Better Place

Apple Crisp

 apple filling

Hello August!!!  Hello Monday!!! Hello Secret Recipe Club reveal day!!!!  This month I was partnered with the incredible Andrea of Adventures in all things Food – which has got to be one of the best blog names EVER.   Andrea’s blog has a bit of everything, from vegetarian goodies to desserts to crafts fit for the entire family.  I’ve been a sweet kick lately so I went straight to her dessert section, trying to avoid eye contact with her peanut butter icing because OMGoodness chocolate donuts with PEANUT BUTTER – nom nom nom.  However, in the end I was won over by her fall ready Apple Crisp.  I’m normally a summer girl but I’m ready for cooler temperatures!   Didn’t even make any changes to the recipe – it’s perfect already!  While Andrea didn’t specify what type of apple, I went with Pink Ladies since they offer a great combination of sweet and tart.  Plus they hold up well when it comes to baking.

Apple Crisp

Ingredients

6 cups apple, peeled and sliced (about 3 large)

1/4 c. unsweetened apple juice

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 c. flour

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 stick unsalted butter, cold

1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter up a 9x9 baking dish
  2. Put the sliced apples into a large bowl buttered then add the apple juice along with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss well then pour into the baking dish
  3. In a separate bowl mix combine the flour, brown sugar, and remaining cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or with two knives.
  4. Stir in the oats and sprinkle this over the apples.
  5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the apples are bubbling and topping is golden brown. Allow to set for 5 minutes then Serve!!!!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/08/better-place.html

I also went with old fashioned oats, tho quick oats would also work well.  I just prefer a crisper crisp!  For a vegan option, switch out the butter for earth balance or a similar spread – easy peasy.   Since there are 5 Mondays in August – there will be another secret recipe club post at the end of the month so hope to see everyone then (if not sooner).

Big Noise

Simple Beet Salad

beets

Summer is most certainly here – hitting over 100 degrees earlier this week before the heat index!  I’m trying to stay as cool as possible in the house, so avoiding the oven as much as possible.  Thankfully the local farmers’ markets are BOOMING with fresh and delicious produce making it super easy to make healthy dinners that don’t require much cook time.  With this simple salad the trick is to slice the beets on the thin side so that they can be cooked in under 7 minutes, nice and crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth delicious in the middle.

Big Noise

Ingredients

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tbsps shallots, thinly sliced

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 medium beets, peeled and sliced (about 1 lb)

3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. The night before, place the beets and oils in a tupperware and toss well.
  2. 10 minutes before supper, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the beets in a single layer and cook for 3-5 minutes or until crispy - then flip and repeat.
  3. Turn heat off and leave beets in pan to slightly cool. Season to taste with salt and pepper - and do a final stir in the oils.
  4. Remove to salad plates and top with goat cheese.
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/07/big-noise.html

To make it even quicker to get dinner on the table, I prepped them the night before so that they could soak in the oils.   We enjoyed these with a cold pasta salad, which had also been prepped the night before!  I find it so much easier to cook right before bed (and after dessert) and since it’s cooler outside the kitchen doesn’t become a mini-furnace.

Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle

Best Oatmeal Cookies EVER

oatmeal_cookies 

Welcome to a bonus July SRC recipe!!!!  When I saw the call to adopt an orphan from group C I was super excited as I love exploring the other groups that make up the Secret Recipe Club.  Anne’s Simple and Savory (and sometimes sweet) is a blog stuffed to the brim with healthy and delicious recipes – including an entire section devoted to vegan and vegetarian food.  Since I only had a few hours to pick, make, and blog I went straight to work finding the perfect recipe.  I flagged two different coconut cookies, a spicy buffalo cauliflower dish, and two perfect for baby recipes: applesauce and hummus.  In the end however Joe decided he NEEDED to try her “best oatmeal cookies” recipe and so that was that!  I didn’t have any raisins so I switched for semi-sweet chocolate chips – not the healthiest option but I was on a tight schedule.  I also used unsweetened  flaked coconut in place of shredded since that’s what I had on hand.

Best Oatmeal Cookies Ever

Serves: Yields 30 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon table salt

¾ Cup Honey

¼ cup greek yogurt (I used Wegmans Brand)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1? cups uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup chocolate chips

½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silione mats
  2. In a small measuring cup whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt - set aside
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the honey, Greek yogurt, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined before stirring in the oats, chocolate chips, and coconut.
  4. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and drop of the lined cookies sheet then bake for 9 - 10 minutes or until lightly brown. Note: they will be soft in the middle
  5. Remove baking sheet from oven and place on a cooling rack for two minutes before removing and placing the cookies directly on the cooling racks to finish cooling.
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/07/wiggle-wiggle-wiggle.html

Easily the moistest oatmeal cookies I have EVER had!  If I was aiming for a standard chocolate chip and got one of these instead I would still be a happy camper – they are seriously that good!   The base recipe would also work well with craisins, going back to the healthy roots of this recipe.  Actually, any dried fruit would probably do well in this dough…thinking I need to get some dried cherries!!!!

Boom Boom Boom

Tofu Mushroom Cabbage Stir Fry

tofu_rice_cabbage

Happy 4th of July and with that, welcome to July’s installment of the Secret Recipe Club!  This month I got to visit Alaska by way of Anna’s Cheese with Noodles Blog.  I loved her in her intro she was up front about blog pictures, something that I’m so bad about that I have my husband do it for me!   I found so many incredible recipes on her blog including baked tofu bites and a corn pudding recipe so amazing it survived a divorce.  In the end however I couldn’t move past her Pork Mushroom Cabbage Stir Fry after reading that it’s so good it should be in a restaurant.  I swapped the pork for tofu and waited until the end to season the dish as tofu has a tendency to go from just right to over salted super easily.  I also used baby bella mushrooms as my store was out of the full size variety – luckily Anna’s recipe included the weight so that was a super easy swap to make!  She didn’t say what type of cabbage to use so I went with red over Chinese but either would work.

Tofu Mushroom Cabbage Stir Fry

Ingredients

2 Tbsp sesame seeds

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

16oz tofu, pressed and cubed

1 small red cabbage, cored and chopped into 2 inch pieces

1/2 lb baby bella mushrooms, cut into quarters and sliced (this was 1/2 lb)

salt to taste

for the sauce:

1/3 C water

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium and add sesame seeds. Cook and stir frequently until seeds are lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove seeds to a small bowl.
  2. Add a tbsp of the vegetable oil to the skillet, raise heat to medium-high, and add the tofu. Cook until golden brown on each side, about four minutes, then remove to a plate.
  3. Add another half tbsp of oil to the skillet then slowly add in the cabbage, being careful to not overcrowd the pan. Stir fry until tender then remove to the plate with tofu.
  4. Add remaining oil to the skillet along with the mushrooms and cook until tender then add the cabbage and tofu back to the skillet and cook until heated through.
  5. Meanwhile, stir up the sauce ingredients in a small bow then pour into skillet and stir fry about two minutes. Season to taste with salt, soy sauce, and or siracha
  6. Serve over rice or with rice noodles and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/07/boom-boom-boom.html

Another fabulous dinner thanks to the secret recipe club!  I also reserved a bit of the red cabbage to steam with some apples and ginger for baby girl’s dinner and she was also a huge fan!  I’m also in the process of joining some other food groups – hoping that eventually my cooking spark will come back as little one gets older.   I still enjoy spending time in the kitchen but it’s no longer the sanctuary it once was.

Flying Free

Austin Black Beans

beans_carrots

Hey everyone!  Only a week since my last SRC post thanks to May’s bonus week.  This week is my “normal” group A post – but there is nothing normal about the blog I was partnered with.  I’m very lucky in that I’ve had Leslie’s Cocina de Leslie blog twice so far, once as my regular assignment and once when I decided to adopt a blog while 38wks pregnant.  Leslie’s blog has soooo many amazing recipes that when the powers that be offered to switch me for a “new” blog I told them there was NO NEED to be hasty – that I could happily and easily find something new to make.  With that, this post was supposed to be all about her Mole Ranchero.  While the ingredient list is a bit daunting, the dish came together in no time at all.  However my camera man got a bit peckish and ate the sauce set aside for the photo as a post dinner snack.  So…back to my very long list of recipes!  I had marked her Austin Black Beans when I adopted Leslie’s blog so was thrilled that some nasty weather made it the perfect time to give them a whirl.  I used the vegetable oil instead of lard and left out the lime juice due to my allergy.   I also added the cilantro straight to my bowl as it tastes metallic to hubby and totally omitted below.

Austin Black beans

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 lb. dried black beans

1 vegetable oil

1 medium spansih onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 canned chipotles

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chipotle adobo sauce

Salt (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Rinse and clean the beans, then place in a large pot with about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, then drain and rinse and set aside.
  2. Add the vegetable oil to the same large pot the beans were cooked in and turn heat to medium. Add the carrot and onion and cook 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Return the beans to the pot along with the chipotles and 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium and simmer for 90 minutes or until beans are soft. Add remaining ingredients then season to taste with some salt.
  4. Use an immersion blender to mash some of the beans then simmer for a final 30 minutes.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/06/flying-free.html

 Another great recipe from Leslie!  So glad there was an oops and that I got another excuse to explore her blog – think I have a good dozen recipes to try! This meal would also freeze well for the slow cooker, just add the 8 cups of water directly to the slow cooker along with all the ingredients.  Instant dinner!!!