Monthly Archives: January 2012

Baked Maple Donuts

The good news is I am actually using my donut pan.  The bad news is I am using my donut pan and I need to up the frequency of my exercise L  I never even really liked donuts, they were an occasional treat and not even something I craved.  Since I started baking donuts I crave donuts, lots and lots of donuts.  I want to make donuts and keep thinking of different types to experiment with.  This week one of the donuts (yes I said 1, I told you I am using the pans too much) I experimented with was Baked Maple Donuts. 

The donuts are a pleasing combination of maple and brown sugar.  They have just the right amount of sweetness and really don’t need a frosting, just a light vanilla glaze to enhance the flavor.  Hope they add to your Sweet Mornings.

NOTE: I think these donuts are better after they have cooled and really enjoy them the next day.

Baked Maple Donuts

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1 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
¾ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs
¾ cup low fat plain yogurt (I used Stoneyfield Farm Organic)
½ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla glaze

Preheat oven to 375.
Spray a doughnut pan with cooking spray.

Mix together all dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, brown sugar.
Combine wet ingredients: melted butter, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, and maple syrup.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mix.

Spoon or pipe batter into pan.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Remove from pan and let cool a few minutes on wire rack.
Top with vanilla glaze frosting.

Makes 12 doughnuts

Vanilla Glaze

1-2 Tbsp water
¼ cup confectioner sugar

Add water to confectioners sugar a little at a time until glaze reaches desired

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Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Yesterday when I told my daughter what we were having for dinner she looked at me and gave me the face.  When I told my husband on the phone I got silence.  I also got “sweet potatoes again!!”  About 2 minutes into dinner I noticed that they were inhaling dinner.  Plates were being cleaned and forks licked.  Then I asked if they liked dinner and it was resounding, they LOVED it!!!!!! They want it again!!!  Today my husband texted me after eating his leftovers to tell me how good they were.  I have a new dinner recipe!!!!!

It is sooooooooo easy!!  I am all about quick, easy recipes and this is one.  It is a slow cooker meal, toss the ingredients in and when its dinner time it is there waiting for you.  Oh, and it has sweet potatoes and I am on such a sweet potato kick that I think I’m going to turn orange soon J.  Cut up half an onion and 2 sweet potatoes, mix them together and put them in the slow cooker.  Put the chicken thighs on top, season with salt and pepper and pour in balsamic vinegar and chicken broth.  That’s it, it is that easy, slightly tangy and the result is amazing  
Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

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½ medium onion, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 ½ cups chicken broth
4 boneless chicken thighs

Spray a slow cooker with cooking spray.
Add onion and sweet potatoes. Stir to combine.
Place chicken thighs on top.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pour balsamic vinegar and chicken broth over the top.
Put the cover on the slow cooker.
Cook 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.

Serves 4

Linked to  Slow Cooker Sunday

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Lemon Oatmeal Muffins

Muffins…a sweet, sort of healthy way to start your day.  Ok so they really aren’t that healthy but at least I am eating breakfast, right?  And these muffins have oatmeal, wheat flour, yogurt and lemon so see there is some healthy parts to the muffins.  

We have been having a big debate over how much lemon flavor is too much.  These muffins are for you if you like full on, slight pucker to your mouth lemon flavor.  If, like my daughter, you like a little less lemon reduce the lemon juice to ¾ cup. The oatmeal adds a welcome bit of texture to the muffins.  Hope they add to your sweet morning.

Lemon Oatmeal Muffins
inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

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⅔ cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 cup oatmeal
1 stick butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
¾ cup lowfat plain yogurt
1 cup lemon juice

For the Glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400. Line a muffin tin or spray with cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients: sugar, flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and oatmeal.

Combine wet ingredients: butter, vanilla, eggs, yogurt, and lemon juice.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

Use a ⅓ cup measuring cup to scoop batter into the muffin tin.

Bake 18-20 minutes.

This post is linked to:  Themed Baker’s Sunday , Muffin Mondays, Ultimate Recipe Swap: Citrus Fruit

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Sweet Potato Soup – Meatless Monday Week 2

It is Meatless Monday, the day I attempt to convince my husband that there are meals without meat.  The weather is damp and rainy so it is perfect for soup. A nice Sweet Potato soup (always looking for ways to use sweet potatoes) a little sweet, a little spicy with the ability to warm your bones. 

