Friday, April 18, 2014

Perfect Black Beans

There is something wonderful in the simplicity of beans and rice!  I love how easy this recipe comes together.  It takes boring canned black beans and makes them into a meal!  They are so flavorful and satisfying!  I can't remember where I got this recipe from, so I apologize for not linking to the original recipe! We like these plain, over rice, or even topped with chicken, guacamole, cheese and salsa. The options are endless!  We refer to this meal as Chipotle style.  Start with beans and add what you want!

Perfect Black Beans
4-6 servings

4 t olive oil
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used orange, any would work)
1 onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (16 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup water
1/4-1/2 cup fresh, chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and sauté until soft and tender, stirring regularly. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, broth, thyme, oregano, bay leaf and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 45 minutes.  Stir in the fresh cilantro and salt and pepper (to taste).  Discard the bay leaf. Serve as desired.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Crockpot Pasta

I found this recipe on Pinterest and then changed it to what I had on hand and liked.  Such a great, easy crockpot meal!  Now who can argue with that!

Crockpot Pasta
1 lb. Italian seasoned ground turkey
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can tomato sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 t Italian seasoning
1 t oregano
8 ounces campanelle pasta, cooked
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
1/2-3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup mixture of Parmesan and Romano cheese, grated

Brown the ground turkey.  Drain and then add onion and garlic.  Cook until onion is translucent.  Put into slow cooker with tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and spices.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Add cooked pasta, fresh spinach and cheeses.  Stir until cheese is melted and spinach is wilted. Serve hot with this Artisan bread!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Chocolate Nutella Strawberry Trifle

I think the name says it all!  This is really such a yummy dessert! Be prepared to share, it makes a ton! I found the original recipe here, but tweaked it a bit.  Besides being delicious all together, this is the best "from scratch" chocolate cake recipe I have ever made!  It really needs its own post but I couldn't wait to share this with you!

Chocolate Nutella Strawberry Trifle


2 cups (250 g) cake flour
1 t (6 g) salt
2 t (10 g) baking soda
1 t (5 g) baking powder
3/4 cup (69g) unsweetened cocoa
2 cups (400 g) sugar
3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil (I used avocado oil, it is healthier and you can't tell at all)
1 cup (240 ml) hot coffee (I am not a coffee drinker so I used Choffy.  It is roasted cocoa beans, seriously amazing stuff!)
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
1/4 cup (60 ml) cream
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 2, 9inch round cake pans with parchment paper circles. Spray with cooking spray.
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Add the *hot coffee or Choffy, oil, milk, cream and buttermilk and beat for 2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla and eggs. Beat for 2 more minutes. It will be very liquid-y.
Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for about 30 minutes.  The cake is ready when the cake springs back when lightly touched or when a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pans.  Loosen the sides and remove to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

*This needs to be really hot to help dissolve the sugar and flour

Nutella Mousse

1 cup (250 ml) Nutella
5 T water
2 T (30 ml) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (250 ml) whipping cream

Set a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water (The bottom of the bowl should NOT touch the water) and melt the Nutella with the 5 T water.  Mix until smooth.  Add the butter and mix until combined. Remove from heat.

In another bowl, whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the melted Nutella.  Now add the rest of the whipped cream and fold until fully incorporated.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Whipped Cream

2 cups whipping cream
1 t vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Whip all ingredients together until stiff peaks form.

2-3 cups sliced strawberries


Cut cooled cake into pieces.  Using a trifle bowl place a layer of cake on the bottom.  Spoon on 1/2 of the Nutella mousse. Top with 1/3 of the sliced strawberries.  Add another layer of cake, them the rest of the mousse.  Add another 1/3 of the strawberries.  Add another layer of cake and then top with whipped cream.  I left the last strawberries whole to put on the top.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lemon Drop Cookies

I LOVE lemon!  Anything lemon! So when my dear friend made these for a luncheon and I ate half the plate, I knew I was in trouble!  {Thanks Ashley ;) }They are soft and chewy and tart and sweet!  I know, perfect, right?! Just wait until you make them, I dare you to not eat half the plate! The original recipe is found here.

Lemon Drop Cookies
about 4 dozen

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 t lemon extract
4 cups flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
zest of 1 lemon
6 oz. lemon drops, crushed (NOT lemon heads)

1  1/2 cups powdered sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and flavorings and blend well. Sift the dry ingredients together and slowly add to the wet ingredients. Add the lemon zest and crushed lemon drops and mix until combined.  Drop tablespoonfuls onto a cookies sheet covered in parchment paper** and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand or a fork.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  While they are baking whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar to make the glaze. Let the cookies cool for 1 to 2 minutes and then brush the glaze over them with a pastry brush. Let them cool completely.  After they were cooled, I drizzled a little more glaze over the top to make them look striped.

*Lemon drops can be hard to find, I found them at my speciality grocery store and I also saw them at Michaels Craft store

**Make sure you don't skip this step!  The little candy bits will totally stick to the cookie sheet and make it hard to get your cookies off! Plus, when you are brushing the glaze on, it tends to drip and this makes cleaning the pans or starting another batch a snap!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Breakfast Scramble for One

Some mornings {ok, most!} I struggle to just get my kids to school. Forget the fact that I have to feed them, pack lunches, make sure their crazy bedhead won't embarrass me as a mother, etc… BUT, then, after I drop them off, its just me and my little {big} guy at home.  So, once I have started my washing machine and sometimes my dishwasher, I finally get to think about me.  This can be VERY short lived! But eating a good breakfast seems to make my day less daunting.  This breakfast scramble has been my go to, the last couple of days.  Inspired by these beautiful, fresh eggs my sweet neighbor brought me!  Don't they look all Easter-y?!  They just called to me to make a light healthy breakfast out of them.  So I went to work, and sat down {ALONE} at my table, grabbed my Kindle, and just savored my minute alone! Hope you enjoy this with a little quiet time of your own! HAPPY SPRING!

Breakfast Scramble for One

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 T diced onion
diced ham or bacon
2 T diced tomato
a small handful of fresh spinach
shredded cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add onion and ham.  Cook until onion is soft and ham just starts to brown on the edges.  Add eggs and stir until eggs are cooked.  Add tomato and spinach and continue stirring until the spinach is wilted.  Salt and pepper to taste. Top with shredded cheese.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cheesy Potatoes

This is a recipe my Grandma Twinkle always made to go with a Honey Baked Ham.  They go together perfectly!  This makes such a great Easter meal!

Cheesy Potatoes

1 lb. frozen hash browns
1 cup chopped onions
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a 9x13 pan.  Mix all the ingredients together until combined.  Press potato mixture into prepared pan.  Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown on the edges.
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Friday, February 28, 2014

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

I needed these today! Just a moment of weakness or a burst of inspiration, either way, they were YUM!  Sometimes I just like to go in the kitchen and start throwing ingredients together to see what I come up with.  There is nothing special in these, just a different combination of measurements but I am digging how they turned out! Maybe they are just better because they are bigger

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
about 15 BIG cookies
(cookies are about 4 inches across)

3/4 cup butter, softened (1 and 1/2 sticks)
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 t. vanilla
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Cream together butter and coconut oil.  Add both sugars and mix well.  Add vanilla, mix again.  Next add egg and egg yolk and mix until incorporated.  Add baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix.  Add the flour and mix until there is no more white.  Add the chocolate chips last.  Once it is all combined, make ice cream scoop size balls and put 6 on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.  Make sure to leave lots of room for spreading. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.

*When you are making cookies this size, baking for longer time on lower temp allows for the cookie to cook at the way through.

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