My little helper is getting so capable and independent. Though he still needs me plenty, he likes to do things "all myself" from time to time too. While we were riding out El Nino at home this week, we tried find activities to do indoors, and letting Bennett make a treat for the family all himself was a highlight to his afternoon. "We need FLOUR!" "I won't mix it too much." It turned out to be a fun way to work on numbers and adding, and the treats turned out great! I found this simple recipe on KevinandAmanda. It's her Dutch Butter Cake. It's four ingredients, and it really is absolutely delicious. The only part I had in it, was the oven portion. Bennett is so proud of his treats!
One of our favorite treats around here is Almond Butter on toast. I'm always looking for fun and easy activities to do with Bennett that are educational. We decided to try our hand at homemade nut butter, and it turns out it is so easy to make. Too easy. We made a really simple almond butter. I am so pleased with the result, that I plan on doing a macadamia variety, or perhaps something with a swirl of dark chocolate the next time around. Nutella anyone? These are so fresh and lovely. A great little gift too.
All You Need:
2 cups unsalted dry-roasted nuts
2 tablespoons canola or nut oil. I used coconut.
A pinch of salt
1. Combine the nuts, oil, and salt in a food processor and process in high until the nuts are coarsely chopped. (Pay attention to your processor to avoid overheating.)
2. Continue processing, scraping down the sides periodically until the buts reach a desired consistency. It took my processor about 10 minutes.
3. Add any flavorings... Honey, cinnamon, dark chocolate, maple syrup.
4. Scrape into jars and label. Will keep in the refrigerator for one month.
I'm a big fan of lemon. Lemonade, lemon pie, lemon candies, lemon TARTS. My ultimate Summer treat is a lemonade from Craig's Hot Dog on a Stick on the Redondo Beach Pier. It tastes the best after a long beach bike ride and I pull in there on my last stop. So any time I indulge in something yummy and lemony, I am transported to that spot.
Fortunately, we have a lemon tree in our backyard that happens to be doing quite well this year. Lemon chicken, lemon salmon, lots of pitchers of lemonade, and now-- lemon tarts. I had forgotten that lemon tarts are just about the easiest treat you can make. Box mixes, be gone! We have no need for you here. Plenty tart, yet perfectly sweet. These are the perfect Summer treat. Take them to to a picnic, enjoy after lunch. They are lovely.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 large eggs
1 cup superfine (baker’s) sugar (or regular sugar after a few whirls in the food processor)
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
2. To make the crust, combine flour, powdered sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is pebbly. Press evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 18-20 minutes. Set aside.
3. To make the filling, in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in lemon zest and juice until well combined. Pour over crust (it’s okay if crust is still hot). Bake until filling is just set, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Makes an 8 inch square pan. Or put it in a smaller pan for a thicker bar- that's what I did.
The other day as I was scanning gorgeous food photos around the web, I came across a recipe for peanut butter sandwich cookies. It reminded me of 2 important things. Number 1, I'd been promising to bake a batch of cookies for a few days now... and Number 2, it had been way too long since I'd had any Nutella.. in fact I didn't even have any in the house! In my single days it was practically a food group. My holiday party menus were: wine, cheese, and Nutella! Aaaah nostalgia.
The inspiration for these cookies came from The Daring Gourmet. Her photos had me RUNNING to the store to pick up my missing ingredient. Mainly because of my urgency to eat the cookies, I kept mine a little simpler. I used the Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe from my very old copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and spread gobs of gooey Nutella between two warm cookies. Oh, you betcha.. it was really good. Maybe next time I'll try the marshmallow cream version.. but quite honestly, Nutella is decadent and elegant all by itself. Totally hit the spot... and now I'm back on deck with the chocolate spread I love so much!
This is nothing fancy. It's almost embarrassing actually. But anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a sweet fanatic- especially chocolate. I get it from my Mom. And when the craving hits, it MUST be satisfied. But I can't settle on something ordinary like Snickers. And usually I keep some decent Trader Joe's Belgian chocolate on hand. You never know when I'm going to watch Chocolat and need to have something decadent to go with it. One day last week while Bennett was treating me to a long nap, the need for something sweet hit, and there wasn't a candy bar in sight. So I did what any good housewife would do and raided the pantry. What I ended up with is now my favorite dessert.. the easiest thing I've ever made, and I may never painstakingly pipe homemade frosting onto cupcakes ever again.
As simple as this 5 ingredient, no bake pie is, it's pretty rich. Not for the faint of heart... so if you're one of these Blue Lou's who hates rich and divine desserts, then skip this one. It is fudgy and dense and so good with raspberries on top!
This is of course nothing original, and there are a million variations to try with it. Next time I might do a peanut butter version, or perhaps add a layer of cream cheese frosting. An oreo cookie crust is a good base for just about anything if you ask me.
For The Crust:
1/2 Stick of Butter
For the Ganache Filling:
1 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Cups Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Raspberries or Strawberries
To make the crust, use a food processor to crush the cookies. Add to the center of 9 inch pie pan or quiche dish.
Melt your butter and pour over crumbled cookies. Combine until cookies have absorbed the butter and press firmly into the dish to form a crust. Set in the refrigerator for about an hour and then make your filling.
For the ganache, pour chocolate chips into a heat resistant bowl. Bring heavy cream to a simmer over Medium heat. Pour immediately over chocolate and stir gently with a whisk until chocolate is thoroughly melted and smooth.. (it is gorgeous at this phase) Pour into cooled pie crust and refrigerate for about an hour before serving with your toppings.
Share with friends.. or you might eat it all by yourself!
This stuff turned out way too good not to share. I've been making variations on this for a couple years now, but have never made a large batch to keep in the jar like this. It's a great little item to bring to a party or as a quick housewarming gift. It's always nice to have a fresh snack when you're moving.
