Red and Blue Berry Sauce

Our first night home with Wesley we were welcomed by our parents and Stuart’s sister with a beautiful home cooked dinner of mashed potatoes, asparagus, and pork chops. My mom made her mashed potatoes, Stuart’s mom made the vegetables, the dads grilled the pork chops, and Audrey made a beautiful berry sauce to put atop the pork. It was a wonderful dinner to celebrate the birth of our first son and the first grandchild on both sides of the family.

Red and Blue Berry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 C white wine
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 C blueberries
  • 2/3 C raspberries
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp honey

Steps:

  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring shallots, wine, vinegar, thyme, and cinnamon to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes, or until reduced by more than half.
  2. Add berries, butter, and honey. Cook 2-4 minutes.

*This recipe is modified from Melissa at http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/12604/salmon-with-agrodolce-blueberries.html*

Red and Blue Berry Sauce

Summer Babies

I was busy this past year making 3 four hour quilts (FHQs) for 3 very special summer babies. 

Peach's CircusToday my friend’s daughter turns 1! I knew I just had to make her a quilt because this little girl happens to share my birthday! My friend, Megan, blogs over at Project Mama and shares her adventures in sewing. She is very talented and creative at the sewing machine so I felt the pressure to put my best work forward. I have to say, “Peach’s Circus” is one of my favorite FHQs to date! I found the fabric at Sew Studio last Christmas. (Photo to the left courtesy of Megan!)

Little RacerAnother special summer baby is a sweet boy who is only one day older than my son. I was very excited when I found out that our friends were expecting their first baby only 10 days after our first. I was particularly excited because they happen to live in Ohio – where we were going to be relocating! I was looking forward to having another first time mommy friend and for Wesley to have a play date friend. We actually had our first “play date” last week – as much as 7-wk-olds can play. My friend knew she was having a boy so I had a lot of fun making a boy quilt with car fabric and reds, greens, and blues. (Photo to the right from February when “Little Racer” was under construction.)

And last but not least, I finally got the opportunity to make a quilt for my own baby! As we opted for the gender surprise package I made a gender neutral quilt. The back fabric, of course, is Winnie-the-Pooh and on the front I opted for tone-on-tone chevrons in colors white, blue, pink, purple, and yellow; colors of Winnie-the-Pooh characters! To keep it from being too feminine I used grey as my border fabric. (Photo below is my absolute favorite of Wesley sleeping in “Kerplunk’s Hundred Acre Wood”)

Kerplunk's Hundred Acre Wood

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

It’s no secret that I love pasta. And cream based sauces are my absolute favorite.

There is a restaurant in Auburn, Brick Oven Pizza, that we’d always go to when parents were in town. And while their pizzas and calzones are fantastic (I love their crust), it’s their Cajun Chicken Pasta that I always order.

Now that I’m living in Ohio (with a newborn) trips to Auburn are going to be very few and far between. So when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, it looked exactly like Brick Oven’s pasta dish that I love so much. It was immediately pinned and finally prepared. I switched out the pasta shape to penne and added mushrooms and parmesan cheese.

I have intentions of making a few more Auburn favorites in the coming year. War Eagle!

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 oz mushrooms, diced
  • 2 C half-and-half
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 2/3 C shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3 scallions, sliced

Steps:

  1. In a small bowl, combine paprika, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, onion powder, and cayenne. (Alternatively, you can use Cajun seasoning.)
  2. Season chicken with half of the spice mix from Step 1 and S+P.
  3. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Brown chicken. When cooked through, remove and set aside.
  4. In the same pot, add more olive oil if needed. Saute bell peppers, onion, and mushroom. Season with the remaining spice mix from Step 1 and S+P. Cook until vegetables are tender. (Note: if you’d like a little spice to your pasta add a little extra cayenne pepper at this step.)
  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  6. Add half-and-half and heavy cream to the vegetables. Bring to a boil and add in the parmesan cheese.
  7. In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water. Pour into the cream sauce. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook until thickened. Add cooked chicken and pasta to the sauce and toss. Stir in the scallions. Garnish with additional Cajun seasoning if desired.

*This recipe is modified from Annie at http://www.annies-eats.com/2009/07/10/louisiana-chicken-pasta/*

Cajun Chicken Pasta

SRC: Vanilla Extract

Today is another Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! In the secret recipe club, each participating blogger is assigned a blog from another participating blogger and secretly searches their site for something to recreate. The accompanying blog post then goes live on reveal day! So while I was immersed in my assigned blog, someone else was picking through mine! I’m so excited to be part of this group, to see what on my blog peaks other’s interests and to stumble upon new blogs and new recipes.

This month I was assigned Ros’s blog The More Than Occasional Baker. Ros’s blog name doesn’t lie – her blog is entirely made up of sweets!

I was really hoping to do a savory post for this month’s SRC post because you might have noticed that my August archive has an unusual amount of dessert recipes. I guess my blog wouldn’t show up in a summer bikini body recipe search! But alas, the assignments were sent out and my hands are tied. I’m sure you are all completely bummed. ;)

I almost didn’t participate in this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal, but after not participating last month to focus on our new family member (my son was born July 3rd) I just knew I couldn’t sit another month out! When July 28th rolled around I found myself feeling lost without a SRC post! I still scrolled through the reveal day posts though – you should too!

This month we moved from Florida to Ohio and spent a week with my husband’s family in Alabama. I knew it’d be hard to squeeze in some home cooking. Luckily I found this how-to for Vanilla Extract on Ros’s blog! I’ve been wanting to try making my own vanilla extract, and now I have the perfect excuse. Well, two really. One: I have to restock my pantry anyway, so why not?! Two: It’s on my SRC assigned blog!

Don’t think my selection of Vanilla Extract means Ros doesn’t have some awesome recipes. She does! When life settles down again (will that ever happen now that I’m a mom?!) I’ll definitely be putting my favorite soda in her Root Beer Bundt Cake, using my poppy seeds in her Orange Poppy Seed Muffins, and getting a feeling of summer when the weather turns cold with her Lemon, Lime, and Basil Cookies. She also has some very fun ideas with my favorite savory snack, popcorn – check out this Popcorn Cake!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Ingredients:

  • vodka
  • vanilla beans

Steps:

  1. Put vodka in an airtight bottle. (I used a salad dressing mixer that I found at the local thrift store!)
  2. Add vanilla beans – scrape out the seeds and add to the bottle along with the pods.
  3. Allow vodka and vanilla beans to transform into vanilla extract over the course of 4 weeks.

*This recipe is adapted from Ros at http://themorethanoccasionalbaker.blogspot.com/2012/10/homemade-vanilla-extract.html*

Vanilla Extract FG1

To see the other bloggers who participated in the Secret Recipe Club this month click here:

#BundtBakers: Honey

BundtBakers

Honey is the most used condiment in our household. We go through a honey bear in two weeks. And at any farmer’s market we attend, we’ll be walking away with some local honey. Needless to say, I was excited to see honey as the theme for this month’s #BundtBakers post. I almost didn’t participate this month because of all of the major life events going on (moving from FL to OH and having a baby), but I couldn’t skip out on making a honey bundt!

I even have an adorable honey pot from Le Cruset that we pour store bought honey into. I bought this honey pot as an impulse buy because it made me think of Winnie-the-Pooh. I have a slight obsession with Winnie-the-Pooh. I learned how to read because of a Winnie-the-Pooh “read-along” cassette tape, I own every character stuffed animal, I had Winnie-the-Pooh sheets until I went to college (pretty sure my parents saved them for me too), and my friends threw me a wonderful Winnie-the-Pooh themed baby shower.

What does Winnie-the-Pooh have to do with my bundt? Everything! My mom bought me a Winnie-the-Pooh cookbook and today’s recipe(s) come from it!

Hipy Papy Bthuthdth Thuthda Bthuthdy Cake

Ingredients for cake:

  • 1/2 C butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 C flour, sifted
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Ingredients for honey chocolate icing:

  • 3 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 9 tbsp butter
  • 6 tbsp honey

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and honey. Add egg yolks, one at a time.
  3. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Add half of the milk and the almond extract and mix until combined. Repeat with another 1/3 of the dry ingredients and remaining milk, finish with the last of the dry ingredients.
  5. In a bowl, beat egg whites with a hand mixer until stiff. Gently fold into the cake batter.
  6. Pour batter into a greased bundt pan and bake 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out cleanly. Allow cake to cool 5 minutes before removing from the bundt pan. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  7. Make the icing: In a double boiler, melt together the icing ingredients. Frost cake. Keep refrigerated until 20 minutes before serving.

*These recipes come from The Pooh Cook Book by Virginia H. Ellison*

Honey Bundt Cake

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL tofoodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com. All recipes and photographs can be found on our individual blogs, on our Pinterest board, and the #bundtbakers homepage.

And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month:

Honey Bundt Cake with Lemon Honey Glaze by Beatriz at I love Bundt Cakes

Honey Glazed Blackberry Cornmeal Bundt Cake by Tux at Brooklyn Homemaker

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Pound Cake by Renee at Magnolia Days

A Taste of Honey by Margaret at Tea and Scones

Honey Caramel Apple Bundt Cake by Laura at Baking in Pyjamas

Honey Whiskey Mini Bundt Cakes with Honey Whiskey Glaze by Stacy at Food Lust People Love

Honey Almond Bundt Cake by Terri at Love and Confections

Honey Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake by Lauren at From Gate to Plate

Whole Wheat Honey Spiced Apple Breakfast Bundtlettes by Laura at The Spiced Life

Honey Bunny Bundt Cake by Teri at The Freshman Cook

Honey Baba ah Rhum by Kelly at Passion Kneaded

Orange Hazelnut Cake by Zainab at Blahnik Baker

Honey Banana Bundt by Jane at Jane’s Adventures in Dinner

CIC: Beets & Eggs

CIC-header

I got really excited when I saw that beets and eggs was one of the combination options for this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge. I actually made my dish before the winner was announced. And it only won by one vote! (The close runner up was garden peas and cheese.) I don’t think eggs are a particularly challenging ingredient – they’re easy to hide. So, I decided to think in the Chopped mentality and make it a star. Now, I am not a fan of eggs – I’ve finally determined that it’s the yolks that I don’t like. That means scrambled eggs are out; quiches and frittatas a no-go. What I decided on doing challenged me in the kitchen – Eggs Benedict. I’ve had a couple at nice brunch restaurants, and the runny egg yolk doesn’t bother me when it’s mixed with the rest of the ingredients on the plate.

My Roasted Beet Eggs Benedict required me to tackle my fear of poaching eggs. In fact, it tackled everyone’s fear! My brother and his fiance were in town meeting Wesley for the first time. I’ve watched countless Food Network stars poaching eggs, so I knew the general idea. I am proud to say, that even though it took four of us, every egg poached was a perfect success!

To poach an egg, bring a wide mouthed pot of water to an almost boil. With a spoon create an eddy in the water. Break the egg into a small bowl and drop it slowly into the vortex of the eddy. Cook the egg for about four minutes – until the whites are set and the yolk still runny – and remove with a slotted spoon.

I also got to attempt making a Hollandaise Sauce. I followed Alton Brown’s recipe. I have to say, I thought it was going great! I enjoyed watching the sauce transform after each addition of butter. But adding lemon juice the second time caused my sauce to separate. If I whisked enough it came back together, and it tasted right too. Unfortunately, I made this sauce way too early. The rest of the Eggs Benedict elements were not ready. (And I had a very hungry infant requiring my attention.) When we came back to the sauce, there wasn’t any saving it. Happily though, no one missed the Hollandaise Sauce on their Eggs Benedicts!

There was yet a third new experience to try. Beets! I’ve had beets before (a caprese salad w/ roasted golden beets), but I’d never worked with them myself. I followed this tutorial to roast them. (The left over beets were used in smoothies! If you decide to put roasted beets in a smoothie, note that a little bit goes a long way, the flavor tends to over power the other fruits/vegetables.)

Roasted Beet Eggs Benedict

Ingredients:

  • 1 English muffin, halved and toasted
  • 2 slices Canadian bacon
  • 2 slices roasted beets (instructions linked above)
  • spinach leaves
  • 2 eggs, poached (instructions posted above)
  • salt and pepper

Steps:

  1. Assemble Eggs Benedict by placing a slice of Canadian bacon on each half of the English muffin. Top with the roasted beet and spinach leaves. Place the poached eggs on the top of the open faced sandwiches. Season with S+P.

Roasted Beet Eggs Benedict

To see other blogs that participated this month click on the link below. And if you’re a blogger and interested in joining us, contact Dawn at spatulasonparade@gmail.com. You don’t have to participate every month, but if you’re up for the challenge, we’d love to have you! 

S’more Brownies

Hey, there! I’m jumping on the summer s’more obsession bandwagon. And I’m not ashamed by it one bit. There’s a reason the s’more is the most popular summer food trend. Ooey-gooey melty chocolate and marshmallow. Sitting around a camp fire with family and friends. Enjoying warm weather and late nights. Getting all messy and not giving a care about it in the world.

Unfortunately not all of us have access to a backyard fire pit, but that doesn’t mean we can’t partake in the fun! Make these brownies and you’ll be transported to your favorite childhood memory.

S'more Brownies

You can follow the recipe below, or feel free to take a semi-homemade philosophy and use a boxed brownie mix! Just don’t skip out on making the graham cracker crust. I wonder if you can even fill two pie crusts with the brownie batter and turn these s’more brownies into s’more brownie pies!

S’more Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 15 graham crackers, divided use
  • 2 1/2 C sugar, divided use
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 C mini marshmallows
  • 3 chocolate bars

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Crush 12 of the graham crackers into crumbs. You should have about 1 1/2 C of crumbs. Combine crumbs with 1/2 C sugar and 6 tbsp melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan and bake for 7 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together 2 sticks softened butter with 2 C sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla extract.
  5. In a bowl whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Add to the stand mixer and mix until incorporated.
  6. Pour batter evenly over graham cracker crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Break chocolate bars and remaining 3 graham crackers into bite size pieces. Top brownies with chocolate, crackers, and marshmallows. Bake another 10 – 15 minutes.
  8. If you have leftovers, they’re best reheated in a toaster oven for a few minutes until chocolate and marshmallows are again melty and gooey.

*This recipe is modified from Nikki at http://www.chef-in-training.com/2014/07/smore-brownies/*

S'more Brownies

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