A few months ago I discovered the beautiful world of food blogs. I have become totally and completely hooked on reading about food, looking at wonderful pictures and learning new techniques. One blog in particular has really connected with me - Annie's Eats. Annie not only showcases healthy meals and delicious desserts, but she also 'teaches' you how to make many things at home that you would never even think you could do! I'm proud to say the list of things I've made myself in the past few months is growing and growing. Everything I've made has been easier than expected and tastier too! I never in a million years would have thought I could or would make my own flour tortillas. I don't own a tortilla press or any fancy equipment but the great thing about this recipe is you don't need any! Just a food processor, a rolling pin and a skillet and you'll be on your way to making your own flour tortillas too! Go ahead and make these today and tomorrow I'll have a yummy breakfast idea for you to use them in!
Makes 16 tortillas
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp kosher salt
5 tbsp shortening (or unsalted butter, softened)
3/4-1 cup water
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and shortening in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Pulse mixture until it is crumbly, about 5 seconds. Scrape down the sides of a food processor bowl. (If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry cutter or two forks to do this step.) With the food processor running, slowly add the water in a steady stream until the dough forms a cohesive ball. Knead for 30 seconds more. If the bowl is too sticky, add a bit more flour.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide into 16 equal-sized balls (I use a kitchen scale for this.) Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Working with one dough ball at a time and keeping the rest covered, pat the ball into a disc. Dust with flour and roll into a very thin circle. Carefully transfer to the hot skillet and cook each side for about 20-30 seconds, until bubbles form and the bottom is lightly browned. Be careful not to overcook or the tortillas will be too hard. Repeat this process with the remaining dough balls, lowering the heat as needed to prevent burning. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze.
From Annie's Eat's, originally seen on Confections of a Foodie Bride via Pennies on a Platter
Happy Spring! With today being the first day of Spring (and feeling like more like the first day of Summer!) you wouldn't think I'd be bringing you a recipe for chili, would you? Well, I have two very good reasons for posting this today: It's very kind to your waistline and shorts season is quickly approaching and it's super quick so you don't need to spend a lot of time in front of a hot stove to make this delicious dinner! OK, the real reason I'm posting this recipe today is because I LOVE this chili and I haven't had time to post it in the past few weeks when the weather was colder and more, well, chili-like.
Hubby and I discovered this chili recipe almost 10 years ago and have made it many, many times. I actually have a confession to make - in my early days of cooking I wasn't too clear on the difference between certain ingredients. One of those ingredients was chili powder. I thought it was the same as ground red pepper! So, for a lot of years I made this dish WAY spicier than it's supposed to be! Even so, we still loved it! Now that I have kiddos with sensitive palates I tame down the heat and stick with the original recipe. Either way, I promise, you'll love this! Oh, one more reason this recipe rocks, it's super budget-friendly! Enjoy!
Vegetarian Three-Bean Chili
Makes about 6 servings
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup beer or vegetable broth (I used a home-brew English ale)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14-ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 14-ounce can vegetarian refried beans
For the topping:
Grated pepper jack or cheddar cheese
Crumbled blue corn tortilla chips
In a medium stock pot over medium-high heat, add oil, onion, peppers and garlic. Saute about 5 minutes to soften vegetables. Deglaze the pan with beer (or broth). Add tomatoes, black beans, red kidney beans, cumin, chili powder and salt, stirring to combine. Mix in refried beans to thicken the chili. Simmer over low heat about 5-10 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.
Adapted from 30 Minute Meals
As promised, today I will bring you a non-cupcake recipe! This is a recipe I found a few years ago in some magazine. I don't have a clue which magazine it was because I tore the page out, trimmed it down and neatly taped it to an index card. Yes, I know, I'm a dork. The original recipe called for heavy cream and some dots of butter. Once I started Weight Watchers last year I omitted those two ingredients in favor of a healthier breakfast I can have any day of the week. This recipe is for one egg cup. If you are cooking more than one, keep a close eye on them after 15 minutes so your egg yolks don't overcook!
Zesty Egg Cups
Makes 1 Egg Cup
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tsp plain breadcrumbs
2 tsp salsa
salt & pepper to taste
1 stick of low-fat string cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 350.
Spray the inside of a 2 ounce ramekin with cooking spray. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs into the ramekin, turning to coat bottom and sides. Gently spread the salsa over the breadcrumbs. Crack the egg into a small bowl, being careful not to the break the egg. Slide the egg into the ramekin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the string cheese on top of the egg. Place the ramekin onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted. If you are baking more than one egg, check on them every minute or so after 15 minutes.
Highly adapted from a recipe card found years ago :)
Cupcakes. What can be said about cupcakes? I love cupcakes. I love simple vanilla cupcakes just as much as I love gourmet flavors and combinations. This particular cupcake is ranking high up on my list of favorites. Salted caramel cupcakes. How amazing do these sound?!?! They start with a home made caramel sauce that is added into a basic vanilla cake recipe. The frosting is a simple buttercream made with European butter and more of that homemade caramel sauce. To finish this beauty off I drizzled some of the caramel sauce on top. A work of art! A tasty little indulgence! AND, these just happen to be my birthday cupcakes! Both baking and eating these cupcakes was a true treat for me!
Now, all that being said, two things happened to me while this whole cupcake experience was going on. The first thing was: I turned 38. Not an age to be considered 'old' by any stretch of the imagination. Heck, I still feel like a 23-year-old! The problem is, I'm NOT 23 anymore. The big, proverbial 4-0 is sneaking up just around the corner and it is time to really start taking better care of my health. The other thing that happened to me is I stepped on the scale and saw a weight I haven't seen in over a year...and not in a good way. Last year at this time I was 110% dedicated to Weight Watchers and I managed to take off 15 pounds and keep most of it off! I felt great! Seeing the scale the other day...well...let's just say between the birthday and the scale I decided I HAVE to get serious again and start eating better and exercising more. None of us are getting any younger and shorts season is going to be here before we know it. Oh yeah, and that pesky little Pittsburgh Marathon Relay Team I signed up for. Yikes! I have to run 5.5 miles in less than 9 weeks! So, Butter Fans, to that end, the cupcake blogs are going to be slowing down for a bit while I focus on some healthier foods. No fear though, I only post the yummiest of yummy recipes!
Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Makes about 24 cupcakes
For the caramel sauce
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon water
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
Pour sugar and water into a large saucepan. Heat on medium-high heat and stir constantly until the sugar completely liquifies. Stir constantly being careful not to burn the sugar. After all the sugar has dissolved, add the butter and vanilla extract to the saucepan and mix thoroughly. Once the butter has melted and the butter and sugar are completely mixed, remove from heat and, using a whisk, slowly whisk in the heavy cream. Be aware the mixture will bubble violently for a few seconds. Continue whisking until you reach a beautiful golden brown caramel color. If the mixture seizes into any small, hard chunks, place the pan over medium-low heat and continue to whisk until the mixture smooths out. This may take a while, but it will come together eventually. Set aside and let cool completely.
** You can make the caramel the night before you need it and place it in the refrigerator until you are ready for it.
For the cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup caramel sauce
Preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream the butter for about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing slowing after each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then gradually add one third of the flour mixture, followed by one third of the milk, beating until well incorporated. Add another third of the flour mixture, followed by another third of the milk. Stop to scrape down the bowl, as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture followed by the remaining milk and mix until just combined. Add the caramel sauce and mix slowly, swirling it into the batter, but not mixing it in completely.
Scoop the batter into the prepared liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Salted Caramel Buttercream
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (I prefer Plugra, European butter)
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon whole milk
1 teaspoon fleur de sel (you can substitute kosher salt)
1/2 cup caramel sauce
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream the butter for about 1 minute. Add 2 cups of confectioner's sugar and mix on low until well combined. Add milk, fleur de sel and caramel sauce, mixing for about 30 seconds. Add the remaining 2 cups of confectioner's sugar and mix until just incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
Transfer buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip and frost cupcakes. Drizzle caramel sauce on top.
Barely adapted from The Cupcake Diaries
Pittsburgh area mom striving to provide clean, healthy, REAL food for her family!