Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes and Bacon

March 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Honestly, I haven’t been cooking very much lately you guys. My life was sort of consumed with studying for my test. Now that it’s done I’m ready to get back in the groove. One thing I did manage to cook awhile ago was this side dish.

I actually ate this for dinner two nights in a row, rather than as a side dish. Bottom line the bacon makes this dish. Of course. What isn’t made better with bacon? Nothing.

Anyway, you also have brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes combine with simple ingredients (just a little olive oil, S&P). When you start with good things you don’t need to add much. Make this for yourself for dinner or as a fantastic addition to a huge dinner with friends. I do recommend eating this within a day or two. Enjoy!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes and Bacon
Ingredients:
  • 2-3 lbs fresh brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 big sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 slices bacon
To Make:
1) Preheat oven to 400*. On large rimmed baking sheet spread sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Toss to coat.
2) Bake vegetables for 25-30 minutes, tossing once while baking. Sweet potatoes should be soft enough to pierce with a fork but not too mushy.
3) While those roast, cook the bacon, more on the crispy side. Remove from pan, remove oil with paper towels. When cool enough to handle break into bite sized pieces. When vegetables are done, sprinkle bacon on top and serve. Enjoy!
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Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

March 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Did you guys ever have to do the project in junior high where you had to explain how to do something step by step? The example was always how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you didn’t tell someone that they even had to open the jar of peanut butter they couldn’t and therefore could never make the sandwich.
I’m pretty sure I explained how to write a Chinese character. Why I remember the example better than my own project I’m not sure. Thankfully we don’t have to write recipes like that in real life otherwise you guys would never get the lids off the jars.
And Lord knows you want to open the peanut butter jar to make them. These muffins are surprisingly delicious. The peanut butter batter remains light but wonderfully flavored and the warm jam in the middle of the muffin is a delicious combination. You can also customize these using creamy or crunchy peanut butter or different flavors of jam or jelly. I definitely recommend these with a big glass of milk, fresh out of the oven. Go ahead and indulge your elementary school self with these. (from good ‘ol Paula Deen)
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 cup thick jelly or jam (raspberry is my favorite)
To Make
  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray
  2. In a mixer using paddle, mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in peanut butter and mix until dough becomes crumbs, 3-5 minutes. Then add milk, egg and butter just until mixture is combined.
  3. Put a small spoonful of batter into bottom of the pan, create a small well in dough and add a teaspoon of jam. Top this with peanut butter dough. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops of lightly browned. Let them cool on a wire rack. Enjoy warm or let cool and store in airtight container for up to 4 days.

Oatmeal Bread

March 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

Life is a funny thing sometimes. I’m in a weird place where there are days where I’ll be running around like crazy. I’ll be doing errands, and studying, and cooking and cleaning and working. Then I’ll go through days where I feel like I wish I had more going on, more friends to hang out with, classes to go to. What is it about life that makes it like that? Unbalanced, almost.

This bread is good for all of those occasions. I’ll have a piece plain and untoasted, while I’m running around first thing in the morning while I’m trying to make it to the doctors appointment. Or I’ll eat a piece with butter and honey, enjoying a cup of tea, leisurely watching my second show on Netflix at 2 in the afternoon.

I hope you have a slow day where you have time to make this bread and that you get to enjoy this bread on the balanced days. When you have enough time to drink a second cup of coffee before you head to work then dinner with friends.

Oatmeal Bread
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast (or regular yeast)
  • 1 1/4 cup lukewarm milk
To Make:
1) Proof yeast in lukewarm milk until bubbly, about 10 minutes. In mixing bowl stir butter, salt, brown sugar, oatmeal and yeast/milk mixture. Stir in flour, one cup at a time until shaggy dough is formed. Knead for 5 min by machine or 10 minutes by hand on well-floured surface.
2) If you use rapid rise yeast, let it rest for 10 minutes, then form into loaf. Place in well-oiled loaf pan and let rise for 1 hour. If you’re using regular yeast, let it rise in a bowl for an hour prior to forming into a loaf.
3) Preheat the oven to 350*F. Once loaf is risen, bake for 35-40 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped on. Remove from oven and let it cool on a rack. Will keep for 4 days.

Vanilla Walnut Shortbread

March 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

I feel a little bit of writers’ block. Not that I call myself a writer, normally I just babble on about random stuff before introducing a tasty snack of some sort. This time I’m just going to jump right in with why I made these vanilla walnut “shortbread” cookies. I really enjoy is having delicious pre-made snacks ready in the freezer. Waffles, smoothies, these delicious pseudo-shortbread cookies. These come together in a snap and are quite fantastic (and gluten-free!)

I happened to have made these a few days before my best friend came to visit. Since she eats gluten free it was a total bonus to have these ready in the freezer. If she hadn’t surprised me I totally could have played it off like I had just whipped these up since I knew she was coming. But maybe you can too. (adapted from Shutterbean)

Ingredients
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
To Make
1) Put walnuts, coconut, honey, vanilla and salt in food processor. Pulse until smooth. It will take a few minutes. Once it’s done scrape the dough into a mixing bowl.
2) Using your hands, rolls pieces of the dough into balls roughly 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter. Then flatten the balls into cookies. Freeze for an hour and enjoy! (Keep them stored in an airtight container)

Homemade Cheese Its

March 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

 My love language is food. Sharing dinner with good friends, setting the table, making snacks and delicious treats are how I express that I care for people. If I make you food, you’re in.

Now obviously I love my husband. But the fact that I made him these home made cheese its really proves that fact. Why? Confession time, I don’t like Cheez Its. They just don’t taste that delicious to me. But if you’re going to eat some, these are the ones to eat. Five ingredients and no weird preservatives.

The making of the squares is not an exact science but it’s fun. Make these and share them. Or give them away if you don’t like them either.

Homemade Cheese Its
adapted from BHG
Ingredients
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour flour
  • 2-3 tbsp ice water
To Make
1) Shred the cheddar cheese. Put the paddle attachment with your electric mixer (or hand mixer for the first part). Mix the cheese, butter and salt until well combined. Next slowly add the flour until the dough is pebbly. Finally add ice water until a ball is formed.
2) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for an hour.
3) Preheat the oven to 375. Using a mixer flatten the dough into a really thin sheet, about 1/4″thick. Cut dough into small squares. I used a pizza cutter but you can also use a fluted pastry cutter, if you’re fancy.
4) Places squares on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper if you have some. Bake about 15 minutes until puffed and a little brown. Let cool on a rack as soon as they come out of the oven.
These are best enjoyed while fresh! Enjoy.

Pumpkin Granola

March 1, 2013 § 1 Comment

Have you seen the show Parenthood? I’m obsessed. It’s about four grown siblings with families living in Berkley. Yes, I realize that sounds super boring but really, it’s human drama. And I want to be a little like the matriarch when I’m elderly. She paints and over accessorizes and has an amazing house.
It’s about real life without being awkward. Bottom line is that I have watched a season and a half in about two weeks. If you’d like to join in my obsession it’s on Netflix.

You know what else I’m obsessed with? Granola. I really enjoy having homemade, non processed, delicious breakfast options and I’ve been on a total kick lately.

And this one? It’s pumpkin flavored with all the delicious spice flavor that comes along. I realize its the end of February but since it’s not the fall it means you don’t have to fight anyone else for the canned pumpkin. HOORAY.

Pumpkin Granola

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup almonds
To Make:
1) Preheat oven to 325* F. Combine oats, spices and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl combine pumpkin, syrup and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.
2) Spread out evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring once. Once it’s done, take out of oven and add cranberries and almonds.
3) Store in airtight container for up to two weeks. Enjoy!

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