Loaded Cornbread

With all the soup flying out of the kitchen this season (sorry if you’re sick of my soups already – but we’re just getting started!), there’s no shortage of wondering what I’m going to serve along with it. When I was growing up, chili and cornbread was a frequent dinner at our house, and I loved soaking up all that juicy hearty broth with a soft slice of crumbly cornbread. It was like peanut butter and jelly, to me; the perfect combo.
Instead of just baking up a quick box of cornbread in a, well, jiffy (haah), tossing in a handful of goodness was definitely a no-brainer when it came to this loaded cornbread.

Really, you could toss just about anything into this cornbread and it would be awesome – I think we’ll try bacon next time! This time, we tossed in some sweet corn, a handful of onions for a teeny bit of that soft bite, and then we decided pepper jack would be the perfect little taste of heat for this cornbread. I can’t believe we’ve never tried this until now. It was SO. EASY. and we couldn’t stop nibbling on the cornbread pieces even after our chili bowls were practically licked clean!

Loaded Cornbread
makes 4 servings
ingredients:
1 package corn muffin mix (8.5oz) + ingredients to make it (eggs, milk, etc)
1/3 lb pepper jack cheese, grated
1/2 C frozen corn kernels
2 scallions, thinly sliced
method:
1. Preheat panggangan to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 glass dish with cooking spray.
2. Prepare corn muffins in a bowl according to directions on the package. Stir in cheese, corn, and scallions (reserving a tablespoon of corn, scallions, and cheese for sprinkling.
3. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 15-18 minutes (until center is cooked through).
recipe source: classic rachael ray, 30-minute meals, cracked cornbread cheese squares
 With all the soup flying out of the kitchen this season Loaded Cornbread  With all the soup flying out of the kitchen this season Loaded Cornbread  With all the soup flying out of the kitchen this season Loaded Cornbread  With all the soup flying out of the kitchen this season Loaded Cornbread  With all the soup flying out of the kitchen this season Loaded Cornbread  With all the soup flying out of the kitchen this season Loaded Cornbread
On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

https://bakingwithblondie.blogspot.com

Baby Greens And Blackberry Salad With Candied Walnuts And Blackberry Vinaigrette

Ever since spring has begin to peek it’s way lovingly through our windows, I’ve been craving the sweet bursting flavors of fresh berries. Thankfully, now that they are beginning to be in season (strawberries especially), I’ve been able to toss them into our salads without spending a pretty penny at the grocery store.
I’ve received a lot of fun and positive feedback from you fine people about my Berry Spinach Salad with Strawberry Lime Vinaigrette – thank you!!! I’ve even gone to a friend’s house and it’s what she had just barely served her family along with dinner. It was so fun to see, and I LOVE hearing about how the recipes I’ve shared have been working beautifully in your homes. That’s such a fun part of food blogging, and kind of my favorite part, actually.
Anyway, I thought we should try another salad recipe involving those gorgeous berries, and this time, I wanted to focus on one of my favorite berries in particular: blackberries! I used it in both the dressing and the salad, and we were absolutely smitten with how delicious it was!

Blackberries are deliciously tart, but not as tart as raspberries or even blueberries. They have such a fun sweetness in the aftertaste; a dark rich flavor. I just adore it!

 

I new we needed a bit of creaminess, other than the dressing of course, so fresh avocados were a no-brainer. Waiting for them to ripen is torture, so using a brown paper bag overnight usually speeds up the process perfectly.

 

I LOVE using candied nuts in my berry salads, so my toasted walnuts took a quick toss in some piping hot bubbling sugar on the stove. I let them dry, and then tossed them right into my salad. Easy, easy, way to candy nuts without having to pay a couple extra dollars at the grocery store for the pre-candied version.
Also, baby greens were a must. Not my husband’s favorite. I think he’s a straight romaine guy. Or iceberg lettuce, guy, really. I happen to enjoy the darker greens like spinach, kale, and the butter flavors of arugula. So this time, he had to suffer. haha. I don’t think he really minded after eating up some of this salad next to some fried chicken for dinner. The chicken gets him every time. 😉

 

Lastly, the dressing. Bright. Bold. and seriously gorgeous. I’ve never really been a dressing fan, mostly because there’s always too much vinegar for my taste – especially in those darned vinaigrettes. Well, they are “vinegar” based, so I shouldn’t complain too much. This one, though, uses less vinegar, and more agave or honey to meld perfectly with the sweet tartness of the fresh berry puree. It’s heavenly, and ties everything together like a wonderland. Oh, this salad. Pretty please make this salad. So amazing!!!

