Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cilantro Lime Vinagrette

I LOVE cilantro & I LOVE lime, but I especially love them when mixed together! This dressing will add an explosion of flavor to any dish! Use it over chicken, fish, steaks, salad, tacos, eggs, soups... I could drink it straight from the jar. It is that good! Be very excited for this one folks! 
 2 tbsp cider vinegar
 1/3 cup fresh squeezed, I repeat FRESH squeezed lime juice
 the zest of one lime or about 1 tbsp
 1 tsp salt
 few cracks of black pepper, a pinch or so
 1/2 tsp ground cumin 
 1 tbsp sugar (any sugar substitute will work also)
 1/2- 2/3 cups oil (vegetable or canola) 
 1-2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
 1 bunch fresh cilantro ( I like ALOT)

 Blend all ingredients in blender. Taste for any flavor adjustments. 
 I am in LOVE!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Homemade Pop Tarts?! Heck Yeah!!

These "Pop Tarts" are more like a fruit pastry to die for! You can fill them with your favorite homemade jams!
 I made strawberry, apricot, & apple butter filled tarts... let's just say I'm afraid my jeans will never fit the same after this perfect pastry discovery! 
*Pie Crust
 *Jam or preserves
 *1 egg for egg wash
 *Sparkling sugar (any color will do)
 Pie Crust Recipe
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chilled butter cut up in cubes
 1/4 tsp salt
 1/4-1/3 cup tepid water
 2 tsp white vinegar
Cut cold butter into flour and salt with a pastry blender until you have pea size crumbs. Add vinegar and just enough water to for a dough. You can use it now or chill in plastic wrap for later.
 Roll out pie dough on a floured surface into a rectangle. Cut edges to make perfectly squared. (you want your squares to match up as closely as possible)
 Cut your rectangle into little squares or smaller rectangles. The size you make them is up to you! I usually get about 10 tarts. Top 1 square with your choice of preserves and brush egg wash around edges of dough, then top with another piece of dough sealing the edges by crimping with a fork. Continue till you have used all your pie dough. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake @ 425 for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly while you make a glaze.
1 cup powdered sugar
enough milk to thin (about 1 tbsp)

 Top each tart with glaze and sprinkle with sugar 

Breakfast Energy Bites (sugar free & low carb!)

Don't you just love a healthy snack that tastes good too!? These are perfect for a little boost of energy anytime of day! They will not only suffice your hunger... they will leave you satisfied for hours! Happy healthy eating!

1/2 cup rolled oats
 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 
 1/4 cup nut butter (use any kind you like. Peanut, almond, hazelnut..the choice is yours!)
 1/2 tsp cinnamon
 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
 3 tbsp raisins (any dried fruit will work)
 pinch of salt
1 tbsp vital wheat gluten 
 1 tbsp oat flour
 1 tbsp wheat germ
2 tbsp whey protein (I used vanilla flavored)
 1/2 tbsp flax seeds
 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds 
 (I love the texture of all of the seeds but you can use whatever seeds you like or omit them all together)
 1 tbsp sugar substitute (brown sugar substitute would be especially good!)

 Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl & taste for any flavor adjustments...more salt? more cinnamon? Got another taste in mind? Give it a try! Drop 1 tbsp size chunks (chunks?) onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake @ 350 for about 14 minutes. Store in ziploc bag in fridge for up to 1 week. 
 Yield: 1 dozen

Thursday, January 12, 2012

BEST Low Carb Bread!! (No joke)

For those that know me, know that I have lived with type 1 diabetes for 20 years now.  Starchy foods including breads are the worst when it comes to controlling my blood sugar but I can eat this bread with no guilt at all! I originally found this recipe on food.com years ago and tweaked it just a little to my liking. For some reason it always turns out best when I make it in a bread maker. I have tried making it by hand and it never turns out as good. So keep that in mind when you try this recipe. It's not just the best bread, but the BEST low carb bread you will ever make!!
4 tsp yeast
 1/2 tsp sugar
 1-1/4 cups warm water
 3 tbsp olive oil
 3/4 tsp baking powder
 1 tsp salt
 1 tbsp sugar substitute 
 1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
 1/4 cup oat flour
 3/4 cup soy flour
 1/4 cup flax seed
 1/4 cup wheat bran
 2 tbsp sesame seeds
 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
(you can use whatever kinds of seeds you like, or omit them all together if you don't like them)
 I love the texture the seeds give this bread! 

In bread machine pan, put the water, oil, and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except the yeast and baking powder. Mix well. Take out 1/4 cup of the dry mix, set aside and add the rest to the bread machine pan. Add the baking powder and yeast to the reserved 1/4 cup dry ingredients; combine well and add to bread machine pan. I use the 3 hour bake cycle on my machine. Now let the machine do work this time and 3 hours later you will be in healthy bread heaven!! 

 Yield: about 12 slices  
 Each slice is roughly 5 carbs and 11 grams of protein

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lemon Pie Cake...

Delightful Lemon Pie Cake adds sunshine to any day! Baked in a pie shell, a thin spongy cake forms at the top while a sweet tart lemon curd settles at the bottom. It's Lemon-tastic magic!! 

 1 9-inch pie crust. No need to pre-bake Homemade is always best but store bought will work
 1 1/2 cups sugar
 2 tbsp butter melted
 1/3 cup all purpose flour
 1/4 tsp salt
 2 tsp grated lemon zest
 5 tbsp lemon juice (fresh is a must!)
 3 eggs separated
 1 1/4 cups milk
 Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place oven rack on lowest setting. In a medium bowl combine sugar and melted butter. Stir in flour, salt, lemon peel, and lemon juice.  In a small bowl beat egg yolks with milk until well blended, stir into lemon mixture. In another medium sized bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixture until they hold soft peaks. Gently fold egg whites into lemon mixture. Do not over mix. Pour filling into prepared pie crust. You may have a little filling left over, put into a couple of small ramekins and bake along with pie. Bake on lowest rack until the top is browned and center jiggles slightly when gently shaken. 45-55 minutes. If top brown too much drape it with foil. Let cool. You can serve at room temperature, but I prefer it chilled. Garnish each slice with a dust of powdered sugar. Oh my lemon heaven!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Dish for Emmalee~

The link listed above is a clip of me making Emmalee's dish on Studio 5! Check it out!

This recipe is a true inspiration from a brave little girl who courageously lost her battle to liver cancer at the tender age of 9. Her father has written a book called Dragonfly Wings for Emmalee about her life & death that will strengthen & inspire. Like myself, Emmalee had a great passion for food and trying new things! She loved watching The Food Network and one of her wishes to The Make a Wish Foundation was to be a potato chip tester for a day! After her chemo treatments she often craved Salt & Vinegar potato chips. She is my sweet kindred spirit in the kitchen and I hope she would give this dish a thumbs up! This is for you Emmalee. ~Xoxo
To buy the book Dragonfly Wings for Emmalee click on the link at the bottom of recipe. It's a MUST read!

Salt & Vinegar Crusted Chicken topped with Balsamic Carmelized Onions, Herbs, & Fresh Parmesan... 
6 chicken breasts- about 1/2 inch thick
 3 cups of salt & vinegar potato chip crumbs 
 1/4 tsp salt
 3 eggs; beaten
 1 cup flour seasoned with salt & pepper
 Olive oil
fresh parmesan cheese
 Rinse and pat chicken dry and season with salt & pepper on both sides. Combine eggs in one shallow dish, seasoned flour in a separate shallow dish, and potato chip crumbs plus 1/4 tsp salt in another. Dredge each chicken breast in seasoned flour shaking off excess, dip in eggs and then coat both sides with potato chip crumbs. In a large skillet brown the coated chicken breasts in olive oil over med-high heat on both sides. About 2-3 minutes per side or until chicken is golden. Place browned chicken breasts on a baking sheet and finish cooking in oven about 8 minutes @ 350 degrees. May take longer depending on thickness of your chicken.

 Balsamic Carmelized Onions w/ Herbs
2 large onions thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp olive oil
 fresh rosemary, thyme, basil (use whatever fresh herbs you like) 
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
 salt & pepper to taste
 Over med-high heat drizzle olive oil in skillet and add sliced onions. Saute till nice and dark golden brown.  Add fresh herbs, balsamic, and salt & pepper to taste. Top warmed chicken with onions and fresh shaved parmesan.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

No Knead Artisan Bread

 I adore this bread because I can make the dough on Monday and have bread baked & ready in a snap for dinner or a quick snack! The crispy crust and chewy inside of this bread is what makes it so dang GOOD!!

3 cups warm water
 1-1/2 tbsp fast acting yeast (2 pkgs)
1 tsp sugar
 1-1/2 tbsp kosher salt
 6 cups flour

Combine warm water with yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl that can be covered with a lid. An ice cream bucket with lid works great! Add 3 cups flour and kosher salt; stir till all the flour is combined. Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature about 45 minutes. (Dough can be stored in fridge covered for up to 1 week) Preheat pizza stone in oven 475-500 degrees and place on lowest rack of your oven a pan of water to steam. Take about a softball size piece of dough and from into a oval shaped loaf. Slash top of loaf with a sharp knife and cover with plastic wrap to rise for about 45 minutes. Once risen, place loaf on preheated pizza stone and cover with a metal bowl and bake 20-23 minutes. Remove metal bowl and decrease temperature to 400 degrees. Bake another 16-18 minutes; lightly spray the bread with a mist of water every 5 minutes till dark golden brown. (this will achieve an even crispier crust!) Allow bread to rest about 20 minutes and listen to it sing!! Ahh... singing bread is my favorite song!
Might I suggest a little balsamic vinegar, olive oil, & fresh cracked black pepper for dipping? Oh yeah! 
 Yield: about 4 small round loaves