Friday, October 17, 2014

Phone Friday: Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice


Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice | Buttered Side Up

Ever since I discovered that you can mix your own spices I have shied away from the pre-mixed store-bought varieties. I'm sure there are some lovely blends out there, but there's just something nice about knowing exactly what and how much of everything goes into your seasonings. 

Plus, if you prefer to use organic spices, it can be a more affordable option. I like to buy my spices a little at a time from the bulk bins at our local health food store. That way I don't keep an entire bottle of cloves in my drawer for a few years until it goes stale. 

Note: If you don't like a particular spice used in the recipe, feel free to leave it out! Also, if you're out of a spice (with the exception of the cinnamon), it's not going to be the END of the world if it isn't put in. 


Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
adapted from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon allspice, optional (I didn't have any on hand so I left it out)

Directions:

Mix everything together and store in an air-tight container. Use as you would store-bought pumpkin pie spice.




Looking for some pumpkin recipes?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Pudding


Pumpkin Pie Pudding
Pumpkin Pie Pudding
Pumpkin Pie Pudding

As I've said before, pumpkin is my favorite of all the pies. However, there are few days besides Thanksgiving and Pi Day that I feel inclined to attempt an acceptable pie crust. If only I could find a way (besides using shortening: the horror!) to make a good pie crust without tears, blood and sweat. 

Thankfully there's this delicious little thing called Pumpkin Pie Pudding. It's hardly more trouble than regular homemade pudding (which is stupid easy), and has the lovely, spicy flavors of a pie.

I was a bit apprehensive about the outcome of this pudding. I've made some pumpkin flavored recipes that didn't exactly please (I don't know if I can ever bring myself to make a pumpkin smoothie again). But to my relief, this was scrumptious. Helen loved it, and so did Reuben. 

Is is every bit as good as pumpkin pie? No, but it's so much easier (and just about foolproof). Make sure to serve with a big dollop of whipped cream.



Pumpkin Pie Pudding Recipe
Adapted from Health.com
Makes about 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sucanat
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch, preferably organic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, homemade or canned
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg, for serving

Directions:

1) In a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the eggs. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes.

2) Temper the whisked eggs by slowly whisking in about half of the hot milk mixture. Pour into saucepan and return to heat. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes.

3) Remove from heat and whisk in the pumpkin, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Pour into a heat-proof storage container (I used a large glass bowl). 

4) Let cool a bit then press plastic wrap onto the surface to keep the pudding from developing a skin. Let cool to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator. Serve with plenty of whipped cream and a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg.





Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Note: Some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. I would never share something with you guys if I didn't care for it.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hey y'all! Two posts in one week, what what!

I'm thinking about starting a series called "Phone Friday" where I share a quick recipe with photos provided by my iPhone. What do you guys think? Do you like the idea of a Casual Friday post?

Often times I'll make something that's utterly delicious, but I simply don't have the time to drag out my camera, pose the food perfectly and edit the photos. In other words, there's some awesome recipes I wish I could share with you guys but never get the chance.

Let me know in the comments if I should do more of these!

But about these cookies. My gripe against cookies is that they're often overly sweet. However, if you cut back on the sugar too much you mess with the texture. Adding a sprinkling of coarse salt on top is a wonderful solution. It balances out the sweetness of the cookies nicely. The added crunch is quite pleasant as well.


Notes:
  • These cookies are pretty soft and crumbly. Please to not over bake unless you like your cookies on the firmer side.
  • In addition to the salt the sucanat and demerara provide a bit of crunch as well.
  • I did, of course, cut back on the sugar a bit. If you like your cookies pretty sweet you can go ahead and add 3/4 cup each of the sugars.




Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted slightly from Baking Chic

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • scant 2/3 cup sucanat
  • scant 2/3 cup demerara 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chip
  • Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).
2) In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add the sugars and mix for a few minutes. Mix in the egg, milk and vanilla.

3) Dump your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the mixer. Mix on low speed until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4) Form the dough into flattened balls with your hands. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven until the bottoms are just browned, 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with the coarse sea salt while still warm. Allow to cool on pan for about 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks. 

Store in an airtight container for a few days.



Note: Some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. I would never share something with you guys if I didn't care for it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup



This post was originally published on September 4, 2012 on Cooking for Seven.



