Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tahini

I *almost* feel bad posting another cookie recipe so soon after our ginger chews, but these are worth sharing. If you’re still riding the new-year-resolution-exercise-train, our friends have suggested that the addition of tahini makes these healthy. So there’s that.

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This recipe comes from Molly Yeh, and she got it from Danielle Oron’s Modern Israeli Cooking (which I’ve already added to my wishlist!). And to go on a tangent for a second. Have you ready Molly’s blog yet? If not, find some time to sit down and scroll through her creative recipes while enjoying her entertaining writing. That’s some blogger, and I’m so excited that she’s in the process of writing her own cookbook.

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DIY Christmas Presents : Eats & Treats

Merry Monday everyone! Christmas is coming quicker than I can handle, so while I shop online today, I’m also going to whip up a few homemade Christmas gifts that everyone on my list will enjoy.  I love giving and receiving edible gifts. Knowing the treats were made with love and care in someone’s kitchen makes them extra enjoyable.  If you still don’t have a present for me, here are a few suggestions 😉 liveseasoned_spring2015_hazelnutliqueur3-1024x889 liveseasoned_spring2015_hazelnutliqueur6

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Pumpkin Pudding!

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. We have all sorts of sweet and savory dishes, as well as a face mask to wear while drinking your lattes.

I don’t remember when or if I’ve ever made a homemade pudding before, but the idea of making a homemade pumpkin pudding has been on my mind for a few weeks now. Finally, with snow on the ground yesterday and plans for a cozy day at home, I made a batch and it was delicious!

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When searching for recipes, I was looking for a basic pudding with pumpkin and spice in it. What I found were many recipes for baked pumpkin custards (almost like mini pumpkin pies but without the crust). I also found many pumpkin puddings that used boxed-pudding shortcuts or had unnecessary ingredients. I wanted something with simple ingredients from scratch. Finally, I happened upon a few that looked like tried-and-true pudding recipes, and I ended up taking some ideas from one and some from another to develop the final recipe written below.  
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Using a few staple ingredients, it’s relatively easy to whip up a homemade pudding. The key to success is to never. stop. whisking. Whisking the pudding as it cooks will eliminate clumps and stop the pudding from burning on the bottom of the pan. The other step you’ll want to be careful with is tempering the yolks.  Tempering eggs is done whenever you want to add eggs to a hot liquid, but you don’t want to scramble the eggs. To temper the yolks, you’ll slowly pour some of the hot milk mixture into the yolks while constantly whisking them (there’s the whisking again!). You add enough of the hot milk mixture until the temperature of the yolks is fairly warm, and at that point you can then pour the yolk mixture into the pot with the rest of the milk without fear of scrambling.

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Calder and I ate this pudding as an afternoon treat while the boys napped (parents have all the fun!). I served it in these little Duralex Gigogne tumblers that I had picked up on sale with this pudding in mind… I’ve really put too much thought into this one dessert. BUT if you do make this pudding, serving it in these glasses will make your childish treat more refined. And now that I have the tumblers, I see many more pudding afternoons in my future (I’m really overindulging in this parenting gig now).

Pumpkin Pudding!

Pumpkin Pudding!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp ground cloves (or a pinch!)
  • 1/16 tsp ground ginger (or a pinch!)

Instructions

  1. While whisking, bring the milk, sugar, and cornstarch to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Boil for approximately 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly. If the mixture is bubbling wildly, you can turn it down slightly. I also use the method of picking up the pot or sliding it off the burner for a few seconds if it's getting too hot.
  3. Gradually pour about a cup of the milk mixture into the egg yolks, constantly whisking the yolks as you do this.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the milk. Return the pudding to the stove and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes while whisking constantly.
  5. Remove the pudding from the heat, whisk in the pumpkin, salt, and spices.
  6. All the pudding to cool and set before serving. We ate it while it was still a touch warm, and it was delicious.
http://liveseasoned.com/pumpkin-pudding/

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It was absolutely delicious served plain, but I also added a bit of whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon. Best November snow day treat ever.

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Whoopie!

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. We’re a big fan of pumpkin desserts (cookies, and popsicles, anyone?), but we also like our pumpkin in the form of brews and stew too!

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Ok, I know that our posts’ titles should directly identify their topic, but “failed pumpkin whoopie pies become kicka$$ pumpkin muffin tops with cream cheese frosting” seemed a bit too long. And now I’ve just given away the whole arch of this post, but really, the end result is so delicious that you’ll want to read through to the end and the bake a batch of these treats.

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Cooking with Kids : Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve used it to make some pumpkin butter, pumpkin popsicles, and a quick weeknight pasta.

Welcome back to our new Cooking with Kids series, where Alex is the true star, and these pumpkin cookies are the runner up. If you haven’t seen our first Cooking with Kids post, it’s worth a glance, especially if you’re just starting out on this whole kids-in-the-kitchen adventure. Today’s post will not go into as much detail about how to make the cooking fun for your little one, instead, I’m just putting all of our past tips into practice and sharing a few ideas related specifically to this recipe and baking cookies in general. As a point of reference for any moms out there, Alex helped with these cookies when he was 29 months old (just shy of 2 1/2 years).

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This is a recipe that I first saw on Design Mom. I made a batch for a party last fall, and predicted then that they would become a fall favorite. This year’s batch turned out just as delicious and well-received by everyone in the house, that they’ve retained their position as “favorite fall cookie”. The cookies are delicious little fluffy cakes of pumpkin, and if kept in an airtight container, they will stay moist for at least two weeks (surprisingly a few cookies made it that long in our house!). The original recipe includes instructions for a glaze, I didn’t make it this year, opting for a plain cookie, but made it last year and loved it. I’ll include it below in case you’re craving the extra touch of sweetness.

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Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Popsicles

Lemon is our ingredient of the season! So far we’ve used it in a bucklein barsin a savory pasta, and in the shower. This is our second lemon popsicle recipe, click here for lemon cream pops. And, summer’s not over yet! You can see our complete archive of popsicle recipes here.

We arrived at the beach house to greek yogurt in the fridge, blueberries in the freezer, and lemons on the counter – right next to the empty popsicles molds. What were we to do but make some blueberry lemon yogurt popsicles?

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Lemon Cream Popsicles

Lemon is our ingredient of the season! So far we’ve used it in a bucklein barsin a savory pasta, and in the shower.

Lemon cream popsicles : just three ingredients and you’ll create a popsicle that’s equal parts tart, sweet, and deliciously creamy. I’ve been trying for days, but I can’t quite figure out how to explain these. They’re creamy like a lemon custard, but airy, like whipped cream. Maybe lemon mousse? Try licking whipped cream off of the slice of a lemon. That’s what this is (sort of).

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I got the idea for these after reading The Merrythought’s post on Brazilian Limeade Popsicles.Loving desserts that blend citrus and cream (orange sherbet & vanilla ice cream, key lime pie), I was immediately intrigued and thought it would be fun to make a version that uses lemons. Subbing the limes for lemons, produces the recipe as I wrote it below, which just contains milk, sweetened condensed milk, and lemons. That’s it! And there’s no cooking involved,  just blend, strain, and freeze….

 

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At this point are you thinking about the lemon juice and milk combination? Won’t you just end up with curdled milk? That’s what I wondered, but amazingly surprisingly, it just works! Calder says it’s because you’re using cold milk. Maybe that’s the case, but I’m incredulous, I think there’s something else going on here, I just don’t know what it is.

Lemon Cream Pops

Lemon Cream Pops

Ingredients

  • 2 whole lemons
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups milk (I used whole)

Instructions

  1. Juice one lemon, removing all seeds. Cut and discard the ends from the second lemon, and then cut the rest of the fruit into eighths, removing as many seeds as you can (do not peel the fruit).
  2. Place the lemon pieces, the lemon juice, the sweetened condensed milk, and the milk in a blender. Pulse or blend (my blender doesn't have a pulse option) for about 5-10 seconds. At this point you can taste your mixture and adjust it as necessary, adding more lemon juice or sugar depending upon how tart or sweet you want them.
  3. Strain the liquid, throwing out the pulp.
  4. Pour the strained liquid into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.
http://liveseasoned.com/lemon-cream-popsicles/

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A note about our popsicle molds : we love them! We have both the mini pops and the classic molds. The mini pops are the perfect size for kids and for small treats for adults (each pop is less than an ounce). Those are made from silicone and it’s so easy to remove each pop without having to run them under water (the silicone sleeve turns inside out as you’re pulling out the pop) . The classic molds produce large/average-sized pops. These aren’t made from silicone, but you can remove each pop with its plastic sleeve from the large holder. This makes it easy to grab just one pop at a time to run under hot water, or to carry a bunch at a time as you deliver them to your guests on the deck. Zoku. I’m having so much fun making popsicles this summer that now I want to collect all of the Zoku holders (rocket ships!  sea life!). I’m obsessed, but really just because they are such high quality molds that are well designed.

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Luckily for me, I live with a little popsicle monster.  If he had his way, he’d have them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have to admit, as the supply dwindles, I love planning what the next batch will be. Strangely enough, he calls every one a “watermelon pop” because that’s the first flavor he ever had!

