Sticky Rhubarb Bars

rhubarb2

 

Rhubarb looks and acts like a fruit but it’s really a vegetable. The very tart but considerably sweet strawberry related flavor from rhubarb is why this plant is commonly used more in baking. Rhubarb is grown in late spring and is generally paired with strawberries, springs other darling.

My Grandmother has grown rhubarb in her backyard for more than 15 years. Every year I make sure to grab some stalks before it’s too late and hopefully get them into a recipe quick enough before they go bad. one of my preferred recipes to make with rhubarb isn’t a dessert but a drink. My summer time version of  the classic Iced Tea, by steeping rhubarb in with the tea bags. Give that a try for your next cookout! (Pro-tip: Add some berry vodka for a little something extra!)

I enjoy a little pastry each morning with my coffee, usually a doughnut or cookie of some nature. this recipe is adapted from lemon bars and with my interpretation, formed the Rhubarb Bars. This treat is perfect for the summer!

rhubarb5

 

Mise En Place:

  •  1 1/4 Cup AP Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Butter, Room temperature, cut into small cubes
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cups Rhubarb, diced

rhubarb

Method of Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 8×8″ pan with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, mix 1 Cup flour & 1/2 Cup Sugar. Using either a pastry cutter or your hands, slowly mash in the butter cubes. Mix together until mix is flaky and all the butter is dissolved. Press crust into lined pan and bake for 15 minutes.
  • While crust is baking, mix together eggs, remaining sugar, flour and salt. Stir in rhubarb.
  • Remove crust from oven (color will still be pale) pour in rhubarb mixture and continue to bake for 40-45 minutes.
  • Let the bars cool upon removing from oven. Remove the parchment paper and cut into squares.
  • Store in a glass container for up to 5 days.
  • Enjoy!

rhubarb4

Advertisements

Avocado Toast

IMG_20180606_110918

Happiness is a fresh seasonal avocado. I’ve met a few people who have mentioned they don’t like Avocado’s…those people cannot be trusted LOL. Avocados this year have been amazing so far, I’m happy it’s finally summer and I can have access to all of the avocados…if only I could get more than 2 for a reasonable price!

Avocados are a stone fruit with a creamy texture that grow in warm climates. Their potential health benefits include improving digestion, help in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and are a very nutrient rich fruit with beneficial fats to keep you full and satiated. With an impressive list of health benefits, I don’t comprehend how anyone could say they are gross. Avocados are versatile and one of the freshest ingredients to work with in summer dishes. They make a great alternative to mayonaise and butter in many recipes, even dessert! I propose if you are one of the many people who don’t appreciate a fresh avocado, to eat least try it in this recipe listed below. Add a little salt & pepper, maybe some juice from a lime or lemon, give it a good stir and they try again. Avocados might just guac your world.

This recipe is a trend showing up on many menus around the country. I’m certain Avocado Toast is nothing new for you to get excited about. These are just (3) ways I love my avocado Toast. Do you have any suggestions of a good avocado toast pairing? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Avocado Toast with Fresh Strawberries and Balsamic Reduction:

IMG_20180220_093227

Mise en Place:

  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 2 Slices of Bread, Toasted (I use Whole Wheat, or English Muffins)
  • 4 Strawberries, Sliced
  • Balsamic Reduction, to drizzle on top
  • S&P, TT
  • Fresh Mint leaves, optional

Method of Prep:

  • Cut avocado in half, remove from skin and add to a bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Using a fork, mash, then spread on toast. Top with strawberries. Drizzle with a little balsamic. Top with fresh picked mint.
  • Enjoy!

Southwest Avocado Toast:

IMG_20180221_112241

Mise en Place:

  • 1/2 Avocado, sliced
  • 2 Slices of Bread, Toasted
  • 2 Eggs, over medium
  • 2 Tablespoons Chunky Salsa or Pico
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Add sliced avocado to toast. Season with S&P. Top with over medium egg. Garnish with salsa.
  • Enjoy!

Smashed Avocado with Hard Boiled Egg:

IMG_20180606_111310

Mise en Place:

  • 1/2 Avocado, Smashed
  • 1 hard boiled egg, sliced
  • 2 Slices bread, Toasted
  • Hot sauce, optional

Method of Prep:

  • Remove avocado from shell, mash with salt and pepper. Spread on toast. Top with Hard boiled egg. Garnish with hot sauce.
  • Enjoy!

**Not pictured: Avocado Toast with Crab dip

  • Same process as above, just top sliced avocado with fresh lump crab or a seafood crab dip.

 

Shrimp Primavera

primavera3

The weather here in The Land, aka Cleveland hasn’t quite broken into spring temps just yet. Mother Nature has decided to keep winter around a little longer this year. Well, I think everyone can agree with me, enough is enough and winter, you need to go bye bye! The forecast for this weekend is giving us a little hope that spring isn’t far, with a high of 75 tomorrow! However, this is Cleveland and any chance we get with warmer weather always comes with rain….If you dislike the weather where you live, move to Cleveland and change my mind. 

April is the month I like to start looking into more fresh ingredients to use in my cooking. It’s around that time of the year where all the good produce is coming into season and everyone is looking for lighter food options to enjoy during the summer heat and refrain from gaining extra winter weight (I refer to this as the summer body diet). There is also the issue with cooking time on meals. I find most folks don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes preparing dinner especially when they are feeding more than themselves. Long days at work and then having to come home and cook dinner get exhausting very fast. Pasta is always a quick go to and whats nice about this recipe, you can cook the pasta and prepare you vegetables ahead of time so all you have to do when you’re ready to eat is heat it up! 

Even on a low carb diet, I find this recipe to be keto friendly. I just measure out my pasta to grant myself 1/4 cup to eat that way I don’t consume all of my daily carbs in one meal. I love the addition of fresh lemon juice and the mixture of vegetables in this dish! My primavera is very light and the acid gives a lovely crisp mouthfeel. Shrimp is the best option for protein as it is also very light. Butter is the only “sauce” used, you may substitute EVOO or Avocado Oil in place of the butter if you would like. 

primavera

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 40 Minutes

Mise En Place:

  • 1/2 Box Bow Tie Pasta, Cooked in salted water, drained
  • 1 LB Raw Shrimp (Approx. 20 Pieces) peeled & deveined
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1 Green Belle Pepper, medium dice
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, medium dice
  • (1) 14 Oz Bag Frozen Vegetable Medley
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Cook off pasta and drain if you haven’t already done so. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add frozen vegetables. Cook until soft but not overcooked, approximately 5 minutes.
  • In a saute pan, Melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Season both sides of the shrimp with salt & pepper. Add into pan and sear for 2 minutes over medium heat. Turn shrimp over, cook for an additional 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, add  1 tablespoon butter, 1 Teaspoon minced garlic & half the lemon juice to the pan, quickly baste the shrimp for 10 seconds. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • In a large pot, heat up 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add in all vegetables and garlic. Stir and allow to cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add in pasta, remaining butter, shrimp, pepper flakes, and lemon juice. stir until well combined and hot. Taste, adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Enjoy!
  • **Pair this pasta with a glass of French Chardonnay or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc!

primavera2

Cookies In A Jar

IMG_20180319_231617

Does anyone else have the problem of a colossal collection of Mason Jars? I have not only inherited more jars than I can count, but I began saving them for God knows why. Mason Jars can be used in many ways more than anyone can imagine, just search Pinterest if you don’t believe me! I was determined to finally clear out the Mason Jar inventory and start using them around the house. I spray painted a few and used them for holding eating utensils in the kitchen, some I use as glassware, others are used for storage in the bathroom and in the spice cabinets. 

Every year, the Club puts on a Princess & Superhero party for the kiddos. We usually include a raffle with a few different gift baskets the families have a chance at winning. I was asked to put together a baking basket using some of the baking supplies we had in house, I wanted to go beyond just a basket with a whisk & spatula in it. My inspiration for the cookie mix in a jar comes from a friend of mine who packages these jars and sells them! I was fortunate enough to have plenty jars on hand to make this happen. This is a favorable gift idea and exemplary gift basket filler. I believe that when packing something edible, sweets are the way to go! The cookie in a jar recipes are a great shortcut to homemade cookies. Typically these gifts are given around the holidays, however they are also great to give as a “Welcome to the neighborhood” and Teacher gifts. Families enjoy receiving these gifts because they are simple to make, and who doesn’t love a fresh baked cookie!?

I’ve included (3) distinctive jars that everyone is sure to enjoy. The directions are simple, You fill the jars with the dry ingredients, & whoever the receiver is they just add in the wet elements and bake to perfection!

IMG_20180322_105726

M&M’s Cookies:

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes

Yield: Approximately 20 Cookies

Mise En Place:

  • 1 1/2 Cups AP Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Holiday M&M’s
  • 1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Quart Mason Jar

Assembling Jars:

  • Using a funnel (or paper plate rolled up), pour flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt into the bottom of the mason jar. Top with the m&m’s. Next add in the Sugars, press firmly with a spoon. Seal with the lid and decorate with ribbon & fabric.

Recipe to Include with the Jar:

  • Pour the contents of the Jar into a large bowl & stir to combine. Add 1/2 Cup unsalted butter, lightly melted, 1 egg, beaten, & 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract. Stir until well combined. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Using a cookie scoop, place dough balls onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating.
  • Enjoy!

IMG_20180322_105808

Cocoa Brownies:

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Total Time: 55 Minutes

Serving: 1 (9×13 inch pan)

Mise En Place:

  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 8 Ounce Mason Jar

Assembling Jars:

  • Add the flour, salt and cocoa into bottom of jar. Pack in the sugars firmly. Seal with lid and cover with fabric & ribbon.

Recipe to Include with the Jar:

  • Heat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Add brownie mix from jar into a large bowl, mix well. Add 2 eggs, 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted, 1 Teaspoon Vanilla. Mix until well incorporated.
  • Add mix into a greased baking pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  • Allow to cool 5 minutes. Cut into squares.
  • Enjoy!
  • **Add in 1/2 Cup Chocolate chips into mix for a fudgier brownie!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies In a Jar:

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 20 Minutes

Yield: Approximately 10 cookies

Mise En Place:

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips
  • 8 Ounce Mason Jar

Assembling Jar:

  • Add flour, baking soda and salt to the bottom of the jar. Add in chocolate chips. Pack in the sugars.
  • Seal with lid, cover with fabric & ribbon.

Recipe to Include with the Jar:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add jar mix into a large bowl & mix well.
  • Cream together 1 Stick butter, softened, & 1 egg. Add 1 Teaspoon vanilla, stir. Add dry ingredients into wet and mix until well incorporated.
  • chill dough for 30 minutes. Scoop small dough balls onto a lined and lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  • Allow to cool at room temperature for 5 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

IMG_20180319_231544

Twice Baked Cauliflower

cauliflower4

I’m continually looking for new low carb recipes. When this video for a twice baked cauliflower dish popped up in my news feed on facebook, I thought to myself, that’s a new recipe I haven’t seen yet & it looked too good not to try! 

I’ve always loved cauliflower, raw or cooked. The internet has countless recipes that are using cauliflower in place of proteins and other high carb foods. The cauliflower head is very versatile and can be used grated as a rice or other grain substitute, cut thick to mock a “steak”, mashed up as a side dish, pureed as a sauce or into a soup, pulsed fine to mimic “cheese” on a salad. Cauliflower can be a substitute for flour and made into a pizza “dough”, cut into florets and tossed in buffalo as “wings”, even molded together and fried as a “tater tot” in place of potatoes. The Cauliflower possibilities are literally endless.  

I had tweaked this recipe a little bit from the original. I always love the inspiration from other food bloggers but will always put my own twist on a recipe. Obviously this recipe is made vegetarian, but if you would like to go full loaded twice baked, add bacon into the mix! The end result of this is super creamy & makes a great side dish with dinner. I served this as a side of pan seared salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. This baked cauliflower dish is even great on its own! I am looking forward to making this again and next time adding in some different spices or vegetables. 

cauliflower

Mise En Place:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, florets removed, chopped up small
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese, cut in cubes
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Scallions, as a Garnish
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Turn oven to 350 degrees. Remove core and stem from cauliflower. Cut florets into smaller chunks. Cook in a medium pot of salted boiling water until cauliflower is tender but not soft, approximately 5-7 minutes. Drain well and & mash with a potato masher, still leaving some chunks.
  • Mix in butter & cream cheese until smooth. Season with salt & pepper.
  • Once cauliflower is mixed well and creamy, add into a gently greased casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake in the oven, uncovered 15-20 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.
  • Garnish with scallions & Enjoy!

cauliflower2