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Berry and Stone Fruit Galette

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I went blueberry picking last Saturday. It was short, and my friend and I quickly realized that we had gone too late in the season (good, ripe, berries were few and far between). I did manage to get about 3 lbs though. And although I won’t be making my blueberry jam again this year, I will be using it to make a various, and large, assortment of baked goods. I think that’s only fair.

I realized that I was in the mood for pie but not for the double crust prep, nor the extra steps to ensure the pie was cooked all the way through, and the berries would be soft, but not too juicy and fall apart. Blueberry is very hard to make. I saw my friend make one with her blueberries and it was a mess. I mean, she did great, but I don’t think I could have that sort of patience. Instead, I picked up some raspberries and nectarines and decided a galette (or crostata, as some say) would suffice.

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Berry and Stone Fruit Galette

  • 2 small nectarines, or any stone fruit of your choice such as one large peach, or 2-3 apricots
  • 8 oz of raspberries (one of those containers at the super market)
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • teaspoon of butter
  • teaspoon of vanilla
  • teaspoon of Australian Pink Salt ( just got this today, from Williams-Sonoma, use any salt you like)
  • 1 store bought pie crust
  • 1 egg (for egg wash, optional)

In a medium pot, over low heat, melt the butter. In a bowl mix the berries and brown sugar. Add berries to pot and stir in vanilla. Cook for about 15 minutes or so on low heat to allow the juices to escape. Add salt, and turn off heat. Allow to cool for about an hour or two.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare your baking sheet by adding and greasing your parchment paper.

Roll out your down, either homemade or store bought.

With a slotted spoon, scoop out the berries into the center of the dough. Slice up the stone fruit and layer on top of the berries. Fold over the dough leaving an opening in the center of the pie. I like to put a round piece of stone fruit in the center, almost like an eye. Crack an egg in a bowl and quickly whisk. Brush over the crust of the pie and in the center. If you like, you can also sprinkle some raw sugar over the crust for added crispiness.

Bake for 15-17 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to sit for a good 15 minutes before transferring as the berry juices will not be stable. Some of my mine leaked out, but that wasn’t not a problem, the point of this sort of pie, is that it’s rustic, and a few small holes in the crust, where juices leaked out, are just fine.

 

Enjoy~

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Chocolate Chip Cookies of a Lifetime

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Going along with this weeks earlier post on tea time and scones, morning coffee is not the same without something sweet to munch on. Sure I can go with drinking a cup of coffee after I’m done with my cereal, but a nice bit of sugar right before I leave the door sometimes gets me through the harder times of the day. These cookies are perfect for that. Chewy and gooey and made in less than an hour, I couldn’t ask for me.

Granted, I’ve made chocolate chip cookies before, however, I’m still searching for the perfect, and the best recipe possible. The one that should be my go-to recipe for birthdays and potlucks and lonely Saturday nights, and I think this might be it.

Cookies taken directly from The Little White Kitchen

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Chocolate Chip Cookies 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (or hard margarine), room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 white sugar
  • 2 eggs , room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla (i love vanilla)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (you can also add nuts, toffee bits, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

I n a mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugars until fluffy (making sure your butter is room temperature really helps the process go smoothly). Add both eggs and mix until incorporated. Mix in your vanilla.
In a separate bowl, use a whisk to mix together your flour, salt and baking soda. Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Spoon the cookie dough into tablespoon sized balls (about 3 inches apart) onto your cookie sheet (do not grease the cookie sheets, but feel free to use parchment paper if you don’t like to wash pans afterwards).

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of the cookies and whether or not you like them well done)
on the center rack of your oven.

Remove cookie sheets from the oven and place them on cooling racks (do not try to remove the cookies at this point or you’ll end up with a gooey mess).

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Let cool for about 10 minutes on the cookie sheets and then remove the cookies and place them on a cooling rack.

Eat the cookies whenever you need a pick me up, or the world gets you down.

Rhubarb Cardamom Muffins

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I woke up today with this weird feeling. I wanted to make something, bake something to be exact, however I wanted it to be simple. And I didn’t want to use my stand mixer. Don’t ask me why I wanted these things specifically, but I did. And so this Saturday morning I decided to make these easy Rhubarb muffins.

I adapted a few small things from the original recipe, though the original is delicious as well! But I wanted to make something that was slightly healthier than what was listed. I subbed in nondairy milk (see below) and got rid of the topping. If you want the original recipe, follow the link.

Recipe adapted from A Farm Girls Dabbles

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Cardamom and Rhubarb Muffins

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c. milk (I used almond coconut blend, unsweetened, from Blue Diamond)
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil (I like canola)
  • 1-1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 c. chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 6-7 cardamom pods

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line your muffin pan and thoroughly spray with cooking spray (I used PAM).

Mix egg, milk, and oil in small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir. Do not over mix. Fold in rhubarb. The batter will be sticky, this is okay.

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Spoon into muffin tin and let rest a few minutes while you prepare the cardamom ( this batch made 9 muffins for me).

Place your pods on a flat surface, and with the jar they come in, or with a mug, gently push down, crushing the green shells. Open up the shells and remove the seeds. They will be black or tan/brown in color. Sprinkle them all over the muffins.  The original recipe calls for a cardamom crunch topping, but to save on the extra carbs and calories I opted to just add in the seeds for the flavor and non of the extras I didn’t really need.

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Place pan in oven and bake until golden, about 18 to 20 minutes. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. The muffins are best the day they are baked, but morning after was quite delicious as well.

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Triple Banana Walnut Muffins

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I have finally done it! I have created (sort of) my very own recipe. Let me explain, in terms of baking, I don’t really have any skills, simply because it’s more precise than cooking. Although I love to bake, I cannot say with full confidence that I’ve never not followed a recipe. Sure, I can sub in ingredients and maybe add more of one than another, but that’s adapting a recipe in it’s most basic form. Here, I barely followed the recipe at all, and I feel so proud.

Also, I apologize for the lack of pictures, but as I was just messing around in the kitchen, I honestly didn’t think that my first attempt that not following a recipe would come out so successful. 🙂

These muffins are very healthy, by muffin standards. They do have flaxsee (not a flax egg) for extra healthiness. Also I bought a lot of flaxseed and was trying to figure out where to use it.

This recipe was adapted, in part, from skinnytaste.

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Triple Banana Walnut Muffins

  •  3 bananas (decent sized, not large, but not too small, preferably very ripe)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of chopped  walnuts
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mash bananas in a medium bowl. To that bowl, add 1 egg, oil, yogurt, flaxseed and brown sugar. Mix to combine. Add in the flour and baking powder and mix.  Finally, add in the vanilla, salt and the chopped walnuts. Mix all ingredients until well incorporated.

Line your muffin sheet with cupcake liners.

Fill your tins to the top. Mine made exactly 12 muffins. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and muffins are firm and risen.  I started to check mine at 16 minutes (just to be sure, but they still had a bit of cooking to do).

What I Did for Valentine’s Day

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I’ve had quite an eventful weekend. This was the first weekend where I forced myself to do homework, tons of homework, after work  and throughout the week, instead of waiting for the weekend. This was because Friday, February 15 was my Valentine’s Day. I haven’t had a chance to really hang out and see Boyfriend the past three weeks or so. And I know there’s a chance I won’t be seeing him this weekend either (thanks odd work schedule). So we decided to be indulgent, and extravagant, and lovey-dovey (sort of), and have a Valentine’s Weekend.

Not so much because we’re lovers of the holiday (and I’ve read plenty of blog posts about how Valentine’s day should be every day, and why should men assume that they can be awesome this one day, and completely romantic and the rest of the time be completely ignorant in the ways of love) but because we haven’t seen each other in a long time, and we haven’t been alone in a long time, and just, couple-y, therefore Valentine’s way the perfect excuse to go over the top.

That being said, I was so happy with how our plans turned out that I, sadly, didn’t take many photos (being so lost in the many moments). My apologies. I did take a few photos. And I hope to be better in the future about it, however, there are recipes that I made (even though two photos are missing), that were completely amazing, and I can’t wait to make them again!

But first, say hello to my three new Otto fishes. I could only get a shot of two at a time, so you’ll have to imagine the third 🙂

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First recipe up, is this lovely Molten Chocolate Cake. 

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This was my first time making this recipe, so I followed it to the T, except for used two larger ramekins (to serve two, obviously), and adjusted the cooking time to 15 minutes. The original recipe follows.

4 pieces (squares) Bitter-sweet or Semi-sweet or just plain sweet Chocolate (this is a matter of preference)*
½ cups Butter, chopped into several pieces
1 cup Confectioner’s or Powdered Sugar plus an extra 1-2 Tablespoon for dusting, separated
2 whole Eggs plus 2 Egg yolks
6 Tablespoons Flour
*I actually used chocolate chips, and eyeballed what I thought 4 squares would be. It really doesn’t matter here how much chocolate you use. I think mine was roughly 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chips.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease/spray about 4 custard molds/cups or small ramekins with a non-stick spray and then place them on a baking tray (cookie sheet).The next step requires melting the butter and chocolate. You can use the microwave, in 20 second increments till the butter is melted and the chocolate is softened. Or, you can use a double boiler. (I used the microwave. It’ll look scary with all that butter surrounding the chocolate, at least it was scary for me, however you have to keep stirring, and it’ll all work out).
Add 1 cup powdered sugar then whisk together until smooth.
Add the 2 eggs and the 2 egg yolks then whisk together again until smooth. Stir in the flour till just combined. Divide the batter into the four (or two) ramekins you’re using.
Bake until the sides and top are firm, but center is slightly wobbly and gooey. Let sit for 2 minutes (no more and no less, I MEAN IT), and serve by inverting to a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or top with whipped cream.
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Next recipe comes without a photo. This one came from Add A Pinch, and was really an amazing recipe. The only thing I can say I followed was the gorgonzola butter and improvised, to taste, the rest. Below is my rendition of the recipe, but you can follow the link to view the original.
Skillet Steaks with Gorgonzola Butter
2 Ribeye steaks
Salt and pepper
Herbs de Provance
1/2 cup cognac
Gorgonzola cheese, about 4 tbsp
4 tbsp butter, softened at room temp
Pat dry the steaks to they are free from blood. Take a fork and liberally stab the steaks throughout, on both sides, and by the fat areas. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the steaks in a ziplock bag and add the cognac. Close the bag and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, and up to several hours.
Next, season your cast iron skillet* and heat it over medium heat. Take out the steaks and let them come to room temperature (about 10 minutes) while the skillet is heating up. Dry the steaks again, when taking out of the cognac marinade. Do not do this liberally. I did because I was so hungry and in a hurry, and my steaks did not brown as well as I would  have liked.
Place in skillet, and cook about three minuets each side. I started off with two minutes a side, but had to turn mine about two and a half times because they were thick .
While the steaks are cooking, mix the butter with the gorgonzola cheese, and place in fridge, to wait for the steaks.
When the steaks are ready, sprinkle top with herb de provance and let sit for three minutes before plating. When placing on plate add a generous tbsp of the gorgonzola butter to melt and ooze around the meat.
Serve with potatoes, salad, bread, and good wine.
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Lastly, this recipe has been in the making for a while. I added more cheese than the recipe called for and added my own spices to the mix, however, the recipe basics were thanks to allrecipes.com.
This recipe too, was too good to be photographed. I even forgot to photograph this while writing up this post, when eating leftovers. So Sorry!
Baked Ziti
1 lb dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 lb gound beef
2 (26 oz) jars of your favorite pasta sauce (I used tomato and basil flavor)
1 tbsp salt and pepper (or to taste)
1 tbsp herbs de provance
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp grouond garlic and ground onion powders
dash of liquid smoke
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz of provolone cheese (sliced)– again, I used I believe 8 oz, a full Sargento bag of sliced provolone
6 oz of sliced mozerella—again from sargento, and I used the whole bag
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F . Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, and remaining sauce mixture. Top with remaining mozerella cheese slices and grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.
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Lastly, I want to say Happy Valentine’s Day again to all those that celebrate or enjoy the lovey stuff that comes with the holiday. The photo above has become a standard dessert treat I’ve been making myself after working out and a light dinner. I’m feeling great and happy, and I must say, nothing makes me feel better than strawberries, chocolate sprinkles, and whipped cream.

Banana Poppy Seed Muffins for a New Work Week

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Afternoon all!

For most people, tomorrow is not just any Monday, but it’s THE Monday. The Monday that kids go back to school, as do countless teachers, students (in college, I mean), and service members that work with children. Not to mention all the administration that work in school. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to tons of traffic and being late.

To start the work week (and school week) off right I decided to get into the kitchen, for the first time this weekend, by the way, and start cooking. I managed to make a lovely pasta (simple tomato sauce with a hint of vodka and spices) for lunch tomorrow, as well as some rice and tilapia for dinner today, and banana poppy seed muffins to make getting out of bed worthwhile tomorrow.

I adapted this recipe from Crepes of Wrath, so check that out for the original recipe. Not that I changed it much.

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Banana Muffins with Poppy Seed Bliss 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large bananas, very ripe and mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp cup honey
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • about 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • raw sugar, for sprinkling (optional)- I omitted this for calorie reasons 🙂
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line and/or grease 18-20 muffin cups and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat together the mashed bananas, vegetable oil, milk, lemon juice, honey, and eggs.
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Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just moistened. Fold in the poppy seeds. Place about 1/3 cup of batter into each muffin cup (don’t overfill the cups, definitely do less than 1/3 than a heaping 1/3 cup) and sprinkle with raw sugar, if you like.
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Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and set. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the pan and serving.
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How to Make a Couple Brown Bananas Happy

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I was lucky enough to have the day off today. I make a very long list of things that I had to get done. A few of the items included cleaning the kitchen, finally shipping my portable piano to it’s lucky eBay owner, and doing my nails. While I was cleaning the kitchen however, I noticed two very sad, and very brown bananas staring at me from the fruit bowl.

The only logical thing would be to put them out of their misery and make…. BANANA BREAD.

I don’t really have a go to recipe, aside from my Chocolate Banana Bread, and that didn’t seem like the right thing this time of year, so I decided to go on random food blog searchers until something cause my eye. And in about five minutes I found this. I didn’t like the macadamia nut and the chocolate in the recipe, so I subbed in some chopped pecans and butterscotch chips!

Yum yum.

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You can follow the link to the JPEG recipe, and follow it directly, or sub in 1/2 cup butterscotch chips for the chocolate and about 3/4 cups of chopped pecans for the macadamia nuts.

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