Monday, September 15, 2014

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Scones with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Drizzle

Normally I would be all over making chocolate zucchini bread this time of year. (See HERE for our Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread!) I decided to make something a little different but still reminiscent of quick bread. 
You can't go wrong with scones, right?
Scones are awesome. 
We should strive to include scones at every meal.
*Sigh* Things would be different if I were in charge of the universe.

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Scones with 
Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Drizzle

Salted Caramel Drizzle
4 Tbsp cream cheese, room temp
1 Tbsp butter, room temp
1 Tbsp salted caramel sauce
2 - 3 Tbsp icing sugar

4 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 small pkg (serving size 4) Jello Chocolate Pudding powder
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain
2 eggs
2 Tbsp sugar

Prepare drizzle - Beat together cream cheese, butter, and caramel sauce until smooth. Beat in the icing sugar until smooth. Chill until ready to use. 
Prepare scones - Preheat oven to 400. Line a large cookie sheet (or 2 small) with parchment paper, set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cocoa, Jello pudding powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt.  

Cut in butter using a pastry blender (or 2 butter knives), until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
In a smaller bowl, whisk together zucchini, milk, yogurt, and eggs.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.

Stir together with a fork until stiff dough forms. You may need to add a bit more milk if you are having trouble getting the dough to come together.
Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. 

Fold dough in half, lengthwise, and lightly roll to 1 inch thickness. (I do this so my scones have a lovely split right in the middle of the scone and are easier to separate. You can simply roll it to 1 inch thickness to begin with and cut them out.)

Using a sharp edges cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out scones and place on prepared cookie sheet. Press together the scraps and cut out more scones. (I used a  2.5 inch cookie cutter and got approx 24 scones.)
Sprinkle the tops of the scones with the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar.

Bake at 400 for 10 - 15 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet at the halfway mark. 
Remove from oven when cooked and leave on cookie sheet for 5 minutes to cool. After 5 minutes, remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool completely. 

When the scones are room temp - take the caramel cream cheese mixture from the fridge and microwave for 5 - 7 seconds. Just enough to melt a little so it is thin enough to drizzle.

Drizzle over the scones.

Serve room temp or slightly warm.
*Note - these freeze well too - with or without the drizzle. 
Also, if you can't find store bought salted caramel sauce you can use regular ice cream topping caramel and add in about 1/8 tsp of salt. 
From start to finish in about 30 minutes. Definitely a tasty way to use up some that zucchini coming out of the garden this time of year!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pumpkin Hand Pies

Cute, right?
I mean....who wouldn't like these adorable little hand pies that are shaped like pumpkins and are stuffed with delicious pumpkin pie filling?
Okay. Other than pumpkin haters.
But, if you don't like pumpkin then you are probably wrong about a lot of other things too. Just sayin'
These are super cute, super easy, and are perfect for fall/Halloween bake sales and family gatherings.

Pumpkin Hand Pies

or your own double crust pie dough recipe

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp butter, melted
2 tsp beaten egg (*see note below)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
Roll out pie dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out using a 2 to 3 inch pumpkin shaped cookie cutter. Place cut out shapes onto prepared cookie sheet. Gather scraps and re-roll dough and cut out more shapes. (You will need 2 shapes to create each pie.) Cover dough with a tea towel and prepare filling.
Prepare filling - In a mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, and spices until well combined. (*NOTE - beat one whole egg and use 2 tsp of it for the filling mixture. Use the remaining egg to seal the hand pies and brush on top.)
Place 1 spoonful of pie filling on top of each bottom half of the pie crust cut outs.

Using a small pastry or basting brush, brush the edges of the cut outs with some of the leftover egg. 
Top with another pie crust cut out.
Using a fork, gently press around the edges of the pumpkin shape to seal the 2 halves together. 
Prepare cinnamon sugar - in a small dish, stir together the sugar and cinnamon until well combined. 
Brush the tops of the hand pies with more of the beaten egg and then sprinkle with some of the cinnamon sugar. 

Bake at 375 for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue to cook until pies are golden brown - approx 20 - 25 minutes. 

Remove from heat and let cool on cookies sheet for 5 - 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack and let cool completely. 

I had a bit of filling leftover - if I had more pie crust I probably could have got another 5 - 6 pies from the filling. (I got 15 pies total) 
You don't want to fill the pies too full or they will come apart at the seams. 
They will still taste delicious but won't look as cute. 
I individually wrapped them with a small piece of parchment paper and put them in a little basket for a fall bake sale. 
You could make them more Halloween-y by cutting a little Jack-O-Lantern face in the top crust. 
We're sharing at these fun linky parties - My Turn (for us), The Chicken Chick, Ms. enPlace,

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pulo Lemongrass Atsuete Pulled Chicken & Pulo Coconut Adobo Shrimp & Veggies On Rice

Sue and I are excited to share this post with you today. 
We were chosen to participate in a Pulo Recipe Challenge using Pulo Philippine Cuisine products. We received the Pulo products and had a hard time deciding what to use! 

The 3 marinades and 2 cooking sauces all tasted delicious. Sue and I were little wary of the Kare Kare Toasted Peanut Sauce as we both are afraid of the whole savory peanut thing. We agreed to save that one for next time.
We decided to go with the Lemongrass Atsuete Marinade and the Coconut Adobo Cooking Sauce for this challenge. 
We are not terribly familiar with Philippine cooking so didn't know what to expect in terms of flavors or textures in the finished products. Turns out we both need to go to the Philippines. 

The dishes even turned out looking fairly pretty. 
Let's be honest here.... sometimes the saucier a dish is the less attractive it gets. 
These started out a little scary but turned out B-E-A-utifully. 

First up we will share our recipe for the Lemongrass Atsuete Pulled Chicken.

Pulo Lemongrass Atsuete Pulled Chicken

1 bottle Pulo Lemongrass Atsuete Marinade
8 chicken breasts
1 large onion, sliced
8 large, soft dinner buns

Turn crock pot on high. Place chicken breasts into the crock pot and pour on the Pulo Lemongrass Atsuete Marinade.

Stir to coat the breasts. 

Sprinkle the sliced onion on top.
Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or so (until chicken is cooked). 
Remove cooked breasts from crock pot and shred using 2 forks. (**TIP** You can also place the breasts into the bowl of a stand mixer and, using the "flat beater" attachment, shred it that way. This only takes a few seconds.)
Return shredded chicken to the crock pot and stir in the sauces from the bottom of the crock. 

Set to warm while you prepare the Coconut Adobo and rice.

Pulo Coconut Adobo Shrimp & Veggies on Rice

1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups uncooked shrimp, tails removed
3 cups raw veggies 
(I used broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots)
1 jar Pulo Coconut Adobo Cooking Sauce

3 - 4 cups cooked rice 
(I used Jasmine but Basmati is a great alternative too)

2 - 3 green onions, chopped (for garnish)

Place a large pot over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic until onion starts to soften, about 3 - 4 minutes.
Add in the uncooked shrimp and cook until shrimp turns pink, about 3 - 4 minutes. 
Add in your veggies and the jar of Pulo Coconut Adobo Cooking Sauce.

Stir until mixture comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes (stirring often) - until vegetables reach desired amount of done-ness. 

Serve hot over the cooked rice. Garnish with the chopped green onion.
These two dishes combined make a great dinner option.

holy heck....
Sooooo easy to put together. The hardest part of the whole thing is chopping the veggies. 

We can hardly wait to try the other marinades and cooking sauces!
We definitely recommend giving the Pulo line of products (click HERE for their website) a try if you want something a little out of the ordinary for dinner that requires very little work. 
*All opinions are our own.*

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Upside Down Plum And Almond Cake

Yay! We got to eat our plums before the bears did this year. 
One of the joys of living in the mountains is letting your fruit stay on the trees long enough to get ripe enough to eat but getting to them before the bears do. Some years we win, some years we lose.
This year we won. 
At least with the plums....
Anyway, I decided to make a cake to celebrate the plum harvest. I wanted something that showed off the lovely purple color of the fruit so decided against chopping it up and stirring it into the batter. This cake looks beautiful and is super easy to whip up. From start to finish in about an hour. 

Upside Down Plum And Almond Cake

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
11 - 12 plums, quartered

Cake Layer
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup Greek yogurt, plain

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 10 inch tart pan with parchment paper and sprinkle in the chopped almonds.

In a pan over medium heat, stir together the 2 Tbsp butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and the plums. Cook and stir *gently* for 3 - 4 minutes. Just until plums start to soften and brown sugar/butter is bubbling. 

Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.
Using a fork, arrange the plums in circles on top of the almonds in the tart pan. Pour the brown sugar/butter mixture from the pan over the plums.

Prepare cake - In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 
In a larger mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the sugar until well combined.
Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Alternately beat in the dry ingredients with the Greek yogurt until well combined. Batter will be thick.
Carefully spoon the batter over the plums in the tart pan and then gently smooth spoonfuls together (see pic below).

Bake at 350 until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, about 30 - 40 minutes.

Let cool 5 - 10 minutes then invert cake onto a wire cooling rack. Carefully remove the tart pan and parchment paper from the cake.

Let cool. 
Serve as is........

Or, even better, with vanilla ice cream or whipping cream....

A few notes -- You can make this in an 8 or 9 inch pan but then I would definitely half the plum and almond, bottom layer. 
If you do use a smaller pan then you would also have to increase the cooking time. I would say it would between 40 - 50 minutes to bake instead of  30 - 40. Just keep an eye on it. 
I like the bigger pan because there is a better topping-to-cake ratio. 
Looking for some fun nd tasty links? Check out these fab linky parties - The Chicken Chick, Ms. enPlace, Feeding Big

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Skinny Pumpkin Pie Shake

Maybe you are one of those people who has trouble letting go of summer.
You enjoy the blistering heat, the blue skies, blah-de-blah-blah. 
Maybe you need help transitioning to fall.
Maybe something like a milkshake involving typical fall flavors would help you bridge the gap and accept that a new season is upon us.
Well..... here you go summer people.
You're welcome.
Oh. Yeah. Did I mention that this is also healthified?
Cuz' it's healthified.

Skinny Pumpkin Pie Shake

1/2 cup 0 fat, plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 pkgs Stevia
1 Tbsp graham cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup 1% milk
ice cubes

Place Greek yogurt and pumpkin puree into a container and freeze until solid.
When completely frozen, place mixture into a blender or food processor. Add in Stevia (or other sugar substitute), graham cracker crumbs, pumpkin pie spice, and milk.

Processes until smooth. Add in ice cubes and process until thick and creamy. (You can add as many or as few ice cubes as you like. If it is too thick, add a bit more milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.)

Not only is this DELICIOUS it is only 180 calories for the whole thing!
Not even lying.
According to Myfitnesspal - 180 calories, 24 carbs, 1 fat, and 17 protein. 
Go ahead, enjoy a treat, let the fall flavors get under your summer skin.
Don't fight it. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Oatmeal Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy September first everyone!
Let the fall recipes begin.
I decided to start with some pumpkin but, of course, my strange family doesn't like pumpkin recipes. I am the only one that apparently knows what tastes good. 
These cookies have a little bit of everything so you may even be able to sway the non-pumpkin fans in your house to try them. I purposely made this into a fairly small batch so - if you are lucky enough to have pumpkin lovers - you may want to double it. I got 12 large cookies. 

Oatmeal Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch sea salt
1 1/4 cup oats
1/3 cup pecans, toasted & chopped
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbsp butter, room temp
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper, set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, oats, and pecans.
In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter until creamy. Beat in pumpkin puree until smooth. beat in brown sugar, and vanilla. 
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until stiff dough forms.
Using a large cookie scoop (approx 1/4 of a cup), scoop 12 cookies onto prepared cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies with the palm of your hand (cookies will not spread very much during cooking).
Top each cookie with 5 or 6 chocolate chips. (You can, of course, use more if you want to!)

Bake at 350 for approximately 6 minutes. Rotate cookie tray and continue cooking until cookies are done, approximately another 6 or so minutes. (Bottoms will be golden brown and tops will appear dry.)
Remove from heat and move to wire rack to cool.

Enjoy with a glass of coffee or milk (or hot chocolate - I mean, it is almost officially fall now...). 
FYI - these freeze really well too. Just make sure they are in an airtight container. 
Not that you will have a lot to freeze - this only makes 12 good sized cookies. 
We're sharing at these fab linky parties! - Ms. enPlace, Memories By The Mile, Hun...What's For Dinner?, Table For Seven, New Mrs. Adventures, Anyonita Nibbles