Sunday, July 27, 2014

Almond Cornmeal Biscotti

Sitting down on a lazy afternoon with a cup of coffee doesn't feel complete without a little sweet treat to go along with it. Biscotti is one of my favorite coffee time snacks. It's fun to make, and it lasts forever in an airtight container. I've tried many different biscotti recipes over the last several years, some are better than others, but none have been bad. This one ranks near the top of the list. What I really like about it is the addition of a little cornmeal to the dough. This cornmeal adds just enough crunch to make things interesting, it just livens the cookie right up! The almonds also add to the crunch factor, a perfect combination. I actually made this recipe twice in less than a week the first time I made it, it was that good. And it will definitely be a regular in the coffee time cookie rotation from now on!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Apple Bread with Oatmeal Streusel

I love having apples in the fridge, they are a perfect snack and easy to throw into a lunch. They seem to last forever in the fridge, although I usually end up eating them so fast that it doesn't matter any way. But as much as I love apples, not just any apple will do. I am very picky about which kind of apples I will buy. In the fall, when they are super fresh and straight from the orchard I love almost all of them, but golden delicious in particular are so good. But as the winter moves on, I usually end up buying just a few varieties from the grocery store, Fuji, Pink Lady, and once in a while Honeycrisp (but I don't generally feel like I should be spending $4 a pound on Honeycrisp when all the other apples cost half as much). 

A few weeks ago I accidentally picked up the wrong bag of apples. I ended up with 3 pounds of Paula Reds which I just couldn't make myself eat out of hand. They have good flavor, but are just too soft and mushy for me. Making applesauce is always an option, but this time I also decided to use some of the apples to do a little baking. While this recipe may seem like a fall recipe, I see no reason to wait until fall to bake something with apples. So grab a couple apples and head to the kitchen to throw this lovely loaf of cinnamon apple bread together. It's good regardless of the season!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins

Last week I was wanting to bake something that I could stockpile in the freezer, to pull out when I needed something to take with me for breakfast. I wanted something tasty and beautiful, something that I would get excited about eating. It makes me happy when I have something delicious to look forward to in the morning. My mind went immediately to muffins because they are so easy, and extremely portable. The perfect on-the-go breakfast treat in my opinion. 

I immediately went to my 'muffins and quickbreads' Pinterest board to browse through the options I had there. In the end I decided on these whole wheat chocolate chip muffins. First of all I thought the photo of them was just so pretty, it made me want to make them. It is so true that you eat with your eyes first, and these just looked so tasty. They also were on the healthier side for a muffin which was another plus; a lot of whole wheat flour, not tons of sugar, yogurt and applesauce, and only a little bit of butter. It sounded like a nice combination, so I just had to give them a try. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Frosted Brownie Roll Out Cookies

Need a chocolate fix? These simple yet delicious brownie roll out cookies are super easy to whip together when you need a basic chocolate cookie. They are easy and use ingredients that you are sure to have on hand. I've made them with both natural and Dutched cocoa and both turn out great. If you use the Dutched cocoa the cookies take on more of a oreo-ish look with that deep, almost black appearance, but they are definitely not Oreo texture. 

These cookies are soft and tender, a brownie in cookie form, perfect for any number of uses. They are good just plain, straight out of the oven, or frosted with your favorite frosting. This time I used a bright yellow and summery buttercream, but peanut butter frosting, or a chocolate ganache frosting would also be fantastic. Keep the cookies open faced, or spread the frosting between two cookies for a fun dessert sandwich. I have also scooped ice cream between two cookies for a super delicious ice cream sandwich. The cookies stay nice and soft, even in the freezer, making the perfect ice cream sandwich, easy to bite into and devour. A great recipe to have in your recipe box for any occasion! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Grilled Chicken Legs with Barbecue Sauce

During the summer I grill pretty much every day, you can grill just about everything and it is always delicious. I grill burgers, steak, vegetables, bread, pizza, fish, anything! While I love it all and could never pick a favorite, I will always have a special place in my heart for grilled chicken. I don't know what it is about the smell of chicken cooking on the grill that is so intoxicating, but whenever I smell it I want to stop whatever it is I am doing and eat. 

This past week Lara and I were driving home from Holland and we stopped by Kapenga Farm to pick up some chicken. We had never been there before, but Lara had read about the farm online so we decided to check it out. There was a sign out from that said 'chickens for sale' so we stopped in. We walked in to the barn and were greeted with a freezer full of packaged frozen chicken, and a walk-in cooler with several buckets of fresh chicken. There was a sign that told us what to do and how to pay if no one was there, which they weren't. So we grabbed a couple packages of chicken legs, made out a check, dropped it in the drop box, and we were on our way. 

I love buying local, and supporting the farmers in my own community. Buying fresh, local chickens directly from the farm is my favorite way of doing business. And the chicken was delicious! We took it home and grilled it up the next day. It doesn't get better than that. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pita Bread

I found this recipe for pita bread back at Easter when my sister and I made an Israeli inspired meal to celebrate the holiday. There was no way I was going to make all of those Middle Eastern dishes and not serve fresh pita, it was just too perfect. I had made pita once before and I didn't love how it turned out, but it had been a long time. It was time to give it another try, and boy am I glad that I did. This time around the pita turned out perfectly! It was soft, delicious and just wonderful. 

There are so many options for what to do with pita. At Easter I just cut it up into wedges and served it along with homemade hummus. It was also perfect for soaking up all of the extra juices from the chicken I served. It also makes for a fantastic wrap, the perfect vehicle to stuff with your favorite ingredients. If you have some leftover, brush with some oil and salt and pop it in the oven for a little while until it dries out and you've got homemade pita chips. So many options, give it a try and find your favorite!

Sunday, June 15, 2014


I'm officially back! After hundreds of hours of studying and thousands of practice questions over the course of the past 5 weeks I finally took my boards this past Wednesday. It is such a relief to be finished. This test has been in the back of my mind since last September and it is so wonderful to finally be free of that constant worry. 

So let's celebrate! How about some baklava? I've always liked baklawa, but I really learned to love it when I lived in Dearborn, MI for two years. In case you didn't know, Dearborn has a huge Middle Eastern population which, happily for me, meant some absolutely wonderful Middle Eastern bakeries. I was spoiled with some of the best baklawa you'll ever find. But trust me, this homemade version is pretty close to being just as good. It's flakey, buttery and sweet. If you've ever wanted to try making baklawa I highly recommend it. It's totally worth it!