Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Peach Cobbler Muffins

When I was growing up, my grandpa had an orchard. I remember him growing apples, peaches, and cherries, and whenever we went to his house it seemed like there was always some kind of fruit that he had out, ready to share with us. I remember going out to the orchard during the summer and helping pick cherries, and eating them until my stomach hurt (he probably lost more money on the cherries we ate than he made from the ones that we picked and he was able to sell). I remember as summer faded away and fall approached, getting excited to see the boxes of apples and peaches and knowing that my mom would be canning them and we'd be eating them all winter long.

Although my grandpa's orchard has long since been turned into a housing development, I still find myself looking forward to the changing of the seasons and the delicious fruit that comes along with it. Luckily for me, the "apple doesn't fall far from the tree" and my dad shares his dad's love of growing fruit, and he has planted all sorts of fruit trees in his backyard. He keeps us well stocked with fresh, flavorful, homegrown fruit and we always look forward to going to his house to see what good things he has to send home with us that week.

The past couple of weeks, he's been sending us home with fresh, ripe, juicy peaches. My little 16-month old absolutely loves fresh peaches, and could easily eat at least one a day by herself, so we go through peaches fast around here. Last time he sent us some peaches, though, I was able to hide a few from my daughter and make these muffins, and I'm so glad I did! They were the perfect good-bye-to-summer and hello-to-fall food. They were moist, juicy, cinnamony. They captured the deliciousness of peach cobbler exactly, but in a portable, healthier, breakfast-approved way. The streusel is totally optional (if you want the muffins to be even healthier, feel free to omit it) but we loved it with the streusel on top. We all devoured these, and the neighbors that I shared them with also gave them rave reviews. These are definitely best the first day, so make sure you have someone to share them with, or cut the batch in half because it makes a lot. Either way, just make sure you make these while you can still get fresh, juicy peaches--you won't regret it!

Peach Cobbler Muffins
makes 24-28 muffins

wildly adapted from here

3 cups flour (I used half whole wheat and half regular)
1 Tb. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup oil
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups peeled, pitted, and diced chopped peaches

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners.

In large bowl mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In separate bowl mix the oil, applesauce, eggs, and sugar. Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture just until moist. Stir in milk. Fold in the peaches. Spoon into prepared cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Top each muffin with 2 - 3 tsp. streusel (recipe below) and press down lightly with fingers to adhere the streusel to the muffin batter. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tops of muffins spring back when you touch them and toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean.

Streusel topping:
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into small pieces

Combine all ingredients with fingers, fork, or pastry blender until it resembles small crumbs. Use as directed above.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

BBQ pulled pork

I wish I would have taken a picture of this but I didn't think about it!! This is the best pork recipe I have ever tasted. I got the recipe from Cody's aunt and cousin on their blog

3-4 lbs boneless pork ribs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic minced
1 lg onion sliced
1/2 cup apple juice
1 bottle (15-18 oz) BBQ sauce

Lightly grease crockpot. Wash boneless ribs trimming off any excess fat. Pat dry.
Put sliced onion on bottom of crockpot. Mix dry ingredients and garlic together and rub on ribs. place ribs in crock pot then top with apple juice. Cook on low 8-9 hours, drain, shred pork. Add BBQ sauce and cook 1 more hour.

*Here are a few tips I learned last time making this. I used 2 lbs pork ribs this last time and did not reduce the rest of the recipe except for the onion (used 1/2 onion). I used a little more apple juice and it seemed to work better. I did not open the crock pot to check it and it seemed to be more moist. The BBQ sauce I used was Sweet Baby Rays Original- that's our favorite! I used approx. 1 1/4 bottles of BBQ sauce to the 2 lbs pork this time, that seemed to make it more moist and have more flavor.