It also gives me the chance to use my handy dandy immersion blender to smooth it out (if you don’t have an immersion blender you can put the soup in a blender just please make sure to blend in small batches. I know, I speak from experience that too much in a blender is a DISASTER waiting to happen!!! You will find sticky orange residue in places you will not believe!!!).

As I was planning this recipe it suddenly dawned on me that I needed to swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth (it is Meatless Monday).  It was unbelievably difficult to find vegetable broth and when I did find it I cleared the shelf (there were only 3 cans remaining).  Once you bake the sweet potatoes the soup goes together quickly.  I use milk and let the soup simmer as long as possible to thicken it.  Serve with a salad and some bread or biscuits and you have a satisfying Meatless meal.

Sweet Potato Soup
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

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2 tbsp olive oil
1 ¼ pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 medium)
1 cup minced onions (about 1 large)
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 quart vegetable broth
½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 400. Poke sweet potatoes with fork on all sides and place in a pan or directly on to the oven rack. Roast the sweet potatoes for about an hour, or until the potatoes are fully roasted and tender. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin from the potatoes.

Heat a pot over medium high heat and add the oil. Add onions and sauté until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the cayenne pepper and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat

Add the roasted sweet potato to the soup and stir to blend. Simmer for 10 minutes, then blend with an immersion blender. Stir in the milk. Continue to cook until ready to serve. (Longer you cook it the thicker it becomes)

Linked to Just Another Meatless Monday, Mangia Mondays, What’s Cooking Wednesday

Journey to Homemade Bread – Week 1

I did it!! I did it!!!!  I did it!!!!  I made homemade bread!!!  Without a bread machine!!!!  And it tasted good!!!!!  And there was no cursing!!!!  Just lots of flour and cornmeal everywhere!!  And my family inhaled it and is begging for moreJ  Goal for the year well on the way.

My goal was to learn to make bread so I bought The Bread Baker’sApprentice by Peter Reinhart.  Read it and don’t panic (there is a lot of text to get through before the recipes) because it will all work out.  I made the recipe for Pain a l’Ancienne .  I ended up making 3 baguettes and used the rest for pizza dough (2 pizzas and froze crust for 2 pizzas).  The process was unbelievably easy, I used my Kitchen Aide mixer for mixing and kneading and it was so easy!!!  You mix the dough and put it in the fridge and then wait (this was probably the hardest part because I am VERY impatient and wanted the bread) until the next day. 
A few hours rising, some shaping and time for baking. 
The whole spray the side of the oven thing was a little strange and disconcerting but it made AMAZING bread!!!  The bread was the perfect mix of soft middle and crunchy crust.  It tasted better than what I buy at the bakery.  I definitely will continue to make bread because the results were worth it.  Hope you have a Sweet Morning and an amazing day!

Easy Sweet Potato ‘Gratin’

I have a sweet potato problem.  Well it’s not really a problem because I like sweet potatoes but it is a situation.  Ok, we will start again….I have a sweet potato situation.  You see I went to the Farmer’s Market in Raleigh (it’s open year round and you really can find LOTS of interesting stuff there) and it was a beautiful day, nice and warm and feeling like spring (it was just before Christmas) and well there is just something about the Farmer’s Market and all those fruits and vegetables that leads me to make questionable choices.  Well, I made one of those questionable choices, I bought 25 pounds of sweet potatoes …. for the second time in a few months.  They were just so pretty….don’t they look pretty?

The good news is sweet potatoes are good for you AND my family actually likes them, a lot.   The bad news is I have to find LOTS of ways to use sweet potatoes.    I’ve made baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries (love them, hate cutting the potatoes), sweet potato biscuits (so yummy, I will post it soon), aweet potato soup (next week’s Meatless Monday post), and this recipe, Easy Sweet Potato ‘Gratin’. 

This recipe is easy to make.  It is just sweet potatoes, onion, milk, and cheese.  The milk is low fat and you use very little. You can also adjust the amount and type of cheese to suit your taste.  Just remember that the thinner you slice the potatoes the faster it cooks.  My family inhales this and the pan is usually scraped clean.  Enjoy this healthy side dish and  have a Sweet Morning.

Do you have any good sweet potato recipes to help with my situation?

Easy Sweet Potato ‘Gratin’

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2 medium sweet potatoes
1 medium onion
¼ cup milk
½ cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400.

