Tag Archives: cinnamon

Snow Day Soft Pretzels

Full disclosure: where I live, we haven’t had a snow day this winter. The only snow I even came into contact with was when we played with store bought snowballs at the Frozen birthday party I attended this weekend–while wearing flip flops. When the temperature dropped overnight and I had a teeny bit of ice to scrape off my windshield this morning I had to search my garage for an ice scraper. So I personally don’t need snow day activities. However, growing up in the Northeast US, we had plenty of snow days and I’m sure my mom was always looking for random things to keep me and my siblings occupied (and this was before the days of Pinterest. Gasp!).

Snow Day Soft Pretzels

But while weather hasn’t been a challenge for me this winter, my husband has been out of town for almost 6 weeks for work so I’ve still been trying to come up with creative ways to entertain my toddler son in the evenings and on weekends and one of my favorite ways to do that is in the kitchen. I love to cook and bake, he loves to eat and “help” in the kitchen. So we’ve made lots of smoothies, we’ve made flavored popcorn, we’ve made pizza from scratch, and my new favorite is soft pretzels.

Snow Day Soft Pretzels

For a while I was on a soft pretzel kick from the cafeteria at work. They’re not even all that good from there, but the crispy salty exterior with the soft chewy inside is definitely comforting. Homemade ones, though, especially when fresh out of the oven and brushed with melted butter, totally hit the spot. There are a number of ways to make baking these pretzels educational (in additional to delicious) for your kiddos too. Older kids can help with the measuring process while making the dough, lots of math skills there, or watching the yeast ferment (yay biology). My son is too young for those concepts, but we form the pretzels into various shapes and letters so he can practice his alphabet and shapes. He also loves topping them with salt or cinnamon sugar and brushing them with butter which are great fine motor skills practice for toddlers. In the end, we’re left with a tasty treat which makes everyone happy.

So warm up your insides with these easy and delicious Snow Day Soft Pretzels. (PS I was able to make these after work and still have pretzels ready to eat before bedtime).

Snow Day Soft Pretzels

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Snow Day Soft Pretzels (adapted from Baking Bread the Way Mom Taught me)

Yield: 16 pretzels

Ingredients:

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

1 1/2 tablespoons honey, divided

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1/2 cup milk

2 1/2 cups water, divided

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/2 tablespoon baking soda

Coarse salt and/or cinnamon sugar, for topping

Directions:

  1. Combine yeast, 1/2 tablespoon of honey, and lukewarm water in a small bowl. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
  2. Meanwhile, heat milk, 1/2 cup water, and 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan until hot. Transfer to a large mixing bowl (of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook if possible).
  3. To the mixing bowl, add the remaining honey, salt, and 1 cup of flour and blend thoroughly. Mix in the egg, then the yeast.
  4. Add in the baking powder and the rest of the flour, little by little, mixing with the dough hook after each addition. Continue kneading with the dough hook for 5-10 minutes until the dough forms a ball, and is smooth and no longer sticky.
  5. Place the oil in another mixing bowl. Coat the ball of dough in the oil, then set in the mixing bowl, cover with a towel, and set aside in a warm area to rise for 1 hour.
  6. After the dough has risen, punch down the dough then place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes (up to 2 hours).
  7. Place the baking soda and remaining 2 cups of water in a small saucepan and heat until the baking soda is dissolved (can omit this step but the toppings may stick less well)
  8. Remove from the refrigerator and divide into 16 pieces (can divide into fewer pieces for larger pretzels).
  9. Roll each piece of dough into a long snake then shape as desired, into a pretzel knot, alphabet letter, shape, etc.
  10. Dunk the pretzel into the baking soda/water mixture and if still hot, remove using a slotted spoon. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Top with coarse salt, cinnamon sugar, or any other desired toppings.
  11. Cover with a towel and let rise for 15 minutes while the oven is preheating to 400F.
  12. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  13. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Best enjoyed warm.

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Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I know, I know, everything is pumpkin this time of year. But fall really is my favorite season and pumpkin plays a big role in that. Unfortunately we don’t have much of a New England style fall here in the southern US, and I greatly miss the gorgeous foliage and crisp fall air, but I can infuse some autumn atmosphere into my life with pumpkin goodness. And this Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread sure does bring goodness!

