Category Archives: recipes

quinoa breakfast bowls

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Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn into a proselytizing health blogger — two weeks of clean eating does not an expert make — but after the great response from yesterday’s Hungry for Change post I thought I would share my nutritious favorites now and then.

Starting with a simple breakfast that helped me overcome my morning chicken biscuit dependence.

I first stumbled upon quinoa breakfast bowls on Pinterest (of course I did) and thought, “who the heck eats quinoa for breakfast?

Schooled: Quinoa is a gluten-free whole grain that packs a lot of protein. It’s also a great source of fiber, iron and magnesium; so it’s a perfect way to jumpstart your day.

To save precious time in the morning, I cook a big batch of quinoa at the beginning of the week. I divide it up into Ziplock containers, and store them in the fridge so they’re easy to grab before running out the door. I take a minute to toss in whatever fixin’s I want for the day, and hit the road.

Pretend you’re at Coldstone and whip that quinoa bowl into a nutritious breakfast sundae with any (or all) of these healthy mix-ins:

  • organic honey
  • sliced almonds
  • coconut flakes
  • cacao nibs
  • ground flax
  • fresh fruit and berries
  • Greek yogurt
  • cinnamon
  • a dash of raw sugar

sunday comfort food: banana oat pancakes

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I love pancakes of every persuasion. These simple banana oat pancakes can be mixed in the blender, which means less time for cleanup and more time for post-brunch naps.

You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 large egg

Place all ingredients, except the egg, in the base of a blender and blend until smooth. Then add the egg and pulse a few times until well blended.

Heat a small amount of coconut oil or butter in a griddle or large saute pan over medium heat. Pour prepared batter into the heated pan. When the batter starts to form bubbles on top, carefully flip the pancake and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes.

Stack ’em high, and serve ’em up with real maple syrup and fresh fruit.

Bacon never hurts, either.

Adapted from Mountain Mama Cook’s Banana-Oat Blender Pancakes

An artsy evening and artsy cocktails with Noble!

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Every great soiree needs a great cocktail!

At last night’s Downtown Art Walk, we served up an Italian twist on the classic mimosa, made with chilled Noble 100% Pure Blood Orange Juice and prosecco. Noble juices are artisan-crafted right in our hometown, so it was the perfect addition to the local-art-themed event!

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More than 50 guests came through the shop to meet Anne, my dear friend of more than 8 years and the DIY maven behind Wobisobi. You can check out more photos from the event on her recap post!

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Doak got spiffed up for the party. He spent the entire night schmoozing with guests and getting loved on.

It’s tough to be Doak.

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Cheers to the weekend!

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* Post sponsored by Noble. Noble’s all-natural juices are artisan-crafted by a fourth-generation family business in our hometown in central Florida, and packaged in sustainable plant based bottles. Thank you for supporting our sponsors! 

please pass the cranberry sauce.

After this Thanksgiving, I’m adding canned cranberry sauce to the list of Things I Shall Not Buy Because They’re Too Durned Easy to Make From Scratch. {Also on the list: whipped cream.}

fresh cranberries

When I volunteered to bring the cranberry sauce to family dinner, I planned on making a version of my grandmother’s Cranberry Congealed Salad (it’s a southern thing; check out Paula Deen’s recipe if you have no idea what a congealed salad is). During my pre-Turkey-Day grocery trip, I saw fresh cranberries on BOGO so I grabbed a couple of bags with no clue what I’d do with them. About halfway through prepping for the original plan, I realized I hadn’t given myself enough time to let the gelatin set. With a quick Google search, I found this super simple recipe for homemade cranberry sauce and switched gears. Impulse-purchased fresh produce to the rescue!

homemade cranberry sauce homemade cranberry sauce

All it takes is a 12-oz bag of fresh or frozen cranberries, a cup of sugar, a cup of water, and about 12 minutes.

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As the cranberries cook, they burst like “tiny ticking time bombs,” as C exclaimed as a rogue berry popped him while he stood over the stove. Watch out, they spit. {Aladdin reference, anyone?}

homemade cranberry sauce

This was way yummier than anything I’ve had from a can, and is now officially one of my go-to quick and easy side dishes for the holidays.

What did you guys whip up for Thanksgiving dinner? I love a good recipe swap…

I was going to post tonight…

{image via Iowa Girl Eats}

… but I’ve been fantasizing about this recipe since I pinned it last week, and nothing cures a case of the Mondays like a home cooked meal. I’ve managed to tear myself away from the stove and my tasting spoon while this beautiful concoction simmers to final perfection to tell you this:

Point your browser to Iowa Girl Eats, and bookmark that shiz immediately. Kristin’s blog is chock-full of recipes that are easy to follow and replicateand everything I’ve made has been just… yum. Plus she’s adorable and witty, and as you read through her posts and peep her pictures it feels like you’re sitting in her kitchen while she whips up a meal.

So I’ll be back with our regularly-scheduled programming tomorrow, but until then — chili mac and cheese until our faces fall off.

mini lemon blueberry cheesecakes

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For family and friend get-togethers, I’m usually charged with bringing dessert. Which is a-okay with me, because I love myself some sweets. Even more, I love finding simple recipes that I can throw together quickly but look like I drudged in the kitchen for hours.

For Labor Day, I spent a luxuriously lazy day with some of my closest friends hanging out on the water, followed by an uhh-mazing dinner. We finished up with these mini lemon blueberry cheesecakes I adapted from this recipe.

Keep reading for the super simple rundown…

Read more…

monday night’s dinner: hunter-style chicken

In my recent Keeping it Together post {loved all your feedback and tips} I mentioned that I try to make healthy home-cooked meals as often as possible. I thought I’d start sharing some of my favorite husband-approved easy recipes to give you some mid-week dinner inspiration!

Monday night I made a Weight Watchers version of chicken cacciatore, or hunter-style chicken. I love an easy one-dish recipe — fewer dishes to clean, FTW — and The Mister gave this dish an A+.

You can find the original recipe here. Start to finish, it took me about 30 minutes to whip this up (omitting five minutes for first aid, but we’ll get to that later).

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The before and the fingers-crossed-it-looks-this-good after. I used a whole chicken that was cut up by the butcher at my grocery store.

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I live by the principle that you should try to get as many colors as possible in your diet (artificial dyes excluded).

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Evidence that you should not cook while distracted, exhausted, or tipsy from a glass of wine after a crazy day at work. Exhibit A: the large burn on my forearm from putting a tray of sweet potato tots in the oven a few nights before. Exhibit B: a sliced finger from a botch onion-chopping job. We were out of bandaids, so I had to rig up a tourniquet after my head stopped spinning from the sight of my own blood. My grandmother is shaking her head at me from heaven.

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The final ingredient to this super-simple recipe, and my favorite refrigerated marinara sauce.

I served this chicken dish over brown rice, and it was oh-so delish. Let me know if you give it a try!

holy guacamole!

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Lemon

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I whipped up a batch of this super simple guacamole last weekend after a trip to an amazing farm market. I had an out-of-town wedding delivery Saturday, and decided to drop in and check out the produce {and let’s be honest, grab a fresh banana milkshake}. It was a euphoric sensory overload — the same one I get when I walk into a Sephora — and 20 minutes later I found myself in the checkout line with half a dozen bags full of colorful veggies (some I’ve never used before), seasonal fruit, and fresh herbs. As the friendly cashier rang me up and gave me simple instructions for green salsa, I got those check-out jitters; the ones that creep into your tummy as you wait to hear your damage.

Are you ready for it?

$18. 

Ya’ll, I’ve never purchased so much produce in my life, and if I bought a quarter of the quantity of vegetables at my grocery store, it would’ve cost me more than $18!

