I'm a 30 year old stay at home mom of two beautiful boys! I love cooking, crafting, movies, playing with my boos, pop culture, and tons of other stuff! I fancy myself a bit of a foodie and have been trying to incorporate lots of fresh, seasonal, local organic foods into my cooking. Hopefully this blog will serve as a forum for me to try new recipes and share them with anyone who might be interested!!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Spinach artichoke dip bites

This is the most yummy spin art ever ;) I usually make it as a big bowl of dip but recently I needed to make an appetizer for a school staff lunch so I wanted to try something fancy. My initial try was a bacon and onion tart recipe that I found on, wait for it,...... Pinterest. While the recipe itself is delicious, it simply was not going to work as something bite sized. I'm not sure who's familiar with creme fraiche, but it's like buttery sour cream. Needless to say, when baked in puff pastry, it becomes a bit too liquid, i.e. messy! After some trial and error, I gave up and went to my go to appetizer, spinach artichoke dip. I (and the hubby) think these came out pretty great.

Spinach artichoke dip bites

(Makes enough for 48 puff pastry cups)

1Tbsp butter
2 blocks cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 of a medium onion, diced finely
1 clove of garlic, minced (more or less depending on personal tastes)
5oz. bag of baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 packages (24 pieces each) frozen puff pastry cups

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, chopped artichokes, and cheddar on a baking dish. Melt butter on stove top and sauté onions and garlic on med /low until softened. Add the chopped spinach and cook until all the spinach is wilted down. Mix into the cream cheese mixture and bake until melted together and bubbly. Allow the dip to cool a bit while you bake the pastry, so you can handle it in a piping bag. Bake puff pastry according to package instructions. Fill a piping bag, with no tip, with some of the dip and pipe into the puff pastry cups. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spinach cake!!!

I came across this recipe on Pinterest for spinach cake and thought "I have a 3 year old and 1 year old who refuse to touch the stuff... if they'll eat it in cake, then so be it!". After mulling over the original recipe I, of course, made a few changes! Olive oil was called for but I don't see olive oil being tasty in cake and it's pretty expensive so I subbed butter and coconut oil (I'm obsessed!!) instead. Fresh spinach is an absolute must! You will have way too much liquid and the color won't be a nice bright green if you use frozen. It was also suggested to serve it with whipped cream, but the cake needs a frosting with a bit more substance, in my opinion, so I opted for a lemony cream cheese frosting. It was perfect, not a hint of spinach flavor, both boys loved it (!!!) and it's green, just in time for St. Patty's Day :)  Enjoy!

8oz, fresh, baby spinach. You'll need 1 cup of puree.
3 eggs
2 Tbsp sour cream
Squeeze of Lemon juice (1/4 of a small lemon)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Cream cheese frosting (recipe below!)

Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9x13 pan.
In a food processor, chop the spinach as much as possible. It will not completely puree with out the liquid, but try to estimate as best as you can about 1 cup, add the lemon juice and add the eggs, 1 at a time. Continue to puree spinach until it resembles baby food. Meanwhile, cream together your butter, oil, vanilla and sugar. Add the spinach mixture to the sugar mixture and blend well! Add in the salt, baking powder, and flour and combine completely. Pour into a greased 9x13 Pyrex baking dish and bake 25-30 minutes, until a butter knife comes out clean. Cool completely and frost with your choice of frosting. I used the cream cheese frosting recipe below :)
*For mini cupcakes, bake at 350°F for 12-14 minutes. Makes 64*

8oz cream cheese, softened
5 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
Beat all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cranberry orange cornmeal biscotti

During my (ever so brief) stint at culinary school, I took an awesome class called Hot and Cold Desserts. It was a pretty general class, like a baking 101. For our final exam, we had to come up with and execute a recipe.  I decided to do a biscotti. In recent weeks I've been cleaning and purging a lot of stuff (we live in a relatively small apartment) during which i came across my class notes. I had everything i needed on hand to make them so I wanted to see if I still thought they were as awesome as I did 12 years ago. They are!!!

Cranberry orange cornmeal biscotti

8oz butter
16oz sugar
4 eggs
23oz flour
12oz cornmeal
1tsp salt
1 TBSP baking powder
10oz dried cranberries
Zest of 1 large orange

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl. Cream together the butter, zest, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time until well mixed. Add the dry ingredients in 3 turns and mix until all incorporated.
Bake on parchment at 350°F for ≈ 35 minutes, remove from oven and let cool enough to handle. Slice on an angle and place cookies sliced side up on cookie sheet.
Lower oven temp to 325°F and bake for another 25-30 minutes, flipping cookies half way during baking.
I tried to "drizzle" them with some white chocolate.... tasted great, but doesn't look so hot :(

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Broccoli quinoa casserole

Recently I discovered quinoa ( a bit late I know). I knew it existed, but had never tried it, until recently. So lately I've been on a quest for dishes that use it. I came across a recipe, where else but Pinterest, for broccoli and cheese quinoa casserole. However, when I looked at the recipe it includes ingredients like mayonnaise, low fat cheese, and cream of something soup. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't do low fat anything or cream of anything! And mayonnaise I just didn't think would taste good. So in my usual fashion I decided to try to revamp this recipe and make it my own. I immediately decided to take some cues from baked macaroni and cheese. By adding 1 egg and a little bit of milk I'm able to give it that creamy, cheesy consistency without mayonnaise or canned soup.  the quinoa is an excellent source of protein so I serve this just as a vegetarian main dish but you can easily serve it as a side with any protein of your choosing, especially fish or chicken!!

