Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Apple Walnut Muffins with Streusel Topping

I was looking for something different to have for breakfast today and I had a lot of green apples in my refrigerator. Does anyone know why I have so many green apples at my house?  I found this recipe at and other than the apple peeling and chopping it only took a few minutes to make. 

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or buttermilk
4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup peeled, cored and chopped green apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin and set aside. 

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In another bowl whisk together the eggs, sour cream and melted butter. Add sugar and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 

Fold in apples and walnuts.  Divide the batter among the muffin tin cups, filing each about 2/3 full.

In small bowl combine walnuts, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and melted butter for streusel topping.

Sprinkle about 1 tbsp of the crumb mixture over the top of each muffin.  Bake until tester inserted into muffin comes out clean, about 24 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit in muffin tin for 10 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving. 

Enjoy!  Susan

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lemon Pasta Salad

This is the 2nd time I made this recipe. I made it my first time for a barbecue at my sisters. I used orecchiette pasta this time because its what we had but I'd use the recommended bow tie pasta if I made it again. It's a good summer pasta salad when you are looking to get away from the normal mayonnaise based salads which I'm not a fan of.

Adapted from Me and My Pink Mixer

3 T fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon Honey
1/ 2 cup olive oil
sprinkle of salt and pepper

In a bowl whisk the above ingredients together for the dressing. 

Bow Tie Pasta (A little less then 1 lb. box)

1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/3 cup diced roasted red pepper
1 can mandarin orange sections - drained
diced red onion
toasted sunflower seeds

Cook pasta as directed and drain. Add diced peppers, drained oranges, and diced red onions to the pasta. Pour dressing over and toss. Finish off with some sunflower seeds. I'm told Pasta Salads tastes the best after sitting for awhile so the dressing can seep into the pasta. 

Enjoy Kathy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Happy Birthday MOM!
I made this cake back in April for my husband John's Birthday. I was waiting for a good time to post it so I thought since we have another birthday in the family, today could be the day. This was the 1st cake I have ever made from scratch so I was very impressed with myself. It was moist and fluffy, the perfect cake to celebrate any birthday!

Ingredients for Two 9 inch Round Cake Tins:
2 1/2 Cup Flour (Plus a little extra for dusting the cake pans)
1 1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 3/4 Cups Sugar
10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter - Melted
1 Cup Buttermilk - Room Temperature
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
6 Egg Yolks - Room Temperature
3 Egg Whites - Room Temperature

Ingredients for Frosting:
3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter - Melted
1 Cup Cocoa Powder
5 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk
1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the cake tins with the end of a butter wrapper making sure to get in the crease. Dust the greased tins with flour over the sink or the garbage can, knocking out the excess flour. Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl (Flour, 1 1/2 cup Sugar, Salt, Baking Powder and Baking Soda).
In a large liquid measuring cup or a medium sized bowl, whisk together the vanilla, vegetable oil, room temperature buttermilk, melted butter (do this on a low setting in the microwave in small time increments) and all 6 room temperature egg yolks. Using the whisk attachment for your mixer gradually combine all of the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients on a low speed setting for about 15 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and the whisk with a spatula and return the machine to low for another 15 seconds until well combined. When you are done set the mixture aside and wash off the whisk attachment.
In a separate clean mixing bowl, with your cleaned whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at a medium high speed until foamy for about 30 seconds. With the machine running, slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue to beat the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form which should take between 30-60 seconds. Using a rubber spatula gently stir half of the egg whites into the cake batter. Add the remaining egg whites and fold into the batter until no white steaks are left.
Divide the batter evenly between the cake tins. Lightly tap the pans on top of the counter to take out any air bubbles present. Bake the cakes in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Loosen the cakes from the pans using a knife and let them cool off entirely on a wire rack for at least an hour.
While the cakes are cooling you can make your frosting. Add the cocoa powder to a clean mixing bowl. Melt the butter on a low speed in the microwave and add it to the cocoa. With the mixer on, add powdered sugar and milk back and forth a little bit at a time until the frosting becomes a smooth consistency that can be easily spread. Stir in the vanilla.
Once the cakes have completely cooled you can frost them. My only advice is shave the top of the bottom cake so that it is a flat surface. I did not do this so the top cake did not sit flat on the bottom one.  Frost the cakes from the bottom up always putting a big spoonful of frosting on so you don't tear up the cake with your knife. Finish by frosting the sides and top.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Graham Cracker S'more Cookies

My youngest daughter was in a baking mood this weekend so she made these for our 34th Annual Father's Day Picnic.  My husband and I are both very lucky that our fathers are still very healthy and in their 80's.

11 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2-1/2 cups flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
2-3 hershey bars, broken into pieces
2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking pans with parchment paper.  Lay graham crackers on baking pans side by side as close as possible. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with both sugars until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture and combine.

Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows.
Place tablespoons of dough on to graham crackers 1 - 1-1/2 inches apart.  Press down slightly with fingers.

Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey bar pieces on the top. Bake for 5-7 more minutes until dough is beginning to turn brown at the edges.  Remove to cool.

Recipe from,

Enjoy!   Susan/Samantha

Friday, June 17, 2011

Vegetable Lo Mein

It is no secret we love all types of Asian food, we make some version of stir fry at least once a week in our Wok. We have Chinese, Japanese and Thai delivery places on our speed dial. We never seem to get sick of the fresh vegetables and sweet tangy flavors Asian cuisine has to offer. Although it is always delicious from a restaurant it is definitely healthier to make yourself. I have never made Lo Mein before or a dish with this many vegetables so it was worth a try. This turned out to be quick and easy, plus it made me feel healthy. If you are looking for a different Asian dish take a peek at our Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps.

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
12oz Package Snow Peas
1 Large Red Pepper - Diced
8oz Package Mushrooms - Sliced
4 Scallions - Diced
1 Cup Carrots - Diced
12oz Package Fresh Bean Sprouts
4 Cloves Garlic - Minced
1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger - Minced
1 lb Thin Spaghetti - Cooked al dente
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
Sesame Seeds for Garnish

Start by getting a pot of salted water boiling on the stove for your noodles. Cook your noodles according to their package. Next prep all of your vegetables. Our grocery store did not have fresh snow peas so I got a bag that was frozen. Make sure to use fresh bean sprouts instead of canned which can be found normally by the tofu. Wash and cut the red pepper, carrots, mushrooms and scallions. Mince the ginger & garlic.
By now your noodles should be done. Drain them and set aside. Heat your wok or very large pan over high heat. When the pan is hot add the oil. If vegetables aren't enough and you want to use a protein this is where I would add some chicken or beef to the recipe. If not, immediately add the snow peas, pepper, mushrooms, scallions, carrots and bean sprouts. Stir Fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, stir fry another 2-3 minutes.
Add the noodles to the wok and toss everything to combine. Once the noodles are mixed in, add the soy sauce and continue sitring so that everything is coated evenly with sauce. Stir fry for another 2 minutes stiring constantly. Transfer to bowls, garnish with seasme seeds and serve immediately.

Enjoy!! - Nicole

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Almond Pound Cake

I am a big tea drinker - both hot and cold tea.  Sometimes I like to have a little something to eat that is just a little bit sweet when I am drinking tea.  This cake is just perfect.  I thought when I added the whole tube of almond paste that the almond flavor would be very strong.  But it was just enough.   This is very easy to make and can be served at either breakfast or as dessert.


1 7 oz box of Odense almond paste, grated
1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour either a 9 x 5 loaf pan or a 10 cup bundt pan.
Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat grated almond paste, sugar and butter until well mixed.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.  Beat on high until light and fluffy.
Sift flour with baking powder and add to batter alternately with milk.  Beat on low until just combined and smooth.  Do not over mix or cake will be tough.

Pour batter into pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes for bundt pan or 75 minutes for loaf pan or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes on wire rack.  Unmold carefully and finish cooling before sprinkling with powdered sugar and serving.

Recipe from

Enjoy!   Susan

This is linked to

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pineapple Bacon Pizza

Pineapple Bacon Pizza has always intrigued me. For a very long time I wanted to try it but usually it was made with Canadian Bacon which I don't like. One time when Samantha and I were in the city we stumbled upon this little pizza place that had Thin Crust Pineapple Bacon Pizza with regular bacon. I of course had to get it and it was really good. I've made it at home several times since as well as ordered it another few times. This time was the first time I added red onions to give it a little kick.

 can of pineapple chunks (you can use fresh)
tomato / pizza sauce
Pillsbury pizza dough
red onion
shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease cookie sheet. Spread dough on cookie sheet as evenly as you can get it. Spoon tomato sauce onto dough and spread. Microwave bacon until it is pretty crispy making it easier to crumble. Cut as little or as much red onion as you would like. Sprinkle pineapple chunks, crumbled bacon, and red onion over pizza sauce. Finish with mozzarella cheese on top. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting.

Enjoy Kath!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stuffed Roasted Poblanos

Shrimp Stuffed Roasted Poblanos adapted from Epicurious.
8 large Poblano chilies
8 oz. shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked and chopped
4 oz Goat Cheese
1/2 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 Cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
3 tbsp. Shallot, chopped
3 tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp. Basil, chopped
1 tsp. Cayenne
1 tsp. Paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
(makes 8 servings- I had 4 smaller Poblanos, so I halved the quantities)

I am a big fan of anything spicy!  I love Mexican food especially, and am always interested in trying something new with peppers and chilies.  Not knowing what I was even going to do with them, I had asked my wife to pick up some Poblanos from the market.  I thought maybe I'd toss them in a quesadilla, or make a sauce of some type, which is when I had the idea to stuff them and I found a good guideline.
First, you want to char your Poblanos over your gas flame stove until blackened on all sides.  Once complete, place in a large bowl and cover with cling wrap or container cover for 10 minutes.  Charring the Poblanos does take some time, so be patient and make sure you get all sides!
While your Poblanos are covered, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Now you are ready to construct your filling.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl, mixing well.  Some may recommend refrigerating this mixture for a day in advance, but I would leave it up to you, not vital to do so.
Next, you are going to peel the chilies, and using a knife, slit the chilies open along one side.  Remove the seeds and leave the stems attached.  This is probably the trickiest part, so remember to be very delicate during this step.  You want to remove the seeds or else to Poblanos could end up being super hot and inedible.  But, you do not want to open the Poblanos up so much that they are unable to hold the filling.  I made my slit closer to the stem and use the tip of my finger and a knife to get the seeds out gently.
Fill the Poblanos with your mixture and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted through.  If the Poblanos are having trouble holding together, you can use toothpicks for assistance.  Once finished, let cool for 2 minutes, remove toothpicks and serve.  These definitely have some heat to them, but it is cooled by the shrimp and cheese mixture and completely full of flavor!  This can be served as a starter, or along with some sides as a full meal.

Enjoy!- John

Sunday, June 5, 2011

One Skillet Lasagna

I love this meal for a bunch of different reasons: First of all its absolutely delicious. It's making me hungry now just thinking about it. We actually had it two times in two weeks. Secondly, you only need one pan which is amazing because half the time I cook it feels like I've used every pot, pan and appliance we own. Third, my Italian husband for some weird reason doesn't like "Baked Pastas" so this was a chance for me to have Lasagna in a different way.

Adapted from

10 Lasagna Noodles -  Broken Up into Pieces (Do Not Use the No-Boil Noodles)
1 lb Ground Turkey
1 Medium Onion - Diced
1 Medium Green Pepper - Diced
3 Cloves of Garlic - Minced
10 Fresh Basil Leaves
2 28oz Cans of Whole Peeled Tomatoes (Save 2-3 tomatoes from one can)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2/3 Cup Shredded Park Skim Mozzarella
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
S&P to Taste
Start by prepping all of your veggies (Onion, Pepper & Garlic). Next puree your whole peeled tomatoes in the food processor. My food processor is only big enough for one 28 oz can at a time so be careful not to over flow your machine. Save 2-3 of the tomatoes and set aside.
In your largest pan heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and green pepper stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes, salt & pepper the veggies to taste. Once the veggies are cooked you can add the meat.
I used ground turkey but if you prefer beef that is fine too. Break it up as it cooks turning from pink to brown, this should take about 5 minutes. While the meat is cooking you can begin to break your noodles up into 2 inch pieces. In a circular fashion lay your noodles directly on top of your meat overlapping them as you add them to the pan.
When all of your noodles are down you can pour the tomato sauce over top. Cover the skillet and cook for about 20 minutes over medium- high heat. Gently stir the pan every few minutes so nothing sticks or burns and all of the components are evenly distributed within the pan. My skillet was full to the brim so be careful when you stir so you don't spill.
When the noodles are tender and the everything is well cooked and combined take the pan off of the stove. Season once more to taste with S&P. Now you can begin adding the cheeses. Mix in half of the Parmesan and half of the mozzarella cheeses so they melt into the lasagna. Place heaping tablespoons of the ricotta cheese on top every couple of inches. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and Mozzarella on top. Rip apart the fresh basil leaves and scatter them on top. Put the cover back on for 2-3 minutes allowing the cheese to melt and the basil to wilt.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

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