Monday, September 17, 2012


Ever heard of a puffin? Neither had I. That is, until this recipe. It's basically a pancake muffin that kids (and kids at heart) will love. It's pretty simple and you can use any number of ingredients to create your own concoction. The following one is filled with chocolate chips - my personal fave. Yum! Enjoy!

Mini Maple Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffins 
(that's the "official" name of this recipe)
Makes 24 mini muffins

1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Sift together with a wire whisk.

In another bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, maple syrup and melted butter until just combines.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until well combined.

Stir in chocolate chips. Reserve a few chocolate chips to sprinkle on the tops.

Bake for 8-9 minutes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Salami Caprese Salad

This salad is clearly an oxymoron. It is hearty, yet light. No matter. The combination of flavors are fresh and dee-lishous! And it's such a pretty salad to bring to a potluck or when guests come over. I would wait to drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette on top of it until right before serving so the mozzarella cheese stays nice and white to contrast the beautiful colors in the salad. And voila! You have the perfect lunch or side dish.

Salami Caprese Salad
Serves 4

For the pasta salad:
1 container fresh mozzarella cheese balls (8 ounces)
1-1/2 cups cut sweet grape, teardrop or cherry tomatoes
16 slices of salami
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1/3cup thinly slice basil
1/2 cup cooked small size penne pasta

For the balsamic vinaigrette:
2 tbsp. balsamic vingear
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 dashes garlic powder
3 dashes ground black pepper
3 dashes salt

For the pasta salad:
Boil water in a medium size pot and add the pasta. Let cook until al dente (approximately 10 minutes) and then rinse, and set aside.

Drain the liquid out of the container of mozzarella cheese. Add the mozzarella cheese to a large bowl.

Cut the tomatoes in half width-wise, and add to the bowl.

Then cut each piece of salami into 6 triangular pieces (like you would cut a pizza), and add to the bowl.

Next add the pasta, olive oil and salt and pepper to the bowl.

Gently stir all the ingredients together so that the pasta is coated with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Top with the thinly sliced fresh basil.

For the balsamic vinaigrette:
Add all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.

Just before serving, drizzle the vinaigrette on top of the salami caprese pasta salad.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Nutella Pop Tarts

Every kid I know loves Pop Tarts? Me? I'm little leery of something that has an expiration date of 2013 yet claims to be made with "real fruit." Huh?

Therefore, I decided to make my own Pop Tarts. Healthy they might not be. But I know exactly what ingredients are in there. And besides, they taste great. Easy peasy and filled with hazelnut chocolaty goodness, these make the perfect breakfast.

Nutella Pop Tarts
Makes 6 3-inch Pop Tarts

2 9-inch pie crusts
1/4 cup Nutella (or more as necessary)
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
1 egg lightly beaten for egg wash
Sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unroll the dough and cut into 12 3-inch by2 -inch rectangles. Place 1 teaspoon of Nutella in the center of 6 of the rectangles. Sprinkle each Nutella-filled rectangle wit a bit of sea salt.

Dab a bit of the egg wash around the edges of each Nutella-filled rectangles and cover with an unfilled rectangle. Use a fork to seal the edges and also to poke holes in the top of the pastry for steam to escape.

Brush the tops of each pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the sugar has caramelized a bit.

While the pop tarts are cooling, heat the remaining Nutella in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until it has a liquid consistency. Use a fork or spoon to drizzle the warmed Nutella over the pastries. Serve slightly warm.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Crabmeat Salad Stuffed Avocados

It's the end of summer and since I wasn't able to go to Maine and indulge in one of their famous lobster rolls, I had to settle for these crabmeat salad stuffed avocados. Boy, life is rough if I have to settle for this recipe. Ha!

With fresh crabmeat combined with bright, crisp veggies, and a flavorful and zesty dressing, this is one recipe that screams summer. A hint of citrus, combined with creamy  avocado makes this the perfect light and refreshing dinner. Try to contain yourself...

Crabmeat Salad Stuffed Avocados
Serves 4

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
9 ounces fresh, wild caught crabmeat, fully cooked
1/2 tomato, diced
1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 avocados
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, squeezed from 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dijon and red wine vinegar.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

To the bowl, add the cooked crabmeat, tomato, bell pepper and 1 tablespoon of chives.  Stir to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut each avocado in half and immediately pour lemon juice over each half to keep the avocados from turning brown.  Using a small spoon, scoop out the pit.  Also scoop out about 1/3 of the fruit from the center of each avocado half. Add the scooped-out avocado to the crabmeat salad and stir to combine.  Stuff each avocado with the crabmeat salad.  Sprinkle the remaining chives over each half and serve.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies

I've said it time and time again -  I love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. But add the hint of hazelnut to any concoction, and the recipe gets infinitely better. Such is the case with this peanut butter and Nutella cookie recipe.

Rich and chocolaty with just a hint of hazelnut, you will have a hard time resisting these cookies. Wash them down with a cold glass of milk and you've got yourself the perfect dessert.

Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Heaping 1/3 cup Nutella

Cream butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla together until smooth.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt and add to butter mixture. Add Nutella in dollops over the top of the dough. Use a butter knife to swirl the Nutella throughout the dough. Do not overmix.

Chill the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes before spooning onto cookie sheet to firm the Nutella.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Bake until slightly brown at edges.

Let cool a few minutes on cookie sheet before transferring.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring

This breakfast treat is sticky, sweet and oh-so-delicious! It's almost like making your own Pecanbon at home. Now, you don't have to go all the way to the mall for this special treat.

Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring

2 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits or 2 tubes Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits 

6 Tbsp. butter, melted

1 C. pancake syrup 
2/3 C. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 C. chopped pecans, optional

1/2 C. chopped almonds, optional

Spray a fluted pan with non-stick spray. Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired). Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top. Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together) to form a ring. Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter and enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Asian-Style Stir Fried Green Beans

I love green beans. They're one of the most versatile vegetables. You can roast, saute, steam or stir fry them and they can take on flavors so easily.

This recipe is perfectly balanced with just enough salt and a little heat. It is the perfect side dish that complements everything from fish to poultry.

Asian-Style Stir Fried Green Beans

1 bag frozen green beans, thawed and drained (Obviously, fresh would be better. But if you’re short on time, the frozen stuff is great.)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp brown sugar
 1/2 tbsp sesame oil

DirectionsIn a large bowl, mix soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp garlic, pepper flakes, and brown sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is uniform.

Add drained/dried green beans, and toss to coat in sauce

Heat sesame oil in a pan/wok on medium-high heat. When tiny bubbles start to form in the oil, add remaining minced garlic and cook until fragrant.

Pour green beans/sauce into the heated, oiled pan. Using a spatula, spread green beans out in a more or less even layer in the pan. Cover, and let cook for about 3-5 minutes.

Stir/toss green beans to avoid burning, then cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until your green beans get soft and you start seeing browned bits at the tips.

Enjoy immediately.