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Freezer Egg, Potato and Bacon Burritos

Freezer Egg, Potato and Bacon Burritos

freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos

This month, for Food ‘N Flix, I’m sharing freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos. I was inspired this month by the movie The Martian.  And while potatoes might have been an obvious one for this movie, I couldn’t resist, since they are without a doubt one of my favorite foods.  A favorite story definitely deserves a favorite food.

So in case you haven’t seen or read The Martian, it is, in short, an amazing story about the possibilities and beauty of science.  The book by Andy Weir came out in 2014.  I adore sci fi, having grown up on reading Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein.  When I saw The Martian in the bookstore, I snapped it up quickly and spent a happy weekend lounging on the couch and reading it.

I was skeptical about how good the movie would be.  I’m a hard critic when it comes to movies that started as books.  It turned out that I also loved the movie.  Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, an astronaut left behind on Mars after a dust storm forces a mission abort.  The crew of the Ares III mission believe Watney to be dead, so leave him behind.  This starts his journey of survival until the Ares crew comes back to rescue him.  There’s lots of NASA control room drama that goes on throughout, in addition to following Watney’s path to survival.  It’s such a great pop-some-popcorn-and-stretch-out-on-the-couch-with-the-dog movie.

Potatoes factor heavily into the plot line, as Watney survives by growing potatoes.  Now in fairness, I would imagine Watney would probably not ever want to eat a potato again.  I probably wouldn’t want to either, and I really love potatoes.  Still, I wanted to do a shout out recipe to the humble spud.  These freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos are one of my favorite foods.  You might have guessed that they can be frozen – which makes them a perfect breakfast or lunch on the go food.

 

freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos

I opted to use these pretty blue, red, and yellow potatoes.  I don’t really notice much difference in flavor between potato types.  That said, I love the fact that potatoes come in so many varieties, so tend to cook with a mix.

freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos

The potatoes get mixed with a chopped up onion and roasted until they are crispy.  It doesn’t get much better than this.

freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos

freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos

I like to serve these with some salsa and some guacamole on the side (but wouldn’t you know it – none of my avocados were ripe when I made these).  I’m going to enjoy these freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos for lunch this week and imagine being on Mars.

Want to participate in Food ‘n Flix? Check out this month’s announcement post at http://adayinthelifeonthefarm.blogspot.com/ and drop by the Food ‘n Flix site to learn more!

Freezer Egg, Potato and Bacon Burritos

Ingredients

  • 8 small potatoes, washed and sliced into small chunks
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 pieces of crispy bacon
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 8 large flour tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, combine the chopped potatoes, chopped onion, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once half way through the cooking time.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, milk, cumin, coriander and ground black pepper. Use a fork or a whisk to combine until the eggs are fluffy. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick or cast iron pan over medium heat. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and allow to set. When the eggs are nearly cooked through, fold and cook until they are fully set, gently scrambling. Set aside.
  3. To make the burritos, place 1/8th of the scrambled eggs in the middle of a tortilla. Put 1 piece of bacon on top of the egg. Put 1/8th of the roasted potatoes on top of the egg and bacon. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese on top. Roll the burrito by folding up the top and bottom and then rolling the remaining tortilla over the folded part.
  4. Roll the burritos in aluminum foil and freeze. To reheat, remove the aluminum foil and wrap the burrito in a paper towel. Microwave until warm and serve with salsa and guacamole if desired.
  5. Makes 8 burritos.
  6. Enjoy!
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Matcha White Chocolate Mini Muffins

Matcha White Chocolate Mini Muffins

matcha white chocolate mini muffins

I’ve been having a lot of fun lately creating recipes like these Matcha White Chocolate Mini Muffins that make use of my mini-muffin tin.  Mini muffins are such a perfect work snack.  I love having a couple of muffins with coffee first thing in the morning while I figure out what my day is going to look like and prioritize my to-do list.