Healthy Canadian Bacon Pizza

I got this recipe from the diet "Live the Life" courtesy of Cozette and Nyra. This is definitely one of my favorite recipes and so easy so I wanted to share!
1 low cal-carb whole grain pita pocket (Kangaroo brand from WinCo is what I used)
2 TB pizza sauce
2 TB onion of choice
8 zucchini slices
3 oz cooked chicken
1 slice deli turkey
2 TB pineapple chunks (No sugar added)
2 TB mozzarella cheese (I used the part skim milk kind)

Cook in oven on pan with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes (I cooked it 20 min then watched until the edges were crispy).

Cal. 272
Car. 28
Fat 4
Pro. 32

Enjoy!! Cody even liked this one!

Monday, July 18, 2011

S'mores Bars

I know it's completely shocking to see a new post on here after four months of absolutely nothing. I'm currently 20 weeks pregnant and I've been ridiculously sick my entire pregnancy. I haven't been cooking nearly as much as I was before (what with food sounding repulsive and all) and when I do actually whip something up, it's usually a tried-and-true recipe that is already posted on here because I know I'll like it. I'm finally feeling a little more like eating and wanting to get back in the kitchen, and I've been doing a lot more cooking. I have lots of pictures and recipes to post, and hopefully I'll find some time (and energy!) to get some of them on here.

I thought this would be a great welcome-back-to-blogging recipe to share with all of you. I remembered seeing these on another food blog a year or so ago and when I was thinking of a treat to make for our 4th of July barbecue, I knew that these would be the perfect treat. They are easy to throw together (no bonfire required!) and everyone loved them (you should have seen the looks on everyone's faces--kids and adults--when I brought these in the house, we couldn't wait to finish lunch so we could dig in to these). They are definitely not healthy, but in small doses for a fun summer treat I think they're totally worth the splurge. Enjoy!

S'mores Bars
adapted from

1 bag (16 ounces) mini marshmallows, divided
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips or chunks (I used chopped Hershey's bars so they'd feel like authentic s'mores)
5 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
5 cups graham-flavored cereal (like Golden Grahams)

1. Line 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Reserve 1 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows. Combine remaining marshmallows, chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup in a large pot over low heat. Stir continuously until completely melted and combined (watch carefully as chocolate burns easily). Immediately stir in cereal. Cool slightly, then stir in 1 cup mini marshmallows.
3. Spread into prepared pan (I found it easiest to do this by scraping it out with a rubber spatula, and then pressing it into the pan with fingers sprayed with non-stick cooking spray--the cereal mixture is really sticky!) Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup marshmallows over the top of the bars.
4. Cool completely, then cut into 20-24 pieces (they are really rich so you don't want to cut them too big). Sit back, relax and enjoy the taste of summer s'mores without having to stand over a fire in the heat trying to get your marshmallow cooked to perfection!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Herb Roasted Potatoes

Corey loves meat and potatoes, but for some reason I don't make them very much. However, I started making roasted potatoes a few months ago and Corey has been in heaven. It doesn't matter what I serve them with (in fact, a couple of nights ago I just made the potatoes and veggies and he was still happy. If you know Corey, you know it's all sorts of incredible for him to enjoy a meal without meat!) I finally perfected the recipe and Corey made sure that I wrote it down so that these ("best potatoes you've ever made") make it on to our dinner table more frequently.

Herb Roasted Potatoes
Serves 3-4

2 lbs. baby red or yellow potatoes, washed and quartered
2 Tb. olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely minced (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. dried parsley (or 2 tsp. fresh)
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 Tb. Parmesan cheese, grated

Combine all ingredients in a gallon-size Ziploc bag and shake until well coated and combined. Spread potatoes evenly on baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until crispy, stirring halfway through. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Birthday Cake Pancakes

I have a serious weakness for funfetti cake. You know, the kind from a box that you can buy at the grocery store for less than $2. They are my absolute favorite. I kid you not when I say that I could eat an entire box by myself in less than 48 hours. I know it's not high-class to crave boxed cake mix, but who am I kidding? I'm not exactly high class. I love food, and in my own personal opinion this is some of the best.

