December 31, 2011

Red Cabbage & Pear Salad with Mango Dressing

I can hardly believe it's almost 2012! Every time I stop to think about it, I'm in shock. Really, it makes me feel old...3 years married, home-owning, closing in on the 5 year college reunion mark OLD.

But that's a good thing. I'm happy with what I've done so far in my life & I look forward to the upcoming years with anticipation of what's to come.

The surest way to make sure my hubby & I have a chance at enjoying a long life together is to feed us well. Incorporating lots of nutrient dense foods into our life will give us energy to handle whatever 2012 & beyond throws at us. I'm ready!

I'm not planning any big new year's resolutions. My main goal is to empty the freezer because it's in dire need of a defrosting. That might not sound too hard, but I have (happily!!) a major grocery shopping problem. So the hard part of emptying the freezer is that I have to stop buying more food. I'm aiming for a defrost in late March. We'll see...maybe by then I can put the contents outside to stay cold while it defrosts? 

This salad was inspired by a jar of Trader Joe's mango butter, a chunk of red cabbage, & some overly ripe pears that were sitting in my fridge. When I googled ways to combine red cabbage & pears, many of the recipes included sliced mango, giving me the idea to use that flavor in the dressing. If you don't have access to a Trader Joe's & can't find mango butter elsewhere, I'm sure you could use apple or pear butter in it's place & add mango slices.

Red Cabbage & Pear Salad with Mango Dressing
Serves 6-8

1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, grated
1/4 of a large red onion, sliced
1 pear, chopped
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T mango butter*
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Combine cabbage, carrot, onion, & pear in a large bowl. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, mango butter & sea salt. Pour dressing over the salad. Stir & allow to marinate for 30 minutes before serving.

*Feel free to substitute apple or pear butter if you can't find mango butter. If you still want the mango flavor, add a few slices to the salad.

December 29, 2011

Vegetarian Pasta Fagioli

This dish brings me lots of fond memories. Every year my dad would make a huge pot of the white style pasta fagioli & I would pick out all the beans, just eating the noodles. Our house would reek of garlic for days because he used a whole head to make it. Once, he used even more than that, giving it quite a kick.

When I asked him for the recipe, I think he might've been secretly surprised. It was never my favorite dish, plus it has bacon in it. I haven't had it for a few years, though, & lately I was craving the warm flavors. It's a great comfort food!

I skipped the bacon & used liquid smoke for extra flavor. Then I added broccoli for some greens because I love the flavor, color & nutrition it adds. We ate it for lunch & I was happy!

It's not exactly same as my dad's, but it's very close. I cut back on the garlic, but it's still has plenty! Bonus - our house didn't smell like garlic for days. :-)

Vegetarian Pasta Fagioli - White Style
Serves 6

1 T coconut oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. elbow macaroni (whole wheat*)
1 cup vegetable broth
3-4 cups water
1 can navy beans (or other white beans), drained
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1 head of broccoli, chopped
parmesan cheese, to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add garlic cloves and cook until fragrant and lightly browned. Add macaroni, vegetable broth, and 3 cups of water. Cook macaroni for about 7 minutes, or until almost done. Do not drain! Stir in beans, salt, pepper, liquid smoke and broccoli. Add additional water if the liquid all cooked off. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes or until beans and broccoli are heated. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve!

Note: Originally (as you see in the photos), I cooked the broccoli separately. When we heated the leftovers, the broccoli was stirred in & the flavors melded deliciously. If you only like crisp broccoli, I would keep them seperate, but for great flavor, cook with the pasta, as directed above.

*I haven't tried it yet, but I think this dish would be even better with whole wheat macaroni.

December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!


Luke 2:11
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.


Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!

Luke 2:14
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!

I hope you have a wonderful day!

December 23, 2011

Tequila Lime Glazed Tofu

Don't run away yet just because there's tofu involved! Hear me out first.

I don't love tofu, either. In fact, the first few times I tried it, neither the Bup nor myself really wanted to eat what I made. Since there are so many mixed reviews on soy, I wasn't too concerned with whether we ate it or not. There are plenty of other vegetarian sources of protein that we love, like beans & quinoa!

The general consensus on soy seems to be that in it's whole form (especially when fermented) it has numerous health benefits, but the further it is removed from the whole form, the worse it is for you. Soy isolates are used in many packaged foods, so watch for those. Edamame, tofu, tempeh, miso, & soy milk are all produced from the whole bean, making them ideal sources of soy. Organic is best, to ensure that the soy was not genetically engineered (another scary area in the world of "food").

Since trying tofu for the first time, we've had it very infrequently, but as I've come across recipes that used different prep methods, I've tried a few.

We had tofu scramble (sort of like scrambled eggs, but vegan) & it was okay. I'm not sure why I even bothered, since I don't like scrambled eggs...

My all-time favorite way to eat tofu is actually as a dessert. When mixed with super dark melted chocolate, it makes a delicious & healthy mousse (or pie filling!). It's very rich, but doesn't sit heavily in my stomach like most mousse does.

In its plain form, however, tofu has a consistency that I just don't love. When I discovered this recipe for Tofu Dippers, I gave tofu one final chance. The tofu is thinly sliced, marinated, & broiled, giving it a crisp & flavorful exterior with a slightly chewy middle. If you're going to try tofu, try it like this first! It's a total winner.

I've tried several marinades, & since tofu is so adaptable, they've all been delicious. As I was looking for a new one to try, I found a curry recipe that had lime juice & agave nectar in it. It sounded good, & as soon as I mentioned it to the Bup he immediately said we should add tequila. Tequila is made from the agave plant, so it's a match made it nature! Lime is always perfect with tequila, so we tried it out.

As you can see, I like to char mine. If you don't like it charred, then take it out sooner. It's fun to watch it bubble while it broils...maybe that's just me?

Tequila Lime Glazed Tofu
Serves 2-4

1 block organic extra firm tofu
1/4 c lime juice
3 T tequila
2 T agave nectar
1 T soy sauce (low sodium is best)

Begin by unwrapping and rinsing the block of tofu. Slice it into 4 thin, 2"x3" pieces (stand the block on end and cut down). Press tofu overnight (or at least 4 hours) by placing the pieces between towels and laying a very heavy object on top. I use a super thick cutting board and then put whatever's in my fridge on top of the board.

Once tofu is pressed, mix together the remaining ingredients. Cut tofu into desired pieces - I usually cut each piece into 3 or 4 rectangles. Arrange pieces in a single layer in a shallow dish. Pour marinade over tofu, making sure all of the pieces are coated. Allow to marinate all day (or at least 4 hours). The longer it marinades, the better the flavor.

Preheat broiler. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange tofu on sheet in a single layer. Broil for about 6 minutes per side, watching to make sure it does not burn. Once the tofu is down it should be nicely browned and crisp.

Enjoy with lots of veggies and a fun dipping sauce!

December 21, 2011

Glittery Jars

Over the weekend, I got out the glitter!

I get excited about glitter. I try to restrain myself, because I know many people shy away from it, but really, what's not to love about sparkles everywhere?

I used to (in high school) use that roll-on glitter on my eyelids & sometimes my chest. Maybe I wanted to be like the elf in The Santa know, Judy? The elf who made the good hot cocoa - shaken, not stirred? She sparkled from the inside out!

Please tell me you remember that stuff. I can't be the only one.

I decided to make a few homemade gifts & needed jars for them. Mom told me awhile ago that she has a lot of jars, so I raided her supply. The lids needed a little brightening up, so I got out the paints & glitter. 

It was super easy & didn't take much time.  It also didn't require artistic talent...just in case you're worried.

Step 1: Gather several small jars & make sure they are clean.
Step 2: Remove lids.
Step 3: Cover surface with newspaper.
Step 4: Coat lids with paint & let dry.
Step 5: Paint lids with a second coat of paint.
Step 6: Immediately sprinkle wet paint with glitter.
Step 7: Allow to dry thoroughly, at least 12 hours.
Step 8: Fill jars, label them & give as gifts!


Some suggestions to fill the cute, glittery jars:

I can't wait to fill them & make pretty labels! Gift-giving always makes me feel crafty.

December 19, 2011

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread

One of my favorite traditions at Christmas is having a special, homemade treat for breakfast on Christmas morning. My mom would always bake on Christmas Eve & the house would smell delicious.

My favorite years were when she'd make sticky buns because I love the inside with all the gooey cinnamony goodness. As a kid, I'd pick out the raisins & walnuts, but now I love them.

It's not quite Christmas, but in anticipation, I baked this yummy bread for the Bup & I to eat this week. I found myself eating the outside & saving the soft inner swirl for last, just like with the sticky buns.

But I didn't pick out the raisins! I added extra instead!

This is a healthier alternative to sticky buns, so it's perfect for the everyday breakfast. We toasted it & spread apple butter & Cookie Butter (from Trader Joe's!) on it. Yum!

There's something so beautiful about a simple loaf of bread.

See the raisin peeking out of the end? I picked that out & ate it immediately. :-)

I have a few slices left to share, but better yet, make your own! It may seem like a lot of time, but you don't have to do much but wait. While it's rising you can sing some Christmas carols & do all the other final Christmas prep, like decorate the tree, put up your nativity scene, watch a fun movie, or finish wrapping presents.


Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Adapted from EatLiveRun
Yield: 1 loaf

1/2 cup warm milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 cup warm water
1 (1/4th oz) package yeast
2 tsp. + 1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp softened butter
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 2/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. softened butter
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/3+ cup raisins (optional, but highly recommended!)

Pour milk & water into a small bowl (or measuring cup) & heat to about 100*F. If you stick your finger into the liquid, it should feel about the same temperature as your finger. Combine yeast & 2 tsp. sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer* & add the warm milk & water. Let sit for about 10 minutes or until foamy.

Once foamy, slowly add the flours, 1/3 cup sugar, butter, salt & cinnamon to the yeast mixture. Use a dough hook attachment & start to mix on slow. Mix on medium low for 4-6 minutes or until smooth & elastic.

Spray a large non-metal bowl with cooking spray & place dough ball in it. Cover dough with a cloth & let rise for 1.5 hours in a warm spot. If your house is chilly, briefly heat the oven to about 200*F, turn it off, & place the covered bowl in the warm oven to rise. Just make sure not to turn on the oven while it's inside!

For the filling, combine the softened butter with the cinnamon & sugar in a small bowl until smooth. Lightly spray a bread pan with cooking spray.

Once the dough is done rising, roll it out on the counter to form a long rectangle that is about as wide as your bread pan. Spread the filling mixture onto the dough. Sprinkle generously with raisins. Starting at one of the short ends, roll the dough tightly to form a log. Place in prepared bread pan & cover again. Let rise for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 350*F. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from pan immediately & cool on a rack. Once cool, slice & enjoy! Store loaf in a plastic bag at room temperature for 4-6 days for freshest results. Bread can also be tightly wrapped & frozen for about 2 months.

*Alternatively, if you do not have a stand mixer, you can knead the dough by hand. Stir the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, butter, salt & cinnamon into the yeast mixture. Turn dough out onto a floured surface & knead for about 8 minutes or until smooth. & elastic.

December 13, 2011

Catching Up

I haven't cooked dinner in over a week, so I haven't had anything to share. We've had so many family dinners, church dinners, & friend dinners that my kitchen is wondering what happened to me.

All I've really been cooking is oatmeal & sweet potatoes.

To note: it's totally possible to burn oatmeal to a blackened char in the slow cooker. I set it on high, planning to turn it to low right before I went to bed. I woke up at 3am, wondering who was baking cookies because the house smelled delicious. Then the smell woke me up again a little before 6am & I leaped out of bed to go turn it off. We still had breakfast, but we also had charred gunk to throw away. Yum.

Since I don't have a recipe or many pictures to share, here's a couple interesting links:

  • 3 Truths About Weight Loss You Need to Know - This is a concise article that I think really puts things into perspective. About 2 months ago I went from weighing myself almost every day to only weighing myself once every week or 2. My weight hasn't changed, & I feel better about not constantly monitoring it.

  • Stairs Get You There Faster Than Elevators - Studies prove that in a building with multiple levels (such as a hospital) people coud save 14 minutes a day just by using the stairs! I'm a stair climber myself - I probably got it from my mom who climbs every stair she comes across. We went to Italy & rented a small place that was over 80 stairs up.

December 9, 2011

Warming Foods

I'm cold.

The fall weather seemed to last so long this year! It's winter now, though. I finally got out my winter jacket after getting chilled all the way through last weekend at the parade.

