Monday, November 29, 2010

Orange Cranberry Granola Bars

I made this little recipe up several years ago after I had my second son. I was pretty tied up catering to my newborn's every need, and didn't have time to make myself a proper meal while my husband was at work. So I took a few of my favorite "superfoods" and incorporated them into a single granola bar that could be easily changed up for whatever my food fixation was for that week. This particular recipe was geared towards popular holiday flavors by using orange and cranberry. But some of my favorites to date have been with dried apple and butterscotch chips, dried apricot (or dried cherry) and dark chocolate, coconut and dried pineapple, and old fashioned raisin. Of course, there is no end in sight for the variations YOU can come up with...this recipe easily allows for that! So let's get started:

Basic granola bar recipe:

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (or use a mix of walnuts, pecans, or almonds)
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 1/2 cups vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP cinnamon (optional depending on flavor profile)
1 cup dried fruit (snipped to small pieces if needed)
~~~mix well in bowl, then add:
4 eggs (or 1 cup egg whites)
1/2 - 3/4 cup honey ( I used 16 oz orange marmalade in this variation today)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Optional add ins include -
1 cup baking chips, any flavor
1 cup yogurt covered raisins
1 cup chopped yogurt covered pretzel pieces
1 cup flaked coconut
*replace honey with molasses or maple syrup to change the flavor profile
**to make a less hearty, lighter bar - replace 1/2 the nuts with crispy rice cereal

Using your hands, mix the ingredients together in a large boil until combined thoroughly. In a greased 9x13" pan, press the mixture FIRMLY until even. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes...just until the edges are lightly browned. Once done, remove from oven and cut into bars within 5 minutes. Let cool completely before attempting to remove from pan (otherwise they may fall apart). Store wrapped individually in refrigerator, or freezer for longer than one week. ENJOY!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey Chili and Pumpkin Cornbread

If you’re like me, then you probably have a lot of leftovers after the Thanksgiving holiday. Unless you love eating turkey sandwiches for a week straight, here’s something I threw together to use up those leftovers and enjoy watching football (and drinking beer) while you’re at it! And PUMPKIN! Wow…great way to sneak in some vegetables and feed your family healthy food without them even realizing it. TRY this, you’ll love it!

Pumpkin Cornbread:

½ cup butter or margarine, melted
½ cup oil
4 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
12 oz beer (I used Mexican beer)
1 cup sugar
~~~mix well, and then add:
1 cup cornmeal
3 cups flour
2 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp salt

Mix well, and then pour into a greased 9x13” pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until done.

Turkey Chili:

