Saturday, November 14, 2009

Iced Eggnog Cookies

I looooove eggnog! My husband is not a fan and I don't usually let the little ones have a lot of sugar, so to buy an entire quart of eggnog means that I would probably end up drinking the WHOLE thing. So, I decided to buy a quart and use some in recipes. I found this great cookie recipe on Picky Palate. This recipe is fantastic and the cookies actually do taste just like a glass of eggnog (plus some butter!). Tomorrow I will be making our weekly Sunday morning sweet potato pancakes with eggnog instead of milk! 'Tis the season...ok, maybe it's a little early.

Frosted Eggnog Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup SALTED butter, room temp
1/2 cup eggnog (I used reduced fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 300F.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg; mix well with a whisk and set aside. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Chill dough for at least 15 minutes.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg or skip this step and sprinkle on the nutmeg after you ice the cookies. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until bottoms turn light brown.

Transfer to cool, flat surface immediately with spatula.

Eggnog Icing
3 C. confectioners sugar
1/4 C. softened butter or margarine
1/3 C. eggnog (use as much as you need)

In small mixer bowl, beat confectioners’ sugar and butter or margarine until well blended. Gradually beat in eggnog until icing is smooth. Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Garnish with a sprinkle of eggnog after icing.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Taco Hummus

We love hummus. Taco hummus is hummus on an entirely different level. This recipe is GREAT! And I didn't even have all of the ingredients on hand. As I was eating some of this, I was thinking that it would even be a great replacement for meat in tacos! The kids really liked this too. The original recipe is from Savory, Spicy, Sweet, I have altered it a bit because I was out of tahini, paprika and onion powder---but I didn't miss those things. I did have to add a little more olive oil and some water to get to the right consistency.

Taco Hummus

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups drained well-cooked or canned chickpeas, liquid reserved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
water (as needed to get the right consistency)

Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until creamy. Serve with pita chips, veggies, corn chips or even on toasted bread.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cottage Cheese Cookies

Dear Self, Please refrain from putting strange things in your cookie dough. First the chickpeas, now cottage cheese? Really? Oh, wait...they were both delicious. Carry On. Sincerely, Self.

Cottage Cheese Cookies

1 c. butter
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. almond extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1c. cottage cheese
3/4 c. chopped pecans
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening and white sugar, until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the almond extract. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Stir in the cottage cheese and pecans. Cover dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls then roll the balls in the confectioners' sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Potato Leek Soup

I went to see Julie & Julia with my Mom, sister and very best foodie friend. We all thoroughly enjoyed the movie and my dear Mother recently made Julia Child's Potato Leek soup(Potage Parmentier) and insisted that I do so as well. This was delicious and very inexpensive! I served this soup with the Blackberry Glazed Salmon below, but it would have also been awesome served with some crusty bread.

Potato Leek Soup

1 lb potatoes, peeled & diced
1 lb leeks , chopped and rinsed
4 TBS unsalted butter
Salt & Pepper
4-6 TBS Heavy Cream
2-4 TBS minced chives
1. Simmer the potatoes and leeks in salted water (water should be about 2 inches above potatoes and leeks) for 40-50 minutes, until soft.
2. Puree the veggies (in water) with an immersion blender - I had to used a regular blender, but now an immersion blender is on my list. Add the butter in bits; then add salt & pepper to taste. Stir in cream.
3. Pour into soup bowls and sprinkle on chives
138 calories, 3 g protein.

Blackberry Glazed Salmon

fast. easy. healthy.
Here is a recipe for an elegant dinner that is ready from start to finish in literally 15 minutes.
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Blackberry Glazed Salmon
4- Salmon steaks
2 T. blackberry jam (I like habenero blackberry jam!)
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Preheat broiler. Mix jam, soy sauce, olive oil and garlic in bowl. Spoon glaze over salmon and broil for approximately 10 minutes (depending on thickness of steaks) until the meat flakes and is no longer translucent. Voila!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

French Onion Pasta

Wow. This is truly excellent. The whole family loved this recipe from Stephanie at Stephanie Cooks. This one is going onto our list of regulars! The best thing is that it is so delicious and so cheap!
Next time, I will double the recipe so we have enough for leftovers:)

French Onion Pasta

2 c. of uncooked rotini pasta
1 c. chicken stock
1 packet of Lipton's Onion Soup mix
1 scallion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 cup of Marsala wine (I just used Sherry)
4 tablespoons of light cream
1 tablespoon of flour
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon of EVOO

Cook pasta and keep warm. In a saucepan, heat the EVOO. Add the scallions and garlic, stir continually until soft and fragrant. Add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any pieces of onion. Add the stock and soup mix packets, allow to cook on low for about 20 minutes.
Whisk in flour, whisking continually until well incorporated and thickened. Add the light cream, mix well. Add the pasta to the sauce, stir well. Pour into an oven safe dish. Top with the mozzarella cheese. Set it under the broiler until the cheese is golden.

