Friday, October 31, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Bread

 

You won't find any tricks here today...only treats!  Hopefully your costumes are ready and bowls of candy wait by the front door in preparation for tonight's festivities.

I've seriously been craving something baked with apples and cinnamon lately, thanks to the arrival of my very favorite season.  Fall, I heart you.

This bread was fabulous.  It was perfectly sweet, packed with fresh apples and delightfully cinnamon-y.  It's easy to make and will infuse your entire home with delicious wafts of goodness.

I repeat, delicious wafts of goodness, people.  :)

It was hard for us to wait until the photos were taken before devouring this loaf.  You'll love it, too!  The next time I bake this (and there WILL be a next time!) I'm thinking about mixing the apples throughout the batter before it goes into the loaf pan, and then using the technique below to create the cinnamon/sugar swirl.  I think the bread would be equally fantastic with apples throughout, instead of just in the middle and on top.

Happy Halloween!

Bon Appetit, my friends.


Apple Cinnamon Bread
Adapted from:  The Happier Homemaker

Ingredients:
½ cup packed brown sugar
1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅔ cup white sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk

2 large apples, peeled and finely chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.  In a stand mixer, combine white sugar and butter until smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla and continue to beat on medium speed until combined.  Add flour and baking powder, then milk.   

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan.  Cover with half of the apples, patting apples into batter with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle with half of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
 

Pour the remaining batter over the apple layer; top with remaining apples and add more brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Pat topping into the batter with the back of a large spoon.
 

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Creole Shrimp & Sweet Potato Grits


Well, my food photography studio is finally back up and running after a short hiatus following our move...I'm so excited to get the blog posts flowing again.  I've even got a window in the studio that has gorgeous natural light, so I'm looking forward to experimenting with that.

This delicious seafood dinner graced our table last night.  Shrimp & Grits has long been a favorite of ours, but I love recipes that put a new twist on stand-by favorites.  The sweet potato grits are what originally caught my attention.  

I used an apple-smoked gouda cheese in the grits, which paired with the mashed sweet potatoes perfectly.  It gave the grits a wonderfully cheesy, smoky flavor, and the sweet potatoes infused the grits with super food nutrients.

This is an easy dish to prepare and left us plenty of time to enjoy our new fire pit after dinner.  My sweet hubby built a fire pit for me recently, and we love spending time around it roasting marshmallows and making smores.  It doesn't get any better than that on a chilly fall evening!

Bon Appetit, my friends!




Creole Shrimp & Sweet Potato Grits
Adapted from:  Southern Living

Ingredients:
2 cups milk
1 cup
uncooked regular grits

1 tablespoon
Creole seasoning

2 pounds
large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

2
garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon
canola oil

3/4 cup
chopped green onions

1/4 cup
chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon
lemon zest

1 cup
cooked, mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup
(4 oz.) shredded smoked Gouda cheese

2 tablespoons
butter

1 teaspoon
salt

1/2 teaspoon
freshly ground pepper
Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs

Directions:
Bring milk and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until thickened.

Meanwhile, sprinkle Creole seasoning over shrimp. Sauté garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 30 seconds. Add shrimp, and sauté 3 minutes or until shrimp are almost pink. Add green onions and next 2 ingredients, and sauté 3 minutes.

Stir potatoes and next 4 ingredients into grits. Serve shrimp mixture over sweet potato grits.



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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Purple (Blackberry Buttermilk) Pancakes, Cutie Pies & Pink Roses



I promise I haven't completely fallen off the blogosphere!  This year has been insanely crazy on so many levels.  In July, we moved into a new home, so we've been busy setting up house and decorating.  I'll have to share some photos of my new kitchen with you in my next post.  

Because of all the packing, moving and disarray, my food photo studio has yet to be re-assembled in the new house.  It's coming VERY soon, though!  Then, I'll be back up and running in full force.  Because you know what?  I've missed you guys! :)

Throughout all the moving chaos, my nieces and I have carried on our tradition of Sunday morning breakfast goodies after a sleep-over.  One such morning involved Purple (err, Blackberry!) Pancakes and hand-picked knock-out roses from the new garden.  I thought I'd have some fun and change up my favorite Buttermilk Pancake recipe with some chopped blackberries.  They added such a terrific color, that these photos don't even do them justice.  They were just as much fun to eat, as they were to make.

While I was busy in the kitchen whipping up these pancakes, Brad took the girls out into the garden to pick some roses.  They came back in proudly showing off their new hair accessories (the girls...not Brad..Hah!), while carrying a cute little bouquet for me to display in the kitchen.  It was a perfect morning.

Bon Appetit, my friends!


  
Blackberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Adapted from:  The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook by Julie Fisher Gunter
Yield:  18 (4-inch pancakes)

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 heaping cup of fresh blackberries, roughly chopped
Maple syrup

Directions:
Combine first 5 ingredients; stir well.

Combine eggs, buttermilk, and oil in a bowl;  add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in blackberries.

For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle.  Cook pancakes until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked;  Turn and cook other side.  (Store unused batter in a tightly covered container in refrigerator up to 1 week.  If refrigerated batter is too thick, add milk or water to reach desired consistency.)

Serve pancakes warm with butter and maple syrup.


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