Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Well, I know I said I was going to put A Chinese recipe on here however I have a very sick kiddo on my hands today, so I will not be cooking today. Boo!!! I did however make the muffins last night, so it is easy for me to get the recipe up with no hassle....The boys are sleeping anyway, so I have a bit of free time. :) Now, back to the muffins.....can I just say, these are AMAZING!! Andy and I have been eating them like crazy! I love pumpkin and cream cheese together, so to have a healthy muffin that has them both is awesome! Seriously! I love pumpkin stuff!! Not to mention they have chia seeds in em...very good for you! So, if you could eat pumpkin on a daily basis like me and the hubs, I highly recommend you whip up a batch of these!!

 Batter Ingredients

2 Tbs Chia Seeds
1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tsp Cinnamon
 1 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Tsp Ground Clove
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
16 Oz Organic Pumpkin Puree
1/4 C Plain Kefir (or plain yogurt)
2 Eggs
1/2 C Maple Syrup
1/2 C Raw Honey
1 Tbs Vanilla

Filling Ingredients

1 Egg
2 Tbs Honey
8 Oz Softened Cream Cheese


Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl and all wet in a separate bowl. Then mix the wet into the dry. Set aside and make the filling. whip all three ingredients together until well blended. Grease a muffin tin and fill each cup half way with batter, then put a spoonful of filling on top and finish off each with another spoonful of batter so it is layered up with batter, filling and then batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min. This recipe makes 12 muffins. I did have a little bit of extra batter so I made myself a huge muffin in a pot pie dish. :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Balsamic, Garlic and Mushroom Chicken

Not gonna lie...I HATE mushrooms. However Andy loves them. I never cook them for him since I hate them so much, but my friend Jill (whom should have a food blog of her own btw) gave me this recipe and I though 'aw what the heck.' I did add a little green onion and cheese to the top but for the most part I followed her recipe. Andy devoured this meal! He loved it! While the beautiful organic baby bella mushrooms I bought looked so tasty....well....let's just say I ate all of it but the mushrooms. I did enjoy the garlicy chicken and the zip from the balsamic on my noodles. So I would definitely recommend you all try this! All in all it was really good, the hubby thought it was amazing and it was super easy to make! Thanks Jill!!!

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts ( I used 1lb of chicken tenderloins cause it is what I had.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • whole wheat pasta (cooked)
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • green onions chopped
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Rinse the mushrooms and pat dry. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the chicken until it is nicely browned on one side (about 3 minutes).
  2. Add the garlic. Turn the chicken breasts and scatter the mushrooms over them. Continue frying, shaking the skillet and stirring the mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, broth, bay leaf and thyme. Cover tightly and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter and cover with foil. Set aside. Continue simmering the sauce, uncovered, over medium high heat for about 7 minutes. Swirl in the butter or margarine and discard the bay leaf. Pour this mushroom sauce mixture over whole wheat pasta and chicken. Top with green onion and fresh grated cheese.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mercimek and Naan

I know, I know, I have had 2 non-meat/lentil Dishes this week. It is just the way the cookie crumbled this week, but I swear my next few will have some meat! Now, the Mercimek (pronounced Merijameck) is a Turkish soup. We went to Turkey in 2007  to visit my sister who was living there at the time. While we were there, one of my sisters friends taught me how to make this. She didn't measure anything, (nor have I until now) she just talked me through it and I watched. It isn't hard to make but it is super tasty and extremely filling! And btw this makes a TON of soup! It thickens when it cools, so you will have to add more water to left overs. You could feed a small army with could freeze half and save it for another day. :)


3 C Red Lentils
3 Tbs Olive Oil
3 Tbs Cumin
4 Tbs Paprika
4 Cloves Crushed Garlic
4 Tbs Tomato Paste
10 C Hot Water
1 1/2 Tbs Salt


Put 2Tbs olive oil and 3c lentils in a LARGE pot. Stir them all around until lentils seem to be coated with oil. Over Md heat toast the lentils. Some will start to get light in color but be careful not to burn them. Once they are somewhat changing color, add 6c of hot water. Bring to a boil. While the lentils boil, in a small skillet heat 1Tbs olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, paprika and cumin. Stir it together and heat over md/high heat until it all cooks together. It only take a minute or two. The lentils will start to turn yellowish and absorb the water. Once this happens, add the tomato paste mixture to the pot, add the salt and puree with an immersion blender. (hand blender) Once it is partially blended add 4 c of hot water one at a time until everything is well blended and smooth.


1 Tbs Yeast
1 C Warm Water (110-120 degrees)
1/4 C Raw Honey
3 Tbs Milk
1 Beaten Egg
2 Tsp Salt
4 1/2 C Flour
Olive Oil (to grease dough and pan)


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in honey, milk, egg, salt, and flour. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume. To lessen the rise time, I heat my oven to 170 while I am making the dough and then turn it off. It makes the oven warm and then I put it in the warm oven to rise. Punch down dough and pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a greased tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat or you could use a large skillet on the stove. Roll  balls of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill, (if you use the skillet do not oil!)  Cook until puffy and slightly bubbly, then flip until 2nd side is lightly browned.
Serve together. Bread is amazing dunked in the soup!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pepita, Lentil and Split Pea Lettuce Wraps

Like I have said in the past, I enjoy finding alternatives to meat for a protein source. There is a load of protein in the pepitas alone (14g for 1/4 cup!) This combination may sound slightly strange, but give it a shot I think you will really like it! My family did! I found a recipe for a pepita salad that sounded pretty good, so I decided to take the pepita and split pea idea and make a meal out of it!


1 1/4 C Pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
1 1/2 C Cilantro
1/2 C Fresh Parmesan Cheese
3 Md Cloves of Garlic
2 Md Limes (juiced)
1 Jalapeno Pepper
2/3 C Greek Yogurt (OF COURSE!!!) :)
2 C Split Peas (yellow or green or a mix of both)
2 C Lentils
1 Md Red Onion
1/2 Tsp Cumin
S&P to taste
Lettuce ( Butter or romaine or any lettuce with a decent sized softer leaf)


Place lentils/split peas in a pot of boiling water. Allow to boil for 20 min or until soft. While those boil, make a pesto sauce out of the cilantro, parmesan,  1/2 C of the pepitas, garlic, lime, jalapeno, yogurt, cumin, salt and pepper. Put all into a food processor (blender would work as well) and blend chop/puree it until it is saucy. The sauce will not be as runny as a normal pesto since it uses yogurt instead of oil. Feel free to substitute olive oil for the yogurt if you would rather have it runnier. Dice the Red onion, Drain the lentil/split peas in a strainer. Mix the remainder of the pepitas, lentil/split peas and onion. Pour the cilantro pesto over the top and mix. You can eat this hot or cold. Both are wonderful! Fill lettuce leaves and roll em on up!! The hubs doesn't like lettuce (sad, I know) so he eats it in a corn tortilla or just plain as a salad.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whole Wheat Bagels

So this is the first time I have ever made bagels. I decided I would tweak a recipe I found on to make them whole wheat and sugar free. My goal is to find a recipe I like (I am hoping it is this one) and constantly change it to make different flavors. I love gourmet bagels, so I am excited to branch out after this one!


4 C Fine Ground Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tbs Bulk, Refrigerated Yeast
1 1/2C Warm Water (between 110-120 degrees)
3 Tbs Raw Honey
1 Tbs Salt


  1.  In large bowl, ( I use a stand mixer bowl) combine 1-1/2 cups flour and yeast. Mix water, 3 tablespoons honey and salt together, and add to the dry ingredients. Beat with a mixer (again, I use a stand mixer)  for 30 seconds at a low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl clean. Beat at a higher speed for 3 minutes. Then, add 2 cups more flour and mix until dough is fairly firm.
  2. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead. I knead in another 1/2 cup flour because the dough is pretty sticky. Knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). Cover, let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Cut into 12 portions, shape into smooth balls. Poke a hole in the center with your finger, working the bagel into a uniform shape. I don't like a huge hole in the middle, so I just make a small finger width hole, but you could do larger. Place on a greased piece of waxed paper and Cover. Let rise 25-30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, start a gallon of water boiling. Put 1 Tbs of honey in it, mix it around a bit. Reduce to a simmer.
  5. When the bagels are ready, put 4 bagels into the water, and cook 7 minutes, turning once. Drain them on a cooling rack. Place on a greased baking sheet, (I sprinkle them with chia seeds and sesame seeds) and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, eat hot or cold.

If you have your water to a boil instead of a simmer, the dough gets all mangled like this! Whoops! This is why I learn the hard way, so you don't have to!

The weekly dish....

So upon suggestion from my friend Darcy, I am adding a weekly menu to my blog. I figure I have to plan a weekly menu anyway, I might as well let you in on it. I will plan on making a menu every Monday so you can either eat along with us all week, or know when to keep your eye out for a particular recipe. Most will be recipes for meals, however, I will throw in baked goods etc..every now and then. I will also warn that I am a bit random and spazzy at times, so I am not going to put these recipes in any particular order. I can't promise that they will come in this order depending on how my day goes with the boys, evening plans etc.. :) but I will get them all in within a weeks time. So I will stop the babble and get to it. Here is this weeks menu!

Pepita Lettuce Wraps -This is a high protein meatless dish~ I will try to do one of these a week.
Chinese Chicken with Almonds~ Check in to see what I use instead of Sodium filled soy sauce!
Balsamic,Garlic and Mushroom Chicken~ Yes, I am using mushrooms....I really don't like em but I am trying!
Mercimek with homemade naan~ A little Turkey (the country;}) meets India. Also meatless with high protein.
Whole Wheat Bagels and/or Chia Pumpkin Muffins~ I will make whatever sounds best to me this week lol! And if you are wondering what Chia is, check back in to see what it's all about!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Back of the pantry soup...

Well, ya know how you have those days where you go to make supper and there is NOTHING in the fridge and the cupboards are sparse?....Yeah, I need to hit the grocery store. Bad!! These are the times where I have to get creative.....VERY creative! I stared into the vacant space I once called my pantry and let my mind go. I will let you in on my internal dialoug.
First out of the lazy susan was a box of organic vegetable broth...hmmm....what next? A can of corn that had to be a year old. Hey, canned goods are called non-perishables right? Off to the freezer...Hmmm, a bag of cauliflower...Andy HATES cauliflower! Oh well, I can hide it! Oooh I think I have a few red lentils left in the cupboard. Yup! There's my protein! And you know I ALWAYS have garlic and onion.
So, that is where I started. Threw the broth, corn, cauliflower, lentils, onion and garlic into a pot. Let it boil up, pulled out the immersion blender and blended it into a creamy style soup....there, I hid the cauliflower! I gave it a taste and whew did it need some help! Grabbed some salt, pepper and cumin out of the cupboard. Ya can't go wrong with cumin! I blended it a little more, hid the evidence of the forbidden veggies and called my men to the table. They LOVED it! Nahum, who is the pickiest eater this side of the Mississippi, plowed it! And Andy, my cauliflower hatin hubby kept saying 'this is so good!' Then, with a super serious face, he said 'Do not tell me what's in here. There are just some things better left unsaid.' :)
I know this isn't a typical post, but I guess I figured it might inspire you to get creative with what random items you have in the cupboard. Who knows what you'll get your family to eat!;)

Zucchini and Eggplant Lasagna

I always like to find substitutes for meat in food. Those of you who know me know I am not the hugest meat eater and I love veggies. The hubs is kinda the opposite, so I try to balance it out and make both. I plant to have a monster sized garden this year, so be looking out for more veggie recipes once things take off in my garden. (Let's hope it is veggies that take off not the weeds like last year!) ;)


2-3 Zucchini
1-2 Eggplants (It will all depend on the size of the veggie. Smaller ones are usually more tender and less tough)
Olive oil
2 Cans Whole Tomatoes (large cans)
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
5 Cloves Garlic crushed (If you don't own a garlic press INVEST! you won't be sorry!)
1 Small Onion diced
Fresh Basil (I usually use a sandwich size ziplock bag full.)
2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 8oz Ricotta Cheese
1 8oz Cream Cheese (I totally stole this idea from my friend Gloria!)
1 lb Fresh Mozzarella Cheese


Preheat oven to 400
Use a mandoline slicer and slice your eggplant and zucchini length wise into thin slices.

Once all of your eggplant and zucchini are sliced, put a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of a large skillet. Cook on Md/high till the veggie cooks through. (like 3 min per side) Put to the side for later. In the same large skillet pour your canned tomatoes with juice and all. Add your onion garlic and dried spices/seasoning. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 min on low heat. While this is simmering julienne your basil, (look to previous blog for directions on the cut) and thinly slice your fresh mozzarella.
 Once the sauce is done cooking, layer everything in a 9x13 baking dish starting with the sauce. Sauce, zucchini or eggplant, basil, Ricotta, Sauce, Zucchini or eggplant, basil, cream cheese, mozzarella, Sauce etc etc until your baking dish is full ending with a layer of the fresh mozzarella.
Everything is already cooked, so you just need to bake it until it is warmed through. I usually cover my dish with foil for the first 20 min and then cook it for another 15 min uncovered to melt the cheese nicely.
Serve it as you would lasagna!