Sunday, December 19, 2010

Barbeque Chicken (Over Garlic Potatoes)

Hands down and without any doubt in my mind the BEST barbeque chicken I have ever had!!!
When one is "laid up" after surgery, easy meals are a MUST. Like...vital to life. Which is why this was made tonight. Easy enough that even a guy can make it! Yes, Craig did the hard work part. =)

As always, the crock pot is my default. If I can use it, I do. Or, in this case, if Craig can use it...etc. I'm sure you could do this in the oven...just cook until the chicken is done. It can be served over anything. Rice, potatoes, hamburger buns, as a cold sandwich, plain right out of the pot... And guess what. BOTH of my kids pounded a whole plate full. Good and good for you. Double score!

Barbeque Chicken

4 chicken breast
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 red onion, minced finely (or puree'd beyond recognition as we do it in this house)
1 bottle honey barbeque sauce
1 cup Italian dressing
1/2 cup brown sugar (Or maple syrup in my house)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce

Place chicken in crock pot. Combine all the other ingredients and slather/dump all over chicken. Cook on high until done. I think it took like 3 hours? Shred chicken and return to pot of sauce. Heat through again and serve! Garnish with green onions. Although this step is usually an optional one in recipes, I think it should be mandatory. I love green onions!

For my mashed potatoes I usually do 1 clove minced garlic per 4 medium potatoes. After they are cooked, of course! So boil, drain, and add butter, garlic, pepper, a dash of salt, and a dash of cream or half and half. Best whipped potatoes ever!!

So anyways, make this sometime!! We have enough leftovers to make one more this served a family of four..unless you count that Avoni alone eats enough to feed three people.. =)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Baking

When Christmas rolls around, I ditch all signs of healthy food and break out the corn syrup, refined sugar, and white, processed flour. Well, except for this year..I did use unbleached. =D I only bake these items once a year, so I don't even care about the health factor! Sorry. 
Granted, this is only a tiny portion of what I usually make, but Vienna is complicating matters just slightly. So, I'll just make these and call it good! 
If you've never had home made marshmallows, this is the year to change that. I've been making these for so many years, I can't even count. It's been Christmas tradition for ever! Make these up with a large mug of fresh made hot chocolate and trust bought won't even ever appeal to you!

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon vanilla

Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in a large bowl and let sit. Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan on medium-high and cook until it reaches a temp of 240 or soft ball stage. Slowly add syrup to gelatin while beating with a hand mixer. Once all the syrup is incorporated, add vanilla. Beat on high for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture becomes too stiff for your beaters. Dump onto a cookie sheet that has been generously coated in powdered sugar. Allow to sit 12-24 hours before cutting. 

 Don't forget to use the scraps ;-) We don't waste one bit of these things~

Another Christmas must is home made caramels. My mom is famous for her caramel recipe. Everyone that has them declares them the best and I can't help but agree. Try them out and see for yourself!!


4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup butter
4 cups half and half

Heat all the ingredients in a large pot to boil minus 2 cups of the half and half. Once boiling, add remaining half and half. Cook until semi-firm/ pliable ball stage. Pour into a buttered pan. Cool, cut, and wrap. 

Gingersnaps are a holiday must. They really are! One way to make them lovely, is to dip them in white chocolate. This recipe is from a friend, Melisa S. I have to say, they're among the best gingersnaps I've ever had!


2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
4 tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tsp salt
additional sugar for rolling in

Combine sugar and oil and mix well. Add eggs, beating well after adding. Stir in molasses. Add dry ingredients slowly and mix to combine. Shape into 3/4 inch balls and roll in sugar. Bake on 350 for 10-12 minutes on a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Cool and dip in melted white chocolate.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oat Cookies

I can't eat normal food anymore. Vienna is getting way too big, and my torso is way too short. At all times, she is in my ribs, hips, sides, and sticking out 5 feet (or so it seems). So, eating is nigh onto impossible. Have you seen diagrams of how babies re-arrange your insides?! Yeah. There are reasons why the ribs expand. 
But, obviously, one needs to eat somewhat, right? 
That's why I made these cookies. They got everything in them for a healthy breakfast that takes up almost zero room in the stomach. Yeah! So cool. 
They're amazing frozen with peanut butter and a huge mug of cinnamon tea.
I can enjoy breakfast once again. =)

Oat Cookies
1 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
3/4 cups honey
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins (I use golden..not much into the other kind)
2 cups oats
2 cups flour (I use soft white wheat berries, ground)
1/4 cup each flax meal, oat bran, cracked wheat (all optional)

Mix all wet ingredients well. Stir in dry ingredients. Drop by rounded tablespoons on parchment lined cookie sheets. Of course you don't have to use parchment, but seriously, it's the best mess free way to make cookies! I love parchment paper.
Bake on 350 for 15-17 minutes.
Enjoy! I sure did. And so did Craig. And the kids. Half a batch is already gone! And I made them, like, a half hour ago. We got bottomless pits over here!
P.s. These equal to right around 100 calories a piece. Not...bad...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Decor!

Really, what could be funner then making decor for Christmas?! This year, my kids are actually old enough to have FUN with! And wow, we are having FUN!! Here are a few ideas!

Play Dough Ornaments

2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar

Mix all of the ingredients together, and stir over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes.

When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, remove the pan from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle. If your dough is still sticky, continue heating in pan.

Knead dough smooth and begin making cutouts!

Bake on 200 for about an hour or until hard. Decorate and hang!!

Avoni rolling out the dough
 Big Brother Aerro helping out
 They, uhm, did such a *good* job! haha
 I used a straw to make the hole before baking
 We used Mod Podge and glitter to decorate.

 Advent Calendar

I remember as a kid loving to make the paper chains for countdown to Christmas. Today, we made this version!! Pretty much there aren't any directions. Just cut out strips of construction paper, and form the loops by using tape or a stapler. Rip off one link per day until Christmas! Aerro is SO excited about this!!
25 strips of paper!
 And our Advent Calendar!

Wooden Letter Blocks

Pretty much all you need is a 2 by 4 cut into squares, a sander for making the edges smooth, paint to paint the blocks, mod podge to adhering paper, and all your paper crafting add ons! These were a blast to assemble. I got the cardboard letters from a local craft store. Try making some! 

These made great Christmas gifts to the mothers. Beings we will be missing Christmas with the families, I gave them at Thanksgiving so they could add them to their standard decor. My mother in law tends to use more sparkly silver stuff, and my mom is maroon and gold all the way. They matched the existing decor perfectly!!

  Happy Crafting!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wild Rice Soup

When down for Thanksgiving, my Mother in Law made us the best wild rice soup! She gave me the base recipe, which even she confessed she never follows. =) So, here is the base recipe, with all of my changes in parenthesis. Both my kids devoured this stuff at Grandma's, and then once again today at dinner time. Actually, they had it for lunch and dinner today! It's that good!

Wild Rice Soup

1 cup milk
4 cups prepared rice (I used organic wild rice blend)
4 1/2 cups water (I used half organic chicken stock)
1 lb sausage (I used organic Italian)
4 cups half and half
2 cans cream soup ( I used 3 cups of my Potato Chowder)
1 lb Velveeta (I used shredded sharp cheddar)
1 lb bacon or ham (We love ham)

Mix all ingredients in a large pot and heat till simmering.

That's pretty much it!! Super easy, super good. We will be eating these leftovers with pleasure!

Monday, November 8, 2010

World's Best Carrot Cake

 So I came across this recipe from my dear friend Glenda. She called it "World's Best Carrot Cake (In my humble opinion)". Well, when I see something titled "the best" or "world's best" or "most amazing" I really have to try it to see if these people know just what they're talking about. ;-)
Glenda, please, there is no need for all this "humble opinion" stuff. This cake is AMAZING! Nice and hearty, I know it's going to be my breakfast until the pan runs out. Which means I'll get it like, once, if I'm lucky....Craig's in love with the stuff!! I whipped some cream that had a dab of vanilla and cinnamon in it for the topping. Super delicious!!

