Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Easy Marmalade Pork

A few weeks ago, my family went to a friends house for dinner. That right there is a special occasion, because my kid goes to bed at 7:30, and when that time comes- its not a scenario that is appropriate for public viewing. To put it bluntly, she turns into devil child. So, we usually try to stick around home at night so as to not experience the devil child situation or make for an unpleasant evening with the public.

We are working on this. You know, trying to teach our little minion to be more flexible around bed time...dang is it hard to train a child that is a clone of yourself. I have found I take her temper tantrums and attitudes very personally- which is another thing I am working on.

I am not a natural at this mothering thing like I thought I would be.

Back to the dinner at our friends house.

So she made this apricot chicken, that was SO good, I wanted to drink the sauce. I am not even joking a little. She gave me the recipe and I have made it twice since....which in our house is rare. I hardly ever make the same thing within the same month- just cause I love experimenting with different flavors and such. Does anyone else get overwhelmed with all the incredible combinations of food there are out there, just waiting to be created??? Maybe I have too much time on my hands....
(no corn syrup- yay!)

The second time I made this recipe, I used marmalade instead of apricot preserves, just because the store I was at didn't have apricot preserves without corn syrup in them.

And I doubled the sauce. And used pork tenderloin instead of chicken thighs.

I posted a picture the night I made the pork and marmalade version, and captioned that it was the stuff dreams are made of.....except I wasn't joking. It was even better with the marmalade, me and the husband agreed.

Did I mention its made in the crock pot, too?

Sorry, I'm already married.

But if you're looking to get hitched, make this for your future spouse.

Marmalade Crock Pot Pork 
1 - 1.5 pound pork tenderloin
most of a 25  oz. jar marmalade
2 tsp. Dried onion flakes
1-2 tsp. jarred garlic
2 TBSP. Low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Mustard (dijon or yellow)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients, except for the tenderloin, together in the crock pot. 3-4
Add in pork and coat well with sauce.

Cook on low 6-8 hours, or high 3-4 hours, flipping pork half way through and coating with the sauce occasionally.

Try to not drink the broth before you serve it.

We had ours over quinoa that's been cooked with chicken stock, salt and pepper, a roasted pepper and goat cheese salad, and biscuits! The best.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Better For You Chocolate Fudge (tofu) Pie

I'm very much a last minute, procrastinator person. Which is odd, because I can't stand procrastinators...
It's not that I mean to be, or want to be unorganized and not plan things, but I do much better last minute.

A friend and I had to make food for a baby shower last weekend, and we didn't decide what we were making til the morning before. '

I do my best work under pressure, what can I say?

Those people that plan things months in advance, and have everything all ready to go the day of an event or what not- I envy them. But, you know, that's just not me... I like the thrill of living on the edge. Or something of that nature.

So, all that to say, I had made this pie in pi day like, 3 weeks ago. Not that that has anything to do with procrastinating, but.....well, yeah, I guess it does.

I had originally intended to share this pie with you ON Pi day. But since I didn't, now all you plan ahead people can plan to make this pie for pi day NEXT year. See what I did there?

Honestly though, Jon didn't believe me that this was a tofu based pie. Which makes me sad. Poor tofu has such a bad rep. So don't be fooled by the fact that this has the stuff in it. You won't know. No one will know. Cross my heart.

It tastes so decadent and rich and is amazingly creamy. I topped ours with coconut milk whipped cream to.
Yes, that was a good day.

Better For You Chocolate Fudge Pie
(Adapted slightly from:Chocolate Covered Katie)

13 oz firm tofu
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. Almond Milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup raw honey or agave nectar
1 1/2 cups Ghiardelli semi sweet chocolate chips

In a small pan, stir the chocolate chips over low heat until right before they are completely melted.
Turn off heat, and continue to stir til smooth.

Combine all ingredients (including melted chocolate) in a food processor or Ninja, and blend for a minute or so until completely smooth.

You can either pour directly into a pie plate and refrigerate until firm or if you are using a crust, pour into  completely cooled crust.

I used THIS crust recipe. Any will do though!

For the coconut milk whipped cream:
1 can FULL FAT coconut milk
1 Tbsp. sugar (or more depending on your tastebuds)
1 tsp. vanilla

Place coconut milk in your fridge overnight, or at least 6 hours.
It will get very thick.
Scoop out the thick, creamy deliciousness off the top, and leave the liquidy stuff on the bottom behind.

In a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the cream for 30 seconds on high.
Add sugar and vanilla.
Whip for another minute or so until you have a light fluffy, whipped cream texture.

Serve with your pie and enjoy heaven on a plate!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Paleo Coconut Lemon Bars

I have been really into lemon these days. Just can't get enough of the stuff!
I tend to go through food phases- not unlike every other person on this world, correct? Another obsession being mustard. 
Any kind, straight from the bottle. 
I just can't help myself when left alone with a bottle of the stuff...this is not weird.

My (mostly) Paleo experiments these days have been pretty successful, which is exciting, and it hasn't been nearly as scary or difficult as I thought it would be to be creative and somewhat inventive! I've actually had a lot of fun with it!

So I made these paleo lemon bars today to satisfy a fierce lemon dessert desire.

They are a little different than the traditional lemon bar, in that the crust isn't your typical shortbread crust. It's more heavy, because it's made with almonds. It also has a slight coconut taste because of the coconut if you despise coconut, you probably wont really like these.

I halved my recipe, but this is the full 8x12" pan version.

Paleo Coconut Lemon Bars
6 whole eggs
1/2 cup raw, organic honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup lemon juice 
Unsweetened shredded coconut (for topping, but optional)

Pre-heat oven to 400.
2 cups raw almonds
1/4 cup raw, organic honey
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 organic eggs

For the filling:
Whisk together eggs, honey and lemon juice in a pan. Add in coconut oil and turn heat up to medium high and whisk constantly until filling is thickened and bubbling.
Pour mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until the crust is done and cooled completely.

For the crust:
Place almonds in a food processor and grind until they are small chunks. You do not want them in a powder.
Melt coconut oil, and mix honey and eggs with oil.
Stir in almonds.
Pour mixture into greased pan. (I greased mine with coconut oil)
Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Allow crust to cool completely before pouring filling on top, and sprinkling with coconut.

Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before cutting.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cashew Chocolate Whipped Cream!

So, I don't want to disappoint anyone...but I've kinda done a diet revamp. 

Cake is wonderful, and I still eat it, but something has sort of clicked in me lately that has made me think more seriously about the food I am putting into my body. 

I have heard the 'all things in moderation' phrase a bazillion times, and to an extent, i agree. BUT, everytime we tell ourselves we can eat that processed, hydrogenated fat, artificial flavor laden thing  juust  this one time, it adds up to being NOT just this one time. It adds up to hundreds of times, which in turn, affect our health in the long term.

Obviously, I am no doctor or scientist.

But, I do believe we have the gift of technology and a wealth of information around us which makes life a whole lot easier to learn and become knowledgeable about the world we live in and our amazing bodies we have been given!

That being said, I encourage you to look into ways we can combat sickness and disease through the food we eat! I have been blown away by all the things I thought were healthy for me, and come to find out- its all garbage. Just another ploy for companies too make money off of us consumers.

I'm also trying to get better at shopping for  as cheap as possible while buying as much organic, unprocessed food as possible. Any tips? Sadly, theres no such thing as coupons for fresh produce, cheese and meat. That annoys me!

So, even though I am making some drastic changes in my diet, I don't want to ever give up my sweets. I love them, they love me. We're in love. 

Im just figuring out how to healthify things and make them more nutritious so I'm not just loading up on empty carbs and sugar.

Have you ever had Cashew whipped cream? I know it's huge in vegan land, and I've wanted to do it for awhile now, so today was the pretty exciting day that I actually DID it!

Its really good.

I don't think I would call it whipped cream, more like a mousse. But a little lighter than a mousse.

Whatever, it's chocolate, sweet and made from cashews and coconut oil. Delicious and MUCH better for you than Cool Whip. I'm sure the ingredients in cool whip can be tweaked in a way to make building material strong enough to withstand nuclear war.

This is a multiple step process. So don't be thinking you can just pop out the food processor and whip it together. 
Patience, my friend!
I did play by play pictures to hopefully help you with this multiple step process; I realize they are horrible and gross. Apologies.

Cashew Chocolate Whipped Cream
adapted from Magic Jelly

For the cream:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight 
2 Cups filtered water
2 Tbsp. organic,  coconut oil
2 tsp. organic, raw sugar
1/4 tsp salt

For Whipping it:
 1/4 cup organic confectioners sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. Vegan margarine

1/2 cup Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp non-hydrogenated shortening or coconut oil (for melting)

Drain and rinse the cashews. Place in your food processor with 1 cup of the water and blend for 1 minute, so you have a thick paste. It will probably be a bit grainy still.

Pour cashew paste and remaining cup of water in a medium sauce pan, and heat through.
Add coconut oil, sugar and salt and stir constantly for 5-10 minutes until it is thickened and gently bubbling.
Allow to simmer 5-10 minutes- don't stop stirring this whole time!

