because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Cinnamon

New Recipes at SumptuousSpoonfuls.com

I know I promised I would post the recipes here every time I post a new recipe on my blog’s new home … but it’s getting away from me … so much to do with the transfer of domains and all the other things going on in my life … I did export and import all of the email subscribers from here over to there … are you getting emails from my new blog? If not, please go add your email address on my new blog: www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com  … seriously, please, go now! I don’t want to lose you.

Okay, now let’s talk new recipes … here’s what’s new on my blog: click on the pic or the title to see the recipe … I hope you’ll visit me at my new site!

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Apple Pie Wontons

Apple Pie Wontons

Curried Chicken Salad in Crispy Wonton Cups

Curried Chicken Salad with Grapes in Crispy Wonton Cups

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon


Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

I’ve been dreaming of this granola for weeks it seems … dying to make it … looking for pumpkin seeds at the store. I thought about toasting up some out of one of these little pumpkins I have here, but I really wanted those lovely little crunchy green ones that you can get, not the big seeds you pull out of your pumpkin and roast.

I knew I saw some at the grocery store, but every time I went back, they were gone … FINALLY, this morning, I found some! Granola time, baby!

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

So I made this lovely granola with maple syrup and pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, honey, dried cranberries and lots of fun seeds and nuts.

But  I’m sorry to say, you’re not going to find the recipe for this delicious holiday granola here …

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

I’ve decided it’s time for my blog to have its own space … I think we’ve outgrown the capabilities of Free WordPress and we need to move on … sooo I moved everything over to www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com … yes, all of it, all the recipes, all your comments, everything! Tada! Isn’t that magic?

Please go over there to find the recipe for this granola (and ALL of my others!) and while you are there, I would really love it if you would click the link to follow me there. If I am can figure out a way to redirect all of you lovely people who already follow my blog, I will … and for a little while, I will post little ticklers here to remind you I’m hanging out over there now.

So what are you waiting for? Come hang out with me in my new home and get the recipe for this lovely Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola!

Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola ~ www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com


Pumpkin Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

My daughter, her friend and I went up to my friend’s lake house this weekend for a “girls” weekend. I wanted to bring along some fun “girly” things to eat, so I made up some chocolate mascarpone spread so we could make chocolate strawberry bruschetta, and while I was at it, I made a pumpkin maple spread too. But then I needed something to put the pumpkin spread on, so, despite the fact that it was a crazy busy day, on a total whim I started up some dough in my bread machine to make pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread. I wasn’t really sure that I would be home long enough on Saturday to bake it before we left, but somehow I managed it. And I was SO glad I did. This bread, with the pumpkin mascarpone spread is pure bliss to eat. You can just close your eyes and lose yourself in the lovely taste of it. My friend said she felt like she could just keep eating it till she exploded. I told her I wasn’t going to share that on my blog, but now here I am sharing it LOL. The young teenage girls loved it too.

We had such a fun weekend. We went for a LONG walk along the lake, then we had tea and hot chocolate and a lovely dinner … I made the salad, my daughter’s friend made cajun chicken pasta, my friend made green beans and we had rotisserie chicken and chicken sausages too, then we listened to funky music and my friend and I had wine and chatted while the girls danced their hearts out in the living room.

My friend who has three boys and has rarely (if ever?) had a girls weekend, wanted to take some of the bread home to her boys. I couldn’t let her have it ALL (my daughter wanted some!), but I did give her the smaller loaf to take home  … so the boys could try it too. I think she loved the girls weekend, but I could also tell she felt a little lost without her boys. I was craving some male energy too. Girls’ weekends are great, but … well, we need our boys, too. However, I do have to tell you my daughter and I were awfully tempted to buy this lakefront house we saw, move to the lake and leave our “city” life behind.

Yeah, that’s not going to happen. It is tempting, though …

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour. If you don’t have a bread machine or bread attachment for your mixer, see King Arthur Flour for traditional bread-making instructions.

  • 1 package (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • To make the swirl: Cooking spray (or melted butter) + cinnamon sugar

Directions:

  1. Dump all the ingredients except for the “Swirl” ingredients into your bread machine and set it on the dough setting.
  2. When the dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle, spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and roll it up. (I rolled it up lengthwise, and the dough was long enough to make one loaf pan plus a smaller loaf.)
  3. Spray your loaf pans with cooking spray and carefully transfer the dough into them, tucking under the ends to form a nice loaf shape. Spray the loaves with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place to rise.
  4. When the dough has risen to a big, puffy state (roughly double the size), bake at 375 F. for about 30 minutes or until the loaves are a deep golden brown on top and the loaves sound hollow inside when you thump them.
  5. Let the bread sit for about 5 – 10 minutes, then slice and serve with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream.

Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream

  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 – 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have any on hand, here’s a quick recipe to make your own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Let the cream cheese warm up a bit at room temperature, then in a small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all smooth and very well mixed. You can use a spoon or a mixer does the job quickly and gets the spread all nice and fluffy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Pumpkin Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday, Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty TuesdayWonderful Food WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe LinkyShow & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday , Full Plate Thursday and All my Bloggy Friends.


Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal

Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal

Since my first baked oatmeal turned out so good, I wanted to try another version. I meant to make this one banana pecan, but once I got into the kitchen, well, I couldn’t help but add chocolate. In the end, I’m glad I did … this oatmeal is SO deep dark chocolate decadent. I almost want to try making it again without the banana … or maybe use berries instead? Yeah, it’ll happen.

This could be breakfast or dessert. Mid-afternoon snack. After dinner treat. Whenever you eat it, it’s delightful.

Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal

Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup (100g) old fashioned oats (not instant oats)
  • 1/3 cup (30g) pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened quality dark cocoa powder (such as Ghirardelli)
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chocolate Chia Pudding or 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Frangelico (optional)
For the top:
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons pecans
  • 1/2 Tablespoon or so of raw (Turbinado) sugar
  • A few chocolate chips
  • A few banana slices

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Spray a small casserole dish or 8×8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray and make a layer of banana slices on the bottom.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the oats, chopped pecans, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sprinkle half the oat mixture over the bananas, then add another layer of bananas and cover with the remaining oats.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, chia pudding (or egg white), vanilla, and Frangelico. Pour this liquid mixture over the oats, trying to coat all the oats with liquid. Sprinkle the top with the toppings, then set in the oven.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until the dish has set. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysCast Party Wednesday, Thursday’s TreasuresTastetastic Thursday, My Sweet Party and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Crunchy’s Cornbread on the Grill

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

It was terribly windy yesterday, but my daughter wanted chicken cooked on the grill, and how could I possibly say no to that? We don’t get many evenings when we can stay home and grill. I asked her what she wanted with her chicken and gave her a couple options. When I mentioned the cornbread, that won hands down.

