Sunday, February 13, 2011

Carrot Cake Mini Cupcakes

Thanks, Martha Stewart! Your recipes are always a success.

I only altered this recipe a little bit. I used a bit of whole wheat flour in place of some of the all-purpose flour and I added a few more ground spices (ginger & allspice) to both the cake batter and the icing. I also used dried cranberries instead of raisins and added about 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans. The result was a moist, hearty, yummy cupcake. My only problem - I filled the mini muffin cups a bit too full, they really overflowed in the oven and then the tops stuck together in the pan. I had to cut/peel off the overflowing cupcake tops in order to make them presentable. So now I have a baggie in the freezer of carrot cupcake shards. I will have to put them on top of vanilla ice cream or crumble them on top of my morning oatmeal, something creative.

We served these last night after dinner with my parents and JT's parents. We had a little wedding planning get-together. The clear plate these cupcakes are displayed on in the picture has a "T" on it for JT's last name, and my future last name. It was an engagement present from JT's parents! Thanks guys!



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pistachio Pesto

I love greens. I always have a bag or a box of spinach in my fridge at all times. And we love arugula as well (obviously). I put them in or on top of absolutely everything: saldas, eggs, pasta dishes, panini sandwiches, etc., etc., nom nom nom...

I also love to make pesto with greens instead of basil, to change things up a bit, especially when basil isn't exactly in season and readily available. It's also a bit cheaper if you want to make a large quantity.

This pesto is made up of spinach, toasted pistachios, the zest and juice of 1 meyer lemon, 2 garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. We just pulsed the garlic and pistachios in the mini food processer for a few seconds then added the lemon zest, juice and spinach and processed until all of the spinach is finely chopped. Lastly we streamed in olive oil until it reached the desired consistency (I like it a little thick) and added salt and pepper to taste.

We served this pesto at room temperature on top of local chicken breasts from Oink, Moo, Cluck Farms here in Columbus. It is some of the BEST chicken I have ever had in my life. No joke. The flavor and texture are so much better than what you get out of the stuff at the grocery store. We just lightly salted and peppered the chicken breasts and cooked them in a skillet with olive oil.

The last time we made pesto, we used arugula and regular lemon zest and used it to top pork chops from Oink, Moo, Cluck. They were just as tasty as the chicken breasts. And one of the best parts? You order their products online and they personally deliver it all right to your house! You can also find them at the Clintonville and Worthington farmer's markets in the summertime.

This pesto would also be great over roasted vegetables, tossed with roasted potatoes, on top of pasta, etc., etc....



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hearty Raspberry-Pecan Breakfast Muffins

Believe me, I fully realize the poor quality of this photo. However, I want to get the "blog" rolling (har har) ;), so I'd rather take the picture in poor light now than wait for tomorrow. I will start experimenting with lighting and backgrounds and other fun stuff as I go along.

These muffins will make a great addition to breakfast for the next week or so. They are full of good stuff: whole wheat flour, oats, unsweetened coconut, juicy raspberries, pecans, spices, etc... I like to fool around with muffin recipes in order to make them more healthy and suitable for the morning.

This muffin + 1/2 a banana + strong coffee = happy KJ in the morning.

In other news... JT and I get to do some fun stuff tonight! We have to look over the menus from our wedding reception caterer and decide which dishes we are interested in and would like to sample at our complimentary tasting! Yums!

Plus... If I'm feeling lucky... I may take the online Jeopardy! test to see if I'm eligible for the show. I am SUCH a dork.

Here's that recipe. Enjoy!

Hearty Raspberry-Pecan Breakfast Muffins

3/4 quick cooking oats
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
Pinch fresh nutmeg, grated right into the batter
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
1 1/4 cups frozen raspberries, no need to defrost

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line your muffin tin with paper liners, or lightly grease with butter or canola oil. This recipe makes 10-14 muffins, depending on how big you want them to be.
2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, coconut, flour, sugar, pecans, salt, baking powder, and spices. Whisk the milk, oil, and egg together in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until the mixture is moistened evenly. Fold in the raspberries. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin cups.
3. Optional oat topping - mix together 1/4 cup quick cooking oats, 1/3 cup honey, 1/3 cup crushed pecans, and 1 tbsp. melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over muffins.
4. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First Post - For Funsies

I have talked and talked about starting this blog for months. I even attempted a few posts last year but was unsatisfied with the results. Well, it's February now, a little late for New Year's resolutions, but with the spirit of starting anew still in the air, I am going to give it a try again. I will call it a food blog for now. Focused on tasty, healthy, whole foods made from scratch. We will see how this thing evolves... I will probably share my Goodreads reviews as well. Books and cooking, my favorite hobbies!

Stay tuned!