Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Eggplant Balls

Eggplant Balls

Recently I was blasted on Facebook because I now own my own health and wellness franchise and I'm still baking cookies. Yes, I still bake cookies, I love it, its one of my passions and it makes me happy. You must find the balance in everything. So today I'm showing something healthy, albeit delicious - and yes, my superheros love this too. Eggplant balls. You can put them in spaghetti sauce like we will be doing tonight, or eat them right off the plate - like we did the last time we made them. Yum either way - I promise!

Tower Garden with tons of eggplants
I paid $1 for a tiny little eggplant seedling and placed it in my tower garden (yes this is something that I sell in my business). I have made two batches of eggplant balls, at least 4 dinners of eggplant parm and I've given away probably 2 or 3 dozen eggplants to friends.
My tower garden helper!
The best way to start is by grabbing an handsome helper! I've got 3 to choose from! He helped me harvest some veggies.

Just one day's harvest of eggplants

I've changed the recipe a bit, but the original comes from Aunt Mary's Eggplant Balls. 

3 Tbsp. olive oil
5+ cloves of garlic (is it possible to have too much?)
4 cups of eggplant (peeled and cubed)
1 Tbsp of water
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh parsely
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 seasoned breadcrumbs


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I line every baking sheet with parchment paper, almost every single time no matter what, but you could grease a pan I guess (you'll just have to clean up...)

I love these Japanese eggplants. They don't have as many seeds as other types, plus 4 of these makes about 4 cups of cubed eggplant. So I peel and cube my eggplants first and then get all of my other ingredients together. You know I've said it before - get my "mise en place" (French pronunciation: ​[mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) is a French culinary phrase which meant "putting in place", as in set up) .

Pour olive oil in to a skillet and saute garlic just until lightly browned (always happens quick). Mix in eggplant and water. Reduce heat to low and cover skillet. Allow eggplant to steam until soft, about 20 minutes. I peek every so often and mash it with my wooden spatula.

After it is good and soft (mushy) place it in a large bowl to cool off a little. While it cools go ahead and beat those eggs! Then when it has cooled down enough that you won't cook the eggs in it, add the rest of the ingredients (I put a few twists of my himalayan sea salt in there...just for a little extra yum.) Stir with a wooden spoon or your hands (if you like that sort of thing) until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and mixture can be rolled into balls. (Add more bread crumbs as needed to make mixture workable - I didn't have to do this - you want them soft - so they don't dry out).

Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes....

then roll into balls (or you can form into patties.) Place eggplant balls on prepared baking sheet - like above and bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes. (I turn them over once around the 15 minute mark.) Best when served immediately...but I have kept them in the refrigerator and thrown them in marinara sauce. If you have picky eaters, I am not kidding, throw them in some sauce and don't say a word - they will NEVER know you fed them eggplant. Bwahahaha!  Side note: you can totally freeze these babies too.

I just got back to my computer after having my whole wheat pasta, 3 eggplant balls and a few shrimp (Mr. Incredible was in the mood for shrimp) it was delicious.  I know it looks odd, but who cares!
I'm so glad you (and I) found our way back to the kitchen. I've enjoyed our time....let's do this again soon. (Something pumpkiny maybe...)!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

I will confess it now, I think I love all things pumpkin. I don't think I've eaten anything pumpkin and not liked it so far. However, this recipe which I found on Vanderbilt Wife's Blog is amazing! She gets all the credit. I was a bit shocked however that our cookies looked just a bit different. I think I know why...and I'll share my secret. (NO, its not trick know..I use my cell phone..nothing special here!)

While I haven't posted on this particular blog in ages, I'm excited to start back up again. I've been a bit busy with writing a book (YES...truth - its with the editor as we speak (eh..type), and working on a speaking at Bagels & Blessings (Women's Ministry event)! don't want to hear about all of that...that information is for my other blog...The Journey of a Superhero Mom! Feel free to go there if you want more information on my absence.

I don't think I'm alone in my passion for pumpkin. The most popular post on this particular blog was my Pumpkin Waffles. Click on the link if you're interested in those.

Okay, here is my secret, it makes everything taste and look that much better I think. All you need is to find an adorable, self motivated 11 year old boy (he is 12 now) who has a passion for cooking! (I understand they are not easy to find, so I wish you the best!)
Have him, independently carve up that pumpkin (in this case he did 4 massive pumpkins). Now, I recommend that if he is careful and you trust your child...DO NOT watch him. It just causes too much stress. :)
Then have that 12 year old boy bake those carved pieces in the oven (or whichever way you choose to cook your pumpkins). Then have him put everything through the food processor.
When he is done he should bag as many as he can and label them (2 cups, 3 cups...) and freeze them. The container is because we were using that first..that went into the refrigerator to be used up that week.

For this recipe, I grabbed a bag of his fresh pumpkin from the freezer and let it defrost. He made a pie and I made pumpkin spice latte cookies.

That 's my secret!

Now, these delicious soft cookies taste better than the famous PSL at Starbucks! I kid you NOT! Here we go:

2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 c. butter (can sub shortening or use a mixture of the two) 
1 c. sugar 1 c. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)(I used fresh from our pumpkins - you don't have too!) 
1 egg 
1 tsp. vanilla 

3 T butter 
1/4 c. milk 
1/2 c. brown sugar 
2 tsp. instant coffee granules 
1 c. powdered sugar 
1/2 tsp. vanilla 
1 T heavy cream 

Sift the first five ingredients together (flour through salt). In a separate bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Beat well. 

Add dry ingredients all at once and stir gently to form a smooth batter. Drop by tablespoons on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I use a small cookie scoop.) 
Bake 12 to 14 minutes at 350. 

Let rest on cookie sheets for a few minutes when they come out of the oven; then transfer to cooling racks and let cool. 

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add milk, brown sugar, and coffee granules and bring to a bubble over medium heat. Once bubbling, cook two minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. (I transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.) When cool, stir powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream into the sugar mixture. Spoon or drizzle over cooled cookies.

WARNING: They will not last long. Also, even if you are not a "coffee drinker", these cookies are...amazing! You might still love them. So give them a try, at the very least make them for the coffee lovers (or pumpkin lovers) in your home or in your neighborhood. By the way, another sure fire way to keep the neighborhood watch strong by your house...feed your neighbors homemade cookies! They'll be watching your house...waiting for you to come out with a special little plate! ;)

Well, that is it for now. Thanks for finding your way back to the kitchen! I know it has been awhile. I'm going to write that post about my "must haves" tools in Krypton's Kitchen - but I might get distracted! You know what's coming up right? Here is a little hint:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

White Chip Orange Cookie

Who doesn't like an orange creamsicle? Please there is something about vanilla and orange that just makes me think of summer...and brings happiness to my heart. You know, I've been told to not get too creative with the cookies until I use up some of those chips falling out of my cabinet. So I went searching for something, not listed on the back of the chip bag and I stumbled upon this recipe. Everyone who has tried one (had to try two) absolutely LOVED these cookies.

Recipe comes from the Nestle website.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 to 3 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels


PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and orange peel. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Look at those naked oranges! Always remember that the pith is very go lightly on your grater when grating oranges or just want the skins not the white underneath.

Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

That is all there is to it! What are you waiting for? Do you have chips falling out of your cabinet too? If not go get some and get baking! Thanks for stopping by the time I'll be sharing some of my "must haves" tools of the trade!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mint Chocolate Delights

Mr. Incredible made it clear that there were too many chips in the cabinet. Every time we opened up that particular cabinet, chips would fall. He was kind about it, just kept reminding me that everything has an expiration we could fill up the cookie jar with chip cookies until some of these are gone. That is what I did...and the results have been absolutely amazing.

Before I give the recipe, which I got from the back of the bag of Nestle Dark Chocolate & Mint morsels, I just wanted you to see that precious picture. Did you ever notice on the side of Nestle's chips the directions say.."Tear Here To Make Sweet Memories"...I just love that so much! Makes me smile!

The recipe and very top photo from Nestle:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels

PREHEAT oven to 325° F.

COMBINE flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by well-rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

These were amazing! They didn't even last 3 days. Of course if you stop by you get some..always. Don't be a stranger! I hope you can find these chips..they may be a seasonal type! If not, no worries, we're always here and my next cookie is unbelievable! See you next time..and thanks for stopping by the kitchen today!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chewy Coconut Macaroons

This was Mr. Incredible's pick this week. He loves macaroons. These were the easy and fun to make and it made me look like a professional. Got the recipe from my new Ultimate Cookie Book that I got for Christmas. :)

2 3.5 oz. cans (2 2/3 cups total) flaked coconut
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 ounces semisweet chocolate (optional)
1/2 teaspoon shortening (optional)

Go ahead and preheat your oven to 325 F. 

Lightly grease and flour a large cookie sheet, set aside. (Personal note here: I never grease anything..I've ruined one too many cookie sheets...I LOVE parchment paper!!) I line everything that goes in my oven with it!

In a medium bowl stir together coconut, sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in egg whites and almond extract. Inhale..because it smells amazing!!
Drop egg white mixture by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Like below...oh and the smell. You'll want to invent a candle with this scent!
Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. If desired, in a small heavy saucepan heat and stir chocolate and shortening over low heat until smooth. Drizzle melted chocolate over the cooled cookies...and look like a pro! That's what I'm talking about. These totally wrecked my superheros and Mr. Incredible.
I won the Spouse & Mother of The Year Award with might be next. Hey, thanks for stoppin' by the Kitchen...see you soon!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Love Pizza But I Love You More

So I don't have to give credit to anyone but me this time. It's Valentine's month and I wanted to make it special for all the children in my charge. As you may know from another post, every week I get the chance to hang out with some pretty special kids. My superheros and 2 special friends. They were thrilled last week when we did the Chocolate Pretzel Buttons so I decided we will do at least one fun Valentine's Day treat each week until the actual day! This week I thought about a great after school snack! Who doesn't like pizza? (I know there are some of you who don't like pizza..but most children do).

What I like most about making pizza, is that it makes me feel like a real chef. You know, I'm not a cook, or even a baker, I'm just a girl who likes to bake. But making pizza makes me feel like a cook. Why? Because I don't need to weigh or measure anything. I can throw ingredients together and it is pretty safe. (I might add that my uncle owned a pizza place on the boardwalk in Seaside....Yes..that would be the Jersey Shore.) see the ingredients up above. The only thing you don't see is olive oil and mozzarella cheese (for those children who might not understand the beauty of Cheddar on a pizza. (Secret ingredient for a famous Jersey pizza place). Go ahead at preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
So I chose the perfect size heart shaped cookie cutter and had the children press all the way through the dough, but still keeping it in the dough. (See below) This way the heart can just pop out!
 Then we painted the heart with olive oil. Now, I painted the whole round dough and then sprinkled some garlic powder on it. I tried this in two ways. First, I thought let's make one with sauce just on the heart and garlic on the outer part of the dough. Hoping it would turn out like garlic bread or something. While it worked this way, it is much better they way all the children did it. Slather that thing up with olive oil and then
paint the pizza dough with sauce. I used tomato sauce with garlic, basil and oregano.
Be sure not to use too much sauce. Too much will make for a soggy pizza. We put about 3 heaping spoonfuls of tomato sauce on each little pizza and then added our cheese. Here is my plug for cheddar. If you haven't had cheddar and/or jack cheese on a pizza...try it. It gives it a special tang...really really good!
Here is the one that I did...see I left the crust plain...the plain garlic crust around the heart wasn't as tasty as the rest of them.
Really the toughest part is getting that cookie cutter to go through that dough. But..they had no problem.. after all, they do have superpowers. ;)
Really, we are convinced that there is no such thing as too much sprinkle away. After we trimmed our pizza's with cheese and pepperoni, I placed it in the that point turning the oven down to 400 degrees. Baked those beauties for 8 minutes..or until it looks perfect!

Let it cool for about a minute so you can handle it and pop that heart right out. 
You can see that it leaves a cute little cut out heart (and his crust is all yummy with extra cheese and sauce.)
Here is my youngest superhero and his heart shaped pizza. He was so proud and very excited to taste!
Just look at that! I had 5 very happy children today! Below is our friend...look at that adorable smile! It just makes my heart full of joy!
So it was a success...we made heart shaped pizzas...everyone loved them..and hopefully they all knew how much I loved seeing them smile!
Don't you want to show your kids how much you love giving them a loving snack that makes them smile. Just look at that beautiful girl below - she says it all with her smile! Happy Valentine's Month! Enjoy and thanks for stopping by the Kitchen this afternoon!

French Breakfast Muffins

These were by far, the best muffins I have ever tasted. Seriously! I am so glad I tried them this morning. I already had every ingredient in my house...nothing out of the really. You could probably go make them right now....and you WILL NOT BE SORRY!

Yes...found it on Pinterest..from this website.

First the ingredients:

1/3 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. sugar 1 egg (preferably room temperature)
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. milk

Topping (option: cut topping in half*)
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon

While you are getting your supplies together, you might as well preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray the muffin tins with some non-stick spray. You know, I use muffin cups..the paper or tin kind...but I still spray them a little. I've had the muffins stick to the paper liners...that is not pretty at all!

I think this first step is what makes it so special...sifting all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Then go ahead and add your wet ingredients to that. Melted butter..really I knew it was going to be delicious when I added that ingredient. OH and the nutmeg...very special too.

Mix the wet and dry ingredients just until combined. Still going to be a little lumpy.

Using a large ice cream scoop, I was able 8 medium-large muffins out of this batter; I think you could get 10-12 muffins by distributing the batter a little less generously.  (Personally I think bigger is better here!) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they just start to turn a bit golden at the edges.

They come out beautiful! But just wait until you jazz it up a little more.

For the topping, mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place melted butter in another small bowl.
Dip the warm muffins in melted butter (you can dip just the top, but it's even tastier to dip the whole muffin!),
then dip/roll the muffin in cinnamon sugar.
Is that not the prettiest muffin in the world!? WOW!  So just a few of my own opinions here...I used 1/4 cup of salted plus 3 tbsp. of unsalted butter for my topping. I just thought..the salt and sweet would go nice! ABSOLUTELY! I ended up rolling the tops and then some of the sides too...I'm a push over for yumminess!
You can ask my superheros what they thought. And I quote..."OH my goodness tastes like Christmas mouth is so happy!" "I think it tastes like a Snickerdoodle Muffin!" Well, then I really got the Awesome Mom award when I let them dip and roll pieces of their nice warm muffins in the butter and sugar...why waste all that deliciousness. I certainly cannot be eating that! ;)

Mr. Incredible got to have one when he came home from school. He put his in the microwave for a few seconds...and it rendered him helpless! He was in love..(with me)..hugs and kisses followed. Great day!