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Lemon Curd

Earlier this summer I was sharing some of the crafts that were included in our DIY wedding (four years ago this summer!). Today we’re sharing yet another wedding-related post, and this one includes lemons, our ingredient of the season!

Since our wedding was such a relaxing, picnic-on-the-farm affair, it would have seemed out of character to serve a traditional, multi-layered cake. Plus, there’s no way that Calder and I could decide on just one flavor! Instead, my mom made three different cakes for the reception, my favorite carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for Calder, and a delicious almond cake with buttercream frosting and lemon and orange curds between the layers. All three were amazing, and it was nice to be able to offer guests options for their dessert.

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Our sister, Kristin, made the citrus curds for the cakes, and they were perfect. Just the right consistency and with that bit of tart flavor that paired so well and added a bit of interest to the white cake and buttercream. I asked her what her secret was, and her response : Martha.

Even though I can go through a jar of Trader Joe’s lemon curd in no time, I’ve never tried making my own, assuming that it was fussy and would require too much precision or time (funny since I’m always itching to work on my macarons). But, with lemons as our ingredient of the season, I knew it was time to make a batch, and to my surprise, it couldn’t have been easier!

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Following Kristin’s lead, I turned to Martha and made this version (reprinted below). You’ll see that this makes a fairly small batch, which is perfect if you’re the only one eating it in your house, but as far as I can tell, the recipe easily doubles. Kristin sent me a recipe from Martha that was exactly double this one. Although, search “Martha Stewart lemon curd”, and you’ll come up with a number of variations. This recipe’s size is more than double the one I’m sharing, and it includes salt, which would be a nice addition to the recipe below. This recipe is the exact same size as the one I just linked to, but here she has you add the butter to the saucepan while it’s cooking (something that the other recipes did not do). There seems to be some flexibility in both the proportion of the ingredients and the technique used to make it.

Bottom line : don’t stress and just make a batch.

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • zest of 1/2 lemon (I used the zest of a whole lemon since mine seemed small)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (don't use bottled lemon juice)
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the yolks, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Cook the mixture over medium heat stirring constantly and making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. Continue cooking for about 5-7 minutes or until it's thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and begin adding the butter, one piece at a time. Continue stirring with the wooden spoon until the butter melts and the curd's consistency is smooth.
  4. Pour the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or jar for storage. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to stop a skin from forming as it cools.
  5. Refrigerate until completely cool before serving.
http://liveseasoned.com/lemon-curd/

Want to make orange curd? Just substitute the lemon juice and zest for orange juice and zest, and you’re welcome to use bottled orange juice.

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If you’ve never had lemon curd before, it has a sweet and tart lemon flavor and the consistency of a really thick pudding (I think that’s the best way to describe it?). I like to spread my lemon curd over toast with butter, but it’s commonly used in a variety of desserts. You could put it between the layers of a cake as we did for the wedding. Use it to fill a tart shell. Serve a dollop over ice cream. Stir it into some cottage cheese for a mid-day snack. Eat it by the spoonful.

 

 

 

 

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Cooking with Kids : Lemon Bread

Lemon is our ingredient of the season! So far we’ve used it in a bucklein bars, in a savory pasta, and in the shower. Oh, and there are two on my counter waiting for our next project!

You don’t have to have a kid to make this Lemon Bread, but it’s more fun messy if you do! As you’ll see, the simplicity of this recipe is what makes it the perfect choice for cooking with an assistant, but it’s also what makes it an easy go-to treat. You can bake a loaf in no time at all for a last minute brunch, but it also stores well, so it’s the perfect tangy treat to make on a Monday and eat it all week long with your afternoon tea break (speaking from experience). Now on with the cuteness ~

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We’ve reached a new milestone in our house : weekly cooking sessions with Alex. It’s no surprise that Calder and I love to cook, and we’ve kept the kitchen open to Little A from the start. We recently turned a corner when it comes to sharing the kitchen with a little guy; at first we were just trying to keep him busy and safe, but now he’s actually helping with the cooking and he understands what’s going on!

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Seven Delicious Popsicle Recipes

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Happy Monday!  What’s in store for your week?  I’m attempting to squeeze forty hours of work into three days before skipping off to the Outer Banks, North Carolina.  I’ve never been there before so I’m SUPER excited to explore the coast yet equally pumped to sit back, sun it up, and finish my book.  While I’m wasting away in front of my monitor editing, designing and emailing, you should probably mix up one or all of these delicious popsicle recipes that we’ve featured in the past.

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