Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category
‘Tis better to give than receive. For cooks getting crafty in the kitchen, this couldn’t be more true. There’s just something about presenting someone with a gift you made yourself that means so much more than buying a gift at the store.
This was the premise behind an article I just wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I made a Homemade Bellini Bar, Cherry Almond Muesli, Peppermint Bark, Beer and Caramel Pretzels, Cowboy Cookie Mix, and Tangerine Curd.
Looking at some of my old recipes during my Blogiversary and Giveaway Post, I decided this would be the perfect topic for a recipe roundup. Here are a few recipes that would make excellent holiday gifts this season:
Other Recipe Roundups:
Question: Do you like giving homemade gifts for the holidays? What types of things do you make?
Working hard and playing hard is the motto in advertising. This past week was a testament to that. Thankfully I got to let lose over the weekend by hanging out with my BFF Hillary and spending time with Tristy (aka Tristan).
I figured 8 months was a long enough wait before his first baking session. This kid is going to be a prodigy in the kitchen if I have anything to say about it.
We started his lesson with a boxed cake mix. I use the term “lesson” loosely. It pretty much included Baby T in his high chair banging the measuring cups and grabbing an NSYNC magnet off the fridge (why my mother has kept that for so long, I have no idea). Still, he loved the cake. So I think this is promising.
Last night I tested a recipe for an article I’m working on for the paper. For a side dish, I made roasted acorn squash.
Best acorn squash ever.
In our house, our squash runneth over. Literally. Oliver was almost plummeted by some of the squash that fell off the counter last week. The truth is, I’ve hit a rut, which is why that squash pile isn’t getting any smaller.
I’ve already made Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Gnocchi, Butternut Squash Soup and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. With so many squash recipes under my belt this year, I have finally figured out what makes squash taste great.
Mascarpone and fig jam.
I’m pretty much convinced that mascarpone is one of the best foods ever created. Schmear some on a quick bread and you’ll be kicking yourself for not trying it sooner. Dolloping a bit on top of squash gives it creamy texture that makes the squash melt in your mouth. The jig jam offers some added sweetness plus a hint of fruit flavor.
Although this is the least glamorous thing you’ll ever eat (hence no picture), it is by far one of the best ways you can prepare squash.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Mascarpone and fig Jam
Serves 6 side dishes or 3 main servings
- 1 Acorn squash
- 2 tablespoons butter (I used Brummel and Brown)
- Cinnamon sugar, to taste
- 6 tablespoons mascarpone
- 6 teaspoons fig jam
Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a knife, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don’t burn and the squash doesn’t get dried out.
Coat the inside of each half with 2 teaspoons of butter. Sprinkle a tiny bit of cinnamon sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon out the flesh and mix in mascarpone and fig jam. Serve.
I can’t believe how fast the time has gone, but I’m celebrating my 2-year blogiversary on Wednesday! To celebrate, I’ll be giving away something extra special that any cook would die to have. I left a hint in this post. Can you guess what it is?
You know you are addicted to social media when you are gone for just a few short days and the whole world seems to have changed. Not to mention I have no idea what my favorite bloggers have been up to (I’ll catch up over the weekend — I promise!).
I started my new job on Monday and between that, workout sessions with my favorite personal trainer, and getting ready for the holidays, I have been a little overwhelmed to say the least. Speaking of which, thank you all SO SO much for your kind words on Thursday’s post. You make it so easy for me to spill my heart out and share my crazy life with the world.
Since I have been so pressed for time, I’ve been making shortcuts to prepare for the Thanksgiving weekend. Instead of making Libby’s Pumpkin Roll like I originally planned, I decided to freeze unbaked pumpkin pies like I did last year (learn how to freeze homemade pumpkin pie in part 1 and part 2 of these blog posts). I also made and froze oatmeal raisin cookies a la King Arthur Flour to bring to our festivities as well.
Since I won’t be blogging until after the holiday, I want to leave you with my favorite dish as of lately. It combines two of my favorite foods: peanut butter and tomatoes. Now hear me out on this one…
I clipped this recipe for tomato and peanut butter soup simply based on the fact that I had some Hot Pepper Better’n Peanut Butter lying around and didn’t know what else to do with it.
As it turned out, spicy peanut butter is the perfect ingredient for soup (and Thai foods, like noodles with spicy peanut sauce). Add a slice of homemade bread and you have a meal perfect for fall or winter. And especially after all that turkey, stuffing and pie, you’ll be craving lighter meals. And in this case, you definitely won’t be skimping on flavor.
Tomato and Peanut Soup
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/3 cup spicy peanut butter (such as Hot Pepper Better’n Peanut Butter )
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook, stirring, 2 minutes more.
Add the tomatoes, chicken broth and brown sugar. Whisk in the peanut butter until incorporated. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and puree with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper, to taste, if desired.
Ladle into bowls and serve.
Question: What are you up to for Thanksgiving? What’s your favorite part of the meal? For me, I love the stuffing. Homemade, I could eat that stuff by the bowlful. I also love pumpkin pie with Cool Whip :)
What I’m announcing:
I got a new job! I start on Monday and couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ll be a social media strategist at one of Milwaukee’s largest advertising agencies. This company has such a stellar reputation, and I feel privileged to say I work there. The whole transition will obviously be a challenge in itself; it’s always so hard starting a new job, learning new names, processes, your way to the bathroom…
What I’m looking at:
Our Pinterest DIY Wine Crate Coffee Table is now complete! It turned out even better than I expected. Two weekends ago, Brenton went up to Appleton to make the base and screw everything together with his dad. They also added wheels to make it easier to move. You can check out the original pin here.
Oliver is obviously thrilled as seen by his tongue sticking out. Surprisingly, he wasn’t too freaked out when Brenton brought this in the house (like he gets whenever be bring a large box, suitcase or anything else foreign into the apartment).
If you have any questions about making your own DIY Crate Coffee Table, email me at Alysha@shesontherun.com. I didn’t know how many people would be interested in seeing the whole process.
What I’m wearing:
Boot candy a la Pinterest. I’ve been looking at these riding boot toppers for months. Since Brenton’s mom is an expert knitter, I asked if she would make me a pair. Check out the awesome job she did:
These are the original ones from Pinterest in case you’re wondering:
What I’m eating:
Trader Joe’s Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip. Last week we got a new TJ’s in Brookfield, which Brittney and I flocked to on opening day because we are total food nerds (check out her fun purchases here). Thanks to Carol, I still have 3/4 jar of Cookie Butter left, so I didn’t need to pick that up :)
What I’m entering:
This Fall Baking Giveaway from William Bounds (the awesome company who hosted my Sili Tea Ball Giveaway.) When you “like” their Facebook page, you can enter to win $70 in prizes — including a nutmeg twister and their Sili Gourmet server, brush and pie crust protector (everything you need to bake and serve the perfect pie). Hurry! Contest ends Nov. 19.
What I’m looking forward to:
Remember my trip to Blue’s Egg in Milwaukee last month? Well, I’m so excited to get together with Brittney and Laurie (and their respective hubby’s/hubby’s to be). They are troopers for agreeing to meet Brenton and I at 8 am on a Sunday, but Blue’s Egg is one of the hottest brunch spots in town and I’d rather get there early than wait an hour (patience is not one of my virtues!)
Question: What are your Thursday Things?
As I was trolling though my recipe section, I began to notice something. I use pumpkin, a lot. From breakfast to desserts and dinner, nearly every one of my food categories contains a dish with pumpkin. Since it’s fall and canned pumpkin is everywhere, what better time to do my first recipe roundup?
Question: Do you like cooking with pumpkin? What do you like to make? Links welcome!
When it comes to recipe inspiration, I often head to my own kitchen first. Whether it’s a specific ingredient that needs to be used up (like milk) or a dish I’m itching to use (like my trifle bowl), I’ll often search for a recipe that centers around one tiny detail.
So when Sun invited me to watch “The Hunger Games” at her place, I didn’t know exactly what I would bring, but I knew it would have marshmallows and Special K cereal in it. As it turns out, I also made some homemade peanut butter. And with a little more than a pat of butter, I created by own recipe.
Peanut Butter Special K Bars
Makes 12 servings
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-10 1/2 ounce package marshmallows
1/2 cup homemade peanut butter (I love the texture of the homemade variety, but you can also substitute store-bought)
6 cups Special K cereal
In a large pot over low heat, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows. When they are slightly melted, add the peanut butter while you continue to stir. When everything is melted, turn off the heat and stir in Special K. Press into a greased 9×13-inch pan. When cool, use a cookie cutter (or a knife) to cut cereal bars into fun shapes (I used a biscuit cutter). Enjoy!
Question: What do you use as inspiration in the kitchen? Blogs? TV shows? Cravings?
1. I am recovering from my first double digit run today! Yesterday, I tackled 10 miles for my half marathon training. The run went great (I ran probably 6 miles of it in the rain, which was awesome. It’s like a whole different running experience) and I’m feeling really good today (not too sore). Since the Fox Cities Half Marathon is a month away, I’m feeling confident about doing well on race day (knowing I only have 3.1 more miles to run).
2. I had two more articles published on Wednesday. One was about gourmet s’mores and the other was for DIY graham crackers. Since I have been doing loads of recipe testing (include a s’mores that had a peanut butter cup and marshmallow sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies-woah!), I am officially s’mored out. In fact, I’ve actually been cutting down on my sugar consumption a bit (baby steps I tell ya). Brenton did take some awesome photos for the paper through (styled by me…I’m not letting him take all the credit!).
2. Today is Banana Lover’s Day (who knew bananas got their own day!?) To celebrate, here are some of my favorite banana-themed recipes.
3. Giveaway Winners! The 3 winners of “The New Raw Food Diet” e-book are as follows:
Question: What are you thankful for? What is your favorite way to eat a banana? If you have a recipe, feel free to link up!