Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween White Chocolate Popcorn Crunch

Halloween White Chocolate Popcorn Recipe

Happy Halloween!  Are you dressing up tonight?  Maybe taking your kiddos out trick or treating or handing out candy? 

In all seriousness, I'm sending my thoughts and prayers to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy that may still be without power or dealing with flooding and can't celebrate Halloween tonight. Hopefully, all our east coast friends are safe. Lots of love to you all!

To celebrate Halloween a little bit last minute, I wanted to share this delicious, festive treat with you today.  You can whip this up in no time at all and snack on while you hand out candy tonight. This popcorn is addictive. I found myself sneaking a few bites of it even after I had brushed my teeth.  It is crunchy, sweet, and salty.  You could totally change up the colors of the M&M's and sprinkles to make this for other holidays too!

Halloween Popcorn Crunch

From Fabulous K

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
3 tablespoons canola oil (for popping on the stove)
Alternatively: 2 bags plain microwaveable popcorn
1/2 teaspoon seas salt
6 ounces white chocolate chips
1/2 cup Halloween sprinkles
1 cup orange and black M&M's or Smarties

If popping on the stove: Pour the oil and popcorn kernels into a large heavy bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid.  Turn the heat to medium.  Stir until the kernels are coated with oil.  Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan often.  Once the popping starts, shake the pan constantly, cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes or until popping has almost stopped.  Let the pan stand for one minute, then transfer the popcorn to a large mixing bowl.  Season with salt.

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler.  Pour the melted chocolate over the popcorn, stirring well to coat the popcorn.  Then stir in the sprinkles and M&M's.

Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then store in an air tight container.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Spiced Citrus Chicken

Once again, it is the reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club!  This is the first time that Kelsey has passed the honor over to me, Kim, and asked me to be a part of this fun group of bloggers.  Each month we are assigned another blog to follow and choose one of their recipe.  It is a fun way to find new bloggers, gather new recipes and to support other food bloggers in their quest to reach more followers!

This month we had the pleasure of following Cookin' With Cyndi. While exploring her blog, I was amazed at the quantity of food that she makes ahead and freezes.  Being a person who decides dinner the day I am cooking, I was in awe of how much preparation and freezing she does in a day.  One day in Sept, she prepared and froze 17 different meals and multiple days of them.  She is my hero....if only I could be that organized and prepared! I love all her canning recipes also and and looking forward to trying the Apple Pie Filling!

 For the reveal day, I choose her Spiced Citrus Chicken recipe.  I loved the fact that I had all the ingredients on hand,  it was something new for chicken and that it was a fast fix.  I did not freeze it ahead of time but I did marinate the chicken in the citrus sauce for a half hour ahead which is planning ahead Kim's style.  It was very moist and had great flavor.

Spiced Citrus Chicken

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Teaspoon Cayenne
½ Teaspoon Pepper
½ Teaspoon Salt

Combine olive oil, juices, and remaining ingredients in a gallon-sized reclosable freezer bag. Add 4-8 pieces of chicken - any pieces will do... breasts, wings, thighs, drumsticks, bone-in, skin-on, boneless, skinless, etc. Freeze.

To cook: Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Then you can either a) cook it in the crockpot on LOW for 6-8 hours, b) cook it in an uncovered pan in the oven at 350˚ (boneless - 30 minutes; bone-in up to an hour), or c) grill.

---this one gets a definite thumbs up from both of us. The citrus juices helped to tenderize the chicken (we used boneless thighs and breasts in this one), and the spices went well with the citrus. We ate this with baked sweet potatoes - a good contrast to the spicy chicken.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bourbon Cider Cocktail

bourbon cider cocktail recipe

I recently created a bar area at my apartment.  After cleaning off a bookshelf in my living room and realizing that I had two extra, empty shelves, I decided that the best use of the space was as a bar.  The bar would serve two purposes: 1) as an inspiration to try out new, grown-up cocktails and 2) as a way to clear some space in my kitchen cupboards, which are brimming with the miscellaneous glassware and dishes that I have collected for blogging.  I was inspired heavily by Pinterest images of pretty bar areas and tutorials from Cupcakes & Cashmere and Glitterguide.

create a bar tutorial

I'm in the process of building the bar, but here's what my bar area consists of so far:
  • Liquor:  Gin (Bombay Sapphire), Vodka (Absolut), and Bourbon (Basil Hayden's)
  • Wine - I have a bottle of Chardonnay and Merlot on hand
  • Angostura bitters
  • Dry Vermouth
  • Pretty paper straws
  • Vinturi Wine Aerator (this makes a great hostess gift with a bottle of wine)
  • Mermaid bottle opener
  • Wine bottle opener
  • PDT Cocktail Book
  • Cocktail shaker with matching martini glasses and shot glasses (decorated with pink elephants, gift from my sister for my 21st birthday)
  • Champagne flutes (super fancy Ikea ones that I had originally planned to glitter DIY)

To celebrate fall and Halloween, I decided to whip up a cocktail, using my favorite liquor - Kentucky Bourbon.  This Bourbon Cider Cocktail is so easy to whip up and it's quite elegant. Even my friend who wasn't sure if she liked bourbon liked the cocktail. It is slightly sweet and beware though because you can barely tell there is bourbon in it!  Cheers!

bourbon cider cocktail recipe

Bourbon Cider Cocktail

From Martha Stewart

3/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup Kentucky Bourbon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Slivers of fresh ginger
Apple, sliced crosswise for garnish

Combine cider, bourbon, lemon juice, ginger and maple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to mix, then pour into rocks glasses through the strainer. Serve with an apple slice garnish.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
I made these cute and utterly delicious little cupcakes for a bake sale at work yesterday.  The bake sale was to benefit our workplace charitable campaign and it was a huge success. We had so many delicious treats and very generous, hopefully satisfied customers!  The charitable campaign runs for about 6 weeks every year and it benefits the United Way and Health Partners, which coordinates support for 16 different health organizations.  People can also support the charities of their choice. It's a really fun way to give back to the community, because throughout the campaign we have bake sales, chili cook-offs, etc. to raise money.  So our little bake sale was a part of that.

These cupcakes are from a Martha Stewart recipe, and therefore, are obviously amazing. They are so light and fluffy, with lots of warm spices and great pumpkin flavor.  The cream cheese recipe is probably my favorite version (there are a few on this blog, haha). They would make a great Halloween treat!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes

From Martha Stewart

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 package (16 oz.) powdered sugar (about 4 cups), sifted

Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the sifted sugar gradually, beating until well blended after each addition.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Hello from Virginia! Tim, Kelsey’s dad, and I are settling into our new home in Arlington, VA quite nicely.  I am so looking forward to making meals again as eating out every day was getting boring and adding to our waistlines.  The best features of our new condo are the fabulous kitchen and the great terrace for the BBQ, both essential for our cooking style.  So I hope you enjoy some recipes coming your way from the older K!

The weather in Virginia has been incredible this fall! I do not remember from our first time living in the area that fall is this beautiful.  Yesterday was the prefect day to jump in the car with the top down and head out the Loudoun County to check out some wineries and the fall color.  Since I knew I would be gone for the whole afternoon, I picked a quick and easy recipe for dinner.  I wanted one that reflected the season so decided on this Sesame Chicken in Acorn Squash from Celebrate the Rain.  The only thing I needed for it was the Acorn Squash, which I was sure to find in the countryside market along our travels.   

The afternoon was prefect, with rolling hills, horse farms and beautiful colors in the hillside.  The only winery stop was at the Chrysalis Winery in Middleburg and the location was lovely, but the tasting experience was not quite what we are used to.  Tim was able to get some great pictures, but we left without buying any wine.  Next stop was the town of Middleburg.  It was charming, with cute shops and lots of places to grab lunch or a beer.  One shop called Crème de la Crème was delightful, with great kitchen and home and garden items.  I bought a beautiful table runner that is the backdrop of the photo today.  I also got the organic acorn squash to complete my ingredients for dinner from the local market. 

This recipe was easy to make (start to finish only 1 hour) and proved to quite tasty.  I thought the acorn squash was mainly for show but the sweetness of the squash offset the tangy vinegar taste of the marinade.  I agree with the description in the cookbook that “lovely, rich fall colors make this a particularly striking entrée” and it is a dish worthy of guests!

Sesame Chicken in Acorn Squash

Recipe from Junior League of Seattle cookbook, Celebrate the Rain
serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut diagonally into ¾ inch strips 

Soy Sesame Marinade
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1-teaspoon chili powder
Pinch dried red pepper flakes

2 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
3 carrots cut into ¼ inch slices
20 snow peas
1-cup small broccoli florets
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the marinade, whisk all ingredients together and pour into a Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and gently mix to evenly coat the chicken with the marinade.  Marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Put the squash halves, cut side down, in an oiled baking pan.  Add ½ inch water to the pan and bake until the squash is tender, 30 or 40 minutes.

While the squash is baking, bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil.  Blanch carrots until color bright and the carrots are tender approximately 5 minutes.  Scoop out and place them in bowl. Next add the snow peas and blanch them for 2 minutes until they are bright and tender.  Repeat the process with the broccoli florets, blanching for 2 minutes.  Set the vegetables aside.  The vegetables could be blanched earlier and refrigerated until needed.

Combine the flour and sesame seeds in a shallow dish.  Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving ¼ cup of marinade.  Roll chicken strips in the flour mixture and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Working in batches so that the skillet is not overcrowded, sauté the chicken until golden on all sides and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes total.  Take the chicken from the skillet and set aside.  Pour off excess butter and crumbs.  Strain the reserved marinade and add it to the skillet.  Bring the marinade to a boil, scraping up any browned bits; add the blanched vegetables, stirring gently, just enough to reheat them.   Add the chicken strips and toss well. 

Set the acorn halves on individual plates and spoon the chicken and vegetable mixture into the acorn, allowing the mixture to spill out over sides.  

Note:  I actually made only 2 chicken breasts with 1 acorn squash but kept the other ingredients the same.  You could make the dish without the squash but I would add some sugar to the marinade if I did this.  Hope you enjoy this fall treat!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cornbread Stuffing

Cornbread Stuffing

All of K&K Test Kitchen's American readers are still over a month away from Thanksgiving, but I can't help but share this recipe for cornbread stuffing now.  Part of the reason is that it is delicious and I want you to start thinking about what you're making for Thanksgiving dinner.  The second part of the reason is that I haven't been cooking new things lately, though I have been cooking -- I made these cookies again, these stuffed peppers, and my favorite chicken parm recently too.  I also ate Canadian Thanksgiving leftovers almost everyday last week for dinner, so all I've got for you (besides the pancakes from earlier this week) are Thanksgiving recipes!  This stuffing was completely awesome as leftovers.  It has so many complex flavors. It is sweet and savory, with fragrant rosemary, and lots of texture.

Besides eating leftovers, did I tell you that I ate rabbit and duck confit this weekend for the first time ever?  It's not that I used to be picky when I was growing up, I just wasn't very adventurous in my eating habits. Now that I'm a food blogger, I have taken a philosophy that I will try just about anything. There's really no reason not to, especially since I've discovered that most of the things I wasn't eating before are actually delicious. Unfortunately, I'm not making duck confit or cooking rabbit often or ever. It's just not in line with the way that I cook and since I'm cooking so much for the blog, I rarely go out to restaurants.  However, when I do go out to restaurants, my goal is to eat something that I wouldn't necessarily make at home!  So, I went to Murray Street Kitchen in Ottawa and ate duck confit poutine and a little bit of rabbit on Saturday night last weekend - the verdict: YUM! (The rest was amazing too - fancy corndogs, steelhead trout that was perfectly cooked, and 'smores for dessert!)

