CIC: Pears & Red Pepper Flakes


I’m {finally} back with another Crazy Ingredient Challenge!

This month’s mission: to combine pears and red pepper flakes.

As I informed my husband of the task at hand I was also creating my menu and grocery list. I thought about the proteins that were in the freezer and the lightbulb went off.

Barbecue pork!

Why not make a barbecue sauce with the pears and add in the red pepper flakes for kick?

Pear Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich | Sew You Think You Can Cook |

I made the barbecue sauce in the morning and then added it to the slow cooker along with my bone-in pork shoulder. I shredded the pork when it was ready, put it in a container, and headed out the door to Pure Barre. When I came home, all I had to do was assemble a sandwich on my favorite pretzel bun for an easy dinner.

Well, actually, I had to first put the boys to bed. But then I got to eat my sandwich! I had more for lunch the next day, too. Having the pork for lunch was really the best thing about it!

Pear Barbecue Pulled Pork


  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 C tomato paste
  • 1 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C dark brown sugar
  • 2 red Anjou pears, diced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 2 1/2 – 3 lb bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed of extra fat
  • 6-8 pretzel buns


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, season with salt, and saute until translucent. Add the fennel seeds and cook until the onion become golden. Stir in the cinnamon and tomato paste and cook 3 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, pears, and pepper flakes. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, until pears are tender. Let cool slightly.
  2. Transfer sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. (If the sauce is still warm, be sure to cover the top of the blender with a kitchen towel.)
  3. Place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a slow cooker. Season pork with S+P and place in slow cooker. Cover with 1 C of the pear barbecue sauce. Cook on LOW 8 hours.
  4. Shred pork with two forks. Serve with extra barbecue sauce on a pretzel bun.

*The barbecue sauce is adapted from*

Pear Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich for Crazy Ingredient Challenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

Champagne Poached Pear Crepes

You’ll find a theme this week on the blog. A bubbly theme perfect for that lovebird holiday coming up next week.

Of course, I’m talking champagne and Valentine’s Day.

I’ll start with a recipe that’s borderline brunch and dessert. Crepes!

Champagne Poached Pear Crepes | Sew You Think You Can Cook |

Pears are poached in champagne for an elegant filling. That poaching liquid then becomes a stunning sauce for the delicate pancakes. For extra decadence, serve with vanilla ice cream!

If you’re particularly prepared, you can make the pears and accompanying champagne sauce ahead of time.

Champagne Poached Pear Crepes

Ingredients for pears:

  • 3 C champagne
  • 2 C water
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 5 pears, peeled

Ingredients for crepes:

  • 1 1/3 C milk
  • 1 C flour
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt


  1. In a large pot, combine champagne, water, and sugar. Slice the vanilla bean in half, scrape out the seeds and put them in the pot along with the pod. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the pears. Cook 30-40 minutes, until the pears are fork tender. Remove the pears and set aside. Reduce the poaching liquid to 2 C worth. Remove the vanilla bean pod.
  2. Place the crepe ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Allow batter to reset 15 minutes.
  3. Pour 1/4 C batter into a small greased skillet. (I used non-stick cooking spray between each pancake) Swirl the pan around to create an even pancake. Once the pancake browns flip and cook another minute.
  4. To serve, slice the pears and arrange them in the center of the crepes. Fold the crepe over the fruit and top with the sauce. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.

This recipe is adapted from Tara at*

Champagne Poached Pear Crepes | Sew You Think You Can Cook (2) |

Roasted Pears and Parsnips

I have to brag a moment about how amazing my husband is. One night a couple of weeks ago I got close to no sleep between the two babies of ours. My husband came home from work early to take our Firecracker (little man) out of the house. They went to the mall to blow off some energy at the play area and then went to the grocery store. That allowed me to get 2 hours of sleep while Treat (baby boy) napped. He even took over the kitchen that night and prepared dinner!

I was very impressed with the recipes he decided on; he didn’t pick something easy. Our main course was a steak recipe from Bobby Flay’s Grill It! along with a homemade steak sauce. Alongside he’d selected a roasted pears and parsnips recipe with brown butter and hazelnuts.

The brown butter over top the roasted parsnips and the toasted hazelnuts tasted like popcorn! The hazelnuts provided a great crunch alongside the tender sweet pears and peppery parsnips.

We will definitely be making this recipe again. If you’re looking for something new to add to your holiday spread, I encourage you to give this recipe a try.

This recipe makes 2-3 servings.

Roasted Pears and Parsnips


  • 1 large parsnip, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 Bosc pear, quartered
  • 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped toasted hazelnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss the parsnips and pears in olive oil. Season with salt. Place on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Roast 30-40 minutes, until golden and tender.
  3. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Swirl the pan until the butter turns brown, but not burnt. Add the hazelnuts to the brown butter. Add to the roasted parsnips and pears and serve immediately.

*This recipe is adapted from Cooking from the Farmers’ Market*

Roasted Pears and Parsnips  Sew You Think You Can Cook

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Blogger CLUE: Greek Yogurt Apple Loaf

blogger CLUE

Before you get all wrapped up in the pumpkin craze, let’s not forget about the other great fall fruits, like apples and pears! Yes, pumpkin is technically a fruit, and I have no doubt that some of the CLUE players will be sharing pumpkin recipe. Be sure to stop by their pages, too!

This month I was assigned the blog That Skinny Chick Can Bake written by Liz. Liz helps keep our group organized and is a member of a few other blogging groups I’m also a part of. I’m not sure how she keeps up with everything! Her blog is a beautiful array of sweets (with some great savory options, too).

I was tempted by a couple of her fall salads (Spinach Salad with Pears and Cranberries or Apple Cherry Walnut Salad) but hey, “That Skinny Chick Can Bake” so I settled on a baked item. I altered her Sour Cream Pear Bread to utilize what I had in my fridge – Greek Yogurt and Apples.

Greek Yogurt Apple Loaf


  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 3/4 C cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 C peeled and diced apples
  • cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla extract and yogurt (or sour cream).
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and a pinch of salt. Add to the stand mixer in 2-3 installments.
  4. Fold in diced apples (or pears). Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  5. Bake 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out cleanly. Allow loaf to cool 15 minutes before removing from pan onto a cooling rack.
  6. This loaf is best served warm/toasted with a little butter.

Greek Yogurt Apple Loaf for #BloggerCLUE from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Here’s a list of the other players of Blogger CLUE this month:

#BrunchWeek: Pear Coffee Cake and Fruit & Cheese Salad

Welcome back to the third annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri of Love and Confections and Shaina of Take a Bite out of Boca.

woot frootI couldn’t celebrate a week of brunch without another variation of my very popular coffee cake and when Woot Froot was announced as a #BrunchWeek sponsor I knew I’d utilize the fruit they sent. Because peaches and nectarines (what they’re most famous for) aren’t in season until next month, we received sliced pears and destemmed grapes. I decided to use the pears in my coffee cake! After many bundt baking attempts at putting foods in cakes I tossed the chopped pears in flour (and cinnamon for good measure).

I have made this coffee cake so many times and have done so using either sour cream or yogurt – we’ve even used lemon Greek yogurt once in a pinch! I saw another opportunity to use a sponsored product – Stonyfield Organic yogurt! (I buy their YoBaby yogurts for the little man, and it’s definitely his favorite food.) I used whole milk vanilla yogurt in this coffee cake and it’s absolutely delicious, a great accompaniment to the pears!

I like to top my coffee cakes with a crumble that includes oats. Conveniently enough Bob’s Red Mill provided participating bloggers with a bag of old fashioned rolled oats!

cabotNot only am I sharing my coffee cake recipe today – I’m using Cabot Cheese White Oak Cheddar in a fruit salad! The way I figured it, people often eat fruit with their cheese plate so why not combine it in a sweet and savory dressing.

Pear Coffee Cake

Ingredients for topping:

  • 3/8 C flour
  • 1/3 C Dixie Crystals Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 C rolled oats

Ingredients for cake:

  • 2 C + 1 tbsp flour, divided use
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 C Dixie Crystals Granulated Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 C whole milk vanilla yogurt
  • 1 C peeled and diced pears
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


  1. Make the topping: whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Using your fingers, break the butter into small pieces and combine with the topping. After combined add the oats. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8″ square cake pan with foil and grease.
  3. Make the cake: In a large bowl whisk together 2 C flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add in the vanilla.
  5. Incorporate a third of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once combined add 1/2 C of yogurt. Add another third of the dry ingredients. Once combined add the last 1/2 C of yogurt. Add in the final third of the dry ingredients.
  6. Toss pears in remaining flour and cinnamon.
  7. Assemble the cake: Place half of the cake batter in the prepared cake pan. Evenly distribute the pears and top with remaining batter. Top the cake with the topping from step 1.
  8. Bake for 65 minutes, or until a knife comes out cleanly.
  9. Allow cake to cool for 5 minutes and remove the cake from the pan by the foil. Serve your cake with fruit & cheese salad (recipe below)!

Fruit & Cheese Salad


  • 3 C chopped pears
  • 2 C sliced red grapes
  • 1 Fuji apple, diced
  • 6 oz White Oak Cheddar Cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade


  1. In a large bowl, toss together fruit and cheese.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, agave, and vanilla. Season to taste with salt.
  3. Dress fruit salad with the dressing and add in the basil. Keep cold.

*The dressing recipe is modified from Michael at*

Pear Coffee Cake and Fruit & Cheddar Salad for #BrunchWeek from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Don’t forget to enter our giveaway and be sure to check out the other bloggers who posted more brunch recipes today:

BrunchWeek 2015 Logo
BrunchWeek Beverages:
Grape Mojito from The Spiffy Cookie.

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Caramelized Onion, Kale, Bacon and Cheddar Strata from Love and Confections.
Kale and Toasted Quinoa Egg White Scramble from Take A Bite Out Of Boca.
Breakfast Enchiladas from Cooking in Stilettos
Croque Madame Breakfast Casserole from Bread Booze Bacon.
Rainbow Chard and Cheddar Cheese Frittata from My Catholic Kitchen.

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Perfect French Toast from Quarter Life (Crisis) Cuisine.
Oat Breakfast Cookies from Pink Cake Plate.
Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes with Spiced Pear Syrup from The Redhead Baker.
Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake Muffins from Making Miracles.
Classic Buttermilk Pancakes from That Skinny Chick Can Bake.
Bacci Bread and Pear Pudding from A Day in the Life on the Farm.
Pear Coffee Cake and Fruit & Cheese Salad from Sew You Think You Can Cook.

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Waldorf Quinoa Chicken Salad from Cupcake & Kale Chips.

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Chilled Strawberry Soup from The Suburban Soapbox

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Orange Blossom Olive Oil Cake with Mango Citrus Glaze from Taste Cook Sip.
Walnut Meringue Banana Mess from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner.

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Bob’s Red Mill, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, California Walnuts, Dixie Crystals, Grimmway Farms/Cal-Organic/True Juice, KitchenAid, Le Creuset, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Pacari Chocolate, Stonyfield Organic, Vidalia Onions, and Woot Froot for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.