-->

Chocolate Chip Cookies Infused with Nutmeg & Maple...


The thing I love about chocolate chip cookies is how salty they are. I've always said I wanted to make a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips, simply because I love the taste of the batter but hate the taste of the chocolate. I always grab the one cookie that looks like it might have been lucky enough to miss all the chips, but somehow there's always that one hidden chip that ruins the whole cookie for me. 

Being the chocolate hater that I am, probably puts me in the minority, however. 

Most people love chocolate chip cookies, and since these cookies are going to my aunt and uncle, I decided to keep my recipe experimentation to a minimum this time. Instead of making chocolate chip-less chocolate chip cookies, I used only a  few chips and a added bit of nutmeg and maple syrup... absolutely delicious! Salty and sweet with a tiny bit of spice...


Chocolate Chip Cookies Infused with Nutmeg & Maple...

  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted melted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup {not sugar free}
  • A few pinches of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Spray three baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
  • In a large bowl, mix melted butter, sugar, maple syrup, nutmeg and vanilla. Combine well, then add one egg and the yolk of another egg and mix well. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined.
  • Fold in your chocolate chips and spoon tablespoon sized portions onto your greased baking sheets about 2 1/2 inches apart.
  • Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until just golden brown. Remove the cookies from the sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.

enjoy...


Artist Spotlight // Annie Vought


Artist Annie Vought calls her work, 'cut out correspondence'; Cut text delicately suspended with pins.

Considering my love for typography, this is absolutely beautiful. 





1 / 2 /

Sweet Tomato Basil Muffins...


Last week it was five pounds of apples, this week it's a few pounds of tomatoes.... I really need to learn how to start keeping to my grocery lists. 

Regardless, I now have a few dozen tomatoes that I need to find homes for... and this seemed a delicious place to start!

Remember when I competed in the Iron Cupcake competition? Well, you can see my post here, over at the lovely Hannah's blog. The competition was late summer fruits, and while most entries were peach {like my salted brown sugar and peach cupcake, which you can find here}, pear, raspberry or cherry, one entry was a zucchini cupcake with cream cheese 'topping'. Really, it was simply a zucchini muffin, cut in half and spread thick with cream cheese... but it got me thinking. 

...And so, the healthy sweet tomato basil muffin recipe was born... 




Sweet Tomato Basil Muffins...

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup Chobani Greek Yogurt, Vanilla flavored
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly diced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp sea salt + extra for topping
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar

Preparation

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degree F.
  • Lightly spray muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside.
  • After dicing your tomatoes {with the skin on, don't dice too finely}, stir together tomatoes, diced garlic and basil.
  • In a separate bowl, combine your egg, yogurt and oil and beat well. If you don't have vanilla flavored yogurt, you can use plain and add 1/2 tsp of vanilla for sweetness.
  • Mix together flour, baking powder and salt and combine with your egg mixture. Mix well.
  • Stir in your tomato mixture until well combined and then fill your muffin tins 3/4 full. 
  • Top each muffin with a pinch of sea salt.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  • Remove from oven and let cool for a few hours before serving. This extra cooling time gives the garlic a chance to fully flavor the entire muffin.


enjoy...

Hanging Pots & Pans...


Our kitchen is extremely tiny and inconvenient. We don't have even one cabinet... only shelving. So in order to really accommodate my growing kitchen inventory, I need to find some better space solutions.

This weekend, I'm planning on crafting magnetic strips so that I can store my knives, but I'm also looking into finding some sort of hanging system for my pots, pans and cutting boards...

I particularly love the last two photos! 









1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Garlic Chevre Green Beans...


Garlic Chevre green beans have become somewhat of a staple at my family get togethers. They're full of flavor and texture, and when topped with chevre, they're also decadently rich and savory.

I've been making this recipe for my family for years and years, so I figured it's time to share it with someone!


Garlic Chevre Green Beans

  • Green beans {whatever amount you require}
  • Chevre cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly chopped garlic

Preparation

  • Cut the ends off of your beans and rinse with cold water.
  • Boil a large pot of water and cook your greens beans.
  • Once your beans have been thoroughly cooked, remove from heat and transfer into a bowl of ice water. Drain your beans after a few minutes.This keeps the beans firm and retains their bright green color during the cooking process.
  • In a large saucepan, add olive oil and your desired amount of garlic {for five pounds, I used five cloves of garlic}, then add you drained green beans and saute until lightly browned. 
  • Place your green beans in a serving dish and top with chevre cheese. The more chevre, the better! 


enjoy...

