It’s the middle of April with spring clinging to the breeze. The frost dancers have put up their shoes for the season. And this opens us to my favorite part of spring: the beginnings of our garden. You’ll remember my reflections on our first garden last year. While we had grown little edibles in the past – some herbs here, a tomato plant there – last year marked our first major effort in generating some ample food stuffs and launching what we lovingly called our urban farm. We approached the term with humor since we live far from an urban area but are hardly the embodiment of “country folk.” We had victories; we had failures. We had lots of fruits and veggies. And we were both ready to do it all over again, bringing new ideas and lessons learned.
We’ve already planted our flowers for the season and begun to watch them grow. The Diana, Princess of Wales roses we planted this year are already blooming! Planting the flowers first is our way of getting jazzed up for the season. First comes pretty blooms, then comes colorful fruits and vegetables.
Our organic seed collection has been growing over the last two months, and with each packet comes possibility. Much of our garden last year was in containers, but this year, we plan to truly break and till the soil, planting all our seeds truly in the ground with both expectation and hope that this method will yield even better results. Coming into this year’s growing season after an abundance of lessons learned last year, I’m incredibly excited – both about the bounty and fun recipes that it will yield in my kitchen. Photographing the progress is also one of my favorite parts, watching through images as the tiny seeds morph into colorful maturity.
Here’s some articles I’ve been enjoying as we prepare to put seed to earth in our vegetable garden:
- 10 Flowers To Grow With Vegetables – We learned last year that planting certain flowers around our garden kept the four and six-legged pests away. And it adds a pop of beautiful color!
- Learn How This Family Grows 6,000 Lbs of Food on Just 1/10th Acre – Because we all have dreams, right?
- Martha Stewart’s Growing Guide – A nice tutorial on how to grow a variety of vegetables. Oh, asparagus.
- Better Homes and Gardens: Gardening – A great comprehensive resource. I liked the Set Your Garden Goals article. Keeps me grounded.
- NY Times: The Chickadee’s Guide To Gardening – A discussion of conservation and science, plus humor.
Happy Gardening everyone! And share your gardening images with me on Facebook – I’d love to see what you’re planting.
Nothing beats a great muffin recipe for a delicious breakfast or afternoon snack. Flour and Fancy is a testimony to my belief that muffins make everything better. What you may not know is that I’m also a big fan of Greek yogurt.
I eat Greek yogurt every day. Whether at home or traveling, Greek yogurt is always in my refrigerator, my spoon, or my mouth. And why not? With its high protein and probiotic content, it’s a superfood in its own right. So, when Chobani contacted me and asked if I would feature one of their delicious yogurts in a recipe, I needed to look no further than the kitchen. Chobani is, hands down, my favorite Greek yogurt brand. My friends and I have conversations centered on the new Chobani flavor debuts and their thick, flavorful yogurt is one of my favorite desserts and snacks. How could I refuse?
Muffins are a food best made at home. Commercially produced muffins available to your grocery, the corner coffee shop, or your favorite local bakery are almost always packed with as much sugar, calories, and fat as cake and offer little nutritional content in return. In short, they are nothing more an a decadent dessert. And while we all know those versions, they don’t make for a balanced breakfast or a healthy snack. To bite into a muffin packs nutrition and sweetness without all the junk, you’ll need to bake them first.
Fortunately, muffins are fun to make and not highly difficult. You don’t need to be an accomplished baker or culinary school graduate to make a muffin that is flavorful and good for you! And in your own kitchen, you can incorporate nutrient dense ingredients that give your body more than a fat-laden sugar rush.
Any muffin I eat comes straight from my oven, often burning my mouth because I can never wait for them to cool! And I wanted to share one of my favorites in my muffin arsenal that incorporates fresh berries, wheat flour, Greek yogurt, and flax seed. My Double Berry Muffins with Greek Yogurt make a great breakfast. I enjoy them most on weekends with a good book. With a total prep and baking time of 30 minutes, you don’t have to wait long to devour these muffins.
I hope you’ll enjoy these as well and arm yourself with this recipe anytime you’re craving a delicious, fruity muffin without breaking your health goal for the new year!
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons flax seed
- 2/3 cup 1% milk
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 container (5.3 oz.) Chobani Greek Yogurt Simply 100 Vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease two six-cavity muffin pans with cooking spray. Grease the bottom only of each cavity.
- In a standing mixer, combine all wet ingredients – milk, oil, greek yogurt, honey, and egg – until well blended.
