Smashed Blackberry Goat Cheese Toasts

Getting ready to have the #GirlsGoneWine over for a Tuesday night #SipSnackAndChat and came across the picture for this dreamy goat cheese #WryToast that just screams to the #WesterlyWineOhs, “Serve me with Westerly Red wine.”

Total prep time is 20 minutes, which makes this an easy weekday treat, plus the jam portion makes enough to feed a crowd and keeps in a sealed container in the refrigerator for two weeks, if you can leave it there that long. 😉

I made a couple of minor adjustments to the original recipe, but nothing drastic.

Smashed Blackberry Goat Cheese Toasts

  • 1 1/2 cups blackberriesBlackberry-Toasts
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 tsp freshly grated orange zest (I added this)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I substituted 1 tsp Grand Marnier® liqueur)
  • 1 1/2 tbsps sugar
  • 3 tbsps water
  • 1 – 2 tsps cornstarch, sifted
  • French Baguette, sliced
  • 8 oz goat cheese (More or Less depending on how many you are serving)
  • fresh mint to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium saucepan combine the blackberries, blueberries, vanilla (Grand Marnier®), sugar, and water (covered) over a medium low flame. Once simmering and the fruit begins to burst (about 5 minutes) gently mash with a fork or potato masher, then whisk in the cornstarch until well incorporated.* Cover once more and simmer over a low flame until needed. (I removed from the heat so that the jam would cool and thicken)
  2. Meanwhile, toast the sliced baguette on a baking sheet in the oven as desired.  I made mine crispy but not crunchy.
  3. When ready, smear each slice with a thick layer of goat cheese, then spoon over with the smashed blackberries. Garnish with mint, then eat!

*add 1 tsp if you want the blackberries more runny, 2 tsps for a thicker texture!

Thankfully the freezer section is stocked with plenty of bagged blueberries, blackberries, and now even a mixed berry with pomegranate option that can make prepping this recipe easy and as easy to change as picking a different bag of frozen fruit! #GirlsGoneWine

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Pizza is my weakness anytime I’m trying to lean out.  The ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness just warms my insides at the mere mention.  But I know it also will leave me bloated and sorry I gave in to my craving afterward.  This crust, from Eat. Drink. Smile. solves that problem!

CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup riced, then cooked cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp italian seasonings
  • 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (for topping)
  • pizza sauce & additional toppings of your choice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To rice the cauliflower, cut florets into chunks and pulse in a food processor until you see rice-like bits. You could also use a cheese grater to produce the tiny pieces. Do not over process, you don’t want mush.
  2. Microwave the riced cauliflower in a bowl for 5-8 minutes depending on your microwave. No need to add water. After microwaving, transfer riced cauliflower to a fine mesh strainer and drain completely, gently pressing out excess water. Once drained, transfer riced cauliflower to a clean dish towel and wrap the sides around the cauliflower while gently pressing out excess water. This drying process is important!
  3. One large head of cauliflower will yield about 3 cups of riced cauliflower. Use it to make more pizzas immediately, or store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup riced, cooked cauliflower, 1 egg and your parmesan cheese. Next, add Italian seasonings, crushed garlic and salt. Making sure everything is well mixed, place your “dough” on the cookie sheet and pat out a 9″ round. Be sure not to press it too thin as it’s easy to create holes.
  6. Bake your dough at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven. Add sauce, mozzarella cheese, and your favorite pre-cooked toppings to your pizza. Place pizza under broiler just until cheese is melted, be sure to keep an eye on it!

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Upside Down Banana Bread

udbb1Since this New Year’s Day is “Upside Down,” you know, all of the official festivities happening on Monday, January 2, what better way to kick-off (no pun intended) our entire day of parade and football watching than with this upside down take on my favorite overripe fruit concoction?

Our whole holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s Day has been spent at home, except for an escape on Wednesday for my birthday dinner WITH a 102°F temperature, so I did no baking, we did no entertaining, and I’ve really done nothing but sleep and drink hot tea.  I’m trying to rally, despite being sick, and make some kind of effort for tomorrow, yet another day of being sick at home, but at least there will be something I might want to eat.

My husband (he who is Twitter challenged) managed to send this Buzzfeed video to me in a message a couple of months ago as a hint, then I saw it again last night.  It looks easy enough so why not?  I’ll give it a try.

Upside Down Banana Bread

4-5 ripe bananas
3 eggs
½ cup oil
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups flour
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2-3 bananas, sliced
Vanilla ice cream

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
  • In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas.
  • Add the eggs, oil, sugar, and cinnamon, mixing until evenly incorporated.
  • Add the flour and mix until the batter has no large pockets of flour. Set aside.
  • In a pot over low heat, melt the butter, then mix in the brown sugar until dissolved.
  • Bring up the heat to medium, cooking until the mixture starts bubbling.
  • Remove the caramel from heat and pour into a greased 9×9 baking pan.
  • Lay the banana slices evenly on top of the caramel.
  • Spread the banana bread batter on top.
  • Bake 40-50 minutes.
  • Cool until the bottom is barely warm.
  • Use a knife to loosen the edges from the pan.
  • Place a plate upside-down on top of the pan, then invert the pan, flipping the banana bread onto the plate.
  • Slice, then serve with vanilla ice cream.

TIP**  It’s important to make sure you are using a 9 x 9 pan.  If you use an 8 x 8 pan, like I did my first try, you need to increase the baking time by about 10 minutes and be prepared, you’ll be cleaning up the brown sugar that will bubble up and spill over the sides and burn onto the bottom of your oven.  Trust me, the smoke alarms blaring, dogs running around barking and the cleanup weren’t worth not following the exact directions.  UG!

It’s very sweet, so you might want to start with a small square and go back for seconds. Who am I kidding?  Put it in a bowl and pile the ice cream on!  And, before you ask, “Yes, I do intend to start my day with glorified cake and ice cream!”  #TheDietStartsTuesday 

If you’re on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: my favorite recipes, drinks, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Baked Cheese Puff Appetizer

My grandma called these cheese puffs, but if you prefer the French name, Bon Appétit calls them Gougères.

These delicate cheese puffs always impress. The dough takes a couple of times to get “just right,” but this is now one of my favorites to make for a crowd.

  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 ounces (1½ cups) grated Comté cheese or Gruyère
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°. Bring butter, salt, nutmeg, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until butter is melted. Remove from heat, add flour, and stir to combine.

Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring vigorously, until a dry film forms on bottom and sides of pan and dough is no longer sticky, about 2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and let dough cool slightly, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole eggs one at a time, incorporating fully between additions. Mix in cheese and pepper.

Scrape dough into a piping bag fitted with a ½” round tip (alternatively, use a plastic bag with a ½” opening cut diagonally from 1 corner). Pipe 1” rounds about 2” apart onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Whisk egg yolk and 1 tsp. water in a small bowl; brush rounds with egg wash.

Bake gougères until puffed and golden and dry in the center (they should sound hollow when tapped), 20–25 minutes.

Tip** These go FAST!  I’d advise you make a double batch.  

Dough can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.  Gougères can be baked 2 hours ahead; reheat before serving.

If you’re on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: my favorite recipes, drinks, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Zucchini Banana Bread

banzucbread

A little different spin on a classic.  Honey instead of granulated sugar cuts the sweetness and adds a little moisture to this bread.  While the bread is really good the first day, I wrap mine in foil (to maintain the moisture) and put it in the refrigerator so that the zucchini’s moisture can do it’s work.  The second and third day, if it lasts that long, the bread gets better and better.  I try and double the ingredients to make two loaves, then freeze the wrapped bread (in a Ziplock freezer bag) to enjoy later.

Zucchini Banana Bread
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup mashed overripe (black skins) banana (about 2 medium sized bananas)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2  cups zucchini, shredded (do not drain the natural moisture)
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Beat together the oil and honey in a stand mixer
  3. Add in the mashed banana, eggs, and vanilla
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir on low until just combined
  6. Using a spoon fold in the zucchini
  7. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spay and pour in batter
  8. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon on top of the batter if you want to
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean – do not undercook

I like to serve this with whipped cream cheese with a touch of nutmeg in it.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

A New Take On Banana Bread

I need to go buy 8 bananas and wait for them to get ripe ASAP so I can try this new take on banana bread.  Really it’s more like a cake, but I can’t wait to try it either way!  Thanks Buzzfeed!

