Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mom's Carrot Cake


This is another old family favorite!! It is a super moist cake and really simple to make. This has also won awards at a few Girl Scout Bake Offs!! This recipe requires a bundt pan which I do not own so I decided to make a homemade version. I wasn't sure if it would work but I was willing to take the chance. Ellen thought it had a 100% chance of failing but I was much more confident than that. I gave it a 65% chance of success. LOL... And it totally worked! It was a perfect bundt...nothing stuck to the glass. I was very impressed with myself. So if you are in need of a bundt pan and do not possess one, no worries....you can make one. Just place a heavy bar glass in the middle of a round cake pan and spray that sucker really well. If you have a really thin batter that might not work as well but a thick batter doesn't move or run under the glass so it will totally work.

My Homemade Bundt Pan

I was nervous while it was baking...

The end result.....PERFECT!



Ingredients:

2 C Sugar
3 C. Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. Baking Soda
3 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 C. Oil
4 eggs
1 T. Vanilla
4 4 oz. Containers Carrot Baby Food

Preparation:

Mix all dry ingredients together. Add oil, eggs, vanilla, carrots. Spray bundt pan generously with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.   Cool completely before turning out of pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spring Pasta - Shells with Broccoli, Edamame and Pesto


Pesto has become a new favorite in my house.  I find I use it constantly for the kids.  They LOVE Pesto Pizza and Pesto Cheesy Garlic Bread but for some reason I haven't made Pesto pasta.  This one I whipped up in just minutes for a quick dinner using prepared pesto that I bought at the market.  When I have more time I'll make my own and of course post that recipe too!

My kids absolutely loved this dish.  It's a great side dish or a main dish served with garlic bread.  Use the prepared pesto for an easy, super quick dinner during the week.  This would also be delicious served cold for a BBQ side dish.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. pasta (any shape you like)
1/2 cup prepared Pesto
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 cups raw broccoli florets, cut small
1/2 cup frozen, shelled edamame

Preparation:

Cook pasta until a dente and drain.  Stir in pesto and parmesan cheese and mix until pasta is well coated.  In a med skillet on the stove heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add garlic and cook on med heat for about a minute stirring so it won't burn.  Add broccoli florets and sauté garlic for about 2 minutes.  Stir in frozen edamame and cook for another minute until edamame is heated through.  Pour hot broccoli and edamame over the pesto pasta and stir in.  Serve immediately.




Saturday, April 9, 2016

Good Morning Love Chocolate Chip Muffins



I woke up ridiculously early one Wednesday morning and had a lot of time on my hands which for this mother of 3 is extremely rare.  I walked the dogs and then decided to make my kids muffins for breakfast.  I really needed to hit the market that day because we were out of pretty much all easy to prepare breakfast foods and some staples, which included milk. Grrrrrr!  I had a bag of mini chocolate chips and some flour and sugar so I figured I could whip up some muffins that the kids would really like to have before school.  I start making the muffins and then realize again, NO MILK!   What to do, what to do?  I had a small container of light cream and a small container of half and half. So it was worth a shot, cream is thicker than milk right?  So how about half cream and half water to make up for the cup of milk?  Then I need vegetable oil and of course I'm out of that too......so Olive Oil?  why not?  These muffins came out so delicious and the kids really loved them, especially because they were in the shape of hearts (also a last minute choice :)


Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup of milk (or 1/2 cup light cream or half and half plus 1/2 cup water)
1/3 cup veg oil (or 1/3 cup olive oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preparation:

Prepare muffin pans by lining with cupcake liners and then rolling up small balls of aluminum foil and placing foil ball outside of each cupcake liner to make a "heart" shape.  You can also use marbles but nothing that is plastic, plastic coated or rubber.

In a med bowl mix first 3 dry ingredients together using a whisk to get out any lumps.  In a large bowl mix together eggs, oil, sugar, milk(or cream and water) and vanilla.  Once combines add dry mix into wet and stir until the batter is smooth.  Add in 1 cup of mini chocolate chips and stir to combine.  Fill each heart shaped muffin cup 3/4 full with batter.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.  Allow a few minutes to cool in pan before removing to a wire rack to cool further.   Serve with LOVE!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cake Batter Popcorn


My oldest daughter made this as a treat one afternoon for her and her sister and brother.  It was  a quick and easy treat to make and they all loved it!

Ingredients:

1 bag microwave popcorn, popped
3 cups mini marshmallows
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup confetti cake mix, dry
pinch of salt

Preparation:

 In a large saucepan melt butter.  Once melted add mini marshmallows and stir until completely melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in dry cake mix and salt.  Pour in popped popcorn and quickly mix until popcorn is coated with the marshmallow mixture.  Add additional sprinkles if desired.  Pour into a bowl, let cool and enjoy!  You can also spray hands with non-stick cooking spray and roll into popcorn balls.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pineapple Bars



A sweeter take on the traditional lemon bars!  We used fresh pineapple pureed for this recipe but a can of crushed pineapple would work just as well.  Sweet, fruity, yummy dessert that would be great for a Brunch or a BBQ and every occasion in-between.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups crush pineapple
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
1/2 cup of diced pineapple (optional)
3/4 flour
1/4 baking soda
1/4 salt

Bottom Crust
1 package of graham crackers, crushed into fine crumbs
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preparation:

Preheat oven to  350 degrees F.  In a large ziplock back, crush graham crackers into fine crumbs and empty into a small bowl.  Melt butter in a separate bowl and pour into graham cracker crumbs.  Stir to combine.  Press graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom of a 8x11 casserole dish.  Bake graham crust for 10 minutes in preheated oven.  Remove and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs and lemon juice and mix until combined well.   Next, add in flour, baking side and salt.  Beat until smooth.  Now you can fold in the additional died pineapple if you want to add some more texture to your bars.  Once batter is combined well pour mixture onto of prepared graham cracker crust.  Return pan to the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the tops lightly browned and the bars are set.  Cool completely and top with a dusting of powdered sugar.  Slice into squares and enjoy!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Breasts



This delicious and easy recipe was created by my sister Susan over 4 years ago.  I just decided to try it for dinner recently and it was so great.  My husband and kids all loved it.  The best part is I always have balsamic vinegar and honey on hand so this is a very easy last minute throw together dinner which tastes like you spent all day preparing and cooking.  If you're getting tired of the same ole' chicken recipes then definitely try this one.  It's now in my regular dinner rotation and I'm sure it will be in yours as well!

Ingredients:

6 boneless thin sliced chicken breasts
salt to taste
pepper to taste
dried thyme ( I used fresh)
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 up balsamic vinegar
2 T honey
1-2 T olive oil

Preparation:

Heat a nonstick skillet and add the olive oil. Sprinkle the chicken cutlets with the salt, pepper and thyme and put into the skillet and brown on both sides. Remove chicken from the skillet to a plate. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan by stirring and scraping up the brown bit from the bottom of the pan.  Add in the balsamic vinegar and the honey and reduce the liquid by half until a thick syrup forms.  Then add back the chicken cutlets to warm through. Serve over the quinoa, cous cous or rice.




Sunday, August 9, 2015

Grain Free and Sugar Free Almond Banana Bread



In the effort to cut out as much carbs and sugar out of my diet, I found a recipe on Pinterest for a grain free banana bread.  It was posted on Bravo for Paleo, click HERE for the original recipe.  I did alter it quite a bit to suit my taste.  I love that I can have something sweet and bread like without worrying about breaking my diet.  The bananas are so sweet so I really don't miss the added sugar which in normal banana bread recipes can be up to 2 cups!!!  So here's a recipe you can feel good about eating yourself and giving to your kids.

Ingredients:

3 bananas, mashed
3 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup almond flour
3/4 cup coconut flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons flax seed meal

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl mash 3 bananas, add eggs and almond extract and beat together with an electric mixer.  Next add in coconut oil, melted and mix until combined.   In a separated bowl using a fork mix together almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and flax seed meal until completely combined and all lumps are broken up.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.  The batter will be VERY thick, almost dough like.  Spoon batter in to a loaf pan sprayed well with non-stick cooking spray (preferably coconut oil spray).  Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes.  It's really delicious severed warm with butter (if you are eating dairy), YUM!