Friday, April 25, 2014

Vegan Pear & Golden Raisin Sugar Cookies

I've had a very exciting week so far.  Got to create a whole new range of recipes.  This includes also some fancy drink recipes that will be coming out next month.  I also signed up for the Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op, which will ensure that I get to torture my husband Thomas, with a whole summer of fresh organic veggie and fruit goodness.

Speaking of fruity delicious goodness, I have been experimenting with lots of Vegan and Vegetarian recipes.  The food is technically healthier, but there are also some kick ass recipes in there.  I also know several fabulous people who have expressed the interest to me to post more Vegan recipes. 
Now I know, I know… You’re thinking blech…. Vegan… Please please, don’t take that attitude until you’ve bitten into one of these fluffy, sugary biscuits of love.  These cookies are super duper amazing.  Plus they’re pretty darn easy to make. 

Vegan Pear & Golden Raisin Sugar Cookies
20 min prep time
12-15 min cook time
12-15 servings, (depending on how big you make the cookies.)

·       1 cup almond milk (I use non-sweetened)
·       ¼ cup of granulated sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on cookies
·       2 cups of AP Flour
·       ¼ cup of orange juice
·       1 Tablespoon of orange zest
·       ¼ cup of canola oil
·       1 teaspoon of baking soda
·       1 Tablespoon of baking powder
·       1/3 cup golden raisins
·       ½ teaspoon salt
·       1 cup of chopped Pear

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Mix your dry ingredients, flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Set aside

Then mix almond milk, orange juice, canola oil, golden raisins, and orange zest in a separate bowl.  Slowly combine this into your dry ingredients.  (Don’t over mix them!)

Then slowly mix in your chopped pears into your cookie dough.  

Use an ice cream scoop to ladle out cookie dough onto parchment paper.  Don’t worry if they become super flat.  

Bake for 12-15 minutes and sprinkle with more granulated sugar after they come out of the oven.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Empanada Dough

There are a few great Cuban restaurants in Philadelphia, but my current favorite may be Cuba Libra.  They make the best empanadas.  Since I can’t always get to the Old City neighborhood and the ingredients themselves aren’t expensive, I begin looking into making my own.  

Empanada Dough
45 min prep time
20-25 min cooking time
10 Servings, 2 empanadas per serving
•    1 and ½ sticks of butter
•    3 cups of flour
•    ¼ cup of sugar
•    1 egg (whole)
•    1 egg beaten
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    ¼ cup of water (you may need extra to get the dough consistency right)

Preheat oven at 370 degrees.  Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, butter, sugar, and 1 egg together.  Slowly add the water about a tablespoon at a time until it looks crumbly like this.

Pat the dough into a bag and wrap in plastic wrap.  Allow to rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Prep whatever filling ingredients you want to stuff into the empanadas.  I chose mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, corn, and spinach.

Pull dough from fridge and make small balls that can fit in the palm of your hand.  There should be around 20 of them.  Roll out each ball of dough until it’s thin and round.

Fill each piece of dough with a couple of tablespoons of filling and pinch them to resemble a half moon shape.  After each empanada is shaped, brush with the beaten egg.

Bake empanadas for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cooking for 1

Recently a friend of mine confessed that she was at a loss for cooking for herself.  Her husband had recently passed away after a battle with cancer and she was trying to get back into the swing of things.  I realized that many people are in the same predicament, learning to cook for 1 person.  So I tested out a few recipes for people to try.  I looked for recipes that were healthy, interesting, and didn't break the budget for any one person.

 Avocados are one of my favorite super foods.  This is a meal jam packed with protein and fiber with the side of vegetables.  Keep in mind, avocados are a rich dense food. 

Egg Baked in Avocado
2 min prep time
15-20 min cook time
1 serving
·       1 egg
·       ½ avocado
·       pinch of cayenne pepper
·       pinch of salt
Preheat oven at 400 degrees.  Utilize a ramekin to bake the dish.
Scoop out part of the avocado.  (I tend to eat this part while preparing the dish) Carefully crack the egg and fill the spot in the avocado. 
Bake for 15-20 minutes and sprinkle with cayenne pepper and salt.  

My mother-in-law Magsy is a big fan of Chef Salads and so am I.  But I have a hard time dealing with the amount of fat and preservatives that come with the ingredients.   This is a lower fat version that has some great protein and tons of vitamins.

Spinach Chef Salad
5 min prep time
1 serving
·       ½ cup of strawberries
·        ¼ of your favorite dressing
·       2-3 slices of turkey
·       ¼ cup of chopped chicken
·       ¼ cup of croutons
·       2 cups of spinach
Grab a bowl and layer the bottom with spinach.  Then add the strawberries, turkey, chicken, and croutons on top.  

Frozen shrimp are a great staple to keep in your freezer.  You can easily make as much or as few of them as you like and enjoy something different than chicken. 

Baked Shrimp and Kale
5 min prep time
15-20 min cook time
1 serving
·       6-7 frozen shrimp
·       1 tablespoon olive oil
·       1 garlic clove or 1 tablespoon garlic powder
·       1 medium chopped tomato
·       1 cup of chopped Kale
·       lemon juice
Preheat oven at 400 degrees..
Use a small baking dish and layer the kale on the bottom, with the tomatoes. Toss vegetables with olive oil and garlic.   On top of them add the shrimp still frozen.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until shrimp are pink.  Add a squeeze of lemon juice on top.

Let me know what your favorite recipe for cooking for 1-2 people may be.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Blueberry Cream Cheese Bread Pudding

I love bread, absolutely positively love bread.  However I was given about 4 loaves of it in one week.  Not even I can finish off that much bread.  So I looked around for ways to use up the bread and got super excited at the thought of making bread pudding.  That sinful delicious carb filled dessert dish that satisfies our after dinner sweet tooth.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Bread Pudding
20 min prep time
60 min cooking time
10 Servings

•    5 eggs
•    2 ½ cups of 2% Milk (divided)
•    1 ½ loaves of Bread
•    1 cup of White Chocolate Chips
•    1 cup of Frozen Blueberries (You can definitely use fresh if they’re in season)
•    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•    2/3’s cup of powdered sugar
•    8 oz of cream cheese

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Grease a 13 by 9 in pan or a pie pan, set aside.
Chop up bread into small chunks, set aside.  Mix 5 eggs, vanilla extract, and 2 cups of Milk together in a large bowl. 

In a small pot, melt white chocolate with ½ cup of milk on the stove on medium heat.  Continually stir the pot until the chocolate melts and combines with the milk.  Add chocolate mixture and sugar to egg mixture.  Stir to combine.

Slowly add the bread to the wet ingredients and mix in until it’s well mixed.  Take bread mixture and add to pie pan and press down (it will rise up during baking).

Chop up cream cheese and add it on top of the mixture.

Bake for 60 minutes or so and serve with fresh whipped cream.