Happy Wednesday!


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Sweet Potato and Corn Cakes with Srirachi Greek Yogurt dipping sauce

When I found this recipe, I got so excited. I LOVE sweet potatoes and with us moving over to more clean eating lifestyle, I thought holy smokes – I can’t wait to make these yummy little nuggets! The original recipe calls for a garlic dipping sauce, but that didn’t really excite me so I decided to change it to a Srirachi dipping sauce. The extra spice really adds a wonderful kick.

I first microwaved the potatoes. The time will vary depending on the size of the potatoes. Squeeze the sweet potatoes to see if the centers are soft. Be careful – they will be very hot.

When the potatoes are cool, scoop out the flesh out into a mixing bowl. With a fork, mash the potatoes.

Next, add the corn, green onions, cilantro, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper.

Add the cornmeal, the whole wheat breadcrumbs, and egg. I made the whole breadcrumbs with some leftover whole wheat bread that I made. Can for sure use pre-made breadcrumbs. I usually use Progresso breadcrumbs with I don’t have homemade ones.

Stir until evenly combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb moisture. While the mixture is chilling, made the Srirachi dipping sauce. Take 1 cup of Greek yogurt and stir in 1-2 tsp of Srirachi sauce. Depending the amount of Srirachi depends on how hot you like your dipping sauce. Refrigerate the sauce until you are ready to eat the cakes.

Shape the sweet potato mixture into small patties (about 2-3 Tbsp each) and cook about 4 at a time in the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on each side; about 2 minutes per side. After cooking, place on a paper towel covered plate to drain. Add more oil to the skillet as needed. I did put the cakes in the oven at 350 F for about 5 minutes to finish them off.

Serve hot topped with the Srirachi dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Corn Cakes with Srirachi Greek Yogurt dipping sauce

3 bs. sweet potatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 green onions
¼ bunch cilantro (divided)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
⅓ cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
½ cup vegetable oil (for frying)
1 cup plain yogurt
1-2 tsp Srirachi Sauce


Begin by cooking the sweet potatoes. The fastest way to do this is in the microwave. Prick the skin of each potato with a fork. Wrap one potato in a paper towel, place it on a plate, and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Carefully remove it from the microwave, squeeze it to make sure it’s soft in the center, and the allow it cool as you cook the next one.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them open and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Slice the green onions and roughly chop a handful of cilantro (about ⅛th of a bunch). Add the green onions, cilantro, frozen corn kernels, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper to the bowl with the cooked sweet potatoes. Stir until well combined. You can taste it at this point and adjust the seasoning as desired. Add the breadcrumbs, cornmeal, and egg to the bowl. These ingredients will bind the mixture together and keep it from falling apart while cooking. Stir until evenly combined.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb moisture. While the sweet potato mixture is refrigerating, mix up the Srirachi dipping sauce. In a small bowl combine the yogurt, Srirachi, and a handful of cilantro leaves (roughly chopped). Stir until combined and then refrigerate until ready to serve.

After the sweet potato mixture has refrigerated, it’s time to cook. Add enough vegetable oil to fully cover the bottom of a medium skillet. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until the surface appears wavy (if it begins to smoke, remove it from the burner immediately and turn down the heat). Shape the sweet potato mixture into small patties (about 2-3 Tbsp each) and cook about 4 at a time in the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on each side; about 2 minutes per side. After cooking, place on a paper towel covered plate to drain. Add more oil to the skillet as needed. The recipe makes 10-12 sweet potato cakes.

*The cakes can be finished off in the oven, if you want. 350 F for 5 minutes.

Adapted from: http://www.bestfoodbook.com/2014/07/sweet-potato-corn-cakes-with-garlic.html#sthash.KCrdr4CY.dpuf

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Confetti Bean Salad


After quite a hiatus, I decided that I was going to start my blog back up. In an effort to lead a more healthy lifestyle, Dean and I are going to be moving over to a “clean eating” lifestyle. I know there will be times that we will not be 100% clean eating, but that’s ok. It’s a lifestyle.

The first recipe that I’m sharing is confetti bean salad. I made this last night and it’s fantastic. My plan was to put it on top of lettuce and spinach and add some extra vegetables. Tonight, I really wanted junk food. So I put the confetti bean salad on top of Popcorn Indiana FIT popcorn chips (20 chips – 120 calories; fat 2.5 g; total carbs 22 g; protein 2 g). Healthy nachos – win!


This confetti bean salad is super easy to put together. Fifteen minutes tops!

I used Simply Balanced (Target brand) low sodium beans – chickpeas, black, and kidney. Make sure to rinse and drain your beans. I think the next time I might add fresh edamame to the salad.


I put the frozen corn in a bowl to start thawing. Next, I chopped up the green onions, cucumber, and garlic and added them to the corn. Then I added the beans to the bowl. The dressing is simple – in a separate bowl, add balsamic vinegar, chili powder, paprika, and sugar. Begin whisking those ingredients together, then while whisking start streaming in the olive oil.


Then I poured the dressing over the beans and vegetables and stirred it together. Simple and clean.


I really wanted the beans to soak up all those favors, so I let the salad marinate overnight. It was totally worth the wait.  It would have been great even if I had not waited, but I’m glad I did.

I made a few changes to the original recipe. I don’t really like raw red onions so I used green onion because they have a milder flavor. I also traded out red peppers for cucumbers. Just a preference of mine.

So, here’s to new begins!

Confetti Bean Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 12 cups

1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 package (10 oz) frozen corn, thawed
3 green onions
1 cucumber, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl.
Whisk remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over bean mixture.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Adapted from http://www.twintough.com/2013/09/confetti-bean-salad-recipe.html


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Espresso Truffles

Espresso Truffles

Chocolate Truffles

Once you have decided on your chocolate, you then need to decide on your choice of alcohol to flavor your truffles and also the coating. The choice is yours but there are a few things to consider. For example, if you want a hazelnut flavored truffle it is a good idea to add Frangelico to the chocolate and cream mixture and then coat them in chopped hazelnuts. Or if you would like your truffles to have a coffee flavor stir about one tablespoon of espresso powder into the hot cream and then add Kahua or Tia Maria to the truffle mixture. For fruit flavored truffles use 2 tablespoons of fruit puree or jam (raspberry or blackberry) in place of the alcohol. Orange flavored truffles can be made by adding about 1 tablespoon of orange zest to the hot cream. Let the cream steep for about 10 – 15 minutes and then strain out the zest. Then add Grand Marnier to the truffle mixture. As you can see there are endless variations to the basic truffle so experiment and come up with your own recipes. Truffles store very well. They can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or frozen for several months. Truffles are best when served at room temperature.

8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons alcohol (Cognac, brandy, Grand Marnier, kirsch, rum, bourbon, or Kahlua to name a few) (optional)
Different Coatings for Truffles:
Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
Confectioners Sugar (Icing or Powdered)
Toasted and Chopped Nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts)
Toasted Coconut
Shaved Chocolate

For Truffles: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur. Cover and place in the refrigerator until the truffle mixture is firm (this will take several hours or overnight).

Place your coatings for the truffles on a plate. Remove the truffle mixture from the refrigerator. With your hands, or else a melon baller or small spoon form the chocolate into round or mis-shaped bite-sized balls. Immediately roll the truffle in the coating and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or tray. Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm. Truffles can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or else frozen for a couple of months. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes 30 small truffles.

To Toast Nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and bake nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds) about 8 – 10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. For hazelnuts toast about 15 minutes or until the skins start to blister. Remove from oven and roll in a clean dish towel. Let the nuts ‘steam’ for about 5 minutes and then remove the skins. Once the nuts have cooled, chop coarsely.

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Toffee Crunch Cheesecake

Aside from being gorgeous, this cheesecake is fabulous. I have made this cheesecake four or five times and it always turns out beautifully. The gingersnap crust is a lovely combination with the Heath bar topping. The caramel sauce takes a very watchful eye. You don’t want to take it too far (dark) because it will burn.I think the term ‘dark amber’ is a bit misleading. If I waited for it to turn dark amber, it would have burned and hardened, which I did the first time I made the cheesecake.  You will have left over caramel sauce. The recipe makes about twice the amount you need for the top of the cake. I have no problem with this because I usually decorate the plate with extra sauce.

Toffee Crunch Cheesecake

Toffee Crunch Caramel Cheesecake
Bon Appétit | January 2005

Zoom; Park City, UT
“Each year we receive hundreds of reader requests for recipes from restaurants around the world. And this past year there was a clear favorite — cheesecake. One of the best we tested is from Zoom in Park City, Utah. Here’s their delicious version. — The Editors

At the restaurant, this is served with roasted pears. The cake needs time to set up in the refrigerator overnight, so begin making it at least one day ahead.

Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings

Gingersnap crust:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups ground gingersnap cookies (about 7 1/4 ounces)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel topping
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream

4 1.4-ounce English toffee candy bars (such as Heath or Skor), chopped

For gingersnap crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 9-inch springform pan with 2 1/2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Stir ground cookies, butter, and sugar in medium bowl until moist clumps form. Press cookie mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Wrap outside of pan with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Bake crust until firm and beginning to darken, about 14 minutes. Cool crust. Maintain oven temperature.

For cheesecake:
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in butter, then eggs, 1 at a time, until just blended. Beat in vanilla. Pour batter over crust in pan. Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake cake uncovered until filling is puffed around edges and moves slightly in center when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove pan from water; remove foil. Place hot cheesecake uncovered in refrigerator overnight.

For caramel topping:
Stir sugar, water, and lemon juice in large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until mixture turns deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 9 minutes. Add cream (mixture will bubble). Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Chill until thickened but still pourable, about 15 minutes.

Spoon caramel over top of cake just to edges (do not allow caramel to drip down sides). Garnish top edges with chopped English toffee. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.

Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides.

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Crème Brûlée Tart

Crème Brûlée Tart
Originally uploaded by jenianddean.

Crème Brûlée Tart
Gourmet | October 2008
by Melissa Roberts

More than 30 years ago, Michael McCarty opened Michael’s, in Santa Monica, and quickly established himself as a pioneer of California cuisine. In one of his sunny interpretations of French classics, he served crème brûlée in a crust. The smooth custard in a flaky shell with a crackling burnt-sugar top was one of his most popular desserts.

Yield: Makes 8 servings
Active Time: 35 min
Total Time: 4 1/4 hr

For tart shell:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For custard filling:
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1 whole large egg
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt

a 9 1/2-inch round fluted tart pan (1 inch deep) with a removable bottom
pie weights or dried beans
a small blowtorch

Make tart shell:
Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl (or pulse in a food processor). Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse) until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size lumps of butter. Add 3 tablespoons water and stir into flour (or pulse) until incorporated. Gently squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, add water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) after each addition. Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit dough into tart pan and fold overhang inward to reinforce side. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Lightly prick bottom of shell all over with a fork, then line with parchment or foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until edge is pale golden and side is set, 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove weights and parchment and bake shell until golden, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Remove tart shell from oven and reduce temperature to 300°F.

Make filling:
While shell bakes, split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds into a heavy medium saucepan with tip of a paring knife. Add pod to saucepan with cream and milk. Heat over medium heat until hot, then let steep off heat 30 minutes. Whisk together yolks, whole egg, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a quart measuring cup, then whisk into cream mixture until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve back into measuring cup.

Put tart shell (in pan) in a 4-sided sheet pan. Put in oven, then pour custard into shell. Bake until just set but still slightly wobbly in center, 30 to 35 minutes (custard will continue to set as it cools). Remove tart from sheet pan and cool on a rack 30 minutes. Remove side of pan and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour more.

Just before serving, sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar evenly over top of tart. Move blowtorch flame evenly back and forth just above top of tart, avoiding crust, until sugar is caramelized and slightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Make ahead:
Dough can be chilled 1 week.
Tart, without caramelized top, can be made 1 day ahead, then chilled (loosely covered once cool). Gently blot any moisture from surface before caramelizing.

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Buffalo Chicken Salad

I can’t believe this recipe hasn’t been on Kitchen Sherpa yet. It was one of the first recipes Jeni posted on Serendipitous Reflections back on April 5, 2005, and it is still one of our favorites. One note, recently we’ve used Texas Pete instead of Louisiana Hot Sauce, but they’re both good. Enjoy!

Once again, Rachael Ray has come through with another quick and delicious meal. This recipe is quickly becoming a household favorite. When I make this, I don’t change a thing. At first I thought about using bottled blue cheese dressing that I had in the fridge, but thank goodness I didn’t because the blue cheese crumbles are wonderful. This recipe is pretty healthy in comparison to actual buffalo wings. No skin, no deep frying, very little butter, and lots of veggies. For hot sauce I use Louisiana Hot Sauce. It has good flavor and just enough heat to really enjoy having all the cool veggies and blue cheese dressing.

Buffalo Chicken Salad
2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots, available in pouches
2 ribs celery with greens, chopped
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
1 package, 3/4 to 1 pound, chicken tenders, cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup hot sauce

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat.

Combine lettuce, carrots and celery in a salad bowl. Combine ranch dressing and blue cheese crumbles in a small bowl.

Add oil and butter to hot pan with the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and sear for 2 or 3 minutes, then add hot sauce. Reduce heat a little and cook 5 minutes more.

Toss salad with dressing and season with salt and pepper. Top salad with Buffalo chicken and serve.

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