Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Vegan Pancakes

My new favorite breakfast. Healthy pancakes. I've made a million recipes before but taking out egg makes things a bit different. The texture isn't as fabulous. This recipe is good, though! The outside crisps up (which is how we like it) and the inside is airy, not doughy. I've been popping these from the freezer into the oven these past few mornings and they're great! 
Vegan Pancakes
2 cups oat flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
4 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups almond milk
4 Tbsp applesauce or pumpkin
1 Tbsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in the other. Combine the two just until mixed and let the batter rest for 15mins. Heat skillet. Fry like regular pancakes! I made a strawberry rhubarb compote and topped with that and blueberries. 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Black Bean+Brown Rice

This is one of my fav recipes from my cousin Glenda. She calls them "Truly Authentic Burritos".  They take a tiny bit more prep work but are so worth it! Besides, the beans freeze so well that making a big batch ensures quick freezer dinners. You can actually assemble them (minus sour cream) and freeze the burritos for later use. I used some vegan sour cream for the first time and it passed the taste test! Not the exact same, but close enough. :-) 

Black Bean+ Brown Rice Burritos

4 cups black beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
4 bay leaves
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup corn, cooked and seasoned
Tortillas
Sour cream, guacamole, salsa, limes
salt and pepper to taste

Dump beans in crock pot and cover with water. Add onion, bay, and garlic. Cook on low for 6 hours or until beans are done (high for 3-4 hours). Add more water throughout if beans are exposed. Remove bay leaves. Once done, I use a slotted spoon to remove the beans and drizzle with a little of the "broth". Salt and pepper to desired taste. Warm tortillas in a skillet until soft. Stack in paper towels to keep them warm. Assemble as desired. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top. So delish! 


Monday, December 3, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I've never made butternut squash soup before so I was excited to try this recipe. Total new fav soup for me! Perfectly creamy without even using cream. Roasting the vegetables in a pan made the flavor so amazing. Bold but not overpowering. This made quite a big batch, but I have heard it freezes well and I love it so much I don't mind leftovers. :-) 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash
1 sweet onion
3 garlic cloves, peeled or minced
2 cups vegetable(or chicken) broth (plus more for final step)
salt and pepper to taste

Slice squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place face down in a large pan. Peel and thickly slice onions. Add to pan. Same with garlic. Add vegetable broth. Bake on 375 for 45 mins to 1 hour or until the squash is soft. Cool slightly and scoop out flesh of squash. Discard the skin. Blend squash with roasted onions, garlic, and broth in small batches. Transfer to large pot. Add 2-4 more cups of vegetable broth depending on the consistency you want your soup. Salt and pepper to taste. Reheat gently and serve warm.



Ready to pop in the oven! 



All roasted and ready to blend. At this point, the house smelled positively divine!



Total perfection paired with some greens and a wheat roll! 


Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash is a fall favorite that is excellent in pasta, dips, soups, and surprisingly, makes an awesome butternut apple butter to spread on toast! It can also be used in place of oil in muffins or cakes. Ever had pumpkin squash muffins with a maple glaze? So yum!

 I got a bulk order in from Azure this past month and have been putting off preserving them for a long time. I don't know why, though, because roasting and freezing them is super simple! Here's a quick photo tutorial on preserving butternut squash. 


First, halve the squash and scoop out the seeds.


Place face down in a pan filled with 1/4 inch water and bake on 375 for about a half hour, 45mins until squash is tender



Let cool and scoop out flesh into bags or containers. I did one squash per bag. I also didn't puree the squash as my kids mashed it in the bags after they were filled. 



My little helper, scooping out squash! I love her little vintage play dress. 


That's all! Now I have enough squash to get me through until next year! 

Pinterest Pasta

This recipe has been floating around Pinterest everywhere and I've been wanting to try it out! It's been tagged as the quickest pasta ever and I agree. Start to finish, it's about ten minutes depending on how long your pasta boils for. There aren't really quotients; it's more a recipe that you adjust to suit your taste. Also, this isn't the exact recipe as online but I like to add to recipes what I feel is missing, like basil! 
Please be a dear and don't starve yourself from the glorious opportunity to add shaved Parmesan cheese to the top of this!! If I had some in home, I so would have ;-). 


