Category: Munchies Mind


I’ve been meaning to share this with you forEVER, but kept forgetting to take pictures when I’d make it. I finally remembered, so here it is!

queen-mums-peach-cakeI’m not the biggest cake person, but I love a good coffee cake! The Jewel (haha! If you’re from Chicago, it’s The Jewel, not Jewel) makes some great coffee cakes, and to this day I get one every time I’m back home.

This is one of my favorite cakes – and one that I think you’ll like too. My sweet friend Becky, who we call Queen Mum, brought this to me after surgery several years ago. One taste and I was hooked! She was nice enough to share the recipe with me, and I’ve made it many times over the years. It’s really very easy, which is hard to believe after you taste it.

This is a delicious peach coffee cake with pecans (such a great combination!) and a not-so-crumby topping that makes it even better. You can wait for this to cool before serving (well, maybe you can) or you can serve it while it’s still a bit warm.

All I can say about this is: You’ve got to try it!

Stuff You Need:

1 package yellow cake mix

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 cup sugar

1 21 oz. can of peach pie filling

1 cup chopped pecans, divided

 

Topping

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup butter – NOT softened

1/2 cup oats

 

Now What?

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 x 13” pan or 2 9 x 9” pans.

In large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, lemon extract, pie filling and ½ cup pecans. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. The peaches will be chunky, so don’t worry about smooshing them all the way.

Pour into a greased and floured pan.

Combine sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining nuts. Cut in butter to form crumb topping. Drop pieces evenly on top of cake.

NOTE: Neither the Queen Mum nor I have had the topping turn out as a “crumb” topping. Don’t worry about it – it tastes wonderful!

Bake 40-45 minutes. Let cool, and enjoy!

MUFFINS: This recipe makes great muffins! Use the foil muffin liners, not the paper muffin liners as this is a very moist cake and it will soak through the paper liners.

I was talking to my nutrition coach earlier this week and she suggested I find ways to add more veggies to my meals. Great idea, except I’m not really excited about eating veggies. I’ve eaten quite a few salads lately but I’m a little tired of lettuce, so here we are.

I’m not sure how I came across this recipe. I must have been looking at another recipe on the site, because I wouldn’t have gone looking for a sweet potato recipe!

Sweet potatoes are OK. I know they pack a huge nutrition wallop, so I try to eat them more than just at Thanksgiving when I can smother them with marshmallows.

Sweet Potato Pear SoupI do like pears, and there are very few ingredients in this recipe so I thought I would check it out. Turns out this is a lovely soup!

I really enjoyed the pear fragrance while it was cooking. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t have a pot of spicy chili on the burner next to it.

The flavor of the soup is somewhat subtle. Neither the sweet potato nor the pear dominate – they blend nicely. Mine was fairly creamy even before I added the yogurt, so you could leave that out if you don’t like dairy or don’t have any on hand.

As for spices, the recipe suggests seasoning the soup with pepper and that’s probably delicious. For me, pears are a natural to hold the warm spices – cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice. Any of those would probably be really good! I have several containers of cardamom, so I used that plus a touch of nutmeg.

I’m excited to add this to my menus this week! I think it’ll make a good lunch paired with sliced turkey or some quinoa, and would even be a nice afternoon snack. I separated the soup into two containers and will freeze one of them (I only added the yogurt to 1 container so I could freeze the other).

Look at me, eating my sweet potatoes. My nutrition coach will be proud!

 

Sweet Potato and Pear Soup

Slightly Adapted From Orgasmic Chef

Stuff you need:

1 Tablespoons butter

1 onion, chopped

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped

2 pears, peeled and chopped [I used large pears]

3-4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth [I used chicken]

1 teaspoon cardamom [Any of the “warm” spices would be good. Use your favorites!]

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg [optional]

¼ cup Greek yogurt [optional]

Croutons, dollop of yogurt or roasted sweet potato chunks for garnish

 

Now what?

Place a large pot over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted add the onion and a sprinkling of salt and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion has softened. Stir often and try to sweat the onions, not brown them.

Add the sweet potato chunks and sauté in the onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the pears and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add the stock to the pot and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the sweet potatoes and pears are soft.

