Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Portobello "Philly Cheese Steaks"

I have had this recipe staring at me for quite a while now. I saw it pop up on my computer today and I thought that it was about time I finally made these. So glad I did! My boys loved them and so did I. I didn't have large portobellos on hand, so I used baby portobellos instead. I am sure any mushroom would work here. I served it with home made spicy oven fries and a side salad. I am stuffed thinking about it all.

Portobello Philly Cheese Steaks
Recipe slightly adapted by Eating Well Magazine

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, sliced
3-4 cups fresh spinach
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 ounces thinly sliced reduced-fat provolone cheese
4 whole-wheat buns, split and toasted

Preparation
1.Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, spinach, bell pepper, oregano and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are wilted and soft, about 7 minutes.

2.Reduce heat to low; sprinkle the vegetables with flour and stir to coat. Stir in broth and soy sauce; bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, lay cheese slices on top of the vegetables, cover and let stand until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.

3.Divide the mixture into 4 portions with a spatula, leaving the melted cheese layer on top. Scoop a portion onto each toasted bun and serve immediately.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

I have made lots of different pestos in the past and all have been good. However, this one is really good AND less expensive than the regular version with pine nuts. It's an easy healthy meal that everyone will enjoy. I toss frozen peas and fresh broccoli in the pasta water at the end of cooking the pasta before adding the pesto. Owen loves this for his school lunch as well. The container always comes home empty when I give him this. :)


Pumpkin Seed Pesto (Makes about 1/2 cup)
recipe from www.weelicious.com

1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds (pepitas), hulled
1/4 Cup Parmesan
1 Garlic Clove
1 Cup Cilantro, Parsley or Basil
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Olive Oil

1. If using raw (green) pumpkin seeds, place them on a baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until golden. If using toasted/roasted pumpkin seeds you can skip this step.
2. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.
3. Serve on pasta, fish, chicken or a spread on sandwiches.

* For a dairy free version use 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and 1/2 cup olive oil (instead of 1/3 cup).
* To freeze, place in ice cube trays or baby food cubes and freeze for up to 3 months

Monday, November 8, 2010

Zucchini Bread

I have been looking for a good zucchini bread recipe that was somewhat healthy and still tasted good. So many of them are either too oily, or not very flavorful. This one will be my new go to recipe for zucchini bread. It's moist, sweet and better for you than the conventional recipe. I had it warm out of the oven and later when it was cool. I will admit I liked it better cold. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Zucchini Bread
Recipe by www.food.com "I Like to Eat"
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups zucchini (about 2 medium)
1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans

1 Preheat oven to 350.
2 Mix dry ingredients.
3 Mix wet ingredients.
4 Combine, don't over mix. Fold in walnuts or pecans
5 Add to greased bread pan.
6 Bake for 40-45 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fruit and Seed Bars

Now that Owen is in preschool and I have to pack his lunch, I need to find things that are healthy, easy to pack, easy to make, and most of all delicious! I found this recipe on Weelicious and love it! It's easy to crumble over plain yogurt and add fresh fruit for a nutritious breakfast, lunch or snack. They are good on their own as well. It's a favorite in our house and I wanted to share it. If your child has a nut allergy or goes to a nut free school, these are perfect for them! Enjoy.

Fruit and Seed Bars (Makes 20 Bars)
Recipe from www.weelicious.com

1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds (also known as Pepitas)
1/2 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds
2 Tbsp Flax Seeds (I also added 1 TB of Chia seeds)
1 Cup Dried Fruit (blueberries, raisins, currants, cranberries and/or cherries)
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1/3 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Sunflower Butter (or any nut butter if there is no allergy)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a food processor, pulse the first 6 ingredients until finely chopped (it’s OK if there are few coarsely chopped pieces).
3. Add the honey and sunflower and pulse until starting to combine.
4. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 9 inch pan, lined with parchment and press down into the pan until completely even.
4. Bake for 25 minutes.
5. Let the bars completely cool before cutting with a serrated knife into bars.
6. Serve.

*Cool, place in Ziploc bags, label and freeze. Defrost to room temperature and enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Baked Eggplant Parmesean

Today ended up being 110 degrees in Santa Barbara!!! It was the wrong day to decide to turn on the oven, but I did anyway, and it was well worth it! This is a quick and healthier version of one of my favorite dishes, eggplant parmesean. It was well received by the family and I will be making this again

Baked Eggplant Parmesean
Recipe from www.wholefoodsmarket.com
Ingredients
1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (about eight)
2 eggs, beaten with a fork
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs (sun-dried tomato or plain...or make it gluten free with g.f. bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 (25-ounce) jar pasta sauce (roasted vegetable or any variety)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Method
Preheat oven with a baking sheet inside to 375°F. Coat eggplant slices with beaten egg, then bread with panko crumbs. Spread oil on hot baking sheet and place eggplant slices on it in a single layer. Bake 15 minutes, flip and bake another 10 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 475°F. In an 8 x 10-inch oven proof dish, layer pasta sauce, then eggplant, and top with cheeses. Repeat, finishing with cheese. Bake until the cheese melts and turns golden in spots, about 15 minutes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Corn Chowder


We had so much grilled corn left over from Owen's birthday BBQ that I had to find a yummy way to use it all. Our local produce place, Lane Farms, had 6 ears for $2 so I got a little carried away and bought more than enough corn on the cob. Anyway, I decided to make a low fat version of Corn Chowder and it turned out really good!

Corn Chowder
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, divided
2 cups chicken broth
3 Tb. butter
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 large shallots, chopped
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Blend 2 cups corn and 1 cup of broth in a blender until almost smooth.
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high heat.
Add next 4 ingredients; saute 5 minutes until shallots are clear.
Add 2 cups corn, 1 cup broth, black beans, cumin, thyme and salt and pepper and pureed corn mixture.
Bring to simmer.
Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Garnish each bowl full with fresh cilantro, or chopped green onions (optional).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Graham Crackers

Every time I am tempted to buy graham crackers I read the ingredients and always put the box back on the shelf. There is so much garbage in those crackers that taste so good. I have looked for recipes for them in the past, but they all seemed a little labor intensive or too long of an ingredient list, until now. Weelicious has done it again! Thanks Catherine : ) These crackers are fun and easy to make, taste good and keep well.

Homemade Graham Crackers
Recipe from www.weelicious.com
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Butter, chilled & cubed
1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a food processor or mixer combine the first 6 ingredients.
3. Add cubed and chilled butter to the mix and pulse/mix until it resembles coarse meal.
4. Add honey and water and continue to mix until it all combines.
5. Remove and shape the dough into a flat disk and place between two pieces of parchment paper.
6. Roll dough out until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into crackers or shapes with cookie cutters.*
7. Place cookies on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
8. Cool and serve.
*To Freeze: After step 6, place the cut out cookie shapes on a baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes. Remove, place in a Ziploc bag, label and freeze for up to 4 months. When ready to bake, follow steps 7-8.
** If you have no Whole Wheat, you can use 1 Cup Oat Bran to 2 Cups AP Flour instead of what the recipe calls for and it works perfect!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Multigrain Pancakes with Ricotta Sauce


Alright, so I make whole grain pancakes fairly often, and have started quite a range of pancake recipes on this blog already. Well, this is the best multigrain pancake yet! They are thick, hearty, good for you and best of all, yummy! The ricotta sauce really made love them even more! I haven't forgotten you Maple Syrup, just loving your new companions, protein packed yogurt, ricotta and cinnamon!


Multigrain Pancakes with Ricotta Sauce
Recipe from Clean Eating Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

1 1/4 whole wheat flour
1/3 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground
1 tsp. sucanant (I used rapadura, but any sugar will do)
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup low fat buttermilk
1 cup unsweetened rice, almond or soy milk
cooking spray
1 cup berries (I used strawberries)

RICOTTA SAUCE
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
2 Tb. pure maple syrup
1/8 tsp. cinnamon, ground

1. To prepare pancakes: Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, rice milk and mix until foamy. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until well blended; let sit for 5 minutes so flours have time to absorb liquid (mixture will thicken)

2. *Prepare ricotta sauce: Combine all ingredients with a whisk until smooth and creamy.

3. Heat griddle or large skillet over medium high heat (about 350 F) and coat with cooking spray. Pour pancake batter onto griddle until they are about 4 inches in diameter. Cook until bubbles form around edges, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

4. Serve by stacking pancakes and drizzle with ricotta sauce and top with fresh berries. Enjoy!

*If you would like a thinner sauce, simply add water, 1 Tb. at a time.

Chicken Taco Pizza

OK here is chicken recipe #2 for all you meat eaters out there : ) This was really easy and pretty yummy I must admit. It's a nice twist on your ordinary pizza with marinara or pesto sauce.

Chicken Taco Pizza
Recipe adapted from www.WholeFoods.com

1 whole wheat pizza crust, (I used the Trader Joes pizza dough)
1/2 cup salsa, plus more for serving
1/4 pound part-skim mozzarella, shredded, divided
1 cup no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1 organic boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, diced

Method
Preheat oven to 425°F. Arrange crust on a pizza stone or large baking sheet. Spread salsa over crust and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with beans, corn, olives, chicken and remaining cheese and bake until crust is crisp and cheese is bubbly, about 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and avocado, cut into 8 pieces and serve with more salsa on the side.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Coconut Gelato

I bought an ice cream maker on sale at the start of the summer. You can't be a Mom of two and not have an ice cream maker...right? (Well, that's what I told myself as I was in line buying it anyway!) My Mom used to make home made ice cream every year for my birthday growing up. However this was a huge ordeal. There was rock salt, a lot of standing around and pouring layers of ice and salt while it churned. It was a lot of work, so we didn't do it often. But times have changed and ice cream makers have gotten much more user friendly. This recipe took no more than 5 minutes to put together, and about 40 minutes of churning before we had cold creamy coconut gelato! YUM!
This is dairy free, but FULL of all the creamy flavor of real ice cream. Only three ingredients, you can't go wrong!


Coconut Gelato
Recipe from www.weelicious.com
2 13 oz Cans Coconut Milk, unsweetened
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 Cup Agave

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
2. Pour the mixture into a ice cream maker and freeze (churn) according to manufacturer’s instructions.
3. Transfer to a container and freeze for 2-3 hours or until firm.
4. Serve.
* If you don’t own an ice cream machine, you can pour the mixture into Popsicle molds and freeze for 3-4 hours. Might be good to add crushed pineapple to the mixture as well.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Breakfast Quinoa

This morning I thought quinoa would be a new alternative to oatmeal. I went to Santa Barbara's Backyard Bowls for breakfast the other day and had a hard time making a decision off their amazing menu. So, I ordered something else and wrote down the ingredients to this yummy sounding meal. It turned out to be one of my new healthy favorites! Quinoa is a complete protein that contains lots of amino acids, so it's a great way to start your day. It's not just for dinner anymore in this house : )

Breakfast Quinoa
1/2 cup Quinoa
1 cup almond, rice or any milk you like
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins
1/8 cup almonds (slivered or whole)
2 Tb. sunflower seeds
fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas or any fruit you desire.
1 Tb. flax seeds and or wheat germ for sprinkling
honey to taste

1. Bring almond milk, cinnamon and quinoa to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until the germ separates from the seed.
2. Let stand for about 3 minutes to become fully fluffy.
3. Add raisins, nuts, and seeds, stir to combine.
4. Top with fruit, flax seeds/ wheat germ and honey to taste.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lemon-Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

I have been on a pancake kick lately. I used to make eggs all the time, but other than the awesome breakfast burritos I made yesterday (looking for something spicy to induce labor), eggs just haven't done it for me. In fact, the thought of them just makes me a little nauseous. I had some fresh lemons and berries I got yesterday from a great farm just north of here in Avila Beach, so lemon-blueberry pancakes won this morning. They turned out really good and everyone had seconds, I will be making these again. It was a good way to start the sunny warm day we woke up to!

Lemon-Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Recipe from www.deestroyer.blogspot.com

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 T. sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup egg substitute (I used 2 egg whites)
2 cups buttermilk
2 T. canola oil
3 T. light pancake syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups small blueberries

1. In a medium bowl, place the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Blend with a whisk.
2. In a mixing bowl, place the egg, egg substitute, buttermilk, oil, syrup, vanilla and lemon zest. whisk until smooth.
3. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Do not over mix. Let batter rest for 10 minutes.
4. Preheat nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat until a drop of water skittles across it.
5. Pour the batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto the hot griddle. Sprinkle blueberries on top of each pancake. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form on pancakes. Turn over with spatula and cook until the pancakes are golden brown. Serve with syrup if desired.

Recipe serves 6.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

These are yummy! Soft and chewy, and they stay that way for several days! I was going to make chocolate chip cookies again, since they were soo good and I gave most of them away for Father's day, but I decided I should add oats and make my next batch a little bit healthier : ) Fortunately I gave a lot of these away to my Mom for watching Owen, and my friend who just had a baby, so I can't eat them all! (Because I really could!)

Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe from Canyon Ranch, Nourish cookbook
4 Tb. (1/2 stick) butter
⅓ C low fat cream cheese
1 C brown sugar
1 egg yolks
¾ tsp vanilla extract
¾ C all-purpose flour
1½ C rolled oats
¾ tsp aluminum free baking powder
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt
½ C raisins and or dried cranberries (I used a little of both)
1/4 C chocolate chips (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat baking sheet with canola oil spray or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and brown sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix briefly. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add to creamed mixture and mix until all dry ingredients are moistened. Portion heaping teaspoonfuls of dough, about ¼ ounce, onto baking sheet about 1½ inches apart. Bake for 7 minutes. Lightly flatten with finger. Rotate baking sheet and bake for another 4 minutes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cranberry Banana Oat Bread

I am always looking for the perfect banana bread recipe that is easy and doesn't call for too much sugar. I had three spotted over ripe bananas looking at me today and they were begging to be used in a new recipe. Well, I think I finally found one worth putting on the blog. I found this one on the Whole Foods website and it turned out perfect! It was moist, and hearty enough to have for breakfast without being too sweet. It's a winner!