Pinterest Pasta

1 box pasta of your choosing
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 gloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp parsley
2 tsp basil
1/2 or whole lemon, juiced
salt+pepper to taste
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Boil pasta. Drain. Toss with ingredients. Add more oil if it's too dry. Season to taste. Total...yum! 


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Whole Grain Braid (vegan)

I couldn't wait to try out my new "egg replacement powder" and this vegan recipe was a perfect thing to experiment on. A hearty, whole grain braided bread that is an awesome mix of light and hearty. Whole wheat flour takes longer to raise, so if going with white flour, don't go by my timing. Also, I have no idea yet how to replace real eggs with the replacement powder so I can't put those quotients out there. All I know is I had one happy husband, coming home to a home filled with the scent of freshly baked bread! This paired so well with Quinoa Chili....

Whole Grain Braid

2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tsp egg replacement powder with 1 cup water
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in water with sugar. Let sit 15 mins until bubbly. Mix egg replacement with the 1 cup water and whisk thoroughly. Dump bubbly yeast, salt, oil, and egg water in a bowl. Add flour and knead for ten mins or until smooth. Put dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1hr45mins. Punch down and divide into three ropes. Proceed to braid dough ropes making sure to pinch ends. Let raise again until doubled, about 45 mins to 1 hour. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with basil. Bake on 350 for 25 minutes. 




Quinoa Chili

This is some protein packed chili, folks! A winter staple, totally vegan when sprinkled with daiya or vegan sour cream, and can be easily made for all ya'll meat eaters! Just add a pound of seasoned browned beef to the mix. So yum. I love the texture quinoa adds and hey, I'm down with my kids getting as much protein as possible. This stuff freezes and reheats well. I tried today ;-).
Also, I gave quotients for canned beans, but I actually use frozen beans. Beans are among the easiest things to preserve and I will post a tutorial soon! 

Quinoa Chili

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 sweet onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, cubed super tiny
3/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cumin
4 bay leaves
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
1 tablespoon chili powder (or more to taste!)
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can white or pinto beans, rinsed
1 sweet potato, cubed super tiny
4 cups vegetable stock

Heat the oil on medium in a large pot. Add the onion and put the lid on the pot. Let the onions sweat/ get translucent. Add the garlic and carrots and a dash of salt. Put the lid back on and let sweat another couple minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, covered, stirring on occasion. Remove bay leaves and season to taste. I added a bit more salt and chili powder. Yum!!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Pecan Crusted Fruit Pie

A simple, tasty vegan and gluten free "pie", I will be using this crust to make so many more variations! The crust alone is worth making for all your non bake style pies. My only recommendation is to fill the crust not too long before eating. I filled mine the night before and the crust was getting soft. It would have been better had I assembled it the morning of serving it. I loved the tart cranberry filling paired with the sweet fruit and the nutty crust. It tasted more like an upside down cobbler type dessert than a pie but it was still quite good! 

Pecan Crusted Fruit Pie
Crust:
1 cup dates
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup cashews
1 tsp vanilla

Filling:
1/2 cup strawberries (I used frozen)
1/2 cup cranberries
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup water

Topping:
Banana, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, kiwi, etc


Begin by placing crust ingredients in food processor until it resembles a sticky consistency. Press tightly into a pie plate. Simmer filling ingredients in a saucepan until the cranberries pop and the liquid is reduced, making a thick compote type texture. To assemble, pour filling over crust and top with assorted fruits. Serve chilled. 


Creamy Avocado Pasta

I am a big pasta fan. I really, realllly love creamy pasta! I thought it was impossible to make going vegan but avocado makes such a fabulous pasta sauce. Who knew?!

With avocado being such a healthy fat for you, there's no guilt and I love that it's easy to make GF for my fellow non gluten foodies out there. 

This pasta was a bit on the spicy side, so decrease pepper flakes if you aren't big on eating spicy.
This isn't the prettiest looking dish but it was SO east, especially being the "sauce" can be pureed and frozen for a quick dinner grab. I have five recipes now in my freezer. It IS possible to make healthy dinners super quick if you don't mind a little extra prep one day! I'm quite happy we had leftovers. This is SO my lunch today! 

