Smoked paprika, Orzo, Chicken stew

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There is nothing better on a gloomy day than a hot bowl of stew and on days when I can’t breathe out of my nose and my sinuses feel like they might explode, I need a stew with a bit of a kick. I have been obsessing over smoked paprika lately so I  put together this yummy southwestern stew  featuring the bright red spice.

For this recipe I used a pound of leftover shredded  ( unseasoned) chicken from taco night so if you don’t have cooked chicken on hand use chicken breast cut into tiny pieces and cook it up in a skillet with a bit of oil until just done.

What you need

  • 1 pound of chicken, cooked
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 of a white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 32 oz can of tomato sauce (plain, no spices)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp each of smoked paprika, new mexico chili powder, cumin, black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • salt to taste

How to make it

  • Saute garlic & onion with a few tablespoons of olive oil until translucent
  • add chicken & spices and cook for a few minutes until chicken is well coated in spices
  • add tomato sauce, broth and orzo
  • cook on medium heat for 20 minutes or until orzo is done
  • add salt to taste
  • serve with a dollop of sour cream  and a warm tortilla

Chocolate zucchini cupcakes & chocolate bacon frosting

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAToday we got a taste of spring sunshine and I was really in the mood for a picnic. Sadly it was still too cold to actually sit outside so my daughters and I had an indoor tea party with all of their little Russian dolls and these yummy chocolate zucchini cupcakes.

The best part of zucchini cupcakes  ( besides being delicious) is of course getting a little extra veggies in the kiddos diet without a fuss. Luckily my kids love veggies but even they can be stubborn about eating sometimes.  These are lightly sweet and oh so yummy and the frosting has a hint of salty bacon in it making them a little extra special.

What you need

Cupcakes

  • 1 medium-large zucchini
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt

Frosting

 

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of bacon grease ( you can use chopped cooked bacon for ‘sprinkles’!)
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • A few drops of water as needed

 

How to make it

Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • in one bowl mix flour, cocoa powder,  baking powder & soda and salt together and set aside
  • Grate zucchini finely
  • in a bowl mix zucchini, eggs and honey
  • Melt coconut oil
  • Add coconut oil to dry ingredients and mix well
  • add zucchini mixture to flour mixture and mix well
  • add batter to a greased muffin tin
  • reduce oven to 300 and bake for 15 minutes or until done

Frosting

 

  • In a kitchen aid or in a bowl with a mixer whisk together cocoa powder and corn starch until fully blended
  • add coconut oil and honey slowly and whisk in
  • whisk in bacon grease
  • add a few drops of water if needed until consistency is like frosting
  • Place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes
  • (coconut oil may clump together once cooled, just whisk again to blend or not if you don’t care )

 

 

 

Raw vegan pâté & stuffed mushrooms

raw Pâté stuffed mushroomsToday I did a raw foods “culinary art” demo at the Ogden art festival. It was a sweltering day but I had a blast!  The food left the tray as soon as I sat it down which I assume is a good sign and since  everyone was asking for my recipe I though I would share it with all of you.

This raw pâté  is a quick spread and can be used on sandwiches, wraps and even sushi. I like to use it as a dip for my veggies when we are on picnics or on my morning toast. The great thing about this spread is that it last forever…well up to 2 weeks in the fridge but in our house that is practically forever.

During my demo I used the pâté  to stuff some mushrooms  for a quick and easy faux fancy appetizer, everyone can use a little bit of fancy in their lives now and then.

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What you need

  • 2 bunches of basil
  • 1 cup Raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 c sundried tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/4 c braggs or soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 20 Mushrooms, if you will not be stuffing them  you only need 5 whole mushrooms

How to make it

  • add sesame seeds, lemon juice  and a tablespoon of olive oil in a food processor and blend until a paste
  • add nutritional yeast, braggs and the rest of the olive oil and blend
  • take stems out of all the mushrooms and add stems to blender, if you are not stuffing mushrooms add 4 whole mushrooms to blender
  • add basil, sundried tomatoes, garlic and sunflower seeds and blend until it is a paste, add a but of water if it is too thick
  • chop red pepper and add to blender and blend just until it’s a bit mixed in.
  • fill mushrooms with pâté  and top with a basil leaf and sunflower seeds

Easy all natural oven beef jerky

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I love beef jerky, it’s an expensive and delicious addiction. I hate to eat store-bought that is loaded with preservatives and fillers and what the heck are all these chemicals I can’t pronounce?!

