June 6, 2013

Ricotta Pancakes

Now that my son is in school, I appreciate summer a little more! We have really enjoyed the relaxing mornings before we head out to swim team and lessons. The kids love pancakes but I usually make waffles (less babysitting involved I think) but their extra nice request was too hard to resist the other morning. I had a clearanced container of ricotta in the fridge and remembered hearing about ricotta pancakes once so to Google I happily went.

Smitten Kitchen never disappoints (she has a lovely new cookbook too) and although I didn't make the apples she suggested for her lemon ricotta pancakes, some yummy canned peaches from last fall were perfect with our favorite homemade maple syrup. Honestly, though, these tasted amazing fresh off the stove with a little butter on top. I hate lumpy pancakes (though I probably deserve them using Bisquick!) Because these pancakes are mostly ricotta and eggs, there's no lumps- just soft, tender pancakes to melt in your mouth. Next time I'll double the recipe because these were all gone before the griddle cooled with only my little man, baby strawberry and I eating them.

What's your favorite topping for pancakes and waffles? I'm going to try these with strawberries next time (surprise surprise!)

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes 

from Anne Strawberry
adapted from smitten kitchen
Servings: Makes about twelve 3- to 4-inch pancakes.

4 large eggs, separated
1 1/3 cups ricotta
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Separate the eggs and set aside the whites. In a bowl whisk together the egg YOLKS, ricotta, sugar, and zest. Lightly stir in the flour until barely combined. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold stiff peaks. Whisk in a quarter of the whites then fold the rest in gently. Cook the pancakes over medium heat on a griddle of flat pan brushed with butter for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until they are golden. The recipe will yield about a dozen 1/4 cup sized pancakes. Transfer the pancakes as they are cooked to a heatproof platter and keep them warm in a 200°F oven (or eat them hot off the pan with a little fresh butter!) Try fresh fruit or maple syrup on top.

Irene's Maple Syrup
from Anne Strawberry
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Water
1/2 cup Dark Karo Syrup
1 teaspoon Maple extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Combine all ingredients in sauce pan, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes and serve over pancakes. Store leftovers in a screw-top glass jar for a few weeks (reheat in the microwave or on the stove).

June 4, 2013

Peanut Butter Popcorn

I don't know about your family, but at our house, as soon as we walk in the door from Church the children act like I've never fed them before and start razing the pantry and fridge. To hold off the hunger tide I made this popcorn on Sunday. I saw the recipe from the Lazy Budget Chef earlier in the weekend and thought it would be worth trying. With the starving kids begging for a snack, I didn't follow the recipe but just threw a few things in a sauce pan, lets them melt together, and poured it over a big bowl of plain air popped popcorn. Lazy, quick after-Church cooking- I love when that works out!

I told my tall man that this was 'healthy caramel popcorn' and he laughed (and grabbed a handful on his way out of the kitchen). I know it's not healthy but it does have healthier ingredients. The butter is replaced by coconut oil and the brown sugar by honey. I'll admit I was skeptical. I don't love honey on it's own and was a little nervous that the final product would have a honey taste. The original recipe suggests a peanut butter variation so I went with that, figuring it would camouflage the honey. I am happy to report this tasted like the real deal. It's sweet and a little (not too) sticky, barely salty, crunchy and delicious. My mom makes peanut butter rice krispy treats that are a lot like these (but I'll take popcorn over cereal any day!)

I should also tell you- I really, really hate coconut but there's no nasty sunblock taste here even when you use the oil. Give it a try.

Please forgive the instagram photo. I have a sparkly new camera but my phone is just so easy when I'm in a time crunch!

Peanut Butter Popcorn
from Anne Strawberry
aka 'Healthy Caramel Popcorn'

1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla
salt, to taste (I prefer Kosher)
one big bowl of plain popcorn (about 2/3 cup kernels, popped)

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut oil, honey, and peanut butter. Stir and cook until melted and combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Carefully pour the hot topping over the popcorn and stir with a big wooden spoon. Season with salt to taste (go easy- the peanut butter is a little salty) and enjoy!

Note- these measurements are approximates. These ingredients are way too sticky for me to measure regularly, I just eyeballed them! I'm sure butter would be a yummy substitute for the coconut oil, too, if you don't have any.

recipe inspired by Lazy Budget Chef's

June 3, 2013

In Other Food Related News...

Well, I said I would be on to post about the trifle I made but writing a full on recipe and post seems about as possible as well, I don't know, most things are a little difficult right now with a cute little monkey in my arms. Getting to swim team on time is pretty impressive for now (we're 3/4 for on time, not too shabby!) I've sat down and worked on my post 15 minutes at a time for a few times but it's not finished so I thought I'd share a few things instead. For the locals, there's a new place to get your carb fix in downtown Mesa- Proof Artisan Breads. The pain au chocolat is to die for and I'm looking forward to trying some of his fancy breads. Mr. Carbohydrate was even impressed and asked when I was going to bring those home instead of gorgeous chocolate pastries he can't eat. Check it out if you're close by.

I think I might have been the last person to notice this salad dressing but I thought I'd pass it along just in case. I love making my own salad dressings and usually do (maybe that's why I didn't know about the Olive Garden dressing?) But I was looking for a dressing we had had at a party and couldn't resist this $3 bottle of deliciousness. It tastes like the real deal- much more than all the copy cat Olive Garden salad dressing recipes I've seen and tried on Pinterest. I'm not breaking up with homemade salad dressing (I have lots of great ideas on my board here) but I'm certainly going to buy another bottle of this when it runs out. I found mine at Walmart, $3 well spent!

The last thing I'm nibbling on most of the time is this cute girl. I think I'm going to call her baby Rosebud for now. She's adorable and delicious and about to wake up from her nap so it's time to cut this super eloquent blog post off.

Have you been eating anything amazing lately? Is there a salad dressing that I should have tried by now? Do tell!