It has been FAR too long since I’ve posted on this blog.  Life has kind of taken the reins and my desire to try new things kind of took a bench on the sidelines.  But last night I was on Pinterest and saw some delicious looking cake/sweet bread that I HAD to make.  So I did!  And it was delicious and, even better, EASY!

The original recipe comes from Alexandra’s Kitchen.  I had to make a few alterations based on the weather (dry, dry, dry) and likely the altitude.

This breakfast cake taste and texture reminds me a bit of biscuits and I think this would be DELISH made with strawberries and dropped free-form onto a baking sheet then topped with fresh strawberries and cream once cooled.  MMMM, that is going to me my next attempt!  Will post final results.

But, as for this recipe.

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

Serves 8-12 (depends on how you slice the cake)

Ingredients -

  • 1/2 c. Earth Balance (or unsalted butter), room temperature
  • Zest of 1 Lg. Lemon
  • 3/4 c. + 2 TBS sugar
  • 1 Egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 c Flour (minus ~1 TBS)
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 c. Fresh Blueberries
  • 1/2 c + 1.5 TBS Buttermilk (I added the extra buttermilk at the end, the dough was too dry)

Directions -

  • Preheat your oven to 350* and spray/grease one 9×9 baking pan.
  • Cream butter, zest and sugar until fluffy.
  • Add vanilla paste and egg.  Beat until creamy.
  • In smaller bowl, combine blueberries and 1/4c. flour.  Toss until blueberries are coated.
  • In another bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients.
  • Add flour mixture a little at a time to the wet ingredients.  Alternate with the buttermilk.
  • Dough will be thick and sticky but you should not have any flour that has not been mixed in and it shouldn’t look dry.  If it does, add a little more buttermilk (1/2 tsp at a time) until you get a thick, sticky consistency.
  • Gently fold in blueberries.
  • Place dough in baking pan, carefully spread to the ends and even it out so there are no high/low spots.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes (I did 45 minutes), until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1-2 tsp sugar, turn on broiler and broil the cake until you get a golden brown color and some of the sugar begins to crystallize.
  • Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes before serving.
  • ENJOY!

Yummo!  Can’t wait to try this with strawberries and the drop biscuit technique.

-R

 

This summer has pulled the carpet from beneath my feet and my blog has suffered!  I had good intentions and planned on trying lots of new dishes and reporting back to you all…but my good intentions were not enough.  Please accept my apologies.

Today I would like to share with you some YUMMY cashew cream that I made for a family get together.  It is delicious on fresh berries and would probably be good added to a smoothie in the morning.  This recipe is adapted from a Whole Foods recipe.

Cashew Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in filtered water for at least 4 hours
  • 1 tsp. vanilla paste (I use this…it is AWESOME)
  • 1/2 c. + 1-2 Tbs. warm water
  • 1-2 tsp. powdered sugar

Directions -

Drain water from soaked cashews.  Place in a food processor.  Add vanilla paste.  Blend until cashews smooth out (there will be some texture to this, especially if you don’t have a high-end food processor).  Add in 1/2 c. warm water.  Add 1-2 Tbs. warm water to achieve desired consistency.  I like this a little thinner.  Stir in 1-2 tsp. powdered sugar.

Serve on top of mixed berries, garnish with mint, and ENJOY!  Light and refreshing…and a GREAT way to replace whip cream for those who are dairy free!

The original recipe calls for 2 dates processed with the cashews, I thought I had them at home when I went to make this recipe…I obviously didn’t.  I thought the small amount of powdered sugar sweetened this up nicely but if you have dates at home I’m sure they would taste equally delicious!

-R

 

****Oh my gosh…I came in to post a new recipe and found this in my drafts…SO sorry for the delay Magnum and Tastemakers***

Magnum Ice Cream partnered with Foodbuzz to spread the word on their deliciously creamy and sinfully good ice cream treats now found in grocers freezers nation wide.  Thought the Tastemaker program I received a coupon for a free box of my choice of any Magnum Ice Cream.  THANKS.

(Image Source)

Review

I took my coupon, headed to the local Target and drooled over the options that Magnum had to offer.  I REALLY wanted to try the dark chocolate ice cream bar but my hubby HATES dark chocolate so I “settled” for the ALMOND MAGNUM…and I didn’t regret the choice!

Lets dissect this ice cream bar…piece by piece:

Chocolate – The chocolate was rich, milky, and had a nice crisp texture.  It was not at all waxy as some chocolate covered ice creams can be.  The almonds were mixed in the chocolate…and although my bar didn’t look like the photos online, the flavor more than made up for that!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream - MMMMM, this was my favorite part!  This ice cream was full of fat, cream, sugar, and delicious vanilla beans.  This is the real deal.  Here is my thought on ice cream…if you’re gonna eat it, eat the real stuff.  Low Fat, Fake Sugar, and Artificial Flavors area NO NO when it comes to ice cream made from dairy…Magnum has this right!  You will not be disappointed.

The Little Stick – Hehe…I have to make a comment about the stick because it was solid!  My ice cream did not fall off the stick and my fingers didn’t cramp as I was eating (Well, that might be because I inhaled this thing!)

SCORE - 4.8/5 Stars

My Complaints – There are only 3 in a box (boo) and I would have liked a few more almonds…but that really is it!

Go Run out today and buy yourself a box (or two or three) of this delicious treat!

-R

Hi! 

I have discovered something wonderful!

CONGEE

The past 3 weeks I have fallen in love with a simple dish that is really a canvas for a variety of flavors.  Congee is popular in Asian cooking and is often feed to people who are ill because it is easy to digest.  So, what is congee?  In short, rice porridge.  Traditionally congee is rice that is slowly cooked in a LOT of water.  But, you don’t have to limit this technique to rice alone…you can do this with a variety of whole grains.

Possibilities:

  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Rice (all varieties)
  • Quinoa
  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • OR a combination of any of these!

You simply put 1 part grain with 5-7 parts water and cook on low heat in a crock pot for ~8 hours….so simple, so delicious!

My first go at congee was beautiful, delicious, and strangly addicting. 

Purple Rice Congee

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Purple Rice
  • .5 cup Barley
  • 7 cup Water

Directions

  • Place all ingedients in a crockpot
  • Cook on low for 8 hours
  • Enjoy!

Couldn’t be simpler…and the combination of grains is endless.  For this batch, I chose to top my congee with pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, blackberries, and a drizzle of agave syrup.  The purple rice is a little sweeter then some of the other grains so it lent itself well to a sweeter breakfast. 

When making congee, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be only a breakfast dish…you can make this a savory dish as well!  Some suggestions for toppings:

  • Nuts or seeds
  • Eggs
  • Fresh, roasted, or sauteed veggies
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato
  • Berries
  • Stewed Fruits
  • Dried Fruits
  • Coconut
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Curry
  • Agave Nectar
  • Honey
  • Coconut Oil
  • Nut Butters
  • Chicken/Beef/Tofu

Soooo good!  I hope that if you try this recipe you find it as delicious and versitile as I have. 

Enjoy!

R-

I love beer…especially brews that are rich, dark, and local.  So, when I got an email from Foodbuzz Tastemakers with the chance to participate in a New Belgium Brewery Contest I jumped on the challenge. New Belgium is brewed in Fort Collins, not far from Denver and I am a fan of many of their beers.  Lucky for me, I received an email saying that I was chosen!!!!   In return for creating a food using one of their beer or pairing food with one of their beers I get to receive a $50 stipend to help pay for beer and ingredients.  Thanks New Belgium and Foodbuzz!

So…I really wanted to push myself with this challenge.  It has been a while since I’ve experimented in the kitchen (as you all can see with my lack of postings as of late) and thought using beer in baking would definitely be a challenge.  Last week I went into Starbucks and saw something called a Whoopie Pie.  It looked really yummy!  Why not try to make Chocolate Whoopie Pies and incorporate Abbey Beer into them…and to push it even further, add espresso.  I couldn’t wait to get started, submission deadline isn’t until April 28th…but I couldn’t wait!!!

Photo from New Belgium's Website

                                         Photo Pulled from New Belgium’s Website – Linked

Here we go!

Chocolate Abbey Whoopie Pies with Espresso Chip Filling

Inspired by Chocolate Whoopie Pies on Epicurious and my love of Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans!

For Cakes:

  • 2.5 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cups Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 cup Almond Milk with 1 Tbs. Cider Vinegar (set aside for at least 5 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup New Belgium Abbey Beer
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Paste
  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 packet Mocha Instant Coffee (I used Starbucks Via Ready Brew)

For Filling:

  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened
  • 1, 8 oz. package Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste
  • 2 oz. Chopped Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
  • Abbey Beer to thin/taste (I used ~ 1.5 Tbs)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350* and line your sheets with parchment paper. 

In a small bowl, add vinegar to your almond flour milk and set aside for at least 5 minutes.  Open your Abbey beer and allow it to rest.

In medium-sized bowl, sift together your flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir/whisk until it is well incorporated.

