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Entries in cinnamon (7)


Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

You’re going to love these! Bratwurst simmered in hard apple cider, served with a tangy, slightly sweet “kraut” made with sautéed apples and kale. It’s a little vinegary, a little sweet and a little spicy from cinnamon and cloves. Add some spicy coarse mustard and tuck it all into a bun and you’ve got my twist on sausage and peppers. German style! (Once again, I’ve continued the tradition of not being able to photograph a sandwich to save my life. They may not be gorgeous, but they’re damn tasty!)

I’m back with another Nature’s Greens kale post. It’s been a while, right? We’ve still been eating, I just haven’t been posting. Moving on though, and please read on to see how you can win a trip for two to Myrtle Beach or Charleston, SC for a two night hotel stay--plus $1,000 in spending money from Rawl/Nature’s Greens!

This contest is the Show Us Your Heritage Recipe Contest. It’s all about--you guessed it--your family heritage. I’ve touched on my husband’s heritage here once or twice, but not mine. I’m mainly German, with some Scottish, Irish and French tossed into my family tree.  I’m kind of hot tempered, but very interesting. Ha!

The Nature’s Greens products are washed, chopped and ready to go at a moment’s notice. It’s a full line of pre-cut and triple-washed leafy bagged greens like kale, collards and mustard greens. It’s available in both one and two pound packages, and ready for you to pick up year round.

Nature's Greens/Rawl

You’re probably wondering their policies on GMO’s. I asked Nature’s Greens about GMO products and was very happy with their reply:

“We support sustainability by incorporating integrated pest management into our growing practices. Integrated pest management means we release beneficial insects into the growing area, and grow certain types of flowers to attract these beneficial insects. In addition, our products are bred using traditional breeding methods and they are not genetically modified.”

Nature’s Greens are available in at Hannaford, Wegmans, Whole Foods and Wal Mart, they’re available in one and two pound packages, and available year round. They’re produced by WP Rawl, a leading producer of fresh bulk and packaged greens based in Pelion, SC.

· Visit for recipes

· Like Nature’s Greens on WP Rawls’ Facebook at to stay connected

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

I was thinking about my German heritage. I don’t have any family recipes from that side, my dad’s side. His grandmother did all of the cooking when he was a kid--his mom? Zero. Zilch. Her idea of cooking was not to cook. And my dad never thought to carry on with his grandmother’s recipes--he was just a kid. To hear him talk about her cooking, though--my great grandmother and I would have been like two peas in a pod.

I was thinking about kale, and then Bratwurst came to mind. We love sausage and pepper sandwiches, so what if I could make a twist on those? Yeah, why not?! Since the Brats were going to simmer in hard apple cider, why not go that route and make an apple-onion-kale type kraut to serve with them? It worked beautifully! These are so different and delicious. Funny, we went to an Oktoberfest last month that was catered. THE most bland food I’ve ever had. When I got the “how did you like us” survey in an email? I told them I could cook circles around their caterer--and I just did. His brats and kraut were dismal. These are not!

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

Makes 5 servings

1 package of original style Bratwurst (I had a pack of 5)
2 - 12 oz. Hard Apple Ciders (I always have Woodchuck on hand, so I used that)
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced thinly
2 apples, peeled and sliced thinly (I used Macouns, but use what you have - just not too soft of an apple)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
oil for sautéing
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 - 3 pinches ground cloves
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 cups Nature's Greens Kale

Rolls for serving the Brats on
Coarse pub-style mustard

Bring the two ciders to a low boil in a medium sized pot. Poke just a couple of holes in each brat and add them to the cider. Reduce to simmer and let them go for 12 minutes. Remove from the cider and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of oil--just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Finish the brats by browning them on all sides, about 2 minutes or so per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Using the oil that's still in the pan, sauté the onions and apples for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic, a bit of salt and pepper, the cinnamon, cloves, honey, vinegar and kale. Cook for just a few more minutes, until the kale is wilted and everything is mixed together well. Taste for seasonings and adjust.

