Advertisements

How To Cut Up a Butternut Squash (& Roast It)

It’s fall, so you know what that means…

No, I’m not talking about festive Starbucks cups and new fall TV shows.  It means that hundreds of butternut squash recipes are flooding Pinterest.  You’re probably getting seduced by them as we speak.  And then you remember that getting a butternut squash from whole into bite-sized pieces is THE WORST.

Until you know how to do it well.  So that’s where I come in.  I’ve found and refined a way to dismember butternut squash that doesn’t take long, doesn’t kill your hands, and will get you perfect little cubes every time.  Sure, you can sometimes buy it pre-cut (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but you can’t always find it that way plus it gets kind of slimy fairly fast.  Better to have a good back-up.

So let’s dive in, shall we?  There are two main pieces of equipment that you need, and one of them is an actual decent Y-peeler.  I’m in love with my OXO peeler, got it a few years back and now no longer accidentally take off layers of skin when I’m peeling veggies.  It gives you so much more leverage and stability than a regular vertical-bladed peeler.

Begin peeling long, deep strips out of the squash.  You’ll need to overlap your stripes, because it will likely take two tries to get it deep enough.  Butternut squash peel is not messing around. [Read more…]

Advertisements

Dark Chocolate Stout Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting + Happy Birthday to Me!

My tradition of ugly but delicious birthday cakes continues…

A cake decorator I will never be.

Dark Chocolate Stout Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting...easy, yummy, moist, perfect for a birthday or special occasion | easy cake recipes, birthday cakes, chocolate cake recipes | #cake #recipe #chocolate

This cake, however, is suuuuuper delish.  I really wasn’t feelin’ it this year.  I was so tired and stressed that I didn’t even know if I wanted to bother making something.  My birthday was on a Tuesday (blah) in a super crazy week (among other things we were moving offices, had big deadlines, and I was getting ready to leave the country), and I knew it would be a super long day.

So looked for something simple but that really tugged at me.  And, man, peanut butter and a dark chocolate stout cake can get me every time. [Read more…]

Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl

So…I’ve been chastising myself lately for my diet.  Between crazy work schedules, travel, and being on crutches, I’ve just been a bit too reliant on Uber Eats and definitely lacking in fruits and veggies.  It’s kind of amazing I don’t have scurvy.

Then this morning as I was working I decided to finally get around to watching “What The Health?” on Netflix, which talks through a lot of the things wrong with our diets and how that’s impacting our health, and the medical establishments and lobby groups that are set on keeping it that way.

Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl with Maple Tahini Sauce | Finding Time for Cooking

Its basic conclusion is that we’re meant to eat plant-based diets, and that anything else is unhealthy.  It’s definitely an interesting watch, and while I don’t completely agree that meat is the devil—I grew up on a family-run cow farm, after all, and I also believe that God designed us to eat some meat—I 100% agree that we’ve totally screwed up our food chain in so many ways and that a heavier plant diet is a good thing, and overall it guilted me REAL HARD into really putting on my adult pants today.

Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl with Maple Tahini Sauce | Finding Time for Cooking

So I did some digging on plant-based diets and found some recipes that I want to try to rotate into my everyday routine.  This was the first one I came across that made me go “Hmm!”  The flavor combos are awesome, it’s easy to make, I’m a sucker for a good tahini sauce, and I’m hoping it’ll make an awesome lunch for a couple days this week as well.  For a non-pasta vegetarian meal, I’m totally on board with this one!

[Read more…]

Lemon Raspberry Cake with Raspberry Frosting

I want to eat this cake all day, every day.  Lemon + raspberry is a match made in heaven.  Add those to a light, buttery cake and you’ve reached something truly sublime.

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Jam Swirl & Raspberry Icing

When I first made this recipe, it was actually as lemon cupcakes with a raspberry frosting, for my friend Casey’s birthday.  But even as I was making it, I was mentally adapting it into a cake.  Because let’s face it, cupcakes are a pain in the rear.

Lemon Raspberry Cake with Raspberry Frosting

And then as I was making the cake, I had the idea of adding some jam swirled throughout.  1) Because I’m a huge fan of jam, and 2) because it does add a lovely moistness and complement to the lemon.

Jam is my jam.

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Jam Swirl & Raspberry Icing

This dessert is perfect for the winter months, because it tastes of springtime and warm days and lemons are usually plentiful.  But it would be just as appropriate in summer for a light group dessert.  Basically this is a year-round winner.  YOU’RE WELCOME. [Read more…]

Banana Bread with Espresso Glaze

Oohhhhhh look at that warm, sweet, gooey glaze!

Banana bread with espresso glaze...easy and delicious dessert or breakfast, warm and not too sweet, easy banana bread recipe

I’m not really into icings or glazes, but this espresso glaze takes something as simple as banana bread to a whole other level.  This banana bread is fairly straightforward, albeit with a little topping of crunchy turbinado sugar and a hint of cinnamon and espresso powder.  But add that glaze and you have a bona fide hit on your hands.

Banana bread with espresso glaze...easy and delicious dessert or breakfast, warm and not too sweet, easy banana bread recipe

What’s great about the recipe is that it can feel really special, or just be an everyday sort of thing.  I’m not hugely into banana bread, but I am hugely into this.  Seriously, what are you waiting for?  It can be in the oven in 15 minutes.  Go.  Go now. [Read more…]

Meyer Lemon Syrup Cake with Jam Swirls

I’m on a one-bowl cake train right now due to laziness and lack of time.  Nothing fancy here.

And you know what?  It’s summer and we don’t need fancy.  We need fast, delicious, easy, and having the oven on for only a minimum amount of time.

Easy One Bowl Meyer Lemon Syrup Cake | finding time for cooking

This actually came about because I was at the grocery store (a rare occurrence for me lately) and they had meyer lemons.  I’ve been obsessed with the idea of meyer lemons for a long time, but have never made anything with them or I think even HAD anything with them.  They’ve been on my “to try” list for a while, so I threw them in my cart, not knowing exactly how I planned to use them.

After tons of searching (particularly taking into account the amount of time I could really devote to something), I decided to try this syrup cake.  I’m hit and miss on cake as a dessert, they’re often a bit underwhelming to me, and often dry as well.  I love the idea of the syrup cake because it would keep it much more moist.  The batter also comes together in one bowl, so less dishes and it’s all very fast (about 10 minutes to pull everything together).

Easy One Bowl Meyer Lemon Syrup Cake | finding time for cooking

At the last second, I decided that it needed something extra, so I added some jam swirls to provide a complementary flavor and some extra texture.  I had a jar of apricot jam open, and knew that the sharp, sweet apricot would be a great pairing with the sharp, sweet meyer lemon.  But strawberry or raspberry would be great as well, or you can leave the jam out if you prefer.  This was a hit at work, gone within an hour of putting it out. [Read more…]

One-Bowl Yogurt and Honey Olive Oil Cake

It’s been…quite a while since I’ve baked.  Or cooked.  Or gone grocery shopping, to be honest.  Life’s been a bit nuts.

Easy one-bowl yogurt & honey olive oil cake, flavored with fresh lemon & thyme

And last Sunday I had every intention of actually cooking a real meal that I could use for lunch all week, but as the hours flew by on Sunday I lost all my motivation.  I ended up getting Uber Eats and actually getting to sit and read for a half hour, which was lovely, but then I decided that I needed to bake something to prove that I wasn’t entirely lazy.

Yes, I realize that’s a weird justification, but it was very compelling so I went with it.

Yogurt & Honey Olive Oil Cake with Lemon & Thyme...one bowl, easy cleanup, moist with subtle flavors

The key was, it had to be super easy and fast.  I had just found this recipe on The Kitchn and it checked a lot of boxes for me.  One bowl (and not even the mixer), yay.  Lemon, check.  Add some herbs, check.  Super moist because of the yogurt, check.

Easy one-bowl yogurt & honey olive oil cake, flavored with fresh lemon & thyme

I literally threw it together in about 15 minutes, while a hair deep-conditioning treatment was soaking in.  It was fast, easy, and tasted amazing.  My house smelled divine, and it made for lovely leftovers.

The flavor combination is very subtle (very much my style), and a bit of homemade whipped cream or mascarpone cream provides a great texture counterpoint.  I’m looking forward to taking this base recipe and trying some different flavor combos…I’ve got my eye on orange and rosemary next. [Read more…]

Fresh Corn Galette with Goat Cheese, Zucchini, and Thyme

I actually made this last year, right at the tail-end of summer.  You know that time when there are like 7,000 pounds of zucchini, and the corn is just perfect but it’s like the last week of corn season??

Summer corn galette with goat cheese, zucchini, & thyme...summer recipe perfection, looks fancy but is easy to make

And then I accidentally sat on it too long, and then it just seemed mean to post it in the late fall when you couldn’t get yummy fresh zucchini and corn to make it.  So I’ve been patiently sitting on this recipe for several months, waiting for summer to roll around once again.

Summer corn galette with goat cheese, zucchini, & thyme...summer recipe perfection, looks fancy but is easy to make

Nom nom nom.  It looks fancy, but it really isn’t a difficult recipe.  The only thing that’s a bit of a pain is making pie crust, but you can just buy it pre-made if you don’t want to deal with it.  Add a glass of cold white wine and you have a summer masterpiece.

Summer corn galette with goat cheese, zucchini, & thyme...summer recipe perfection, looks fancy but is easy to make

The combination of the tangy goat cheese, the fragrant herbs, sweet corn, and then mellow crunch of zucchini is sublime.  This is summer perfection. [Read more…]

A Healthier Take on Strawberry Shortcake for a Big Group

I want to eat this all day, every day.

It’s no secret that there are a few select foods that I could literally could eat every single day and not get tired of them.  Nachos (and I do), a good burger, and my homemade strawberry shortcake.  My homemade strawberry shortcake is sublime.

I stumbled upon this recipe years ago when I needed to come up with a dessert for like 15 people.  Individual shortcakes would have been way too time-consuming (and quite frankly they’re kind of dry), but I had it stuck in my head that I wanted to use the pounds of strawberries that my mom had.  And then I found the original recipe I’ve adapted here…as my original post mentioned, I’m obsessed.  It’s literally the best.

healthier-strawberry-shortcake-for-a-big-group-nessa

But, as with many recipes, I wanted to see if there was a way to make it just a tad more healthy—cut down on the calories just a bit, but also bringing in some healthier elements.  And the fact is, I might like this version even just a bit more.

I cut the sugar a bit, and it definitely doesn’t lose anything.  And then I’ve substituted half of the flour for whole wheat (or white whole wheat, which is a bit softer), which gives it a great heartiness and also a slightly nutty, warm flavor that I really love.  You can make this ahead of time when feeding a big group and it’s the most moist, fragrant, yummy summer dessert I can think of.  Pair it with fresh strawberries and a bit of homemade cinnamon whipped cream, and you’ve got yourself a winner! [Read more…]

Pakistani Kima

Full disclosure:  I have no idea if this recipe is truly Pakistani, nor do I know what “kima” is.

But I *do* know that it’s delicious, filling, healthy, and easy.  That’s a dinner grand slam in my books.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

My sister has been making this for her family for quite a while, and she made it for us while I was visiting my parents a couple years ago.  I fell in love with the incredible aroma and flavors of the spice combination.  It’s truly what makes this dish special.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

But it has a lot more going for it.  It’s chock-full of veggies, across the color spectrum (something that I’m usually desperately needing).  It’s also super satiating, with a one-two-three punch of the fat in the butter (don’t skimp on this), the lean ground beef, and the fiber-full vegetables.

It clocks in at around 320 calories per serving (if you make 6 servings out of the batch), which is great if you’re trying to keep your calories down but not feel hungry all the time.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

And best of all, this recipe is super easy to make, a one-pot standby.  It only takes about a half-hour total, and only requires you to do some vegetable chopping and throw everything into a pot.  I made two desserts while putting this together a couple weeks ago, because I didn’t have to spare any brainpower for it.  So I’m kind of in love. [Read more…]

%d bloggers like this: