Monday, August 29, 2016

Banana Blueberry Pancake Squares

Despite Monday being my least favorite day of the week, I love months that have five Monday's.  Five Monday's means a bonus Secret Recipe Club reveal!  The SRC bonus reveals always have a theme.  What better theme for August than back to school?

My assigned blogger for the August themed reveal is Our Eating Habits.  Jamie, the blogger behind Our Eating Habits says her two favorite things are Christmas and Disney!  For sure, who doesn't love Christmas and Disney.  She home schools her children, has a mug collection and lots of great recipes on her blog. 

For the first day of school, I always tried to make Justin a special breakfast.  Although today, he's not a sweet breakfast eater, I think when he was in grade school Jamie's recipe for Banana Blueberry Pancakes would have been a hit!!  Pancakes without having to trying to keep them all warm while the rest cook makes this a perfect recipe for a school day.  Prepare the batter and bake for about 25 minutes, doesn't really get much easier than that!  Plus pretty sure this would work fine with pancake mix with the fruit added, to really cut down on time needed!!

Banana Blueberry Pancake Squares
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 over-ripe banana
  • about 1 cup milk, maybe a bit more
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup blueberries – frozen works great
  • Butter and Syrup for serving
1. Grease a 13×9 inch baking dish. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients together in mixing bowl.
3. Mash banana in bottom of large 4 cup measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal 1 2/3 cups. Stir to combine. add eggs, vanilla and oil. Stir to combine. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in blueberries.
4. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Test with toothpick to insure it has cooked in the middle. Serve with butter and syrup.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Watermelon Yogurt Popsicles

If you ask any member of my family, they'll tell you I own every kitchen gadget known to man.  After recently purchasing the Instant Pot, that might be true ... almost.  Also, I suppose if you ask them, they will tell you I don't always use all of them.  A couple of years (or more) ago the wonderful associates that work for me, gave me a gift card to a local kitchen store.  Intrigued by the Zoku and knowing this was a splurge, I decided to purchase it.  Of course, like anything, I used it a lot when I first got it.  Since, then it's been sitting ready to go on a shelf in the freezer.

I'm all about having a sweet treat in the evening.  Truth is, I have a horrible sweet tooth.  The reason or at least the person I am going to blame is my Dad.  I'm guessing there's a malt shop in heaven and my Dad is the number one "soda jerk" as they used to call them.  When I was kid, every night, I'm remembering pretty much without fail, I had a dish of ice cream or a malt.  My Dad made the best malts, the kind that used the malted milk powder and lots of ice cream and syrup.  So you get the picture? You see why I have a sweet tooth!!

In an effort to try and manage the calories in those sweet treats, I dusted the ice crystals of the Zoku and made Popsicles.  If you're not familiar with how the Zoku works, you pour in the liquid and in 5 - 9 minutes, you have Popsicles.  Easy!!  The directions say you can make a second batch without refreezing but I never had very good luck with making a second batch.   These make a perfect summertime treat and a super nutritious snack kids will love to eat.

Watermelon Creamsicle Pops

1 cup watermelon chunks
1 container of greek yogurt (I used coconut)
1 T. honey
Pinch of Salt
  1. In a blender, add a heaping cup of watermelon.
  2. Add the yogurt, honey, and salt. Blend for another 15 seconds to mix.
  3. Pour the blended mixture into the ice pop molds and freeze.
  4. After filling the Zoku maker, I poured the remaining in regular freezer pops mold.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

White Bean Caprese Salad

We've had interesting weather these past few months.  We had an almost nonexistent spring, felt like we went straight from chilly into a hot and humid summer, with lots of rain.  I'm not crazy about this weather but our garden sure is.  We've had the largest and best tomato crop in the five years we've been in this house.

What I wouldn't give to live somewhere we could enjoy this type of produce year round but since that's not in the cards in Nebraska, we'll make the most of what we have!  Cherry tomatoes are the best and the variety we have this year is so sweet.  You can just pop them in your mouth and eat them.   We enjoy lots of Caprese Salads. I love this take on Caprese Salad.  It's filling, easy and delicious!