- Add sugar. baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and flax seed. Mix well on a low setting. Then, add the flours one at a time until just mixed. Do not over mix.
- Mix in the raspberries and blueberries on a low setting, allowing the raspberries to break down and become thoroughly incorporated throughout the batter.
- Fill each muffin cavity. Do not fill more than halfway to allow for rising.
- Bake for 15 – 17 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow muffins to cool in muffin pan for five minutes. Then, remove to a cooling rack for five minutes additional cooling. Serve warm. Muffins may be stored in an airtight container for up to two days.
Note: The opinions expressed here concerning Chobani Greek Yogurt and their products are entirely my own. I only work with and endorse brands that I have personal experience with and enjoy.
It’s Christmas Eve, and if you’re like me, you’ve begun your menu planning – late. You’re thinking about what you’re eating tomorrow and hoping you can squeeze in a last minute trip to the grocery for those must-have items. And you’re thinking chocolate, sugar, and butter.
Here’s my top list of recipes from Flour and Fancy to make your holidays a little sweeter, a bit more delectable. So while you’re savoring time with family and friends, don’t forget the sweet!
- Peppermint Hot Cocoa – Santa digs hot cocoa. Trust me.
- Ferrero Rocher Pie – This one is a holiday must-have and so easy to make, even last minute! One of the most popular recipes I’ve featured.
- Sunday Morning Pancakes – Also double as great Christmas morning pancakes.
- Ella’s Cream Cheese Pound Cake – This pound cake with vanilla notes is sheer perfection, even for a picky palate.
- Dark Chocolate Brownies – Mix it up. Santa doesn’t want chocolate chip cookies at EVERY house.
- Dark Chocolate Scones – Paired with coffee or chocolate milk, these scones make a magical Christmas morning.
- Spiced Pumpkin Bread – Baking last minute? (Yes.) This quick bread is the answer. Another very popular recipe. It pairs perfectly with pumpkin honey butter.
- Biscotti with Chocolate Drizzle – The perfect cure for late night wrapping when combined with coffee.
- Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies – Keep these for yourself. Santa’s covered, and you’ve done lots of giving this year.
I hope each of you enjoy every giggle, every hug, and, of course, every bite this holiday season! See you in 2015!
Nothing gets me thinking about gift giving like Thanksgiving. With all the publicity surrounding Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, and Cyber Monday, it’s hard not to think about shopping and the friends and family on your list, but it’s when I begin thinking about the people I’m thankful for in my life that I start plotting my holiday gifts. And after I clean up the Turkey Day mess.
Edible gifts are great, and I bake a number of the items in the recipe archives to give as gifts. However, sometimes you’ve got to open your wallet to give the gift that fits just right.
With Cyber Monday coming tomorrow and that gift giving spirit in full, post-Thanksgiving swing, I wanted to share my picks for some great gifts for the cook, food lover, baker, and shaker in your life:
- A Year of Bi-Monthly Kitchen Letters – Provisions: The recipient of this gift receives a letter twice a month from the minds behind great food and restaurants, including some content from the ladies behind Food52. For the reader that doubles as a kitchen extraordinaire, this is the perfect gift that keeps giving all year long. I really enjoy them!
- Mountain Rose Apples – Mikuni Wild Harvest: These apples have a beautifully pink relish and a taste that blends the perfect balance of sweetness and tart. Absolutely one of my favorites! They are only available from October to December and quite rare. A perfect gift for the fall and winter apple lover.
- The Must-Have Cookbooks for their baking collection:
- The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book – it’s a pie book. What more do I need to say? Really, if your pal or kitchen lovin’ family member only has one book on pie, this should be it.
- Bouchon Bakery – For the more advanced baker and the ingredient adventurer, this is a perfect fit.
- Baked: New Frontiers in Baking – I featured the Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits from this cookbook here. This text is fun and varied with lots of savory and sweet to keep the baker in your life busy. One of my favorites.
- Tate’s Bake Shop: Baking For Friends – Give this book for your baking bestie and drop that hint. “I need some cookies – stat!”
- State Shaped Cutting Board – AHeirloom: For the person who spends most of their time in both the kitchen and a state close to his or her heart, these cutting boards are perfect. I always think of them when I have a long-time friend who moves from Nashville like I did six years ago. What better to memorialize a former home that with some state love?
- Santa and Reindeer Cookie Cutters – Crate & Barrel: These two cookie cutters are perfect for the holiday baker!