Chocolate Chip-Chick pea Cookies!

Jessica Seinfeld is a genius! I have been wanting to try this recipe for months, but kept chickening out! Her cookbook Deceptively Delicious is definitely a keeper. I have had much success with this cookbook. This recipe might just be the best yet! I did make one minor change---instead of 2 cups of chocolate chips, I did 1 cup mini-chocolate chips and 1 cup butterscotch chips. The butterscotch and chocolate flavors work perfectly with the nutty quality of the chick-peas. You must try this!!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (with chick-peas)
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. margarine
2 large egg whites
2 t. vanilla
1 can chick-peas, drained and rinsed
2 c. chocolate chips (I highly recommend 1 c. mini-choc. chips, and 1. c. butterscotch chips)
2 c. flour
1/2 c. oats
1 t. soda
1/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350. Cream sugar and margarine. Beat in egg whites and vanilla. Add chick-peas and chips. Stir well. Add remaining dry ingredients and stir well. Drop dough onto pan and flatten slightly with spoon or fork. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until golden.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pear-Pecan Blue cheese Salad

Attention. This is the best salad ever. What’s that you say? You don’t like blue cheese? You do now. Eat it.

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Pear-Pecan-Blue cheese Salad

Mixed greens


blue cheese (gorgonzola is my favorite)

candied pecans (store bought or homemade)

2 pears, chopped

1/2 c. maple syrup

Sweet, light salad dressing: A maple vinaigrette would be ideal–I just make my own!

Warm 1/2 c. maple syrup in small pot. When syrup is hot, dump pears in and stir occasionally, until pears begin to soften. Remove from heat and drain. Serve salad topped with pecans, drained pears, blue cheese and vinaigrette. Pass out from deliciousness.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Zucchini-Roasted Red Pepper Pizza

Seriously delicious! I will most definitely make this again. Next time I think I will skip the red pepper flakes so the kids can enjoy it as well. The flavors in this recipe were amazing, but a little too spicy for young children. The recipe is from Rachael Ray's book, 30 Minute Meals 2.

Zucchini-Roasted Red Pepper Pizza
1 (14 oz) jar roasted red peppers
1/2 lb. refrigerated pizza dough
1 T. corn meal
1 1/2 c. smoked gouda, shredded
1//2 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 t. dried Italian seasoning
coarse salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Drain peppers and grind into a paste using a food processor. Dust pizza dough with corn meal and spread onto pizza pan. Spread pepper paste onto dough. Top with shredded cheese.
Place thinly sliced zucchini in small bowl and combine with remaining ingredients. Toss well and evenly coat.
Arrange zucchini on pizza, but do not overlap. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Stone Fruit Bars

These are delicious! Fabulous right out of the oven and even better when cooled down. The recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker. She originally made the recipe with peaches only, but I had peaches and plums on hand. This worked out great, the peaches were slightly more tart than the plums. Mmmmmm! Fall is here!

Stone Fruit Bars

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, cold
1 egg, lightly beaten

5 cups diced or sliced peaches and/or plums (about 7 peaches)
2 T. lemon juice
½ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
¼ t. salt
½ t. ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (I omitted)

Preheat the oven to 375 . Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

For the dough- In a medium bowl whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter, and then the egg. The dough will be crumbly. Press half of the dough into the pan. Place the pan and the remainder of the dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

For the filling- Place peaches and/or plums in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over the fruit and mix gently.

Spread the fruit mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the fruit layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Fajita Burgers

My Rachael Ray marathon continues. This recipe was a hit! The recipe is from Rachael Ray's 30 minute Get Real Meals.

