If you have no time for decorating Easter eggs this year then try making Easter Peeps in a Nest instead. The whole process (excluding the time needed for them to set) takes no more than 15 or 20 minutes. I had plans to decorate eggs and cookies this year but got so busy with work that I couldn’t fit it in. It left me feeling nostalgic for the times when my girls were little and we devoted an entire afternoon to decorating eggs and cookies. When I saw the idea for these Easter Peeps in a Nest on The Today Show the other morning, I thought they looked simple and quick and that making them would fill the little hole I had in my heart for days gone by. I searched and searched on-line for the recipe but couldn’t find it so I decided to just wing it. I think they came out pretty cute! (more…)
Looking for an Asian inspired dish with a twist? Look no further. These roasted shrimp have the classic Asian flavors of soy and ginger with the unique addition of agave nectar. This is a fast and versatile seafood entrée – the shrimp can be roasted in the oven or grilled, with equally delicious results, and they are cooked to perfection in less than 10 minutes. Roasted Shrimp with Agave-Ginger-Soy Marinade has been in my cooking repertoire since I first saw the recipe in a 1998 issue of Fine Cooking magazine. The original recipe calls for honey instead of agave but several years back, when agave nectar was all the rage, I started substituting agave for honey and I have been making this dish that way ever since.
Valentine’s Day is coming up so I thought it would be fun to make gluten free heart-shaped crackers. Before making these crackers I had never used red lentils but I’d heard about them and thought they might produce a cracker in honor of Valentine’s Day that was some shade of red. Well, it turns out red lentils are not red at all, but more orange in color. I thought I could fix this by adding some beets and was encouraged when the dough mixed up to a beautiful deep, ruby-red color – perfect for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately the crackers lose that beautiful deep red color when baked. I was going to rework the recipe to omit the beets but they give the crackers an earthy quality that would be lacking without them and, more importantly, everyone that tried the crackers said they were delicious as is and that I shouldn’t change a thing.
I love Christmas cookies decorated with royal icing but they’re an absolute pain to make. You have to mix up several batches of icing for all the different colors you want, fit multiple pastry bags with tips, and then carefully fill each bag with icing. All that before you even start decorating! It’s very time consuming and the clean up is no fun either. These stunning Christmas cookies are much less work but no less beautiful. The idea for these cookies comes from the The New York Times. Their recipe calls for a linzer cookie dough but I opted for a classic sugar cookie dough because I thought the paler color of the dough would highlight the red raspberry jam better. Plus, I already had a batch of sugar cookie dough in my freezer just waiting to be transformed into Yuletide goodness! (more…)
The operative word here, or in this case number, is 1. The recipe for 1 Easy Cranberry Sauce calls for 1 bag (12 oz.) of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of orange juice. That’s all it takes to make a delicious homemade cranberry sauce with the perfect balance of sweet and tart to complement your Thanksgiving turkey. If there was a contest for the simplest recipe ever this one would surely be in the running. Just put 3 ingredients into a slow cooker, turn it on high, and cook for 4 hours. (more…)
With Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, many of you who are hosting dinners have undoubtedly begun planning the meal. Getting as much done ahead of time will allow you to spend more time with family and friends. Things like pie crusts, cranberry sauce, and even gravy can be made weeks ahead of time and frozen. You can also start thinking about your table decorations. Some people get so overwhelmed with the thought of preparing an entire Thanksgiving dinner that they put very little effort into decorating the table. I think this is such a shame! If you’re going to spend all that time cooking an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t it make sense to put some extra thought into the table decorations? After all, this is the stage for the beautiful meal you’ll spend hours preparing. Floral arrangements are lovely, but oh so boring. Why not create something truly unique and memorable – like Thanksgiving Cookie Votives! These charming cookie votives are a little labor intensive but so worth the effort. They’ll dress up your table and are sure to be a conversation starter. Plus, you can serve them for dessert. Below are some tips for making Thanksgiving Cookie Votives. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post. (more…)
