The Skinnytaste Cookbook – a Cookbook Review

The Skinnytaste Cookbook- Light on Calories, Big on Flavor

The Skinnytaste Cookbook- Light on Calories, Big on Flavor

Google anything with the word “healthy” in it, and you’re bound to see the blog Skinnytaste come up high on the list.

I have followed Gina Homolka and her Skinnytaste blog for quite some time so I was extremely excited to see her come out with this cookbook.

Having made several of her recipes, I knew this would be a cookbook worth investing in.  Gina’s recipes have always been full of flavor and nutrition while being lower in calories.  And when I say that, I mean it.

Since January 1st has come and gone, and New Year’s Resolutions abound, this is the perfect time of year to try experimenting with The Skinnytaste Cookbook, so I have been pouring through the book and experimenting.

First off, the book is large sized, which I Loved, and the photos in the book are big and bold and beautiful, which I adore in cookbooks.  The first chapter gives you some motivation with helps, like “A Skinny Kitchen Makeover”, which helps you understand staples and good-for-you items to have in your own kitchen.

And the food you’ll be cooking will be excitingly ethnic and full of spice and flavor.  The recipes range from wonderful breakfast recipes like Winter, Potato, Kale and Sausage Frittata  and Coco-Loco Mango Green Smoothies to healthy mains like Greek Salad Pita Pizzas and Mongolian Beef and Broccoli.   There is even a dessert section featuring some lovely looking Mini-Pavlovas with Fresh Fruit and Silky Chocolate Cream Pie made with some ingredients you wouldn’t expect but actually work and taste so good.

Each recipe has a menu showing the nutritional breakdown in fat, calories, carbohydrates, cholesterol, sugar, etc. to help you keep track with ease of what your food intake is everyday.  I love that she uses natural whole ingredients, unlike many other healthy cookbooks that use canned low fat cream of something soups and such. There are also little cutout sections every page or so called “Skinny Scoops” that give you hints for quicker fixings and also pantry tips like freezing leftover buttermilk (a quandry I always have).

If you are looking for a fresh take right now on your eating habits…Skinnytaste is worth the buy. I look forward to trying more of Gina’s recipes soon!

 

 

 

 

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Daniel Fast Delicious Recipes – Healthy New Year’s Resolution Foods

Daniel Fast recipe ideas

Daniel Fast recipe ideas

Mr. Wonderful and I are almost done with week two of our cleanse/fast. We are eating all plant-based foods and whole grains. The breads can’t contain yeast and  we can’t have dairy or meat (basically vegan).

At this point, I have had to stop and reflect and say that we are meant to be whole persons.

By that I mean, we are focusing on improving our whole person during this time – our body, spirit and mind.   It’s amazing what happens when you do a fast – you become aware of remembering to focus on all three of these areas and make them healthier. I can honestly say that my prayer time, God time and body and spirit have improved during these two weeks. After the initial coffee headache went away, my energy level and overall alertness has improved, my spirit has soared, my mind has been focusing on things I have let go for a while and I am just really feeling very satisfied in all ways.

We’ve had to restructure our meal plans to meet the almost vegan diet so I did what any foodie would do in search of good recipes – went to Pinterest!

Some delicious recipe we’ve made this week are as follows:

These Vegan Grain-Stuffed Mushrooms from Cara’s Cravings (A guest post from Tasty Yummies)

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This One Hour Vegan Shepherd’s Pie from Minimalist Baker.

SIMPLE-Shepherds-Pie-So-hearty-delicious-and-perfect-for-colder-months-vegan-GF-healthy

This was delicious and the protein used here was black lentils, which I’ve been falling in love with these past two weeks.

These Black Bean Avocado Enchiladas from The Garden Grazer.   You had me at avocados.

blackbeanavocadoenchilads3

 

These PB & J Healthy Oatmeal Cookies from Skinnytaste.  Oh, how wonderful these are in the morning for breakfast or for a post-workout protein pick-me-up! and pssttt…and added plus is they use 4 ingredients only!

PB-&-J-Breakfast-Cookie

 

This Tangled Thai Rainbow Salad from yours truly has been delicious. Those are zucchini noodles.  When cooking this on my show this week, Emily Sutton told me these are called “zoodles”. Who knew?

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We also made another or our personal favorites – this salad from moi –  Kale Black Bean Quinoa Salad.

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Last night we made this soup and we both raved about it. Cabbage Soup from A Cookbook Obsession.

Farmhouse Cabbage Soup with Cannellini Beans and Kielbasa

We left out the kielbasa but as soon as we can add meat back in, we will add turkey kielbasa and it will become a staple at our house in the winter. The curry powder just makes the broth amazing.

And for snacking, my new creation to keep Mr. Wonderful sane in crunch land. Roasted Buffalo Chickpeas.

ROasted Buffalo Chickpeas

I am looking forward to the next week and experimenting with more recipes.

I am also looking forward to more energy, mind clarity and spiritual growth.

In addition to our food regime change, I have also started back to thy gym three days a week. Here is a treadmill workout my workout partner and BFF Joy and I are doing.

Start the treadmill at 3.0 or above. Walk two minutes, then each two minutes raise the incline up one level. Continue to do so every two minutes until you get to level 5, then lower the incline every two minutes until you are back to 0. Cool down for 2 minutes. Each day we’ve been trying to add more one incline level so this week we went up to 7 and will continue going next week!

Also, try doing 3 sets of 15 crunches.  The first set will be straight forward, the second set will be pretending to touch your right elbow to your left knee and your third set will be pretending to touch your left elbow to your right knee.

You do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around…\

Just kidding…every week try to add one or two more to each set of 15. The treadmill will serve to burn off calories by reducing your body fat and the crunches will begin to tone your tummy muscles.

Here’s another idea. If you have a desk job. Make sure you drink plenty of water each day. The result is you will visit the bathroom more frequently. Each time you visit the bathroom do a couple of sets of 10 of wall push-ups or squats in front of the bathroom mirror.  Listen carefully for footsteps so as not to feel like an idiot if someone walks in.

I hope I’ve given you a few ideas of health this winter while rebooting into a healthy lifestyle.

Here is another site that has some amazing healthy recipes for you to check out – ALOHA- a place to say hello to good health and happiness. I hope you’ll check them out as well!

Signed,

One Whole Happy Blogger

P.S.  Are you eating clean, fasting or doing anything to improve your whole person during this time of year?  Share it with me in the comments below!

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Crab Rangoon Flatbread Pizza

Crab Rangoon Pizza Fong's

Crab Rangoon Pizza Fong's

This is my daughter Kayla and her best friend and roommate Brettley from ORU.

One year, Kayla went home with Brettley to Iowa at Christmas for a week, and they kept telling me about this pizza they had.

Crab Rangoon Pizza.

I was intrigued, and set about figuring out how to make it this week.  I tested it out on them some weeks later and they both agreed it was close.

For those of you who may  not be familiar with the term, Crab Rangoon is a deep fried wonder usually seen on Chinese Buffets.  It is a wonton wrapper filled with a mixture of cream cheese, onions and sometimes horseradish, then sealed shut and deep fried.  You may have seen it.

The experiment was a success and this was ohhhh so good.

This part may be difficult for you, so if you can’t find wonton wrappers, you could still make this without them.  We have an asian market that carries them but many grocery stores now do as well.  They are in the refrigerated section.

Slice the wontons (do several at once) up into strips and then lay them out onto a lined cookie sheet that you’ve brushed with olive oil. Brush the tops of the strips with a little olive oil and then pop into a hot 400º oven for about 10 minutes or until the strips brown up and are crispy.

Find some flatbread at your local grocery store.  I used Toufayan Multigrain Flatbread (if you’re from Oklahoma, I got it at Crest).

The rest of you? I don’t know what to tell you…but look for it!  In a pinch, wheat tortillas may work?

Take a block of cream cheese, chop up one-half an onion super fine, and measure out 2 tablespoons of horseradish.  Don’t worry, the horseradish is almost undetectable but it just gives it something yummy.  I used fat-free cream cheese, and it was really really good.  We’re trying to eat lowfat …

At the moment anyway.

Dump this all into a bowl and mix it up with your mixer.

Take one of your flatbreads and put it on a pizza round or a lined cookie sheet,  and spread an even layer of this mixture over it, going almost to the edge.

 

Now, if you want to be really gourmet, buy some real lump crab meat, but the girls told me they just used the “orange crab stuff” so I just bought the imitation, which is really just white fish.

 

Next, sprinkle some shredded Asiago cheese over top of the crab meat.  You could use any cheese you love, even mozerella.

 

Chop up some green onions and sprinkle those over top of the cheese.

 

Then shake some parmesan on top of that.  I know, I know, fresh would be so much better (and I agree! Use it!) but this was all I had laying around.  Go ahead…chew me out.  I deserve it.

Pop this into your oven for 20-25 minutes at 400º, or until the cheese has melted nicely and the edges of the flatbread are beginning to brown and crisp.

Remove your pizza from the oven and while it’s still piping hot, drizzle some Sweet Chili Sauce over top.  If you’re not sure what that is..click here.  It is available at Wal-Mart and most stores now in the Asian section. It’s like a sweet and sour sauce kicked up with chili’s but not too hot…just delicious!

Pop it back into the oven now for an additional 2-3 minutes, just to warm up the sauce.  Remove it and and cut it into fourths.

This is so marvelous.

Come closer.

A little closer….

If you love crab rangoon, you must make this!

Ya hear? Make it today!

KB Crab Rangoon Flatbread Pizza
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 wonton wrappers, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 4 multi grain flatbreads
  • 1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese
  • ½ c. finely chopped onions
  • 2-3 T. horseradish ( or 4 if you love horseradish!)
  • 1 package flaked imitation crabmeat
  • 1 c. Asiago cheese
  • ¼ c. parmesan cheese
  • 2 green onions
  • 3 T. asian style sweet chili sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400º. On lined cookie sheet, drizzle olive oil and brush all over foil. Lay out strips of wontons, not touching and brush with additional olive oil.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes or until browned and crispy.
  3. In medium bowl, with mixer, blend together cream cheese, onions, and horseradish. Spread ¼of mixture over one flatbread almost to edges.
  4. Top with ¼ of the crabmeat.
  5. Sprinkle ¼ of the Asiago over top.
  6. Chop up green onions and sprinkle ¼ over cheese, then sprinkle with ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning and the flatbread edges are brown and crisping.
  8. Remove from oven and drizzle chili sauce over top.
  9. Return to oven for 2-3 minutes and then top with crumbled wonton strips.
  10. Cut into fourths and serve!

Today I’m participating in Food Network’s Comfort Food Feast. You MUST check out what some of my favorite food bloggers are making in the way of pizza!

Dishin & Dishes: Crab Rangoon Pizza Flatbread
Daisy at Home: Mini Pizza Bites
The Cultural Dish: Mini Eggplant Pizzas
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spicy Pizza with Garlic Confit & Pesto
Red or Green: Tostada Pizza
Swing Eats: Mini Deep Dish Polenta Pizzas (Gluten-Free)
Weelicious: Quilt Pizza
Taste with the Eyes: Pretty Little Cast Iron Skillet Pizzas
The Mom 100: Two-Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Naan Pizza
FN Dish: 6 Newfangled Ways to Get Your Pizza Fix

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Roasted Buffalo Chickpeas

Roasted Buffalo Garbanzo Beans

Photo Jan 06, 5 52 41 AM

Okay, Okay, I admit it.

I’ve become one of those people that has tried to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the scads of recipes out there involving “buffalo” this and that.

One needs only to flip open a food magazine or even Facebook during this time of the year, when football games line the cable guide menu to know that buffalo sauce abounds in recipes.  I’ve seen such recipes as buffalo chicken pasta, buffalo chicken egg rolls, buffalo chicken lasagna and buffalo chicken cupcakes all over the web…and let’s face it folks, these may be good, but is there anything as good as that chicken wing, fresh out of the fryer and tossed with Frank’s hot sauce and melted butter?  Well, my baked wings recipe comes pretty darn close.  But still, enough is enough people with the buffalo stuff!

But did I let that stop me from joining the frenzy this week?

Nope.

Nada.

Guilty.

But I have a great excuse.

I’m starving.

And I have another one.

Mr. Wonderful needed something crunchy.

Photo Jan 06, 5 52 03 AM

Because we are on a 21 day plant-based cleanse and we needed something that tasted like junk food but really wasn’t.

Enter the Roasted BUFFALO chickpea.

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I have made roasted chickpeas before and they pack a nice crunch factor but I wanted something fun to flavor them with, so I dug through my spice cupboard and it wasn’t enough.  I looked in the pantry and came up with zilch. I opened the refrigerator and my eyes zeroed in on…

Frank’s Hot Sauce.

Photo Jan 06, 5 07 38 AM

I figure what’s plant based, if not something made out of red peppers and vinegar (Vinegar is ok on our cleanse), so I hauled out the bottle and set to work.

 

Before you can roast the garbanzo beans/chickpeas, first you have to rinse and drain them well then roll them out on a towel to dry.

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I put mine on a clean dish towel, then used some paper towel to roll them around and get them good and dry.

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Which now that think about it, it’s kind of funny when you consider I dried them off so well only to douse them with pure hot sauce love in the next step.

Pour about 1/2 cup of Frank’s right over the chickpeas in a bowl.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil or so and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and a sprinkle of sea salt over top of them.

pour sauce buffalo chickpeas

Take a large spoon and stir the bowl really well.

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Dump these out onto a baking sheet, making sure to spread them out so all their sides can crisp.  I should warn you to line your pan for easy clean up as well!   Pop these into a 425º oven.

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And bake them for about 30 minutes.

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Mine were actually perfect at about 38 minutes. But check yours at 30 because all ovens are different. We like them pretty crunchy but not hard enough to break a tooth. We made several batches and found that turning the oven off at 35 minutes and letting them set inside for another 5 minutes was pretty darn near perfect!

Photo Jan 06, 5 46 08 AM

These really hit the snack fix in both of us that night. Mr. Wonderful remarked that they reminded him of corn nuts and he loved them.

We’ll be making these again over the next 11 days.

Roasted Buffalo Chickpeas

I guarantee it.

Roasted Buffalo Chickpeas
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (16 oz.) can garbanzo beans
  • ½ c. hot sauce (I prefer Franks)
  • ½ t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425º.
  2. Drain garbanzo beans, dump onto clean kitchen towel. Top with 2 sheets of paper towel and roll chickpeas to dry
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and toss
  4. Spread onto line baking sheet
  5. Bake 30-40 minutes (check at 30)

 

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Oklahoma City Caffeine Crawl

Oklahoma City Caffeine crawl

Oklahoma City Caffeine crawl

Listen up Oklahoma City!

If coffee is your thing, you will want to check out the Oklahoma City Caffeine Crawl coming Saturday March 21st.  Tickets are now on sale (click here to purchase).

Last year’s OKC Caffeine Crawl left us with a coveted award of “Most Enthusiastic Crawlers” and this year will be even better!

What’s a Caffeine Crawl you ask?

Started by the LAB, and with an enthusiasm for all things caffeine, including coffee, tea and chocolate, you will embark on a bit of a hyper tour of several OKC caffeine shops, interact with the staff and learn some educational facts as well.  At every stop on the tour, there is a different, hands-on presentation, and a free drink or chocolate sample provided by the shop and redeemable to attendees only. Some of my favorite places are participating including those below:

List of participating stops and roasters
Cafe Evoke
Coffee Slingers Roasters
Compass Coffeehouse
Cuppies and Joe
Elemental Coffee Roasters
Gray Owl Coffee
Junction Coffee
Kitchen 324
Mariposa Coffee Roastery
Second Wind Coffeehouse
syrup
t, an urban teahouse
Topeca Coffee

Here’s a bit of info off of the Caffeine Crawl website.

“Once again, we’ll have multiple routes covering Edmond, Norman and Oklahoma City, but with routes set up for less travel time. You can choose from one of six routes touring Oklahoma City and either Edmond or Norman. Also, there’s an option of an early start at 8:30a for routes one through four, and routes five through six begins at 11:00a. All ticket holders and industry professionals are invited to join us at Coffee Slingers at 5p for a Latte Art Throwdown after the Caffeine Crawl.”

This will be my first year to participate in Caffeine Crawl. I’ll of course, do a write up on it afterward and let ya’ll know how much fun it was. But if I were you, I’d go and get the info firsthand!

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Cal’s Chicago Style Eatery

Cal's Chicago Style Eatery Exterior

Photo Dec 20, 3 19 25 PM

Sometime over Christmas break, and before Mr. Wonderful and I switched over to trying to get back to a reasonably healthy eating style, we indulged one day at this place around the corner from us.

Cal’s Chicago Style Eatery.

Located in the space that was previously Steve’s Ribs on Hefner Road, we found that Cal has recently moved to town and like most transplanted natives from Chicago, missed hometown food favorites.

I can sympathize Cal. I lived near Chicago for 2 years and miss the deep dish and stuffed pizza immensely!  Gimme some Gino’s East sausage stuffed pizza and I can die happy.

You won’t find pizza on the menu at Cal’s however, as his in-laws are the owners of All-American pizza and therefore, as any wise son-in-law would do, he won’t compete with dear old dad-in-law.

Smart move Cal!

The decor at Cal’s is the shell of what was Steve’s Ribs, but there is now a mix of what I call mobster/sports diner decor.  You’ll find pictures of vintage Wrigley Field, Michael Jordan, and even a Soprano’s street sign.

Cal's Chicago Style Eatery Interior

So what kind of Chicago-style food exactly are we talking about if not the famous pizza?  You can take a glance at the menu if you like, but basically, burgers, dogs, including the neon green slathered Chicago dog, meatball subs, Polish and Italian Sausages in a bun, and Italian Beef or Italian Beef and Sausage subs topped with hot Giardiniera peppers on a fresh toasted hoagie.   There are also a few offerings like gyros and Philly sandwiches as well.

I couldn’t resist the Chicago dog.  And get this…for the side, I got pickle fries.

Chicago dog Cal's Chicago Eatery

Yes you heard me. Pickle fries.

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I must admit, if you’re a pickle or fried pickle fan (for those of you from the north, some of our Sonics carries flat round pickle fries also), and us pickle fans happen to adore them, you’ll LOVE these.

The dog was spot on and made, as Chicagoan’s refer to as “dragged through the garden” – 100% beef hot dog, diced tomatoes, onions, that neon sweet style green “atomic” relish, mustard, sport peppers and a kosher pickle spear on a steamed poppy seed bun.  This is classic hotdog at its best ya’ll. If you haven’t tried a Chicago dog, head on over to Cal’s and try it. Deliciousness.

Mr. Wonderful ordered the Classic Philly – which came out as your choice of shredded steak or chicken (he got steak), grilled green peppers, mushrooms, onions, cooked with ​Cal’s signature sauce and topped with melted mozzarella cheese.

The man was happy.

This was a big man’s sandwich. I am not calling Mr. Wonderful fat, mind you, it’s just a hefty sandwich. Men will love it. He got onion rings as his side.  Honestly, everyone has their own favorite onion ring. I prefer the ones with bread crumbs over this battered type but they were hot and fresh.

Classic Philly Steak Sandwich Cal's Chicago Eatery

Other sides at Cal’s include corn dogs, jalapeno poppers and mozzarella sticks.

If you’re looking for a really good sandwich or dog, head over to Cal’s and try his place out!

Cal’s Chicago Style Eatery

7202 W. Hefner Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73162
405-721-7700
website and menu

Need help finding your way to Cal’s Chicago Style Eatery? Here’s a map to help!

Cal's Chicago Style Eatery on Urbanspoon

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Bacon Poblano Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash

Sweet potato hash final

bacon poblano sweet potato hash I don’t know what’s up lately with my taste buds, but I love to cover every one of them with spicy flavor.

It’s no secret to those who know me that Thai food is my favorite food, and I believe it’s because it hits all of my taste buds by usually covering sweet, sour, salty and spicy all in one dish.

It’s also no secret that when I hit 40, I started liking a little kick in almost everything I eat. Those bottles of hot sauce on every table that puzzled me when I first moved to Oklahoma in my early 20’s now delight me to no end. I have become one of those crazy people who shake it on everything from scrambled eggs to chocolate pudding.

Not really on the chocolate pudding part, but I can add that stuff to just about anything.

So, whilst Mr. Wonderful snoozed late one Saturday morning, I grilled up this breakfast dish and we truly loved it. What’s not to love about grilled sweet potato cubes mixed with crispy salty bacon, a little heat from some poblanos and poached eggs over all of it?

Start out by cutting up some bacon into ¼ inch pieces and tossing them into a pan to crisp up over medium heat.

chop bacon

While that’s crisping, peel and cube 2 large sweet potatoes (I made this for two of us but it could easily feed 3.

sweet potato hash

Chop up half of an onion.  Mince up a clove of garlic.And now for the heat – chop up one poblano pepper.Chop it finely so there will glorious semi-hot specks of it all throughout the hash.

chop onion poblano garlic

By the way, did you know while you’re tweeting on twitter, you should never ask the question, “Can anyone tell me where to find good hash in Oklahoma City?”

I was speaking of the food of course, but that’s NOT exactly how it came across to many.

I’m still waiting for the DEA to show up at my door.

When your bacon finishes, remove it with a slotted spoon, drain off all but about a tablespoon or two of the fat rendered and then put it back on the burner and add in the sweet potato cubes, onion, and poblano.

IMG_6384

Save the garlic for a few minutes. We don’t want it to burn.

Let this cook for a few minutes and then stir it and let it set for a few minutes more. This way the bottoms of the sweet potato won’t just steam but start to crisp.

When the potatoes are fork tender and starting to get spots of brown on them, add in bacon, garlic and also some chopped fresh sage (2 tablespoons of fresh or 1 teaspoon of dried).

IMG_6390

Sprinkle it all with salt and pepper and give it a last stir.

sweet potato hash 2

Poach or fry two eggs (or 2 a piece if you’re a big manly man).

Spoon out some hash and lay the poached egg on top.

sw sweet potato hash 2

And dig in.

sweet potato hash 3

It’s a glorious morning when breakfast is this good.

*****How to make this recipe healthier – because of the New Year, and my current cleanse/fast way of eating – I would make this recipe healthier by using coconut oil to saute the vegetables. I would microwave turkey bacon and crumble it in. I would probably leave the egg for a source of protein.

Bacon Poblano Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash
Author: 
Recipe type: breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut in ¼ inch pieces
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut in small cubes
  • 1 large poblano pepper, chopped
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. fresh sage (or 1 t. dried sage)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut bacon into pieces and add to frying pan. Heat over medium heat on stove until bacon is crisp but not browned too deeply. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towels to blot off excess grease.
  2. Drain all but a tablespoon or two out of frying pan and add in sweet potatoes, poblano pepper, and onion.
  3. Return to heat and let set for a few minutes, letting the sweet potatoes brown a bit before stirring.
  4. Stir and let set again to brown one to two minutes.
  5. Stir again and continue repeating until potatoes and peppers and onions are all soft when stuck with a fork.
  6. Add in garlic, sage, salt and pepper and stir for one minute.
  7. Poach or fry two eggs (or more, depending on how many you want!).
  8. Spoon hash into plates or bowls and top with eggs.
  9. Enjoy!

 

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Tangled Thai Rainbow Salad

Thai Zoodle Salad

 

Thai Tangled Rainbow Salad

Wow, Christmas is past and a new year has begun! Where did the time go.

Happy 2015 everyone!

Mr. Wonderful and I are doing a 21-day Daniel Fast plan which we started this past Sunday and that means we are basically eating a plant-based diet for 21 days (I hope to make it a habit, although adding back in some lean protein later on).

Our reasons for this are two-fold, the first being spiritual and the second being physical.

Did I mention this also means only water to drink? The precise list reads “Drinks: filtered water, spring water, distilled water.

Period.

Last night I went to bed with a raging headache from coffee withdrawal. It was awful!

Anyway, I am trying to be more creative than just putting out some boring vegetables so Sunday, I made a HUGE pot of vegetable soup to reheat for a few days. Last night I wanted an interesting salad to go with it. Poor Mr. Wonderful! He came home from work with this ravaged look on his face and grabbed a fork and dug right into the serving bowl when he saw the salad and exclaimed how delicious it was!

Now, mind you, he was starving so his comments could be a bit tainted, but really, this salad is a-MAZ-ing!

If you love the flavors of Thai – sweet, sour and spicy, you will LOVE this salad!
And I found another use for my spiralizer.

The spiralizer.

Spiralizer

The spiralizer is a quirky piece of equipment that turns vegetables into noodles. Such brilliance.

The one I purchased cost about $20 on Amazon but you can also get one that will will work a bit slower for around $10. If you have a julienne peeler, you can also get similar results although it’s a bit more tedious.

For this salad, I used raw zucchini for my base of noodles. I also wanted to use a raw sweet potato but didn’t have one in the house. I used the smallest noodle plate on the spiralizer and locked my zucchini in. Once I turned the crank handle, I soon had a large bowl of zucchini noodles (I used 2 medium-sized zucchini)!

