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The Gathering Project

8 Jan

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Today, I’m really excited to share with you a cool project I’ve been working on for the past few months! One of my friends, Chelsea Rose Moore, and I have started a creative workshop that’s debuting on January 25th. It’s a one-day retreat in DC with four sessions hosted by local artisans from the Northern Virginia area. tgpMLT2

Do you like working with your hands? Making your home beautiful? Entertaining and organizing pretty events? I think you might just like the Gathering Project. We have four amazing workshop hosts who will be teaching you about their favorite things and then help you make them! Bonus: You’ll get to take home something you make from each workshop!

During the event, you will learn to style a winter table with Rebecca Gallop of A Daily Something, make seasonal drinks with Rebekah Pizana, craft a winter wreath with Amy Showalter, and paint signage art and lettering with Erik LandstromJanHost5

We really want you to come to our first event. We are also providing breakfast and lunch during the day! From 8-4:30pm, you’ll be hanging out in an awesome DC loft (The Loft at 600 F), which is super chic and artsy. We also have a ton of amazing sponsors including (but not limited to)  Eric Nielsen of Mahogany Print Productions, LoCo Joe’s Coffee, ScrapCutsLily and Val, Knead and Know, June JarsKaufmann Mercantile, and Birch Fields Photography.

Some of these sponsors have even offered amazing things for us to give away so you won’t want to miss that!

Hey look, it’s me and Chelsea! 

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To sign up, click here and enter the promo code: friends for a 50% discount. I would love to meet you there, so get your tickets today!
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Baking / Christmas Cookies

20 Dec

While Bradley and I were in NY for Thanksgiving, I picked up a few of my mom’s recipes that I grew up on. One of them was this Christmas cookies recipe. One of my favorites, they are called German Love and have an amazing lemon glaze on the top.

This is the physical recipe from her cookbook, handwritten a few times over.

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Step 1: Mix butter, egg, sugar, and vanillaIMG_4440Step 2: Add flourIMG_4441Step 3: Add everything else, including a ton of spices (that’s what makes these cookies great!)

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This is what it should look like after that. Now you’ll chill it for an hour or two. I tend to clean the kitchen while cookies chill, but you could also put your feet up and enjoy a sweet cup of joe with eggnog creamer if you prefer.
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Step 4: After it’s chilled, flour a cutting board and roll out the dough to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.IMG_4454 IMG_4455As you can see, I like to over-flour things because I hate when batter sticks to me, the board or the rolling-pin. IMG_4456Step 5: Cut dough in to squares/rectangles, and other geometric shapes with a knife.
IMG_4457Step 6: Put them on a sheet ready for the oven and cook for about 10 minutes. They won’t grow so you can crowd a cookie sheet if you need to.

IMG_4459Step 7: Make a little glaze for the top, lemon juice, water and powdered sugar. I added red and green food coloring for extra Christmas joy.
IMG_4461Step 8: After the cooking come out, transfer them to a cooling rack.
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IMG_4462Step 9: After the cookies have cooled, drizzle icing over top. I like to put a piece of plastic wrap under the cooling rack for easy clean up.
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Enjoy with a cup of strong black coffee, milk or eggnog!IMG_4465

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon water
  • food coloring

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla
  2. Add flour
  3. Add walnuts, molasses, lemon peel, cinnamon, clove, allspice, and nutmeg
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours
  5. Set oven to 375
  6. Roll out on floured cutting board (1/8-1/4 thickness) and cut into squares with a knife
  7. Place cookies on sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes
  8. Take out and place on cooling rack
  9. While cookies are cooling make glaze by mixing lemon juice, water, powdered sugar and food coloring
  10. Drizzle glaze over cookies with a spoon and allow time to set

These are great cookies to bring to the family’s house for Christmas or if you’re going to a cookie exchange, whip up a batch! They are some of the most simple to make and simply tasty cookies out there.

What are you go to Christmas cookies?

Cooking / Guacamole

11 Dec

Guacamole has become a favorite in my house recently. I’ve made my husband a guac convert! He’s still not keen about avocados but guac seems to be a completely different story. 🙂

Today, I’m going to share my guacamole recipe with you! I wasn’t very good at getting the right balance of ingredients until a few months ago (maybe that’s why he didn’t like it). 🙂 We visited Plaza Azteca, an amazing Mexican restaurant, and watched them make the guac table side.  I have now learned all their secrets!

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Ingredients

  • 2 Avocados
  • Bunch of roughly chopped Cilantro
  • 1/4  Yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp Jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1/2 Roma Tomato, diced
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Place avocado, lime juice and a pinch  salt in a bowl and begin cutting together with two knives.
  2. Add onions, tomato, and jalapeno and combine with a spoon.
  3. Sprinkle in cilantro and another bit of salt and mix.
  4. Sample with tortilla chips and adjust if necessary
  • If bland: add a little salt or lime juice

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Baking: Pumpkin Scones

22 Nov

As soon as Joy posted these on her Instagram, I knew I had to make them. I’ve never made anything with pumpkin before and these looked like a great place to start! As this is the week before Thanksgiving, it was the perfect time to try out a prospective recipe for turkey day morning. We are headed up to my parents house and after my mom saw these pictures she asked me for the recipe and requested I make them when I come!

This recipe is full of spices. You’re going to love the intense flavors!

IMG_3997Step 1: Use a whisk to mix together all the dry ingredients

IMG_4001Step 2: No editing needed here, look at that pumpkin color!

IMG_3999Step 3: And mix it together with the other wet ingredients.

IMG_4002Step 4: Cut the butter into cubes and use a pastry blender to mix in.

IMG_4003Step 5: Now combine the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and add pecans.

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IMG_4005Step 6: Use a cookie scoop to get the perfect portion on to a well-greased pan.

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Step 7: While they are cooking, make the brown butter glaze. It was so simple and amazingly delicious!IMG_4009Step 8: After about 18 minutes pull the scones out and let them cook on a rack until cool.IMG_4010 IMG_4012 IMG_4013Step 9: Now drizzle the glaze back and forth all over the scones. I put a piece of plastic wrap down under the rack as to ease clean up later.
IMG_4017 IMG_4020Enjoy! These were the best scones I’ve ever made. You’ll be a pumpkin believer after munching on a few of them.Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

———

Original Recipe from Joy the Baker

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup, 6 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the Glaze:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

Directions:

  1. Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and all of the spices.  Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and toss to coat.  Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, break the butter down into the dry ingredients.  Work quickly so that the butter remains cold.  Some of the butter will be the size of oat flakes, others will be the size of small peas.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together until almost thoroughly combined.  Add pecans and stir until no dry flour bits remain.  Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop scones dough by the 1/2-cupful onto the prepared baking sheet.  Leave about 2-inches of space between each scone.
  5. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until browned slightly with dry tops.  You can insert a toothpick into the center of a scone to test for doneness.
  6. Allow to cool completely before glazing.
  7. To make the glaze, in a small saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat.  The butter will begin to crackle and pop.  After the crackling subsides a bit, the butter will begin to brown.  Continue to cook until the butter smells nutty and the butter solids begin to brown.  Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, browned butter, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk.  Whisk together and add more milk as necessary until your desired consistency is reached.
  9. Generously drizzle scones with glaze.

Dinner / Roasted Asparagus

24 Oct

Last week, Bradley and I celebrated our second anniversary. Typically, he likes to take me out to a beautiful dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Usually, I like to make him his favorite meal. So this year we did both. Since October 8th fell on a Tuesday, he took me out to Travinia after work that night. And the following weekend, I made him a steak dinner. (compromising!)

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I’ve always had a bit of trouble making creative tasty vegetable dishes. I can usually plan the “meat and potatoes” side of things quite well but fall short when it comes to vegetable sides.

*Enter Roasting*

Have you ever roasted vegetables? I tried roasting potatoes and carrots two weeks ago. It was amazing!! So much better than boiling (which seems to be my go to).

IMG_5449Roasting. Who knew? It’s so simple. Pretty much any vegetable can be easily tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and thrown in the oven (I use the word “thrown” loosely). So I tried a roasted vegetable for our steak dinner. Turned out so well. Eons better than my previous method of boiling 3 minutes, throwing them in an ice bath to stop the cooking and them warming them with “sauce” in a pan. They tended to end up over cooked and…not tasty.

3 Steps to Easy and Delicious Roasted Asparagus

Step 1: Aluminum Foil over any pan (easy clean up), drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add any herbs and garlic that you desire. I used a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves here.IMG_1089

Step 2: Roast at ˚350 for about 30 minutes. IMG_0056

Step 3: Serve with your favorite meal to your favorite person. It’s the best way to enjoy a dinner like this. 🙂
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Dinner / Grilled Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Panini

9 Oct

This is the most amazing Panini I’ve eaten. It’s up there with a Frontega Chicken Panini from Panera and the Caprese Panini recipe I put up here earlier this year. If you’ve tried those, you know I’m right.

Once again, I’m going to herald the amazingness of a panini press. They make ordinary sandwiches extraordinary! Crispy and dripping with cheese, paninis are an instant love for any foodie. If you don’t have one and love sandwiches, go to BB&B and grab one. You can thank me later.

Back to the panini at hand. I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman. Her food is always good, and if you need a laugh, just read a recipe! Bradley and I love paninis so I was sure that using one of hers would be an instant hit.

Panini Fact: Paninis are an easy weeknight dinner.

For this recipe all you need is bread, grilled chicken, red peppers, provolone (or your favorite cheese), roasted red peppers (canned), peso and a few other household ingredients. Simple stuff but they pack a huge flavor punch.

A few notes:

I don’t have a gas burning stove so I roasted the peppers under the broiler in my oven. Also, I’m grill-less at the moment but you can either use a broiler or a cast iron pan for the chicken.

IMG_2824.1This is what the spread made from roasted red peppers and pesto looks like. IMG_6978.1

Finished project! (Sorry, I was in a rush and the picture was blurry. You try taking food pictures when you’re more focused on eating than the shot itself.) 😉

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—–

Recipe from Pioneer Woman – Grilled Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Panini

Ingredients

  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 8 whole Sun-dried Tomatoes, Packed In Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Prepared Basil Pesto
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  •  Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 whole Red Bell Peppers
  • 8 whole Slices Provolone Or Mozzarella Cheese
  • 8 slices Good Whole Grain Sandwich Bread
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Softened

Preparation Instructions

CHICKEN

Slightly flatten chicken with a mallet (just until uniform thickness.)

In a blender (or food processor), puree sundried tomatoes, pesto, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add half the mixture to a ziploc bag with the chicken breasts, then refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

After marinating, heat heavy skillet or grill to medium. Grill or cook chicken until done. Slice chicken into strips.

SPREAD

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and 3 tablespoons of the sundried tomato mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

ROASTED RED PEPPERS

If you have a gas cooktop, blacken red peppers directly over the flame. (If you do not have a gas cooktop, blacken them directly under the oven broiler.) Completely blacken/char on all sides, then immediately seal in a ziploc bag. Allow peppers to sit, sealed, in the bag for at least 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove from bag and use fingers to slip off the blackened skin. (Don’t be afraid to leave some black bits!) Lop off the top, cut in half, then seed and slice into strips. Set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE

To make the panini, spread generous amounts of the sundried tomato/pesto spread on one side of all the pieces of bread. On four of the pieces, arrange 1/4 of the chicken slices, 1/4 of the pepper slices, and two pieces of provolone. To with the other four pieces of bread with the spread face down. Butter both sides of sandwich, then grill in panini maker or on a skillet over medium-low heat. (If you use a skillet, set a heavy pan or skillet on top of the sandwich as each side browns.)

Slice in half and serve!

 

Dinner: Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Sandwich

14 May

This is a meal that needs no recipe. It’s one of the easiest dinners you’ll ever make and something perfect for a busy weeknight or Saturday picnic.

1) Place chicken breasts (2-4) in crock pot and pour on the bbq sauce. (1/2 – 1 bottle) Chicken can be used either thawed or frozen. I also added onion (1 whole) for flavor. 
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2) Set on low for 8+ hours or high for 4+ hours. I let mine go until I get home from work and it turns out perfectly. After it’s cooked, use two forks to shred the chicken.IMG_1873
3) Serve on hamburger buns with pasta salad and corn (or any side dishes of your choice).
IMG_1875Enjoy the easiest most tasty meal of your summer! 🙂

 

Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins

7 May

I need these to come back in my life. They are the most amazing muffins. Crisp apples and lovely cinnamon mixed with textured oatmeal make for an amazing muffin. Seriously, go make them right now. You’ll thank me.

I was surprised when I looked for a recipe for “Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins” however. I looked, searched, Googled and ventured in to the great unknown but there were only one or two recipes that even remotely seemed like what I was looking for. I took a chance on one from a blog and it definitely paid off. Follow along! The recipe is at the end.

