Category Archives: photography

Inspiration finds me in the strangest places

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Have I mentioned I’m in love with an inanimate object?  A camera, that is, don’t get all weird on me.  I find I look at things differently since I started practicing photography – everything is about composition, how colors relate to each other, the patterns simple objects make.  I needed a late afternoon pick-me-up one day and noticed that cream makes beautiful, billowy swirls in coffee when it’s first poured.  See what I mean?  Totally mundane, but somehow I found beauty in it – and was forced to photograph it 🙂

coffee creamer

Walnut Breakfast Bread with Honey Oatmeal Streusel

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Walnut Breakfast Bread with Honey Oatmeal Streusel

This bread is so good, drool worthy in fact.  Just a hint of sweetness, amazing texture from the walnuts and the oatmeal.  And the streusel is to die for – sweet, crunchy, nutty – you get where I’m going 🙂  Perfect on the go breakfast, or snack – or for that Mother’s Day Brunch you’re planning!  I can tell we’ll be making this a lot in our house.  Good luck trying to keep this around yours for long!

Walnut Breakfast bread with honey oatmeal streusel

Can’t you just taste that crunch?!? Yum, yum…

The Recipe (makes 1 loaf):

Topping:

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

1/3 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Bread:

3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature.  Plus extra for buttering the pan.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup oatmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup chopped walnuts

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F (325 if using a dark pan)

2.  Make the honey oatmeal streusel.  Beat the honey and butter with a mixer until smooth.  Add the oatmeal, walnuts and cinnamon and mix on low speed until blended.  Set aside.

3.  Butter the bottom and sides of a loaf pan.

4.  Place the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to incorporate.  Set aside.

5.  In your mixer, place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.

6.  Break the egg into the butter mixture and beat until combined.

7.  Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until smooth.  Add the milk and mix again.

8.  Add the walnuts into the batter and mix until they are distributed throughout the batter.

9.  Scrape the batter into the buttered loaf pan.  Sprinkle the streusel over top.

10.  Place in oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour (mine was honestly closer to 40 minutes).

11.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Tabbouleh

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Tabbouleh

I love Tabbouleh, never had the pleasure of making it from scratch though.  It has such a light, vibrant flavor combination – lemon, parsley, mint.  And super healthy to boot! Perfect, easy peasy side dish for some simple grilled chicken, or by itself with some warm pita.  Mmmm….  I was impressed with how super simple it was to put together too.

tabbouleh

The Recipe (makes 6 servings):

1/2 cup quick cooking bulgur wheat

1 cup cold water

1 ripe medium tomato

3 scallions

2 bunches fresh parsley sprigs

2 teaspoons dried mint (or fresh)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Crumbled Feta (optional)

The Process:

1.  Place bulgur wheat in a sauce pan with the water.  Cook per package (mine was bring to a boil and then simmer for 12-15 minutes with the lid on).

2.  Rinse the tomato, seed and cut into small chunks.

3.  Finely chop the scallions (don’t forget to use some of the white!), parsley, and fresh mint (if you’re using).

4.  Remove the wheat from the saucepan when finished and place in a large bowl to cool.

5.  Once the bulgur wheat is cool, sprinkle the parsley, mint, tomato, and scallions over the wheat.  Add the oil, lemon juice, and salt and toss to combine.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for  at least 1 hour before serving.

6.  Sprinkle with feta right before serving.  And voila! Amazing, healthy side dish in no time!

Banana Coconut Scones

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In my newbie travels as a blogger, I’ve come across some really amazing blogs (and some not so amazing, but I digress…).  Edibles & Travels is one of my new faves (I envy the peaks on her muffins 😉 ), and she recently posted a recipe for Banana Coconut Muffins.  Had a nice Caribbean-sounding vibe, brought be back to my honeymoon…you get my drift.  So I thought, hey, I have coconut.  I have a borderline overly ripe banana that’s looking lonely!  And thus, these Banana Coconut Scones were born.  If anyone needs me, I’ll be sipping a Rum Punch, my toes in the sand, enjoying a scone – well maybe not really, but a girl can dream, right?!? 🙂

Banana Coconut Scones

The Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, cold

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cup sweetened coconut (plus additional for garnish)

1 ripe banana, mashed

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2.  Place the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3.  Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Work the butter into the flour with your hands until the butter disappears into the flour and it yellows a bit.