Spiralizer Collage
I also cut up one-half of a red pepper into really thin strips, then cut them across into ½ inch pieces as well as julienne peeling 2 medium-sized carrots. I can’t figure out how to spiralize them for the life of me! I also ribbon cut shredded about 2 cups of kale (2 cups cut). If you think you don’t like kale, you probably haven’t chopped it correctly! Stack the leaves on top of each other and cut them as thinly across as you can. I added in 1 cup or so of bean sprouts and 3 chopped green onions (green and white). I also added about 1/2 cup of shredded red cabbage but forgot to take a picture.

Chop veggie collage Edamame come now shelled in frozen bags which sure saves me SO MUCH TIME!

Photo Jan 05, 3 35 21 AM

I ran one cup of these under warm water to thaw, kind of like you would do with frozen peas for a salad.

And just for kicks, I thinly julienned two radishes, because I had them on hand. The last thing I did before making the dressing was to chop up a good bunch of cilantro, probably roughly around ½ to 2/3 cup. All of this went into a bowl together.

Photo Jan 05, 3 57 36 AM

For the dressing, I used my Thai Peanut Sauce dressing. I left the sugar out due to our fast, but you could make it just exactly like it is. If Chile Oil is hard for you to find (look for it in the Asian aisle), you can just use red pepper flakes.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables.

thai peanut dressing
Toss REALLY well!

Photo Jan 05, 3 59 14 AM
Just before you serve it, sprinkle it with some shaved almonds or sunflower seeds.

Photo Jan 05, 4 01 17 AM

And then dig in!

It’s so good. What a great way to cleanse!
Happy New Year and good eating!

Tangled Thai Rainbow Salad
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
FOR THE SALAD
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 2 medium-sized carrots or 1 medium sweet potato
  • ½ red pepper
  • 1 c. bean sprouts
  • 2 c. shredded kale
  • ½ c. Shredded red cabbage
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 c. shelled edamame, thawed
  • ½ -2/3 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 radishes, julienned
  • ½ c. shaved almonds or sunflower seeds
FOR THE PEANUT DRESSING
  • ½ c. natural peanut butter
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t. minced or grated ginger
  • ⅛ t. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ c. brown sugar or ¼ c. honey (optional)
  • ¼ t. minced garlic
  • ½ t. chili oil (optional)
  • 1 t. Sesame oil
  • 1 c. water (to thin to liking)
Instructions
FOR THE SALAD
  1. Spiralize, julienne peel or thinly cut zucchini and carrots into bowl.
  2. Thinly slice red pepper then cut across the slices to make ½ inch pieces. Add to bowl
  3. Add bean sprouts to bowl
  4. Stack kale leaves and thinly slice across the leaves to make shreds and add to bowl.
  5. Thinly slice and then chop red cabbage
  6. Chop green onions and add to bowl.
  7. Rinse edamame under warm water until thawed and add to bowl.
  8. Add radishes to bowl.
  9. Chop cilantro and add to bowl.
  10. Make Peanut dressing (follows) and add to bowl. Toss salad well and sprinkle almonds or sesame seeds over top just before serving.
  11. FOR THE PEANUT DRESSING
  12. In a small saucepan, whisk all ingredients but water for the Peanut Dipping Sauce over low heat until heated through.
  13. Drizzle in water until sauce is consistency of mayonnaise and lightens in color.

 

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The 12 Days of Christmas Foodie Wish List 2014

12 days of Christmas foodie wish list

 

12 days of Christmas foodie wish list

It’s almost too late but I did manage to scope out a few things for my Christmas Foodie Wish List 2014! Narrowing things down to twelve always kills me, but here are just a few from the reasonable to the extravagant.  Please note, I left the off the La Cornue stove because I just simply had a hard time believing anyone was going to buy me a $12,000 stove.

Are there some foodie items you’re wanting to add to your kitchen repertoire this year? Tell me in the comment section! I’d love to hear your ideas!

One can dream right?

Day #1

While eating at my favorite gourmet pizza place in Tulsa a few years ago, we devoured this pizza called the DEMARCO OF BROOKLYN which is an homage to Dom Demarco of Di Fara Pizzeria on Avenue J in Brooklyn. The pizza had hand-crushed DOP San Marzano tomatoes, slices of house made fresh mozzarella, fresh picked basil, Pecorino Romano and “loads of extra virgin olive oil” which came drizzled out of a beautiful silver olive oil cruet.  I wanted one…the pizza and the cruet!

Williams Sonoma $19.99 Steel Oil Cruet with Brass Lid

Stainless Steel oil cruet

Day #2

Make your wine sipping and happy hour truly relaxed and happy. I kind of hate those silicone rubbery looking popular wine charms that are everywhere right now. These are elegant, quaint and just make you feel downright cheery.  For the wine lover:

Personalized Wine Charms in Sterling Silver $47 (custommade.com)

Sterling wine charms

Day #3

I love to keep my frequent kitchen tools handy like my colander in the kitchen. I keep it hanging above my kitchen sink from a hook.  So shouldn’t it be a truly special work of art? My kitchen is mostly red but with accents of mustard, sage and black and white. This fits the bill perfectly!

MacKenzie-Child’s Enamel Colander – Courtly Check $79 (amazon.com)

enamel colander

Day #4 & Day #5

My list is never lacking a Le Creuset piece. Yes, they are pricey, but ohhhh, how I adore the way they cook!  Everything tastes like it was slow cooked in a brick oven and I have been coveting this braiser pan for years. I’ve listed it in Cherry red of course, since that’s what I collect.

Le Creuset 3 ½ Qt. Braiser – $250 (lecreuset.com)

Braiser

Ok, let’s be real. I may actually GET this from someone…my low end choice for my Le Creuset collection is this:

Berry Jam Jar with Silicone Spreader $30 (lecreuset.com)

Berry Jam Jar with Silicone Spreader

Day #6

A month or so, I got it into my head that because of my German roots, I needed to make homemade sauerkraut. I started researching…only to learn that I needed something called a fermenting pot or crock.  Then I learned that these babies (the good German ones with pressing stones included) cost a pretty penny.   Then my mom told me that she had one from years ago out in her shed in the backyard, which I PROMISE you has not seen the light of day for many years.  If she insists on being a hoarder, then I will just add this to my list of ridiculously priced kitchen items I need.

Boleslawiec 15 L Polish Fermenting Crock Pot – PRESSING STONES INCLUDED (amazon.com)

Fermenting crock

Day #7

I need a better, clearly visible solution to my spice rack. I don’t want one of those revolving deals that sits on your counter occupying valuable cooking space either. I also don’t want pre-labeled jars.  I use a ton of exotic spices that I buy at my local friend Abel’s spice shop and I just want a shelf that can be mounted to my pantry door at eye level to be able to see what I want. This one fits the bill. In fact,  I could probably use two.

Rev-A-Shelf® Small Adjustable Door Mount Spice Rack – $69.99 (walmart.com)

  Mountable spice rack

Day #8

We frequently have Pad Thai parties at our house and we could use a new electric wok. An electric wok is really nice to have in the hot days of summer for quick stir fries and the likes.  For our Pad Thai parties, I also like electric because we take it outside to the patio to cook most of them time due to the lovely and “fragrant” smell of using fish sauce in the recipe. Ours is currently getting pretty old and nasty and we need a new one.

Aroma Housewares AEW-305 Electric Wok, Black $37.99 (amazon.com)

electric wok

Day #9

For a few edible gift ideas, I MUST start with Harry & David pears.  With their one beautifully golden-wrapped pear, you feel as privileged as Charlie did when he got that coveted gold candy bar. These pears are the most delicious I believe I’ve ever tried.

Harry & David’s Royal Riviera Pears $29.95 (harryanddavid.com)

Royal Rivera Pears

 

Day #10

I love hand made pasta, but who has the time to make it frequently?  One day I’ll be retired, permanently ensconsed in a frilly apron with my hands up to my elbows in flour cranking out beauty, but until then, I buy a local friend’s pasta. Our local Chef Chris Becker makes some delicious pasta.  Once serving under Mario Batali, Eric Ripert, Lidia Bastianich and Gabriel Kreuther, this guy KNOWS how to make pasta. I love living near him locally so that I can even purchase the fresh stuff at some of our local grocers. LUCKY moi! I especially love the Casarecce for it’s beautiful formed narrow, twisted and rolled tube shape for holding sauces like pesto.

Casarecce $7.99 (dellaterrapasta.com) 

  Della terra Casarecce pasta

Day #11

If you’re one of the Top 16 in the World Championship Cheese Contest, you know it’ll be a good gifting choice.  Aged Gouda has become one of our family favorites on the holiday cheese board.  This cheese made by  Holland’s Family Cheese located in famed cheese country in Thorp, Wisconsin, no longer has the 18-24 month on their site but I bet this one will do as it won the 2013 American Cheese Society and US Cheese Championship.

Marieke® Gouda Plain Premium (12-18 month) – 1 lb.  (mariekegouda.com)

gouda cheese

Day #12

You may have already seen my write-up, but here in the spicy Southwest, this cookbook has been one my family wants me to keep opening up and cooking from.  Tacolicious by Sara Deseran and Joe Hargrave  has taught the use of dried chiles and has opened up my authentic Mexican cooking palate in unbelievably delicious ways. Every SINGLE thing I’ve made out of it is fabulous! The book includes salsas, pickles, snacks and sides, tacos, cocktails and aquas frescas and even a section on throwing your own taco party. Even though I own it, I think every foodie needs it on their wishlist.

Tacolicious – Recipes, Snacks, Cocktails & More – $17.19 (amazon.com)

Tacolicious cookbook

Day 13

I had to make a bakers dozen again because due to owning that cookbook up above, I really want a comal, a cast iron flat griddle that really comes in handy for toasting dried, chiles, garlic cloves, bridling homemade tortillas, and toasting quesadillas.

Victoria Cast Iron Comal Griddle – $19.99 (amazon.com)

Mexican comal

And there you have it. Twelve recommendations for the food lover you want to please. From high-end dollar to more-affordable, this foodie would adore any one of these items this year for Christmas!

Happy Cooking!

