Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cranberry Feta Dip


My friend, Keri, shared this recipe with me. It is super quick to throw together and is just plain yummy!! Enjoy!

8oz container of whipped cream cheese (definitely use whipped)
1/2 to 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese, to taste
3 - 5 green onion, sliced,  to taste
3/4 cup craisins, chopped
1 to 2 Tbl ranch dip powder, to taste

Let cream cheese come to room temperature. Mix all ingredients together. Serve with wheat thins or other firm crackers.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Curry Citrus Quinoa Salad


This recipe is inspired by a scrumptious salad my friend and I always order at one of our favorite local restaurants. I made it for dinner tonight and my mother just RAVED about it! She loved guessing the ingredients - she said, "I taste orange! I taste cinnamon! I think I taste....coriander?" YES! Ha! It is a salad with many layers of flavor. Very tasty indeed!

I think I did a pretty good copy cat with the recipe below! Kim, what do you think?

Quinoa:
1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 cups water
1 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp salt

Salad:
4 celery ribs  (I use the inner ribs, including the leaves), diced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, (stems removed) chopped
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 Tbl curry powder
Fresh spinach or chopped romaine

Dressing:
1/4 olive oil
2 Tbl lemon juice
2 Tbl fresh orange juice
1 Tbl honey
2 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

To cook the quinoa: place dried quinoa, water, olive oil and salt in a pot. Bring to a boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until water has been absorbed (I always check after 10 minutes just to make sure). Remove from heat and let sit uncovered for five minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking, chop the celery and parsley. Place them in a large bowl.

I always soak my currants or raisins before using- it is a good idea to plump them up! Fill a small microwave safe bowl with water and heat in the microwave for a minute and a half.  Carefully remove the hot water from the micro and add the currants to the water. Let them soak for five minutes and then drain the water from the bowl. Add the soaked, plump currants to the bowl with the celery and parsley.

Also while the quinoa is cooking make the dressing.  Put all the dressing ingredients in a Tupperware with a tight fitting lid. Shake well until all the ingredients are combined.

To assemble the salad put quinoa into the bowl with the celery, parsley & currants.  Add sliced almonds and 1 Tbl of curry powder. Stir well with a wooden spoon.

Place spinach or romaine on a plate.  Add quinoa mixture to the top. Drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato with Veggies & Vegan Cashew "Sour" Cream


I cannot even tell you how obsessed I am with this vegan cashew "sour" cream!!!! It is so much better than regular sour cream (and most importantly, it is dairy-free)- you must try it for yourself to believe it!!! This cashew cream seems to be a staple in a vegan's diet....I have found it in many cookbooks and on many blogs. The recipe here is from the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon. Please note that the cashews need to soak in water to soften for at least two hours before blending and preferably overnight.

Every week I try to think of meals I can make just so I can use this cashew cream!!!! Haha! This loaded baked potato was super quick to throw together and it was extremely filling and tasty! Of course, you can easily add ground beef or turkey or shredded chicken to it if you want a little meat.

2 medium to large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
Olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
1 can white or black beans, rinsed and drained
Salt & pepper to taste
Earth Balance or butter (optional)
Cashew "Sour" Cream (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400F

Wrap each potato in foil. Cook on 400F for an hour.

While potatoes are cooking, you can get the veggies and mushrooms ready. Add a little oil to a skillet. Cook onion for 3 minutes and add mushrooms; cook for another 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until all the veggies are crisp tender. Add the spinach at the end and cook for a minute or two until it is wilted. Add the beans and remove from heat; just let the beans warm through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice each potato down the middle and top with Earth Balance (this is a great dairy-free alternative to butter) or butter and then load up with lots and lots of the veggies. Top with heaping gobs of the cashew "sour" cream (oh my, it's so good I want to eat some now).  Enjoy!!!!

Cashew "Sour" Cream Recipe from Oh She Glows:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked (for at least two hours to overnight in the fridge) 
1/2-3/4 cup water, as needed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, to taste 
 
Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight or for 8 hours if you have the time.Drain and rinse the cashews and place in the blender.
Add water, lemon, vinegar, and salt. Blend on high until smooth. You might have to stop to scrape down the blender now and then or add a touch more water to get it going.
Once it's super smooth, it's ready! Transfer into a small container. The cream will thicken up as it sits.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Maple Syrup


Brussels sprouts are my absolute favorite vegetable - I love love love them!!!! It cracks me up that I love them so much now because as a child, I literally detested them.  Now, I know exactly why my hatred for the little green guys ran so deep....they were always served to me boiled....and I'm guessing, that's how they were always served to most of you. Boiling makes them slimy and stinky - yucko! Brussels are best when they are crispy and not overcooked.....enter roasting! Thank you, my dear oven, for turning these baby cabbages into crunchy little balls full of flavor and goodness!!! Have you ever picked off the outer, slightly burnt, leaves of a freshly roasted sprout? They taste like potato chips and they are very hard to stop eating. My husband and I have had many a fork fight over the crunchiest ones on the plate.

Okay, so, I know I have posted before about roasting sprouts.....you are probably wondering what's new?! Well, tonight I added a tiny little bit of pure maple syrup to the sprouts and OH MY MY! what a glorious addition it was! So, I just had to share!!!! Here ya go:

1 lb brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and cut in half
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Pure maple syrup (don't you DARE use anything other than the real stuff, I know it's expensive, but, it's your health we are talking about here, people- you deserve to eat the real stuff)

Preheat oven to 400F

Line a cookie sheet with foil (this makes for easy clean up).  Drizzle olive oil over the sprouts - I don't measure, but, I'm guessing I use no more than 1 Tbl for the whole pound (a little goes a long way). Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper (you can always add more later) and toss with your hands to get each sprout.  Roast for 10 minutes.  Remove the sprouts from the oven and lightly drizzle with the pure maple syrup. I probably use about 1 to 2 tsp. You do not want to over-due it here. The whole point is to have a subtle hint of sweetness. Use a spatula to evenly distribute the maple syrup. Roast for another 5-7 minutes or until the sprouts are to your level of crispy.

ENJOY!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Orzo with Roasted Veggies


This meal was inspired by a Barefoot Contessa recipe I found on her blog. It was very easy to throw together and the roasted veggies gave the dish lots of flavor. Enjoy with a good crusty bread.

Roasted Veggies:
  • 1 small zucchini, diced 
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced 
  • 1  red bell pepper,  diced
  • 1  yellow bell pepper,  diced
  • 1  sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbl coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb orzo pasta, cooked according to the directions on the box
 Dressing:
  • 2 Tbl lemon juice (1 juicy lemon)
  • 2 Tbl Braggs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
Add to the top:
  • 3 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted is extra yummy)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Approx. 15 fresh basil leaves, julienne
 
Preheat oven to 400F
 
Place all the cut veggies on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Drizzle melted coconut oil on the veggies, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss until evenly coated. Roast for 20 minutes. 

While veggies are roasting, cook orzo and make the dressing. To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt & pepper in a tupperware with a tight fitting lid. Shake well to combine.

After veggies are roasted, orzo is cooked and dressing is made, combine them all in a large bowl. I put mine in the refrigerator at this point because I wanted it to be chilled. You could also eat it warm. 

Before eating, sprinkle green onions, pine nuts, feta and basil on top. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pumpkin Banana Muffins with Hemp & Flax Seeds


I literally cannot make enough of these muffins! I always try to bake enough to freeze so we can enjoy them throughout the week as snacks and for a quick breakfast....but, they never seem to make it to the freezer. My kids scarf these down (and so do I)....I think my daughter has eaten three today....yep, she has - one for breakfast, one for a snack (and she ate the one I took out for myself, too)....about thirty minutes ago she asked me if she could have one for her dessert. I will happily oblige.  They are full of fiber from the pumpkin, omegas from the flax, and protein from the hemp seeds. Win, win, win! The bananas give a great dose of potassium and vitamin C. These muffins are little power-houses of health. And even though they are low in sugar, they are absolutely delicious!! YUM! Whip up a batch today (actually, it might be wise to whip up two). Enjoy!

1/3 c coconut oil (and a little bit for greasing the pan)
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup coconut sugar (find this at Whole Foods or in the organic section of the grocery)
1/4 cup coconut syrup (find this at Whole Foods- or if you can substitute honey or pure maple syrup)
2 eggs
1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (these are dairy, nut and soy free)

Preheat oven to 350F

Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Melt the coconut oil in a large microwave safe bowl for about 50 seconds. Remove bowl from microwave and use a wooden spoon to stir it around until it is completely liquid. Add the two bananas and mash well. Add the coconut sugar and the coconut syrup to the banana/oil mixture and stir until combined. Add the eggs one at a time and combine; add pumpkin and stir. Add the rest of the dry ingredients from the whole wheat pastry flour to the cinnamon. Stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.


Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop batter into the lined muffin pan. Bake for 21 - 22 minutes or until the muffin springs back when gently touched.  Let cool on the counter. I can usually get about 15 muffins out of this recipe.



 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween Candy Junkyard Cookies


I don't know about you, but I have a TON of Halloween candy that I would really like out of my house!! I made these cookies last night for my friends' Halloween party and they were a big hit. The recipe is simple - make your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (I use the recipe on the back of the Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips bag) and substitute 3 cups of chopped Halloween chocolate for the semi-sweet chips. That's it! Enjoy!


I use the recipe on the back of the Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips bag, but, you can use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe instead.
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar <I only use 1/2 a cup of granulated sugar>
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • <3 cups of chopped chocolate bars, all mixed together>
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chopped chocolate bars. <I always refrigerate my cookie dough for at least two hours before baking - I find it makes for much better cookies!!> Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown <I never bake for more than 9 minutes- slightly undercooked cookies always taste best!!>. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 




Monday, October 20, 2014

Spinach-Artichoke Mini Lasagnas


Oh boy, these were crazy good!! Yummy, filling, hearty, flavorful....yeah, we liked them a lot!! My adventurous son ate three of these little lasagnas. I had quite a few left over (this recipe does make 24 mini-lasagnas!!!), so, I've been sending them to school with my son in his lunch box. I found the recipe in this month's issue of Vegetarian Times. The recipe comes from their reader recipe contest.....these little lasagnas won first prize. Once you make them, you will see why!!!

Oh! And if you want to add some meat, I think a couple links of Italian chicken sausage (cooked and crumbled) would really add a lot of deliciousness to the lasagnas. 

*Please note that I could not find Amore Herb Paste (and I looked all over Whole Foods for it)....so, I substituted 2 tsp dried basil and 2 tsp dried oregano in its place.

Here is the recipe verbatim from Vegetarian Times:

1 16oz pk frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 15oz can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 16oz container Ricotta
12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (3 cups)
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbs Amore Herb Paste, divided* <I used 2 tsp of dried basil and oregano, each>
1/4 cup red wine
1 25oz jar good marinara sauce
72 refrigerated or thawed frozen dumpling or wonton wrappers

1. Stir together spinach, artichoke hearts, Ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, Parmesan, egg and 2 Tbl. herb paste <or 1 tsp dried basil and 1 tsp dried oregano> in a large bowl. Set aside.

2. Bring wine to a boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil until reduced by half. Stir in  remaining 1 Tbl herb paste <or remaining 1 tsp dried basil and 1 tsp dried oregano> then marinara sauce, and bring to just a simmer. Remove from heat.

3. Preheat oven to 375F, and coat two 12 cup muffin pans with cooking spray <I used olive oil and I coated the pans generously>. Press 1 wonton wrapper into bottom of each muffin cup. Spoon 2 Tbl cheese mixture into wonton wrapper. Top with 1 1/2 tsp sauce. Repeat layering wonton wrapper, cheese mixture, and sauce. Top with wonton wrapper, and crimp or turn down edges as you would a pie. Spread 1 Tbl sauce over top. Sprinkle lasagnas with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until cheese on top is melted and bubbling. Cool 5 minutes before un-molding and serving.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Oh She Glows Classic Glo Bar


Okay, I know I have already told you I am obsessed with Angela Liddon's The Oh She Glows Cookbook- OBSESSED!!! I am working my way through her whole book.....every recipe is to die for (and even if you aren't vegan/vegetarian you will definitely agree).  The number one recipe I cannot get enough of is Angela's Classic Glo Bar - oh, have mercy these bars have become a staple in my busy life.  Oh, Classic Glo Bars, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways..... I always have all the ingredients on hand, they are no-bake and extremely quick to throw together, they satisfy my sweet tooth above and beyond, they are chock-full of healthy ingredients, and number one - they are DELICIOUS!!!!!!!! I have made them about four times in the last three weeks. Yum, yum, yum, heaven, heaven, heaven!! I had to share! Please try them for yourself and please buy this vegan-genius' cookbook- stat!!!

Here is her recipe verbatim from her book:

1½ cups gluten-free rolled oats
1¼ cups rice crisp cereal
¼ cup hemp seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbl sesame seeds
2 Tbl chia seeds
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp fine-grain sea salt
½ cup plus 1 tbsp brown rice syrup
¼ cup roasted peanut butter or almond butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup mini non-dairy chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life brand) (optional)

Directions:
1. Line a 9-inch (2.5-L) square cake pan with two pieces of parchment paper (one going each way).
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, rice crisp cereal, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt and mix.
3. In a small saucepan, stir together the brown rice syrup and peanut butter until well combined. Cook over medium to heat until the mixture softens and bubbles slightly, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
4. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture, using a spatula to scrape every last bit out of the pan. Stir well with a large metal spoon until all of the oats and cereal are coated in the wet mixture. (The resulting mixture will be very thick and difficult to stir. If you get tired, just picture me making five hundred of these bars in a row, and you’ll feel better!) If using the chocolate chips, allow the mixture to cool slightly before folding in the chips. This will prevent them from melting.
5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, spreading it out into an even layer. Lightly wet your hands and press down on the mixture to even it out. Use a pastry roller to compact the mixture firmly and evenly. This helps the bars hold together better. Press down on the edges with your fingers to even out.
6. Place the pan in the freezer, uncovered, and chill for 10 minutes, or until firm.
7. Lift the oat square out of the pan, using the parchment paper as handles, and place it on a cutting board. With a pizza roller (or a serrated knife), slice the square into 6 rows and then slice them in half to make 12 bars total.
8. Wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap or foil and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Alternatively, you can store them in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Tip: To make the bars nut-free, substitute sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter. Look for lightly sweetened sunflower seed butter, such as by Sunbutter, because unsweetened sunflower seed butter can have a bitter aftertaste.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Vegetarian Moroccan Stew


My friend, Keli, shared this scrumptious recipe with me. She found it on Allrecipes.com.  I have to say the dried apricots are the sole ingredient that convinced me to try this.....I love a recipe with a unique addition. It added a hint of sweetness and another dimension of flavor. Even though this stew is vegetarian, I don't think even the most carnivorous man will miss the meat.  Tons of flavor, loads of spices, hearty & filling- this stew has it all! Oh, and did I mention that my entire home smelled incredible as this cooked? 'Nough said - make this this week!

Here is the recipe straight from allrecipes.com (Please note this recipe made a TON!!!! If you have a big family, perfect! If you are just cooking for two, you might want to half this) :

 








 
  <I used spinach>
 
 
  <I used fire roasted tomatoes>
 <I only used 2 medium>
 <I only used 1 medium>
  <I only used 2>
 
 <I chopped these super tiny>
 
 
 
Combine cinnamon, cumin, salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric, and curry powder in a large bowl. 

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the onion in the butter until soft and just beginning to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in kale and spice mixture; cook until kale begins to wilt and spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. 

Pour the vegetable broth into the pot. Stir garbanzo beans, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, lentils, apricots, and honey, into the broth; bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until vegetables and lentils are cooked and tender, about 30 minutes. Season stew with black pepper.

 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Oh She Glow's Homemade Yolos


So, today I popped over to my girlfriend, Shanna's, house for a quick visit.  Not only did she give me a giant brussel sprouts salad, but her sweet mother whipped me up a kale smoothie (Thanks, Deb!!! It really did give me a great energy boost for the rest of the day!). Shanna and I are constantly sharing healthy foods and recipes with each other.  One vegan blogger we are obsessed with is Angela Liddon over at Oh She Glows.  Her brand new cookbook, The Oh She Glows Cookbook, is seriously to die for and you must must must check it out!  Anyway, Shanna asked me if I have made this gal's Rolo knock-offs (made with dates) yet because she just did yesterday and they are amazing. Of course, not being satisfied with ONLY getting a salad AND a smoothie, I asked her if I can have one (actually,  I kind-of demanded one, because, I'm all about taste-testing a homemade Rolo). Shanna points over to her sweet, beautiful kids sitting at the table, fresh homemade yolos all over their mouths, and says they just gobbled the last of them up! Darn!

So, of course, I had to try these out for myself immediately.  When I was making these the kids asked me what I was doing....I said, "Oh, I'm just making Rolos from scratch." They got all excited and couldn't wait for me to finish with them. All three gave them a big thumbs up!! And they totally bought my fib that they were candy! Ha!  I swear, these little gems are Oh So TASTY!!! I had to tell myself "NO MORE" after five of them in a row. Crazy, crazy yummy!!!!

Give them a whirl!!! I think you will love them! Thanks for the heads-up, Shanna!!

This recipe comes directly from the OhSheGlows.com website:

for the caramel
  • 200 grams pitted soft Medjool dates (about 11 large)
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt
for the chocolate coating
  • scant 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
for garnish
  • chia seeds (optional)
Instructions:

1. [Note: You want to use very soft Medjool dates. If yours are firm, soak in water to soften before using. Be sure to drain well.] Process pitted dates in food processor until a sticky paste forms. Now, add in the nut or seed butter along with a pinch of fine grain sea salt. Process until combined. The mixture will be SUPER sticky, but this is a good thing!

2. Scoop out the sticky mixture into a bowl and freeze for about 10 minutes. Chilling it makes the caramel easier to shape into balls. After chilling, lightly wet your fingers and shape caramel into small balls to make about 18 balls total.

3. Place balls back into the freezer for another 10 minutes on a parchment lined plate. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips along with 1 teaspoon coconut oil on the stove top over low heat. When 2/3 of the chips are melted, remove from heat and stir until everything is melted. <I melted the chips and coconut oil in the microwave>

4. Remove balls from freezer and dunk each ball into the melted chocolate, one at a time. Roll around to coat. Tap off excess chocolate and place back onto parchment-lined plate. Sprinkle with chia seeds (optional) and stick a toothpick into each. Repeat for the rest.

5. Freeze again for at least 20 minutes until set. Bites taste best straight from the freezer and will soften (but will not melt) at room temperature.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

See's Candy Chewy Chocolate Chip Browned Butter Cookies


Well Folks, I think I may have found the ULTIMATE chocolate chip cookie. I know, I know, I say this all the time! It's true.....I am a cookie conoisseur....I love me a good cookie (it's one of my weaknesses) and I'm always searching for new, fun, yummy recipes to share with you all.  I often find myself attracted to cookie recipes that are filled to the brim with goodies- nuts, toffee, pretzels, cinnamon chips, white chips, peanut butter, yada, yada, yada.....And I truly do love me a goodie-filled cookie.  But, there are times when I just crave a straight-up, plain ol' chocolate chip cookie....and let me tell you, this simple recipe totally nails it!!!

I found this recipe on the See's Candy website.  I grew up in California where See's Candy stores were a dime a dozen - I never knew how lucky my sweet tooth had it until I moved to another state. Oh See's, how I miss you so! I know I can buy See's online....and I know our big mall here has a See's kiosk, but, it just isn't the same. See's Candy will always be my all time, forever favorite chocolate.

So, while I was browsing their website the other day (I do that every once in awhile because I like to torture myself) I noticed they had a "recipe" section. I was intrigued immediately!!  This cookie recipe is very unique...the butter is deeply browned and then immediately put into the freezer - I was like, "what, what?!"  After I blended that beautifully browned butter with the sugars I tasted a tiny bit- it tasted like toffee!! I knew right then these cookies would be very very good (and oh are they!). But, there was one other ingredient that really shook things up....just a teeny, tiny bit of molasses. I have never used molasses in a chocolate chip cookie before.  I wondered if that teensy bit would make such a difference. I think it did. I'd love to hear if you think it took these cookies to the next level, too!

Oh!! And one more thing to note. The recipe says to let the cookie dough rest in the fridge for 24 hours before baking. I definitely agree with chilling your dough before baking!! But, it can be difficult to plan for cookies up to a day ahead!! So, I cooked a few cookies after letting the dough chill only 4 hours. And then I baked the rest after the full 24 hours. The cookies that were chilled for only 4 hours were still delicious!!!! Although, the cookies that were chilled for the full day were even better. Anyway, all that to say, if you can't wait a day to bake the dough, they will still turn out yummy!

Here is the recipe directly from See's website (please note, I doubled everything you see here to make a full, regular sized batch of cookies....I probably should have quadrupled it they were so good!!!):

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp molasses
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz See's semi-sweet chocolate chips <I used Toll House- oh sorry, See's! If I had a store near me, then you know I'd use your chips!>

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat about 5 minutes, until bubbling and foaming. Once butter is amber in color, transfer to a small bowl. Scrape the browned bits from the pan into the bowl too. Add one teaspoon of cold water, and stir. Place bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Remove browned butter from the freezer and place it in the mixer along with sugar and brown sugar <I just used a hand mixer; it worked fine>. With the paddle attachment, mix on low for one minute, then increase to medium speed until combined.

Scrape down sides of mixing bowl and paddle, then add egg, molasses and vanilla. Mix for about one minutes until completely combined. 

Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until fully combined.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Let cookie dough rest for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

When it's time to bake, preheat oven to 350F.

Place rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, two inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets <I did not line my cookie sheets, nor did I grease them>. Bake in preheated oven about 10 minutes <do NOT overcook these cookies!>.  Remove cookies from oven and let cool for 9 or 10 minutes before transferring them to a plate.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fancy Mac 'n Cheese with Roasted & Sundried Tomatoes, Spinach and Chicken


This meal was super easy to whip up and quite yummy.  I didn't originally plan on adding sun-dried tomatoes, but, when I opened my fridge door they were just there staring at me, so I threw some in.....I'm glad I did because they added a lot of flavor to the dish.  And I am always a huge fan of putting roasted cherry tomatoes in just about anything.  Since I don't eat meat, I only put chicken on one side of the dish (instead of stirring it into the whole thing)....my vegetarian portion turned out delish, so, just know this meal is great with or without the chicken. Two out of three kids loved this. I hope your family does, too! Enjoy!

