Strawberry Peach Popsicles and Summer in Arizona

Strawberry Peach Popsicles

Well, the heat is finally here, and has decided it is going to stay.  It was 118 degrees this weekend!  But before you start to wonder how we can possibly take those temperatures, let me tell you there are many reasons why it is good to live in Arizona in the summer time!

1.  You don’t have to worry about germs on the grocery carts.  They all get burned off when the carts are sitting outside in the parking lot.

2.  Driving to work is a breeze.  The streets aren’t crowded as all the smart people winter visitors have left and gone back home.

3.  It is no problem getting exercise as you get lots of it when you park 2 blocks away from every store because it is the only parking place that has the shade from one twig hanging over it.

4.  If your oven stops working, you can always go fry an egg on the sidewalk.  It will probably cook faster anyway.

5.  The local hotels are cheap since no one wants to be here during the summer.  It is possible to go stay at the hotel of your dreams where you can turn the air conditioning on as cold as you want.

6.  You can actually save money living here in the summer because                                            A.  You have access to a sauna without having to pay the gym fee – just go outside.               B.   Sandstorms equal automatic exfoliation – no need to pay for a facial.                               C.   A tanning booth isn’t necessary – just walk from the house to your car.

Arizona Duststorm

7.  It is the only place where you get to experience summer and winter at the same time as the stores turn their air-conditioning on so cold you need a sweater.  Since we have no winter, this works out just fine.

8.  It gives you something else to do with your oven mitts (use them to hold on to the steering wheel of your car).

9.  The monsoons take the boredom out of the same old weather every day.

 Monsoon - July 2012

10.  You always have something to talk about with a stranger.  It usually goes something like this:  “Hot enough for ya?”  “Yeah, but it’s a dry heat! LOL”

11.  It is the only place where you can swim and not get cold as the pools feel like bath water (very hot bath water).

12.  The most incredible sunsets give you something to do every night.

Arizona Sunset

13.  And the final (and best) reason, the heat gives you an excuse to eat more ice cream and popsicles!

Strawberry Peach Popsicles

Now if those are not good reasons to want to spend your summer in Arizona, I don’t know what is.  It is also quite possible the heat has fried my brain over the years.  I think it may have a cumulative effect.  And I was born here….  :/

Strawberry Peach Popsicles

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe for Strawberry Peach Popsicles.  They remind me of an Arizona sunset.  They taste just like fresh fruit (only colder and sweeter) and are guaranteed to keep you cool and brighten your day!

Strawberry Peach Popsicles

Strawberry Peach Popsicles

  • Servings: approximately 8 popsicles depending on the size of your molds
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For the Strawberry Layer:

  • 1 quart strawberries, washed and halved
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar or to taste depending on how sweet your strawberries are
  1. Place strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar in a blender.  Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour liquid into the bottom of 8 popsicle molds.

For the Peach Layer:

  • 2 cups fresh peach chunks that have been peeled (approximately 3 peaches depending on their size)
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar or to taste depending on how sweet the peaches are
  1. Place peach chunks and sugar in the blender.  Blend until smooth.
  2. Very slowly pour peach mixture on top of the strawberry mixture.
  3. Insert sticks.
  4. Place in the freezer overnight.
  5. When ready to eat, run warm water over the outside of the molds for about 30 seconds or until the popsicles loosen and you can remove them from the molds.

Recipe by Cook AZ I Do, adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian 

 

 

 

Posted in Desserts, Ice Cream Recipes, Low Fat, Recipes, Summer Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes With Brown Sugar Buttercream

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes

Have you ever heard of the book “The 5 Love Languages”?  It is such a good book.  Just to sum it up in a nutshell, it basically says there are 5 ways that people feel loved.  We each have one of those 5 ways that is more dominant and makes us feel loved the most.  The 5 ways we feel loved are words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch, and gifts.  For instance, if your love language is words of affirmation, when people say something kind to you, that makes you feel loved.  Someone could vacuum your house (acts of service) and you wouldn’t feel loved as much as someone saying to you that they really enjoy your sparkling personality.  I completely agree with everything Gary Chapman says in this book.  I highly recommend it.  There is just one teeny tiny little problem with it.  Now, I know Gary Chapman is a world renowned speaker and author, but I think he might have forgotten one language.  There may in fact, be 6 love languages.  The sixth one just might be giving someone a cupcake. :)

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes

Giving someone a cupcake is definitely how I show people that I love them.  It’s your birthday – here’s a cupcake.  You’re feeling a little down today – I thought you could use a cupcake.  Your dog ran away – this cupcake should really make you feel better.  You found a grey hair, a cupcake should cheer you up. You had a flat tire on the freeway while it was raining, cupcakes are just the thing to make you forget about that.  So, it shouldn’t surprise you, that with Father’s Day coming up, I had to make my dad some cupcakes.  I have actually been saving this recipe since last fall to make for him.  As soon as I saw it, I knew he would love it.  It is a chocolate bourbon cupcake with a bourbon caramel pecan pie filling, topped with brown sugar buttercream and a bourbon cinnamon pecan.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes

I had never tasted or made brown sugar butter cream before.  All I can say is, heavenly.  It is just incredible.  And the pecan pie filling, I wanted to eat it by the spoonful. Now this is definitely a boozy, bourbony tasting cupcake, but if that is not your cup of tea or should I say bourbon, just make these chocolate cupcakes, and leave the bourbon out of the caramel.  You will still have one of the best cupcakes you’ve ever tasted.  Because it will still have pecan pie filling and brown sugar frosting!

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes

I have to give you fair warning, though, these are not the quickest cupcakes to make.  But then, when you are trying to tell someone you love them, sometimes you have to sacrifice!  They aren’t difficult, there are just a lot of steps.  First you make the chocolate cupcakes and let them cool.  While they are cooling, make the caramel pecan filling.  While that is cooling, toast the nuts.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes

Finally, make the frosting and assemble the cupcakes.  You could also toast the nuts and make the caramel ahead of time so you aren’t doing so many steps in one day.  Once made, you can refrigerate or freeze them so they can be done completely ahead of time.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes

Now that I think about it, the point of “The 5 Love Languages” book is that you need to show people love by doing things that are THEIR love language.  I guess not everyone’s language is cupcakes, as hard as that is to understand.  Fortunately, my dad’s love language is any type of dessert so hopefully he feels loved.  After giving these to my dad, there were some cupcakes left over.  They always say you can’t love others until you love yourself.  And, cupcakes are definitely my love language.  Can I just say I am now ready to love others. :)

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there and especially to my dad who speaks my language and whom I love very much!

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

  • Servings: 18
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate due to all the steps and time involved
  • Print

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 c bourbon
  • 1 c canola oil
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 c plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake pans with 18 paper liners.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the bourbon, canola oil, and cocoa powder until smooth and creamy.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and Greek yogurt on low-speed.
  5. Slowly add bourbon and cocoa mixture.  Combine on medium speed until silky and smooth.
  6. Beat in the sugar.
  7. Slowly add flour, salt, and baking soda, combining on low-speed until mixed.
  8. Fill baking cups three-fourths full. (A 1/4 c measuring cup worked great for this.)
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes, making sure to watch carefully and test with a toothpick at 15 minutes.  Mine took 16.  Do not overbake for moist cupcakes.
  10. Allow to cool completely before filling.
  11. When cupcakes are cool, use a small serrated knife or grapefruit knife to cut a small hole in the middle of the cupcake.  Place cupcakes in a baggy until ready to fill so they don’t dry out.

For the Bourbon Caramel Pecan Pie Filling:

  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 Tbsp. bourbon
  • 1 c chopped pecans
  1. Make sure your butter is cut into chunks and cream is measured out.  Set aside.
  2. Heat sugar and water in a 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  You can stir to help the sugar dissolve before heating, but once you turn the heat on, only swirl the pan a bit every once in a while.
  3. When the liquid sugar hits a dark amber color (do not leave unattended as the liquid can go from amber to burnt very quickly), add all the butter to the pan.  The mixture will foam up and thicken.  Whisk until the butter has melted.  Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat.
  4. Add the cream to the pan (the mixture will foam up again) and continue to whisk to incorporate.
  5. Add the bourbon to the mixture and stir.
  6. Finally, add the chopped pecans.
  7. Let cool in the pan for a couple of minutes, then pour into a glass jar and let cool to room temperature.  Don’t worry if the sauce seems a bit too thin at first, as it will thicken as it cools.  Fill cupcakes with a spoonful of the mixture or store in the refrigerator until ready to fill cupcakes.  Carefully place cupcakes back in baggy until ready to frost.

For the Bourbon Cinnamon Toasted Pecans:

  • 2 Tbsp. bourbon
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 18-25 whole pecans
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silpat.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  4. Add pecans and stir to coat evenly.
  5. Transfer nuts to the prepared baking pan.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted.  Watch carefully after 14 minutes so they don’t burn.
  7. Remove pecans from oven and toss them with butter.  Allow to cool and set aside until needed.

For the Brown Sugar Frosting:

  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2/3 c heavy cream
  • 1 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 box (1 lb.) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt together 1/4 c butter, cream, and brown sugar on medium heat. Bring to a boil, turn to medium-low, and boil for 1 minute.
  2. Remove from heat and place in the refrigerator to cool.
  3. When brown sugar mixture is cool, place remaining 1/2 c room temperature butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat until any chunks are smoothed out.
  4. Gradually add cooled brown sugar mixture 1/4 cup at a time until frosting is of desired consistency.  I added a total of one cup.
  5. Place frosting in a piping bag, if desired, and using a large round tip, pipe frosting onto cupcakes.
  6. Insert one of the sugar-coated pecans into the top.
  7. Keep in the refrigerator until 1 hour before serving, then set out to soften.  May be frozen up to one month if in an air tight container.  Set out 4 hours before serving to thaw out.

Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, originally found on Half Baked Harvest and Caramel Filling found on Lickmyspoon.com

 

 

 

Posted in Company, Cupcakes, Desserts, Fall Recipes, Father's Day Recipes, Party Recipes, Recipes, Thanksgiving Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments

Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies

Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies

I have been making a lot of cookies lately.  There have been several times recently where it was necessary to eat dinner in the car on our way to an event so I packed a picnic of foods that were easy to eat while driving.  Cookies work out great as a dessert for mobile meals.  And since I was making chocolate chip cookies, you would think I would have used my favorite recipe of all time to make them.  If you thought that, you would be wrong.  I have a new favorite in the cookie department.  They are soft, chewy, chocolaty, and melt in your mouth.  The best part is they are easier to make than my other recipe and do not call for special ingredients.

Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies

These cookies are full of 2 kinds of chocolate – dark chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chunks. They contain about twice as much chocolate as most chocolate chip cookies, and I loved the combination of the 2 kinds of chocolate.  They are super soft and yet keep their shape while cooking instead of going flat and ugly.  Chocolaty, soft, pretty, and easy to make – sounds like the perfect cookie to me.

Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies

Everyone I’ve made these for has given them a big thumbs up.  They are also great because you can refrigerate the dough for up to 5 days and when someone stops by in 10 minutes you can have warm, melty cookies straight out of the oven.  I love the look on people’s faces when you give them a warm homemade cookie.  It is like you just gave them a million dollars.

Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies

My husband is my biggest critic when it comes to chocolate chip cookies as they are one of his favorite things to eat as well. Our anniversary is coming up this month so the timing is great for finding this recipe.  It only took me 30 years to find the perfect one – cookie, not husband. Though I think he thought it would take me 30 years to decide on one  – husband not cookie.  I am very happy I found both – the perfect cookie and husband! :)

Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies

Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies

  • Servings: approximately 48
  • Time: 45 minutes plus refrigeration time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 3 sticks (1 1/2) cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 c all-purpose flour (King Arthur recommended)
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 c dark chocolate chips (Ghiradelli recommended)
  • 2 c semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • parchment paper or silpats
  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low-speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add the sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.  Add to the sugar/butter/egg mixture.
  5. Mix together until just combined, about 1 minute.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and chunks, and beat for a few seconds on low-speed.
  7. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Using a 2 Tbsp. cookie scoop, scoop out mounds of cookie dough and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment.  When done, I like to roll each mound into balls so they come out of the oven more round and smooth, but this is optional.
  9. Wrap cookie sheets with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 5 days.  Make sure to wrap them well so they don’t dry out.
  10. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  11. Place dough mounds on lined baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart.  Keep rest of dough refrigerated in-between batches.
  12. Bake for 8-10 minutes (I did 10), making sure to not overbake.  Cookies will look underdone, but will firm up as they cool.
  13. Cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes, and then transfer to wire rack to cool the rest of the way.
  14. Cookies can be frozen in an airtight container for up to a month or kept in the refrigerator for a week.  Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, originally found on Averie Cooks

Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Christmas, Company, Cookies, Desserts, Father's Day Recipes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Arizona Quiche

Arizona Quiche

We have overnight company quite often so I am always on the look out for delicious breakfast dishes.  I recently noticed this recipe for quiche on Real Housemoms and knew as soon as I saw the pictures I would have to give it a try.  It was as good as I had hoped, and I have made it many times over the last few months.  It tastes just like a jalapeno popper!  It isn’t overly spicy, just full of flavor from bacon, jalapenos, and two kinds of cheese.  It is definitely comfort food for breakfast so for those times when you want to pamper your guests, this is the perfect dish!

Arizona Quiche

A bonus, for us non-morning people out there, is you can do some of the prep ahead of time, such as chop your jalapenos, and fry up the bacon.  Be sure you get rid of the membranes and seeds in the jalapenos, or your guests may think their mouth is on fire!  You also may want to use gloves while chopping the jalapenos because if you touch your eyes, you may think your eyes are on fire.

Arizona Quiche

Then all you have to do in the morning is pre-bake the pie shell (I love Marie Callender’s the best), spread cream cheese on the bottom of the crust, and

Arizona Quiche

throw the jalapenos into the bottom of the shell, pressing down into the cream cheese.

Arizona Quiche

Next, heat up the cream and drizzle into the eggs slowly, add some spices, pour into the pie shell, and finish baking.

Arizona Quiche

The last few minutes, you sprinkle the quiche with grated cheddar cheese, which you can also grate ahead of time.  You end up with one of the best, tastiest quiches I’ve ever eaten!  I serve it with Raspberry Lemon Muffins and fruit salad.

Arizona Quiche

I think this would be a great dish to fix for Father’s Day, too.  Rumor has it that real men don’t eat quiche, but I think this quiche could actually win those manly men over.  Feel free to call it bacon pie if you need to, though! :)

Arizona Quiche

Arizona Quiche

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 9 inch frozen pie crust (Marie Callender’s recommended)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 jalapenos, finely diced, removing membranes and seeds first, (gloves recommended for this as oils from chiles get on hands and if eyes are touched afterwards it really burns)
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into rounds for garnish
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and coarsely crumbled
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 c whipping cream
  • 1/2 c half-and-half
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • sour cream, optional for garnish or topping
  1. Do any prep work needed, such as fry and crumble bacon, dice jalapenos, and grate cheese.  All of these things can be done the day before and put in the refrigerator until needed.
  2. When ready to make quiche, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. While oven is preheating, thaw frozen crust for 10 minutes, then prick the crust all over the bottom and sides with a fork to make tiny holes.
  4. Bake crust for 10 minutes on a baking sheet.
  5. While crust is baking, soften cream cheese in microwave for approximately 20-30 seconds until easily spreadable.
  6. Remove the crust and lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  7. While crust is hot, spread the cream cheese all over the bottom as evenly as possible.
  8. Sprinkle the diced jalapenos evenly over the cream cheese (the rounds are for garnishing later).  Gently press the diced jalapenos into the cream cheese.
  9. Put the cream and half-and-half into a medium pan and put it over medium heat about 3-5 minutes or until tiny bubbles appear around the edges.  Take off heat just before it boils. Set aside.
  10. Beat the eggs together in a bowl.
  11. VERY SLOWLY, drizzle the hot cream mixture into the eggs, WHISKING CONSTANTLY to combine.  (If you do this too quickly you will end up with scrambled eggs.)
  12. Add the paprika, salt, and bacon into the hot cream mixture and stir until combined.
  13. Carefully pour cream into the crust, making sure bacon is evenly distributed.
  14. Bake on a baking sheet for 35-44 minutes or until eggs are just set and no longer jiggly in the middle.  Watch carefully after 35 minutes.
  15. Remove quiche from oven, sprinkle cheese on top, and put back in the oven for 2 minutes until cheese is just melted.  Be careful not to overcook.
  16. Cool about 10 minutes before serving for easier slicing.
  17. Garnish with sour cream and jalapeno rounds if desired.  (I put sour cream into a baggy and piped circles onto the pie, then topped with the jalapeno rounds.)
  18. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Notes:  I tried freezing this recipe after it was baked, but did not like the texture of it after it was frozen and reheated.

Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, originally found on Real Housemoms Blog

Arizona Quiche

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Breakfast, Cinco de Mayo, Company, Father's Day Recipes, Mexican, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Perfect Memorial Weekend Dishes to Bring to a Bar-B-Q

Old Fashioned Baked Beans

Are you invited to a bar-b-q or pot-luck for Memorial Day weekend?  It seems like quite often when asked to attend one of these type of events, I am asked to bring a side dish or dessert.  Since I love cooking, that is fine by me.  I always want to bring something special I know everyone will like.  I would rather bring a dish I have made a number of times, and feel comfortable making and am pretty sure will turn out exactly how I want it to.  That’s where these recipes come in.  They are tried and true recipes that I have made time and time again and will continue to do so because they taste great!

Red, White, and Blueberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

This Red, White, and Blueberry Salad is probably my favorite summer salad to make.  Everyone loves the sweet Poppy-seed Dressing, and the colors are so festive, they are perfect for any patriotic holiday.

Old Fashioned Baked Beans

These are my favorite Baked Beans.  They are classic beans that you cook slowly and have lots of brown sugar in them that caramelizes and gets thick and gooey and delicious as you bake them.  Men really seem to love these beans.  It doesn’t hurt anything that they have bacon in them either!

Rocky Road Fudge Brownies

I have made these Rocky Road Fudge Brownies a million times because they are so good.  Well, maybe not a million, but a lot! :)  I love to take them with us to our cabin in the summer.  It’s the homemade fudge frosting that makes these out of this world!

There you have it.  One of these recipes is what I would be bringing if you invited me to your pot-luck or backyard bar-b-q. I hope this gives you some ideas for what to take if you are attending a get-together and aren’t sure what to bring.  They are guaranteed to get rave reviews, and an empty bowl to bring home.  If you need more ideas, check out the Memorial Day section in the categories on the right.  Whether you are celebrating Memorial Day or just relaxing at home, I hope you have a wonderful weekend whatever you do!

 

Posted in 4th of July Recipes, Bars, Cabin Recipes, Desserts, Memorial Day Recipes, Party Recipes, Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Strawberry Banana Streusel Muffins That Just Happen to be Gluten-Free

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Streusel Muffins Lest you think I’ve gone over to the dark healthy side and am no longer eating anything loaded with carbs and sugar, let me explain the reference to gluten-free in the title of this post.  Recently my sister and brother-in-law and niece came for a visit. My brother-in-law for the most part, tries to eat gluten-free.  He never complained once about anything I fixed, but as we were eating, I realized that so much of what I fixed were things he normally wouldn’t eat.  I determined then that I would become more educated on how to cook gluten-free, and at least have a few things I could turn to when presented with a situation where gluten-free cooking was important.

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Streusel Muffins

I immediately thought of the blog, Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen as Teresa has so many gluten-free options there.  I remembered seeing some muffins that I wanted to make, not because they were gluten-free, but because they looked so delicious.  They were everything I had hoped they would be. They are filled with fresh strawberries and banana, and topped with an amazing streusel as well as drizzled with a vanilla glaze.

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Streusel Muffins

When you first bite into them you get a pop of tartness from the strawberries, then the yummy banana flavor reminiscent of banana bread with a hint of brown sugar and a crunchy sweet finish from the pecans and vanilla glaze.  There is so much going on, you won’t even notice they are gluten-free.

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Streusel Muffins

In talking with a friend of mine who has cooked and baked gluten-free for a long time, I found out the issue with using alternative wheat flour ingredients, is that baked goods tend to come out crumbly and dry.  I think the fact that you add banana to the muffin mixture, fresh strawberries, plus a glaze all help to make these muffins more moist.

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Streusel Muffins

Another nice thing about this recipe is that it uses a baking mix that already has the correct ratio of alternative flours.  It is called Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend.  I found it at Sprouts, but heard Fry’s carries it as well. Gluten Free mixes are so much more readily available than they used to be.  Also, they have come a long way with gluten-free baking mixes to ensure a great tasting end product.

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Streusel Muffins

I learned so much this week about baking gluten-free and am excited to find out it is not as scary or difficult as I thought it would be.  In fact, I know I will be making these muffins again and again whether I need to cook gluten-free or not.  They are just great muffins overall.  I could eat the streusel alone as an afternoon snack!  If you need a gluten-free recipe for muffins or just want a yummy strawberry banana muffin loaded with crunchy streusel, I highly recommend these for your next breakfast or afternoon treat!

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Streusel Muffins

Gluten-Free Strawberry Banana Streusel Muffins

  • Servings: 14
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For the Streusel:

  • 1/3 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 c Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend (Gluten-Free)
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans

For the Muffins:

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5.3-oz. container Chobani Strawberry Banana Greek yogurt, stirred
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 c Pamela’s Gluten Free Artisan Flour Blend
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 c fresh, diced strawberries (approximately 1 quart)
  • 1 large banana, mashed with a fork

For the Glaze:

  • 1 c confectioners’ sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp. heavy cream (milk not recommended)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you want to keep the glaze white)

For the Streusel:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together all the streusel ingredients.  Set aside.

For the Muffins:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners, spray muffin pans with gluten-free cooking spray, or grease and flour tins with gluten-free flour.
  3. Dice strawberries, mash bananas with a fork, and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and whipping cream.  Mix on medium-low until well combined.
  5. Stir in flour, mashed banana, and strawberries gently with a wooden spoon until ingredients are just moistened.  Don’t overmix.
  6. Spoon the muffin batter into prepared muffin tins all the way up to the top.
  7. Crumble the streusel topping over each muffin and press the topping down gently into the muffins.
  8. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees.
  9. While muffins are still in the oven, adjust oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake for 11 to 12 more minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Be careful not to overbake for moist muffins.
  10. Cool in tins 10 minutes.
  11. Transfer muffins to rack to cool completely.  While muffins cool, make the glaze.

For the Glaze:

  1. Sift powdered sugar to remove any lumps.
  2. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  3. Place wire rack with muffins on a baking sheet.
  4. Place glaze mixture in a zip lock bag or piping bag and cut off tip.  Drizzle glaze over cooled muffins.
  5. Muffins can be placed in air tight container and stored in refrigerator up to one week, or frozen for one month.  If frozen, thaw approximately 4 hours before serving.

Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, originally found on Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen

 

 

Posted in Breads and Rolls, Breakfast, Company, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Mother’s Day White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Recently my brother-in-law and his wife visited us from Hawaii.  They graciously gifted us with 2 bags of macadamia nuts fresh from the islands.  They are so delicious, I cannot stop eating them.  But with 2 bags, I immediately thought of making White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies.  This also happens to be one of my mom’s favorite cookies so it seemed like the perfect dessert for Mother’s Day as well.

I used one of my favorite chocolate chunk cookie recipes and substituted the 2 kinds of chocolate with the nuts and white chocolate.  They turned out perfectly.  They are so soft and just melt in your mouth.

Best of all they are not flat, but rise quite high due to the size of the macadamia nuts. It’s important to make sure you like the taste of the white chocolate chips you have chosen as all white chocolate has a different taste. Be sure to follow the directions carefully as far as refrigerating the dough a couple of hours before baking and you will end up with one of the best cookies you’ve ever eaten.

I think I get my love of cooking from many of the female members of my family, but especially my mom.  We ate dinner together as a family every night, even though she worked during my high school years.  I remember seeing her get special dishes ready for a party or having the neighbors over for dinner.  She always had our relatives over for holidays as well as people she knew didn’t have anywhere to go that day.  Family was a priority to her, and she is still to this day happiest when surrounded by her children and grandchildren.  Every one of them knows that they are loved unconditionally by her.  She was and is a great example to me in how to love unselfishly.  I am grateful to call her my mom and look forward to sharing cookies and carrot cake with her tomorrow because we both have the same love language – food!  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  Thank you for all you do!!

Vicki Poor

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

  • Servings: approximately 32 cookies
  • Time: 15 to 30 minutes plus 3 hours chill time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 c all-purpose flour (King Arthur preferred)
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 2 c white chocolate chips
  • 2 c macadamia nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter on low-speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
  6. Add the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts, and either fold in by hand or beat for a few seconds on low-speed.
  7. Using a 2-ounce cookie scoop (a scant 1/4 cup), scoop out mounds of cookie dough, and place on a large cookie sheet or plate.  Roll each mound into balls, place back on cookie sheet or plate, and cover with plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate 3 hours or up to 5 days.
  9. When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.  Place cookie dough balls on the baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart.
  10. Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cookies will still look underdone but will firm up as they cool.  For best results, don’t overbake.

Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, dough base originally created by Averie Cooks

 

 

 

Posted in Company, Cookies, Desserts, Mother's Day, Party Recipes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

5 Favorite Mexican Food Recipes

Shredded Beef Tacos

My family and I are so excited about Cinco de Mayo coming up this week.  I started going through my recipes to figure out what to fix.  If you will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo as well, I wanted to share some of my favorites in case you need some ideas.

Shredded Beef Tacos

If you have been following my blog for any length of  time, you might remember tacos are my favorite food group.  No list of my favorite Mexican food recipes would be complete if it didn’t include this one for Shredded Beef Tacos.  To me they taste just like the beef tacos you get at good Mexican food restaurants in Arizona.  The beef is shredded, tender, and so flavorful.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salsa

Of course you need salsa to go on the tacos, and Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salsa is a family favorite.  It is a little bit spicy, and chunky, and so tasty.  I could probably make this one in my sleep, I’ve made it so many times and will be making it again this week.

Shrimp Enchiladas

If you are looking for something a little more unusual than the traditional tacos and beans for Cinco de Mayo, I highly recommend this recipe for Shrimp Enchiladas with Poblano Chile Sauce.  There are so many flavors going on inside and outside the enchiladas, it is a fiesta in your mouth!  I am not a big shrimp fan, but I absolutely love these.

Chipotle Salsa

I always like to put out at least 2 different kinds of salsa when we have friends over as everyone has their favorites.  Chipotle Salsa happens to be my favorite.  I love the smoky flavor.

Pork Carnitas

Last but not least are these Pork Carnitas.  You will love the depth of flavor in these tacos.  It is a super easy recipe that is made in the crock pot, perfect for a busy day.  It is my go to recipe for carnitas.

I have so many more favorite Mexican food recipes, but didn’t want to overwhelm you.  If you need more ideas, check out the Mexican food category on the right.  Whether you eat out or make dinner at home, I wish you a happy and delicious Cinco de Mayo!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cinco de Mayo, Main Dish, Mexican, Party Recipes, Recipes, Salsas | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Pollo Fundido with Jalapeno Cream Sauce

Pollo Fundido

Cinco de Mayo is less than 2 weeks away so I have Mexican food on my mind.  Of course, this is nothing new!  I always have Mexican food on my mind. When I was in high school, there was a Mexican food restaurant called Garcia’s across the street from my church, and quite often after church on Sundays, or after an event during the week, we would go there to get something to eat.  I don’t remember anything else they served except something called Pollo Fundido.  It was so delicious, I still think about it.  It is a fried burrito, stuffed with a flavorful shredded chicken mixture, and covered in a jalapeno cream sauce, then topped with melted cheddar cheese.  Oh my!  Just talking about it brings back wonderful memories.

Pollo Fundido

I decided it was time to try to make it.  It turns out, I’m not the only one who loves this dish, as there are many versions out there.  This recipe is the closest to what I remember.  The best part of Pollo Fundido is the sauce.  It is full of jalapenos, garlic, cream cheese, and sour cream.  It’s the stuff of my dreams!

Pollo Fundido

I’m trying to think of other things I can put it on so I can eat it more often.  I honestly think if you poured it over rocks, I would be tempted to eat them.  And then you melt cheese on top of it.  There just are not words….

Pollo Fundido

This recipe is not difficult, but there are a few steps, so I thought I’d share a few tips with you to make it easier.  I find it so much simpler if I cook the chicken ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze until needed.  Then the day you serve it, it is mostly assembling things. Use tortillas the size of a dinner plate.  Be sure to heat the tortillas in the microwave one at a time for 15 seconds before folding to soften them so they won’t tear.  Once you have made the sauce and assembled the chicken mixture, place a half cup of the chicken in the middle of your tortilla.

Pollo Fundido

It may not look like a lot, but don’t overload it as you need to be able to get the toothpick through the tortilla, and you don’t want any filling falling out while frying.  These things are very rich so it works out perfectly.  Next, fold the top and bottom of the tortilla over the filling.

Pollo Fundido

Then fold the sides over towards each other, and secure with a toothpick.

Pollo Fundido

Once it is secure, you are going to fry each meat filled pocket. I used a medium-sized saucepan, and it was just the right size. Watch them carefully as they brown up almost instantly.

Pollo Fundido

You can also bake them if you don’t want the mess or calories of frying.  I tried both, and with the sauce, you really can’t tell much of a difference when eating them. There is a bit of a different texture, but the taste is basically the same. Brushing the tortilla with a tiny bit of oil will help them to brown better, but it isn’t necessary.  I didn’t brush this one with oil, and this is what it looked like.

Pollo Fundido

Just don’t forget to take the toothpicks out afterwards no matter how you cook them. Toothpicks in your cheek is not a fun way to spend Cinco de Mayo! Next, place the cooked burritos on a baking sheet and cover with sauce and a handful of grated cheddar cheese.  Only bake for a couple of minutes until the cheese just starts melting.  If you overbake them the sauce becomes runny and falls off the burritos.  They still taste good, but you don’t get as much sauce that way!  And that would be very sad.

Pollo Fundido

Place the Pollo Fundido burritos on a plate and serve immediately!

Pollo Fundido

Your family and friends will then nominate you for president!  You will be able to make Pollo Fundido burritos for everyone, and there would be no more division in the country.  Everyone would get along….

Pollo Fundido

I guess I got a little carried away. I did say that sauce was the stuff of my dreams.  But your family and friends would be REALLY happy if you made these for them!  In fact, they are so good, I’m going to take them to Fiesta Friday to celebrate the beginning of the weekend. Angie of Novice Gardener, Effie of Food Daydreaming, and Jhuls of The Not So Creative Cook are already there waiting for us.   Happy Friday, everyone!

Pollo Fundido

  • Servings: 5 burritos
  • Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours not including cooking chicken
  • Difficulty: moderate due to the number of steps
  • Print

For the Burritos:

  • 2 c cooked, diced chicken (bake 4-6 chicken breasts for 1 hour at 350 degrees or in crock pot on low for 8 hours)
  • 3/4 cup green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 c shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 5 dinner plate size flour tortillas
  • canola oil for frying

For the Sauce:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 c half-and-half
  • 2 ounces (1/2 of a 4 oz. can) canned, diced jalapenos (I don’t recommend fresh in this recipe)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese for sprinkling on top of sauce
  • sliced fresh jalapenos (optional for garnish)
  1. Saute diced bell pepper and onions in 2 Tbsp. oil until tender.
  2. While bell pepper and onions are cooking, make sauce by placing cream cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, half-and-half, and garlic cloves together in a blender.  Blend on high-speed until smooth.
  3. When bell pepper and onions are done, add in the diced chicken, and heat just until chicken is warm.  Turn off stove.  Stir 1/2 cup of the jalapeno cream sauce into the chicken mixture.  Set aside.
  4. Heat enough oil to submerge a burrito in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  When a small piece of tortilla dropped into the oil sizzles and bubbles, your oil is ready.
  5. While oil is heating, place 1 tortilla in microwave and heat for 15 seconds to soften.  Place tortilla on a plate, and spoon 1/2 cup chicken mixture into the center.  Fold top and bottom of tortilla over chicken mixture, then fold both sides towards each other so that it makes a square, and secure with a toothpick.  Do the same with the 4 other tortillas.  Be sure not to overfill them as it will be difficult to fasten the sides together and filling may fall out while frying.
  6. Very carefully using tongs, place one burrito at a time in oil, and fry until brown on both sides, turning once.  They fry up quickly so don’t leave them unattended.  If they are getting too brown or frying up too quickly, turn down to medium-low. When browned, place on a paper towel lined plate.  Repeat with all the rest of the burritos.  Important:  Take out toothpicks when cool enough to handle.
  7. You can also bake the burritos on a greased cookie sheet at 425 degrees for 12 to 20 minutes, turning once halfway (mine took 20).  They brown better if brushed with oil, but it isn’t necessary.
  8. When burritos are cooked, place on a greased cookie sheet.  Pour about a 1/4 cup sauce over each burrito, and sprinkle about a 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese on top of sauce.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 2 minutes 30 seconds until cheese is just melted, watching the whole time to make sure not to overbake.  Overbaking will cause sauce and cheese to become runny and fall off of burritos.
  10. Place on platter, and garnish with jalapeno slices if desired.  Serve immediately.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, adapted from a recipe on Food.com

Pollo Fundido

 

 

 

Posted in Chicken Recipes, Cinco de Mayo, Company, Main Dish, Mexican, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Sprinkle Cookies That Can Be Customized for Any Celebration

Sprinkle Cookies

I made these cookies for Easter, and really enjoyed them for many reasons.  For one thing, they tasted great.  The dough is similar to chocolate chip cookie dough without the chocolate chips.  The cookies are buttery and moist and just melt in your mouth.  If you like sprinkles, you will love these cookies.  Sprinkles are my topping of choice when ordering ice cream at Cold Stone, so you can see why these caught my eye.  Maybe when I grow up I will put more sophisticated toppings on my ice cream and in my cookies.  I’ll let you know when that happens.  Don’t hold your breath, though.

Sprinkle Cookies

Another reason I like these cookies is because they are so colorful.  They just scream celebration to me.  I think they would be perfect for kids’ birthday parties.

Sprinkle Cookies

Another huge reason I love these cookies is because they are completely customizable for any holiday.  I made these for Easter so I combined even amounts of pink, orange, and yellow sprinkles.  They would be great with red, white, and blue sprinkles for memorial day or a fourth of July party.  If you have a graduation coming up, you could use your child’s school colors.  For Cinco de Mayo, you could use the colors of the Mexican flag or red and green at Christmas.  If you live in the Phoenix area,  ABC Cake Decorating Supplies, carries every color of sprinkles imaginable, and they are very inexpensive.  JoAnn’s and Michaels usually have quite a variety of sprinkles as well in the cake decorating area.  Or just get the pre-mixed colors that are available at most grocery stores.

Sprinkle Cookies

Lastly, not only do these taste and look great, they are so simple and quick to make. That is really nice if you have a lot of other things to do to get ready for a holiday.  I think I had them ready to bake in less than half an hour.  Just don’t forget to refrigerate them before baking so they won’t spread out too much on the baking sheet.  Parchment on the cookie sheet also helps with that. They can be frozen after baking so you can make them ahead of time, too.  Whatever color you choose, these cookies will help make your celebration delicious and a lot of fun as well for all of the kids in your life and the kids at heart!

Sprinkle Cookies

Sprinkle Cookies

  • Servings: 15
  • Time: 30 minutes plus refrigeration and cooking time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour (King Arthur recommended)
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 c sprinkles
  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes or use a hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes.  Scrape down the sides as necessary.
  2. Add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, and mix until just combined about 1 minute.
  3. Add the sprinkles and beat momentarily to incorporate, less than 1 minute, or fold in by hand.
  4. Using a medium 2 inch cookie scoop, form heaping two tablespoon mounds (should make 15 of them).  Roll mounds into balls.
  5. Place balls on a large plate, in a single layer not touching, and cover with plastic wrap.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking.  Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.  Place balls of refrigerated cookie dough on cookie sheets.
  9. Bake for 8 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if undercooked, pale, and glossy in center.  Cookies will stay white even though done.  Do not bake for longer than 9 minutes for soft cookies because they firm up as they cool.
  10. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 8 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
  11. Store cookies airtight in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, slightly adapted from Averie Cooks

 

Posted in 4th of July Recipes, Christmas, Cinco de Mayo, Cookies, Desserts, Easter, Memorial Day Recipes, Recipes, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments