Monday, October 31, 2011

Cookie Dough for One

Cookie Dough for One

As if you needed MORE junk to eat on Halloween, feast on this.  It's a personal bad habit of mine.

3 T. flour
1 T. sugar
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. butter, softened or melted
2 t. milk
dash salt
dash vanilla
chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a small bowl.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Eat.  Enjoy.  Repeat, if desired.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Oatmeal Casserole

Sweet Potato Oatmeal Casserole

Serves 6.

This was fantastic and unlike anything I've ever had before.  I will definitely make it again.
Slightly adapted from: Oh She Glows

Oatmeal Ingredients:
1 cup regular oats
2 cups organic soy milk (or milk of choice)
2 small sweet potato, peeled, chopped
2 ripe large bananas
1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/8th tsp nutmeg + 1/4 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Crunchy Pecan Topping:
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp Earth Balance (or butter)
2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup brown sugar 

Preheat oven to 350F. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in the peeled and chopped sweet potato. Cook over medium heat, for about 5 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and set aside.

Give the pot a quick rinse and then add in the oats and milk. Whisk well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

With a potato masher, mash in the cooked sweet potato and the banana into the pot. I left some chunks for texture. Now stir in the cinnamon, maple syrup, nutmeg, and salt to taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Cook on low for another few minutes.

Make the crunchy pecan topping by mixing together the pecans, flour, Earth Balance (or butter), and brown sugar with a fork. until very clumpy. Pour the oatmeal into a baker dish (I used a 4 cup/8 inch casserole dish) and spread out evenly. Now sprinkle on the pecan topping.

Transfer the oats to a casserole dish (8inch/4cup or whatever you have!) and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, at 350F. After 20 minutes, set oven to BROIL and broil on low for a couple minutes, watching very closely so you do not burn the topping. Remove from oven and serve.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

Serves 3.

The Skinny Taste blog says this recipe will yield 6 servings, but I found it only made enough for 3 when I served it to The Mister, my younger brother, and myself.  If you want the WW points to apply, make sure to use portion control.  If you're not concerned about points, enjoy it like any other meal.  This is a great recipe that we all loved!
Source: Skinny Taste blog

Light Peanut Sauce:
14.5 oz fat free chicken broth
5 tbsp better'n peanut butter (I used regular peanut butter)
1 tbsp Sriracha chili sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz chicken breast, cut into thin strips
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp Sriracha chili sauce (more or less to taste)
juice of 1/2 lime
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
8 oz rice noodles
3/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups shredded carrots
1 1/4 cups cup shredded broccoli slaw 
1 cup bean bean sprouts
2 tbsp chopped peanuts 
1 lime, sliced
cilantro for garnish (optional)

For the peanut sauce: Combine 1 cup chicken broth, peanut butter, sriracha, honey, 2 tbsp soy sauce, ginger, and 3 cloves crushed garlic in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat stirring occasionally until sauce becomes smooth and well blended, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
Boil water for the noodles cook pasta according to package instructions.
Season chicken with salt and pepper, sriracha, lime, garlic, ginger and soy sauce.
Heat a large skillet or wok until hot. Add oil and sauté chicken on high heat until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes; remove from heat and set aside.
Add 2 cloves crushed garlic, scallions, carrots, broccoli slaw and/or bean sprouts and salt, sauté until tender crisp, about 1-2 minutes.
Drain noodles and toss with peanut sauce and additional chicken broth if needed to loosen the sauce. When chicken is cooked, toss with noodles.

Divide noodles and chicken between 6 bowls, top with sauteed vegetables, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts (or you can toss everything together to hide the vegetables so your family members don't push them aside!) and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Energy Bites

Energy Bites

Makes about 20.

A great on-the-go breakfast or snack.
Adapted from: Food Doodles blog

1/2 c. nut butter, such as almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter or any other nut or seed butter.  1/3 c. honey
1 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. shredded coconut
1/3 c. wheat germ
2 T. flax seeds
1-2 t. vanilla
pinch of sea salt if using a natural nut butter with no added salt
1-2 t. your favorite spices or spice combinations(optional)
1/2 c. other add-ins (any kind of whole or roughly chopped nuts or seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc)

In a large bowl add the nut butter, honey, and vanilla.  If your ingredients are room temperature you should be able to stir to combine.  If this is difficult you can warm in the microwave for a few seconds.  Once this is combined add the remaining ingredients.

Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  Then scoop out some dough and roll into a ball.  Place the balls in an airtight container and store in the fridge.  Also freeze well.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Recipe Revisited: Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel Apple Dip

This dip is so easy and always enjoyed at fall functions, so I had to post it again after it's first time in 2009.  It's a great way to get kids to eat a "healthy snack" and can be served as an after-school snack, with lunch, or at your next get-together with friends.

Makes about 2 cups.

1 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

Combine all three ingredients and mix well.  If you have time, let the flavors "mature" in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.  Serve with apple slices.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Baby Clothes

Baby Clothes

As one might expect, I've been a little consumed with all things baby lately.  And along with the new responsibilities of actually taking care of our wee one, I've found myself drawn to the sewing machine to churn out some fun little things for her to wear too. 

The picture above is on the day we brought her home from the hospital, so I guess I should correct my statement above and say that I was first drawn to this new craft back when I was pregnant.

I've made some Christmas shirts...

A fun little elephant for one of Macey's boyfriends...

And a birthday shirt for Macey's boyfriend's older sister...  :)

Here's one that should fit her soon...

Go Bucks!

66 days until Christmas... but who's counting?
(Thank you to Mimi for the knit hat!  She's also into crafts...)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sweet Potato Puree with Browned-Butter Maple Syrup

Sweet Potato Puree with Browned-Butter Maple Syrup

Serves 8.

The natural sweetness in sweet potatoes makes this dish taste less-healthy than it actually is.  For a more orange-y color, use yams.
Source: Martha Stewart magazine, also shown here

4 pounds sweet potatoes
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick sweet potatoes a few times with a fork. Bake on a foil-lined baking sheet until tender, 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Scoop out flesh from sweet potatoes, and puree in a food processor with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt until smooth (you may need to do this in 2 batches). Season with pepper.

Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add butter; cook, swirling, until deep brown with a nutty aroma. Remove from heat; swirl in syrup. Reheat puree; transfer to a bowl. Pour butter over top; sprinkle with pecans.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Italian Beef & Shells

Italian Beef & Shells

Serves 4.

A perfect weeknight meal!
Source: Taste of Home: Simple & Delicious, Oct/Nov 2010

1-1/2 cups uncooked medium pasta shells
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jar (23 ounces) marinara sauce
1 small yellow summer squash, quartered and sliced
1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced
1/4 cup dry red wine or reduced-sodium beef broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the marinara sauce, squash, zucchini, wine and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until thickened. Drain pasta; stir into beef mixture and heat through.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Autumn Chicken Chopped Salad

Autumn Chopped Salad

Serves 4.

I have been on a huge salad kick lately.  I typically love salads at restaurants, but was never wild about making salads at home, until I realized buying the right (good!) ingredients makes all the difference.  This salad was fantastic.
Inspired by: Espresso and Cream blog

Baby greens or your favorite lettuce
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 medium apple, chopped (or pear)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 avocado, chopped
4 slices thick-cut bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
Poppy seed Salad Dressing
Balsamic Vinaigrette

On a large platter (or in 4 individual serving bowls), combine the lettuce, chicken, apple, cranberries, pecans, bacon and avocado. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette.  (You could also premix them and serve that way.)  I used about 50% of each, but feel free to experiment with the combination.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Serves 4.

The focus seems to lie in the apple flavor, so don't be afraid of the butternut squash. At the same time, don't be expecting a strong butternut squash flavor, which I was, because you won't find it. This is a very light soup, and would be the perfect start to a autumn dinner party. Just be sure to offer something filling as an entree, especially if there are men in attendance!
Source: Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen cookbook

2 lbs. butternut squash (1 medium)
2 apples, such as Granny Smith, Northern Spy, or Rome Beauty
1 t. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 sprigs thyme
4 c. chicken stock

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Peel, core, and cut apples into quarters. Brush cut surfaces of squash and apples with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set apples aside.

Place squash on a cookie sheet, cut side down. Lift squash and tuck half of garlic and 1 spring thyme into cavity of each half. Bake 15 minutes.

Place apples on cookie sheet with squash and continue baking until squash and apples are completely soft and tender, 15-20 minutes more.

When squash is just cool enough to handle, scrape meat from skin and place in a medium pot along with apples and cooked garlic; discard thyme sprigs. Mash with a potato masher, or, if a smoother texture is desired, pass through a rice or food mill.

A Note From The Little Lady: I used an immersion blender to get my soup to the desired consistency.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Foodbuzz: Godiva Coffee

Foodbuzz: Godiva Coffee

As a member of Foodbuzz, I had the opportunity to test out Godiva's fall coffee flavors: Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Pecan Bark.  I was very excited about this one.  I love my morning coffee and I love all things fall (if you haven't gathered that already...), so this was RIGHT up my alley.

I drink my coffee black.  For whatever reason, I drink my iced coffee with flavored creamer.  I got into drinking my hot coffee with flavored creamer while pregnant, but then my tastebuds reverted back to pre-pregnancy once little Macey joined us outside the womb.  Anyway, I'm getting away from intended goal.  The coffee.  The Godiva coffee.

The fall flavors were fabulous, but I especially enjoyed the Pumpkin Spice flavor.  It had a smooth coffee flavor, but a strong pumpkin spice flavor, which I really enjoyed.  Paired with pumpkin bread (or pumpkin pound cake or pumpkin cookies or pumpkin delight!!!) and a good friend, it was the perfect way to start my day.

This is a coffee flavor that I will hate to say goodbye to come winter, and will welcome again next fall.  And in between?  I guess I will just have to test out some of Godiva's other flavors!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mmm-Mmm Better Brownies

Mmm-Mmm Better Brownies

Serves about 8, generously.

I'm usually a sucker for box mixes when it comes to cakes and brownies.  I just haven't been able to find a from-scratch recipe that I thought was better than the mix, but this brownie recipe is the closest I've come.  These had the dense, fudgey taste of box-mix brownies, and topped with a good frosting?  YUM.
Source: AllRecipes

1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. white sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Stir in walnuts, if desired. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan, or if you're using a smaller, deeper pan similar to mine, your baking time will be increased, 45-50 minutes.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall Football

Fall Football

I love fall, and I love Saturdays. I love fall football Saturdays.  I love fall football Saturday tailgates.  And I love baking for fall football Saturday tailgates.  You should too. 

Choose your cookie recipe:

1. No-Fail Cut-Out Cookies

2. Butter Cookies

3. Julie's Cut-Out Cookies

Bake up a batch of school pride and head off to cheer on your team.