October 9, 2014

Moment of honesty here: not all of the recipes I make end up appearing on the blog. Some of them end up not being blog worthy…some of them just don’t thrill me…sometimes I’m too lazy…and some of them don’t appear because the recipe disappears too fast for me to document. This pumpkin, chocolate chip, and banana snack cake wasn’t any of those things though: it was an accident.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Snack Cake

So – Justin and I usually each eat a banana in the morning on weekdays. For some reason, we both neglected to eat one of our “daily bananas” last week and I was left with two overripe bananas on Saturday. It happens. And what do you do when you have overripe bananas? You make banana bread. Justin actually requested that I make a loaf for us to enjoy – a slice topped with ice cream for dessert, and then slices for breakfast.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Snack Cake

The only thing was: I didn’t feel like getting out the loaf pans. I have to hand wash them, and it’s two pans to clean. It was Saturday and I was lazy. But: what about a 9×9 inch baking pan? Would it work? I can place that particular pan in the dishwasher, so the cleanup would be a breeze. Ok. Why not try it out and see what happens?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Snack Cake

Annnnnd the end result? I’m not going to lie: it was pretty darn great. I’m not sure if it was because I swapped my all-purpose flour for cake flour, or if it was because of the spread out 9×9 inch pan, or if it was a combination of the two, but this “snack cake” as I’m calling it, was pretty freaking scrumptious. In all honesty, I was just whipping this dish up for us to have as a nice little dessert over the weekend, but I think it was actually meant to be documented. It’s moist, flavorful, and packed with chocolate goodness (and nuts too if you want them!).

So there you have it: a quick recipe I threw together over the weekend…that you definitely should try out the next time you have a few overripe bananas sitting around. I mean it.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Snack Cake

Pumpkin, Chocolate Chip, Banana Snack Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together to mix. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, combine sugar and butter. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until softened butter and sugar are incorporated. Add the egg, then mix well. Then, add the mashed banana, pumpkin, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fully combined.
  4. Turn your mixer to low speed, then begin adding the flour mixture by heaping spoonful to the wet mixture. Continue adding scoops of the flour gradually until all is used and the batter is thick.
  5. Turn off the mixer and gently fold in chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts if desired.
  6. Pour batter into a 9x9 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray, then bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
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October 7, 2014

I realize it was a short lived cold snap, but on Sunday and Monday, I was ALLLL about breaking out my fall weather clothes. The temperatures were in the 70s for a hot second and I wanted to take advantage. I immediately broke out my boots on Sunday morning – even if I could only wear them for one day, I was going to do it! Boots boots boots!

And of course, even though I love my current pair of boots, I am always keeping an eye out for a new pair. I’ve had my Sam Edelmans for almost 5 years now, so I know my time with them might not be forever. I’ve kept them in great shape, but I know the time may come when a replacement is necessary. But for me, boot shopping can be such a challenge! I have a long torso, but short legs, which isn’t great for boots! Most of the tall boots tend to hit me mid-knee instead of just below my knee cap like they are supposed to. So when I find a pair that works and looks great, I have to have them. It’s been a few years since I landed on a pair that fits the bill for me, but perhaps 2014 will bring me luck?

In the meantime, I’m just perusing. There has been an abundance of boots popping up at my favorite stores, and there are quite a few to love. But…which is your favorite?

tall boots tall boots ankle boots

Tall Boots

1. Jerri cuffed western bootNordstrom // 2. Coffee Club bootModCloth //

3. Myste bootNordstrom // 4. Watch and Urn bootModCloth //

5. Karri tall riding bootsTarget // 6. Madden Girl SharleneZappos //

7. Sebastian bootsMacy*s // 8. Volatile Arienette western bootsDillards //

9. French Blu Tall Cowboy BootsTarget // 10. Your Burlington Best bootModCloth

Ankle Boots

11. Strappy Ankle BootOld Navy // 12. Volatile Chatter wedge bootieDillards //

13. Plover bootieNordstrom // 14. Concertt bootNordstrom //

15. Posie Wedge BootieNordstrom // 16. Not Rated Glitzy TrioZappos //

17. Ava ankle bootTarget // 18. Steadfast Stride bootiesModCloth //

19. Conary suede ankle bootieNordstrom

October 5, 2014

Oh fall: you’re here. Not necessarily in temperature (although last night it was SERIOUSLY nice – no humidity, and we sat on the porch with a glass of wine for a while. Glorious!), but in spirit. I am so ready to get into the swing even more with some of my recipes. Fall is one of those times I really enjoy eating a bowl of soup with a big green salad for dinner, and I knew the first one I had to create would be a fall squash soup. I couldn’t resist.

fall squash soup

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed some shifts with my cooking and eating habits. I don’t know if it is my age or if I just had a moment of clarity, but the concept of eating more whole foods and less processed foods has really become a goal of mine. I’ve thought harder about what it is I am putting into my body. Is my food filled with chemicals and ingredients I can’t even pronounce? Do I even know what they are or how they affect me?

fall squash soup

The pantry purge began. I decided to inform myself a bit more on what I was ingesting. Our home was relatively low on processed foods in general, but there were (and are) some exceptions. Everyone will have them. Thankfully, I have a grocery store/market routine that seems to work well for me: stick to the outskirts of the store. I would say 90% of my grocery cart is filled with produce, along with dairy products. I have to venture to the interior aisles to grab some essentials like rice and beans, but I try to avoid the processed foods as much as possible and stick to products with ingredients I can read and understand. The more food without labels (aka produce), the better!

organic vegetable broth ingredients

And when I do have to include pre-made ingredients, it is ideal when I can find something that I could feasibly create on my own. For example – the vegetable broth included in this soup. I know I could make it myself, but the organic vegetable broth I picked up is clearly something that I could make. But hey – I didn’t have time for that and I don’t feel guilty about it! But it did get me thinking about how I should create some of my own vegetable broth for future recipes. It shouldn’t be hard, right?

Of course, I’m not going to be perfect. Case in point: although I DID give up soda/caffeine, I’m still going to drink one every once in a while. And sometimes a little indulgence is totally fine.

fall squash soup

But why go for processed foods when you can have really wonderful, flavorful unprocessed items made with whole foods? Honestly, I find fresh to be best. Could you go an entire month without eating any processed foods? That’s the question I’m curious about today, and honestly I don’t think it’s as hard as you’d think at first! Today, the Sunday Supper family is partnering up with the October Unprocessed challenge to provide you with recipes containing no processed ingredients. There is a lot of inspiration to be had – make sure you check them out!

This fall squash soup is certainly simple, and it can be served up as a main course for a fall evening. Alternately, it would make a great side dish or appetizer. This recipe made enough for about 6 servings, so you may even find yourself with some leftovers. It makes a great next day lunch, paired with a salad on the side or a panini to dip. The consistency is thick enough to coat your spoon, but not so much that you can stand your spoon in it. Warm and comforting – I am loving it.

What is your favorite fall soup to enjoy?

fall squash soup

Fall Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup carrots, diced or shredded
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the butternut and acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Brush the squash lightly with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then place on a tray cut side up.
  2. Bake the squash for 30 minutes, until fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. In a deep stock pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute until the onions turn translucent (about 3-4 minutes).
  4. Next, scoop the flesh from the roasted squash and add to the pot along with the ginger, vegetable broth, and thyme. Bring to a simmer for about 7-8 minutes.
  5. Turn heat to low, then use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve as-is or top with roasted seeds as a garnish: enjoy!
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Here are all of the unprocessed recipes created by the Sunday Supper family today!!!!

Alluring Appetizers and Snacks

Stunning Sides

Enticing Entreés

Decadent Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

October 1, 2014

I’ve been thinking about adding a new “feature” to some of my recipes going forward, and I hope it goes over well! A few weeks ago when I was strolling through my local market, I realized that even though I consider myself to be well versed on a lot of foods and ingredients, there are still so so many that I have yet to experience or cook with. It seemed natural to parlay that into some of my recipes. I want to try something new every week, and include it in a recipe. It can be an ingredient that is completely new to me, or one that I’ve experienced before, but have never cooked with in my own kitchen. Today’s recipe is the very first foray into new ingredients, with these peanut butter and jelly bites!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bites

You’re probably thinking: um – peanut butter and jelly. You certainly have experienced that combination before. Yes, yes I have. However, the flavor of jelly in these bites actually comes from something other than jelly: it comes from dried currants!

dried currants

So: what are currants? Currants are dried berries of the seedless grape known as “Black Corinth.” They are smaller than your average raisin, but look very similar in appearance. Their skin is thin and the inside of the currant is juicy. They are great for baking. And, I may or may not have snacked on some of them (like I do with raisins) as I was making these peanut butter and jelly bites. I procured my currants at Whole Foods in the bulk food section. However, if you are unable to find currants at your local store, you can easily substitute dates or raisins in this recipe. The flavor will be slightly different, but you get the picture!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bites

On to the peanut butter and jelly bites. I have been dying to try out a version of “energy balls/bites” that I’ve seen. When I attended a healthy cooking class at Whole Foods recently, they demonstrated how easy it was to make these sweet treats. Seriously – it takes only a few minutes to put these together. I was inspired to make a batch at home, and I wasn’t surprised to see that Justin really enjoyed them. They mysteriously disappeared from the refrigerator a little more quickly than I anticipated. I guess that means we have a winner on our hands. I love that these peanut butter and jelly bites satisfy my craving for something sweet, but instead of reaching for something sugary and processed I can enjoy one of these little bites of bliss. I have been treating myself to one post-workout as well as for a sweet dessert treat. You can keep these treats in the refrigerator for a few days, or you can even freeze them. Score.

I am now obsessed with ideas of how I will change up the ingredients on these bites for future goodness. Oh boy. The wheels are spinning.

So I’m curious: have you ever made a recipe similar to these peanut butter and jelly bites? Do you use any different ingredient combinations? And of course…what ingredient should I try next? I’d love some ideas as I go forward – inspire me! What would YOU like to try?

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bites

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Add oats, currants, peanut butter, vanilla, and cinnamon into a food processor. Pulse until smooth. You may need to add about 2 tablespoons (one tablespoon at a time) of warm water to the mixture in order for it to turn to the proper texture for rolling.
  2. Use a small cookie scoop (or teaspoon) to scoop balls of the mixture out. Place on a plate or tray lined with wax paper. Continue scooping until all of the mixture is in ball shapes.
  3. Chill bites for at least 30 minutes. Then, roll the bites tightly into a ball and place into an airtight container until ready to serve. Keep chilled, or freeze for up to one week - enjoy!

Notes

Source: Whole Foods

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