I shouldn't complain because so many people in this world are perpetually cold. They don't have any way to warm themselves at all. For us, there are plenty of ways stay warm, including wearing sweaters, gloves, hats, & coats, wrapping up in a nice blanket, drinking a mug of tea, or sitting by a blazing fire. I'm very thankful for those comforts.

The Bup told me that he's been extra cold this year. His office at work is chilly, our house temp is set at 65, & winter's just beginning!

In addition to all the ways we can wrap our bodies in warmth, I went searching for ways to feed us that will warm us up from the inside out.  I ran across the idea that baking/roasting your foods makes them more warming to the body. There was a conflicting notion, however, that raw foods keep you warm because they require extra energy to bring to body temperature & digest. Either way, a good balance is healthy & I really love feeling that warm blast of air when I open the oven door!

Here's a list of naturally warming foods that I found & compiled for you! I know we'll be using it to eat from through the winter. It's supposed to be a cold one.

*Foods with a Warming Energy*

Herbs & Spices:
Basil - Basil Almond Pesto
Black & white pepper
Cayenne - Pinto Spelt Burgers
Cinnamon - Pumpkin Banana Muffins
Cumin - Roasted Curried Root Vegetables
Garlic - Roasted Garlic & Kale Spread
Ginger - Apple Pumpkin Beer Bread
Nutmeg - Hot Cross Buns
Paprika - Cajun Seasoning Mix
Tea (beverage)

Nuts, Seeds & Grains:
Chestnuts - Roasted Chestnuts
Millet - Vegetable Millet Salad
Oats - Crock Pot Steel Cut Oats
Pine nuts
Quinoa - Curried Pumpkin Quinoa Soup
Rice milk
Sunflower seeds
Wild rice - Wild Rice, Pumpkin & Cannellini Soup

Condiments & Sweeteners:
Brown sugar
Honey - Honey Mustard & Onion Potato Wedges
Rice wine or vinegar
Vinegars - Rossetti's Italian Vinaigrette

Fruits & Vegetables:
Carrots - Carrot Spice Cake
Chili peppers
Coconut - Poppity Popcorn
Green onions
Green/red bell peppers - Pepper-only Pizza
Mustard greens
Onion - Attempting Chipotle Burritos
Root vegetables - Roasted Beets
Squash - Roasted Curried Butternut Squash
Sweet potatoes - Sweet Potato Beer Fries

Eat well & stay warm!

[My main sources were herehere, & here.]

December 6, 2011

Fruity Sangria



It was a food & fun filled weekend.

1. Sort of sleeping after an evening with some great girls!

2. Eating Saturday morning bagels & playing Bananagrams

3. Marching in the Christmas parade through town

4. Roasting an entire huge pumpkin & eating at least half of it (Why am I not orange yet? I can't get enough of this stuff!!)

5. Decorating our Christmas tree

6. Reading a hilarious version of the 12 Days of Christmas

7. Drinking Sipping Chocolate from Trader Joe's

8. Watching the children's Christmas program at church

9. Having lunch with my church family

10. Baking 10 kinds of cookies with the Bup, Mom & Pops

11. Eating a zillion cookies & loving every bite

12. Trying out the new elliptical


Fruity Sangria
Serves 6

1 bottle of dry red wine(750 mL)
2 c fruity blush wine
8 oz. seltzer water
2/3 c orange juice
1/4 c brandy
1/3 c Triple Sec
1 orange
1 apple
1 lemon
1 lime
1 c pineapple chunks, fresh or canned

Thinly slice the orange, lemon & lime, peeling off some of the rinds to eliminate any bitter flavor. Core & thinly slice the apple, keeping the peel in tact. Combine all of the fruit in a large pitcher or other glass container (I used our sun tea container!). Pour both wines, seltzer water, orange juice, brandy & triple sec over the fruit. Stir gently with a large spoon to combine. Refrigerate 12 hours or overnight. Enjoy cold, garnished with the soaked fruit.

December 3, 2011

Quick & Easy Stuffed Potatoes

Is it too much to ask for my nail polish to stay on more than 12 hours?

The process of cooking dinner means that I have my hands in water almost every night. Between washing & chopping veggies, cleaning lettuce, & washing dishes, there's always water involved.

That means that anytime I put on nail polish, it's a waste of my time. I try to time it so that I only paint my nails if I know I'm not cooking the following night or we're having something super simple.

For example:
On Wednesday, I painted my nails. Thursdays we always have dinner at my parents' house & Friday I had plans with some friends. I was really hoping it would last till church on Sunday. But no, I woke up on Thursday, did yoga, showered, & noticed that 4 of my nails had already chipped.

It must be a sign. I'm not destined to be a nail polish girl. I love that shine, though! There are much worse things that I could be bothered about, for sure.

Annnnnyway. About these potatoes. They're quick enough that you'll have time to paint your nails, but you better wait until after you make them.

It only took me about 40 minutes to cook, eat & clean up from these. Not too shabby for a healthy meal made from whole foods! We paired them with a big tossed salad, our usual dinner accompaniment.

They were full of flavor & suprisingly filling. I especially liked the slight crunch from the cauliflower & the hint of cheesiness from the nutritional yeast. You could sub in cheese if you'd prefer, but I'm obsessed with this stuff & it's super healthy. This is a great meal for those nights when you're rushed but still want something healthy & satisfying.

Quick & Easy Stuffed Potatoes
Serves 2

2 large potatoes
1 c chopped cauliflower florets
1 1/2 c chopped Swiss chard
1 1/2 T nutritional yeast (substitute parmesan or cheddar cheese, if you'd prefer)
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried minced onion
1/2-3/4 c unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
paprika, for garnish

Poke potato skins with a fork. Cook potatoes in the microwave (wrapped in a damp paper towel) using the microwave's preset button (about 5-7 minutes).  While they are cooking, lightly steam the cauliflower. Slice potoatoes in half and scoop out the insides. Reserve the potato skin shells for later. In a large bowl, mix potato insides, cauliflower, Swiss chard, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, garlic powder, dried minced onion, 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk, salt & pepper. Heat mixture in microwave for 2 minutes. Mash until only slightly chunky. Microwave for another 2 minutes. If mixture is dry, add additional almond milk until you reach desired consistency. Spoon mixture into reserved potato skin shells, filling generously. Sprinkle with paprika & serve hot!

*Alternately, you can bake the potatoes in the oven, but that will take much longer.

December 1, 2011

Roasted Garlic & Kale Spread

What if every night could be pizza night? I think it'd take me a pretty long time to get tired of pizza, especially with all of the varieties out there. We make 2 pizzas so that there are leftovers for lunches. One is always topped with bbq sauce, the Bup's favorite & a standard in our house. The other one is always different & I like to experiment a little.

I wanted to try carmelized onions & pears, but that got vetoed. :-( Maybe next time...

Instead, I made up a roasted garlic & kale spread, inspired by Ashley's Kale Pesto. We had 2 heads of garlic that were ready to sprout, so I roasted them before they went bad. Roasted garlic is fancy. The garlic turns creamy & spreadable after a short time in the oven., transforming it into a different food altogether.

We used the spread as a sauce on the pizza, but I can see it being great as a topper for baked potatoes or crusty bread, a spread in a sandwich/wrap, or mixed with pasta. I have some leftover to use!

Roasted Garlic & Kale Spread
Inspired by Ashley's Kale Pesto
Yield: about 1 cup

2 heads of garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
2 c kale, chopped (about 100g)
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/3 c roasted hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350*F. Slice off the top of the garlic heads, to expose the tops of the cloves. Wrap each head seperately in aluminum foil & drizzle each head with 1/2 tsp. of olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until garlic is soft. Squeeze cloves out of the husks. Place garlic & remaining ingredients into a food processor or blender & blend until combined. I left mine with some chunks, but if preferred, continue to blend until smooth. Taste & add additional salt and/or pepper if desired. Store extra spread in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer for future use.

November 29, 2011

Cheezy Eggplant Bake

Did everyone survive the first of many holiday celebrations? I feel like Thanksgiving is always the kick off for an entire month of get-togethers & celebrating. It's a tasty step in the direction of Christmas, which is my all time favorite holiday.

Our aunt made a delicious butternut squash lasagna for Thanksgiving dinner & then sent us home with the leftovers! (Thanks! We've enjoyed every bite!)  As we were eating lunch on Saturday, the Bup had a great idea for a variation on the lasagna using eggplant & a pumpkin cheese sauce.

A few weeks ago, we discovered Angela's super delicious & creamy sauce that's cheesy in taste but very healthy & light. It's like a dream come true. We've had it on pasta twice so far, but I've never experimented further.

