Mu Shu Chicken Lettuce Wraps

January 10, 2014

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I’m just a little late—but Happy New Year. It’s hard to believe we are already over a week into 2014.

One of the reasons I’m a little late to posting in 2014 is because I like to build things up in my head. I kept thinking that I really needed to post something great to get the New Year rolling. I wanted to amaze and dazzle you.

But then I remembered—that’s not really how I do things.

So, here’s a mediocre post to start of 2014.

Like most people, Aaron and I are looking to eat a little healthier this year. For us, that means not going out to eat as much and making healthier dinners. Easy enough.

Sometimes we even toy with the idea of cutting out sugar. But my resolve is not nearly at a level in which to do that. If you’ve ever interacted with me while I was not eating sugar, I almost guarantee that I imagined punching you in the face at some point in the conversation. I don’t know how to hold my own in a fight—so I keep a healthy amount of sugar in my body at all times.

That being said, we’ve been pretty successful on the not eating out front. These lettuce wraps are proof that you can make just about anything at home. And, chances are, it’ll actually be better than a restaurant.

Mu Shu Chicken Wraps

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Snowball Cookies

December 12, 2013

Snowball Cookies

It seems rather appropriate to post snowball cookies this week. We had out first snow of the season on Monday. Granted it was only a dusting. But that counts—especially because we don’t see a whole lot of snow up here.

Also, this whole Celsius business keeps faking me out. I expect 2 degrees to be insanely cold—not above freezing. I’m too American.

I’ve been weirdly thinking about Snowball Cookies for a while now. My mom occasionally made them and I always gobbled them up. There’s something enchantingly wonderful about a cookie dipped in powdered sugar.

This batch has a little kick in it in the form of good old-fashioned bourbon. Now, you must be thinking that there is no way to go wrong with this recipe. Yes, you are correct in that assumption.

These are the best.

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Snowball Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon bourbon
2 1/4 cups sifted AP flour
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Using your mixer, cream together the butter and honey. You want it fluffy. Add bourbon and mix to combine. Separately, whisk together the flour, pecans, sugar and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat to combine.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.

Roll the dough into balls—about two teaspoons. Arrange the balls on a baking pan lined with a Silpat. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 13 minutes. Transfer to wire racks. Let cool completely and roll in powdered sugar to coat.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

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Molasses Cookies

December 3, 2013

Molasses Cookies

I turned the heat on in our condo for the first time today. I guess that means it truly is December. But, with December comes great things.

Aaron and I are going on vacation in about a week and a half. This time it’s not for a wedding. It’s a bona fide vacation. And, really, it couldn’t come at a better time. I think I could use a little break from the cold.

And it’s getting cold around here. Luckily, it’s a clear sky kind of cold.

When it’s cold outside, I usually want a spicy cookie or bread—something that helps warm up your insides. This time around, I opted for cookies. It’s been a while since I made a batch of cookies.

Why? Well, it’s a bit of a commitment because I can only bake six cookies at a time in our miniature oven.

But these were completely worth it. They are chewy, sugary and spicy. Really, they are the perfect molasses cookies. I ended up sprinkling a little extra sugar on them—because, well, that’s a choice you can make when you’re in charge.

Better yet, there are surprisingly few ingredients and the dough comes together incredibly easy.

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Molasses Cookies

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
2 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon group ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all spice

Directions:
Place the butter in a bowl and beat with a mixer until fluffy. Add the 2/3 cup sugar and mix until light. Add molasses and egg, mix until all everything is incorporated.

Separately, stir together the remaining ingredients. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until well blended. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place the balls 2 inches apart on your silpat. Flatten cookies with the bottom of a glass to 1/2-inch thickness and sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Let cool on a wire racks.

Recipe: Cooking Light

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Apple and Cheddar Sandwich

November 30, 2013

Apple and Cheddar Sandwich

Here’s a little proof of the many sandwiches that have been consumed in our house during the bread-baking bonanza. I bring you a simple Apple and Cheddar Sandwich.

Now, is this sandwich super fancy? Nope.

But the bigger question: Is it fantastically delicious? A million times yes.

Really, just look at the picture. The oozing cheese. The crispy, grilled bread. The slices of crisp apple. Seriously guys, it’s good.

I’ve always really loved apples and cheese together. I also can’t say no to a grilled cheese. So, why not add apples to your sandwich. It’s a great combination of sweet and salty.

Better yet, this sandwich was made on homemade wheat bread—that recipe’s for another day. For now, enjoy the satisfaction of a perfectly simple and satisfying Apple and Cheddar Sandwich.

Apple and Cheddar Sandwich

Ingredients:
Whole wheat bread
2-3 slices of cheddar (my favorite’s Tillamook)
1/2 of an apple cut into slices
1 tablespoon butter

Directions:
Assemble your sandwich, spreading butter on the outside pieces of bread. Cook in a skillet over medium heat until each side is golden brown.

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Black Rye Bread

November 13, 2013

Black Bread

I’ve been making a lot of bread lately. Much more than you will see posted here. It’s close to problematic. I made two loaves this weekend for fun. But there are only two people in this house.

To compensate, I bought way too much deli meat. I meant to buy a reasonable amount. But freaking grams, man. I super suck at converting things in my head and I wasn’t smart enough to look it up on my phone.

Sandwiches for everyone!

Really, we’ve had a lot of sandwiches. And toast. But eating toast will never be a complaint. It’s my absolute favorite food. No matter the time or condition of my belly, I’ll happily put toast in it. Better yet, my sister gave me homemade pumpkin butter the last time I visited.

Toast for everyone!

This was my first time using rye. It’s good stuff, guys. That being said, I like a good, dark bread. And that’s what you get with this recipe. It’s a nice change if you usually make/eat plain whole wheat bread.

Black Rye Bread

Ingredients:
2 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup dark rye flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup strong black coffee, cooled

Directions:
Combine 1/2 cup bread flour, yeast and water in your stand mixer and let sit for about 10 minutes. This is the foamy stage.

Separately, combine the remaining flours and cocoa powder. Add this to your yeast mixture along with the oil, sugar and salt. Slowly stir in the coffee and watch your dough form.

Knead the dough with your dough hook attachment for about 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour. It should be smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled—about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough, shape into a sandwich loaf and place in a lightly greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled—about an hour.

Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes. Bread should sound hollow when tapped.

Recipe: Girl Verses Dough 

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