Sunday, March 2, 2014
Filling, tons of flavor and a very hearty breakfast. I love breakfast burritos but the ones I usually eat are loaded with potatoes. And meat. This time I went a different route (inspired by my very health conscious youngest daughter). There are more vegetables in this burrito than anything else.
I did not miss the potatoes (and I happen to love potatoes). Although there are sweet potatoes in that mass pile of veggies. I didn't even miss the meat. much. Well, if I think about it too much.....naaa. I'm not that bad.
This breakfast was perfect for another reason besides being a satisfying breakfast. It gave me the opportunity to clean out the crisper. And that's exactly what I did...I grabbed everything I could find that I thought would go well together and started chopping away...
Leeks, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, jalapenos. (I wish I had some zucchini). All thrown into the sizzling pan with olive oil....sauteed, then some minced garlic thrown in....oh, and a bit of rosemary. Of course salt and pepper were added in the end.
My daughter cooked up some meatless crumbles (odd little brown crumbles that look just like ground beef but aren't. They don't have much flavor, but they aren't bad) and fried up some vegan bacon. The vegan bacon had nice flavor....and it tries real hard to have that bacon texture but it doesn't quite get it done. I'm not opposed to it, but you won't find me giving up bacon in the long run. Or the short run. Once in a while...I don't mind eating better than I usually do. I should do it more often. Maybe some day.
Then there's this stuff...almond jalapeno jack style cheese alternative (that's a mouthful to say). Not bad. Texture is about right. The flavor isn't cheese...its more like...nothing. With the jalapenos and the cheesy texture, sure...it works.
So, you take all these goodies, pile it on a warm tortilla, pour some really good salsa over the whole mound of good-for-you yummy stuff, top with sliced avocado. If you're not a vegan, throw on a poached egg or two and garnish with cilantro.
I think the only trouble you'll have here is rolling up that bad boy. Work it, it'll happen. Almost. Then you shove it your face and think...(if you're not already one)....ya, I can be a vegetarian.
Once in a while.
I don't have measurements here. You just eyeball it. If you have leftover veggies (which I did) use them in your next meal. Toss them in a soup. Mix them with some quinoa and dinner is a done deal. No brainer.
After eating this, you might want to skip lunch. A nap wouldn't be out the question either. If nothing else, you'll feel better just for eating better.
Friday, February 28, 2014
If you love peanut butter and banana sandwiches, you will love this breakfast. If you love cheese, you will especially love this breakfast. If you love natural, non GMO, whole grain products, you will REALLY love this breakfast. If gluten-free is something you need or desire....got you covered in that option as well.
Let's talk about Van's Natural Foods for a minute here. Van's Foods are no stranger to this household. My daughters have been enjoying their gluten-free waffles for quite some time now (blueberry is a favorite). I love that I can pronounce every ingredient. Plus....they're kosher, all natural, egg free, dairy free, corn free. Getting samples and coupons for Van's Foods was so much fun! They have a whole line of gluten free snack bars and gluten-free crackers and chips (totally yummy!) and so much more.
Here's a reminder of what I did with the their snack bars...I Heart Chocolate
Are you pumped to possibly win coupons to help you discover the wonderfulness of Van's Foods? Hang in there...
Back to my breakfast panini. I chose whole grain (instead of the gluten-free) so that my daughters wouldn't eat them before I got a chance to use them (it happened with the gluten-free chips and snack bars that Van's sent me. I needed a safeguard of some sort. A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do). You can totally use the gluten-free product for this recipe.
Not sure if you can really call it a recipe actually. It's so simple. No measuring needed. Super easy and way good!
Breakfast PB and Brie Panini
2 Van's Natural Foods Whole Grain Organic Waffles (or any variety you prefer)
1 banana sliced thin
Brie Cheese sliced thin
Take your frozen waffles (still frozen...do not defrost) and spread peanut butter on one (two if you prefer...no set rules here). Cover one with thinly sliced brie and then layer your bananas over the cheese.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat and melt a dab of butter.
Place your waffle sandwich in the pan (or if you have a panini maker, use that). place another skillet on the sandwich to press it down. Let sizzle for a couple of minutes, until golden brown and flip...covering again with the skillet.
