Archive | August, 2012

Huevos Rancheros Tortilla Cups with Salsa Verde

30 Aug

Huevos Rancheros Cups for Breakfast!


So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Laura doesn’t love eggs. I’d dare say she hates them when they are all by their lonesome on the plate. Scrambled, over-easy, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, etc… she won’t touch them. Add a little (read: a LOT) of cheese or wrap them in a burrito with sausage and/or hash browns and salsa and did I mention cheese? and then she might consider it. Due to this little egg aversion, I went on a mission to find an egg filled breakfast that even Laura would enjoy. After much searching, and a few vetoes from Laura, I found these huevos rancheros tortilla cups with salsa verde by In Sock Monkey Slippers. I’m pretty certain she was skeptical but it was something quick and easy to throw together and the presentation unique enough.

So Meredith (of In Sock Monkey Slippers) actually used uncooked tortillas in the recipe. When I went to the store to get the ingredients I couldn’t find these things anywhere. And Laura, despite her best efforts, couldn’t find them either. So, like we tend to do, Laura and I made the recipe our own. We used some regular small burrito size tortillas and folded them into muffin cups. We scooped in some vegetarian refried beans (yep, the ones straight out of the can). Then we scrambled together some eggs, heavy cream, salt, pepper and chopped green peppers and poured that mixture into the cups. And then we topped it off with shredded cheddar cheese. We popped them into the oven for 12-15 minutes until the edges of the tortillas were golden brown and crispy. Then, my favorite part of this whole dish, we spooned some spicy salsa verde onto a plate and then placed the tortilla cup right in the center.

The huevos rancheros breakfast cups were a huge hit with our Friday morning friends. They looked impressive on the plate but they took us all of 10 minutes to put together with common pantry ingredients. They were quite delicious and a unique egg-y breakfast treat that even the toughest critics would enjoy!

Huevos Rancheros Tortilla Cups with Salsa Verde

  • Small burrito size tortillas
  • Refried beans (1 can should be enough, even for a large group)
  • Eggs (1-2 per tortilla)
  • Green Peppers (or other veggies of your choosing)
  • Heavy cream or half and half (a splash or two, depending on how many eggs you use)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Salsa Verde (you can make your own or use your favorite jar variety)

1. Preheat oven to 350Ā° F. Place tortillas in an ungreased muffin tin. Press into the cups, allowing the excess tortillas to hang over the sides.

2. Spoon the refried beans in the bottom of the tortilla cup. Scramble eggs, cream or half and half, green peppers, salt and pepper together. Divide evenly between tortilla cups. Top with cheese.

3. Place in the oven. Bake until the eggs are set and edges or tortilla are golden brown and crispy. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

4. Spoon a few tablespoons of salsa verde onto plate and top with a piping hot huevos rancheros cup.


Pumpkin Spice Granola

28 Aug

Pumpkin Spice Granola


I love fall. The weather, the changing of the leaves, the flavors. I’ll blame my fondness (read: obsession) with fall on the fact that I grew up in Florida where we had two seasons: hot and hotter. The tastes of fall weren’t so easily appreciated in the 90+ degree, humid days. It doesn’t exactly lend itself to warm, spiced comfort foods. But now I get to enjoy all the wonders of fall, including foods full of spiced pumpkin-y goodness. Unfortunately the weather is still quite warm and fall is a little ways off but I thought a pumpkin spice granola would be just the thing to satiate my food craving while still being a suitable breakfast food for warm days. A little homemade granola and some greek yogurt are the perfect way to start the day!

I found this tasty low-fat pumpkin granola recipe from one of the blogs I frequent, Baking Bites. I liked that it didn’t use any oil and that it added some puffed rice to supplement the rolled oats for a slightly different taste and texture. But, like any recipe I make, I usually end up making some changes to make it my own. The spices are just a guide as I generally never measure them; I just add them “to taste” which is usually twice as much as what is called for in any recipe. So here’s my take on the granola:

Pumpkin Spice Granola
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix (ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or you can use 1/4 cup more pumpkin if you don’t have applesauce)
1/4 cup honey (maple syrup is also good, but I don’t often have it on hand)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup cashews (I prefer salted)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried fruit (I like the Sun Maid “fruit bits” mix which is Raisins, Golden Raisins, Dried Apples, Dried Apricots, Dried Peaches, Dried Plums, Dried Cherries)

Preheat the oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets) with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats, puffed rice cereal. In a medium bowl, whisk together spices, salt, sugar, applesauce (if using), pumpkin, honey (or maple syrup) and vanilla. Whisk until very smooth.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or large spoon until mixture is evenly coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet(s) in an even layer.
Bake for 30 minutes, then turn over the granola carefully using a large wide spatula. Sprinkle the nuts/seeds onto the granola, then bake everything for additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center might not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola to a cooling rack and let the rest cook for another 10-15 minutes until done.
Cool on pan or on a fine wire rack.
Break granola up as desired, add dried fruit and store in an airtight container.

Makes about 8-10 servings.

Strawberry Peach Freezer Jam

26 Aug

Have fruit you don’t think you can use in time? Try Freezer Jam! No need for the typical heat treatment. Thanks to my dear friend Amy I learned about SureJell and Freezer Jam. SureJell is the pectin you will use (get the pink box!) and the instructions are inside. I used the recipe for the strawberry but used half strawberries and half peaches! Tried it today- and had to force myself to walk away… it was sooo good! Note: my jam was thinner than the kind I buy, but the taste was divine! Made the hubs some sandwiches for the week. Did you know you can make pb&j’s and freeze them?! Think Uncrustables.. just cheaper. Make the sammies, put them in baggies, and then the baggies in a gallon sized freezer bag! He pulls them out each morning and by lunch they are perfect!

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls with Spiced Orange Maple Cream Cheese Icing

25 Aug

Some days I am conceited enough to doubt others’ taste preferences. This cinnamon roll is the case in point. Jess and I were talking about what we should create for breakfast this week. She was being the creative force of the week tossing out tons of ideas. I was struggling to be human that day, so when Jess brought up a fall-ish cinnamon roll with an orange cream cheese icing I doubted her. I had just made Orange Cream Cheese Muffins (post to come), and the glaze was refreshingly citrusy. I had in my mind that glaze, and could not see it on a cinnamon roll. Jess being the gracious friend that she is, found various icing recipes and I finally came to my senses.

Please note- this is not your typical cinnamon roll dough. Jess found a Quick Cinnamon Roll recipe that does not use any yeast (aka no need to make it the night before aka we can just mix it quickly in the morning and still have a tasty breakfast). So we started there. The idea of cottage cheese in the dough was intriguing and since we use our Friday Breakfasts to try out our crazy ideas, it fit the bill nicely. We wanted to change the recipe up a bit. So we thought (note- Jess thought… I wasn’t using the creative side of my brain yet) why not give it a pumpkin filling! Here is where my laziness.. ahem I mean creativity came in… I had a lonely sweet potato in my pantry begging for use. I asked my partner in crime her thoughts on that and we came to the agreement that here they could be used interchangeably. So Jess browsed some recipes and came up with a tasty spiced sweet potato maple mixture for the filling! Mmmm!

We didn’t use a food processor to make the dough because mine is a mini one, but used an immersion blender to process the dough. Random, yes, but it did a great job and once the dough was tacky, I hand mixed it the rest of the way. There is something so satisfying about getting your hands in dough and mixing it. Note- it is meant to be a wetter dough so don’t over mix. I used a glass (because I cannot find my rolling pin….) to roll out the very tasty dough (yes, we tasted it.. and it was good). Jess was preparing the sweet potato mixture. She spread the orange goodness on the dough. We decided it still needed more spices… so we liberally sprinkled cinnamon over the whole thing. Then Jess rolled it up because I lack the skills necessary to roll up dough without squishing the filling out all over the counter. We sliced the dough in half, and then made 8 slices per roll to fill two 9 inch round pans. After baking for 25 minutes they looked quite perfect and they were ready for the icing I had previously been doubting… don’t worry, I saw the light.

