Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pear Calfoutis Coffee Cake


 

I do really love desserts and sweet things, but not as much in the morning. Pastries, doughnuts, and coffee cakes are things I adore, but not until about three in the afternoon. 

A special exception is made when I am making breakfast for other people. Other people really enjoy a sweet treat in the morning, so I do make things like this for others. This pear coffee cake is really delicious and not too sweet. It is still morning after all. 

Clafoutis is a French dessert traditionally made with cherries. It's really just an upside down cake that is a little less sweet. This is so perfect for a brunch or breakfast menu dessert. It's lightly sweet with a puffy cake layer and a bit of fruit over the top. You can top this with maple syrup, honey, powdered sugar or enjoy it as is.

Either way it is a delicious treat to end a morning meal or as an afternoon snack.

Ingredients

1 pear
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Add the milk and vinegar to a large bowl. Let this sit for about ten minutes or until the milk has curdled. Then add in the remaining ingredients. Make sure to mix the batter gently to not crush the bubbles out of the mixture.


Trace a 9 inch cake pan around the outside edge on parchment paper. Cut out the cake pan's shape. Spray the cake pan with cooking spray and place the parchment circle in the center of the pan. Spray the parchment as well

Slice the pear and fan the pieces out into a circular shape. They do not need to be perfect. If the pattern comes out ugly, you can always serve it with a heavy covering of powdered sugar.


Pour the batter over the fruit. Spread the batter out gently so the bubbles are not squished and the cake comes out extra fluffy.


Bake the cake at 350 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is browned and a toothpick comes out of the center clean. As it cools, run a butter knife around the outside edge. Let the cake cool for about 15 to 20 minutes.


Once the cake has cooled for a bit, flip the pan onto a plate. Sprinkle the top with some powdered sugar or honey.


My husband, Tyler really loves to drizzle a bit of maple syrup over the top of this delicious cake. It's very similar to an upside down pancake we love at a favorite restaurant so it is a perfectly sweet topping. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Spicy Egg Bake


 

 Brunch is one of the great trends my generation has going for it. It is the perfect time of day; not too early, not to late. The food is great and always includes the options of breakfast and lunch. One snowy morning, my husband and I both had the day off and we were so excited about going to brunch. We would most certainly get into those places with the long lines since it was a weekday. 

We called and called so many places. It seemed as though they had President's Day off as well. 

The only option was to make our own brunch.

We started with a super easy and delicious egg bake. These eggs are really simple to make and taste like they were a lot of work. Simply choose your favorite salsa to bake them in and you are on your way to a tasty start for the morning.

This is great for serving at a party or gathering since they do not require babysitting or turning. Just throw them into the oven before your guests arrive and they will be perfect with such little effort. This is so easy it feels silly even posting this, but people need to know about this egg baking method.

Ingredients

1/2 cup salsa (I used half green and red)
4 eggs
salt and pepper
tortillas for serving


Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray. Dump the salsa into the casserole.


Crack four eggs into the casserole dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper over the top.


Bake the eggs and salsa for about 30 minutes. If you like your eggs a bit runny, the center should jiggle when you give a shake to the dish. If you like your eggs a bit more set, wiggle the pan every five minutes or so. 


Once the eggs have been cooked to your liking, serve them with some warm tortillas. This recipe is very easy to add more servings to with just a bit more salsa and another egg or two. 

Check back on Thursday for the end of our brunch meal



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


I just love cookies. The chewy center, the crispy outside and all the yummy things you put in the dough to really make it special. Not to mention the dough itself. Yes, cookies really make my day. Especially if they have chocolate in them.  I like to eat these extra special cookies with a piping hot cup of coffee that melts the chocolate chips.

This recipe is from a beloved cookbook. Looking at the pages, you can see my love is definitely a verb. I have used to cookie page on my Martha Stewart Favorite Comfort Food so much it is about to fall out. I took the oatmeal raisin recipe from this book and edited it to fit my cookie needs one afternoon. 

