Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

These delectable little beauties taste just like fall. Perfectly spiced, crunchy on top and soft in the middle, they taste especially good while wrapped in a big red blanket on a crisp October Sunday morning after you've slept in late. (I would know, that's how I'm enjoying them this very second!) They're amazing, give them a try.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil
For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.
To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)
Recipe from Annie's Eats.


Crepes + Mixed Berry Compote

I just realized I don't have a crepe recipe on the blog! I love making crepes - it's fun, easy and makes breakfast feel a little more special. Here is my go-to crepe recipe.


1 cup flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth (I hear you can also use a blender for this, but I'd rather not fuss with washing my blender). Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and coat with cooking spray. Pick up the pan in one hand. Use your other hand to pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the middle of the pan, then tilt the pan in a circular motion to get the batter to spread in an even circle (you'll mess up the first one, but then they'll all turn out perfect after that. It's a learning process). Cook until the top is set and looks dry - watch it and you'll see the shine on the surface disappear - about 2 minutes. Turn out onto a plate, then repeat with remaining batter.

I like to fill my crepes with a variety of different things, but almost always include fresh whipped cream, and always with a dusting of powdered sugar on top. A few ideas:

Nutella and banana
Apple cinnamon and whipped cream
Berries and whipped cream
Cottage cheese, fruit and whipped cream
Peaches and whipped cream

These were berry and peach crepes. I used this mixed berry compote:

Mixed Berry Compote

2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice plus 2 teaspoons
3 tablespoons honey
3 cups frozen mixed berries
1 tsp vanilla

Dissolve the cornstarch in the 2 teaspoons orange juice. Set aside. Combine the 1 1/2 cups orange juice and honey in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, let cook for 1 minute or until the honey has completely dissolved. Add the berries and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch and cook until the mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm over pancakes, french toast, oatmeal, ice cream or crepes.


Doughnut Muffins

Raise your hand if you love doughnuts! Raise your hand if you wish you could make them at home! Raise your hand if you hate frying with oil in your kitchen! Wow, you too?!

Well, I have just the solution for you. These muffins taste uncannily close to a sugared cake doughnut. They are totally awesome. Now, don't be thinking that by baking instead of frying you're skipping out on calories here. Don't you worry, each one is submerged in melted butter before rolling in cinnamon sugar. This is not health food. But I do like that they are not actually fried. No oily smelling house, no burned arms, no stress (I stress out when I get around hot oil). I made these for a baby shower and everyone loved them!

Doughnut Muffins

1-¾ cup Flour
1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoons Nutmeg
½ teaspoons Cinnamon
⅓ cups Oil
¾ cups White Sugar
1 whole Egg
¾ cups Milk

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, egg and milk. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a bowl. Combine the white sugar with the cinnamon in another bowl.

Shake muffins out while still hot. Dip muffins in butter, then into the sugar/cinnamon mix. Let cool.

Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen and Pioneer Woman.


Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto

Let's be honest here, I did not take this picture. I was so excited about eating this delicious pasta dish that I didn't think to take a picture of my own. Oops. So the photo credit for this one definitely goes to Angela.

BUT - original photo or not, you NEED TO KNOW about this recipe. It was so delicious. And healthy! I made it in my new Blendtec blender (which I LOVE, by the way) when I was so excited about it and just looking for ways to use it. I will definitely be making this again. The roasted tomatoes add such a depth of flavor to the pesto sauce - sweet and smoky and just amazing! We loved this and felt all fancy eating it.

Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto

9 large roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
2 garlic cloves
1 cup tightly packed basil + more for garnish
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling on tomatoes
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Your desired amount of cooked pasta

Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place sliced tomatoes on the sheet and drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 1 hour and 10 mins at 400F. Watch closely during the last 15 minutes of roasting.

Reduce oven heat to 325F and toast almonds for 8-10 minutes. Add 1/3 cup into food processor and process until finely chopped. I left mine a bit chunky for texture. Remove and set aside.

With processor turned on, add 2 garlic cloves and let it whirl around until finely chopped. Now add in the basil and process until finely chopped.

Add in the oil, optional nutritional yeast, and 1.5 cups of roasted tomatoes (you will have tomatoes left over). Process until smooth. Pulse in 1/3 cup toasted almonds. Season generously with salt and pepper. I think I used about 1/2 tsp salt or a bit more.

Pour your desired amount of pesto over the cooked pasta and mix well. Chop the remaining roasted tomatoes and stir into pasta. Chop remaining almonds and Chiffonade the basil

Recipe from Oh She Glows.


Tortellini with Snap Peas, Lemon and Dill

This was the most delicious dinner! I was expecting it to be good (Kelsey's recipes always are), but it exceeded my expectations. The flavors were so fresh and well balanced. I can't wait to make it again! 

A couple notes: I substituted half a red onion for the shallot with great results. Also, pancetta is like a fancy, salty bacon. I used pancetta and I am really glad I did, but if you can't find it, I bet thick cut bacon would do in a pinch. But you wouldn't get that perfect salty flavor out of it, so I'd definitely recommend using pancetta if you can! And lastly, when lacking fresh herbs (dill), I use dry at about 1/3 the amount. So, 3 Tbs fresh dill becomes 3 tsp dried dill.

Tortellini with Snap Peas in Lemon Dill Cream Sauce

1 lb. refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 lb. sugar snap peas (4 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 1/2 
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh dill, snipped & chopped fine, plus more for garnish
1/3 Parmesan cheese, finely shredded

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook tortellini according to package 
directions; adding the sugar snap peas during the last 2 minutes. Drain. 

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 
pancetta and cook until crisp, 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer 
pancetta to a small bowl and set aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat 
from the pan. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant and 
golden brown around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, heavy 
cream, lemon zest, and dill. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until 
sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. 

Remove from heat and add tortellini, snap peas, and pancetta and toss 
gently to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with additional 
dill before serving. 

Makes 4-6 servings

Recipe from Kelsey Nixon.


S'mores Brownies

Summertime in a brownie. Amazing gooey deliciousness, best served warm.

S'mores Brownies
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch fine salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
4 large cold eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups large marshmallows, cut in half
Milk chocolate chips
broken graham cracker pieces

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.

For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top, sprinkle with chocolate chips and graham cracker pieces and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into squares.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.


Oven Baked BBQ Ribs

Husband's birthday came around this year and I knew I wanted to make him a delicious, manly dinner. What could be more manly than barbecue ribs? I used to think these would be hard to make, but when I actually started looking into it I discovered that they are stupidly easy. And they turned out amaaaaazzzingly delicious. Win win!!

Make a man in your life very happy. Make ribs.

Oven Baked Ribs

2 whole slabs pork baby back ribs, silver skin removed
8 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 cups BBQ sauce (we love Sweet Baby Ray's)

In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Place each slab of baby back ribs on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil or a double layer of regular tin foil, shiny side down. Sprinkle each side of the ribs generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat. Wrap the ribs tightly in the foil and refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight and up to 48 hours.

When ready to bake the ribs, preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Place the ribs (still in the foil packets) on a foil lined baking sheet and bake the ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 hours-3 hours or until tender when picked up with tongs. The meat will come easily off of the bone!

Remove ribs from foil and place on another foil lined baking sheet. Brush with your favorite BBQ sauce and broil until charred and bubbly. Cut the ribs into individual portions (2-3 ribs per person). Serve with additional BBQ sauce, if desired.

Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.


Craisin Walnut Quinoa Salad

When I first heard about quinoa, the new "superfood", I wanted to find ways to incorporate it into our diet, but I didn't really know how. I tried some quinoa-stuffed peppers that were just okay, and a salad that was pretty all right. But when I tried this sweet salad, I was in love. This is the best way to eat quinoa. The flavors are so delicious together - the sweetness of the craisin, the nutty toasted walnuts, and the onion all come together to make something magical. And really, really addicting.

I never would have thought I would say this about a quinoa salad. But you guys, I am OBSESSED with this dish. It is so good. A friend served it at a Sunday lunch and I loved it so much, I bought the ingredients the following day and made it that night. After tasting it, I knew I would want more than just one batch, and I wiped out the pot and immediately made another batch (it's so easy and quick that you can do that!). We ate this for lunch all that week, and then I made it AGAIN the following week because I still wasn't tired of it and was craving more!

I love that this is a pretty guilt-free obsession, I know I'm feeding my body whole grains and plant-based protein while also having something that tastes delicious. But I also love how customizable this is. The first time I made it, I used walnuts (which I think is best), but the second time (pictured above) I used toasted almonds, and also added chopped broccoli, and it turned out amazing. You could also add chopped celery or grapes, or really any chopped greens you desire. I mixed this with baby spinach a few times and it was great as well. Do your body and your tastebuds a favor and make this!

