November 21, 2012

Spiced Caramel Apple Cider

Caramel Apple Cider

November has passed in a flash and here we are, it’s almost Thanksgiving! I’m freaking out about this because I just got back from vacation and I’m having a hard time adjusting to normal life again. We spent half the week in a secluded cabin in the Smokey mountains and the other half in Asheville, NC, which is a pretty little town with lots of wonderful restaurants. I had such a good time that I’m already mentally planning a trip back to the same area next year!

I didn’t mean to take such a long break from posting but between work deadlines and vacation it didn’t leave much time for cooking this month. But thanks to how easy this recipe is, I did have a chance to whip up this delicious drink in my spare time. I wanted to post it before Thanksgiving because it’s easy to make ahead of time and would be an excellent addition to any holiday get-together, particularly if you serve a nice piece of pie along with it.


October 25, 2012

Apple, Pear & Quince Brown Betty

Apple, Pear & Quince Brown Betty

You know that saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Of course you do, everyone does, but I wonder how many people actually eat an apple every day? After eating poorly and—not surprisingly—feeling crappy all summer I’ve been making an effort to get my diet back on track and eating an apple every day was the first thing I decided to do. But not just apples, I’ve been making sure I have at least one fruit or vegetable with every meal. That includes dessert, too, which is where this wonderful Brown Betty comes in.

A Brown Betty is a dessert that’s similar to a crisp but instead of just having the awesome streusel-y part on the top you get several layers of it. Crisps are already one of my favorite desserts so a layered version is even better! Like a crisp, a brown betty is very simple and doesn’t take long to make. I’ve seen lots of variations but generally they consist of fruit and some kind of bread or cookie crumbs. I was inspired by …

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October 17, 2012

Easy Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

I’m so happy that the weather is cooler because now I can finally make my favorite comfort foods again. The list includes:

  1. Chicken and Dumplings
  2. Tortilla Soup
  3. Beef Stew or Roast Beef
  4. Roasted Chicken

Unfortunately, all of those recipes either heat up the kitchen too much or they’re just too hot to eat on a muggy summer day so I haven’t made them in what feels like forever. When I was excitedly making up a new weekly meal plan full of these recipes I realized I hadn’t yet shared one of my very favorite comfort foods: Barbecue Chicken!

Back when I lived in Florida, Brandon and I had a favorite barbecue restaurant nearby that we ate at regularly but when we moved to Charlottesville the nearest good barbecue was a 45 minute drive away. That’s when I started making this recipe so that we could still get our barbecue fix. Barbecue sounds like it could be time-consuming to make and in the past I have tried other recipes that took a lot longer which is why I love this recipe. You …

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October 9, 2012

Apple-Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Yeast Bread

Apple-Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Yeast Bread

It looks like Fall has finally arrived in Tennessee this past week. The temperature has been dropping as the leaves are starting to change and that has me instinctively heading into my kitchen to bake with my favorite ingredients: pumpkin and apples! This recipe is inspired by the apple fritter bread and pumpkin streusel bread that I’ve been obsessively buying from Target for the past couple of months. I’d been wanting to try to make a homemade version of the apple fritter bread but then I realized it would be so much better if the apple fritter bread had pumpkin in it, too!

I started with a pumpkin yeast bread recipe that I really like because it’s quite healthy in addition to being delicious. It’s made with all-purpose flour but also has some whole wheat flour and oats to add whole grain goodness to it. If you’ve baked with pumpkin before you know it’s not hugely flavorful (especially combined with 8 cups of flour!) but it adds natural sweetness and definitely helps keeps the crumb soft and moist. On it’s …

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September 27, 2012

Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake with Dulce De Leche

Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake

I know last week I was all about being healthy, but this week…well, sometimes you just need chocolate! This is my go-to recipe for such times. This is my “It’s Saturday night and I need something sweet and chocolatey or I’m gonna lose it” cake. Since time is of the essence in these situations, this recipe is perfect because it’s so easy. It only takes about 15 minutes to whip up and 30 minutes to bake. Plus there’s none of that “let it cool completely” nonsense. It tastes just as good warm from the oven than it does at room temperature the next day.

A little cinnamon and coffee are added to this chocolate pound cake to give it a nice kick. Since it’s so moist and flavorful on it’s own you don’t really need frosting. That said, if you wanted to slather a slice with some Dulce de Leche, Caramel Sauce or Nutella you would not be wrong. I’ve tried this cake with all three and It. Is. Awesome. Nutella is my usual choice since I can just pull it out …

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September 19, 2012

Caramel & Cinnamon Banana Oat Bars

I don’t know what it is about bananas but I always feel compelled to buy a huge bunch of them despite the fact that most of the time I eat three or four while the rest sit there and rot. But then I wind up standing in front of the bananas again at the grocery store and telling myself that this time I’ll really eat them all. THIS TIME. I’ll eat two a day! I swear! Yeah, right.

But now, I finally have a good excuse for letting those bananas blacken and it’s all thanks to this recipe. I’d been looking for something with oats that was healthy but still, you know, actually tasted good so when I saw a recipe that had oats and used up all my overripe bananas it seemed perfect. But I still wanted it to be healthier so I did some tests. Can I use whole wheat flour? Can I use less butter? Luckily, the answer to both of those was yes. In fact, it turns out you can completely substitute coconut oil for butter and it tastes just as good while giving you lots more health benefits.

September 12, 2012

Cheesy Broccoli and Corn Chowder

Cheesy Broccoli and Corn Chowder

I’ve said here many times that Fall is my favorite season. Summer can never be over fast enough for me. Usually, I’m ready to declare it Fall as of September 1st despite what the actual weather or calendar says. But this year is different. It’s weird. I almost feel like I’m cheating on Fall when I say this, but: I’m not ready for Summer to be over.

It’s not so much that this has been a great summer, in fact it’s been a pretty crappy summer filled with record high temps that chased me back into the safety of my air-conditioned apartment. No, the thing I’m regretting is that I missed out on all of the great produce. Looking back through my archives of last summer, I’m reminded of my Peach Dumplings and Blueberry Donut Muffins and Cantaloupe Pie. Because of the move to Nashville and my blogging hiatus I wasn’t able to cook or bake much at all this summer and I’m sad about that.

September 5, 2012

French Toast Waffles

French Toast Waffles

Has this ever happened to you: you see someone eating something on TV or in the movies and all of sudden you just have a huge craving for what they’re eating? This summer I’ve been rewatching one of my favorite TV shows, Gilmore Girls — Remember? Lauren Graham? Rory? Stars Hallow? The dear, departed WB? — and this has become a major problem for me. If you don’t remember or never watched the show, let me just tell you: those Girls can eat. A lot. But they live in magical TV land where people can eat 20 pounds of junk food a day and not gain weight or have any kind of serious health problems. Sigh. I want to live in that world! Sadly, I don’t so there’s been a lot of watching Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel eating delicious things as my stomach growls grumpily.

But some things you just can’t shake. As I was leafing through a new cookbook these French Toast Waffles jumped right out at me. It’s like the perfect Gilmore Girl breakfast: two of their favorite things (and mine, too, of course) in one! This is …

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