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Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Cake Muffins

February 8, 2011 5 comments

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The longer I cook, the more often I find myself eye-balling measurements of ingredients. It’s not that I see myself as this awesome ninja chef with some mad cooking skills. The truth is I hate doing dishes and I figure the less I have to wash, the better. However, one arena of cooking where I don’t throw caution to the wind is when I bake. The balance of ingredients like baking soda, baking powder and salt can really cause culinary chaos when your ratios are off. So you can imagine my dork-like excitement when I opened up one of my Christmas gifts to find new measuring spoons and cups. But these were just no ordinary measuring devices…they were magnetic!

The magic of these measurement devices is that they have a spoon on each end and you only need to wash the spoon you use and you get two uses out of each spoon.  And with their magnetic-ability they stay together when you need them to and apart when you don’t.  It’s genius if you ask me.  So when making this new recipe for Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Cake Muffins, I busted out both the spoons and the cups.

These small but fluffy muffins are so light and airy, I will warn you: it is possible to consume more than one at a time. Since they are not huge, it’s a great size for the kids. I am not a big fan of super sweet breakfast pastries, as these are perfectly balanced with not being too sweet. The apple adds a fun taste for the buds and keeps them from drying out (I HATE the word *moist*).  These are based on a recipe from Isa Chandra’s Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook. You may notice the lack of eggs (as they are based off a vegan recipe) but you would never know the are eggless.  In my opinion Isa has mastered the art of baking without dairy and eggs.  Try them and you will not be disappointed.

Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Cake Muffins

For Muffins:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup grated apple
1/2 cup chopped apple (1/4 inch pieces)

For topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Pinch of salt
2 Tbs canola oil

Prepare the topping by mixing all the dry topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle the oil while mixing with your fingertips until crumbs form. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 12 – muffin tin.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry muffin ingredients. Create a well in the center and add the apple juice, oil, and vanilla. Mix, then fold in the grated and chopped apple.

Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Sprinkle the crumb topping over each muffin. Bake for 20-22 minutes.

 

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Breakfast Bowl O’Goodness: Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

October 6, 2010 2 comments

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Or also titled: How a Stoner from Wisconsin Brought our Family Closer.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

This recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal was born in my bedroom. This past weekend all three kids piled into my bed and found a surprise visitor…my husband.   He was supposed to have been fishing in Wisconsin for the weekend, but when the guys arrived at the cabin late at night they found the grandson of the cabin’s owner having his own personal pot party.  Needless to say even though the trip was a bust(should have been a drug bust instead), the kids and I enjoyed the new-found time with Daddy. 

As all five of us cuddled in bed, we talked about what we should make for breakfast.  We are a big oatmeal family, eating it a few times a week.  I make a big batch in the morning as it is cheap, fast and you can make it at least 73 tasty different ways.   My son said we should make banana oatmeal, a kind I have made before.  But then my oldest daughter upped the ante…”Banana oatmeal with chocolate chips.”  I think we all ran downstairs, faster than I have moved in a while for anything.  I made this one up on the spot and it will now be a part of our oatmeal routine.

This is a great recipe for a breakfast treat, as it is quite sweet.

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

Serves 5

3 cups oats – not quick cooking kind or instant
2 cups almond milk (you can use plain milk too)
3 cups water
3 Tbs dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 bananas – really mashed
1/4 cup or more chocolate chips

Pour oats, milk and water into a large pot and heat on medium.  Bring to a boil and stir moderately.  When it starts to thicken and it’s not so watery add the bananas, sugar and salt.  Cook until oatmeal looks, well done and looks like oatmeal.  Serve in bowls and top each serving with a few (or a ton) of chocolate chips.

*Best way to eat is to wait a few minutes after putting chips on top, then stir to blend.

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Cherry Tomato Pesto – Fresh and Freezer-worthy

September 2, 2010 2 comments

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I’m taking a walk down memory lane today…and through my stroll I am encountering little,  glossy red, ball-shaped fruit that started it all. Started what you ask?  This is the recipe that made my decision to launch What I Ate For Dinner.  After telling friends and family what I cooked,  I kept getting requests like, “Oh, that sounds good, can you email me the recipe?”  Ya, I could…but after a while I spent a decent amount of time sending emails or writing it down for people.  I love my family and friends and all, but it seemed like a waste of time repeating myself.

