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Entries in Summer (14)

Monday
Jan192015

Chocolate Covered Coconut Marshmallows

Coconut marshmallows

This year, I didn’t make too many Christmas cookies. I participated in two online cookie swaps, and one cookie exchange with my friends, but aside from the small amount I made for each of those, I didn’t make any cookies. Instead, I decided to try my hand at making homemade marshmallows. I made Alton Brown’s recipe, bagged them up 6 at a time, tied them with ribbon, and gave them to my family at our after-Christmas gathering. They were a hit, especially with the kids! I had a few bags left, so I whipped up a jar of homemade hot cocoa mix and planned to bring my best friend hot chocolate and marshmallows when I brought over my goddaughter’s present. I came home from work one day and noticed that the marshmallows were no longer on the counter. In a cleaning spree, Joel had accidentally thrown them out. Luckily, I had plenty of ingredients to try again, this time trying a different (& flavored!) recipe. Making marshmallows is incredibly easy and the outcome is fabulous. They are perfect for eating plain or topping a mug of hot cocoa. The hardest part is waiting for them to set. To be honest, I don’t buy marshmallows regularly, but now that I have seen how simple it is to make my own, I may not ever go back to buying bagged marshmallows whenever I need them.

For Marshmallows
2 envelopes Unflavored Gelatin
8 tablespoons Cold Water
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/3 cup Cold Water
2 teaspoons Coconut Extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Powdered Sugar, for sprinkling

For Dipping
8 ounces Dark Chocolate
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Unsweetened Flaked Coconut, toasted (I omitted, but I’m sure it was delicious)

In a small bowl, stir together the gelatin and the 8 tablespoons of cold water; set aside. Spray an 8x8 pan with nonstick spray, then sprinkle in powdered sugar, shaking well to coat the bottom and all 4 sides. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining cold water with the sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and bubbly, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in the gelatin mixture, bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Add the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and let it cool slightly. Add the coconut extract, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Beat on medium-high speed for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture is thick, white, and glossy. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and top with more powdered sugar, if desired. Allow the marshmallows to sit for at least 4 hours to set, or overnight. Cut into 16 cubes and shake each in excess powdered sugar, if desired

If dipping the marshmallows in chocolate, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave on 30 second intervals. Once melted, stir in the coconut oil. Dip a portion of each marshmallow into the chocolate and place them on a sheet of wax/parchment paper. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top, if desired. Let sit for about 30 minutes to set before serving.  

SOURCE: How Sweet It Is

Monday
Aug252014

Chicken Orzo Artichoke Salad

Chicken orzo salad

Summer is just about done, which makes me sad. But today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day, and that makes me happy. This month, I was assigned to Dorothy’s blog, Shockingly Delicious. Dorothy has a great philosophy when it comes to cooking. She likes to keep her meals on the cost conscious side, which is a plus in my book too! But no matter what, it always has to be “crazy good” or “shockingly delicious”, which is how she came up with her blog name. As per usual, I had a difficult time choosing a recipe, because so many of Dorothy’s recipes look amazing! I had it pared down to a handful, and I was sure that cheesecake would be the winner, but after a week of vacation eating, I thought it would be best to put the cheesecake on the back burner and have something a little more healthy. This pasta salad was absolutely perfect! We ate it warm, but it was even better cold the next day for lunch. Dorothy, it was so nice to get to know you this month. Thanks for the great recipe!!

For the Salad
3 cups Diced Cooked Chicken
1/2 cup Orzo Pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
3 Scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped
1 jar (6 ounces) Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped

For the Dressing
6 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper, to taste

For Serving (Optional)
Fresh Spinach (I used arugula, because that is what I had)
Kalamata Olives, halved
Grated Parmesan Cheese (I used feta)
Fresh Basil, shredded 

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until well combined; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, orzo, tomatoes, scallions, parsley, and artichokes. Toss with the dressing to combine. Serve salad over a bed of spinach, and add the olives, cheese, and basil to garnish, if desired.

SOURCE: Shockingly Delicious

Friday
Jul042014

Peach Frozen Yogurt

Peach fro yo

Happy Fourth! If it’s hot where you live, why don’t you cool down with some of this homemade frozen yogurt?! I don’t have an ice cream maker, but that isn’t going to stop me from enjoying an ice cold treat on a hot summer day. If you have 5 minutes and a blender, whip up a batch to enjoy while you watch the fireworks light up the night sky!

