Strawberry Jam!

I am NOT a “canner” when it comes to jam. I literally had one of those small flats of strawberries that I bought off of my friends that were called “jam-berries” because they were quite ripe and DELICIOUS! The cost is about half price of what a normal flat is too! (check your local strawberry farm to see if they do that there too!)

So, I had to find a couple of recipes and BLEND them. I can’t ever do things the way can I? HA!

Here’s the 4 links for the jam that I made, and then I will post what I actually did.

Ina Garten Strawberry Jam
Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Jam
Martha Stewart’s Quick Strawberry Jam
Strawberry Jam

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I don’t think that I exactly made it in the traditional way… but I’ve gotta say, it turned out WONDERFULLY!!! My entire batch is delicious…!!!

Disclaimer: I DID sanitize my jars, but in the dishwasher and then heated them up in the sink, not by boiling them. Follow whatever instructions that it shows on the above recipes for the proper way to do so.

Strawberry Jam:

5 cups crushed/hulled strawberries
1 1/2 cups organic granulated sugar
2 1/2 TB powdered pectin
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon

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Directions:

  1. Put a small plate in the freezer. Place the mashed strawberries, lemon zest and lemon juice in a nonreactive 10-quart stockpot set over medium-high heat. Stir in the pectin until dissolved. Bring the strawberries to a strong boil.

  2. Add the sugar (measure beforehand so you can add it all at once), and then return the mixture to a full (violent) boil that can’t be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute 15 seconds. Skim foam off the top.

  3. Perform a gel test: Place a spoonful of jam on chilled plate, and return to freezer. Wait 1 to 2 minutes; remove plate from freezer, and gently press jam with fingertip; it should wrinkle slightly.

  4. After jam passes the gel test, remove from heat. Pour warm jam into jars; seal, label, and refrigerate up to 4 months.

  5. Fill the jars so that they have 1/4-inch of space at the top. Run a knife down the side of the jar to get rid of air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar with a wet cloth to remove any residue or stickiness.

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And there you have it! That recipe made 1 LARGE jar (the size of a spaghetti sauce jar) and one small jar full (the size in the pictures above). Try it, you’ll like it!!! You can add sugar and reduce pectin, or vice versa. I honestly made it that way because I completely RAN OUT of sugar!!! AAAH! 🙂

Turned out good though!

God Bless!

And now, for the song of the day:

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What I Have Learned About Cooking

10 Things that I have learned about cooking, since having a cooking blog:

  1. I have learned that I LOVE it. I think that I cook with love, and when I cook for someone, I like to watch them (not being creepy at all, I promise!) 😉 eat and enjoy it. If they don’t like it… I’m CRUSHED! I shouldn’t be… but I am.
  2. I have also learned that it’s ok to not cook EVERY meal EVERY day completely from scratch. That’s exhausting.
  3. I have learned that I need to give myself permission to mess up. It’s ok if I don’t make a perfect delicious meal every night.
  4. I have learned that it’s not as hard, as I used to think it was, to make meals with mainly whole ingredients.
  5. I have learned experimenting is FUN!
  6. I have learned that when I have fun cooking, my kids join in, and they try new things!
  7. I have learned that because I love cooking so much, it can be better than eating out! (Unless I don’t feel like cooking…)
  8. I have learned I need to invite people over more, I need to be better at entertaining. I need to use this thing I enjoy, and share it with others, and get to know people better and invite people into my home and not be such a hermit. 🙂
  9. I have learned that I get scared to bring food places because I think people will expect my food to be AMAZING because I have a food blog… and then I question myself and second guess myself and decide I can’t cook anything that good… and don’t sign up to bring anything… sometimes.
  10. I have learned that I don’t know it all… and I still want to take cooking lessons!

What have some of you other moms or chefs, or bloggers out there learned since taking on a “new venture”? Share it in the comments!!

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Just adding this picture because I DESPERATELY want to go apple picking… and the season is coming up soon (some apples have already come into season!)… Does this picture (from last year) get you excited?!

And now, for the quote of the day:

Healthy Banana Nut Bedtime (Or Anytime!) Snack

In trying to watch the foods that I eat, reduce my “processed” food and carbs, and eat more real food… I needed to find a healthy bedtime snack. I have also had this as a mid-afternoon snack to eat while I am making dinner if I know that I’m going to have a very late dinner with the hubs. That happens a lot… and I get HUNGRY when I’m making my kids dinner! This is a great thing to pull out and snack on, has healthy fats, carbs, and protein to keep you full while you wait for your meal! It can also keep you full all night so you don’t go to sleep with a growling tummy!

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Ingredients:

1 banana
Trail mix (mine is hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews and raisins)
1-2 TB nut butter (I used sunflower seed butter… you can use almond butter as well!)
1 Tb dark chocolate chips

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Directions:

Just melt the nut butter and dark chocolate together in a small glass dish in the microwave. Then spread over the sliced in half banana, and top with nuts. DELICIOUS right?!?!?!?!

You know you want to try this… 🙂

and now, for the quote of the day:

A nice little reminder!

What’s in Your Pantry?

(FYI, this is NOT my pantry, it’s found on GOOGLE search under the term: pantry. BUT, if anyone wants to come to my house and come and help my pantry LOOK like the above picture, let me know!)

So I was chatting with one of my friends and she was saying she sees a recipe on here and looks in her pantry and she doesn’t have any of the ingredients! And, of course, I realize that not everyone shops WITH me! People don’t see what I always keep stocked. People don’t see my meal plans! 🙂

I COULD just go to people’s house and cook for them… because, actually, I’d really like that. How fun would teaching people how to cook and cooking for them be? Maybe I’m crazy, but I’d LOVE it! It’s such a passion of mine, to cook, and passing it on to anyone would be a blast!

Moving on…

I decided to list my “staples”. Things that, if I run out, I always try to replace them when I go again. That’s also where the “Out of Milk” app comes in handy, because I quickly add it on there so that I don’t forget next time I shop!

So, here goes:

MUST HAVES in my pantry, fridge and freezer:

1. Zucchini – when in season

2. Frozen veggies – my favorite is corn, broccoli, peas and green beans.

3. Carrots and onions – my favorite is a sweet yellow onion

4. Bread – it’s actually for my kids, but I always have some. It’s a tragedy if I run out before the 2 weeks is over!

5. 1/2 and 1/2 and Heavy Cream – for coffee AND cooking

6. BUTTER!!! A MUST have!

7. Flour, sugar, honey, baking soda, baking powder and flax meal – all of these last a WHILE and I don’t have to replace them very often.

8. At least 1 jar of Organic Pasta Sauce – whether it’s for my little boy’s meatballs, or something else. I make sure I have 1

9. At least 1 type of “pasta”. So, Quinoa, Couscous or a high fiber, Whole Grain Pasta

10. Lettuce (dark and leafy) or baby spinach – for all SORTS of dishes!

11. Greek Yogurt FULL FAT and PLAIN – a must have for a snack (add a little honey to some plain greek yogurt, stir and EAT for a high protein snack!), for cooking, baking and also in place of sour cream it works amazingly!

12. Garlic – I either buy it in a jar with olive oil already minced, or a fresh clove… just depending on how I feel

13. Spices I always have in my cupboard: Oregano, Cumin, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper, Turmeric, Curry Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder, Italian Seasoning, Cayenne Powder, Dried Basil, Dried Thyme, Dried Parsley, Dill

14. My favorite FRESH herbs: Basil, parsley, cilantro. I don’t always keep these because they go bad quite quickly. I have fresh herbs growing in my garden in my yard during the spring and summer, and then in the fall and winter, I purchase certain herbs (if I feel fresh is worth the cost) for specific recipes.

15. Lemons and Limes- I try to have at least 3 of each

16. Avocado – when they are in season, I usually by 5 or 6 when I shop for the 2 week time period. I buy them when they are still hard and let them sit out on the counter. When they start to get ripe I transfer them to the fridge and they stay good until my 2 week period of time (between shopping trips) is up!