I’ve been wanting to try cornbread on the grill ever since A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock & Roll posted her recipe for it. My nickname for her is “Crunchy”. It’s kind of like pizza on the grill … it’s a little unexpected, something you might not think about grilling. I really love trying those sorts of things.

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

(Ooops! My foot’s in the picture … shh! don’t tell anyone … maybe they won’t notice … )

Crunchy’s Cornbread on the Grill

Recipe from A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock & Roll

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A sprinkle of nutmeg (1/8 teaspoon-ish … I didn’t measure, just sprinkled some on)
  • A dash of cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon or so … again, didn’t measure)
  • A teaspoon or two of honey (it was sitting there on the counter, so just drizzled a bit in, for fun … probably about a teaspoon)
  • A slosh of vanilla (I tried to pour in just a teaspoon, but my hand lost control and I over-did the vanilla. Ooops. I would recommend about a teaspoon … not as much as I used. It was still tasty, but a little too vanilla-ish.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

  1. Fire up your grill and push the coals over to make a “hot” area and a “cooler” area. Set your 10-inch cast iron skillet on the grill so it will get good and hot while you mix up the batter.
  2. Mix up all the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients except for the butter and stir to mix everything into a smooth batter.
  3. Put the 2 tablespoons butter in the cast iron skillet and set it back on the grill to melt. Once the butter has melted, put your oven mitt on your hand, take the skillet and swirl around the butter to coat the bottom of the pan, then pour most of the butter into your batter bowl and stir it into the batter, setting the cast iron skillet back on the grill. Pour the batter into the skillet, cover and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.
  4. Now it was terribly windy, right? So my grill didn’t get that hot. The chicken was taking FOREVER to cook … the asparagus was just lukewarm.  The cornbread cooked up okay, except the middle part wasn’t getting done. So I cheated a little and stuck the cornbread in my oven at 350 to finish. It only took about 5 minutes for it to finish in the oven and it still had that lovely smoky grilled taste. And while the cornbread was cooking in the oven, the chicken and asparagus finished up nicely too. If you get your grill nice and hot, you probably won’t need to cheat and use the oven …

My girl and I both loved the cornbread. She had a big wedge of it and polished it right off … along with her chicken, and ran off to play with her cat in the yard, leaving me on the patio with her big plate of crumbs for company.

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures.


Baked Strawberry Rhubarb French Toast for Mom

Strawberry Rhubarb Baked French Toast with Mascarpone Cheese

My mom loves strawberries. I know this because I remember, as a child, she always wanted one of her kids to go to Dairy Queen with her on Mother’s Day to get her free sundae. And she ALWAYS got a strawberry sundae. So I always ALWAYS think of strawberries on Mother’s Day.

My mom doesn’t live anywhere near a DQ anymore. And my dad happened to mention to me last week that they really needed to stay home and plant the garden this weekend. So my daughter and I decided that we should go surprise them with a visit. After dance rehearsal on Saturday, we hopped in the car and drove up there. We arrived a little after 5:00, walked in the house, and it was empty. Heeeeeellloooo? Mom? Dad? Anybody home? No response …but their dog was there … and the front door was open … so I knew they couldn’t be toooo far!

Mom was down on the dock, checking the fishing lines. That’s my mom, always fishing. Or reading. Or gardening. And dad? He had gone off mushroom hunting. Mom tried to call his phone, but she was having trouble. So I called him.

He made it really easy for me NOT to tell him we were there at his house. He mentioned right away he was on his way home and told me about his mushroom hunt and how I would have to call mom on her phone … he asked what I was doing. “Oh, not much,”  I said. We talked for a while … and I managed not to say anything about us visiting … So he was a little surprised when he drove in … hee hee.

Anyway, I made them some thai curry for dinner last night … and then I made this for mom for breakfast today. Because she loves strawberries …  I think Mom really enjoyed it … And then we planted the garden together. It’s been a long time since I have helped with the planting of the garden.

I love you so much, Mom. There isn’t anything I can give you, let alone anything I can do for you to thank you for all that you’ve done for me. I feel like this is such a feeble attempt at saying thank you … but I just felt like the best thing I could do as a daughter on Mother’s Day was to just BE with you. That’s the best Mother’s Day gift I could think of. I can’t take you to Dairy Queen for your strawberry sundae anymore. But I CAN make you something wonderful with strawberries …

We ate breakfast on the patio in the sunshine, overlooking the lake. I think it was much better than Dairy Queen. I hope my Mom agrees …

Strawberry Rhubarb Baked French Toast with Almonds & Mascarpone Cheese

Baked Strawberry Rhubarb French Toast

Adapted from “From Valerie’s Kitchen

  • About 4 1/2 cups of bread, cubed (I used my dad’s whole wheat yogurt bread)
  • 4 oz. Mascarpone cheese
  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup of chopped strawberries
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • Sliced fresh strawberries

Directions:

  1. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass or ceramic (non-metal) pan with cooking spray. (The acid in the rhubarb will react with metal, so I like to use glass pans when I’m baking with rhubarb.) Make a layer of bread cubes in the bottom of the pan. Top with the rhubarb and the chopped strawberries, and add dabs of the Mascarpone cheese. Add the rest of the bread cubes.
  2. Mix up the “goop” … in a bowl, whisk the eggs, then add milk, vanilla, almond extract, 3 tablespoons sugar and spices. Whisk till smooth. Pour over the bread cubes in the pan, then gently stir to make sure all the cubes get moist. At this point, you can cover the pan and refrigerate for an hour or several or even overnight. I just let it sit for about 15 minutes, and gently stirred around the cubes again to make sure all the bread cubes got a good soaking. It made a little bit of a mess with the mascarpone, but now we’re going to add the topping so that will make it all pretty again.
  3. About an hour before you’re ready to eat, make the topping by melting the butter. Then in a small bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and almonds. Sprinkle this all over your french toast bake, then add fresh sliced strawberries to your heart’s content.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 40 – 45 minutes or until the eggs are set. Let the dish set for about 5 minutes after you remove it from the oven, then serve.
Mom got the first piece.

Strawberry Rhubarb Baked French Toast with Mascarpone and Cinnamon Toasted Almonds for my Mom

This recipe was shared at Mom’s Everyday MealsMealtime Monday,  Trick or Treat TuesdaysTotally Tasty TuesdaysDelicious Dish TuesdayCast Party Wednesdays and This Week’s Cravings: Eggs.


Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

I am SOoooo into homemade granola! I love love love love LOVE it! Ideas for different granola flavors are bouncing around in my head like crazy. The idea for this tropical granola sprung from a peanut butter trail mix cookie I used to make with tropical trail mix (come to think of it, I need to make those cookies again sometime for the blog …)

But not today … nope no siree bob … Today it’s time for GRANOLA! The perfect sweet healthy snack to munch on when you need a little boost of energy. That wonderful crunchy mix that is so welcome sprinkled on yogurt … or in a bowl with fruit and milk.  This granola is chock full of tropical fruits, so you don’t need to even add any more fruit … unless, of course, you want to. It is awfully good with a couple fresh strawberries tossed in.

You are going to love this stuff. I just know it.

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Dry ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup peanuts
  • 3/4 pecans
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal or flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran or wheat germ
Wet ingredients:
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (optional … you can lower the amount of salt or leave it out for a low-sodium granola)
  • 1/4 cup honey
And then mix in …
  • 2 cups mixed dried tropical fruit pieces (pineapple, coconut, mango, banana chips, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax, wheat bran and nuts. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mash the banana very well until it’s smooth (not too lumpy). Put the banana in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, and other wet ingredients. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in the honey and remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot sweet sticky banana mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
  4. Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
  5. Let the granola cool for a bit before stirring in the fruit. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. There’s NO way mine is going to last that long …

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

This recipe was shared on Totally Tasty Tuesdays and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Lowfat Apple Berry Granola Crisp

Lowfat Apple Berry Granola Crisp

It was raining this morning and I’d been gone all weekend. I needed to bake something. I have these frozen apples in a bag my friend gave me for making apple pies, but I’m not so good at pies. Have I mentioned my fear of crusts? I am not good with pie crust … and besides pie crust has so much fat in it! And I don’t need any of that … so how about a crisp? Crisps are easy, relatively healthy and yummy. Especially if you can cut out some of the fat and sugar in the topping. You can really make this crisp with any kind of fruit you like … I’m thinking peach crisp will most likely be next …

Lowfat Apple Berry Granola Crisp

Lowfat Apple Berry Granola Crisp

Adapted from Food.com

  • 6 cups mixed apples (peeled and sliced) and berries (use any proportions you like … I used mostly apples, and just a few raspberries because that’s what I had on hand)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon quick-cooking tapioca (not whole pearl)
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • ¼ cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch square baking dish (or 10-inch pie pan) with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the fruit layer ingredients. Spread the fruit evenly in your baking dish and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  4. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg white, oil, vanilla, and fruit juice and then stir into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Stir in the granola.
  5. Sprinkle the oat-sy granola topping over the fruit.
  6. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and continue to bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the fruit is soft and bubbly and the topping is crisp and golden.
  7. Serve warm. Top with lowfat ice cream or frozen yogurt if you like … or even a bit of greek yogurt. That would be yummy too.

Lowfat Apple Berry Granola Crisp

This recipe was shared at Crazy Sweet TuesdayTotally Tasty TuesdaysMidweek Fiesta, Cast Party WednesdayFull Plate ThursdaysFit & Fabulous Fridays, and Successful Saturday.


Homemade Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Homemade Maple Cranberry Pecan- Granola

I have long been fascinated with the idea of making my own granola. I don’t know why it took me so long to actually DO it. Suddenly several of my foodie friends are talking about it, so perhaps it was the power of suggestion? I don’t know. I just know that last week I suddenly felt a strong urge to make granola.

And I’m soooo glad I did. It is really quite simple to make and it just blows away the taste of store-bought granola, with the added bonus that you can control what goes into it. So it’s easy to make it healthier. This is so tasty, my parents and I munched on little handfuls of this granola all weekend. The first day I made it, I had three bowls of it with milk. The jar is disappearing quite quickly. (Which is exciting to me, because that means I get to try out my NEXT granola flavor! woo hoo!)

Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Slightly adapted from ChinDeep.

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened pearsauce (drain a can of pears and blend until smooth) or applesauce
  • 1/6 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 oz. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a very large mixing bowl, mix oats, pecans, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, flaxmeal and nutmeg.

In a small saucepan, warm the apple or pear sauce, maple syrup, honey and oil. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture until completely incorporated and everything is evenly mixed. Divide the granola between two large jellyroll pans. Bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until the granola is a deep golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Mix in dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container. Keeps up to one month. But it isn’t going to last that long …

Make your Own Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays and Tuesday Talent Shows.


Winter Venison Malbec Stew

Winter Venison Malbec Stew

It has been wet and gray and chilly here the past couple days. We actually had a thunderstorm last night! In February! But still it feels like winter out there, the dark, wet chilly kind of winter day that just chills you to the bone. Weather like this just calls for a good, hearty stew. This time for my stew I decided to do a wine reduction, add a hint of cinnamon, and fresh rosemary.

I have a lot of venison at my house because everyone in my family hunts (besides me) and they fill my freezer with meat. (They are so good to me. I’m very blessed!) If you don’t happen to have venison, you can use beef. If you use a different red wine or if you add more or less of some of the vegies, the stew won’t care.

Winter Venison Malbec Stew

Winter Venison Malbec Stew

  • About 1 1/2 pounds of venison meat (or lean beef), cut into 1-inch cubes (I had about 3 cups of meat before cooking)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped in large pieces (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 5 – 7 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup of Malbec (or other dry red wine)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped bell pepper
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes (about 2 3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup peeled, chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped (save the leaves!)
  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups of crushed canned tomatoes with juices (if you have whole tomatoes, just crush them with your hand as you add them to the stew … it’s a great messy bit of fun)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped fine (about 1/2 Tablespoon)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
  • For garnish: Celery leaves and/or fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in your soup pot till it’s hot. Sear the venison cubes in the hot oil until browned on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan, but leave the juices in there.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and sautee over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the onion is soft and starting to brown.
  3. Add the wine to the pot and continue to cook and stir until the wine is absorbed.
  4. Add the remaining vegetables, broth, and seasonings and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low (or low) and simmer gently for 2 – 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat and potatoes are both tender. The potatoes should begin to break down and thicken the broth.
  6. Season with pepper and salt (if needed … I didn’t think it needed any) and garnish with the fresh celery leaves and/or fresh parsley. Serve with a hunk of hot, fresh bread or some cheesy garlic toast.

Winter Venison Malbec Stew

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysIt’s a Keeper ThursdaysFull Plate ThursdaysFit & Fabulous Fridays, Sunday Night Soup Night,and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Bailey’s Irish Cream Chocolate Valentine Truffles

Bailey's Irish Cream Valentine Truffles

The story of a love is not important – what is important is that one is capable of love. It is perhaps the only glimpse we are permitted of eternity.”

~ Helen Hayes

Bailey's Irish Cream Valentine Truffles

Bailey’s Irish Cream Valentine Truffles

Makes 25 – 30 truffles. If you can’t find chocolate graham crackers, use chocolate cookies. These are dark chocolate truffles … if you prefer a lighter chocolate, eliminate the cocoa and cappuccino powder and use milk or semi-sweet chocolate in place of the dark chocolate.

For the Filling:

  • 9 chocolate graham crackers (4.8 oz.), crushed and finely ground into a powder
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream (or homemade mocha cream liqueur)
  • 2 teaspoons of good quality vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons of dark (dutch process) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla cappucinno powder
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate … each square is 0.375 oz. or 10.6 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutella

For dipping and hearts:

  • White almond bark or white chocolate chips & pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • Good quality dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% cocoa … one 4 oz. chocolate bar plus an extra square or two)

Directions:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients for the filling until well blended. Cover and chill in a freezer for 30 minutes or longer or until the mixture has firmed up enough to form into balls, but it’s not yet frozen hard.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet and your hands with cooking spray and form the filling into balls about 3/4 inch in diameter, setting the balls on the cookie sheet with some space in between them so they don’t stick together. If your hands start getting sticky, rinse off all the gooey chocolate mixture, spray your hands and start again until you have all the filling formed into balls.
  3. Set the cookie sheet in the freezer on a flat surface … or, if you happen to live in the frigid north and it’s a particularly cold day outside  like it is here today, you can just set them outside to chill for a couple hours.
  4. (This step is optional … you can do a white chocolate drizzle much easier than the hearts, but I thought hearts would be nice for Valentine’s Day.) To make the white chocolate hearts, line another cookie sheet with a sheet of waxed paper. Melt a square of the white almond bark and put it in a ziploc bag. Snip off a small corner of the bag and pipe the white chocolate into heart shapes on the waxed paper. If you want, you can stick pomegranate seeds onto the hearts while they are still wet.
  5. Wait 15 – 30 minutes or so till the white chocolate has hardened, then carefully put one hand under the waxed paper and loosen the hearts from the paper, lifting each heart off the paper with your other hand and placing them on a plate.
  6. Set the waxed paper back on the cookie sheet.
  7. Once the chocolate truffle balls are cold and fairly firm, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl or double boiler. Using a spoon, swirl one ball at a time in the melted chocolate to cover it completely, then set carefully onto the waxed paper, taking care not to touch them with your hands. Immediately “glue” one of the white chocolate hearts onto the chocolate-covered truffle before dipping the next one (because the melted chocolate will harden fairly quickly). Set the cookie sheet in the refrigerator (or other safe cold place) until the chocolate is firm.
  8. Store the truffles in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Bailey's Irish Cream Valentine Truffles

This post is for #chocolatelove … powered by Linky Tools

Click here to see all the other #chocolatelove posts!

This recipe was also shared at Fabulous Valentine’s Ideas, a Valentine’s Day Blog HopEveryday Mom’s Church Supper, These Chicks Cooked Recipe SwapWeekend Potluck, and Katherine Martinelli’s St Patrick’s Day Blog Hop.


Funky Bejeweled Kiwi, Mango & Kumquat Salsa

Pomegranate, Kiwi, Kumquat, & Mango Salsa

I love salsa. The heat of it. The variety. The fun ways you can use it. You can put so many things in a salsa.  I had some tomatoes that were begging me to make them into salsa, but I wanted to do something a little different this time …

I’ve heard of mango salsa, but I’ve never seen or tried kiwi in a salsa. Or pomegranate seeds. I threw those in just for fun … I don’t know that the pomegranate seeds added a lot to the flavor or even the look because the background of the salsa is already red … but they are so pretty. Like little jewels. Why not have jewels in your salsa?

So I put the kiwis and the pomegranate in and still it needed something. There were three mangoes sitting there in my fruit bowl, so I decided to toss one of them in the salsa too. And then I thought: this needs something … so I added some of the flavors of a jerk seasoning. There! That is it. That is exactly what my funky fruity salsa needed. Honestly I think I might add some more jalapeno now because I am craving something so hot it almost hurts but really, this version is quite awesome just like it is. Add more jalapeno if you want it to hurt. Use less if you like a milder salsa.

Kiwi, Kumquat, Mango, and Pomegranate Salsa ... Caribbean style

Funky Bejeweled Kiwi, Mango, and Kumquat Salsa

  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes (or 1 15-oz. can)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno (adjust this amount to more or less, depending on how hot you like your salsa)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • about 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 kumquats (my kumquats were about 2 inches long, but I have seen some that are MUCH smaller … if you have smaller kumquats, use more!) … one goes into the blender, chop the other one into little chunks.
  • 2 kiwis, peeled & chopped into small pieces
  • 1 mango, peeled & chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, blend the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, 1 of the kumquats and the salt and other spices.
  2. You can pour the salsa into a bowl or just stir in the rest of the ingredients right in the blender. Don’t blend it up, though, because it will ruin those beautiful hunks of fruit!

I tried the salsa with baked vegie and corn tortilla chips, but it would also be lovely with nachos, burritos, or over fish or chicken or pork or … well, salsa is just such a fun thing to have around. Especially a funky salsa like this.

Kiwi, Kumquat, Mango, and Pomegranate Salsa ... Caribbean style

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysTasty Tuesdays,  Talent Show TuesdaysCast Party Wednesdays, Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursday, Katherine Martinelli’s Mango Bloghop and Full Plate Thursday.


Hearty African Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Hearty African Lentil & Vegetable Stew

A long time I found this cookbook on a clearance table and looking through it, I just couldn’t believe my luck. There are so many recipe treasures hidden in this book … I snatched it up and took it home and it’s one of those cookbooks that I pick up and browse through every once in a while and find even more recipes I want to try. I don’t even read cookbooks like I used to, now that I have thousands of creative foodie friends and so many recipes marked online that I want to try … but still, I cherish my cookbook collection. And this one is one of the best on the shelf.

What’s the cookbook, you ask? It’s Betty Crocker’s New International Cookbook.

Okay, I know that’s kind of an odd combination … Betty Crocker  … and International food? Really? … I mean we are talking food from ALL over the WORLD here … Africa, Sweden, Greece, Haiti, Japan, India, Turkey, France … you could travel completely around the world in just a couple pages of this book.

There are a bunch of bookmarks in this cookbook, recipes I marked years ago to make someday in the future … some of them I have never made. But this one I’ve made several times. Because it’s really, really good, not to mention it’s warm and hearty, colorful and nourishing and healthy. There’s no meat, but it’s got so much flavor that you wouldn’t even remember to care.

Hearty African Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Heart African Vegetable Stew

Adapted only slightly from Betty Crocker’s New International Cookbook. 

Makes 6 to 8 servings, maybe more, if you’re a small eater like me … this will be enough to feed me all week!

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils (brown or yellow lentils will do, too … I just love the color of the red ones)
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes with juices (or 1 15-oz. can)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 10-oz. package frozen green peas
  • 1 9-oz. package frozen green beans
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint (or 2 teaspoons dried mint)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Plain yogurt for topping

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot, dutch oven or very large saucepan, melt the butter, then cook and stir the onion, parsley, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper, and ginger until the onion is tender.
  2. Stir in the water, carrots, and lentils. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Ad the rice, tomatoes, and salt. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Stir in the green beans, peas, mint and cayenne. Cover and cook until the peas and beans are tender, about 5 minutes. (You may need to add more water at this stage if the stew gets too thick. I think I added 2 cups more of water.)
  4. Serve each bowl with a dollop of yogurt and a sprig of fresh parsley.

Hearty African Lentil & Vegetable Stew

This recipe was shared with Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, These Chicks CookedNewlyweds Recipe Linky, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Moroccan Ham, Lentil and Chickpea Stew

a.k.a. “Gypsy Stew” (thanks to my friend Melissa at ChinDeep for this name!)

Moroccan Ham Lentil and Chickpea Stew

To me, the treasure when making a ham is the ham bone. Because that means we get to make soup. There is something about a ham bone that gives a soup such good flavor. The ham is nice, too, but I the part I really covet is that bone. You just can’t get that same kind of flavor any other way.

I confess I stole the ham bone from our Christmas ham. I didn’t ask if I could take it, I just took it. I know what my mom would have said. I always ask her what she wants me to take, and she always tells me to take whatever I like … I’m not sure my dad wouldn’t have fought me for it, though. A ham bone is seriously something to fight over in my family.

I call this stew “Moroccan” not because it’s an authentic Moroccan recipe, but because the seasonings are sort of like what you would find in a Moroccan Harira … except a Moroccan Harira would be made with lamb. I am sure the Moroccans would be horrified if I called this Harira or that I even used ham in this stew, but it was the spices in the Harira recipe in my Mediterranean cookbook that helped me season my pretty orange-red soup. Someday I ought to actually go to Morocco and taste the Harira.

Moroccan Ham Lentil and Chickpea Stew

Moroccan Ham, Lentil and Chickpea Stew

  • 1 cup chopped celery stalk (save the leaves, too!)
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ham bone, trimmed roughly
  • 1/4 cup juices from cooking the ham (skim off the fat and scoop up some of the jellied stuff that collects at the bottom of the ham pan)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup lentils (I used red lentils, but you could use green or brown ones too)
  • 2/3 cup dried chickpeas
  • 7 cups of water
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes with juices
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more to taste)
  • For garnish: fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot saute the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in the olive oil over medium-high heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the garnish and the leaves from the celery), bring to a boil and cook until the lentils and chickpeas are soft and the flavors have melded. This might take an hour or two or longer … I’m not sure exactly how long I cooked mine as I just got it started and let it cook while I was doing other things.
  3. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, and more ham if you like. Personally, I like more vegies and beans than meat, but go ahead and add meat if that is your heart’s desire.
  4. If you want to reduce the fat in your soup, chill it overnight, then skim off the fat that collects on the top.
  5. About 15 minutes before serving, chop the celery leaves and add to the pot.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

Moroccan Ham Lentil and Chickpea Stew

This recipe was shared on Tastetastic ThursdaysFull Plate Thursdays, Cast Party WednesdaysRecipe of the Week: Healthy/Low Cal Recipes, Sunday Night Soup Night, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop.

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Double Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies (Secret Recipe Club)

Double Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

It’s my second month of Secret Recipe Club and (as my kids would say) I am such a FAIL! I had a trip to California for work and I thought “I will have plenty of time to do this when I get back” … I so forgot that it’s DECEMBER and there are a million extra things that need to get done this month and on top of all that, my son’s birthday and then on top of THAT we had some other crazy things happen …

So here it is the night before our posting date and I have not even started! Well, that’s not totally true, I did look through the blog I was assigned to before my trip, and I picked out some recipes I wanted to try. But with the rush before Christmas and the interesting turn of events in our lives this past couple weeks, I just completely forgot to shop for ingredients, and make it. So I am staying up late to make this and get it photographed and up … (but I DID swap out the crappy late night photo for some good ones in the morning!)

My assigned blog this month was My Catholic Kitchen. She is chronologically going through a list of 50 women game changers and featuring each of these women. I think that’s pretty cool. This one is a recipe from Food52.

In a rush to get this done, I am making cookies. Because I love chocolate, and oatmeal, and nuts, and this recipe has all of those. I modified it a bit, but not TOO much … I added the cinnamon because I love cinnamon with chocolate. These cookies are AMAZING!

Double Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Double Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

From My Catholic Kitchen

  •  1/2 cup butter
  •   1/2 cup brown sugar
  •  1 large egg
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  •  1/4 cup cocoa powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  1/2 cup oats
  •  1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate (I used Ghiradelli chocolate, just like she did!)
  •  1/4 cup chopped nuts

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla and mix until everything is nicely creamed together.
  3. Add the  flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Stir in the oats, nuts, and the dark chocolate.
  5. Drop spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake for about 12 minutes.
Double Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

See what the other Secret Recipe Club members have made! Click the image below …


Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile Pork Stew

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile and Pork Stew

Sometimes you make a wish and send it out into the world and just trust that the world will take care of it.

I try to be very careful with my wishes, because I have seen wishes gone awry. I have wished for things in my past that have come true, but not in the way I expected them to. I guess in the end, it all turned out right, so the wishes were good even if the (temporary) implications seemed bad.

This time my wish was simply this: to find someone that would love me for who I am. I never was the person my ex wanted me to be, and I apparently wasn’t the woman that the guys I’ve dated since wanted me to be. But I know I am a good person, I have a big heart, a lot of love, and I think I just need to find the right person who will love me for who I am. I know I am not at all your typical woman … I am very independent, strong, and intelligent, and a lot of men are scared away by that. And I will not ever even consider dating someone if I don’t feel a strong connection between us. There seem to be a lot of those very superficial guys … and very few connections.

Anyway, about a month ago, I sent out my wish, with a lot of love and acceptance for who I am and a sense of trust that it would be okay whether or not I find someone. I am okay just being me.

A few days later, a friend of mine contacted me … things have changed in his life and it made me step back and look at each time we have met in a different light. It’s very strange … this is not what I expected and yet, it seems right. I’m waiting to find out what happens. When one of my wishes is granted, there always seems to be a twist to the wish, something I didn’t expect. But I am just letting go and trusting that things will work out for the best …

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile and Pork Stew

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile Pork Stew

  • 3/4 lb. pork cutlet, chopped into small hunks (You can also use ground beef, ground venison, or even chicken or leftover turkey.  The pork is really lovely in it, though.)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken broth (add enough to make it as soupy as you want it)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small turnip, peeled and chopped (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Hatch Green chile, roasted, peeled, and chopped, with juices (I used a 13-oz. frozen container of real Hatch Chile from NM. It’s not an easy thing to obtain where I live … if you don’t have any authentic Hatch Green Chile, you can use canned, and add jalapeno or other hot pepper to give it some heat as desired.)
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Throw everything into a crockpot, set it on low and let it cook all day. Top with grated sharp cheddar cheese at serving, if desired.

This stew is the perfect thing to eat when you are cold or when you have a cold. It will warm you up, clean out your sinuses and make your body feel good all over. There is nothing like some good hot chile to chase the germs away.

Oh, and it is the absolute perfect thing to use over breakfast burritos. Ideally you should make the burritos in a park nearby the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque at 5 a.m. just before the fiesta begins, with coffee and bailey’s and champagne. Then put away all the cooking and drinks and walk over and amongst the beautiful colors of the balloons. Sometime in your life you should do this.

The breakfast burritos will be another post … soon!

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile and Pork Stew

This recipe was shared at Wonka Wednesdays, Gooseberry Patch’s Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup and Katherine Martinelli’s Mexican Blog Hop.


Slow Cooker Cinnamon Pork Sliders {Guest Post from Kitchen Psycho}

I am travelling this week, so I asked my foodie friends if they would help me out, and I was just amazed, within minutes, three of my sweet friends had volunteered to help me out. Jennifer from Kitchen Psycho was the first to send me a post.

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Pork Sliders

I really really love what she says in her “about” section on her facebook page and I think this says a lot about her:

“Food is never just food. It’s also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, & who we want to be.”

– Molly Wizenberg

I think that right there says so much about the kind of person Jennifer is. She pours a lot of herself into her recipes and she has a great sense of humor, which I think you will see in this post … thank you again, Jennifer!


“Aaaack!” Eloise exclaimed in horror. “The party is THIS weekend, and I have no idea what to bring. I don’t want to take the same, old, boring dip!”

[Enter the hero.]

“Never fear! Kitchen Psycho is here! I have something that’s just right for this time of year, and your friends and family will LOVE it!”

[Kitchen Psycho and Eloise embrace]

“Oh, thank you! What would I do without you?” Eloise wonders.

“I’ve been wondering the same thing!” Kitchen Psycho quips.

[They both chuckle.]

[End of scene.]

If only it were as easy as the commercials! In my opinion, there are two types of people in the world: the kind that do things the easy way, and the kind that do it the right way. Sometimes, the two are the same. But when it comes to food, that equality is not common. Often, the easy stuff is full of preservatives, hormones, fake sugars, BLECH! How often do people fix cheese dip out of Velveeta? I rest my case. That stuff isn’t even real cheese! Food should be made with with real ingredients and from scratch! But I digress…

This week, I have dedicated one of my posts as a DOUBLE post, meaning, it can be seen on TWO blogs. Sumptuous Spoonfuls has been so kind as to grant us a small stint on their blog, and we will also post as usual on our blog at www.kitchenpsycho.com!

Over at http://www.KitchenPsycho.com, Karly and Jenny have a Secret Ingredient Cook-Off every week! For 26 whole weeks, we have used one common ingredient to make two Main Dishes, two Sides or Appetizers, and two Desserts. This week is Cinnamon Week over at Kitchen Psycho, and already, we’ve made a Moroccan Chicken Stew and Chai Banana Bread with Coffee Spice Icing. Sounds good, right?
Well, today we have an appetizer for you. It’s a super easy slow-cooker recipe, and it’s great for bringing to a get-together. I found this on http://www.allrecipes.com under the name “Cinnamon Pork”. The only improvement I would make is this: Add a few slices of bacon to the pot. Because everything is better with bacon, right?

The slider idea is purely my creation. You can choose to make a Main Dish out of this by slicing the pork tenderloin into medallions and serving with rice and a veggie, say, steamed broccoli.

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Pork Sliders

SLOW COOKER CINNAMON PORK SLIDERS

(recipe from www.Allrecipes.com)

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins, cut in chunks

Add everything to slow cooker and cook on low 4-5 hours.

 For sliders:

  • small wheat dinner rolls
  • slices of cinnamon pork
  • goat cheese, softened
  • dash of Chinese Five Spice
  • slices of tomato and lettuce

Spread goat cheese onto sliced rolls. Sprinkle with Five Spice and layer slices of pork, tomato and lettuce.

Recipe and Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Raper, www.KitchenPsycho.com


Cranberry Nut Crunch Popcorn

Cranberry Nut Crunch Popcorn

I love making food gifts for the holidays and since popcorn, nuts and berries are three of my favorite foods, it just seems natural to combine them into something gift-able.

I think I might keep this one for myself, though. It’s so yummy.

Cranberry Nut Crunch Popcorn

Cranberry Nut Crunch Popcorn

  • 10 – 12 cups of popped plain popcorn
  • 2 cups of nuts (I used 1 cup of almonds, 1 cup of walnuts)
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. cranberry-apple juice concentrate
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 T. ginger sugar (This is from my candied ginger recipe … if you don’t have any ginger sugar, just use 1/4 t. ginger in its place)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (Craisins … I found some that are sweetened with pomegranate juice! Isn’t that cool?)

Directions:

  1. Pop the popcorn and mix it with the nuts. Lay the popcorn/nut mixture on a large flat pan and set aside.
  2. Mix the spices, sugar, juice concentrate and oil in a small bowl till the brown sugar is dissolved and everything is well mixed.
  3. With a spoon, drizzle the spice/juice mixture over the popcorn and nuts.
  4. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 45 minutes to an hour or so, stirring every 15 minutes, until the popcorn and nuts are crunchy, not soggy.
  5. Stir in 1 cup of dried cranberries. I am thinking some chunks of candied ginger or pretzels would also be good in the mix.
  6. Store in an airtight container, like a jar or a pretty tin.

Cranberry Nut Crunch Popcorn

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, the Newlyweds Recipe LinkyWonka Wednesdays, and EveryDay Mom’s Meals.


Traditional Cinnamon Rolls from Long, Long Ago

Traditional Cinnamon Rolls from Long, Long Ago

That’s my daughter’s name for these cinnamon rolls. She gets to name them because she made them. She remembers when we used to make cinnamon rolls when we lived in another house, in another place, when she had a purple bedroom with a great big window that looked out on her own little garden that her grandparents built for her. We often made cinnamon rolls in that house and sometimes they would raise up over the edges of the pan and make some really funky shapes. They looked a little crazy, but they were so good.

It was only a few years ago really, but it seems like a long time ago. We had a different life back then. Different schools, different people, different house, different town, and her daddy. We lived in the country and had lots of space around us and a creek running through our back yard. There was a big hill that was great for sledding, lots of tulips, marigolds, petunias, daisies, and lilies. Her best friend lived just down the road and they would walk over to each others’ houses all the time.

I think these cinnamon rolls remind her of that time. I’m glad she has those fond memories in her heart.

Traditional Cinnamon Rolls from Long, Long Ago

Traditional Cinnamon Rolls

My daughter made these cinnamon rolls and she took the photos herself too. All I did was put the ingredients in the bread machine and press the dough button. She did the rest.

  • 1 1/3 cups cold water
  • 4 t. yeast (or about 2 packets)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. vanilla

Directions:

For step by step photos showing how to roll up and cut these rolls, see my caramel apple sweet rolls post.
  1. Put all the ingredients in  the bread machine and start it up on the dough setting.
  2. When the dough is done, roll it out flat, spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  3. Roll it up lengthwise, and slice it into rolls with dental floss.
  4. Set the rolls in a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray, leaving space around each roll to give it room to rise.
  5. Spray the rolls with cooking spray, cover and let rise in a warm place till they are about double in size. I usually allow an hour for this, but it depends on how warm your warm place is.
  6. Bake at 325 for about 40 – 50 minutes or until they look done in the middle. I often cover them with foil for part of the baking time to keep them from getting too brown on top before they are done in the middle.

Traditional Cinnamon Rolls from Long, Long Ago


Brandied Pumpkin Maple Spice Ice Cream

Brandied Pumpkin Maple Spice Ice Cream

I know it might seem a little odd to be making ice cream in the fall when the weather is starting to get chilly, but think about it. This is the time of year when people are baking pies and apple crisp and don’t you always want a scoop of ice cream on top? Why use plain old vanilla ice cream when you can have something much more exciting?

Brandied Pumpkin Maple Spice Ice Cream

Brandied Pumpkin Maple Spice Ice Cream

I think next time I make this, I will use some whipping cream in place of the fat free half & half to get a more creamy texture. The flavor was amazing, the texture could have been a bit creamier.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. fat-free half & half
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • Several pieces of candied ginger (I think I used 5 pieces.)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 c. of cooked pumpkin or butternut squash puree
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. cardamom
  • 1/8 c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. brandy …  (Optional, but if you leave out the alcohol, the ice cream will get much harder in the freezer. The alcohol keeps it from freezing too hard.)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix half & half, buttermilk & brown sugar. Add the candied ginger. Heat, stirring frequently, until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a whisk or mixer until frothy.
  3. Slowly drizzle a stream of the hot cream mixture (about 1 cup of it) into the egg, whisking or beating constantly.
  4. Gradually add the egg mixture back into the remaining hot cream mixture in the saucepan, whisking as you go.
  5. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens slightly and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon–roughly 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, transfer into a glass jar and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled–at least 2 hours.
  7. Meanwhile, stir together the pumpkin or butternut squash in a bowl with the spices, vanilla, maple syrup and the brandy till smooth. If there are any chunks in the squash, run it through a blender, food processor, or handi chopper to get a smooth mixture.
  8. Once the cream mixture is cool, pull it out of the fridge and strain out and discard the candied ginger chunks.
  9. Mix together the pureed pumpkin mixture with the cooled cream mixture till they are well blended.
  10. Freeze in your ice cream maker till good and frozen. With my little Cuisinart ice cream maker, it takes about 20 minutes.

Use this ice cream atop your favorite pie or autumn dessert …  or by itself, drizzled with a little maple syrup, caramel sauce or sprinkled with a bit of chopped candied ginger. But today I’m enjoying my ice cream “plain”, just like this and it’s delicious … it has enough depth of flavor to be an elegant dessert all by itself.

Brandied Pumpkin Maple Spice Ice Cream


Make your Own Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte

with low-fat, non-dairy, and low-sugar options

Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte

I have some friends from India that I met in California. Many years ago, they introduced me to chai tea–a sweet, milky drink spiced with exotic Indian spices–and it has since become a  necessity in my morning routine. Some people can’t start their day without coffee–I can’t start my day without chai. I keep 4 to 5 different varieties of chai tea bags on hand at all times, and I take an assortment of them with me when I travel. As long as I can find some hot water and milk in the morning, I am set. My very favorite chai tea bags are:

  1. Tazo Organic Chai: it has a peppery bite to it. This is what I usually start with.
  2. Stash Premium Double Spice Chai Black Tea: Intense with spices. I like that.
  3. Twinings French Vanilla Chai: A mellow, sweet, vanilla tasting chai.
  4. Celestial Seasonings Decaf Sweet Coconut Chai: the coconut with the chai is heavenly.

So no, you don’t have to go to a coffee shop to get a great chai latte. Save yourself a lot of money and make your own at home. You can easily do this as a Pumpkin Espresso Latte by skipping the tea bags and adding a couple shots of espresso at the end. I’ll give you a simplified microwave version too … just in case you’re in a hurry. I always seem to be in a hurry …

Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte

Highly adapted from the kitchn’s recipe for Pumpkin Spice Latte (the coffee-inated kind).
makes 1-2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk (you can use lowfat, nonfat or soy/almond/coconut milk–whatever you like! If you want to cut calories even further, you can use half skim milk/half water)
  • 3 teaspoons of Pumpkin Spice Syrup (recipe below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Sugar or sweetener to taste
  • 2 chai tea bags (or for a less-spiced drink, use black, white or green tea bags)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan combine milk, pumpkin spice syrup and sugar (or sugar substitute).
  2. Set the tea bags in the liquid and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, then remove the tea bags.
  4. Transfer to a blender and process for 15 seconds until foamy. If you don’t have a blender, don’t worry about it – just whisk the mixture really well with a wire whisk.
  5. Pour into a large mug or two mugs.

Quickie microwave directions: Fill your mug with milk (or half milk/half water, which is what I usually do). Microwave for 2 – 3 minutes or until it’s as hot as you like your tea. Add a chai tea bag, then add 2 t. pumpkin spice syrup, 1/2 t. vanilla, and sweeten to taste with your choice of sweetener. Let steep for a few minutes. Stir with a spoon to mix–or if you want that frothy latte effect, take out the tea bag and whir it briefly with a hand blender.

Optional: Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon–or for a really decadent treat, drizzle the top of the whipped cream with a little salted caramel sauce. I just sprinkled mine with a little nutmeg.

Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups sugar  (I substituted half of the sugar with stevia so I used: 3/4 c. sugar + 18 packets of stevia)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger (or put a little nub of peeled fresh ginger root in the water as it’s cooking)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 tsp. ginger sugar (this is the sugar that falls down off the ginger when you are making candied ginger–if you don’t have any ginger sugar, you can skip this. It just adds a little extra zip to the syrup.)
  • 3 tbsp. pumpkin puree

Directions:

  1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2.  Toss in the cinnamon sticks and cloves, then whisk in the remaining spices and the pumpkin puree.
  3. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, without letting the mixture come to a boil. If you screw up and it does accidentally come to a boil, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal — mine did and the syrup tasted fine!
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and funnel into a bottle or jar.
  6. Store in the refrigerator.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

(an almost wordless Wednesday post)

Today I am grateful for mornings. No matter how bad yesterday was, today is a new day and I get a fresh chance to start again.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

Recipe and photography inspiration from Not Rachael Ray

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Mix spices together in a bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix


Berry Bunny Love Chex Mix ♥

Berry Love Bunny Chex Mix

This would probably be the perfect chex mix to make for Valentine’s Day, but I am making it in November. Go fig.

I was going to make the Chex Apple Pie Snack Mix, but the dried apples I THOUGHT I had must have gotten eaten. So I improvised with what I have. I have a lot of love in my heart today, so this seems really fitting.

November is the month when I take a moment every day to think about what I am grateful for and today I am grateful for you. I started my blog in July … now 101 posts and 2,026 facebook likes later, I am just amazed at where this has taken me and so incredibly grateful to have met each and every one of you. It’s been an incredible, inspiring journey.

Thank you for being here. 

You will really love this snack mix. It is so tasty. I gave my daughter some and she told me to take it away before she ate it all.

Berry Bunny Love Chex Mix ♥

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. Cinnamon chex
  • 2 c. Rice chex
  • 1 c. bunny or teddy graham cookies (I used Annie’s Bunny Grahams)
  • 2 c. strawberry fiber heart-shaped cereal (I used the Fiberwise Strawberry Crunch cereal from Melaleuca, but I think Kashi has a heart-shaped cereal as well. You can sub out another cereal for this one if you prefer. I just like hearts! ♥)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (optional)
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. apple juice concentrate
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 T. ginger sugar (This is from my candied ginger recipe … if you don’t have any ginger sugar, just use 1/4 t. ginger in its place)
  • 1 1/2 c. sweetened dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the cereals, graham cookies, and almonds. (My daughter didn’t want me to use nuts in this mix so I left them out of this batch.)
  2. In a separate smaller bowl, mix the cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, juice concentrate, vegetable oil and ginger sugar. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds, then stir again. And then microwave it again for 30 seconds and stir once again. The mixture should be hot and bubbly.
  3. Drizzle the juice mixture over the cereal mixture, stirring to coat all the pieces evenly. (I drizzled a bit, then stirred a bit, then drizzled a bit, then stirred a bit.)
  4. Microwave uncovered on high for 2 minutes. Take out the bowl and stir. Microwave again for 2 minutes. Stir again. Microwave for 1 more minute.
  5. Stir in the cranberries and spread the mix out on a cookie sheet to cool.
  6. Store in a tightly covered container.

Berry Bunny Love Chex Mix

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Easter Blog Hop.


Curried Stuffed Summer Squash

Curried Stuffed Summer Squash

My parents came to visit this weekend and with them they brought SO much beautiful bounty from their garden: peppers, onions, potatoes, eggplant, turnips, tomatoes, yellow watermelon, butternut squash.

They brought me a jar of salsa that they had made and a box full of canned tomatoes. AND a case of dad’s homemade wine.

We debated whether we should go out for dinner or stay in and cook– but since we had SO much food in the house, well, it just seemed like we should cook up some of it!

So I took the summer squash that my friend gave me last weekend and stuffed it some of dad’s venison apple sausage, some feta cheese and a bunch of  goodies from the garden. Oh it turned out good. We had a bit of soup and some bread along with some Pinot Grigio and we were well fed and happy.

Here are the squash sisters. Aren’t they pretty? The dark green one was a winter squash that had a mild sweet taste to it and smooth texture. The brighter green stripey one on the left was the one we ate last night. I am not sure what kind of squash these are since my friend says they were volunteers in her garden, but I sure love the taste of them. Someone told me they are cushaw squashes. Do you think that’s what they are?

The squash sisters

Curried Stuffed Summer Squash

You can adjust the seasonings to your own tastes. I didn’t actually measure anything either … just threw it all together, so feel free to adjust up or down on any of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a large summer squash or zucchini (eggplant would be good this way, too!), sliced lengthways and seeded if it has seeds in the middle like mine did
  • 1 t. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled & chopped
  • 3 -4 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 5- 7 fresh mushrooms, sliced and diced
  • about 3/4 c. chopped fresh tomato
  • about 3/4 c. cooked low-fat sausage (I used 2 venison-apple sausages, but turkey or chicken sausage would be good too. Peel off the casings if the sausage has them then chop. You could also leave out the sausage if you prefer just vegies.)
  • about 3/4 c. breadcrumbs
  • About 1/3 c. feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1 – 2 t. Thai red curry paste
  • 1/2 t. smoked paprika

Directions:

  1. Scoop out the flesh of the summer squash with a grapefruit spoon, leaving about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick shell so it’s sturdy enough to hold the stuffing when it’s cooked.
  2. Chop up the scooped out flesh of the squash.
  3. Heat a medium saucepan to medium-high heat, then swirl around the olive oil in the pan. Add the squash, onion, garlic, peppers and mushrooms and sautee until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the sausage, tomato, feta cheese, breadcrumbs, and spices. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Spoon the stuffing back into the squash shell, packing it in so it all fits. If it doesn’t all fit back into the squash, you can bake some in a separate casserole dish. Sprinkle with a bit of extra feta cheese and top with a few chopped cherry tomatoes if you like.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and everything is well heated through.
  7. Scoop out servings from the beautiful squash shell.
Curried Stuffed Summer Squash
This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food.

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