Cranberry Banana Oat Bread
Recipe adapted from www.Wholefoodsmarket.com

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup quick oats
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups ripe mashed banana pulp (about 3 bananas)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used evaporated cane juice which is less processed)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I think this fall/ winter I will use fresh cranberries)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon or orange
1 Tb. wheat germ for sprinkling on top

Method
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pan with a small amount of margarine.

Whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, salt, cranberries and nuts in a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk bananas, eggs and oil together in a separate bowl. Add sugar, cranberries, lemon juice, and zest; mix until blended. Gently stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over mix the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Evenly sprinkle the top with wheat germ and bake until lightly browned, 45 to 50 minutes. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan, about 1 hour. Turn the bread out onto a cutting board and, using a serrated bread knife, slice the bread into 3/4-inch thick pieces. Arrange on a platter and serve.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Salmon En Croute

The cookbook says this is easy to make. It is fairly simple, yet it does take some time and some kitchen space (which I don't have a ton of either of those things). I am posting the recipe because the salmon turned out beautifully and it was pretty tasty, even the left overs the next day straight out of the fridge.
I have been craving salmon a lot the past few weeks, so Adam brought some home from the fish market the other night and this is what we decided to do with it:

Salmon En Croute
Recipe by Nourish Cookbook

For the Crust
1 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
4-6 Tb. ice water

For the caper sauce
2 tsp. capers, rinsed and drained
1 Tb. minced fresh chives
1 1/4 tsp. chopped fresh dill
3 Tb. plus 1 tsp sour cream, or plain yogurt
1/4 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

one 1 lb. salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 Tb. Dijon mustard (I used a lot less than this because I didn't want it to be too spicy, but I should have just followed directions, I think I would have liked a little more mustard.)
2 Tb. minced shallots
2/3 cup spinach, washed (I added a lot more than this because it cooks down to very little)
1 large egg


Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 and spray a baking sheet with canola oil.

2. For the crust, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well. Cut the butter into the flour, using a pastry cutter until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the water 1 Tb. at a time mixing gently with a fork after each addition. the dough will begin to form a ball when enough water has been added. Gather the dough with dry hands and form it in to a ball. Let rest for 5 minutes.

3. Combine all ingredients from the caper sauce and mix well. Set aside

4. Season the salmon with the salt and pepper. Spread with mustard.

5. On a floured surface roll out the dough into an 8x12 inch rectangle. Spread the shallots and spinach over the center of the pastry. Place the salmon mustard sided down on top of the spinach so that the mustard is in contact with the vegetables. Wrap the dough around the salmon, sealing the edges, then flip the pastry upside down so that the salmon is on the bottom and the veggies are on top. Place on the baking sheet.

6. Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush over the top of pastry. With a sharp knife, score the pastry evenly.

7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

8. Cut into four equal portions and serve each portion with 2 Tb. caper sauce.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fresh Lentil Tabbouleh

This is one of those dishes that lasts forever, is healthy and complete as a meal, or a great side dish. It packs in a lot of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, including iron, which I am happy to eat since our family does not eat red meat, and little animal protein in general.

Lentil Tabbouleh
Recipe by www.peanutbutterandjargon.com
2 cups cooked bulgur wheat (from about 1 cup dry)
2 – 2 1/2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (from about 1 cup dry)
2 cups chopped English cucumber
1 cup chopped seeded tomato
1 cup chopped green onions (green and light green parts)
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large bowl, gently toss together bulgur through parsley. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat. Check for seasonings, cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (can be made a day in advance, which improves the flavor).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lemon Risotto with Leeks, Peas and Tarragon

I finally cleaned out the fridge and freezer as one of the last nesting chores I had on my list! It feels good to have some organization in there!!! Naturally, I tried to find as many ingredients that needed using for as few recipes as possible. Leeks and (4 bags of OPEN) frozen peas were on the list, so a summery risotto is what became of them. It was also the night of game 7 of the Celtics/ Laker game, so I needed a recipe that was green of white of course ; ) Sadly, my color coordinated meal did not pay off for the Celtics, however, our tummies were happy at least!

Lemon Risotto with Leeks, Peas and Tarragon
Recipe Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
4-5 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped leeks (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup chopped shallot (about 3 small)
1 cup arborio rice
3 T dry white wine
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (or fresh, blanched)
1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (2 oz)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T freshly chopped tarragon
1 T butter (I only put in about a teaspoon and didn't think it was necessary)

  • Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add leek and shallots to pan and cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.
  • Add rice and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add wine and cook 30 seconds or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in 1 cup stock. Cook 4 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total).
  • Stir in peas and cook 1 minute. Stir in cheese, zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in tarragon and butter.

    Serves 2-4

Friday, June 11, 2010

Eggplant "Fries"


I bought two eggplants the other day with no idea what I was going to do with them. I searched for some quick recipe ideas with what I had in my fridge already and eggplant "fries" was the winner!


Eggplant "Fries"
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into sticks.
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 TB olive oil

Preheat oven to 400.
In a large bowl, combine Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs until mixed. Peel the eggplant, and slice into 1/2 inch sticks. Toss eggplant with olive oil. Place them in the bread crumb mixture bowl until coated and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve with a side of marinara for dipping, or just eat plain.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strawberry Muffins

We went to breakfast last week at Max's and had some amazing homemade strawberry muffins fresh out of the oven. Since strawberries are in season right now and the farmer's markets are over flowing with them, I couldn't wait to go home and make my own! Ironically I got an email from, you guessed it, weelicious.com for strawberry muffins with no white sugar the same day! I made them minutes after seeing her blog post.
Lately my muffins have been on the dense side and have tossed them after a few days when even Owen won't eat more than 2 bites of them (I don't post those recipes : ). But THESE muffins were absolutely perfect! Light, airy, sweet, but not overly sweet and FULL of fresh strawberries. I made 1 dozen and they were all gone the next day! Please do yourself and your family a favor and make these muffins!


