Monday, September 30, 2013

Texas Tabbouleh // A Bulgur Recipe

Have you ever eaten bulgur? I had been wanting to try it, and since I decided against going gluten-free (another story for another time), I gave bulgur its first test drive in the below tabbouleh recipe. I bought my bulgur at Trader Joe's (the quick 10-minute kind), and it worked great in this recipe. Bulgur is a form of wheat that has been parboiled, cracked, and dry. It's a low-glycemic-index food, and it has a bunch of fiber and B vitamins. This tabbouleh strays a little from the traditional version with parsley and mint, but it was really flavorful and definitely a win for my first attempt at bulgur. 

Texas Tabbouleh
1 cup bulgur
2 cups boiling water
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
juice of one lime
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
4 oz crumbled feta cheese

Place bulgur in a large bowl; stir in boiling water. Let stand, covered, 30 minutes or until bulgur is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Drain well, pressing out excess water. Cool completely.

Stir in tomatoes, onion, pepper, lime juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Add beans; toss to combine. Stir in feta until well combined. Refrigerate, covered, at least 30 minutes. Stir again before serving. Serves 6-8.

source: recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Friday, September 27, 2013

Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

Caleb's parents visited us last weekend, and when I was baking and cooking in preparation for their arrival, I couldn't decide what dessert to make. Both Caleb's mom and dad are big-time coffee lovers, so I landed on these espresso cheesecake brownies. It's no secret that my kitchen is stocked with OXO tools, so when OXO sent me a brownie tool set, I was so excited! Not only were they great brownie-making tools, they were all part of OXO's Bake a Difference. For each specially marked OXO product with the below tag, OXO will make a 25-cent donation to Cookies for Kids' Cancer. In 2013 OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer through these specially marked baking tools, bake sale matches, and other fundraising efforts. Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a non-profit foundation dedicated to raising funds for pediatric cancer research. Be sure to look for these specially marked baking tools when you're looking for your next OXO product!

Espresso Cheesecake Brownies
for the brownie layer:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

for the cheesecake layer:
1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
1 Tbsp very hot tap water
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp flour

for the sour cream layer:
1 1/4 cups sour cream
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with foil. Lightly grease the fil. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to blend, and set aside. Combine the butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Microwave in short intervals (20-30 seconds), stirring in between, until the mixture is just fully melted and smooth. Add the sugar to the chocolate mixture and whisk to blend. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract. Blend in the flour mixture just until incorporated and no streaks remain. Spread the batter into the prepared pan in an even layer and set aside.

To make the cheesecake layer, combine the espresso powder and water in a small bowl and whisk until the powder is dissolved. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until light, about 2 minutes. Gradually blend in the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Blend in the vanilla extract, and then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the dissolved espresso mixture to the bowl and blend in. Beat in the sour cream and then the flour. Pour the cheesecake batter over the brownie layer and smooth into an even layer.

Bake about 30-40 minutes, just until the center of the cheesecake layer is set and doesn't shake much when lightly jiggled. Remove the pan to a wire cooling rack. once cooled to room temperature, cover and chill at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

To make the topping, combine the sour cream and confectioners' sugar in a small saucepan. Warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, just until the sugar is dissolved. Spread the mixture over teh cheesecake portion of the brownies and smooth into an even layer. Chill once more, at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

source: recipe from annie's eats

Disclosure: OXO provided me with the Bake a Difference Brownie Tool Set as part of their Blogger Outreach Program. All opinions are 100% my own. I truly love and use OXO products all the time.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cinnamon-Sugar Apple Skillet Cake

To kick off the official start of fall yesterday, I'm sharing this apple recipe. After we picked apples a couple of weeks ago, this was the first recipe I wanted to make with our fridge full of apples. Joy the Baker is always a good place to start when you want to bake something, but my friend Colleen also made this cake earlier in the year and gave her stamp of approval. I stored it in the back of my head for fall and in a blink of an eye we're over halfway through September and fall is here! Here's to a season with college football on your TV + soup simmering on your stove + leaves crunching under your feet + a pumpkin spice latte in your hand.

Cinnamon-Sugar Apple Skillet Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
3-4 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup sugar + 3/4 tsp cinnamon for topping

Place rack in upper third of oven and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch cast iron skillet or cake pan.

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

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until well-incorporated and lighter in color, about 3 minutes. Add egg and yolk, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk and when flour is just combined with the butter mixture, add the remaining flour. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has disappeared into the mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating ingredients with a spatula. Spoon batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Top generously with sliced apples and cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Serve cake warm. Cake should be wrapped in an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

source: recipe from joy the baker

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fresh Savings at Publix

We're kind of in that awkward time of year as far as cooking goes. We're in between the easy summer barbecues and not quite to the pots of chili on the stove for fall. Publix is making it easy to transition your cooking between the seasons with the Fresh Savings Event, where you can save on produce, meat, and eggs when you buy participating items from some of your favorite brands. 

I'm stocking up on Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion soup mix to make some of my favorite dinner recipes:

I can eat chips + salsa all day long, but I also like to have Tostito's scoops on hand to crush and put on top of our favorite fall soups + chilis:

Finally, I can't resist having a few Betty Crocker cake mixes on hand, especially to make these:

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by Publix® through MyBlogSpark.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Weekend

When your weekend begins and ends with food, you know it's a good weekend. All of the other activities sandwiched between were pretty swell, too. We started off Friday night with our anniversary dinner. I'd been dreaming of this dish at a little Cuban restaurant, so Caleb indulged me and we found ourselves looking out the window onto Main Street early Friday evening. The dinner: panko crusted chicken stuffed with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach over a bed of pecorino infused rice with lemon butter. YES exactly, that's why I'd been dreaming of it. Saturday we headed to DuPont State Forest to hike around and check out the waterfalls. It was a gorgeous day, the first weekend it hasn't been blistering hot, so we took advantage of it. Sunday found us in church and getting some chores and projects done at home afterwards. We ended the weekend with apple cake (recipe coming soon). I'm excited for cooler weather + more apple baking + our house guests for this coming weekend!

How was your weekend?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

There's something about a Saturday morning that calls for a cup of coffee and a muffin fresh from the oven. After rushing to get ready and get out the door Monday through Friday, I want a nice, slow morning with time for baking. These muffins have been part of such a Saturday morning several times over. The recipe is just simple enough to put together while you're staggering around the kitchen still waking up. I hope your weekend holds slow mornings and warm muffins!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
1-1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, whisk egg, bananas, melted butter, and vanilla until blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Makes 1 dozen.

source: Taste of Home, June/July 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Three Years

Three years with you, and it just keeps getting better! They say that's true, but I didn't really believe it until now. So thankful to have you by my side as we go through life together. Happy Anniversary, honey!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Farewell, Summer

I know it's technically not fall yet, but something about September just shifts my mindset to fall. School has started, the pool has closed, the calendar flips to September, and I feel like summer has ended. Summer of '13, you were WONDERFUL. Here's some snapshots of my summer from instagram. Looking through them almost makes me want to fast forward to next summer, because summer is just the best! But I'm also really excited for fall. We went apple picking yesterday with friends, and between the cool mountain air and the apple cider donuts, I am ready for fall. Here's to September!

p.s. summertime on this blog is slooow. now that fall is here I'll be back to my regular posting + blog reading :)