Monday, December 6, 2010

Funny Lookin' Fruit, Delicious Soup

When I first heard about butternut squash soup, I wasn't sure what to think.  Would it be bland?  Would it be slimy?  Or would it be great?  Something just kept telling me to give it a chance.  So, with the assistance of my lovely mom, we jumped head first into a new recipe adventure.  Now, let me just say, I my assumptions were completely wrong when it came to this odd looking squash.  This soup is delicious!

~Butternut Squash Soup~

3 T butter
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 medium skinned potatoes , diced
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
¼ cup orange juice
1 T orange zest
3 cups vegetable stock
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
½ cup dried cranberries

Melt the butter in a large pot on medium, then add the onion.  Stir to coat the onion in the butter and let cook until it starts to soften.  Add the diced potatoes and squash and stir again.  Let cook another 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.
Add orange juice, zest and vegetable stock.  Stir and cover the pot.  Let simmer for 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender or a Cuisinart to blend the vegetables into a nice thick and creamy soup.  Once blended, add salt and pepper, tasting as you go.
Ladle soup into individual mugs or bowls and sprinkle with dried cranberries.

Makes 5-7 servings

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

This has been a craft that my family and I have made as long as I can remember.  These turkeys are so easy and fun to make for kids and adults alike.  Parent's will especially like them because there is virtually no mess... oh, and you can eat the chocolate icing along the way!

1 can of chocolate icing
1 bag of candy corn
1 bag of chocolate covered cream drops
1 package of fudge striped cookies

1.  Spread icing on the bottom of the cream drops and place them on edge of the cookies, with the cookies stripes going vertically.
2.  Turn a candy corn on its side and apply a thin layer of icing.  Place on top of the cream drop.
3.  Cut of the white tips of two candy corn and spread icing on them.  Place them on the underside of the cream drop.
4.  Allow the icing to dry before standing the turkeys upright.
5.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gooey, Chewy Caramel Apples

1 Bag of Kraft Caramels
5 medium apples
Popsicle Sticks
Wax paper

Wash, dry, remove the stems, and insert a popsicle stick into the apples.  Combine 1 tablespoon of water and the bag of caramels in a saucepan, stirring often, until all caramels are melted.  Dip and spoon the caramel over apples.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

When I was little I used to think that the pulp and seeds of the pumpkin were just hindrances in the pumpkin carving process.  It wasn't until last year that I discovered that the seeds can be roasted into a delicious snack!

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds, cleaned and dried
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Non-stick cooking spray

1.  Rinse and then spread seeds on a paper towel to dry overnight.
2.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
3.  Make sure that all of the pulp is off of the seeds and then place them on the baking sheet.
4.  Spray them with the cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.
5.  Bake for 22-25 minutes (or until golden brown), turning the seeds after 12 minutes and letting them finish baking.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Caprese Amore

So on my never ending search for simple, delicious, and healthy food I created a fun recipe.  I love anything caprese-- salads, sandwiches, etc. but I wanted to find an easier way to make it, thus the revamped caprese topping was born.

4 mozzarella cheese sticks
1 large tomato
A few leaves of fresh basil
Balsamic Vinaigrette

Slice the cheese stick into small rounds.  Dice the tomato.  Chop the basil finely.  Combine mozzarella rounds, tomato, and basil.  Pour balsamic vinaigrette over the mixture to coat thoroughly.  Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight to marinate.  Place on top of grilled chicken, or just eat on its own!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

(Corn)Hole in one! Cake

For my wonderful sister's birthday, my Dad and Mom made her a beautiful Corn Hole set from scratch.  So to continue on this theme, I decided to decorate her cake to look like a Corn Hole game.  Needless to say, it didn't look nearly as good as the real set, but it sure was fun to do!

1 Pound Cake
White icing
Green icing
Graham Crackers
Pretzel rods
Beige icing

Ice the sides of the cake with white icing.  Pipe the green icing on top of the cake with a star icing tip.  Wet the rim of a small cookie cutter and gently press it through two graham crackers.  Once the holes are in place, ice the crackers with the beige icing and place the M&Ms on top to resemble the corn hole bags.  Push two pretzel rods into the cake and lean a cracker on top of it.  Repeat with the other cracker.  It's almost too cute to eat... but not quite!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When Life Gives You Blueberries...

After seeing a recipe for blueberry muffins on one of my favorite cooking shows, my mom and I decided to experiment and adapt the recipe to test our muffin-making skills.  Thus, the best blueberry muffins ever (if I do say so myself) were created.  After filling a muffin tin full of the batter, there was a bit left over.  We didn't want all of that deliciousness to go to waste, so we made a cake.  We poured half of the left over batter into a slightly greased cake pan, sprinkled the lemon sugar and jam on top of it, poured the rest of the rest of the batter into the pan, and topped it with the remaining sugar and jam.  I personally like the cake better than the muffins, but you can't go wrong either way.  You know what they say... "When life gives you blueberries, bake some muffins!"

Blueberry Muffins with a Zing
1 cup blueberries
1 Tablespoon sugar
Combine over medium heat until it yields 1/4 cup of liquid.  Cool to room temperature.
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Mix the sugar and lemon zest.
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/8 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons melted light margarine
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients.  Whisk the eggs and the sugar for 45 seconds.  Mix wet into dry until the batter becomes lumpy.  Mix in the blueberries.  Scoop batter into a muffin tin with ice cream scoop.  Put 1 teaspoon of jam into the middle of each muffin.  Swirl with a chopstick in a figure 8 motion.  Spoon sugar on top.  Bake on the upper middle oven rack for 18 minutes, turning after 9 minutes.  Allow to cool and remove from muffin tin with a plastic knife.  **(There should be enough batter for 12 muffins and a small cake.  Bake the cake for 35 minutes, turning half way through.)**

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Hamburger's Best Friend

Nothing goes better with a hamburger than french fries and some ice cold watermelon.  (I would personally be content just eating the entire watermelon as my dinner, but sadly to say, I had to share with the rest of my fruit loving family.  Don’t worry, one day soon there will be a post strictly dedicated to the delicious fruit that watermelon addicts like myself will love!)
Since the watermelon was already chilling and I didn’t have a deep frier handy, I had to improvise when it came to the french fries.  Instead of making the classic shoestring french fries, I made a side dish that my mom created that has quickly become a hit in our household that is quick, easy, and healthy-- oven-fried potato cubes!

~Oven-Fried Potato Cubes~

8 medium sized raw, peeled potatoes
1/2 a white onion
Season Salt
Pam Cooking Spray

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Cover a pan with aluminum foil and spray with a coat of cooking spray.  Chop potatoes into small cubes, placing them in an even layer on foil, and spray the cubes with aluminum foil.  Dice onion and saute over medium heat until they are caramelized.  Distribute over potatoes and bake until potatoes are tender (about 40 minutes) removing half way through to stir.  Remove the potatoes from the oven, sprinkle with season salt, and serve warm.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Little Taste of Summer

Being from the wonderful city of Charlotte, North Carolina and attending college in Columbia, South Carolina, I seem to have developed a high tolerance for extreme heat and the even more oppressing humidity that comes with this southern territory.
Today, however, we topped out at 100 degrees (which is a little hot even for me).  Upon trying to think of something to cool me off after getting back from work, I opened the refrigerator and came face to face with a bucket of blackberries freshly picked from our backyard garden.  Now, I am typically not a huge fan of blackberries due to their seedy texture, but then I remembered a drink that my mom made last summer that helped me forget the stifling July heat-- Blackberry Lemonade.
After making some Kool-Aid lemonade, I set about making the blackberry syrup.  Despite my lack of knowledge when it comes to making syrup, it was an incredibly easy process.  This blackberry lemonade will quench your thirst quicker than you can break a sweat in this heat.  Enjoy your little taste of summer!

~Blackberry Syrup~
2 dozen fresh blackberries
1/2 a cup of sugar

Rinse the blackberries in a colander.  Over low heat, mix the blackberries and sugar in a saucepan.  Next, mash the berries with a potato masher.  Allow the mixture to simmer until bubbles appear around the edge of the saucepan.  Remove from heat and push the juice through a strainer or squeeze in a piece of cheesecloth to remove the seeds.  Add desired amount to freshly mixed, cold lemonade or store in an airtight container.

Here are a few of other ways that you can put this delicious syrup to good use:
  • Pour over some homemade vanilla ice cream
  • Drizzle over pancakes or waffles (just add a 2 Tbs cornstarch while boiling to thicken to your liking)
  • Add some to sweet tea for a twist on a southern classic

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Honeydew You Love Me?

Cooking= Love. My family and I can taste the love that my Mom cooks with when we sample her amazing food. I have watched her culinary talents with awe since I was sitting in my high chair in the kitchen. As soon as I was old enough to see over the counter, I was my Mom’s little helper-- chopping veggies and measuring ingredients. She has taught me everything I know about cooking.

When I left for college at the University of South Carolina in the fall of 2008, little time was left for cooking, especially since I shared an outdated 1970‘s kitchen with thirty-nine other co-eds. Needless to say, my cooking abilities during this first year were limited to dishes that could be warmed in the microwave.

When I moved into my apartment during my sophomore year, however, I had more room and better appliances that allowed me to experiment with different recipes. In my spare time, between classes and studying Organic Chemistry, my fascination with food grew. I began reading blogs and learning more about food through trial and error and under my Mom's tutelage.

“Honeydew you love me?” chronicles my adventures in the kitchen to make simple, delicious, and (mostly) healthy food to show my love for my family and friends. Tell someone you love them by making them something delicious!