Avocado Basil Linguine
2 avocado
2 roma tomato
1/2 lime, juiced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup fresh basil, packed
2 cups fresh spinach
1 tsp salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 box linguine pasta 

Make pasta according to directions on box. Mix all other ingredients in a food processor or blender until as smooth as possible. Drain pasta. Toss with sauce. Serve immediately. Seriously. It's that simple! 


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vegan Brownies

Ok. This is the ONLY recipe I even care about anymore. Do you even know how excited I am about "healthy" gooey, chocolatey, fudge like brownies that have low sugar, no dairy or eggs?? Eek! Hold me back; I might eat the entire pan!!!! Yeah, I'm cliche chocolate loving girl. But, Craig reallllly likes chocolate, too! You can't really even taste the pumpkin, so I wouldn't classify these as pumpkin brownies. Literally all you can taste is chocolate which is perfectly fine with me!! Maybe eating this way won't be so bad ;-) 

Vegan Brownies

1 1/4 cups 100% whole wheat flour (I used soft white wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup rapadura or brown sugar 
1 tsp vanilla
Just under 2 cups pumpkin puree
1 organic dark chocolate bar, chopped (the good quality kind won't have dairy fillers)


Mix all dry ingredients. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Stir just until combined. Stir in chocolate. Line a 9x9 pan with foil. Lightly oil the foil. Spread batter in pan and bake on 350 for 25 mins. Transfer to cooling rack. Eat immediately with peanut butter if you're like me ;-)




Pumpkin Spice Muffins

It wouldn't be quite Thanksgiving season without pumpkin spice muffins, now would it?? Unfortunately my regular recipe  calls for eggs which is a true vegan no. Thankfully? This new recipe has no dairy or eggs and also baked up as cute muffin tops! I just scooped the leftover dough with my cookie scoop and baked on parchment paper at the same temp and time. 

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each, nutmeg and cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 small banana, mashed well
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup rapadura or brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup almond milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree

Mix dry ingredients minus the sugar in one bowl. Mix all the wet ingredients plus brown brown sugar in another bowl. Gently combine the two bowls together. Lightly oil your mini muffin pan and fill with batter tp the tops. Bake on 350 for 10 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool. Store in airtight container. Makes 24 mini muffins + 5 "muffin tops"... 



Friday, November 16, 2012

Oat Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites




I was having a really huge craving for my ultimate favorite unhealthy food, Pretzel Cookies . Since it is quite obvious that recipe won't find it's way into my oven again any time soon, I had to make a way to have around the same flavor without the butter, sugar, and refined flour. 
Enter: Oat Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites. 

They worked! Eek! I was literally eating this stuff out of the bowl. I wasn't the only one, either! Craig didn't even want to wait until I had them all rolled and chilled. Ah well! This recipe will become a new staple. It has to, with my sweet tooth!
I added 2 scoops of organic brown rice protein powder to the mix. It's totally optional, but I like that it gives an extra kick of protein to our diets. 


Oat Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites
  
2 cups oats 
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped pretzels
1/4 cup chopped  
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients. Warm butter, oil, sweetener, in a saucepan until combined. Add vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate for 30-45 mins. Form into tightly packed balls. Store in refrigerator. 
I made a double batch and got around 50 balls. Now, these little dudes look nothing like the fab cookies I posted, but don't be too hard on them...they really are delicious!! 








  

Minestrone


With the fall nip in the air, it's hearty soup season! Bummer part? Not being able to use milk, cheese, cream, or meat. The cook inside me pretty much huddles in a tiny corner and sobs at the thought of no broccoli cheddar soup...But..I have to put my big girl pants on and get over what I can't use and learn recipes with what I can! This recipe actually makes me not miss my other fav soups so much. Chock full of nutrition, with a thick slab of fresh bread, this soup really hit the spot tonight for me! 