Craisin Walnut Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1 cup water
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

3 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs honey
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

{Disclaimer: I do not have exact amounts for any of these ingredients except the quinoa and cooking liquid. Everything else, I guesstimated the amounts shown above. I just threw enough in until it looked about right. Use the amounts in my ingredient list as a guide, but if it looks like it needs a little more craisins, nuts, onion, whatever, adjust the amounts to your liking.}

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat, add dry quinoa and toast for a minute or two, stirring frequently, until quinoa smells nutty. Add water and chicken broth (I use two cups of water and throw in a chicken boullion cube) and bring to a boil. Stir in the craisins. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 15 minutes until quinoa is fluffy and liquid is absorbed.

While quinoa is cooking, spread chopped nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 400 degrees for a few minutes, taking care not to burn.

Toss cooked quinoa with nuts, chopped onion, and any other desired ingredients (chopped broccoli, celery, grapes, etc). Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl, adjusting amounts to desired taste. Pour over salad and stir.

This can be served warm, which is delicious, or chilled and served cold. If serving later, it's best to mix in the chopped nuts right before serving. They do keep in the fridge for several days, but they're best mixed in right before serving.

Recipe from Abby Curran.

Double Coconut Samoa Ice Cream

It's Girl Scout cookie time once again, and this year I ordered a couple boxes each of Samoas and Thin Mints (which, by the way, when did we stop calling those Grasshopper cookies? That was a much more fun name). I love the flavors of coconut, caramel and chocolate in the Samoas, as well as the chewy texture from the caramel and coconut. When I heard about a limited-time-only Samoa ice cream made by Edy's, I knew I had to make some myself!

After looking around online and consulting my Ben and Jerry's recipe book, I came up with a recipe I thought would work. I decided to go all the way with the coconut flavor, with a coconut flavored ice cream, toasted coconut mixed in, and the coconut in the cookies. Many recipes suggested using canned coconut cream, which I've never used and didn't have on hand. But I usually have a can of coconut milk in the cupboard and I figured that would work. Luckily I was right!

If I had more prep time, I would have added a fudge or caramel ribbon (or both?) by spreading a layer of fudge between the churned ice cream before freezing. In this case, I just decided to top the ice cream with chocolate and caramel syrup afterward. The result was very coconutty and just fantastic. A great way to enjoy my favorite Girl Scout cookie flavor!

Double Coconut Samoa Ice Cream

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup canned coconut milk (shake well before opening)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded coconut flakes
7 Girl Scout Samoa cookies

Make sure all ingredients are chilled, taken directly from the fridge before use. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on medium-high speed to beat eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in sugar until well blended, 30 seconds more. Blend in the cream, coconut milk, vanilla and salt.

Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Usually this means churning about 20-30 minutes.

While ice cream is churning, heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut flakes evenly on a baking sheet, then toast in oven until fragrant and light brown, about 5-7 minutes. Stir it around at least once to ensure even toasting, and keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!

Chop Samoa cookies into bite sized pieces, about 8-10 pieces for each cookie.

When ice cream is finished churning, fold in 3/4 cup of coconut flakes along with chopped cookies. Pour soft ice cream into plastic containers and put in freezer to harden for at least 4 hours. (If you choose to add a fudge or caramel ribbon, pour 1/3 of soft ice cream into container, then drizzle or spread fudge sauce, then pour 1/3 of ice cream, layer more fudge, and top with last of ice cream.)

To serve, top with additional toasted coconut and chocolate and caramel syrup, if desired.

Recipe adapted from Ben and Jerry's.


Asparagus Feta Quinoa Salad w/ Toasted Almonds

Another delicious way to get your daily servings of whole grains, plant-based protein and a few veggies too. I love these kinds of dishes because they are filling without including meat. I really loved this salad.

Asparagus Feta Quinoa Salad w/ Toasted Almonds

2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 pound asparagus
olive oil
1 cup sliced toasted almonds
3/4 cup feta cheese
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon agave nectar or 2 Tbs honey
Salt and pepper

Cook the quinoa in a large saucepan according to package directions (about 15 minutes).

Snap off the ends of the asparagus and cut each spear into a 2-inch piece. Rinse out the large saucepan and dry. Heat a little olive oil over medium heat, and cook the asparagus until just barely crisp-tender – about 1-2 minutes. Add to the grains and toss.
Also toss in the sliced toasted almonds, feta cheese and lemon zest.
Mix the lemon juice with the oil and honey, taste, and adjust. Pour over grain salad and toss, along with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe inspiration from Eating for England.

Ridiculous Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am not kidding. These are ridiculous. So, so, so good. They remind me of Levain, which is a very good thing, if not for the taste, at least because they are very substantial cookies. They are huge and perfectly crispy on the outside while being chewy and gooey on the inside. They have tons of chocolate inside, which is a huge plus if you ask me. And that touch of salt on the top just adds that special something and brings out the flavors of the cookie. I am in LOVE with these!! They're amazing.

