Beachboy loves salad.   Well, he loves salad if it is comprised only of vegetables, that is.  By vegetables, I mean the ordinary ones.  Even the lettuce has to be simple. 

In an effort to be more reasonable about what we eat, I’ve been trying to cook more nourishing foods instead of just stuff that sounds good to us. 

That’s how all of the spinach ended up in the fridge.  Beachboy doesn’t eat spinach, but he did last night.  As he took his last bite of the salad, he said, “That was a very pleasant surprise!”  I wish you the same luck with your eaters.

Fruited Spinach Salad for Two

  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast– coat, dredge, and saute
  • Roughly 1/2 cup salsa (marinate chicken overnight and mix remaining salsa with honey for coating chicken)
  • Roughly 2 Tb. honey, divided
  • Plain bread crumbs (for coating chicken before sauteeing)
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • 1 small sweet onion (or red)
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced and cut into bite size rectangles
  • 1 handful of fresh pecans, toasted (to be served warm)
  • Crumbled Feta cheese with Cranberries (You can get this at Kroger)
  • Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinegerette
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The gym seems to inspire strange things for me….like thoughts of cookies.  As I was walking out earlier this week, I spotted a pumpkin cookie recipe on the bulletin board and thought I’d give it a try.  It was good, but it was a bit too healthy for everyday use.  So, I set off to come up with a more indulgent cookie.

After pouring through piles of recipes, combining ideas, and a bit of taste testing, I came up with one that reminds me of home yet meets some of Beachboys daily needs: lemon and pecans. 

This is our pecan tree’s nonproducing year, but I have  a freezer filled with nuts from last season, which are deliciously fresh and tender.  It really does make all the difference.

A quick-reference recipe appears below the step-by-step photos. 

 

The Flavors
A few notes:
-I know immitation vanilla is cheaper, and I’m the queen of generic brands.  But, please….please…use real vanilla extract.  It really does improve the taste of your cookies. 
-There is simply no substitute for fresh lemon juice. Trust me.
 
Wet Ingredients:
Cream 1/2 Cup of butter with 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.  Slowly beat in 2 eggs. Then, add 1 tsp. of lemon zest and 1-1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice. 
 
This is my favorite kitchen tool.  Not only is it easier to collect the zest from the zester than a grater, but it’s also great for stripping peels for dressing up your dishes. 
 
In a small sauce pan, cook 1 cup of pumpkin with 2 tsp. of vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon.   Now, here’s where I have to get honest.  You don’t reallyhave to cook these ingredients before adding them.  In fact, you don’t even have to have the cinnamon.  However, my sister always insists that I leave out special steps when giving her recipes, so I’m sharing this step.  Don’t tell her, but I do this just as much to make my house smell nice as to take the metallic edge off the canned pumpin.  What can I say, I just like the smell of cinnamon and vanilla.  Regardless, be careful not to burn or dry out your pumpkin. 
 
After the pumpkin mix has cooled, you can add it to the sugar blend. 
 
Dry Ingredients:
 
 
Now on to a pet peeve: flour.  I can still remember my home economics teacher insisting that we not level our flour, and to this day, I disagree.  I like to know I have the exact amount, and if I’m risking compacting it, so what! So, get your finger ready to level off 2-1/2 cups (exactly!) of flour.
 
To the flour, add 2 tsp. of baking powder, 1 tsp. of baking soda, and 1 tsp. of salt.  For a bit of flavor, mix in 1-1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice (yum!) and 1/4 tsp. of ginger. 
 
Unlike my mother, I insist on mixing my dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Listen to me carefully: It’s worth washing an extra bowl.  I repeat, it’s worth washing an extra bowl. 
 
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumkin-sugar mixture.
 
Finally, add in 1-1/3 cups of chopped pecans. (I strongly recommend the ones from my backyard, but do what you have to do.)
Isn’t that just divine.  I can hear it screaming my name.  Eat me! Eat me!
 
Now, after a quick taste test  greasing your baking sheet, drop the dough on by the heaping teaspoonful.
 
Bake your yummy goodness at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes, and try to pass the time productively with a bowl of ice cream or something, for goodness’ sake.
 
Pull out those bad boys and grab the frosting!
I like to top them with a dollop of homemade butter-cream frosting and a pecan…but that’s just the girl in me.  I can’t resist a cute gooey cookie.  Beachboy prefers his plain so he can savor the pecans.
 I think I’ll go have a cookie in his honor.
 

Pecan Pumpkin Cookies

Cream Together:

  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

Add:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Zest
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

On the Stove top, Cook:

  • 1 Cup of Canned Pumpkin
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

Let the pumpkin mixture cool, then add it to the sugar mix.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix:

  • 2-1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/4 tsp. Ginger

Slowly add the dry mix to the pumpkin-sugar blend. 

Stir In:

  • 1-1/3 Cups Chopped Fresh Pecans

 

Drop cookies onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

 

Frosting:

  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1-2 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice (to taste)
  • 3 Tb. Milk or Cream
  • Small Splash of Vanilla Extract

If you don’t like the texture created by the lemon juice, try extract or zest.