Almond Flour Pancakes

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Do you know those mysterious people who just don't care about food? That's my son; he is happy to eat on the run and alternate between shepherd's pie, pizza, and sometimes a cheeseburger. So when he request pancakes for breakfast, I try to oblige. I also try to make his favorite pancakes as healthy as possible without breaking out the food processor at 7am.

To keep it mom-friendly, I simply sub in or sub out ingredients depending what I have on hand. The kids never seem to notice. They are just happy to help crack an egg and measure out the flour. If I sense a fight brewing, I assign the job of sprinkling sugar and cinnamon. I guess a spoonful of sugar does do the trick.

Make the pancakes according to the directions on the pancake mix. Substitute half of the pancake mix with almond flour and the cow's milk with almond milk for extra protein. Replace the oil with just about the whole squeeze pouch of apple sauce. Add cinnamon and sugar to taste.

* I use Bobs Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour and Pancake Mix
** For the health benefits of almond flour and almond milk check out Elana's Pantry

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Monday, December 16, 2013

It'd be an understatement to say I've been indulging these past few weeks. So before the extravagance continues, I better sneak in a few simple and satisfying dinners. I've shared them here, just in case you need them too ; ) 
Bake spaghetti squash in oven at 375degrees for about 45 minutes, or until you can just pierce it with a fork. Make sure you don't over cook it.
Let cool and slice down the center. Scoop out and discard the seeds. With a fork shred the squash, it will turn into spaghetti looking strands. You can saute the spaghetti squash and toppings in a skillet, or skip this step and simply throw the toppings and squash in a bowl and enjoy!

* For the easy turkey bolognese: Chop 1/2 onion, 1 clove of garlic, and 1 carrot. In a large skillet or dutch oven, add about 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add veggies and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1lb ground turkey breaking it up with a fork. Once turkey is browned add in salt, pepper, and additional seasonings of your choice. I sprinkle in a little oregano, basil, crushed red pepper, and parsley. Add your favorite jarred sauce and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

cookie swap for the nonbakers

Friday, December 13, 2013

I could kiss the person who started the first cookie swap. I mean really, an excuse to get together with friends, eat, drink, and be Merry Christmas-ish. That's what Christmas is all about right, eating and drinking? Well maybe a few other things too. (wink) 

As much as I love the idea, except for my grandmother's chocolate chip cookies, I just don't have a foolproof cookie recipe. And something tells me a food blogger shouldn't show up to a cookie swap with chocolate chip cookies.

So I deviated from the name a bit and made these Homemade Almond Joys. I make them every year. They are simple, delicious, and easy to make for a crowd. People have begun to expect them. Much like they expect Aunt Betty's tuna jelly mold. (wink, wink)

So go ahead and take the road less traveled. Whip up these Homemade Almond Joys for your next cookie swap. People will begin to expect them, and maybe even start to "save room" just for them.  

30 or so almonds 
2 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut 
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar 
about 20 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips 
pinch of salt 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Spread almonds onto a separate (unlined) baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes. Be careful they don't burn! Remove from oven and cool. 
In a medium bowl, mix together sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Stir in the unsweetened coconut until combined. The mixture will be thick. Place mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes. 
Remove the coconut mixture. With clean hands shape one tablespoon of coconut into a ball. I make mine slightly smaller than 1 tablespoon.
Place the balls on the lined baking sheet and continue until you've gone through the remaining coconut mixture. 
Press an almond on top of each coconut ball. Place baking sheet in the fridge to chill while you melt the chocolate. 
Add about 2 inches of water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and place the bowl over the simmering water. 
Make sure the bowl is about 1 inch from the boiling water. Stir the chocolate as it melts. Turn the heat off once the chocolate has melted. Keep the bowl of melted chocolate over the hot water. 
Remove candies from fridge. Place one coconut almond ball on a fork. Use a spoon and cover the candy in chocolate. Place back on lined baking sheet. Repeat until all coconut balls are coated. 
If chocolate gets thick, just turn the stove back on and heat slightly.
Let dipped candy harden in the fridge for 45 minutes. 


{Recipe adapted from Celebrations at Home}

dinner for the in-laws

Friday, May 17, 2013

The first meal I made for my in-laws was ziti with meat sauce. The second meal I made for my in-laws was spaghetti with meat sauce. The third, well you get it, some rendition of meat sauce.

