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kale chips

Is anyone else exhausted today?!  I’m not sure what it is, but it has been a long day…and I feel so tired!  So, I turned today into my rest day, and skipped my workout.  The thought of getting out of my bed this morning was like torture. 🙂

Brant and I were finally both home at the same time tonight, so we got to make dinner (or I watched Brant make dinner). 🙂  We had some veggies to use up, so he made up a veggie pasta dish and kale chips for us.

Our veggie pasta had the following:

  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 head of brocolli
  • 12 spears of asparagus
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat shell pasta
  • 1 jar sun-dried tomato basil pasta sauce

Mix it all together and serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese!

On the side, we snacked on some kale chips.  If you haven’t tried them, definitely give them a try!  They are crunchy, salty and delicious (just like real potato chips – kind of…)!

Kale Chips

  • Take some kale, wash it and tear into small pieces

  • Place it on a cookie sheet

  • Spray or drizzle with olive oil

  • Sprinkle with salt and parmesan cheese

  • Place in the oven at 400°F for about 10 minutes, until crispy and browned on the edges.

Enjoy by themselves, or dip in ketchup like I do!  Yum!!

For dessert, I tried a new vegan organic turtle that was sent to me by Futters Nut Butters!  It’s a new treat that they are adding to there already amazing line of nut butters and treats.  It is right up my alley – no butter, no corn syrup, just all natual ingredients!!  Yum yum yum!!

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breakfast for dinner

One of my favorite things for dinner when I was growing up was when my mom made us breakfast for dinner!  I am not a huge breakfast fan.  I mean, I always eat breakfast, but it usually consists of oatmeal, toast with peanut butter, or some type of yogurt concoction.  I have never loved pancakes or french toast or eggs for breakfast, but for dinner?!  I love them!

Our house was pretty empty in the food department last night, especially veggies so my favorite childhood dinner was on the menu!  We were both starving, so Brant whipped up some quick scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and whole grain toast, while I went to work with my new juicer!!!

Dinner

Brant makes great scrambled eggs – he adds some milk, salt, pepper and cheese.  They are my fav!

And, of course I add ketchup!  But, I make sure to use the stuff without high fructose corn syrup.

 

Now on to the good stuff 🙂

I have had my eye on a juicer for awhile now, but was always hesitant to pull the trigger and just buy one.  The good ones are a little pricey, and how often was I really going to make juice?!  But, after getting some giftcards for Christmas, I knew exactly what my purchase would be!

It’s been 3 weeks since Christmas, and this is the first time I am using it!  But, now that I have unpacked it and tried it out, homemade juice will be a staple in my diet.  I mean, it is such a great and easy way to get more fruits and veggies in your diet (and your husbands!).  And…it is delicious!

Check this thing out!

I started out easy with apple juice.  I took 3 medium apples and literally put each one right into the juicer – whole!

It literally extracts every ounce of juice out of the apples!  The juice is delicious, and the pulp is completely dry!  The juice was unlike any other apple juice I have had.  It tasted just like you were eating a juicy apple – yum yum yum!

 

Next up was Apple, Carrot, Celery juice.

I took 2 medium apples, 2 celery stalks and 1 carrot.  I wanted the juice to be mainly apple-y tasting with a hint of carrot and celery, but you can switch up the proportions to the taste you want.

Next time, I might add some ginger.

 

The fruits and veggies get sucked into the chopper and the pulp flies one way, while the juice pours out of the other side.  You wouldn’t believe how much juice comes out of these babies!

Can you tell I’m excited?!

It is definitely very frothy coming out, but fortunately when you pour the juice into your glass, there is a froth collector (or whatever you want to call it), so you get minimal froth in your juice.

I have heard that you can make a lot of things out of the dry pulp, so that will be on the agenda for the weekend!  They suggest that you use the pulp the same day in order to maintain the vital nutrients in it.  You lose all of the fiber by using a juicer, so why not get that fiber back with pulp crakers!

My 2 apples, 2 celery stalks and 1 carrot made one 8 ounce serving of juice.  A perfect amount.

 

The one problem…it is a pain to clean the whole juicer after making one glass of juice.  Oh well!  To me, it’s worth it. 🙂

Happy Friday!

Do you have any favorite meals that you remember from being a kid?

stuffed peppers

Last night we had some friends over for dinner, and I made my most favorite dish – stuffed peppers!

 

It is a fun, easy, and pretty dish to serve to guests.  I like mine a little on the spicy side, so I kicked them up with some spices, but you could omit them if you like your food on the milder side.

There were 4 of us for dinner, but I made an extra pepper just in case someone was a little hungrier.  Turns out, it was a good idea I did!

We started with some chips and salsa to get us in the mood while I cooked.

And, drank some wine of course!

Which was from Spain…

…and delicious!

 

One of our Christmas gifts this year was a rice cooker from my brother and sister-in-law.  This was only our second time using it, but it did not disappoint!  This cooker is definitely idiot proof and cooks the best rice ever!  I put 2 cups of rinsed brown rice into the cooker, filled it to the #2 line (for the 2 cups of rice) with water, closed the lid and pressed start.  One hour and 30 minutes later, my rice was cooked to perfection!

While our rice was cooking, and our guests were enjoying their chips, I got all of our ingredients ready to cook.

I started with 5 peppers.

 

We like to use a variety of colors to up the wow factor :).

and cut the tops off of each one.

I chopped up those tops to add to the filling once ready.

Also in the mix were onions, garlic and spinach.

 

I added some olive oil to a medium sized saute pan over medium heat until hot.  I chopped the onion and garlic and added them to the pan.  They sizzled as the cooked.  Unfortunately, my camera decided to take fuzzy pictures of the steps, so I didn’t include them here…oh well, I think you get the idea. 🙂

After a few minutes, I added the peppers, some paprika, essence (which is a blend of salt, pepper, garlic and chile powder), and salsa and cooked until done.

By this time, my rice cooker was singing to me that it was done (no, really – it plays a song to tell you it is done)!  So, I added 2 cups of rice along with the spinach and mixed everything together until the spinach was wilted, a few minutes.  One cup of mexican cheese was added as well.

Viola!

At this point, I filled the empty peppers with the rice mixture, topped them wich mexican taco cheese, and placed them in my preheated oven (at 375°F).  Cook the peppers for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted, and the peppers are tender.  (Tip – I precooked my peppers while I was preparing the rice mixture to get them a little more tender.)

Once done, I pop the peppers under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the cheese gets browned and bubbly.

 

You can make this your own recipe and add any kind of veggies you want to the mix.  In the past, we have added corn, peas and broccoli.

Alongside the stuffed peppers, I served warm crusty bread.  I took this whole wheat bread, sliced it, brushed each slice with a little olive oil and sprinkled it with italian seasoning.

Wrap in tinfoil, and place in the oven while you cook your peppers.  It will come out warm, crusty and delicious!

Our meal was a thumbs up from all 4 of us!  Give it a try sometime, you won’t be dissappointed!

 

Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups brown rice (any other grain will work as well)
  • 6 medium peppers (any color)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 package baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1-2 tablespoons essence, depending on spiciness!
  • 1/2 cup medium salsa (or hot, or mild…)
  • 1 cup cheese, any you like!
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook 2 cups of brown rice according to package instructions.  If you have a rice cooker, definitely use it!
  3. While the rice is cooking, prepare your vegetables and if desired, place peppers in the oven for a few minutes to pre-cook (I find that this makes the peppers more tender).
  4. Wash peppers, and cut tops off of each.  Chop up tops.  Set peppers aside.
  5. Chop onion and garlic.
  6. Add olive oil to a medium saute pan over medium heat.  Once heated, add onion, garlic and a pinch of salt.  Cook until onions are tender.
  7. Add the chopped pepper tops, paprika and essence (or other spices).  Cook until mixed and peppers are a little tender.
  8. Once rice is cooked, add it to the saute pan mixture.  Also add salsa and spinach.  Mix and cook until the spinach is wilted.
  9. Mix in 1 cup of cheese.
  10. Spoon rice mixture into the peppers and top with a little cheese.
  11. Place in a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes, until peppers are tender and cheese is melted.
  12. Place under broiler for 1-2 minutes to brown the cheese.
  13. Serve immediately with warm crusty bread.
  14. Enjoy!

If you have any other fabulous stuffed pepper recipes, please pass them my way!  I am constantly making varieties of this recipe, because we love them so much!  I have been told to try them with poblanos…maybe next time!

quinoa with oven roasted tomatoes

What is quinoa?  Quinoa (pronounced: KEEN-wah) is an annual herb of the goosefoot family that is cultivated for its starchy seeds which are used as food and ground into flour.  It is a high-protein whole grain which contains essential amino acids.

We love quinoa and made another delicious quinoa dinner tonight!  The prep didn’t take too long, but make sure you get the tomatoes into the oven early because they will definitely take the longest.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Splash of Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cut cherry tomatoes in half

  • Place open side up in a baking dish

  • Spritz or drizzle tomatoes with olive oil

  • Then sprinkle with brown sugar, salt and pepper

  • Place tomatoes in oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on size.  Keep checking every so often to see if tomatoes are done.  They should be slightly wrinkled and very tender.

  • Our tomatoes cooked for 30 minutes!  Let tomatoes cool before serving.

Quinoa with Vegetables

adapted from 101cookbooks.com

Serves 4-6, depending on type of dish

Ingredients:

  • a splash of extra-virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of fine grain sea salt
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1.5 cups rinsed quinoa
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup oven roasted cherry tomatoes (recipe above)

Directions:

  • Place 1.5 cups of quinoa and 3 cups of water in a saucepan; bring to a boil

  • Once it comes to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.  When ready, quinoa will have small spirals off of each seed.

  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and salt in a saute pan over medium heat.

  • Add onion, and cook until tender.

  • Add quinoa and corn and cook until hot and sizzling.

  • Once sizzling, add the kale and cook a few minutes until wilted and tender.

pre-chopped

chopped

  • Then add the pesto (we used store bought, but you could make your own!) and stir until well blended.

  • Once mixed, add the toasted pumpkin seeds and stir.

(place on a baking sheet, and toast for a few minutes until browned)

  • Serve with oven roasted tomatoes on top!

We both loved this meal!  The pumpkin seeds gave it crunch, and the tomatoes added a little sweetness to the dish.  The pesto was not overpowering at all, just a little flavor.  Give it a try!

Does anyone have any delicious quinoa recipes that are a must try? Or is their another grain that you love?

snow & pancakes

Sunday morning we woke up to a beautiful snowfall in Southie!  We only got about 8-10 inches in Boston…it was nothing like other parts of the Northeast, but it was still beautiful!
 
Pictures of the snow on our porch! 
 
 
 
 
We decided to make a perfect ‘snowed-in’ breakfast of whole-grain pancakes with chocolate chips and raspberry syrup – YUM!  Brant whipped up the batter and the pancakes, while I worked on the raspberry syrup (and staying out of his way!).
 
Whole-Grain Pancakes (from 101cookbooks.com)
makes about 12 pancakes
  
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup natural granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 1/4 cups organic buttermilk
  • 2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Add the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter.
  • Stir all the ingredients until they are just combined. Don’t worry if the batter is a bit lumpy, you don’t want to over mix.
  • Heat your skillet, pan, or griddle to medium-hot and brush it with a bit of butter. Test for the right temperature. If a drop of water dropped onto the pan starts to dance, you are in the ballpark.
  • Pour about 1/3 of a cup of batter into the skillet. Wait until the pancake bottom is deep golden in color, then flip with a spatula and cook the other side until golden and cooked through. Repeat with the remaining batter.

We decided to make these pancakes extra special and add chocolate chunks to them!

Yum!

huge pancakes cooking on the skillet

flip once nice and golden brown

On to the syrup!

While Brant was cooking all of our delicious pancakes, I decided to use Heidi’s idea (from 101cookbooks.com) and make a flavored syrup.  We didn’t have blueberries like she suggessted, so instead I used some frozen raspberries we had in our freezer.

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces of raspberries
  • 1/4 cup natural granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup real-deal, PURE, maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water

frozen raspberries

  Directions:

  •  Add 6 ounces of raspberries, 1/4 cup natural granulated sugar, 1/4 cup real deal, pure maple syrup and 2 tablespoons of water to a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Heat and stir until the sugar dissolves, then simmer for 5 or 6 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and press the raspberry mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl.
  • Mash the fruit to get all the juiciness extracted.
  • Throw out the solids.

raspberries and syrup simmering on the stove

Pour syrup over pancakes and top with more raspberries and chocolate chunks.  

ready to eat!

Enjoy!

After our delicious breakfast, we ventured out to dig out our cars!  Living in Southie, people are very meticulous about their spots…and use “space savers” to save those spots when they leave!  Luckily, shovelling was not too bad this storm, and we are fully prepared with our cone!  

Having fun shovelling!