All you need is:
A good olive oil, a block of feta, herbs.. I used rosemary and thyme, crushed red pepper, and fresh black pepper.
I cut the feta into half inch cubes, and layered the herbs and peppers between each layer, then I topped it and filled the jar with the olive oil. Letting it sit in the jar for 4-6 hours really brings out the flavor.
I served on toasted pita, and then later on warm french bread. Either way, it is ALL good.
We've been messing around with muffins for awhile around here and this little batch was a winner. They fill the kitchen with the most glorious aroma in the morning. Intoxicating, I tell you! They are super moist and delicious, yet high in protein and fiber. Brilliant! Even our Little Bennett loves them. You could easily swap out the ingredients to customize these to your liking. Hemp seeds? Different nuts? Shaved coconut?? Anything! Albin will usually grab one before heading out to surf early in the morning and it's the perfect fuel to get him started. The recipe is too easy, do yourself a favor and give these a try.
2 ripe bananas
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbs. flax seed
1/3 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil or butter)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup shredded carrots
a pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Mix the wet and dry ingredients separately. After you have mixed each thoroughly, pour together and combine both mixtures.
Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes.
Cancel out all the hard work you just did and spread a big hunk of butter on there.
If I were to name one go-to dish that always seems to hit the spot, that we always have all the ingredients for, it would be Albin's Rosemary Chicken and Pasta. Oh it's so delicious, and so simple. It's nothing fancy, just a regular favorite in our dinner rotation. There's just enough spice to give it some kick and keep things interesting. Fresh herbs from our garden and home-grown tomatoes make it even better. We usually serve it with a side of garlic bread and a big cucumber salad.
2 servings of linguine noodles.. prepared according to directions
For the Chicken:
2 Chicken Breasts (with tenderloins) cubed
1 tbs. olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 large sprig of Fresh Rosemary, chopped up
optional: one tbs. white wine
optional: one sprig fresh thyme, chopped up
Mix all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Stir in chicken. Mix well and refrigerate for one hour.
After one hour, and you're ready to begin the rest of the items; pan fry chicken until done. (about 8-10 minutes on medium-high heat)
2 tbs. olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, finely diced
crushed red pepper-- to taste. We use about 1tsp.
Salt and Pepper
6-7 fresh basil leaves
2 roma tomatoes
For the sauce: Add olive oil to pan on low heat; add garlic and sweat the garlic for 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Keep on low heat for an additional 5 minutes. If needed, add more olive oil.
Toss with cooked noodles.
For the Roma Tomatoes: Blanche two Roma tomatoes. Dice blanched tomatoes and add to combined pasta. Cut fresh basil on top of tomatoes and serve.
This stuff is so so good. Enjoy!
Oh it was so dreamy..
The filling phase.. the waaaaiting is the harrrdest part!
Tom Petty, you're so right!
By the way, I filled it with brown sugar whipped cream, AND a ribbon of caramel.. just a hint.
One of the first things I learned when we moved to the South is that it's pronounced "Praw-leeen" not "Pray-leen." I know! Total mind blow. Anyways, for some reason, I've recently been on a Pralines and Cream kick. It started with the ice cream.. then one night as I was polishing off my bowl of ice cream, it dawned on me... " I need this in a cupcake." I wanted sweet cream, toasty nuts with brown sugar, and a glorious ribbon of caramel, WITH cake. And so, here it is, my little tribute to the "Praw-leen."
This is what you need:
For the Pecan Crumble:
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
2 tbs- brown sugar
2 tbs- butter
1/2 tbs- cornstarch
For the Frosting:
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened and divided
5 cups confectioners’ sugar-- I ended up using closer to 3. These cupcakes are SWEET!
P.S. I cheated and used yellow cake mix from a box. There are so many steps to this, I had to cut a corner somewhere.
I also bought a jar of Hershey's caramel sauce rather than making it. LAZY!
First up, make a batch of yellow cupcakes.
While cupcakes are baking you can make the pecan crumble mix. Mix together the nuts, brown sugar, corn starch, and butter in small bowl. Toast up mixture in a small frying pan on medium heat stirring occasionally for five to ten minutes. Let cool. Pecan mixture should harden together. Just break up the pecan mixture until its all broken apart and in a crumble like state.
When the cupcakes are cooling, you can make the filling and frosting. The frosting made just enough for 24 cupcakes. I used every last drop though. It couldn't hurt to add a bit more whipping cream and butter.
In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, cream and 2 tablespoon butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat remaining 1 cup butter and brown sugar mixture at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth.
Now fill the cupcakes. As I was filling the bag of icing, I drizzled caramel in the bag in layers. I even filled a couple cupcakes with JUST caramel. SINNER! The tastier cupcakes had less filling in them. It was almost too sweet when I jam packed it with filling.
Then frost the cupcakes however you desire. I was excited to use my new jumbo round tip and keep it simple. Garnish with the pecan crumble and drizzle with caramel.
Enjoy! These were really delicious.
Okay, for real though, grilled cheese and fries has been my favorite meal since I was 3 years old. Why on Earth have I waited til the end of Grilled Cheese Month to do a post on this?! I told Albin we needed to have a grilled cheese night to celebrate this important month.
Here's the lineup...
Gruyere and Granny Smith on Sourdough-- this is the perfect mix of flavors. Tart, cheesy, sharp. I'm in love.
Artichoke Grilled Cheese. guh this was amazing. This one was a show stopper for me.
I spread cream cheese on the inside of each slice of bread. The filled it with parmesan cheese, a bit of sautéed spinach and artichoke hearts. (Pictured below without spinach)
I am just sorry I didn't take prettier photos of these beauties. They were delicious.