What’s This

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

Even tho I am retiring from the “blogging life” or at least taking a hiatus.  I couldn’t pass as the opportunity to adopt an orphan blog from Group B of the Secret Recipe Club.   A Spoonful of Thyme is a blog I have purused before so I was more than happy to pick out a goodie.  Since it was hubby’s birthday on Friday and I knew there would be lots of family gatherings I decided to head straight to the sweet stuff.  I came ever so close to making her Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding until a quick double check indiciated that it had been a SRC post making it ineligible.   Thankfully there were a few DOZEN other recipes to select from and in the end I went with her Sprinkle Pudding Cookies.  I’m not a stranger to using pudding mixes as part of cakes in order to make them extra moist but this was a first for cookies and WOW!!!!  They cookies were so soft and moist – total melt in your mouth deliciousness.  I did have to swap out the sprinkles for chocolate chips as apparently most sprinkles taste nutty – which makes them a no go for my family.

What’s This

Serves: Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg, plus 1 yolk

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 (3.5 oz) box Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding

2 cups flour

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or sprinkles)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for 10 minutes or until fluffy. Add the egg, plus the additional yolk, vanilla, and salt - mix until well combined.
  3. Add the Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding along with the salt and mix before slowly adding the flour and mixing until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop and drop walnut size (2 tbsp) dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Space the cookies about 2-inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes until the cookies are almost set and just turning a light brown around the edges. DO NOT over bake!!!!!!
  5. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/09/whats-this.html

These were a huge hit with everyone – so much so that it’s a good thing we kept a few at home otherwise they would have disappeared before it was time for the picture!

Oh baby

Homemade Baby Food

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Welcome to my September SRC post as part of Group A!  I’m still in shock how long I’ve been doing this blog which is why it hurts to say that this is going to be my next to last post.  While I’m still cooking (and eating!), I’m spending little to no time researching and developing new recipes – which is rather essential as a food blogger.  Right now my days are spent as a jungle gym and I’m okay with that.  Most likely I’ll come back to the blog, probably as soon as spring time but right now I’m doing lots of family favorites.  However, I did want to finish out my commitments to the SRC which had been such a huge part of my blogging identity.   This month I was assigned a blog with one of the most hilarious “origin” stories out there – it involves a muffin burnt so badly that it went THRU an apartment wall when tossed.  I can soooo relate to that – as well as the desire to focus on healthy recipes while still being tempted by the good things in life such as caramel and nutella (or biscoff)!!!!!  Burnt Apple  is run by an awesome mom of three kids who is juggling normally mom life along with some pretty intense medical issues such as Type I diabetes and colitis.  I found soooooo many vegetarian friendly recipes on her blog, including variations of some of my family’s favorite such as sweet potato black bean quesadillas.  However in the end the part of her blog that I HAD to focus on was her small but awesome section dedicated to baby food.  Baby E started doing solids a few months ago and it has been such a learning curve in regards to texture, color, and temperature.  As it gets closer and closer to the time I return to work I’m also starting to think about what I can do now to make things easier.  One of those is prepping baby food and WOW did I strike gold in being partnered with Burnt Apple.  She has a two column color-coded guide to freezing baby food as well as one of the easiest baby friendly applesauces out there – plus a healthy first birthday cake (which we’re going to need very soon).

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This month I did things a bit differently and instead of doing a “recipe”, I essentially did her entire freeze column using her “how to make baby food” and “baby food delicacies” posts.  All of the items I made can be stored for up to a month, which is great since husband is starting a new job this week and will have some rather insane hours for the next few weeks.  This way I can pick out baby girl’s meals the night before and just toss in the fridge to thaw before reheating.  I’m hoping that eventually I’ll be able to do this in the hour suggested – maybe then I can get back to blogging!!!!  I used a Ninja in place of a food processor and my Doctor Who Silicon Ice Cube Trays since 1) they hold just over 2tbsp and 2) everything pops out of the super easy.    The top picture is squash by itself while the second one is her apricot puree – which was a HUGE hit.  I’m hoping to do her Garden Vegetable combo this week since we have now checked all those veggies off on their own.

SuperMan

Enchilada Casserole

foodpicture

Welcome to the August BONUS installment of Secret Recipe Club!!!  Today all posts are focused on “back-to-school” and family friendly dishes which are basically all my family eats these days cuz 9 month old.  For this special feature, I was assigned Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking which is PACKED with amazing recipes including caramelized potatoes which I made before.   Had this been a normal challenge I would have made her Vandbakkelser because OMGoodness does that look amazing!   However, playing by the rules is good so I went with her enchilada casserole.  She actually has two of them on her page so I went with a hodge-podge version of both!  Instead of chicken, went with all beans per the suggestion of one recipe and upped the spice while reducing the sauce as per the second recipe.  (apologizing for any typos in this post as my computer has decided it doesn’t “like” certain letters right now)

Enchilada Casserole

Ingredients

6 Corn tortillas

1 12oz can black beans

1 12 oz can pinto beans

1 onion, diced

1 can enchilada verde sauce (10oz)

2 ears corn - cobs off

2 hatch green chilis

1-2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I like a mixture of Cheddar and Monterey Jack)

Instructions

  1. (optional - roast the hatch chilis under broiler or directly on gas burner until slightly charred - then dice)
  2. Preaheat oven to 375
  3. Pour a bit of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish or a 2qt round casserole dish. Then place a layer of the tortillas, tearing as needed to fit the bottom. Add 1/2 of the beans, onion, corn, cheese, and diced chili.
  4. Add a bit more sauce and then repeat with remaining ingredients - ending with tortillas and cheese.
  5. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, then turn oven off and allow to sit for a final 10 minutes. Serve topped with olives, green onions, and/or tortilla chips and ENJOY!!!!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/08/superman.html

Only thing I might do differently in the future is add some chips to the top to give it a bit of a crunch.  This came together super quickly and also tasted amazing as lunch the next day – always a nice bonus!

Better Place

Apple Crisp

 apple filling

Hello August!!!  Hello Monday!!! Hello Secret Recipe Club reveal day!!!!  This month I was partnered with the incredible Andrea of Adventures in all things Food – which has got to be one of the best blog names EVER.   Andrea’s blog has a bit of everything, from vegetarian goodies to desserts to crafts fit for the entire family.  I’ve been a sweet kick lately so I went straight to her dessert section, trying to avoid eye contact with her peanut butter icing because OMGoodness chocolate donuts with PEANUT BUTTER – nom nom nom.  However, in the end I was won over by her fall ready Apple Crisp.  I’m normally a summer girl but I’m ready for cooler temperatures!   Didn’t even make any changes to the recipe – it’s perfect already!  While Andrea didn’t specify what type of apple, I went with Pink Ladies since they offer a great combination of sweet and tart.  Plus they hold up well when it comes to baking.

Apple Crisp

Ingredients

6 cups apple, peeled and sliced (about 3 large)

1/4 c. unsweetened apple juice

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 c. flour

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 stick unsalted butter, cold

1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter up a 9x9 baking dish
  2. Put the sliced apples into a large bowl buttered then add the apple juice along with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss well then pour into the baking dish
  3. In a separate bowl mix combine the flour, brown sugar, and remaining cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or with two knives.
  4. Stir in the oats and sprinkle this over the apples.
  5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the apples are bubbling and topping is golden brown. Allow to set for 5 minutes then Serve!!!!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/08/better-place.html

I also went with old fashioned oats, tho quick oats would also work well.  I just prefer a crisper crisp!  For a vegan option, switch out the butter for earth balance or a similar spread – easy peasy.   Since there are 5 Mondays in August – there will be another secret recipe club post at the end of the month so hope to see everyone then (if not sooner).

Big Noise

Simple Beet Salad

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Summer is most certainly here – hitting over 100 degrees earlier this week before the heat index!  I’m trying to stay as cool as possible in the house, so avoiding the oven as much as possible.  Thankfully the local farmers’ markets are BOOMING with fresh and delicious produce making it super easy to make healthy dinners that don’t require much cook time.  With this simple salad the trick is to slice the beets on the thin side so that they can be cooked in under 7 minutes, nice and crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth delicious in the middle.

Big Noise

Ingredients

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tbsps shallots, thinly sliced

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 medium beets, peeled and sliced (about 1 lb)

3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. The night before, place the beets and oils in a tupperware and toss well.
  2. 10 minutes before supper, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the beets in a single layer and cook for 3-5 minutes or until crispy - then flip and repeat.
  3. Turn heat off and leave beets in pan to slightly cool. Season to taste with salt and pepper - and do a final stir in the oils.
  4. Remove to salad plates and top with goat cheese.
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/07/big-noise.html

To make it even quicker to get dinner on the table, I prepped them the night before so that they could soak in the oils.   We enjoyed these with a cold pasta salad, which had also been prepped the night before!  I find it so much easier to cook right before bed (and after dessert) and since it’s cooler outside the kitchen doesn’t become a mini-furnace.