I thought I would have to keep paying top dollar for organic all natural jerky ( still has sugar! Why???)  at the natural food stores since I don’t have a dehydrator until one day someone told me about how they made fruit leather in the oven. Of course! Why did I not think of that before?

Making jerky in the oven is not only easy but it doesn’t take a long time so you can get down to business, the business of eating jerky all day. Coming up with new and exciting flavors is my favorite part- curry, sweet and spicy, achiote and orange, lemon pepper…so many flavors to try!

This recipe is my basic  jerky you have probably tasted before, its your regular old-fashioned steak rub (from scratch, duh!)  beef jerky and mouth-watering good! In just 3-4 hours ( or less even!) you will have the best jerky you have ever tasted, I promise!

What you need

  • Skewers (optional, I ran out halfway through and it was still amazing)
  • foil
  • 3 pounds Flap or skirt  cut steak, I like mine a bit thicker, as your butcher what they prefer and you’ll get the best
  • 2 tbsp  each coriander, black peppercorn, sea salt, red pepper flakes  in a spice grinder or if you are impatient like me in a zip lock back that you pound away on with a hammer.
  • 1/4 c braggs or natural soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped as fine as your can get it
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

How to make it

  • put your beef in a big bowl
  • grind (or hammer) your spices and add to bowl with soy sauce, oil and garlic
  • massage spices into meat, grab each piece individually and rub it in
  • cover with plastic and let it marinate for at least 3 hours if not overnight
  • take the bottom rack out of your oven and cover in foil, place in the very bottom rack
  • move other rack to the very top of the oven
  • Take your skewers and pierce the top of the meat and balance it on the rack so the meat is hanging. If you don’t have skewers just hang it over the rack
  • turn your oven to the lowest temperature you have. for me its 175-200 ( my oven runs high)
  • crack open your oven with something so its open about an inch, this will let all the moisture escape
  • let cook until the meat is tough and fat and oil no longer drips off, it takes my oven around 2.5-3 hours. Sample it to see if it’s the right texture for you. I like mine to be still a bit moist and not too tough.
  • store in ziplock bags or mason jars in the fridge ( if you don’t eat it all at once!)

Purple potatoes & beets with garlic yogurt sauce

purple potato and beet chips

I went to the grocery store for  eggs and when we arrived we found out it was customer appreciation day and prizes were being passed out around the store. Once my husband and daughter heard the word ‘prize’ they ditched me in the produce aisle and went off  to try to win something.

Leaving me unattended in a grocery store is a dangerous thing, some women love shoes and some love purses but I love groceries. What should have been a $10 MAX trip to the grocery store ended up making me $50 poorer but I did have really pretty beets and purple potatoes and toum from a local company and yummy yogurt and of course a bunch of random things.

Yesterday we went on a long hike and spent sometime at the climbing gym so I wasn’t in the mood to cook anything fancy but I knew I had to try the toum I bought. This is a super quick but oh so yummy recipe and can be made several ways. Try it with thin slices or thick slices, with cheese or without but you simply MUST try the sauce.

Enjoy!

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Makes 2 servings

What you need 

  • 1 large beet
  • 2 purple potatoes
  • 2 tbsp corn or tapioca starch
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • parsley

For sauce

  • 1/4 c yogurt ( I used Nancy’s whole milk yogurt)
  • 4 tbsp toum ( I used Laziz toum but you can make it using this recipe)
  • 1tbsp water

How to make it

  • slice beets and potatoes super thin, I used a vintage kitchen magician but any mandolin should work
  • soak potatoes in a bowl of cool water for at least half hour
  • drain and lay potatoes and beets on paper towels or kitchen towels to dry
  • put into a bowl and toss with corn starch and  drizzle with olive oil
  • lay onto a baking sheet (it’s ok if some overlap) and sprinkle with sea salt
  • bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until edges are crisp
  • in a bowl mix yogurt, toum and water
  • drizzle over potatoes and beets and sprinkle  with parsley

Curry, ginger & coconut carrot soup

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My sister recently went to Bahrain to visit her husband who is stationed there and as soon as I heard where she was heading I begged her to bring me back some spices. When my package arrived I knew right away that there was curry inside,it was so strong I could spell it before I opened the box!

