Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

reeses cupcakesThese are always a winner! Not many people will pass up a chocolate cupcake with Peanut butter frosting. Use your favorite Chocolate Cake mix, in my opinion the darker the better, make 24 cupcakes. Then follow this simple recipe for Peanut butter frosting. Top with a peanut butter cup and everybody is happy!

 

Peanut butter marshmallow Frosting

1 stick of room temp Butter
4 heaping tbsp creamy Peanut butter
2 cups confectionery sugar
1 tbsp heavy cream
beat until creamy
add 1 sm. tub of marshmallow fluff and beat until fluffy.
frost cupcakes and add a peanut butter cup

If you want to omit the fluff for whatever reason, add 1 more cup of confectionery sugar and a little more cream if necessary to get the right consistency.

Homemade Hummus!

hummusIt’s really hard to find organic Hummus. At the same time it’s extremely easy to make hummus, organic hummus that is. I have mentioned before that one of my favorite brands is Eden foods. Eden sells canned organic garbanzo beans or chickpeas and all of their cans are BPA free. By making your own you can control the salt and put any flavors you like in the hummus. It’s high in fiber and so good for you. My favorite way to eat it is by mixing it with guacamole. I mix a bowl of avocado and lemon, fresh tomato, salt, pepper and cilantro and add a huge scoop of hummus. Yummmmmmy! I had left over grilled eggplant in my fridge, so I made eggplant and spinach hummus. But you can add whatever you like. There are many ways to flavor it. We always drizzle the top with good olive oil and sprinkle some Hungarian paprika on top. You can dip with toasted pita wedges or crackers, whatever you like will work. Just a note about olives, they can add a lot of salt to your hummus. If you plan to use olives, don’t add any salt until the end. Have fun creating!

Start with a cuisinart or food processer fitted with the blade attachment.
Add 1 can of Eden brand organic garbanzo beans drained of half the liquid.
Add the juice of one lemon
Add 1 head of roasted garlic or 4 very finely minced garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Cumin or turmeric is optional
1 tsp paprika is optional
Begin the processor and drizzle 1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil through the feed tube while running. Before you add the oil, Now is when you would add other items, Like… I handful of spinach, 1/4 c. olives, 1/2 cup chopped roasted eggplant, 1/2 c.sundried tomatoes, 1/2 c.cooked artichoke hearts.

Scrape down the sides and taste, keep blending. Adding additional lemon or salt and pepper and even more oil if necessary… until you are happy with the flavor.
Serve with toasted pita bread.
Top with toasted pine nuts or other toasted nuts, olive oil and paprika! Enjoy your really healthy snack.

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Puttanesca

grilled eggplant 1After visiting my favorite Italian store in Portland, Maine and finding a gorgeous fresh eggplant, I came home and got right to cooking. I made an all vegetarian dish that was superb. It was layered with grilled eggplant and grilled zucchini, fresh spinach, garlic, mozzarella, and mushrooms, 3 cheeses, and puttanesca sauce (spicy tomato sauce). So good and extremely easy to make. They sell puttanesca in the jar at the store or you can make you own. I happened to have left over tomato sauce in my fridge so I added capers, kalamata olives, red pepper flakes, chopped mushrooms and spinach, and garlic. I also had leftover ricotta cheese, so I used that as well. The end result was delicious and had great eye appeal. You know, they say we eat with our eyes.

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Puttanesca
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 min.
Broil on high for 3-5 minutes to brown top.

1 large Eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 small zucchini, slice lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices

grilled eggplant 3

Brush each slice with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill each slice on both sides and set aside. Cut the zucchini slices in half for layering.

1 cup ricotta seasoned with salt and pepper

1 jar puttanesca sauce or 2 cups of tomato sauce spiced up.
(If you are using plain tomato sauce add 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 2 tbsp capers, and 1/3 cup of kalamata olives)
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
4 cloves garlic chopped
Simmer for about 20 minutes.

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced

Make your stacks, put a little sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Layer one slice of grilled eggplant
1 tsp. of ricotta
a small pile of cheddar
2 pc. of grilled zucchini
Fresh Basil leaves wherever you want to put them in the stack
1 tsp ricotta
A small pile of cheddar
1 tbsp sauce
1 slice grilled eggplant
1 slice of fresh mozzarella

Bake and top with as much sauce as you like. Serve immediately.

grilled eggplant 2

Sting, David Byrne and St. Vincent, and Miccuci!

