Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Candied Sweet Potatoes- Hold the Marshmallows Please!

Since Thanksgiving is upon us, let's talk about sweet potatoes. Growing up we always had the standard: canned yams dumped into a casserole, gobs of butter, brown sugar and marshmallows on top, baked until it was an ooey, gooey mess (sorry mom!). But really, isn't there a another way? Can we start with a fresh sweet potato and possibly ditch the marshmallows? I think we can do better!

I have peeled and sliced 3 medium sized sweet potatoes into 1/4" (ish) pieces and placed in a crock pot. They will turn brown/black just like an apple, you can soak them in some lemon water for a few minutes first if you like. Also, adjust the amounts for how many people your feeding, tonight it's just me and my immediate family...which really means just me because no one else likes sweet potatoes, weird!

In a small bowl add sugar, orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Pour that over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat.

Dot butter on top of sweet potatoes. *You can easily leave this out for a dairy free version.

Layer the top with lemon and orange slices. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours. Awesome- no oven space needed!

I love these sweet potatoes! I hope you do, too:)

Candied Sweet Potatoes

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4" pieces
1/2 orange juice
1/4 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
butter for dotting, optional
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced

Place sweet potatoes in a crock pot. In a small bowl combine orange juice, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt, mix well and toss with sweet potatoes. Dot sweet potatoes with butter. Layer orange and lemon slices on top, cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Monster Cookies

What keeps you up at night? World peace, your child's future, nope, not me. I'm thinking about what kind of cookie I want...the classic, sweet chocolate chip, hearty oatmeal, salty peanut butter, hmmm, I just can't decide.  How about a trifecta of cookie deliciousness by combing all three! Here is my recipe for a seriously amazing treat that will satisfy your cookie craving.

Begin with butter and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl, mix well.

Add to that both sugars, baking powder and soda and salt, mix well, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Then add in the eggs and vanilla, mix again.

And add in the flour, mix well.

Last comes the goodies, oats, chocolate chips and walnuts, mix just to combine.

I like using an ice cream scoop so that my cookies are the same size and cook evenly, scoop out onto a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

mmmm, just out of the oven, they smell so good! wait just a couple minutes before you move them to a wire rack to cool.

And I'm in heaven, crisis averted:) I hope you enjoy!

Monster Cookies

3/4 c butter (or shortening for dairy free), at room temp
1/2 c smooth peanut butter
1 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/4 c flour
2 c oats
1 c chocolate chips
1 c walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter (or shortening) and peanut butter. Add to that both sugars, bkg powder and soda and salt, mix well scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and eggs, mix well. Add flour, mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add oats, choc chips and walnuts and stir just to combine. Using a #40 ice cream scoop, or 2 spoons, spoon dough onto a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or til just beginning to brown on the edges. Let cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie

I have to say that my going off of all dairy last June has been a great decision! But then it hit me.... Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I mean, is there anything served on Thanksgiving that does not have a 1/2 pound of butter or cream? hmmm...after sulking for a (long) while I have decided to make the best of it. Here is the first of my contributions to my dairy free Thanksgiving, Pumpkin Pie, yum:)

I always make my pumpkin pie with a crumb crust. I replaced the butter usually in crumb crust with non-hydrogenated shortening. The one trick with this is that it doesn't have the salty flavor that butter has. Without salt, food (even sweet food) tastes flat. 

 Combine graham crackers, sugar, cinnamon and salt in your food processor and plus til fine.

Drizzle in melted shortening, pulse until well combined.

Pour crust into a pie plate and tap down with a glass until evenly spread out. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes while you make the pie filling.

In a large mixing bowl combine both sugars, spices and salt.

I substituted sweetened condensed milk with sweetened vanilla hemp milk. It's got the consistency of buttermilk and a smooth, mild flavor.

To the sugars and spices add pumpkin, eggs, hemp milk and water, mix well.

While the crust is hot, pour the filling in and place back in the oven for about 45 minutes. Baking custard type pie is very tricky and can be easily over baked, resulting in cracks in your beautiful pie:( So, I started checking mine at 30 minutes and every 5 minutes until the center 2-3 inches still jiggled when I tapped the pie plate. It will finish cooking after you pull it out of the oven, setting up nicely as it cools. Give it a try and tell me what you think or how you changed it for your family:)

Pumpkin Pie - Dairy Free

Crumb Crust:
1 pkg graham crackers
1/4 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
6 T shortening, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine graham crackers, sugar, cinnamon and slat in a food processor, pulse until desired consistency. Drizzle melted shortening in an pulse until well combined. Pour into pie plate and spread/tap down with a glass. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Filling:
1 1/2 c pumpkin, from a can is fine
1 1/3 c vanilla hemp milk
1/2 c water
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix well. While crust is hot from the oven, pour the filling into the crust almost to the top. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, start checking at 30 minutes to make sure it's not over cooked. Allow to cool to room temperature and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Apple Cider Chicken and Veggies

Well, fall is definitely here! I love the transition from season to season. As summer passes to fall, so my appetite passes from fresh fruit and salads to one pot dinners with potatoes and pan gravy. And I love it all! I hope this recipe brings you warmth on these cool, crisp nights!

Begin by browning 4 chicken breasts in a big pot, then remove to a dish.

To the pot add a chopped onion. I always salt my onions, it helps to break down the onion nicely. Cook for a couple minutes.

Add to the onion a peeled and chopped potato and 2 peeled, chopped carrots. Let brown for a few minutes.

Add the chicken back into the pan, on top of the veggies.

Next add the apple cider, chicken broth, sage and dry mustard. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, cook for about 20 minutes, or til the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.

Remove chicken and veggies to a platter, cover to keep warm.

Return the remaining cooking juices to high heat. Add a slurry of water and flour and mix vigorously to prevent lumps. Cook, stirring, til thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. If you like a very smooth gravy you can pass it through a mesh colander and serve along side chicken and veggies. Enjoy:)

Apple Cider Chicken and Veggies

4 chicken breasts
1 onion, chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 c apple cider
1 c chicken broth
1 t sage
1/4 t dry mustard
salt and pepper
2 T flour
1/4 c water

Brown chicken in a large dutch oven over high heat, remove to a plate. Add in onion, salt and pepper, cook for 3-4 min. Add potato and carrots, cook for another 3-4 min. Place chicken in pot on top of veggies, add in cider, broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or til chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender. Remove Chicken and veggies to a serving platter, cover to keep warm. Return cooking liquid to high heat. In a small dish combine flour and water and mix well. Pour flour mixture in pan, stirring vigorously until thickened. Taste for flavor and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve along side meat and veggies. Enjoy:)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Good Muffins

I was a bit hesitant to post this muffin recipe...after all I WANT people to read my blog! And let's face it, if it's good for you it must not taste good, right? Well, here I am posting it and as I was brainstorming out loud about a name for these muffins the 11 year old says "call'em the good muffins!" Out of the mouths of babes! That's right, my kids LOVE these muffins, they even cheer and THANK ME every time I make them. What's the big deal? Ummmm...they are dairy free, sugar free and oil free...there I said it. Basically all the things we are accustomed to in a baked good (and not good for you) is gone. Let me add, too, that there is no ap flour with an option to be completely flour free, aka gluten free. So these are the good tasting AND good for you muffins:)

Let me begin with showing you a few special ingredients I'm using. Don't be scared, if you try it I promise you'll like it!

First, these are the bananas I use. I keep my extra ripe bananas in the freezer for 2 reasons. 1- I can use them when I'm ready, not when they are, and 2- the freezer changes the texture into a super soft mushy texture that is perfect for baking with. Just microwave on high for about 2 minutes, peel of the top and slip into the bowl. Easy.

