Monday, December 5, 2016

Honey Almond Baked Brie

Wheel of brie
Honey
Sliced Almonds
Puff Pastry
1 egg

Lay out your puff pastry sheet and put the wheel of brie in the middle. Drizzle the brie with honey and sprinkle over some sliced almonds. Fold up the puff pastry sheet and brush with egg wash as you fold, using like glue. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes. Then, top with more honey and almonds and bake for about 10 more minutes. Serve with warm bread, apple slices &/or crackers. SO good!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

From epicurious

For the carrot cake:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup safflower or canola oil
1 pound carrots, trimmed, peeled, and coarsely grated on the largest holes of a box grater or the fine grating blade of food processor (about 3 lightly packed cups total)

Optional additions:
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped, plus more lightly toasted nuts for garnish
2/3 cup dark or golden raisins

For the cream cheese frosting:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, chilled
11 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Equipment: 1 (9- by 13-inch) baking pan or 2 regular cupcake pans w/ parchment paper liners; stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment

Make the cake:
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Prepare your pans (butter the bottom and sides of your cake pan and line the bottoms with parchment paper or use parchment paper liners for the cupcakes).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the brown sugar on the lowest speed to break up any lumps. Add 1 egg and continue to mix on low until smooth and incorporated. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, and mix on low until smooth and incorporated. Shut off the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle. Return the mixer to low then add the oil in a thin steady stream and continue to beat until fully incorporated.

Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, using a large rubber spatula to fold the mixture together until just incorporated. Fold in the carrots, along with the nuts and raisins, if using.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the layers are firm and risen and the tip of a paring knife inserted in the center of the cake emerges clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.

Once the cake is completely cool, make the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat on medium until smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Shut off the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, and beat on medium, scraping down the bowl and paddle as necessary, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

I had never made a cake from scratch but my nesting instincts were in full gear during hubby's birthday week this year so I made this cake. It was kind of labor-intensive for this boxed cake lover, but it was SO worth it. EVERYONE, including hubby (and including myself who doesn't usually care for carrot cake), RAVED about this cake. It was moist and just really delicious. It will be a go-to for any of hubby's special occasions in the future!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

From Food.com


1 tbsp melted butter
1⁄2 medium chopped onion
1⁄4 cup melted butter
1⁄4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock
1⁄2 lb fresh broccoli (chopped into bite size pieces)
1 cup carrot, finely diced
8 oz. cheddar cheese
salt and pepper


Sauté onion in butter. Set aside.
Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half. Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.

This doesn't make a ton of soup but is delicious and comforting. My veggies were still super crunchy which I liked but if you prefer a softer bite, maybe saute them first with the onion. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pioneer Woman's Sour Cream Noodle Bake

from The Pioneer Woman


1-1/4 pound ground beef
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
salt + pepper to taste
8 ounces, weight egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain fat, then add tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.

To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.

Super easy and fast weeknight meal. I didn't have any green onions so I just added a little dash of minced onions from the cupboard. This was good, comforting, filling.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid

Adapted from Eat Live Run

For the pastry:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp instant yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp vegetable oil

For the filling:
6-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed w/ 2 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350F.

Make the filling: Combine blueberries & sugar in saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and add starch. Leave in saucepan to cool before using. Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add egg yolk & powdered sugar and beat until well-mixed.

Make the pastry: Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and oil and mix the dough for 6 minutes using an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Spray a smooth clean surface with cooking spray and turn the dough out onto the surface. Knead the dough briefly to give it a smooth surface. Roll the dough into a large rectangle and then move it onto a greased baking sheet. Cut each side into strips and 1-inch wide down each side, leaving the center third of the dough uncut.

Put it together now: Spread your cream cheese mixture in the center third of your dough and then top with your cooked blueberries. Now fold the strips of dough into the center, crisscrossing the filling by alternating strips from each side (braid). Bake the braid for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

I have made this for a few of our brunches and it is always a big hit. It is so yummy. Definitely a little time consuming but it is a beautiful presentation as well. Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken

From New Leaf Wellness' Crockpot Freezer Meals

1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp EVOO
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Sesame seeds, optional (not needed until serving)

Add all ingredients to a freezer bag. Remove as much air from the bag as possible and freeze. The night before cooking, move the bag from the freezer to the fridge to allow to thaw. The next morning, pour contents of the freezer bag into your crockpot, turn on low and forget about it for about 6 hours. Top with sesame seeds before serving.

I have never actually used this as a freezer meal but it is a favorite as an easy delicious crockpot meal. Serve with brown rice and stir fry veggies. I'll be freezing a batch or two for baby #3 arrival soon! 

Whole Wheat Waffles

I don't remember where we got this recipe but it's our go-to for wholesome, homemade waffles.

Makes 4 waffles

1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp milk
1/4 cup vegetable {canola} oil
1 1/2 tsp. white sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix it up and put it on your waffle iron. Top with whatever you'd like and enjoy!

To make more for a crowd, here is the recipe, doubled, for all of our ease:

2 eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. white sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Toasty Pumpkin Waffles

From Taste of Home

Makes 4 waffles

1 cup {whole wheat} flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
4-1/2 teaspoons butter, melted (about 1.5 tbsp)
1/3 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk the egg, milk, pumpkin and butter; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Fold in pecans.

Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions until golden brown.

I added a sprinkle of cinnamon, cinnamon sugar and pumpkin pie spice. The chopped pecans I used had been processed in the food processor, making them toddler-friendly. Delic!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Skillet Apple Pork Chops

From Cooking Light, September 2016 issue

1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, divided
4 (6 oz.) bone-in pork chops
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
3/4 tsp. pepper, divided
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. fresh sage (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary (or about 1/4-1/2 tsp. dried)
2 medium apples, sliced thinly
1 small red onion, vertically sliced

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 tsp. oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork evenly with 3/8 tsp salt & 3/8 tsp pepper. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until pork is done. Remove from pan.
2. Combine stock and mustard, stirring with a whisk. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to pan; swirl. Add remaining salt & pepper plus the other spices and the apples and onion to the pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in stock mixture. Return pork to pan; cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.

You guys, this took under 30 minutes from start to finish and was so, so good. My whole house smelled amazing after and I kept saying how good it was. This is such a comforting and easy fall meal. I doubled the apples the next time and it was a better ratio of apples to pork :)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Crockpot Sweet Pork Loin w/ veggies

1.25 lb. pork loin
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. EVOO
Salt & pepper to taste

Carrots & potatoes

Combine garlic, brown sugar, oil and salt & pepper and rub all over pork loin. Place meat in the bottom of your crockpot and add veggies to cover (I used whatever I had left of carrots and probably 12 baby creamer potatoes). Add about 1/2 cup of water and turn your crockpot on low. Cook for 6 hours or until you're ready to enjoy a delicious fall feast!