- Holiday Pie Crust Cutters – William-Sonoma: One of my favorite relatives got these pie crust cutters for me last year, and I’ve delighted in getting to use them this year for my pies large and small.
- Foodie Subscription – Quarterly: Quarterly is my favorite (and only!) subscription service, and they’re a great place to find a unique gift for the food lover in your life. The curated packages by Animal Restaurant look fantastic – the last one was themed around Southern breakfast. And Food52’s boxes are a super pick as well.
- Paw Print Muffin Pan – Greater Good: This muffin pan is the perfect gift for the animal lovin’ baker who makes muffins and dog treats on lazy weekend afternoons. And the best part: all purchases fund food for animals in need. This purchase funds 14 bowls of food for shelter animals in need.
- Southeast Louisiana Food: A Seasoned Tradition: Whether you or your gift recipient love Louisiana’s Cajun flavors or enjoy reading about the history of food culture, this book celebrates the tradition of food in this region of the south and explores both its traditions and its future. A great read! It’s written by Addie and Jeremy Martin. Addie is the brilliance behind Culicurious.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of food and gratitude. I’m especially thankful for each of you. Thank you for continuing to support me through your reading, trying my recipes, and sharing my blog with those in your life. And have fun shopping for everyone on your list (and yourself).
Note: I received no sponsorship, financial compensation, or other incentive to endorse these products, nor was I sought out by any of the makers of these products to write about them. These are simply items that I enjoy and wanted to share with my readers. I do not share products or services that I do not have knowledge of or a personal preference for.
Holidays are a time for, undoubtedly, pie. I like to mix things up, to expand beyond the usual pumpkin or apple pie at the holiday table, and share other twists on common flavors.
Last year, I served dark chocolate pecan pie tarts and apple pear tartlets. This year, I’m serving up new flavors. Sure, we still have a pumpkin pie on the table, but there are two things I love baking around the holidays: miniature desserts that serve one and great combinations. Pecans and dark chocolate, apples and pears – both great combinations. This year, I’m serving up tangy meets sweet in a combination of cranberries and cherries. The result: delicious! I wanted to share this recipe with you both as a last minute dessert go-to for tomorrow’s big day and as a great pie to serve throughout the holiday season and winter months.
I prefer serving my holiday desserts in a single-serve version for multiple reasons. Baking time is reduced, and we all know that any spare moment in the kitchen around the holidays is a necessary one. And it also gives each person a personal dessert, a pie backed just for them. It’s all his or hers to devour. No sharing! For me, it provides a more personalized, special experience.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving – a day of rest, bountiful eating, football, and perhaps a little reflection squeezed in. A time to be thankful for the bounty in our lives, the goodness and happiness that fill the small and the monumental moments. I hope you enjoy it in the kitchen, in front of the television, and in your hearts.
Cranberry Cherry Pies
Makes four small, single-serve pies
2 1/2 cups organic flour
1 1/4 teaspoon pink sea salt
1/2 cup ice water
1 cup unsalted butter – should be well chilled and cut into small squares
Egg wash – one beaten egg yolk combined with one tablespoon water
4 cups fresh red, tart cherries, pitted
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, and cornstarch. Mix well. Add the cherries and cranberries and coat well in the dry mixture. Set aside for a minimum of 10 minutes.
- Combine salt, butter, and flour in your standing mixer using the paddle attachment. Mix for approximately one minute until well blended. Gradually add the ice water into the mixture and blend until just combined. Be careful not to over blend. You will see small dots of butter in the mixture.
- Remove dough from mixer. Blend together with your hands. Separate the dough into two balls. Place one dough ball in the refrigerator and the other on an amply floured work surface.
- Roll the dough on your work surface into a circular area. Should be very thin. Using a large circular cutter or even a 1 cup measuring cup, begin cutting small circles in the dough.
- Transfer each circle to an oven safe ramekin and press in. You should have enough dough to fill four standard ramekins.
- In a small bowl, combine egg yolk and water. Mix well. Using a brush, apply egg wash to the pastry-filled cavity of each ramekin.
- Place approximately a cup of filling in each tartlet cavity. The filling should stand just below the top of the pan.
- Using the remaining dough, roll flat and thin. Using the same cutting method you did previously, cut four circles. Delicately and carefully place each circle atop the ramekin. Using your fingers and a small amount of water if necessary, press the pie top into the dough.
- Using a fork, create a trim pattern along the edges. Apply remaining egg wash to each pie top. Place two small slits in the top of each pie for venting.
- Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the pie tops are golden brown. Let rest for five minutes. Then, remove the ramekins to a cooling rack for additional cooling.
When fall is upon us, there’s one spread that I always reach for first: my pumpkin honey butter.
At any given point in the year, you can always find pumpkin puree in my cabinet of staples. Why? Because I buy the canned version at the grocery and make my own in such quantities that it’s always lingering, hanging out in eager anticipation of fall. This is deliberate. For me, fall hasn’t truly ignited around me until I have my first taste of pumpkin for the year.
That taste is often ushered to my lips long before I make my first loaf of spiced pumpkin bread or have my first latte spiced with beloved finer, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It’s when I grab butter, pumpkin, and honey, make this simple yet richly flavored bread, and slather it on the first thing I can get my hands on. This flavored butter is my toast to fall’s beginning.
It’s easy to make and goes wonderfully on virtually anything. I love it on my Sunday Morning Pancakes combined with maple syrup or on fresh-from-the-oven bread. I love to spread some on my brown butter banana nut bread or carrot walnut bread to add a distinctive hint of fall flavor, too. I’ll find any excuse to add this spread to what I happen to be munching on.
My husband will emphatically against honey butter, but this spread is one he adores. The effect that comes when pumpkin and spices are combined create a whole new dimension of flavors that do more than just sweeten the butter.
This is a simple recipe but one that I had to share. It’s an important part of fall in my home, and I hope it will be in yours as well. With less than 10 minutes required to make this spread a success, why not?
Pumpkin Honey Butter
Makes approximately one cup
- Two sticks salted butter
- Two tablespoons pumpkin puree
- Three tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- Ensure that your butter is at room temperature. Remove it from the refrigerator and allow to sit for approximately 30 minutes before using.
- In a small dish, combine pumpkin and pumpkin spice. Using a spoon, combine well. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine butter and honey. Mix well, mashing the butter.
- Once the honey and butter are well combined, add the spiced pumpkin mixture. Mix well. There will likely be chunks of pumpkin through the butter. That’s OK. The objective is to distribute throughout, not create a uniform mixture.
- Place in a sealed container in the refrigerator to allow to chill. Serve after cooled.
And so I’m back – from outer space! Well, not from outer space, but I’m back nonetheless.
Flour and Fancy celebrated one year of photography and recipe sharing on September 16th. One year of recipes, stores, photos, and gardening! How did I choose to celebrate? I took a step back, took a break from it all, and collected my thoughts on year two. I needed some rest and relaxation, some time to bake and cook without Flour and Fancy in mind, and to formulate the culinary avenues I wanted to travel down in year two. So, I’ve been baking, settling into my new title of Mrs. Hubbard, and having fun. Everyone needs a little time away.
To celebrate the beginning of year two of the blog, I went back to the beginning – the recipe that started it all: Spiced Pumpkin Bread. This recipe marked the start of Flour and Fancy and also happens to be the most popular recipe to date.
I’ve made pumpkin bread fall after fall, and it never gets old. But I wondered, “What can I do to change this up, to mix it up and add a new flavor note to my old favorite?”
There’s one rule I always live by: It’s always better with chocolate. Pumpkin bread is no exception.
I revisited and revamped my pumpkin bread to include miniature, semi-sweet chocolate chips. The added flavor note brings a new dimension to this bread. It actually mutes the pumpkin flavor just a bit – but not too much – making this a great way to share pumpkin bread with someone that isn’t typically a big fan.
This bread is moist and gooey with the inclusion of the chocolate chips. And it’s a great celebration of fall – with chocolate along for the ride. It makes wonderful muffins, a large 9×5 loaf, or four mini loaves. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know I love personalized sizes in my baking. It cuts baking time and, in my opinion, makes a better gift.
I’m incredibly excited about the second year of Flour and Fancy – another year of sharing foods to savor. As I’ve always written, cooking and baking are acts of love that are best shared. Sharing my cooking and baking journey with you is incredibly rewarding. Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for baking a batch of my cookies, muffins, or scones in your kitchen. And thanks for coming back again and again. In short, you rock. Really.
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Makes four mini loaves, 18 standard-size muffins, or one 9×5 loaf
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, unbeaten
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin, oil, and eggs. Blend in standing mixer on low setting until well combined.
- Using a sifter, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Then combine with sugar and pumpkin mixture.
- Add water. Mix well.
- Fold in 1 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips, mixing well.
- Using a well greased four mini loaf pan, fill each cavity to half full with mixture. A 9×5 loaf pan or muffin pan can also be used if you prefer.
- Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over the top of the mixture. This creates a beautiful, chocolatey top!
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Bread is ready when a dark brown color is achieved and a knife can be cleanly removed. Bread will be fairly dark due to the inclusion of the chocolate chips. It will be darker than the color you typically look for in pumpkin bread.
- Let cool for 10 minutes in loaf pan. Then, remove each loaf and carefully place on a cooling rack.
- Serve and enjoy!
Just under two weeks ago, my long-time beau and I were married. Yes, yes – we made it legal on the North Carolina coast at Ft. Fisher Beach. We were both elated, anxious, overwhelmed, and filled with joy. It was a beautiful day.
And like any beautiful day, this day had beautiful food. It was the edibles that I most wanted to share with you.
Our cake was simple in its decor with coloring that complimented my dress. It was exactly as I wanted – simple and refined. Ruffles of icing roses with beach blue accents. Inside, however, it was a chocolate smorgusboard! Our cake was created by One Belle Bakery, a phenomenal Wilmington-area bakery with a plethora of offerings that brought a sweet accent to our day. Our wedding cake was one of the bakery’s signature choices: “Lord Have Mercy.” The cake is comprised of chocolate-chocolate chip cake with layers of chocolate fudge.
The cake was so rich and decadent and, combined with our butterfly-filled bellies, we were scarcely able to take more than two or three bites. Combined with the rich icing, this was the epitome of what chocolate cake is meant to be – rich, dense, and supremely flavorful.
Alongside the cake, we had champagne, raspberry macarons, and lots of love. Our ceremony was very intimate – I called it “elopement style” – and private. So, while food is typically something I revel in sharing, these treats were more about savoring.
The beauty of the cake, the other sweets, all the flourish – it was the perfect accent to a perfect day. A day that celebrated the relationship that we’ve shared for several years now and our commitment to a future together.
So many of the sweet memories in my life are accented by food. Call it a Southern thing. We accent every special milestone and memory with a cake, a multi-course dinner, a signature dish. Every memory worth remembering has a fork in the foreground.
Our nuptials were no exception.
September will now be an extra special month for us. And I’ll never look at a multi-layered chocolate cake the same way again.
And thank you to everyone who shared with us love and well wishes. You were held closely in our hearts on “the big day.”
Nothing beats fresh baked quick breads with ingredients right from the garden – or, in this case, your neighbor’s garden.
When I was writing about our garden this year, one element of the process that I emphasized was how much more enjoyable gardening was when you had people around you to share with. The giving and receiving of fresh produce added a communal aspect to our gardening. In years past, before we planted a garden of our own, we happily accepted fruits and vegetables from our neighbors. But this year, we had our own garden bounty to share and be proud of.
So, when one of our neighbors shared some of their bright carrots, I had to give back. Even after including the carrots in stir fry and salads, we had some left over. And I went straight to work baking three mini loaves of carrot walnut bread, both for us to munch on and to share with our generous neighbors.
Carrot walnut bread is a great way to use those leftover carrots that are just hanging around. Salads and a colorful stir fry, among other dinner recipes, are great ways to carrot-up your food, but carrots taste great in baked goods, too. Instead of baking a calorie-laden carrot cake, I like to opt for carrot nut bread. Packed with carrots, walnuts, and spices, it’s a sweet and satisfying way to eat your carrots and soothe that sweet craving, too.
This quick bread is easy and fun to make. Two bowls, one spatula – done! No standing mixer necessary for this one. My recipe yields one large loaf or three ample mini loaves. This is one you can feel good about eating as well, with olive oil versus vegetable oil and only a moderate amount of sugar.
So, here’s to gardening, here’s to carrots, and here’s to great neighbors!
Carrot Walnut Bread
Yields one standard loaf or three mini loaves
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, grated
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- Crack eggs and place in a bowl. Beat well. Add sugar and olive oil to eggs and mix until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt. Blend very well.
- Add dry ingredients to egg mixture, incorporating slowly and mixing well.
- Fold in carrots and walnuts, ensuring a thorough distribution through the batter.
- Using a 9×5 loaf pan or mini loaf pans, pour batter into the pan(s). If you’re using mini loaf pans, fill until around 1/2 full. If using a standard loaf pan, fill with all of the batter.
- Bake at 350 degrees. For a standard loaf, bake for one hour or until golden brown. For mini loaves, bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown. Either loaf will be fully baked when a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.
- Allow to cool in pan for five minutes. Then, gently remove to a cooling rack for further cooling.