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

This is my first chance to join in with the “What’s Baking” group and the theme for the month was pumpkin. Can you tell I was disappointed? Ha. I was super excited because I absolutely love baking with pumpkin. I buy cans and cans of pumpkin puree each fall and try to test out a few new recipes each year. My first for this year was this pumpkin bread. I’ve made different pumpkin breads before but this one just takes the cake. This recipe is adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book so I was pretty sure it was going to be a winner and it did not disappoint. The streusel topping to the bread lends a surprising and delightful texture and crunch. The cream cheese and buttermilk make this cake moist and counteract the sometimes metallic taste you can get from pumpkin baked goods after using canned pumpkin puree. Perfection!

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

This recipe made two glorious loaves of pumpkin bread. I brought one to work and it was devoured rather quickly. Comments included “other worldly” and “two enthusiastic thumbs up.” Yes folks, I’m not making these reviews up. So you have got to try this recipe this pumpkin season. And I sure do hope to share some more pumpkin treats with you…if my colleagues don’t eat them all before I get photos!

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

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Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book)

Yield: 2 loaves

For the topping:

5 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the bread:

Nonstick cooking spray

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 15 ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

4 ounces cream cheese (low-fat works fine), cut into 12 pieces

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

¼ cup buttermilk

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the topping in a small bowl. Work together with your fingers until the consistency is like coarse sand. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare 2 loaf pans (9×5-inch) with nonstick spray.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda in bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan, combine the pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened and reduced, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese, sugars, and oil. Stir slightly to start the cream cheese melting, then let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Beat the eggs and buttermilk together in a bowl, then stir into the pumpkin mixture. Fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and whisk until all the ingredients are combined and the consistency is homogenous.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Divide the batter between the 2 prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle the topping over each loaf.
  8. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean (may have some melted chocolate), about 45-50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool for another hour.

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If you love pumpkin like I do, find more pumpkin recipes on the Dinner Pages! Happy fall!

 

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Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Welcome back to The Dinner Pages! Yes, my little blog has been very neglected lately. Let’s just say I have had a lot on my (dinner) plate…moving halfway across the country alone with a toddler, trying to sell one house and buy another, and starting a new job.

Most of my favorite cooking tools spent the summer on a moving truck, in storage, then on another truck and now are, little by little, finding my way into the cabinets in my new kitchen…there’s still one box containing my favorite cookbooks that’s unaccounted for and I hope the movers hid it in the masses of boxes in my garage because I’m going to be sad if I need to replace more than a dozen books that had lots of my personal annotations inside. The great thing is that thanks to this blog I have an inventory of my cookbooks easily at hand so I can definitely tell if something’s missing!

The other issue is that I don’t have internet at my new place just yet. I don’t know what is going on with AT&T right now but I’ve been waiting over a month and…nothing. Any thoughts on how to move them along?

So there’s my list of excuses why The Dinner Pages has been MIA. The good news is that my husband finally arrived and now I have a little bit more time (in between opening up and unpacking the 270 boxes and working full time) to cook and write about it! This summer has been rough but things are looking up now. 🙂

I really wanted to share one of my all-time favorite recipes with you before summer totally ends, Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake. I grew up with my mom baking this cake each summer and I learned the recipe from her. Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake is a sweet treat that I bake several times each summer. It’s easy and delicious and travels really well, so I find myself making it to bring to barbecues and work potlucks, as well as for my family. Despite my minimal access to cooking tools this summer, I still figured out how to make this cake twice while living in limbo. It disappeared from my work brunch in minutes. Yum. I also really love to refrigerate it and eat it chilled the next day. The crispy streusel topping is delicious with the cold blueberries.

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

So welcome back to The Dinner Pages. Hopefully it won’t be so long before I share another delicious recipe with you. Despite my hiatus I’ve still been cooking from time to time and coming up with lots of ideas to share with you! Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend and enjoy this bit of summer in a cake!

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

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Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake 

Yield: one 8-inch square cake

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup margarine or butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 heaping cup fresh blueberries, washed

FOR TOPPING:

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

Directions:

1. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

2. Cream margarine and sugar together. Add egg and beat well.

3. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, in 4 or 5 portions, beginning and ending with flour, beating thoroughly after each addition.

4. Turn into a well-greased 8-inch square cake pan. Add lemon juice to the blueberries. Scatter over batter.

5. Prepare streusel topping by combining sugar with flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add margarine and work together into a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle over top of blueberries.

6. Bake at 375F for 40 minutes.

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Ebony and Ivory: Passover Cookies Two Ways

Whether you celebrate Passover or not, try these Mexican Chocolate Passover Cookies and Passover Chocolate Chip Blondies!

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I was really excited about this month’s Improv Cooking Challenge and creating a recipe on the Ebony and Ivory theme. But, life happened, and I’ve got a lot going on right now so my writing has taken a bit of a back burner even though I’ve still been cooking up a storm and building up my repertoire of recipes to share later on. So I was going to bow out of the challenge. However when doing my Passover baking I realized the desserts I was already planning to make would be perfect. Alone, they both qualify as ebony and ivory. The Mexican Chocolate Cookies are lovely dark treats with a crispy outside and chewy interior, lightened in color by a coat of powdered sugar. In contrast, my Passover Blondies are, well, blonde in color (we’ll call it ivory) and studded with yummy ebony chocolate chips. So they’re both black and white and together, as you can see, they exemplify light and dark, ebony and ivory.

Passover Cookies Two Ways

Now as some of you may know, Passover can be challenging to bake for since a lot of my typical ingredients for baking are out of the question. No flour is a big one. So creativity is essential to come up with substitutions that don’t taste like cardboard. I’m proud to say that my Passover guests agreed that these desserts would be delicious year round. One other great thing about both of these recipes is that they’re both gluten free and dairy free too.

Mexican Chocolate Passover Cookies

Just as a heads up, both recipes take a little bit of planning ahead, the Mexican Chocolate Cookies because the dough needs to be refrigerated for several hours or overnight before shaping and baking, and the blondies because you need vanilla sugar. Now if you already have vanilla sugar you’re golden, but if not it takes 24 hours to make. But overall they are both easy without excessive hands on time.

Passover Chocolate Chip Blondies

These desserts are lovely to serve as a seder dessert (so pin for next year, I know I’m a little late for this year but I couldn’t get the cleaning, prepping, baking, AND blogging done in advance) but they are truly fantastic anytime during Passover or otherwise. Despite my Ebony and Ivory theme, no need to be strictly black and white and only enjoy these treats during Passover!

Passover Cookies Two Ways

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Mexican Chocolate Passover Cookies (adapted from The Holiday Kosher Baker)

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup potato starch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

1. In a mixing bowl combine the oil, sugar, cocoa, eggs, and vanilla. Then add in the potato starch, salt, and cinnamon and mix until fully combined. Refrigerate overnight (I refrigerated mine for 7 hours which was enough).

2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll walnut sized pieces of cookie dough in confectioners’ sugar then place on the cookie sheet at least 1 1/2 inches apart.

3. Bake for 14 minutes. The cookies will still be somewhat soft, but not raw. Let cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Passover Chocolate Chip Blondies (adapted from The Holiday Kosher Baker)

Yield: 24 bars

nonstick cooking spray

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (see below)

3 1/4 cups ground almonds or almond meal

1/4 cup potato starch

1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray then fit in a piece of parchment paper to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Coat the parchment with cooking spray as well.

2. Beat together the sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add in the ground almonds and potato starch and mix fully. Stir in the chocolate chips, then add the batter to the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the edges are brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool then remove the parchment paper from the pan and cut into bars.

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Vanilla Sugar

Yield: 1 cup

Slice a vanilla bean down its entire length. Add to a container of granulated sugar. Cover and let sit overnight.

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Check out other bloggers’ takes on the Ebony and Ivory Improv Cooking Challenge theme here:

Hot Chocolate Bread

I know a warm delicious loaf of Hot Chocolate Bread isn’t traditional Super Bowl fare. But here’s why I will be enjoying it this Super Bowl Sunday.

Hot Chocolate Bread

I have no particular loyalties to either team in the big game. I did live in Seattle for a summer in college doing some research and traveled back to Seattle as well as to Denver for work in the past few years. They’re both great cities. When in the Pacific Northwest I really enjoyed my visit to Olympic National Park (and this was before I got sucked into the world of Twilight) and of course the views from the Space Needle…

Space Needle…and shopping at Pike’s Place in Seattle.

Pike's Place

Hiking at Red Rocks was spectacular in Colorado.

Red Rocks

I distinctly remember looking at cookbooks in a souvenir store in Denver but somehow didn’t come home with one.

Denver

However, I do have one from Seattle on my bookshelf, so in honor of the Seahawks decided to try out a recipe from it. This cookbook is from a bakery in downtown Seattle called Macrina which we visited for a quick snack before sightseeing.

Macrina

The book is full of appetizing recipes for breads and other sweets but since I don’t have time for a sourdough starter right now opted to make a different type of bread.

Our local supermarket had a delicious chocolate bread with cherries in it about a year ago. We only had it once, but oh my it was amazing. We were so disappointed when they decided not to bring it back this year. The bread man (yes our store has a bread guy who always convinces us to try different types of bread…he’s really good at his job!) could not explain why they didn’t bring it back given its huge popularity but anyway this was my attempt to make it on my own and I succeeded.

Word of warning, this is a project. Most of it is not hands on time and it’s not a difficult recipe, even for a beginning bread baker, but you need to allow at least 5 hours of time from start to finish before you get to enjoy warm, melty, delicious fresh homemade bread. Totally worth it, just don’t start after work one night and expect to have fresh bread with dinner. I took advantage of one of our recent snow days to make this bread.

First I warmed some milk in a saucepan and added it to the bowl of my electric mixer with yeast, vanilla, and some sugar to allow it to bloom. Then I added flour, more sugar, cocoa powder, almond extract, salt, and eggs to the mix and combined them with the dough hook on low. Next I upped the speed to medium and dropped in chunks of room temperature butter, continuing to mix with the dough hook for about 12 minutes until the dough was smooth and silky.

Hot Chocolate Bread

During that time I lightly toasted almonds in the oven (watch them carefully…I burned the first batch) and chopped them coarsely. I also coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate. Once the dough had rested I added in the chocolate and chopped almonds and mixed for a few more minutes until incorporated.

I turned the dough out onto my counter, which I had lightly floured, and kneaded it slightly into a smooth ball.

Hot Chocolate Bread

I placed the ball into a bowl I had coated with nonstick spray and turned the ball of dough to coat it. I let the dough rise for 2 hours in the bowl covered with plastic wrap in the relatively warm kitchen. It almost doubled in size.

I then punched down the dough and again kneaded it slightly, folding up the sides until a ball formed. I placed this ball onto a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper and let it rise for another hour covered with plastic wrap.

While it was rising I prepared special cinnamon sugar (cinnamon, granulated and brown sugar, and a touch of freshly grated nutmeg). Once the second rise was almost done, I heated the oven to 350F, sprinkled the dough with a little bit of water to allow the cinnamon sugar to stick, the topped the bread with the cinnamon sugar which formed a lovely sweet crust when baked. I baked the bread for an hour. It was dark and crusty outside and soft and chewy inside. Let it cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, that is, if you can wait that long; I couldn’t!

Hot Chocolate Bread

Though the bread is chocolate through and through, it isn’t exceedingly rich. There are sweet chocolatey bites where the bittersweet chocolate chunks shine through and lovely texture from chopped toasted almonds but the bread itself still tastes like bread. It is delightful warm from the oven spread with butter. Thanks Seattle for making my snow day brighter with this uniquely delicious Hot Chocolate Bread!

Hot Chocolate Bread

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Hot Chocolate Bread (adapted from Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook)

Yield: 1 loaf

1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (this is a little less than a whole packet, which is 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup whole almonds
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons special cinnamon sugar mixture (see below)

Directions:

1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan and add it to the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the yeast, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes to bloom.

2. Add in the flour, the remaining sugar (1/4 cup minus 1 tablespoon), cocoa, almond extract, salt, and eggs. Combine with a dough hook on low speed for 2 minutes then increase to medium speed and drop in pieces of butter one by one until combined. Continue mixing on medium for 12 minutes until the dough looks smooth and satiny. Let rest for 5 minutes.

3. While the dough is mixing, toast the almonds in the oven at 350F for about 7 minutes, until fragrant and golden. Let cool slightly then coarsely chop them.

4. After the dough has rested for 5 minutes, add in the chopped almonds and bittersweet chocolate and mix for 2 minutes until fully incorporated.

5. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, knead it slightly, and form it into a ball. Coat a bowl with nonstick cooking spray or oil and place the ball of dough into the bowl, turning it to coat it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a 70-75F room for 2 hours. The dough will almost double in size.

6. Punch the dough down again, then knead slightly, folding up the sides until a ball forms. Place the ball onto a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Let it rise for another hour covered with plastic wrap.

7. While the dough is rising prepare the special cinnamon sugar (below).

8. Preheat the oven to 350F. Once the second rise is complete, sprinkle the dough with a little water then top with 2 tablespoons of the special cinnamon sugar. Bake for 1 hour, until deep brown and hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool for 30 minutes.

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Special Cinnamon Sugar

Yield: 1/2 cup

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Directions:

Combine the above ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

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Three Bean Chili & Homemade Chili Seasoning

The Super Bowl is almost here and while football is not really my thing, any “holiday” where food features prominently is worth celebrating, I suppose. Chili is certainly a popular football game day dish judging by the zillion or so recipes for chili I found on a Pinterest search. So why is mine worth a try? Well, your whole family can eat and enjoy it. Your mouth will not be ablaze with the fire of 10 million habaneros, however your taste buds won’t be bored either. There is a touch of spice, yes, but the spice level was more than tolerable enough for my toddler, yet the chili was full of flavor thanks to my original spice blend. Also, this chili is quick to make. It doesn’t have to sit in a crockpot all day while you’re waiting to eat. You can certainly let it simmer on the stove for a bit to let the flavors meld or keep it in a crockpot on warm after cooking but if you want to make this chili after work for a weeknight dinner, no problem.

Three Bean Chili with Homemade Chili Seasoning

So here goes…brown ground beef, onion, and chopped bell pepper in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Drain off any excess grease then add in tomatoes and the three beans. To be clear, that’s three types of beans: black beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans. Then it’s time to add the spice.

Three Bean Chili

The original version of this recipe called for store bought chili seasoning. I opted to create my own. Another Pinterest search revealed a number of posts on homemade chili seasonings so I took the the best from each of them and ended up using dried minced onions, garlic, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, chili powder, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and some brown sugar to balance out the smokiness of the paprika.

Homemade Chili Seasoning

Homemade Chili Seasoning

After all the ingredients were in the pot, I brought the chili to a boil, then let it simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish with whatever toppings you prefer. I just like crushed tortilla chips for the crunchy contrast but sour cream, shredded cheese, or diced jalapenos would all work great. Enjoy the game!

Side note: this recipe serves about 8-10 but if you’re not feeding a crowd, the leftovers freeze really well. Just thaw in the fridge overnight then reheat in a pot on the stove.

Three Bean Chili

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Three Bean Chili

Yield: serves 8-10

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 red or green bell pepper, chopped

2 – 16 ounce cans dark red kidney beans

2 – 16 ounce cans pinto beans

2 – 16 ounce cans black beans

1 – 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles

1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste

homemade chili seasoning (one batch, or to taste) or 2 packages store bought chili seasoning

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed

crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, or shredded cheese to garnish

Directions:

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef, onion, and bell pepper. Drain excess grease.

2. Add the beans, tomatoes and tomato paste, chili seasoning, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil.

3. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Homemade Chili Seasoning

Yield: enough seasoning for 2 pounds of beef/8 servings of chili

2 tablespoons dried minced chopped onions

1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Mix together all the spices in a bowl. Use right away for chili or store in a sealed jar for future use.

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Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Today my husband and I ran our third annual Turkey Trot 5K (and our son slept through his second annual race). Afterwards I wanted something warm and (relatively) healthy for brunch and with some overripe bananas on the counter (plus an extra banana from the race), what better than to make some banana bread?! My son was a huge fan of the pumpkin muffins I made last weekend so I decided to go with muffins again, instead of traditional banana bread, plus muffins are faster to bake and get onto the table.

After preheating the oven to 375F and prepping my muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray, I combined the dry ingredients, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and a pinch of nutmeg in a large bowl. I made a well in the center and added the wet ingredients, melted butter, honey, milk, an egg, and peanut butter. To that I added a cup of mashed banana (it was about 2 and a half bananas but would depend on the banana size). After it was all combined until just moistened (still a bit lumpy), I stirred in half a cup of chocolate chips.

I divided the batter among the dozen muffin cups and baked for 20 minutes, until a knife stuck into the center came out clean. It was such a tasty combination of flavors for our post-race brunch. And my son woke up from his nap just in time to enjoy the muffins with us. Happy weekend everyone!

banana peanut butter chocolate chips muffins

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Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from How to Cook Everything)

Yield: 12 muffins

nonstick cooking spray (or paper liners for the muffin tin)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

pinch of ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1/4 cup honey

1 large egg

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup mashed overripe bananas (2-3 bananas)

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

The Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Coat muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg.

3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and to that, add the melted butter, honey, egg, and milk. Next add the bananas. Stir together with a fork or wooden spoon until fully combined and just moistened. It will be somewhat lumpy. Mix in the chocolate chips.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

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