Pumpkin Pom Salad


Oh yum!  I want to make this again.  It sure was tasty!

I found this recipe on pinterest.  They used sweet potato but my husband prefers pumpkin and I love both so no biggie!  I didn't really measure the salad ingredients.  I just grabbed a big plate and piled stuff on.  Is there really any need to measure when good, wholesome, salad ingredients are involved?!

kent pumpkin (I just roasted a bunch thinking I'd keep the leftovers, there were no leftovers!)
baby salad greens (baby kale, spinach, rocket (arugula), etc.)
pomegranate seeds
crumbled feta
pistachios, toasted & chopped
coriander (cilantro), chopped
2-3 chopped spring onions, white and green parts



I did the dressing just as the recipe called for, adjusting just a little bit to taste:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 clove minced garlic
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste
 
Preheat your oven to 400F/200C. Chop the pumpkin into bite size pieces. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 20ish minutes.  I just keep tasting after 20 minutes til they are the consistency I like. (possible reason there were no leftovers?!)

Mix all dressing ingredients.  I just threw them all in a mason jar and shook it up.

Assemble salad.  I started with greens and coriander (which is technically a green), then added the pumpkin, pomegranate seeds, spring onions and feta.  Top with dressing and pistachios.



Haloumi and Lime? Ok, I'll try it!

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This is delicious. We all really liked it.  I'm making it again this week! I don't have to tell you that I found the recipe through Pinterest, my go to place for recipe searching! I did take a few shortcuts though ... like, I cooked the quinoa in my rice cooker and I used lentils out of a can.  And you may notice that the recipe calls for asparagus but there is none in my photo.  Would you believe that both stores I went to were SOLD OUT!?!  Ugh.  I substituted mushrooms and that was delicious but I can't wait to try it again this week with asparagus!  I doubled this recipe but you didn't really need to double everything (like the haloumi) so here is how I did it and the measurements I used.

1x400g can puy lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
200g cooked quinoa (I did mine in the rice cooker with a bit of chicken stock)
2 bunches of asparagus, chopped
a handful of mushrooms, sliced
180g piece haloumi, sliced 
2 to 4 limes 
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
6 spring onions, chopped
1 long green chilli, deseeded and finely diced
a handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

Sautee the asparagus and mushrooms with a little bit of olive oil.  

In a big bowl, combine lentils, quinoa, asparagus and mushrooms.  Add olive oil, red wine vinegar, tomatoes, spring onions, chilli, mint and zest of 2 limes (add zest to taste).

Heat a fry pan (or chargrill pan if you have one) over medium heat.  Add haloumi,  drizzle with lime juice and cook on both sides til golden brown.  Cut into smaller pieces and add to salad.  Season entire salad with salt and pepper.

Garnish with extra limes if desired.

We served with chunks of toasted turkish bread, buttered, sprinkled will all-purpose seasoning and toasted in the sandwich press.

Cheats Philly Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese

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These were simple and delicious and the whole family liked them.
 I found this recipe through pinterest.  I mostly followed the recipe ...

I doubled their recipe to make 4 sandwiches but we ended up being able to make more than that.

Olive oil
1 green bell pepper (capsicum)
1 small onion
Bread, 8 slices
Roast Beef from the deli, 450g
Cheese, I used tasty (white cheddar) and mozzarella

Thinly slice pepper and onion.  Sautee in a bit of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat. 

Pre-heat sandwich press (or frying pan if doing the old fashioned way!) 

They buttered the bread, I never do when making sandwiches in the the sandwich press.  You can do what you like. 

Chop up the roast beef into long thin strips. 

Layer sandwich like this ... bread, cheese, pepper/onions/ roast beef, cheese, bread. 

Toast until cheese is melted.



Pink Smoothies

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These were delicious!  
I changed the original recipe a bit ... mainly I didn't add celery ... eww!  
Here's what I did ...
  

1.5 cup water or coconut water (I used water)
1/2 a medium avocado, pitted
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 a medium raw beet, chopped
1/2 a lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon coconut oil

a handful of ice cubes

1 sweet apple cored and roughly chopped


Throw all ingredients into blender.  Blend.  I started with one cup of water and then added the other 1/2 cup as necessary to keep the blender moving ...



Garlic Roasted Chicken Leg Quarters

Since I am now feeding the masses and chicken leg quarters is definitely the cheapest way to buy chicken, I've been looking for recipes that will add some variety to the bbq sauce or Italian dressing I had been seasoning the chicken with (both yummy...but I was getting ready for a change).  I found this recipe somewhere online (can't remember where!) and it was given a hearty thumbs up by the boys last night.  In parentheses are changes I made and the amounts I used to feed 7 (including 3 teenage boys) with a few leftovers for lunches.



Ingredients:

  • 4 (12) cloves garlic, finely minced (I used my nifty Pampered Chef garlic press)
  • 1 (3) teaspoon dried leaf oregano (I didn't have any, so used basil instead)
  • 1/2 (1 1/2) teaspoon salt
  • 1 (1 1/2 - PJ and I are what the Japanese call kitten tongues) teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 (1) teaspoon ground cumin (I love cumin and made up for the lower amount of chili powder here)
  • dash freshly ground black pepper (I used white pepper because I like it better)
  • 2 (6) tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 (12 - three family packs) chicken leg quarters
  • 1/2 (1 1/2) cup chicken broth (part dry white wine, if desired)

Preparation:

Heat oven to 425°.

Combine the garlic, oregano, salt, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper. Add olive oil and mix well. Use a mortar and pestle to make a paste consistency, or mash with a fork.  (I used a fork and it worked well)

Wash chicken leg quarters and pat dry. Snip off any excess skin (Glenn also cut the pieces apart). Arrange the chicken pieces in a baking dish and pat the garlic mixture over each quarter. (I spooned it on and then spread it around with my fingers) Pour 1/2 cup of chicken broth (part dry white wine, if desired) into the baking dish. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until juices run clear.
Serves 4 (or the masses!).

Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto

Hi! I'm Marissa. I'm new here. Well, actually, I've been making Beans Blog recipes for years now, but I have one of my own to contribute for the first time! I am married and have an almost year-old baby.
Here's a picture of the three of us (picking apples this fall):

My husband is picky (nothing green and leafy, white and creamy, or too chunky), and my baby is slowly adding to his repertoire of solid foods. Hopefully, I'll be able to contribute some recipes that work well for picky eaters but are also healthy enough for a little one.

Mostly the baby eats healthier food than we do (vegetable, protein, grain, dairy, and fruit for most meals), so I figure that rather than changing his diet to accommodate ours, maybe I should change our diet (more processed food than is good) to accommodate his. This creamy risotto was a favorite for all three of us. The creaminess comes from the rice and a tiny bit of butter rather than fatty cream, so 100 grams is only about 75-80 calories. 200 grams is a nice size helping of rice and only 150 calories. It made a flavorful, simple side dish without adding too many calories.

Here is a picture of the baby enjoying it (the rice is sticky enough for him to eat with his fingers):


And here is a picture of the grown-up food (rice, green beans, and marinaded chicken thighs):

The recipe from The Baby & Toddler Cookbook is below.

Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto
1 cup Arborio or short grain rice
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 cup pureed butternut squash
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the rice and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft and creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Stir the butter, squash puree, and nutmeg into the rice.

Serve warm.

NOTE: I started with a whole butternut squash. To cook it, cut in half longways. Scrape the seeds out. Lay flesh side down in pan. Pour water 1/4 inch up the sides of the squash and cook in oven at 375 degrees for 45-60 min. Remove the skin and puree. (I used my immersion blender, which worked perfectly.)

Rio Verde Breakfast Special

The weeks that the boys are with us, we like to make sure they get a protein filled breakfast to start their days out.  A good hearty breakfast for very active boys!  They are fine having eggs and pancakes every morning, but I like to mix things up a bit.  Today I tried a new recipe from Tortilla Lovers Cook Book.  It was quick (something I appreciate since I'm cooking AND getting myself ready for work) and was a yummy hit!  I altered it just a bit.

Ingredients:
6 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
pinch or two of salt
1 TBS butter
1/2 cup Jack cheese (I used Monterey jack), cubed
small can of green chiles
6 tortillas (I used flour, but the recipe called for corn)

Garnish with green salsa, sour cream, and/or avocado

Instructions:
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, and salt and mix well.  Melt butter in skillet.  Add eggs and cook, stirring gently.  When eggs are almost set, add cheese and chiles.  Cook until firm, or desired consistency.  Heat the tortillas and fill each with egg mixture.  Garnish as desired.  I served it with orange slices.

Further Modified Mexican Chicken

While they're heading into summer across the ocean (not that I'm completely jealous...), we're hunkering down for Arctic blasts.  Yesterday we got a dusting of snow - on top of ice.  GROSS!!!  Hearing the nasty traffic reports and knowing that many cars weren't making it up the hill out of our small town, I decided it sounded like a lovely day to stay home!  Not wanting to go out to the grocery store or make my wonderful husband stop on the way home after a long cold day of work, I decided to see what I could make from things in the pantry and freezer (having just moved in after our wedding, I don't have a good handle on the food inventory). 

I had some, although not all, of the ingredients to make the processed version of THIS meal and decided to experiment. 

I had two family packs of leg quarters frozen, so used that instead of boneless chicken breasts (love that it worked to just throw them in the crock pots frozen! - And yes I was thankful for my two crock pots...feeding a ton of hungry boys these days)

Since I had upped the amount of chicken I used 2 cans of black beans (one in each crock pot).

Had a mostly full bag of frozen corn, so divided that between the two crock pots.

I  had one lime and some refrigerated lime juice.

Skipped the cilantro cause I didn't have any.

Used what was left of a LARGE jar of medium salsa (probably wasn't quite double the 16 ounces)

I didn't have cream cheese, but a dollop of low fat sour cream in each bowl was a hit and added that touch of creaminess.

Put everything except the sour cream in the crock pot and cooked it on high for 6 hours. 

Served over rice.

The boys declared it delicious!

Forgot to take pic after it was cooked...this is while it was cooking in the crock pot




La Dee Da Chicken

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I was eating the leftovers of this for lunch the other day and explaining to my friend Roxie how to make it and she says "that's a bit la dee da ....".  I thought that is exactly what it is!  La Dee Da Chicken! This is so delicious.  And pretty easy.  I saw this recipe on pinterest, of course.  When the time came to make it, some of the standard pantry ingredients I thought I had on hand, I actually didn't.  So, I improvised a little bit.  Here's what I did. 

2 cups panko crumbs
2 cups pretzels, processed in the food processor to make crumbs (this was a WHOLE bag!)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil 
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup dijon mustard 
1/4 cup wholegrain seed mustard
1/3 cup spiced orange honey (plain honey would be fine too)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and  pepper
3 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
 
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.  Line a roasting pan with baking paper.



In the food processor, pulse the oils, mustards, honey, water and vinegar until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.  Adjust flavour to taste.

Pound the chicken breasts out to an even thickness using a mallet, I do this is a ziplock so I'm not pounding chicken juice all over everywhere!  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. 

For the next bit, you'll need three big 'containers' (bowl, dish ... ).  I found that my rectangular tupperware worked best. 

To the first container add half the flour.

To the second container add half the dressing.  Down use all of it because the remaining is going to be your dip for this delicious chicken.

To the third, add the panko and pretzel crumbs.  Mix them together.

Dredge each piece of chicken in flour, then in dressing, then into the crumb mixture.  I pushed the crumbs on a bit to make sure there were plenty and they stuck real well.   Place in roasting pan.


Bake for 15-30 minutes or until cooked through.  Mine took closer to 30 ...


Serve with remaining dressing.

We also served with roasted cauliflower and broccoli.


Teriyaki Chicken Wrap


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This was a little lunch time experiment.  A successful one.  We are going to have this for dinner tonight since I am the only one who ate it for lunch today and it is delicious!!

Rice, cooked.  (I used sushi rice, but you can use whatever kind you like.)
Soy sauce ... I added a few drops to the rice.
Avocado, sliced
Spring onion, thinly sliced
Lettuce, shredded
Sesame seeds
Japanese mayo
Flour tortillas

Just heat your tortillas.  Fill with rice, chicken, avocado, spring onions and lettuce.  Top off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a drizzle of japanese mayo.  I didn't try it this time, but I imagine my husband and son will add sweet chilli sauce to theirs tonight ...

Done. 

PS. If you plan this for the night after you make Easy Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken, you will have a super simple dish.  Minimal prep work.  Minimal clean up.  Maximum taste and enjoyment!

Easy Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken


Pinterest is my major source of recipe finding these days.  
I love it.  This one has been a hit.  I made it last week and then again this week.  
It makes a heap ... actually, mine makes more because I added an extra chicken breast.  
I'm going to freeze a bunch of it this week!! I think it will reheat just fine.

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 I didn't make many changes ... mainly just adding the extra chicken breast.

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce 
1 chicken stock cube & 1/2 cup water  (you could also use 1/2 cup chicken stock but I never have it on hand ... I need to make and freeze some so I do!!)
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed 
1/4 cup soy sauce 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon sesame oil 
4 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
1 spring onion, thinly sliced 
sesame seeds
Mix first 6 ingredients in a bowl.  Place chicken breasts in the crock pot and pour teriyaki mixture and spoon some of the mixture on top of the breasts if they are not covered.  Put the lid on and cook for 3.5 hours on low.  Turn crock pot to 'keep warm' setting. Shred chicken in pot with juices.  Leave until ready to serve. 

The first night, I served this on rice with the spring onions and sesame seeds on top. 

The second night, I served in a tortilla ... that recipe is coming next!

Talia's Korean Bulgogi

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It is delicious.

 But more than that, this recipe is easy to double for another night.
I've been trying to find meals that I can prepare extra to freeze for another time.
My goal is to have a freezer full of cooked, or prepared and ready to cook food for times 
that are exceptionally busy, or I've not been able to organize a meal.   Those are the nights we 
eat two minute noodles or something similarly unhealthy.  This should solve that problem! As well,
I prepared this last night and put it in the fridge ... this afternoon, after we got home late from soccer, I pulled out the bag ready to cook.  I had put the rice in the rice cooker before we left so that was 
ready.  Dinner was on in no time.  AND ... it get's even better.  Rory had to work late but the 
kids were starving so I cooked theirs and ours is actually still waiting in the fridge.  He is
home now but changing my head light.  Seriously, it never stops around here! :)  

Here is the doubled recipe - with the intention of freezing half.


6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 kg beef, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
2 spring onions, sliced
1 onion, finely sliced

Mix first  seven ingredients in a large ziplock bag.  Add beef, carrots, spring onions and onion.  Seal bag and shake it around to coat beef.  Refrigerate for a few hours.  I did mine over night.

When ready to cook, just cook 1/2 of the ingredients in the bag, label the bag and freeze the other 1/2 for another time!

Preheat a wok to high heat.  Stir fry beef and veggies in small batches.  Talia's recipe said until you get crispy bits.  Mine never went crispy but I don't think my beef was as thin as hers ... No matter though, it was still delicious!



Asian Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad


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I found this recipe, originally from Curtis Stone in Redbook and just had to try it.
I made a couple of small changes ... 

This first bit is the ingredients for the dressing.  You'll use a little bit of it for the marinade as well.
 

1/4 cup soy sauce
fresh ginger, finely grated (recipe called for a 3 inch piece, I reckon I used a 1 inch piece) 
1/4 cup canola oil 
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce 
1 Tbsp sesame oil 
1 tsp sriracha sauce 
1 tsp kosher salt 
2 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless 
1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
1/4 cup finely chopped spring onions 

These ingredients are for the salad part of it.  

1/4 to 1/2 a Wombok (Chinese cabbage), very thinly sliced 
2 carrots, grated  
3 spring onions, thinly sliced 
fresh coriander, coarsely chopped (I  just threw in a bunch, it's really to taste) 
1/2 cup slivered almonds 
(I was in a hurry and just threw all nuts & seeds in straight out of freezer) 
a small handful of white sesame seeds 
a small handful black sesame seeds

In a bowl, whisk together first seven ingredients.

Put the chicken into a large ziplock bag and spoon in 4 tablespoons of the dressing.  Zip the bag, removing air as you go.  Rub the marinade all over the chicken, then pound it to get the chicken all the same thickness.  Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes.

With the remaining dressing in the bowl, add the red wine vinegar and spring onions.  Set aside.  This is your dressing.

Grill the chicken.  Rory did ours on the BBQ but you could do it inside ... just get it cooked.  The original recipe said to let it rest 15 minutes ... oops, didn't read that bit.  We probably only let it rest 5 minutes.  It was delicious.

Let it rest if you like ... then cut it into slices, chunks, whatever you prefer. 

Add salad ingredients to large bowl.  Add chicken.  Mix.  

We used the dressing to top individual salads as we served so that the leftovers wouldn't be soggy the next day ... 



fancy egg sandwiches

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my word, these are good! 
we had them for dinner, not breakfast.  i love breakfast for dinner!
i saw the recipe on pinterest and there was no question in my mind that they would be good.
i took a few short cuts and didn't really use the same measurements.
oh and the grocery store substituted bake at home rolls for the 
ciabatta i ordered but they were delicious! and i used
a different cheese.  two cheeses actually.
i used more garlic.  i forgot
the parsley.
 

bag of baby spinach, 160g
mozarella and gruyere cheese, 200g total
8 eggs
2 tablespoons thickened cream
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
8 bread rolls, i used bake at home ones

preheat oven to 400F/200C.

ppray a 9x13 baking dish with oil.  

cover the bottom of the baking dish with the spinach.  grate both cheeses over the spinach (only about 1/2 the cheese at this point).  crack the eggs over the top of the cheese, spacing them out evenly.  salt and pepper next.  then drizzle the cream.  grate the rest of the cheese.  bake 15-25 minutes til yokes are as runny or not runny as you like them. 

while the eggs are in the oven, melt the butter in a small sauce pan over a medium heat.  whisk constantly.  the butter will start to brown.  don't let it go too brown, or black ... that is burned.  (ask me how i know) the good news is that if you burn it, you have time to start over.  (again, ask me how i know!) the butter will be pretty hot at this point, turn off the heat and throw in the minced garlic.  keep stirring!  let the garlic brown a little bit and then stir in the panko into this garlicy buttery deliciousness.  

if you are using bake at home bread rolls, throw them in the oven according to the instructions on the pack.  mine took like 6 minutes.  

once the eggs are just about done, spoon the breadcrumb mixture over the top and pop back in the oven for a couple minutes.  they will crisp up a little bit.

cut the finished product into eight 'rectangles' and scoop one onto each bun.  

delicious!



Easy Crock Pot Venison Stew

There are many yummy sounding recipes for venison stew involving various marinades, wines, spices, etc...but when you're fiance calls from the grocery store while you're in the middle of crazy work week and asks for ingredients that will make a quick stew that he can throw into the crock pot - you make something up and cross your fingers that it's edible.  Thankfully, this stab in the dark turned out delish! 

Easy Crock Pot Venison Stew



- One ziplock full of venison (in other words, I have no idea how much meat there was but use enough to feed your family and balance out the veggies) ... Prep:  I can't remember where I read it, but for SUPER tender (and not at all gamey) venison - defrost in fridge for a few days and when it's thawed, sprinkle with salt and soak in ice water and ~1 cup white vinegar for about an hour.  Rinse and either cook it immediately or refrigerate for one day or less (needs to be used pretty quickly after it's thawed)

- Peel and chop enough carrots and potatoes to even out your meat. 

- chop one onion (not sure whether Glenn added garlic or not...but a little or a lot of garlic never hurts!)

- 1 large can cream of mushroom soup

- 1 packet of ranch dressing mix

- 2 cans chopped tomatoes

Dump everything into the crock pot.  Cook on low for 10 hours (I think ours actually cooked for more like 12 or 14...so extra doesn't hurt it!).  Glenn forgot to add the tomatoes in the morning, so they ended up getting added a couple hours before we ate.  Either way is probably fine. 

Nothing fancy...but yummy and great on a cold rainy fall day after football games and parent teacher conferences! 

Orange and Apricot Chicken with Quinoa and Baby Peas

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I found a recipe in a cookbook that looked good.  I thought I had most of the ingredients to make it but when it came time to cook it, I discovered that I didn't.  So ... I improvised.  Here's the resulting recipe ...

Ingredients:
1 orange, you'll need the juice and the zest
1/4 cup chicken stock, salt reduced
2 teaspoons apricot jam
4 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
2 tsp cornflour
fresh parsley
slivered almonds
olive oil

How to make it:
Preheat oven to 190C/375F

In a small saucepan, over a medium heat, mix 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, the chicken stock and the apricot jam.  Stir until smooth (like in photo above)  ... doesn't take more than a minute or two.

Over medium heat,  heat olive oil in a large oven proof fry pan and add chicken.  Lightly salt and pepper each breast. Brown chicken just a little bit ... a minute or two on each side.

Pour orange/apricot mixture on top and bake til chicken is cooked through ... about 20 minutes. 

Mix 2 tsp cornflour with 2 teaspoons of water to make a smooth paste.  Once the chicken comes out of the oven, remove to a plate and keep warm.  Add cornflour paste to fry pan with remaining sauce.  Stir for a couple of minutes until the sauce is nice and thick.

Serve chicken, drizzled with sauce, over quinoa and with a side of baby peas.  

Sprinkle parsley and slivered almonds on top of chicken.

Raw Key Lime Pies

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These little things are delicious!

I found the recipe here and just had to try it. I changed it just a little bit after reading through some of the suggestions in the comments.  And next time I will double the crust because I had WAY too much filling. (I'm not putting the double crust recipe here though as you may not find that necessary ... maybe I have smaller cupcake molds?) The original recipe was for eight cupcakes or one pie.

Crust: (like I said ... this is the single recipe but I'll double it next time)
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1 cup  walnuts
a pinch of sea salt
10 dates (pitted)

Filling:

1&1/2 cups mashed avocado (this was three avocados!!)
3/4 cups fresh squeezed lime juice (I ran out of fresh so I used a bit of the bottled stuff to top it up)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
zest from one lime

Method:

Put crust ingredients in your food processor.  Whizz that up until it's crumbled and moist.  Push that together in the bottom of your cupcake molds.  I went and bought some silicone ones.  You'll want to too or else you'll never get them out!!

Put filling ingredients into food processor.  Whizz that up until it's smooth.  Taste it.  Try not to eat it all right now!  You can adjust the taste by adding more honey or lime juice.  I did neither.  It was so tasty!!

Spoon that filling into your cupcakes molds on top of the crust.

Freeze until set.  

**I took these to a party the first night I made them and since there were lots of us, we just cut them up and shared.  I reckon that is the way to do it.   We have a couple in the freezer and we've been taking one out a night, cutting it into four and sharing.  It's sorta like one perfect bite!!  Yum!!

Comfort Breakfast Bake


I saw this recipe on Facebook the other day and thought it looked easy and quick to throw together.  Perfect for a Sunday morning breakfast with a hoard of boys.  As it turns out it was super easy, very quick, and a HUGE hit!  (as you can see by the picture!!  That last bit disappeared shortly after I took the picture)

 
Ingredients:
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
16 oz refrigerated biscuits (I used the jumbo flaky kind and cut it into smaller bits than the recipe originally called for)
1 bunch green onions
1 (generous) cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
1lb cooked sausage or bacon (I used sausage this time and the boys said it tasted like a pizza bake, but I'm sure they would love bacon too!)
 
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Mix eggs and milk in a large bowl until well mixed. 
3. Cut each biscuit into fours and add to the bowl.  (with the BIG biscuits I cut them into 6ths) Mix. 
4. Cook bacon (cut into pieces) or sausage (make sure its crumbled) and drain grease if necessary.
5. Cut green onions.
6. Add all remaining ingredients to the milk/egg mixture and stir.
7. Spray 13 by 9 pan with cooking spray
8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (or until it isn't runny and the biscuits look flaky.
 
Enjoy!!!
 
 

Greek Salad Skewers


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I wish I had a better picture of these.  I snapped this one quickly as I was in a hurry plating for a luncheon where these were part of the menu.    I saw them on pinterest and thought they looked easy, tasty and healthy.   I changed the ratios a little bit.  Tomatoes are expensive and I was making these for a lot of people so I used half a cherry tomato.  I like olives so I used a whole olive.  I didn't read the recipe in it's entirety, so I didn't do the dressing!  Oops!  I don't know that I would though ... they were good just like this. 

How I did mine ... 

On each toothpick .... half a cherry tomato, a slice of lebanese cucumber, one pitted kalamata olive, one square of feta.

Cauliflower "Rice"

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This is not so much a recipe as a couple of simple steps ... I saw this recipe and had to try it! 
It was so simple and so tasty.  I will do it often. 

Here's what you do ...

Break off cauliflower florets & put in food processor.  
"Whizz" until the cauliflower looks like rice. 
When you are ready to serve it, put it
in the microwave for about five
minutes.  Season it how
you would normally
season your rice.
We added 
soy 
sauce tonight
and just ate it as a side.
Curry is planned for Wednesday 
night and we will be using the leftovers from
tonight!  I think it will be a delicious under curry too!!


Perfect Little Apple Cinnamon "not one bad for you thing in them" Paleo Muffins

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These are so delicious.

I saw this recipe as I was surfing the web last night and I got straight up out of my chair and made them!  I am so glad I did.  I followed her recipe exactly except that I used my sugar free, crockpot apple butter instead of applesauce.  I think that gave it a heap of extra flavor, but I'm sure that using unsweetened applesauce would be fine too.  Just don't use the sugar laden stuff!

Oh, I also made these into mini muffins ... not big ones.

Here's how you make these little beauties.

3 eggs, beaten together
2 cups almond meal
1 cup sugar free, crockpot apple butter (or unsweetened applesauce)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (don't use imitation maple syrup!)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F/180C

Mix all ingredients, adding eggs to mixture last.  Spoon into muffin wrappers. (a dozen big ones or a whole bunch of mini ones) 

Bake 15-20 minutes. 

That's it.

Yep. 

So simple.

So delicious.

So healthy.

Roasted Garlic, Cauliflower and Mushroom Quinoa



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I made this the other day to take for lunches.  I didn't take a photo until I was halfway through eating it ... sorry!

I had found this recipe on pinterest.  But ... I was tasting as I went along and I decided that it didn't need the balsalmic dressing and goats cheese ... it was nice just like it was.  And even better the next day after the flavours had developed over night!

Here's what I did:

1 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
a few cloves of garlic, cut into slivers
mushrooms, button and oyster, quartered
1 cup quinoa
1.5 cups water
1 chicken stock cube 
thyme
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F/200C

Toss the cauliflower, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil.  Add salt and pepper and thyme.  Mix.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until starting to brown.  Don't let them burn!  Stir half way through ...

While the veggies are cooking, make the quinoa.  Place quinoa in a small pot with the water and the chicken stock cube (break it up and stir it in) (or just use ready made chicken stock/broth) Bring to the boil.  Reduce heat, cover and let simmer ... about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.  Fluff up quinoa with a fork and let sit til veg is ready.

When veg is ready, mix into quinoa.  

Easy.

And like I said, delicious the next day too!

Apple Streusel Muffins

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In an effort to make a dent in the
12 kilos of apples that I ordered accidentally,
I made these muffins.
They used ONE APPLE.
Oops.

I'm glad I made them though,
they were tasty.

I combined portions of two recipes to make these.


This made 18 muffins.
For the muffins:
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

2 large eggs
1 cup plain yogurt, I use greek
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
6 tbsp oil, I use canola
1 tsp vanilla
1 or 2 granny smith apples, chopped

For the streusel topping:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
In small bowl combine all ingredients

Position oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 200C / 400F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper cups.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix with light strokes until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Don't over mix; batters should not be smooth.  Add apples.

Divide batter among the muffin cups, top with streusel topping and bake until top in golden and a toothpick inserted in one or two of the muffins come out clean, 12-15 minutes.

Baked Chocolaty Marshmallowy Deliciousness


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My parents brought us Graham Crackers, Hershey's Chocolate Bars and American Marshmallows when they came to visit in April.  We decided we'd try baked s'mores ... We'd been to an event where we'd eaten them ... the lady who made them used the recipe over at Wit and Whistle.  

I pretty much did it exactly as she did except that I had to make my own graham cracker crumbs ...

1/2 cup butter,  softened
1/4 cup brown suager
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 and 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (or just bash up some graham crackers in a ziplock)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
milk chocolate bars
1 and 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff

Preheat oven - 350F/175C

Cream together butter and sugar until light.  Add egg and vanilla.  Beat. 

In another bowl, mix flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.  Add that to the butter mixture and mix on low until combined.  Put half of this bowl into a prepared 8inch square baking pan.  Press it down.  Cover this with chocolate bars, breaking bars if necessary.  Top that with marshmallow fluff. 

Roll out the remaining dough in small segments and place on top.  

Bake 30/35 minutes or until lightly browned.

She said to let it cool completely before cutting into bars.  Yeah, that didn't happen here.  We cut that sucker up and ate it!  

So good.


Mushroom Quesadilla

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This was a great way to use the leftover mushrooms from our burgers the other night ...

I just grabbed a flour tortilla, spread mushrooms on half of it.  Topped the mushrooms with thinly sliced Gruyere cheese.  Threw that all under the grill (broiler) for a couple of minutes til the cheese melted.  Folded over the tortilla and that's it.

I loved every bite of it.

I can't wait til the next time we have those mushroom burgers so that I can make this again!

Anne's Waffles, with or without the butter ...

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I've been meaning to post this recipe for some time now.  I've made these waffles a few times now and they are always delicious!  Always a hit!  One time I even forgot to add the butter and they were still good.  That's the butter-less ones you see in the photo above!

You'll need:
2.5 cups self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 TBLS sugar
3 eggs (separated)
1.5 cups milk
125gm (4.5 oz) melted butter

To make them:

Mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.  Add egg yolks, milk and butter.  Mix well.  Beat egg whites til stiff and then fold them into the batter.  Let batter sit for at least 30 minutes.  Cook in pre-heated waffle maker.



We top ours with a wide variety of toppings.  Maple syrup and powdered sugar is a favorite.  Jam ... any flavor!  Apple Butter.  Delicious!  I've also tried strawberries and ice cream ... YUM!!


Burgers with Mushrooms and Spicy Ketchup

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These burgers were fabulous.  

We used our normal burger meat, with an aged white cheddar cheese.
But then we topped it with these delicious mushrooms, 
a chipotle ketchup and kewpie mayo!

Served on turkish buns, spread with butter, sprinkled
with season all and then toasted on the BBQ.

So ... I got the idea from this Food Network recipe .... 

I did my mushrooms like this:
5 punnets of mushrooms.  (I used shitake, button, swiss brown, enoki and shimeji)
fresh parsley and thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt

Slice mushrooms.  Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan.  Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt.  Saute to desired tenderness.   Stir in parsley and thyme.   They were pretty juicy, but it didn't matter.  We just used a slotted spoon to scoop them out of the pan.

And the chipotle ketchup:
I used the leftover homemade ketchup.  There was about 1 cup of it.  Add to that some chipotle in adobo that I pulled out of the freezer.  Maybe 3 tablespoons ... but it was pretty spicy, I'd maybe only do 2 tablespoons next time.  Salt.  Pepper.  Zoop Zoop with the stick blender and that's it. 

So ... to assemble to burger.

Toasted Turkish bun
Burger Meat with Cheese
Mushrooms
Chipotle Ketchup
Kewpie (Japanese) Mayo

I'm not kidding, this burger was gooooooooooooood!



GP's Hot Chips and Homemade Ketchup


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These hot chips were EASY and delicious!  I found the recipe on Pinterest ... they are out of Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook.  I didn't follow the measurements at all and reading through the recipe again now, I realize I skipped a couple of steps too ... like peeling and drying the potatoes.  

Here's how I did mine.  I just cut up as many potatoes as fit on my two big baking trays.  I put them in a big bowl of cold water and let them soak for an hour or so. 

Ten minutes before I wanted to cook them, I turned the oven on to 230C/450F

Then I drained the water, added a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a good sprinkle of coarse sea salt.  I shook that around in the bowl, then transferred the potatoes to my baking trays that I had lined with baking paper. 

I baked them in the pre-heated oven until they were golden and cooked through.  The first time it took about 40 minutes, the second time it only took about 30 ... I set my time for 20, stir them and then check them every few minutes after that.

When they come out of the oven, I sprinkle with a bit more coarse sea salt.


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I've been trying to make some more things from scratch.  You know, eliminating additives and preservatives one at a time.  Last night, I decided to tackle ketchup.  I found this one on pinterest and was pretty happy with the results, although it did have a slight honey taste.  But only very slight.  The whole family liked it.  I have a couple of other ketchup recipes pinned that I want to try though before I decide which one is the best. 

I just realized too that I didn't print (or read through) the recipe completely so I missed the bit about cooling it.  We ate it warm and it was delish. 

I won't share the recipe with you here ... the link is above.  Like I said, I want to try a few more ... probably in the end I'll adapt a few of the recipes and then print you my favorite. 

Apple Butter Granola

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My Mom's comment on my sugar free, crock pot apple butter recipe the other day was a story from her childhood.  I'll share it with you.

"Apple butter reminds me of my Grandpa Templin. Every day that I can remember when we were visiting he had apple butter for breakfast. My Grandma would make him 2 slices of toast and put them in a shallow soup bowl. At the top of his spoon (because yes, the table was always set for breakfast, complete with a napkin in a ring beside the fork, and the Daily Bread devotional book there too) would be a little dish of apple butter. (At the top of his fork would be a dish with stewed prunes, but I digress!) When we were all at the table, Grandma would come in with a little pan of hot milk and pour it into the bowl onto his toast. His spoon would dip into the apple butter, then cut off a bite of the toast, along with a spoonful of the milk, and it would then pop into his mouth. An eminently fascinating scene for this little girl, every day!! So I double love apple butter..."

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the memory that she has and the way she tells it!  She does that a lot, my Mom, she had a very memorable childhood!

I got to thinking yesterday morning that maybe milk and apple butter would be alright together.  I got out a scoop of homemade granola, topped with with a bit of milk and then a few spoonfuls of apple butter.

Mmmmm.  The spicey-appley-taste added a little something special.  I loved it.

Even better was that each time I dipped my spoon into the milky, apple butter goodness, I thought of my Mom and my Great Grandpa.  And I smiled.



Camo Cupcakes

 


Growing up my birthday cakes involved things like pink flowers, rabbits, and Raggedy Ann...but when making birthday confections for gun toting, sports loving, tree climbing boys pink just isn't going to cut it.  Enter AK's Internet discovery CAMO CUPCAKES!!!  Super easy - super fun! 


You'll need a box of white cake mix, a box of chocolate cake mix, and some green food coloring (preferably dark green rather than neon)

Follow the box instructions and mix up the two cake mixes in separate bowls.  Divide into the following:
1. one bowl with just white
2. one bowl with a little white and a little chocolate
3. one bowl with all chocolate
4. one bowl with some white, a little bit of chocolate, and enough green food coloring to make it a green you like. 

Mix each bowl until the colors are combined and then spoon the batter into ziplocks (I found that quart sized bags were perfect).

 
 
Snip the corner of each bag and blop (very technical term!) a bit into lined muffin tins.  The nice thing about camo is it's random...so no set order to blop the batter in.  Just make sure you're being random in your blopping!
 
Bake cupcakes according to the box directions...and...
 
HOW AWESOME ARE THOSE?!?!
   Even Camo on the inside!



The instructions for the camo icing said to do the same thing with chocolate and vanilla icing and green food coloring, putting each color in a separate disposable piping bag and then putting all four bags into one big piping bag.  This did not turn out very well...(if you try it and figure out how to make it NOT look like poop...please tell me what you did!)

 I ended up just writing on the cupcakes with the different colors...turned out ok!
 I wish I would have thought of this though :-)  For the next birthday I made (upon request) vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing, then topped them each with a green army man and green sprinkles.  FUN!



Sugar Free, Crock Pot Apple Butter

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A little disclaimer here.  I am not an apple butter expert.  I have probably only eaten it once or twice in my life.  But, I bought 12 kilos (26 pounds!) of apples by accident the other day.  Yeah, it was on line and I thought I was buying 12 apples ... SURPRISE!!!  12 kilos is a LOT of apples!!

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So ... I've made crock pot apple sauce.  Apple strudel muffins (recipe coming).  Apple crumble.  And now apple butter.   I'm in love with the apple butter.  You'll have to try it though and tell me if it can be called apple butter or if we should just call it "spiced apple thick sauce."


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I peeled the apples for this apple butter but I've since read that you can do it without peeling them.  I'm going to make some more and try that, because not peeling them would make this way less time consuming!  Not that it's super time consuming, but you know .... WAY LESS! 

Here's a little video about a little gadget that helps make things a lot easier too ...



Ok ... so, this was super simple. I filled my crock pot with peeled chopped apples. I used 2 kilos of granny smiths and 1 kilo of royal gala. Next time I will probably do two kilos of the sweeter apple ... On top of the apples I sprinkled 1 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of the following: ground ginger, ground allspice, ground cloves and ground nutmeg. I then poured about 1/4 cup of water over the top and then gave it a stir. I put the crock pot on low and let it go for about 14 hours.

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When I came back, the apples were totally cooked.  I just stirred them with a spoon and they broke down.  I got out the stick blender and blended it right in the pot.  I left it cook on low for another hour or so but I'm not sure that was even necessary.

And that's it. 

I hear you can eat this stuff on toast.  So far, I've just been eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon ...

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AFTER NOTE :: I made this again and didn't peel that apples.  Did it make a difference? The only notable difference was that I didn't have to peel the apples!  This easy recipe just got a bit easier!!  There was no change to taste and as I understand it, it's desirable to leave the skin on as it contains a lot of great nutrients.

ALSO :: when I originally posted this I said to use 1/2 tsp of all the spices (other than cinnamon) but then last night when I was putting the spices in the crockpot, I realized that it was actually only 1/4 tsp.  I imagine it's probably a bit to taste and it wouldn't really matter if you put in 1/2 tsp but I've changed it in the post to 1/4 tsp because that's the way I do it ...

Mariposa Palmiers

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The other night I made fruit salad for dessert but we wanted something to go along with it. El had one piece of puff pastry in the freezer so we made mariposas!  You may know them as Palmiers.  I don't know why we called them mariposas growing up ... maybe because they look like butterflies?

Anyway ... these are super easy. 

Preheat oven to 200C/400F

You will need:
Puff pastry
Sugar, we used caster (fine) sugar

Baking tray lined with baking paper.

Sprinkle sugar onto a flat surface.  Lay puff pasty on top of flat sugared surface. Sprinkle a good layer of sugar on the top of the puff pastry.  Roll pastry from each side to meet in the centre.  Slice into 1/2 inch slices.  Lay slices on baking tray.  Bake anywhere between 10-15 minutes.  Keep and eye on them though ... burned sugar is not nice. 

Orange Creamsickle Drink

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I'm learning lots of new and delicious things since my sister moved to Australia!
This is one on my favorites.

Orange Soda, 1 can
Vanilla Vodka, 1 shot
Cream, a couple of teaspoons

Fill a glass with ice and orange soda.  Add vanilla vodka and cream. Stir.  Drink and remember the days of childhood ... in the form of orange cream-sickles.  Yum.