Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Spiced Cashews (Gluten Free) for #handcraftededibles

Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, decided that she would like to handcraft most of her Christmas gifts this year and invited us to join her.  While I don't make all of my Christmas gifts and not all of them are edible, I do like to make some of them and feel that handmade  heartmade gifts show someone just how important they are to you.  Over the course of the next twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes from homemade spice blends (last week's theme) to charcuterie trays and everything in between. Hope you'll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule: here.

I often give my canned goods at Christmas time including pear butter, salsa and pickled spiced beets. Cookies, breads and baked goods always make great gifts.  I also have given homemade food related gifts that are not edible like these placemats, napkins and casserole caddy.   When Cam came up with this idea I knew it would be a great way to get some more ideas for gift giving this year.

This week, we're sharing our favorite special diets creations. They might be gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, or sugar-free.

Now Cam hosts a lot of great parties and not to long ago she hosted a giveaway for a Gluten Free cookbook and because I love giveaways, I entered and guess what?  Yep, I won.  Now nobody in my house is on a gluten free diet but there are more and more people who are gluten intolerant or suffering with celiac disease so this cookbook will get good use. Especially today, because today I am going to solve your problem of what to give to that coworker, teacher or friend that is on a gluten free diet, all with the help of Gluten Free by April Peveteaux.

I adapted the recipe that was in the book by using cashews instead of almonds. You can use any nut that your recipient loves.  I also halved the recipe.  Feel free to double or triple it for your gift giving but if you, like me, want to make a snack for yourself then take my advice and halve it because eating 2 cups of nuts in one sitting can kill your digestive system.  Not that I would know, because I have self control and can stop after just a handful of these delicious, spicy nuts.  Oh, and I have some ocean front property for sale in Arizona if you know anyone who is interested.

Toss the raw nuts in the spice mix and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
If using nuts with skins, you are going to want to blanch them or buy them blanched.

Roast in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.
That's it.  Recipe complete.  Easy Peasy and Delicious.

You wouldn't believe how quickly this bowl of nuts disappeared.

Spiced Cashews
adapted from Gluten Free by April Peveteaux

1 egg white
1/2 t. lime juice 
1/8 t. cumin
1/8 t chili powder
1/8 t.paprika
1/4 t. kosher salt
5 grinds from the pepper mill
1 c. raw nuts of choice, blanched if having skins 

Beat egg white in a med bowl.  Add lime juice and spices.  Mix thoroughly.  Add nuts, toss to coat, Spread nuts onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350* oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Allow to cool before breaking apart and serving.  Print Recipe

This week, we're sharing our favorite special diets creations. They might be gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, or sugar-free.
Next week, check back for our recipes for giftable jarred mixes. Or check out our #handcraftededibles pinterest board.

This post contains affiliate links.  Should you buy a product using this link, your price remains the same but I receive a small stipend to help offset the costs of this blog.

Celebrating Fall Flavors #BreadBakers

I have the honor of hosting our Bread Bakers club this month.  I chose October because, to me, that is when Fall truly starts.  And with Fall comes apples and pumpkins and caramel and cinnamon and pears and zucchini and cabbage and winter squash and greens and nuts and seeds and.....well you get the idea.

So that is our theme for this month.  We all got together and baked up a creation that reminds us of Fall, my favorite time of the year.

One of the things I love most about the Fall is hiking through the woods.  Call me crazy but I love the smell of decomposing leaves, the feel of the crisp autumn air and the sound of leaves crunching underfoot.  Not to mention the beauty of the changing colors and the chance of finding edible mushrooms.

I like to hike first thing in the morning and then I like to come home to a hearty and healthy breakfast like these delicious pancakes that I am sharing with you today.

These pancakes are chock full of Fall Flavors.
Cornmeal, Pumpkin and Apples make for a perfect, hearty Fall meal.

They turned out fluffy and fragrant with chunks of apple adding brightness and texture.

Pumpkin and Apple Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. cornmeal
2 T. sugar
1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. kosher salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 apple, peeled and diced
3/4 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. milk
1/4 c. butter, melted

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until just blended. Drop by 1/3 cup fulls onto a preheated 350* griddle.  Cook until edges are dry, bubbles form on the top and bottom is golden brown.  Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown.  Place in a warm oven or under heat lamps while cooking the remaining batter.  Print Recipe

Let's take a look at the other Fall Flavors being shared today

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

This post contains affiliate links.  Should you buy a product using this link, your price remains the same but I receive a small stipend to help offset the costs of this blog.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

It's Late but It's Here~~The Weekly Menu

Hi guys.  It's been a crazy busy week this last week so I am just now sitting down to put together the Weekly Menu.

We ended up going out to dinner on Friday night and then to see The Martian.  Great movie, it was long but you didn't realize that until you got out and looked at the clock.  I would recommend it.

Yesterday, Frank had a CPL class and I made up Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy for them to have for lunch and gave them Almond Fudge Topped Shortbread for dessert.  Class wasn't over until 6:30 so we ended up running to a local restaurant for dinner.

Today our church is having their Annual Harvest Dinner so we will be eating there.  The rest of the week is typical.  Errands during the day.  PPC meeting on Monday night and choir on Thursday night.

I will be sharing photos and recipes during the week so please stop by and see me.

Meatless Monday
Corn Chowder
Tomato Sandwiches

Kritharaki me Kreas

Pan Roasted Pork Chops
Roasted Butternut Squash


Fish Friday
Broiled Cod
Mac & Cheese
Cole Slaw

Chocolate Oat Truffles with Hemp Seeds~~#ChoctoberfestwithImperialSugar

Today is the last day of Choctoberfest for this year so I thought I would leave you with a sweet memory featuring products from one of our great sponsors, Just Hemp Foods.  Just Hemp Foods not only provided product for the bloggers to use in their chocolate creations but also gave product to be used in the giveaway that you can enter right here.  Hurry because time is nearly up and you don't want to miss out on these great prizes.

These little truffles are a very healthy treat for your loved ones.
Had I had natural peanut butter in my cupboard, they would have been ultra-healthy.

Just Hemp Foods provided us with tons of product.  I have never used their products before but was happy to try them with the understanding that I never post anything on my blog that is not 100% my honest opinion. Just Hemp products are GMO and Gluten Free so these would be perfect to serve to those who are gluten intolerant.

For these truffles I used the Protein Powder and a packet of Toasted Salted Hemp Seed.  The truffles are sweetened with prunes.  Don't tell anyone and they will never know.  You could also use dates or raisins but prunes was what I had in the cupboard.  They also received sugar from the peanut butter I used but you could use freshly ground or natural peanut butter if you want.  I was a little worried at first that the mixture for the truffles was to dry but they formed well when I started pressing them in my hands.

I'm not saying that your family, or I for that matter, will choose these over a Rescee's Cup but if it is the only choice given they are pretty delicious.  I especially liked the texture and crunch added by the hemp seeds. It reminded be a bit of candy with crisped rice in it.  This recipe will give you 12-15 truffles depending on what size you make them.

One of my kids favorite cookies to make when they were kids were No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies.  They called them Mud Cookies.  They contain many of the same ingredients and these truffles reminded me of them.  Only healthier.  I hope you enjoy them.

I want to give one final shout out to our sponsors but especially to the wonderful ladies at PinterTest Kitchen for all their hard work at making this event amazing.  Thanks, especially to Allison, you are the bomb!!!

Chocolate Oat Truffles with Hemp Seeds

1/2 c. rolled oats (I use Bob's Red Mill)
10 pitted prunes
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. Protein Powder (I used Just Hemp)
1/4 c. nut butter of choice
1 t. pure vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
1 (1 oz) packet salted, roasted hemp seeds (I used Just Hemp)

Place all ingredients except hemp seeds into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground and sticking together.  Empty into a bowl and mix in hemp seeds.  Form into balls about 2 teaspoons each.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Print Recipe

Don't miss these other great recipes

This post contains affiliate links.  Should you buy a product using this link, your price remains the same but I receive a small stipend to help offset the costs of this blog.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Triple Food and Merlot Tasting #MerlotMe #WinePW

0Did you know that October is Merlot month?  No?  Don't feel bad, I didn't either until my friend, Jeff of  Food Wine Click, and our leader at Wine Pairing Weekend told us all about it and wrote this great post about it.  As you can see if you read this post, Jeff not only informed us that it was Merlot month he managed to have the participating wineries to provide us with bottles of Merlot to try.

I received four bottles of wine to pair with foods and share my opinions with you. Two bottles of Merlot from J Lohr, a Napa Valley Merlot from Duckhorn and a Sonoma County Merlot from Decoy. We are not normally Merlot drinkers so #MerlotMe is aimed at those like us, red wine drinkers that walk right past the Merlot and head for the Cabernet for heavy meals or the Pinot Noir for lighter meals.  Let me tell you, having #MerlotMe to bring attention to this neglected wine, worked perfectly on us.

I am not going to compare these wines as they were all very good in their own way.  I am going to tell you how they worked with the food with which I served them.  We did not drink these wines together but on three separate occasions with three separate meals.  While I appreciate our sponsors, I never write anything that is not 100% my own opinion and 100% truthful.

The first bottle we opened and tasted was the J Lohr.  We are very familiar with J Lohr and often buy their Cabernet Sauvignon which we always enjoy.

J Lohr sent us a fact sheet along with the wines giving more information about Merlot Wine that I found very interesting.  Did you know that Merlot is the second leading variety grown in California? Or that it is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine?

Also included on this fact sheet were some food pairing ideas that included Cheese Tortellini or Herb Roasted Chicken.  Now normally if I were going to serve a red with pasta, I would choose a Chianti and I normally serve Chardonnay or another white wine with chicken.  I was intrigued with the thought of serving Merlot with chicken as Frank really prefers a red wine over a white wine and I knew that he would be happy if we found a red wine pairing that worked.

I served this wine with a Chicken and Eggplant Casserole.  It paired, if not perfectly, then at least very well.  I am anxious to try Merlot the next time I make Roast Chicken and I think it may become a regular on our family table.  In the future when I reach for a bottle of J Lohr it will not necessarily be a Cabernet Sauvignon although that still remains one of my favorite bottles.

The next pairing we tried was the Duckhorn Merlot that I served up along side a Filet Mignon with a Chocolate Port Sauce.  The Duckhorn Merlot was very smooth and heavier than I expect when drinking a Merlot.  This may well become one of my new favorite wines.  I liked it just as well as some Cabs and better than many Cabs.  I cannot express enough how pleased I was to be given an opportunity to try this wine from a winery of which I was unfamiliar.  I am anxious to try their other wines.  If they are all to the same standard as this bottle, I may have found a new favorite.  You can find my recipe for this steak here.  It was a perfect Wine and Food pairing and is going down as one of the best meals we have enjoyed this year.

The final pairing was a Decoy Merlot from Sonoma.  I love Sonoma wines.  My brother lives not too far from this area and I have spent many an enjoyable day touring the wineries and tasting all the great wines they have to offer.  I served this wine up with a Cheese Ravioli Lasagna that I am sharing with you today as well.

 Decoy is another wine that I have never tried before.  It is made by the same company as Duckhorn and it too was heavier than most Merlots I have tried.  It was not as heavy as the Duckhorn but it was just as smooth and very delicious.  Had I tried these wines, with their full mouth feel and their silky smoothness before finding Cabernet, I might be writing this same article with Cab being the wine with which I was less familiar.  I think this little experiment made a Merlot lover out of me.

This Decoy Merlot paired very nicely with the pasta that I served up with it.  This was a new pasta recipe for me.  I got the idea for this dish from Cuisine at Home but I changed it up quite a bit to make it my own.  I used my homemade marinara sauce, ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese, oregano paste instead of dried, and fresh Swiss Chard instead of frozen spinach.  I also added mushrooms and onion to the dish.

It was delicious and made for a beautiful presentation which was one idea that I did keep from the original recipe.  You should really try this easy peasy and delicious recipe.  It is perfect for a busy weeknight meal.  When you do make it, please reach for a bottle of Merlot to enjoy with it.  You won't be sorry, I promise.

Ravioli Lasagna
inspired by Cuisine at Home

1/2 (1 qt)  jar of Marinara Sauce, store bought or your favorite recipe
1 T. olive oil
1/2 of a small onion, diced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
leaves from one bunch Swiss Chard, roughly chopped
3/4 c. ricotta cheese
3/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 t. oregano paste or 1 t. dried oregano
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 (12 oz) pkg fresh, refrigerated cheese ravioli
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over med high heat.  Add the onions and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper.  Cook and stir until onions are softened and translucent.  Add the chard leaves and cook until wilted.  Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times, until coarsely chopped.

Spray 4 (10 oz) ramekins with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Combine ricotta, mozzarella, egg, oregano, nutmeg and chard mixture in a large bowl.  Put a layer of sauce into each of the ramekins.  Place 3 ravioli on top of the sauce.  Layer 1/4 of the cheese mixture on top of the ravioli.  Top with remaining ravioli and cover completely with sauce.  Spray 4 pieces of aluminum foil with cooking spray and tightly wrap each ramekin.  Place the ramekins on the baking sheet into a preheated 375* oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit, covered for 15 minutes.  Turn each ramekin onto a plate and top with freshly shredded or grated Parmesan cheese. Print Recipe

Let's see what the others thought of the Merlot wines they were given to try

This post contains affiliate links.  Should you buy a product using this link, your price remains the same but I receive a small stipend to help offset the costs of this blog.

Celebrating Saturday with #ChoctoberfestwithImperialSugar

It is hard to believe that our great Choctoberfest is nearly over just today and tomorrow to drool over all the lovely chocolate recipes we are sharing.  Of course, if you start to suffer withdrawals you can always shoot over to the pinterest page and drool til your heart is content.  Before you do that though, stop and enter to win some great products so you can replicate all of the great recipes you find on the pinterest page.

In this post I would like to do a shout out to Imperial Sugar who provided each of the bloggers with a full case (40 lbs) of sugar.  Imperial Sugar has been around since 1843 and is proud to use cane sugar that is non GMO.  They have coupons on their website for you as well.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find Imperial Sugar here in Michigan but if you live in the Eastern States you should be able to find it at your local grocers.

Make sure you scroll all the way down past my recipe to all the other great chocolate treats that are being shared today.

I have a wonderful, decadent treat to share with you today.  

Let's start with a layer of shortbread.

Add a layer of Almond Fudge.

Sprinkle on some toasted Almonds.

Refrigerate until the fudge hardens, then cut into serving pieces.

Sit back, pour a cup of coffee or a glass of milk and YUM!!

Almond Fudge Topped Shortbread
from Hershey's Classic Recipes

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 1/4 c. flour
1 (12 oz) pkg semi sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 t. almond extract
1 c. sliced almonds, toasted

Beat butter and sugar together in the large bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.  Add the flour and mix well.  With floured hands, press mixture evenly into a greased 13x9" baking pan.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 20-25 minutes.  Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Melt chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in almond extract.  Spread evenly over the baked, cooled shortbread.  Sprinkle with almonds, pressing down with the back of a spoon.  Chill 3 hours or until firm.  Cut into bars.  Store covered at room temperature.  Print Recipe

Here are all the other great treats being shared today.

This post contains affiliate links.  Should you buy a product using this link, your price remains the same but I receive a small stipend to help offset the costs of this blog.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Night Cocktails...#ChoctoberfestwithImperialSugar

Woohooo we made it through 5 days of Choctoberfest but we are not done yet....we are going right through the weekend.  That means 7 full days of Chocolatey Goodness.  And that, my friends, is a very good thing as Martha Stewart would say.  That means you only have 3 more days to enter to win some great prizes from our wonderful sponsors.  You can read all about our sponsors and enter the giveaway in my Welcome to Choctober post.

Because it is Friday and because we have been having so much fun I decided to celebrate today with a wonderful, Almond Joy Martini.  Now, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that it is Frank and not I that creates the cocktails around here.  He created this one as well.  I tell him what I want, he experiments, I taste, he experiments, I taste and then when it is perfect I write about it and I take all the credit.  It's called marriage people!!  Okay, maybe there was a little too much tasting going on and I am a wee bit punchy LOL.

I told Frank we were celebrating all things chocolate this week and would he please create for me a cocktail that would fit the bill.  Now Frank makes a mean Chocolate Mint Martini and an absolutely delicious Milky Way Martini but those have been previously discussed here so I needed something new.  So, Frank being the wonderful, loving husband that he is pulled out all of my favorite alcohol. Ciroc Coconut, Disaronno Amaretto and Godiva Chocolate Liquor. Then he announced that he was creating for me an Almond Joy Martini and asked for chocolate syrup and coconut with which to rim the glass.  Unfortunately I had no coconut.

So he made do without and instead of rimming the glasses he added a ring of chocolate to mix in with the drink itself and......It is heaven in a glass.  If you are an Almond Joy junkie like me....you are going to love this drink.  May I offer a toast to the ladies from the PinterTest Kitchen, who have worked so hard making this event a success!

Almond Joy Martini

1 jigger Coconut Vodka
1 jigger Amaretto
1 jigger Chocolate Liqueur
Chocolate syrup and Coconut if desired

Place the liquors into a Martini Shaker.  Fill the shaker with ice and shake to blend.  Strain into martini glasses that are rimmed with chocolate syrup and coconut.  Print Recipe

Let's see how the others are starting off their weekend

This post contains affiliate links.  Should you buy a product using this link, your price remains the same but I receive a small stipend to help offset the costs of this blog.