Friday, January 31, 2014

20--- Monkey Bread Muffins from Scratch

Confession: prior to making these I had never had monkey bread.

Honestly, I didn't know what the fuss was about.

And then I thought that I probably, as a food blogger, should find out what the fuss was about.

So I set out to make me some.

And all I could find were recipes using refrigerated biscuit dough.

That makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Do you KNOW what's in that?

No, really, DO YOU KNOW????

Yes, I am a healthy food snob, but I do, on occasion, indulge. 80/20 my friends, 80/20.  Refrigerated biscuit dough, however, is not on my list of things that will ever enter my mouth.

So I made my own buttermilk biscuit dough and had me my monkey bread.

Ok I get it.  It's delicious.  And I am guessing even more delicious without the trans fats that we omitted.

Monkey Bread Muffins from Scratch
Makes 1 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a muffin tin generously with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.  Add in butter pieces and use a pastry cutter or fork to combine until coarse crumbs are formed.  Stir in buttermilk to form a soft dough (careful to not over mix).

Transfer dough onto a lightly floured flat surface.  Knead dough 5-6 times, then roll out dough until it is 1/2" thick (no need to have even edges).  Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 2" square pieces.

In a large Ziploc bag, mix white sugar and cinnamon.  Add dough pieces and shake to coat the dough.  Place 5-6 coated dough pieces in each muffin cup. 

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter for the glaze.  Add the brown sugar, whisking to combine.  Bring to a low boil, then remove from heat.

Pour glaze mixture evenly over each muffin.  Place the muffin tin on the middle rack of the oven and bake for ~20 minutes, or until cooked through.  Allow to cool 3-4 minutes prior to serving.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

80(ish)--- Sunflower Seed Snaps

I've been looking for a good granola bar alternative for a while.  One that has a good long storage life.  One with a good balance of protein, fiber, and fat with natural ingredients.

And then I found these Sesame Snaps.  Do you know about them? They are delicious.  And apparently I am waaaaayy late to the game as they have been around forever.

So I made my own. My version with dry roasted sunflower seeds instead of sesame seeds.  I'll have a little bit of salty with my sweet please!

Oh- and this was also my first attempt at making "candy".  If I did it YOU can do it!

Sunflower Seed Snaps
Makes 24 squares 2x2"

1 cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups dry roasted sunflower seed kernels

Place a parchment-lined  baking sheet on the counter near your stovetop.

In a medium saucepan, combine ingredients and heat over medium heat.  Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil.  Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 315 degrees (use a candy thermometer).  You may need to reduce the heat to medium-low, depending on your stovetop (if it boils too rapidly or if the mixture browns quickly).  Be patient! It took my mixture about 12 minutes to reach this temperature.

When the mixture reaches temperature, pour it onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and use a spatula to spread it evenly.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut the candy into squares.  Let candy finish cooling completely prior to breaking squares apart and storing in an airtight container.

Nutrition Info per 1 square: 108 calories, 4 g fat, 2 g protein,  16 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Monday, January 27, 2014

Things That I Know

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1.  I ran my first half marathon last weekend.  In Disneyland.  I thankfully have a great group of girlfriends who have a sense of humor- and who loved the experience as much as I did.  How did I do?  Well.......... I finished in the top 10%.  But by no means does that mean that I am fast.  It means that everyone else was slow.  If I ran that same pace in any other race I would have been lucky to finish in the top half.  C'est la vie, right?

2.  With Super Bowl right around the corner, I wanted to tell you about.......

This hummus

These baked pickle chips

And popcorn

And creamy onion gratin... maybe on toast wedges?

3.  And here are a few more random recipes that have nothing to do with football that I thought looked divine........

DIY Saute Blocks... pure genius

Winter Quinoa Salad.... because something good (besides snow) needs to come from this season

Roasted Cauliflower Soup.... because cauliflower is so trendy and it makes me so happy

Fauxstess Cupcakes... because it's like a cupcake is THAT bad for you.  It's the partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup that those processed little buggers have.

Kale and Butternut Squash Breakfast Burritos.... because veggies in breakfast are delightful

Have a wonderful week! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

80(ish)--- Twice Baked Avocados

These will be such a hit at your Super Bowl party.  Warm guacamole in it's own little bowl? Perfect for serving up to watch the big game!

I am FOR ONCE excited about the game.  Two western teams? You mean I actually have someone to cheer for? Let the festivities begin!

Twice Baked Avocados
Serves 4

2 ripe (but firm) avocados, halved and seeded
Olive oil spray
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
3 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1/3 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
Dash ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray avocado halves lightly with olive oil.  Place on a baking sheet, cut side up, and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, so that they can be handled.

Gently remove flesh from avocados with a fork or spoon, preserving the skin as a "bowl".  Place flesh into a bowl and mash well with a fork.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Transfer mixture back into avocado skins and place back onto the baking sheet.  Top each with a sprinkle of cheese and return to oven.  Bake for 5-8 additional minutes.

Remove from oven and serve immediately with tortilla chips for dipping.

Nutrition Info per 1 filled avocado half: 177 calories, 14 g fat, 4 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber                                                                                                                                                                  

Monday, January 20, 2014

80(ish)--- One Skillet Southwestern Pot Pie

A one-skillet supper that's loaded with veggies and topped with a crispy tortilla chip crust.  It will technically serve four, unless you live with my hubby.  I had a quick dish right before I had to leave the house to give a presentation.  And when I came home.............there was NONE left.

I swear I feed him.  I do.

One Skillet Southwestern Pot Pie
Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 tomatillos, husked and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup frozen corn kernels
3/4 cup canned low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach leaves, stemmed
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable broth, warmed, divided
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 cup crushed tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a 9 or 10" cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions, red pepper and jalapeno and saute until softened, 3-4 minutes.  Stir in tomatillos, corn, black beans, and seasonings. Add 1/2 cup vegetable broth to the skillet and bring to a low boil. Stir in tomatoes, spinach and cilantro.  Whisk cornstarch into remaining 1/2 cup vegetable broth.  Add mixture to pan and return to a boil.  Stir until mixture is thickened, 5-8 minutes.

Stir sour cream into the skillet.  Top the mixture with crushed tortilla chips and place skillet into the oven.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. Serve immediately!

Nutrition Info per 1 1/2 cups: 161 calories, 5.5 g fat, 9 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Friday, January 17, 2014

20--- Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe is also known as Wacky Chocolate Cake (or cake pops- check those out here).  It's my grandmother's recipe and it is hands down the best chocolate cake out there- and no butter, eggs, or milk!

Dress them up as you see fit!

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 24

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.  In a smaller bowl, combine water, oil, and vinegar and whisk to mix.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined (note: batter will seem thinner than your typical cake).  

Pour batter into a cupcake pan lined with paper liners.  Fill each cup 2/3 full.

Place baking tins into the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes prior to transferring to a cooling rack.

Frost and decorate as you desire!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

80--- Tangerine Mint Water

I am SO happy that sparkling water with natural fruit essences is such a hit!  I can thankfully recommend a calorie-free beverage to my patients that doesn't contain artificial sweeteners!

If you're looking to add some flavor to your water, this is also a great solution! AND you get some bonus antioxidants too!  

Tangerine Mint Water
Makes one gallon

2 tangerines, washed well, seeded and sliced into thin slices
10 spearmint leaves
1 gallon filtered water
Ice (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours prior to drinking!  

Note: If you plan to not drink all of your water within 24 hours, discard the tangerine slices and mint leaves after one day.  The water will stay flavored without them!

Monday, January 13, 2014

80--- Fresh Green Bean & Blue Cheese Salad

It's not a secret here at Eighty Twenty that I do not like green beans.  ESPECIALLY cooked ones.  They squeak on your teeth.  We all get to dislike a food or two.  Even kids (not entire food groups- but single foods is appropriate and acceptable).

I made an exception to my dislike for this salad and gobbled up some green beans.  It's amazing.

The great thing about a strong blue cheese is that a little bit goes such a long way, saving you in CASH and CALORIES!

Fresh Green Bean and Blue Cheese Salad
Serves 4

1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
1 1/2 oz crumbled blue cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp olive oil
Dash ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp dry roasted sunflower seeds

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Place green beans in boiling water and blanch for one minute.  Remove beans from water and rinse immediately with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Set beans aside in a bowl

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and pepper.  Pour vinegarette over green beans and toss to coat.  Toss in blue cheese and sunflower seeds.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour prior to serving (so flavors can mingle a bit).

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 108 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Things That I Know

I have been crazy busy today getting together the final touches for a baby shower that I am co-hosting for one of my dearest friends.  But I didn't want to leave you hanging on this lovely January weekend!  So here are a couple of quick things that I know:

1. If you live in a frigid climate as I do and you are a runner and despise the treadmill.  You NEED a pair of these babies.  I used to be a sufferer of butt chill.  Like, I would get home from a chilly run and it would feel like my butt wasn't even part of my body.  THAT COLD.  Not no more! Ignore the price tag. Yes. They are worth it.

Hot Cheeks Short

2. This kale and chickpea soup looks crazy good.  And crazy healthy.  

3.  What? Why have I not ever thought about adding terrific flavor to oyster crackers like these?  Can't wait to try them!

4.  This spaghetti squash chicken noodle casserole sounds terrific. I LOVE the concept.

Enjoy your weekend!!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

80--- Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

There's just something about fiber in the mornin'.  It satisfies, keeps you fuller longer, and keeps things, you know, regular.

I rarely forget to eat.  But this morning, I had this for breakfast, then went on with my crazy day being a momma and a wife (no worky work for me today) and at 1 pm I was like "whaaaat?". I FORGOT to eat lunch (I am usually ON IT by 11:30 am).  But I was still  satisfied from my hearty fiber-filled breakfast! 

There you go- a case study!

