My Favorite Gingersnaps

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I have to admit that I have already made 3 batches of these this month!  Every time we have needed a treat to bring somewhere I have opted for these gingersnaps and they are always a big hit!  This is the BEST recipe in my opinion!  Gingersnaps remind me of my Grandma who I love and they are also my husband’s favorite cookie–so I guess that explains their popularity with me:)  Also, baking these cookies makes your house smell divine!  This recipe is all butter (no shortening–I do my best to avoid that stuff) and just the right amount of spices.  They have a crispy exterior but a chewy flavorful inside.  Perfection, I tell you!

I made these cookies as a treat to enjoy after I took my boys to the Nutcracker:)  Can you believe I got all my sports loving boys to dress up and go the ballet with me?!  Let me tell you I was pretty proud of myself!  We have fun!

So tell me, what is your go to favorite holiday treat?

FYI–some people have been confused with our new design–but the comment button is up there at the top of the posts now:)

My Favorite Gingersnaps
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • •1½ cups butter, softened
  • •2 cups sugar
  • •1/2 cup molasses
  • •2 eggs
  • •4 cups all-purpose flour
  • •4 tsp. baking soda
  • •2 tsp. cinnamon
  • •1 tsp. cloves
  • •1 tsp. ginger
  • •1 tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and molasses, and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Gradually add in the dry ingredient mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Roll the dough into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Fill a small bowl with sugar, and roll each ball in the sugar until it is completely coated. Place on cookie sheet at least 1 inch apart, and bake for about 8-10 minutes, until the cookies begin to slightly crack on top. (They may crack more while cooling.) Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute or two. Then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

Recipe Source: Gimmesomeoven

Buttermilk Cornbread

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I have been working on a personal cookbook for my family of our absolute FAVORITE recipes and I am happy to say that I am DONE! I posted all about it on Melandboys here.   I love the way it turned out but let me tell you it was a bit challenging to put together, since as you know I have collected a lot of recipes over the years:)  I had to sort through all of my posts and my old cookbook  binder that is stuffed with recipes and falling apart!  I wanted to find the best of the best to put in our family cookbook. So, I now have a list of recipes that we love that somehow were never posted here on The Sisters Café.  The first one I am excited to share with you is this Buttermilk Cornbread that is somewhat of a staple at our house, especially during ‘soup season’.  I am telling you–IT IS THE BEST CORNBREAD ever, hands down!  It comes together fast and with ingredients that I keep on hand.  I know that some of you do not keep buttermilk as a staple, but seriously you should!  It makes the best waffles, muffins, rolls, biscuits, cake and I could go on (just look here in the buttermilk section of our Recipe Index)!  We have this cornbread often and I even make a batch for my son Coleman (who has Celiac disease) by subbing out the flour for a gluten free blend.  It is especially good slathered with Grandma’s Honey Butter.

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Buttermilk Cornbread
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease an 8inch square pan. Melt butter and stir in sugar. Then add the eggs and stir until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into wet mixture. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pout batter into the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*you can add 1-2 cups grated cheese and chopped green onions for a fun variation
**I sometimes double this and bake in a 9x13 pan with great results!

Best Ever Classic Scones (with endless variations)

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I have always LOVED scones.  Maybe it is my Irish and Scottish ancestory coming out:)  I love the way they taste and I love how easy they are to make. This recipe has become my favorite for scones–all different kinds! No matter if you choose to make them sweet or savory this basic recipe always turns out perfect! I can whip a batch up quickly on a Saturday morning and it helps to softened the blow of the list of  “Saturdays jobs” that is set out for them on the kitchen counter.  The scones pictured above are Cinnamon with a Maple glaze.  My boys loved this variation so much that I made them two weekends in a row!  I will share my favorite sweet variations to this basic recipe and then some of my favorite savory variations will be another post. The sky is the limit with this recipe!   I would love to hear what you come up with!   Enjoy!

*speaking of needing your ideas–do you have an Elf on the shelf?  Ours is back–with a fun idea challenging the boys to daily service (more here) but I would LOVE to hear what your elf is up to:)  It is so much fun but sometimes our little guy forgets to move!  oops!!

A little note–I usually use buttermilk because that is what I normally have on hand, but cream is wonderful too!