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb ziti or penne pasta
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 tsp all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt & pepper, each
1/2 tsp dried basil
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 large handfuls of spinach leaves, chopped
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup cooked chicken, chopped (optional)
3 tablespoons of bread crumbs or panko

Preheat the oven to 400F

While the oven is preheating, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta noodles according to the lowest suggested time on the box (ie. if the box says to cook for 9-11 minutes, cook for only 9 minutes).  Drain the al dente pasta and set aside.

Toss the halved cherry tomatoes with 2 tsp olive oil and spread on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast for 15 minutes on 400F.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Add ­remaining 2 teaspoons oil to a large oven-proof skillet (if your skillet isn't oven proof, it's okay, you can transfer to a cooking dish later). Add garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in flour, milk, salt, pepper and dried basil. Use a whisk to blend all ingredients completely; whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook for one minute or until thickened; stir frequently.  Remove the pan from heat; stir in Parmesan and mozzarella and blend until smooth. Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce; stir well.  Stir in chopped spinach, sun dried tomatoes and chicken, if using.  Gently fold in roasted tomatoes.  If you are not using an oven-proof skillet, then you should transfer your pasta to a cooking dish now. Sprinkle the top of the pasta evenly with bread crumbs.

Change oven temp to broil.

Broil the pasta dish for about three minutes. Stand close by and turn on the oven light to make sure the bread crumbs do not burn. Remove from oven once breadcrumbs look golden and are slightly crispy. Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Zesty Quinoa Salad


This yummy recipe was shared with me by my friend, Kim. Kim loves all things quinoa (so do I; I mean, really, who doesn't now a-days? We are living in a quinoa-loving world, people). I tweaked the original recipe up a little bit as I always seem to do; I can't help myself!!! My husband and I ate the whole salad for dinner served with pita wedges. But, I also think this would make a fabulous side dish or quick lunch. I know a couple of my girlfriends like to make a big batch of quinoa salad on Sunday nights and then eat a little bit for lunch as the week goes on. This is a very smart thing to do to ensure you eat a healthy lunch every day and not just a bowl of cereal (that would be ME) or a couple of donuts out of the pantry (ummm, ya you, my bestie-who-shall-remain-nameless, I'm talking about you)!! Enjoy!!!
 
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or water)
1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 Tbl to 4 Tbl fresh cilantro, chopped (according to your tastes)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 sliced almonds (optional)

Dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbl apple cider vinegar (or white or red; not Balsamic)
1 Tbl honey
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt & pepper, each
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flake, to your taste
Pita bread slices for serving

Bring quinoa and broth (or water) to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.


Pour olive oil, vinegar, cumin, honey, salt & pepper, and red pepper flakes together in a Tupperware container. Cover with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously until thoroughly combined.


Combine cooked quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, green onions, cilantro, and sliced almonds (if using) together in a bowl. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture; toss to coat. Gently fold in feta cheese. Taste the salad and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Chill salad in the refrigerator.
Serve with toasted pita bread wedges. Enjoy!
 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Zucchini, Apple & Quinoa Cakes with Cucumber Yogurt Dressing

 
Summer is coming to a close and yet, I'm still a vegetarian. I call myself a "summer vegetarian" because it's just easier for me to omit meat in my diet in the warmer months. The chill of fall makes it harder for me to resist the occasional chicken sausage soup, beef stew or turkey chili.  My husband is always happy once summer comes to a close because he knows it means a little chicken is on the horizon.

But for now, I'm very content in my meatless-world. And these zucchini apple cakes leaving me craving for nothing!! They are extremely delicious, filling and healthy. I LOVE them! Hope you do too!

Zucchini Cakes:
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/3 cup pecans (or walnuts)
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 medium apple, grated with peel on
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped (substitute with 1 Tbl dried dill)
1/2 tsp garlic, chopped
1 Tbl ground flax (optional)
1 Tbl hemp seed (optional)
2 eggs
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 Tbl olive oil

Yogurt Dressing:
6 oz container of plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbl lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic salt

Mixed lettuce

Put uncooked quinoa in a mini food processor and process until finely ground. Add pecans and process until mixture is smooth.

Place grated zucchini and grated apple in a strainer. Let stand 15 minutes. Use a few paper towels to squeeze out excess liquid through the strainer. The zucchini and apple should be barely moist by the time you are ready to use it.

Combine zucchini, apple, green onions, dill, salt, pepper, garlic,  feta cheese and eggs in a large bowl. Stir well to combine. Add the quinoa and pecan mixture and ground flax & hemp seeds, if using; stir well to combine.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add 1 Tbl olive oil to pan. Add 1/4 cup of the zucchini batter to the hot pan; use the back of the measuring cup to flatten the mound into a 3"-4" cake. Cook 4 minutes then flip cake to the other side. Cook another 4 minutes. Remove the finished zucchini cakes and repeat procedure with the remaining olive oil and rest of the batter.                         
                              

For the dressing combine yogurt, cucumber, red bell pepper, lemon juice and garlic salt; stir well. Divide lettuce between plates. Top with zucchini cakes and dressing. Serve right away. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Easy Taco Salad



I make this for dinner a lot- quite a lot, actually. My husband and I love eating a giant salad for dinner and this one is chocked full of healthy, tasty ingredients and is really easy to throw together.  I don't have a "recipe" - you literally just add what you like and what you happen to have in the 'fridge (aren't those the best kind of recipes anyway?).  I think the simple dressing is what makes this salad so yummy. Choose your favorite salsa to mix into the ranch; eat the left over salsa with chips as a side with the salad.

