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Butternut Squash for Breakfast

For years I have only eaten butternut squash for lunch or dinner; having this for breakfast had not been an option in my mind. That is until recently! I was watching Food Network, which is usually my go to place when I have time to veg in front of TV, and there it was being served for breakfast. The chef was making a butternut squash egg scramble that people loved. I wanted to eat what she was making right then, but instead I waited to make a version of it for breakfast the next morning.

My version consist of roasted cinnamon butternut squash with a fried egg over easy and bacon. The sweet from the squash, savory from the egg and salty from the bacon makes the perfect combination.

Sorry the bacon did not last long enough to make the pic.

Sorry the bacon did not last long enough to make the pic.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash

Ingredients

2 cups of butternut squash cubed

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of coconut oil melted

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 to 1 tablespoon of honey (add depending on sweet preference; to be drizzled on top)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Toss the butternut squash in the melted coconut oil, sea salt and cinnamon. Place in the oven for 15 minutes and then check the squash. The squash should be fork tender. If not fork tender, then place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes. When done, drizzle with honey and toss. Serve warm.

So there you go….butternut squash for breakfast. There are many more options for having butternut squash for breakfast. Butternut squash can be aded to your breakfast burritos, frittata, or egg scrambles.  Have you tried butternut squash for breakfast?

 

 

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Yummy Bites

Well it has been a while my friends. Life got the most of me with moving into our home, the summer schedule and friends and family visiting, which was all definitely a plus and worth getting off the blog schedule. Now we are back…back to our schedule. school, bedtimes, and BLOGGING. For my first Foodie Friday post after the break, I want to highlight a food that is a quick and easy snack full of nutrition and energy. I chose this snack because this is one of the foods that my amazing friend, Leah Conti, introduced to our family. This week was Leah’s birthday so why not highlight one of the foods she made that our family loves. There is not a time I make these and a few other goodies that I don’t think of her. For those of you that do not know, she lived with our family for two years and during that time our bond grew deep….especially a deep bond with food. She and her husband, Patrick, now live in South Africa as missionaries. Oh how I miss her!!! So when I am missing her…making some of our favorites is a must.

Ingredients

1/2 cup of chopped and pitted dates

1/2 to 1 cup of raw nuts (we used mixed nuts)

1 to 2 tablespoons of honey

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or your favorite extract or oil)

Directions

Pour dates and nuts into a food processor and chop until well combined. Then add salt, honey and extract or oil and chop again until the mixture begins to clump together. (If you use essentials oils such as lemon or orange, I would only use one drop as it goes along way. This is also a great way to add another healthy element to these bites.) Finally remove the mixture by taking spoonfuls and rolling them into balls and placing them onto a dish that can be placed into the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and then they are ready!

If you are wondering why I have allowed you to choose the amount of nuts, honey and extract/oil to use because it is really to your liking. If you prefer something more sweet then use more honey. If you prefer something more aromatic then choose different extracts/oils. You get the idea. Whatever way you make them, I think you will like them. There are so many ways and combinations to try. You can use oats, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, raisins, flaxseed,  chai seeds, dried fruit and so much more. They are great for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. The only problem with these is that because they are such yummy bites that you will want to eat them all, but remember to control your portions and save some bites for another day. Just keep them in the refrigerator and they will last for about 3 days.

What are your favorite combinations when making these? Do you have any recipes that remind you of someone?

Cheers for Leah's birthday and all the yummy bites she has made!!!

Cheers for Leah’s birthday and all the yummy bites she has made!!!

 


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Work With What You Have

Ever open your fridge to find that several items don’t have much longer on the shelf? You see the lettuce starting to wilt or the mushrooms starting to brown. Or did you not have time to make it to the store and you realize dinner time is in an hour? You open the fridge to see peppers, eggs and spinach as your only ingredients to go with. This happens to me at least once a week. This week I opened the fridge to find the mushrooms and sweet peppers needing to be cooked sooner or later if you know what I mean. So there I was in the kitchen with these two ingredients along with chicken and I needed to figure out my dinner options. This is when Google or Pinterest come into play…I simply typed chicken mushrooms and peppers and viola. There I had many dinner options to choose from and I ended up going with Paleo Plan’s Garlic Chicken, Red Peppers and Mushroom Sauce. This dish was full of flavor and spice and should be added to your meals this week or the next.

Here are several tips I have for you to help you “Work With What You Have.”

1. Do your best not to waste the food you already have. There are endless recipes to choose from or you can make up one to incorporate items you might have that need to be consumed soon. If all else fails…make an omelet…you can add anything in an omelet.

2. When using a recipe found through Google or Pinterest, look for high-rated recipes and make sure to read some reviews to make sure the recipe is worth trying.

3. If you do not have all the ingredients in the recipe, don’t throw the recipe out. The Garlic Chicken I made this week called for red peppers and I used tri-colored sweet peppers. I also adjusted the recipe by adding a few additional spices to both the chicken and veggies. We served this over thinly sliced brussel sprouts, but next time will try it over cauliflower rice.

4. And never forget that you can take your fresh items and freeze them if you are not going to cook with them soon. For instance, I was heading out of town a few weeks ago and we had pineapple, green beans and bananas that were going to go bad. So I cut up the pineapple, rinsed the green beans and placed the whole bananas in individual freezer bags and placed them in the fridge.

So next time, you are about to order take out because you feel like you don’t have anything in the fridge, re-look in your fridge and work with what you have. Next time you are about to throw out those veggies because they look like they won’t make it to tomorrow, find out how you can incorporate them into your meal tonight. Let’s do our best to figure out how not to waste and learn how to work with we have. Here is to another adventure in the kitchen…working with it and not wasting it!


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Quick Sweet Tooth Fixes

With summer starting and closing on a house (woohoo!), posting has not been the first thing on my mind the past couple of weeks, so please forgive me. We have been working on the house since June 1st and I cannot wait to post some pics of the house with the renovations my handsome and creative husband has designed and some projects he has completed. Love my man with many talents!!! The kids and I haven’t been much help, but we do deliver food and we love to hang out in the backyard. Not having a backyard for almost ten months, the kids absolutely love to run around, slide and play ball. We are moving in next week with some projects to still complete, but do not worry pics will come soon.

But now on to why you are really here…quick sweet tooth fixes. I don’t know if you are like me, but there are those nights after dinner where I immediately think, “I need something sweet and I need that sweet fix now.” There is no time to make cookies, brownies, or run to the nearest yogurt shop, you need something easy and quick. Here are two recipes that I use to fix that sweet tooth.

Chocolate Covered Clusters

Ingredients

Favorite raw nuts

Chocolate chips or bar (We use Enjoy Life Mini Chips or 100% cocoa bar)

Pinch Sea Salt

(The amount of nuts and chocolate depends on the number of clusters you want to make and how chocolatey you want them to be.)

Directions

Melt the chocolate in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds and stir. Continue this step until the chocolate is melted completely. Add in raw nuts and stir until nuts are completely covered. Using a spoon, scoop clusters onto parchment paper. Then sprinkle with sea salt and place them in the freezer. They will harden within 10-15 minutes and then they are ready to eat, but you might need to eat fast as they may melt fast.

Chocolate and Strawberries

Ingredients

Fresh Strawberries (sliced)

Chocolate chips or bar

Local Honey

(The amount of all ingredients listed depends on the number of desserts you are making and how chocolatey you want them to be.)

Directions

Slice the strawberries and place in a bowl. Drizzle with honey and add chocolate chips. If you are using a chocolate bar, then you will want to grate or shave the chocolate on top. These are that easy and so yummy. (Adding some coconut whipped cream would be great too.)

I hope you enjoy these sweet tooth fixes. What are your go-to desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth?


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My New Favorite Kitchen Gadget

I am so excited to share with you about the new gadget I recently received as a gift from one of my great friends. When I opened the box, I was a little unsure of what this small gadget was until she explained. See I had been talking for months about finding a kitchen tool that could make zucchini noodles aka “zoodles”. Zoodles are an alternative to your go-to pasta, hold the flavor of the sauce and add flavor and nutrients to your dish. My friend remembered that I had been talking about this and took time to find something to make my zoodle desire a reality. See this tool may be small, but it can do wonders for you in the kitchen. You can find this julienne peeler at Williams and Sonoma.

zoodles

I know that there are other gadgets that can do something similar to this, but most are more expensive and larger and who needs another pricey gadget taking up space in your cabinets…I know I don’t. With this amazing new gadget I have made zoodles with marinara for my family and they liked them so much, I had to make more that night. I have also julienned carrots with the zucchini for a quick lunch and then topped them with a fried egg over easy. So delish!

juillene veggies

Simple Zoodle Recipe

Ingredients

     1 medium zucchini

     Favorite seasonings

     1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil

Directions

First, julienne the zucchini to make your zoodles. Then heat the oil in the pan. When pan is hot add zoodles and season with favorite seasonings. Let them cook for about 2-3 minutes; stirring occasionally. Serve warm and enjoy.

