Thursday, April 2, 2015

Green Chile and Monterey Jack Cornbread Madeleines for The Leftovers Club

For this month's Leftover's Club I was paired with Elizabeth from Cooking with Milton. Aside from our mutual love for blogging and cute dogs, I learned that there is one major thing that Elizabeth and I do not have in common...Elizabeth doesn't have a sweet tooth! Say what??
So I seriously had to think long and hard about what to make for her. These Green Chile and Monterey Jack Cornbread Madeleines are what I came up with. Sure, they look like your typical sweet little, dainty Madeleines but they are made with more traditional cornbread ingredients - a mixture of all purpose flour and corn meal, Monterey jack cheese, green chiles and a touch of honey.
 My savory play on Madeleines would pair well with a great big bowl of your favorite chili or a nice, warm bowl of tomato soup. I hope Elizabeth enjoys!
If receiving yummy baked goods from fellow bloggers sounds like fun to you, sign up to join The Leftovers Club!

Green Chile and Monterey Jack Cornbread Madeleines
Makes 24

1/4 c diced yellow onion
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
1/2 cup diced green chiles
1/2 cup grated Monterey jack cheese


Preheat oven to 350 f

Spray a madeleine pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a small skillet and cook the onions over low heat until softened. Drain and set aside to cool.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, honey and melted-cooled butter.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the cheese and green chiles.

Spoon enough batter to just fill each madeleine cavity. Bake approx. 10 minutes or until the madeleines spring back when pressed and they are lightly browned.

Remove from oven and cool in pan for about one minute, then remove from pan. Repeat process until all batter is used (be sure to cool the madeleine pan before baking the next batch).

Serve warm or room temp with butter.

Best enjoyed the day they are baked.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cayenne Cinnamon Brownies ... OH MY!!!

                       Cayenne Cinnamon Brownies...OH MY

You know those times when you have a serious craving for something and your mind takes you back to the moment when you first had the food that you're craving....well, these brownies were one of those moments. 
I had the most amazing spicy brownies in Balboa Park in San Diego a few years ago and I have been craving them ever since! If you ever have a chance to visit San Diego, Balboa Park is definitely on the must-see list. 

I still remember that day...I had gone to see a few museums with my parents, it was a bit chilly so we stopped for a little snack and some coffee at one of their snack stands near the Prado restaurant (another must go to, food is amazing! ) . 
Well, as you can see from my latest recipe Cayenne Cinnamon Brownies OH MY!!... I still remember those brownies.   I think I got pretty close to duplicating the flavor. These brownies are full of chocolate flavor with a bit of heat from the cayenne that hits you a bit later. 
Honestly, I know the combination sounds strange... but it really does work.  I researched a few recipes online that were similar, but as I played in the Livebakelove test kitchen, this combination really seem to have worked. I really hope you give this recipe a try... full of flavor and taste and perfect to fill that chocolate craving with a little twist!

Happy cooking everyone!

Cayenne Cinnamon Brownies
Makes 12-16 brownies

2oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1.5 oz German Chocolate (sweet chocolate)
3/4 unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3  cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Prep work
1. Preheat oven 350
2 Line an 8 x 11 x 2 pan with foil then spray foil with non-stick cooking spray 
3. Melt chocolate and butter in microwave safe bowl in microwave for 1 minute.  Remove and stir until combined.

4. Combine cocoa powder, cayenne, instant coffee, cinnamon and salt.  Mix into chocolate butter mixture and set aside.


1. In a large mixing bowl add white sugar and brown sugar and mix together.

2. Add chocolate, butter and spice mixture slowly into sugar.

3. Beat the 3 eggs together and add them into mixture with vanilla.  Combine.

4. Add flour slowly still all mixed together.

5. Slowly add in nuts

6. Pour brownie mixture into prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer.

7. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes
8. Remove from oven and cool.
9. Sprinkle with powder sugar and cut into squares

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sweet Freedom "Paleo" Granola (Grain Free, Dairy Free, Processed Sugar-Free)

For this month's Leftovers Club, I was paired with Ginger from Stark Raving Delicious. I read that Ginger recently started following a grain-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free diet which was challenging for me. Although I recently made all gluten-free cupcakes for a wedding, coming up with recipes to meet special dietary restrictions is challenging and often involves a lot of research.

