Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette | Cookie Monster Cooking

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette | Cookie Monster Cooking

It’s time to mix in some greens with all that butter and sugar I’ve been throwing your way.

And eat some better-for-me food so I can prepare to consume even more goodies on Christmas day.  It’s all about balance, right?

So let’s talk a quick and easy salad.   That has a very pretty colored dressing.  Which gives it bonus points in my opinion.

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette | Cookie Monster Cooking

The base is a simple spinach salad with my favorite combination of fruit, nuts and cheese – the perfect trifecta for salads in my world.  And then there is that bright orange / pink dressing – a little sweet and a little tangy.  And with fresh cranberries – so seasonally appropriate right now.

A sort of detox among all the cookies.  Eat this for lunch or dinner (with some sliced chicken perhaps?) or serve it as an appetizer for guests.

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette | Cookie Monster Cooking

And then go eat some more cookies … or fudge … or cake?  It is the holidays after all.

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette

Yield: about ½ cup of salad dressing

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette

Ingredients

    For the dressing:
  • ⅓ cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • For the salad:
  • baby spinach leaves
  • pear slices
  • pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • crumbled goat cheese (even better if it’s herbed goat cheese)

Instructions

  1. To make the dressing - add the cranberries and orange juice to a small saucepan. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and cover with the lid. Let stand for 5 minutes, until the cranberries have softened. Transfer the mixture to a food processor (or blender). Let cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and honey to the food processor. Process until smooth, about 25 seconds. With the food processor running, pour in the olive oil and continue to process until well combined. Store the dressing in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. To make the salad - in a large bowl, add the desired amount of spinach, sliced pear, pecans and crumbled goat cheese. Toss to combine. Add in the desired amount of dressing and toss again to coat. Serve immediately.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/12/20/spinach-salad-fresh-cranberry-vinaigrette/

Source:
Salad from Cookie Monster Cooking. Dressing adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Entertaining 2012.

 

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup | Cookie Monster Cooking

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup | Cookie Monster Cooking

As I’ve said many many times before, we love coffee at our house.  It’s probably in your best interest that you don’t speak to either me or my husband before we’ve had a cup in the morning.  Cranky best describes our behavior without it.  Primarily my behavior.  He can handle no coffee better than I can.

Ever since I discovered how to make vanilla coffee syrup at home, I can honestly say that I have not once purchased the store-bought kind of vanilla creamer.  Which I love.  Every morning I add a splash of half and half and some homemade vanilla syrup to my coffee.  And it’s amazing.  And I’m never going back.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup | Cookie Monster Cooking

I’ve been so enamored with the vanilla syrup that I never branched out to other flavors.  But this fall I figured it was time.  Especially to keep my coffee runs in check … I have a soft spot for seasonal drinks from coffee shops.

So today I give you homemade pumpkin spice coffee syrup.  I now keep a container of this and the vanilla version in my fridge at all times.  Because this stuff makes my coffee taste like fall.  And is pretty much exactly like what you can get at a coffee shop.  But better (at least in my opinion).  Personally, I just like to add this syrup and half and half to my coffee – more like the kind of creamer you can buy at the grocery store – but you can definitely use it to make pumpkin spice lattes at home.

So, please make this syrup this season.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup | Cookie Monster Cooking

Because I have a feeling I’m not the only one who would prefer to keep their coffee shop spending under control.

And because you can use it in iced coffee too.  It’s still kinda warm here and I’m currently waffling back and forth between hot and iced coffee … it’s a dilemma I tell you.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

Instructions

  1. Add the water, granulated sugar and brown sugar to a small saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add in the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and pumpkin puree. Whisk to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and let sit for about 15 minutes.
  2. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Store in a container in the refrigerator.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/10/04/homemade-pumpkin-spice-coffee-syrup/

Source:
Slightly adapted from Cook Like A Champion. Originally from Sugarcrafter.

 

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts | Cookie Monster Cooking

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts | Cookie Monster Cooking

I have a tendency to buy way too much spinach each week at the grocery store.  We go through a lot of spinach in our house, but for some reason I always overestimate just how much we really need.  The extras usually go into smoothies or something like that, but a few weeks ago I needed to use a bunch … and quickly … before it went bad.