Jess had found THIS recipe for pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls with orange maple icing. We started with that recipe and then, as we usually do, added a bit here, tasted a bit there, added a little more and came up with an adapted version that tasted like Christmas Morning! We think it largely had to do with the addition of ground cloves. There is something about orange and clove that is reminiscent of the holidays isn’t there? We had created a spiced orange maple cream cheese icing that we could eat with a spoon! Luckily it was needed on our rolls, otherwise Jess and I might have made our selves sick with continued “tasting” of the delicious concoction. We iced the rolls and served our guests and thankfully- everyone was pleased (even our two and four year old guests who we knew might be our toughest critics!). We decided this was a keeper.

Jess made the smart executive decision not to ice the second pan that we didn’t eat Friday. The icing was stored in the fridge separate from the rolls. Reason being that the rolls would reheat better un-iced. They could be iced after and that way the icing would not be zapped and become super thin. It was definitely the right choice. I heated them this morning in fact and then iced them and enjoyed myself all over again!

Here is the “how to” of our tasty little rolls:

Quick Sweet Rolls with Sweet Potato or Pumpkin

For the dough:
3/4 cup cottage cheese (4% milk fat)
1/3 cup buttermilk (or milk/lemon juice)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 Tbs real butter, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
9 oz. (2 cups) flour; more for rolling
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda

  • Process wet ingredients in a bowl (use a food processor if you have one big enough). Once combined add in dry ingredients and process until combined. Do not over mix. The dough will be soft. Knead a few times until the dough forms a ball.
  • Roll out dough on floured surface (12×15).
  • Note- you need to use the 4% cottage cheese- the fat helps with the texture of the dough.
For the filling:
3/4 cup sweet potato or pumpkin (if using fresh, it will need to be cooked first)
spices to taste (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp room temperature butter
  • Mash sweet potato (or pumpkin), butter and maple syrup together. Add in brown sugar and spices. Mix well.
  • Spread mixture on rolled dough
  • Roll dough, slice log in half. Slice each half in 8 and fill two 9 inch round pans.
  • Bake in oven preheated to 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
For the icing:
2 tbsp room temperature butter
1/2 cup room temperature cream cheese (4 oz)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp grated orange zest (the zest of an entire navel orange)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4-1 cup sifted powdered sugar
ground cloves (to taste)
  • Mix together butter and cream cheese. Add maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla. Add powdered sugar until it is desired consistency. Add cloves to taste.
  • Once the rolls are out of the oven try to let them cool for a minute or so. Then, once you can’t wait any longer spread icing on and enjoy!

When life gives you peaches…. part two… make a CAKE!

19 Aug

As I mentioned in last week’s post, my friend Amy clued me in to a somewhat local farm where delicious peaches grow. The hubs and I love fresh fruit, but with only two people in our household and 11 peaches still left, I knew some would get overly ripe before we could consume them. Luckily for the peaches (and for us) I had pinned a few recipe options for my peachy little friends. I was hoping to wait to make this cake until after Jess went to the Dekalb Farmers Market on Wednesday. She was going to pick up some vanilla beans for me (better and fresher) while there.

Alas- I opened the fridge last Monday and found that a few peaches had reached their life expectancy and settled on regular (and overpriced) grocery store vanilla beans. The timing was perfect because we were feeding our Young Life team dinner at our house before planning for the semester (if you don’t know what Young Life is, you should read about it.. it’s awesome and we get to care for high school kids and have fun and laugh… a lot!)

So after throwing dinner in the crock pot, I started making the Vanilla Bean Peach Cake with Peach Soaking Sauce from A Bit of Bees Knees. (You should check out that blog. I loved reading not only the recipes, but the DIY and Fashion tips there too) Making the cake wasn’t bad at all, thanks to my lovely KitchenAid mixer that the hubs’ aunt gave me as a wedding shower gift (one of the greatest gifts ever and from such a sweet lady).

While making the cake I came to realize that it is similar to a pound cake recipe (more on that in a bit). As the butter and sugar creamed together I had to almost sit on my hands to resist tasting that delicious concoction (don’t knock that mixture ’til ya try it). It came to the point where you add the vanilla bean seeds and I realized I had no idea how to appropriately use a vanilla bean. Youtube came in handy as I watched a quick video and cut my bean and scraped my seeds into the bowl. Then on a whim I researched saving the bean pod and TA DA! we now have vanilla sugar in our house as well (if my “ta da” did not do the job of explaining which I get that it probably didn’t- you can save used vanilla bean pods, put them in an air tight container, cover with sugar, and in a week or two you have tasty vanilla sugar for coffee or to add to sweet treats!) But moving along-once the batter was ready I added half to a greased and floured bundt pan, topped with diced peaches, and then topped it off with the rest of the batter. I baked that sucker for about an hour, cooled it in the pan for approximately five minutes (the recipe said for 10 minutes, but I have always found that I am a bit impatient) and placed that beauty on the cake stand my sweet friend Jenn gave us for a wedding present. Then I brushed on the peach soaking sauce (it smelled delicious, I may or may not have tried it… a few times). Once it soaked in, I brushed on two more coats. Mmmm it smelled so tasty!

Notes about the recipe: it calls for two sticks of butter, after making it I would use three. It sounds like a lot, but that is the amount we use in my family’s pound cake recipe and it makes for a very moist cake. The recipe also uses sour cream, I, personally, am more of a cream cheese pound cake fan. I would also switch to cream cheese as I could detect a bit of the sour note from the sour cream- it was not gross, just not my preference. I would potentially use two vanilla beans as I didn’t have too much of the flavor pull through and was hoping for a delicious vanilloughy taste (yep that is not a real word… but you know exactly what I mean.) Also, I might punch a few holes into the cake so the sauce would go further into the cake- the gooey part is my favorite!

For the recipe please use the link above back to Brittany’s blog.

When life gives you peaches… make salsa?!

14 Aug

A friend of mine recently offered me a fresh peach slice while eating lunch at her house. I tell you, I almost swooned. It was the most delicious peach I’d had all summer. It was ripe, sweet, and honestly it made me feel like I was at the beach- why I have no idea, but I felt like it was my little slice (pun intended) of heaven. When I told her this she told me about Jaemor Farms which I’d never heard of before. Her father passes by there sometimes and he, being the great father that he is, picks up fresh produce for her family. My friend Amy is passionate about feeding her family fresh foods and has recently started a new series on a blog she writes for on her foray into doing that on a budget. For more info on that you can read her first two posts HERE and HERE. (The blog she contributes to is also a great resource for learning how to coupon and save money. You should check it out!)

So, Amy calls me one day and asks if I would want some of those peaches that had knocked me off my feet the week before. Her father would be passing by the farm the next day and we could split a basketĀ  (note: half of a basket is around 14 peaches….plenty for my family of TWO!). I of course said yes and set up a lunch date at her house for the day following the peach arrival!

I arrived at home after lunch with Amy with my basket, feeling a bit like Red Riding Hood and decided that I must think of tasty things to concoct with these beauties. I was wanting to get away from the traditional southern peach cobbler (it has its place people, no worries, but I was craving something…. different) and after some Pinterest searching and blog reading I came upon this recipe from Taste of Home.* Now I just needed the right opportunity to make it.

The other part to Burlap to Baking, Jessica, and I had our weekly Friday breakfast fun. We love our Fridays and cooking and spending time with friends (obviously– that is why we created this blog) After breakfast was over, we spent the day working from my home and decided she should join myself and my hubby for dinner. We went for a walk and then picked up the ingredients I was missing for salsa making! The salsa became the pre-dinner snacking option as we talked about life and the hubs napped. Let’s just say it was good enough that Jess and I finished half the batch…….so that is about 8 “servings” of salsa. Oops? Oh well, it was great to munch on while we talked.

If you ever find yourself intimidated by salsa making- don’t! It was so simple. All we did was cut up some veggies, throw them in a food processor, and then let it do the work for us! And unless you are buying the fresh stuff from the grocery store, you should definitely consider making your own. Homemade salsa lets you control the flavor AND it is much better for you (note- no added sugar people! And it didn’t need it anyways!)

*The only changes to the recipe I made were the addition of salt and I juiced an entire lime. Also, upon refrigerating overnight, the flavors really had a chance to meld together and created a better salsa day two.