Apple Cinnamon Scones

apple-cinnamon-sconesI made Blueberry Scones a few weeks ago that were so popular in my house, they got a cool weather inspired make over, just in time for autumn. Fresh blueberries were traded for apples and cinnamon, and it got me thinking about all the fun ingredients that could be folded into these breakfast treats. I added a little extra cream to the batter to adjust for apples being a little drier than blueberries, and kept an eye on the cooking time during the last few minutes, otherwise it was the same easy-breezy recipe, ready to enjoy with a cup of coffee in under 30 minutes. How fun would it be to make Apple Cinnamon Scones after a day of apple picking? Count me in!

apple-cinnamon-scones-2Ingredients (makes 4 scones):
1 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch salt
3 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
½ cup heavy cream, plus more for adding decorating sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 cup apple, peeled and diced
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. decorating or sanding sugar

apple-cinnamon-scones-3Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients with cold butter, and work mixture with fingers until the texture of wet sand. Whisk together egg, cream and vanilla and add to dry ingredients. Mixed diced apple with cinnamon, fold into dough and transfer dough to a floured surface. These were made with a sweet apple, so if using a more sour apple, like a Granny Smith, I might add a little sugar to the apples before folding into the dough. Work into 4 inch circle, cut into 4ths and transfer scones to a baking stone or cookie sheet lined with parchment, spaced about 1 inch apart. Brush top with remaining cream and sprinkle with decorating sugar. Bake 20-22 minutes until golden. Enjoy!

Cranberry Pecan Spinach Salad

Cranberry Pecan Spinach Salad with Balsamic VinaigretteDuring the summer we have salads a few times a week. Some salads are fresh and herb-y, some are a meal all on their own, and this one is a perfectly sweet and salty treat to have anytime. I like this salad best with chicken or steak off the grill; baby spinach gets a sweet kick from the glazed pecans, salt from the crumbled blue cheese, all tossed in a tangy homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette.

All salads are not created equal and this one is no exception.

Ingredients:
12 oz. bag of baby spinach
½ small red onion, sliced thin
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup glazed pecans
½ cup Balsamic Vinaigrette

In a large salad bowl, combine baby spinach, sliced red onion, blue cheese, dried cranberries and glazed pecans. Toss with Balsamic Vinaigrette to evenly coat and serve. Enjoy!

Herbed Butter

herbed-butterSummer is the season for fresh herbs and nothing kicks up dinner a notch like having some fresh herbed butter to slather on homemade baked goodies. Get ready to impress your guests with a loaf of homemade bread and herbed butter fresh from the garden – they are both so easy to make!

 

 

herbed-butter-2Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
Your favorite herbs – my favorite combos are basil and garlic, chive and garlic, and dill and parsley
Whatever your favorite combinations are, my rule of thumb is 1 clove of garlic and 1 tbsp. minced herbs per stick of butter
Sea salt

 

herbed-butter-3Pulse herbs and garlic in food processor, add softened butter, and mix thoroughly (do no whip). Scoop herbed butter in wax paper, and roll into a log. Put in refrigerator for 1 hour to set, remove and slice into rounds. Spread onto freshly baked bread, sprinkle with sea salt, and enjoy!

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Cranberry Pecan Spinach Salad with Balsamic VinaigretteAs summer blazes on in Texas, we are having more and more salads with dinner.  Mixing up a cool, fresh salad keeps me from having to turn the oven on, and changing up the ingredients keeps them new and interesting. No same-old, same-old around here!

Homemade vinaigrettes > store bought vinaigrettes.  They are easy to make, inexpensive, and taste 100x better.  Once you experiment with making vinaigrettes at home, you will never buy them again.

Among the most popular is Balsamic Vinaigrette, and this recipe is my favorite. The tangy balsamic is balanced by the sweetness of the honey, and using a high quality olive oil really comes through in every bite. Perfect for tossing with some leafy greens, drizzling over fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, or using as a marinade for chicken, I have a jar of this in the fridge at all times.

Ingredients:
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. honey simple syrup
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
¼ tsp Italian seasonings (dried basil and oregano blend)
Salt and pepper

Steakhouse Chopped Salad with Balamic VinaigretteWhisk together balsamic vinegar, honey simple syrup, olive oil, Dijon mustard, pressed garlic, and Italian seasonings until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with a Steakhouse Chopped Salad, Cranberry Pecan Spinach Salad, or one of your favorites. Enjoy!