 

 

Baby Greens and Blackberry Salad with Candied Walnuts & Blackberry Vinaigrette
makes 4 servings

ingredients:
1 salad package of baby greens (I love using just spinach and kale, too)
1 C fresh blackberries
1 avocado, diced
candied walnut halves (you can candy your own with heated sugar and raw walnut halves)
sprinkle of feta or blue cheese
dressing:
3/4 C blackberries
2/3 C EVOO
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
2 T honey or agave
1/4 C cold water (add little at a time)
method:
1. Prepare the dressing: in a small food processor or blender (I use our single-serving smoothie blender cups), blend together all the ingredients. Add the water a little at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
2. On 4 salad plates, or one large bowl, layer on the baby greens, blackberries, avocado, walnuts, and cheese. Drizzle on as much or little of the dressing as you wish.
 
Salad recipe:
Dressing recipe adapted from: Creme de la Crumb
On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

I’ve made pumpkin cinnamon rolls before, but never have I spiraled the cinnamon roll until it turned into a giant pumpkin cinnamon roll cake! I mean, holy smokes! It was amazing, and it’s going to be pretty hard to not spiral my cinnamon rolls into a giant cake after tasting this beauty.

This dough, you guys. It’s GORGEOUS! I guess I’m just so used to the creamy white cinnamon roll dough, that this vibrant orange just lit up our kitchen with Fall goodness.

 

(P.S. I’m in love with the way my husbands hands photograph. I mean, I don’t even keep my nails that trim, and I’m a girl! haha)
This recipe is the exact same recipe I use for my regular pumpkin cinnamon rolls, however, I saw this design and couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen and give it a try. Turns out, it’s not that hard, and has such a beautiful result! You start out just as you would a normal pumpkin dough, let it rise, roll it out, but instead of rolling it into a log and slicing it up, there’s a merk new method involved…

 

When the dough has been rolled out into a giant rectangle on a large flat surface, and speared/sprinkled with all kinds of delicious pumpkin/cinnamon filling, grab the pizza roller. Slice long rows about 1 inch thick. With the center strip of dough, Roll it, starting from one end to the other, making one small cinnamon roll. Place it on the next strip, and continue the roll the cinnamon roll around it. Repeat this trick for maybe 2 more strips until its too big to handle. Carefully place the cinnamon roll in the center of a greased pie round. With the remaining strips, wrap them around the giant cinnamon roll until the strips reach the edges of the pie round. Cover with a towel, and let rise for a little bit. Pop it in the panggangan and BAM. You have yourself a cinnamon roll so giant, you can slice it like a cake/pie.

 

The only change I would make the next time we have this (I mean, the next hundred times we make this – so amazing!), would be to double the filling. It ended up more like a cake, and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with cake-texture, but I missed the gooey insides in this tasty treat. I’ve reflected those changes in the directions. Enjoy!

 

Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake
makes 10 servings
ingredients:
1/4 C warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
1/3 C warm milk
3/4 C 100% canned pumpkin
1 T melted butter
1 egg
3-4 C all purpose flour
1/2 C brown sugar
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t ground ginger
filling:
1/2 C butter, softened
3/4 C brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 t pumpkin pie spice

frosting:

4oz cream cheese
4 T butter softened
1 T vanilla
2-4 C powdered sugar
milk for thinning to desired consistency

method:
1. In the bottom of the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until yeast activates.
2. Add milk, pumpkin puree, beaten egg, melted butter, and about 1 1/2 C flour, brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and ginger. Beat for about 2 minutes on medium speed.
3. Switch out paddle attachment for the dough hook attachment. Slowly add remaining flour, a little at a time, until dough becomes smooth and stretchy. I did all the kneading in the mixer with the paddle attachment, but if you don’t have one, remove the dough from the mixing bowl, and knead out on a floured surface until ready.
4. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn dough around in bowl so the entire ball is slightly coated in grease. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for about an hour until dough is doubled in size.
5. Roll out dough in a large rectangle on a slightly floured surface , about 18-20 inches. Smear surface with slightly melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. With a pizza cutter, slice several 1 inch wide strips through the dough (as if you’re making breadsticks). Starting from one end of the dough to the other, roll one of the strips into a “cinnamon roll”. Place the cinnamon roll on the next strip, and roll around the outside of the cinnamon roll. Continue until the cinnamon roll is about 8 inches wide, then place into the center of a pie dish. With the remaining strips, wrap around the outside of the cinnamon roll until it reaches the thickness of the pie plate. 
6. Cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes until doubled in size. Mine took about an hour, so keep an eye on it. Preheat panggangan to 375 degrees.
7. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden. Cover with aluminum foil if the edges are getting too toasty. Make sure the center is cooked through. Remove from oven.
8. Prepare frosting while pumpkin rolls are baking – beat softened cream cheese & butter together until combined. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk until you gain your desired consistency – I like mine more like frosting vs. glaze, so it’s up to you! Frost giant pumpkin roll while warm, and serve right away like a pie (slicing in pie slices). Reheat if serving later. They taste great cold, but AMAZING warm.

 
recipe adapted from:
giant cinnamon roll cake design inspired by: Sallys Baking Addiction
 but never have I spiraled the cinnamon roll until it turned into a giant pumpkin cinnamon Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake  but never have I spiraled the cinnamon roll until it turned into a giant pumpkin cinnamon Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake  but never have I spiraled the cinnamon roll until it turned into a giant pumpkin cinnamon Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake  but never have I spiraled the cinnamon roll until it turned into a giant pumpkin cinnamon Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake  but never have I spiraled the cinnamon roll until it turned into a giant pumpkin cinnamon Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake  but never have I spiraled the cinnamon roll until it turned into a giant pumpkin cinnamon Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake
On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

Chicken Avocado Grilled Wrap

There are weeks when we try new recipes for dinner almost every single night, and then there are weeks like a couple weeks ago when we just chug along with the usual tacos, spaghetti, etc. And hey! There’s nothing wrong with that, friends.
Unless you’re a food blogger…

Then you’ve doomed your blog for a week of what some would see as complete “laziness” at work. Yes, I know this is a business and income, but darn it. My house needed deep-Spring cleaning, I spent the week playing with my son and family, I got some much-needed pregnancy naps, I ignored social media for the most part, got all my work done for the music organization I volunteer my time for, got everything prepped and ready for my calling in Primary over 130+ children, babysat my niece and nephews for a couple straight days, took four bags of things out my door to donate, ran all my errands, prepped all the baby things we have ready for baby #2, started the last season of White Collar with Ryan, and made some fun cakes/cupcakes for a fashion photo shoot. Talk about laziness, right?! (thick sarcasm here, folks) I got so much done, people. It was amazing. I loathed the thought of sitting in front of a computer or screen for any reason. It was a nice break from the fun, but sometimes too-much-real-life-consuming, blogging life.
Somehow I still found myself fighting the constant need to bake a new recipe, try a new dish alongside dinner, and add to my never-ending list of recipes to try for the blog. This means I really love what I do on here – I just needed to attend to, well, my life! But it’s back. I’m ready. My schedule is set, house is cleaned, and I’m ready to get back into the kitchen for some new (simple) recipes. So thanks for your patience last week – sometimes we bloggers need a minute to breathe, and a break enough to shut everything down for a while. It’s healthy, man.
This recipe was one we’ve had a couple times, and I thought it might be too simple to share. But we keep coming back to it, keep loving it, and keep putting it on our hidangan rotation. So I guess that’s definitely a win for us, and hopefully for you! The ingredients are very simple: whole grain tortilla, chicken, pepper jack, avocado, and a little sprinkle of cilantro. Yep. That’s it. Grill them in all in a pan to warm that gooey cheese, and you have a lovely healthy easy wrap for dinner. We served this one alongside some mexican rice, and a bowl of fresh watermelon + strawberry slices (my favorite fruit combo). It was fresh and light, didn’t sit in our bellies forever, and using the rotisserie chicken was a triple win, in my book. Enjoy your week! See you back here real, soon, friends. 🙂

 

Chicken Avocado Grilled Wrap
makes 4 servings
ingredients:
4 large whole grain tortillas
2 C shredded pepper jack cheese
4 C rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 ripe avocados, sliced
handful of chopped cilantro
method:
1. On a grill pan, heat the pan over medium heat. Place a tortilla on the pan and sprinkle middle area with cheese. Top with chicken, avocado, and a little cilantro. Let cook until cheese is visibly melted, then carefully wrap one side of the tortilla over the fillings, fold over the sides, then fold over the last flap (like a burrito). Flip the entire wrap over so the opening flaps are down. Cook for 3 minutes, until lovely grill marks appear and the fillings have been heated through. Serve warm with mexican rice and fresh fruit.