Change is good they say, so for our next meal, I made my in-laws this orecchietti with sausage and broccoli rabe. It is simple yet impressive. It won't leave you frazzled, unable to carry on conversation, yet it is comforting enough to make everyone a little more relaxed. Most importantly, delicious enough to have your father-in-law comparing your cooking to his off-the-boat Italian Grandmother. Apparently change is really good.

So next time your in-laws are coming for dinner, don't panic! Grab these ingredients after work, put out some fresh flowers, pour yourself a glass of white, and start cooking.

And remember, they are going to love you.

1 lb quality orecchiette pasta
1-1.5lb quality sausage (I use tomato&cheese or hot Italian)
1 large bunch broccoli rabe
1 clove garlic, minced
extra-virgin olive oil
quality peccorino Romano cheese
red pepper flake (optional) 

Bring two large pots of water to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse and trim the broccoli rabe removing the hard stems.You can keep the leafy part and the tender stems. If they are really large chop up the leaves slightly. However, they will fall apart though once you cook them.
When the water starts to boil add in the rabes and cook for about 20 minutes to remove the bitter flavor. About 10 minutes before the rabes are done, add a large pinch of salt to the second pot of boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente. Typically, about 7 minutes for dried and 2-3 for fresh.
While the pasta is cooking, use a sharp knife and make a long slit piercing the skin of the sausage in-order to make it easy to remove the meat from the casing. Add about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once oil is hot saute garlic for a minute. Add the meat that has been removed from the sausage casings and break up with a fork. Cook sausage until golden brown.
Once pasta is cooked, drain, and add to the skillet with the sausage. Drain the water from the rabes and add toss them with a little oil. Add the rabes to the sausage and pasta mixture.
Toss all ingredients to make sure they are well incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add in a sprinkle of red pepper flake (optional).
To serve, add a drizzle of oil and a generous pinch of Romano cheese.

breakfast to-go

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I am a morning person. I love waking up before the kids, working out, showering, and enjoying a cup of coffee with this yogurt parfait, while perusing my favorite virtual worlds. 

But for those mornings when it takes a mack truck to get out of bed, and I am wondering if I will have time to brush my own hair let alone the kid's, it is comforting to know that we can at least enjoy this quick and healthy breakfast before we start the day.

High in protein, low in fat, big on flavor, and little on time... what more could a mom want? 

plain Greek yogurt
fresh strawberries or blueberries
granola (Grape Nuts if your on a diet) 
honey or agave nectar

Rinse, dry, and chop strawberries into small pieces. Layer a bowl or mason jar with some plain Greek yogurt, the fresh fruit, a sprinkle of granola for crunch, and a drizzle of honey for sweetness. Adjust ingredients to your preference.

Maple Glazed Popcorn

Monday, January 14, 2013

I'm a true believer in making everyday special. Yet some days, like Mondays, are hard to get excited about.

So to make this Monday a little sweeter we are having a popcorn and movie night. Bootleg version of Argo, and this maple glazed popcorn. Sweet and salty always does the trick. Plus, making your own popcorn feels a little more festive than say, opening a bag of chips.

So here's to Monday, the start of a new week, let's make it a sweet one.

1 cup popcorn kernels (or 6 cups popped popcorn)
3 tablespoons butter, separated
1/3 cup maple syrup 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
sea salt (kosher is fine too) 

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour in popcorn kernals. Cover pot with lid and occasionally shake to move kernals around and prevent burning. When popping slows remove from stove top and set aside. 

Meanwhile in a small saucepan over medium high heat, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Once butter is melted add in maple syrup. Stir to combine and heat syrup through. Take off heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over popcorn and quickly toss to coat. Add salt and combine. Allow to cool before eating. 
{Recipe via This Homemade Life}

the honeymoon salad

Monday, January 7, 2013

As a child I ordered my salads with just lettuce. Apparently this is called a honeymoon salad (lettuce alone, let us alone). 

But eventually the honeymoon was over. I became bored of the same old bowl of lettuce with dressing. Yet I couldn't bring myself to part with this healthy dish for good. So I created new ways to keep the love alive. I introduced new ingredients, added healthy grains, topped with delicate cheeses, and just like that my heart fluttered like a new bride about to embark on her...honeymoon.

Here are my top four lettuce free salads to bring back that lovin' feeling.    

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