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Showing posts from September, 2013

Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Before I overload you with all the soup recipes we've been trying this weekend/week, I wanted to share a salad that we ate completely by ourselves....

as in... just the two of us in one sitting. 
We both had such a long day, and were completely starving by the end. Luckily this recipe is easy to dump altogether in a bowl in minutes. The creamy avocado dressing is pretty low maintenance as well. I chopped up all the ingredients and blended the dressing in a flash while the pasta was boiling. Plate after plate, we came back for seconds... then thirds... and then we jut picked at the bowl with our forks like heathens until the bowl was almost completely empty.

I can't even begin to explain how fresh this salad is. It has all the textures you could dream of, and the dressing isn't too heavy by any means. I added olives and feta to the recipe - mostly because I can eat olives by the can, and I love the way feta tastes with avocado.

This pasta salad would be really awesome wit…

Healthy Apple Pie Smoothie

Greetings all you Fall-lusters! Let me tell ya - I'm right there with you. We crave the pumpkin, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, and all those juicy fresh apples that are flying off the tree.

If you don't have a apple tree, or a friend who is begging to have you help her eat the ones from her backyarad, don't you worry! If it's in season in their yard, it's probably going to be an awesome price at the supermarket. Or better yet - you can hit up a Fall farmers market. Trust me, there'll be plenty of apples to go around. And this recipe for Apple Pie Smoothies is something you'll want to make over and over again.

The fun part is that it naughtily tastes just like apple pie, but is kind of healthy for you. Raw nuts, fresh produce, a little cinnamon and skim milk, and a little agave nectar for added sweetness. HOLY SMOKES, friends.

If you want it super-cold, throw in a handful of ice cubes! The texture is so unbelievably creamy. We've had this twice in the past …

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

My husband has been tainted. 
I thought I'd never be able to satisfy that insatiable desire of his...
...for the perfect cinnamon roll.
It all started in college. He had this guy roommate who was basically a God in the kitchen. We'll call him Scott. 
Okay, his name is actually Scott. 
The well of imagination is running a little dry this morning. 
Scott's Mom is apparently the mother ship of all things baking. She's a genius, and an absolute legend. She taught Scott all she knows, or at least enough to ruin the pallets of anyone who is privileged enough to taste one of his baking creations. 
Unfortunately for me, Ryan has had a batch or two of Scott's famous cinnamon rolls. Second to none, Ryan always said. I've tried on countless occasions to make him cinnamon rolls just as good, but without batting an eye, he always started the next sentence with "Scott cinnamon rolls this blah blah blah". 
I was 1-upped. Always. By this roommate of his, and his fam…

Sweet Corn and Bacon Mac & Cheese Skillet

It happens all the time.

I make a menu plan on Thursday, buy all the ingredients for the week on Friday. A few days later, I check Facebook, and one of my friends shares with the world that she's making a certain something for dinner...

... and it's the same exact thing I was planning on making that same evening. In fact, the ingredients were already laid out on my counter.

It's freaky.

Even freakier - I call my Mom, and she already has it in the oven.

Am I in some kind of freaky twilight zone??

Anyways, this was one of those meals. I was online, and saw my friend post a photo of a dish she had made that evening for dinner (April! You know who you are! haha). It looked delicious, and made me even more excited for dinnertime.

This is comfort food to the max - macaroni and cheese, bacon, corn. Ridiculous.

Lucky us, it's an all-in-one deal and takes less than 30 minutes from start-to-finish to throw together! I felt a little guilty for plating something so... well... com…

Easy Black Bean Soup

This is the easiest soup you've ever made in your life.
It might even be harder to open up a can of soup and heat it in the microwave. 
Okay, maybe not, but you get the idea. 
We've had this recipe twice in the past month. The first time I served this soup to Ryan I was laughing my head off. He was obsessed with the soup, and couldn't stop chewing to get in a word about it - let alone a sentence. It had SO much flavor - and and that's why I was laughing. With a couple cans of black beans, a can of green chili & tomatoes, a bit of cumin, and a couple glugs of milk, I thought this soup would need some serious modifications along the way. 
But it didn't. 
It tasted heavenly, creamy, and had such a lovely spice to it from the green chilis, and warmth from the cumin. Ever had bean dip from a restaurant? It tasted just like that, only thinner, and tastier. 
We devoured the soup with some grilled spinach tortilla cheese quesadillas. The next time we had this soup, we…

Spicy Turkey Sausage Chili with Cheese Tortellini

It got pretty chili outside yesterday...

I got a little chili inside, too.

OHHHH!

See what I did there?

don't run away. please.

I'll make it worth your while :) 
I'm all about the comfort food in the Fall and Winter. This recipe is the first of many soups that fall well into that category. Every week we usually have a soup night - sometimes it's slow-simmered in the crock pot or over the stove, and well, sometimes we open a can. Depends on how much time we have, and where the funds are at.

One thing that never changes is crusty bread. I LOVE making and eating it. Good thing it's completely effortless to make, eh? Fire up the oven to a broil, throw a light layer of butter on the open side of some rolls or a baguette or even a few slices of bread, toast it all right up, pull it out of the oven...

and here's the secret: slice a clove of garlic in half and rub the open slice over the rough crusty bread. The oils from the garlic will transfer to the crusty bread, an…

Caramel Apple Cider Cookies

I was pretty stinking excited to make these cookies. 
I love apple cider. 
It was going to be a match made in heaven.
It reminds me of college. I used to drink one of those sugar-free apple cider packets in the evening time while doing homework in our apartment; waiting for Ryan to get home from cross country or track practice.
Fast forward to now, when I anxiously longed for that apple cider flavor. Well, these cookies have A TON of the flavor. Almost too much, but for some reason, it worked. I finally took the time to read on the recipe that I would need to "add in 10 packets of apple cider mix" to the dough. What the devil, people?! Why not just use real apple cider? It's the Fall, isn't it? Time for apples to fly out of everyone's ears in all their varieties! 
I made the cookies anyway. I had already bought the apple cider mixes, but really only thought I'd be using one of them for the cookie dough. One by one I opened each packet, and dumped the into th…

White Ruffle Wedding Cake with Red Rosettes

I've never made a ruffle cake before. 
But that's what made it so much fun. 
It was such an adventure, this cake. It went through phases. I hated it, then I loved it, then I longed for it when it was gone. I learn so much with each cake that I make. They always take me on a journey I think I've already traveled, but I end up in a brand new place each time. It's really an adventure, and I love being able to do something I've never tried before. After all, trying new things and being brave to even try them in the first place is a huge part of life. And a fun one, at that. 
Ryan kind of makes fun of how attached I get to my cakes. There are cakes I hate, and never want to talk or speak of again. But there are cakes I miss the second they are delivered. I go back to my own kitchen, and I feel a huge whole where the beautiful cake used to be on my table. 
I worry about them like they're almost my children. Are people going to take care of the cake? Will they love i…

5 Star Peach Crumble

We live on the third floor in an apartment complex right now. Why on Earth would we move from a little home straight towards apartment-life? I mean, we're now sharing walls with neighbors, we have to climb three flights of stairs with groceries, and I feel like we're living out in the boons!

But there's something close to my heart that weighs out all those "problems":

we have the best view of the sky. 
no, really. 
it's incredible. 
Because we're centered out in what seems the-middle-of-nowhere, there aren't any other buildings or tall trees in the way of that shimmering blue above us. The view is endless. We can watch the storms roll in from all directions - clear on the other side of the valley, even. 
It's breathtaking. 
As afraid of thunderstorms I am, nothing is more beautiful than seeing those gorgeous puffy white clouds slowly turn dark blue and roll across the sky above us. The mornings are beautiful, the evenings are astonishing, and I alw…

Grapefruit Poppy Seed Loaf

What is it that obnoxious thing you like to do when no one is looking? 
Me? After rehearsals at night, I love to crank up the bass, turn up the music full-blast, and roll down all my windows on the twilight drive back to our home. I frantically scan the radio for any or every song I know the words or melody. If something from Journey or Michael Jackson blasts through those beaten speakers of mine, I hit the jackpot, and sing as high and loud as I can.
... only to turn the volume level down to a socially acceptable level, and lower my voice to almost a whisper when I hit a stop light. That doesn't stop me from turning it all right back up again when I speed ahead of the other cars when that light pops right out in it's emerald hues. 

Now, I would never, ever, ever, ever do this around anyone else (okay, maybe my closest family and best friends). And why not? I'm the happiest when I'm doing anything with music - even if I'm singing like one of those awful singing wa…

Garden Vegetable Campanelle with Fresh Tomato Basil Dressing

Today I bring you something that's not only beautifully simple, but right in season with what's flowing from your gardens this month. 
If you don't have a garden to pick from, no need to worry. The beautiful produce of this harvest season is most likely available for a great price at your supermarket or local farmer's market. Take advantage! These flavors can be used in so many beautiful ways. Today I'm sharing with you my new favorite pick. 

Campanelle is one of my favorite pastas. The signature bell shape has a clever way of trapping in whatever sauce it's doused in, or surrounded by. In this case, the plate has been adorned in a simple dressing, made purely from boiled garlic, bursting cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, a little salt & pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. The sauce blends almost seamlessly with the major produce most likely bursting from your gardens: zucchini and tomatoes. To add a little crunch and a hint of nuttiness, I added toaste…

White Chocolate Peach Ice Cream

Are we all sick of these darned peaches yet? Are we all ice-creamed out, too?
In our house: never! 
Or at least we have to keep telling ourselves that to get through the giant bushel of peaches, and justifying that second helping of ice cream... This ice cream was incredible. White chocolate and peaches were simply meant for each other. I basically used the same recipe for my Cinnamon Peach Ice Cream, and removed the cinnamon, and added the white chocolate chips. The warm peach sauce melted the chips in the cream mixture before I slipped the container into the fridge. So there's a gorgeous stream of white chocolate ripple plus little pieces of whole chocolate chips hidden throughout the ice cream. Make it, I dare you. The second-helping bug will most certainly find you as well.

Today my little man is a bit under the weather. We're snuggling in and hoping he doesn't get any worse. The second his head hits his pillow for his afternoon nap, I'm starting on cake 2 out of …

Rustic Peach and Ginger Galette

This by far was the easiest peach-themed-dish to throw together. It took a little under 5 minutes to throw together, and only about 20 to bake in the oven. On some days, that's just perfect.

Instead of hitting up the usual cinnamon-nutmeg gig, I loved paring the peaches with another beautiful flavor: ginger. It was gorgeous, and added the most incredible depth to an already peach-soaked overtone. The crust was created via store-bought dough by Pillsbury... but hey, I was going to for as easy as possible. I loved the ooze of those juicy bright peaches over the bed of flaky crust. It was basically a peach pie in the nude, and I swear Ryan got out and pushed the train to get it home faster to have a sweet bite of this peachy heaven on a plate after work.

- - - - - 
Rustic Peach and Ginger Galette 
makes 4 servings

ingredients:
1 9-inch refrigerated pie dough round (or you can do homemade)
4 medium peaches, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 t cornstarch
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t grated fresh ginger
3…

Peach Crumble Bars

Day TWO for my official peach week here on Baking with Blondie is all about those sweet crumbly little desserts we all can't get enough of: gooey fruit bars. This time, however, we've loaded them with peaches! I know you're surprised. 
Unfortunately, this recipe calls for the peaches to be peeled. 
I was kind of offended. 
Appalled, really. 
I mean, the angry riots nearly broke out from my kitchen. 
Peach skins are amazing. I LOVE using them in recipes - that's where a lot of the signature peach flavor comes from, for crying-out-loud. Why on earth would I ever ever ever leave it out? (Okay, I'm a total hypocrite. My cinnamon peach ice cream does call for peeled peaches, but I've made it with & without... and with was much better). So, as you may have guessed, I left those peach skins right on the little peachy darlings, and threw them right into the crumble. (Okay, I'm not really that mad...if you peel your peaches I will (still) always love you. Whitn…

His & Her Sunrise Peach Smoothies

We're back on the running train again. 
Ryan ran cross country & track in college, even scoring at nationals, but he took a long break from running in law school for the past 3 years. Now he's back in the saddle again, and started off easy with around 25 miles (I say easy because he used to do around 90 mile weeks) this week. For me, 25 miles a week is something I'm going to need a few weeks to build up to again. My mileage this week was 14. 
Running for us isn't about getting fit, or being skinny, or whatever... heck, Ryan still looks an weighs the same as he did when he was competing on the team. The reason he's running is because he's goal-driven, and wants to run/win his first marathon next summer. 
Me, I run for a completely different reason. I originally started running after having baby #1 to train for a 5k (25:19), my first 10k (50:57), and my first half marathon (2:08 with walking... long story). But these days, it's mostly to KEEP. ME. SANE. …