blueberry dutch baby pancakes

Blueberry Dutch Baby Pancakes

I have nothing original to contribute here. I copied this recipe exactly. Actually, that’s not true. I didn’t have a real lemon, so I used lemon juice. Classy, I know.

Dutch Baby Pancake

But, good god these things were amazing. And they photographed so well.

Make this breakfast to impress people. The effort was minimal and the result astounding.

And my roommates and I were all happy and full. Best brunch ever. The End.

P.S. NY sucks. I spent $7 (!) on a pint of fresh blueberries. I couldn’t bring myself to buy frozen.

celebrate no-shave november with mustache lollipops

We’re already at the end of November, can you believe it? Ryan and I finished up the last of the tofurkey today. I thought a great way to celebrate was with these rad chocolate mustache lollipops.

No-shave November is a awesome concept, all the boys walk around with beards and they all look cute. For those of us who can’t quite grow the facial hair to make your momma proud, there’s always this chocolate substitute.

I used two of these mustache lollipop molds and this craft took like, five minutes. Bonus.

Here are the supplies: candy melts, lollipop molds, and decorating bags. You’ll also need lollipop sticks (not pictured).SuppliesFill a decorating bag about 3/4 full of chocolates.

Bag of Chocolate

Melt the chocolates in a microwave on medium heat for 15 – 30 seconds at a time. Pull the bag out of the microwave and give it a nice knead each time it’s done warming. It will only need to go in the microwave a few times at this temperature. These things get hot really fast, so be sure not to over-heat them.

Melt in Microwave

Once the bag is thoroughly melted, cut the tip off of the bag to begin fill the molds. Place a lollipop stick in each of the molds. Slowly squeeze the melted chocolate into the molds, making sure to fill in all of the crevices. I found pumping the bag up and down in the mold helped remove air bubbles.

Fill Molds

Be sure to cover all around the lollipop stick. Once you’ve filled the molds, smooth out the backs with a flat surface.

Smooth Backs

Also, clear away any chocolate that may have spilled over to the edge.

Backs of lollipops

I popped them in the fridge for 10 minutes to let them harden. Then I took them out and wrapped them in little baggies.

Lollipops

These lollipops were such a hit with my friends and co-workers. Everyone loved making funny faces with them, like these:

The one in which I look like my dad.

Me with Mustache

The one in which I’ve lost my monocle.

Me with Mustaches

The one in which I try not to take myself too seriously.

Me with Mustaches

Happy No-Shave November, Friends!

 

butternut squash muffins

 

My day before Thanksgiving carb fest has already started. Ok, so it really started on Saturday, but who’s keeping track?

butternut-squash-muffins-2

Remember when I made the butternut squash mac & cheese? Well, it only used half a butternut squash. I knew I wanted to use the rest of the puree on a muffin.

butternut squash muffins
 
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These muffins are made with pureed butternut squash, which makes them moist and delicious.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Yields: 6 large muffins
Ingredients
  • ½ small butternut squash (or 1 cup pureed butternut squash)
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ cup (one stick) butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut the squash in half, keeping the other half for another time.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
  4. Add a teaspoon of butter to the inside.
  5. Place in roasting dish, flat-side up.
  6. Roast for 45 minutes, or until soft and easily punctured with a fork.
Pureeing the Squash
  1. Once the squash is done roasting,cut it into manageable chunks.
  2. Place the chunks in a food processor and process until smooth.
Muffin Assembly
  1. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  4. With a low speed, mix in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly.
  5. Add the butternut squash puree.
  6. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk, until all ingredients are smoothly incorporated.
  7. Fill a muffin pan ⅔rds the way full.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.*
Notes
*Note: I used an extra-large sized muffin tin. If you're using a regular sized muffin tin, you may need to adjust the baking time to less time.

 

Giant muffins are the best muffins. Slather with butter and indulge.

butternut squash muffins

This post is linked up here and here.

butternut squash mac and cheese

butternut squash mac and cheese

You have to make this for Thanksgiving. Or, you know, for dinner. Ryan and I ate two bowls each last night for dinner. Because we’re adults. and that’s totally an acceptable dinner, right?

Don’t be afraid to mix up an old favorite with some vegetables. The flavor of the squash is delicate and adds a nice level of creaminess to the dish.

butternut-squash-mac-and-cheese

Can a food be too good to be true? We also used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which gave this a touch of sweetness to cut the sharp cheddar taste. You can use any type of milk you like, though.

butternut squash mac and cheese
 
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Creamy mac and cheese with a subtle hint of butternut squash. Perfect for Thanksgiving.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Yields: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ small butternut squash
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter plus 1 teaspoon
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (you can use any kind)
  • 1 lb. rotini pasta or macaroni
  • 3 cups aged white cheddar, shredded
Instructions
Roasting the Squash
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut the squash in half, keeping the other half for another time.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
  4. Add a teaspoon of butter to the inside
  5. Place in roasting dish, flat-side up
  6. Roast for 45 minutes, or until soft and easily punctured with a fork
Pureeing the Squash
  1. Once the squash is done roasting,cut it into manageable chunks
  2. Place the chunks in a food processor and process until smooth
Prepare the macaroni
  1. Boil water in a stove top pot
  2. Add 1 lb. of rotini or pasta
  3. Boil until soft, or about 7-8 minutes.
Prepare the cheese mixture
  1. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat in a small pot on the stove top, whisking often
  2. Wait until the butter begins to brown
  3. Slowly whisk in the flour
  4. Whisk until you get a thicker mixture
  5. Whisk in your butternut squash puree until combined
  6. Whisk in the milk
  7. Whisk most of your shredded cheese (about 2½ cups), save some to top off the casserole
  8. Whisk until the mixture is thick and well combined
Assembly
  1. Turn the stove down to 375 degrees
  2. Drain the water from the pasta and place in a large casserole dish
  3. Stir in the cheese mixture, coating well
  4. Top the dish off with the leftover shredded cheese
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.

Also, if you don’t puree your squash until smooth, it will leave some nice chunks of butternut squash that you can bite into. You can see them in the photo below.

This post is linked up here, here and here.

Fantastic Baked Tofu

This is the best tofu you’ll ever have. I’ve had a lot of tofu in my life, this tops. And it’s baked(!), not fried. And let’s face it, all of the other “best tofu” is usually fried. I sort of can’t believe I don’t eat this every day.

best tofu

I was inspired by this recipe, which used fried tofu.

The trick to this recipe is to spray the breaded tofu with a light layer of cooking spray. It gives the panko an extra crisp and helps brown it.

Before:
Tofu BeforeAfter:
Tofu After

crispy baked tofu
 
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This is the best baked tofu you'll ever eat.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: vegetarian
Yields: 2-3
Ingredients
  • One 14 oz. packages extra-firm tofu
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. course ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
Preparation
  1. Press the tofu under a book for ten minutes to drain any excess water.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Coat a baking sheet with a think layer of cooking spray.
  4. While you're waiting for your tofu to press, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in one bowl.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and water together.
  6. Pour the panko in a third bowl.
Making the Tofu
  1. Once the tofu has been pressed, slice the tofu in large triangles.
  2. Dip the triangles in the flour mixture, coating well.
  3. Then transfer the flour-covered mixture to the egg bowl. Coat well with egg.
  4. Finally, cover the coated tofu with panko.
  5. Move the coated tofu onto the baking sheet. Once all tofu triangles are on the baking sheet, give it another light spray with cooking oil. This helps turn the panko crispy.
  6. Place the tray in the oven, baking for ten minutes on each side.

Serve this with rice and your favorite sauces. This would make an excellent sweet and sour base.

Delicious Tofu

This is linked up here and here.

CSA haul {10/6}

This was last week’s haul. We get a share every other week. It’s certainly getting colder (though, not quite fall in Florida). All of the greens are back – radishes again, mustard greens, and some weird bok choy/kale hybrid (can you help identify it?). The eggplants are getting smaller and smaller. I fear we’ve seen the last of them this year. We got the best cherry tomatoes I’ve ever had. They were gone too quickly. I didn’t even have time to put them on a salad. They were just snacks.

We bought more apples from the apple guy. Yes, we have an apple guy. We look foward to seeing him each fall. The apples weren’t part of the CSA. It’s gotten a bit cooler in the past week. Today the high is 80. So I think we’ll start to see squash and pumpkins in our share.

I’m still stumped with what to do with these mustard greens. I like their taste, but after a few bites, I’m just a little sick of them. I have the same problem with actual mustard. We roasted the radishes, which is the best way to eat them.

I’m off to run 11 miles (what?!) before it gets too warm. I’m running a half-marathon in two weeks.

csa haul {9/22}

CSA Veggies

Last week’s CSA haul brought us lots of greens. I didn’t start eating greens, or liking them for that matter, until about a year ago. This week I ate my first mustard greens and radish greens thanks to this share. An earlier haul this year introduced me to beet greens, which are my favorite so far.

Oh, and do you see? Oyster mushrooms? Yes, please! I felt like I hit the jackpot. We also received sweet potatoes and more eggplant, which we are thoroughly sick of eating by now.

I’m excited for this Fall’s harvest. Even though everything is still green around here, we bought our first apples of the season, so it can’t be too long for Fall.

cheesy squash quinoa bites

For dinner tonight, I initially set out to make oh-my-god-so-good quinoa patties, but I thought, maybe, just maybe, I could sneak in that squash that is going bad in my fridge. You still have to trick me into eating my vegetables. So, I stuck the squash in my food processor until it was about the size of a grain of quinoa. Sauteed it with the rest of my seasonings, and made this dinner in my muffin tins. Yes, instead of  frying the quinoa patties (the preferred choice), I tried to bake them in my muffin tins. For health reasons. And because I feel sorry for them. It’s been months since I last made a cupcake or muffin.

cheesy squash quinoa bite

cheesy squash quinoa bites
 
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Author:
Yields: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 6-8 large basil leaves
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook your quinoa. Bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil, then turn the heat on low for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350.
  3. In your food processor, process your basil leaves, shallots, and squash. Or, you could chop all of this by hand.
  4. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Sautee the garlic until light brown. Then add everything in the food processor and sautee until the squash looks soft.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa and contents of the skillet with the green onion, eggs, and parmesan cheese.
  6. Scoop the mixture into a muffin tin. I sprayed mine with Pam, which was a good idea, because they tend to stick. You can fill the tin to the top with the mixture, it won't rise.
  7. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.

cheesy squash quinoa bite

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. And by that I mean ranch. Because I’m from the south ya’ll.

fried eggplant egg sandwiches

With Ryan, it feels like every night is date night. Even when we do the stupidest stuff, like make sandwiches for dinner and watch Mad Men. It’s an instant date and we don’t even have to leave the house. Honestly, it’s my favorite type of date. And yes, I am a boring grandma.

fried eggplant egg sandwiches

Last night, we accidentally made these sandwiches. The original intention was to make some type of fried eggplant sandwich. But we were out of most condiments and toppings, so we improvised.

We fried the leftover egg from battering the eggplant and added it to the sandwich. You know, fried eggplant and fried egg…we might as well.

yum!

This sandwich quite possibly changed my life.

ingredients (from top down):
toasted hoagie
abundant slathering of goat cheese
lettuce
pickles
fried egg
panko fried eggplant

baingan bharta (eggplant curry)

I always feel like such a fraud when I cook any type of ethnic food. I love it all, but if I cook anything outside of American dishes, I almost always feel like I’m doing it wrong. We received five eggplants in our last CSA share, so you bet I made a curry. The recipe follows, but first, my confession.

things I am possibly doing wrong:
-I don’t use cilantro. Ever. I hate the stuff.
-I added half and half to this dish. I found variations that didn’t use any cream and others  that used yogurt or heavy cream.
-I used ginger from a tube. I’ve had this stuff forever and was happy to use it.
-I blended this recipe. I’ve seen others that leave it chunky.

eggplant curry

baingan bharta (eggplant curry)
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Indian
Yields: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 small eggplant
  • olive oil
  • red curry paste
  • yellow curry powder
  • 1 small onion
  • spices: garam masala, ginger, and coriander
  • 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. half and half
Instructions
roast the eggplant
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut your eggplant in half, lengthwise. Cover the eggplant in a hearty coating of olive oil.
  3. Place skin side up in a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.
  4. After 25 minutes, your eggplant should have a nice golden brown color. Once it's reached this stage, pull it out and flip it over and broil the eggplant for an additional five minutes.
once the eggplant is done roasting
  1. Chop your onion.
  2. Warm 1 tbsp. oil over medium heat in a skillet.
  3. Place the onion in the warm skillet. Add all spices, red and yellow curry and sauté for five minutes.
  4. Add the can of diced tomatoes.
  5. Once your eggplant is cool, scoop it out of the skin and cut it up into a few chunks.
  6. Add the chunks of eggplant into the skillet.
  7. Add the half and half and let it simmer for five minutes.
  8. Ladle the sauce into a blender or food processor and run until desired consistency. I like mine mostly smooth with a few chunks.
  9. Serve with naan or rice.

The best part, of course, is mixing the baingan bharta with rice so it looks like this:

Baingan Bharta Mush

This post is linked up here and here.