Friday, November 29, 2013

Sweet & Spicy Nuts

This have a addicting crunchy, sweet, spicy flavor. 
Something sweet and crunchy to begin with, followed by a kick of spicy to grab your attention.
I left a big bowl of these out on Thanksgiving day, while my attention was held with getting 14 dishes all ready for dinner at the same time.  It was funny to hear the exclaims of "wow" as people nibbled.
I might have warned them normally, but it was kind of fun to catch them unaware too...

I've made my sister in law's Yummy Nuts for years, and they are still my favorite, however, this one has some merits that can't be over looked.
I might try these again with only "sweet" spices, like cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice), nutmeg, ginger and cloves to see what it's like
There was only one "hater' of this recipe, my hubby who doesn't like cinnamon too much anyway, and disliked it mixed with cumin and chili powder.
It's up to you.

(not pictured, canola oil and cooking spray)

Makes 2 cups
Cooking Spray

1 egg white
2 cups raw skin-on almonds
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat egg white until frothy. Add almonds and oil; stir gently to coat. Combine the remaining ingredients; add to egg white mixture and gently stir to coat.
Spread into a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300° for 18-22 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring once. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Originally published as Sweet-Hot Spiced Nuts in Taste of Home December/January 2010, p31

Monday, November 25, 2013

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

My day was CRAZED... how about yours?
Best part of my day?
Carrying around a platter of cookies to my busy morning of meetings and sharing these cookies. It's amazing how happy a little ole cookie will make people.
Spread some love, bake these.

I found this recipe off of a very, very cute blog called Mother Thyme
This is her recipe, and I wholeheartedly approve.  I do have to say though, her cookies look way nicer than mine!

Makes about 24-30
    2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
    1 cup light brown sugar
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups confectioners sugar
    3 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheets with cooking spray and set aside.
Place rolled oats in a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds until coarse.

Mix oats with flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugars.
Add in eggs one at a time then vanilla extract.
Gradually add in flour mixture until combined.

Roll dough into 2 tablespoon size balls and place on baking sheet spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms begin to brown.Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Mix confectioners sugar and milk together in a medium bowl.
    Quickly dip tops of cookies into glaze and let excess drip off.
OR, drizzle the glaze over the top in little squiggles.
    Place back on wire rack until glaze sets.
    Store cookies in an airtight container.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Apple Berry Baked Oatmeal

I like Whole Foods as much as anyone, however, I think their prices are amazingly ridiculous.  I found this recipe on their website but I changed it up a bit. 
Well, it called for an organic apple..
Sure... I am 100% for organic apples, but not if I have to pay $3 a lb for it. 
It also sounds pretty pretentious to tell someone to use an organic apple.

Actually the apple I used was looking decidedly worse for the wear.  I think this one was in someone's lunch bag and took a couple of return trips before sitting dejectedly on the counter.  This dish was a perfect was to use up a perfectly good apple that didn't look so good.

A couple other things,
This recipe also called for vanilla yogurt and maple syrup... two things I didn't have in my kitchen that day.  It worked very nicely with plain yogurt and ginger syrup. 
It made me laugh, my ginger syrup was organic. Use maple syrup since I'm pretty darn sure more people don't have ginger syrup hanging around their house.

As this makes enough for 6-8 people and we are only two, we chilled the leftovers, cutting it into wedges to have for breakfast this week.  A perfect way to start a chilly winter morning.

Serves 6-8

Canola oil cooking spray
2 cups frozen mixed berries
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1/3 cup maple syrup (or ginger syrup)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375°F. 

Oil a (9-inch) pie pan, or individual dishes, with cooking spray; set aside. 
Grate the apple and add the frozen berries.

In a large bowl, stir together berries, oats, pecans, baking powder, salt and apple. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, yogurt, syrup, vanilla, eggs; stir into oat mixture. 

Transfer to prepared pan and bake until firm and golden brown on top, about 50 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Top 10 Side Dishes for the Holidays

The holidays approach.
You know the time of year... 
Let the eating Fest begin!  Say it loud and proud, folks!
Here's a couple of ideas to add to your festivities this year.  

One note, sometimes people don't like it if you change up all their "favorites" at once.  
Start to slip in a new dish or two, and see what you can do to create some new "must haves" for the future. 

I have a little guilt in rereading last year's Top 10 Thanksgiving ideas, as 5 are the same.  I guess it's because they are the classics you really ought to consider.

Baked Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Topping
Just about the best thing ever, and I have eaten LOTS of great sweet potatoes, this is my new favorite.


Brussels Sprout Salad with Cranberries & Walnuts
A nice way to get people to eat them.  I haven't been the biggest fan of Brussels Sprouts, but this is totally addicting.  Good hot, or cold.


Chili Corn Souffle
Easy to make ahead and bake as you need them.  This is delicious for everyone, but especially nice for the Vegetarians at the table.

Edamame Succotash
Good for the traditional people who like corn, but changed up to include edamame.

Creamed Spinach and Mushrooms, Cooking Light
Everyone needs a "light" dish on Thanksgiving... LOL. Really though, this is lighter in calories but heavy on flavor.

Roasted Beets with Walnuts and Goat Cheese
I love this... actually I love anything roasted, with goat cheese! SO pretty too.

Red Quinoa and Butternut Salad
Some crunch and lots of Holiday flavors.  Tasty and nutritious. Make ahead too.

"The Works"  Baked Potato Casserole
Okay, I know it's not mashed... but this could be an additional dish, OR great for another holiday meal.  You can make this up ahead too.

Sourdough and Sausage Stuffing
Not my finest photo, however, this is one of the family favorites each year.  The only requested item by my son, nothing else matters.


Chorizo Chipotle Cornbread Stuffing
Different and spicy, and something good for those who may be gluten free.


Here are some more that didn't quite make my Top 10, but happen to be very nice...
Carmelized Green Onions, Tomato and Zucchini
Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan and Almonds

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Baked Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Pie Topping

I suppose any recipe with over 1,550 5 star reviews is a no brainer to try. 

Sweet potatoes are one of those things that every family has their favorite, traditional dish.  Some do baked with marshmallows, with a yummy sweet sauce, or baked into chewy goodness like my Mom's.  It's hard to step out of the box with something new, because people can get a little uptight about you messing with tradition on that day.
Me?  I could change up Thanksgiving every year quite easily, but the peeps get upset.

Which is why I tried this on our pre-Thanksgiving with friends, they were delightful guinea pigs and willing to try anything. We all decided this one was a keeper and I'm finishing this post so that others can do it for the Big Day coming up.

We all decided this would be equally yummy baked into a pie as dessert too.

Serves about 8-12

4 cups sweet potato, about 2 large
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tbsp butter (1/2 stick), softened
1/2 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup chopped pecans, or walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, Bake sweet potatoes on a sheet pan in oven until tender, about 1 hour.  Peel and mash them.

 Prick them a couple times so they don't burst all over the place. Ask me how I know that...

In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. 

You can see I am multi-tasking here, melting the butter on the warm potatoes while 
mixing the milk, sugar, spices and eggs together.  I combined them after that...

Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish, or use 8-12 individual dishes. I used 8 which made large portions... which didn't seem to be a problem last night, however a smaller serving is probably a good idea.  

In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.
 I have mixed the sugar, flour, butter and spices together (above) and getting ready to add the nuts next.