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Promote your blog here; Blog Party #3!!

Join in on the fun!

Bernadine’s Bakery

Hello everybody! I recently got back into blogging so I thought what better way to promote this blog and help others than a blog party?

Here are the rules:

1. Choose any one of your favorite blog posts from your own blog, all kinds of posts are welcome. (Anything inappropriate will be removed). You can share up to three links each day, but it’s best to wait some time between each one.

2. Paste your link in the comment section of this post and tell a little bit about yourself and/or your blog.

3. REBLOG this post to let everyone know!!

4. Now grab a fuzzy blanket and get ready to read more blogs and meet new bloggers!!

This blog party will run from today until Thursday at 12:00 am EST. I look forward to reading all your comments and meeting new blogs! Have fun and be sure to follow…

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Recipes

Falafel Pitas

One of my absolute favorite things to eat is a falafel pita. Crunchy balls of crispy falafel, topped with cool, crisp veggies, all dressed up with fresh & creamy tzatziki. There are a lot of really great places to get one, but I love trying to make my favorite foods at home. I’ve bought the frozen falafel from Trader Joe’s before & I love them, but I wanted to try making them from scratch! There are two types of falafel, the traditional style which are fried, or a healthier option, which are baked.

Initially I wanted to fry my falafel because nothing beats that crunch you get when frying them. At first, I made my falafel into patty shapes to shallow fry them because I am not a fan of deep frying, it’s just way to much of a mess.  but after the first attempt, I realized this was not going to work. Maybe I had the oil at the wrong temp, or didn’t cook them long enough. Either way, they did not come out as planned!

That’s the fun part of cooking at home, you get to try new things & adapt to what works best for you & yields the best result. So I quickly realized frying the falafel was not working & decided to bake them instead. Spoiler alert, they were still delicious!

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The first step to delicious homemade falafel? Make tzatziki from scratch. It’s really easy to throw together using very common ingredients (many of which you probably already have) & really elevates this dish. Tzatziki is a yogurt based sauce that goes great with falafel, chicken, gyros & basically anything else. You won’t have any trouble getting through the leftovers & it keeps great in the fridge. Start by scooping the yogurt into a bowl. Then add in the cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Stir to combine & let it rest in the fridge. The longer it sets, the more delicious it will be! I let mine sit for the amount of time it took to get dinner on the table & it was great. If you have the time to assemble it earlier in the day, by all means, go for it!

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Falafel time! This mix comes together insanely easily using a food processor. Start by combining the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro & mint. Pulse until it begins to come together.

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Next comes the flavor! To the chickpeas, add paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic & baking soda. Mix on high until all ingredients are combined. Add salt & pepper to taste.

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Spoon mixture into a bowl & let it rest for 20-30 minutes before forming. While the mix is resting, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your pitas. I like to top mine with lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion & cucumber. I chopped up all my veggies & set them aside so they’re ready to use when the falafel come out of the oven.

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To bake the falafel, form them into small balls & place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bruch the tops with olive oil & bake the falafel in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the outside becomes crisp & the inside is still tender.

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When the falafel come out of the oven let them rest for a few minutes while you heat your pitas & gather your toppings.

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Dress up your pitas to your liking & boom! Not too difficult right?

Falafel Pitas

Prep time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 85 minutes
Servings: 20-23 falafel (depending on the size)

Ingredients: 

Tzatziki-

  • 1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
  • 1 cup grated cucumber, drained of all liquid
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Falafel-

  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • oil, for brushing onto falafel

For serving-

  • pita bread
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • pickles
  • red onion
  • cucumber

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Start by scooping the yogurt into a bowl. Then add in the cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Stir to combine & let it rest in the fridge.
  3. In a food processor, start by combining the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro & mint. Pulse until it begins to come together.
  4. To the chickpeas, add paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic & baking soda. Mix on high until all ingredients are combined. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Spoon mixture into a bowl & let it rest for 20-30 minutes before forming. While the mix is resting, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your pitas.
  6. To bake the falafel, form them into small balls & place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bruch the tops with olive oil & bake the falafel for about 30 minutes, until the outside becomes crisp & the inside is still tender.
  7. When the falafel come out of the oven let them rest for a few minutes while you heat your pitas & gather your toppings.
  8. Dress up your pitas to your liking & boom!
Recipes

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

It’s meatless Monday once again! This week I opted for a simpler take on a meatless dish and went with a vegetarian classic. This dish utilizes mushrooms as its main source of protein.

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Creamy Mushroom Pasta is a one-pot meal that comes together in the time it takes to boil some pasta! What else could you want on a Monday night? It’s filling, creamy & cheesy!

As I mentioned in a previous post, mushrooms are a fantastic meat substitute & they pair wonderfully with pasta. When they’re tossed in cream they reach a new level of delicious.

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Cover the whole mess with parmesan cheese & you’ve got yourself an insanely delicious meal! I served this up with some French bread & a delicious crisp white wine.

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Check out Girl Gone Gourmet for the full recipe!

Recipes

Lentil Soup

In my efforts to put a meatless dinner on the table every week, I have been researching & trying out new forms of protein. I work with beans a lot because there are so many different varieties that they can be used in almost any cuisine. I also use mushrooms a lot because they give a dish a real meatiness that can be lacking in vegetarian foods. Another ingredient I have been really excited to work with lately is lentils. They are also very versatile and work with a lot of different cuisines. I’ve used the cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s in salads & wraps but I was curious about using lentils that have not been pre-cooked.

Enter, lentil soup. It’s something I grew up eating out of a can & ordered frequently when I saw it on restaurant menus. I was excited to try making lentil soup from scratch. When researching recipes to figure out exactly how to put the soup together I realized quickly this was going to be an easy dish. You basically sauté some veggies, throw in lentils, diced tomatoes & a few spices, then let the stove do all the work. Sounds good to me!

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Start by gathering all of your ingredients & heating a large pot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.

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Next you want to prep the lentils. Just rinse them under cold water & let them dry slightly while the oil heats up.

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Once the oil it hot, cook onions, celery & carrots until they start to soften & onions become translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

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Once veggies have cooked, throw in the lentils, diced tomatoes & spices. Stir to combine.

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Next, add the broth & bring the whole mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer & cook, covered, for about 40 minutes, until lentils are tender.

I served my lentil soup with cheese toasts. To prepare the toasts, slice the baguette on a diagonal into a few pieces then spread them with softened butter. Divide the cheese among the toasts & broil until cheese is melted & bubbling.

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Once the toasts are ready, let them sit for a few minutes before serving up.

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While the toasts are resting, finish the soup. You can serve it up as is, if you like the texture, but I like my soups to be a little thicker so I used my immersion blender & blended about 1/3 of the soup so it had a thicker consistency, but still had a good number of whole lentils.

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Serve up with the toasts & a sprinkling of parmesan cheese & enjoy!

 

Lentil Soup

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbs de Provence
  • half a large baguette
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded

For the full recipe, visit Food Network

Recipes

Jackfruit Enchiladas

I heard about Jackfruit for the first time about a year ago when I saw a Tasty video for Vegan Pulled Pork. Since then, I was so enthralled by this ingredients & wanted to know more. I watched so many cooking videos of people working with Jackfruit. I wasn’t really sure where to get Jackfruit & working with the entire fruit seemed a little daunting. They’re also very large so I would feel wasteful buying a whole one. Fast forward to just a few weeks ago & I was at a party where someone had brought a whole Jackfruit (I’m still not sure why but I got to go home with some so I never questioned it again).

I was so excited to be going home with this Jackfruit because I finally got to try cooking with it, without having to deal with the whole fruit. All of the videos & recipes I looked at said the same thing, to treat the Jackfruit like any other pulled meat. So I shredded it up, tossed it in a pan & covered it in barbecue sauce. It was delicious.

I knew I wanted to cook with it again but still had no intention of buying a whole Jackfruit. And thats when it happened. I was strolling the aisles of Trader Joe’s, as I usually do on a Monday morning, when I saw something magical in the canned foods section. Canned Jackfruit. It was already broken down & preserved in a brine so all I had to do was take it out of the can & boom, it was ready to use. That is, the detailed version, of how these enchiladas came to be.

Start by gathering all of your ingredients. Drain the Jackfruit & rinse lightly with water to remove any excess brine. Break up the Jackfruit as you would a chicken breast, so it becomes smaller shreds.

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To dry the Jackfruit, line a quarter sheet pan (or a large plate) with paper towels. Cover the paper towels with shredded Jackfruit & lay another paper towel on top. Press down lightly to remove any excess moisture. The dryer the Jackfruit is, the better it will brown when sautéed.

Cook the onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, in a medium skillet set over medium high heat. Cook until the onions begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Next add the garlic & spices & stir to combine. Cook for another minute until the spices become fragrant. Next add in the dried Jackfruit & stir it all up. Cover the mixture with 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce & stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, then set aside on a plate.

While the Jackfruit is cooking, grate the cheese & pour another tablespoon of enchilada sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce in the pan that cooked the Jackfruit & heat it on medium low.

To assemble the enchiladas, start by dipping the tortilla into the heated enchilada sauce until it’s coated. Lay on about 2 tablespoons of the Jackfruit & top with about a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up the enchilada and place it, rolled side down, in your baking dish. Keep doing this unit you are out of Jackfruit & cheese. Depending on how big the enchiladas are you should get between 7-9.

Once all the enchiladas are rolled, cover them with any remaining sauce & the remainder of the grated cheese. I like to dot the top of my enchiladas with sliced black olives but that part is optional!

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When you’re ready to eat the enchiladas, bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes until the cheese is melted & the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Let the enchiladas cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving them up. Serve up with any desired toppings (I love to top my enchiladas with fresh guac, which you can find on this post) & enjoy!

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Jackfruit Enchiladas

Total Time: 1 hour (includes baking time)
Servings: 7-9 Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced (about half an onion)
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic (2 medium cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can Jackfruit in brine*
  • 1 bottle red enchilada sauce
  • 7-9 medium corn tortillas
  • 3 cups grated monterey jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Drain the Jackfruit & rinse lightly with water to remove any excess brine. Break up the Jackfruit as you would a chicken breast, so it becomes smaller shreds.
  2. To dry the Jackfruit, line a quarter sheet pan (or a large plate) with paper towels. Cover the paper towels with shredded Jackfruit & lay another paper towel on top. Press down lightly to remove any excess moisture
  3. Cook the onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, in a medium skillet set over medium high heat. Cook until the onions begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Next add the garlic & spices & stir to combine. Cook for another minute until the spices become fragrant.
  5. Then add in the dried Jackfruit & stir it all up. Cover the mixture with 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce & stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, then set aside on a plate.
  6. While the Jackfruit is cooking, grate the cheese & pour another tablespoon of enchilada sauce in the bottom of your baking dish.
  7. Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce in the pan that cooked the Jackfruit & heat it on medium low.
  8. To assemble the enchiladas, start by dipping the tortilla into the heated enchilada sauce until it’s coated. Lay on about 2 tablespoons of the Jackfruit & top with about a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up the enchilada and place it, rolled side down, in your baking dish. Keep doing this unit you are out of Jackfruit & cheese.
  9. Once all the enchiladas are rolled cover them with any remaining sauce & the remainder of the grated cheese.
  10. When you’re ready to eat the enchiladas**, bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes until cheese is melted & sauce is bubbling around the edges. Let the enchiladas cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving them up.

 

*If you are using fresh Jackfruit it would be about 3 cups, shredded.

**These enchiladas are a fantastic make-ahead dish. When you have the time, cook & assemble the enchiladas, then cover them with plastic wrap & store in the fridge until ready to bake. Remove enchiladas from the fridge about 20 minutes before baking to allow them to come to room temperature for more even cooking.

Recipes

Sunday Pot Roast

With temperatures dropping and days feeling shorter, quick & easy dinners that warm you from the inside out are a necessity. There is no dish more comforting than Pot Roast. With just a few simple steps & a slow cooker, this delicious rib sticking Pot Roast can be on your table in just a few hours.

Fall is the time to bust out the slow cooker & let it do all the hard work. Think of all the fun things you can spend your time doing instead of working on dinner! Carving pumpkins? Watching a scary movie? Finishing up those pesky chores you couldn’t get to over the weekend? Spending quality time with a loved one? The list is endless! Make yourself this Pot Roast & see what extra fun things you get to accomplish…

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Start by gathering all of your ingredients & heating 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season all sides of the meat with salt & pepper then coat the meat in flour. Once the oil is hot, brown the meat on all sides. This step is not necessary but it is definitely worth it. Browning the meat adds a really nice texture to the finished dish as well as a much deeper flavor.

While the meat is browning, prepare the vegetables. Toss the potatoes & carrots into the slow cooker with the garlic & dried thyme. Place the browned meat over the carrots & potatoes, then pour in the broth.

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Cover the slow cooker & cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 9-10 hours. About an hour before the Pot Roast is done, mix up the water & cornstarch until it becomes slightly pasty. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker & stir around. Finish cooking the Pot Roast for the last hour. When the time is up, remove the meat & either slice it up or shred it to serve. Enjoy!

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Pot Roast

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 3lbs Chuck Roast
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1lb Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks (or baby fingerlings)
  • 1lb carrots, peeled & cut into 1 inch chunks (or baby carrots)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions:

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Season all sides of the meat with salt & pepper then coat the meat in flour. Once the oil is hot, brown the meat on all sides.
  3. While the meat is browning, prepare the vegetables. Toss the potatoes & carrots into the slow cooker with the garlic & dried thyme.
  4. Place the browned meat over the carrots & potatoes then pour in the broth.
  5. Cover the slow cooker & cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 9-10 hours.
  6. About an hour before the Pot Roast is done, mix up the water & cornstarch until it becomes slightly pasty. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker & stir around.
  7. Finish cooking the Pot Roast for the last hour. When the time is up, remove the meat & either slice it up or shred it to serve.
Recipes

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

When it comes to meatless Monday, I focus a lot on dinner recipes because most of the meals I cook are dinners. I like to mix things up from time to time so this week’s meatless Monday recipe is a lunch recipe. I also like to appeal to all types of diets so it’s important to incorporate vegetarian meals for every time of day!

This sandwich is quick & easy to throw together. The chickpea salad can be made in advance which makes it great for taking to work or school. This sandwich is completely customizable so you can top it with whatever veggies you have on hand!

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Start by gathering all your ingredients. Drain one can of chickpeas & put them into a shallow bowl.

Using a potato masher or fork, smash the chickpeas until they’re about 75% mashed, leaving a few still whole. Remove any large clumps of the chickpea skin that comes off while smashing the beans. Next add the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper. Stir to combine. Then add the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon at a time until the salad reaches a consistency you like. I used 2 tablespoons.

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While making the salad, toast your bread. Then prep your veggies. I used mixed greens, sliced tomatoes, micro greens & avocado.

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Top your bread with the chickpea salad & veggies. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 15oz can Chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • Bread of choice
  • Veggies of choice

Instructions:

  1. Drain one can of chickpeas & put them into a shallow bowl.
  2. Using a potato masher or fork, smash the chickpeas until they’re about 75% mashed, leaving a few still whole. Remove any large clumps of the chickpea skin that comes off while smashing the beans.
  3. Add the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon at a time until the salad reaches a consistency you like. I used 2 tablespoons.
  5. While making the salad, toast your bread & prep your veggies. I used mixed greens, sliced tomatoes, micro greens & avocado.
  6. Top your bread with the chickpea salad & veggies.
  7. Enjoy!
Recipes

Chocolate & Walnut Pumpkin Bread

As I mentioned in a previous post (Pumpkin Pancakes), pumpkin bread is something I like to make every fall. I like to try different recipes every year to keep things interesting in my kitchen. This year, as I do every year, I scoured Pinterest to find this year’s recipe. I knew I wanted to add chocolate chips because the combination of pumpkin & chocolate is truly magical. I came across Sally’s Baking Addiction & knew this was the one.

After making pumpkin pancakes last weekend, I realized that not only do pumpkin & chocolate go incredibly well together, but adding walnuts created the most delicious, deeply autumnal flavor that I was really excited about. So naturally, I threw some walnuts into the pumpkin bread.

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It’s a fairly simple recipe that uses ingredients you probably have in your pantry or fridge already! It’s a great recipe to have on hand during the holidays because it’s simple to throw together, easy to make multiple loaves & travels well to bring to all your holiday parties!

I recently started baking using my kitchen scale to measure ingredients. Most recipes these days will have two measurements to go off of. You’ll see ingredients measured in teaspoons, tablespoons, or cups. Then you’ll also see ingredients measured in grams or milliliters. I made this recipe using my scale to weigh the ingredients. Weighing your ingredients gives you a much more accurate measurement & ensures your baked goods come out perfectly every time. Start by measuring out your dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Next, you’ll measure out your wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Then add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients & stir to combine using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Stir until just combined making sure not to over mix the bread.

The recipe doesn’t include this step, but whenever I’m adding chocolate chips or nuts of any kind to a batter, I like to mix the chocolate or nuts with a tablespoon or so of flour. Mix together to coat the chocolate & nuts in the flour before tossing them into the batter. This step ensures that the chocolate & nuts don’t sink to the bottom of whatever you’re baking. The flour helps to keep the chocolate & nuts suspended in the batter making sure they’re evenly distributed throughout the bread. I recommend doing this anytime you have chocolate chips or nuts in any baking recipe!

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Pour the batter into a greased 9X5 loaf pan & bake in a 350 degree oven for about 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, cover the bread with foil so it doesn’t get too brown. Once the bread is finished baking, set it on a wire rack (in the loaf pan) to cool completely before removing it from the pan.

I made two versions of this recipe. One with chocolate chips & walnuts (pictured above) to take to a work meeting. And a plain version (pictured below) to keep at home.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (340g) pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) orange juice
  • 2/3 cup (120g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

*The recipe didn’t call for nuts but I added about 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts!

For the full recipe, check out Sally’s Baking Addiction

Recipes

Taco Pizza

After discovering how delicious the Whole Wheat Pizza Dough from Trader Joe’s is, I have been spending my weeks figuring out every possible topping for a pizza. This pizza pulls inspiration from the Tostada Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen. The dough is hearty & filling with the right amount of chew on the inside & crispness on the outside. It’s topped with a layer of quick refried beans & cheese before being tossed in the oven to get hot & melty. When it comes out of the oven it’s topped with fresh veggies & sour cream. Served with a side of guac & its all you need for a perfect meatless Monday.

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Before beginning on the beans you’ll want to take the pizza dough out of the refrigerator & set it on the counter to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before rolling it out. Then get to the beans! Start by draining & rinsing 3 cans of black beans but reserve the liquid from 1 can. Then heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

When the oil is hot, cook the garlic for about a minute, just until you start to smell it. Then add the spices and cook all together for 1-2 minutes.

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Next, add the beans & reserved liquid to the spices & stir to combine. Bring it to a simmer & cook, covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes, take a potato masher & mash the beans until the reach a refried consistency. Lets move on to the dough!

Place dough onto a well floured surface and sprinkle some extra flour on top. Roll out the dough into a rectangle until its the size of a half sheet pan. Lightly oil your sheet pan and place the dough on top. Bake the dough in an oven preheated to 475 degrees for about 10 minutes until the edges begin to brown & the center is set. While the dough is baking, prepare the guacamole.

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Quick Guacamole 

Start by cutting your avocados & removing the pit. Then scoop them into a bowl & mix in the juice of 1 1/2 limes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, & 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

 

 

 

Once the pizza dough has baked, spread on the beans & top with shredded cheese. Toss the pizza back in the oven & bake until cheese it melted, about 3-4 minutes. Once the cheese it melted top the pizza with shredded lettuce & chopped tomato. Dollop sour cream over the pizza & finish with a squeeze of lime! Serve your pizza alongside the guac & enjoy!

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Recipes

Pumpkin Pancakes

Growing up I always thought I didn’t like pumpkin because my parents never cooked with it or used it in the kitchen. It was an unfamiliar flavor to me that as an adult I just assumed I didn’t care for. But you know what happens when we assume right…

Fast forward to my adult years when I began cooking for myself and I realized I was in a position to do whatever I wanted in my own kitchen. Every fall there was so much buzz around pumpkin and everybody was obsessed. I knew I had to give it a try.

A couple years ago I made a recipe for pumpkin bread that I found on Pinterest which turned out to be delicious. Then it dawned on me, what else have I been missing out on? This bread was moist, deeply flavored and so easy to throw together. I was hooked. Chocolate Walnut Pumpkin Bread

As the years go on I try to incorporate more and more pumpkin dishes into my fall repertoire. I love fall, and especially Halloween, so I love to be able to get into the spirit in as many ways as possible. Cooking is definitely one of those ways. Now that I do 90% of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s I have been introduced to the plethora of pumpkin items that flood their shelves come September. Each week since the beginning of September, I have been picking up at least 1 (usually more) pumpkin related items from Trader Joe’s and I am pleased to say I have yet to be disappointed. I will do a separate post reviewing each of the pumpkin items in detail for you guys!

This morning I tried the pumpkin pancakes and oh my word. They were incredible. It was a boxed dry pancake mix that only required you to add butter, milk and 1 egg. Simple right? And totally customizable!

The end result was an incredibly fluffy pancake with deep fall flavors. Not overpoweringly pumpkin flavored, but a nice balance of pumpkin and spices. I added chopped walnuts to a few which gave the pancakes a great crunch. I also made a couple with both walnuts and chocolate chips which I HIGHLY recommend because they were out of this world.

I topped these bad boys with Trader Joe’s new Vanilla Bean Infused Maple Syrup which I also highly recommend. The vanilla in the syrup paired nicely with the spices in the pancakes to create the perfect fall bite.

I served the pancakes with a quick scramble made with eggs, chopped bell peppers, Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage  and mozzarella cheese.

Happy Brunching!

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And I obviously had to bust out the festive plates because it’s only 24 days till Halloween!