Monday, September 23, 2013

Maple Vanilla Popcorn with Pecans

Once a year, I prepare for pure, unadulterated gluttony. I'm talking butter sculptures, baked potatoes the size of your head, candy apples covered in chocolate (then covered in more candy), enormous cream puffs, the ubiquitous burger topped with bacon on a buttered Krispy Kream donut instead of a bun, maple cotton candy, and all manner of fried delicacies - oreos, vegetables, whoopie pies, snickers bars, BUTTER, you name it. Ok, maybe I don't eat those things. Not most of them, anyway. Definitely not the burger.

If you live in Connecticut, or Massachusetts, or maybe even Rhode Island, you know what I'm talking about. The Big E, the biggest fair in the northeast, and the 6th largest fair in the nation. I think every New Englander has to have been to the fair at least once.

One of the highlights of the fair is checking out all of the "statehouses," where you can find interesting food, products, and other goodies from each state. I made a beeline for the massive area in the Vermont statehouse devoted entirely to maple products, and promptly scooped up a bottle of organic maple syrup while I was there this past weekend. After staring at that gorgeous bottle of syrup for two days, it finally came to me: Maple Vanilla Popcorn.

No wait. Maple Vanilla Popcorn WITH PECANS.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Tarragon

Mmmmmmm. Fall.

I think it's about time I just said it. Fall is my favorite season. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally a beach girl, but there is just so much AWESOME to fall.

Case in point, fall foods. Fresh pressed apple cider, squash and pumpkins and Brussels sprouts from the farmers markets. And just about any kind of soup, to help you transition from the hot and humid summers by the shore to the cool fall nights.

Roasted cauliflower soup in particular.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Maple Glaze

There is a chill in the air.

I woke up this morning curled into ball under my blankets. It seems that we are getting an early preview of crisp fall mornings here in CT. I'm not complaining. Although summers here on the shore are just magical, there is something about a cool New England fall morning that just feels right to me. It means it's almost time for boots, and sweaters, and pumpkin.... everything. Pumpkin everything!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bonus Recipe: Homemade Granola Bars

I may have mentioned that I came home from my local co-op with 30 cups of rolled oats earlier this week. I used about 1/3 of them on my quadruple batch of Banana-Nut Granola, but that still left me with a lot of oats. 

I'm not a fan of oatmeal, so I had to figure out something to do with them. I vaguely remembered a post on TheKitchn explaining how to make homemade granola bars, so I thought, why not? The post, written by TheKitchn's recipe editor, Emma Christiansen, provides a template for making homemade granola bars, as well as a few fun recipe suggestions. I made her Cherry-Almond Dark Chocolate bars and Chocolate Chip Peanut bars and wrapped them up and sent them over to my niece who just started 4th grade as snacks for during or after the school day. Then I started brainstorming. I decided I would create Mocha Coconut Granola Bars and White Chocolate Apple Pie Granola bars!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Organic Banana-Nut Granola

Almost a year ago, I stopped eating foods with added sugar and most things that are very processed. Not eating processed foods isn't too hard, for someone who loves to cook. The no added sugar thing? A little more difficult, because there is added, excessive sugar in EVERYTHING. So I stopped eating fruit flavored yogurts, quit my dessert addiction cold turkey, and started drinking my morning coffee with milk only.

I still occasionally indulge in a small portion of dessert (I requested my mom make me a chocolate-red wine cake with white chocolate buttercream for my birthday earlier this month!), and definitely still cook with small amounts of natural sweeteners.

One of my favorite slightly sweet recipes lately has been banana-nut granola. Made with just a little honey and mashed, super ripe bananas, it has the perfect balance of nutty and mildly sweet flavors - and is perfect with a little almond milk as cold cereal or tossed into some plain yogurt with fruit for breakfast in the morning. The last (double) batch I made went in less than two weeks because everyone loved it so much, so this time I went all out and made a QUADRUPLE batch.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Savory Dinner Waffles

I planted 17 different herbs in my herb garden this year. SEVENTEEN.

Basil, dill, cilantro, chives, pineapple sage, lemon verbena, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, golden  & tri-color sage, parsley, marjoram, french tarragon, garlic chives, oregano, savory and mint. That's a lot of herbs.

The other morning, I stepped out my back door and paused to look at my herb garden before jumping in the car to leave. After driving for five minutes, I knew exactly what I was going to have for dinner that night. Savory herb waffles with sautéed vegetables and homemade gravy.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tastes like Summer: Wild Blueberry Ice Cream

I am a little bit obsessed with blueberries.

I could eat a whole bucket of them if you let me. Fresh, frozen, whatever. I like to put frozen blueberries in my yogurt, like, everyday. They make it the brightest shade of purple and that just makes me happy. Sometimes I smash a few fresh berries and put them in a glass of water. I even once came home from a night out after a few too many drinks and my cocktail induced munchies made me eat the ENTIRE pint of blueberries I had picked up at the farmers market that day...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Vegan Southwest Mac and "Cheese"

I am consciously eating less dairy these days. I am not vegan, but I do eat many more vegan meals than I used to. I still occasionally east seafood, and even less frequently, poultry, but for the most part (I'm talking 98% of the time), I eat only vegetarian meals. So the whole vegan thing is new to me. This is the first time I've cooked with Daiya "cheese" or nutritional yeast, and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it came out. Actually, really good. I made this last night, and had leftovers this afternoon for lunch!