Upside Down Banana Bread

4-5 ripe bananas
3 eggs
½ cup oil
½ cup sugar
1 TBLS ground cinnamon
2 cups flour
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2-3 bananas, sliced
Vanilla ice cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175 C.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas.
  3. Add the eggs, oil, sugar, and cinnamon, mixing until evenly incorporated.
  4. Add the flour and mix until the batter has no large pockets of flour. Set aside.
  5. In a pot over low heat, melt the butter, then mix in the brown sugar until dissolved.
  6. Bring up the heat to medium, cooking until the mixture starts bubbling.
  7. Remove the caramel from heat and pour into a greased 9×9 baking pan.
  8. Lay the banana slices evenly on top of the caramel.
  9. Spread the banana bread batter on top
  10. Bake 40-50 minutes.
  11. Cool until the bottom is barely warm & use a knife to loosen the edges from the pan.
  12. Place a plate upside-down on top of the pan, then invert the pan, flipping the banana bread onto the plate.

Slice, then serve with vanilla ice cream.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Gluten Free Zucnana Bread

banzucminisI love a moist piece of banana bread slathered with soft cream cheese.  The only problem I have is, with the number of bananas I buy each week, using the overripe ones for plain banana bread every week or two is getting boring.

My grandma was one of those 1970’s women who broke out of her 1950’s homemaker role and became a more modern woman.  She was different from my friends’ grandmas to say the least:  She played tennis, loved fitness, drove a flashy sports car, loved vacationing and baking herself to a golden tan in the sunshine, had a job outside the home, and pretty much spoiled my brother, sister and I rotten.  My modern grandma made her own yogurt, dried her own fruit, and tried her hardest to get us to eat more vegetables. I’m pretty sure she is why I am so fearless and experimental in the kitchen – I’d eat anything new or different that she fed me.

My Grandma Skip used to make a wonderful, sweet, moist zucchini bread every summer.  It was one of my favorites, even if it did have walnuts in it!  I wonder how bananas would taste with zucchini.  And, as if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, I wonder if I can make it gluten free so I can share it with my friends who have issues with gluten.  Looks like another experiment!!  Off to the kitchen!

Gluten Free Zucnana Bread

  • Shred 2 medium zucchini in your food processor, Vitamix or using a hand grater.
  • Let sit in a colander in the sink so any moisture released can drain off.
  • Grease your 9×5 inch standard or 5.75 x 3 inch mini loaf pans with baking spray (I use coconut oil spray).
  • Preheat oven to 325° F

In medium mixing bowl combine:

  • 1 & 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 & 1/8 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats)

In same bowl add:

  • 1/4 Cup Agave Syrup
  • 1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Eggs (Room temperature is ideal)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil (Room temperature/melted)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Medium Bananas Mashed (not overripe, but with browning skins)

Using a large wooden spoon, stir in each addition until well combined.  Batter will be thick.

  • Stir shredded zucchini in by hand (using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon)
  • Pour into greased loaf pan (s)
  • Bake on center rack in oven for 55 – 65 minutes (9×5 inch pan), or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Like most ovens, my temperature is sometimes a few degrees off, so I start checking for doneness at about 55 minutes.

When finished baking remove pan (s) to a wire rack to cool about 30 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on the wire racks.  When cooled, wrap loaf (s) in foil then put into a zip bag and store in the refrigerator.  These loaves freeze well – wrap first in waxed paper (seal all edges), then foil and finally a securely zipped freezer bag.  Enjoy within 3 months.

I serve with whipped cream cheese, although you can make a simple glaze to drizzle over while the loaf (s) while still warm.

  • 1/4 Cup Cream Cheese
  • 2-3 Tsp Milk
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar.  Add more or less milk as needed

TIP 1:  I normally use 1 Cup of Sugar in my Banana Bread.  When substituting Agave Syrup or Pure Maple Syrup (or a combination of both) for granulated sugar, make sure that you decrease the water (juice or other liquid component) by 3 TBLS (per 1 C equivalent/ sugar), add 1/8 tsp of baking soda (per 1/2 C equivalent sugar), and reduce your baking temperature by 25° F.  I have already made those adjustments above.  There is a really handy chart for sugar substitutions here.

Tip 2:  When using mini loaf pans instead of a standard 9 x 5 loaf pan, reduce the baking time by 25% (so in this case the baking time would be 43 – 53 Minutes – I start checking loaves for doneness at about 45 minutes).

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood