Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gingersnap Cupcakes

Gingersnaps remind me of my Daddy. From as far back as I can remember, we always had a stash of gingersnap cookies in the cupboard. I remember those cute little cookies in the brown paper bag. They were Dad's cookies. Luckily, we had the kind of Daddy who often shared his cookies! This recipe actually uses ground gingersnaps in the batter. We loved these cupcakes (with the exception of my husband who is not a gingersnap fan, boo!). They taste like fall. I made these for a "Girl's night in"/birthday party. I'm planning on making these again for my Daddy at Thanksgiving!

Gingersnap Cupcakes
Source: Picky Palate

1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
3 T. molasses

1/2 c. gingersnaps, finely ground
1 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 c. flour
1/2 t. salt

1/2 c.
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin pan. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs an molasses. Beat until combined. Set aside. Combine dry ingredients and whisk together. Combine milk and vanilla in cup together.

Alternate adding and stirring 1/2 of the dry ingredients into butter mixture, then half of the wet ingredients. Repeat.
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until center of cupcake springs back when gently pressed. Frost cooled cupcakes.

1/2 c. softened butter
1/4 c. milk *I used caramel coffee creamer
2 1/2c. confectioner's sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 t. cinnamon

Combine frosting ingredients in bowl and beat until fluffy. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Flourless Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am in love with these little cookies! They are a cross between a meringue, a brownie and a cookie! They have no flour, but they also have no butter! But, don't kid yourself. These are decadent and amazing.
*yes, I desperately need new cookie sheets :)

Flourless Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Chocolate and Carrots

3 c. powdered sugar
2/3 c. cocoa powder
1/8 t. salt
2-4 egg whites
1 T. vanilla
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray cookie sheets with non stick spray. Combine dry ingredients and whisk together. Start by mixing in 2 egg whites, you may need to add up to 2 more. When dough is the consistency of a thick, fudgey brownie batter, add vanilla and chocolate chips. The dough will be gooey, not like traditional cookie dough. Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 min. or until tops are shiny and cracked. Cool completely before removing from the pan (or it will be more difficult).

Almond Yardstick

Words could never express how delicious this recipe is! I got this recipe from my VERY talented friend, Dorene. She has a fabulous cooking blog called, KrausnicKitchen. Make sure to check it out. She has impeccable taste and I've never had food prepared by her that was less than amazing!
I'm not sure why this recipe is called a yardstick. It is kind of long and thin, but who knows. In any event, it is soooo good. Try it!

Almond Yardstick

Yardstick Ingredients:     
4 ½ c flour                           
1 package dry active yeast     
½ c warm H2O         
1 1/2 c. margarine softened           
2 eggs beaten

Filling Ingredients:
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. margarine
1 T. almond extract
1 T. water

White Butter Frosting Ingredients:
1/8 c. margarine
2 ½ c powdered sugar
1 T milk 
1 t vanilla
Mix flour and margarine (use pastry cutter). Dissolve yeast in warm water. Beat 2 eggs in a small bowl and add the yeast mixture. Next, add yeast/egg mixture to flour mixture, mix well. Divide dough into four equal parts. Set aside. Mix Filling: mix sugar, margarine, almond extract, and water. Mix well. Mix Frosting – combine ingredients until right consistency.
Grease cookie sheets. A jelly roll pan with 1" sides works well for this. Section dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each part out in a rectangular/oval. Roll the length of the cookie sheet and about 6" wide. Fold over the edges all the way around, about 1/2" to create a crust. Spread each with 1/4 of the filling. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Cool, cut into 1" strips and frost.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sunflower Pesto

I love pesto! So does Joe! So do the kids! It is so versatile. You can use it in place of marinara on a pizza. You can toss pasta in it. You can stuff chicken breasts with pesto and cheese. You can make little fancy appetizers with a baguette, cheese and cherry tomatoes. Catch my drift? It's just good to have around. The recipe itself is also versatile. The traditional recipe calls for pine nuts, but walnuts and even sunflower seeds (like this recipe) work well.  The original recipe also calls for Parmesan. You could certainly substitute Romano, or for you health conscious folks, skip the cheese altogether.  For you dorky, yet health conscious people, you can use nutritional yeast in place of the cheese. This not only makes your pesto vegan, but adds protein, vitamins and a delightfully cheesy taste.
I love to make the pesto and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Which, really brought back some memories from my baby food making days! This way, you have the pesto frozen into small quantities that are ready to use. I usually add a little fresh lemon juice to my pesto once it has defrosted to freshen it up.


2/3 c. sunflower seeds (pine nuts or walnuts)
5 c. loosely packed basil leaves
1 1/4 c. Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. nutritional yeast (parmesan or romano)
8 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
Pulse nuts or seeds in blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and pulse. Store in fridge or freezer...or use right away! Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before using.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Curried Carrot Soup

This soup doesn't make sense. I don't know why it is so good! It's basically just carrots and broth pureed together, but something about this particular combination is magic. This soup is delicious and very healthy! Tip: Don't go crazy trying to chop your onions and carrots uniformly as they will just get pureed in the end.

Curried Carrot Soup
Source: Every Day Food's Great Food Fast
2 T. butter
1 c. chopped onion
1 t. curry powder
2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 cans (or 29 oz total) chicken broth (or vegetable)
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and chopped into 1" chunks
1-2 T. fresh lemon juice
optional garnish- chopped cilantro (I used a little basmati rice)

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, curry powder, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add broth, carrots and 3 c. water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat , cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in blender. *Only fill blender about half full since you are working with hot liquid.  Allow heat to escape by opening the hole in the lid and covering it with a towel. This will prevent hot liquid from splattering. Stir in lemon juice and garnish.

Greta and Miles rating; Miles wasn't a huge fan, but when Greta tasted it she said she was going to eat the whole pot full of soup!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Barley-Mushroom Risotto

We are true risotto lovers. What if I told you that you could make risotto with barley in the place of the starch-laden arborio and it would taste just as good even better than the original? My entire family adores this recipe. I'm not sure that you would be able to sub barley for arborio in every recipe, but the earthiness of the barley really works with the natural flavor of the mushrooms. If you are a risotto fan, I challenge you to try this!

Barley-Mushroom Risotto
Source: Brown Eyed Baker
2 T. olive oil
1 c. onion, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 t. dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. barley
6 c. broth (veggie, chicken or beef)
1 T. butter
1/2 c. Parmesan, shredded

Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sautee until beginning to brown. Add mushrooms and cook until juices are released (about 5 minutes). If mushrooms are sticking to pot, you may add 1-3 T. of water. Add thyme, garlic and barley. Stir well and cook for about an minute. Add 4 c. of broth and turn bring to boiling over high heat. Boil until liquid is almost completely gone. Turn heat down to medium and add 1/2 c. of broth at a time stirring until liquid is mostly absorbed each time. When barley is tender (you will probably use all of the liquid), remove from heat and add butter and Parmesan. Serve!

Greta and Miles rating: Like I said, this is a family favorite. They have no idea that it is barley!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans

I love Every recipe I've made from this website has been not only healthy, but fantastic! When I received some Swiss chard in our CSA box this week, I knew I would be trying a new recipe. At first, I wasn't sure that I would like the taste of gnocchi and beans together. Somehow, in this dish the beans take on a more buttery, almost cheesy taste and it just works! This was a snap to throw together and was my first time using pre-made gnocchi.

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans
Source: Eatingwell

1 T. plus 1 t. Olive oil
1 (16 oz.) pkg. shelf stable gnocchi
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. water
6 c. chopped chard leaves
1 (15 oz. can) white beans, rinsed
1 (15 oz. can) diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan
1/2 c. shredded Mozzarella

Heat 1 T. oil over medium heat in non-stick skillet. Cook gnocchi, stirring until plumped and beginning to brown. About 5-7 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Add remaining 1 t. oil and onion. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add water and garlic. Cover and cook until onion is soft, 4-6 minutes. Add chard and cook, stirring until greens begin to wilt. Add rinsed beans, pepper and tomatoes. Stir. Bring to simmer and stir in gnocchi. Top with cheeses and cover. Cook until cheese is melted and sauce begins to bubble. About 3 minutes.

Greta and Miles rating: They really liked the gnocchi. Greta liked the chard and Miles liked the tomatoes. Overall, a success!