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POSTED ON Friday, 11.22.2013 / 2:57 PM


It’s that time of year again to embrace the merriment of the holiday season! Stores are busting with holiday shopping ideas, the sounds of the season have begun to flood the airwaves, and all of those irresistible treats we wait all year for are about to grace our plates. One of my favorite things about the holidays is inventing creative & delicious baked goods for my family. Since Thanksgiving 2013 has rapidly approached it’s my pleasure to provide not one, but two tasty and creative dinner components for you to add to your menu. I know how overwhelming it can be to organize a creative and fun menu for your guests so my hope is that these two recipes may help ease a little bit of the load on your plate (no pun intended!J) this holiday season.
Two of my favorite fall flavors are: Pumpkin and cinnamon. Combine that with oats and you have yourself a perfectly delightful mixture. With those three ingredients I was inspired to create what I call: Oatmeal Pumpkin Crumb Squares. They’re easy to make, and are sure to be popular once they’re placed on your beautifully decorated Thanksgiving tabletop. (See below for baking instructions & ingredient list)
Anyone who knows me well is aware that my kryptonite is bread (of any kind J). So of course the second recipe I’m sharing with you is a spicy little bread substitute for the common Thanksgiving dinner roll. They’ll get your quests applauding so intensely that the ruckus may just knock your ceramic roosters right off your counter top. I call them Great Biscuit Balls of Fire! With little to no prep time and only 15 minutes to bake – these biscuits will provide a flavor explosion in your mouth and are sure to satisfy you and your guest’s taste buds! (See below for baking instructions & ingredient list)
Well...it’s bakin’ time! Get in the kitchen, enjoy the process, and look forward to the sweet aromas that are sure to fill your home. From my kitchen to yours – Happy Thanksgiving and may the treats you bake be so tasty they fly off the plate!

Oatmeal Pumpkin Crumb Squares

Prep time: 17 minutes
Total cook time: Approx. 52 minutes
***Cool down time before serving: 2 hours
Servings:  15 squares 

  • Preheat oven to 350◦
  • Line an 8-inch pan with parchment paper – It’s ok to let the excess fold over the pan.

 

STEP 1: Make Oatmeal Crumb mixture – Ingredients include:

  • 1 ¼ cups of flour
  • 1 ¼ cups of dry oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup of melted (then slightly cooled) butter
  • With whisk combine flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, baking soda in a large bowl.
  • Add the melted (slightly cooled) butter, vanilla extract - then stir with a fork until the entire mixture is moistened.
  • Press half of the mixture into the prepared 8-inch square pan and bake for 15 minutes

 

STEP 2: Make the Pumpkin Creamy Filling – Ingredients include:

  • 1 ¼ cups of canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup of coconut milk (non-dairy substitute for evaporated milk)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • With whisk mix the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a bowl.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract – then whisk until thoroughly blended.
  • Add the pumpkin and milk – slowly whisk until mixture becomes smooth.

 

STEP 3:

  • Once crust (from Step 1) has completed baking for 15 minutes remove from oven and pour the Pumpkin Creamy Filling (from Step 2) over the baked crust – then place pan back in oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • When timer goes off remove pan from oven and sprinkle the remaining Oatmeal Crumb mixture over the top of the Pumpkin Creamy Filling.
  • Place pan back in oven and bake for another 20-22 minutes – or until the top is golden brown.  
  • Remove from oven and cool for approximately 1 hour.
  • Transfer the cooled pan to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours – then remove from refrigerator, cut into squares.
  • Nibble on one, pat yourself on the back & Enjoy...then serve and share!


 



Great Biscuit Balls of Fire

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total cook time: 15-17 minutes
Servings:  16 squares

  • Preheat oven to 350◦

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Can of Buttermilk Biscuits (8 biscuits)
  • 8-10 strips of Bacon
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Ground pepper
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup Jalapenos
  • 1 egg white (for basting)
  • Sea salt (enough to pinch a sprinkle on top of each dough ball)
  • Sesame seeds (enough to sprinkle on top of each dough ball)

INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. Lay bacon flat in stove top pan  - drizzle brown sugar and pepper over bacon
    2. Cook bacon over medium heat until lightly crispy - once cooled chop into pieces
    3. Chop up jalapenos
    4. Pop open can of biscuits, cut each biscuit round one in half
    5. Flatten the dough
    6. Pile on bacon bits, jalapenos, cheese
    7. Fold over dough to ball up all the ingredients
    8. Use egg to “eggwash” each dough ball
    9. Sprinkle sesame seeds and sea salt over each dough ball
    10. Bake for 15-17 minutes (or as instructed on can) - watch for them to turn golden brown
    11. Let cool for 1 minute, serve, & enjoy these ooey-gooey spicy delights!


 

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.08.2013 / 6:01 PM

Top of the morning to you friends!

“Breakfast: The most important meal of the day.”

We’ve all heard this statement at some point throughout our lives.  However, many of us glaze over the importance of it because we get caught up in the chaos of our morning to-do’s or we’d simply rather stay cozy under the covers for that extra 15 minutes of sleep rather than use the time to prepare a healthy breakfast. Over the last 5 weeks, I wake up Monday morning and find myself weighed down with the upcoming expectations of the week. A traditional day for me consists of school, homework, rehearsal, homework, workout, homework – maybe some time in between to eat.  Recently, I’ve learned how truly important breakfast is and how much I rely on those extra few minutes in the morning to organize my day.

Most of us have a routine in the morning that sets the pace for the rest of our day.  Just setting aside an extra 15 minutes for the sake of preparing a healthy, nutritionally satisfying meal can make all the difference in how you take on the day.  It’s very tempting to turn to the convenience of a nutrient-deficient meal to fill our tummies. Unfortunately, more often than not, we’re consuming empty calories that will not sustain us throughout the day. Coming from someone who used to live off of a protein bar and an energy drink in the morning  - I’m here to say that since I’ve committed to consuming a healthy and substantial breakfast I’ve discovered more pep in my step, increased brain power, and sustained stamina throughout my day.

On the topic of starting your day off right – I’d like to share with you one of my favorite breakfast recipes that’s easy to make, quick to prepare, will fill your tummy with savory flavors and quality ingredients, and more importantly sustain your  energy level throughout the morning.

Now let’s wipe the sleepys out of our eyes & get to cookin’!

Savory Scrambled Egg Toasties

Ingredients:

8 pieces of sourdough bread (cut crust off until bread is trimmed to 4 in. x 4 in.)

6 Eggs, well blended

2 tablespoons of olive oil – to baste cups & bread

1/4 Cup sour cream

1/2 Cup of sun-dried tomatoes

1/8 Cup of goat cheese

1/4 Cup of green onion

1/2 tablespoon of oregano

1/2 tablespoon of basil

1/2 tablespoon rosemary

1/2 large avocado – place one slice on top of each cup

1/4 cup cheddar cheese (soy, almond, or dairy –whatever fits your fancy)

Add salt and pepper (to desired liking)

(You’ll need a Cupcake pan too)

 

Servings: 8

Prep n’ Toast Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time (eggs): 7 minutes, approximately

*Just double the recipe if you’d like to make a larger batch for a brunch party

Instructions:

1.     Wash hands 

2.     Preheat  oven @ 375◦F

3.     Cut crust off of each piece of bread until it’s approximately 4 inches by 4 inches square

4.     Grease cup cake pan with olive oil

5.     Brush oil onto top side of each bread square

6.     Firmly press bread square into cupcake pan to form bread-cups

7.     Place oiled bread cups in oven to bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown (see image #1)

8.     Prepare sun-dried tomatoes and green onions by slicing into small pieces

9.     Blend 6 eggs (or 10 if you’d like to substitute for all egg whites)

10.  Add goat cheese, sour cream, oregano, basil, and rosemary into blender

11.  Once the egg mix is well blended, scramble eggs in a greased pan

12.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes and green onions when the scrambled eggs begin to firm up

13.  Once eggs are fully cooked, remove from heat and cover to keep warm

14.  Remove bread cups from oven

15.  Scoop scrambled eggs into each cup (see image #2)

16.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of each individual cup

17.  Place cups back in oven for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted

18.  Cut avocado into thin slices, place one slice on top of melted cheese

19.  Serve immediately (see image #3)

20.  Enjoy one or two – or maybe more than a few! 

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POSTED ON Monday, 11.19.2012 / 3:44 PM

It’s Saturday night and while most people are getting ready to dress in their evening best and hit the town, I find myself content with strapping on my apron, sliding into my slippers, and settling in for an evening of baking! As Thanksgiving quickly approaches you’re probably much like me and in full-preparation mode. I’m talking a two-page grocery shopping list, detailed menu write-up, taking out decorative dishware and decorations for the table, and feverishly searching through cookbooks and old recipes to create the perfect, most delightful, dinner to share with family and friends.

For this Bakin’ w/ Beckster Volume 2 edition I’ve created an exquisitely-flavorful delicacy that may happily confuse your guests with the question: “Is this a side-dish or a dessert?” Anyone who has prepared a Thanksgiving dinner knows that time is of the essence when it comes to food prep. In honor of the upcoming holiday I wanted to create a side dish that is quick and easy to make, yet not lacking quality and satisfaction. These Coconut-Marshmallow Yam Balls are a fun spin-off to traditional yams. During the holidays it’s easy to over-indulge in delightful foods - the good news is that some ingredients are sugar-free, yams are low on the glycemic index, and they’re conveniently pre-portioned for your guests. In the spirit of moderation, this is a wonderful way to enjoy the tastes of the holiday, yet still remain nutritionally disciplined.

Enjoy this very charming recipe – your taste buds will be so happy they’ll be doing the “chicken dance” by the end of the night!  (Insert song here…you know the one!) :)

 

 Coconut-Marshmallow Yam Balls

Ingredients

  •  Large Yams: 4
  •  Large Marshmallows (not jumbo): approx. 16-20
  •  Quaker oats: 2 Cups
  •  Packed Brown Sugar: 2/3 Cup
  •  Shredded Coconut (sweetened): 2 Cups
  •  Orange Zest: 1 tsp.
  •  Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice: 2 tbsp.
  •  Stevia (sugar-free sweetener): 2 tbsp.
  •  Ground Cinnamon: 1 tsp.
  •  Ground Nutmeg: ½ tsp.
  •   Sugar-free Syrup: enough to drizzle after  baking

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 16-20 balls     

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash hands ☺
  2. Preheat oven to 350 o
  3. Peel yams, dice, then boil for about 15 minutes (or until soft)
  4. Remove yams from water, strain, and place in a large bowl
  5. Mash yams (see image #1)
  6. Stir in oats, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and nutmeg
  7. In a separate bowl, toss coconut with Stevia and cinnamon (see image #2)
  8. Take a small handful of the yam mixture in one hand, add one marshmallow
  9. Add additional yam mixture and cover the marshmallow (ball should be about 2 inches in diameter)
  10. Roll the ball in the coconut mix until covered
  11. Place ball onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (see image #3)
  12. Continue until all yam mixture is used
  13. Bake for 15 minutes (until coconut turns golden brown)
  14. Let Coconut-Marshmallow Yam Balls cool for 5 minutes – Do not fear if the marshmallow oozes out of the yam ball. They’ll still be yummy, trust me!
  15. Gobble-up & enjoy… (see image #4)
  16. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 11.06.2012 / 5:00 PM

The kitchen is my oasis. Anyone who knows me is aware that if there’s an event to attend that requires bringing a dish – I’m the one showing up with a baked good in hand! Baking provides me with a sense comfort and creativity. One of the most rewarding aspects about baking for me is the opportunity to share my creations with family & friends - my favorite taste-testers being my teammates and other co-workers! Baking for everyone’s birthday provides me with tremendous opportunities to try a variety of recipes, which couldn’t make me happier…it’s a win-win situation for everyone! Unfortunately tasty desserts have a bad reputation for contributing to weight gain. Take it from me, I’m very diligent about living a healthy lifestyle – eating right, exercising, and drinking a lot of water. With that said, I am not afraid of indulging in a delicious post-dinner dessert every now and again, and neither should you be. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to consume a yummy treat, just keep in mind one word: moderation.
As we approach the holiday season, mouth-watering desserts flood our field of vision at grocery stores, many of which eventually end up on our kitchen tables. My goal in the coming months is to provide you with fun and hassle-free recipes for delicious treats for an upcoming party, snazzy dinner, or even a casual date-night at home – that are sure to be a hit with those you share it with.
The first recipe I’m honored to share with you is: Sticky Caramel Apple Dumplings. As we transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving, this delightful warm dessert will surely satisfy your sweet-tooth craving and leave you with a sense of joy and contentment. All in just 35 short minutes.
Now, let’s get to baking!

 

 STICKY CARAMEL APPLE DUMPLINGS

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Granny Smith Apples – 2 medium size
  • Crescent Rolls – 2 cans: makes 16
    • (You can use pre-made Pillsbury® Crescent Rolls or make your own homemade crescents. If making homemade crescent rolls add extra prep time for dough. *See homemade crescent roll recipe below)
  • Root Beer: 12 oz.
  • Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon
  • Butter: 1 cup
  • 9x13 Baking Dish: 2

      For “Ooey-Gooey” Caramel Glaze ~ 

  • Sugar: ½ cup
  • Light corn syrup: 1 tablespoon
  • Water: 2 tablespoons
  • Heavy Cream: 1/2 cup
  • Chopped Pecans: 3/4 cup  
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt: just a pinch!

PREP TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL COOK TIME: 25 minutes

 

DIRECTIONS

  • Wash hands! :)
  • Pre-heat oven to 375◦
  • Peel & core apples, cut into quarters, take each quarter and cut into very thin slices
  • Place 1 cup of butter in saucepan on med/low  heat
  • Add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Add 12 oz. of root beer when the butter is melted
  • Add all pre-cut apple slices to mixture in saucepan (see image #1)
  • Sprinkle ¼ cup of white flour & whisk into sauce to thicken
  • Stir occasionally, cook for 10 minutes then remove from heat
  • While cinnamon-apple sauce is simmering - lay out crescent triangles on 2 lightly floured cutting boards (see image #2)
  • Using fork or slotted spoon transfer 3 apple slices onto each crescent roll triangle, at the wide end (be careful not to add too much of the liquid, see image #3)
  • Save remainder of cinnamon-apple sauce and set aside
  • Roll the crescent from the wide end and pinch ends in order to keep apples inside the roll (see image #4)
  • Grease (2) 9x13 baking dishes (if you don’t have 2 you can purchase reusable 9x13 foil baking pans @ any grocery store)
  • Place rolled dumplings in 9x13 baking dishes (8 per dish)
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown
  • While crescents are baking prepare “ooey-gooey” caramel glaze:
  • Stir the sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan, add pecans
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, swirling the pan but not stirring, until the sugar is dark amber-colored caramel (about 15 minutes)
  • Pull pan from the heat and carefully pour in the cream (be careful, it may splatter)
  • Stir in vanilla and salt
  • Cool until caramel becomes thick and syrupy
  • Allow dumplings to cool for 5 minutes after removing from oven
  • Drizzle cinnamon-apple sauce over dumplings
  • Evenly pour caramel glaze over the dumplings
  • Top with whipped cream, serve alongside vanilla bean ice cream (see image #5) or a hot cup on cinnamon apple cider
  • Devour & allow warm-fuzzy feeling to take over!

 

RECIPE for Homemade Crescent Rolls

Ingredients:

Active dry yeast: 2 (.25 ounce) packages
Warm water (110◦F): ¾ cup
White sugar: ½ cup
Salt: 1 teaspoon
Eggs: 2
Shortening: ½ cup
All-purpose flour: 4 cups
Butter (softened): ¼ cup

 

        Directions:

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water
  2. Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in remaining flour until smooth. Scrape dough from side of bowl. Knead dough, then cover it and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1-1/2 hours)
  3. Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 12-inch circle. Spread with butter. Cut into 10 to 15 wedge. Roll up the wedges starting with the wide end. Place rolls with point under on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double (about 1 hour)
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F (205◦ C) for 12-15 minute or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter when they come out.

 

 

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