I hope you will give zoodles a try and tell me what you think. I also would love to hear about some of your favorite kitchen gadgets. Have a fabulous foodie Friday!


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Memorial Day Treat

This weekend is Memorial Day, a time we take to remember and honor the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. During this weekend, many people will gather with family and friends to celebrate Memorial Day and when we gather together there is almost always an element of food. Whether it is a crawfish boil or BBQ, this dessert will be a treat for everyone. With fresh strawberries and a whipped topping, these Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes by Against All Grain are a winner in my book. We made these for Mother’s Day and the entire family loved them and I think you and your family and friends will love them, too.

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups blanched almond flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup finely chopped strawberries

Frosting

  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup honey (Note: Using this amount of honey creates a pretty sweet frosting. If you prefer something less sweet, you can reduce the amount of honey used.)
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons strawberry preserves (freshly pureed strawberries will work too)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a standard muffin tin with baking cups.
  3. Combine the honey, coconut oil, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest in the jar of a blender. Puree on medium speed for 20 seconds or until frothy and smooth.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and blend on high for 30-45 seconds. The batter should be very smooth and contain no lumps. If needed, scrape down the sides with a spatula and blend again for a few seconds until all of the dry mixture is incorporated.
  5. Gently fold the chopped strawberries in by hand. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin, filling about ¾ of the way full.
  6. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted into the middle and comes out clean.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool completely on the counter before frosting.

Frosting

  1. Once the cupcakes have cooled, make your Italian meringue.
  2. Bring your honey to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites and lemon juice until frothy and you can just begin to see trail marks from your beaters. When you lift out the beaters, you should see soft peaks.
  4. With the beaters or mixer running, slowly pour in the boiling honey in a steady stream. Continue beating for 6-8 minutes, until the meringue is cool to the touch.
  5. Gently fold in the strawberry preserves. Put the frosting into a piping bag for a pretty design, or spread onto cupcakes with a knife.

Tips

  1. For easier separation, separate the whites from the yolks when they are cold.
  2. Meringue will not stiffen if you use a dirty bowl (usually because of leftover oil) or let any of the yolk get in with the whites
  3. Over beating will cause the meringue to fall. Stop once you can lift the beaters out and see stiff peaks.
  4. The frosting needs to be piped immediately and is best served immediately as well. Once it’s on the cupcakes though, it will hold up in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

 

And here they are in their glory…..

 


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Paleo Pizza Crust Test

Most of us have seen the many pins on Pinterest and numerous blog posts about the “perfect” paleo pizza crust. Determining which to try can almost be overwhelming. Well last year, we tried a cauliflower crust and an almond crust, but they didn’t leave us desiring to make them again. The cauliflower crust had to be eaten with a fork as it easily fell apart and the almond crust was a little to dry and the almond flavor overpowered the pizza, however, it held together.

After leaving the paleo pizza world for a while, I reentered it this week on a search for a recipe that would pass the crust test of it’s ability to be hand held and tasty. And…drumroll please…one has been discovered! We gave Detoxinista’s “The Secret to Perfect Cauliflower Pizza Crust” a try and we were well pleased. The key is definitely reducing as much of the water from the cauliflower as possible and using parchment paper or a pizza stone for baking the crust. (We used parchment paper) The recipe does call for goat cheese, which is not a part of eating a strict paleo diet. If you prefer to omit the goat cheese, you could try the vegan option. I have not tried this option, but I am sure it is delightful.

Now on to the toppings…One side was for my husband, Jason, and the other side for me. Can you guess whose side is whose?

  • We bought a rotisserie chicken from the store as the main topping for both sides of the pizza.
  • Side One – tomato, goat cheese, bacon, roasted garlic
  • Side Tw0 – goat cheese, bacon, roasted garlic, jalapeño

Paleo Pizza

There are definitely more crust recipes to try, but I could honestly stop at this one. However, due to my foodie curiosity, I definitely plan to attempt Against All Grain’s pizza crust as I have never found a recipe of hers that I did not like. Have you found a paleo pizza crust that has passed the test? Or have you escaped the traditional pizza with out-of-the-box toppings like these from Paleo Grubs ? I would love for you to share!