Orange Pecan Muffins

Orange Pecan Muffin Recipe

This Orange Pecan Muffin Recipe has been a favorite of mine for a very long time with fond memories attached to it.

When I moved into the house I am in now my budget was tight and I would visit local consignment shops to find things for my home that were reasonable. I needed everything. My mom and I would usually go on Saturday morning. We had one shop we visited regularly and the lady that owned it was an all around nice person. We visited one Saturday and she said “I am glad you stopped by I have something I think you will like.” She pulled out this box an elderly lady had dropped off filled with really old recipes and cookbooks. My mom was a big foodie too and we were in heaven. She gave us the box, she wanted someone to put it to good use.

This recipe was the first one I tried and I have been making it ever since. I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as we do.

I make them during the holidays in little mini loaf pans and given them as gifts. Everyone loves these little gems of goodness and asks for the recipe.

Orange Pecan Muffin Recipe
Orange Pecan Muffin Recipe brad & amy's kitchen
Orange Pecan Muffin Recipe
Orange Pecan Muffin Recipe brad & amy's kitchen
Servings: muffins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 cup regular muffin tin.
  2. Sift first 4 ingredients together in a small bowl, set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each one.
  3. Add the orange juice alternately with the dry ingredients to the creamed butter, sugar mixture. Add vanilla and zest, stir well.
  4. Spoon muffin mix into greased muffin tin. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until done. Top with 1/2 pecan halve.
  5. Optional add ins: add fresh cranberries for orange cranberry muffins. chocolate chips for orange chocolate chip muffins.
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Cheers! Amy

Baked Squash

Weekly Menu Plan 10/26/2014

I am happy to report that we ate at home each night last week and enjoyed it immensely. We cooked, laughed and created in the kitchen together all week. It was nice. For the most part we followed our Weekly Menu Plan, with a few minor tweaks here and there. Tastes change and sometimes you just have to have the taco instead of the pork chop.

This week we have a trip planned to the grocery store and will eat out on that night this week. The grocery store (Aldi) we visit is 30 minutes each way for us. It takes (round trip) a good 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours.

Here’s the weekly menu plan for this week:

Weekly Menu Plan 10/26/2014

- Pork Roast with carrots and onions, Baked Squash (This baked squash recipe is our new favorite way to eat squash. I have used a mixed squash variety and plain yellow squash. OH MY! Good stuff! We were lucky enough to be able to nab (great word) some late squash at the Farmer’s Market and I used that)

- Veal Meatballs, macaroni & cheese, sauteed spinach

- Baked Tortellini Casserole with salad

- Burgers and either pasta or potato salad

- Mexican with Spanish Rice

- Open Night x 2

Dessert of the week – Orange Pecan Muffins (recipe this week)- chocolate bread (this recipe flopped, as in crumbled all to pieces) but tastes phenomenal I am going to have to tweak on the recipe a bit more before I post it.

Bread of week – <gasp> I did not bake bread this week. We bought french bread and sourdough from the local bakery and are enjoying that.

What’s on your menu plan this week?

Cheers! Amy

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Caramel Cheesecake Bites

Caramel Cheesecake Bites Recipe

I have a confession to make. I am in a love affair with cheesecake. <sigh> Cheesecake has always been my all time favorite dessert. Always in the number 1 spot, forget the chocolate (unless it’s drizzled on or swirled throughout the cheesecake). My favorite is with a scattering of blueberries or blackberries. <drooling here>

Brad wanted something different for dessert and I had received a recipe for cheesecake bites in my email. The recipe was way to complicated and fussy. This Caramel Cheesecake Bite Recipe uses my go to cheesecake cookie filling recipe.

It was a winner and very addictive. Needless to say this weekly dessert recipe made it though Wednesday. Brad wanted more…

Without further ado here’s the recipe:

Caramel Cheesecake Bites Recipe
Makes 16-19 bites

8 ounces of neufchâtel cheese (light cream cheese)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon lime juice (lemon or orange juice will work too)
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
16-19 vanilla wafers
1/4 cup of caramel sauce or 9 melted caramels

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

In a mini muffin pan fill 18 holes with mini liners.