Cornbread Stuffing

Adapted from Epicurious and The Pioneer Woman

3 cups cornbread (see recipe)
3 cups French baguette
1 package maple sausage
2 celery stalks, at least one with fronds, cut into thin slices
1 leek, cut into thin slices
1/2 onion, diced
2 small apples, diced
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Bake your cornbread following the recipe that follows.  Once it has cooled, cut it into cubes and spread it out on a baking sheet.  Cut the baguette into cubes as well and add those to the cornbread.  Preheat the oven to 200°F.

Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and cook the sausage, breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. Cook the sausage until it is browned and cooked through.  Once the sausage has cooked, remove it from the pan and set it aside.  Add the chopped leeks, celery, apple and onions to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent. Pour the white wine into the pan, scraping the bottom, and simmer until it reduces.  Next, add the poultry seasoning and rosemary, stir well and cook for another minute.

In a small heavy saucepan cook cranberries with sugar over moderately high heat, stirring, 5 minutes, or until some begin to burst.

Preheat at 325° F.  In a large bowl, mix together sausage, bread cubes, cranberries, and cooked vegetables.   Pour 1 cup of chicken stock over the mixture and stir again.  Spread the stuffing mixture into a 9x13 inch glass pan.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes.

Cornbread Recipe


From the Pioneer Woman

1/4 cup shortening
1 cup Yellow Corn Meal
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup Milk
1 whole Egg
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine corn meal, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, milk, and egg.  Add baking powder and baking soda and stir well.  Add ¼ cup melted shortening, stirring to combine. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe

I was going to give you guys another Thanksgiving recipe today, but I had to share these pancakes with you immediately.  This weekend was possibly the best weekend ever. I had the best company, the best time at the spa on Saturday (hello massages, beautiful weather, and relaxation!), and to top everything off, I ate these pancakes, which my guest said might be the best pancakes ever and I fully agree.  Sorry for going crazy with the superlatives there, but it's all true.  I'm heading into the week with what might be a permanent smile, feeling so blessed and so happy. And these pancakes were the icing on the cake.  They are perfectly fluffy and just sweet enough. There is absolutely no reason to ever use a box pancake mix again either, because they are so easy to make and the ingredients are probably in your pantry right now (even buttermilk - just remember the trick of mixing in a tablespoon of vinegar per 1/2 cup of milk if you don't have any on hand).

Buttermilk Pancake Recipe

Buttermilk Pancakes

From Canadian Living

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of cinnamon (my addition)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
Butter for the skillet (1 tablespoon per batch)

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla, and the egg.  Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and whisk gently until combined.  It is okay if the batter is a bit lumpy.  Let the batter sit for 5 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Melt a tablespoon of butter (I like to let it get almost to the point of browning).  Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to add the pancake batter to the pan, smoothing the batter out a little bit each time.  Cook for approximately 3 minutes per side, though the pancakes should be ready to flip when you see bubbles starting to rise to the top.

Serve with fresh fruit and pure maple syrup!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Apple Pie with Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce

Apple Pie with Bourbon Salted Caramel Recipe

We had a really lovely Canadian Thanksgiving over the weekend. If you follow K&K Test Kitchen on Facebook or Instagram, you got a few sneak peeks of the menu and some pictures of the food.  Everything was delicious and we had a really nice weekend overall.  It was great to have my parents visit and so helpful to have Dad bring along his tool box to help me fix a few things around my apartment!  Down at the bottom of this post you'll see a few pictures from a walk we took while the turkey was cooking.

This pie was just one of the stars of our Thanksgiving dinner.  There were so many delicious things to eat that we actually didn't even make the pie for Thanksgiving dinner, we made it the day after to have as a "snack" before Mom and Dad hit the road back to Virginia.  It was an extremely decadent, delicious snack and I'm surprised my parents were able to drive since this one put me in a bit of a sugar coma. Of course I also had to eat a slice of pie for breakfast the next day in order to get a photo of a slice of pie... tough life I lead as a food blogger!

