Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Homemade Christmas

This is my favorite day of the year. How can someone not love a day where you gather with your loved ones, share traditions and thoughtful gift giving and dine on amazing food.

Homemade Christmas

Merry Christmas

I love giving presents! I can honestly say it is more fulfilling for me to think of the perfect gift and watch the recipient open it, than receiving them. Since I started the blog this year, it was only fitting that I give a gift from Kettler Cuisine to each member of my family.

Before I share my homemade gifts, I want to thank everyone that reads my blog and for all of the support I have received from family and friends this past year. It has been quite an amazing year for me, and Ryan. We are so blessed to have empowering and inspiring people in our lives. What better way to show my love and gratitude than through my cooking.

Ryan Wants Brittle

The hubby was pretty easy, mostly because I know what he likes and doesn't like. Since he was majorly spoiled from all of the cookie baking during the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I decided to bring back an oldie, but goodie. I like to call it Freezer Brittle, but it really is Angie's Brittle (named after an old family friend). This isn't the typical peanut brittle that one thinks of, but a sweet and salty, chocolatey brittle. It's pretty simple to make and delicious to eat!

Homemade Christmas Brittle

Mom Gets Truffles

She was also pretty easy - just find a no-sugar, no-gluten, no-dairy, raw dessert! Hah! Yes, this such thing does exist. Exhibit A: Raw Brownies. Since she often has these in her freezer, I decided to try something new: Choco-Chili Truffles from Green Kitchen Stories. Chocolate and chilis make a deathly amazing combination. I rolled them in different things (coconut flakes, almonds, cacao).

Homemade Christmas Raw Truffles

Oh Poppycock, Father

Poppycock. And no, I am not referring to the British term for nonsense, I am referring to the sweet and salty popcorn-candy snack. I found a recipe online from Noshing with the Nolands that is a copycat version of the store bought kind. It was a bit tricky to make, but worth it when I saw his face!

Homemade Christmas Poppycock

Cookies for Desiree

She got some of my Cherry Walnut Oatmeal cookies. During all of my cookie swap testing and baking, she never got to try them. She specifically requested them, so I had to oblige. 

Homemade Christmas Cherry Walnut Oatmeal cookies

Just Buggles

Every time I make "Trash" (chex mix) and my brother-in-law Paul is around, the buggles in the mix just magically disappear! The boy loves his buggles! Hence why I made an all buggles trash. Let's just say he was a wee bit happy :)

Jerky for the Brother

And then there is my brother, who loves his beef jerky. We grew up with a second mother, Sandy. I have mentioned her and her husband in a previous post about the buttermilk-brined pork chops. She gave me (along with a dehydrator) her amazing beef jerky recipe as a wedding gift. My brother and I used to fight over this jerky when we were kids. I literally made myself sick from eating too much at one point during my childhood. I knew this was the perfect gift for my brother.

(Side note - Thank you Sandy for making this jerky when we were kids. I NOW know how time consuming it is!!)

Homemade Christmas Beef Jerky

32 hours later I had some delicious, homemade beef jerky. I will share the recipe at a later time. For now, I am going to enjoy Christmas with my family - the most important people in my life.

Merry Christmas everyone and Happy Holidays!!

Kettler Cuisine

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Mornings and Gingerbread Pancakes

I covet Sunday mornings at home!! For as much as we travel, it is so nice to wake up in my own bed, without an alarm and leisurely go about my morning. Sunday mornings are often times for me to catch up on enjoyable things (basically, anything related to food and cooking). Ryan usually sleeps in, so I put on a large pot of coffee and gather all of my recipes, food magazines, emails and notes from the previous week. And by emails, I mean the many food bloggers that I subscribe to. I read through the emails and flag the recipes I want to try or note ideas for my own blog.

Sunday Mornings and Gingerbread Pancakes

The Golden Recipe

I have become VERY selective on which recipes I save or plan to try since there are so many out there. There are several things that attract me to what I like to call a "golden recipe."
  1. Whole ingredients
  2. Ryan might like it
  3. Something I have not tried before
  4. Unique food or ingredient combinations
One such "golden recipe" was Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pancakes on Cookie and Kate! I often file away breakfast recipes, but rarely get around to them. Not this time! 

Ryan's absolute least favorite way to wake up is from an alarm or from my screaming at the bottom of the stairs. I have learned over the years to either very gently wake him up with whispers or just start cooking and let the aroma's fill the house (and his nose). So when Ryan was still asleep this morning and I started getting hungry, I decided to "wake him up!"

The pancakes were amazing! Ryan adores his plain pancakes, so I was taking a big risk with this one, but he loved it too! It was like eating gingerbread for breakfast. The batter is a bit different, it thickens up quickly, so be prepared to cook the batter right away.

Sunday Mornings and Gingerbread Pancakes

Gingerbread Pancakes

Adapted from Cookie and Kate
Serves: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (or freshly grated if you have whole nutmeg)
2 T brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup 1% milk
3 T molasses
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 T butter, melted and cooled
Pomegranate seeds (optional)
Maple syrup

Honey cinnamon butter (optional)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 tsp honey
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Make the honey cinnamon butter first by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar until combine. Heat a large griddle or skillet to medium low heat. One this is ready, prepare the rest of the batter. In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg, milk, vanilla, molasses and melted butter together. Add the milk mixture into the flour mixture slowly, stirring constantly. 

Melt a pat of butter onto the griddle and pour about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the griddle. The batter will be thick. Once the outside of the pancakes are not shiny*, they should be ready to flip. The bottom should be a darker brown. Serve pancakes right away or store in a warmed oven until ready to serve. 

Garnish with pomegranate seeds or the honey cinnamon butter.

*These are not like normal pancakes where the bubbles come through signifying the cakes are ready to be flipped. Bubbles will not form on these!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Vacation Margarita

Even though it is now officially the holidays, I am on vacation too! A vacation from work, traveling, chores and anything else that stresses me out. And when I think vacation, I think margaritas!!

Clean Margarita

Clean Margarita

Yea, I know, it is 40 degrees outside and probably snowing where many of you are. But dangit, I want a margarita. When Ryan and I were in Austin several months ago, we decided to treat ourselves to some final Tex Mex before flying home. While perusing the menu, I spotted a "Clean" Margarita, which was absent of all sugar. To my surprise, this was delicious and absolutely what I needed after rich food-filled weekend. Light and refreshing! Who knew that the most essential ingredient of a Margarita (besides tequila) isn't really needed. 

Since that is the last margarita I had, and was associated with a happy memory, I decided to recreate the Clean Margarita, Kettler-style. This turned out to be a lot easier than expected - just use good quality silver tequila. My personal favorite is Patron. I love it and so does my family! 

So, cheers to my holiday vacation (and yours)!!

Clean Margarita

Clean Margarita

Serves: 1
Prep Time: 3 minutes

1 shot silver tequila
2 shots Pelligrino (or other sparkling water)
1 tsp lime juice
2 tsp orange juice
1 cup ice, split
lime wedge (garnish)

Dampen the rim of a glass, and dip into a plate of salt (to create the salt rim). Fill the glass with half of the ice and place the tequila, lime juice and remaining ice in a martini shaker. Give this 4-5 good shakes and pour into the prepared glass. Top off with the Pelligrino (or other sparkling water) and gently stir. Garnish with a lime wedge and let your home vacation begin :)

Feel free to adjust the amount of lime and orange juice to your liking.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cherry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Cherry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

What better way to dive right into the food blogging community, than a world-wide cookie swap with food bloggers. I have been at this blog for about 8 months now and absolutely loving it. Nothing gives me more joy than to share my recipes and adventures with cooking, especially baking since I am still perfecting this area of the culinary world.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012
A few months ago, I received information for an international cookie swap that only food bloggers could participate in - The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. For a small donation to the Cookies for Kids' Cancer, I received three bloggers to send each a dozen cookies to, and in return I would receive a dozen cookies from three different bloggers. There were a few stipulations along the way, but ultimately all the food bloggers would post their cookie recipe on 12/12/12 (today) for massive cookie recipe sharing!

Cookies Galore

It took me all of 10 seconds to process this and sign up! What is not to love about receiving three dozen cookies in the mail! Then it took me another 5 seconds to figure out which cookies to bake; my Cherry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies. These cookies remind me of growing up, home and both of my parents. My mom always made them and my dad always devoured them!! I reserve these cookies for the holidays so I can share with others (otherwise they would all end up in my belly). They are absolutely addictive, buttery, tangy, sweet and delicious, all at the same time.

Cherry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Before I share my cookie recipe, I want to give a quick thanks to three bloggers that sent me delicious and beautiful cookies! I was very happy to come home one day last week to find several boxes (full of cookies) at my front door.

The first one I opened was a bag of delicious, chewy Molasses Cookies from Annakatet at la aguacateBaked and packaged beautifully! These were my favorite of the three! How did she know about my love for spicy, gingery cookies?!?!?!

Then I received a holiday tin full of Layered Butter Cookies from Christine at Cook the Story. She sent me an assortment of vanilla cookies with lemon and raspberry, layered with apricot preserves AND vanilla cookies with orange and fennel, layered with cranberry jelly. Talk about buttery, melt-in-your mouth delicious!!

And finally, I got a cute red box full of Candy Cane Macaroons from Jennifer at Mother Thyme. I was VERY impressed that she sent macaroons since they are so delicate. Most of them made it through the shipping travels and were very yummy (one of my husbands favs).

Eating and baking these cookies truly get me into the Holiday Spirit! Even the hubby wanted to help out! I made sure to squeeze in lots of taste tests for him!!

Cherry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Cherry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Yields: 3-4 dozen, depending on size of cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes + 1 hour
Cook Time: 8-12 minutes

2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoon low-fat milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped

In a large standing mixer, cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. In a small separate bowl, beat the eggs and add in the milk and vanilla. Add this into the butter mixture and beat until blended.

Cherry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

In a medium separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add this into the butter mixture while on low speed until just blended. Remove the bowl from the standing mixer and stir in the oats by hand. Fold in the cherries and walnuts and stir until just combined. Do not over mix!

Cherry Walnut Oatmeal CookiesCherry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Once ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350F and grease several cookie sheets or use silicon pats.

Cherry Walnut Oatmeal CookiesCherry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Evenly scoop the cookies onto the cookie sheets and cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes for smaller cookies and up to 12 minutes for larger cookies (we like larger cookies).

Cherry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quick Breakfast Enchilada

Quick is the key word here, every meal over the past month has been quick! When our schedules get busy, Ryan and I try very hard not to succumb to the dreaded takeout or fast food. I like to keep things homemade as much as possible, but sometimes it is difficult in the mornings. I am one of those that presses snooze about 10 times before I actually get out of bed. I know this is horrible and both Ryan and I hate it, but that is the way my morning goes. I sleep in until the absolute, possible last minute!

So breakfast is usually out of the question for me. On weekdays, I typically have a green drink in the morning and then a hearty snack mid-morning to keep me going until lunch. However, there are some days when I know I won't get that snack and I need breakfast to tide me over. This little gem of a recipe got me through a particularly long day last week!

Quick Breakfast Enchilada | www.kettlercuisine.com

Last week was crazy - holiday parties, demanding work days, unpacking from New York, laundry and re-packing for Kiawah...Not to mention squeezing in a few final training runs before the half marathon. I needed a protein-packed breakfast that would last me longer than 2 hours. I didn't need a greasy fast food breakfast, so I pulled out the eggs and a few other ingredients. This breakfast literally took me less than 10 minutes to make and it was delicious! 15 minutes later, I was out the door.

Substitutions are easy here. Flour tortillas instead of corn, any type of bean instead of black beans, chilies for salsa, etc. Onions or other vegetables could be added or fresh tomatoes on top.

No more Dunkin' Donut runs for me in the morning!! I am starting my days off right!

Quick Breakfast Enchilada

Yields: 1 serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

1 teaspoon oil or butter
2 small corn tortillas
2 eggs
2 tablespoon canned black beans, drained and rinsed
tablespoon  salsa
tablespoon  favorite grated cheese
sour cream
hot sauce

Heat a saute pan over medium heat and melt the oil. Crack two eggs into the pan and start to scramble. Right before the eggs are finished to the consistency desired, add in the beans and salsa (or other vegetables being used). Stir to combine well and heat the beans and salsa.

Quick Breakfast Enchilada | www.kettlercuisine.com

On a large plate, lay the corn tortillas between two damp paper towels and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. This makes the tortillas more pliable and easy to roll. Fill each tortilla with the egg mixture and roll up. Sprinkle cheese on top and heat in the microwave for another 30 seconds to melt the cheese. Top with sour cream, salsa, avocado or favorite toppings.

Quick Breakfast Enchilada | www.kettlercuisine.com

Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee or tea!