4.  Add the honey, milk, and egg to the flour mixture and stir until mixed well.  Add the coconut and mashed banana and mix again until all incorporated.

5.  Scoop spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet about an inch apart.  Sprinkle with a little additional coconut, if desired.

6.  Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the scones are slightly golden on top.

7.  Remove the scones and place them on a cooling rack.  They are best when served warm and drizzled with a little honey.  Yum, yum 🙂

Honey Lemon Bars

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Honey Lemon Bars

I’m a huge fan of anything lemon when it comes to baking.  These are amazing, and super simple to put together.  The honey adds just the right amount of sweetness without being overpowering.  A perfectly light, warm-weather dessert 🙂

honey lemon bars

 

The Recipe:

Dough:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold

Filling:

2 large eggs

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest (my addition, but a little more lemon flavor never hurts in my opinion!!)

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

The Process:

1.  Heat oven to 350 F (325 F if using glass or dark metal pans)

2.  To make the dough, place the flour and the sugar in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3.  Cut the cold butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture.  Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until all the butter disappears and the dough starts to hold together a bit.

4.  Place the dough in an 8″x8″ baking pan and press into the bottom in an even layer.

5.  Place in oven for approximately 10-12 minutes to bake.

6.  While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.  Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the honey and lemon juice.  Whisk together until completely blended.  Add the flour and baking powder and whisk again until smooth.

7.  Remove crust from the oven and pour the lemon filling into the pan.

8.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  The filling should not move when you slightly shake the pan.  If it does, place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

9.  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow 10 minutes for cooling before cutting into squares.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy the lemony goodness!

Apple Almond Tea Cake

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Apple Almond Tea Cake

I couldn’t wait to get cracking in the kitchen after receiving the new book (My First Baking Book).  So here’s the first round…Apple Almond Tea Cake.  Super good.  Nice dense cake with just a touch of sweetness.  Love the flavor (and slight crunch) from the sliced almonds in the cake, and the apples on top pair perfectly of course.  Top it all off with an apricot glaze, and you have the perfect brunch (or breakfast…or dessert…) snack!

apple almond tea cake

The Recipe:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature (plus extra for buttering the pan)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup sliced almonds

2 medium apples

1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Glaze:

3 tablespoons apricot jam

1 tablespoon water

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F (325 F if using a glass or dark pan).

2.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan.

3.  Put the flour, baking powder and nutmeg in a bowl and stir to combine.

4.  Place the 1/2 cup of butter and the granulated sugar in the mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy (around 4 minutes).

5.  Break the eggs into the bowl and beat again until blended.

6.  Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed until smooth.

7.  Pour in the milk and mix again.

8.  Stir the sliced almonds into the batter until combined.

9.  Pour the batter into the greased 9×13 baking pan and spread evenly.

10.  Peel and core the apples.  Cut in half and then cut the halves into thin, even slices.

11.  Here’s where I took a detour from the original recipe…I placed the apple slices in a bowl and tossed them with a squeeze of lemon, the brown sugar and cinnamon.  The original recipe has you place the apples on top of the batter and then sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture over.  I wanted a more “even” coating, but you can choose your method 🙂

12.  Place the apple slices in 3 long lines, overlapping, on top of the batter down the length of the pan (makes for easier cutting this way).

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13.  Place in oven and bake until the cake pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan and a cake tester comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes (Again, with my oven it was close to 35 minutes, so I would check yours frequently after 35).

14.  Remove from oven and while cake is cooling prepare the apricot glaze.

15.  Place the jam in a saucepan and add the water, stir over medium heat until the jam melts and begins to bubble.

16.  Using a pastry brush (or spoon), spread the glaze over the top of the cake.  Cut into squares and marvel in the apple-y goodness!

Desert Botanical Gardens & Butterflies!

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We took a quick trip to the Desert Botanical Gardens to catch the butterfly exhibit before it ended.  If you live in Phoenix and haven’t been, I highly recommend it.  My daughter was in complete awe watching the butterflies all around her.  Fun to see it through their eyes.  It always amazes me how colorful the desert is in Spring.  Happy Earth Day!

desert botanical gardens phoenix photography IMG_3038 copy IMG_3045 copy IMG_3049 copy IMG_3053 copy IMG_3056 copy IMG_3072 IMG_3086 copy

Copyright 2013 Pam Kilyk