Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cranberry Orange Bread

Cranberry Orange Bread is one of my favorite things to make and enjoy as a special treat around the holidays. My son, Jack, loves this tart and citrus flavored bread! I leave out the nuts (personal preference) and chop the cranberries into small bits to decrease the tartness of the cranberries. The result is a moist delicious bread that goes heavenly with coffee on a winter morning.Cranberry Orange Bread

1 Tablespoon grated zest from 1 large orange
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2/3 cup buttermilk
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg, beaten lightly
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups cranberries (6 ounces), chopped coarsely

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess.Melt the better in a small bowl and set aside.Zest the orange using a microplane or fine grater and set aside.Squeeze the juice from the same orange.In a small bowl, stir together orange juice, zest, buttermilk, butter, and egg; set aside. In a large bowl or mixer, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in large bowl. 
Stir liquid ingredients into the dry until just moistened. I did this on low speed with my kitchen aid mixer. Be careful not to leave the mixer on and running!Wash and measure 1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries.  Are they beautiful?
You can chop these beauties by hand but they tend to roll off the cutting board and drive me crazy, so I used my Ninja.

Don't pulverize them if you use a blender!  Just pulse the blender a few times until they are coarsely chopped.

Gently stir in cranberries. Do not overmix.

Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth surface with a rubber spatula. 
Bake 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees; continue to bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 45 minutes longer. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely before serving, at least 1 hour.

Your kitchen will smell amazing and it will be hard to wait for this to cool, but please do!  It will crumble and be a mess if you try to cut it when it is hot.

The buttermilk in this recipe makes this bread moist and delicious.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Shrimp and Zucchini Noodle Stir Fry

Shrimp and Zucchini Noodle Stir Fry
I have been on a clean eating diet for the last couple weeks for a weight-loss program I'm doing at the gym. It's mostly high protein and low carb. Eating meat and veggies gets a little boring every night for a foodie like me, so tonight I decided to make it a little fancy and pull out the spiralizer. This is the spiralizer I have from Amazon. I love it and use it several times a week. It's pretty simple to use and most vegetables can be spiralized in advance and stored in containers or plastic bags in the fridge. Zucchini noodles also cook incredibly quick (1 to 2 minutes).
This dinner was delicious and very healthy. I decided to cook it using a Japanese Hibachi style by using a very hot pan or wok and seasoning with bold flavored.  The best part of this meal was that only took 15 minutes to make!
Makes 3 servings 

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 zucchini, spiralized (place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels to absorb extra moisture)
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided 
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed but left whole
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (These are spicy so use with caution. If you like the heat, use 1 teaspoon!)
1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos 
Salt, pepper

Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat.  Cooking shrimp is incredibly easy.  I buy the bags of frozen jumbo shrimp that are already peeled and deveined.  Once they defrost (only take about an hour or two), I rinse them under cold water and remove the tails and the peel (they come off very easily).  Make sure you dry your shrimp really well before you add them to the pan.  This is what helps them to get that nice brown crust on the outside.
Drizzle one teaspoon of olive oil in pan and add shrimp. Squeeze fresh lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon) over the shrimp. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt and pepper.
After 2 minutes, using tongs, turn the shrimp over to brown the other side. Add the soy sauce (I use Bragg's Liquid Aminos) and cook for another minute or two. Shrimp cook very quickly so don't walk away. Once the shrimp are pink and cooked through, remove to a plate. Leave the garlic in the pan.
Add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the pan, and add the zucchini noodles. 
Cook for one to two minutes until zucchini noodles are just starting to cook and add the shrimp back in. 
Turn off the heat and squeeze more fresh lemon juice and if needed, more soy sauce.
Serve immediately while hot.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Zucchini Spiral Noodles and Steak Stir Fry

Zoodles!, i.e. Zucchini Noodles :)
I got a new toy for Christmas this year!  I have always wanted a spiralizer and it is everything I hoped for.  We made a zucchini noodle and steak stir fry this weekend and it was delicious.  The spiralizer was easy and fun to use.  This recipe was healthy and delicious and enjoyed by all.

Zucchini Noodle and Steak Stir Fry

3-4 zucchini
1 large onion
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp canola oil
1 to 1 1/2 lbs of flank steak
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cornstarch

Spiralize your zucchini into noodle shape.  
Place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb the excess liquid.  I also used kitchen shears to cut the extra long pieces into smaller noddles.
Spiralize the onion.
Cut your flank steak into thirds and trim any fat.
Flank steak can be tough if it is cut improperly. You have to cut AGAINST the grain. You will see a natural grain (or lines) in the meat - do not cut in the same direction as the grain (or the lines). Cutting against the grain (opposite of the lines) will ensure the most tenderness. I like to cut my flank steak very thinly against the grain, at a diagonal. Cut with a sharp knife, almost filleting the pieces you are cutting, that is how thin you want them to be.   Watch this video for more explanation about cutting against the grain.
Mix together in a large bowl the soy sauce, sherry vinegar, ground ginger and cornstarch.  Add the sliced beef and toss to coat evenly.  Set aside to marinade for 10 minutes..
Heat a wok or large skillet over HIGH heat.  Add 1 tbsp of canola oil and cook the steak in batches for 2 minutes on each side.  You want the pan to be super hot so you get a nice sear on the outside of the steak.  If the pan is too over crowded it won't get the sear.  Once the steak is cooked, set aside.
Heat the wok back to high heat, add another tbsp of canola oil and cook the zucchini noodles, also in batches for 1-2 minutes to warm though and soften.  You don't want to over cook it so this will go fast.
Cook the onion and minced garlic for 1-2 minutes until soft and lightly browned and add the cooked zucchini back in the wok.
Now add the cooked steak back in and toss to combine.  Let it cook for another minute to warm the steak.
Serve warm.
This was a big hit in our house for dinner.  My son Jack especially loved this meal and enjoyed eating it with chopsticks.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Luscious Lunchbox Cookies

Luscious Lunchbox Cookies were a favorite childhood snack for me and my siblings. My mom made these often and they were the perfect after school snack, or treat in our lunch boxes. These cookies are full of oats, rice krispy cereal and butterscotch chips. The combination of flavors is amazing and they are always a hit wherever I bring them anywhere.

Luscious Lunchbox Cookies
recipe from Michele Scearbo, originally from a Bon Appetit magazine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups old-fashioned (or quick) oats
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 bag butterscotch chips
In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars.  Once combined well, add the eggs and vanilla.
Sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then add to the mixer.
Mix until just combined on low speed.
Fold in the oats.
Fold in the butterscotch chips.
Lastly, fold in the rice krispy cereal.
You are not supposed to do this in the mixer, but I do very slowly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make balls of dough on a lined baking sheet using a cookie scoop (12 cookies per pan).
Have your cute little kitchen buddy help you.
Make sure the cookies are not too close together.
Bake for 10-11 minutes until set and slightly brown on the edges.
Cool on a cookie rack.
Enjoy while warm.
Package to share, or store in a container for up to 3 days for best flavor (if they last that long!).



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