Thursday, February 25, 2016

Glazed Nuts

Have I ever told you how much we love all kinds of nuts?

Not that we are nuts . . . although, that might be debatable!

But our entire family loves all kinds of nuts.

Now -- there are some of us, who shall remain nameless, who prefer the more "expensive" nuts.

Like walnuts or pistachios.

Some prefer cashews and pecans.

But in October -- there are only 2 who will search out dry roasted peanuts to pair with candy corn.

While making a salad recently, I wanted to put some candied glazed nuts in the salad.

You know the kind -- they're thin slivered almonds, usually, that are found at your local store.

I didn't have any of those; which, to be truthful, I haven't bought those in a very long time.

But needless to say, I became a wee bit demanding in my mind that I wanted glazed nuts for our salad.

So I made some.

I've posted something similar, nearly 4 years ago, if you are interested in such.

Today, though, I did a quick cook of whole pecans.

This recipe will work for almost any nut . . .except your family nut!  :)

Glazed Nuts

1 cup pecans* (I used whole)
1 1/2 TBSP butter (not margarine)
1/4 cup sugar

In a sauté pan, over medium low heat, add the ingredients to the pan.  Stir the ingredients to begin to distribute the sugar.

Continue stirring until the butter melts.  Don't stop stirring!  Keep your eyes on the prize here!  Continue to stir until the sugar melts and the liquid coats the nuts. Don't get over complicated here -- if you aren't careful, the sugar will begin to burn; then you have a mess and you're mad at yourself!

Remove from heat and pour the glazed pecans onto was paper, using your spatula to separate any large clumps of nuts.

Allow to cool completely before devouring!
*I've also done walnuts

Salad:  Spinach, chopped purple onion, segmented grapefruit, glazed pecans, grilled chicken, dressing of your choice (Recommendation:  pear and gorgonzola vinaigrette dressing by light house)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Coffee Simple Syrup

This past weekend, the Mr. and I went out to eat 3 times!
The cherubs were at a discipleship weekend at church, so in between our volunteer times we took advantage of enjoying some local restaurants.
On Saturday morning, we were waiting for breakfast and I grabbed a local magazine to read to pass the time.
The entire magazine was dedicated to coffee.
Now, I like coffee, but I'm in no way a connoisseur of such.
I know what I like; and I definitely know what I don't!
Pretty much, I'm a coffee snob.
I don't like dark coffee.
Or strong coffee.
Or nasty, taste like an ash tray, coffee.
I must have cream.
And lots of it.
Like I don't even apologize for how much I use.
I don't use sugar.
But I use more than the legal limit of cream.
So, back to the magazine.
In it was an article about coffee-flavored mixed drinks.
Each drink used coffee syrup.
Like simple syrup -- but coffee flavored.
So!  I had NEVER thought about that!

I've made plain 'ol simple syrup.  I keep that stuff in the fridge all the time!

I've made mint simple syrup.

but coffee simple syrup?
How great would that be!
On Sunday morning, after grinding the coffee beans, the Mr. made coffee.
But it was way to strong for either of us . . .
so he added additional water to weaken it a bit.
Which meant we ended up with too much coffee that morning.
So guess what I did!
I made coffee simple syrup with the left over!
I may have made it a bit too sweet, but I'll find uses for it and next time, I'll reduce the sugar a bit!
But until then; I'll be experimenting with the coffee simple syrup in recipes!
Here's where I'm going to first try my new recipe:
  • in iced tea (if sweet tea is good, what about a coffee flavored iced tea)
  • in a milk shake, with vanilla, chocolate, or coffee flavored ice cream
  • in coffee; replace the sugar with the syrup and it's coffee in coffee!
  • Coffee milk; the official state drink of Rhode Island.  1 cup cold milk & 2 TBSP coffee syrup
Coffee Simple Syrup
1 cup strong coffee
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar* (depending on how sweet you want the syrup to be)
In a sauce pan, add the coffee and syrup.  Over low heat, stir occasionally until the sugar is completely melted.
Remove from the heat.  Allow to cool before pouring it into your storage container.
*I used 1 1/2 cups of sugar for my first recipe.  It is rather sweet, but when mixed with other things, I think it's going to be ok.  It's not like I'm drinking straight off a spoon or anything!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Grapefruit Sugar Scrub

With the winter weather still around, I find my skin has that "winter feel."
You know the feeling -- dry, and more dry.
Not only does my skin feel dry, but it looks dry.
My hands look "aged."
I'm sure that's not a winter-weather thing, as much as it is a sun-thing.
But I'd rather blame it on the dry winter weather!
One of the things I like about Imperial sugar are all the recipes they have on-line.
Of those, I love the sugar scrub recipes!
I've made several and have loved them.
I've even given them as gifts!
So this morning, while I was lamenting my dry hands, I took a stroll over the Imperial Sugar website.
I found this easy little sugar scrub that I whipped up in a matter of minutes!
I changed the type of oil I used and I omitted a couple ingredients.
There's no "reason" for the changes -- it's just what I had . . .or didn't have!
But I'm perfectly content with my jar of scrub!
Grapefruit Sugar Scrub
1 cup white sugar
zest of 1/2 of a small grapefruit
juice of 1/3 of the small grapefruit in which you zested
2-3 TBSP coconut oil, warmed (or grapeseed, olive, or safflower)*
In a small bowl, add the sugar and zest the grapefruit into the sugar.  If you want more or less zest, you be the judge!
Cut off the top portion of the grapefruit and squeeze the juice into the sugar.  I probably juiced 2 TBSP or so.
Add the oil and stir.  I started with 2 TBSP and mixed it well.  I then added an additional TBSP of oil, as I wanted a bit more emulsion to my scrub.  You can add as little or as much as you desire; however, I'd be careful not to make "sugar scrub soup."  You do want to be able to have substance to your scrub.
Fill your chosen jar with your scrub.  Be careful if using glass if you will be using this mixture in your shower.  Plastic is better!
I like to keep my scrub by the kitchen sink!
*If you use coconut oil, your scrub might have a coconut scent; depending on the type of coconut oil you use.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Spaghetti Pie

A long time ago, there was a company that sold seasonings and mixes that made meal prep tasty and easy.
They had a recipe for an easy spaghetti casserole.
It's been years since I had made it and this week, I thought I would re-invent it and change it just a bit.
Spaghetti pie is really a single-layer lasagna.
It might be a little bit easier to assemble and your family might be interested in the novelty of spaghetti pie!
My Mr. and cherubs really do love pasta.
Whenever I make pasta anything, they love it!
For my family, it would be really hard to have a pasta dish that would be dud for them.
It's been so long since we've had this that both the cherubs thought it was a new recipe!
My boy cherub liked it because he likes "pink sauce" for his spaghetti.
"Pink Sauce" is a combination of Alfredo and marinara sauces on the noodles.
They way I made this spaghetti pie, it was a bit like having "pink sauce" as an end result.
That made him happy!
The Mr. and girl cherub just liked it because it was pasta!
Spaghetti Pie
8 oz spaghetti noodles (I use gluten free noodles)
2 eggs, whisked
2 TBSP butter, room temperature
1 cup cottage cheese
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
dried oregano
1/2 lb. ground beef, browned and drained*
1/2 onion, chopped and cooked with the ground beef*
16-24 oz favorite jarred spaghetti sauce (I used about 16 ounces, as I didn't want too much sauce)
grated mozzarella cheese, your desired amount
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles well and return to the pan in which they were cooked.
Add the butter to the noodles and stir to coat the noodles.  When most of the butter is melted, add the 2 whisked eggs to the pan and stir well to coat the noodles.
Season with a dash of dried oregano, if desired.
Spray a deep dish pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.  If you don't have a deep dish pie plate, use a square 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan, as the amounts I have used fill a deep dish plate to the top.
Pour the noodles into the pie plate and distribute the noodles to make a crust, gently pushing the noodles up the side of the pie plate.
While the noodles are cooking, in a medium bowl, add the cottage cheese, cream cheese, and sour cream together and mix well, either by hand or with a mixer.
Pour the creamed cheese mixture over the noodles, using a spoon to spread the mixture over all of the noodles.
In a medium bowl, add the cooked beef and the spaghetti sauce together, stirring to incorporate.
Gently pour the spaghetti sauce over the cheese mixture.
Top with grated mozzarella cheese.
Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to set for 10 minutes before serving.
The longer it sets, the easier it is to serve in "pie" pieces.  If served while piping hot, it will fall apart upon serving.
This is how it will cut after it has sat up a bit . . . .
*You can easily omit the meat, if desired.