January 2016 - Buttered Side Up

Maple Candied Pecans

Maple Candied Pecans
Some of my favorite snacks are a combo of sweet and salty. You don't have to choose between the two. And because your palate doesn't get overwhelmed by either flavor, you can eat more at a time. Which could be a bad thing, I guess...

Maple Candied Pecans
Candied pecans are ridiculously easy to make on the stove. All you need to do is get your pecans a bit toasty, add butter and maple syrup, and wham: you've got candied pecans. 

Maple Candied Pecans
These are wonderful for just popping into your mouth. Or you can add them to a salad to make it more fancy. Or top a cake or brownies with them. Or eat with vanilla ice cream. Mmhmm.

Maple Candied Pecans
recipe by Erica Kastner | makes 2 cups | PRINT


  • 2 cups pecan halves (can use pieces as well)
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • salt to taste


Preheat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat (if you don't have a 12-inch skillet, you can make half a batch and cook in a smaller skillet). Add the pecans and cook until they begin to get toasty, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even toasting. 

Add the butter and allow to melt. Stir to coat the pecans. Add the maple syrup, stir, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook until caramelized, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt. 

Remove pecans to a plate to cool. They will crisp up as they cool. Taste and add more salt if necessary. 

Store in an air-tight container for a few days, or longer in the refrigerator or freezer. 

Birthday + Thrive Market Haul

NOTE: Some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own.
Birthday + Thrive Haul
Before Christmas, I decided to make a purchase from Thrive. I stocked up on some basics, and bought a few Christmas presents as well. Here's what I got!

Dark Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Bars: This is the smoothest organic chocolate bar I've ever had.
Taza Sea Salt & Almond Stone Ground Chocolate: I like the grainy texture of these bars.
Chocolove Almond & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate: One of my favorite chocolate bars of all time.
Lulu's Maca Buttercups: The sprouted almond butter was what drew me to these. I haven't tried them since they were a gift.
Newman's Own Oranic Wintergreen Mints: I've also never tried these - another gift.

Birthday + Thrive Haul
Boomchickapop Lightly Sweet Popcorn: This is basically like kettle corn. A bit addicting. This was a gift.
Jackson's Honest Organic Potato Chips: I like these for Helen since they're organic and made with healthy coconut oil.

Birthday + Thrive Haul
Krave Pork Jerky, Black Cherry Barbecue: Also don't know what I think about this one, because it was gift for my dad.

Birthday + Thrive Haul
Sea Snax Original: I was stocking up on these for Helen, but I think I should have bought more: we only have a few packages left!

Birthday + Thrive Haul
Unbleached Parchment Paper: I just love this stuff.
Sky Valley Sriracha Sauce: I'm still making my decision on this stuff. It's good hot sauce, but not sure if I like the flavor as well as the generic sriracha brand. 
Real Salt: Just stocking up.

Birthday + Thrive Haul
Spry Gum: My favorite "natural" chewing gum.
Nutiva Red Palm Oil: We LOVE red palm oil for making popcorn.
Justin's Classic Peanut Butter: I like this because it's smoother than most natural peanut butters, but it isn't sweet. 

Birthday + Thrive Haul
Acure Repairing Conditioner: I really like the almond scent that this has.
Dr. Bronner's Baby Castile Soap: I wanted a mild, organic soap for when the new baby arrives.
Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray: Moms will know what this stuff is. And that's all I have to say about that.
Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm: I had almost run out of diaper cream for Helen, so I wanted to stock up for when baby comes.

And that's everything I got from Thrive Market!

Birthday + Thrive Haul
Last Sunday (January 17) was my birthday! I turned 26 years old. 

Here are some food-related items I got from my family:

Chuao Honeycomb Chocolate Bar: I haven't tried this yet, but I'm sure it's super yummy.
Chuao Potato Chip Chocolate Bar: Now this is really yummy. Love the crunchy bits of potato chip.
Bamboo Salt Box: I've been wanting one of these for a while!
Bamboo Knife + Spoon: I'm a sucker for wooden utensils. These will be great for food photography!
KitchenAid Stick Blender: Another item I've been wanting for a long time. Can't wait to use it!

So that's my Birthday + Thrive Market Haul!

If you'd like, tell me in the comments how old you're turning on your birthday!

