Monday, January 31, 2011

A Few Of My Favorite Things

1. Smoked Paprika - This is a new discovery for me.  It is the most amazing spice I think I've ever used.  It gives an almost bacon like flavor to food.  Super smokey with a spicy kick. It does amazing things to roasted squash.  Stay tuned for my favorite recipe using this ingredient.

2. Tabasco -  No, I am not one of those people who wears a Tabasco holster where ever I go, but I do love the stuff.  Best on eggs, and adding to guacamole for a little heat.

3. Butter - Always have, always will.  All those spreads with their canola oils and butter flavors can take a hike.  There is no substitute.

4. Coffee - My name is Courtney and I am an addict.  Black, strong and hot.  Please don't attempt to engage contact if I haven't had my coffee in the morning.

5. Avocados - My favorite fruit (yes, it is a fruit).   I could easily eat one a day, and I probably do.

6. Ice Cream - As an American living in the UK, I struggle with this one.  There are no Cold Stone Creamery's, or Marble Slab's  in the UK.   I miss those awesome concoctions of chopped up Reeses'  and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream with a hot brownie and lots of hot fudge sauce.  Banana's Fosters sundaes with hot caramel sauce.  Cake Batter ice cream with sprinkles and gummy bears.  Ben and Jerry's gets me through, but when I do go back  home to the US, I eat my body weight in ice cream. 

7. Peanut Butter - My husband laughs at me for this one.  I will put peanut butter on anything.  I defy you to try smearing it on a rice crispy bar and then dipping it in hot fudge sauce and not thinking you could snuff it right there.  Try mixing a Tbsp  with a little vegetable oil and a sprinkle of paprika on parsnips cut into fries and baking for 30 minutes on a high temp.  So yum.  Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles.  Peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I prefer the all natural stuff that only contains peanuts and salt.  Can't wait to make my own (so easy).

8. Chocolate - 'nuf said.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Post run breakfast:  Open faced toasted english muffin, avocado, tomato, egg, hot sauce.  Orange and two cups of black coffee.

An Old Stand-By

So after my day of errands and muffin making, I did NOT feel like cooking.  So I threw together this pasta that is something different, pretty healthy, quick and very yummy.  The kids like it too, and that's saying something for a boy who will only eat something if it's buried under a half a bottle of ketchup.

Roasted Red Pepper and Squash Pasta
  • 1 large Butternut squash
  • 1 Pound (454 g) fusilli  or penne pasta (I used spelt fusilli)
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 Cup (225 g) creme fraiche
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Cup (225 g) fresh grated Parmesan 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 200.  Put pasta in pot with water and cook until al dente.   Peel and dice your squash.  Peel and cut your red onions into wedges (about 6 per onion).  Put vegetables into baking pan and coat with 1 Tbsp vegetable oil.  Roast vegetables in oven for 35 minutes.  Combine pasta, roasted veg, creme fraiche, Parmesan, salt and pepper.  Top with more Parmesan when serving.

Adapted from BBC Good Food.

Super easy, super comforting.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Muffins

I'll start this post by explaining, no I'm not muffin obsessed or anything.  There is a little background to why I felt compelled to make two kinds of muffins in one day.  My 8 year old is having a friend spend the night tonight and I have to work very early tomorrow morning.  While my husband is completely capable of handing out bowls of cereal, or toast, I always like to give the kids something a little special for sleepovers.  So, I came up with the idea of making some muffins, because, when you can't have pancakes or waffles,  who doesn't like a fresh blueberry muffin for breakfast?  I have made these before for a brunch we had a while back in Mississippi, and they were really popular.  These muffins are very light and cakey.  I think they would be great with some fruit and hot coffee.
Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins
  • 12 Tbsp (6oz) butter at room temp
  • 1 1/2 Cups (338 g) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1/4 Cup (2oz) milk
  • 2 1/4 Cups (567 g) self rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Cups (454 g) fresh blueberries
Preheat the oven to 180.  With a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Mix in  the vanilla, sour cream and milk.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt.   Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet until fully incorporated.  Stir in your blueberries gently.  

Put muffin papers in your muffin tin.  Using and ice cream scoop or measuring cup, fill each muffin paper just to the top with batter.  Bake for 30  minutes.  Cool on a cooling rack.  

I just throw these into a tupperware container and they will keep for about 3-4 days.  


I though I'd start this blog up again with a bang.  Two old favorite recipes and a yummy new one.   I'll start with the  new recipe.  In the last year I have dived into bread making and discovered I really like baking with yeast, and the whole step by step process.  It kind of suits my type A personality.  Plus the smell of fresh baking bread doesn't hurt either.  So today, between school runs, dropping off a deposit on a new house, grocery shopping, picking up a school uniform, and keeping my toddler entertained, I decided to make some homemade english muffins (as you do when you haven't sat down all day.....what am I like?)  I changed up the recipe a bit to healthy it up by making it whole wheat.  They were a hit with the kids, and pretty quick and easy to make as bread goes.  I'm looking forward to breakfast sandwiches in the morning.

Whole Wheat English Muffins
  • 1 Cup (125 g) whole wheat bread flour
  • 1.5  Cups (204 g) strong white bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 Tbsp room temp butter
  • 1 Cup (8 oz) milk (I used almond milk, but you can use any unsweetend milk)
  • Cornmeal (Polenta)
In a large bowl mix both flours, sugar, salt and yeast.  Add in butter and milk and start kneading dough for about 5 minutes.  Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Leave to rise for 1 hour.  

Lay parchment paper on baking sheet.  Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal lightly.  Divide dough in to 6 even balls and place on baking sheet.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave to rise for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 180.  Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil.  Place dough balls in skillet and brown each side, about 5 minutes each side.  Once they have finished browning, place dough balls , which should have flattened  while in the skillet, on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, or until the muffins sound hollow when tapped.  Cool muffins on a cooling rack about 30 minutes.  Store in an airtight container

Source:  Adapted from Annie's Eats  

The other recipes coming soon....