World's Best Carrot Cake (In Glenda's humble opinion)
1 1/2 cups oil (I did part applesauce and coconut oil)
3 eggs
1 cup crushed pineapple
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups sweetener (I used 1 cup honey)
2 cups flour (I used soft white wheat berries, ground)
2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients until well combined. Pour into greased and floured 9 by 13 pan. Bake on 350 for 40-50 minutes or until a knife put in center comes out clean.

The best part? My kids don't even know they're eating a vegetable when they eat this cake!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

If my mom ever made us beef enchiladas, they never made that much an impression on me that I remembered. What I do remember, though, is these ones. Chicken Enchiladas. I used to make these all the time when we first got married. One of Craig's favorite meals! Then, I kind of forgot about the recipe. Until tonight, that is. I doubled the batch because these freeze so well!

Chicken Enchiladas
2 tablespoons oil ( I use coconut or olive)
1 onion, chopped super fine
1 can diced green chili peppers OR 2 green chili peppers, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
8oz cream cheese
2 cups colby jack or monterey cheese, shredded
3/4 cup cream
12 tortillas

Saute the onion, chili peppers, and garlic in oil until soft. Add chicken and cream cheese. Warm until you can combine everything well. Put 1/3 cup of chicken on each tortilla and spread thin. Roll and place seam side down in lightly greased 9 by 13 (you may need to use two pans). Drizzle rolled tortillas with the cream and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake on 350 for 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and sides begin to bubble.
I like mine with blue corn tortilla chips and salsa.

Cheese Shells

Once or twice a year, I light the candles, bust out the pretty dishes, and make cheese shells. Usually, it's for a special occasion. The other night, it was just for fun. With so much amazing flavor, these shells are sure to go fast! Easier then manicotti, cooler then lasagna, you can't go wrong!  *p.s. this is just my personal opinion*

Cheese Shells
2 cups ricotta
2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup mozzarella
6 slices provoline, cut into tiny squares
1/2 cup parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten *please don't forget this part!*
2 cups chopped spinach
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper (I always end up adding more)
1 box large pasta shells
3 cups red sauce (spaghetti, tomato, or pizza)

Cook shells as package says. Drain and soak in cool water. Mix all of the other ingredients (minus spaghetti sauce) in a big bowl. Stuff shells and line up in lightly greased 9 by 13 pan. Pour red sauce on top. Bake, covered on 350 for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes. 

I double this recipe so there are plenty of leftovers to freeze in individual portions. Craig claims this stuff is the best a day or two old. You absolutely must serve this with french or dipping bread (The Rosemary Foccacia is a good bread!) and a Caesar salad.

Pan Nachos/Salsa/Guacamole

Some days, life calls for a super quick, easy, basic ingredient dinner. Well, the other night, that was pan nachos. Now, there's no real recipe for pan nachos. You put what ever you want on them. But all nachos need a few basic ingredients. Chips, cheese, black beans, and seasoned hamburger. I really hate store bought seasoning, so here's the stuff I use...this is for 1 lb browned burger.

Taco Seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper

Brown your beef, drain fat (if there is any), and add the seasoning. Now your meat is ready!

If you have black beans on hand, great! I had some in the fridge left over from burritos. Use about 1 cup of those.

Layer chips, cheese, beef, and beans on a pan. Top with all the veggies you want like green peppers, olives, tomatoes, etc.

Bake on 350 until the cheese bubbles.

I like mine with gallons of lettuce, guacamole, salsa, and a dab of sour cream. Yummy!

Oh, and do you want the best guacamole recipe ever? It's by a lady named Edith. It never lasts more than a meal or two in this house!

3 avocados
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, minced
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1/2 roma tomato, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together and let sit so the flavors can meld.

I bet you want some amazing salsa, too...Well, my mom claims the top recipe for that! I can it in giant batches. That's not an exaggeration, either!You can make this in a much smaller batch adn jsut have it in your fridge, though, too!

