Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Raspberry Almond Brown Sugar Muffins

Wow, this pregnancy was a rough one for me in regards to wanting to do anything in the kitchen.  Just the mere thought of doing any sort of cooking or baking made my stomach turn.  I would do it because well, my family had to eat.  But it wasn't the wonderful, enjoyable hobby that I have had my whole life.  And unfortunately for that my blog posts suffered as well.  I am sorry and hope that you will all welcome me back with open arms! 
Now that our sweet Aaron is here, my aversion to all things "kitchen" are finally gone!  Halleluiah!  Last week as a part of International Babywearing Week we went to Rosby's Berry Farm and picked the most beautiful raspberry's!  
The harvest was bountiful and the berries sugary sweet.  I picked three quarts of them!   So today I celebrate with Raspberry Almond Brown Sugar Muffins.   These muffins are so amazing.  Seriously, they have the best of everything- sweet-tart raspberries and the crunch of the almonds and brown sugar topping make for the most perfect muffin. Being a nursing mom made it totally acceptable to have two this morning right?! 
Raspberry Almond Brown Sugar Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup shaved almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease or line with paper baking cups (makes 12-18 muffins).

In a large bowl, blend together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, almonds, and salt.  In a medium bowl, beat the egg and brown sugar together until thick.  Beat in the butter, milk and vanilla extract.  Combine the two mixtures, blending until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Gently stir in raspberries. 

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Sprinkle the Streusel Topping (recipe follows) over the tops of the muffins.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick come out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5-7 minutes.  Serve warm, or transfer to the rack to cool completely. 

For the Streusel Topping
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until crumbly.  Alternately you can mash the ingredients with a fork.  Sprinkle over muffins immediately before baking.

Streusel Topping recipe courtesy about.com 

Friday, March 28, 2014

New Day Cleveland Apperance- Good Morning Idaho!

Yesterday was back in the studio for my 8th time- can you believe it?!  I'm not exactly sure how I scored such an awesome little gig, but I am loving it!  New Day Cleveland is a lovely show, and has seriously the nicest people. 
For my segment yesterday we were planning for Lent- Meatless Meal for a Family of 4 for under $20.  Challenge taken!  Breakfast for Dinner is an awesome way to stretch the bank, and who doesn't love it?!  My boys would eat it every night if it was up to them. Good Morning Idaho is a recipe that takes a fun twist on the traditional eggs and hash brown breakfast. 
Here I am prepping for the show- we go live in half an hour! 
My sister came along for some moral support and to help me out getting things together before the show.  She is one of my favorite people in all the world and I am so lucky to have her not only as my sister but also best friend favorite Partner in Crime!  Here we are hanging out in the Green Room backstage waiting for the show to begin.  Perfect opportunity for a Sister Selfie! 

Here is a link to my clip, if you were unable to watch live!  Aside from a stubborn potato that refused to come off my cast iron skillet, everything went incredibly smooth.  I think I am beginning to get the hang of this....

Oh, and at the 5:21 mark you get to see a perfect shot of my very pregnant belly :)  So now I have two children that have made an appearance with me! lol.  Love it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I get to be a TV Star tomorrow!

Set your DVR's, I am back on New Day Cleveland tomorrow morning at 10:00am (I will be the first one up, so tune into the very beginning!) This week they gave me a new challenge for Lent- Meatless Meal for 4 for under $20. Our family LOVES breakfast for dinner and I am sharing a favorite of ours- "Good Morning Idaho", which is eggs baked in a potato! It is a fun twist and not to mention completely delicious! See you tomorrow on Fox 8 News!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

My mom makes the best soup.  Seriously, she should go into business selling it- everyone would go crazy over it!  There isn't a soup that comes out of my mom's kitchen that isn't amazing.  Her Vegetable Beef Soup is a huge family favorite.  Super simple to make, but jam-packed full of flavor, it is comfort food at it's best.  This one is nice and hearty due to the large chunks of beef and loads of veggies.  My mom always serves the large chunks of meat on the side, giving you the option of putting some in the soup and the other enjoying with good mustard, making it a satisfying dinner with just a hunk of butter bread.

With the ridiculous Polar Vortex we have been experiencing here in the Midwest, this is exactly the kind of food you want to be eating.  Put the pot on the stove in the afternoon and just let it simmer away throughout the day.  By dinner it will fill your home with the most wonderful smells and make your kids and husbands asking for dinner the moment they walk in the door from work and school.  if you are unable to stay home to keep an eye on your pot of soup, a crock pot on low for the day works just as nicely.  A nice hot bowl of soup says "I Love You" in the most snuggly, delicious way.

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

2 32-oz Beef Stock (or 32-oz beef stock AND 2 tablespoons of beef bouillon dissolved into 4 cups of water)
1 beef chuck roast (1.5-2 lb) excess fat removed and cut into very large chunks
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 cup)
1 cup corn (frozen or canned is fine)
(you may add any other veggies you like or have on hand, green beans, peas, cabbage, tomatoes...)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a large stock pot combine the beef, stock, chopped onion and bay leaf and allow to simmer over medium high heat for 45 minutes. Add the rest of your veggies, and a good sized squirt of ketchup- I know crazy ingredient! But it rounds out the flavor of the soup perfectly.  You can also use 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, but trust me, ketchup is the secret ingredient!  Allow to simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. 

Taste and season accordingly with salt, pepper and additional ketchup if desired.  The longer the soup simmers the more it will thicken.  I prefer a heartier soup, almost like a stew, making it a bit easer for my children to eat by themselves.   But if it reduces a little too much for your liking or if you prefer a thinner soup, add a bit more water until you get the desired consistency.

Serve the meat alongside the soup with a good mustard for dipping.  One of my boys likes his meat all on the side with loads of mustard and ketchup.  My other son likes his meat totally in his soup.  My husband and I like some in and some out!  Enjoy with crusty bread slathered in butter. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Herby Chicken Salad


Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean your herb gardens are all done!  Here in Ohio I am usually lucky enough to keep most of my herbs (even under the snow) until February or March!  I always hope they will survive year round since it is soooo close, but we always seem to get a crazy ice storm close to spring that knocks them out.  But since they hang on so long, be sure to use them to their fullest!  This chicken salad is so vibrant and fresh tasting due to the brightness of the fresh herbs.  I love it! You could use dried herbs, but it wont be quite the same- so snip, snip, snip while you still can!
This recipe is wonderful as a sandwich, add a scoop to a leafy salad in place of dressing, or even as an appetizer with crackers..... or like me, just with a fork right out of the dish.
Allowing it to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving will really bring all of the flavors together and make the herby flavor pop. But if you just can't wait, that's ok too.  It will still be scrumptious.   

Herby Chicken Salad
2 cups chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, flat leaf parsley, chives, rosemary
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and herbs.
In a large bowl combine the chicken, celery, and red onion.  Pour the dressing onto the chicken mixture and stir to coat.  Chill until ready to serve.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cheesy Quinoa Bites

So it isn't a huge secret that I am not all that crazy about quinoa.  I want to like it, I really do!  It is so crazy good for you, it is supposed to aid in migraine health, and your body burns it as fast as you eat it.  But for the most part, it just isn't one of my favorite things.  That is until I discovered these guys!  A blog I love,  So Very Blessed, created these little gems and oh man are they delicious!! They are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside and JAMPACKED with flavor! What I really love about this recipe, is how customizable it is.  You can switch around the ingredients for totally different flavors- add pepperoni and mozzarella cheese and now you have quinoa pizza bites, use ham, diced chicken and Swiss and voila! you have Cordon Bleu bites.  A bit of corn, black beans, chilies and cilantro and now they are Southwestern!  These cheesy ones I feel are the "base recipe", and from there the sky's the limit!   Be sure you check out So Very Blessed to see all the many flavor combinations she has come up with!  I've made each and every one and we LOVE them all!  The kids can't get enough of them either, making it even better.  They make an awesome snack, appetizer or side dish. I've even served them alongside a salad for a satisfying dinner.  No matter how you serve them, they will get gobbled up as fast as lightening!

I normally make the quinoa bites in my mini muffin pan, but this last time, I had extra mixture left over so I made a few patties in my muffin-top pan and they were fantastic! They would make a great "burger".  In these pictures I had a used a quinoa/brown rice blend because that was what the market happened to have at the time, and they were just as yummy. 

Cheesy Quinoa Bites
Recipe courtesy So Very Blessed

Makes: ~ 28 bites

2 cups cooked quinoa (I cook my quinoa in low sodium chicken broth)
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded carrot
2 stalks green onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Mix together quinoa, carrot, egg, green onion, garlic, cilantro, cheese, flour, salt and pepper.
3.Distribute mixture into a (well!) greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top (1 heaping Tbs each).
4.Bake for 15-20 minutes.

We are big dippers in our house- the more sauces the better! Ha!  Our favorites are honey mustard dressing (pictured), BBQ sauce, frank's hot sauce, ranch/blue cheese dressing and for the pizza bites, spaghetti sauce of course!


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