Monday, October 17, 2016

Chocolate beetroot cake {Secret Recipe Club}

It's time for October's Secret Recipe Club reveal! This month I was assigned to make a recipe from My Wholefood Family. This blog is written by Susan who lives all the way over in Australia. She is a mom of three and focuses on creating recipes from real, whole foods. I found a lot of interesting and tasty recipes on her blog like these Sweet Potato Brownies and Sesame Chicken with Ginger Rice (the rice sounds fantastic). I ended up choosing her Chocolate Beetroot Cake because it sounded so intriguing and also because I thought the mixture of the dark chocolate color with flecks of red would be a fun treat for Halloween time. I adjusted the recipe slightly for my more American way of measuring (though I did measure out my chocolate in grams!) and cooking and I also used regular flour and sugar in my version. You can see Susan's original recipe at the link. I used Susan's suggestion of also replacing a bit of the flour with cocoa powder and was really happy with the results. This cake is very chocolaty but also has the very earthy taste from the beets. It's a unique cake that I'd make again in the future. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

White chocolate pumpkin oatmeal cookies

It's October! October and November are my favorite months of the year. I love fall and the food and holidays of fall the most. Every fall (usually the first weekend of October), we go on a family apple picking outing to Lynoaken Farms. We love this farm because they have all sorts of heritage apple varieties growing in their orchard so you can try all kinds of apples you'd never find in a grocery store. They also have all the popular favorites, too. This year my husband and I each wore a baby in a carrier while we picked. We were a little nervous as this was the first long outing we've done with the twins, but it went well! Each year when we go apple picking, I make up a large batch of cookies to have for our after apple picking snack. I've made these and these a few times, but this year I wanted to take something new. I like to make a fall themed cookie, and one that isn't apple since I don't want to have to buy apples right before going to pick a bushel. This year, we had these pumpkin oatmeal cookies with white chocolate chips in them. 

This recipe will make about 6 dozen small cookies. I like them on the smaller side since we have many people eating them. Give these cookies a try when you go out on your next autumn excursion.

Monday, September 19, 2016

(Un)Stuffed banana pepper soup

Here in the Buffalo area we have stuffed banana peppers on the menu at almost every pizza place, Italian type restaurant, or bar/pub in the area. I'm not sure if they are a local thing or what, but a Google search has led me to think that they aren't something that is very popular outside of the region. Basically, they are hot banana peppers stuffed with cheeses, Italian seasonings, sometimes sausage/pork, and the topped with breadcrumbs and baked til bubbly. They are delicious. Some places even have pizza versions and macaroni and cheese versions (I think I see both of these in the blog's future). But, this time around, I decided to take the flavors of these stuffed banana peppers and turn them into a thick and hearty soup. I used ground pork in this version, but you could use bulk Italian sausage, or just add a few more peppers and leave the meat out all together. 

Even though summer is holding on tight around here, I'm so ready for fall temperatures, fall foods, and everything else that comes along with my favorite season. Soup is one of my favorite things to make and eat when the weather turns cooler (though I've been know to make soup in the summer, too). This soup will serve about 4 people as a main dish with a side of warmed crusty bread and butter. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mixed berry pie

I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make my husband's birthday pie this year, but I found the time and energy to do it (when the babies were sleeping, of course)! He always picks pie over cake for his birthday, and that's quite okay by me. We are definitely pie people around here. Don't get me wrong, I love a good piece of cake (especially carrot or chocolate), but pie is where it's at. In the past we've had honey-walnut pie, old-fashioned vinegar pie, blueberry pie, and more to celebrate his birthday. This year, I went with a berry pie - a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries to be exact (blackberries would also be nice). I wanted to make a fruit pie with a summer fruit and berries are a highlight of summer to me. Every bite bursts with fresh summer flavors!

This recipe makes one standard 9-inch pie and will make about 8 servings depending on how large or small you cut your slices. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, if desired. But, it's excellent on its own. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Zucchini (mock apple) crisp

So it's been a little while since I've posted because I've been busy with our new twins. They were born a couple of weeks ago and things have been so very crazy. They and I are doing well (minus the general lack of sleep and exhaustion of taking care of - mostly feeding - two newborns). Sleeping, cooking, showering, etc. - these things are rare right now. I did happen to grab a few minutes through during a recent nap time to use up some zucchini our family brought us. Most of our food lately has consisted of cereal, sandwiches, pasta, and other things that are easy to consume. Even during pregnancy as it got really rough for me in the last couple months, I wasn't cooking a lot. So I'm hoping as the babies get more settled that this will change and I'll be back to cooking more frequently and easily. I miss the food! 

This crisp is often called "mock apple" crisp because the idea is you use zucchini in place of the apples in the filling for the crisp. I think that the zucchini still retains a texture and flavor that is "squashy" rather than "appley" - but, I do think that it works and still tastes really good. It's a terrific way to use up some zucchini if you are overflowing from your garden, or your neighbors or friends are dropping them off at your house. It almost made me feel like fall was here (except that it's 90 degrees here right now).

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pink grapefruit pie {Secret Recipe Club}

It's time for July's Secret Recipe Club reveal. This month I was assigned the blog Sew You Think You Can Cook written by Lauren. Lauren lives way over near LA on the other side of the country from me! I was glad to be able to peruse her blog as it was another new one for me and I love to check out new food blogs. She has tons of terrific recipes. I was looking for a quick and easy dessert to make for a small picnic we had on the July 4th holiday weekend. I was originally going to make her Pink Lemonade Cupcakes because they sounded perfect for a summer treat. However, once I saw her Grandpa Ray's Grapefruit Pie, I changed my mind. I think regular readers know my deep love of pie (I mean, I made 15 of them just last year). Plus this recipe looked so simple and would allow me to not be on my feet for too long (after this month, I'll be taking a maternity leave from Secret Recipe Club, but I hope to be back in October). 

This pie was completely unique and different from any pie I've ever tasted before. I happen to love grapefruit, but my husband is not a big fan. However, he still enjoyed this pie. Everyone commented on how they couldn't quite put their finger on the main ingredient, but knew it was something citrus. Plus, while I usually make homemade crusts and homemade whipped creams, this pie I used the store-bought shortcuts like in the recipe, which was terrific for me since my ankles have been the size of grapefruits lately!