Thursday, January 24, 2013

Buffalo Hummus

No, this recipe does not call for buffalo! It's more like buffalo wings I actually sampled some buffalo hummus at Costco the other day and it was pretty tasty. Then my hubby went back for something I had forgotten and came home with two big bottles of hot sauce. had to be done!

Buffalo Hummus
3 c. cooked chickpeas*
3/4-1 c. water
1/4 c. tahini
2 T. lemon juice, optional (I always omit)
2 T. olive oil
2-3 T. hot sauce (I used Frank's Hot Sauce) + more for garnish
2-3 cloves garlic
1 t. kosher salt (or table salt to taste)

*I soaked and cooked my own chickpeas, but canned work too. If you use canned, reduce the salt by about half.

Throw all ingredients into a high power blender (or food processor).

 Blend until smooth.
 Spread in a bowl, cover and refrigerate, OR.....
 ...serve right away with additional hot sauce on top.

This is so good. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cinnamon Maple Granola Clusters

I'm addicted to making granola! It's so fun because it's easy to make any flavor you want. This method is awesome because it gives you big clusters of granola that are great for snacking.

Cinnamon Maple Granola

1/3 c. pure maple syrup
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. melted coconut butter, coconut oil, or canola oil
1 T. honey
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
3 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. ground flaxseed
1/4 c. wheat germ
1 & 1/2 t. cinnamon

Heat oven to 325 F. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine maple syrup, brown sugar, coconut butter (or oil), and honey. Microwave for 30 seconds or until warm and melty. Stir in vanilla and salt.
 Add remaining ingredients.
 Stir well.
 Line a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment or foil. Grease with cooking spray. Gently press granola into pan.
 Bake for about 30 minutes (check at 20 minutes and watch carefully so it doesn't burn). Remove from oven and let cool. When it's cool enough to handle, break into large clusters.
 Store granola in an airtight container.
Granola is such a great breakfast or an easy, portable snack. Plus, my kids all love it so I'm a pretty happy mama. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

High Protein Jalapeno Spinach Dip

This spinach dip is perfect for anytime. Not only is it super duper delicious, but it's high protein, low fat, low carb, and contains lots of veggies! The trick is using cottage cheese instead of sour cream or mayo. I know how it sounds, but don't scoff until you try it! I promise it will surprise you.

Guilt free creamy spinach dip anyone? Yes, thank you!

 High Protein Jalapeno Spinach Dip (adapted from Lindsey Isham)

2 c. cottage cheese
1 box (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
1 can (8 oz.) water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped (I used yellow)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. onion powder
1 T. minced jalapeno (I used bottled)
1/2 t. oregano
1/4 t. salt (more or less to taste)
pinch dry dill, optional
pinch black pepper

In a blender, blend cottage cheese until smooth. (I used a magic bullet blender and did it in two batches.)
 Combine smooth cottage cheese with all other ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least a few hours or overnight.
 Serve with any kind of chips or veggies.
I've eaten this dip with tortilla chips, sweet potato chips, and celery. They are all delicious. Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Chocolate Pancakes

I think I've made this recipe 3 times in the past week. Yesterday I made a vanilla sauce to serve with them. My hubby was pretty happy because we essentially had dessert for breakfast. The pancakes themselves are actually quite healthy, but the sauce...not so much. Each time I made them, I tried a different sauce with which to smother them. Coconut butter is also a great topping.

Chocolate Pancakes (adapted from Minimalist Baker)
1 & 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. cocoa
3 T. sugar
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 c. almond milk (I used original flavor)
2 T. oil
1 t. vanilla

Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
 Add wet ingredients and mix well. Batter will start get fluffy as it sits.
 Cook on a hot, greased griddle.

 As for the topping...feel free to go crazy! Really, what doesn't go with chocolate??? I tried vanilla sauce, chocolate sauce, and peanut butter sauce (recipes follow).
Vanilla Sauce
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 t. vanilla

Combine all ingredients and whisk thoroughly.

Chocolate Sauce
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
6 T. almond milk, half & half, or heavy cream
1 t. vanilla

Combine chocolate chips and almond milk in a bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals and stir until smooth. 

Peanut Butter Sauce
1 c. milk (I used almond milk)
heaping 1/4 c. peanut butter
1 c. powdered sugar

Combine milk and peanut butter in a bowl. Microwave until warm. Whisk in powdered sugar until smooth.

I hope you find some delightful toppings to eat on these super awesome pancakes. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ham & Lentil Soup

This is a wonderful soup for cold, winter days. It's so healthy and filling. Lentils are awesome because they don't need to be soaked before cooking. They have protein and fiber just like beans, but with a slightly chewier texture so they make a hearty soup.

 Ham & Lentil Soup
2 c. lentils
2 c. cooked ham, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 potatoes, washed and cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. chicken broth
4 c. water
1/2 t. thyme
plenty of salt & pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. (Or you could cook in a crockpot on low for 6-8 hours.) Add salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

 This makes a lot of soup so I like to freeze half of it to save for another night. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Banana Bars with Brown Butter Frosting

I first had these bars at a luncheon that my sister-in-law was hosting. They are TO DIE FOR!!! They are really really really good. Did I mention that they are amazing? The flavors of banana and brown butter frosting are indescribable! You'll have to just try them yourself. The original recipe comes from The Girl Who Ate Everything. I've also seen the recipe on Pinterest from Life's Simple Treasures. If you don't have a 10"x15" jelly roll pan, you can use a cookie sheet. Just watch them carefully because they cook a lot faster.

Banana Bars

1 & 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1 & 3/4 c. (3-4 large) ripe bananas, mashed
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts, optional (I omitted these)

Brown Butter Frosting
1/2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla extract (I used almond, but they're both amazing!)
3 T. milk

Heat oven to 375 F. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, sour cream, and butter. Add eggs, bananas, and extract. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined (it's okay if it's a bit lumpy). Spread in a greased 10"x15" jelly roll pan. Bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes. While bars are cooling, make frosting by browning butter in a saucepan (pictured here). Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Spread over slightly warm bars.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Don't ask me why, but I really love to eat my desserts frozen. For example - cheesecake, brownies, cake, cookies - all better frozen! I often have a container of goodies in the freezer. One day, my little guy was having a bad teething day and I decided to give him a frozen cookie to nibble. HE LOVED IT!!!!! Now I've totally ruined him and he has been standing by the freezer the last few days saying what sounds like, "Cookie." It's super cute.

But since it's probably not the best idea to feed my children cookies all day every day, I adapted my favorite pumpkin cookie recipe to be a little more nutritious. And seriously, I love them. I think I've eaten more than my kids have. Freeze them, and they are a perfect teething cookie!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 c. coconut butter (or regular butter), melted
1 & 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. pumpkin
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 & 1/4 c. oats
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. raisins

In a mixing bowl, combine coconut butter, sugar, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients and stir to form a dough. 
 Bake on a greased or lined cookie sheet at 350 F for 12-14 minutes.

I have been eating these nonstop. But I don't feel too terribly guilty...they have oatmeal, right? Haha. Enjoy!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sweet Almond Granola

A few days ago something reminded me of granola. I'm not sure what it was, but then I started craving it. But instead of buying some, I decided to make it (because it's seriously so easy to make!). This totally satisfied my craving.

Sweet Almond Granola

1/3 c. coconut oil, coconut butter, or canola oil
1/3 c. honey
1 t. almond extract
3 c. old fashioned oats
1/4 c. chopped almonds (I used roasted)
pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
 Spread mixture on a greased or lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 400 F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool completely and store in an air tight container. I love to eat this granola with greek yogurt and blueberries.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cheesy Baked Quinoa

I recently discovered that my little 16-month-old loves quinoa. Yay! So I've been preparing it all different ways for the whole family. This one was a real hit.
 Cheesy Baked Quinoa

1 c. quinoa
2 c. chicken broth
4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese
1 & 1/2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1-2 t. onion powder
salt & pepper to taste
any seasonings (i.e. italian seasoning, garlic, herbs, etc.), optional

In a saucepan, combine quinoa and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients, reserving 1 c. of the sharp cheddar. Spread into a baking dish (or 4 individual sized baking dishes).
 Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese. 
 Bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
 It's really fun to experiment with quinoa. It's great in place of rice in many recipes. Enjoy!