Saturday, December 26, 2015

Rosemary Roasted Cashews


These Rosemary Cashews are seriously addictive !!! My friend, Elizabeth, brought them to a party this holiday season and everyone wanted her to share this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. So, I just made them (it took less than 15 minutes) and they are so delicious. My tongue is slightly burnt from not being able to wait to eat them before they cooled!!!

I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I added extra sugar and more butter (because why not!?).

Here it is from the Food Network website:

1 1/4 pounds cashew nuts
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar (I used one Tbl)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon melted butter (I used 2 Tbl)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until they are warmed through <I lined my cookie sheet with foil for easy clean up>. Meanwhile, combine the rosemary, pepper, sugar, salt and butter in a large bowl <I put all those ingredients in a small pot and heated until the butter melted and the sugar had dissolved completely>. Toss the warm nuts with the rosemary mixture until the nuts are completely coated <I put it all in a separate bowl to make sure the cashews were evenly coated - I then spread them out again on the same foiled lined baking sheet to cool them>. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Graham Cracker Crunch



Christmas is right around the corner so I thought I'd share this fun recipe with you all. This super sweet holiday "candy" was so easy to make - it's always nice to have a no-bake option in your holiday-baking-arsenal.  I made a big batch for my husband to bring into the office. But I can also imagine bagging these up for neighbors and teachers. Enjoy!

I found this recipe on Smart School House. Here it is word for word:

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Graham crackers
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (or more if you love chocolate)
  • 1/2 bag of White Candy Melts <I used one whole bag of white choco chips>
  • Various Christmas colored sprinkles
  • Baking sheet
  • Foil
  • Non-stick spray
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Prepare the baking sheet with foil and a thin layer of non-stick cooking spray
Break graham crackers into pieces and lay on cookie sheet.

 

In a sauce pan, bring the butter, brown sugar, and salt to a boil which takes about 4-5 minutes (stirring frequently to avoid burning)

Remove from the heat and let it cool for 2 minutes.

Pour the melted mixture over the graham crackers.

Bake in the oven for 9 minutes. <I think you only need to do this for about 5 minutes - the grahams can easily burn>

Remove from the oven and put the mini chocolate chips evenly over the top (feel free to use 1 full cup if you love chocolate!)





Place the baking sheet back in the oven to let the chocolate chips melt (about 2 minutes)

While the chocolate chips are melting over the graham crackers in the oven, melt 1/2 bag of candy melts <I used one whole bag of white chocolate chips - put them in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for one minute - take the bowl out and stir. Return bowl of chips to the microwave and heat for another 30 seconds. Take out and stir. They might be ready now or you may need 30 more seconds>

Place the melted candy mixture over the top of the melted chocolate chips and spread them evenly over the graham crackers using a spatula. <When I did this the white chocolate melted the chocolate chips and it kinda looked like cookies & cream....once the sprinkles went on, it wasn't as obvious, though>

Sprinkle the various Christmas sprinkles on top and let the it cool for at least an hour.


Once cooled, break it up into small pieces and enjoy! Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Pumpkin Banana Oat Breakfast Bars

So I had a super ripe banana on my counter and a half a jar of canned pumpkin sitting in my fridge......I wanted to get rid of both, but, I wasn't feeling another batch of pumpkin banana bread. These are what I came up with and yeah, they are pretty yummy! Healthy and yummy - my favorite combo! Enjoy!

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 smashed very ripe banana
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin spice
2 cup oats
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease an 8X8 baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl add pumpkin, banana, applesauce, honey, salt and pumpkin spice, mix well. Fold in oats, coconut flakes and mini chocolate chips. Place mixture in prepared baking pan and press down so each corner is covered. Place in the oven for 20 - 22 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool and cut into bars. Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Enchilada Bowls


Gosh am I loving all things spaghetti squash right now. SO dang tasty, SO super easy, SO incredibly versatile. I just LOVE it!! And so does my family. When I saw this recipe on Skinny Taste, I knew I had to make it. So glad I did because it was delicious. When we ate it, I served it with a bowl of our favorite sweet potato tortilla chips from Food Should Taste Good. Those chips are the best! I used them to scoop up the squash enchiladas chips-and-salsa-style  - YUM!!!!

Here is the recipe straight from Skinny Taste:
 
Ingredients:
  • 2 small spaghetti squash
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8th tsp kosher salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/3 cups homemade enchilada sauce (click here) <I used store bought sauce to save time>
  • 1 cup part-skim shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • chopped cilantro and scallions for garnish
  • <I added a handful of pepitas/pumpkin seeds>
  • <Your favorite tortilla chips on the side - I love anything from Food Should Taste Good>
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or two if they don't fit). Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and soft yellow strands. Brush the inside of the squash with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place the squash facedown on the baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the flesh easily pierces with a fork.

Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the inside so the strands appear. Spoon enough of the enchilada sauce mixture inside each squash bowl until almost full. 



Top evenly with the cheese and sauce and transfer them to the oven and bake another 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is hot. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with cilantro and scallions and serve immediately!

 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips



Another banana bread recipe? Yes!! My kids love banana bread and I'm always up for trying a new recipe. I had a super ripe banana sitting on the counter today and was faced with a decision..... smoothie or banana bread? Banana bread won out!! And I'm glad it did because this bread is definitely blog worthy. It's super tasty and full of holiday flavor.  Breakfast, snack and dessert is served. Enjoy!!

This recipe comes straight from the blog Running with Spoons:
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 large, ripe banana (~1/2 cup mashed)
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Optional add-ins: ½ cup chocolate chips/raisins/nuts/etc. <I used 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup cinnamon chips>
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF, and lightly grease a 9 x 5 bread pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir until well combined and set aside.
  3. Lightly beat the eggs in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add mashed bananas, pumpkin, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir gently. Do not over mix. Fold in any add-ins you wish to include.
  5. Pour the batter into the loaf pan, spreading it out evenly, and bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. After 45 minutes, you may wish to cover with a sheet of tin foil to prevent the top from getting too brown. <I baked my bread for only 53 minutes and I covered with foil after 40 minutes of baking>
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Pumpkin Bark


Oh this was easy.....it was so incredibly easy and it was also incredibly delicious! Great alternative to peppermint bark.....fun gift to give to neighbors, co-workers, teachers, etc....great treat to bring to a holiday party....or just make it for your own self because let's face it, you deserve this!!!

ANOTHER fabulous recipe from my go-to blog, Minimalist Baker. Here is the recipe word for word:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cup high quality semisweet or dark chocolate chips (I used 2 cups)
  • 2 heaping cups high quality white chocolate
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup raw or roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
Instructions
  1. In the microwave or over a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate, stirring occasionally. Once melted, pour over a cookie sheet and spread until even - should be a fairly thin layer.
  2. Place pan in freezer to harden for at least 10-15 minutes.
  3. Rinse your bowl clean and melt the white chocolate chips, stirring occasionally. Once melted, remove from heat and add pumpkin pie spice. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Remove pan from freezer and pour white chocolate over the top of the dark chocolate, moving quickly to spread it carefully in an even layer directly on top. Get the edges as close to lined up as possible.
  5. Quickly sprinkle on almonds, pumpkin seeds and cranberries. Pop in freezer for another 10-15 minutes.
  6. Then break into pieces and store in an airtight container or bag. Refrigerate to keep fresh for longer.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cheesy Mushroom & Roasted Broccoli Quinoa


Mushroom lovers rejoice!!! This dish was so cheesy and mushroom-y and just full of all the yummy comforts you want this time of year - warm, hearty, flavorful and filling - a healthier twist on traditional comfort food. Gluten free, too! If you want to add some meat, a little crumbled chicken sausage or shredded rotisserie chicken would gel nicely.

It definitely made enough for two as a main meal. Four servings for a side dish.

Enjoy!!
16 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup milk, plus more for thinning at the end
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
Salt & Pepper

Turn oven to 400F




Chop broccoli and place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Roast on 400F for 12-15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
To cook quinoa, place 1 cup of dry quinoa and 2 cups water in a pot. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a spoon and set aside.
To make the ricotta cheese mixture, add ricotta, milk, parsley, nutmeg and Parmesan in a bowl and stir till combined. Set aside.


While the broccoli is roasting and quinoa is cooking, melt butter in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Once melted add the sliced mushrooms. DO NOT TOUCH them! Just let them sit in the sizzling butter for 6-8 minutes. They will get golden brown and taste amazing - but only if you just leave them alone!! They need to sit and caramelize in the butter.  Once they are sufficiently browned (and you are welcome for this life-changing culinary tip), give them a good stir and cook for another couple of minutes until they are to your liking. Turn the heat down to low and add the roasted broccoli. Add the cooked quinoa and give a good stir. Next add the ricotta and Parmesan and stir until the cheeses have melted and it is nice and gooey. If the mixture is too thick, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to get it your desired consistency (I used about three extra tablespoons to get it more risotto-esque). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately! Enjoy the scrumptious-ness!!
 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ginger Infused Thai Coconut Soup


Heaven, 100% pure heaven in a bowl!!  That's how I am describing this soup.  It is amazingly delicious, warm, comforting, flavorful, bright and just plain yummy. The crispy tofu blew me away and added so much flavor- do not omit the tofu!!!! I marinated it for hours before I pan fried it so it added a lot of seasoning to the soup.

This meal was so fast to prepare.  Monday nights are my hard nights because all the kids have activities after school and I don't have a lot of time to make a fancy dinner.  I took this easy recipe and made it even easier by using pre-chopped onions from the produce department and pre-cooked frozen brown rice. I even found tofu that was already cubed!!!! My supermarket didn't have lemongrass, so I substituted it with lemon zest from one whole lemon - it was perfect.

This made enough for two adults to have a very satisfying meal.  It would be more of a side dish for four or more people.

Thank you to the blog Sobremesa for this amazing recipe. Here it is verbatim:

 2 tsp coconut oil, divided
1 package of extra firm tofu (I used already cubed tofu to save time)
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp agave (I never use agave - substitute pure maple syrup or honey)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 yellow onion, diced (I used pre-chopped onions to save time)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into thin coins
1 bunch scallions, chopped and divided into two piles
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 stalk lemongrass, leave whole and cut an x in the bottom of the root end (this will help release the lemongrass flavor) (I used the zest from one whole lemon)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can full fat coconut milk
zest and juice on 1 lime

cilantro, chopped
peanuts, crushed
4 cups cooked rice (I used pre-cooked frozen rice)

Cut tofu into cubes and place them in a medium sized bowl. Mix tamari, agave, and sesame oil together in a small bowl. In a large dutch oven or soup pot heat 1 tsp coconut oil over medium heat. Pour tamari mixture over cubed tofu and toss to make sure each piece is evenly coated.

Add tofu to the hot pan and brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 tsp coconut oil. Add onion and carrot and cook until soft and fragrant. Add half of the chopped scallions (reserve the rest for garnish), garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. Cook for 2-3 minutes until very fragrant. Add the stock and coconut milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove lemongrass from pan and toss it. Season the soup broth with salt and pepper to taste and add the lime zest and juice.  Place a serving of rice in each bowl, pour the soup broth over the rice, and top with tofu, scallions, cilantro, and peanuts. Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Brussels Sprouts & Quinoa Salad with Sweet Orange Dressing


I absolutely love Brussels Sprouts - I just love 'em! And if you don't,  then I guarantee you've only ever had them boiled - which makes them grosser than gross, so I totally understand your disgust. Roasted Brussels are the best and believe it or not, I love them raw, too. This salad calls for raw Brussels which certainly makes life easier. And what made my life even easier than that was that I bought my Brussels already sliced. AND easier still, I bought my quinoa pre-cooked in the frozen section. So, this little dinner took me under 15 minutes to throw together. Now imagine how simple this little dish will be to serve on Thanksgiving! I'm doing it!!! One side - DONE!

One thing to note - I wasn't sure what type of cheese to use in this salad. I just love blue cheese and how it pairs with apples and walnuts, so I went with blue. But, I know not everyone is a big blue cheese fan, so I tried a couple of bites with feta, too. I liked the feta, but I prefer the blue cheese. So, just go with your gut on the cheese. Or leave it off all together. 
 
Enjoy!

 
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, rinsed and ends trimmed, then halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (I bought these pre-sliced- saved me tons of time!)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (I buy it precooked in the frozen section- so easy!)
  • 1 crisp apple, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries OR fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted on 400F for ~ 6 minutes
  • crumbled blue cheese OR feta cheese (your preference), optional
  • salt & pepper to taste
  •  sweet orange vinaigrette (see below)

Orange Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice (about 1/2 a juicy orange)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 - 2 Tbl pure maple syrup or honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
 
Pre-cooked frozen quinoa makes this dinner easy

Directions:

To Make The Salad:

Toss all ingredients together (except the cheese) until combined.

To Make the Sweet Orange Dressing:
 
Whisk all ingredients together until combined.

To serve:
Pour dressing on salad (it's okay if you pour on an hour or so before and let it marinate). Toss and serve. Sprinkle cheese, if using, on top of each serving. Enjoy!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna


The ingredients in this recipe are not for the faint of heart......this meal is some hardcore, healthy cooking. But, trust me- please, please trust on this - this "lasagna" is absolutely, completely, 100% deliciousness!!!! You really need to try it for yourself to believe me. It is tasty, filling, comfort food at its best. My 9-year old son DEVOURED it and then begged for more. He asked me if I could put it in his lunch tomorrow, too! And there was no trickery here.....he asked me exactly what was in it and of course, I told him. My husband loved it also (I added shredded rotisserie chicken to his) and had two giant servings.

This recipe comes from one of my absolute favorite blogs on earth, Minimalist Baker. I know I re-post her stuff constantly - I can't help myself. She's just amazing!

Here is her recipe verbatim:

Ingredients
SQUASH
  • 2 large spaghetti squash (~3-4 pounds each) <I only used one squash and it fed three people, plus left overs>
TOFU FILLING
  • 3-4 Tbsp (45-60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for squash
  • Sea salt + black pepper, to taste (~1/2 tsp each), plus more for squash
  • 2 lemons, juiced (~1/3 cup or 80 ml)
  • 12 ounces (340 g) extra firm tofu, drained and pressed dry for 10 minutes
  • 3 Tbsp (9 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup (30 g) fresh basil, packed
  • 1 Tbsp (3 g) dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese, plus more for serving <I used REAL Parmesan>
FOR SERVING
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese <I used REAL Parmesan>
  • 25 ounces (708 g) favorite marinara/red sauce <I only ever buy Rao's Marinara>
  • optional: Fresh basil, chopped
  • optional: Red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with foil.
  2. Carefully halve your spaghetti squash lengthwise using a sharp knife. I find the best way is to pierce the skin with the very tip of the knife and push it all the way through to the other side. Rock the knife back and forth to cut one half all the way through, then repeat on the other side.
  3. Use an ice cream scoop (or sharp spoon) to scrape out the seeds and most of the stringy parts. It should appear pretty clean.
  4. Brush the interior with oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the skin and flesh. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Also reduce oven heat to 375 degrees F.
  5. In the meantime, add all tofu filling ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed. You are looking for a semi-pureed mixture with bits of basil still intact.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper for flavor, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, and lemon juice for brightness.
  7. Once fully baked and slightly cooled, use a fork to scoop out spaghetti squash into fine strings. Set aside.
  8. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch (or similar size) baking dish and lay down 1/3 of the squash. Top with several spoonfuls of tofu ricotta, then pour on a layer of marinara sauce. Repeat until all ricotta filling and marinara is used up - about 3 layers. Make sure the top layer is sauce.
  9. Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the top is golden brown. Cover with foil if the squash is browning too quickly.
  10. Let cool briefly, then serve with desired toppings (listed above).
  11. Best when fresh. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in a 350 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until completely warmed through. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Best Fried Rice


I am so obsessed with the blog Minimalist Baker, I cannot even tell you! I check it every week for inspiration and fabulous recipes. This gal has given me many many tips that have definitely enhanced my cooking skills!! For instance, the way she has me cooking brown rice has changed everything for me!!! Her tips are below - the rice turns out amazing every time!!! And oh boy, has she taught me how to make the most delicious crispy tofu!! Again, her tips are below!! Please check out her blog - she's coming out with a cookbook in early 2016 and I can't wait!!!

I made my fried rice with crispy tofu and made my husband's with chopped rotisserie chicken. Everyone wins!! Enjoy!

This recipe is verbatim from Minimalist Baker:

Ingredients:
 
RICE + VEGETABLES
  • 1 cup (~250 g | 8 ounces) extra firm tofu**
  • 1 cup (185 g) long or short grain brown rice*, rinsed thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer
  • 4 cloves (12 g) garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (100 g) chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup (72 g) peas
  • 1/2 cup (64 g) carrots, finely diced
**<I made my husband's fried rice with chopped rotisserie chicken instead of tofu- he loved it!>

SAUCE
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) tamari or soy sauce, plus more for veggies + to taste
  • 1 Tbsp (16 g) peanut butter <I used almond butter>
  • 2 -3 Tbsp (27-41 g) organic brown sugar, muscovado sugar, or maple syrup
  • 1 clove (3 g) garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce (more or less depending on preferred spice)
  • optional: 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (or sub peanut or grape seed oil)
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or lightly grease with non-stick spray).
  • In the meantime wrap tofu in a clean, absorbent towel and set something heavy on top (such as a cast iron skillet) to press out the liquid.
  • Once the oven is preheated, dice tofu into 1/4-inch cubes and arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 26-30 minutes. You’re looking for golden brown edges and a texture that’s firm to the touch. The longer it bakes, the firmer and crispier it will become, so if you’re looking for softer tofu remove from the oven around the 26-28 minute mark. I prefer crispy tofu, so I bake mine the full 30 minutes. Set aside.
  • While the tofu bakes prepare your rice by bringing 12 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add rinsed rice and stir. Boil on high uncovered for 30 minutes, then strain for 10 seconds and return to pot removed from the heat. Cover with a lid and let steam for 10 minutes*. <This is my own tip, if you have time, put the rice in the refrigerator to let it get cold. Fried rice is best when using cooked, cold rice - it keeps the rice from getting gummy and sticking together. If you don't have time for this step, that's fine, but if you do, you will notice a difference in texture>
  • While rice and tofu are cooking, prepare sauce by adding all ingredients to a medium-size mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more tamari or soy for saltiness, peanut butter for creaminess, brown sugar for sweetness, or chili garlic sauce for heat.
  • Once the tofu is done baking, add directly to the sauce and marinate for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, use a slotted spoon to scoop the tofu <or chicken> into the pan leaving most of the sauce behind in the bowl. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown on all sides (see photo). Lower heat if browning too quickly. Remove from pan and set aside.
  <Here's a picture of my husband's chicken and my crispy tofu chillin'  side by side in the pan>
  • To the still hot pan add garlic, green onion, peas and carrots. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, and season with 1 Tbsp (15 ml) tamari or soy sauce.
  • Add cooked rice, tofu, and remaining sauce and stir. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Serve immediately with extra chili garlic sauce or sriracha for heat (optional). Crushed salted, roasted peanuts or cashews make a lovely additional garnish. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, though best when fresh. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat, or in the microwave.
Notes
*If you don't like tofu, you can sub 1 cup fresh or frozen edamame - add in with vegetables.
*Rice cooking method from Saveur! Literally, the perfect brown rice.
                                <This is a photo of the fried rice with chicken and cashews>

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


Today we carved our Halloween pumpkins!! To my kids carving pumpkins means roasting pumpkin seeds. We all just love them. My mom made me and my brothers roasted pumpkin seeds every Halloween and I have continued the tradition with my own kids.  It's about time I share this easy-peasy "recipe" on my blog.  I have recipe in quotes because it isn't much of a recipe, more of a roasting technique.  The following is more of a guideline, so don't stress over exact measurements, just wing it. They'll turn out great!

Ingredients:
About 2 cups of fresh pumpkin seeds
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Paprika

Pre-heat oven to 325F

Remove all the pumpkin goo from the seeds - I do a preliminary removal before putting the semi-clean seeds into a large strainer.  Run cool water over the seeds in the strainer to help loosen the remaining goo from the seeds (this can take some time).


Once the seeds are mostly dry (use a kitchen towel or paper towels to blot) place them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil (about a teaspoon). Massage the oil into the seeds with your hands. Sprinkle liberally with salt and toss with your hands to coat evenly. Sprinkle the seeds with a little bit of paprika.

Bake on 325F for 12 minutes. Open the oven and stir the seeds. Bake for another 12-15 minutes or until the seeds are roasted to your liking. Just pop a few into your mouth to see if they are crispy and crunchy enough. Bake longer if you need to.....this is just a rough idea of time. Each time I roast these I bake them for a little bit different length of time. So, use this as a guideline not an exact measurement.  Once finished, remove from oven and let cool. These probably won't last for more than a day in your house - they are irresistible! Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Halloween Hand Goodie Bags


I totally stole this idea off Pinterest.  It is just so cute - I HAD to make them!! I made these spooky goodie bags for my son's Halloween class party (27 kids! SHEW!).  I won't lie, they take some time to put together, but the end result is just so cute....my kids' smiles made all the shopping and assembling worth it.  I sure hope my son's classmates like them as much as my own children do.

These hand bags would be great to give out to those few special trick-or-treaters (close friends' children, nieces/nephews, grandchildren, godchildren, cousins, etc) or even to children you know who have food allergies. You can fill them with allergy safe candies or opt for just filling them with little trinkets and toys instead of candy.


Here are the items you definitely need:

Vinyl gloves with no powder - I bought a pack of 100 for $3.50 on Amazon (I'm sure CVS or Walgreens has these, as well, if you can't wait for them to ship)
Smarties for the fingers
Tootsie rolls for the thumbs
Plastic spider ring
Ribbon to tie them at the top

What you put inside the gloves is up to you! Here are some ideas:

Any type of candy - Ring Pops are always a big hit, so are Pop Rocks
Plastic spiders, plastic snakes, plastic creepy crawlies
Stretch skeletons
Vampire teeth
Fake mustaches
Plastic severed fingers (I think the kids will love these the most!!)
Plastic rats
Halloween jokes or riddles written on a card
Bouncy balls

I bought just about everything from the dollar store. Target, CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, the grocery store and Amazon are also great places to find little Halloween novelty gifts.

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Apple Ginger Spice Smoothie


Oh my gosh, YUM!!! Seriously YUM!!!! This smoothie was such a tasty treat after my workout this morning. It encompasses all the flavors of fall - apples, cinnamon and ginger - it tastes like pie! Only it's full of nutrients, vitamins and fiber....win/win/win!!!

Raw ginger can be very potent, so do not overdue it. I used a 1/4 inch chunk (just cut off the brown hard skin).  Start with this small amount and if you feel like you want more, then add a little more to your taste. Some people really enjoy that distinctive ginger spicy-ness. I prefer a subtler hint.
ENJOY!!

This makes one giant smoothie or two nice sized smoothies, if you want to share!

Ingredients:
  • 2 medium sweet apples, cored and chopped (do not peel off the skin)
  • 1/4 inch chunk of raw ginger root, cut off the outer skin
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened lite coconut milk in a can
  • 1 to 2 handfuls of raw spinach
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup ice cubes
 
Directions:

Place all ingredients into a high power blender and secure lid. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lasagna Zucchini Boats

Oh yum! These were delicious and easy to throw together. The original recipe calls for ground beef. Since I'm a vegetarian, I used sauteed mushrooms instead. Perfect substitute!