1) Chop apples. I used 2-3 because I like my muffins to be mostly fruit. 😉

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2) Wisk dry ingredients.
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3) Mix wet ingredients and add to the dry ones.IMG_0849
4) Stir to combine.
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5) Add apples.IMG_5774
6) Stir to combine.IMG_56887) Portion into muffin pan and cook. (Keep watch as they near the end because I needed less time than they called for)

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Look how amazing these are! They fell apart in my hand and were so full of amazing apple chunks! Get out the stick of butter and go at ‘um. Ooo so good. IMG_3613IMG_2441IMG_0819

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Recipe care of Cathlin Cooks

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour (used white flour but only because I need to restock on whole wheat!)
  • ½ cup rolled oats (Because of the lack of wheat flour, I upped this to 1 cup oats and used 1 cup white flour)
  • 1/3 cup light-brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk or water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½-2 cups chopped apples (I used Galas which allow the apples to retain a little crunch even after cooked)
Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F and grease a muffin pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, sugars, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, stir together milk/water, eggs, oil, and vanilla until blended.
  4. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add wet ingredients, stirring just to combine.
  5. Stir in apple chunks.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a muffins pass the toothpick test.
  7. Allow muffins to cool on a wire rack for five minutes before removing from pan to continue cooling.

Serve warm or completely cooled. Muffins can be frozen.

Breakfast (or Dinner): Baconcakes

1 May

It’s 5:00pm. Are you hungry? Me too!! This is, IMHO, one of the best pancake recipes out there. The key? Not over mixing the batter. It’s a really simple meal to make, perfect for a weeknight! This recipe doesn’t include any add-ins, but some that I love are, blueberries, oatmeal, apples and definitely lemon! Enjoy the pictures and the recipe below!

1) Make batter (it’s simple. believe me.)

IMG_18602) Heat griddle or fry pan (you choose!)

IMG_18613) When the little bubbles appear, flip! (gently now)

IMG_18624) I know you’re already cooking bacon, because what are pancakes without bacon? Lay a strip of cooked bacon down and cover it with some pancake batter.

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5) Same thing here. When you see bubbles, flip! Eat straight from the pan, with your hands. I promise it will be gone in less than a minute. (don’t mind the burned tongue. it will heal.)
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6) As for the rest of the pancakes, serve them with butter, maple syrup and sausage! (because clearly the bacon didn’t make it to the table after those baconcakes) Also, let it be noted that I shared that sausage mound with B. Though I could have eaten the whole plate myself.

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From Joy of Baking:

Pancake Recipe:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Plus extra melted butter for greasing the pan.

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk, and melted butter.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and then pour in the egg mixture, all at once, and stir (with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon) just until combined. The batter should have some small lumps. (Do not over mix the batter or the pancakes will be tough.)
  4. Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium high heat until a few sprinkles of water dropped on the pan or griddle splatter. Can also use an electric griddle with the temperature set at 350 degrees F.
  5. Lightly brush the pan with melted butter or oil (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray.)
  6. Using a small ladle or scoop, pour about 1/4 cup of pancake batter onto the hot pan, spacing the pancakes a few inches apart. When the bottoms of the pancakes are brown and bubbles start to appear on the top surfaces of the pancakes (2-3 minutes), turn over. Cook until lightly browned (about 1-2 minutes).
  7. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing the pan with melted butter or oil between batches.
  8. Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup.

Makes about 8 – 4 inch (10 cm) pancakes.  Serves 3-4 people.

Product Review: Folgers Breakfast Blend

24 Apr

Are you a coffee drinker? I am and I look forward to my first cup every morning. I always brew it right from the Keurig we got for our wedding. Now, I know you might prefer to use a Chemex or French Press, but until I have one for myself, I’ll stick with my tried and true Keurig.

As you know, Keurigs can brew coffee, tea, hot chocolate and many other drinks. All you have to do insert this little thing called a K-Cup and go! There are so many different blends, flavors, and brands of coffee though, how do you make a choice!? I’m actually asking you, how do you choose your preferred K-Cup coffee?

My favorite ones are all “Blends”, meaning they aren’t straight “French Vanilla” or “Dark Magic” but  are a mix of two different beans with distinct flavors. This means you’re getting a deeper and more rich flavor profile in one cup! That’s what my coffee guru friends tell me anyway. 😉

There’s this particular one called Folger’s Breakfast Blend. It’s been my favorite for a while and sure makes a great cup of coffee. I’ll tell you, it’s one of the highlights of my morning, every morning. I don’t add anything except half and half so I am sure to get the full flavor of the coffee.

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So do you have a favorite flavor, blend or brand? I’d love to hear! I’m always looking for something new to try.

*All views are my own. This is not a sponsored post and I did not benefit from writing it.