Bananas Foster Bread...


Bananas foster has always been one of my favorite 'flavors'. Banana and cinnamon is just a decadent {and dangerous} combination. 

I discovered bananas foster back when I used to bartend at a martini bar in college. That bar had the most extensive and elaborate drink menu I had ever seen, and many of the drinks were replications of rich and indulgent desserts from all over the world. One of the drinks that I so vividly remember making, was the bananas foster, which combined banana liqueur, cinnamon schnapps, vanilla vodka and a graham cracker crust rim all in a milk chocolate coated chilled glass. It smelled fantastic and tasted absolutely sinful.

Well, that recipe is in pretty steep competition with this recipe.

You know that phrase, 'melts in your mouth'? I never understood how people could use that phrase to describe anything other than something that literally, melts in your mouth. I heard someone refer to steak in that manner once, and it just confused me... 

This bread however, literally does melt in your mouth. The texture that the banana gives the bread, makes a seemingly crumbly bread, extremely smooth and moist... much more so than any cake or cupcake I have ever had. It almost feels as though it's made of pudding. Not to mention that baking this gave off the most amazing aroma; my apartment smelled so fragrant and happy... I don't know how you could ever be in a bad mood when you're surrounded by eau de bananas foster.




Bananas Foster Bread...

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1 1/2 cup cinnamon chips {Hershey's and Eileen's both make these}

Preparation

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cover a bread pan in parchment paper or tinfoil {I'm partial to tinfoil. Unless you have a good quality parchment, it may burn in the oven}. Spray the tinfoil or paper with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. 
  • In a small bowl, mash enough bananas for 1 cup. For me, two large bananas made enough for one cup.
  • In another large mixing bowl, mix together softened butter, sugar and brown sugar.
  • Beat egg and vanilla into the butter mixture, then add the mashed bananas.
  • Stir your flour into the mixture and mix until combined.
  • Once mixture is well combined, fold in cinnamon chips.
  • Place your mixture in your bread pan {a 9 x 13 inch pan works just as well} and bake for 30 minutes or until the batter in the center of the pan can pass the toothpick test. {inserted toothpick comes out clean}
  • Let cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack and remove the bread from the pan using the tinfoil or parchment.


enjoy...


Pumpkin Ginger Biscuits with Ginger Honey Butter...


I can honestly say I had never had a biscuit before I came up with this recipe. I had always viewed biscuits as being extremely high in calorie and fat; I seem to have a fear of the term 'buttermilk'. But thanks to ingredient experimentation and Chobani yogurt, I've created a savory buttermilk biscuit without the buttermilk!

So, after a few failed attempts at a healthier biscuit, I finally came up with this one. Trial runs #1 and #2  left me deeply disheartened, thinking that any further attempts would just end up in the trash as well. But after a few sleepless nights {I'm not even exaggerating; preparing for a 30-person Thanksgiving resulted in a few all-nighters} and multiple trips to the grocery store, I finally got it right.

These biscuits are wonderful. They're a tad sweet but still rich like a buttermilk biscuit should be. {disclaimer: this is according to those in attendance at my family Thanksgiving dinner, since I have no previous experience in the buttermilk biscuit department}. Paired with the ginger honey butter, these biscuits really flirt with the line between biscuit and dessert. {only in flavor, mind you. I was able to cut out a few calories with this recipe!}





Pumpkin Ginger Biscuits...

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3/4 cup non-fat plain Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin puree {not pumpkin pie filling}
  • 2 tbsp honey

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 400 degree F. 
  • Flour of spray two non-stick cooking sheets. If you don't have non-stick cooking sheets, use parchment paper, otherwise the biscuits will burn. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. 
  • Cut chilled butter into 1/2" pieces and add to the dry mixture. Using your hands, work the butter into the dry mixture until the mixture resembles corn meal. Once the butter had been worked through, chill the mixture in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine your skim milk and Chobani Greek yogurt. Whisk until smooth. This mixture is a healthier substitute for buttermilk. Measure out 1/3 cup of your buttermilk mixture and add to a medium sized mixing bowl. Add your pumpkin and honey and whisk until well combined.
  • Remove your chilled flour mixture from the refrigerator and add the wet ingredient mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined. If your mixture is a bit sticky, place in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes so it is easier to work with.
  • Using a floured surface, roll your dough out about 3/4" thick. Fold the dough in thirds {as if you were folding paper to fit into an envelope} then repeat the process, folding the opposite direction. This helps make the biscuits lighter and fluffier. 
  • Once your dough is rolled out in a 3/4" thick sheet, cut out 2 1/2 inch circles and place on your non-stick pan. I don't have a biscuit cutter so I used the ring of a mason jar to cut the circles. It worked perfectly!
  • Bake your biscuits for 12-15 minutes, or until a light golden brown color.

