Dill Pickle Peanuts

In the past month we have been harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs from the garden. Typically my wife snags a cucumber and handful of tomatoes for lunch, which is a great thing. Me on the other hand, well, think about ways I can make meals using whatever produce we can harvest. As I was walking along the garden, I realized I had a bunch of dill to use. As I typically love buying fresh dill, the reality is it doesn’t last but a day, if that, before it gets limp and unusable. That is if you don’t freeze it, which I recently found out!

So while looking at the dill, that’s when it popped into my head, why not try making some dill flavored peanuts. I’ve been tinkering with mixed nuts this summer, I love dill, my kids love snacking on nuts, and let’s just see what happens. What happened was pretty darn delicious as a snack.

This recipe is super simple.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Spanish Peanuts
  • 1 tbsp your favorite seasoning blend (make sure it has some dill in it)
  • 1 tbsp dried onion
  • 2 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 cup of fresh dill fronds, lightly chopped, packed
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Begin by preheating your oven to 325.

To a mixing bowl, add everything but the baking sheet and parchment paper, and give a good toss, incorporating all of the seasoning and oil onto the peanuts.

Dill Pickle Peanuts Recipe
Dill Pickle Peanuts Recipe

Spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and place into the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the peanuts while they are baking and feel free to give them a gentle stir halfway through.

Ingredients for Dill Pickle Peanuts
Ingredients for Dill Pickle Peanuts

Once cooked, remove them from the oven and place them into a serving bowl. Let them cool down before digging in. These are a perfect game day snack, balanced with hints of dill and a seasoning blend. Give these a try if you are looking to use up some dill in the near future! Hope you enjoy!

Berry Danish Recipe

The goal this summer was to beat cancer and to keep my daughter occupied. Both are big challenges, and I think I am winning both at this point in time. The first challenge has been a total battle, but being the warrior that I am, I think I am at the tail end in finding out the outcome, and the second one, as challenging as it might not sound, has been a tough one as well. I’ll be honest. My daughter is pretty bored this summer, and unfortunately there has not been a whole lot I can do based on my condition to keep her busy. There has been one thing I have been active doing though and that is teaching her how to bake and cook in the kitchen. This is something that she has always loved, and I can say that it has been a joy teaching her new things. This one in particular was teaching her how to make a berry danish.

Homemade Berry Danish Recipe
Homemade Berry Danish Recipe

I knew that she was going to love pretty much all of this, but there is one thing that she was going to question and that was the cream cheese. Something that she doesn’t really like, nor eat on a regular basis. My hope is that by using it in the desert factor that she would get over that hump and really enjoy the combination of berries and cream cheese. I think she loved them!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-ounce package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 cups of blueberries, washed
  • 2 cups of blackberries, washed
  • Pinch kosher sal
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 8 ounces package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • Splash water or milk

Begin by making the berry mixture. Combine the honey, half of the blueberries, half of the blackberries, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook this down for about 15 minutes, stirring during the simmer. About 15 minutes in add the rest of the berries and simmer gently about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, set aside to cool to room temperature. The goal is to have some texture to the berries.

Next, make the cream cheese filling. Beat together the cream cheese and the egg yolk. Set aside. That’s it, simple stuff.

Get out two baking sheets and line them with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Homemade Berry Danish Ingredients
Homemade Berry Danish Ingredients

Unfold your puff pastry and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Try to keep the pastry cold while you continue to work on each individual one. The colder the better. No one likes working with room temperature pastry dough.

Roll the puff pastry into a 4-x-9-inch rectangle on a sheet of parchment. Use a ramekin or cookie cutter and cut them into circles, repeating as you continue to lay them out on the parchment paper, leaving about an inch or so between each circle.

Take a fork and gently poke each  pastry circle. Add a tablespoon of cream cheese filling into the center of each pastry circle, then put the entire tray into the freezer for 20 minutes. Next, whisk together the egg and and water and set aside.

After 2o minutes, remove the the pan from the freezer and brush the edges lightly with egg wash. Spoon a very heaping tablespoon or so of the berries on top of the cream cheese.

Homemade Berry Danish Recipe
Homemade Berry Danish Recipe

Bake the pastries 15 minutes at 400°F, then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake 10 minutes more, until the pastries are deeply golden. Once cooked, remove the pastries to a wire rack and let cool. Now it’s time to dig in!