17. Chicken Tenderloins from Trader Joes – these are just… the best. I’ve bought fresh, frozen etc from many other places and nothing quite compares! The frozen Chicken Tenderloins from TJ wins out every time!

18. Fish/Shrimp/Seafood – I’m picky about this. I do NOT always have these. Even if I’ve planned a recipe for any one of these and I go to the store and they don’t have any wild caught at a good price… I do NOT purchase it. I will change my recipe to something more cost effective. I have certain rules. And I don’t like to pay more than $8.99/lb for wild caught shrimp.

19. 1 lb. of ground beef. I like no-hormones, all natural ground beef. If I’m lucky World Market or Earth Fare will have some fancy shmancy grass fed ground beef that I stock up on when it’s on sale! But… if not, I get the highest quality for the best price possible. Sometimes I only buy 1 lb for the 2 week period and make it last. Just depending on the price.

20. “Fancy Beef” – steak, ribs, short ribs, beef tips, sirloin, roast. I don’t make these often. I try to plan it ahead of time if my budget allows, or when it’s on sale. I will sometimes put a meal plan on the list for a roast, etc just in case there’s a good price on it when I’m shopping. If there isn’t, I don’t make it for that time period, but I save it on my pinterest board for when it does! Or… if my husband and I have an at home date night.

21. Carrots! I like to buy the large 2 lb. bag of full size organic carrots. My kids even like it because they act like bunnies! 🙂

22. Potatoes – I buy either Yukon Gold or Sweet potatoes. Whichever is on sale or what I’ve planned for that time period.

23. Cheese – Parmesan Cheese, cheddar, shredded, block, cottage cheese, etc. I try to have at least 1 on hand. Also… depending on price. Sometimes cheese is BOGO!

24. Canned tomatoes or salsa. I like the off-brand of Ro-Tel (fire roasted tomatoes with green chilis). You can do A LOT with salsa or canned tomatoes! No joke!

25. Beans – canned. Like, black beans, Pinto Beans, cannelini beans. You can put them in soup, chili, salad, make refried beans on your own… the options are HIGH! And… they are cheap! There are times I can get them for under $0.50/can!

26. Tomato Paste – You saw my tube of tomato paste in a previous post. You can do so much with so little of it! Tortilla soup, enchiladas, chili, pizza or spaghetti sauce, etc. A little can go a long way!

27. Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth… SOMETIMES Beef Broth – because I make a lot of my own sauces instead of buying them, these are essential. I can use this in a soup, chili, baked dish, sauteed dish, quick or baked, oven or crock pot… I try to keep 2 in my pantry. I don’t always use them, but I’m always glad I have them in my pantry! They keep for a long time too!

28. Things for my kids to snack on: hummus, cucumber, apples, grapes, strawberries (depending on when in season/on sale) raspberries, crackers, chips, pita chips, etc. I don’t always get ALL of these, but usually 2 or 3 of them.

29. Sunflower Seed Butter and Jelly and Preserves (I use this in place of any “nut” butter) – for sandwiches and cooking and snacking

30. Organic Old Fashioned Oats – for breakfast or baking!

31. Last, but not least OLIVE OIL Organic Olive Oil. I use it daily!

If I have all of these “essentials” as I call them, I can make a meal pretty easily! I can mix up the ingredients, or buy a few “odds and ends” and make something new and fancy! Seems like a long list when I put it all down, but I don’t have to buy these every time I go shopping, so that helps with cost. Healthy and whole ingredients and an endless amount of meals you can make with these ingredients! I do buy a few different things for my kids like chicken nuggets, etc… (if I don’t make them that week)… but overall these are my must-haves.

What are your go-tos? Anything that you MUST have in your fridge or pantry?

Let me know!

And now, for the quote of the day:

You need to release the load that God never meant for you to carry and focus on what He has called you to do.

What Kind of Food is Healthy and Why??

My  husband and I had a chat the other day about how different we eat now than when we first got married. When we first got married I didn’t do much thinking about what kind of food we were putting into our bodies. I bought pre-packaged easy to make quick meals. I worked full time and so did my husband. When a recipe had more than 3 ingredients it felt really overwhelming.

Fast forward to having my son… he is allergic to … well.. A LOT. I had to learn to make everything from scratch. I had to learn to read EVERY label. I had to figure out thing like…

Autolyzed Yeast = MSG
Whey Protein = Dairy
Red #40 and Blue Lake dye is NO GOOD
Hydroxytoluene (BHT) = a product also used in jet fuel and embalming fluid
Yellow #5 = derived from coal tar and may contain up tp 10ppm of lead and arsenic
Propylene glycol alginate (E405) = derived from alginic acid esterified and combined with propylene glycol.
Polysorbate 60 = Made of made of corn, palm oil and petroleum, this gooey mix can’t spoil, so it often replaces dairy products in baked goods and other liquid products.
Textured soy protein concentrate, carrageenan, maltodextrin, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, modified cornstarch = All of these are basically different names to hide ingredients that either contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) or form MSG during processing

A little scary huh? All of these things are hidden in ALL KINDS of food! Cereal, salad dressing, protein bars… things we THINK are healthy… and these are IN them! And how easy is it to make our own dressing?? EASY! SOO EASY!

The list could go on and on and on. I read labels of everything I purchase. The less I recognize the ingredients, the more I will put it back on the shelf and figure out how to make it on my own. The cool thing is that I have learned that cooking isn’t overwhelming… it’s FUN! I can make my own BBQ sauce, Teriyaki sauce, bread, chicken nuggets, cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream, smoothies… I can do copycat recipes too! Basically what I see in the store and I don’t like the ingredients used to “preserve” or “keep freshness” (like BHT!!) I go home and try to make it on my own. There have been quite a few FAILS… hahaha, but a lot of WINS!

I have learned alot having a son who has food allergies. What’s in your food? What do you have for breakfast? How are you feeding your body? Did you know that if you work out 2 hours a day EVERY DAY and still eat junk all day long… you are NOT healthy?

Once again, I’m going to mention Dietitian Cassie: http://www.dietitiancassie.com/

I have learned a lot just reading her blog! She talks a lot about REAL food!

From http://www.realfoodchallenge.org/about/realfood

Real Food is food which truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities and the earth.  It is a food system–from seed to plate–that fundamentally respects human dignity and health, animal welfare, social justice and environmental sustainability.

Some people call it “local,” “green,” “slow,” or “fair.”  We use “Real Food” as a holistic term to bring together many of these diverse ideas people have about a values-based food economy (see our Real Food Wheel).

This is about more than supermarket labels. The Real Food Challenge has developed an innovative Real Food Calculator, which provides in-depth definitions of “real food” and a tracking system for institutional purchasing.  With this tool, “real food” is broken down into four core categories: local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane. Click here to learn more about the Real Food Calculator

Also this blog: http://www.foodrenegade.com/the-basics/real-food/

Back in the 1920s, a dentist named Weston A. Price grew dismayed by the rapidly declining health of his patients. Suspecting that the introduction and acceptance of newfangled industrial dietary changes were at the root of this turn for the worse, he traveled the world in search of healthy populations.

He found them.

These people didn’t eat refined sugar or white flour, didn’t cook with vegetable oils, and didn’t eat food canned with modern methods. They also didn’t have heart disease, diabetes, or cancer.

They did eat foods high in vitamins and minerals, animal fats (including butter), and organ meats. And, roughly 60-80% of their diet was enzyme-rich — either fermented or raw. Plus, they prepared their foods according to centuries old traditions.

They ate real food.

We need to be re-educated. We need to think about what’s in our food and what we are putting into our body. They came out with Splenda to get all of us to stop using aspartame… did you know that Splenda is made with chlorine?! I am becoming more and more of the firm believe that the closer my food is to it’s natural form the better. I personally do not want to do the RAW food diet… I like cooked foods… fancier, etc. But I’m not afraid of butter and oil. I’ve stopped counting calories and focused more on REAL and healthy foods.

What happens when I eat too many veggies? If I fill up on a large bowl of fresh vegetables? I am full. I am full of real food and I don’t have guilt.

Now, I am not opposed to grains… and I am going to try and see how I can replace my pastas… cuz those are my favorites! But I am working on using more real foods. I’m going to try to also use the non-refined and white/bleached flours and THINK about what I put into my body. My body is God’s temple, I am going to take care of it the best I can!

Healthy Replacements for White Flour Snacks

It has fortunately become quite easy to replace enriched flour with healthy alternatives, especially with whole wheat flour. But don’t forget that there are other options that can add variety to your meals such as rye, quinoa, millet, and brown rice flour and sprouted grain products.

I like to snack on alkalizing fruits, whether dried or fresh, and sometimes add a few nuts such as almonds or walnuts and some sesame seeds that are naturally high in calcium. Dried fruits mixed with nuts are easy to carry around so you can have a bone-healthy snack anytime of the day.

Check out those blogs! Let me know what you think!

Meal Planning

Do you meal plan?

I do every 2 weeks. I like to plan ahead. I don’t plan what meals are going to be for what nights or anything… but I plan and shop for 10 dinners (sometimes 1 or 2 extra recipes that have similar ingredients to others that I’ve shopped for in case I change my mind) and then I shop for lunches and breakfasts etc for those 2 weeks at a time.

That is why a lot of the things I talk about I say “thaw”. I don’t usually buy and then cook meat the next day. I don’t usually buy fresh and cook THAT day. It’s very rare that that happens. I don’t like to run to the grocery store every day. I’ve got kids… kids that are impatient and don’t love the grocery store. I personally don’t like the germs that come with the touching of the shopping carts!  Ew.

So, every 2 weeks I’ve got my pinterest board that I go thru, delete the ones I’ve already made my own, and re-pin ideas for the next couple of weeks.

Here is my weekly planning board: https://www.pinterest.com/rebeccacain23/weekly-meal-plans/

If you don’t like the online route for meal planning, you can go the route of a paper pad: Knock Knock What to Eat Pad

OR a magnetic white board for your fridge! I’ve done this in the past! Magnetic Meal Planner

My husband and I also just started using the app: “Out of Milk”. You can scan the UPC code on some items so that it can be REALLY specific if you husband needs to pick something up for you! You can specify store, items, how many, average price, and whether or not you have a coupon for it. It also gives you an alert for whats on sale in the area! It’s a very helpful app, and I have it open as I shop so that I only buy what I planned to purchase. It helps keep me from purchasing anything impulsively!

Also, have you ever heard of Mvelopes? There are 2 versions. There is the cash version, and the debit card all online version. The online version, at www.mvelopes.com has a free version and it tracks all of your swipes on your debit cards and credit cards! It helps you budget and track your spending. It will even give you a graph that shows you percentages of where you spend your money! Crazy huh? We took a Dave Ramsey course at our church and it was recommended. I’d say check it out if you’re looking for something to help figure out where all that $$ is going! 🙂

Tonight my husband is still not home and it’s 8p. Sometimes he gets home early, and sometimes he gets home late! I did not feel like cooking a big whole dinner just for myself.. and also did not feel like making dinner at 8p. So, tomorrow is the day a recipe will come!

So, how do you meal plan? What are your tools?? Or, do you just wing it at the grocery store?? Let me know!

And now, for the quote of the day:

C.S. Lewis

Vegan (allergy friendly) Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you or a child in your family have a food allergy? Have you decided to live a certain diet where you cut out eggs and butter? These may be and good answer! And, you cannot tell that they are lacking butter and eggs!
What?! You say, no eggs or butter? That’s right! And they are still chewy in the center and crispy on the outside. You cannot tell that the two quintessential ingredients for cookies are being substituted! Give this one a try for sure!

