Cranberry Orange Muffins #CranberryWeek

Cranberry Orange muffins are my favorite. I love cranberry and orange together, and this time of year always feels like muffin weather. Curl up with one of these and a hot beverage and you’ve got the perfect fall treat.

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These are an easy one to mix up and I love that it makes a relatively small batch – great for a small family brunch.

The flavors are bright. Orange juice and orange zest make the batter a sunny color, and the fresh cranberries add a great tart bite to these. I love these fresh out of the oven, but you can also pop them in the oven or toaster to warm up the next day and they’re also fabulous.

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I’m excited to be sharing this recipe as part of Cranberry Week – now in it’s third year! See all the tasty cranberry recipes being shared today below and follow #cranberryweek on social media for more ideas all week long.

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Cranberry Orange Muffins
(from Joyful Healthy Eats)
Makes 12 Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cranberries
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp. grated orange zest

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake papers.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in cranberries.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, orange juice, orange zest, and coconut oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Fresh Corn Salsa (8)

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Chocolate Banana Bread #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary product for this post. All opinions are my own.

New, inventive recipes are always fun – but sometimes you just want a classic.  We love banana bread around here. Add in lots of chocolate, and you’ve got a treat that barely lasts 24 hours.

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It was also a great opportunity to showcase another favorite of ours – Barlean’s Butter Flavored Coconut Oil. Whether or not you’re a coconut oil fan, you should give this a try. It’s what converted me! It really does have a fabulous butter flavor – you won’t miss the real thing.

Lots of other chocolate goodness this way, too! —>

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Chocolate Banana Bread
(from Chelsea’s Messy Apron)
Makes 1 loaf

1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk

1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup coconut oil, measured melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup mashed bananas, approx. 2-3 bananas
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup white whole wheat flour or plain white
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips dark chocolate chips for healthier
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Run the oats through a blender or food processor until the consistency of flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and yolk. Whisk in the yogurt and coconut oil. Whisk in the vanilla and sugar. Stir in the mashed banana.

To the same bowl, add the oat flour, salt, baking soda, flour, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for an hour, until a knife inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool before removing from the pan.

Fresh Corn Salsa (5)

Welcome to #Choctoberfest 2018 with Imperial Sugar

Yay for  #Choctoberfest ! As a chocoholic, I look forward to this week all year and I’m so excited to be participating again this year!

From now until the end of the week, I am joining forces with over 100 other bloggers from around the world to post delicious chocolate recipes. Every day, #Choctoberfest bloggers will be celebrating all things chocolate – milk, dark, white, bittersweet, semi-sweet, and cocoa! I have some really fabulous things planned for this week, so stay tuned!

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We are starting with a #Choctoberfest prize pack from our generous sponsors. Scroll down to learn how you can enter to win. One lucky winner will receive the following:

  • A 100-Piece Cake Decorating Kit from our blog sponsors The PinterTest Kitchen. This set includes a cake turntable, piping bags, piping tips, flower nozzles, scapers, and more.
  • An Instant Pot and a 40-Pound Case of Granulated Sugar from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar. Imperial Sugar provides high-quality sugar and sweetener products and over 100 years of time-tested recipes. Sweet things happen when people come together in the kitchen, and that’s why Imperial Sugar has been at the heart of family traditions and celebrations for generations.
  • Coconut Oil and Chocolate Silk Greens from our silver sponsor Barlean’s, your trusted source for chocolatey goodness superfood nutrition. Barlean’s has a commitment to staying ahead of the innovation curve in providing the absolute highest quality product.
  • A Chocolate Gift Pack from our silver sponsor Forte Chocolates. You’ll receive 12 of their most popular chocolate bars. With Forte Chocolates, you can celebrate life through chocolate. They also have a line of chocolate developed specifically to use in savory recipes.
  • A Chocolate Gift Pack from our silver sponsor Divine Chocolate. You’ll receive one of each of their baking bars, a white chocolate bar, and their top 5 everyday bars. Divine Chocolate is the only Fairtrade chocolate company in the world that is owned by cocoa farmers. Their baking bars are also a delicious vegan option.
  • A Selection of Sprinkles from our silver sponsor Sprinkle Pop. Sprinkle Pop’s bespoke sprinkle creations are one of a kind, just like you! At Sprinkle Pop, you can also order a custom sprinkle mix; there isn’t a sprinkle mix that you can dream up that they can’t create.

That’s a prize pack worth over $400! Open worldwide, except where prohibited. Must be 18+ to enter (21+ in some locations). See terms and conditions for more details.

To enter, simply follow our sponsors using the widget below. You can gain additional entries by following me and the other participating bloggers. A winner will be drawn on October 21, 2018 and contacted via email. Good luck!

