Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat? & Happy Halloween......

Hello! So glad to be back up and blogging again. It was a long week without my camera, but they were able to fix it and I am back in business! Can't believe today is the end of October. It will be Thanksgiving before we know it. I love this time of year. I love the cool crisp air of fall and all of the wonderful produce that is available.

Of course apples this time of year are plentiful and so flavorful! I have been dreaming about this recipe all week and finally had the chance to make it yesterday. These are made like the Strawberry Oatmeal bars, but are made with apple streusel instead. Such a nice cozy fall treat! It smelled so good while it was baking.

There are three steps to this recipe 1. the oatmeal crust - you will reserve half of this mixture for the top. 2. The Buttery apple filling and 3. Apple Streusel topping. You will combine this with the 1/2 of the oatmeal mixture for the top of this.

Here is what you need:

For the Oatmeal Mixture:
1 1/2 cups of oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 organic egg
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Earth balance (butter) melted
1/4 cup Grade B Maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp almond milk ( or regular milk if you prefer)

What you need for the Apple filling:
3 granny smith apples, thinly sliced and chopped - will make about 3 cups
2 tbsp earth balance or butter
1 tbsp grade B maple syrup
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt

For the Apple Streusel Topping:
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp earth balance or butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a baking dish with parchment paper. You can bring the paper up the sides or use oil to grease the sides. Thinly chop your apples and add to a pan with the other ingredients for the apple filling (butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and pinch of salt). Cook on low heat for about 10-14 minutes being sure to stir often. This mixture will thicken up.

Next in a medium sized bowl add your oat mixture. (oats, flour, baking soda, sea salt, brown sugar, egg, butter, maple syrup, vanilla, almond milk -or milk). Mix well, you can use your hands here too if you prefer. Reserve half of this mixture for the top and use the rest for the base. Use 1/2 of this to line the bottom of your baking dish (it should be lined with parchment paper). Flatten it out - you can use a pastry roll if you like or just use your hands. Next using a small bowl make your apple streusel topping with the brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon, mixing well with your fingers. Pour your apple filling mixture on top of the oat mixture and on top of that you will sprinkle out the remained of the oat mixture and the apple streusel topping mixture. Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool completely before removing from pan. You can place these in the fridge for a bit before slicing to allow them to set up better. Cut into bars and wrap. You can freeze these if you want to help with portion control! This recipe is a total treat!

Hope everyone has a safe Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mini Road Trip & Camera Malfunction!

Hi Everyone! How are things? I hope that everyone is having a good week so far. I went away this weekend for a mini road trip with my Mom and Sister. We went up through Northern California. It was wonderful! Always fun to have some girl time! There were strawberry margaritas involved, dinner at Chipotle's, and of course a trip to Pinkberry's. It was bliss! I do forget how beautiful some parts of California are.

So before leaving for my girls weekend on Friday my digital camera died(It just stopped working wouldn't even turn on -it is not even one year old yet). I have sent it in for repairs, but basically I have not been able to post any of my recipes without my right hand man...aka my camera! I apologize for this. I do hope you will be back next week. I hope to have my camera back and will be back to my regular postings. I am hoping they can repair the camera, if not I will be buying a new one. It is a nice Canon, so surprised to have trouble with it. What kind of camera do you use/like/recommend? Would love some feedback in case I end up camera shopping. Thanks! I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm Not Even Playin' Mexican Casserole (AKA Mexican Lasagna)....Seriously Good!!

Hello and TGIAT! How is everyone doing? I hope all is good! Yeah, it is almost Friday. I will tell you this recipe turned out good, wait..not just good, but great. I am participating in my self mandated "operation no can left behind" (my goal to use up the canned goods in my pantry). This caused me to pull out certain items from my pantry led by my desire for Mexican! It only seemed like the right thing to do. I mean my hands were tied, I was practically forced into making this. I mean if only to save the cans - I had no choice basically...haha! Really, please make this if you love Mexican food and if you love one dish wonders - this is for you!

Please don't feel guilty about this recipe! No guilt here, only a little bit of cheese in this recipe and a total of three low carb whole wheat tortillas.