Ginger Honey Butter...

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • dash of salt

Preparation

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. 
  • Place the butter in your desired dish and let set in the refrigerator. Cover until ready to serve.

enjoy...

My Thanksgiving Dinner...


A feast...


Bananas foster bread.

{and my stepdad carving one of the turkeys in the background}


Rosemary Chive crisps with Spicy Greek Yogurt Dip.

Quite easy and ridiculously delicious. You can find my recipes here.


Garlic and chevre green beans.

I make these every year and they are so addictively savory. I thought I was going a tad overboard by getting five pounds of greens... turns out I probably should have gotten six or seven. The night before Thanksgiving was spent sitting on the couch, watching the kitschy Thanksgiving specials on TV and cutting green beans... and not sleeping... at all. 


Some of our feast.

Cheddar and sour cream potatoes, pineapple souffle, pumpkin ginger biscuits, ginger honey butter, the obligatory Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, grilled asparagus, candied orange sweet potatoes, garlic chevre green beans... 

I'm painstakingly re-living my day-after-Thanksgiving-food-hangover as I write this...


My cousin Les and I.

We slaved away for days in preparation of this feast! It was definitely worth it, being able to get all of our family together for the first time in years. I have such a lovely and amazing family, I am so thankful to be a part of such a loving group of people. 




Thanksgiving was such a great day. I didn't sleep at all the days prior, in an effort to get all my baking done and over to my cousin's house, where we hosted the dinner for around 30 people. I was exhausted and ready for multiple naps come dinner time, but somehow, was still able to put myself not only into a food coma the day of, but a food hangover the day after. It was absolutely worth the five extra pounds I gained, the following 24 hours spent recovering on the couch and the mess of flour and butter [still] covering my kitchen floor. 

One thing I am thankful for right this second:

Thanksgiving is only one day a year.

Time to catch up on sleep!

Happy Thanksgiving...


The thing about life is that it’s so short. Growing up takes forever, but looking back takes only a second… time truly does fly, and it’s what we make of the time that we have that makes our lives worthwhile.

So, as I venture off to see the family that I love so dearly for our Thanksgiving celebration, I can’t help but sit back and look at how full of happiness my life is.

I don’t have the most amazing friends in the world, they can be unreliable and overbearing sometimes, but they’re MY friends, and they make MY life happy and fun.

I don’t have the most ideal family, they can be embarrassing and many times absent when I need them the most, but they’re my family and they made me who I am. I’m proud of the person I’ve become and the goals that I’ve achieved. Without them, I would have never chosen the path that I have.

I don’t have all the money in the world, but my life is full of curiosity and passion. As a recent college graduate, I’m riddled, just like so many of you, with student loans. I can’t afford to go out and purchase that Canon dslr I’ve been forever smitten with, or stock my kitchen with the most exotic ingredients... but I am lucky enough to be able to appreciate everything that I am already surrounded by. My passion for pretty much everything, is what drives me to smile each and every day… all I want in life is to find the beauty in what’s simple. The simple things are all we remember when we look back at our past. The simple things are the only things that make us genuinely happy.

So, whether or not you and your family will be celebrating Thanksgiving in the upcoming days, make it a point to look around you and appreciate everything in your life. Be thankful for the things you have, the goals you've been able to achieve and the people that surround you with happiness and support. You are who you are because you've made the best with what you have.

{1 / 2 }
Have an amazing weekend, I'll see you in a few days!

{appreciate everything}

Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips...

This is the last of my apple recipes for the week, I swear!

This recipe was so easy and so aromatic, I'm thinking about trying this one out again tonight for my family's Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow... but I doubt I would have any leftover by tomorrow morning. I will honestly say that I ate every last one of these chips the same day I made them. They're addictive! I didn't even realize I had eaten them all either. I looked down, and they were gone... oops. 

Side note: the sound of a good old fashioned kitchen timer is oddly comforting. It makes me feel like I'm back home in my grandma's kitchen, just watching in amazement as she comes up with the most seemingly impossible Christmas cookie recipes. You better feel the same way if you tackle this recipe; you'll be listening to your timer for a few hours!

Additional side note: You know those kitschy kitchen timers that come in the shape of an egg or a cupcake? Mine is a hamburger. It's probably the classiest thing I own. 


Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips...

