Chocolate Almond Waffles ~ ElephantEats.com

I’m not always the easiest person to live with.

I know you all probably find that very hard to believe ;)

Chocolate Almond Waffles ~ ElephantEats.com

Although Nate often purposefully annoys me (though he’ll deny it), he also does a lot of sweet things on a regular basis. He’s extremely thoughtful and emotionally expressive. He will randomly buy me little “tasty treats” if he sees a dessert or something that he thinks I might like. He definitely knows the way to my heart!

While I do cook dinner for Nate weekly, I think that it’s not so special anymore since I do it all the time. To mix things up and show him that I appreciate him, I decided to make him a special breakfast. 

Chocolate Almond Waffles ~ ElephantEats.com

These waffles are chocolatey, but they’re not overly sweet. They’re totally appropriate for breakfast as opposed to dessert. The tart and sweet raspberry sauce is the perfect accompaniment and both have a subtle hint of almond flavor. 

This is the perfect breakfast to surprise your special someone with on Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Almond Waffles ~ ElephantEats.com

In other news, LC and my painting of her made it onto a buzzfeed list (she’s #10)! That sadly is probably the coolest thing that has ever happened, and probably every will happen, to me (and her). 

Buzzfeed 21 Signs You’re A Cat Lady In Training ~ ElephantEats.com

 

Chocolate Almond Waffles with Raspberry Sauce
A not too sweet chocolate waffle with a sweet and tart raspberry sauce that's perfect for a special breakfast!
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Waffles
  1. 1 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 cup sugar
  7. 1/4 cup almond paste
  8. 2 1/4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  9. 3 tablespoons butter
  10. 2 large eggs
  11. 1 cup 2% milk
  12. 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Raspberry Sauce
  1. 2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
  2. 2 Tbsp almond paste
  3. 2-3 Tbsp water.
Waffles
  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Mix first 5 ingredients into large bowl.
  3. In a small food processor or blender, blend sugar and almond paste. Add to flour mixture.
  4. Heat chocolate and butter in a small microwave-safe dish in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted.
  5. Pour chocolate into medium bowl. Whisk in eggs, then milk, and almond extract. Gradually whisk milk mixture into dry ingredients.
  6. Following manufacturer's instructions, make waffles with batter (waffles will be somewhat soft when removed from pan).
  7. Place finished waffles on baking sheet in oven as you make the rest to keep them hot and crispy.
Raspberry Sauce
  1. Blend raspberries and 1 Tbsp water in a food processor. Strain raspberry mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, running a spoon back and forth over inside of sieve until all that's left in the sieve is seeds. Frequently scrape bottom of sieve, where strained pulp is coming out, into the bowl. Discard seeds.
  2. Add raspberry puree back into food processor. Add almond paste and 1-2 Tbsp water and blend until sauce is to your liking. Serve over waffles.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
http://www.elephanteats.com/

Chunky Pumpkin Spice Granola ~ ElephantEats.com

I had a wonderful couple weeks off of work. I still haven’t caught up on my blog reading and at this point it seems seriously overwhelming….I think I may follow a few too many blogs on feedly but it’s just so hard to eliminate some when there are so many good ones!

For Christmas we went down to Nate’s moms, as I told you guys last week, and I got some great Christmas presents that can be used in the kitchen! I got a scone pan (I’ll let you know how it works), a donut pan (expect a recipe using this when I break it in!), an Alice Waters cookbook and the Flavor Bible. The Flavor Bible is something I read about on another blog and it tells you all kinds of awesome flavor combos to help develop recipes. I can’t wait to get into it. 

Chunky Pumpkin Spice Granola ~ ElephantEats.com

Nice big chunks!

A present that I gave rather than received, however, is this Pumpkin Spice Granola. My mother-in-law eats granola for breakfast every single day (you can see where Nate gets his routine eating habits from) and she told me that she specifically likes nuts and seeds in her granola but no dried fruit, and that she likes the kind that has big clumps. According to her, this combo is quite hard to find, so I thought making her some would be the perfect Christmas present. 

I also gave her one of the awesome paperweights we made when we went glass-blowing for Nate’s bday present. I forgot to tell  you guys about that! 

We went up to Beacon, NY to this awesome little shop call Hudson Beach Glass. For Nate’s bday I got us a lesson to do together, which really involved each of us separately making a paperweight while the other person watched.

Hudson Beach Glass glassblowing lesson ~ ElephantEats.com

Nate went first. We were allowed to chose the style of paperweight we wanted, and we both chose the kind that has that swirl inside.We got to choose 2-3 colors to swirl. Nate chose red and gold, while i chose purple, blue and green. The pic of him above is putting the first color on his glass. Because he only chose two colors, he had to put a white background color so those colors would stand out better.

