Tag Archives: homemade

10May/17
Sweet_Potato_Muffins

My New Favorite Snack…

I have to confess…I have made these tasty little treats the past two days. Don’t worry, I didn’t eat them all myself. In fact, I barely ate any and gave them all away. Let’s just say, they are a big hit with all!!! Everyone loves these so much, that I decided to share the recipe with you. What are they, you ask? Sweet Potato Oatmeal Muffins. Mmmmmmm. Not only are there minimal ingredients in these “sweet” little treats, but they are super easy to throw together. So, let’s not waste anymore time, here is the recipe. As always, I don’t really measure and often stray slightly from the actual recipe, but I will give you the base along with some of my adaptations, and you can make whichever version you wish. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!! As always, eat well and be merry:)

Sweet Potato Oatmeal Muffins (Adapted from Slimming Eats)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 large sweet potato, about 1 cup mashed
  • pumpkin puree*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 8-10 dates, pits removed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 banana*
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • mini chocolate chips*
  • shredded coconut, unsweetened*

*These are optional.
**If you add in pumpkin, just make that combined with sweet potato equal about a cup or a little more

Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Cook sweet potato in microwave until soft and cooked through. Remove, cut open and allow to cool slightly.
    3. Place oats, spices, baking powder, baking soda in a food processor (I use the NutriBullet) and pulse a few times. Pour in a mixing bowl.
    4. Use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the sweet potato and stir into the oat mixture.
    5. Add water and dates to the food processor and pulse a few times. Add in banana, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and eggs, and pulse to combine mixture. Stir into the oat and sweet potato mixture until combined.
    6. Evenly spoon the mixture into a 24 mini muffin baking pan. Top with mini chocolate chips and/or coconut (or toppings of choice). Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
    7. Enjoy
15Jan/17
IMG_2392 (Edited)

The Cultivating Cooking Queens #3…

Well, kind of…
As the season progressed and all of our schedules got a little more hectic, it became pretty challenging to find a time where everyone’s schedules aligned. So, sadly, our group did not meet nearly as often as we would have liked. However, we were always sharing the wonderful meals we were creating on our own via our GroupMe chat.
Our last ‘group’ meeting only included one other member, Shea, but we were graced with a special guest for the night, Tiff. It was very fun to hang out and chat as we prepared this delicious meal together. Our menu on this night included: steak rolls w/balsamic glaze, roasted sweet potatoes, and Brazilian cheese rolls.

This is long overdue, but be sure to check out the video here on YouTube.

Steak Rolls (adapted from Noreen Hiskey @PictureTheRecipe.com)

ingredients:

+ 1.5 – 2 lb skirt steak/flank steak/thinly sliced steak of choice (sirloin)
+ salt and pepper, to taste
+ 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
+ steak seasoning of choice (try to find salt free)
+ 1 tbsp olive oil

veggie filling:

+ 1 carrot
+ 1 red bell pepper
+ 1 zucchini squash
+ 1 yellow squash
+ 5-6 green onions
+ 2 cloves of garlic
+ 1 tsp Italian herb seasoning

balsamic glaze sauce (may want to double this, it is that good!!):

+ 2 tbsp butter
+ 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
+ 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
+ 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
+ 1/4 cup beef broth

prepare:

+ cut the steak into 2-3 inch wide strips
+ season the steak with salt (if using), pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Let them sit and marinade for about 30 minutes
+ prepare the filling – chop up the veggies into matchsticks that are longer than the width of the steak. Peel and mince the garlic.
+ prepare the sauce – melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped shallot and saute for a minute or so, until they turn soft and translucent. Add the balsamic vinegar, syrup (if using) and beef stock and stir to mix well. Allow the sauce to come to a boil and reduce to almost half. You want it to thicken to an almost syrup-like consistency.
+ in another pan, add a little olive oil and briefly saute the garlic. Turn the heat up to high and add in all the veggies, except the green onions. Saute until just cooked through but still crispy. Season with the Italian herbs and transfer to a bowl.
+ assemble – take a strip of the marinated steak and lay it flat. Fill with a small handful of veggies (don’t forget to add the green onion). Roll the beef and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with all the pieces of steak.
+ heat a large skillet or grillpan over medium-high heat. Add a little oil to coat the pan. When hot, add the beef seam side down and pan fry for several minutes. Then turn, roll and cook on all sides. Cook until it reaches your desired doneness
+ remove the toothpick and serve with the balsamic glaze sauce