Take this list of ingredients as suggestions - if you don't like something, don't put it in! I guarantee it'll turn out yummy!!

Dressing:
Bottled Ranch dressing
Jarred salsa

Salad:
Romaine lettuce, chopped (the two of us eat three heads)
Cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters
Red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
Green onions, about three
Handful of cilantro, chopped
Black beans or garbanzo beans, about a can, rinsed and drained
Corn, I cut mine straight off the cob completely uncooked
Shredded cheddar cheese (pepper jack would be good, too)
Sprinkle of salt & pepper
Rotisserie chicken, shredded
Ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
Crushed tortilla chips

For the dressing:
Use equal parts ranch to salsa- I have never measured this. Basically, if you use 1/3 cup Ranch, add a 1/3 cup salsa and mix together. If your family wants more or less dressing, just adjust. 

Salad:
Combine the lettuce and all the other ingredients you are using, minus the avocado, chicken and tortilla chips. Pour dressing over the top and toss well.  Serve salad onto plates. Top each serving with chicken, avocado and crushed tortilla chips. Serve with extra salsa and chips as a side. Enjoy!




Monday, August 25, 2014

5 Minute Artisan Bread from CSF


This bread was outrageously good!! And it was crazy easy to make- no kneeding!! Yes, I said it- NO KNEEDING!!! And I will admit it, it took more than five minutes....but, it certainly took much, much, much less time and effort than your typical, homemade bread (and it tasted better, too - SWEAR!). Oh, and you bake it in a pot! How cool is that?

This recipe comes from my most favorite cooking blog, Cafe Sucre Farine. This woman is a culinary genius. I have never made anything off her blog that isn't just fantastic.  I have to admit, when I saw this bread I thought it was way too good to be true- I was doubtful my bread would turn out as well as hers.....

But, I think it did! I mean, I'm guessing it did!! My kitchen smelled like a French Boulangerie; the bread came out crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft and perfect on the inside. Oh my, it was heavenly!!

Instead of posting the recipe, I am going to direct you to The Cafe Sucre Farine website.  Her step by step pictures are very detailed and her explanation on how to make this bread is extremely thorough. So, please click HERE to head on over to my favorite cooking blog and get yourself ready to bake some delicious bread!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hippie Peas


Hello long lost friends, I am back!! We just returned from the most amazing week at a Dude Ranch in Wyoming.....oh, it was heavenly!! What a gorgeous part of the country. And seriously, who knew I would LOVE riding horses!!?  There is more to come on this trip in future blog posts......I am hoping to blog some of the scrumptious meals we were served on the ranch.....

But for now, I am sharing with you an appetizer that has become a staple at all my girlfriends' gatherings.  I keep forgetting to take a "before" picture of it......but, maybe the tiny little morsel that is pictured above gives you a better understanding of how quickly and completely this appetizer is devoured by a gaggle of hip, hungry women who are reveling in a night out without the kids!!

This recipe was graciously given to me by my friend, Gina,  over at Hyphenista  (Gina is always giving me her fab recipes to blog- thank you, darling)!!!  The flavors are unique and different and 100% delicious. I wish I had a vat of it to stick my face into right now (I should know not to blog when I'm hungry).

Enjoy!!!

1 lb frozen peas
1/2 c mayo
1 Tbl curry powder
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
1 c crushed smoked almonds

Mix the frozen peas, mayo, curry powder and scallions the day before serving (or at least a few hours- you do not want to serve frozen peas to your guests). Pour crushed almonds on top immediately before serving. Serve with pretzel chips, pita chips or crackers (our gang likes the pretzel chips best).

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Watermelon Mint Blended Juice


Refreshing!! That word best describes this delicious blended juice. Oh and I need to add in easy, too! Refreshing and easy! Oh and one more word- delicious! Okay, you get the point!

My husband and I loved this, our kids loved it......I think it'd be perfect served at a BBQ.....it could even be spiked for an adult beverage.

This made approx. four 8 oz glasses of juice.
I forgot to put the sugar in this picture.....but, just a little goes a long way! The watermelon itself is very sweet.

4 cups of seedless watermelon, cubed (about 3 lbs)
1/2 cup coconut water (you can use regular water instead)
24 mint leaves
1 Tbl coconut sugar (you can use regular white sugar instead)
1/2 a lemon, seeded with rind removed
2 cups of ice

Place all ingredients in a powerful blender (I use a Vitamix). Blend until juice is smooth without any lumps. The consistency should be like juice, not a smoothie. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Excellent Banana Bread- Healthier (and Yummier) than EVER!


I'm super excited about this updated version of my amazingly delicious banana bread (not to toot my own horn but I make a mean banana bread)....my healthier version is so moist and flavorful, despite the fact that I omitted the butter and chocked it full of wheat germ and hemp seeds. My kids just love this bread and ask me to make it all the time. They have no idea that it is an improved upon recipe (and by improved upon I just mean that it is healthier....my original recipe is still the bomb and if you are looking for more of a classic banana bread, click here).  Enjoy the yummy healthiness!!!
Note that the picture above shows three bananas- I did make it with three bananas and I liked it, but I prefer it made with only two bananas. My family likes the more subtle banana flavor of two......

1/3 c coconut oil (and a little bit for greasing the pan)
2 very ripe bananas
3/4 cup coconut sugar (find this at Whole Foods or in the organic section of the grocery)
2 eggs
1/4 cup yogurt
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (these are dairy, nut and soy free)

Preheat oven to 350F

Grease a meatloaf pan with a little coconut oil.

Melt the coconut oil in a large microwave safe bowl for about 50 seconds. Remove bowl from microwave and use a wooden spoon to stir it around until it is completely liquid. Add the two bananas and mash well. Add the coconut sugar to the banana/oil mixture and stir until combined. Add the eggs one at a time and combine; add yogurt and stir. Add the rest of the dry ingredients from the whole wheat pastry flour to the cinnamon. Stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Bake on 350F for 53-55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about an hour before turning the bread out and slicing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Kale, Potato & White Bean Tacos with Creamy Verde Salsa


Okay, I have to admit it, I'm back to being a vegetarian. There is something about the summer that makes it easier for me to ditch meat altogether.  These incredibly tasty tacos were inspired by my new favorite taco and fresh squeezed juice joint (I mean, could there be a better restaurant combination on earth?). My husband agrees that I nailed this taco!!! They are so tasty and delicious.....you will not miss the meat one bit!!! Don't skimp on the yummy sauce- it is muy muy beuno.

If you have been eager to get in on the whole "kale craze", you couldn't pick a better recipe to start with. Even my son kept swiping kale from the skillet every time he walked by. I actually had to tell him to stop eating all the kale! I mean, really, who says that to an eight year old!?!? Make these this week!

1 Tbl olive oil
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 poblano pepper, finely chopped
1 small white potato, finely chopped (if you do not chop your potato into small pieces, it won't cook in time)
Vegetable or chicken broth (just a little bit to de-glaze the pan)
1 15oz can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 to 3/4 head of curly kale, remove thick spines and use only the leaves
Salt & pepper
Cojita cheese (if you can't find this, a very mild Feta will suffice)
6-8 Corn Tortillas (THE best brand is La Tortilla Factory- I have never had a better store-bought tortilla in my life; try to find these!)
3/4 cup salsa verde (find this green salsa in the International section of the grocery)
1/4 cup sour cream (don't use light, it's just yucky and will ruin my tacos!!) 

Preheat oven to 200F (this is to warm the tortillas)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook for approx 5 minutes. Add the poblano pepper and potato. Cook for about three minutes. Add a little bit of broth (about 1 Tbl) to de-glaze the potatoes from the pan (this helps them cook without sticking) and stir. Cook another 3 minutes and add about 1 Tbl broth to the pan again; stir. Every time you add the broth, it'll completely absorb. The mixture will not be soupy at all. Repeat this step one more time until the potatoes taste cooked through.....so, you will cook the potatoes about 9-10 minutes total.

Add the navy beans and stir. Add the kale and stir. With the skillet over medium/low heat, continue to stir the kale until it has wilted down and has become soft. This takes about 5 minutes.  Season with salt & pepper to your taste.
About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, wrap the tortillas in foil and put them in the oven to warm. 

Mix the salsa verde and the sour cream together. 

To assemble the tacos, spoon kale/potato mixture into a warm tortilla. Spoon creamy verde salsa on top and sprinkle with Cojita cheese. Serve with chips and guacamole. Enjoy!! Eating meatless NEVER tasted so good!!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Chocolate Covered Rice Cakes with Coconut & Hemp Seeds

                      

Even though I'm a very healthy eater, I still have a major sweet tooth. Of all the sweets in the world, I crave chocolate the most. These chocolate covered rice cakes really satisfy my cravings - I promise, promise I'm not kidding!!! I love the crunch of the rice cake paired with the chocolate. The almond butter adds protein while the hemp and chia seeds are rich in Omega-3s - not bad for a "dessert".  I make one batch at a time and they last me for a week (and that includes my kids poaching a few of them for themselves).

1 package of brown rice cakes (approx 13 cakes)
1 package of Enjoy Life dairy/nut/soy free chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
2 Tbl almond butter (optional)
Use any or all of these to top the chocolate:
*unsweetened coconut flakes
*hemp seeds
*chia seeds
*wheatgerm
                       
Before you get started, put two pieces of wax paper on the counter and lay out all the rice cakes.  Covering the rice cakes with the melted chocolate is pretty messy, so it's a good thing to cover the counter (easy clean up!).

Put 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1 Tbl almond butter (if using) in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir until completely melted and smooth. Using a spoon, top half the rice cakes with melted chocolate.  Repeat with remaining chocolate, almond butter and rice cakes.

While the chocolate is still wet, lightly sprinkle with any of the suggested toppings. I like the coconut flakes on their own; I like to mix the hemp and chia seeds together. Or you don't have to sprinkle them with any toppings at all. My daughter likes them plain.
                              
                                   

I store these in a large plastic bag in the refrigerator and eat one for dessert each night!  Enjoy!

                              

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Crunchy Kale Chips with Soy & Sesame Seeds


I seriously can't believe it has taken me THIS long to blog about kale chips!!!! I do appologize; I know you all expect more of me! These kale chips are down right scrumptious (even though I'm not the world's biggest kale lover). Two out of three of my kids love them, too (and the third one doesn't like them ONLY because he won't even let one near his mouth- he screamed when I offered him one). 

Please check out this website, Refinery 29. I found this site via Pinterest. This blogger has 10 different flavor combos for kale chips- awesome!!!!! The one below is her soy & sesame seeds recipe. I cannot wait to try some of her other recipes, too!!! These kale chips are going fast in my house.....

1 bunch of kale, washed, DRIED, and cut into "chip-sized" pieces
1 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl soy sauce <I used Tamari & I also think 1 1/2 Tbl would be sufficient>
1/2 Tbl sesame seeds

 Preheat oven to 300F

Pour olive oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds into a large ziplock bag. Add kale pieces and shake well making sure the kale is evenly covered with the olive oil mixture.

Place a cooling rack on top of a foil lined cookie sheet* (this helps cook the kale from under too- giving you a nice crispy "chip"). Put half the kale on the cooling rack/cookie sheet (try not to overlap pieces) and cook for 30 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven and repeat with the rest of the kale pieces. Try not to eat them all as you transfer them from the cookie sheet to a container.

*If you do not have a cooling rack, just put the kale on a foil lined cookie sheet. I think the cooling rack on top helps with the crispy-ness, but, it isn't necessary.

I had to show you this picture of my daughter sneaking a kale chip as I was trying to take a photo! She LOVES these!!!! You will too!

 


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Good Morning Pear & Celery Juice


I haven't blogged a juice recipe in quite a long time.....so, I thought I'd share this little gem today. I have been making an apple celery juice every week for quite some time now. Last week I decided to switch things up a bit by using pears instead of apples. WOW! How can one little orchard fruit make such a difference? I'm not sure, but, it does!! This juice is just yummy. My daughter was stealing sips of mine today after I made it. Fresh squeezed juice is a great start to the day!! Enjoy!

4 pears
4 mini cucumbers OR 2 large cucumbers
2 celery hearts
1 lemon, peeled

Run everything thru the juicer. Serve with ice if you like it cold. Place any extras in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Juice should be consumed within one or two days max*.  This recipe makes enough for three 8 oz glasses. If you want less, just cut the ingredients in half.

*I drink a glass of fresh pressed juice every morning for breakfast, but, I don't have time to juice every day. So, I pick one day a week (usually Sundays) to make myself enough juice for the whole week. I put 5 days worth in air tight, plastic jugs and freeze them. I defrost as I need them throughout the week. It isn't ideal, but, it's what works for my busy schedule and guarantees me a glass a day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Shannon's Dreamy Ice Cream Cake (EASY!!!)


My friend, Shannon, has made this ice cream cake countless times for me. It is so dreamy. It is dreamy for two reasons: #1. It is crazy good and #2. It is CRAZY easy!!! I love recipes that take very little effort and culinary skill, yet impressive the pants out of friends and family (and I'm sure you do, too). This recipe is also very versatile. You can use any flavor of ice cream you like; you can also use any type of "fudge" (think caramel sauce) or Oreo cookie. The possibilities are endless yet the result is always the same = delicious! Thanks for sharing this with me, Shan!

To make a 9X13" ice cream cake:

1 whole package of Oreo cookies
1 jar of hot fudge
1 1/2 gallon of your favorite flavor ice cream
1 regular size container of Cool Whip, defrosted in the refrigerator overnight
1 container of sprinkles (I only used 1/2 because it was all I had)

Take the ice cream out of the freezer. Let it sit on the counter while you prepare the crust. Put the entire package of Oreos into a large Ziplock bag and crush them into small pieces.

Transfer the crushed Oreos to a large bowl. Heat the fudge in the microwave (lid off) for 45 seconds. Pour the hot fudge over the Oreos and stir to combine. 

Pour Oreo mixture in the bottom of a 9X13" baking dish. Cover the Oreos with a large piece of wax paper. Use your hands to press into the bottom of the dish so the crust is even and smooth. (This is how I make Rice Krispie Treats- I love using wax paper). If you don't have wax paper (and you really should) you can also spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and do the same thing. It works almost as well. 

Remove the wax paper. You should have a nice evenly spread Oreo crust. 
Rinse out your bowl (no reason to dirty up a ton of bowls). Put the whole tub of ice cream in the bowl and stir it up until it is smooth. 

Very carefully smooth the creamy ice cream over the top of the Oreo crust, trying not to disturb the crust. 

Very carefully smooth the Cool Whip on top of the ice cream layer. I had the best luck using a frosting knife. When I tried using a wooden spoon, the Cool Whip kept pulling the ice cream into it....it isn't the end of the world, but, it just won't look as pretty. Sprinkle with sprinkles!!!!

Cover cake with a layer of plastic wrap (careful not to touch the cake with the plastic) and then a layer of foil. Put back into the freeze for at least two hours so everything can firm up. When you are ready to serve, remove cake from the freezer and let sit for just a minute or two to soften up before slicing. Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!









Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ann's Incredible Crunchy Asian Salad


My friend, Ann, a long time vegetarian, shared this amazingly easy, yet incredibly delicious, salad recipe with me last month. I am hooked.....no seriously, I am HOOKED on this salad! I have made it for dinner twice in the last week and a half. The thing of it is, it is crazy easy!!!! So many times people equate easy with mediocre.....and often, that is the case.....but, not with this gem of a salad. It is easy and just so yummy. The thing about this salad (and most salads, really) is you don't have to measure anything. Just throw in as much or as little as you want. Use my recommendations as a guide, not a rule. You can't mess this salad up unless you buy a crummy tasting dressing.  I like the Brianna's Ginger Mandarin dressing in the picture below.  Ann uses a great Wegman's brand ginger seasame dressing.

You can easily add chopped rotisserie chicken to it if you want a little meat. But, I think it is perfect just the way it is! Simply scrumptious!! Enjoy!


1 package of your favorite salad <I used this half spring/half spinach mix. I have also used a butter lettuce and red cabbage mix that was delicious>
1 package of broccoli slaw <I used this rainbow slaw once when I couldn't find the broccoli slaw. It was good, but, the broccoli slaw is better. Use the rainbow/coleslaw mix when in a pinch>
1 large cucumber (or two small cucumbers), chopped
Green onion, around 3, chopped
1 perfectly ripened avocado, peeled and chopped
Almond Accents <I love these guys so much I used half a bag on one salad>
La Choy Rice Noodles <You can easily find these in the Asian section of your supermarket. Do not omit- these make the salad. Again, I used half a can on one salad....I have no control>
Ginger Sesame Dressing of your choice <Brianna's Ginger Mandarin is quite good>

*If you want to add a little protein, try chopped left-over or rotisserie chicken

Mix, dress, serve! Enjoy!