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Articles Tagged “From The Kitchen”

From The Kitchen: Waffle Bowls

I know I have said this before but I will say it again. My husband loves sweets. And because he loves them so much I like to make him treats so he keeps loving me :) The fun part for me is I like to try new things. With sites like Pinterest and Food Gawker around, I never run out of options for yummy looking new recipes to try for my sugar-loving spouse.

This past week we made some homemade ice cream and shared it with some friends on Monday. Since we had some left over, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to try a new recipe: waffle cones. Jason loves waffle cones. They aren’t my favorite thing but I do love the smell of them and I couldn’t wait for the scent to fill up the kitchen. Sometimes these are my favorite kind of treats to make for him, the ones I’m not tempted by. Only one problem… we didn’t have a waffle cone press or a waffle cone shaper. Which means I had to improvise. No problem!

This was sort of a spur of the moment thing and so I decided I would just work with what I had. I found a recipe here that only called for ingredients in my cupboards. The recipe is simple and the only change I made was I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla because I figured it would only make it better, right?!

I mixed up my batch and the batter really tastes like a sugar loaded sugar cookie. It’s yummy. I might have had a taste or two :)

Now for the fix to my problem. I had no waffle cone press. Or waffle cone shaper. What did I have? A waffle maker and a bowl. That should work, right?

The recipe said to use 2 tablespoons of batter for each cone but since the ridges on a waffle maker are a lot deeper than a waffle cone press, I used more like 3 or 4 tablespoons and poured them in a spiral pattern and closed the lid.

Yep, I used my fingers. It helped :) And then, I had an excuse to taste the batter because it was on my fingers. See what a genius I am?!

After leaving them in the waffle maker for a couple of minutes, I pressed the hot waffle into a small bowl and let it sit while the next one was cooking.

I didn’t have to leave them in the bowl for very long and they had already started to harden. Just like a waffle cone. It was so cool :)

I definitely had to leave them on the press longer than the recipe called for though. Possibly because it doesn’t get as hot as an actual waffle cone press and probably because mine are thicker. Regardless, a bit longer worked wonderfully.

The recipe ended up making 6 of the little bowls. There are only 5 of them pictured because one of them may have gotten nibbled on by my photographer. He couldn’t help himself :)

We were both pleased with the taste and texture of them. They were nice and crispy and tasted just like we thought they should. And even better, the kitchen smelled amazing!

The homemade ice cream wasn’t too bad either. Mmmm… I love homemade ice cream. In fact, I finished off the rest of the ice cream today at lunch :)

The best part? A happy husband. And that my friends, was the goal!

As a little side note… now that it has been a few days we can report that they are best when they are fresh. If you put them in a sealed container they get soft. We were thinking that maybe if we stuck them in the oven for a bit they would harden up again but we have yet to try it. Otherwise, they are completely wonderful. And easy. A great combination and a great way to start the summer!

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From The Kitchen: Chili

One of the first things Jason and I cook when the weather starts to turn cool is chili. We love chili. It’s the perfect thing for a cold winter’s day. Not only does it taste good, but it makes a huge batch so we are able to freeze some plus eat some during the week. It makes for one of the best leftovers too because the spices start to mingle the longer it sits. Chili is wonderful!

It’s an interesting thing that I love it so much now because growing up we didn’t eat much of it and so I always thought I didn’t like it. Then, after we got married, Jason introduced me to the recipe his Mom always made and I was hooked. It became my new favorite thing. I’m not sure where this recipe originally came from but, as we do with most recipes, we have tweaked it to our liking and now (we think) it’s perfect. Make it and see for yourself…

A glimpse into our recipe book. From my experience, the hand written recipes are the best!!

Chili

2 pounds ground beef (we have never tried ground turkey but I bet it would be good too!)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 quarts tomato juice
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained
28 oz can pork & beans
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 or 3 teaspoons chili powder
1 bay leaf
4 shakes Tabasco sauce
a dash or two of hickory smoke
a bit of cayenne pepper

Using a large kettle, brown the hamburger and onion. Drain off grease. Add all of the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours (do not cover). Remove bay leaf and serve. This recipe is better with age :)

Browning the beef.