  • 4 apples, sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. 
  • If you have an apple corer and a mandolin slicer, core the apples and then slice them in thin strips. If you don't have either of those items, like myself, cut the apples width-wise as thin as you can get them. To cleanly remove the center of each slice, I used the cap of a liquor bottle {it was just the right size I was looking for} and essentially cut out the core portion of each apple slice. It worked like a charm!
  • Once you've cut all your apple slices, distribute them evenly on a lightly greased baking sheet. 
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well.
  • Sprinkle no more than half the mixture over the apple slices and bake for one hour.
  • After one hour, remove the pan and turn each slice, then sprinkle the remainder of the mixture evenly over the overturned apple slices.
  • Place bake in the oven and bake for another 60 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and let cool. 


Enjoy...

Photo...



{via}

Fawning Over Forest Green...


Green is one of those colors that can be a tad overwhelming at times. We're constantly surrounded by it in nature {well, maybe you all are... I'm currently surrounded by sidewalk. Everywhere.}, so bringing it into our homes can be excessive. 

...or, you could just say, 'you can never have too much of a good thing' and completely fall in love with these gorgeous green rooms!









1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Baked Apples Stuffed with Maple Brown Sugar Oats...


This past weekend, I bought way too many apples for my own good. Forced to put them to use, I researched apple recipes for hours on end until finally, I remembered some recipes my father used to make for me when I was younger.

My dad is a phenomenal cook. It's really not that he's good at cooking, it's that he isn't afraid to combine flavors and textures. Rather than just making a dish, he makes an experience... a memory. That is what I love about food, it's not just something to eat out of habit or routine, it's something to enjoy, savor and remember. So, when I thought back to my youth, and how my dad would always bypass side salads with our meals, I remembered that he very often presented us with baked vegetables or grilled fruit instead.

Since my tiny city apartment does not allow enough space for any kind of grill, I decided to create a baked apple recipe. I could not have been any happier with the way this recipe turned out. The apples were so juicy and soft, and the texture resembled that of a baked potato. The stuffing tasted exactly like autumn and my tiny little apartment smelled something like what a Yankee candle store smells like right around Christmas.

This recipe is so easy and so delicious... my new go to {healthy} dessert from now on!


Baked Apples Stuffed With Maple Brown Sugar Oats...

  • 2 large apples {I used Honeycrisp}
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup {I used sugar-free}
  • 2 tbsp oats
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp coconut
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tbsp butter

Preparation

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Wash and core your apples. I don't have an apple corer, so I used a paring knife to cut around the core and then used a small spoon to remove the contents of the middle. Make sure not to cut or core all the way through the bottom of the apple. 
  • In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, syrup, oats, honey, cinnamon, coconut and salt and mix by hand.
  • Place your apples in a baking pan {8 x 8 inch works just fine} and stuff each apple with your filling.
  • Once your apples have been stuffed, place a 1/2 tbsp of butter on top of each apple, right over the oat filling. 
  • Once your apples are ready for baking, place 1/4 cup of water in the pan and place in the oven.
  • Bake your apples for about 40 minutes, basting the apples in the pan juices every so often.
  • Remove your apples from the oven and let sit in the pan for a few minutes. Once the apples have cooled a bit, they're ready to eat!

enjoy...

French Toast Mug Cake...

Last week was a hectic one for me... Come Friday at 5:00 p.m., it was nap time. I was just too tired to do anything other than sleep.... not even eat dinner.

So after I woke up from my 'nap' at midnight, I was a bit hungry... it didn't seem right to make a full meal at 12:00 A.M., so I simply decided to make a little two minute treat while I cuddled up and watched a movie on the couch {and I must be candid with you, the movie I ended up watching was Muppets in Space... I'm not even ashamed of it}.

I have made mug brownies and even a mug peanut butter cake before... but I decided to take pretty much every recipe I have seen for quick microwave sweets, and combine them into this little concoction. Now, if you're looking for gourmet texture and flavor, this is not where you will find it. If you're looking for something quick and delicious considering you made it in the microwave in two minutes, then definitely give this recipe a try!



French Toast Mug Cake...

  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • powdered sugar {for dusting}

Preparation

  • In a small bowl, whisk a small egg. Add the remaining ingredients to the whisked egg and mix well. 
  • Pour your mixture into a large mug {I used a small mason jar}. Make sure the batter does not rise past the halfway point of the mug, otherwise it will rise too high and spill over the sides of the mug.
  • Place the mug in the microwave and cook on high for about two minutes. Make sure to watch your mug, as the power of your microwave might be stronger than others.
  • Remove from microwave, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!