Spread some of the mustard inside the buns, add some of the apple-kale-onion kraut, and a brat to each bun.

  • These are incredibly simple to make. From a quick weeknight dinner to just before the game, you’ll be eating in no time. Tailgating? Try these this weekend and give your friends something different to eat!
  • I made these this morning and didn’t know if I’d want to eat one so early in the day after photographing it, but I could not stop going back for just one more bite. I ate the whole damn thing, and loved every single bite. In fact, the leftovers are for dinner tonight and I can’t wait to have more!
  • I think my great grandmother would have loved these. I know my dad will, and I can’t wait to share.
  • Oh! The kraut would be a nice side dish to any pork dinner, as well!

Now, go enter the contest! Dig down into your family heritage and twist those recipes up with some greens from Nature’s Greens and Rawl! Once again, one grand prize winner will win a trip for two to Myrtle Beach or Charleston, SC for a two night hotel stay--plus $1,000 in spending money from Rawl/Nature’s Greens! Hurry up!

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches


Pumpkin Pie Braid Plus a Red Star Yeast Giveaway

Pumpkin Pie Braid

Fall. (almost!) Pumpkin Pie. Warm Spices. Soft, tender bread just dying to be had next to your cup of coffee or tea. It’s a Pumpkin Pie Braid--pumpkin pie filling surrounded by a most delicious bread, braided and iced with a cinnamon glaze. You know you want some. And this recipe makes two, so you can share the love. Plus it’s that time of year, when thoughts turn to pumpkin and spice things, right? Make one for the house and one for the office, the nice neighbor that lets you borrow the hedge trimmer, the UPS guy (we all keep UPS busy, don’t we?), whoever you want to be nice to--or bribe. They’ll love you for it.

Read through to see how you can try Red Star PLATINUM Superior Baking Yeast and win a VIP Prize Package, plus be entered to win a KitchenAid Mixer!


The giveaway is now closed, but the recipe is still fantastic, so check that out! 

The winner is comment #116, Bob George. Congrats, Bob! Good luck in the KitchenAid Mixer Drawing from Red Star Yeast! 

I love baking bread. It’s not scary--at least, not anymore. It used to make me nervous, especially the yeast part. Will it work? Did I kill it? Will I have a beautiful skyscraper loaf that reaches new heights, or will I bake a brick that can hold up my car while I change a tire? Relax!

Red Star PLATINUM Superior Baking Yeast

Red Star has a new yeast called PLATINUM Superior Baking Yeast that can ease all of your fears. They make baking bread easy, enjoyable and most importantly, reliable. It’s no fun to invest the time in baking bread just to have a big fat fail. You wan that crispy exterior, that rush of yeasty aroma hitting your nose when you tear open a hot loaf, and that tender crumb of a perfectly baked bread.


Red Star’s PLATINUM Superior Yeast is a premium instant yeast blended with dough improvers commonly used by professional bakers that will make your dough so forgiving that you will never be intimidated by yeast again!

• Simple to use.  So forgiving it takes the intimidation out of baking with yeast!
• Strengthens the dough and improves dough tolerance to variations in kneading, rising, and flour quality. 
• Produces consistent baked products home bakers will enjoy.
• Increases the amount of leavening retained in the dough.
• Decreases the risk of the dough collapsing after proofing or during baking.
• Increases oven ‘spring’ and the finished volume of the baked product.
• Works great in any bread recipe, but is particularly effective in producing healthy whole grain and sweet breads that are light, airy, and larger in volume. (How great is that?)

Red Star Premium Superior Baking Yeast has a wonderful video from Gesine Bullock-Prado on You Tube. Have a look to see the yeast in action and hear why it’s so fabulous. And a side note, I don’t know what Gesine put in those rolls, but I want some!