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Allergy Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup Earth Balance (picture below)
1/2 cup organice pure cane sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Coconut milk (I like Trader Joe’s the best)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 1/4 cups Lily flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Organic Gluten-Free Flaxseed Meal

10 oz Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips – 10 oz

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Directions

1.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.
Using an electric mixer or sturdy wooden spoon, cream earth balance (or butter or margarine) and sugars until light and fluffy.
3.
Slowly add coconut milk, mix well, then add the vanilla.
4.
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and stir to blend. Fold in the chocolate chips.
5.
Drop by teaspoon onto buttered or parchment-lined cookie sheets.
6.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. (I did mine exactly 12 minutes)

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It was so fun to be able to hand my little guy a cookie and watch him enjoy eating it! To see his face light up when he realized he got one too was so precious! I’ve gotta make him some little treats more often!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Salted Caramel Popcorn

So, my friend had her annual Oscar party last night and I had no idea what to bring. I was trying to bring something that I already had stuff for at home… and I need to go grocery shopping. PLUS my birthday was on Saturday and I had just spent the whole weekend NOT cooking and laying around! HA! So… what to do?!?!?!

I went thru Pinterest like a mad woman! I was looking for an easy recipe that had just a few ingredients that I already had in my cupboard. I couldn’t do “Oscar” shaped cookies, or fancy cheesecake filled strawberries, or bacon wrapped filet etc… lol. It had to be SIMPLE.

And then…. I saw it. Golden – PERFECT color! – warm and easy with just a few ingredients…. Salted Caramel Popcorn! YES!

So I start making it and I realize I do not have brown sugar. So, I being an emotional woman, break down into tears. Yes, tears. It was a sad sight. My husband looked at me very strangely and did what any good husband would do: He went quick to my mom’s house to get me some brown sugar. 🙂

And here it is!

saltedcaramelcorn

I did NOT use my own recipe, I got it off of this great blog that came to me in my time of need! 🙂

http://cookiesandcups.com/salted-caramel-popcorn/

Check it out!

Salted Caramel Popcorn
Makes about 16 cups of caramel corn
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels (about 16 cups popped corn)
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • 1½ – 2 tsp kosher or sea salt, divided
 
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
  3. Pop popcorn kernels using air popper into a large bowl.
  4. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 tsp salt together over medium heat. Bring to boil. Boil for 4 minutes without stirring.
  5. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.
  6. Pour popcorn into lined pan, sprinkle remaining salt on top (1/2 tsp – 1 tsp depending on your personal taste preference) and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  7. Allow popcorn to cool on a parchment lined counter.
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Notes
You can add in 2 cups of nuts to the un-coated popcorn if desired! Coat with caramel as states!
– I didn’t follow her recipe exactly because I do not have an air popcorn popper, I have the oil popper. I also do not have parchment paper, so I used sprayed tin foil. AND, I did not have a full pound of butter… so I reduced all of the amounts of the ingredients for the caramel. I also added about 1/2 tsp of vanilla to the caramel mixture. Other than that I followed her recipe and it came out perfectly!!!

ENJOY!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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New Year, New You… or Me?

Ok… so it’s been a while. Gotta be honest, we’ve had a LOT going on in our home! I am still cooking, almost every night. I just can’t always find the time to write down every ingredient amount and the recipe while I cook, and then take pictures. Horrible, right?! I’m a food blogger! I LOVE to cook! Sometimes when I just feel down… I just want to cook. I go to my mom’s house, I want to cook… I go visit my sister, I want to cook… it’s bad! HA!

Any way… my family went to Disney for a week… with a meal plan… and then came Christmas and New Years. Let’s just say I gained a bit of weight. Yeah.

So… back to the normal… home cooked, healthy meals for me!

I’ve been up at my sister’s house and reading a lot of Dietitian Cassie and getting some GREAT ideas! I can’t cut out all carbs/bread… but I like how she talks about food!!!!

Here’s her pinterest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/dietitiancassie/

Here’s her website: http://www.dietitiancassie.com/

So, my sister and I did our blogilates: http://www.blogilates.com/

and then we decided we needed a night time snack…so we checked out Dietitian Cassie’s suggestions under pinterest and found something DELICIOUS!