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Don’t forget to come back to my blog for more chocolatey goodness between now and October 20.

Check out our participating bloggers:

The PinterTest Kitchen 2 Cookin Mamas 27th and Olive A Day in the Life on the Farm A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures A Little Fish in the Kitchen addicted 2 recipes Amy’s Cooking Adventures An Affair from the Heart April GoLightly At the Table with R and R Baking Sense Blade & Barbell Blogghetti Body Rebooted Books n’ Cooks Bottom Left of the Mitten Canning and Cooking at Home Cheese Curd In Paradise Chef Sarah Elizabeth Cindy’s Recipes and Writings Coconut & Lime Cook With Renu Cook’s Hideout Cookaholic Wife Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt CopyKat.com Daily Dish Recipes Everyday Eileen Fairyburger Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice Family Around the Table Fix Me a Little Lunch Frankly Entertaining Frugal & Fit Get the Good Stuff! Growing Up Gabel Hardly A Goddess Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks Home Sweet Homestead House of Nash Eats Intelligent Domestications jenniferbakes JoAnn’s Food Bites Join Us, Pull up a Chair Jolene’s Recipe Journal Jonesin’ For Taste Karen’s Kitchen Stories Kate’s Recipe Box Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats LeMoine Family Kitchen Life on Food Life, Love, and Good Food Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish Little House Big Alaska Long Distance Baking Maria’s Mixing Bowl Moore or Less Cooking Must Love Home Norine’s Nest Our Good Life Our Sutton Place OVENTales Palatable Pastime Prettysweetblog Red Cottage Chronicles Restless Chipotle Reviews, Chews & How-Tos Sarah Cooks the Books Sarah’s Bake Studio Savory Moments Seasonal and Holiday Recipe Exchange Seasoned Sprinkles Seduction In The Kitchen Simple Family Crazy Life Simply Inspired Meals Snacks and Sips Soulfully Made Stephie The Happy Mom Sumptuous Spoonfuls Sweet Coralice Take Two Tapas Tampa Cake Girl That Recipe The Baking Fairy The Beard and The Baker The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine The Gingered Whisk The Heritage Cook The Mad Scientist’s Kitchen The Olive Blogger The Pajama Chef The Redhead Baker The Saucy Fig The Spiffy Cookie The Weekday Gourmet This is How I Cook Trampling Rose Turnips 2 Tangerines Walking Fruitfully Wendy Polisi Wildflour’s Cottage Kitchen Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Halloween Muddy Buddies

What are you being for Halloween this year? So far, we’ve got a purple dinosaur and Frankenstein’s monster. (And I’m hoping it doesn’t change at this point, since I bought the fabric to make them!)

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As much as I love Halloween, it can be a little hectic. Aside from making costumes, we have two trunk or treats to prep for, the preschool costume parade, and classroom party – not to mention Halloween itself. Oh, and all the “real life” stuff happening this month too.

Sometimes, you just need something quick and easy. These muddy buddies are quick and easy. Mix them up in about ten minutes and you’ll be off to your Halloween party in no time.

Need some more Halloween inspiration? Here are some more fun ideas for the holiday:

 

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Halloween Muddy Buddies
(from A Southern Fairytale)
Makes a large bowl – about 13 cups

5 cups corn Chex cereal
5 cups rice Chex cereal
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups Nutella
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup chocolate cake mix
2 cups Autumn Mix M&Ms
1/2 cup candy corn
1/2 cup Indian corn
1/2 cup candy corn pumpkins

Dump all the Chex in a large bowl.

Add the powdered sugar to a gallon-sized ziplock bag. Add the cake mix to another gallon-sized ziplock bag. Set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and Nutella. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir well, and continue to microwave in 15 second intervals until smooth and creamy.

Pour the melted Nutella over the chex and gently stir to combine until all the cereal is coated. Divide the cereal in half. Add half to the bag with powdered sugar and half to the bag with cake mix.

Seal the bags and shake until everything is well coated. Pour out on paper towels to rest and cool for at least an hour.

Combine coated cereal with candies and serve.

Halloween Muddy Buddies

Caramelized Onion, Bacon, and Spinach Pizza

It’s National Pizza Month – a holiday my kids can really get behind. Even as “good eaters”, they’re not immune to the lures of a good pie, and when tasked with picking dinner, they’ll pick pizza 99% of the time.

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But, they rarely want anything other than cheese pizza, which is why I got excited for this linkup – an excuse to make a blog worthy pizza? Sold.

This pie is delicious, but the onions are what really sold me. Hitting them with the balsamic vinegar at the end add such a great depth of flavor – and they pair brilliantly with the bacon and spinach. This is easily one of the best pizzas I’ve ever made!

And if you want more reasons to celebrate this month, here are a few from my fellow blogger friends:

OnionBaconSpinachPizza

Caramelized Onion, Bacon & Spinach Pizza
(adapted from Cooking Classy)
Makes 1 12″ Pizza

1 lb. pizza dough or a prepared crust
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large red onion
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup frozen spinach, thawed and rung out well
2 Tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 cup milk
6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Put your pizza stone in the oven, if you have one.

In a skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Slice the onion thinly and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is soft then stir in the sugar. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until caramelized. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Roll out the pizza dough into a 12″ round.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in garlic and flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. While stirring constantly, bring to a boil.

Spread the garlic sauce over the prepared dough. Top with half the mozzarella and half the Parmesan. Sprinkle bacon, onions, and spinach evenly over the pizza. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 8-12 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.

 

Fresh Corn Salsa (1)

Shrunken Head Punch

We are in full Halloween mode here: decorations are up, costumes are in progress, treats have been purchased. And something I’m extra excited about this year: we’re having a trick-or treat party.

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Every year while growing up, our house was home base for trick or treating friends. We’d all meet up there, my parents would order lots of pizza, and we’d spend Halloween coming and going and eating too much candy.  This year, we’re having some friends over to do the same thing with our kids, and I’m totally geeking out about it.

If you’re hosting a trick or treat party – or other Halloween party – this is the perfect spooky drink to make. Leave it virgin for the kids, or spike it up with caramel vodka, vanilla vodka, or Fireball for the adults.  You can make the apples ahead and mix up the punch in less than five minutes when you’re ready for it.

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Carving the shrunken apple heads is the most difficult part of this, but the beauty is it’s Halloween – they can be perfectly imperfect. You can also make the faces to match the crowd – scarier faces for an older crowd while silly faces would be perfect for a preschool gathering.

We had a lot of fun with this – the kids especially got a kick out of “the faces floating in there”!

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Shrunken Head Punch
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 12

3-4 apples
1/4 cup lemon juice

6 cups apple cider
1 1/2 cups pear nectar
4 1/2 cups ginger ale

Optional: Vanilla vodka, caramel vodka, or Fireball, to taste

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Working with one apple at a time, peel and core the apples, then cut in half. Using a paring knife or other tool, carve faces into the apple halves and dunk in the lemon juice.

Lay the carved apples on a rack over a baking sheet. When they are all carved, transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 1-2 hours, until the apples appear shrunken. Remove from the oven and cool.

Combine the apple cider, pear nectar, and ginger ale in a punch bowl or large pitcher. Add the cooled apple heads, and alcohol, if desired.

Fresh Corn Salsa

Looking for more Halloween inspiration? Here you go! And check back on Thursday when we’ll have another round of Halloween goodies ready for you!

Raspberry Chocolate Sweet Rolls

This post is like a love letter shout-out to my moms club friends. Because, oh, do they humor me.

It’s hard to make friends as an adult, and I was super lucky to fall into this group shortly after becoming a mom. Having a local group of women going through the same stage of life has been invaluable for my sanity.

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And, like I said, they humor me. When I come up with something I get excited about, I can count on them to jump in and be excited too. My latest pet project? Monthly potluck dinners. This month’s theme was “Back to School” so everyone brought slow cooker meals and freezer-friendly casseroles. Next month, we’re doing “Fall Favorites”.

Besides the good company and the opportunity to try things I wouldn’t normally make, this also gives me a captive audience for recipe testing. I’ve been making cinnamon rolls for Christmas for the last few years, but I keep eyeing recipes that are variations. This sweet combo is amazing as a decedent breakfast or special dessert.

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Raspberry Chocolate Sweet Rolls
(adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
Makes 16

For the dough:
1 cup milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
12-oz. package frozen raspberries
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. heavy cream

To make the dough:

In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the milk until lukewarm. Add the warm milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Stir in the sugar and yeast using a spoon. Cover with a towel and let stand 5-10 minutes, until yeast is activated and looks foamy. Add the softened butter, eggs, and salt and mix until combined but the butter will be chunky. Slowly add the flour and beat at medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and pliable, about 10 minutes longer.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for about 2 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

Line the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper, sprayed with non-stick spray.

Place the dough on a floured work surface. Roll the dough into an even 10×24 inch rectangle.

To make the filling:

In a medium bowl, toss the still-frozen raspberries with the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mash the raspberries so they are small pieces. Spread evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with the mini chocolate chips. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 24-inch-long log. Cut into 15 even pieces. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan, cut sides up. Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place until they are puffy, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Cover the rolls with foil and bake for about 25 minutes, until they are golden and the chocolate chips are melted. Transfer the whole pan to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes.

To make the glaze:

Whisk the confectioner’s sugar and heavy cream together in a small bowl until smooth. Add more sugar or cream, depending how thick you want the glaze. Pour glaze over the rolls. Serve warm.

Fresh Corn Salsa (6)

Review: Cave Tools Grill Light

Grilling season is just getting started here, but I’m already looking for ways to extend it. It always seems that by the time we get in a grove, daylight starts slipping away and grilling season is over. Because, let’s face it – grilling in the dark is a pain. How many times have you pulled out your cell phone flashlight to see if the food is done? I know I have.

Enter Cave Tool’s BBQ Grill Light. This handy little accessory attaches to the handle of any grill to make to light up your cooking surface. The light screws on, so you can attach it in less than two minutes, and you just tap it lightly on the logo to turn it on or off – making it easy to do with one hand (or an elbow, when your hands are full!)

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And it really just floods the grill surface with light. I also love the light is bright white – it makes it easier to see color differences in the food as it’s cooking. This light is definitely going to get a heavy workout at our house!

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The Grill Light can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code BBQLIGHT15 to take 15% off. They can also be found on Amazon.

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Shamrock Shake Pie #PiDay

Oh, what a week it’s been here! Why is buying and selling a home so stressful?! Isn’t there a better way to do this?

If you’re thinking, “Wait! I didn’t know you were moving!”, don’t fret – we’re not even sure we are. But we did happen upon a house we just love so we’re doing everything we can to make it ours. The past week has been an endless parade of offers, showings, back-and-forth with lawyers/realtors/mortgage brokers… I’m emotionally spent.

And, do you know when everyone wants to look at your house? DINNER TIME! We’ve been fast-fooding it up. Jake has declared McDonald’s his favorite, and I’ve been going with it because it means I get a shamrock shake. Those things are seriously like stress relief in a cup.

When I started flipping through pie recipes to celebrate today with, this one jumped out. A pie version of my beloved shake? Too good to be true! But this is actually a really close to the real thing taste-wise – and you could totally freeze the pie to make it even closer!

Everyone here loved it – and with only a few ingredients and about five minutes to prep, it’s a no-brainer if you’re having a crazy week like I am but still want to do a little celebrating – either for pi day or for St. Patrick’s Day!

Looking for more Pi Day inspiration? The Redhead Baker is hosting an awesome link-up of pie recipes – both sweet and savory – from lots of bloggers!

Pi Day Pie Recipes

 

Shamrock Shake Pie

Shamrock Shake Pie
(from Wine and Glue)
Makes 1 pie

2 3-oz boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
1/2 tsp. mint extract
Green food coloring
8 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
Graham cracker crust
Whipped cream and cherries, for serving, optional

In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and the milk until the mix is dissolved. Stir in the food coloring (about 15 drops), and the mint extract. Fold in the frozen whipped topping until no longer streaky.

Transfer to a graham cracker crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Top with whipped cream and a cherry before serving, if desired.

Shamrock Shake Pie

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup with Vegetables #SoupSwap

My favorite part of January is upon us: it’s #SoupSwap season! For the fourth year running, my friends and I are getting together for an afternoon of grilled cheese and soup sampling. The event always fills my freezer and recipe box for the season. You can check out recaps of some of our previous soup swaps here and here.

Today, I’m virtually soup-swapping with my blogging friends from #FestiveFoodies. We’re all sharing soup recipes we love to inspire you to make up a pot of cozy comfort food this winter!

This soup comes from Soup for Syria – my Mom gave me a copy for Christmas and I’m totally smitten with it. It’s full of gorgeous recipes and part of the proceeds benefit Syrian refugees – a win-win.

It’s a bit of a time consuming soup, but so worth it. My kids absolutely loved the mini meatballs and I loved how delicious and filling this was. It was outside of our normal flavor profile, but turned out to be a really worthwhile risk!

Whether you’re looking for something outside your norm, or just a great version of an old favorite, you’re sure to find something to fill up your bowl amongst these!

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup with Vegetables
(adapted slightly from Soup for Syria)
Serves 8

1 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
8 cups beef stock
1 cup fine bulgur
3/4 lb. ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 onions, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. dried mint
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon
3 small zucchini, peeled and seeded, sliced into crescents

Add chickpeas and beef stock to a large pot and cook for an hour, until the chickpeas are tender. Set aside.

Wash and drain the bulgur, then add to it to a food processor along with the beef, salt, pepper and one of the onions. Process until a paste. Roll into marble-sized balls.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil in a large pan and brown the meatballs. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan, along with the onions and salt and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the mint, tomato paste, garlic, juice of the lemon, and pepper. Cook for two minutes.

Spoon the onion mixture into the broth with chickpeas. Add in the zucchini and meatballs and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the zucchini is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup