Hello, peaches! It’s about time you showed up for the party.
Every year, when warm weather descends, I (im)patiently begin my wait for peaches. Here that wait ends in June when local growers begin to sell those delicious orange-red-yellow orbs that I associate with a sweet, succulent summer. While I’m waiting, I always begin building the anticipation by delving into recipes. This year, I found a favorite in Grill It, Braise It, Broil It: And 9 Other Easy Techniques For Making Healthy Meals.
Grill It, Braise It, Broil It is a delectable cookbook released by the American Heart Association filled with 175 recipes that are as delicious as they are healthy. This text is a must for cooks and bakers at any level that love food with the added bonus of recipes that are designed to be healthy for your heart. And not just baked items either – this cookbook features a plethora of dishes with a variety of cooking methods. From stir-frying to steaming, blending to braising, this cookbook has a mouthwatering dish to meet the technique. Some of my favorites include shrimp and watermelon salad with cucumber-lime vinaigrette, edamame dip, and pineapple and ginger mahi mahi.
But my favorite recipe from this cookbook is, hands down, the easy peach crisp. First, it isn’t a fussy recipe – simple and straightforward while yielding a complex array of flavor. Think peach pie without the crust. Secondly, it incorporates a limited number of ingredients that come together in perfect harmony. It accomplishes this while still being good for the ole ticker, and heart health is something I try to focus on.
With this recipe, a two-step process is employed and combined with 30 to 40 minutes baking time. And presto! A delicious peach crisp that serves four. Might I suggest doubling the recipe?
What I greatly enjoyed in this recipe and the others in Grill It, Braise It, Broil It is the approach taken to allow readers to enjoy great food while making wise ingredient choices to better heart health. All the recipes include only small amounts of sugar, healthier cuts of meat, and incorporate low-fat cheeses as well as substitutes for eggs and butter. This is my new go-to cookbook for weeknight dinners and fun, healthy baked items. It even contains great advice on a heart-healthy pantry.
The easy peach crisp, as I said, is the winner in my book, especially in June when peaches are just coming off the trees, warmed by the sun, sweet and juicy. Enjoy!
Easy Peach Crisp
From Grill It, Braise It, Broil It: And 9 Other Easy Techniques For Making Healthy Meals
- 4 medium peaches, peeled and sliced, or 2 cups frozen unsweetened peach slices, thawed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon divided use
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal
- 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons light tub margarine
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Put the peaches in a nonstick 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and the cornstarch.
- In a small bowl, using a fork, stir together the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over the beaches.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the peaches are heated through. Serve immediately.
When choosing what oatmeal to incorporate into the recipe, I went with a flavored oatmeal I had on hand. I used thinkThin Protein & Fiber Hot Oatmeal in the Madagascar Vanilla, Almonds, Pecans flavor. It added great flavor notes to the crisp. I also added an additional tablespoon of light brown sugar. Yeah, I’m bad. This recipe is also great with one cup of raspberries or blueberries added.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. The opinions on this book and its contents are my own. I only work with companies and endorse products that I have positive personal experience with and enjoy.
There’s nothing better than baking with flavors that celebrate the season. With spring in full swing, there were two flavors that immediately came to mind when baking: strawberry and rhubarb.
Pound cake is perfect for any occasion – or no occasion at all – at any time of the year, and when combined with flavors of the season, it borders on perfection. When I was working on the recipe for this pound cake, I knew I had to incorporate some spring and summer tastes into the batter.
Strawberry and rhubarb. Like Bert and Ernie, Thelma and Louise, Batman and Robin, they are a dynamic duo that can’t be beat. They compliment and enhance each other. They unite in undeniable harmony. And when combined as a swirled glaze in chunks of pound cake – well, it’s a well orchestrated symphony for your taste buds.
For this cake, I served it up in bites. Why? First, pound cake is decadent and rich. It’s best not gobbled down but savored slowly and in small portions. Secondly, this cake served as a bite allows for the addition of extra strawberry rhubarb glaze to be applied for added flavor. I like to apply my glaze in a fashion that emulates a Jackson Pollack painting – chaotically and in excess.
I’m growing strawberries in my garden, and with the quarts of berries that we’ve already harvested, culinary inspiration naturally took hold. Instead of buying a glaze from the grocery encased in plastic, I made my own glaze for this cake that incorporated plump strawberries and tangy rhubarb. Glazes are incredibly easy to make and well worth skipping the store-bought stuff, and when making your own, the flavor combinations are endless. Sure, strawberry glaze is easy to locate at your neighborhood store, but have you ever seen strawberry rhubarb glaze?
Fruity glaze, cream cheese, lots of butter – sounds like my kind of dessert.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pound Cake Bites
Serves approximately 90 bites with glaze
- One cup fresh strawberries, cleaned
- One cup fresh rhubarb, cleaned
- 1/3 cup plus one tablespoon cornstarch
- 5 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Three sticks of butter, room temperature
- One 8-oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- First, make your glaze. Slice strawberries and rhubarb into small pieces and place in your food processor. Blend until smooth.
- In a small bowl, combine two cups of sugar and all the cornstarch. Ensure that they are fully incorporated. Then, transfer to a medium saucepan and add the water and fruit mixture. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Reduce heat slightly and cook until the mixture is thick, approximately five minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat and transfer to the container of your choice.
- Allow the glaze to cool completely to room temperature, approximately one hour. Once completely cooled, you can either refrigerate for use later or proceed with your pound cake. If refrigerated, allow the glaze to return to room temperature before incorporating in the recipe.
- Next, let’s move on to the cake. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two standard size loaf pans and set aside.
- Using your standing mixer and paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is fluffy and creamy. This should be done on a medium-high speed. Add the three cups of sugar – one cup at a time – and blend until fluffy and light. Think yellow clouds. Add vanilla extract.
- Tear the cream cheese into pieces and add to the mixture, blending on medium until creamy and fully incorporated. Then, add each egg one at a time on low speed until just blended.
- Add a third of the batter to each of the two loaf pans. Then, using a teaspoon, apply ample spoons full of glaze to each pan. Think of a traffic light. One. Two. Three. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, swirl the glaze into the batter, creating a marbled look. Then, pour the second third of batter into each pan and repeat. Finishing by topping each pan with the remaining batter evenly distributed between the two.
- Place both pans in the oven and bake for one hour and 30 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted in the center and cleanly removed.
- Remove cakes from the the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Then, remove to a cooling rack for a minimum of one hour. Once cooled, slice each cake and cut the slices into small squares. Leave the outer crust on the pieces or remove – your choice!
- Arrange the cake bites onto a piece of parchment paper. Place remaining glaze in a fine tipped bottle and apply additional glaze as desired to the bites. Use toothpicks to serve if desired. Store any leftover bites in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
This recipe yields far more glaze than you will need for this recipe. I always make extra and keep it in the refrigerator for topping ice cream or making super sweet pops with!
When in doubt, keep baking. Pound cake is notorious for fooling you and not fully baking. Don’t burn it, but trust your instincts.
This year, spring has brought such a sense of rejuvenation in me. I notice myself pausing to truly immerse myself in the changing beauty around me in a way I haven’t in the past. I’m taking life slower – stopping to inhale the sweetness and appreciate the majesty.
I find that I’m savoring more – food, company, nature – and I feel more in tune with self. I’ve committed to trying to achieve a more mindful existence, not allowing the hustle and bustle of each day to prevent me from appreciating individual moments. While much of that I attribute to allowing myself to slow the pace, delving into a new and already much-loved yoga class, and thinking more deliberately, I have to admit the large role my garden is playing the process.
I find such a serenity in placing seed to soil, in planning the details, and watching the green seedlings burst from the black soil into being. Feeling the sun overhead as a crouch over the dirt, create a small haven for each seed, and place it in the ground. It makes me appreciate the warmer temperatures in a way I haven’t allowed myself before – to play an active role in new beginnings and direct those energies toward my own experience as well.
We’ve endeavored to grow the following this year: romaine lettuce, collard greens, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, peppers, a variety of tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, onions, carrots, corn, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, and lots of bright, colorful flowers. (Hoping to add rhubarb to the list!) And while I expect to have more lessons learned this year just as last year, it’s the journey that remains the best part.
And, of course, the beautiful bounty transformed by chopping, stirring, mashing, and blending into something truly magical. That part of the process can never be understated.
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.