Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sugar Coated Gingerbread Twists

If years 2008-2011 were “the era of pumpkin” then 2012 has ushered in “the era of gingerbread” in full force.  I just can’t get enough of the ginger/gingerbread flavor.  I know a lot of people get excited about the pumpkin spice lattes or peppermint mochas appearing at the big brand coffee shops, but I’ve opted for anything with seasonal spice over pumpkin every time this year.  So, when it came time to choose a cookie for my Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I knew just what flavor direction to look towards.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

I loved this delightfully different gingerbread cookie!  It’s not a roll-out cookie cutter gingerbread man, but a puffier option.  It has a spicy kick from the fresh ground black pepper.  I think the raw/turbinado sugar adds a sparkly festive look as well.  These pair well with coffee in the morning, or just as an afternoon treat.  I hope my cookie swap recipients enjoyed them!  I think these would be a great addition to your upcoming cookie swap, cookie bake-off, or holiday gathering!

I sent these to Christina at The Dough Will Rise Again, Karla at Forty Cakes, and Brigitt at Cook with B.  I received Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies (and mint hot chocolate!) from Secrets from the Cookie Princess, and Chocolate Shortbread Squares from Julie at White Lights on Wednesday.  So delicious!

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cabbage Gratin

This cabbage gratin is a recipe I’ve made quite a few times the past couple years.  Around October & November I find myself with a surplus of cabbage.  My summer share CSA ends around this time, and sometimes I join the winter share which begins now too, and I’ll often get a head of cabbage in both.  Other than coleslaw, I wasn’t really quite sure what else to make with the cabbage.  My mother suggested boiled cabbage which is a nasty, disgusting way to eat a perfectly good vegetable.  Ugh… I still have distinct memories of the horrible smell & taste of boiled cabbage!

I remember once asking on Twitter for cabbage recipes, to which my friend Beth led me to this recipe on her blog.  I really wasn’t sure if we’d like it, but I was up to my ears in cabbage at the time so I gave it a shot.  We were pleasantly surprised when we really enjoyed it!  It seems Nathan too had bad memories of cabbage cooked wrong in his house as well.

This is a pretty simple meal to throw together.  The end result is warm & satisfying.  It can stand alone, or is a great side dish, or even brunch item.  Most recently I had both green & purple cabbage to use, so I used both, but feel free to use only green cabbage.  I must say, as tasty as this is, it doesn’t always photograph well!  Luckily, this is a dish that we enjoy, so it seemed I would always have another opportunity finally capture the right shot.

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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