Pumpkin Pie Braid

I put it to the test with this pumpkin pie braid. I read a great tip on the Red Star site for helping your dough to rise:

Microwave Rising

The microwave oven can also be used for the first rising of doughs. Place 1 cup of water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave. Heat on high for 2 minutes. This creates a moist environment to keep the dough soft during rising. Place covered bowl of dough in microwave and close the door.

I can’t believe I’ve never thought of that! It works beautifully. I put the covered bowl in the warmed microwave, and walked away for about 40 minutes. When I returned, I almost had “the dough that ate the microwave.”

The recipe for the actual bread dough can be found here on Red Star’s site. I didn’t make any changes to the dough recipe. It’s a beautiful, egg enriched, tender bread that rolls out like nobody’s business! The pumpkin pie filling is adapted from Pillsbury. Don’t feel limited to pumpkin, use your favorite fillings!

Pumpkin Pie Filling for 2 Bread Braids


This has a deep, dark, not too sweet filling, and it tastes even better on the second day!

1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (this is about a whole can-the 14 oz size)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp chai spice blend (if you don't have this, just use cinnamon)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 egg yolks
1/2-2/3 cup chopped pecans - Optional (See Note)

Whisk all of the ingredients in a bowl and use to fill the breads.

NOTE: I added about 1/2-2/3 cup chopped pecans to the filling after using half of it in the first braid. So I ended up with one with and one without nuts.

You may think that make a bread braid is too hard, but it’s so simple with the correct cuts in the rolled out dough.

*I also did a simple egg wash over my braids before they went in the oven for nice color and shine.


To make the braids, you’re going to divide the dough in half. I like to roll my dough out for braids directly on a sheet of parchment paper, because I find it easier to transfer it to the baking sheet and bake it right on that paper.

Roll one half of the dough to about a 12x17 inch rectangle. Next, using a sharp blade or pizza cutter (which I use), cut strips along the long sides of the rectangle, about 1 inch wide and 2-3 inches long, leaving two flaps at each shorter end of the dough, like this:

Bread Braid Cuts

Fold the two end flaps over the filling, kind of crimping the edges with your fingertips. Now start with the top left strip, folding all the way across the filling, and crimping it down gently. Next do the same to the top right strip, folding it all the way over the filling and pressing it down on the left side. Alternate all the way down, covering the filling up as you go. It should look like this:

Finished Bread Braid
(These are photos from an old post I did for the Daring Bakers, but they give you an idea of what the slits in the dough should look like.) You can see the technique in action here. She starts the actual technique at about 2:15 into the video. I notice she says cut diagonal strips, but she cuts straight ones. Also, I like to have the flaps folded up at the ends to keep the filling from leaking out during baking, but you can get a good idea of the crossing and crimping if you watch this.

Now you can transfer the parchment paper and the braid easily to your baking sheet--just slide it on. Follow last rising and baking directions from the recipe on Red Star’s site. I also added about 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon the icing recipe given there.

Pumpkin Pie Braid


VIP Package Giveaway


Open to residents of the US and Canada!

One of you will receive a VIP Package from Red Star for your very own! It comes in a beautiful black box tied with a silver bow, and includes:

  • Samples of Red Star PLATINUM Superior Baking Yeast so you can see the difference for yourself.
  • A beautiful pinstripe Red Star apron.
  • A Red Star wood cutting/serving board.
  • A reusable grocery bag.
  • Coupons for the yeast.

As a bonus, the winner of this VIP Package will also be entered to win a KitchenAid Mixer!

To enter:

1. Leave a comment here (with a valid email address-which will not be made public) and tell me what you think you’d make first with Red Star PLATINUM Superior Baking Yeast.

Optional entries:

2. Follow Red Star on Facebook. Leave a comment here telling me you did.

3. Follow Red Star on Twitter. Leave a comment here telling me you did. And when you do, you can follow along at #RedStarPLATINUM for all the latest!

