Jonesin' For Taste

Jonesin' For Taste: March 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fabulous Friday- Heavenly Smore's Bars

My in-laws were in town last weekend doing some house hunting.  They are moving to within just a few hours of where we live and we are super excited.  We won't even have to leave the state to see them!  My kids are beyond excited and ask almost every day if Grandma and Grandpa have moved yet.

We met up with them to have some pizza which we took back to their hotel to eat.  We thought it would be fun to bring a dessert to eat but I was having a beast of a time trying to pick what I wanted to make.   We wanted pies but the ones that sounded good to everyone were pies that needed to be refrigerated which wasn't going to work.  I also didn't want to have to spend a whole ton of time making one.  I was feeling seriously lazy that day.  I'm a big fan of bar cookies because they actually give me the time to go get ready instead of having to man the oven.  I saw these bars and thought it could work but then I was feeling too lazy to make a crust from scratch (anyone sensing a theme here?).  So I grabbed a pre-made graham cracker crust from the cupboard and pressed the cookie mix into it and threw it in the oven.  It worked out just fine, although the top edge of the graham cracker crust was just a tad overcooked.  If I do it as a pie again I would make sure to put one of those pie crust protector thing-ys on it (technical I know).  Otherwise this was a big hit and my 14 year old sister in law lit up when we said we would leave the rest of the pie behind, all 2 slices of it.

Heavenly Smore's Bars by U-Create

The best made from scratch triple coconut cake
Triple Coconut Cake
Use a boxed cake mix and add a few ingredients to make these ridiculously easy cookies
White Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars
Dress up simple brownies with cream cheese frosting and raspberry jam
Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies
Quick and easy strawberry cake mix cookies with from scratch cream cheese frosting
Strawberry Valentine's Oreos

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Bread

I remember coming home from college one year to find dozens of muffins cooling on the dining room table.  My mom had spent countless hours in the kitchen making muffins so that my sister and I could come home to some homemade deliciousness.  She usually makes this bread as muffins but this time she made it as a sweet bread loaf.  It turned out just as tasty.

Sweet pumpkin apple bread with crunchy streusel topping

The streusel topping really puts it over the top.  If you want sprinkle some of the streusel topping on the bottom of the pan to give it an all over kick.  It does come out more as a crust on top which can make it difficult to get out of the pan cleanly but it's really worth it.  Do a lighter sprinkling on top to make it easier.

If you want to make this into muffins double the topping and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Makes 18 muffins.

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Bread
Makes 1 large loaf and 1 small loaf or 1 large loaf and a few muffins.

Delicious dessert bread-Pumpkin Apple bread with streusel topping

2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 T pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil (or substitute 1/4 cup no sugar added applesauce and 1/4 cup canola oil)
2 cups peeled, finely chopped apples (baking apples are best)

Streusel Topping
In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp all purpose, 2 Tbsp cup sugar, and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.  Cut in 2 tsp butter until mixture is crumbly.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  In large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  In medium bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin, and oil (or applesauce & oil).  Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Gently fold in apples.  Pour batter into greased loaf pan.  Sprinkle Streusel Topping over batter.  Bake for 60 to 80 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

To make muffins, spoon batter into greased or paper lined muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Sprinkle streusel topping over batter.  Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

You may also be interested in:

Zucchini bread
Zucchini Bread
Similar to Hawaiian sweet bread, bread maker coconut bread
Bread Maker Coconut Bread
No yeast, quick orange rolls
Quick Orange Rolls
Sourdough English muffins
Sourdough English Muffins


Friday, March 21, 2014

Fabulous Friday-Key Lime Bundt Cake

On Monday, instead of doing the St. Patrick's meal thing, I forgot completely about it and went to the beach only to come home and realize I had totally missed it.  Sooo, we did it on Tuesday.  Ha ha.  We've learned in our family that we have to work with our schedule and celebrate holidays whenever we have the chance. When my husband was in the Army he missed many a holiday and with his current job it will be much of the same. We've determined the actual day doesn't matter, it's the opportunity to be together and celebrate that is most important.

