Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pomegranate Salad

Between all the "Scrumptious Desserts" and Halloween being here tomorrow, are you in need of something green and healthy?? Try this fun fall salad- it goes great as a side with a cup of soup for a fun "soup and salad" combo! Don't be overwhelmed by using the pomegranate, it is actually really easy to peel and get the seeds out... I promise! (see directions below) And the new Sweet Balsamic Dressing is such a great compliment to the tangy pomegranate seeds, the cinnamon in the nuts, the flavor of the mixed greens! Yum Yum I could have eaten the whole bowl!

Ingredients for the Salad:
1 bag of mixed greens, your choice
1 pomegranate, de-seeded
1 avocado
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, plain or candied
a sprinkle of feta cheese

Sweet Balsamic Dressing: (double this if you are making it for more than 4)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil or grape seed oil
1/8 cup honey
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp yellow mustard

I love this salad because it's quick and easy to make, it only takes a few minutes to throw it together! Wash and spin your mixed greens, soak and de-seed your pomegranate, slice your avocado, sprinkle your feta, add your walnuts (my recommendation is to candy them!) and toss with your favorite balsamic dressing! Enjoy!

To De-Seed your Pomegranates: Fill up a large bowl in your sink with cool water. Take your pomegranate and slice it in half with a sharp knife. Submerge one half of the pomegranate in the water and peel back the skin like you are turning it inside out. All the seeds will pop out and because it's under water there will be no spraying or staining of your clothes! Plus, all the seeds will sink to the bottom and all the excess stuff from the inside of the pomegranate will float to the top. Then you can skim off the top of the bowl with you hand and strain the seeds out for eating. I usually do a bunch at a time and store them in a ziplock bag in the fridge to snack on!

Friday, October 29, 2010

And the WInner of the 200th Post is....

Meghan Underwood!!!!
Meghan, thanks for all your comments and feedback on all the recipes you try! I love hearing from you and getting your input! Hope you enjoy the treat to Trader Joe's... keep an eye out for it in your mailbox!

Thanks to everyone else who played along... here's to another 200 more... well, we'll see!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries and Nuts

I made these a few weekends ago to thank some of my sweet friends who threw me Baby Shower... and I thought they were so delicious I had a hard time saving some for them, lucky for me the recipe makes a lot! I found this recipe at Sprouted Kitchen and I followed it almost exactly as she said with just a few minor changes. Her cookies looked soft and chewy, mine were crispy and crunchy- either way they are delicious!

Entry #5 of Scrumptious Treats:

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chopped & toasted pecans (I used sliced almonds)
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter, softened
1.5 cups packed dark brown sugar or muscavado
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix your flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and sift well. In another bowl, beat on medium your butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Then add your flour mixture and continue to beat on medium high until it's well blended. Then pour in your oats, nuts, dried cherries, and chocolate chips. and stir by hand until well blended. Scoop onto cookies sheets and cook for 8-10 minutes for soft cookies and 10- 12 for crunchy ones. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lime Honey Dew Sorbet

Entry # 4 of Scrumptious Desserts:
This is a summer dessert that I am sad to say I never got around to posting. It is more icy, refreshing treat that kinda reminds me of a margarita... maybe because of the fresh lime flavor. It is a perfectly light and healthy dessert that works really well after a mexican dish!

5 cups cubed fresh Honey Dew
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, about 2 limes
1/8 cup honey, add more if needed to taste
1 TBSP water
2 tsp. lime zest, about 1 lime peel

Put all the ingredients in your Vitamix or blender and puree until smooth. Pour in an air tight container and freeze until solid.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cupcake Sandwiches...

Entry #4 of Scrumptious Desserts:
Do you ever had a few left over cupcakes that didn't get frosting because you ran out? Do you have a the family member that doesn't eat frosting?? Ever forget the frosting at the store or realize that you don't have time to make it??? Well, here are some solutions to Frosting Free Cupcakes!
A simple idea: Take a plain cupcake, slice the top off and add a scoop of ice cream to it, place the top back on, sprinkle some powdered sugar on top, and add a fresh scoop of berries to the side.
Or another simple solution.... (sorry for the horrible picture, it's always awkward to take a picture of your food in a restarunt, one has to be quick and sometimes not in focus when doing this!) you can put a dollop of homemade Whipping Cream and a sprinkling (or spoonful) of your favorite chopped candy bar... this picture has Heath Bar crumbled on top. Make sure to chill your whipping cream before hand.
And here's a little something that I want to try out... the next time I have to bring dessert somewhere, I found it on a blog called "Joy the Baker" and thought it was really cute and seemed really simple.... if you give it a whirl, leave us a comment and let us know how it turns out! (see her blog for directions.... or stay tuned and maybe I will make them this month!) For a quick review, it's a layer of brownie on the bottom, a scoop of ice cream in the middle, some fudge and topped of with rainbow sprinkles- cute huh?!

I know both examples were with chocolate cupcakes but get creative, you could really branch out and use yellow cupcakes with chocolate ice cream or spice cupcakes with vanilla bean or lemon cupcakes with french vanilla, or chocolcate fudge cupcakes with mint chocolate chip.... do I need to go on??? Have fun!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of the reasons I love the fall is all the pumpkins! I love to decorate with pumkins, I love the smell of pumpkin scented anythings, and I delight in the flavors of pumpkins- especially with chocolate! So needless to say, this is recipe is a sure thing for the fall. They are easy to make and they ARE healthy! A big thanks to Amy Moxley from Land of Fruits and Veggies who shared this recipe with us, check out her blog for more great vegan ideas!
Entry #3 for Scrumptious Desserts:
3/4 cup raw coconut crystals or brown sugar
3 TBSP honey
1 can pumpkin (15 oz.)
3/4 cup coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour (any combination of your likings: I used 2 cups brown rice flour, 1 cup Coconut Flour Blend)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 cup chocolate chips

*** Note: Amy's recipe calls for EITHER coconut oil or unsweetened applesauce- I have made them both ways and I DEFINITELY recommend the coconut oil... I don't think I'd make them again with the applesauce. Just a heads up to you!

Preheat your oven to 350. Beat your sugar, honey, pumpkin, coconut oil, and vanilla until they are well blended. In a separate bowl mix your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Pour your flour mixture into your pumpkin mixture and stir well, adding and stirring in your chocolate chips. Grease your cookie sheets and drop spoonfuls of dough, cook for 12- 15 minutes. Let them cool on wire racks and enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dirt Balls...

Entry #2 of Scrumptious Desserts:
So my crazy mom made these a LONG time ago, she loves to try new recipes too, I wonder where I get it! They are really easy to make, easy to serve when company comes over or for a party because you can make them ahead of time. They are perfect too for that custom taste of yours- you can add whatever toppings suit your fancy and they will be great every time! By the way, have you every tasted the French Vanilla Ice Cream from Trader Joe's... it's one of the best vanillas I have ever tasted- really creamy and really flavorful!

french vanilla ice cream
chocolate wafers or Oreo cookies (with the centers scraped out)
toppings (carmel, butterscotch, hot fudge, whip cream, or fresh fruit... or all of the above!)

First (and ALWAYS!) you are going to WASH YOUR HANDS because you have to handle the ice cream to make them into balls! You are going to chop or smash your chocolate cookies into crumbs, I put mine in a Ziplock Freezer bag and smash them with a rolling pin. Once they are finely smashed, pour them onto a plate. Then you are going to scoop your ice cream and create a ball to the size that you would like, shaping it with your hands- warning this part is cold- and stick it in an air tight container to "refreeze" because they will melt a bit while you are trying to form them. After about 20 minutes in the freezer, take them out and roll them around on the cookie crumb plate- you can put them back in the freezer until you are ready to serve them or use them immediately. When it comes time to serve them, set it on a plate with drizzled hot fudge & berries, or add a dollop of carmel or whip cream- or put it in a cupcake liner and let your guests chose their toppings. You can't go wrong!

200th POST- thanks to those of you who have left comments, I will be picking a name at 10pm on Thursday, October 28th and the winner will be announced on the 29th! Thanks for joining the fun!!! Don't forget to leave your comment if you haven't already!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Homemade Rocky Road Ice Cream

So, thanks to Lisa, who left a request for some frozen treats on this blog- we are going to dedicate to her an ENTIRE week of SCRUMPTIOUS homemade treats to enjoy! Some of them are going to defy the rules of "healthy" but they won't lack in flavor or fun... stay tuned all week to find something that you might like to" treat" yourself with!

Entry #1 of Scrumptious Desserts:
Wow, so this is de-licious, and doesn't exactly qualify with the "healthy" motto of this blog calories-wise, but I always prefer to make something homemade... so think of it that way- you are getting just what YOU put into it and nothing extra (that's usually in fine print) that some ice creams add! This ice cream is so yummy AND creamy AND chocolatey good, I couldn't resist including it in this weeks "Scrumptious Desserts" for all to enjoy!

1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
1/2 cup unsweetened coco powder
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 TBSP vanilla extract

In a sauce pan heat your milk and coco powder until it is smooth and slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Then remove it from the heat and let it cool. Add your cream, milk, vanilla and spices (including vanilla). Stir and refrigerate until cold. Then pour in your mixture into your FROZEN ice cream canister. Last add your nuts and marshmallows and freeze until hardened.

Recipe from: the kitchen of Debbie Zaballos, my mama

And a birthday shout out to my sister-in-law Lisa, thanks for the FUN request- We hope you had a great birthday, we love you and are thankful for you... and your love for desserts! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

200th Post, Elderberries & a Give Away....

(Fresh Elder Berries)

WOW, can't believe I made it to 200! Thanks for checking in every once in a while, hopefully you have found some recipes to try or tips to use in your own cooking adventures!

I wanted to do a "different-than-normal" post (beings that it is the 200th one I've done!!!) and I couldn't think of a more perfect one than the newest Elderberry Concoction that I have just tried, it could be my MOST FAVORITE HOME REMEDY YET! I have been hearing a lot about Elderberries everywhere I turn. It seems they are really making a name for themselves- whether it be with Dr. Oz & Oprah (via my mom, I don't have cable!), the health articles and websites I check out, or one of my all time favorite blogs Passionate Homemaking where I found this recipe and tutorial video on how to make your own Elderberry Syrup for PREVENTING sickness and HEALING soar throats and cold like symptoms- perfect timing for the winter months ahead, right?

I am a big fan of trying things out that prevent sickness (especially with little kids in my house all the time- even more so when I taught 6 year olds all day long- and now MOST importantly because I am about to have a newborn in the house during cold & flu season!) so I jumped on the opportunity and thought it was worth giving it a shot..... AND I AM SO GLAD I DID!

Most of the ingredients are ones you have on hand or things you can find at your local grocery store, with the exception of the Dried Elder Berries. I purchased these online and they shipped rather quickly from Mountain Rose Herb Company. I bought an 8 oz. bag in hopes that it would last me a few rounds (note: if you use that site, you have to make a minimum $10 purchase).

It's so simple to make, watch this video posted on Passionate Homemaking or follow the instructions below. If you don't want to make your own, you can purchase it as well, but it's much more cost effective to give it a whirl yourself!

In a small sauce pan bring to boil the following ingredients:
1/2 cup dried elder berries
2 cups water
5 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 TBSP freshly grated ginger
***(you will also need 1 cup local or wild honey later in the recipe)

Once that comes to a boil, turn it down and allow it to simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes until the liquid reduces by half. Remove it from the heat and pour all the ingredients through a strainer and into a bowl. Gently press the Elder Berries to remove all the juices from them. Then add 1 cup honey to your elder berry juice that you have just poured into a bowl. (NOTE: I have made this recipe many times since posting it and have cut the honey in HALF so that it's not as sweet, it still packs the same punch though!) Stir it well, let it cool on your counter top, then transfer it to a jar with a sealing lid and store it in your fridge for 3-4 weeks. This syrup is safe for both adults and children alike. (NOTE: Remember there is HONEY in the recipe so it isn't recommended for children under 2. Just make sure everyone else in the household is taking it to lessen the chances of sickness spreading!)
Directions on how to take it:
You can take this Elder Berry Syrup as a preventative & to boost your immune system by taking 1 tsp. daily. Or you can also take it if you feel sickness coming on or have already gotten sick (flu, soar throats, colds, aches and pains, or anything viral) up to 1 TBSP per hour.

Hope this post will help you throughout the cold season, I am so glad I found this concoction right in time! Let me know if your feedback!

200th POST & a Trader Joe's Gift Card Give Away:
Now because it's the 200th post, leave a comment sharing a favorite recipe from this site or a request for a certain kind of recipe you'd like to see in the future and win a $10 Trader Joe Gift Card... because Trader Joe's is my favorite store and my home away from home :) Just a little something fun! Give away will end in ONE WEEK on October 27th and the winner will be posted on the 28th- so stay TUNED!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sauteed Spaghetti Squash....

So, the other day, my girl Monica posted on FB how excited she was the Spaghetti Squash was back in the season, and she also let me in on her favorite way to cook it.... her recipe is on my meal plan this week, so I look forward to posting it soon- but for now, here is a simple and easy way to cook it as a side dish (or add left over chicken to it and serve it as dinner). Do you have a favorite way to cook it or a stellar recipe you use??? Share it with us!!! Stay tuned for Monica's Spaghetti Squash tips...

1 spaghetti squash
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Grape seed oil
s & p
1 TBSP parsley, chopped
*** (optional) handful of parmesan cheese
*** (optional) chopped (cooked) chicken

Cut your spaghetti squash in half length-wise (as in picture above) and scoop out the center seeds. Then turn FACE DOWN on a foil lined roasting pan or cookie sheet. Bake for 40 minutes on 350 until it's tender, but still crunchy . Let them cool for about 5 minutes until you can handle them. In a large skillet, heat some Grape Seed Oil, your red onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Then , using a fork, scrape out the insides of the spaghetti squash- which will look like SPAGHETTI!!! Add it to your pan and let it cook for another 5 minutes, turning frequently. Add your parsley, s & p, and chicken and cook for a bit longer. Top with shredded parmesan, let it melt in and then serve!