Monthly Archives: January 2012

Stir Fry Sauce

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Stir fry was on the menu tonight. This is another meal that I love because of its versatility. You can use essentially any vegetables and either chicken, tofu, or beef to meet your tastes and eating style. I used to always keep a package of stir fry mix in my pantry for a quick meal until one day I was out. I looked up a couple recipes to get some ideas then I got at creating my own stir fry sauce. Every recipe I found used way too much sugar for my tastes. So this is a little healthier.

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Stir Fry Sauce:

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup vinegar

3 Tbs sugar

2 Tbs corn starch

1/2 tsp ground ginger

a couple drops sesame oil

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until corn starch is dissolved. Heat on low until thickened. Easy as that! Add more sesame oil to taste. I love it and the tiniest bit makes a HUGE different when making Asian foods!

Note: You don’t need to make the sauce until about 10 minutes before the rest of the stir fry and rice are cooked. It will get too thick if you make it first and then let it sit. If you want to make it ahead just make sure you take it off the heat slightly before your desired thickness. You can refrigerate it at this point as well for a later day. You may need to add another Tbs or 2 of water once you use it though.

For Stir fry:

1-1.5 lbs meat, chopped

1 tsp olive oil

1 bag frozen peppers

1 lb snap peas or combination of any veggies (mushrooms, broccoli, peas, etc)

Chop chicken, steak, or tofu and pan fry using a tsp olive oil.

Once its seared, add your veggies to the same pan. I usually add a couple Tbs of water at this point instead of more oil. For the snap peas, I cut the ends off with my kitchen scissors.

Once meat is cooked through and veggies are crisp tender, pour your sauce over and mix through.

Serve over brown rice

Quick “take out” food without the take out calories and preservatives. Whenever I order chinese food out, I get stuffed but then am weirdly hungry an hour later. Really makes me wonder what’s in that stuff. This sauce is really quick and easy to make and I will never be buying that powdered stuff in the package again!

And as if dinner wasn’t good enough, this is what I got to stare across the table at…I am in love…

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White Turkey Chili with Pumpkin

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I love meals that are versatile. The kind where if I go to make them and realize I don’t have a couple of the ingredients, I can make substitutions and have it turn out just as well. Chili is one of those meals. Don’t have kidney beans? Oh well, throw in some northern beans or even black beans. Don’t have ground chicken? Oh well, ground beef, ground turkey, or cubed chicken work just as well. Chicken stock or veggie stock both work. So you get the point. This is my go to chili recipe. Too many tomatoes mess with my stomach and it gives the baby gas too, so we still with tomato free chili mostly. But honestly, I think I like this white chili even better anyway! It has corn and pumpkin for added veggies and its perfect weather right now for a warm bowl of chili. Its been long enough since the overdose of pumpkin in the fall to get it incorporated back into recipes!

White Turkey Chili with Pumpkin:

1 pound ground turkey (or ground beef, ground chicken, or cubed chicken)

1/2 chopped onion

4 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp olive oil

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup pureed pumpkin

1.5 cups cooked northern beans, rinsed and drained if using from a can

1.5 cups cooked kidney beans, rinsed and drained if using from a can

2 cups corn kernels

1 Tbs cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1/4 + if you like your chili spicy)

cheddar cheese

plain greek yogurt

 

Put ground turkey, onion, garlic, and olive oil in large pot. Brown meat until cooked through. Add beans, corn, chicken broth, and seasonings.

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Give it all a stir then add pumpkin.

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Allow to simmer, again just partly covered like the rice, for about 30 minutes. Serve over brown rice and top with sharp cheddar cheese and a dollop of cold plain greek yogurt.

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Hummus, Parmesan Quinoa, and Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

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The hummus recipe is more of a “tip” than a recipe. Homemade hummus is simple and delicious. But why isn’t mine ever as creamy as the stuff from the store? I like the ingredients in mine better and its healthier with less oil, so maybe that’s why it isn’t as good? Well I found the secret! The secret: Super creamy hummus comes from taking the little peel or shell or whatever you want to call it off of the bean. It takes a couple minutes (maybe 5) but all you have to do it lightly rub each bean between your fingers and the little peel will separate. Kind of like the little brown peel on the outside of a peanut when you crack it. So remove those off all the chick peas and discard them for the creamiest hummus ever!

It’s also a huge money saver since a can of organic beans costs about $1, dry beans are even cheaper, and premade hummus costs about $4. Mine has much less oil but is still just as creamy and delicious!

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Super Creamy Garlic Hummus:

1.5 cups chick peas=1 can, drained and rinsed (reserve about 1/2 of liquid from can or cooking liquid)

1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp lemon juice

salt to taste

roasted red peppers, basil, and oregano are some of my other favorite add ins!

First, take the peel off all of the chick peas.

Place all of the ingredients in the food processor, including half of the liquid you reserved in the can. I used the magic bullet because I was making a small batch. If you want to double the recipe, a food processor would be necessary. Give it a whirl for a minute or so until its silky smooth.

