Foodie Blog Roll 2

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Black Walnut Dark Chocolate Toffee Blondies

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I know, your mouth is watering just hearing that name! Last week I was CRAVING blondies for some reason so I had to come up with a killer recipe for them. The basic recipe is great and you can add so many twists to make them just the way you like 'em. (Believe me, my "blondie to do" list is long!) These are so easy and I actually only used one bowl to make them.

If you've never had a blondie, imagine this: Mr. Brownie and Miss Cookie get married and have a baby. That cute little's BLONDIE!

Black Walnut Dark Chocolate Toffee Blondies

To set my blondies apart from other recipies, I include a "secret ingredient" in the batter. Can you figure out what it is?

Basic Blondies
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened
1 C light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 T powdered sugar

For the Black Walnut Dark Chocolate Toffee Part
1 C black walnuts, toasted and chopped 
1 C toffee bits (I used Heath)
3/4 C dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine butter and brown sugar and mix until well combined. Add in the egg and vanilla; mix to incorporate. Mix in the flour, salt, powdered sugar and baking powder. Stir until everything comes together. Lastly, add in favorite goodies, in this case walnuts, toffee and chocolate chips. Stir. Spray an 8X8 dish with Baker's Joy. Cook for 30 minutes, or until tooth pick comes out clean. (Or gooey, whatever your heart desires). 

Ok, so who spotted the secret ingredient? If you said powdered sugar, you're right! I could not find one recipe with powdered sugar in the batter, crazy! 

So what additions would you put in there? Candy bits? Peanut butter? Espresso? Dried fruit? 

Either way, take this basic recipe and give it a twist. Let me know what you come up with!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns

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Yep, that's right. These things are SO good. I made them last weekend and they were awesome; the perfect savory side to a sweet breakfast like pancakes or french toast. I taught you how to roast spaghetti squash here, and this is a simple recipe to make with the leftovers.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns
1/2 of a roasted spaghetti squash
1 yellow onion, cut in half, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt 
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (or pepper)

Heat a large, non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Start off by sautéing the onions for a few minutes, until they begin to turn translucent. Then, add the spaghetti squash threads to the pan. Add cayenne, garlic salt and nutmeg and stir. Continue to cook until the squash starts to crisp up and turn golden brown. Serve hot.

This is such a simple swap for potato hash browns and with all the flavor of the roasted squash and the spices, you won't even miss them! Serve this at brunch or my favorite, breakfast for dinner.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Toasted Walnut Honey Cream Cheese Spread

I am not a huge fan of plain cream cheese, but I think it is a great base for several thing. Buffalo chicken dip, frosting, and on and on. Someone brought bagels and cream cheese from Panera Bread the other day and one of the choices was honey walnut. Hmmm, it can't be that hard to make, right? Right! Three ingredients and some stirring.....voila! (I know, how do I not have my own cooking show yet?)

Toasted Walnut Honey Cream Cheese Spread

Toasted Walnut Honey Cream Cheese Spread
4 oz softened cream cheese (I used fat free, regular or reduced fat will work too)
1 T pure honey (agave will also work)
1/4 C chopped walnuts, toasted

In a small bowl, slightly mash cream cheese with a fork. Add honey and stir. 

Add chopped walnuts and mix everything together. Cover and place in fridge to firm back up a little bit. Serve.

Chris brought home this pretty cinnamon raisin swirl bread so I toasted it and slathered it with this spread. And love.

Yum yum. You could dip little ginger snap or pumpkin cookies in this. It could also be used as a fruit dip. Not quite as healthy as the peanut butter yogurt dip, but that's ok. 

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Help a sister out!

Hey guys! My sister, Jenny, is playing in the Blondes vs. Brunettes Charity Football Game for the Alzheimer's Association Greater Dallas Chapter. The game is August 6th, 2011 at 7:00 PM at the Ford Stadium on the SMU campus.

Please take a second to check out her donation website and it you could spare it, donate to the cause. Every little bit helps and I know she would greatly appreciate it!!

She's so awesome!! :)

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

I LOVE buffalo wing sauce. Something about it just makes me feel like it's GAME DAY or something. The tangy, zingy, zippy, salty, firework flavor is one of a kind. Add it to plain chicken and cream cheese and you have a fantastic dip. Put that in some dough and bake it and you have cheesy buffalo chicken pockets. But right now, we're focusing on pasta!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

I only wish I came up with this idea. This is adapted from How Sweet Eats. I seriously almost freaked out when I saw her baked buffalo chicken pasta! By the way, I would almost even call this a casserole. Yeah, it's kinda like that.

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into chunks (or leftover chicken)
1 lb whole wheat pasta shells
1 T light butter
1 T whole wheat flour
1 1/2 C fat free milk
2 oz grated monterey jack cheese
1/4 C fat free ranch
4 oz aged, sharp cheddar, grated, + more for topping
1/2 C Louisiana wing sauce (seriously, it's the best!)
1/3 C panko bread crumbs
Cilantro and green onions for topping, + drizzle of wing sauce, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions. In a medium sauce pot, melt butter, then add flour. Whisk together to create a golden roux. Add milk, stir and turn down to low heat. Continue stirring a few minutes until the milk thickens. Add in cheeses and ranch and continue. Mixture will be thick but smooth. Stir in wing sauce. Taste and season if needed. 
I used my french oven to bake this in, but a 9X13 baking dish should work great too. Spray dish and add pasta and chicken. Pour wing sauce mixture over it and mix until everything is coated. Top with additional grated cheese and panko. 

Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven and top with cilantro, green onions, and extra wing sauce.

All I have to say is "perfection!"

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Individual Blackberry Walnut Crisps

Pin It With Chris daily enjoying his yummy coconut dessert, I thought I would make a little dessert for myself. The blackberries at my store are beautiful and delicious right now, and perfect for summer, so I thought I would highlight them in this simple dessert. I love individual desserts because they are so darn cute, plus they have the added bonus of portion control. (Yes, I need it!) You could do this with virtually any fruit, or at least any berry, but these juicy blackberries were calling my name.

Blackberry Walnut Crisps
Individual Blackberry Walnut Crisps
     serves 4
For the filling:
1 1/2 T whole wheat flour
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 C fresh blackberries, washed

For the top crumbles:
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1/4 C old fashioned oats
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 T ground flax seed
1 1/2 T canola oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Extra toppings: whipped cream, fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray four 7oz individual ramekins with non-stick spray. Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a bowl, then add the blackberries. Mix to combine and fill ramekins with filling mixture. 

In the same mixing bowl, add the 7 ingredients for the crumble top and mix well to combine. Evenly divide it between the 4 ramekins and pour on top.

Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Tear a piece of foil off large enough to place over the top of all 4 dishes. Bake for 40 minutes. For the last few minutes, you can remove the top piece of foil and broil the tops if desired. Keep an eye on them!
Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Top with whipped cream and extra blackberries. (And ice cream if you want!)

This sort of reminded me of a blackberry cobbler, but much easier and faster to make. My kitchen smelled divine with the cooking blackberries and cinnamon giving off a warm aroma. Ya know, this might be a fun thing to serve at a fancy brunch too! I know I wouldn't turn it down!
So, what fruit would you use for this yummy, any-time-of-year dessert?

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thank you, Vital Juice!

Vital Juice is a great site featuring healthy recipes, beauty tips, health and wellness, fitness and more. Today, they featured my cherry limeade popsicles on their recipes page. Check it out!

Special thanks to Maridel Reyes from Vital Juice. :)

Happy Birthday, Momma Hann!

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. Wooo whoooo!! :) Happy birthday, Toni! Hope you have a wonderful day. Sorry I'm not there to make you something yummy. Rain check? We love you very much! 

Seriously! How cute is Momma Hann?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Coconut Crunch Delight

Chris' birthday was on Saturday so I had to make him his favorite dessert. It's one of those that you make and put in the fridge overnight, and patiently wait until the next day to eat it. I made it on Friday afternoon and put it in the fridge. This is what happened on Saturday morning:

Chris woke up before me and quietly snuck out so as not to wake me, but he didn't shut the door all the way behind him. Our puppy, Tucker, came in and whimpered and pawed at the side of the bed until I grudgingly woke up. I got up and came out of the room with a grumpy look on my face, passed Chris on the couch, and headed to the restroom. Then it hit me! I stopped dead in my tracks, my eyes the size of saucers, turned around and screamed, "Oh! Happy birthday babe!!!!"

Chris looked at me with a 'duh!' look on his face and said, "Uh, THANK YOU!" He jumped off the couch and said "Now, I think I need some coconut crunch  for breakfast!"  :)

I think he must have been dreaming about it because it was the first thing he was thinking about when he woke up! It wasn't sugar plumbs that were dancing in Chris' head, it was coconut crunch delight!
There is a tradition in my family where whenever it is someone's birthday, we bring out the "You are special today" plate and mug. Luckily, even though I just woke up, I remembered to pull them out! He was a happy guy!

Coconut Crunch Delight

Coconut Crunch Delight
     Adapted from Toni, AKA Momma Hann
1/2 C butter, melted
1 C flour
1 1/4 C coconut flakes (I used sweetened, either will work)
1/4 C brown sugar
1 C slivered almonds
1 package instant coconut cream pudding* (3.4 oz box)
1 package instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz box)
1/2 tsp coconut extract
2 2/3 C cold milk, I used unsweetened, vanilla flavored almond milk
1 small container of whipped topping
Whipped cream for additional topping, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. Mix well. Press mixture into a 9X13 baking dish that had been sprayed. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to create coarse crumbs. Cool, then divide mixture in half. Press 1/2 of the mixture back into the same dish, or into a large pie dish, to form the bottom crust. Set other 1/2 aside. 

Meanwhile, whisk the pudding, milk and coconut extract together in a bowl until thick. Let sit for a few minutes then fold in the whipped topping. Spoon over crust.

Top with remaining crumbles. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

Top with additional whipped cream. Serve. Look at that pillow-y pudding mixture!!

Normally, I use instant coconut pudding, but this time I found coconut cream pudding, so I thought I would give it a try. 

Look who's hand is in the background getting more! I'll give you ONE guess! 

I love you, Chris! Happy birthday!

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