Pumpkin, Banana & Oat Breakfast Muffins

Banana, Oats & Pumpkin Breakfast Muffins 2

I have been really into breakfast muffins lately. They’re not too sweet and more fulling than regular muffins because of the rolled oats. They’re quick to make and easy to grab and go in the mornings. For October, I thought a pumpkin based muffin along with bananas would be a delicious combination. One of the benefits of never going through bananas fast enough is I always have plenty of over-ripe ones to get creative with! These muffins are flavored with seasonal spices to compliment the pumpkin. They also freeze well so keeping them as a back up snack or breakfast in the freezer is a great way to go!
Continue Reading →

Homemade Spiced Peanut Butter

Spiced Peanut Butter 2

Homemade peanut butter is a great alternative to buying it from the store. You can’t get much fresher than grinding up your own peanuts! If you have a food processor you already have everything you need to make your own. This recipe takes it up a notch with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It makes for a great seasonal recipe and goes perfectly with sliced apples. I must confess that the numbers given for the salt, honey and spices are approximate. Feel free to use more less as desired. This recipe is excellent with chocolate and any jam you can think of. Or you can drop all pretense and go to town with a tablespoon. I definitely won’t judge you!
Continue Reading →

Bourbon Vanilla Cherry Jam

Bourbon Vanilla Cherry Jam 1

Although Summer is pretty much over you can still enjoy the Summer’s bounty by making your own jam for the coming winter months. It’s been a while since I have made my own jam and I was excited to try a new flavor. While raspberry, strawberry and blackberry are staples in my pantry I decided to go with something a little different like this cherry jam. Making jam is really easy and at it’s most basic it’s boiling fruit and sugar together. I like to use a little pectin and lemon juice to make sure my jams are nice and thick. To get rid of the foam on top, add a pat of butter into the mix but that is optional as well. I just skim the foam after my jam reaches a full boil. The combination of the vanilla and cherry flavors were delicious and I have been enjoying it on toast with black tea every morning!
Continue Reading →

Classic Minestrone Soup

Classic Minestrone Soup

There are so many different variations of Minestrone soup; it can be somewhat difficult in choosing which recipe to follow. This recipe is more traditional and borrows from several recipes with elements that I liked in particular. I was interested in the idea of using the rind from parmigiano reggiano, as I heard it enhances the flavor. I tried it out and it turns out the rind does add more depth of flavor to the broth. I chose a simple bean medley of red kidney beans and great northern beans, both found in many Minestrone recipes. To get the freshest flavor I roasted Roma tomatoes in the oven and then pureed them for the diced tomatoes. It made a big difference due to the roasting process which concentrates and enhances their flavor. Many recipes do not require any meat as part of the base but I added sliced pancetta for richness and complexity. Everything came together great and it was a perfect transition meal from Summer to Fall! I garnished the soup with extra parmesan and basil and served it with crusty french bread.
Continue Reading →

Thai Curry Noodle Soup with Chicken

 Thai Noodle Soup

Lately I can’t get enough of Thai curries! The balance of savory and fresh ingredients make Thai food one of my favorite meals. This curry is a soup with rice noodles and a savory broth. The base is flavored by red curry paste and coconut milk. It’s surprisingly easy and quick to throw together yet the broth tastes like it has been cooking for hours. The chicken is very thinly sliced so it cooks in a few minutes in the hot broth. You can find red curry paste at local Thai markets or make it from scratch. I garnished this dish with plenty of fresh Thai basil, fish sauce, lime juice, green onion and cilantro.
Continue Reading →

Thai Panang Curry with Tofu

Thai Panang Curry with Tofu

Does it get any better than a savory Thai broth with coconut milk and spices? This recipe is easy to make and doesn’t take long to throw together. For the curry paste I like to go to the local Thai market which saves me time but doesn’t skimp on flavor. Panang is moderately spicy and seasoned with turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and other savory spices. I chose tofu for this dish but chicken or beef can be substituted for the protein. This curry reminded me a bit of Indian curries since they often use the same spice profile. I served it with rice and garnished with plenty of fish sauce, fresh mint, lime juice and Thai basil.

Continue Reading →

Banana Bread Scones

Banana Bread Scones

Using over-ripe bananas in baking goes way beyond standard loaf bread! These are not your typical dry and crumbly scones. They are a lot more moist, but just as dense as a typical scone. The insides are more light and fluffy and totally delicious! A lot of banana bread scone recipes call for a brown sugar glaze but to cut down on the sweetness I only topped the scones with cinnamon sugar and a dusting of powdered sugar. Which still sounds like a lot right? But it actually turned out being not overly sweet at all. If you have a bunch of over-ripe bananas languishing on your counter give these scones a try!
Continue Reading →

Blackberry Banana & Oat Breakfast Muffins

Blackberry Banana & Oat Breakfast Muffins 2

I love breakfasts that I can grab and go while I’m halfway out the door. This recipe is a simple answer to folks who have busy mornings (or if they’re just late). These muffins are packed with good stuff: fresh berries, bananas and oats but not a lot of added sugar. My recipe makes a large batch, about 15 big muffins. I like when the muffins are larger in size and bake over the sides of the muffin tin but that’s just my personal preference. If a smaller size muffin is preferred, simply divide the recipe in half. Raspberries, cherries and blueberries make great substitutes if blackberries aren’t available.

Continue Reading →

Lemon and Cajun Roasted Chicken

Lemon and Cajun Roasted Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken is one of the simplest solutions to weeknight meals. This recipe uses a standard Cajun spice rub that is easy to mix together. For maximum flavor I used fresh thyme, lemons and garlic in addition to the spice blend. A trick I use to get the seasoning under the skin is by cutting two slits on each side of the chicken breast and rubbing the spices in under the skin. I used Meyer lemons because their flavor is a little bit milder and sweeter than the average lemon. The chicken was so tender and juicy with great flavors. Goes great with corn on the cob and grilled summer vegetables!
Continue Reading →

Homemade Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

Nothing gets any better than a highly nutritious broth and savory wontons. I am a huge fan of amazing stocks and this soup really knocks it out of the park when it comes to a flavorful broth. One of the best parts about making good stock is the transformation of leftovers and all the “throwaway” stuff. Pig’s feet and chicken bones aren’t exactly on my weeknight menu but this recipe unlocks the power of those humble ingredients! I would consider this a great weekend project since it does take some time to make all the wontons. Other than the time it takes to assemble the wontons this recipe is really easy to prepare. It is so worth it and the flavor was unbeatable. I will definitely be making this soup again!

Continue Reading →