Regardless of whether you make this pie, you should definitely make the Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce.  It is actually deadly. Now that I have a jar of it in my fridge, I may find myself pouring it on everything or maybe just licking it off a spoon.  It is that good! 

Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe

Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce

From Lick My Spoon

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons Kentucky Bourbon

Heat sugar and water in a 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to help the sugar dissolve, but stop stirring when the sugar comes to a boil. Swirl the pan a bit as it boils.

When the liquid sugar hits a dark amber color, add all the butter to the pan. The mixture will foam up and thicken. Whisk until the butter has melted. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat.

Add the cream to the pan (the mixture will foam up again) and continue to whisk to incorporate.

Add the sea salt and whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Add the 3 tablespoons of bourbon and stir well. (You can leave the bourbon out and just make salted caramel, but I highly recommend the bourbon version!)

Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass jar and let cool to room temperature. Don’t worry if the sauce seems a bit too thin at first, it will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving to loosen it up again.

Bourbon Salted Caramel Recipe

Apple Pie with Crumble Topping and Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe

Apple Pie with Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce

Half of a pie crust recipe, I used this whole grain crust (last seen here)
Crust from Michael Smith
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup or so of water

6 apples (I used Granny Smith, since they are a bit tarter than most apples and the rest of the pie is fairly sweet)
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons regular sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Crumble Topping
2/3 cup oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons melted butter

Bourbon Salted Caramel for drizzling

Slice the apples into eighths.  Mix the apples with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice and let the apples sit while you make the crust.

Whisk the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Add the oil and mix well. Add the water and stir just until the mixture comes together. Knead it once or twice to gather up all the dry ingredients. Add a few drops more of water if needed. Divide into two, with one ball slightly larger than the other, and form into 2 flattened discs. Chill until ready to use.

When you are ready to put the pie together, pre-heat the oven to 400°F.  I like to roll my crust out between two pieces of wax paper (plastic wrap works as well).  Place the larger disc of dough in the middle of the wax paper, cover with the other piece.  Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 15 inch round (12 inches if you use a regular pie pan).  Fold the dough into fourths and place the dough into a  pie pan.

Fill the crust with apples.  Take a few tablespoons of the liquid that has formed at the bottom of the bowl of apples and mix it with the corn starch.  Pour the liquid over the apples. Dot with 2 tablespoons of butter.

Whisk together the crumble topping (oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt). Pour the melted butter over everything and mix until it forms a crumbly consistency. Spread the crumble topping over the apples.

Cover with foil and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350°F and bake for an additional 45 minutes (test the apples with a fork after 30 minutes for doneness and remove the foil).

Let the pie cool slightly and then drizzle with bourbon salted caramel (put as much as you like). Serve with ice cream!

Plus some pictures that my dad took on our Thanksgiving walk along the Rideau Canal! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pumpkin Yogurt Muffins with Walnuts

Well, it appears that K&K Test Kitchen readers love pumpkin!  Quite a few of the entrants in the Giving Thanks Giveaway said that their favorite fall food was anything with pumpkin, so to satisfy your appetite, I decided to make you some pumpkin muffins!  Now, I made some pumpkin muffins earlier this fall.  I tried to make them "healthy" by adding banana and applesauce and yogurt.  Well, the recipe was a dud. I ate the muffins, since I felt bad wasting food and I even tried to get other people to try them (sorry!).  Since that recipe was such a failure, I thought I'd turn to a foolproof place to find recipes - Martha Stewart.  These muffins are so fluffy and perfectly domed.  The pumpkin flavor is pretty mild and only slightly sweet, so if you are craving something sweet, drizzle a little bit of maple cream cheese icing over them haha (or maple butter, which is what is shown in the picture)!

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving and Columbus Day weekend.  My mom and dad are coming up to Ottawa to celebrate with me and we are making a full turkey dinner on Sunday!

PS a winner was announced for the Giving Thanks Giveaway. Thank you so much for all your entries and comments. We truly appreciate each and every reader and we are so thankful that you all visit our little corner of the Internet!

Pumpkin Yogurt Muffins with Walnuts

Adapted from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup vegetable oil plus more for pan
3 cups flour (you can do a blend of whole wheat and all-purpose)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
3 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons more for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush 12 jumbo muffin tins (each with a 1-cup capacity) with oil; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk oil, pumpkin puree, yogurt, eggs, and 1 cup sugar to combine; add 1 cup walnuts and reserved dry ingredients. Mix just until moistened (do not overmix).

Divide evenly and spoon batter into muffin tins; sprinkle tops with remaining walnuts and sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pan.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Butternut Squash, Arugula, and Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Butternut Squash, Arugula, and Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

This recipe idea came to me one night when I couldn't sleep.  I hopped out of bed and typed myself a message in my iPhone notes section so when it came time to think about Thanksgiving, I wouldn't forget to make a healthy quinoa salad packed with fall harvest worthy flavors - butternut squash, cranberries, and maple. Thank goodness I was awake enough to have the foresight to make a note of this!  Not only is this a wonderful "healthy" side option for Thanksgiving, but it tastes great too!  And this salad can be served warm or cold, so you could make it ahead of time to free up space on the stove and in the oven for other Thanksgiving dishes.  Your vegetarian friends or family members will also love you if you bring this as a side. Win-win-win all around! Did I mention that it is pretty?  Because it is that too!  If you are celebrating American Thanksgiving, there is no need to wait. This salad makes a fantastic lunch, and you'll want to test it out before serving it to your guests at Thanksgiving anyways!

Don't forget to enter the Le Creuset grill pan giveaway!  It ends at 12:01 a.m. Friday, get your entries in, there are so many ways to win! 

Butternut Squash, Arugula, and Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Butternut Squash, Arugula, and Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

2 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups arugula
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Maple Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dash of sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss diced butternut squash with olive oil and spread it out on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast for 20 minutes, turning the squash over once after 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

While the squash roasts, add quinoa and 2 cups of water to a small saucepan.  Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and let cool slightly.

Whisk together the vinaigrette while the squash and quinoa cook.  You can also "plump" up the cranberries by mixing them with a bit of water and microwaving for about 15 seconds.

When the squash and quinoa have cooled a bit, mix them together.  Add the cranberries and pecans. Pour on the vinaigrette and stir well.  Add the arugula just before serving.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Giving Thanks Giveaway! (Closed)

With Canadian Thanksgiving only a week away, it is time to think about holiday food and of course, about giving thanks!  Today, K&K would like to share some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you and thank you for reading our blog. We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to blog about our experiences in the kitchen.  It has been so wonderful to see our readership grow over the past 2.5 years and we hope that you enjoy following along with our cooking adventures. We also hope that we've inspired you to try something new in the kitchen, whether you are a beginner or an experienced cook.

Here are some recipes to inspire you for your Thanksgiving, whether you're celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving next weekend or celebrating American Thanksgiving in November!

Thanksgiving Feast

Now, for the star of the show.  We are so thankful for each and every K&K Test Kitchen reader and to show our thanks, we are giving away a really awesome treat. This grill pan may not help you with your Thanksgiving feast preparation, but it will help you keep on grilling well into the winter months.

Le Creuset 10-1/4" Grill Pan in Aubergine

Enter the giveaway below. There are lots of chances to win! Open to US and Canadian residents only. If you are having trouble leaving a comment on the blog, please leave your comment on the Facebook page post for this giveaway. We recently changed the commenting system to Disqus and it appears that the comment form is not showing up in older versions of Internet Explorer. Thanks! Sorry for the confusion.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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