So humor aside for once, I want to really thank everyone who has read, commented and just somewhat paid random attention to my culinary quips, savory stories and recipes.  Special thanks go to Dave and my kids, who have put up with me putting dinner on pause some nights, because I had to get a good picture of what we were about to eat.  It does make me giggle when I cook something and one of the kids ask, “Is this going to go in your blog?”

I wasn’t quite sure how this little blog would turn out and hopefully my passion for food and cooking have translated into not only a creative outlet for me, but provided you with some good eats along the way.

So I will stop blathering on and give you a really great recipe that I make for Cherry Tomato Pesto.  This is perfect if you have  a million cherry tomatoes you don’t know what to do with.  I use this rich sauce mainly on ravioli.  It also makes a yummy app when you pour some into a baking dish and add some goat cheese and heat till bubbly.  Smear some of it on a sliced french bread pieces and oh, yum.  And one of the best parts is that you can freeze it to enjoy all year ’round. 

Cherry Tomato Pesto

Makes roughly 1 1/2 – 2 Cups

Take two pounds or so of cherry tomatoes and halve them and put them in a 9 x 12 pyrex baking dish. Add 6 cloves of crushed garlic, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1/2 cup olive oil and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons fresh thyme. Bake uncovered in a 250 degree oven for 2 1/2 – 3 hours or until edges are a little charred, stirring every now and then. Cool.

Take the tomato mixture and add it to a food processor and add:
– 1/4 cup pine nuts
– 1/4 cup fresh basil

Blend and add more olive oil to you liking of the consistency. You can use roma tomatoes for this as well, just cut to a smaller size.

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I found my thrill…in a Blueberry Coffee Cake

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Why is it when you take a vacation, you come home with less motivation than before the trip?  After having back to back vacations, I started the week with noble attempts in getting projects done,  but now mid-week I am zapped.   Vacation life was incredible…we were in  Napa (the town of Yountville) and I couldn’t have been more relaxed.  The biggest stress was deciding what to get from the demoniacal bakery literally next door to our hotel. Now back home I am having a hard time adjusting and can’t decide what to cook for the life of me.  And when I walk next door, I keep asking for fabulous chocolate donuts and coffee. My neighbor is getting madder by the day, insisting that her house is NOT Bouchon Bakery.

So for this week’s post I bring you breakfast…this was a recipe I made for the first of my two vacations…a gal pal trip to Galena.  I made it with farmers market blueberries and it makes a whole 9 x 12 pan of goodness, so there’s plenty to share.

This recipe comes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan With a Vengeance.  You can use dairy in place of the soy items and it works just as well.  However I don’t think I would use anything but real maple syrup (but once you use real, Mrs. Butterworth will seem like a cheap whore to you…trust me).

Blueberry Coffee Cake

For the Topping:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped walnuts

For the Cake:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup canola oil
1 (6-ounce) container vanilla soy yogurt
1 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups plain soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease or spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the topping:

Sift together the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Drizzle in the oil a little at a time and mix with your fingertips until crumbs form. Add the walnuts and mix.

Make the cake:

Sift together the dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the wet ingredients until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in the blueberries. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle the topping over it. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Tastes great still warm.

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Fat Tuesday Warm Up: Beignets

February 14, 2010 Leave a comment

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and the upcoming Fat Tuesday celebration, my loving husband made beignets for breakfast today. If you have never had a beignet before you are really missing out on a cultural opportunity. They are like the chic, uptown cousin of the county fair queen funnel cake. Imagine square pillows of airy, puffy, layered dough topped with feather-light satiny sugar dusted from above. It is like the angels themselves are rubbing their wings together and down falls the powdered sugar. Truly a taste of heaven, and yes, they are THAT good. Cafe du Monde  in New Orleans gained notoriety thought their beignets and café au lait. They may offer other things on their menu, but I would never know it, since that is all I have ever consumed, or inhaled to be more accurate.

Dave in action...yes we did put tin foil on the rest of the stove to prevent the oil from getting everywhere - works great.

I will be honest, they do take a bit of work to make. In fact, you need to make the dough the night before. But it will be worth it, trust me. For the recipe below, Dave normally makes the entire recipe of dough but only uses half of it and freezes the other half. The dough freezes pretty darn well and makes a super easy breakfast, especially for those mornings when you feel the effects of a rough night on Bourbon Street.

Beignets
Makes about 4-5 dozen beignets

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup undiluted canned evaporated milk
7 cups flour
1/4 vegetable shortening
oil for deep-frying
confectioner’s sugar

Put the warm water in a large bowl, add the dry yeast and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Add the sugar, salt, eggs and evaporated milk. Slowly stir in 4 cups of flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and well combined. Beat in the shortening then add the remaining flour, about 1/3 cup at a time. Stir until it becomes too stiff to do so and then work the dough with your fingers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

On a clean, floured surface roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8-inch. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into rectangles measuring 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or large pot  to 360 degrees.

Fry 3 or 4 beignets at a time until they are puffed and golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Using tongs, turn them over once or twice so that they are evenly browned. Drain each batch on a wire cooling rack. Place them on a platter covered with paper towels and put the platter in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining beignets.

Using a flour sifter or fine mesh colander, cover the beignets with plenty powdered sugar and serve hot with coffee.

Fast, Easy and Tasty Christmas Morning Breakfasts

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Okay, it’s not for dinner, but with the holidays here, I am jonesin’ for a breakfast dish that we have been serving in our house for over five years.  Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast is rich and divine and best of all, can be made the night before.  I thought that alone deserved its own post.  I only make this for Christmas day morning, so it’s a real special treat in our household. 

However, since this is the time for giving, so I will be posting not one, but  two, great breakfast recipes for relaxing holiday mornings.   Thank you for reading and I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy new year!

Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast    (by White Lace Inn)
serves 8

1 loaf white bread (no crusts)
1/2 loaf french bread
6 oz. fresh or frozen blueberries
8 oz  cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
7 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup half & half
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Cut bread into cubes and place into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Sprinkle blueberries evenly over bread.  Microwave cream cheese in bowl for 2 minutes.  Stir carefully and add 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Spread over blueberries.  Cut french bread into ten-1″ thick slices, and place over cream cheese.  Beat eggs, milk, half & half, cinnamon and nutmeg and pour over bread.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bake a 350 degrees for 45 minutes covered, then uncovered for around 15 minutes.  Let set before slicing then sift powdered sugar over before serving.

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble Topping    (by BakeSale Betty)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 medium)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x3-inch metal baking pan. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk next 5 ingredients in large bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients; stir to blend. Transfer batter to pan. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and brown sugar; sprinkle over batter.

Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool bread in pan 30 minutes. Turn pan on its side; slide out bread, being careful not to dislodge topping. Turn bread right side up and cool completely.

 

Pumpkin Oatmeal to Pecan Beer…What I DIDN’T have for dinner

October 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Usually my blogs entries have been about dinner, and that’s fine and all.   But today I had an autumnal overflow of food beside dinner, so I thought it was worthy of a post.  I started the rainy morning with a variation of a recipe for pumpkin oatmeal.  I will NOT share a photo of this meal, mainly because it looks like something my dog would generously share with me after some bad kibble.  Esthetics aside, it was a great breakfast with some freshly brewed coffee.  While eating the oatmeal, pumpkiny goodness was still on your taste buds while sipping the coffee…taste combo was insane. 

This recipe serves 2
Pumpkin Oatmeal
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup milk or soy milk
1 cup water
1 cup rolled oats (not instant, old fashioned is good)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or use 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4  tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/8tsp nutmeg)
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs pecan or walnuts (optional)

In a medium saucepan, heat water, milk and oats to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Add pumpkin, spice(s) and brown sugar.  Top with nuts.  **For those with a crazy-ass pantry like mine, I like to cut the brown sugar to 1 1/2 Tbs and use the extra 1/2 Tbs with Turbinado sugar, for a little sumpthin, sumpthin.

pecan_abitaAfter that breakfast, the appeal of going to the gym to work out lost its luster.  I had a very busy day ahead, so I figured gym and I will cross paths again another day.   For dinner, going out and having someone else cook and clean sounded pretty good to me, so we went to a local, family owned place called Barley House.  Dave and I enjoy a good brew, and they have a ton on tap.  If you have read my previous posts, you understand my love of Abita beer.  I found they have a new seasonal out…Pecan Harvest Ale.  Wow.  All I have to say is wow.  For those of you who need a comparison, I found it similar to Bass, but with a little pecan flavor.  Truly the taste of fall was in my pint.  Perfect bookends to a wonderful autumn day.