Friday, September 28, 2012

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Hummus

It's Friday and I'm excited for the weekend! Beau's Oktoberfest is tomorrow and I can't wait to spend the day hanging out with my friends, drinking Beau's delicious beer, eating lots of yummy food, and listening to oompah music!  What's on tap for you this weekend?  Maybe some football watching or tailgating? If so, I have a perfect snack for you to whip up and share with your friends.

I served this white bean and roasted garlic hummus when I had the girls over for book club last week, along with the Chocolate Chipotle Trail Mix, Gluten-Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, bruschette, a delicious cheesy dip, and Pacific smoked salmon.  Apparently I also served a mountain of carbs: pita chips, pretzel crisps, baguette, and crackers.  I don't think we had enough modes of transporting delicious dips into our mouths. 

The hummus is so creamy and full of flavor, the roasted garlic just takes it to a whole different level.  Once you've roasted the garlic, it comes together fairly quickly too with the help of a food processor. My only warning is that you should make sure you have some friends around to share it with, because the recipe makes A LOT of hummus. And that is a beautiful thing, because this hummus is awesome!

P.S. Check back next week for an amazing giveaway!! It's a good one and you won't want to miss it!

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Hummus

Adapted by Cookie and Kate  from Mark Bittman's Food Matters

2 to 3 heads of garlic
3 cups cooked Great Northern beans, or other white beans, liquid reserved
1/3 to 1/2 cup cooking liquid or water
1/4 cup olive oil (plus extra to drizzle on top)
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Chopped fresh rosemary or thyme, for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Roast the garlic: chop off the heads of the garlic, and cut off the tops of each clove. Place on aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and wrap tightly in foil. Toss in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until nice and golden on top. The cloves of garlic should yield easily to pressure.

In a food processor, combine the white beans, cooking liquid or water, olive oil, tahini, salt and pepper, and lemon juice. Let the garlic cool until it’s comfortable to touch, then squeeze out each individual clove of garlic and add to the food processor. Blend well, and adjust seasonings to taste (add more olive oil, salt and pepper, or lemon juice as necessary).

You can serve this warm (by heating it up on the stovetop for a few minutes) or cold. Either way it is delicious. Serve with pitas, pretzel crisps (especially the Everything flavor), vegetables, or any dipping vehicle of your choice!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Easy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

easy pumpkin cinnamon rolls recipe

I had full intentions to actually make cinnamon rolls from scratch, with yeast and rising time and everything, but then the internet saved me and delivered this lovely recipe my way. These pumpkin cinnamon rolls are so incredibly easy to make and so good (seriously, they took 15 minutes total).  I made them Sunday morning to eat while drinking Caesars (Canada's Bloody Mary) and cheering on our friends who were running the Army Half Marathon in Ottawa. Our friends all did sooo incredibly well and it was fun to cheer them on during their race!

The name that my friends gave these pumpkin cinnamon rolls - "slutty buns" - may offend you and I apologize for that.  These buns happen to be very delicious and decadent and will make you want to scream their name out loud, so I'll let you be the judge and you can call them whatever you want.

Okay, enough about slutty buns. (PS I'm afraid to know what type of websites usually come up when searching for that, yikes!). Let's talk about fall, because really these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are a celebration of fall.  I have seen a few summer and now fall "bucket" lists pop up on other blogs and because I don't feel like I truly embraced summer, I want to make sure that I really get the most out of our very short Canadian fall. Here's what I want to do (some are things that I already have planned!):

  • Go apple picking and then make an apple pie 
  • Make a Thanksgiving feast with my family
  • Drive through Gatineau Park to look at the leaves changing colors
  • Carve a pumpkin
  • Go to the spa
  • Watch at least one full football game, complete with football watching snacks
Do you have anything fun planned or that you really want to do this season? 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Adapted slightly from Dashing Dish (I made it more sinful...)