Source Recipe: https://bakingwithblondie.blogspot.com

On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

Easy Side Dish: Zucchini Rice

I know we’re all probably getting super sick of zucchini. I know I was, but I had a pile of zucchini in the kitchen to eat from the garden, and was completely determined to not waste any of it. Sound familiar?
Turns out, my husband and son hate zucchini with a fiery passion. I ended up eating zucchini noodles on almost a daily basis to try to deplete the stockpile of zucchini on our kitchen counter. Unfortunately, I still had about three giant ones I needed to eat, and they wouldn’t fit inside my veggie-noddle maker. So I knew I needed to roll up my sleeves, and get this zucchini thing done asap – and in a way my husband and son would actually try.

This was by far the easiest one of the three merk new recipes I want to share with you. And when I say easy, that’s probably the hugest understatement of the year. This was RIDICULOUSLY easy, especially if you have a rice cooker.

I placed everything in the slow cooker (rice, water, butter), and let it work it’s magic. Lately, we’ve preferred jasmine rice. I love the taste, how easy it is to each with chopsticks if needed, and how well it seeps in whatever flavors it’s surrounded by. You can also use brown rice for this dish, but for taste’s sake – if your family is anything like mine, they’re more likely to eat it if there’s a little white rice vs brown in this dish. Then after the rice was finished cooking, I tossed in some grated zucchini (I just used my cheese grater – easy enough, right?), let it steam for 10 minutes, seasoned it with a little salt and pepper, and BAM, the thing was done.
I told you it was easy.
Whatever you’re making this week, if you have a zucchini on the counter & some rice in the pantry, and need a side dish, this is your go-to side right here. It’s not packed with too much flavor, but I think that’s the point. We didn’t want to be slammed over the side of the head with zucchini, but wanted something that complimented whatever fresh fruit and grilled meat we were having. This fit the bill perfectly!
Easy Zucchini Rice 
makes 4 servings
ingredients:
1 C jasmine rice
2 C water
1 T butter
1 medium zucchini, ends removed, grated
salt & pepper to taste
method:
1. With your rice cooker, cook rice according to manufacturers directions (adding in white rice, water, and butter). When the rice is done, remove lid and toss in raw grated zucchini, top with lid again. Let steam for 10 minutes tops, season with salt and pepper, serve as a side.

https://bakingwithblondie.blogspot.com

On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

Baked Honey Garlic Chicken

With my first pregnancy (our now 4 year-old son), I craved one thing, and one thing only: Chinese food. Not the classy, upscale, good stuff (not sure where that exists, but I’m sure it does somewhere). I wanted the trashy am-I-eating-cat-or-what-the-heck-is-this Chinese food from the random food court in a shady strip mall. Orange chicken. Fried Rice. All of it. I wanted it. I craved it all the time.

It was horrible, and I knew it was. But nothing, NOTHING, could fix that craving except the “real” fake thing. It was annoying. I forced myself to stick to getting my crappy Chinese food fix only once a month after my monthly baby doctor appointment.

Luckily, this time around with baby #2 (due July 1st, but we’ll have him sometime in the last half of June), I have been craving just the opposite. Grapefruit juice. Watermelon. Granola. The Super Green smoothie from Whole Foods, Sounds a little better than Chinese food, eh?
I still love trying take-out style recipes at home, though. And because this one is all-baked (no babysitting a pool of oil for frying), it’s much heathier for you. Serve these little baked honey garlic chickies next to some steamed fresh veggies and a bowl of brown rice? Now we’re talking.
This recipe makes an entire 9×13 pan full of chicken. Our little family of three (soon to be four. woah.), definitely had some leftovers to fight over. And MAN did we fight over them! The chicken had such a sweet tang to the sauce that soaked up all the crispy baked crust surrounding each little piece. It was heavenly! So if by chance you’re craving the trashy Chinese food I did with my first, try this instead. haha. Definitely a much, much, healthier option. 🙂
Baked Honey Garlic Chicken 
makes 4 servings
ingredients:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
salt and pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
1 C flour
1 C panko bread crumbs
1/3 C honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T soy sauce
1 t Sriracha sauce
1 T cornstarch
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 t sesame seedsr
method:
1. Preheat panggangan to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a glass 9×13 baking dish. Prep the chicken by seasoning it with salt and pepper.
2. Prepare three bowls. One with the flour, one with the panko, and one with the eggs (whisked, with a small splash of water – like 1 teaspoon’s worth). Working in batches, with one hand for dry ingredients and one hand for wet ingredients, dunk the chicken in the flour, then the eggs, then the panko. Press chicken into the panko to make sure it coats the entire surface. Place in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with all the chicken.
3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until chicken is brown, crisp, and cooked through.
4. Make the sauce by combining the honey, garlic, soy sauce, sriracha, over medium heat. Stir together and heat through. Combine cornstarch and 1/3 C water. Stir slurry into the saucepan until thickened, about 2 minutes, then gently pour over the cooked chicken. Gently toss to combine, serve hot over steamed rice, garnished with sesame seeds and green onion pieces.
Recipe adapted from: Damn Delicious
On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cups

