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Welcome to my kitchen…

I have always loved to cook and bake and you can often find me in the kitchen creating something. There is something calming and fun about preparing and creating food! (At least that is my opinion) This site is dedicated to everyone who enjoys accessing/channeling their culinary creative side. Do you have a recipe you’d like to submit or that I should try? Please, do drop me a line. Click Here to Send Mail Now. Thank you for stopping by. Happy Reading and Cooking! Tara

May Happenings!

Check back for Foodie Related Deals for this month.

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Wheat Chia Banana Bread

In honor of Banana Bread day I thought I would bake up a couple of loaves. I love the traditional banana bread but I wanted to try something different.

I generally try to replace some of the all-purpose flour with wheat flour when I can. In most recipes I have not been able to taste a difference and I am adding a better for you element. This time I also added some chia seeds. I have been trying to find ways to use the chia seeds and flax seeds stash that I have. I usually use them in smoothies and have added them in cookies.

Makes 2 Loaves

Ingredients

  • 6 bananas, very ripe
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice or 1/4 lemon zest
  • 1  1 /4 cups wheat pastry flour
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1  1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare two loaf pans by spraying lightly with cooking spray or you can butter.
  3. Place the bananas, lemon, sugar, eggs, and oil into the food processor (or mix by hand)
  4. Pulse for 30 seconds or until smooth.
  5. Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chia seeds in a medium mixing bowl.
  6. Set aside. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and fold until just combined.
  7. Divide batter evenly between the loaf pans.
  8. Bake until tester inserted near the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
  9. Cool the loaves in the pans for a few minutes, then remove the bread from the pans, transfer to cooling racks.

I would suggest mashing the bananas and mixing things up by hand. I chose the food processor because my arm/wrist was hurting this weekend. Depending on your preference you can also add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg. I would also suggest cooling completely before slicing otherwise it will crack (like in the photo). I just couldn’t wait to let it cool, I wanted to have a hot piece.

 

Tuesday Pancakes!

Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes

I love pancakes! They can be had for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Today is Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday as it’s called here and I know exactly what I am having for dinner tonight!

According to Wikipedia,

Shrove Tuesday is known in English-speaking countries,such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of the United States for the day preceding Ash Wednesday.

“The word shrove is the past participle of the English verb to shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and doing penance. During the week before Lent, sometimes called Shrovetide in English, Christians were expected to go to confession in preparation for the penitential season of turning to God. Shrove Tuesday was the last day before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, and noted in histories dating back to 1000 AD. The popular celebratory aspect of the day had developed long before the Protestant Reformation, and was associated with releasing high spirits before the somber season of Lent. It is analogous to the continuing Carnival tradition associated with Mardi Gras (and its various names in different countries) that continued separately in European Catholic countries.

In the United States, the term Shrove Tuesday is less widely known outside of people who observe the liturgical traditions of the Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, and Catholic churches. Because of the increase in many immigrant populations and traditions since the 19th century, and the rise of highly publicized festivals, Mardi Gras has become more familiar as the designation for that day.

In the United Kingdom and many other countries, the day is often known as Pancake Day. Making and eating such foods was considered a last feast with ingredients such as sugar, fat and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent.”

To learn more about Shrove Tuesday, when it is, tradition and other references visit here.

In honor of the Shrove, Fat Tuesday and Pancake day 2/17/15, I went searching the web for great pancake recipes to share.

My favorite pancake recipes: (I’ve tested all of the below and love them all)

What is your favorite pancake recipe? Do you like the fluffycake-like type or the flatter buttermilk type?

-Tara

Banana Pancakes

Tonight’s Dinner – Banana Buttermilk Pancakes with sliced bananas, a drizzle of syrup and a sprinkle of powdered sugar…MmMm

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As I am still getting over the flu, I’ve not done much in way of baking but wanted to share what I did whip up and some of my favorite recipes from previous posts.

My favorite recipes in honor of the hearts day…Valentine’s Day Recipes!

Enjoy!

