Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

I love Halloween. For me it is the beginning of the Holiday season. I am that girl who thinks it is completely acceptable to start listening to Christmas music starting November 1st.

I also love giving candy out to all of the trick-or-treaters and seeing the different costumes. I don't know who is more excited, me or Emma?

Happy Halloween! I hope everyone has a safe and fun night tonight.

Can you tell what our costume was this year?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Scones with a Spice Glaze

A couple of weeks ago while we were visiting the farmers market in Boone, Jason and I picked up a Pumpkin Scone to share while looking around. Since then, I have been wanting to create a healthier version at home and this morning I finally got around to doing so. It is really cold and windy here in Charlotte and I couldn't think of anything better than sitting down with a cup of coffee and smelling  cinnamon and pumpkin baking in the oven. 
Of course you could choose to leave the icing off these scones but I don't recommend it. You don't have to use more than a tablespoon and it really adds so much flavor with the perfect touch of sweetness.
Pumpkin Scones with a Spice Glaze
- 3/4 Cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 Cup All-Purpose flour
- 1/4 Cup sugar
- 1 Teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 Teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons butter (cold)
- 1/3 Cup canned pumpkin
- 1/3 Cup Greek yogurt
Spiced Glaze
- 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon of any milk (I used almond milk)
- 1/4 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Mix together the dry ingredients in a mixer bowl. (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon)
- Add in butter, pumpkin and yogurt mixing as you go.
- Remove dough from the mixer and form into a large rectangle about 3/4" thick. Using a knife or pizza cutter cut into 6 segments all the way through the dough.
- Bake on 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes.
- Once the scones have cooled top with the glaze.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Homemade Granola

I will never again buy store bought granola. Not only is the recipe super delicious but it's so easy to make and will last several weeks if stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Several months ago I read White Jacket Required which is written by the author of the blog Eat, Live, Run. It's a great book about her life after college and culinary journey. One of my favorite things about this book is the recipes that Jenna includes at the end of each chapter. While reading the book I began to dog ear different recipes that I wanted to try and this granola was one of them. I used her recipe as a guide but I chose to add dried fruit in place of some of the nuts and I only used 3/4 up of maple syrup instead of the full cup.

This granola is the perfect topping to a bowl of Greek yogurt or simply eaten by itself as a healthy snack.

Homemade Granola

- 3/4 cup of light maple syrup or honey
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- sprinkle of sea salt

- In a saucepan combine the syrup(or honey) and coconut oil and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, dried cherries, dried cranberries, cinnamon and sea salt. Pour in the hot syrup and stir well to coat.
- Spread granola mixture on a greased baking sheet and bake on 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

 - Store the granola in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Baked Penne with Turkey Sausage

This is a recipe that my mom and I came across several years ago while watching the Food Network and it has remained a staple in both of our homes since then. It is the prefect meal to make if you are feeding a crowd because it makes so much. I had a serious craving for this last weekend and knowing it was just going to be the two of us, I decided to split the recipe among two dishes and freeze half. We still had enough for leftovers from the portion we baked. I have made a few changes from the original recipe by using whole wheat noodles and reducing the amount of cheese in order to make it a bit more healthy. Here is a healthier version of one of my favorite winter dishes.
Baked Penne with Turkey Sausage
 Recipe adapted from Robin Miller
- 1 lb. whole wheat Penne noodles
- 1 lb. Italian turkey sausage
- 2- 28oz. cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1 15oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese- reduced fat, reserve 1 cup for topping
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain noodles and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook sausage in a hot skillet over medium heat until golden brown on all sides. Add tomatoes ans rosemary and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, mozzaerlla cheese and garlic powder and mix well.
- Spoon half of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish. Top with half of the cooked ziti. Top with half of the cheese mixture. Top with tomato sauce. Repeat layers (remaining ziti and remaining cheese mixture). Top with the remaining tomato sauce.
- Sprinkle remanining mozzarella and parmesan cheese over top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here is a treat that you don't have to feel guilty about having around the house. These cookies have the perfect amount of sweetness and because of the pumpkin they are incredibly moist. My parents stopped by this week for a quick visit and my dad snagged one on his way out. I knew then they were blog worthy when he commented on how good they were. Little did he know that he was eating a cookie with whole wheat flour and applesauce. SurpriseDad!

These cookies will last 3-4 days in an air tight container at room temperature.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 15oz. can pumpkin
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup chocolate chips

- In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda together.
- Add in the pumpkin, applesauce, egg, and vanilla with the dry ingredients and mix well
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Spoon heaping tablespoons of the dough on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 3" apart. Bake on 350 for 15 minutes

Monday, October 15, 2012

Whole-Wheat Cornbread

This sweet cornbread is the prefect accompaniment to a hot bowl of soup or chili. The key to making perfect cornbread is to use a cast iron skillet in order to get a crispy crust while the inside remains soft and moist.You can add other ingredients into this recipe such as corn, cheddar cheese, or green chilies.

