Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Crockpot Applesauce

 
Life right now may be the busiest I can ever remember it...and this is still before the baby is even here! Life is only going to get busier. So, I know that I need to be armed and ready with easy recipes in the coming months. Enter our good friend, the crock pot!

Last weekend I made a delicious sweet potato apple soup in the crock pot (this recipe here from 100 Days of Real Food). And last week I made this great crock pot applesauce recipe that I'm about to share with you. Seriously, I may never make applesauce on the stove again!

Apple season is passing quickly, so I wanted to be sure to share this with you sooner than later. If you've recently gone apple picking or have plans to go soon this fall, make this applesauce with all those delicious, fresh apples you pick! I would imagine you can freeze this too, although I didn't (we ate it too fast!). And, if you know how to can, you could probably can this as well.

The recipe is from My Baking Addiction. The original recipe called for about 12 medium apples, but I used 16. And I still used the same amount of brown sugar (1/3 cup) called for in the original recipe. I thought the sauce was plenty sweet (but not overly so). Of course, it may depend on which types of apples you use (I used a combo of Cortland, Macintosh, and Macoun). So, feel free to taste it along the way and adjust the sugar as needed! Also, the recipe calls for "apple pie spice." Honestly, I just eyeballed the spices that I added! I added a combo of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, I believe (and the overall amount was probably closer to 3 tsp., not 1 and 1/4 tsp.). I also added 4 or 5 whole cinnamon sticks (that I removed at the end!). Oh, and I added some apple cider too, just because... No need to though (the original recipe does not call for it).

Ingredients:

-4 pounds of apples (about 16 medium)
-1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
-2 to 3 tsp. apple pie spice
-4 or 5 cinnamon sticks
-1/2 cup apple cider

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in the crock pot and cook on high for 5 hours. If desired, taste the applesauce about an hour before it's done to test for sweetness. Add more sugar and/or spices if you'd like.

If you like slightly chunky applesauce (as mine turned out in the pictures), just stir and mash the apples with a spoon or potato masher. It will be very easy to make it into applesauce, I promise; the apples cook down quite nicely. If you like a smoother applesauce, let the sauce cool and then transfer it to a blender or food processor to puree until smooth. Store applesauce in airtight container in fridge (for up to 10 days) or in freezer (for up to 6 months).


This is good stuff, friends! If you love homemade applesauce and are looking for a ridiculously easy way to make it, this recipe is for you.


 I think I may need to go apple picking again just so I can make another batch!


And once you've made this applesauce, you can go make my cinnamon swirl apple bread recipe since it calls for applesauce!

:)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Apple Bread

 
And once again, looong time no blog! Another month and a half has gone by since my last post. Oops! I know I said this last time, but honestly, life has never been busier. We finally moved into our new house (yay!) a few weeks ago, so the process of moving, unpacking, and attempting to get settled has been taking up much of our time. Not to mention the crazy busy schedules we keep in normal life...and also not to mention getting ready for baby!!! Every day, the to-do list only grows and doesn't get shorter. Blogging is always on my list but somehow it always gets pushed to the bottom, sadly.

 I have enjoyed baking a number of Barbershop goodies thus far in our new kitchen, and so far, so good! Everything's been turning out great. Oh, and here are a few pics of the new kitchen. :) There are a few final touches we need to do still (paint some of the trim white, touch up some paint spots under the cabinets, etc.) but it's pretty much DONE!!




One of the first recipes I wanted to share with you is this delicious cinnamon swirl apple bread that I made last weekend after we went apple picking. I made these cute little mini loaves to give to some of our new neighbors. But don't worry, we kept a couple for ourselves too. :) Ya gotta taste test, right?! This quick bread recipe is easy, moist, and flavorful. And oh-so-fall-like. I am in full fall baking mode these days, and I love it. Everything I've made over the past two weeks has been with either pumpkin or apples!

