Happy Easter

Easter Bunny Newborn Photo -- new baby Ryder on Katie's Cucina!Just wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Easter. May your hearts be filled with joy and love during this holiday spent with the ones you love. I made an early Easter dinner last night for my parents; slow cooker maple glazed ham, sour cream and chive mashed potatoes, steamed green beans and carrots and an apple crisp for dessert. Yes–I cooked all that with a newborn. If I can do it–anyone can do it! Later this afternoon we will be heading for my in-laws to celebrate Easter with them.

A note about the photo above. Yes, that is my son, Ryder. My little Easter bunny! Two weekends ago, we spent the day with the amazingly talented, Christy Buonomo Photography, shooting newborn photos. She shared this Easter photo earlier this week and I just had to share it with my readers. Once we receive all of our newborn photos I’ll be sharing them over on our DIY blog Sew Woodsy. I’ll also be sharing my birth story in the next week or two. I’ve had lots of people asking about how it all went down, so I’ll be dishing out all the details–the good, bad, and the ugly (ok and maybe some really cute photo’s of Ryder as well)!

Happy Easter!

Katie

 


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Today, we have Erin from The Law Student’s Wife sharing her recipe for Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding. I stumbled across Erin’s blog a year ago and have enjoyed it ever since. I mean who wouldn’t love baked pistachio pudding donuts or a 20-minute healthy ricotta pasta? She has a wide variety of recipes on her blog, and although we haven’t met in person I feel like we’ve been friends for years.

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding

Hey there! This is Erin Clarke from The Law Student’s Wife, and I’m honored to be guest posting for our favorite new momma, Katie. I discovered Katie’s blog when this outrageous stuffed French toast entered my life, and I’ve been a fan since!

Today, we’re going to my happy place: pudding. Pudding and my illustrious love affair begin with Snack Packs in the second grade. Back then, the fact that Snack Packs do not need to be refrigerated in the grocery store did not disturb me as it does today. All my sweet 7-year-old self cared to know was that pudding is creamy, dreamy, and deeply chocolaty. I had my priorities straight.

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding

Fast forward to college graduation. I moved into my first “grown up” apartment and was consequently responsible for feeding myself. Despite the most fervent of wishes, I couldn’t live on Snack Packs alone, and thus I took to the kitchen. I fell in love with cooking (and started a food blog in the process), but to this day the recipes that energize me the most are ones like today’s Lightened Up Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding: a grown-up twist on a childhood favorite.

Making pudding from scratch demands only a few bowls and some elbow grease. I love this Lightened Up Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding recipe because requires few ingredients, uses an egg to thicken the milk instead of heavy cream (which keeps it reasonably healthy), and tastes totally decadent. It’s also no-fuss. Rather than making two separate pudding recipes, we simply make a vanilla pudding base, save a little at the end, then stir in a copious amount of chopped dark chocolate + espresso to intensify the espresso flavor. Voila! Perfectly balanced, luscious dark chocolate pudding, for a fraction of the effort.

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding

Although this Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding was inspired by childhood, a few of my grown-up tastes make an appearance: velvety dark bittersweet chocolate, espresso, and speckly sweet vanilla bean. (I purchase my vanilla beans online here for a steal of a deal, but you can always swap extra vanilla extract instead.) If you care to stir in a bit of rum as well, I certainly won’t deter you.

My final adult flourish: chopped pistachios for texture and crunch. Salty-sweet desserts have my heart forever and always, and the pistachios are the ideal counterpoint to the sweet vanilla and rich chocolate pudding layers. The good-as-obligatory dollop of whipped cream is just because life is short, and I can already tell that we are going to be friends.

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding is my inner-second grader in perfect harmony with my late 20-something adult self. No therapy or yoga for this girl—pudding is my gateway to inner peace!