I'll be completely honest, though. My kids started bawling when they came to the table and seen this. "It looks SO GROSSS mom!!" "I will DIE if I have to eat that!!" But, we have the two bite rule. So, the shuddered and braved through bite one. Apparently, they decided it wasn't complete poison because they ate it ALL. Aerro very honestly let me know it was NOT his favorite but that it wasn't completely disgusting and both the big kids said they would eat it again. ;-) I rewarded them with two cookie balls each. I was so proud of my trooper kids for eating all their food. 

Vienna? Yeah. She had seconds. And thirds. Looks like it is best to start eating healthy when kids are little!

Minestrone 

1 sweet potato
4 celery stalks
1/2 sweet onion
2 roma tomatoes
1 bell pepper (I used yellow)
10 baby or 2 regular carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large kale leaves
Handful of mushrooms (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
2 quarts organic vegetable broth 
1/2 box Rotini pasta (I like VitaSpelt Rotini)

 See all those pretty vegetables?? I love the colors!  
Scrub and chop all vegetables into small cubes.
Dump into crock pot with vege broth.
Cook on low for 7 or so hours.
Add the rotini.
Cook on high for a half hour or until the noodles are cooked. Stir once or twice so noodles cook evenly. Salt and pepper to taste.


 That's it! Super easy, healthy, and tasty! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Beauty of Raw Oats


Three little bowls lined up in a row...



Bursting with the goodness my children love, you know!


Topped with raisins, almonds, cranberries, coconut, and honey


the good news is, on a budget, it doesn't cost that much money! 


 It is soaked and raw, meaning better nutrients, doesn't need to be cooked! Once you try it, I am confident, you and yours will be hooked. :-)  


Raw Oats

Old fashioned rolled oats (not instant or steel cut)
Almond, rice, hemp, coconut, or dairy milk
1 tablespoon honey per 1/2 cup oats

Toppings: Our Favorite
Cinnamon+Apples
Blueberries+Vanilla
Cocoa Powder+Honey+Banana+Chocolate Chips
Blackberries+Maple Syrup 
Almonds+Cranberries+Raisins+Coconut


Dump oats in a seal-able container. Cover with milk choice about an inch over oats. Stir in honey. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Adjust sweetness in the morning if you want. Top and enjoy! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vegan Lentil Burgers/ Kale Guac Salad


I won't lie. 
Five years ago if you presented me with a recipe for Lentil Burgers I probably would have gagged a little bit and told you you were something of a health freak.
Well.
Now, I'm the something of a health freak on occasion. 
And you are probably the same way I was. Looking at this recipe like..."Right. Lentil Burgers. I'm sure they are just deeeeeelicious...not!" I mean everything about these just screams extremest! Not that there is anything wrong with extremest. I just have never been one and had many preconceived notions currently being torn down about said types of people.
And today, yes today, I became one of those. I made Lentil Burgers. Made them, served them, and nobody puked them up. Avoni gagged, but that's ok. Slowly, she will learn to try new things ;-) 
Craig? He said it was THE best Plant Based meal I have made yet. I blushed..and giggled..and kissed him a few times. 


I am posting the photo from the website I got them from. Their photo is way better than mine. Daylight savings...gets dark way before dinner and well, no more natural lighting! 

These guys served with the following salad and some Spicy Sweet Potato Fries is like an ultimate meal. 





Vegan Lentil Burgers (original recipe post)
1 1/2 cups water to use for:
1/2 cup lentils, rinsed and drained

2 cups water to use with:
1 cup brown rice

2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded, deveined, and diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
Whole-grain flour
8 whole-grain buns
INSTRUCTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the
lentils, reduce the heat, and cook until beans are softened, about 15
minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a
boil, add the rice, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the rice
is just tender, about 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a sauté pan, sauté the garlic, onion, and peppers until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, combine the lentils, rice, and vegetables. Add the
salt and chili powder and mix well. Add a bit of flour to hold the
mixture together, if needed. Form into burger-sized patties and place
on a parchment lined baking sheet or press into a loaf pan.

Bake burgers on 350 until slightly firm, about 15 minutes.





Kale Guacamole and Lime Salad


Kale
Guacamole
a good squirt of lime

Simple! Wash, dry, and shred kale. Place in a decent sized bowl. With your hands, mix some prepared guacamole into the kale until it's the right taste ratio for your liking. Drizzle with lime juice. Mix again. It's pretty much a add and taste until it's how you like it deal. Let me tell you, though...guacamole paired with the slightly spicy kale is amazing, not to mention the zing lime gives it! 





Best served on Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Buns, loaded with lettuce, vegan provolone, guacamole, and tomato! 


Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

I live in the Northwest. here, we have the best "fast food" joint in the nation. It's called BurgerVille. For so many, it's almost a cultish obsession. There isn't one where I live, but when we go to Vancouver, first stop: BurgerVille. It's just a given! One thing I miss about not having it nearby (although it's probably better for me in the long run) is not being able to eat unlimited sweet potato fries when they are in season. Such a weak spot for me!! 

But, well, it now appears I can actually fulfill that craving myself. 
Sweet Potato Fries. Slightly spicy with just enough sweet. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Addicting.
And...healthy! For real. 
Sweet potatoes are literally bursting with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (goodbye wrinkles! ). Whole Food's considers them an ultimate health food. I mean, hey...any reason to make a favorite food seem more appealing is fine by me! 
Typically, we eat some form of dip with our fries but not with these! They are delish just plain. 



Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

3 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon your choice of oil
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (a must! they make the fries crispy!)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450. Scrub potatoes but don't peel them. Slice into thin fries. The thinner, the better in my books. More crisp! 
Place in bowl. Add the oil, cornstarch, and seasonings. Toss to coat thoroughly. Place not touching on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 15 minutes. Turn. Bake another ten. Keep an eye on them as you don't want them to burn. If by this point they aren't crispy, turn your oven on broil and watch closely until the fries are crisped. 




Vegan Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

--->Why Plant Based<---

With this new plant based/ vegan diet, I am going to need plenty of quick go-to snacks on hand! 
Preparing foods without eggs or oil is a new thing for me. I have been baking without refined sugar for a few years now, but no oil or eggs? 

Today I made this recipe. Hardly any different in texture or flavor than my other oat cookie recipes so that makes me very happy!! 

A delightful tasting cookie that is healthy as well, fairly bursting with pumpkin and cranberry. It is a perfect fall treat. 

Vegan Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 cup honey
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup cranberries

Mix dry ingredients, save for cranberries. In a separate bowl, combine wet. Stir both together. Add cranberries. Place in rounded tablespoons on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten slightly. Bake for 9-10 minutes on 350. Cool completely before storing in airtight container. 


Vegan Mexican Couscous w/ Corn Tortilla

---> Why Plant Based<---

A new recipe invented in my kitchen the other night..

We have a whole new food journey ahead of us and this was recipe one.

The kids and I are going partial plant food based diet (vegan-ish) and Craig is going full plant based for health reasons.

I know have an entirely new challenge ahead of me!

For never cooking this way in such a strict manner(think no meat, dairy, limited added oils, no refined sugars), I think recipe one turned out extremely well.

We didn't choke it down; the meal was actually enjoyed. Score one!

Vegan Mexican Couscous

1 cup Mediterranean couscous blend 
1 3/4 cups water
------------------------------------------
2 cups prepared brown rice
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup corn
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 green pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Salsa to desired consistency
salt and pepper to taste

If using Mediterranean couscous blend, prepare  by boiling the water, adding couscous, covering, and simmering on low for 17 minutes. Remove from stove and fluff with fork. Very similar to cooking rice. I don't have regular couscous so I don't know the water/time needed to cook that. 

Mix cooked couscous with rice in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and combine VERY well. I added some salsa to the mix until it didn't feel dry. Top with chopped cilantro if desired. Serve hot as a dip for chips, wrapped in a tortilla as a burrito, or in a hard shell taco. We had ours with salsa and guacamole. 