1 package low-fat crescent rolls
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup pecan pieces (optional)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)*

Maple Cream Cheese Icing: 
2 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper, or foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Spread the dough out on parchment paper (or foil). Gently pull on all four corners of the dough to stretch the dough out a bit.  Roll the dough gently with a rolling pin to seal the seams of the triangles together.

In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin, brown sugar, and seasonings until well combined. Using a spatula, spread pumpkin mixture evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the pecan pieces over the pumpkin mixture.  Starting at the long end of the dough, start rolling until dough is rolled into a long skinny log. Cut 10 even rolls.

Arrange the rolls swirl-side-up on the parchment paper (or foil) and bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden brown.

While the rolls are baking, make the frosting by placing the cream cheese in a small bowl, and microwaving it for 15-20 seconds, or until just melted. Add the sugar, powdered sugar, and syrup. Stir until well combined. When the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, drizzle or brush icing evenly over each cinnamon roll while they are still warm.

Serve warm and enjoy!

*I made 2 batches of these rolls, and if you want to go for pure decadence, add the chocolate chips AND the pecans.  Crazy good.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup Recipe

Today is another Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  Secret Recipe Club is a really fun group of bloggers that swaps blogs once a month, with each member assigned the blog of another member.  We get the whole month to explore each other's blogs, pick a recipe, and then finally reveal what we made.  There are tons of amazing bloggers involved, and I've had a chance to explore some fabulous blogs since joining!

This month we were assigned A Cook's Quest, a blog full of budget and family friendly recipes.  Jenn, the cook behind A Cook's Quest, loves to cook and seeks make delicious food for her family, while keeping on a budget and making as much from scratch as she can.  I was definitely inspired by all of her bread recipes (my love of bread is well documented, but hardly ever make it myself). Make sure you go check out Jenn's recipes, she has lots of great stuff, including these caramel apple cupcakes that I might need to make before fall is out!

In the end, I picked something perfect for fall. SOUP! It is definitely fall here in Ottawa, with chilly weather and rain, and there is nothing better than a hot pot of soup to warm your bones on a chilly fall day. This soup is one that I've wanted to try for a long time, and I was so happy to discover a recipe for it on Jenn's blog. From the sound of her write up, her family loved this soup and I can definitely say that I loved it as well.  And we are now at the risk that I will never actually make lasagna again, because this was way easier to make than regular lasagna and just as yummy!  (Which reminds me that I haven't actually posted my regular lasagna recipe!) Anyways, this one will be going into my regular fall soup rotation. It is a winner for sure! Thank you Jenn! Oh yea, this soup includes something called "cheesy yum," so obviously it is amazing!

Lasagna Soup Recipe

Lasagna Soup

Via A Cook's Quest

2 teaspoon olive oil
1-1/2 pounds lean Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock (I only had had 4 cups, so I added a cup of water, which I know only equals 5 cups)
1/2 box fusilli pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cheesy yum:
1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
Large pinch of freshly ground pepper

2 cups spinach (my addition)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage or buger, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in a soup bowl, ladle the hot soup over the cheese and top it all off with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gluten-Free Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

almond butter dark chocolate chip cookie recipe
Happy Friday!!! This has actually been the best week. In fact the past 3 weeks have been so much fun and the next few weeks are also going to be so much fun, so I'm a happy girl right now.  I haven't done an update in a while, so, what have I been up to?? Well, let's go back a few weeks. (I'll add some photos later, though you may have seen them already if you follow me on Instagram!)

Over Labor Day, I went to the New York State Fair with a few girlfriends. We stuffed ourselves with greasy fair food, rode the ferris wheel, and saw lots of cute little animals!

The following weekend, I went to visit my mom and dad in Alexandria, VA, their new home! We went to see Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean on Saturday night. Both were awesome! And we had Maryland crabs for lunch to celebrate my dad's birthday.

Last weekend, I went to my friend Natalia's wedding in the Hamptons. Every single detail was so beautiful and the wedding was so much fun. And their band was awesome, which meant that we danced the night away!  Plus, I got to catch up with my girlfriends and I was reminded of how lucky I am to have such amazing friends.

The next few weeks: Nuit Blanche in Ottawa this weekend, Beau's Oktoberfest next weekend, Canadian Thanksgiving plus a visit from my parents, and then another visitor to Ottawa!

But, you all come here for recipes, and I have an amazing recipe for you today!!  When I first heard about these cookies from Eat Live Run, I knew that I would have to make them.  I had tried making some almond butter cookies for a roadtrip that I took last summer, but everyone hated them.  So, I've been on a hunt ever since for a better almond butter cookie recipe and I'm happy to report that this one is a winner.  It may even become my go-to cookie recipe. These bad boys are amazing. So chewy, so chocolate-y, so delicious. You need to whip up a batch immediately (that's why I'm posting this today, so you have no excuses over the weekend)!

Gluten-Free Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Eat Live Run

1/4 cup coconut oil, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons salt
3 cups gluten-free oats (or old fashioned)
1 10-oz bag dark chocolate chips
1 cup almond butter
2 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 6 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

With an electric mixer, cream together the coconut oil, almond butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Add vanilla extract and ground flax and water mixture.  Blend until everything is combined.

In another bowl, mix together the oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add dry mixture to wet ingredients and mix until just combined - be careful not to overmix! Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll small balls of dough and place three inches apart on a silpat or parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Do not flatten dough balls. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes until puffy. Let cool for 5 minutes on sheet tray before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.


Pictures from the events described above!  Swings at the New York State Fair, K&K Cowgirls at Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan in Bristol, VA, Maryland crabs, and cute place cards at Nat & Dan's wedding!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chocolate Chipotle Trail Mix

Chocolate Chipotle Trail Mix Recipe

Tonight is book club night! I love our book club, it is just enough intellectual discussion, with a good measure of girly gossip and wine drinking thrown in the mix.  This month, I chose Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Cheryl hiked about 1,000 miles of the PCT alone when she was 26 years old.  Her journey was more than a physical one, and throughout the book, it feels as if we are on the trail with her, not only because of her intensely poetic descriptions, but also because she draws us into her emotional journey as well, in a way that is raw, honest, and truly relatable.

In honor of the book, I thought it would be appropriate to make some trail mix.  But this is not ordinary trail mix, it is spicy and sweet and salty.  I'm actually a little bit obsessed with the combination of the spicy chipotle nuts and the dark chocolate - it's a match made in heaven.  I'd like to think that Cheryl would have loved to have a batch of this in her monsterous hiking pack!

Chocolate Chipotle Nut Mix

Chocolate Chipotle Trail Mix

1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup dried unsweetened cranberries

For the nuts: 
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 large egg white
1 cup whole unsalted, unroasted almonds
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1 cup unsalted pumpkinseeds

Preheat oven to 325°.

Combine sugar, salt, and spices in a small bowl; whisk together.

Place egg white in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until foamy (be sure the bowl is completely clean as if you were making a meringue). Add the almonds, cashews, and pumpkinseeds; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with spice mixture; toss well to coat. Spread nuts in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes, stirring once. Turn oven off. Remove pan from oven; stir snack mix. Immediately return pan to oven for an additional 15 minutes (leave oven off). Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack; cool completely.

Mix together the nuts, cranberries, and chocolate chips once the nuts have cooled completely.  Store trail mix in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

 The nut portion of the recipe comes from Cooking Light.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Mini Frittatas

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Mini Frittatas Recipe

After a wonderful weekend in New York and the Hamptons, celebrating the absolutely lovely wedding of a friend from university, I'm home and feeling like I need a bit of a detox.  So I've been drinking Green Goodness smoothies for breakfast and I'm planning to eat lots of veggies and protein this week.

On Sunday morning, during a little walk through Soho in New York, I got distracted by the stacks of gorgeous cookbooks at Anthropologie - Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty, Sara and Hugh Forte's Sprouted Kitchen, and Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Everyday.  They stoked my creative juices and have given me plenty of veggie and whole food filled inspiration. If I wasn't carrying on my bags, all three would have come home with me.

For this recipe, I was inspired by several frittatas from the cookbooks mentioned above, but I wanted to make things quicker since frittatas actually take quite a while to cook, so I made mini frittatas (or egg cups, as I called them for this zucchini version).  From start to finish, this took me about half the time it would take to make a regular frittata, which for my grumbly post-workout tummy was a very good thing. They are chock full of flavor from the sweet roasted peppers and tomatoes and the garlic and herb feta shortcut that I used.  These mini frittata are great to feed a crowd or to make early in the week to ensure that you have a healthy breakfast ready everyday.

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Mini Frittatas

Adapted from this recipe

1 yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
5 eggs
1/3 cup skim milk
1/3 cup crumbled garlic and herb feta*

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Dice the pepper into chunks and mix with the halved grape tomatoes.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then season with salt and pepper and stir to coat everything.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread the tomatoes and peppers in a single layer.  Roast for 15 minutes at 425.  Turn the oven temperature down to 350 when the vegetables have finished roasting.

Whisk together eggs and skim milk.  Season with freshly ground black pepper.  Stir in the feta cheese and then the roasted vegetables.

Grease a muffin tin.  Fill the cups about 1/2 way with the egg and vegetable mixture.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350F.  Allow to cool slightly before removing the mini frittatas from the pan.  Option to serve with basil and balsamic reduction (though I didn't, I think it would be a great idea).

*Or you could use regular feta, but add 1 clove minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon each of dried basil and oregano.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pauline's Dilled Potato Salad

Happy Friday to all of our K and K followers!  As you know, Kelsey has shamed me into picking up the slack while she is enjoying a college friend's wedding in the Hamptons this weekend.  It is really time that you heard from the older K as I really have not done my part on the blog.  My summer has been crazy as our house sold in July and we (Kel's dad and I) have enjoyed the freedom while traveling in our RV and visit with family and friends. It has been an incredible time but I am so ready to move into our new home and have a real kitchen again.  Only two more weeks until we can settle into a routine again! A big sigh to that thought!

The summer is coming to a close next week but the temperatures in the Washington D.C. are still in the 80s!  Being a west coast gal, this weather still signifies summer fare to me so I thought I would share a new recipe I got while traveling.  One of my favorite side dishes for summertime is potato salad and I have never had a “go to” recipe for it.  But this summer, during the annual family outing to Fort Flagler for camping and crabbing, I was given the recipe to an old family recipe for an easy and delicious potato salad.  The recipe was given to me by Pauline Pittman (an adopted grandmother to Kelsey and part of our extended family) and it came from her mother, Edith Ambers so that makes this recipe at least 80 years old.  Needless to say, it is tried and true and the simplicity appealed to the large crowd that gathered for our crab feast on the beaches of the Admiralty Inlet.  

I thought I would share some of the pictures from this year's trip also.  This year we caught 56 Dungeness crabs over a five day period that was open for crabbing.  Our catch went from trap, to cleaning, and into the pot within 1/2 hour of pulling the crab pots.  It made for some amazing eating for sure.  We had fresh crab, crab cakes, Crab Louie Salad, and crab cocktails and still had enough left over that my sister and I made 88 crab cakes to freeze!  We used the crab cake recipe but tweaked it by using Panko bread crumbs to dip into before frying the cakes.  This change from flour to Panko added a delicious crusted finish to the crab cakes.  

So enjoy the last full weekend of summer and make this potato salad to close it out with one more picnic or barbecue!  Thanks for following with Kelsey and I and our adventures in cooking! 

Pauline's Dilled Potato Salad

Recipe of Pauline Pittman from her mother Edith Ambers who was a great cook and a great lady!

5 or 6 medium red potatoes
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 dill pickles, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup (approximately) Nalley Light salad dressing or your favorite mayonnaise
Generous sprinkling of dried dill
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until cook but not felling apart.  Peel and chop boiled potatoes while still warm.  Add all of the chopped ingredients along with the dressing, dill and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Chill before eating! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

Listen, I'm trying to get y'all on the quinoa bandwagon, okay!  That's why I've been bombarding you with quinoa recipes left and right.  This sweet potato and carrot version is absolutely perfect for fall, in fact it kind of tastes like fall in a bowl.  It also just might be my favorite quinoa salad yet (though this one with the chipotle vinaigrette is probably still the winner).  I was inspired by a roasted carrot salad with cumin vinaigrette and pepitas that I had at Union 613, a new-ish restaurant in Ottawa.  I initially wasn't sure if I would like that particular salad, as I'm not a huge fan of cumin, but it totally worked and for about a week or two, I was obsessing over when I'd be able to make my own version.  For my version, I added some sweet potato, crumbled goat cheese, and of course the quinoa in order to make it into a hearty, main dish salad.  I had the salad for both dinner (slightly warm) and lunch (cold) and it was great both ways!

Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

Takes 35 minutes

1 sweet potato
4 small-ish carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 cup pepitas
goat cheese

Cumin Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper

Whisk together the dressing and set it aside while you cook the quinoa and roast the veggies.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Dice the sweet potato and slice carrots; drizzle with olive oil.  Roast sweet potatoes and carrots on a baking sheet (I put parchment paper down) at 425°F for 25 to 30 minutes.

Add one cup of water and the quinoa to a small pot. Bring the water to a boil. Once the water has started to boil, turn the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

Mix together roasted vegetables, quinoa, and pepitas.  Pour the dressing over the mixture and stir well.  Add the goat cheese at the last minute before serving so it stays in chunks (and doesn't melt!). 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Peach Galette

Peach Galette Recipe

Well, my mom, Kim, promised me a summer round-up post when I was with her and dad this weekend visiting their new home in Alexandria, VA.  But... here I am with this peach galette instead. Don't be too disappointed, we'll get her round-up post (and a classic potato salad recipe) soon and in the meantime you get this ah-mazing late summer peach recipe.  I highly recommend that you snap up any peaches that you can find and make this before it is too late!  I'm telling you, this is an amazing peach galette / tart / crostata... whatever you want to call it.  If you can't find peaches, substitute apples, but please oh please make this crust!  It is perfectly sweet and crumbly, and works so well with the juicy peaches.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!  Ours was seriously fun, poking around my parent's new town and cowboying it up at the Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan concert on Saturday night. (PS if this Luke Bryan song doesn't get you dancing, I don't know what will!)  But, all this fun means that I don't have a ton of new recipes to share.  I'm going to try to be good and cook this week, but I have another weekend away starting on Thursday (celebrating a friend's wedding in New York and visiting with my girls)!

Peach Galette Recipe

Peach Galette

Crust (last seen here)
1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs (reserve)

3-4 peaches, sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
Juice from a quarter of a lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Roughly 2 tablespoons butter, broken into pieces

For the crust: Combine both flours, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a processor; blend for 5 seconds. Add butter; pulse until butter is reduced to pea-size pieces. Whisk egg and milk in a small bowl to blend; add to processor and pulse until moist clumps form. Gather dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap; chill at least 1-2 hours. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. (I made mine, then didn't use it for a few days and it was awesome!)

Cut the peaches into thin slices, and mix with lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Roll out the dough into a circle, about a 1/4 inch thick, on parchment paper.  Spread graham cracker crumbs over the center of the dough, leaving about 3 inches all the way around uncovered.

Arrange the peach slices into a circle, slightly overlapped.  Fill in the middle with peaches.  Dot with chunks of butter.  Transfer the galette, still on the parchment paper, to a baking sheet.  Brush the edges of the dough with a little bit of milk (or egg whites).  Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool before serving (with vanilla ice cream, obviously).

Peach Crostata recipe

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Pumpkin Smoothies

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie recipe

Okay, guys, let's just say that it is fall!  Labor Day isn't really the start of fall, but it means back to school and the last long weekend of summer.  Now that it has passed, we can start looking forward to cooler temperatures, boots, sweaters, and pumpkin everything.  Today, on my way to work, I walked by Starbucks and saw the ads for their Pumpkin Spice Latté.  To celebrate the start of the season, I made you a smoothie... because let's face it, it is still way too hot here to drink lattés in the morning.  This smoothie tastes a little bit like pumpkin pie, but it is a lot better for you.  Pumpkin has lots of antioxidents, fiber, and potassium.  And the spices in this smoothie -- cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger -- bring lots of health benefits too.  You can enjoy the flavors of fall and feel good about it!

Lucky for you all, I have made this smoothie three times already this week, tweaking it a bit each time.  You see, I had a bunch of extra pumpkin leftover from some banana-pumpkin muffins that I made.  I wanted to use it to make this Skinny Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread from Kristina's blog Whipped, but my oven stopped working over the weekend!!  The benefit of my oven breaking is that I had to get creative with the rest of the pumpkin.  Not wanting it to go to waste, I've been making smoothies with it all week.  And the benefit of that is that I have perfected the recipe.  The recipe below is for "pumpkin pie," but you can also switch the skim milk for skim chocolate milk, and you'll have something sort of similar to Kristina's bread - a Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Smoothie if you will.  Both versions are delicious, but the chocolate is my favorite!  And as always, you can switch out the yogurt for soy yogurt, and the milk for almond or soy milk.

Pumpkin Pie / Chocolate Pumpkin Smoothie

1 banana
1/3 cup pureed pure pumpkin (not pie pumpkin!!)
1 tablespoon unsweetened apple sauce (skip for chocolate version)
2 tablespoons 2% plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk - use fat-free chocolate milk for a different version of this smoothie! (or skim milk and a scoop of chocolate protein powder)
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger - skip the ginger for the chocolate version
1/2 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1/4 cup ice

Blend everything together and enjoy!

Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lighter Brussels Sprouts "Fried" Rice

Lighter Brussels Sprouts Non-fried Rice Recipe

Sometimes, I go to the grocery store with nothing in mind for dinner and an empty, grumbling tummy.  Trust me when I say that is the worst combination for grocery shopping.  Healthy choices are far from my mind as I wander the aisles, looking at chips and candy... and my kryptonite, bread.  And then cravings start to hit for greasy foods or something really bad, like fried rice.  Well, that is what happened a little while back when I was at the store.  But, I decided that I would reign in my cravings by attempting to make a lighter version of my beloved fried rice recipe, which oddly enough I haven't actually shared here on the blog.  To lighten this up a little bit, I packed it with more veggies and skipped the step where you actually fry the rice.  I'd say it is even better than the version that I normally make!

Lighter Brussels Sprouts "Fried" Rice

1 whole egg
1 egg white
1 tablespoon skim milk
1 teaspoon light butter
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/2 package of firm tofu, drained and cubed (approx. 225 grams)
1-1/2 cups brussels sprouts, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1 cup fresh peas
1 clove garlic
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg's amino acid
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Sriracha for serving

Cook your rice according to the instructions.  (I cheated and used the microwave bag, because I wanted to make this a quicker version).

Heat butter in a medium-large skillet over medium-high heat.  Whisk together egg, egg white, and milk. Add the egg mixture to the pan and cook to scramble the eggs.  Remove the cooked eggs and set aside.

Scrape out the egg remnants from the skillet and add half a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the cubed tofu to the pan and cook until it is golden on all sides. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining half tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, allow it to warm up slightly before adding the brussels sprouts and carrots.  Sauté the vegetables for 3-5 minutes.  Add the peas and garlic, sauté for another minute.  Add in the cooked eggs, tofu, and rice, stirring well to combine everything.  Pour the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar over the mixture.  Stir well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

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