Thursday was a good night and a nice change from the usual concerts! I know you all know what that means. Brian and I got to spend the evening with 2 of our favorite people, our kids! Along with Katie who is another favorite in our lives. It’s a pretty rare occasion that we are all together these day. Our son flew home for a visit, but it was planned around Sting playing at the Bangor Waterfront. It was an amazing concert and so much fun, especially to watch the expressions on the girls faces watching Brian boogie in the aisle.
The following evening was shared with our other great friends Dan and Dominique or as my son refers to them, Daminique and Donial. We saw David Byrne and St.Vincent aka Annie Clark in Portland. Another great time was had at a not so ordinary concert. They were awesome, a blast from the past as well. They did a few Talking heads songs, Burning down the house, We’re on the road to nowhere, Naive Melody, and Wild Wild life! So great, the choreography and all the musical instruments and people in the band, 14 to be exact. Quite amazing, if you get the chance to see them… go.
We ate late at Nosh and had their famous bacon dusted French fries and Nosh burger which is topped with a fried egg. The following morning made a stop at our favorite store in Portland, Micucci’s. Picked up a bunch of Italian supplies including a beautiful eggplant and ran into my favorite cousin Micheal. What are the chances. Then we made a quick stop at the Fat Cat bakery for one of their crazy good whoopie pies.
All in all it was a fun weekend.

Pumpkin Doughnuts

donuts 2These doughnuts are great the day they are made and still good the second day. The recipe is adapted from a recipe I found on Pinterest from Blueeyedbakers.com. The pan you use is a doughnut pan. I got mine at AcMoore craft store for 9.99. It makes 6 doughnuts at a time, which was why I almost bought two pans. However, I am glad I only bought one because, by the time you glaze or sugar the doughnuts, the next batch cooking is almost done.

Pumpkin Doughnuts

For Donuts:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

For Coating:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 F.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices together and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until combined. Mix dry ingredients. Stir just until combined.

Using a pastry bag or a steady hand and a spoon, fill each donut cup with the batter just until level.                                                    donuts

Bake for 8-9 minutes, until donuts spring back when gently pressed (if you’re using a large donut pan,12-15 minutes). Flip donuts out onto a wire rack or a cloth and allow to cool for a few minutes. While cooling refill your pan and begin cooking your second 6 donuts. When donuts can be handled dip in butter and then sugar mixture. Serve immediately.

Doggie Treats!

johnny cashI’ve been planning for a while to make my own dog treats. We ran out out of dehydrated sweet potato chews that my dog loves. They are pretty expensive so I decided to make my own. When you make your own there will be no preservatives, so don’t make too much. The best part of making your own is that there is one ingredient, the potato. Almost every dog treat you buy will have preservatives. That’s not a bad thing if they are using the Tocopherols, Tocopherols are natural and safe in moderation. Even when you buy a dog treat with natural preservatives the instructions still say a limit as to how much you should give your dog daily. That for me is a red flag. My dog likes a treat every time he pees and poops. That’s potentially 5 times the recommended amount. FYI…if the treats that you are buying your dog say, BHA, BHT,or Ethoxyquin. Stay away! Those are not natural preservatives that are carcinogens and they are just a cheaper way for companies to preserve the dog treats. Treats that you buy need to have a long shelf life, so the companies must use a preservative or the fats in the product will go rancid.
Honestly, I am doing this post, cleaning house and doing laundry while the sweet potatoes are in my oven. Once you cut them up, they just need to cook for 3 hours. About halfway though I am going to flip them over.
But that’s it, peel, cut up, spread evenly on sheet pan, bake at 250 degrees for 3-4 hours and cool. Depending on the thickness of the cut they should be slightly chewy. But leave them in longer if you want to make bigger pieces or crunchier treats.
Compare a $15.00 bag of sweet potato treat to buying 2 sweet potatoes and you just saved a lot of money. Next I am going to experiment with chicken chews, I will let you know how that goes.

sweet potato treats