If you're a little iffy about eggplant, this probably isn't the recipe to kick off your love of the veggie. The flavor comes through & really compliments the cheesiness. You could substitute cooked noodles for the eggplant if that's more your style. Just try the sauce. It tasted even better after it baked & we loved this dish with all of its flavors & textures.

Spread out about 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of the pan. Look at how creamy it is! You'd never know by looking at it that it's full of healthy nutrients. The main healthy components are pumpkin & nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a relatively new ingredient in my cooking life & it's fantastic. It creates a yummy cheese flavor without all the fat, cholesterol & calories, plus it's a great vegetarian source of vitamin B12.

Lay half of the eggplant slices on top of the sauce.

Sprinkle with mushrooms & onions. (No onions are in the pictured version.) I think it would also be good to add some chopped bell pepper or broccoli to the mixture, but I haven't tried that so I can't guarantee how the flavors would meld.

Top with another layer of sauce & sprinkle with garlic powder, black pepper & Italian seasoning.

Layer with the rest of the eggplant.

Top with the remaining sauce. At this point, you can go several directions. You can leave it as is or top with Italian seasoning. If you're feeling adventurous, sprinkle 1/3 cup of panko breadcrumbs on top for an added crunch.

After a short bake & broil, the top turns golden brown.

My favorite thing about this dish is how the creaminess of the sauce combines with the chew of the eggplant. It was filling & full of flavor without weighing me down - it was the perfect combo after all the Thanksgiving eating!

Cheezy Eggplant Bake
Serves 2

1 small eggplant (or 1/2 of a large eggplant), thinly sliced into rounds
6 white mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp.garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning, divided
1/3 c panko breadcrumbs, optional
Pumpkin Mac 'n Cheeze Sauce

Preheat oven to 375*F. Spray a 5"x7" pan with cooking spray & set aside. In a small skillet over medium heat, saute mushrooms and onions until they soften & begin to sweat. Spread about a third of the pumpkin sauce over the bottom of the prepared pan. Lay half of the eggplant slices in a single layer to cover sauce. Spread mushroom & onion mixture over eggplant. Pour half of remaining pumpkin sauce over the mixture. Sprinkle with black pepper, garlic powder, & 1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning. Place remaining eggplant slices in a single layer on top of sauce & seasonings. Top with the rest of the pumpkin sauce & sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning & panko breadcrumbs, if desired. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove aluminum foil & bake for 20 minutes more. Place under broiler for 3-5 minutes to lightly brown the top, watching closely so that it does not burn. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.

Note: Once you assemble the dish, it can be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it. Do not place a cold glass pan into a preheated oven! If you are going straight from refrigerator to oven, place pan in oven to slowly warm while the oven is coming up to temperature. Once the oven comes to 375*F, then bake for 15 minutes before removing the foil.

November 26, 2011

Honey Mustard & Onion Potato Wedges

Did you get your fill of potaotes on Thanksgiving? Don't worry. These taste nothing like what you had. They aren't mashed. They don't have butter in them. Instead, they're crispy & flavorful!

You know those pretzel pieces from Snyders of Hanover? The really addicting honey mustard & onion ones? That's what these taste like. Except they're made with just a few ingredients instead of a zillion.

Chop up your potatoes into wedges. You don't have to bother with peeling. Didn't you do enough of that for all those mashed potatoes? Plus, the skins are where the good nutrients are!

Stir them up with the honey mustard marinade & lay in a single layer on a baking tray.

I threw in a bell pepper for color & a flavor kick, but it's not necessary. They're yummy with or without it! Enjoy!

Honey Mustard & Onion Potato Wedges
Serves 4

6 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
1 red bell pepper (optional)
1 1/2 T honey
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. mustard powder
1/2-1 tsp. salt, to taste
1 tsp. dried minced onion

Preheat oven to 375*F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Scrub potatoes and slice into wedges, keeping a uniform size. Chop onion and pepper (if using) into chunks the same size as potatoes. Combine in a large bowl. Whisk together honey, Dijon mustard, turmeric, onion powder, mustard powder, and salt. Pour over potato mixture and stir to coat. Arrange pototo mixture on baking sheet in a single layer. Lightly spray mixture with cooking spray. Sprinkle with dried minced onion. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir to loosen from sheet and then bake for another 25-30 minutes. Potatoes are done when they are lightly browned and crispy. Serve hot!

November 24, 2011

I'm Full of It

For having plenty of food on the table.

For friends who care.

For family that loves me.

For knowing a loving God, who has truly blessed me.

For hair-ties & ponytails.

For everyone who reads this blog.

For being able to walk.

For having a warm house.

For the lettuce & kale that are still growing in my garden.

For plenty of sweaters & blankets in my closets.

For having a job & the ability to work.

For freshly popped popcorn.

For a wonderful husband who treats me like gold.

For thick, fuzzy, snuggly socks.

For forests & hiking.

For lotion to soothe my perpetually dry skin.

For the time & the ability to read a book.

For chocolate.

For peanut butter.

For the person who decided to combine chocolate & peanut butter.

For clean water to drink.

For happiness.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


November 23, 2011

Cranberry, Beet & Pear Salad

I'm in a festive mood! I'm so ready for the upcoming holidays & everything they include. I love all of the family & friend time, yummy foods, decorating, gift wrapping/giving, & general excitement!

As we go into the holidays, I'm trying to keep our dinners healthy, light, & full of nutrients. With the weather getting cooler, it's so tempting to cozy up by the fireplace in the evenings & become a lot less active. The chilly weather also makes people much more susceptible to diseases, so I want to make sure we're fueling our bodies with lots of healthy foods.

Our oven has been on almost every night. Something about this dreary weather makes me crave warm foods. I may or may not also want to use the oven because it warms up the kitchen. I always leave the door open after I turn it off to let all the heat into the room. :-)

You're looking at our entire beet crop. I planted 2 rows! :-( They just didn't get big. It took me forever to clean these because they were all about the size of a vitamin. There were only about 4 or 5 that made it to ping pong ball size. Still, they tasted the same! I'm thankful to have gotten any at all.

I love the way beets color everything around them. Cranberries do the same thing, so this made a really pretty medley. The onion wedges turned a pinkish purple after they were done baking. 

Maybe this looks more like Christmas than Thanksgiving...

The cranberries add a lightly tart flavor to the salad. Combined with the crunch of the hazelnuts & the sweetness of the beets & pears, this salad was warming & fresh at the same time.

Cranberry, Beet & Pear Salad
Yield: 2 main dish salads or 4 side salads

4 large beets
1 medium white onion
1/2 c fresh cranberries
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4-5 c lettuce mixture (romaine, red leaf, spinach, radicchio, etc.)
2 pears
1/3 c roasted hazelnuts
1/3 c Cranberry Dressing (see below)

Preheat oven to 400*F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Cut beets and onion into uniform wedges. In a medium bowl, combine beet wedges, balsamic vinegar, and pepper. Arrange on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once. Add onion wedges and cranberries, mixing with beets. Bake another 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.

In the meantime, divide lettuce between two (or four) bowls. Thinly slice pears and arrange on top. Once beet mixture is done roasting, divide between salads as desired. There may be some extra - this will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and can be reheated. Top salads with hazelnuts and Cranberry Dressing.

Note: If you don't feel like making the Cranberry Dressing, you can still make this salad! There are cranberry dressings available in some stores, or you could substitute either Raspberry Vinaigrette or Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Cranberry Dressing
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1 c fresh cranberries
1/2 of a pear, roughly chopped
1/2 of an apple, roughly chopped
1/4 red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 jalapeno, chopped & seeded
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
2 T lime juice
3 T orange juice
2 T honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 T dried cilantro (or 1/4 c fresh cilantro)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine everything in a food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth. Taste & add more honey or salt if desired. Store remaining dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

November 21, 2011

Yummy Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Fall Leaves

It's almost Thanksgiving!!! Is everyone done putting together their menus & shopping for food? I'm not hosting dinner, but I am bringing a few dishes to our dinners. We're having lunch with the Bup's family & dinner with mine. Talk about a lot of food & family! We did this 2 years ago, though, & it really wasn't that bad.

Since the main focus of both of our families' meals is the turkey, I'm bringing an alternate dish for us to eat & share. I'm also bringing a pumpkin roll to lunch. Everyone always gets excited for it!
Thanksgiving meals have never been my favorite. I think it's partly because the dessert table never has much chocolate on it! That said, I still get really excited about all the fall harvest flavors.

If someone offered to cook me the Thanksgiving meal of my dreams, here's what I'd pick. Lots of bloggers have been showcasing foods for the holidays, & here are my favorites! Just in case you're in the mood to cook for me. :-)

Main Dish:  Pumpkin Maple Baked Bean Cornbread Casserole from Oh She Glows
(This is what I'm planning to make & share!)

Vegetable:  Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples & Almonds from Happy Healthy Mama
(I'm a sucker for roasted brussels sprouts. Her additions look very festive.)

Stuffing:  Carmelized Autumn Fruit Stuffing Cups from How Sweet Eats
(pictured above - we had this for dinner last week & it was SO good!)

Salad:  Bliss Salad or End of Summer Salad from Peas and Thank You
(We had the Bliss Salad a few weeks ago & it was good enough to have again)
            Holiday Salad with Cranberry Apple Orange Vinaigrette from Oh She Glows
(This looks super festive. I love the color of the vinaigrette!)

Bread:  Flaky Crescent Rolls from Eat Live Run
(I always loved the ones from the can. These look way better!)
           Banana Cranberry Bread from Joy the Baker
(Can I just have both breads? Thanks!)

Potatoes:  High Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes from Oh She Glows
(Anytime someone puts garlic into mashed potatoes, I'm in love. The beans are a great addition, too!)
                Baked Curry Sweet Potato Fries from Joy the Baker
(The sweet potato fries remind me of the grilled ones I made over the summer. Thanksgiving isn't really the time for grilling, though!)

Cranberry Sauce:  Cranberry Pear Salsa from How Sweet Eats
(We tried this over the weekend. Yum!!)

Dessert: Upsidedown Cranberry Cake from Smitten Kitchen
(This is seriously delicious. I made it last year & can't wait to have it again. I think I'd double the cranberries.)
No-Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Pie from Chocolate Covered Katie
(Finally, some chocolate!)

Is anyone interested in enjoying a Thanksgiving feast with me? We can do a potluck! :-)

I'm making my list of what I'm thankful for to share with you. What are you thankful for this year?

November 20, 2011

Apple Pumpkin Beer Bread

Fall is slowly winding down. Daylight savings has come & gone, so now it's dark in both the morning & evening. This makes me want to curl up on the couch with a blanket & a mug of hot tea every.single.night. Not good. Especially when things like meetings & life get in the way.

You're probably ready for me to let go of fall, since I've been talking about it for months now, but I'm trying to hang on a little big longer.

This bread, with its fall flavors of pumpkin, apple, & spices helped just a bit. It's sweet enough to be dessert, but healthy enough for breakfast. Or as a mid-day snack to tide me over until dinner.

Start by mixing up the dry stuff, complete with lots of warming spices! Depending on how spiced the pumpkin beer you use is, you may want to reduce or increase the spices. I used Post Road Pumpkin Ale, which is slightly spiced but not over the top.

Chop up the apples & stir together the wet ingredients. There will be leftover beer, but don't worry about that. I'm sure you'll find a good place for it. ;-)

Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry and mix away.

Then add the apple chunks, stirring just until they're combined. Don't over stir.

Pour the batter into a loaf pan. I put a baking sheet under my loaf pan while baking, just in case, and it did catch a few drippings of batter. I wanted a nice big loaf, so I didn't want to cut back on the ingredients, but I also didn't want to have to clean the oven!


Once it cools, you can slice it up & enjoy!

The chunks of apple cooked into little pockets of sweetness, complimenting the spiced bread. Each bite has all the fall flavors, kicked up a notch with the slight hint of beer. I hope you enjoy it!

Apple Pumpkin Beer Bread
Yield: 12 slices

2 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1/4 c ground flax
1/4 c toasted wheat germ
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
pinch nutmeg
2 c chopped apples
1/4 c coconut oil, melted
1/2 c pumpkin puree
3/4 c agave nectar or maple syrup
3/4 c pumpkin beer
1 T vanilla

Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray a glass loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine white whole wheat flour, flax, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  In a separate bowl, mix together coconut oil, pumpkin, agave nectar, pumpkin beer and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until no dry ingredients remain. Add apples and stir just until combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cook in pan 10 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...