I found the recipe on the blog Cooking Classy. Here is the recipe with my substitutes in bold italics:

Ingredients
  • 4 medium zucchini (2 1/2 lbs), sliced into halves through the length*
  • 1 cup (8.6 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz 93% lean ground beef or lean ground turkey**
  • 4 tsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cup roasted garlic marinara sauce, divided
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  •  **8 oz baby bello mushrooms, if you would like to substitute mushrooms for the beef to make this meal vegetarian
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a spoon <I use a grapefruit spoon because it has little ridges on it that help scoop>, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats. Set aside. <If you are making this meal vegetarian like I did, save aside 1/2 cup of the scooped out zucchini. Chop the zucchini>

In a mixing bowl stir together ricotta cheese, egg and 1 1/2 Tbsp of the parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble beef into pan, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up beef when stirring, until browned (there shouldn't be any excess fat but if you happened to use a fattier beef then just drain excess rendered fat). Stir in 1/4 cup marinara sauce and 1 Tbsp of the basil, remove from heat.

***<To make this vegetarian, chop the baby bello mushrooms. Melt 1 Tbl butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms to the skillet and saute for 8 minutes until golden brown. Add the 1/2 cup chopped zucchini to the skillet and saute for another 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup marinara sauce and 1 Tbl of the basil. Set this mixture aside.>

To assemble boats, brush both sides of of zucchini lightly with remaining 2 tsp olive oil and place in two baking pans (I used a 13 by 9 and a 9 by 9). Divide cheese mixture among zucchini spooning about 2 1/2 Tbsp into each, then spread cheese mixture into and even layer.

Divide beef mixture <or mushroom mixture> among zucchini. Top with evenly with remaining marinara sauce.

Cover baking dishes with foil and place in oven side by side and bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle tops with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella, return to oven and bake until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle tops with with fresh basil and parsley and serve warm.

*Look for zucchini that is wider and more uniform in width. The skinnier zucchini won't fit much filling.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sesame Almond Cookies


These cookies from The Healthy Apple are probably on my list of Top 5 cookies of all time!!! They are just amazingly delicious and amazingly easy to throw together. I make them at least once a week (with my eyes practically closed because I've made them so many times). My husband likes them better than any other cookie I make, including refined sugar, full-fat, regular ol' cookies. He requests them again and again. They have this crumbly texture that is so satisfying and they aren't overly sweet. Please try them for yourself and you will be hooked!!!!




They are vegan - no eggs, no butter and they are also gluten-free and refined sugar-free. You might be wondering how on earth they can taste so good....but, they just do! The gal over at The Healthy Apple seriously nailed it when she created this recipe! And here it is straight from her blog:
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3½ Tbsp. ground flaxseeds
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • dash of vanilla extract (I used about 1½ tsp.)
  • large pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two large, rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, ground flaxseeds, baking soda and sea salt until well combined. Add maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract; mix well until combined and mixture forms a dough.
  3. Transfer tablespoon sized scoops of dough onto the prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and not doughy. <I have made these so many times and I only bake them for around 12 minutes.....just keep an eye on them>
  5. Remove from oven; set aside to cool before serving.
***The only thing I do differently when I make these is I stir the sesame seeds into the cookies instead of sprinkling them on top - it's just easier and I'm lazy! 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Apple Cake


Okay guys, I'm taking a break from my usual uber-healthy recipes to give you a full fat, full flavor, nitty-gritty, calorie-laden AMAZINGLY-tasty apple cake recipe.  It is good, very, very good - and I just had to share (and I have also heard some complaints recently from friends who are tired of all my healthy posts - so this one is for you!).  **And please note, I will have my healthy apple cake alternative posted in a few days for those of you who still enjoy all my crazy, healthy baked good recipes!!

This recipe comes from my friend and neighbor, Emily's, blog The Sister's Palette. She brought me a slice of it the other day to try and it was so delicious I had to make it for myself. It is a great recipe for incorporating all those glorious fall apples you've been picking lately! That's what I did....I think we picked a bushel and a peck! ;)

Here is the recipe straight from The Sister's Palette:

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups diced apples (peeled and cored, about 3 apples) <I actually didn't peel the apples>

Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Grease either a 13x9 inch baking pan, or 2 round cake pans, whichever you prefer.  Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients and then add the apples.  Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir to combine <the batter is so thick I used my hands to incorporate everything together>.  Batter will be rather thick.  

Pour into baking pan or cake pans <again, I used my hands>, whichever you are using, and cook for 50-55 minutes. 

<Let cool in the pan before flipping out on a clean cutting board and slicing>

To serve, I like to top with powdered sugar (sprinkled over top through a sifter) and whip cream.



Sunday, September 20, 2015

Butternut Bisque with Brown-Butter Sage Pine Nuts


Another winner from one of my favorite blogs ever, The Cafe Sucre Farine. Whenever I'm looking for a great soup, I check this gal's blog. She has never disappointed me - ever!!!! This butternut bisque is just plain delicious and perfect for autumn! The flavors come together beautifully - roasting the squash gives another layer of yummy.  The brown-butter sage pine nuts are magnificent!! Enjoy with a good crusty bread and a side salad.

**The only thing I changed was I substituted 1/4 cup heavy cream for the yogurt simply because I didn't have the yogurt on hand. 

