Roasted Tomato Salad Dressing (or veggie dip!)

This creation is that of my friend Jen at work. She had some tomatoes to use up before they spoiled so she made a veggie dip, and it was delicious!

Jen and I share a love of cooking and trying different recipes. I have been trying to talk her into a food blog so stay tuned!

Anyway, she told me she roasted some tomatoes, used about ½ cup of greek yogurt but when she tasted it she decide to add mayo. Which I think she was trying to avoid! She also used the juice of a half of a lemon. I had to make it! I was looking for something different for a salad dressing and decided to give it a try, so here is what I did…

I roasted a pint of grape tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper. I put them in a 325 degree oven until they were roasted really really well!! You will not need an entire pint, I only used about ¾ of a cup of them and the rest will be used probably on a pasta dish.

I put the ¾ cup of tomatoes (and some of the oil along with them) in a small blender that I have, added a half cup of plain greek yogurt, ¼ cup of mayo, juice of half a lemon and a little salt and pepper. I added a few drops of hot sauce, that kicked it up a little and was really tasty!  Then I pureed until smooth.

Give it a try as a veggie dip or salad dressing, it is yummy! I plan to make it again as a sauce over grilled veggies. Thanks Jen for sharing it with me!

Roasted Tomato Dip/Salad Dressing

¾ cup roasted grape tomatoes, plus the oil from roasting

Salt and pepper

½ cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream

¼ cup mayo

Juice from half of a lemon

Hot sauce, optional, to taste preference

Place all ingredients in a small blender and puree until smooth and creamy.

Be sure to follow my Facebook page for daily posts. Have a great day and live well friends!

Banana Bread with Walnut Crumb Topping

I was craving banana bread! And this time I wanted it to have a crumb topping, absolutely heaven!

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Nothing soothes my soul more than a delicious moist loaf of banana bread. Okay, well maybe the beach does that too, but I sort of mean my tummy soul!!

The craving probably started when I went to the grocery store, wandering around the produce section and found a display of really over ripe bananas! And bags of walnuts laying on the display too. Very clever marketing strategy! It was almost as though they purposely bought over ripe bananas and walnuts just for those that wanted banana bread!

Anyway, this recipe is for one loaf, which is more than enough for me. In fact, half of it will go in the freezer. But it will be hard to part with, if even for a few weeks.

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To a bowl I added all of the ingredients for the bread and blended on a medium speed until completely mixed and poured into a greased loaf pan. Easy!

Next I made the crumb topping, carefully place on top of the batter making sure it is completely covered with this delicious nutty and sugary mixture.

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As mentioned before, my oven…. I have a love hate relationship with the smaller over and I really need to learn to bake in the larger bottom oven, but when will I actually do this? The bottom and sides often are over done before the center is finished baking. *sigh

Here’s the recipe:

Banana Bread with Walnut Crumb Topping

For the bread

2 large eggs

1-3/4 cup of flour

½ cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup mashed banana

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add all of the ingredients except the mashed bananas. After the batter is mixed well, gently blend in the banana, do not over mix. Pour into a greased loaf pan.

For the crumb topping

½ cup of soft butter (1 stick)

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon, optional

½-3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Place all of the ingredients except the walnuts into a bowl and cut with 2 knives or a pastry blender until it resembles crumbs, then add the walnuts and cut in until just blended through. Sprinkle on top of the batter making sure it is covered in the topping.

Bake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Be happy and live well!  And be sure to follow me on Facebook!

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Roasted Tomato and Spinach Quiche

I eat egg whites every day. Two hardboiled egg whites to be exact. And it can get a little boring!

So I make an occasional quiche.   This roasted tomato and spinach quiche was delicious!

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This is easy to take a slice to work and reheat.  And it’s perfect for guests for the weekend.  I have also given this out to someone that was not able to cook after surgery.

First I coated one cup of grape tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper. Put them on my small stone baking pan and roasted them at 325 degrees until they were done, which means they almost looked charred.

