where the options come in... microwave, crockpot, stove, heck, you could even do this in the oven.
Mom always went for the microwave: Add apple slices to a glass baking dish, then sprinkle with cinnamon (adjust it to your tastes, folks). Cook 5 min on high, stir, then 5min intervals on medium, stirring in between, to avoid boilovers. If you have a smaller amount of apples, you could probably do 2 min intervals. Stop when it looks like applesauce, I like mine chunky, but if you want, cook it longer!
What I did this time was to use the good ol' crockpot: Add apple slices to the crock, sprinkle with cinnamon (I guess you could use other spices and fruit, but for this, I wanted it just like mom made!!). Turn on the crockpot, and cook until desired consistency! I turned it on high while I was doing other things and it went pretty quickly.
How easy is that? No sugar added, and so freakin good you'll have to hold yourself back from finishing it all in one go. No? Just me? Good for you! It'll last longer :)