Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans

I’m not a big fan of nuts.

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Sure, I can eat a handful of honey roasted peanuts now and then, salted cashews are starting to grow on me, and I like my peanut-butter crunchy, but I despise Jordan almonds and think that nuts ruin perfectly good fudge. I hate nuts in stuffing, I hate nuts in trail mix. They’re usually bitter and make my teeth feel weird.

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But these Candied Pecans might as well be some illicit drug with how addicted to them I am.

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I would go as far as to say that besides for the allergic, these would convert even the most ferocious of nut-haters.

candied pecans

They’re so easy to make and perfect to have on hand for the holidays. I’ve served them for our last three holiday movie parties, and several years ago I even made festive little baggies of them as gifts.

Candied Pecans
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20 servings
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces pecan halves
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat to 300 degrees and line a large baking tray with wax paper.
  2. Whisk the egg white, vanilla, and water together in a large bowl until its thicker and frothier.
  3. Add in the sugars, cinnamon, and salt, and then mix thoroughly until the pecans are well covered.
  4. Spread evenly over the wax paper-lined baking tray and place in oven for 45 minutes.
  5. Stir the pecans every 15 minutes.
  6. Cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.
  7. Stores well in cookie tins.

 

You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t give them a chance.

holiday party 2

Our humble party spread featuring the candied pecans, kettle corn, movie-theater popcorn, hummus and veggies, hot cocoa and fresh whipped cream, eggnog, pomegranate punch, salted caramel cookies, various candies, and a delicious cabbage salad courtesy of my brother and his girlfriend.

 

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Holiday shorts and cartoons before our main feature during our Holiday Movie Party

Simple Summer Sandwich

Fall starts September 23rd, which means summer is nearly over. Good riddance, frankly – there’s something about heat that makes my brain shut down. The only thing I’m really going to miss is the lovely produce — tomatoes in particular.

ttomato

(Admittedly not the prettiest tomato photo)

Thanks to the generosity of my friends (and occasionally a good find at a farmer’s market), I’ve had more than my fair share of really delicious heirloom tomatoes this growing season. The kind that you can just slice up, sprinkle with a little salt, and enjoy the hell out of.

They’re also great in the heat – some of my favorite no-cook meals rely heavily on good tomatoes. This tomato basil mozzarella appetizer, for instance. It’s a relief to avoid heating up the house by way of an oven.

tomatobasilmozzarella

A few years ago, the great Oprah turned me on to another no-cook, delightfully tomato-centric recipe that’s perfect on a hot day: a simple tomato sandwich.

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So simple, in fact, it kind of sounds like it’s missing something (for BLT fans, it’s basically “missing” lettuce and bacon. But you really don’t need those with an especially lovely tomato.)

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(Looks are deceiving – this thing was freaking delicious).

Get yourself to the farmer’s market, pick up some tomatoes, and give this a try before summer is over. 🙂

Simple Summer Sandwich
 
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Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 1 sandwich
Ingredients
  • 1 ripe, fabulous tomato
  • 2 slices of white bread
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 napkin
Instructions
  1. Thinly slice the tomato and lay it on one slice of the white bread.
  2. Salt lightly.
  3. Spread a thin layer of mayo on the remaining slice of bread.
  4. Assemble.
  5. If it's really a grand tomato, eat it over the sink - you'll likely have tomato juice dripping down your chin and eating hand.
  6. Use the napkin.

 

 

Loaded Baked Potato Bar

Loaded Baked Potato Bar

This last Friday Brandie had the genius craving for potatoes and I thought a loaded potato bar with some kind of meat would be perfect.

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Bake a large russet potato for each person, and put out plenty of your favorite toppings, and you’re done!

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This meal was so satisfying and so delicious and so easy!

Oven Baked Potatos
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 Large Russet Potato for each person
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Scrub the potatoes clean and pat dry.
  3. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle the skin with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Pierce each potato with a fork a couple of times.
  5. Cover large baking tray with tin foil and place the potatoes on that.
  6. Bake in oven for 50 minutes or until inserting a fork, the insides are tender.
Notes
For Loaded Baked Potatoes:
Prepare your favorite potato toppings; we included butter, seasonings (garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper and Spike), sour cream, green onions, and fresh bacon pieces.

 

This is a great meal for a weeknight as well because the most effort you have to put forward, is scrubbing the potatoes!

 

Crock Pot French Onion Soup

Crock Pot French Onion Soup

A couple of years ago Cat mad this amazing french onion soup that was so incredibly delicious.

We’ve been craving it and wanting to make it again for a while now, but it’s a bit of an energy and time commitment and there’s usually something new and interesting that takes priority.

This last weekend though, enough was enough! We decided to try a slow-cooker recipe and see how it compares.

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I thought it was quite tasty and worth it, Cat was a little more discerning and much preferred the stove top version.

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I would recommend trying this recipe though, especially if time and patience are an issue.

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This took physical time, but very little effort.

Crock Pot French Onion Soup
 
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Author:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds yellow onions, peeled, sliced, and cut into quarter-moons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 10 cups beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons brandy, optional
  • To Serve
  • 4 to 6 baguette slices, toasted, for each bowl
  • 1⅓ to 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (1/3 cup per bowl)
  • Chopped shallot or fresh onion
  • Equipment
  • Cutting board and chef's knife
  • Slow cooker
  • Wooden spoon
  • Oven-safe soup bowls
  • Baking pan
Instructions
  1. Season the onions: Place the onion slices in a 5-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Stir in the butter and olive oil, salt, and a generous quantity of black pepper.
  2. Cook on LOW for 12 hours: Cover and cook on LOW overnight or for 12 hours. The onions should be dark golden brown and soft.
  3. Add broth: Stir in the balsamic vinegar and the broth.
  4. Cook for 6 to 8 hours on LOW: Cover and continue cooking on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. This is flexible; as long as your slow cooker holds moisture well (wrap a towel over the lid if quite a lot of steam escapes), you can cook the soup for hours. Longer cooking will only intensify the flavors. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired, and stir in the brandy if using.
  5. Portion the soup into oven-safe bowls: Heat the oven to 350°F. Ladle the soup and onions into oven-safe bowls and place the bowls in a baking pan.
  6. Top with toast and shredded cheese: Top each bowl with a slice of toast and a generous quantity of shredded Gruyere cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes: Bake on a rack in the upper third of the oven until the cheese is completely melted.
  8. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes: Turn the oven to broil and broil the soup for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then serve with chopped fresh onion on the side.

 

Cold Thai Peanut Noodles

Cold Thai Peanut Noodles

It’s been a little warm here in the East Bay these last couple of weeks.

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That kind of warm where you just don’t want to move, don’t want to do anything that may cause more heat, and that includes eating something warm.

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Cat had the genius idea for some cold Thai inspired noodles, and boy did it deliver.

noodles

These noodles not only filled our belly in a cool and refreshing way, they were also really delicious!

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(and as you’ll see, really easy to make)

Cold Thai Peanut Noodles
 
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Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 box Angel Hair Pasta
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced onion, or chopped scallions
  • ⅔ cup chopped green cabbage
  • Sauce:
  • ½ cup chunky peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoons ginger
  • ¼ teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Chopped peanuts to garnish
Instructions
  1. Boil the pasta per packaging directions.
  2. Strain and run cold water over to cool the pasta.
  3. While the pasta is boiling, whisk together all the sauce ingredients.
  4. Once the pasta is cooled, toss together with the sauce, onion, and cabbage in a large bowl until the mixed and the pasta is covered in sauce.
  5. Serve with some additional chopped peanuts on top.

 

Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes

Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes

For the last few days I’ve been staring at our super ripe bananas trying to decide what to make with them. Every morning I contemplate a Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie, but have gone with a bagel or cereal instead, or I’ve thought about some of Brandie’s Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread or those Banana Muffins I liked so much, but it just didn’t feel like the choice.

So this morning I decided to make some gluten-free banana pancakes; low carb, low fat, natural sugars, and high in taste.

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Not that health is usually a decider in my dietary choices, but it’s a nice side affect for something so delicious.

gluten free banana pancakes 1

These were a great use of old bananas, super simple to make, and very tasty.

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Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes
 
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Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 very ripe (brown) bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet on medium heat until a drop of water placed in the center will sizzle and dance, but not immediately evaporate.
  2. Use a small amount of the butter to grease the pan in a medium sized circle, and then using a ⅓ cup scoop, pour some of the batter onto the pan.
  3. Cook until the top of the pancake starts to make bubbles and holes, and checking under the edge the bottom is golden brown.
  4. Flip and cook on the other side until it is also golden brown.
  5. Stack and serve with maple syrup, butter, jam, powdered sugar, or whatever your preferred pancake topping is.
Notes
To create a fluffier pancake, add 2 tablespoons of gluten free "flour" or pancake mix to the batter.

 

Creamy Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Salad

As I sit here typing this, the smell of weekend grilling and barbecue is wafting in through the open windows.

Its truly tantalizing.

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite summer barbecue side dishes is a really good potato salad.

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I like mine really creamy with a little bit of a bite, and a mellow after taste.

creamy potato salad 2

Creamy Potato Salad
 
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Author:
Serves: 10 servings
Ingredients
  • 10 golden potatos
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cyan powder
Instructions
  1. Dice the potatoes into small cubes and boil until fork tender. Drain and cool.
  2. Once the potatoes are cool, place into a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix until will combined.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
  4. Serve immediately or cool in the fridge for at least two hours for best results.