Making Hard Shell Tacos, oil free

The coolest trick I used the other night was making my own taco shells out of our organic corn tortillas. Being Craig is staying away from oils, most all recipes are out as far as preparing corn tortillas. But, what I did, is dry heat each corn tortilla until soft and then drape over my oven racks like so, baking for 8ish minutes on 350. Perfect hard taco shells and no added oils! 
(photo off bing)




Monday, October 1, 2012

Whole Wheat Graham Crackers

Because I try to home make the majority of our foods, I made these up for the kid's afternoon snacking and they loved them! Easy enough that this'll most likely become a staple in our house, now! They make my entire home smell SO yummy, too. 
Aerro, Avoni, and Vienna had fun poking all the holes into them! With them being sticks, they are perfect for dipping. The kids experimented with different dips. Strawberry cream cheese and peanut butter with honey mixed in were their favorites.  


Whole Wheat Graham Crackers
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups regular flour
1/2 cup, packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water

Combine first six ingredients in a food processor. Add cubed butter until crumbly. Mix in water and honey until a dough forms. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on parchment paper. Cut into shaped and prick holes in tops. Place about 1/4 inch apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake on 350 for 15 minutes. Cool completely on cooling racks to help them crisp up. 



Super easy, super delicious! 


Saturday, September 29, 2012

BBQ Chicken, Rice Pilaf, Orange Glazed Carrots

A new family favorite here in our home, this meal was scarfed down in moments. Some days it's like pulling teeth to get my kids to eat something healthy. True story, my son upon seeing this did all sorts of convulsions and gags, looking at his plate like it was regurgitated who knows what.

In true Calvin and Hobbes style, this is exactly what Aerro looked like. 

And then he had a bite. (We have a 2 bite rule on any and everything in our home.) His eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. Direct quote. "WOW! This is ACTUALLY good! I got to tell Avoni (who was still in her room at the time)! AVONI, AVONI!!! THIS CHICKEN IS NOT DISGUSTING!" Thanks for the vote of approval, Aerro. :-)
And so, I will post the recipe. I also turned the meal into a cold layered sandwich wrap and a grilled pita pizza (minus the carrots) with mozzarella added the next day. All ways were reviewed well!


Rice Pilaf  by Peggy Seppala

1/2 stick butter
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 tsp (or 2 cubes) chicken bouillon

Melt butter in saucepan. Add rice and cook on medium until golden colored. pour into 8x8 pan or pie plate. Bring water and bouillon to a boil. Pour over rice. Bake, covered, at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Glazed Orange Carrots by Donna Suomi

1/4 cup cranberries (I did not use)
1 lb baby carrots, sliced thin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons sugar (I used brown)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp orange zest (I used freshly grated)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon butter
black pepper

Bring cranberries, carrots, salt, 1 tbsp sugar, chicken broth, orange zest, and orange juice to a boil in a large, covered skillet. Simmer about 5 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to high and boil about 1-2 minutes. Add butter and remaining sugar. Cook until carrots are tender and glazed a light golden color, about 3 minutes. Season with pepper and serve. 





Chicken Pot Pie, Biscuit Style

This chicken pot pie came together as a spur of the moment craving fix. Maybe it's fall creeping into my families minds, or maybe it's the need for something creamy and hearty, whatever it was, this filled all cravings. :-) It also reheated well in the oven. Yes, Craig went back for seconds later on in the day. Score there! I didn't feel like mixing up a pie crust so instead, I just did biscuits. I used my pepper jack biscuit  recipe but subbed the pepper jack for sharp cheddar. Make sure the dollops are small or else the centers might be a bit gooey. 

Chicken Pot Pie, Biscuit Style
*recipe makes 1 9x13 or 2 pie plates*

1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp chicken bouillon granules (I like Better Than Bouillon brand)
2 cups cooked and cubed potato
3 cups cooked and shredded chicken

Biscuit Mix

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp each cream of tartar, sugar, salt, pepper
1/4 cup cold butter
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in cubed butter using a pastry blender until mixed throughout and crumbly. Stir in cheese and milk until a dough forms. 


In saucepan, melt butter and add onion. Cook until onion is tender. Whisk in flour and then add broth, milk, seasonings, and bouillon. Whisk until thick and bubbly for 2 more minutes. Stir in veg and chicken. Bubble again. Pour into 1 9x13 or 2 pie plates. Make biscuit dough. Drop by small spoon fulls on top. Bake on 400 for about 20-25 minutes or until biscuits are golden. 