While the tomatoes were roasting, I sautéed the spinach. First I removed the stems, I don’t like them!   After removing the stems, I tore it up a little, tossed them in a pan with olive oil and salt and pepper and sautéed just a few minutes until wilted.

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When the tomatoes were done, I pre-baked a 9 inch pie shell until it was almost golden but not done, it will finish baking with the eggs.

I poured six eggs in a bowl and whisked to break them up, I added about ¾ cup of half and half but you can use light cream if you want, or just milk. Add salt and pepper and whisk. Put in the tomatoes and spinach and combine. Pour into the pie shell, dot with chunks of goat cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 35-45 minutes or until set.

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Stay tuned for more quiche recipes coming, I have a few more ideas and cannot wait to try them!

Live and love well friends! Follow me on Facebook for more up to the minute babbling!!

Raspberry Mocha

Just in time for Valentine’s Day! A luscious treat for your love to start the day!

Chocolate, Raspberry and Coffee, OH MY!

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While your coffee is brewing, make your chocolate and raspberry milk- One cup of milk, 3 tablespoons each of chocolate syrup and raspberry syrup. Swirl extra chocolate syrup and raspberry syrup in the cup and pour in the milk mixture. Add 1-1/2 cup coffee to the milk mixture.

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You can reheat in the microwave if you want to serve it hot, or let the coffee cool before adding to the milk mixture if you want it cold. Either way, it’s absolutely delicious!

Top with whipped cream and another drizzle of the syrups, add a cute straw and serve.

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Raspberry Mocha

1-1/2 cups coffee

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons chocolate syrup, plus more to swirl in cup or glass

3 tablespoons raspberry syrup, plus more to swirl in cup or glass

Whipped cream for topping

Enjoy! Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Roasted Vegetable and Bean Enchiladas

Well!   I was not expecting this to turn out as delicious as it did!

And I will definitely be making these more often. I am trying to eat more veggies….. (please don’t judge me!)

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I had some left over roasted veggies (peppers, broccoli and zucchini squash), cheese and sour cream in the fridge that I wanted to use up before it spoiled. I had a package of corn tortillas too. And then I remembered the can of enchilada sauce in my pantry.

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So, I only had enough veggies to make 3, it was probably about 1-1/4 cup of veggies. I spread about 2-3 tablespoons of refried beans on each shell, divided the veggies to each shell. Poured some sauce in a small baking dish and rolled each shell, placing the seam side down into the baking dish. I poured the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas, dotted with some queso fresco cheese and shredded cheese on top and baked them for about 30 minutes and the sauce was bubbly.

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Oh and I forgot to mention that the can of sauce said Medium heat. They lied! Wow did they lie!!

I topped them with a little sour cream, and seriously inhaled them!!

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You could very easily adapt this to whatever you have on had, and vary the amounts depending on how many mouths you have to feed, or how hungry you are.  Just be careful of the very spicy and hot sauce!

Roasted Vegetable and Bean Enchiladas

3 corn tortilla shells

1-1/4 cup chopped vegetable, roasted

6 T of any beans of your choice, I used refried beans

1 can of enchilada sauce

Queso Fresco cheese, ¾ cup cut in chunks

About 1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Pour a little sauce into your baking dish, just enough to coat the bottom. Spread 1-2 T of bean down the middle of each shell. On top of the beans, divide the veggies. Roll each tortilla and place seam side down into the sauce in the baking dish. Once all the shells are in the baking dish pour the remaining sauce over them, dot with the queso fresco and shredded cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes and the sauce is bubbly.

Live well and be happy!

Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake with Honey Lemon Glaze

I was hungry for blueberry crumb muffins

I was hungry for a cinnamon coffee cake.

What happens when you have that craving? You combine them and make an incredibly delicious blueberry crumb coffee cake!

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I have been in heaven every time I have a piece. And it’s even better when you pop in the microwave and warm it for just a few seconds.

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This would be a great breakfast cake when you have over night guests.  Or for a  brunch, or just yourself!

I had a bag of frozen blueberries that I wanted to use up. I’ve been on a mission to use everything in my freezer before it’s too late! The bag of mango’s didn’t make it though, they were freezer burnt!

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Anyway, they worked well. I thawed them first, then drained and coated them with flout before tossing them in the batter.

The crumb topping was enormous! If you don’t want that much you could easily cut the recipe in half.

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The honey lemon drizzle was a spur of the moment decision, I had just a small amount of honey remaining in the container. And I had a lemon that desperately needed to be used.

And the cake batter was just a basic coffee cake recipe, super easy and delicious.

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Here is what I did for the cake:

First I sprayed an 8 x 8 glass pan, lined the pan with parchment paper and sprayed again. You don’t need to use the parchment, you can just use the greased pan.

As I mentioned, I thawed and drained the berries then coated them with flour.

Into my mixer I creamed together ½ cup (1 stick) very softened butter and ¾ cup sugar. Then I added 1 large egg, ½ cup milk, baking soda and salt. Once that is blended I added 2 cups of flour, one cup at a time, stopping to scrape the bowl in between each addition. Just a quick note about the milk, I used what I had on hand which is 1%, I know a lot of recipes call for whole but the 1% worked!

I then removed the bowl from the stand and gently folded in the blueberries. Once the berries are evenly distributed through the batter, pour into the prepared pan.

To make the crump topping I used ½ cup (1 stick) softened butter cut into pieces, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut the butter in with the flour and sugar until crumbly, sprinkle over cake batter.

I baked the cake at 350 for about an hour. My oven is gas and after 2 years I still can’t get the hang of it. It runs about 25 degree’s hotter than what I want so I really have to watch it. I also have a double oven; the top oven is small, and the bottom is larger but not as large as a standard oven. It’s large enough to roast a turkey. I love it, and it’s convenient for me because it’s just me. BUT, baking in the smaller oven can be a challenge. SO, in your oven you might want to start checking the cake around 40-45 minutes.

The cake is done when a cake tester comes out clean. Then just lift the cake out of the pan and onto a cooling rack or a cutting board to cool.

To make the glaze I just used the juice of one lemon, ½ teaspoon of vanilla, about 1 tablespoon of honey and I just stirred in the confectioners’ sugar until I got the consistency that I wanted. Sorry, I didn’t measure, I just flew by the seat of my yoga pants!!! I added the glaze when the cake was just warm.

This cake is delicious and best when served warm and fresh from the oven. But is still quite yummy the next day, warmed for a few seconds in the microwave.

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Here is the recipe, I haven’t figured out how to add the option to print the recipe yet, but I’m trying!

BLUEBERRY CRUMB COFFEE CAKE with HONEY LEMON GLAZE

For the cake:

½ cup very soft butter

¾ cup sugar

1 cup milk

1 large egg

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 cups flour

About 2 cups of blueberries

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the milk, egg, baking powder and salt. Then add the flour, one cup at a time, scraping the in between. Pour into a greased 8×8 pan.

For the topping:

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon

½ cup (1 stick) soft butter cut into pieces

Cut together until you have a crumbles, sprinkle in top of cake batter.

For the glaze:

The juice of one lemon

½ tsp vanilla

1 T honey

Confectioners sugar, still in about 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you want. I may have used about ¾ cup.

Live well friends!

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Holiday Meal Planner

Can you believe it is almost the end of October?! We will be planning holiday meals in no time!

I like to prepare a much as I can before the meal. You know those holiday Hallmark movies where the family is together in the kitchen on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each of them is preparing something. One person is making the pumpkin pie, another is preparing the turkey to roast, someone is peeling the potatoes. Yea well it doesn’t work like that in my family and I’m betting it doesn’t in yours either.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have some help getting things ready to serve but for one thing, my kitchen isn’t that big AND I do not have enough ovens for multiple things to bake at one time!