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding

Prep Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding

Ingredients

  • 3 cups non-fat milk (or the milk of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • Chopped pistachios, walnuts, or pecans for serving
  • Whipped cream, for serving

Directions

  1. Place a sieve over a large measuring cup or bowl; set aside
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/4 cups of the milk to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large heat-proof bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into the sugar mixture. Place the empty vanilla pod into the saucepan with the heating milk. (If you’re replacing the vanilla bean with extract, do not add it yet.) Very gradually, whisk the remaining 3/4 cup milk into the sugar-cornstarch mixture. Add the milk a little at a time and stir constantly so that lumps do not form. Whisk in the egg.
  3. Once the milk has boiled, slowly add it to egg-mixture a little bit at a time, stirring constantly (using a ladle can be helpful). Be sure to work gradually so that the egg does not scramble. Once all of the heated milk had been added, pour all of the mixture back into the saucepan. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and bring the mixture to a simmer (at this point, do not let it boil.) Simmer for 1 minute, stirring the whole time. If using vanilla extract, stir it in now.
  4. Pour all of the vanilla pudding mixture through the sieve into the bowl or measuring cup (this ensure the pudding will be very smooth). Return 1/3 of the strained mixture to the saucepan (this will become the chocolate pudding). Cover the remaining 2/3 with plastic wrap so that the plastic touches the surface and refrigerate until fully set, about 2 hours.
  5. To the remaining pudding on the stove, add the chopped chocolate and espresso powder, stirring until the chocolate melts. Pour the chocolate mixture into a separate bowl, cover with plastic wrap so that the plastic touches the surface and refrigerate until fully set, about 2 hours.
  6. To serve: Spoon the vanilla pudding into the bottom of individual serving dishes. Top with chocolate pudding. Serve sprinkled with nuts and dollop with whipped cream.
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Today, we have Liz from Books n’ Cooks sharing a recipe for Salad with Pear Vinaigrette. Liz and I met in real life 2 years ago at Mixed.

Salad with Pear Vinaigrette from Books n' Cooks on KatiesCucina.com

Hello Katie’s Cucina readers!

I’m Liz from Books n’ Cooks. I first met Katie and discovered her blog a couple of years ago, at a foodie conference we attended together. I am usually a bit quiet when I meet new people, but it was easy to open up and chat with Katie, and not just because we have a love of food in common. Katie has an infectious bubbly personality and I immediately liked her. I’ve enjoyed reading Katie’s blog over the past few years, so I was flattered when Katie asked me to guest post while she’s enjoying her maternity leave.

Salad with Pear Vinaigrette from Books n' Cooks on KatiesCucina.com

Earlier this year, I was asked to bring salad to our semi-monthly book club dinner. I was looking forward to having a low maintenance contribution considering how busy my weekends have been lately, but I didn’t want low maintenance to mean boring. Enter: this salad. It felt appropriate to me – with wintery pears and summery blueberries fitting the 60 degree weather in February and March (well, 60 degrees on those weeks where we didn’t have snowstorms). The fresh and dried fruit make the salad super flavorful and visually stunning. It was anything except boring.

Adapted from Prevention RD

Salad with Pear Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4

Salad with Pear Vinaigrette

Ingredients

    Ingredients for the Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 a pear, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbs. dried cranberries
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
  • Ingredients for the Salad:
  • 5 oz. your favorite lettuce or salad green
  • 3/4 a pear, finely sliced or chopped
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. walnut pieces, toasted

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse pear, garlic, cranberries, salt and pepper briefly. With the mixer running, add vinegar and olive oil until smooth. Add equal portions of additional olive oil and vinegar until desired consistency. Vinaigrette will keep for about a week in the fridge.
  2. Toss all salad ingredients, except the walnuts. Add walnuts just before serving.
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Slow Cooker Maple Glazed Ham

Holy smokes. How is Easter this weekend? I knew it was going to sneak up with me and BAM! It’s this Sunday. I’m slowly adjusting to parenthood… slowly. This whole no sleep thing is something that I’ve dreaded for years–I love my sleep. I like to say that we waited so long to have a baby because I loved my sleep so much. I sleep at almost every nap, and I’m super grateful I’ve had friends to blog for me while I get use to this little human being. I can say that the days do seem to blend in although I do keep track of each day and document the little thing he is doing, so I guess that’s why I feel like Easter snuck up on me.

Let’s talk about ham. You guys know I love to make my ham in the slow cooker; Brown Sugar Honey Glazed Ham and Slow Cooker Ham with Apple Sauce. I contribute to Food Fanatic monthly and when they asked me if I would create another slow cooker ham recipe I jumped right at it. I created this recipe during my 9th month of pregnancy. So as you could imagine all cooking was taking longer than normal, which meant I was using my trusty slow cooker more and more.

Slow Cooker Maple Glazed Ham

This recipe for Slow Cooker Maple Glazed Ham calls for 5 ingredients! That’s it! Of course the main star is the ham, but followed by that is the maple syrup. I used an entire 8 ounce bottle of maple syrup. Don’t be afraid to skimp–maple syrup can be expensive but totally worth it!

For this recipe, I used my KitchenAid Slow Cooker. It is perfect for entertaining because of the easy serve lid. Each side lifts and locks which is convenient for one-handed serving. Of course, little tricky when you have a whole ham in the slow cooker. After I slice the ham I like to put it back in the juices and then the side lids help with easy-entertaining and serving. You can cut up your ham before your guest arrive and let your ham sit in the juices a little while longer. No need to find a place to put the lid!

Slow Cooker Maple Glazed Ham
We are spending Easter Sunday at my in-laws but that Saturday evening my parents are coming over to have an Easter dinner with us. I told my mom to not buy the expensive store bought ham–I’ll throw the ham in the slow cooker. She told me not to go to any trouble, but I insisted that it’s not trouble at all. I told her we will have a simple meal this Easter Sunday Eve, Slow Cooker Maple Glazed Ham, Sour Cream Chive Mashed Potatoes, steamed green beans, and rolls. Trust me, the sweetness of the ham pairs beautifully with my sour cream and chive mashed potatoes!

So if you’re entertaining this Easter Sunday (or for any holiday) and was planning on baking your ham. Stop the madness now and throw it into your slow cooker. You will thank me later, I promise!

I created this recipe for Food Fanatic. Make sure you head over to read all about my Crock Pot Ham Recipe.

Read more: http://www.foodfanatic.com/recipes/crock-pot-ham-recipe/#ixzz2yzVFSg3K


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Today, I’m excited to have Marnely from Cooking with Books to share her recipe for Blueberry-Almond Granola! You guys know I love homemade granola. I can’t wait to make this recipe since its way different than the blueberry granola cereal I make!

————–

Why buy granola when you can make your own?! This Blueberry-Almond Granola takes 20 minutes to make and is swirled with vanilla bean and warm spices!

Blueberry-Almond Granola Parfait guest post from Cook with Books for KatiesCucina.com

Hello Katie’s Cucina readers! I’m Marnely from Cooking with Books. I’m so happy to be here today bringing you a homemade Blueberry-Almond Granola recipe that will have your tastebuds asking for more!

If you follow me on Instagram, you noticed that last month I spent an entire week with my best friend who has a one-month old baby girl and a 22 month old toddler. I had decided to visit for a variety of reasons, not only to meet the new addition to the family, baby N. My main reason for visiting was to stock up her freezer and pantry with easy meals, snacks, and baked goods so she could have more time to take naps and enjoy her new baby girl.

One of the many recipes made was a variation of this almond granola, only we quadrupled this batch and filled up a huge glass jar with it. Perfect for on the go breakfasts for her and her husband, as well as perfect as a midnight snack while she feeds the newborn.

Blueberry-Almond Granola Parfait guest post from Cook with Books for KatiesCucina.com

Since this recipe has very few ingredients, make sure to use the best. We used Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats as our base and dried blueberries from Oh Nuts for added texture and flavor. This is a great recipe for friends to bring over to new mom’s such as Katie – they’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness and secretly smile that it’s not another casserole dish!

Have a friend that just had a baby? Bring her a batch of this Blueberry-Almond Granola, a quart of your favorite yogurt, and a freshly made fruit salad. It’s a fresh idea and new moms (and dads!) will appreciate it. Other granola recipes on Katie’s site to get you inspired: Cinnamon-Maple Granola, Coconut Cherry Granola, and Pumpkin Pie Granola.

Blueberry-Almond Granola

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 cups

 Blueberry-Almond Granola

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup dried blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt coconut oil (about 45 seconds). Whisk in maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the rolled oats and almonds. Drizzle coconut oil mixture over oats/almonds and stir until combined.
  4. Spread on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until almonds are toasted.
  5. Sprinkle dried blueberries into cooked granola and let cool for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Store in airtight jar for up to two-three weeks.

Notes

This recipe is easily doubled or quadrupled, as well as simple to adapt to whatever you have in your pantry. Have pecans instead of almonds? Use them. Dried apricots instead of blueberries? Go for it! Make this recipe your own.

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