Recipes

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread

 

It’s time to start using up the goodies from your garden….or if you’re like me, the excess veggies donated from other people’s gardens!

This paleo and celiac-friendly zucchini bread is another stolen and slightly altered recipe from the wonderful Ellie at Healthy Training. I found myself grabbing chunks of it for an on-the-go breakfast and the 2 loaves I made had disappeared in less than 3 days. It’s sweet enough to feel like dessert without any added processed sugars.

 zucchini bread

GLUTEN FREE ZUCCHINI BREAD

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grated zucchini, water squeezed out
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 ½ c almond flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ c chopped walnuts
  • ½ c craisins

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 small loaf pans with coconut oil.
  2. Combine almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl
  3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, banana, honey, vanilla, and oil. Mix thoroughly, then mix in dry ingredients until combined.
  4. Fold in the craisins, zucchini, and walnuts. Spoon batter into the loaf pans, filling each one ¼ full.
  5. Bake 30-40 minutes or until golden and set (check the middle with a toothpick).

 

Enjoy!

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Patriotic Treats

 

 Wow. Summer is flying by even though it feels as though it has barely begun up here in the northern states. I’m doing my darndest to soak up every ounce of sunshine I can while it lasts. Lots of grilling, outdoor running/biking, and the occasional patio happy hour session.

Every year over the 4th of July holiday, we spend time with my fam up at their lake home in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. This year we were able to spend 4 full days relaxing and enjoying the perfect weather. The addition of the new “Relaxation Station” turned out to be one of the best ideas ever!

relaxation station 

Per the norm, there were LOTS of fireworks in our back yard, beergaritas, tons of grilling, and waaaaaay to much food. Our fun-filled weekend also included a 10k run, a Corvette joyride, mini donuts and Ferris wheel rides, rocking out to live music, and campfire guitar playing/singing. LOVE.

 
firework

corvette

 

This year I decided to contribute to the sweet treats and for some reason felt the need to be patriotic. I also love me a good fruit pizza. This is super charming and can be whipped up in no time.

 4th of july fruit pizza

 

4th of July Fruit ‘Za

Roll of pre-made sugar cookie dough (16 oz)

1 container strawberries

½ cup blueberries

1 Hershey’s chocolate bar

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup granulated Splenda

8 oz cream cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Spread the sugar cookie dough over a cookie sheet. Ideally you’d have a small enough cookie sheet to cover the entire thing. As you can see, I did not.
  3. Bake cookie dough 10-13 minutes or until lightly golden.
  4. Soften cream cheese in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
  5. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, Splenda, and sugar until smooth.
  6. Remove cookie from the oven and allow to cool before applying the frosting.
  7. Spread cream cheese frosting over the entire cookie.
  8. Cut strawberries into halves. Top your cookie with blueberries and strawberries, along with your Hershey’s chocolate for the flag pole.

 

How fun is that? Almost too cute to eat. Well maybe not – I think I had 4 pieces in about 5 minutes.

 

 

What’s your favorite holiday-themed dessert?

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Grilled Portobello “Pizzas”

 

portobello pizzas

There’s something pretty fantastic about a warm summer night and the smell of charcoal in your back yard. I was in the mood to get a little creative last week so I stopped by the grocery store on my way home and picked out a few of my absolute fave ingredients.

These little “pizzas” keep things low-carb while still giving you a comfort food fix. They’re also a super simple weeknight grill meal that require hardly any prep time. Win!

Serves 2

Ingredients

4 large portobello mushroom caps

Organic garlic pizza sauce

Fresh basil

Sun-dried tomatoes

Goat cheese

Directions

1. Cut the stems off of your portobellos and scoop out the gills with a spoon.

2. Coat the outside of the mushrooms with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Toss your bellas on the grill. Give them a couple of minutes to heat up but don’t wait too long or they will start to shrink up.

4. Spread on pizza sauce. Add fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and top with goat cheese.

5. Cook for 2-3 minutes covered or until goat cheese begins to melt.

6.  Remove from grill and enjoy!

 

These tasted absolutely fabulous. Maybe I’m a bit biased – I could seriously eat goat cheese off a piece of cardboard and think it was gourmet – but the hubs liked them too so that’s gotta say something. 🙂  Next time I’d add some protein to make them a bit more filling. Cubed prosciutto or diced chicken would be tasty!

 

Do you ever make anything out of the ordinary on the grill?

 

 

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Caldo de Camarones

caldo

 

Caldo de Camarones is a traditional Mexican soup that can be made by combining a number of different veggies and spices (and shrimp, of course). This was my first attempt at creating this dish. We tend to prefer our soups on the “stew-y” side, so I added what may seem like an unlikely ingredient – an entire head of cauliflower – to make the soup more hearty. Enjoy!

Caldo de Camarones

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  1. 1 large onion
  2. 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  3. 2 large Guajillo chiles
  4. 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  5. 1 head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  6. 3 cloves garlic
  7. 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  8. 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  9. 1 tsp olive oil
  10. 2 6.5 oz cans chopped clams
  11. 2 lbs shelled, uncooked shrimp, chopped into small chunks
  12. 2 cups chicken broth
  13. 3 cups water
  14. 1 bay leaf
  15. 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper, plus more to taste
  16. 2 tbsp hot sauce of your choosing (I used Sriracha)


Directions

  1. Soak Guajillo chiles in water for 30 minutes, then remove seeds and stems. 
  2. In a food processor, combine the chiles, garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, and diced tomatoes.
  3. Add 1 tsp olive oil to a large soup pot on medium heat, then add your tomato puree. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce) to taste. I like things spicy, so I used quite a bit.
  5. Add the juice from the clams, 2 cups chicken broth, 3 cups water, salt, pepper, and bay leaf and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Slowly add in 3 tbsp tomato paste and stir until blended with the broth.
  7. Add carrots and cauliflower and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables reach your desired consistency.
  8. Add the shrimp and clams. Allow stew to return to a simmer, then turn off heat, cover, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  9. Add more salt & pepper to taste before serving.

 

This stew was DEFINITELY a winner. We love seafood and spicy dishes, so this was a double whammy. The leftovers were 10x better once the flavors had a chance to blend, so next time I might just make it ahead of time and eat it all week long. YUM!

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Paleo Banana “Love Muffins”


IMG_2350

I made some tasty paleo banana bread awhile back and had been staring at the leftover black bananas in my freezer for quite some time. I decided to conduct a little experiment.

With last week being Valentine’s and all (and our 1-year wedding anniversary), I figured it would be appropriate to use our nonstick heart-shaped muffin molds. Muffins in the shape of little hearts – the surefire way to a man’s heart…right?

Paleo Banana “Love Muffins”

Ingredients:

– 1 cup almond flour
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 2 over-ripe bananas, mashed
– 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
– 1/4 cup maple syrup
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 egg whites

 

IMG_2348

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. If you’re not using non-stick, adorable muffin molds, be sure to spray the muffin pan with non-stick spray.

2. Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3. Add mashed bananas, maple syrup, egg whites, vanilla, and Greek yogurt to a separate bowl. Whisk together until smooth.

4. Add the wet mixture to the dry  mixture and stir until completely combined.

5. Spoon into muffin molds (only about halfway up) and bake for 25-30 minutes or until  golden brown. Test doneness by inserting a toothpick in your muffins – if it comes out clean, they’re done. Note that almond meal doesn’t rise as much as regular flour. If you wanted to go the non-paleo route, your muffins would turn out a bit more fluffy.

I’m no baker, but these turned out surprisingly tasty! So tasty, in fact, that the hubs had already eaten 2 of them before I could get my camera out to snap a photo 🙂

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After Dinner Coffee-Cube Cocktail

coffee cube cocktail

 

I’m officially getting old. After a big family meal where overeating is inevitable, I could really use a nap. I’m finally beginning to understand why old people always need a cup of coffee after dinner to level themselves back out (or at least stay awake long enough to eat dessert).

Personally, I’m a bigger fan of the after-dinner drink. Just ask my friends about my go-to “banana Russian”. It’s life-changing, I promise. But for those days when you just need a little caffeine boost after dinner, I bring you the coffee-cube cocktail.

The prep work: make a pot of coffee and pour it into ice cube trays. It should fill about 2 trays. I used Dunkin’ Donuts French vanilla. Because, well, it’s the bomb.

Wait for your freezer to do it’s magic.

After dinner, put 4-5 cubes in your glass and add the following:

–          1 ½ oz Cake flavored vodka

–          1 ½ oz Kahlua

–          2 oz Bailey’s

 

I suppose the proper name for this might be a “coffee-cube cake butterfly”, but that doesn’t roll off the tongue very well.  If it sounds a little dangerous, you could always sub out the Bailey’s for milk. But then it would be called a “coffee-cube cake Russian”.

Call it whatever you want. I call it delicious.

 

Bonus: Unlike ice cubes that water down your drink as they melt, the coffee cubes just make it taste better! Enjoy!

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Spinach & Pepperjack Stuffed Pork Chops

We’re past due for a grocery run. However, the below zero temps around here also mean we are FAR too lazy to bundle up go grocery shopping on a Sunday. Time to do a little creative cooking.

When you eat as much chicken, fish, and pork as we do, you’ve gotta spice things up every now and then to keep it interesting. Stuffing your meat makes the standard boring protein much more exciting, and far more filling. We’ve recently been experimenting with stuffing our chicken breasts and pork chops. Today’s lunch was born out of a leftover package of frozen spinach and an otherwise very bare fridge.

stuffed pork chops

Spinach & Pepperjack Stuffed Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 2 fresh pork chops
  • 2/3 of a 10 oz package of frozen spinach
  • 2/3 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Italian herb mix
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  • Cut a slit in each pork chop to form a “pocket” (don’t cut all the way through)
  • Thaw spinach in the microwave, then press it into a strainer to remove excess water.
  • Mix spinach with pepperjack cheese and Italian herbs/red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • Stuff pork chops with spinach mixture
  • Saute over medium heat for 6-9 minutes each side until cooked through. Season with salt & pepper.

A super simple and protein-packed Sunday lunch. Win.

 

What creations have you come up with with limited ingredients?

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Asparagus pee (and a reci-pee!)

asparagus pee

We eat a fairly decent amount of asparagus in our household. And why not? It’s a fabulous source of vitamins A, C ,E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, and chromium. It’s also a great detoxifier and is full of antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. Score. Plus it tastes yummy with butter and sea salt.

The only downside I can think of to this killer veggie?  Smelly pee. I was genuinely curious as to the cause (and I’m confident that now you are too), so I hit up Google for some answers.

According to WebMD, only about ¼ of the population has the special gene that allows them to smell the specific compounds our bodies create when digesting asparagus. This was news to me.  So everyone creates smelly asparagus pee, but not everyone can smell it. Lucky folks.

The actual smell, according to Discovery.com, is caused by a metabolite called methanethiol. As your body breaks down asparagus, it produces this chemical and tells your kidneys to transport it to your bladder. “Methanethiol is composed mostly of sulfur with a splash of hydrogen, plus some carbon, a brew famous for its effect in rotten eggs, cabbages, and paper mills” (Discovery.com, 2013). All stinky stuff. Makes sense!

Regardless of smell, we’ll continue to regularly eat asparagus, since I’m pretty sure it’s health benefits outweigh this particular shortcoming.  And now that you’re super pumped about asparagus too, how about a simple, tasty reci-pee!? (please humor me, it’s Friday).

Easy Sautéed Asparagus

Ingredients:

·         1 bunch fresh asparagus

·         1 tbsp butter

·         2-3 cloves garlic

·         Sea salt & pepper

·         ½ lemon

·         ¼ c shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.     Break off the bottom 2 inches of each asparagus stalk and discard.

2.     Cut each stalk into 1-2 inch sections.

3.     Melt butter in sauté pan on medium heat – add garlic and heat until golden.

4.     Add asparagus & sauté 3-4 minutes until bright green and tender but still a bit crunchy.

5.     Add ½ a lemon worth of juice and cook for another 2-3 minutes until asparagus reaches your desired consistency.

6.     Remove from pan and toss with parmesan cheese, sea salt, and pepper. Enjoy.

7.     Think about how tasty it was the next time you go to the bathroom.

For those of you still reading…thanks for sticking around to learn about this somewhat un-PC (but quite fascinating) topic.

What other strange bodily functions should I research?

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3-Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Cookies

pumpkin spice cookies

News Flash – I don’t bake. Ever. Or as Taylor Swift would say… like ever. ever. ever.

But I am a HUGE fan of pretty much anything with pumpkin in it. And I recently learned a little trick.  Write this down. Or don’t, ‘cuz you’re smart and you will remember. Combine cake mix with almost anything, bake it, and it’s gonna taste awesome.

We were headed to a party at a friend’s place and I wanted to bring some kind of a treat. Per the norm, I wanted it to be super simple. Enter, these fab cookies.

3-Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Cookies

You’ll need: 1 box spice cake, 1 15-oz can of pumpkin, and cream cheese frosting.

pumpkin spice cake

 

Mix the pumpkin and spice cake mix together, plop some cookie-sized spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet, and bake for 35-45 minutes or until they reach your desired consistency. They will be very soft. you could also bake it in cake form if you prefer. Personally, I’m more of a cookie gal.

Once your cookies cool, top them with cream cheese frosting. I also sprinkled pumpkin pie spice on top for a little extra pumpkin yumminess. So I guess they are actually FOUR ingredient cookies. I really need to stop lying to you like that.

These were a hit at the party and were gobbled up in no time.

 

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Frozen Pumpkin Mousse with Graham Cracker Crumbles

You know how sometimes, you intend to make something specific, then it morphs into something entirely different? Yup, me too. That’s what happened to me on Thanksgiving. I had planned on making a creamy, fluffy, pumkin-flavored dip. As you may have deduced fom the title of this post, that wasn’t the end result…although it would have been mighty tasty had I left it as-is. In fact, the fluffy, creamy pumkiny dip was so good I was eating it in large spoonfuls out of the bowl. An apple or graham cracker simply would not pick up enough of this stuff to satisfy.

So  now that you understand how my goofy brain came up with this recipe, I’ll shut up and just give it to you already.

Frozen Pumpkin Mousse with Graham Cracker Crumbles

Ingredients

1 15-oz can of pumpkin
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c plain greek yogurt
2/3 container of cool whip
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
graham crackers, crumbled

Directions

Mix together the pumpkin with brown sugar, vanilla, and spices, then mix in the greek yogurt until fully blended. fold in the cool whip until combined. Try not to eat the whole bowl on accident before portioning it out.

Spoon into individual ramekins or (in my case), cute little teacups. Top with crumbled graham crackers and freeze until set. Remove from freezer about 20 minutes prior to serving to allow dessert to soften slightly.

What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe?  I can’t seem to get enough. SHOW. ME. The PUMPKIN!

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