Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vegan Banana Mini Muffins

Miniature versions of things automatically gain stock in my mind as better.  They're cuter, they contain less calories so you can eat more of them, and according to Judy Blume's classic Superfudge, small ones are sweeter.  And this particular recipe for mini muffins also made me a believer that a vegan baked good could be soft, fluffy, and delicious.  Lots of banana flavor and made egg and dairy free thanks to almond milk and coconut oil, I couldn't get over these fantastic muffins.  I may have eaten more than my fair share.  But I'm sure the bigger question for you was why on earth would I make a vegan muffin.  Have I met me?  Well, yes, and I made them because it's Foodie Pen Pal time!

The Lean Green Bean

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sante Fe Cheesy Chicken Stir Fry

Healthy, simple and super tasty, this is a great go-to week night meal if you like southwest flavors, which I think my now you know we do in our house.  I came home from work and our friend Stacey had stopped by, so I was easily able to adapt this recipe to serve a third person.  Lots of veggies, great seasonings, chicken and beans are topped off with cheese for a delicious dish.  I packed this delicious filling into a wrap and topped it with some sour cream for a twist on the traditional soft taco, but it'd would be great over rice or even just by itself.  Fresh and flavorful, you might be surprised to learn it's super healthy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hawaiian Pizza

Pizza is a staple for dinner in our house, but I like to change it up every once and a while.  I had some fresh pineapple and some leftover pulled pork, and my mind started to hum.  See there are a few places that will advertise a Hawaiian pizza, but it's never right.  They just toss some ham and pineapple on top of a regular cheese pizza (you know, mozzarella and tomato sauce) and call it a day.  I had better visions.  Barbecue sauce.  Red onion.  Monterrey Jack cheese.  Pulled pork.  Diced pineapple. All on a wheat crust and baked to perfection.  This is the Hawaiian pizza I knew would be delicious.  And I was right.  Dave and I loved this and may have argued over the leftovers.  Perfect with a cold beer for a quick, delicious summer dinner, I've made this a couple of times and know we'll have it many more times.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lime Drops

Light,fruity cookies tend to go over very well in the summer months.  So when faced with some extra limes on my counter, I thought I could turn them into a nice, refreshing and sweet cookie perfect for this past heat wave.  The cookies are light and airy but full of flavor.  I love the sprinkling of sugar on top, with just a hint of citrusy perfume to enhance the lime.  These cookies were part of birthday baking for my friend Mere and I took a bunch to work to share as well.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

When we picked up our CSA box and got some fresh rhubarb, I knew I wouldn't be making pie.  A few years ago, a friend made a rhubarb bread that made me rethink the uses of rhubarb, that it's not just for pies.  I never got the recipe and kind of forgot about it until faced with a few stalks of my own.  Instead of making bread, these muffins served the purpose, in individual servings for breakfast or a quick snack.  The sour cream keeps these muffins soft and tender, and with a combination of white and wheat flour, they're still light.  Not too much sugar, but enough to temper the tartness of the rhubarb and a yummy steusel topping and these muffins are ready to be enjoyed or shared for a fun brunch. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kale Coleslaw

The thing with have a CSA (community supported agriculture) membership, is that sometimes you get some goodies you might not normally have chosen for yourself.  Sometimes that's a win, sometimes you understand why you didn't pick that particular item yourself.  This summer, I've been exposed to kale for the first time, so I wanted to find a fun way to try it.  Enter this coleslaw, packed with cabbage, kale and carrots, dressed in a lemony mustard vinaigrette with the added crunch of toasted sunflower seeds.  This dish is the perfect introduction to kale because you get a subtle change to the texture and flavor of the vegetables while seasoned with a flavorful but not overpowering dressing.  I'm really glad I took the kale plunge and I look forward to trying it in more dishes.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Butterfinger Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Ah, cookies, loaded with candy bars, chocolate chips, oats and peanut butter.  These cookies are super yummy and hit all the right notes when your stuffing a lot of flavor into one little cookie.  I saw these and wanted them so bad, I made a special trip to get the Butterfinger candy bars just to be able to make them.  I included these yummy cookies as part of birthday baking for my Dad.  The oats combined with the peanut butter is already a good idea, then add in some chocolate and bits of candy and yes, please.  Perfect for dunking, what can I say, these cookie make me happy.

Monday, July 15, 2013

English Muffins

We go through a lot of English muffins.  I love them for breakfast, toasted with either a bit of cream cheese or maybe some peanut butter or Nutella.  Dave uses them for breakfast sandwiches.  And sometimes if we're feeling both nostalgic or a little lazy abut dinner, we'll use them for the crust of mini pizzas for a quick and yummy weeknight meal.  I've been wanting to try my hand at making them myself ever since I saw Alton Brown make them on an episode of Good Eats.  I love these and impressed Dave when I split one open to reveal all the nooks and crannies.  So why did I suddenly decide it was time to make my own version of English muffins?  Because it's Secret Recipe Club time!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Strawberry Ice Cream Topping

For the first few weeks of our summer CSA, Dave and I got some very lovely, very sweet strawberries that we enjoyed just rinsed and sliced and in smoothies.  But they were so farm fresh that I was afraid we wouldn't be able to enjoy the whole pint (or two) before they turned.  So I looked for a way to use them without adding a ton of sugar or masking their natural sweetness.  And what better way to enjoy strawberries than on top of vanilla ice cream?  Just a little slicing and a few minutes on the stove top, and this strawberry sauce is exact what you want to top your ice cream sundae.  Dave hasn't touched the chocolate syrup or hot fudge since I made this.  And rightfully so.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Avalanche Cookies

Remember those lovely avalanche bars I made a few weeks ago?  They were so yummy that I couldn't help myself to make this cookie version.  You know me, I'll turn anything into a cookie. And these tasty little snacks pack a lot of flavor with peanut butter, chocolate chips, white chocolate, marshmallow and crispy cereal.  Since my friend Kate (and her son Chad) made the bars for me, I returned the favor by sending these cookies to Kate for her birthday, where they were well received for a birthday breakfast.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lentil Taco Filling

I like lentils.  The problem is I usually default to soup as the only way I know how to prepare them.  So seeing a way to spice up my lentils and turn them into a fun filling for my baked tacos, of course I had to try it out.  Onion, salsa and corn team up with cumin and chili powder for a thick, hearty filling.  Stuff into taco shells and topped with cheese and sour cream, this new twist on lentils will definitely happen in our house again.  Plus, it's from the crock pot, so you know it's easy.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Puppy Chow Krispies Treats

Can you believe it took me all week to bring the chocolate?  Kinda crazy right?  So I'm making it up to you by bringing the chocolate, pair with it's sole mate--peanut butter.  And then I mixed in marshmallows.  And tossed an obscene amount of powdered sugar on top.  The researchers at work also got to enjoy these and as expected, the winning combination of peanut butter and chocolate was the clear winner.  Plus the serious sugar rush from all that powdered sugar was probably a welcome way to power through the rest of the work day.  At least that's how I felt about the leftovers.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Almond Joy Krispies Treats

Happy 4th!  Need a quick treat for today's BBQ or fireworks later tonight?  Now, you know I'm not a huge coconut fan, but the flavor is growing on me.  I incorporated some lovely Almond Joy Pieces candy bits which added coconut and almond infused chocolate to the cereal laced with more shredded coconut and sliced almonds.  These treats are light and airy with a slight tropical feel and just enough sweetness to be a great summer dessert.  I took this batch to work to share with the researchers and they got rave reviews.  A pretty nice way to interrupt the work day, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Banana Cream Pie Krispies Treats

So, you probably noticed that I don't really make pie.  I mean I made it once but it was a lot of work and I just haven't found another pie worthy of me busting out the rolling pin.  But you know I can get behind some krispies treats.  So these treats that mimic banana cream pie are delicious.  Banana cream pie flavor and chunks of pie crust mixed into a regular krispie bars.  Topped with a bit of whipped cream, these bars are perfect combination bringing the taste of pie to a simple to make bar treat.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pink Lemonade Krispies Treats

Not only are these super tasty, but this might be the easiest way to add a little flavor to basic krispies treats AND you have a wide variety of flavors to choose from.  I like the tartness of these pink lemonade treats for celebrating summer (and the pretty pink color), but you can go while with cherry, orange, strawberry kiwi and more.  Because these treats have only one extra ingredient: a simple packet of Kool-Aid mix (or similar).  How great is that?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rice Whiskey Treats

I'm a girl who knows what she wants.  I like my whiskey Irish, but if it's bourbon, I prefer Kentucky, specifically Maker's Mark.  I blame my mom on both accounts, but fact of the matter is she had good taste.  Glad I inherited that gene.  And we know how dessert and booze combined together makes me happy.  It's just an excellent idea.  No need to choose between ordering dessert or getting another cocktail.  Everyone wins. So these drunken krispies treats are a huge win, with a taste that's simultaneously subtle, intriguing and just plain good.  I particularly loved the sprinkling of salt on top, which I think highlighted the smooth sweetness of the whiskey.  Dave didn't love these quite as much, but he's not a whiskey drinker, so his vote doesn't count.