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Olive Oil Ice Cream with Balsamic Strawberries

January 2, 2010

I’m going let you in on something my mother and I discussed this past Christmas vacation: the not-so-classy girl of 2009, soon to be 2010.  Call us old fashioned but whatever happened to having a sweet disposition?  Ever notice that now-a-days if you like vintage style clothes, vintage dressers or hair pins then it’s a “style”, it’s not how you are.  Well, it’s how I am.  It’s how my mom is. It’s how my best friend Stephanie is, and we are proud of it.  We like sweet.  We like vintage items, and our tastes are here to stay. Its 2010, and time to show the world just how classy we women can be.  Just how sweet. I’m not saying you have like vintage things to be sweet.  For we all know that being sweet comes from inside, not out.  But here’s a good challenge.  Instead of just focusing on ways we can change, improve, and become better fit into 2010,  let’s think about the parts of us that we want to keep. The things we like. That contribute to society. That encourage love and maintain peace with conviction.  Let’s work on those things, too.  I have a sinking suspicion that if I did this, I would be so much less discouraged when I didn’t change right away, and I would love myself just a bit more.

And speaking of women who have come before us, Deb must have been one of those.  This is her saucer that this Olive Oil Ice Cream is in. {I promise I’ll get to the ice cream} I wonder where she lived.  What she did. What she loved, what made her laugh, when she cried, and if she liked ice cream.  I also wonder how she would feel that her saucer was sold to a humble baker in Orange County, California.  I doubt that that price reflects the memories that are wrapped up in that saucer, which is why I intend to keep the tag on.  I want Deb to know that this saucer is just as much hers as it is now mine.

Nice job, Deb cause look at how cute those feet are! And mom, kudos to you, you picked this out, and knew I would love it.  And frankly, I think that an elephant foot saucer is the perfect thing to put something as decadent as olive oil into. I love olive oil. And I hope that Deb would too.  This ice cream is a bit like my love for vintage things.  It feels like something new, yet has an old, familiar almost regal flavor.  It’s unique, and part of you wants to tell everyone the name of the shop you got it and the other half wants to keep it to yourself, serving it in small portions, wistfully waving your hand when people ask where you got this recipe.  You don’t know, it was just “something you had in your recipe book.” Go ahead, say it.  I wont care. Shhh, I didn’t make this recipe up either. I adapted it, but good ol’ technique classes at Williams Sonoma has the patent on this recipe.

Give this a try.  It’s odd, it’s curious, and it’s a reminder that some of the best flavors we can create are things that have been around forever.  I think you’ll like it, and while you do, think about the things inside yourself you like. Encourage those. The rest, they can’t live without breath.  Inhale.Exhale.Bite.Smile.Repeat.

Olive Oil Ice Cream with Balsamic Strawberries (Adapted from Williams Sonoma)
{makes 1 1/2 quarts}

3 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pint strawberries, hulled and cut into medium pieces
enough balsamic vinegar to drown strawberries

In a large sauce pan, stir together cream and milk over medium heat.  Do not let this boil, only form small bubbles on the side of the pan.  In the mean time, beat egg yolks and sugar in mixer with whisk attachment on medium to high speed, until it’s triple in size, which is about 5 minutes.  When this happens, it’s so beautiful you will want to stop and take a picture.  I didn’t and wish I did. So please do, and show me.  Remove milk and cream from heat, and pour 2 cups of milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture changing speed to medium-low.  Add in mixture 1/4 cup at a time and be sure to scrape the sides occasionally.  Mix each time until just combined.  Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, making sure that it begins to mix into the egg/cream/milk/sugar mixture. Turn the heat on the stove back on to medium heat, and whisk new egg mixture into rest of cream and milk mixture at a slow, but steady pace.  You will see the oil trying to separate out.  No worries, that’s just chemistry.  This need to cook for about 15 minutes, until it reaches 175 degrees.  The original recipe says to strain the mixture at this point into a new bowl. I did not do this.  I added a bit of texture to the ice cream, something that I like.  However, if you don’t want texture, strain away.  Place pan into freezer for 30 minutes, allowing the mixture to cool.  Once cooled to room temperature or close to this (about 30 minutes) pour into freezer bowl for ice cream and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.  While churning, wash, hull and cut strawberries.  Place into a small bowl, douse in Balsamic Vinegar, and place into fridge.  Once Ice cream as been fully churned (about 35 minutes), fold in strawberries.  Place in an airtight container, and let freezer overnight.  Enjoy!  My mom put a bit of chocolate on it, and loved it.  I hope you will too!



December 31, 2009

I look back at 2009 and I see pieces of things that fell into place and I see pieces of things that have yet to fall to where they belong.  Isn’t life just like that?  And so is cooking.  Sometimes I have no idea why certain recipes call for certain ingredients, and sometimes my learning mind desires to research and find, and other times, I am so content in knowing that the recipe just. needs. every component. to. work.

I’ve been a bit under the weather lately, and I’ve been spending all my time resting, watching movies, sleeping, and going to the doctor.  Oh, and eating. No exercise, no healthy food, and that was ok.  We all need a bit of rest, and we all need a bit of recovery.  I’m looking forward to being well again and starting on my favorite things: baking, running, and school but in a new light.  It will be balanced.  It will be ok when it doesn’t all fit together, and when the plate is empty and there are still pieces left.  Because, who knows what pieces will go into the next day, week, month, or year.

2010. Piece away.  I welcome your unpredictable nature, yet comforting pieces.  Bring it, and thank you in advance.

Dad’s Christmas Toffee

2 sticks of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
6 oz. of chocolate {your choice: dark, milk, semi-sweet}
Large handful of nuts {your choice: tradition calls for almonds, I used pecans}

Melt Sugar and butter in medium saucepan until reaches 300 degrees.  This is the ‘hard cracking point” for sugar.  Stir in vanilla and salt after the 300 degrees is reached, but before 320 degrees.  This is hard to “guess” so be sure to use a candy thermometer.  Pour mixture on cookie sheet that has been covered with wax paper.  Spread evenly and create a medium to thin layer, but be aware that it will not cover the entire cookie sheet.  It will only cover about 1/4-1/2 of the sheet.  Immediately place chocolate chips (or if you got it from a bar, then chocolate pieces that you have cut up in small pieces) on top of hot, poured mixture.  Wait about 30 seconds to one minute, and the chocolate will have begun to melt.  With a spatula or backside of spoon, spread the chocolate over the mixture, creating a thing layer.  Sprinkles nuts on top.  Place entire sheet into refrigerator and let cool completely for about an hour and a half.  Remove from fridge and break candy into pieces.  Enjoy!

Bruschetta Cornbread Casserole

December 27, 2009

Because I am trying so very hard to use everything in our house and not waste a morsel of food, I put together this random casserole, based off of one in the cookbook Cooking With All Things Trader Joe’s.  I must tell you, it turned out great, and I actually think that it’s much more flavorful than the original recipe.  And this, my friends is a lesson in cooking.  Not that I can offer too many.  But I do know this: you wont know if something works until you try it.  You can substitute anything you want, and it just might be fabulous.  It might be sick, and you will know.  But you will never know if it’s delicious-my-mom-wrote-down-this-recipe good until you try.

So add a little flavor.  I used spicy cornbread mix that my dad had purchased at the store, couscous cooked with cinnamon and maple syrup to take away some of the spicy, and grilled vegetable bruschetta.  It was good.  Perfect for an afternoon lunch, but also would go so well as a side to a perfectly grilled steak, or even BBQ chicken.  Give it a whirl.  Substitute something else and let me know how it works.  You might surprise yourself.  Enjoy!

Bruschetta Cornbread Casserole

1 box couscous
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 jar grilled vegetable bruschetta mix (this you can substitute anything for, just make sure that you season your couscous properly to go with whatever you pick.  Like a basil lime with artichoke hearts sounds good here too.)
1 box spicy cornbread mix via Marie Calendars
1 cup plain goat milk yogurt (You can use other yogurt if you want, but goat milk is nice and creamy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While heating, cook couscous according to instructions, adding in maple syrup and cinnamon about half way through cooking process.  When finished cooking, place couscous into 9 inch round casserole dish and add in the cup of plain yogurt, folding yogurt into the couscous.  Once mixed well, add the full jar or bruschetta (don’t strain the juices) and fold bruschetta into the couscous-yogurt mixture.  Once mixed, make sure new mixture is nicely covering the bottom of the pan, and is even on top.  Add 1/2 cup of water to the cornbread mix.  (This may vary depending on the mix, so make sure to check the package.)  Stir until batter is smooth, and no powder remains.  Pour 1/3 of batter on top of the couscous/yogurt/bruschetta mix, allowing it to lay on top of mixture.  Use rest of batter for a small loaf of cornbread in appropriate sized pan.  Place the casserole dish and extra cornbread into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Enjoy!

S’mores Ice Cream

December 24, 2009

Who doesn’t love a good camp fire?  I know that these usually happen during the summer, but there are a few methods to my madness for this craving:  First of all, I live in Southern California.  Do you know that its summer all year round?  I’m serious, it’s wonderful. Beach. Sunglasses. Windows down. Doors open. Campfires.  Secondly,  there is something about familiar tastes that can transport you to a certain time and place.  The scent of a certain perfume can remind you of an old flame {my mom says things like that, or refers to people having a “main squeeze”} or tasting something that you had in your school cafeteria can take you back to the good ol’ days.  And s’mores my friends, does the same thing.  Campfires. Camping. Scary Stories. Truth or Dare. The whole bit.  So, yes, I am aware it’s winter, but make up a cup of hot coco with this bowl of ice cream and have your own little campfire, Christmas edition.

Of course you are going to need some Marshmallows.  How you cook them is going to tell me, and yourself, and others about how you generally cook your s’mores.  Do you cook them slowly and throughly?  Do you let them catch on fire and burn?  I am the latter, so I cooked mine a bit longer than the former may like.  However, you must know that it gave the mallows a “toasty” flavor, which is the point of campfires after all.

Absolutely you need the grahams and chocolate.  Honeymaid is where it’s at.  I mean, it’s classic, right?  And Hershey’s is usually my go-to. And it was for this ice cream, but alas, as usual I ate it all before I could photograph it, so this is the Trader Joes’ variation.

And yes, it is as creamy, delicious, beautiful, and wonderful as it looks.  Am I the only person to describe food in this way?  Seriously, I’m making this again. And having a fire via a million candles, hot coco and telling my favorite scary story.  Or tear-jerker.  Or sentimental heart-warmer.  Or favorite song. Or…you get the point.  The question is, what will you share?

S’mores Ice Cream (makes 1/2 quart)

1/2 package marshmallows
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 bar Hershey’s Chocolate
3 Honeymaid Graham crackers

Place Marshmallows, cream and milk into a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mallows are melted, and the liquids blend nicely with the mallows.  The texture will be thick, gooey, and wonderful.  Remove from heat and let cool for only one minute, stirring occasionally to make sure the marshmallows do not cool too much, making the mixture sticky.  Pour mixture into ice cream maker that has been frozen according to manufacturer’s instructions, and churn for about 30-35 minutes.   While the ice cream is churning, cut chocolate into chunks about 1/4-1/2 the size of a regular s’mores piece.  This is different for everyone, so choose accordingly.  Break graham cracker pieces inso larger pieces, you want them to stay in tact so that they will freeze well, and still resemble graham cracker pieces after the freezing process is done.  After churning is completed, turn off ice cream maker, and fold in chocolate pieces and then graham cracker pieces.  Be gentle when folding in the graham cracker pieces, or they will break.  Of course a little break here and there is fine, but you want to have a few, good strong pieces in there; just like men in your life.  🙂  Serve right away or store in an airtight container.  If the ice cream is a bit softer than you want, it’s because the mixture was added when it was hot.  So just place in the freezer for an hour or so before serving. Enjoy!

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Mama’s Favorites

December 21, 2009

Have you ever been in a house that is just like a house you picture in the movies?  You know, decorated to the nines of shabby chic, yet comfortable enough to call home?   Yep.  This place is it.  I was selected by Foodbuzz to host a 24, 24, 24 dinner, and friends of ours opened their home to us to host this special event.

Seriously, do you know about Foodbuzz?  It’s a great food networking site that allows you to share recipes, meet other people who love food as much (or more) than you do, and learn how to expand your culinary horizons.  It’s the best.  Oh, and the pictures.  The pictures! Beautiful food pictures from everyone, don’t go there when you are hungry.
So the Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24, event is hosted by Foodbuzz Featured Publishers all on the same night, and posted by the next morning.  So all over, people at the same moment are making meals, getting together and eating with one another.  It’s like when everyone is placing cookies out for Santa at the same time, all waiting for something magical to happen.  Because that is what it’s like when good friends get together to eat good food: magic.  And this, was our event.  A beautiful home, 7 good friends, all eating and laughing, and brining what we can to each other’s lives.  However,  this dinner was special to me for another reason: my family.  They live in Colorado and New York and I don’t get to see them often.  I attribute my love for baking to my mom, and my need and love to run to my dad, and my witty sense of humor to my sister.  They are a part of me, and I am so glad.  So the holidays come around and I miss them.  I miss my mom’s meals.  They are incredible.  If you are in Denver, seriously let me know.  They will open their home to you, and you will never want to eat out again.  She is that good.  So our menu was in honor of my Mama:
Mama’s Favorites
Blueberry Basil Salad with apricot stilton, carrots, and sweet and spicy pecans

Chicken Pot Pie with side of Peppered Green Beans

Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Frosting and Sweet Cream Peppermint Bark Ice Cream
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.  My mom cooks like this all the time.  So it is my honor that I got to cook this meal for the Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event.  And here is how it went:
Who doesn’t love a good salad?  Growing up we had a salad with dinner every night.  And for holidays we had special salads like this one.  Mixed greens, spinach, basil, pecans, blueberries, carrots, and apricot stilton. Serious.  Oh and those roses in the middle?  My friend Kali, who is a regular Martha Stewart added that touch.  What would I do without a friend like Kali?  Besides have a plain salad, I would also be a crazy person. I love her.

I seriously felt like a professional cooking in this kitchen.  It was incredible.  The stove was blue on the inside, which matched my Le Creuset mini-cocottes that I got.  How very planned of me.  No, not at all. I just happen to love blues and yellows, and their stove happened to match.  And happened to cook a delicious pot pie crust.

I know.  Can you believe these pictures?  Our good and talented friend Abe took all of these.  He is incredible, goes beyond picturing the food to actually capturing the taste. Check out his work, he is amazing. I can’t believe he came and photographed these humble pies.  Don’t worry, we fed him.  Can’t you just imagine that crust melting in your mouth?  My mother would very much approve of that golden brown color.  See mom?  You taught me well.

My mom makes one giant pot pie in this beautiful ceramic dish that my dad got her.  I’ve watched her make and bake a million things and if there is one thing that has stuck all these years it’s this: never stress out.  The more homemade it looks, the better. So you see how the pie crust doesn’t cover the entire cocotte on this one?  No big deal. Seriously. It tastes the same and it’s made with love.  My friend Julia helped spread these out, and frankly I was so glad she was there.  She helped thicken the filling, and did it all calmly.  This girl can cook. She can bake. And I’m pretty sure she is my mother’s third daughter.

And so here we are, ready to dig in.  A side of green beans completed this dish in honor of my dad.  He eats a pound of green beans a night.  Yes, one pound.  I’ve taken this tradition over.  I often eat a pound for lunch, or dinner, or a late night snack.  It’s like our bodies have turned to green beans now.  Which, of course, makes sense. Vegetables are full of water you know.  So, eat up my friends.
Ok. Red velvet cake.  Does it get any better?  Every Christmas my mom and I make a Red Velvet Cake, and every year I love it.  It reminds me so much of Christmas that I barely want to eat it any other time.  Usually mom does a cream cheese frosting, but this year I branched out and tried something different: Cream Frosting with White Chocolate.  I like desserts rich.  I learned this from my dad.  If you are going to eat a huge piece of cake, or if you are my dad you eat the entire cake, then it better be delicious.  So make it rich.  Use real butter.  Use chocolate whenever possible.  And enjoy. every. bite.
 I tried to cut it small-er.  But I went in for seconds.  So did Julia.  Megan passed, and of course my husband had seconds too. I think the key to a good red velvet is just enough food coloring to make it red, but not too much to make it artificial.  Go for a maroon.  Such a decadent color.
You aren’t going to believe me that I don’t usually use food coloring.  But I made this ice cream with brown sugar instead of granulated sugar, and I didn’t want it to be brown.  I mean, it’s Christmas after all, and Mama, she would never have brown ice cream.  Sweet cream brown sugar ice cream with peppermint bark.  I know.  But you have to understand that is my mom: goes the extra mile. Always.  We have desserts like this all the time.  She is so wonderful.  Have you met her?  She’s a librarian. She’s read every book, and made every dessert. She’s my mama, and I am so proud of her.
And to top off the night, we had Orange Apple Spiced Cider.  Let me tell you something about my mom.  We moved from Arizona to Colorado when I was in high school and I could not get out of bed when it was below 50 degrees.  So every morning from October through March, my mom would wake up extra early and make this drink, or homemade hot coco.  Apple cider with orange and cinnamon.  This will warm you to the core.  Get you out of bed and into your mom’s arms.  My husband says he would drink this every night if he could.  I should inform him he can, and at least during the holidays while my mom and dad are here, they will see to it that he will.
And what would this night be without at little sharing of our Christmas memories?  Take a look.  In order, a few of our friends: Ethan (great sense of humor, check out his blog.), Kali, Cy (my wonderful husband who is also responsible for the lovely table setting), and myself. Julia, Abe, and Megan, although faithful friends and attendees, are not filmed here.

P.S. How good is this editing?  My husband works for Apple and he is so good at what he does, and so very good to me.  I’m so in love with him.

Merry Christmas!

Blueberry Basil Salad

Mixed Greens
Basil, torn into medium pieces
fresh blueberries
fresh shredded carrots
sweet and spicy pecans
apricot stilton

Mix greens together, making sure basil pieces get mixed in well.  I only used about 6 basil leaves for the whole salad, and tore the leaves into medium sized pieces, making sure to get all the pieces mixed in well with the other greens.  Scatter blueberries, carrots, pecans, and stolen on top.  Be generous here. Your guests will thank you.  A balsamic or raspberry balsamic works very well on this salad.  The basil is so fresh, I can hardly stand it.

Chicken Pot Pie with side of green beans (serves 4) (adapted from Le Creuset)

2-3 large chicken breasts
olive oil for cooking
4 carrots
1 medium white onion
4 cups of chicken broth
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup of milk (use half and half if you want it extra creamy)
1 cup of peas
1 frozen pie crust
2 egg yolks 
1 tsp milk
1 lb green beans
fresh ground pepper

Place chicken on baking sheet, brush with olive oil or butter, generous pepper, and cook at 350 for twenty minutes.  When done, cut into small pieces, however small you want the chicken in the pot pies to be.  Peel and cut carrots into fairly large pieces. A good bite of carrot never hurt anyone.  Peel and cut the onion, cooking in small pan with olive oil until brown.  Add flour, and continue cooking for a few more minutes, whisking briskly until a paste is formed. While cooking, heat chicken stock in large pot, until just hot. Don’t boil.  Add milk, pepper to taste, carrots, peas, and chicken.  Mix in onion paste and stir over low heat until filling is well mixed and desired thickness is reached.  If it seems a bit too “soupy” for you, take a bit of the filling and place into onion pan.  Add more flour and whisk as before, then add and stir into the rest of the filling.    Pour chicken pot pie filling into desired container or containers, and place thawed pie crust over the top. Brush top of pie crust with egg yolks that have been whisked with 1 tablespoon of milk. Bake for 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Enjoy!

Green Beans

Tear ends off washed green beans, and place in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, and place in serving bowl.  Add butter and a generous amount of pepper.  Done.

Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Frosting (adapted from Joy of Baking)

2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
red food coloring
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 bag white chocolate chips

Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes,and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and lightly flour cake pans.  I chose a bunt cake, but two 9-1/2 inch rounds will do just fine.  In a small bowl, stir together food coloring and coca powder and set aside.  The food coloring will look almost non-existant here.  Just trust that it will show up later, you don’t need too much.  I would say 50 drops.  In an additional small bowl, stir together flour and salt; set aside.  

In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed after each addition until combined.  Scrape sides of the bowl the entire mixing process.  Beat in cocoa mixture, then alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating low to medium speed after each addition until just combined.  Stir together baking soda and vinegar.  Add to batter, and mix until well combined.  Pour batter into greased and floured pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until fork or stick can be inserted in the middle and comes out clean.  Leave in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes to cool, remove carefully from pan and let cool entirely.

Creamy White Chocolate Frosting

In medium saucepan, whisk one cup of milk into 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.  Cook and stir over medium heat until it’s thick and bubbles at the edges.  Reduce heat to low and cook for two more minutes, stirring the entire time.  Remove from heat, and cover with plastic wrap.  In another small sauce pan, pour half a bag of white chocolate chips and about 4 tablespoons of heavy cream, and heat on medium, stirring constantly until chips are melted. Remove from heat and work fast.  In a mixing bowl, mix 1 cup of softened butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, a bit of vanilla extract, melted white chocolate, and original mixture that has been covered with plastic.  Beat on high for 15 minutes.  Make sure cake is cooled completely, and drizzle over edges, or ice as desired.  Use colored sprinkles and white chocolate chips for garnish.  Place in fridge to cool, remove from fridge at least 1 hour before serving.  