Second, I have coconut crystals. They are a low-glycemic sugar substitute that you can find at Whole Foods. That means that you won't have a sugar crash in about 30 minutes. They're totally natural and organic, so you can feel good about putting them in your family's bodies. Coconut Crystals aren't as sweet as sugar, but that hasn't bothered anyone in our family. If you don't want to add this it won't affect the rest of the recipe, just continue as before.

Third, I have brown rice flour. This will help get a light and fluffy crumb, or texture, in your muffins. Essentially, it's what white flour does in a recipe. If you were to use all whole wheat flour the muffins would be dense and heavy, and using white flour processes into sugar in your body, not good. So rice flour lightens up the ww flour and (as long as you get brown rice flour) will keep you fuller longer. You can also find this at Whole Foods.

Let's begin. In a large mixing bowl beat your eggs...

..to the beaten eggs add the bananas, applesauce, water, coconut crystals and vanilla, mix well.

To the wet mixture add the whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix lightly. If you want a gluten free muffin you can omit the whole wheat flour and double the rice flour.

Mix in by hand fresh or frozen blueberries (or walnuts or chocolate chips, etc.)

Scoop into a lined muffin tin with an ice cream scoop and bake.

mmmmm...I hope the Good Muffins become a family favorite in your home, too!

The Good Muffins

2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
½ c no sugar added apple sauce
½ c water
¼ c coconut crystals
1 t vanilla

1 c ww flour
1 c brown rice flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
½ t salt

1 c blueberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl add eggs and beat until broken up. Add bananas, apple sauce, water, coconut crystals and vanilla and mix well. On top of wet mixture add ww flour, rice flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix just to moisten. Mix in by hand blueberries (or nuts if desired). Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 25 min. Makes 16 muffins.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

This is one of those recipes that just pops in my head and I know I have to have it. It's such a good staple in my dinner rotation, and it never gets old! I hope you like it, too:)

Begin by making the marinade. In a shallow dish combine garlic, ginger, sugar, corn starch, kosher salt, soy sauce, water, and sesame oil.

Cut up the chicken and toss with the marinade, set aside.

Next prep the broccoli.  Cut up the stalks into 1/2" pieces, and the florets into bite size pieces, keeping them separate on a plate. You'll also need garlic and ginger and some chicken broth ready to go.

Heat a large pan to high, add in canola oil, sesame oil, and the broccoli stalks cook for 1 minute.

Next add in the florets, garlic, ginger and water, cook for another 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add in the chicken, but not the marinade (yet). Allow the chicken to brown.

Add in the marinade and cook through.

Then add back the broccoli along with cashews and cook through for another minute. At this point use just enough chicken broth to deglaze the pan (I don't usually need the whole cup) and make a little sauce to go with the stir fry. Enjoy over brown rice:)

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

4 cloves garlic, smashed
4" fresh ginger, minced
4 T sugar
2 T corn starch
2 t kosher salt
2 T soy sauce
2 T water
2 t sesame oil

Combine marinade ingredients in a shallow dish or bowl. Add sliced chicken and allow to sit while preparing the remaining ingredients.

Stir Fry:
2-3 chicken breasts, sliced thin and marinated
2 heads broccoli, stems cut into 1/2 " pieces, florets cut into bite size pieces, keep separate on a plate
4 cloves garlic, minced
4" fresh ginger, minced
2 T water
1 c cashews
1 c chicken broth
canola oil and sesame oil for cooking

Heat a large pan over high heat. Place 2 tablespoons canola oil and1 teaspoon sesame oil in pan, add in broccoli stalks and cook for 1 minute. Add in florets, garlic, ginger and water and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add in more oil if necessary and add chicken, leaving as much marinade as possible in dish (throw out the smashed garlic). Brown chicken thoroughly. Add in remaining marinade allowing to cook through, then add broccoli and cashews, stirring to coat. Add as much chicken broth as you need to deglaze the pan and making a sauce, serve over brown rice.