Sunday, October 30, 2011

Double chocolate chip brownies

Double chocolate chip toasted coconut pecan brownies.
Semi homemade brownies at there finest!
(It's a very grey day here so the lighting is not the best)
I used a box of double chocolate chip brownie mix.
Topped with a delicious frosting! I toasted some un sweetened coconut under the broiler for 2 min., tossed and toasted for another 2 min. Then I toasted some crushed up pecans and mixed both in with some vanilla frosting and spread it on top of the brownies, yum.
The frosting is amazing! Semi homemade is the way to go sometimes. You get all the ease and convenience from the box, but then you can switch up the recipe to make it your own unique creation.

These will be sent off to a friend to enjoy, and boy are they delicious!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Baked nachos

There's nothing as yummy and comforting as nachos. These nachos are healthy and delicious and super easy to throw together on a Friday night enjoyed with a movie, or served at a party for your friends to enjoy.

Start with a base of refried beans of choice, I used vegetarian refried black beans. Topped with a layer of lime flavored Food should taste good chips, more refried beans, black beans, salsa, grated carrot, Greek yogurt mixed with taco seasoning, more chips, reduced fat cheddar cheese, and diced tomato.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min.
Serve topped with a little more salsa, some more Greek yogurt, and a squeeze of lime.

I promise that these baked nachos will go quickly if served at a party and will be a crowd pleaser for sure!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Devil dog cake

Pumpkins have always been my favorite. From decorative pumpkins, to actual pumpkins, and pumpkin flavored foods.

This little pumpkin was the inspiration behind the "best ever chocolate cake".
I just learned recently about a snack cake called a devil dog. What is a devil dog you ask? Well it's a chocolate snack cake with a whip cream frosting inside. And of course it's shaped like a hot dog.

When I ran across a recipe for a devil dog cake on the pioneer woman's website I knew it was a sign I must make this. For the man who's favorite #1 treat is a devil dog.

I decided that a hot dog shaped cake WAS NOT an option. I needed something much cuter then that. So after baking the sheet cake I cut it in half. Frosted one half, topped it with the other half, and then free hand cut out a shape of a pumpkin. Once it was cut out I ditched the scrapes for snacking later and wallah. I had a pumpkin shaped devil dog cake. Please don't judge my pumpkin shape. I swear it's better in person, and I guess it has some character, right?
I got so excited about the end product and getting it ready for shipping that I forgot a final picture. I shipped this cake that I was so proud of across the country to New York city. For it to be enjoyed by someone special! And enjoyed it was!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall soup

I love cool crisp fall days with a hint of drizzly rain, its perfect for soup.
And when it's made in the crockpot it makes everything that much better.
Broccoli potato soup
3 cups organic non fat milk
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 package Applegate farms turkey hot dogs (sliced into pieces)
1 package shredded hash brown potatoes
1 package frozen broccoli
1 small diced baby onion
1 diced red bell pepper
seasonings: 1 tsp. each of basil, oregano, garlic powder, chili flakes, sea salt, and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours. Add one cup of reduced fat cheddar cheese to the crockpot and simmer for one more hour.

This soup get's even better the next day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Marrionberry cobbler

When it's the end of summer and you have an abundance of blackberries sitting in your fridge, what else should you make but cobbler.
I haven't had cobbler in such a long time, years. I tend to be more inclined to make a crisp over a cobbler. I mean a crisp has a crunchy oat topping, yum and is so easy to make. And a cobbler is much more complicated.

That was until I made this cobbler. It was so easy and very delicious, as well as not too sweet.
I made this mixed fruit cobbler recipe from cooking light. I used spelt flour for the filling and the topping instead of the whole wheat and white flour. I also cut the sugar in the filling down from 1 and 1/4 cups sugar to just 1/4 cup of sugar. Even with a 1/4 cup of sugar it was slightly too sweet. Thank goodness I didn't use 1 and 1/4 cups sugar, oh my! I also used all marionberries for the fruit filling.
This cobbler was amazing and perfect for summer, and so easy to make. Move over crisp you have some competition from the cobbler.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Shredded chicken

Happy Labor day weekend
If you are looking for something to make for this Labor day weekend then this is the meal to make. It's quick, easy, and can feed a bunch of people without requiring a lot of time in the kitchen.

Shredded BBQ chicken
2 chicken breasts
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1 sliced onion
spices: 1 tsp. each cumin, smoked paprika, basil, oregano, garlic powder, chili flakes
dash salt and pepper

Combine everything in a crockpot and cook on high for 3 hours.
Once done shred chicken and serve
You can't have BBQ chicken without a nice crunchy slaw. This one is perfect with a seasonal summer twist with the addition of nectarines.

Summer nectarine slaw
1 bag shredded cabbage cole slaw mix
1 sliced red bell pepper
2 diced nectarines

1.5 tsp. garlic gold oil
1.5 tsp. sesame oil
1 TB. rice vinegar
1 TB. soy sauce
1 TB. raw honey
juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Mix dressing, cabbage, red pepper, and nectarines together. Let marinate for 1 hour or longer. If you would like a crunchy cole slaw I would suggest marinating for an hour. If you would like a soft more traditional cole slaw marinate for 2-3 hours.
Toss and serve.
Served with a side of creamy millet grits. This was an amazing summer dinner. The best part, it was so simple to create and would be perfect for a picnic or BBQ.
So many yummy things you can create with a bowl of shredded BBQ chicken.
Hmm what shall I create.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Life changing thoughts

Journey part 3
Life is a constant journey. Filled with changes, tough times, growth, and learning opportunities. I have definitely had my fair share of them this past year. Lately I have been working more on my inner health as well as my outer health. Focusing on how my thoughts translate into actions in my life, both positive and negative. I've always believed that in order to be truly happy you have to have all parts of yourself focused on improving and developing.

I've always believed that the attitude you have affects those around you as well as your own life. Positive people usually surround themselves with other positive people. People that look at the world and see all the amazing things in it and work to achieve those things. Those with a negative outlook usually are stuck in that outlook and surround themselves with people who feed into that perspective. Often feeling that the world has been unfair to them.

I also believe that the thoughts and actions you project into the world are reflected back into your life. Recently I have begun to learn so much more on how this is so true. It's amazing how every thought you have can determine your day as well as your future. It's incredible what can happen when you create a mind set of looking on the brighter side of things, staying positive, and re enforcing within yourself what you want and deserve in your life.

I've found some good resources that I'm using to dig deeper into this subject and I'm learning a lot of life changing information. I always had a positive half full kind of attitude but this information takes it to a new level. Re affirming what I already believed in as well as developing the theory of "what you think is what is reflected back into your life".

As I learn and develop more on this subject I will share some of my key learning's with you. I have started by creating a list made up of the characteristics of what I would like in life and what I'm looking for in a partner to share in that life. It is a constant involving and changing list, as I grow and develop and fine tune what those things are that I desire in life. As part of directing my inner thoughts I look at the list daily as well as think about those things that I desire and channel those thoughts into the universe. Even in just a few weeks I can see a difference in how I feel inside and my outlook on life, it's been pretty amazing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer berry bars

I love summer. Everything is so colorful and warm and all my favorite foods are in season, nothing better!
I have a ton of berries and I've been eating them in everything. From my oatmeal, pancakes, salads, and anything else. Today I made some delicious oatmeal bars and gave them a summer twist by adding in some giant blackberries.

Summer blackberry oatmeal bars
They are so delicious. I wish I would have added a few more blackberries or added some raspberries also. I was afraid the berries would cook down and release there juices making the bars too wet. But actually the berries stayed whole and the bars turned out perfect. I just want the delicious flavor of more berries. So next time I will add a cup of berries instead of half a cup.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Best summer

This summer has been the best summer of my life, literally! It's amazing how last year at this time I was having the worst time of my life. In one year things have completely changed for the better and in every way.

This summer has included LOTS of running and biking. I just went to Bend this last weekend, where I biked 17 miles the first day and 20 miles the second day, it was AWESOME! I'm becoming quite the cyclist, who knew, but I love it.

It's been a VERY rainy cool summer here. Which has made me loose a lot of my motivation and enjoyment for cooking. With all the fruits and veggies running low and behind in the growing season it has really killed my creativity. It's also been raining so much that I haven't been to the farmers markets nearly as much as I usually do.

But I do have some great recipes on the horizon and I'm ready to get back in the kitchen and put my skills and love for recipe creating back to work. So stay tuned as I present some very delicious recipes.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Festive dessert

This morning I made a trip to the farmers market. I've been hitting the farmers markets twice a week picking up whatever is in season. Today I grabbed some organic cherries and raspberries. The raspberries are a little small since it's the start of the season. But they are still very tasty.

I picked up the berries for one purpose and that was to make a delicious, healthy, and festive summertime dessert to serve at a 4th of July BBQ.
Almond short cakes
Mix together in a bowl the dry ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1 TB. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
dash salt and cinnamon

In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients:
3/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup almond milk
2 TB. melted Earth balance butter
1 TB. vanilla or even better 1 vanilla bean

Combine wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. On a non stick coated baking sheet make giant drops of dough. Sprinkle over the top raw sliced almonds and a sprinkle of raw sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 min.
Served with a heaping scoop of berries.
You could make it even better and serve a scoop of vanilla bean frozen yogurt or ice cream on top.
This would be the perfect dessert for a BBQ. It would be easy to make and serve for a small or even a large group.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Start of summer

I've been trying to enjoy the nice summer day's that we've had here and there. It's been nice to get in some additional running, biking , and gardening.