It snowed today (really spring??!) and my daughter was sick and wanted soup. This coconut, ginger & curry carrot soup is the perfect gloomy day meal and it warms you up with a little bit of spice.  The best part is that it is super easy and quick to make, just throw it all together, cook, purree! I topped mine with some Greek yogurt, try it!

Want to know a little trick when buying your coconut milk? Shake the can! Good coconut milk with a lot of the cream and  goodness will be heavy and not make any noise when you shake the can and coconut milk that is mostly coconut water will slosh around.

I also made some roasted honey & curry chick peas to snack on, another quick and easy treat- yum!

*makes 6 servings, yay for leftovers!

What you need

  • 8 carrots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • fresh ginger,  a chunk the size of your thumb
  • 3/4 c red lentils
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 c water
  • 4 tbsp curry
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil

How to make it

  • in a pot put coconut oil, onions and garlic- cook for a couple of minutes
  • add lentils, carrots, and spices and cook until onions are translucent
  • add coconut milk and water and boil until lentils are done and carrots are tender
  • put in a blender and puree with honey adding a bit of water or salt as needed
  • enjoy!

** to make the chickpeas just dry canned chick peas with a paper towel, toss with curry and honey and  cook at 240 for about 45 minutes or until they are crisp!

Southwestern quinoa chili with cheesy polenta

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Yesterday got a gloomy start with high winds and dark skies, so of course I woke up with a stuffy nose. On days when I just want to sip tea and stay in my robe my family still needs to eat and as much as I would love to tell the kiddos to fend for themselves I’d rather not have to deal with the disaster in the kitchen that would follow. The crock pot is a magical invention that allows moms with the sniffles to make amazing meals while laying on the couch watching teen mom, don’t judge me I know you’ve watched it too.

I wanted to make something warm and filling and also something with a lot of leftovers just in case the sniffles turned into the plague. Chili is always a hit with the whole family and there are literally dozens of ways to make it. I have made beet chili, simple turkey chili and now my favorite- southwestern quinoa chili. This chili is not only healthy its super filling and is even better the next day. Try it in your eggs for breakfast, yum!

I hope you enjoy this yummy quinoa chili with cheesy polenta, top with avocado , cilantro and sour cream if you like and freeze any extra for a quick rainy day meal!

What you need

  • 1 lb ground turkey, swap for firm tofu to make it vegan!
  • 2 cans of organic black beans
  • 1.5 c corn, either fresh off the cob or frozen
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1/2 c amaranth
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1/4 c chili powder
  • 4 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 3 8oz cans of organic tomato sauce, no herbs or spices added
  • 1 C polenta
  • 1/2 c mozzarella shredded
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro, lime, avocado and sour cream to top, all optional

How to make it

  • In a pan brown turkey
  • add onions and cook just a little
  • add to crock pot on med/high (mine is from the 70’s and only has high and low settings, I put it on high)
  • add beans, garlic spices, tomato sauce, corn, quinoa and amaranth
  • cook for 4 hours
  • in a pan cook polenta (3 parts liquid to 1 part polenta) , add cheese and mix until melted, salt to taste.
  • Layer chili on top of polenta and add toppings.

Simple dinner-Salmon with pearl couscous

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As the weather gets warmer I want to be in the kitchen less and outside more. Simple quick dinners are a must on days when we are playing outside all day and only take breaks to grab a bite and run back outside. The weather was beautiful out yesterday and a perfect day for dinner on the porch while the sun goes down.

Salmon and couscous is the perfect light, warm weather dinner and its so quick and easy to make that even those who are less graceful in the kitchen can accomplish this meal. This  takes Just a half hour to make so you can have more time for important things like blowing bubbles and running through sprinklers and also trips to the ice cream shop.

I hope wherever you are is warming up and flowers are blooming, summer is almost here!