Strawberry Muffins (Makes 12 Muffins)
Recipe from www.weelicious.com
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Large Egg
3/4 Cup Milk (low fat or whole cow’s milk, almond, rice or soy milk will work)
1/4 Cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
1/2 Cup Honey or Agave Nectar (I used a 1/4 cup of each)
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Lemon Zest
1 1/2 Cups Strawberries, chopped (I added 1/2 cup more and did not regret it)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a bowl, combine the first 3 ingredients.‬
3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and add milk, oil, honey, vanilla, and lemon zest and stir.‬
4. Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet until incorporated (try not to over mix the batter).‬
5. Add the strawberries to the batter and slowly combine.‬
6. Line or grease muffin tins and fill 2/3 of the way with batter.‬
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean.‬
8. Cool and serve.‬

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cream Cheese-Stuffed French Toast

French toast is always good, but STUFFED French toast is even better! I had some sprouted whole grain bread in the fridge that needed to be used, and this is my favorite way of using it up. Once again, my Nourish cookbook didn't disappoint! The beauty of this recipe is there are so many different variations of this dish. I've got lots of ideas in my head of what I am going to do next. I am thinking coconut milk batter for the bread, and some banana and pineapple filling possibly? Or maybe peanut butter and banana filling. Hmmmmm.

Cream Cheese-Stuffed French Toast
Recipe adapted from Canyon Ranch Nourish Cookbook
1/4 cup low fat cream cheese
6 slices multi grain bread
1 cup fresh berries (or thawed frozen berries if you don't have fresh on hand)
1/2 banana sliced thinly
1/2 cup non fat milk
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
canola oil spray
Maple syrup to taste

With a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese in a small bowl until softened. Evenly spread 1 Tb. of cream cheese on 1 slice of bread. Top the cream cheese with 1/4 cup of berries and a few slices of banana to cover. Top with the second slice of bread to form a sandwich. Repeat with remaining ingredients. (I actually used a bit more cream cheese than the recipe suggests. I put some on each piece of the bread)

Beat together the milk, eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla in a wide, shallow bowl. Dip each sandwich into the egg mixture, coating both sides.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and lightly coat with canola oil spray. Cook each sandwich until golden on both sides.

Serve with maple syrup.

Serves 3

Friday, May 7, 2010

Quinoa and Chickpeas

It's time to hit the farmer's market tomorrow. I looked in my fridge tonight for dinner and remembered I had to use up some canned tomatoes from a recipe I used the other day. We still needed protein, carbs, and veggies however. So, I pulled out some quinoa, added water, tomatoes, spices and then got online to look up recipes to see what else I could add. As much as I love to cook, I am always a little frightened by what I come up with on my own. I am much more comfortable using a tried and true recipe from someone else. (Unless it's something sweet, simple, or a salad of some sort). Most of these ingredients you can find in your pantry or freezer without having to go to the store.

I found several recipes that were very similar in their ingredients and were exactly what I was thinking, and actually had on hand! I have to say this turned out really good and Owen ate every last bite, repeating the words, "good dinner Mommy" over and over again :) My stamp of approval has been won! I served it along with some steamed green beans tossed with lemon zest, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil. Owen gobbled those up as well!

Quinoa and Chickpeas
Recipe adapted from several sources, including www.weelicious.com and allrecipes.com
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes (or fresh if you have them)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tb. grape seed oil
1/2 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen
1 cup rinsed and drained chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 clove of garlic, minced
juice of one small lime
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tb. chopped fresh parsley (cilantro would be good too)

Rinse and soak quinoa for 15 minutes to help remove any bitter taste. Bring water, canned tomatoes (if you are using fresh tomatoes, don't cook them, just add them at the end instead), cumin and quinoa to a boil. Place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to a simmer for 15 minutes until done. Stir in grape seed oil, corn, garlic, lime juice, parsley and salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy. This dish will probably taste good cold as well. I'll find out tomorrow!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pumpkin Crunch

I saw this recipe in my current favorite cookbook, Canyon Ranch, Nourish, and had to make it. It sounded good, somewhat healthy and looked easy. Turns out, it is delicious and would also be a fantastic snack in the fall or winter with all the spices used.

Pumpkin Crunch
Recipe adapted from Canyon Ranch, Nourish
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp. canola oil
2 Tb. pure maple syrup
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300. lightly spray a baking sheet with canola oil

Toss the pumpkin seeds with the canola oil in a small bowl. Spread the seeds evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes or until almost dry. (the recipe originally called for 1 1/2 tsp. of oil, but I found that it was too much and took way too long to dry in the oven.)

Place the pumpkin seeds in a medium bowl and stir in the maple syrup and oats until coated.

Combine the spices in a small bowl and add the spice mixture to the seeds. Stir to combine.

Return the pumpkin seeds to the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, or until dry, stirring occasional. Turn the pan several times to ensure even roasting, checking frequently- seeds burn easily. Set aside until completely cool, about 30 minutes.

Combine the seeds and dried cranberries in a large bowl and store in a tightly sealed container.

*Omit the oats or add gluten free oats to make this entirely gluten free.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Double Chocolate Brownies

I can't stop baking during this pregnancy! Last week I made AMAZING chocolate chip cookies http://mammasmeals.blogspot.com/2009/10/chocolate-chip-cookies.html, this week was even better brownies, and currently I have some pumpkin seed cranberry granola in the oven (stay tuned for that recipe). It feels like my oven is always on lately, no pun intended (re: pregnancy :).

OK, so these are not the healthiest thing on my blog, but at least it's homemade and not processed or from a mix. These brownies were so easy to make, contain much less fat and calories than the "normal" brownie, and so moist! Not too fudgy, not too cakey, just perfectly divine chocolate goodness!

Double Chocolate Brownies
Recipe from Canyon Ranch, Nourish cookbook

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 Tb. unsalted butter
1/4 cup nonfat sour cream (I used Greek yogurt instead)
3/4 cup light brown sugar (I substituted half of this with rapadura sugar which is the least processed of sugar and contains a higher mineral count. You can get it at health food stores).
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 325. Lightly coat an 8x8 pan with canola oil spray

2. Melt the chocolate chips, butter and sour cream in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the flower, cocoa, baking powder and salt and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick insertedinto the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire reack. Cut into 16 servings. Store in a covered container.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuna Caserole

Growing up, my Mom used to make tuna caserole all the time. Now I know why...it's so easy! It's a fast healthy way to make a complete one dish meal, veggies included!

3 cups Whole grain spiral pasta, or egg noodles
1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
1 or 2 cans of tuna
3/4 cup grated cheese (I used a mix of mozzerella, cheddar and gouda)
1/2 cup sliced olives
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1 cup frozen peas or any veggie you have on hand (spinach, cauliflour, broccoli, or grated carrots are all good options)
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup wheat germ

Heat oven to 350
Boil pasta till al dente, and drain.
While pasta is cooking, mix all the ingredients (except the wheat germ) in a large bowl and set aside.
Add cooked pasta to the sauce and mix until the noodles are fully coated.
Transfer mixture to a glass casserole dish and top with wheat germ.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Enjoy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Vegetarian Bolognese


I asked Owen what he wanted for dinner and he replied "pasta" as a fairly frequent response. I remembered that I recently came accross a recipe for a vegetarian bolognese sauce that I wanted to try, so pasta it was! This meal was packed with fiber, veggies, potassium and protein. It tasted like it was from a restaurant. So Yummy!!! I even had seconds, and I rarely do. I will be soon doubling the recipe next time so I can freeze it for a quick easy dinner after baby #2 arrives!
Though you can use any noodle you prefer, I used whole wheat angel hair pasta. You can make this meal gluten free by using GF pasta. There is one I recently tried made from quinoa and it's even better than standard pasta I think!