Beef Fajita Burgers:

1 1/3 pounds ground sirloin

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

2-3 tablespoons fresh picked thyme leaves, several sprigs

Several drops hot sauce

1 tablespoon grill seasoning (such as Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Combine ingredients in bowl and mix well using hands. Divide into 4 patties and drizzle with oil before grilling or broiling. Cook to desired doneness. Serve withseared pepper and onions on a tortilla.

Seared Peppers and Onions:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 red or green bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced lengthwise

1 medium yellow skinned onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 jalapeno or serrano, seeded and chopped (I omitted)

2 cups tomatillo, green chili salsa or chipotle-tomato salsa, your choice (I used garlic-lime salsa as my husband is allergic to cilantro)

Heat skillet to medium heat and warm oil. Add peppers and onions and cook about 5 minutes. Add salsa and stir well. Cook an additional minute and serve with burgers.

Greta and Miles rating: They both loved this. They ate the meat really fast and wanted more!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cauliflower-Pumpkin Pasta

Mmmmmmm! I thought I hated cauliflower...this was really, really delicious-not too bad for you and very easy to whip up! The recipe is another one from Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Get Real Meals.
Cauliflower-Pumpkin Pasta

2 T. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 c. chicken stock or broth
1/2 pound pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
1 c. pumpkin puree (*not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 c. cream or half and half
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. chopped fresh sage leaves (I used 1 t. dried)

Preheat large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cauliflower and stir to coat with oil and garlic. Add stock and bring to a boil. Place lid on pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender.

Boil water for pasta. Add pasta and cook to al dente.

Once pasta is cooked and cauliflower is tender, add pumpkin and cream to cauliflower. Heat through. Drain pasta and add to cauliflower and pumpkin. Add cheese, salt, pepper and sage. Toss with pasta and serve with extra Parmesan to top.

Greta and Miles rating: Miles loved this----Greta, not so much.

Macadamia-Crusted Chicken with Gorgonzola Sauce

I make a trip to the library at least once a month. Each trip, I borrow several cook books. This month, I was on a Rachael Ray kick. The recipe is from Rachael Ray's book 30 Minute Get Real Meals. This recipe originally calls for hazelnuts, but I subbed the macadamia nuts and it worked out really, really well. I used more Gorgonzola than the original also because we looooove Gorgonzola. This will definitely be one we make again! I served this with cous cous which worked out well because it allowed us to eat more of the heavenly sauce.

Macadamia-Crusted Chicken with Gorgonzola Sauce
2 T. flour
1 t. poultry seasoning
1 t. garlic powder
2 egg whites
1 c. chopped macadamia nuts (or hazelnuts)
4 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 T. olive oil
1 c. whole milk
3/4 c. Gorgonzola cheese (original calls for 1/2 c.)
2 t. chopped fresh sage or 1 t. dried

Preheat oven to 325.

Mix flour, poultry seasoning, and garlic powder in shallow dish. Beat egg whites in shallow dish. Place chopped nuts in 3rd shallow dish.

Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Season breasts with salt and pepper. Turn in flour to dust breasts, next turn in egg whites and finally press into nuts on both sides. Add oil to pan and add chicken. Brown chicken 2 minutes each side until nuts are golden. Transfer to baking dish and cook in oven until chicken is cooked. 10-15 minutes.

Just before serving, warm milk over medium heat in small pot. Add cheese and melt into milk. If using dried sage, stir into sauce. Simmer 5 minutes.

To serve, place chicken on plate and pour a couple spoons of sauce over the center of each piece. Garnish with fresh sage (optional)

Greta and Miles rating: They both (3 years and 1 1 /2 years old) loved this! I'm glad they are fans of good cheese!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sweet Potato Pancakes

2009 142We make these every Sunday morning and they taste like pumpkin pie for breakfast! I also really like to make my own pancake mix to have on hand- a great combo!


1/2 c. pureed sweet potato (or pure pumpkin)

1/2-1 t. cinnamon

1 c. pancake mix, prepared as directed on box

OR make your OWN pancake mix from scratch!


3 1/2 c. Whole wheat flour (you can use any combination of flours totaling 6 cups)

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2/3 c. sugar

2 T. baking powder

1 T. baking soda

Combine ingredients with whisk and store in airtight container. When ready to use combine 1 c. mix with 3/4 c. milk and 1 egg.

Sweet Potato Fries

This is one of my favorite side dishes. I don't even like French fries, but sweet potato fries are another story! This is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe. The dipping sauce goes very well with the fries and also works perfectly on my open faced salmon sandwiches!

3-5 Sweet potatoes, cut into 1x5" fries
3 T. olive oil
2 T. chopped fresh basil
2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper

3/4 mayonnaise
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400.
Place the sweet potato fries on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. I like to place the fries on a cooling rack on the baking sheet to keep the fries from sticking to the sheet. Bake until golden, about 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile combine the basil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. In another small bowl combine the mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice, and stir to combine.
When the sweet potato fries come out of the oven, sprinkle with the basil salt. Serve with the garlic mayonnaise alongside for dipping.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins

OK, this is a recipe AND a cook book review! This recipe is from Jessica Seinfeld's cook book, Deceptively Delicious. Her cook book is fabulous and features recipes with pureed fruits and veggies hidden cleverly in delicious meals and goodies! I have made a lot of the recipes in the cook book and will discuss those later. But, back to this recipe- I have tried this both with the pureed cauliflower and with the pureed carrot. Both version are fabulous, but my family likes the carrot recipe the best. I highly recommend this cookbook to anyone with or without children.

(with carrot or cauliflower)
Non-stick cooking spray
1 c. brown sugar (divided 2) 1/2 c. portions)
1/2 c. natural peanut butter
1/2 c. carrot or cauliflower puree
1/2 c. banana puree
1 large egg white
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease muffin pan with nonstick spray. Combine 1/2 c. sugar, peanut butter, vegetable puree, banana and egg white. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Add 2nd 1/2 c. of brown sugar and stir only once or twice. Divide batter into muffin cups and bake until tops are golden and toothpick come out clean. About 15-20 minutes.

Here are the other recipes I have tried from this wonderful book-
Banana bread- Great!
Sweet Potato Pancakes- Fabulous, our new Sunday morning tradition
Aloha Chicken Kebabs- Great flavor, but had trouble keeping the breading on
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (with squash puree)-Even better than the original
Sloppy Joes- Excellent

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

White Wedding Cake

My sister requested white wedding cake for her bridal shower. I must admit that white wedding cake is my personal favorite as well. I have made many cakes from scratch, but have found that they are most often not as moist as a cake mix. Even so, I do not usually buy cake mixes. For this occasion, I wanted to make sure that it was moist and delicious with a hint of almond- just like wedding cake should bed. I found this recipe and I will never use another!

White Wedding Cake
1 box white cake mix
3 egg whites
1 1/2 t. almond extract
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. oil
1 1/3 c. water

Combine all ingredients in mixer and mix well. Pour into greased and floured pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. *To frost, I used plain white frosting in the container with 1 t. almond extract mixed in.

Cheesecake Won Ton Cups

I love short cuts. Especially when you can NOT tell that a short cut has been made! This is a recipe from my friend Stefanie. I have had these on several occasions and each time, everyone RAVES about them! This is one of the recipes that I made for my sister's bridal shower last weekend. Enjoy!
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Cheesecake Won ton Cups

1 pkg. won ton wrappers
1 container Philadelphia cheesecake filling (premade, and at your grocery store by the cream cheese)
1 jar lemon curd (fancy jam or pie filling would even work)
whipped cream (the kind in a can works best)

fresh raspberries (blackberries would be terrific, too)
Using a mini-cupcake pan, press wonton wrappers into pan. Spray lightly with PAM (I used olive oil spray). Sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.
Bake at 350 for approximately 5 minutes, or until golden. Cool.
Fill cooled shells with about 1 t. of cheesecake filling, 1 t. lemon curd. Top with whipped cream and place one single raspberry on top. Garnish by sifting confectioner's sugar over just before serving.

Harvest Lamb Stew

This meal was delicious, but not the best for a hot summer night! In any event, this is a keeper. Simple and flavorful and could easily be made in the crock pot. For those of you who make your own baby food- this would be a great recipe to use!

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Harvest Lamb Stew

1 lb. Lamb stew meat

1 T. Olive oil

1/4 red onion, sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 c. butternut squash, cut into chunks (I used frozen!)

1/2 c. pearl barley

1 bay leaf

3 sprigs thyme

3 c. tomato juice

Heat medium skillet on HIGH. Salt and pepper the lamb chunks. Brown lamb about 1 minute, turning once. Remove to roast pan or dutch oven (center should be red). Turn heat down to medium and add oil, onion, garlic, squash, bay leaf and thyme. Cook about 5-8 minutes and add barley. Cook, stirring, an additional 2 minutes and add to pan with the lamb. At this point it should look like this:

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Pour tomato juice over mixture and bake at 325 for about 2 hours (or place in crock pot for 3-4 hours on low) Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh thyme.


This is my stand-by granola recipe. We always have a jar (or 2) of this stuff around. Some of my favorite combinations are dried tart cherries and almonds, and blueberries and almond or pecans. This is absoutely delicious mixed into a bowl with plain fat-free yogurt and a little honey or agave nectar. My hubby also likes this on top of a salad with vinaigrette.



3 c. oats

1 c. raw sunflower seeds (or nuts)

1 c. shredded, unsweetened coconut

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. pure maple syrup

1/4 c. vegetable oil

3/4 t. salt

1 c. dried fruit (I used blueberries this time)

Combine sugar, syrup, oil and salt. Combine oats, seeds and coconut, stir. Add oil mixture to oats. Spread over 2 cookie sheets and bake at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes until done to your liking (I did 30 minutes). Cool and add dried fruit. Store in airtight container. Makes approximately 6 cups.

Breakfast Bars

Looking for a quick, healthy breakfast? We have our freezer stocked with these at all times. I found the recipe here. Joe takes one of these and a banana with him to work for breakfast every morning. The bars are filling and really stick with you! They also contain spirulina. You can find spirulina in most health food stores. A container should cost about $20, but I have always gotten it in the bulk spice section so I didn’t have to buy quite so much at once (and it is a fraction of the cost).

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2 1/2 c. oats

1/2 c. flax seed

1/4 c. cocoa powder

1/2 c. natural peanutbutter

1/2 c. honey

1/2 t. spirulina (I use closer to 1 t., but start here until you get used to the taste)

1/2- 1 c. hot water

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Mix well and form into patties. Wrap in saran wrap and store in refrigerator or freezer. Makes 8-12 bars.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spinach-Feta Pizza

Yum! I loved this recipe. When I saw Rachael Ray whipping this up on her talk show, I knew I would be making it soon! I made a few changes- I used whole wheat tortillas for crusts instead of pizza crust. This saves on calories and we really like thin, crispy crust anyway. I also used grape tomatoes and baked them with the pizza instead of adding them at the end.

Spinach-Feta Pizza
3 T. olive oil
1 whole wheat pizza crust (I used 3 whole wheat tortillas)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches spinach
salt and pepper to taste
nutmeg to taste
1 c. feta
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
1 pint cherry tomatoes

Brush crust with olive oil and bake until light brown (skip this step if using tortillas). In large skillet saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. After about 3-4 minutes, add spinach and cook until wilted. Spoon spinach over crust. Top with feta, tomato halves and mozzarella. Bake at 450 until cheese is bubbly.

Peanutbutter-Coconut-Chocolate Chip cookies


I wonder how many different cookie recipes I’ve made through the years?!?!?!?! I got my first cook book in 1st grade and have been baking and cooking since! In grade school I won a purple (or was it blue?) ribbon for my chocolate mint cookies. In 5th grade my science experiment was “Butter vs. Margarine”. We made chocolate chip cookies for our scientific taste test.

Well today I sought out to create my own cookie recipe. When cooking, it is very easy to create a new recipe successfully. When baking, it is a little more difficult. You have to have the correct ratio of ingredients or the cookies will be too flat, too cakey or worst of all…taste bad! Baking is a lot like a science experiment. I am very pleased to say that the cookies turned out AMAZING!

Peanut Butter*Coconut*Chocolate chip cookies

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. peanut butter

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. sugar

1 egg

1 t. vanilla

1/2 t. salt

1 t. baking soda

3/4 c. unsweetened, shredded coconut

1 1/4 c. flour

1 c. chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 325. Combine butters and cream. Add sugars, cream. Add egg and vanilla, combine. Add dry ingredients and mix. Add chocolate chips and fold in.

Bake for 8-12 minutes until golden brown.


I make cookies a lot. BUT-when I do make them I usually only bake one batch. This way I can roll the remaining dough into balls and freeze them for the next time we have unexpected guests :)

White Bean Dip with Pita chips

Another great recipe from the Everyday Italian book! The chips were especially good.

