Category Archives: Healthy Recipes (for the soul)

Blueberry Muffins!

I’ve been baking a long time and have made plenty of mistakes. When I first started baking I thought 1 1/4 cup meant a single 1/4 cup rather than 1 AND 1/4 cup. Those cookies were… fine… Once I mistook the ingredients “an egg” to say “8 eggs.” I was also tripling the recipe to make enough for an event and it wasn’t until I cracked the 9th shell that I realized how insane it was the I needed 2 dozen eggs. But these blueberry muffins are fool proof. They are scrumptious and simple to make and they have blueberries in them so they’re healthy right?



Preheat oven to 385 degrees. In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside. In another large bowl whisk together sugar, oil, cap-ful of vanilla, egg, and yogurt. Add the dry ingredients and stir to a count of ten.




Add blueberries, reserving 1/2 cup, to mixture and stir 3 times.



Add mixture to well-buttered muffin pans by 1/3 cupful. Sprinkle remaining berries on top and press down lightly. Sprinkle Turbinado (or brown) sugar over top.




Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.Allow to cool completely before removal.




Serve immediately with butter.



Warm up later in the toaster oven.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • A heavy pinch of salt
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 generous cup plain, unflavored yogurt (more if you want)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • A capful vanilla extract
  • Softened butter for greasing muffin tins
  • Turbinado sugar


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 385 degrees
  2. In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl whisk together sugar, oil, cap-ful of vanilla, egg, and yogurt. 
  4. Add the dry ingredients and stir to a count of ten.
  5. Add blueberries, reserving 1/2 cup, to mixture and stir 3 times.
  6. Add mixture to well-buttered muffin pans by 1/3 cupful.
  7. Sprinkle remaining berries on top and press down lightly.
  8. Sprinkle Turbinado (or brown) sugar over top.
  9. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool completely before removal.

-XOXO-

Winter Solstice and Pfeffernüsse

The winter solstice is tomorrow I wrote this article for Images, the quarterly publication produced by Boulder County Parks and Open Space. Please read because it’s pretty interesting (in my very humble opinion). I thought about copying it here but I didn’t want to lower my google ranking for duplicate content. So yeah.

Anyway Monday is Pfeffernüsse Day in many European countries. No I did not just sneeze, pfeffernüsse (also known as pepernoten in Dutch, päpanät in Plautdietsch, or peppernuts in English) are traditional German cookies. Although they are more related to Christmas (Weihnachten) these days, they were often enjoyed during winter solstice celebrations.

When I took German in high school, we would celebrate Sankt Nikolaustag on December 6th. We would put our shoes in the hallway and our teacher, Frau Singer, would fill them with sweets. Afterward we would sing Christmas carols auf Deutsch and then we would head to the home economics classroom where we would make these spicy little cookies. Fond memories.

Today I would like to share the recipe with you. It makes about 5 millions small, round, thin cookies so you might want to half the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup healthy margarine such as smart balance or earth balance (butter works too)
  • 2 eggs (vegan option: 4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons water)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons anise extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Stir together the molasses, honey and margarine in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir until creamy. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the eggs, anise extract, white sugar, and brown sugar. Combine the flour, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Add the molasses mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Roll the dough into 3/4″-sized balls. Arrange on baking sheets, spacing at least 1 inch apart. Bake in preheated oven 10 to 15 minutes. Move to a rack to cool.

Molasses, honey and margarine in medium sauce pan.

While that cools to room temperature, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, spices baking soda and salt).

Then add the sugars, eggs and extract to the molasses pot.

Finally add the molasses mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. It’s very sticky so be ready for your arm workout for the day. Switch arms to build muscles evenly.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 325°F for 10 minutes.

Eat, drink and be merry!

Pictured from left to right: Sugar Cookie Cut-outs (and how to ice them), Vegan Cinnamon Sugar Cookies, Candy Cane Blossoms, and Pfeffernüsse

Vegan Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

This recipe comes from my College Vegetarian Cooking cookbook. The author describes these cookies as “giant Teddy Grahams” which is so accurate I couldn’t think of a better way to say it.

They are vegan and we all know the best thing about vegan baking is that you can eat the raw cookie dough (I guess I should add, “without worrying about getting sick,” because raw eggs have never stopped me from eating cookie dough). The other best thing about vegan baking is that you can take the cookies out early if you like soft cookies or leave them for the entire duration if you like them crunchier (for the same reason). So with all that said, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup softened margarine (I use smart balance)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Add margarine and sugars to a mixing bowl and combine vigorously until smooth and creamy. Add flour, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir until thoroughly incorporated. Roll dough into 1″-sized balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet, approximately 2″ apart. Bake for eight to 10 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges.
Dear my parent’s Ninja blender and food processor,
I’ll miss you when I move out. I have treasured our time together. We created delicious and nutritious smoothies in individual travel cups. You perfect the art of making cookie dough. If I wasn’t a poor unemployed post-graduate I would invest in your cloned family members. I will not forget you, let’s make the most of the time we have left together.
Love, Maggie
Dear my parent’s convection oven,

I’ll miss you when I move out. I have treasured our time together. You have made it so that I can cookie two trays of cookies at the same time for the same amount of time. Your light provides rays of light as if God is watching over the things that bake within you. If I wasn’t a poor unemployed post-graduate I would invest in your cloned family members. I will not forget you, let’s make the most of the time we have left together.
Love, Maggie

These cookies look so yummy…. mmmmm cinnamonny goodness. Did I ever tell you that cinnamon is my favorite food group? Well it is. 🙂
Cinnamon Sugar Cookies with Candy Cane Blossoms

Sugar Cookies and How to Ice Them

The sun is slowly setting behind the Flatirons. I am watching it through a window Espresso Roma on the Hill. Small snowflakes speed to the ground as if racing; they cover the dirty black asphalt in a pure white blanket of snow. My Bhakti chai steams in a chipped blue mug in front of me as I breathe in the crisp Boulder air, filling my lungs with it’s slightly marijuana-smelling freshness. The colors of autumn, which were incredibly lovely this year, have been erased and replaced with a new beauty. It reminds me why I love Colorado so very much: the beauty is spectacular for a few fleeting moments before it disappears and is replaced by some other magnificent sight. There’s no way to capture the moment to recall later so the best thing to do is enjoy it while it’s there.

