Monthly Archives: May 2012

Kale Crazy?

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Do you garden? Do you have kale coming out the wazoo? I only ask because we do! Some days I’m not sure what to do with it all.

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This girl would suggest you hand it over to her and her friends, muy pronto. They love kale and I’m often chasing them out of my garden. Typically, they put up a pretty good fight by separating and taking turns attacking the veggies while I’m chasing the others. I won’t even start rambling about the workout you can get raising chickens.

So how did I get started on this tangent about kale? Well earlier today I saw a new idea of blending kale and watermelon to make a smoothie. Huh. I’m going to have to try that out! For more regarding that idea I suggest you click here.

My neighbor recently asked me how to cook kale. Although I’m sure there are lots of ways, today I’ll share my two go-to versions.

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Garlicky baked kale and bacon!

This is fairly quick and easy.

What you need:
kale, rinse and rip the stems out (I use lots since it shrinks so much!)
garlic clove, minced
olive oil, a dab will do!
2-4 strips of bacon, chopped (I use center cut)

1. Not sure if this is necessary but bacon freaks me out if I think it is undercooked and to me it seems to cook slower than the kale. With that said, the first thing I do is partially cook bacon in a pan.
2. In a bowl, add kale and garlic. Drizzle (or spritz) in olive oil just enough to lightly coat kale and garlic (don’t use much since you are adding bacon soon which will render a little more fat.)
3. Mix in bacon. Pour everything into a cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes. Serve!!

Need something a little more hearty? Add more…stuff!

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Sautéed Kale and Beans

This version is cooked in a deep skillet. Here is what you’ll need:
kale, rinsed and stems removed
2-4 strips bacon, chopped (still using center cut)
garlic clove, minced
olive oil, just a mist
great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup (or so) broth, I used chicken
red pepper flakes, just a tiny bit to freak your husband out 🙂

1. Spray pan with olive oil and bring up to medium, medium-high heat. Toss in bacon.
2. Allow bacon to cook for a minute or so and add minced garlic and onion. Cook until onion starts to become translucent.
3. Add in kale, beans, pepper flakes and broth. Cover and cook for about five minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until broth has evaporated. Serve!

Clearly I love to eat kale with sandwiches?? Not sure what that is about 😉

So any other suggestions for kale? Casserole? Sauce or something else? I’d love to hear about it!

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All Those Green Beans

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So one day, way back when, I was talking about trying to shape up and lose a few “LBs.” A lady who I had been chatting with suggested cutting out green beans because they are a legume and not a vegetable. Come again? I’m pretty sure that killed me considering any of her advice from that point on. I don’t even really like green beans that much. However, in a world where we are surrounded by greasy “meals” and high sugar snacks, saying fresh green beans are a no-no just seems…criminal.
A while ago, I shared with you what I did with some fresh green beans from the farmers market. Because green beans are just ok to me, it is no surprise that the rest of my beans were getting close to unusable in my fridge. Then I had an epiphany!
I had a few ham bones chilling in the freezer from Easter. Why not crockpot the beans with one of the bones!?!

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Yummy!! Ok, so I added a few more ingredients along the way. I really enjoyed these green beans and actually looked forward to leftovers the next day.

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Of course, I decided to add even more after I took the picture. This is sort of one of those recipes you need to make to your own liking. I was interested in the green beans for me and just a little potato but I put extra potato in for my husband.

Here is what I used:
fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half (I used about 2 1/2-3 cups, that is a ginormous measuring cup they are in, don’t be fooled)
potatoes, (I scrubbed skins and left them on for extra fiber), cut into slices
1/2 onion
salt and pepper, to taste
broth, I used chicken
ham bone

and minced garlic 1-2 cloves

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1. Throw green beans, onion, potatoes and garlic into cold crock pot. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Arrange ham bone on top.

3. Fill crockpot with broth until green beans and potatoes are about covered.

4. Cook on whatever heat works best for you. I cooked mine all day on low heat.

5. Before serving remove bone and be sure to look thoroughly for any little bone or really fatty bits, remove them.

6. Serve using slotted spoon. (sorry not sure what is going on with my spacing at the moment…:) )

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20 Calorie Cookies?

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Are you interested? I was, but I was leery too. Do you know how many times I’ve tested out low calorie or low carb cookies only to be disappointed? So there is good news, bad news and more good news to this post. 1. The taste is great. 2. You should be able to make 12 cookies with the batter for them to be twenty calories each. I ended up with eight and there was no way I could just eat one. 3. There is only 250 calories in the entire batch and their ingredients make them perfect for breakfast!!

The funny thing about these cookies is that these have my typical breakfast ingredients in them already, just manipulated a little differently!

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So naturally I added about a tablespoon on butterscotch chips to the batter because butterscotch, oats and cinnamon are amazing together. Yes that does add more calories so decide for yourself if you want to add them in.

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Here is what you’ll need:
one large banana, mashed
1/2 oats, this can be gluten free if you get GF oats, I believe Trader Joes carries GF oats.
1/4 tsp baking powder, select GF baking powder if needed for GF diet
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
pinch of nutmeg
optional: butterscotch chips. Tip: chop chips in half, you’ll feel like you’re getting more and the will distribute better throughout you cookies.

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Add vanilla to mashed banana in a bowl. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder. Once well mixed add in chips.
3. Lightly fold oats into mix but do not over stir.
4. Drop batter onto sprayed cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes. Mine were done in 20.

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Serve!

Original recipe from burpeesinthekitchen.com

Drool

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Sometimes I see pictures on Pinterest and I instantly decide that I have to make it. This sandwich was one of them.

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Ah! Just looking at this picture makes my mouth water. Guess I know what I’ll be having for breakfast tomorrow! This recipe is so easy that I’m annoyed.

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The original post had fresh blackberries! I can’t wait till my berries are ready. What I like about this sandwich is that you can modify it to be hearty or light! The sandwich turns out mildly sweet at most.

Here is what you’ll need:
bread (sourdough or cinnamon bread would rock!)
all fruit preserves
cream cheese
fresh berries (I used raspberries)
butter

1. Heat pan over medium heat and butter your bread
2. Add cream cheese to one slice of bread and preserves to the other. Add fruit smack in the middle so they stay in place.
3. Cook in pan until sandwich is nice and golden on each side.

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I have so many ideas for stir-in ideas, pecans, almonds, white chocolate chips or even a bit of Nutella! OR Biscoff!

Hope you made it through Wednesday!

Recipe adapted from Brunt Apple.

Brace Yourself

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Ok, so do you remember a few weeks ago when I said I had that amazing crĂȘpe at the farmer’s market? You know the one that was super wonderful and to my belly worth every penny of the $7.50 it cost??

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Well thanks to a good friend of mine, my belly can continue to love the lovely taste minus the cost!!

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My friend nonchalantly mentioned to me that her family has been making crĂȘpes, oh you know, FOREVER. Fortunately, she was kind enough to teach me, and when I say teach me, she poured batter into the pan and LEFT ME, while she went to the “bathroom.” I’m on to you and your tricks!

Kidding she was a wonderful teacher!!!!! And the crĂȘpes we made that night were perrrrrfect.

What I’m going to show you, is my curiosity of knowing what a few modifications to her original recipe will do. Don’t worry I’ll fill you in on the originals too.

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This recipe will serve around 4 people, more or less depending on how hungry you are!

Here is what you need:
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/8 cup of sugar (optional, and I opted)
about a tbsp (or less) oil
milk (she uses nothing less than 2%), I tried it out with unsweetened vanilla almond milk
cinnamon to taste (optional)

Guess what I got so that I could make this recipe perrrrrrfectly?

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A new little hand mixer and a flat flexible spatula!

So what you’ll want to do:
1. Beat together eggs, sugar, cinnamon and flour just to get them moving.
2. Slowly stream in milk while beating. I didn’t specify amount because I really don’t know. You will be looking for your batter to be soupy and bubbly.
3. Yes bubbly, see?

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How will you know if yours is bubbly enough? First assume that it isn’t. Second, prepare to have the first crĂȘpe turn out like crap. Mine actually took the first two!
4. Heat a skillet around medium high and consider turning heat down a little when things get moving.
5. Add a bit of oil, you might want to CAREFULLY wipe out excess with a paper towel.
6. Preparing to move quickly, pour a little less than 1/2 a cup into your pan and move pan so that batter spreads out into a large circle. Your batter should be very thin in the pan. If your batter poured thick and slow to move, mix in more milk to the bowl of batter . If it looked too soupy and didn’t hold up, add more flour.
7. When you see batter begins to get bubbly (like a pancake), flip. Heat until crĂȘpe appears cooked on both sides.
8. Continue process using all batter.
9. Stuff with favorite fillings and serve!!

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My husband was leery when I was making these. He LOVED them when we finally ate them. Having tried two different types of milk, I will say they were slightly different in texture but both were wonderful! Also these are deceiving because 2-3 is very filling. These are perfect for a big family breakfast (or dinner:) ). In reality they are inexpensive to make but present super fancy! More versions of these will be making blog appearances!

Hope you try them out!!

Another Great Cookout Dish

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Another cookout recipe! Quinoa Southwest Salad! This is great for the summer and it doesn’t have any mayo or sour cream that you have to worry about going bad. This salad is perfect served chilled so you can make it a day ahead of time. I won’t even get into all the nutritional benefits!

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When I visited the farmers market in Dayton way back when, Aunt M was in love with their quinoa salad. I actually purchased my quinoa there in hopes of coming up with a crafty dish.

Please note, in my picture I added cucumber. I think I was just craving cucumber so not much thought came into play when I added it in. The second day of eating this salad, I realized a bell pepper would have been a much better choice. Red bell pepper would have been perfect!

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Here is what you need:

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed before cooking according to package. If you don’t rinse your quinoa, it will taste like crap. Get a fine mesh strainer from the dollar store. Also if you need a GF dish, make sure your quinoa states that it is GF.
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado (dice and stir in right before serving)
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
corn, about 1 1/2-2 cups, de-thaw if frozen
1 sweet potato, peeled an chopped and cooked until super soft, I boiled mine in a pan
Jalapeño, minced serving size to taste I used about 5-6 rings from a jar
1/2 or more juice of fresh lime or 2 tsp of Rosie’s lime juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Cilantro 1-2 tbsp or more to taste, I would have used more, I just didn’t have as much on hand as I thought
Salt

1. Rinse and then cook quinoa according to package. Allow quinoa to cool off.
2. Add everything except avocado to a bowl. Stir in cooled quinoa. Add salt to preference.
3. Chill for at least an hour but better overnight. Taste and add more salt, jalapeño or lime juice/oil if needed.
4. Add avocado right before serving.

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Enjoy!

The Cookouts are Coming!

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I love brownies. I do my best to avoid them because I can’t stop myself when they are around. I worked at a little diner type place when I was in college and they made brownies that I called crack brownies. So good. It’s been years since I’ve met a brownie that is comparable. Then I met these.

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My picture doesn’t do them justice. You can call them turtle brownies, I call the perfect. I was asked to make the dessert for a cookout. I thought that these would be great and it would stop me from consuming the entire pan on my own.

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Here is what you need:

one box of German chocolate cake mix
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
3/4 cup of butter, melted
14 oz package of caramels (they missed their photo op)
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a sauce pan over low heat, melt unwrapped caramels and 1/3 cup of evaporated milk. Stir often.
3. Mix butter, rest of evaporated milk and cake mix in a bowl.
4. Spread 1/2 batter into a 9×13 cake pan. I used a plastic cookie scraper and that smoothed it out nicely, it will be rather thin. Bake for 6-8 minutes.

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5. Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate chips, pour caramel on top and dollop scoops of leftover batter on top.
6. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Don’t over cook. If you do accidentally (like me 🙂 ) don’t fret, taste them! Mine seemed super cooked on the top but they weren’t when I cut them, in fact, they were incredible!!

Serve!!!! These brownies were a hit. They were completely gone before we left the cookout.

Original recipe from Bake at 350. You’re amazing!