Tagged: Cranberries

A Chile and A Spoon

Hello, loves! I hope you’ve all recovered from your food comas resulting from your delicious Thanksgivings feasts this last week. I had a particularly wonderful Thanksgiving this year. My beautiful mum and stepdad came out to Johnny and I to spend the holiday together and I made my first Thanksgiving turkey! Along with creamy chive and roasted garlic mashed potatoes, green beans almandine, and cranberry-apple chutney. My mum made her stuffing (which is one of the many reasons I look forward to Thanksgiving), Paula Deen’s Sweet Potato Balls and a ham. We had quite a feast!! Here’s my plate of scrumptiousness.

And here’s me and my mum!

No need to remind me how adorable we both are. Heh. 🙂

Anywhosers. Life otherwise has been pretty busy working two jobs again. I’m sure you’ve noticed that, though, from my lack of posting.

Tonight’s post is actually a super special one, though. A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Marx Foods asking me to participate in their latest blogger contest. “A Chile & A Spoon.”

The criteria?

Marx Foods sent me a sample of six different types of chile peppers. My job: create an original recipe using at least one of these six varieties… and eat it with a spoon.  Sounds easy enough, right? Obviously, a hearty pot of spicy chili or soup were the first two things to pop into my mind, but I knew that was waaaaaaaaaaaaay too predictable for a contest like this. It took much pondering on my part but I FINALLY came up with a use for the chiles de arbol I received in the samples.

This particular chile pepper is about 30,000 scoville units, that is, it’s heat level is somewhere between a jalapeño, which is around 3,000 scoville units, and habaneros, which are around 300,000. I figured the medium level punch would be a perfect addition to a rich, creamy dessert like bread pudding.

The result was an outstanding combination of sweet white chocolate, tart dried cranberries and the subtle heat of chiles complimented by the sweet heat of cinnamon. The chile spice cut through the custardy pudding just as I hoped it would. If you dig desserts that will warm you from your tongue to your toes you NEED to try this recipe!

White Chocolate, Cranberry and Chile de Arbol Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Spiced Whipped Cream

  • 1 loaf day old italian bread, cut into cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 chiles de arbol, reconstituted if dried , chopped fine

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place a large, greased baking dish inside of a large baking dish.
Add half of the bread cubes to the greased baking dish.

Then add half of both the cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Top with the remaining bread.

And then the remaining cranberries and white chocolate chips.

In a separate, large bowl, combine the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, nonfat milk, vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Next, add your chopped chiles!
(I left in the seeds for more heat, but feel free to remove them if you wish!)

Pour the chile custard mixture over the layered bread, cranberries and white chocolate. Top it with something heavy…like this.

Then let it sit and soak for about 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes are up, place your baking dish (within a baking dish) on top of a baking sheet. Fill the second baking dish (the one that’s holding your bread pudding mixture) halfway with hot water, like so:

This is called a water bath, and it will help give your bread pudding the creamy, custardy texture we all love.

Now pop this in the oven and bake it for one hour.
When it’s all done, not only will your house smell divine, but it will have a golden brown top and a rich creamy interior.

Serve it warm with cinnamon spiced whipped cream!!!* To make cinnamon spiced whipped cream – take one tub store bought whipped cream and add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of ground ginger!


Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread

First and foremost, I’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to all of you who voted for me for Project Food Blog. I can’t tell you how excited I was to make it as far as I did, and I read each and every comment left for me with a smile! Unnnnnnfortunately, I didn’t make it to round four. C’est la vie. Oui? Oui. On the bright side, I had soooooooo much fun with the challenge posts and I found some other fantastic blogs in the process (Notice some new fellow foodies!).

Moving on!

Now that the temperature has finally dropped enough that I can wear cozy sweaters and boots without sweating my tush off , I’ve been drinking boatloads of chai tea. Not to be confused with the Chai Tea Latte – which is so sugary sweet and calorie laden that I rarely bother drinking them. (No offense to you chai tea latte drinkers, it just doesn’t do it for me.) Real chai tea is a strong black tea, spiced with cardamom,cinnamon, star anise and ginger and I can’t get enough of the stuff! No matter what time of year it is, whenever I sip chai, I feel enveloped in autumn. So when autumn really arrives full force, chai is my go to beverage.

What better to do with my favorite fall beverage than add it to my favorite fall pastry? PUMPKIN BREAD!! Pumpkin anything makes me all sorts of happy, but a slice (or three) of moist, delectable pumpkin bread is my favorite fall treat!

This particular pumpkin bread recipe I came up with last fall. I tweaked it a bit this year and I think it’s pumpkin perfection.  The typical sweet, moist pumpkin bread it subtly spiced with real chai tea, cinnamon, fresh ginger and orange zest. I swear to you, if fall were captured in a pastry, it’d be this pumpkin bread!

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 (28 oz) can pure pumpkin
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chai tea, (two tea bags, steeped in nonfat milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, grated
  • 3 cups flour (1 1/2 whole wheat if you want to be a bit healthier)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugars, oil, vanilla, chai tea,
orange zest and pumpkin.
In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix well.
Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined
Pour into two greased 9×5 inch loaf pans and bake for 45-55 minutes,
or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool (at least) 10 minutes before serving.

Heh. Isn’t that lil’ punkin in the pictures cute?! Johnny’s momma has a big basket of them, and I thought they made my pictures more exciting!!  Now go make this pumpkin bread! 🙂

Kath inspired oatmeal

For those of you unfamiliar with Kath Eats Real Food, I suggest you change that. Kath Younger has been blogging (about food of course) since 2006. Her story is pretty inspirational, and she’s currently studying to become a registered dietitian.

For those of you unfamiliar with me, before my time spent here at Rowan,  I was studying to become a registered dietitian. I changed my path at the end of my third semester at Montclair State University, when I decided that not only did I want to be fluent in nutrition but that I wanted to express my love for food and nutrition in writing, which I’ve loved to do for as long as I can remember.

So that’s essentially where I am today. Although my fascination with nutrition has never escaped me, my focus today is also on finding affordable ways to enjoy healthy (and alright sometimes not-so-healthy but realllllyyy tasty) meals and sharing them with you in whatever which way I can.

Now, back to Kath. If you head over to her blog, you’ll notice that this young women has an obsession with oatmeal. This is totally cool in my book. Although it took me quite some time to grow a fondness for oatmeal, I’m finally able to appreciate not only the wonderful nutritional value, but its versatility. Kath helped.

Here is my Kath inspired oatmeal. I hope you like it as much as I did!

Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal

  • 1 cup water, nonfat milk, or a combination of the two
  • 1/2 cup plain, quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Splenda
  • 1 tablespoon sweetened, dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, toasted walnuts

Begin by heating the water or milk in a small saucepan.
When it begins to boil, stir in oats. Continue to stir, about five minute, until the liquid is absorbed and oats are desired consistency.
Reduce the heat to low, mix in the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and Splenda.
Pour into bowl, top with cranberries and walnuts.

    1105091025a**I served mine with a steaming mug of Tazo Joy tea.**