Back to School: Healthy Breakfast

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Light & Fluffy Banana Protein Pancakes, recipe provided below (adapted from The Creative Bite)

Ingredients

  • 2 (20g each) scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 large very ripe banana
  • ⅛ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  • In two clean bowls, separate the eggs carefully so none of the yolk gets into the egg whites. Beat the egg whites on high for 2 minutes until they form soft peaks. (It is important that your bowl or beaters don't have any oil, fat or yolks on them, or the egg whites won't form peaks. Soft peaks are defined as barely holding their shape. The peaks flop over immediately when the beaters are lifted.)
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the egg yolks and beat until smooth. Gently fold ⅓ of the egg white mixture into the banana mixture until roughly combined. Fold half of the remaining eggs whites into the mixture and finally the last portion until everything is well combined.
  • Heat a skillet over low heat. Scoop ¼ c. of the mixture onto the skillet and cook for 60-90 seconds on each side.
  • Serve immediately.
  • OPTIONAL: Top with fresh fruit and/or ⅓ c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt mixed with 1 Tbsp. honey.
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Overnight French Toast Bake, recipe provided below (adapted from Dashing Dish)

Ingredients

  • Whole grain/high fiber bread [1]
  • 2 Eggs
  • 8 Egg whites (or 1 cup egg whites from a carton)
  • 1/2 cupLow fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cupPumpkin puree (for a pumpkin french toast bake) [2]
  • 1 cupUnsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
  • 1 tspCinnamon
  • 1/2 tspSalt
  • 1/2 cupBaking stevia OR 1 cup sweetener of choice that measures like sugar [3]
  • 1/2 tspPumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract (or maple extract)
  • 1/2 cupLow sugar maple syrup (or agave nectar)
  • Topping:
    • 1/4 cupLow sugar maple syrup (or agave nectar)
    • 1/2 tspCinnamon
    • 1/4 cup (2 oz)Chopped pecans
    • Optional: Additional syrup for serving

Directions

  • To make the egg mixture, put everything except for the bread and topping into a blender, and blend until smooth.
  • To prepare the bread, cut crust off bread, and discard the two end pieces. Cut the bread into small cubes and add to baking dish.
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Baked Maple Donuts (Grain Free), recipe provided below (adapted from Dashing Dish)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/8 tspSalt
  • 1 Whole egg
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 2 tbs Low sugar maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp Maple extract
  • 2 tbs Unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup Skim milk or milk substitute of choice
  • 1/4 cup Baking stevia (or 1/2 cup sweetener of choice that measures like sugar)
  • Maple Glaze
    • 1/4 cup Powdered sugar
    • 1/4 tsp Maple extract
    • 1 tsp Water (add more water by 1/8 tsp if needed)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a donut pan with cooking spray.
  • In a medium size bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.  Combine the wet ingredients with the dry, and mix until batter is smooth and free of lumps.
  • Divide batter evenly between the 6 donut molds. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean, and donuts are set.
  • Meanwhile, to make the glaze, combine powdered sugar, maple extract, and water until smooth in a small bowl. Use a 1/2 teaspoon measure to spoon the glaze over the top of each donut. Enjoy!

Back to School: Healthy Overnight Breakfast Edition

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Overnight Cake Batter Protein Oatmeal, recipe provided below (adapted from Dashing Dish)

Ingredients

  • Old fashioned oats (use gluten free if sensitive)
  • 1/4 cupPlain or vanilla protein powder (or additional oats)
  • 2 tbsBaking stevia (or 1/4 cup sweetener that measures like sugar)
  • 1/8 tspSalt
  • 1/2 tspAlmond extract
  • 1/4 tspButter extract (or vanilla extract)
  • 3/4 cupUnsweetened almond milk (or low fat milk)
  • 1/2 cupPlain fat free Greek yogurt (or mashed banana or applesauce)
  • 1 tbsSprinkles for topping (optional)

Directions

  • In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. Divide between 2 small bowls, mugs, or mason jars. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least an hour (or more) so the oats soften and absorb the liquid). Top with sprinkles if desired! Enjoy cold, or microwave for 30-60 seconds to enjoy warm!
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Brownie Batter Overnight Protein Oatmeal, recipe provided below (adapted from Dashing Dish)

Ingredients

  • Unsweetened almond milk (or low fat milk of choice)
  • 1/2 cupPlain low fat Greek yogurt (or mashed banana, or pumpkin)
  • 2 tbs Unsweetened cocoa powder (or more, to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbs Baking stevia (or 1/4 cup sweetener that measures like sugar) [1]
  • 1 cup Old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup Protein powder (or additional oats)

Directions

  • In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. Divide between 2 small bowls, mugs, or mason jars. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least an hour (or more) so the oats soften and absorb the liquid). Top with chopped nuts or topping of choice if desired! Enjoy cold, or microwave for 30-60 seconds to enjoy warm!
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Almond Strawberry Overnight Oats, recipe provided below (adapted from Celebrating Sweets)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla almond milk sweetened or unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon of chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of  strawberry jam
  • 2 teaspoons honey or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds
  • 4 strawberries

Directions

  • In a jar or bowl, combine oats, almond milk, chia seeds, jam, and honey. Stir until well combined and all the oats are covered in liquid. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

  • For serving: warm oats in the microwave, if desired. Add almond butter and little more jam and stir just slightly so that you can see the swirls. Top with sliced almonds and strawberries.

End of Summer: Gourmet Appetizers

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Guacamole Shrimp Wonton Cups, recipe provided below (adapted from Damn Delicious)

Ingredients

  • 24 round won ton wrappers
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups guacamole, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 24-cup mini muffin tin or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Fit a wonton wrapper into each of the 24 muffin tins, pressing carefully to make sure there is an opening in the center.
  • Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • In a medium bowl, combine shrimp, olive oil, garlic and cajun seasoning; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Preheat grill to medium high heat. Add shrimp to grill and cook, flipping once, until pink and opaque, about 2 minutes on each side.
  • Fill each wonton with 1 tablespoon guacamole and 1 shrimp.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro, if desired.
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Chimichurri Meatballs, recipe provided below (adapted from Jo Cooks)

Ingredients

  • For the Meatballs
    • 1 lb ground pork
    • 1/2 lb ground beef
    • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
    • 2 green onions minced
    • 3 cloves garlic minced
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
    • 1 egg
    • 3 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
    • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
  • For the Chimichurri Sauce
    • 1/2 cup curly leaf parsley minced
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
    • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, ground beef, bread crumbs, green onions, garlic, salt, black pepper and egg. 
  • Form the meatballs into small 1 inch balls.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add the meatballs and fry until golden all around, about 7 minutes. You will have to do this in 2 batches, so do not overcrowd the meatballs.
  • In a medium size bowl, whisk together the parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Let it sit out at room temperature until the meatballs are ready.
  • To assemble, pour about half of the chimichurri sauce on the bottom of a platter, then transfer the meatballs to the platter. Top the meatballs with remaining chimichurri and garnish with the crumbled feta cheese.
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Salmon Cakes Recipe with Tartar Sauce, recipe provided below (adapted from Billy Parisi)

