Mar 31, 2011

Seeded Dakota Bread

             There are few things I like more than a piece of healthy bread--toasted for breakfast. Oh... I love a piece of white bread with jam too, but for breakfast I like toast that is more healthy and filling. Something that is hearty and has texture. I adapted this bread recipe from Beth Hensperger. I love this bread. I love all the seeds in this bread, you can see a multitude of seeds in every slice. I feel like you can taste all the health benefits of this bread. 
The dark spots are raisins that were in my muesli mix.

            This bread has TONS of seeds, it has a great dense and chewy texture and is loaded with fiber and protein. I also love bread that works with what you've got. I usually have the seeds in the recipe around my house, but if you don't have Chia seeds you can substitute with more sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds or poppy seeds. You don't have to have the exact seeds for this bread to turn out, just throw any seeds you have in and it will still be dense, delicious and full of nutrition. I love to start my morning with great nutrition. You feel better about yourself and I feel I have more energy to be more productive. Bean and I start the mornings off with a piece of this toast and a green drink. It is a breakfast I feel great about feeding myself and my little guy before he heads off to school. I know that it will keep his tummy full and give him the energy to run around, play and learn. I hope you enjoy this bread as much as we do.
Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Red Star Yeast.

Mar 30, 2011

Salmon Salad with Mango Salsa Vinaigrette

             I love salmon, all seafood actually, but salmon has a special place in my...stomach. This salad raises the bar. It takes salmon to a whole new level. The sweetness from the mango and fresh tomato, the tartness from the vinegar and lime juice make for a very balanced and delicious salad. One word sums it all up, YUM.
            This mango vinaigrette will complement any chicken or fish dish that favors mangoes and tomatoes, such as shrimp and other white fish. For those of you that don't like fish, you ought to try this salad. It is a great way to get the omega 3's into your diet with out the salmon tasting too 'fishy'. The mango salsa has so many strong flavors it helps to mask a lot of the 'fishy' taste. Don't be mistaken; the salmon flavor is still palatable, it just isn't as in-your-face as it might be if you were to eat just the fillet.

Salmon Salad with Mango Salsa Vinaigrette
adapted slightly from Catherine Walthers

1 half salmon fillet or 4 individual fillets
4 tablespoons butter
lemon pepper
salt and pepper

6 cups mixed baby greens, washed and dried

Mango Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon minced, seeded jalapeno pepper
1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ripe mango, small diced
1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 or 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

For the Salmon:  Preheat oven to 400º. Place salmon fillets skin side down on a sheet pan covered in foil. Cut and dot butter on top of fillets. Sprinkle salmon generously with lemon pepper. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 10-18 minutes depending on size of fillet, until juice turns white (do not overcook!)

Place salad greens on 4 individual serving plates.

Mango Vinaigrette: Whisk vinegar, lime juice, and honey. Slowly add olive oil and whisk until blended. Stir in the other ingredients saving the cilantro leaves for the last ingredient added and gently combine.

Plating: Place individual salmon fillets (or cut larger fillet into individual pieces) and place each piece on the bed of mixed greens. Generously spoon vinaigrette over salmon and baby greens. Enjoy.

Mar 29, 2011

Poblano Chicken Chowder

           I know what you're thinking. Come on Heather, spring is here; why are you posting a recipe about soup? I posted this recipe because if you, like me, have a few more cool to down-right-cold days until the heat and humidity start, you should definitely make this soup. This soup is really good. In fact this soup is a "two-bowler." More on that later. 
          The soup is similar to a thick chicken and dumpling, without the dumpling and  kicked up with poblano peppers and cilantro. This recipe made a ton of soup. I'm glad it did because it took care of lunches for 3 days afterward. 
(This pot was filled to the Top, if you enlarge the photo you can see the soup line.)          

             Usually, soup is not Cale's thing. He'll eat it, but he doesn't ask for it. The night I made this, Cale had TWO bowls of soup. That's right it was a "two-bowler."  He really enjoyed this. It is chunky and filling, and it is a Paula Deen recipe. So naturally, I had to adapt it and lighten it a bit. In true Paula style this chowder had a cup of heavy cream and to her credit it makes a very large batch of soup (the soup filled my 6 quart dutch oven pot all the way to the brim.) In all actuality, this soup didn't need that much cream. I added between 1/4-1/2 cup of cream to the full batch, just to give it that rich taste and smooth mouthfeel. I approximate that it ended up being about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons of cream per serving. The flavor and texture were worth a few extra calories.
           I hope you enjoy this chowder as much as we did. It reheated well the following days and I would think that it would also freeze well. 

Poblano Chicken Chowder
adapted slightly from Paula Deen

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large carrots, cut into slices
2 large onions, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (I used about 4 large cloves)
3 small poblano peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or more to taste
1 tablespoon chicken base, or bouillon granules
3 quarts chicken broth
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, minced
3 cups diced (large pieces) grilled chicken (I used a Costco rotisserie to save time)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour, I used a whole grain flour blend
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream, or more to taste

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, poblano peppers, salt, pepper, cumin and thyme. Saute for 7-8 minutes, until veggies soften. Stir in the chicken base. Add the broth and cilantro and cook for 8-10 minutes, until carrots are tender. Stir in the chicken and cook stirring frequently until chowder is thick and chicken is heated through. 

Shortly before the chowder s done, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour. Do not allow the mixture to brown! Ladle 1 cup of the hot broth from the pot into the skillet, whisking constantly.
When the first cup of liquid is mixed in, add another 2 cups of broth one a time. Pour the flour mixture in the pot of soup, whisking to blend. 

Cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes longer until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in hot sauce to taste and cream. Serve warm.

Mar 28, 2011

Basic Green Drink (Mango Spinach Smoothie)

 (left glass: recipe below; right glass: +3 more cups spinach)

             Are you interested in getting more raw greens into yourself, kids, or significant other? This basic green drink is your answer. I created this drink as a starting point for those not used to drinking a daily dose of veggies. I have taken this drink to a couple of dinner parties and people try it with skepticism and by the time the party is over my pitcher is empty and people want the recipe.
           No one can taste anything besides fruity goodness. This recipe uses spinach, a 'magic vegetable', and you can't taste the 'green'. My family LOVES green smoothies. I hope you use this recipe as a jumping-off-point. I will be posting some sweet tasting 'veggie smoothies' in the future to give people a push to try this.
           Remember this is just a starting point, you can add/subtract any fruit/veggie. Bean aspirates thin fluids, because of this issue, I make these drinks twice a day. I love being able to thicken his fluids naturally with fruits and vegetables. It doesn't hurt that everything he drinks is packed with vitamins, nutrients and fiber. 
           Serving this drink with a piece of toast, cereal, or a cheese quesadilla helps me feel better about even the least nutritious breakfast or lunch.
          I had Cale drink both versions of this green smoothie; and guess what?  He couldn't taste a difference! The only thing that gave it away was the texture, the taller glass (with more spinach) was thicker. 
           A great way to disguise the color of the drink, if you have some skeptics in your family, is to use a colored glass. Bean doesn't care about the color of the drinks, but these straw cups are great for kids that do. For grownups that care about the color...see future smoothies!

 Basic Green Drink (Mango, Spinach Smoothie)

1 banana
12 oz. of frozen mango
3 cups baby spinach, packed
2 1/4 cups pineapple juice (I use water, but the drink is a LOT less sweet. Start your family with juice.)

Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend on high until smooth. If you like your smoothies on the thin side, add some water, up to 1 cup after blending. Then, blend again.

Note: For the glass on the right, the taller glass, I added another 3 cups of packed spinach. Cale couldn't tell me which glass had more spinach by taste, only by texture. So, add more spinach to your smoothie and thin it out with more fluid.

Mar 26, 2011

Gingerbread Waffles

      Warm gingerbread waffles...mmm, there are few things better on a cool spring morning. Most people think that gingerbread is a fall/winter flavor and it is, except when paired with waffles. You will want these waffles throughout the year because they are that good. These gingerbread waffles have fresh ginger in them, which gives them a kick. They taste like dessert, but they are actually much healthier than a bowl of cereal. I love recipes like this!
      These waffles use "home" spices, at least that is what I call them. You know; the spices that make the air smell like you just came "home", they have this comforting smell. Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and molasses...wait until you smell these.
     I make a double batch of these waffles on the weekend. What we don't eat fresh, I freeze. They reheat perfectly, crisp on the outside and a soft, spongy inside. Gingerbread waffles make a perfect breakfast on weekday mornings when life is too crazy to make waffles. Toss the frozen waffles in the toaster for a minute or so and they taste and smell, just like they did when they came off the waffle iron. I feel great about giving Bean a whole grain waffle to start his day at school. 
    One last note these waffles can be eaten with butter, syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream or plain. They taste sweet enough that Bean and I eat them plain without any accompaniment besides a 'green' drink.

