Monday, November 6, 2017

Almond Joy Yogurt



In honor of the Halloween candy that was, but isn't anymore... Or for those trying to wean themselves off of their Halloween candy dependence... Or for people still trying to figure out the yogurt craze.. This post is for you. 



It's pretty healthy, but it feels utterly indulgent. If I could always live my life that way, it'd be pretty much perfect. I've been eating this for breakfast almost every day. It's so so good. It feels like dessert, but with dark chocolate and healthy nuts, it's so nutritious. 

Also, simple as heck. 


(Does it look like a cloud of pure deliciousness to you? Because it is.) 

Here's what you do. 

1. Get some thick, full-fat Greek yogurt. Or make your own in the crock pot
2. Add dark chocolate chips, coconut (sweetened or unsweetened), and almonds (or another type of nut). If that's still too stoic for you, add a sprinkle of sugar or a bit of honey. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Paleo Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies



Some posts you drool while you type, remembering how good that food was. This is one of those posts.


If you know me, you know that I am not exactly devoted to a paleo diet. No, I made these because they sounded heavenly. Now I'm posting them because they tasted heavenly. 

Sure, sure, they're great for your paleo diet should you be on such a thing. And if you're trying to eat more natural proteins and less processed sugar, they're great for that too. But they're also great if you just want a really delicious cookie (or breakfast cookie because that's when I ate these babies). 

Paleo Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 12 cookies
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 10-12 minutes
Cost: $4.50
pecans: 2.50, dates: .75, coconut: .25, egg: .10, chocolate chips: .80, other stuff: .10


1 1/2 C partly crushed pecans (walnuts work too)
12-14 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 C shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened are both fine)
1 egg
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 C chocolate chips (if you're really going paleo, you'll need an appropriately paleo chip, but I just used Ghiradelli, and did not regret my choice)

Using a food processor, blend the pecans, coconut, baking soda, and salt until they are a fine, sandy texture. 

Add dates and blend fully. It might clump a bit. Don't stress. Just keep pulsing (and maybe scraping the processor) until it's blended nicely. 

Add the egg. Blend. 

Add the chocolate chips. Pulse a time or two. 

Scoop onto a baking sheet and press flat (they won't spread like cookies with butter do, so they need to be pressed down.) 

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 

Cool. And eat. 

(Note: These are good warm, but I stored these in the refrigerator and thought that cold they were the most divine things on earth--the sweet, nutty cookie with that cold crunch of chocolate chip. Oops. There I go drooling again.)



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Things to Make with Apples


In my stores, fresh apples are just arriving. If you're looking for some inspiration about how to use them, here you go.

(Also, do I seriously not have a decent picture of Apple Crisp. I seriously do not. This needs immediate remedying.)

1. Apple sauce. I make it in the crock pot most of the time and it's dumb easy.



2. Apple Crisp. Easier and sweeter than apple pie.

3. Crock Pot Apple Cider. So good. Makes your house smell like heaven swallowed cinnamon. 



4. Apple Cinnamon Rolls. Really lovely take on the classic rolls.



5. Classic (and amazing) Apple Pie. And if you're looking for something a little simpler or slightly healthier, there's this apple tart.



6. Bonus: Apple Cake (Yes, I just recently posted a photo re-do, but in case you need another reminder, make this because it will change your life.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Favorite Pumpkin Recipes




Because it's almost October, here are a few of my favorite pumpkin recipes from the blog.

1. Pumpkin Oat Breakfast Cookies. The BEST.



2. Not-for-breakfast Pumpkin Cookies. (Though if you eat them for breakfast, I won't tell; I'm not your mom.)



3. Pumpkin Refrigerator Oatmeal. And we're back to breakfast.



4. Pumpkin Alfredo. In case you don't just eat breakfast and dessert.



5. Pumpkin Spice Muffins.



6. Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling. Because...more muffins.



7. Self Frosting Nutella and Pumpkin Muffins. Because...even more muffins.



8. that classic...Pumpkin Pie.





Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Apple Cake--Photo Redo



This is the best apple cake in the world with the best butter sauce in the world. Because of that, it's hard to get a good picture since swarms of hungry savages descend upon it and eat it before you get the chance (or maybe it's just me, hiding in a closet and scooping it out with my hands). Either way, it goes quick, so my last picture just didn't do it justice.

You can eat it plain and it's fabulous.



Or with this pure evil butter sauce up on top. 



You can find the recipe (and original not-great picture) HERE.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Back-to-School Multi-Grain Cookies



(These are actually little mini-cookies.)

These cookies were discovered, as so many good things are, by accident. This weekend in preparation for the Sunday school lesson for the kids at my church, I was trying to make some "manna." Now I'm not claiming to know what manna was, but I'm just going to say that God certainly couldn't have gone too wrong if He'd made these cookies. Sweet with a touch of honey and a variety of grains. And I'll be darned if they don't vanish by the time the sun gets hot (Exod. 16:21 if you're not getting that super clever allusion there). 




Now since we don't have to hang out in the wilderness for 40 years, and since not everyone is on board with Moses and manna, I should tell you that these also make really excellent back-to-school cookies.

They're good to send in lunches; they're great for after school. They can even be eaten for breakfast in a pinch (though I should warn you that they pack a fairly sugary punch). They are not purely nutritious, but they're not without their virtues either.

Make them, eat them, love them. You'll become a believer.

Back-to-School Multi-Grain Cookies
adapted from Rae's Books and Recipes
Make about 24
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
Cost: $1.70 ($.07/per cookie)
butter: .60, honey: .40, sugar: .10, eggs: .20, oat flour: .05, whole wheat flour: .10, flax: .15, white flour: .10

1/2 C (1 stick) butter, somewhat soft
1/2 tsp vanilla (and almond extract would kill it in these too)
1/4 C honey
3/4 C sugar
2 eggs (or 3 egg yolks)
3/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C oat flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/4 C whatever fun flour or nut flour you'd like to add. I used ground flax seed
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Beat honey and sugar into butter. Add eggs. Add flours and baking powder. Mix until combined.

Roll into 1-inch balls. Bake on cookie sheet at 375 for 7-10 minutes. (Note: I made mine miniature and therefore am sort of guessing on time for the bigger cookies.

Let cool. Eat.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


Monday, August 14, 2017

After School Snacks






Okay, folks, time for some honesty. I rarely do after school snacks. When my kids get home from school, I'm either staring at my computer screen, taking a nap, or racing them home after some errands. I know, I have a really interesting life. But even though I stink at this, I occasionally turn out something pretty awesome. And I'm always happy when I do. So I'm writing this post to inspire all of us if inspiring is what we need. Many of these are simple. Many of them are even healthy. And I really should get better because my kids are always STARVING when they get home and usually end up scavenging through cupboards until they find some year-old marshmallows or some equally unhealthy and generally horrible option to munch on.

We'll go from healthiest to least healthy.



1. Sweet Potato Chips. My biggest problem with these is that I end up eating most of them off the pan and then no one else gets any. Also, know that slicing them is the hardest part--you gotta get em thin. But when you do, they're sooo delicious.



2. Kettle corn. Easy, quick, good. If you have brave eaters who are popcorn lovers, you could try this even healthier option for homemade popcorn--Curried Popcorn.



3. Homemade Larabars. These can be really filling, so don't serve them right before dinner. Also, they're quite sweet, so just know that.



4. Whole Wheat Banana Bread (or muffins). At this time of year, we always have tons of spotty bananas hanging around. Not into bananas? Try this awesome chocolate zucchini bread.

5. Sour Patch Grapes (pictured at top). Regular grapes are healthier, sure. But these are sooo fun. Also, they're a great way to use up sour or otherwise lousy grapes.

And if you're looking for that classic cookie recipe, here it is:



6. Katie's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Or--for a healthier version of that old classic, try these whole grain, lower sugar chocolate chip cookies

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Natural Gatorade




I guess I better confess and say that I can't exactly call this natural Gatorade because what is Gatorade exactly? It's like watered-down Koolaid with electrolytes mixed in, right? And this isn't really an natural version of that sugared, electrolyted drink. What it IS is water that's been pimped up with some natural electrolytes. 

That's right. I just told you that today's recipe is water. Maybe I should feel embarrassed about the state of my lameness, but the truth is that this drink is really very lovely and kind of addicting. I find that I now crave it when I've been out in the heat or had a really hard workout or both (nothing better after hot yoga). You get the hydration and the electrolytes without drinking a lot of sugars and/or sweeteners and food dyes. 

And I do feel that it has more oomph and helps me recover more quickly than plain water. Sometimes after a hot or hard workout, I get headaches and this seems to help with that. I'm not going to call it a miracle tonic, but maybe it kind of is. 

And is it dumb easy? Yes

And is it super cheap? Yes. ($.25 at its highest price compared to the $.99 of Gatorade)

And is it tasty? Surprisingly. 

Half the time when I take a swig of Gatorade, I want to spit it out. It just tastes so fake and almost thick to me. This natural Gatorade is just so refreshing. Note: If you drink Gatorade because you like sweet, red/blue/purple/orange drinks, then you won't get that sweetness from this drink and you might find that disappointing. This isn't sweet. It's a barely flavored water, but what it lacks in sweetness, it makes up for in refreshingness (totally a word). 

Now I'm going to warn you: In this drink I'll instruct you to add salt to your water. And you'll go, "Ew, gross. Who puts salt in your water?" Um, you do if you drink any type of Powerade or Gatorade or probably any other number of processed drinks (Gatorade checks in with a whopping 11% of your daily sodium intake--270 mg). But that's not the point. The point is that we're going to add salt, but this still won't taste salty. It's just a pinch. Even alone in the water, you probably wouldn't notice it, but with that lemon, it's actually a really nice complement. Just be sure to mix it in (or you'll get a somewhat nasty last swig of water). Also, you MUST use a natural salt. First of all, it supposedly has more benefits (the naturalists will tell you that iodized salt is really just a processed food), but perhaps even more importantly--it tastes better. There's not that little hint of iodine that you can sometimes taste in regular table salt.



Natural Gatorade
Cost: $.28
lemon: .25 (I can usually get my lemons for cheaper, especially from somewhere like an Asian market), salt: .03

2 C water
1 pinch (or 1-2 grinds) natural sea salt (I used pink Himalayan because I had a tiny sample from a market, but any natural sea salt will work)
juice from 1/2 lemon or lime

Mix it all together. Be sure to get the salt dissolved and mixed in (just stir it a few times) or you will taste a big swig of saltiness at the bottom. 

Drink it. That's right. It's not the rocket science of recipes, but try it. I'd love to hear what you think of it after a workout. If it works for you, leave a comment below. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

High Energy Snacks for Your Pregnant/Nursing/Ironman Friends




Now there's a title that will get all of zero searches...

But seriously, recently a friend of mine just had a baby. We took her these Magic Sevens because they are her favorite. I'm not sure if it was a good thing to do to a new mom or an evil thing to do to a new mom. But it did get me thinking of all the virtuously hearty snacks I could have brought her, but didn't, because I'm one of those evil-good friends.

And then our other friend completed his first Ironman. I didn't bring him any food, but I did ask how his sunburn was. Which I think we can all agree is insufficient consolation for not bringing high energy snacks to his house. #badfriend

Since I am clearly a bad person, I thought I'd try to make it up to everyone by posting some really great snacks for people who need healthy foods in those healthy bods that are burning calories like crazy. (Note: Posting recipes does not make up for not bringing food to people. This only confirms my bad person status. I apologize.)

1. Little Balls of Nutty Energy. I think the title says enough. 


2. Granola Balls. A similar theme to the nutty balls (wait, that doesn't sound how I meant it to sound...), but less nutty, more oaty.


3. Cheapskate Larabars. I love these with my soul.


4. Oat Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies. Some of the best breakfast cookies on my blog.


5. Honey Lemon Tumeric Energy Bites. If you want to be trendy and natural and awesome.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Brownie Mousse Cheesecake


I should be posting red, white, and blue things right now. Instead I'm posting chocolate and cheesecake, and more chocolate. I still think it's pretty American.


My friend made a recipe similar to this for a party she threw a few months ago and it was so amazingly delicious that I knew I wanted to make it too. But when? My family is a little picky about cheesecake. So I worried that I would make this lovely, delicious thing, and have to eat it all by myself. There are worse fates in the world. But, well, I did turn 40 this year. And eating entire cheesecakes on my own didn't seem like the responsible thing to do. So I waited.

And then my niece visited. We had a birthday party for her. And she wanted cheesecake. Done and done. (P.S. EVERYONE--even devout cheesecake haters liked this recipe)

Now, I'm not gonna lie, this is fussier than a normal batch of cookies or wacky cake or whatever. BUT it is less fussy than something with three layers might normally be. The brownie is easy to throw together. The cheesecake is easy to throw together. The mousse is easy to throw together (and it doesn't have to be cooked).