The oatmeal adds a really nice texture to the already delicious cookie and  chocolate chips. You will love this easy and delicious recipe, I promise!

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
2 large eggs
2 cups old fashioned oats
12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

First, combine all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Set this off to the side. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until it is fluffy in texture and light yellow in color. Add in the vanilla, milk and eggs, beating well after each addition. 

Slowly add the dry ingredients in two parts. After the first half is combined, add in the oats and chocolate chips. Then add in the remaining dry ingredients. Martha says it helps all the ingredients distribute evenly. I don't pretend to know more than Martha, so I do what she says.

Chill this in the fridge for at least two hours or even over night. As you will notice, the dough will be terribly sticky and not ready for baking just yet. It feels like a long time, but you will make it through.

Once the dough has been chilled properly, drop Tablespoon sized balls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for about 12 to 14 minutes. You will know the cookies are done when the center is still puffy but the outside has a slight crispness.

Store these in an airtight container once they have cooled. 

Quick Tip: If you over bake your cookies and they are dried out, no worries! Add a piece of bread to the container you are keeping them in. In a few hours they will be soft and chewy again.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli



I have to admit, the slow cooker and I are becoming pretty good friends. Typically I have to have my act together a little more to plan ahead for dinner, but it is well worth it. Especially if you get to have something as tasty as this.

Don't get me wrong, I am by no means browning hamburger before work with a smile on my face. However, I have made progress towards actually really liking the slow cooker. 

This recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal. It is literally a dump and dial turn recipe. The beef is really flavorful and the broccoli is crisp with a delicious sauce. You and your family will love this super easy and healthy dinner idea. 

Ingredients

2 pounds chuck roast, trimmed
1/3 cup stir fry sauce
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons siracha chili sauce
2-3 cloves of garlic crushed 
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2-3 crowns of broccoli 
4 cups of cooked rice

First, season the beef with salt and pepper on each side. Then dump in the stir fry and soy sauce, siracha, garlic and orange juice and mix well. Add the beef in and turn it over once to coat. Cook this on low for about 10 hours or 4 to 6 hours on high. You will know it is ready until the meat is tender and falls apart. 

30 minutes before serving, add in the sesame oil and broccoli pieces. 

Once the broccoli is crisp tender, serve over white rice.

I hope you and your family love this easy recipe!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fiesta Chicken Soup and Winter Wellness


Everyone knows what to do to keep themselves healthy. Eat your veggies, drink plenty of water, and sleeping eight hours a night are on just a short list of things you know you should do.

But those things can be hard. Especially during the winter.

I am definitely guilty of not following all of these guidelines all of the time, but I do have a few tricks to stay fit and healthy during the cold winter months.

First and foremost, don't set yourself up for failure and plan something you hate. For example, salads and raw veggies just don't tickle my fancy when it's cold outside. I prefer to eat them cooked and in a warm and spicy soup or stew. You still get your veggies in, but they are so much more comforting and something you look forward to. 

During the summer it is so easy and inviting to go for a walk, run or hike outside. It can be tough to stay fit when staying inside with sweatpants on is a much more appealing. 

It may sound silly, but my go to workout for the winter season is workout videos. There are hundreds, probably thousands of them online. Websites like Tone it Up and Livestrong Woman make it really easy to stay fit (or something like it) in the chilly months. 

This soup recipe is one of my favorite ways to eat a healthy dose of veggies. It is a very easy recipe you can make over the weekend and eat for lunch during the week. With such great flavor you will love eating healthy. 

Ingredients

1 large chicken breast
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 jalapenos, diced
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
14 ounces chicken stock
1 cup cooked rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
avocado slices for topping (optional)


First, season the chicken breast with salt and pepper on both sides. Over medium heat and in a medium saucepan, brown the chicken until each side has a golden crust. Take this out of the pot and set to the side.


Add in the bell peppers, onions, garlic and jalapenos to the pot. Season these with salt and pepper. Let this continue to cook over medium heat for about five minutes or until the veggies are tender. 


Add in the canned tomatoes and chicken stock. Add the chicken breast back to the pot and cook for another 15 minutes over medium low heat. When the chicken is done in the center, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and add it back to the pot.


Sprinkle over the cilantro just before serving.


I love this soup with a little avocado over the top. It's spicy and creamy all at the same time. 

Check out Aloha.com for more delicious and healthy recipes to keep you feeling healthy all year long!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Chicken Noodle Soup


Winter is by far my least favorite season of the year. Driving is more difficult, there are so many more things to bundle up in before leaving the house and don't forget there are far more runny noses and coughs for everyone. 

This week on Gingerlocks' Kitchen we will be focusing on winter wellness. I am working in part with Aloha.com to help everyone to enjoy the season in the best health possible. They have all kinds of great products to help you live your best life.

 As a person who is around young kids everyday, sickness is an inevitable part of winter. Today's post we will look at a great remedy to get you feeling better faster than you can build a snowman. It doesn't happen often, but when I feel a sniffle or two coming along I am sure to make this soup.

Is there anything more comforting that a bowl of chicken soup? I remember the classic chicken noodle soup commercial where a little boy comes in from the cold as a snowman and thaws while he eats up his golden broth and noodles. Not only do I remember thinking that little boy would probably get yelled at for melting all over the house, but I very much understood how he felt as his smile returned with each bite of soup.

This is a terribly easy recipe for you to make any time. The veggies add nice texture and the low sodium chicken broth makes this much better for you than any old canned soup.

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large chicken breast
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2/3 package ramen noodles



First, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Then, season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Then brown each side over medium heat in the vegetable oil.  

Once the chicken has been browned on both sides, take it out of the pot and let it rest a few minutes. The chicken will not be done, but it will finish cooking in a few minutes.


Add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic to the pot. Stir this a few minutes and season with some salt and pepper. 


Add the chicken broth to the pot and turn the heat down to medium low. Place the chicken breast carefully on top and cover the pot with a lid. 

The noodles I like best a very thin and they cook in just  few minutes. 


Once the chicken is done in the center, take it out of the pot. Add the noodles to the soup.

While the noodles cook, cut the chicken into very small bite sized pieces. I prefer to do this rather than cut the chicken before it cooks because I think it stays more juicy and tender this way. 

Once your noodles are tender, your soup is ready to for melting a snowman or two. 

Check back on Thursday for a fiesta chicken soup and some winter wellness tips!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Blackberry Pie



Berry pies are one of my very favorite desserts. The pie crust is flaky,and crispy to hold all the fruit filling together like a  buttery package being delivered. The inside is juicy with bits of warm baked fruit. You just can't go wrong with this combination. 

Berry pies are an especially easy fruit pie since they don't require any pitting, peeling or chopping. The berries cook down to make a sauce that is so delicious and rich. Blackberries are a great fruit to bake a delightful pie with. 

On this particular day I was in a pinch and used a refrigerated pie crust. I do make my own pie crust often, but the store bought kind will do just fine, too.

Ingredients

2 single pie crusts
3 cups blackberries
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/3 to 1/2 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons flour



 First, combine the berries, lemon juice, zest, sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Stir this well to make sure it is combined. If your berries are sweet, start out with the smallest amount of sugar first.


Roll the first pie crust over a pie plate. You can stretch and encourage this to fit if you need to. 
 

Pour the sweetened berry mixture into the pie crust. 


Cover the top of the pie with the second crust. Pinch the crusts together and fold them into the pie plate. Then pinch the crust around the edges using your thumbs and index finger or crimp it closed with a fork. 

Cut slits in the center of the pie to make a vent for the steam to escape.


Bake the pie at 350 degrees for about  30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center is bubbling with berry joy.