Janine's Salsa

12 tomatoes
2 green peppers
2 jalapenos (or more...)
1/2 bundle cilantro
2 onions
4 long banana peppers (I use hungarian wax)
Chop up all these ingredients and pour into pot. Add
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/4 tablespoon sugar
1-2 cans tomato paste

Simmer for a half hour. That's it!
And oh, how delicious!! Be sure to have a bag of chips on hand when you make this. You need to *uhm* test *ehem* it as it cooks to, well, you know...add more stuff...or not.. =)

Fresh out of the oven!
 All done up yummy. I like lotsa lettuce and guac.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cream Cheese

I like cream cheese. Do you?
I don't like you??

In my quest to home make all things store bought, my next task was cream cheese. I knew I had Pumpkin Cheesecake on the menu, so how cool to make the cream cheese I'd be using?? It has a bit more tang then commercial cream cheese but that's because I used beautiful, raw, organic milk. It makes a difference!

Cream Cheese

Start by making my fresh, crock pot yogurt.
The morning you wake up to fresh yogurt is the morning you begin.
Get a clean cloth. You can use a pillowcase, cheesecloth, floursack towel, or my personal favorite, a Gerber Birdseye Flat cloth diaper. Those things..I tell you what...waste of money if you're cloth diapering! They hold zero liquid..making them perfect for cream cheese making!! 
Anyways, dump all the yogurt into the center of your cloth. Bring all the ends up together and secure. (I used rubber bands.) Hang with a bowl underneath to catch the whey. ( I hung mine on my cupboard handle) Let hang until dripping ceases completely. I started mine one morning, and by the next morning, the cream cheese was beautifully thick! That's it, folks! Cream cheese. The easy way. =)
Look how cool I rigged my "hanging" part...haha. =D It worked!!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Chocolate Drizzle

I think mini things are just way cooler then full size. Really, tiny mice are so much cuter then huge ones. And small traffic tickets are much more appealing then large ones. Well, the same goes for cheesecakes. They're way too adorable when they're tiny! See?

So anyways, in making tiny things, here are some mini pumpkin cheesecakes. =) I started with my pie crust. Roll it out and use a biscuit cutter to make little circles. Press into greased mini muffin tins and make pumpkin cheesecake as follows

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

4 oz cream cheese (home-made recipe to follow!)
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Fill each mini tin with 1 tablespoon mixture. Bake on 350 for about 12-15 minutes or until center comes out clean. Cool completely. Proceed to Chocolate Sauce Recipe for drizzle

1/2 cup dutched cocoa powder
1/2 cup rapadura or sucanat sugar
1 cup coconut oil
1 T. vanilla

Place everything in a quart mason canning jar. Put a medium size pot, half full of water, to simmer on stove. Place canning jar in water and warm slowly, stirring occasionally. The chocolate is done when the sugar is dissolved. Pour onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm. Break into pieces and use however! I melted the chocolate and drizzled the cheesecake with it. It firmed back up in about 10 minutes!

Now. Wanna learn what rapadura and sucanat sugar is? 

Rapadura is dried sugar cane juice. It is completely unrefined and can be purchased organic!  

Sucanat is unrefined cane sugar that retains its molasses content. It is used in place of brown sugar. Most commercial brown sugar is simply refined white sugar with molasses added. Sucanat is the real deal.
So there you have it. My two new favorite additions to my pantry. 

You really can taste the difference between commercial and natural once you start switching over!!

Healthy Pie Crust! (And Pumpkin Pie)

Did you know...that Crisco is so not good for you?
No lie. It's actually kinda bad for you. Kinda...times a few. 
But really, what makes such a divine pie crust? An easy to roll out, never fail crust?
In my books, that's Crisco. 
Well, time to re-write my books..because....

I got an awesome, healthy, Crisco free pie crust..that rolls out like a dream come true!
Let me start by telling you about Palm Shortening. If you already knew about it, shame on you for not telling me!! My life would have been so much better if you would have shared that info..! Anyway, in case you don't know what it is, here are a few little facts.

  • It does not require hydrogenation, therefore, it contains no trans fatty acid
  • The oil palm is native to West Africa
  • Palm shortening is palm oil that has some of its unsaturated fats removed, giving it a very firm texture, and high melting point
  • It is colorless and odorless, and will not affect the taste of foods
  • It can be used to replace margarine or Crisco in cooking with no adverse reactions
Guess what else. It makes perfect pie crust. And I love it. 

Another cool fact. Hard red wheat berries are beautiful in breads and stuff...but if you want to grind your own flour for pastry type food? Use soft white wheat berries. It grinds just like the red..but has a lighter color and softer texture (and is still super good for you)! Another must for beautiful pie crust.

So those were the really sweet things I learned today. And now, here are some cool recipes.

Wheat Pie Crust
1 1/4 cups fresh ground soft white wheat berry flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup palm shortening
4-5 tablespoons water

Place flour, salt and shortening in blender. Blend until shortening is cut throughout the flour and the mixture resembles crumbs. Add water until your dough will form a nice ball. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or so before rolling out. Too warm and it's way soft, I found...

Makes 1 9inch pie crust

Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 egg
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup maple syrup, pure
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (did you know you can make this stuff? details later!)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves

Mix everything in a bowl until well combined. Pour into pie shell. Bake 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and bake on 325 until a knife poked into the center comes out clean. Start checking after about 45-50 minutes. Cool completely and refrigerate before serving.

Imagine that. Pumpkin pie with no preservatives or refined sugar!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Aerro is a hot dog freak. He would eat them every single day if I let him, which I don't, but yeah! He loves them.
Sometimes, it's nice to mix things up. Who likes corn dogs? *raises hands* Who likes fatty, fried foods? *lowers hand*
So why not make corn dogs, but in a non fried way??
Introducing...the corn dog muffin. It's corn bread...made with whole grain flour..with cheese in it..and little squares of hot dog. So anyways, don't bother putting these in muffin liners. The ones made without were way better =). So cool!!

Corndog Muffins
1 cup corn meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup shredded cheddar
4 hot dogs, halved, quartered, and cubed

Mix everything in a large bowl until just combined. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake on 400 for 20 minutes. Cool and serve with ketchup, of course!

Pumpkin Pancakes

In keeping with my pumpkin theme, here are some pumpkin pancakes! Did you know that if you soak your whole grain flour overnight in buttermilk, it makes it easier to digest and you get more nutrients out of it? The cultured buttermilk (or milk with lemon juice if you don't have buttermilk on hand) breaks down the outer layer of the grain and exposes the inner goodness! How cool is that, anyway??

For pancakes/ waffles : Stir the whole wheat flour and the buttermilk together, cover it with a cloth and let it sit overnight.  The next day, I add the remaining ingredients and cook the pancakes or waffles.

For muffins/ quick breads :  Mix the flour with the butter (melted and cooled) or oil that the recipe calls for and add enough buttermilk to make it “soakable”.  Let it sit overnight, then mix in the remaining ingredients.
*I learned this from Heavenly Homemakers*

It's really not that much more work at all, and if you do baking in the morning like I do, it's super easy to mix up this part before one goes to bed. Let soak at least 7 hours before using.

So, onto the pumpkin pancakes! Aerro was in charge of potions this morning, and when he's using utensils, he only gets small ones. That way if there are spills, they're pretty minimal! Mini pumpkin pancakes!
Note: There is no sugar in this recipe!

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp flaxmeal
2 tsp oatbran
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. ginger
1 egg
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 T. coconut oil, melted

Soak flour, flaxmeal, oatbran, and buttermilk overnight. In the morning, whisk all the remaining ingredients into the flour mixture. Pour out onto lightly greased skillet. When bubbles begin to form, turn pancakes. Cook until golden.

These were so perfect with almond butter and maple syrup!!

A giant stack of mini pancakes!

Of course, little boys only get little stacks of pancakes, though.  =)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Bagels (With Maple Cream Cheese)

I've never made a bagel before. Have you?
But of course, why not try?! They can't be that complicated, right? And if I can make them, I can control the ingredients!

