Did you think I’d disappeared? I can promise you that I didn’t. We did have a very busy weekend, so I’m just a wee bit behind in getting you this post, but there’s enough delicious food here that I hope you’ll forgive me. (And I do still plan to do another post later this week.) I thought it was high time that I shared with you the delicious foods that I made to celebrate my birthday. I also have a few deals that I wanted you to be aware of.
Let’s start with the amazing news that autumn is nearly here!! This Saturday is the autumnal equinox, and I’m terribly excited. This means that it will officially be fall, and I can start making seasonal dishes. (Even if the weather doesn’t plan to cooperate, it will be autumn in my mind.) In honor of autumn, Krispy Kreme has added two pumpkin offerings to their menu. The first is a classic pumpkin spice cake doughnut, and the other is a pumpkin cheesecake filled doughnut that’s topped with a cream cheese icing and a gingersnap crumble. (Don’t forget that Thursday is National Talk Like a Pirate Day and Krispy Kreme has a couple of deals regarding that.)
You may have noticed that it’s been a while since I told you about a free sample offer. It seems like fewer companies are offering them, and, when they do, the samples run out before I have a chance to tell you about them. Right now though, Target has several free samples available. You can go here and sign up to receive free samples of an Airborne Immune Supplement, Maybelline Fit Me Shine Free Foundation, and Snapple’s Brew Over Ice K-Cups. (Just be aware that sometimes Target is only giving the samples to people who fit certain parameters, and you might not be able to qualify.)
Though we did go out to dinner for my birthday, I also wanted to make myself a tasty meal at home. I decided to recreate one of my favorite recipe dishes: Chili’s Southwestern Egg Rolls. I was really pleased with how easy these were to make and how delicious they were. They tasted just like the restaurant version, but they were healthier! The beauty of this recipe is that you can prep the filling ahead of time, then you just have to spend a few minutes wrapping them the night you plan to have them. This was my first time using egg roll wrappers, and I’ll admit that I was a little nervous about how they’d turn out. What I discovered is that they’re not as expensive as I thought (I got 2-3 meals worth out of a $2 package of wrappers.), and they’re very easy to work with. I can’t wait to play around with other fillings or even tweak this one. (Actually, I already tweaked it by adding some crumbled breakfast sausage – yum!)
Southwestern Egg Rolls (from Dainty Chef)
2 c. corn
1 15 oz. can drained, rinsed black beans
1 10 oz. package thawed, wrung out, frozen spinach
2 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 4 oz. can drained, chopped green chiles
4 chopped green onions (I didn’t use these this time.)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 package egg roll wrappers
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet with Pam. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the wrappers; stir well to combine.
2. Lay an egg roll wrapper on a work surface so that one corner is pointing to you (like a diamond); place 1/4 c. of the filling in the center and roll it like a burrito. (I brushed a little water on the edges to help them seal.) Place the rolls, seam side down, on the baking sheet and repeat making egg rolls til the filling is used up. Spray the rolls with Pam (to help them crisp up). Bake the egg rolls 7-8 minutes, turn them, and bake 7-8 minutes more til they’re light brown and crisp.
Note: We served these with some ranch dressing. My ranch was plain, but we mashed part of an avocado into my husband’s. Both were delicious and simple.
Of course, you can’t have a birthday without cake and ice cream. This year, I made some delicious peach cupcakes with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting and a (good but not blog-worthy) honey semifreddo. While the cupcakes were good on their own, they were stellar once you added the cream cheese frosting. Using mostly brown sugar in the frosting keeps it from being cloyingly sweet and gives it a little deeper flavor. If, like me, you only plan on spreading the frosting on your cupcakes, then you could actually cut the frosting recipe in half. I’m sure that if you were going to pipe some frosting on prettily, you would need the larger recipe.
Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting (from Smitten Kitchen)
For the cupcakes:
3 c. cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 pinch nutmeg
3/4 c. softened butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt (I used buttermilk.)
3 peeled, cored, diced peaches
For the frosting:
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
2 8 oz. packages softened cream cheese
1/2 c. softened butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 28 muffin cups with paper liners. (I decided that I would accept a few wonky looking cupcakes rather than wash a pan to cook just 4 more.) In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars til fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions; then add the vanilla. Gently mix in the buttermilk. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the peaches.
2. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake 18-22 minutes or til a tester inserted in the center of a cupcake removes cleanly. Cool the cupcakes 5 minutes in the pan, remove them, and cool them completely on a wire rack.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, and confectioner’s sugar. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter til fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and vanilla and beat til the frosting is smooth and light. Chill the frosting in the fridge til it thickens, about 30 minutes; spread or pipe on the cupcakes.
That’s all for today, but hopefully I’ll be back later in the week with more delicious treats. (I’ve been baking!)