Bean & Cheese Enchiladas

If I had to choose a favorite cuisine, it would be Mexican. It’s something that I really came around to during my first pregnancy, and it definitely stuck with me. Sadly, our only local Mexican restaurant closed it’s doors a few months ago – which means we have to drive 40 minutes north or south to go out…and that’s really sucked this time around as far as pregnancy cravings are concerned.

I already have a few really good enchilada recipes up my sleeve, but sometimes you just need something super-quick and easy. That’s where these bean and cheese enchiladas come in. I almost always have all the ingredients on hand to make them, they come together quickly, and they’re filling and delicious.

If you’re worried about spice, don’t be – they aren’t spicy. The green chilies are very mild, but add a nice bite of flavor. I wrote the recipe using canned pinto beans, but I’ve been soaking my own beans lately and doing it the “old-fashioned” way. If you’re down with that – you’ll need about 3 cups of dried beans. I’ll cook them with a smoked ham hock, ham base, or some bacon for a little extra flavor. But,  rest assured they’re great with canned beans too! Also, take a few minutes and make your own enchilada sauce. It literally takes less than 5 minutes to throw together, and the results are so much more delicious (and economical!) than the stuff from the can. Just saying…

They’re gooey and delicious with the use of flour tortillas and plenty of cheese. We all really loved them, Andrew declaring that they’re his second favorite enchiladas – right behind the beef. Which is really saying something considering that my chicken version was the favorite meal in the house for quite a few years!

Orange Poppy Seed Cake

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to the food and trade expo in Ocean City. It was great to sample all kinds of different new things, talk to folks at regional breweries, and just make new “foodie” friends in general. It made a great date day for Jon and I, and I think he had a little bit more fun than I did getting to sample all the delicious beers and cocktails that I couldn’t partake in – but I’m already looking forward to next year!

One product I was super excited to try was Natalie’s juices. They’re fresh pressed, and minimally pasteurized – leading to a juice that’s as fresh tasting as can be. I’d been following them on Instagram for a over a month now, after reading their review in Cook’s Illustrated – but hadn’t been able to find them locally in my rural location. Brandy, the regional rep, said that she’d gladly provide me with some samples to try out – and I gladly accepted!

We met at a local eatery in Salisbury last week, and she loaded me down with all kinds of goodies. Afterwards, William and I went inside and treated ourselves to a little snack – a cookie for him, and a slice of a delicious orange poppy seed cake for myself. I knew upon first bite that it was one that I had to come home and recreate, and what better time to do it with all that fresh-pressed citrus goodness waiting for me to do something with?

This cake is somewhere between a pound cake and a traditional cake – moist and dense, yet light and crumbly too. With the slight crunchy bites from the poppy seeds, it’s absolutely perfect. It’s baked in a Bundt pan, which makes it beautiful to begin with…but then I topped it with a delightful orange cream cheese buttercream for the “icing on the cake”, as it were. Everyone loved it!

Everyone also really loved the different varieties of juice Natalie’s sent us home with – everything from Strawberry Lemonade to Honey Tangerine Juice. I made a batch of lavender lemonade with the lemon juice they gave me last night, and it was so nice to have a taste of summertime without having to juice a million lemons on my own! Looking forward to trying their juices in some cocktails this summer, as I know that’s another spot where they will really shine.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Source: cake adapted from Your Home Based Mom

Blackberry Yogurt Cake

Well, it’s officially spring! Which, is kind of hard to believe considering we just had another snow day on Monday. Bygones! Hoping the warmer weather is here to stay, because we’re all ready for it in this house. And, I can’t think of a better way to welcome warmer days than by baking a delicious cake studded with plenty of fresh berries.

I’ve made a Strawberry Yogurt Cake in the past, that was absolutely delicious. So I took that as a base and substituted fresh blackberries for the strawberries. Talk about another homerun! It was moist and dense, everything that a Bundt cake should be – with the juicy and tart whole blackberries studded throughout the cake. Absolutely delicious.

Instead of a glaze, I went with something a little more heavy duty…adding more confectioner’s sugar to the mix, as well as some blackberry puree that I blended up with a few of the berries. It gave the glaze a gorgeous purple hue that really set the cake off, and let you know what was hiding inside.

Another new favorite, for sure. Will have to try it with raspberries and blueberries next, as I know those combos are sure to be winners as well. Have a great weekend everyone!

Guinness Chocolate Cake

This cake. For me it rivals Beatty’s Chocolate Cake, which really says something. It’s ridiculously moist and chocolaty, with just a slight  hint of malty flavor from the Guinness. Comes together quickly and easily with just a few ingredients – and there is no layering and frosting to contend with. You just pour on a simple ganache topping and let it do it’s thing…hardened enough to stay stable when sliced, but pliable enough that it was soft and luxurious to take a bite of.

A perfect sweet treat for St. Patrick’s Day, but really – I don’t see myself limiting a cake of this magnitude to one holiday in March. It’s just that good, and that easy. I’ve already eaten one piece for breakfast, and am resisting every urge to eat another.

If you didn’t want to use beer, you could certainly use coffee (which the original recipe calls for). But if you guys know me, I’m always on the lookout for a recipe that incorporates beer in some fashion. And this one is definitely a keeper. One I’ll be making again, and again, and again.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Source: adapted from Averie Cooks