Plus, we are getting close to St. Patrick’s Day, and I feel like I’d be remiss as a food blogger if I didn’t eke out at least one sort-of-green recipe.  Matcha White Chocolate Mini Muffins aren’t intensely green, but definitely have the light spring green hue of matcha going on.  I love the intense green tea flavor that matcha brings to these, as well as the soft sweetness of the mini white chocolate chips.  As yummy as these are with my morning espresso, they are also great as a treat served with more green tea.  My two favorite green teas (outside of matcha, of course) are Moroccan Mint Green Tea and Genmaicha, which is a green tea combined with toasted rice.  Trust me, it’s delicious.  These are even better when served alongside matcha white chocolate mini muffins.

The batter for these muffins is silky and lovely.  After mixing the ingredients, it takes just a scant tablespoon to fill up each muffin cup.

Matcha White Chocolate Mini Muffins

The muffins bake for about 20 minutes (or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean).  They definitely need to cool, as the matcha seeps a bit while the muffins are still warm.  Once they’ve cooled though, they are heavenly.

Matcha White Chocolate Mini Muffins

Matcha White Chocolate Mini Muffins

Matcha White Chocolate Mini Muffins

Matcha White Chocolate Mini Muffins

Enjoy these Matcha White Chocolate Mini Muffins with a cup of green tea, while gazing out the window and looking at the daffodils blooming.  Trust me, it will be worth it.

Matcha White Chocolate Mini Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Matcha tea powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup mini white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, matcha powder, and Greek yogurt and mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a bit at a time until all the dry ingredients are combined.
  4. Add the mini white chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
  5. Butter or line each cup of a mini-muffin pan. Spoon a tablespoon of the muffin batter into each cup.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until a knife or toothpick entered into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Enjoy!
  8. Makes 24 mini-muffins
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Check out these items similar to those I’ve used in my post:

 

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Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

I’m craving spring flavors like those found in this Kale and Gruyere quiche.  I’ve had too many days of gloomy PNW weather.  I love the rain, but found myself outside yesterday in the morning doing my best to soak up the few sun beams we got.  Our cats were positively ecstatic – two of three parked themselves on the cat tree right in front of the window and basked in the sun.  Even Daisy found a sun spot on the carpet and took a good long time warming her belly.  We are all seriously deprived right now.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche to the rescue.  I love the creamy texture of eggs and cheese in a quiche.  Kale is a versatile vegetable and can be a harbinger of both fall and spring.  While I love having kale in pasta dishes in the fall, there’s nothing better in the spring than a good bunch of kale sauteed and tossed into a quiche.  I used lacinato Kale or dinosaur kale because I love the deep green flavor it brings to dishes.  I sauteed it until it was soft and then drained and pressed out the excess moisture in a colander.  This helps keep the crust from getting soggy.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

I used a quick olive oil crust for this kale and Gruyere quiche.  I’ve been known to go crustless for my quiches, but this week just felt like that extra little touch might be in order.  One tip for baking the quiche – put the quiche on a baking sheet and put it in the oven.  This way, there’s no slopping of egg and milk into your oven.  Yes – I learned this the hard way.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

One advantage of using Gruyere cheese is that it melts so well.  I also tossed in a few red pepper flakes to add some heat.  I could have gone either with red pepper flakes or with nutmeg – either would create a nice flavor, but nutmeg is to autumnal for me.  I also used a bit of fleur de sel this time around.  Really, it’s a perfect early spring dish.  I’ll be eating this throughout the week with a quick spinach salad on the side.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • salt to taste
  • Olive Oil Crust
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Instructions

  1. To make the crust, combine the flour, salt, olive oil, and water in a small bowl. Combine with your hands until the crust holds together. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to the size needed for an 8 inch pie pan. Transfer the crust to the pie pan and refrigerate while you are making the quiche.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Saute the kale in the olive oil for 7 minutes or until it is wilted. Salt to taste. Drain and press out any remaining moisture. Set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs and milk together in a small bowl until frothy. Add the cheese, red pepper flakes, and ground pepper.
  5. Place the sauteed kale at the bottom of the chilled pie crust. Pour the egg/milk/cheese mixture over the top and redistribute the kale as needed.
  6. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown and the eggs are set. Enjoy!
  7. Makes 4 hearty servings.
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This post is linked up to Tinned Tomatoes: Meat Free Mondays.  Check out the great posts that Jacqueline posts each week!

