January 26, 2015

Vegetarian Cauliflower Fried "Rice"


We're expected to get about a foot of snow between today and tomorrow!  Since my little sous chef and I were snowed in today and I was able to finish work early, I decided to venture into the kitchen and try something different.  I've been noticing cauliflower being used in place of rice in recipes, and I've wanted to try it for myself for quite some time now.  Today was the day.  I was definitely skeptical at first, but now that I've tried it, I'm a believer.  When seasoned properly, you really can't taste a difference between the two!  This is a delicious, healthy, and satisfying version of fried "rice" that's both low in calories and low in carbs.  It can also be made in under 30 minutes!  




Ingredients:
Yields 4 servings

  • 3 c grated raw cauliflower 
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil 
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided 
  • 1/2 c sweet onion, chopped 
  • 1/2 c carrots, chopped 
  • 10 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces 
  • 1/2 c frozen peas 
  • 1 c zucchini, chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced 
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste 
  • 1 tsp brown sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated 
  • Pepper, to taste 
  • Garnish:  Chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds 

Directions:

Preheat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add the sesame oil and 1 tbsp of the butter.  Once the butter has melted, add the onion, carrots, and asparagus.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the peas and zucchini, and season with pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes longer.  

Add the garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger to the pan.  Pour in the grated cauliflower the remaining 2 tbsp of butter.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked to your desired doneness.  Season with soy sauce and pepper, to taste.



Garnish with chopped scallions and sesame seeds, if desired.  

Enjoy!


January 16, 2015

Homemade Almond Milk (Step-By-Step Instructions)


Making your own almond milk is so easy!  You just need to plan ahead for it.  It's raw, lactose-free, unprocessed, and healthy.  It's also creamy and delicious!  Simply soak the almonds in water for 12 hours, drain them, and then process the almonds in the blender with fresh water.  You can also add other ingredients such as vanilla, cinnamon and honey.  It's so easy!  

Note:  Homemade almond milk lasts covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.  Use the best quality almonds that you can find for the best results.  Hot water makes the almond milk more creamy.  Also, the longer you soak the almonds, the more creamy your results will be.  


January 14, 2015

Skinny Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds, Blueberries & Bananas


My little sous chef was home sick yesterday with a yucky cold.  The only thing that she wanted to eat all day was oatmeal.  I get it.  It's comforting, it's tasty, and it warms the soul.  There are also so many wonderful health benefits to eating oats, and I have been trying to incorporate them more into my diet.  

Overnight oats have become one of my favorite things to look forward to in the morning.  When I stumbled across Skinny Taste's skinny version, I knew I had to try them immediately.  The oats are soaked in milk overnight in the fridge along with chia seeds and fruit.  When you wake up the next morning, you have a delicious, creamy, and healthy breakfast to enjoy before starting your day.  Give it a try!  If you decide you're not a fan of cold oatmeal, you could always just heat it up.  

Notes:  If you don't like chia seeds, you can leave them out and add an extra 1/4 cup of oats.  The general rule of thumb is equal parts liquid to oats.  Also, I don't typically add the honey called for in the ingredients because the blueberries and banana add just the right amount of sweetness for me, but you can certainly use any of your favorite sweeteners such as agave nectar, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc.  Enjoy!  


January 12, 2015

Superfood Quinoa & Three-Bean Chili (Vegetarian)


Oh, to be a kid again and wake up to find you have a two-hour delay from school!  When I was a kid, winter was my favorite time of year, and everything seemed to be magically followed by a hot cup of cocoa.  Now?  Not so much.  Right now, you could ice skate on my driveway, my car is covered in ice, the air hurts my face, and I really don't want to know what my electric heat is doing to my electric bill.  It's days like these that I am so thankful I work out of home.  After about the second week of January, I'm daydreaming about spring.  

Enough with the negative talk.  One of my favorite things about winter is all of the hearty soups and stews that we get to enjoy.  Now that it's the New Year, my husband and I have resolved to eat healthier than we did in 2014.  For dinner last night, I decided to make chili sans meat.  Instead of beef, I used quinoa and three different types of beans to make it healthy and hearty.  This chili is packed with flavor and rich in protein and fiber, so it will fill you up faster and keep you satisfied longer.  My non-vegetarian husband loved it and said he didn't miss the meat at all.  Score!


December 29, 2014

Beef Stroganoff


I don't know about you, but the sad realization that Christmas is over coupled with the fact that there are still a few more work days before the New Year has me feeling a little blue.  After a long day, we deserve to kick off our shoes and dig in to a comforting, hearty dish of goodness.  This beef stroganoff should do the trick!  The tender and juicy steak drowning in a delicious creamy sauce will send you into euphoria!  What's even better is that it can be made in 30 minutes!   


December 21, 2014

Double Nutella Fudge Puddles


This is it!  The only Christmas cookie you'll need.  Nutella chocolate chip cookies with walnuts and a dollop of Nutella in the center.  These are so amazingly amazing!  It's like a cross between a cookie and a brownie.  Decadent goodness with a delightful fudgy, chewy center.  It's also so easy to make.

Note:  Regarding the serving size, each fudge puddle is larger than your average cookie.  Look at it as a dessert experience - like having a slice of cake on your plate.  If you'd like them to be smaller, you can easily use a mini muffin pan the same way.   


Do yourself a favor and start gathering the ingredients now.  Trust me - you need this in your life!  

December 17, 2014

Busy Weeknight American Goulash with Turkey & Whole Wheat Pasta


I'm still here and still cooking every day!  I've had quite a few things on my plate (pun intended!) this past month, so I've had zero time for blogging.  Correction.  Any time that I did have for blogging, I used to work on things like my daughters 10th birthday party, my dad's surprise 60th birthday party, Thanksgiving stuff, Christmas stuff, etc.  I'm definitely not complaining, though.  I have been blessed with so many people in my life that I love and cherish who also happen to take up a lot of my time!   

Withe everything that's been going on, I wanted to pause and share with you one of my easy & tasty recipes that I whip up on a crazy weeknight.  Now, I don't always use ground turkey, and I don't always use whole wheat pasta.  Sometimes, I'll use a beef/pork mixture with regular pasta; sometimes, I'll use cooked shredded chicken - it all depends on what I have on hand!  That's the beauty of this recipe.  Just toss in whatever you have!  For the tomato sauce, we used our homemade sauce from the garden tomatoes this year.  


November 20, 2014

Juicy Pork Tenderloin with White Wine & Shiitake Mushroom Pan Sauce


On average, we have pork tenderloin once every other week.  The secret to cooking the juiciest, most tender pork tenderloin is simple.  Sear it, roast it until it reaches 140 degrees, and rest it for 20 minutes covered.  While it's resting the juices redistribute throughout the pork, all while bringing the temperature to 145 degrees.  Marinating definitely helps, but if you don't have time to marinate it, that's fine!  It still turns out juicy and tender.  You can even purchase pork tenderloin already marinated for you.  If you've never cooked pork tenderloin with this method, you have to try it.  It seriously is the only way you'll ever want to cook your pork tenderloin again!  The white wine & mushroom sauce is seriously amazing.  I used shiitake mushrooms, but you can use any type of mushroom you'd like.  

Here are a few of my favorite marinades (guess I should go back and update some of those pictures!):

Notes:  As stated in the instructions, you can make the white wine & mushroom sauce thin or thick, depending on your preference.  We enjoy this sauce thick!  I also add pomegranate seeds as a garnish to brighten up the flavor.  If you don't have pomegranates lying around, simply give a little squeeze of orange juice or lemon juice over all instead.  

October 29, 2014

Caramel Apple Sangria


Sweet Honeycrisp apples, crisp sparkling apple cider, white wine, and caramel syrup join forces to create a fantastic festive libation!  Honey whiskey and vanilla bring out the flavor of the caramel, although the whiskey is optional (I used Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey Whiskey).  Because the apple cider, caramel and apples are so sweet, I opted for a drier white wine, but you can really use any wine you'd like.  Finally, the caramel/sugar-coated rim sets these babies over the moon!  This really is a delicious, sweet drink that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!  

October 25, 2014

15-Minute Shrimp Mei Fun


We've been pretty busy lately, so I've been making a lot of my quick and easy dinners.  Of all of my 15-minute meals, this one is my family's favorite.  It's better than anything you can get from Chinese take-out (or so my husband proclaims), and it is incredibly easy to make.  Mei fun simply means thin rice noodles, which you can find in the foreign section of your grocery store labeled rice vermicelli.  This mei fun is light and healthy, and has a beautiful, mild sauce.  I used frozen peas this time, but you can really use any vegetable combination you prefer... celery, broccoli, snow peas, asparagus, etc.  I'll never forget my little sous chef's reaction the first time I made this dish - she couldn't get enough of it!  Oh, reminisce with me little.  Four years ago... *sigh*  They grow up too quickly.  She looks pretty comfortable with those chopsticks, though!


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