Gingerbread Waffles
adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz - Vegan Brunch

2 cups milk (soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, dairy)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar (I use Xagave, brown sugar is wonderful)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 3/4 cups whole grain flour blend (or  use 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat the  waffle iron. In a bowl, whisk together milk, vinegar, oil , molasses, Xagave (brown sugar) and vanilla. Mix until the molasses is mostly dissolved. Mix in the grated ginger. Add the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth.

Oil the waffle iron or spray the waffle iron with cooking spray and cook waffles according to the manufacturer's directions.

Serve warm plain, with butter, syrup or powdered sugar.

Mar 25, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Cupcakes

       These cinnamon sugar cupcakes are tasty! I brought them to another cupcake party and the ladies at the party loved them. They are different, but very, very good. Each cupcake is dense and tastes strongly of cinnamon. The texture of the cake leans more towards pound cake, but not quite as dense. The frosting is a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. The cinnamon adds a slight spiciness and the cream cheese adds tang. Then you top off the cupcake by sprinkling a cinnamon/sugar blend over the top of the frosting. The sprinkle of sugar adds a lot to the visual appeal, it adds sparkle and also a slight crunch compared to the creamy frosting and dense cake.
      All I can say is! Go into y0ur kitchen and whip up a batch of these. However, be ready to take them to someone, because they are highly addictive. I made mini cupcakes and I was taking a taste here and a taste there, until all of the sudden...6 mini cupcakes were gone. I realized then that I was out of control--so I quickly packaged up the rest to take to the party! (Unlike someone else I know...I don't eat cupakes after I've packaged them up for someone else. [clears throat BEBM;) ]) Thank goodness I didn't come home with any either, I'm sure I would have eaten them in between washing my face and brushing my teeth that night!
     Now go make these. They use a boxed cake mix, so for the few of you that only eat from-scratch goodies turn a blind eye toward the ingredients, but still make these. I know that if you like the taste of cinnamon rolls or cinnamon toast or snickerdoodles you will LOVE these cupcakes. But don't say you weren't warned if you weigh a little more the next morning.

Cinnamon Sugar Cupcakes
adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (regular milk works too)
3/4 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For Sparkle
1/4 teaspoon groud cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat of to 350º.
Pour dry cake mix into a large bowl. Add pudding mix and stir with a whisk.  Add buttermilk, oil, eggs and heaping tablespoon of cinnamon. Mix until most lumps have disappeared. 

Fill a lined muffin pan about 3/4 full. Bake 17-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave the cupcakes in the pan for 4 more minutes then remove the cupcakes to a wire rack. Allow cupcakes to cool prior to frosting.

Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer. After creamed together slowly add the powdered sugar and cinnamon until completely combined and fluffy. If the frosting looks too wet add a little more powdered sugar, if the frosting looks too dry add a little milk or cream.

Mix 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon for sprinkling over frosted cupcakes.

Mar 24, 2011

Vermont Maple Blueberry Salad

           This salad is wonderful! I think it is the dressing more than anything else, but the salad as a whole is delicious. I created a copycat recipe of Cafe Zupas Maple Blueberry Salad. Currently Cafe Zupas doesn't operate in Massachusetts (where I currently reside), so ordering this salad from the restaurant is not possible. Being a girl of kitchen genius ;), I created one to curb the cravings!
          This salad has blueberries, green apples, cinnamon almonds and Gorgonzola that I serve over mixed baby greens with a maple vinaigrette dressing. If you like blueberries and maple you will love this salad as well. You can make your own cinnamon almonds (there are tons of recipes on the web) or you can buy a package of cinnamon almonds from the supermarket. I picked mine up at Trader Joe's and they weren't expensive at all.  
          The maple vinaigrette is heavenly. It is sweet and tart from the maple syrup and vinegar. I use it on a number of salads that include cranberries, nuts, cheeses and apples. I feel like the dressing makes the salad. In fact, I don't think I have ever used this dressing on a salad that I didn't end up loving. Maybe it's magic!
         I have served this salad for many guests and friends; several people have asked me for the recipe. I finally sat down and typed it up. My ingredients vary because I feel that salads are one of those easily adaptable foods. If you like more greens and less add-ins or vice versa please feel free to change the recipe to suit your individual tastes. Also, the maple dressing makes enough for a very large salad or several small salads. It keeps well--covered in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week. It may keep longer, but my household has always polished it off by the end of the first week. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Vermont Maple Blueberry Salad

2 cups greens (your choice I used mixed baby greens in the photo, but I've also used romaine lettuce)
1/4 - 1/2 cup blueberries
1 granny smith apple, cored, sliced thin and then chopped coarsely
3 tablespoons cinnamon almonds, chopped
3 tablespoons crumbled cheese (I have used Gorgonzola, goat, feta and blue cheeses)

Maple Vinaigrette
adapted from Bon Appetit

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tablespoons maple syrup (I use grade B organic; it has a stronger maple flavor)
3 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil (other mild flavored oils may be used)

Whisk mayonnaise, maple syrup, vinegar and sugar to blend. Whisk in oil until mixture thickens slightly. Cover, refrigerate up to 1 week.

Plating Salad: Toss greens and a little dressing in bowl. Place dressed greens on individual plates and top with blueberries, apples, crumbled cheese and almonds. Drizzle a small amount of dressing over the toppings and serve immediately.

Mar 23, 2011

Banana Split Protein Smoothie

           I originally found a recipe for a similar smoothie in Eating Well magazine. I was looking for a homemade protein shake. I wanted something to keep me full and wasn't filled with a bunch of chemicals and additives. 
           Try this smoothie before you judge the ingredients by themselves...I'm talking to YOU, Mom! If you have always disliked tofu, give it a chance in this smoothie. You won't even taste it! If you use silken tofu it makes the drink taste smooth and extra creamy. Tofu is really healthy, packed with protein and virtually tasteless, especially when combined with stronger flavors like banana and chocolate.
           When I originally made this it said it made one (1) serving. I felt it made enough for Cale and I to have with an apple for an on-the-go breakfast. I will include some nutritional information below. Please note that I will calculate the nutritional information based on 2 servings. So if you decide to drink the smoothie in one sitting, (which is doable and delicious), the nutritional information will need to be doubled.

Banana Split Protein Smoothie
adapted  slightly from Eating Well
1 small banana
1/2 cup milk (liquid of your choice ie. nut milk, coconut milk, soy milk, regular dairy)
1/2 cup silken tofu (I used organic)
2 tablespoons unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder (regular cocoa powder works as well)
1 tablespoon Xagave (sweetener of your choice ie. honey, sugar, stevia, agave)

Place all ingredients except for sweetener in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Taste a small amount of the protein shake and add sweetener if needed/wanted. Enjoy.

Per serving: 170 calories; 4 g fat; 30 g carbohydrates; 8.5 g protein; 5 g fiber

Mar 22, 2011

Best Winter Salsa

I found a recipe for a quick winter salsa...and then changed it up a bit. You may be wondering "What is a winter salsa?"  A winter salsa is a salsa based on canned whole tomatoes instead of  fresh tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes in the grocery store right now taste fair. You can add some spices and roast them to make them taste better, but they never taste like they do during the month of August. Tomatoes in August  are vine-ripened and juicy. Wow...I can't wait for a summer tomato, but until then this salsa is incredible. In fact, this salsa might even become the new summer salsa as well. It was so easy and it makes a lot. Cale devoured it! He kept putting it on things..corn chips, eggs, rice?, green beans? He seemed to find something to put it on at each meal.

I used San Marzano tomatoes because I really like them AND I got them on sale! I've also used Muir Glen organic tomatoes. Use any brand of canned tomatoes that your family likes and doesn't taste "tinny" for lack of a better word. I hope you like this salsa as much as we did. 

Note: This salsa is more like a "restaurant style salsa" and not like pico de gallo.
Note2: Keep the ribs and seeds in the jalapeno for a spicier salsa. The one I made was mild. 

Winter Salsa

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 can roasted green chiles (diced or whole)
1/4 medium yellow onion
1 garlic clove
2 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced

Place tomatoes, chiles, onion, garlic and jalapeno in a food processor or blender. Pulse until all ingredients are coarsely chopped. Next add spices, cilantro and lime juice. Continue pulsing until the salsa reaches your desired consistency.

Taste the salsa and adjust salt and spices as needed. Enjoy immediately or place in refrigerator for 1 hour for flavors to blend.

Mar 21, 2011

Altuna Melt

        I love recipes that are fast, easy and taste good. I also love recipes that take hours to prepare and make a mess of every dish in the house. This recipes, thank goodness, falls into the first category. I discovered a slightly different version of this recipe months ago and lost it put it aside until a later date. Luckily, I found this recipe on Friday night.  I had just gotten home from the supermarket, my family was hungry, and I was supposed to babysit (two little munchkins) in 15 minutes.

      I had everything that I needed, since most of the ingredients are staples around my house. These open face/faced sandwiches are wonderful. They taste good, are packed with protein and they don't have a lot of fat. I served these sandwiches with a side of fruit. This recipe will be going into my regular rotation. 

      I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. They make the perfect meal for a busy night.

1/2 cup artichoke hearts, finely chopped (I used italian marinated)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper
1 can albacore tuna packed in water, lightly drained
slices of bread, english muffins or pitas (I used mutli grain bread)
provolone cheese, sliced

Preheat broiler. Combine artichoke hearts, onions, lemon juice, oil, peppers and tuna in a medium bowl. Stir gently to mix together. Divide between pieces of bread and place a slice of cheese on top.

Place on a baking sheet and broil (about 5 inches from heat) for approximately 3-4 minutes until warm golden brown.

Servings 2-4

Mar 18, 2011

Orange Chiffon Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

These mini cupcakes were amazing. They were really light, "orangey" and super moist. I made them for a "cupcake wars" party and everyone enjoyed them. I originally had planned to make  orange angel-food cupcakes from scratch. However, my day (like everyday) got away from me. Bean had been to a doctor's appointment that lasted way too long. So I scrapped the angel food cake idea and quickly found something that worked with the time I had left.

I'm glad I found this recipe, because it was really good and quick.

The frosting is a spin on a regular cream cheese frosting. If you like white chocolate you will love this frosting. I didn't have white chips in my pantry so I cut up a white chocolate Callebeaut bar. Some might say it is extravagant to use high-end Belgium chocolate in frosting, but it is fun to add a little luxury in places you might not expect.

Orange Chiffon Cupcakes 
(Courtesy of The Cake Doctor)

5 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 package yellow cake mix
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup oil such as canola
1/4 cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325º. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set the bowl aside. 

Place the cake mix, egg yolks, orange juice concentrate, oil, and orange zest in a large mixing bowl, and with the same beaters used to beat the egg whites, blend with the electric mixer on low speed for one minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer to medium and beat for two more minutes, scraping the sides again if needed. The batter should look well blended.
Turn the beaten egg whites out on top of the batter and with the spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter until the mixture is light but well combined. Scoop into the ungreased cupcake pan and place into the oven.

Bake until it is golden brown and springs back when pressed with your finger for 15-22 minutes (Mine took about 18 minutes).  Remove the pan and immediately turn it upside down (I have an extra lip on my mini cupcake pan and I devised drinking glasses to keep it off the counter)  to cool for one hour. 

Run a knife around the edges and carefully lift out the cupcakes. 

Side Note- After you measure out 1/4 cup of the thawed orange juice concentrate, prepare orange juice with the remaining concentrate by adding half as much water as the package directs. Use this orange juice in your cake batter.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
adapted from Your Cup of Cake

2 oz white chocolate, or substitute white chips
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk 

      In a double-boiler wanna be (pyrex bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water), melt white chocolate.  Stir until smooth and let cool to room temperature.
3.   Beat together cream cheese and butter, mix in white chocolate and vanilla. 
4.   Gradually beat in powdered sugar until fluffy.  (Taste along the way so you don’t put in too much.) Mix in milk or heavy cream.
5.   Refrigerate in a piping bag to chill if the frosting is too soft. (Mine didn't need to be refrigerated.)