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips
4 pita breads, split horizontally in half (I used whole wheat)
2 T. plus 1/3 c. olive oil
1 t. dried oregano
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 t. pepper
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. loosely packed, fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used 1 T. dried)
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove

Preheat oven to 400. Cut or tear pita into wedges and arrange over baking sheet. Brush with 2 T. oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano. Bake 8 minutes turn over and then bake an additional 8 minutes or until crispy and golden.
Meanwhile combine beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper in bowl of food processor aand pulse. Gradually add remaining oil. Pulse and serve with chips.

White Bean and Tuna Salad

I am working my way through the cook book, Everyday Italian, by Giada DeLaureniis. This recipe was great because it was all ingredients most people will have on hand. This would be great alone, on salad greens or even in a wrap or sandwich.

White Bean and Tuna Salad
2 (6 oz.) cans tuna packed in olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium red onion, sliced
6 T. red wine vinegar
*optional-grape tomatoes and fresh basil leaves

Combine ingredients in bowl and serve!

Greta and Miles rating: They both really liked this.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars

For the past 2 years my Mother has done an awesome job in selecting cook books as Christmas presents. This year it was Ania Catalano's Baking with Agave Nectar. I am having so much fun working through this book! This latest recipe was very, very good. I highly recommend these bars, and if you haven't yet used agave nectar as a sweetener, give it a try. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars
1/2 c. unsalted butter or non-hydrogenated butter substitute (I used coconut oil)
1 1/3 c. whole wheat pastry flour
pinch of sea salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c. light agave nectar
2 t. vanilla extract
2 T. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t. sea salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed (I used 2 very large)
3/4 c. walnuts (I omitted)
1 c. grain sweetened chocolate chips or carob chips
1 c. dried, unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make crust use electric mixer or pastry blender to cream butter flour and salt. Press lightly into 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
To make filling add filling ingredients together and pour over crust. Bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool , then cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

I searched everywhere for ideas for spring rolls. I pretty much came to the conclusion that you can fill them with whatever you like! These were delicious. The dipping sauce must be what people eat in heaven!! Enjoy, but keep in mind you can easily change these up with different veggies to suit your own taste.

Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

For the rolls:
cellophane noodles
6-8 sheets of rice paper
3/4 cup carrots, thinly sliced
3/4 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
splash of lemon juice
splash of soy sauce
fresh spinach

Prepare noodles as directed on packaging. Combine carrots and cucumbers in a bowl and toss with a little lemon and soy sauce. Soak rice paper in shallow dish of water for about 10-15 seconds or just until starting to soften. Only soak and fill one at a time. Place desired amount of spinach leaves on paper. Top with about 3 T. of carrot/cucumber mixture. Roll tightly like a burrito. Chill slightly in fridge. Slice in half to serve.

Peanut sauce

4 T. creamy peanut butter
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. water
2 T. Olive oil
3 T. Soy sauce
1/8 t. fresh ginger, finely grated
1 T. plus 1 t. honey

Whisk all ingredients together and serve along side spring rolls in ramekins.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cinnamon Cheesecake Squares

I found this recipe on the blog The Obsessive Cook. Tracey gave this recipe rave reviews and I knew I had to try it! She was right- these are delicious and everyone that tried these agreed. I will be making this again for sure! The coolest part of this recipe is that I know Tracey in real life. Go check out her blog :)

Cinnamon Cheesecake Squares
2 pkg. crescent rolls (I used reduced fat)
2 pkg. cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
1 T. vanilla
1 c. plus 1/2 c. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 c. butter, melted

Cover bottom of greased 9x13 pan with 1 pkg. crescent rolls. Combine cream cheese with vanilla and 1 c. of sugar. Spread over rolls. Cover cream cheese mixture with second pkg. of crescent rolls. Drizzle melted butter on top. Combine 1/2 c. sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over butter. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Cool and chill to serve.

Salsa Chicken

This is one of my favorite crock pot recipes. It is incredibly easy and everyone in the family loves it. The leftovers are great as well.

Salsa Chicken
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (optional)
15 oz. jar salsa
10 oz. frozen corn
1 can (or 2 c. ) black beans, drained ***
1 pkg. reduced fat cream cheese

In crock pot layer chicken, salsa, beans and corn. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high or 3-4 hours. With 30 minutes left, add cream cheese. Do not stir. After 30 minutes stir and serve over rice.

***I always use dried beans. They are much cheaper and have no sodium. I cook large batches on the stove top, then freeze the beans in 2 cup portions. The beans are ready for recipes--1 can= approximately 2 cups.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Veggie Burgers

After having an amazing veggie burger at a local restaurant- I've decided to try to recreate it! Here is what I came up with I think next time I will use less rice and more veggies. This made 6 burgers.

Veggie Burgers

1 cup vegetables of your choice (I used zucchini, carrots and red pepper), diced
1/4 c. onion
1 clove garlic
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup cooked black beans
2 T. peanut butter
a few drops of liquid smoke
1 egg
bread crumbs
salt and pepper
oil for cooking

Cook onion, pepper and garlic in a little oil. Add carrots- cook until just tender then add zucchini. In bowl, mix rice and beans, mashing them as you mix. Mix in vegetables, egg, peanut butter and spices. Use your hands to shape the mixture into balls. Roll the balls in bread crumbs, then flatten against your palms. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side, until crispy. Serve open faced on whole wheat rolls. These would be great with garlic-lemon mayo.

Greta's rating: She loved these and so did baby Miles.

Seven Flavor Beef

I made this meal for friends and everyone loved it! The cook time was about 10-15 minutes and it tasted amazing. I will definitely be adding this one to our list of regulars. The recipe is from the Food Network.

Seven Flavor Beef

8 oz. sliced flank steak
1 T. minced lemongrass
1/2 t. minced fresh ginger
1/2 t. minced garlic
1/2 t. fish sauce
1/2 t. sesame oil
1/2 t. honey
1 t. dried chili flakes
1 t. Chinese five-spice powder
1 t. salt

1/4 c. sliced red onion
1/2 bunch sliced green onion
1 c. bean sprouts
2 T. hoisin sauce
1 T. ground peanuts
20 Thai basil leaves

Combine all marinade ingredients in a nonreactive baking dish for 1 hour. Marinade will not be runny, but more like a rub.

Heat oil in a wok and heat over high heat. When oil is hot, add red onion, green onion, and bean sprouts and sear for 1 minute, stirring. Set aside on serving platter. Add beef to very hot wok and sear until rare. Add hoisin sauce and toss until coated. Add ground peanuts and basil and cook until meat is medium rare. Serve meat over onions and bean sprouts. We ended up quadrupling the recipe for 4 adults and had very little left over. This meal is also great served over cellophane noodles.

Greta's rating: I didn't let her try this. It was way too spicy!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The original peanut butter cookie

Another fabulous recipe from baking blonde! I found this recipe about a month ago and I am embarrassed to say how many times we have made it since. These are truly delicious and are even wonderful with NO chips. Enjoy!

The Original Peanut Butter Cookie

1 cup + 2 T peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 T milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Peanut Butter chips (any chip combination is great, I've even used reese's pieces)
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
3/4 cup Sugar (for rolling dough balls, may need more or less)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter. Once combined beat in the white sugar, and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla.
In a large bowl wisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently add to creamed mixture and mix until almost combined. Fold in chocolate and peanut butter chips. Chill dough for at least 15 minutes.
Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Genlty roll the dough balls into sugar and place dough balls on baking sheets. Carefully press each ball with fork tines to create a criss-cross pattern.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for 5-10 minutes until sturdy enough to be transfered to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Peanut Butter Granola Balls

This recipe has become a family favorite at our house. It can be made with chocolate chips or any dried fruit, my favorite is dried cranberries because they are not too sweet. The recipe is from Everyday Food magazine.

Peanut Butter Granola Balls
Makes 24

1/3 cup honey (or agave nectar)

1/4 cup natural peanut butter

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup crisp rice cereal (we've even used cheerios successfully)

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup dried fruit

In a small saucepan over medium, heat honey, peanut butter, and butter. Stir until loosened and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cereal, oats, and dried fruit.

Drop mixture by the tablespoon into mini paper cupcake or candy liners. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Sausage and Chick-peas over Couscous

Couscous is something I prepare often with meals. Joe and I both love it and kids adore couscous. It can be used in place of rice or pasta or even on its own as a side dish. Greta loves couscous so much that she specifically asks for it at the grocery store and she always asks for a second helping! Our favorite cous cous is Hodgson-Mills whole wheat. Last night we had a version of franks and beans with couscous.