Roasted Cauliflower SoupRoasted Cauliflower Soup
My favorite fall/winter supper is soup. Once you know the basic steps for most soups, it’s so easy to customize and create to your preferences. And there’s just something cozy about a bowl of steaming soup.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
But on to the soup at hand.
Cauliflower has never been my favorite veggie. On a scale of 1 to beets, it’s about an eight. Then one day, my grandma taught us how to make steamed cauliflower with buttered breadcrumbs. I softened. A little. Then I saw Katie’s recipe for Roasted Garlic & Cauliflower Soup. I caved.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
I’m so glad I did. Once roasted, the cauliflower develops a lovely flavor. The hints of celery, thyme and roasted garlic are amazing. You should definitely try this soup, even if you are a cauliflower hater. It just might change your mind!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Recipe Notes:
  • The original recipe looks quite long and complicated. Do not fear! It comes together quite easily.
  • Also, this recipe is very forgiving. I didn’t have any white wine on hand, so I replaced it with more chicken broth. We’re not huge on bay leaves, so I left that out as well. The bacon suggested sounds yummy, but I think it’s completely optional.


Roasted Garlic & Cauliflower Soup | from Katie Goodman | serves 4-6 | PRINTABLE PAGE
Ingredients:
  • 1 whole head cauliflower
  • 1 large whole head garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, plus up to 2 more as needed for desired consistency
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced parsley
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 3 ounces cooked and crumbled bacon
  • additional oil for serving – olive oil or truffle oil
Directions:
1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.) Cut cauliflower into individual florets. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
3.) Cut the top off of the head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap with foil. Place wrapped garlic on the baking sheet. Roast the cauliflower and garlic at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. When the cauliflower is tender and golden remove from the oven.
4.) The garlic will need to roast for a total of about 25-30 minutes. You can remove it to check it’s progress as needed – it should smell fragrant but not raw, be golden and tender.
5.) Meanwhile, heat the butter in a cast iron dutch oven or medium-large stock pot. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Whisk in the salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, and flour and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
6.) Add the wine and water, whisking to combine with the flour mixture. Then, slowly add in the 2 cups broth. Add the bay leave and roasted garlic cloves. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
7.) Remove the bay leaf. Working in batches, add the soup to a blender or food processor and blend until pureed and smooth. Add additional broth during or after blending to achieve desired consistency. After all the batches have been completed, return to the pot. Stir in the half and half and parsley. Cook until just heated through. Adjust salt and pepper for tastes.
8.) Serve immediately, topped with bacon and a drizzle of olive or truffle oil and a side of bread for dipping

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Nutrition 101: Part 2 - Five Tips for Good Nutrition



Nutrition 101

Hey everyone! Time for another Nutrition 101 post. Make sure you read Part One first if you haven't already!

As I mentioned in part one, I am not a nutritionist or expert in this area by any means. I'm also not trying to say that I eat this healthy all of the time. My philosophy is to eat right when I can and not stress about when I can't.

I suppose you could call me a "Traditional Foodie" (think Nourishing Traditions) - I believe that, as much as possible, we should cook and eat the way our great grandparents did. If a food has been "invented" in the last 50 years or so, you might wish to reconsider eating it.

Everyone has their own views on what foods are healthy and which aren't. I'm sure some people aren't concerned about the potential health benefits/risks of consuming certain foods, but most people have an inkling about good nutrition.

For example, most people would admit that fast food is not the wisest meal choice health-wise. Beyond the knowledge that junk food isn't good for you, the waters can get pretty grey

If you're just starting to try to make good food choices, it can be very overwhelming to know where to start. Here are my top five tips to begin your healthy journey.


5 Tips for Eating Well


1) Cook from scratch as much as possible.
It is my belief that even if you can't afford the best ingredients in the world, if you are cooking the majority of your food from scratch you're miles ahead of many people. Growing up we didn't eat an organic diet, but my mom cooked almost everything from scratch. We had very few health problems. I'm not saying that this was the only reason we enjoyed good health, but I'm pretty sure that not consuming tons of soda and prepackaged food helped. We definitely had junk food for special occasions, but our meals were mostly homemade.


2) Avoid highly processed oils.
Most of the "vegetable oils" on the market today are not good choices. Polyunsaturated oils (oils that are liquid when cold) go rancid easily. They are unstable when heated.
Common polyunsaturated oils include: canola, corn, soy, sunflower, and "vegetable oil". You can read more about the dangers of polyunsaturated oils HERE and HERE.
And of course everyone knows that trans fats are not good. Avoid all hydrogenated oils when possible.


3) Eat Organic/Local/Pastured When Possible
I know it's not possible for everyone to afford an all organic diet (I know I can't). I try to use the "Dirty Dozen Clean Fifteen" list, especially when shopping for Helen. A great alternative to organic is to buy local food. If you talk to farmers, they'll tell you what they used for fertilizer and if any pesticides were used.
It's also important to try to buy quality meat. Beware of labels claiming to be "all natural." Your best choice is local meat raised on pasture without the use of hormones. I can source pasture raised meat from our local farmers market and health food store. Organic would be my second choice.
The same goes for eggs and dairy products.