Here is what you need:
1lb ground beef - go as lean as you like here.I prefer organic
9X13 casserole pan
12 oz red enchilada sauce
1 16oz. can of refried black beans
1 12.oz jar of Salsa Verde* Be sure to divide this as you will use 1/2 at a time at different points
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp.paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup rice (I prefer brown or regular jasmine rice cooked in chicken broth.)
2 cups of chicken broth for 1 cup of rice
1 packet of Goya Cilantro seasoning packet
3 large whole wheat tortillas * I use Low Carb and they work great
sour cream to top of you desire

Start by making your rice. All I ask is that you use chicken broth to cook your rice in and not water. You can use brown rice, jasmine, basmati, or brown jasmine rice (this is what I used). I also add one packet of the Cilantro Goya seasoning to the boiling water before adding the rice. Great rich flavor without any effort!

Next, chop one onion finely and finely chop 2 cloves of garlic. Start to cook your meat now. You will want to add your seasoning to your ground beef. You will need 1tsp Cumin 1tsp chili powder 1/2 tsp paprika & 1/2 tsp of garlic powder. After about 5minutes add the diced onion and garlic and allow it to cook in with the meat.

Preheat your oven to 350. Once your meat is done cooking you will add your refried black beans right in with the meat and stir well. This will make a wonderful filling! If you cannot find refried black beans, regular refried beans would work well here too.

Start by spreading half of the jar of your Salsa Verde on the bottom of your casserole dish.

Next add a layer of rice on top of the salsa verde layer. Use all of it! You will have 1 cup of rice.
Now you will add the layer of beef and beans on top of the rice. Spread it evenly using all of it.

OK, Now you will want to use the rest of your salsa verde to use on top of the beef/bean mixture - spread it evenly on top.

Now layer your tortillas on top.

Now add your small can of enchilada sauce on top of the tortilla shells- don't worry if it seems too saucy the liquid will settle into the casserole and seal in the flavor!

Finally, just take around two large handfuls of cheese and evenly apply to the top - coating evenly.

Here it is out of the oven! Make sure to let it sit for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Homemade Strawberry Oatmeal Bars!

Hello! How is your Tuesday so far? Mine has been good. It has been storming here since 2:00am this morning. We had severe thunderstorms and rain and now it is just lightly raining! We don't get too much rain here in S. California so I have really enjoyed this change of pace.

It seemed like a cozy day to bake so that is what I did. I based my recipe on this recipe. I am not vegan so I went ahead and made this recipe with an egg. I did make a few other minor changes to the original recipe. This is pretty healthy and has hardly any sugar in it at all. The kids loved these and I have plenty left over. I cut these into individual bars and individually wrapped these. You could freeze these too! I even caught the husband grabbing an extra piece on his way out the door today.

So here is what you will need For the Oatmeal base/crumbling for the top:
1.5 cups oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 organic egg
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp earth balance - melted
2 tbsp almond milk - I prefer the unsweetened vanilla, but any kind will do even regular milk
1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup

For Strawberry Layer:
A heaping 2 cups of chopped strawberries. chopped into 1/2 inch pieces - or 1 cup of store bought jam
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
5 packets of Stevia in the raw -- OR 3 -4 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Line a square pan with parchment paper. I let the parchment paper come up all the way on the sides. In a saucepan or medium sized pan throw in your chopped strawberries with a sprinkling of the 1/2 tsp of cornstarch and the stevia.

Be sure you add the cornstarch before turning on the heat - this keeps it from clumping up. Cook on low heat stirring every so often allowing the strawberries to sweat and soften. This might take a good 20 minutes or so. Once cooked you can mash it up and allow to cool. Set aside.

Now in a medium size bowl add your oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir well. In a small bowl add your melted butter, 1 egg, maple syrup and almond milk and stir well. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix well.

Use half of this mixture to line the pan, pressing it flat like you would a crust.

Next pour the strawberry filling on top.

Then you will use the remainder of the oat mixture to crumble on the top.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Remove and let cool for 25-30 minutes before cutting or removing from the pan. Once cooled you can slice and wrap up and store in fridge.

You could also swipe the strawberry filling for pumpkin or apple butter :-) Oh the possibilities are endlessss I tell you....endless!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Operation No Can Left Behind!

Hello! How was your Monday? I hope good! So I have decided to launch "No can left behind". It is my attempt to clean out the pantry & freezer. So this was a quick assault on a few items that have been lingering. I pulled these chicken sausages out of the freezer and used the remainder of a bag of orzo! Sprinkled with a quick toss of Parmesan cheese at the end and Voila' dinner is served. This is such a comforting and warm one pot wonder! I did use a touch of chicken base (be careful to not use too much because this is high is sodium) to the water when boiling the orzo for a little extra flavor. I also added a touch of salt to the dish before serving because it needed it. Be sure to slice the chicken and cook in a pan for about 10 minutes on low - medium heat. Add the cooked orzo to the cooked chicken sausages and mix and top with the parm, salt and light pepper!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

One Stuffed Baby!

Hello and Happy Sunday my fellow bloggies! I hope everyone has had a nice weekend. Ever have a touch of the Sunday night blues? Ya, it happens to me too. Sadly the weekend can go too fast sometimes!

Well, I did have an exceptionally delicious dinner tonight. We fired up the grill and had BBQ chicken, roasted fresh organic green beans, baked potato...and these wonderful tasting sweet baby stuffed peppers. Oh these are so succulent and flavorful. You just cup the tops off and stuff them with cheese. Not just any cheese, but laughing cow cheese (I loooovve the Swiss light original flavor) You cannot go wrong with this recipe. I found these mini peppers at Costco, but I have seen these a few other places also. Such a great side! Hope you will try this.

Have a good night!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Because Sometimes Life Demands Cake!

My Grandparents celebrated their 64th wedding Anniversary yesterday. When I woke up this morning and saw the Bohemian wedding cake that Jenna made I tasked myself with the mission to make this cake for my Grandparents. I love an excuse to bake a cake! Sure, it is a day late, but I knew my Grandparents would love it all the same. I enlisted the help of my Sister who has the Midas touch when it comes to baking and we went to town. Let me tell you people this cake is so unbelievably good. The smells...oh Lord the smells! We also made butter cream frosting from scratch. All I am saying is if life demands a cake, consider this one....incredible recipe found here.

Good night!

BBQ Chicken Pizza!

Hello and Happy Hump day! So I have had California Pizza Kitchen's BBQ chicken pizza on my mind for a few weeks now. I knew that this craving couldn't be tamed until I had some and since the closest CPK is about 60 miles away I knew I had to make my own and that is just what I did. So you will want to make this immediately...I mean read this blog post and go make it right now! I was so surprised at how good this turned out! You will want to start with pizza crust. You can buy this (Boboli makes a great whole wheat pizza crust, Trader Joe also makes pre-made whole wheat dough) you can make this using this recipe right here

What you need:
Pizza crust
BBQ sauce - I love Sweet Baby Rays
Frank's Hot Sauce
One half of a small red onion
Chicken (about 1-2 chicken breast baked in a BBQ sauce and Franks hot sauce and garlic powder marinade)
Cheese - I like Colby & Monterey Jack for this recipe

Now you will want to bake some chicken breasts/tenders. Make sure this is thin and trim meat. You wont need too much. I just used the left over chicken for BBQ chicken sandwiches for the kiddos. So you will want to marinate the chicken with some BBQ sauce and Franks Hot Sauce and garlic powder. Let it marinate for about 1 hour and go ahead and bake it. You will want to place 2 - 3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce on the pizza crust (I only used 2) and thinly chop some red onion. Layer the thinly chopped red onion on top of the BBQ sauce that is on your pizza dough. Now you will chop up your cooked chicken into small bits and sprinkle that on top of your pizza crust. Lastly you will want a little cheese. I used Colby & Monterey Jack cheese and not a lot, but live a little bit here too :-) I have found a little bit really does go a long way. Now you just need to pop it into the over at around 450 for 8-10 minutes. Make sure the crust is baked and crispy and your cheese is all melted. Mine was ready at about 9minutes. ENJOY!!!!