Secret Recipe Club Guest Post
Greetings! This was my third (!) year participating in the Secret Recipe Club so when I saw the call for bloggers to reflect on their favorite recipe of the year – I knew I had to get involves. I knew it was going to be tough to pick just one recipe from the 15 awesome ones I did this past year (11 with group A and 4 orphans) and boy was I right! I went back and forth and back and forth, trying to decide what factor to use to determine the top recipe. Should it be the one that was most popular on the blog? Or the one that I have made the most outside of the challenge? Or the one that the most people have told me they have made? In the end I asked my husband to select and with that the incredible Corn Bisque I made back in June when I was partnered with Cookaholic Wife. This was one of my favorite blogs of the year, mostly because Nicole and I have a lot in common – to include city of residence and age! I did have to alter the original recipe in order to make it vegetarian (and kosher!) but a favorite Baltimore spice ensured that the original flavor profile was still there.
2014 was a tasty year, and I’m greatly looking forward to all the treats that 2015 will bring!!!!
I don’t believe in diets – the word alone makes me cringe. So when I saw that the first challenge for /52weeksofcooking 2015 was diet themed, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. To me a diet is something where you deprive yourself for a set amount of time from eating a certain type of (delicious) food – only to fail after a certain amount of time because deprivation is never a good thing. I fully get, and support, eating healthy foods but why not call it “healthy eating” instead of the “d” word. I’m sure there’s some sort of psychology behind all of it, but it doesn’t change the fact that I associate diet food with bland, boring, and beige dishes. Which is why I went as far as possible in the opposite direction with this healthy dip. With the Super Bowl fast approaching (go Ravens!), many people will be sitting down and enjoying feasts of chips, dips, wings, and pizza – with maybe a few vegetable trays. This dip goes great with chips, crackers, or bread to include being a fantastic addition to an otherwise boring sandwich. Plus it only involves 4 ingredients, and can be made it advance which adds to the awesome factor.
- 1 lb beetroot, peeled and halved
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil (can also use 1/2 tbsp tahini)
- Turn off to 425 and lightly oil a roasting pan. Place the beets cut side down on the pan and cook for 30 minutes, then flip and cook for a final 20 minutes.
- Allow the beets to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then place beets and oil in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until almost pureed. If needed, add more olive oil but add in small amounts to keep it from becoming liquefied.
- Pour in to a bowl and Serve!
by AmandaE at dancingveggies.com
I reserved the leaves for another dish, and brought this dip as an precursor to one of the many holiday meals we enjoyed this season. I found the beanitos chips a friend had brought over for game day went fantastically while others preferred a firmer wheat cracker but as with many things there is no right answer.
Note: Beanitos has no idea who I am, and while I didn’t pay for them my friend did and they were insanely good!
Happy New Year! Not going to lie, 2014 was a rather rough year and I’m not exactly sorry to see it go. While I was able to accomplish some goals, new job and new features here on the blog, my biggest “goal” was not reached and there was nothing I could do to change that – just have to accept that there are things in life that are impossible to control. I did fall a bit short on a few of my blogs goal, mostly due to interference from the goal not met -but I’m okay with that because I did the best that I could. I messed around with some new ingredients and new cooking techniques and while I didn’t do every week of /52weeksofcooking I did more than 2013 so that’s something! September was also the BIGGEST month ever for the blog, which was an awesome birthday present. I can only hope that 2015 sees such incredible support. With that said, time to talk about the recipes that gave such awesome numbers with the top 5 recipes of 2014. The top 5 are based off of unique hits as recorded by wordpress, and limited to recipes posted in 2014.
#1: “Sausage” and Spinach Stuffed Shells which was made in May for /52weeksofcooking’s soy challenge. I love it when a savory recipe takes first place!!!
#2: Taco Bowl an awesome recipe for when you are craving tacos but either don’t want, or can’t have the shell. Adding more gluten free recipes to the blog was one of my big goals for the year, and more than 30% of all recipes in 2014 were/are gluten free!
#3 Buddha Bowl which is probably one of the healthiest recipes on my blog as it features raw veggies and delicious whole grains. This was part of the clean eating challenge on /52weeksofcooking and is also a great recipe for starting out the New Year!
#4 Sweet Potato Falafels with Garlic Hummus came from a Secret Recipe Club Challenge, which I’ll be continuing in the New Year. Posts will be the first Monday of every month as part of the awesome Group A, which occasional guest posts and features sprinkled throughout the year.
#5 Watermelon Feta Salad which is surprisingly the “sweetest” thing in the top 5 – which goes to show that cookies aren’t always #1. This salad caused a bit of drama when the original post omitted a few key sentences, but it’s an awesome dish and I’ve made it a few times since.
There they are! The top 5 recipes of 2014 which happen to be all savory – which I wasn’t really expecting. While I haven’t most as many sweets this past year, just assumed those few would be the ones to take the care. So with that – enjoy your new year! I have a few posts in progress and will once again be setting the goal of posting three times a week, but we’ll see what life has to say about that little plan.
Acorn Squash Quinoa
Happy Holidays! A bit late but things have been a little insane around here. In non-food news, we had our first donor IVF cycle a week ago and will be finding out the results later this week/early next. It’s amazing how in some ways time has flown since then but yet in other ways time has stopped – or in the very least is dragging on. I’ve spent a lot of time relaxing, and working on new recipes, but very little time in the kitchen. It hasn’t helped that my oven broke, but figuring out ways around it. Primarily that means lots of stove top cooking and very few baked treats but that’s okay! If anything it gives me a jump start on my New Years Resolution to cut back on sweets, but we’ll see how long that lasts. Today’s recipe is actually one I made right before my transfer, and one that I started working with at the start of fall. Since my house is mostly a nut free zone, I have to find other ways of recreating nutty flavors, usually in the form of sesame seeds. However I’ve become slightly addicted to acorn squash – nutty and sweet and meaty all in one awesomely healthy gourd. I’ve started adding it to everything to see what it does, and does not go with, and so far everything has worked! This dish was one of those cabinet/fridge clearing exercises where a bunch of stuff had to go before it was too late – so into the pan it went!
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 mayan onion, diced
- 1 acorn squash, cubed and peeled
- 1/2 cup tri-color quinoa
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 2 cups vegetable stock, low sodium
- Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the spices and cook for one minute stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add the garlic and onion and toss well in the spices, then cook for 8 minutes, until the onion is soft.
- Add the squash and cook for 5 minutes, or until the squash starts to brown. Add the quinoa, toss in the oils and spices then pour in the vegetable stock.
- Bring to a boil, then cover, and turn heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, then stir and fluff the quinoa and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then Serve and Enjoy!
by AmandaE at dancingveggies.com
This dish was a creamy curry success – the acorn squash goes fantastically with the spices and the heat without becoming a mushy mess. I served these with some sesame greens, as some habits are hard to break.
Welcome to a special edition of the Secret Recipe Club featuring Cookies! All of today’s posts are centered on that class dessert – so if you check out every post you will have over 40 new recipes. I was so excited to sign up for this challenge, and went to check out my assigned blog as soon as I got the email. I have been checking out Amy’s Cooking Adventure for a bit of time now, so seeing her name in the email resulted in a rather embarrassing squeal of delight as I knew her blog was stuffed with delicious treats. There are so many insanely good options on Amy’s blog, and picking one recipe was not an easy task. Seven cookie recipes made my short list, and looking at back at my full list I must have been on a seasonal kick as almost every one of them features a common seasonal “ingredient”. Ranging from two chocolate peppermint cookies, to pumpkin latte (!!!) to two s’mores variations – which is what I went with in the end. Reading her post about the outdoor fire place made me very thankful for our fire pit, and it’s because of our fire pit that we still had many of the ingredients required for this post. I did have to make a few changes to her recipe as I couldn’t find kosher mini-marshmallows which I know have to exist somewhere outside of the internet. So I filled a cup with hot water and used my kitchen shears to trim the full size ones in to quarters – dipping the shears in the hot water as needed.
- 2 cups mini-marshmallows
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbles (6 sheets)
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose floor
- 1 cup crushed Hershey Bars (or milk chocolate chip)
- Heat oven to broil and place a single layer of mini-marshmallows on a cookie sheet and broil for 2 minutes or until the tops of golden. Set aside
- Cream the butter and sugar together for 10 minutes, then add in the vanilla extract, salt, and egg - mix well.
- IN a small bowl mix together the graham crack crumbs, flour, and baking soda. Quickly mix in to the wet ingredients and mix until just blended. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour.
- After an hour, preheat oven to 375 and stir the chocolate chips in to the dough.
- Form a walnut sized ball of dough, and then press a mini-marshmallow in to the middle - wrapping dough around the marshmallow before placing on a cookie sheet lines with parchment.
- Bake for 9 minutes, then allow cookies to cool on sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
by AmandaE at dancingveggies.com
So with this post SRC is finished for 2014! I’ll be back in January posting an “orphan” blog with Group D and starting in February I’ll be posting with my regular group A. This has been another fantastic year filled with tons of incredible recipes, and I’m thrilled that it ended on such a sweet note.