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Red Velvet Pancakes

Red Velvet Pancakes recipes

Red Velvet Pancakes

This was a fast and furious weekend for us. I don’t know what happens in between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year, but this past week has held three family birthdays not to mention bunches of other social events.

Stop the madness and give me Red Velvet Pancakes with a Cream Cheese Drizzle please.

image

One of our local restaurants here serves a different pancake each week. I have wanted to try to recreate their version of Red Velvet Pancakes at home.  This weekend I managed to crank these out somewhere in between moving my daughter into her new place this along with church, and a grandbaby party at a gymnastics place AND Mr. Wonderful hauled all our Christmas stuff out of the attic as well.  It’s now half up, leaving a dozen or so Rubbermaid tubs lying in the entryway and hallway, some waiting to be emptied still.

We worked on the living room and kitchen area while watching Hallmark Christmas movies last night. Talk about losing track of time, or life in general for that matter. If I watch the first five minutes of one of those movies, I’m into it for life.  Mr. Wonderful stopped long enough to come into the kitchen to taste test the Red Velvet Pancakes and scarfed down four of them in five minutes, drizzling the cream cheese drizzle over them and rolling them up and eating them burrito style.

Speaking of Christmas, wouldn’t these pancakes just be SO beautiful to serve for your Christmas breakfast or brunch?  The color is just so …well, Christmas-ey!

Start out by mixing your dry ingredients together in a larg-sized mixing bowl.

Red Velvet Pancake dry ingredients

Add in 2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons each of baking soda and baking powder and a pinch of salt. Whisk them together well.

Photo Dec 07, 2 07 36 AM

Now do the same exact thing with your wet ingredients.  Be careful not to melt your butter too hot or you’ll make scrambled eggs. In a medium-sized bowl pour 2 cups of buttermilk. It’ll make your pancakes nice and light and tender and moist. Add in two beaten eggs and 1/3 cup of melted butter.

Photo Dec 07, 2 09 38 AM

You can use vegetable oil but I kind of prefer real butter.  Add in a teaspoon of vanilla and mix everything up really well with the whisk.

red velvet pancakes wet ingredients

Now add in two, yes TWO tablespoons of red food coloring. It’s what makes the color beautiful.  Mix it all together again with the whisk.

Photo Dec 07, 2 10 38 AM

Then pour the wet mixture right into the large mixing bowl with all the dry ingredients.

red velvet pancake batter

Mix this up well just until the batter is really blended. The batter will be lumpy but don’t overmix it too much.

batter for red velvet pancakes

To make pancakes evenly sized, I use a ladle. My ladle holds about 1/2 cup. I fill it to the top and then pour six of them onto my griddle.

red velvet pancakes griddle

Wait until the pancakes start to bubble around the edges and just start to bubble on the top, then flip them over for another minute or so and then remove them to a platter or plate.

For the drizzle, beat the cream cheese and butter in a good sized mixing bowl if using a hand mixer or use a stand mixer. You’re going to add in four cups of powdered sugar when you get the cream cheese/butter mixture really nice and smooth and if you don’t use a large enough bowl, your kitchen is going to look like it’s snowed in it. Add in the powdered sugar slowly until it’s all smooth and creamy again, then add in your vanilla.  Turn your beater on and slowly begin to drizzle milk into the bowl until the consistency is like salad dressing. You want to be able to drizzle it over the pancakes. Don’t make it too thin though!

I have one of these bottles that I picked up for just a dollar or two and it comes in handy for all sorts of things. I spooned my drizzle into it and then put it out with the pancakes to serve.

Photo Dec 07, 2 55 57 AM

Drizzle some of this loveliness over these pancakes.

Photo Dec 07, 3 11 54 AM

These are moist and tender and wonderfully delicious.

Red Velvet Pancakes Recipe

They are a little bit of heaven you can serve up on Christmas!

Red Velvet Pancakes recipes

 

Red Velvet Pancakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
FOR THE PANCAKES
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ c. cocoa
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 1½ t. baking powder
  • 1½ t. baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 c. buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 T. red food coloring
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • ⅓ c. butter, melted
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE DRIZZLE
  • 1 (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 ½ c. powdered sugar
  • ½ cup milk, plus more if desired
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
Instructions
FOR THE PANCAKES
  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl with whisk.
  2. In a separate large mixing bowl, add in all wet ingredients making sure the butter isn’t still hot enough to scramble the eggs and whisk well.
  3. Add Dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix just until blended, but don't overmix. Batter will be a little lumpy.
  4. Use a ladle to make even sized pancakes. Fill ladle to top and pour onto griddle heated to 350º.
  5. When pancakes begin to bubble around the edges and on top, flip over to the other side.
  6. TO MAKE DRIZZLE:
  7. Mix cream cheese and butter together with mixer until smooth and creamy.
  8. Add in Powdered Sugar and beat until smooth.
  9. Add in vanilla and beat until mixed well.
  10. Thin with milk until the consistency is thin enough to drizzle. It took almost the full ½ cup of milk for mine.
  11. Serve pancakes warm and drizzle over top. I use a plastic squeeze bottle but you coud also use a baggie with a tiny piece of the corner snipped off.

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