Sausage and Chick-peas over Couscous

1 pkg. sausage of your choice (I use low sodium)

1 can chick-peas, drained and rinsed

1 can Italian style stewed tomatoes

1/2 onion, sliced

1/2 c. water

Cut sausage into slices or chunks and brown. Add onion, chick-peas, tomatoes and water and cook until sauce thickens. Serve over prepared couscous. Recipe based on Progresso brand recipe.

Greta's rating: She LOVED this and asked for more!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lentil-Goat Cheese Burgers

What a fabulous dinner! The flavor in these little burgers is fantastic. I found this recipe on the blog Cara's Cravings. I served these on a bun with spinach and raspberry vinaigrette dressing. The original recipe has a lemon vinaigrette that sounds amazing, but I was feeling a little lazy :) I will definitely make these again!

Lentil Goat Cheese Burgers

1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup dried lentils
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Place first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender; drain. Discard bay leaf. Place lentils in a large bowl; partially mash with a fork. Cool slightly. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly. Add onion mixture, cheese, and remaining ingredients to lentils; stir well to combine. Cover and chill 45 minutes.
Divide mixture into 3-4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Cook patties 5 minutes on each side or until done.
Greta's rating: She ate a little of this. I might melt some cheese on top of hers next time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am not a vegan, but I am lactose intolerant and I wouldn't miss meat if I could never eat it again. Since I am lactose intolerant and my daughter has a dairy allergy, I am fascinated by vegan recipes and have been incorporating them into our meals and desserts...not because I want to "save the animals", but out of necessity and the recipes are much healthier. That being said vegan or not--this recipe is amazing! The original recipe is from Happy Vegan. I make these all the time and they are definitely best fresh, so I usually bake one batch and freeze the remaining portion of dough so we can have fresh baked cookies another night. This recipe is fabulous as written, but I have noted the way that I prepare them below. Enjoy!

Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 c. unbleached flour (I use 1 c. AP flour/ 1 c. Whole wheat flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp.salt
**I also add 1/2 c. unsweetened, shredded coconut
cinnamon to taste (I skip this)
vegan chocolate or carob chips - put in as many as you like (I use mini-chips)
1 c. sugar
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil (I use smart balance oil)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup water (I use rice milk, but have used skim successfully as well)

In large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon (if you choose) and chips. Make a well in the center and set aside.

In medium bowl mix sugar and oil. Add the vanilla and then add the water (or milk). Mix well. Add the wet to the well in the dry. Mix well but be careful not to overwork it. Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Take them out before you normally would. If you do not, they will dry out very easily. Cool for 2 minutes on sheets before transferring to cooling racks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Velvet Chicken

Ok, I really struggled with a title fcor this recipe... I was originally thinking earth chicken, but that kind of makes me think of chicken with dirt all over it. Anyway, I wanted to make this recipe for dinner tonight. When I started getting the ingredients out to make it, I realized that I did not have most of the ingredients. What we ended up with was a really amazing meal that everyone enjoyed. I'm just not sure what it should be called because there is not one flavor that stands out above the others. I guess velvet chicken will have to do.


Velvet Chicken

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

Salt and Pepper

2 T. olive oil

2 T. butter

3/4 c. chopped onion

8 oz. bella mushrooms, sliced

2-4 garlic cloves, minced (I use 4)

1 c. chicken stock

1 pkg. reduced fat cream cheese

3 T. spicy peanut sauce (store bought)

3 T. fresh basil, chopped

1lb. box penne pasta (or your favorite pasta)

Salt and pepper chicken and brown in oil over high heat. Remove from pan. Set aside. In same skillet, melt 2 T. butter and add onion. Saute until tender. Add mushrooms and garlic. Saute until mushrooms are tender. Add stock and simmer about 5 minutes. Add cream cheese and peanut sauce. Add chicken and basil to sauce.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste and serve over pasta.

Greta's rating: She loved this and our 1 year old loved it as well!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lentil Stew

Wow! It's been awhile since I've posted. I started a new job in November and have not had near as much time to try new recipes. This meal has become a regular at our house. It is easy, cheap and every one likes it. It's also a great meal to warm you up in the dead of winter.img_2833

Lentil Stew

6 c. water

3 vegetable bullion cubes

1 lb. lentils

1 1/2 lb. stew meat (optional)

10 sun dried tomatoes, chopped

4 large carrots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 T. dried basil

Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low all day (5-6 hours) or until meat is done. Season with salt and pepper as desired.