Maple Mustard Pecans

I was bringing some snacks into work for one of the departmenst that met a goal they’d been working on.  I knew that at least one of the individuals in the department didn’t eat carbs and ate a mostly paleo diet, so when I saw this recipe, I knew it was a great opportunity to make these pecans and make sure that this person also had a snack they could enjoy.  I found this in the Catholic Daughters Cookbook.

Maple Mustard Pecans

Maple Mustard Pecans

2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/8 c maple syrup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 1/2 c pecans

Mix together all ingredients except pecans.  Stir in pecans to coat evenly.  Spread on a lightly-buttered baking sheet.  Bake approximately 25 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring often.  Cool and break apart.

Sweet and Spicy Nut Mix

With the various mixes I’ve been making as of late, this one for a sweet and spicy nut mix that had a little kick to it seemed to be appropriate.  Another Cooking Light recipe from the 2012 cookbook, this mix meets all of the different palate needs — sweet, salty, spicy, and perhaps a little bit savory.

It went great with a few beers with some friends and then having around the office to munch on in between meetings and such.  It’ll definitely be on my list for when a snack is needed.

sweet-and-spicy-nut-mix

From Cooking Light 2012

3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 cups tiny unsalted pretzels
1 cup crispy rice cereal squares (such as Rice Chex)
2 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine brown sugar, 1 teaspoon thyme, salt, cinnamon, and red pepper in a small bowl.

3. Combine pecans and almonds on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until the nuts begin to brown. Combine the pecan mixture and butter in a medium bowl, stirring until butter melts. Gently stir in pretzels, cereal, and syrup. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over pretzel mixture; toss gently to coat. Spread pretzel mixture in a single layer on jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, stirring once. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. Cool completely.

Holiday Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries

I always love a brussels sprout.  I don’t think I love any vegetable more than a brussels sprout.  Usually, I go with roasting them, but the Serving Up the Harvest cookbook had a recipe for Holiday Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries that I’ve been wanting to try.  This recipe steamed the brussels sprouts instead, and I enjoyed it much more than I was expecting to enjoy it!  This would make an excellent side dish for Thanksgiving or other holidays, but also are a nice addition to the fall.

Holiday Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries.jpg

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Chocolate-Pecan Sheet Cake

Today I needed to make a cake for a funeral.  It’s not often that someone my age passes away, but she was clearly a beloved member of the community.  When the call came for salads and desserts from the church, I knew I needed to contribute something.  I looked through a few cookbooks for things with ingredients I had on hand and some ingredients I needed to purchase and came across a recipe for a Chocolate-Pecan Sheet Cake in The Good Neighbor Cookbook.  Since the cookbook is designed to have food for individuals to take to their neighbors, it seemed like the appropriate recipe to take as a comfort food item to the funeral.

chocolate-pecan sheet cake

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Turtle Cake

A couple weeks ago I had a birthday.  This year wasn’t a year where it was marked by significant excitement.  In fact, it went relatively unnoticed by many.  I received the usual Facebook celebrations and excitement, which was greatly appreciated, but for the most part, it was nice to have a relatively quiet day.
The weekend prior to my birthday, however, I was in Ohio, visiting my sister, her husband, and their son.  My sister is a great cook.  And, she wouldn’t let me pick up my hands to do anything, except play with my nephew.  She did a lot to celebrate my birthday throughout the weekend.  One of the things which she did a fabulous job with, however, was recreating a cake from one of our favorite restaurants when we both lived in St. Paul.
When we lived there, we would, on special occasions, go to Cafe Latte.  At one time I lived a mile from there and she lived two miles.  For our youngest sister’s confirmation, we got this cake for our family and it was always a special treat.  Have I told you before how amazing my Ohio sister is?  Sh has all of her ducks in a row and always accomplishes far more than I expect anyone is capable,like making a delicious and complicated dessert for me for my birthday.
With layers of chocolate cake, pecans, chocolate frosting, caramel, and more, this cake is rich, delicious, and over-the-top.  My brother-in-law decided it needed two scoops of vanilla ice cream the second day of cake because it was so rich.  If you’ve never been to Cafe Latte, might I suggest you make a trip there sometime when you’re in St. Paul.  Yum!
And, Cafe Latte shares their recipe, or a similar recipe.  Go check it out here: http://www.cafelatte.com/turtle_cake.pdf

Wild Rice Stuffing

Being the day after Valentine’s Day and a couple months away from Easter, we’ve got a lot of holiday cooking which sticks out.  It’s still winter, and so I am still thinking a little bit about some of my favorite winter holiday recipes.  Although this recipe was first found in a Cooking Light magazine at Thanksgiving time a few years ago, it has become one of my favorite rice side dishes.  It is often a more fall/harvest-inspired recipe, but that wouldn’t stop me from making it at just about any time of the year.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a side dish that isn’t potoato-based.  In those days, wild rice pilaf is a nice addition.  It doesn’t hurt that like me, wild rice is a major crop in Minnesota.

I’ve also brought this recipe for potluck meals. Cooking it the night before, I’ve reheated it the next day in the crockpot with an additional cup or two of chicken stock.

Also, instead of separate wild rice and brown rice, I generally use Uncle Ben’s long grain rice & wild rice blend and cook that separate while sautéing the celery, onion, garlic, etc.

Wild Rice Stuffing

Cooking spray

1 1/2 cups chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup uncooked wild rice

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice

1/2 cup dried sweet cherries

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add celery, onion, wild rice, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in broth and sage; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in brown rice, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Stir in cherries and remaining ingredients.