Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mustardy Kale & Butternut Squash

I feel like I’ve been a total slacker about sharing what we’ve been doing with our CSA box this year.  It’s just so hard to manage to snap a photo these days, especially with daylight savings time and all.  Plus we’ve been doing a lot of repeats, or incredibly simple stuff.  We actually opted to do a winter CSA again this year with Delvin Farms when our neighbors expressed interest in sharing one.  Nathan & I have found we really love the extension of the wonderful local organic greens, winter squash, & sweet potatoes.

When planning meals for the week I knew I wanted to pair the kale and butternut squash.  I knew they paired well together from my previous post of a Kale, Squash, & White Bean Stew.  I did some recipe browsing and settled on this recipe from Real Simple.  I often have success with the recipes I use from there, as they usually are REAL (as in they use “real” ingredients, less processed things) & SIMPLE.  I don’t have time for 14 step Bon Appetit or Gourmet recipes these days (heck, I’m not sure I had that much time before I had a kid!), so recipes that come together quickly without crazy ingredients are a necessity.

The mustard addition brings a new taste to the squash & kale, as I don’t know I’ve had either of them with mustard.  It’s a nice departure from doing anything vinegar-y with the kale, or something creamy with the squash.  This will most definitely be in regular rotation for us.  We paired it with bone-in pork chops, and it was a wonderful meal!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Muffins

As we near the end of pumpkin season, I have a new pumpkin recipe to share.  I woke up Sunday morning in the mood for muffins.  I considered the two recipes already on my blog, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins and Pumpkin Nut Muffins with Molasses Glaze, but realized I didn’t have all the ingredients for either one.  You can’t really have too many pumpkin muffin recipes can you?  So, a new one it was!

This recipe was pretty quick & easy to throw together.  The muffins came out tasting fantastic!  The flavors of pumpkin & white chocolate pair exceptionally well together, but then again I already know that because of how huge a hit these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles are on my blog.  I think these would be a great Thanksgiving morning snack as you prepare the big meal.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I’m so thankful for each and every one of my blog readers.  I know I don’t have anywhere near the best blog out there, and my posts are very much sporadic, so I’m thankful you have continued to read and hopefully enjoy my posts.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili

My apologies for the delay in posting.  I was working on a fabulous pumpkin round up of recipes I’ve been drooling over, as well as photos of my lil pumpkin, but I just didn’t get it finished before Halloween.  Life just gets in the way!  I won’t withhold photos of Elliott just because I never got that round up finished.  Please enjoy the pics of my little guy!  (PS. If you follow me on Instagram, you get to see photos of him quite often!  Check out that link for more.)

Hanging out in the pumpkin patch, like ya do.

Lil buddy was napping before we arrived, so he didn’t really get fully alert & smiley until the same time my battery died!  :(  And yes, he is slightly out of focus in this one.  Double :(

Oh my…  As you can see I often have my hands full with this one!  One day a couple weeks ago I got the call while at work that he was running a fever.  Poor guy turned out to have an ear infection.  I left work to pick him up and he spent the majority of that day in my arms moaning, crying, or shrieking.  The one bright part of that day was the relief that we didn’t need to worry about dinner that night.  The night before I had prepped this slow cooker meal and put it in the fridge.  Nathan simply turned it on to cook later that morning.  We were able to take turns eating & comforting our sick one.  It truly was a relief to have a delicious meal rather than scrambling for random things, or running out for fast food.

I did some tweaking to this recipe to suit our likings.  Josie mentioned it was a really thick chili, so therefore I added 2 cups of broth as I prefer mine with more liquid.  I still found it pretty thick, so you could bump it up to 2 1/2 -3 cups if you wanted.  I also added diced green chiles, and it works with diced jalapeños (canned, but fresh would probably work just as well).  I love that this makes a TON of chili.  Enough to eat leftovers another night, as well as plenty of lunches.  I recently made this as a meal to take to a friend who is a new mother, and it might be my go-to meal for that from now on!  It’s just SO easy & delicious.  This will remain in regular rotation with us for sure!

 

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Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 6-8 hours

**The cheese has never fully melted for me. I even tried cutting the cheese into smaller cubes. I have always cooked this on LOW, so perhaps if it were cooked on HIGH it would melt. Usually when reheating in the microwave the cheese melts. It doesn't detract from the taste, but it's something to note. Next time I might try grating the cheese, or using shredded.**

Ingredients:

4 (15-oz) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
8 ounces Pepper jack cheese, cut into cubes
3 cups salsa (any heat level you prefer)
1 small can of diced green chiles or jalapeños
2 cups chicken broth
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat

Directions:

Combine the beans, cheese, salsa, diced chiles, and broth in a crockpot. Nestle the chicken breasts into the mixture, and cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove chicken breasts, shred with a fork, and return to crockpot. Stir to combine, and serve with desired garnishes.

adapted from Pink Parsley

Monday, October 22, 2012

Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad with Cider Dijon Vinaigrette

As you know I love a good veggie/grain type of salad.  Whether it be quinoa, couscous, or barley, I just love the combination of flavors & textures.  When I was asked by Freekah Foods if I wanted to sample freekeh, which is an ancient grain, but certainly new to me, I couldn’t pass it up!  I accepted the sample while I was still on maternity leave.  Yeah, back in JULY!  Luckily the flavor I chose was perfect for fall, because it was until then that I finally got the chance to use it!

You’re probably still like, “Freekah?  What the F*$k is freekah?”  (Just kidding, I’m sure you don’t swear nearly as much as I do.)  Well, according to Freekeh Foods.com, freekah is an ancient grain dating back nearly 2,000 years ago.  Freekeh is a process which means “to rub” in Arabic. It was created by accident when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. Most folks would sulk over their misfortune, but the crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up and “Eureka!” Freekeh was created.  It has 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 130 calories per low-fat serving.  It also has a really interesting nutty, almost crunchy texture.

I loved this “new to me” grain!  And I REALLY loved the pre-seasoned packet I got.  I chose the rosemary sage, but they also offer original, and tamari.  We’ve been getting a lot of butternut squash in our CSA, and I thought it would be great to toss into a grain salad with the freekeh.  I also combined some dried cranberries, maple syrup, apple cider reduction, and dijon syrup to round it out.  This was a perfect storm of flavors.  I loved the variety of textures in this as well.  Check your local Whole Foods Market, or health food grocery store to find some freekah for yourself.  You can also get it online.  I can’t recommend it enough!

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Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad with Cider Dijon Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash (or 1/2 of a large one)
extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp dried cranberries

1 package Freekeh Foods Rosemary Sage Freekah (or 8oz freekah, plus dried rosemary & sage to taste)

Dressing:
3/4 cup apple cider (reduced to 1/4 cup)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp (pure) maple syrup
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel butternut squash and chop into 1 inch cubes. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender, tossing halfway through. Let cool.

Place dried cranberries in a small bowl, cover with water, and set aside.

Meanwhile prepare freekah to package directions.

Dressing:
Heat 3/4 cup apple cider in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook 6-8 minutes until cider is reduced to 1/4 cup. Combine reduced cider, extra virgin olive oil, maple syrup, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and salt & pepper.

Drain cranberries. Combine freekah, squash, cranberries, and dressing. Toss well, and serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

**I was NOT compensated for this post.  I was merely given a sample.  If I didn’t like it, I would not have blogged about it.  Lawd knows I ain’t got time to write about something if I didn’t LOVE it!**

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pink Raspberry Marshmallows

Hello readers!  I’ve got another guest post today.  Jen at Beantown Baker is blogging this awesome dessert recipe to help spread the word about a cause near & dear to her heart.  I’m so honored she wanted to use my blog as an outlet to spread the word.  So read on to learn more, and find out about these delicious treats!

Pumpkin, apples, and cranberries tend to dominate recipes at this time of year. I thoroughly enjoy each of those ingredients, but October also makes me think PINK. As many of you know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

If you’re anything like me, you or someone you know has been touched by this horrible disease. Within the last 9 months, my Hubby’s mother and a dear friend’s mother were both diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer. My own mother is a survivor (8 years this year!)

I have made breast cancer awareness and fundraising a personal mission of mine. I have walked three Avon Walks (I plan to walk all 9 of them), organized Bloggers Bake for Hope, and created the Power of Pink Challenge five years ago. Through this challenge, I ask that fellow bloggers make something pink to help raise breast cancer awareness (non-bloggers are welcome too). This year, each participant will be entered to win a $100 donation to a charity of their choice.

I decided it would be fun to make some pink raspberry marshmallows to participate in my own challenge. Have you ever had homemade marshmallows? If not, I highly recommend making some. They are at least a million times better than store-bought. Possibly more like a billion. And they get super gooey when mixed into hot cocoa or melted into a s’more.

I searched for raspberry marshmallow recipes online and most of them used raspberry flavoring and food coloring. I decided to take a shot at just using raspberry puree in my favorite marshmallow recipe and it worked beautifully. These marshmallows have a delicate raspberry flavor and a pretty pink color. I couldn’t be happier with them! I can’t wait to stir some into a mug of hot cocoa.

If you would like more information on the Power of Pink, including how to participate, click here.

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Pink Raspberry Marshmallows

Yield: 4 dozen

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Nonstick spray

Directions:

Place raspberries and their juice in a food processor and puree until smooth. Strain to remove seeds. You should get 1/2 cup of raspberry puree.

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with raspberry puree. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown