dinner tonight // asparagus soup

asparagus soup{photo via}

Whatever you were planing on making for dinner – don’t! You MUST make this amazing asparagus soup instead! I’ve been trying really hard to add lots of extra fruits and veggies to our weekly meal plans. I came across this asparagus soup recipe and just so happened to have all the ingredients on hand! It was meant to be! This soup is so creamy and so amazingly delicious and except for just a tiny bit of olive oil and butter it’s all veggies! We all loved it including Everly – ‘more soup please’ – music to my ears! Hop on over to A Beautiful Mess for the full recipe.

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your thanksgiving breakfast and a giveaway winner

The older I get the more I love and long for the holidays. Any excuse I can get to have my whole family in one place eating together, I’ll take it. But I have never been a huge lover of Thanksgiving {something about stuffing yourself silly on foods that are only ‘good’ because you have them once a year – if they were truly that good wouldn’t you eat them more than just once? – has never been that appealing to me}. For some reason I can’t wait for it this year! And this is what I hope to be eating for breakfast, pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes with vanilla whip cream.

This recipe is barely even a recipe its so simple {thank you Trader Joes} so its the perfect thing to make the morning of a marathon day of cooking. You should probably put it on your Thanksgiving menu too, you will not be sad you did.

Warning: this recipe is anything but exact so if you have a phobia of recipes that tell you to use your best judgement, its time to be brave, you can do it.

Ingredients

Pancakes
Trader Joes Multigrain Pancake Mix {or any pancake mix but this is THE BEST}
Eggs, Oil, Milk {amount varies depending on how many pancakes you are making}
1-2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
~1/3 of a 15 oz can of pumpkin {for 6-8 pancakes}
chocolate chips for sprinkling

Whip Cream
Heavy Whipping Cream
Vanilla
Powdered Sugar

Directions

Prepare pancake mix according to the directions on the box, whisk in pumpkin until smooth. If you need to add a little extra milk to bring it back to batter consistency {you want it to be easily pourable but not too runny}. Heat a pan over medium heat, use a little butter or non-stick spray so pancakes don’t stick. Pour pancake batter into pan and sprinkle {generously} with chocolate chips. Flip pancakes when the underside is golden brown and the top begins to bubble. Let pancakes finish cooking and serve hot with a giant scoop of vanilla whip cream.

For the whip cream, pour whip cream, vanilla and powdered sugar into bowl use a mixer to whip the cream until it looks like something you would want to put on pancakes. {The specific amount of vanilla and powdered sugar is up to you, I like mine super vanilla-y  and slightly sweet.}

Happy Thanksgiving Morning!

And now for the giveaway winner!

Congratulations! You will be contacted by me via email with details on how to pick your prize!

Thank you all for entering and spreading the word about my shop. I’ve already had to re-stock and will continue to do so over the next couple of weeks!

I am giving myself a little Thanksgiving Vacation so have a happy holiday and I’ll be back next week!

starbucks knock-off: maple nut scones

I spent the better part of my working life at Starbucks. What started out as just a college job turned into something that felt like a forever job. While I was there I saw a lot of products come and go – for some reason the ones that went always happened to be my very favorite! So I’ve had to take matters into my own hands and make some of them myself. For example, the Maple Nut Scone. They just have a fally-wintery feel  that I have been craving the last couple of weeks so I made a batch and as far as I can remember, they were a match! Ahh, Maple Nut Scones, how I’ve missed you.Starbucks Maple Nut Scones
via Eating Out Loud

Ingredients

{Scones}
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup oatmeal, finely ground
1/2 cup oatmeal, coarsely ground
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled butter
1 beaten egg
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 chopped pecans

{Egg Wash}
1 beaten egg
1 Tablespoon heavy cream

{Maple Glaze}
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple extract

Directions

{Scones}
In a large bowl, dry ingredients, cut in butter until pieces are smaller than the size of peas. Stir in the chopped pecans. *Because I hate cutting in butter I use a food processor for the entire scone process. I start by grinding 1/2 c oats finely, add the rest of the dry ingredients (reserve pecans for later) along with the butter cut into small cubes. Pulse a few times and the butter is perfectly incorporated. 

In a small bowl, stir together heavy cream, egg, and maple syrup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix the mixture. Stop when the liquid is absorbed and the dough is just coming together. *If you chose to use a food processor I pour the wet ingredients in and stop as soon as the mixture comes together. Add the pecans now and knead together. 

Empty dough on to a floured surface and knead until it holds together. Pat the dough in to a circle about 1 1/2″ thick and cut into 8 wedges. Place scones onto a greased cookie sheet. Brush tops and sides with egg wash. Bake at 375F (190C) for 20 minutes. 

While the scones bake, mix glaze. Start with powdered sugar, maple extract and maple syrup. Slowly add heavy cream until the glaze reaches your desired consistency – you may not use all of the cream. After baking, allow scones to cool on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes. Glaze while still a little warm so glaze melts into all the cracks and crevasses. Let glaze harden slightly before eating.

*My pregnant brain always wants to make me think that eating two scones is a good idea. It’s not. I rarely give in and listen to it but the way I get back is to cut the scones in half before baking making 16 small scones instead of 8 large ones. That way I can still eat two! And they some how disappear a lot slower when there are twice as many. There is still time to enter this week’s giveaway!

adventures in game cooking: elk stew

If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I ever saw my self scouring the internet for recipes for game meat I would have scrunched up my nose and said absolutely not. I knew I always wanted to ‘live off the land’ as far as eating went but I always pictured it looking more like raising our own cows or chickens and having a giant vegetable garden. I wasn’t really thinking along the hunter-gatherer lines. Well, things change and I married into hunting. Duck, deer, elk, pheasant, turkey, basically if it moves and you can buy a tag for it, my husband wants to hunt it and so do most of his family and friends. I’m not against the hunting as long as we actually eat what comes home, which means I am always keeping an eye out for recipes or asking other wives of hunters how they prepare the find of the day.

A friend gave us some elk shoulder not too long ago and I have had absolutely no idea what to do with it, until I came across this post from one of my new favorite food blogs. I decided swap out the beef for elk and pair it with biscuits from an old favorite food blog. The result was absolutely DE-LICI-OUS. I was very pleasantly surprised, the meat was so melt-in-your-mouth amazing! So heres one for all you fellow wives of hunter-gatherers! Enjoy!

Balsamic Elk Stew
recipe slightly modified from Baked Bree

Ingredients

2 lbs. elk shoulder, cut into bite-size pieces
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 cups potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks (I used yukon gold but fingerlings or red potatoes would also work)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons water
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

Directions
Place elk in a large ziploc bag with flour, salt, and pepper and shake until coated. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add elk and cook until browned on all sides. Once browned transfer to a plate and set aside. Add onions to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft add garlic and cook until just fragrant being careful not to burn. Pour in red wine and beef stock and add bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme. (I tied mine up in a little cheesecloth pouch to make removing later easy) Place the browned elk back into the pot, bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until elk is fork tender. Add the carrots and potatoes bring to a light simmer and cook covered for another 30 minutes or until tender. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water. Add cornstarch mixture and balsamic vinegar to stew. Remove and discard herbs. Serve stew hot with cheddar chive biscuits.

Cheddar Chive Biscuits
recipe slightly modified from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup chilled butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
3/4 shredded cheddar
1 cup buttermilk

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in 3/4 cup chilled butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in chives and cheese. Add buttermilk and stir until evenly moistened. *I added about 1 1/2 tablespoons of heavy cream because my mixture wasn’t holding together and I ran out of buttermilk. Drop biscuits onto baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Serve fresh out of the oven.

baked potato soup

The fall just makes me want soup. I don’t know if its the crispness of the air, the shorter days or the sweaters and scarfs but soup just feels right. This is one of my favorite fall soups because it is so easy and so budget friendly. It’s possible that one of the reasons I love it most is because of all the indulgent toppings – some times I’m not sure if I eat soup for the soup or for the deliciousness that comes on top, true confession.

Baked Potato Soup:
slightly modified from cooking light

Ingredients

4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
6 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
optional – a couple of teaspoons of hot sauce

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake for 1 hour or until tender. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle peel away and discard skins. Roughly mash potatoes and set aside. I usually do this part earlier in the day so dinner comes together quickly later. Pour milk into a large pot over medium heat. Heat until just before boiling stirring frequently to keep from scalding. Once milk is heated through add potatoes and continue to mash until soup thickens. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.

Serve topped with a sprinkle of cheese, bacon, green onions or chives and a scoop of sour cream.

*I haven’t tried this yet so I didn’t want to put it in the actual recipe but I think the next time I make this soup I’ll saute some finely chopped onions and minced garlic before adding the milk because a garlic makes everything better!Don’t forget to enter my fall giveaway!

pumpkin coconut bread

Fall completely snuck up on me this year! But now that it’s here I have been doing my best to fill our home with all of its wonderful smells, flavors and colors. What could be more fall than pumpkin bread? And this one has a delicious twist, coconut. I know it sounds a little crazy but really, it is absolutely amazing.This recipe is super easy and very budget friendly which makes it the perfect go-to when it’s your turn to bring a tasty treat to a fall party.

Ingredients:

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (3 1/2oz) instant coconut cream pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin, canned or fresh cooked and mashed

About 1 cup of powdered sugar and a splash of milk for glaze.

Directions:

  1. Combine eggs, sugar, and oil in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer hand-held until well blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, pudding mix, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon; add to sugar mixture alternately with the mashed pumpkin, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix well after each addition.
  3. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove loaf to wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Mix powdered sugar and milk in a separate bowl and drizzle over cooled loaf.So delicious!

Don’t forget to check back on Monday for a One Young Love first! I am really excited and I am dying to share it with you. See you then!

grilled rosemary chicken with avocado, tomato and feta salsa

Summer is here! I mean, its kinda been here off and on but June always makes me think it might be here to stay. And with summer comes my favorite dishes. I love anything fresh and grilled and this recipe tops the charts as one of my favorites. I ran across this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine about three summers ago, it is the best for a warm evening summer evening. The ingredients are so fresh and light. What are you making for dinner this weekend? I know what I’m making!

Grilled Rosemary Chicken with Avocado, Tomato and Feta Salsa
recipe from Cookinglight
*as usual these measurements are all suggestions, I usually just approximate

Rosemary Chicken

2 T olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T minced garlic
4 chicken breasts
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large heavy-duty ziploc bag and place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and place on a hot grill for 3-4 minutes on each side or until center of thickest part reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Avocado, Tomato and Feta Salsa

1 T chopped fresh oregano
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic – minced
2 c grape tomatoes – halved
1/2 c crumbled feta
1 ripe peeled avocado – chopped

Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a bowl, once mixed add remaining ingredients and lightly toss until combined.

Serve chicken topped with salsa. With some fresh artichokes with garlicy parmesan bread crumbs and a glass of wine this is the perfect summer dinner!