Thursday, October 23, 2014

Things That I Know-- for your man

My hubby's birthday is this weekend.  I've been racking my brain for ideas on what to do/ what to get for him/ how to make his day stellar.

He's the best husband and father that I could EVER wish for and I thank the heavens for his presence in my life daily.  Truly, I married up.

Anyhoo, as I've been scheming I've come across some great gift ideas, and past Eighty Twenty recipes that are very man-friendly.

Seeing as my hubby rarely checks his email, I can guarantee that he never reads my blog.  So I feel pretty safe sharing this list with you even though it involves some of his weekend secrets.  Just don't tell him, ok?

1.  Restoration Hardware "stocking stuffers".  Yes, the same place that brings you gorgeous whoa why does that cost so much decor and furniture has a great list of gifts (toys and tools) for just about anyone, but especially for the male gender.  And they're not crazy expensive.

2.  Polenta- Stuffed Poblano Rellenos.  He begs me for these.   If you have a fire-loving Mexican-eating man in your life these are a must.

3.  Russian Cream.  So simple, yet SO good.  Top it with shaved dark chocolate, crushed pistachios, berries, or whatever your dude desires.

4.  A US Forest Service cabin rental.  Not the luxury kind.  The backcountry kind.  If you're feeling woodsy you can join him.  I was actually really hoping I could make one of these work but they book up quite early!

5.  Create your own Vans.  My hubby loves Vans.  Always has.  Always will.  Yep he still wears checkers. I suggest going the gift card route with this one so he can experiment.

6.  Ultimate Chipotle Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos.  Birthday morning breakfast! I love these too. Bonus!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

80--- Roasted Brussels Sprouts Chopped Salad with Smokey Honey Mustard Dressing


It's time to start thinking about holiday side dishes! This is an easy, beautiful make-ahead dish that will ensure that you get your helping of greenery at your meal.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Chopped Salad with Smokey Honey Mustard Dressing
Serves 5-6

2 lb Brussels sprouts, stemmed and chopped
Olive oil spray
Dashes of salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp roasted pepitas (or other nut or seed of your choice)
2 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped red onion

DRESSING
 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp honey
Dash salt

For Brussels sprouts, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray baking sheet lightly with olive oil spray.  Add chopped Brussels sprouts, then spray with additional olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure that leaves do not burn (sprouts will not be entirely softened).  Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

When Brussels sprouts have cooled, toss with remaining salad ingredients.

For dressing, whisk together all ingredients and mix with salad.  Serve immediately or allow to chill for 3-4 hours prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 120 calories, 4.5 g fat, 7.5 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber

Thursday, October 16, 2014

80--- Simple Turkey and Bean Meatballs


Do you know what meat extenders are? They are high protein non-meat ingredients that are used to reduce the cost of meat products.  Often, in processed foods, this refers to soy.  Soy beans are less expensive than 100% meat, and are added to products, such as sausages, and most people never know they were added.

This simple recipe calls for the addition of your own meat extender, but also adds fiber and plant protein too!  You can turn 20 oz of turkey into 50 meat balls by adding a few beans, without sacrificing flavor! The total cost of this creation was $10.06, assuming you have a few spices on hand, and from that you will have several meals and options.

Add different ingredients for different flavors.  In example, add a few fennel seeds, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, and capers for Italian flavor.  Or, add some feta cheese, chopped olives and sun-dried tomatoes for a Mediterranean meal.

One recipe, many options.

Simple Turkey and Bean Meatballs
Makes 50 meatballs

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
20 oz lean ground turkey
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs (try gluten-free)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped spinach
2 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large food processor, combine all ingredients except for turkey.  Mix until a smooth puree is formed.

Transfer puree to a large mixing bowl.  Add ground turkey and use your (clean) hands to mix well until evenly distributed.  