Meanwhile on The Pioneer Woman's Blog...

Blog Posts for Pioneer Woman

I have been SO busy over the holidays that I haven't even had time to share the posts that I've done for Pioneer Woman recently.

Let's get up to date!

How To Make Hashbrowns 26


It's a livin' shame when hashbrowns turn out mushy or undercooked. In this tutorial, I show you how to get crispy hashbrowns every time.

Apple Cheddar Scones 22


I love the combination of apples and cheese. These scones are so soft and slightly savory. Go make you some.

Ugh, I love mashed potatoes. In this post I show you 5 ways you can take them to the next level.

Pear Upside Down Cake 32


Mmmm...this cake was scrumptious. Reuben liked the caramely bits at the edge...

Pomegranates 101 05


In this post I show 2 methods for deseeding a pomegranate, plus I share tips for selecting, storage, etc.

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 21


I made this layer cake for my nephew's birthday. It's intense and rich.

3 Ways to Slice a Grapefruit


Grapefruit is kind of a big deal for me. I adore it during the winter months. In this post I show you 3 different ways you can slice a grapefruit, plus I let you now which way is my personal favorite.

So that's what I've been up to on Pioneer Woman's blog lately.

If you'd like to know when my posts on Pioneer Woman go live sooner, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Now excuse me while I prepare for my little sister's wedding...

Lemon Crepes with Whipped Ricotta

Lemon Crepes with Whipped Ricotta - Buttered Side Up
Lemon Crepes with Whipped Ricotta - Buttered Side Up
Lemon Crepes with Whipped Ricotta - Buttered Side Up
For some reason I've come to associate lemons with the start of January. They're tangy and fresh, kind of like the beginning of the year. You get a crisp, clean start.

I haven't made any huge goals for this year yet. I'll be giving birth in February, so I kind of feel like that will be a new start. One of my main goals will be to stay healthy for a quicker postpartum recovery. 

But I ramble.

About these crepes.

I love the bright flavor that the lemon brings to them. The whipped ricotta adds a rich element, and the graininess of the cheese adds an interesting texture.

I think these would be wonderful served at a brunch. They're also a really amazing snack. Or dessert.

Note: I really liked the whipped ricotta, and actually used it as a filling instead of a topping. If you plan on doing that, you should definitely double the whipped ricotta ingredients. 

Also, this recipe may seem long, but these crepes are actually quite easy to make - it just takes a lot of words to describe the process. 

What are your plans/goals for the new year? 

Lemon Crepes with Whipped Ricotta
adapted slightly from Blogging Over Thyme | makes 10-12 crepes, or about 2-3 servings | PRINT


For the crepe batter:
  • 1/3 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • pinch of real salt
  • 1 teaspoon organic lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon butter, melted, plus extra for frying the crepes

For the whipped ricotta topping:
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • zest of 1 organic lemon
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

  • Lemon zest, juice, wedges, and powdered sugar, for topping


For the crepe batter:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and lemon zest. Whisk in the eggs + yolk until smooth. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking, until well mixed. Whisk in the melted butter. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 48 hours.

For the whipped ricotta topping:

Whisk together the ricotta, powdered sugar, and lemon juice + zest until smooth. In a medium bowl, whip the cream until medium peaks form. Gently fold into the other ingredients. 

To fry the crepes:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 C). 

Take the batter out of the fridge and give it a whisk.

Heat an 8-inch cast iron skillet or crepe pan over medium-low heat. Add a dab of butter. Once it melts, pour in a small amount of the crepe batter; a small ladle works well for this. Tilt the pan so the batter evenly covers the entire bottom of the pan. Cook just until the crepe begins to get some color, about 1-3 minutes. Use an offset spatula to loosen the edges of the crepe, lift it, and use your hands to flip. Cook until second side begins to get golden, about a minute.

Transfer crepe to an oven-safe plate and place in preheated oven, covering with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining batter. 

To assemble:

Give each crepe a generous dusting of powdered sugar and a sprinkling of lemon juice. Roll it up and serve with the whipped ricotta on top, or spread the whipped ricotta on each crepe before rolling. Serve with an extra dusting of powdered sugar and some lemon zest. Garnish with lemon wedges if desired. 

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