1 (16-oz) bag Frozen Peaches OR 4 cups Fresh Peaches (I used 5 peaches)
3 tablespoons Honey
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt (I used Greek)
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice 

If using fresh peaches, cut them into slices and put them in the freezer until frozen solid. Add the frozen peaches, honey, yogurt, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor (I used a blender and it worked well on the ice crushing mode) and process until creamy, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. 

SOURCE: Just a Taste

Monday
Jun232014

Pickled Beet Salad

Pickled beet salad

It’s Secret Recipe Club reveal day again. This month, I was assigned to Susan’s blog, The Wimpy Vegetarian. Susan has so many delicious and healthy recipes on her blog, which made it so hard to narrow it down to just one. While I was searching through her archives, I had to make a folder on my desktop for all of the recipes that I wanted to make! When it came down to it, I decided to make this beet salad because I am completely obsessed with beets and anything pickled! There is a local company that makes pickled beets and on a rare occasion, I will buy a jar, but at over $7 per jar, it is a rare treat. For way less than that, I was able to make this delicious pickled beet salad, which yielded so much more than I would have gotten in that jar. I’m so glad to have this recipe in my repertoire now. If the beets I planted in my garden do well, I know what I want to use them for! Thanks for the excellent recipe, Susan. I look forward to trying the other recipes I’ve saved from your blog!!

For the Salad
4 medium-sized Beets
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 medium-sized Shallot, minced
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 cup Feta Cheese
2 tablespoons Chive Oil, see below
2 tablespoons Spicy Pepitas, see below

Scrub the beets and cut off the root and tail ends. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast, wrapped in foil, at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until tender. Once cool enough to handle, peel the beets with a paring knife, then dice the beets and place them in a large jar/bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the beets, cover the jar/bowl, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours as the beets marinate. When ready to assemble the salad, drain the pickling liquid. Toss in the feta cheese and the chive oil, and top with the pepitas. 

For the Chive Oil
Large handful of Chives, chopped fine (~1/4 cup)
2/3 cup Olive Oil

Combine the ingredients and allow the flavors to mix for about 24 hours. Use within one week.

For the Spicy Pepitas
1 cup Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Pinch of Ground Cayenne Pepper
Pinch of Ground Paprika

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the mixture to the skillet, tossing frequently, until golden brown. Cool and store in an air-tight container.

SOURCE: The Wimpy Vegetarian

Sunday
Jun082014

S'mores Scones

Smores Scones

Do you like camping? We used to camp when I was a kid, but to be completely honest, the only part I really liked was sitting by the fire and making s’mores! Even now, whenever I have the chance to make s’mores, I get excited. The melty chocolate, crunchy cracker, and creamy marshmallow with the slightly burnt flavor is the perfect summertime treat. My cousin Bridgette is getting married this summer, so my aunt hosted a shower and asked us all to bring a sweet treat to share. I immediately turned to my favorite summertime treat and made mini scones. I even tried to make them cute by using a flower shaped cookie cutter, but the shape got a little lost once they were topped with the marshmallow. They sure were a hit, though! There are only a couple left and if you’ll excuse me, I think it may be snack time for me...

For the Scones
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
6 tablespoons Butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 Eggs, beaten
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Chocolate Chunks

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter cubes and rub them into the dry ingredients until they are the size of peas or oat flakes. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir to incorporate. Add the chocolate chunks and continue to stir until incorporated. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and pat the dough into a 1-inch thick circle. Use a biscuit cutter and place the cut out scones onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put the baking sheet into the fridge while the oven preheats to 375 degrees. Bake the scones for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

For the Topping
2 Egg Whites
3/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup
Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a large heat-proof bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Fill a sauce pot with 2-inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk as it heats. The sugar will dissolve within about 5 minutes. Don’t let the bowl get hot enough to cook the egg. Transfer the sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla. Once the mixture is smooth and glossy, generously spread it on the top of the scones. Place the scones under the broiler for a few minutes until the marshmallow topping has become browned. Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably the day that they are made.

SOURCE: Joy the Baker

Shower

Happy Shower, Bridgette!!