Friday, March 23, 2012

Cinnamon Streusel Scones

It's funny, now that I'm moving away from the winter squash sweets and dishes, I find myself more and more being drawn towards cinnamon and all other manner of sweet confections.  Then I'm reminded of course, that I've been trying to move away from the sweets and bread-y dishes.  I seriously can't help myself.  I'm not sure I can ever keep far enough away from them.   

Anyhow, I realized I hadn't ever made scones before - never ever.  Thus, my hunt for the perfect (and frankly, easy to make) scone began.  Luckily, I didn't have to hunt all that long.  I found this recipe here and decided it looked yummy enough - and easy - to make. 

The verdict? It was wonderfully yummy and easy to make. This recipe is a keeper :)


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
streusel filling:
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut in butter until pea size crumbles. In separate bowl, stir yogurt, egg and vanilla together. Stir into flour mixture. Pour onto a lightly floured surface and knead five or six times. Divide dough in half. Pat each half into about an 8 inch circle. Carefully place one dough circle onto a greased or lined baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine streusel filling until crumbly. Sprinkle over bottom dough circle. Place remaining dough circle over streusel filling. Pinch edges together gently. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut into 8 wedges.

Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


Boy, these were pretty easy. I thought I'd run into some difficulty when it came time to put the two halves together but it actually worked rather nicely.  I used a rolling pin to flatten out the dough, piled on the streusel mixture then laid on the top layer of dough.  I used a pizza cutter to slice down the edges to make a square piece.  Then I cut the wedges from there.  Easy peasy.  I half expected the streusel filling to ooze out during baking, but it never happened.  Must be enough flour in there to keep that from happening.

Just so you know, I didn't have vanilla yogurt so I used fat free Greek yogurt.  It worked out great.  Like it was made to be used for scones.  I added vanilla extract and half of a vanilla bean (scooped out with the vanilla mixed in).


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spinach Pancakes. It can be done and be GOOD.

It's no secret I've been trying to find some "healthier" recipes and really cut down on the refined foods (hello, bread anyone?).  I came across this recipe and decided to give it a whirl, though of course I modified it quite a bit so that it looks like a completely different dish. 

The pictures don't do justice to this dish.  The pancakes come out looking all weird but they are really so good!  Although they are densely "spinach", they're still pretty thick.  However, I wouldn't call them bready.  The flour in the recipe is just enough to get everything to stick together.  The end result is a hearty and healthy meal.

SPINACH (and sweet potato) PANCAKES


1 cup chopped spinach (or use one package 10oz frozen spinach)
1 cup sweet potato fries, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Canola or Vegetable Oil
Accompaniments: Marinara sauce, Ketchup, or Mustard

Or see this recipe for the Ka-Pow dipping sauce. It is absolutely, RIDICULOUSLY good!

Place the vegetables in a food processor and pulse to chop fine.

Add the chopped vegetables into a bowl along with the flour, salt, egg, basil and garlic powder. Mix to combine.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and place 1 tbsp of the batter into the pan for each pancake.
Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.

Serve with marinara sauce or dip of your choice.


These pancakes came out much heartier than I originally anticipated.  I love it that there's hardly any flour in the mix so the pancakes are really very spinach-sweet potato.  And because of the egg/flour additions the pancakes came out nice and thick.  So good.  Not to mention, they're very filling.  I probably eat 2 for each serving.

As I mentioned above, these pancakes are really, really good with the Ka-Pow sauce.  You should try it!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cinnamon Muffins. A yummy part of any breakfast.

One of my favorite things about weekend mornings home with my husband is making breakfast.  He'll ask me what I'm making and I either thumb through the recipe book or troll online until I come across something that strikes our fancy.  This weekend was no different.  Part of the fun is discovering the ingredients in my cupboard; I try not to plan too much in advance so the weekend baked goods are spontaneous and extra special (at least I think so).

So of course I was pretty psyched when I discovered I had all the ingredients to make these cinnamon muffins.  (Original recipe can be found here from

They were easy to make and came out just fine.  I've had other muffins I enjoyed more, but these really did hit the spot just fine. 



  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/4 cup skim milk

  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons margarine, melted

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons margarine, melted


     In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and allspice. Combine the egg, milk and margarine; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Spoon into greased or paper-lined mini muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or until muffins test done. For topping, combine sugar and cinnamon. Brush the tops of warm muffins with margarine; sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

    Makes 24 mini muffins.


    I halved the recipe and it came out to 5 large muffins.  I was happy with that.  With just me and my husband at home, we simply didn't need more (our waistlines certainly don't!).

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Happy St. Patty's Day, Shamrock Butter Cookies!

    For pretty much every holiday I bake butter cookies and make them in whatever appropriate shapes.  Thus, it's no big surprise that I made some butter cookies in the shapes of shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day.  YUM YUM!

    Everyone loves them and they're easy to make.  Sometimes I ice them for extra sweet goodness, and sometimes I let the butter cookie sing.  This time I did both.