Use a stick blender until the soup is smooth and then test for seasoning. [If you don’t have a stick blender you can put this in a blender in batches. But be careful – use small batches because the lid won’t stay on with the hot liquid!]

Add the cardamon and nutmeg, reheat almost to boiling and stir in the yogurt.

Garnish with the croutons, yogurt or chunks of roasted sweet potato.

NOTE:

This soup freezes well but freeze before adding the yogurt.

Well, fall finally showed up in Kansas City and with it, all the excitement about pumpkin. And while I’m not a pumpkin fan, I adore the warm spices that are associated with pumpkin – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves!

One of the pumpkin-obsessed people in my life is a co-worker with an October birthday. Shortly after I discovered he loves pumpkin, I told him I’d make him a pumpkin cheesecake. I don’t care for it, but I hear it’s killer and he believed me. 😉  So October rolled around and as promised, this appeared at the office. Fortunately, it lived up to my bragging and he was happy. He kindly shared it with the team, then took the rest home for himself.

Pumpkin CheesecakeMy biggest tip: Be sure to wrap your pan in foil. I did, but because I don’t follow my own directions (big surprise, huh?) I used too much butter and my pan leaked. A lot. Up and over the foil, onto the bottom of the oven. Burned butter isn’t the best smell, but even worse is the sound of all the smoke detectors on our main floor going off. My son had to take the dogs outside because the noise was piercing!

If you love pumpkin pie – or pumpkin anything, really – and cheesecake, you have to give this a try. I’m told you’ll love it!

If you need a good cheesecake book, I highly recommend The Joy of Cheesecake by Dana Bovbjerg & Jeremy Iggers. It was my go-to cheesecake book when I was baking at the restaurants and it’s still my go-to cheesecake book.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Slightly adapted from The Joy of Cheesecake (Bovbjerg & Iggers)

Stuff you need:

Crust

1 ½ cups graham crackers or gingersnap crumbs

4-5 Tablespoons butter, melted [4 Tbs if you’re using gingersnaps, 5 if using graham crackers]

¼ cup granulated sugar

Cheesecake

2 ½ pounds cream cheese

1 cup granulated sugar

4 whole large eggs, lightly beaten

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten [in addition to the 4 whole eggs]

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cardamom [optional]

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 can (16 oz) mashed pumpkin [not pumpkin pie mix]

Topping

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

½ cup toasted chopped pecans

 

Now what?

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare a 10” springform pan by setting it on a large piece of foil and wrapping the foil up the sides. [If your cheesecake leaks like mine did, it’ll help keep your oven clean. Or not as messy.]

For the crust:

Mix all ingredients and press into bottom of 10” springform pan. Press crumb mixture to even thickness. Set aside.

For the cheesecake:

In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.

Add the eggs and mix, then add the egg yolks and mix just until combined.

Add the flour and spices.

Using a low setting, beat in the cream and vanilla then add the mashed pumpkin. Beat at medium speed until just mixed thoroughly. Your bowl will be full and the batter will be fairly thin.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake for 15 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees and bake for an additional hour. The cheesecake should be mostly set but a little jiggly in the center.

Turn off the heat. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a wet knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Return the cheesecake to the oven for a couple hours to cool.

Before serving, warm the maple syrup and brush on the cheesecake. Drop the nuts into the syrup.

Serve the cheesecake warm or chilled, with whipped cream – just like you would pumpkin pie!

 

I haven’t posted any sweets recipes lately. What is wrong with me?? Ha! Actually, I’m not baking as much as I used to. Instead, I’m trying new dinner recipes, which has been fun, but I still love my sugar!

Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies

The sugar-free cookie (right) is slightly thicker than the regular version.

I recently made these for a friend’s birthday and they disappeared off the platter in no time. Everyone LOVED them so I have to share!

I made a nearly-sugar-free batch too, and my friend asked if I was sure they were sugar-free. I assured him they were, but don’t mistake them for a “diet” cookie. They are full fat!

The batch I made was “nearly” sugar-free because I used regular peanut butter chips in them. You can make them sugar-free by using nuts instead of chips. It really depends on what you like and how much or little sugar you want.

The original recipe used white chocolate chips in them, but use whichever chips or nuts you prefer. I love nuts in brownies, so I would add walnuts or pecans if I make a batch for me. And peanut butter chips? Always great with chocolate, right?

I noticed the sugar-free batch didn’t spread as much as the regular batch; neither made a flat cookie. Both were chewy fudgy gooey fantastic! How could anything with cream cheese and butter be anything but??

Enough said. Make these and eat the whole batch at once. Why wouldn’t you?  😉

 

Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies

Slightly adapted from Cookies & Cups

 

Stuff you need [Sugar-free option in brackets]:

1 (19.5 ounces) Brownie Mix (for 9×13 pan) [I used a sugar-free mix for an 8×8 pan so I halved the amount of the remaining ingredients.]

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature [2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature]

1/2 cup butter, room temperature [4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature]

1 egg [1 egg]

2 cups total chocolate, white chocolate or peanut butter chips, chopped walnuts or pecans [1 cup total]

 

Now what?

Preheat oven to 350°

Line baking sheet with parchment paper or baking liner and set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in egg and continue mixing until incorporated.

Turn mixer to low and add in brownie mix until dough comes together. It will be very thick.

Stir in chips and/or nuts.

Using large cookie scoop, scoop dough onto lined pan and bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are set.

Let cool a couple minutes on the pan and then transfer to wire rack to cool.

I set out to make vegetable beef soup last week, but in my search through the freezer for ingredients I noticed a package of beef stew meat. Since I’m trying to use up my freezer stash, I decided on beef stew instead of the soup.

Beef StewIf you’ve never made stew before, you’ll be happy to know it’s easy and very forgiving. Use the recipe as a starting point, but add and subtract ingredients to suit yourself. If you like root vegetables, chop and add some more. Mushrooms would probably be good in this as well, if you’re a mushroom person.

I adapted the recipe from a slow-cooker recipe. I’ve never liked slow cooker recipes that require browning the meat first. I’m lazy and don’t like cleaning that extra pan. 🙂 I have a 7 qt. dutch oven I absolutely love. And when I say I LOVE it, I’m not exaggerating. It’s my go-to for soups, chili, pot roasts, etc. I can use it on the stove top or in the oven. Or, as in this case, I can brown the beef on the stove and finish the dish in the oven. No need for the crock pot, and only 1 dish to clean!

If you want to use your slow cooker, please do so. Just follow the first few steps and instead of putting the pot in the oven, transfer the mixture to your slow cooker and turn it on low for 4-6 hours.

So back to this beef stew. I know it’s turkey season, but you only need so many turkey dishes, right? Beef stew makes a great change of flavor from the traditional holiday meals, and with the weather cooling off, it’s a welcome dish. If you have leftovers, they’re great to pack up for lunch at the office.

This stew is rich and flavorful, a nice hearty meal if you serve it with a salad and warm rolls. It was everything I was hoping it would be! Tender beef, tasty carrots, potatoes and celery in a broth that thickens as it cooks. Try this and let me know what you think!

Very Delish Beef Stew

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Stuff you need: 

1-2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes [My package was 1.3#]
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3-4 Tablespoons cooking oil, separated
1 Tablespoon minced garlic [I used garlic from a jar.]
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
4 cups beef broth
3 potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon Steak Dust, optional [In the spice aisle]

 

Now what?
If using the oven method, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the flour, seasoned salt and pepper.
Heat 1 T cooking oil in your dutch oven (or skillet if using crock pot method).
Brown the beef in batches. Toss 1/3 of the beef in the flour mixture and put in oil to brown. Do not crowd the meat – brown the meat in batches for best flavor. [When browning meat, leave space between the cubes. Let the meat sit in the oil until it’s browned, then turn the pieces to lightly brown the other side. This is where a lot of the flavor will come from.]
When browned, transfer meat to bowl and set aside and repeat with another 1/3 of the oil and beef until all beef is browned.
Set aside the meat.
Add 1 T oil if needed and drop the garlic and onions in the oil. Let them sizzle about 30 seconds then stir.

[At this point, if you are using your slow cooker transfer the meat, onions and garlic to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 4-6 hours.]

If continuing to use the dutch oven, stir in 1 cup beef broth. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the pieces. Add the remaining broth, browned beef, and remaining ingredients.

Cover the pan and put it in the oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
Be careful when you take the lid off – steam is HOT!!

Stir and enjoy!

I always forget how simple it is to make pesto. Stuff everything into the food processor, turn it on, and presto – Pesto!

Basil-Walnut PestoThe hardest part for me is taking the food processor out of the box and fitting it back into the box when I’m done with it. I keep quite a few kitchen toys in their boxes in the garage – the ones I don’t use often enough to justify keeping them in my kitchen, because I don’t have much storage. So far I’m impressed with my skill at pulling out a multi-piece appliance that’s packed in 3 rows of Styrofoam and getting it all back into the box like it was never taken out. I’m good! Haha!

The second hardest part is not killing the basil plant. I’ve killed 3 or 4 or 6 – and that includes those that “just need water.” *sigh* Recently I bought a large basil plant for $3.99. I couldn’t pass it up, even though I expect it also to die. I’m trying something different this year. Instead of baking the plant in my western-facing kitchen window, I’ve got it outside my front door to catch the morning sun. So far, so good!

 

So Pesto. What do you do with it?

  • Toss it with some hot pasta for an easy dinner,
  • smear it on crostini for an appetizer,
  • bake it into a chicken dish,
  • or do what my boss does and put it on your freshly cooked corn on the cob.

Doesn’t that sound good??

Pesto is a nice, forgiving recipe. If you don’t make it exactly like the recipe, it will most likely still be good! In fact, I used a little less oil than recommended and a little more cheese than called for. I switched out the nuts, the oil and the cheese from the recipe I was using for inspiration. And you know what? It’s fantastic! You should try this. You’ll be pleased with how simple it is. If you don’t burn up you basil plant. And if you can get your food processor out of the box.  😉

Walnut-Basil Pesto

Inspired by Food Network Kitchen

Stuff you need
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic [I used minced garlic in a jar.]
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil or a combination of walnut oil and olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 grated Romano cheese [Or Pecorino, Parmesan, or a combination.]

Now what?
Combine basil, garlic and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Add 1/2 cup oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth.

If using immediately, add remaining oil and pulse until smooth.
Add the cheese and pulse until just mixed.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw and stir in cheese.

Kiwi Salsa

I made this quite a while back and just realized I didn’t post it. What was I thinking??

Kiwi SalsaTypically I bake something for birthday treats at work but this time I wanted to do something more snacky. It was summer and hot outside, and fruit salsa just sounded refreshing. And it was!

I bought golden kiwi instead of green kiwi, but didn’t realize it until I was peeling them. Did you know there are golden kiwi?? I wondered why they were a different color than I expected, and then I read the package. Golden Kiwi.  Huh. I had no idea they existed! Turns out these were great in the salsa. They had a hint of vanilla flavor, which worked really well with the other ingredients. Whichever you use – green or golden – will be great, so don’t bother looking for the golden kiwi for this recipe.

Pretty, isn’t it? It’s super simple and holds for a couple of days – if you can keep yourself from eating it in one sitting. It’s perfect to serve at a party or to eat all by yourself! I tasted this as I made it, and quickly became addicted. I seriously couldn’t stop eating it! Good thing I was making a quadruple batch, or there wouldn’t have been any to take to work the next day. Kiwi Salsa

As with most recipes, you can easily adjust the heat by adding more jalapeno or leaving some out. I like to have a good amount of heat in a dish that has a sweet ingredient. The two play off each other so well, and the sweetness of the kiwi mellows out the bite of the jalapenos. Be sure to have some chips on hand so you can taste as you go. If you just test from a spoon, you won’t get the salty element from the chips and you won’t have the full effect.

With the hope of spring coming someday, this would be a perfect treat! It’s great by itself with chips, or would also be fabulous over grilled fish, as the original blog author presented it. Give it a try. This might become one of your addictions too!

Kiwi Salsa

Slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

Stuff you need:
4 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Now what?
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings to meet your preference.
Note: I put the onion, jalapeno and cilantro in a food processor and chopped them up before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.

I made dinner with a blender and a crock pot! I’m not sure I’ve said that before.  🙂  

Last weekend I was looking for something new and different to make for dinner, something I could make ahead and re-heat for easy dinners on my late nights. I found this Plum-Sauced Chicken in Tortillas in my Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook.Plum-Sauced Chicken Tacos

I love plums but I’ve never had them with chicken, or anything savory, for that matter. The recipe sounded interesting, but the kicker was how easy it looked! This was the one to try.

I followed the recipe as written, but because I’m me, next time I will make a tweak or two. Chinese Five Spice Powder is a mixture of five spices used primarily in Chinese cuisine. It may include star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, fennel seeds, ginger root, nutmeg, turmeric, licorice, black pepper, mandarin orange peel or other spices. It can be a bit sweet, depending on the mixture in your particular jar. Mine is sweet, which I like. However, I will add more grated ginger next time for some pop. The fresh ginger mellows a little when it’s cooked.

I could only find a large can of plums, so I used half the can of drained plums and saved the remaining plums to throw in my morning protein shakes. I’ve never used tapioca before, and think the little beady things are cute, but if they get loose they roll all over your counters!

This is really an Asian chicken taco, and who doesn’t like tacos, right? Be sure to top them with the broccoli slaw or some bean sprouts or something crunchy that complements the chicken and tortillas.

I liked the flavor of this for something different! Sometimes I get in a cooking rut and a new recipe adds some spice. Or five spices, in this case.  😉 I don’t know that I’ll make it often, but it’s a nice change of pace from my usual flavor profiles.

This would be a great addition to a buffet menu. Your guests will be wondering what’s in them! They’re easy to throw together, easy to cook, and easy to clean up. Perfect-o!

Plum-Sauced Chicken in Tortillas

Slightly adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook

Stuff you need:

16 ounces canned whole, unpitted purple plums, drained
1 cup hot-style vegetable juice
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
5 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 -3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoons 5-spice powder
1 – 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
6 x 7-8 inch flour tortillas
2 cups packaged shredded broccoli or packaged shredded cabbage with carrot

Now what?

Remove pits from plums. Place plums in a blender container or food processor bowl. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Add vegetable juice, hoisin sauce, tapioca, ginger, and 5-spice powder and briefly blend until mixed.

Transfer plum mixture to a 3 1/2 or 4-quart crockery cooker. Stir chicken into crockery cooker.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours, or high for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove chicken from cooker, reserving sauce.

Spoon about 1/3 cup from the chicken mixture onto each warm tortilla just below the center. Drizzle with the reserved sauce. Top each with 1/3 cup shredded slaw mix. Roll up Tortillas.

* To warm up tortillas, wrap a stack in foil. Heat in a 350 degree for 10 minutes to soften.

Apple Bavarian Torte

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 

I hope everyone’s had a good day! My mom is here from Chicago, my daughter came for dinner with her 4 kids, and we had a good, noisy afternoon!

Apple Bavarian TorteMy grandkids have an abundance of personality, and I find myself giggling and shaking my head quite often! The 6-year-old wanted to know “who caught the turkey” and wasn’t satisfied until we told her Butterball caught it. The 2-year-old helped me with the mashed sweet potatoes, or as she called them, orange taters. She enjoyed using the mixer and was ready to eat as soon as we turned it off!

The 3-year-old was playing puppy with his sister, running up and down the hallway on a leash, and got a nice lump on his forehead when he ran smack into the corner of the wall. And I didn’t notice when the 7-year-old slapped a sticker on my back. Hello, Kitty!

Oh, and I’m proud to say I introduced the two youngest to brown sugar – eaten right off the spoon! Sugar ’em up and send ’em home with their parents, I say!

We did the traditional staples for Thanksgiving: the turkey, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, mashed potatoes & gravy, rolls, cranberry relish and stuffing. Nobody seemed to care we didn’t have any vegetables, as long as we didn’t run out of rolls! I sent most of the leftovers home with my daughter. I made a pot roast the other day that we didn’t eat, so I sent that home with her too. Mom wanted to eat out, even though I had cooked. Wonder what that says about my cooking?  😉Apple Bavarian Torte

For dessert we had the Pumpkin Pecan Crumble Pie I made / blogged last year (no, not the same pie – I made a fresh one!), and this Apple Bavarian Torte that’s been a favorite for years. It’s a cross between cheesecake and apple pie that’s not too rich or too sweet, so it’s perfect after a big meal.  As much as we love cheesecake (and that’s a lot!), this torte has just enough cheesecake filling to satisfy us. I sent about 1/4 of the torte home with my daughter, who said, “I wondered if I was going to get some of that!”

I normally make this with apples, although I’ve made it with fresh plums and fresh pears too. The plums make a great summer dessert! If you’re using plums, I’d switch out the walnuts for sliced almonds but use what you like best.

Apple Bavarian Torte

Slightly adapted from The Joy of Cheesecake, Dana Bovbjerg & Jeremy Iggers

Stuff you need:

Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

5 Tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

Filling

1 pound cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple Topping

3 medium apples, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Now what?

Preheat oven to 450F degrees.

Crust

Mix crumbs, butter and sugar in bowl. Blend well.

Press crumb mixture onto bottom of 10 inch springform pan and set aside.

Topping

Place apple slices in a large bowl and add sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir to mix well and to evenly distribute the ingredients.

Set aside while you make the filling.

Filling

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.

Add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix until completely blended.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust.

Layer the apple slices on top of the cheese mixture, then sprinkle the top with the walnut pieces.

Bake for 15 minutes at 450F, then reduce heat to 350F degrees and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes, until filling is set and lightly browned.

Cool to room temperature, then chill.

Edamame Quinoa Salad

In my quest to eat better, I started a Pinterest board with a few friends so we could pin healthy stuff. One of my friends and I LOVE quinoa, and she posted this recipe.

Edamame Quinoa SaladShe had great timing! I had an empty frig since we had been on vacation last week, and I was looking for something healthy to make for the coming week. I already had the main ingredients – edamame and corn in the freezer, and quinoa in the pantry – and this looked nice and fresh. So off to the store I went to get the few remaining ingredients, and I mixed this up tonight.

I made a couple of modifications to the original recipe. My edamame was in the shell, so after I cooked it I had to pull out the beans. Peas. Those things inside the shell, whatever they are.  🙂

I used walnut oil since the olive oil I had in the pantry was just a bit expired. One bottle was from 2012, and the other was from 2008. Apparently I don’t use olive oil very much! The walnut oil works, though, since the edamame has a nutty flavor.

I used bottled lemon juice, but fresh lime juice since I’d had to buy limes for my daughter’s birthday cheesecake. I highly recommend using fresh lime juice. It gives the dressing a nice pop that I’m not sure you’d get from the bottle. I needed the juice of just over 1/2 of a lime.

For the cilantro, I didn’t see any fresh in the store (probably walked right past it), but I found some in a tube. It’s the equivalent of 3 bunches of cilantro, chopped and mixed with some stuff, and it’s supposed to hold in the freezer 3 months without freezing. Sounded good to me, since I never use the whole cilantro bunch anyway. Turns out it’s pretty good stuff!

The recipe itself doesn’t take long, but you do need to plan for cooling the quinoa, edamame and corn before mixing it all up. This works as both a side to your meal or as a stand-alone dish. Both the quinoa and edamame provide protein, so if you’re going for a meatless meal, this is a great option!

I thought this looked tasty in the pictures, but in real life it was even better than I hoped! I’m excited to add this to my menus and hope you like it!

Edamame Quinoa Salad

adapted from Real Housemoms

Stuff you need:
16 ounces frozen, shelled, edamame
1 1/4 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cup cooked, cooled quinoa
2 green onions, sliced
1 red sweet bell pepper, diced
2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons olive oil or walnut oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash cayenne

Now what?
Follow package directions and cook the edamame. Drain and cool.
Microwave the frozen corn for about 3 minutes or boil according to package directions. Drain and cool completely.
In a large bowl combine the edamame, corn, quinoa, green onion, red pepper, and cilantro.
In a small bowl whisk together the olive or walnut oil, lemon juice, lime juice, salt, chili powder, black pepper, thyme and cayenne until well combined.
Add dressing to quinoa mixture and stir to mix well.
Cover and chill for at least two hours.