I had to change a few things because she recommended Almond Butter and due to a food allergy in my home, we only had sunflower seed butter… but man… what an awesome nighttime snack!

Here ya go!

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This is called Apple Nachos.

Now, I didn’t follow the original recipe completely… so this is my adapted version.

The original version is here: http://letthemeatclean.blogspot.com/2014/02/apple-nachos.html

Apple Nachos

2 large Fuji Apples
1/4 cup Sunflower Seed Butter
1/4 cup Milk Chocolate Chips (or semisweet)
2 pieces of caramel
3 TB Half&Half
1/4 cup Shredded raw coconut
Nuts of your choice (I did not put nuts on mine)
Slice apples and place on a plate or tray. Place sunflower seed butter, chocolate chips, caramel and half&half in a glass bowl in the microwave. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stir. When smooth, remove from microwave and drizzle over sliced and plated apples. Then, sprinkle coconut
and nuts on top.

DELICIOUS and filling!

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Thanksgiving Dinner (OR Turkey Dinner) continued….

Ok… so we’ve got 3 more dishes from Thanksgiving that I am going to put on here…. there are 2 additional dishes that I don’t have the recipes for at the moment… and I’ll have to get and add to the blog at a later time. Those are 1: Sweet Potatoes and 2: Homemade Rolls.

I personally LOVE to cook. I also LOVE to cook for people who enjoy to eat! 🙂 Thanksgiving is one of those days where you get guests that you love (YAY!) and people that will enjoy every bite that you put in front of them! (Double YAY!)

So, moving on… here’s some more Thanksgiving themed dishes… good for anytime of the year, but especially Thanksgiving!

Cornbread:

This cornbread is for the cornbread stuffing that will soon follow.

1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp kosher sea salt
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 large cage free eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup PLAIN greek yogurt
1 TB honey
3 TB butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take a round cake pan and use the butter to grease the cake pan. Mix all of the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Once done, let cool and then cut into large cubes and let dry-out for at least overnight if not 24 hours.

Cornbread Stuffing:

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Cornbread cubes (from recipe above)
French bread cubed and dried out overnight
4 carrots diced
3/4 lb brussel sprouts shaved
1/2 onion diced
3 stalks of celery
1/2 medium cooked butternut squash cubed
1 TB minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
5 cups low sodium free range chicken broth

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Drizzle the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash with olive oil in a roasting pan and roast for 30 to 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm up a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the celery, carrots and onions and cook until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, then add the parsley, rosemary, basil, thyme, and some salt and pepper and stir until combined. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Get the cooked sprouts and squash out of the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F.

Place the dried bread cubes into a large bowl and mix them up a bit. Add the roasted Brussels sprouts, squash and dried cranberries and mix.

Gradually ladle the broth mixture into the bread, tossing lightly as you go. Add a little more salt and pepper, then toss around and taste to check the seasoning. If you like it more moist, splash in more broth until it reaches the consistency that you like.

Pile the dressing into a large casserole dish and bake until golden brown on top, 20 to 25 minutes.

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I adapted my recipe from here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/dressing-with-brussels-sprouts-and-butternut-squash.html?soc=sharingpinterest

Apple Raspberry Pie with Crumb Topping:

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Pie Filling:

4 large honey crisp apples
~peeled, cored and diced large
zest and juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 an orange
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp all spice
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz. package fresh rinsed and dried raspberries
1 pre-made pie crust in a pie tin thawed and pricked with a fork.

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Crumb topping:

1 cup smart balance (non-dairy) COLD
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

Mix all filling ingredients together and place into pre-made pie crust. Then, in a separate bowl, mix together the crumb topping ingredients and use pastry tool to mix until in little “peas”. Spread over top of pie and bake @ 350 for 30-40 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top.

(I used 2 SMALL pie crusts, so this recipe made 2 smaller pies… if you use a larger pie tin and crust, this would make 1 large pie.)