Mountains, and Valleys and Cacti Oh My!

A very good friend of mine wrote this. Being content in the valleys and the “ordinary-ness” of life. 💖 Yes, dear friend, you’re so right. Thankful for her wisdom and insight.

Source: Mountains, and Valleys and Cacti Oh My!

Advertisements

Zucchini, Lemon, Cornmeal Cupcakes

Don’t be deterred but that grocery list of a title.

Because they are…

  • Amazing
  • Quick
  • Easy
  • Tasty

Healthy? If you count the Z, L, and C has healthy and ignore the butter. :)

IMG_4299.jpg

And super tasty when you add it all together….

IMG_4303

Even more delicious when you top it off with a honey buttercream icing.

IMG_4307

Could life get much tastier than this?

The lemon adds a bit of a refreshing tang to the cupcakes and I think this balances out the more hearty flavor and texture of the cornmeal.

Here’s the recipe, short and sweet.

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1/3 c. finely chopped (think minced) zucchini
  • 1 1/3 c. flour (white)
  • 1/3 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/3 c. Olive Oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3+2T milk
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • Honey Buttercream Icing
    • 1 stick softened butter
    • 1/4 c. honey
    • 1/4 t. nutmeg
    • 1/3 c. powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix your dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg)
  3. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs, add the olive oil, milk, almond extract, and lemon juice.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.
  5. Stir in the zucchini and lemon zest.
  6. Pour into papered (or greased) cupcake tins
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven
  8. Once cool, make icing
    1. With a hand mixer, beat all ingredients until well blended and fluffy.
  9. Spread icing on cupcakes. Make sure they are cool, otherwise the butter will melt, and who wants that to happen?IMG_4308

 

Enjoy!!!

 

izzie signature

 

Cranberry Orange Scones

Over the Christmas break, my mom had a challenge for my siblings and I…

Who could make the best cranberry orange scones?

Being the baker/experimenter that I am, I quickly seized the excuse to bake some scones. I really love eating scones. It’s like a biscuit only better. I love the whole texture of a scone. Muffins are delicious, don’t get me wrong, but they are cake-y (nothing wrong with cakes, either!) I like how a scone has a crust. It is harder on the top and bottom. Soft on the inside. Full of fruit. Warm. Buttery. And, if you mix it correctly, it’s got wonderful layers to it. Flaky. Plus, glazing it with an egg wash gives it a beautiful shine.

FullSizeRender (3)

I had found a recipe online, but I changed it up a little bit. Because, well….that’s just what I do. :)

They do use real cranberries!!! None of that dried Craisin (although I do love to snack on those bites of sweetened tartness!!)

Here’s the recipe:

3 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
Zest of most of 1 orange
1 cup frozen/fresh cranberries
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
Juice of 1/2 orange
 
Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 T water
 
Glaze:
1/2 cup powered sugar
1 T milk
1 T orange juice
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, orange zest.
3. Chop up the cranberries slightly. (I cut each one in half…you can use a blender. You want them to still be chunky, though!!!) And add them to the flour mixture
4.Cut the butter up into little pieces and mix it into the flour. Rub it in between your hands. it feels grand. :)
5. Pour the orange juice into the milk. Stir the liquids together. Pour into the flour.
6. Mix with a wooden spoon for approximately a minute. DO NOT OVERMIX! If you do, you’ll lose the whole flakiness of the scone that makes is so very delicious.
7. Turn out the mixture onto your lightly floured workplace. Pat (using your hands) into either a circle or a rectangle that is about 3/4″ thick. (NOTE: If you want your scones circular, make one big circle and then using a cutter, make the individual circles for the scones. If you want the traditional triangle cut, make the rectangle.)
8. If making triangles, cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, and then into strips width-wise. Cut each strip across from the top of one side to the bottom of the other. (This makes a triangle shape).
9. Brush the top of each with the egg glaze (made by whisking the egg with the water).
10. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
11. Remove from oven and make the glaze (made by mixing together the powered sugar, milk, and orange juice from the other half of the orange).
12. When the scones are warm, but cool enough to handle, drizzle the tops of each with the gaze.
13. Lastly, enjoy. :)
FullSizeRender (4)

See the part I ate, there???

And yes, these won the competition.
FullSizeRender (5)
izzie-signature

 

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words. This one is also worth a dinner. And personally, I’d go for a dinner over reading 1,00 words. Actually, I can’t say that. This weekend I think I read over 200 pages in preparation for two of my English classes on Monday. I’m pretty sure that I read more than 1,000 words.

In all events, reading an eye watering amount of words a day causes me to be rather busy. But no matter how full my mind is from digesting phrases, parsing up sentences, dicing and rearranging words, my stomach reminds that yes, dinner must be made. And normally, it’s not interested in waiting long periods of time to eat. I’m hungry and I’m hungry now and I don’t feel like waiting around for something to be done. You know how you can just skim a page and glean the general information? (Although of course I never practice this in any of my English classes. Believe you me, I always have plenty of time to carefully unpack every single little word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, page, chapter, and book..) However, let’s just say (for these purposes right now…not experience) that I do occasionally have to just dip my feet into the water to know the temperature. Sometimes I find it extremely cold and hasten to glean a sparse amount to show that I “read the book.” It was very…you know those New York Times reviews… “Inspiring,” “Exciting,” “Thrilling,” “A heart-felt story,” “Five Stars,” or “Hilariously Told.”

Sometimes I want a one word dinner. I want a “skimmed” dinner. But of course, I don’t want to compromise the taste. I want as much effort as Sparknotes with as much taste and complexities as a Norton Critical edition of The Scarlet Letter.

Personally, Hatch’s Green Chiles come close. Hatch is actually a place in New Mexico where a lot of green chiles come from. And anything from them is going to be better and more flavorful than any other brand. Yes, it costs a little bit more, but that’s okay. It’s worth it. If you haven’t tried them, you’re missing out. Sometimes I can skimp on the “name brand” and go with a generic. But don’t do it with Hatch. They know their stuff and they know how to rock what they do. Don’t Sparknote here. Just don’t. And if you can’t find Hatch’s green chiles, then I’m sorry for you. I don’t know what the alternative is in your area. Just know that you might be missing out and if you ever travel West, or Southwest, try to go somewhere that serves fantastic Hatch’s products. Then you’ll know the difference and it’ll be a taste you can fondly reminisce over…and probably crave every once in a while. Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

And cooking up a bunch of chicken and freezing it until needed gives the speed without compromising the taste. Sautéd onions and garlic help.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Add some Monterey Jack cheese.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Roll up and sprinkle the top with more cheese.

And then add the amazingness…..!!!!!!!!…..

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

As an afterthought, I added some sliced cheddar cheese. I simply took several pieces of cheese, broke them into smaller pieces and put them on top. The advantage to doing this instead of pouring shredded cheese on top is the enchiladas aren’t covered in cheese. I don’t care for my enchiladas to be smothered in cheese. Hatch’s Green Chile Sauce, yes please I’ll take the smothered.  But cheese? No thank you. I just like the hint of depth the cheese provides.

Chicken Enchiladas

Bake at 350 Degrees F for about 25-30 minutes. You want the sauce to be hot and sizzling and you want your cheese to be melted. And while you’re waiting, your appetizer, your hor d’oeuvres, can be a few pages from the next book you have to read. And if the book is titled Hunger by Knut Hamsun (not that any book that I’m reading currently is…) than this will put you in the proper mood to enjoy your Hatch’s Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.

Directions

1 lb chicken, cooked and shredded. (I use chicken breast, you can use whatever you want. You can also cook up more than you need and freeze the chicken for a later time.)

1 onion, chopped (I like bigger chunks, but feel free to dice them if you prefer!)

1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2-2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 15 oz can of Hatch’s Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

3 or 4 slices of cheddar cheese, broken (Or use a cup or two of shredded cheese, see comment in text.)

5 tortillas (I use 8 inch; use whatever size you’d like. If you use the bigger ones, you’ll either have to make fewer enchiladas, or you’ll want to increase the amount of chicken and other ingredients.)

