Allison’s Red Bean Scones

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My really good friend Jackie made this recipe for me that she got from her friend Allison at law school.  She made these for me one morning that she visited and they were incredible!  The red mung beans you can find at your local Asian market.  They are slightly sweet and give these scones a great flavor.  Other fillings work well– try some chocolate chips or blueberries!  They are rich, buttery, and flaky.  Treat yourself to a nice breakfast this weekend!

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Allison’s Red Bean Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sweet red mung beans (should come in a jar with some extra liquid that you should partially drain out)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter in flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater (this makes it easier to incorporate into the mixture, but you could also just cut the butter into really small pieces) and mix with fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal, then stir in red beans.

In a small bowl, whisk sour cream & egg.

Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form.

Press dough into a ball – making sure the entire mixture is moist.

On a lightly floured surface, pat dough into a 7-8in circle about ¾ inch thick.  You can use parchment paper to help work with dough into a circle.  Cut into 8 triangles and bake about 1 inch apart on cookie sheet for 15-17 minutes.

Spicy Lentils with Tomatoes

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These lentils have been my go-to recipe for years.  They are quick, easy, delicious, and healthy.  I first had them when my stepmom made them for New Years as a good luck food item.  I have eaten them plain, with tortilla chips and with brown rice.  This recipe is adapted from a Cooking Light soup recipe.  Instead of pureeing some of the lentils to make a soup, I just use less broth and eat them whole.  The process takes about 15 minutes to prepare and an hour to cook and like magic you have lunch for a week!  The lentils freeze well and you can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to get the desired level of heat.

Spicy Lentils with Tomatoes

adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups of chopped onion
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (this is about a medium spice level, add more if you like things extra spicy or leave it out entirely if you like things mild)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 1/3 cup brown lentils
  • 1 (28 oz) can of petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • *optional: chopped cilantro or cilantro sprig for garnish

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add the turmeric, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add water, broth, lentils, tomatoes, and cilantro and stir mixed evenly.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour uncovered.

Garnish with chopped cilantro or a cilantro sprig, if desired.  Serve by itself, with tortilla chips, or over cooked brown rice.

Chocolate Mint Fudge Brownies

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These brownies are closer to fudge than to a cake consistency.  They are rich and decadent.  Actually, a piece about half of the size that is shown above is more than enough to satisfy your sweet tooth!  The first time I made this recipe I used just straight chocolate for the topping, but it was a little difficult to eat from the fridge because it would crack into pieces.  This time I created a chocolate ganache layer on top that is smooth and creamy.

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I doubled the recipe from eatliverun and didn’t use any green food coloring and then added my own ganache layer on top.  If you want to impress people this is a great dessert to bring.  Or if you just want to eat a bunch for yourself, cut the recipe in half and enjoy!  I really want to experiment with the filling layer to make perhaps a peanut butter or raspberry version…yum!

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Chocolate Mint Fudge Brownies

adapted from eatliverun

makes 25 generous brownies

Ingredients

The brownie:

  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

The peppermint cream filling:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream
  • **optional green food coloring

The chocolate ganache topping:

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.  Leave some extra on the sides to use as a handle to help lift the brownies out when they are done.  Butter the parchment paper.

Melt the unsweet chocolate and chopped butter over low heat in a saucepan.  Stir frequently.  Do not have the heat too high or else your chocolate will burn.  Be patient and wait for it to melt over low heat.  After the butter and chocolate are melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.  Mix in the flour and salt.  Pour the brownie batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes.  Let the brownie cool completely before adding the peppermint cream layer.

While the brownie is cooling, mix together all the ingredients for the peppermint cream layer.  Using a hand-mixer is easiest.  The cream will be the consistency of play-do.  After the brownie is cool, add the peppermint cream over the brownie by pressing it onto the brownie until this entire brownie is covered.  Place the brownies in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate over low heat.  Again, be patient so it does not burn.  Stir frequently.  After the chocolate is melted, mix in the heavy cream until it is combined.  Pour the chocolate ganache topping over the peppermint cream layer.  Place the brownies in the refrigerator for 2 hours so set the chocolate.

Lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper handles.  The brownies will be quite heavy, so I also used a long spatula to carefully help the brownies lift out of the pan.  If you force them too quickly they might break apart.  This will only ruin the appearance, not the flavor!  So if this happens just eat them and enjoy!

Store the brownies in the refrigerator.  Set out an hour before eating so that they can come to room temperature.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup

Since it is still wintertime, this soup should be high on your list to prepare. I found the recipe at two peas and their pod. It is rich, hearty, and extremely filling.  Roasting the cauliflower is a simple and easy way to get them nice and tender.  I did not use thyme in my recipe because I do not like it and the rosemary added plenty of flavor by itself.  The only change I would make next time would be to either put the whole sprig of rosemary in the soup while it is simmering and pull it out before serving or to grind up the rosemary prior to simmering because I had a few rosemary flakes in my soup.  Make this soup today!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup Recipe

Homemade Lemonade

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My stepmom taught me how to make lemonade from scratch and it is super easy!  Squeeze some lemons to get the juice, mix it with cold water, then add the sugar and serve!  Three ingredients and a delicious result.  I used a nifty citrus squeezer that made juicing the lemon easy and effortless.  Feel free to add more sugar or more lemon juice to taste, but this is a great place to start!

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Homemade Lemonade

serves 3 people

Ingredients

  • 3 lemons
  • 3 cups of ice cold water
  • 1/4 cup of sugar

Directions

Squeeze the juice from the lemons and strain the juice into a pitcher to remove any seeds or pulp.  Mix with the ice water.  Then stir in the sugar until it is dissolved.  Taste it to see if you need to add more sugar or lemon juice to get the taste to your liking.  Serve with ice and a lemon wedge!

Chocolate Beet Mini Cupcakes with Beet Cream Cheese Icing

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Through the CSA (consumer sustainable agriculture) I received beets last week.  Beets are not my favorite food item so I decided to make them into dessert!  I followed a recipe from Joy the Baker for a two layer beet cake, but instead turned them into mini-cupcakes.  I absolutely adore mini-cupcakes because they allow me to take smaller portions of dessert, or eat three and feel like I’ve had a lot!  Plus that are super cute.  The pink color of the frosting is an amazing brilliant shade of fushia.  This might be a great cupcake to take to an Alice in Wonderland tea party?!?

Chocolate Beet Mini Cupcakes with Beet Cream Cheese Icing

cake and icing recipe from Joy the Baker

makes 52 mini cupcakes

Directions

1. make one recipe for chocolate beet cake

2. fill mini cupcake tin with paper liners and then fill 3/4ths full with cake batter

3. bake at 375 for 12-16 minutes, until a toothpick is removed clean from the cupcake

4. prepare the icing recipe

5. top the cupcakes with the icing and enjoy!

Tips for roasting beets: because beets can be quite messy, I used a plastic baggie to cover my hands as I worked with the beets.  This kept most of the beet juice off of me and my hands while I was peeling and grating the beets.

The cake batter:

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Restaurant Style Spinach Artichoke Dip

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I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and it is by far the best spinach artichoke recipe I have ever tasted.  It reminds me of the spinach artichoke dip you order in a restaurant only it’s better because you make it with fresh spinach! It tastes creamy, garlicky, and will be gone quickly if you bring it to a potluck.  This recipe is large enough for a group.  I think sauteing the spinach and artichokes in the garlic butter are part of what makes this recipe so fantastic.  Be warned that you may not be able to stop eating this dip!

Restaurant Style Spinach Artichoke Dip

adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bag of fresh spinach leaves, chopped **
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16 ounce) container of reduced fat sour cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
garlic salt to taste

**a 10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of water will work too, but I think chopping fresh spinach is easier and tastes better.  If you do use frozen spinach, make sure you squeeze the extra water out of the spinach so that your dip will not be watery.

Directions

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic,  spinach and artichoke hearts. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Mix cream cheese and sour cream into the spinach mixture until it has melted and is smooth and creamy. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and garlic salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla chips, carrots, celery, or fresh bread.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

ImageI dream of chocolate and peanut butter so this cake was pure heaven to me.  The cake was moist, the peanut butter frosting light and creamy, and the chocolate peanut butter ganache was to die for.  I made the recipe from Alice’s Tea Cup Cookbook.  Alice’s Tea Cup is a restaurant in New York City where I had the most amazing scones of my life.  The cookbook has scone recipes, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, as well as sandwiches and other lunch items.  I have made a few recipes so far and they have been great!

ImageIf you are looking to try a similar cake recipe here is one from Smitten Kitchen.  I haven’t made this one yet but her blog has other really great recipes that I have made.

Red Pepper Jalapeno Brown Rice Risotto

ImageI found this recipe in a Cooking Light cookbook a few years ago.  It originally called for roasted red peppers, but since I prefer fresh peppers I replaced the roasted ones with fresh ones.  I also like to use brown rice whenever possible to make my meals a little more hearty.  The trick to replacing white rice with brown rice in a recipe is to parboil it first for 12-15 minutes and then cook it according to the white rice instructions.  I have eaten this both as a main course and as a side dish with some chicken sausage.  I hope you experiment with replacing brown rice into some of the white rice recipes out there!

Red Pepper Jalapeno Brown Rice Risotto

adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice (I prefer short grain)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers (aka pepperjack cheese)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 cups whole corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

Directions:

Prepare the brown rice by bringing a pot of water to a boil.  Add the brown rice and boil for 12-15 minutes and then strain it in a colander.  At the same time combine the water and broth in a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer.  Keep the broth warm (on low heat).

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the rice, cumin, coriander, and garlic.  Saute for 1 minute.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the broth and cook for 2 minutes until it is almost absorbed, stirring frequently.  Add the rest of the broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of liquid is absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup.  This should take about 20 minutes to use up all the broth.

Stir in the green onions, cheese, hot sauce if desired, corn, and red bell pepper.  Cook for 3 minutes or until hot.  Then serve immediately!