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa
Serves 4

2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup quinoa, any variety, thoroughly rinsed
2 medium apples of any variety, cored and chopped (don't you dare peel them- that's where the nutrients are!)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp maple syrup (optional)

Bring water and applesauce to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat, stirring to make sure that applesauce does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Stir in quinoa and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 20 minutes, adding the apple for the last 10 minutes of cooking.  Stir in the cinnamon and maple syrup prior to serving.

This dish also is great covered in the refrigerator for breakfasts to come!

Nutrition Info per 1 cup:236 calories, 3 g fat, 6 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Monday, January 6, 2014

80--- Caramelized Vegetable No-Bake Enchiladas

Enchiladas are wonderful.  But they do take a lot of work.  You make the filling, then there's the rolling, then there's the saucing, then the BAKING..?? Who has time for that?  

These no-bake enchiladas are delicious and so easy! And you don't have to figure any baking time into your meal prep! And the caramelized vegetables?  You won't miss the meat one bit.

Caramelized Vegetable No-Bake Enchiladas
Makes 6 small enchiladas

6 corn tortillas (I used 7" corn and flour tortillas)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup baby kale leaves, stemmed
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup white wine
6 oz enchilada sauce of your choice (make my enchilada gravy ahead of time and freeze the leftovers!)
1/3 cup crumbled cojita cheese, or crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a small saucepan bring enchilada sauce to a low boil, then reduce heat to low and keep heated.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and carrots and saute until softened, 4-5 minutes.  Stir in black beans, kale, corn, seasonings, honey, and white wine.  Continue to saute vegetables until liquid is absorbed and vegetables are softened and heated through.

Roll 1/4 cup mixture into a corn tortilla and place in a 9" square baking dish.  Repeat with remaining mixture and tortillas, working quickly so that filling stays warm.  Pour heated enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, then top with cheese and cilantro.  Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info per enchilada: 207 calories, 7 g fat, 8 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 5.5 g fiber

Friday, January 3, 2014

80--- Simply Pho

Pho. It's trendy.  It's yummy.  It's Vietnamese noodle soup that's fully customizable.

My version is heavy on the cilantro, missing the meat, and perfectly seasoned (in my opinion).  Many versions call for more heat, more fish sauce, steak or chicken, star anise and other Asian spices, and any number of vegetables.  

So here is your base, do with it what you wish.

Simply Pho
Serves 4

1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil
8 green onions, whites and greens sliced
5 mushrooms, washed, stemmed and sliced
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
4" fresh ginger, peeled and halved
3 cups water
3 cups vegetable broth, heated to a low boil
6 oz rice noodles
Dash crushed red pepper
Dash ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp fish sauce

In a large bowl, pour heated vegetable broth over rice noodles and set aside to soften.

Heat oils in a soup pot over medium high heat.  Add green onions and jalapeno and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and saute for additional 2-3 minutes.  Add in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

After noodles have softened for 8-10 minutes, transfer noodles and broth to the soup pot and return soup to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Use tongs to remove noodles and vegetables from the pot into individual serving bowls (do not serve ginger pieces).  Use a ladle to pour broth over noodles and vegetables.  Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info per 1 1/2 cups: 272 calories, 10 g fat, 11 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fiber

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Things That I Know

1.  One of my favorite Christmas presents that I received this year?  This spoon.  If you don't have one you need one.  I think I have used it seven times already. And I have only cooked four meals since the holiday. Go figure.

2.  My sweet hubby also got me this.  OBSESSED.  I wear it daily.  Which is more often than I wear my engagement ring.  OBSESSED.  What's not to love about a Boston Terrier?

3. I am proud to announce that you can now shop H&M online.  Actually, you have been able to for a while now.  But I didn't want to give it away in case I was buying you a Christmas present from there.  But with the holiday behind us I think it's safe to say that if you didn't get a gift from me, you probably won't.  Check out their home department.  It's lovely.  And cheap.  In a non-cheap looking way.

4.  It's 2014!  Crazy.  I never thought I would live this long.  Just kidding.  I just can't think of anything else to say about 2014.

5.  Making this tomorrow.  Tamales without the time or effort? I have a toddler.  I'm in.

6.  This spicy soup makes me wish I had cooked a ham for the holiday.  Well, no time like the present I guess!

7.  These quinoa granola bars look amazing.  

8.  Some of my goals for the New Year:

------- Run a half marathon (checking this one off in two weeks- always make your goals reachable!)

------- Make my own vegetable stock/broth.  And lots of it.

------- Tell my daughter that she's beautiful every day.  That's not a tough one. 

------- Tell my husband that I love and appreciate him every day.  I know that I don't do it enough.

------- Do more local shopping.  Not more shopping.  Just spend more of our shopping money locally.  I think it's important.

------- Call my grandparents more often.  I am so blessed to still have them in my life.  I need to take the time to visit with them, learn from them, and tell them that I love them.


May your year be filled with more joy than tears, more love than fear, more prosper than languish, more health than sickness.