Sweetness for the Soul

The last week seems to have flown by, as I am still facing issues with my job. Hopefully, those issues will be resolved with a lawyer, but as we all know that can take time. On the plus side of things, my local grocery store has been getting ready for the upcoming holidays! With sweet treats on the mind, I decided it was high time to make an old favorite. Cinnamon Sugar Pecans. My grandma (Memaw, as I called her) would have been proud.

Growing up, my grandparents had a rather large pecan tree in their front yard. When Fall would approach, we would go and pick bags of pecans filling them to the brim. It’s one of the happiest memories of my grandmother, as she would then take those pecans and turn them into fresh baked pies, candy them and more. Being so young, her cooking was like magic. She could could slap ingredients together and Boom a masterpiece was created. That’s the thing about grandma’s though. They always have that special touch when it comes to anything food related.

Now that I have my rambling out of the way, let’s move on to the good stuff!

Easy Cinnamon and Sugar Candied Pecans

Ingredients

6 tbsps. Butter

2 Large Egg Whites

1/4 tsp. Salt

3/4 cup (5.5 ounces) Granulated Sugar

1 1/4 tsps. Ground Cinnamon

4 cups (16 ounces) Whole Raw Pecans

Directions

Step One: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Step Two: Melt the butter and spread on a rimmed half sheet pan (11X17-inches). You can also cut the cold butter into cubes, place on the sheet pan, and pop in the oven while preheating to melt the butter; just watch closely so it doesn’t burn.

Step Three: In a large bowl, add the egg whites and salt and whisk until foamy but still liquidy, 30 seconds or so. Add the sugar and cinnamon and mix until well blended and the cinnamon is completely mixed in.

Step Four: Add the pecans and gently mix until the nuts are well coated, making sure to get underneath to the bottom of the bowl as you mix. 

Step Five: Spread the pecan mixture in an even layer over the melted butter in the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and using a flat metal spatula or similar tool, quickly stir the pecans and spread them back into an even layer. Bake for another 10 minutes, stir again, and spread into an even layer.

Step Six: Bake for a final 5-10 minutes (watching closely!) until the pecans are sizzling and lightly golden. Remove the pan from the oven, give the pecans another good stir, scraping them up from the bottom of the pan. Spread them into an even layer and let them rest on the pan for 1-2 hours WITHOUT STIRRING AGAIN until completely cooled and the sugar coating has set. The pecans keep for up to a week well-covered in a cool, dry place (not the fridge).

**Want to spice the sweetness up a notch? Try sprinkling on a little Cayenne pepper!**

Recipe Credit: http://www.melskitchencafe.com

Original Recipe Link: https://www.melskitchencafe.com/easy-cinnamon-and-sugar-candied-pecans/

Yummy Pumpkin Blondies

Just this week, my overnight shift finally ended and I can happily say that I am back on dayshift. With this new and welcomed change, I am able to start posting more frequently and I am very excited. Equally, it has come to my attention that Samhain; Halloween to some, is just around the corner! For me personally, this means cooking different soups, breads and a delicious recipe for Pumpkin Blondies to sweeten the soul! Instead of candy, this fun and healthy recipe is sure to be a hit!

Pumpkin Blondies

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups. All-Purpose Flour

1 tbsp. Pumpkin Spice

1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Kosher Salt

1 cup. Unsalted Butter

1 3/4 cups. Sugar

1 Large Egg

1 1/2 cups. Pumpkin Puree

2 tbsps. Vanilla

1 1/2 cups. Chocolate chips (I used Dark Chocolate Chips)

Directions

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a piece of parchment paper and place in a 9×13″ baking dish. Set aside.

Step Two: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.

Step Three: In a separate bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Next mix in the egg, pumpkin puree and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and then pour into the prepared baking dish.

Step Four: Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean. Allow to cool for 20 minutes in pan and then remove from pan. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Recipe Credit: https://www.iheartnaptime.net

Original Recipe Link: https://www.iheartnaptime.net/pumpkin-blondies/

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

Autumn is approaching fast and with the weather cooling down, the time for Apple Cider Doughnut Cake arises! Did I mention hot chocolate with the little marshmallows? Baking is one of my favorite cooking methods when it comes to the Fall season, and I know you will love this recipe as much as I do! Though the hype around Fall is normally anything pumpkin spice flavored, I decided to switch things up a bit. Mentioned below will be (2) different ways of cooking this scrumptious cake, so check them out and see which cooking method fits you best!

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

Ingredients

Yellow cake mix

3/4 cup. Apple Cider

1 tbsp. Brown Sugar

½ cup. Apple Sauce

1 tsp. Vanilla

¼ cup. Cinnamon

¼ cup. Sugar

1 cup. Powdered Sugar

¼ cup. Melted Butter

Directions

Step One: Prepare box cake mix as instructed in a large bowl.

Step Two: Add ½ cup apple cider, brown sugar, apple sauce, and vanilla and whisk until well blended.

Step Three: Pour mix into a well greased 7” Bundt pan.

Cooking Methods

Instant Pot: Add 1 ½ cups of water to the instant pot. Cover Bundt pan with foil and lower into the instant pot using a sling. Seal, and set on manual high pressure for 45 minutes. Allow natural release for 15 minutes. Remove from the instant pot and let cool.

Oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place Bundt pan on center rack and bake for 45 minutes. Test with a toothpick by sticking into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean it is ready. Remove from heat and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Apple Cider Glaze

Step One: While the cake is cooking, prepare apple cider glaze. Add powdered sugar and remaining apple cider to a small bowl and whisk to desired consistency.

Step Two: In a separate bowl. Mix cinnamon with sugar.

Step Three: Once the cake has cooled, brush the entire surface with melted butter. Rub cinnamon sugar mixture until evenly coated.

Step Four: Serve warm with apple cider glaze dip and enjoy!

Recipe Credit: http://www.princesspinkygirl.com

Original Recipe Link: https://princesspinkygirl.com/apple-cider-doughnut-cake/

Parmesan Spinach Mushroom Pasta Skillet

Lately I have been on a quest for simple and healthy meals. With mushrooms being a new favorite of mine, I decided to try out a recipe a close friend recommended to me. This recipe was exactly what I needed in terms of texture, flavor and simplicity. Having a 5 minute only prep time, this recipe is perfect for those busy nights! Can I say I have a new favorite? For my plant-based followers, check out the note I have posted below the recipe! Happy and healthy cooking everybody!

Parmesan Spinach Mushroom Pasta Skillet

Ingredients

Directions

Step One: To make the parmesan spinach mushroom pasta skillet: Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, according to the package instructions.

Step Two: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 3 minutes until lightly browned.

Step Three: Add the chopped garlic and cook for about 30 seconds longer. Then deglaze with a bit of vegetable broth. Reduce the heat and cook for about 1-2 minutes longer. Remove mushrooms to a plate and set aside.

Step Four: In the same skillet, add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes until wilted. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Step Five: Once the pasta is ready, pour off the cooking water. Push spinach on the side in the skillet and add mushroom back, then put drained pasta in the pan and toss to combine. Add parmesan and Italian seasoning and give a quick stir. Serve the parmesan spinach mushroom pasta with red chili pepper flakes and more parmesan, if you like. Enjoy!

NOTE: To make this meal plant-based friendly, simply switch out the Parmesan cheese for vegan Parmesan cheese. I recommend the Parma! brand. Happy cooking!

Recipe Credit: http://www.eatwell101.com

Original Recipe Link: https://www.eatwell101.com/parmesan-spinach-mushroom-pasta-skillet-recipe

French Toast the Right Way

Breakfast has always been the most important meal of the day. When you start off your day with good food, you set your day in a positive manner. One of my favorite early morning meals to make is french toast and with the switch still in progress, I needed to find a new dairy-free recipe to save the day. That’s when I came across http://www.noracooks.com. Her recipe was exactly what I was looking for and is super quick to make! Check out the recipe below!

Vegan French Toast

Ingredients:

1 cup. Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/4 cup. Cornstarch

1 tsp. Ground Flaxseeds

1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

2 tsps. Pure Maple Syrup

1 tsp. Vanilla

6-8 Slices thick sliced quality French bread

2-3 tbsp. Vegan Butter

For Serving: Maple Syrup, Powdered sugar and/or Fresh Fruit

Directions:

1. Using a shallow bowl wide enough to hold a piece of bread, whisk together the almond milk, cornstarch, flaxseeds, baking powder, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla.

2. Add a little bit of vegan butter to a pan over medium-high heat and melt. Whisk the batter again right before dipping bread, as the cornstarch will settle to the bottom of the bowl.

3. Dip each side of the bread in the batter and allow to soak for about 10 seconds, then add the bread to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown in color. Add more vegan butter to the pan as needed in between pieces of bread.

4. Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar and/or fresh fruit, if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe Credit: http://www.noracooks.com

Original Recipe Link: http://www.noracooks.com/vegan-French-toast/

Creamy Vegan Mushroom Risotto

With my new diet in progress, I realized I needed a good risotto recipe. Growing up, my grandmother made risotto frequently and it has always remained one of my favorite meals. Having searched through various social media platforms, specifically for cooking, I found a recipe that really, ” hit the jackpot” per say. This recipe is super simple and packed with all of the right flavors expected in a delicious risotto. For my non-plant-based followers, I have you covered as well! Check out the link listed at the bottom of the page for a risotto I know you will love! Wishing you all a very tasty dinner!

Creamy Mushroom Risotto (Vegan + GF)

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the shallot and garlic and cook on a medium-low heat until softened.

2. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further minute.

3. Stir in the risotto rice and immediately pour in the stock and vinegar (if using). Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Add more hot water, if necessary.

4. Once cooked, stir in the nutritional yeast (if using), stir in a handful of chopped fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper.

5. Serve and Enjoy!

Recipe Credit: http://www.wallflowerkitchen.com

Original Recipe Link: https://wallflowerkitchen.com/creamy-mushroom-risotto-vegan-gf/

Non-Plant-Based Recipe Link: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/17323/mushroom-risotto/

Pasta Fagioli Soup

Being a lover of Italian foods, I came across a recipe for Pasta Fagioli Soup and decided to give it a try! With that being said, the original recipe is by no means plant-based, so I had to modify some of the ingredients. If you are looking for a delicious and flavorful dinner, I recommend trying this soup. I will be posting, both my version of the recipe and the link to the original recipe, which will be located at the bottom of the page. Here’s to good food!

Pasta Fagioli Soup Vegan Style

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground Light Life Gimme Lean Plant-Based Sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, NOT drained
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or ½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 1 ½ cups Ditalini pasta (about 7 ounces)
  • 1tsp. Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parma! Vegan Parmesan for garnish purposes

Instructions

Step One: In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the plant-based sausage. Cook until no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat (about 5-7 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and place it on a plate.

Step Two: Add the onion, celery, and carrot to the remaining “fat” in the pot. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until tender (about 7-8 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Step Three: Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder; add beans, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, parsley and rosemary. Bring to a boil, then stir in the pasta. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking for about 10-11 more minutes (or until the pasta is tender). Stir the pasta regularly as it’s cooking so that it doesn’t stick to the pot.

Step Four: Stir in the cooked vegan sausage, and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional herbs and freshly grated plant-based Parmesan.

Vegan Recipe Credit: http://www.cookingfromtheheart.blog

Original Recipe Credit: http://www.theseasonedmom.com

Original Reciple Link: https://www.theseasonedmom.com/pasta-fagioli-soup

Sweet as a Hummingbird

Image Credit: Sally’s Baking Addiction

Having started my online courses for college, my days have become quite busy. Finally having a break, I decided something new and sweet should be put on the dinner menu. Scrolling through new potential recipes, I came across the Hummingbird Cake. Something about the way it looked made me think of my grandmother. I remember being young and always having to fill up the hummingbird feeders with fresh sugar, so maybe this cake would be as sweet as those memories and I was correct.

From what research I could gather, the Hummingbird cake was originally created in Jamaica. The cake had been named after the island’s national bird and marketing tools were created for this cake to attract tourists to visit the island. In 1978 the Hummingbird Cake received recognition by Southern Living. From that point on, the recipe began to spread like wild-fire. Shown below is a vintage recipe that I thought you may all enjoy. In my personal opinion, it’s a sweeter version of banana bread and I love it!

If you get the chance to try it out, let me know what you think! Happy Monday!

Image and Recipe Credit: http://www.bigbearswife.com

Sock It To Me Tuesday

One thing I love to do on Tuesdays is bake. Baking not only leads to delicious food, but to me personally it’s relaxing. Having scrolled through a list of my saved recipes I came across one for a Sock It To Me cake. This cake specifically is one my grandmother would make and have ready for after church on Sundays. Though the texture was a tad crumbly the sweetness of the cake paired wonderfully with the coffee she would make.

Shown below is the recipe I will be using. Many of you will begin to notice that I am a huge fan of vintage recipes. Vintage recipes are what my grandmother used (when she used recipes) to teach me how to cook and bake. Recipes such as these need to be preserved and shared. Having these recipes allows us to literally taste a piece of history.

Do you have any vintage baking recipes you love? Which one is your favorite? If you decide to try this one, please let me know! Here’s to a very tasty Tuesday!

Recipe Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/grandmastable/

Easy Sunday Sausage Roll Ups

Image Credit: CookingfromtheHeart

From start to finish, these sausage and cream cheese crescent roll-ups are a must try! With only 3 ingredients, these roll-ups are perfect for beginner cooking enthusiasts. One thing I have learned when making these roll-ups is to use regular sausage and not the maple flavored kind. Though the maple flavor is nice, the sweetness overwhelms the crescents. Something else that should be noted is the time it takes to cook. Depending on the brand crescent you choose will determine the max time the roll-ups need to cook.

These roll-ups hold a special place in my heart as my grandmother made them for the holidays; especially during Christmas. Since her passing, I make a point to make them more frequently. The smell of the roll-ups alone makes it feel as though she is standing next to me. I know if she could see me now, she would be proud of how far I have come in life. Not only do these roll-ups taste great, they help to create great memories.

Below, I have listed the recipe for you all to try! If you do, please let me know your thoughts! Hopefully, these delicious roll-ups create happy memories for you all! Stay Blessed!

Cream Cheese Sausage Crescent Roll-Ups

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Ground breakfast sausage
  • 8 oz Cream cheese
  • 2 packages Crescent rolls (refrigerated, 8 in each)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Start cooking your sausage. Once cooked add cream cheese and mix together until cream cheese is melted.
  3. Roll out crescent rolls and place a spoon full of cooked sausage and cream cheese into each roll and roll it up. Place each roll onto a prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10-20 minutes (time will vary depending on the brand you use. See how long your crescents call for and use that temp and time). Your crescent rolls should be nice and golden brown and cooked all the way though.

Recipe Credit: http://www.thediaryofarealhousewife.com

Original Recipe Link: https://www.thediaryofarealhousewife.com/cream-cheese-sausage-crescent-roll-ups/