Monday, June 29, 2015

Grandma Jean's Rhubarb Custard Pie

How is it the end of June already? Seriously I blinked and the month was over. I am getting all nostalgic because it was almost exactly to this date that I found out we were expecting little Miss O. And now here we are a year later and I can barely remember what life was like before baby.  

This time of year I always get excited for rhubarb. It's not my favorite fruit but it surely symbolizes the start of summer. I tend to make one or two rhubarb desserts before the season ends.  Normally I pair rhubarb with strawberries. The strawberries really cut the tartness of the rhubarb.  In our family though my mom always makes this pie for my dad. It is one of his favorites, something my grandmother used to make for him. 

Over the years my mom has tried to perfect the semi recipe she was given to make it match my dad's memory of the pie. I think he would agree that it is pretty close nowadays. This was my first attempt at making this family recipe. Since I never had the original I am not sure how mine compares to how my grandma's version turned out but we thought it was pretty darn tasty. Next time I will have to have my dad sample it for approval. 

Grandma Jean's Rhubarb Custard Pie

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert rhubarb pie spring summer
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
  • 1 store bought pie crust or your favorite pie crust recipe
  • 4 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (enough to fill pie crust to top)
  • 1 cup sugar (can use less if you prefer a tart pie)
  • 5 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small deep pie plate put pie crust and crimp edges. Set aside.

Mix the chopped rhubarb and sugar together in a bowl. Set aside.

With a hand mixer or stand mixer vigorously beat eggs until completely combined.

Put the rhubarb/sugar mixture and all juices in the pie crust. Pour eggs on top of rhubarb.  The eggs should just to reach the top of the fruit but not cover it. Move the rhubarb around a little just the coat the pieces on top. If there is not enough eggs add one at a time more until the mixture reaches the top.

Bake in the preheated oven at 350 degrees for about an hour or until the center sets well. There should be no wiggling. You can also use a knife in the center to make sure it is not too wet.

Cool and then refrigerate. You can serve warm or cool depending on your preference.
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Bars

Hello Friday! I am so completely ready for the weekend. I don't know if it was being by myself two mornings this week, the weather, or whatnot but this week lasted so long. It is never a good sign when Tuesday feels like a Friday. The last two nights Mr. J and I crashed on the couch by 8 pm. Just so you know that is shortly after Miss O's bedtime. 

I have been working hard at cutting down on my sugar intake. After Miss O was born I had pretty intense sugar cravings. And I completely gave into every. single. one. I totally justified it with the fact that I just had a baby and some of the time they were in the form of lactation cookies. It was really for the baby, right?

Well soon I wanted a sweet treat after each meal. And sometimes as early as 9 am. There is nothing like having a cookie for your second breakfast. Slowly I am cutting back but I splurged the other week with these salted caramel rice crispy bars. I brought them to a potluck at work so we wouldn't be faced with all this goodness by ourselves. A good thing too because they were simply irresistible. 

The treats are pretty much the same recipe as the original but you throw in some salted caramel. 

Most genius idea ever! 

I had some homemade on hand but you can easily use store bought too. Add some chocolate on top and you have some divine treats. 

Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Treats
by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: no bake dessert chocolate caramel bar
Ingredients (24 bars)
    For the Rice Crispy Treats:
    • 1 (10 oz.) bag marshmallows
    • 2 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 6 cups Popped Rice cereal
    • 3/4 cup caramel sauce
    For the Chocolate Ganache Topping:
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    • 2 cups chocolate chips
    • flaked salt for garnish
    For the Rice Crispy Treats:
    In a large pot set to medium heat, melt marshmallows, butter and vanilla. Stir until smooth and add salted caramel.

    Stir in Rice cereal until well combined.

    Pour mixture into a lined and greased 13x9 pan. Flatten using a buttered rubber spatula. Chill pan in refrigerator while you make the ganache.

    For Chocolate Ganache Topping:
    In a small pot over medium heat, heat cream until almost boiling.

    Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth.