4) Avoid highly processed packaged food. 
This is probably the most obvious of the bunch. Everyone knows that store-bought cookies, crackers and candy are full of icky ingredients. Nearly every breakfast cereal contains extremely processed ingredients. Most chips are fried in unhealthy oils. I could write an entire post about prepackaged foods and healthy alternatives.


5) Embrace Healthy Fats
As I mentioned in Part One, as a teenager I followed the low-fat craze. It definitely made me skinny, but it didn't make me healthy.
Please don't be scared to consume plenty of healthy fats: butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. And by plenty, I don't mean a thin scraping of butter across your toast. I make to sure add loads to oatmeal, rice dishes, pasta, and basically anything we eat. Yeah, you can call me the butter lady. Make sure to buy the highest quality butter you can afford (I really like Organic Valley Pasture Butter, Kerrygold, Rumiano, and Kalona Supernatural). Even if you can only afford conventional butter, it's better than eating margarine or "vegetable oils."



So those are my top five tips for eating well!


Let me know what you would like to see next in this series. 
I could do a Q&A, address individual food groups, etc.




Five Tips for Good Nutrition | Buttered Side Up



Note: some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. I wouldn't recommend something to you guys if I didn't like it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Homemade Salted Caramel Corn Recipe


Caramel Corn | Buttered Side Up
Caramel Corn | Buttered Side Up
Caramel Corn | Buttered Side Up
Caramel Corn | Buttered Side Up

For some reason I used to have a fear of homemade caramel corn. Which is quite silly since I had never tried my hand at making it. I just assumed that the stuff from the store (full of highly processed ingredients) could not be recreated at home. Boy, was I wrong.

My sister made a batch of caramel corn and it was AMAZING. My preconceived notions about homemade caramel corn melted away. 

Caramel corn is one of the more addicting foods. It's sweet, but it's also salty, so you don't get overloaded on either flavor. It's so easy to toss kernel after kernel into mouth.

I'm sad that we already finished off this batch. Which can easily be remedied...



Homemade Salted Caramel Corn 
adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes about 15 cups

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn (to make about 15 cups popped)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (if using unsalted, you may want to add a bit of salt to the caramel)
  • 2 tablespoons unsulphered molasses
  • 3/4 cup sucanat
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Coarse sea salt, to taste

Directions:

1) Pop your popcorn. Place in a (very) large bowl. Line a large roasting pan with parchment paper. If you don't have a roasting pan you can use two 13 x 9 pans. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). 

2) Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the molasses, sucanat and honey. Stir and cook until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

3) Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Don't be alarmed - the mixture will foam and get airy. Pour over popped popcorn and toss to coat evenly.

4) Spread in the prepared pan and sprinkle with coarse sea salt to taste. Bake in preheated oven for an hour, giving the caramel corn a stir every 15 minutes or so. 

5) Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before attempted to eat. Once it's completely cool you can store it in an airtight container for a few days. It probably won't last that long.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Favorites + The Winners!




Here are a few random favorites from around the interwebs: 


hazelnut layer cake with fig compote + cream cheese frosting

Hazelnut Layer Cake with Fig Compote and Cream Cheese Frosting via Dolly & Oatmeal. I wouldn't use vegan cream cheese for the frosting, but this cake is gorgeous.



What To Look for in September

What to Look for in September by Claire Fletcher. How cute is this illustration?




Addicting Sea Salt Iced Coffee with Sea Salt Cream Recipe on @whiteonrice

Sea Salt Iced Coffee from White on Rice Couple. I made this and it was delicious. If it wasn't late at night I would make some right now.




Feather Sketch Napkins

Feather Sketch Napkins via Anthropologie.





Via The Savory. I love this quote. It's great to follow recipes to a T, but at some point you need to branch out and make a recipe your own.




salted chocolate espresso cookies

Salted Chocolate Espresso Cookies via My Daily Morsel. Looks like a few of these would slip down easily with a cold glass of milk. Mmhmm.




This is what I should do with my low counter. :)

Via Kitty Cat Stevens. I would love to put some open shelves above my low counter and turn it into a baking station. Hint hint, Reuben...





wouldn't that be nice?!

By Tim Bontan. Weekends are never long enough.




And now to announce the winners of the Jovial Foods Giveaway!


The Winners

Using random.org, I selected two winners of the $25 gift certificates to Jovial Foods.


Here are the results:

Winner #1: Nicole-Lynn whose favorite pasta dish is Whole Wheat Baked Ziti with Garlic Bread. 

Winner #2: Amanda Jorjorian whose favorite pasta dishes are Mac & Cheese and anything tomato based.


You guys really make a girl hungry with all of your favorite pastas.

I have contacted Nicole and Amanda.

Thank you to all who entered the giveaway. Hope y'all have an awesome weekend!


xoxo
Erica



Note: Some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. I would never share something with you guys that I didn't like. 


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