Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Man Muffins (aka..Pork and Bean Muffins)

Let me just introduce this recipe by repeating how much I hate pork and beans.  I can't even stand the smell of them, let alone their pastiness.  Disgusting.

We had some company over Sunday for pulled pork and the men folk in my life enjoy pork and beans - so for the love of them, I will occasionally open a can and heat them up.  That's it.

I happened to accidentally open two large cans of the disgusting things and silently prayed they would get eaten by the men.  Sadly, they did their best but a large amount of beans remained.  Not wanting them to go to waste I began to plan their future.

Rewind, a few years back when my mother-in-love and I were at Farmer's Market.  She purchased some home-made Pork and Bean bread and offered me a sample.  I swallowed my pride and took a pinch off the loaf.  "You're kidding me - that has pork in beans in it? Not bad." I said.

Up for the challenge were my left-over Pork and Beans.  Have I mentioned the word "disgusting" yet?
As much as I hate beans I managed to eat TWO of these muffins.  TWO!  I know......I know.....

Man Muffins

2 Cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups pork and beans (purred)

(1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
(2) In large mixing bowl combine sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.  Beat until smooth.
(3) Add in oil. Beat until smooth.  Pour in beans and beat until smooth.
(4) Add dry ingredients - flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.  Beat lightly until just incorporated.  Do not over beat.
(5) Scoop batter into lined muffin tin and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Helpful Hints:
(1) This was my first time EVER making this.  Next time however, I want to experiment with substituting applesauce or Greek yogurt for the oil.
(2) Can also pour into 2, 9" loaf pans and bake for 1 hour.
(3) I strongly suggest purring the beans.  If my girls found out there were pork and beans in there they wouldn't touch these with a 10 foot pole.  (Any idea where they get that from?)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bites

These little bites are a perfect post workout snack and have 4.5 grams of protein.  So yummy that your kids will enjoy them too.

1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. Old Fashion Oats - ground in food processor
2 Tbsp. Stevia
Dash of salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
handful of chocolate chips

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix with clean hands until a soft ball forms together.  Roll out into individual balls.  Should make approximately 20.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Amazing Philadelphia Soft Pretzels

Are you hungry for an amazing soft pretzel, kind of like those you find at the mall?  Then this is the recipe for you!  I found this recipe from my beloved friend Jane Hunter.

1 pkg. dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
3-4 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
4 cups water
2 tsp. baking soda
Butter & Kosher salt

(1) In large mixing bowl, combine warm water and sugar.  Sprinkle in yeast and allow it to sit and become foamy for 10 minutes.
(2)  Add 2 tsp. salt and 3 cups of flour.  Beat.  Add enough additional flour to knead.
(3) Knead for 10 minutes or until dough is very soft.  Place in a greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let rise 45 minutes or until double.
(4)  Divide dough into 12 small balls and roll on counter to form a skinny snake about 20" long.  Form each into pretzel shapes, pinching ends firmly.
(5) Dissolve 2 tsp. baking soda in 4 cups water and bring to a boil.  Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
(6) Drop pretzels in boiling water.  Boil for 1 minute - 30 seconds on each side.
(7) Remove from boiling water and place on paper towels before transferring to a buttered cookie sheet.
(8) Sprinkle moist pretzels with Kosher salt.
(9) Bake in preheated 475 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  Remove just before they are golden brown and rub with unsalted butter.  Continue to bake until golden brown.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

     For those of you who love peppermint bark, you're going to love this cheesecake!  I found this recipe from from the blog Baked By Rachel.
      Just like she stated, it is time consuming but very easy to put together.  If you don't have time to make the peppermint bark - cheat and go buy some.  If you do want to make your own may I suggest just buying a regular Hershey's dark chocolate bar for the dark chocolate - seriously you'll only need one and it's far less expensive then buying a box of dark chocolate.
     Make the day before you plan to serve it as it will need time to chill.

(Step 1) Peppermint Bark:

·         4 oz. dark chocolate, melted mixed with ½ tsp. vegetable oil.  Mix in 1/8 tsp. peppermint extract.  Spread thin over a sheet of wax paper that is on a baking sheet.  Chill for 15 minutes.
·         Melt 4 oz. white chocolate with ½ tsp. vegetable oil.  Spread over chilled dark chocolate layer and immediately top with crushed candy canes.  Chill until solid.

(Step 2) Crust Ingredients:
2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
·         Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 9” spring-form pan with 2 sheets of tin foil.
·         In a food processor, blend cookies until only fine crumbs remain.  Add melted butter.  Blend.
·         Transfer crumb mixture to spring-form pan.  Evenly disperse crumbs.
·         Using a flat bottom cup, press down to create an even crust.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Set aside.

(Step 3) Filling Ingredients:
3, 8-oz bars of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 oz. white chocolate, melted
1 ½ Tbsp. flour
1 ½ Tbsp. heavy cream
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. peppermint  extract
3 eggs
½ batch of peppermint bark.
·         Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
·         Cut up peppermint bark into small pieces.  Set aside.
·         Begin melting 4 oz. white chocolate.  Using a double boiler melt over simmering water.  Stir until fully melted.
·         In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add sugar.  Mix well.  Scrape bowl well prior to each new addition. 
·         Add melted chocolate, flour, whipping cream, salt and peppermint extract.  Mix well.
·         On medium/low speed, add one egg at a time.  Mix until smooth and blended well.  DO NOT OVER BEAT.
·         Fold in remaining peppermint bark pieces by hand.
·         Transfer to spring-form pan to a large pan that it can nest in.  Pour filling into crust.  Add enough hot water to reach half way up the sides of your spring-form pan.
·         Carefully place in center of oven.  Bake at 325 for 1 hour.
·         Turn off oven.  Keeping the door shut leave the cheesecake in the oven for an additional 45 minutes.
·         Remove and allow to sit for at least one hour before chilling.  Chill overnight or at least 6 hours.

(Step 4) Mouse Ingredients:
½ cup Cool Whip, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 oz. white chocolate, melted
1 ½ Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. peppermint extract
·         In a medium bowl beat softened cream cheese, melted white chocolate, cool whip, sugar and vanilla until smooth and slightly thickened.
·         Carefully remove sides of spring-form pan.  Spread mousse mixture evenly over cheesecake.
·         Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
·         Serve slices with remaining peppermint bark. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Easy Resturant Style Salsa

Like I said before.  I have 50+ tomatoes and I wanted to get my salsa on.
I LOVE fresh salsa and when I came across The Pioneer Woman's Restaurant Style Salsa I knew I had to try it.
Tried it.
Loved it.
But would change a few things based on my own personal preference.  See those Astrix's?  Those are the things I would change. 
Instead of a can of tomatoes I used the fresh tomatoes.  I used about 10 tomatoes that were ready to party.
This salsa had some heat to it and I think so that I could kiss my husband I would cut the Jalapeno in half or not use it at all.

*1 can (28 oz) Whole Tomatoes with juice
2 cans (10 oz) Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies.  One mild, one original
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 clove garlic, minced
*1 whole Jalapeno, quartered and sliced thin
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro (more to taste!)
1/2 whole Lime Juice

(1) Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, Jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice and cilantro in a food processor.  Pulse until you get the desired consistency you'd like.
(2) Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Tomatoes. Removing Skins & Seeds.

My gracious neighbor called and asked if I wanted any extra tomatoes. 
Sure I said.
I was thinking 2 maybe 3.  I received over 50.
So I'm going to get my salsa on.
And my sauce on.
And anything else I can think of.

But first we have to get the tomatoes ready for the party.  They need to be skinned and de-seeded before any of the above mentioned stuff can begin.

Step 1:
  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
  • While waiting for water to boil fill sink half full with water.
  • Prepare a large bowl with ice water.
  • Have a bowl or paper towel ready for discarded skins.
Step 2:
  • Place 2-4 tomatoes in pot of boiling water for no longer than 1 minute.
  • Immediately plunge boiled tomatoes into bowl of ice water.
  • Remove tomatoes from ice water and slide the skins off.  Throw skins away.
Step 3:
  • Slice top off of tomatoes and discard any other undesirable parts.
  • Slice tomatoes in half or in quarters depending on the size.
  • Over the kitchen sink squeeze each tomato half.  This will get rid of the extra juices and seeds.  I learned that the seeds will make any sauce bitter.  So get rid of them.
  • The reason I like to squeeze the tomatoes over the kitchen sink is for the pure convenience that I can run the garbage disposal and it makes for a very quick clean up.
Now your tomatoes are ready for any party you want to invite them to.  Let the games begin.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Roasted Asparagus

Spring is in full force here in Iowa and I've been keeping tabs on my favorite wild asparagus patch.  Last week the stalks were not tall enough to be pulled but today I was able to pull a good half dozen. 
There really is nothing like fresh wild asparagus.  The flavor of the wild variety is so much better and what better way to eat it then roasted with Parmesan cheese!

Asparagus, cleaned
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

(1) Preheat oven to 450.
(2) Clean and dry asparagus.
(3) Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper and place asparagus on top.
(4) Drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over asparagus.
(5) Sprinkle asparagus with salt and pepper to your liking.  For me, the more the better!
(6) Sprinkle a generous amount of Parmesan cheese - but not too much you want to still be able to taste the asparagus.
(7) Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes.  Remove and let cool just a couple of minutes before eating the entire pan.  Yeah, it's that good.