Take off the heat and return to food processor (I used my Ninja, the thing is amazing!), and puree for 3-5 minutes. Once your mixture is completely smooth, pour into a bowl and refrigerate until completely cool.

Once completely cool, pour your mixture into a mixing bowl along with confectioners sugar and vanilla.
Beat with whisk attachment on high for about 1 minute.

In a separate bowl an electric whisk, beat the margarine until pale and fluffy. Add to cashew mixture. Beat the two together for 2 minutes on high. Soft peaks with develop if all is done correctly!

Melt Chocolate chips at 2, 25 second intervals, stirring well in between.

Pour chocolate into your 'cream' mixture and whip it on high for another minute or two.

(action shot, and darned flash went off)

Pour final mixture into a pretty little bowl, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm it up.
Me and my daughter LOVED this.
I hope you enjoy it and I would love to hear about any other variations I could do!

-You can add more confectioners sugar if you want more sweetness. I'm sure you can sweeten with dates, too, I'm just not sure how to. This is all very new to me!

-This cream is a little on the soft side. For a thicker cream, the cashew to water ratio should be 1:1.

-If you don't want chocolate cream, omit chocolate chips.

-You can also do this with almonds!

-If you didnt think ahead of time to soak the nuts over night you can also place them in a saucepan with water and bring to simmer. Turn off heat and allow to cool completely.

-Fantastic with strawberries, bananas, and pretty much anything you can think of. Our favorite was spoon to mouth.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cinnamon Pear Coffeecake

Right now as I sit here, I am in shock. A good shock.

My daughter is notorious for waking up at the crack of dawn. Which in my opinion, is 5 am. No matter how late she is up the night before- come 5 am on. the. dot. she is up and ready to go.

Now, I am definitely a morning person. Just not a before the sun is up kind of morning person.

Last night we were out and didn't get back til 8:45, and little miss didn't go to bed until 9 pm. Naturally, I was planning on her schedule being a little different tomorrow, and her being extra grumpy today. So when I woke up at 6, and still no baby was awake, I decided to get a head start on my day! It is now 6:50.

Is it bad to say that I'm really digging this alone time with my laptop and coffee?!

Happy Valentines day to me.

I made this cinnamon pear coffeecake a few days ago for the second time, and it's safe to say, this is one of our favorites. Even the little miss loves it. And I would love to tell you that it's 'healthier' because It has no butter and oil in it....which is mostly true....but I made up for that by adding a healthy dose of cinnamon chips and streusel topping. Bite me.

I know that If someone made this for me for valentines day, I would love them a lot more than I hopefully already do.

Cinnamon Pear Coffeecake
Adapted from yummy mummy kitchen
Pre-heat oven to 400

1 1/2 cups AP flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup almond milk (cow's milk works too)
1/4ish cup applesauce
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
2 Pears, peeled and sliced

Combine dry ingredients.
In separate bowl, beat the egg then add milk and applesauce.
Add wet ingredients to the dry and add in cinnamon chips.
Stir just until combined.
Pour into a greased 8x8 pan, or a 8" round pan.
Arrange pear slices on top in a single layer. Pears overlapping is okay.

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine all ingredients, and with either a fork and knife, or pastry cutter, cut in the butter until it resembles small peas.
Sprinkle over pears.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, until knife comes out of the center mostly clean. ( You don't want a dry coffeecake!)

We enjoy it hot out of the oven!

I hope you make this and love it. And obviously if you don't like pears, apples work just the same! Have fun, I tell you!

Baby just woke up. Quite alone time = over.
Happy Valentines Day!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gingerbread Muffins

I just love gingerbread and gingersnaps. But I despise ginger. Make sense?

Yesterday the craving for gingerbread with whipped cream came upon me...I happened to have some molasses on hand and whipped cream! It was fate.

Instead of doing my regular gingerbread cake type thing that I normally make, I thought muffins would be a good idea. Why, you ask? Cause muffins are very cute.

You will love this gingerbread recipe- It has a lot of flavor, and calls for a whole cup of molasses, which I adore. Molasses is wonderful.

Gingerbread Muffins
Yield: 16- 18 muffins

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup very hot water

Pre-heat oven to 350.
Grease a muffin tin.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy.
Scrape down sides of the bowl and add in egg, mix well and slowly pour in molasses.
All at once add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
Mix everything together. 
Pour in water and mix on low until well combined.
Evenly divide the batter into the muffin tin, filling about 3/4.

Bake for 16-20 minutes, Or until the top gently springs back when you touch them.

Top with whipped cream and ground cinnamon for decor.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Reese Smore's Bars

I have a problem with people.

More specifically, people in their cars.

I was out running errands the other day, and noticed a man driving next to me, shamelessly digging for gold with his finger halfway  up his nose. 

A GROWN man. 

Do people think their cars are an invisible bubble?! You probably see this all the time....But some of my favorites are the people that are checking themselves out, flashing smiles in the mirror, making sure their nose hairs are all plucked, checking for lipstick on there teeth.

I just feel like if you're on the road with thousands of other people, and in a car that is very 
window-y, you would maybe remember that like, EVERYONE CAN SEE YOU.

So if you're tempted to pick your boogers in your car on a highway, don't do it. I can see you, and It's gross. Super gross.

Now we go from boogers to possibly the best bars in existence.

Just this past summer, when my family would have a fire in the firepit we started making our smores with reeses instead of hershey bars. And we never went back. 
It's nothing earth shattering and I'm sure many of you have done the same....but if you haven't, you are living a sad, sad life.

These bars taste like Reeses smores, except better.

Reeses S'mores Bars
adapted from The Sweet Life

  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBSP. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp, baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 24-30 Large reeses PB cups
  • 3-4 Cups fluff (I did one large container)
Spray a 9x13" pan with cooking spray.
Beat together butter and sugars until fluffy- for about a minute.
Beat in eggs and vanilla. All at once add the flour, baking powder, salt and cracker crumbs and mix on low until combined.
Press 1/2-2/3 of the dough onto the bottom of prepared pan.
Evenly arrange the PB cups and lightly press into the the dough.
Spread fluff all evenly all over the PB cups.
With the remaining dough, break it up in 4 or 5 chunks and press each chunk flat on a lightly floured surface.
Piece all the dough on top of the fluff layer and gently press down on everything to bring all the dough together into one sheet of dough.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Allow to cool for at least 2 hours before cutting. You can dig into them right away, but don't expect nice neat bars....they will be a beautiful disaster.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oatmeal Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie Cheesecake

So, I need to confess.
Diet resolution people annoy me badly.

Every time I hear people talk about their diet/weight loss/work out resolutions it makes me want to yell something. Like, STOP.

Who even follows through with their resolutions, anyway? 
All these people and their little eat lettuce only and run 10 miles a day diets....I mean, does that sound realistic for you?! Do people REALLY think that they can maintain that kind of lifestyle for the rest of their lives? And if they're doing it just to get to a certain weight, what happens when (if) they do get to that weight? They know nothing about healthy, nutritious eating, and most of the time (the people I've watched) just gain it all back cause they haven't made realistic LIFE changes! 
It's like an all or nothing mentality...which, I must confess, up until recently was me.
I hate the word moderation, but it's really the only word adequate for the type of lifestyle that will lead you to success when it comes to your health, and lets face it- your happiness. Who want's to be around a skinny grumpy person??! I think we all agree we like the people best that make good food, enjoy good food and laugh a lot. 
Besides, laughing burns a lot of calories. Well, I don't know if that's scientific...but in my universe it's a good ab workout.

So, seriously, If I hear one more person say they are on a diet, or talk about how all they ate all day was celery and cabbage soup, I don't know what I will do, but i'll think of something not good.

I made this cheesecake today. It's our favorite in my house...if you are one of those non coconut loving people, you can obviously leave it out!

I hope you allow yourself to eat dessert :)

Oatmeal Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie Cheesecake
Pre-heat oven to 350.

1 stick butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour, mounded
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup quick or old fashioned oats
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened shredded, coconut

Cream together butter, sugars, egg and vanilla.
Add in flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon and mix on low just until combined.
All together add oats, both kids of chips and coconut.
Mix on low until it all comes together.

Press dough into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a greased 9" spring form pan.

Cheesecake filling:
3, 8 oz. packages cream cheese, out at room temp for about 30 minutes
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. AP flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp. milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

In the same bowl you made your crust with, (it's ok if there is a little cookie dough that didn't get 100% scraped out!) beat cream cheese and both sugars together for 1 minute, scraping down the bowl a few times.
Add in vanilla, cinnamon and milk mixing well, then pour in your beaten eggs.
Mix well, and add chips and coconut.
Scrape down the bowl to get everything combined well if needed.

Pour into your cookie dough crust, and place the spring form pan in a shallow baking dish such as a cookie sheet that has an edge at least 1 inch high.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a 2 1/2" area around the outer edges starts to brown and no longer jiggles.

Cool in the spring form pan for 20 minutes before loosening the edges and allowing to sit for another 20 minutes before completely removing the sides. You may need a knife to help loosen the edges a bit.

Allow to chill for at least 4 hours before chowing down!