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monthly Meal Plan


I was asked by some friends to post my monthly meal plan for this month. I've never actually done a meal plan this organized before, but beings I thrive on schedule, I think this'll make life a whole lot easier! Beings I have all my beef, pork, and chicken in my freezer already, it made the cost way lower. This will (hopefully!) feed my family of five with leftovers if I planned it out correctly! many of the recipes are already on my blog.
I borrowed the idea from this amazing woman (link) and while hers is so much more neatly written, mine will work for me ;-). Until I get a chance to type it up in a word program, that is!
This doesn't include side dishes. Say for instance corn is on sale, I'll grill some up...or make a different side if I feel like it. This is mainly the rough idea of what I will make. I also embrace the possibility that I might find something fabulous on Pinterest between now and then that I simply must make. That is where being flexible comes in. 

Monthly Meal Plan

WEEK ONE
mon tues wed thurs fri sat
muffins/grapes        pancakes/sausage  french toast          yogurt/banana skillet hash        eggs/bacon/waffles
TLC/cheese             frozen yog pops      pretzels/dip            granola bar        apples/ pbutter   100cal snak
ckn tenders/dip       pizza bread           hot dogs/carrots   grilled sandwiches   mac&cheese       quesadilla
taco shells/salad     baked mac/salad   enchilada/salad   scalloped potato/ham   potato chowder   bbq pork

WEEK TWO
mon tues wed thurs fri sat
pancakes/eggs        oat squares/fruit      yogurt/banana           egg/toast/bacon      french toast       skillet hash
popcorn                   raisins/graham    baked cheese sticks        granola bar          apples/pbutter       100cal snak
grilled cheese/soup   chicken salad   pb/banana sandwiches       pita pizza              snack plate          grilled burrito
meatballs/potato       chicken chili        pulled pork subs            broccoli beef            steak salad     mongolian beef/veg

WEEK THREE
mon tues wed thurs fri sat
waffles/applesauce pancakes/bacon oatmeal/raisins yogurt/banana french toast eggs on toast/sausage
frozen yog pop pretzels/pbutter popcorn grapes crackers/cheese 100cal snak
ckn tenders/dip/veg grilled cheese baked mac french bread pizza pb honey sandwich (leftovers)
grilled burrito/salad baked ckn/sides mexi stuffed peppers meatball casserole broc/cheese soup (eat out)

WEEK FOUR
mon tues wed thurs fri sat
muffins/fruit oatmeal/fruit pancakes/eggs skillet hash french toast/fruit bfast quiche
frozen yog pop granola bar honey popcorn baked cheese sticks oat cookie apples/cheese
hamburgers pbj/veg ckn tenders pizza bread baked mac taco salad
spaghetti/salad baked ckn wings roast beef/veg bbq chicken/potatoes pita pizza steak/lettuce wraps




Color Code 
BREAKFAST
SNACK
LUNCH
DINNER

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread

Some times my bread isn't eaten right away, so I typically make it into croutons. Today was not so. Instead, I whipped up this little culinary magic! It lasted about ten minutes. That's how much my family loved it! 
I can't wait to experiment with different flavor combinations! I'm making an orange glaze next time. Tossing in some chopped apples. Or how about something savory? Hmmm.... ;-) 




Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread

Loaf of bread, not cut 
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon 

~Cinnamon-Sugar mix~
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

 ~Glaze~
Powdered sugar, thinned with milk until glaze consistency 

Melt butter and stir in honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Cut bread halfway down , both ways.
Gently pull apart and drizzle with honey/butter mix.
Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mix.
Wrap in foil.
Bake on 350 for 20 minutes.
Drizzle with glaze.
Enjoy!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Grilled Sandwiches

I went to the Farmer's Market last Friday and found a favorite local bakery booth. When I'm not in the mood to make more bread (so far, made 12 loaves this past week) I like to get theirs. Mostly because they do all these specialty round breads. Vegetable Feta, Garlic Onion, Parmesan Basil, on and on. Fabulous bread! 

I figured I'd post this recipe because it's another family favorite and super easy to whip up on those days where cooking doesn't exactly sound fun! 

Once again, as with many of my posts, it isn't an actual recipe..just an idea to get you started. :) 


This week, I chose the Vegetable Feta which isn't as scary as it might sound to some! 


It had just the right amount of garlic, a few little artichoke hearts, some chopped onion, and a smattering of feta throughout...So, cut in half so you have two rounds...or two half rounds 


I forgot to take a photo of what I layered so here it is : homemade mayo mixed with avocado and tiny bit of pressed garlic, sliced turkey breast, thinly sliced tomato, some bacon, and fresh whole milk mozzarella slices. Wrap entire sandwich in foil.


Then comes the "squashing" part. Put a cutting board and about 5lbs weight on top of sandwich to press it down for about ten minutes or so. If you are using a hard bread, you will need to add about 15 more minutes to the time. This makes it almost panini style. 


Once that is done, you can either bake it on 350 for about 15-20 minutes OR grill for around ten. Either way, what you end up with is totally amazing! Crispy on the outside, gooey and everything else good on the inside. A perfect summer meal! 


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vanilla Extract

My incredible cousin Glenda who live in Malaysia came to the states recently and she came bearing gifts. Vanilla beans directly from Bali! I knew they were good beans when I could smell them through the double wrapped-sealed in a ziploc bag packaging. 

Of course the first thing I made was vanilla extract. It's a pretty basic ratio. 15-20 beans per 750mL of 80 proof alcohol (bourbon or vodka). The more pricey the alcohol, the better quality the extract. In other words, Monarch just isn't going to cut it, sorry! 

Directions are simple. Slice beans down the center, put into bottle, seal, shake around daily for a week, and then weekly for a month or so. I let mine sit for about 6 months before using though some people say they use it as soon as six weeks. It takes some time, but it is SO worth it! 

The rest of the beans are going to make my yogurt taste amaaazziinnggg! Thanks, Glenda! 


Broccoli Salad

So, I posted this recipe right when I first started the blog but the whole post annoyed me whenever I went back to it for the recipe. The photo was unappetizing and it was just a bad post. So, now, I revamped the recipe making it healthier...That's what I'm all about, you know? 

I prep the actual salad separate of the dressing and just put dressing on right when we eat. That way, it doesn't get soggy after a day! I LOVE this served in salad boats or wraps. Perfect as a side for BBQ!

Broccoli Salad

5 cups chopped broccoli
3/4 cup golden raisins
10 strips bacon
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, not roasted
1/2 red onion, chopped small 

~Dressing~
1/2 cup plain yogurt (the yog adds a kind of tang to the dressing..if you don't like that, use mayo)
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


Combine salad ingredients. Make dressing. Toss well. 
Hard, huh? :) 


All the pretty ingredients!!


All mixed up and ready to eat...super yummy! 


Breadless Lunch

So, I know people are all into going grain-free, gluten-free, carb-free, sugar-free, food-free, eating-free, etc.. (humor on the last few, folks) but I believe in all things in moderation. I won't stop eating grains or breads, I may limit the consumption, but I am not an extremest one way or the other! Phew. That being said.....

I actually LIKE not eating bread all the time! I mean, who wouldn't when you can whip up these little bite size pieces of divine?? 

First off. I HIGHLY recommend everyone in the world getting a Marttiini knife. I mean, sure, I'm proud of being a Finn and all, but even if I wasn't, I'd rave on this knife. You want to talk about literally paper thin tomato and cucumber?! My mom just brought it back from the Motherland and gifted it to me. I may never stop cutting up veg again! I sliced two cucumbers and 3 tomatoes..for no real reason. Just because it was FUN! 

So, on to my favorite breadless lunches. They aren't really recipes, per se, but just awesome combinations.

First off, this beauty. 
butter lettuce, soft swiss cheese wedge, cucumber, and tomato



Then, I made these little darlings fairly bursting with flavor! 
cucumber, roasted garlic and red pepper hummus, tomato, and feta cheese



The final one was this..
greek yog chicken salad topped with mozzarella


And, well, with so many little dudes made up, I couldn't help but eat them all. In one sitting. With a very large bottle of sparkling VOSS water..because that's how I roll!