October 31, 2011

Pumpkin-Walnut Granola

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My First Secret Recipe Club post!!!! Yay!
I couldn’t be happier to be accepted into such a fun and exciting club where there is nothing but delicious recipe sharing and networking going on… {what a bloggers dream}.

My first month in the club I had the honor of poking around The Spiffy Cookie to find a recipe that spoke to me, buy the ingredients, cook it up and tell you all about it. Erin, the author and baker behind The Spiffy Cookie, is a 26 year old graduate student working towards her PhD in Biomedical Sciences. WOW... talk about a 'smart' cookie with excellent goals. Erin is also a food lover and with having lived in Texas and New York, Ohio for undergrad and then Tennessee for her graduates degree. She sure has a good handle on the map and great food from all over this country. 
She has so many phenomenal recipes on her blog like Pumpkin Biscoff Cream Cheese Bread and Pumpkin Nutella Mini Cheesecake Bites that look sooooo amazing that you just have to check out. I ended up landing on this beautiful Pumpkin Spice Granola. Just like Erin, I had never made homemade granola before so being that we were in the same boat, I couldn’t pass this opportunity up.


Paul and I love granola. Over yogurt in the morning, sprinkled on ice cream for added spunk to our dessert and just as a to-go snack baggie to push the hunger down when were on the run.
After reading the ingredients and recipe, I was surprised as to how easy this all looked and was somewhat relived that this would be a good challenge with excellent results. As you see throughout my blog the past couple of weeks, I have been loving all the pumpkin recipes out there, and I even held my first Blog Hop with a focus on all Harvest recipes that warm your home. There were so many fabulous recipes that were shared to which my mother and I got to work on a few of them right away, how delicious.
So, back to this yummy yummy granola that I have been gobbling down since I was given my assignment. This was so simple to throw together and make and the taste is nothing short of fantastic. With every bite of granola you get that fall pumpkin taste with natural sweeteners and good hearty nuts. The flavor has a taste all its own, it’s delicious by itself or sprinkled over your favorite snack or treat. Any way you have this granola your taste buds will be doing the Harvest dance.


Or Erin says, it doesn't matter how it gets into your belly, just make sure it gets there.
Natural, healthy, quick and delicious… what could be better?  To see Erin’s original recipe, please stop by her page, let her know I sent you and show her some foodie love.
Pumpkin-Walnut Granola
Photos by A Healthy Jalapeño
Recipe adopted by The Spiffy Cookie



Ingredients
5 cups rolled oats
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts, crushed

cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.


Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Makes approximately 6-1/2 cups


Come visit the  Secret Recipe Club to see all the other wonderful recipes that were shared this month and let them know A Healthy Jalapeño sent you.


xoxo

Enjoy!


October 29, 2011

Old Crow Apple Pie

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Ohhhhhh Happy Vacation!!!!


Currently Paul and I are on vacation at a destination unknown {yet} enjoying the fresh air, wine tastings, amazing food {maple syrup}, horseback riding and of course... the first SNOW!
To better explain my true excitement, let me give you a little background. Paul and I have been dating for over 3 years, basically ever since the day he got back from his 2nd tour in Iraq. Since that time we have had so much fun, met some amazing people and of course have grown stronger and more connected each and every day in our relationship.

Well, what doesn't come with that story is that other that visiting a good friends house in Maine... we have NEVER been on vacation together. Now growing up my family and I didn't go on too many vacations away to begin with. In later years we started to make a habit of going to the Cape each year which was always the highlight of the summer. My family has always been the type to be happy and blessed with no matter what were given as long as we're together.

Paul and I were able to sneak away last winter to our friends Maine house as you might remember from my Eat.Play.Love.Maine post almost a year ago. It was such a great time however in the mist of all our fun, we almost had to leave a day early {which would have made our 'vacation trip' only 24 hours long} because there was huge snow predicted for CT and Paul has a large plow route he couldn't neglect. Luckly all worked out and we were able to stay two nights in Maine, the girls got to go shopping and we made snow angels on the lake. {YES}

Well on top of Paul and I's track record of a 2 night vacation, we have also had 11 weddings this year. Each and every one was a dear friend of ours and we wouldn't have missed them for the world, great time and great memories...but with all those good times, late nights and wedding shots came the price of not getting away to spend some time just the two of us.

Don't get me wrong, we had such an amazing summer, party after party and with 11 weddings, it's defiantly a summer for the books... Paul and I are never bashful when it comes time to break out some serious moves on the dance floor, break it down and have a blast.

{He just discovered "The Bernie" from 'Weekend at Bernie's' and seriously I can not look at him without breaking out laughing so hard. Imagine Mr.6'5" rocking the 'Bernie'... it's too much}.

Unfortunately, with actually 14 wedding invitations, some overlapped and some we had to split up for... which coincidentally was the wedding that was a 'destination' at a breathtaking inn in Vermont in which Paul and I were in the wedding parties on the same day so I went date-in-arms with my best friend!!!
I am giving all this background information and building hype for my excitement because as you sit hear and read this....
WE ARE ON VACATION!!!!

We were asked to go to Vermont this weekend for a 3 night/4 day getaway in a 3 bedroom lodge for a relaxing, stress-free weekend of fun, fun, fun. {and you better believe we are taking it}

While I am sure at this moment I am at least two or three wine tastings in and have already devoured something phenomenal that I am sure to blog about later... I preemptively prepared something equally as fabulous to share with you all while I am away. 
This past week was a long and rough week for me so when I finally got home Thursday night after work and after packing and after setting the puppies up at my mothers... I sat down to this sweet sip of heaven. I had recently bought a bottle of Apple Pie Liquor, knowing it would be fabulous, and was dabbling with what to do with it. Well, the college bar tending light bulb went off and I did a little mixing.

This was an excellent ladies version of a man's 'scotch' hour...when you sit around with your cigars and talk about who knows what. 

Well welcome to ladies hour... where the apple pie whiskey and conversation never ends. This was a perfect and of night cocktail with all the flavors of fall. The Apple Pie mixed with the whiskey are a beautiful blend that you should absolutely try.

Have a great weekend and see you when I get back!!
Old Crow Apple Pie
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño

Ingredients

1 ounce(s) 
Old Crow Kentucky Whiskey
1/4 ounce(s) Apple Pie Liqueur (I used Travis Hasse's Apple Pie Liqueur)
Apple slice, garnish
1/2 cinnamon stick, garnish

Add Old Crow Kentucky Whiskey and Apple Pie Liqueur to a shaker.
Shake with ice and pour into a small rocks glass. Add additional ice to keep chill.

Garnish with apple slice and half a cinnamon stick.
Helloooooo Vermont!

 
Serve.

October 28, 2011

Baked Cranberry-Apple Brie

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hApPy fRidAy!!!!
I want to let you all know that I'm guest posting tomorrow over at Krista's fabulous blog Everyday Mom's Meals where I'm sharing my delicious Baked Cranberry-Apple Brie! I found this recipe last winter and adopted it to compliment this beautiful fall season. This Baked Cranberry-Apple Brie has a sweet knack for the harvest season with a complimentary creamy brie that heightens the flavor and warms your soul. I hope you try and enjoy this snack as much as Paul and I do and please feel free to roam on A Healthy Jalapeño for more delicious and festive treats.
I absolutely adore Krista, she is a fabulous friend to all bloggers and has some pretty rocking recipes of her own. You might remember when she did a guest post for me back in August with that mouth-watering Peach Custard Streusel Pie.  I was sooo excited when she asked me to share on her blog, and more than honored. head over to send her some love after you check out this warm and delicious Fall recipe!
Enjoy!

October 27, 2011

Holiday Giveaways!!!

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Giveaways???? Who doesn't love GIVEAWAYS!!!!!!


I love when I see giveaways, everyone loves new gadgets and trinkets and toys especially when you get that pure satisfaction from WINNING! It's a chance to share in some really good healthy competition while making new friends and exploring new outlets.


A girlfriend of mine from high school has a fabulous blog called Our Tiny Place. She is a mother of two beautiful little "bugs", blogs day in and day out with the cutest pictures, stories and adventures in her life as a new mother and wife. Little did we know that the two of us would cross paths again through our love of blogging but sure enough we are both HOOKED and can't get enough.


Well, while chatting back and forth about a thousand other things and keeping up with each others lives via blogger I realized that she is holding her very first Giveaway!!!! Could I be more excited!


Although she blogs mostly about family life and the in's and out's of motherhood, she is also very tuned in on health and fitness. We both do Crossfit, eat healthy (her wayyyyyyy more than I) and try to follow a clean healthy lifestyle so of course she is very supportive when it comes to food.


Well wouldn't you know that her VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY would be a food related item that is beautiful and so perfect for the up and coming season.
Don't you just love them... and they are completely customizable to whoever wins whether you want this design or something else that fits better to your holidays.


And, hello....it's her very first Giveaway!!! The girl knows how to kick off a party right!! Go right on over to her page for the rules and enter to win these fabulous holiday gifts {or treat yourself}. You can't turn this giveaway down because these items are practically priceless.


Go check it out!!!

Don't forget to stop by her page and tell her I sent you :)

{Guest Post} Pumpkin-Pecan Bread Pudding

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It's Guest Post Thursday!!!

