Monday, April 29, 2013

Old Fashioned Snickerdoodle Dedication

Today, I have a cookie recipe to share with you, but it comes with mixed emotions. Sadness, wonder, happiness and a bit of excitement. Let me try to explain.

Old Fashioned Snickerdoodles


Well, today would have been my father-in-law's 57th birthday. But I never got to call him "Dad" unfortunately, because he was taken from us too young. Ryan's father suffered from many complications because of an illness, but fought a tough battle. I had the opportunity to know Dave for several years while Ryan and I dated, but I knew a different Dave, a fighting Dave. Even though he was sick for most of the time that I knew him, he always tried to have a great outlook on life.

Old Fashioned Snickerdoodles


My little brother said it well, "Crazy to think about what he'd be doing if he were still here." I often wonder about that myself, especially with my love for healthy cooking. Dave loved milk and cookies, and according to Ryan, ate this for dessert every night. I always smile when I find Ryan doing this. He loves sweets, but I do think it makes him happy to know his Dad was the same way. 


Today is also my friend's birthday!! Corey met my best friend in business school a few years ago. He whisked her away to the West Coast and got engaged!!! I know he will take care of my girl, which brings me happiness.

Old Fashioned Snickerdoodles


Well, that happy couple is about to have some visitors! Ryan and I are going out next week to San Francisco to visit our dear friends and peruse the culinary scene. There will be a full report when we return! Corey, watch out, these cookies are coming your way next week!

But, for now, enjoy these Old Fashioned snickerdoodles. These cookies are dedicated to Corey (who loves bourbon and snickerdoodles); Dave (who just loved cookies); and Ryan (who loves when I bake)!

Old Fashioned Snickerdoodles

Slightly Adapted from Crepes of Wrath recipe
Makes: 12 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12-14 minutes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2-3 T bourbon
1 tsp bitters
1 tsp orange zest
2 T sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and cooking spray or silicon liners.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt).

In a large bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. One at a time, add in the egg, bourbon, bitters and orange zest. Slowly add in the dry ingredients until the cookie dough comes together. Place the dough into the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Combine the 2 T sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon together in a small bowl and mix until well combined. Using a small cookie scoop, roll the cookie dough into 2 T sized cookie balls and then roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place the cookie balls onto the cookie sheet and gently flatten with the back of your hand.

Bake for 12-14 minutes and cook on a rack.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

Spring and Summer produce make it easier (and cheaper) to eat healthy. Vibrant produce pops up at every corner. It is no secret that Ryan and I both love vegetables, but many of my friends don't. Here is the key to eating your vegetables, just add a little flavor to them AND make it simple to prepare! I am constantly asked how to prepare seasonal vegetables, which I kindly answer (mostly to keep my dear friends from boiling their veggies....ah, NOOOOO)!! 

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

The best preparation method to bring out the great taste and retain the nutrients for vegetables is either steaming or roasting them. We also like to throw them on the grill when we have the coals fired up for some tasty meat or seafood! (Side note: grilled zucchini is probably my favorite thing in the entire world).

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

Quick and Easy Vegetables

So as the beautiful Spring produce arrives in North Carolina, I thought I would start sharing methods of how to prepare these lustrous vegetables (and fruit). In spring, we will start to see asparagus, radishes, strawberries, rhubarb, cherries, peas, apricots, artichokes and morel mushrooms. All known to appear in my kitchen :)

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

I have spotted a few of these already, but decided to start with a common favorite, asparagus. The key to this vegetable is to remove the fibrous, chewy part and cook enough so that it cuts easily. No one wants to eat tough asparagus! I like to pair it with a little lemon and salt and pepper, that's it!

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

With this easy preparation, there is no excuse not to eat your veggies!!

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

Yields: 3-4 side servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
2 T grapeseed oil or olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, stems cut
salt and pepper

A great trick to remove the dense stems from asparagus are to take one stalk and hold at both ends. Gently pull both sides down towards each other and the stalk will snap along the point where you want to cut the tough stem off. Place this next to the rest of your stalks and cut around that point. 

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the prepared asparagus onto the baking sheet and drizzle with the oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. 

