Friday, August 30, 2013

Things That I Know

After all of your hard work all summer Labor Day weekend deserves a few 20s, don't you agree?

How about.........

1. These chorizo breakfast sandwiches?

2.  Followed by a funfetti whoopie pie.......

3.  And then some banana bread dip.......

4.  Chile cheesecake..........

5.  And a brie and jam pretzel hand pie or two.

Now go get some exercise!

You're welcome.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

20--- Peaches & Cream Cornbread Cobbler

Don't judge a cobbler by it's picture.  It's the most ridiculously difficult food to photograph.  After popsicles.

This is not your typical cobbler.  There's just a wee bit of cheesecake involved.  You know, just to liven things up a bit.  And the cornbread cobbler topping? It's delicious.

Peaches and Cream Cornbread Cobbler
Serves 6

3 large peaches, sliced thin (I left the skin on but you can remove it of you'd like)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp cornstarch

8 oz cream cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup sugar

Cornbread Cobbler Topping
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp cold butter
1/2 egg (whisk whole egg first, then use ~2 Tbsp)
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 35o degrees.  Toss peach slices with sugar and lemon juice and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle in cornstarch and toss to coat slices.

Spray a 9x9" baking dish (or use a pie plate like I did) with baking spray.  Transfer peaches to dish.

In a small bowl, use a handheld mixer to whip cream cheese, then add egg, and sugar.  Combine until smooth, then pour mixture on top of peaches.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornmeal and baking powder.  Add in butter in small chunks, then use your hands to combine until mixture becomes coarse and flakey.  Use a whisk to mix in egg and milk.  Add topping in small dollops to the top of the creamy mixture.

Bake on middle rack for 20-25 minutes, or until topping is golden and cream mixture is set.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes prior to serving.

Monday, August 26, 2013

80--- Hibiscus Dressing

Hibiscus flowers can be found dried in your bulk spice section at the grocery store.  They are often used in tea and have been toted to have medicinal uses such as lowering blood pressure, soothing a cough, and increasing liver function (I cannot confirm nor deny these properties).  

These flowers have a lovely floral lemony flavor, which means lots of flavor for your dressing- so you won't have to use as much on your salad (saving on calories).

Hibiscus Dressing
Serves 8

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (winterized)
1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers
1/4 tsp salt
Dash fresh ground pepper.

Combine lemon and lime juice, vinegars, and honey in a small blender and mix until well combined.  Add in hibiscus flowers and allow flowers to soak for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, blend on low speed and gradually add olive oil.  Mix in salt and pepper and blend.

Place in a covered jar in refrigerator overnight prior to using.

Nutrition Info per 2 Tbsp: 126 calories, 13 g fat, 2 g carbohydrates

Friday, August 23, 2013

Things That I Use Giveaway

This weekend's giveaway is for a MISTO Oil Sprayer.

If you've never used one, you NEED one.  You fill it with your own oil of choice (healthy ones- right?), pump it up to aerate it, then spray it.  It helps you to limit the amount of oil that you use without having to invest in those aerosol versions.

If you already own one, you NEED one in this fabulous tomato color to fill with another tasty oil, right?

To enter this giveaway, head to my FACEBOOK page.  Find the post for the giveaway, like the post, share the post, and comment on the post.

Winner will be chosen at random on Sunday.

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

80(ish)--- Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Muffins

Just one more fall-ish recipe than I promise I will do my best to get back to summer.

These muffins remind me of the scones from that one place that starts with an S and ends with a tarbucks that NAILS fall treats.

But the calories won't weigh on your conscience like one of those scones will.

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes ~18 muffins

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two muffin pans with 18 muffin liners.

Mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

In a larger mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin puree and eggs.  Gently fold dry ingredients into wet and stir until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Distribute batter among baking cups, filling each ~3/4 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing.

Nutrition Info per 1 muffin: 144 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Monday, August 19, 2013

80--- Chunky Chia Chai Granola

I'm craving fall.

Not the temperatures.  Not the boots or sweaters.

Just the flavors.

This tamed those cravings for a while.

And the chia seeds made me extra healthy with all their anti-inflammatory properties and such.

Chunky Chia Chai Granola
Serves 8-10

4 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
2 Tbsp flax meal
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
2/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp canola oil
3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, flax meal, chia seeds, and spices.

In a smaller microwave-safe bowl, combine honey and oil.  Heat for 15 seconds and stir to combine well.  Add to dry mixture and mix well to coat.

In a small bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy.  Stir whites into granola mixture, folding to coat.

Evenly distribute mixture between the two baking sheets, spreading evenly.  Bake for ~30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking to prevent edges from burning (*it is also a  good idea to switch racks halfway through).

Allow mixture to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 325 calories, 12 g fat, 9 g protein, 44 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber

Friday, August 16, 2013

Things That I Know

1.  These naughty little wontons sound scrumptious!

2.  This frozen yogurt whip recipe screams "Hold onto summer and never let it go!"

3.  I'm in love with this idea of a no-cook homemade BBQ sauce.  Eliminate preservatives, man!

4.  It's almost Ugg season!  Yippee!!! Oh yes I do wear them.  Not with skirts.  But with about everything else.  I don't care what you think.

5.  That means it's almost FOOTBALL season! Go Bobcats!!

6.  Speaking of football....maybe these quinoa burgers would be a good tailgating choice?  I'm gonna give 'um a whirl.

7.  Stay tuned next week for a giveaway from the infamous SAUCE Headwear!!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

80--- Pesto Quinoa Salad

NEVER let a good pesto go to waste!  I made this with the leftovers that I had from my Beet Top Pesto. And MAN am I happy that I did.  Toss in some homegrown tomatoes for a special treat.

Pesto Quinoa Salad
Serves 7-8

3 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups dried quinoa, rinsed well
5 Tbsp pesto of your choice
2 cloves garlic, pressed and finely minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped if desired
2 oz shredded Parmesan cheese

Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add quinoa and cook at a low boil for 15 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in the pesto. 

Place quinoa in a large bowl in the refrigerator for 3 hours to chill completely.

Add remaining ingredients, stir well and serve.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 137 calories, 5 g fat, 7 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Monday, August 12, 2013

80--- Grilled Golden Beets with Beet Top Pesto

Golden beets are the just-as-tasty-and-nutritious-but-far-less-messy cousin of the red beet.

And those beautiful tops attached when you purchase them at the farmer's market?  You can use them!  Toss them in with a few additional ingredients and presto! you have PESTO.

Grilled Golden Beets with Beet Top Pesto
Serves 2

2 cups golden beets, washed and cubed
Olive oil spray
Salt and fresh pepper

1 cup beet greens
6 large basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup walnuts (or any other nut- except maybe a peanut)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp salt

Heat a grill to medium heat.  Form a 12 x 6" packet from aluminum foil.  Add beets, then spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Seal the packet and place it on the grill.  Cook for 20-25 minutes, until beets are softened.

Meanwhile, make your pesto.  Add all ingredients to a large food processor and mix until a puree is formed.

During the last minute or so that beets are cooking, spoon 3 Tbsp pesto onto beets and refold packet to warm pesto.

Serve hot!

Nutrition Info per 1 cup: 166 calories, 11 g fat, 2.5 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber

Friday, August 9, 2013

80--- Refrigerator Zucchini Pickles

Tis the time of year when anyone with a garden, or anyone with a neighbor or friend with a garden, has zucchini (summer squash) coming out of their ears.  It's so FUN at first to have this abundance.  But then, THEN, you run out of ideas.  And your family starts to complain about the zucchini at every meal.

What to do, what to do?


No, not the shelf-stable, need canning equipment kind.

The quick and dirty kind.

These can be eaten within 24 hours, or give them a week before you munch for more potent pickle flavor.  They should be eaten within two weeks, which should not be a problem for any pickle-lovin' household.

Refrigerator Zucchini Pickles
Makes 2 quart-size jars

4 cups white wine vinegar
3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4" thick
4 green onions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, halved
6 sprigs fresh dill
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp celery seed
1/4 cup coarse salt (sea salt or pickling salt)
*2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional if you prefer spicy pickles)

Combine vinegar and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in mustard seeds, celery seed, salt, and red pepper flakes if desired. 

While vinegar is coming to a boil, divide zucchini slices, garlic halves, fresh dill, and green onions evenly between two quart size jars (make sure that ingredients are not packed too tightly).

Pour hot vinegar mixture into the jars, filling until almost full.  Screw each lid on tightly and place in refrigerator.

Allow to set in refrigerator for at least 24 hours, or up to 2 weeks (I tested mine after a week and they were perfection).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

20--- Skillet Macaroni & Cheese

My baby likes cheese.

She also likes broccoli and spinach and butternut squash.

But she also likes cheese.

So what's a nutrition-conscious mama to do?

Certainly try to avoid the boxes.

And THIS is an easy (yes, trust me), quick (trust me again), way to do it with all natural ingredients.  And LOVE.  Lots and lots of LOVE.

Skillet Macaroni & Cheese
Serves 4

1 lb whole grain pasta of your choice (I like to use a couple different shapes- just for fun!), prepared al dente, rinsed
2 cups 2% milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese (stronger the better! I used sharp cheddar and asiago)
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup frozen green peas (yes I had to)

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add 1 1/2 cups milk and whisk to combine. Pour remaining 1/2 cup milk into a bowl, when whisk in 2 Tbsp flour until well mixed.  

When milk in skillet begins to steam, whisk in flour/milk mixture and continue to whisk until thickened to a cream-like consistency.  Whisk in salt and cheese, 1/2 cup at a time, until all has melted.  

Remove from heat and stir in cooked pasta.  Fold in frozen peas and allow to sit for 3-4 minutes, until peas are warm.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with fresh ground black pepper if desired.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Things That I Know

1. I'm going to cut right to the chase: Things in my Etsy Favorites List at the moment:

This onesie
These cupcake toppers
This letterpress set
These hairpins
This children's hat
These tea towels

And only 426 other items.  Nope. Not kidding. I heart me some Etsy.

2.  I was pretty excited to hear that Mexico has now overtaken the #1 position from the US for FATTEST COUNTRY.  Is that rude?  However, I am relatively certain that we did not lose this competition by Americans becoming thinner.  No, I am guessing it's because the Mexican population has gotten larger.  What to do about that??

3.  Maybe us Americans should be eating more:

Chickpea Toasts
Swiss Chard Wraps
Collard Green Wraps
Eggplant Rolls

4.  Not that we can't have a Pudding Pop every now and then.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 2, 2013

80(ish)--- California Caprese Chopped Salad

Got homegrown tomatoes?  Just the sight of them makes me want caprese.  Fresh slices with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil drizzled with balsamic and olive oil? Sounds like summer to me!  Add in some avocado for a Cali vibe- much like this brushetta.

This salad is a complete meal- panzanella is a bonus!

California Caprese Chopped Salad
Serves 4

4 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed into 1/2" pieces
1 cup crusty bread, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 avocado, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
Dash fresh ground black pepper
Olive oil spray
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lay bread cubes onto the baking sheet and spray with olive oil spray.  Toss to coat, then sprinkle with garlic powder.  Bake for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking.  Remove from oven when lightly toasted.

Meanwhile, add chopped tomatoes, red onion, basil, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar to a large bowl.  Toss to mix, then place in refrigerator while bread cubes toast.

Add toasted bread cubes to the salad, along with the mozzarella and avocado.  Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Nutrition Info per 1 1/2 cups: 280 calories, 16 g fat (10 g unsaturated), 11 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber