Crunchy Peanut Butter Muffins.

 

Baking up a storm today as hurricane Sandy is starting to make her presence known here in Pennsylvania.  I wanted to make a lot of snacks for my family that didn’t require refrigeration in case power went out.  These are a fun, crunchy muffin that is perfect for breakfast or a snack.  Great for lunch boxes too!  I made one batch with chocolate chips and one without (my husband is allergic).  Customize them and make them your own.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of sugar
2.5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of flax seed meal
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter
1 cup of almond milk
2 tablespoons of butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Spray or line your muffin tins.  Set aside.

Into your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, powder, flax seed and salt.  Blend.  Add the peanut butters.  Blend again.  Then add the remaining ingredients.  Mix until just blended.  Scoop the batter (3/4 full) into each well. Bake for 12-16 minutes or until golden brown.  I used a mini muffin pan.  Adjust the baking time for larger size muffins.

 

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Sweet & Spicy Cinnamon Roasted Almonds.

We are bracing today for Hurricane Sandy to hit Pennsylvania.  I wanted to whip up a bunch of snacks that didn’t require refrigeration just in case we lost power.  Easily accessible and something everyone would eat.  These are easy to whip up and you control the heat so you can make them more to your liking.  I hope you enjoy these.  Also, they will be perfect for the upcoming holidays.  The smell of cinnamon is perfection!

 

Ingredients:

2 cups of raw almonds
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper (up to 2 tsp if you like more heat)
4 tablespoons of organic agave or honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Sea Salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil.

Into a bowl place your almonds.  Then add cinnamon, sugar, cayenne,  agave or honey and vanilla.  Toss to coat each nut.  Spread the nuts evenly on the cookie sheet lined with a baking liner or parchment.  Sprinkle with sea salt and then bake for 10 minutes.  Remove and toss (they will be sticky) and then place back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.  Let cool and store in a covered container.

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Italian Pot Roast.

Today was the first day in several that I was able to cook in my kitchen.  This renovation has taken over my life.  After church, we rushed home to finish up some painting and cleaning that I’ve been neglecting and I popped this roast in the oven.  My house smelled heavenly all day.  This is the perfect Sunday dinner that you really need to try.  Super easy and very tasty.

Ingredients:

4-5 lb chuck roast
Olive oil
2 cups of a good, dry red wine
1.5 cups of beef broth
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large Dutch oven, drizzle some olive oil and turn the heat to medium-high.  While the oil heats up, pat the roast down with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides.  Place the meat into the pan (be cautious and the oil will be quite hot and sizzling).  Let the meat sear on one side for about 8 minutes or until browned.  Then flip to the other side.  Don’t rush this process as it creates a depth of flavor in the end result that is incredible.  Once browned, remove and place on a plate.  Add the onions and cook for about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Then add the wine and scrape up the bottom of the pan to remove the brown bits from the meat. Add in the broth and the meat.  Bring to a boil.  Then turn off.  Cover with the lid and place in the oven.  Cook for 4-6 hours.  Check the liquid level periodically to ensure that there is enough for braising.  If not, add broth or wine as needed.

Serve over mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, rice or egg noodles.

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Crock Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken.

 

 

Tonight, again, I’m out doing a presentation and won’t be home for dinner.  Coincidentally, I’ve also had several requests for more crock pot recipes, so I thought I would feature one of my favorites.  For some reason, I haven’t made this in quite some time but I really do love the combination of cilantro and lime.  I pair this up with some brown rice or quinoa and you have a wonderfully easy, and flavorful dish.

Ingredients:

4-5 chicken breasts, washed and trimmed
14 ounces of chopped tomatoes
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/2 onion, chopped
1- 14 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder)
Salt and pepper
Dash of cayenne

Directions:

Place everything in the crock pot and give it a good stir to coat everything and mix all of the spices.  Cook on low for 4+ hours.  Serve over brown rice or quinoa.  You can also chop the chicken and use in fajitas or tacos.

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Italian Turkey Sausage Stew in the Crock Pot.

My neighbors asked me for more crock pot recipes.  This week was the perfect week to fire it up and start making some delicious dishes.  I’m out every night this week making presentations and I won’t be home to make/serve dinner.  Now I know, dinner is ready when my family is and it will be a dish they all love.


Ingredients:

1 lb or more of turkey sausage (I used hot but regular would work as well)
Olive oil
5 medium red potatoes, washed and cubed
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 medium to large bell pepper, chopped
1/2 of a medium sized yellow onion, diced
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes (diced) or regular if you can’t locate fire roasted (15 oz)
1.5 cups of chicken broth
1 can of tomato paste (6 oz)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon of Italian seasonings
1 bay leaf (remove before serving)

Directions:

Over a medium flame, place splash of olive oil in your skillet.  Once hot, add the sausage and cook through.  In the meantime, add all of the other ingredients into your crock pot.  Give a good stir.  Turn to low.

Once the sausage is cooked through, slice into 2 inch pieces.  Then place into the crock pot and stir again.  Cover and let cook for 6+ hours.  Serve with a nice crusty bread and enjoy.

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Whole Wheat Almond & Cherry Biscotti.

While working constantly on my kitchen renovation, I took a brief respite to whip up a new recipe I’ve been meaning to try.  Whole wheat biscotti?  I was suspect but wanted to whip it up and see how it would taste.  I always make traditional biscotti but I have to admit, these are pretty good.

My old school Italian father couldn’t wait to grab my “staged” photo and do a taste-test.  He loved them too!  Bonus.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur’s)
1 cup of all purpose flour (King Arthur’s as well)
1/4 cup of light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup of vanilla almond milk
2  tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds
1 cup of dried tart cherries

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In your stand mixer, add the flours, sugar and baking powder.  Blend together. Then add eggs, milk, oil, honey and extract.  Mix until blended.  Then add the cherries and almonds and blend.

On a lined baking sheet, place the dough.  With floured hands, shape the dough into a large log-like shape about 10×14 inches or so.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool down for about 15 minutes then slice with a serrated knife.  Slice about 1/2 inch wide.  Place back on the cookie sheet and bake again for 15 minutes or until toasted.

Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy.
 

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Cake batter yogurt. Celebrating Chobani’s Birthday!

Chobani is hand’s down one of the BEST companies & I’ve been blessed to have them be such an incredible supporter of my blog/website.  Today they celebrate 5 years and to help I whipped up a cake batter themed yogurt that can be frozen as well, to help ring in this 5th birthday!  I was thrilled to use my little glass Chobani bowls and it was so appropriate to serve at their party.

Ingredients:

1 cup of vanilla Chobani yogurt
1/2 cup of vanilla almond milk
1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder
1 banana
6 tablespoons of Funfetti cake batter mix (dry)
Sprinkles (optional topping)

Directions:

Into your blender or Vitamix, add all of the ingredients and blend until creamy.  Place in individual bowls and refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for a nice frozen treat.  Top with sprinkles and enjoy!

 

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Spinach Cumin Hummus.

I admit, I do love a good hummus and be to honest, I much prefer making it at home to purchasing the store-bought versions.  Homemade hummus is not only so easy, it is incredibly flavorful and you control the ingredients – so it’s healthier.

My oldest daughter and I are attending a party tonight and I wanted to bring an appetizer to share with our host.  This will be perfect to share although I may need to make another batch because I keep eating this one. Perks of styling food today.

Ingredients:

1 can of low sodium chickpeas, drained
2 cups of fresh baby spinach (I used organic)
1/4 cup of tahini
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup of water
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of salt
ground pepper
Optional garnish ideas:  Drizzle olive oil, pine nuts or walnuts on top.
Directions:

Add all of the ingredients to your food processor or Vitamix.  Pulse until you have the consistency that you wish to have.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Serve with crackers, veggies or pita chips.

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Turkey fried rice.

Last night I made a one pot wonder kind of dish.  It was so quick to prepare, easy and flavorful… with no leftovers remaining.  That’s always a winner for me!  This is a perfect weeknight meal.

Ingredients:

1 cup of rice (cook according to the package) I used Trader Joe’s Brown Jasmine rice.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound of ground lean turkey
3 tablespoons of garlic, minced
6 scallions, sliced thinly
1 cup of snow peas (I cut mine in half because they were rather large)
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons of seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seed
1/4 cup  of roasted peanuts (garnish)

Directions:

Heat the oil in a skillet of a medium flame. Add the turkey to cook, breaking apart as you go.  After 4-6 minutes of cooking, add the garlic and about half of the scallions (use the other half for garnish).  After 8 minutes of cooking or so, add the rice and the remaining ingredients through sesame oil.  Cook the dish an additional  4-6 minutes for the flavors to blend.  Taste, adjust seasonings.  Then plate.  Top with sesame seeds, remaining scallions and roasted peanuts.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Smoked Gorgonzola Rosemary Cheese Balls.

The holidays will be here before we know it & I always need a few good staple appetizer recipes that I can prepare easily and ahead of time.  I had leftover smoked gorgonzola from yesterday’s dinner and I thought I would use it.  You can use regular gorgonzola if you couldn’t find smoked.  Blue cheese would also work perfectly.


Ingredients:

4 ounces of smoked or regular gorgonzola (room temperature)
4 ounces of light or low fat cream cheese (room temperature)
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of white wine
Salt and Pepper
1 cup of slivered and toasted almonds, ground into smaller pieces (walnut pieces would also work well)
20 rosemary sprigs (about 2 inches)

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients into your food processor (except the almonds) and blend until creamy.  Place the mixture on a piece of plastic wrap and cover.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.  Then remove and using a mini scooper, scoop out and roll into bite-sized balls.  Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Place your almonds into a bowl.  Roll the cheese balls into the almond or nut mixture and coat to cover.   Place the rosemary sprig into each ball to garnish and refrigerate until needed.

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