Category Archives: Recipes

Bananas Foster Impostor

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This week has been flying by, not that I’m complaining or anything! We’re just that much closer to the weekend. The weather is beautiful in the evenings, making it easier to convince D to go on pre-dinner walks. I am so thankful for the nice weather and love seeing all of the fall decor go up. I think I may need to do a little front door craft this weekend. I would love ideas if you have them??

Although it’s just now Thursday, D and I have managed to get today’s recipe in 3 times so far. Sooooo, that’s every night! That goes to show how delicious it is, and proves that you should make it tonight. Like, right now. So, here we go!

May I introduce you to Bananas Foster Impostor. Let me tell ya, this is one sneaky little dish. While the original is full of butter, cream, and brown sugar (and is quite delicious), this version has none of the above. It has 6 ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes.

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Start by slicing 3 bananas lengthwise. I used 6 baby bananas because they needed to be eaten, but either will work. Lay the bananas in a non-stick sprayed skillet over med-high heat. You’re going to brown the bananas and let them start to caramelize a bit. I like mine to get quite a bit of color.

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While they are working, mix together 1/2 cup hot water, 1/3 cup honey, and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla in a separate bowl.

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Once the bananas have caramelized on both sides, add the honey/water mixture to the skillet and let boil for a few minutes.

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Once the mixture thickens, turn off heat and add about 1 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Ta-da. That’s it. You’re done.

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Of course this would be lovely with a big ol’ bowl of vanilla ice cream, or maybe even some homemade whipped cream, but that wouldn’t really make sense after cutting all of the butter, cream, and sugar out of the bananas, would it? So, the next best thing is to pile them high on top of some vanilla yogurt. I used greek yogurt and it was delish. But you can eat them on whatever you want, or heck, even by themselves!

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On another note, I did yoga for the first time yesterday. I usually stretch as I’m supposed to, but haven’t ever gotten on the yoga train. But ever since my 6 miler on Sunday, my body has been really fatigued and kind of sore. So yesterday I did a Jillian Michaels 35 minute video, and I loved it. It was waaay harder than I anticipated, and I felt like a million bucks afterward. What I loved most about this particular video was that it was fast paced. You never held a position for more than 15 seconds, which is good for my attention span. I’ll be doing  this weekly from here on out. 🙂

Have a great day!

Fall Sausage Hash

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Hello, all! I hope your week is going smoothly. After all, it is half way over! 🙂 I was called to substitute yesterday, so I didn’t get a chance to put this recipe on the blog. It’s a great hearty meal that goes good with a chilly weather change. Fall Sausage Hash.

This skillet is full of  sausage, sweet potato, kale and onions. It’s great as is, but can easily be modified to your tastes. The sweet potato can be swapped for any of the squash that’s abundant in the fall. I’d like to try it with Chicken-Apple Sausage, too. The apple would go great with the fall-ness of the hash. 🙂

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Start out by browning about 1 pound of sausage in a skillet. Once browned, remove and drain off excess fat. To the same skillet, add 2 cups of finely chopped kale and 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced, over medium heat. Cook until translucent and soft.

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Meanwhile, dice 1 large sweet potato and add to boiling water for about 3 minutes, or until almost soft. When the sweet potato is ready, add it to the onions and kale, followed by the drained sausage. Then add about 1 garlic clove, finely chopped.

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Over medium heat, stir the hash together and let the flavors party for about 3 minutes, or until heated all the way through.

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The spices and cheese you may want to add will vary depending on your sausage. The sausage I used seemed really salty, so I just added a touch of pepper and a little mozzarella. If you want something a little saltier, you may try feta. I think cheddar, Parmesan, or ANY cheese is wonderful! Now, eat it up. 🙂

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Have a great day!

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Fall Sausage Hash

1 lb sausage

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

2 cups kale, finely chopped

1 medium sweet potato, diced

1 clove garlic, chopped

Salt and Pepper

Mozzarella or favorite cheese for topping

1. Brown sausage in skillet and then drain excess fat and set aside. In same skillet, saute the onion and kale until translucent and tender. While the onions and kale are cooking, dice your sweet potato and add it to boiling water for about 3 minutes, or until almost soft. Once the onions and kale are ready, add the sausage, sweet potato, and garlic to the pan and mix together. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Once it’s ready, add salt and pepper if needed, and your favorite cheese. enjoy!

Homemade Graham Crackers

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In another attempt to coax the cooler temps our way, I dug out my boxes of fall clothes yesterday. It’s kind of like having a birthday or Christmas all over again. After they’ve spent a summer packed away, I sometimes forget about what I have. 🙂

After talking about all of the pumpkin recipes, fall clothes, and apple orchards I feel obligated to stick with the fall theme for a bit longer. So today I am making (drumroll please…) Graham Crackers! There is nothing quite like sitting around a fire (or a gas stove top) and roasting a marshmallow for THE best s’more you’ve ever had. I mean, I’ve loved s’mores for as long as I can remember, but before the graham crackers were far from homemade. But now, these puppies will always be homemade. 🙂

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At first I was a tad disappointed in the graham crackers. I thought they lacked that snap or crunch that you get out of a Honey Maid cracker. So on the second batch, I baked them a few minutes longer and BOOM. Perfection. I was scared of over baking them, but as long as you watch them, they’ll turn out juuuust right.

Combine 2 TBSP ground flax seed, 2 cups AP flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon in bowl. Transfer to a food processor and pulse together.

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In a separate small bowl whisk together 1/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup honey, 2 TBSP molasses, and 2 TBSP vanilla paste or extract. Set aside. (Personally, I could have used more molasses, but I am used to the flavor. If you aren’t a molasses fan, you can just sub for more honey.)

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To your pulsed dry ingredients add 8 TBSP very cold, cubed butter. Pulse until the butter becomes completely combined with the flour mixture. The texture will resemble a course flour.

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Take the liquid ingredients and pour into the flour/butter mixture. Pulse until the mixture is combined. You may have to take the lid off and scrape the sides and bottom, no worries. Eventually your dough will become sticky and completely combined.

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Roll out about a 15 inches of plastic wrap and flour it liberally. Form the dough into a ball and lay it on the plastic wrap. Wrap it up and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Overnight would be better.

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Once the dough is chilled, take it out and divide in half. Flour the surface you’ll be rolling the dough on and roll one half at a time to about 1/8 inch thick. You can eyeball it if you’d like. As long as they are all the same, they’ll bake evenly.

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Cut into squares as big as you’d like. I made mine around 2″ x 2″, but you can do whatever size and shape tickles your fancy. Then lay them out onto baking sheets and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (you can speed it up by popping them into the freezer for about 15 minutes).

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While your crackers are cooling, we’ll make the topping. Combine 2 TBSP vanilla sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. You can most definitely use regular sugar, but the vanilla is really good if you have it on hand.

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Now it’s time to make the graham crackers look like graham crackers. You can use a tooth pick or a skewer, whatever works. Make an indention down the middle, being sure not to go all the way through the dough. Then poke holes down the crackers. Aren’t they cute?

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Using a heavy hand, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top and pop them into the oven at 350°F.

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 Bake them for about 15 minutes before you check them. You want them to start turning golden brown, otherwise they will be chewy rather than crunchy. Let them cool completely and then store in an airtight container.

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You could go ahead and make a s’more before you put them all away, couldn’t you? Of course! Since we don’t have chocolate bars in the house all the time, I went for the Nutella for this s’more. It definitely worked. 🙂

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Hopefully you’ll turn to this recipe at some point this fall, you won’t be sorry! 🙂

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Graham Crackers

2 cups AP flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 TBSP ground flax seed

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

8 TBSP butter, very cold

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup honey

2 TBSP molasses

2 TBSP vanilla extract or paste

1. In a food processor, pulse together the dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon). In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, honey, molasses, and vanilla. Set aside. Now add 8 TBSP of cubed, cold butter to the food processor and pulse until the flour and butter resemble a coarse flour. Next, add the liquid ingredients and pulse until completely combined. The end result will be a sticky ball of dough.  Remove the dough and lay it on a floured piece of plastic wrap. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

2. While the dough is chilling, mix together your topping and set aside. Once the dough is chilled, divide in half and roll out to 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut into desired shapes and sizes. I chose 2″ x 2″. Pop them back into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until re-chilled. Using a toothpick or skewer, make an indention down the middle and holes on each side. Now sprinkle with topping and bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, or until they start to turn golden brown. Remove and let cool. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread

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Oh, how I love the Fall. I love everything about it! Football season, weather changes, Thanksgiving, pumpkin flavored everything, hoodies, sweatpants! I could go on forever, seriously.

This year I get to add something to my Fall love list, and I am stoked about it. About 30 minutes away (and 2000 feet higher) sits one of the prettiest, most appealing towns I’ve visited, Tehachapi. It sits in the foothills and, unlike us, experiences all 4 seasons. Considering their weather can accommodate it, it’s littered with little farms and orchards, and this year we get to go Apple Picking!  I think growing up completely surrounded by agriculture in the Midwest makes me really excited about this! I can’t wait to see all of the orchards, pumpkins, and scarecrows. 🙂

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Until the apples are ready I’ve had to move onto another Fall favorite, pumpkin! This pumpkin kick is barley warranted considering it is still 100°+ here, but I’m trying to will the cooler temps our way, and I think it’s working! 🙂 I’ve gone through quite a bit of pumpkin puree experimenting with smoothies, cookies, breads and things of the sort. After a couple hits and misses, I found a sure-fire keeper! This Pumpkin Bread recipe is the best I have ever had, and let me tell ya, I’ve had my fair share of it!

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There are two things that make this so good. One, the spices are appropriate and don’t overpower the pumpkin. Secondly, it’s completely moist. I mean super, super moist.  There aren’t any fancy or special ingredients. In fact, a lot of people may already have exactly what you need to make it just sitting in the cabinet. So. . ? Go! Make it already. Uh-hum, anyway. Here’s the run down.

Start out by combining all of your dry ingredients: 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar (raw or refined), 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Whisk until completely combined and set aside.

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In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup pumpkin puree (I just used the good ol’ canned kind), 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 1/2 cup water until smooth.

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Now just add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine.

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Grease three loaf pans ans evenly distribute the batter between them.

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This recipe made enough to fill 3 mini loaf pans. But you could easily double this and make a couple large loaf pans. If you do that, you’ll need to adjust the baking time and keep an eye on it. 🙂

If you go for the 3 mini loaves, you’ll bake at 350°F for about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

1. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, powder, soda, and spices). In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, and vanilla. Add the wet to the dry and mix until smooth. Grease three mini loaf pans and distribute batter between the loaf pans. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick come out clean. Let the loaves cool just a little bit, then slice, butter, and enjoy!

Nutella No Bake Cookies

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Hello, all! I’ve spent the majority of the past couple days cleaning the house with a little more detail than normal. You know, not just sweep, vacuum, and take out the trash. . .I’m talking dust everything, clean the grout, wipe down the windowsills kind of cleaning. When I was trying to the clean the grout in the kitchen tile, the dirt and grime would not budge. When I looked up what cleaner would work, I decided to try THIS homemade concoction first. And man, I’m glad I did. After applying this stuff, waiting a minute and adding a touch of elbow grease. . .TA-DA! It works, seriously.

After finishing up the cleaning, I made a batch of cookies for D’s lunches the rest of the week. I decided to go with Nutella No-Bake Cookies. The recipe I use came from my friend, Ashley, who I have known for 20 years. Which is weird considering I’m only 18… 😉

D is allergic to peanut butter, and her recipe uses it as part of the base. Since that doesn’t work out for us, I went to D’s go to, Nutella. He LOVES the stuff. I made them with almond butter in the beginning, but once I tried Nutella, there was no looking back! Check out the baby Nutella down there. SO cute.

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Hold on tight, because this recipe is HARD. . . not. Start out with these guys.

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Take 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup milk. and 2 cups sugar and dump them all into a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir pretty frequently while it all melts and comes together.

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Once the mixture is melted, bring to a boil. You may need to turn the heat up a bit to accomplish this. Once you have the mixture boiling, stir occasionally as you let it boil for about 75 seconds. Most No Bake Cookie recipes tell you to let it boil for 60 seconds, but the Nutella we’ll add later is thinner than most nut butter, so we need to let it cook a touch longer. Also, instead of quick oats, I like old fashioned.

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Once the time is up, turn off the heat and dump in 1/2 cup of Nutella and 2 tsp of vanilla extract. Stir until smooth and shiny.