I usually just make regular basil pesto, but decided to experiment and make a spinach version.  Since that would use quite a bit of the aforementioned tons of extra spinach.  And from there, this quick and easy dinner idea was born.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts | Cookie Monster Cooking

This pasta is jam packed with plenty of good-for-you spinach, along with some crunch from the walnuts and a little saltiness from the sun-dried tomatoes.  There’s also just a hint of kick, from the red pepper flakes, and you can definitely dial it up and add some more depending on your taste.

I also added in a little greek yogurt to give it a hint of creaminess and was so happy with the result.  And if you’re like my husband and like meat with your dinner, add some sliced chicken or sausage.  It’s great that way as well.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts | Cookie Monster Cooking

Easy dinner idea to start your week off right?  Check and check.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts

Yield: about 4 servings

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts

Ingredients

    For the pesto:
  • 4 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • For the pasta:
  • 1 pound your favorite pasta
  • ¼ cup plain greek yogurt
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ⅓ to ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained, patted dry and chopped
  • additional freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. To make the pesto - add the spinach, basil, walnuts, garlic, salt, red pepper and parmesan cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add in the olive oil and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, add the greek yogurt to the bowl with the pesto. Mix to combine. Add the pesto mixture to the bowl with the pasta. Mix until evenly coated. To serve, spoon the pasta into bowls. Top with some walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes and additional parmesan cheese, if desired.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/09/09/spinach-pesto-pasta-sun-dried-tomatoes-walnuts/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Easy Peach Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Easy Peach Chipotle Barbecue Sauce | Cookie Monster Cooking

Easy Peach Chipotle Barbecue Sauce | Cookie Monster Cooking

Confession time.  I have always just bought barbecue sauce from the grocery store.  While I make as much as possible homemade at this point, it never occurred to me to try my hand at barbecue sauce.  Why?  I have no idea.  I can be weird sometimes.

But since we recently moved further south, and are now surrounded by plenty of barbecue restaurants, it finally dawned on me to give it a try.

Easy Peach Chipotle Barbecue Sauce | Cookie Monster Cooking

Clearly I have been missing out.  Especially since this particular peach chipotle barbecue sauce takes less than 5 minutes of your time.  You don’t have to cook anything and just whisk it all together in a bowl.  Easy peasy, right?  It can be ready to go whenever you need it.

And need it we did this past weekend.  This sauce was absolutely perfect for some barbecue ribs (recipe coming soon!).  It’s smoky yet a little sweet, and in my mind has just the right consistency (not too thick but not too thin).

Easy Peach Chipotle Barbecue Sauce | Cookie Monster Cooking

We have yet to try any of these barbecue places that everyone talks about here in North Carolina.  And this homemade barbecue sauce is not helping.  No sir, not at all.

Easy Peach Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Yield: about 2 ½ cups

Easy Peach Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups ketchup
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup peach preserves
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • dash of hot sauce (or more to taste)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients.
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/07/29/easy-peach-chipotle-barbecue-sauce/

Source:
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.

 

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

You guys.  This salad.  It’s my newest obsession.  Although don’t worry, I’m still just as smitten with creamy polenta and bourbon salted caramels.

But this salad?  It is pure summer goodness.  And my new go-to side dish to accompany homemade pizza.  Or to enjoy for lunch with some sliced chicken on top.  Yep, it’s nice and versatile.  Really, I’ll find any excuse to make it these days.

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

It all started a ways back when we took a quick trip to North Carolina to find a place to live.  We were pretty excited about the upcoming move so we decided to have a celebratory dinner out.  Sounds fun right?  Well the meal itself turned out to be a bit of a bummer.  Except for the appetizers.  I had a salad with fruit, pecans and poppy seed dressing – and it was fantastic.

So this beautiful salad right here?  This is my at-home recreated version.  It has layers of your favorite greens, oh so sweet strawberries and peaches, salty goat cheese, wonderfully crunchy sugared pecans and a lighter poppy seed dressing.

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

I think we all know what I’m having for lunch today….

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing

Ingredients

    For the sugared pecans:
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 cups raw unsalted pecans
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • For the dressing:
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced shallot
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • For the salad:
  • mixed greens
  • sliced strawberries
  • sliced peaches
  • crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

    To make the sugared pecans:
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until it is white and slightly frothy. Add in the pecans and toss until the nuts are coated with the egg white. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt (making sure there are no clumps). Add the sugar mixture to the bowl with the pecans and mix until well combined (and all of the sugar is sticking to the pecans).
  3. Spread the pecans evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. The nuts should be dry and the coating should not come off on your fingers.
  4. To make the dressing:
  5. Add the shallot, mustard powder, salt, sugar, honey and vinegar to the bowl of a food processor (or blender). Process until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Slowly stream in the oil, blending until combined. Add in the poppy seeds and pulse until incorporated.
  6. To assemble the salad:
  7. In a large bowl, add the desired amount of lettuce, strawberries, peaches, goat cheese and sugared pecans. Toss to combine. Add in the desired amount of dressing and toss again to coat. Serve immediately.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/07/26/summer-salad-with-sugared-pecans-and-poppy-seed-dressing/

Source:
Salad and pecans from Cookie Monster Cooking.  Dressing from Pink Parsley.  Originally from The Pastry Queen Christmas.

 

Chicken, Bacon and Mango Chutney Sandwich

Chicken, Bacon and Mango Chutney Sandwich | Cookie Monster Cooking

Chicken, Bacon and Mango Chutney Sandwich | Cookie Monster Cooking

I can’t believe I’m about to say this but I think I may not hate bacon as much as I thought.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still not my thing.  But really good quality bacon?  Maybe it’s not so bad after all.  I had a bite of my husband’s sandwich when we were out at a farm-to-table type restaurant a few weeks ago and I enjoyed it.  Strange?  Yes.  I think it may have been due to the fact that the rest of the sandwich was just downright awesome, but still.  He had to pry that thing out of my hands to get it back.  Maybe that’s why he doesn’t like to share his food with me.  I’ve been known to take more than a few “I just want to try it” bites.  Don’t tell him I just admitted that.

Chicken, Bacon and Mango Chutney Sandwich | Cookie Monster Cooking

So this awesome sandwich also had a layer of mango chutney – something I’ve wanted to try making at home for some time.  Clearly this was a sign that I needed to re-create it all in my own kitchen.  And that’s exactly what I did this past weekend.

Now, the mango chutney definitely has quite a bit of kick (well, at least in my opinion – but I am a slight baby with spicy foods so it may be different for you!).  It’s fruity, spicy and smoky all at the same time.  When I tasted it straight out of the pan alone, I wasn’t a huge fan.  But as soon as it was combined with something else?  Yeah, it’s pretty darn good.  Especially when sandwiched between fresh bread, chicken, bacon and greens.

Chicken, Bacon and Mango Chutney Sandwich | Cookie Monster Cooking

The moral of this whole story?  I still don’t like bacon on its own.  But as part of a great sandwich?  It’s not so bad.

Chicken, Bacon and Mango Chutney Sandwich

Yield: about 2 cups of mango chutney

Chicken, Bacon and Mango Chutney Sandwich

Ingredients

    For the mango chutney:
  • 2 mangos (about 2 pounds)
  • ½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 small red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • half of a red pepper, diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • For the sandwich:
  • few slices toasted bread
  • few slices cheese
  • sliced cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
  • lettuce
  • few strips cooked bacon

Instructions

  1. To chop the mango, begin by slicing a thin piece off one end, so it can rest on the bottom. Next, cut off the skin in thin strips from top to bottom. There is one large flat seed on the inside of the mango. Cut along each side of the seed to remove the flesh (you’ll be able to tell if you hit the seed while cutting). Trim any remaining flesh from along the seed to get the most out of your mango. Chop all of the flesh and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar and curry powder. Set aside.
  3. Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the oil. When hot, add in the red pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the onion and cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the grated ginger and pepper and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the chopped mango and cook for 1 minute. Pour the pineapple juice mixture into the skillet and mix to combine. Bring to a low simmer and then cook for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture has reduced down and thickened. Remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Stir in the raisins and macadamia nuts. Allow the mixture to cool completely, then store in the fridge until you are ready to use.
  4. To assemble a sandwich - spoon your desired amount of mango chutney onto one piece of toast. Top with a slice of cheese, a few slices of chicken, some lettuce and bacon. Serve immediately.

Notes

The mango chutney recipe makes about 2 cups. We used a good portion for the sandwiches but had plenty leftover. Try serving the extra over chicken, steak, pork, etc.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/06/28/chicken-bacon-and-mango-chutney-sandwich/

Source:
Mango chutney slightly adapted from the Food Network.

 

Chopped Southwestern Salad with Lemon Chipotle Dressing

Chopped Southwestern Salad with Lemon Chipotle Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

Chopped Southwestern Salad with Lemon Chipotle Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

Let’s talk about the fact that my kitchen gets ridiculously hot in the summer.  It gets pretty warm in there all year round but during the summer months?  Forget about it.  Anything I can do to keep the oven off is very helpful for the temperature level.  Unfortunately for me I love to bake (and use my oven) so a lot of the time I just power through.  I like to cook in my pajamas or workout clothes, so if I have on pants I roll them up to keep my legs cool.  I look ridiculous of course and clearly the obvious solution would just be to change into shorts.  It doesn’t help that you can kinda sorta see into our kitchen from the road … my husband constantly tells me that people probably think I’m nuts.  Oh well.  Maybe they think I’m super stylish.

Chopped Southwestern Salad with Lemon Chipotle Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

So, where does this chopped southwestern salad fit in?  It’s a simple and quick dinner idea that doesn’t require the oven.  I’ll take what I can get.  Did I already mention that it was simple?  This is very important if you have people (i.e. your husband) asking you as soon as you get home when dinner will be ready : )  Because they’re hungryyyyy.

This salad is full of some of my very favorites, like black beans, roasted corn and avocado.  While it is filling and more than satisfying, it still feels light.  Perfect for the summer months.  But the dressing is what makes this meal a little special.  A lemon chipotle dressing with a little dijon mustard and honey.  It pairs incredibly well with all the components of the salad and gives it a little kick.

Chopped Southwestern Salad with Lemon Chipotle Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

So get in your kitchen and make this salad.  And if you have on long pants, roll them up so we can be cool together.  And stylish … don’t forget that.

Chopped Southwestern Salad with Lemon Chipotle Dressing

Yield: 4 servings

Chopped Southwestern Salad with Lemon Chipotle Dressing

Ingredients

    For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the salad:
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces*
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 2 to 3 romaine hearts, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 orange pepper, diced
  • 2 to 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced

Instructions

  1. To make the dressing - whisk together the mustard, lemon juice and honey in a small bowl. Next add in the olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add in the cilantro, shallot and minced chipotle peppers. Whisk to combine. Taste and then season with salt and pepper if needed.
  2. To make the salad - add the chopped chicken to a small bowl. Add ¼ cup of the salad dressing to the bowl and mix to combine. Set aside while you prep the rest of the salad.
  3. Set a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add in the corn (do not add any oil). Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until roasted and brown spots start to appear. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. To serve, put some of the lettuce on each plate. Top with the chicken, corn, black beans, pepper, tomatoes and avocado. Drizzle with the salad dressing and serve immediately. Alternatively, add to a large bowl and toss to combine.

Notes

I used chicken breasts that I cooked a previous night, but you could definitely use a rotisserie chicken here to make this meal even easier.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/06/03/chopped-southwestern-salad-with-lemon-chipotle-dressing/

Source:
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast.

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Maple Syrup

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Maple Syrup | Cookie Monster Cooking

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Maple Syrup | Cookie Monster Cooking

I am a waffle girl all the way.  Pancakes, with a few exceptions, are usually just eh for me.  Yet I never seem to manage to get out the waffle maker for special breakfasts.  You see, it’s on the top shelf in one of our cabinets that I can’t reach.  Getting a stool or chair (or yelling for my husband to come get it) would clearly be too much work.  So there it sits.