This post is also linked up to #CookBlogShare hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie and Hijacked by Twins.

Hijacked By Twins
Santa Fe Chocolate Chip Cookie Baked Oatmeal

Santa Fe Chocolate Chip Cookie Baked Oatmeal

Santa Fe Chocolate Chip Cookies Baked Oatmeal

Disclosure: This post contains sponsored content brought to you by Flavahan’s.  I received free products to use in this promotion, but all opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. 

I’m partnering with Flahavan’s for this Santa Fe chocolate chip cookie baked oatmeal recipe.  Flahavan’s is an Irish company that’s been milling oats for over 200 years.  I always think it is kind of wonderful when a company has been around since the late 1700s and has been family run throughout multiple generations.  Both of these are true for Flahavan’s.  They also are a company that values environmental sustainability and sources from local farmers.  In addition to being available via Amazon, Flahavan’s products are also available at Whole Foods here in the PNW.  Happy day – when I run out of the box they sent me, I can go buy more!  I was really delighted with how flaky and easy to cook the oats were.  Best yet, they produce an instant steel cut oatmeal that can be microwaved.  My favorite go-to breakfast when I’m traveling is oatmeal, as it can be easily packed and made (if necessary) using a hotel room’s coffee maker to heat up water, so the instant steel cut oat packets were perfect for my quick business road-trip this week.

instant steel cut oatmeal

Back to the Santa Fe chocolate chip cookie baked oatmeal.  I’ve been looking for an oatmeal recipe that both Clay (my husband) and I can enjoy.  I love oatmeal – the texture doesn’t bother me a bit.  But Clay is not a fan, at all.  At the same time, we both know that oats are incredibly healthy to eat and we probably don’t get enough whole grains in our diet.  I had Clay try the Santa Fe chocolate chip cookie baked oatmeal when it came out of the oven and his response was enthusiastic – he really likes the texture of the baked oatmeal.  We have a winner and a new recipe to add to our weekend breakfast repertoire.

Santa Fe Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

I opted to add in pine nuts on this one because the combination of chocolate chips and pine nuts always transports me back to New Mexico.  While I’m a perfectly happy PNW transplant (yay for rainy weather this week!), I have a special place in my heart for Northern New Mexico.  Some of my best vacations were spent with Clay in Santa Fe and at Ojo Caliente (which is a hot springs resort close to Taos, New Mexico).  Pine nuts are a frequent ingredient in New Mexican cooking and I’ll always remember my first taste of a chocolate chip cookie with pine nuts.  The flavor evokes the smell of a burning pinion in a fire in a kiva, the smell of creosote after the rain, and the smell of warm pine in summer.

Santa Fe Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Baked oatmeal is so incredibly easy to make.  It took me about 5 minutes to gather all the ingredients and mix them up and then it went into the oven for 40 minutes and came out a perfectly moist, slightly chocolatey-gooey, wonderful breakfast.  The leftovers held up just fine in the fridge and I’ve been taking a serving with me each day to heat up at work in the afternoon for a coffee break snack.

Santa Fe Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Santa Fe Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Santa Fe Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Butter an 8 inch by 8 inch baking pan.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, salt, pine nuts, and chocolate chips. In a larger bowl, combine the milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Pour the mix into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the oats are soft and the top looks lightly browned. Enjoy!
  6. Serves 4 – 6
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Macadamia Coconut Chocolate Mini Muffins

Macadamia Coconut Chocolate Mini Muffins

macadamia coconut chocolate mini muffins

Macadamia Coconut Chocolate Mini Muffins are my anecdote to winter weather, which I’ve had enough of to last me several years.  I know I’m not the only one feeling this way – it’s been a brutal winter across the US.  We do have tulips and daffodils poking their heads out of the ground finally.   I had a moment this morning where there was that elusive hint of spring in the air.  Still, I think real spring is about a month away still.  So for now, I’m going to spend lots of time fantasizing about tropical beaches and warm weather.

I have some very happy associations with the flavors in these muffins: macadamia nuts, coconut, and chocolate.  I lived in Majuro in the Marshall Islands for two years,  fourteen years ago this year.  I will never forget my trip to get there.  For one, I had never flown by myself before and I was absolutely petrified of flying as it was.  I remember the fear I felt getting on the plane to Honolulu, which was my intermediary stop between the US and there.  But I also remember landing in Honolulu and being so overwhelmed by how beautiful it was.  I was exhausted that first night, so went to the corner ABC store and bought a tuna fish sandwich, Maui chips, a papaya salad, and chocolate covered macadamia nuts.  I flew back and forth through Honolulu during that two year time stretch, and that meal became my Honolulu ritual.

So anytime I’m feeling dreary here in the PNW, I’ll do my best to catch those flavors again.  Macadamia coconut chocolate mini muffins are a great way for me to lose myself to the sounds of the ocean and feel of that beautiful humid air in Hawaii.

Macadamia coconut chocolate mini muffins

 

Macadamia coconut chocolate mini muffins

Macadamia coconut chocolate mini muffins

Macadamia Coconut Chocolate Mini Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (plain or honey flavored)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts (unsalted)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks, chopped into smaller pieces)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, and Greek yogurt and mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a bit at a time until all the dry ingredients are combined.
  4. Add the macadamia nuts, flaked coconut, and chocolate. Stir to combine.
  5. Butter or line each cup of a mini-muffin pan. Spoon a tablespoon of the muffin batter into each cup. If your pan only makes 24 mini-muffins, you'll need to make two batches as this recipe easily makes 36 - 48 mini-muffins.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until a knife or toothpick entered into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Enjoy!
  8. Makes 36 - 48 mini-muffins
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This post is linked up to The Baking Explorer for February’s Treat Petite.  Check out both The Baking Explorer and Cakeyboi, the hosts of Treat Petite.

Star Anise Panna Cotta

Star Anise Panna Cotta

Star Anise Panna Cotta

Star Anise Panna Cotta is a great recipe for an indulgent breakfast treat or late day snack.  It’s also my entry for February’s Food ‘n Flix for the movie Pan’s Labyrinth.  (Food ‘n Flix is hosted this month by Katharina at Pretty Cake Machine).  Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark fairy tale directed by Guillermo del Toro.  The story takes place in post-civil war Spain in 1944.  There’s an undercurrent of political unrest and distress, and the film itself is a dark telling of a young girl following mythical creatures into the labyrinth.  I won’t spoil the ending, but suffice it to say, it doesn’t end well.  It’s one of those films that’s incredible for its filmography and story, but probably best not watched if you are depressed.

Both times I’ve watched this movie, I’ve done so kind of between my fingers – yep, I’m a wimp when it comes to dark movies.  Still, I was inspired to create my star anise panna cotta.  The inspiration came from the scene in which Ofelia encounters the Pale Man at a banquet.  Of course, much like Persephone going into Hades, Ofelia shouldn’t be touching any of the food at the banquet – and of course, all the food is beautiful and alluring (and of course, she eats something, thus jeopardizing her very future).  I was particularly drawn to the molded desserts, which got me to thinking about jello molds and the like – very old fashioned desserts.  The whole temptation and desire thing came to mind, too, especially since we are moving swiftly toward Valentine’s Day.

All of this led me to making panna cotta.  Panna cotta is a rich, creamy dessert that has that air of old-fashioned about it.  At first, I thought I might aim for a bright sauce for my panna cotta, but then decided to go a bit darker, landing on a star anise caramel for the sauce, which complements the star anise panna cotta nicely.

star anise panna cotta

star anise panna cotta

star anise panna cotta

Just in case you don’t want to try to get the panna cotta to cooperate coming out of its mold – this tastes just as good in a small jar.  It sets nicely, and you can just drizzle the sauce over the top, throw a lid on it, and call it an afternoon snack.