When I saw a recipe online for cake batter pancakes, using cake mix from a box...I couldn't resist. In fact, I didn't even make it three days without making these. And I didn't last a week after that without making them again. They are clearly not the healthiest breakfast...but for an occasional indulgence they are awesome (I'm thinking birthdays, because I want to eat birthday cake for breakfast on my birthday anyway, so why not birthday cake pancakes instead?) As a bonus, the leftovers are awesome as a mid-day snack. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Birthday Cake Pancakes
adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow or white cake mix
2 Tb. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 Tb. oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 -2 cups milk (you may need more or less depending on the brand of cake mix that you use, I used 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 - 1/3 cups multi-colored sprinkles (the big fat ones, they're called "jimmies." If you use little ones they will dissolve too quickly and you won't be able to see the pretty streaks of color)

1. Whisk together dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Add eggs, oil, vanilla, almond extract and milk (start with about 1 cup and add more as needed to get desired consistency). Stir in sprinkles.
2. Preheat skillet to medium and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Drop batter by 1/4 cup-fuls onto hot skillet. Cook until bubbles form and stick on top and bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook for about 1 more minute or until golden brown on other side. Serve warm with butter and vanilla glaze (below) or maple syrup.

Vanilla Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3-4 Tb. multi-colored sprinkles
1-2 Tb. milk

Stir all ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over pancakes.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Remember these classic cookies? Five ingredients, 20 minutes, and you're on your way to warm peanut-buttery and chocolatey goodness. These totally hit the spot when I found myself having an unexpected peanut butter craving a couple weeks ago (I'm normally not a big peanut butter lover, but I had to have peanut butter cookies immediately). I'm thinking about trying these again but with Nutella instead of peanut butter...I'll keep you posted with how they turn out!

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
adapted from allrecipes

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
18 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. With electric mixer, combine all ingredients except kisses. Beat on medium until completely combined. Roll into 1" balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press 1 chocolate kiss in the center of each cookie. A big glass of milk is a MUST with these!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mini White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecakes

My brother is getting married to a fabulous girl, Cami, next month. My sisters, my mom and I threw a bridal shower for her last weekend. Cami isn't much of a dessert fan, but she does love cheesecake. I knew I needed to make some kind of cheesecake for the shower. I wanted it to be cute and bite-sized, and I wanted to incorporate raspberries (my favorite). I adapted my favorite cheesecake recipe from Kraft Foods and came up with this delicious and beautiful dessert. It was the hit of the party, and everyone loved it. I hope you will too.

Mini White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecakes
Makes 24 mini cheesecakes

3/4 cup vanilla wafers, finely crushed
2 Tb. butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
2 Tb. white chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 Tb. sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 mini muffin cups with paper liners. Mix vanilla wafers and melted butter, and divide evenly between liners (about 1/2 Tb. or 1-1/2 tsp. each). Press crust down lightly with fingertips.
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Add vanilla and sour cream and beat until blended. Add egg and mix on low speed until just blended, scraping sides of bowl to mix completely. Divide cream cheese filling evenly between muffin cups (about 1 - 1 1/2 Tb. per cup).
3. Blend raspberries with mini chopper or immersion blender until completely blended. Press through fine mesh strainer to remove seeds, and mix with sugar. Dot each cheesecake with a couple of drops of the raspberry puree, then swirl carefully with a toothpick.
4. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until just barely set. Let stand at room temperature until completely cool, about 30 minutes, then move to refrigerator and chill for at least 6 hours. Serve with fresh raspberries.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Chocolate Fondue

Fondue is one of my absolute favorite desserts. It's easy, delicious and fun, and what doesn't taste better dipped in chocolate? I got this recipe from a friend and have literally made it dozens of times since.

Chocolate Fondue

1 cup (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tb. sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream

Combine chocolate chips, vanilla, and sugar in a medium bowl. In small bowl, heat whipping cream in microwave for 30-45 seconds, or until just barely boiling. Pour over chocolate chip mixture. Let stand for 1 minutes, then stir until chocolate is completely melted. Serve warm with dippers of your choice, such as:  strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, marshmallows, graham crackers, brownies, angel food cake cubes, etc.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Clam Chowder

My mom makes fantastic clam chowder, all of us (well, except for my little sister that is allergic to shellfish) love it every time she makes it. I finally learned how to make it on my own. I made a couple of adjustments based on a recipe I found on allrecipes (in italics, feel free to make them without if you want, they just add a little more depth of flavor) but otherwise it it really close to my mom's famous recipe. Enjoy!

Clam Chowder

6 slices bacon
3 cans minced clams (6.5 ounces each)
1 1/4 cups onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, diced
3-4 cups potatoes, diced
6 Tb. butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart half-and-half
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tb. red wine vinegar

1. Cook bacon in large stockpot until crispy. Remove bacon, but do not drain. In same pan, add onion, celery, carrots and potatoes. Drain juice from clams over veggies and add water until veggies are just barely covered. Cook over medium heat until veggies are all tender. Do not drain water.
2. Meanwhile in large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Slowly add half-and-half and stir continually until thick and smooth (mixture will be very thick). Add to veggie/clam juice/water mixture. Heat through, but do not boil. Crumble cooled bacon and add to soup along with clams (if the clams cook too much, they will get tough, so add them right before serving). Add seasoned salt, salt, black pepper and vinegar if desired. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fried Rice

This is a great side dish to go along with Asian-style entrees (like this sticky chicken or these sweet and sour meatballs or these bacon-wrapped chicken and pineapple skewers or this orange chicken). It is also the perfect accompaniment for stir-fried vegetables and sweet-and-sour sauce (I know it might be weird, but I just love the sweet-and-sour sauce poured all over the rice). I make this all the time, sometimes with other entrees, sometimes just on it's own as a stand-alone meal. It's very easy to adapt to whatever meat (feel free to use ham instead of bacon or omit the meat entirely) or veggies you might have on hand. Here is my favorite version, but feel free to fiddle with it to make it how you like.

Fried Rice
serves 3-4

4 pieces bacon
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
1/3 cup frozen peas
3 cups cooked rice
1 egg
1-2 Tb. soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon, set aside to cool and crumble.
2. Heat same skillet (without draining grease) to medium. Add onions, celery, and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add peas and cook for 3-4 more minutes, until veggies are translucent and peas are thawed.
3. Add rice and stir to break up and heat through.
4. In separate small bowl, beat egg. Pour over top of rice in skillet and continue stirring until egg is completely cooked through. Add soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nutella Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Have I mentioned that I have a love affair with Nutella? Whether on crepes, in stuffed french toast, in gelato, or in the world's most delicious frosting, I cannot get enough of it. So naturally, when I saw a recipe for Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl Brownies on one of my favorite blogs (Annies Eats!) I immediately had to make them, but with Nutella instead of peanut butter. Thus, these were born. They are probably the most rich dessert I have ever made (and that is definitely saying something). You absolutely have to eat these with a tall glass of milk or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Indulgent. Easy. Delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Nutella Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
Adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Kitchenist

7 Tb. unsalted butter
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Nutella
1 Tb. sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 8x8 inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. Combine butter and chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, then stir well until completely melted. Whisk in all remaining brownie ingredients except flour. Stir until smooth and well blended. Gently stir in flour until just combined (do not over mix). Spread evenly in prepared pan.
3. Make the Nutella cheesecake filling by beating the cream cheese, Nutella, and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and combined. Add egg yolk and vanilla and mix until completely blended.
4. Drop spoonfuls of the Nutella filling over the brownies in pan. Swirl batter gently with a knife.
5. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the center is just set. Cool to room temperature and move to refrigerator. These are best after chilling for at least 12 hours.

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