And here’s me with my three colors.

Hudson Beach Glass glassblowing lesson ~ ElephantEats.com

After the colors go on and you melt them in the hot furnace, you twist them together:

Hudson Beach Glass glassblowing lesson ~ ElephantEats.com

After twisting the colors together, you smooth the glass out using this wooden cup so it ends up round.

Hudson Beach Glass glassblowing lesson ~ ElephantEats.com

 

Hudson Beach Glass glassblowing lesson ~ ElephantEats.com

And here’s Nate’s finished piece right before it went in the oven to slowly “cool” from the super hot temp it was to, eventually, room temp. You can’t see the true colors until it has cooled. The red you see now is mainly the hot glass that would eventually become clear.

Hudson Beach Glass glassblowing lesson ~ ElephantEats.com

So pretty, right?!

It was super fun and our teacher, Kathleen, was so knowledgeable and cool. I highly recommend it! Sorry I didn’t take a pic of the finished paperweights but they looked kind of like this but multicolored in the colors we chose.

But back to my granola! I read that the trick for clumpy granola is to add an egg white before baking and not to stir it! Halfway through I gave the giant clumps a flip and then just left it alone. Obviously you can alter the ingredients you put in this (dried fruit, more or less sugar, etc). 

Chunky Pumpkin Spice Granola ~ ElephantEats.com

 It’s great served with yogurt or milk! 

Chunky Pumpkin Spice Granola
Yields 6
A chunky seed and nut granola with spiced pumpkin flavor!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups quick oats
  2. 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  3. 3/4 tsp salt
  4. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  5. 3/4-1 cup pumpkin
  6. 2 Tbsp oil
  7. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  8. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 3/4 cup chopped pecans (not toasted)
  10. 2/3 cup sliced almonds
  11. 1 egg white, lightly whisked
  12. 3/4 cup sunflower seeds, roasted (if you can find unroasted then add them along with the nuts)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine everything except nuts, egg white and seeds.
  3. When thoroughly mixed, add in nuts and egg white and mix well. You can add the seeds now too if you managed to find raw/unroasted seeds.
  4. Spread everything out onto the prepared baking skeet in an even layer.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes then flip the granola over, taking care not to break it into pieces more than necessary.
  6. Sprinkle seeds onto granola and bake an additional 20-25 min or until crisp and golden. Remove the outer crispy pieces as necessary to prevent them from burning. The largest pieces may still seem slightly chewy inside but they will crisp up when they dry.
  7. Remove pieces to a wire rack over a baking pan to catch the smaller pieces. Once cooled, break granola up as desired into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. Great topped with yogurt or milk!
http://www.elephanteats.com/

Butternut Squash Pesto Grilled Cheese ~ ElephantEats.com

Guys, I’m so far behind! I have so many things I still need to share with you but just haven’t either made the recipes or assembled the posts- the recipes from my cooking class in Italy, and also the finished coffee table ottoman I made!

But in the meantime, you’ll have to settle for this grilled cheese, which is pretty darn delicious. I mentioned this very early on in my blog, but Nate is a creature of habit. He literally eats the same breakfast and lunch EVERY day of the week. So occassionally, on the weekend, he’ll request grilled cheese instead of his daily turkey sandwich. 

Butternut Squash Pesto Grilled Cheese ~ ElephantEats.com

I usually just use up whatever is in the fridge on these days, sometimes coming up with really good combos. That’s how this sandwich came about. I do often add pesto to his grilled cheese, but on this particular occassion there was some leftover roasted butternut squash.

The combo of the squash, the pesto and the melty cheese was just too good not to share. I think you could also use some thanksgiving leftovers for a very tasty grilled cheese combo- maybe with some sweet potatoes? some cranberry sauce? Oh man, the combinations are endless!

Butternut Squash Pesto Grilled Cheese ~ ElephantEats.com

On other fronts, I’m scrambling to make decisions on my house because it’s going much faster than I thought. The demo is complete and framing will apparently be pretty much done by the end of next week. Because of this, my contractor informed me that I need to pick out my roof color by this Friday (!). And then I need to pick out all my bathroom fixtures and cabinetry by the end of next week so that the plumber will know where to put the plumbing. I didn’t realize that the cabinet itself made a difference, but they need to know how high any shelves inside it are, etc, that would obstruct the pipes so they can plan accordingly.

