Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chicken Salad with Peaches and Blue Cheese (Feta)

This recipe has been up since I first starting typing up our favorite recipes. A great summer meal that is on frequent rotation in our kitchen. And, since I'm extra lazy these days- I often skip the recommended vinaigrette and use a little bit (because those peaches are so juicy) of my favorite poppy seed dressing.


2 heads romaine lettuce, cut crosswise into 1-inch strips.
1 rotisserie chicken, meat sliced into bite-size pieces
2 peaches, roughly chopped (with or without peel)
3/4 cups (3 oz.) crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup (2 oz.) almonds, roughly chopped

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Arrange lettuce, chicken, peaches, cheese, and almonds on a platter or on individual plates.

2. Whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad.

This can be customized to what you prefer, or what you happen to have in the refrigerator.
Instead of peaches... sliced pears, halved red grapes
Instead of romaine...spinach, arugula, spring mix
Instead of blue cheese... goat cheese, feta
Instead of almonds... walnuts, pecans

Serves 4-6.

from Real Simple: Meals Made Easy

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Since part of our wedding cake was carrot cake we thought it would be a fun tradition to make some around our anniversary. We spent a lazy Sunday afternoon watching our wedding DVD with Siena and eating too many cupcakes. (They were made with the intention of freezing some...I think we all know that did not happen.)

Yes, this is the exact recipe I have posted for carrot cake...with one key difference. We decided cupcakes are the way to go when it comes to a frosted dessert. We left the cupcakes themselves at room temperature and pulled the frosting out of the fridge as needed to frost (smother?) each individual cupcake. The cake stayed so moist this way and the cooking time was drastically cut down-who wants to wait 50 minutes when a cute cupcake is ready in 18?


3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2-3 cups grated carrots (use larger side of grater)
8 oz. can crushed pineapples
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/3 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2-3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan, or two 9-inch round pans.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, sugars, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture. Stir in carrots, pineapple, coconut, and fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.

2. Bake standard cupcakes for 18 minutes, extra large cupcakes 24-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

3. To make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese together until completely blended. Add vanilla and blend. Gradually beat in sugar to desired consistency.