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
- 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
- Dump all the ingredients except for the “Swirl” ingredients into your bread machine and set it on the dough setting.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday , Full Plate Thursday and All my Bloggy Friends.
on Toasted Ciabatta with Melted Gouda Cheese
Today I was HUNGRY and needed something substantial. Something with protein. I briefly considered making up a BLT, but I decided I didn’t want to mess with making bacon. I needed something quick so I could get back to work.
So an egg sandwich sounded about right … But I wanted something really tasty that would satisfy my hunger AND my taste buds. Pesto rosso to the rescue! If you haven’t heard of Pesto Rosso, it’s a magical tomato pesto made with sundried tomatoes and almonds. The Foodie Physician introduced me to it. I have had this lovely red pesto several times spread on toast for a snack and reveled in the taste of it each time, but today I thought I would put it to the test in a sandwich.
A few minutes later I was munching on one of the BEST breakfast sandwiches I have ever had. The lovely ciabatta and fresh garden tomato are wonderful, of course, and the sweet pepper and onion certainly pitch in along with the melted gouda cheese, but the Pesto Rosso is what really turns this sandwich from a ho-hum regular run-of-the-mill sandwich … into a sandwich to remember.
Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich
Makes 2 normal-sized breakfast sandwiches or 1 extra large one. I used Gouda cheese from Dofino, since they were so kind as to send me samples.
- 1 egg
- About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet bell pepper (I used yellow … red or green would work too)
- About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet onion
- Several slices of Gouda cheese
- Ciabatta bread, sliced horizontally (I used my homemade ciabatta)
- Pesto Rosso (recipe here)
- Sliced fresh garden tomato
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a small spoonful of cold water till smooth (the water will help keep your egg moist and perfect). Season with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and fresh ground black pepper, then stir in the chopped sweet onion and bell pepper.
- Heat your frying pan to medium heat, pour in the egg mixture, reduce heat immediately to medium low. Cover the egg with gouda cheese slices, then set the cover on the pan and let cook, checking frequently, until the egg is cooked through and the cheese is melted. I pushed in some of the edges of the egg to make it into a more manageable size for the sandwich.
- While the egg is cooking, cut 2 pieces of ciabatta about the size for half of your egg (or a large piece of ciabatta if you are making a ginormous sandwich), slice them horizontally and toast the bread, then spread the bottom half of the ciabatta with a generous amount of Pesto Rosso. Slide the egg on top of the Pesto Rosso and then add fresh tomato slices and the top half of the ciabatta bread.
This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Favorites, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend Potluck, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday and Kitchen Fun Friday.
with Gorgonzola & Havarti cheeses and fresh Thyme
I was hungering for a savory breakfast with eggs and vegies and cheese yesterday, so I thought to try out some asparagus with my egg. It turned out so lovely. What’s more comforting in the morning than a baked egg?
Baked Egg in Asparagus Sweet Onion Nests
The beauty of this dish is you can make breakfast for 1 or 10. For each serving you’ll need:
- 5 – 7 large spears of fresh asparagus
- 1/4 of a sweet onion (I used Dolce Vita onion), sliced thin
- 1 egg
- Red Robin Seasoning (or Red Magic Seasoning if you’re watching your sodium … or your favorite seasoned salt) & freshly ground pepper
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons shredded Havarti cheese
- 1/2 Tablespoon or so of Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
- The leaves from a couple twigs of fresh thyme
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay the asparagus and onion on the sheet. Spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with seasoning and bake at 400 for about 5 minutes or until the onion is tender and the asparagus is crisp tender.
Chop the asparagus and onion roughly. Spray oven-safe bowl(s) with cooking spray, then put the asparagus/onion mixture into the bowl, pressing them up against the sides of the bowl to make a well in the center for the egg.
Crack an egg into each bowl, sprinkle with seasoning and freshly ground pepper, cheeses and thyme.
Bake at 350 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the white is set. If you want the yolk cooked through, cook it a bit longer (about 20 minutes). Serve immediately sprinkled with fresh thyme, and garnish with a sprig of fresh oregano if you have it. I made some little mini-garlic toasts to go alongside too.
I came home from yoga last night wanting noodles. Badly. It was a power yoga class and she worked us hard … I could tell because my legs were sore already. So it was clearly time to make the Pad Thai I’ve been wanting to make. A while ago I had found these beautiful brown rice noodles with a Pad Thai recipe on the back. I THOUGHT I had also picked up some bean sprouts, but discovered rather quickly that I hadn’t. I had already shredded a bunch of carrots and chopped up the greens, though, so I thought to just add in some onion.
I do not claim this to be truly authentic Pad Thai (the Pad Thai police would surely come and get me!), but oh it was delicious. This Pad Thai soothed my craving for noodles and Thai food all in one fell swoop.
Shrimp Pad Thai
This recipe serves 2 – 3 people. If you have bean sprouts, just cut down the amount of other veggies to add in some sprouts. Pad Thai does usually have bean sprouts in it … I was just out of them!
For the sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Hoison sauce
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 4 oz. brown rice noodles (1/2 the package)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Tablespoon canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
- 1 cup medium shrimp
- a splash of white wine
For the top:
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Chopped peanuts
- Chopped green onions
- Mix up the sauce ingredients in a bowl, adjusting the amount of sugar and Sriracha to your liking. The spicy heat will get soaked up by the noodles, so I would recommend making it a tad hotter than you think it should be. Set the sauce aside.
- Put some water on to boil for cooking up the noodles.
- While the water is cooking for the noodles, whisk the egg in a bowl and add a teaspoon of water. Scramble it in a frying pan or wok sprayed with cooking spray very briefly … take it out of the pan while it’s still wet. It will finish cooking when you add it back into the hot noodles. Speaking of noodles: are they done? Drain and set them aside.
- Clean out the egg from the frying pan (unless you are a neat scrambler … I always have some egg residue when I scramble), heat the pan to medium heat, and add the oil. Add the garlic, onion, carrots and spinach and sautee for a minute or two, then add the shrimp and sautee until the onion is limp and the shrimp turns pink. If the pan gets a little dry, add a splash of white wine and cook till the wine evaporates. Add the noodles and the sauce and stir to mix everything up. The noodles might not want to mix in too well, but that’s okay. You can put the “extras” on top of the noodles when you serve it.
- Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro, chopped peanuts, and chopped green onion.
The other day I was cruising around the blogosphere when I saw some coconut ice cream … I’m not much of a fan of that dried shredded coconut, but I love the flavor of coconut … and I thought: wouldn’t coconut ice cream be dreamy? Or better yet, coconut RUM ice cream? Oh and then you could go a step further and make it pina colada ice cream.
I didn’t want all the fat and sugar from the recipe I saw so I made up my own. It’s fruity with that creamy coconut taste and an underlying hint of banana … because frozen bananas have a luscious creaminess to them that no other fruit can quite attain.
And just for good measure (and a little color!) I added some more fruit on top.
Banana Colada Ice Cream
- 2 cups fat free half and half
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1/2 of a can of light coconut juice
- 1/4 cup pineapple orange juice concentrate
- 3 Tablespoons of coconut rum
- In a medium saucepan, mix half & half & sugar. Heat, stirring frequently, until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a whisk or mixer until frothy.
- Slowly drizzle a stream of the hot cream mixture (about 1 cup of it) into the egg, whisking or beating constantly.
- Gradually add the egg mixture back into the remaining hot cream mixture in the saucepan, whisking as you go.
- Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon–roughly 5 minutes.
- Pour the hot mixture into a blender with the vanilla, frozen bananas, pineapple orange juice concentrate and coconut rum. Blend until smooth.
- Put the mixture in the fridge until cool. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Serve topped with the honey spiced fruit compote
Honey Spiced Fruit Compote
This makes a small batch of fruit compote, just enough for about 2-3 servings, depending on how much fruit you pile on and how big your servings are. Mix up the fruits if you like — pineapple or mango would be wonderful too.
- 1 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
- 5 – 7 strawberries, tops removed and chopped
- 1/2 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- A dash of each: nutmeg and ground ginger
- 1 banana, peeled and sliced
Mix all the ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes or so or until the fruits start juicing a bit. Pour over the frozen ice cream.
It’s National Chocolate Mousse Day today, so of course I had to make some chocolate mousse!
I lightened it up by using nonfat Greek yogurt and an egg white in place of the heavy cream, but it still tastes deliciously decadent, with deep dark undertones of Kahlua and hazelnut.
Light & Luscious Mocha Nutella Mousse
Makes 2 servings
- 2 Tablespoons Kahlua
- 2 teaspoons good quality dark cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup Nutella
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg white
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- In a medium bowl, stir together the Kahlua, cocoa powder, Nutella, yogurt and vanilla until it’s smooth.
- In a separate small bowl, beat the egg white at medium or high till soft peaks form, then sprinkle the cream of tartar on while still beating until the peaks are firm. Gently fold the beaten egg white into the chocolate mixture.
- Cover and place in the fridge for a couple hours until it’s firmed up to the desired consistency.
I thought I ought to include the nutrition information … this is from Calorie Count on About.com
It’s one of those mornings when I can’t get my daughter out of bed. And she’s feeling dizzy this morning, so dizzy she doesn’t want to go to school. I hate it when I have to tell her to go to school when she’s feeling this way. But she’s not sick, and she’s missed too many days of school already.
The cat is whining incessantly and won’t leave me alone and I don’t know what he wants. He has food, he has water, he has been fed, but he won’t quit swirling around me and meowing.
Anybody want a fat, fuzzy, affectionate, slightly annoying cat? He’s really cute … see?
Naw, I’m just kidding. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. He’s just driving me crazy this morning, and I know what he wants. He wants me to drop everything and just hold him and pet him and rub his belly. He loves it when you rub his fat, furry belly.
I think I need some toast. A really good toast. Something like this … not that my dang cat is going to give me time to cook this morning. I’ll probably end up eating cereal. Except we’re out of milk. Yeah, it’s one of THOSE kind of mornings.
Smoked Gouda Avocado Breakfast Bruschetta
- French bread, sliced (I used this recipe)
- Smoked Gouda cheese, sliced thin
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Slices of tomato
- Scrambled egg
- Slices of ripe avocado
- Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Toast the bread lightly, then arrange the cheese on it. Top with slices of onion and tomato.
- Broil or bake at 350 until the cheese is melted.
- Top with egg, avocado and cilantro and enjoy. It’s a little messy to eat, but it tastes SO delicious.