Tagged: orange

Smoothies & Scones

Hey folks! I hope you enjoyed your weekend! Did you do anything fun or exciting? I didn’t do much of anything this weekend, and I must admit it was pretty fantastic! With the holidays winding down Johnny and I got to enjoy our first weekend of nothingness in what feels like fooooooreverrrrrrr and I made sure to take advantage!!

How?

By cooking my face off!!!

And I’m pleased to say that the time not spent cooking/eating I was either working out… or… cleaning…or at Target with Melinda and Kyle…orrrrr watching Parks and Rec. Regardless, it was faabuloussssss!

Now I don’t know about you, but without an alarm set my body naturally wakes up after 8 hours of sleep. I’m typically always up before Johnny. Yesterday morning  was no exception. I was up at 8:00 am and I was fiiiiinally able to try out my brand spanking new Bella Rocket Sport Blender!

I love making smoothies for breakfast, but I have a problem you see. I HATE measuring ingredients. That’s why I’ve never been much of a baker. The exactness of everything frustrates me. When I make smoothies in a standard blender, I always tend to overdo it and throw in a little of this and a little of that and I ultimately wind up with enough for two smoothies! My husband doesn’t care for most of the smoothies I make so he doesn’t drink the extra, and I can try to freeze and it drink it later but I wind up forgetting about it. It’s really quite a conundrum. For Christmas, Johnny picked up this single serve blender for me and it’s absolutely perfect! The first smoothie I made in it is one of my standards, as I typically always have everything on hand for it. Here is the recipe!

smoothie

Berry Almond Smoothie

serves 1

  • 8 oz vanilla soy milk
  • 1 8 0z container of berry flavored greek yogurt (I used Wegmans Brand Triple Berry, but any berry will do!)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 baby spinach leaves, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed

Place all of the ingredients in your blender and whiz until combined! (Note: If you’re using the same Bella Rocket Sort Blender, I suggest adding the ingredients in the exact order they appear here. That way, when you flip it upside down to blend it, the spinach is closest to the blades and will incorporate nicely. Putting the milk in before the yogurt will also prevent the yogurt from getting stuck at the top of the blender!)

I enjoyed my smoothie with a piece of whole wheat toast with a little smart balance and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar! Noms!

cinnamon toast & smoothie

This morning I was up early again (7:45! Yikes! Getting ready for baby, haha!) and  it was suuuuper rainy and gloomy outside. I decided I wanted something warm and cozy for breakfast… and something a little different and fun! No oatmeal for this chick today!

I was all alone in the kitchen, even the puppies were still sleeping. I looked through my pantry and I decided I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Gingerbread Scones!

Now, ya know how I mentioned before that I wasn’t much of a baker? It’s really the truth. Muffins and quick breads are the only thing I’ve ever excelled at and that’s primarily because the recipes are pretty forgiving. Scones…dough that needs to be kneaded and cared for…I grit my teeth and searched for a recipe. I found one that sounded great at joyofbaking.com  and I’m pleased to say I followed it ALLLLLMOST exactly. The result was a perfectly light and flaky scone that tasted like Christmastime. I was thrilled with my results!  Here is the recipe, I’ve noted the few changes I made!

gingerbread scones

Gingerbread Scones

adapted from Joy of Baking.com

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour)
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Zest of 1 lemon  (I used the zest of an orange instead! I prefer using orange in my gingerbread recipes!)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (this was not a part of the original recipe at all, I just love pecans!)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I used skim milk – it worked fine!)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure anilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.  Stir in the lemon zest and dried cranberries, if using.  In a separate bowl mix together the milk, molasses and vanilla and then add the milk mixture to the flour mixture.  Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 11/2 inches thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 3 pie-shaped wedges (triangles).  Place the scones on the baking sheet.  Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture.

Place the baking sheet inside another baking sheet to prevent the bottoms of the scones from over browning.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

**I made my own glaze for this recipe, rather than the one provided with the original recipe. (I needed to express my creativity somehow!) All I did was microwave 2 oz of fat free cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup. I mixed it all up and spread it on top! These scones were perfect!!!**

gingerbread scone

Yes, you’ll note that is a mug of milk with my scone. I thought I wanted tea…so I got out a mug. Then I decided that my new big fuzzy blue robe I was lounging in (thanks, Ma!) was actually doing a fine job of keeping me nice and toasty so I decided I didn’t want tea and that I wanted a nice cold glass of milk instead. Buuuuuut and I didn’t want to get out a glass…so I drank my milk from a mug like the classy gal I am!! It was all delicious. 🙂

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! 🙂

Whole Wheat Gingerbread Walnut Muffins with Cinnamon Orange Glaze

I was absolutely super-duper completely 110% beside myself when I opened up my brand new kitchen aid stand mixer on Christmas. (Love you Mom & Scott 🙂 )

See look! Me - really freakin' excited!

As soon as I got back to my apartment I had to make something. There was no other option. It was completely necessary to christen it, and to do so with something scrumptious while simultaneously attempting to stick to my New Year’s Resolution.

What to do, what to do?

The pantry pickings were slim. Johnny and I picked up a few things from the grocery store, but nothing too extravagant. I saw some molasses leftover from the tasty ginger snaps I made during my christmas cookie extravaganza and that’s when it clicked, gingerbread muffins! Om nom nom!! (Actually, my first though was gingerbread CAKE, but then I shook my head at myself and decided muffins would be a wiser decision…)

Whole Wheat Gingerbread Walnut Muffins
with Cinnamon Orange Glaze

For the Muffins:

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsulphered molasses
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda, mixed into one cup of boil water
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • The juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • pinch of nutmeg

Begin by mixing together the oil, sugar, and molasses.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. Add the flour and the oats, followed by all of the spices, vanilla, and orange zest.Slowly mix in the water and baking soda mixture.Gently fold in the walnuts.
Transfer the batter into a greased or lined muffin tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° until fragrant or
when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Remove muffins from tin and let cool for about 10 minutes before glazing.
For glaze, whisk all ingredients together until well combined.
If it’s too thin, add more sugar. If it’s too thick, add some more juice or water.
Drizzle over muffins before digging in! 🙂

Happy December!

Gee wiz!

Can you believe it’s December already?!?! I am completely befuddled!!!

Where did the year go?

Thanksgiving has already come and gone and, I must say, mine was absolutely wonderful!!! There is nothing better to me than getting together with all those near and dear to me and eating delicious homemade food to my hearts content.

Typically on Thanksgiving, my responsibility consists of my two favorite dishes; sweet potato casserole and a dessert of my choice. This year, I decided to change things up a bit. I took my two favorite dishes and combined them into one and created this delectable dessert.

Spiced Orange Sweet Potato Tart
with Pecan Shortbread Crust

For Filling:

  • 3 sweet potatoes (baked, peeled, and mashed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup nonfat, sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Several whole pecans (for garnish)
  • One whole pecan shortbread cookie  (for garnish)

For Crust:

  • 1 package pecan shortbread cookies,
    crushed into fine crumbs ( minus one to  use for garnish)
  • 1/2 c crushed pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. To make crust, combine crust ingredients in a large bowl.
    Mix well, until it reaches the consistency of wet sand.
  3. Pour into an ungreased tart pan and press firmly to set,
    making sure to bring the crust up the sides of the pan.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  5. For filling, whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.
  6. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  7. Pour filling into cooled crust.
  8. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes, or until crust is brown
    and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour,
    ideally overnight, before slicing and serving!