I’ve been wanting to make homemade peanut butter cups for some time now. That sweet & creamy peanut butter filling and the way that soft chocolate melts all over my hands is something I am borderline addicted to. Around Christmas, Halloween, and Easter, peanut butter cups are a must at our house. Never, though, have I had the guts to make them at home… let alone shove a giant slice of Fall right into the filling…

Pumpkin peanut butter cups.
Guys.
But really.
And they were super easy. EASY.
Can I say E.A.S.Y enough?? And PUMPKIN? I mean, this is a win-win for everyone. Whenever Fall rolls around, I try my best to somehow shove pumpkin into all of my desserts. September-November is when I try to embrace the Fall flavors as much as I can, and finding new ways to sneak in that pumpkin flavor is always something I look forward to. This is definitely one of those recipe I’d knew would work right away, and embraced every last morsel with my husband within only 12 hours of making them. They were just too yummy! The filling is very simple to make (with only a few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry) and the outside of the cup is just the traditional chocolate. I bet this would be AMAZING with dark chocolate, too. These melted perfectly in our mouths, and teased us with the promise of even more peanut butter cup variations. The sky is the limit with these little beauties!
I was kind of nervous to make these at first. But I received an amazing little treat in the mail from Rizzi at The New York Baking Companyand it was just the push I needed to jump on the homemade peanut butter cup train. You see, I was always worried that whenever I made the cups, that the chocolate would stick to the paper liners, and I’d have a giant mess on my hands (and not the chocolately one – the paper-stuck all over everything kind). But for these gorgeous BPA free silicone cups, after making and freezing these little peanut butter pumpkin beauties, they CAME RIGHT OUT PERFECTLY! I couldn’t believe it! I was so pleased and excited to start another batch right away. It was super awesome. I imagine these would be perfect for muffins, cupcakes, school lunch partitions, as well, but I wanted to think a little outside the box. And from there, the view was downright tasty.

 

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cups
makes 12 cups
ingredients:
2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 C smooth peanut butter
5 T pumpkin puree
1 T light brown sugar
3/4 t pumpkin pie spice
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla extract
method:
1. Stir together the chocolate and vegetable oil in a microwave safe bowl. In 20 second increments, until the chocolate is melted completely.
2. While it’s melting, stir together the peanut butter, pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and vanilla. If it looks too wet, add in some more pumpkin puree. If it’s too dry, add pumpkin puree. Adjust the consistency to be what you want. You can’t really go too wrong here.
3. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners, and spoon in about a tablespoon of melted chocolate. Hit the bottom of the muffin tin gently on the counter until the chocolate is flat in each tin. Freeze for 5 minutes.
4. After the bottoms are set, roll a little bit of the filling into about a tablespoon ball, and flatten one in each of the melted chocolate circles. Make sure it’s flattened, but not all the way to the edges. Pour melted chocolate over the filling until it’s the same level covering the filling. Tap muffin tin pan on the counter again. Freeze for 5-10 minutes until firm. Store in the fridge.
idea & recipe adapted from: chocolate covered katie & diethood 
On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