These witch’s finger Halloween cookies are SO creepy. A shortbread type dough is molded into the shape of a finger and adorned with a blanched almond, painted red to look like a finger nail. The end result is a cookie that looks amazingly realistic. It’s fun to greet trick-or-treaters at the door with a tray of these cookies. The reactions are priceless! (more…)
Calling all chocoholics! Peanuts in healthier chocolate couldn’t be more delicious! This is a chocolate bar you can feel a little less guilty about eating. mr. Good(for you)bars are made with only five ingredients and unlike regular chocolate bars they contain no refined sugar, no artificial flavorings, and no emulsifiers or other food additives. They’re a healthier alternative to store bought chocolate and are so simple to make. Below are a few tips for making this chocolate. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post. (more…)
It’s the beginning of September and this time of year has me thinking about all the things school related. I’m pretty sure that’s what prompted me to make these cookies. Milk and cookies is the quintessential after school snack – the ideal kid comfort food. Even though I try to eat healthy most of the time I’ve never outgrown my love for cookies. Every now and then I crave a good cookie – one that is golden brown, a little crisp at the edges, and soft and chewy at the center. (more…)
These Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Toasted Coconut are sweet, tart, creamy, and delicious – sounds more like a dessert, doesn’t it? Sweet potatoes are a great year round vegetable but I’ve always thought of them more as a fall/winter vegetable, that is, until I started making this recipe. Lime and coconut are classic tropical flavors and these two simple ingredients transform ordinary mashed sweet potatoes into a fantastic side dish that is not only healthy but simple to prepare. This is a great recipe to add to your summer cooking repertoire. Below are a few photos and tips that may help you prepare this dish. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post.
You’ll need 2 lbs. of sweet potatoes as well as a few limes for this recipe. Four medium sweet potatoes is roughly the equivalent of 2 lbs. There are 4T of lime juice needed so 2 limes should yield enough juice but if you want a garnish you’ll need 3 limes.
Securely wrap each sweet potato in aluminum foil and place seam side up on a baking sheet. The sweet potatoes may ooze a bit during baking – that’s ok, but if this happens the aluminum foil may get stuck to the baking sheet, making it very hard to clean. When you place the package seam side up this is less likely to happen. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 1 hour, or until the sweet potatoes are tender can be easily pierced with a toothpick through the foil. The total cooking time may be a little more or less than 1 hour depending on the size, thickness, and how many potatoes you are using. Start testing them after 45 minutes.
Once the sweet potatoes are tender let them cool for at least an hour before unwrapping them – they’ll be too hot to handle before that. This is what they will look like when you unwrap the packages.
Cut a slit up the center of each potato to remove the skin.
The skin will separate easily from the insides of the sweet potato and come off almost in one piece. I think this method of preparation is much easier than peeling and boiling the sweet potatoes.
The recipe calls for melted butter but if the potatoes are warm enough you can put them into a mixing bowl right on top of the unmelted butter and the residual heat will melt it. Then simply add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and mix it all together. I use a potato masher like the one pictured above but the tines of a fort will work as well. Once everything is well combined transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.
You can toast the coconut flakes in the oven for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees but watch them closely as they are baking because like other nut meats, they go from perfectly golden brown to completely burned very quickly.
Just prior to serving sprinkle on the toasted coconut. Garnish with a lime wedge if desired.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Toasted Coconut
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each sweet potato individually in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 1 hour or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a toothpick through the foil. (This could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1½ hours depending on the size and thickness of the sweet potatoes. Start testing them after 45 minutes.)
Once the potatoes are tender take them out of the oven and let them cool for 1 hour. Remove the aluminum foil from each potato, remove the skin, and place them into a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter, lime, salt and pepper, and mix well using a potato masher or the tines of a fork. Transfer to a casserole dish. Just prior to serving, reheat for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees. Top with toasted coconut and garnish with lime if desired.