Whole Wheat Biscuits | Espresso and Cream
In our house, weekends are for taking a little extra time to make breakfast. I love waking up early (yes, we wake up early even on the weekend) and starting a pot of coffee on the stove top, getting out ingredients for homemade biscuits and spending an extra few minutes in the kitchen preparing breakfast.

Growing up, my mom made biscuits served with beef stew and it was always one of my favorite meals. Today, I usually make biscuits for breakfast on the weekends, paired with scrambled eggs and, if Joe is lucky, I’ll make some bacon, too.

When Joe and I were first married, I made homemade biscuits for him one morning for breakfast. About half way through the first biscuit, he looked at me and said, “These biscuits are SO good. Where did you buy them?” When I told him I made them from scratch a look of disbelief came over his face. We still laugh about it today. My husband, who knew he was married to a food editor, in shock that I could make biscuits that delicious. Clearly, I had some work to do.

Whole Wheat Biscuits 3 | Espresso and Cream
Sometimes, when I’m feeling a little guilty and want to make a breakfast that feels slightly more virtuous I’ll make these biscuits 100% whole wheat. They’re heartier and more dense than a traditional biscuit, but I love the rich, nutty flavor of the whole wheat flour. If you’re looking for a biscuit that’s more traditional, lighter and fluffier, I would suggest using 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour.

Whole Wheat Biscuits 2 | Espresso and Cream

Whole Wheat Biscuits with Jam
 
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour (if you like a lighter biscuit, swap half the whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon milk (use 2% or whole milk)

Directions
  1. Heat oven to 450°F.
  2. In medium mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar and salt until well combined.
  3. Cut butter into small pieces. Use a fork or pastry blender to blend butter into flour until mixture resembles a coarse meal with some larger pieces of butter remaining.
  4. Add milk to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Use your hands to bring dough together gently, lightly kneading dough just 2 to 3 times. Turn dough out onto floured surface and pat into a rectangle about ½ inch thick. Fold dough in half crosswise to make a double thickness of dough.
  5. Use a 2½ to 3 inch biscuit cutter to cut two biscuits from dough. Re-shape dough and cut two more biscuits for a total of four biscuits.
  6. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until biscuits are flaky and golden brown. Serve with jam or butter.

 

Black Bean and Beef Enchiladas | E&C
I mentioned earlier this week that I made enchiladas for dinner. It’s a regular occurrence in our house, since a big pan of enchiladas makes a great dinner and plenty of yummy leftovers for weekday lunches. We take our lunches to work almost every single day. It is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to save money. 

Lately, making homemade flour tortillas is one of my favorite new kitchen skills. I had no idea it was SO easy to make homemade tortillas, did you? Maybe I’m late to the game, but when I saw a recipe for homemade tortillas on Pinterest, I just had to give them a try. If you’re looking for a great recipe, I highly suggest Table for Two Blog’s recipe.

You could, of course, be an overachiever and make homemade enchilada sauce, too, but for weeknight dinners I usually just stick to enchilada sauce from a can. I kept things super simple in the filling, using ground beef, spices, diced green chiles, black beans and cheese. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to toss in whatever veggies you have on hand, like green peppers or diced cooked sweet potatoes. Get as crazy as you want!

Black Bean and Beef Enchiladas 2 | E&C

Quick Black Bean and Beef Enchiladas
 
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I love making a pan of enchiladas one night, then having lots of leftovers on hand for lunches throughout the week. When making enchiladas for a family like ours where there is one vegetarian and one meat eater, I like to separate out a small portion of black beans, green chiles and enchilada sauce to use as filling for a couple vegetarian enchiladas, then stuff the remaining with the beef, bean and green chile mixture.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients
  • 6 large flour tortillas (I strongly recommend you try making them at home. I’ll never buy them again!)
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 can (14- to 15-ounces) enchilada sauce
  • 1½ cups shredded cheese

Directions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13×9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In medium skillet, brown ground beef. Drain. Add in the cumin, coriander, salt and cayenne, along with the green chiles, black beans and ¾ of the enchilada sauce and stir until well combined.
  3. Spoon heaping ⅓ cupfuls of the meat mixture into the center of each tortilla. Roll tortillas up and place in the prepared pan. Drizzle remaining enchilada sauce on top of rolled enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and filling is hot. Serve immediately.

Coconut_Butter_2
I go in waves with all things homemade. Deep down inside, I love making everything by scratch. If I had the time, I would make my bread and my peanut butter and my pasta by scratch every week. Tonight I had a little extra time in the kitchen, so I made enchiladas with homemade flour tortillas and homemade enchilada sauce and I felt so accomplished knowing that I could name every ingredient in the food we were eating.

But if I’m being honest with myself, I just don’t have the time or energy to make everything from scratch all the time, no matter how much I might like to do so. My time is worth a lot, and I try to strike a healthy balance. Sometimes I go weeks on end making hummus by scratch or making my own peanut butter. Other times I simply find it worth it to purchase those items from the store.

The only time I regularly make things my scratch is when it’s vastly cheaper. I just can’t resist saving a little money and learning a new kitchen skill. I’m a big fan of coconut butter (not to be confused with coconut oil or coconut milk) which has a creamy, melty texture and great coconut flavor. But buying coconut butter can be pricey, so I set out to make it myself. I’m not sure what took me so long! I just had to share how easy it is to make coconut butter at home.

Because I prefer a little sweetness, I added some sugar to the recipe below, though you certainly don’t need it for the recipe to work. Since I’m not a huge jam or preserves person, I find that this coconut butter is a great substitute. It’s slightly sweet, creamy and tastes great on toast or drizzled on a morning bowl of oatmeal. The coconut butter will get hard at room temperature (especially in the winter when it’s colder in the house) but you can bring it back to spreading consistency by putting it in the microwave for a few seconds before you use it!

CoconutButter_1

Homemade Vanilla Coconut Butter
 
This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe by Ashley from Edible Perspective, which I found on Food52. You can find her recipe here. It’s incredibly versatile and I can see myself making lots of variations of this basic recipe. The sugar isn’t necessary in this recipe, but I like the sweetness it adds and the way it brings out the coconut and vanilla flavors.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon high-quality vanilla
  • 2 teaspoon sugar

Directions
  1. Place all the ingredients together in the bowl of a large food processor. Blend 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Coconut butter will get hard in cooler temperatures. To soften, microwave 20 to 30 seconds or until desired consistency for spreading on toast.

 

 

Bedroom_1Continuing on with the most drawn-out home tour in the history of all blogs. Today, I’ve got some photos of our master bedroom to share! Honestly, I’ve been avoiding sharing photos of our master bedroom because I have had the hardest time taking photos of this room. Something about the way the room is shaped and the way the light filters in has made it hard to really give you a feel for the room. Work with me, okay?

When we were choosing paint colors for the room I wanted to paint all the walls Dark Pewter by Benjamin Moore. My mom and Joe both thought that would be too dark, so we compromised and painted one wall Dark Pewter (the wall opposite the bed) and the remaining walls a shade of grey from Benjamin Moore. I love the Dark Pewter and couldn’t be happier with the pop of dark on the walls. It’s a chameleon color that changes as the light changes and it’s beautiful.

Our bedding is a mixture of greys and yellows, a common theme in our house. The duvet is from West Elm and the sheets are Calvin Klein that we’ve had for a couple years. The amazing sunflower painting was a belated wedding gift from our friend and talented painter, Marcia Lain Herring. She does wonderful work and I love the jewel tones she used. They’re perfect for the room.

Bedroom_2
Although the room isn’t huge, we do have space for two dressers. Mine is the dresser with the flowers and Joe’s dresser is on the far wall. Eventually we have plans to make a large closet for Joe in the unfinished part of the basement (hopefully this summer!) since Joe showers in the bathroom downstairs and he’s currently using the second bedroom closet as his own. Houses built in the 1950′s were a little short on closet space!

Bedroom_3
We played around with a few arrangements when it came to bed placement. Eventually we settled on putting the bed up against a window. I was initially opposed to putting the bed up against a window, but then I remembered my friend Laura placed a bed against a window in her guest room, and it gave me the confidence to do just that. I’m happy with how it turned out, and it really is the best place for the bed.

Bedroom_4
My mom found this amazing solution for all my jewelry. I have my necklaces hanging from a coat hook behind the door, but earrings, bracelets and rings all go on this little tree-looking jewelry stand. Full disclosure: It doesn’t always look this put-together. ;)

Bedroom_5
In the name of seasonal decor, we swap out the flowers in this large purple glass vase (from Homegoods) as the seasons change. I just recently swapped out our winter greenery for some spring buds in hopes that it will usher warmer temps soon!

Madison

BuffaloChickenSandwich_2

Note: After my post about switching from eating vegetarian to eating meat, I thought an update was in order. After about two months my body really started to reject eating paleo-style. I began to crave the vegetarian fare (and whole grains!) that I was so accustomed to. I have since decided that while it was interesting to give paleo-style eating a go, it isn’t for me and my body. I plan to write a full recap soon, but I wanted to get that out there for honesty’s sake.

Although I’m no longer eating meat, I will continue to be cooking a lot of meat, as I always have. Since I’m not ethically against eating meat, I do try everything that I prepare and share on this blog to make sure that it’s worth posting. My husband, of course, is also a fantastic resource and is always willing to provide his opinion on what he likes and doesn’t like. In this case, Joe was a huge fan of these Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches.

These sandwiches are incredibly easy to make and require very little hands-on time, meaning you can go do other things, like play with your puppy or paint your nails, while your dinner cooks. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but the key to good slow cooker chicken is to use a cut with a little bit more fat, like these boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They become incredibly tender and moist in the slow cooker and shred easily for sandwiches.

Since we love spicy food at our house, I added in a can of diced green chiles to the mix. And a little bit of brown sugar, which I think really rounds out the flavor of the sandwiches and balances the heat of the buffalo sauce.

Oh, and one more thing! A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a recipe over at Pinch of Yum which suggested that you shred your meat and broil it after slow cooking to give the meat pleasant crispiness resembling barbecue. For the longest time my biggest complaint with slow cooker food was that it tasted mushy and, well, slow cooked. This step of broiling the meat was a total game changer. Give it a try and be impressed!

BuffaloChickenSandwich_1

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
 
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This recipe is incredibly easy and makes a great weeknight dinner. I love shredding the meat and broiling it once it has cooked for a little extra texture and smoky flavor. It prevents the meat from tasting like, well, a slow-cooker recipe.
Recipe type: Slow Cooker Entree
Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 1 package (20 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1½ cups buffalo wing sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot brand)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Whole wheat bakery buns or rolls

Directions
  1. Place chicken and buffalo wing sauce in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker. Cook on High 2 hours or Low 4 hours.
  2. Use two forks to shred the chicken in the slow cooker. Stir in the green chiles and brown sugar and cook, uncovered, 30 minutes more.
  3. Turn oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place shredded chicken on baking sheet and broil 10 minutes or until the ends of the chicken become slightly charred and crispy. Serve on sandwich buns.

 Madison

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