Giveaway Winner

I was all set to make Patty Melts yesterday and announce the giveaway winner when… STOMACH BUG ATTACKED.  Me.  Stomach bug attacked me.  The photo above is from last week, when it attacked my son.  Yup, we’ve been all BRAT diet up in here for awhile now.  
So… enough of that talk… the Madhava Baking Mixes + Syrups Giveaway Winner is, Leah Jill!  Please email me (contact info in above tabs) and we’ll get you your prize.  Thank you all for participating!  Stay healthy pretty please. 

to DO…

Hi Party People.  Sorry for the lack of posting.  It’s just, it’s just… well you’re sick of hearing it.  I’m a whale, I’m hot, I have a human being inside of me with chronic hiccups.  So here is a little to-do list, I’ll be back Monday.  Have super weekends!  
Want to make this on Sunday…
Going to turn these into a big fat birthday cake today…
If I ever get around to being healthy, Quinoa Spanikopita…

Mini Maple Ginger Cake

(*See below for Giveaway Winner)
The “soup can birthday cake” changed my life when I discovered it almost two years ago (and it was also when I found her blog, drool).  It can elevate any small celebration that otherwise might go unnoticed.  Your kid scores a soccer goal?  Mini cake!  Your husband finally fixes that thing he was supposed to fix for a couple of months?  Mini cake!  You get down to your goal weight?  Mini cake!  (Yeah, you can tell I have issues with dieting.)  The point is, it will take you 5 minutes to bake, and by adding different sweeteners and spices, it can transform to fit any occasion.  This particular cake has maple syrup, molasses and ground ginger, which makes it perfect for a winter-time celebration.  Then cream cheese vanilla bean frosting on top?  JOLLY.  

Mini Maple Ginger Cake
(Makes 1 cake)
Printable Recipe
Cake:
2 T sugar
1 egg white
2 T melted unsalted butter, cooled
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp molasses
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350.  Line the bottom of a clean soup can with parchment paper, and line the rest with baking spray.  In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg white.  Add the melted butter, maple syrup and molasses and whisk until smooth.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt until combined.  Pour into soup can, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool before using a serrated knife to slice into 3 layers.    
Frosting:
2 T unsalted butter, room temp
2 T cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp milk
Whisk all ingredients until smooth.  Spread between cake layers and on top.
*The winner of the Acacia Wood Giveaway is Mia Stizzo!  Please email me (contact info above) 

Homemade Candy

Almond Joy
I’ve made a lot of candy on this here blog.  
Check it out and make something for Halloween!  
Also, what should I make this year in all of my spare time? 

Peppermint Patties

Salted Caramels

Peanut Butter Cups

Candy Apples

Snickers

Pesto, White Bean and Broccoli Dip

I was sent a copy of The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook by Tina Ruggiero and after a brief page-through I knew it was a keeper.  You can usually tell when a healthy dish will end up stale and flavorless just by reading the recipe, and all of these sound delicious (yes, I read recipes for fun, what’s it to you?).  Some of the meals on my to-do list: Risotto with Mushrooms, Butternut Squash and Kale, Mini Salmon Sliders and Turkey Meatloaf with Chipotle Glaze.  Yes, please, all of that.  
Right off the bat I made this Pesto, White Bean and Broccoli Dip because I’m trying to feed my daughter more iron.  Beans and Broccoli are great sources of iron!  Iron, iron, i-ron… that’s a weird word.  Anyway.  This was simple to make, yielded a HUGE batch, and was great on pasta or crackers.  
Thanks for the book, Tina!  Recipe here.
  

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I joined a book club!  I’m making friends in my new town!  Moving to a place where you know NO ONE and trying to meet people as an adult feels a lot like dating all over again.  You have to take chances, and actually put yourself out there, which can be terrifying.  But when a lovely reader contacted me, saying she too moved to this town a few years ago knowing not a soul, and suggested I join a mothers group/book club I thought, why not?  Put yourself out there, Siri, do things your mom would tell you to do.  And so I did, and I met some wonderful people and I read a wonderful book.  I deserve a cookie, don’t you think?  I’m glad you think so, because I have some leftover from book club last night…
Yes, I know, another chocolate chip cookie.  But this one has cream cheese in it!!!  How do you see a recipe for a cookie with cream cheese in it and NOT give it a go?  Well I gave them a go, and they are rich, and moist, and I have a feeling they will stay that way for days.  I’m going to eat one for breakfast, because, cream cheese.  Right?  Totally breakfast food.  Find the recipe here.

Microwave Mug Cookie

I tweeted something significant last night – just kidding, I tweet rubbish all of the time – but as the night went on it stuck with me.  What I essentially said was, every night I make all these wild plans for myself, like actually staying awake after putting my kids to bed.  I think, tonight Carson and I will watch that movie we’ve wanted to watch, or I’ll spend some time on my computer without a child trying to steal it, maybe I’ll take a bubble bath, or I’ll drink some wine and bake something!  But, alas, every, single, night I crash just as hard as them at a very early hour.  Well last evening I was determined to change that, so I put my kids to sleep absurdly early (thank god they can’t tell time), and I drank wine and baked something!  
Sort of.  If you count microwaving as baking.   
Sorry for the crappy photos.  It was late (8:45pm!!!) and dark.  
I have been wanting to try this microwavable cookie since I saw the recipe floating around the Interweb (click here).  It’s remarkably easy, takes about 5 minutes to make, and… drumroll please… is DELICIOUS.  I ate the entire thing.  Probably way too many calories for me to consume at the wee hour of 9:12pm, but I was celebrating the fact that I did it… I stayed up!  I watched one and a half Homelands!  I drank a glass of wine in bed!  This is making me sound very pathetic, yes?  
p.s. I found microwaving it for 40 seconds, and then another 30 seconds, was perfect :)

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins

Do you like raisins?  I think you either like raisins or you despise raisins.  The boys in my house fall into the latter category, but I don’t mind them.  Especially when they come in a bagel, cookie, English muffin or are covered in chocolate.  Ever since I made Homemade English Muffins awhile back, I’ve been dying to try them again in different variations and so I thought of raisins!  And cinnamon, what a glorious combination.  Besides, Carson is sick of me baking and I knew he wouldn’t be tempted by these.
Win, win.    
Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins
(Makes 12)
Adapted from here
Printable Recipe
1 cup whole milk
2 T granulated sugar
1 .25oz package of active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, melted
5 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tsp salt
2 T cinnamon
1 cup raisins
Cornmeal for dusting
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat milk in a small saucepan until it begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and stir in sugar until it dissolves.  Let cool to lukewarm.  Then, combine yeast mixture, milk and shortening in a standing mixer fitted with a dough attachment (you could always do this by hand if you don’t have one!).  Add 3 cups of flour and beat until smooth.  Add the rest of the flour, salt, cinnamon and raisins.  Mix until dough forms, do not over-mix!  You might have to combine some of it by hand.  Place in greased bowl and cover, let rise for an hour.    

Once dough has risen, punch it down.  Remove from bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface.  Roll out to 1/2 inch thick.  Using a biscuit cutter or empty soup can, cut out circles.    

Place on cornmeal dusted parchment paper (dust tops with cornmeal too).  Cover again with towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Heat greased griddle over medium-low heat.  Cook muffins for 10 minutes per side.  

Serve warm or toasted.  Place muffins in plastic baggie or tupperware for storage.  

Happy Love Day

my breakfast…
and…

I hope you and your loved ones enjoy this day, and by that I mean there is chocolate involved.

Pumpkin Scones

Did you know that Trader Joe’s is currently selling THIRTY FIVE different pumpkin products?  Did you know that women across the country, wearing cozy sweaters, boots and scarves, are buying ALL of them?  They might even be secretly listening to Christmas music in their cars on the way home!  I am not, of course, talking about myself… and even if I were talking about myself, I would claim it was all in the name of “blog research” – holiday music included.  I’m a normal person.
So I may or may not have a lot of pumpkin puree around the house, and I may or may not be in search of recipes.  Similar to this recipe, for these Pumpkin Scones.  They are moist, they are full of all those spices that accompany pumpkin so well and they are topped with sweet, sugary icing (I ran out of powdered sugar, therefore only made the basic glaze).  Also, they are perfect with coffee for breakfast.  Joy to the World!  (I’m talking about myself I’m listening to Christmas music already help)