Spices, Tabasco, and tomato juice, all ready to go.

The line up. Just to give you an idea of what brands we use.

The chili while it is simmering.

When your chili is ready you can doctor it up to your hearts content (try adding sour cream or cheddar). My favorite thing to do with it is pour some over a baked sweet potato! You may be a little bit skeptical about it but trust me, it is so good. Just bake your sweet potato by adding a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper and wrap it in foil for 1 hour at 450 degrees and it’s super good. And then do it again the next day because the chili is even better as leftovers. Bon appetit!!

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From The Kitchen: Artisan Bread

I had a breakthrough this year. I actually started to enjoy cooking. It was never really one of my favorite things, it was more of a necessity, but this year I actually started to like it. Along with cooking I have also been baking more. And more baking and cooking creates more experimenting with new recipes. And that my friends, is why I have been enjoying it more!

A couple of years ago we started eating at home more often. Once we started eating at home, we realized we liked it better. Now, going out to eat doesn’t sound as appetizing as eating at home. Oh sure, there is still those times that going out for pizza or Mexican sounds like fun or the nights that I don’t feel like preparing something and so we will go out. But those nights are few and far between. Even so, I don’t cook every night. Since there are just the two of us, making one meal always leaves us with leftovers. But I definitely cook more than I used to. And I love trying to figure out how to make tasty, healthy meals.

So the reason for this new enjoyment? I figured out that I like to learn new things. That’s what makes it fun for me. With doing projects, I like the process of creating something new and trying to figure it out. Once I have it figured out, repetition gets boring for me. The same thing with cooking. The fun is trying something new. Now that I have that figured out, as long as I keep trying new things, I will continue to enjoy it, right?!!

One thing I have never made before is artisan bread. I have done yeast baking before but never bread with the crusty shell and I really wanted to try it. There are several recipes floating around out there for the no knead artisan bread and I finally gave it a shot last week. It turned out fantastic. I’m so glad I tried it. There were lots of new things to work in for me (starting a day ahead, water in the oven to create steam… etc.) and it was fun!!

I used a recipe I found on Pinterest. Here is my pin and here is the link to the recipe from The Italian Dish blog (which you should definitely check out because there are lots of recipes that look tasty!). I followed the recipe exactly and although it looks like there are lots of steps, it really is super easy. And even better, it’s really good!

The loaf turned out a little smaller than I thought but really, it’s perfect for the two of us.

I love that it is so pretty :)

If you have never baked artisan bread before, give it a try! It really is simple and yummy. We still have some left from last time but I’m already looking forward to how I can bake more and change it up a bit to try something new!

Have a great weekend and enjoy your New Year’s holiday!!

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From The Kitchen: Frappe Hour

It is no secret that my husband spoils me rotten. He really does :) One of the ways he spoils me is he makes me an amazing espresso drink every day. You just can’t beat that, not in my book anyway! I eagerly wait for my drink and it is one of my favorite flavors in the whole world. And even though I love Starbucks, I usually would rather have what he makes me (that’s how amazing they are!).

Because we got a new blender for Christmas that crushes ice like nobody’s business, we have been trying to figure out how to make frappuccinos for the summer. It’s nice to change it up a bit every now and then. After a bit of trial and error we have each come away with our favorite frappes and I am going to share them with you.

As soon as 3:00 rolls around in our house it’s happy hour frappe hour. It’s the perfect little snack between lunch and dinner. Because these drinks can add up in calories really quickly (check out Starbucks nutrition info here), I set out to create a drink that wasn’t so bad so I wouldn’t feel guilty having one every day :) Priorities people, priorities. And while my drink isn’t as rich as a Starbucks Frappe, I’m really happy with it. In fact, I love it!

First, you have to make some classic syrup. For Starbucks Coffee Frappe they use their classic syrup as the sweetener (you can buy it here). But, of course, we had to make our own. Simply mix 1 cup of sugar with 3/4 cup of water and bring it to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool and you are ready to add it to your frappe. This should make enough for quite a few frappes so don’t use all of it at once! Okay, so here is the rest of the recipe:

1 tablespoon classic syrup

1 tablespoon Starbucks vanilla syrup (purchase here)

1/2 shot of espresso (a whole shot if you like it stronger)

1/4 cup of 2% milk

1/4 cup of water

1 cup of ice

Blend it all together and you are done. The total calories for this yummy drink? Only 110. Not too bad huh? Makes me feel a lot less guilty for having one every day :)

A few things to note. If you add more milk, it will be creamier. The milk adds on the calories quickly but milk is good for you, right? Also, we have an espresso maker and brew actual espresso. If you try this with a regular coffee maker it’s not as good. Believe me, we tried. There was a noticeable difference and I didn’t like it. You definitely gotta have the espresso. As soon as we pull the shots we mix them right away with the water that is added to the frappes. That way the shot doesn’t get bitter.

If you aren’t worried about calories, try Jason’s drink, an equivalent to a java chip:

2 tablespoons classic syrup

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup (like Hershey’s)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 shot (or whole shot) espresso

1/4 cup water

handful of semi sweet chocolate chips

1 cup of ice

Blend it all up and there you go, super yummy concoction! I haven’t figured out the calories on this one though :)

I also got super crazy with my blender and blended up the ice in my iced tea:

It was super yummy but the ice and the tea separated quickly. I guess you just have to drink it fast :)

Anyone going to try one of these for themselves? Feel free to experiment until you get it just right. It will be a treat, believe me. By the way… is it 3:00 yet?!

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From The Kitchen: Orzo With Dill & Tuna

Now that I have my new table completed, food photography is so much more fun. Why? Because everything looks good with rustic wood as a background. I take most of the pictures that end up on the blog in our breakfast nook. Because of the large windows there is lots of light and with the white table, it makes for a nice setting. It’s the best spot in the house to get a good picture. But now, with my new table, I really want to mix it up and use it more for photos. Since Friday, I have been photography most things we eat. It’s crazy but it just looks so good sitting on that table top. I’m silly… I know :) For example, Jason and I made this apple pie on Saturday. Look how yummy it looks with a tiny bit of styling:

By the way, this was the first pie I have ever made. I have made mini pies before, but never a whole pie. Jason has made one before though and since we tag-teamed it, it made the process go smoothly. It was fun :)

This food photography all started with this orzo dish I made the other night. Do you ever just grab a bunch of stuff in your panty/refrigerator and mix it together until you get something yummy because you don’t want to go grocery shopping? I don’t do it very often, I usually follow recipes, but that was what I did on this night. And you know what, it turned out pretty good. It was very simple which gives it a better shot at tasting good so I snapped a picture of it and I thought I would share the recipe with you.

All you need for this recipe is orzo, dill, lemon juice, salt, pepper, tuna, and pesto. First, I cooked the orzo according to the directions on the box. I just made half a box because that is what I had on hand. When it was finished I added salt, pepper, and dill according to taste. Then I added 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and mixed it all up. Next I opened up two cans of tuna and after draining them, I added it to the pasta. Lastly, I simply added some pesto straight from the jar. Again, I just added it to taste but I think I used about a tablespoon per serving. And you’re done! After I took the picture I thought it looked a little plain and needed some color so the next time I ate it, I added some tomatoes:

It looks prettier but I actually liked the flavor of it without the tomatoes better. I really wanted to add zucchini, wouldn’t that be tasty? I didn’t have any on hand this time but maybe next time I will throw some in. Pretty simple meal but it looks like a million bucks on my new table :)

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Hello, and welcome to my little blog! What started out as a blog to show some of my scrapbook pages ended up being a blog that shows all of my projects, ranging from scrapbooking to decorating to sewing to photography. I also run a little online shop called every jot & tittle where I sell handmade paper products. Take a look and leave me a comment to say hi! (Photo by Heather Smith.)

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