As part of our Belated St Patrick's Day celebration I wanted a fun dessert.  I went through some of my boards on Pinterest, threw out a couple options to my hubby, and he decided on this Key Lime Bundt Cake by The 36th Avenue.  It was amazing!  It's a denser cake with a chewy outside almost like a crust.  The lime cream cheese frosting was just the ultimate kicker.  I couldn't find Key Lime frosting at my local supermarket  (on a side note my local store has the saddest baking section, it is so frustrating to go looking for something specific) so I used regular cream cheese frosting and the juice of 1 1/2 limes and my leftover lime zest.  It worked out perfectly.

You may also be interested in:

The best made from scratch triple coconut cake
Triple Coconut Cake
Use a cake mix and a few extra ingredients to make these simple and quick cake cookie bars
White Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars
Oven or crock pot baked apples with DIY cinnamon ice cream
Baked Apples With Cinnamon Ice Cream
The infamous BYU mint brownies- brownies made from scratch topped with Mint and Chocolate frosting
BYU Mint Brownies

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Root Beer Beef Stew

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I love cooking for holidays because it means I make something a little different than I normally do.  Our standard fare is corned beef, sauteed cabbage, carrots, and soda bread.  It's a must.  But I know there are people out there who are not into corned beef and cabbage.  So in honor of those people here is an alternative possibility for all your St Patrick's day festivities.

In Georgia, there was this amazing restaurant called Molly MacPherson's that we loved.  And I mean loved.  Super hardy fare that was so delicious.  On one of the few date nights that we got to have we went there and I picked out the Beef Stew.  I'm a sucker for beef stew but my husband has never been a big fan.  I was so glad that I chose that because it was exactly what I was looking for.

And then my husband spilled his soda into it.  He felt really bad but I still ate it after the little hiccup.  It was just a little more fizzy then but still tasted good.  I still love you babe!  Ever since then I have been dreaming of recreating that recipe.  There's was made with Guinness but I don't drink and thus don't have any alcohol lying around.  I chose to make ours with root beer and we really liked it.  It made an incredible sauce that totally knocked it out of the park for this girl.  And my kiddos gobbled it up which was a big feat.  They are generally wary of all soups/stews.  It's pretty simple to throw together and didn't require anything that don't usually have on hand.  That's the kind of meal I love!

Root Beer Beef Stew

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 lb cubed beef stew meat
1 med onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz root beer (or beer if you choose)
3 1/2 cup beef broth
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
8 new potatoes, quartered or 4 baking potatoes, chopped
4 carrots, sliced diagonally
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Finely chopped fresh parsely (to garnish)
1 1/2 tsp sugar (omit if using root beer)

Heat oil in large pot (or Dutch oven) over medium-high heat.  Season beef.  Brown meat on all sides, working in batches if necessary.  Remove to plate.

Add onion to pot and reduce heat to low.  Cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.

Pour in root beer, broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire, paprika. 1/2 tsp kosher salt, pepper, and sugar (only if using beer).  Return beef to pot.  Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until meat is tender.

Stir in potatoes and carrots.  Simmer until vegetables are tender and meat is falling apart, 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove 1 cup of liquid from pot and slowly whisk in flour.  Slowly stir flour mixture back into pot and bring to a slow boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Garnish with fresh parsley.

If you want to make this in the crock pot, brown beef.  Add beef and all other ingredients, except flour to crock pot.  Cook on low for 10-12 hours, or on high for 4-6.  Remove 1 cup of liquid and slowly add flour.  Slowly stir four mixture back into crock pot.  Cook on high for 15-20 minutes, or until thickened.

Make It and Love It

You may also be interested in:

Delicious and easy- crockpot Dr Pepper BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Crock Pot Dr Pepper BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Sweet and spicy- Honey Glazed Chinese Chicken
Honey Glazed Chinese Chicken
Asian Black Pepper Beef with Green Beans
Cantonese Black Pepper Beef with Green Beans
Crock Pot Korean Style Short Ribs
Crock Pot Korean Style Short Ribs

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie (gf)

As I've been perusing other blogs and Pinterest leading up to St Patrick's Day I got a serious hankering for a Mint Chocolate Shake.  This morning it hit me that I could satisfy that craving without breaking the calorie break and have a yummy breakfast.  The spinach gives the smoothie a natural green color, the banana adds sweetness, and they both give an added nutrient boost but the taste is masked by the mint extract.  I added just a little bit of brown sugar to give it a little extra sweetness which totally made me feel like I was drinking a mint chocolate chip shake.

