Tropical Energy Bars

Tablelayout18When my butter half introduced me to his family’s energy bars, I was addicted. Their recipe is a highly guarded secret written on a tattered index card in his grandma’s perfect handwriting. When we travel we are usually gifted a big bag of them. They are perfect treats wrapped in wax paper and hold well without refrigeration. I feel better about eating these then a candy bar picked up on the fly in the airport shops. Funny enough Nick was never a fan of the bars, he much preferred rice krispy treats. We developed these as our happy medium. He prefers craisins to raisins. Definitely a fan of the Whole Foods honey roasted peanut butter versus the creamy peanut butter the recipe calls for. The list goes on. So what we came up with is a perfect blend of our likes. Funny enough when grams came into the kitchen as we were cutting these she side eyed them and said they don’t look right. We laughed because we knew that was going to happen because they are creatures of habit.

For this batch we had a bunch of left over ingredients from our banana coconut granola. We buy things like puffed quinoa, mac nuts, and craisins in bulk from the bins at whole foods or Costco. Chia seeds are pricey but found the big bag at Costco is the most affordable option. Chia jam, chia pudding, overnight oats, and these bars are all great ways to use the bag up. Another great place to get ingredients is TJ Maxx food section. I found a huge bag of pumpkin seeds and flax seeds. So anytime you are there just take a peek. This time we had a bottle of Mccormick’s Breakfast Toppers in Pineapple and Toasted Coconut. The topping includes ingredients chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, granola, sunflower seeds, toasted coconut, dried pineapple and granola. We added more chia seeds, puffed quinoa, and the staples of the recipe. If you can’t get your hands on the toppers, then substitute a mixture of toasted coconut, dried pineapple, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, or whatever favorite seeds you have laying around.

These bars are great as a quick breakfast or packed in kids lunches. We kept these stored in a airtight container and kept them in a cool spot in the kitchen pantry. Im getting ready to get on a plane again and head back to the mainland so I have a ziplock ready to go for the plane. Baby loves the craisins and actually tries to rip them out to eat first.

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When life is affogato…

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We have been away for a while. I think you all noticed that. We made the decision to step away while we took care of our family. One of us in the mainland and one of us back home. Our first night home together I had just spent hours on a plane with a fussy baby and exhausted. I needed comfort food and I think our family did too. We have two favorites for comfort foods breakfast and anything in a red sauce. I didn’t feel like slinging eggs to order and I didn’t feel like cooking a red sauce over the stove for hours. Scrolling through Insta I stumbled upon a William Sonoma post of this amazing looking dish in one pot. After a little googling I found the dish. Tuscan Frittata Affogato with all its glory. I didn’t have all the ingredients but I had some workable ingredients.

After a severe burn and about 30 minutes I had the most satisfying dinner for the family. We sat around the table dipping and shoveling food into our mouths. Talking about what the doctors had said during our visit to UCSF and hearing the stories about what had been going on at home for weeks without me. This dinner was the perfect fix when everything else in our lives seem to be drowning. For the next few months we will be taking trips back and forth to San Francisco. After weeks apart we agreed this will be the meal we make and sit around the table to catch up.

You can by all meals use a homemade red sauce of any kind and it will work with this dish. I didn’t have any in the freezer and I wanted something quick. We used Ragu Mushroom Sauce and it was yummy. I can’t remember the last time I reached for a jar of grocery store sauce but props to Ragu because it was tasty. This meal was such a success we had it again on Sunday night for a dinner party, served with a cheese platter, salad, and toasted crusty bread.

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We are thinking about doing a series about comfort foods from a multicultural family, is that something you guys would be interested in?

 

Brown Butter Caramel Sticky Buns

Brown Butter Caramel Sticky Buns

Truth be told the Hallmark channel has been on nonstop year round in my house. It started when I first discovered Christmas in July a few years ago and have never turned back. I can’t even imagine a world where I don’t get my dose of average American girl who lost her parents becoming a European Princess. Slightly jealous I don’t have any Christmas Eve Ball’s to go to or 3 feet of snow perfectly shoveled outside and formed into a snowman. Instead its 80 degrees and humid and my outdoor decorations are still in the garage. Hallmark like Disney gives me unrealistic expectations of well…everything. The one thing I do Hallmark/Disney style is Christmas morning. Matching pjs (of course with the dogs), elaborate breakfast spread, music, and perfectly placed presents under the tree.

