Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Weekly Dish

Here is me cooking the Iskender for my family. Ignore the silly face, I was watching my dad play with Olie. :)
This weeks menu will be shortened due to the holiday. I am spending the weekend and the first part of the week in the U.P. of Michigan where my parents recently moved. We have been having a great time and I have been enjoying the freedom to cook. I say freedom because I have 4 people to watch the kids and my mom cleans up after me. Not to mention I have a styling brand new kitchen to cook in. What more can a girl ask for? :) So here is the menu for the week and I hope you all enjoy the meals and baking recipes to come!!

Iskender ~This is a Turkish recipe my sister requested.
75% healthy cupcakes ~Vanilla cup cakes with chocolate frosting.
Crock pot steel cut oats~ GF

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Red Lentil Curry

This meal is super quick, and extremely easy! I call it beans and Nahum will eat it but if I call it lentils....heaven forbid...he won't touch it lol! Oh the joys of picky children! I haven't had a moment to breathe this week. Sick kid, teething kid, laundry, preparing for name it. Tonight's meal was so easy and good for us. I was thankful for something fast! If you know you are going to have a super busy day, plan this meal for that day!


2 cups red lentils
1 large onion, diced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tbs curry powder
1 tbs ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp honey
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ginger root, minced
1 8oz  can tomato puree
½ tomato puree can water
1 tbs tom paste


Wash the lentils in cold water until the water runs clear, put the lentils in a pot with water (enough to cover) and simmer uncovered until lentils tender but still in tact. (add more water if necessary).
While the lentils are cooking: In a  skillet or saucepan, caramelize the onions in olive oil.
Add Tomato sauce, paste, water, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, salt, honey, garlic, and ginger. Mix well and heat through.
When the lentils are tender drain them briefly (they should have absorbed most of the water but you don't want the curry to be too sloppy). Mix the curry base into lentils or pour over lentils. It’s good served with plain Greek yogurt!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chia English Muffins

We are always looking for something quick and easy in the morning. Andy has to rush off to work and with the two kids I am lucky if I get a bit let alone time to make breakfast! Heck, I literally drink the coffee Andy made two hours earlier cause I don't have time to make my own! Gross, I know! But anyhow, these English muffins are super tasty and especially good toasted!! Not to mention they are quite good for you!  These are easy to make and they make quite a few, so they should last you two weeks or so. You could also freeze half for another time if you prefer to not eat them for two weeks straight. :)


1 C milk
2 Tbs raw honey
1 Tbs yeast
1 C warm water (110-130 degrees)
1/4 C kefir or plain greek yogurt
6 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs dough enhancer or conditioner
4 Tbs Chia seeds


Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in the honey, stirring until dissolved. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the milk, yeast mixture, kefir/yogurt and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add salt, dough enhancer, Chia seeds and rest of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise about an hour or until double in size.
Punch down. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rounds with biscuit cutter, drinking glass, or empty tuna can. Sprinkle cookie sheet with cornmeal and set the rounds on this to rise. Dust tops of muffins with cornmeal also. Cover and let rise 1/2 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook muffins about 10 minutes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Paprika Chicken

This has a unique and wonderful flavor. Not to mention the color is really pretty. :) Even Nahum ate and enjoyed this meal! Typically I don't care to eat a big hunk of meat, even if it is chicken, but this I really enjoyed. Cooking in in a sauce makes the chicken really moist! This meal is pretty easy to make. Not a lot of chopping or mixing mix a little bit and then let it go for about 25 min. Hope you like it!


1 1/2 lbs organic chicken breast
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs coconut oil
5 finely diced shallots
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs paprika
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 C chicken broth
1/2 C plain Greek yogurt


Cut shallots and garlic. Saute in oil in a large skillet until slightly soft (3 min) Add salt, pepper, tomato paste, paprika, crushed red pepper, oregano, dill and broth. Whisk together well. Salt and pepper the chicken and place in the skillet. Cover and let cook on medium heat for 25 min or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and whisk in Greek yogurt. Serve over whole wheat pasta, pouring the pan sauce over the chicken and the noodles.

Peanut butter Larabar/cliff bar knock offs

It is so handy to have a GF Larabar or a cliff bar handy. Ya never know when you will get hungry or need a protein energy boost. However, you and I both know those babies cost anywhere from $1.75-$3.50 a piece. One day I read the ingredients on the peanut butter Larabar and realized it was 3 ingredients. Easy enough! The only challenge was getting the measurements right. It only took me two tries. Now, they aren't quite as smooth as the Larabar. I didn't want to burn up my food processor, so a little crunch works for me! I spent 8 bucks and I get 15-20 bars out of this. Waaaay cheaper! All ya have to do is throw em in a zip lock baggie and put it in your purse, diaper bag or whatever you take out with you. They are loaded with protein and good for you! You wouldn't have to use peanuts either. Get creative and make your own with your favorite nut! Yummy!!


4 cups crushed peanuts
4 cups dates chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup water


Make sure you use crushed nuts and that you chop your dates! The first time I did this I about fried my food processor making it work to hard! Throw all ingredients except the water in the food processor and chop. You may want to use the pulse feature most of the time, it keeps the dates from getting stuck on the blades. Once chopped fairly well (may take a while), add the water. This helps the dates act as a binder. Keep chopping until it starts to stick together. Form into little bars and voila! You are finished!!!

The Weekly Dish

Riding the carousel with Nahum 
Due to the holiday weekend, I will only be doing 4 recipes this week. Andy took a couple of days off of work so we could go spend some time with my family in the upper peninsula MI. Next week I will only be doing 3 recipes because we will be gone part of next week as well. I figure you all will be cooking less and hanging out with friends and family as well, so hopefully it is no biggie that I am not giving you too much for the next two weeks. :) Hope you all have a great time with family and friends!

Peanut butter Larabar/Cliff bar knock offs GF
Chia English Muffins
Paprika Chicken GF
Curried Red Lentils GF

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (using chia slurry)

This recipe makes a TON of soup! We ate it for dinner, had enough for leftovers the next day and I froze half for another time. I did cut the recipe back a little, so it will make slightly less, however, it will still be enough to feed 8 or freeze for another time. I actually like the freeze idea. I mean come on, do you always have the time to cook a meal? I love to freeze extras and have them for another day. I used chia seed to thicken this recipe instead of making a roux out of flour and butter. The starch from the whole grains and rice will help thicken as well. It makes it a whole lot better for you this way! If the chia seems difficult to you, don’t stress, it really isn’t that hard and the benefits are huge!! Especially if you are trying to go GF or dairy free! Give it a shot! I will be using the chia slurry recipe at the bottom in other recipes later on, so this is a good way to get familiar with it. They sell them at Neighbors Market in New Paris or you could find them at other health food stores or online as well. (usually by flax seed in the stores) Enjoy the soup!


1 C chopped celery
1 chopped yellow onion
1 C uncooked brown wild rice
1 C Himalayan whole grains
2 box chick broth
1 C chopped carrots
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp sage
1 tsp dried mustard
1 cup cold water
2 Tbs chia seeds
1 ½ lbs, chicken
6 C milk (I used skim)
2 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp pepper


In a large pot over high heat, boil the chicken in the stock until it cooks enough to shred. combine the celery, onions, rice, whole grains and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Remove from heat.
Make Chia seed slurry. (directions below)  Add slurry and 4 cups of milk, 1/2 cup at a time, until you get soupiness you desire. Add this and the chicken to the rice mixture and return the rice mixture to the stovetop over low heat.
If the soup seems too thick, add some or all of the remaining 2 cups of milk.  Some of the spices will clump if you pour them straight into the liquid, so put them all together in a bowl and stir round until all of the chunks are out. The salt will help break up the mustard powder. Season with salt, pepper and other spices and allow to simmer for 15min to an hour.

Chia slurry directions (The reason for putting this in the directions separate is because I will use the slurry in other recipes. The chia slurry can be used as a sort of binder in baked goods. You can replace milk or other liquids for baking. Replace milk for dairy free or replace water or any other liquid for the health benefits.)

Mix 2 Tbs Chia seeds with one Cup water in a container with a lid. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds, then let sit covered for 30 minutes. After that 30 minutes, use a blender or submersions blender and blend for about 1 minute. The liquid will thicken up and that is your slurry.  You will still see bits of the seeds, that is ok!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Purpose of White Flour in My Life

As you all know, I am not a fan of white flour. While it may taste good, it isn't that great for you. I have had a bag of organic white flour in my cupboard for some time now and was about to throw it away....when it's purpose came to light! While planting the plant portion of our garden tonight we found MILLIONS of tiny, little, scary, red, ants. I do not exaggerate when I say millions! I planted the seed portion last week right after it had been freshly tilled. Ground looked great! However, a week later, the tiny little rascals took over my whole garden!! We investigated online and found that an organic way to keep ants off of your plants is to encircle them in flour! Who knew!?! Also, baking soda kills them so we powdered the entire garden with that as well! Just a little tip for those of you gardening. Also, go here to get a recipe for organic bunny repellent, or  try this recipe below. Also, sounds crazy and gross but human hair helps as well. The human smell keeps deer and rabbits away. Thankfully I cut my friends and family at home, so I have some of that nastiness stored up in a trash can, but you can go to your local salon and ask for the hair and they will let you have it! The salons with the central vac systems are best because it is always in one bin and there isn't trash mixed in with it. Happy Gardening! :)
Homemade Animal Repellent

Mix this in a spray bottle:

2 raw eggs
1 quart water
1 tsp cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce
squirt dish soap

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vanilla Almond Granola

I have tried and tried to make crunchy granola without using oil and it is dang hard!! The oil definitely gives it that yummy crunch. However, I am not a fan of the fat and calories in oil, so I was bent on figuring something out. Praise the good Lord I finally found something that works! It is Brown Rice Syrup! If you use too much you can get a bit of a funky after taste, but I think I have finally managed to get a good honey to syrup ratio. Now, this will make your granola crunchy, however it does not stick together in big clumps like traditional granola. I also did not add fruit to this one since it is a honey almond, but I do make one with dried fruits and such that I am sure I will post another day. If you are wondering where in the world to find brown rice syrup, you can get it in the GF section of the New Paris store or in GF areas of specialty stores. (online too) This makes for a great late night snack! I eat it like popcorn! ;)


3 lbs Rolled Oats
1/2 C Brown Rice Syrup
3/4 C Raw Honey
5 Tsp Vanilla extract
4 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Ground Clove
1 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Cup slivered almonds


Bake oats at 425 degrees for 5-10 min just enough to dry them out and bake them a little bit. (I use 2 cookie sheets but you could use a dutch oven or baking dish.) While oats are in the oven, Mix syrup, honey, vanilla, and spices together and set aside. Also toast your almonds in a dry skillet over md/high heat until they get golden brown. Mix all ingredients together until oats are fully coated. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes stirring every 3-5 minutes. Do not let it burn. :) Let sit until completely cooled and then break apart and store.

Quinoa with Spinach

We aren't so much the spinach eating family. However, it is really good for you and as long as it isn't over cooked and nasty, I can eat it. Tonight when we were eating dinner, I realized I really loved it in this dish. Something about the flavors mixing together was amazing! I also used half white and half red quinoa, but you could use all white if you want to, I just enjoy a little variety. :) This meal is packed full of fiber and protein, so it is super healthy for you. It is also GF which makes it nice for those of you trying to stay away from gluten. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!


2 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
1 can black beans drained
2 tomato, chopped
2 clove garlic, crushed
1 lime juiced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Additional salt and pepper to taste
A generous handful of fresh baby spinach Spinach


Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, and rinse under cold, running water until the water no longer foams. Bring the quinoa, salt, and water to a boil in a large saucepan or pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Add beans the last 5 min
Once done, stir in the tomatoes, garlic, spinach, salt, pepper and cumin. Finish with lime juice.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yellow Split Pea and Ham Soup

My husband pretty much can’t stand peas…neither can I really. I do however like split pea soup…Andy does not. I have been sneaking split peas past him for some time now. Up until today that is. J Andy read on my blog that I was making split pea and ham soup and he wasn’t too thrilled. I told him I had been sneaking them in and he had no idea, so he was willing to give it a shot. By golly he likes it! J The yellow split peas give it a bit of a different flavor, but not too crazy. And the nutmeg adds a little zip that makes you wonder, “hmmmm what is that flavor?” The ham in this adds protein, however, the split peas have nearly 16 grams of protein in one cup! (dry) so, it would be a great meal even without the ham! One kid friendly tip (or hubby friendly in my case J): If you want to hid all of the veggies, just puree the soup with an immersion/hand blender! Simple fix for your picky eaters! Enjoy the yumminess!!


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
3 ribs celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 1/2 C dried yellow split peas
6 1/2 C vegetable stock
8 oz finely diced ham


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook to soften, but not brown, about 5 minutes.
Mix in the nutmeg, salt, pepper and split peas. Stir in the stock; cover, and simmer for  45 minutes. Add ham and continue cooking for an additional 20 minutes or until the peas are soft.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

So about a month ago I went to Chicago with a few of my girls. We ate at this Mexican Restaurant that had a very unique salsa. Denise and I kept trying to figure out the flavors and I couldn't quite pin point one and she said "cumin!" She was right! It was cumin...and the tomatoes were roasted. It was really really good. So, I decided I was going to figure out the recipe. In my family we are huge salsa eaters! In the summer when the veggies are fresh I make it every week! I am a sucker for fresh salsa! I can hardly stand to eat canned or jarred salsa anymore. It just isn't the same! I will admit I was kinda proud of myself for figuring this one out. I am sure it isn't exact, but it is close enough for me! So, kudos to the Mexican restaurant in the Schaumburg area near Chi-town! Your salsa was so good I had to figure out how to make it on my own!! (Too bad I can't remember it's name lol!) If you are a salsa junkie like me, this is a must try!!!


15 Roma Tomatoes
2 Jalapenos seeded
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Md White Onion Quartered
1 1/2 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Salt
1 Lime Juiced
Handful of Finely Chopped Cilantro


Put whole tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic (still in skins), and onion in a baking dish. Broil on high for 30 minutes. stirring around every 10 min so all sides of veggies get charred. Once finished, use a large spoon to remove everything from the dish and place in a food processor. There is quite a bit of liquid in the baking dish you do not want watering down your salsa. Add Cumin and salt. Blend/chop until it is evenly and coarsely chopped. Pour into a bowl and squeeze in lime juice and add in cilantro. Stir until evenly blended. I really like to eat this with blue corn chips!!! mmmmmm.......

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Weekly Dish and Gluten Free Once a Week

Since I don't have food pictures for the weekly dish, I figured I would use this opportunity to let you all into my life a little with personal pictures. My friend Darcy is a photographer and captured this moment with my oldest son Nahum. Check her out Here.
This is where I normally put my recipe ideas for the week....and I still will. However, I have had a couple of people ask me to do some gluten free recipes due to allergies and such, I have a friend whose family is making the switch to gluten free for their son, and I have another who has been gluten free for 7 years. So, considering these things, I have decided to commit to one gluten free recipe a week. From here on out I will refer to gluten free as GF because it is so much easier. :) I will label each GF recipe so you know what is and what is not GF. I am sure I will be asking Binky (Friend GF for 7 years) for some advice in this area seeing how it is newer to me. However, I do enjoy figuring tricky recipes out and I would really like to help those of you out there needing this. So...keep an eye out for my GF once a week!

Split Pea and Ham Soup GF
Roasted Tomato Salsa GF
Chicken with Wild Rice Soup
Spinach Quinoa GF
Vanilla Almond Granola GF

Ok, I didn't purposely make these mostly GF, it just so happened that what I chose is GF naturally.....

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Armenian Style Lentils

Here is another meal packed full of protein with no meat!! I found a recipe on and I thought it looked pretty good...and then as I cooked it I totally changed it. I can't stand bland and it looked bland! Also, I like a little color. You could totally use yellow onion but it wouldn't look as nice. You could use all brown lentils as well, but the split peas add a nice flavor and a touch of color. This meal reminds me of the flavors I had in Turkey. I really enjoy this!


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 cups broth (chicken or veggie would work)
1 cup lentils or split peas ( or 1/2 c of each)
1/2 cup Bulgar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 lemon, quartered
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp coriander
Feta cheese


Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat; cook and stir the onion and garlic in the oil until caramelized. Add broth,Bulgar,lentils, split peas, salt and pepper to the pan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat.Reduce to a simmer until water is completely absorbed.(about 20 min) I ended up having to add more broth because
the Bulgar wasn't finished cooking. Test it and if it is still hard, add more liquid to help continue the cooking process if needed.
Mix yogurt and three remaining spices in a separate bowl.
Divide lentils into 4 portions and squeeze one lemon wedge over each portion and top with Greek yogurt mixture and feta.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

This is another recipe from my friend Jill. She is so great! I did tweak this a little bit. I don't like using sugar or white flour so I have to adjust all recipes for whole wheat stuff. It is rare that I can find a recipe that claims to be whole wheat that actually is fully whole wheat. Oh well, I enjoy the process. It's fun for me! :) This bread is super yummy! The one thing that can be a challenge is that it calls for evaporated milk. If you are wanting organic, it can be hard to find it. Meijer does carry it sometimes if you are wondering. :) You can assume that my recipes are as organic as possible. I got tired of putting the word organic before each ingredient, so I decided to just take it out and make the statement that you can just assume it is organic if you are reading it on my blog! Also, people have been asking me questions on how to make their breads rise and be less dense. It took me throwing a whole lot of bread away before I got it right. Give yourself a break! ;) However, there are a few tips that should help significantly! 1~ Use a dough enhancer or conditioner. Adding about 3 Tbs to the dough at the same time as the flour will help tremendously. 2~ Be sure your water is between 110-130 degrees for your yeast. 3~ To help your dough rise, preheat your oven to 170 degrees while you are kneading your dough. When done Kneading, turn the oven off, cover dough and place it in the preheated oven. It isn't hot enough to bake it, but it is warm enough to help it to rise! 4~ Make sure you place a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven while baking your bread. It adds moisture and keeps it from getting too dry and dense.


  • 1 Tbs yeast
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110-130 degrees)
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup kefir or plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbs dough enhancer or conditioner
  • butter to rub on top of finished loaves


  1. Dissolve yeast and 1 tsp honey in 1/2 cup warm water.
  2. Combine milk, 1/4 cup water, kefir/yogurt, honey, salt and 2 cups wheat flour in food processor or bowl. Mix in yeast mixture, and let rest 15 minutes. Add last 3 cups of flour and dough enhancer/conditioner. Process/mix until dough forms a ball. Knead dough by hand 10 minutes. Place the dough in a buttered bowl, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with kitchen towel. Let dough rise for 45 minutes, or until almost doubled.
  3. Punch down, and divide dough in half. Form into loaves, and place in buttered 9x5 inch bread pans. Cover loosely with kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm area until doubled; second rise should take about 30 minutes.
  4. Place a small pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until tops are dark golden brown. Butter crusts while warm and sprinkle wheat germ on top if you would like. Place on a cooling rack to cool. Slice when cool.

Red Quinoa Salad

Ok, I totally posted this 2 days ago and then blogger was shut down for a full day, and then it deleted my post. Really irritated. :) Oh well...My friend Amy introduced me to Red Quinoa last summer and I thought it was pretty strange looking, but I usually like odd things, so I gave it a try and I loved it!!! Thanks Amy! My 4 year old wouldn't touch it cause he thought it looked scary, so he ate a bagel and feta cheese instead :) but Andy and I loved it!! Quinoa is a complete protein so this is a good meatless meal, it is also full of fiber! We eat it as a meal, but it would work as a side salad as well. We were really craving some yummy freshness, and something that wasn't super heavy. It is too hot out to eat heavy food! Hope you enjoy the recipe! (before blogger deleted the post, Andy commented on it and said it was addicting, and he voted it for meal of the week. I love my hubby!) :)


1 Box Vegetable Broth
2 C Red Quinoa
3 Medium Tomatoes diced
1 Large cucumber cut into quartered slices
1/2 Red Onion finely chopped
1 Lime Juiced
1 Lemon Juiced
1/2 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp salt
Pepper to taste
2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
1 Avocado Diced
Feta Cheese to top each bowl

Bring Quinoa in broth to a boil then cover and cut back to a simmer for 20 minutes. While it cooks, cut up all veggies and mix with juices and spices. When Quinoa is fully cooked, mix all together and serve topped with feta cheese. Super good hot or cold!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Enchiladas Verdes

This recipe I made up last summer when I had some garden extras I wasn't sure what to do with. We LOVED it, so I have made it a number of times since. Now, the cheese definitely can take away from the healthiness of this recipe, however, you can add as much or as little as you would like. I also make this as a layered casserole-ish dish verses individual enchiladas because it is less tortilla and more chicken and veggies. The verde sauce is literally all veggies! And, if you are wondering why in the world I poach the chicken in a vinegar water, it is cause it breaks the chicken down a little and makes it so soft and is easily shredded. Can't wait till these veggies come out of my garden!!! I am so close! :) I got the seed portion of my garden planted last night, but it will be at least another week till I get my plants in cause I am waiting on a local organic farmer to get them ready so I can buy em. So excited!!! I encourage you all to jump into the gardening scene if you aren't already. If I can do it, you totally can! This way you know what you are eating cause you are the one growing them. And, no need to run to the store for ingredients, just step out to your back yard and pick whatever you need! Love it! :) Ok, enough of that chatter. :) On to the recipe!


Corn Tortillas
1 1/2 lbs Chicken
1/2 C Garlic infused Rice Vinegar
1 Tbs Salt
Md Sauce Pan full of Water
4 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Onion
1 Jalapeno (seeds removed for less heat)
1 lb Tomatillos*
2 Roasted Poblano Peppers**
1 Bunch Cilantro (stems removed)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 Package Queso Fresco***


Pour the 1 Tbs salt, vinegar and chicken into the saucepan of water and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 min or until chicken is fully cooked through. Drain the water and shred the chicken. I shred mine with a Pampered Chef Mix-n-Chop! It works AMAZING!!! Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roast the poblanos  over a gas range burner at md until the skins are charred. If you have an electric range, you can broil them in the oven. Keep an eye on them and turn them till all sides are charred. Then, put them in a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap to steam the skins loose. Cut up the rest of your veggies into manageable sizes for your food processor. Once the poblanos have steamed a bit use a knife and shave the skin off of your poblanos or peel it with your fingers.
Put the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT the cheese, into a food processor and puree into a sauce.
I spray the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with organic olive oil spray. Then, I put a layer of corn tortillas. Rip them in half to make them fit better. Then pour the shredded chicken all over those and crumble the queso fresco over the chicken. Add another layer of corn tortillas and pour the green sauce over the top. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min or until slightly bubbly. This isn't the prettiest dish but it sure is yummy!

* For those of you unfamiliar with Tomatillos, they are a green tomato looking vegetable with a husk on them. Usually found in the produce section with the Mexican area with jalapenos etc.
** Roast them over gas range if you have one. Keep an eye on em, they can catch fire lol!
*** Queso Fresco found in specialty cheese sections at the store or in with Mexican cheeses. It is a crumbly cheese.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Black Bean Burgers on Ciabatta Buns

YUMMY! :) These were really really good! However, I think I will try another version of the black bean burgers sometime soon. I think I would like to try one with oats instead of breadcrumbs. Sounds tasty to me! Also, this ciabatta bread is super good, however, I made them waaaay too big! I totally forgot how big they would get on the last rise. :) Made for some jumbo sized burgers that's for sure! The ciabatta takes a little while to make, it has 3 rise periods but it is well worth it. I worked on mine while I got my hair colored today. :) Enjoy the recipes and keep an eye out for another black bean burger in the future!

Ciabatta Buns


  • 3 cups Fine ground whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons dough enhancer
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • cornmeal (to sprinkle on pan)


  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, yeast, honey, salt, olive oil, and water.
  2. Turn out dough onto a floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, 10 minutes. Set aside, and let rise about 45 minutes, until it doubles in size. Punch down. Knead well again, for about 10 minutes. Let rise for about 30 minutes, until it doubles in size.
  3. Round the dough into small round bun shapes.(about half the size you want your buns to be) Place them on a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal.(keeps dough from sticking) Let rise until double in size, about 30 min.
  4. While the bread is rising for the third time, put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  5. Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees Bake for 10 more minutes, or until done. 

    Black Bean Burgers

    1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
     3 cloves  garlic
    2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
    1 handful freshly chopped cilantro leaves
    1 egg
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    1/2 cup bread crumbs
    Salt and fresh ground black pepper

    Optional Toppings:

    1 tomato, sliced

    Heat a grill or pan over medium-low heat.
    In a food processor, pulse onion and garlic until finely chopped. Add 1 can black beans, cilantro, egg, and cayenne and pulse to combine.
    Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl, add the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and mix until well combined. Make into patties.

     Place on hot oiled grill or oiled pan over medium-low heat and cook about 6 minutes a side or until heated through.
    Serve on Ciabatta with lettuce, tomatoes and avocado.

        Sunday, May 8, 2011

        The Weekly Dish

        The boys who made me a mommy. I love them!
        Today I was able to get a lot accomplished thanks to my amazing hubby who; did a load of dishes, took me out to dinner, kept both boys occupied and cleaned up some major clutter! I was able to sit in silence with out children hangin all over me and go to town on some recipes! In fact, I was able to get the next two weeks planned AND even got to the grocery store!!! It was a great mothers day! I also am planning on re-tweaking Brits banana bread using coconut flour. I just couldn't get around that chickpea flour! Annnnnd there are 80 GRAMS OF PROTEIN IN ONE CUP! Holy cow!!! However, I am waiting on my favorite store (Neighbors Country Market) to get it in. I love it there. I told him I wanted it and he told me he would make some calls and figure out how to get it for me! :) Nice! So, sometime in the next two weeks I plan to do that, however, here is the plan for this week!

        Black Bean Burgers on Homemade Ciabatta bread
        Red Quinoa with Avocado
        Armenian Lentil Salad
        Verde Chicken Enchiladas
        Honey Whole Wheat Bread

        Friday, May 6, 2011

        Mediterranean Eggplant Dip

        If you like Mediterranean flavors, I think you will love this. It is great for entertaining! You can have it pre-made and heat it in the oven and use it for an appetizer while you are cooking your meal, or you could use it as a side dish as well. This probably isn't main course caliber but I love it late at night with some homemade naan and a good movie! ;)


        2 Eggplants 
        3-4 Cloves garlic peeled
        1/2 C Plain Greek yogurt
        S&P to taste
        1 tsp Cumin
        1 Lemon juiced


        Poke lots of holes in your eggplants with a fork, place in a baking dish and roast for 75 minutes at 350 degrees. When finished cut eggplants in half length wise. Scoop out the seeds and discard them. Now, scoop out the rest of the eggplant leaving only the skins behind. * You can do this the day before and refrigerate it until you make the actual dip.
        Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree until everything is completely smooth and blended. *Again, you can do this the day before and refrigerate until you need it.
        pour into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 min or until bubbly. Serve with homemade naan. *There is a recipe on an earlier blog post, you can add 2 cloves of crushed garlic to that dough recipe for a more flavorful naan.

        Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary Chicken

        This is a little more home cookin-ish than I normally make, but I love rosemary and this is just what came out. :) Most of my meals are portioned for 4 people. However, this did only make 3 servings, so if you need 4 I would add another 1/2lb of chicken and another carrot and a whole onion instead of half.  The rest is probably fine. Also. Fresh herbs can get pretty expensive, but at Neighbors Country Market, they do have local grown, organic, fresh herbs super cheap! I mean like 1/4 to 1/2 the price of grocery stores! So, if you live near there, it would benefit you to get them there...or grow your own since it is getting to be garden planting time!! YAY!!! gotta love a big giant garden!! Anyhow, here is the recipe. Enjoy.


        1 lb Chicken breast
        8 Cloves of garlic peeled
        9 Sprigs of fresh rosemary
        2 whole lemons
        1/2 of a large onion (or 1 small onion)
        Salt and Pepper to taste
        3 C Chicken Stock
        2 Whole Carrots peeled and cut into thirds


        Pour chicken stock in a large skillet. Add garlic, onion and carrots. Salt and pepper the chicken well and add to pan. Cover with rosemary sprigs and put lid on. Simmer on low to md/low heat for about 20 min. When chicken looks almost fully cooked, cut your lemons in half and squeeze the juice over the chicken and toss the rinds in the pan for more flavor. Cover and continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes until vegetables and chicken are completely cooked. Serve over Himalayan whole grains or a mixture of those and brown rice.

        *Tip~ If you are making something that needs to be served over the whole grains or rice, I usually make a double batch at the start of the week and store the extra in the fridge to use later in the week. Saves you cooking time and dirty dishes. :) It keeps quite well in the fridge!

        Wednesday, May 4, 2011

        Brits Banana Bread

        Brittany gave me this recipe to tweak for her. She said that it was really dense and needed some moisture. It was also made with soy flour, white flour and refined sugar. So, this is my tweak to help moisten up her recipe and make it a little healthier. The reason for the soy (or in this case garbanzo bean/chickpea flour is to add more protein so it can be a well rounded breakfast on its own. The bean flours do have a very strong flavor, so it takes some major additives to tone it down.  In this case, I added more banana, vanilla extract and cinnamon. I would recommend trying soy, as I have heard it has a less potent flavor. This was my first time working with chickpea flour and it definitely has a potent flavor! I think it turned out pretty good after adding a few things and I am excited for you guys to try it and let me know what you think. I love tinkering around with recipes, so I welcome recipes that you wish were healthier or your healthy recipes that you wish tasted better like this one. Healthy food doesn't have to taste like butt....that's right, I said butt! ;) (I have no idea how butt actually tastes, but it can't be good can it?)
        Note: This makes 2 loaves. I find most recipes make one...what's the point its usually gone in a couple of days, if you are making the mess ya might as well make 2 and freeze one! ;)

        Preheat oven 350
        Sift together:
        3 c garbanzo/chick pea flour (could use soy as well)
        2 c whole wheat flour
        4 ½ tsp baking powder
        1 tsp   baking soda
        1 ½ tsp salt
        2/3 C dry milk powder 
        3Tbs dough enhancer
        2 tsp cinnamon
        Add in:
        1C honey
        ½ C kefir/plain yogurt
        2 eggs
        2/3 C water  
        6 bananas mashed
        2 tsp vanilla

        Mix very well and pour into greased 9x5x3 loaf pans. Top with chopped pecans. Bake at 350 for 40 min. Removed loaf from pan to cool.

        Tuesday, May 3, 2011

        Jill's Quinoa and Black Beans

        Well, my sister informed me that I was pronouncing quinoa wrong, so I decided to look it up. :) Shocker!! We were both right! It can be either Keen-wah and kwin-noah. That is my interesting tid bit for you all. ;) Anyhow, this recipe came from my friend Jill. She has given me a number of recipes and I gotta say they sure are yummy! This is another alternate protein meal and my family loved it! Andy's description of it was best. He said it tasted really fresh and I agree! Here it is folks! Easy to make and super tasty and fresh!


        • 1 teaspoon olive oil
        • 1 onion, chopped
        • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
        • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
        • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I dunno what was up with my quinoa, but I had to use an entire box of broth for it to cook all the heads up maybe some uses more and takes longer to cook.)
        • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I like a lot of this, so I used 2)
        • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
        • salt and pepper to taste
        • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
        • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
        • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
        • Chopped tomatoes (you can leave these out if you want)


        1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
        2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,(again, mine took more like 30)
        3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro until beans are warmed through and serve topped with fresh tomatoes!

        Monday, May 2, 2011

        Chinese Almond Chicken

        This is by far my favorite recipe to date!!! I absolutely love Chinese food and it is one thing we don't get very often. DID YOU KNOW LIQUID AMINO ACIDS TASTE EXACTLY LIKE SOY SAUCE?!?!?! I am not lying. Exactly and it is oh so much better for you. I was so excited when I discovered it! I have heard a number of food peeps on TV talk about it and figured I would give it a whirl. I made this for my family tonight and we all devoured it! Nahum wouldn't eat the pea pods so I had to open em all up so he could eat the peas out of the middle, but other than that we all enjoyed it. If you like Chinese food, you have to make this! Also, there will be a number of notes/tips on this recipe so check those out at the end of this post.


        1 lb Chicken breast
        1/4 C Slivered Almonds Toasted
        1 Tbs Sesame Oil
        2 Tbs White Wine Vinegar
        1/4 C Chopped Fresh Cilantro
        1/4  C Sesame Seeds
        2 Shallots Thinly Sliced
        Heavy Handful of Sugar Snap Peas
        4 Tbs Liquid Amino Acids*
        1/2 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
        1/4 Tsp Pepper
        2 Tsp Fresh Grated Ginger**
        2 Md Cloves Garlic Minced
        1/2 C Dry Himalayan Whole Grains***
        1/2 C Dry Brown Rice***
        2 1/4 C Water


        Toast whole grains and brown rice in a dry skillet on md/high heat until there is a slight change in color.(3-5min) pour into sauce pan with the water. Bring to a boil and then cut down to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 40-50 min.
        In an electric or stove top wok put sesame oil, amino acids and vinegar. Turn on to 350 degrees on electric and md/high on stove top. Add chicken, shallots, garlic, ginger, pepper and crushed red pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked and shallots are caramelizing. While chicken is cooking, in the same pan you toasted the rice, toast the almonds over md/high heat until they lightly brown, shaking the skillet every 30 seconds or so. Dump into a bowl and set aside.Toast the sesame seed the same way, but watch them closely they can burn easily and take a fraction of the time. Now, add the peas and the almonds to the stir fry and cook till peas are heated through. Do not over cook they will get wilty.
        Serve over the rice/whole grain mixture and top with the sesame seeds and chopped cilantro.

        * You can find this at Neighbors Country Market in New Paris and Meijer.
        ** When you buy fresh ginger you never use all of it at once. A good trick is to only peel the part you will grate, grate what you need, and then put the rest in a zip lock bag in the freezer. It keeps it fresh and when you need it again all you need to do is take it out and use it, you can peel and grate it frozen easily.
        *** The whole grains and brown rice have the same cook time, so it is very easy to use them together. The water to grain ratio is slightly different, so I use an amount in between the two. (One uses 2C water one uses 2 1/2C, so I use 2 1/4C.)

        The Weekly Dish

        Ok, so this isn't food, but I couldn't resist showing the picture of my sweet hubby snuggling my sick little man.....annnnd it is the reason I missed a recipe this week, so we will pretend it's fitting. ;)
        This week I will make up for some of the lost time from last week. Having a sick kid kinda puts a wrench in the culinary creativity. After doing this blog for a few weeks now, I have realized I finally found my hobby. Andy has asked me a number of times what my hobby is and I never have had a good answer for it. Now, I do. I love this! I love finding ways to make my food healthy but tasty. You all know what I am talking about. When you think of taking the oil, white flour and sugar out of things you instantly thing BLAH! In the past, that is how healthy tasted. However, people are getting more serious about what they put in their bodies and aren't willing to eat pine cones and grass clippings for dinner! (That is what my dad calls healthy food lol...pine cones and grass clippings) :) Thank you to those of you who are sending me recipes to modify to make them healthier or tastier. I really enjoy this! If you have a recipe you want me to modify, email me I will do my best to incorporate it into the next weeks blog. This week I will be doing another recipe from Jill and a banana bread recipe Brittany gave me to modify. Next week I will be modifying Nichole's Pumpkin Whoopie Pie recipe....YUUUMMM! So, with no further adue (How in the world do you spell adue? It didn't even come up on spell check lol.) here is this weeks menu.

        Quinoa and black beans
        Roasted eggplant dip (Thanks Binky for reminding me to make this!)
        Almond Chinese chicken (This was suppose to be made last week)
        Garlic and rosemary chicken
        Brit's banana bread