What you need

  • Salmon fillet
  • pearl cous cous
  • 1 lemon, a few lemon slices
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 tbsp dill
  • Salt to taste

How to make it

  • Put salmon fillet in a baking pan with a few tbsp of water, lemon juice from 1 lemon, sea salt and a lemon slice on top
  • bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until just done, you don’t want dry salmon
  • cook couscous on the stove with dill when done mix in finely chopped red onion
  • done! Easy as that!

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Cheesy chard & egg breakfast souffle

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Sping is near..ish…right? It was so sunny and warm here for a bit and then last night I woke up to thunder and lightening and snow. Luckily it looks like it is all melting and in the distance I can see blue skies.  I really wanted to make something colorful and spring-like for breakfast today and after seeing this photo I knew I needed to make something with chard.

I was going to make an omelet  but when I saw the mounds of laundry I had to do I decide to make something that I could throw in the oven and let cook while I got started on Mt.allthelaundryever. This recipe is super easy and gooey and cheesy deliciousness. We ate ours with grapefruit drizzled in honey and tall glasses of  lemon water by the sunniest window in the house.

Try this with any dark leafy green and cheese for a yummy filling and healthy breakfast!

* makes breakfast for 2

What you need

  • 3 chard leaves
  • About a palm full of  basil leaves
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 1/4 c grated mozzarella cheese , or any cheese you like
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

How to make it

  • in a food processor or blender add basil, chard and olive oil
  • process until it looks like pesto
  • add egg yolks and salt and pulse a few times until eggs are mixe din
  • add mixture to a bowl
  • in a separate bowl beat egg whites until fluffy
  • fold in egg whites and cheese
  • add to 2 small ramekins or a muffin tin
  • cook for 10-15 minutes until cheese begins to bubble out of ramekin
  • enjoy!

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Sweet potato gnocchi with spinach & goat cheese

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Yesterday I planned on finally attempting to make ravioli again and this time I would remember to drain the spinach and not ruin all the dough and it would be perfect but then all of a sudden it was 4 pm and I needed to have dinner done before leaving in an hour.

I was so excited to make pasta but an hour to have dinner done, get ready and get both the kids out the door in pants AND shoes did not seem possible.  I remember reading that gnocchi  was super quick and easy to make  and so I decided to set out to make it…without a recipe.

I tried to find a whole wheat and sweet potato gnocchi recipe I liked but I kept finding either a good sweet potato recipe or a good whole wheat recipe but nothing that fit what I wanted. Finally I just decided to wing it, it is just potato and flour right?

It turns out that gnocchi really is a super easy to make dish and even better it freezes quite well so you can make extra for another day. This recipe came out quite good  though as my daughter discovered not as good cold out the fridge hours later, it is definitely best hot and fresh.

What you need

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 3/4 c whole wheat  flour (ish)
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves finely grated garlic
  • 4 tbsp goat cheese
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • handful of spinach

How to make it

  • peel and cook sweet potato, i just stuck it in the microwave because of my time crunch
  • mash sweet potato in a bowl
  • add some finely chopped rosemary  and salt and pepper to taste
  • add flour 1/4 cup at a time until  it forms a smooth dough
  • knead for a few minutes until  it is no longer sticky
  • separate into palm sized balls , about 4-5
  • on a floured surface roll out into a rope, it is helpful to start at the middle of the rope and work your hand out to the ends to make it longer
  • when it is about  as thick as your thumb cut into bit sized pieces
  • use a fork and indent the side of the gnocchi, I don’t know why but everyone else was doing it so I did too, foodie peer pressure
  • separate your gnocchi  into 2 piles, what you are using now and what you want to freeze
  • put the gnocchi you want to freeze on a baking sheet, not touching and put in the freezer, when frozen put in a freezer bag and store for later
  • bring a pot of salted water to a boil
  • add  a bit  (2-3 tbsp) of olive oil to the boiling water
  • drop in the gnocchi  in the boiling water
  • let cook a few minutes after it rises to the top
  • melt butter in a pan
  • transfer cooked gnocchi to pan and saute with the butter & garlic
  • add salt and pepper to taste
  • add spinach and mix just until slightly wilted
  • sprinkle with goat cheese and eat!