Bean Bolognese
Recipe by Eating Well Magazine

1 14-ounce can salad beans, or other beans (I just used canelli), rinsed, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation
1.Put a large pot of water on to boil. Mash 1/2 cup beans in a small bowl with a fork.
2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add onion, carrot, celery and salt; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
Add garlic and bay leaf; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
Add wine; increase heat to high and boil until most of the liquid evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices, 2 tablespoons parsley and the mashed beans.
Bring to a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 6 minutes.
Add the remaining whole beans; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in the boiling water until just tender, about 9 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
4. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Discard the bay leaf and top the pasta with the sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan and the remaining parsley.

Southwest Corn Muffins

I hope Catherine McCord from www.weelicious.com is flattered and not annoyed that I always post her recipes, but I use them a lot and they are so good! I want to put them on my blog so I remember my favorites and can share with friends what we have tried, tested and approved!

Muffins are so easy to make and even easier to grab for a snack on the go. I made a few adjustments to this recipe to include a little less fat (cheese) and more protein, (black beans) but still plenty of flavor. They are super moist, slightly salty and delicious!

Southwest Corn Muffins
Recipe adapted by www.weelicious.com
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Egg
5 Tbsp Butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbsp honey or agave nectar
3/4 Cup Cheddar Cheese, grated
1/2 Cup Frozen Corn Kernels, thawed (I used frozen roasted corn kernels)
1/4 Cup Black Beans, drained and rinsed.
2 oz Diced Pimentos or mild green chilies, drained (about 2 tbsp)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Sift the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and egg and whisk to combine.
4. Add the butter and agave to the buttermilk and egg mixture and whisk thoroughly.
5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients incorporating a little at a time until thoroughly combined (make sure not to over-mix the batter).
6. Stir in the cheddar cheese, corn kernels, beans and pimentos or chilies.
7. Pour into greased or lined muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes.
8. Cool on a rack and serve. Owen couldn't wait to get his hot little hands on these as soon as they came out of the oven!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garbanzo Burgers

Once again, it was 5:30 and I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner for Owen and I tonight. I went to my trusty www.weelicious.com site and made these awesome garbanzo burgers in no time. We were out of avocados, so I served it along steamed beets, sauteed beet greens, and topped our burgers with diced cucumbers in plain yogurt and lemon. Delicious, and Owen ate every bite! I made them a few months ago and really liked it, but never got around to posting the recipe. They were good enough to repeat, so here it is!

Garbanzo Burgers
Recipe from, www.Weelicious.com
1 15 Oz. Can Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Small Carrot, chopped
1 Garlic Clove
1 Small Onion, chopped
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Bread Crumbs (I used whole grain)
2 Tsp Sesame Seeds
1 Tbsp Oil
*You can place these on buns, although I didn't this time.

1. Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.
2. Place garbanzo bean mixture in a bowl and combine with remaining ingredients.
3. Place 1/4 cup of mixture in your hands and form into patties (I used an ice cream scooper to portion the patties-mixture will be moist).
4. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.
5. Cook the patties for 5 minutes.
6. Turn the patties, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
7. Serve.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spinach-Dill Pie

Lets start off with saying that Adam isn't the largest spinach fan in the world. He will eat it if it is in front of him, but he would hardly choose it if he had a choice. I, on the other hand, Love it and always have. It's one of my favorite ingredients for a quiche as well. We went to farmers market this morning and got tons of veggies for the week. Dill, parsley and fresh eggs were at the top of my list so I could make this dish for dinner tonight. I served this along with roasted rosemary new potatoes, and a salad. By the end of our meal, I counted that we had over 9 different veggies in just one meal! (I usually make a pretty colorful salad with the works).

I used two overlapping whole wheat tortillas in the bottom of my pie dish for the crust, instead of the called for phyllo dough. This saved on fat, calories, time, and it tasted great. I am planning on doing this more often for my quiches that require a crust. It was easy to put together, super flavorful and delicious! Adam had two helpings if that gives you a sense of how tasty this turned out : )
Picture taken from Martha Stewart's Living. (My picture could not compete!)
Spinach-Dill Pie
Recipe Adapted by Martha Stewart's Living, April 2001

10 ounces spinach, well washed, tough stems removed (I used frozen, thawed and drained)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 onion, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
2 large whole eggs
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 whole wheat tortillas (*to make this gluten free, try replacing with corn tortillas, a gluten free pie crust, or omit the crust completely).

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roughly chop spinach leaves; set aside. Heat butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add spinach; cook until wilted and bright green, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a colander to cool and drain. When mixture is cool enough to handle, press lightly with paper towels to remove excess moisture; set aside to cool.

2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, eggs and egg whites, parsley, dill, Parmesan, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir in cooled spinach mixture; set aside.

3. Place the tortillas in the bottom of a pie dish so they are overlapping and you have a 'crust' around the edges.

4. Spoon filling into the dish, spreading it evenly. Bake until golden brown and filling is set, about 1 hour. Cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mamma's Island Oatmeal

I was never a big fan of oatmeal growing up. I learned to love it as I got older, and we have it several times a week for breakfast now. It's a great way to start your day and I love that you can make it so many different ways. Recently I made rice pudding with coconut milk and cardamom and really liked it. So, this morning I thought, why not try that with oats? So glad I did! It's warm creamy and delicious! Everyone in the family loved it! : ) Here is my recipe.

Mamma's Island Oatmeal
1 Cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 Cup water
3/4 Cup light coconut milk
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 Cup raisins
1/8 Cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup bananas and or mangoes, diced in large chunks (optional)
honey or agave nectar to taste (optional)

In a medium sauce pan, place oats, water, coconut milk, spices and raisins. Put on medium heat and stir occasionally until it's at your desired consistency, about 5 minutes or so. When done, serve in individual bowls and top with almonds, fresh fruit and honey or agave nectar and enjoy!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hummus

One of Owen's all time favorite foods is hummus. He often asks for it at restaurants, and we usually get a chuckle from the wait staff, as most 2 year olds are asking for chicken fingers and french fries.

What's great about hummus is that it is full of protein and fiber and it makes a nice snack to refuel my non-stop action child! This is something that literally takes minutes to prepare and is much cheaper and fresher to make at home than buying it at the store. It's so versatile as well. I have made this recipe many different ways. Some of my favorite things to add to the puree is either a few kalamata olives, or 1/2 a roasted red pepper, 2 Tb. sun dried tomatoes, or 3 Tb. of chopped cilantro or basil.

Jamie Oliver is one of my favorite chefs. The man knows how to create good food. Most of his recipes are simple (which is right up my ally) and full of flavor. I discovered that his recipe for hummus (or as his cute English way of writing it "humous") is simply the best I have found yet. It comes out perfect every time. So, after years of making this, I am sharing his recipe with you!

Humous

Recipe adapted from: Jamie Oliver, The Naked Chef

1 12oz. can of chickpeas
1 small dried red chili (since I make this for Owen I omit this part or add very little cayenne)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 1/2 Tb. tahini (sesame seed paste, sold everywhere)
4 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice to taste (approx. 2 Tb)
1 Tb. fresh parsley, basil or thyme

Rinse and drain the beans. In a food processor, finely chop the garlic, then add the chickpeas, chili, cumin and tahini and pulse until smooth. Add the salt, pepper, oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs to taste. Add a bit of water if you like yours a little thinner. Chill for at least 1 hour and serve. Have fun with the recipe and let me know if you come up with another delicious twist to add to yours!
Serve as a spread on a sandwich, or with crudites, pita triangles, or crackers, and enjoy!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Salmon Burgers

Once again, Catherine McCord has made my life easier! She is the author of Weelicious.com, a food blog that I follow religiously. When I have nothing planned for dinner and it's just Owen and I (because Adam is at work), her blog is the first place I turn to find a fast healthy dinner recipe. Tonight was the second time I have made her salmon burgers and they couldn't be any easier and nutritious!

Salmon Burgers (Serves 4)Recipe by http://www.weelicious.com/

1 Lb. Fresh Salmon, skinned (I actually used two 6 oz cans instead of boneless and skinless wild Alaskan salmon)
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Capers
1 Tbsp Fresh or 1 Tsp Dried Dill
1 Tbsp Oil

*Note, I added some carrot pulp to my burgers tonight only because I had it and thought, why not?! Feel free to add a small amount of other veggies to the food processor, like kale, or spinach etc...

Accompaniments: Lemon Yogurt Sauce, Mayonnaise, Avocado, Tomato or Lettuce
Buns or Rolls. (I made a quick tartar sauce with sweet pickle relish, lemon and mayo tonight)

1. Place the first 5 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until just combined (you should still see tiny pieces of salmon).
2. Form into patties and place on a sheet tray lined with foil or plastic wrap (mixture will be sticky. Using wet hands will make forming the patties much easier).
3. Cover and refrigerate the salmon patties for 1 hour. (I skipped this step and it was fine)
3. Heat oil over medium/high heat in a large skillet.
4. Cook the patties for 3 minutes on each side.
5. Place on a bun and top with desired accompaniments.
6. Serve.


Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This is one of the easiest gluten free cookie recipes I have ever come across. I was recently introduced to a magazine called Clean Eating. I LOVE it. I found this recipe on the last page of this months' issue and thought, only SIX ingredients, this is too easy not to try. Sure enough, easy shmeezy, delicious soft chewy cookies that don't ever get dry and hard! A must make cookie! Oh and the best part....it only takes 20 minutes from start to finish! Since there is no flour, you just need one bowl, so even the clean up is a cinch!

Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Clean Eating Magazine, March/April 2010 (Makes 20 Cookies)

1 cup unsalted almond butter, stirred well
3/4 cup Sucanat (I used rapadura sugar from the bulk bins at my co-op. It is the least processed of all sugars. It is the raw sugar cane ground up to a brown powder. You can get it at any health food store, or whole foods)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater), broken into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl. stir together the first 5 ingredients until blended. Stir in chocolate. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 15 more minutes.

*Sorry no pictures, they were eaten faster than they should have been!

Carrot Oat Bars

One of Owen's favorite things in the whole world is carrot juice. He usually makes this at his Nanna's house after picking carrots in her garden, scrubbing them in the sink and helping her put them in the juicer. I make it too, but hate the clean up from the juicer, so I don't make it as often as I should. I just planted a ton of carrots in our garden, so I am sure in the next few months I will be doing a lot more juicing!

This morning he was begging for carrot juice, so I pulled out my monster juicer (dusted it off) and filled his sippy cup with the golden liquid. He was happy, and now I had a lot of carrot pulp that was asking to be used instead of tossed. I had recently marked a recipe from the Whole Foods website that I wanted to make that called for grated carrots, so that's what I made. Carrot Oat Cake. (I changed the name from "cake" to "bars" because it's not very cake like, and more like a hearty moist granola bar)

It turned out really yummy! Even better, is that it is filling, full of nutrients, fiber and no processed sugar! It makes the perfect snack, breakfast or dessert, and I don't feel bad giving any of this to Owen because of all the good stuff in it. He absolutely LOVED it! This is a keeper.

Carrot Oat Bars
Recipe adapted from Whole Foods Market

Natural cooking spray
1 cup rolled or quick cooking oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots (I used the carrot pulp from my juicer and added a touch of pineapple/coconut juice to add back some of the liquid that was lost when it was juiced)
1 cup pure maple syrup (I used a little bit less than what it called for and it was still very sweet)
1 cup dried currants (I used 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup dried cranberries)
1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly oil a (9-inch) square baking pan with cooking spray and set it aside.

Pulse oats and walnuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt and mix well. In a second large bowl, combine carrots, maple syrup, currants, coconut and vanilla. Add carrot mixture to flour mixture and stir until completely incorporated. Transfer to prepared pan and bake until cooked through and deep golden brown, about 1 hour. Set aside to let cool before cutting into squares.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thai Noodle Salad

I first discovered Thai food when I was living in New York. Brooklyn had some pretty amazing Thai restaurants with delicious food, spicy martinis, and beautiful ambiance. I was hooked after my first experience. The dishes that involved coconut milk, lemon grass or peanut sauce always kept me coming back for more. The food is simple with few ingredients usually, but it always tastes so good!

Since I can't fly to NY on a whim and eat at Planet Thailand in Williamsburg, it was time to recreate it without leaving my kitchen. By the way, you'll get 100% of your daily vitamin C with this dish! It's great cold the next day out of the fridge for lunch too.

Thai Noodle Salad
Recipe adapted by www.babyfit.com

6 oz. dried vermicelli (thin rice noodles)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 package of extra firm organic tofu (feel free to substitute this with chicken or shrimp)
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 red sweet pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
3 green onions, cut diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. sesame seeds for garnish
lime wedges for garnish

1. Place the tofu between two folded towels and place a heavy pot or pan on top of it for 10-20 minutes to release some of the water. Place tofu in terriayki or soy sauce marinade for a few minutes (or more if you have the time). Slice it in to cubes. Heat sesame oil in skillet on medium high heat and cook tofu until brown on all sides. About 5 minutes.

2. Cook vermicelli according to package instructions, drain and set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, combine soy sauce, broth, peanut butter, lime juice, ginger and crushed red pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until peanut butter is melted.