These are, absolutely hands down, my favorite bagel in the world right about now..! That is, of course, until I make different varieties! =)

Seriously, though..! I made 9 of these, right? Craig came home from work. Bianca came back from the store. I have 2 left. No lie. So, another batch is raising..they're that easy! And that good!

Make them. You won't regret it. I think...

Pumpkin Spice Bagels

2 1/4 tsp yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup organic brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I use Saigon cinnamon)
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

Sprinkle yeast over warm water and allow to sit 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin, sugar, salt, and all spices. Stir in enough flour to form soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. (When using whole wheat flour, i notice that you may need to add a bit of water to this step to make it elastic and smooth). Place in oiled bowl, cover, and let raise 1 hour.

Turn out onto oiled surface and divide into 9 smooth balls. Poke a hole in the middle of the ball with your finger and begin forming bagel shape until center hole is about 1 inch big. Do this with all the balls and then cover and let rest ten minutes.

Boil, 3 at a time, in a large pot for 45 seconds each side. Remove with slotted spoon and drain well on a cooling rack. Place on a greased pan that has been coated with corn meal. Brush with egg white mixed with the 1 tbsp water. Bake on 400 for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

I blended 8oz cream cheese with 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup for the cream cheese topping.

My goodness, it's so much fun trying new recipes and finding out they're divine! Makes me smile inside, really.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins (with pumpkin- apple butter)

Obviously, I have a surplus of pumpkin, so it's on to finding my new favorite pumpkin recipes!
Muffins are the easiest of all things to make, I've decided. One, maybe two bowls, a spatula, and you're set!
Not terribly rich, these muffins are a perfect breakfast or snack! I topped them with just a bit of pumpkin-apple butter. Loves..!!

Pumpkin Muffins
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sweetener (I used part maple syrup, raw agave, and evaporated cane juice)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp salt
2 tablespoons flax(optional)
1 tablespoon oat bran(optional)
2 eggs
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
3 tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl and all wet in another. Fold together the wet and dry until combined, taking caution to not over mix. Fill greased or lined muffin tins 2/3rds full. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes or until the center comes out clean.


Recipe for Pumpkin Apple Butter here.

How to do a Pumpkin

Our garden gave us around 30 pumpkins this year. They were supposed to be cute, little pumpkins. The problem with growing non-hybrid is that usually it's not so cute and normal sized. It's gigantic. Growing stuff, if it was usually 12 inches high, in our garden, it was 4 feet. The corn? 15 feet tall. The dill? 4 feet tall. Zucchini? Around 8 cups pureed per zuc. Well, same with these pumpkins. Needless to say, we have alot..of..pumpkin to puree!!
Here's a photographic journey into my fun of preserving pumpkins!

First, wash and halve pumpkin.

Scrape out the fibers until clean.
Don't forget to save the seeds! 
Cut into 1 inch size slices
 Cut off outer peeling
Cube and cover with water. Boil until soft.
Then puree the well drained, tender pumpkin!

I freeze mine in 4 cup portion sizes. Now onto making healthy, delicious pumpkin recipes!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Apple Crisp

I had the challenge before me. Make apple crisp..with no refined sugar. At all.
So. I started with 6 apples, some agave, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
Here's what I came up with! I was a little scared to actually eat worked!
Craig will be so happy.

Sugarless Apple Crisp
6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3 tbsp raw agave
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 cup oats
1/3 cup flour
maple syrup + melted coconut oil

Toss apples with agave, cinnamon, and nutmeg. If you want it sweeter, add more agave. Let sit until juices form.  (I made a huge bowl of this the night before, let it sit on my porch overnight, and by morning, it was faily dripping in juices! I did sprinkle with lemon juice, too.)
Place in 8 by 8 square pan lightly sprayed with olive oil.
Combine oats + flour in a small bowl. Use equal parts maple syrup and coconut oil until a crumble forms. I used about 3 tablespoons each. (This is usually where people add some brown sugar..if you're not anti-sugar, add 1/3 cup) Sprinkle on top of apples. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes or until browned and apples are soft.

Yes, I know, my recipes aren't very technical but that's mostly because I just toss, add, sprinkle, etc until it "looks right". =)
p.s. even my anti-healthy sister loves this stuff!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Orange Bread

In my quest to make all kinds of bread, I knew a swirled bread had to be next. I have fabulous memories of fall and winter-time, eating cinnamon swirl bread with eggnog for breakfast. It was tradition in our house! But could I make a swirled bread?? 
My first attempt didn't work so well. I took the loaf out of the pan too early and it flopped. But, not to be dissuaded, I tried again. (By the way, I cut up the flopped loaf, dried it in cubes, and lets just say I'll be posting a recipe for bread pudding real soon!!)
This time, it turned out perfect!! Woohoo for success!!!

The orange in this bread gives it such a nice....zing. I like the word zing when associated with citrus. It just fits. =)

Cinnamon Orange Bread
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
3/4 cups orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 tablespoon fresh grated orange peel
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 1/4 cups flour (at least half whole wheat)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
2 tsp cinnamon (Saigon Cinnamon is the best!!!)
2 tsp butter

1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp orange juice
1/2 tsp orange peel, grated fresh

 Dissolve yeast in water. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, orange juice, sugar, shortening, peel and salt. Add 2 cups flour, yeast mixture and egg; mix well. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.
Punch dough down and divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into rectangle. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over rectangle that has been spread lightly with butter. Roll up and seal edges. Place with sealed edge down in two greased 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise about 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in pans. Combine glaze ingredients; spread over loaves.
Photos =)

The Final Product!! So beautiful~

I can't wait to make this into french toast tomorrow! If it's delicious fresh and divine toasted, can you imagine what it'll be like as french toast? I believe I'll be making an orange syrup tomorrow morning to top it off..!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Healthy Cupcakes!

Did you know it was possible to have a healthy cupcake?!
It's true! And they taste AWESOME!!!
I was super excited to find Chef Curtis Stone had a healthy cupcake recipe that I totally had to make it! My advice is to NOT overbeat the egg whites. I did the first time and the cupcakes were super sticky...
So...Try these! You won't be disappointed!!

Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes

5 organic egg whites
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the frosting
1 cup nonfat cream cheese
1/2 ripe banana

  • Preheat the oven to 325F.
  • Place the egg whites in a large bowl and using a handheld mixer whip the whites on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until the whites begin to lighten up and hold their shape.
  • Increase speed to high and whip in the salt and honey until the whites hold a soft peak, then add the vanilla extract.
  • Fold in the yogurt.
  • In a separate medium mixing bowl combine the flour and baking powder and mix well.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into the egg whites a little at a time, gently folding them in with a rubber spatula.
  • Once fully incorporated, scoop the batter into cupcake tins lined with cupcake papers.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes or until they have colored and gently spring back when pushed with a finger.
  • Remove from the oven and cool the cupcakes at room temp.
  • Mix the cream cheese and the banana in a medium mixing bowl until well incorporated, leaving small chunks of banana throughout the frosting.
  • Once cool, spread a little of the banana frosting over the cupcakes and top with small banana slice and blueberry. 

( I had to make a healthy cupcake because, well, I was very unfair to my family when I made these cupcakes..I'm not advocating them for their health factor..but for their taste =)...They're not in the slightest bit good for you, I'm sure, but hey....If you want to go healthy, use the recipe above ;-) )

Black and White Cupcakes
  • 2 cups Cake Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¾ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ cups Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3 whole Eggs Room Temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • ¾ cups (plus A Tad More) Whole Milk
  • 1 cup white chips
  • _____
  • 1 can sweetened condensed Milk
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet & dark chocolate (4 oz each)
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for a few more seconds. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla. Mix to combine. Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk in three batches, mixing for a few seconds after each addition. Scrape sides of bowl, then mix one final time. Add white chips. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until poufy but not brown. Cool before icing.

Sticky Chocolate Icing: Mix ingredients together in a small/medium saucepan. Melt ingredients over medium low heat, stirring gently. Icing is ready when all ingredients are melted and combined. Spoon warm icing over warm cupcakes, stirring icing to smooth after every third cupcake or so. Allow iced cupcakes to sit at least ten minutes before serving.