Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust

Since making this chessecake there has been an incredible amount of self control going on at our house. Sure we inhaled half of it the first day but since then we haven’t touched it. We are expecting friends for dinner tomorrow night so I am actually saving it.

Want a little bit of insight? The real reason it is still around is because I am neurotic. I have a way of needing things to be just so. In the case of this cheesecake we had half left so it made sense to save it all. Because there was half. Rational right?

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

Had there been a third or a quarter or anything less I am sure that we would have continued eating it. My poor sweet husband knowing and understanding my neurosis has not dared to touch it. And I love him for putting up with me.

How bad is this really? It’s bad. I have a set way in my head of thinking of the leftovers- particularly when they are baked goods or sweets.

For example I had nine leftover cupcakes the other day and the fit neatly in three rows of my cupcake pan in my fridge. After an event I added one more to it so there was 10 (I like even numbers more than odd). Nathan thinking it was safe since the 10th one looked like the odd man out asked if he could eat it.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

No. Sorry love. I am neurotic and now in my mind 10 is better than 9 so you have to leave it.

Living with me comes with cupcakes and cheesecake and one terrible case of the crazies sometimes.

BUT we all get to eat more cheesecake tomorrow and enjoy it.

I am blessed more than you know to have people who put up with me.

Ps. This cheesecake? The best I have ever had. And I am not kidding.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

One year ago today: Snickerdoodles

Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust (serves 10-12 easily)
From Martha Stewart 

One half of a batch of this cookie recipe for the base
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 pounds (six 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Wrap exterior of pan (including base) in a double layer of foil. Pat the cookie dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake until crust is set, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. With mixer on low speed, gradually add sugar mixture to cream cheese; mix until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined; do not overmix.

Pour cream cheese filling into prepared pan. Set pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake 45 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue baking until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in the center, about 30 minutes more. Turn off oven; leave cake in oven with door slightly ajar, 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around the edge of the cake.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

Homemade Falafel with Tahini Sauce

Remember when I bought tahini for the first time the other day? And made pita bread? Best day ever.

So I did it again. Not the buying tahini part because I already had some but the making pita bread. Just a half batch this time. Lets not get crazy out of hand people. And then I made homemade falafel to fill it with.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Seriously. Made my own falafel. Who knew it was so easy? Sure you gotta stand over the stove and fry them but it is so worth it.

Precious little brings me as much pleasure as being able to make restaurant quality food at home. I love being able to make things I would otherwise have to pay someone to make for me. And for a fraction of the price plus there is the upside that I get to share it with you.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Speaking of sharing things what are you up to on May 31st? This sweet little blog turns two at the end of May and last year it was SO fun to see many of you at the first anniversary party. Wanna have another party? I’ll cook. It will be delicious. There will be drinks. But seriously. Please just come celebrate with me. I would be over the moon.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Mark you calendar- My 31st. Be there or … I don’t know. I have no threats to make. Just come. It will make me happy. I might make you some pitas.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

One year ago today: Baby bok choi and mushrooms and risotto primavera

Homemade Falafel with Tahini Sauce (makes XXX)
From Just a Taste

For the falafel:
2 cups roughly chopped white onion
6 garlic cloves
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
Canola oil, for sauteing
Pita bread, for serving

For the tahini sauce:
1¼ cups plain yogurt (full fat or non-fat)
¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Add the onion and garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until they are finely minced. Remove the mixture and set it aside.

Add the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, salt, chili powder, and cumin to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until they are roughly blended but not pureed.

Return the onion mixture to the food processor, along with the baking powder and just enough flour so that when you pulse the processor, the mixture begins to form a small ball and is not sticky. (Note: Start by adding ¼ cup of flour, and then the remaining ¼ cup. You can add more if the mixture is still too wet.)

Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour.

While the falafel mixture is chilling, prepare the tahini sauce by whisking together the yogurt, tahini and lemon juice. Season it with salt and pepper, cover it and place it in the fridge.

Once the falafel mixture has chilled, use a small ice cream scoop or spoons to form the mixture into balls (roughly 3 Tablespoons per ball). (Note: You can also add additional flour at this point, if the mixture is too wet to scoop.)