Today was the first day of the farmers market where it hasn't been pouring down rain. So I biked on over to pickup some strawberries. The market was packed! I guess the whole neighborhood was excited that it was sunny out. I also found some local organic cherries. I can't wait to enjoy all these delicious berries for breakfast tomorrow.

I also picked, by yours truly some raspberries today, also organic and delicious. They really need another week or two to hit there peak but they were still tasty.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy father's day

Every dad needs a plate of cookie's for Father's Day. Nothing say's I love you like doing a little baking.

Especially when they are blondies! I did take a little help from a box mix, I'm not gonna lie. So I don't have a recipe to share with everyone. But they were organic and I did add my own special twist using applesauce for some of the butter and also added some giant milk chocolate chips to the mix.

You can't have blondies without some chocolate chips in it. I was shocked that the mix didn't have them included. So I took it upon myself to add some in. And boy was it a good idea, yum.

Thank you to my dad who always fixes my car, house, and life. He's definitely clocked in some time on all three in the last year. Thank you for everything you do and I know you will continue to do. Oh and your current list of home repairs is still waiting for you. :)
Love your daughter.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer salad

If your hosting a summer dinner, attending a BBQ, or heading to a picnic this is a great salad to serve.

I've been growing my own lettuce and boy is it growing fast. I harvested some and chopped it up for the base of this summer salad. The greens were a mix of spinach, romaine, mixed greens, and red leaf lettuce. Topped with sliced strawberries and some lemon thyme. The thyme is from my herb garden and one of my favorite herbs. The hint of lemon is delicious.

Topped with some balsamic vinaigrette, given it a toss, and served up.

There's so many summer variations to this recipe:
* feta
* fresh grated white cheddar
* sliced almonds
* pistachio's (something unexpected)
* raspberries instead of strawberries, or maybe both!!
* sliced peaches or nectarine
* other herbs such as dill or basil

Since it's summertime just make sure it's fresh, local, and in season fruit for that special over the top flavor.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Way to a man's heart

They say the way to a man's heart is with food. Well I hope so cause I'm taking that one all the way. I made dinner the other night for my date.
For an appetizer I made some fresh homemade guacamole. I've never made guacamole before but I figured it would be simple enough. But out of desperation and since I was already stressing about making the perfect dinner. I decided to take a little help from my favorite friend, Trader Joe's. I picked up a kit that included avocados, lime, tomato, shallot, garlic, and jalapeno.
This was soooo easy to make. You literally dice 2 ripe avocados, 1 tomato, 1 jalapeno, 1 shallot and 1 garlic (it came with 2 shallots and 2 garlic cloves, but I thought that was a little much), with 1 lime and then you add your own salt and pepper.

Once assembled in a bowl you just mash and serve with Trader Joe's organic corn tortilla chips. I would declare these chips the BEST ones.

Well the guacamole was a hit and my date declared it the BEST guacamole he has EVER had. Coming from this foodie guy that was the VERY BEST compliment I could have ever received on my cooking. He does enjoy food which makes me want to keep on cooking.

Like the cookies I have in the works for this weekend. He's fixing my bike so it's the least I can do. Well that and I know he has a major weakness for cookies. So I'm going to use it to score some major points! Foods always the way to a man's heart, remember that!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Full agenda

Dating sure seems to take up a lot of my time. But it's so much fun!!!!
Indoor bouldering was so much fun last weekend. It was also really hard, but I actually did really well. I was just sore for a few days after. This weekend's plan's include some biking, hiking, and a trip to the zoo.
My meals have been kinda thrown together lately. Although random and not so pretty they have met all my nutritional needs.
But I did make a quick and easy Mexican casserole with cornbread on top the other night.
The base is vegetarian refried beans, salsa, and black beans. Topped with Bob's red mill cornbread mix and some reduced fat cheddar cheese. Served up with some lettuce for a veggie and some Greek yogurt for a good source of added protein.

I also made some granola bars for a good go to snack or easy breakfast.

Mix together:
1 cup spelt flour (my new favorite flour for baking)
1.5 cups oats
3 TB. sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
dash salt and cinnamon
In a separate bowl mix together:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup almond milk (our milk of choice)
1/4 cup applesauce
2 TB. coconut oil
Mix together dry and wet ingredients. Bake in a non stick pan at 350 degrees for 15 min.