Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Andes Cupcakes


Andes Mint Cupcakes

I'm not a big lover of mint, but I love Andes, they are so luxuriously smooth and creamy.
When I saw a bag of Andes chips, I immediately thought, cupcakes, I could make some for my teaching staff on St. Patrick's Day.



Andes Mint Cupcakes

 These are quick and easy, because they're made using box cake mix and ready-made frosting.




                                                                                                     Print Recipe
Andes Cupcakes

Ingredients
 
Cupcakes
1 box classic yellow cake mix
2 tablespoons Saco Dry Cultured Buttermilk Blend
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 4 drops of green color gel, I used Wilton
1 cup, Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips

Frosting
2 14oz. containers of prepared white frosting
green color gel
green sprinkles
1 bag Andes Creme de Menthe Thins
 

Instructions

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place cupcake liners in cupcake pan.
  2. Sift cake mix and buttermilk powder into a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl whisk eggs, oil, water and vanilla, until well combined.
  4. Add half of dry cake mix to egg mixture and blend well. Add remainder of cake mix to batter and blend until well combined.
  5. Add 3 to 4 drops of green color gel to batter and mix until color is well blended.
  6. Fold Andes baking chips into batter.
  7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. 
  8. Transfer room temperature frosting into a large bowl.
  9. Mix in green color gel until the desired color is reached.
  10. Using a star tip, pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes, garnish with sprinkles and add one Andes Creme de Menthe Thin on top.
  11. Share and Enjoy! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots





I have to admit, parsnips is not a vegetable that is a regular in my vegetarian diet, so when I saw them today I decided to break away from my same old, same old, and add them to my shopping cart, at a 100 calories a cup, it's a smart choice.

Parsnips are packed with folate, potassium, vitamin C, E, K and manganese.

I paired the parsnips with it's cousin carrots, both have a earthy, sweet flavor and go well together. Adding the parmesan and garlic gives the dish a more complex flavor.

                                    Print Recipe
 Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

Ingredients 

1 lb parsnips, peeled and sliced into strips
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced into strips
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste
4 cloves, minced garlic
1 cup, finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley 

Sauce
1 cup ranch dressing
2 teaspoons, fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions
  1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees and brush large baking sheet with a little olive oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2.  In a large bowl toss dry parsnips and carrots with extra virgin olive oil.
  3.  Sprinkle on smoked paprika and season with cracked black pepper and sea salt.
  4.  Roast for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with minced garlic, stir vegetables and roast another 5 to 10 minutes.
  5.  While parsnips and carrots are roasting, mix ranch dressing, lemon juice and smoked paprika.
  6.  Remove from oven and toss with all but 2 tablespoons of parmesan and parsley.
  7.  Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle on remaining parmesan and parsley.
  8.  Drizzle with ranch dressing mixture.
  9.  Serve and enjoy!






Sunday, February 2, 2014

White Chocolate Cranberry Cupid Crunch

White Chocolate Cranberry Cupid Crunch

I was searching Pinterest for quick and easy Valentine goodies to share with my staff at work. I found several recipes for Cupid Crunch, however, they use a lot of candy and candies like candy corn, we don't like much in my home, it has a waxy taste.

If you're  like me and don't like candy corn, this may be the recipe to try. What I like about Cupid Crunch, is you can put whatever you like in it and it's always great.

It's simple, easy and is a great gift to give to teachers, co-workers, your mail person or UPS and Fedex delivery person.

And most importantly, it taste great.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cupid Crunch
                       Print Recipe

White Chocolate Cranberry Cupid Crunch

Ingredients

6 cups, popped popcorn
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cup M&M (Valentine colors)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 12oz. bag white chocolate chips

Instructions
1. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl.
2. Toss in cranberries, almonds and M&M's, and on sprinkle powdered sugar  and toss.
3. Place glass or stainless steel bowl over simmering pot of water.
4. Pour white chocolate chips into bowl and stir until completely melted.
5. Carefully remove bowl from heat and place on dish towel to remove water from the bottom of the bowl.
6. Pour melted chocolate candy over the popcorn mixture and combine using two rubber spatulas.
7. Spread mixture out on a sheet of parchment paper and drizzle any remaining candy over the popcorn.
8. After the candy dries and firms up break up the popcorn into bit size pieces.
9. Place into treat bags or boxed to share.

This recipe was inspired from Cupid Crunch I found at Plain Chicken.

This stuff is so good, it'll be hard to not eat it all yourself.

Have fun and Enjoy!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Corn & Chile Salsa Guacamole

 
Corn & Chile Salsa Guacamole
 
Are you ready for some Guacamole!

I had several avocados that needed to be used before they were past their prime, so guacamole was the answer.

This is a super easy, throw together recipe filled with flavor. Why not make this for your Super Bowl party or any gathering where you want to WOW the guest and have them asking, "Where did you get this?"

But be careful, you might end up eating the the whole thing yourself.

Corn & Chile Salsa Guacamole

 

 
                                                                              Print Recipe
 
 
 
Corn & Chile Guacamole
 
 
Ingredients

3 to 4 medium ripe avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 medium lime, juiced
1 1/2 cups, coarsely chopped cherry tomatoes
1 jar of Trader Joe's Corn & Chile Tomato-Less Salsa (corn relish can be used, if no Trader Joe's)
2 medium jalapeno peppers, chopped
salt to taste

Instructions

1. In a medium bowl, mash avocados using a fork or potato masher.
2. Squeeze the juice from one lime over the avocados.
3. Add in the tomatoes and corn salsa, peppers, stir to mix.
4. Salt to taste.
5. Transfer to serving dish and serve with chips of your choice.
 
Have fun and enjoy!



Monday, January 20, 2014

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup
 
 
  I love the creamy texture of broccoli, but not the calories the cream adds. This hearty vegan version is dairy free, but not free of flavor. The use of cannellini beans, cauliflower and just a bit of coconut milk does the trick. Process soup and save some broccoli chunks to add in for added texture.
 
Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup
 
 
I love the nutty, cheesy flavor the nutritional yeast adds, and a sprinkling of fried onions gives great flavor and crunch.
 
 
 
Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup
 
                                            Print Recipe
Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup
Ingredients
2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon herb de provence
1 13.5 oz. can of cannellini beans
1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable broth, (use filtered water if you don't have vegetable broth)
1/2 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons, nutritional yeast
1 1/4 cups fried onions

Instructions

  1. Bring 6 cups of water in a large stockpot to a boil, add the broccoli and cauliflower in batches, cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. Remove from pot and set aside for later.
  2. Add olive oil to stockpot over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic, onions, and herb de provence , cook stirring occasionally, until translucent. 
  4. Transfer cooked garlic and onions to food processor, add beans, cauliflower, half of broccoli and half of the stock. Process until smooth, adding stock as needed.
  5. Return mixture to stockpot, stir in coconut milk and bring to a low simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove pot from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of the nutritional yeast.
  7. While soup cools slightly, mix together the fried onions and remaining nutritional yeast in a small bowl.
  8. Transfer soup to serving bowls, sprinkle on onion mixture, serve and enjoy!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

DIY Protein Powder



Protein powders, I love that they help refuel me after a hard workout, but I hate the price. I guess you could say, there's a love/hate relationship between me and protein powders.

Cruising the aisle for protein powders can be confusing, read the ingredients and you get more confused.

I choose to use plant-based protein powders because my tummy can't handle the other milk based  powders.  I've tried so many, I've lost count, those that are natural, taste like grass, who wants to drink grass.  Vega and Amazing Meal are my favorites, but lets face it, those beautifully designed tubs can get expensive.

So I took a look in my fridge and cabinets to see what I could put together. I am currently on a raw food challenge, so I tried to keep the ingredients raw. After mixing and blending I had myself a tasty, smooth protein smoothie.

Here is what I used

Protein Powder Ingredients

  • Raw Hemp Seeds - Complete source of protein and good source of calcium and iron.
  • Raw Sesame Seeds - Rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid which helps to lower LDL the bad cholesterol and increases HDL the good cholesterol, great source of protein, b-vitamins and minerals
  • Chia Seeds - A super food great for protein and fiber
  • Ground Flaxseed - High in omega-3, protein and fiber
  • Spirulina - Great source of protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
  • Vanilla Extract Powder - Adds flavor

I'm sure that there are many more combinations, and as I give them a try I'll share.


                                                                                            Print Recipe

DIY Protein Powder

Ingredients

1 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
1 cup raw white sesame seeds
1 cup chia seeds
1 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup spirulina powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract powder

Instructions
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Grind in small batches using a coffee grinder or small food grinder, pulsing 3 to 5 seconds or until ingredients are fine.
3. Remove to a bowl.
4. When all have been processed, rub mixture between fingertips to remove any lumps.
5. Store in airtight glass container. (I used a mason jar).

 Each tablespoon of mix have the following nutritional breakdown, Calories 58, Carbs 3, Fat 4 Protein 3 Sodium 15, Sugars 0. (I used MyFitnessPal for calculations). When making my smoothies, I use 3 leveled tablespoons, that's a total of 9 grams of protein, and I added two bananas, because I love bananas.

6. Use 8 ounces of water, almond milk or liquid of your choice. (using milk will add more protein).
7. Add your desired amount to liquid, and blend until smooth. To sweeten I suggest adding stevia, so you don't add in too many empty calories.
8. Drink up and Enjoy!

 Additions-for Variety

Raw Cocoa powder
cinnamon
raw fruits and vegetables
cayenne

If you are counting calories, don't forget to add in calories for any add-ins.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Buffalo Popcorn


Buffalo Popcorn
 

Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks, especially the theater buttered kind, unfortunately too many servings of this kind can lead to consuming too much sodium and unhealthy fats.
Something I'm doing more of this year is, popping my own, so I can control the sodium, fat and flavor.


I'm taking a break from the theater buttered popcorn for something hot and spicy, I call it Buffalo Popcorn.

My oil of choice is coconut oil, it tolerates high heat, which makes it great for popping popcorn, without an overwhelming coconut flavor.

I used a hot air popper which requires no oil, much healthier. I also used a spray misting bottle to spray the popped kernels to assure more flavor throughout the popcorn.
This is a great football watching snack.

                                                                                                 Print Recipe


Buffalo Popcorn
Ingredients
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup hot sauce, (I used Frank's Redhot)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
salt to taste

Instructions
1. Pop popcorn according to your popcorn maker.
2. While popcorn is popping, melt coconut oil in small saucepan.
3. When completely melted, remove from heat and stir in hot sauce, cayenne and garlic powder.
4. Pour mixture into spray bottle.
5. Place popped kernels in a large bowl, mist kernels with coconut mixture, tossing to coat all kernels.
6. Sprinkle and toss with nutritional yeast.
7. Transfer to serving bowl.
8. Serve and Enjoy!

If you don't have a popcorn maker do the following
1.  Add 1/4 cup oil to a large pan with handles.
2. Heat over medium-high heat.
3. Stir in hot sauce, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.
4. Add kernels, cover and wait for the magic to begin.
5. With oven mitts on, grab the handles and slide pan back and forth.
6. When popping slows to about 1 or 2 pops per second, take pan off the heat.
7. Transfer to serving bowl and toss with nutritional yeast.
8. Serve, Enjoy and Have Fun!