Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

A while ago our mother brought home a couple of bags of Sahale Snacks for us to try. I believe she brought the Maple Pecan Glazed Mix and the Cranberries, Black Pepper, and Orange Zest Mix. 

I was going to just eat them all on their own. They are ridiculously tasty. But then I had the idea to give them a quick chop and throw them in some cookies. 
*cue angels singing*
Oh. My. Gosh.
These may be the best oatmeal cookies on the planet. 
I ended up making both snack bags into cookies because I couldn't stop eating them. 
FYI - if you can't find the Sahale Snacks anywhere just substitute 1 cup of candied pecans plus 1/2 cup craisins or raisins for a similar taste experience. 

Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp molasses
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cornstarch
1 bag Sahale Snacks (any flavor), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, scraping down sides as needed. Beat in the egg and molasses until well combined. 
Add in the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and cornstarch and beat briefly, until dough comes together. 

Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop cookie dough onto prepared cookies sheet, leaving cookies about 2 inches apart.

Using the palm of your hand, flatten the cookies out a little. 
Bake at 350 until cookies are a light golden brown on top, about 15 - 20 minutes. (Do not over bake or cookies will be crispy and not soft/chewy). 
Remove from oven and let cool on tray for 5 minutes.

Then remove to wire rack to cool completely. 

Using a 1/3 cup measure, you should get 1 dozen cookies. You can make them smaller of course, but why on earth would you want to do that? 
Store in a Ziplock on the counter OR you can freeze them for later. They freeze very well. 
All those crunchy nuts and chewy raisins and craisins make for a good combination of textures in this cookie. You'll want to write this recipe down, or at least Pin It to a favorite Pinterest board. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Plum Coconut Crisp

Sue shared a recipe for plum crisp and plum cobbler (link HERE) but I really feel like my Plum Coconut Crisp deserves its own post. 
Adding some crunchy coconut to all those sweet and squishy plums is a fantastic idea. 
I've been waiting all summer for fall to come just so I could make this crisp. True story. 
It uses a good amount of plums too so is great when your friends bring over boxes and boxes of plums and you need to use them up before the fruit flies completely overrun your kitchen. 
From start to finish in about an hour. 
Make one tonight... or make two - they freeze well too! Simply cook, cool, cover and freeze. When ready to eat - pop, frozen, into a 350 oven until heated through - about 40 minutes or so. 

Plum Coconut Crisp

Plum Layer
4 cups diced plums
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Crumble Topping
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 10 inch pan with cooking spray, set aside. 
In a bowl, mix together plums, flour, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Spread in prepared pan. 

In the same bowl you just mixed the fruit in, mix the coconut, flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and butter. Stir with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over plums in pan.

Place on a cookie sheet or pizza pan to catch drips. 
Cook in 350 oven until bubbly and browned on top, about 40 or so minutes. 

*Boom* Done. Just like that.
Serve warm or room temp. 

Of course, adding some vanilla ice cream is always a brilliant idea. 

Soooooooo tasty. 
I'm just going to crawl right into the bowl. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Pear And Mincemeat Crumble Cake

Sometimes you just have to give crazy ideas a try. Crazy ideas like....say... a vanilla cake with pear and mincemeat. I mean.... who puts mincemeat in a cake? Tarts, sure. Pie, yeah, of course. But cake? I don't know. Seems a little sketchy. 
Here's the thing. It's not sketchy. At all. It's brilliant. 
I'm the last one to line up when someone says "mincemeat" is the treat. Um...mincemeat is not really a treat. It's something we eat because it's Christmas time. That's it. 
But, put a few spoonfuls in a cake and *voila* NOW its a treat. 
A tasty, tasty pear cake with just enough spicy mincemeat to make things interesting. 
Sign me up. 

Pear And Mincemeat Crumble Cake

Pear Filling
5 medium pears, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 cup butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
pinch salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
1/2 cup mincemeat

1/3 cup cake batter (reserved from above)
1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 325 (yes, 325, not 350). Lightly spray a 12 inch tart pan with cooking spray, set aside. 
Prepare pears - place pears and sugar and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, until just tender, stirring every so often. Once it is cooked there shouldn't be any juices - if there are then simply drain them from the pan. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Set aside to cool. 
Prepare cake - In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. 
Add in the flour, salt, and baking powder. Beat until no flour streaks remain.
Fold in the almond flour with a spatula. 
Prepare crumble - Remove 1/3 of a cup of the batter to another bowl. Using a fork, blend in the 1/2 cup of flour until mixture resembles crumbs. 

Assemble cake - Spoon half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Spoon half of the pear filling over the cake, then spoon half of the mincemeat over that. 

Repeat the layers again - batter, pears, mincemeat. 

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the cake.

Bake in prepared oven for about an hour - can take up to an hour and 10 minutes. A toothpick inserted near the center should come out clean and top should be golden brown. 

Remove from heat to a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then remove the tart pan and let cool completely. 

Can be served warm, room temp, or chilled. 

A couple of notes. You can bake this in a 9 inch springform pan if you want a higher, denser cake. You will just have to watch your cooking time: it will be about an hour and a half and you will want to cover with tinfoil at the one hour mark to prevent it from getting too dark on top. 
I have baked it in a 10 inch tart pan and it works very well too. You just have to place it on a pizza pan to catch spillover. (It rises up very well and in a 10 inch pan you will have spillover!) I simply cut the spillover off with a serrated knife while it was cooling on the wire rack and it was perfectly fine!
**Pears + Mincemeat = Perfect Fall Dessert**

Be sure to visit Carole's Chatter! We're sharing at her link party.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sushi In A Jar

Sushi in a jar, deconstructed sushi, sushi bowls, sushi salad. 
Call it what you like.... it's delicious. 
Also.... other than making the rice, these beautiful little treats only take a few minutes to whip up AND they last for 3 or 4 days in the fridge. I love making them to take to work with me. 
I mixed half sushi rice and half brown rice - but you can choose one or the other if you prefer. You can also easily customize the ingredients to suit your preferences. 
There really is no downside to making these. 
What are you waiting for?

Sushi In A Jar

1 cup cooked sushi rice
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
4 - 8 Tbsp soy sauce
1 lb cooked prawns, halved
1 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
1 cup diced cucumbers
1 cup matchstick carrots
1 sheet Nori, sliced

sesame seeds

Cook sushi/brown rice according to package directions. When finished cooking, add both rice to a large bowl, stir in the rice wine vinegar and sugar until well mixed. Set aside to cool. (Rice can be made in advance and kept in fridge until ready to use.)
Assemble sushi in jars: Place 1 Tbsp of soy sauce (or up to 2 depending on personal preference) in the bottom of 4 jars. (Jars should hold about 2 cups)
Place a quarter of the prawns in each jar. 
Then top with 1/4 of the purple cabbage, then the cucumber, then the carrots. 

Press down a little in the jar. 
Top with 1/2 cup of the rice.
Then sprinkle with 1/4 of the Nori sheet and top with some sesame seeds. 

Admire how pretty they are...

Now you can cover and refrigerate for up to 3 or 4 days (I found on day 4 they were starting to get a little gummy but still edible.) Or you can eat immediately. 
Simply dump the jar into a bowl, top with some sriracha (if desired) and enjoy.

You can also top with a little more sesame seeds and Nori if you like. Totally optional. I found 1 Tbsp of soy sauce was good for me but when I made them for the girls at work I used 2 Tbsp of soy sauce because I know they prefer more. 
According to MyFitnessPal one serving (recipe makes 4) is:  292 calories, 26 protein, 45 carbs, 4 fiber, 2 fat. 
Some optional ingredients: crab or imitation crab, avocado, seaweed salad, zucchini, radish. Copy your favorite sushi into a "in a jar" treat. You won't regret it. 
Like things a little spicier?? Add a bit of wasabi paste to your soy sauce and give it a stir before putting it in the jar. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Cantaloupe Fruit Salad

Our local U-pick farm had the most amazing melons this year. (Thank you Old Airport Gardens) We must have gone a hundred times to pick up more. Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon (yellow, orange, and red). 
The cantaloupe though. 
Oh my. So juicy and sweet. I totally became a cantaloupe addict this summer. 
I decided to make the cantaloupe the centerpiece of this lovely fruit salad to celebrate its deliciousness. This is still a super easy fruit salad recipe to whip up, it just looks a little fancier served on a serving plate. Don't want to get all fancy? It's okay... you can just put all the ingredients in a bowl instead. 

Cantaloupe Fruit Salad
(Slightly adapted from Alive Magazine, Issue 418, Aug 2017)

Orange syrup
1 Tbsp honey
juice of 1/2 an orange (about 1/4 cup)

1 cantaloupe
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup blackberries
1 banana, sliced
2 strawberries, sliced
pinch salt

1/4 cup vanilla flavored, 0 fat Greek yogurt 
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring honey and orange juice to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp (can be placed in freezer to speed process while you continue making salad). 

Slice cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds. 

Cut into thin slices and remove the rind from each slice. Place equally on 2 serving serving plates.
Spoon the orange syrup equally over the melon on both plates. 

Top each of the plates with 1/2 of the pineapple chunks, blackberries, and banana. Place the sliced strawberry at the front of the salad for decoration (or you can also place the slices over the melon). 
Drizzle each salad with yogurt and then sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Serve immediately. 

So pretty. And tasty. And a fruit salad that is a little different than the usual. The orange and honey syrup adds a lot of flavor to the dish so don't leave it out. If you don't have vanilla yogurt you can use plain yogurt - simply add a 1/4 tsp of vanilla to the yogurt before drizzling. 

Be sure to visit Carole's Chatter for more fun foody links!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

One Pot Stuffed Pepper Dinner

We loved stuffed peppers around our house. We eat a lot of them and are always on the lookout for new ways to make them. We've made Stuffed Pepper Soup (Link HERE), Omelet Stuffed Peppers (Link HERE), Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (Link HERE), and Indian Inspired Stuffed Peppers (Link HERE) which happen to be vegan. 
Today we are sharing our recipe for a quick and easy, one pot version of stuffed peppers that should please even the pickiest of eaters. It is hearty, tasty, filling, healthy, and, as a plus, is pretty too. You can sub out the lean ground beef for ground turkey to cut a few more calories without losing too much flavor. 
From start to finish in about 30 - 45 minutes, which makes it perfect for those days you don't have a lot of energy but still want a lovely dinner! 

One Pot Stuffed Pepper Dinner

 lb lean ground beef
3 green peppers, chopped (about 3 or so cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a medium onion, diced
2 cans (14 oz each) diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded 
1 cup uncooked, instant rice (minute rice)

Parmesan cheese, shredded

Prep your ingredients.

In a large pot, cook and crumble the ground beef, green peppers, garlic, and onion over medium heat until the beef is browned and peppers are tender. 
Stir in tomatoes, water, tomato paste, and 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese.

Bring to a boil. Stir in the instant rice (minute rice). Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes (stirring at the 5 minute mark). 
If desired, sprinkle with a little more shredded Parmesan. 

Serve hot. 
This make 5 very generous servings. According to MyFitnessPal the nutritional counts are (per servings/recipe makes 5 servings): 332 calories, 8 fat, 41 carbs, 4 fiber, 24 protein. 
A one pot, 30 minute meal that should please the whole family. I'd call that a win! 

We're sharing over at Carole's Chatter. Stop by and say hi! 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Old Fashioned Peach Pie

If I had to pick one fruit as a favorite in a pie, it would have to be peaches. And peach crumble......don't even get me started...... soooooo good. We have made a few variations of Peach Pies: Our Bourbon Peach Pie with Bacon Streusel is always a good choice (See HERE for link), or for something even more different, our Peach Cream Pie is a brilliant choice (See HERE for link), or even some adorable Individual Peach Pies make for an impressive dessert (See HERE for link). 
But sometimes what you want is a good, old fashioned, peach pie. Our never fail pie crust is a great crust to use for this pie but feel free to use your own recipe if you prefer. This makes a giant 10 inch, deep dish pie as well so is perfect for a bigger dinner party. 

Pair it with a little Peach Ice Cream (See recipe HERE) and *voila* best dessert in the universe. 

Old Fashioned Peach Pie


1 egg, beaten
7 cups sliced peaches
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 400. 
Roll out half of the pie crust to fit the bottom of a 10 inch, deep dish pie pan. Brush the bottom of the shell with some of the beaten egg. Set aside. 

Peel and slice your peaches into a large bowl.

Drizzle with the lemon juice and then add in the flour, cornstarch, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. 

Toss gently until well combined. Pour into the prepared pie shell. Dot the top of the pie with the butter. Set aside. 

Roll out the other half of the dough. You can either place on top whole OR cut into strips to make a lattice crust. Pinch the edges to seal the crusts together. If you did a solid crust then cut slits for venting. Brush the crust with the rest of the beaten egg. Sprinkle with a spoonful of sugar. 

Place in a 400 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes. (NOTE - Place a cookie sheet under the pie to catch drips!!) Turn heat down to 350 and cook until crust is golden brown and peaches are tender and filling is bubbly - about 45 - 60 minutes. If your edges are getting too dark then cover with a pie shield or strips of tinfoil. 
Remove from heat and let cool on wire rack. 
Let pie cool completely before cutting so it can set, at least 3 hours. 

Slice and serve!

Or, even better, pile on some ice cream!

This is best served the day it is made but will last a day in the fridge without going too soggy. You can also cook it and then freeze it, and then when you want to eat it simply put it, frozen, into a 350 oven for about 40 minutes - until thawed and warmed through. 
Nothing beats an old fashioned pie as a comfort food, am I right? 

Want to see some more fun foodie links? Stop by Carole's Chatter