Cinnamon Cranberry Biscuits

Last week I bought a little jar of pumpkin butter.  And then decided that I didn’t really have much to spread it on, hence the cinnamon cranberry biscuits.

I found this really, really easy biscuit recipe while searching for recipes that included pumpkin butter in or spread on them.  They turned out fantastic and I could make them literally in less than half an hour.  Extra bonus!  It is a very simple recipe and you could spread any kind of jam, jelly, butter, whatever you choose.  They have a wonderful taste of cinnamon and then the sweetness of the cranberries just adds that extra kick.

Cinnamon Cranberry Biscuits 

Via

Makes about 8-9 biscuits

Time: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions:  

1. Preheat the oven to 425 Degrees F.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until moistened.

3. Form dough into golf ball sized balls and place on a baking sheet.

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Let them cool on a wire rack until you can’t wait any longer to eat 🙂

5. Enjoy with some pumpkin butter or whatever your heart desires!

Happy biscuit party!

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The Cape Horn Hikers and the Great Pumpkin Poppers

Charlie Brown’s The Great Pumpkin  Via

I absolutely love October, it’s one of the best months out of the entire year and not just because of the beautiful autumn leaves, those crisp cold sunny days, and Halloween(!!!), but because (drumroll please) it is now socially acceptable to eat and/or drink anything pumpkin flavored.  Wohoo!

Some of you might be surprised to hear this, but as a child I was actually a pretty picky eater.  I mean I wouldn’t even eat potatoes!  And that’s like a sin for anyone of Irish decent.  So, of course, pumpkin wasn’t on the top of my list either.  Luckily I’ve turned that boat around and have landed on the isle of pumpkin mischief!  My pinterest food board has had multiple pumpkin recipes on it just waiting for this month to come around so I can make them 🙂  And man oh man did I save the best for October!  Because feast your eyes on these beauties:

The Great Pumpkin Poppers

These are called pumpkin poppers and be careful because you’ll be popping these into your mouth consistently.  They basically taste like a cinnamon sugar donut hole, but even better because you get that little kick of pumpkin flavor.

Not only are they a very convenient small size, they also make great snacks or can be a main dessert if you wish!  I happened to bring these to a fall themed dinner and they went over spectacularly, but the next day they tasted almost better as little snacks for a nice 7.5 mile hike I took with my best friend.

Like I’ve mentioned before, the Columbia Gorge is one of the best places to go hiking.  I mean there are tons of hikes to do there!  This past weekend my friend and I went on a hike called the Cape Horn hiking trail on the Washington State side of the Gorge.  Neither of us had done this hike before, but it quickly became one of our favorites.  Imagine eating a pumpkin popper and looking out to a view like this:

Cape Horn hiking trail

Have I mentioned how much I love fall and October?  You’ll be a believer once you make these pumpkin poppers though!

Pumpkin Poppers 

Via

Makes about 24 mini pumpkin poppers

Time: 10-12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup milk

For Coating:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl and whisk until combined.

3. In another bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk.  Pour in flour mixture and mix until combined.

4. Fill mini muffin tins until almost full and bake 10-12 minutes on 350 degrees F.

5. For coating: melt butter in a small bowl.  Mix sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.  After poppers cool for a few minutes, dip them in the butter and roll them in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Make sure to not over sugar them (which I happened to do at first).  Otherwise all you’ll taste is cinnamon and sugar, but if you do, just wipe off the excess with your hands.  No big deal 🙂

For more pumpkin recipes, check out my delicious pumpkin cookies here!

Enjoy and Happy October!!

Categories: Easy, Experiences, Pastry, Snacks, Sweet Treats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hood River Pear Festival

Hood River, OR nestled in the shadows of Mt. Hood, Via

Well, it is that time of year again.  The time of the year where pears come into season.  And nestled among all the magnificent amounts of pears is a little town along the Columbia Gorge called Hood River.  It’s about an hour drive east of Portland, but it is definitely worth the time spent getting there.  Hood River is known for many things: wind surfing on the Columbia and other water sports, fun boutiques and creatively named coffee shops, but also their outstanding farms on the outskirts of town.

Every year during pear season, the farms, country stores, and fruit stands hold a pear festival celebrating the arrival of pear season.  Luckily they created this great map called “The Fruit Loop” that gives you a list of all the farms and fruit stands you can visit outside of Hood River.  You can try and visit every single one, which is actually really hard to do since there are so many, or you can pick and choose the ones you would like to visit.  Each one you drive to will definitely be selling pears, among other delicious fruits and vegetables.

However, there was one fruit loop stop that sold this: Pear Dumplings.  Yes, you read that correctly, pear dumplings!  They can be found at the Apple Valley Country Store.

Most delicious pear dumpling ever!

Inside of a pear dumpling….pure genius.

Don’t forget to buy the Cinnamon Pear Jam too! It’s like Christmas in your mouth…

If you drive all the way to Hood River during pear season and you just try this, you’ll be satisfied.  Just imagine the warm butter flavor of the dumpling dough with that hint of cinnamon.  Then you stick your fork into the middle to realize that it’s an entire pear that has been cored, filled with a butter cinnamon/sugar mix and wrapped in a decadent dumpling.  I mean do I need to explain any more of it or are you already hooked?

This fruit stand/country store doesn’t just sell amazing pears, but jams, pies, really good pear coleslaw, and much more.  It’s a definitely the place to visit along the fruit loop.  Who knew pears could be so much fun!?

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Breakfast Sunrise

Ever gotten up early enough to go hiking and watch the sunrise at the top?  You should, because you’ll get a picture like this:

Top of Spencer’s Butte in Eugene, Oregon.

It also gives you an excuse to explore a new restaurant or cafe for breakfast 🙂

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

I’m going out on a limb here and assuming that you have probably guessed that I really, really, really like to hike.  Growing up here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest I have been very fortunate and lucky with all the outdoor activities offered.  We’ve got the Cascade Mountain Range, Mt. Hood, Mt. Saint Helen’s (talk about an active volcano too!), the Pacific coast, Willamette River, Columbia River, and much more.  I’ve been white water rafting in Central Oregon, dipped my foot into the deepest lake in America (it’s Crater Lake in Southern Oregon, FYI), camped near the Oregon coast where it literally took a good four people to pitch our tent because the wind was blowing so hard that it kept flying away, and I could go on from there, but I only have so much time 🙂

Anyway, yesterday was no different and I went hiking with my brother in one of my most favorite spots in all of the Pacific Northwest: the Columbia Gorge.  For those of you who don’t know, The Gorge is separated by the beautiful and strong Columbia River, as a natural barrier between the states of Oregon and Washington, where it eventually flows into the Pacific Ocean to the west.  Have I convinced you to visit yet?  Oh, no?  Well, how about after this photo:

View of the Columbia Gorge from Angel’s Rest hiking trail

You eventually get used to all the green 🙂

Like I said earlier, I went hiking in the Columbia Gorge, and they have TONS of hikes to explore there.  Many with gorgeous views similar to the one above.  They are all fantastic and wonderful in their own right.  Each with their own personalities and quirks.  The hike I took is called Angel’s Rest.  It is a stunning hike with lots of great views of The Gorge and oh about a good 1,500 feet elevation gain!  This hike will definitely make you sweat, but it is worth it at the very top.  And after a good 4.5 mile hike about 26 miles outside of Portland, it was even better coming home and smelling the baked goodness of a Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake:

YUM!

My mom tends to make this decadent dessert a lot during the summer months, mainly because we always have an abundance of zucchini from our garden and there are only so many ways you can cook zucchini!  My mom got this recipe from a family friend and it has become a favorite among my family.  First of all, if I didn’t tell you, you probably wouldn’t guess that it has zucchini in it.  You eat it too fast to notice the subtle strips of green in the chocolate cake 🙂  Secondly, the zucchini makes the cake so moist and fluffy!  Maybe, I should add this to every cake…

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

Makes 1 9×13 inch cake

Baking Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (we use milk chocolate)

Directions:

1. Mix butter, oil, and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs.  Add milk, vanilla, and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder.  Stir into creamed mixture.  Gently stir in zucchini.

3. Grease and flour 9×13 inch baking pan.  Pour in batter.  Sprinkle top with chocolate chips.

4. Bake at 325 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Enjoy and don’t forget you’re getting some good vegetables in this dish!  That still counts as being healthy in my book 🙂  Also, we have an abundance of tomatoes from our garden too if you’d like some:

Categories: Dessert, Easy, Experiences, Life Lessons, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Quick!  Name your favorite junk food!!  Uh, uh, uh….PEANUT BUTTER CUPS!!!

That was what happened to me a few days ago.  It was my friend’s birthday and she wanted us to make homemade junk food.  Now it is a known fact among those of you who know me, that my group of friends and I laugh and eat delicious food…a lot.  Homemade or out on the town 🙂  We have this wonderful weekly gathering called Friday Night Dinners, where there is a food theme and we all bring something related to it.  There is even a blog that describes each event (you should check it out, like now, here).

So, I quickly decided to make the first thing that popped into my head.  Well…not true.  I absolutely love Oreos, but I couldn’t find a good recipe so next best thing that popped into my mind: Peanut Butter Cups.  Luckily, they are relatively easy to make and taste damn good if I do say so myself 🙂

Note the colorful display of both dark and milk chocolate peanut butter cups. Perfection right there.

Did I mention how easy they were to make?  Yeah, well let me repeat my self: they are really, really, easy to make.  No baking necessary either!  So those of you afraid of baking, this is for you my friends.  I know, I know calm yourself before your dancing gets too out of hand.  You’re scaring children.  But even if you aren’t afraid of baking, once you taste these little suckers you will feel like joyfully dancing as well.  So beware!  But for now, you can read the recipe 🙂

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

adapted from this

Yield: about 3 dozen

Prep time: 45 minutes  Chill time: 1 hour, total

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup powder sugar
  • 4 cups milk chocolate chips (two 11.5-oz bags)

(I used one bag dark chocolate chips and one bag milk chocolate since I love both kinds of chocolate) (They both turned out fabulous, but I would think about getting one more bag of chocolates in case you run out before you finish all 3 dozen)

  • mini-muffin paper liners
  • parchment paper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening

Directions:

1. Line a mini-muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar over medium heat.  Heat until completely melted and starting to bubble a little, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add the powder sugar 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until completely incorporated into peanut butter mixture after each addition.  Set aside and let cool.

3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and shortening together in the microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments, until completely melted, stirring after each burst.

4. Using a small spoon, spoon a couple of teaspoons of the melted chocolate in the bottom of each mini muffin tin.

5. Use a heaping teaspoon to scoop out the peanut butter mixture, roll it into a ball, and then flatten it slightly into a disk. (But make sure they’ll fit inside each mini-muffin cup!)  Place on the parchment paper lined baking sheet(s).  Once finished with all, refrigerate both the muffin tins and the peanut butter patties for about 30 minutes.

6. Place each peanut butter patty on top of each chocolate-lined muffin tin.  Then use a scoop or spoon to add more melted chocolate on top and around the peanut butter patties.  (If the melted chocolate firmed up, just pop it back in the microwave at 50% power for 30-seconds or so to re-melt)

7. Refrigerate again for 30 minutes, then they are ready to serve!  Store in the refrigerator or freezer or in an airtight container only day of.  But they’re going to go quick no matter what 🙂

Enjoy and happy no baking!

Categories: Dessert, Easy, Snacks, Sweet Treats | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Indoor S’mores

Whoever invented S’mores…I give props to your marketing director because it is a well-known fact amongst Americans that camping is not really camping without s’mores.

