Looking for a quick and tasty holiday appetizer? Look no further. These simple sugared cranberry brie bites will give every foodie just the right fix.This recipe was originally posted at Annie’s-Eats, one of my favorite food blogs. The sugared cranberries are a Christmas staple around here; they have the most fantastic sugar tart POP!
First, you’re going to make a simple syrup to coat the cranberries and then let them dry on a drying rack like this, for about an hour.
Then you’ll coat them with more sugar. Yes, I’m saying sugar on the blog, oh dear. Justification: cranberries are soooo nutritious, but difficult to eat without a little bit of the white stuff.
A little bit of brie cheese on a wheat cracker and there you go!
Sugared Cranberry Brie Bites:
1. Procure wheat crackers. Round crackers give a nice aesthetic appeal.
2. Pick out a nice Brie (we’re pleased with PRÉSIDENT® BRIE ROUND)
3. Sugar your cranberries:
Simple Syrup: Over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup white sugar. Sir until combined. Take off heat. Pour in a bag of cranberries, just to coat (not to cook.) Using a slotted spoon, lay cranberries on a drying rack for ONE HOUR, at least. The cranberries should slightly sticky dry, but not wet.
Next, pour some sugar into a bowl. Pour cranberries into bowl to coat. And that’s it. Really.
Now, let’s sing – FA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LAAAAAA…it’s sugared cranberry brie bite time!
Only recently have I discovered the heavenly combination of strawberries and rhubarb. Oh my! Now I’m making up for lost time, using this family favorite peach cobbler recipe.Rhubarb’s tart and texture married with the sweet juicy strawberry…you’ve got to try this!
Last summer my friend, Tamar, gave me a tiny, and very special rhubarb plant. I stuck it in the ground and watched it grow into an enormous plant. And even better – I keep cutting stalks and they keep growing back! (Just for fun, have your kids take a bite out of the stalk…hehehe…but not the leaves!)Not to worry if you missed June’s strawberry season; this cobbluh’ was made with frozen picks from last month. It’s just as good as freshly picked! With only six simple ingredients, you can whip this up in a snap. Bake for about an hour Mmmm… Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream. Or eat it right out of the baking dish. YUM.
Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler
1/2 Cup (1 stick) of Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Self-Rising Flour
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Raw Rhubarb (chopped)
1 Cup Strawberries
Melt butter in microwave.
In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, and milk together. Whisk in cooled butter. Pour batter in greased pie dish. Drop cut rhubarb and strawberries into batter.
This is one of the most popular recipes ever published by the New York Times, courtesy of Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery, who designed this bread as a minimalist technique for anyone who wants to bake a fantastic loaf of bread.
Let me tell you – it’s fantastic. And works every single time.
It is SO good and SO easy to make that I’ve made enough loaves to open a small bakery. Except we gobble it up too quickly to sell.
I like to do this in the morning or at night and than leave it alone for a day or two. Takes 5-10 minutes.
This recipe guarantees: soft and airy on the inside and chewy delicious on the outside.
Three ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, and water. Stir.
That’s it. The dough will be wet and shaggy. Cover with plastic wrap for12-18 hours. Here is where the science comes in. Your dough needs to rest for a long time to allow the gluten to become long elastic molecules – the reason for no kneading.
You’re going to bake using a covered dutch oven (or cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic.)
A covered dutch oven? Yes, this crust needs a lid to bake. The Professor gifted me with this beauty and I absolutely adore it. You can cook soups and stew on the stove and bake puffed pancakes and bread in the oven; it’s my most favorite kitchen item!
Unlike the New York Times recipe, I use parchment paper. The advantage is you simply lift up the paper (with the bread on it) and place in pre-heated dutch oven.
Baby loaves. Which cook more like a four-leaf clover. Package it up all pretty if you like. Deliver warm. And you’ll have friends for life.
The New York Times No-Knead Bread*
3cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cups water (5/8 is just barely shy of 2/3 cup!)
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water (warm or cold,) and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
Dough is ready when doubled and bubbly. Heat oven to 450. Place dutch oven in the oven.
Lightly flour a work surface or parchment paper. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your fingers, work dough into a ball and onto the floured surface. Sprinkle with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Let rest about 30 minutes (OR longer – NYT lets it rest for 2 hours!) When dough is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
Remove hot pot from oven. Carefully pick up parchment paper and place in heated dutch oven. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 10ish minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Eat and realize that life is beautiful because of warm bread.
It was voted Thanksgiving’s #1 dish, and that’s saying something in this house where we are surrounded by viable Chopped contestants.
It’s also saying something as I have struggled to like sweet potato since I was a wee lass growing up on the plains of Nebraska. The sweet potato has so many virtues and has long been touted as one of the world’s healthiest foods. Why couldn’t I adore it? But this. Love at first bite. The butter, sugar, and pecans might have something to do with it, but you have to start somewhere, right?
This Sweet Potato Pie comes from Auntie Jill, passed down from her mama Nancy in Iowa. The first two Makechnie boys married girls from the midwest. Aren’t we quaint?
Mama Nancy’s recipe sure was delish, but Jill saw the need to healthify it by cutting the sugars in half, using dates instead of white sugar, and fresh sweet potato instead of canned in syrup. Still, we agree it’s more of a dessert to be eaten after a 5k Turkey Trot (or sleeping in, whatevs,) and goes ever so wonderfully with any meat and potatoes meal, like Thanksgiving. Which is why I’m posting this in January. Makes perfect sense, right? You’ll peel, cut, and boil 4-6 sweet potatoes. Mash them with butter. Add sugar, salt, eggs, milk, vanilla. Now for the topping! Chop 1 cup pecans. Add brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon to the pecans. Spread sweet potato in a pretty pie baking dish. Add the nut and sugar topping. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve and swoon.
Sweet Potato Pie Casserole
4 and 6 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar (*or puree 1/2 cup pitted dates with 1/2 – 1 cup hot water until thick paste forms)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk (2% or more is best)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup pecans, chopped (or pecan/walnut combo)
Boil sweetpotatoes until soft and mashable. Mash with butter. Add sugar or pureed dates, salt, eggs, milk, vanilla. Mix well.
Pour into ungreased 9″ glass baking dish or a deep dish pie plate.
For topping: in a separate bowl mix brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon with fingers or pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Stir in nuts.
Sprinkle the topping on the sweetpotato mixture and bake @ 350 for 40 minutes.
Can be made ahead.
Thanks Auntie Jill and Mama Nancy – we sure do ENJOY!
Posting again because it’s Halloween and this is my favorite treat: pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting. Woo-Hoo, BOO!
This recipe is adapted from a Pillsbury cookbook (I omitted 1/2 cup white sugar and it’s still a beautiful thing.)
A warning: This cookie is only allowed in October and November. Otherwise, I’d eat so many I’d turn into a pumpkin and roll away.
They are really that good.
I have resisted posting this recipe here because I like to blog only healthy treats.
The story goes like this – I made this decadent treat for my son’s eighth-grade field trip bake sale. He brought them to school and came home saying, “Mom, the teachers didn’t even put them out – they ATE them! They ate ALL of them!”
Of course this delighted me.
And I couldn’t blame them. I don’t like to share them either.
The next day, several teachers pounced on me, begging me for the recipe. Okay, I might be exaggerating the pouncing part. But they really really wanted it, so I relented.
I’m just giving you what you want 🙂
First, you’ll cream the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and pumpkin. Then you’ll add the dry mix of flour, baking powder and soda, a dash of cinnamon and salt.
I could tell you that I grew the pumpkin myself, cut, cooked, and pureed them, too. But that would be a lie. Canned Libby’s pumpkin does quite nicely!
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes and you’ve got this glorious yum-yum. Sometimes we just eat them plain and they’re still a treat.
While the cookie cools, make the frosting.
The original frosting does not call for cream cheese, but unless you add a boatload more powdered sugar, the frosting is too runny. Cream cheese is a nice binder and the taste? Mmm.
Halloween party, anyone?