Broccoli quinoa casserole

1 TBSP butter
1 shallot, minced
1 red, orange, or yellow pepper, diced small
1/2 head broccoli, chopped
8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you like! Swiss or pepper jack would be delicious!)
1 egg
Enough milk to make 1/2 cup, when mixed with the egg
1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
Sautee shallot, peppers, and broccoli in butter until soft. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix together egg with enough milk to total 1/2 cup. Combine the quinoa, veggies, and cheese then add the egg/ milk mixture. Pour into a buttered 8x8 Pyrex dish and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Baked french toast

I've been seeing a lot of recipes for "baked french toast" on Pinterest lately. Upon further examination of these recipes I've concluded that they're nothing more than bread pudding. More dessert than something you'd serve for breakfast! Usually an overly sweet custard poured over torn hunks of bread. My idea of french toast is not sweet until you add maple syrup to it. So, in my usual fashion, I've decided to try to come up with a recipe that tastes true to actual french toast. I do see the need to add some sugar to the custard mix for browning, but most recipes I saw called for anywhere between 3/4 and 1cup of sugar. I decided to significantly decrease this to 1/4 of a cup of sugar. Other recipes called for a crumb topping, which i thought was unnecessary and, again, is more like dessert. I like the idea of adding some nuts, and ultimately decided on pecans. I just mixed them right in with the cut up bread. Overall I'm pretty happy with how this came out!!! I served it with maple syrup and bacon on the side. Enjoy!!!
Baked french toast
About 12-16 ounces of any bread you've got lying around (I used 3 croissants and 2 pieces of hearty white bread), diced into about 1inch pieces
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup milk (I used whole)
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 Tsp. Vanilla extract
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Pre heat the oven to 350°F
Cut up your bread and place in a greased 8x8 Pyrex dish. Toss the nuts with the bread. Beat your eggs and add the milk to the eggs. Mix thoroughly then add your pinch of salt, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour the custard mixture over the bread and press down. Cover and let sit overnight or at least 4 hours before baking. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes- 1 hour, until a butter knife inserted comes out clean. The nutritional infoif it serves 6 (you could easily serve 9!):
Per Serving: 294 calories, 37g carbs, 12g fat, 10g protien

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The BEST pecan pie!!! This is no joke!

With the official holiday season among us, I've been seeing pecan pie recipes EVERYWHERE! I was always very intimidated by the thought of making pecan pie at home (though I'm not sure why) but a few Thanksgivings ago I decided to conquer my fear and give it a shot. My go to cookbook is the New Best Recipe by America's test kitchen. It's, by far, the greatest cookbook I've ever used! They test every recipe until it's perfect. I get requests for this pecan pie from all my husband's friends. I wanted to post the recipe here because you do have to either buy the book (which you should! It's seriously the best cook book out there!!!) or pay for a subscription to Cooks Illustrated to get the recipe from their website.
1  9" pie shell, par baked to golden brown
6 tbsp butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3 eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Par bake the pie shell according to the instructions (I do mine at 400°F for about 12 minutes, until golden). As soon as the shell is done, reduce oven temp to 275°F.
Melt butter in a double boiler or a heat proof bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Add brown sugar, salt, and vanilla. Stir until butter is absorbed. Off the heat, add the corn syrup and eggs. Return to heat and stir constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 130°F on an instant read thermometer. Stir in pecans. Remove from heat and pour into still warm pie shell. Bake at 275° until just set, approximately 55-60 minutes. Cool completely and serve!!!
P.s. if anyone does make it, please let me know what you thought!! :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Roasted cauliflower soup... dairy and gluten free!

Now that the weather has been getting cooler, I've been trying to find ways to incorporate more soups into our weekly menu. Cauliflower happened to be on sale this past week at the grocery store, so I figured I'd give it a go! Part of the point of trying to incorporate more soup is having hearty meals that tend to be low calorie and low fat. I like creamy soups that are smooth but adding all that flour and/or cream to make a soup thick and creamy defeats the purpose. This is my attempt at a nice, thick, hearty soup made with no flour, no butter, and no cream. This recipe will serve about 4-5 and comes in at 138 calories and only 7 grams of fat! I wish I had some nice, fresh thyme sprigs for garnish :( I did, however make a loaf if this delicious rosemary bread to serve along side!

Roasted cauliflower and garlic soup 
Serves 4
1 large head of cauliflower
8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1.5 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (just enough to cover the cauliflower)
1 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pre heat oven to 400°F. Cut the cauliflower off the stem and into relatively equal sized pieces. Toss the cauliflower and unpeeled garlic in the olive oil and add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Roast, in a single layer for approximately 40 minutes, or until tender and starting to brown. Peel garlic! Transfer roasted delicious-ness to a pot and add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer until cauliflower is very tender. Puree soup using an immersion blender (or regular blender, taking caution not to scald yourself with exploding soup!!) Once smooth, add lemon juice and mustard. Serve and enjoy!!