I'm planning on making this for my kids next Monday for St Patrick's Day.  They have really gotten into the spirit of all things green this year.  I think this will give them big ol' smiles, and that gives this momma a big ol'
smile too.

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

1 frozen banana
1/4 cup frozen spinach
2 drops peppermint extract
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
2 Tbsp chocolate chips

Blend banana, spinach, brown sugar (optional), yogurt, peppermint extract, and enough milk to blend it all together in a food processor or with a hand blender.  Add chocolate chips and blend again to chop chocolate chips.

Make It and Love It

  You may also be interested in:

Delicious and healthy baked apple cinnamon doughnuts
Baked Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts
Gluten and dairy free,a sweet treat that's good for you
Coconut Berry Quinoa (gf, df)
A flavorful alternative to standard pancakes, pick a yogurt flavor and change it up.
Whole wheat yogurt pancakes
The real Brigham Young University Mint Brownie Recipe
The Real BYU Mint Brownie

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Fabulous Friday- Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork

I have made this particular pork several times now and I love how simple and easy it is.  It takes just a minute to throw together which is generally the beauty of all crock pot meals.  I serve it with potatoes or rice, my vote is potatoes and my hubby's vote is always for rice.  It works great either way.  The sauce/glaze is SO good and I like making enough of this to have leftovers.  I like it paired with broccoli or asparagus or brussel sprouts.  I've also done this with wild rice and quinoa, there are just so many variations that you can do with this meal.  And I've done this with a pork loin and just a regular pork roast, either works really well.

I've also used the leftovers for pizza with the pork tossed in leftover sauce, green apples, pineapple, and red onion and pork sandwiches.  It's really versatile and I enjoy being able to cook just once and get several different meals from it.

Make sure you use gluten-free tamari instead of regular soy sauce for a gluten free version.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Warning-Blogger Working

Some of you may have noticed a bit of wonkiness going on here.  I am currently in the process of trying to revamp my blog myself.  I'm slowly learning what coding needs to be where to change what and it makes my head spin.

In college I took an introduction to computer programming class.  I felt like I was doing okay and then we took the first midterm and I came out of it crying.  I managed to get all the coding in fairly quickly but then spent the rest of the time block trying to figure out why the coding wouldn't run.  Hence the coming out crying.  I ended up having a minor coding error that prevented it from running and still got a B on the test but it was a fairly miserable experience.  And then I ended up failing the class after realizing I would spend my whole life trying to figure out how to program.  Me and coding are not friends.

So the blog updates will probably be slow and might make things look a little silly for a little bit here and there.  But my end goal is to have a better flow, better navigation, and obviously a better look to the blog.

So here is to bigger and better long as it doesn't kill me!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

PB&S (Peanut Butter and Strawberries)- The sandwich revolution

Okay, so maybe it's not a sandwich revolution but it sounded so snazzy.  At least it did in my head, at 4am this morning.  If it's not so snazzy to you, I apologize and ask that you move on and forget about the title.

This is a simple sandwich that my husband has really latched onto for an easy breakfast on the go.  He has never been a PB&J sandwich person which has been a little frustrating when he needs a quick and easy breakfast on the go.  He saw a guy at work who had this sandwich thought it sounded good so I made him one.  He loved it!

I love that it is a healthier alternative to the standard jelly which is generally chock full of sugar.  And my kids have never been big fans of jelly.  They like their sandwiches straight up peanut butter.  Not a bad thing but throwing fruit on it is much better.  I do a similar thing with my bagels.  Cream cheese with sliced strawberries on top.  It's pretty amazing and is a good way to put a smile on my face in the morning, or afternoon, or snack, or dinner...I really like bagels and cream cheese.  Just saying.

PB&S (Peanut butter and strawberries) Sandwich

Whole wheat bread
Peanut butter

I have found the best way to assemble the sandwich is to do a thin layer on each half of the sandwich rather than one thick layer.  It helps the strawberries stay put better.  Slice the strawberries thicker, I usually cut mine in thirds, because they stand out better that way.


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