Thursday, December 30, 2010

Panera Bread Fuji Apple Salad


Packing a lunch for work every day gets really, really boring. I can only take so many turkey sandwiches before I absolutely lose my mind from the monotony. I really like salads, but I’m really finicky when it comes to dressings. My preference always goes towards the buttermilk-laden fatty dressings that are tasty but not exactly health food. Imagine my delight when I stumbled across this Panera salad. Immediately I knew I needed to find a copycat recipe for this salad to make for lunch and low and behold, it’s awesome. Light, healthy and incredibly flavorful without being overpowering.
I made a few tweaks to the original recipe, omitting chicken most of the time and adding a few dried cranberries or dried cherries just for some extra color.

fuji apple salad bite

Fuji Apple Salad 
printable recipe

for the dressing
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon White Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2teaspoons Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoons Frozen Apple juice Concentrate

for the salad

green leaf lettuce or romaine lettuce, chopped
tomatoes, chopped
pecan halves
dried apple slices
feta or blue cheese, crumbled
red onion, diced
dried cranberries

Mix together all of the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl.
Assemble the salad and drizzle dressing over the top.

Source: Adapted from SparkRecipes

One Year Ago on Laura’s Recipe Collection Best Ever Chocolate Cake
Two Years Ago on Laura’s Recipe Collection Pepperoni Cheese Bread

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

blueberry buttermilk pancake 
Oh blueberries, how I love you. They’re fantastic in everything, aren’t they? Muffins, pancakes, chocolate (if you’ve never had chocolate covered blueberries you have not lived. Trust me.) Lucky for me, my mom’s family owns a spectacular blueberry farm with the most delicious (and ENORMOUS- for real, quarter sized if you hit that at the early season) blueberries you’ll ever taste. Heaven. Pure heaven.
Blueberry pancakes are the ultimate weekend breakfast in my opinion and these little blue beauties were no exception. Fluffy and sweet, perfect with the blueberries and a smidge of maple syrup.

More of Laura’s Breakfast Favorites
Biscuits and Gravy
Whole Grain Waffles

Two Years Ago on Laura’s Recipe Collection 
Flourless Chocolate Torte
Gingerbread Muffins

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes 
makes about 16 pancakes
printable recipe

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tablespoons. vegetable oil or nonstick for oiling the griddle.
1-2 cups fresh blueberries

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs until frothy.
Heat an electric griddle to 350/medium-high heat.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, vanilla and butter into the bowl. Beat until the batter is smooth and there are no flour lumps remaining. Be careful not to over-mix the batter or the pancakes will be tough.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of batter onto the pan, then scatter blueberries over the pancakes. Cook until the batter has large bubbles forming on top, then flip. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
Serve and enjoy!

Source: Williams-Sonoma

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcake

The first of October I went on a vacation with my mom and both of my kids while Brian went hunting. Literally one hour after getting out of the car to start our vacation I dropped our trusty point & shoot camera in the sand in the play area of an apple cider mill. Literally. One. Hour. The first day of our 5 day vacation. Thankfully my mom had a camera with her, so the trip didn’t go completely undocumented, however the last 2 months of our lives have been camera-less. It’s been rough, I tell you. Rough! (This is where tiny violins start playing sad, sad songs for me. La la laaa)

What does this have to do with Red Velvet Cupcakes? Absolutely nothing! Except as a way to show you what arrived in my house last week. My third child, as I earnestly jokingly call it:

Isn’t she pretty? (She’d be even prettier if I had any blazing idea how to work her. But we can’t have everything, can we?) So once I get over what I like to call the Camera-stupids posting will commence again! You have no idea how much I’ve missed this. Fear not, I have been cooking and baking up a storm :)

Now… on to these cupcakes? I’d only had Red Velvet Cake once before and it was good. However, it didn’t really strike the love in me that I’d expected. I’d heard so many raves for Red Velvet, so many people saying that it’s their favorite cake. I just didn’t see it. Until now, that is. Daaaang, people. I get what you’re saying! Now, I’m not sure it’ll ever take the place of cheesecake in my heart as my favorite dessert, but it was definitely towards the top of my Dang But That’s a Good Cupcake list. And that is a very, very long list. Top it with cream cheese frosting and oh be still my heart! And how pretty are they for the Christmas season!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
makes 18 cupcakes
printable recipe

For the cupcakes
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoon (1 oz.) red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

For the frosting
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
12 ounces butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar

To make the cake
Preheat the oven to 350. Line cupcake pans with 18 paper liners.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar until well-mixed.

With the mixer on low speed slowly beat in the flour mixture until evenly incorporated.

Scoop the batter evenly between the cupcake liners. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes as desired.

Source: Apple A Day