because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Milk

Strawberry Banana Kiwi Smoothie

Kiwi Strawberry Banana Smoothie

The other day I could feel my body needed something packed full of good nutrients and protein … I didn’t have much time to cook, so I quickly whipped up this delicious smoothie. I like how the kiwi adds a little “zing” to the taste, along with being a nutrient powerhouse. According to a study at Rutgers University, the kiwi is the most nutrient dense fruit, ounce for ounce. It’s high in vitamin C and one study showed that eating 2-3 kiwi fruits a day can reduce the potential for blood clots and decrease triglycerides. Yet another study cited the kiwi’s ability to protect and repair the body from DNA damage, which could protect against cancer. (Source: Super Kids Nutrition)

All of that, plus it makes a really yummy smoothie.

Kiwi Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Kiwi Smoothie

  • 2 small kiwi fruit
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • A few fresh mint leaves

Cut the kiwi in half and scoop out the fruit from the fuzzy skin. Put the flesh of the kiwi along with the rest of the ingredients in your blender and blend everything till smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck and Scrumptious Sunday.


Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

“Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.”
~ Marge Kennedy

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

The other day I was digging through my freezer trying to identify all the things that were too freezer burned to eat and I came across this “mystery” container with ugly brown stuff in it. I had NO idea what that was. I sniffed it. Poked it. Nope, couldn’t tell what it was. I set it in my pile of “things to discard” … and it wasn’t until morning that I realized it was MOREL mushrooms! Oh NO! my precious most favorite mushrooms in the whole world that my dad gave me … I just couldn’t let those go to waste! I quickly set my mind to thinking what to do with them …

Soup! Yes, mushroom soup. Something wonderfully creamy and cheesy … I originally thought I would puree this soup and make a rich cream of mushroom soup, but once I got it all done, I just didn’t want to do that to my soup. I wanted to savor the soft texture of the mushrooms and caramelized onions contrasted against the smooth creamy, cheesy broth. You can puree it if you prefer. I’m leaving mine with bits of mushroom and caramelized onion floating about in it.

I am SO glad I saved the mushrooms. I feel a bit super-hero-ish now. I have accomplished something most very worthwhile today.

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

This recipe makes about a quart of soup.

  • 1/2 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1 cup sauteed mushrooms (Measured after sauteeing … I used morels, but I think you could substitute any mushroom and it would still be a great soup! Whatever mushrooms you choose, try the Chardonnay mushroom cooking method to avoid putting loads of extra fat in your soup … )
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gouda  cheese
  • Salt & Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: freshly grated cheese & snipped green onions

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan to medium and set the butter in to melt. Once it’s mostly melted, add the onions and sautee the onions in the butter. Cover and let cook for just a minute, then remove the lid and stir well. If the pan seems dry, add a little wine and stir well. Cover again and let cook, then remove the cover and stir. Keep repeating this process until the wine is gone and the onions are a lovely dark brown color.
  2. Stir the flour into the onions and stir to coat all the onions in a lovely jacket of flour, then add the milk, mushrooms, and broth and stir to mix well.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and let cook, stirring frequently, until the soup starts to thicken a bit. Add the cheese and stir to mix. Cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is heated through. Try a small spoonful of the soup and add salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. I like to put my soup in a glass jar so I can gaze at it every time I open the fridge.

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

This is an #OnionLove Post … Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to see all the other great #onionlove posts …

This recipe was also shared at Show & Share WednesdayCast Party Wednesday, Everyday Mom’s MealsFull Plate Thursday, Share it Saturday, and Scrumptious Sunday.


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.


Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

It is September … the weather is starting to cool down. I was really loving the cooler weather … until my allergies kicked in …

Ah but I am lucky! I “inherited” some wild rice from my sister. She said it was too salty and brought it along up to my parents’ place last weekend for us to “fix” for her. Well we didn’t get around to making anything with it, she left and my other sister left and there was still the wild rice in the fridge, so my mom asked if I would take it. Sure, I said. Then I can make soup!

So yes, I made soup. And what’s better than soup in the fall when there’s a little chill in the air and your allergies are in overdrive? Soup is just the thing to make you feel better … it’s so warm and comforting and wonderful.

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

This is a very thick and chunky soup. Feel free to adjust the amounts of vegies, rice and meats to your liking … if you want more of the delicious cheesy broth, put in fewer vegies and rice. Like many soups, it is really better the next day. If you want a vegetarian soup, leave out the meat and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth

  • 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (reserve the leaves!)
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup shredded Edam cheese (I used some Dofino Edam cheese that Dofino sent to me as a “sample”)
  • 1/4 cup Asiago cheese (or other sharp cheese such as parmesan or romano)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice (use the wild Minnesota wild rice if you can find it … it’s SO much better!)
  • 3/4 cup cooked leftover chicken (or more if you want a meatier soup)
  • 1/2 cup corn (frozen, thawed or pre-cooked fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt
  • The leaves from a few sprigs of fresh oregano and parsley
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: shredded cheese and oregano or parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat a saucepan or your soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and swirl it around.
  2. Pour the celery, onions, carrots, zucchini and garlic into the pot. Over medium-high heat, sautee the vegies until the onions are soft and translucent and the zucchini is tender.
  3. Add the flour to the pan and stir, coating all your little vegetables and garlic bits in flour. Do this quickly before the flour starts to brown.
  4. Add the milk and bay leaf and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 – 10 minutes or so or until the mixture thickens.
  5. Add the shredded cheeses and cook for a few minutes longer until the cheese melts, then stir in the broth, rice, chicken, corn, and lower the heat to a simmer (on medium low to low) and cook for 15 – 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. Stir in the reserved celery leaves, oregano, parsley and Red Robin Seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot, garnished with a bit more shredded edam cheese and a few fresh oregano or parsley leaves. Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

This recipe was shared at Share it Saturday, Manic Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday and Talent Show Tuesday.


Caramel Peach Bread Pudding

Caramel Peach Bread Pudding

Do you want to hear the story of the refrigerator and the caramel rolls, how I gained a great appreciation for towels, teflon tape and good neighbors …  and how this bread pudding came to be?

It all started when my sister and her husband came to visit. The ice machine in my refrigerator has been broken for some time. We’ve been making do with ice cube trays, which was a little frustrating at times because we’d be spilling water on the floor and sometimes it was kinda hard to get the ice cubes out of the tray, but it wasn’t a terribly big deal to us. However, ice is important to my sister. She mentioned to her husband that perhaps he ought to fix the ice maker in my refrigerator. So he set out to do that. We pulled the refrigerator out of his spot, he started cleaning and investigating and finding all sorts of strange things in the grate and around the back of the fridge, some from the previous owner of the house even. He figured out what was wrong, but then he needed a part to fix it. He started calling all the local repair shops and nobody had the right part.

So we ordered the part online, he put the fridge back together and we pushed it back into place. No big deal, right? Except now the water dispenser in the door (which didn’t work before he started) was leaking. We put a cup under it and went about our business. A few days later after my sis and her husband were gone,  it started leaking faster. Like the cup would be full in an hour! You can’t really fit a bucket under there, and the part wasn’t here yet, so my kids and I rigged up a system with a piece of an old hose, some duck tape and a bucket. Then you could actually go to sleep at night and let the thing drip. It was ugly and awkward, but it worked. Then the part finally arrived, but it was days before I could get to fixing it.

Caramel Peach Bread Pudding

Now, I’m not a fix-it kind of person. Anytime I have to do a fix-it project I get terribly nervous, but I got my son to help me move the fridge, we shut the water off, and we set to work to put this new part in. It was going pretty good, I got the part in, tightened it up, but left the fridge out so I could observe it for a while after we turned the water on. It was dripping. Oh dear. I tried tightening it. It dripped faster. I got more towels and turned the water off. My son tried tightening it. No luck. He went downstairs all frustrated and I sat down and cried. Then I started looking for the phone number for the plumber. But then it dawned on me that my neighbor might be able to help. He was outside working on his van when I ventured over there … sure, he would look at it. He told his son to grab the teflon tape and the two of them came over to look at my fridge. It wasn’t even 15  minutes before they’d fixed it. No leak! YAY! And the ice maker works! No water will come out of the dispenser that was leaking like crazy before, but I’m okay with that.

I felt a moment of great gratitude for good neighbors, towels, and teflon tape.

The next morning I woke up determined to do something nice for my neighbor. I set about making some freshly baked peach caramel rolls, sure that that would be the perfect treat for him and his family on a Sunday morning. But when I finished the rolls, my neighbors were nowhere to be found. They weren’t around all day, in fact, and by the next morning, the peach caramel rolls that had looked so delicious the day before didn’t look so appetizing. They still tasted good if you warmed them up first, but they weren’t very pretty and I was NOT going to give my neighbor an ugly treat.

So I made the caramel rolls into bread pudding. I dare say, this bread pudding was even better than the rolls and it made for lovely breakfasts for me for several days … and even served as breakfast over the weekend at my parents’ place. This is the view from the dock at my parents’ place …

Gratitude

Caramel Peach Bread Pudding

Maybe you don’t have a big plate of caramel rolls sitting around, so I’ll give you two variations of the recipe here: one made with old caramel rolls, and another similar bread pudding made with bread and peaches.

  • 6 cups of old caramel rolls, cut into 1-inch chunks (it’s ok if they are a little stale or dry)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped (if you’re using my peach caramel rolls, cut the amount of added fruit to 2 1/2 cups)
  • Sliced almonds & raw sugar, for the top

Directions:

  1. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Put the chopped caramel rolls in the casserole dish. Pour the milk over the rolls and let the cubes bask in their milk bath for about 15 minutes, tossing gently every once in a while to give all the rolls a chance to soak.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs till they are a little fluffy, then add the vanilla, nutmeg and salt and whisk till everything is well blended. Mix the peaches into the egg mixture.
  3. Fold the fruit into the soaked caramel rolls. Top with almonds and sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of raw (turbinado) sugar.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about an hour or until the pudding is set.

Variation using bread: Substitute 6 cups of bread cubes for the caramel rolls. You can use any kind of bread … I think whole wheat adds a nice texture. Add 1 cup of brown sugar + 2 Tablespoons melted butter to the egg mixture.

Caramel Peach Bread Pudding

This recipe was shared at Foodie Friends Friday, Scrumptious Sunday and Weekend Potluck.


Basil Green Tea Gelato

Basil Green Tea Gelato

Do you love basil? I love basil. My mother has suggested maybe my dad and I love basil a little too much. How could that possibly be?

I have seen people put basil in sorbets and syrups and even cookies, so for #icecreamlove this month, I had this brilliant flash of inspiration: I wanted to make ICE CREAM with BASIL in it! I thought I was SOooo clever … but well, I googled it and it turns out that’s not an original idea. Sigh. But then very few ideas are. I mean with 7 billion people on this earth (currently, plus how many before us?), it’s highly unlikely that none of them ever had the same flash of insight.

I made my brilliant basil ice cream anyway. But I put green tea in mine too. Because it just felt right to add green tea.

I don’t really know whether to call this an ice cream or a gelato. I chose gelato because Saveur calls it a gelato and hey, they’re Saveur, they should know.

If you are a basil lover like me, you will love this gelato. It has a wonderful sweet basil taste. It IS very clever, even if it wasn’t my own brain child. I totally ♥ this gelato … er, ice cream? oh whatever …

Basil Green Tea Gelato

Basil Green Tea Gelato

Kinda sorta adapted from Saveur and Eats Well with Others

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup fat free half & half
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (for a lower-fat version, use skim milk in place of 2%, more fat free half & half and less heavy cream … I would recommend 1 1/2 cups fat free half & half and 1/2 cup whipping cream)
  • 1/2  – 3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup, but if you want it sweeter, add more sugar … )
  • 2 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 green tea bags

Put the basil, milk, half & half, whipping cream, sugar, eggs, and salt in a blender and blend till smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat till the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (like as hot as a tea you would drink). Put the green tea bags in the pot and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or so to let the tea steep.  Chill the mixture in the fridge until it’s cold. If you want, you can strain out the basil leaves by straining the mixture through a fine sieve or cloth. (I decided to strain it this time, but I’ve seen others leave the specks of green.) Either way, take the tea bags out and freeze it up in your ice cream maker.

Enjoy immediately, or freeze it in the freezer for a couple hours to firm it up some more.

Basil Green Tea Gelato

This post is an #icecreamlove post powered by Linky Tools

Click here to see all the other wonderful ice creams everyone is making this month …

This recipe was also shared at Weekend Potluck, Manic Mondays and Melt in your Mouth Mondays.


Mulberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Crumble

Mulberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Crumble

Is this baked oatmeal breakfast or dessert? I styled it like a dessert, with a pouf of whipped cream on top because it TASTES like a decadent fruity dessert, a lovely warm fruity crumble with a crunchy topping and a fruity sauce on the bottom. But really (if you skip the whipped cream) it is a quite healthy breakfast full of fruit, fiber, and protein. I love breakfasts like that.

This is something I’ve been meaning to try ever since Ann at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen posted her Strawberries & Cream Baked Oatmeal. When I met mom and dad for lunch last Sunday, they brought me some rhubarb. To me, that seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out this “baked oatmeal thing”. After trying this delicacy, I may never go back to eating regular oatmeal again …

Mulberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Crumble

Mulberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Crumble

Adapted from Nutmegs, seven

  • 3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (100g) old fashioned oats (not instant oats)
  • 1/3 cup (30g) almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the top:
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 1/2 Tablespoon or so of raw (Turbinado) sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 cup mulberries (or other berries)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Spray a small casserole dish or 8×8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Scatter the rhubarb over the bottom and toss with the sugar and vanilla.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the oats, chopped almonds, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, egg white and almond extract.
  3. Sprinkle your oat mixture over the rhubarb evenly, then pour the milk mixture over the oats as evenly as you can. Sprinkle with mulberries, raw sugar and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of flaked almonds.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until the dish has set and turned a lovely brown and crunchy on top. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

If you want to serve it for dessert, serve in wedges with a little dollop of whipped cream. Or just scoop it out in warm spoonfuls into a bowl for breakfast with your coffee or tea in the morning.

Mulberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Crumble

This recipe was shared at It’s a Keeper ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayFit & Fabulous Fridays and Weekend Potluck.


Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

So I have these chia seeds that I won from Lauren at Nutri-Savvy and Ruth’s Foods and I’ve heard they make a nice pudding … tapioca-like. Well, of course I had to try a chocolate version. I added a little cinnamon because I love the taste of cinnamon and chocolate together: the taste combination reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate.

The chia pudding does have a tapioca-like texture, except there is a slight crunch from the seeds. And it’s much easier to make than tapioca. I think I still prefer the texture of tapioca, but this is a nice, simple, and very healthy pudding. I thought it was really interesting how the little chia seeds seemed to absorb most of the chocolate. It’s so healthy you could eat it for breakfast and even pat yourself on the back for taking good care of your health. The chia seeds give it fiber, protein, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids (which are very good for your heart).

Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

Adapted from Oh She Glows

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup fat free half & half + 3/4 cup milk (or use 1 1/4 cups milk of your choice)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed (optional, but hey if you have a ripe banana sitting there that needs to be used, toss it in. I always seem to have some over-ripe bananas about that need to be used up)

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until the clumps are gone. Place in fridge for 1-2 hours (or overnight), until it’s thick. Add milk if you want the pudding a little thinner, or more chia seeds if you want it thicker (then chill again for a while …).

Serve it cold or heat it up in the microwave for a warm pudding.

Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sundays and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie

(a.k.a. “Healthy Muck”)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie ... Health-ified

So far, I have a total of one smoothie on this blog. One. I guess if you count this one, that’s two, but it’s really the same smoothie (this one is a health-ified version of the other one), so does that count? I think it’s still just one.

I do really love smoothies … but I realized a while ago that many smoothies are packed with enough calories for a meal for a petite little middle-aged person like me. I like to maximize the enjoyment of my limited number of calories, and I tend to drink fast … so smoothies are not normally such a good dietary choice for me. I would much rather have a salad I can munch on for a long time … it satisfies my palate much better than a quickly-downed smoothie. For my son on the other hand, he is well over six feet tall and still growing … he loves smoothies and I’m quite glad to oblige him.

Anyway, the ONE smoothie that I do have on my blog is the cream of the crop. It’s my son’s favorite smoothie … AND the only smoothie I would choose to have to replace a meal, and I would enjoy every drop of it. My dad invented it. We used to call it “Grampa smoothies” up until my son’s friend said it looks like muck. So it was re-named “Muck”.

Anyway, I got a couple new ingredients to try out. First I won a bag of chia seeds from Lauren at Nutri-Savvy and Ruth’s Foods. I had never used chia seeds before, but I’ve heard they are a nutritional powerhouse: packed with Omega-3s, plus protein and fiber, they are even better than flax seed or quinoa. AND then a friend was telling me how wonderful PB2 is. It’s powdered peanut butter with most of the fat removed. I used to think that sounded just totally gross, but after talking to my friend, I thought what they heck: I’ll give it a shot. And did you know they have a CHOCOLATE version of PB2? Who can resist chocolate and peanut butter? Only 45 calories in two tablespoons? Um, yeah. I’m in. I found it in the health food section at our grocery store, but if you can’t find it there, it is available on Amazon.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie

I expected that my health-ified version wouldn’t really be as good. And really, I can’t say it has the same rich decadence as the original, but it was pretty darn close. The chia seeds added a slight bit of crunch … but they didn’t change the wonderful chocolate peanut butter banana taste. And the Chocolate PB2 did EXACTLY what I wanted it to do: gave it all the chocolate peanut butter taste without all the fat, sugar and calories of peanut butter and chocolate syrup.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie (a.k.a., “Healthy Muck”)

  • 1 1/2 bananas, frozen
  • 1 cup lowfat milk (I used 1% milk, but you can use skim or I am sure almond or soy milk would work well too)
  • 2 Tablespoons Chocolate PB2
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth. Pour into a nice tall glass (or two smaller ones) and enjoy! Drizzle with a tiny bit of real chocolate syrup if you like …

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Banana-Smoothie-Nutrition-Facts

Just for fun, I put it in the Calorie Count Recipe Analyzer on About.com and it gets an “A” for a Nutrition Grade!

With 10.6 grams of fiber and 17.1 grams of protein, not to mention 39% of your day’s needs for calcium and 26% of your vitamin C, it’s a fantastic way to start your day.

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysWeekend Potluck, Manic Mondays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

with smoked Gouda and bacon

Spicy Smoky Cornbread Pudding

So what do you do with leftover cornbread? My kids both love it, but they will only eat it when it’s fresh. Of course it’s best when it’s fresh and hot, but it’s still good later! … especially when it’s grilled cornbread. I opened up the container that I stored it in and I could smell that smoky grilled taste all over again … ah! It made a wonderful breakfast.

But still I am only one person … and I tire of the same thing over and over … what if we just work a little bread pudding magic on it?

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

  • 2 cups cubed cornbread (the pudding will have a smokier flavor if the cornbread was cooked on the grill)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapenos (more or less to taste … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapeno if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup corn (I thawed out some frozen corn, but you could use fresh corn)
  • 1/4 cup smoked gouda cheese, cut into small cubes (or shredded)
  • About 1 Tablespoon bacon, cooked crisp, and crumbled
  • Chopped chives, basil, baby spinach, garlic scapes or other herbs of your choosing (about 1/2 cupful total? I just went out to my garden and started picking random things … my spinach is pathetic … only a few baby leaves to be had, but there are plenty of chives and basil and garlic!)
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Spray a small casserole dish or large oven-safe bowl with cooking spray, and put the cornbread in the bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and let it soak for 15 minutes, stirring a couple times to make sure all the bread gets soaked.
  2. Sitr the jalapenos, corn, cheese, bacon, and herbs into the cornbread mixture.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth, then fold them into the cornbread mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pudding is “set” (springs back when you touch it lightly right in the center). Let set for just a few minutes, then serve while it’s still hot.

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck.


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.


Raspberry Rhubarb Bread Pudding

Raspberry Rhubarb Bread Pudding

I make this pudding at least one time every spring when the rhubarb comes in.

So it was Easter weekend, we were up at my mom and dad’s place and my mom’s rhubarb was one of the few things that was already growing. It was still small, but I couldn’t resist picking some of it and making my favorite bread pudding. I made it for breakfast and the pudding didn’t last long … both the kids and adults loved it. I think the pretty color of the berries and the rhubarb  lured everyone in. I didn’t have much time or opportunity to photograph it. They didn’t quite seem to get that I need to take pictures of my food (and that’s funny because it’s not like me taking pictures of food is a NEW thing) … but then, I’m not all that used to having a lot of eager eaters around either.

I split it up into two puddings: one with pecans on top, one without (on the off chance that my daughter who doesn’t like nuts would try it … and she did!), but you can do this all in one casserole dish.

Raspberry Rhubarb Bread Pudding

Raspberry Rhubarb Bread Pudding

  • 6 cups of bread cubes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups fruit (I used 2 cups rhubarb, 2 cups raspberries this time, but I’ve also done this pudding with all rhubarb or all berries)
  • Chopped pecans & raw sugar, for the top

Directions:

  1. Spray your casserole dish with cooking spray. Put the bread in the casserole dish. Pour the milk over the bread and let the bread cubes bask in their milk bath for about 15 minutes, tossing gently every once in a while to give all the bread a chance to soak.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs till they are a little fluffy, then add the vanilla, sugar, nutmeg and salt and whisk till everything is well blended. Mix the rhubarb and berries into the egg mixture.
  3. Fold the fruit into the soaked bread. Top with pecans and sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of raw (turbinado) sugar.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about an hour or until the pudding is set.

Raspberry Rhubarb Bread Pudding

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This recipe was also shared at Weekend Potluck, Successful Saturdays, and Meatless Mondays.


Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing (Low Sodium Option)

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

I found some lovely ripe avocados at the store today and it just occurred to me that avocado would be delicious in a Ranch Salad Dressing. Maybe I live in a hole, but why haven’t I ever seen that before?

Before today, that is. Because here it is! Tada! Super quick, super healthy, super delicious, and if you have someone who is watching their sodium, then just leave out the salt! It’s still fantabulous.

Lowfat Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

To reduce sodium: If you leave out the salt altogether, this salad dressing has 75 mg of sodium per 2 Tablespoons; with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, this dressing has 149 mg sodium. I did a quick check and store-brand ranch dressings have sodium content ranging from 200 to 500 mg in 2 Tablespoons of dressing.

Makes about 1 cup of dressing (8 servings/2 Tablespoons per serving)

  • 1/3 c. light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 c. 1% milk
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • About 1/2 a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Several fresh parsley leaves or ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • A few fresh dill twigs or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Several chives
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary leaves
  • 3 green onions (tops only)
  • 1/4 of a ripe avocado (you could probably even add more avocado if you want …)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (Leave out the salt altogether if you want less sodium … I made sure to taste it before I added salt, and it was delicious.)
  • 1/3 c. nonfat greek yogurt

Whir all the ingredients except the yogurt in a handy chopper or food processor until smooth. Stir in the yogurt. Adjust seasonings to taste. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.

Lowfat Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky and Full Plate Thursdays.


Cherry Almond Clafouti

Cherry Almond Clafouti

I’m guest posting over at Lauren Kelly, Nutritionist’s blog today … sharing one of my favorite desserts … but I like to eat it for breakfast. It’s a good thing it’s healthy. It’s a warm, comforting custard-style French dessert. Bonus points if you can pronounce it correctly. (I can’t!)

Pop on over to Lauren’s blog for the recipe and to learn about the health benefits of this delicious dessert.

Cherry Almond Clafouti

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend PotluckStrut your Stuff Saturday and Crazy Sweet Tuesday.


Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

I was having a serious chocolate craving and nothing I had on hand was going to cut it. I was tempted to make something like a chocolate pudding cake until I saw this recipe from Rock Recipes for Chocolate Pecan Banana Bread. I couldn’t help but fiddle with the recipe, though. I reduced the fat, increased the amount of cocoa, reduced the sugar and then added honey and Nutella and substituted hazelnuts for the pecans (to go with the Nutella!).

It was just what I needed to satisfy that intense chocolate craving. Yes this is DARK, decadent chocolate. My favorite. Mmmm.

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Adapted from Rock Recipes

Wet ingredients:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons applesauce
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Extras:

  • 1/2 cup good quality chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Raw sugar, extra chocolate chips, and/or toasted chopped nuts (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
  4. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with raw sugar, toasted chopped nuts, and chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckMidnight Maniac Meatless MondaysTuesday Talent Shows, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bread Bloghop.


Honey Oatmeal Bread

Honey Oatmeal Bread

There’s something so comforting and homey about baking bread. Every once in a while I like to make an old-fashioned bread, something like my grandmother might have made when I was a little girl. Memories of her house are so full of the scent of homemade bread. Gram (as we called her) was always baking bread, buns, or pie. Of course she did it all by hand. This little wooden cutting board is one of the things I was lucky enough to inherit from Gram, along with a LOT of bread pans, including a bunch of adorable mini-bread pans that my daughter and I both love, and some regular-sized loaf pans too. In fact, I think it was one of her loaf pans that I used for baking this bread.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal (the recipe calls for the old-fashioned rolled oats, but I used the quick-cooking oatmeal and it worked fine)
  • 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups milk + a little extra

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program machine for the dough cycle, and press Start. About 10 minutes into the cycle, check the dough and adjust its consistency as necessary with additional flour or milk–I had to add a little more milk. It should be holding together well and forming a nice ball of supple dough.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it’s crested 1″ to 2″ over the rim of the pan.
  3. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F or the dough sounds “hollow” when you thump the top of it. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking. I didn’t need to tent it. The color came out a beautiful golden brown.

If you don’t have a bread machine, see King Arthur’s site for traditional instructions.

I used one of my new favorite bread spreads on my first slice of honey oatmeal bread … a mixture of light cream cheese and a bit of kumquat syrup. My son came home from his dad’s house today and the first thing he wanted was two slices of bread, toasted, with peanut butter and grape jelly. And a big glass of milk. He was happy I had some bread made when he got home. I’m happy he’s decided it’s okay to eat mom’s homemade bread.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

This recipe was shared at It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Full Plate Thursdays,  Tastetastic Thursdays, Thursday’s Treasures, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Quick & Easy Banana Nutella Oatmeal

Quick & Easy Banana Nutella Oatmeal

I dreamt of this oatmeal last night. And woke up from my dream and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Seriously, what kind of weirdo dreams about OATMEAL? Me, I guess. Because when I have a flash of foodie inspiration, it won’t leave me alone. It nags at me and churns around in my mind until I MAKE it.

So I had to have this for breakfast. Which is quite handy, because I have several bananas starting to get spotty on my counter. Not to mention that it’s chocolate. and quick. and healthy. and quite yummy. I totally love this oatmeal.

Quick & Easy Banana Nutella Oatmeal

Banana Nutella Oatmeal

Makes 1 serving for a small person like me. If you’re a big person with a hefty appetite, you probably want to double this recipe.

  • 1 over-ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used 1% … substitute whatever milk you like. I bet almond or coconut milk would be good in this!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
  • a pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Mash the banana in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
  2. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Take the bowl out and stir everything up again.
  3. Microwave for another minute. Take it out and stir. If the oatmeal is done, eat it. If it’s not quite done, put it back in there and microwave for another 30 seconds or so.

Quick & Easy Banana Nutella Oatmeal

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Old Fashioned Recipe ExchangeCast Party Wednesday, Midweek Fiesta, and Thursday’s Treasures.


2-Minute Decadent Dark Chocolate Oatmeal

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal - Ready in 2 Minutes!

This is the most amazing oatmeal I think I have ever had … well, okay, I’m a chocolate fiend, so of course I like it, and I’ve had many different kinds of chocolate for breakfast, but have you ever thought to put chocolate in your oatmeal?

I confess, I hadn’t (although I can’t quite figure out why not … I put chocolate in just about everything else!), until I saw The Pastry Affair’s Dark Chocolate Oatmeal … now THAT I had to try!

This oatmeal tastes like a decadent chocolate pudding … but it’s totally good for you. I had really meant to fancy it up with toasted almonds (I had even already toasted the almonds!), some pomegranate seeds, maybe a bit of cinnamon and chocolate chips, but when I pulled it out of the microwave and tasted it … I wanted to absolutely nothing to get in the way of that heavenly chocolate taste.

Yes, you can have it for breakfast, yes, it’s good for you, and yes, you have time for it. It’s SO simple!

Sinful Tasting Dark Chocolate Oatmeal

2-Minute Decadent Dark Chocolate Oatmeal

Inspired by The Pastry Affair’s Dark Chocolate Oatmeal

  • 1/4 cup of quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4  cup of 1% milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon high quality cocoa powder *
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon good quality pure vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir. Microwave on high for two minutes. Stir again to mix the flavors well. Mine was absolutely perfect after two minutes, but microwaves vary so if it’s not done, put it back in the microwave and microwave for another 30 seconds or a minute until it reaches a pudding-like consistency.

2 minute Dark Chocolate Oatmeal

* A note on the cocoa: last time I went to buy cocoa, I was looking at the choices on the shelf. Usually my choices are Hershey’s or Nestle, and they work okay, but this time there was also Ghirardelli cocoa powder. The regular cocoas were in the $2 range, but the Ghirardelli one was almost $6. I decided to take a chance and splurge this time and oh my gosh what a difference! Instead of a light puke brown color that you see when you open a can of Hershey’s or Nestle, this cocoa powder is dark and rich and it smells intoxicating.  Eating this oatmeal was my first experience of the difference in taste. If you have a choice of buying good quality cocoa powder, I totally recommend spending the couple extra dollars. It’s frickin’ amazing.

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Crazy Sweet TuesdayThese Chicks CookedCast Party Wednesday, Tastetastic ThursdaysFull Plate ThursdayFit & Fabulous FridaysWeekend Potluck and Tasty Tuesdays.


Kumquat Basil Walnut Quick Bread

Kumquat Basil Walnut Tea Bread

This is another great find in my quest for kumquat recipes … I had already tried a yeasted bread, but then also I wanted to try a quickbread. This one turned out so yummy it’s almost gone already. My friend came over last night because she wants help with setting up a food blog and she brought along her little boy who is just a toddler. We were looking for a little snack to feed him and this bread was right there. I cut him a slice, which he scarfed down immediately. As we were distracted on the computer, he went over and grabbed my glass loaf pan off the counter and came walking towards us saying “Toast!” … it was so cute! (aside from the fact that I totally panicked that he would drop the pan and it would shatter and hurt the little guy) … so yes, he got another slice. And so did his mom.

I think I am going to have to make another loaf of this “toast” … I just love the pretty orange specks of color in it, the tang of the citrus, and the crunch of the toasted walnuts.

Kumquat Basil Walnut Quick Bread

Kumquat Basil Walnut Quick Bread

Adapted from Kumquat Growers.

I wanted to add some spices to the basic recipe and was having a hard time deciding which spices I wanted … I opted for fresh basil just for something different, and I like the subtle hint of basil, but I am thinking next time I will try switching out the basil for some ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of cardamom, some vanilla and maybe some cloves.

  • 2/3 cup 1 % or skim milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup pureed kumquats
  • A small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped fine (or pureed with the kumquats)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • About 1 Tablespoon raw sugar for the top

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, eggs and oil.
  2. Add the dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.
  3. Fold in the pureed kumquats, basil and nuts.
  4. Pour the batter into a  8″ x 4″ x 2″ loaf pan and sprinkle the top with raw sugar.
  5. Bake in a greased in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean. (I had to cook it for about 15 – 20 minutes longer than that.)
  6. Cool and remove from pan.

Kumquat Basil Walnut Quickbread

This recipe was shared at Crazy Sweet TuesdayCast Party Wednesday, and These Chicks Cooked.


Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

I had the urge to make beer cheese soup the other day … and there was just a bit of bacon sitting there needing to be used, and then while retrieving the garlic, I ran across some mushrooms … so they hopped in the soup too. And then I stumbled across some pumpkin puree in the freezer, and because it was so good in the macaroni and cheese, I threw in some pumpkin puree too. And that’s how this soup happened.

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Makes 2-4 bowls of soup, depending on how big your bowls are.

  • 2 slices of uncooked bacon
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 -3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups of 1 % milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 loose cup of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (gently place the cheese in the cup so it fluffs up–don’t pack it in)
  • 1/2 loose cup of shredded gouda cheese (again, very loosely placed in the cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of Red Robin Seasoning (if you don’t have any, here’s a recipe … or use your favorite seasoned salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup brown ale (or your favorite brew–I used the Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown Ale)
  • For garnish: crumbled bits of bacon, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan (I mean the pan you’re going to cook the soup in), fry the bacon until it’s crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and crumble it up into little bits. Set it aside for now.
  2. Pour some of the excess fat from the pan, then add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Over medium-high heat, sautee them in the bacon fat until the onions are soft and translucent and the mushrooms are limp.
  3. Add the flour to the pan and stir, coating all your little shrooms and onions and garlic bits in flour.
  4. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 – 10 minutes or so or until the mixture thickens.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree, shredded cheeses, most of the bacon bits (reserving a few for garnish), and the seasonings and cook for a few minutes longer until the cheese melts.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the beer. The soup will froth up for a moment, but then it will calm down again, just in time to serve it.
  7. Pour into bowls and top with shredded cheese, the reserved bacon bits, and fresh parsley leaves. Some people like to put popcorn on their beer cheese soup. That’s fun too.

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

This would go great with hot, crusty, fresh baked bread, or even better, in a bread bowl. I didn’t have any of that, though …

This recipe was shared at Sunday Night Soup Night and Full Plate Thursday.


Citruslove: Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

I was searching the internet looking for interesting recipes to make with my kumquats … when I found this recipe for Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread. When I read the ingredients and his description of it, I was totally entranced. This is what Chef Ron Oliver says about the bread:

“This is a yeast-leavened cornbread – more of an artisanal bread than your typical quick cornbread that is leavened with baking powder. The addition of olive oil is a signature of Portuguese cornbreads, and the kumquats, which grow abundantly in Central Portugal add a nice touch of fruitiness to complement the fruity olive oil.”

So really this bread is not much like a cornbread. It’s soft and moist and almost orange-flavored, but not quite. There is just a slight crunch from the cornmeal, and lovely little flecks of orange color from the candied kumquats. I don’t know quite how to describe it other than to say it is an amazing taste sensation.

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

Adapted from Chef Ron Oliver

Makes 1 10-inch round bread

  • 3 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup candied kumquats (Recipe here … or use Kumquat Conserve), finely chopped (measure after chopped–I used my handi chopper and chopped them up till they were almost a puree)

Bread machine instructions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in the bread machine. Set the bread machine on the dough setting and start it up.
  2. When the dough is ready, pull it out and shape it to fit in a 9 or 10 inch round pan (Chef Oliver suggests a springform pan, but I used one of my pottery dishes.)
  3. Spray or brush with oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and let it rise for an hour or so until the dough is big and puffy.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour … if the bread is getting too dark brown during baking, cover it with foil. I covered mine after about 30 minutes of cooking.

If you don’t have a bread machine, see Chef Ron Oliver’s Instructions.

Chef Oliver suggests serving it with an Almond Parsley butter, but I decided it needed something creamy. So I took an ounce or so of light cream cheese mixed with a small spoonful of the kumquat syrup (from candying the kumquats) and that creamy sweet-citrus taste was absolutely heaven on this bread.

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

I had a hard time stopping myself from inhaling the whole loaf. And it’s a BIG loaf. I managed to stop myself after two good-size wedges … and now I’m imagining the sandwich I am going to make with this flippin’ amazing kumquat bread tomorrow.

This recipe was shared at CitrusloveNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Tastetastic Thursdays, It’s a Keeper ThursdaysMidnight Maniac Meatless Mondays and  Katherine Martinelli’s Citrus Bloghop.

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Sweet Avocado Cheesecake with Pomegranates & Walnut Crust

Sweet Avocado Cheesecake with Walnut Crust and Pomegranate Seeds

My sister had just had a baby … she was in the hospital recovering and I get a text message from her at 5:38 am the next morning:

“For ur blog: avocado cheesecake. Saw in magazine. Looked wonderful.”

I know they keep you awake at ungodly hours in the hospital, but at 5:38 am she is thinking about cheesecake?

I set down my phone and went back to sleep … But when I woke up, I realized that my baby sister just had a baby … and she wants cheesecake … so I did what any good sister does … I drove to see her this weekend and made her cheesecake.

Actually, I didn’t make the cheesecake. I had several helpers. Baby’s older brother and sisters were lining up chairs in the kitchen to help me make it. There was barely room for me!

Our pretty green cheesecake turned out kind of messy and soft … it took a long time to set up and we had a hard time waiting for it. I think it didn’t set quite firmly enough because I didn’t get all the gelatin in there. I noticed it later when I was cleaning up … some of the gelatin got stuck in the spoon, some had stuck in the bowl I had mixed it in. If you make this cheesecake, make sure you put all the gelatin in, or if you can’t quite get it all out of the bowl, then cut back on the amount of milk. It doesn’t need to be QUITE that soft.

If you were worried about putting avocado in cheesecake, you really needn’t have bothered. The avocado lends such a lovely creamy texture. It might sound a little odd, but when you taste it, you will think it’s marvelous. It is creamy and sweet and delicious.

Sweet Avocado Cheesecake with Walnut Crust and Pomegranate Seeds

Sweet Avocado Cheesecake with Pomegranates & Walnut Crust

Adapted from The Amazing Avocado

Crust:

  • 3/4 cup ground walnuts
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons light butter

Filling:

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  •  1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 fully ripened Avocados
  • 4 ounces fat-free cream cheese
  • 4 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1/8 cup lime juice
Topping: pomegranate seeds and chopped mango — or a raspberry sauce would be lovely with it too

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F.  In food processor, pulse walnuts until finely ground. Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar; pulse just until combined. Add butter and water; pulse until ingredients are thoroughly combined and resemble wet sand. Press into bottom of an 8 1/2-inch springform pan. I found I had plenty of crust mixture to fill two smaller pans: a medium sized (7 1/2 inch?) and a little 5-inch springform pan.

Walnut Graham Cracker Crust

Bake 20 minutes; cool completely.

I used the larger of the two pans for this cheesecake … and saved the little one for another purpose.

Now for the sweet avocado cheesecake filling:

  1. In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine gelatin with 2 tablespoons water; let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla until good and hot. Add gelatin; simmer until gelatin has completely dissolved, about 1 minute.
  3. In food processor or blender, combine avocados, cream cheese, lime juice and milk mixture until smooth.
  4. Pour into baked crust (it was enough to fill a 7 1/2 inch pan–if you want a larger cheesecake, you may want to make more filling); cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until set. (for us it took much longer than 2 hours … really it wasn’t ready till the next morning …)
  5. Remove side of pan; cut cheesecake into 10 slices. Serve with pomegranate seeds and chopped mangoes or drizzle with raspberry sauce, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. The top will likely discolor a bit from the avocado. Don’t get too worried about that … it’s normal and won’t affect the flavor.
Sweet Avocado Cheesecake with Walnut Crust

This recipe was shared at Trick or Treat TuesdaysKatherine Martinelli’s Mango Bloghop and It’s a Keeper Thursdays.


Pumpkin, Pepper, Ham & Cheesy Rice Skillet Casserole

with dill, thyme, and tomato

Pumpkin, Pepper, Ham & Cheesy Rice  Skillet Casserole

This is a comforting, homey dish that goes straight from stovetop to oven to the table and is a delicious, complete and healthy meal all in one pan.

I returned from Thanksgiving at my parents’ house with a car full of food, wine, a spectacular placemat my mom found for me and a very special new pan. My dad had found a couple beautiful cast iron skillets at the thrift store for $3.50, and I just casually joked that I was tempted to take one home with me. So my sweet mother cleaned one up and gave it to me to take home. Did she know how much I wanted one? My mom is the best.

We had a ham on Saturday, so everyone got a big chunk of ham to take home with them. A skillet casserole seemed like the perfect thing to make to “christen” my beautiful new cast iron skillet.

Pumpkin, Pepper, Ham & Cheesy Rice  Skillet Casserole

Pumpkin, Pepper, Ham & Cheesy Rice Skillet Casserole

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • Dried or fresh dill & thyme
  • Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup lowfat milk (I used 1%)
  • A dash of ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used a blend … I recommend a white cheddar, swiss, or
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked Bismati rice
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat ham, chopped
  • Breadcrumbs, almond slices, tomato & feta cheese, for topping

Directions:

If you don’t have a cast-iron or other oven-proof skillet, just bake this in casserole dish.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Start the rice cooking.
  3. While the rice cooks, melt the butter in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and bell pepper and sautee.
  4. When the onion is soft and translucent, add the flour and stir until the vegies are coated with flour.
  5. Add in the milk and stir, cooking over medium heat until you have a creamy white sauce.
  6. Continue stirring as you add the pumpkin and the shredded cheese. You should have a very creamy sauce. Season with nutmeg, dill, thyme, Red Robin Seasoning (or salt) and pepper to taste.
  7. Stir the rice, tomato, and ham into the cheesy sauce.
  8. Flatten the rice mixture with the back of a spoon and sprinkle with breadcrumbs, almonds, halved cherry tomatos (or chopped tomato) and feta cheese. I sprinkled a little extra dill and thyme on top too, just for good measure.
  9. Put the skillet in the oven and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the casserole is good and hot.

Pumpkin, Pepper, Ham & Cheesy Rice  Skillet Casserole

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Blog Recipe LinkyThis Chick Cooks, Fit and Fabulous Fridays, and Gooseberry Patch Skillet Meals.


Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal with Peanut Butter & Sliced Almonds

This is a warm, sweet, spicy bowl of autumn comfort.

My friend Russ made a wish the other day … he was wishing for a Pumpkin Raisin Oatmeal. Well, I can’t let a wish like that go by without granting it! (Did you know I have wish-granting powers? Yes, I am a virtual food fairy ♥)

This makes an Ann-size portion (if you know me, you know that I am small and I eat very small portions!), but I used easy proportions so you can easily scale it up to your own portion size — or to make oatmeal for a crowd! Just use equal portions of oatmeal, water, milk, and pumpkin puree, then add your spices and mix-ins to taste

This pumpkin-infused oatmeal goes oh so well with a cup of Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk (Any kind. I used 1%, but soy, almond or coconut milk would work fine too.)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have any, here’s a recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • brown sugar (or your choice of sweetener), to taste

Options for Mix-ins:

  • A teaspoon of peanut butter or almond butter (or maybe Nutella?)
  • Sliced almonds, chopped walnuts or pecans — I highly recommend toasting your nuts before adding them. They are SO much better when toasted!
  • Raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dates or chopped, dried apricots
  • Chopped apple
  • Chocolate or white chocolate chips?

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl except for the brown sugar and stir to mix. (If you are using chopped apples as a mix-in and you want them cooked, you may want to add them at the beginning. Cooking time will be a little longer if you include apples.)
  2. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes or until the oatmeal is done to your liking.
  3. Sweeten to taste and add your choice of mix-ins. I added a small spoonful of peanut butter and sliced almonds this morning.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal with Peanut butter & Almond slices

This recipe was shared at Favorite Breakfast Recipes and Gooseberry Patch Comfort Foods.


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