A Pretzel-Dog Kind-O-Day

Pretzel fun

 

Scott wanted to have a fun stay-at-home baseball date night where we watch the Red Sox beat Kansas City while eating hot dogs and soft pretzels, as if we never missed a day at Fenway Park. Sadly the game was postponed due to rain. But we still had all the makings for a fun night “at the park”. We decided to proceed with our date-night anyhow.

Instead of hot dogs on regular, plain-old buns I decided to whip up some pretzel dough to make our own pretzel buns. Because A.) pretzel buns are the bomb B.) it’s combining two of our favorite parts of being at a ballgame in one fell swoop C.) you’re eating less carbs overall if you’re taking out the buns entirely and D.) they clearly don’t sell the right number of buns in a package. So, bingo…pretzel wrapped dogs it is.

.

The pretzels turned out super tasty (better than expected…because I’m never a great baker) and the dough was pretty simple to make! Of course the hot dogs were right on because we got Hebrew Nationals (closest to Fenway Franks you’ll find, I think). All-in-all it was a great success and I want to show you what we did!

The recipes I used are adapted from a combination of two sites. I followed this recipe for ingredients and how-to’s up until I finished kneading for 5 minutes. I continued my journey with these steps after the dough had risen and was ready to be rolled and prepared. The second recipe is actually for a beer pretzel (yum!) but I didn’t have beer on hand….Feel free to give that one a go!

Here we go:

Combine your yeast, sugar, salt and water

Dissolve 2 1/4 tsp of yeast (or 1 pkt), 2 tbs of brown sugar, and 1 tsp of salt in 1 1/2 C. warm water.

Wait until yeast is bubbly then add flour and mix with wooden spoon until incorporated

Knead dough

Knead your dough on a clean and floured surface for 5 minutes

pretzels

Put Dough in greased bowl and cover for 45 minutes

It’s suggested to cover the dough while letting it rise. I did just that. I made sure it would be the same towel I will be using in another step…so make sure it’s clean and hair/lint free!

Pretzel Time!

Portion your dough

After a patiently awaited 45 minutes cut the dough into 8 pieces (cut in 1/2, then 1/4s, then 1/8s)

pretzels1

Roll your dough into a rope

Take a piece of dough and roll it with your hands to form a rope. From there, form it into whatever shape you wish.

To wrap a hotdog…

…Start at one end, pinch the dough to the dog, and roll until you’ve covered the hot dog how you like.

pretzel

Pretzel

Our wrapped hot dogs and pretzels ready to go!

Preheat Oven

Preheat to 450° before you begin the next few steps. The timing should be right on.

Boil Water in a shallow pan

Once boiling, carefully add 1/2 cup of baking soda. It tends to fizz and bubble a lot! Make sure not to over fill your pan with water. There should be enough to cover about half of a pretzel.

 

pretzels2

Boil each pretzel for 30 seconds

Spoon water over the pretzel to ensure they’re boiled evenly. Place directly on a towel to absorb excess moisture.

Make Egg Wash

Whip your egg yolk in a small bowl.

egg wash

One of Scotts fancy pretzels fell apart so we made pretzel sticks instead 😉

Place your pretzels on parchment lined baking sheets

Paint on the egg wash & sprinkle course sea salt if you wish. Now you’re ready to bake!

pretzel

We didn’t have course sea salt, and if you don’t either I don’t suggest regular table salt. It would bring out a funky taste IMO.

This was our hopeful attempt to be as cool as Pretzel Time or Auntie Annie’s Pretzels. I filmed a slo-mo of the most anticlimactic pretzeling ever. It’s kind-of worth a watch. Haha call this a blooper if you will…

 

..I know, I know you were hoping for this:

making-pretzels

 

I hope this has inspired you to do something fun in the kitchen. I’m not usually one to tell people to go eat hot dogs…but I do believe that we have to keep a balance and adding a hot dog to our diet once in a while is okay. 🙂

Baseball Date Night
 
Prep time
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Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 4 C. Flour
  • 2¼ Tsp. active dry yeast = 1 pkt
  • 2 TBS. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • 1½ C. Warm Water
  • ½ C Baking Soda
  • 1 large egg
Instructions
  1. Combine warm water, yeast, and brown sugar.
  2. Allow yeast to dissolve and bubble. Then add salt and stir a bit.
  3. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is well combined.
  4. Clean and dry a good surface area so you can add flour and knead your dough.
  5. Knead dough on floured surface for those 5 minutes
  6. Grease a bowl and place kneaded dough, covered, for 45 minutes.
  7. Dough is ready when you can stick your finger in it and your print remains.
  8. Divide dough into 8 equal parts.
  9. Roll dough into long rope.
  10. Place the end of your rope on the end of your hotdog and pinch it together.
  11. Continue to wrap the rope around the hotdog until the desired amount of dog is covered.
  12. Pinch any excess dough and start a "scrap" pile.
  13. Continue wrapping as many dogs as you please or turn your rope into a regular pretzel or pretzel stick.
  14. Boil water in a shallow pan
  15. Preheat Oven to 450
  16. Slowly and carefully add baking soda to boiling water, it will bubble!
  17. Boil each pretzel for 30 seconds
  18. Place boiled pretzels on a clean towel to catch excess moisture
  19. Whip 1 egg yolk to paint an egg wash over the pretzels
  20. Place all pretzels on parchment lined baking sheet
  21. Apply egg wash and course sea salt as desired
  22. Bake for 11-13 minutes until browned.

 

 

Deliciously Simple and Healthy Granola Recipe

delicious granola

Hey friends! I’m back again with another granola recipe. This one’s easier and probably healthier than the last (there’s no ramen in this one ;-)) But that’s not to say I don’t love both. 

Anywho–here it is:

The only part that takes some time is chopping the dates because I do this by hand…the rest is a BREEZE!

I tear apart my pantry for anything and everything I think would be good in granola. In this case I chose: rolled oats, dates, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, almonds in any form -except wasabi because that’s just gross, – pepitas, millet (a nutty grain similar to quinoa), coconut oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup (the real stuff…it has potassium! Does that make it healthy? 😉 )


First things first

  • I chop my dates because it’s the most tedious task. Just get’er done…the rest is mindless.
granola

Other add-ins: chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, peanuts, millet, quinoa, pine nuts, chocolate chips, raisins….the options are ENDLESS .

 

  • A make-shift recipe I made while I was adding stuff to my granola. You can tell where I added things last minute…like sprinkling millet:
Granola

This makes sense to me only because I wrote it…Ill break it down.

Now:

  • Preheat your oven to 270°.

    • Do this after you chop your dates. It’s not a high temp and takes hardly any time to get it there.
  • Lay parchment paper on the cookie sheet you’ll be using.
    • Feel free to DOUBLE DOWN on the recipe. This stuff goes fast.
  • Gather all nuts, seeds and dry ingredients in a large bowl.
    • (I used: 1/4 c. pecans, 2 handfuls pepitas, 3 tbs chia seeds, 1/2 c. almonds, 1/2 c. sunflower seeds, sprinkle millet)

Next:

  • Melt your wet ingredients:

    • coconut oil (4 tbs.), maple syrup (1/2 c.) & vanilla extract (splash). I use the microwave!
  • Once melted mix everything well
  • Lay evenly on parchment paper

Then:

  • Bake for 25 minutes & flip

Granola

  • Bake an additional 20 minutes
  • Turn off oven and leave granola in there
  • Wait until oven is cool to remove granola
  • Snack on granola while putting it away. It should be easy to pick up paper and shake into a container.

Granola

  • Enjoy as a bowl of cereal, a quick, handy snack, in yogurt, or in any form really. Yogurt is y FAVE. I buy plain, greek and spruce it up with a touch of honey and some granola. It’s. So. Good!

GranolaGranola

When I make a double batch it fills my cereal container more than 3/4 full. I never make the same batch twice, I always have different things in my pantry and i’ll tell you it turns out amazing every time.

<3

Amber

Irresistably Delicious, Easy and Healthy Granola Recipe
 
Prep time
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Granola with just the right ingredients--everything! Add more or less of anything you want. Its delicious every time.
Serves: 2 full jars
Ingredients
  • 2 C. Oats
  • 1¼ C. [hand] Chopped Dates
  • ¼ C. Chopped Pecans
  • 1/ 2C. Pepitas
  • ½ C. Slivered, chopped, or sliced Almonds
  • ¼ C. Sunflower Seeds
  • 3 Tbs. Chia Seeds
  • Sprinkle Millet
  • 4 Tbs. Coconut Oil
  • ½ C. Pure Maple Syrup
  • Splash Vanilla Extract
  • Chocolate Chips to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop Dates
  2. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl- nuts, seeds, grains
  3. Preheat Oven to 270 degrees
  4. Lay Parchment Paper on Cookie Sheet
  5. Melt Wet ingredients together -Coconut oil, Pure Maple Syrup
  6. Mix everything well
  7. Lay evenly on prepared-no need to oil- cookie sheet
  8. Bake for 25 minutes
  9. Flip
  10. Bake an addition 20 minutes
  11. Turn off oven
  12. Leave Granola in oven until cool
  13. Once cool--add chocolate chips or raisins if desired.

 

 

Meal Prep Sundays: Bulk Burritos

The hubs and I love to have cooking weekends. We go out, buy a bunch of stuff and prepare bulk meals for several weeks worth of food. They are awesome for work lunches (you’re saving about $2k per person, per year by not going out) and super easy dinners if you don’t have time to prep or cook. They’re also a fun excuse for a day date :-). This particular weekend we chose burritos because I like being able to pick and choose the fillings to make each one a tad bit different than the next. For me, mixing it up is helpful so I don’t get bored after a few days.

bulk burrito dayWhat we spent:

4 cans ~$2.50

Rice $3.38

Cilantro $.88

Chicken: $9.47

OR Ground Turkey: $5.87

Tortillas: $3.48

Cheese: $7.94

Onion $.93

Peppers: $4.88

Limes: $.33 e/

Tomatoes: $1.00

Pre-cut Butternut Squash: $2.50

Mushrooms:$2.38

Potatos: $2.00

For our turkey, potato/jalapeño version: $0.99/ burrito! ~ total $29.7

For our rice, chicken, butternut squash & mushrooms: $1.24/ burrito ~ total $37.29

^This one gave us lots of variety!


We had all of the spices we needed, but those would make for an added expense if you don’t have them already.

The Burrito Production

I use this recipe for my taco seasoning. (You’ll only use the description box from the pin, there is no actual web address when you click! Either way, it’s super helpful and yummy.) Make sure to have good, fresh ingredients or else it can get gritty!

Taco Seasoning

To begin…

We began by chopping everything the way we wanted it. The potatoes got cubed, the peppers & onions cut into strips, cilantro chopped, and the fresh tomatoes diced. We pre-cooked everything that needed cookin’ and then put it all in separate bowls so we could form an assembly line.

As for Cooking…

Cook up the jalapeño potatoes, which take the place of rice in this case. (Salt, pepper, paprika, taco seasoning, etc)

 

While the potatoes are busy browning,

Cook the Peppers & Onions
If you’re looking to caramelize them you can add a few pinches of sugar.

The Burrito Production4

Break out another pan and cook up the meat with some taco seasoning while everything else continues to cook.

Once everything is cooked to your liking line up your bowls in a way that’s easiest for you to make burrito, after burrito, after burrito!

Don’t forget a big bowl of cheese, some salsa, your rinsed & drained black beans and your extra cilantro for topping!

Burritoburrito

Microwave tortillas with a moist paper towel (this makes them more pliable & stretchy for wrapping)
Burrito

The first time we did a bulk burrito cook we heated up each wrap by pan, we realized that it’s much easier to use the microwave method…especially for us because our microwave is directly below the counter!

Put one tortilla on a sheet of aluminum foil and make your burrito as you wish!
We just dig in and get dirty. We use our hands and don’t even bother dirtying spoons for anything!

Now just fill ’em up, wrap ’em up,

burrito

…and stack ’em up!

 

Oh and if you are doing different things in each, a sharpie is a good way to label them. I left mine open so it was ready when my dirty hands needed to write!

I promise it’s worth the time, effort & money saved! Give it a try 😉

Happy Burrito-ing!

<3

Amber

If you really want to spice things up and make it yummy, try making your own salsa!

The BEST salsa ever! Wait till you see what's inside this salsa. Only minutes to make and is so good over grilled chicken, tacos, fish, burritos, quinoa | llittlebroken.com @littlebroken

Check out Katya’s recipe at: Little Broken

 

Meal Prep Sundays: Bulk Burritos
 
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Bulk Burritos. Pick and choose the ingredients you prefer!
Serves: 30
Ingredients
  • 4 cans $2.50
  • Rice $3.38
  • Cilantro $.88
  • Chicken: $9.47
  • OR Ground Turkey: $5.87
  • Tortillas: $3.48
  • Cheese: $7.94
  • Onion $.93
  • Peppers: $4.88
  • Limes: $.33 e/
  • Tomatoes: $1.00
  • Pre-cut Butternut Squash: $2.50
  • Mushrooms:$2.38
  • Potatos: $2.00
Instructions
  1. Chop and prepare everything for cooking.
  2. Jalapenos get slices, peppers onion sliced, potatoes diced, tomatoes diced, mushrooms chopped, cilantro chopped, and limes wedged.
  3. Cook potatoes and jalapenos together until brown and crispy. Add salt, pepper, paprika, and taco seasoning.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees if you are roasting any butternut squash.
  5. Caramelize peppers and onions by adding them to a hot pan with olive oil. Salt and pepper them and after several minutes sprinkle a few dashes of sugar for "caramelization".
  6. Cook your meat with taco seasoning.
  7. If you choose butternut squash now is the time to apply a liberal amount of taco seasoning, drizzle oil on a pan and roast at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until brown.
  8. Put everything in separate bowls and wait until cool.
  9. Once cool, build your burrito as you wish! The possibilities are endless.

 

Perfect Pizza Dough

pizza collage

No joke, this takes less time than it would take to get in the car, make sure you have your wallet, and go to the grocery store to buy a pre-made dough (or a frozen pizza). And my assumption is that anything homemade is probably healthier too, because who knows what preservatives these peeps are using now-a-days.

Anywho, Scott and I never make the same pizza twice. But I can easily say we make the same dough every time! It’s so yummy and easy. The key to making the perfect dough? A pizza stone.

I don’t bother dirtying any special kitchen gadgets for this because it’s just more effort. All you need is a bowl, some measuring cups/spoons and a fork.


 

Ingredients:

Flour, active yeast, honey & salt

Perfect Pizza Dough

Step 1:

Mix 2 tbsp of honey in 1 cup warm water

IMG_1758

Step 2:

Combine 2 tsp active yeast

IMG_1760Perfect Pizza Dough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.5-2 tsp salt

IMG_1763Perfect Pizza Dough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3:

Put 2 1/4 cup flour into separate bowl

Perfect Pizza Dough

I prefer unbleached all purpose flour. We have done half whole wheat flour in the past and that was good too!

Step 4:

Dig a trench in the middle of flour and pour in your water mixture. Mix it well with a fork.

Perfect Pizza Dough

Step 5:

Add your oil, making sure to get some oil on the sides of the bowl for when the dough rises. You know me, always trying to avoid using more dishes-which is why I stick to one bowl.

Perfect Pizza Dough

Step 6:

I throw some oil on my hands and squish the dough a bit to make sure everything is evenly incorporated. It’s definitely easier with oiled hands. I also prefer not to work with floured surfaces for 1. because they’re messy! and for 2. because I hate the feeling of flour by itself. Feel free to do your own thing and flour your hands if you’d rather…

Perfect Pizza DoughPerfect Pizza Dough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Step 7:

While the dough is rising preheat your oven to 425. After that, clean UP! Now’s the prime time. It’s only like 3 dishes anyhow, but it’s worth getting it done.

Perfect Pizza Dough

Step 8:

Jeesh, this makes it seem like there are a million steps to this! Lightly mist your stone with oil. Now you can finally throw your dough on your pizza stone. No joke, throw it….in the middle if you can because it’s fun and it helps get the flattening started.

Make sure your hands are well oiled and that you do this quickly. The pizza stone is super hot and the dough starts cooking the second you throw it on there.

Perfect Pizza Dough

Don’t ask why there’s a rolling pin in the photo. I’m 98% sure that we’ve never used one for this dough. Especially because I hardly use extra flour which would mean that the dough would be super sticky. And notice those beautiful imperfections? That’s what makes homemade pizzas so great!

Have you ever made homemade dough and it just keeps shrinking back down every time you roll it with your rolling pin? The pizza stone helps the dough stay in place. Yeah–a pizza stone is life changing.

Pizza is our go-to meal and we put some weird stuff on it sometimes. We also never use actual pizza sauce. We prefer minced garlic, olive oil, and seasonings. It makes it taste less like a take-out pizza and more like a specialty pizza. I promise you this is so easy. Give it a try!

Unfortunately, this is not my original recipe-this is where I’ve adapted the recipe from!

<3 Amber

Painless Pizza Dough Recipe
 
Prep time
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A fool-proof pizza dough recipe.
Author:
Serves: 2 small pizzas, 1 large
Ingredients
  • 1 C. Warm Water
  • 2 tsp. Instant Yeast
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 1½-2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2¼ C. All Purpose Flour (I use unbleached-but whatever you have is fine!)
  • Feel free to add other seasoning to the dry flour before adding the wet ingredients. I like mine plain so I can build on it, but I have added rosemary and italian seasonings in the past & it's still super tasty.
Instructions
  1. Combine warm water, honey, instant yeast, and salt.
  2. Stir to combine and let sit until yeast has combined with the water.
  3. Portion flour into large bowl.
  4. Dig a trench for the water to be added, pour in water, add your oil and stir to combine.
  5. Oil the rest of the bowl so the dough doesn't stick as it rises.
  6. Let the dough sit in room temperature to rise anywhere from 15 minutes-2 hours, or more. The longer it sits, the puffier it gets.
  7. Preheat oven to 425 (make sure pizza stone is in oven) Giving your dough time to rise.
  8. Take out hot pizza stone, spray with oil, and throw your dough on.
  9. Spread dough onto stone with oiled hands. Do this quickly because it gets hot FAST!
  10. We usually don't precook our dough, so this is when we sauce and add toppings.
  11. (If you're going to precook the dough I'd suggest no longer than 5 minutes.)
  12. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until desired color is achieved.
  13. This recipe is really good when doubled. You can freeze the leftovers and for some reason it tastes even better!

 

Darn Good Kale Salad!

kale salad

I have nothing original to post here….but I can definitely share with you my latest obsession in the food world; kale salad.

Even if you’re not a huge kale fan, I bet you’d like this salad. Not only is it super healthy, but it has a lot of other things in it that many people have on hand and there is always an option for substitutes. I’m not one for a crazy salad with lots of veggies like most people (peppers, carrots, cucumbers, etc–aren’t my thing in salads) but this salad is hearty and simple and I hope you try it!

Salad is always better with cheese (fact, not opinion). So in this case, I’ve found several cheesy quotes to lead us into our recipe for the day:

The secret ingredient is always cheese.

Age is of no importance unless you are cheese.

Sweet Dreams are made of cheese, who am I to dis a Brie?

When all else fails, cheese.

Darn Good Kale Salad

By no means am I suggesting that you refrain from pizza and cake once in a while, heck, I had 4 slices of pizza and a whole slice of cake this evening. I’ve also been eating kale salad every single day for lunch for the past week (atleast!). That is not to say that the salads aren’t filling and satisfying because they are, but I can definitely justify having a pizza night now and again. Pizza  is  up there as one of my favorite foods. 🙂

Darn Good Kale Salad
 
Prep time
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Super easy kale salad filled with nutritious ingredients.
Recipe type: Salad
Ingredients
  • SALAD:
  • 2-3 c. Kale
  • 6-10 Brussels Sprouts
  • ½ c. Pecans
  • 2 tbs Chia Seeds
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • ¼ c. Parmesan Cheese
  • DRESSING:
  • 2 tbs Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ c. Olive Oil
  • ¼ c Lemon
  • 1-2 tbs Honey (start with 1 and add another if you think it needs it)
  • Salt & Peppa to taste
Instructions
  1. DRESSING:
  2. Combine oil, lemon, mustard & honey and whisk to incorporate.
  3. SALAD:
  4. Toast your Pecans in oven or toaster oven for 5 minutes AT MOST (3-4 is usually best)
  5. Chop apple into cubes
  6. Thinly Shave/Slice Brussels Sprouts
  7. De-stem Kale and thinly slice into strips (roll each leaf and chop thinly to achieve strips)
  8. Add all ingredients to bowl; chia seeds, apple cubes, toasted pecans, parmesan cheese
  9. Top with dressing
  10. Stir well to incorporate
  11. Enjoy!!
  12. Tips:
  13. I you pre slice all of your kale & sprouts so that it is at arms reach for next time, you can make this salad in less time (less chopping!)
  14. If you find the dressing isn't sticking to your greens, next time massage it onto just the kale and sprouts before adding the rest, then add a bit more dressing.

 

My Unusual Go-to ChickPea Recipes

chick Pea Benefits

These recipes are all super tasty. In my book they are all Tried and True.  I hope these inspire you to try something carazay. Seriously, get funky & make mistakes. That’s how the best recipes are created!

 

 

Chick Peas:

1. Can help Control Blood Sugar Levels
2. Can increase Satiety and Helps with Weight Loss
3. Can improve Digestion Thanks to a High Fiber Content
4. Can help Protect Against Heart Disease and Cancer
5. Provide Essential Vitamins and Minerals
6. Are a great Source of Plant-Based Protein

There's a lot more info here: http://draxe.com/chickpeas-nutrition/

 

 

 

Better Latte than Never

Chickpea, Avocado & Feta Salad

You only need 5 minutes to make this healthy salad!

INGREDIENTS:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained

2 avocados, pitted, and chopped

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons green onion

1/3 cup feta cheese

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and black pepper, to taste

My Tasty Tip: Combine avocado & lime first to stop the avocado from browning!

Check out Maria & Josh at:
http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/chickpea-avocado-feta-salad/
Better Latte than Never

 Hummus Without               Tahini

INGREDIENTS:

1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed

2 to 4 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

¾ tsp. ground cumin

¼ to ½ tsp. salt
 
My Tasty Tips:
1. Combine the garlic and lemon first and blend until minced (this takes away the overpowering garlic flavor).

2. Forget the cumin and shake in some sesame seeds if you have them. Not something you have to do, just something I like to do.
3. Reserve some of the water from the can. Instead of using regular water, use the juice from the can. It brings the flavors together IMO.

Check out Amanda at:
  http://www.thewholesomedish.com/simple-hummus-without-tahini/
Better Latte Than Never

Super Secret Cookie Dough

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Cooked chickpeas 

1/3 cup Chunky OR creamy peanut butter 

2 tsp. Pure vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. Sea salt (omit if using salted nut butter)

2 Tbsp. Almond milk or other non-dairy milk

3-4 Tbsp. Coconut palm sugar, honey, agave or a combo 

2 Tbsp. Flaxseed meal, almond or other nut meal or oat flour 

Chocolate chunks, chips or carob or cacao nibs (Lindt's Hint of Sea Salt – my fav!)

My Tasty Tips:
1. I prefer adding brown sugar for the texture. It brings a "crunch" to the cookie dough that you know you love when you sneak a bite of the real stuff! Usually I cringe thinking about crunching sugar between my teeth. This is the ultimate exception!
2. Wait until the chick peas have cooled after cooking to start the recipe. I did not do this, so my chocolate melted into the dough (no chunks of chocolate...boooo!)
3.  I thought the peanut butter was a bit overwhelming because I don't usually reach for a peanut butter cookie, I'm more of a chocolate chip gal. This is cooks preference...but if you prefer regular cookie dough I'd omit the PB all together.


Ps: The husband had no idea it was chick pea until I told him. He is a sucker for eggless cookie dough recipes, so I wanted to find a fun & healthy one. This was a big win!

Check out  Nora's Full Recipe at:
https://naturalnoshing.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/speedy-sweets-n-snacks/

Better Latte Than Never

High Protein Energy Balls

Makes 30 balls

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup almonds

3/4 cup natural peanut butter

1/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

My Tasty Tips:
1. Make sure you get the garbonzo beans to a very smooth texture
2. They are yummy as a frozen treat!
3. Keeping the peanut butter in this recipe helps differentiate my cookie dough and my protein balls a bit. This way I can have whichever flavor I'm in the mood for. 

Check Out Maryea At:

http://happyhealthymama.com/2011/07/high-protein-energy-balls.html#_a5y_p=3944664

Smashed Chickpea Avocado Sandwich      

Ingredients:

1 avocado - pit removed and scooped from peel


2 scallions roughly chopped

1 large handful of parsley

2 oz feta cheese

1 small lemon juiced - about 2 Tbs

15 oz can of chickpeas

2 stalks of celery - diced

Bread for sandwiches - I used toasted sour dough

Cucumber slices and fresh spinach to add to the sandwich as topping.
 
My Tasty Tip: IMO cucumber doesn't go with the sandwich. But if you love cucumber than add it!

Check Out the Full Recipe At:
http://greenvalleykitchen.com/smashed-chickpea-avocado-sandwich/

Parmesan and Olive Oil Crispy Chickpeas
 

Ingredients:

2 Cups Cooked Chickpeas, Rinsed and Dried (1 Can)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1-2 Tablespoons Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese

Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper



My Tasty Tips: 
1. Buy that fresh ground black pepper if you haven't yet. It makes everything better IMO! 

2. For a hassle free cleanup, use parchment paper on your pan.
3. Just do it. It's so easy!

Checkout the Full Recipe At:
http://thewellflouredkitchen.com/2014/07/08/parmesan-and-olive-oil-crispy-chickpeas/


Foolproof Roasted Chick Peas:

Ingredients:

1 - 2 cans Chickpeas (low-sodium or no-salt-added)
 
Oil - For misting
 
Spices (I use paprika & cayenne pepper)


Check Out Lindsay''s Full Recipe At:
http://www.theleangreenbean.com/how-to-roast-chickpeas/



 I could add about 20 more recipes to this list.

Chick peas are incredibly versatile and they just so happen to be really good for you, too.

Take advantage of these recipes and go wild!!

Seriously, don't you want to go out and buy 10 cans now? That's what I did! I did tons of experimenting and will continue to do more. 

 

 

Happy Chick pea-ing<3 Amber

8 Reasons to Bust Out your Old Dehydrator

dehydrator

I asked my mom-in-law to send me her dehydrator that was collecting dust in her cabinet, I figured I might as well put it to good use, and I certainly have. I haven’t stopped using it since it arrived. I know dehydrating food is not an unheard of phenomenon but I want to bring it back. It’s one of the easiest things to do!

This is a seriously simple set-it and forget-it way of “cooking”. I really wanted to be able to have long lasting, tasty treats that weren’t going to go bad after two days.  I’m not sure what inspired me to get so into this….but whatever it is, I LOVE IT!

I bought this little doo-dad from Wal-Mart for $10 while I was waiting for my shiny-old dehydrator to arrive:
Better Latte Than Never

Here are some of the things I’ve tried:

Apples:

Slice apples thin (core if you have a corer, otherwise, cut around the core and slice each quarter)

Dehydrate at 135 for 8-10 hours.

dehydrator

The perfect snack!

Bananas:

Slice your bananas thin.

Dehydrate at 135 for 6-10 hours.

Spray them with a bit of lemon juice to preserve them and stop them from yellowing (I forgot to do that!)

banana

Awesome in a trail mix.

Oranges:

Use your mandolin to slice your oranges.

Dehydrate at 135 for 5-10 hours depending on your desired dryness.

dehydrator

After a little bit of research I’ve decided I’m going to try to make some orange powder and turn it into a face mask like this blogger does here.

I put a few orange slices in my blender and blended it into a powder. I used some of the powder for a face mask and left the rest for some other time. When I cleaned the blender I used only water so it would blend with the orange powder. Then I took that water, put it in a pitcher, added more water & kept it as a refreshing drink for later :-).

betterlattethannever

Mangoes:

Dehydrate at 135 for 8-12 hours. Check them periodically to get the consistency you like.

I bought pre-sliced mangoes and sliced them even thinner by hand. I definitely could have saved money by buying new mangoes and cutting them myself, but this was my first go at drying them so I did not feel like going through the hassle of peeling and chopping if it wasn’t going to work!

betterlattethannever

Tomatos (Roma & Grape):

Cut your romas in half and face the flat side up. Do the same with your grape tomatoes.

Dehydrate Roma’s at 135 for 12-14 hours.

Dehydrate Grape Tomatoes at 135 for 10-12 hours.

tomatoes

I use these in pastas and soups. They’re super yummy!

Here’s a yummy sundried tomato hummus recipe to try from Sam at Pancake Warrior.

Tortillas:

(They tasted horrible on their own…and anything was better than that).

I put oil, salt & pepper and cut them into little triangle.

Dehydrate at 95 for 10-12 hours.

dehydrator

Cauliflower (buffalo):

Leave the florets about an inch or so in size. I cut mine pretty small and they certainly shrink after a while.

Dehydrate at 135 for 11 hours.

I got the idea from this recipe here. I used only sriracha and vinegar for my sauce because I wanted something quick-and-easy. It’s definitely something I’ll do again!

Sadly, this was one of my first creations and I was too excited, so I forgot to take a picture. Dangit! But it was a hit!

Green Beans:

I microwaved them for about 2m45s to cook them just a bit (but not all the way) and dehydrated them at 135 for about 12 hours.

Yikes. This was a wicked fail. They were not good! I’m trying to figure out where I went wrong. I am going to start ruling things out 1-by-1. Was it the pre-cooking? Was it breaking them into 1 inch pieces? Did I under-cook them? Should I use frozen beans instead of fresh? I haven’t the slightest…but I’ll keep you updated. I had one green bean that was perfectly dry and crunchy and the rest were tough and chewy.

better latte than never

Onions:

I made  the mistake of not pre-cooking the onions before I dehydrated them. Aside from that, they are perfect! Look how good and crunchy they turned out! They’re just like healthy Funions. Yum!

Dehydrate at 135 for 8-12 hours.

dehydrator

I’m sure you could argue that dehydrating your food makes for a higher concentration of  sugars…and that’s true, but that doesn’t mean that it’s unhealthy. That’s really no excuse not to do it!  I’ll bet most store bought crackers or snacks have more artificially added sugars than many of the things I can dehydrate. In my opinion it’s totally worth it! Why not give it a shot? 🙂

“Muddy Buddy” Christmas Treats

Make up a better name...annd GO!

Muddy Buddies are a deliciously nice way to say you’re thinking of someone over the holidays. Put them in a fun jar and give them to your friends or neighbors (or both, if you’re lucky!).

This stuff is almost effortless to make. But hey, it’s the thought that counts right? 😉 Get creative and make up a shiny, new name for these things. They’re so good that they deserve a better one than Muddy Buddies….annd GO!

All you need is:

  • 3 Cups Chex
  • 2 Cubes of Almond Bark (chocolate)
  • 1 Packet of Sugar Free Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • 2 Tbs Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 2 Tbs Powdered Suga
  • 12 Minutes
  • Love        -The Beetles

This recipe filled two old 24 oz sauce jars!


 

Ingredients:

muddy buddies

Make a double boiler by placing a heat-safebowl on top of a large pan. Fill pan 1/4 of the way with water so that it can steam-heat the bowl on top. Melt your butter, PB, & almond bark.

Once melted, incorporate the Chex into the bowl.

Be careful when you remove the bowl because the steam will come rolling out from the bottom.

muddy buddies

Lay the mix on parchment paper to cool:

muddy buddies

While it’s cooling, mix 2 tbs powdered sugar and 1/2 of the Jello packet in a large ziplock:

muddy buddies

Dump the cooled Chex into the bag and shake until each piece looks nicely dusted.

Put them into baggies or jars…if it makes it that far!

muddy buddies

Tips:

  • Make your own powdered sugar in the blender. Blend regular granulated sugar on high until powdery.
  • Rub peppermint oil in the jar caps if they still have their original “scent” after washing. It really works!
  • Add  another 1/4-1/2 cup of Chex if you want a less concentrated chocolate flavor (& if you want more volume).
  • Add less Chex if you want a more concentrated “chocolatey” version.
  • To make a whiter, more powdery version, add a whole package of Vanilla Pudding mix per batch.

Powdered Sugar:muddy buddies

I’m going to experiment with popcorn, corn flakes and rice cereal since I have some left in the cupboard. I will let you know if it’s worth adding to your next batch of Muddy Buddies! ‘Til then….enjoy!

I was inspired to make these after reading the blog: www.therecipecritic.com. I changed up some of the ingredients based on what I had on hand, but ultimately wouldn’t have made them without this inspiration! So, thanks!


Update: If you want a healthier version here are a few ideas:

  • Substitute one of the almond bark cubes with dark chocolate chips
  • Substitute the butter with coconut oil
  • Substitute half of the pudding packet with protein powder so the mix was half protein half pudding.
  • This way is still super tasty, but it’s not quite as caloric. I tried doing all dark chocolate and all protein powder…in my opinion it was not nearly as good. So keep it at halvsies and you can hardly tell the difference. 😉 yummy!

I filled 1 1/4 of the almond bark tray cubes with chocolate chips to measure. Here’s what it looks like:

IMG_3245

Signature

<3 Amber

Sweet Potato & Veggie Lasagna

lasagna

Our weekend is our time to cook together. We love to make bulk meals for eating during the week, because it makes for a fun “date” night (or day) in the kitchen and it’s healthier and less expensive than eating out all the time! This time we decided to make a vegetarian lasagna because we realized that we were typically eating meat for both lunch and dinner. This recipe is super yummy. It features layers of sweet-potato-and-turnip mash. Read below to find out how to make it!

What you need & how much I spent per item used:

  • 1 Pkg Lasagna Noodles: $1.78
  • 2 Cups of Shredded Cheese: $1 (We have a 5 for $25 deal for 32 oz bags of cheese)
  • 15 oz Yogurt: $2.98
  • 1 Egg: $ .29
  • 1 45 oz Jar Sauce: $2.65
  • 1 Cup Water: $ Free.99
  • 4 Sweet Potatoes: $1.23 ($.98/lb)
  • Butter: $ .45
  • Milk: $.25
  • Broccoli: $2.24
  • 1/2 Pepper: $.80
  • Onions: $.79
  • Garlic:$.20 ($3.15/lb)
  • Salt & Pepper

Total: $14.66

We were able to get 15 servings out of this, coming out to less than $1 per meal! Yahoo!


Prepare all fillings separately.

You’ll be making a mashed turnip/potato filling, a yogurt & cheese filling and a sauteed vegetable filling.

Combine 15 oz. yogurt, 1 egg, cheese (1 1/4 cup grated & 1/4 cup parm cheese), salt & pepper.

Make mashed potatoes. Peel potatoes & turnips before steaming or boiling. Add butter, milk, salt & pepper to desired taste & texture.

IMG_2908

Saute broccoli, peppers & onions, or whatever veggies you’d like to add.

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Combine your jar of sauce and 1 cup of water (this helps cook the noodles). Put the water in the jar and shake it, as to almost clean the jar.

Layers:

Spoon on 1 cup of sauce.

bltn

Lay noodles to make 1 layer. They will expand, so space them out!

Add 1 layer of mashed potatoes. Keep it thin, but not so thin that you can see through it. I used my hands to spread the taters. They kept sticking to my spoon!

bltn

Place 1/2 of your yogurt mixture on-top of the mashed potatoes.

bltn

Spread 1 cup of sauce.

bltn

Add another layer of noodles.

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1 layer of veggies (save

bltn

Use the rest of the yogurt mixture.

bltn

Sauce it (1 cup).

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Noodle it.

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Add 1 more layer of mashed potatoes.

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Top potatoes with peppers and onions

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Mince some garlic to add on top. I can see that Nessa wants in on this lasagna.

bltnlasagna

Break up the last pieces of lasagna to spread on top. We knew they’d expand…so the gaps weren’t a problem.lasagna

Add 1 more cup of sauce. Ensure that you cover the entire top, or else the noddles won’t cook thoroughly!

lasagna

Load that puppy with cheese. Both shredded cheese of choice (we just used mexican because it’s what we had….but mozzarella is usually recommended) and Parmesan, of course!

bltn

Spray your aluminum foil so the cheese doesn’t stick. I would also recommend giving the cheese layer a little spray to help it get that bubbly-ness.that puppy with lots of cheese

 

Eat it for dinner…or wrap each piece individually and freeze for yummy, home-cooked lunches and easy future dinners! Enjoy. 🙂

bltn

 

Lasagna Sunday
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Simple, yummy home-made veggie lasagna. We made mashed sweet potatoes!!
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 15
Ingredients
  • Lasagna noodles
  • 45 oz jar tomato sauce
  • 15 oz container of Greek Yogurt or Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 bag shredded cheese
  • 1 bag or container Parmesan
  • Brocolli Florets
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • ½ green pepper (diced)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 Sweet potatoes (peeled)
  • 4 turnips (peeled)
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Italian seasoning
Instructions
  1. Prepare all fillings separately.
  2. Combine yogurt, egg, cheese (1¼ cup grated & ¼ cup parm cheese), salt & pepper.
  3. Make mashed turnip/potatoes. Milk and butter to desired taste & texture of mashed potatoes. Salt, pepper and italian seasonings to taste.
  4. Pre-cook broccoli, peppers & onions, or whatever veggies you'd like to add.
  5. Combine your jar of sauce and 1 cup of water (this helps cook the noodles). Put the water in the jar and shake it, as to almost clean the jar.
  6. Preheat oven to 350.
  7. Layers:
  8. cup of sauce
  9. layer of noodles. They will expand, so space them out!
  10. layer of mashed potatoes. Keep it thin, but not so thin that you can see through it anywhere.
  11. Place ½ your yogurt mixture on-top of the mashed potatoes.
  12. Spread 1 cup of sauce.
  13. Add layer of noodles.
  14. layer of veggies
  15. Use the rest of the yogurt mixture on-top of veggies.
  16. Sauce it (1 cup)
  17. Noodle it
  18. last layer of mashed potatoes
  19. Top potatoes with peppers and onions
  20. Mince some garlic to add on top.
  21. We broke the last noodles in thirds so they could be used as a top crust.
  22. Add remainder of sauce. I'd add a bit more water to the sauce to help the noodles cook.
  23. Top with cheese. Both shredded cheese of choice (usually mozarella) and parmesan, of course!
  24. Spray your aluminum foil so the cheese doesn't stick. I would also recommend giving the cheese layer a little spray to help it get that bubbly-ness.that puppy with lots of cheese
  25. Bake for 1 hour. Uncover after 45 minutes and brown cheese to taste.
  26. Eat it for dinner...OR wrap each piece individually and freeze for yummy, home-cooked lunches and easy future dinners! Enjoy. 🙂
Notes
Our top didn't cook as well as we'd hoped. I would definitely add a tad more water to your sauce to made up for the lack of sauce in the end. It will help the noodles cook more thoroughly.

 

DIY Tasty Whole Grain Crackers

crackers

I was inspired by the My Whole Food Life Blog’s recipe for homemade crackers and decided to give it a go.

They’re wholesome crackers with lots of hidden nutrients. The original recipe is with brown rice and quinoa. I didn’t have quinoa on hand so I used just brown rice. I think they turned out great!
crackers1

Ingredients:

2 C. Brown Rice (pureed until sticky)

4 C. liquid for cooking rice (stock or water, or a combination)

1/4 C. Chia Seeds

1/4 C. Sesame Seeds

Italian Herbs & Rosemary (or any herbs that suit your fancy)

Salt & Pepper to taste

The most time consuming part is cooking the rice. If you have leftover rice from the night before than this recipe will go by in half the time!

Fun Facts:

Chia seeds are filled with two times more protein than most grains and five times more calcium than milk. Plus, they have high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, soluble fiber, potassium and antioxidants.

Sesame seeds are an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. 

Make these crackers in a flash!


Step 1:

Cook rice according to package directions. I suggest using chicken stock for cooking. It add lots of good flavor.

rice

Step 2:

Blend the cooked rice in your blender or food processor until it becomes mushy and sticks together.

Step 3:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. I suggest mixing dry ingredients first. I didn’t do that initially but it would have been a bit easier if I had!

crackers4

Step 4:

Split into two batches. This makes it easier to handle and cooks more evenly.

bltn

Step 5:

Roll each dough ball as flat as you can. Use a piece of plastic wrap over the dough. This makes it so the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling pin. Move the plastic as you go.

crackers2

crackers

Step 6:

Bake for 15 minutes

Step 7:

Flip ’em & bake for another 12-15 minutes.

Step 8:

Break into bite size pieces and bake for another 10 minutes until crispy. I found that the less crispy they are, the chewier they are. If they’re too chewy it makes them tough to eat. 

Here are my final batches of crackers:

IMG_2884

This was much easier than I thought it’d be and there was hardly any clean up!  Just a bowl and a blender! Tweek the recipe until you find what seasonings and ratios make you happy. As for me, I am going to try to roll my dough even thinner for my next batch. 

Happy baking!

DIY Tasty Whole Grain Crackers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Now you can know everything that goes into your crackers instead of trying to read the ingredients list, with the additives and extra sugar, from the store.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 30
Ingredients
  • 2 C. Cooked Brown Rice (Pureed until sticky)
  • ¼ C. Chia Seeds
  • ¼ C. Sesame Seeds
  • Italian Herbs & rosemary
  • Salt & Pep to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook Brown Rice (in chicken or vegetable stock for added flavor!)
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. Put brown rice in blender and blend until sticky/mushy
  4. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl
  5. Add blended brown rice
  6. Stir until incorporated
  7. Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper to fit
  8. Put parchment paper(s) on the counter to prepare for rolling
  9. Split batch into two (one on each parchment paper)
  10. Place plastic wrap over "dough" ball and roll with a pin
  11. Roll out each dough as flat as you can get it (It's super sticky without the plastic!)
  12. Place flattened dough and paper onto each cookie sheet
  13. Cook for 15 minutes
  14. Flip dough (it should be sticky enough to peel off and flip-be careful it's hot!)
  15. Cook another 12-15 minutes
  16. Break dough into bite size crackers
  17. Bake another 10-13 minutes until edges are crispy
  18. (Keep them in longer if they don't crisping right away)
  19. Enjoy!