    The recipe comes to me from my mom :)



    1 lb. butter
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    4 1/2 - 5 cups of flour (not a full 5)
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. vanilla
    3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
    1/4 cup milk
    1/2 tsp. vanilla
    Dash of salt
    (food coloring, optional)


    Mix well. Taking one or two handfuls at a time, roll out the dough. Cut with cookie cutter, or use a juice glass top to cut. Just press rim of glass into dough and form circles.

    Bake at 325 for approximately 5-6 minutes. They shouldn't be too brown on the edges. I check the bottoms to make sure they are golden before taking them out.


    When rolling the dough, use a sheet of wax paper for the surface, sprinkle with flour, place the dough and sprinkle that with some flour. Cover with a second piece of wax paper. Use the rolling pin over that. It just makes for easier rolling.

    For the icing I use skim milk and it always comes out great.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day: Irish Soda Bread

    It would be wrong on many levels if I failed to produce the traditional Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day.  I took a recipe from here and added to it a bit.  I had to; it didn't include the caraway seeds or raisins.  Both are a MUST if you're making Irish soda bread.  Otherwise it's not the real deal ; )

    As always, I'm pleased with the way my Irish soda bread came out.  It's so good and full of flavor.  Normally I'm not into the flavor of caraway seeds but it goes so well with this bread.  And while the bread is good on its own, it never hurts to spread a little butter on your slices.




  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 4 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds

  • 3/4 cup raisins


    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

    In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, caraway seeds, raisins, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.

    Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.


    As I mentioned above I had to add the caraway seeds and raisins as the original recipe doesn't include them.  Which by the way, is unusual.  I've never had an Irish soda bread without those ingredients. 

    Oh, and I chose to omit the butter mixture for the top of the loaf.  I thought it was fine without it.  So that's up to you.

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Swope Bread. Sweet and hearty.

    I really have to stop baking bread.  It's too damn good and I can't stop myself from eating (lots of) it.  I'm so drawn to it... check out the latest loaf I made: Swope Bread.  I've been tooling around online and I'm trying to figure out what is Swope Bread.  Any ideas?

    All kidding aside, starting this week I am giving up bread.  Not forever, mind you, but just until I can have it without obsessing over it.  I can do it; I've done it before.  It's the getting there part that stinks :(  I have to keep in mind it's just healthier for me.

    That said, this bread is wonderfully delicious and easy to make.  No waiting around for the yeast to kick in and rise the dough.  I estimate this bread takes about 10 minutes to prepare and another to bake.  Easy-peasy.

    You can find the original recipe here from - one of my favorite all-time food sites.  I've made so many things from this site.  YUM!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 4 teaspoons baking soda

  • 4 cups buttermilk


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.

    In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in buttermilk. Stir buttermilk into flour mixture. Beat well. Pour batter into prepared pans.
    Bake in preheated oven for one hour.

    This recipe makes two loaves so I just halved it to make the one.  After all, it's bad enough I'm eating most of it on my own anyway... Oy.

    Oh, I mixed half spelt flour and half all-purpose flour.  Spelt flour works wonderfully in breads.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Mix-n-Match: Fried Quinoa Bites with Ka-Pow Sauce

    Cooking is getting dangerous.  This is two days in a row now I've used the fryer.  Two days in a row I produced outrageous results from my efforts.  It's dangerous because of how good it all tastes, but how bad it is for the waistline. Boo.

    Today we're talking about a combination of two recipes: Baked Quinoa & Cheese meets Ka-Pow Shrimp.
    I had leftovers from the baked quinoa dish so I decided to scoop out little balls of the stuff and drop them in the deep fryer for a couple minutes.

    Here are the results...

    Fried Quinoa Bites & Ka-POW Sauce:

    To make this dish...

    Follow the recipe for the Baked Quinoa and Cheese here and then go to the Ka-Pow Shrimp recipe to get the mix for the breading as well as the Sriracha hot dipping sauce.  YUM!

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    Ka-POW Shrimp!

    My mouth is still buzzing from this hot-n-spicy dish.  Holy Moly.  It is SO good!

    This recipe has been floating around on Pinterest for a while and I added it to my "Recipes to try" board several weeks ago.  Actually, it may be one of the very first recipes I added.  Anyhow, it is worth making. 

    At first, I looked at the recipe and almost gave it the thumbs-down because it involved frying up the shrimp.  I'm not crazy about anything fried.  If it can be baked instead, I will go that route.  But for some reason, I decided to give the frying a whirl.  For the record, this is actually the first dish I ever used a fryer for.  Can you believe it?



  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 4-5 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, such as Sriracha sauce

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

  • For the egg mixture:

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 cup milk

  • For the breading mixture:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • For frying:

  • 8 to 12 cups vegetable oil


    Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl; cover and set aside.

    Combine beaten egg with milk in shallow bowl; set aside.

    Combine flour, panko, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and basil in another shallow bowl; set aside.

    Bread the shrimp by first coating each with the breading mixture. Dip breaded shrimp into the egg and milk mixture, and then back into the breading. Arrange the coated shrimp on a plate and pop them into the fridge for at least 20 minutes. This step will help the breading to stick on the shrimp when they are frying.

    Heat oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Use amount of oil required by your fryer.

    When oil is hot, fry shrimp 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on rack or paper towels.

    When all shrimp has been fried, drop the shrimp into a large bowl. Spoon about 1/4 cup of sauce over shrimp and stir gently to coat.


    As I mentioned above, this is the first time I ever used a fryer.  It turned out great - it was so easy to use!  But don't get me wrong; I do NOT plan to be frying up my food in the future (at least not consistently so).

    The sauce was HOT.  If you don't like a lot of heat with your food, do yourself a favor and go lighter on the sriracha sauce.  You can always add more later.

    Instead of using real mayonnaise, I chose to use Vegennaise. Real mayo just grosses me out. Always has.

    And despite the steps involved here, it really is an easy recipe to follow.  The results are well worth the efforts.  I will be making these again (and possibly trying them out in the oven instead of fryer next time :)

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    Quinoa Pasta with Caramelized Squash and Fresh Herbs

    We're pretty much bringing up the rear of the winter season, especially in terms of winter squash.  But as you may (or may not know) I'm kicking in my heels to hold on as long as possible.  This is one more squash recipe I had to make before it was too late. Am I glad I did... this is just one superb dish that I have to share.

    See the original recipe here.

    For me it's the combination of flavors that really gets me.  The caramelized sweet with the texture of the squash mixed with the savory of the sauteed onions (and garlic since I added it) and sage over pasta just makes this a huge hit.  YUM!

    Unfortunately though, I was unable to talk my husband into trying this one.  He missed out big time; this is great.  You won't be sorry!



  • 9 Tbs. unsalted butter 

  • 1 kabocha or butternut squash, 2 1/2 to 3 lb., peeled, seeded and cut into
    1-inch dice 

  • 2 Tbs. sugar 

  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth 

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

  • 3 Tbs. finely diced shallots 

  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg 

  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh sage 

  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice 

  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley 

  • 1 lb. fresh pasta sheets, cut into 2-inch squares (see related recipe at left) 

  • 1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated


    In a braiser over medium-high heat, melt 3 Tbs. of the butter. Add the squash in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until browned underneath, about 6 minutes. Stir the squash and cook until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes more. Add the sugar, broth, salt and pepper, cover and cook until the squash is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the squash is dark brown and glazed, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the squash mixture to a bowl.

    In the same pan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 6 Tbs. butter until light brown spots appear, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots, nutmeg and sage and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots begin to soften, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the squash.
    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and the reserved cooking water to the squash mixture and toss to combine.

    Transfer the pasta to a warmed large, shallow bowl and sprinkle with some of the cheese. Serve immediately and pass the remaining cheese alongside. Serves 4 to 6.


    I didn't have fresh parsely so I used the dried stuff.  And I forgot the lemon juice.  Although frankly, I'm not sure I'd use it going forward. This dish is perfect without it.

    So good!

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

    Pumpkin Bread. The season isn't quite over yet.

    I am trying to hold onto the winter squash season as much as possible.  It's no secret I love all things pumpkin and winter squash.  And since I've been experimenting with spelt flour this week, I decided to combine the two and see what would happen if I made bread.  The whole place smells yummy!
    You can find the original recipe here from 


    2-1/4 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
    1-1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
    2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 egg equivalent of egg replacer
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup raw nuts, chopped (optional)

    (Makes 2 loaves)


    Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
    In a large bowl combine flour, spices, baking powder, and salt.
    In a second bowl mix pumpkin puree, sugar, egg replacer, and oil. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and mix together.
    Spoon content into 2 greased and floured bread pans. Top with nuts.
    Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean. Cool thoroughly before removing from pan.


    I don't like using nuts too much so I just omitted them.  The bread is still really tasty.

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    Spelt Bread. Super easy and delicious.

    In an effort to cut down on all the refined foods I've been enjoying lately, I decided to give spelt a shot to see what it was like.  In a nutshell: it's wonderful.  I was expecting some dense and too-nutty-flavored bread.  But it really isn't like that.  It bakes up light like whole wheat bread would and I even added ground flax seeds to it and it still wasn't overpowering.  It's just... really, really good!

    You can find the original recipe here, from

    And as it turns out, spelt is better for you (as I'd been hoping).  Check out the article here to see some benefits of using spelt flour over whole durum wheat flour.



  • 8 cups spelt flour

  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 4 1/4 cups milk


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.

    In a large bowl, mix together the spelt flour, sesame seeds, salt, molasses, baking soda and milk until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

    Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Placing a tin of the same size over the top of the loaf while baking gives it a lovely crust.


    I didn't have sesame seeds so I used ground flax seeds.  Big YUM!  The bread came out great - it's just like regular, whole wheat bread.  Another big plus: it's so easy to make.  So easy.