Blackberry Basil Jam

Blackberry Jam 3

When Kroger has blackberries on super cheap sale, you buy all of them and figure out what to do later. Here’s what I did …

Blackberry Jam 6

I am mildly obsessed with combining fruit and herbs, so when I decided to make jam I naturally had to think about what herb would go well with it.

Blackberry Jam 4

I was torn between basil and thyme, and don’t think I could have gone wrong either way, but basil turned out to be just perfect.

Blackberry Jam 5

Toast with salted peanut butter and blackberry-basil jam. :::drool:::

I found a good Giada recipe, but cut the sugar down because I enjoy the tartness of blackberries. This jam is perfect with peanut butter, on a cheese platter, with a spoon or on crackers, a la Joey Tribbiani style (:45).

Blackberry Basil Jam 

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients:

  • 3-6 oz. cartons of fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 oz. basil leaves (or as much or as little as you like)
  • Juice from 1 large orange
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon

Preparation:

Place fresh blackberries in a medium saucepan and turn to medium heat. As the blackberries warm and soften, mash them lightly (and carefully) with a fork. In a food processor, combine the basil, sugar, orange and lemon juices. Blend until smooth. Stir the mixture into the blackberries and bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until the mixture is thick, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow the jam to cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Serve on bread, with cheeses, on top of peanut butter, layered in desserts … the opportunities are endless.

Banana Sweet Potato Bread

Banana Sweet Potato Bread 4
Some things you just get a gut feeling about. When you have too many bananas, and too many sweet potatoes and get that gut feeling about a sweet potato banana bread, you go with that feeling.
Banana Sweet Potato Bread
I had no reason to believe that this recipe would turn out even mediocre, because I was sort of making it up as I went, but it turned out marvelously! I love naturally sweetening by using sweet fruits and veggies. Nature has so many options. Sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, beets … the list goes on and on. Can’t wait to see where the next surplus of produce takes me.Banana Sweet Potato Bread 2
Banana Sweet Potato Bread
Recipe heavily adapted from The Minimalist Baker
Ingredients:
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 3/4 cup sweet potato puree (I just bake mine whole until tender and scoop out the flesh)
 Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease or spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray. I like to put a strip of parchment paper that extends above the top of the pan for an easier removal at the end.
  2. Mash bananas and add all of the ingredients except the oats and flour, whisking to thoroughly combine.
  3. Add flours, oats, bran and flax. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. I added chopped pecans on top. Feel free to do the same, or chocolate chips stirred in would be wonderful.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool on a rack. Then slice and serve.

Banana Sweet Potato Bread 3

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

In the UK, pudding is a synonym used to denote the dessert course of a meal. When I served this dessert after dinner last night, I think my friends were a little confused by use of the word “pudding” for what is clearly a cake. I don’t think they were disappointed after tasting it though.

Sticky Toffee Pudding 3

I first had this pudding at the Schlafly Taproom in St. Louis and fell instantly in love. I have made it on several occasions since, usually in the winter months when everyone is less concerned about butter and sugar, but it’s good any and every time.

The cake is light, spongey and lovely. It’s almost magic how the dates dissolve into the cake during the baking process and become indiscernible from the rest of the ingredients. The toffee sauce though, is the real star of the show. I like to serve this dessert in a bowl, so everyone has a nice pool of sauce to be soaked up by the cake. I’m pretty sure you can spoon a brown sugar, butter, and cream sauce over anything and it would be incredible; but it’s especially good here paired with a light cake and freshly whipped cream. Enjoy!

Sticky Toffee Pudding 2

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Recipe from Daily Candy via The Schlafly Tap Room

Ingredients:

For the pudding

  • 1 lb. dates, chopped in food processor
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 oz. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt

For the sauce

  • 1 lb. dark brown sugar
  • 1 lb. butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream

For the whipped cream

  • 1 c. heavy cream (or whatever is leftover from sauce)
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with butter or non-stick spray.
  • Combine dates with hot water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Set aside to cool.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar on high speed for 3 minutes.
  • With mixer on low speed, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • When fully mixed, add the dates and their liquid.
  • Pour batter into greased pan and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean (30-45 minutes).
  • Cool on a baking rack before removing from the pan.
  • For the sauce, stir together the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract on low heat until blended and brown sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
  • Whisk heavy cream into the brown sugar-and-butter mixture.
  • To make whipped cream: pour leftover heavy cream into a bowl and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Honestly, I don’t really measure ingredients in whipped cream, it’s hard to mess up. Using a hand-mixer (or Kitchen-aid, or whisk) whip until firm peaks form.
  • Spoon warm sauce over a serving of the pudding and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Single Serving Oatmeal Cookie

Single Oatmeal Cookie 3

Sometimes I really impress myself. It almost always happens when I’m desperate and hungry.

Today, I wanted a cookie for breakfast. Like, a healthy cookie. But I found myself without. So I attempted to make one. Yes, just one. And it was pretty successful!

Single Oatmeal Cookie

It’s not so much a recipe as it is a technique. You just take a little leftover cooked oatmeal (I used steel-cut oats), about 1/4 cup, and add in whatever extras you want. This time I added honey, dried cranberries, cinnamon and unsweetened coconut. Next time, I will add peanut butter and raisins. If I had thought of the peanut butter thing this time, I would have done that first.

You mix it all up in a little ramekin and press it down firmly with the back of a spoon. Then you microwave for about 3-4 minutes until the oatmeal mixture starts pulling away from the sides of the ramekin and has dried out a little.

At this point, I was able (with the help of an oven mitt – it’s hot!) to simply flip the ramekin over onto a little plate and out popped my single-serving cookie. It was perfect with my espresso and just what I wanted. Great start to October … it’s the little things.

Single Oatmeal Cookie 2

Peach and Plum Galette

Peach plum galette 4

You might recall from my recent Farmer’s Market post that I came back with quite a few peaches and plums; and since stone fruit is basically born to be made into desserts, specifically pies … I brought their destiny to fruition.

Peach plum galette 2

Galettes (or crostadas) are like free-form pies. They’re so pretty and reeeally hard to mess up.

Peach plum galette 9

Peach plum galette 8

Since I have been pretty busy lately, my plan was to just buy pie dough at the store. But when I got there and read the ingredients on the label, I made other plans. I dramatically threw down the “hydrogenated lard” in my hand and marched towards the natural butter while whispering under my breath, “Screw it, I’m doing this thing the right way.”

Peach plum galette 7

Peach plum galette 6

Note: In the picture above you will see that it sort of looks like the dessert is not coming together, but like magic, it will!

With a food processor, a crust is about the easiest thing to make anyway, so I really had no excuse in the first place. The recipe I used for the pie dough is pretty foolproof. It’s from the book, The Pastry Queen. I almost made a pate sablee, but didn’t have any ground almonds, or almonds in general, and they’re a little expensive. So I stuck to the basics.

Peach plum galette

This pie is so good it’s unreal. The peaches and plums are sweet and juicy, and the crust is the perfect flakiness. Guaranteed crowd (or single person) pleaser. 

Peach plum galette 5

Peach & Plum Galette

Pie Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 11 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 4-6 tbsp cold water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 6 small plums, skins on and sliced
  • 2 peaches, skins on and sliced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • Extra sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp apricot or peach jam

Preparation:

To make crust …

Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. If you’re using a food processor just put all the dry ingredients in together and give it a quick whirl to mix. Cut butter in by hand or toss all into the processor, until the mixture is crumbly and about the size of small peas. Add 4 tbsp very cold water and mix. Only add the rest of the water 1 tbsp at a time if needed, just until the mixture holds together easily.* Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk shape. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To make the filling …

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon flour, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. In a large bowl gently toss together the plums, lemon juice and zest. Sprinkle the flour mixture over plums; gently toss until evenly coated.

To finish galette …

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take dough out of the fridge and roll out to about 10 inches in diameter on a floured surface. Place dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Transfer the plum mixture on top of dough, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around. Fold border over plum mixture, overlapping where necessary and gently pressing to adhere the folds.

Beat together the egg and teaspoon and water and brush over the edges of the dough, then sprinkle a little sugar over the crust. Place galette on the bottom rack of oven and bake until the crust is golden and the fruit is soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on a baking rack. While pie is cooling, carefully brush jam over the fruit. It will give it a little extra sweetness and beautiful shine.

Can be served warm or at room temperature. Also, would be delicious with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

*Note: I only needed 4 tbsp of water.

Peach plum galette 3

Tropical Mint Smoothie

Mint Smoothie 2

This past weekend I picked up a beautiful bunch of mint (for only $1!) at the Farmer’s Market. I placed it in a cup with water so it would keep until I decided how I was going to use the gorgeous little bushel.

MintSmoothie 5

I have plans for a Greek inspired dinner this week utilizing the mint, but there’s plenty to go around! So this morning I started my week off right with a healthy mint smoothie. Inspired by Women’s Health Magazine’s weekly #Shareyoursmoothie campaign, I made this beauty for #MintSmoothie week. I was in a rush, so I threw together what I thought would go best with mint, and it turned out delicious. Really put a minty pep in my step!

Tropical Mint Smoothie

Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup-1 1/2 cups coconut water
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • handful of fresh mint leaves

Preparation:

Toss all ingredients into your blender – chia seeds last so they don’t get stuck to the bottom. Blend together and enjoy immediately! This smoothie comes out to just about 200 calories so it’s a perfect post-workout drink as well!

Note: You don’t have to use frozen pineapple and banana, but I find I like the texture of frozen fruit so much better than adding ice.

Mint Smoothie 4

Mint Smoothie 3

I threw all the ingredients into the blender, then ran out the door and drank my smoothie on the way to work, along with a little baggie of my homemade granola. 🙂

Mint Smoothie 1

Maple Pecan Granola

Granola 2

I literally wince every time I look at the price of store-bought granola. I’m not exactly sure what is so special about their granola that makes it almost $10/bag … but there has to be some sort of magic involved. If not, then it’s just not worth it I say. It’s much more satisfying and economical to make your own. Plus, you know exactly what’s going into it, which is very important to me. I love this recipe because there’s no sugar, butter, or other sneaky extras making this a healthy snack for anytime. You can also swap out the nuts and fruit for whatever your favorites are! I used walnuts along with the pecans this time.

I was also quite proud of this particular batch of granola, because to get the shredded coconut I had … cracked open a fresh one, scraped out the flesh, pulverized it in the food processor, and then toasted it myself. My gold star should be coming in the mail any day now.

Most people eat their granola on top of yogurt or with milk, I usually take the barbarian route and grab a mouthful with my bare hands. Granola is an art. You do you.

Maple Pecan Granola

Recipe from Joy the Baker 

makes about 12 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans  (walnuts work too!)
  • 8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together coconut, pecans, rolled oats, cinnamon, and salt.

In a medium suacepan over low heat, stir together the oil, maple syrup, and honey.  Stir until melted together.  Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.  Stir together.

Add the wet ingredients, all at once, to the rolled oat mixture.  Toss to coat, insuring that all of the dry ingredients are coated in the maple syrup mixture.  Divide the mixture between the two prepared baking pans.  Spread into an even layer.

Bake granola for 45 minutes to 1 hour, removing the pans from the oven twice during baking to toss and stir.  Once mixture is evenly browned and toasted, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Add dried fruit and store granola in an airtight container at room temperature.

Granola will last for several weeks … in theory. In reality, it will be gone within the hour.

Granola 4

Granola 3

Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp 2

As was said in James and the Giant Peach: [when cooking with peaches], “marvelous things will happen!”

I love Ree Drummond. She has some pretty great recipes and this Peach Crisp is one of my absolute favorites. It’s silly how easy this crisp is to make and even sillier how delicious it is. Ladle some hot peach crisp into a bowl, pour the cold maple cream sauce over top and then ask someone to pinch you because you’ll be seriously concerned that you’re dreaming. Then maybe take a straight shot of the cream sauce and call it a day.

Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman 

Ingredients:

  • 5 to 6 whole fresh peaches from Eckerts!
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 whole lemon
  • 7 tbsp real maple syrup, divided
  • 1-1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp light corn syrup

Preparation:

In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt using a fork or pastry cutter. Cut butter into small pieces and gradually add to flour mixture until evenly mixed.

Peel peaches into a bowl. Add the zest from half a lemon. Squeeze juice from lemon half and stir in with peaches and zest. Add 2 tablespoons real maple syrup to peaches, stir well.

Pour peach mixture into a small pan (8” or 9” square) and cover evenly with crumb topping. Cover with foil and bake at 350ºF for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until crisp and brown on top.

Maple Cream Sauce:

Pour whipping cream into a saucepan. Add 5 tablespoons real maple syrup, 3 tablespoons corn syrup and stir over moderate heat until thickened and reduced by about one-third, approximately 15 minutes. Refrigerate mixture until it is cold and thick, or set the saucepan into a small bowl of ice (the ice will melt and turn into ice water). Stirring your mixture, it will cool and thicken in about 15 minutes. Drizzle sauce over peach crisp. Serve warm.

Peach Crisp 3

I savored this crisp with my family over several cups of lovely Teavana Earl Grey Vanilla Creme tea 🙂

Earl Grey Vanilla Creme Tea

 

Oh, aaaand I may have Snapchatted the crisp bubbling …

gifboom peach

 

Zucchini Bread

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Zucchini’s are a staple of summer. I love them in all kinds of ways, but one of my absolute favorites has to be baked inside of a healthy bread.

This recipe was adapted from one I found via Whole Foods, but I made it even better by swapping in honey for sugar, and olive oil for canola oil. I also had some pure pumpkin puree leftover from the scones I shared with you in my last post, so I used that instead of yogurt. This bread is dense but healthy and delicious. It’s a totally guilt-free breakfast, snack, or dessert. This bread is not very sweet, so it’s good with jam or honey on top. If you would like a sweeter version, you can click on the Whole Foods link below for a recipe with sugar in it.

Zucchini Bread

Recipe adapted from Whole Foods

Ingredients:

  • Natural cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt (or pumpkin puree)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup honey (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch loaf pan with natural cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, oil, applesauce, yogurt/pumpkin puree, honey, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until well combined. Fold in zucchini and walnuts then transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until risen, deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

Note: As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I don’t like to lose the crunchiness of nuts by baking them inside the bread, so I just toasted the walnuts and sprinkled them on top. You can do either or both, if you would prefer!

Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes then remove bread from pan and continue cooling on rack.

 

Pumpkin Scones

Scones filter

My brother and I dedicated a good portion of this summer to the Harry Potter movie series. We called it our “Summer of Potter Festival,” and set out to watch every movie in the series over the course of about a month. When I’m having a dedicated movie night, I love to have relevant treats to snack on while I’m watching. So we drank a lot of British tea and ate a lot of popcorn and pumpkin scones.

We knew the festival would end eventually, but it was still sad when the day finally came. That doesn’t mean I can’t keep eating pumpkin scones though, right?

This recipe is from one of my favorite baking blogs and makes for totally scrumptious scones. My one deviation from the recipe was sprinkling the pecans on top at the end, rather than baking them into the scones. There’s just something I don’t like about nuts inside of baked goods … I need that crunch!

Pumpkin Scones with Brown Butter Glaze

Recipe from Joy the Baker 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup, 6 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the Glaze:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

Preparation:

Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and all of the spices.  Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and toss to coat.  Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, break the butter down into the dry ingredients.  Work quickly so that the butter remains cold.  Some of the butter will be the size of oat flakes, others will be the size of small peas.

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together until almost thoroughly combined.  Add pecans and stir until no dry flour bits remain.  Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop scones dough by the 1/2-cupful onto the prepared baking sheet.  Leave about 2-inches of space between each scone.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until browned slightly with dry tops.  You can insert a toothpick into the center of a scone to test for doneness.

Allow to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze, in a small saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat.  The butter will begin to crackle and pop.  After the crackling subsides a bit, the butter will begin to brown.  Continue to cook until the butter smells nutty and the butter solids begin to brown.  Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, browned butter, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk.  Whisk together and add more milk as necessary until your desired consistency is reached.

Generously drizzle scones with glaze.  These scones are best served within 2 days of of baking.

Note: Joy mentions this recipe makes about 12 scones, but I must have made mine quite a bit smaller because I got upwards of 2 dozen small scones. They were the perfect size in my opinion. That is, you don’t feel badly about scarfing 2 or 3 at once. I also agree with Joy that the scones are best within 2 days. They were still ok after that, but became oddly soft which I didn’t love.