The result is a perfect bite. An awesome pastry that is creamy and fruity and is just a real treat anytime of the day. Did my daughter like them? I think so, especially after she investigated the cream cheese for a long period of time, but she got over it and asked for seconds. Hope you enjoy!

Maple Glazed Spiced Nuts

It wasn’t too long ago where a lot of our family members gathered for yet another wonderful wedding. Don’t you just love weddings, and wedding weekends? I can’t say that it was all fun and dance for me in particular due to my recent circumstances, but what it was, was almost like a really great reunion of cousins, uncles, and grandparents that just brought joy and smiles to everyone’s faces. Love that stuff. During this time, our Canadian cousins decided to come bearing gifts, of which was this awesome Canadian maple syrup. My kids love syrup, as does my wife, and to be honest I don’t really use it all that often with the exception of when I may make some chicken and waffles. After some time, I decided to come up with a snack for one of the parties and see how it would go over. I like doing that, you know?

That’s when I decided I would make maple glazed spiced nuts, along with some fresh turmeric that my friends in Hawaii recently harvested from their yard and sent our way. I mean who doesn’t love turmeric and maple syrup, right? I was about to find out.

Maple Glazed Mixed Nuts Recipe
Maple Glazed Mixed Nuts Recipe

I came up with this recipe after thinking about some nuts my parents used to make during the holidays. They were sweet, and lightly salted, and that was the direction I was trying to head, but in a slightly more savory application.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups walnuts halves and pieces
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

During this time, get a large mixing bowl together and dump everything into the mixing bowl. Mix well to incorporate all of the nuts, sugars, and syrup together.

Get a large baking sheet out, and line it with parchment paper for easier cleanup.

Maple Glazed Nuts Ingredients
Maple Glazed Nuts Ingredients

Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes being careful not to burn. About half way through this time, stir them, carefully. The goal is to get that sugars to melt into the nuts, making small clusters of deliciousness.

After you have achieved this, remove them from the oven, slide them into a bowl from the parchment paper, and let them cool before digging in.

I brought a majority of these to the party, yet reserved some only to make an ice cream with them with my daughter a few days later. Was that good as well? You betcha!

 

Ice Cream Cake Sandwiches

If there are two things my kids could probably eat everyday it would be ice cream and cake. Go figure, that’s kind of a default with kids I have of their age. They literally ask for ice cream every single day, no joke. My default answers are ‘have I ever said no’, and ”. Yes, an empty response meaning please figure it out kids as I am tired of saying ‘sure, I don’t care’. So while I was in the hospital I was thinking of things I could do to occupy my daughter so that I could try to keep her busy, while at the same time try to reserve energy during those early stages. That’s when I rummaged through the pantry, saw a box of cake mix, and decided that I would come up with some ice cream sandwiches for them to devour.

Ice Cream Cake Sandwiches Recipe
Ice Cream Cake Sandwiches Recipe

These are super easy to make, and are a great ice cream snack to satisfy most any kid.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of Funfetti cake mix
  • 1/3 cup of canola oil
  • 1/2 cup of M&Ms, optional
  • Generous scoops of vanilla ice cream, or your favorite

Start by mixing the cake mix with the M&Ms and oil making it into a nice batter.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Take ice cream scoop sized portions of the batter and lay onto the cookie sheet, leaving a couple of inches in between each scoop.

Place into the preheated oven and cook for about 12 minutes or until they are evenly cooked.

Ice Cream Cake Sandwiches Ingredients
Ice Cream Cake Sandwiches Ingredients

Once the cookies are evenly cooked, remove them from the oven and let them cool on the parchment paper. Once cooled, place into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or so until they firm up.

Once firmed, remove from the freezer, and get out the ice cream. Take one of the cake cookies and add a scoop or two of ice cream, then top with the other cake cookie. Repeat with remaining ice cream and cookies. I like to wrap mine with a bit of parchment for future use, but trust me these will not last long once they come into sight from one of your kids.

Unwrap and dig in. Cool, refreshing, and fun(fetti) all around. These kept my kids relatively quiet, yet extremely happy, and what parent doesn’t love that! If you are looking for an easy dessert that will please any kid (or adult), give these a try. Hope you enjoy!