Now to accomplish such a fete I start Christmas Eve with making a few things a head of time. One of things I’ve always done is make the dough for my cinnamon rolls. It’s a fan favorite so its something I can’t skip. I wanted to do something a little different this year. I usually bake them off and then have to wait to cool so I can frost. Wanting to rid myself of an extra step in the morning I thought I would try sticky buns. It being Christmas and me wanting to be extra I thought why not add brown butter somehow to the recipe. Enter brown butter caramel. I am seriously looking for other recipes to incorporate this concoction because it is that good but more on that later. You will notice that only half of the brown butter caramel is used in the recipe. So stay tuned for tips to use it up.

For guaranteed success use fresh ingredients especially yeast. Don’t break out that old package of instant yeast thats been hanging in the fridge all year. For the first time in my life I used a stand mixer to make dough and let me tell you it changed my world. Couldn’t find my dough hook since in all the years of owning the mixer I never used it so for the sake of honesty I used the whisk and the metal paddle attachments.

BH2 and I are so excited to share our holidays with you this year so give these a try and let me know how it goes.

Brown Butter Caramel Sticky BunsBrown Butter Caramel Sticky Buns

Gingerbread Cheesecake Blondies

Every holiday season starts with huge expectations of what Im going to do and how Im going to shop early and or make amazing homemade thoughtful gifts. It is now the 8th and we are still just getting to the tree situation and we have exactly one present bought. Safe to say we are getting off to a rough start. I had pneumonia for the last two weeks and still have no voice but it didn’t stop me from finally getting into the kitchen. When Im sick Im not like others I love junk food and sweets. So I reached for my recipe book and decided to break out an oldie but goodie. Gingerbread Cheesecake Blondies. Yes you read that right. I had developed this recipe a few years ago and decided to bring it back and munch on them while I sulk in bed. Thanks to BH2 for shooting these delicious bars and styling them for the holiday season.

I have a hard time deciding the best part of these bars. I love the chewy gingerbready (yup Im making that word) bar with the rich molasses flavor. The best pumpkin pie spice I have ever tried has the right amount of ginger and spice and everything nice for this recipe is Frontier Co-op. I first stumbled across this in San Francisco Whole Foods but have recently seen it online and more grocery stores. I use this particular spice in all my gingerbread recipes. It needs no added ginger. The next thing you notice is that I don’t add any salt too my flour and baking powder. Thats because I use salted butter almost always. It adds the perfect amount of salt to all my baking. So don’t tell me Im doing it wrong in the comments I have heard it all before. Accept it about me and move on. You can use regular unsalted butter and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the flour mixture and call it even. Finally you can admire the cheesecake topping. Now cheesecake is normally the main event but these act a one up on frosting. The nice part of this is that the cheesecake topping hardens a little and makes it easy to stack when packing them up for travel or gifting.

I hope your holiday season is off to a better start than mine. Let me know how you like these bars below in the comments section. Happy Baking!!

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Crunchy Maple Pecan Chocolate Cookies

Crunchy Maple Pecan Chocolate Cookies

For the last 3 years we have dabbled in the food blogging sphere on and off. After some time off we decided to give this a real go. I say we because this blog will be a blend of Nick and I. There will be recipes that really embody me and some that represent him. When it comes to food we were raised with completely different food on the table and food represented different things to each of us. Over time our tastes adapted and evolved to accommodate us as a unit versus our individual tastes. One thing for sure we love food, so much so that our biggest arguments usually involve who ate the last…fill in the blank.

We decided our first recipe we would share is something that we don’t agree on. See Im a huge soft cookie fan and he prefers chewy/crunchy cookies. I’ve been experimenting with different chocolate chip cookie recipes that would unite our household. I saw a post that struck me as intriguing. One of my favorite blogspirations is Dessert for Two. She posted a recipe for Ultimate Pecan Chocolate Cookies. She adapted this recipe from Baker’s Royale new cookbook. What I found interesting is her blend of toasted coconut and pecans to form a crumb that acts almost like a pecan flour. Now Im not a fan of nuts in my cookies but this recipe single handily changed my perspective. Since Christina Lane focuses on recipes that are pared-down for small families I needed to try to expand the recipe to fit our needs.

We first started by examining the ingredients, knowing that we didn’t want to use molasses, only had chocolate chips on hand, and didn’t want large nuts in these cookies. Concerned the recipe wouldn’t scale up we started experimenting. After toasting the coconut and pecans we let them cool and threw them all in the food processor. Mixing that with your normal flour mixture and setting aside. I suggested we use cold butter for the last batch and test a theory. The batter was harder to mix with a hand held mixer so Nick carried out the large stand mixer for me. This made the taste so much easier.

When the first batch came out the oven we looked at each other and it clicked we had made the right decision to pursue our food blogging dream. The cookies had crispy edges and a chewy gooey center. The toasted pecans and coconut elevate the cookie to another level. So thank you for checking out our new blog and hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we did.

Crunchy Maple Pecan Chocolate CookiesCrunchy Maple Pecan Chocolate Cookies

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Caramel Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Bread PuddigIf you count calories or check sugar content this recipe is not for you. Just cover your eyes and continue on to the next post. If you hate us “Basic” women that love pumpkin and pumpkin spice skip on to the next post as well. I just want to be upfront about this. I love pumpkin and pumpkin spice year round. This concoction came about when I found three loaves of bread in the fridge labeled “for bread pudding.” Well if that wasn’t a sign I don’t know what is. So to be honest this recipe consists of a mixture of Japanese milk bread and Texas Sweet Toast bread, you can use only kind of sweet bread if that is what you have (Im looking at you King’s Hawaiian Rolls). White bread will work with this recipe. The rest of the ingredients are really straight forward and are part of my pantry basics.

Judging by the ingredients you might think this recipe is super sweet and its not. The only “sweetish” part is the caramel sauce topping, which even that is a little more salty since I always used salted butter. I know blasphemy, rag on me later. Focus on the important facts I said caramel and pumpkin in the same recipe.

As for the Halloween theme, Im obsessed with all things Halloween. I thought what better day to go live then Halloween. I love it so much that it actually plays a vital role in our house hunting queries.  Does the neighborhood have trick or treaters? Do they have decorating rules? Know of any great neighborhoods out there? Seriously message me about them. Most of our decorations come from Target and Michaels. Animated decorations are my favorite and anything with sparkles. I have boxes of decorations I haven’t been able to use yet due to space or neighborhood regulations so stay tuned.

Later this week we will do a post that introduces us more but for now enjoy this Caramel Pumpkin Bread Pudding. Thank you for stopping by. Have a Happy Halloween.

Pumpkin Bread PuddigPumpkin Bread Puddig

 

Banana Fosters Galette

Foodblogging isn’t what we imagined doing when thinking about career choices after college. General ass kicker wasn’t something you could major in. So we started individual careers We both excelled at our respective careers but were both still drawn to food. When I got my first invite to join Pinterest in its first few months of inception I became hooked with food bloggers and fashion bloggers. I now have a list of blogs I check regularly and after years of being half committed to the idea, I decided to go all in and wrangle my partner into it too. You will get his side of this story on the next post.

We couldn’t be more different if we tried. Im very analytical and he is a creative and artistic type. My favorite pastime is watching Hallmark movies especially Christmas time and his is playing video games or watching cartoons. He’s an 80’s kid and I’m more of a 90s kid. What we do agree on is food. We both love and the memories associated with it. We are going to share recipes that reflect us.

Our first recipe is something I’ve shared online before but after making it again for the first time in a long time I decided to share this one first. This is one of the first things I ever made my butter half.

Bananas foster is my favorite dessert but honestly it’s a tie between creme brûlée. If a restaurant has both on the menu I order both. I’ve been known to get a small dinner just so I can get dessert. This is something that you can make ahead by making the dough the night before and then everything comes together quickly. Serve with ice cream and a dash of your favorite dark rum or serve with buttered rum ice cream (will share recipe later).

Banana Galette