Friday, April 29, 2016

12 Cinco de Mayo Inspired Recipes

Cinco de Mayo is coming up. I have no Hispanic heritage.   And I hear that even in Mexico this isn't a big holiday. Something, to a certain extent, Americans made up. We love Mexican food with all sorts of spice and probably eat some variation at least once a week. It should be no surprise then that come Cinco de Mayo we are ready to go big.  

Below are some of our favorite dishes.  We will be picking some kind of combination for next week.  On top of that the office is having a Cinco de Mayo potluck.  I will be doubling up on my festivities.  What are your plans for Cinco de Mayo?

Tator Tot Nachos
Healthy Mexican Vegetable Lasagna

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Acorn Squas, Black Bean and Spinach Quesadilla
Mexican Corn Soup
Taco Salad

Shredded Chicken Taquitos
Corn Risotto Stuffed Peppers
Five Layer Mexican Black Bean Dip

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Golden Milk

I thought I had beat the year for colds and all things unhealthy. This past winter was the worst with illnesses and I was hoping to put it behind me as fast as possible. I was wrong.

The past few weeks I witnessed co-workers and colleagues come down with colds, stomach bugs and allergies.  Despite my best efforts this week I came down with sniffles and sneezes galore. 

In order to gain control of the situation and end things as soon as possible I thought I would try out golden milk or turmeric latte. Have you heard of this before? It is making the rounds on the internet. People swear by it. 

Turmeric has long been used for colds, congestion, headaches and sore throats. It is suppose to fight depression. Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 

I just took my first batch? today and we will see if it is the miracle cure everyone says it is.  

The taste is different but not bad.  The honey helps with the bitterness as does the cooking time with the turmeric. The longer you simmer the less bitter the drink. 

Have you heard of golden milk?  

Golden Milk

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Keywords: beverage
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • A sprinkle of black pepper
Place milk in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add turmeric, ginger, and pepper. Stir well in order to incorporate the dried spices.

Let the milk begin to simmer. Allow to heat for another minute or two being careful not to let the milk overheat and boil.

Turn off heat, cover, and allow the mixture to sit for ten minutes to improve the infusion of flavors.

Serve warm.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut Cookies with Sea Salt

Today was one of those days I woke up at 5 am.  This is actually a bit later than a previous 4 am wake up time.  It was raining and stormy outside. I wanted to roll back over and shut my eyes.  

Miss O must have also heard the rain because she woke up too. I am on my own for a few days and for fear of her really getting up I jumped out of bed to quickly shower and get ready for the day.  Lucky for me Miss O fell back to sleep. 

Now it is 5:30 am and I am ready to go to work. So here I am with 2 hours to kill.

My early morning wake up calls can be really productive.  Two uninterrupted hours lead to bills being paid, emails written, dishes emptied and toys put away.  Today is not one of those days.  Rain makes me lazy.

I am resting up from our busy weekend of guests, typical chores and outdoor activities.  Along with the honey roasted snack mix from yesterday's post we also had cookies. Fancy cookies with hazelnuts and sea salt. I had hazelnuts in the pantry and thought why not.  We threw them in the food processor briefly to chop them up a bit.  There were big and small pieces mixed in with all of the mini chocolate chips. The cookies were finished off with a sprinkle of sea salt.

They were so good I forgot to get mad that five people were enjoying these cookies on the couch.  I am still finding little cookie crumbs. My advice is make the cookies but don't eat them on the couch.

Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies with Sea Salt

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert chocolate hazelnuts cookie
Ingredients (18 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup roasted hazelnuts, half coarsely chopped and half finely chopped
  • sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a bowl, beat the softened butter and sugars together with an electric handheld mixer or stand mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat to incorporate for about 1 minute.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the mixture all at once into the butter/sugar mixture and mix until everything is thoroughly combined.

Add the chocolate chips and nuts. Mix well.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon full of dough onto the baking sheet. Repeat until the sheet is full. Make sure the dough is rounded so it bakes nicely and leaving space between each ball of dough. Then sprinkle each ball of dough with a little bit of sea salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies are ready when they start to get golden brown on the edges.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack.
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Honey Roasted Snack Mix #secretrecipeclub

It is the 4th Monday of the month and that means it is time for another rendition of The Secret Recipe Club.  This month my assigned blog was Nora of Natural Noshing. I laughed when I first went to explore her blog because her latest post was a Secret Recipe Club recipe that I also picked.  Clearly we have similar tastes. 

I was hungry when I started searching Nora's blog. Probably not a good thing when you are trying to find a recipe.  Or maybe a very good thing.  I found that she has a snack area in her recipe archives and I went to work.  The Honey Roasted Snack Mix immediately struck my eye and that is what I ended up making for this post.  However she also has three ingredient deviled eggs which I saw last month during the round up and bookmarked.

We had guests over the weekend and I made this for easy snacking throughout the weekend.  The trouble was when the  batch was first done I sampled some only to find that it was so good I wanted to eat much, much more.  I resisted and swore my husband off until our guests arrived. 

The combination of nuts and pretzels is a perfect crunchy treat with a little sweet and a little salty. A bit more sweet than salty which is right up my alley.  I cannot wait to make more to bring for my afternoon work snack. 

Honey Roasted Snack Mix

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Keywords: bake snack almond pretzels peanuts cashews
Ingredients (Makes approximately 3 cups)
  • 2/3 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt\\
  • 1 1/2 cups mini pretzels
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.

Combine honey and butter in a medium size bowl and microwave on 50% power level until butter is melted (about one minute). Add salt to the butter-honey mixture and stir to combine.

Add cashews, almonds and peanuts to the bowl and toss until evenly coated. Spread coated nuts on the baking sheet in a single, even layer and bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven, stir once and place back in the oven to bake another 5 more minutes.

Remove baking sheet from oven and let cool slightly, then spoon into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and toss to coat. Add pretzels and stir to combine. Let cool completely and store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

Recipe Notes: You can use roasted salted nuts and omit the extra salt in the recipe.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Griet's Vegetable Soup ‪#‎thebookclubcookbookCC

Due to my Savannah trip I had ample time to get in a good read this month.  I spent the time indulging in the Girl with the Pearl Earring for the March April selection of #‎thebookclubcookbookCC.  

Not familiar with the #thebookclubcookbookCC?  Well it's a group of 11 bloggers where each month we pick a book, to read or not is up to you, and then make a recipe either from The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp or something inspired by the book. If you are interested in joining see this post from Camilla, our leader or Sarah's invitation for April.

There is a giveaway at the bottom of this post for The Book Club Cook Book so keep reading. 

The Girl with the Pearl Earring is a coming of age story about Griet who moves in with the artist Vermeer's family due to an unfortunate accident rendering her father unable to work. Vermeer needs a maid who can clean his studio. He is instantly taken with Griet when he meets her in the kitchen chopping vegetables for soup.  Her vegetables are neatly arranged by color on the cutting board.  Her natural artistic instinct is clear and she starts her new life with Vermeer's family. 

The recipe highlighted in The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors is a vegetable soup to pay homage to this scene. 

Be sure to check out the other bloggers participating as well!

Griet's Vegetable Soup

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: saute soup/stew carrot
Ingredients (serves 10)
  • 2 large leeks
  • 8 oz lean slab bacon, cut into 1/2" dice, or 2 Tbsp olive or canola oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 2 c finely diced green cabbage
  • 2 c finely diced peeled chopped carrots
  • 1 c finely diced peeled turnip
  • 10 c beef, chicken, or vegetable stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c red cabbage, cut into paper-thin slices
  • 1/2 c fresh parsley, finely minced
Rinse the leeks well and soak in cool water for 15 minutes to remove all grit. Halve leeks lengthwise and cut into fine dice.

Cook bacon gently in a Dutch oven or stockpot for 5 minutes. Add the leeks and onion and cook gently for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Drain off bacon fat.

Add the green cabbage, carrots, turnips and stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat.

Simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish individual servings with red cabbage slivers and parsley.
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This month Sarah at Thing I Make (for Dinner), this month's host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

One of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from April 1st till April 30th at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: Sarah received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Why have we been so busy lately?  There has been a lot going on.  Both Mr. J and I had a work trip to Savannah for a whole week. It was beautiful and we had some fun alone time but my goodness a week is a long time. I missed Miss O terribly and it felt like my time stayed still while everyone else's moved forward. This might be a good thing for some people but I felt awfully behind.

Savannah is such a fun, beautiful place to visit. I loved walking around the squares, visiting the small, unique stores and enjoying the delicious eats. 

We went on a fun tour of the Savannah Bee Company bee garden. I am really, really frightened of bees and was scared the to death.  I am proud to say I stayed for the whole explanation and even dipped my finger in the hive to try some really fresh honey. My heart was racing really fast the whole time; talk about adrenaline rush.

