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)


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:

  • 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
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:
  • 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>
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:
  • 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>
  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 was so incredibly easy and it was also incredibly delicious! Great alternative to peppermint 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:

  • 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
  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.

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!!