In large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy…this will take about 3-4 minutes on medium high.  Add in the vanilla and egg.  Beat until well combined.  Add in the espresso powder.

Add the beer to your almond milk and stir until well combined.  Add ~1/3 flour mix to the butter and beat on low until combined.  Add 1/3 milk, mix until well combined.  Continue to alternate until all ingredients are incorporated. 

Let the batter sit for 5 minutes or so before cooking.  I discovered that my later batches cooked up much better.  I don’t know why…maybe it has something to do with the alcohol? 

Place ~2.5 Tbs of batter on lined cookie sheet (make sure there is PLENTY of room around the plop of batter, they will spread) and bake for ~13 minutes, until the cake springs back when you touch it with your fingertip.  I fit 6 cakes on a large cookie sheet and they had enough room to breath. Move the cakes onto a cooling rack, re-line your sheet and bake your next batch.  You’ll get about 24 cakes…for a total of 12 pies, that are about 3.5″ in diameter.  If you want smaller pies lessen your batter drops to 1.5 Tbs and they’ll end up about 2″ in diameter.

After your cakes have cooled completely you can prep your filling!  Chop your espresso beans in a food processor, Cream together your room temp butter and cream cheese.  Add vanilla and powdered sugar and Abbey Beer until you get the consistency you want.  Fold in espresso beans.  Spread filling on one end of a cake, top with second cake and allow to set in the fridge for ~30 minutes!  ENJOY!!!!

Hope you all like what I’ve done and that New Belgium finds this recipe worthy of their beer!

R-

Please forgive me for my LACK of blogging this past month.  Life has been busy, and my NOOK has taken the majority of my free time.  I am guilty, and I promise to be better at creating in the kitchen and posting about my food adventures.

With that said…

Socca Inspired Raisin Crackers

These crackers are inspired by Edible Perspective’s Cinnamon Coconut Raisin Bake and they came about by accident.  I really wanted to try her socca bakes for about a month and finally went into the kitchen and mixed up a batch.  After mixing the ingredients, I realized I didn’t have a 9×9 pan so I threw the batter on a parchment lined bar pan, threw it in the oven, and discovered a great new cracker! 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c. Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • 1/2 c. fresh ground Oat Flour
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1T sucanat
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1c water
  • 2T unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3c currants or raisins
  • 1/4c unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions -

Preheat your oven to 375* and line a bar pan (I think they are 9×12) with parchment.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients listed above.  Stir until all flour is incorporated.  Just a note, the batter is a little runny.  It’s okay.  Go with it! 

Bake for ~20-25 minutes.  These are crisp on the outside…a little soft.  Perfect spread with almond butter!  Mmmmm…great flavor and texture.

*After I baked these crackers, I went back to Ashley’s blog to find the link and discovered this.  She was smart and flipped her crackers mid bake.  This will make them crisper then the ones I cooked.  I will be doing this next time!

Thanks!

R-

It’s been a while since I actually baked something…the weeks since Christmas have been busy and in turn have kept me out of the kitchen.  Bummer, I know.

So, when my brother called and said we would be meeting tonight for his birthday, I decided this was the little kick I needed to get back in the kitchen and prepare him a special treat.  However, I haven’t been shopping in a while and am out of LOTS of things.  What to make with a limited pantry and NO time to run to the store…For my answer I head to the food blogs.  

Type, type, type…OH, this will do!

 a cookie recipe on Angela’s blog that included ingredients I had on hand (well…with a few substitutions).

Crunchy Cashew and Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

(see here for Oh She Glows’ Salt-Kissed Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies)

  • 1 1/4 c. Gluten Free Flour
  • 1/4 c. Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Cacao Nibs
  • 1 tbs. Mini Vegan Chocolate Chips
  • 1 tbs. Cashew Butter
  • 1/2 tbs. Chopped Cashews
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla or Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 1/4 c. Agave Nectar
  • 4 tbs. Safflower Oil

Mix in a small bowl (with fork) the following:  sugar, agave, oil, vanilla, cashews, and softened cashew butter.  In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Combine wet ingredients with dry and mix with hands.  This dough is crumbly but should hold together when you roll it in a ball.  Add your chocolate chips and cacao nibs.  Roll into 12-14 balls.  Place on cookie sheet sprayed with oil. Press cookie dough with a spoon.  Sprinkle with salt and/or turbinado sugar.

Bake on preheated oven, 350* for ~16 minutes (my oven is a little off, so check your cookies after 12).  Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Super easy, super fast….REALLY tasty!

Thanks for reading…I hope you all enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

R-

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