Brown Sugar Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Peppermint Bark (adapted from David Lebovitz and serves 9 scoops)

6 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 stick butter
2 pieces of peppermint bark

In a large sauce pan, heat milk, heavy cream, brown sugar and butter over medium heat until butter is almost completely melted, and sugar has dissolved, do so by stirring slow strokes constantly.  Remove from heat, and carefully whisk in egg yolks.  Make sure there are no whites in this mixture.  You will get scrambled eggs into your ice cream.  Once mixed, color if desired, and pour into ice cream maker that has been frozen according to manufactures instructions.  Mix for about 30-35 minutes (times may vary depending on mixers). Cut Peppermint bark into an assortment of sizes, so each bite is different. At the end of the mix cycle fold in peppermint bark. Serve immediately, or place in freezer until ready to serve. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving for optimum softness. Yum!

Healthy and Delicious Mac and Cheese

December 16, 2009

People are always talking about comfort food.  And frankly, I feel like that’s all I eat.  I mean of course, I eat salads and fruit and yogurt and all that, but the majority of my “diet” is comfort food.  If it’s not delicious then why, oh why would I eat it?  No clue.

So here’s the deal.  This dish is super easy and super yum.  Start by browning some hamburger meat.  Yes, I said that.  We all need some iron.  Boil some noodles, whole wheat if you want to be healthy. And then here is the real kicker: skim mozzarella, cottage cheese and greek cheese yogurt.  I. know.  Sound odd right? No way. Delicious.  And I added some green peppers in here as well as butternut squash to make it extra good.  We loved this, and my husband who is an avid mac and cheese fan very much approved.  You get a little protein, a little carbs, a little dairy, and veggies. I mean hello. Everything you need, and for those of you that eat well on a regular basis, this is comfort food that wont cramp your style.

Healthy and Delicious Mac and Cheese

Cooked noodles (as many as you will need for your family or guests.  I did about 2 cups)
1 cup butternut squash puree
1/2 lb of hamburger meat (or turkey meat, or none)
1/2 cup of cheese greek yogurt (I got mine at Trader Joes)
1/2 cup of cottage cheese
1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese (or any cheese you want)
1 whole green pepper (or, again, any veggie you want)
1 egg
Pepper to taste

In two separate pots, boil noodles until done, and brown meat until cooked all the way through.  While cooking, place all other ingredients into a large bowl and mix until just mixed. Fold in cooked and strained noodles, and then meat.  Place in casserole dish, adding a bit more cheese to the top for browning, and place in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Banana Sweet Potato Muffins with Chocolate Chips

December 14, 2009

I have a confession.  I love bread.  Not bread like French Bread, or bread like sandwich bread, but bread like pumpkin bread, banana bread, ginger bread.  Those types of breads.  The reason why this is a confession, and probably the confession of all confessions is because if these types of breads are around me, I will eat it all. Every crumb.  I’m like a tornado, ready to take everything that is in my path.  Yes, that’s me.  I made the Blueberry Sweet Potato Bread last week.  Did you make it?  Well I would offer to give you some of mine, but I ate the entire loaf in two days.  So here we are, a week later, and I found myself in the kitchen again, my body craving the usual delicious bread.  And do you know what happened this time?  I made 16 of these cute muffins, and I ate 11 within 24 hours.  I consumed 4 the first night, 3 the next morning and 4 later that day after lunch.

But, in my defense these have nothing but fruits and vegetables.  Ok, it has chocolate and maple syrup too.  Oh, and flour.  Ok fine.  I should not eat breads in bulk, but whatever, I run, I take spin classes, and I just took my first yoga class after my 11 muffins.  Let’s make this clear: I’m not confessing to you because I want change my ways.  I’m confessing because if I am addicted to one thing, I can not think of something better to be addicted to than delicious, moist, can’t-stop-eating breads. Amen.

I did the math, and each of these muffins only has 93 calories.  Wish I would have known.  I would have eaten 5 more.

Banana Sweet Potato Bread

1 cup Sweet Potato Puree
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup Maple Syrup Agave Blend (You can use brown sugar here, but just make sure that you change the amounts of course.  I would suggest a cup of brown sugar if you wanted to go that route.)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of butter
1 egg
chocolate chips for the tops
powdered sugar

Place all wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Slowly mix in the flour, making sure to scrape the sides  to get all of the flour mixed in.  Mix until just combined.  Place into greased muffin tins, and fill only about 1/4-1/2 full.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips, as many or as few as you would like. Place into a preheated 350 degree oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from pan easily with the help of a utensil, on a cooling rack. Sprinkle powdered sugar on muffins when they are luke-warm.  Serve immediately.  For a bit of extra goodness, but the muffins in half and place a bit of butter on them.  Make sure to sprinkle powdered sugar only on the muffins that you will be eating.  The sugar will melt if left on too long, and look yellow in color which is not appetizing.  Enjoy!