Here is The Cafe Sucre Farine's Butternut Bisque verbatim:

Ingredients
 
For the soup:
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth to make it vegetarian)
  • 2 medium bay leaf
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fine chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground fresh sage
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • For the pine nuts:
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground fresh sage
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • tiny sage sprigs and/or finely chopped rosemary and sage, for garnish, if desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil.
  2. Cut butternut squash* in half and scoop out seeds. Rub each half all over with olive oil and place, cut side down, on the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until tender and easily pierced with a small sharp knife. Set aside to cool.
  3. While the squash is cooling, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium-large pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, add onion and salute for 4-5 minutes or until onion is softened and translucent. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
  4. Add chicken broth and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce to a steady simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
  5. Carefully scoop out roasted squash and add to the pot along with the Greek yogurt, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper. Using and immersion blender or a regular blender, blend until silky smooth.
  6. For the pine nuts, melt butter in a small saute pan. Continue cooking until butter starts to foam and turn golden. Swirl pan occasionally to prevent burning. When butter starts to turn pale golden brown, add sage, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine, add pine nuts and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously until pine nuts turn golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels to cool.
  7. Ladle hot soup into serving bowls. Top with a small dollop of Greek yogurt. Swirl yogurt slightly with a toothpick or the pointed end of a skewer and scatter with a small spoonful of the pine nuts. Garnish with small sage sprigs and more finely chopped herbs, if desired.
Notes
* Butternut squash are really hard to cut. To simplify cutting process, place squash in microwave on high power for 1-2 minutes before cutting. Squash will not cook but will soften slightly and will be much easier to cut.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pumpkin Bars with Maple Pecan Glaze


Oh boy am I loving the blog Detoxinista! She has wonderful, whole food recipes that are full of health and deliciousness all at the same time. My friend, Shanna, told me I had to make these stat, and by gum, I did! The bars themselves are moist, with a hint of sweetness from the honey and pumpkin. But the Maple Pecan Glaze really takes them to the next level....so, if you have the time, please make the glaze!!!

And btw, these are gluten free!! Bonus!!

***And I did add 1/2 cup of gluten free oats just to give it a little texture!

Here is Detoxinista's recipe verbatim:
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
***See above for my one add-in!

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8" x 8" pan generously with coconut oil or butter.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, and mix well until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Transfer the batter to the greased pan, and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the center is firm.
  4. Allow to cool completely in the pan, then cut and serve!
  5. These bars are delicious on their own, but if you're aiming to impress, glaze these bars with my Maple Pecan Glaze. (recipe posted separately)

Maple Pecan Glaze:
  • ¾ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. The glaze may be used immediately, but will thicken up when chilled. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Onion & Green Chili Enchiladas


Just whipped this Taste of Home Magazine recipe up for dinner tonight!! It was quite good!! Had to share because it was just so fast to throw it all together.  I served this with a big side of guacamole, chips and salsa. Enjoy!

*I am gluten free, so I used corn tortillas for myself, but used regular tortillas for my husband and kids.  So, if you'd like to make it GF, that's easy!

**Also, if you would like to add meat from a rotisserie chicken to the inside of the enchiladas, I think that'd be the perfect addition.

***I also added shredded romaine and chopped tomatoes to the enchiladas. I love the crunch the romaine gives the soft enchiladas.

Here is the recipe from Taste of Home:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large onions, sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning
  • 12 flour tortillas (6 inches)* <use corn tortillas to make these gluten free>
  • 2 cans (10 ounces each) green enchilada sauce
  • Minced fresh cilantro, optional

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir 8-10 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Cool slightly. 
 
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 cup cheese, sour cream, salsa and taco seasoning. Stir in cooled onions. 
 
3. Place 2 tablespoons mixture off-center on each tortilla. Roll up and place in a well-greased 13x9-in. baking dish, seam side down. Top with sauce; sprinkle with remaining cheese. 
 
4. Bake, uncovered, 20-25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. Yield: 6 servings. 

*I served with chopped romaine, chopped tomatoes and sliced black olives with sides of black beans and guacamole, chips and salsa. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Butternut Squash & Apple Puree with Rice & Sage


I love the creaminess of risotto, but I just don't always have the time to pull one together. This recipe was so delicious AND so easy!! I used frozen, pre-cooked rice and cubed frozen butternut squash. It couldn't have been simpler. Don't skimp on the fresh sage.....it really adds to the meal. Serve with a nice crusty bread and side salad. Enjoy!!!

**This makes two dinner sized servings or four side servings

10 oz bag frozen butternut squash
1 large sweet apple, cored, unpeeled and sliced (I used a gala)
2 Tbl butter, divided
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 sage leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 oz goat cheese, plus more for garnish
2 cups cooked rice (I used pre-cooked frozen brown rice that I nuked in the microwave)
Salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a couple teaspoons of salt to the water. Add butternut squash and apple to the water and boil until they are fork tender, around 10 to 14 minutes.  Drain the water and add 1 Tbl of butter to the squash and apples and let it melt. Give it a good stir. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tbl butter in a large pan over medium. Saute onion, garlic and sage for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.

Puree squash, apples, broth, heavy cream and nutmeg in a blender until smooth.

Pour squash puree over the onion mixture sitting in the large pan. Add the apple cider and goat cheese.  Turn the stove on again to a low heat. Stir until the goat cheese is just melted. Add the two cups of cooked rice. Stir until combined. Taste and add salt & pepper to your liking.

Spoon rice into bowls and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and a little chopped sage. Enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Banana Carrot & Apple Bread


When I see two ripe bananas sitting on my counter on a Sunday morning I know they are telling me it's time to make banana bread. But I made banana bread last week and the week before.....so, I wanted to shake it up a bit. I added a shredded carrot and grated apple. The results were super yummy and I had to share. I think I may have a record for number of banana bread posts on my blog. But I can't and I won't stop....all varieties are just so good!! Enjoy!

***PLEASE note I made this bread gluten free by substituting the exact amount of Cup 4 Cup flour for the all-purpose flour. The results were delicious!!
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  tsp nutmeg
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 carrots, grated
  • 1 medium apple, grated with skin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar (brown sugar if you don't have coconut)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (in liquid form)
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
For the vanilla yogurt glaze, optional
  • 1/3 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • a little water for thinning
Instructions
Oven to 350F

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the white flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and ground cinnamon.
 
In a larger mixing bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, sugar, egg, 1/2 cup yogurt and vanilla. Add grated carrots, grated apple, and melted coconut oil until well combined. Slowly add in dry mixture. Mix until just combined.
 
Fold in the shredded coconut and chopped walnuts, if using.
 
Bake for 45 - 48 minutes. Remove from oven and allow bread to cool in the loaf pan for an hour.  

Once the bread has cooled, remove from pan and slice. 
 
To make the yogurt glaze, whisk together the 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt and powdered sugar in a small bowl until smooth. Add a little water if needed to thin.  Drizzle over top of the banana bread. Slice and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Spanakopita Loaded Potatoes


Oh My GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!! I literally INHALED these tonight!!! INHALED, I tell you!! These potatoes are so incredibly decadent, scrumptious, delicious!! Make these for dinner STAT! Your family will be so glad you did! Oh, and if you love pine nuts and kalmata olives- add them!! Total icing on the cake! Enjoy!!

Recipe from Eating Well magazine:

*I only used two potatoes, yet I did not cut the rest of the ingredients in half.  It made the perfect amount for two adults for dinner.
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 pound fresh spinach, finely chopped <I used fresh> OR 4 cups frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese <I used full fat>
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • <I added a few tablespoons of pine nuts - SOO good!!> 
  • <I also added chopped kalmata olives to my potatoes - SOOO good!!!!>

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Pierce potatoes in several places with a fork. Bake directly on the center rack until tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 2 to 4 minutes. Add spinach, garlic and oregano; cook, stirring, until hot, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
  5. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop the insides into a bowl. Place the skins in a 9-by-13-inch pan. Add cream cheese, pepper and salt to the bowl. Beat with a hand mixer or mash with a potato masher until smooth. Stir in the spinach mixture and 1/2 cup feta. Stuff each potato skin with about 3/4 cup of the filling. Top each with 1 tablespoon of the remaining feta <and pine nuts and/or kalmata olives, if using>.
  6. Bake until the filling is steaming and the feta is browned, 25 to 35 minutes.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Walnut Date Cookies (The Healthiest Cookies EVER)


This recipe from Detoxinista just blew my mind!!!! My friend, Shanna, told me I had to make these and boy was she right!! They are beyond delicious, healthy, easy, moist....shall I go on!?!?!? I will make these again and again.....I had to blog them immediately because you need to make them right now too!






Detoxinista is a wonderful blog full of healthy, scrumptious meals and goodies. Check her out! Here is her recipe:
  • 1½ cups raw walnut halves <I used 1 cup walnuts + 1/2 cup almond bc it's all I had>
  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted (about 12)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax or chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water) <I was feeling lazy on this Labor Day morning and just used one regular chicken egg>
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (optional) <I used 1/2 cup raw cacoa nibs- YUM!>
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with an "S" blade, process the dates and walnuts together until a crumbly texture is formed. Add in the salt, baking soda, vanilla and flax egg and process again until the batter is relatively smooth. Add in the chocolate chips and briefly pulse, just to combine.
  2. Spoon the batter onto a lined baking sheet, and use your hands to gently flatten the cookie dough. (Tip: Wet your hands with water to prevent sticking!) Bake at 350F for 12 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Serve immediately, and store the leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer for best shelf life. These cookies should last a week in the fridge, and a month or more in the freezer.