Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

Today's recipe comes from Skinnytaste.com.  I modified this recipe from the website for just one person, me.  My husband is not a breakfast person and I didn't want to end up with four servings.  Overall, the recipe came out pretty great, and you can add more flavor to it if you'd like, such as almond butter.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or apple pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond extract)
  • 2 tablespoons apple sauce (and 1 tablespoon almond butter)
Add water, quinoa, cinnamon and extract to a small pot, and wait for water to bowl.  Low heat and keep lid on until all the water has evaporated, usually 10 to 15 minutes.
Put the quinoa in a bowl and add the applesauce and stir.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Once again, I apologize for not updating my blog more often, but the semester is almost over and I will soon have more posts up.  I have many I want to post, but I just haven't had the time, I'm making the time now because this one is just too good to wait.  I usually bake my Pumpkin Pound Cake for my aunt's annual Thanksgiving dinner, but this year I wanted to be different.  I decided I wanted to bake a cheesecake, I got the idea from out of all places, The Cheesecake Factory.  I know every year in the fall they have a pumpkin cheesecake on their menu, so I went onto epicurious.com and found a few recipes there.  I decided to use Bon Appetit's October 2002 recipe.  It came out great, and it was a real hit at Thanksgiving. 

You will need a springform pan and a roasting pan.  Make sure the springform pan is at least 9", the recipe calls for a 10" one, but I used a 9" and it just fit all the ingredients. 

For the crust you'll need:
  • 9 whole graham crackers (about 4 ounces), broken
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
For the filling you'll need:
  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2  cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
First position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Wrap double layer of heavy duty foil around outside of springform pan.  Combine graham crackers, sugar, and cinnamon in processor, blend until graham crackers are very finely ground.
Drizzle butter over.  Using on/off turns, blend until crumbs begin to stick together.  Press crumbs onto bottom (not sides) of springform pan.
Bake until crust is slightly golden, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to rack and cool while preparing filling.  Maintain oven temperature.

Now, onto the filling.  Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time.
Add pumpkin and remaining 7 ingredients.  Beat just until blended.
Pour filling into prepared crust.  Place springform pan in a large roasting pan.  Add enough water to come halfway up sides of springform pan.
Bake cheesecake until slightly puffed and softly set and top in golden, about 1 1/2 hours.  Transform springform pan to rack and cool.  Cover and refrigerate cake overnight.
Using a knife, cut around sides of pan to loosen cake.  Release pan sides.  Cut and serve, and enjoy!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Vanilla Ice Cream

Oh my goodness! It's been a very long time since I last updated.  School and work have taken over my life, and unfortunately that means I haven't been roller skating or (ever worse) cooking and baking as much as I would like.  However, between my last post and now I have a few things to blog about.  Today's is an ice cream recipe.  I've had my ice cream maker for a while now and haven't used it as much as I would have liked.  So I fixed that!  I made two or three batches of plain vanilla ice cream.  Yes, I know vanilla can be boring, but it's so much better homemade than buying it at your local supermarket.  The recipe comes from my How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. He had a lot of use this or use this in the recipe, so I'll have what I did use in bold. 

This recipe makes about 1 quart.  Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups half-and-half, milk, or a combination
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 egg yolks or 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup cream or more milk or half and half
If you are using a vanilla bean, split it in half and scrape out the seeds;  combine them with the half-and-half and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until steam rises from the half-and-half, 3 to 5 minutes;  remove from heat.
Meanwhile, beat the yolks and the remaining sugar together until thick and slightly lightened in color (you can do this with a whisk or an electric mixer).  If you're using cornstarch, mix it with 2 tablespoons or so cold water or milk to make a slurry.

If you're using eggs, stir about 1/2 cup of the heated half-and-half into the yolk mixture and beat; then stir the warmed egg mixture back into the heated half-and-half and return it to the pan.  For the cornstarch version, whisk slurry into the heated half-and-half along with the remaining sugar.  For both the egg and cornstarch mixtures, heat, stirring constantly, until thick.  The mixture is ready when it thickly coats the back of the spoon and a line can be drawn through the mixture and stays intact.  This should take 3 to 5 minutes.  If you're using cornstarch, strain the mixture before proceeding if you think there might be any lumps.

Cool completely, then stir in the cream and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.
Once finished, the ice cream will not all be hardened.  Some of it will be soft and melt-y, and you will need to freeze it in the freezer for a couple of hours before serving.  However, if you like your ice cream very soft and liquidity, then eat right away.
Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!  I made my own whipped cream with the remaining cream I had left over from the ice cream. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lemon Pound Cake from Penzeys

I know it looks awful because it fell apart on the way out of the bundt pan, but it tasted delicious.  The recipe is from another Penzeys Catalog, and I've had this recipe on my fridge all summer, but only got to it a couple of weekends ago.  I baked it for my friends' housewarming party, and everybody ignored how it looked and thought it was quite tasty.

Here's what you'll need for the cake:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely grated lemon peel, or 2 teaspoons of Penzeys' Minced Lemon Peel covered in 2 tablespoons warm water for 5 minutes (I used Penzeys)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Here's what you'll need for the glaze:
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
First, move your oven racks around so you have one in the middle.  Next, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour a 2 quart plain or fluted tube pan and set aside.  
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt (if using) in a medium bowl and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar and lemon peel at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
 Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and beat well.  
In 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, add the flour alternately with milk and lemon juice and beat just until combined.  Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched and/or a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes.  Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes and then remove from pan (ever so carefully!) onto a rack to cool completely.

To prepare the glaze, stir the powdered sugar into the lemon juice and keep stirring until smooth and thick.  When the cake is completely cool, set the rack over a baking sheet or waxed paper.  Drizzle the glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Annie's Granola with Coconut from Penzeys

Today is another Penzeys recipe and it was submitted by a woman named Ann W.  I've never made my own granola before and honestly never really knew what was in it.  I knew some things were in it, but not how it's made or how it gets stuck together.  This recipe was a little time consuming but the end result was delicious.  Ann W. suggests sprinkling it on some vanilla yogurt with some fresh in-season fruit or dried fruit.  As you can see, I topped my Greek yogurt with it.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 3/4 cup safflower or olive oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup pure honey
  • 2 teaspoons of Penzeys Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (don't worry if you only have one, you can use it in place of the other)
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (I used shredded coconut, and if you use sweetened coconut cut the honey by 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashew halves (I think I used walnuts in place of the cashews since I didn't have any cashews lying around)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil and honey and mix well.
Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and mix thoroughly.  Add the oats, coconut, and nuts and mix on the lowest setting of your mixer or by hand until combined.

Spread the mixture onto a jellyroll pan or an 11"x17" baking pan with sides (or use 2 smaller pans).
Bake for 10 minutes then stir, especially getting the mixture in the corners.  Continue to bake, stirring every 10-15 minutes so as not to burn.  Remove from oven after 40-45 minutes so the mixture is browned but not burned.  Cool completely in the pan, about 1 hour.  Keep in an airtight container.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

St. James Coffee Cake from Penzeys

I made this coffee cake Labor Day weekend to bring to my aunt's house, who was hosting a small get together at the Jersey shore.  It's from a Penzeys catalog, so you know it's going to be good.  :)

Here's what you'll need:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Penzeys Cinnamon (best cinnamon ever!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup raisins (or currants)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, I believe I used hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and spices.  Cut or rub in the butter until the mixture resembles corn meal.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture.  In a second bowl, combine buttermilk and baking soda.  Pour this into the remaining crumb mixture in halves, beating thoroughly after each addition.
Stir in the raisins and nuts.  Spread the batter into a greased and floured 9"x13" pan.  Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour until brown and springy when touched or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Healthy Smoothies and Salad

Hey all!  So classes started right after Labor Day and since I'm a full time student I've been doing a lot of homework and studying and less baking. :-( I also just recently started a part time job, so my social life and personal time will be extremely limited.  I'll bake and cook whenever I can find the time, and I will find time because this is the best season for baking!  Pumpkins, apples, and holidays galore!

So for this post, I have three smoothies to share and my go-to salad recipe.  The next few posts will be baking because I did manage to get some time in a few weeks ago.  So expect to see a granola recipe, a coffee cake, and pound cake.  :-)

The first smoothie is a berry one, here's what you'll need:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 container of Fage fat-Free Greek Yogurt, or 3/4 cup of your favorite yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh berries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 packet of Stevia in the Raw
Blend until smooth.
The second smoothie is a green smoothie, here's what you'll need:
  • 1 cup milk, I used non-sweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)
Blend until smooth.
And lastly, another green smoothie, you'll need:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1/2-1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
Blend until smooth.

For the salad, I got the idea from those Eat This Not That! books as well as a local restaurant's menu. You will need:
  • Spinach or Romaine lettuce 
  • Strips of cooked chicken
  • 1 apple cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cheese, feta or goat works well