Posts Tagged ‘sugar’

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Turn those end-of-season strawberries into delicious homemade jarred jam. Other than freezing them, it’s the best way to enjoy berries year round.

Homemade Strawberry Jam

While many of your have just started picking strawberries at your local U-pick farm, in east Tennessee strawberry season is ending and we are beginning blueberry and raspberry picking season. Which means it’s the perfect time to make jam out of those end of season strawberries. While jam making is not something I normally dive in to, my dad has made jam and jelly for as long as I can remember and therefore has all the tools to do so. We actually made this jam at the same time as the strawberry syrup.

One year ago: Mexican Hot Dogs with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Cream
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Homemade Strawberry Syrup

Homemade strawberry syrup only requires two ingredients: strawberries and sugar. Whip up a batch for breakfast this weekend.

Homemade Strawberry Syrup

Not only is my dad the king of pancakes (amongst other things), but he also makes his own syrup. Growing up in upstate NY we had the luxury of having a small patch of woods behind our house with sugar maples, which my dad would tap in the winter to collect some of their sap which would be boiled down into maple syrup. Sadly I did not appreciate it as a kid and only wanted Mrs. Butterworth’s. Since my parents moved to TN he cannot make his own maple syrup anymore but still continues to make homemade strawberry syrup which has always been my favorite anyway. I love serving it over waffles, pancakes, or French toast topped with even more strawberries. We made a huge batch from one of our strawberry picking excursions, multiplying the recipe below in order to make 5 quarts. This is one of the reasons why they own a chest freezer.

One year ago: Therapy Brownies

Three years ago: Chicken Parmesan Quesadillas
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Rainbow Fruit Pizza Tart

This Rainbow Fruit Pizza Tart will create spontaneous smiles with a sugar cookie crust, vanilla Greek-cream cheese filling and a rainbow of fruit.

Rainbow Fruit Pizza Tart 3

Silly me forgot to tell you something last week – I had a phone interview for a job! I thought it went very well and was also given a writing assignment afterwards to complete within a week. I sent it back a day early and am now waiting to see if I make it into the next stage of the interview process. Of course in the mean time I am still working on other applications. The job market is too rough out there to be idle between interviews.

Rainbow Fruit Pizza Tart 1

I also have not been idle in the kitchen department. I thought for sure I would have to cut back on the amount of posts per week but I’ve been able to coast along as normal. Thank goodness because ideas have started coming out of my ears. This fruit pizza isn’t a novel concept but that doesn’t mean it is any less fun. I technically made the rainbow backwards since red has a longer wavelength than violet and therefore would be on the outer edge of a rainbow (nerd alert). I prefer purple over red anyway, but regardless of technicalities you cannot help but feel happy from just looking at this colorful fruit tart.

Rainbow Fruit Pizza Tart 2

One year ago: Guiltless Avocado Alfredo Pasta with Spicy Chicken
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Meyer Lemon Chess Pie & Zulka Pure Cane Sugar Giveaway

Earlier this year I was introduced to Zulka Pure Cane Sugar, an all-natural and unrefined granulated sugar, and was very pleased with it after testing it out in several recipes. Today, I’m writing to let you know about Zulka’s Holiday Bake-Off contest! To celebrate the holiday season, Zulka is hosting a Holiday Bake-Off Facebook contest for a chance to win $500 to Sur La Table! Entering is easy:

  1. Create a recipe using Zulka Pure Cane Sugar
  2. Upload the recipe with an image of your creation to Zulka’s “Bake-Off” Facebook tab by December 22 for a chance to win a $500 gift card to Sur La Table!

I know I am not giving you much warning with the deadline only being a couple of days away, but if you needed an excuse to bake any more festive treats for the holidays now is the time! To sweeten the deal, I am also giving away a bag of Zulka to one reader! Just use the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post (giveaway ends Sunday night).

But before you rush off to enter the contest and giveaway, you really should stick around for this recipe I made. It’s a chess pie recipe from the days when my parents lived in Texas. My mom included this recipe in the recipe box she gave me when I left for college many years ago but I did not make it until now. In her directions she said to use lemon juice, coconut, or crushed pineapple. With Meyer lemons in season right now, there was an obvious winner.

Being that this was the first ever chess pie that I have made, I was a bit nervous to share it with people who had grown up in the South and ate this pie on the regular. To my satisfaction it passed the test. I was told that they had had regular, buttermilk, and chocolate chess pies but never lemon – and they liked it! Sounded like a good candidate for me to enter into Zulka’s Holiday Bake-Off ;-).

Meyer Lemon Chess Pie

Two years ago: Pecan Fruit Cake
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Pumpkin Baklava Bars

After making peanut butter baklava bars I immediately knew I wanted to try it out with pumpkin for the holidays. As much as I loved the peanut butter version, how could it not be just as good if not better with pumpkin? With the cinnamon, honey, and nuts floating around in there it was meant to be.

The result is what I imagine would happen if pumpkin pie and baklava got together and made babies. With a sugar cookie base, pumpkin-walnut filling, crispy fillo topping and completely coated in honey, it’s two deserts in one. As a bonus it’s easy to make and  therefore should definitely make it for your upcoming festive gatherings.

Pumpkin Baklava Bars 1

As far as the job search is going, I have applied to many, but no hooks just yet. I just have to keep applying for those which interest me and I am qualified for and hope for the best. I probably should track down contact numbers to HR or whoever I can find to inquire about my applications. Unfortunately several to which I have applied explicitly say that calls are not welcome. Ugh… Thankfully I have a couple little projects to fiddle with in the lab to keep me busy in the meantime and will be resubmitting my paper now that I have finished addressing reviewers comments. Having that paper in press will definitely improve my CV!

Pumpkin Baklava Bars 2

One year ago: Baked Purple Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Marshmallow Glaze

Two years ago: Gluten-Free Cake Batter Pancakes
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Peanut Butter Baklava Bars

A few years ago, my friend Brandi made baklava bars that had a sugar cookie base and was topped with a walnut filling and crushed mini fillo shells. Not only were they much easier to make than traditional baklava, but they were incredibly good. Surprisingly it took me until now to share this with you. However, it should come as no surprise that the recipe shared today is for a peanut butter version.

Peanut Butter Baklava Bars 1

Instead of walnuts in the filling I used peanuts and added in peanut butter. Since peanut butter is a loyal companion to chocolate, the honey used for the glaze was chocolate honey (which I previously shared in my healthier cookie dough fondue post). In the end you get a classy dessert, with the comforting effect of peanut butter and chocolate. Ohio State may be having a BYE week, but that doesn’t mean I’d miss a chance to post a PB+C recipe!

Peanut Butter Baklava Bars 2

One year ago: Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice

Two years ago: White Chocolate Coconut Chili Macadamia Nut Cookies
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Hazelnut Praline Paste

Have you ever heard of hazelnut praline paste? I know I didn’t until a recipe I wanted to make called for it. When I looked into buying some, it definitely was not a inexpensive item to purchase. So I sought out ways to make my own and sure enough found a recipe out there on the internet. It’s kind of like making your own Nutella but without the chocolate. Some of you may be saying “No chocolate? Why bother ?” – I say, why not? Although I am not a chocoholic (unless it is paired with peanut butter), I still think that those who are would enjoy this spread. Afterall, it’s hazelnut praline ground into a spread! I am not sure there is any way to say no to that. And actually, I ended up using it in combination with chocolate in a recipe which will be shared tomorrow.

One year ago: Pumpkin Danish
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Homemade Yellow Cake Mix

Boxed cake mix comes in handy for more things than just making cupcakes for a last minute party. Cake mix can also be used as the base of bars (such as the ones I posted yesterday), as an ingredient in pies, frosting, ice cream, and most popularly on my blog in different kinds of cake batter dips.

To use this homemade mix, I measured out 18.25 oz (about 2-1/2 cups) to use in place of a box of yellow cake mix indicated in yesterday’s bar recipe. And it worked great! Although I haven’t tried making an actual cake with it yet, at least I know it can work for recipes that call for it as one of their ingredients. I constantly have half-used boxes of cake mix from the creations that pop up in my kitchen.

This would likely also work to make gluten-free cake mixes since I know they make gluten-free all-purpose flour and cake flour. Just be sure to add some xanthan gum. To take it a step further, if you could find a lactose-free nonfat dry milk powder you could even make a lactose-free cake mix (using margarine instead of butter of course).

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Review: G.H. Cretors’ Popped Corn & Peanut Butter and Chocolate Popcorn

Popcorn is everywhere. At the movies, sporting events, parties – you name it. Along with it’s frequency, it is no surprise that there are a variety of flavors to satisfy everyone’s cravings. G.H. Cretors has taken it a step further by introducing a sweet and salty combination of caramel corn and cheese corn in the same bag, called the Chicago Mix. (G.H. Cretors also makes Kettle Corn, Caramel Nut Crunch with fresh roasted cashews and almonds, as well as “Just the Cheese Corn” and “Just the Carmel Corn” for those who do not agree with the combination of sweet and salty.)

This new mix is made using a special, “mushroom” variety popping corn, contains only all-natural ingredients, is free of GMOs and certified Kosher. The caramel corn is made the old fashioned way: by hand, in copper kettles. Cane sugar, brown rice syrup (a non-GMO alternative to corn syrup with a lower glycemic impact) and real butter is heated over a flame and then stirred slowly by hand to develop its rich complex flavor and crunch. For the cheese corn, real cheddar cheese is melted in special kettles and then gently mixed with locally-grown, air-popped corn.

But the real question is, does it taste good? Cheesey popcorn is wonderful, as is caramel, but together? I wasn’t sure what I would think of this particular sweet and salty combo. When told that I would be sent the caramel and white cheddar popcorn separately in addition to the Chicago Mix, I was convinced that I would end up preferring it that way. But I am here to tell you that those segregated bags are just plain wrong. These two kinds of popcorn were meant to be together in one bag.

To continue the pairing of sweet and salty, I decided to make my own version using their Kettle Corn and adding my favorite sweet and salty combo ever – peanut butter and chocolate! We are only at week 2 of football season so I truly hope you are not tired of having your Saturdays filled with this pairing. I myself find it difficult to imagine ever growing tired of it. This popcorn involves a caramel-ly peanut butter coating with a drizzle of melted chocolate. You could even add in peanuts or miniature Reese’s cups.

Find out more about G.H Cretors on their Facebook page, and be sure to check out their current sweepstakes!

P.S. This week a #14 Ohio State plays at home vs. UCF.

One year ago: Buffalo Chicken Meatball Subs
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Banana Peanut Butter Cup Muffins

I hope that most of you are aware of the “shoes” video from several years ago, which I watched far too many times and friends and I still quote to this day. But did you know that the same guy also made a “muffins” video? It starts out all innocent then gets a little weird and takes a turn to the creepy side. Yet whenever I make muffins I always have it running through my head (followed by “OMG shoes”). Oh yea, did you catch that? I made you muffins that’s why I am talking about this random youtube video.

Thankfully these muffins contain no glass despite their sparkly nature on top. I promise those are just coarse granules of sugar ;-). And their insides are definitely not filled with blood but with banana and miniature peanut butter cups! I wish that’s what my insides were made of. Then again with how many I’ve already eaten that may actually be the case.

“I’m baking muffins asbestos I can!” – Come on, admit it. That video is at least a little amusing.

One year ago: Orange Strawberry Banana Smoothie

BANANA PEANUT BUTTER CUP MUFFINS

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

4 Tbsp melted butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup 100% whole wheat flour

3/4 cup mini peanut butter cups

Coarse white sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine mashed bananas with melted butter and sugar. Mix well. Add the egg and beat well.
  3. Sprinkle in salt, baking soda and flour. Then, gently fold in miniature peanut butter cups. Be careful not to overmix!
  4. Divide amongst greased muffin tins and sprinkle tops with coarse white sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.

Source: Adapted from Eat, Live, Run.

Disclosure: The mini peanut butter cups and sparkling course sugar came from a giveaway I won on The Heritage Cook.

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