Ridiculous Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips
kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets (don't be tempted to make them smaller, they aren't as good (texture is compromised) and trust, you will want them big). Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt or kosher salt on each cookie immediately after removing from oven. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe from Amy Furstenau.


Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado, and Cumin-lime dressing

I've been hearing so much about this superfood, quinoa. "It's a grain, but it's got protein and essential amino acids and it will give you x-ray vision...." stuff like that. We tried a recipe for quinoa-stuffed peppers which was pretty good, but this recipe really hit the jackpot for me. It was really really delicious! Of course, you can't go wrong with avocado, lime and cilantro, in my book. I loved the fresh flavors and textures of this salad. We served it alongside some baked salmon and "hint of lime" tortilla chips. It was so good! And it made enough that we can eat the leftovers for lunches for a few days! This recipe is a winner! (We'll see about the x-ray vision...)

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado and Cumin-Lime Dressing

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 3/4 cup water
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, chopped into chunks
handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped into chunks
small handful cilantro, diced
1 limes, juiced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste

Warm the olive/coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s hot add the rinsed quinoa and toast for about 2-3 minutes until it starts smelling nutty and lovely. Add water, stir once, cover, and simmer with a lid on for 20 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, prepare all other ingredients. Prepare the dressing by combining the lime juice, oil, cumin, and salt. Whisk it aggressively. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
When the quinoa has finished cooking, remove it from heat and fluff with a fork. Add black beans and toss to warm them through.
Let the quinoa cool for about five minutes and then add all the remaining ingredients, including the dressing, and mix. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve with tortilla chips. (We like the "Hint of Lime" Tostitos with this.)


Veggie Pizza

I love making pizza, but I wanted to try my hand at a more healthy version and try to get a few more vegetables in for the day. I was worried this wouldn't be that yummy since it was all veggies, but it was actually really delicious! We both loved it.

This is my favorite pizza dough recipe, I always make it on a weekend when I have extra time to let it rise, and then freeze half the dough to be used mid-week. When pulled out of the freezer in the morning, it makes the quickest dinner to throw together. All you have to do is wait for the oven to preheat, roll it out, top it, and bake!

Veggie Pizza

½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup to 1 cup marinara sauce
6 oz Fontina Cheese, grated
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
1 small-medium zucchini, sliced
1 small-medium yellow squash, sliced
handful grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
fresh basil (or dried, which is what I used), sprinkled on top

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flours and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

Pizza dough recipe from Annie's Eats.


Broiled Grapefruit

Made this for a Saturday brunch alongside some poached eggs and toast. It was delicious!! The warm grapefruit juices become a sweet-tart syrup, and the top almost caramelizes. (In this picture most of the topping was already scraped off.) Loved it and will definitely be doing this again and again.

Broiled Grapefruit

2 large grapefruits, well chilled
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 small fresh mint sprigs

Preheat a broiler.

Cut each grapefruit in half crosswise. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each half, if necessary, so that it will stand upright.

Using a serrated grapefruit knife or a small, sharp knife, loosen the grapefruit segments in each half by first carefully cutting between the fruit and the peel and then by cutting along either side of each segment to free it from the membrane. Leave all the segments in their shells. Place the halves upright in a baking dish.

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Using your fingers, sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the grapefruit halves. Slip under the broiler about 4 inches from the heat source and broil until the sugar is uniformly bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer each grapefruit half to an individual dish and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Recipe from Williams Sonoma.

Tortellini with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms and Fontina

We're on a healthier kick around here lately. Making delicious food with fresh ingredients, and as many whole foods as possible. Avoiding sugar. Preparing more vegetarian meals. Eating whole grains. All that good stuff. It's been nice.

This pasta was our Sunday dinner (along with a spinach salad) and it was tasty and filling. We loved how the flavors of the sweet squash, savory mushrooms, the fontina cheese and the sage all melded together to make something delightful. It was also very simple to make.

Tortellini with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms and Fontina

1 small butternut squash (2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound button or cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and halved if large
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
2 ounces fontina or Gruyère, grated (1/2 cup), plus more for serving

Heat oven to 450° F. On 2 rimmed baking sheets, toss the squash and mushrooms with the sage, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast, tossing once and rotating pans halfway through, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the tortellini according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water; drain the tortellini and return to the pot. Add the vegetables, fontina, ¼ cup of the cooking water, and ½ teaspoon salt and toss gently to coat (add more cooking water if the pasta seems dry). Sprinkle with additional fontina.

Recipe from Wire Whisk, originally from Real Simple.