Once back home it was a mad rush to catch up on laundry, get groceries and finally finish Olivia's toy shelf.  This was sold as a weekend project; it took us 4 months to complete.  No exaggeration.  I am so happy it is done and now we have cleared out all of the baskets floating around full of toys.  Olivia couldn't stay away.

We also threw in a baptism in Maine. Olivia was baptized by my dad in Mr. J's family's church. She was the 6th generation to be baptized there.  It was a very special day and now we have a blessed baby :) 

Whew! I am tired all over again just typing this out.  More recipes to come later this week. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Morning Glory Muffins

I need a pause button on life. It is flying by. This weekend was amazing. Lots of sunshine and family time. But nothing got done; I need me some clean clothes. I cannot believe it has been so long since I last posted.  So much has happened since then. Tomorrow a big updates post is coming. Until then I have muffins.

Truth: I really love Morning Glory Muffins. They are muffins and super good for you.  The added benefit is they are filling. This is not the kind of muffin where you are hungry again 30 minutes later. Morning Glory muffins have carrots in them and typically raisins. 

These also have coconut and pineapple.  The pineapple makes them sweet without adding a ton of extra sugar.  The recipe is slightly adapted from Andie Mitchell's new cookbook Eating in the Middle. I love it so far and cannot wait to find time to make more recipes. 

These muffins gave me a much needed of extra time this week with the no thought grab and go breakfast they provide.  The five minutes was spent throwing in a load of laundry for those much needed clothes.

Morning Glory Muffins

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast carrot coconut cinnamon
Ingredients (18 muffins)
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 3 large carrots, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 18 standard muffin tin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the oil, eggs, and pineapple. 

Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Using a spatula, stir in the carrots and coconut. 

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each three-quarters full, about 1/4 cup.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Monday, April 4, 2016

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

I am leaving my little one for a whole week. Excuse me while my heart breaks into a million pieces.  Not only am I gone but Mr. J is too.  Clearly I know that this will happen more and more as she gets older but really? I am dying just a bit right now. 

And although I know this is completely unhealthy I am drowning my sorrows in these blondies.  Browned butter, a little extra salt, dark chocolate chips. 

Sweets = Squashed emotions


Enjoy the blondies as I miss my little one and come to realize that she is OK without us.  

Browned Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Blondies

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert chocolate bar
Ingredients (serves 9)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), browned
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 scant cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Make the browned butter. In a large skillet add the butter and heat over medium heat to melt, stirring nearly continuously or swirling the pan. Butter will melt, foam, turn clear, golden, and then turn brown, with a nutty smell. As soon at the butter begins to turn brown and there are a few brown specks, take the pan off the heat, and pour butter into a large bowl. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before adding the next ingredients.

Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.

Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined. Don't over mix.

Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until top is set in center and done; don't over bake.

Place pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.
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Friday, April 1, 2016

Easter Rice Pie

My life this year has been a few days behind.  For someone who prides themselves as being on top of things, this has been a bit of a strain for me. I think it is the new normal though as life with a baby is more complicated and fun then ever expected. Hence, it is almost a week after Easter and I am just now posting our Easter dessert. In fact, I made this dessert about 4 days after Easter. 

Living in southern Connecticut means there are Italians everywhere. Every other shop is a pizza place.  We have several Italian bakeries within a 10 minute radius of hour house. Thus I am continually inundated with  Italian foods and pastries.  Oh the smells!  Whenever the holidays roll around there are extra special treats advertised.  

So this year along with the Italian Easter bread, I made some Easter rice pie.  I am pretty sure this is meant to be dessert but the pie itself isn't super sweet.  The more I read and talked to others I got the feeling that this pie sits on the dinner table itself.  Side dish perhaps?

The pie came out with two distinct layers. A rice pudding on the bottom and a custard layer on top.  The best of both worlds for most.  It was fun to try something new this year even if a bit tardy. 

Easter Rice Pie

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Keywords: bake dessert rice Easter pie
Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 1 1/3 c cooked rice, cooled/room temperature
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2/3 c ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pint half and half
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice, fresh
  • 2 dashes cinnamon
  • 1 9-10" pie crust (homemade or Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a 9.5"-10" deep dish pie dish with dough.

Beat together sugar and ricotta.

Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. And then add half and half, vanilla, lemon juice, and 1 dash of cinnamon. Mix well.

Stir in rice.
Pour filling into crust and sprinkle lightly a dash of cinnamon on top.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 50 minutes. The pie will be lightly browned on top and may be very slightly jiggly toward center (will set up when cool).

Let cool completely before slicing. Serve chilled or room temperature.
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