    Let ganache cool for 10 minutes then pour over Rice Crispy treats. Spread across pan to distribute evenly.

    Let set for 5 minutes then sprinkle with salt.
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    Monday, June 22, 2015

    Tater Tot Nachos #secretrecipeclub

    I have a winning dinner for you today. And it is a quickie too. Tater Tot Nachos with sweet potato tater tots. I am still excited about this dish. I can hardly stand it. I got this recipe from I am a Honey Bee, my blog for the June posting of The Secret Recipe Club.

    For those of you who don't know The Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers that get together once a month for a special reveal day posting to share a creation from a secretly assigned member of the group.  It is a great way to learn about new blogs and find tasty new recipes.

    Nicole just got married and has a cutie little girl. It was fun looking at their adventures in Boston. Many of the places they explore are places that Mr. J and I have visited as well. Seeing them with their little bean out and about makes me dream about when Miss O is older and all of the things we will explore.

    I started this month dead set on making breakfast burritos. And if you like waffles, this is the blog for you. So many waffles dishes. I drooled and drooled over many of those postings. However, our weekend mornings were always too complicated for blogging recipes. Babies can do that to you. Thus the burritos were put on hold, probably for a breakfast for dinner meal, and out came these Ultimate Tatchos.

    I am a huge fan of nachos, especially when there is guacamole involved. I could probably eat them most days. I got super excited when I saw Nicole make some with tater tots. I only switched up the traditional tater tots with sweet potato tater tots. I heart sweet potatoes. This made for a wonderful dinner, quick and easy on a week night and super delicious. 

    And the guacamole. I used this recipe from Nicole. 

    Thanks for the yummy dinner and I cannot wait to try out the burritos. 

    Tater Tot Nachos

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Keywords: bake Mexican
    Ingredients (serves 4)
    • 1 pound of tater tots
    • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
    • 1 1/2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and reheated
    • 1/2 cup salsa
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 cup guacamole
    • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
    • sliced pickled jalapenos
    Cook the tater tots according to the directions on the packaging. 

    In an oven safe serving dish, layer half of the tater tots, beans, and cheese. Place under the broiler for a minute or so in order to melt the cheese.

    Add the rest of the tater tots and top off with the remaining beans and cheese.

    Again, place under the broiler for a minute or so in order to melt the cheese.

    Top off with the salsa, sour cream, guacamole, jalapenos, and tomatoes.

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    Friday, June 19, 2015

    Blueberry Oat Muffins

    Happy Friday! We had an early wake up call and I am wishing there were more of these muffins to snack on. It is only 7 am and I am on coffee number too and ready for my second breakfast.

    This weekend is Father's Day and I think I might be more excited than Mr. J to celebrate. Miss Olivia has been busy shopping for the perfect gift for her Daddy. I am sticking to a card and some yummy food treats. I got a steak request so I think I will need some grill assistance with that one. Do you have any special Father's Day plans?

    These blueberry oat muffins pack an extra punch of healthy by having rolled oats and plain Greek yogurt in the ingredient list. They left me feeling full longer than the traditional sugar packed blueberry muffin. Not that I don't want some of those muffins at times too. 

    Anyhoo, this was a nice change up to have around. I brought one to work for my mid-morning snack just about every day, while Mr. J enjoyed his as a quick grab and go breakfast first thing. It is kind of crazy how two people can go through 12 muffins so quickly. 

    I hope you have a wonderful Father's Day!

    Blueberry Oat Muffins

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Keywords: bake breakfast blueberries oatmeal
    Ingredients (12 muffins)
    • 1 cup blueberries
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup Greek yogurt
    • 2 eggs
    • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ½ cup oats
    Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin liners.

    In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

    In a separate bowl, mix yogurt, eggs, melted butter and vanilla together and then fold into the dry ingredients.

    Fold in the blueberries and oats.

    Fill the muffin tin with the batter. Each cup should be filled to the top. The batter will be thick and a little sticky.

    Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

    Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes then cool on a wire rack.
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    Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    #WIAW Enough Said

    I think I am getting into my groove about working again. Mornings and evenings don't seem so frantic to me anymore. I think it is all about priorities. You do what you need to do and then don't worry about anything else. 

    Yesterday I had a meeting in New Haven. It is about 25 minutes from our house. It was a great way to get out on the road again without really being on the road. 

    The meeting ended right at lunch time and I snagged this yummy sandwich. Not the healthiest choice but certainly delicious. I am sucker for chicken cutlet.

    Dinner was chicken too. I actually had a salad too but ate it before I realized I didn't take a picture. We grilled this chicken up on Sunday and I ate two thighs cold for dinner. Quick and simple. 

    We also having been snacking on fruit. Peaches are still ify but this batch seemed pretty good. I am still getting apple now and then. I am enjoying the summer fruits but I miss the good apples too. I am trying not to wish for Fall too soon. 

    Monday, June 15, 2015

    Skillet Bacon Chicken

    Happy rainy Monday! After a weekend of gorgeous weather I woke up to rainy skies and lots of clouds. Mondays are hard enough on their own but when it is dark and grey I just want to stay in bed. 

    We had a pretty good morning wake up with Miss O. Everything was on track and smooth until I realized Mr. J had left without her bag for daycare, bottles included. Good thing I noticed shortly after he left and manged to call his cell phone before he even pulled off our road. Crisis averted. 

    Hopefully soon (I know it will be) we will be experts at getting out the door with baby.

    Now for the chicken. This dish was pretty darn amazing. We have been getting chicken thighs once a week. A large value package that feeds us for many, many meals. With the warm weather most of the time we cook them up on the grill but this night we opted for the oven. The hands on time is a bit of effort early on but then you stick the whole thing in the oven and wait. 

    Maybe it is because we have been living off the same five meals or take out for the last few months. Maybe it is because I was donning a glass of wine as we ate, or maybe it was because I was just plain tired and this was warm food, but I don't think so. 

    This is restaurant quality chicken. Damn good chicken. And I cannot wait to make it again. 

    Skillet Bacon Chicken

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 45 minutes
    Keywords: saute bacon chicken
    Ingredients (serves 6-8)
    • 3 slices bacon
    • ½ cup flour
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 teaspoon herbs de Provence
    • 8-10 chicken thighs with skin
    • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
    • ½ cup dry white wine
    • 1 cup chicken stock
    • fresh parsley for garnish
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Heat a large ovenproof Dutch oven or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat and remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the hot bacon grease in the pan. (If the pan is really greasy you may want to carefully blot some of the fat up with a paper towel, leaving just enough to cook the chicken.

    Mix the flour with salt and pepper and the herbs de Provence. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture and transfer to the hot pan. Fry the chicken in the bacon grease for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown (but not cooked through). Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on plate.

    Add the shallots to the pan with the olive oil (if needed). Saute for 5-10 minutes, until softened and fragrant and golden brown.

    Deglaze the pan by slowly adding the wine, stirring to get all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and let everything cook until it reduces slightly, about 5-10 minutes.

    Add the chicken and bacon back to the pan and bake for 40 minutes, stopping ever 10 or 15 minutes to baste the chicken with the pan sauce.

    Remove from oven when the chicken skin is crispy and the chicken is fully cooked.
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    Friday, June 12, 2015

    Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Frosting

    Oh man! I made it (almost) through the first full week of work. It was exhausting but we survived. 

    A few things I have learned...

    • Bottles have too many parts and require lots and lots of washing
    • Babies are smart enough to know right when you need to leave and then decide to make a big mess
    • I am resigned to being at least 10 minutes late from now on (see above)
    • Laundry, laundry, laundry
    • Take out will happen at least once a week
    • Have chocolate and coffee on hand, always

    It really isn't that bad but I feel like I am constantly going from 6 am to 8 pm EVERY single day.  I thought I had a busy life before but I was a fool. I think before I had a lot to do but if something didn't get done or I changed my mind it was OK. Totally doable. Now if the baby needs to be changed or we have no bottles, I cannot just say oh well we will get to that later. 