Best Ever Classic Scones ( with endless variations)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar (omit for savory variations-see below)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, butter into pieces
  • ¾ buttermilk or whipping cream
  • extra cream or egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 TB milk) for brushing the tops
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Stir together first four ingredients in a large bowl or food processor. Cut butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or by pulsing on food processor, until the mixture is crumbly and resembles small peas. Place mixture in freezer for 5 minutes. Stir in any add ins (see variations below) and then add ¾ cream, stirring until just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough onto baking mat (or marble slab or wax paper) , gently press or pat dough into a 7 inch round (mixture will be very crumbly) Cut round into 8 wedges (or 12 if desired--just cut down back time a little) Place wedges about 2 inches a part on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet (or lightly grease first). Brush tops with whipping cream or egg wash. Bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes until golden brown.
Sweet Variations:
  1. Cinnamon Maple glazed: Add 3 tsp cinnamon to dry ingredients (and if desired ½ cup chopped toasted pecans). Glaze with 1 tsp soft butter, 2 TB maple syrup mixed with 1 cup powdered sugar.
  2. Lemon Poppy seed: Add with the cream, zest of 2 lemons and 1 TB of poppyseeds. Glaze with 1 TB fresh lemon juice and ½ cup powdered sugar or enough for right drizzling consistency.

Recipe Source: Adapted  from My Recipes.com

Nordstrom’s Tomato Basil Soup

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Happy December everyone! Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?  Mine was a bit stressful, as my oldest landed himself in the hospital for a couple of days! More on that here.  Scary–but he is fine now-thank goodness!     In other news I have been busy getting my house all decked for Christmas and I am now checking things off my shopping list and wrapping gifts left and right!  I bought myself an early gift (haha) a new digital candy thermometer and can’t wait to use it this weekend making some homemade caramels!  A favorite holiday treat at our house!  But I digress –back to the post:)   I REALLY LOVE to make soup this time of year.  It just hits the spot on a cold winter night.  A couple of weeks ago we had some seriously cold weather (like almost set a record–brr)    I have heard that the Tomato Basil soup at the Nordstrom café is so good that it has a cult following–so of course I really wanted to try it!  Since we don’t have a Nordstrom here in Chattanooga (boo hoo) I had to hunt down the recipe to make it myself. I guess there is a Nordstrom cookbook and this recipe is in it.  I found the recipe online and this little bit of information regarding the secret to it’s success:

 The secrets, I think, are the generous use of carrots, which bring a sort of untraceable sweetness, and the use of dried basil, not fresh. That might seem surprising since dried basil gets a bad rep for tasting very little like its fresh counterpart. But it’s actually a useful ingredient, and the concentrated flavor is key for a puréed soup like this. “

Interesting, huh?  Well you will have to give it a try and tell me what you think! When I made this soup I also whipped up some grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough and sent my husband this picture on his phone. I was trying to entice him to come home from the office!  I am proud to report , it worked!! He he! I am such a tricky wife! And, by the way I LOVED this recipe and so did my husband!  This will be my new go to Tomato Soup recipe from here on out.  I always have these ingredients on hand, so it is perfect for us!  Simple, fast and delicious!!

Also–if you are in the mood for a simple but stunning craft–try these cool snowflakes!  So pretty and fun!!

Nordstrom's Tomato Basil Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
  • 3 28-ounce cans whole peeled Roma tomatoes
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  2. Add carrots and onion and cook until beginning to soften, 10 minutes, then add basil and cook until vegetables are completely soft, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Add tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, or up to 45 minutes if you have the time.
  4. After allowing soup to cool somewhat, purée in a blender or food processor until smooth, doing so in batches if necessary.
  5. For a much silkier texture, strain the purée before returning to the pot.
  6. Stir in cream little by little over over low heat, until desired texture is reached and soup is just heated through.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm.

 

Recipe Source: Serious Eats via Nordstrom Cookbook

 

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

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Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! 

Are you planning your menu and making you shopping list?

I thought I would share some Sisters Café favorites to help with your planning!

You can’t go wrong with either of these two recipes for your turkey:  Rosemary and Garlic Roasted OR my favorite the  Brined Roast  Turkey 

Favorite sides: Wonderful Mashed Potatoes (they really are the BEST),  Celebration Salad ( super easy and perfect for a crowd),  Green Beans with Walnuts and Nutmeg, lots more vegetable side dish ideas here

Rolls: Buttermilk Rolls are my favorite (this is a post on how to shape them with links to the recipe and our roll section if you want to try a different roll recipe–we have lots of good ones!)

Flavored Butters:  I love making Grandma’s honey butter and Raspberry butter to offer with my rolls on Thanksgiving.

Desserts:  We have TONS of fabulous Pies here.  I am making a classic apple pie, the Banofee (caramel banana) and this heavenly Pumpkin Trifle this year.

Hope your holiday is wonderful! Happy cooking!

xo Melanie and the Sisters:)

Chicken Teriyaki

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My husband has always been a BIG fan of chicken teriyaki so I have tried lots of recipes over the years but this one is the BEST– our all time favorite!  This is the recipe that made the cut for our hard bound family cookbook (more on that soon).  When I make this chicken my boys come running and there is never any leftovers!  It is perfect on the grill but when it is cold like it is now, I use my grill pan on the stovetop with great results.  I actually love that this makes enough sauce for two dinners.  I just pour at least half into a glass jar in the fridge for later.  Enjoy!

Chicken Teriyaki
Author: 
 
*Note: Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine that is used for cooking not as a drink. I found a small bottle labeled for cooking at my local grocery store in the Asian section alongside the soy sauces and rice vinegars etc. It was about $4. I never have, but I have read that you could substitute apple juice with a little sugar added for the cooking wine, in a pinch.
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1½ cups regular soy sauce (Not low-sodium)
  • 1½ cups white sugar
  • ¾ cups brown sugar
  • ¾ cups mirin (Japanese sweet rice cooking wine; not rice vinegar)*
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine cornstarch with soy sauce. Thoroughly dissolve the cornstarch, whisking until no more cornstarch is visible. Add soy sauce, both sugars, mirin, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Whisk sauce until ingredients are well combined. Set aside.
  2. Thoroughly dry chicken thighs with paper towels, and trim. Working one at a time, place each piece on a cutting board and top chicken with cling wrap. Pound chicken evenly to about ½ in. thick.
  3. Using a fork, poke lots of holes all over chicken pieces.
  4. Place chicken in large mixing bowl or large baking pan. Whisk marinade again and pour in just enough to completely cover every chicken piece front and back.
  5. Cover and let sit in fridge overnight, turning chicken pieces over once while marinading. Pour unused clean marinade in a jar and keep in fridge for future use.
  6. One hour before cooking, remove chicken from fridge. Grill until thighs are cooked through, basting generously and frequently with a little of the unused marinade you saved. Either throw out used marinade or boil for 5 minutes to kill any bacteria from the raw chicken. Once it has boiled for at least 5 minutes you can use it to serve as a sauce with your grilled chicken and rice. OR you can just use the extra sauce--simply bring that to a boil for minute or two and serve.
  7. Serve chicken over your favorite white rice. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

Recipe Source:  Chew Out Loud

Crispy Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

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Happy Monday!  Hope you are all staying warm!!  It seems like Winter hit early this year in lots of places.  I keep seeing snow in my Instagram feed:)  While we don’t have any of the white stuff here in Chattanooga, we do have some seriously chilly weather.  Brr!   One good thing about this cold weather is that it has put me in the mood to bake!  I was looking through my shelves of cookbooks last week, on the hunt for something different to make for my boys and I came upon this recipe in my trusty Cooks Illustrated Book.  I am so glad I found this recipe!  Oh WOW are these cookies ever good!  I mean super delicious.  Crisp on the outside but chewy in the middle–with a buttery melt in your mouth texture to boot!  Can you tell that I REALLY like these cookies?!  They may be my new favorite.  I changed it up a little by adding some cinnamon, because I like cinnamon, but I am sure they would be good without it too.  I made a double batch, baked them and froze them for a quick treat to pop into school lunch bags or to dunk into hot chocolate after being outside in this chilly weather:)  Let me tell you that they have been a big hit!  I am sure that I will be making these again and again–YUM!!

I posted a little “food for thought” on living in Thanksgiving here on my other blog today.

Crispy Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
Author: 
Cuisine: Desserts
 
Recipe Source: The Cooks Country Cookbook from America's Test Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons butter (1¾ sticks), softened but still slightly cool
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 2½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats * NOT quick oats
Instructions
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
  2. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at medium-low speed until just combined, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute longer. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl again. With mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth, 10 seconds. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oats and mix until well incorporated, 20 seconds. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of dough (or use #30 cookie scoop), then roll between palms into balls. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2½ inches apart, 8 dough balls per sheet (they will spread a lot!). Using fingertips, gently press each dough ball to ¾-inch thickness.
  4. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are deep golden brown, edges are crisp, and centers yield to slight pressure when pressed, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely on sheet.

Italian Pepperocini Roast

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Well happy Tuesday everyone!  Hope your week is going well!  I have a great “man pleasing” recipe to share with you today!  This pepperoncini beef is fantastic and let me tell you, boys LOVE it!  My family of all boys devour this recipe!  I was first introduced to this delicious roast when my little Bridger was in the ICU with heart problems and my sweet friend Christa brought dinner to us.  She brought this recipe along with home made macaroni and cheese and banana pudding too!  Oh man–what a dinner!  It was so good and we all loved it so much.  Ever since we have enjoyed this recipe often.    If you are worried about the spicy-ness you can cut down on the pepperoncinis –I usually use about 3/4 of the 16 oz bottle and it is not very spicy at all.  I hope you like it as much as we do!

PS And just so you know, Bridger’s heart is completely better now–I just posted a final update here.  What a blessing!

Italian Pepperocini Roast
Author: 
 
*Recipe Source:  My friend Christa and Allrecipes
Ingredients
  • 1 (3 pound) beef chuck roast
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1(12-16 ounce) jar pepperoncini (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1- 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • Onion Flakes--shake or two
  • Opt: Hoagie Buns, provolone cheese
Instructions
  1. Make small cuts in roast, and insert garlic slices in cuts.
  2. Place roast in the slow cooker, and pour the entire contents of the jar of pepperoncini, including liquid, over meat.
  3. Add beef broth and onion flakes.
  4. Cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours
  5. Great served on Hoagie buns, lightly buttered, topped with beef and sliced provolone cheese.
  6. Broil for approx. 3 minutes. FANTASTIC!

The Best Snickerdoodles (all butter)

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I have to admit that I am a chocolate chip cookie girl myself, so I kind of forget about making other kinds of cookies!  Which according to my family is a tragedy because they LOVE snickerdoodles !  I  try to have cookies in my freezer to pop into my 5 boys daily lunches and these are the most requested variety by far!  I think I avoided them for years because most snickerdoodle recipes have shortening as an ingredient and I try to avoid it at all costs!  So after some trying lots of different recipes,  I found the BEST snickerdoodle recipe that is all buter.  This is supposedly Mrs. Fields recipe–I am not sure about that since I have found several different recipes making that same claim!  Regardless,  I will say these snikerdoodles are FANTASTIC and shortening free (yeah)! I have been making these cookies for years and didn’t realize that I hadn’t posted them until I brought them to a church function and people told me they couldn’t find the recipes on Sisters Cafe!  Woops! So here you go friends!  Enjoy:)

Happy Stuff post on Melandboys today:)  Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Best Snickerdoodles
submitted by Melanie~www.thesisterscafe.com

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt

For Rolling
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 3 minutes

Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well combined, light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the add the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.  Chill dough for at least 1 hour. ( If you don’t chill the dough, the cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.)  Roll approximately 2 Tablespoons of dough into balls, and flatten slightly. . Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat, parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

For Rolling – In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and stir to combine.

Drop and roll each mound of dough through cinnamon-sugar. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don’t overbake for soft, pillowy cookies. For firmer cookies, bake a minute or two longer. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving.

I like to keep unbaked cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Recipe Source: Slightly modified from MrsFieldsathome. BlogSpot.com

 

Skele-Cat Veggie Tray

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My parents give one killer of a Halloween party every year, complete with the best and spookiest food! This year I was assigned a vegetable side…  and I came across this darling skeleton cat. Every body loved it and ate it right up! The bean dip is very healthy and tasty too but honestly not a favorite with the kids, I’m sure ranch would have been preferred… but then I wouldn’t have had the “black” cat look! Sometimes you gotta make sacrifices. ;)

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Arrange cat skeleton using whatever veggies you like (sliced peppers or green beans make great ribs!)

*I would have made the tail curve up and around more if I had more room. Also I would have made the legs a little longer and had more carrot “claws” on each paw.

Skele-Cat Veggie Tray - Black Bean Dip
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can black beans
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 3-4 Tb lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup cilantro
Instructions
  1. Mix together in food processor.

 

Maple Mustard Chicken

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Hello friends!  Did you know that today is officially the first day of Fall?  I am so happy that Autumn is here!  I love this time of year and have already got my Fall To Do List started!  I posted it along with my weekly menu on Melandboys here.   I have really missed my blogs and have decided to get back to posting again.  I thought I would start with this fabulous dish that is just PERFECT for the season. You really must put this flavorful chicken on your menu as soon as possible!  My husband and boys absolutely LOVE it and ohh and ahh  enough to make me laugh whenever I make it!  In fact we like it so much that  am going to make the sauce tonight and use it to roast a pork tenderloin over sliced apples.  If it is as good as I imagine it will be–then I will let you know:)   I have been meaning to take a better picture–one with the option of rosemary because honestly it is even better that way…but I forgot last time I made it.  SO you will have to just take my word for it!  I have noticed that rosemary seems to just thrive in any conditions…so pick up a little plant next time you are out and plant it in your yard somewhere (close to your kitchen if possible).  Then you will always have it on hand for this dish, along with the awesome Macaroni Grill bread and for making this BEST home fragrance (it really is amazing!)  Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs I think, can you tell?!    Hope you all have a happy fall this year!

Maple Mustard Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
 
Recipe Source: originally a Trader Joes recipe adapted from Summer Harms
Ingredients
  • 6 to 8 chicken thighs
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup Dijon or yellow mustard (whichever you prefer--I like Dijon best)
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • 1 T. red wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 or 2 green onions, chopped OR if 1-2 T of fresh rosemary if you have some
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425º.
  2. Place chicken thighs in a single layer in a foil lined (optional but makes for a much quicker clean up)baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, and red wine vinegar.
  4. Pour the maple mustard sauce over the chicken and flip each piece until fully coated with the mixture.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, taking time to spoon the sauce over the chicken half way thru.
  6. After removing from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Slice the chicken and plate it, spooning over any extra sauce left in the pan.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped green onion or fresh rosemary if you have it.
  9. Serve with rice--delish!

Nutella Fudge Brownies (only 3 ingredients!)

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Wow is all I can say!  These tiny little brownies are heavenly and so darn easy to make! Luckily,  last time I made a Costco trip, I came home with a BIG jar of Nutella,  so when I came across this recipe I was prepared!  They were super quick to make and oh so good!  I even whipped up a gluten free batch for my son Coleman (who has celiac disease)  by subbing GF blend for the flour and they were fantastic!  This recipe is a keeper!  YUM!

I finally got around to posting again on Melandboys–I had a request for a post on what to see and do in Chattanooga.  It was so fun to write!  I do love Chat town!  Hopefully it will make you want to come for visit! :)

Nutella Fudge Brownies (only 3 ingredients!)
Author: 
 
Recipe Source: a Cup of Jo **To make these Gluten Free--simply use your favorite GF flour blend. I like Pamelas Baking Mix or Better Batter
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • Optional:
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips or chopped walnuts/pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Nutella and eggs.
  4. Add the flour, and whisk until blended.
  5. Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin pan (about ½ full for regular pan and ¾ full for mini pan) and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips or chopped walnuts.
  6. Bake 8-12 minutes, just until the tops have set and cracked around the edges.
  7. A toothpick in the center should come out wet and fudgy. (If it’s clean, the brownies will be too dry.) Set aside and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Remove brownies from the pan and let cool completely.
  9. Makes about 12 regular-sized or 18-20 mini-sized brownies

 

 

Banana Oat Pancakes (*Gluten free )

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oat banana pancake

Hello friends!   What a summer so far!  We just returned from almost a month in Utah visiting family and friends.  It was so wonderful–we loved every minute–but I must say it is nice to be back home too!  I am slowly getting back into the swing of things.  I had a HUGE amount of weeds to contend with but I am happy to report after hours of labor and a load of fresh mulch, that  I have won that battle for now.  Phew!  Now for catching up on the blog.  I have missed you!  I keep promising to post more and I do have the best intentions, but then life gets busy and my computers have been misbehaving terribly, which makes posting very time consuming and frustrating.  My laptop is the worst, I have given up on using it now and my PC has its own set of issues–grr!  I think a trip to Best Buy is in order.  Do you have a favorite laptop that you would recommend?  I would love to get your opinions.  It is time for a new one, for sure.

Anyway–let me tell you about these absolutely delicious pancakes.  My sweet friend Kimberly gave me this recipe and we LOVE it.  I especially love that I can easily make it gluten free if I use certified gluten free oats.  This recipe comes together quick and is a very healthy alternative to your regular pancakes.  You can easily change it up by sprinkling cranberries, blueberries, pecans, apple slices, coconut, chocolate chips etc onto the poured batter on the hot skillet.  So fun and so good!  ENJOY!!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Banana Oat Pancakes (*Gluten free )
Author: 
 
*You can purchase oats/oat flour that is certified gluten free--using this will insure the pancakes are gluten free. Regular oats test positive for gluten. **oat flour can be make by blending oats in your blander until smooth flour is formed.
Ingredients
  • 2 bananas
  • 1½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 TB oil (coconut or grapeseed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups oat flour **
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Place all wet ingredients in blender (I use the Blendtec) and blend to combine.
  2. Add dry ingreients to the wet ingredients in the blender and blend on high for 1 minute
  3. Pour a small amount of batter onto hot nonstick pan or griddle (butter or oil if desired)--turn when full of bubbles. Cook until golden brown. Enjoy

Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes

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Well hello again!  I have happy news for you!  First of all I have some very tasty recipes to share over the next couple weeks–yes I am back to regular posting again, promise!  BUT the really happy news is that I have a very talented person creating a new design  for The Sisters Café!  What I have seen so far is awesome!  It will be very nice and much easier to use too!  Stay tuned:)  I am excited!

Well I have had a very eventful last couple of weeks–thus the lack of posts!  The biggest event was my 40th birthday.  I guess you really aren’t supposed to announce your old age to people–but o well,  I am among friends here:)  Anyway, my Mom and sweet sisters all surprised me and flew across the country to help me celebrate!  I had no idea and was absolutely shocked to see these women that I love and miss so much all seated at the table of a restaurant for what I thought was just a little dinner date with my husband.  I think my heart stopped for a minute as the realization hit me–It will go down as my best birthday ever!!  We had a Sisters reunion!  Just our sweet Mom and us girls, no kids( except for new baby Ririe–so fun to finally meet her) or husbands or responsibilities.  It was HEAVENLY!  Tomorrow I will post more about our fun in Chattanooga at Melandboys here.

taco

And of course while we were together we made some yummy food in my kitchen.  These sweet potatoes were one of the dishes we tried and all LOVED!  I have  a few others to share too, including a pineapple salsa we served with grilled fish and some divine homemade (all natural) Peanut Butter Cups!  YUM!  But first lets focus on these amazing sweet potatoes.  They are wonderful!  Something about the sweet topping with the hint of spice from the cayenne just puts them over the top!  It is making my mouth water now!  Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
 
Recipe Source: Martha Stewart
Ingredients
  • 8 medium sweet potatoes (5 lbs.), or one per person
  • coconut or olive oil
  • course salt
  • 2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 T. light brown sugar
  • ⅓ c. chopped pecans
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel potatoes and halve lengthwise; slice crosswise ¼- 1/2 inch thick.
  3. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with coconut or olive oil (we brush it on both sides); season with salt.
  4. Transfer half the potatoes to a second baking sheet; cook both sheets until potatoes are tender, tossing occasionally, 25-30 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with butter, brown sugar, pecan pieces and cayenne pepper, dividing evenly.
  6. Bake until sugar is carmelized and hard, about 10 minutes.
  7. Toss gently; serve immediately. Serves 8.

 

Oatmeal and Brown Sugar Muffins

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Is your life as crazy as mine with the wrapping up of another school year?  It is so fun, but exhausting too!  I guess it makes you ready for summer all the more:)  I can’t wait!  Now to these delightful muffins…simple, quick and tasty!  Really you can’t ask for more sometimes!  I am finding these to be my go to muffin for breakfast, to add to dinner or a sweet after school snack!  My boys LOVE them and so do I.  I love that the ingredients are always on hand in my kitchen and they come together quick and easy!  I think we will be enjoying these for years to come!

Oatmeal and Brown Sugar Muffins
Author: 
 
Recipe source: 5Boys Baker
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Extra brown sugar for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line 12 muffin cups with liner or spray with vegetable spray.
  3. Mix oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
  4. Set aside. In a medium-size bowl, whisk egg, butter, buttermilk, and honey until well blended. Pour liquid over dry mixture and fold in with rubber spatula just until combined.
  5. Don’t overmix.
  6. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin tin.
  7. Sprinkle the tops of each with brown sugar.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Cinco de Mayo Menu Suggestions

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sizzling chicken fajita salad

I get excited about Cinco de Mayo–I think it is my love for Mexican food!  It gives me the perfect excuse to bust out a big bag of tortilla chips and make fresh pico de gallo and guacomle!  YUM!  This year,  I am going to serve Burrito Bowls, but we have LOTS of yummy options…

Just a few Suggestions:

Honey Lime Enchiladas  (always a HUGE hit!)

Chili’s Classic Fajitas

Café Rio inspired sweet Barbacoa Pork Salad/ Burritos

Sizzling Chicken Fajita Salad

 

Don’t forget dessert:

Tres Leche Cupcakes   (these are Uh-mazing!!)

Coconut Tres Leche Cake (if you are a fan of coconut–you will LOVE this!!)

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake (OK it is originally posted as Picnic cake–but if you add the optional cinnamon-it tastes just like Mexican hot chocolate–so yummy!!)

I hope you have a wonderful Cinco de Mayo!  There are plenty more recipes that work for a great menu tonight. Just look through the recipe index or use the search box on the right hand side for other options!

 

 

Lemon Bread

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lemon bread

Hello friends!  Are you enjoying Spring? We are here in Tennessee!  Here the world is a million shades of green, with blossoms everywhere you turn. I love it  We are currently putting in a swimming pool in our backyard and my boys are so excited!  Its been fun to watch the progress everyday.  In my opinion it is still too cold to swim, but that hasn’t stopped my boys from swimming almost everyday!  They are crazy!! The summer heat and humidity will be here soon enough and then I will be happy to join them:)  With all the construction going on in my backyard and baseball season in full swing (that is 6 games a week for our household of boys)  I have been so busy, that posting  has been pushed to the back burner!  I am determined to squeeze in the time to post more though, I  have several really delicious recipes to share with you!  First up is this sunshiny Lemon Bread–such a classic treat for this time of year!   I have been making this recipe for years and love it every time.  All of the called for ingredients are almost always available in my kitchen, making it quick and easy to make.  This sweet and tangy  bread is just perfect for Spring and it freezes very well to save for summer!  Hope you enjoy!

Need a little inspiration? –I shared a fantastic video here on Melandboys.

Lemon Bread
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • Glaze
  • 4 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl combine the sugar, eggs, butter, milk and lemon zest.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. I like to squeeze a little lemon juice into the batter, maybe a tablespoon or two.
  5. Bake in 2 8x4 inch greased and floured pans at 40-50 minutes.
  6. Glaze: Mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with powdered sugar.
  7. When you take the bread out of the oven let the glaze drip and drizzle over the loaves.
  8. If you want you can poke holes in the top first.

 

Chipotle Marinade

chipotle marinade
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chipotle marinade

This recipe has totally got me dreaming of summer time and “cookouts” as they call it here in the South.  Out west we said BBQ but here that is the type of meat not the event.  It is so funny how different parts of the country have their own way of talking, huh?!  Let me tell you though, anyway you say it this marinade is the BEST for when you are ready to use the grill!  We used it for tacos and some quesidillas and salad a couple nights later.  I am going to be using this recipe a lot this summer, I am sure of it!   Tacos, Burrito Bowls, Salads, Quesidillas…mmmm.  Be sure to make some Pico de Gallo and guacamole to go with it!  Seriously YUM!

In other cooking news…last weekend I helped a couple of cute boys ask girls to prom using  giant cookies.  It was so fun! I shared how they did it here.   The finished product turned out so cute!

chiptole marinade 2

Chipotle Marinade
Author: 
 
Recipe Source: Summer Harms
Ingredients
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup tabasco chipotle sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
Instructions
  1. Heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 15 seconds--do not burn the garlic!
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Return to heat and bring to a boil.
  5. Cool down and pour over meat to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  6. Grill when it's taco time:)


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