Needless to say, for a decision-making-a-phobe like me, I’m getting quite stressed out :( I really thought I’d have more than 2 wks to decide everything!

Butternut Squash Pesto Grilled Cheese ~ ElephantEats.com

Also, this weekend we went down to Nate’s moms and I had him videotape me preparing a dish so I could enter The Great American Cookbook Competition. It’s some contest Rachel Ray is having that my aunt told me about. I highly doubt I’ll win, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try :) Hopefully Nate can make me look better on the video through editing than I actually came across on tape, because I most certainly could never be an actress. 

I hope that you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Chanukkah to those that celebrate!!!

Butternut Squash Pesto Grilled Cheese ~ ElephantEats.com

Butternut Squash Pesto Grilled Cheese
This isn't really much of a recipe, but more of an idea
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Ingredients
  1. Bread slices
  2. Cheese slices
  3. Leftover roasted butternut squash, cut into slices
  4. Pesto
  5. Butter
Instructions
  1. Spread the insides of the bread slices with pesto. Top with a couple slices of cheese and then then enough squash to cover. Using a knife, spread/flatten the squash as much as possible.
  2. Close sandwich and spread butter over the outsides of the bread. Cook in a pan or in a panini press (my favorite way to make grilled cheese) until cheese is melted.
  3. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. The possibilities of fillings inside grilled cheese are endless!
http://www.elephanteats.com/

 Pumpkin Spice Bread ~ ElephantEats.com

Well, I’m back from my Italian vacation. I’ll have to tell you more about it in another post, but the highlight was definitely a private cooking class my parents and I had in Chianti with this awesome chef. He was a chemist before becoming a chef and he explained cooking very scientifically (Shannon, you would have loved it ;) ).

I ended up learning a ton! We cooked up grilled fresh porcini mushrooms on toast with truffles and truffle oil, homemade gnocci with an amazing bolognese sauce that didn’t have to simmer for hours, white beans with fresh sausage, and the creamiest tiramisu for dessert. 

But anyway, I’m SO excited it’s October!!! Autumn is my absolute favorite season (I can’t belive I got married last October!). Unfortunately it’s still a bit warm here in NYC, but hopefully soon the weather will cool down enough for me to pull out my sweaters and curl up with some tea. I just love when the air is crisp and it smells like dry leaves outside. Not to mention, autumn has my two most favorite holidays- Halloween and Thanksgiving. I can’t wait! :)

Storm King Sculpture Park ~ ElephantEats.com

Storm King Sculpture Park- not sure what I’m doing…

Nate and I headed upstate this weekend for a day of fun. First we went to Storm King, a really cool, huge sculpture park. The leaves are starting to change up there and they were so pretty :) The weather was overcast and sprinkly but we made the best of it.

Storm King Sculpture Park 2 ~ ElephantEats.com

Nate, finally doing some heavy lifting

Next we went to Fishkill Farms for some apple picking! Hopefully I’ll make an apple recipe soon that I can post.

Fishkill Farms Apple Picking ~ ElephantEats.com

I love apple picking but it was super crowded at this place and I’m not a fan of crowds. We still managed to take home a good haul, in addition to getting to enjoy some cider donuts and apple cider.

Fishkill Farms ~ ElephantEats.com

Nate hard at work again! I wish he helped that much at home ;)

After apple-picking we met up with our friends who live nearby for dinner, and then finally we headed over to The Blaze, which was the reason for our whole trip upstate. The Blaze is an elaborate walk-through experience of 5,000 individually hand-carved, illuminated jack o’ lanterns.

The Blaze, Hudson Valley ~ ElephantEats.com

My favorite pumpkins- piled into sunflowers!

I had heard great things about it from multiple people, so Nate and I thought we should do it at least once. It was definitely cool to see so many pumpkins lit up, but I wasn’t particularly impressed by any of them.

The Blaze, Hudson Valley ~ ElephantEats.com

I think it was the sheer magnitude of them all together that impressed me the most. We tried to take pictures but most of them came out blurry since it was so dark. 

The Blaze, Hudson Valley ~ ElephantEats.com

But back to the baking… Now that it’s officially October, I can post another pumpkin recipe. This recipe is the one my mom baked for us growing up, but I’m not sure what the original source is. 

Pumpkin Spice Bread ~ ElephantEats.com

Since I already know I love the recipe, I decided to give it a try subbing in the butter-flavored Olive Oil that I got from Star Fine Foods. I figured a little butter taste certainly wouldn’t hurt! It added an awesome flavor, but obviously you could definitely use regular oil as I’ve always done before now. 

This bread calls for both raisins and pecans, but since Nate is a nuts-in-baked-goods hater, I omitted the pecans. I personally think they add a great crunch. This recipe makes two loaves- one for you and one to give to a friend :)

Pumpkin Spice Bread 3 ~ ElephantEats.com

I’ll be back later in the week with a little feline Halloween fun ;)

Here’s a preview of LC with a cat-proportioned pumpkin we picked up for her at the farm.

LC and a pumpkin ~ ElephantEats.com

If you’re wondering why the pumpkin is shiny, it’s because LC licked it all over.

Spiced Pumpkin Loaves
An autumn spiced pumpkin bread chock full of raisins and nuts!

Yields: 2 loaves
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Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups flour
  2. 2 tsp baking soda
  3. 2 tsp cinnamon
  4. 1 tsp nutmeg
  5. 1 tsp ginger
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 2 cups solid packed pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  8. 2 cups packed brown sugar
  9. 1 cup white sugar
  10. 1 cup oil
  11. 4 eggs
  12. 2 cups raisins
  13. 1 cup pecans, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Butter two 9 1/4 x 5 1/4 loaf pans and dust with flour.
  3. Sift first 6 ingredients into a medium bowl.
  4. Using mixer (or whisk), beat pumpkin, sugars, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Beat in the dry ingredients until just blended.
  5. Stir in raisins and nuts.
  6. Bake until test comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached- about 1 hr 20 min.
  7. Cool 15 min in pan, then remove and cool completely on wire rack before wrapping in foil.
Notes
  1. This gets better in time. The cooked loaves can also be frozen and defrosted at a later time. Wrap them well in foil and then put in a ziploc freezer bag.
http://www.elephanteats.com/
 

Cinnamon Roasted Pears over Arugula with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Glaze ~ www.ElephantEats.com

The other day I was reading one of the blogs I follow, Bake Your Day, and she had posted a recipe and reviewed a new butter-flavored olive oil product. I commented on the post saying how good it sounded, and the makers of the oil, Star Fine Foods, was kind enough to reach out to me and send me some samples!!!

Cinnamon Roasted Pears over Arugula with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Glaze ~ www.ElephantEats.com

They not only sent me that flavored olive oil (which I can’t wait to try), but also 2 different flavors of one of their other new products: flavored balsamic glaze!!

I decided to use the glaze on an autumn update of my favorite summer salad. All summer long I ate watermelon cubes over arugula, with feta or blue cheese, basil, and a balsamic glaze. At the time I used Trader Joe’s brand balsamic glaze because it was the only brand I had ever seen. Well, when I saw that Star Fine foods sent me an Apple Balsamic Glaze I was SOOO excited! I knew it would be a perfect way to transition my summer salad to fall.

Cinnamon Roasted Pears over Arugula with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Glaze ~ www.ElephantEats.com

I decided to go with pears for the fall fruit portion of the salad….but not just any pears- cinammon roasted ones! In the summer I love the cold, juicy watermelon, but on a cold day these warm pears are just perfect. They slightly wilt the arugula and soften the blue cheese crumbled on top. The Apple-flavored Creamy Balsamic Glaze added the absolute perfect sweet/tart flavor to go with the juicy pears and bitter arugula. 

I see myself eating this all the time this autumn and it might just be my new favorite salad! I hope it will become yours too :)

Cinnamon Roasted Pears over Arugula with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Glaze ~ www.ElephantEats.com

**I was given these products free of charge, but all opinions are my own. I would never post about a product I didn’t love and plan to use again.

Arugula Salad with Roasted Cinnamon Pears, Blue Cheese and Apple Balsamic Glaze
Serves 4
Warm cinammon roasted pears over a bed of arugula with blue cheese and an apple balsamic glaze
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Ingredients
  1. 2 pears (I used Bartlett because I think they're the juiciest), not overly soft, cut into quarters and cored
  2. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  3. 4 cups arugula
  4. 1/4-1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles (depending on how much cheese you like)
  5. 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  6. 1-2 Tbsp Creamy Apple Balsamic Glaze (or any balsamic glaze if you can't find this one)
  7. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Spray a foil lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Place pears on sheet, cut side up. Spray pears with cooking spray or drizzle with some olive oil
  3. Sprinkle pears with cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  4. While pears cook, divide arugula onto 4 plates.
  5. Bake pears for 30 min. Remove from oven and immediately place 2 quarters each over arugula on each plate. Drizzle with blue cheese, oilve oil, and balsamic glaze. Salt and pepper to taste.
http://www.elephanteats.com/