Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fabric Scrap Pennants

Recently I was cleaning out my craft cabinet and noticed I had gobs and gobs of remnant fabric laying around. I really wanted to try to purge as much unnecessary items as I could and new that most of these scraps would never get used. So in one last ditch effort I decided to rustle up enough pieces to make some pennants to adorn Easton's windows with. And that's exactly what I did!
I started by cutting out a bunch of rectangles for the pennants from my fabric scraps.
I used a crochet chain stitch to attach to and hold up all of my pennants... 
laid out my ironed fabric with the yarn on top...
and hot glued the fabric around the yarn...
then snipped off the flap of fabric that was now showing after I folded it over.
Tada! A perfect adornment for Easton's window!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Honey Soy Chicken

Picture from Table for Two
This honey soy chicken dish is to die for! I found the recipe on the great blog, Table for Two, and just made very minor adjustments like using chicken breasts instead of thighs, marinating my chicken in the sauce before cooking, and altering the ingredient amounts just a bit. And since I had, and you probably do too, all of the ingredients on hand, it makes for a quick and easy weekday meal that will leave you wishing you made more for leftovers. In fact the recipe sounded so good that I did double it just so that I would have some chicken to pack for my husbands lunches for the remainder of the week. And because it was such a success I didnt have to get creative and find ways to use it up, because it was half devoured the very first night! I have honestly never had chicken in the oven quite this tender. I marinated my chicken for about 6 hours before baking it and I believe it made a world of difference. The flavors really really penetrated the chicken and it was honestly as juicy and melt in your mouth as a good aged steak can be!

Honey Soy Chicken

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
5 tablespoons honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine chicken and all of the ingredients into a large zip lock baggie. Give it a good swish around to mix all of the ingredients and completely cover the chicken. Place flat in your refrigerator for 6 hours and turn chicken half way through. Once ready to cook, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a 8x8 pan with two layers of foil. Do not alter these last two instructions. An 8x8 pan is key, your chicken breasts will be snug yes but it will keep the sauce from evaporating and your chicken from drying out. Also be sure to double line your pan with tin foil. You will thank me after cooking the chicken when you can simply pull up the foil and have a clean pan instead of spending all night scrubbing your pan free of stuck on marinade. 
Cook chicken for 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Plate and pour marinade juices over chicken. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Tarts with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Fall is here and its time to start wearing a few extra layers and enjoying some yummy comfort food. I look forward to the fall months each year in anticipation for all of the apples that start flooding the markets. There are so many great varieties from sweet to tart. After making a trip up to an apple farm and seeing the granny smith apples on display I knew I needed to buy some and make this delicious apple cheesecake. But instead of making one large cake and sitting in front of it each night with a fork in hand, I opted to try and portion myself and use little tart molds I had. This would also work perfectly in a regular cheesecake springform pan or even in a large 9x13 inch glass pan; whatever you have on hand and is easier for you. 

But just making an apple cheesecake would not suffice for me! I needed to up the anty. And up it I did by adding the best brown sugar and oat streusel on top and then if that wasn't enough I drizzled each with salted caramel once out of the oven. Do I have you hooked yet?! If this dish doesn't scream Fall then I don't know what does! In fact I am thinking of making these beauties as a dessert for Thanksgiving this year!

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Tarts with Salted Caramel Drizzle

2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Streusel Topping-
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cooking oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Salted Caramel-
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl combine the flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until crumbly and press evenly into each of your tart molds sprayed with non stick cooking spray, or into a 9x13 inch pan lined with aluminum foil. 

Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Add 1/2 cup sugar, eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Pour over warm crust. In a small bowl, stir together the apples, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and cinnamon. Spoon over the cream cheese mixture. 

In a bowl combine all of the streusel ingredients except for the butter. Once dry ingredients are incorporated, cut in the butter until mixture is course and crumbly. Spoon streusel topping over cream cheese and apple mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheesecake filling is set. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from molds.

To prepare the salted caramel place sugar and water in a small pan over medium high heat. Do not stir or you will get sugar crystals, only swirl the saucepan gently. It will bubble itself into a deep amber color. Remove immediately from the heat and add the cream ( will start to bubble furiously). Stir until smooth, set aside and let cool before drizzling over your tarts. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mozzarella, Pesto & Breadcrumb Topped Eggplant Steaks


1 large eggplant
1 jar of store bought or homemade pesto
mozzarella cheese, one slice for each round of eggplant

Breadcrumb topping-
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
3-4 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place all of the breadcrumb topping ingredients into a food processor and pulse until everything is combined and chopped evenly; set aside. Slice your eggplant into 1-1 1/2 inch spirals. Spread a thin layer of pesto onto each round and place the eggplant into an oven proof baking dish lined with foil.

Place one slice of mozzarella onto each round of eggplant and sprinkle liberally with the breadcrumb topping.

Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and gooey. Enjoy!

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