Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cashew-Gingerbread Milk

I'm totally obsessed with this cashew-gingerbread milk. I found the recipe in the "winter" section of Jolene Hart's book Eat Pretty Every Day (LOVE that book!).  It is slightly sweet from the dates, super creamy from the cashews, and satisfyingly spicy from the mix of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

**I made one batch of this "milk" and it lasted me four nights, drinking one cup per night. I stored the extra "milk" in a large mason jar in the fridge. The "milk" is very rich, so I needed to water it down a bit. I poured enough "milk" to fill half a mug and then added purified water to fill to the top. Then I just popped it in the microwave to warm it up.  Oh my goodness, it smells so will warm you right up and fill you up, too. It is enough to replace my nightly dessert craving. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!

Here is the recipe from Jolene Hart's book:


  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for a least 4 hours or overnight, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups purified water
  • 2 pitted Medjool dates
  • 4 tsp blackstrap molasses <I used 3tsp>
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pincch of ground cloves
In a high-powered blender or food processor, combine the cashews, 1/2 cup water, and the dates. Process until no lumps remain, about 2 minutes, pausing frequently to scrap down the sides of the blender jar or work bowl <I never needed to do this - it blended together very well on it's own>.

Add the remaining 2 cups water, the molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; process until well blended. Transfer to a saucepan and heat gently over low heat until warm. Pour into mugs and serve immediately. **See above for how I store extra "milk"

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Seasonal Vegetarian Pot Pie

Oh goodness gracious this veggie pot pie was out of this world delicious!! My mom is here visiting and she loved kids all loved husband loved it so much he had THIRDS (which is most unusual for him) son wanted more, but by that point, the pie was gone.....alas, I promised them all I would make it again!!

If you are craving some animal protein, by all means add some cooked chicken - I think it would be amazing!

This recipes come straight from the Kitchenthusiast blog. Here is the recipe verbatim:


1 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable broth <I used about 1 1/2 cups broth>
1 large sized sweet potato, peeled and chopped <I used a regular baking potato instead>
1 large sized carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced <I used baby bellos>
1 large leek, tender white and light green parts only, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 cups kale, chopped <about 3 large leaves>
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mascarpone <I used ricotta>
2 frozen puff pastry sheets, defrosted
1 egg + 1 teaspoon water, beaten for egg wash



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a large sized saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms and leeks. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the kale in for the last 5 minutes only.

Meanwhile, using a small bowl, whisk together the milk and flour until there are no lumps. After the vegetables are tender, slowly pour in the flour mixture to the pan, stirring until everything thickens.
Season with a little more salt and pepper, remove from the heat and mix in the Dijon mustard and mascarpone. Taste and adjust any ingredients as needed.

Lay one defrosted puff pastry sheet into a 9X13 dish <I rolled the sheets of pastry out with a rolling pin a little to fit my dish>. Pour the vegetable filling into the dish, onto the puff pastry sheet and cover with the second puff pastry sheet, trimming off any excess and piercing the puff pastry dough on top to allow steam to escape while baking.

Using a pastry brush, brush on the egg wash over the top of the pot pie and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and heated through.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Peppermint Meltaway Cookies

With the snow lightly falling outside, a fire blazing, and Christmas music blaring on the radio, this was the perfect morning to whip up these easy, festive cookies with the kids! Their favorite part was crushing the candy canes to sprinkle on top!

I found the recipe on the blog Cakes Cottage.

Here is the recipe word for word:
  • COOKIE :
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1-1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1-1½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup candy canes or hard peppermint candy, crushed
  1. Combine butter, powdered sugar and peppermint extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. In a separate bowl, combine flour and cornstarch.
  2. Gradually add to creamed mixture and beat at low speed until well mixed.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until firm at least one hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°.
  5. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, and place it 2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. In a small bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, milk and peppermint extract and beat until smooth.
  8. Spread over cooled cookies and immediately sprinkle with crushed candies.
  9. Store in an airtight container.
  • This recipe makes approx 18 cookies

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Tomato Tarts with Herbed Goat Cheese & Basil

These tomato tarts were absolutely delicious! My kids were fighting over them! They really were quite simple to put together - they seem much fancier than they actually are (which is always a plus!). I served them with my Fire Roasted Tomato Soup - that made a great duo. You could also make them bite-sized and serve them as appetizers.

This makes four 5-inch square tarts.  If you would like to make more, simply double the recipe.

1 sheet of puff pastry*, thawed

4 oz soft herb goat cheese (I cut the 8oz log of cheese in half), room temperature
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
splash of milk or half and half

1 10oz container of cherry tomatoes, halved
~ 20 fresh basil leaves, julienned & divided
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

*A box of 17oz puff pastry comes with two sheets - I only used one of these sheets to make four tarts.

Preheat the oven to 400F

Place halved cherry tomatoes on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add half of the julienned basil. Gently use your hands to toss. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.  Set aside.

After the goat cheese has come to room temperature (it's easier to work with it when it isn't cold), place it in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp olive oil and a splash of milk; mix these three things together using a fork until creamy (add more milk if you need to). Set aside.

Cut the sheet of puff pastry into four equal squares and place them on a cookie sheet, leaving space between them. Divide the goat cheese mixture up equally between the four tarts and spread, leaving a little rim around the outside like a pizza crust. I had to use my fingers to do this because that goat cheese is a bit tricky to spread. Add the roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle with the rest of the fresh basil.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until puffed pastry is golden brown.

Eat immediately. Enjoy!

Christmas Pumpkin Bread

I found this recipe in the 2017 Omaha Home for Boys annual calendar.  The ingredients are simple and I made it all in one bowl without any fuss.  I baked it on a Sunday evening and my children enjoyed a slice for breakfast three mornings in a row.

If you are looking for a yummy, easy to bake, pumpkin bread to share over the holidays, you have found it here! Enjoy!

1/2 cup vegetable oil <I used one stick of melted butter instead> 
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins <I used mini chocolate chips instead of raisins>
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped, optional

Preheat oven to 340F

Beat together oil, eggs, pumpkin and water. Sift flour and sugar together and add to pumpkin mix; add spices and salt. Mix together. Add raisins and nuts; pour into a 9X5X3 greased and floured loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool completely before turning out on a cutting board and slicing.