So hear you go, my favorite fall cookie (aka, the cookie the teachers won’t share):
Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche (& Cream Cheese) Frosting:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (plain, not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups + 1 heaping tablespoon flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1-2 cup powdered sugar (or to desired thickness)
4-8 ounces cream cheese (optional & takes the place of some of the powdered sugar)
Heat over to 350. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, pumpkin, and egg. Mix. Add flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix just until incorporated. Spoon onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar. Stir constantly until small boil, slightly thickened. Cool 10 minutes. If using a hand mixer, add 1/4 cup milk and 1-2 cups powdered sugar (or enough for desired thickness.) Optional: 4 ounces cream cheese, which can take the place of some of the powdered sugar. Frosting should be thick enough to frost cookie without running off.
Because, my friends, this is a “clean” drink that is far better for your brain, heart, muscles, GI tract, and bloodstream. And I bet you have the ingredients in your pantry right now…and if not, they are easy to procure!
No more this…Instead, let’s start measuring some apple cider vinegar. Say what? Yes, it’s true. This original recipe comes from No Meat Athlete, with two tablespoons apple cider vinegar. But after a children’s taste testing, I trimmed it down to one. Next, some maple syrup. Ah…now I’ve got you, right? And some salt. When you lick your arm after a run, do you taste the sweat? (you do lick your arm, right? 🙂 ) Your body needs to replace that salt (electrolytes!) Next: water and juice and that’s it! A little posing for the camera… Now put in fridge and watch the kids fill up their water bottles and play like champs!
Homemade Grape Gatorade
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
2 cups 100% grape juice
Directions: stir it all together and gulp!
Do we really need Gatorade? No, not unless we’ve been exercising about two hours and sweating like fiends. Water is best before and during a sporting event, but after a hard workout, it’s nice to refuel quickly with something a little more flavorful. I’m not actually a huge grape juice fan, but with this recipe, I like it. I liked it better than the first time I made it with cranberry-pomegranate. Use whatever juice you like, but make sure it’s 100%; we don’t need to be adding any more sugary drinks to our diet.
Refrigerate overnight and the flavors will meld and mellow a bit.
Put in ice cube tray and pop them into water bottles the next day for some next-day fuel.
Looking for a rice substitute? As an ardent rice lover, I don’t look for substitutes. Until I tried this. It’s fantastic!
Cauliflower, you say? Yes, it’s true.
It’s so tasty I predict you’ll be seeing a lot more of it. Why not be a trendsetter and start serving it now? My sister-in-law, Kim, introduced us to this recipe this summer and we are now converts – THANK YOU! All of the darlings loved it – it even looks like white rice.
It’s fine to chop or food process a head of cauliflower yourself, but finding it bagged is even more convenient; you’ll have a side in 15 minutes. I’ve seen chopped cauliflower in the freezer section and at Trader Joe’s. Snatch it and hold on tight! Otherwise, start here: Cut it up into florets: Pause and admire the pure whiteness: Now start choppin’! I was a little lazy and just wanted to eat; chop as fine as you can – like rice! Now chop some onion and put it in a pan with olive oil until onion is soft. Add the cauliflower, some garlic powder, salt, and pepper (and anything else you fancy!) When cooked, added some chopped cilantro. I would have gotten a better photo but we ate it so fast it was almost gone!
I especially love this “faux” rice paired with this Mexican dish: I’ll post that recipe next if you like!
Ready to eat? YES.
Tasty Cauliflower Rice:
Cauliflower florets, chopped fine (pre chopped if possible for time saver!)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper (to your preferred taste)
Heat olive oil on medium heat, add chopped onions, and cook until soft. Add chopped cauliflower, onion, garlic salt, salt, and pepper. Cook about 15-20 minutes until soft. Finish for one minute with chopped cilantro.
Variations include cauliflower fried rice – add an egg, soy sauce, and green onion. Add to soups instead of rice or potato. Add a little bacon and you’re golden 🙂
Drink this (not the beguiling Shamrock Shake from the McD drive-thru that will wreck your gut…)
This one’s for you: The Green Shamrock Smoothie. Just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s a gut healer, not a gut destroyer. It will make you feel good instead of…not. It provides energy instead of migraines.
Do you suffer from bloating, constipation, gut aches and pains? The following ingredients are well-known for their gut healing magic.
Green Shamrock Smoothie (the gut healer)
1-2 Cups Water
1/2 Squeezed Lemon
1/2 inch Ginger (skin on, scrubbed)
1 Cup Spinach (fresh or frozen)
1 Cup Kale (fresh or frozen)
1/2 Avocado (peeled)
1 Green Apple (cut, skin on)
1 Frozen Banana
Directions: Put ingredients in the Vitamix (or other powerful blender and give it a whirl.)
If you’ve never had a really green smoothie before, this may take some acclimating. You may feel the need to grimace. But after awhile an interesting thing happens: taste buds change. After a day or two without my precious green smoothie, I start to crave greens. I need it. I want it. I must have it. my precious.
We’ve got a little brussel obsession going on in our house. What? You don’t like brussels? Do you have traumatizing soggy-vegetable memories from childhood? Well friends, your life is about to change with this dish.
My children actually like this green vegetable. Actually they LOVE it.
It all began one evening in San Diego when brother Seth said, “let’s go out and eat the brussels.” Say what? Who goes out to dinner for brussel sprouts? Now we know why. We were served the most amazing appetizer that The Professor and I RAN HOME to recreate right here in cow-land.
So good. So easy. Bonus: brussels are GOOD for you! (and so is bacon…right?)
It’s easy-peasy and easily made right on the stove top. Balsamic glaze is different than balsamic vinegar, which would make this dish a bit too watery. Find the glaze next to the vinegar and you’ll be a happy brussel eater.
Hold ’em high, Nellie Mak! Hold ’em proud. We went outside for the good light. “Mom, you’re so weird. Can I go inside now?” (And yes, it’s too much to ask to look at the camera)
Let’s get a closer iPhone look.
With a little help from the local piggy (recently procured and man is homegrown pork incredible!), parmesan cheese, and balsamic glaze, brussel sprouts have risen to the top of my list. I crave them. I want them. must have them.So here you go. And may the love of brussels be ever in your favor…
Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Parmesan Shavings
1-2 pounds brussel sprouts, washed and halved
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese shavings (good quality!)
Balsamic glaze to taste
On the stovetop, heat iron-cast or dutch oven pan/pot over medium heat. Add chopped bacon. Cook until halfway done.
Add washed and halved brussel sprouts, stirring frequently until brussels are dark green and you see some nice dark searing marks (about 10-15 minutes). Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and slide brussels and bacon onto serving dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese shavings on top of brussels.
Add balsamic glaze lightly, atop brussels and around dish for decoration.
The ingredient numbers are estimated. If you want to go with a full pound of bacon be my guest! If you like more parmesan, generously sprinkle.
Want more energy? Want to feel good? Want to make your skin glow with goodness? Inspired by Laura at abeautifulplate.com, I jumped at the chance to blend me some orange ginger-splashed magic just in time for love day. Start with juicy oranges A beautiful yellow beet (much sweeter and more mild than red)
1 carrot plucked fresh from the garden…or the grocery store will do
1 Braeburn apple – yum!
A hunk of ginger, 2 inches thick
Orange Ginger Splashed Smoothie:
2 navel oranges
1 medium golden beet, peeled
1 carrot, scrubbed
1 Braeburn apple, cut
2-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 to 1 cup water + handful of ice
Blend it all together and have a gulp of goodness (you know I fancy the vitamin for its superior blending capacity.) Who needs caffeine when you could have a smoothie to get going?
This recipe was inspired by pressed juice, meaning all the juice was squeezed out of the fruit and vegetables. But I prefer smoothies for several reasons: smoothies keep you full longer, they contain more nutrients especially fiber, there’s less waste, and they are much less time consuming to make than juicing. In addition, because of the fiber (the bulk), smoothies don’t hit your bloodstream so hard and fast like juices do, which means you have longer-lasting and more steady energy.
Convinced? Give it a try!
On Facebook, a friend asked, “isn’t that a lot of ginger?” Yes, it is! There is definitely a “zing” to this, which I like, but I’ve also acquired it. Ginger is terrific for gut health which is why I eat/drink so much of it. If you’re not a ginger fan, try less of it.
Looking for more valentine treats? You might like: