Walnut Cranberry Butter Recipe

When I found the perfect recipe for our Thanksgiving rolls, I wanted to created a jam, butter, or something to go with them.  Racking my brain to find something creative and fun, I fell across the idea of walnut cranberry butter.  The best part about the holiday season is I feel like I’m brimming with ideas and recipes and just ache to try them out. This butter was no different.

We decided to prep some of our sides and desserts today to freeze or let the ingredients “marry.” Last year I attempted my first Thanksgiving dinner and was so sapped before we even ate! I wanted to enjoy spending time with Tyler and our pups – crafting and watching football and whatever else the day might bring.  By the way, who is going out shopping on Thanksgiving? I’m leaning towards the no zone, but maybe there are possible pros?

IMG_60321This butter is so simple, but will definitely glitz and glam up the dinner table – not to mention your bread.

Ingredients

1 cup of butter

1 cup of cranberries

2 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

3 tablespoons of walnuts

A hit of vanilla

IMG_6054Chop the walnuts and cranberries. IMG_6065Pour all of the ingredients into the mixer and mix until the butter has turned pink and all ingredients are blended.  About five minutes.

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We have put ours into the refrigerator for now to allow the ingredients to really meld together. I’m not going to be shy – I may have licked the spatula just to see what this concoction brought – and I was thrilled.  The perfect tartness and crunch with a shimmer of sweetness. Can’t wait to say hello to this bad boy again when it’s on our table.

Strawberry Splash Smoothie

IMG_5210Smoothies have quickly become a breakfast staple in our home.  Not only are they quick and refreshing – but they are awfully tasty!  We mainly use bananas and orange juice as our smoothie “base” and then add whatever fruit or veggies we have on hand.  I find myself feeling fuller, with more energy when I sneak one of these into my day.  Here is the Buis household’s favorite smoothie:

2 bananas

1 cup  strawberries

1 cup orange juice

A splash of lemon juice

A handful of carrots

1 tablespoon chia seeds

IMG_5227Combine all ingredients into the blender.  I like to put the fruit and veggies in and then the juice -just to make sure there is enough to make the smoothie thick enough without becoming difficult to puree.  Blend on the puree setting for about one minute, check to make sure there are no lumps, if there are continue to blend until smooth.  IMG_5214I have become an avid believer in the chia seed, since it is so high in protein.  We eat them on salads and in yogurt, but I prefer them in smoothies.  They are such a peculiar food item, as they become “chewy” and develop a bubble film around them – so strange!  It is reminiscent of the bubble tea my friends and I used to buy from Chinatown.  Mmmmm love it.

Pair up your smoothie with some scrambled eggs, some banana bread, and a good (recipe) book. Enjoy!

Simple, Old-Fashioned Banana Bread

Banana BreadThe delight baking brings our home is quickly swallowed by the mountains of dishes that seem to innocently accumulate after a creative masterpiece.  However, when Tyler and I came into an overabundance of overly ripe bananas, banana bread was the only logical answer!

Warm, banana bread has the ability to revive so many prized memories.  From the times of sitting in my Grandma Owen’s sunroom drinking rootbeer from a mug and sneaking another piece to the Christmas Tyler’s Mamaw poured her love into the baked goodness she gave us.  My heart can’t wait to be able to make all of this for our children and grandchildren.

The best kind of banana bread is the type without all the frills.  Give me some mashed up bananas and some spices, because that’s all that needs to be in it. Oh, and that emphasis on spices? That’s because I love the rustic-ness it adds.  It’s like eating the memory of being in an old cabin by the fireplace.  The recipe I used is a plain, ol’ simple one, but I promise simple is always the best.

Simple, Old-Fashioned Banana Bread

Makes One Loaf

3 – 5  mashed bananas

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup of melted butter (and then maybe a little more)

1 1/2 cup of flour

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

2 eggs

If I am being truly honest with you, I don’t ever stick to recipes.  My mother is a wonderful baker and growing up I spent much of my time watching her in the kitchen.  With this small amount of knowledge, I usually can throw the ingredients together, knowing what the end result will be.   I say usually lightly, because I’ve put cumin in banana bread before and been awfully sorry about it ha!  It turned out like a taco…banana bread. Just ick!

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Heat the oven to 350 degrees and begin to smash the bananas.  The bananas need to look like a watery paste-like substance before you add any other ingredients into them, but you still want them glumpy. Yes. Glumpy.  Add in the vanilla, egg, and butter and stir until blended well.  Now put in the sugar and baking soda.  Make sure the brown sugar you sprinkle in the brown sugar since it holds together so well when it is packed.  This makes mixing the sugar into the banana mixture easier.  Finally, add in the flour and spices (my favorite part!).  Butter and flour a loaf pan and pour the mixture into it.  I like to bake the bread for 45 minutes and check up to see if additional time is needed.  The bread is done with a toothpick comes out clean.

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The bread comes out so moist and full of flavor. I’m sure it will quickly become a favorite in your family!  Don’t be shy to add to it (walnuts, cranberries, nutella, avacoda).  The pantry is the limit when it comes to developing a recipe. 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Meringue Cookies

IMG_4981Last Christmas we sent out yummy baked treats as a part of everyone’s Christmas gift.  Some of those treats were peppermint meringue cookies or forgotten kisses. Crunchy and light, its easy to gobble down five of them without realizing it.  With our pumpkin bread being such a hit in our home, I tried out to make a pumpkin version of meringue cookies.  Thus, the pumpkin spice meringue cookie was born.  Here is the recipe (I used the recipe from http://www.foodnetwork.com and tweaked it):

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2 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2/3 cup superfine granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until fluffy but not at all dry. (Be careful not to over beat.) Add the sugar gradually, about 3 tablespoons at a time. When 1/2 of the sugar is added, add the vanilla extract and spices. Continue beating and adding remaining sugar in batches, until all the sugar is dissolved and the meringue is very shiny and tight. Working one teaspoon at a time, push a teaspoonful of meringue from the tip of 1 teaspoon with the back of another teaspoon place on the lined baking sheets, leaving 1-inch of space between cookies. Sprinkle additional cinnamon and spice on top. Place baking sheets in the preheated oven (350 degrees) and turn the oven off. Leave the cookies (undisturbed) in the oven for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, or until cookies are crisp and dry. Humidity can affect how they bake, so its best to do this on a day when you will not be expecting any rain.  I use nonstick pans which means I can opt out of parchment paper, if your pans are not nonstick – please use parchment paper!IMG_4976

Pumpkin Pumpkin Muffins

Autumn seems to be everyone’s favorite season.  With it brings trips to the apple orchards, pumpkin patches, a sweet nostalgia, and somehow a melancholy that doesn’t feel so…melancholy.  Pumpkins have never really floated my boat.  If there is anything that I crave during autumn, it’s apples. Apple dumplings, apple butter, applesauce, apples, apples, apples! I have even gone so far as creating a whole workshop/presentation around the history of apples.  I told you, I’m odd!

However, when I stumbled upon this Pumpkin Muffin recipes, I had to give it a go.  You see, I have felt defeated by pumpkin bread for quite some time.  I had a terrible struggle with baking a loaf in college, and since have not forgotten my personal vendetta to one day reclaim my baking pride and conquer THE PUMPKIN BREAD!  I found the recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com, also known as the foodie bible. You can find anything there.

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Here is the recipe:

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup water

3 cups white sugar

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

3.  Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Instead of using loaf pans, I used mini pumpkin bundt pans. Mmmm….pumpkins with my pumpkins.IMG_4959

I’m obviously still crooning about how good these are!  Supremely moist, without being doughy and such a cinch to make!  Apples may soon be having some tough competition in the Buis household.