The recipe is from A Kitchen Addiction. And I followed the recipe pretty closely too (usually I tweak a few things). I did not add the glaze on top of the bread, but feel free to if you'd like that added touch of sweetness. The bread was plenty sweet on its own, we thought. But, sometimes a glaze can really make a bread come together. So, the glaze is your call!

Ingredients:

For the bread:
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-1 cup white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
-3/4 cup sugar
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. nutmeg
-1/8 tsp. ginger
-1/8 tsp. cloves (this was my addition)
-1 cup low fat buttermilk
(feel free to use powdered buttermilk; follow the package's instructions)
-1 egg
-1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
-1 and 1/2 to 2 cups chopped apples (peeled or not; your choice)

For the swirl:
-2 Tbsp. sugar
-1 Tbsp. brown sugar
-2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. nutmeg
-1/8 tsp. ginger
-1/8 tsp. allspice

For the glaze:
-1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
-1 Tbsp. milk

Instructions:

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray (or mini loaf pans). In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and applesauce. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped apples. In a small bowl, mix together the "swirl" ingredients.

Pour about 1/3 of batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar swirl mixture. Repeat with the remaining batter and swirl mixture until both are gone. Carefully swirl a knife through the batter crosswise.

If using the traditional 9 x 5 loaf pan, bake for about 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If using mini loaf pans, start checking for doneness around 20 minutes or so. Allow bread to cool on wire rack for 20 minutes before removing from pan. If using glaze, mix together the sugar and milk, and pour glaze over warm bread. Makes 1 large loaf or about 10 mini loves. Enjoy!


The other great quality of this bread that I didn't mention earlier? It will make your home smell deeeelicious. Just. Like. Fall.

 

I made a couple mini bundt cakes as well for the hubs and me. Those were what we taste tested to make sure the recipe was worthy of sharing with our new neighbors. First impressions are important, you know! I wouldn't want to give a new neighbor anything sub-par for their first Barbershop treat experience.



Here's a picture of me at 34 weeks pregnant. Wow! I can't believe how quickly this baby is coming... Our due date is a month from today, in fact!

And of course, there's the hubs, attempting to be funny with his pumpkin baby belly... :)


I made an awesome applesauce recipe in the crock pot (!!) this past weekend. Hope to share that one with you next. And hopefully it'll be sooner than a month and a half from now...

Monday, August 18, 2014

I've Been a Little Busy...

It's been a month and ten days since I last blogged (yikes!!). Every week I say to myself, this is the week I'm going to share a great new recipe! But alas, the best laid plans... Life is a tad busy for us right now (and by a tad busy, I mean the busiest it's ever been that I can remember) so please forgive me for my lack of blogging. I'm still cooking and baking whenever I can but I just can't seem to find the time to take photos or share the recipes with you online! :(

The main two things keeping us insanely busy right now, for those of you who don't know, are...

1) A new HOUSE that includes a KITCHEN RENOVATION!!! So, so exciting.

and...

2) A BABY due to arrive in early November!! Also so, so exciting. :) 

Soooo, here's a small sampling of photos of what our life has been consumed with (in a good way!) for the past few months...










 

I can't believe how many decisions go into a kitchen renovation! It's been overwhelming at times but overall, it's pretty darn awesome! We are very thankful to have this opportunity to make the kitchen in our new home our own. I will most definitely be sharing a blog post later on with all the before and after pictures. It's a drastic transformation, let me tell you!! :)

And speaking of a gazillion decisions, my oh my do babies need a lot of items. :) Although creating a baby registry is also overwhelming, we've ultimately had a lot of fun with it and again, are so thankful to be in this amazing place in our lives! We are thrilled to meet our little one later this fall and are having a lot of fun getting ready for him or her (we didn't find out if it's a boy or girl!). If all goes as planned with the kitchen renovation and other changes/updates we're doing to the house, we should be moved in within a few weeks from now, which will give us about a month and a half before the baby arrives. Plenty of time to get settled, right? ;)

Can't wait to share more with you about the house, kitchen, and baby in the upcoming months!