Today I have the honor of introducing you to Sabrina from eat drink and be merry. The main reason I feel in love with Sabrina's blog is that she has such a passion for simple, quick and healthy recipes, aaaand strives to cook with 90% of organic and clean ingredients...LOVE IT! I myself use organic or farmers market ingredients as often as I can, keeping food simple and 'clean' as Sabrina says. We were clearly a match and I just HAD to ask her to guest blog on my page. 
She also has a fabulous collection of recipes that are sure to make you drool one after the other. I mean check out these Spicy Sweet Potato Fries with an Avocado Aioli {spicy, a girl after my own heart}, and this Spiced Hot Apple Cider, I was in heaven. Then my mouth dropped when she sent me her Pumpkin-Pecan Bread Pudding. I myself have never made bread pudding before but if I was going to, I would want it to look like this. I am a huge sucker for fall flavors and this one hit the nail on the head with pumpkin and pecans. YUM.

Make sure to visit her blog, send her some love and see more of the amazing things she has been cooking up and sharing with all of us! <3
With that being said, I give you the adorable Sabrina!
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I am so excited to be doing a guest post here on A Healthy Jalapeno! My name is Sabrina and I write the blog eat.drink.and be merry. where I share my food adventures in the kitchen and in my travels. My recipes are simple, easy, and are made with wholesome ingredients. I started eat.drink.and be merry. as a way to organize and keep track of the recipes I create, love, or have found.It has turned into so much more for me and I love sharing with such a wonderful foodie community. I love everything about food, and mostly how it brings people together.

Today I am sharing my recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding. It is such a warm and comforting dessert that's perfect for this time of year! I like to drizzle mine with a little extra maple syrup and top it with homemade whipped cream. It would also be fabulous with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Thank you to Laura for inviting me to post on her amazing blog. I absolutely love her recipes and healthy ideas! And I totally try to follow her food rules!
Pumpkin-Pecan Bread Pudding
1 loaf crusty bread (I used ciabatta) cut into cubes (about 6 cups)
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup half & half
3 eggs
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup (plus more when serving)

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter.



Mix all ingredients (except bread, pecans, and maple syrup) into a bowl and set aside. Add bread cubes to the bowl, mix, and let them sit for 10 minutes. Pour bread pudding mixture into dish and top with chopped pecans. Drizzle with 1/4 cup maple syrup.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until firm. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with homemade whipped cream (see below)


Homemade Whipped Cream

1/2 pint heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup powdered sugar


Combine all ingredients in a  cold bowl and beat on medium speed until desired consistency. About 5 minutes.
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Thanks again Sabrina for sharing your amazing bread pudding, I know it must have divine. Please stop over Sabrina's beautiful blog, her photos and her writing always put a smile on my face! :) 
I will be away this weekend but don't you worry, I have a bunch of fabulous recipes ready for you, including my very first Secret Recipe Club reveal this Monday. {Yay}
Happy Thursday everyone!


Enjoy!

October 25, 2011

Pork and Apple Kabobs with Caramel-Walnut Sauce

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Ok I think it's time to confess that I seriously have an issue with cookie books and magazines. There is not a store I enter without it trickling in the back of my mind that there might be cooking magazines here, and in all honesty...I am right.

I first discovered my FAVORITE cooking magazine Fine Cooking {best magazine on the planet} at the Home Depot while my boyfriend was trying to decide between the 900 different varieties of sheetrock, wood and trim {yikes}. Lucky me, I was so engulfed in recipe after recipe that I never noticed we had been in the same isle, looking at the same items for almost an hour.

{This is also where I play my 'Best Girlfriend Ever' card because I go with him to pick out his tools and scrap pieces when in actuality I am nose deep in a new magazine trying to decide if I should buy it}

The point you might ask... well, since this little addiction started I have now brought on a mass collection of magazines that seem to be taking over my little corner of the living room and I think it's enough of a problem to call attention to.

I have started to pick through the magazines that are not 100% cooking and pulling out all the recipes that I think would be fantastic and compiling everything into my master recipe binder. 

{In theory this all sounds wonderful, but the process is long and very very clutter-some}. I mean, who can look through a magazine for recipes without getting caught up in a few, spend a little too much time browsing and before you know it, it's dinner time and I am sitting in a huge mess of crumbled papers and stacks of more magazines to go through. UHGH! 
The highlight of this silly story is that I came across these amazing kabobs that I just had to make. The recipe seemed easy enough, most of the added ingredients were already in the house and it was perfectly matched with the fall season... love, love love.
This dinner was a cinch to put together and the dribbled delicious caramel-walnut sauce was to die for...so rich and nutty. A perfect pairing for the pork and apples, and can you believe that each kabob is only 96 calories. I KNOW!

With guests on their way or a quiet night at home, these kabobs make a fabulous showing and aromatically draw everyone right to the dinner table. 
Pork and Apple Kabobs with Caramel-Walnut Sauce
Photos by A Healthy Jalapeño
Recipe adopted by Cuisine Lite


Kebobs
2 cortland apples, cut into 12 pieces each
1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 24 pieces
1 red onion, peeled and cut into 12 pieces
12 wooden skewers, soaked in water


Sauce
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chicken broth, preferably low sodium
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp half and half
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped


Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush grill grate with oil. 


Thread 2 apple slices, 2 pork pieces and 1 onion onto the end of each skewer, beginning and ending with the apple pieces. Spray skewers with non stick spray and place on grill.


Grill kabobs, covered, until pork is cooked through, 4 minutes per side.
Saute garlic in oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in broth and brown sugar and cook until liquid is reduced by half and thickens, about 10 minutes.

 
Add vinegar and salt and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and stir in half and half and walnuts. Place skewers on plates or a platter and spoon sauce over top.

Serve immediately.
Enjoy!

October 22, 2011

CUPCAKE CAMP {New Haven}

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This morning kicked off the 2011 CUPCAKE CAMP at BAR in New Haven, CT.
Now I know some of you are not from Connecticut, actually I know some of you are not even from the states… but if you happened to be visiting from the UK and you were in CT this weekend, BAR in New Haven was hosting the most fabulous event every, CUPCAKECAMP!

CupcakeCamp is a place where you can come for free and taste test local cupcakes for them professional and amateur bakers from all over the area born from the desire for people to share and eat cupcakes in an open environment. {Check out CupcakeCamp.org for more details}

You bet that yours truly was there with my official judging cap on and cupcakes in both hands! I was in the judges den voting on different categories that each baker decided to enter their cupcakes into. 

Cupcake Wars doesn't have anything on ME!!!
Boy was I in for a sugar-rush. 7 Cupcakes entered into the Professional Prettiest category, over 15 cupcakes entered into the Professional's 'Best In Show' category {which we taste tested} and over 60+ different cupcakes entered into the amateur 'Best In Show' category.... of which, yes {we taste tested each and every one}.

What tremendous work everyone had put into their baking and it showed through every cupcake in this competition. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you, thank you to all who participated as each and every cupcake was delicious and displayed beautifully.

Here are some quick shots I was able to snap before heading to the judges table to get to work. Break out the elastic waistband pants...you're going to need them.
Everyone's setting up for the action
Vanilla and Raspberry Cupcakes with Raspberry jam and
Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
"It's 5 o'clock Somewhere" Cupcakes
Beautiful Fall Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Buttercream Frosting
Oreo Cookie Cupcakes with a Surprise in the Middle
S'more Cupcakes
Reeses Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Key Lime Pie Cupcakes
Pina Colada Cupcakes

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
The first round on 'Best in Show'
Best in Show Winner: Sushi Cupcakes
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ganache Cupcake
Sunset Cuppies
Little Monsters
Red Velvet with Buttercream Spiders
Bakers came from all over to share their delicious treats and love for cuppies:
Little Monster Cupcakes  specializing in wheat free, dairy free, vegan and mostly organic cupcakes!
Cupcake Tower : They don't just have Cupcake Towers...they even have Cake Pop Towers and a great assortment of ribbons to dress up your tower.
BAKERELLA's cake pop ideas are amazing and extremely creative. 
Bacon and Glitter is bringing a lot of mini cuppies!!!!
Cupcake Swirl is a "sweet, chic and unique retail boutique." They have so many unique products for baking!
Sweet Confections by Amanda offers a variety of sweet treats, including cupcakes, cakes, and much more.
Pink Sprinkles Stop on by their store for a sweet treat!
Sweet Maria's was featured in The Connecticut Magazine's "Best of Connecticut 2010: Food and Drink" for their cookies!
Mr. D's Cupcakes, Candy, Ice Cream and Toys customers asked them to join in the cupcake fun at camp...and boy are we sure glad that they did!!!
The Cupcake Truck of New Haven  Do you want to know where the cupcake truck is today?? 
Alyssa's Cakery will be bringing 4 dozen cuppy's! !
Lucky Girl Bakery has all the delicious "made-to-order" treats you love.

Laura at cup.cake.CT , is back to share the cupcake love this year. Wait until you taste Laura's delicious, creative cupcakes!
Erin and I had such a great time!!!!
We had such a blast!!! Who wouldn't with a room filled with fabulous bakers, hundreds of cupcakes and lots and lots of milk. Great Saturday afternoon.


Last year….

CupcakeCamp New Haven organizers Kelli Iassogna, of Kelli's Cakes, and Lauren Paup, of Sweet Lilly Bakery talked about CupcakeCamp on Good Morning Connecticut! Look for Kelli again this year on the news talking about this wonderful event.



Have more questions about CupcakeCamp New Haven? Email them! cupcakecampnewhaven@gmail.com.