Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WIAW: Getting to St. Louis

I made it to St. Louis just as the World Series games headed back East. I hope the series ends with Boston winning and they don't make it back here before I leave.

Breakfast was in the car stuck in traffic. A fruit smoothie and coffee on the way to the airport.

I had a quick lunch in Atlanta. Chic-Fil-A.  It is a favorite and I get it so rarely.

The hotel we are staying at has a free snack room. No joke. It is call the pantry and it is filled with juice, coffee and a whole bunch of snacks.  Dangerous!  Good thing the gym is on our floor too.

One of my colleagues was celebrating a birthday. Her tradition is going to hibachi. We couldn't end a tradition so we had a fun night with stir fry.

Happy Wednesday!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

apple pound cake

Cream cheese pound cake made extra moist and sweet with chunks of apples.

One of the hardest parts for me when traveling a lot for work is being away from the kitchen, especially when it comes to baking. I love trying out new local spots for the places I visit and I love sampling sweet treats. But nothing really compares to making something special at home.

After being gone for what seems like forever, I needed to get into the kitchen. After the cookies from yesterday it seems a bit much to make pound cake too.  This recipe even made two loaves.  Overkill yes.

This pound cake has butter and sugar - everything a proper pound cake should include -  plus chunks of apples to give it a Fall spin. Seriously delicious.  One night we even grilled up some slices in butter and topped it with vanilla ice cream. It wasn't chocolate but even I couldn't deny it was good.

Apple Pound Cake

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 75 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert apple fall
Ingredients (2 loaves)
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup apples, diced and peeled
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 degree oven.

In a stand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.

Add sugar, beating until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Turn mixer off and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Turn mixer to low and add in flour and salt.

Remove bowl from stand and fold in the diced apples.

Pour batter into two bread loaf pans that have been greased generously. In preheated oven for 75 minutes. The bread should be golden and set but not too browned.

Remove from oven and cool in pans for about 10 minutes before removing. Finish cooling on rack.
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Monday, October 28, 2013

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies {SRC}

Chewy chocolate chip cookies with a hint of pumpkin. 

I think October has flown by faster than any month I have ever experience. It is almost like it didn't happen. I barely posted any apple recipes and now our local orchard is saying this is the last week for Pick Your Own.  And pumpkin. Well that hasn't even started...that is until today.

This month for the Secret Recipe Club I had the pleasure of shopping Table for Seven's blog for a recipe.  There were so many savory meals that looks amazing but I was feeling a bit sweet. I picked the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies because chocolate and cookies are a given.  Plus, I was needed to get on the pumpkin bandwagon.  I love pumpkin and look forward to this time of year pretty much every other time of year. 

This recipe was so easy to put together and didn't make a boat load of cookies that I would feel obligated to eat all at once.  The pumpkin and cinnamon flavor definitely come out but they aren't overwhelming. And I really like that these were chewy cookies and not cake-like.  Mr. J ate two immediately and wanted more before I told him no more till pictures were done. 

If you don't know Table for Seven, stop on over and say Hi to Erin. There is lots to see from recipes to cute family photos!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert chocolate pumpkin cookie
Ingredients (12 large cookies)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cooking sheets with parchment paper or spray light with non stick cooking spray.

In a bowl, whisk together flours baking soda and cinnamon.

In another mixing bowl, whisk sugars, butter, egg, pumpkin puree and vanilla together. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until smooth.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop even spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Once removed from oven, let them sit about 5 minutes on pans before removing to a cooling rack.
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Weekend Edition: Furniture

I lived for this weekend.  Here was my schedule last week:

Monday: Fly to Durham, NC
Tuesday: Fly back to Providence, RI - get home at 12:30am 
Wednesday: Fly to Detroit, MI
Thursday: Fly back to Hartford, CT - get home at 1:30am
Friday: Try not to collaspe

So the cold that I got last weekend didn't really get to go away.  By Friday I was miserable. Part of this schedule is completely on me - I seriously don't know what I was thinking. I am way too old for these types of flights. 

Anyway the point is not to complain (OK maybe a bit) but just to show you how happy I was for the weekend. Besides being able to sleep. My parents came to visit. 