That said, even though there is not too much hands on work, there is a very long, low cook time for the cheesecake, and several cooling periods. This needs to be made a day ahead when you have time to let things cool off. It just can't be rushed.

Now for a confession: I accidentally bought TWO fat free cream cheeses without realizing it. I pretty much consider fat free cream cheese Satan's cheese. But I unknowingly made my cheesecake anyway, and the texture was a little different than it should have been (which led us to discover my mistake). BUT it was STILL amazing. Even with the devil's cheese at its center. I'm sure there's a moral here somewhere, but I can't quite find it. Anyway, the point is that this is so good that even less than perfect ingredients will not destroy it (though, really, people, when making a brownie mousse cheesecake, please, just do the world a favor and use full fat cream cheese).

Brownie Mousse Cheesecake
makes 1 10-inch cake
Prep time: 30-40 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours (yup, you heard me)
Cost: Let's not talk about it on birthdays. Seriously, though--the total is about $8.50 or the cost of ONE slice of cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory, so it could be worse, right (unless you eat the whole thing yourself like an irresponsible adult, in which case, I cannot help you, friend)
Brownie layer: $1.50, cheesecake layer: $4.00, mousse layer $3.00 (Aldi prices)

Brownie: 

1/2 C butter (1 stick, partially melted)
1/2 C cocoa
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 C flour
3/4-1 C dark chocolate chips

Combine butter and cocoa. Add sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour just until combined. Add chocolate chips.

Spread batter in a greased  9 or 10-inch springform pan.

Bake for only 10 minutes. It's going to look raw-ish. It's going to be raw-ish. That's because you're going to bake it more when you add the cheesecake layer, so don't fret.

Allow to cool (or mostly cool) before adding the cheesecake layer.

Cheesecake: 

3 packages cream cheese (24 oz total)
3/4 tsp lemon zest
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp whipping cream

Beat cream cheese. Add zest. Then eggs. Add vanilla and whipping cream.

Pour this mixture on top of your partially baked brownie.

Now you are going to do something slightly odd. You're going to bake it at a very low temperature for a very long time. This is going to keep your brownie from burning or overcooking while allowing your cheesecake to cook into velvety perfection.

Bake at 250 for about 2 hours or until the temperature at the center reaches 160. It'll still jiggle. [Note: Since I did make this with the wrong kind of cream cheese, you might want to check this before 2 hours to make sure that the weird fatless cheese didn't mess with it's cooking time somehow. I doubt it did but one can never be sure with the devil's cheese.]

Take it out and allow it to cool. This will take a few hours, so plan for that, my friends.

Mousse: 

2 Tbsp cocoa
5 Tbsp hot water
7 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli)
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Combine cocoa powder and hot water; set aside.

Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Set that aside too.

Whip the cream, sugar, and salt. Instructions for whipping cream here if you need them.

Whisk the cocoa water into the melted chocolate. Be sure both have cooled somewhat (they can be warm, but not hot). Then fold part of the whipped cream into the mixture. Fold more in, and more again until it's a lovely chocolatey yum. This is mousse.

Spread it on the cooled cheesecake.

But you're still not done. It needs to set for about an hour. Otherwise it won't be as firm as it should be.

You can top this with a ganache or whipped cream and chocolate shavings (which is what we chose) or nothing at all).

All that waiting has been worth it. Enjoy!

PRINTABLE RECIPE

Monday, June 19, 2017

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls



If you want cinnamon rolls for breakfast, you have a few options: 1) Wake up at the crack of dawn, 2) Eat breakfast at 10 in the morning after all your children have completely melted down and have been condemned to spend the rest of eternity in time out, or 3) figure out how to do the bulk of the work the night before.

Option 3 is clearly preferable, but it's also tricky. What if your rolls rise to the sun in your refrigerator and you open it to find yeasty bread bursting out of ever seam and crevice? Or what if they don't rise at all and you wind up serving tiny rocks of sweet calorie bombs to your loved ones (I won't say it's never happened before...)? What if what if what if?

On Father's Day I had the chance to experiment.

And the truth is that I don't know if there's exactly a one-size-fix-all solution. Yeasts act differently depending on how old or fresh they are, and also how the yeasting gods are feeling today. Every batch of dough has a slightly different amount of flour. Even changes in weather and humidity are going to affect your bread. So should you just give up? Um, no. We're talking about morning of cinnamon rolls here.

Below you'll find a how-to with a little bit of trouble shooting advice. May it make your mornings glorious.

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls Overnight:

1. Make your dough.
2. Roll out your rolls and add all the yummy stuff
3. Cut them and put them in a greased baking vessel
4. Cover that baking vessel with plastic wrap and possibly a lid and put it in your refrigerator.
5. Remove it the next morning and let it warm up a bit as your oven heats.
6. Cook your cinnamon rolls.
7. Enjoy bliss.

Trouble Shooting:

Scenario A: Your rolls don't rise at all. This happened to me. In this case, you'll need a few extra minutes, but only about fifteen.

Put the sad, un-risen rolls in an oven heated to a very low temperature--about 175 or 200 degrees. Leave it there for 3-5 minutes. Turn OFF the heat. Then leave it for another 10 minutes.

Take the rolls out, cover with a towel, preheat the oven, and cook. By the time the oven is heated, those rolls will have risen and you'll be good to go.

Total time: 15 minutes to get jump started, 10-15 minutes for your oven to heat, 15 minutes to cook (45, which is a lot, but way less than the 2 1/2 hours you're looking at if this is a from-scratch thing)

Scenario B: Your rolls rise to the heavens, leaving us mere earthlings behind to mourn their air-bubbled loss.

The most important way to stop this is just to get that dough cold ASAP. Put it into the refrigerator immediately. If your house is particularly warm and/or your yeast is particularly sassy (in other words, did your dough rise like a boss on its first rise?), put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes and then put it in the refrigerator (don't forget or your dough will freeze and when that happens, no amount of trouble shooting will save you).

And of course, if you want a fantastic recipe, HERE you go.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Vegan Coconut Lime Rice Pudding



I'm not a vegan and I won't even post a vegan recipe just for its veganiness That said, I often post a delicious recipe that also happens to be vegan. Truth be told, I didn't even realize this recipe was vegan at first. I was just experimenting with a coconut lime rice, and there it was. (I should also note that it is also completely gluten-free, so I'm pretty sure I'm not assured a spot in heaven.)


This recipe is also really really easy. In fact, you can make the base rice for this recipe to eat with any Thai or Asian meal, and then re-purpose it for dessert (should you choose; or you can just start with dessert; no one's judging here).



And while we're talking about re-purposing, you can absolutely eat this for breakfast. Make it with brown or black rice and you don't even have to feel the tiniest little bit guilty eating it for breakfast. Guys--it will be vegan, gluten-free, and whole grain. Not to mention that powerhouse in trendy nutrition: coconut milk. I'm just saying that you're probably a bad person if you don't do it. But, you know, no judgment.

Also, since this is rice based, it is so absurdly cheap for a dessert, well, I just can't help but love it. It comes in at about $.25/serving.

And did I mention that the hands-on preparation for this is less than five minutes...


Vegan Coconut Lime Rice Pudding
serves 8
coconut rice from Ahead of Thyme
Prep and cook time: 25 minutes
Cost: $2.10 (that's about $.25/serving)
rice: .25, coconut milk: 1.50, lime: .25, sugar: .10

2 C jasmine rice (any other type of rice works as well, but jasmine is my favorite)
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 C water
1 lime
1/2 C sugar (regular will do, but if you're a real vegan, raw or natural sugars work too)
raisins (optional and I know they sound weird, but I liked them)

To prepare rice, put rice, coconut milk, and water into a saucepan. Stir it a bit to get rid of any large lumps in the coconut milk (alternately, if you have some foresight about lumps as opposed to myself, you can put the coconut milk and water in the pot and stir first, then add it to the rice). COVER with a lid and set to medium heat. Bring to boiling, reduce to LOW heat. Let cook until rice has absorbed all of the liquids, about 20 minutes. (If you don't cook this on low heat, you risk having the coconut milk burn/brown on the bottom of the pot.)

Remove from heat and let cool (you can leave a bit warm depending on whether you like your rice pudding warm or cold).

Add the juice from the lime. Add the sugar. Add a bit of lime zest if desired. Note: The truth is that the measurements for the lime and the sugar are COMPLETELY arbitrary (you heard me). You can make this as sweet or as tart as you like. I made it with several different levels of lime and sugar and found I pretty much liked it all ways. So start with a little of each, keep tasting and add more if you want.

Mix sugar and lime together with the rice.

Enjoy.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

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