Friday, March 27, 2015

Veggie Quiche with no cheese or milk!


I am having a hard time staying indoors today.

The sun is finally shining and it is 65 degrees outside.

The birds are chirping and the green things are starting to wake up from their hibernation.

This can only mean one thing...it is time to increase my workouts and decrease my sweets intake!  : )

Spring, the sweet spring

                                                                   BY THOMAS NASHE
Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!
            Spring, the sweet spring!

My coworker was nice enough to get me some farm fresh eggs from her neighbor.  Yum.  So lovely.  I decided it was time to try and make a quiche that my husband could eat - no milk and no cheese.  He is lactose intolerant, and I don't eat cheese or milk either since it makes me break out and feel sick : (

I had my doubts that it would taste weird and bland with out those things - but I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted.

I used my go to pie dough recipe for this, but feel free to use your favorite recipe if you have one.  This one worked well and doesn't have added sugar to it - so it works great for savory pies as well as the sweet ones.

I liked this recipe so much that I made it twice in a week!  I made it with sausage the second time, so feel free to make it with bacon or sausage as well.  The second one I made actually exploded in the oven - apparently it was a cheap glass pie pan and it shattered everywhere...so i guess technically I made 3 of these in a week since I had to chuck that one since I didn't want people to eat glass...oy

This is a perfect Lenten dinner!



Veggie Quiche - no cheese or milk

Crust Recipe:

This recipe makes 2 pie doughs, and the filling only makes one, so double the filling if you want 2 quiches, or freeze this extra crust for later.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
3/4 cup ice water

Make sure you work quickly when making the crust and use cold ingredients and even a chilled mixing bowl if you like.  I cheat when making crust and use my stand mixer because it speeds up the process.  In a cold mixing bowl combine flour and salt.  Stir.  With mixer running add the cold cubed butter and mix until broken into pea sized pieces.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of the ice cold water, then slowly add the additional 1/4 cup of water.  Mix just until combined and dough comes together.  If you don't have a mixer you can cut the butter into the flour/salt with a pastry blender or with 2 knives.
Place in fridge and chill for at least one hour.

On floured surface roll out the pie dough into an even circle. turning the dough and adding flour to the surface when necessary.  Quickly line a pie pan with the dough and crimp edges like you like to!

Filling:
Saute the following in a large fying pan about 5-7 minutes until soft and cooked down:

1 TBS olive oil
1 onion diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper diced

Then add this and cook 1 more minute:

3 big handfuls fresh spinach

In a large bowl whisk together the following until smooth and combined:

6 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or whatever milk alternative you like...or milk if you drink it)
3 TBS flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper

Mix the egg mixture and cooked veggies together and pour into an unbaked pie shell in a pie pan.  Bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees until no longer jiggly in the middle.

- If you wish to add meat to this saute 1/2 # breakfast sausage or a few slices of ham or bacon, remove from pan, cook veggies in the grease and then add to quiche.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Glob Cookies


Dang.

This is a rich cookie.

Not in the "drives a fancy car and wears jimmy choos" kind of way, but in the "omg the depth of flavor in this thing is off the charts" kind of way.  Rich y'all, super rich and delicious!

If you gave up sugar and sweets for Lent - forgive me, or actually - thank me, because I am helping make your sacrifice that much harder. : )  You are welcome...hum...pretty sure I have written this in a post before..deja vu moment.

I find myself uninspired to write anything witty these days.  Maybe it is because my job is insanely slow right now and I find myself starring into the deep abyss of the internet most of my day.  Or maybe it is because I haven't been on a travelling adventure in a while.  Or maybe it is because the weather here in Houston has been gloom and doom the last few weeks.  Seriously yo - I keep looking for Noah's ark to appear on the horizon soon...sooooo much rain!!!!  Hopefully when the sun decides to show up again I will become inspired to post something more than a recipe...

I'm really pulling at straws here...this is my attempt to find some creative juices again...oy...I need help!

A Museless Me
by moi

O Muse,
Where are you hidden,
My imagination seems to be bedridden,

O muse,
why can't I see your face,
I must be looking in the wrong place.

O muse,
why don't you give me the words to say,
Instead I ramble on all day.

O muse,
please come back to my mind,
I promise to treat you kind.

O muse,
save me from this empty gap of time,
give me back my wit and rhyme.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Glob Cookies
From the lovely Ina Garten

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole walnut halves (not chopped)
1 cup whole pecan halves (not chopped)
2/3 cup peanut butter chips, such as Reese's

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a few sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a bowl set over simmering water, melt the butter, 6 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate, stirring occasionally, until just melted. Remove from the heat and cool for 15 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla until combined. Add the sugar, raise the speed to medium-high, and beat for 2 minutes, until the batter is thick and falls back on itself in a ribbon. Set aside.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Combine the 1/3 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and fold it into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. In another bowl, combine the walnuts, pecans, peanut butter chips, the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips, and the tablespoon of flour and fold it into the chocolate mixture. With 2 soup spoons, drop rounded mounds of batter 1 inch apart onto the prepared sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes exactly. Cool on the baking sheets.

Bake these for someone who looks like they need a hug.

EAT YOUR HEART OUT,

Dagny








Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Salted Olive Oil Focaccia Bread


http://photobyjoy.com
Soon after getting engaged we sat down and came up with a list of people we wanted to invite to the wedding.  The list was huge, over 400 people.  We kept looking at it and trying to think of ways we could cut it down.  After looking online it said most people don't invite kids to their wedding to cut down on the guest list.  We thought about it, but I honestly wanted kids at my wedding for lots of reasons.

http://photobyjoy.com
1) I love seeing little kids dance at weddings.  They get so excited and really have fun with it!

2)  It is so nice to see all the little ones dressed up and looking fancy for weddings, all the pretty dresses and dapper little dudes makes me smile.

3)  Since so many of my cousins and friends have little ones I knew it would be hard to get babysitters since most of them would be travelling from out of town.  I didn't want them to have to RSVP no because they couldn't find child care.

4)  I really don't think cost is a good reason to not invite kids to a wedding...honestly most caterers charge less for kids, or you can even get them something less expensive to eat like pizza.  Also, most of them don't even require seats at a table, or if they do - you will have a few no shows on the wedding day who RSVP'd yes so just steal their chairs. : )

5)  The number one reason I wanted kids at our wedding is because I think it is important that kids grow up knowing what a wedding is and what the beginning of a Christian marriage looks like.  I remember going to a lot of weddings growing up and thinking how lovely the bride was, that she was for sure a princess, that she had found her prince, that it was a serious thing for them to make vows in front of people and in a Church in front of God, and that one day I wanted that too.  I remember holding my breath when the couples made their vows thinking it was such a special thing we were getting to be a part of.  I think that the more familiar kids are with marriage and weddings the more they will want it themselves if that is their vocation in life.

http://photobyjoy.com
So for those reasons I am so happy we decided to have kiddos at our wedding!  It was so much fun dancing with them, laughing with them, and seeing them be a part of the beginning of our married lives together.  Kids are truly a gift and we were blessed to have all of those smiling gifts at our wedding!

http://photobyjoy.com
Now...a recipe!  I have been in this crazy making soups and stews mode, and always want a nice crusty bread to serve with them.  Unfortunately, I am cursed when it comes to making bread...then I made this bread!  So easy and delicious!  My niece and I spent an evening cooking a nice dinner, and this was the star of the show for us!  It came together pretty easily, just remember that it requires 2 rises - so give yourself the time to make it.


Foccacia Bread
From Anne Burrell on Food Network (if you click on the link there is a quick video showing you how to make the bread - very helpful to watch before you start)

1 3/4 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 TBS Sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 TBS Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm, not hot or cool, place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 cup olive oil and the yeast mixture on low speed. Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft. Give it a sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it by hand 1 or 2 times. Again, give it another sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.

Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.

Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. (Chef's Note: This may seem excessive, but focaccia is an oily crusted bread. This is why it is soooooooooo delicious!).

Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side with the olive oil. Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan. As you are doing so, spread your fingers out and make finger holes all the way through the dough. (Chef's Note: Yes, this is strange. But when the dough rises again it will create the characteristic craggy looking focaccia. If you do not make the actual holes in the dough, the finished product will be very smooth.)

Put the dough in the warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Liberally sprinkle the top of the focaccia with some coarse sea salt and lightly drizzle a little oil on top. Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before cutting and serving.







Friday, January 23, 2015

Brown Butter Pecan Pie


We love pie.  

So much so that we had it at our wedding instead of cake.  When we first suggested that we wanted to do away with the tradition of wedding cake we were met with much resistance.  

"No cake at a wedding?"  "How can this be?" "People expect cake!"  

http://photobyjoy.com/
We held our ground on this one and it paid off in the end!  We had about 40 delicious homemade pies at our wedding!  I made 20 of them and a family friend made the other 20.  Our only regret is that we didn't take a pie with us when we left the wedding!


http://photobyjoy.com/
I have tried out so many pecan pie recipes, really I have.  For a while I was on this "corn syrup free" pecan pie kick.  It is also a delicious recipe, but the consistency of the filling was just always too wet and loose.  My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for brown butter so I figured since most pecan pie calls for melted butter it could probably be swapped with brown butter.  After some searching I found a few recipes for "Brown Butter Pecan Pie"

http://photobyjoy.com/
This pie is amazing.

The brown butter adds this extra layer of deliciousness to the pie that is unexpected and smooth.  The crust recipe is from  the cookbook "A year of pies" which I first found from my friend who made the most amazing apple pie one day which the most perfect crust imaginable.

http://photobyjoy.com/
Whenever an occasion calls for pie I make this recipe and am never disappointed!  This pie also freezes well - I know because I froze 20 of them for my wedding!  Just make sure you either a) bake it in a foil pan or b) bake it in a cake pan with straight edges and you can pop it out of the pan after it cools completely and freeze it without a pan (this is what I did - the pie ends up looking more like a tart with straight edges, but it still tastes amazing!)


My husband texted me yesterday informing me that it was "National Pie Day" today...a very subtle hint if you ask me to make him some pie.  This is what came up when I googled "National Pie Day"

"It's National Pie Day, a holiday dreamed up by the American Pie Council. The holiday encourages Americans to "pause amidst the hectic pace of everyday life and express their love, gratitude and appreciation for one another, for their blessings, and for the simple things in life." And enjoy a slice of pie of course."

What is the "American Pie Council" and how do I get into that club?


Brown Butter Pecan Pie
adapted from a bunch of recipes from the internet 

Crust: this recipe makes 2 pie doughs, and the filling only makes one, so double the filling if you want 2 pies, or freeze this extra crust for later.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
3/4 cup ice water

Make sure you work quickly when making the crust and use cold ingredients and even a chilled mixing bowl if you like.  I cheat when making crust and use my stand mixer because it speeds up the process.  In a cold mixing bowl combine flour and salt.  Stir.  With mixer running add the cold cubed butter and mix until broken into pea sized pieces.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of the ice cold water, then slowly add the additional 1/4 cup of water.  Mix just until combined and dough comes together.  If you don't have a mixer you can cut the butter into the flour/salt with a pastry blender or with 2 knives.
Place in fridge and chill for at least one hour.

On floured surface roll out the pie dough into an even circle. turning the dough and adding flour to the surface when necessary.  Quickly line a pie pan with the dough and crimp edges like you like to!

Filling: 

5 tablespoons unsalted butter browned
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt (not kosher)
1 1/2 cups toasted pecan halves (toast plain pecans in the oven for a few minutes)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat lightly. Add brown butter, sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt. Whisk to combine. Pour toasted pecans into prepared pie dough that is in the pan. Pour filling into prepared crust.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center is set and the crust is browned. Cool in pan before serving.

http://photobyjoy.com/


Monday, January 19, 2015

Dairy Free/Refined Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cups


Did you make a resolution to get healthy in the New Year?  If you did, this recipe is your friend!  I was super lazy this year and didn't make any resolutions.  Oops.  I am a bad human.  My diet has been off the rocker since Christmas - instead of baking once a week it has turned into once a day!  Oh Lord....what have I become!  My work schedule is pretty light these days, so I find myself being drawn into the kitchen more often.  I swear my mixer is calling my name...pretty creepy if you ask me...wait...did you ask me or was that my mixer talking to me again? : )


We made some new friends a few months before our wedding and they were kind enough to share their recipe for these with me...then I moved and lost the recipe...so I typed the ingredients that I remembered into Google and it found a similar recipe for me!  Whatever did we do before Google existed?  Remember encyclopedias or Encarta?  Man, do I feel ancient!



Are you going to the March for Life?  January 22nd marks the 42nd year since the Roe v.Wade decision to legalize abortion.  42 years of babies being murdered.  Sick.

“A Nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.” 
- Pope John Paul II

Hopefully my generation will live to see the end of abortion!  We are taking a group out to the Austin March for Life this Saturday to stand up for LIFE!  If you have never been to a March for Life I highly encourage you to find one in your State or make the trip to D.C. for the big March for Life.


Now onto the recipe!  Even my husband likes these...and he does not usually like "healthy" "alternative" desserts.  Win win all around!  If you do try it out leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Dairy Free/Refined Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cups

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter (I like it w/PB better)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 
Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan over low heat, whisk until melted and combined.  Portion out evenly with a spoon or small scoop into a 12 cup muffin pan lined with liners.  Sprinkle the top of each cup with a little bit of kosher sea salt.  Place in fridge until set, about an hour.  Remove from pan and store in fridge until ready to eat.







Monday, January 12, 2015

Simple Meatballs!


Now that I am a married woman with a house to keep up with, a husband to feed and my own kitchen - I find myself always wanting to cook and bake!  Someone stop me!!!  Some people might go to sleep and dream of tropical vacations or being rescued by a prince, but I dream about food...new cookie recipes, what kind of stew should I make next, etc...it really is quite absurd.

We had the princess over for dinner this weekend and she requested "Spaghetti and Meatballs"!  Her wish is my command!  This was a super fast and simple meatball recipe without a huge laundry list of ingredients.  So delicious, seconds were had by all!



Before the movie we went and watched the musical movie "Into the Woods."  It was super fun and the songs were catchy!  It was so nice watching a fun movie for a change...seems like so many movies are sad and gloomy these days!  This is our favorite song from the movie:



Meatballs
Adapted from Betty Crocker



1
lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1/2
cup Italian-style bread crumbs, or plain bread crumbs and add some Italian Seasoning
1/4
cup milk, we used almond milk and it worked just fine
1/2
teaspoon salt
1/2
teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4
teaspoon pepper
1
small onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
1
egg

Mix all ingredients together in bowl until well combined.  Form into about 20-25  meatballs using small cookie scoop or just grabbing chunks and rolling into balls.  Over medium/high heat in large frying pan with high edges- melt a tbs of coconut oil or olive oil.  Add the meatball into pan and brown a few minutes on each side rotating once browned.  Cook until no longer pink.  Meatballs are fragile so avoid turning them too much.  I used tongs to do this.  Once cooked add your favorite red sauce to the meatballs and cook until sauce is hot, about 3-5 minutes.  Serve over pasta of your choice!

Friday, December 19, 2014

White Chocolate Gingerbread Blondies


Adjusting to married life is a lot of change, but totally doable. (side note: I fully endorse marriage - it has proven to be a very wonderful thing indeed! )

On the other hand, adjusting to a new kitchen and oven is a lot tougher than I thought it would be.  No one told me it would be this hard.  Many nights I go to bed crying after another failed attempt at baking something in my gas oven...half baked brownies and the other half burnt?  Ugh.  Is it me?  What can I do better?  How can I be better?  After over a month of trying to figure out how this new oven works I think I finally baked something that came out good!!!!!  

A real Christmas Miracle!!!!!

Just in time to bring some goodies to work!

I am wrapping up my last week of work at the company I have been at for the last 3 1/2 years...so much change in my life over the last few months.  I am sad to go, but it is the right thing.  I have been blessed to be working with a great family of people over the last few years.  I started working here as a receptionist, and the plan was to do that for a few months then move on.  Somehow a few months turned into a few years and a few different positions within the company, it was a few good years!  Guess God had another plan for me.  Figured he needed me to stay grounded and in Texas for a while so I could somehow meet this wonderful man from East Texas and then marry him.  I really think that if I hadn't started working here I would have ended up relocating to another State again and never met my husband...


 Speaking of husbands...it happens to be my husband's birthday today!  So big shout out to the most wonderful man I have ever met and ever been married too...haha : )  He has brought so much joy into my life that most days I can't even believe it.  I am so blessed to be his wife!  When he ate these bars last night he looked confused, don't think he was sure what he was eating : )

If you are reading this please say a birthday prayer for my man as he enters another year of life!


  • White Chocolate Gingerbread Blondies
  • Adapted barely from Martha Stewart
  • 2 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped, or chocolate chips (I used the Ghirardelli chips - I don't like the toll house ones - they don't melt as smoothly)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 17-by-12-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. (Or if you don't have that - I used a 13x9 and an 8x8 cake pans) Line bottom with parchment cut to fit, and coat parchment. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  2. Beat butter and brown and granulated sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and yolk, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Stir in white chocolate.
  3. Spread batter into prepared pan (s). Bake until edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 2-inch squares or desired shape.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Be sure to not over bake or they will not be chewy and will be dry. : (