Peel and slice sweet potatoes into uniform slices. The thinner you slice the potatoes the quicker they will cook.
Slice onion into thin slices.

Spray a casserole pan.
Layer sweet potatoes and onions.
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour milk over the top.
Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake 30-45 minutes, until cheese is melted and potatoes are tender.

Makes 4 servings

Baked Chocolate Chip Donuts

Doughnuts or do you prefer donuts?  Why are there words that have multiple spellings?  I am never sure which one to use and will write one and then go back and switch and spend time trying to decide which one to use….I am not going to do waste time on that today, not when I have these fabulous donuts to share. 
I have a thing for ‘specialty’ pans, you know the ones, fancy loaf pans, heart shaped muffin tins, fancy bundt pans, the ones that you are so excited about and have to have and then you use once and put them in a ‘safe place’ and forget about.  I have lots and lots of those pans.  

When I saw donut pans I tried to contain myself and had a stern talk with myself (“Chris you DO NOT need donut pans! You have too much stuff and they will only add to the clutter. You DO NOT need to make donuts, you are trying to eat healthy. Chris, are you listening? Chris, you DO NOT NEED THEM”). I didn’t listen. Instead I put them on my Christmas list. My daughter (and her boyfriend) thought it was a great idea, they NEED donuts for breakfast! So I got the pans and people begging for donuts.

So I have made donuts.  But I couldn’t just make the recipe that came on the pan; it didn’t include chocolate chips, so I changed it.  Plus I am trying to be healthy so I changed it again and added yogurt.  Oh and the daughters didn’t like the glaze/frosting, so I changed it, twice.  What I ended up with is a chocolate chip donut with a topping that is somewhere between a frosting and a glaze.  They are just what I was going for, just the right amount of chocolate so as not to overpower you at breakfast but enough to satisfy your chocolate craving.

The batter can be mixed up the night before and refrigerated until morning (you really didn’t think I am awake enough to mix up batter in the morning on a week day did you?).  Pull the batter out when you are preheating the oven and you can have hot donuts before you leave the house.  The only thing you need to do is mix the frosting/glaze and that’s quick and easy.  Enjoy and have a sweet morning!

Baked Chocolate Chip Donuts
adapted from Wilton

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2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs

¾ cup low fat plain yogurt (I used Stoneyfield Farm Organic)
¼ cup lowfat milk (I used 1%)
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup mini chocolate chips
Chocolate glaze frosting

Preheat oven to 375.
Spray a doughnut pan with cooking spray.

Mix together all dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar.
Combine wet ingredients: melted butter, eggs, yogurt, milk, vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mix.
Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon or pipe batter into pan.
Bake for 7-9 minutes.

Remove from pan and let cool a few minutes on wire rack.
Top with chocolate glaze frosting.

Makes 12 doughnuts

Chocolate Glaze Frosting
¾ cup chocolate chips

1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp water
¼ cup confectioner sugar

Melt chocolate chips and butter in microwave for about 1 minute.
Stir until smooth adding a small amount of water.
Add confectioner sugar and more water until it is desired consistency.

Linked to:  Weekend Show Off Party  , Foodie Friday , Friday Favorites , Making Monday Marvelous, Market Yourself Monday, Crazy Sweet Tuesdays

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Buffalo Chicken Soup

It is cold in North Carolina!  As I am writing this the temperature is hovering around freezing and it is a shock to the system.  Just a few days ago I was running around with no socks or coat and today (and yesterday) I am pulling on turtlenecks, sweaters, and big fuzzy socks left over from my years living in Pennsylvania.  The cold got me thinking of soup.  It’s funny when I lived in Pennsylvania I really was not a fan of soup and never ever made it.  Now living in North Carolina I crave soup and make it every few weeks…strange.

Today I made Buffalo Chicken Soup.  I LOVE Buffalo Wings and all things to do with Buffalo Wings.  I went to college in Syracuse, NY and was introduced to wings at The Varsity on Marshall Street (“Chris your wings are ready”….sorry, flashback to eating wings there).  I am a huge fan of blue cheese with the wings (and blue cheese in general) and have a problem when someone tries to give me Ranch dressing with them (I also can’t stand Ranch dressing so that’s a big part of the problem) and I like them hot (not as hot as when I was in college, my stomach is getting old).  The original recipe I found on Mother Thyme blog.  I changed it up to suit my taste.  You can adjust the heat by adding more Wing Sauce or serve it with wing sauce so everyone can adjust their own heat level.  I also serve it with blue cheese crumbles and a crusty bread.  Enjoy but don’t make it too spicy so you have a Sweet Morning!!!
Buffalo Chicken Soup
3 tbsp butter
½ onion, diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 garlic clove
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
Shredded chicken
¼ cup hot sauce
Crumbled blue cheese

Melt butter in large sauce pot on medium heat. Add onion, celery & garlic and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add in flour & stir until combined. Slowly add in milk, stirring well. Add chicken broth. Stir in chicken and hot sauce & cook until chicken is heated. Turn to low & simmer at least 20 minutes.
Serve with blue cheese to sprinkle in bowls.

Find this recipe and other soup recipes at this Linky Party

Chocolate Oatmeal Biscotti

Today I decided I was going to make biscotti.  I’m not really sure why I decided on biscotti, I haven’t had it in years and I’m not really a fan of nuts so biscotti was an odd thing for me to fixate on.  But for some reason I was determined.  I found a recipe.  Correction I found a LOT of recipes and none was quite right so I improvised.  Instead of nuts I added oatmeal and of course I wanted chocolate and if I was having chocolate I might as well add chocolate chips. 

When mixing the texture was odd, it seemed dry but what do I know I’ve never made biscotti before so I pressed on and made the logs.  It smelled good when it was baking, nice and chocolate.  I waited and sliced it, still crumbly and baked it again. 
The pieces I snitched tasted good, nice and chocoaltey with texture.  I waited and waited until they were cool and then made coffee and ate one.  Interesting, it was the chocolate I wanted and it had texture from the oatmeal but I wasn’t sure.  So I ate another piece and another.  Then my daughter got home and I had a piece with her and she had 2J  So I guess it’s not half bad since we kept going back for more.  Enjoy and may your sweet morning last all day.

Chocolate Oatmeal Biscotti
adapted from Everyday Food

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1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup cocoa
¾ cup quick oats
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¾ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, cocoa, quick oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Mix in eggs and vanilla extract.
Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide dough in half.
Form each half into a log with a flat top approximately 2 ½ inches wide and ¾ inch tall.
Place logs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake 20-25 minutes.

Let cool on sheets placed on wire rack for 20 minutes.
Slice logs on the diagonal with a serrated knife into slices.
Place cut side down on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake for about 7 ½ minutes.
Flip slices and rotate pan.
Bake for 7 ½ minutes more.
Let cool on sheets.

This recipe is part of

Meatless Mondays – Veggie Pasta Bake

Welcome to Meatless Monday.  The day I try to con (wait I mean convince) my husband that a meatless meal is yummy and satisfying.  He never likes a meal without meat, he doesn’t think it fills him up enough and usually whines and complains when I try to sneak one in.  So the fact that he actually agreed to try Meatless Mondays is astounding!!!  I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I emphasized how healthy it is and I picked a moment when he was feeling that his jeans were to tight.  Whatever the reason I am on a mission to try to make Monday meals that he enjoys.

Tonight I took an old favorite that is usually made with pepperoni and tweaked it.  Instead of a jar of spaghetti sauce I used a can of tomatoes and snuck in carrots to add some more veggies to the meal.  Round it out with a salad (it is unbelievable but we are still picking lettuce from our garden) and some bread and even he can’t complain (well not too much).  Next time I am going to puree the sauce to disguise the veggies even more (my almost grown daughter still prefers her veggies disguised).  But all in all a good start to Meatles Mondays.
Veggie Pasta Bake

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1 small onion, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
garlic (use amount that suits your taste)
1 large can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 box of pasta (penne, rotini, or shape of your choice)
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375.
In a saucepan saute onion and carrots in a bit of olive oil until softened, about 10 minutes
Add garlic and cook about 2 minutes.
Pour in tomatoes and allow to cook about 5-10 minutes. (At this point you can puree mixture for a smoother texture)
Meanwhile prepare pasta according to directions.
Drain pasta.

In a casserole pan combine pasta and tomato mixture with about 1 cup of cheese. If the mixture looks dry add can of tomato sauce.
Top with more mozzarella cheese.
Bake covered 30-45 minutes until cheese is melted.