Monday, November 9, 2015

Easy Four Berry Cobbler

Last week my sweet tooth got the better of me.    This cobbler was the result.

I wanted something sweet.   I scouted the fridge.   The freezer.   The cabinet.   Nothing jumped out at me.     Surely there had to be something that could be quickly and easily put together.

Back to the freezer.    A bag of mixed berries.    A bag of cranberries.

Cobblertown, here we come!

What You Need

For the fruit layer
3 cups of frozen berries - 2 cups of mixed (blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry) and 1 cup of cranberries {any  berry combination of your choice will be delicious}
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cobbler topping
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup oats - I used old fashioned
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 375.
Coat an 8x8 pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine the frozen berries, sugar, starch, water and cinnamon.   Stir until any corn starch chunks are broken down.    Pour into the 8x8 pan.

In a small to medium bowl, cream sugar and butter.  Stir in the milk and vanilla.   In a small bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder and salt, then add to the butter and sugar.  Stir to mix into a batter.  Spoon the cobbler topping over the fruit layer.   It won't cover everything, but it will be close.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until topping is baked and the fruit is bubbling hot.     I highly recommend eating it straight out of the oven.    And then for breakfast until pan is empty.

Meanwhile in Maui

We had managers outing a few weeks ago and went out on a sunset sail.   Such a beautiful evening!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cream Cheese Banana Bread

My neighbors have a banana tree.   Proof that I'm not in Colorado any more, right?

Their tree was going crazy and they gifted me with some of their bounty.    I couldn't eat them all at the time, so I put a few in the freezer for smoothies or baking.

Baking won out.    Surprise, surprise!

I've used the same base recipe for years, Basic Banana Bread, from Cooking Light magazine.     It's great on its own or with any  mix-ins or toppings that you want to put with it.

This time, I opted for a cream cheese, cheesecake-esque, layer in the middle.

What You Need

Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (2 or 3 bananas - you can  measure or just go with what you have on hand)
1/3 cup plain (or vanilla) fat-free yogurt
5 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup  sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Cream Cheese Filling
1 egg
1/4 cup reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour

Combine filling ingredients in a small bowl and beat until smooth.   Then you're ready when it's time.
(filling recipe from Averie Cooks)

What You Do

Preheat oven to 350 and spray silicone 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray.   If you're using a metal or glass loaf pan, I would encourage you to line it with foil and then spray.

In a large mixing bowl, beat bananas, yogurt, butter and eggs.   Add sugars and beat until combined.

Combine all dry ingredients (flax through allspice) in a separate bowl and whisk together.

Add dry ingredients to banana mixture until just blended.

Pour 2/3 of the banana bread batter into your loaf pan.  

Gently pour and smooth the cream cheese filling over the batter layer.   Use a rubber spatula to get the cream cheese filling to all the corners.      Pour remaining banana  bread layer on top, making sure that the cream cheese layer is covered.

Bake for 55 minutes.      Remove from oven, let cool in pan on a rack for at least 10 minutes.
Gently remove bread from pan (which is why I love my silicone pan...makes this so easy) and continue to cool.  

Enjoy when you are ready.    There is no wrong time for banana bread.

Meanwhile in Maui

Good friends of mine from Colorado were visiting this week, so we explored all over the island.

Pictured:  Haleakala National Park 

Do you have a go to banana bread recipe?   Please share!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Caramel Apple Bars

The world of pumpkin spice has gone insane!    

I was in Target this week just counting all the different things that have been spiced...whether they need to be or not.   Coffee,  creamers, baking mixes,  M&M's,  candy corn, Oreo's, nuts, you name it, it's been PS'd.

My sister is so annoyed by the PS'ing of everything that her Facebook wall has been taken over by her friends posting every random PS thing they find.

They find a lot.

Apples are different.     They take the stage with pumpkin in the fall, but in reality, apple treats are delicious year round and don't need to be defined by a season.  And with PS being a pushy diva, poor apples aren't center stage, but are reduced to singing in the chorus.

I'm not having that.   Not.  At.  All.

So here, we give the apple it's time in the sun.   Shine, apple, shine.

What You Need

For the bars: 
1 stick salted butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
½ cup chopped pecans, plus ¼ cup whole pecans (for the top)
2 large apples, I used Braeburn, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes ( strict measuring was going on here

For the caramel topping:
½ cup of Kraft caramel baking bits
1 teaspoon heavy cream

What You Do

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I used a little cooking spray on my 9x9 silicone baking pan.   If you're using a metal or glass pan, I would recommend lining with foil and then greasing it.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl beat together butter, sugar and egg with a hand mixer until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add chopped pecans and apples, and stir by hand until combined. Add flour mixture, and stir until combined.

Spread batter in pan.  In a small microwave safe bowl, combine caramel baking bits and heavy cream.  Microwave for 30 seconds, remove and stir.   Heat for another 30 seconds if necessary.

Drizzle the caramel over the batter and then strategically place your pecans wherever you want them to go.    

Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then cut into bars.   These are also great right out of the oven while still warm, they will just be a little messier when you cut into them.   Nothing wrong with that, right?

Recipe Source:   Foodie Crush

Meanwhile in Travel

When I went to Colorado on vacation last month, I finally hiked the Hanging Lake Trail.

If you want to know more about this hike, read more here.   

Whether you are in the apple or pumpkin camp, I hope you're getting as much as your heart desires this fall!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Everything is Better with Praline on Top

Praline Brownies

This week I have determined that everything is better with praline on top.    

What is praline?  The dictionary says a confection made with nuts and sugar.     Most often, it's brown sugar and pecans.    If you hit up gas stations in the southern part of the US, you may run across them right by the checkout lane.

I made praline candies when I lived in Indianapolis.    Successfully.

When I moved to Colorado, I managed to ruin them twice due to the altitude and my candy thermometer my first year.   After wasting money in pecans and heavy cream, I decided that pralines were no longer on my Christmas candy list.  

Back at sea level, I'm willing to go at it again.

And why limit my praline-ing to just brownies?    

Praline Pancakes

Don't pancakes deserve the pecan, butter, cream and sugar confection?

Of course they do!

Sometimes, I just confection myself by eating it straight out of the bowl.   Sugar really does melt in your mouth.

So if you want to praline's what you need to know.

What You Need

6 tablespoons of butter, sliced
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

What You Do

In a medium sauce pan, combine the butter, whipping cream, brown sugar and salt over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute.   Stir frequently.  

Remove from heat, add the vanilla and powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth.   Stir in pecans.

Let the sugary goodness sit for five minutes.   The sugar on the top might harden a little, but not to worry.     Pour the praline mixture over the treats of your choice - brownies, cookies, pancakes, etc.

Praline Brownies

Praline brownies were devoured in record time at my office this week.    Make your favorite brownie recipe.   I used the Ghiradelli dark chocolate brownie mix and made a 8x8 pan of brownies.    After the brownies cool completely, make the praline topping and pour over the top.    

The topping makes plenty, so you can have a thick layer of praline, or reserve some for other things.   Like pancakes.   Or eating with a spoon.

I was completely inspired to praline things after reading this recipe over on Cookies and Cups.   Check it out!

When was the last time you had a praline?  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Rice Cracker Ranch Popcorn

Happy Aloha Sunday!

For an island that has pretty consistent weather all year long, we've hit a heat wave where the temperature is over 90 and the humidity is over 90% as well.     It's time to hole up in the shade, a cool room, or an even cooler movie theater.

Here in Hawaii, a favorite addition to popcorn is arare, or rice crackers.    Arare comes in all different shapes and flavors.   Smuggling a bag into the theater to mix with your popcorn is just what some people do.   I may have become some people.       

For movie night at home, just pop some corn, add some arare, and if you're feeling especially bold, kick it up with some ranch seasoning.

What You Need

5-6 cups popped corn (1/4 cup kernels before popping)
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon ranch dressing mix (powder)
1/2 cup arare (rice crackers)

What You Do

Pop your popcorn however you'd like.    When your popcorn is ready, add the arare.    Drizzle the melted butter and toss to coat.    Sprinkle the ranch dressing mix over the top and toss to coat again.

Hide someplace cool and enjoy.   

Wondering what else would be good on Hawaiian-style popcorn?   Try li hing mui powder or furikake (seaweed flakes).  

How to you dress up your popcorn?

Meanwhile in Maui
Another place to go in the heat is the Aquarium.    Hello hammerhead!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mango Lemonade

Summer is here!   

In Maui that means it is mango season.    At the farmers market over the weekend, I picked up two lemons the size of softballs with the intention of making lemonade.     Then there were the mangos.   Mangos all ready to go.   Ready to go into lemonade, that is.

Check out these lemons!

Gourmet lemonade is a thing here on Maui - one of my periodic splurges is going to Wow Wow Lemonade and getting a hand made lemonade full of local flavors.    The farmers market inspired to make a gourmet lemonade of my own.

My Wow Wow Aloha jar

Are you ready to make some lemonade?    Let's do this summer!

What You Need

1/2 cup lemon juice,  from one giant softball size lemon, if you have one on hand
1 mango, pureed (mine yielded 2/3 cup)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 cups water, divided
Mint for garnish, if desired

What You Do

Squeeze your lemons.   Pulp is okay....seeds not so much.
Peel and slice your mango.  It doesn't have to be pretty because you're going to put it in the food processor to puree it into smooth mango goodness.

In a small sauce pan, combine 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and the lemons that you juiced.   It's a chance to infuse a little more lemon goodness into the simple syrup.    Bring the sugar, water and lemons to a boil.   Remove from heat.   Strain the syrup, keeping the lemons and any bonus seeds out of  your syrup.

In a pitcher, combine the lemon juice,  simple syrup, and mango puree.    Add the other 2 cups of water.   Stir to combine.    Fill your lemonade glass, or jar, with ice and then pour the lemonade over the top.   Garnish with mint.  Or flowers.

Makes 1 quart.

Do you like flavored lemonade?   What's your favorite?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

Aloha Friends!

Are you fully committed to summer?    Do you have a summer bucket list? {I do, right here}
I've taken two trips off island in the past month, both equally short and sweet.    I went to Monterey, California for a family reunion and then spent a weekend under the laziness cloud (and in a hammock) on the island of Kaua'i.  

Hammock view - for reals

My neighbors, who live in Australia in the winter, arrived back in Maui and hosted a big BBQ a few weeks ago.    Bringing dessert is what I do.....and making these toffee bars is what I did.   They were a hit with the BBQ crew.

What You Need

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts, I used half macadamia nuts and half walnuts
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 (8oz) bag Heath Bits O Brickle toffee bits, divided

What You Do

Line a 13x9 inch pan with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl.   Cut in butter using two knives (or a pastry cutter, if you have one handy) until crumbly.  Add egg and mix well.  

Combine the chocolate chips and nuts together.   Reserve a heaping half cup of the mixture for later, and add the rest to the crumb mixture.  

Press crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan.   Bake for 10 minutes.  

Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the hot crust.    Reserving a 1/4 cup of the toffee bits for later, sprinkle the rest over the milk layer.     Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over the top and then add the remainder of the chocolate chip and nut mixture.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.   Remove from oven and add remaining 1/4 cup of toffee bits on top.   Cool completely before cutting into bars.    These are rich, so you can cut them small.

Recipe source:  Hershey's 

    What did you take the last time you went to a BBQ or picnic?  

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...