Not only have I not seen them in a very long time, but they haven't seen the inside of the new house. As a bonus, they brought with them a whole bunch of furniture. We now have another bed for the second guest room, a dining room table, a dresser, wicker chairs for our porch and most importantly sundae glasses. Because not all of the floors are done upstairs we didn't set up any rooms but soon. Soon!

While there were here we went out to our favorite restaurant in Guilford. There was a appetizer special - roasted potatoes topped with bacon and served with melted brie sauce. Best. Thing. Ever.

We decided it was worth going out to breakfast too. Fried eggs and potato pancakes with applesauce is a mighty fine way to start the day if I do say so myself.

We also snagged a Doussant. This is similar to the Cronut craze in NYC.  A croissant dough fried doughnut.  We split this one four ways to sample.  It was good but to be honest I didn't get anything more than good fried doughnut taste.

And then the weekend was done.

In case you missed it here is what I was up to last week:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sunny's Kitchen: Easy Food for Real Life {Pass the Cookbook Club}

Comfort foods. I love them.  Especially when sick. I had a cold start creeping up on me last weekend and all I wanted was something warm and comforting to eat.  Good thing I had a mac and cheese recipe all ready to go that was exactly that kind of dish.

This month for the Pass the Cookbook Club, the cookbook of choice was Sunny Anderson's new cookbook Sunny's Kitchen:  Easy Food for Real Life.  The three recipes were loaded puff pastry sticky buns, honey BBQ short ribs, and spicy mac and cheese.  If it weren't for me being a bit under the weather I totally would have picked the loaded sticky buns. They sounded delicious and there was pumpkin in the recipe. It seemed only fitting. 

But then came the cold and I was not in the mood for something sweet.  The mac and cheese was always going to happen too. Just not for the official post.   I had all the ingredients already.  Pasta, cheese and a kick of spice. Yes, please.  

This recipe was amazing. I had never made mac and cheese with this method before. It was super easy.  The pasta was very cheesy with just a little hint of hotness from the cayenne pepper and pepper jack cheese. Mr. J and I ate so much in the first sitting that we didn't have nearly as much leftover as we should have had.  Oh well, I guess that is a good sign. After making this recipe, I am going to have a hard time not buying Sunny's Kitchen:  Easy Food for Real Life. 

If you want to become a part of the cookbook club read this post and click for the Facebook group. Come join us in the fun!


Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

Adapted from Sunny Anderson
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients (serves 8)
For the Croutons:
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 slices white bread cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • Kosher salt
For the Pasta:
  • 8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces Colby cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups elbow pasta, cooked until almost al dente
For the Custard:
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cup 1% milk
For the Croutons:
In a skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter.

Toast the bread cubes in the butter until golden, about 3-5 minutes.
Season with a bit of salt, and set aside.

For the pasta:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Butter a 9x13 casserole dish, making sure to get the bottom and sides.

In a medium bowl, toss together the Cheddar, Colby and Pepper Jack cheeses.

In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta and two-thirds of the mixed cheese and set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard, onion powder, and nutmeg. Then add the sour cream, egg, onion, and milk. Whisk together until smooth.

Pour the custard over the pasta and cheese blend and mix well folding together with a rubber spatula.

Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into the baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake the macaroni and cheese, uncovered, for about 35 minutes until the cheese is just about set and top is beginning to brown.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle on the croutons and return back to the oven for another 10 minutes or so until everything is golden brown.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A list kind of day

I am….
making: something apple-ish. How is October almost over. I haven't had my fair share of apple baked goods.
cooking: salmon curry for dinner
drinking: hazelnut coffee with skim milk. does my soul good in the afternoon
reading: Engagement  by Courtney Sullivan. So far so good.
wanting: just a little slice of this Caramel Pound Cake.
looking: furniture for the house wishing : for a nice, warm and long fall, before the cold of winter settles in.  
playing: the radio
wasting: time on Pinterest  
enjoying: the quietness of 6am
waiting: for the next episode of Homeland...a week is so long to wait
liking: home ownership
wondering: how I can make my cold go away
loving: this time of year 
hoping: for a nice weekend as my parents visit
listening: to Mr. J swear as he tears up the sub-flooring in the guest room
marveling: how some people just get it, and others don't
needing: another hour in the day
sowing: ideas for holiday gifts.  
smelling: kettle corn
wearing: the most ridiculous outfit - Umbro shorts covered in paint. guess what I am doing later?

following: the news, it is depressing
noticing: first yellow leaves on trees
knowing: I have so much to do this week, but that it will get done
thinking: if only i could take a one month sabbatical from work  i could get the house in tip top shape
bookmarking: these Garlic knots
opening: windows to let the fall air in
giggling: watching Mr. J eat chicken wings and trying to stay clean. impossible
watching: season 3 of Downton Abbey on DVD
feeling: grateful for my family

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mexican Chicken Corn Soup

One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is roast a whole chicken. I find the process relatively simple and the results are amazing. The time the chicken is done, the whole house smells delicious. Your family will be hovering around the kitchen waiting for dinner. 

Chickens were on sale the other day and I got a massive one.  We made it for Sunday's supper but after Mr. J and I were stuffed there was still 3/4 of the bird left.  Mr. J loves leftover chicken to make chicken salad for lunch. I use it as a topping on salads.  There was so much left of this bird though there was no way we were going to use it all just for those two uses.  Soup was a must.  I didn't want plain old chicken noodle.  With my nose being stuff I was craving something hot and spicy.  After a quick look in the freezer I knew I was going to make a new version of chicken tortilla soup with lots of corn from the summer's frozen stash. 

This soup came together so easily - the longest part was shredding the chicken from the leftover chicken carcass. The beans add filling and depth while without adding any additional cooking time. You can adjust the quantities of spices and salsa verde to temper the hotness of the soup. If you ever have leftover chicken, you should make this soup.

**Adapted from Bev Cooks
Mexican Chicken Corn Soup

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • about 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup mixed pepper slices (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • coarse salt and pepper, to taste
  • For toppings:pepper jack cheese, cubed avocado, sour cream, lime juice
In a large pot, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and heat to medium. Add in corn, garlic, and mixed peppers. Cook until just softened. Mix in the spices and stir.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the corn, beans, tomatoes and chicken.
Let simmer about 5 minutes before adding the salsa verde.

Simmer about 10-15 more minutes for the flavors to come together.

Serve soup garnished with avocado, grated cheese, a dollop of sour cream, more cilantro and fresh lime wedges.
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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weekend Edition: NYCWFF

Hi folks!!! I got a cold. Yup! I kind of knew it would happen sooner or later with my hectic schedule but I was really hoping it would be later. Much, much later. 

Friday night I started sneezing and by Saturday morning it was sore throat and drippy nose.  Not so good for our big weekend plans.

We had tickets to the Grand Tasting event for the NYC Wine and Food Festival.  I took some medicine and hoped for the best. 

Waiting in line to get in...
There was a new venue this year. And although the venue was much better suited for the event it was no where near close to any metro stop.  It was nice to be out and about though in New York City. I haven't been in ages and I just love all the action going on.  We ate a ton.  Drank a ton (OK not a ton, I wasn't sure the cold medicine would be a good combo). 

We met Andrew Zimmern and saw Martha Stewart. I know some of you are Martha haters. I am in a way too. She is ridiculous.  But she also makes such pretty things, food and otherwise.  I respect that.

We got back late on Saturday and went straight to bed. Now I am trying to prepare for the week when all I really want to do is nap.  

Hope your weekend was fun!!

In case you missed it here is what I was up to last week:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

slow cooker balsamic beef

Slow cooked beef with subtle flavors make a perfect low key weeknight meal.

I am still trying to figure out the best place in the new house for photos.  The kitchen table as you can see is not it.  Darkness is also setting in earlier and earlier. That means week night photos are no longer a possibility. Arg to winter's approach! 

This meal was a life saver for me and Mr. J.  It takes all of 5 minutes to put together and into the slow cooker it goes.  We came home to a perfectly roasted and tender piece of beef. Add some potatoes and Brussels sprouts and we had a complete meal. 

The flavors are subtle so it would be great for all taste preferences.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Roast Beef

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours on low, 6-8 on high
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 3-4 pound boneless roast beef (chuck or round roast)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
Place roast beef into the insert of your slow cooker.

In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together all remaining ingredients. Pour over roast beef and set the timer for your slow cooker. (4 hours on High or 6-8 hours on Low)

Once roast beef has cooked, remove from slow cooker with tongs into a serving dish.

Slice or break apart lightly with two fork. Top with juice from crock pot to taste.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WIAW: Eating for One

Mr. J was gone for the first part of the week and that made my motivation for cooking even less. Breakfast has seen the return of the Green Monster smoothie. This is my vitamin savior.  People all around me have colds and what-not. I am doing my best not to get sick. A mixture of coconut milk, OJ, spinach and banana seem to do the trick.

We made a huge roasted chicken on Sunday night. This bird was a massive eight pounds. I reaped the benefits the last few days using it for sandwiches and salads. This salad was arugula with chicken, tomatoes and for a bit of a Fall, cranberries. Soup is on tap to use the remaining leftovers.

Dinner was my favorite. This would never fly with Mr. J around but for me it was perfect. Two pieces of honey wheat toast. One topped with a fried egg. The other topped with mashed avocado.  Yum. Yum.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Shifting Priorities: Turkey Vegetable Chili

 A hearty bowl of chili comprised of mushrooms, onions, peppers and ground turkey.

Sorry for my lack of regular posts lately. Between work and the house I feel like I have about 5 full time jobs.  Food does not seem to be a high priority.  

In fact by Friday last week we had about zero food in the house to make an actual meal. No joke. It wasn't like we were going to starve but parcing together a cohesive meal was difficult. 

I went grocery shopping early Saturday morning before the house activities needed to start and grabbed some veggies and ground turkey. I had chili on the mind. 

The veggie chopping took some time but the rest of the dish came together quickly.  It simmered on the stove top as Mr. J and I dove into some painting and yard maintenance.   By noon, we were ravenous but lunch was ready on the stove.  All we had to do with grab a bowl and top with cheese and sour cream. 

Turkey Vegetable Chili

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup roughly chopped peppers (I used a frozen combination of yellow, red, and green peppers)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 16 oz package sliced mushrooms, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 4 oz tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle
  • salt and pepper
In a large soup pot, add olive oil and heat to medium. Toss in onions and peppers and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes.

Once soft, add in mushrooms, garlic and spices. Stir until combined. Cook so the flavors come together for about 5 more minutes and then add the ground turkey. Break up the turkey into small pieces.

Once the turkey is browned, about 5-8 minutes, add in the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir until combined. Season with salt, pepper and any additional spices to taste.

Cover and let simmer on low for at least another 30 minutes before serving. Top with cheese and sour cream.
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

hot pepper steak stir fry

Succulent flank steak marinated and cooked with onions and hot peppers.

How is it Friday already? Not that I am complaining. I am SO ready for this weekend. The weather is suppose to be very Fall. We got a rake. Bring on the yard work.

I am also excited to get some baking done.  Pumpkin muffins anyone?  

We are finally getting into our groove at the new house as to what is where, especially in the kitchen. That means dinners are taking less time to put together. That doesn't mean however, I am looking to cook extensive meals during the hectic week. 

This dinner was so easy to put together and super delicious. It seems like pepper steak dinners were all over the internet lately. I never had all of the ingredients for a specific recipe so I hodge podged it together. We had quite a stock of hot peppers from our potted plants and used those in place of regular or sweet peppers.

We ate ours with steamed broccoli and white rice.  Everything came together in less than 20 minutes.  Might I say a near perfect quick week night dinner?

hot pepper steak stir fry

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: saute entree
Ingredients (serves 4)
For the Marinade
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
For the Steak
  • 1 lb. thinly sliced flank steak or sirloin, cut diagonally across the grain into thin strips
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Cubano peppers, sliced thinly
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
For the Marinade
Add all marinade ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.

Pour marinade into a Ziplock bag and add the sliced steak. Toss to coat all pieces and sides of steak. Seal and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 24 hours.

For the Steak
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the hot peppers, onion, ginger, garlic, and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate.

Remove the steak from the marinade with a slotted spoon (reserving the marinade) and saute about 2-3 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally.

Add the reserved marinade to the skillet and cook for 1 minute or until thickened.

Cook for an additional minute, then remove from heat.

Serve immediately over rice.

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