Salt, pepper, and oregano to taste

olive oil for sautéing

  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
  2. Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil.
  3. Add the cooked chicken.
  4. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and oregano.
  5. Put 1/5 of the chicken mixture in each tortilla and sprinkle with 1/5 of Jack cheese.
  6. Roll up and place seam down in a 9×13” baking dish.
  7. Repeat steps 5&6 until all tortillas are rolled.
  8. Cover with any remaining Jack cheese.
  9. Pour the Green Chile Enchilada Sauce on top.
  10. Top with cheddar cheese.
  11. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the enchiladas sizzle and the cheese is melted.
  12. Enjoy!!!!

Thankful for good books and Green Chiles!

izzie-signature

P.S. This is the first in a collection I’m starting called “2mealsin1”. The aim here is to take the same ingredients and make two different meals with them. Saves on groceries and energy. Sounds good? I think so. Let me know your thoughts. :)

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Peanut Butter and Jelly…COOKIES!!!!

This weekend, I learned how to make burgers by grilling them and putting some soy sauce on them. It was incredible. I think I’m always going to make my burgers that way now. The soy sauce kept the burgers moist and added a nice depth of flavor that I wasn’t expecting at first from a burger. My friend and I were trying to describe the way it tasted; the best we could muster spur of the moment was “It just…it just tastes exactly how you imagine a burger to taste.” Only, most burgers don’t taste like this. But then, I also think that most burgers are a disappointment of a burger. This one, however, wasn’t.

Here’s another thing that wasn’t a disappointment. Peanut Butter and Jelly cookies. Really? Yes. They are amazing. Are you serious? Yes. They are super addictive. I think I ate….okay well I’m not going to count out to you how many I ate because that’s practically like asking me how much I weigh or how old I am. You just don’t ask girls those questions. I can tell you that I ate a lot and counted it as my late lunch and dinner.

Peanut Butter and Jelly CookiesAt first, my friend and I thought about freezing jelly on wax paper and then breaking into little chips. He was the one in charge of that and it didn’t work. Maybe we didn’t give it enough time or something. Instead, we added the jelly to the cookie batter.

The result?

An extremely soft and chewy peanut butter and jelly cookie. Which, to quote my sister who tried them after they’d been baked, tastes like…“a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!”

Just with extra sugar.

And vanilla extract.

And in a slighty different shape.

Who knows, maybe circular PB&J will be the next new thing.

It’s possible

Peanut Butter and Jelly CookiesWe ended up making two separate kinds of cookies. Actually, we made a cookie, and we made a cup. There where four of us baking (I take that back—two bakers, and two “sitters-at-the-table-watching-the-two-bakers-bake) and 75% preferred the cup to the cookie. Make both and you can decide. (Do you like how I threw that math in their for you??? That’s what having engineering friends does to your brain…you start using statistical words in your everyday vocabulary.) It’s like a math word problem:

If there were four friends and 75% preferred eating a peanut butter and jelly cup instead of the peanut butter and jelly cookie, how many friends preferred the cup over the cookie?

The answer is 3.

And so, without further ado, may I present to you this fantastic recipe. And I do hope you will enjoy.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

2 eggs

2 sticks of butter

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 granulated sugar

3/4 brown sugar

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 -2 cups of jelly (only if making the cookies. If making the cups, you need enough to fill all the cups.)

[Note: Read the directions all the way through so that you will understand the difference between the cookies and the cups.]

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. If making cups, flour a mini muffin pan.
  3. Cream the eggs, butter, peanut butter, and sugars (both kinds) together using a handheld mixer or a stand alone.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.
  6. Here’s where you have to choose what you want…
  1. Set aside the batter you will use of the cups
    1. Don’t put any jelly in the batter.
    2. Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full.
    3. Make an imprint into the middle of the dough in each cup. This is where you’ll put jelly.
    4. Bake for 10 minutes.
    5. Remove from pan—I had to flip it over and carefully pry them out. If you flour the pan, you shouldn’t have any problem.
    6. Put a small dollop of jelly into each of the cups.
    7. Let cool. (Or not.)
  1. For the cookies.
    1. Add the jelly to the dough and stir by hand. DO NOT use your mixer! Stirring by hand allows some jelly clumps to stay together. If you use a mixer you will completely blend it.
    2. Spoon cookie dough onto parchment paper. These cookies will expand, so be sure to give them enough room to bake.
    3. Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
    4. Let cool for 2 or 3 minutes on the pan—because they are very soft and chewy.
    5. Put on a cooling rack.
    6. Enjoy

Thankful for peanut butter and jelly and creative friends!

izzie-signature

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

Sausage, Apple, and Cheese pasta bake

It’s been a while and I do apologize.

What is my excuse?

I moved. Started two new jobs, started a new college, don’t have internet in my apartment….

Most importantly, I didn’t manage my time correctly. Time management is key. And at the beginning of every fall, I have to train myself to wake up at 5:30, take a shower, get dressed, pack my backpack with books/notebooks/gyms clothes/lunch, eat breakfast, wrap up any uncompleted homework, read my Bible, and head out the door at 6:40 or 7, clock in at 7 or 7:30 and start work. Then I have classes, homework, friends. I come home at 5, or maybe 7, and then I have to make dinner.

No matter how tired I am from the day, no matter how sore my shoulders are from carrying around everything I’ve needed that day, when I open the fridge, it’s like I am opening up a whole new me. I don’t feel tired, or sore, or hungry, or anything like that. I feel inspired. I can do whatever I want with the food I have. I’m not bound to a certain set of rules. Of course, I can use a cookbook, and I do, but I don’t lose points if I used three small bell peppers instead of one big one. If I had written three small sentences instead of one big one in my English class, then I would have lowered my grade. But this is food. And I can use what I want. Three mini bell peppers. (And did you notice, I also used three small sentences–and they are not even complete sentences, what would my teachers say now??)

But I digress. This is not a grammar blog. I would’t do that to you, because I’d be terrible, and I don’t know if you’d find that extremely interesting. Maybe you would…if I was a funny grammar teacher…and maybe I am actually am funny while explaining grammar rules. You don’t know. You probably won’t ever know….the suspense!!

Back to opening the fridge. I opened the fridge and peered into the abyss of possibilities. I was disappointed. I’d forgotten that I really needed to go grocery shopping! Whoops! I checked what I had. Some Feta stuffed sausages, leftover cooked Linguine noodles, three browning mushrooms, an apple, and a slice of cheddar cheese. Sitting on the counter were a couple of onions and two garlic bulbs.

Sausage, Apple, and Cheese

I almost forgot about making dinner. I almost made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Almost. But not quite.

Instead, I took all those ingredients and baked them in the oven, at 350 degrees F until it was hot and sizzling and the cheese had melted.

Then I was glad I hadn’t given up on those unassuming ingredients. I was glad I wasn’t settling for PB&J. Because this dish, which as of yet has no name because if it did have a name it would have to be something either ridiculously long because of all the random ingredients that are in it and are unexpected and not usually thought of as really going together, or a short title because it was very quick and easy to make.

Without further ado (otherwise this would turn into “Much Ado About Nothing”—how is Shakespeare so applicable in everything??) let me present you with this meal. This dinner. This pasta and sausage and apple and cheese and onions and salt and pepper and a little tiny dash of red win vinegar that is baked at 350 until it is hot and the cheese melts (20-25 minutes.)

Sausage, Apple, and Cheese

  • 4 sausages
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1/2 box of cooked noodles (I used Linguine because that it what I had. Use whatever you want)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 or 2 pieces of cheddar cheese, broken
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/2-1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper-season to taste

It’s really easy..

.Sausage, Apple, and Cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Chop up the sausages, apple, and onion,
  3. Combine all the ingredient in an oven-safe pan. I used a 9’x13″
  4. Bake until hot and cheese has melted.
  5. Enjoy!

Sausage, Apple, and Cheese

Enjoying His gift of food and creativity!

izzie signature