Croissant French Toast

We are a firm believer in brinner. Usually once a week, one of our dinners is planned out to be omelets, pancakes, a breakfast casserole, or french toast. French toast is definitely one that we come back to very often – mostly because we almost always have all the ingredients for it (bread, eggs, milk, etc). It’s also super cheap to make! Talk about a super-inexpensive and easy way to get dinner on the table, and fast. However, I always, against my husband’s raised eyebrow, try to serve a green smoothie along with it to my boys; because, veggies always, always, always need to happen (especially at dinnertime). A little bit of bacon, shredded fresh hash browns, or a veggie scramble, would go lovely next to these lovely buttery bites of heaven, too.
So why croissants? Well…
I usually buy two large loaves of bread at Costco every two weeks. Sometimes every three, depending on how quickly the boys go through them. But a couple weeks ago, I found myself on a Thursday night (night before grocery day on Friday morning), without any bread in the pantry or waiting to be thawed from the freezer. Dang it! Drives me crazy when that happens! I did, however have some croissants leftover from when I made these amazing BLT Egg Salad Sandwiches. Instead of rushing to the store for some bread, I decided to use up what we already have, and make those buttery layers of croissant goodness into french toast. GUYS, oh man. It was amazing!

I don’t know how we’ll ever go back to making french toast any other way. Seriously. There’s just something about the way a croissant makes the typical french toast into a true masterpiece.

Look at those buttery slices! It was amazing! Each slice was dunked in a recipe for french toast that I’ve had since the beginning of time. The secrets to making lovely french toasts with a lot of flavors are 1) Use some extracts, but don’t go overboard. I use a bit of vanilla and a teeny bit of almond. 2) Make sure the eggs are completely broken up in the milk. 3) Using almond milk tastes incredible. 4) Cook the first side a lot, and the second side a little. 5) Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on the toasts after they hit the griddle. Just on one side. A little goes a long way, and it tastes incredible.
Fresh fruit also helps, too! Strawberries are still on the cheap here in the valley, so we’ve been indulging in getting the large container, soaking them in vinegar with a little water, and enjoying them all week long! I absolutely love french toast – the next time you make them, use what you have! Slice up the rolls super-thin, or use up that leftover hoagie bread, or in this case: croissants were a total win.

 

Croissant French Toast
makes 4 servings

ingredients:
6 large croissants, sliced in half longways, making 12 flat circles
3 eggs
1/2 C almond milk (or whole milk, or whatever you have on hand)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t almond extract
1/2 T unsalted butter
2 T cinnamon sugar (1 1/2 T sugar, 1/2 T cinnamon
fresh fruit for garnish
method:
1. Preheat griddle to 350 degrees. In a medium flat bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and extracts.
2. Melt butter on the griddle, spreading it around with a spatula to reach all the corners. One by one, completely submerge the croissant slice in the egg mixture (both sides should be coated, but not soaked), then place on the hot griddle. Repeat with remaining croissant circles (enough that can fit on the griddle – might have to do two batches if you have a smaller one).
3. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar on up-facing side of the croissants. After about 2 minutes, when the down-side is browned, flip croissant french toasts over. Cook for about 30 seconds, then remove from griddle. Serve with fresh fruit and syrup.
 

Source Recipe: https://bakingwithblondie.blogspot.com

On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

Baked Zucchini Nuggets

Yet another zucchini recipe birthed in my mission to use up whatever zucchini we’re able to snag from the garden. I know my son and husband hate zucchini, but I have been on fiery quest to find a way to get them to eat it. Let’s just say… this was was right on target! They were close enough to chicken nuggets to convince them to even try it, and that in my book is a win, my friends.

Each little zucchini cube was breaded the exact same way I’d bread little chicken pieces for chicken nuggets. Using a winning combination of Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs), Italian bread crumbs (using Italian adds in that garlicy/herb flavor I love), and parmesan cheese makes such a dreamy little crunch on the outside of each little zucchini. Instead of frying them up in a pile of bubby oil, I thought it would be much healthier to bake these little lovelies in the oven. I placed the breaded zucchini on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, popped them in the oven, and they crusted up beautifully. The outside coating sealed in that soft & beautiful zucchini flavor.
Dunking these little zucchini nuggets in marinara sauce is a must. When Ryan and I lived in Provo, we’d visit Magleby’s in Springville, Ryan would always let me order the breaded zucchini appetizer, and it always came with marinara sauce. Since then, I was hooked, and am thoroughly convinced breaded zucchini (like these darling little zucchini nuggets) need to be served with some warm marinara sauce. It’s absolutely dreamy! Anyway, if you’re thinking of whipping up something a little more outside-of-the-zucchini-bread box, give this recipe a try. We just love it!
Baked Zucchini Nuggets
makes 4 servings
ingredients:
4 medium zucchini, ends removed, cubed
1 C all-purpose flour
3 eggs, whisked + a splash of water
1 C Italian bread crumbs

1 C Japanese Panko crumbs
1/2 C Parmesan cheese, blended into a powder
Marinara sauce for dipping

method:
1. Preheat panggangan to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Prepare three bowls: 1) flour, 2) whisked eggs + splash of water, 3) Italian bread crumbs, Panko and Parmesan.
3. Working in batches of 4 or 5 zucchini, and using one of your hands for wet ingredients and one hand for dry ingredients, submerge zucchini cubes in the flour, (switch hands) then the egg mixture, (switch hands again) then the dry crumbs. Place on the baking sheet, and repeat until all the zucchini has been coated and placed on the sheet.
4. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Check them at 25, flip over, and cook a little bit longer until you’ve reached a squishy texture and the coating is golden. Serve with warm marinara sauce.
Recipe Source: baking with blondie
 Yet another zucchini recipe birthed in my mission to use up whatever zucchini we Baked Zucchini Nuggets  Yet another zucchini recipe birthed in my mission to use up whatever zucchini we Baked Zucchini Nuggets  Yet another zucchini recipe birthed in my mission to use up whatever zucchini we Baked Zucchini Nuggets  Yet another zucchini recipe birthed in my mission to use up whatever zucchini we Baked Zucchini Nuggets  Yet another zucchini recipe birthed in my mission to use up whatever zucchini we Baked Zucchini Nuggets  Yet another zucchini recipe birthed in my mission to use up whatever zucchini we Baked Zucchini Nuggets
On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

Grilled Chicken With Lemon Bakteri Pasta

I’m not usually a fan at all of lemon in pasta. Countless of recipes have been tried where lemon is the star of the pasta dish or the chicken dish, and after trying the recipe, there was always what I felt was too much lemon. It was completely overpowering, and I would have to spend the next 10 minutes or so trying to figure out how to bring everything back in balance. I bomb recipes all the time, and figuring out how to save it is just part of the game at dinnertime!
This recipe, however, has completely changed my mind. I wanted to give lemon pasta one more go, and was happily proven wrong! THIS IS AMAZING STUFF, folks. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

First, I seasoned the chicken with steak seasoning. Not typically a choice I would make, but I’ve been craving steak like a mad woman, and steak wasn’t on the menu. Anyway to fake that steak flavor, right? Definitely a stretch, I get it. But it actually cooked beautifully with the juicy chicken on the grill. Make sure to not overcook your chicken. Yes, make sure you hit the 165-degree mark, but don’t overcook – that’s when things get dry and well, not awesome. I grilled my chicken, pulled them aside on a plate covered in aluminum foil, and let them rest while I made the pasta.
Okay, so the pasta is insane. Basil and lemon. Lemon and basil. The marriage of the ages has come together to wrap themselves around each little spiral pasta. With a little help from some cream and lots of parmesan, the usual power-trip of the lemon was mellowed, and everything came together beautifully. The bakteri is such a huge help in making the lemon the star, without having it taste sour, and I LOVED that. We had this for dinner a couple weeks ago with a side of fresh steamed peas and a pile of fruit. Dinner was super-easy to throw together, and with the busy lives we all lead, it’s kind of nice to have one of these recipes in your back pocket to whip out quickly! Enjoy, dear friends!

 

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta
makes 8 servings
ingredients:
4 whole grilled chicken breasts, or 12 grilled chicken tenders, sliced*
1 lb whole grain spiral pasta, cooked until al dente
1/2 stick of unsalted butter (1/4 C)
2 whole lemons, juiced
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C half and half
1 C + 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
15 medium bakteri leaves, chopped
method:
1. Cook pasta according to directions on package until al dente, reserve 1 C hot pasta water. Strain pasta and set aside.
2. In the same large pot, melt butter over medium heat, then squeeze in the lemon juice (watch out for seeds!), whisk together, then pour in the creams. Keep whisking until warmed through completely, then dump in the cheese. Keep whisking until cheese is melted, add salt and pepper to taste. Add a little pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
3. Pour pasta into sauce and stir around until lemon sauce coats all the noodles. Toss in the basil. Serve in a bowl with sliced chicken breasts on top. Serve hot!
*I seasoned my grilled chicken with steak seasoning before grilling it outside. It definitely helped with the overall heartiness of the meat, over the bed of light pasta.
Recipe adapted from: Pioneer Woman
On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.