Monthly Archives

September 2010

Buckwheat-Greek Yogurt Pancakes

September 16, 2010

I’ve posted before about my ambivalent relationship with pancakes. How I never really crave them and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made them in my own apartment. But fall weather has that way of doing funny things to your taste buds, and this week I found myself wanting, craving even, a warm stack of pancakes.

But, alas, when I really got down to making them it wasn’t a stack of white fluffy pancakes that I really wanted. No, it was something heartier, denser and slightly healthier, too; so the timing seemed perfect when I came across this recipe from a cute little site called Never Home Maker.

It felt as if it was meant to be, Greek yogurt and pancakes together in one. What could be better than that? Of course I felt the need to meddle and play around a little with the recipe, and since I had buckwheat flour on hand I tossed a little in to replace the all-purpose flour. And because my love affair with all things almond and cinnamon continues, I tossed them in, too.

The resulting pancakes totally hit the spot and quenched my hot cake fever faster than you can say Aunt Jemima. Oh, the syrup. I left it out because I don’t really like syrup all that much. For me, a little melted jam is always a much better alternative, but take your pick.

Buckwheat-Greek Yogurt Pancakes
(Printable Recipe)

The addition of buckwheat flour paired with the whole wheat flour makes for a dense, filling pancake that has a complex flavor and packs a nice nutritional punch. When paired with a little Greek yogurt for protein and some melted sugar-free jam, pancakes are suitable for any day of the year.

*1/2 cup whole wheat flour
*1/3 cup buckwheat flour or all-purpose flour
*1/2 tsp. baking powder
*1 large egg
*1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage Greek Yogurt)
*1/2 cup buttermilk
*1 tsp. almond extract
*2 tsp. canola oil
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*3 tsp. Stevia, Splenda or brown sugar
*1/2 cup red raspberry preserves (I used Smuckers Sugar-Free Red Raspberry)
Additional Greek Yogurt (optional)

*In a mixing bowl, combine the flours and baking powder. Add in the egg, Greek yogurt, buttermilk, almond extract, oil, cinnamon and Stevia or desired sweetener. Stir until just combined. If you are using buckwheat flour the batter will be slightly gooey.
*Heat a nonstick skillet or a skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray over medium heat. Add batter to the heated skillet, 1/3 cup per pancake, and cook until small bubbles form at the surface of the pancake. Flip and continue to cook 1 to 2 minutes more, until dark golden brown on both sides.
*In a microwave-safe cup, heat the preserves for 30 seconds, until pourable. Pour a couple tablespoons over each pancake and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, if desired.

Happy Cooking!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

September 15, 2010

You all had to know another pumpkin recipe was waiting in the wings. After the great pumpkin hunt last week I could hardly wait to start cooking and baking up all sorts of pumpkin-related goodness. Not long after the pumpkin pasta, three days to be exact, I baked up a batch of these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. And since I like to send J on his way back home with a treat for the car ride, I packed theses babies up and sent them on their merry way to Illinois. Portion control at its very best, my friends.

These cookies are a little different than others I put up on the site. Adding pumpkin into the mix makes them of the cakey variety rather than crispy-chewy. A bit of ground cinnamon and nutmeg play up the pumpkin-pie vibe without being overpowering. And the chocolate? Well, why wouldn’t you put chocolate in a cookie? Though now that I’m thinking about it, butterscotch chips would be absolutely divine.

Shoot, I wish I would have thought of that sooner…

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Printable Recipe)

If you’re like me and prefer your cookies on the slightly underdone side, shoot for baking them 12 minutes, or just slightly under that. And if you’re more like my mom, who loves her cookies well-done, aim for the high end at 15 minutes.

*1 stick butter, softened
*1/2 cup sugar
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/2 tsp. baking soda
*1 large egg
*1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
*1/4 cup instant oats
*1 cup milk chocolate chips

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, Add in the sugars and mix until creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and baking soda until just combined.
*Beat in the egg and stir until just combined. Add in the flour and mix until just combined, followed by the oats and chocolate chips.
*Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden around the edges and puffed in the center. Remove and transfer to wire racks to cool.

Happy Baking!


Peanut Butter Spice Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

September 13, 2010

One of these Mondays I’m going to be able to post about my relaxing, leisurely weekend where I got lots of sleep, painted my toenails, caught up on laundry and read all my untouched magazines cover-to-cover. But that day is not today. I’ll spare you the details only to say it was a crazy, whirlwind of a weekend and I’m still scratching my head wondering where Saturday went.

In addition to traveling eight hours in the car on Saturday to see J’s little brother play football, it was a weekend spent celebrating J’s 23rd birthday! He might not have seen the reason to cause a fuss, but I most certainly did. I’m a big believer in the concept of ‘birthday weekends’ and was intent on making the entire three days a celebration of the man I love.

There were birthday cupcakes on Friday night when he arrived and a birthday dinner in Minneapolis with family on Saturday night after the game; there was also a man making balloon animals at the restaurant who catered to my request that he make J an birthday balloon hat to wear during dinner. And when his actual birthday arrived on Sunday, I put candles in both his chocolate chip pancakes and his sandwich at lunch. Like I said, birthdays are a big deal around here. 

Since J isn’t a huge fan of overly-sweet desserts, I passed on most of my original ideas and decided to go with a simple spiced cupcake topped with a small dollop of peanut butter buttercream. Had this been my own birthday celebration there would have been a whole lot more buttercream involved. Thankfully, the birthday boy is generous and let me steal the buttercream off another cupcake to make up the difference.

Happy birthday, J!

Peanut Butter Spice Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream
(Printable Recipe)

*1 stick butter, softened
*1 cup sugar
*1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup self-rising flour
*1/2 cup buttermilk 
*2/3 cup all-purpose flour

*1 stick butter, softened
*1/2 cup peanut butter
*1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
*1-3 Tbsp. milk (start with 1 and add more if you want a thinner consistency)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add in the sugar and peanut butter and beat until creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract until combined.
*Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Reduce speed to low and beat in the self-rising flour until just combined, followed by the milk, then the all-purpose flour, being sure not to over beat and only mixing until ingredients are just combined.
*Spoon batter into prepared cupcake liners, filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
*Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter together until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time, followed by the milk, beating until smooth and creamy.
*Pipe or spread buttercream atop the cupcakes. Candles optional. 🙂

Happy Baking!


Rigatoni with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

September 10, 2010

Wednesday night a craving for pumpkin hit me hard. It had been creeping up slowly, after weeks of seeing recipes for pumpkin french toast and pumpkin oatmeal pop up on some of my favorite blogs. And then there was the incessant talk about the return of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte that rang throughout the Twitter universe. Seems like I wasn’t the only one who had pumpkin on the brain.

So when Wednesday’s pumpkin craving hit me like a Mack truck, I figured satisfying it would be pretty simple, right? Run to the store, pick up some pumpkin, make something yummy. Not a chance.

When Target was out, I drove over to our midwestern grocery store chain, Hy-Vee, where I demanded to speak to the manager to inquire about why there was a large OUT OF STOCK sign where the canned pumpkin was supposed to be. Turns out, they were having a tough time getting pumpkin in the store and weren’t sure when the next shipment would come in.

I made calls that night to WalMart Supercenters and a few other specialty grocers until I found a store that had Libby’s canned pumpkin. Not wanting to risk missing out, I threw on presentable clothes and rushed over to retrieve seven 30-oz. cans of pumpkin, wet hair and all.

It was so worth the trip, if just to enjoy this pumpkin pasta. With a bit of tomato soup, ricotta cheese, and plenty of pumpkin puree, it proves pasta dishes can be creamy, delicious and healthy. If the combination sounds strange to you, you’re in good company. Most of those I’ve fed pumpkin pasta to have balked at the thought, only to fall it love with it upon first bite.

Rigatoni with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
(Printable Recipe)

*8 oz. rigatoni pasta
*1 Tbsp. butter
*3/4 cup milk (I used 1% milk)
*3/4 tsp. salt
*1/2 tsp. black pepper
*1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
*1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
*1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
*1/4 cup tomato soup
*14.5 oz. can diced southwestern-style tomatoes, rinsed and drained
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

*Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and keep warm.
*In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the milk, salt, black pepper and sage. Cook, stirring often, until milk is warm but not hot, about 2 to 3 minutes.
*Add in the pumpkin and ricotta cheese, stirring until all ingredients are well-combined and the mixture is creamy. Stir in the tomato soup and continue to cook until mixture is hot but not boiling, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in the diced tomatoes.
*Add pumpkin cream sauce mixture to pasta and toss to coat evenly. Divide among four bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Happy Cooking!


Favorite Veggie Sandwich with Parsley-Curry Hummus

September 8, 2010

There are few things in life that bring me as much peace and satisfaction as a fully-stocked fridge. Call me weird but the ritual of cleaning out the fridge and filling it with colorful produce, milk, Greek yogurt, and yummy extras is just so settling. Maybe it’s knowing that I won’t starve if all the grocery stores in Des Moines abruptly close. Or maybe it’s because I know that I’ll be able to make sandwiches like this.

Don’t let the fact that it’s healthy to the max scare you away, because it’s also super tasty and complex, thanks to a layer of homemade Parsley-Curry Hummus, Dijon mustard and mashed avocado. Mashed avocado makes everything divine.

While we’re on the topic of sandwich spreads, let’s chat hummus: it’s creamy, adaptable, healthy, expensive to buy and cheap to make at home. The bulk of the cost comes from two cans of garbanzo beans, which cost me $0.79 each, and it stores well in the fridge for weeks. Once you’ve tried this variety, try mixing it up with roasted red peppers, jarred olives, or fresh basil in place of the parsley.

Parsley-Curry Hummus
(Printable Recipe)

*2 (16-oz.) cans garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed and drained
*1/2 cup olive oil
*2 Tbsp. milk 
*1/2 cup Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1/2 tsp. curry powder
*1/2 tsp. paprika
*1/4 tsp. black pepper

*Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, about 2 to 3 minutes.
*Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

Favorite Veggie Sandwich

*2 slices 100% Whole Wheat Bread
*1 Tbsp. Parsley-Curry Hummus or other hummus spread
*2 tsp. Dijon mustard
*1/2 of a medium avocado, mashed
*1/2 of a small tomato, sliced
*1/4 cup sprouts
*Lettuce leaves
*1/3 to 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers
*1 slice provolone or sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

*Spread one slice of bread with the hummus. Spread the other side with the Dijon mustard, followed by the mashed avocado.
*Stack on the veggies and eat.

Happy Cooking!