March 29, 2017

Triple chocolate chip chocolate cookies

My husband works shifts that are all over the place -- days, nights, weekends -- and it changes almost daily. I've been rather busy most days caring for our twins who are now 8 months old (I can't believe how quickly they are growing)! One has just started to crawl and both are getting bottom teeth! It amazing how much they learn and change each day. Given our somewhat crazy lives right now, I'm thankful that this winter we've had a super kind neighbor who has snowblowed our driveway and the sidewalk in front of our house numerous times. I think they took a little pity on my husband when he'd be out there shoveling and knowing we have two babies. So, recently I made them some cookies as a "thank you." My husband asked what kind they like and they said chocolate chip.... little did they know they were dealing with a food blogger who would need to jazz that up a bit into something new (not that I don't adore a good chocolate chip cookie). I adapted this recipe from here. It will make about 2-1/2 dozen cookies. We kept six for ourselves, and gave them two dozen. These cookies were so delicious - my husband said they were like eating hot chocolate in cookie form. 

March 22, 2017

Maple pecan popcorn

It's high maple season in our region. The sap is running and all the maple producers are boiling! Every year throughout NY state, we have Maple Weekend celebrations. Last weekend was the first one for this year, and this coming weekend is the second one. We don't use fake maple (or pancake) syrup around here -- we use the good stuff from maple trees! I love to use maple syrup on pancakes and waffles, of course, but I also like to use it in recipes. Whenever you are going to cook or bake with maple syrup, you want to get the darkest color you can get because that will have the most maple flavor. This season I decided to make some caramel corn using maple syrup instead of corn syrup/brown sugar/honey. I adapted this recipe from King Arthur Flour. I am glad that we were able to taste the maple flavor in this recipe and it made the whole house smell amazing while it was baking. This popcorn is a super delicious treat - perfect to take to snack on while visiting some maple farms, to eat while watching a movie or playing games, or bring to a party. It's sure to be a hit!

March 17, 2017

Traditional Irish soda bread

It's St. Patrick's Day! For many of us, that means a corned beef & cabbage dinner. And, hopefully, a side of homemade soda bread to go with it! While looking around for a traditional soda bread recipe, I found this website: The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread! I figured that these folks take their soda bread pretty seriously, so I decided to make their basic white soda bread recipe this year (next year I plan to try the brown). No fancy raisins, sugar, butter, etc. (which, according to the website, makes it a "tea cake" and no longer a soda bread) -- just bread with four simple ingredients. The bread was a lovely side to our dinner -- perfect for sopping up some of the juices on your plate. All it needs is a pat of Kerrygold butter to make it complete. There's still time to make this bread for your dinner tonight, or this weekend! 

March 15, 2017

Peanut butter & jelly thumbprint cookies

This month's Fantastical Food Fight theme is peanut butter & jelly/pb&j! I was happy to see this theme because 1) I've always been a big pb&j fan; and 2) I've been meaning to make these cookies for probably about 3 years now! So I finally had a good reason. I had found this recipe and modified it slightly as written below to reflect the technique we use in my Gram's classic thumbprint cookies. These cookies are delicious - I mean, how could they not be, right? Peanut butter and jelly are a classic combination for a reason! I used grape jelly and mixed berry preserves in my cookies. The preserves melted down into the holes and the jelly just kind of stayed in a glob -- but they both still tasted terrific! You can use whatever your favorite jelly/jam/preserves are in your cookies. This recipe will make approximately 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

We recently gave the twins their first taste of peanut butter now that the recommendations are changed. We have no history of peanut allergies in our family (thankfully!), so I pureed up a banana with a little peanut butter and mixed it in with their oatmeal. They liked it and have eaten it a few times now. So I'm hopeful that they will continue to not have any reactions to peanut butter. I can't imagine how difficult it is to have severe food allergies. 

March 9, 2017

Homemade baby food purées (basic)

Blueberry applesauce.

Since a significant portion of my kitchen time lately has been spent making baby food, I figured it deserved a post here. Having twins, baby food gets pretty expensive! I'm surprised when I see people in my mom's groups, or mom friends of mine, talking about how their babies don't like purées or cereals or other typical baby foods. Our twins love these things (and also they love yogurt). They are 7 months old now and have been eating cereal since 5 months and fruits and vegetables since about 6 months. After we tried a bunch of store bought jarred baby foods, I decided to try to make some myself. So far, the only thing they haven't liked is chicken (so much gagging) and our daughter does not care for beets. Some food I still buy jarred (like peaches and pears as they are expensive to buy this time of year and not very sweet), but making purées is pretty easy and definitely money saving.


March 3, 2017

Apple butter oatmeal muffins

It's March! So what am I doing posting an apple recipe?!? Those are for fall, right? Well, for me, usually they are.... but this recipe is more of a "use it or lose it" recipe. I canned more apple butter than we can eat! I even gave a bunch away, but a few jars were still lingering on my basement shelf quickly approaching the time when they'd probably need to be tossed. I really hate food waste, especially after working so hard to make and can something, so apple butter muffins are here! These muffins are a twist on my applesauce oatmeal bread and they turned out delicious -- very moist and full of yummy spices. Plus, they are even better split open with more apple butter spread on top, so perhaps we will use up all that's left before these are gone. This recipe will make one dozen muffins and will fill your home with a wonderful aroma while they are baking.