Whole-Wheat Cornbread
Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine Jan/Feb 2012

-3/4 cup Cornmeal
-3/4 cup Whole-wheat flour
-3/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 3/4 cups buttermilk
-2 eggs
-1 tablespoon melted butter
-2 tablespoons honey

- Preheat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in a 425 degree oven.
-Whisk cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
- Separately, whisk buttermilk, eggs, butter and honey.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Coat the hot cast-iron skillet with cooking spray and add the batter.
- Bake until golden, 18-20 minutes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend Recap

Our good friends and next door neighbors invited us to spend the weekend with them at their mountain house. Jason and I left Friday after work and arrived just in time to roast s'mores outside and enjoy the cool crisp fall mountain air. We woke up early Saturday morning to head into Boone to go to the farmers market and pick up some breakfast before heading out on a late morning hike. It was peak weekend in the mountains (which means that the most vibrant fall foliage occurs) so I knew our hike on the trail would be beautiful.

Price Park was the halfway point on our five mile hike so we stopped to have a picnic lunch. Before leaving for the mountains I made these energy bites that I had pinned on pinterest and took them along on our hike to enjoy with our sandwiches. They were easy to put together and I was told by my husband that we needed to start keeping them around at home for a quick and healthy snack or dessert.

Once we were back from hiking the men went fly fishing while Jennifer and I relaxed at the house in front of the fire. We spent the afternoon talking, napping, reading and snacking on cheese and crackers before heading into Blowing Rock for dinner at Crippen's.

It was the perfect fall weekend spent with wonderful friends.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Roasted Chicken

I have very little no experience roasting a whole chicken because it has always seemed like a very difficult process and I have found it much easier to simply buy the cut of meat that I want (breast, thigh, etc.). You hear people all the time claiming that it is so simple and when you see the finished product it always looks like an amazing piece of meat that you want to cut into right then and there. Since whole chickens were on sale at our local grocery store last week I decided I was going to give it a shot. I remembered seeing an episode on the Food Network where Ina Garten was roasting a chicken that she called Engagement Roast Chicken.  She claimed it was simple, easy and delicious (supposedly women who make this for their boyfriends will get engaged shortly after) so I figured this would be a good recipe to start with. I did not do a good job of reading through the recipe before going to the grocery store so I did not have the ingredients on hand to make the sauce. The chicken was so tender and juicy it was still delicious but I can imagine the sauce would add even more to this recipe. Note to self, read directions completely before beginning a task. Since I still have lots of rosemary growing I added that inside with the lemon and garlic.

What I learned about roasting a whole chicken:
1. It IS simple to do. It takes a while to cook in the oven but all you have to do is a little prep work beforehand  and the oven does the rest.
2. It is great for leftovers
3. It is much cheaper to buy a whole chicken
4. It is almost foolproof (that is if you read the whole recipe before beginning). You can roast a chicken so many different ways just by adding different vegetables and spices that you have on hand and that are in season.
I have a feeling I will be buying whole chickens from now on to cook with. If you are like me and the thought of discarding the giblets turns you off just close your eyes and go for it. Truthfully though, it's not that bad :).

Monday, October 1, 2012

What I Am Loving Right Now

Hello October! September flew by but that is fine with me. Bring on the hooded sweatshirts, cool weather, colorful leaves and all other things fall. I love this time of year along with a few other things.

Honeycrisp Apples

I know I have mentioned it before but my favorite apples are Honeycrisp and they have finally arrived. If you love a sweet apple then you will love these. I have been stocking up while they are in season.

The other weekend Jason and I made one of our weekly trips to Home Depot where I was greeted with beautiful mums of all different colors and sizes. To me there is no better way to dress up your front porch or garden then with this beautiful autumn flower.

I have been pinning away all things pumpkin on pinterest and I can't wait to try out some new recipes soon. Here are just a few that I have pinned so far:

Speaking of pumpkin it is time for me to make my pumpkin bread to have on hand in the mornings for breakfast.

This Book
Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

I find Julia Child to be a fascinating woman and even though I have not yet finished this book I am really intrigued by her life story. She was a strong willed and amazing women and this book does an excellent job of portraying that. If you are a fan of her and love a good biography then I highly recommend this book.

This Picture

Jason and I are expecting out first child and we could not be more excited. My due date is April 1st. Now that I am past the first trimester and no longer feel like I want to face plant on the couch every night when I get home I hope to start blogging more frequently again. Hopefully it won't be all comfort food and sweets:)