 

Brazilian Cheese Rolls

ingredients:

+ 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
+ 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
+ 1/4 cup olive oil
+ 2 cups plus 2 tbsp tapioca flour
+ 2 eggs
+ 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or other firm cheese

prepare:

+ preheat oven to 350 degrees F
+ combine milk, butter and oil in a large saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring to melt the butter. When it reaches a boil, remove from the heat.
+ stir in the tapioca flour. The mixture should be thick, sticky and stretchy.
+ stir in the eggs, one at a time, and the cheese. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan until it is cool enough to handle.
+ take heaping tablespoons of dough with tapioca-floured hands and roll into 1.5 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.
+ bake 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve warm.

 

12Jan/17

Overnight Oats – Individual Size Servings…

I know I’ve posted this one before, but this is a little bit of a different take on it. How many of you do not eat breakfast because you don’t think you have time in the morning? Well, that can all change with this wonderfully easy breakfast option.  There are so many endless possibilities of flavorful ingredients and different creative combinations that you will never get tired of this.  And on top of that, you can prepare it all the night before in under five minutes.  Top it all off with a little fresh fruit of choice and you will be happy for the rest of the morning.  There are two options to prepare: 1) mix everything you want in a bowl, and then fill each jar or 2) just add each ingredient to all of the jars you are going to use and build it as you go. The great thing about preparing it in these little jars, is that it is the perfect serving size, and can easily be taken and eaten on the go or at work. Go ahead and be creative with what you put in here, but if you need some ideas to get going, check out this previous post.  As always, eat well and be merry.

01Jan/17
happy_new_year

HAPPY NEW YEAR…

A very Happy New Year to you!!  How many of you have started this 2017 year off just like any other?  You’re making a resolution that is so far out there, you know you will never actually accomplish it.  Or it will only last for a week or two before you go back to your old ways. I want to encourage you to be different this year. Try to change the way you buy, prepare and eat food. Put a little more thought into the things you are buying. Read the labels. Try to eat as natural as possible, and prepare the food on your own as much as possible. I know it is not easy, but once you start eating like this, you will not want to go back. Check through my other blogs for some healthy ideas to get you started. Let’s make this year the best one yet. As always, eat well, be merry!!

26Dec/16
Plated with some sweet potato mac

Meatloaf…

I‘m sure as a child, there are many of you who upon hearing the word meatloaf cringed at the thought of having to eat it?  Well, I was one of those kids who loved meatloaf, and still do.  This recipe is one that I’ve adapted a bit from Miranda Lambert’s recipe that I found on Pinterest a while back.
This is a meal that you can’t be afraid to dig your hands into and get a little dirty as you prepare it.  If that’s not for you, then you probably want to stop right there, but just know that you are really missing out.  The nice thing about this is that it is very easy and quick to prepare.
Just so you know, this will look like enough food to feed an army; however, it is such a big hit that everyone will be going back for seconds, and before you know it, most of it will be gone.  If you are fortunate enough to have any leftovers, this is one of those foods that gets better as it sits in the fridge, and is even more delicious the next day. I’ve eaten it hot, cold, in sandwiches, and it never let’s me down.  This is one of those recipes that everyone will keep asking you to make again and again…

 

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Meatloaf Recipe
**note: I pretty much never measure any of this, but just eyeball it all as I throw it in**

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground sausage (you can play around with different flavors for a little variety in the overall taste, just remember to read the label and see what else is added in before you buy)
1 pack Glutino crackers (plain or multigrain work)
2 eggs
a few dashes of Worcestershire
1 tsp – 1 tbsp prepared mustard (can use different kinds to play with the flavor a little more)
dash of maple syrup
1/2- 1 whole finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
mushrooms, chopped
Large handful spinach, chopped

Topping:
1 cup ketchup
maple syrup

Mix all of the ingredients together really well in a large bowl (don’t be afraid to dig in with your hands!).  Put in a large casserole and shape into a flatter but slightly rounded loaf.  Leave just a small amount of space around edges for uniform cooking. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Prepare the topping while the loaf is baking.  Blend together 1 cup of ketchup with a dash of maple syrup.
After the loaf is done baking, pour the grease out.  Spread the topping generously on the meat.  Place the pan back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  If you want, you can broil it for the last 4-5 minutes to get the top nice and golden. Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting to serve.

Enjoy!!!  As always, eat well and be merry…Mmmmm

17Dec/16

Thanksgiving Leftovers…

Thanskgiving is a feast of all feasts at my house.  This year, we had a 22 lb. turkey and many other dishes to feed the crew.  Needless to say, there were quite a few leftovers to feast on over the next few days.  I’m going to share with you two of my favorite meals to eat over those next days.  These are both very big hits with the crowd, and they are both super easy to prepare.  Here are the leftovers you will need for these: Turkey, Cranberry Relish, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Gravy, Veggies.

Open Faced Turkey Salad Sandwich topped with Brie and Cranberry Relish
Ingredients:
2 cups Turkey, shredded or roughly chopped
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 heaping Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 Lemon Juiced
2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley
Bread
Brie
Cranberry Relish
*You can add diced apple, but my relish has that, so I do not*

1.  Mix first 5 ingredients together in a bowl.
2.  Lightly toast 1-2 slices of bread
3.  Top each slice of toast with a scoop or two of the turkey mixture.  Be sure to spread it around and cover as much of the bread as possible.
4.  Top each slice of toast with some slices of Brie
5.  Put under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese.  Keep a close eye on this, as it does not take long to melt everywhere and/or burn.
6.  Top with a scoop of the cranberry relish.
7.  Enjoy

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Ingredients:
Turkey, shredded or cubed
Onion, chopped
Green Beans
Corn
Carrots
Peas
Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Sweet potatoes

1.  Mix everything but the mashed potatoes/sweet potatoes together in a bowl.  Be sure to use enough gravy that everything is coated well and will not be dry once cooked.
2.  Pour into 2 square dishes, coated in cooking spray.
3.  Top one dish with a layer of the mashed potatoes.  Top the other with a layer of mashed sweet potatoes.
4.  Bake at 350 degrees until everything is heated through and bubbly.  If you want to broil them for the last few minutes to brown the tops you can.
5.  Serve and enjoy.

I don’t really measure any of this.  You just have to eyeball it all to get the ratios you want.  Sorry, there are no pictures to share either.  Once they are made, they are gone before you can even grab the camera.  Try these out when you get  a chance and let me know what you think.  As always, eat well and be merry!

11Dec/16

A Healthy, Gluten Free Thanksgiving…

I host my family for Thanksgiving at my cabin.  We have been doing this for several years now, and  I love it for many reasons:
 
1.  I get to spend some quality time at my cabin, where it is so quiet and peaceful and a nice way to get away from the busy pace of life I am used to.
2.  All of my family is there.
3.  I make the menu and prepare the food.
All of these are wonderful things to be thankful for, but I think my favorite is the fact that I can prepare such a healthy menu for my family, and everybody enjoys it just as much as a traditional menu.  I love knowing that my family is getting a great meal, one that is healthy and represents what I stand for.  Mind you, there is a lot of hard work that goes in to me preparing this feast, as I make everything homemade, but in the end, it is so worth it.
Typically, I will chop and prepare as much as possible the night before (with the help of my sister), that way on Thanksgiving morning, it cuts back on time, and is mostly just putting everything together and cooking it.
The menu pretty much stays the same every year, with some minimal changes.  This year’s menu was:

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Shaved Brussels Sprouts w/Manchego and Almonds
Fresh Cranberry Relish
Apple Shallot Roasted Turkey
Cider Gravy
Mashed Potatoes w/Parsnips & Chives
Wild Rice, Italian Sausage and Shiitake Stuffing
Coconut Cardamom Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Pumpkin Bread

Check back soon and I will tell you my favorite thing to do with my leftovers.  You will not want to miss these, as they may even be more delicious than the actual Thanksgiving meal.

Check out the Thanksgiving menu photos below.

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09Nov/16

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread…

As I mentioned in a previous post, I absolutely love the flavor of pumpkin.  I also love trying to take normal recipes laden with a lot of sugar, and figuring out a way to make them without all of that added sugar, while still maintaining the delicious flavor.  I think this one was a success, as I have made this for many gluten lovers, and they always come back asking for more.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread:
Dry Ingredients:
1  cup white rice flour
1.5 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tsps. baking soda
5-6 tsps pumpkin pie spice
pinch salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum

Mix-ins:  raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, nuts
Toppings: oatmeal, cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
< 1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 banana, mashed
1 cup olive oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
1 15-oz can pure pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees,  Spray two loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together: flour, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum.
In a separate bowl, mix together: eggs, oil, orange juice, banana, sugar and pumpkin.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined and have a smooth batter.
Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.  If adding any mix-ins, can stir them in before dividing (or divide and make two different kinds – I typically do one raisin, for me,  and one chocolate chip, to give away).  I typically sprinkle with a generous amount of cinnamon and sometimes a little bit of oats, before baking.
Bake for about 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly in pans before trying to remove and slice.

28Oct/16

Pumpkin Granola…

Who doesn’t love pumpkin?  I am all about this wonderful flavor, and will eat it any time of the year.  However, many people tend to only think of pumpkin during this Fall season, when we celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Maybe it’s the lure of pumpkin carving, Jack-o-lanterns, and pumpkin pie?  Did you know that pumpkin is a very nutrient-dense food?  It is full of many vitamins and minerals, all while being low in calories.  So, why not think about it all year?  I think you may reconsider the use of this delicious, plump, orange plant when you see this yummy pumpkin granola recipe.  I use this to top off all kinds of delicious foods, like crepes, waffles, fruit and yogurt bowls, and more.
This is just one of many ways to use pumpkin in your cooking.  There are so many other creative ways pumpkin can be incorporated into any meal, including desserts, soups, salads and preserves.  Did you know that it can even be used as a substitute for butter? Try out this recipe, or feel free to share some of your own favorite pumpkin meals, recipes and foods.  Don’t forget to check out one of my favorite pumpkin recipes, Pumpkin Waffles, from my earlier blog.

A friendly reminder…be careful when buying pumpkin.  Look for the 100% pumpkin, as pumpkin pie filling is often loaded with added sugars.

Read this article from Medical News Today to learn more about this great food.
As always, eat well and be merry!!

Pumpkin Granola Recipe:
3 cups oats
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 individual size cup of apple sauce (no added sugar)
3 Tbsp. molasses
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
3-5 tsps. pumpkin pie spice (based on individual preference)
Add in options: dried cranberries, raisins, cashews, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, vanilla, pecans, walnuts

Mix everything together really well.  Bake at 300 degrees for about 70-80 minutes. Keep a careful eye on the granola, and stir a few times.  It will harden a bit as it cools. You will most likely also have to break it up once it cools down.  It may look burnt when done, but that is just from the pumpkin, molasses and spices.

 

17Oct/16

Sweet Potato ‘Toast’…

First off, it’s been way too long!  Sadly, I have been super busy, traveling and on the road a lot lately for coaching, and have not been able to spend much time cooking and preparing meals on my own. Being on the road means a lot of meals in the hotel and out at restaurants, neither of which I am a big fan.  As I’ve mentioned before, I like to know exactly what I am eating and putting in my body, I prefer foods to be minimally processed, and on top of that, I eat gluten-free which makes it challenging at times and often leads to a lot of salads (I’ve learned to be very creative with these).
Needless to say, I was very excited to finally return to KC and be able to start cooking my own food again.  My love for food and trying to encourage others to really think about what they are eating often leads to really great conversations where I share some easy tips and recipes.  This time, however, I was fortunate to have a fellow coach share something new with me, and I wanted to share this with you, as it is super easy and delicious.
To make sweet potato toast:  slice a sweet potato in about 1/4″ pieces, toast on high in toaster until ‘cooked’ to desired doneness (it took me about 3 toasts), top with favorite ingredients. You can leave the skin on and should be certain that the slices are a uniform thickness for even toasting.  You will know it is ‘toasted’ when the outside starts to lightly brown and the center is soft when pierced with a fork.   I like mine to have a slight crunch to them, so I do not toast mine quite that long.  This time, I topped mine with an egg, some fresh spinach and a small sprinkle of cheese.  I had meant to add avocado, but never did, which I think would make it even more yummy.  Some other ideas would be to top with butter, a little butter and cinnamon, cream cheese, peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, butter and jam or anything else you would put on regular toast.
You might be asking yourself, why would I want to eat this when I can just have a piece of bread?  Well, unlike most bread, sweet potatoes are gluten-free, high in fiber, and are packed with many healthy micronutrients. Want to know more about the possible health benefits and nutritional value of a sweet potato? Click here to read a great article on Medical News Today.
Go ahead, give it a try and let me know what you think.  Please share some of your favorite creations you make using sweet potato toast.  Until next time…eat well and be merry!!

 

 

Sweet Potato 'Toast'

Sweet Potato ‘Toast’