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Two Peas and Their Pod: September 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recipe for Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Today is the perfect day for Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal cookies. Fall is here! It was in the 90's yesterday and today it is only in the 40's. I had to get out my warm clothes out this morning. I am all bundled up!

These cookies are hearty, comforting, and perfect for fall. I used applesauce to replace some of the butter, so they are also healthier than your average cookie:)

I added in all of my favorites: cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, vanilla, diced apples, oatmeal, and cinnamon chips. Our house smelled fabulous while the cookies were baking. I tried one fresh out of the oven and immediately melted. The apple cinnamon cookies were soft, wholesome, and full of fall flavors.

If you are in need of some fall comfort, try these Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal cookies! Plus, an apple a day keeps the Dr. away-even in cookie form:)

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
Pinch of all spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
1 apple, diced (I used Granny Smith)
1 1/4 cup oats-not quick cooking
3/4 cup cinnamon chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, all spice, and cinnamon. Whisk until combined.
3. In the bowl of a mixer combine the butter and sugars until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla. Mix until combined.
4. With the mixer on low, add in the applesauce and diced apple. Mix until well combined.
5. On low, slowly add in the flour mixture. Don't over mix. Mix just until the flour mixture disappears.
6. Stir in the oats and cinnamon chips. Drop rounded tablespoons of the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet. Place the cookies 2 inches apart.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes. When set, transfer them to a cooling rack.

If you like these cookies, you might also like:
Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod
Caramel Apple Cookies from Good Life Eats
Applesauce Spice Bars from Two Peas and Their Pod

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blogher Food Conference 2009

I don't even know where to start, the BlogHer Food Conference was AMAZING! I will do my best to give you all a little recap.

We got to San Francisco on Friday afternoon. We met up with my roomie, Megan, from
Megan's Cookin and toured the city. Of course most of our touring involved food:) Our first stop was Tartine Bakery. We drooled over the fabulous tarts, breads, scones, and cookies. Josh ordered a ham and cheese sandwich and Megan got a lemon bar to go, I was saving up for our next stop, which was Bi-Rite Creamery.

I split an ice cream cone with Josh. We had a scoop of Salted Caramel and Cinnamon ice cream with snickerdoodle cookie chunks. Both flavors were outstanding!

Our next stop was the
Ferry Building. We took our time and purused through the fun foodie shops. My visit wouldn't of been complete without stopping at Miette. I enjoyed my favorite macaron, hazelnut.

Friday night we went to
Pauline's Pizza with a large group of food bloggers. There were 18 of us, so too many to list, but our table was filled with fabulous company. We ordered salad, breadsticks, and veggie and meat pizzas to share. Pauline's grows their own vegetables, greens, and fruits, so everything was very fresh. I really liked the eggplant and the pesto pizza.

Saturday was the big day! It was fun meeting my blogging friends in person. Everyone was fantastic. Food bloggers really are the most kind, genuine, sweetest people. I also learned a lot from the speakers/expert bloggers. I attended presentations about photography, blogging best practices, finding your voice, etc. The information was extremely helpful. I have a lot of work to do on my blog:)

The only downfall of the conference was the lunch. I was excited at first because Chef Rocco DiSpirito was the guest speaker, but then I found out he was there to promote Bertolli's new frozen meals. They actually served a room full of food bloggers FROZEN MEALS for lunch. I was disgusted. The food was not edible. We all got a good laugh out of it though. I was not expecting to be hungry at a food conference:)

The after party, hosted by Ree (Pioneer Woman), Jaden (Steamy Kitchen), and Elise (Simply Recipes) was a blast. They really know how to throw a party. There was good music, food, drinks, and dancing. They also gave us amazing goodie bags! Thank you ladies! Food bloggers know how to have a good time, that is for sure!

I could go on and on about how wonderful the weekend was, but I am sure I am boring you already. It was nice to finally meet all of my favorite foodie friends in person. I had the greatest time. Thanks everyone! I am already excited for BlogHer Food 2010!

*Sorry I didn't take very many pictures-I was having too much fun!*


Friday, September 25, 2009

Favorite Fall Treats

We are in San Francisco for the Blogher Food conference, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite fall treats. I never forget about my faithful blog readers:) I hope you find a treat or two below to make this fall. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Roll- I love making pumpkin rolls in the fall. Don't let the roll intimidate you, I promise they are easy to make. I always make a couple and keep them in the freezer. They freeze really well and when you have surprise company you can pull one out to enjoy.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup-Pumpkin pancakes make the perfect fall breakfast treat. Serve them with homemade cinnamon syrup and you will be in heaven.

Apple Crisp with Cinnamon Ice Cream-Apples are my favorite. I have to eat one every day. Enjoying them in apple crisp makes them even better. Top the crisp off with cinnamon ice cream for an extra special fall dessert.

Caramel Corn-Make a big batch of caramel corn to watch your favorite football team this season! Be careful though, it is very addicting:)

Cinnamon Toffee Oatmeal Cookies-The cinnamon and toffee are the perfect match in this cookie. Grab a cold glass of milk for your dunking pleasure!

Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping-These muffins are healthy and delicious! I like to make mini muffins for portion control and for the cuteness factor:)

I hope these treats make your fall season extra special! We will be back on Tuesday. Have a great weekend everyone.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hazelnut Cinnamon Brownies

This week has been really busy with work and trying to get ready for our trip to San Francisco. I am so excited. I feel like a giddy school girl! We are leaving tomorrow. Yahoo! I am not the biggest fan of road trips, but Josh doesn't mind driving. We have books on cd, good tunes, snacks, and each other. It should be an adventure!

We are going to spend time with Josh's family, explore the city, and enjoy some tasty eats. The highlight is going to be the BlogherFood conference though. I will try to take good notes and lots of photos to share with everyone when we return.

I recently made these brownies for a party at work. They were accepted and devoured with smiles. The brownies are thick, rich, and loaded with chocolate and hazelnut goodness. I love the slight addition of cinnamon too. The crushed hazelnuts on top make add a nice touch too.

If you are a hazelnut/Nutella fan these are going to rock your world!

Hazelnut Cinnamon Brownies

Recipe from Sugar Plum

(Printable Recipe)

1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I used mini-chips), plus additional for sprinkling on top
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup Nutella
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon hazelnut extract
1/4 cup finely hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch square baking dish with foil; grease foil.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt; whisk until combined.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; remove pan from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Beat together melted chocolate and granulated sugar, in a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on high speed, for about 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to medium and beat in Nutella, eggs, vanilla, and hazelnut extract. Beat until smooth and well combined.
Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined; scrape batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle batter with chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until set. Cool completely before lifting foil out of pan and slicing into bars.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Recipe for Fruit Pizza

Today is my sister's birthday. Happy Birthday Crissy! We had her family over for dinner last night and had a great time celebrating. My niece and nephew always put a smile on my face. They are just too cute! Aubrey is three and quite the entertainer. We grilled shrimp because they are her FAVORITE. She loves "shrimpies." We also had sweet corn, watermelon, and grilled lemon basil potatoes.

Like me, my sister is not a huge cake fan, so I made her favorite dessert, fruit pizza. The crust is basically one big sugar cookie. I added lemon zest to the dough and cream cheese frosting to enhance the flavor. I used strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and kiwi to decorate the pizza. It was almost too pretty to cut! Everyone loved it.

Fruit Pizza
Adapted from All Recipes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt

1 package of cream cheese, (8 oz.) we used reduced fat
2 T sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 T fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a pizza pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer. Add the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
3. In a bowl, add flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Whisk.
4. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture on low speed, using the mixer. Mix just until combined.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. You want the crust to be light golden brown. Let the crust cool.
6. Make the frosting. Mix the cream cheese, sugars, lemon juice, and lemon together untilsmooth. Spread over cooled cookie crust.
7. Arrange fruit on the cookie pizza. Chill until ready to serve. Cut in wedges.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Vegetable Hummus Sandwich

This week has been crazy. I was sick for most of the week, Monday-Wednesday. I worked on Thursday, and now it is already my weekend. My schedule is all messed up, I haven't gotten enough done this week, but I guess that is life. I am just glad I am feeling better for the weekend.

Next Friday we will be in California for the Blogher Food Conference. I am beyond excited. I can't wait to meet up with fellow food bloggers and learn more about food blogging. San Francisco is also one of my favorite cities, Josh proposed at a park overlooking the Golden Gate bridge, so the city is special for us:) If you are going to the conference leave a comment and let me know so I can look for you:)

Have you tried Arnold or Orowheat Thins? (They are Orowheat in Utah). I finally found them and love them! They make the best healthy sandwiches. One thin has 100 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and is made with whole grains and no fructose corn syrup.

Yesterday I made a tasty veggie sandwich. I spread my thin with hummus and added lettuce, lemon cucumber slices, fresh garden tomatoes, red and green pepper strips, and fresh basil. It was delicious!

I also like fresh peanut or almond butter, banana slices, and agave nectar sandwiches. You really can top these thins with anything. They are a great base for a healthy meal or snack.

Have a Happy Friday!

Vegetable Hummus Sandwich

1 Arnold or Orowheat Sandwich Thin
Lemon Cucumber Slices
Tomato slices
Red and green pepper strips
Fresh basil

Toast the sandwich thin-optional but I like to. Spread hummus on the thin and add veggies. You can use whatever veggies you like. Feel free to add meat or cheese if you wish.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Homemade Yogurt

I love yogurt. I usually eat a six ounce serving every day. It is a great source of protein, calcium, and contains good bacteria for my tummy issues. We used to buy Oikos or Fage Greek yogurt, but it started to get expensive, so we started making our own.

I consulted my Twitter friends before getting started. Of course they were very helpful. Thanks everyone:) We decided to buy a yogurt maker from
Williams Sonoma. We still have wedding gift cards so it was free for us, score! I love this maker because it makes individual servings. My yogurt is all portioned out for a week. I know you can make yogurt without the maker, but we are really happy with ours:)

I was amazed at how easy it was to make yogurt. We use skim milk and either Oikos or Fage as the starter. Really, all you have to do is heat up the milk, let it cool, and then stir in the yogurt. Once that is done you just let it "sleep" in the yogurt maker for 10-12 hours. How easy is that?

It is SO good too! I make plain yogurt and eat it with fresh fruit and sometimes a drizzle of agave nectar. It is also good with
homemade granola. You can also use it to make smoothies, frozen yogurt, tzatziki sauce, etc.

I can't believe we waited so long to make our own yogurt. It is so easy and much cheaper to make at home! Give it a try!

Homemade Yogurt
(Printable Recipe)

42 ounces fresh milk, we use skim
6 0z. plain yogurt, we use Oikos or Fage Greek for our starter

1. Pour milk into a high-sided saucepan. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan. Heat the milk until it boils-180 degrees. This will take about 1-2 minutes. The milk will start to climb the side of the pan.

2. Remove pan from heat and allow the milk to cool to lukewarm-110 degrees. To speed up the process you can place the pan in cold water.

3. In a bowl, add the yogurt and stir in some of the milk. Whisk well. Make sure the yogurt is dissolved. Add the rest of the milk and whisk until smooth.

4. Pour the mixture into the jars of the yogurt maker. Follow the yogurt maker's instructions. We usually do ours so it rests overnight. It takes 10-12 hours. We do 12 so it is thicker.

5. When the yogurt is done resting, chill it in the fridge with the lids on the jars. The yogurt will stay good for 10 days.

-You can use your homemade yogurt as the starter, but only once.
-If you want really thick yogurt you can strain it with a cheese cloth or you can use coffee filters.
-You can make flavored yogurt by adding honey, fruit, or jam, but we prefer plain. We jazz it up once it is made.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I am not a coffee drinker. I love the smell, but I have never been a coffee person. Come to think of it, the only beverage I do drink is water. The perfect thirst quencher! I used to have an occasional Diet Coke or Crystal Light lemonade, but six months ago I went cold turkey. I will spice up my water with a lemon or lime, but that is as wild as I get:)

I do enjoy a good coffee cake though, maybe because there is no coffee actually involved:) My blogging friend, Beth Lipton, of
CookiePie (who is also the food editor for All You magazine) just came out with a fabulous baking cookbook, You Made That Dessert?. The book is filled with sweet treats-cookies, pies, cakes, puddings, etc. I didn't know what to try first, until I saw the sour cream coffee cake. BINGO!

I made the cake on Saturday and it was fantastic. The cake was very moist, thanks to the sour cream and butter. The cake is simple to make, but pretty enough to serve to a crowd. The cinnamon sugar ripple and cinnamon glaze really make this cake shine. The cinnamon flavor is perfect for fall too.

I took the cake to a party on Saturday night and came home with an empty platter. There wasn't even a crumb leftover. It was a hit!

I can't wait to try all of Beth's recipes in
You Made That Dessert? The book is available now and has more than 100 dessert recipes that are EASY to make. I love the baking tips and tricks Beth shares in her book. This is a great book for beginning or experienced bakers. If you like desserts this book will be your new best friend:)

To view other great recipes from
You Made That Dessert?, visit the following blogs. Just a warning-you will be craving sweets after you read these posts:)

Recipe Girl
The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch
Cookie Baker Lynn
Under The High Chair

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Recipe from "You Made That Dessert?" by Beth Lipton
(Printable Recipe)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons milk

1. Make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously mista 10 inch tube pan or a 12 cup Bundt pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring them together with a fork.

2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating until well mixed before adding the next one. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula after beating in the second and third eggs.

3. Using a flexible spatula or wooden spoon, stir in half the flour mixture until almost mixed in. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla all at once, then stir in the remaining flour mixture, taking care not to overmix. Using the flexible spatula, scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated. In a small bowl, stir the brown sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon together with a fork.

4. Pour half of the batter into the pan, and use the spatula to spread it evenly. Sprinkle the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture evenly over the batter (use your fingers). Spread the remaining batter over the brown sugar mixture. Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

5. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a shart paring knife along the outside of the cake, inside the pan, to separate the cake from the sides of the pan. Place the wire rack upside-down over the top of the cake pan and, holding on firmly to both the cake pan and the wire rack, quickly invert them so that the cake comes out of the pan and onto the rack. Gently lift the pan away, and let the cake cool for at least another 30 minutes.

6. Just before serving, make the glaze: In a small bowl, using a fork, mix the confectioner's sugar, cinnamom, and milk. Use a fork to drizzle the glaze over the cake.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Whenever we visit Illinois I make sure there is time to bake with my dad. I have so many great memories with my dad, but spending time in the kitchen is one of my favorite past times. He is a superb baker and I love learning from him.

This time I requested
Peter Reinhart's Cinnamon Raisin Bread from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. My dad didn't object because he loves anything and everything with raisins. We left out the walnuts because Josh is allergic and I really don' t like nuts in my bread.

The recipe makes two loaves and they didn't last long. My dad can never wait to slice the bread, I know that is a no-no, but he is right, it is SO good fresh out of the oven. We also used it for toast in the morning-I put extra cinnamon and sugar on my piece) We even tried French toast with the bread and it was Mmmm, Mmmm good!

A group of bloggers are baking their way through the Bread Baker's Apprentice. I am not participating, but I love the book and enjoy following their baking adventures. For more information about the group and book visit Nicole's blog:
Pinch My Salt. This is a book you will want to add to your collection for sure!

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Illinois and Nectarine Raspberry Salad

We went to Illinois for Labor Day weekend to visit my family. We had a great time, but of course the trip went too quickly. I am sorry I haven't updated the blog, we were busy playing and my dad's internet connection is so slow! We live in the boonies and the connection isn't that great:)

One of the highlights of our trip was meeting our five month old niece, Ramona. She is such a doll. My brother and his wife spent most of the weekend with us so I had time to become the favorite auntie:)

We also played tennis, had a bbq, met up with some friends, did some baking, and relaxed. Josh's highlight was probably flying a plane! Our good family friends own a plane and Josh went up for a ride-I was too scared to go, but Josh LOVED it. He took over the controls and even flew the plane for awhile. I am glad he had fun.

Here are some photos from our trip!

My stepmom made this nectarine raspberry salad for our bbq and I loved it. The raspberries and nectarines were ripe and juicy. The dressing was wonderful as well. I am glad she was willing to share the recipe, because I can't wait to make it again! I will post some of our baking adventures soon. My dad makes the best bread!

We had a great trip! I will try to catch up on my blogging this week.

Nectarine Raspberry Salad

Fresh spinach or spring mix
Nectarines, sliced

Dressing Recipe:
1 nectarine, chopped, pit and skin removed
2 T fresh lemon juice
3 T olive oil
1 T honey
Salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing: In a blender add all of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Taste. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve over salad greens, nectarines, and raspberries. Will keep in fridge for a couple of weeks.

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