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I always look forward to making these. There is something about these gems that are soooo yummy and elegant! It is a simple dessert but oh so perfect in summer or anytime!

Ingredients:

  • 15 large fresh strawberries
  • 1/3 cup cold mascarpone cheese (can substitute with regular cream cheese)
  • 1/3 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Wash and cut the green stems off (if you like) so the strawberries will stand upright when placed on your plate.
  2. With a small sharp knife, cut an “X” into each strawberry, starting at the top of the strawberry and cutting down almost to the bottom of the strawberry. Next, spread each strawberry apart to open them up a bit but not to much. Set aside while you make the cream filling.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whip the mascarpone cheese, heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
  4. Spoon the cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
  5. Starting at the bottom of the strawberry, pipe the cream into each strawberry.

Cream filled Strawberries

 

Nutella Brownie Bites

Before you say, oh not another Nutella recipe, please keep reading for a moment.

I had all of these plans to bake treats for Valentine’s day for family and friends and then I somehow got the flu which put a kink in my plans and I am just not up for it sadly. Then I thought, what if it’s something super easy with only a few ingredients. I could manage being up and about to whip it up and bake it in less than 30 minutes. Well, I found a recipe that is just that! Easy, fast and just 3 ingredients. Sadly, I can’t share these as I do not want to get others sick but you should definitely try it out.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Nutella
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 tbsp. flour (I used wheat)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with non stick spray or line with mini cupcake papers.
  2. Put the Nutella and egg in a medium bowl and mix until smooth and well incorporated. Add the flour and mix until blended.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (approx. ¾ full).
  4. Bake for about, 10- 12 minutes.  Cool completely.
  5. Frost with icing, powdered sugar or sprinkles and enjoy!

 

Notes:

You should be able to use gluten free flour in place of all purpose flour. I am glad these are bite size as I find them rich. They would be served best with no icing and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

Spinach & Squash Lasagna I decided to try out a meatless recipe for Meatless Monday this week. I love lasagna but it’s not real great for me with acid reflux issues so I set out to find something without the red sauce. I really enjoyed this version of the recipe I found on the net, compiled of like 4 different recipes. Like all my recipes I use whatever I can find in my fridge which is why there are things like red onions and vampire slayer cheddar cheese.  I will also add that I used 2 bunches of fresh spinach and cooked it down, cooled and then squeezed out the liquid as I didn’t have the frozen spinach. I got home around 6 started prepping and cooking and I sat down to eat at 7:30-7:40. This was mainly because I did not prep as I usually do. If I didn’t have to deal with the squashor fresh spinach and prepped it the day before this would of shaved off maybe 30-40 minutes of time. It just takes 40 mins to cook and the recipe is definitely a keeper. Each roll is under 300 calories but you can enter the ingredients into my fitness pal or another app based on your ingredients. The cheddar upped the calorie count a lil bit and Parmesan would be somewhat less. Anyway, try it and see what you think… Make it your own!

Ingredients:

Sauce:

  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red or white onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated cheese
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Filling:

  • 9  lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, heated and squeezed well
  • 15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (Parmesan or cheddar) I used a cheddar called Vampire Slayer.
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 oz part skim shredded cheese , I chose the Italian mix

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft.
  2. Remove squash, reserve about 1 cup of the water and set aside.
  3. Add squash to food processor and blend until smooth. Alternately you can use an immersion blender and blend until smooth. (I don’t have one) Add about 1/4 cup  of the reserved liquid to thin out.
  4. In a large non-stick skillet, add the oil, sauté the onions and garlic over medium-low heat until soft, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and pepper. Add a little of the reserved water to thin mixture if needed.
  6. Stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons of the cheese and set aside.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F. Ladle about 1/2 cup butternut sauce sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.
  8. Combine spinach, ricotta, 1/2 cup vampire slayer cheddar cheese, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  9. Place a silpat/dish towel on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
  10. Ladle about 1 cup of sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp cheese. Cover with foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes.
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