I love family. I love learning. I love food. This is simply a collection of thoughts, memories, and recipes that are a piece of me!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sun Dried Tomato Obsession

Sometimes, I will admit that I get obsessive.  It sorta happens all the time, really (much to my husband's dislike, I'm afraid).  I find something I really love and exhaust it in every way I can.  Lately, I have begun an obsession with sun dried tomatoes.  I've always been a tomato girl.  I will eat them like apples.  What I am not, however, is someone who can handle any sort of unusual textures in anything.  Seriously, at 27, if I can see a chopped onion or pepper, I'm eating around it.  Thus, this recipe has taken form.  Really, this stuff is really great for a multitude of things.  Keep it in a jar in the fridge for a spread on sandwiches (might I suggest a peppered turkey with mozzarella!), add it to warm pasta as a sun dried tomato pesto, serve over cream cheese with crackers as an hor d'oeuvre, or add to a couple of pounds of 80/20 ground beef, roll into balls, brown in a skillet on all sides, and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes to finish cooking for the most flavorful meatballs ever...without running the risk of finding a chopped onion all slimy and full of onion-ness in your mouth. There are about a million things you can probably do with this stuff.  Give it a shot and be creative...if not obsessive!

What you'll need:
A clove of garlic (or, if you're like me and hate chopping garlic, a tsp from the jar)
One shallot
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
4 to 5 (or about 1/3 of an 8.5 oz bottle) sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp of olive oil

I use a little bitty mini food processor to make my life easier.  I start with adding the garlic, then I chop up the shallot, just to help the processor out a little bit.  For me, it's super important that these two things be as chopped as finely as possible.

Next, add the seasonings- the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt.  Blend it up again.

Next, add the sun dried tomatoes (add a bit of the oil from the jar, too) and cheeses.  Blend it really well.  It should look like this.

Add olive oil if yours needs a bit more moisture to make it into a paste. Blend, blend, blend away.  When it's like a thick paste, jar it up, spread it on a sandwich, pour it over hot pasta, or add it to meats and enjoy a smack in the face flavor filled bite!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Peach Crisp

I think everyone who cooks has staple recipes for when unexpected guests come by or when someone they love is not feeling up to par or just when they want to brighten someone's day.  This is one of mine.  I think most people who have ever had my cooking have tasted it.  (Maybe it's time to branch out to new staples...)  I actually love this stuff so much, though, that I make batches just to jar up and throw into the fridge so it's ready whenever I want just a single serving snack.  I hope you try it and love it as much as I do because for me, it really warms me to my core.

What you'll need:
3/4 cup of Bisquick
1/2 cup of oatmeal
1/2 cup of light brown sugar (packed!)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
A dash of salt
3 tbsp of softened butter

2 cans of drained sliced peaches

First, you'll mix together everything except the butter and peaches.  I love this because it requires no mixers or even whisks.  Just a spoon and measuring cups.

It's going to look like this.

Measure out your butter, add it, and with a fork, cut it into the dry ingredients.  (Basically, mash it over and over...this will take just a few minutes)

This is how it should look once all the butter has been cut in.  It's still going to seem crumby, but that's okay.  It should clump together of you try to squish it.

Drain your peaches and add the to the bottom of an 8x8 dish that has been greased.  Sprinkle the crisp mixture on top of your peaches until all the peaches are covered.  Bake at 375 for half an hour or so.  The top is going to basically look the same (maybe a bit browner) but the peaches will be bubbly and warm and your kitchen will smell of cinnamon.  Serve with ice cream or on its own right of the oven!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins, Oh my!

If I love anything more than baking delicious things like breads or cinnamon rolls, it's making delicious things for breakfast.  Pancakes and cinnamon french toast are family favorites, but when I want my kids to have less syrup and more things that are good for them (or let's face it, when I know I'm going to be too lazy to wake up and make the hubs breakfast before he goes to work) I love to make these muffins the night before so we can wake up to a yummy, quick breakfast that is full of whole grain oatmeal goodness.

What you'll need:
2 tsp. of baking powder
1 cup of all purpose flour (if you wanted to go crazy healthy, you could do whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of oatmeal
2/3 cup of milk
1 egg
1/2 cup of oil

One of my favorite things about these muffins is how easily the come together.  There's no need to even pull out a mixer.  Everything mixes perfectly fine with a whisk or a big spoon..which means less mess and less dishes to wash.  Okay...first, mix all the dry ingredients.  That's the baking powder, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and oatmeal.  Get them really well combined.

Once you have all the dry ingredients incorporated together nicely, add the wet.  I don't even both to scramble the egg up before I add it.  I just drop them all in and mix.  Next, line your muffin pan with paper liners (unless you're insane and prefer to clean up that mess).  If you do not line them, be sure and grease your pan.  I then use an ice cream scoop to be sure each muffin is the same size and to avoid any extra mess.

Bake at 400 for 18 to 20 minutes.  Once you can smell them, they are probably done.  Let them cool and enjoy or throw them in a ziplock bag and they will keep for days!