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Once smooth, stir in 3 cups old fashioned oats. If all you have are the quick oats, HOW DARE YOU? Kidding. You can use them, but the old fashioned will yield a prettier cookie, in my opinion. Once together, let sit for about 1 minute and then scoop ’em out.

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While you are waiting that 1 minute, lay out a couple pieces of wax paper to plop the cookies on down on. Also, using a standard cookie scoop is the easiest way to make neat, equal-sized cookies. . .but 2 teaspoons work in a pinch.

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Scoop them all out and let them sit until they are set. Give them about 1 hour and they’ll be ready to go. 🙂

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One drawback to these cookies is they easily become dried out. However, if you just put them in air tight container, they’ll store much longer.

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Enjoy! Have a great day! 🙂

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Nutella No-Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup Nutella

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups Old Fashioned Oats

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1. In a small saucepan, add first 4 ingredients and melt. Then turn up heat just a bit and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 75 seconds and then turn heat off and add Nutella and vanilla. Stir until smooth and then add oats. Once you combine this together, let sit for about 1 minute. Using a cookie scoop, scoop the cookies onto wax paper and let cool and set for about 1 hour. Store in an air tight container and enjoy. 🙂

Cheesy Veggie Skillet

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The temperatures this week have been a little bit cooler, so I’ve been able to hit my evening runs before dark. Woohoo!  I love this for multiple reasons. Mainly because I get to run a little longer, but also because this is my view for the first half of the run. I love a Midwestern sunset, but I can definitely make do with this one. 🙂

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To go along with the weather getting cooler, can I get an AMEN for the comeback of the Pumpkin Spice Latte? AMEN! 🙂 Normally, I make my own coffee at home and jazz it up with a touch of Homemade Vanilla Syrup, buuuut every now and then I splurge. I let myself have one once a week when I go to Wal-Mart. It helps me cope with the feeling of angst that rushes over when I have to go to that place. 😦

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I always have a hard time deciding what to make the first couple nights after I get groceries. I mean, the possibilities are (semi) endless! But this time I went with warm and creamy Cheesy Veggie Skillet. This is a personal favorite of both Adam and myself. 🙂

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Start out by prepping all of your ingredients, that way you’ll be able to roll right along once you get going. Start out by taking 1 medium spaghetti squash and microwaving for about 6 minutes, turn it over, then for 6 more minutes. Once cooled, slice in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and fork out all of the “spaghetti.”

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Now, the veggies. Start with about 2 cups of kale, chopped pretty fine. Follow that with 1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms and 1 medium onion, thinly sliced.

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Now it’s time for my favorite part, the cheese! Grate about 1/3 cup each of Parmesan and sharp cheddar cheese.

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Mmmk. Most of the hard part is over. 🙂 In a large skillet, heat about 2 TBSP olive oil over med-high heat. Once hot add the onions and mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook until they establish a sear and then turn heat down to medium. Once the onions are almost translucent and the mushrooms have softened a bit, remove form pan and set aside.

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In the same pan, heat another 2 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Add the kale and spaghetti squash. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add about 3/4 cup chicken stock. If you don’t have chicken stock, water would work as well. Cover and let steam for about 5 more minutes, then uncover and let the moisture cook away.

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While your veggies are cooking, you can prep your cheese sauce. Start by melting about 1 1/2 TBSP butter over medium high heat in a small sauce pan. Once melted and bubbly, add 2 TBSP flour.

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Whisk mixture together until combined, and then add 1 1/2 cups milk.

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Keep whisking the mixture as it thickens. If it gets to thick, you can always add more milk. Ya know, adjust as needed. 🙂 Once thickened, add 1 tsp paprika, and the cheddar cheese and whisk together.

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Turn the heat off of the cheese sauce, and back to the veggies! Add the onions and mushrooms to the skillet with the kale and squash. Mix together and heat all of it through. Then top with the cheese sauce and salt and pepper.

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Mix together, adding milk if needed. Once together, add about 1 cup of frozen peas.

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Top with Parmesan and ta-da! Dinner is served! We ate a chicken breast with ours, but you can serve it up by itself or as a side dish.

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Cheesy Veggie Skillet

1 medium spaghetti squash

2 cups kale, finely chopped

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

3/4 cup chicken stock

1/3 cup Parmesan, finely grated

1/3 cup cheddar, grated

1 1/2 TBSP butter

2 TBSP flour

1 1/2 cup milk

1 tsp paprika

1 cup peas

salt and pepper

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1. Start by poking holes in your butternut squash, and cooking it in the microwave for about 6 minutes on each side, or until tender. Then prep the kale, onions, and mushrooms and grate your cheeses.

2. Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Cook onions and mushrooms until they have established a color. Then turn down and let cook until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have softened. Remove from pan and set aside. In same pan, add 2 TBSP of olive oil and add kale and spaghetti squash. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add about 3/4 cup chicken stock and cover for 5 minutes. Then uncover it and let the chicken stock cook away.

3. While your veggies are going, you can prep your cheese sauce. Start by melting the butter in a saucepan, once melted and bubbly, add 2 TBSP flour and whisk together. next add the milk and continuously whisk until the the mixture thickens. You can add more milk if needed. Once thickened, take off heat and add paprika and cheddar and whisk.

4. Add the onions and mushrooms back into the skillet and combine. Next, add the cheese sauce and salt and pepper. Once all together, stir in the peas. Let heat through and the top with Parmesan. Dinner is served! 🙂

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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August in the Mojave Desert. . . it shouldn’t be that hot, right? It’s not too bad, if you have A/C. But ours went out in the middle of the night! Talk about a real nightmare. I fiddled with the thing, trying to stumble upon a solution to my misery. I’m usually pretty lucky with this method but this time, no dice. I watched the thermostat continue to climb with the temps outside. We called a repair man out, and he gave us some news that made me wish were tenants rather than homeowners. We need a new unit. 😦

Good thing I made some homemade ice cream this weekend! It came in pretty clutch when I had to break the news to D when he got home from work!

I love homemade ice cream for two reasons. First of all it’s delicious. I mean, who doesn’t like cream, sugar, and vanilla? Secondly, it reminds me of summer back home. Homemade ice cream was such a treat back in Oklahoma. Not only because it was so tasty, but because we always made it at my grandparents surrounded by family. Now that we’re 1,500 miles away, those times are few and far between. So for my birthday, I made my mom’s vanilla ice cream. Happy Birthday to me! 🙂

I will admit, this isn’t exactly like my mom’s, but as close as I could get. But let me tell ya, it got the job done!

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Start by cracking 5 eggs into a microwave safe bowl, and whisking them together. In a separate smaller bowl, mix 1 3/4 c sugar and 1-2 TBSP. Now add the sugar and flour to the eggs, followed by 2 cups milk. Give it all a stir.

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Cook the mixture in the microwave for 1 minute, then take it out and stir. Repeat this 2 more times. Be sure that you don’t cook it to a pudding consistency, this step is simply to cook the eggs in the ice cream.

Once you’ve cooked the mixture, set it in the fridge to cool down. Once cooled, add 2 1/2 cups heavy cream and 3 TBSP of good vanilla. I used more cream than a lot of recipes call for, but I used skim milk. I had to make up for the loss of fat and calories! 🙂

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Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker, and fill to the “fill line” with skim milk. If you’re ice cream maker doesn’t have a “fill line,” it’s usually about 2/3 of the way full, or so.

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Freeze the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Bada-boom, bada-bing! We ate ours alongside D’s Chocolate Sheet Cake, but it really good with a little Homemade Vanilla Syrup drizzled over, too! 🙂

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Fortunately there was a ton left, so we can have a bowl to cool off until our A/C is back up and running. 😉

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Have a great day!

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

5 eggs

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 TBSP flour

2 cups milk

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

3 TBSP good vanilla

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1. Beat eggs in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour and sugar, and then add to eggs. Now add the 2 cups milk and stir to combine all. Microwave for 1 minute, and the stir well. Repeat this 2 more times, being sure not to let the mixture become like a pudding. Once the cooking is done, set in fridge for a few hours to cool the mixture.

2. Once cooled, add cream and vanilla. Mix together and pour into ice cream maker. Pour enough milk to reach the “fill line,” which is usually about 2/3 the way full. Freeze according to the ice cream maker’s directions and enjoy!