But after a recent visit to one of our very favorite restaurants, I knew I needed to stop being lazy and bring down the waffle maker.  We almost passed on dessert that night but thankfully realized that was crazy and ordered anyway.  Lemon poppy seed dessert waffles with a blueberry sorbet.  It was out. of. this. world.

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Maple Syrup | Cookie Monster Cooking

I decided to recreate it at home almost immediately.  Except I knew I wanted it to be a breakfast treat, so instead of sorbet I made a blueberry maple syrup.  The waffles themselves are crispy on the outside yet still soft on the inside.  They have just the right hint of lemon flavor, with all the pretty poppy seeds sprinkled throughout.  And the blueberry maple syrup?  Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Maple Syrup | Cookie Monster Cooking

And no, I am not ashamed to admit that I may have licked my plate clean.

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Maple Syrup

Yield: about 8 (4 by 4 inch) waffles, depending on your waffle maker

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Maple Syrup

Ingredients

    For the blueberry syrup:
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • For the waffles:
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from one lemon)
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • additional blueberries for serving, if desired

Instructions

  1. To make the blueberry maple syrup - add the blueberries, maple syrup and lemon juice to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, until the blueberries are slightly softened. Use a wooden spoon to mash the blueberries in the saucepan. Cook for about 1 to 2 additional minutes, until the mixture starts to simmer and foams up a little bit.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat. Carefully pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the blueberry solids. Set aside the strained syrup to serve with the waffles.
  3. To make the waffles - in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, baking soda and poppy seeds. Set aside. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, lemon zest, the egg yolk, vanilla extract and almond extract. Set aside.
  4. Using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg white until almost soft peaks. Add the sugar to the bowl and beat again until the peaks are glossy and firm. Set aside.
  5. Add the buttermilk mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Drop in dollops of the whipped egg white and use a spatula to gently fold into the batter until just incorporated.
  6. Preheat a waffle maker. When hot, pour the recommended amount of batter into the waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cook until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  7. Serve with the blueberry maple syrup and additional fresh blueberries, if desired.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/05/29/lemon-poppy-seed-waffles-with-blueberry-maple-syrup/

Source:
Waffles adapted from Fine Cooking. Blueberry maple syrup slightly adapted from the Food Network.

 

Homemade Peanut Sauce

Homemade Peanut Sauce | Cookie Monster Cooking

Homemade Peanut Sauce | Cookie Monster Cooking

This homemade peanut sauce.  It is finger-licking good.  Like I want to put it on just about everything good.  In stir-fries?  Yes.  For dipping chicken?  Sure, why not.  For slathering on top of a burger (recipe coming your way later this week just in time for Memorial Day grilling fun)?  Double yes.  I’m sure I could come up with even more ways to put this sauce to good use but I won’t bore you with the constant stream of food-related recipe thoughts that go through my mind.

Now, I know that you can just buy peanut sauce at the store.  Butttt, like I say with just about everything, it is so much better homemade.  And you can pronounce all of the ingredients.  It is slightly creamy, full of wonderful spices and has just a little bit of kick.

Homemade Peanut Sauce | Cookie Monster Cooking

Want an idea right now for how to use it?  How about in this pineapple chicken fried rice?  But please goodness gracious ignore the photos.  I think that was my second post ever and I clearly had no idea how to use my camera to take photos of food.  I promise it’s tasty even if it doesn’t look that way : )  Although I must say it is fun to see just how much I’ve grown since I started this blog.

So, homemade peanut sauce.  Do it.  And you’ll be happy happy (anyone else slightly obsessed with Duck Dynasty?  I really need to stop watching TV).

Homemade Peanut Sauce

Yield: about 1 cup

Homemade Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently to create a smooth sauce. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble just a little around the edges, remove from the heat. Use as desired.
  2. *If you like your peanut sauce to be thicker, you can continue to cook over medium heat for a few extra minutes and it will thicken up even more (watch closely so you get the consistency that you want).
  3. If not using right away, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/05/20/homemade-peanut-sauce/

Source:
Inspired by the Bride & Groom: First and Forever Cookbook.