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Tuesday, 18 October 2011 07:29

Two Words: Maple Butter

A few weeks ago I worked on a shoot for Food Network that was 50 different holiday desserts to give as gifts.  50 desserts! I was covered from head to toe in chocolate for four straight days and I loved it.  There is just something about baking something sweet for another person and there I was adding 50 new recipes to my repertoire (not to mention all of the tasting I got to do).  One recipe that for some reason I had never thought about giving someone was flavored butter.  Thankfully, Shoko thought of it for her guest blog today! I mean, who doesn't love butter? Its already in half of the desserts out there, so why not make it something extra special so that it becomes the true highlight of the dish?  

xo,

stephania

**************************************************************************************************************************

Two ingredients, ten minutes tops – it doesn’t get much simpler than this.

I like maple butter best on white toast, but I imagine it would work just as wonderfully on muffins (pumpkin, perhaps?). Or do as the original recipe recommends, and try it on pancakes, banana bread, or biscuits.

 Maple Buttermaple_butter_shoko
by Shoko Wanger (
Made using this recipe by Ellie Hoeve of Gourmand Recipes, September 2011.)

What you need: 

  • 2 sticks of softened, unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

What to do:

Whip together butter and maple syrup in a medium bowl until smooth. (I used an electric mixer to maximize fluffiness - since your butter is already softened, this should only take a few seconds.) 

Transfer maple butter to a lidded container and store in the refrigerator. (Alternatively, as Gourmand Recipes suggests, you can roll the mixture into the shape of a log using a piece of Saran wrap before refrigerating, to create a “stick” of maple butter.)

I think packaging it in a pretty jar (wide enough for spreading) would make a lovely gift!

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Thursday, 29 September 2011 07:25

Red Week Continues: Help Me Figure out My Next Craft

This week the Louisville crew gets a special little surprise in the form of Stephania! She's in town from NYC for a couple of days, so we get to relive college days when we all got to do Thursday night dinner together every week. We're having one of our favorites, Yiayia's Quick Bean Soup (recipe at the bottom). And, yes, we know we've posted it before, but that's what's for dinner!

But, I do need your help with the craft I'm working on tonight. As you know, it's Red Week at Thursdays, so this little red heart fits in perfectly. My husband and I moved into our house just about a year ago, and we still have pretty much zero wall art. We don't have the money to buy unique pieces just yet and we don't really want to cover our walls in stock art, so we've just left them empty. But the bareness has started to get me down, so I've decided that I'm going to start making our wall art for us.

These little hearts are going to go into our book nook in our bedroom. I'm going to make two of them-- one will have a fabric heart sewn onto a piece of cardstock with words on it (you know, words for the book nook), and the other one will just be the sewn outline of a heart. Does that make sense? Anyway, I need your help in deciding which looks better for the first one I make. Should I sew the hearts onto a burlap sqaure first?

Which do you like better?

Option 1: Large heart in center of 5x7 frame. (What do you think about the words being crooked? I kind of like it)

heart_big_center_sm_fram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Option 2: Small heart, positioned left in 5x7 frame

heart_sm_left_sm_frame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Option 3: Large heart in center of 8x10 frame

heart_lg_center_lg_frame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Option 4: Large heart, positioned right in 8x10 frame

heart_lg_right_lg_frame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Option 5: Small heart, positioned right in 8x10 frame

heart_sm_right_large_frame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which do you like better? Suggestions?

Yiayia's Quick Bean Soup
by nancy christy

What you need:

  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 cup picanté sauce
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne

What to do:

In a large pot, sauté the onion and pepper in the vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serves 4-6.
And then I usually serve my bean soup with this cornbread. Sometimes I'll add some shredded monterey jack cheese and/or chopped scallions to the batter for an added somethin' somethin'.

Sweeten Me Up Cornbread
cornbread

What you need:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flower
  • 1 cup corn meal (usually cornbread calls for yellow, but I only had white, and it turned out well)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (I used lactose-free)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray or lightly grease an 11x7" baking pan or muffin tin (I made muffins!)

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into your baking dish or muffin tin. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes (baking pan) or 10-15 minutes (muffin tin) or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Serving suggestions: Slice muffin in half, spread a dab of butter on both halves and drown in honey. Crumble into your favorite soup. Eat just the way it is.

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 22:25

Simplifying Your Summer Dinner Parties

Colleen and I are often asked how we manage to host dinners with our friends week after week.  The truth is that we love our Thursday night tradition and have learned the very important lesson that hosting doesn't equal stress.  Cooking with our friends is our time to catch up about the week's events.  We vent and laugh, cry, and seek advice from each other as we mince garlic and sip on our wine.  I remember one Thursday in particular when I had just an awful day and when I showed up to the house, Caitlin had a glass of wine waiting for me and a big hug.  After hosting Thursdays for eight years now we have picked up some great little tricks to keep things low-maintenance and have grown to be the best of friends.  Today we’re going to share two easy tips that are perfect for your summer gatherings.

Enjoy! 

Stephania 

 

Scrumptious Cheese and Baguettes 

Whenever we host larger gatherings, we always to make sure to put out a cutting board out full of our favorite cheeses and a fresh baguette.  We love experimenting with different cheeses and finding new ones to serve to our friends.  I was recently introduced to smoked mozzarella and holy cow was it good! 

cheese_plate-3690

Bucket of Beer

Rather than using a big plastic cooler, use old tins or buckets and place a few on each table.  I reused this one from our modern Easter tips and it looked so cute on our little tables in the backyard! 

bucket_of_beer

 

 

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Tuesday, 19 April 2011 07:42

Easter Brunch Deliciousness: Ricotta Pie

Growing up we always celebrated Greek Easter, which means that our Easter celebrations were filled with lamb, spanakopita, baklava, and red dyed eggs.  So when I asked the lovely and talented Michelle Hainer (who comes from an Italian family) if she had any favorite recipes for Easter and she told me about her mom's ricotta pie recipe, I was immediately intrigued!  Is it dessert? A casserole type of dish? Is it vegetarian? Well...it is an absolute fabulous dessert! 

thursdaynightdinner-1.org

Here is a little bit behind the pie from Michelle:

From a food perspective, Easter is my least favorite holiday (aside from the chocolate of course). Most of the foods I grew up eating on Easter are incredibly rich and usually contain ham, heavy cream, or in some cases, both. I do, however, have a soft spot for Easter desserts, most notably ricotta pie. My mom made this every year, and after she died seven years ago, I decided that I would continue the tradition. - Michelle

If you want some delicious quick bread recipes to accompany your Easter meal, check out Michelle's blog with us from February for Blueberry Oat Bread and Nana's Date Nut Bread here.

ENJOY! 

 Ricotta Pie
by Michelle Hainer

What you need: Ricotta_pie

For the crust:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

For the filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 pounds ricotta
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 capfuls orange extract (optional)

What to do:

For the cake:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  

For the crust:

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together. Add flour and baking powder, then one egg, mix, second egg, mix, third egg, mix.

For the filling:

Stir together, then pour into crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the middle of the pie is firm, not jiggly.

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Tuesday, 12 April 2011 20:27

Cocktails and Apps: Super Cheesy Bread

After finishing a long day of work, running, and the inevitable errands we are starving for dinner.  Colleen and I both tend to turn into cranky-pants-mcgee once we've reached our hunger limit, so over the years we've created and learned some excellent appetizers to tide us over until din din.  This recipe comes from our very curly head friend, Erin.  Super Cheesy Bread is fabulous during any season and always does the trick.  I mean really, if cheese and fresh bread can't cheer you up what can?! 

Enjoy! 

stephania 

 Super Cheesy Bread bread_with_scallions
by Erin Marean

What you need: 

  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella, grated (fresh melts the best, but you can use part skim as well)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • Scallions, minced (to taste, about 2-3 tbsp)
  • 1 loaf French bread, cut into twelve ½” slices

 

Note:The cheese topping ingredients are flexible, so make them to your taste. Feel free to add more or less of anything. Increase the amount of mayo only slightly because it’s only purpose is to hold the ingredients together.

What to do:

Place bread slices on a cookie sheet under the broiler until lightly browned, about two minutes. Remove from broiler, flip over each slice and place back under the broiler for two more minutes. Remove from broiler.  

While the bread is broiling, combine all ingredients (except, of course, the bread) in a medium sized mixing bowl. Spread the mixture evenly on each slice of bread.

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Friday, 25 February 2011 15:26

Bakery Roundup

Well it has been quite a week!  Ryder had an entire week off of school, so I thought that it would be a great project for us all to explore the bakeries in our lovely big city.  

He has had a growing sweet tooth over339B0912 the last year and as a self-proclaimed chocolateholic, I could not be more proud! We walked through the wind, rain, and snow to eat the best sweets in town.  It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. Without further ado, here is a list of our favorite bakeries in town.  

Enjoy!

Steph & Ryder

P.S.  We would love to hear if you have anything to add, so please feel free to comment below!
P.P.S. Colleen was kind enough to send over a couple of her favorite bakeries in the Louisville area.  Check them out at the end of the blog!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Butter Lane Cupcakes  
123 East Seventh Street, New York, New York 10009 (p) 212.677.2880 (f) 212.677.2885ryder339B7363

Colleen and I had the pleasure of meeting the folks from Butter Lane Cupcakes during the Daily Candy Academy.  Their cupcakes totally rock! They have every flavor under the sun.  My current favorite is the popcorn cupcake.  It is vanilla with a little taste of salt and butter all mixed into one magnificent cupcake.  It even comes with a piece of popcorn on the top that gives your bite a surprisingly gratifying crunch.  Ry stuck with his usual, vanilla on vanilla and he rated it a 10.  He enjoys licking the icing first and then conquers the cake (or he hands it off to me and his dad).  Butter Lane even had an ipad at the shop where you can mix and match your cupcakes and icing to pick out the very best one! 

Momofuku Milk Bar  
207 2nd Avenue, New York, New York 10003; 15 West 56th Street, New York, NY 10019

I first had Momofuku Milk Bar when I was nannying for a New York Times food critic.  It was hands down one of my favorite weeks of nannying!  I had the unbelievably fortunate privilege of assisting with the tastings and holy moly was it good! The Monster cookie is one of the best cookies that I have ever had in my life (and I've had my fair share of cookies).  It has everything from chocolate chips to potato chips baked into a lovely gooey concoction. 

Doughnut Plant  
379 Grand Street, New York, New York; inside the famous Hotel Chelsea 222 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011 339B7266

I had read so many spectacular reviews on Doughnut Plant, that I just knew we had to take a walk down to China town and give them a whirl.  My partner, Chad, insisted the whole walk down that he was not crazy about doughnuts but I stuck to my guns and would not take no for answer. Boy oh boy, did he eat his words later on!  I have a serious weak spot for doughnuts.  I love them with all of my heart and soul.  I love the glazed ones, the jelly filled, the twisted cinnamon and sugar ones, and most especially the chocolate cake with chocolate icing doughnuts.  You can imagine my excitement as we reached the front of the line.  I ordered a variety of Vanilla Bean glaze, Creme Brulee, Vanilla Bean jelly filled, Pistachio glaze, and the Blackout.  Now let me just tell you something about these doughnuts.  They are perfection in a bite.  They are what I dream heaven will be. They are soft, moist, and the flavors are true to their names in every way.  The Creme Brulee had a crispy sweet, caramel icing on the top with a cream fill that makes you close your eyes and savor each and every bite.  The Blackout was like nothing I had ever had in my life.  It exceeded my expectations of the chocolate doughnut in every way imaginable.  It is a chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate icing and a chocolate cream filling.  It is positively sinful.  It could very well be my soulmate.  The chocolate is dark, rich, and sexy.  I suggest an espresso or a tall glass of milk to accompany this little roundness of sweet and utter bliss.