In a 4 quart stock pot, add:
1-2 TBSP olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
~~~Heat on medium high and cook until translucent and tender. Add:
3 crumbled chicken bouillon cubes
1 lb dry black beans, cooked (or 3-4 cups of any beans you like)
4 cups cooked and diced turkey
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 -16 oz jar medium salsa (or use a 15 oz can diced tomato, and just double seasoning below)
1 -15 oz can sweet corn
1 -12 oz beer (again, I used Mexican beer)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground oregano
Salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t need any!)

Let ingredients come to a boil, and then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Serve with warm cornbread, grab a beer (I did), get comfy in front of the football game, and ENJOY!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Muffin Tops

Pumpkin Muffin Tops

I made this up a few weeks ago, because I needed something healthy and easy to eat while at school. I used the ingredients I usually keep on hand, and the first batch I made was with mashed bananas. I really like those. I do think you can substitute the banana with ANY mashed fruit really...and after making this batch with pureed pumpkin, I think I should have added a ½ cup of honey (or molasses, or maple syrup!) simply because the pumpkin doesn't have the same sweetness that bananas do. They were still good, just not as sweet and moist. So if you use pumpkin, that is my recommendation! AND, don't forget, you can just put this batter straight into muffin tins if you don't want to mess with tradition. You may need to cook it a few minutes longer if you choose to do that though, so just be aware of any adjustments you'll need to get a perfect result.

3 cups pureed pumpkin (or banana, applesauce, or other pureed fruit like peaches)
6 egg whites
1 tsp maple extract
2 cups old fashioned oats, ground down in food processor
2 cups old fashioned oats, as is (yes, 4 cups total)
1 cup ground flax seed
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 TBSP cinnamon (add 1 tsp each of nutmeg and ginger, and 1/2 tsp of cloves if using pumpkin)
2 ½ cups sugar free vanilla whey protein powder

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Scoop a heaping ¼ measuring cup out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper...3 will fit at a time. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool, and then for easy transport (breakfast, snack, or pre/post workout on the go) wrap in zippered sandwich bags and refrigerate or freeze. One "muffin top" fits perfectly into a sandwich bag...perfect size serving! Really tasty and satisfying - ENJOY!

Nutrition information: Calories: 224 -- Fat: 5 grams -- Carbs: 32 grams (fiber 7 grams, sugar 9 grams) - Protein: 18 grams

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mixed Mushroom Pizza

This week's recipe is done at the request of my dear friend Cimberly Lewis, who also happens to be my oldest son's other mother. I was able to send this home with Brendan to share with the rest of his family, and they all gave it a "thumbs up". So, if you are a mushroom lover - ESPECIALLY if you are a mushroom lover, and if you love cheese or pizza in general, you should definitely give this recipe a try!

Pizza crust (recipe came from the bag of flour...Fred Meyer brand):
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (equal to one packet)
¾ cup warm water
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP honey
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups all purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add remaining ingredients and mix until a ball forms. Dust lightly with flour, and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until double, or 45 minutes. Punch down dough. Knead gently, and then roll to the thickness you prefer. Prick with a fork to ensure no bubbles as pizza cooks.

Mushroom Sauce:
6 TBSP olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried rosemary
¼ cup red wine
1 lb. variety of mushrooms, I used shitake, baby bella, and white button mushrooms
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz butter (truffle butter if you can make it!)
3 TBSP flour

Heat oil over medium/medium-high heat and then add minced garlic. Add rosemary, basil, and wine, and then simmer for 15 minutes or so. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms reduce in size and are tender, about 5-8 minutes. Add butter and flour, and mix well. Remove from heat. Spread over prepared pizza dough.

8 oz gruyere cheese
8 oz parmesan cheese
4 oz fontina cheese

Grate the above cheeses, or whatever cheese you prefer. Mix and sprinkle the amount you prefer over the mushroom sauce. I used about ½ the amount I grated. Use more if you like it cheesy! Bake at 450 degrees (F) for 12-18 minutes. And trust'll ENJOY this treat!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

The recipe/episode this week was requested by another girl I went to school with, Sara Murphy Bristol. And again, it is something I have never made before, but I can see why she wanted me to make it for BellinieBits. Not only is it delicious, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but it might be easier for someone to attempt to make this themselves if - rather that just READING a recipe and seeing pictures -- they can see it being made...mistakes and all! So once again, I used my trusty "Better Homes and Gardens" red and white checkered cookbook, circa 1989 for the recipe today. It was very good, but already, the gears in my mind are turning and noting the tweaks I will execute next time I make it! But here it is, and if you're craving something sweet, and slightly off the beaten path for typical holiday fare...give this a try!

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

½ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg whites
½ cup sugar
½ cup canned pumpkin
Powdered sugar

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and spices in a bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla with an electric mixer for 5 minutes, or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add ½ cup sugar and continue beating until sugar is nearly dissolved. Stir in pumpkin. Wash beaters thoroughly.

In another bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add ½ cup sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold yolk/pumpkin mixture into egg whites. Sprinkle flour mixture over egg mixture, and fold in gently, just until combined.

Spread batter evenly over a greased and floured 15x10x1" pan and bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched near the center.

Immediately loosen the edges of cake from pan, and turn cake out onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Roll up towel and cake together, jelly roll style. Cool on a rack. Unroll when ready to fill.

Cream Cheese Filling:

6 oz cream cheese
½ cup margarine
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
Dash salt

Beat cream cheese and margarine together with vanilla until fluffy. Add half of the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth. Beat in enough of the remaining sugar to make filling a thick spreading consistency. After unrolling cake portion, spread an even layer of the cream cheese filling (about ¼ - ½ inch thick) and re-roll cake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and refrigerate until ready to serve. ENJOY!