4. Tweet about this giveaway, and leave a comment here saying you did.

Pumpkin Pie Braid & a @RedStarYeast VIP pkg giveaway! Plus be entered to win a KitchenAid Mixer.

5. Share this page on Facebook--leave another separate comment.

6. Pin this post, and you guessed it, leave a comment here.

So you have SIX ways to earn entries, and remember, whoever wins this giveaway gets entered in the KitchenAid Mixer giveaway!

I’ll choose a random winner on Thursday, September 27th and email the lucky person. You’ll have 48 hours to respond or I’ll have to choose another winner. Like I said, open to the US and Canada!

Disclaimer: I was sent a VIP package at no cost, and was not paid for my opinions.


Baklava Butter

Baklava Butter

I adore Baklava. I’ve never met one I didn’t like! But as far as making it, I’m not sure I have the patience, with all the layering that needs to be done. And then, after making it, I’d want to eat all of it! It’s so sweet and nutty--completely addicting. How could I turn it away, with all of those nuts, the sweet honey, and the crunchy, paper thin layers of phyllo dough?

I’ve found a way to get all of my favorite things from Baklava, without all of the work. How does it taste? Nutty, crunchy, sweet--but not too sweet, and there’s the telltale signature spice, cinnamon. I don’t see how I can go any amount of time without this in my kitchen.

The other day, while out shopping with Billy, I stopped to check out the cooking mags. I have an addiction, ok? I know, you do, too! The rack was filled with comfort food related issues for slow cookers (of which I don’t have) and casseroles (Billy strongly dislikes casseroles of almost any kind). I saw an issue of Cuisine at Home, which I’ve only ever picked up once or twice. But skimming through it, I saw quite a few promising recipes.

I didn’t even pick the magazine up to read it until a few days later when we got some free time. This recipe for Baklava Butter nearly jumped off the page while screaming my name. It’s true! I went out almost right away and got the nuts to make it.

Speaking of nuts, I know they can be expensive. Trader Joe’s has very reasonable prices on nuts if you’re near one. Whole Foods allows you to buy just the amount you need in the bulk foods aisle. If these aren’t options for you, try your nearest natural foods store. They’ll likely have a bulk food section. If none of these options are going to happen for you, then pick up the nuts you can. I’m sure this spread would be just as fantastic if you can only get one or two types of the nuts.

Don’t even get me started on the health benefits of nuts! By now, you should already know how fabulous they are for you, but if you don’t, check out this site. Every single nut in this recipe is so good for you! And it’s sweetened only with honey. Best part? You don’t have to mess around with blanching and skinning the nuts. Plus, it’s a no bake, quickie snack. So make some!

Baklava Butter

Baklava Butter

Makes just over 2 cups.
Adapted from Cuisine at Home.

1 cup almonds
2/3 cup walnuts
2/3 cup cashews
2/3 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 cup honey (Use organic! Cheap honey is full of nasty hidden chemicals and HFCS.)
1/2 cup water
Couple pinches kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Pulse all of the ingredients in a food processor about 20-30 times. you still want to have some of the nutty texture, so don't overdo it.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Note: All of the nuts I used were roasted, not raw. You can certainly use raw if you'd like, and combined with honey, can be a raw spread for you to enjoy! If any of the nuts are salted, taste for seasoning before you add some salt.

So simple!

  • Serve this with your favorite bread, bagel, roll, etc.
  • Billy chose to swirl some into some Greek yogurt and said it was amazing. A must try!

Baklava Butter


Halloween Charred Roaches (or Cocoa Spiced Nuts)

Halloween Charred Roaches (or Cocoa Spiced Nuts)

Yeah, that’s right. Freak out your guests and serve them charred roaches! They’ll quickly figure out that they’re really just pecans roasted with super dark cocoa and some warm fall spices.

Don’t say that! It’s Halloween party food! It’s supposed to taste good, but have a gross name, ok? Admittedly, these could probably have used a couple less minutes in the oven. They’re not burned, though--just super crunchy. Like cockroaches. Mwahahaha!! Cockroaches covered in cocoa and tasty spices!

Super easy to make, and if you don’t have the Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, don’t sweat it--use what you’ve got. I wanted the flavors of cinnamon, cumin and cocoa in these, plus a little warming cayenne and some classic fall spices in the form of pumpkin pie spice.

Make some today for munchies, and serve at your Halloween party!

Halloween Charred Roaches (or Cocoa Spiced Nuts)

Makes 3 cups of crunchy roaches.

3 cups pecan halves
1 egg white
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa (or whatever cocoa you've got)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
couple pinches of cayenne (or more if you like your roaches spicy)
1/8 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg white and the water until frothy. Stir in the pecans and toss to coat well.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle it all over the nuts and stir, coating them completely.

Spread the nuts on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for oh, 25-30 minutes, stirring at the 10 and 20 minute marks. I did mine for the full 30, but if you don't want them as crunchy, check after 25 minutes and see how they're doing.

Cool on the baking sheet and store in an airtight container.


I think we have an escapee…

Halloween Charred Roaches (or Cocoa Spiced Nuts)

Halloween Charred Roaches (or Cocoa Spiced Nuts)

Halloween Charred Roaches (or Cocoa Spiced Nuts)

Halloween Charred Roaches (or Cocoa Spiced Nuts)


Worm Covered Rotten Apple Bars 


Sounds so good, right?  Hell, no!  But since there aren’t any real worms, and the apples aren’t really rotten, yes--these are a mouthwatering snack!  Plus, if you’re severely lacking in pie-making skills, like I am, then these will be perfect for you!

This is a Pillsbury recipe that I changed up a bit.  They use canned pie filling, I made my own, based on this recipe at Allrecipes.  It’s so easy to, and you know what’s in it--no mystery ingredients.  The one concession I did make, was to use a refrigerated pie crust. 


I know!!!  Don’t hate me!  I just suck at making crust.  I was also in a hurry.  I have made crust before, but it never works out right.  Ever.   At least I’m not telling you I make crust when I really don’t, right? ;)

This has a nice base crust, made of brown sugar, flour, and butter.  I also added some cinnamon.  Because I like it cinnamony.  An easy, spicy apple pie filling, topped with pie crust, cut in strips and tossed with cinnamon sugar. 

The Lazy Girl's Apple Pie!  Yep, that’s me.  I like pie, but I like easy pie.

This is for the #GreatHallowTweet on Twitter, started by Renee at Flamingo Musings.  See that Pumpkin widget in my sidebar?  Those are all of the participating blogs, so please check out the other participants, too.  We’ll be doing this all week, leading up to Halloween!


Wormy Apple Bars


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp cinnamon


8 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used Macouns)
2/3  cup sugar
1/3  cup all-purpose flour
1  TBSP ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
18 tsp nutmeg


1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 box (15 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts

Heat oven to 425°F (400°F for dark or nonstick pan).
In large bowl, beat flour, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  It will be crumbly.
Press mixture in the bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch pan.

Combine the dry ingredients for the filling in a bowl. Just before you're ready to cover the crust with it the filling, toss the apples with the dry stuff--coat them well.
Carefully spread the filling over the crust.
Bake 10 minutes.

While that bakes, in large bowl, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
Cut 1 cold unrolled crust lengthwise in half (keep remaining crust refrigerated).
Cut into 1/4-inch slices. Repeat with remaining crust.
Separate pieces, and toss with sugar mixture.
After the 10 minutes, sprinkle cut-up crust mixture evenly over filling.
Bake 18 to 22 minutes more, or until crust is golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
For bars, cut into 4 rows by 3 rows. Cover and refrigerate any remaining bars.


See?  Easy, right?  And they taste great!  Lots of cinnamon, sweet apples, and the “worms” on top get all crispy and crunchy.  

Be sure to check back throughout the week for more Halloween recipes, and please check out my friend’s blogs, too!