With the fresh snow I am giving myself permission to feel festive, not that I haven’t tried. My personal rule is that Christmas doesn’t exist until Thanksgiving is over so now my Christmas playlist is on repeat and my Holiday movie count is at ten. I’ve also eaten an entire package of Hershey’s candy cane kisses and Christmas cookies are building up. To makes these sugar cookies that don’t spread and keep their shape see the recipe below.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  Mix thoroughly, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again. Do not over mix as this aerates the dough and causes the cookies to spread more during baking.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla extract to bowl, mix, scrape down the bowl with your spatula and mix again.
  3. In a separate bowl sift flour and salt together .
  4. Add all of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture bowl.  Mix on low speed. Do not over mix at this stage either, the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough.
  5. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.  Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
  6. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Re-roll scraps and repeat, refrigerate again if necessary.
  7. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.  They will then hold their shape better when baked.
  8. Preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C).
  9. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.  The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
  10. Let cookies cool to room temperature before decorating.

This was my first attempt using a glaze this way. Below is the icing recipe I used…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powder sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 drop lemon juice (can be fresh)

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together. These amounts are approximate: use more powdered sugar and less milk for the edges so it doesn’t run everywhere, use less powdered sugar and more milk for the insides so it spreads itself. It takes a little practice. The lemon juice isn’t for flavor, it just counteracts the sweet sugary flavor.
  2. Once mixed you can add food coloring however you’d like.
  3. Refrigerate the icing for 10 minute before using (and periodically during the process).
  4. If using an icing bag follow the instructions for using the attachments. Line a glasses with a plastic bag or an icing bag and pour the icing in.
  5. Cut a small corner off the bag for the icing to come out of. Start very small at first, you can always cut more but you cannot cut less. Add the icing attachments if you have them.
  6. Use the thicker icing to line the edge of the cookie and make shapes, the fill with the thinner icing.
  7. Add sprinkles and create a masterpiece. 🙂

Hershey Bar Cake

Yesterday was my last day working for Boulder County Parks and Open Space. The seasonal position started in April and ended in October so I knew it wasn’t forever going in but it is still sad to say goodbye. I loved everything about working there; my co-workers are all wonderful, caring people and my work was interesting and varied. I learned a lot about myself this summer and a lot about what kind of work I’d like to pursue in the future. They say when one door closes another one opens and behind the second door there’s cake! (That transition was a little forced, sorry)

I made this cake for my mom’s birthday because it’s her favorite since she was a little girl. This is quite possibly the best chocolate cake recipe ever in the history of ever. Just sayin’.

Also, I lost a lot of pictures when I did an update to my phone so unfortunately the pictures of her birthday party were among those that have gone missing. 😦

Ingredients:

  • 6 (1.55 ounce) Hershey’s milk chocolate bars
  • 1-1/2 cups Hershey’s chocolate syrup
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Set aside. 
In a microwave safe bowl combine the candy bars and the syrup. Microwave in increments until melted stirring occasionally. Set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. 
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
Add melted chocolate, beating well. 
In another bowl, combine flour and baking soda. 

Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk to sugar mixture. Beat well after each addition. 
Add vanilla. 
Pour batter into prepared pan(s). 
Bake for 45 minutes.
Then cover with aluminum foil and cool in pan for 15 minutes. 
Turn over onto wire rack. 
Dust with powdered sugar, frost it, drizzle with icing or leave it. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
“This cake has a hole in it.”
“You fixed it!”

Pumpkin Spice Bread

It’s October and pumpkin is everywhere. In the past two weeks alone, I’ve had two pumpkin spice latte, 4 cups of sweet harvest pumpkin tea, a bag of pumpkin spice kisses, five varieties of pumpkin beer (including one from Fate) and this bread… (and no, these companies are not my sponsors).

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, water, vegetable oil, applesauce, yogurt and eggs. Beat until well mixed. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves in another bowl and stir until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Beat until smooth. Grease two 5×3 inch loaf pans and dust with flour. Evenly divide the batter between the three pans. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove from pans by inverting onto a rack and tapping the bottoms. Slice and serve plain, buttered, or with cream cheese.

No Fuss Ice Cream

The weather is cooling down so I’m trying to get as many frozen treats in before the outside becomes just as frozen. This Food Fun Friday recipe is for ice cream that you can make at home even if you don’t have an fancy smancy ice cream maker.

The basic recipe calls for one 14-oz can condensed milk, 1 pint whipping cream and 2 tsp. vanilla. You can add anything else you want for other flavors. I used Nutella because, well do I really need a reason?
Pour whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl. Then use a mixer to whip it until stiff peaks form (5-8 minutes).
Warm 1/2 cup of Nutella in the microwave until liquidy (if you have a soften or melt button pre-programmed into your microwave use that. If not change the power to about 30% and microwave for 1 minute, checking occasionally.
Fold in melted Nutella.
Spoon in about another half cup of Nutella (not melted) and continue folding. To form swirls don’t mix in completely. Pour the mixture into a bread loaf pan. Cover and freeze for at least 8 hours before serving.
Feel free to lick the spoon, Nutella is the best thing on Earth.
Once frozen enjoy your delicious homemade treat.
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? I think we’re all clear on what mine is. 🙂

Birthday Peach Snickerdoodles

Right before my birthday in June my co-worker Sally asked me ever so sneakily, “If someone were to make you cookies or cupcakes what would be your favorite flavor?” I answered Snickerdoodles because I lurve cinnamon oh so very much. On my birthday, I arrived at work and this was waiting in my cubicle.

