Homemade Baby Food
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).
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.
Happy May Reveal Day! This month I was once again partnered with Erin of Making Memories with My Kids for Group A of the Secret Recipe Club. Her blog is full of fantastic recipes and awesome science experiments – so lots of awesome things to look at. I was apparently craving carbs when I was checking out her blog as every recipe I flagged was hardcore sinful. Top of the list were (and are) her apple fritters but every time I got to the store I was unable to nab some Pink Ladies. Luckily I was able to find some awesome cheddar cheese allowing me to make her fantastic Cheese Sticks!!! These delicious treats are made using ingredients that I normally have on hand but decided to go the distance and get some really good cheese. I went for some Vermont Extra Sharp as well as some Vermont Mild White – which is why mine aren’t as vivid as Erin’s! I also added minced garlic in place of the garlic powder as I prefer the fresh stuff, no risk of vampires in this house!
3 10 ounce bricks sharp Cheddar Cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
- Put softened cheese and butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and beat for 30 minutes or until mixture has consistency of whipped cream.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Sift 3 cups of the flour, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Gradually add the seasoned flour to the cheese mixture by large spoonfuls, beating well after each addition. Add until the dough is somewhat stiff - adding the final 1/2 cup of flour if needed
- Portion the dough into nine balls - one at a time roll out into a snake formation going the length of the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. While still on the sheet cut into three inch strips and allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing to finish cooling on a wire rack.
- Serve and Enjoy!
by AmandaE at dancingveggies.com
Lesson learned on this: read the recipe all the way! My sticks weren’t nearly as pretty or evenly cooked as I missed the part about having a cookie press which is one of the few kitchen tools I don’t own. These disappeared pretty quickly here, with both of us enjoying these with dinner and then again for breakfast! I enjoyed them slightly warm and toasty while Joe was eating them however they were available. Needless to say another successful SRC recipe! I can’t wait to see what June has in store – but first there will be a bonus BBQ and Picnic SRC recipe at the end of the month.
Welcome to April’s Secret Recipe Club reveal for Group A! Normally when I get my blog assignment I go to the recipe page and read everything, saving and pinning anything that catches my eye. This time however I was transfixed by a thumbnail on Chit Chat Chomp and HAD to make it. So I first searched her dessert page, trying to not be distracted by all her delicious goodies before finding MY recipe on her baking page: Melting Moments. Leigh made these for her boss’s birthday and for some strange reason was not given a raise, which blows my mind because oh my goodness are these biscuits insanely good. I had to make a change to the custard filling, switching the lemon curd for vanilla due to my citrus allergy. Not so surprising Leigh has a recipe for vanilla custard as well so I used that as the filling for my biscuits! I just halved that recipe and dropped the zest – super easy and super incredible. We wound up with some “extra” pudding after assembling the cookies and it was very hard to not lick the bowls clean.
2 sticks butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar (10x sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour (sifted)
1/4 cup corn flour (sifted)
- Preheat oven to 350
- Cream together the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy - about 10 minutes.
- Mix in the sifted flours until just blended.
- Form tbsp balls and place on cookie sheet leaving a cookie length between the cookies.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.
by AmandaE at dancingveggies.com
I also enjoyed the irony of getting an Australian blog seeing as how I got one just over a year ago when my little sister moved to Australia for a year. She gets back next Monday (!!!!) and I can’t wait to get all the food details about her trip. I have a feeling I’ll be making some more of Leigh’s recipes once she gets back, especially since she has a very large vegetarian recipe section.
Cafe Mocha Cheesecake
Welcome to #16Cheesecakes – part 2!!!
Last year Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla rallied some blogging friends to help her celebrate her 15th wedding anniversary. She was only looking for fifteen cheesecake recipes. But we posted waaaaaay more than #FifteenCheesecakes. It was such a hit and we all had so much fun that she decided to see if she could get enthusiasm for another round of cheesecakes. Yep. This is an encore performance by some of her favorite foodie bloggers.
More than #SixteenCheesecakes
Last year I kept things rather simple with a chocolate caramel cheesecake – something I knew my husband would love. As I mentioned last year, Joe and I also did a cheesecake at our wedding and it was the BEST decision ever. This year I decided to go for something more my style: Cafe Mocha Cheesecake. Don’t get me wrong, Joe’s a huge fan of coffee but not in his dessert so much as with his dessert. I, on the other hand, prefer Double Dunker ice cream by Turkey Hill to almost anything! Coffee and chocolate and just the hint of vanilla to keep things from being too overpowering – perfection!
2 cups vanilla wafers, crushed
1 stick butter, melted
3 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp kahlua
2 tbsp espresso
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
- Mix together the vanilla wafers and melted butter and press into a 9inch springform pan, going halfway up the sides.
- Preheat oven to 500
- In a blender mix together the cream cheese and sugar until creamy, about 7 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time while mixing then add in the kahlua and espresso and mix for another 5 minutes.
- Fold in the chocolate chunks and spoon into the springform pan.
- Bake at 500 for 15 minutes, then turn heat down to 200 and bake for one hour, then turn the oven off and allow cheesecake to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge for three hours.
- Serve and Enjoy!
by AmandaE at dancingveggies.com
Make sure to check out all the other fantastic cheesecakes – perfect addition to a holiday dinner or a substitution for dinner.
Three Cheese Swiss Chard
Mac & Cheese
Sometimes it’s fun to be a bit indulgent, for example using three types of cheese to make mac & cheese. I try to keep my dairy intake to a reasonable amount as I’m slightly lactose intolerant but sometimes have to just take a lactaid and enjoy the cheesiness of life! In attempt to tease myself into thinking this dish is at all healthy, I added some swiss chard. Regardless, it’s all 52weeksofcookings fault as they were the ones who posted a Mac and Cheese challenge – so totally blaming them for all the calories in this dish!
1 lb small shells
2 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp yellow mustard
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded colby jack
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack
2 cups swiss chard, torn
salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the shells per instructions on box until just under al dente. Drain, rinse, then return to pot and set aside.
- While shells are cooking, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes before stirring in the flour. Slowly whisk in the milk, breaking up any clumps that form. Then add the yellow mustard and stir in.
- Begin adding the shredded cheese to the milk, allowing each bit to melt before adding more. Once all the cheese has been added pour over the pasta.
- Put the pasta pot with the cheese sauce over medium heat and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until pasta is fully cooked. Toss in the swiss chard and stir - allowing the leaves to wilt.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
by AmandaE at dancingveggies.com
This Mac&Cheese is so rich that we actually had leftovers for lunch the next day which is something that normally doesn’t happen. I warmed everything back up on the stove, adding just a bit of olive oil as this dish did not need more diary. Joe then topped his with Old Bay (shocker!) while I enjoyed mine as is.