Tuesday, November 19, 2013
As the weather has turned crisp, we haven’t completely abandoned the grill. I recently found short ribs on sale, and thought I’d treat Nathan to a nice meal. We only go out to eat about once a week, both to save money, and because Elliott’s behavior in restaurants can mean we spend more time trying to get him to behave, than we spend enjoying our meal. I could easily see these short ribs costing $18 or more at a restaurant. It’s nice to enjoy a restaurant quality meal from the comfort of our own home!
I marinated these overnight, then following some of the commenters suggestions, I cooked these in the slow cooker for about 4 hours. Afterwards I reserved the remaining marinade and reduced it on the stovetop. Nathan finished these off on the grill for that great grilled taste. It was the perfect lazy Sunday meal, requiring little actual effort. These had fantastic flavor, and were perfectly tender. I loved the sweet/tangy flavor combo. It wasn’t too strong of a flavor either. I paired them with coconut rice (jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk), and some steamed broccoli. I feel like I never seem to post dinner recipes these days, so it was important for me to share this!
Friday, October 25, 2013
As it turns out, my infant who happily munched broccoli, gobbled up asparagus, chowed down on Winter Squash Quinoa Chicken Stew, and would pretty much at least try anything has slowly morphed into a toddler that will eat almost nothing. Ok, so not QUITE almost nothing. He does have a list of approved foods, things like: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, pears, bananas, kiwi, bananas, & raisins. Sense a theme here? Fruit fruit fruit. There are a handful of non-fruit things he’ll eat, such as pizza, full fat greek yogurt, muffins, crackers, granola bars, cheerios, bacon, lunchmeat & cheese (but only about 30-40% of the time I offer it), and spaghetti (sometimes). I very much did not want to raise a picky eater, but here I am. Because he will eat muffins, I wanted to offer him a breakfast option similar to muffins, but perhaps a bit healthier. Also, I was curious to see if he inherited his momma’s love of pumpkin.
This baked pumpkin oatmeal recipe originally called for it to be made in muffin tins. I ended up baking mine in a mini loaf pan and I’m glad I did. I still had a portable breakfast (when wrapped in foil), but I could slice off exactly the portion I wanted. I worried with muffins I might end up eating 2, when 1 1/2 would satisfy me. I certainly loved this breakfast treat! It was similar to a muffin, as I expected, but heartier. This really kept me full all morning long. And as I would heat it up in the break room each morning at work, I often got compliments of “That smells amazing!”
Now, you’re probably wondering how my little picky eater liked it. Well… in true Elliott fashion, one day he ate about 1/2 of what I gave him (which meant he liked it), the following two days he refused to eat any of it, and the fourth day he ate 3 bites. Sheesh. All I know is, I’m definitely making this again in the future, whether he eats any of it or not!
Monday, October 14, 2013
I keep a big batch of cold brewed coffee in the fridge because we really like iced coffee, and it’s convenient in the mornings. Nathan puts store bought caramel syrup in his, but I prefer homemade syrup. I often make ginger syrup, vanilla bean syrup, or when the season is right a batch of gingerbread syrup. A few years back when pumpkin spice syrup started making the rounds I made it too, but I wasn’t blown away by it. A few weeks ago I set out to make the best pumpkin spice syrup ever and did a LOT of tweaking. While it was pretty dang good, I felt it needed further adjusting to the spice ratios and method to truly be called “the best ever”. When it ran out I just didn’t have the energy that night to do “recipe development”, so I decided to make a simple vanilla bean syrup. (Side note, with as many times as I’ve made vanilla bean syrup, I can’t believe I’ve never blogged it.)
As it was simmering, I got to thinking… One of my favorite coffee shops in town, Crema, in the past has made a Bourbon Barrel Sorghum Latte. Being a Kentucky girl, I was raised with sorghum as an alternative to honey or molasses. I’ve used it a Pumpkin Nut Muffin recipe on the blog in the past, and mentioned putting it in steel cut oats. The sorghum in my pantry had crystalized and needed reheating to use. I got to thinking that I could swirl it into the vanilla bean syrup to give it another depth of flavor. This turned out to be a spectacular idea. I may abandon the idea of working on the pumpkin syrup recipe, because this was quicker & easier, and SO DELICIOUS! I’ve been using it in coffee, but I oughta work on putting it to use in cocktails! It really does just give it an extra depth of flavor, with a touch of the sweetness & flavor of sorghum. The sorghum pairs with the vanilla bean perfectly as well. If you can get your hands on some sorghum, I highly suggest making a batch of this!
Sunday, September 15, 2013
One of the most popular posts on Erin’s Food Files is the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles. I originally posted these way WAY back in 2008. The mere fact that I was blogging in 2008 is a bit mind boggling to me. My life was incredibly different at that time. I actually started my blog in August of that year because I was bored, and had free time on my hands. I loved cooking and baking, and the blog was a great outlet for that, and a way to use up all my free time. Now free time is a lovely memory. In a perfect world I would work fewer hours, and I would have someone come and clean my house once a week. But in reality, I get home at 6:15pm at the earliest every day, Elliott’s bedtime is 7:30, and by the time I finish with that I usually have about an hour or so to wash dishes and prep dinner for the next night. My weekends are spent chasing after my on-the-go-all-the-time toddler, making up for lost time with him & my husband during the week, and also trying to get household chores done. Finding time to bake is rare!
Considering autumn is my absolute favorite season, no matter how hectic my life is these days, I make room in my busy schedule to at least do a little baking! I love seeing the renewed interest in the original Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles each year as autumn rolls in. The original recipe uses white chocolate chips in the pumpkin mixture, and white chocolate almond bark for the coating. These truffles are a riff on those, because I’ve gotten a handful of people asking about substitutions and such. I knew replacing the coating would be a simple sub, but I didn’t want to sub regular chocolate chips for the white chocolate ones in the filling because you’d lose the pretty pumpkin color! Then I realized I could substitute butterscotch chips for the white chocolate chips in the filling (and thinking of these cookies is what triggered that!). The white chocolate in the filling of the original truffles is hardly noticeable, and a similar effect happens here. You really can’t tell there is butterscotch in the filling. Hence the reason this post is not titled “Butterscotch Pumpkin Truffles”. They merely add a depth of flavor and thickness to the truffles.
When I made these, I broke it up into steps; I made the filling one night when I was exhausted before bed. I rolled them into balls in the morning, then stuck them in the freezer. I did the chocolate dipping in the afternoon. As I was waiting for them to cool I was DYING to try one! I could not wait to sink my teeth into them to see if they lived up to my expectations, to see how they compared to the original, and (most importantly) to see if I got it right on the first attempt. Well, the wait lived up to the hype. These were OH SO GOOD! I might even say I like them better than the original. But, I can’t be certain as I did not do a side by side comparison.
Click more for the recipe!
Sunday, August 25, 2013
I am beyond excited to know so many fabulous food bloggers who have written cookbooks. The newest one to land my way is Cereal Sweets & Treats by my dear friend, The Novice Chef. This is her second cookbook, as her first was Mini-Donuts, which you may remember from my Mexican Hot Chocolate Donut post. In her newest book, she really takes breakfast out of the box, if you can excuse my pun!
Jessica is the genius behind Fruity Pebble Macarons, Lucky Charms Cupcakes, Corn Pops Ice Cream, Reese’s Puffs Peanut Butter Truffles, and more! This girl loves cereal. Know who else loves cereal? Kids! Every summer my nephew comes up from Florida to spend the summer with his Grandad. We like for him to come stay the night with us a few times during the course of his visit. He’s almost 11, and ever since he was 6 years old we have always baked something together. The time came for him to fly home, and he spent the night with us before he left. I showed him the cookbook and he was SUPER impressed that I knew the author of such a cool book. I let him browse through and pick out a recipe. He first wanted to make the Pumpkin Cheerios Bars, but those need to stay refrigerated until serving, therefore weren’t the best treats to take with him on the airplane! The Golden Graham S’mores were his second choice, and a mighty-fine choice that was! These were super simple to make, and tasted delicious! I received word from my father in law that my nephew ate about 4 of them as he was waiting to get on the plane. Oh the lucky traveler who was seated next to my sugar-high 10 year old nephew on that flight!
I love that these are sort of a reconstructed, less messy version of s’mores. It has all the flavor without the hassle of a campfire! I highly suggest you pick up a copy of this book if you have kids who enjoy time in the kitchen. There are a lot of simple, fun recipes. Every single recipe has a mouthwatering accompanying photo, so this is a visual feast as well! I hope Elliott grows up enjoying spending time in the kitchen with me like my nephew does. If so, I think I’ll have the best sous chefs around!
(recipe after the break)