Ingredients

  • For the Salmon Cakes:
    • 2 pounds of fresh wild caught salmon, skin removed
    • 1 seeded and small diced red bell pepper
    • 1 peeled and small diced sweet onion
    • 2 eggs
    • ½ cup of mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
    • Old Bay seasoning to taste
    • 10 ounces of panko crushed butter crackers or 2 cups of bread crumbs
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • oil for cooking
    • watercress and micro greens for garnish
  • For the tartar sauce
    • 1 cup of mayonnaise
    • ½ cup of small diced pickles
    • 1 tablespoon of capers
    • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
    • juice of ½ lemon
    • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions

  • Salmon Cakes: Place the salmon in a food processor and process on high speed until it becomes a thick paste. Transfer to a large size bowl and mix with peppers, onions, eggs, mayonnaise, parsley, seasoning and crushed butter crackers or bread crumbs until completely combined.
  • Form 15 salmon cakes using your hands and set aside.
  • Heat up some oil over medium heat and add in the salmon cakes and cook until golden brown and cooked throughout, about 4 minutes per side. Set aside to dry before serving.
  • Tartar Sauce: Mix together all ingredients in a medium size bowl until combined. Chill before serving.
  • To Plate: Place the salmon cakes over a bed of watercress and top off with tartar sauce and micro greens. Serve!

Boozy Ice Pops

         Inspired by Loopy Doopy (Manhattan, NYC) - Photo: Loopy Doopy's Instagram Account

         Inspired by Loopy Doopy (Manhattan, NYC) - Photo: Loopy Doopy's Instagram Account

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Cucumber Honeydew Margarita Popsicles, recipe provided below (adapted from Key Ingredient)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup honeydew juice (approximately a whole melon weighing 1lb)
  • ⅓ cup cucumber juice (approximately half a cucumber weighing 5oz.)
  • ½ cup tequila
  • 1 tablespoon triple sec
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon mint simple syrup (recipe follows)
  • 3 large mint sprigs
  • Mint Syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed

Directions

  • Syrup: Place sugar and water in a pot over heat until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature and place mint leaves in mixture and muddle. Allow mint leaves to steep for 20 minutes. Strain and discard leaves. (Depending on the fineness of the sieve tiny pieces may remain).
  • Place the honeydew and cucumber in a food processor or a blender and process until everything is pureed. Add tequila, triple sec, lime juice and mint syrup and process for another 20-30 seconds to blend well. Pour mixture into popsicles mold.
  • Freeze for about 2 hours or until mixture starts to solidify enough to hold a popsicle stick upright. Insert popsicle sticks and finish freezing popsicles overnight. To release popsicles run hot water on the outside of popsicle molds for a 2-3 seconds.
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Coconut Cream Popsicles with Vanilla Bean and Malibu Rum, recipe provided below (adapted from The Modern Proper)

Ingredients

  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • 1 cup of Malibu Rum (optional)

Directions

  • In a small sauce pan combine the coconut cream and the sugar.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour mixture into a heatproof bowl and place in the refrigerator until cooled, about 15 minutes.
  • Using a small paring knife, split vanilla bean down the center lengthwise and scrape into bowl.
  • Add shredded coconut, pineapple juice & Malibu rum.
  • Pour mixture into 8 popsicle molds and place in the freezer until frozen.
  • To loosen the popsicle from the mold once frozen, quickly run the mold under warm water and carefully shake the popsicle until it slides out.
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Gin and Tonic Ice Lollies, recipe provided below (adapted from Delicious Magazine)

Ingredients/ Tools:

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 80ml gin
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 225ml tonic water
  • 4 slices cucumber, cut into half-moons
  • 8 fresh raspberries
  •  8 x 80ml ice lolly mould and eight lolly sticks

Directions

  • Put the sugar with 50ml cold water in small saucepan and cook over a low/medium heat (don't let it boil) until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool completely.
  • When cool, put the sugar syrup in a medium pouring jug with the gin, lime juice and tonic water, then mix. Put a cucumber slice and a raspberry into each of the lolly moulds, then pour the mixture evenly into the moulds. Add the lolly sticks and put in the freezer. Freeze until solid (ideally overnight).
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Basil Mint Citrus Mojito Popsicles, recipe provided below (adapted from Practically Functional)

Ingredients

  • 12 fresh mint leaves
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 C fresh squeezed orange juice (3-5 oranges depending on how big they are; I ended up using 4)
  • 2 T lemon juice (1 lemon, if you want fresh squeezed juice)
  • 2 T lime juice (1 lime, if you want fresh squeezed juice)
  • 2 1/2 T sugar
  • 1 C crushed ice
  • 2 T rum (optional)

Directions

  • Start by juicing your citrus. It takes a little more effort than just buying a carton of OJ, but the fresh squeezed taste is so worth it!
  • Add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend until combined. It might get a bit frothy as you blend, but don’t worry about it.
  • As you pour the mixture into the popsicle molds, be careful not to pour too much froth along with the liquid, otherwise you’ll end up with an air-filled popsicle once it’s frozen!

  • You can clip your popsicle sticks with mini clothespins or paperclips to help keep them from sinking down to the bottom of the molds while they freeze!

  • Once they’re frozen solid, run some water over the outside of the mold and the popsicles will slide right out!

The Pizza Day Challenge: Gourmet Lunch/ Dinner Edition

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Fig and Caramelized Onion Flatbread, recipe provided below (adapted from Little Broken)

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sweet onions, cut in half and sliced from root to stem into thin slices
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 flatbreads (8-inch)
  • 2 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese, plus extra for the top
  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh arugula
  • 3 large fresh figs, sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  • Place the skillet (stainless steel or cast-iron skillet work the best!) over medium/low heat and melt butter.
  • Add onion to the pan and stir to coat with butter.
  • Check and stir the onions every 5-10 minutes. If onions begin to burn, lower the heat.
  • Around 10 minutes onions will start to soften and turn translucent. Around 30 minutes the onions will begin to turn light brown in color. Around 50 minutes the onions will be dark golden and smell very caramelized. At this point, you can remove the onions from the heat.
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Scatter the onions evenly over each flatbread and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of feta cheese on each. Bake the flatbreads on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes or until crisp. Remove and cool slightly.
  • Toss arugula with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Top each flatbread with equal amounts of arugula and sliced figs. Sprinkle with additional feta, if desired.
  • Cut into slices and serve warm. 
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Berry with Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza,  recipe provided below (adapted from Foodie Crush)

Ingredients

  • Store-bought or homemade pizza dough (I like this recipe)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1-120 or so strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups arugula leaves
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • Parmesan cheese ribbons
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint leaves
  • Flake sea salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Cornmeal

Directions

  • Preheat oven and pizza stone or baking sheet to 475 degrees.
  • Divide pizza dough ball into 6 sections. Stretch dough to form a rough circle or oblong shape and place on a pizza paddle or piece of parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal. Brush the dough with a little olive oil and some sea salt flakes. Spread 2 tablespoons or so of the ricotta cheese on the crust then layer with half of the mozzarella cheese.
  • Top with half of the strawberries and half of the raspberries and sprinkle with fresh rosemary leaves.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden. Top with arugula leaves then tear the prosciutto into strips and add to the arugula with the Parmesan cheese ribbons. Sprinkle with more fresh rosemary leaves, fresh mint and drizzle of olive oil. Season with flaked sea salt and red pepper flakes if desired. Serve immediately.
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Spinach Artichoke Pesto Pizza, recipe provided below (adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)  

Ingredients

  • 1-16 ounce pizza dough (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1/2 cup Spinach Basil Pesto or your favorite pesto
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 cup chopped artichoke hearts, use jarred or canned and drain them
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Place the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle. Carefully move the pizza dough to a pizza pan or pizza stone. Spread the pizza evenly with pesto. Top with spinach, artichokes, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
  • Place the pizza in the hot oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until pizza crust is golden and cheese is melted. Remove the pizza from the oven and let the pizza cool for a few minute. Cut into slices and serve.

The Pizza Day Challenge: Dessert Edition

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Very Berry Brownie Pizza, a portion of the recipe provided below. For the full recipe visit Wife, Mama, Foodie.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups semi sweet or dark chocolate chips, separated (I like Enjoy Life brand for dairy-free)
  • ½ cup coconut oil or butter, plus extra for greasing pan
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup arrowroot starch or Corn Starch
  • 1 cup of cold coconut cream,* about 1-2 cans full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream, refrigerated overnight (can also use 12 oz cream cheese, if not dairy-free. May need to add a splash of milk to thin.)
  • 2 tablespoons honey or other sweetener of choice (I like to use a thick raw honey)
  • ½ cup freeze-dried raspberries, optional (omit to keep topping white)
  • 3 cups mixed berries (I used strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • edible flowers and mint for decorating, optional
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Funfetti Sugar Cookie Pizza, a portion of the recipe provided below. For the full recipe visit Sally's Baking Addiction.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup (120g) white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (80g) rainbow sprinkles (not nonpareils)
  • Vanilla Almond Frosting
    • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1 and 3/4 cups (150g) confectioners' sugar
    • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream or half-and-half
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    • salt, to taste
    • extra sprinkles for decorating on top
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Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Pizza, recipe provided below (adapted from Natural Girl, Modern World.

Ingredients

  • Chocolate crust:
    • 3/4 cup oats
    • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
    • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Ice cream layer:
    • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz / 385 g can), refrigerated overnight or ideally ~24 hours*
    • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Toppings:
    • 1 bar of dark chocolate, divided
    • 2-3 tablespoons date caramel (recipe below)
    • 1/3 cup blanched peanuts (salted optional)

Directions

  • For the ice cream layer, open the chilled can of coconut milk. The thick coconut flesh/fat should have separated from the liquid. Scoop out the coconut solids and add to a large mixing bowl. The remaining liquid can be stored in the fridge for another use. Using electric beaters, beat the coconut on medium-high speed. It should take ~1-2 minutes to fluff up. Add the maple syrup (to taste) and vanilla. Beat for another ~30 seconds to incorporate.
  • Once the crust has cooled, keep it on the baking sheet, and spread the whipped coconut cream on the crust. Leave about 1/2" (1.25cm) of space to the edges. Melt ⅔ of the chocolate bar, and give the remaining 1/3 a rough chop. Drizzle melted chocolate and date caramel over the ice cream layer (see note below). Sprinkle chopped chocolate pieces and blanched peanuts on top.
  • Place the dessert into the freezer on the baking sheet. Freeze until the whipped coconut layer hardens to a soft-serve ice cream consistency (~1 hour), then serve. Store extras in the freezer. Once the dessert has been frozen overnight, plan to let it sit out for at least 20 minutes to soften before serving.

The Pizza Day Challenge: Breakfast Edition

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Mixed Berry Breakfast Pizza, a portion of the recipe provided below. For the full recipe visit Tidy Mom.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Dash salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 1/2 cups mixed fresh berries (i used raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 4 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 flat bread rounds
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

 

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Egg, Asparagus, Bacon, and Avocado Breakfast Pizza, recipe provided below (adapted from B. Britnell)

Ingredients

  • 1 pizza crust
  • 1/2 cup of marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup of cheese ( I used Gruyere)
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes (cut into quarters)
  • 3 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 8 asparagus tips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 an avocado, thinly sliced
  • small handful of chopped fresh parsley and/ or basil

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F.
  • Prepare crust and flatten it on a greased pan or pizza stone. Pinch the edges of the crust to make edges.
  • Spread the sauce over the crust and top with the cherry tomatoes and cheese.
  • Bake for 5 minutes. Remove pizza and top with bacon, asparagus, and the two raw eggs.
  • Bake for an additional 5-8 minutes until the eggs are set and the crust is golden brown.
  • Top with avocado and herbs and ENJOY!

 

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Dutch Pancake Pizza with Lemon Curd and Blueberries, recipe provided below (adapted from Closet Cooking)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk, warm
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon powdered/confectioners sugar

Directions

  • Place the butter in a large (10 inch) oven safe skillet, place in a preheated 425F/220C oven until the butter melts, about 30 seconds, before pouring in the mixture of the eggs, milk, flour, sugar and salt and returning to the oven to bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Let cool until the puffing goes down before filling with the lemon curd and blueberries and sprinkling on the powdered sugar and divining to serve.

Oh Sweet Summer

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Dulce de Leche Cronuts, recipe provided below (adapted from Jo Cooks)

Ingredients

  • 4 sheets puff pastry (2 boxes), thawed
  • 2 egg yolks beaten
  • For Dulce de Leche Glaze
    • 1/2 cup dulce de leche
    • 3 tbsp milk
    • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  • On a clean work surface, sprinkle some flour. This will keep the puff pastry from sticking to your work surface. Place one of the puff pastry sheets on the work surface. Brush it with some of the egg yolk. Add the 2nd sheet on top of the first one and brush with egg yolk. Repeat with remaining sheets. DO NOT brush egg yolk over the top sheet.
  • Roll out the sheets so that you have a square of about 12 inches by 12 inches.
  • Using two round cookie cutters, one that's 2 or 3 inches in diameter, depending on how big you want them, and 1 that's 1 inch in diameter, cut out donut shapes from the dough. You should get about 16 donuts. 
  • Place the donuts onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • While the donuts are baking, make the glaze. Add all the ingredients for the glaze into a medium size bowl and whisk well, until smooth. 
  • Place a cooling rack over another baking sheet that's also lined with parchment paper. Remove cronuts from the oven and dip into the glaze, then place onto a cooling rack, letting the glaze drip down.
  • Optionally you could drizzle them with more dulce de leche and then sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar before serving them.
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Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf, a portion of the recipe provided below. For the full recipe visit Jo Cooks.

Ingredients

  • For Loaf
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 cup Greek yogurt
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 2 tbsp lemon zest
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 1/2 cups blueberries fresh or frozen
    • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • For Lemon Syrup
    • 1/3 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
    • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • For Lemon Glaze
    • 1 cup icing sugar
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • milk, if needed to thin out the glaze

 

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Tres Leches Cake, recipe provided below (adapted from Jo Cooks)

Ingredients

  • For Cake
    • 6 large eggs separated
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 3 tbsp sugar (for egg whites)
  • For Milk Sauce
    • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
    • 12 oz evaporated milk (1 can)
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 2-3 tbsp rum
  • Optional Toppings
    • 16 oz whipped cream (I used cool whip)
    • cocoa powder
    • berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 F degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Separate the eggs, placing the egg whites in a bowl for later. In another bowl add the egg yolks, the 2/3 cup of sugar, vanilla extract and beat with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick and pale. Should take about 2 minutes.
  • Into another bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add about half the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and whisk until well combined. Whisk in the milk, then add the remaining flour mixture and whisk well. The cake batter will be quite thick.
  • Beat the egg whites with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add the 3 tbsp sugar and continue beating for another minute until sugar is well incorporated. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes  or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes.
  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the milk sauce by whisking all the milk sauce ingredients into a bowl.
  • Pierce the entire of the the cake with a fork. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the entire cake, evenly. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to overnight.
  • Top the cake with whipped cream, cocoa powder and berries, if preferred.

Grilling Galore

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Chimichurri Steak Quesadillas, a portion of the recipe is provided below. For the full recipe visit Jo Cooks.

Ingredients

  • For the Chimichurri Sauce
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
    • 1/2 cup curly leaf parsley minced
    • 1 tbsp dried oregano (or fresh)
    • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • For Quesadillas
    • 1 lb flank steak
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 large onions sliced
    • 4 Flatout flatbread (I used Light Original)
    • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese shredded

 

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Grilled Salmon Skewers with Garlic and Dijon, recipe provided below (adapted from Natasha's Kitchen)

Ingredients  

  • Salmon Lemon Kebobs:
    • 1.5 lbs salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch squares
    • 2 large lemons thinly sliced
    • 16 (10-inch) bamboo skewers
  • Marinade:
    • 2 Tbsp parsley, freshly chopped
    • 2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, pressed
    • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (we used grey poupon)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
    • 2 Tbsp light olive oil (not extra virgin, pick something with a higher smoke point)
    • 2 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice from 1/2 large lemon or 1 small lemon

Directions

  • Prep: Soak bamboo skewers at least 1 hour to keep them from catching fire. Preheat Grill to medium heat (about 375˚F).
  • In a medium bowl, stir together all of the marinade ingredients: 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, 2 pressed garlic cloves, 1/2 Tbsp dijon, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice.
  • Skewer the salmon and lemon slices folded in half intermittently onto two skewers at a time (The double skewer aids in turning the salmon kebobs on the grill). Brush both sides of skewers with marinade.
  • Oil the grates then carefully place salmon skewers onto the hot BBQ. Grill kebobs for 3-4 minutes per side or until salmon is cooked through and opaque.
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Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Bean Mascarpone, Honey and Granola, recipe provided below (adapted from Cooking Classy)

Ingredients

  • 6 firm but ripe peaches , halved and pitted
  • 2 tsp olive oil , plus more for brushing grill
  • 8 oz . mascarpone
  • Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup honey oat granola (or substitute 1/3 cup chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans)
  • 12 fresh raspberries
  • Fresh mint leaves

Instructions

  • Preheat a grill over medium-high heat to about 375 - 400 degrees. Meanwhile in a mixing bowl fold vanilla beans and vanilla extract into mascarpone until well combined, chill until ready to use.

  • Brush the tops of peach halves with olive oil then brush grill lightly with olive oil and grill flesh side down about 3 minutes or until they have nice grill marks, then carefully rotate (use a grill spatula as they may stick a little) and grill about 3 minutes longer, or until peaches have softened but still hold their shape. Remove from grill, add a spoonful of the mascarpone to each peach (using two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape and drop it), drizzle with honey, sprinkle with about 1/3 of the granola over top (just so you don't cover the peaches entirely) and garnish with a raspberry and mint. Serve with remaining granola on individual plates and serve immediately.

Fourth of July: Burger/ Slider Edition

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The Ultimate Veggie Burger, a portion of the recipe provided below. For the full recipe visit The Awesome Green.

  • For the Burgers
    • 2 cups beet root, peeled and cut into cubes
    • 1 cup red quinoa (white is just as fine), cooked
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 egg
    • 1 onion, finely diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 2 tbsp wholemeal bread crumbs
    • 1 tbsp flax seeds
    • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
    • 2 tsp lemon juice
    • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
    • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • For the Dressing
    • 1 ripe avocado
    • 2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
    • 3 tbsp lime juice
    • 1 garlic clove
    • ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • For the Fries
    • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in ¼-inch long slices, then ¼-wide inch strips
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp cornmeal
  • For assembling
    • 4 Wholemeal buns
    • 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
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Pulled Pork Sliders with Garlic Aioli, recipe provided below (adapted from Stuck on Sweet)

Ingredients

  • 1, 3-5 pound pork shoulder (mine was 3.75 lbs. bone-in or no bone both work fine)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Your favorite barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
  • Slider buns
  • Aioli
    • ¾ cup mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 garlic clove)
    • 2 pinches of black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon chopped chives (I used Gourmet Herbs slightly dried chives)

Directions

  • Generously season the pork shoulder with salt, pepper and garlic powder, and rub pork shoulder with your favorite barbecue sauce (I used a pastry brush to help me do this). Place in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4-5 hours). Once cooked, remove pork shoulder and slightly shred - discard any fatty parts. Careful not to shred the pork too much - you want nice chunks of pork on your sandwich. Add about ½ cup to 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce and gently mix.
  • To make the aioli, add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix.
  • Toast the slider buns in the oven at 375 for a few minutes until crispy.
  • Assemble sliders by adding the pork on the bun and topping with a dollop of aioli.
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Thai Chicken Burgers, a portion of the recipe is provided below. For the full recipe visit Nutmeg Nanny.

For burgers:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced mint
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 burger buns

For slaw:

  • 3 cups broccoli slaw
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced mint

For peanut butter dressing:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Water, desired amount

Ice Cream Substitute = Healthy Yogurt Recipes

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Blackberry Frozen Yogurt, recipe provided below (adapted from Saving Dessert)

Ingredients

  • 33 ounces plain Greek Yogurt 2% (I used FAGE)
  • 12 ounces fresh blackberries, rinsed
  • 1 cup honey (more or less to taste)
  • A drop or two of pure vanilla extract, if desired

Directions

  • Place the blackberries in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Strain the blackberries through a fine mesh sieve set over a large mixing bowl. Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture against the sieve to extract all the juice. Discard the seeds and any pulp.
  • Add the yogurt to the blackberry juice and stir to combine. Add about ¾ cup of honey and taste for sweetness. You may need more honey depending on how sweet the blackberries are. I used just under 1 cup. Add vanilla if desired and blend until smooth.
  • Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions. Serve immediately if you prefer a soft serve consistency or freeze until firm. If frozen remove from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving.
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Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles, recipe provided below (adapted from Love Bakes Good Cakes)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 2 cup vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt

Directions

  • Place the strawberries in the bowl of a food processor, cover and pulse a few times - or mash strawberries with a fork or potato masher until strawberries are chunky with only a few bigger pieces remaining.
  • Place the yogurt in a large mixing bowl. Pour the strawberries over the top and gently fold the strawberries into the yogurt. Carefully spoon the mixture into a popsicle mold.
  • Freeze until completely solid and set.
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Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Banana, Yogurt Pops, recipe provided below (adapted from Recipe Runner)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • 3/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 large ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for 30 minutes before inserting the popsicle sticks.
  • Freeze the popsicle s until they are frozen solid, about 4 hours.
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Mini Organic Frozen Yogurt Popsicles, recipe provided below (adapted from Becky's Best Bites)

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. fresh organic strawberries, hulled and halved
  • Four (4 oz.) cups Annie's Organic Whole Milk Yogurt, Summer Strawberry
  • Four (4 oz.) cups Annie's Organic Whole Milk Yogurt, Berry Patch
  • 6 oz. fresh organic blueberries
  • Ice Cube Trays
  • Mini Craft Sticks

Directions

  • Place about ¾ of the strawberries in a food processor or blender. Add all 4 Annie's Organic Whole Milk Yogurt, Summer Strawberry cups.
  • Pulse a few times to chop the fruit
  • Spoon into ice cube trays
  • Rinse out food processor bowl or blender jar
  • Place the remaining strawberries and all blueberries in a food processor or blender. Add all 4 Annie's Organic Whole Milk Yogurt, Berry Patch cups.
  • Pulse a few times to chop the fruit
  • Spoon into ice cube trays
  • Cover ice cube trays with aluminum foil and press down so you can see the outline of the trays.
  • Take a mini craft stick and poke through the aluminum foil and into the center of the pop (the aluminum will hold the stick in place until the pops are frozen).
  • Place in freezer and freeze until solid, approximately 4 hours

Sizzling Summer Sips

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Blueberry Mojito, recipe provided below (adapted from Baking Beauty)

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Fresh Blueberries, (Set aside a few for garnish if desired)
  • 4 Ounces Rum
  • 10 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 2 Teaspoons White Sugar
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • 6 Ounces Club Soda
  • Ice Cubes

Directions

  • Blend or muddle blueberries until smooth. Set aside.
  • Use a muddler or wooden spoon to blend in mint leaves and sugar.
  • Stir in rum, lime juice, and blueberry mixture.
  • Pour over club soda & ice. Gently stir.
  • Garnish with extra blueberries,lime, and mint if desired.
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Mixed Berry Sangria, recipe provided below (adapted from Gal on a Mission)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and washed
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries, washed
  • 6 ounces fresh blackberries, washed
  • 2 bottles white wine
  • ½ cup ginger ale

Directions

  • Add your fresh mixed berries to a large pitcher, pour in the wine and allow the mixture to sit in the overnight for 4 hours. Overnight is best.
  • Before serving, mix in the ginger ale.
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Spiked Watermelon Lemonade, recipe provided below (adapted from Julie's Eats and Treats)

Ingredients

  • 5 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1 (12 oz) can frozen lemonade
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups vodka
  • ice
  • garnish: watermelon and lemon

Directions

  • Add the watermelon and frozen lemonade to a blender.
  • Blend until watermelon and lemonade are mixed and desired consistency.
  • Pour into a pitcher and stir in water and vodka.

Asian Fusion

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Spicy Sockeye Salmon Poke Bowl, recipe provided below (adapted from Jessica Gavin)

Ingredients:

  • Sockeye Salmon Poke
    • 1 pound sockeye salmon cut into ¾ inch cubes
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce low sodium, or tamari
    • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon sriracha or chili paste
    • 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
  • Pickled Cucumbers
    • 2 6-inch persian cucumbers thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar , Kikkoman
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/3 cup honey
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes dried
  • Sriracha Sauce
    • 2 tablespoons sriracha
    • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt or light mayonnaise

Directions:

  • Sockeye Salmon Poke- In a medium sized bowl combine diced salmon, soy sauce, vinegar, sriracha and sesame oil. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Pickled Cucumbers- Combine vinegar, water, honey, salt and chili flakes in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling turn off heat, add cucumber slices and stir. Let rest 10 minutes, then transfer cucumber to a container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Sriracha Sauce- In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons sriracha and 2 tablespoons yogurt or mayonnaise.
  • Build Poke Bowl- Add any additional desired ingredients to the bowl (like rice or salad) for the base. Top with ½ cup salmon poke, pickled cucumbers, and other toppings. Drizzle poke with sriracha sauce. Enjoy!
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Chicken Pad Thai Noodles, a portion of the recipe is provided below. For the full recipe visit Life Made Sweeter.

  • Sauce
  • Pad Thai
    • 6 ounces dry rice noodles
    • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (avocado oil for a healthier version)
    • 1 chicken breast, sliced thinly
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
    • 1 shallot, diced
    • 1/3 cup grated carrots
    • 1 red or green bell pepper, thinly sliced (I used a combo of both for color, but you totally don't have to)
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 lime wedge
    • Salt, black pepper and more fish sauce to taste
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional if you want it to taste like the North American style as the authentic Thai version does not use this)
  • Garnish & toppingsChopped fresh cilantro, bean sprouts, chopped roasted peanuts, green onions and additional lime wedges
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Ahi Tuna Poke and Mango Salad, recipe provided below (adapted from Foodie Crush)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ponzu sauce
  • ½ teaspoon prepared wasabi
  • 4 ounces sushi grade tuna, diced in large chunks
  • ½ mango, diced in large chunks
  • ½ cup store-bought seaweed salad
  • ½ teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • 2-3 cups loosely packed spring lettuce mix
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon pink Hawaiian sea salt

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk the vegetable oil, ponzu sauce and wasabi until well blended.
  • Add the tuna, mango and seaweed salad to a bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon or so of the dressing. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and stir to coat.
  • In a different bowl, add the lettuce and avocado and top with the tuna mixture. Drizzle with more dressing as desired and sprinkle with Hawaiian sea salt and more sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Memorial Day Weekend: Hawaiian Style

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Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs, recipe provided below (adapted from Cooking Classy)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup canned pineapple juice
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing grill
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (4 tsp)
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into 1 1/4-inch cubes
  • 3 cups (heaping) fresh cubed pineapple (about 3/4 of 3 lb pineapple)
  • 1 1/2 large green peppers, diced into 1 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large red onion, diced into 1 1/4-inch pieces

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Stir in 3/4 tsp pepper and season with salt if desired. Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade in refrigerator then pour remaining marinade over chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate 1 - 2 hours (meanwhile soak 10 wooden skewer sticks in water for 1 hour).
  • Preheat a grill over medium heat to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, drizzle remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil over red onion, bell pepper and pineapple and toss. Season red onion and bell pepper with salt and pepper, then thread red onion, bell pepper, pineapple and chicken onto skewers until all of the chicken has been used. Brush grill grates with olive oil then place skewers on grill. Grill 5 minutes then brush along tops with 1/4 cup of remaining marinade. Rotate to opposite side and brush remaining 1/4 cup of marinade on opposite side and allow to grill about 4 minutes longer, or until chicken registers 165 degrees in center on an instant read thermometer. Serve warm.
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Chunky Guacamole, recipe provided below (adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

Ingredients

  • 3 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1 large jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely-diced
  • half a medium red onion, peeled and diced
  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (such as cherry, grape, or roma tomatoes)
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Directions

  • Add the avocados, jalapeño, red onion, lime juice, tomatoes, and cilantro to a large bowl.  Sprinkle evenly with salt and cumin.
  • Using two spoons, toss the guacamole until it is evenly combined.  Taste and season with extra salt if needed.  (I usually like mine more salty.)
  • Serve immediately with chips for dipping.

 

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Grilled Steak Kabobs with Hawaiian Pineapples and Peppers, recipe provided below (adapted from Soy Vay)

Ingredients

Directions

  • Cut the steak into 1½ inch cubes and place it in a shallow dish or resealable plastic container.
  • Pour the Island Teriyaki sauce over top and turn until evenly coated.
  • Cover and marinate in the fridge for 3½ hours.
  • When the meat is ready, discard any leftover marinade.
  • Soak the wooden skewers in water while prepping (for at least 30 minutes)
  • Chop the peppers and red onion into large squares.
  • Cut the pineapple into 1½ inch wedges.
  • Combine in a large mixing bowl and toss with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Prepare a charcoal grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat.
  • Thread the beef, fruit, and vegetables onto skewers.
  • Cook the kebabs on the grill, turning occasionally, until veggies are tender and the beef has reached an internal temperature of 145ºF.
  • Baste with extra Island Teriyaki sauce.
  • Serve immediately.

 

Traditional Italian Appetizers

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Toasted Cheese Ravioli with Pizza Sauce, recipe provided below (adapted from Rachel Cooks)

Ingredients

  • 1 package (25 oz) frozen cheese ravioli
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup traditional bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pizza sauce for dipping

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add ravioli and cook for three minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • In one large shallow bowl, beat eggs. In another large shallow bowl, combine Panko, Parmesan, traditional bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.
  • Dip each ravioli into egg and let excess drip off before dipping it in the bread crumb mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat until all ravioli have been breaded.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.
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Antipasto Platter, a portion of the recipe provided below. For the full recipe visit Well Plated.

Ingredients

  • 15-18 sweet cherry peppers
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 pound assorted thinly sliced deli meats (I use prosciutto + soppressata + salami)
  • 1 jar marinated artichokes
  • 1 jar roasted red bell peppers
  • 1 jar oil packed sun-dried tomatoes OR sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella rolled in fresh herbs
  • marinated feta recipe follows
  • marinated olives recipe follows
  • 1 cup homemade or store bought hummus + olive oil for drizzling
  • fresh basil + radishes + cherry tomatoes or other fresh veggies
  • apricots + strawberries + fig jam + honey or other fruits
  • fresh pita + pita chips + bread sticks or other breads/cracker
  • Marinated Feta
    • 6 ounces block feta cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    • 1/4 cup fresh herbs (I like thyme basil, oregano)
    • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    • olive oil enough to cover the cheese
  • Marinated Olives
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Italian Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs, a portion of the recipe provided below. For the full recipe visit Spoon Full of Flavor.

Ingredients

  • For the meatballs:
    • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
    • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    • 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
    • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese ball, cut into 1/2 inch square pieces
  • For the sauce:
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup Alamos Malbec wine
    • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Cheesy Vegan Recipes

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Vegan Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese, recipe provided below (adapted from Peas and Crayons)

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of your favorite bread
  • 2 TBSP Daiya Plain Cream Cheese Style Spread
  • 2 Daiya Cheddar Style Slices
  • 1 fresh jalapeño
  • 2-3 TBSP pickled jalapeño slices
  • 1-2 TBSP vegan buttery spread of choice, as needed

Instructions

  • First prep your jalapeño. Remove the stem and slice in half, removing the seeds and veins to dull a bit of the heat. Or leave them in for an extra spicy sandwich! Chop finely and set aside.
  • Spread one side of your bread with Daiya cream cheese and top with the chopped/minced jalapeño.
  • Top the second slice with Daiya Cheddar Style Slices and top with the pickled jalapeño slices.
  • Close your sandwich and, for an extra golden crust, spread the outside of each slice of bread with vegan buttery spread or coconut oil.
  • Next heat a pan to medium heat with some extra buttery spread or coconut oil. Once hot, add your sandwich.
  • Use a spatula to press down on the grilled cheese, and feel free to pop a clear pot lid on top to help melt the slices. Before flipping, add a little more spread/oil if your pan is dry. Pop your lid back on if you're using one and grill each side until golden brown.
  • Melty grilled cheese trick: For the meltiest sandwich ever, pop it in the micr owave for 15 seconds or so after grilling for the most epic vegan cheese pull of all time! It's a bit dreamy.

Vegan Mac & Cheese, recipe provided below (adapted from Delicious Everyday)

Ingredients

  • 200 g potato (7 oz) choose a floury/starchy variety instead of waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 100 g cauliflower (3 1/2 oz), chopped
  • 200 g butternut pumpkin (squash) (7 oz), peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbs shallot roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup nuritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs white miso (note Australian tbs are 20ml so if you are based outside of Australia use 1tbs plus 1 tsp)
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 300 g macaroni (10 1/2 oz)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • baby spinach or rocket (arugala) optional

Instructions

  • Place the potato, cauliflower, butternut pumpkin, garlic, shallot and cashews in a saucepan and cover with as much water as needed so that the vegetables are covered. Add a little salt to season and bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes until fork tender. Do not drain.
  • Place in a blender with 1 1/2 cups of cooking water with the all the rest of the ingredients except the macaroni. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. 
  • While the sauce is blending bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Once boiling add the macaroni and cook according to packet directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. 
  • Toss the pasta with the sauce until well combined. Add some of the reserved pasta water if you'd like slightly looser sauce  Add your favourite greens (if using) and serve.
     
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Vegan Cheese Quesadillas, recipe provided below (adapted from Contentedness Cooking)

Ingredients

  • For the Vegan Cheese
    • 1 can corn
    • 4 tbs nutritional yeast
    • 5 cloves garlic
    • salt, pepper
  • For the quesadillas
    • 1-2 smashed avocado
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
    • your favorite tortillas (I used gluten free flour tortillas)
    • optional chill powder for a bit more heat

Directions:

  • Prepare the Vegan Cheese: Combine corn, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to taste in the bowl of a blender or food processor. Process until the mixture is well combined. Don’t over-process or it will end up too smooth.
  • Make the Quesadillas: Put smashed avocado on your favorite tortilla. Add cherry tomatoes, cut in halves. Top all of it with a real good amount of the vegan cheese. If you like, add a bit more heat with the optional chill powder. Finish with the second tortilla. Cut the quesadilla into triangles, brush them with a bit oil if needed. Bake at 400°F on a baking sheet with parchment paper for around 15 minutes until crispy and golden.

Appetizers for Easter

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Blackened Shrimp Avocado Cucumber Bites, recipe provided below (adapted from Closet Cooking)

Ingredients

  • For the Shrimp and Cucumber Bites:
  • For the Avocado Sauce
    • 1 avocado, mashed
    • 1 green onion, thinly sliced or chopped
    • 2 tablespoons cilantro and/or parsley, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • salt and cayenne to taste

Directions:

  • Toss the shrimp in the oil and the seasoning and cook in a preheated (medium-high heat) heavy bottomed pan/skillet until slightly blackened, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Assemble the bites with cucumber slices, topped with avocado sauce, shrimp and remoulade sauce.
  • For the sauce: Mix everything and enjoy!
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Gourmet Toast Recipes, a portion of the recipes are provided below. For the full recipe visit Billy Parisi.

Ingredients

  • For the Avocado Toast:
    • 1 peeled, seeded and mashed avocado
    • juice of ½ lemon
    • 2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds
    • 1 tablespoon of crumbled cotija cheese
    • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
    • 2 toasted slices of gourmet bread
  • For the Beet Toast:
    • 2 golden beets
    • 2 red beets
    • 1 cup of whole milk ricotta
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
    • 2 toasted slices of gourmet bread
  • For the Salmon Toast:
    • ½ cup of whipped cream cheese
    • 2 ounces of smoked salmon slices
    • 10 thin cucumber slices
    • 10 thin radish slices
    • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
    • 2 toa sted slices of gourmet bread
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Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs, recipe provided below (adapted from  I Am a Food Blog)

Ingredient

 

  • 1 slice pancetta
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 tablespoon mayo, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese, or to taste
  • 1/2 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sliced green onions
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Crisp up the pancetta in a non-stick pan over medium heat until edges curl and pancetta is crispy. Set aside. Wipe out the pan and heat over medium heat. Sprinkle shredded cheddar in tiny disks and cook until crispy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and cool in the pan.
  • Cut the hard boiled eggs in half and remove the yolks from the egg halves into a small bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork until fine and crumbly. Mix with the mayo, cream cheese, jalapeño, green onions and salt and pepper to taste. Fill the egg halves with the yolk mixture and top each egg half with a bit of crispy cheese and pancetta.

Easter: Cake Edition

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Berry Vanilla Naked Cake with Lemon Whipped Cream, a portion of the recipe is provided below. For the full recipe visit A Latte Food.

Ingredients

  • Berry Vanilla Cake
    • 4 Eggland's Best eggs, separated
    • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
    • 1 Tbsp baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1 cup milk (whole is best, but 2% works as well)
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • Berry Puree
    • 1 cup strawberries, hulled
    • 1 cup raspberries
    • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Lemon Whipped Cream
    • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
    • 1 8 oz container whipped cream cheese
    • 2 Tbsp lemon zest (about the zest of 2 large lemons)
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup raspberries
    • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced and hulled
  • Topping
    • Strawberries and Raspberries
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Speckled Malted Coconut Cake, recipe provided below (adapted from Country Living)

Ingredients

  • Baking spray, for pan
  • 3 c. cake flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. malted milk powder
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 c. canola oil
  • 1 c. half-and-half, at room temperature
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. pure coconut extract
  • 1 large egg plus 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Coconut Buttercream (recipe link below)
  • 1/8 tsp. brown gel food coloring
  • Phyllo nest and robin egg candies (recipe link below)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease three 8-inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Whisk together flour, baking powder, malt powder, and salt in a bowl.
  • Whisk together oil, half-and-half, sugar, vanilla, coconut extract, and whole egg in a separate bowl until smooth. Fold in flour mixture just until incorporated. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Fold egg whites into batter just until combined.
  • Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto racks to cool completely.
  • Place one layer on a cake plate and frost top with 1 cup Coconut Buttercream. Repeat two more times. Frost sides with remaining Coconut Buttercream.
  • Stir together food coloring and 2 drops water in a bowl. Dip the tip of a wide, stiff paintbrush into the mixture. Holding the brush 6 to 8 inches from the cake, gently fling the mixture onto iced cake. Repeat for desired effect. Spread Phyllo Nest around the base of the cake, and nestle candies in nest.

Easter Egg Layered Cake, recipe provided below (adapted from I Heart Nap Time)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (two sticks) butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Yellow, red, and blue food coloring
  • For decorating:
    • 1 cup coconut, toasted
    • 8 ounces (two sticks) butter, at room temperature
    • 1 (7 ounce) container marshmallow fluff
    • 5 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2-3 tablespoons half and half or heavy cream
    • 1 cup mini Cadbury eggs

Ingredients

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour 3 six inch cake pans and set aside (you could also use 8 inch pans instead, but your layers will be thinner).
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the cake flour, all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles damp sand. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until smooth.
  • Separate the batter into three bowls, dividing evenly. Add drops of food coloring to each bowl to create a yellow batter, a pink batter, and a blue batter (I used two drops of yellow, three drops of pink, and six drops of blue). Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and let cool completely.
  • While the cake cools, make the frosting by adding the butter and marshmallow cream to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons half and half, and beat until smooth. Increase the speed and beat 5-6 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add additional half and half as needed to reach a light consistency.
  • When the cakes have cooled, level each layer using a cake leveler or serrated knife. Place the blue layer, cut side up, on a six inch cake round (or a six inch circle of cardboard covered in foil). Spread a layer of frosting over the blue layer, and place the pink layer on top. Spread another layer of frosting over the pink layer, and place the yellow layer on top, cut side down. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake to seal in the crumbs. Refrigerate 20-30 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread a thicker layer of frosting over the outside. Sprinkle the top of the cake with toasted coconut, and arrange Cadbury eggs in the center to look like a bird's nest.

Hello Spring: Lunch Edition

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Cherry Tomato, Leek, and Spinach Quiche, recipe provided below (adapted from The Food Charlatan

Ingredients

  • 1 9-inch pie crust (I have a homemade recipe here)
  • 1 cup (packed) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • half a leek*, chopped
  • 1 (9 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • most of a 10 ounce box of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/4 cups Almond Breeze Almondmilk Original
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Fresh basil, to garnish

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Use nonstick spray or butter to grease your pan. Arrange the pie crust into a quiche pan or 9 inch pie pan. Trim the edges if necessary.
  • Sprinkle cheddar cheese on the bottom of the crust.
  • Trim the green parts of the leek, as well as the roots. Spilt the leek lengthwise. Run under cold water, using your fingers to bend back the layers. Leeks are super dirty, so do a good job. Save half of the leek for something else (top a pizza! Throw in soup!) Use a sharp knife to chop one half of the leek, make the pieces about the size you would chop an onion. Sprinkle the chopped leek over the cheese. Use your hand to squeeze the thawed out spinach. Try to get out as much moisture as you can. Spread the chopped spinach over the leeks. Sprinkle 1/4 cup fresh basil next.
  • Crumble the goat cheese using a fork. Sprinkle over the basil.
  • Use a serrated knife to halve most of the cherry tomatoes. Fit as many as you can on top of the quiche. I used maybe all but 10.
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together 6 eggs, Almondmilk, salt, and pepper. Beat for about 1 minute, then pour over the quiche.
  • If your quiche pan separates, or if your quiche looks very full, make sure you place the dish on a baking sheet just in case it leaks or overflows.
  • Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes, or until the top has started to brown and the quiche doesn't wiggle when you shake it.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes before diving in. Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!
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Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich, recipe provided below (adapted from Vanilla and Bean)

Ingredients

  • 1 Can Chickpeas drained and rinsed (aka Garbanzo) (425g)
  • 1/4 C + 1 Tbs Dill Pickles finely chopped (55g )
  • 1/4 C Purple Onion finely chopped (about 1/2 an onion) (36g)
  • 2 Tbs Just Mayo or Vegenaise 28g
  • 2 1/2 tsp Stone Ground Mustard 15g
  • 1 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar 6g
  • 1/4 tsp + 1/8 Sea Salt 2g
  • 2 tsp Dill Weed fresh-chopped
  • 1/8 tsp Turmeric optional for color and health!
  • 8-10 grinds of fresh Black Pepper
  • For the Sandwich (options):
    • Multigrain Bread or Optional Gluten Free Bread
    • Sprouts
    • Kale
    • Shredded Carrots
    • Lettuce
    • Tomatoes

Directions

  • Using a potato masher, rough-mash the chickpeas until most is smashed but there are still some whole chickpeas left. Add the pickles, onion, Vegenaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, dill, optional turmeric and black pepper. Mix well. Taste for seasoning adjustment.
  • Store in an covered container for up to two days. Delicious alone or piled high on multigrain with accompanying veggies.
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Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing, recipe provided below (adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced (or you can double this to 2 avocados!)
  • 4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • Half a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Poppyseed Dressing:
    • 1/2 cup avocado oil (or any oil, such as olive oil)
    • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp. honey
    • 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
    • pinch of ground dry mustard (optional)
    • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  • Toss all ingredients together with your desired amount of dressing until combined. Serve immediately.
  • To make the dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until combined

Saint Patrick's Day (Green) Desserts

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Andes Mint Cupcakes, recipe provided below (adapted from Baked by an Introvert)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • For the frosting
    • 1 cup unsalted butter soft
    • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
    • 3-4 drops green food coloring
    • chocolate mint candies optional

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 20 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the oil, butter, and sugars until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternating with the milk, begin and end with the flour mixture. Beat until well blended.
  • Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into the paper lined muffin pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few dry crumbs. Remove cupcakes immediately from pans, and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Make the frosting - In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, cream, and peppermint extract. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the food coloring. Beat until blended. Top the cupcake with the frosting. Decorate with chocolate mint candies if desired.
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Mint Chocolate Chip Greek Yogurt Popsicles, recipe provided below (adapted from Marsha's Baking Addiction)

Ingredients

  • For the Popsicles
    • 2 cups (500g) vanilla greek yoghurt
    • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
    • 1 - 2 teaspoons mint extract
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1/2 cup (90g) chocolate chips
    • Green food colouring
  • For the Topping
    • 1 cup (175g) milk chocolate, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons (30g) coconut oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • For the Popsicles
    • Whisk together the yoghurt, milk, mint extract, and honey.
    • Add in enough green food colouring to reach your desired shade.
    • Stir in the chocolate chips, then pour the mixture evenly into 6 popsicle molds. If desired, sprinkle on some more chocolate chips.
    • Freeze for 2 hours before putting wooden popsicle sticks in the centres. Freeze for a further 4 hours or overnight.
  • For the Topping
    • Microwave the chocolate and coconut oil together until melted, stirring every 20 seconds. Stir in the vanilla. Let the chocolate come to room temperature.
    • When ready to serve, run the molds under warm water to remove easily. Dip each popsicle in the chocolate, or drizzle on top. Serve immediately.
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Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies, recipe provided below (adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction)

Ingredients

  • Sally's Fudge Brownies
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) salted butter
    • 8 ounces coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
    • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Mint Cheesecake Layer
    • 8 ounces (224g) cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract*
    • 2 drops liquid or gel green food coloring*
    • 2/3 cup (120g) mini chocolate chips

Directions

  • Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 11 x 7 inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside. Set out 8 ounces of cream cheese for the cheesecake layer and allow to soften as you prepare the brownies.
  • Make the brownies first: Melt butter and semi-sweet chocolate in a medium saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly (about 6 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (about 15 minutes). You may also stick the chocolate/butter mixture into the refrigerator to cool to room temperature quicker.
    Stir sugar into cooled chocolate/butter mixture until combined. Add in the eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour and salt. Pour batter into prepared pan, reserving 1/4 cup of batter.
  • Make the cheesecake swirl: With a hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat the softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolk, 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, and 2 drops of food coloring in a medium bowl until completely smooth - about 1 minute. Manually stir in the mini chocolate chips. Dollop spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture on top of the prepared brownie batter. Cover with the last 1/4 cup of brownie batter. Glide a knife through the layers, creating a swirl pattern. Add more mini chocolate chips on top, if desired.
  • Bake brownies for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. Check them at the 30 minute mark to be sure. Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares. Brownies stay fresh stored in the refrigerator for 1 week.