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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew

I love vegetarian dishes, but it's hard to please my family with non-meat meals. I also love Indian spices, so when I saw this hearty vegetable stew, I knew I had to make it right away—even if I was the only one in my family who would eat it. I adapted recipe to my tastes and cooked it in the oven instead of on top of the stove. Well my husband surprised me because he really enjoyed this dish. He even requested it be added to the rotation. It tasted sweet and rich and is packed full of chick peas, sweet potatoes, and fire-roasted tomatoes. It's definitely a keeper!

Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew 
Adapted from Deliciously Ella

2 large sweet potatoes
1 green pepper
2 cans of fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can of coconut milk
2 cans of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1 tablespoon olive oil

4 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of turmeric

2 teaspoons of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped) (optional)


Chop the sweet potato and green pepper into small chunks and set aside.
In a dutch oven, add the oil and cook the garlic, tomato paste, vinegar, and spices on medium heat until fragrant.
Turn up the heat to medium-high, and add the coconut milk, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pepper, chick peas, salt, and pepper and allow it to heat until boiling.
Transfer the oven and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees until sweet potatoes are soft but not mushy. (If it's too thick, add about 1/2 cup of water.)
Serve over brown rice or quinoa, and sprinkle cilantro on top.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Recipe Remake: Enchilada Stuffed Shells

We eat a lot of Mexican dishes. I love how versatile a few basic ingredients can be. I made a version of these back in 2010. I haven't made them since and decided to revive the recipe. I made a few tweaks to incorporate cilantro, tomatoes, and green chiles. Like the first time around, they were a huge at my house.

Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Box of large shells
1.5–2 pounds of ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 can Rotel (tomatoes with green chiles) (drained)

1 can corn (drained)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped finely)
1 package taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
2 cans red 
(or green) enchilada sauce 
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Salsa and sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), optional for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray baking dishes with nonstick cooking spray.
Boil shells according to directions on package. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
Brown ground beef. Drain beef and return to pan. 

Add Rotel, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, 1/2 cup water, and half of the cilantro.
Cook 3 to 5 minutes and remove from heat.
Spoon mixture into shells and place in pan.
Top shells with enchilada sauce and cheddar cheese.
Bake about 20 minutes until cheese is melted.
Serve with cilantro, salsa, and sour cream.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Recipe Remake: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes are my most requested recipe. I make them quite a few times a year—sometimes a few times a month when I have a lot of special events going on. And they always get rave reviews! I have to agree. These are pretty great, plus they are no fail. The chocolate cupcakes are bouncy, chocolately, and perfect every time. (Shh, they also happen to be vegan!) The peanut butter icing is fluffy, salty, and amazing enough to eat with a spoon. If you're looking for a cupcake to win over a crowd, try this one.

Chocolate Cupcakes 
Source: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
1 and 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cups water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In another bowl, beat together oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water with a hand mixer on medium-high speed. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake about 18–22 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Salted Peanut Butter Icing
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 stick butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon regular salt)
2–3 cups powdered sugar
2–3 tablespoons milk

Beat together peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth with a mixer on medium speed. With mixer on low speed, add powdered sugar one cup at a time and milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add more milk or powdered sugar if needed. Beat until smooth and fluffy.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Tandy Cake Cupcakes—Take 3

I get a lot of requests for peanut butter. Usually it's for chocolate peanut butter. This time I had a request for vanilla, peanut butter, and chocolate, so I decided to make a tandy cake -inspired cupcake. I used a vanilla cupcake filled with peanut butter icing and topped with chocolate icing. I topped them with a peanut butter cup since you can never have too much chocolate and peanut butter.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes aka "The Vegetarian Elvis"

I make a lot of cupcakes. I love exciting flavor combinations. However, I get a lot of requests for chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. While I love this flavor combination, it can get boring. So when my friend Wendy requested banana cupcakes for her birthday, I was excited to make something different. I decided to top them with peanut butter (think of an Elvis without the bacon: "The Vegetarian Elvis") and drizzle melted chocolate over the tops. This combination was amazing!

Banana Cupcakes
Source: slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

1 and 1/2 cups flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter (melted and slightly cooled)
1 and 1/2 cups mashed bananas (I used 2.5 large ripe bananas.)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners. 
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, mix together melted butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in banana mixture. Using hands, incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full, and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. (Mine baked in 20 minutes, so watch them!). Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Salted Peanut Butter Icing
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 stick butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon regular salt)
2–3 cups powdered sugar
2–3 tablespoons milk

Beat together peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth with a mixer on medium speed. With mixer on low speed, add powdered sugar one cup at a time and milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add more milk or powdered sugar if needed. Beat until smooth and fluffy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes

It's no secret that I love cupcakes. And cookies. One of my favorite flavors is cinnamon.  I love snickerdoodle cookies. So I decided to make a cinnamon-swirl cupcake in honor of my favorite cookie. I took a basic vanilla cupcake, added a cinnamon-sugar swirl, and topped with cinnamon cream cheese. It was the perfect amount of cinnamon, and the tang from the cream cheese frosting complimented the cupcakes perfectly.

Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes
Source: adapted from Melissa Bakes

1 stick butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk

1/4 cup cinnamon-sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
In another bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
Turn mixer to low and alternately add flour mixture and milk in three additions, ending with flour.
Fill the cupcake liners about 1/3 full and top with a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. Top with batter until 2/3 full and sprinkle 
with cinnamon-sugar.
Bake for 18 - 20 minutes.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
1 stick butter (room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3–4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon
2–4 tablespoons milk

Beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract on high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add cinnamon, powdered sugar one cup at a time, and milk one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Beat well.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Coconut is one of those flavors you either love or hate. I love it! I think the people who hate it, actually hate the texture more than the flavor. When it's mixed with other flavors, such as banana and pineapple, it's heavenly—especially if it's whipped up into a frozen drink and rum is involved. These hummingbird cupcakes take all three flavors and meld them perfectly. The tangy coconut cream cheese enhances the light coconut flavor of the cupcakes.

Hummingbird Cupcakes
Source: adapted from Martha Stewart

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter (melted and cooled)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 bananas (mashed)
8 oz. crushed pineapple (drained)
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut (I used sweetened shredded coconut.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.


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

With a mixer, beat butter, vanilla, and sugar until combined. Add eggs one at a time. Beat at medium speed until mixture is pale yellow and fluffy (about 3 minutes.)

In another medium bowl, stir together banana, pineapple, and coconut. Add to egg mixture, mixing until combined. Stir in flour mixture.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown for about 25 to 28 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack. 


Coconut Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
1 stick butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3–4 cups powdered sugar
2–4 tablespoons water (or milk)

Beat the butter, cream cheese, and coconut extract on high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add powdered sugar one cup at a time and water one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Beat well.