So I thought I would come up with a planner, to help me, and to help you. We all lead busy lives and some of you may be awesome at throwing a big sit down holiday dinner in a flash, but I am not. I need to and like to prepare ahead of time, so here goes:

HOLIDAY MEAL PLANNER

2-3 Weeks Before

  • Plan your menu. If you’re thinking of serving new dishes, practice cooking them prior to your dinner so you and your guests won’t be disappointed.
  • If you are going with the traditional turkey, decide if you are purchasing a frozen or fresh bird, place your order if necessary.
  • Inventory your plates, utensils, glassware and serving dishes. Start shopping if you need to replenish!
  • What linens are you planning to use? Make sure you have enough tablecloths, napkins, and placemats. Launder and iron now.
  • Will you need extra tables and chairs? Whether you are renting, borrowing or buying new, start now.
  • Most importantly (other than the turkey!), make yourself lists. Write down EVERYTHING! Your menu, wine/drinks, things to do, things to buy, you will be thankful you did!

One Week Before

  • If you have not done so already, prepare your grocery list. Then rewrite in the location order of your market or in the order as: produce, canned items, bakery, bread, pantry items, and so on.
  • Clean out your kitchen before you grocery shop. Make sure your pantry and fridge are free of any unused leftovers or outdated products. Wipe down the shelves in the fridge.
  • Inventory your spices and herbs, discard out dated or old containers.
  • Clean your house and decorate if you have not already done so. Eliminate clutter and if your family likes to play games, make sure they are ready to go.
  • Make a plan for your cooking preparations. Use a calendar if you like or just make a list.

Sunday Before

  • If you have purchased a frozen bird, and depending on the size, you may need to put in the fridge so it can start to thaw. Never leave the turkey thaw on the counter!
  • The recipe for my Turkey Rub is here.

Monday and Tuesday before

  • Shop for your groceries.
  • Tie up any loose ends from above that you have not yet completed.
  • Make the cranberry sauce. My recipe is here.
  • If you are cutting up and cubing your own stuffing, do that now.
  • I like to chop up any vegetables that I need on Tuesday. Whether it be the onion and celery for the stuffing and turkey, or veggies for my family to snack on as an appetizer.
  • I work full time and usually cannot take off the day before so I like to make my pies and cakes Tuesday evening when I get home from work.  My pumpkin Pie recipe is here. And my Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream recipe is here.

Wednesday Before

  • If you have not done so already, bake your desserts. Store in a cool place or refrigerate.
  • Prepare any appetizers that can be made ahead, cover and refrigerate. My Three Cheese Roasted Red Pepper Dip is here.
  • If your vegetables are not chopped and ready to go, do that now.
  • If you are cooking a fresh turkey, pick it up from the market.
  • Prepare any side dishes ahead that you can. I make my mashed potatoes now, place them in a large casserole dish, dot with butter and cover with foil.
  • If you are making your mashed potatoes tomorrow, peel and cut them now, place them in a bowl of water, cover and refrigerate.
  • Set up any extra table and chairs, set the table, place any table décor out now.
  • If you are planning to use a cooler for bottled water or beer and extra wine bottles, do that now and sit outside in a safe place.
  • If you’re planning on hot chocolate by a fire pit, my recipe is here. Or my Hot Cider Float recipe is here.
  • Inventory your lists and make sure you are on track!
  • Take a hot bath, pour yourself a drink and relax with a good book!

THE BIG DAY!

  • Prepare your stuffing and turkey and get them in the oven.
  • Reheat your sides.
  • Prepare the gravy.
  • Don’t forget ask for help getting things on the table!
  • And you are done! Enjoy your day and your guests and have a wonderful time!

I wish you the Happiest and Loveliest Thanksgiving and Christmas!

PS: And remember, your holiday will not be perfect! Don’t worry if something doesn’t work out as planned, laugh about it! I can’t tell you how many rolls I have burned because I put them in the oven last and forgot to set the timer!!