Tuesday, September 30, 2014

HDFB Home Makeover

I wanted to share with you guys some of the fun things that have been going on my my house as of late. I not only use this blog to share the fun recipes that I make, but also to document what's going on in my life as I journey through it. It's like my own little diary (on the Internet, I know) that I can look back and remember what I was into (hint pumpkin everything), how I was feeling (probably hungry), or what I was craving (pizza!). Today I want to remember the progress that we have made in our new home. We have been here for exactly 1 month now, and boy have we made some amazing changes! When we bought the house, the entire interior was yellow (no!), and the fireplace (aka the focal point of the main part of the house) was a gray/blue. We have since painted the entire house, adding some accent walls in the living room and bedrooms, as well as a mantle made out of wood from a local reclaimed wood shop here in Phoenix. My home renovator extraordinaire, aka my boyfriend, installed pendant lights over the breakfast bar/island, mounted our TV on the living room wall, and even installed a white subway tile back splash in our kitchen (#1 on my must have list). Here are some before and after pictures of some of what we have done so far, but not so much that I spoil it for our housewarming party next week!!

split living room and dining room: before

 split living room and dining room: after 

newly stained and hung mantle

edison bulb pendant lights

 kitchen after paint

backsplash action shot

almost there!

backsplash complete

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pumpkin, Pecan + Pepita Granola

I cannot express how elated I am that pumpkin everything season is finally in full swing. My pinterest board is overflowing with recipe ideas that I have, and I've just been waiting, pet impatiently I will admit, for the time to come when pumpkin was socially acceptable. Otherwise, Halloween and pumpkin themed meals would be going on all treat long, and if probably be deemed crazy by my boyfriend, nonetheless my neighbors, family, and coworkers. Today's recipe actually comes from began blogger, the Minimalist Baker, who makes even the sin fullest meals like nachos covered queso, not only healthy, but vegan. This granola is hands down the best I've ever made at home, and couldn't wait to share with you all!

Pumpkin, Pecan + Pepita Granola

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats (do not use quick/minute oats)
  • 1 1/4 cups halved pecans
  • 1/3 cup raw pepitas
  • 3 tbsp. coconut sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey (could also use maple syrup or agave nectar instead)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
Preheat oven to 340 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pecans, pepitas, sugar, salt, and pumpkin spice. 

In a small saucepan, heat the oil, honey (or substitute), and pumpkin puree over medium heat, whisking together. Once the mixture is combined, pour over the oats and quickly stir together to coat as much of the oat mixture in the pumpkin puree as you can.

Spread evenly onto 2 large non-stick baking sheets, cooking for 12 minutes, then rotating the pans (top to bottom, bottom to top rack), and cook for another 12 minutes; until golden brown. Allow to cool to room temperature before breaking it up into chunks and store the granola in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Serve over greek yogurt, chia seed pudding, or with some almond milk like cereal!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Apple Butter Crumble Bars

If you have been following my blog for a long time, or even just a week, then you clearly know that I am seriously obsessed with Seriously Delish, a cookbook from my favorite food blogger and basically my life inspiration, Jessica Merchant, from How Sweet It Is. And in spirit of my obsession with her, her recipes, and all things food, I am once again sharing a recipe from her best-seller. I have already brought you her Green Chile Turkey & White Bean Enchiladas and her BBQ Chicken Pizza, but we are talking dessert today with these perfect-just-in-time-for-fall apple butter bars topped with a sweet, buttery crumble topping. Her recipe was perfect as-is, but I just had to add in some cinnamon, because cinnamon is perfectly indicative of autumn. I basically had to sneak some of these in the dark so that my boyfriend couldn't see me, because he wasn't going to share these with anyone. They're that good. 

Apple Butter Crumble Bars

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup apple butter
Crumble Topping:
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare an 8x8-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the peanut butter and the brown sugar and whip on medium until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and mix until combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix on low, continue to mix while adding the milk. Continue to mix until a dough forms.

Press the dough firmly into the prepared baking dish. Top with the apple butter and spread out evenly.

To make the crumble topping, mix together the oats, sugar, vanilla, flour, butter, and cinnamon. Mix together with your hands, crumbling the butter into the mixture and crumbling over the top of the apple butter layer.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting into 8 or 16 bars. Will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

BBQ Chicken Pizza a la Seriously Delish

I'm back with another recipe from the new cookbook "Seriously Delish" from How Sweet Eats and this time we are talking about pizza. BBQ Chicken pizza to be exact. We have been on a serious pizza kick here in the new house, making something about once a week, and yesterday I bought the last package of black mission figs at my local farmer's market, so keep a lookout for a possible sweet pizza coming up real soon! Meanwhile, I have been brought down by the bug this week. I get sick twice a year. Once in the spring when the first hot day of summer comes around, and again when the summer heat fades away and we are greeted with cool crisp mornings. And the mornings have been quite nice lately, which would explain my head cold. Luckily I have awesome co-workers who send me home to rest and an even awesome-r (not a word, I know) boyfriend who makes me soup and tea and makes me rest instead of cleaning dishes or doing laundry. So make this pizza while I'm sick in bed so I know that at least someone is eating delicious pizza instead of drinking hot water and ginger around the clock. 

BBQ Chicken Pizza

  • 1 pizza dough
  • corn meal for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 cups bbq sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • 1 cup fresh corn, cut from kernel (could also use canned or frozen)
  • 1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare a large flat baking sheet of pizza stone by sprinkling corn meal all over it so that the dough doesn't stick.

Allow the dough to come to room temperature while the oven pre-heats and you prepare the chicken. 

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and allow to cook and soften for about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, chicken, and 1/2 cup bbq sauce. 

Stretch the pizza dough out into about a 15-inch circle. Place onto the prepared baking sheet or pizza stone and bake in the oven for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and spread the rest of the bbq sauce all over the pizza (as you would with marinara sauce). Top with the shredded cheddar, then the chicken/onion mixture, the corn, and then the sliced jalapeƱo.

Bake for 20 minutes or so, until the crust is deep golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes before topping with the chopped cilantro, slicing, and serving. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sweet Potato Chipotle Cheddar Soup

Can I just tell you how excited I am for soup season?! I am soup's biggest advocate, and I love it in all shapes and forms. I like cold soup, I like hot soup. I like it when it's spicy, or mild. I like it by itself, or with an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich. Last week I made this tomato soup with burrata, and this week I'm switching things up with a spicy kick to a somewhat traditional creamy soup, without any actually cream. That's my favorite part! The sweet potatoes break down and create all of the creamy texture you need, and the shredded cheese just melts perfectly. Do yourself a favor and serve this up on a cool night with some warm crispy bread. 

Sweet Potato Chipotle Cheddar Soup

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (not yams), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 6 cups homemade chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
  • 6 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 green onions, sliced

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onion, celery, and salt, cooking until the onion is softened and starting to turn brown; stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cinnamon stock, mixing well to combine the spices, then add in the sweet potato and broth. Bring up to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and falling apart. 

Add in the chili and the vinegar before removing from the heat. Remove the cinnamon and stick and use an immersion blender (or work in batches in a standard blender) and blend until smooth. Stir in the shredded cheddar just before serving, allowing it to melt, and garnish with chopped green onions. 

Recipe slightly adapted from here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Tip: Chicken Broth

Do you ever grab one of those seasoned cooked rotisserie chickens from the grocery store on your way home from work for a simple and delicious dinner? Guilty. But then afterwards, you usually just toss that nasty carcass in the trash and don't think twice about it. What if I told you that you could use that carcass for something other than a weird smell in your garbage can? Well you can. By simply adding water to the leftover chicken bones, you can make your own chicken broth. I couldn't tell you the last time that I bought chicken broth from the store. The canned versions can have as much as 750mg sodium, but by making your own you can control the amount of salt that goes in. So next time you think about throwing that chicken away, stop and make some chicken broth before you discard it!

Homemade Chicken Broth

  • 1 chicken , meat removed form bones
  • water
  • salt and pepper (optional)
In a large soup pot, place chicken bones/carcass in the bottom. Cover with water, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 90 minutes on low.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before placing in a airtight container in the fridge, or freezing in ice cubes trays and placing in a zip lock bag in the freezer for future use.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Turkey Sausage & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Okay, enough talking about fall already, and more doing! My mom and I went Halloween decor shopping for my new house last weekend, and I gotta admit, I have a problem. While most people go nuts over Christmas decorations, I'm over here, like, can I just leave my skeleton bones and spiderwebs up all year? In celebration of my love for all things crisp and fall-y (fall-y? idk, I'm just making stuff up at this point), I created this incredibly filling, and surprisingly

healthy stuffed squash bowl. The only thing that could make this recipe better is if I would have crumbled some bacon and sage on top. You should probably do it!

Turkey Sausage & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 2

  • 1 acorn squash
  • sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 turkey sausages, casing removed
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn off the cobb
  • shaved parmesan cheese for garnish
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Cut acorn squash in half, scrape out the seeds and strings, sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven flesh-side down for 35-40 minutes until softened and cooked through.

Preheat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add in the turkey sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon while it browns and cooks through. 

Add in the quinoa and corn, allowing to warm through, mixing well. 

Once squash is done cooking, carefully remove using oven mitts and place flesh side up on a plate or in bowls. Fill each squash with the sausage/quinoa mixture and top with some shaved parmesan and parsley for garnish.


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