Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Happy first day of Fall!  It seems only fitting to post a pumpkin recipe.  We have avoided cooking lately as temperatures soared last week with lots of humidity.  Mother Nature must have been listening to my complaints though as we are now enjoy crisp cool nights and sunny days.  Perfection in my book. Bring on the boots and sweatshirts.

I have made a lot of pumpkin breads and muffins over the years.  I don't have a true favorite and am always looking for another recipe. This is slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen and I added chocolate.  Probably not the best breakfast muffin but then again why not?

This recipe comes together quick and the muffins poof right up in the oven.  I had one right out of the oven and another a few hours later. I am pretty sure they are not going to last long, especially once Miss O gets her hands on one. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast chocolate pumpkin fall
Ingredients (12 muffins)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup canned 100% pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners.

In a medium-sized bowl sift together the flour and the baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, oil, eggs, spice, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until smooth.

Whisk in the flour mixture until combined. Do not over-mix.

Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack.
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Monday, September 12, 2016

Tomato Soup #SoupSwapParty

I am so excited for today's post. The heat and humidity finally ended yesterday and it feels like Fall. To celebrate I have a delicious tomato soup recipe for you from  Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share  (Chronicle, September 13, 2016) by Kathy Gunst, Resident Chef for NPR's "Here and Now." 

Soup Swap features 60 terrific recipes, including classics such as creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled-Cheese Croutons plus international favorites like Thai Red Curry-Chicken Noodle Soup. Each recipe has suggested sides to make it a meal and tips for easy transporting, which makes them just right to bring to a soup swap where everyone can sample the offerings and then take home a variety of leftovers to enjoy all week.

Not only is there so many delicious soups to pick from but the concept of the book is so cool.  Its about making soup in large quantities to then share with others. See Kathy is from Maine. I know first hand that Maine winters are cold and long. Her and some friends decided to get together and swap soup to stay warm. You got warm soup but didn't have to spend all week eating the same thing every day.  Each recipe has a note on how to prepare the soup to give away.  

This soup is not hard to put together but does take a bit of effort. You use fresh tomatoes and blanch them before adding to the soup. I actually thought it would be more work than it ended up being. I was finished before my husband came back from an errand in town with the baby.  Being baby free made the process so much easier. 

Each bowl is then topped with some grilled cheese croutons and fresh basil. The end result is a total show stopper. Of course, we only had a 2 year old to please.  After she finally believed us that the soup was not "hot" she dug right and and had two servings. 

I have so many more soups tagged for must make to help us get through the winter.  The Escarole and White Bean soup and the Roasted Fall Veggie soup looked amazing. You have to love a cookbook that has so many pictures. 

Don't forget to pick up your copy of  Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share  (Chronicle, September 13, 2016).  It goes on sale this Wednesday and was one of Cooking Light's must have Fall cookbooks.  

Tomato Soup

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Keywords: saute soup/stew tomato
Ingredients (Serves 6)
  • 2 medium leeks
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, thinly, sliced
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 lb vine ripened tomatoes
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (homemade or bought)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • croutons
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
Trim off the dark green sections from the leeks and save for making vegetable stock another day. Halve the pale green and white sections lengthwise. Rinse under cold water, pat dry and cut crosswise into thin pieces.

In a large stockpot over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks, onions and shallots. Cook, stirring for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cut a small X in the stem end of each tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch them for about 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a colander to drain. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin from the tomatoes, remove the core, and coarsely chop the flesh.

Add the tomatoes to the stockpot, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to high, add the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Using a food processor working in batches or immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and add the cream. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. If the soup is too thin or watery continue simmering until slightly thicker. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if needed.

Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls and top each with 2 to 4 croutons. Garnish with basil and serve.
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Monday, September 5, 2016

Oatmeal Apple Muffins #secretrecipeclub

It's September. Can you tell I am excited? Not only are we one step closer to Fall but my birthday is only 5 days away.  We are going to have some big celebrations next weekend.  Heck we may even start early if I have any say.  

It being the beginning of the month and all means it is time for another rendition of the Secret Recipe club. This month for the Secret Recipe Club I had BCMom's Kitchen.  I think we were made to paired together.  She looks for good recipes that are EASY. Making meals that can be done ahead of time and then quick to throw together before dinner.  I love after most recipes that she has a little note about what worked, what didn't and how to modify for next time. 

Since it was September I was all about the apples.  I did a quick hunt for apples recipes. There were a ton.  I was all about this Apple Crunch recipe because it looks delicious and it was from her favorite cookbook. And then there was this cinnamon apple dutch baby.  I finally ended up with these oatmeal apple muffins.  We needed something to have on hand for a quick snack and breakfast.  The muffins were perfect, with not too much sugar and made with whole wheat flour, I didn't hold back in giving them to Miss O.  They were delicious and moist. Now I am all excited for the many more apple recipes I am going to make this Fall. 

Oatmeal Apple Muffins

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast apple cinnamon oatmeal
Ingredients (12 muffins)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with liners. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat together egg, milk, oil and sugar.

In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients.

Fold egg mixture into dry mixture, just to moisten.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350°
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Friday, September 2, 2016

Peanut Sesame Noodles

Although we don't have a little one going back to school I certainly feel like transition is in the air. I am not even going to mention it is Labor Day weekend.  I have said it before and I will say it again. I am so ready for Fall.  That doesn't mean though that I can comprehend where summer went.  Time is flying by.  

We have both been busy traveling for work, finishing up the many started but not complete house projects and entertaining the little one.  Miss O has been soaking up the sun at the play ground and at the beach.  We have a little water baby for sure.  All of these activities mean we look at the clock around 4:30 and think what to have for dinner.  We have a pretty strict schedule with dinner around 5:15 for Miss O.  It is always a race to get food on the table before she freaks out about being hungry. 

I have been craving Thai food lately and do to a mix up at the store I have about 3 different boxes of rice noodles sitting in our pantry. This is my version of pad thai. Or simple peanut noodles.  We had them hot the first time around and then cold for lunch the next day. Both tasted marvelous. 

This time around we had leftover chicken that was a quick add at the end.  You could omit and have a nice vegetarian version as well. The sauce comes together super quick and is really tasty.  We happened to have all of the ingredients on hand - a bit unique but not if you are used to other Asian dishes.  All in all it took about 20 minutes from start to finish. Not bad for a quick meal.

We have tried other peanut sauce noodle dishes before and none have been this delicious.  Due to past failures my husband was a bit skeptical when I said what was for dinner but he was pleasantly surprised by how good it came out. 

Sesame and Peanut Noodles

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: saute chicken pasta peanut butter
Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 12 ounces rice noodles
For the Peanut Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
For the Salad:
  • 1/2 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, sliced
  • 1/3 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped skinless roasted peanuts, for garnish
Cook the pasta until al dente. Do not overcook. Drain, reserving some of the starchy pasta water, rinse and set aside.

For the peanut dressing: Place the peanut butter in a large measuring cup and microwave to soften, 15 seconds. Whisk in with the soy sauce, vinegar, canola oil, ginger, honey, Sriracha, sesame oil and lime zest and juice in a small bowl. Thin with the starchy pasta water if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. (Dressing should be thick, but pourable.)

For the salad: Place the pasta in a large mixing bowl and add the cilantro, chicken and vegetables and toss with the dressing. Top with the chopped peanuts, green onions and toasted sesame seeds if desired and serve.
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