    What was a life saver this week were these bars. They have protein (peanut butter), fiber (whole wheat flour and oatmeal), and antioxidants (chocolate) so I am deeming then healthy and a welcomed treat each day.  After Olivia goes to bed I would flop down on the couch and have a bar with a big glass of milk. Most days though I wish I had packed one for the office too. Hello 3pm energy slump!

    Even if you don't have a baby. Or don't work. These bars are necessary. Yummy treats to help end your day in a really delicious way. 

    Peanut Butter Oat Bars

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Keywords: bake dessert chocolate peanut butter bar
    Ingredients (24 bars)
      For the Peanut Butter Oat Bars:
      • 1 cup whole wheat flour
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
      • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
      • 1 cup packed brown sugar
      • 1 large egg
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1 cup old fashioned oats
      For the Chocolate Frosting:
      • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
      • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
      • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
      • 1/4 cup milk
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
      In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

      In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar together until smooth, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.

      With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in the oats.

      Spread the batter into prepared pan, gently pressing to the edges with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes or until bars are light golden brown and set around the edges. Cool completely.

      As the bars cool prepare the chocolate frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the blade attachment, beat the butter and cocoa together until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Once combined pour in the milk and vanilla extract and beat until creamy and smooth.

      Frost the cooled bars with chocolate frosting. Cut into squares and serve.
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      Thursday, June 11, 2015

      Olivia: 3 Months

      My little baby is 3 months old tomorrow. I don't know where the time has gone nor can I comprehend how much the munchkin has grown and changed during this short time. 

      She not only smiles at us but giggles. The pure joy that comes from her little face melts my heart and I cannot get enough. I ask her for more but the laughter comes in short little bursts and never last as long as I want. I will take what I can get.

      At our Dr appointment last week she weighed in at 12 lb 13 oz, the 61% and her height is 24 inches, the 85%. She is tall and lean. Although there are times when her face is all scrunched up and she has the chubbiest checks and the cutest double chin. 

      She found her hands in the last month. First it was the right hand. Then she noticed the left hand.  This week she seems to realize there are two there all the time. She clasps them together in a little prayer position and again my heart melts.

      Miss O also started arching her back. We put her down and she arches, kicks and swings her arms. There are many times she gets all the way up on one side and I sit holding my breath waiting for her to rollover. It hasn't happened yet but I am sure it is soon to happen.  I am excited for this milestone and yet long for her to just be a bit longer. 

      No matter how many people tell you it will go by fast nothing prepared me for just how fast. 

      We started daycare this week. She has since won over all of the workers as well as the little kids.  This was probably a bigger transition for me than for her. She seems happy and I know they are taking excellent care of her. Being away all day makes our time together that much more special. Getting up at 5:30 am the other day only gave me an extra hour of play time. 

      It is hard to believe that soon she will be sitting up and eating real foods.  High chair shopping is coming too soon!

      Wednesday, June 10, 2015

      Breakfast for Lunch and Dinner #WIAW

      Oh man I feel like summer is finally here. It is June. Sunny. Hot. I may be back to work but I feel like we are in a routine of sorts.  Maternity leave was like a dream world where we just played all day long.  Now things are real. Not in a bad way either. 

      Back at work hasn't changed breakfast up. Still a green smoothie but today I added a blueberry muffin to jazz things up.  It was an early up day making my coffee nearly empty the time 6:30 rolled around. 

      Lunch was breakfast. We went out for a feast of a breakfast Sunday morning and here are the leftovers. I go on and off breakfast leftovers but these were pretty good. The pancake was like a built in dessert. Plus I am not going to complain when a meal is pre-made. 

      Dinner has been pretty low key too.  This was a taco salad made with leftover taco filling. Not quite a Chipotle bowl but still pretty good. #avocadolove

      We have a drooler on our hands so this is probably the first of many outfits for the day.  Furture Bryn Mawr girl! 

      What did you eat Wednesday?

      Monday, June 8, 2015

      Chicken Spaghetti

      Well we made it through the first two days of day care. Thank goodness I didn't have a full week to go back to work. After Thursday and Friday I was exhausted. So was Miss O. It was great to have two days off this weekend.  Boy was it gorgeous. 

      We are still trying to get a bit of house and yard work done every chance we get in between naps, feedings and play time. It is hard but it always amazes me how much we can get done. 

      I made muffins and bread this weekend along with this killer dinner. I am a bit behind on the whole chicken spaghetti dish. Spaghetti has always been with meatballs and red sauce. However, after seeing recipe after recipe on chicken spaghetti and the rave reviews I knew we had to try it out. 

      There are several similar versions. I made this on the stove top but I have also seen some for the crock pot.  We also added green chilies and cumin for some Southwestern heat. And don't forget the cheese. I love me some cheese. 

      We made a huge pot with a full box of uncooked pasta and it lasted for a few days as leftovers just great. Ready made lunch is just what we need for our busy days with baby. 

      After one making I am ready to put this on the regular meal rotation. 

      Chicken Spaghetti

      by Emily Morris
      Prep Time: 15 minutes
      Cook Time: 35 minutes
      Keywords: saute entree chicken pasta
      Ingredients (serves 4)
      • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
      • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
      • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
      • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
      • 1 small can mild diced green chilies
      • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
      • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
      • salt and pepper, to taste
      • 2 chicken breasts, about 1 lb.
      • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
      • 1/2 cup chicken broth
      • 3/4-1 lb. cooked spaghetti
      • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
      Place onion, bell peppers, green chilies, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large saute pan with 1 Tbsp vegetable oil. Cook for 5-8 minutes on medium high until softened.

      Add chicken, mushroom soup, chicken broth and 1 cup of grated cheese. Stir to mix ingredients. Cover and simmer on medium for about 20-25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

      While the chicken is cooking boil pasta according to box directions.

      Remove chicken breasts, shred and return to pan. Pour in cooked spaghetti and remaining cheese. Toss to coat pasta in sauce and melt cheese. Add additional chicken broth if necessary to get sauce consistency you want. 

      Cook another 5-10 minutes covered on low.

      Serve immediately.
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      Friday, June 5, 2015

      Lazy Cookie Cake

      This might just be the easiest recipe ever. Several months ago I bought white cake mix for a recipe.  I am not sure what I was thinking as I ended up with for boxes and only used one.  I don't use cake mix often and I had no idea how I was ever going to use up these mixes. 

      I found a few recipes here and there that looked good but many required yellow cake not white. I saved them thinking maybe it wouldn't matter but still never ended up doing anything with my cake mixes. 

      Well this week I saw a round up of lazy cookie cake recipes on Facebook.  Lazy cookie cakes are something I had never heard of you. You take cake mix and combine with eggs, butter and the mix ins of your choice.  Throw it in a big pan and bake away. Super easy. 

      This week I was going for super easy and we had no sweets in the house. Crazy how much I crave sweets when none exist in the house. Well this recipe solved that issues in lightening speed. 

      I went simple and threw in some chocolate chips. The bars come out not exactly tasting like chocolate chip cookies but pretty darn close. No complaints from me or Mr. J.  His comment was they are delicious. No worries now about using the two other boxes of cake mix. 

      Happy Friday!

      Lazy Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

      by Emily Morris
      Prep Time: 5 minutes
      Cook Time: 12 minutes
      Ingredients (15 generous bars)
      • 1 box white cake mix
      • 2 eggs
      • 1 stick butter, melted
      • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9X13 baking pan and set aside.

      In a large bowl mix together cake mix, butter and eggs until combine. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

      Spread cookie mixture evenly in prepared baking pan.

      Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes until the center is cooked through and the edges are slightly browned.

      Cool before cutting into bars.
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