Roast the asparagus for about 20 minutes, flipping and stirring the vegetables halfway. (might need more time if you double the recipe)

After 20 minutes, test an asparagus for doneness. We like ours to have a little crunch to them, but if you want them more cooked, roast for about 5 minutes longer. Garnish with lemon zest and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Muffins (Gluten Free)

The warm weather is here and so is spring produce. I saw the first appearance of delicious sweet blueberries and instantly thought blueberry muffins!! But I am still following this gluten free diet and needed to come up with a muffin recipe that wouldn't set me back.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins (Gluten Free)

I found help - a muffin recipe on Texanerin Baking. She recently posted a gluten free lemon muffin. I decided to add fresh blueberries and double the amount of lemon so the flavors really popped!

Lemon Blueberry Muffins (Gluten Free)

Baking with gluten free flours can be tricky and I will be the first to admit that I am still learning. However, I have learned the significant difference between almond flour and almond meal. Almond flour is actually ground more fine and from blanched almonds (meaning the peels are removed). Almond meal, is simply finely chopped whole almonds.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins (Gluten Free)

I also use coconut flour in this recipe, which is very dense and absorbs a lot of liquid. You will notice after mixing the dry and wet ingredients that the batter will become very dense, this is normal! Since Ryan doesn't partake that often in gluten free baked goods, I make these on the weekend and store them in the fridge for a quick weekday breakfast!

Lemon Blueberry Muffins (Gluten Free)

Adapted from Texanerin Baking Gluten Free Lemon Muffins
Yields: 10 muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes

96 grams almond flour (blanched almond flour) (about 1 cup)
2 T coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
zest and juice of 2 lemons (4 T juice, 4 Tsp zest)
3 eggs
2 T maple syrup
2 T plain yogurt (I prefer to use plain Greek yogurt)
1 T milk, any kind
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 T melted butter
pint of fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375 and line a muffin pan with muffin liners. Optional: spray the muffin liners with cooking spray.

If you have a scale, measure out the almond flour. If not, measure around 1 cup. Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and mix well using a whisk.

In a larger bowl, combine the eggs, juice, zest, maple syrup, yogurt, milk, melted butter and extract together until just combined. Add in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries and transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center (although it might be covered in blueberry juice)! Cool and enjoy right away or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins (Gluten Free)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oatmeal Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today is a special day. A special sweet little girl turns 2!!

Oatmeal Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Two years ago, Ryan and I got to meet our sweet Goddaughter for the first time. Avery has been such a blessing in our lives, always bringing us joy. Can you tell by my cheesy smile how happy she makes me...

Since that amazing day in the hospital when we first got to hold her, we have watched her grow into an intelligent, sweet little girl. Of course our little princess has her Diva moments, but she is surrounded by a family that loves her, which only makes her project more love!

Little Avery LOVES her sweets, so in celebration of her second birthday, we thought we would make special cookies, for a special little girl! Bonus, these cookies just happen to be gluten free!

We can't wait to officially celebrate with everyone this weekend and many more special memories with Avery.

Happy Birthday Avery! Uncle Ryan and Aunt Jessie love you!!

Oatmeal Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Trader Joe's recipe
Yields: 24-36 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes

¼ cup butter, room temperature
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup sugar
3 cups TJ’s gluten free rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar
6 oz chocolate chips
2 eggs
½ cup sunflower seeds or chopped nut
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter or almond butter

Oatmeal Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar and butter and beat until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla and baking soda and mix well. Add peanut butter and mix. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and seeds or nuts. Place tablespoon full of dough on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes until lightly brown around edges.

Oatmeal Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Monday, April 8, 2013

Low Country Lentils: Food Bloggers Against Hunger

Have you ever been hungry? Well, it turns out that 1 in 6 Americans will be hungry at some point in their lives. The food assistance program in the United States averages to around $4 per day for each person. Could you feed your family on $4 a day??

Low Country Lentils: Food Bloggers Against Hunger

I have joined forces with Food Bloggers Against Hunger today to help raise awareness of this rapidly growing problem in America.

I decided to take $4 to the grocery store to see if I could come up with a meal for that much. My first thought was peanut butter and jelly, but peanut butter is actually pretty expensive and took up the entire $4 itself. My second thought was beans, which are economical to buy, filling and stretch for many servings. I like to cook my lentils in broth, but quickly found that buying broth wouldn't fit into my budget. So I found that the lentils, lemon and one vegetable would come under $4. 

  • Lentils - $1.69
  • Red pepper - $1.19
  • Lime - $0.29
  • Grand Total = $3.39
Low Country Lentils: Food Bloggers Against Hunger

After spending an obscene amount of time in the store and coming away with only three ingredients with my $4, I was very frustrated and tired. It opened my eyes to how difficult life can be and I paused to be thankful for my life.

In addition to dedicating my post to this issue today, I want to encourage my readers to watch A Place At The Table by Participant Films. The documentary brings out the truth about the hunger problem in America and the implications it has on our society. If you have not yet seen this, I encourage you to do so - it will open your eyes!

Help fix this problem in America and send a letter to congress. I am proud to join forces with 200 other food bloggers today (and moving forward) to make some noise about this problem. I hope you will help too!!

Low Country Lentils: Food Bloggers Against Hunger

Low Country Lentils

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

2 T olive oil
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 T cajun spices
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
½ tsp salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
⅓ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the red pepper, cajun spices and cumin and saute for 5 minutes. Add in the lentils and stir to combine, then add in the broth, water and salt to pot. Stir and cook covered for 15-18 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and cilantro.

Low Country Lentils: Food Bloggers Against Hunger

Serving suggestions:
 - Over brown or white rice
 - Over fresh spinach
 - With cornbread

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Vegetable Crunch Salad and Blogiversary

Spring Vegetable Crunch Salad with Blogiversary

One year ago today, I published my first ever blog post - I Now Pronounce You Man and Wife.

Happy Blogiversary

Reaching this milestone made me look back on some of my early posts and realize how much I have grown as a writer, chef, blogger, and person overall. The blog has been a channel where I can share my thoughts and opinions about the field I love - cooking. Kettler Cuisine challenges my creativity, writing skills and culinary knowledge every day.

Lessons in Blogging

There are several things that I have learned from the past year of blogging. It certainly isn't as easy as one would think:
  1. A post takes time. As simple as it sounds to type up your thoughts and a recipe, it requires drafts, edits, HTML and multimedia. I have never been able to just "throw" a post together in 20 minutes.
  2. You must think ahead. Different seasons bring different produce, ingredients and food trends. In order to stay relavant, I try to think a few months ahead and plan for dishes or ingredients I want to write about. 
  3. Proper SEO is important. Search engine optimization is key to a good blog. This helps others find your site, and when you are taking the time and effort to write and create, you want people to read it! I have to thank my hubby and BoostSuite for this lesson. 
  4. Promotion is a must. Food blogging is a wonderful, collaborative community of awesome people. I have posted and commented on other blogs, and in return, received blog-love in the form of shares, retweets, likes, comments, and shout-outs!
  5. Give credit when deserved. I love to create my own recipes, but I often find inspiration from others. There are so many great recipes out there. When I get inspired by them, I make sure to give them some love!
  6. This is not a job, but a hobby. I could spend all day, every day writing, cooking, posting, researching, editing, designing, etc. I have to limit my time on the blog so that I don't ignore other aspects of my life, like my job, friendships, health and most importantly, my husband!
Speaking of Ryan, I've got to thank him for all the support and advice. I also want to thank him for his patience, waiting to eat while I fiddle with the camera and lighting to capture our meals. Bless his heart, we say in the South.

Spring Vegetable Crunch Salad with Blogiversary

Speaking of South, Spring has arrived! Well, at least for a day. I am so ready for it that I decided to start posting Spring recipes (see lesson #2). This particular one is a Spring Vegetable Crunch Salad.

The great thing about this salad is that there are no specific measurements or dressings. The amount of ingredients can depend on the number being served (or how many leftovers desired). The combination of these vegetables just screams Spring - a nice refreshing salad for a beautiful Spring day.

Spring Vegetable Crunch Salad with Blogiversary

The key is to chop all the ingredients into uniform sizes. It was a split decision on dressing though - I went light vinaigrette and Ryan opted for his beloved Ranch.

Spring Vegetable Crunch Salad with Blogiversary

We have a lot more in store for everyone, so keep following and compromising!

Thanks again for all your support.


Spring Vegetable Crunch Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yellow cherry tomatoes
Pea sprouts (or other sprouts)

Chop all ingredients and toss with salt and pepper. Dress with favorite salad dressing right before serving. Salad can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Spring Vegetable Crunch Salad with Blogiversary