On to the quinoa. We make quinoa quite a bit. I usually make a pilaf or we just eat it plain with a little salt and italian seasonings. Well tonight I made a risotto. The carrots made it sweeter than the other quinoa recipes I make and I think it might be my new favorite way to eat the little grain, well protein technically I guess. It was the first food Alyssa ate off her plate and begged for more so I call that a win. Quinoa is so simple and quick to make too. I love brown rice but it takes like 45 minutes to make. Quinoa takes about 15, another win!

Since quinoa is so high in protein and there are carrots in here, it could easily be a meal within itself, and even a vegetarian one! It would probably serve 2 if had for dinner alone or 4 side servings.

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Sweet Quinoa Risotto:

1 cup quinoa

1 1/4  -1 3/4 cups bone broth

1/2 cup white wine

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan plus extra for garnish

1 tsp butter

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp garlic

1/2 tsp thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Heat the stock. I just microwaved it and then poured it in as I went without needing to reheat it. Since its not a traditional rice risotto, it stayed hot because of the shorter cooking time.

Chop the carrots and add them to a pot with the garlic and olive oil. Cook for about a minute on medium heat then add the quinoa. Cook for another minute or two, just enough to toast the quinoa, don’t burn it!

Add the wine and thyme and let the liquid cook down.

Then add stock a little at a time (maybe 1/2 cup each time). Stir frequently. Add enough of the broth until the quinoa is cooked and the edges become visible from the inside.  Once its all cooked and all liquid is absorbed, add the butter and parmesan and give it one last stir.

And on to the cookies. I asked Dave last night what he wanted for dessert. He gave me the same response he always does when I ask him a question, “I don’t care”. I finally got it out of him that he wanted some sort of cookie. So I got to work. This is a healthy cookie, and could even be eaten as a breakfast cookie. While eating them my husband said numerous times “man these are really good”. But when is something with dark chocolate chips in it not good, really?

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Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies:

makes 10.

375 F

wet:

2/3 ripe banana, mashed

1 Tbs honey

1 egg

1 Tbs flax

1 Tba chia seeds

3 Tbs milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

dry:

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup + 2 Tbs flour (sprouted, whole wheat)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp cinnamon

pinch salt

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

mix wet. Mix dry.

Combine the two.

Bake at 375 F for 8 minutes. Put on plate and bring into living room for family to enjoy.

Spiced Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

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I love leftover dinner. The flavors tend to blend together and caseroles are set by the next day. But leftover dessert just isn’t the same. I like my dessert hot and fresh out of the oven! For this reason, most desserts I make have about 4 servings so there isn’t a bunch of leftovers.

Since we eat dessert pretty often, I like to make recipes that are healthy. Most of the time there is no white flour, and very little added white sugar or butter. Some nights we go all out with the full fat versions, but most nights we keep it healthy.

My husband prefers chocolate. Dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate icing. I prefer anything with cream cheese icing, specifically carrot cake. But when a huge carrot cake isn’t needed, these little whoopie pies are perfect. They give me a little bit of childhood, like I am eating a (very healthy) little debbie oatmeal cream pie, but way better and without the chemically aftertaste!

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies with cream cheese icing

makes 6

wet:

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

3 Tbs coconut palm sugar

2 Tbs honey

1 egg

1 Tbs milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

dry:

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp ginger (optional)

pinch salt

add at end:

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup raisins

icing:

2.5 oz cream cheese

1/4 cup + 1 Tb powdered sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla

Mix wet. Mix dry. Combine the two. Then add the oats and raisins at the end.

Spray cookie sheet or use parchment paper or a silpat. Spoon batter into 12 mounds. Flatten down into a circle with wet fingers. They will not spread when cooked, so shape into desired shape now.

Bake at 375 F for 8-11 minutes.

While cookies are baking, combine cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar.

Once cookies are baked and cooled, ice 6 cookies and top them with the remaining 6 cookies to create the sandwich.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 199

Fat: 5 g

Sodium: 137 mg (6%)

Carbohydrates: 35 g

Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g

Sugars: 22 g

Protein: 5 g

Balsamic Glazed Salmon

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We try and eat a lot of healthy fats in our diets. We eat far from low fat. We eat a lot of seeds, nuts, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, fish, eggs, etc. Its especially important for the kid’s brain growth.

“Why are you taking pictures of food? Take some of me!!”

One of my favorite fish is salmon and the family agrees. Alyssa asks if we can eat “omega-3’s” all the time. We buy wild caught over farm raised, since who knows what they are feeding the farm raised ones. I’ve even heard they are crossing salmon with other larger fish so they can get more meat out of them.

Lemon Balsamic Salmon

4- 4oz salmon fillets

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 tsp butter

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tb honey

salt and pepper

Place salmon on a tin foil lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup), dab with butter, pour the lemon juice over the top, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the salmon for 15 minutes at 400 F.

To make the balsamic reduction, heat up the balsamic and honey together until a low boil and stir frequently until thickened.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 205

Fat: 11.5 g

Sodium: 65 mg (3%)

Carbohydrates: 5 g

Dietary Fiber: 4.5 g

Protein: 19 g