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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zest

When a recipe calls for lemon zest, they are meaning the grated peel.

You can use a box grater or a planer.
A planer can also be known as a zester.
A zester or planer  has holes like a gater, but it is small, flat, and has a handle.

To make zest. Just run the planer over the peel to get what you need.

You can also buy dried zest.
That comes in handy if you bake a lot
but you don't keep limes or lemons handy.

Just remember to cut down the amount if you are using dried by 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of fresh called for. 

If the recipe calls for less than 1 tablespoon zest, you can just leave it out especially if you have juice, or extract in it.
Leaving it out will change the flavor a bit, but not much.
It will still taste good.

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Happy A-Z!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yellow Foods For Health

You can get many nutrients just from eating healthy.

In the past, I have read that a colorful plate means you are getting balanced nutrition.

Each color of fruit or vegetable signifies the types of antioxidants found inside.

Yellow and orange fruits and veggies have lots of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is good for your heart, cancer, and depression.

Yellow/orange also signifies vitamin C and E.

Eating the foods give the best benefit if they are raw or lightly cooked.
Not only does the food taste better and healthier, but the less heat the better.

Vitamins A and E are fat soluble which means that the nutrients absorb better into your body if consumed with a small amount of fat.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is used a lot in pretty much everything you buy at the store that is processed.
It is used a a thickener or for texture and structure.

It is a type of bacteria derived from corn.

It works the same as guar gum.

A lot of cooks use it for home baking when they cook gluten free.
The reason for this is to help with structure.
It will give your breads a more regular bread like texture and rise.

If you don't want to use xanthan gum or guar gum in your baked goods, you can mix some flax seed or chia seeds with water- 1 tablespoons  seed to 2 tablespoons water.
Make a slurry and add to you ingredients.

There are some people that have questions about the safety of xanthan gum though it has been deemed safe by the FDA.
Because of this guar gum may be used.
But, guar gum will impart a slightly different flavor.
It does come from the guar bean so is is considered more healthy.

Friday, April 26, 2013

White Chicken Chili



This is a somewhat unconventional chili. It is made with chicken, white beans, and cheese.
It is great on a cold day and it makes a ton so it is perfect for gatherings or leftovers.
You make it in the crockpot.

You will need a large crockpot.

Ingredients:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves.
6 cups water
1 large chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon oil
2-4(4 oz. can) chopped green chilies OR seed and chop 1 whole green chili pepper
1-2 diced jalapeno OR Serrano peppers
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 1b. can navy beans OR cook and season 3 cups of dry navy beans
2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese

Add the chicken and water to the crockpot and let it cook on low for 3-4 hours.
Remove chicken from the water, cube and set to the side.
While the chicken is cooking saute the onion and garlic in the oil.
Add the chili and jalapeno peppers, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and salt. Cook and stir two minutes.
After removing chicken from the crockpot add the onion/pepper mixture.
Add the beans. If you are using canned pour straight in, if you are using beans you cooked drain before adding to the crockpot.
Cook on low for an hour.
Add the chicken.
Stir in the cheese until it is melted in.
Serve.

This makes about 10-12 servings.

Great served with sour cream.

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This is another repost from November of 2010. The only w I had a picture of was another waffle recipe and I have done a type of waffle the last 2 A-Z challenges so you get this.




Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vegetable Cheese Chowder

Who doesn't love a good soup? This has got cheese and broccoli. Or, if you prefer, cauliflower.

You will need a medium to large size saucepan with a lid.

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups frozen broccoli or cauliflower
1 medium size shredded carrot
1/2 cup water
2 cups milk
1/3 cup flour
sprinkle of pepper
1-3/4 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon dried parsley

In the pan combine the broccoli, carrot, and water.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
Cover and simmer about 4 minutes. Vegetables will be crisp tender.
Meanwhile, whisk together the milk, flour, and pepper.
Add to the pan and stir in the broth.
Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and parsley.
Cook and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Unbaked Cookies

 This is a repost from July of 2009. When I started this blog, I didn't post pictures so this doesn't have one.
I didn't think about U until today so I don't have the stuff to make them and post a picture.
Once I start eating these, I just don't want to stop.

These cookies are known by many names.
They can also be called chocolate drop cookies or minute cookies.
Whatever you call them, you have to include the word good to describe them.

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or aluminum foil.
Combine the oatmeal and cocoa powder and set aside.
In a large pan melt the butter and peanut butter over low heat. Stir it constantly til mixture is smooth.
Remove from the heat and stir in the milk. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar. Blend in the oatmeal and cocoa powder.
Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.
Let cool until firm.
You will get 4-5 dozen.


If you don't have foil or waxed paper, buttering your pan works great.

Enjoy!

Three Bean Tortilla Bake




This is a great dish for the crockpot. It is a vegetarian meal, but not vegan- unless you use vegan cheese.

You will need a large crockpot- 4 or 5 quart.

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped Ananheim chili pepper - green bell will work good too
2 cloves minced garlic OR 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup dry pinto beans
1 cup dry kidney beans
1 cup dry black beans OR 15 oz cans of all three kinds of beans, drained
water for cooking the beans, if using dried beans
1/4  cup sliced black black olives
1/4 cup chopped green chili pepper- 4 oz drained can green chilies work good
1 quart tomatoes OR use a 30 oz can
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
6-8 (6") soft shell tortillas- if you use corn, they might seem a bit small, but they work.
2 cups shredded Colby-jack or cheddar-jack cheese
sour cream for serving
Super easy guacamole for serving 

Cook your dry beans in the water, covered, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until tender. If using the canned, just drain and rinse.
Set aside.
In a large skillet or pan, saute the onion, green pepper, and garlic in oil.
Add the drained beans, olives, green chilies, tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin powder
Remove from heat.
In your crocpot add 3/4 cup bean mixture, a tortilla, and 1/3 cup cheese.
Repeat until everything is used, ending with the sauce.
Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.
Serve with sour cream and maybe some guacamole on top.

This will serve 6-8 people.
Since a quart is a little bigger than 30 oz. you may end up with a little extra sauce.

This heats up well.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Stuffed Morels

If you don't know, morels are wild mushrooms. They are only found at certain times of the year. Usually anywhere from April to June in the US, depending on where you live.
They do sell kits where you can grow your own, but I don't know anyone that has had any luck growing their own.

I love these. Morels come in grey, which are small and come up first. Later on, the yellows pop and they are the larger ones for stuffing.

If you don't hunt them, know of anyone who does, or can't buy any- use the large stuffer button mushrooms available at the supermarket.

You will need a deep fryer or wide pan, deep enough for frying the mushrooms.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
large pinch of garlic powder
pinch of salt
large pinch of dried parsley flakes
pinch of pepper
large pinch of dried tarragon
large pinch of dried thyme 

10 to 12 large capped morels

1-1/2 cups flour OR mix of ground flax seed and your choice of flour
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 to 3/4 cup milk

oil for frying

Mix the cream cheese, pinch of salt, pepper and herbs in a bowl and let rest while you ready the mushrooms.
Cut the stems up to where the caps of the morels start. Save the stems for another use.
With a small spoon and /or fingers fill each of the mushroom caps. Sometimes the cap openings are too narrow to fit a spoon into, but your finger works well to push it in there.
Set aside and get your coating stuff ready.
In one bowl, pour the milk.
In another bowl, mix the flour, 1-1/2 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper.
Dip each mushroom into the milk than into the flour mixture and repeat to get a good coating.
Put onto a plate and stick in the freezer for at least 3 hours so the coating won't come off and the cheese won't leak out during deep frying.

Heat your oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You want the oil to be at least a couple inches deep to cover the shrooms.
Add the morels to the oil one by one so they don't stick together and fry until coating is a golden brown color.
This will take about 5 or 6 minutes.
Drain on paper towels and serve.

You can eat with a dip of your choosing or as is, like I do.

If you have extra cheese filling left, it is great spread on crackers.

These are great as a do ahead  of time. I like to make enough to have more than one time and keep them in the freezer.



Saturday, April 20, 2013

Southwestern Black Beans, Chicken and Rice

I love black beans! Add some chicken and rice and you have yourself quite a tasty meal.

Ingredients:

1 cup dried black beans.
water for cooking the beans
1/2 cup white rice
1 chicken breast half or 2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
salt
pepper
2 Tablespoons dried cilantro or 1/4 cup fresh chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper-optional
Shredded cheese for sprinkling-optional

Rinse and drain your black beans.
You can soak out if you want. If you don't, that's fine.
Put beans in a medium cooking pot and cover with water.
Salt lightly and add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne powder.
Bring to a boil, turn down, cover, and simmer for about an hour and a half until the beans are tender.
Drain the beans, but keep the liquid.
Set the beans aside.
Measure the bean cooking liquid. Keep 1 cup. If you don't have that much, add water to get that amount.
Put that and the rice back into the pan.
Bring to a boil and turn down, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, cook your chicken.
Put a small amount of oil in a skillet and add the chicken.
Salt and pepper it and cook til done.
Let cool and cut into cubes.
When the rice is done, add the beans, chicken and cilantro and stir in until everything is heated through.
Serve with cheese sprinkled over the top.
I like a mix of cheddar and Monterey jack.

This will serve 3 to 4 people.

Enjoy!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Quinoa Pizza

This isn't your ordinary eat with your hands pizza.You will need a fork. It got it's name from my daughter. I came up with the food and she called it pizza cause it tasted that way.
I love quinoa and use it whenever I get the chance.

You will need a 9"x13" baking pan.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 Celsius

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups salted water
1 egg
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups pizza sauce or tomato sauce- you can use a 15 oz. can
2 to 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese.
Favorite pizza toppings

Rinse the quinoa in water if it is not pre-rinsed.
In a large pan with lid, add the water and salt it. Stir in the quinoa and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and cover.
Cook until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
Let cool slightly.
Stir in the egg and Parmesan cheese.
Spread into the bottom of your baking dish.
Spread the pizza sauce over the quinoa.
Sprinkle with your pizza toppings.
Cover with the cheese.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Take out and let stand for a few minutes.
Cut into pieces and serve.

I usually get 12 to 15 pieces out of this.

Enjoy!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spicy Popcorn

I love popcorn. It is my go to snack. Sometimes I don't want just plain buttered popcorn, though I'd never turn that down.

You will need a container with lid, large enough to hold the popcorn and be able to shake it around.

Ingredients:

Popcorn- pop 1/2 cup or make enough for about 4 quarts popped
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon paprika powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
Salt for sprinkling

In a small bowl, combine the paprika, cayenne pepper, parsley, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese.
Set aside.
Pop your popcorn.
Melt the butter and drizzle over the popcorn.
Sprinkle lightly with the salt.
Sprinkle the spice mixture over the popcorn.
Cover with the lid and shake it really well to coat the popcorn.
Take off lid and enjoy.

Makes enough for 4 or more people.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cooking with Onions

The three type of big onions are red, white, and yellow.
Yellow is best for cooking.
Red and white are best raw.

Bunching onions are also known as green onions.
You can buy and grow bunching onions.
Or, you can pull regular onions when they are small.

There is also an onion called the winter onion.
The winter onion grows in bunches and is a perennial.
They come up and seeds grow up at the top and if you leave them, they will drop the seed for the next growing season.
These onions can be eating fresh or cooked and are smaller in size than bulb onions.
The later in the season they are, the tougher they are so that is something to keep in mind if you do buy or grow them.

If you do have a garden and grow onions, any onions that have been grown the year before may start to sprout after several months.
You can replant those for more onions.
They will grow and bulb.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chicken and noodles

Chicken and noodles is that ultimate comfort food. The best part is that you can do it as simple or as complicated as you would like.

You will need a 4 to 5 quart pan with lid.

Ingredients:

2 to 3 cups chopped cooked chicken, preferably dark meat
About 3 quarts chicken broth, homemade OR store bought
1 batch of homemade noodles OR 1 pound of dried store bought noodles.

If you are making your chicken and broth from scratch, add some chicken to your pot and cover with water. A good choice is the hindquarters. 2 or 3, depending on size.
Season the water heavily with salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley.
Bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce the heat until the water is at a simmer and cook for a couple hours.
Remove the chicken from the broth.
Let cool. Bone, skin, and chop.
Set aside.
Heat the broth up to a rolling boil.
Slowly stir the noodles into the broth and let it boil for a few minutes for fresh noodles or follow package directions for store bought.
Stir every once in a while so the noodles don't clump
Add the chicken the the noodles and lower heat and let thicken, stirring occasionally.
Serve.

This will serve 6-8.

Meat Shell Potato Pie

This is a favorite for my husband and I. It is very filling and hearty with a variety of flavors.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 Celsius
You will need a 9" pie plate.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
1(10.75 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, divided
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 egg
1/4 cup flax meal OR dry bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
sprinkle of pepper
2 cups mashed potatoes
4 pieces of bacon
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, 1/2 cup of the condensed soup, onion, egg, flax OR bread crumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Mix together well.
Press into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
Bake for 25 minutes.
You may want to check on it a few times and if the meat is starting to slip down the sides, press it back up with the back of a large spoon.
After 25 minutes, take it out and drain. I find the best way to do this is to lay paper towels over the meat shell and let it absorb the fat.
While the meat shell is baking, make your mashed potatoes.
Mix the mashed potatoes with the rest of the condensed soup.
Set aside.
Cook and drain the bacon. Crumble.
After you have drained the meat shell, fill with the mashed potato mixture.
Sprinkle with bacon and cheese.
Bake for another 15 minutes.
Let stand a few minutes before serving.
Cut into wedges.

Serves 6.

  


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lemon Bundt Cake


This cake is not overly lemony, but it has a glaze that really gives it a big shot of lemon flavor.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan.

Ingredients:

1 cup softened butter or margarine
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1-1/2 vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt- if using salted butter or margarine do not use
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel- optional

Glaze:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, beating one egg in completely before adding the next one. Mix in the extracts.
Add the milk and the flour mixture alternately beginning and ending with the milk. Stir in the lemon peel, if you are using.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 60-70 minutes til it tests done with a toothpick inserted near the center.
Cool for 10 minutes. Invert pan onto a wire rack for 10 more minutes.
Put waxed paper or foil underneath rack to catch extra glaze.
Let the cake cool slightly.

Combine glaze ingredients.
Drizzle over the warm cake with a spoon.
OR
If you have a pastry brush, I recommend you brush the glaze on the cake.
More will stay on the cake instead of ending up on the waxed paper.
Serves 12-16.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Cooking with Kosher Salt

Kosher salt is, well, kosher.
But, so is table salt.

Kosher salt is called kosher salt due to it's ability to draw blood to the surface of meats in a kosher way.
Kosher salt is also a larger, coarser grain than table salt.
It has no anti-caking additives or iodine added.

Kosher salt and table salt may be used in place of each other, but do not use equal amounts.
You would use more kosher in place of table salt.
If you are using table salt instead of kosher use less.

There is a slight difference in flavor.
Table salt is a bit sharper.

I like to cook with kosher salt.
It just brings a different depth to the dish.

Many of the seasoning rubs I make have kosher salt in them.
A couple that I have on this site are creole rub and sazon.

Kosher salt may or may not be sea salt.
Sea salt comes strictly for evaporated sea water.
Kosher salt may come from evaporated sea water or it may come from salt mines.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Freezing Jalapenos

This will also work for any kind of pepper.

Wash them, dry them, stick them in a freezer bag and put in the freezer.

You don't need to cut them in half or even stem them.

For larger peppers, you may want to cut in half or strips and seed them to save on space.

But for small peppers, there is no need.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Icing

There are two ways to coat your baked goods.
You can use frosting or you can use icing.

For a recipe for homemade frosting, you can go here.

The difference between icing and frosting is that frosting is more creamy and thick.
It needs to be spread with a knife.

Icing is translucent and is fairly thin.
It is made to be drizzled over whatever you make.

Icing is very simple.

Two, maybe three ingredients and that is it.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup powdered sugar
about a Tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

Mix it all together in a small bowl and drizzle over whatever you made.
If it seems to thick add a little more milk until you can drizzle it from a spoon.

This will make enough to drizzle over a quick bread or some breakfast biscuits.
If you want to do a bundt cake or cinnamon rolls, you may need to double the recipe.

If you don't use it right away, the top may form a crust.
If a crust does form, just stir it and it will be fine.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Herbed Pasta with Tomatoes

This is a very simple dish that is great when you have fresh tomatoes and herbs. It can be ready in about 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

1 cup pasta- your choice of shape
water for cooking

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 or 3 Tablespoons fresh chopped basil
2 or 3 Tablespoons of fresh chopped oregano
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 small to medium size tomato, chopped
Sprinkling of salt and pepper to taste

Salt and heat the water to boiling.
Add the pasta and cook to package directions.
Drain.
Add the pasta back to the pan and add the olive oil, herbs, salt/pepper and chopped tomato.
Toss.
Serve.

Enough for 4 good size servings.

Vary your herbs for a different flavor.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Growing a Garden



For me, having a garden and cooking go hand in hand.
There is nothing like going out to the garden to pick things out for supper.

Even people with little or no room can container garden.

If you want to grow herbs, you can grow an assortment in one pot.
They are pretty easy to grow too.

Herbs will give your foods so much flavor.
You can change the flavor of a dish just by using different seasonings/herbs.

You can freeze or dry herbs for using later on.

You can grow all kinds of vegetables in containers.
The vining ones you may have to stick a trellis in the pot for the plant to grow up.
You can even grow potatoes in a pot.

You can can, freeze, or give away what you can't use fresh.

It is so nice to be able to reach into your freezer or pantry and take out what you need to make a meal.
One thing I make every year is my chunky salsa.
It is great for using in quick meals or just snacking on with chips.

 I know a gardening post on a cooking blog doesn't seem right.
But, to cook, we must have food.
And this is where the best food comes from.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fats and Substitutions

I am not one for subbing fat with fat free or lower fat.
But, there are exceptions.

Our bodies need  a certain amount of fat to function well.
Our brain needs it.
Our cells need it.

There are fat soluble vitamins that need fat to help them do their job.
The ones that need fat are A,D, E, and K.
CoQ10 and lycopene are also fat soluble.
This is why it is best to have some fat in your salad dressings when you do eat salad.
The fat will help the nutrients absorb into your body better.

One reason that I may substitute a fat with something else is if there is some nutritional benefit.

Fruits and vegetable purees are good because of nutrients and fiber.
The general rule for fruit puree such as pear or apple is to use half the amount of puree that the recipe calls for in fat.
If you are using squash or pumpkin, you will want to use 3/4 of the stated amount of fat.

I have recently tried using avocado and that works. Some people recommend only using half the amount in avocado and half the amount in butter. Others say to use all.
I used all.
The texture was good.
The taste was a little different than with butter.
It also settled after a day and  the difference in the taste was less noticeable.
It idn't taste like avocado.
Just different than when using butter.
I really think it would complement the taste of anything peanut butter.

No matter what you use, the taste will be slightly different.
Even butter from brand to brand can change the taste a little.

I do find that when making quick breads or muffins that olive oil is a great choice.
It just seems lighter.

Coconut oil, when using the virgin organic that is unrefined and not made using hexane, is a good choice. It compliments the taste of chocolate. It is also high in lauric acid which does a body good.

I also use butter, which is great in it's own way.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Eggs, Hard Cooked the Easy Way

Do you ever hard cook/boil eggs and end up destroying the egg when trying to peel it? If you are like me, that's a big yes.
I have tried all the tricks and so far this is what works best for me.
No water needed for cooking.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit/160-165 Celsius
You will need a regular size muffin pan.

Ingredients:

Eggs

Put one egg in the shell in each muffin cup.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cool slightly in a pan of water and peel.

It is possible to end up with a slight discoloration where the egg rests against the pan.
It does not effect the taste.
And if you are cutting the eggs, just cut in that spot and no one will even see it.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dice

There are lots of terms in cooking that can be used and you aren't sure what it really means.
Dice is one.

Dice is chopped into small pieces.
Some recipes may call it diced or finely diced.

Just chopping is cutting into bigger pieces.

When you chop into dice, you want all the pieces uniform and fairly small.

Smaller than dice or diced is minced.
Minced is about the smallest you can go.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins

There is nothing like something chocolatey and warm to start your day. They also keep well. So, make them the night before to speed things up in the morning.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/205 Celsius
Grease the bottoms of 12 regular size muffin cups.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil OR melted organic, virgin coconut oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract.
Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture.
Just stir til everything is wet, but do not overmix.
Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until they test done when poked with a toothpick.
Remove from pan and let cool for about 5 minutes.
Turn out of pan(s).

Enjoy!

The olive oil will make them rise a little more than other oils you may use.
Overmixing will cause the batter to peak while baking and the peaks may crack.
They still taste good though.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Black Bean Brownies


I love these brownies. They may have a little different texture than you are used to, but you can not taste the black beans at all.
There is absolutely no flour in these brownies, which makes them gluten free.

You will need an 8" square pan, greased
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 Celsius
You will also need a food processor for mixing.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup dry black beans
water, for cooking the beans
3 eggs
1/3 cup melted organic, virgin coconut oil OR butter
1/4 heaping cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Rinse the black beans and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover with lid left ajar and took until beans are soft. This takes about an hour to an hour and a half.
When done, drain. You should have 1-1/2 cups cooked beans. If you have more than that, set those aside for something else.
Put the blade in your food processor. Add the drained beans. Or you can drain and rinse a 15 oz. can of black beans and add those to the food processor bowl.
Add the cocoa powder, coconut oil ,eggs, vanilla extract, and sugar.
Put the cover on the processor and turn on, blending until smooth.
Take off the lid and stir in the chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into the greased pan and spread evenly.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the brownies test done when poked with toothpick.
They may just start to pull away from the sides.
Take out of oven and let cool.

I usually get 16 brownies out of a pan. They are pretty filling.

I like coconut oil better in these brownies. However, butter is more economical and tastes pretty good too.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Almond Flour

If you cook gluten free, almond flour is an ingredient that comes in handy. If you are not gluten free. it is still a great way to add fiber and nutrients to your diet.
You can use it for baking and for breading.

It can be quite expensive to buy at the store.
However, it is very simple to make.

This works great if you have a spice grinder. But, a food processor or a blender that can grind nuts will also work.
You also need a fine mesh sieve(strainer) and bowl.

Ingredients:

Plain, whole almonds

Add a small handful of almonds to your spice grinder.
Pulse off and on for a minute.
Check and if it is mostly powdered, stop.
Put the sieve over a bowl and dump in the ground almond.
With clean hands or a spoon, press the flour through it into the bowl.
You may have larger pieces of almond left.
Put them back into the grinder and pulse until fine and again press through strainer.
Repeat with more almonds until you have as much as you want.

Be careful not to grind for too long or you will get almond butter.

To keep fresh, store in the refrigerator.