Set a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a liberal amount of canola oil so that the pan is well-coated. Let the pan pre-heat for 3 minutes then add the falafel one by one, browning them on the first side for 3 minutes, then flipping them once and browning the second side until the mixture is cooked throughout.

Transfer the falafel to a paper towel-lined cooling wrack and immediately season them with salt. Repeat this process until you have cooked all of the falafel.

Place three or four falafel inside a halved, warmed pita and drizzle with the prepared tahini sauce.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with Ketchup Aioli

BRUNCH!

Easter absolutely screams brunch to me. Even though I don’t think I have ever done an Easter brunch. We are mostly ham and deviled eggs sorta people around here.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

Something that has eluded me (and continues to elude me) has been hash browns. I can’t count the number of times we have tried to make them. If you know the secret please share with me. I am at a total loss.

What possessed me then to try and make sweet potato hash browns is also a mystery. I do however know that they.turned.out. Stop the presses. I actually made crispy potatoes in a pan. Well sweet potatoes but crispy fried potatoes nonetheless.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

These were immediately devoured as soon as I was done taking pictures. The sauce really takes this one step further. I urge you to make it. And make it with craft ketchup. Remember Red Duck? We did a couple recipes with them recently and I am developing recipes for them on a monthly basis now.

Trust me- this sauce will only be as good as the quality of your ketchup so make it count.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

So make em for brunch. Or make in the afternoon and devour the evidence before anyone else gets home. Just make em!

Ps. I really think the reason this works so well is the rinsing then draining/squeezing in a towel of the shredded potatoes. At least that is what I am telling myself. So drain and squeeze well! Get those puppies as dry as you can.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

 

One year ago today: Flourless chocolate cake

Sweet Potato Hash Brown with Ketchup Aioli (makes 10-12 patties)
From High Heels to Hot Wheels

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled & shredded
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup safflower oil (if frying)

1/2 cup reduced fat or fat free sour cream
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
Dash salt & pepper

For the Sweet Potato Hash Browns
Place shredded potatoes in a colander and rinse until the water runs clear. Let drain for about 10 minutes. Wrap the potatoes in a clean dish towel and squeeze to pull out liquid. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, garlic, egg whites, olive oil, salt & pepper. Stir to coat and combine evenly. Heat safflower oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, place about 1/4 cup of potato mixture into pan (being careful of oil splashes). Fry for 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness of potato cakes. Using a slotted spatula carefully remove cakes from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.

For the Ketchup Aioli
In a bowl, combine sour cream, ketchup, chives, salt & pepper. Stir to combine completely.

Serve the warm patties topped with sauce and extra chives.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

Coconut Cream Pie Date Balls

A little over a year ago I found myself in the home of a lovely friend and she served me the most delicious date balls. I even shared them with you remember?

What I didn’t share with you was the funny interchange that happened when I asked for the recipe. She looked at me puzzled. A bit like I was lost. “A recipe?” she asked. “You just throw things together!”

Um. I had never had the privilege of making anything of the sort so she obliged and hunted down a recipe that resembled her fantastic creating. It was an instant hit around this house.

Coconut Cream Pie Date Balls

After the second or third time of making these date balls I realized why she looked at me so strangely. It really is just as easy as throwing things in the food processor and turning it on. Granted it has to be things that you like and that will go well together but seriously… just throw things in there and whir!

Date balls are a staple around here. So are Lara Bars when I am too lazy to make my own date balls. My absolute favorite Lara Bar flavor is coconut cream pie. Shorty after learning to make date balls I started reading the ingredients on the back of Lara Bars and crafting date balls with similar ingredients.

Coconut Cream Pie Date Balls

These are such a win. And so incredibly delicious. The toddler loves them. Nathan and I snack on a couple as a sweet after dinner treat. They come together in an instant and are so very forgiving of proportions or additions and subtractions when it comes to ingredients.

Make a batch. Then be brave and branch out. Use different nuts. Or add cocoa power. Maybe a different dried fruit like cranberries. Oh I bet apricots would be divine!

Coconut Cream Pie Date Balls

One year ago today: Rye caraway scones and peanut butter cookies 

Date Balls (makes about 30)
Mine

4 cups dates (pitted if they aren’t already)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut plus more for rolling
1 cup cashew (or pieces as they are infinitely cheaper)
1/2 cup coconut oil

Add all of the ingredients (except the extra coconut for rolling) to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until it is finely ground and is paste like. Scoop out with a spoon and roll into balls. Drop the balls on the extra coconut in a bowl or a plate and roll around till well coated. Place on a tray. Chill in the fridge and enjoy.

Coconut Cream Pie Date Balls

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Are you ready for me to instill some confidence in you about this cake? It baffles me.

Mostly it is delicious but it was definitely one of those things that turned out every which way. Tasty always but annoying.

I made a total of three batches of this cake in rapid succession. It was a cake all around weekend with me helping to make the cupcakes for two toddler birthday parties and having the privilege of making a cake for a baby shower I was hosting.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

The first time I made it I made a double batch but I didn’t come out with enough cupcakes for both parties so another batch ensued. Both batches were delicious but the second was cooked ever so slightly less time and was less dense. Neither was better than the other just different.

The last batch I baked in a bunt pan like the recipe called for. Delicious in the end but I struggled to flour the bunt pan. Yes. You read that right. I struggled with something in the kitchen. So the cake you see here pictured is less than beautiful as it has huge clumps of flour on it.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Maddening I tell you. No one complained. All were met with rave reviews and devoured quickly. And who who can say no to poppyseed and lemon? Certainly not me.

The first batch I skipped the lemon glaze till long after the cake had cooled. It was delicious but I recommend following the directions and putting it on while the cake is hot. Also these are the STRANGEST directions if you ask me. I contemplated ignoring them and making it my own way several times but opted to try it just once. And it works. Who knows why or how it works but it does. So just trust it.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

One year ago today: Spicy whole grain mustard

Lemon Poppyseed Cake (serves 10-12)
From Rose’s Heavenly Cakes

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sour cream, divided
1 1/4tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (8.7 ounces) superfine sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
5 tsp. loosely packed lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
1/3 cup poppy seeds
14 Tbsp. (1 3/4 sticks; 7 ounces) unsalted butter, at 65 to 75 degrees
Lemon syrup
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. (4 ounces) sugar
6 Tbsp. lemon juice freshly squeezed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-cup metal fluted tube pan with butter and then with flour. In a medium bowl, whisk the whole eggs, yolk, 1/4 cup of the sour cream, and the vanilla, just until lightly combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. The mixture will lighten in color and texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Starting on low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Using a silicone spatula or spoon, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small metal spatula. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted between the tube and the side comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.

Shortly before the cake is finished baking, make the lemon syrup. In in a small saucepan over medium heat heat the sugar and lemon juice, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved. Do not allow it to boil. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack, poke the cake all over with a thin skewer, and brush it with about one-third of the syrup. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert it onto a 10-inch cardboard round or serving plate. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining syrup. Cool completely and wrap airtight.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

We have done black bean enchiladas before. So ridiculously good.

I have thing for enchiladas. They might, just might, be one of my all time favorite foods. And since I can make my own sauce I can whip them up whenever I want. Which I don’t. Because I can be lazy like that. Aren’t we all?

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

Then the idea floated across Pinterest to just toss the sauce with quinoa and other goodies and bake. Yes please.

What a simple recipe to throw together. Skip the cheese and it is vegan. Use or make a gluten free sauce and it’s gluten free. Which, in the circles I hang out in, something that can easily be vegan AND gluten free is a real winner.

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

We topped our with avocado and limes. I’m sure cilantro, sour cream, and even guacamole would be welcome additions.

Simply put it is enchiladas with WAY less hassle. And a bunch of veggies. I was thinking as I was making it that you would easily roast up some veggies and include them. And if you are an omnivore or someone who doesn’t think it is a complete meal without meat adding in some shredded chicken or pulled pork would totally be appropriate.

It makes a ton to invite company over. Just sayin.

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

One year ago today: Honey Cake and On Delivering Dinner (my favorite post ever)

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole (easily serves 8+)
From Two Peas and their Pod

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 cup corn frozen kernels
Juice of 1 small lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed or three to four cups cooked on your own
2 cups red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sautéed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings, if desired. Serve warm.

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

Pita Bread

Hummus and pita go hand in hand. Right? Thanks for agreeing with me.

A good mama friend of mine made these a few weeks ago with her littles. I have seen them all over Pinterest for months dying to try them.

Homemade pita bread

For some reason they simply haven’t surfaced on the list of things I needed or wanted to make. Now you can add them to the list of things I will NEVER buy from a store again.

Pitas to me have always been these overly dry tasteless things that you get at the store in a bag. Occasionally at a restaurant you get really good soft and fluffy ones but they aren’t the pocket type pitas. I didn’t even know that pocket pita could be synonymous with soft and fluffy. Delicious.

Homemade pita bread

Easy peasy bread that you kinda throw together and then leave on the counter. Want to know a secret? I forgot about mine and what was supposed to be 1 hour rise turned into I think three. I can’t remember. The recipe called for throwing it in the fridge- I did none of that. Who has the patience?!

And I baked mine in the oven for only three minutes on my pizza stone. All an absolute utter breeze. Have I stressed the fact enough yet that these were delicious? Often homemade things are pretty good but store bought can be passable. This is not one of them. Two different worlds. Go make your own!

Homemade pita bread

One year ago today: Apple Cupcakes with Vegan Buttercream Frosting

Pita Bread (makes 8-12)
From Smitten Kitchen

3 cups plus a scant 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the ingredients. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed just until all the flour is moistened, about 20 seconds. Change to the dough hook, raise the speed to medium and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should clean the bowl and be very soft and smooth and just a little sticky to the touch. Add a little flour or water if necessary.

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into a 2-quart or larger dough-rising container or bowl, lightly greased with cooking spray or oil. Press the dough down and lightly spray or oil the top of it. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. Let rise for about an hour and a half. Proceed to shaping or place in the fridge for 4 to 12 hours.

When ready to bake preheat the oven to 475°F one hour before. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone, cast-iron skillet, or baking sheet on it before preheating. Cut the dough into 8 or 12 pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp cloth. On a lightly floured counter, with lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a ball and then flatten it into a disk. Cover the dough with oiled plastic and allow it to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature. Roll each disk into a circle a little under 1/4 inch thick.

Quickly place 1 piece of dough directly on the stone or in the skillet or on the baking sheet, and bake for 3 minutes. The pita should be completely puffed but not beginning to brown. How well the pita will puff depends on how much moisture is in the dough. The more moist the better the puff. Allow to cool then enjoy.

Homemade pita bread

Hummus

WHy is it that the basics are elusive? How on earth do I know how to make my own butter but have never made my own hummus? We even keep a stash of dried garbanzo beans on hand at all times so would think it would be something that was n my repertoire.

Guess not.

However when requested I am more than happy to oblige. Particularly when it is something that has to be ridiculously simple and I just haven’t bothered to figure it out yet.

Which was the case here. A friend asked for it so I happily made it. And he happily ate over 2/3 of it in one sitting.

Homemade hummus in minutes

Who can blame him?

Also I thought I was going to take the cheater way out of this and use peanut butter instead of tahini. I had heard that you could do it and I didn’t want to bother with hunting some down (not like it is hard but I am L.A.Z.Y.). Nathan however was not amused so to acquiesce I got some. One of the local hippy stores (there are many) actually keeps tahini in bulk bins so I bought enough for two batches.

Totally worth it. Even better in pita sandwiches with tomatoes, shallots, and spinach. Seriously could make myself sick overeating on these. Oh and the pitas were homemade. Recipe to come. Also totally worth the effort.

Couple of notes- taste, taste, taste, and taste. Make sure you like the flavor! Also I had to add quite a bit of water to get it as loose as I wanted it to be. Don’t be afraid to keep adding water till it is right.

Homemade hummus in minutes

One year ago today: Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Scones and Ciabatta Bread

Hummus (makes about three cups)
From the Barefoot Contessa

4 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas

Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it’s minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Add more water if necessary to thin it out. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Homemade hummus in minutes

Cooking Beans

It has astounded me how many vegetarians I have talked to of late who mentioned they don’t make/don’t know how to make their own beans. From scratch.

I too used to be in the canned bean buying club. With my budget concious ways making my own beans was just a matter of time. At first I found it frustrating and confusing between the soaking and the rinsing and the simmering. And I always seemed to have too many or not enough when I was done making a batch.

Cooking Dried Beans

Then I learned you can freeze them after cooking. Freeze.them. What?!

World turned upside down.

Cooking Dried Beans

Now this is the only way I make beans. I keep all sorts of dried beans on hand at all times because I buy them in bulk from my co op. A pantry full. Many of them from the local valley too. I’m a lucky girl. Also I tend to keep at least 3-4 different containers full of different kinds of cooked beans in my freezer.

Cooking Dried Beans

Pretty much a kitchen full of beans. Not really but you get the idea. But seriously since I learned that you can make and freeze beans I haven’t bought a single can from the store. Mostly because I can’t bring myself to buy a can of beans when I know I have so many at home. Sure if I have to make a batch from dried its going to take an hour and half ish or if I need to thaw them it will take a while but I am more than happy to go this route.

Or I’m neurotic and just love making everything from scratch.

Anyways. It’s easy. It’s cheaper. You should do it. Join me.

Cooking Dried Beans

One year ago today: Orange poppyseed scones

Cooking Dried Beans (makes as much as you want)
Mine (ish)

Dried beans
Water

It is not necessary to pre-soak most beans but you can if you want. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) must be soaked overnight however.

Place your beans in a large pot, pick them over for any rocks and broken beans. Rinse a couple of times in cold water to get off any residual dirt. Drain the dirty water. Cover the beans with 2-3 inches of water and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Set a timer for one hour. Once the timer goes off taste test at least five beans from the pot (try to get them for different places) to see if they are done. Continue checking in 10 minute increments till they are perfect. Drain and allow to cool slightly. Use immediately or cover with fresh water, cover, and freeze till you want to use them. Enjoy!

Cooking Dried Beans

Orange Cranberry Scones

Ok before I even begin I just want to say I am sorry/not sorry about this post. I try to not toot my own horn but sometimes being me is pretty dang awesome.

Between the stress, sleep deprivation, and overly sedentary lifestyle because I am too overscheduled to exercise (I am working on this) there are still some pretty cool perks to being me.

For example my wardrobe is pretty cool. I’ve got some pretty cute clothes and plenty of things that make me smile when I put them on.

Cranberry Orange Scones

I have a husband who loves me dearly and encourages me to follow my dreams. A pretty big plus in my book.

My kitchen though has got to be one of the biggest perks I’ve got going. Having been married for nearly nine years we have acquired lots of really nice kitchen gear. My pots and pans rock my world. The aforementioned awesome husband keeps my high quality kitchen knives wicked sharp. Most gear you would need to make most dishes can be found in my cupboards.

Cranberry Orange Scones

And this is where it get really really cool- most ingredients you need to make do basic baking can be found in my house on a regular basis. I was lying in bed thinking how lovely orange cranberry scones would be knowing full well all the ingredients were downstairs.

So I guess the only thing better than being me that morning is living with me. Because yeah… there were hot delicious scones straight out of the oven less than an hour after we all came downstairs.

Cranberry Orange Scones

One year ago today: Guacamole and Pina Colada Cupcakes

Orange Cranberry Scones (makes 12)
From Two Peas and Their Pod

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup half and half
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, set aside. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingers. Whisk into the flour mixture. Add cold butter pieces to the flour mixture. Cut in butter using a pastry blender, fork, or your hands. I prefer to use my hands. Mix until you have pea size chunks of butter.

In a small glass measuring cup, whisk the half and half, eggs, and vanilla extract together. Pour over dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until moist. Gently stir in the fresh cranberries. Transfer dough to a floured countertop and knead until dough comes together. Shape dough into a large circle. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the scone dough. Cut dough into wedges and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with some extra sugar. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until scones are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Cranberry Orange Scones