Sunday, January 31, 2016

Simple Hummus {without Tahini}

I've been eating hummus for a long time. It's one of my favorite dips to have with veggies for a snack. However, one of the main ingredients in hummus - tahini (a sesame seed paste) - can be a little on the expensive side and hard to find for some. And, I never seem to use it fast enough when I do buy it since hummus is really the only recipe in which I use tahini. So, it often goes bad before it's used up. In this recipe, I start with toasted sesame seeds that I make into a paste myself. It eliminates the need for purchasing tahini.
I pretty much always have the other main ingredients (chickpeas, olive oil, garlic and lemons) for hummus on hand. And, I buy sesame seeds in bulk at my local health food store very inexpensively. So, this is a fabulous recipe to have in my back pocket to whip up whenever the mood for hummus strikes or for when an occasion comes up last-minute that I need something snack-y to serve on the fly.

You can embellish hummus any way that you like. It's so easily adaptable. Roasted red peppers are a great addition. I sometimes like chopped green olives sprinkled on top of my hummus for a briny kick. You can add in your choice of herbs or spices to change up the flavors, too. Some prefer garnishing hummus with whole, cooked chickpeas, olive oil and a sprinkling of paprika. And, hummus can be served with pita bread/chips, raw veggies or crackers.

Yields roughly 2 1/2 cups.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Blueberry Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding

This recipe is incredibly simple and quick to throw together. Some of my bread pudding recipes are loaded with a long list of ingredients, but this one requires just a handful of basic pantry/fridge staples and some berries. Everything comes together beautifully to create a dish that can be served for breakfast, brunch or dessert.

If you have some day-old bread, milk, eggs and sugar, you have the foundation for bread pudding. From there, it's pretty much just about flavoring(s) and any add-ins that suit your fancy. I love the combination of blueberries, lemon and vanilla. (Here, I've utilized a vanilla bean to amp up the vanilla flavor, but a good-quality vanilla extract would work wonderfully, as well.)

Whether you serve this hot out of the oven, at room temperature or cold out of the fridge is entirely up to you. I have found that most people who enjoy bread pudding have an opinion on which of the three they prefer. So, it's totally up to you.

Yields 6 - 8 servings.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Ribollita {Tuscan Soup}

Ribollita is a hearty Tuscan soup. There are many variations, but most recipes include beans, vegetables and bread. I've, basically, declared it my new favorite comfort food recipe of 2016. I think you'll find that it's a great new soup recipe for you to try out this year ... and one that you'll come back to time and time again once you've tried it.

Mario Batali has a fabulous Ribollita recipe, which I've adapted here slightly based upon personal preference. I had never made any version of Ribollita until this week. (And, frankly, I'm not sure that I had ever heard of it until I recently saw Mario make it on television.)

I was drawn to this recipe for several reasons. It's bitter cold here in Michigan right now and well, soup is warm. Pretty self-explanatory. Secondly, I've always had success with Mario's recipes. (He is thee Mario Batali for pete's sake.) I, also, like that this is a vegetarian soup. My twenty-three year old daughter has been a vegetarian for years and I've come to follow a mostly vegetarian diet most days. This is a pretty healthy soup ... perfect for kicking off the new year. Lastly, the ingredient list is a budget-friendly one. Grab some dried beans, water, a few veggies, a tiny bit of marinara sauce and some bread ... and you've got yourself the makings of a big pot of heavenly soup. (Splurge a little on some real-deal Parmigiano-Reggiano, though ... totally worth it and it really finishes the soup perfectly!)

Serves 4 - 6.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

A Peek Around The Joyously Domestic Kitchen

I shared with you My $500 Kitchen Remodel not too long ago. I, personally, love getting to look inside the homes of others. The nosey inquisitive part of me loves seeing how people live, so I thought maybe you'd be curious to peek behind the scenes so-to-speak in the Joyously Domestic Kitchen. I've shared my recipes and stories with you for a few years now, so I figured I'd share a glimpse into the space in which I love to spend most of my time - my kitchen. It's not glamorous or extravagant by any means. But, I thought I'd show you the spot where I test and prepare the recipes that I share with all of you here on the blog.

First, here is an overall shot of my kitchen (in case you missed my recent post regarding the inexpensive, but painstakingly time-consuming updates we made just after getting the keys to our new place).

Friday, January 01, 2016

Chocolate Chunk Glazed Doughnut Bread Pudding

I know that many of us are embarking upon resolutions to eat healthy as we start the new year. So, I do apologize upfront for tempting you with this over-the-top sensation that is Glazed Doughnut Bread Pudding.  But, I just had to shout from the rooftops how aaahh-maaaay-zzzzing this little ditty of a recipe truly is. So, maybe take a deep breath and hear me out?

This is heavenly. This is sinful. Yes, it's both. But, darn it ... it is fabulously worth every calorie.

The most dangerous thing about this recipe? It takes like, only a handful of minutes when it comes to prep time. So, it's almost way too easy to create something this naughty. Again, I am sorry. But, "everything in moderation" really is a great motto to live by when it comes to food indulgences. So, allow that to apply with regards to this decadent recipe, then smile and savor.

Yields 6 - 8 servings.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: Review and Reflection

As 2015 comes to a close, it's time to reflect back on the past twelve months. Back in the summer, Joyously Domestic began its fourth year. It is so much fun and such a blessing that my "work" is doing something that I absolutely love. I'm continually amazed everyday that my job is sharing my love of food with all of you.
Professionally, I celebrated some milestones over the course of the past year. Back in October, I hit one million page views just in a one-month period (a new record for JD). During 2015, a few of my recipes/photos were featured/shared on several major sites, such as Delish, BuzzFeed, MSN, Today Food and The Food Network. And, my overall stats for the blog improved greatly - way beyond my expectations and hopes for the year.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ultimate Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I make many variations of potato soup. Like, probably more than ten. It is the one type of soup that every single family member in the Joyously Domestic household absolutely loves. Throughout the fall, winter and spring, I make potato soup on an average of once a week. Sometimes I keep it very simple and basic. And, then there is this recipe.

Okay. Maybe I should clarify so as to not scare you away from trying the recipe. I'm not saying that this is a difficult, complicated or overly-involved recipe. It's just a little more complex in flavor and has more ingredients in comparison to my "typical, everyday" recipe.

Basically, this version is just slightly more over-the-top. In many fabulous, fabulous ways.

It is thick, luxurious and decadent ... the perfect marriage of everything we all love about potato soup combined with the flavors of a loaded baked potato.

Serves 6.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Black Forest Mini Trifles with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

Black Forest Cake is one of my favorite desserts. My grandmother made it for birthdays and special occasions during my childhood. One of things that I loved about it was that it was served cold straight out of the fridge and that it had been made well in advance so that everything could meld together. I know that she made her version completely from scratch, but I've put together this recipe with a little help from store-bought items. You could, of course, make a chocolate cake using your own favorite recipe and/or prepare homemade whipped cream. But, I've found that this is a great avenue to take when I'm wanting to save on time, but still "wow" my guests with a decadent dessert.

What I do recommend is that this be made in advance. I have found that making and assembling the trifles a day before service is ideal. Also, I brush my cooled cake with an amaretto simple syrup, but you could opt to make a simple syrup without the liqueur. It would simply be made with equal parts water and sugar.

Note, also, that this recipe could be made into one large trifle instead of twelve mini trifles, if desired.

Yields twelve servings.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Moravian Ginger Spice Cookie Thins

It took me quite a bit of experimenting to get this particular recipe how I wanted. Lots of trial and error. I knew the texture and flavor for which I was aiming. I tweaked and tweaked with each new batch until I came up with what I consider "The Ultimate Ginger Cookie" recipe. I think you'll like this one and I urge you to try it for yourself. It has become my favorite holiday cookie.

Thin and crisp, these cookies are more complex in flavor than traditional, run-of-the-mill ginger snaps. Each spice is all at once undeniably and robustly distinct, yet harmoniously in sync with the other. The cookies are addicting in every sense of the word. Last year, I hid away the last couple of dozen for myself and I may have led the kids to think that there were simply no more left. (Shhhh! That'll probably happen again this year, too.)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chicken and Lighter-Than-Air Drop Dumplings

It's that time of the year when much of the country is wet, cold and dreary. We often look to the comfort foods of our childhood on these chilly days. For me, one special dish during winter that I crave is chicken and dumplings. And, even though I do make a few different versions, I always seem to revert back to the classic recipe that I grew up with when I crave the "real deal."

Made on the stove in a big pot.

Hoards of shredded, tender chicken.

Luxurious, but simple "gravy" made with homemade chicken stock.

And, from-scratch dumplings that almost melt in my mouth.

Those are the components of on-point chicken and dumplings in my book. A labor of love. Childhood comfort food at its finest. The ideal weekend dinner on a brisk winter's day. Served with buttery mashed potatoes ... best comfort food ever.

Serves 4 - 6.