Star Anise Panna Cotta

Ingredients

    Brown Sugar Star Anise Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 star anise pods
  • Star Anise Panna Cotta
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 star anise pods
  • Star anise caramel
  • 1 cup sugar (either white or brown)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar star anise simple syrup

Instructions

  1. Make the brown sugar star anise simple syrup first. Combine the brown sugar, water, and star anise pods in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool for at least an hour (though for more intense flavor, refrigerate overnight). Remove the star anise pods.
  2. Make the star anise panna cotta. In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Bring the gelatin/water mix to a simmer and fully dissolve the gelatin. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream and the star anise pods and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for five minutes. Add the milk and sugar, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Take the mixture off the heat and add the gelatin (it will have formed a gelatin pancake - just scrape the whole thing into the heated milk and cream and mix until dissolved). Remove the star anise pods and pour the panna cotta into individual ramekins or half-pint jars. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night.
  4. As the panna cotta sets, make the star anise caramel. Combine the sugar, heavy cream, and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat and stir occasionally for 7 minutes. Take off the heat and add the simple syrup. The caramel will thicken as it cools. If it gets too thick, microwave for thirty seconds or so.
  5. To serve, drizzle the caramel over the panna cotta and enjoy!
  6. Makes four servings.
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This post is linked up to Weekend Cooking – check it out!

 

Rainbow Marmalade Pop Tarts

Rainbow Marmalade Pop Tarts

Fandom Foodies #Nyanuary is the inspiration for my rainbow marmalade pop tarts.

via GIPHY

Ok – so not the original Nyan cat, but who doesn’t love Pusheen?  The whole Nyan cat thing got me down the road of homemade pop tarts, and I happened to have blood orange marmalade on hand, so decided to make rainbow marmalade pop tarts.  I couldn’t resist a cat-inspired challenge, since our much loved cats both inspire me daily (inspire me to take more naps, relax more, and enjoy my food with great relish).

I couldn’t resist – they are so adorable!

Ok – back to the food.  I’ve thought about making pop tarts for quite some time – they are pretty easy to make, since they are basically pie dough, filling, and frosting.  They make a great coffee treat first thing in the morning, as well as go well with afternoon tea.  I had so much fun playing around with these – who doesn’t enjoy decorating with rainbow sprinkles, after all?  Creating a good Nyan cat out of pop tarts, frosting, and sprinkles turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected.  Clay came in at one point and told me my creation was #nailedit.  Ok – that might be a fair assessment of the final product.  Still.  I did all my photos and then realized I needed at least one photo with my maneki-neko cats and a rainbow marmalade pop tart.

rainbow marmalade pop tart

Here’s the Nyan cat attempt:

rainbow marmalade pop tart

And here are some better photos of the actual pop tarts – both frosted and un-frosted:

rainbow marmalade pop tart

rainbow marmalade pop tart

Put it all together, and you definitely have #Nyanuary

rainbow marmalade pop tart

Hope you enjoy making these rainbow marmalade pop tarts as much as I did!

Rainbow Marmalade Pop Tarts

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons cold water (or as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the filling
  • 1/2 jar of marmalade
  • For the frosting
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk (or as needed)
  • Rainbow sprinkles to decorate

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour, butter, and vanilla in a small bowl. Use a pastry cutter or knife to cut the butter into small pieces and incorporate into the flour until the butter/flour/vanilla mixture is the consistency of small peas. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time until the dough starts to hold together. Knead a couple of times and then refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the chilled dough out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut the dough into rectangles that are 2 inches x 3 inches. I was able to get 16 rectangles out of the dough for a total of 8 pop tarts.
  3. Place half of the rectangles single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Put 1 tablespoon of marmalade in the middle of each rectangle. Cover with the remaining dough and crimp the edges using a fork. Using the fork, poke three rows of holes on the top to reduce the amount of marmalade that spills out. Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely.
  4. To make the frosting, combine the powdered sugar and milk and stir. Add more powdered sugar or more milk to get to the desired consistency. Frost and sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles. Enjoy!
  5. Makes 8 pop tarts
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This recipe is linked up to Fandom Foodies #Nyanuary, hosted this month by Pretty Cake Machine

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

blood orange vanilla bean pound cake

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake is my contribution to Cook the Books for January.  The December/January pick for Cook the Books was Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home by Jessica Fechtor.  Stir is a memoir that chronicles Jessica’s experience with having a sudden aneurysm while on a treadmill at a hotel at a conference and her subsequent surgeries, and slow recovery.  Throughout the memoir, memories of food abound and it is cooking and food that Jessica credits for helping her come back to her self after her trauma.   Jessica includes many recipes and food memories – so there was ample inspiration from the book.  I ended up with a full page of notes of all the various foods described.  But for whatever reason, the thing that stuck with me when I went back to my notes was vanilla bean pound cake.

I have to say that this wasn’t a book I particularly enjoyed reading.  It’s a well written memoir and there’s no doubt that Jessica Fechtor is an amazing woman who came through a traumatic experience and is inspirational because of her determination to get herself back on her feet, back in the kitchen, and back into life.  It’s just that her descriptions of her trauma were hard for me to read.  I don’t watch medical shows and I try to avoid books about medical anything.  So the book itself was something that definitely stretched my boundaries for what I would normally read.

Here’s the thing, though, and how this book came to be inspiration for this particular blood orange vanilla bean pound cake recipe.  I read the book over the holiday break and set it aside.  I got busy with other blogging work and other projects.  I had my notes and the general intention to make a vanilla bean pound cake and then got the idea to incorporate blood oranges in some way, as I had just received the tremendous gift of 40 pounds of blood oranges from a friend in Arizona.  I had everything planned out to make this recipe the weekend before last.  And then that Friday night, one of our much loved kitties, Grace, passed away, very unexpectedly.  She was just going on ten years old and had been with us since we found her in our garage in Tularosa, New Mexico.  When we found her, over nine years ago, she was only eight weeks old, weighed 2 ounces, and was incredibly dehydrated and sick.  I absolutely babied her – came home from work to bottle feed, kept her in a soft-sided carrier to sleep on the bed with me so I could watch her at night.  If you have pets, you know how this goes.  She wrapped her furry grey self around my heart.  Unfortunately, as a moderately feral stray, she was always tightly wound, and we are pretty sure she had either an aneurysm or a stroke.  It was positively devastating for us, our three other cats, and even for Daisy, our lab mix, who was accustomed to sharing under the bed space with Grace.

How do I tie this all to Stir and to pound cake?  Here’s how: by Sunday, I was back in the kitchen.  I don’t exactly remember what I cooked, but I know my first recipe turned out fine.  Then I decided I would try to make a blood orange vanilla bean pound cake.  I created a version of a recipe I’d found, adding in Greek yogurt and eggs and reducing the sugar and just generally trying to be my normal bad ass cooking self.  The pound cake cooked in an astonishing 30 minutes (should have taken an hour).  I knew something wasn’t quite right when one edge of it rose up to the side of the pan while the rest of it sunk low.  It was the perfect metaphor for how I was feeling.  I knew when I took it out of the oven it was an unmitigated cooking catastrophe.  I cried – but not for the pound cake.  I cried because that’s all you can do when you are on the edge of being broken, but know that healing is somewhere out there in that dark void.  I know enough about grief and trauma to know this – healing is like baking a cake.  Sometimes you look done around the edges, but the middle is still as soft as it can be.

I also knows that, at least for me (and for Jessica Fechtor as well), cooking is a great vehicle for healing.  Somehow, I felt better for that catastrophically gooey pound cake.  I could set aside the recipe, the planning, the blog calendar and just spend some time taking care of me, my husband, my other pets.  Holding those little wakes that we do for pets who have passed – remembering all the good times. In Grace’s case, the good times included dunking her favorite toy in the water dish when she was a kitten, getting super excited about Salmon Temptations, and spending lots of time at night snuggled up to my hair and kneading it.

This weekend, I tried again.  It’s a different week.  I’m better rested.  The other cats are filling in the spaces Grace left behind.  The Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake is a different recipe (no Greek yogurt – that was just a bad idea – and this time I added salt – that might have made a difference).  I’m a little more healed around the edges.  So while I have mixed feelings about the book Stir I think it’s only because I’m sometimes not so thrilled by trauma and healing and all the work it entails.  I hate being reminded of what hard work it is to heal, but then again, maybe I needed to be reminded.

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Blood Orange Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup softened unsalted butter
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Seeds scraped out of a vanilla bean pod
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Zest from a blood orange
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange marmalade (or regular marmalade)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter a bread pan and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars in a medium sized bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until they are incorporated. Add the milk, vanilla extract, and vanilla beans and mix. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and zest and mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared bread pan. Dollop the blood orange marmalade in a line down the middle of the mixture in the pan. Top with the rest of the mixture.
  4. Bake for an hour or until a skewer or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely and remove from the pan. Enjoy!
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cookthebooks

 This post has been linked to January 2017 Foodies Read.  Check out all the wonderful books about food and recipes inspired by those books!
Casa Costello
It’s also been linked to #BakeoftheWeek at Casa Costello.  Thanks to Helen (Casa Costello) and Jenny (Mummy Mishaps) for hosting.
Top Five from 2016 and Five Goals for 2017

Top Five from 2016 and Five Goals for 2017

Like many, I’m glad to see the end of 2016.  I was doing pretty well avoiding whole scale resentment for the year, and then George Michael died.  And my reaction was, really 2016?  Bowie, Prince and George Michael, all in the same year?  And in case you are wondering if my musical tastes are primarily stuck in the 80’s, I’m incredibly sad about Ralph Stanley, Merle Haggard, Leonard Cohen, and Sharon Jones, too.

On the other hand, I’ve cooked a lot of good food this year, including the five most popular recipes here on Fix Me a Little Lunch.

Eggnog Ricotta Pancakes were hands down the most popular recipe this year.  I can see why – who doesn’t love eggnog?  These pancakes were so fluffy and so very, very rich – I’m thinking I’ll be making them again for New Year’s Day brunch.

My Crockpot Posole was also quite popular this year.  It’s such a great slow-cooker recipe, I wasn’t surprised.  We made up a batch of this for Christmas Eve this year and froze several more nights worth.  One of my favorite things about this recipe was that it was the first time I participated in Cook the Books.  I’m really excited about all the inspiration that will come from next year’s book picks.

Greek Spaghetti Squash was a big hit this year, as well.  This was my last office lunch for the year, as we ended up with four snow days and then vacation right around the same time I made this.

Greek Spaghetti Squash

I had a great time this fall going out to Sauvie Island to get winter squash.  As always, I bought a few too many squash, but it wasn’t a problem, since my over indulgence inspired me to make Winter Squash Stuffed Shells with Pesto.  If I had to pick a favorite of my own from this year, it might be this one – mostly because I love cheese, squash and pasta.

And last, but certainly not least, is my Mandarin Orange Mule.  I’m glad I finally got with the times and bought a copper mug for Moscow Mules, as they are now high on my list of favorite cocktails.

Mandarin Orange Mule

So there we are – the top five from 2016.

I’m looking forward to 2017.  I know there are likely to be some major changes on the way (more on that in future blog posts, I’m sure), but I’m hopeful they won’t impact my time working on my blog.  I like to spend a little time reflecting on the year before, as well as looking forward and setting goals moving forward.  So – in no particular order – here are my five goals for Fix Me a Little Lunch for 2017.

  1. Keep improving my photography.  I had one photo accepted by foodgawker this year for my Red Kuri Risotto recipe and would like to keep working on lighting, composition and so on in 2017.
  2. Create and mostly stick to an editorial calendar.  I started working on this in December and realized it wasn’t that hard to plan out December 2017’s blog posts.  Now let’s see if I can fill in all the other months of the year. Some of this is product dependent, of course, as I’m committed to keeping Fix Me a Little Lunch all about seasonal foods and recipes.
  3. Continue to be inspired by blog challenges – Cook the Books and Food n’ Flix were my favorite inspirations this year.  The books and movies kept me inspired, as did the community of other food bloggers who created some really fantastic recipes.
  4. Explore the whole affiliate/sponsored post thing.  I’m a little wary of ads – I’m not a huge fan of navigating them on others sites, so not sure I want to do this on my own blog.  On the other hand, I’d love to share some of the products that I love with my readers.
  5. Grow my email list to at least a 1,000 subscribers.  Right now, I have seven.  I love those seven people who are interested in reading my posts regularly – and would like to find some more.  To this end, I’ll be starting a monthly newsletter in January that will include a round up of my favorite recipes from the month before, a bonus recipe featuring a seasonal veggie or fruit, and a profile of a seasonal veggie or fruit.  Sign up to be on my email list and be on the lookout for my first newsletter.

Happy Near Year everyone!  Let’s hope that 2017 is prosperous and happy, and let’s keep eating good food!

Homemade English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins are one of the tastiest breakfast treats to make.  They take a bit of time, but are absolutely worth it.  With about two hours of your time, most of it hands off, you’ll have the fluffiest Homemade English Muffins.  Who wouldn’t want a homemade English muffin, smothered in butter and jam?

I’ve always had a fondness for English muffins.  Their craggy surface is just begging to be toasted and have a bit of butter drizzled over them.  For years, I’d eaten store bought English muffins and wondered if there was a particular secret or trick to making them.  English muffins were kind of like bagels in that regard – something made with yeast that was too complicated to make at home.  Ok, so I haven’t made bagels yet, but when I made homemade English muffins a few years ago around the holidays, I realized they weren’t that hard at all.

There is a two-step process to cooking the muffins. The first step is to brown them on both sides in a cast iron or non-stick pan.  Then, they bake in the oven for just a little while to bake all the way through.  I don’t see the need to use English muffin rings, as the dough holds its shape.

The one difference is that homemade English muffins aren’t quite as craggy – there aren’t as many air pockets in them.  Still, they toast up really well and have a nice, dense and chewy texture that goes so well with butter and jam, as well as holds up to various breakfast sandwich ingredients.  They also are absolutely heavenly as the base for Eggs Benedict.  These make a great weekend baking project, as well as a yummy treat.

Homemade English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon active yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk until it is warm to the touch (110 degrees if you have a thermometer). In a medium sized bowl, combine the warm milk and the yeast and let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Combine the flour and salt in another bowl. Add the flour and salt mix, the softened butter, and the egg to the milk and yeast. Combine until you've made a shaggy dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for six to eight minutes. You may need to add a bit more flour to keep the dough from sticking. Once the dough has formed a smooth ball, return it to the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm spot for an hour.
  4. After the first rise, turn the dough out on a floured surface and divided it into 6 or 8 pieces (depending on the size you'd like your English muffins). Roll each segment into a ball and flatten slightly. Place the English muffins on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside and let rise for an hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Preheat a cast iron skillet or a non-stick skillet over medium heat. When your skillet is hot, add the English muffins, four muffins at a time (or more, if you have the room in your skillet). Cook the English muffins for 5 minutes per side (or until each side is golden brown).
  6. Place each browned English muffin on the baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or lightly oiled). When all English muffins are browned, bake in your pre-heated oven for 10 minutes or until the muffins are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
  7. Let the English muffins cool slightly before splitting them open. Enjoy!
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