French Toast Muffins

When I first looked at this recipe, I was hesitant.  I’m not a pup anymore.  Remember when you could eat a huge cinnamon roll donut as a kid and be just fine until lunch?  Ya, me, too.  Try that now and I feel heavy and sick to my stomach.  Don’t even get me started on the feeling like a nap is imminent.  These are the reasons I had to pause.  But, I was making this ahead for Tahoe, so coupled with some eggs, if just might work.  And I dare say, it did!

Ingredients:

For muffins:

1 loaf French bread cut into 1/2″ cubes (challah is a great option here)
2 cups milk
6 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (such as Spice Island)

For streusel topping:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

Preparation:

Spray a 12-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Cut bread into cubes and completely fill each well with bread.  In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  Carefully pour mixture evenly over each muffin well, compressing the bread cubes to allow more liquid to be absorbed. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 – 12 hours.  (I refrigerated 2-3 hours and they were still amazing!)

Preheat oven to 350° and prepare streusel topping.  In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and butter.  Use two forks or two knives to crumble mixture into coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle mixture evenly on muffins.

Bake muffins 20 – 25 minutes, or until tops are golden.  Let muffins cool about 5 minutes and serve warm.  These are great made ahead and then popped in the toaster oven.

Serves: 12 muffins
Total time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Serves-4.com

*Derived from The Pioneer Woman

Spring Mix with Apples, Toasted Almonds and Basalmic Dressing

Even though I had planned the menu completely, on this particular evening, I just needed something simple.  The kids, of course, voted for plain pasta with butter.  Not something I’ll usually go for, but this was not a usual type day.  That left me, and the hubs, who was still at work.  I wanted something light, that would fill me up without making me feel heavy.  I pulled our container of spring mix salad from the refrigerator.  Grabbed an avocado and some cherry tomatoes.  Whoops.  That avocado doesn’t feel to good.  And it wasn’t.  Hmm, back to the drawing board.  After digging around I came up with a couple of Golden Delicious apples, a container of shaved almonds and also some shaved parmesan.  This is the result.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients:

FOR THE SALAD

2 cups baby spring mix (such as Organic Girl)
1 ½ Apples thinly sliced (I would have had 2 whole apples had little hands not stolen so many slices 🙂 )
1/3 cup shaved almonds
1/2 – 1 cup shaved parmesan

FOR THE DRESSING

3 Tbs red wine vinegar
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

In a small jar combine red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Close lid and shake vigorously to mix.  Set aside.

Put almonds on toaster oven safe tray.  Spread flat and toast lightly, stirring occasionally.

While almonds toast, thinly slice apple and add to a large bowl with spring mix and shaved parmesan.  When almonds are lightly toasted, allow to cool slightly and add to salad mix.  Give jar of dressing one more shake and slowly drizzle over salad to desired amount.  Toss to coat evenly.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Gerwurtztraminer
Riesling
Sauvignon Blanc
Semillon

Serves 4 as side or 2 as main course

Total time: 15 minutes

Salad with Apples and Toasted Almonds

Salad with Apples and Toasted Almonds

*Original Serves-4 Recipe

Honey Walnut Prawns

I love Honey Walnut Prawns. I love them so much I even remember the first time I put one of the tasty morsels in my mouth, “Where have you been my whole life? Why have I not experienced you until now, my sweet little prawn?” Adding to the  mix, we are one prawn loving family. The only caveat is that some restaurants use too much mayonnaise. Maybe it’s because mayonnaise is relatively cheep. Maybe it’s because the chef of that particular establishment really likes mayonnaise. If I can taste the mayonnaise and have a conscience understanding that my prawn is dripping with it, I’m not likely to eat it. I can handle mayonnaise if I don’t put too much thought into it. This recipe does the Honey Walnut Prawn justice and makes me want to eat in more often!

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup walnut halves (I, as always, used what I had on hand which was walnut pieces. Daniela gave them a hearty thumbs up after they had cooled)
1 ½ tsp honey
1 ½ tsp condensed milk (personally, I think this is the secret ingredient. SSSHHHHHhhhhhhh)
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch

Preparation:

Heat 1/2 cup water in small saucepan and bring to boil. Add sugar and stir constantly, until golden and thickened. Add walnuts and gently toss to combine. Transfer to parchment paper lined flat surface to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, honey, and condensed milk. Set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper to taste.  Dip shrimp into egg mixture, being sure each prawn is well-coated. With cornstarch in a ziplock bag, add shrimp and gently shake to coat.

Add 8-10 shrimp to the heated skillet at a time. Fry until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to paper towel lined plate.

When all shrimp are cooked, combine shrimp and honey mixture. Gently stir to coat completely. Serve immediately over steamed rice and topped with walnuts.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Blanc de Blanc
Chardonnay
Fume Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Viognier

Serves 4 (small portions)

Total time: 30 minutes

Honey Walnut Prawns

Honey Walnut Prawns

*Derived from Damn Delicious

Peach Cake

I made this a month or so ago when I was hosting a housewarming party for my sister and am just now getting to post it (there are several other recipes from that afternoon that I have yet to add, so stay tuned).  This is my 3rd peach cake / cobbler this summer!  There is nothing like fresh summer peaches.  Biting into them and the juice runs down your chin making your neck and hands sticky.  In this recipe I used white peaches,  next time I’ll use the classic yellow peach.  Picking them up at the farmers market ensures their juiciness (and has absolutely nothing to do with the large $5 bag of kettle corn I might accidentally buy there).  So while we’re now full on into apple and pumpkin season, hopefully there are still some amazing peaches to be had and baked with  🙂

Peach Cake 2

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tsp pur vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large, ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I omitted this since it was for my sister and she doesn’t like pecans)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350.  Coat 9″ square baking pan with cooking spray.

Beat butter and 1 cup of sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy.  With the mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, mix until batter is smooth.  In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.

Spread half the batter evenly in the pan.  Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with about two-thirds of the sugar mixture.  Spread remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and pecans

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8

Prep time: 20 mins; Baking time: 55 minutes

Peach Cake 3

*Courtesy of Barefoot Contessa

Stone fruit Cake

From the first bite, I had visions for this cake. I envisioned myself sitting on the deck, drinking my coffee, reading the Sunday paper, eating this cake still warm from the oven. Also, I envisioned myself inviting my best girlfriends over for brunch and serving this cake with a mimosa. Dust it with powdered sugar instead of the cinnamon and sugar and inviting friends over for the last BBQ of the season just got a little easier. No matter how you slice it (did I just really say that??) this cake deserves to be on your regular rotation. Oh, and don’t let me forget to me mention, my first bite of this cake was Thanks to my good friend Michele O. I’ve switched it up a little (because that’s what I do), but you can try her version, it was amazing!

photo (2)

 

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar + 2 T divided
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
3-4 sliced peaches (or other ripened stone fruit, MO used nectarines)
1/2 cup raspberries
1 tsp cinnamon (MO used fresh grated nutmeg)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together butter and 3/4 cup of sugar; add 2 eggs, blending one at a time; add vanilla and beat until fluffy.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour with baking powder. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, beat until just blended.

Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray (MO buttered her pan). Spread dough into pan. It’s going to look like there isn’t enough dough. Believe me, there is.

Top dough with fruit. In a small bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of cake.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Either serve immediately, or whenever the mood guests arrive.

Cook time: 45 minutes; Total time: 1 hour

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Derived from: Michele Oeberst recipe


Simple Syrup

Here is the Simple Syrup recipe that goes along with the Sunny Margarita recipe. Who knew it would be so, well, simple? Ok, totally in my defense, how many times have you seen something that was supposed to be super easy to make, and once you got started you realized they meant if you were Martha Stewart? I hate to disappoint, but I’m not Martha Stewart (yes, I realize this is a shock and I send my most humble of apologizes.). I’m just a girl that loves to cook. Works full time, and has a husband and kids to feed. But not simple syrup, I do not feed my kids simple syrup. Crap! Unless its going in to Berto’s fresh squeezed lemon aide, but that’s really not feeding it to them. Oy vey . .

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 lemon juiced

Preparation:

Combine all 3 ingredients in saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to boil. All sugar crystals should be completely dissolved. Remove from heat and pour into a clean, medium-sized bowl. Cool completely before using. To speed up cooling process, sink bowl in ice bath. Simple syrup can be stored in the refrigerator indefinitely, if kept in an airtight container.

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* From Food Network