Autumn Salad

After a few weeks of less than healthy eating I was craving a good salad. A salad that would qualify as dinner.

I immediately went to my vegetarian/vegan cookbook,  The Vibrant Table. Most of the recipes I was itching to make were better suited for spring and summer produce, but I found a beautiful autumn salad that caught my eye.

Autumn Salad | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

This salad involved a lot of ingredients that we love – beets, Brussles sprouts, apples and pears. I had to swap the use of squash for sweet potatoes due to my allergy, but it worked perfectly, and also falls under the favorite food category. Persimmons were called for as an optional ingredient for adding to the salad and conveniently I had one sitting on my counter from the farmer’s market.

If you’ve never worked with a persimmon, I suggest you find one while they’re readily available this fall. It’s a fruit (berry, technically) that looks like an orange tomato. I thought it had a taste vaguely similar to a sweet apple but with a texture of a grape without the “pop.”

I was bummed to omit the pear as my husband grabbed the last one for his mid morning snack, but honestly, there was enough going on in this salad that it wasn’t missed.

As mentioned, there’s a lot happening in this salad. It’s not one to be whipped up 15 minutes before you’re hungry.

The night before I cleaned and prepped the Brussels sprouts, toasted the pecans, and roasted the beets.

Day of, I roasted the Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and apples. Made the dressing. Warmed up the beets. And assembled the final product on a bed of spinach and arugula.

Autumn Salad

Ingredients for salad:

  • 1/2 C pecan halves
  • 2-3 mini red beets, quartered
  • 4-5 mini candy beets, quartered
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided use
  • 2 apples, sliced in wedges
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 pear, sliced (optional)
  • 1 persimmon, sliced
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 handful baby arugula

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 1/2 C roasted apples
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Put red beets in a foil pouch, toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, S+P. Put candy beets in a separate foil pouch, toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, S+P. Roast 35 minutes, until tender.
  5. Place apples in a baking dish. Bake 20 minutes.
  6. Toss Brussels sprouts and sweet potato with remaining olive oil, S+P, and paprika. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 10 minutes, flip, roast another 10 minutes, until tender.
  7. Make dressing: Blend 1/2 C roasted apples, molasses, vegetable oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil. If needed, add up to 2 tbsp water to thin the dressing.
  8. Assemble salad: Place roasted veggies and fruit, nuts, and fresh fruit over a bed of spinach and arugula.

*This recipe is modified from The Vibrant Table*

Autumn Salad | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Mexican Monday Latkes

My husband has always had a mild obsession with trying to make potato pancakes at home. He did it once with a sweet potato a couple of years ago but it just wasn’t right. (Odds are there was still too much moisture in the potato.)

So when the December issue of Food Network magazine arrived with a page on “Mix-and-Match Latkes” it was immediately added to the menu. I looked at the “recipe” and decided on a Mexican Monday themed latke (because Mexican is always welcome in our house and I usually have all the ingredients I need).

We were beyond impressed with how our recipe turned out! Stuart squeezed the liquid out of the potatoes and onions and he must’ve done a perfect job, because there wasn’t any splattering when I added the latkes to the oil (aka no water!) and they held together wonderfully. These latkes were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

To make the latkes our main meal I topped them with chorizo, sour cream, and cheese. I realized when I pulled out the camera that I didn’t have any greanery – I’d be “chopped” for my plating for sure! And while eating dinner I realized that chorizo is a pork product and therefore these latkes were no longer Kosher. Oops. But any taco meat would work – ground or pulled beef, turkey, or chicken.

We will definitely be experimenting with other flavor combinations! A BBQ inspired one is up next.

Mexican Monday Latkes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb sweet potato, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 lb russet potato, peeled and shredded
  • 1/4 of a large sweet onion, grated
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 C diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 C frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 C flour
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • optional toppings: taco meat, shredded cheese, sour cream, scallions, cilantro, salsa, etc

Steps:

  1. Place shredded potatoes, onion, salt, and pepper in a clean dish towel. Squeeze until potatoes are dry.
  2. Put potatoes a large bowl along with the bell pepper, corn, garlic, and cumin. Mix. Add the beaten egg and flour, mixing until combined.
  3. Form potato mixture into 1/4 C patties and place on a paper towel lined plate. Will make 9-12 latkes.
  4. Heat 1/4″ vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry latkes 4 minutes on each side. Remove to another paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with a little salt.
  5. Serve latkes warm with desired toppings.

Mexican Monday Latkes | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Blogger CLUE: Honey Sriracha Sweet Potatoes

blogger CLUE

Today Blogger CLUE is continuing with our Fall celebrations with a wide open theme of “Autumn” for October’s reveal day.

This month I was assigned the blog Eliot’s Eats. I actually had Debra’s blog for the berries reveal day. Her blog is named after her cat (and favorite poet). I had fun searching through Debra’s blog this time with another season in mind. And I was ecstatic to find a plethora of sweet potato recipes!

When it comes to Autumn recipes the blogosphere becomes filled with pumpkin this and pumpkin that. Thanks to a pumpkin allergy (which I developed at the ripe old age of 21) Fall cooking has become quite disheartening. Luckily there’s the lovely sweet potato to make me pretend I’m in on the craze. 🙂

I made two dishes from Eliot’s Eats this month – one I made a fair number of changes to and will be sharing with you at a later date and this simple side dish. These sweet potatoes are doused in a honey sriracha sauce before being baked until tender. This sauce would be fantastic for any number of vegetables and even chicken. Actually, while I was mixing up the concoction I couldn’t get wings off the brain – probably because of the melted butter and the smell of vinegary heat. Yum!

I used half of the amount of sriracha Debra used on the off chance my little man would give them a try. (And because I’m a wimp.) I’m happy to report my 15 month old showed a little interest and worked on fork stabbing practice with these potatoes. He even licked a couple, but wouldn’t actually eat it. (…I’m trying to remain calm and patient while he goes through this stage of eating…)

Honey Sriracha Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 small or 1 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size cubes
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1-2 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.
  2. Place sweet potatoes in a bowl.
  3. Whisk together butter, honey, sriracha, and olive oil. Pour over potatoes and toss to coat. Season with salt.
  4. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes until tender, flip the potatoes halfway through the cooking process.

*This recipe is adapted from Debra at http://eliotseats.com/2015/04/12/roasted-sweet-potatoes-with-honey-and-sriracha/*

Honey Sriracha Sweet Potatoes for #BloggerCLUE from Sew You Think You Can Cook

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

Thanksgiving for Two and a Giveaway

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the food – not just the eating of the food, but I love the preparing of the food, I love traditions, and I love spending time with my family.

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After getting married Thanksgiving became my domain. My parents and brother came to the FL Panhandle along with my in-laws. And no, it’s not awkward and dysfunctional. We are very lucky to get along with both sets of in-laws and better yet, they get along with each other! It’s so much fun having 10+ people gathered around a table meshing traditions and sharing stories.

Now that we are living in Ohio, where it has already snowed this year, in a smaller house with a tiny oven I’ve passed my hosting duties to my mother-in-law. My parents are even flying to Alabama to join us! Unfortunately my brother can’t get away from work so he and his fiance will be spending the holiday with another couple.

Thanksgiving for TwoIf you are spending the holiday with a small group of people, or even just as a party of two, I encourage you to keep reading and look at my perfect menu for all your favorite Thanksgiving flavors made for 2 – 4! And come back next week to see how I use the leftovers in unusual round two recipes!

For my very first Thanksgiving as a Mrs. I introduced a new dish to the holiday table – creamed onions. It has now become my must-have side dish. (Well, that and green bean casserole.) The first time I made this I followed the recipe verbatim, and after a massive amount of leftovers and feedback from the family I have since halved it and removed the pearl onions. Today, I cut that original recipe by 2/3 and still keep the pearl onions out. There are lots of onions to cut and tears to fall, but it’s very much worth it! A bite of creamed onions is the one I save for my last bite of the meal.

Stuart’s must-have side dish is his Papa’s Sweet Potato Casserole. This dish has become a mandatory dish for my family’s Christmas meal, too! I wasn’t going to made a mini-version for this Thanksgiving for Two meal, but the sweet potato is still mandatory. I instead made Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes. The flavors in the filling give the illusion of eating a full holiday spread.

And of course, you must have a turkey. For a small party you don’t need to stress over roasting the perfect bird, instead get a 3lb turkey breast. Lather it with flavored butter, place it on a bed of veggies, and roast it for only 2 1/2 hours. Serve it with your favorite gravy if you so desire.

Roasted Turkey Breast

Ingredients:

  • 1 3 lb boneless turkey breast
  • handful of Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tbsp room temperature butter
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Steps:

  1. Once your turkey is thawed place it in a large bowl of salted water with a tbsp of sugar. Put the turkey in the refrigerator for at least two hours or even overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Chop the carrots, celery, and onion into two-inch pieces and place on the bottom of a casserole dish.
  4. Remove turkey breast from brine and pat dry.
  5. In a small bowl combine the butter with the Italian seasoning, the zest of half a lemon and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, S+P. Rub butter all over the turkey. Place turkey on bed of veggies.
  6. Roast for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, until an internal temperature of 170-175 degrees F is reached. Allow turkey to rest 5 – 10 minutes before slicing.

*This recipe is modified from Kelsey at http://m.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/kelsey-nixon/roast-turkey-breast.html *

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, cut into half moons
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 C ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash sweet potatoes, pat dry, and poke with a fork. Bake for 1 hour, rotate potatoes halfway through cooking time. Allow potatoes to cool. (If you are making this with the rest of the “Thanksgiving for Two” menu at this point reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.)
  2. Clean leaks by placing them in a large bowl of water. Using your hands, separate the layers, allowing all the dirt to settle to the bottom of the bowl. Remove using a slotted spoon.
  3. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Saute leeks until tender.
  4. Halve the cooled potatoes lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh of the potato, leaving enough attached to the skins for stability. Place potato flesh in a food processor. Puree with brown sugar, ginger, S+P. Add the ricotta and puree until smooth. Remove sweet potatoes to a bowl and combine with cooked leeks, Parmesan cheese, and sage.
  5. Place the mixture into the potato skins. Bake for 30 minutes.

*This recipe is adapted from Nicole at http://flavorsbyfour.blogspot.com/2012/11/twice-baked-sweet-potatoes-with-sage.html *

Creamed Onions

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, cut into half moons
  • 2 shallots, cut into half moons
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • 1/3 – 1/2 C panko
  • 2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp parsley

Steps:

  1. Clean leaks by placing them in a large bowl of water. Using your hands, separate the layers, allowing all the dirt to settle to the bottom of the bowl. Remove using a slotted spoon.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (If you are making this with the rest of the “Thanksgiving for Two” menu 350 degrees is fine.)
  3. In a large, high sided skillet melt 1 tbsp butter over medium-high heat. Saute the red and sweet onions until soft. Season with S+P. Remove to a bowl.
  4. In the same skillet melt the other tbsp butter. Saute the shallots and leeks until tender. Season with S+P. Add the minced garlic and cook another 60 seconds. Remove to the same bowl as the other onions.
  5. Add the cream to the skillet, bring to a gentle boil and let reduce slightly. Add the onions to the cream and combine. Taste and season with addition S+P if needed.
  6. In a small bowl mix together the panko, parmesan, and parsley.
  7. Pour creamed onions into a small casserole dish, or individual ramekins. (At this point you can refrigerate the onions up to 24 hours.) Top with panko mixture. Bake 40 – 45 minutes, or until topping is golden and onions are bubbly.

*This recipe is modified from Bree at http://bakedbree.com/creamed-onions *

Do you remember the super cool ThermoPop I used to check my poached chicken for my Maize and Blue Chicken Salad that I served during the #10DaysofTailgate blog event? If not, ThermoWorks was one of our very generous sponsors. They provided participating bloggers with a ThermoPop and also had a prize package in the giveaway. If you weren’t that lucky person to win a ThermoPop of your very own then, I’m providing you with a second chance! Even if you don’t win, these would make the perfect stocking stuffers for your foodie friends.

The ThermoPop comes in 9 colors. Not only do their bright colors make it a fun kitchen gadget, but it also means it won’t get lost in my drawer of utensils. It comes with a matching “sheath” to keep the probe free from dirt and damage when not in use. The ThermoPop is also easy to use. A simple touch of the front button turns the device and backlight on (the backlight will automatically turn off after 10 seconds to save power), a button on the back will adjust the temperature from degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius, and probably the best feature, another button will rotate the large digital display 90 degrees. There’s no more twisting your head in awkward angles to read your thermometer and there’s no need for a magnifying glass to read the temperature either.

ThermoPop

To enter the giveaway, please follow the link below for the Rafflecopter giveaway. Entries include a mandatory comment on this post answering the question “What is your must-have dish at Thanksgiving?” and additional optional entries to increase your chances of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions: This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only, age 18 and older. The ThermoWorks ThermoPop giveaway runs from Wednesday, November 19, 2014 12:00am ET through Saturday, November 21, 2014 12:00am ET. Winners will be randomly chosen and announced on November 22, 2014. Winners will also be contacted by email and will have 24 hours to respond to the email. If a winner does not respond in that time a new winner will be chosen. For more information, see the full terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter widget.

Disclaimer: ThermoWorks is providing the prize free of charge.  I received a ThermoWorks ThermoPop to use for #10DaysofTailgate. All opinions stated are my own.

#FoodieExtravaganza: Waffles

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This month’s #FoodieExtravaganza is celebrating Waffles! September is National Waffle month and along with a bunch of other bloggers we are having a Foodie Extravaganza all about Waffles! The Foodie Extravaganza is a monthly party hosted by bloggers who love food! Each month we incorporate one main ingredient into recipes to share with you and this month, our host Summer of Summer Scraps offered up a poll and the theme of waffles won! While I wasn’t part of the majority vote (I voted for breakfast) I’m ecstatic that waffles won out. Waffles are my favorite breakfast item!

I thought about doing savory waffles for a little bit of a twist – but then I found this recipe saved on my foodgawker favorites. Sweet potato seemed like a winner with it now being September and Fall fast approaching. I also used up the blueberries in my fridge to make a homemade blueberry syrup. The syrup complimented the cinnamon sweet potato waffles very well – a little bit of summer with a little bit of fall.

Sweet Potato Waffles

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium, or 1 large, sweet potatoes
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C buttermilk
  • 4 tbsp melted butter

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Poke sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Allow potatoes to cool to touch. Remove flesh from skins and puree until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and butter.
  4. Combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix in sweet potatoes.
  5. Into a hot greased waffle iron, drop 1/3 C of batter and cook until golden.

*This recipe is adapted from Rachael at http://rachaelwhite.me/sweet-potato-cinnamon-waffles/*

Blueberry Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 5 C blueberries
  • 4 C water, divided use
  • 2 C sugar
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • juice of 2 lemons

Steps:

  1. In a saucepan bring sugar, 3 C water, and lemon rind to a gentle boil. Stir until sugar is disolved and cook until the syrup reaches a 225 degrees F.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, mash blueberries with remaining 1 C of water. Cook over low for 15 minutes. Press through a fine strainer and set aside.
  3. Combine syrup, blueberry juice, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Allow to cool and refrigerate until ready to use. It can be stored for up to 6 months.

*This recipe is adapted from Grace at http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/perfect-blueberry-syrup*

 Sweet Potato Waffles

Be sure to check out these other waffle recipes:

Cinnamon Swirl Waffles from Summer Scraps

Caramel Apple Waffles from We Like to Learn as we Go

Cheddar and Jalapeno Waffles from Rhubarb and Honey

Strawberry Shortcake Waffles from Mrs. Penguin

4 Ingredient Spiced Pumpkin Waffles from Keep It Simple Sweetie

Lasagna Waffles from Love in the Kitchen

Pumpkin Pie Waffles from Eazy Peazy Mealz

Oat Sourdough Waffles from Passion Kneaded

Waffle Crusted Apple Pie Parfait from The Freshman Cook

Sweet Potato Waffles with Pecan Honey Butter from Wicked Spatula

Savory Bacon and Veggie Waffles from Fearlessly Creative Mammas

Bacon and Cheese Waffles from Housewife Eclectic

Maple Bacon Waffles from Ashlee Marie

Loaded Baked Potato Waffles from Food Lust People Love

14 Delicious Waffle Recipes

We are a group of bloggers who love to blog about food! And each month we all incorporate one main ingredient into a recipe. This month the ingredient is waffles. We hope you all enjoy the delicious ways we made our waffles and be sure to come to see what next month’s new ingredient is. If you would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

Update May 2016: These waffles are one of my go-to recipes when I need to get Firecracker to eat and I’ve made them countless times. After moving to California I decided it was high time to try and rephotograph them. I don’t make the blueberry syrup, but we’ve had fabulous berries from the farmers market.

Sweet Potato Waffles for #FoodieExtravaganza from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Did you know that for your money, the most nutritious thing you could buy in the grocery store is the sweet potato?

Sweet potatoes are one of Stuart’s favorite foods. If a restaurant offers sweet potato fries as a side option, he’ll be paying the extra $0.99 for them. If mashed sweet potatoes are suggested as a side dish to you-name-the-protein, he’ll pick that entrée. However, unless it’s for Sweet Potato Casserole, I find myself rarely cooking with sweet potatoes.

I spotted a recipe for Loaded Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes and thought, that’s a good idea! And while my photograph isn’t as beautiful or as appealing as Brandi’s (I have to admit, I became very frustrated with trying to capture this dish) the stuffing flavors complimented the baked sweet potato beautifully – no extra toppings needed. Additionally stuffed potatoes make for a surprisingly filling dinner.

Because our Publix is still so new, they don’t yet carry Chorizo – although someone from the Meat Department did promise us that they will. I decided to buy ground pork and add chorizo spices while cooking the meat. I also used (half) my recipe for black beans instead of using refried black beans.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch ground coriander
  • 1/2 recipe of black beans {click for recipe}
  • 1/2 C shredded Mexican cheese

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and dry potatoes. Poke with a fork and wrap in foil. Bake 1 hour.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat brown pork in olive oil. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add remaining seasonings and cook, break up the meat, until cooked through. Drain if needed.
  3. In a bowl combine cooked pork and beans.
  4. When potatoes are cooked through allow them to cool enough to handle. Cut a canoe-shaped cavity and stuff with the pork and beans. Top with shredded cheese.
  5. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake 5-7 minutes, until the cheese on top is melted.

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