Continue cooking until golden brown. Remove and enjoy!
If you want to really make it decadent, add some maple syrup......
All that melty brie with the peanut butter and banana...soooo good! And the healthy waffle just takes away any guilt you could possibly have from eating a breakfast treat such as this.
So, what am I giving away? 5 coupons for free Van's Natural Foods, dry and frozen products. The goal here is to help you continue your healthy eating goal for the year. If you haven't made that a goal, it's not too late to start!
To enter, leave a comment telling me which product you would get first with your coupons. This is a mandatory entry. There are lots of additional ways to enter to earn more chances.
Tell your friends (because you care about their health too).
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to US residents only. This giveaway will run from Friday, February 28, 2014 through Tuesday, March 4, 2014 (11:59 pm PT). Winner will be notified within 48 hours of the close of the contest and given 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
I was not compensated for this post, however Van's Natural Foods supplied me with samples and coupons for their product. They are also supplying 5 coupons for free product (dry and frozen goods) for the giveaway. All opinions are my own.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Happy National Margarita Day!
Now this is my kind of day! Many of you may (or may not) know that margaritas are my drink of choice. If we're going out for dinner and are planning on Mexican food, I choose the restaurant based on how good their margaritas are.
Most often though, I make my own at home. And I never use a mix. Making a fresh fruit margarita in your own kitchen is simple, tastes better than any restaurant, and you get to control how much they're going to knock your socks off!
And this one will knock your socks off. Don't let that pretty fuchsia color fool you. She's a beauty, but beware...
Inspired by The Pioneer Woman
4 cups fresh blackberries, plus more for garnish if desired
1 1/4 cup sugar divided
juice from 1 1/2 limes divided
zest for 1/2 lime
2 cups tequila
1/2 cup orange liqueur (I used Citronge)
1 cup club soda or lime soda such as sprite
1 lime cut into wedges
In a medium saucepan, combine the blackberries, 1/4 sugar and the juice from 1/2 lime. Simmer over low heat, covered, for about 25 minutes.
(if you notice....I zest the lime before squeezing.. Its kinda hard to zest a squeezed lime and I hate to waste them)
Strain, pressing as much of the berry juice through a fine mesh strainer as possible. Allow to cool in the fridge. If you don't mind the little seeds, you can skip this step, but you'll still need to let it cool.
Combine 1/2 cup of sugar and the lime zest in a wide, shallow bowl. Something wide enough for you to to dip the rim of your glass in.
The hardest part is done. Now for the main event....
In a large pitcher, combine the cooled blackberry puree, tequila, orange liqueur, remaining 1/2 sugar, club soda, and juice from 1 lime.
Using a lime wedge, wet the rim of a glass, dip into the sugar zest mixture, coating the rim all the way around.
Fill a blender half way with ice, pour enough margarita mixture to about level with the ice and buzz away for a nice blended fresh Blackberry Margarita!
Enjoy your celebration of National Margarita Day - Cheers!!!
Here are some other amazing recipes to help you celebrate. Some are beverages and others are treats with a margarita twist:
Blackberry Margarita from Cooking for My Peace of Mind
Chili Lime Margarita from Curious Cuisiniere
Chocolate Margaritas from The Texan New Yorker
Creamsicle Margaritas from Savvy Eats
Frozen Mango Margarita from Noshing with the Nolands
Lilikoi Margarita with Li Hung Mui from The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Margaritas Gone Wild from Delaware Girl Eats
Mixed Berry Margarita from Kudos Kitchen By Renee
Mom's Wicked Margarita from Desserts Required
Pomegranate Margarita from Daily Dish Recipes
Spicy Raspberry Frozen Margarita from The Weekend Gourmet
Tamarind Margaritas from girlichef
The Great Grapefruit Margarita from La Cocina de Leslie
Tim G's Margarita from Sidewalk Shoes
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
It's almost Valentine's Day and everywhere you look, there's chocolates and candies. Which are cute and tasty but not what my girls would want to eat. I needed to come up with an alternative plan (something other than the cute little socks covered in hearts that I got them).
Chocolate is always good...especially dark chocolate. Good quality chocolate. Ok, wait...let me back up a minute.
So, I got these boxes of PB&J Sandwich Bars...two flavors: blueberry and strawberry. They were really good. So good that my daughters ate them all before I could do anything with them. They tasted like little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And they didn't have that intense weird sweetness that you find in other snack bars.
No product to play with meant a trip to the market to hunt them down. These babies are so new that my local markets don't have them yet. You can bet that when I see them...I will buy them! Meanwhile, I purchased another snack bar that they make...Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chewy Granola. Also gluten-free with only 11 grams of sugar (cane sugar is the only added sugar in this product). Perfect for my Valentine plans.
I Heart Chocolate
Grab a bag of good dark chocolate and a tablespoon of shortening or coconut oil.
Place the bowl over a double boiler or a sauce pan with boiling water, off the heat. Stir until melted.
You don't have to add the oil, but it does make the chocolate smoother and shiny.
Take a few snack bars and cut them into 1 inch squares.
Place one on a fork
And dunk. (Kinda makes me want to be one of those squares)
Place on a wire rack. If you have some cute little hearts, stick them on before the chocolate hardens.
Once they've hardened some (they won't get super hard cuz of the oil) give them to your true love, knowing that you're not loading them up with junk. A true gesture of love.
Before I let you go...I want to remind you that I'm having a Giveaway that will be ending on Monday, February 17th,2014. Hurry on over to ENTER for your chance to win 1 pound of Ceylon Cinnamon and get my recipe for Milk & Honey Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Aaaaand, one more thing. Keep an eye out. I will be posting again about Vans Healthy Foods and it will include another GIVEAWAY! I can't tell you what I'll be giving away yet...cuz it's a secret.
Meanwhile, have a Happy Valentine's Day. If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with. Even if its yourself. (Sorry....I know...that song will now be stuck in your head. I know this cuz it's stuck in mine too).
I was not compensated for this post, however Van's Natural Foods supplied me with samples and coupons for their products. All opinions are my own.
Friday, February 7, 2014
Cinnamon raisin bread is a love that developed as a child and continues to this day. Although the version I had way back when, was store bought. Being able to make it at home brings a certain joy to my heart. Watching others enjoy it as well just makes my heart sing.
One of the keys to any successful recipe is the quality of ingredients. Unbleached flour, active yeast, local organic honey, and of course cinnamon. Yes, I said cinnamon.
My eyes have recently been opened. I have seen the light! The benefits of this lighter colored Ceylon Cinnamon that is. And I have Flavor of The Earth to thank for this culinary revelation. I had no idea! I mean, to me....cinnamon was cinnamon. You either bought the powder, or you bought the sticks. What was on the shelf, labeled as cinnamon...was it. Little did I know that the cinnamon we all most commonly purchase, called Cassia cinnamon is...well, lacking. On so many levels. Ceylon cinnamon, scientifically known as "true cinnamon" is ground from the bark of an evergreen in Sri Lanka. The main benefit and difference? Health benefits. Coumarin content for one. If you're an avid cinnamon consumer, it's recommended to stick with Ceylon in order to avoid liver damage (holy moly!!). Then there's the vitamins, antioxidants, blood sugar regulatory benefits. And seriously...the list goes on and on.
(Ceylon on the left. Cassia on the right)
Back to the culinary factors. The first thing you'll notice is the color. Which surprised me. In my head, I imagined it would be darker and richer. Well, it is richer. In a spicy depth sort of way. The aroma is intense (as cinnamon should be) but if you really pay attention...you'll notice less earthy (almost bark) tones and discover more rich notes of sweet citrus. Pure bliss! (I'm sitting here, repeatedly opening my jar and whiffing as I type. Just because. It's comforting and enjoyable.)
Wouldn't you love to be able to get your hands on some? I'll tell you how....for free, in a minute. Let me show you how I made my bread first.