The fish is an inside joke

So, as her birthday approached in August I wanted to return the gesture. Equally sneakily, I asked, “If you had to choose your favorite cake, pie or cookie flavor what would you choose?” She said peach pie and snickerdoodle cookies. Being the genius that I am, I combined the two.

Fortunately, it is currently peach season and my dad had just brought a box of peaches home with him from the western slope. In order to use them before spoiling my mom busily made peach jam, peach salsa, peach cobbler etc. and I made peach snickerdoodles.

This recipe makes 3.5 dozen cookies, which is a lot but I gave away about half. You could probably half the recipe but it was too complicated for me to figure out.

Select four medium peaches

Peel and dice (I used a knife, but blanching or a peeler would work too)
Add 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup margarine, 2 eggs and 1 1/2 cup sugar to a food processor

Mix well, then add half of the diced peaches

Mix 4 cups flour, 2 teaspoon cream of tarter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoon in a large mixing bowl

Add pureed peach mixture

Mix until evenly blended

Add remaining peaches

Fold peaches into batter. Batter will be very wet. Dollop spoonfuls onto greased, parchment paper-covered cookie sheets. Sprinkle with mixture of 4 teaspoon cinnamon  and 4 tablespoon sugar. Cook at 400°F for 11 minutes or until just browned on top. Cookies will be soft.

Let cool on wire racks.

Make a lovely birthday card and deliver to recipient.

Hahaha I crack myself up!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted, room temperature, cubed
  • 1/2 margarine, room temperature, spoonfuls
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 4 Tb sugar, divided use
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 3/4 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 fresh peaches, peeled, seeded, diced, divided use
  • 2 tsp plus 4 tsp cinnamon, divided use

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a food processor, cream together the butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and the eggs. Add half of the diced peaches and puree until smooth. In a large bowl combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Stir in the creamed ingredients from the food processor. Fold in the remaining diced peaches. In a smaller bowl combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon. Drop a rounded tablespoon of cookie batter (the batter is very moist) onto the cookie sheets about 2″ apart. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture and bake for 11 minutes.

Happy Friday!

How to Make Butter, Buttermilk and Buttermilk Cake

 My mom had some leftover buttermilk from another recipe, which I find is often the case considering it comes from the store in large quantities, so we searched for a way to use it. We hoped that what we found would be a cake, because we love cake.

I found a recipe for a cake, which I altered a little to suit our needs. Mostly this means subbing softened butter for shortening, reducing the sugar content and number of eggs and increasing the buttermilk content. It also means adding dried cherries and miniature chocolate chips because, let’s face it, nothing can taste bad when it has cherries and chocolate in it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • *add-ins to your desired concentration optional*


Directions: 

Beat sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs together with spoon or mixer.  Mix flour, salt and baking soda with a wire whisk in a separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture. Add buttermilk and continue mixing until smooth. Add in cherries, chocolate chips or other mix-ins. Pour into greased, 9×13 cake pan and bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until centers tests done.  Let cool and serve from pan.

Yum… Buttermilk cake.

Interestingly, I recently learned how to make butter and buttermilk at home. You can learn this (and many other things, like how-to make soap, shingles and cooking in a wood oven) if you come to the free Summer Heritage Event tomorrow evening at 5:30-7pm at Walker Ranch, just west of Boulder. But I’ll enlighten you here in case you can’t attend this event.

It’s so unbelievably easy, and delicious you will be surprised you haven’t been doing it yourself for ages. Take a pint of whipping cream, pour it in a mason jar (you can do it in batches if your jar isn’t large enough). Be sure the lid is on tightly, then shake the jar up and down to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” by Bee Gees.

Photo from I’d Eat It

Side note: This is also an excellent arm workout, probably where the shake-a-weight idea came from.

The whipping cream will start getting really thick and you won’t feel it moving around much. If you opened the jar now, you would have whipped cream, but keep shaking with that steady beat. Eventually (between ten and 30 minutes) the side of the jar, which were coated, will become clear. The butter will form a solid mass in the center of the jar and the liquid you see is buttermilk.

Add two ice cube to the jar to solidify the butter and separate the liquid from it. You can then pour off the buttermilk, collect and store it in a airtight container.

You are now a certified 19th century prairie wife (Not meant to be sexist but that’s the way it was in those days).

How do you use up leftover ingredients?

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

On the first day of October it only seems fitting to post a recipe for pumpkin muffins…

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Whenever I make up a new recipe it is always a messy process. The first step is always the idea that acts as a catalyst for the rest. In this case the trigger was pumpkin. As the chill in the air gets stronger I always start craving pumpkin everything. It doesn’t help matters that Starbucks incessantly advertises the pumpkin spice latte, or that the scent of pumpkin bagels can be detected wafting halfway across campus, or that people insist on pinning every pumpkin recipe that comes under detection. Regardless of how the idea came to me, come it did.

The next step is generally in what form do I want to eat the craving (sometimes this is linked to the first step, as in “I am craving tomato soup,” rather than simply tomato). I decided muffins would be the best mode of consumption. Muffins are compact on-the-go type foods. Sometimes you need that kind of thing around the house.

Then comes the Googling and the comparing and the improvising. I tend to have about 13 web pages open along with at least two cookbooks on my lap. “A cup and a half of oil; that’s outrageous! I’ll need to reduce that, Maple syrup? Nope don’t have any of that, I’ll use brown sugar… What’s the conversion factor again? Baking powder, baking soda, salt… How can I slip some flax seed in? Can I use almond milk and yogurt instead of milk?”

It’s a nightmare, honestly. But, it’s definitely rewarding when something wonderful comes out of all this hard work. Luckily this is one of those times. This is what my recipe card looked like after all of that.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

I wanted to use flax seed to give them some more nutrition. Flax seed can increase the fiber, unsaturated healthy fats, phytoestrogens and omega-3 content when added to foods.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Flax seed

 In a medium-sized mixing bowl add 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup flax seed, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda and a pinch of salt.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

I wanted a lot of spice flavor so for the spices I used cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and allspice. I prefer the flavor of ceylon “true” cinnamon because it is sweeter than the cassia variety (most of the store bought cinnamon is cassia). Cinnamon is my favorite flavor, in Maggie’s world, we look for excuses to add cinnamon.

To the flour mixture add, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon allspice and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin is the best pumpkin puree out there. I’m not usually able to tell the difference between store-brand and name-brand products so I tend to stick with store-brand because they are cheaper. In this case there is no comparison. I am generally disappointed with the quality of the store-brand pumpkin purees.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Pour the entire 15-ounce can of pumpkin into a larger mixing bowl. (Be sure to remove any large metal items that fall in).

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Add 3/4 cup brown sugar to the bowl.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Next add 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Then an egg…

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Mix it all together then add the dry ingredients.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Whisk together all the ingredients until just mixed.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Then add about 1 1/2 cups of your mix-ins (I used 3/4 cup walnuts and 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips).

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Spoon into greased muffin tins. Each cup should be between 1/2 and 2/3 full. (I hope this picture doesn’t give you vertigo. I’ve rotated it every possible way, it’s just a weird angle).

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Cool in pan for ten minutes then remove and continue cooling on a wire rack.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts
Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts
Yummy! Hello autumn; I welcome you with open arms…
Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

…as long as I can eat one of these everyday for the duration of the season. Please and thank you!

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Stop looking because these are the best brownies you will ever find…

As many of you know I am a firm believer in eating healthy. I am also a firm believer that denying yourself something is not healthy, especially when that something is chocolate. So to clarify my firm beliefs… Moderation is key. That is why everyone needs to have a good brownie recipe. I honestly think it should be included in life’s handbook. 

Here’s some information on chocolate (*I am not a doctor, please consult your doctor for more information on the following*):

  • Cocoa contains flavenol, a type of flavenoid and natural occurring antioxidant, which researchers suggest may protect neurons (Huffington Post, 2012)
  • The antioxidants in cocoa can also prevent aging caused by free radicals, which may lead to heart disease (Cleveland Clinic, 2012)
  • Dark chocolate may lower blood pressure and cholesterol (Longevity, 2009)
  • Dark chocolate contains theobromine, caffeine and other stimulating substances (Longevity, 2009)
  • It also contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant (Longevity, 2009)
  • Dark chocolate also increases endorphin production, which increase pleasure (Longevity, 2009)
  • Surprisingly dark chocolate can prevent diabetes (Women’s Health, 2012)
  • It can reduce stress (Women’s Health, 2012)
  • And help protect against sun damage (Women’s Health, 2012)
  • On top of all this it tastes goooooood!
Like I said, moderation is key and be sure that your grabbing a quality bar of dark chocolate, and you can receive some of these benefits and more.


So brownies… My idea of the perfect brownie is crispy crust, gooey inside, chocolate chips, not frosting, no nuts, and not too cakey or fudgey. This is it. This covers all bases for my ideal brownie. This recipe has a short ingredients list so be sure to use quality chocolate.

Add 1 1/2 cup sugar to a mixing bowl,


Pour in 3/4 cup flour,


Then add 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate cocoa powder).


Crack three eggs into the bowl…


Add 3/4 cup melted butter (I have no idea why the butter looks neon in this picture)


And 1/2 teaspoon salt (I skipped this because I used salted butter). Then mix it together; don’t mix too thoroughly just enough to combine the wet and dry ingredients.



Mix in chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips).


Pour the batter into a greased baking dish. That is the best looking chocolate batter I have ever seen. I’m totally drooling.


Bake at 325 for 30 minutes (sorry it’s a bit blurry, I was shaking with happiness). Test with a toothpick for doneness (remember there are chocolate chips in there so your first poke might not come out clean.


Let cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes (or as long as you can wait… I made it 2 minutes). Cut into cubes and serve with a nice cold glass of milk.


I had almond milk which was quite delicious…


Brownies: seriously the best things on the planet. These are the perfect balance between fudgey and cakey, with the signature brownie crispy crust.

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Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German

This is a great example of older generations passing on their knowledge and experience to the younger generation. My grandma makes a delicious plum cake. Recently she picked about three million (this is an exaggeration it was more like 1 million) plums from the plum trees at my childhood church. She gave a sack and the recipe for said cake to me, my mom, and my aunt at my cousin and uncle’s birthday party.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German


Coincidentally, I needed to bring a dessert to my Rangeland Ecology Club meeting that week and I was stoked to get a chance to bring this dish.

I got out my food processor, added 1/2 cup sugar, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon lemon peel.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German

I pulsed all this in the processor, then I added 1/2 cup butter.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German

I pulsed that too, and added the 1/4 cup milk and an egg.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German

So I pulsed that into a soft dough, just like the recipe said. I removed this dough and pressed it into a buttered baking dish.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German


Then I washed all the plums…

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German


Cut them in half, took out the pit and pressed the cut side into the dough, cut side down. I fit as many in as possible, as the recipe tells me too.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German


All of that was perfect… but that’s the end to that. Here’s where everything went wrong…

The recipe my grandma gave me says 

“Top with:
1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon”

Do you see why I was confused? Does this mean 1 cup sugar? Did she write that twice by accident? I decided that the second 1/2 cup sugar was mistakenly added twice. (I was wrong, as you will see).

So I went along, mixed together the 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 sup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. 

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German

And I sprinkled it over the plums in the baking pan. I remember thinking to myself, this looks very dry. I had experience once with a cobbler in which the topping didn’t mix well enough with the butter so I had a floury substance left on the top. Gross! But I figured the plums were juicy so they must contribute the liquid that moistens the topping. Again how wrong I was.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German

Hahaha! I can only laugh at myself at this point. I stuck the whole thing in the oven, (which was pre-heated to 375), and set the timer for 45 minutes (anxiously waiting for the brown, bubbly and juicy dessert the recipe promised. 


It was not brown, it was still white. Bubbly and juicy were covered. I thought at this point something is wrong. So I sprinkled some water over the still dry flour parts (I have no idea what drove me to do this). I ended up with a gel type top over a pastry base. 

I took it to the Range Club meeting (I cannot believe I served this to the general public) and though it looked gross (not as gross as this picture shows, but still gross), Range Club people are a nice group and they ate it. The whole thing was gone by the end of the meeting. I managed to get a small piece and it actually had a quite good flavor. So now that I’ve talked it up a bit I will show you a picture of it. Please don’t laugh…

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German


Oh gosh, it looks worse every time I look at it. If I didn’t know what this was I probably would not have eaten it. Like I said, Range Club people are a nice group.

So now I will tell you what I did wrong, (some of you probably already know).

I told you my grandma gave the recipe and a bag of plums to my mom as well. I was visiting her this weekend while my dad was out of town. She made the plum cake too. I was watching her make it to try to figure out my mistake. Right before she put it in the oven I said to her, “mine didn’t look like that.”

She turned to me and said, “Oh, did you see what the recipe said? There’s a typo.”

I said, “Ya I saw that, but I just ignored the second sugar.”

She laughed a little, “It’s a standard strudel recipe, one of the sugars was supposed to say butter.”

So it was BUTTER! Of course, I even thought of that while I was thoroughly messing up my plum cake. Here’s what it was supposed to look like.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German

A thing of beauty! My mother is a kitchen wizard. But there you have it: my grandma and my mom will never stop passing down their wisdom and helping me grow in my baking journey.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Pflaumenkuchen Means Plum Cake in German

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Tell me about you baking mishaps, so I don’t feel like I’m the only one. 🙂

Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade

As you probably know by now I love summertime and I have a lot of favorite things about summer. It’ll be at least four more posts before I stop saying THIS is my favorite thing about summer so bear with me. I love going to Starbucks in the summer for a grande passion tea lemonade with one pump; it’s a guilty pleasure. But I don’t love the price that could very easily empty my bank account.

SO I asked them what tea they use in their passion tea lemonade and they told me (It’s Tazo the Starbucks tea brand and they actually sell it at the store).

You can get this kind that’s iced tea ready (make a bunch at once and store it in the pitcher in the fridge). Or they sell a box of individual servings (make it one cup at a time). At Target it was $4.95 (same as a box at Starbucks) but in an online search I found it for a little cheaper.

After drinking it a little I realized it was very similar to the Celestial Seasonings tea I bought at the factory for $2.85.

The Celestial Seasonings version is already sweetened using Stevia, which I’m still not completely sold on but my research tells me that the claims are true. I’ll let you make up your own mind about it.

Anyway, to make the Starbucks version of the delicious pink drink is quite simple. Make the tea according to the package, juice some lemons, add a little of your preferred sweetener (if you like it sweetened), chill in the fridge, enjoy!

 

(***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade

As you probably know by now I love summertime and I have a lot of favorite things about summer. It’ll be at least four more posts before I stop saying THIS is my favorite thing about summer so bear with me. I love going to Starbucks in the summer for a grande passion tea lemonade with one pump; it’s a guilty pleasure. But I don’t love the price that could very easily empty my bank account.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//:  Make it at Home - Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade


SO I asked them what tea they use in their passion tea lemonade and they told me (It’s Tazo the Starbucks tea brand and they actually sell it at the store).

You can get this kind that’s iced tea ready (make a bunch at once and store it in the pitcher in the fridge). Or they sell a box of individual servings (make it one cup at a time). At Target it was $4.95 (same as a box at Starbucks) but in an online search I found it for a little cheaper.

After drinking it a little I realized it was very similar to the Celestial Seasonings tea I bought at the factory for $2.85.


Anyway, to make the Starbucks version of the delicious pink drink is quite simple. Make the tea according to the package, juice some lemons, add a little of your preferred sweetener (if you like it sweetened), chill in the fridge, enjoy!

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Edamame Hummus

Hummus is one of the best things in life, and adding a few soybeans can only help. The first time I had edamame hummus was my freshman year at CSU. There was always some hummus at the salad bar and very rarely they served edamame hummus. Those were good days, but now I make it at home whenever I want.

Gather your ingredients: some edamame hummus recipes use only soybeans and no chickpeas, but I love chickpeas so I use both, tahini is optional but tastes yummy (I didn’t have any), ¼ cup water, lemon zest and juice, smashed garlic, salt, cumin, coriander and olive oil.

Boil the edamame (fun fact: edamame is actually the Japanese word for soybeans in the shell, when you buy shelled soybeans they’re actually called, “mukimame”) according to package directions. Drain and add to a blender or food processor.

Add the drained chickpeas to the blender or food processor.

I’ve never figured out if it’s easier to zest first and juice after or vice versa. I juice first. Roll the lemon on the counter to loosen the juices before cutting it in half and juicing it.

Then add the water, lemon zest and juice and olive oil (I used 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil to add a little of that sesame flavor since I didn’t have tahini)… Followed by the tahini (if using) garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander.

Pulse the blender or food processor until smooth. Add more water if mixture is too thick; add more soy beans if it’s too runny. Taste test and adjust spices to preference.

Serve with vegetables, pita chips, pretzels, or whatever you fancy. This stuff is blended gold my friends. 🙂 AND now you have another dip to serve at your next St. Patrick’s Day party (besides guacamole I mean). Yay!

Total Time: 15 minutes Difficulty: Easy Yield: 1 ¼ cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup frozen shelled green soybeans
  • 1 can drained chickpeas
  • ¼ cup tahini (optional)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons), juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Suggested serving: Sliced cucumbers, celery, olives, and pita

Directions:

Boil the beans in salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, or microwave, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes. In a food processor, puree the edamame, tahini, water, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix until absorbed. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the parsley and drizzle with remaining oil. Serve with the suggested vegetables, or refrigerate, covered, up to 1 week (this time is very finicky, check for signs of spoilage such as ingredient separation, off taste or smell and slimy appearance).

(***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

Edamame Hummus

Hummus is one of the best things in life, and adding a few soybeans can only help. The first time I had edamame hummus was my freshman year at CSU. There was always some hummus at the salad bar and very rarely they served edamame hummus. Those were good days, but now I make it at home whenever I want.


Gather your ingredients: some edamame hummus recipes use only soybeans and no chickpeas, but I love chickpeas so I use both, tahini is optional but tastes yummy (I didn’t have any), ¼ cup water, lemon zest and juice, smashed garlic, salt, cumin, coriander and olive oil.



Boil the edamame (fun fact: edamame is actually the Japanese word for soybeans in the shell, when you buy shelled soybeans they’re actually called, “mukimame”) according to package directions. Drain and add to a blender or food processor.



Add the drained chickpeas to the blender or food processor.



I’ve never figured out if it’s easier to zest first and juice after or vice versa. I juice first. Roll the lemon on the counter to loosen the juices before cutting it in half and juicing it.

Then add the water, lemon zest and juice and olive oil (I used 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil to add a little of that sesame flavor since I didn’t have tahini)… Followed by the tahini (if using) garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander.


Pulse the blender or food processor until smooth. Add more water if mixture is too thick; add more soy beans if it’s too runny. Taste test and adjust spices to preference.


Serve with vegetables, pita chips, pretzels, or whatever you fancy. This stuff is blended gold my friends. 🙂 AND now you have another dip to serve at your next St. Patrick’s Day party (besides guacamole I mean). Yay!

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Total Time: 15 minutes Difficulty: Easy Yield: 1 ¼ cup


Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup frozen shelled green soybeans
  • 1 can drained chickpeas
  • ¼ cup tahini (optional)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons), juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Suggested serving: Sliced cucumbers, celery, olives, and pita

Directions:
Boil the beans in salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, or microwave, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes. In a food processor, puree the edamame, tahini, water, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix until absorbed. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the parsley and drizzle with remaining oil. Serve with the suggested vegetables, or refrigerate, covered, up to 1 week (this time is very finicky, check for signs of spoilage such as ingredient separation, off taste or smell and slimy appearance).

Zucchini Bread – Homemade Style

One thing I forgot to mention in Summer Lovin’ post last week is all the fresh produce from my mom’s garden. I probably forgot since I don’t live there much in the summer anymore, but my childhood is full of baby carrots covered in dirt, tomatoes that I can only describe as nature’s candy, and zucchini bread (or at least those are the things I loved the most from her garden).

I wanted to make zucchini bread but my mom warned me that many of the recipes contain a lot of oil. After a lot of research and some improvisation I think I’ve concocted perhaps the perfect recipe. You be the judge.

Start by preheating the oven and preparing an 8-inch loaf pan (I got to use my Misto!).

Grate zucchini(s); you can peel them before hand, I personally like the peel in the bread so I don’t. I used the largest grate size on my 4-sided cheese-grater. You can use the smallest side (or an attachment on your food processor)… it really depends on preference.

Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Doesn’t that just look sooooo appetizing? Whisk together egg, oil, applesauce, yogurt, honey, and vanilla in a larger second bowl. The honey is from the bee hive on some land my Range Club manages just north of Fort Collins… Yay local stuff!

Add flour mixture to the larger bowl and stir until well combined.

Fold in grated zucchini.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until risen, deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean – 50 to 60 minutes.

Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove from pan and continue cooling on rack.

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated zucchini

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Spray an 8-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together egg, oil, applesauce, yogurt, honey and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir until well combined. Fold in zucchini, then transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until risen, deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean – 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes, remove bread from pan and continue cooling on rack.

 

(***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

Zucchini Bread – Homemade Style

One thing I forgot to mention in Summer Lovin’ post last week is all the fresh produce from my mom’s garden. I probably forgot since I don’t live there much in the summer anymore, but my childhood is full of baby carrots covered in dirt, tomatoes that I can only describe as nature’s candy, and zucchini bread (or at least those are the things I loved the most from her garden).

I wanted to make zucchini bread but my mom warned me that many of the recipes contain a lot of oil. After a lot of research and some improvisation I think I’ve concocted perhaps the perfect recipe. You be the judge.


Start by preheating the oven and preparing an 8-inch loaf pan (I got to use my Misto!).

Grate zucchini(s); you can peel them before hand, I personally like the peel in the bread so I don’t. I used the largest grate size on my 4-sided cheese-grater. You can use the smallest side (or an attachment on your food processor)… it really depends on preference.

Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Doesn’t that just look sooooo appetizing? Whisk together egg, oil, applesauce, yogurt, honey, and vanilla in a larger second bowl. The honey is from the bee hive on some land my Range Club manages just north of Fort Collins… Yay local stuff!

Add flour mixture to the larger bowl and stir until well combined.

Fold in grated zucchini.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until risen, deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean – 50 to 60 minutes.

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Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove from pan and continue cooling on rack.

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated zucchini

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Spray an 8-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together egg, oil, applesauce, yogurt, honey and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir until well combined. Fold in zucchini, then transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until risen, deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean – 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes, remove bread from pan and continue cooling on rack.

Restaurant-Style Salsa at Home

Salsa is a big deal in my world and I am very picky about it. I hate chunks (except in fresh pico de gallo) and I love cilantro… a lot of cilantro… like the whole bunch, and it’s gotta be spicy. I’ve tried many a jar of salsa in my life (all 22 years of it) and I keep coming back to homemade (which is good since I’m all about homemade everything now). It tastes better, you get to choose your preferences, it’s super simple (if you have a food processor or blender), it’s cheaper and you can make as much (or as little) as you want!

I see no downside.

Three tomatoes (Reid used half of one of these tomatoes for breakfast without knowing they were for the salsa, it’ll be interesting to see how I will peel this one), one onion, one jalepeño pepper, one (two small) Fresno chile (from my garden), two cloves of garlic, lime juice (it’s best fresh but I didn’t have one), salt, cumin, cilantro

Peel the tomatoes by placing them in boiling water for a few minutes then and submerging them in ice water. Skins practically fall off. It’s okay to skip this step, there will just be some skins in the salsa but that’s really not noticeable.

Dice half an onion and chop the tomatoes. Add the onion and tomato to the food processor.

Mince the garlic and cut up the peppers; keep the seeds, you’re tough and can handle it. Then add the garlic and peppers to the food processor.

Add ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground cumin and about three tablespoons lime juice.

Now, add ½ to 1 cup cilantro. I seriously love cilantro. If you don’t like cilantro much use less (but I will mock you).

AND pulse, pulse, pulse… a couple more times, and a couple more, about 10 to 15 times oughta do it. I like NO chunks. If you like chunkier salsa… pulse less.

Be sure to taste test and alter seasonings/add more cilantro. Then if you can avoid the temptation of gobbling it all up right then, cover it and put it in the refrigerator for about an hour so the flavors can fuse and stuff.

Doesn’t that just look awful? I’ll take one for the team and eat it all. You owe me one. (Those tortilla chips are La Favorita brand, ingredients: ground yellow corn, water, soybean oil, salt, trace of lime. Not bad.)

Prep Time: 20 minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 12

Ingredients:

  • 3 Medium Tomatoes
  • 2 whole Jalepeño peppers
  • ¼ cup Chopped Onion
  • 2 Clove Garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ½ cup Cilantro (more!)
  • ½ whole Lime Juice

Instructions:

Peel tomatoes. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until salsa is the consistency you like. Test flavor; adjust spices. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips, nachos, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, fajitas, eggs, etc.

I’ve made this salsa from The Pioneer Woman many times. With my new “real food” kick I shied away from using canned tomatoes because they contained calcium chloride. At the store I had no idea what this was so I bought fresh tomatoes and peppers (and had some from my garden). After doing some research (and remembering my chemistry… duh!) I’ve learned that calcium chloride is basically harmless (and is found in most milk products in higher concentrations than a can of tomatoes).

However, I am very pleased with the results using fresh tomatoes so really it’s a moot point.

(***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

Restaurant-Style Salsa at Home

Salsa is a big deal in my world and I am very picky about it. I hate chunks (except in fresh pico de gallo) and I love cilantro… a lot of cilantro… like the whole bunch, and it’s gotta be spicy. I’ve tried many a jar of salsa in my life (all 22 years of it) and I keep coming back to homemade (which is good since I’m all about homemade everything now). It tastes better, you get to choose your preferences, it’s super simple (if you have a food processor or blender), it’s cheaper and you can make as much (or as little) as you want!


I see no downside.


Three tomatoes (Reid used half of one of these tomatoes for breakfast without knowing they were for the salsa, it’ll be interesting to see how I will peel this one), one onion, one jalepeño pepper, one (two small) Fresno chile (from my garden), two cloves of garlic, lime juice (it’s best fresh but I didn’t have one), salt, cumin, cilantro

Peel the tomatoes by placing them in boiling water for a few minutes then and submerging them in ice water. Skins practically fall off. It’s okay to skip this step, there will just be some skins in the salsa but that’s really not noticeable.

Dice half an onion and chop the tomatoes. Add the onion and tomato to the food processor.

Mince the garlic and cut up the peppers; keep the seeds, you’re tough and can handle it. Then add the garlic and peppers to the food processor.

Add ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground cumin and about three tablespoons lime juice.

Now, add ½ to 1 cup cilantro. I seriously love cilantro. If you don’t like cilantro much use less (but I will mock you).

AND pulse, pulse, pulse… a couple more times, and a couple more, about 10 to 15 times oughta do it. I like NO chunks. If you like chunkier salsa… pulse less.

Be sure to taste test and alter seasonings/add more cilantro. Then if you can avoid the temptation of gobbling it all up right then, cover it and put it in the refrigerator for about an hour so the flavors can fuse and stuff.

Doesn’t that just look awful? I’ll take one for the team and eat it all. You owe me one. (Those tortilla chips are La Favorita brand, ingredients: ground yellow corn, water, soybean oil, salt, trace of lime. Not bad.)

Prep Time: 20 minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 12

Ingredients:

  • 3 Medium Tomatoes
  • 2 whole Jalepeño peppers
  • ¼ cup Chopped Onion
  • 2 Clove Garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ½ cup Cilantro (more!)
  • ½ whole Lime Juice

Instructions:

Peel tomatoes. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until salsa is the consistency you like. Test flavor; adjust spices. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips, nachos, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, fajitas, eggs, etc.

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I’ve made this salsa from The Pioneer Woman many times. With my new “real food” kick I shied away from using canned tomatoes because they contained calcium chloride. At the store I had no idea what this was so I bought fresh tomatoes and peppers (and had some from my garden). After doing some research (and remembering my chemistry… duh!) I’ve learned that calcium chloride is basically harmless (and is found in most milk products in higher concentrations than a can of tomatoes). The more you know…

However, I am very pleased with the results using fresh tomatoes so really it’s a moot point.

Homemade Tagalongs

…(or as they’re known elsewhere Peanut Butter Patties)

Suite Pea's Kitchen showcased by Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Homemade Tagalongs

As you know I love to use Pinterest.  I’ve mentioned that I actually use a few of the things I pin.  One (mentioned yesterday) is fitness, another is recipes.  As usual, I was perusing the Pinterest community and discovered this little beauty of a recipe for Tagalongs from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.  I have been saving it for a special occasion, but finally yesterday I couldn’t wait any longer.  I had to try me some Tagalongs – homemade style.  So I got out all my baking gear and began.

When I bake usually I like to listen to some good music but yesterday I already had my Pandora set to the preset “Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout Station” (I was getting my 5-4-3-2-1 on) so I just left it (that’s funny because it’s not good music… get it?) It was quite fun dancing to this type of music and I highly recommend it for future baking projects.

Anyway, Tagalongs

tagalongs, girl scout cookies, peanut butter, chocolate
Image Credit: Little Brownie Bakers
This is what Tagalongs look like from the box



Now, normally I would not wish to take away from the Girl Scouts and their one major fundraiser they have all year; after all I was one once.  However $4.00 for a box of cookies is a bit pricey for a college student who needs to buy real food.  The only problem is I absolutely love Tagalongs.  I used to keep the box in my room so greedy hands belonging to my sister and parents would not defile my tasty bits of heaven.  I weighed it in my head in front of that little table the girls had set up outside of King Soopers grocery store: do I want to spend my $4.00 on some cookies or something more nutritious.  Now, I no longer have to shed out precious cash for happiness and the recipe makes enough that I don’t mind sharing.

tagalongs, peanut butter, chocolate, cookie, homemade, girl scout cookies
Image Credit: Christina of Suite Pea’s Kitchen
Her’s look way better than mine…
Chocolate is super messy”


This recipe on the Sweet Pea’s Kitchen blog is fantastic.  It took FOREVER to make (possibly due to all the dancing) but let me tell you something, it is totally worth it.  These cookies are delicious and they taste a bazillion times better than the boxed variety.

So I really wanted to do a step-by-step post of my progress while baking (complete with the proper dance move technique for each task) but, alas, my camera charger is nowhere to be found.  Without pictures I feel this post would be a bit bland so I’ll just stick with my fantabulous review of this recipe and let you read the step-by-step on Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.

My only edits:  I added about a tablespoon of water to the chocolate to spread it a bit further and to make it more liquidy.  The peanut butter filling is REALLY sweet so next time I will probably add less sugar.  My batch only made two dozen (the recipe says 3 dozen) which leads me to believe I made the cookies too big.  This is probably true because with the filling and the chocolate it is very rich and hard to finish just one cookie.  Definitely a death-by-chocolate type of dessert, but yummers!


Happy Baking!

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Would you prefer the boxed variety or these homemade delicacies?  How do you get your bake on?  Care to share a recipe I should try?

Homemade Tagalongs

…(or as they’re known elsewhere Peanut Butter Patties)

As you know I love to use Pinterest.  I’ve mentioned that I actually use a few of the things I pin.  One (mentioned yesterday) is fitness, another is recipes.  As usual, I was perusing the Pinterest community and discovered this little beauty of a recipe for Tagalongs from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.  I have been saving it for a special occasion, but finally yesterday I couldn’t wait any longer.  I had to try me some Tagalongs – homemade style.  So I got out all my baking gear and began.

When I bake usually I like to listen to some good music but yesterday I already had my Pandora set to the preset “Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout Station” (I was getting my 5-4-3-2-1 on) so I just left it.  It was quite fun dancing to this type of music and I highly recommend it for future baking projects.

Anyway, Tagalongs

Image Credit: Little Brownie Bakers
This is what Tagalongs look like from the box

Now, normally I would not wish to take away from the Girl Scouts and their one major fundraiser they have all year; after all I was one once.  However $4.00 for a box of cookies is a bit pricey for a college student who needs to buy real food.  The only problem is I absolutely love Tagalongs.  I used to keep the box in my room so greedy hands belonging to my sister and parents would not defile my tasty bits of heaven.  I weighed it in my head in front of that little table the girls had set up outside of King Soopers grocery store: do I want to spend my $4.00 on some cookies or something more nutritious.  Now, I no longer have to shed out precious cash for happiness and the recipe makes enough that I don’t mind sharing.

Image Credit: Christina of Suite Pea’s Kitchen
Her’s look way better than mine…
Chocolate is super messy

This recipe on the Sweet Pea’s Kitchen blog is fantastic.  It took FOREVER to make (possibly due to all the dancing) but let me tell you something, it is totally worth it.  These cookies are delicious and they taste a bazillion times better than the boxed variety.

So I really wanted to do a step-by-step post of my progress while baking (complete with the proper dance move technique for each task) but, alas, my camera charger is nowhere to be found.  Without pictures I feel this post would be a bit bland so I’ll just stick with my fantabulous review of this recipe and let you read the step-by-step on Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.

My only edits:  I added about a tablespoon of water to the chocolate to spread it a bit further and to make it more liquidy.  The peanut butter filling is REALLY sweet so next time I will probably add less sugar.  My batch only made two dozen (the recipe says 3 dozen) which leads me to believe I made the cookies too big.  This is probably true because with the filling and the chocolate it is very rich and hard to finish just one cookie.  Definitely a death-by-chocolate type of dessert, but yummers!

Happy Baking!

(***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)

Would you prefer the boxed variety or these homemade delicacies?  How do you get your bake on?  Care to share a recipe I should try?