But in the meantime, since this is a food blog after all, here are links to a couple recipes I've made lately that have been incredibly delicious. You've gotta try 'em!



This drink was so easy and ridiculously refreshing. Aaand pretty awesome for me since I can't drink alcohol right now. ;) We still have a few more weeks of summer so make sure to try this while the weather is still warm!


 
These are amazing. That's all you need to know. Try them!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Flaxseed Energy Bites


 My oh my, where does the time go??! So sorry for my big lapse since my latest post. Life is just crazy busy right now! And speaking of crazy busy, I turn to quick, easy, and healthy snacks when life is so busy that I barely have time to think. And quick, easy, and healthy is the recipe that I have for you today! These peanut butter chocolate flaxseed energy bites are a breeze to put together, and they're perfect for when you're on the go...go...go...go....

I adapted this recipe from Handle the Heat's recipe. I could tell from the list of ingredients that I was going to love this recipe, and I was right! I played around with the original proportions a bit, and below is the list of ingredients I put into my version. But definitely check out the original recipe too in case you want to follow that one. They're both pretty similar in the end! This made about 24 1-inch to 1.5-inch bites for me.

Ingredients:

-1 and 1/2 cup regular oats
-2/3 cup ground flaxseed
-1 cup peanut butter
-1/3 cup honey
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, stir together all the ingredients with a spoon or spatula (or your hands!) until thoroughly combined. Cover the mixture and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so that the dough is firm and less sticky (i.e., easier to form into balls!). Once the dough is ready, form into balls about 1 to 1.5-inches in diameter. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You could also freeze these for up to 1 month.


 I love these little guys! They're so cute, aren't they? What's not to love about cute, delicious, easy, and healthy?! You could definitely play around with the ingredients in this recipe too. Maybe try almond butter instead of peanut butter, or craisins instead of chocolate chips. Be creative!


I personally think these taste best when stored in the fridge. When they're cold, they taste that much better to me for some reason! These are great to have on hand for that afternoon slump at work, for a quick snack before or after a workout, or for the kids when they come inside after playing out in the summer sun.

Enjoy!

:)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Snickerdoodle Sprinkle Cookies


 Hey look! I actually made a recipe and photographed it! As I said before, despite the lack of blog posts lately, I've still been busy in the kitchen; I just haven't been taking many pictures or writing about the recipes. But, this cookie recipe was way too good to not share. Boy, was it a hit! And when you stop and think about it, it's easy to see why it is such a hit...chewy, soft cookies filled with sprinkles and rolled in cinnamon sugar goodness. Yes, please!

The recipe is from Joanne over at Eats Well with Others, a wonderful blog I've been following for quite some time. Her recipes always sound amazing, her photography is beautiful, and she always has a funny story to tell besides!

Ingredients:

-1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 tsp. cream of tartar
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
-1 and 1/2 cups sugar, divided
-1 large egg
-2 tsp. vanilla
-3/4 cup sprinkles
-3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add in the flour mixture in three additions, mixing each time until completely combined. Mix in the sprinkles until well distributed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar with the cinnamon. Scoop the cookie dough into balls of about 2 to 3 teaspoons of dough. Roll balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, leaving at least one inch between cookies on the sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the centers are set. They may not look completely cooked, but don't worry; they will continue to cook as they cool. Let sit for 5 minutes on cookie sheets before removing to cool completely on cooling rack.



Seriously, these cookies are amazing. You will love 'em. I promise! :)


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lately...

Lately I have been doing everything but blogging! Luckily though, I've been keeping track of the foods I've made and loved so that I can still share them with you. You gotta love Pinterest! I have a "I Pinned it...AND, I Did it!" board, where I put all new recipes that I've made, usually with some quick notes about how I liked them, how I altered them, etc. So I thought it would be fun today to share a few recent recipes that I've made and really enjoyed (and kept track of through Pinterest).


(photo source)

Yum! I brought these muffins to work for an occasion with coworkers, and everyone loved them. They would be a great addition to any brunch. I found poppy seeds in the bulk section at Whole Foods (I had never purchased poppy seeds before!). Because I needed so few, they cost next to nothing. Just thought I'd share that little tip in case you've never bought poppy seeds either. ;)


(photo source)

With summer just around the corner, you'll probably be needing recipes to bring to family and friends' bbq's, and you'll be looking for easy recipes that don't require turning on the stove or oven. This salad serves both of those purposes! It's healthy, refreshing, and a breeze to put together. I did change the recipe slightly though by adding toasted pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds and by adding about one half cup of craisins (not called for in the original recipe). Also, I changed the dressing recipe by using plain greek yogurt instead of mayo.


(photo source)

I loved these cookies. They were soft and chewy, which I love, and the toasted oats add a nice nutty flavor. And really, can you ever go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie? I don't think so. :)


(photo source)

A great alternative to mashed potatoes, this mashed cauliflower recipe was a fun new dish to try. Mike and I both really liked it! Maybe you could even fool your kids into thinking they're potatoes. ;) The recipe calls for sour cream, but I didn't have any on hand, so I used plain greek yogurt instead, which worked great. And also, I added some feta cheese (not called for in the original recipe), and that was a great addition for some extra flavor!

What are some of your favorite recipes you've made lately? Fill me in on anything amazing that I should try to! :)

Happy June! Hope to be back on the blog again soon.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Maple Candied Bacon: Taking Brunch to a Whole New Level


Greetings, friends! It's Colleen from the Barbershop...remember me? I am embarrassed to say that I haven't blogged in a month! Crazy. I've still been cooking and baking up a storm in the kitchen, but blogging has been on the back burner for a while (pun intended ;)). Thanks for understanding. I'm hoping to slowly get back into it and get back to posting at least once a week if I can.

So, onto this next amazing recipe! Maple candied bacon. You thought you loved bacon before. Well, I challenge you to think again. This recipe bring bacon (and breakfast/brunch!) to a whole new level. Wow. My husband Mike made an amazing brunch for his mom this past weekend on Mother's Day, and on the menu was this bacon. We all LOVED it. It's great for a special occasion! If you want to impress your guests or if you're an invited to a party and want to impress the host or hostess, bring this bacon. Everyone will love it; I guarantee it!

The recipe is really quite simple. First you marinade the bacon slices in a delicious mixture of sweet and savory/smoky ingredients. Then, you bake it! Finally, you eat. It's that simple. :) When we saw the title of this recipe as maple "candied" bacon, we were worried it might be too sweet. But it definitely wasn't! The flavors were the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The original recipe is from the Clever Carrot. Check out the photos of the bacon on her site...beautiful!
Ingredients:

-1 lb. good quality bacon (we used 10 slices of thick-cut)
-2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (you have to use the good stuff!)
-1/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
-1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a wire rack. In a large bowl, add the maple syrup, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, salt, and cayenne pepper; mix well. Add the bacon to the bowl and toss with your hands until all the bacon is evenly coated. Place the bacon on a single layer on the wire rack. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes. The bacon may be brown after 20 minutes, but it will need to bake for 10 to 15 minutes more after that. Continue to check it to be sure it's not burning, but it will likely need at least 30 minutes total of bake time (ours took 35 minutes total). It should look slightly dark and be crispy. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes on rack. Don't let the bacon sit too long or it may stick. Serve at room temperature.


This is one of those "dress to impress" recipes. It seems complicated but it's really not! And the flavors are truly amazing together.


What a meal we had this morning. I'm so lucky that I married a man who can cook. :) We enjoyed this delicious candied bacon, an amazing garden veggie frittata, and decadent challah french toast with fresh berries and maple syrup. Oh, and orange mango prosecco mimosas.

So. Good.

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!! :)


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Avocado Feta Dip


This avocado feta dip belongs in your life. I actually feel badly that I haven't shared this with you sooner. I discovered this recipe a few months ago and have made it several times since. Yet somehow, until this last time I made it, I hadn't taken any pictures of it! So I finally made sure to snap a few quick pics so I could write a blog post about it.

If you love avocados like we do, or you're a fan of guacamole, then you really need to give this dip a try. It's a nice change-up from a traditional guacamole, yet it's similar enough that if you eat it, you feel like you're getting your guac fix. ;)

This super simple recipe comes from Two Peas and Their Pod. You can find the original recipe here. The ingredients below are the ones I use when I make this. I don't add the jalapeno or cilantro that are called for in the original recipe because they're not my favorite ingredients... BUT, if you like them, definitely add them!

Ingredients:

-2 avocados, peeled and pit removed
-1/2 cup feta cheese
-1/4 cup diced onion
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-juice of 1 lime (or 1/2 lime, depending on your taste preferences)
-salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

In the bowl of a food processor, place the avocados, feta, onion, garlic, and lime (I'd recommend starting with juice of 1/2 lime first, then add more as you go, depending on how "lime-y" you want it to be). Blend until creamy and smooth, adding more lime if you wish. Add salt and pepper to taste; blend a little bit more. Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, crackers, veggies, etc. Enjoy! Makes about 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of dip.


At our house, we loooove this dip. I've brought this to friends' houses too a few times now, and they've all loved it as well. And, it's not only great as a dip with chips or veggies, but it's also great as a sandwich spread, Or, sometimes I even just simply spread some on toast for a snack! Delicious. 



 Have a great start to your week, everyone!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sweet Potato Bacon Hash with Fried Eggs


 Hello! I have another easy dinner (or breakfast!) recipe for you today. I just realized I haven't shared many dessert recipes with you yet in 2014. Sorry about that! Hope you don't mind. Hopefully I'll have more dessert recipes for you this spring. :)

Mike and I enjoyed this sweet potato bacon hash with fried eggs as an easy weeknight meal. However, you could certainly enjoy this for breakfast or brunch too. Eggs work for any meal, in my opinion! This recipe is incredibly simple and comes together pretty quickly (about 30 minutes, start to finish). This recipe from Lauren's Latest was the inspiration for this dish. The only thing I really did differently was add in some mushrooms and grape tomatoes to increase our vegetable intake! :) I did not, however, add the jalapeno that the recipe calls for. The recipe serves two, but you could easily increase the quantities of the different ingredients to serve more people. It's a pretty straightforward dish! And of course, you could make this meatless by omitting the bacon.

Ingredients:

-2 slices bacon
-1 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 small or medium yellow onion, diced
 -1 medium sweet potato (peeled if desired), diced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces
-other vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, mushrooms), if desired
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/2 Tbsp. butter
-2 eggs

Instructions:

Cook bacon until crispy and transfer to plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess grease. In medium pan over medium heat, drizzle olive oil, and saute onion and sweet potatoes until the potatoes are fork tender and are browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. If adding vegetables that won't take as long to cook, such as tomatoes and mushrooms, add them later on during the cooking (maybe with about 5 minutes left; use your best judgment). Season veggie mixture with salt and pepper to taste (and other herbs, if desired).

In a medium nonstick skillet, melt butter. Fry eggs until yolks are done to your liking. Divide sweet potato hash between two dishes, top with fried eggs, and crumble bacon over top. Feel free to add some shredded cheese on top too! Enjoy. :)


This really is such an easy meal. And it tasted so good! We both loved it. The sweetness of the potatoes paired nicely with the salty bacon and egg. Mmmmm. 
 

I think this dish might make it into our dinner rotation again soon. It's too good not to have again!


Do you make eggs for dinner sometimes? If so, I'd love to hear your favorite egg for dinner recipes! I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy eggs. :)