Place a vanilla wafer on the bottom of each liner.

Cream the cream cheese and sugar together.

Add the egg, lime juice, milk and vanilla to the cheese mixture and beat throughly.

Top each vanilla wafer with 1 Tablespoon of cream cheese mix.

Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the center of each cake is just set.

Cool completely and then top with 1 teaspoon of caramel sauce.

Store in covered container in the fridge.

Do you have a favorite dessert?

Cheers! Amy

Homemade Pizza

Weekly Menu Plan

Over the weekend we visited a local butcher shop and the Farmer’s Market to pick up some fresh produce. The local butcher shop was a carnivore’s dream come true and everything we have tried from there so far has been superior. We were excited to find a locally owned butcher shop that makes their own sausage, and their meat is a lot better than what’s in the grocery stores nowadays.

We also visited the Farmer’s Market to stock up on produce for the coming week. This time of year brings out the kale, Swiss chard, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, pumpkins and sweet potatoes, OH and the apples and pears. All such good foods.

Our weekly menu plan uses the goodies we bought on our shopping trips. A few new recipes and some favorites thrown in for good measure.

Here’s the Weekly Menu Plan:

Porter House Steaks, sausage mushroom appetizers, salad & roasted cauliflower (new recipe)
Homemade Pizza and salad
Minestrone (new recipe) and cheesy cornmeal muffins (from the freezer)

Cheesy Cornmeal Muffins

Cheesy Cornmeal Muffins

Pork Roast with vegetables
Open Night

Bread this week: Buttermilk Honey Bread (from the freezer)

Buttermilk Honey Bread

Buttermilk Honey Bread

Dessert this week: Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites & Jam Blossoms (both new recipes)

What’s on your plan this week?

Cheers! Amy

Web Grazing

I had a few spare moments to do some Web Grazing over the last few days. I love to check out food trends and the latest goings on in the wonderful world of food. Some things just make you shake your head and wonder what these people are thinking. Others make you go I can’t wait to try that recipe.

As cooler temps have invaded us I look for recipes that will help us use produce we get at the local farmers market and stay creative with it. Nobody likes the same thing over and over again, time after time. After all, variety is the spice of life! Or at least so they say.

Here’s a few recipes I found of interest on my Web Grazing…

A new twist on chicken pot pie. I would probably try this as a one dish meal. I only have 3 10 ounce ramekins.

Tamale Chicken Potpies

They had fresh cauliflower at the Farmer’s Market yesterday and I can’t wait to try these.

Cauliflower Patties

This sounds like a good meatless lunch. I love cauliflower and provolone cheese.

Fried Cauliflower Sandwich

Brad & I eat mushrooms almost everyday. Sometimes multiple times per day. We love them and the various varieties there are. Yes, we love fungus. This recipe is different and I plan on making it soon or at least my take on the recipe. Yum!

Meatball Stuffed Mushrooms

Now that Fall is here are there any new recipes you are itching to try?

Cheers! Amy

Beef Goulash over Noodles

Beef Goulash Recipe

Beef Goulash Recipes, there are so many versions of this out there. I would love to sample recipes from around the globe. What’s not to love about meat, pasta, tomatoes and a rich sauce? It is virtually a one pot meal. (My kinda meal). Serve it with rice, golden egg noodles or some fancy swirled pasta or go all out and make your own pasta. A dollop (I love that word) of sour cream or Greek yogurt and a light sprinkle of dill weed to top everything off.

The American Version: My mother always browned ground beef, onions and mixed it with tomatoes and pasta topped off with a sprinkle of cheese. To this day this is still an all time favorite of mine to eat and enjoy.

I receive a lot of blog feeds in my email (what food blogger doesn’t) and voraciously read them all. Brad and I had watched a cooking show with someone (don’t remember who) making a beef goulash recipe and we both commented that we needed to try that. The next day my email had this Beef Goulash Recipe in it.

I read the recipe and drooled perused the recipe pictures. This was it, the Beef Goulash Recipe we had been looking for. I had everything to make it and so we did.

This recipe is a bit fussy (as in it is slightly time consuming) but if you have the time you NEED to make this recipe. The sauce is scrumptious. The caraway seeds are totally optional (I opted in, I have them on hand for some rye bread I had made). They add a depth and dimension to the stew that you just savor. The recipe makes a nice size pot. We ate it for a couple of days and froze part of it for another meal. We did notice that as it sat the caraway seeds mellowed out quite a bit.

My changes and additions to the recipe:

  • I used homemade vegetable broth in place of the chicken and been broth
  • White mushrooms were added at the same time as the peppers (and were divine)
  • Next time I will only add 1 tsp of caraway seeds.
  • I served it over yolkless noodles with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of dill.

This recipe will become a regular in our winter rotation. It is definitely a Fall/Winter recipe. Served with a good crusty bread to sop (another good word) up the savory sauce. Heavy comfort food that tastes like it came from a gourmet kitchen. Lovely aroma fills the house as it simmers in the oven. Loved this recipe!

Beef Goulash

Beef Goulash

Cheers! Amy

Buttermilk Honey Bread

Buttermilk Honey Bread Recipe

Each week I bake bread for Brad and I to eat through out the week. We began baking our own bread a couple years ago to avoid the heavily processed bread you usually find in the store. If life has been busy we will occasionally buy a loaf or two of bread from one of the local bakeries to tide us over until I can bake some.

For the last several months I have been wanting to take my bread baking to the next level. I think at this point, I have moved on to the intermediate stage and am fairly comfortable with baking terms and techniques.

Being the foodie that I am and admittedly I have a large collection of recipes. I still love to browse new cookbooks. For several months now I have been eyeing The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger. It’s a collection of 300 of her best and most favorite recipes. I was browsing e books for my Kindle and low and behold this particular book went on sale for $2.51 and I was all over it (like the floured hand prints on my behind when I am baking and dust my hands off on my black yoga pants). I voraciously devoured (yes that’s the way I read, with speed and totally absorbed). Loved it and could not wait to try some of these recipes and take my bread baking to the next notch. {{Happy Dance}}} New kitchen chemistry to try out!

The Honey Buttermilk Bread Recipe was the first one that tickled my fancy. This recipe was a a little more fussy to make but we both loved the slight tang from the buttermilk and the taste of the honey that came through. I used pure raw honey, which has a stronger flavor than most honey. It toasts beautifully and it good just warm with some melted butter. I can see using this for sandwiches and toast. I froze one loaf for later and we’re nibbling our way through the other one.

Here’s the recipe.

Buttermilk Honey Bread
Recipe source: The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger
3/4c. warm water (105 – 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
1 T. active dry yeast
1 1/2c. buttermilk, warmed just to take off the chill
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
3 T. honey
1 T. salt
6- 6 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour (mine took closer to 6 1/2 cups)
Pour the warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the surface of the water. Stir to combine and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, using a whisk, or in the work bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine buttermilk, butter, honey, and yeast mixture. [I used my kitchen aid mixer] Add the salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until hard to combine. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating with a wooden spoon (or in the electric mixer) after each addition, until a shaggy dough is formed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and satiny, dusting with flour only 1 T. at a time as needed to prevent sticking.
*If kneading in the mixer, switch from the paddle to the dough hook and knead for 3-4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and springy and springs back when pressed. If desired, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead briefly by hand.* [I used my kitchen aid]
Place the dough in a greased bowl. Turn the dough once to grease the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 -1 1/4 hours.
Gently deflate the dough. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Grease two 9×5″ loaf pans or a cookie sheet. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Form the portions into standard loaves or 2 round loaves and place in the prepared pan(s). [I have one cookie sheet and it was being used. So I greased a covered 1.5 qt casserole dish and the insert to the 3qt crock pot and used those to bake the bread in] Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until fully doubled in bulk, 30-45 minutes.
Buttermilk Honey Bread Dough Rising

Buttermilk Honey Bread Dough Rising

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake on the center rack of the oven about 40-45 minutes, or until nicely browned, pulls away from the sides and has a hollow sound when tapped with your fingers.
Remove the loaves immediately to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.
Buttermilk Honey Bread

Buttermilk Honey Bread

Cheers! Amy