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Welcome to my food blog!

Featuring delicious recipes made healthier and reviews to give you some new ideas.

Soft Oat Flour Pumpkin Cookies

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 29-07-2009

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies

I got the inspiration to make these pumpkin cookies after receiving some delicious maple products from Coombs Family Farms, a thorough review and giveaway coming soon which you don’t want to miss because this stuff is AWESOME!  I always get excited for the next season after enjoying the current season for a month or so.  And my way of doing that, of course, is through food!  Speaking of…I’m already kinda craving Thanksgiving dinner.  But that’s a couple of seasons away so I’ll focus here.  I’ve been craving nutty pumpkin bread, so that’s what I tried to do here with these cookies, and succeeded!  Actually, I should really try making this into a bread since you never see bread with 100% oat flour.  If you’re looking for gluten-free oats in Omaha, they are in the gluten-free section at Whole Foods, not with the rest of the oat or flours. You can grind the oats yourself in a food processor or blender (which doesn’t work as well) or buy some online. 

With these cookies, the pumpkin flavor stands out and the maple flavor takes a backseat.  The walnuts give it a great crunch and the chocolate chips always taste great unless you are my husband who once again got upset with me for putting chocolate into something that shouldn’t have chocolate.  I think of pumpkin more as a vegetable and my husband thinks of it as a fruit and we’re both right I think!  Anyway, I had a sneaking suspicion he wouldn’t be too happy and I was right.  He went down the fruit lane and he believes fruit and chocolate should not be combined.  Whatever, I was hoping he’d take the veggie lane.  Having said that, these would be delicious without chocolate chips, there is plenty of flavor to carry the cookie without adding chocolate.  To top these tasty little treats I just sprinkled on some organic powdered sugar, but after the fact, some great cream cheese frosting would have been perfect!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups oat flour (or you can replace that 1/4 cup with spelt flour for some gluten)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar (I used Coombs Family Farms)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (I used Coombs Family Farms Grade B) 
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla (or you could use maple for a stronger maple flavor)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp clove

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Cream butter with maple sugar and maple syrup, add coconut milk, egg, pumpkin and vanilla and mix well
  • In a separate bowl, mix all remaining dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips and walnuts, slowly add to the wet mixture and mix well
  • Add chocolate chips and walnuts, mix well
  • By teaspoonful, drop batter onto cookie sheet, you can do this fairly close since the cookies don’t really spread, they puff up.  For this, I use a small OXO cookie scoop from BBB.  These are awesome if you make cookies as often as I do!
  • Bake roughly 9 minutes for the small cookie, slightly larger cookies will take around 11 minutes 

Also, today is the day I’m announcing the Yo Baby Meals giveaway winner!  Congratulations Jen O, you win!  Random.org picked # 6 and that’s you:)

A Take on Runza Casserole

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Meal Recipes | Posted on 25-07-2009

Photo by Roland A Manarin

The Nebraska classic, if you’ve been here (or surrounding states), then you should know what a Runza is, and then you’ve most likely experienced peer pressure to have one!  Unless you’re a vegetarian or have celiac disease, then I sure hope you’ve tried one.  Speaking of…I’m a little embarrassed that I was trying to talk a guy I know with celiac disease AND he’s also a vegetarian to try a Swiss Cheese Mushroom Runza.  Momentary lapse of memory I guess.  Just wasn’t thinking or being sensitive at the moment.  I literally forgot and felt pretty stupid about it!  Although…sometimes, foods are just so good or such a part of your history growing up that it’s amazing that others close to you haven’t experienced it! 

What is a Runza?  It’s basically a hamburger, cabbage and onion casserole encased in some great homemade bread-either plain, with cheese or swiss cheese and mushrooms.  It’s sort of a man’s man kind of yummy hot encased beef sandwich or alternatively the hangover cure.  If Zane Lamprey came to town I’d take him to Runza the next day!  Runzas are the only food I missed from home the first few times I traveled far away.  I sort of grew out of my Runza cravings after college, but every so often I have to have one.  My personal favorite is Swiss Cheese Mushroom…NO KETCHUP!  My husband used to eat the cheese ones with ketchup which drove me nuts because it tastes like meatloaf when you add ketchup (not a meatloaf fan unless it’s fancy…sorry).  Anyway, I got a Runza bake recipe from some friends that love this particular recipe….but then I changed it.  I’ll give you both recipes, so you’re aware.  And if you want some actual Runza copycat recipes, you can just google it and plenty show up.  I felt like doing a slightly healthier and difficult version of a casserole but with puff pastry.  I’m trying to get over my recent puff pastry obsession since it’s not so healthy, but it continues…

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs turkey meat (or hamburger or bison/buffalo)
  • 1/2 can organic cream of mushroom soup (I specify organic here because the contents in the regular cans need some nutriontal help, if you do not care, use a whole can of regular soup.  To be honest, the organic version just doesn’t taste as good.)
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 medium cabbage, finely chopped, hard core removed
  • 1 pint white or baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 frozen puff pastry package
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped (I like to use sweet yellow or Vidalia)
  • 6 slices swiss cheese, roughly 6oz
  • butter for cooking cabbage, a few tablespoons more or less
  • 1/2 tsp salt, more or less to taste

Method:

  • Remove puff pastry from freezer and set out to thaw according to package instructions
  • Cook cabbage and onion on stove top in large pan with butter over medium-high heat, roughly 15 minutes or until cabbage starts to wilt and become see-through.  Add garlic and continue cooking until cabbage is completely soft and cooked through
  • Add cream of mushroom soup, set cabbage mixture aside in a separate bowl
  • In the same pan over medium-high heat, cook mushrooms and beef broth until mushrooms are tender, salt to taste, set aside in a separate bowl
  • Pre-heat oven to 375, grease 13×9x2″ pan
  • In the same stove top pan over medium-high heat, cook turkey until done, add salt
  • On a floured surface, roll out one sheet of puff pastry until it covers the bottom of the 13×9x2″ pan, lay it on the bottom of the pan
  • Spread hamburger evenly on top of puff pastry sheet
  • Layer with cabbage mixture
  • Then add mushrooms
  • Layer evenly with cheese
  • Roll out the other pastry and set on top
  • With a knife, make a few slits in the pastry to allow air to escape
  • Bake roughly 25 minutes or until brown.  All ovens are different and puff pastry is testy, so make sure to check top of pastry while cooking because it may burn

This is a yummy, fancy version of a Runza.  However, it still isn’t too fancy and neither are Runzas!  The ingredients to my friends’ recipe are: 1 lb hamburger, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 medium cabbage, cumin, 1 crescent roll package, 1 onion, American cheese slices.  These ingredients are not authentic style Runzas either, but damn good according to known Runza lovers.

A special thanks to my brother Tony (Roland), who took the picture above.  And congratulations!  For trying to quit smoking.  I hope this attempt will be your last and that Takako’s husband has stinky breath only from garlic, onion or morning.  I’m proud of you!

Yo Baby Meals Review and Giveaway!

Posted by Ann | Posted in Reviews | Posted on 23-07-2009

Photo Courtesy stonyfield.com

What an amazing idea!  Put vegetables in yogurt for your baby!  Excellent, it is something that I did when my son was just starting to eat yogurt but since then his palate has decided that mommy can’t put veggies in his yogurt.  Actually, he figured that out after his first try of pre-flavored yogurt.  So, I stopped trying and just give him veggies that he for the most part ignores and then I eat.  But hey, they sit on his plate and I’m feebly hoping that one day, he will eat them!  Stonyfield Farm just started making Yo Baby Meals with vegetables.  Thank you!  Now, they have three flavors and of course I went out as soon as possible and bought all three.  I would’ve told you sooner but my son has a cold and makes me tired and the post wouldn’t have done justice. 

Back to the yogurt!  It comes in three varieties: apple and sweet potato, peach and squash and pear and green beans.  Of course I had to try all of them as he was eating them.  The first flavor we tried, apple with sweet potato, is great!  O gobbled it up in nothing flat.  The consistency was only slightly grainier than the regular yogurt but not too noticeable and then your kid gets the nutritional bonus of sweet potato.  Win win.  The second flavor we tried was the peach and squash.  He ate the whole bit but it did take him a little longer to eat it.  I liked it as well but the apple slightly more so.  Still good and nutritious, a great buy.  The third flavor, pear and green beans, is the most exciting since green beans are not a root vegetable, yet the scariest since…well, there are green beans in the yogurt!  Needless to say, O ate only half, but the fact that he ate half of it is pretty amazing!  I haven’t gotten him to eat green beans for a long time so this was a special treat for mommy to see:)  This was my least favorite variety of course, you taste it out of your nose after swallowing.  But then again, I eat my greens.  I wish I would’ve had this yogurt as his first transition over to regular yogurt.  It blends better than when I tried to do it myself and so I think he would’ve kept eating this while he stopped eating my mixes.  Hmmm, maybe Stonyfield should add a banana avocado yogurt as well. 

If you haven’t read my previous post on why I love this brand of yogurt for kids and babies so much, you can click here and check it out.  One of my favorite reasons is they do not use artificial colorings in their yogurt.  Another thing that makes me happy is the probiotics in the yogurt.  As long as your kid isn’t sensitive to dairy, those probiotics are fantastic for their little bellies.  I mentioned before that I even add more to his yogurt smoothies.  Also, Yo Baby meals have 1/3 of toddlers’ daily protein and calicum in each 6oz cup.  Since I can hardly get O to eat meat, this is extra exciting for me!  

Giveaway

ON TO THE GIVEAWAY!  The details are pictured above, 5 free Yo Baby Meals, bag, big, travel bowl and lid with utensils, and an Eric Carsle growth chart.  All you’ve got to do is leave a comment below and I’ll pick a winner via random.org on Thursday, July 30th.  In the meantime, it’s comforting to know that if you just cannot wait to buy some, the lids on the current yogurts have a buy two get one freecoupon when you open them.   If you have any problems with commenting (I’ve heard of a few random cases, sorry!) you can email me at: ann @ healthytastychow.com

Spicy Tuna Rolls

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Meal Recipes, Side Dishes | Posted on 20-07-2009

Photo taken by Takako Yazaki

I called my sister in law, Takako, to see if she could help me make spicy tuna rolls.  If you’ve read the miso soup recipe, you’ll know she’s from Nagasaki, Japan and knows her Japanese food of course!  She informed me that spicy tuna rolls are American and she had no clue how to make them but she’d be willing to help me out!  I already knew that most of the popular rolls were American but for some reason thought that the spicy tuna were a Japanese original but…nope!  However, I don’t care, I still love this roll and figured it would be much cheaper to make it at home.  Having Takako there while making these rolls gave me the courage to eat raw fish at home.  Now, of course I bought the fish from a reputable fish market in Omaha and made sure it was sushi grade tuna first (should be at over $25/lb).  But that still didn’t calm my nerves!  Yep, these rolls were delicious, just as good or better than many restaurants’ versions!  That didn’t stop me from thinking my stomach hurt later that night…which some wine fixed.  You see, the alcohol in the wine killed anything the fish may have had in it!  Okay, I realize this is all absurd, but I’ve just never eaten raw fish that I have prepared before and so it was a tad bit nervewracking.   I think the alcohol really just killed my nerves.  Either way, my stomach felt fine later that night.

This recipe comes from the two of us working together adding this and that until it suited our tastebuds best.  If you like yours extra spicy, go ahead and add more sriracha!  This version was spicy enough to feel the heat, but not spicy enough to kill the tastebuds. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound sushi grade tuna…ahi or yellowfin
  • 1 Tb mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp sriracha (a Thai hot sauce, it should be in the Asian section at your grocery store…if not, you can probably just use Tabasco or a Mexican hot sauce but it won’t be quite the same)
  •  2-3 Nori sheets, depending on how much fish you want per roll
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • scant 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar (the back of the bottle should imply that it is good for sushi rice)
  • 2 cups cold sticky rice, brown rice would be best.  Takako said to make sure that you use cold rice, never use warm or hot or it messes with the fish!
  • 1/8 of avocado, sliced lengthwise (optional)

Method:

  • In food processor or blender, add tuna, mayo, sriracha, and juice of squeeze lemon wedge.  Pulse until mostly pureed but not pasty (pasty if fine if you’ve gone too far), refrigerate until ready to put on Nori
  • With the side of a spoon, cut rice vinegar into the rice, you want to be gentle or you’ll ruin the integrity of the rice.  If it seems too liquid, just wait a bit and it gets dryer fast
  • On a bamboo sushi mat (or just on a plate if you don’t have the mat, it’s fine) place a sheet of Nori and enough rice to cover, don’t smash the rice down with the back of a spoon (like I tried to do), gently pat it down with the side of the spoon.  Leave a 1/2 inch border at the top (where you are going to aim your roll, so that’ll be the end of the roll)
  • Put sushi in the center horizontally (parallel to the 1/2 border on top, but mid-way through the roll)  We made two rolls so used half of the tuna, but if you want to make three rolls, use 1/3 of the tuna mixture, I’d recommend you put avocado in them if using less tuna…or just put avocado in them anyway, yum!
  • If you’re adding avocado slices, place them on top of  the tuna.
  • Carefully and firmly start to roll the Nori at first almost folding the roll in half, squeeze gently and continue to roll slowly and tightly, firmly pressing as you go along.  The bamboo mat will make it easier to roll but if you think you won’t make these much, I would wait to buy one
  • Slice to desired width carefully with a sharp sharp knife
  • Repeat, if you’re making 2 rolls, you will have some leftover rice

Enjoy!  Hey, did you notice the cool purple carrots?  I couldn’t resist them at the farmer’s market (another Black Sheep Farm’s special) knowing that pretty much anything purple is going to deliver some great antioxidants.  If you’re curious how they taste, they’re not too different than your regular carrot, yet slightly less sweet.  The carrot flavor is 100 % there and they’re fresh and delicious.  You just rinse them and eat.  If you peel them, the purple comes off and the inside is white or orange…the above pictured are white inside.  Nifty little fact:)  My toddler even gnawed on one for awhile, and he won’t eat the orange variety.  Hmmm, maybe I should buy some more purple stuff?

Really Cool Gluten Free Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 18-07-2009

Really Cool GF SF Peanut Butter Cookies

Excuse the long name above but I couldn’t help myself.  These cookies actually have a cooling effect while you’re eating them.  To some, it’s strange, and to some, it’s for lack of a better word…cool!  Everyone that tried them loved the cookies flavor and consistency.  The reason the cookies are cool is because I didn’t mix sugars, I used 100% erythritol.  The company Z Sweet  asked if I would be interested in trying their product, a sweetener made of erythritol, a sugar alcohol, yet enhanced for maximum true sugar flavor.  Erythritol is one of the only sugar substitutes that I feel comfortable using in cooking due to the studies I’ve read so far.  Plus, it really does have practically zero calories per gram (.2) compared with the other brands.  If you didn’t know, the FDA lets companies label their food zero calories if it’s 5 calories or less per serving, so if you have a whole cup of a ”zero calorie” sweetener, it’s really a lot more than zero calories.  I don’t count calories anyway but it’s good information to know!  If you’re interested in reading studies or experts opinions’ on erythritol, click here.

Anyway, I practically live at Whole Foods, and love treating myself to their delicious bakery peanut butter and oatmeal raisin cookies.  I’ve been meaning to do a copycat peanut butter cookie but it involves using whole wheat flour and lots of sugar and I just couldn’t get around to making them knowing I’d eat the whole batch.  To lessen the burden on my body, I realized I had the perfect opportunity to try and replicate the recipe!  I’ll tell you these cookies are darn close, yet gluten and sugar free.  Yay me! 

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups oat flour (gluten free oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter  (you really need to add the creamy to add to the creamy peanut butter flavor of the cookies, just using crunchy isn’t enough because of the little bits of peanuts.  There is less actual peanut butter and the cookies will have less PB flavor)
  • 1 1/4 cups erythritol (Z Sweet), if you don’t want the cooling effect but still want to use natural sweeteners, I think 1/2 cup erythritol, 1/2 cup agave nectar and 1/2 tsp stevia will work, then you can omit the almond milk)  Also, you can try whatever sweetener or combo you prefer.
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TB almond milk

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Cream the butter and erythritol (or whatever) with beaters, add eggs, vanilla and almond milk, mix well, add peanut butter, mix well
  • In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together with a fork
  • Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients
  • Drop onto cookie sheet and press down lightly with fork in a criss cross design.  I use the OXO medium cookie scoop - basically a medium ice cream scoop
  • Bake 10-12 minutes
  • Cookies taste best when cooled, and even better day 2!!!

*** My mom was over while baking these cookies and poured the Z Sweet on top of a batch of cookies before baking, I’m talking, a teaspoon almost per cookie!  She says that’s how she does her peanut butter cookies at home.  Needless to say, these cookies didn’t turn out.  The erythritol doesn’t crystallize the same as sugar and they were soft and mushy in the middle and smoked a bit.  Oh well, the other ones turned out fantastically!

Fresh Berry Pie

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Ann's Favorites, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 16-07-2009

Fresh Berry Pie

Ever had a fresh berry pie?  They are absolutely delicious!  Best of all, it’s simple to make.  It’s just fresh berries in a sugary plain gelatin on graham cracker crust.  If you can’t eat wheat, this pie would taste excellent on most any crust.   In addition to the currants I received from my Dad last weekend, I just received some delicious raspberries and blackberries from his garden as well.  What to do?  Big smile.  I could eat two of these pies a week!   I’ve had a fresh strawberry and a fresh raspberry pie from a local restaurant, but never mixed or homemade.  So far, this mixed pie and also fresh raspberry are my favorites.  Seasonal, light, refreshing and yummy.

I chose to make my own graham cracker crust because the store bought varieties are made with hydrogenated fats.  Be careful with this because even the regular graham crackers at most grocery stores all have these trans fats in them - you’ll have to buy the graham crackers at the natural foods section or natural foods stores.  You should be able to buy them at Target though- the Back to Nature brand sticks are our favorite.

Ingredients:

  • CRUST
  •  1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 TB butter, softened
  • FILLING
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups berries (my mix was equal parts raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and currants)
  • 2 packets flavorless gelatin + 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Method:

  • CRUST
  • pre-heat oven to 350
  • Grind graham crackers in food processor
  • Mix graham crackers with sugar and cut in butter
  • Form in a pie pan, patting crust firmly
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes
  • Allow to cool, about 30-40 minutes
  • FILLING
  • Boil water, with a whisk add gelatin packets and sugar
  • Allow to cool slightly, a few minutes
  • Arrange berries on pie crust
  • Pour gelatin mixture over berries until it reaches top layer of berries.  Depending on your pie pan, there may be extra gelatin leftover, that’s okay, just discard it 
  • Refrigerate until hardened

Dollup with fresh whip cream!  I make mine with heavy whipping cream, a little vanilla, and some sugar to taste.  Just whisk with beaters in a tall bowl until it reaches the desired consistency.

Gluten-Free Apple Currant Crisp

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 14-07-2009

  
  

Apple Currant Crisp

 

It happened again, my dad gave me a huge, I’m talking 12 cup bowl of currants to do something with.  What in the world am I going to do with all of these currants?  Well, there may be more to come with currants but I decided that apple currant crisp with a nutty crispy topping would do the trick.  YES!!!  YUMMY!  Originally, I wanted to put pecans in the topping but realized that I didn’t have any while making it.  So, I used chopped walnuts instead and they made the crisp extra delicious.  Pecans would’ve been fantastic as well.  I thought about using black walnuts, which I still think would’ve worked, but decided to go with the more crowd-pleasing regular old walnut.  Pink Lady apples are my favorite type to eat on a daily basis, so I used those.  My actual favorite baking apple is the Jonathan, but only during season from the local apple orchards.  I don’t think the bagged ones at the stores taste good at all.

 

Ingredients:

  • APPLE LAYER
  • 7 apples, peeled and sliced, I used organic pink lady apples
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
  • 1 TB Vanilla
  • 2 TB sugar, I used white organic
  • 2 TB almond flour
  • 2 cups currants - I used red
  • TOPPING
  • 1 1/2 cups (gluten-free) oats
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (to keep the feel of traditional crisp)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (to off-set the dry almond flour and add extra maple flavor)
  • 1/4 cup erythritol (I used Z Sweet, to lighten it a little)  …you can use 3/4-1 cup of whatever sweetener you prefer
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Grease 9 x 13″ baking dish
  • Place apples in baking dish, sprinkle with vanilla, almond flour and sugar, coat evenly (I had my apples chopped up waiting to go in the pan and squeezed the lemon juice on them because I didn’t want them to turn brown.  The lemon will add a teeny bit of flavor but most likely you won’t taste it.  I was being anal)
  • Add currants and carefully mix to evenly distribute
  • In a separate bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix with fork
  • Crumble mixture on top of apple mixture and flatten slightly for full coverage
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes - if the top gets crispy and golden before the apples cook through, put foil on the top to stop it from burning

By the way, I’ve been having computer problems and haven’t been able to do any posting until just now, so I’ve got lots of things coming that I was waiting to do.   I’m very excited to be able to be working on my computer again!!!

Kreativ Blogger Award

Posted by Ann | Posted in Food Chatter | Posted on 11-07-2009

kreativ blogger award Kreativ Blogger Award

Awww, how nice, I’m feeling so warm and fuzzy right now.  Thank you Hannah Banana aka Amanada at Nourish for nominating my blog for this lovely award!  Check out her site, it’s fantastic- lots of good, kreativ healthy stuff AND giveaways over there as well!

So here is what I am to do:
Thank the person who has given me the award
Copy the logo and place it on my blog
Link to the person who has nominated me for the award
Name 7 things about myself that people might find interesting
Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers
Post links to the 7 blogs I nominate
Leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated
7 possibly interesting facts about me:
  1. I love to travel and my family has a house in Fanna, Italy where my dad grew up.  I wish I spoke Italian, I brush up on it each time I go there and get better little by little.  The food there is just amazing and I’m so happy for online translating so that I can read the Italian food blogs:)
  2. I was afraid to work professionally with food and health because I didn’t want to get sick of it and have it feel like a chore so I majored in college in International Business and Spanish and went on to get my Masters in Business Administration at Creighton figuring I could use my business in any field I chose in the future.  Well…I was half-right.  But, I should’ve gone with my heart in the first place.  That darn reasoning right brain kicks in too often.
  3. I speak Spanish after studying for a bit in Queretaro, Mexico and Valencia, Spain - used to be mostly fluent but have lost quite a bit of it.  Every time we go back to Mexico, I suprisingly regain much of it!
  4. I live in Omaha, Nebraska and love it!  It’s actually a lot more progressive than most people realize.  I don’t think it’s really a fantastic vacation spot, but a wonderful place to live and have your family.  That’s why I love traveling as well!
  5. I love music.  I’ve always been into music but more of a closet-love.  My latest favorite since October is Bon Iver.  Any suggestions for new good stuff?  I’ve been listening also to older stuff again, can’t get enough of Little Willy by Sweet, Rock Me Gently by Andy Kim and Love Grows by Edison Lighthouse.  But, it is time for me to move on so I could really use some new ideas please.
  6. Top Chef and True Blood are two of my favorite TV shows.
  7. I’m kind of a crazy movie buff as well, constantly being reminded of movies by things people say.  Even stupid stuff from 80’s movies when I was a kid from movies that not many have seen, like: Top Secret, Labrynth, Stewardess School, The Hunk, The Dark Crystal and of course all the popular ones too!  Maybe Stewardess School really wasn’t that funny, but I used to think it was hilarious and am suprised that they haven’t made it into a DVD.  Typically, my older brothers are the only ones in on old quotes from these movies.  Sigh.

Now I get to nominate 7 blogs I think deserve it, so I went with different ones I don’t have already linked anywhere.  That’s really difficult actually, since there are so many and I sometimes lose the good ones in cyberspace.

Coconut Oil Vinaigrette Coleslaw? And Giveaway!

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Reviews, Side Dishes | Posted on 09-07-2009

Coconut Oil Vinaigrette Coleslaw

You may ask yourself, how does coconut oil work as a vinaigrette?  When you put it in the fridge, does it solidify?  Well, I have the answer to both of those questions now!  Tropical Traditions was kind enough to send me some of their Gold Label coconut oil to try out along with a copy of their book (and sponsor a GIVEAWAY, look below).  I’m very happy with this oil in fact.  It really is rich and delicious!  If you like the strong flavor of coconut in your coconut oil like I do, this is perfect.  I did flip through the book - there is so much information on coconut oil and the process that they use and the company’s history (ummmm, I haven’t read it all yet but I did watch this video which is pretty interesting).  The book has plenty of different recipes and two popped out that I HAD to try right away!  Simple vinaigrette and mayonnaise.  I’m excited!

Photo courtesy of tropicaltraditions.com

My house is so hot right now that the oil is liquid, so I figured it’s a perfect time to start with the vinaigrette…which I changed of course to compliment the cabbage.  The sweet and tanginess of the vinaigrette with the coconut undertones, the crunch of the cabbage and the nuttiness and saltiness of the sunflower seeds made for an excellent HUGE snack.  It was a totally different coleslaw flavor that I’ve never tried but was darn happy to eat.  The coconut flavor is pretty strong so the next time I make this, I will most definitely just make a single serving size.  Also, after putting the leftovers in the fridge and trying it the next day…well… it just didn’t taste the same and the cabbage had a white layer on them from the oil solidifying.  SO, I recommend you do try this coconut oil coleslaw- it’s great if you like the flavor of coconut!  However, don’t make enough for leftovers!   I should have just seasoned only the serving I was going to eat.  Then, before having leftovers, taken the vinaigrette out of the refrigerator to come back to room temp, and then added it.  Well, I knew better but I did it anyway hoping it would be good regardless and it wasn’t.  Grunt.
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/8 cup coconut oil, liquefied (I used Tropical Traditions:)
  • 3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp agave nectar
  • 10 cups cabbage mix/coleslaw (was feeling lazy, I used a bag of  mixed shredded cabbage/carrots and a bag of pre-shredded red cabbage totaling roughly 10 cups) - but you can shred whatever cabbages and carrots you feel like shredding
  • 1/8 cup roasted, salted, shelled sunflower seeds

Method:

  • Whisk vinegar, agave nectar, salt and pepper until salt dissolves
  • Slowly add oils, whisking away
  • Allow to stand 5 minutes, taste and adjust to your liking, whisk again
  • If you’re serving the whole thing, add the dressing to the cabbage mix and then add the sunflower seeds, mix well.  Otherwise, just put some of the vinaigrette on your cabbage mix and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

If you’re interested in some great information about coconut oil, you can check out these links: this one or this one.  There’s lots of great information about potential health benefits, the flavor is fantastic, and it works as an alternative to awful-for-you shortening.  I just love the flavor it adds to the things I’m cooking - sweet or savory.  Coconut oil fried potatoes are amazing and so simple! 

***GIVEAWAY RULES: To win a free quart of Tropical Traditions coconut oil, sign-up for their newsletter http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/subscribe_for_special_sales.cfm, and comment below so I know you signed on.  I’ll use random.org to pick the winner Wednesday, July 15th. 

***Tropical Traditions also has a Referral Program, so if you place an order with them as a first-time customer, please select “Referred by a friend” and in the box that says “How did you hear of us?” enter my sponsor ID number… 5254567.  By telling Tropical Traditions that I referred you, you will receive a complimentary copy of the book Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours! by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy with your first order!  This book is filled with testimonies and research showing how healthy coconut oil is, and it also includes over 85 recipes showing how one can incorporate coconut into their diet.

Here are some easy to use directions for your referrals:

1. Add the items you would like to purchase from the order form linked to Tropical Traditions.  Visit www.healthybuyersclub.com/orderform.cfm

2. You’ll be directed to the Order Form at the Tropical Traditions/Healthy Buyers Club website.  You do not have to be a member or purchase a membership to buy from Tropical Traditions.  Membership in the Healthy Buyers Club allows you to purchase in bulk amount at club member discounts if you choose to join.  If you choose not to purchase a membership to the Healthy Buyers Club please order under the heading “Retail Sale Items”.  This will enable you to purchase less than case amounts of any of the individual items without a membership.

3.  Select the items you would like to purchase.

4. When you are ready to check out please click on the “Continue” link which will take you to your shopping cart.

5. Review your order and then click on the “Check Out” button from your shopping cart.

6. Fill in your account information as directed. In the box: “How did you hear of us?” you must select: “Referred by a friend” on the drop down arrow.  When you make this selection, a box for your sponsor’s User ID number should appear if you are a first time customer.

7. Enter your sponsor’s User ID number.

8. To complete your order click on “Save and Proceed to Checkout” at the bottom of this page and follow the instructions through the checkout process.  You will receive an order number when you have successfully placed your order.

By following these steps, you will receive a complimentary copy of the book Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours! by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy.  Your sponsor will receive a coupon for a complimentary gift. These will vary from month to month.

Those with additional questions about taking advantage of the referral program when creating their new account may call toll free 866-311-2626 Ext. 2.

Blackberry Muffins

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Breakfast Recipes | Posted on 07-07-2009

Blackberry Muffins

Really, these muffins should just be called Gluten-Free Coconut Flour and Almond Flour Muffins.  I mixed the flours in an experiment to see if it would work and about fell off the chair that it did, indeed!  I’ve been itching to mix these two flours for awhile now and of course, it’s nice to have a good muffin base.  I already like the muffin base with the almond and oat flour (Cherry Garcia) muffins as well, but the challenge is too fun!  Personally, I don’t have an issue with gluten, but my husband has an allergy to wheat.  Last night, my friend Kristin and I were chatting about this and she said she wanted to try some of my stuff out and needed to go shopping to buy the flours.  Of course I felt the need to warn her that the consistency is not the same but I get it as close possible to make whatever it is tasty.  She said she wanted to try it anyway because of the health benefits that these alternative flours offer that regular white/enriched wheat do not…this could lead me into pages and pages of reasons why different flours are better for you offering more fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, are more easily digested, etc…   Here is a great article on white flour that goes into more detail on why it’s not good for you.

My dad had given me some great blackberries that came from somewhere in his back yard.  What kills me is I grew up there and the only edible thing I remember is mulberries- which he won’t let me have because he says they don’t get past his mouth to get into the bowl.  Now, I love mulberries too, but he’s got a freaking farm in his yard nowadays.  These blackberries are smaller and sweeter than the ones you buy at the store, absolutely delicious.  I thought they may be nice in a muffin.  Well, they made the muffins darn tasty…and pretty but you could easily replace any fruit you have in this muffin.  The muffins are moist and dense, typical of coconut flour things, but a little closer to normal flour (typical of almond flour), yet not as mealy as just almond flour alone.  Really, a nice mixture of the two flours.  You can see the final texture result in the picture above.  If you’re in the mood for experimenting with coconut flour, remember that a little goes a loooong way and to add eggs and liquid.  Just a quick rule of thumb, 3 eggs per quarter cup of coconut flour.  You may be successful without adding lots of eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 4 TB coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup concentrated fruit juice blend (or 1 cup sweetener, you could try 1/2 cup agave nectar with 1/2 cup sugar)
  • 2 TB grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 TB vanilla
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup blackberries - or fruit of your choice
  • sugar for sprinkling on top of muffins to make for pretty and delicious muffin tops

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350, grease or line muffin pan
  • Mix wet ingredients
  • Mix dry ingredients (excluding berries) with a fork
  • Pour dry ingredients slowly into wet, stirring until well combined
  • Add blackberries
  • Distribute batter evenly in muffin tins - I use an ice cream scooper, it’s much easier
  • Sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top of each muffin (optional)
  • Bake for 20-23 minutes

Enjoy!  I like them best with a teensy bit of butter and agave nectar.

Update two days later: I mistakenly covered them when I thought they were cooled and they weren’t so the tops got moist the next day but were still yummy.  Two days later: the fruit went bad because I didn’t keep them in the fridge!  I had to throw out the few I had left.  Oops!  You’d think I’d know not to do this stuff by now but I still do it anyway.

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