Kitchen Creations

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My new favorite treat

My friend Stacy has been making these "Coconut Delights" (that's what I call them in my head) for some time now.  I adore them.  This is unusual.  I love coconut flavor.  I detest the feel of raw coconut shreds or flakes in my mouth.  Really, really detest.  These have raw coconut in them and I LOVED them!  I've been wanting to get on making them for some time and I finally got there.  The original recipe comes from the Wellness Mama website.  I had some confusion with coconut oil amount while using this site to make them.  I decided to go ahead and post the recipe that worked for me on this blog and let you all go from there.  These babies are coconut-chocolate goodness, I'm telling you!  I left some of them un-coated by chocolate for my poor husband who can no longer eat chocolate.  He wholly backs the non-chocolate "Delights", so there's a nice variation for you too!

These little desserts certainly hit the spot!  Enjoy one, or two, tonight, guilt free..... well mostly!


Coconut Delights:   
Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups shredded coconut
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond butter  (you can also use peanut butter)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips are the BOMB on these!)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Method:
1.)  Mix together shredded coconut, 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted), almond butter and vanilla extract.
2.)  Form into balls and place on a wax paper covered cookie sheet

3.)  Place balls in freezer for approximately 45 minutes- 1 hour, until fully hardened
4.)  Melt chocolate chips and 1 Tbsp. coconut oil in microwave (or over double boiler).  I did the microwave.  I stirred between 15 second intervals until the chocolate was smooth.
5.)  Dip coconut clusters into the melted chocolate and place back on cookie sheet.
6.)  Refrigerate to allow chocolate to harden.

Enjoy!

Click here for printable recipe

Healthy & Economical

One of my favorite snacks is a cherry pie Larabar.  I've seen the recipes for creating your own and often thought to myself, for the time and price of ingredients, I'll just continue to buy them.  During my spring break I decided to do a little research.  I bought all the ingredients to make a couple kinds of Larabars.  I totaled the amounts and tallied my time....  20 minutes, 60 cents per bar later & a thumbs up from EVERY member of my family AND my good friend Stacy... I am a convert to making your own!   I love these homemade treats that are packed with good things for you! My husband has affectionately termed them, "Gretchebars".

These little bits of deliciousness with keep in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 3 weeks and in your freezer for up to 3 months.  I wrap mine individually in saran wrap, but it's not required.  Another great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to take the ingredients and play with them to make them your own.  Substitute the dried fruit of your choosing, play with the nut to fruit ratio, add some favorite spices - nutmeg, ginger or cinnamon anyone??

Here's to your healthy snacking!

Homemade Larabars aka "Gretchebars"  

Ingredients:
Cherry Pie
Mild olive oil or cooking oil (for your pan)
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup pitted, soft whole dates (pack 'em in)
1 cup warm water (if you have very dry fruit, if not, this isn't necessary)
1 cup roasted almonds
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. sea salt

Apple Pie
Mild olive oil or cooking oil (for your pan)
1 cup dried apples
1/4 cup pitted, soft whole dates (pack 'em in)
1 cup warm water (if you have very dry fruit, if not, this isn't necessary)
1 cup raw walnuts
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. sea salt

Method:
1.)  Line an 8X8 pan with plastic wrap and gently rub a dab of oil over the surface of the plastic wrap.
2.)  Place fruit in a bowl and cover with warm water and let it soak for 5 minutes. (Skip this step if your dried fruit is soft and still retains a good deal of moisture).  Then drain your fruit & pat it dry.
3.)  Place your nuts in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped.  Add in the fruit, spices and salt.  Pulse until the fruit is blended and the mixture begins to stick together.    It takes about 2 minutes.
4.)  Transfer the mixture to your pan.  Either with slightly oiled hands or parchment paper that has been slicked with a bit of oil, press down on mixture and flatten evenly into the pan.
5.)  Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Remove and cut into bars.
6.)  Wrap & place in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks and freezer for up to 3 months.

click here for printable recipe



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sweet & Tangy

Today one of my favorite people came over to spend a few hours.  Cassidy loves books and baking.  It's no wonder we get along.  Who cares if she is 10 and I am..... well not 10.  We had a wonderful time gathering ingredients, talking about Trixie Belden, singing along with whatever popped up on the iPod and putting together a brand new recipe.  We dove right into the creation of this recipe and we knew this was going to be good when we started getting wiffs of the batter as it mixed and then as it baked.  It's a beautiful sunny day outside and these little gems suit the mood just right.  Raspberry mixed in a buttery batter and topped with a tangy lemon glaze and sugared lemon zest... my, my, my.

Enjoy, Cassidy and I certianly did!

Lemon Glazed Raspberry Muffins

Ingredients:
Muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp lemon zest
¼ cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ cup raspberries
Glaze:
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup granulated sugar (no this is not a mistake - there are 2 steps that each require the sugar)
1 tsp lemon zest


Method:
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease your muffin pan or line with muffin cups
  • If using fresh raspberries rinse and let dry.  If frozen remove from freezer and place in measuring cup or bowl.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together thoroughly.
  • Using a stand mixer or large bowl, combine the egg and 1 cup of sugar.  It should look thick and creamy.  Add the 1 ½ tsp lemon zest and the melted butter and combine.  The add the sour cream.  Stir until ingredients are just combined - do not over mix.
  • Stir the flour mixture into the egg/butter mixture using a wooden spoon or spatula.  Again, do not over mix.  Stop just before the mixture is completely combined.
  • Once the raspberries are dry, sprinkle a tablespoon of flour over the raspberries and toss to coat.  
  • Gently fold the raspberries into the batter.
  • Spoon batter into the muffin tin.  About 3 tablespoons per muffin will do.
  • Bake for 25 minutes - until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let set for about 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack.
  • While the muffins are cooking you can prepare the glaze.  Combine ¼ cup sugar with the ½ cup fresh lemon juice.  Turn the heat to medium and stir to combine.  Let it simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes syrupy.  It takes about 15 minutes.
  • Combine ¼ cup sugar with the 1 tsp. lemon zest.
  • Brush the top of each muffin with the lemon glaze.  Dip the tops of the muffins into the sugar-zest mixture.  
Cassidy dipping muffin tops into the sugared zest.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In love with rhubarb

I fell in love with rhubarb when I was in 2nd grade and living in Southern Illinois.  I was visiting my friend, Rebecca, and having a blast swinging from the hayloft in her barn and running around her huge yard.  That evening after dinner came strawberry-rhubarb pie. I'd never even heard of rhubarb.  I tasted it and was instantly besotted.  I came home and demanded a reason for never having tasted this delicious..... fruit? vegetable? What is it?  My mom's answer.... "because I can't stand it".  So fast-forward years later to Yakima, Washington and the gigantic and ever-producing rhubarb plants in my yard.  Now I have more rhubarb than I know what to do with.  I freeze it, make sauces, make crumbles, pies and jam, anything and everything.  I now have a delightful addition to my rhubarb arsenal, rhubarb upside-down cake.  It's inspiration is taken from the pear-cranberry upside-down cake I blogged on a couple years ago.  Sweet and tart combined with thick, spiced cake and crusty edges.  Mmmmmmm, so good.   Such a good reason to fire up the oven in 100 degree weather!!!

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake    

Ingredients:
  Topping - 
  3 cups of sliced rhubarb
  1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  2 Tbsp. flour
  1/4 tsp. of nutmeg
  1/4 cup butter or coconut oil

  Cake Batter -
  1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  1/2 cup sugar
  1 egg
  1.5 cups of flour - I used white whole wheat
  1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  1/4 tsp. salt
  2/3 cup of almond milk

Method:
*  Heat oven to 350 degrees and place 9" round cake pan into the oven with the 1/4 cup of butter or coconut oil
*  Stir together the rhubarb, brown sugar, flour and nutmeg
*  Once butter/oil is melted, remove pan from oven and add the rhubarb mixture.
*  Mix together dry ingredients for the cake batter and then add the wet ingredients to the dry.
*  Mix dry and wet ingredients together and spread atop the rhubarb mixture.
*  Place cake pan back into the 350 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
*  Remove from oven and run a butter knife around the cake pan edge.
*  Turn cake over onto a platter
*  Enjoy!

Click here for a printable recipe

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tex-Mex, Yes-Mex!

This post will fly in the face of many previous posts.  I have posted countless meat-less dishes, favorites of our mostly meatless family.  Recently, however, in an attempt to figure out what my body and stomach like and don't like, I embarked on the "Whole 30" journey.  Woah!  HARD!  I did find some absolutely terrific recipes and they have quickly become family favorites.  We tend toward the vegetable heavy meals, of which there are many.  I discovered this little gem at Popular Paleo while searching for a recipe for my friend and her family.  It was a large group and most of them were Paleo people.  I, of course, made a few alterations.  I just can't help it.  It looked and smelled so delicious I immediately made it for our family too.  What a winner!  Paleo or not, this meal will satisfy in EVERY way.  Lots of veggies, lots of flavor and it fills your tummy with good nutrition that keeps hunger at bay for a long, LONG time.

Flex your Tex-Mex muscle tonight with this casserole.  You won't be sorry!

PaleoTex-Mex Casserole   

Ingredients:
1-2 lbs. of lean ground turkey
2 cups kale (you can also use spinach)
2-3 carrots, diced (about a cup)
1 parsnip, diced (about a cup and a half)
1 zucchini, diced (6″ zucchini/one cup)
2 cups diced bell peppers
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can organic diced tomatoes
3 TBSP preferred coconut oil (Paleo), olive oil (non-Paleo)
1/3 cup taco seasoning (or make your own)
1/2 tsp sea salt
5 cups shredded sweet potatoes (I have also used Yukon Gold and Russets on top).
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
For Garnish: fresh cilantro, green onions, avocado slices and/or hot sauce

Method:
1.)  Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
2.)  Prepare (chop/dice/mince) all vegetables
3.)  Melt the 1 1/2 Tbsp of the coconut oil (or heat the olive oil) in a large, heavy bottomed skillet or pan.
4.)  Add the kale, carrots, parsnip, zucchini, bell peppers, onions,and garlic.  Mix in sea salt and cook vegetables down until you are able to pierce them with a fork.  Remove from pan and set aside.
5.)  Heat the other 1 1/2 Tbsp of coconut, or olive oil, and add the ground turkey, combining it with the taco seasoning.  Mix and cook until brown.
6.)  While the meat is cooking, grate the sweet potatoes.  This task is a cinch with a food processor!  Three large sweet potatoes should give you 5 cups of grated.  Place grated potatoes into a large mixing bowl.
7.)  Melt the 1/2 cup of coconut oil and pour over the shredded potatoes while it is warm.  Waiting too long will allow the oil to cool and begin to solidify again.  
8.)  Sprinkle the potatoes with the onion powder, chili powder and ground coriander and mix in.

9.)  Now add the cooked vegetables, diced tomatoes and ground turkey back into the pan and heat for 3 minutes.
10.)  Transfer the mixture into a 9X13 baking dish and cover with the shredded sweet potatoes.

11.)  Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
12.)  Remove the foil and broil on low for 5-10 minutes, or until potatoes are browned.

***Hint:  As mentioned at Popular Paleo, this casserole is amazing when added to a fried egg in the morning!!!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

We Love Curry

We are a "mostly meatless" family, a term coined by my husband when he wanted to reduce the amount of meat he ate.  I'm always on the lookout for vegetarian or vegan options that are easy and packed with flavor.  I disovered this one on myrecipes.com and it delievers on both ease and tastiness!  The whole family LOVES it.  My two boys request it frequently.  I've made a resolution this year to eliminate my use of canned beans.  This is the only part of the recipe that takes much time.  Using canned chickpeas makes this dish come together extremely quickly.  I cannot say enough about the cilantro flavor in this dish.  It is an absolutely amazing compliment flavor. 

Enjoy and easy and flavor-filled meal you can feel good about tonight. 

Chickpea Curry  


Ingredients:
  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 4 cups chickpeas, cooked (or 2 15-ounce cans, rinsed & drained)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch of spinach
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Method:
  • Cook rice according to package directions.
  • Saute onion in olive oil fo r5 minutes. 
  • Stir in garam masala and cook for 30 seconds, stir constantly.
  • Add chickpeas, tomatoes and spinach and cook 2 minute

  • Remove from heat, stir in yogurt and salt.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro.
  • Serve over rice & with naan.

Click here for printable recipe

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Enchilada Enchantment

I found this recipe on one of my very favorite food blogs Pinch of Yum.  I was looking for inspiration.  I wasn't feeling all that energetic and I needed to create the menu for the week.  Needless to say, my inspiration needed to come in the form of a tasty looking picture with an accompanying recipe that had minimal ingredients and minimal EASY steps.  This one caught my attention right away.  We LOVE enchiladas.  This recipe has all the yum of enchiladas without having to dip, fill and roll.  In addition it is delicious!  We've added it to a regular rotation and enjoy making additions, substitutions and the like depending on what we have on hand and what sounds good.

So have the whole enchilada with this casserole tonight!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole  
* Adapted from Pinch of Yum food blog         

Ingredients:   

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 15-20 oz can of enchilada sauce (or make your own, but that is NOT minimal or easy)
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (I really enjoy medium cheddar on this!)
  • 6-8 whole wheat flour tortillas (the size of the tortilla will determine the number you need)
  • 1 can of refried beans (We prefer refried black beans.)
  • 1 handful chopped cilantro
  • 2-3 diced green onions  (optional, but a really great addition)


Method:

  1. Cook and shred the chicken.  You can boil it or bake it.  Make sure if you bake it to use a pan with a lid and have plenty of water in the pan so the chicken doesn't become tough.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spread a couple spoonfuls of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X9 (or so) baking dish.
  3. Place two tortillas at the bottom of the dish.  You can overlap them to cover the entire surface.  Then layer beans, chicken, cheese, cilantro, onions, sauce, and tortillas, then repeat once.  This will make 2 layers.      
    • Make sure to keep some sauce and cheese to finish off the top of the casserole.
  4. Cover the top of the casserole with the remaining sauce and cheese 
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes - golden brown and bubbling is what you want to see when you look in at it.
  6. Let the casserole rest for about 15 minutes once you remove it from the oven.  You can also garnish with green onions and cilantro at this point.