White Bean Caprese Salad
Recipe Courtesy of Skinny Taste
Servings: 6
  • 1 (15-oz) can Great Northern (or White Kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic glaze
Combine beans, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and finish with balsamic glaze.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Perfect Peach Cobbler - Secret Recipe Club

August?!!  Am I the only who can't believe it's August already?  Where did this summer go?  Despite being bummed it's already August, I am thrilled to share my August Secret Recipe Club post with you!  This month I was assigned the hard working leader of the Secret Recipe Club group I belong to, Camilla, the blogger behind Culinary Adventures with Cam.  When describing herself, Camilla says "I've crammed a lot of different things into four decades: florist, waitress, SCUBA divemaster, stock photo agency manager, stroller fitness teacher, writer, editor, and au pair. I lived and worked in Rome for 13 months. That's where I learned to cook, visiting the markets, talking to farmers and fishmongers, and pestering them on how to prepare this and that."  Wow, what a fun life!!

A couple of Saturday night's ago Tim and I were driving back into the neighborhood from dinner and we noticed one of our neighbors had picked all of the peaches off their tree and set them in the driveway with a sign FREE PEACHES.  Free?  Yes, please.  What do you think of when you think peaches?  I think cobbler or jam.  Cobbler lead me to Camilla's Perfect Peach Cobbler.  

Camilla added rhubarb to her cobbler and just so happened I had a bit left in the freezer.  The peaches I used were fairly small and didn't yield as much as I would have liked, so I added a few blueberries.  I was intrigued by the use of olive oil in the topping!  After having used butter for years and taking the time to work it into the flour, I may be using olive oil from now on, so much easier!!  We really enjoyed this cobbler, a perfect way to showcase summer fruits!  Thanks, Camilla!

Perfect Peach Cobbler

Filling Ingredients
  • 4 C sliced organic peaches
  • 1 C sliced organic rhubarb
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 C packed organic brown sugar
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • dash of ground cardamom
  • 2 T butter
Topping Ingredients
  • 1 C white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C packed organic brown sugar
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 3 to 4 T olive oil
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • dash of ground cardamom

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a baking dish.
With a wooden spoon mix all of the filling ingredients until thoroughly combined and the peaches and rhubarb are all coated with the other ingredients. Spoon the filling into the prepared pan and dot with 2 T butter that's been cubed.
For the topping...stir until all the ingredients are combined. The consistency will be like a crumble top. Spoon the topping over the fruit and use a spatula to spread it over the fruit. 
Bake the cobbler for 40-50 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

My New Best Friend!

For the past several years, I've been debating whether or not to purchase a pressure cooker.  I would see recipe posts using a pressure cooker and say maybe I should get one?  Then I would think I have no more room in the kitchen and most recipes seemed to be ones I could make in my crock pot.

Before, I start let me say this isn't a sponsored post, just my own thoughts.  If you're an Amazon Prime member, you're familiar with the Prime Day sales from a couple of weeks ago.  One of the items on sale was the Instant Pot, prior to Prime Day, I had never seen an Instant Pot.  The Instant Pot is touted as Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker and more.  On Prime Day, the cooker was on sale for $69.99.  Okay so now I was thinking, if this pot really can be my rice cooker and my slow cooker, maybe I do have room for this in the kitchen??  I did some reading and everything I read was this was the best gadget since sliced bread.  I was hooked and ordered one.

Two days later when the Instant Pot arrived, Tim and I unpacked it and attempted to steam some carrots for dinner.  It was quite intimidating at first, lots of steps and buttons and in the back of my mind, all I could think of was the old pressure cookers that would blow up.  Really I don't want to have this blow up in my kitchen?!!!  Our first attempt at the steamed carrots was a bit of a bust because I didn't realize time had to be based on the cooker coming up to pressure, so 4 minutes is really 14+ minutes, allowing for the 10 or so minutes for the unit to come up to pressure.

Once I became familiar with the ins and outs of the Instant Pot, I was over the fear of it blowing up and ready to experiment with what I could make.  Ten days or so later, the Instant Pot is my new best friend.  I've made pasta and meatballs, chicken breasts for chicken curry, chicken broth from a carcass (which finishes in 30 minutes!), lentils, corn on the cob and hard boiled eggs.

Hard boiled eggs are just one of many things  Instant Pot users rave about! Thinking I would make egg salad for lunch this week, I decided to give them a try! The reviews are correct, if you've ever struggled with peeling eggs, you'll agree.  These eggs peeled perfectly and were beautifully cooked!  Yep ... I'm on the bandwagon (albeit a little late, the Instant Pot has been available for a while),  I love the Instant Pot!!!

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Eggs (as many as you like to fill the bottom of the pot rack or a steamer basket)
  • 1 cup water
  • Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
  1. Pour the water into the pot, and place the eggs in a steamer basket if you have one. If you don't, just use the rack that came with your pot.
  2. Close the lid, set for 5 minutes at high pressure.
  3. It will take the cooker approximately 5 minutes to build to pressure and then 5 minutes to cook. Let the pressure naturally reduce for an additional 5 minutes after the cooking cycle completed, and then do a quick pressure release. That's around 15 minutes, total.
  4. Place the hot eggs into cool water to halt the cooking process. You can peel immediately, or wait.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie

If you're looking for a dinner for the kiddos or the grandkids, give this one a try. I took the easy way out and used a store bought pie crust. Tastes just like a cheeseburger without the grill.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie

Recipe Adapted from Spend with Pennies

1 uncooked pie crust (store bought or prepared)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
5 slices raw bacon, chopped
⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
¼ cup milk


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brown ground beef, onion and bacon until no pink remains. Drain well. Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs, mustard, barbecue sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire and pepper. Place mixture in prepared pie crust.
In a small bowl, combine cheese, milk and egg. Spread over meat mixture.
Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil or a pie shield to prevent over browning. Bake 15 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Lime and Beer Cupcakes - SRC

Can you believe it's July?  This year, like all of them, is flying by.  The second Monday in July brings us Secret Recipe reveal day!  Not familiar with this fun club, you can fine the details here.  This month, I was assigned WhyIamnotskinny, love that blog title!  Maxine, the blogger behind WhyIamnotskinny is a South African food blogger living in Brussels (Belgium).  She says, " I am definitely not skinny, have a REAL appetite and am pretty sure that there is a 2nd stomach reserved for desserts and sweet treats. Sharing a home with HIM (aka the wonderful husband) and our first child (born 2015 – aka Little Miss) – you can follow me on my journey through recipes, restaurants and all round love of food."  The idea of a second stomach could most certainly apply to me!

I enjoyed my tour around Maxine's blog.  Fun and interesting to see the ingredients with different names.  Courgette is what we call zuchinni, brinjal is what we call eggplant.  While I thought about choosing a savory recipe using one of these ingredients, I settled where I do most months with dessert.  Whenever I can, these sweets go to work with Tim for his monthly food day.  Otherwise, I really would need that second stomach. I chose to tweak Maxine's Lime and Beer Cake recipe just a bit and make cupcakes.  Of course, we gave these a try before sending them to work and enjoyed the light texture and hint of lime!

Lime and Beer Cupcakes
Recipe Courtesy of WhyIamnotskinny

100g butter, softened (1/2 cup)
200g sugar (1 cup)
2 eggs
225g self-raising flour (scant 1 cup)
200ml Ale (I used a cream ale)
2 lime (zested and juiced)
  • Cream butter and sugar together
  • Add eggs, beating between each addition
  • alternative mixing in flour and beer
  • Add zest of 1 lime & juice of 1 lime
  • Place into muffin tin with cupcake liners
  • Bake for 30min at 180C (350 degrees)
  • Remove from oven and cool
  • Mix together icing sugar and juice of the other lime and spoon over the cake