Dear Reader – (day 10) Super Health-ified Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin bread A 550

Hey! It’s a food day! Yay!

In case you didn’t deduce so much from the title, it’s pumpkin bread – with the fat and sugar dialed down, and the whole grains and protein dialed up.

We’ve got just the eensiest bit of butter in there (by baking standards, anyway), and instead of processed sugar we’re using real maple syrup and molasses (because rumor has it that, as far as sugars go, these two are the healthiest).

So now we can bypass all that godforsaken, processed-pumpkin-everything looming on coffee shop pastry shelves and grocery store convenience isles.

If you’re craving fall in a breakfast/afternoon snack/dessert, I suggest you try this.

The icing is optional, of course, and made with real powdered sugar. There was no way to modify that one and enjoy even remotely similar results. The bread’s perfectly tasty without it – so whether or not you top it with icing is all about how decadent you want to be. And, if you happen to be a gluten-free eater, check the notes section. Something tells me this would work quite well with gluten-free flour too.

Dear Reader – (Day 10) Super Health-ified Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bread

This quick bread could easily be made gluten free, simply by replacing the white and whole wheat flours with equal amounts of gluten free flour. I used glass loaf pans with this batch, and it worked well. I'm sure, however, that metal will do the trick too. A special note - because there is so little white flour in the recipe, the bread won't plump up as high as a regular quick bread might, but I assure you - even though it comes out fairly flat, and the slices end up rectangular, your pumpkin-loving heart won't be dissappointed!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (or ground rolled oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or almond meal
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup plain, 2%fat greek yogurt
  • For the icing
  • about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons half and half

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line two 9"x5" loaf pans with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine white flour, wheat flour, oat flour, almond meal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Stir to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine maple syrup, molasses, butter, eggs, and vanilla. MIx until incorporated. Butter will not mix in completely. It's ok.

Add half the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Fold until evenly mixed.

Add in pumpkin and greek yogurt. Mix again until incorporated.

Add in remaining dry mixture and fold until just mixed.

Pour half of the mixture into each loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes. Test with a toothpick.When it's inserted into the middle of a loaf and comes out with just a few cakey crumbs it's done.

Allow to cool on wire racks, in the loaf pans for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from loaf pans and carefully remove parchment paper. Allow to cool completely on wire racks.

For the Icing -

You really can eye-ball this one. Add your powdered sugar to a small bowl, then add small amounts of half and half, stirring well each time with a fork or whisk, until you reach the consistency you like. Voila!

Source

Adapted by Sara| Home is Where The Cookies Are, from sublimereflection.com

https://www.wherethecookiesare.com/2015/10/14/dear-reader-day-10-super-health-ified-greek-yogurt-pumpkin-bread/

Back to the blog – Part II, {Plus Zucchini Pound Cake!}

zucchini pound cake

We’ve got cake!

Far overdue, in my humble opinion, because this baby arrived in my kitchen back in May, it just never made it to the posting stage, because, well, you know – life.

As I type, I’m actually a little concerned I won’t be able to find my little notepaper where I scribbled my itsy bitsy changes. The bottom line is, it’s a Joy The Baker recipe, and there’s really never a need to change any of her cakes. Or doughnuts. Or pumpkin scones. They’re pretty much perfect. The girl knows her sugar/butter/egg combos. The only reason I changed anything at all had much, much more to do with what I had on hand than it had to do with necessity to alter anything. (If you love to bake and haven’t bought either Joy the Baker Cookbook yet, you probably should. At least one. Right now.)

But before we get to the recipe (just scroll to the bottom if you’re too antsy to wait!), I’ll finish the catch-up game:

Food? I spent nearly all of my internet trips back here revisiting old recipes – like shredded beef sandwiches, burritos, and roasted chicken. I also repeatedly searched for my Chimichurri recipe – which I now realize I need to post – because it’s not here. Posts I’m sure need to happen at some point? Buttermilk Biscuits, Chimichurri (I like redundency. I like redundency. (That’s a joke. Clearly.)), Asian chicken lettuce wraps, Sauteed corn with lime and cilantro and a delightful Mexican cheese whose name eludes me at this particular moment, and a dreamy fried french toast we had this morning. . . .

Art?  Why do I feel like such a poser when I write about this? I feel like an imposter trying to be an artist. It’s been so long since I’ve been fully immersed in it – 16 years, actually.  I feel genuine satisfaction in creating again, yet, at the same time I feel such anxiety over what people might think of me and the  crappy (< that’s the mean voice in my head) art I’m making. I’ve partially trained, yes, but not totally. I’m learning as I go all over again. There is a huge shame factor I’m going to need to overcome if I’m going to progress at all. I enjoy making art; it brings me peace. I feel at the same time like I know it, but I still have so incredibly much to learn. I love the way I feel when I make it, and I want to work on projects for hours and hours and hours. Until I make something I hate and then I crash and burn and loathe it all and want to crumple it up and thwack it into the trash can. No, not really, (kind-of really) but there is a true and real depression to sludge through when I can’t make something work. In fact, I currently hate this painting:

unfinished abstract

And I was dissappointed by this outcome.

rock sketchbook

BUT.

They were just practice. The painting is unfinished, and well, there’s no reason I can’t still work on the sketch. #worksinprogress.  I’m trying to find what’s mine by trying out what I see elsewhere, by taking classes, by experimenting to see what feels good to me. What comes naturally? What is satisfying? What makes me feel happy when I’m finished with it? What do I want to know how to do that I don’t know how to do? What is it that feeds me and brings me the most joy and in turn will feed others and bring them joy too? I’m still searching. . . . I imagine it’s a long, long journey that never really ends.

Speaking of never ending . . . ramble!

Enough about all this. Let’s make cake and we’ll finish catching up when our mouths are full of confection.

Part III coming next. . . .

Zucchini Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese (& Sour Cream) Frosting

This cake is delicious, homey, and like Joy describes, almost grandmotherly. You really don't even need the frosting if you feel like skipping that step. The original recipe is divine. I only changed this because 1) I always feel the need to substitute whole wheat flour when I can, and 2) poor planning meant I ran out of cream cheese and had to substitute sour cream in the frosting - however - it still turned out to be an incredible crowd pleaser. So, enjoy it either way. You can find the original recipe in Joy's book, the Joy the Baker Cookbook, 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.

Ingredients

    For the Cake:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • For the Frosting:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream (plus 1 more, if necessary for texture)
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (plus more, if needed for texture)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

For the Cake:

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan and set aside. (Grease well! Make sure there is no spot left un-buttered, or it will spell doom for your cake!)

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition, then add vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the melted butter and increase speed to medium-high to beat until velvety smooth, about 3 minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture, all at once, to the mixture. Beat until just incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to fold in the zucchini, and incorporate the rest of the flour. The batter will be thick, not pourable.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When completely cool, frost the entire cake with frosting, recipe below.

For the Frosting:

Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese for about 1 minute, ensuring that it is soft and pliable. Stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the softened butter to the bowl. Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 1 minute, until thoroughly combined. Add in 2 tablespoons of the sour cream and mix again until well combined and smooth.. Add dark brown sugar to the cream cheese mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, followed by the vanilla.Beat until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Beat on medium speed until all the powdered sugar has disappeared and mixture is velvety soft. If the frosting is too firm, add a couple teaspoons of sour cream to soften it up. If it appears too wet, add more powdered sugar by the tablespoon until you reach your desired consistency. Remember, it will firm up some once it is refrigerated. Use immediately by spreading over cake.

Store frosted cake in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Source

Adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook, by Sara|Home is Where the Cookies Are

https://www.wherethecookiesare.com/2015/09/15/back-to-the-blog-part-ii-plus-zucchini-pound-cake/

 

Raspberry Lemonade Bars + Random Things. . .

raspberry lemonade bars

I have a bit of writer’s block right now. Or blogger’s block.

I can’t seem to motivate to write about. . . hmmm.  Anything.

I sat here today (actually last Wednesday), wondering, “If I could write about anything right now, what would it be?”

And it was all so random.

Continue reading

Red Pear, Goat Cheese, and Candied Pecan Salad {with Raspberry Vinaigrette}

easy button pear salad 2ed 600We could also call this “The Best Ever ‘Easy Button’ Salad” too.

Because it is.

My friend Lara said to me once, “I totally pressed the Easy Button today and bought a rotisserie chicken for dinner”, and that got me thinking. . . . Yes. Easy button foods are good. Especially for this time of year.

So, we’re pressing the Easy Button here, because when we press it, it’s like a big breath of stressed air gushes out and relief replaces it.

I’m serious about this salad. Add it to your holiday dinner menu.

Continue reading

My Make-Believe Thanksgiving Menu

make ahead mashed potatoespecan bars Roasted Carrot Salad Caramel Apple Pie Bars TRoasted Cauliflower and Asparagus Soup| Home is Where The Cookies AreTraditional Thanksgiving

I feel a little torn today because, really, I want to start catching you up on old stuff so I can start talking about new stuff and then in my perfect little world, we’d all be on the same page. But I also feel like Thanksgiving is in a few days.

Actually, Thanksgiving IS in a few days, and, well, I feel the duty to post something Thanksgiving-y.

And since our Thanksgiving menu remains the same every year, I figure maybe the thing to do right now is daydream with you all.

If I were the Thanksgiving Menu Curator this year, this is how I’d roll:

1. I would spatchcock a Turkey, Bon Appetit style, but I’d probably skip the anise seed and orange and stick with salt/garlic/rosemary/thyme/pepper/honey.

2. I’d saute some green beans with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then toss them with crispy prosciutto bits, julienned sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts.

3. I’d roast some cauliflower and carrots ahead of time too, and serve them at room temp over a bed of peppery greens, sprinkled with goat cheese – the whole shebang smattered with slow fried shallots.

4. I’d make my mashed potatoes the day before.

5. And the sweet potato casserole too.

6. I’d start today and make some homemade rolls. Then I’d freeze them and let them thaw out on the drive to the In-laws on Thursday.

7. I’d go traditional with a Libby’s pumpkin pie, but then I’d veer outside tradition and steer straight into easily handled cookie bars for the apple and pecan pie varieties of dessert. Oh! And Spuma. I’d offer this cranberry maple spuma because it’s my menu, and I can.

What about you?? What’s on your Thanksgiving menu? And if I snuck in one new thing this year, what would you suggest? Because I might just do it. . . . . 😉

Thyme and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

Thyme and Cheddar Scallopped PotatoesCheesy. Potatoes.

That’s really all you need to know.

These are the kind of potatoes that say, I ♥ you, therefore I give you cheese.

Garlicky, herby, creamy cheese.

Oh, and carbs. Nothing says love like carbs.

I love you and I’m thankful for you: so I made you carb-y, cheesy, super thinly sliced potatoes baked to golden, crunchy-on-top perfection.

If you’re looking for a side for your Thanksgiving turkey, try them.

If you’re all set for Thanksgiving, and you’re looking for something to go with sliders and hot dogs for your next football party? Try them.

If you just want a different side to go with your meatloaf, because your tired of mashed potatoes. . . Yup. Try them.

If you’re a vegetarian and you don’t eat sliders or hot dogs or turkey or meatloaf and you want something to go with your. . . what do you eat? Beans? Yes. . . try them.

BTW – Tyler Florence? Thank you for the original recipe and your stylishly coiffed hair. Both have made life significantly more enjoyable.

Sooo.

Pretend there is a super apropos segue here – and not the kind the mall cops ride around on. I mean words that lead you nicely and smoothly into another subject.

Oh Look!

Here we are.

What were we talking about?

Oh yes. Change.

Life is changing, schedules are changing, activities are changing, and things will be changing here too.

Namely: topics.

I’ve realized that if I want to keep up here, then the subject matter is going to have to adjust along with me, so. . . weird?

We’ll still have food of course, but I chuckle when I think about how I’ve submitted myself to a total  food coup. It’s completely taken over.

In the beginning of all these cooking/blogging shenanigans, I imagined food would comprise about one-third of the content here, but obviously, I didn’t have a firm grip on my own obsessions. (It was also here that I discovered my weakness for chocolate. . .  to which I was somehow oblivious for my entire life up untill then.)

Food was central to our lives (well, it still pretty much is. . . ). It was happening all the time (still does), it’s what I loved (still do), and it was easy (enough) because I could “work” while the kiddos were away for their day at school (really, really, NOT so much anymore). As daily schedules would have it, my quiet cooking time has almost ceased to exist (as has interruption-free photography time). At the same time, old loves are re-emerging (art – with serious kid orientation), and new loves (the local homeless community) are meeting me where I’m at.

It’s no surprise, really –  I’ve talked about some of it before – I just never knew the W’s of it all (who, what, when, where. . .).

But it’s finally come together, and with a bit of a story to boot.

So I’ll share with you the parts I’m allowed to share. I’ll take you on the journey from the beginning – which was actually quite a while ago and a bit haphazard. It might come off a bit like a ride through a funky time warp (count this as your preemptive warning).

Our range of topics here will increase to equal Food+. Plus what, you say? Plus anything we want, I say.Thyme and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

The world blogosphere is our oyster.

From here on out, we will be about food and all the other things too.

I hope you’ll stick around.

And before I go – the recipe for the potatoes, lest I come off the wrong way – food will always remain!

Thyme and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 servings

Don't worry if you don't have a 10" cast iron skillet, or if you need to make a larger batch. You can easily double the recipe and bake it in a 9"x13" casserole dish. I'd be leaving out important information too, if I didn't admit that I started day dreaming about a more potent cheese in this recipe. . . Don't be afraid to try Gruyere - or maybe Fontinella. . . the options are nearly endless!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 sprigs of fresh Thyme
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • salt (to taste), and fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • butter - enough to coat skillet
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (I used a mix of Russet and Yukon Gold. 1 medium Russet, and 3 smallish Yukon Golds)
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered and very thinly sliced.
  • 3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup (heaping!!) shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese

Directions

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat a 10" cast-iron skillet with butter.

In a medium saucepan combine the cream, thyme, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and nutmeg.

Heat cream mixture slowly over medium-low heat. Whisk to combine, and taste when warm. Add desired salt and pepper. Keep hot, but do not simmer or boil, while slicing the potatoes.

Meanwhile, wash and peel the potatoes and slice them very thin (I used a Mandolin set at 1).

Place the sliced potatoes and thinly sliced onion in a large bowl. Remove and discard the solids from the cream mixture using a slotted spoon. Whisk in the cheddar cheese until melted and integrated well. Pour the cream and cheese mixture over the potatoes, stirring gently (and using clean hands if necessary), to make sure each potato slice gets a coating of the cream mixture. Add in 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan cheese and mix again. Spoon potato and cream mixture into the skillet. Arrange into an even layer. Pour remaining cream over the top, and sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Bake, covered with foil for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for about 20-25 more minutes, or until bubbly and top is golden brown.

Source

Sara|Home is Where the Cookies are, adapted from Tyler Florence

https://www.wherethecookiesare.com/2014/11/12/thyme-and-cheddar-scalloped-potatoes/