Venieros Italian Bakery  
342 East 11th Street, New York, New York (p) 212.674.7070 339B7239

We've tasted quite a few contemporary approaches to baking over the last week, which lead me back to this classic Italian bakery located in the heart of the east village.  Venieros is always popping with the neighborhood loyalists and the newbies who are out trying everything NYC.  As we walked in I told Ry to grab a number and he said exuberantly, "Okay, how about 3?!".  Poor kid had clearly never had the pleasure of pulling a ticket and impatiently wait for your number to be called from the behind the counter.  After I explained how the tickets work, we had ours', number 78.  As we waited, Ry and I walked up and down the long glass display case as I pointed to all of my favorite treats and he jumped up and down with excitement.  We chose a variety of cannolis, fruit tarts, and cookies and ate them for the next three days!  

Little Cupcake Bakeshop  
30 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012 (p) 212.941.9100

We happened to stumble upon this adorable bakery on our way home from walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.  It has a wonderful variety of cupcakes, cakes, pies, and bread all arranged quite appetizingly in their vintage-looking glass display case.  After much debate, I chose the german chocolate cake and Ry chose the cookie dough cupcake.  The cake was quite excellent from the outer edge layer of icing to the sweet chocolate cake in the middle.  I must say though that Ry's cookie dough cupcake was far superior.  There were mini chocolate chips sprinkled on top of the icing, which gave the full bite of the cupcake a complete experience from the soft cake to creamy icing and at the very end a soft crunch of chocolate goodness.  

Ess-a-Bagel  
359 1st Avenue, New York, New York 10010; 831 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10022

Ess-a-Bagel was our last bakery outing of the week.  I woke up this morning and told Ry that he was going to have the best bagel ever.  He was having a very difficult time believing that any bagel could be better than the ones he has when he goes to visit his grandparents in Huntington, but he agreed to go.  I have been going to this bagel shop since I spent the summer here interning for one of my favorite people/photographers in the entire world, Jayne Wexler.  She was born and bred in NYC and knows the best of the best, so I did not doubt her when she took me to this tiny bagel shop in the east village and told me that these bagels were unbeatable.  Today I got the 9 grain with the apple cinnamon cream cheese and Ry ordered the plain bagel.  We are both finishing them up now and are feeling exceedingly full and happy.  The bagels are huge and are baked to perfection.  The apple cinnamon cream cheese is one of my favorites at Ess-a, but if you're in the mood for something on the savory side I suggest their veggie cream cheese.  In the end, Ry decided that his Ess-a bagel was not better than the bagels from Huntington, but that they are equally as good.  

Louisville Bakeries

Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen 

http://www.piekitchen.com

This favorite dessert go-to spot actually got it's start as a lunch counter. The popularity of the pies they were serving daily was overwhelming and in 1983, the Pie Kitchen began serving desserts and ice cream exclusively. Now with 9 locations throughout Louisville, the Pie Kitchen continues to bake over 100 homemade, from-scratch desserts and churn out 32 flavors of homemade ice cream every day. (Colleen's all-time Homemade Pie Kitchen fave: Dutch Apple Caramel Pie. Yummm!

Ermin's Bakery and Cafe  

http://www.erminsbakery.com/

Originally opened by two Bosnian cousins (both named Ermin), Ermin's Bakery and cafe is now owned by Louisville natives. From cakes to sandwiches to casseroles, everything at Ermin's is made locally from fresh food delivered daily. They are known especially for their European style breads and the Benedictine sandwich. 

Heitzman Bakery  

http://heitzman-bakery.com/

Heitzman Bakery has a strong family tradition and have been fresh baking donuts, cakes, muffins, breads and more in Louisville for over 120 years. Especially known for their wedding cakes and "Butter Kuchen", Heitzman Bakery is a Louisville baking institution. 


                                                                                                                

                                     

 


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 14:36

Prosciutto Naan Pizzas

Happy Thursday everyone! This Thursday we're keeping things low-key and simple, which means minimal prep time and cleanup. Colleen and I have been making pita pizzas together since our first thursday night dinners. They are fast, easy, leave very little to cleanup, and are absolutely delish.  However, my mom recently introduced me to something a little different, naan pizzas.  I must admit that I was a bit skeptical at first.  I mean come on, Indian and Italian baked together? My mom is an excellent cook, so I decided to give it a shot.  I made a prosciutto and fresh mozzarella pie. I took one bite and instantly fell in love with my little multicultural pizza.  Naan makes the perfect crust.  It's not too thin or too thick and is just heaven with Italian seasoning. I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

For the craft, I have finally finished up my wine cork board and now I need photos.  I've developed a very lazy habit of never actually printing out my images and all of our frames our filled with photos from two years ago.  I'm going to go through all of our recent family photos and conduct a massive edit to choose the best images to pin up and hang our my wall.  Its high time these photos are actually out on the wall rather than living on my hard drives! I've included a photo of the completed wine cork board and the directions below.

Enjoy!

Stephania


Prosciutto Naan Pizzas
by Stephania Stanley

What you need: 

  • 1/2 Medium sized onion, sliced
  • 1 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz prosciutto
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced horizontally
  • ¾ lb fresh mozzarella
  • 1 Jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 ½ Tbs olive oil
  • 4 Naan slices
  • 1/4 Tsp Oregano
  • 1/8 Tsp Cayenne
  • 1/8 Tsp Italian seasoning
  • 6 Fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Dash ground black pepper

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Take out your trusty large skillet and heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Next, add the onion and garlic to the pan.  Sauté for three minutes and add the spices and sauté for another two minutes. Remove from heat.

Lay out each naan slice on a greased cookie sheet.  Fill a ladle about halfway full of marina sauce and spread onto the first slice of naan.  Using a large spoon or spatula, dish out a ¼ of the onion and garlic mixture over the sauce.  Lay two pieces of prosciutto over the onion mixture and then cover with mozzarella slices.  Repeat with remaining slices of naan.  Bake for 15 minutes or until naan has a light crisp.

Veggie Option:

Omit the proscuitto and if you like the fake meat, the fake pepperoni adds a great bold flavor to the dish.

                                     

and for the craft...

 

 

Wine Cork Board
by Colleen and Stephania

What you need:339B7278

  • 1 picture frame with thick sides (meaning that the frame stands out a bit from the backboard)
  • Corks (throw out the plastic ones)
  • Glue (Elmers works fine)
  • Paintbrush for glue

What to do:

This is a great, easy craft to use up all those wine corks you have amassed over many Thursday night dinners.

First, arrange your corks in the frame (or trace the inside of the frame on a piece of paper) to determine a general pattern.  We think it looks best and makes for a more sturdy cork board if you place some corks lengthwise and some sideways. We also like for most of the winery names printed on the corks to face outward.

Remove corks from the frame and set aside, keeping them in the pattern.  Starting in the middle of the backboard and working out, apply a liberal amount of glue with the brush. Place cork down on glue and hold in place for a few moments. Repeat until all the corks are glued onto the backboard. Allow to dry for 2-3 days before you hang on the wall and place items on the board.

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 09:15

Shoko's Cranberry Muffins

I am a big fan of muffins. They are this wonderfully airy, moist, almost cakey treat that somehow snuck into the breakfast category when no one was looking. And how about those muffin tops?! Yum!

This fabulous cranberry muffin recipe comes from one of our favorite Thursday ladies, Shoko Wanger. If you happen to have missed her last Thursday blog on sauteed kale, you can find it here (it was absolutely delish!)

Enjoy!

stephania 

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Because I live in New York, and because New York is a city smothered by oppressive humidity in the summer months, I tend to spend as little time as possible in my non-air-conditioned kitchen once the weather gets warm. On the hottest, dampest of days, standing over a stove is unbearable - turning on the oven, unthinkable. That’s why, when the temperature drops, I look forward to breaking out the pots and pans, cookie sheets and cake tins. After all, what’s more comforting on a chilly day than a warm oven and the smell of something baking? 

Now that we’ve reached mid-February, I definitely intend to spend the last wintry weeks of the season putting my kitchen to full and proper use. This past weekend, on a particularly nippy afternoon, I made muffins using a King Arthur Flour recipe given to me by a family friend who lives on a small farm in Vermont (where King Arthur is headquartered).  When I visited in October, she made these muffins one morning using fresh wild blueberries; in order to make it more appropriate for winter, I substituted a slightly smaller quantity of dried cranberries and was very pleased with the results. (Just make sure your cranberries are loose and not stuck together in clusters before you start.) I recommend eating these warm – with butter, or on their own.

It’s easy to get caught up in the obvious downsides of winter, and I’ll admit, I’ve been counting the days – the hours! the minutes! – til spring, but for now, I’m content to relish this fleeting quality time with my oven. After all, before long, winter will be over, the heat and stickiness of summer will return, and any baked good I’m likely to be eating will probably have come from a store. So while there's still frost in the forecast, I say, bake away!

- shoko

Cranberry Muffins  
by Shoko Wanger (Adapted from “Classic Blueberry Muffins” from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook (2003).)

What you need: -1

  • 8 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon-sugar

What to do:

Combine butter, sugar, and salt in a bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add baking powder, then the flour and milk in alternating portions. Finally, add the cranberries and vanilla.

Distribute batter into a greased muffin tin. (This recipe makes 12 muffins total.) Top with cinnamon-sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Let muffins stand in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

 

                                                                                                                

                                     

 


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Thursday, 16 December 2010 14:51

Veggie-Packed Quesadillas and Brooklyn Banana Bread

Because this week is crazy-busy with holiday-ness, the Louisville crew had Thursday Night Dinner last night because there were Thursday evening plans we couldn't wiggle out of. If you find that your group is having the same issues, don't be tied down to one night. Some weeks there has to be some rearranging. Luckily, the fiance already had plans to go out to eat with friends, so I didn't even have to lovingly kick him out of the house. This meal came as a result of me having a lot of veggies and rotten, frozen bananas to get rid of. Whatever works. It was tasty!

Veggie-Packed Quesadillasdilla2
by colleen

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 large zucchini, sliced thin
  • 5 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 small yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 lb vegetarian griller crumbles (we used Morningstar, found in frozen veggie foods aisle)
  • Any mixture of cheese you want, we used shredded Habenero and Mexican cheese
  • 5 jalapenos, diced
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder, 1 tsp or to taste
  • Cumin, 1 tsp or to taste
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 4 whole wheat soft taco sized tortillas, enough for two per person (or 1 burrito sized, folded in half)

What to do:

Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Saute garlic and onion until onion begins to turn clear. Add red peppers and saute for two minutes. Add fake meat and saute for another two minutes. Add remaining veggies and spices and saute until all veggies are soft but not mushy. Remove from heat and scoop into a bowl. 

Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel, spray with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Place tortilla in skilet and sprinkly with cheese. Divide veggie mixture into equal parts for each person. Add veggie mixture evenly on the cheese and place second tortilla on top of the veggies. Heat for about five minutes or until golden brown and flip carefully with a spatula. Heat the other tortilla until golden brown and remove from heat.  Repeat for each quesadilla.

Serve with a side salad, avocado slices, and smoky chipotle salsa (and hot sauce, of course!) Serves 3-4 

Brooklyn Banana Breadbk_banana_bread-1610 

by stephania

What you need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened (I use light butter and no one can tell a difference)
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Take out a large mixing bowl and beat the sugar and butter at medium speed, until they are well blended.  Next add the bananas, milk, sour cream, and egg whites.  Beat well so that all ingredients are mixed and the bananas are smoothed out. 

Now take a medium sized mixing bowl and combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add about a ¼ cup of flour mixture at a time to the banana mixture; mix after each flour addition until all of the flour is mixed into the banana mix.  Toss your chocolate chips into the bowl and give it one final mix.

Coat a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and pour in banana mixture.  Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Yum yum yum!

 

and for the craft

I've been crafting holiday gifts in any spare time that I have, many of which I'm posting on the blog all throughout December. Have a look through past blogs this month to get some inspiration for your own!

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, butter, spices, and orange zest.  Stir until smooth.  Next add the chocolate chips and stir to mix.  Pour pumpkin mixture into pie crust and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes. 
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