I digress… let’s get to the guacamole. I came home with Florida avocados, fresh cilantro, tomatillos, jalapenos, and lemons, and homemade guacamole dreams. I scoured the internet for good guac recipes, and decided to just throw lots of stuff in the blender and wing it. And it was delish. Even C — who hates the tasty green dip — enjoyed it.

{I literally threw everything in the blender, no mixing bowls required; which means less clean-up, FTW}

I started with two Florida avocados, halved and scooped out. Then I added a handful of fresh cilantro (no need to chop, the blender will take care of that) and two roughly chopped tomatillos. Then I carefully de-seeded a jalapeno and diced it up in my handy KitchenAid dicer. {A Slap Chop will do nicely as well, I imagine}. Side note: be careful when working with jalapenos; the oil can be really irritating if you have sensitive skin, so be sure to wash your hands after handling. I tossed in about half a cup of Greek yogurt for creaminess, a healthy spoonful of garlic, and a handful of Kosher salt. Finally, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of a lemon topped everything off.

I blended everything together on high-speed until it was smooth and creamy. If you have a food processor, that would probably work better. I had to stop and stir a few times to help the blender along, but the less-than-hard work was worth it. The final product was uhhh-mazing. I stored it in the refrigerator in a reusable storage container and ate it every day after work with an ice-cold Magic Hat. Yum.

All this talk of food has me inspired to hit the kitchen. Brownies for breakfast sounds pretty good right about now…

breakfast of champions.

Breakfast of Champions

For the last six months or so, a busy schedule of long days at the shop and the stresses (not all bad stresses!) of managing a business have been running me a little ragged. Pair that with a diet that mainly consisted of convenient fast food and more diet coke and sweet tea than a girl should drink in a lifetime, and I was starting to fizzle out fast. I’ve always eaten pretty clean and healthy, so my body was completely revolting against this new junk overload. I wasn’t sleeping well at night, and I spent every second of time off I could vegging on the couch or sleeping in my room with the curtains drawn. I knew something had to give…

Then about a month ago, I somehow stumbled across Angela’s blog, Oh She Glows. Specifically, this post. And the following weekend as I drug myself through the grocery store like a zombie, I remembered that post about Angela’s story that sounded so much like my own, and her road back to a healthy lifestyle through her “green monsters.” I swear I bought one of everything in the produce section that day, and my smoothie obsession began.

I’ve been whipping up all kinds of crazy concoctions in my blender ever since {most of which Chad won’t even try, and he will eat anything} and drinking at least two green monsters a day. I started feeling so much better, I decided to take it one step further and overhaul the rest of my diet — nothing radical or drastic, just stepping away from the familiar drive-thru paper bags, eating lots of kale and sweet potatoes, skipping the soda and empty carbs, and upping the amount of protein I take in every day. Believe me when I say, I’ve never felt better. My energy is back tenfold, and there are definitely some beauty benefits that go along with eating well.

If you’re not ready to take the plunge into drinking spinach and kale, start with this easy recipe that tastes more like a milkshake than a healthy breakfast! Toss it all in the blender and blend away until it’s smooth. Easy peasy.

1 frozen peeled banana

about 1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt

1 cup almond milk (I prefer the unsweetened)

1 tbsp ground flax

a dash of cinnamon

1 packet Carnation Instant Breakfast in Classic French Vanilla No Sugar Added

ice

>Weekend Food: The Easiest Potato Salad You Ever Did See

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I usually post recipes of the sweet and sinful variety, but with the weather warming up and BBQs popping up here and there, I thought I’d share a super easy go-to recipe for southern potato salad. Sharpen up your knives, and keep reading for the rundown…

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Wash five or six large potatoes and boil them in a large saucepan with salted water for about 15 minutes, or until they’re soft. Take them out of the water and let them cool before peeling them and dicing them into bite-size pieces.

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Hard boil a few eggs. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan, [carefully] drop in the eggs, turn off the heat, and leave the eggs covered in the hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Here’s a trick for peeling hardboiled eggs without smooshing them to bits: drop them in ice water for a minute and then lightly tap the shell on a hard surface. Once they’re cooled and peeled, dice the eggs up, too. 

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Add some diced onion and celery…

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And about half a cup of mayonnaise, a few spoonfuls of sweet relish, and a generous squirt of mustard.
{The beauty of this recipe is that measuring is not exactly necessary. Just start slow and add more of each ingredient until it’s perfect for you!}

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Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste, and about a tablespoon of garlic salt…

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Mix it all together, and voila!

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I always keep these handy disposable (and reusable!) storage containers on hand so I don’t have to worry getting my dishes back home with me after a long day of sun, good food, and drinks.

What are your favorite recipes for potlucks and BBQs? 

>Whole Wheat Brownies

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You can eat a whole pan of these rich, cake-like brownies because they’re made with whole wheat flour and mostly organic ingredients. Okay, maybe not. But at least enjoy a couple ;-) 
Keep reading for the recipe! 

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You’ll Need: 
1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (or one stick) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (or a couple small handfuls) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp natural vanilla
2 organic eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F) and grease an 8 in x 8 in baking pan. Combine the whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Then start to melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. 
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When your butter is all melted, add the brown sugar to the saucepan. Cook (while stirring to prevent scorching!) for about 3-4 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

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Remove the pan from heat, and stir in the cocoa powder until everything is smooth and well-blended. Do the same with the flour mixture.
Stir, stir, stir!
Is your arm tired yet? Just think of all the calories you’re burning, which should decrease your brownie-binging guilt.

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Toss in a couple small handfuls of semisweet chocolate chips {you should know by now that my preference is Ghirardelli} and the vanilla.

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Beat in the eggs.

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Your finished product should look something like this…

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Spread the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

{Lick all the beaters, bowls, and spoons while you wait!}  

>Double Dark Chocolate Drop Cookies

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Chocolate lovers, this one’s for you. Sweet little devilish cookies that I dare you not to eat by the dozen.

I came across the recipe in an Easy Organic Cooking booklet that I found among my cookbooks last weekend.  Read more to see what you’ll need to whip up a batch of your own!

You’ll Need:

1/4 cup organic white flour
1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla

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Start by combining flours, cocoa, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl.

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Place 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips in a small microwave safe bowl, and microwave on HIGH in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval until the chocolate is melted.
{Place another couple of handfuls straight into your mouth}

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Beat butter, sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl with a hand mixer until it’s all light and fluffy.

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In the same bowl, toss in the egg, milk, vanilla, and melted chocolate and beat until well-blended.
{Don’t get impatient and sample the batter yet. Trust me on this one. Bleh…}

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Add the flour mixture from the first step, and beat everything together just until blended. Voila! Cookie dough. Stir in the rest of your chocolate chips.
{It’s now safe to taste the dough. After all, Quality Assurance is the most important part of cooking}

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Using a spoon, drop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.
{Don’t worry if your drops aren’t pretty; these little babies are so delicious, no one will care what they look like}.
Bake in a 350 degree (F) oven for 10 to 11 minutes until set.

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>Snack Attack: A New Twist on Oatmeal Cookies

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Husband and I don’t share too many vices. He hates shopping, for one. However, we both have an uncontrollable and insatiable craving for freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I came across this less-guilt recipe on Bethenny’s natural cooking blog. I decided to whip up my own version using what I had in my pantry.

They were delicious, and even husband downed 5 or 6 when they came out of the oven. Read more for the improvised recipe.

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I used:

1 1/2 cups wheat flour
3/4 cups quick-cooking plain oatmeal
1/2 arrowroot powder
(I keep this on-hand for making natural deodorant)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/3 cups Ghiradelli chocolate chips
1 tsp canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup skim milk
1 mashed banana
1 tsp molasses

You can compare my ingredients to Bethenny’s, and come up with your own variation. 

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Start by combining the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Don’t skimp on the chocolate chips, ya’ll!
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Then, in a separate bowl, take out your aggression on an innocent, unassuming banana. Toss in the rest of your wet ingredients and combine them all together.

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Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix it all together until it’s well-combined. I did this with my hands — the same way my mom taught me to make meatloaf when I was 8.

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Your dough should look something like this. If your unsuspecting husband takes a bite of it thinking it’s regular cookie dough, he’ll probably make an “ick” face at first, but then it will grow on him.

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Roll the dough into little balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and smoosh them down with a fork. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 12 minutes, or until the edges are golden.

I tell myself that eating a dozen of these sweet things is better than regular chocolate chip cookies.
You agree, right?

>Snack Attack: Pizza Puffs

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Are you guys ready for another quick and easy, husband-approved weekend bite? I stumbled across this recipe for Pizza “Cupcakes” on Tasty Kitchen — one of my favorite resources for recipes —  and was pleasantly surprised to find all of the ingredients in my kitchen! Even better, they were a delicious snack while C and I cuddled on the couch and watched My Life as Liz {does anyone else love that show?} before heading to the pool for an afternoon of beach volleyball and sunshine. I heart Sundays off. And Florida.


Sorry northern friends.
Oh yeah, want the recipe? Just keep reading! 

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Start with a cup of all purpose flour, a teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar, and a dash of salt.

Combine them in a large bowl. 
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Next, you’ll need a cup of milk, one egg, a cup of grated mozzarella (I like the fresh stuff) and 1/2 a cup of grated parmesan cheese
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Toss them all in, too, and give it a good whisk. 
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Add your favorite pizza toppings. All I had around the house was some Boar’s Head hard salami from the deli, which worked just fine.
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 Doak loves salami. 
{Note to self: giving him a slice will not make him go away.}
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I don’t actually own a muffin pan. It was one of the things on my list when C and I moved into our house {ahem, five years ago} and I just never got around to picking one up. Instead I always use these Reynolds baking cups any time I make cupcakes or muffins. They’re super easy and mess-free.

You can use a muffin pan or these baking cups, just make sure they’re minis. Add the batter to the cups (grease them first if you’re using a muffin pan) and bake in a 375 degree (F) oven for 18-22 minutes, or until they’re all golden and gorgeous.

Serve em’ up with warm marinara sauce.

>Snack Attack: Easy-Chocolate-Covered-Peanut-Buttery-Goodstuff

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If we’re going to be friends, there’s something you should know about me. I’m a chocoholic. I have a raging, untamable, out-of-control sweet tooth and I’m pretty shameless about it. {My husband doesn’t share my affinity for sweets, but it doesn’t stop me from baking like it’s my job, because well… more for me}.

If you love dessert more than you love shoes, we’re soul sisters.

This little sweet and savory recipe is super easy, and you only need three ingredients and the most basic of kitchen skills. In fact, I don’t even think you can call it a “recipe.” If you can make a PBJ and you know how to properly dunk an Oreo, you’ve got this one in the bag.

Read more for the scoop.

You’ll Need:
Ritz crackers (or similar salted rounds)
Peanut Butter
Semi-sweet chocolate (I prefer Ghirardelli baking bars, but chips work, too!)

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Spread peanut butter on a cracker, then smoosh it into a lovely little PB cracker sandwich.
Easy so far, right?

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Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring between each to prevent scorching.
Are you still with me?

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Now… drop the cracker sandwich into the chocolate. And flip it over to cover the other side.
Hope no one’s feeling too overwhelmed at this point.

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Fish it out with a fork and let the excess chocolate drip off (or don’t, it’s whatever) and lay them on a sheet of foil or wax paper. Then pop them in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.

Even husband knocked a few of these back {shhh… don’t tell him I told you.}

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