Before you begin, mix together some cinnamon sugar:
1/4 cup sugar
1 TB Ceylon Cinnamon
Milk & Honey Cinnamon Raisin Bread
makes 1 loaf
4 cups flour
1 pk yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup warm milk (about 110' F)
2 TB honey
2 TB melted butter, plus more for brushing the top of the loaf
2 tsp barley malt syrup (optional but does help boost the yeast and add a bit of caramel color and slight sweetness)
1 TB cinnamon sugar (or more if desired)
1/2 cup raisins (or more if desired)
1 tsp raw sugar (optional)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the warm milk, honey, butter and barley malt syrup. Stir until honey and barley malt syrup have dissolved and blended with the liquids.
Tip: when measuring the honey and barley malt syrup, coat the measuring utensil with oil first. This will guarantee that nothing sticks...it slides right out.
Pour the liquid into the flour bowl and mix well. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
Note: I found this dough to be a bit on the dry side and did not need to flour my counter. I wet my hands a few times and continued to knead, thus adding a bit of water at a time without messing up the dough. If you are an experienced bread maker and can tell when you added the liquid that it's too dry, add a little water at that time, maybe a tablespoon, but not too much.
Form into a ball and place the dough in a greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise, in a draft free corner of your kitchen.
Grease a loaf pan.
Once the dough has doubled in size (about an hour, depending on the room temp. Don't stress about it. It could be longer than an hour or it could be shorter) turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll the dough into an 8 x 15 rectangle. If you find that the dough bounces back and is resistant, let it rest for a few minutes and go at it again.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the rectangle and top with raisins.
Starting with the short end, roll the dough up and pinch to secure
Place the log in the prepared loaf pan, pinched seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 45 minutes. You can tell it's done rising when you gently poke it with your finger and it leaves a slight indent. If it springs back into place right away, let it continue to rise.
Preheat the oven to 375' F
Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until a deep golden brown
Allow to cool thoroughly before slicing.
This bread was so good! The crumb is soft, the crust is firm. Cinnamon and raisins inside. It doesn't even need butter. Or toasting.
But of course that's my favorite way to eat cinnamon raisin bread. One slice (not shown) even got an extra sprinkling of more cinnamon sugar. Heavenly!
Back to the Ceylon Cinnamon. And the giveaway! Flavor of the Earth asked me to try their Ceylon Cinnamon. They are also allowing me to .......
1 pound of Flavor of The Earth Ceylon Cinnamon!
1. Leave a comment telling me what you would make with Ceylon Cinnamon. Make sure you record your answer in the Rafflecopter widget after you leave your comment.
2. Visit Flavor of The Earth Amazon store and tell me which quality appeals to you the most. Make sure you record this answer in the Rafflecopter widget.
3. Increase your chances of winning by taking advantage of the other ways you can enter!
This giveaway is open to US residents only. This giveaway will run from Saturday February 8, 2014 through Monday February 17, 2014 (11:59 pm PT). Winner will be notified within 48 hours of the close of the contest and given 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
I was not compensated for this post, however Flavor of The Earth supplied me with a sample bottle of Ceylon Cinnamon. They are also supplying 1 pound of Ceylon Cinnamon for the giveaway. All opinions are my own.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Just for the record here, let me tell you that I have never been a fan of meatloaf. Not even meatloaf sandwiches.
And...just for another record, let me tell you that when it comes to ketchup, I can take it or leave it (most often I leave it).
This is a Not Ketchup meatloaf.
And when I say Not Ketchup....I literally mean Not Ketchup
My friend and fellow blogger Erika from In Erika's Kitchen, has launched an amazing new product called Not Ketchup Dipping Sauce. There are currently 3 flavors: Cherry Chipotle, Blueberry White Pepper and Smokey Date, with the promise of 4 more flavors to come. You can see which two bottle Erika sent me...and I couldn't be more thrilled! Not only is Not Ketchup a great alternative to ketchup, but it's made with fresh ingredients (fruit, not tomatoes), natural sweeteners, no artificial flavors or colors, no processed sugar and no preservatives. And....its gluten free.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaand, it's delicious!
I haven't figured out what I'm going to make with the Blueberry White Pepper yet, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the spicy tang of Cherry Chipotle.
Let's talk about meatloaf for a minute. People either love it, or hate it. And most who love it, only love the kind they make. I never knew how particular people are about meatloaf. I guess when it comes down to it, if it's not made right, it's not good.
I learned something the other night....part of what makes or breaks a meatloaf, is how you mix up the ingredients. DO NOT squish everything in your hands, making it ooze out between your fingers (cuz I know...that is part of the fun, right?) Well, it makes for a bad meatloaf. Just kinda stir everything together with your hands. I beat the egg before adding it, which made me feel better about not over mixing it.
And here's an amazing tip: instead of using bread crumbs, puree some garlic croutons in your food processor!
Use a meat thermometer. You want the inside to be 155' F. The temp will rise once removed, while it's resting. Using the thermometer will prevent you from ending up with a dried out
Ingredients make a difference too, of course. Swap things around...if you know you don't like bell pepper, swap it for something else. If you're not into garlic, use extra onions or something. Get it?
Cherry Chipotle Meatloaf
Inspired by: Good Eats Meatloaf
3 oz garlic croutons
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp summer savory (if you prefer thyme, then use that)
1/4 of an onion, chopped
1/2 carrot, chopped
1/4 of a bell pepper (I used yellow)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 egg (beat an egg and measure out about 1 1/2 TB. Gets a little tricky, but don't stress, you don't have to be exact on this)
1/4 cup Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup, plus more for serving
1/2 lb ground chuck
1/2 lb regular ground beef
Preheat the oven to 325' F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, combine the croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder and summer savory. Process until the croutons have becomes fine crumbs. Place in a medium sized bowl.
Put the onion, carrots, bell pepper and garlic in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed. Add to the bread crumbs.
Add in the salt, egg and meat. Combine without squeezing everything together.
Place the mixture on the parchment paper lined baking sheet and form into a loaf, pushing it all together into a solid loaf shape.
Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Pour the glaze of the top and down the sides. Place the thermometer in the meat loaf and bake until done. The length of time will depend on how thick your meatloaf is, which is why I believe the thermometer is really needed here. You want the reading to be 155'. Once temp has been reached, remove from the oven, cover lightly with foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Serve with you're favorite sides (mashed potatoes seem to be top on that list) and a little extra Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup to drizzle over your slice.
And....this folks, is the meatloaf that won me over. I can now say: Yes, I like meatloaf. But only the kind I make.
Psst....Stop by Not Ketchup for a list of stores that carry this new yummy sauce, or place your order direct.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
What do you do when your husband brings home Pandoro (traditional Italian sweet yeast bread) and you forget to eat, serve or otherwise do anything with it during the holidays?
You make bread pudding.
Crazy good bread pudding.
Maybe because you feel guilty for ignoring the Pandoro. Or maybe you think it might deserve to be treated a little special. Ooor...maybe you're just craving cinnamon rolls and are too lazy to make them.
Cinnamon Roll Style Bread Pudding
Inspired by Cinnamon Roll Bread Puddiing
10 oz of large dice Pandoro (about 7 cups)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
2 cups milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Amaretto or any nut flavored liqueur
1/2 cup sugar plus more for garnish
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
Cinnamon Roll Glaze (recipe to follow if you don't have one)
Preheat your oven to 350' F.
Sprinkle the cinnamon over the diced bread and arrange in a 2 quart casserole dish.
In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the milk, cream, Amaretto, 1/2 cup, vanilla extract and salt. Mix until combined.
Pour egg mixture evenly over the bread. Let everything soak together for at least 15 minutes.
Bring about 8 cups of water to a simmer.
Top the bread pudding mixture with pecans and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of sugar. Place the dish into a larger roasting pan and add enough hot water to reach about halfway up the side of the baking dish, creating a water bath.
Place both dishes in the oven and bake for 50 - 60 minutes, or until custard has set and the top is browned. Remove from water bath and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
To make a simple glaze, combine 4 TB butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla. Beat until combined. Add 3 - 6 TB of hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency. Drizzle over the top, reserving some for individual servings as desired.
I don't know if this is a dessert...or a breakfast....both? One and the same...depending on how late of a night you've just had? Which ever it is....you're gonna want more of this velvety smooth, cinnamonie, nutty, deliciousness.