4. Add cooked pasta and toss to coat evenly

5. Stir in tofu, sweet red pepper, green onions and cilantro.

6. Serve with lime wedges.

*Note, you might want to double the recipe for the sauce. Though it was fine for us, I would have preferred a bit more sauce.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pumpkin Pasta

Once again, it was a last minute night for dinner. What are we going to have? I had a few options in my head, but I seemed to be missing one main ingredient for each meal I was hoping to make. So, I turned to the great Martha Stewart online and found this interesting and healthy dish. I wasn't too sure it was going to be tasty by reading the ingredients, I mean, baked pasta and NO cheese? Is she crazy? But we gave it a go and we were all impressed without any cheese (though I did put a little Parmesan on top before serving ; ). It's a filling meal packed with vitamins, fiber and protein. Owen had two bowls, which made me very happy!

Pumpkin Pasta
Recipe by Martha Stewart

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound gemelli pasta, cooked and drained (I used whole wheat Penne instead)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch (about 8 ounces) kale, thick stems removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces *I used 1/2 a bag of frozen spinach thawed and drained.
1 can (29 ounces) pumpkin puree, (not pumpkin-pie filling)
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons jarred sun-dried tomato pesto
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1/2 cup unblanched almonds, sliced

Directions
1.Cook pasta, and drain; reserve. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add kale; cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add pumpkin, broth, and pesto, and nutritional yeast, if using; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

2.Toss pasta with pumpkin-kale mixture. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or eight individual dishes. Top with almonds. Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes.

3. Enjoy!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mamma's Frittata

Quiche is one of our favorite dishes, but it's loaded with fat and calories from the crust. With a frittata, you get all the good stuff a quiche has without the cream and fattening crust, and in half the time. This breakfast is a great way to start your day. It's fairly quick to make, tastes great, and it's full of veggies and protein. Feel free to use whatever vegetables or cheese you have around that need using.

Mamma's Frittata
8 eggs
1 Tb. butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black or white pepper
1-2 leeks, sliced (or you can use 1 small shallot, diced small)
5-6 small new potatoes, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, diced
8-10 asparagus spears diced
1 package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained well (or use fresh if you can)
1 tsp. dried or fresh thyme
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated

Preheat oven to broil.
Melt butter in a large cast iron (or oven proof) skillet on medium heat.
Add potatoes, red peppers and shallots or leeks and saute for 3-5 minutes.
Place a lid on the skillet for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are firm but tender.
Meanwhile, mix the eggs and milk with seasonings and set aside. I put all of my ingredients and mixed it in the blender for a few seconds.
When the potatoes are done, add garlic to the skillet and saute for 1 minute.
Add the spinach and asparagus and saute for another few minutes.
Pour egg mixture over the vegetables and stir.
Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and cook for about 4 more minutes until the eggs start
to set.
Place in the broiler for 3-4 minutes until lightly brown and fluffy.
Let it rest for a few minutes, slice and serve.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mini Turkey Meat Loaves

This is probably the healthiest, yet best tasting turkey meat loaf I have had yet. I only cook chicken or turkey maybe once or twice every month, so when I do make it, I am always impressed when it actually turns out. My dear meat eating husband, Adam LOVED this recipe and asked me to post this one on the blog, so here it is.

Mini Turkey Meat Loaves

Recipe adapted from, Weelicious.com

1/2 Cup Spinach, (thawed and drained if using frozen) chopped
1/2 Cup Onion, chopped
1/2 Cup Red and or yellow Bell Pepper
1/2 Cup Baby Carrots, chopped
1 Egg, beaten
1 Garlic Clove
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 pinch dried Rosemary
1 pinch dried Thyme
1 tsp. dried Basil
*1/2 Cup soft Bread Crumbs (I put a slice of whole wheat sourdough in the food processor to make mine) * To make this gluten free, you can replace the bread crumbs with ground rolled oats instead.
1/4 Cup Cheddar Cheese, white or orange, shredded
1/4 Cup Cottage Cheese
1.25 Lb. Ground Turkey (93% lean ground meat)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray a nonstick muffin tin with vegetable oil cooking spray or grease with oil.
3. Place all of the ingredients, except the turkey, in a food processor and pulse until everything is combined and the vegetables are in tiny pieces.
4. Place the ground turkey and vegetable mixture in a bowl and thoroughly combine (using your hands is the easiest way to do it).
5. Place meatloaf mixture in the muffin pans and pack down with a spoon.
6. Bake until the mini turkey loaves are cooked through or an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165 degrees F, about 40-50 minutes.
7. Cool and serve. We topped ours with organic ketchup, but is not necessary as this is really flavorful. Roasted and herbed Brussel sprouts and new potatoes were a nice side dish to this hearty meal.

Slow Cooked Apple Sauce

We go through a lot of apple sauce at home. I use it as a topping for waffles or pancakes, add it oatmeal or yogurt, or just eat it plain as a healthy snack. I was going to make baked apples for dessert last week, but ended up using pears instead, sooo those baking apples ended up in my crock pot a few days later and they turned into a delicious apple sauce.

Slow Cooked Apple Sauce

6-7 apples (I used tart granny smith from our local farmers market that were slightly damaged), peeled, cored and cubed.
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients in crockpot. Turn on low for 4-6 hours. Remove cinnamon sticks and mash with a masher or a fork. Cool and enjoy!

Note: You can add a pinch of ground cinnamon to your liking.

Homemade Granola

This recipe was so easy, and by far the best granola I have ever had! I have been reading about this amazing bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn called "Baked" for a while now. I decided to get their cookbook at the local library and I think I may just have to buy this one. I love cooking, but I have really taken to baking lately. Just in the past 2 days I have made macaroons (with egg whites), lemon bars (with the egg yolks), and this granola. I am tempted to make peanut butter chocolate chip cookies before the night is over as well. Keep your eyes peeled for more!

Easy Homemade Granola
Recipe adapted from, Baked, New Frontiers in Baking

2 cups roled oats
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tb vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole almonds (I used sliced)
1/3 cup raw cashews (or any nut you like)
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dried apricots (chopped)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the oats and flax seeds with the cinnamon and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla. Wisk until combined.

Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands (A spoon was fine for me) to combine them until all the oats are coated with the honey mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip the granola over with a metal spatula. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and flip over again and sprinkle the cashews over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reomve from the oven. Let cool completely. Sprinkle with dried fruit and store it in an airtight container. It will keep for one week.

Serve with milk or yogurt and fresh fruit if you like.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Easy Crepes

From the first time I ever had a crepe, I was in love. They are so versatile, so easy and oh so good! I have never actually made them myself until last week. I saw a recipe that looked easy and I gave it a shot. I am SO glad I did! I didn't need a fancy crepe pan or anything else, just my day to day non stick skillet and a spatula.