Also clever name you genius inventor of words. That was even before everyone started shortening words to be “cool.” Like redic, k, or my favorite “sup” with a little upward nod action, classic bro move right there.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering, “Why is she talking about s’more’s and why does it say “indoor” s’mores? Everyone knows that you need a fire outside to make s’mores!”  FALSE, my friends.

First of all, I haven’t posted on the blog for a little while because I was camping with my family.  Therefore, s’mores had to become involved.  I mean you can’t go wrong with hiking most of the day and coming back to a nice campfire eating some grubb and roasting those marshmallows over the fire for a perfect complementary taste of marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker.  However, there is a slight dilemma when you consider this scenario.  One, you probably haven’t been hiking all day.  Secondly, unless you have one of those outdoor fire pits you’re missing out on the most important part of s’mores!  But there is hope, because I have a fantastic recipe to eliminate that problem.  And they are called indoor s’mores!

I’m going to have to be honest with you folks though.  I haven’t actually made this…I’ve made the real things, like 2 weeks ago, but not the indoor kind.  I know, blasphemy!   However, I’m sure they are a good substitute to the real thing.  I mean you can’t beat the real thing, there is something about that flavor you get from the wood fire, but we can always try right!?  Okay enough jib-jabbing here is the recipe:

Indoor S’mores 

via

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole graham crackers, broken in half
  • 4 marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons of bittersweet chocolate chips, melted

Directions:

1. Position oven rack in the upper third of the rack, preheat boiler.

2. Place graham cracker halves on a baking sheet, top each with one marshmallow.

3. Broil with the oven door ajar and careful watching (!) until the marshmallows are golden brown, 45-75 seconds.

4. Remove from the oven and drizzle each S’more with a little melted chocolate.

It should turn out into something like this:

Image

That does look pretty perfect…

So I hope you enjoyed this substitute recipe for s’mores and good luck on finding your s’more bliss!

As for now, you should go hiking sometime.  I thoroughly enjoy it 🙂

Image

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Mom’s Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m the type of person who will typically never re-reads a book, no matter how fantastic it was.  I’m talking to you J.K. Rowling.  However, songs and music are a different story.  This week I am obsessed with this song:

Last week it was this song:

And no I do not like One Direction…this happened to be a fluke of pure genius.

Who knows what song it will be next week!  All I can say is I can put a song on replay for hours on end and not get tired of it.  The same could be said for my Mom’s classic chocolate chip cookies 🙂  I will always love these cookies and will be making them forever.  You just can’t go wrong with these babies!

With milk and you’ve just been transferred to pure bliss

These cookies are fabulous, but if you like super sweet chocolate chip cookies, this isn’t the right recipe for you.  You can always lessen the amount of salt, but I like my stuff with a little salty kick to go along with the sweet taste.  The combination of sweet and salty is deadly to me…

I’m going to be totally honest here though, they do happen to be the fabulous Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe, but my Mom and I have perfected the art of making these cookies and I’ll share some of those tips with this recipe.

Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shortening-some people use butter instead of shortening, yeah doesn’t fly for us.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Mix together the shortening, sugar, and brown sugar until well combined.

2. Add in the vanilla extract and eggs.  Mix well.

3. Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well and then add in the chocolate chips.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

5. These are “drop cookies” so there is no need to roll out the dough to form them into balls.  Basically take a small spoon (teaspoon size, typically called dessert spoons) and scoop out some dough and then just plot it right onto the cookie sheet.  They will come out in circles, don’t you worry!

4. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes.  I always start with 8 minutes because it’s easier to add time than over bake them.  But the real key here is to ever so slightly under bake them.  Just so that the center is a little big lighter of a color than the rest of the cookie.  Take them out of the oven and leave them on the baking sheet for about 30 seconds (they will still bake while on the cookie sheet) and then transfer them to  a wire rack to cool.  Hopefully your cookies will be nice and soft, especially in the middle!

Categories: Cookies, Dessert | Leave a comment

Top 10: Favorite Things about Food Blogs…YUM!

So I just found a new favorite food blog.  It is called Blue-Eyed Bakers and you can check them out here.

For starters their name is precious and catchy 🙂  Secondly, these are the first five recipes you see on their home page:

Impossible Coconut P

Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding

Blueberry Buttermilk Biscuits with Lemon Glaze

Cake Batter Rice Crispy Treats

Old-Fashioned Doughnut Muffins…say what!?

Yeah they are my new food blog heroes.

So in honor of the amazingness that is food blogs, I have come up with a Top 10 list of reasons why they are the best thing since…well ever!

Top 10 Favorite Things about Food Blogs

1. SO MANY RECIPES AND SO LITTLE TIME!!  I just love looking at all the recipes and thinking, “Oh my gosh I have to make this RIGHT NOW!  No, wait!  What about this one…or this one!?!?”

2. They truly have a talent at taking pictures that make you think that you need nothing else in the world except you and this picture of a piece of cinnamon bread.  You may not even like bread, but damn it I’m going to love it based off this picture.

3. Some people are just so creative!  You would never have thought to put bacon on top of a peanut butter and chocolate bar.  Yes, there  is such a recipe.

4. Cute, creative names.  “Eat, Live, Run”  “Blue-Eyed Bakers” “The Frugal Foodie” “Six Sisters Stuff” “My Baking Addiction” “Crepes of Wrath”  You get the picture.  Also, all those are true blogs, fyi.

5. Themed food ideas, such as this for St. Patrick’s Day:

Via

6. The delusion that you think what you make will turn out exactly the same as in their pictures.  I am at fault with this way too many times than I would like to admit.

7. They are much better at taking lots of pictures and step-by-step directions than any cookbook or baking book I have ever purchased or looked at.  I’m like a kid, I need pictures:

Via

8.  The variety!  How can so many people make the same thing, such as cake balls, but each one looks different and unique!  Well done my friends, well done.

9. They are really good at making food look cute.

Via

10.  They make the Food and Drink category of Pinterest ENDLESS and so, so, so delicious!  I could literally spend hours looking at all the glorious dishes.  Pinterest is the ultimate procrastination tool…and not in a good way.

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Blueberry Muffins

One of my favorite things about summer, minus the fabulous sunny days which are very rare around here: blueberries are in season.  I could eat blueberries all day, every day, for literally forever.  They also add greatly to any pastry or dessert, or at least that’s what I think 🙂

For example, this:

Yup, your eyes don’t deceive you.  That is a blueberry muffin my friends.

This is one of my creations over the past couple of months that I didn’t have time to put up until now.  But no matter how long ago I made these bad boys, I can still remember just how good they tasted!

I found this recipe ages ago online and never used it until I needed to make something for a bake sale.  For some reason this recipe popped into my mind and there you have it.  Must have been fate 🙂  I really enjoy this recipe one because it is simple and easy, but you also have a crumb cake like top to it, which adds some texture.  Although, it can make it a little bit more messy when you are eating it…but to be honest, you probably won’t care or notice 🙂

Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

For crumb topping:

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffins cups or line with muffin liners.

2. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl.  Put the oil in a 1 cup container, add egg and milk and mix together.  Once mixed pour liquid mixture into large bowl with the dry ingredients.  Mix well and then fold in the blueberries.

3.  For the crumb topping: mix together the sugar, flour, cubed butter, and ground cinnamon with a fork this will make it crumb looking.  

4.  Fill the muffin cups to the top (if you want bigger muffins) or 3/4 full for smaller ones.  Sprinkle the crumb topping on top and put in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Hope they turn out just as delicious as mine!

For more blueberry tasty treats, check out my blueberry lemon scones, believe they won’t disappoint.

Categories: Breakfast, Dessert, Easy, Pastry | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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