For example, by reading this article on Grain Free Living, I learned that there are hidden sources of grains in many foods you wouldn't think would have them.
Even though Ginger was sweet enough to say she didn't have any dietary restrictions, I definitely wanted to send her something she could enjoy, but I didn't want to take risk inadvertently including a ingredient that contained any of her allergens so I immediately thought of nuts!
Nuts are healthy, are not a grain and can be made into "granola" or trail mix that is free from dairy and processed sugar while still tasting delicious - yay!

While the combination of ingredients I used is more of a "trail-mix", I decided to call it "granola" because of the chunky texture it gets during the baking and cooling process. Although the recipe doesn't contain any grains, you really feel like you're eating granola.
Regardless of what you call it, and whether or not you are following a special diet, this Paleo "Granola" is a definite winner when you're looking for a
guilt-free sweet-salty snack.

As a matter of fact, this 'granola' is my new addiction....
Sweet Freedom "Granola"
Makes approx 6 cups of granola
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1 cup raw unsalted almonds
1/2 cup raw unsalted pepitas
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy)
1 cup unsweetened organic coconut flakes (get the large flake size)
1/4 cup clover honey
1/4 cup coconut oil (in solid form)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt (do not use regular table salt)


Preheat oven to 300f and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the cashews, almonds and coconut in a food processor and pulse a few times just to break up some of the pieces.

Place the honey, coconut oil and vanilla in a large microwave safe bowl and heat approx 40 seconds. Stir well to melt the coconut oil. 

Add the nut-coconut mixture to the bowl and add the pepitas. Stir with a rubber spatula to combine making sure the mixture is evenly coated.

Dump onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes then stir. Continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the nuts are browned and toasted.

Remove from oven and sprinkle the dried cranberries and salt over the mixture. Toss to combine then spread in an even layer and flatten slightly to compact the mixture. You want the mixture to harden into a solid mass as it cools so you can break it up into chunks once it has cooled.

Allow to cool for 20-25 minutes then break into chunks. Add dark chocolate chips (or any other add ins you want) and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Enjoy your new addiction! 


If you'd like to receive yummy goodies in the mail from fellow bloggers each month, why not sign up to participate in The Leftovers Club. You (and your tummy) will love it!
Note: If you're wondering if the Enjoy Dark Chocolate Chips are considered paleo (like I did), check out this article on The Paleo List. The dark chocolate chips are widely accepted as being paleo.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine Popcorn Cake/Balls

My friend, Susan, is staying with me for a bit and she always raves about her mother's recipes. Her Mom, Sarilyn, is a great Texas cook and a Live Bake Love follower, which we love!  So Susan kept talking about this popcorn cake her mom used to make for them when they were young.  Well, after a bit of research we found a similar recipe which her mother said was close to the one she used to make.  
OKAY... now I see what she was talking about. This stuff is addicting! Sweet and salty with the right amount of chocolate to satisfy any craving!  If you need a quick treat for your love this Valentine's Day, give this recipe a try.  This one gets the Live Bake Love seal of approval!
Valentine's Day Popcorn Cake/Balls
Serves 12
12-13 cups popped popcorn
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons salted butter
1 bag of mini marshmallows (16 oz)
1 1/2 cup Dry Roasted Peanuts
1 1/2 cup of pretzel sticks cut into 1" pieces
1 1/2 cup Holiday M&M's (we used Valentines
3-4 tablespoons of Holiday sprinkles
 Vegetable Oil or Coconut Oil Spray
If your doing the cake you will need a Bunt pan (make sure you grease the pan)
If your doing the balls you need saran wrap and ribbon

Prep: You will need a large glass baking dish, I used a 10x14 one.  Spray with vegetable oil till fully coated

1. Place marshmallows and butter into a glass baking dish. Place in the microwave and cook for 1-2 minutes until butter and marshmallows have started to melt.  Stir.

2. Once butter and marshmallow are melted, add popped popcorn and stir to combine then add peanuts and pretzel sticks. Stir to combine.

3.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then add M& Ms and sprinkles.

4.  If  you're making the cake, spray a bundt pan heavily with cooking spray and a place the popcorn mixture in the pan making sure to press into all the crevices of the pan. Allow to set for about 5 minutes. Once slightly hardened, carefully invert onto a plate. Allow to harden over night.

5. If you're making popcorn balls, spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray.  Mold the mixture with your hands into baseball size balls and place on baking pan. Once all balls are done, refrigerate for about 10 minutes to set.  Once set, press balls together to compress them into tighter balls. Quickly wrap in plastic wrap allow to set for a few hours or over night.  


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Apple Pie Scones with Vanilla Glaze

Have you ever tasted something so delicious it makes you do a happy dance? Well, I had this very reaction to these Apple Pie Scones with Vanilla Glaze. I guess you can say I wasn't expecting them to be THAT good....but they are.
This recipe requires a few more steps than your average scone recipe (ie making the filling), but remember these are not your average scones. They're "happy dance" scones!
Try them & let me see you do your happy dance...

Apple Pie Scones with Vanilla Glaze
Makes 12 Scones

Filling Ingredients:
1 1/2 large Granny Smith Apples (or 2 small), peeled and diced into bite size pieces
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Scone Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk (+ additional if needed)
1 large egg, cold
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping to sprinkle on top of the scones:
1 tablespoon granulated sugar +  1/8 tsp cinnamon combined in a small ramekin

1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 - 1/2 tablespoons water


Make the filling -

In a small saucepan, combine the chopped apples, sugar and cinnamon. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has melted and apples start to tenderize (approx. 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat, then place on a plate in a single layer to cool completely (approx. 15 minutes).

After apples have cooled, make the scones -

Line a large baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper

In a measuring cup, combine the 3/4 cup buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Whisk to combine then return to refrigerator to keep cold.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the cold, cubed butter and toss in the flour to help separate the cubes of butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until there are only a few pieces of butter that are the size of peas and the remaining mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Drizzle the buttermilk-egg mixture over the flour and fold with a rubber spatula to combine. The dough should not be completely incorporated and will look shaggy. If there is too much "dry flour" remaining, drizzle over another tablespoon - 2 tablespoon of buttermilk over the dry spots and combine again with a rubber spatula.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board, then pat into a rectangle about 1/2" thick. At this point, the dough should be holding together.

Spoon the cooled apple mixture over one half of the dough in an even layer leaving a border around the edges. Then fold the other half of the dough over the apple mixture, pressing the edges to help seal in the apples.

Cut into 12 equal pieces with a sharp knife and carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheet placing them about 2" apart since the scones will rise and spread a little. If the baking sheet seems too crowded, divide onto 2 baking sheets.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes to help chill the dough. Don't skip this part. This ensures that the butter is cold when you bake the scones.

While the scones are chilling, preheat your oven to 400f.

After 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the fridge and brush the scones lightly with buttermilk, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake approx. 20 minutes or until light golden brown.

Cool scones on the baking sheet for approx. 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool.

While the scones are cooling, make the glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla in a small bowl. Mix well to combine. Add water a little at a time, stirring well after each addition, until you reach your desired consistency. The glaze should still be slightly thick but should drizzle easily.

When scones have cooled, drizzle with the glaze and serve immediately or within a few hours.

If you need to make the scones more than a few hours ahead of time, apply the glaze before serving.

Store leftovers loosely covered at room temp for up to 1 day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

White Chocolate Cherry Coconut Blondies for The Leftovers Club

For this month's Leftover's Club I was excited to be paired (for the second time) with Shaina from Take a Bite out of Boca. Shaina has a great blog with lots of recipes and restaurant reviews. Shaina and I have been in the Leftover's Club for quite a while and we both love it. Who wouldn't want to trade goodies each month with a fellow blogger? If this sounds like fun to you (and why wouldn't it?), I encourage you to sign up at Food Ramblings!
After reading through Shaina's Blog, I discovered she likes cherries so I decided to make these delicious White Chocolate Cherry Coconut Blondies. White chocolate on its own has a tendency to be pretty sweet so the tartness of the dried cherries really complimented the sweetness of the chocolate. The unsweetened flaked coconut really adds to the chewy texture.
To me, these flavors are perfect for Valentine's Day so I decided to bake the blondies in the shape of a heart, cuz you know... hearts are just cute.
I hope Shaina enjoys the blondies and I hope you give them a try too!

White Chocolate Cherry Coconut Blondies
Makes approx. 15-18 bars (depending upon size)

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup melted butter, slightly cooled
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chunks (I used Ghiradelli White Chocolate Bars)
1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped if they are large
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I used Let's Do Organic Coconut Flakes which is large flakes)


Preheat oven to 350f. Line a 9"x13" baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil (or use regular foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray).

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and light brown sugar until well combined and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition.

Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the white chocolate chunks, cranberries and 1/2 cup for the coconut flakes.

Dollop the dough into the prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut flakes.

Bake at 350 for approx. 25 minutes or until the bars are set and the edges and top are lightly golden brown.

Remove and place on a wire cooling rack to cool. When bars have cooled, cut into squares.

Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spinach, Feta and Turkey Sausage Breakfast Wraps for Freezer Meal Swap

So, I'm sure Yvonne and I have mentioned that we participate in a monthly Freezer Meal Swap with a few of our close friends. These girls are ride-or-die, ready to swap any time, anywhere. We've even had swaps go down in the middle of parking lots...

If you're not familiar with the concept of a Freezer Meal Swap, you basically exchange meals based on your pre-determined family size. These swaps are such a great idea because 1. It gives us a good reason to get together once a month to enjoy some great food and catch up on the latest (as if we need an excuse for that!) and 2. We get to swap delicious food to store in the freezer and reheat whenever we're short of time or just feeling lazy! Perfect for the busy work week or hectic weekends with the kids...

For this month's Freezer Meal Swap, I made these yummy Breakfast Wraps filled with scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, spinach, feta cheese and grape tomatoes. The combination is delicious and sort of healthy with the veggies thrown in. It's definitely a great way to start your day!
The best part is you have a healthy, delicious breakfast in just a matter of minutes and you can just grab & go, just pop one in the microwave for a few minutes and you're done!
Customize this recipe to suit your lifestyle & personal preferences. Omit the meat if you're vegetarian, add different veggies and cheeses. Make a kid-friendly version using your kid's favorite ingredients. That's the beauty of cooking, it's all up to you!
I hope you give these delicious breakfast wraps a try!

Spinach, Feta, Turkey Sausage Breakfast Wraps
Makes 18 large wraps

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey sausage (I used Jennie-O)
20 large eggs
1/2 fresh parsley
1/2 cup milk
Salt & Pepper
9 oz Tomato & Basil Feta (I used Athenos)
10 oz fresh Baby Spinach
36 Cherry or Grape Tomatoes (I used Grape), cut in half
18 large tortillas (I used Mission because they're a little thicker & can withstand the microwave better)


1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until the sausage is thoroughly cooked through breaking the chunks apart as it cooks. Remove  the sausage from pan and place in a single layer on a large baking sheet to cool.

2. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, then, in the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil over medium heat. Add the spinach and a few pinches of salt. Use tongs to gently toss the spinach as it cooks. Cook just until the spinach is wilted down. Do not over cook. Remove from the pan and place in a single layer on a baking sheet to cool.

3. Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Add the chopped parsley and milk and whisk well to combine. Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick skillet over med-low heat. Once the butter has melted and starts to sizzle, add the whisked eggs and scramble stirring often with a rubber spatula. When you near the end of the cooking time (the eggs should still look soft and under done), sprinkle salt & pepper to taste and mix to combine. Remove the eggs from the pan while the eggs are still slightly under cooked and place in a single layer on a large baking sheet to cool.

When the eggs, sausage and spinach have cooled, assemble the wraps.

1. Prepare your assembly area by placing all of the ingredients on your counter.

2. Place 6 tortillas in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds to make them pliable.

3. Place the tortillas in a stack on your work surface and layer the following ingredients at one edge of the tortilla allowing room to fold over the end:
~ Approx 1/2 cup of the scrambled eggs
~ Approx 2 tablespoons of the cooked turkey sausage
~ Approx 2 tablespoons of cooked spinach
~ 4 tomato halves
~ Approx 1 teaspoon of crumbled feta cheese
** These amounts are just estimates so use your best judgement according to the amount that fits into your tortillas. After you've rolled on, you will have an idea of how much to put in each wrap.

4. Fold the bottom edge of the tortilla over the ingredients, then fold the left and right edges over and roll tightly, like a burrito or egg roll.

5.  Repeat the process until all of the wraps have been rolled. Wrap each one individually in plastic wrap then again in aluminum foil. Put as many of the individually wrapped wraps as you like inside of freezer bags and place in the bags in the freezer.

6. Store in the freezer for up to 30 days.

7. To reheat, remove all of the wrapping, wrap loosely in a paper towel and place on a microwavable plate. Heat in the microwave for 2 - 2 1/2 minutes. Allow to cool for about 1 minute then enjoy!