You are on your own for the fillings, as the options are limitless, but here are a few ideas I have tried in the past:
Savory:
1) Sauteed Spinach and Swiss cheese, or Havarti.
2) Sauteed leeks and shredded Brussels sprouts
3) Sauteed mushrooms, with scrambled eggs and cheese
Sweet:
1) Sliced bananas, peanut butter, and a few chocolate chips thrown in (heaven).
2) Fresh lemon juice with a dusting of powdered sugar
3) Warm berries and whipped cream
4) Nutella and any fruit (strawberries and bananas are pretty awesome though)

Easy Crepes
Recipe taken from parentclick.com (Jennifer from Santa Barbara)
1 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of butter
3 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla
a pinch of salt

In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly.

Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.

Heat crepe pan or 7-8 inch skillet over medium heat. (NOTE: A few drops of water will bounce when heat is just right.)

Grease pan lightly.

Pour about 3 tablespoons batter into pan, tilting pan to spread evenly.

When crepe is light brown and set, turn over in pan.

Repeat with remaining batter to make about 14 crepes, stack cooked crepes.

Sprinkle crepes with powdered sugar and/or Jam. Or fill crepes with desired filling. Enjoy!!

NOTE: Batter may be covered and refrigerated up to 2 hours or cooked immediately. Cooked Crepes can be wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days.

Pumpkin Waffles with Pumpkin Butter

We love waffles in this house. They are easy to freeze to always have on hand. Since these waffles have a fair amount of fiber and vitamin packed pumpkin, I don't feel as bad starting the day with white flour. To give you a heads up, this recipe made a LOT of waffles! I served my waffles with a yummy homemade pumpkin butter (recipe below) that was quick and easy to make.

Pumpkin Waffles
Adapted from Weelicious.com
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ground Ginger
4 Eggs
1 Cup Milk (I used rice milk)
1 Cup Buttermilk (I used low fat)
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
6 Tbsp Butter, melted

1. Preheat waffle iron.
2. Sift first 7 ingredients into a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl whisk the remaining ingredients.
4. Whisk the dry ingredients into the liquid mixture and whisk until smooth.
5. Pour about 1/2 cup of the pumpkin batter into a waffle iron that’s been buttered or greased and cook according to manufacturer’s directions.
6. Serve with maple syrup or make into sandwiches filling with cream cheese and whatever other fillings you desire.


Pumpkin Butter (Makes 1 Cup)
Recipe by Weelicious.com
1 Cup Pureed Pumpkin (I used canned)
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/8 Tsp Nutmeg
1/8 Cup Honey
1 Tbsp Agave Nectar
1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1. Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
2. Cool and serve.

Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms and Thyme


We had a long fun day today and I had nothing planned for dinner tonight. Around 4:00 Adam got on Epicurious.com and we made the first quick thing he saw, which was a quinoa risotto. Quinoa is a super grain (actually a seed related to spinach) that is packed with complete protein and contains high levels of potassium and riboflavin, as well as other B vitamins and minerals. I am always excited to try any dish with this ingredient, and who doesn't like risotto? Right?
Turns out this dish was very easy, filling, healthy and good! Here's the recipe!
Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms and Thyme
Recipe from, Bon Appetit January, 2010
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 8-ounce package sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced (I used a dried mixture of mushrooms and soaked them for 20 minutes in warm water....then used the soaking water for the quinoa, but it's not necessary.)
3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 cup dry white wine
Grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 2 cups salted water to boil in medium saucepan. Add quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender and water is absorbed, about 13 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until onion begins to brown, 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and thyme. Sautée; until mushrooms are tender, 6 minutes. Add wine; stir until wine is reduced and liquid is syrupy.

Mix quinoa into mushroom mixture; season with salt and pepper. Top with cheese separately.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vegetable Lentil Soup

As you all know, we love soup in this family. Since we don't eat much meat, I am always happy to find a recipe that includes lentils. They contain high levels of protein, plenty of fiber, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. They are also one of the best vegetarian sources for iron, which is important for growing kids and pregnant women, a win win in our house :) This soup also includes lots of veggies which we love as well. And the taste...well, you should try it, it's super hearty and full of flavor! A new favorite : ) Add some warm crusty bread and call it dinner!

Lentil Vegetable Soup
Recipe adapted by a recipe on babyfit.com

1 cup dried brown lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 leeks, sliced (or you can use 1 medium onion, diced)
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
4 celery stalks (including leaves,)chopped
1 small bunch of kale, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste


1. Pour lentils in a bowl, cover with water, and allow to sit overnight. (Alternatively, you can bring them to a boil in 2 cups of water or broth, then simmer with the lid on for 25 minutes until tender, but not mushy).

2. Over medium heat, cook leeks (or onions) in olive oil in a large soup pan. Add garlic and celery. Once celery begins to soften, add carrots, tomatoes, bay leaf and vegetable stock.

3. Pour in drained lentils.

4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and allow the soup to
simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Remove and discard bay leaf and add vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

I had a butternut squash from my garden, and some carrots that were getting close to the end of their prime that were all waiting to be used. With the cold weather we have been having lately, I decided to put it all into a soup. This was SO Good! The white pepper made it warm and spicy, but not too much. I can't wait to make this again, it didn't stick around our house for very long! Sorry no picture...it's smooth and orange, use your imagination! ; )

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
3 cups peeled, diced butternut squash (about 1 small squash)
2 cups thinly sliced carrot (4 medium)
3/4 cup thinly sliced leek or chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup half-and-half or light cream
sour cream (optional)
Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
Fresh tarragon sprigs (optional)

Directions
1. In a large covered saucepan cook squash, carrot, and leek in hot butter over medium heat about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25 to 35 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Cool slightly.

2. Place one-third of the squash mixture in a food processor or blender. Cover and process or blend until almost smooth. Repeat with remaining squash mixture. Return all of mixture to saucepan. Add white pepper and nutmeg; bring just to boiling. Add half-and-half; heat through. If desired, garnish each serving with sour cream, pumpkin seeds, and/or fresh tarragon.

3. Makes 6 servings (6 cups)

Pineapple Carrot Muffins

These muffins are delicious! They are moist, have no refined sugar, still sweet and full of good stuff! Owen helped me put all the ingredients in (except the eggs) and we "mix, mix, mixed." 20 minutes later, Voila, we had yummy muffins fresh out of the oven. Adam packed them up as part of Owen's snack at the zoo today. They were a hit! Enjoy!

Pineapple Carrot Muffins (Makes 18 Muffins)
Recipe by www.weelicious.com

1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Butter, melted
1/2 Cup Agave Nectar
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Pineapple, chopped fine and drained well OR 1 8 oz Can Crushed Pineapple, drained well
1 Cup Shredded Carrot (about 2 Large Carrots) I put mine in the food processor.
1/2 Cup Walnuts, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees,
2. In a large bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate bowl combine the butter and agave using a whisk or an electric beater to combine.
4. Add the eggs and whisk to combine.
5. Add the vanilla, pineapple, carrots and walnuts (if using) to the butter mixture.
6. Stir in the dry ingredients, making sure not to over mix.
7. Pour the batter into regular size, paper lined muffin cups.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Cool and serve.