Roll mixture into 1 1/2 - 2" balls.  Spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil spray.  Over medium-high heat, sear the meatballs for 2 minutes on each side.  Transfer seared meatballs to a large baking pan or sheet.  Once all meatballs have been seared, bake meatballs for 17-20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Serve with marinara sauce and pasta, on a salad, or with roasted vegetables and brown rice (or any other option).  If freezing meatballs, place on a plate and place in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to transferring meatballs to a Ziploc bag (so that meatballs don't stick together in the bag).

Nutrition Info per 1 meatball: 41 calories, 1 g fat, 3.5 g protein, 3.5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

20--- Pumpkin Shortbread Cookies


My love for shortbread stretches into every season.  So it was only fit that I work some pumpkin and spice into my favorite cookie recipe.  They turn out small and soft and just sweet enough! The perfect addition to your cup of coffee or chai tea latte.

Pumpkin Shortbread Cookies
Makes ~30 cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp maple extract
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar with a mixer until fluffy.  Add in pumpkin puree and maple extract and mix until smooth.

In a smaller bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Add dry ingredients to wet, small amounts at a time, mixing with each addition until combined.

Roll the dough into 1 1/2" balls.  Place the dough balls onto the parchment paper, spaced 2" apart.  Press down slightly on each ball.

Bake for ~10-12 minutes, then remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Repeat with remaining dough.

When cool, store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

80--- Tomato Basil Soup {from no salt-added canned tomatoes}


Did you get a bummer crop of tomatoes as we did?  We had an early freeze that rocked my poor tomato plants that, until up to that time, had AMAZING potential (yes, we covered them, didn't do the trick).  The few remaining tomatoes were quickly digested by my toddler and that was that.

I had SO many plans for those tomatoes.  But when life gives you NO tomatoes.  You need to make homemade tomato basil soup anyways.

Why? Because YOU can control all of the ingredients (ie: the sodium content).  AND it's less expensive.  I promise.  Especially when you use some canned tomatoes (no salt added) that you got on sale.

Tomato Basil Soup {from no salt-added canned tomatoes}
Serves 6

1 tsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth (you may use chicken broth)
2- 28 oz cans whole tomatoes (no salt added), with juices
1/2 cup pine nuts, soaked in water for one hour
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (if you have them available)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup milk (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup basil for serving.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  

Use an immersion blender to puree all ingredients.  Alternatively, you may transfer batches to a blender to puree, then return to the pot to heat through.

Prior to serving, sprinkle each bowl with remaining chopped basil.

Nutrition Info per ~1 1/2 cups: 190 calories, 9 g fat, 13 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber

Monday, October 6, 2014

80--- Multigrain Pumpkin Granola


Because breakfast IS an important meal and it SHOULD taste phenomenal.  No matter the season.

Multigrain Pumpkin Granola
Serves 5-6

2 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed well
3 Tbsp chia seeds
3 Tbsp flax meal
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp olive oil
3 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp maple extract
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine oats, quinoa, chia seeds, cinnamon, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, olive oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, and maple extract.  Fold wet ingredients into dry and mix until evenly coated.

Spread out granola mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring mixture every 10 minutes.  Remove from oven when dry to the touch, but not brown.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet prior to mixing with pumpkin seeds and walnuts (if desired) and storing in an airtight container.

Enjoy in the morning on top of Greek yogurt!

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 316 calories, 12 g fat (10.5 g unsaturated), 10 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Things That I Know

I've been so busy trying to get my wee one to let me put a rubber band in her hair I haven't had a spare moment to focus on recipe creation.  

Just kidding.  Sort of.  

Here are a few yummy recipes that I found for you in the mean time!

1.  These baked peaches look fantastic 

2.  Roasted radishes . Confession: I don't love radishes.  But this had my mouth watering!

3.  Gluten-free pretzels! Just in time for Oktoberfest! 

4.  And because I am refusing to let go of summer..... watermelon caprese!

5.  A snickerdoodle smoothie? Waaayyy

6.   Baked coconut shrimp? Yes please

7.   And then there's this.  A lovely salad topped with CHEESE ENCHILADAS and a creamy cilantro dressing.  What??? You heard me.  That's right. It's a 20.  But a lovely one.