Archive for December, 2011

Top 11 Recipes for 2011 and Happy New Year!

The last day of 2011 has arrived, and quite quickly I must say! It seems like the past six months have flown by…yet I feel like I say this every year :)

2011 has been a wonderful twelve months for me — this year has been one of ups and downs, many surprises, new adventures (blogging included), discovering more about myself and embracing who I am all while striving to be a better wife, daughter, friend and colleague…and blogger!

Thank you my lovely readers, for stopping in and allowing me to share my kitchen creations with you.  I’m still amazed at all the people who drop by and read what I have to say on my humble little space.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Here’s to a blessed new year in 2012! I was emailed the following and just had to share :) Wishing you a….

Fantastic JANUARY
Love able FEBRUARY
Marvelous MARCH
Fool less APRIL
Enjoyable MAY
Successful JUNE
Wonderful JULY
Independent AUGUST
Romantic SEPTEMBER
Tastiest OCTOBER
Beautiful NOVEMBER
Happiest DECEMBER

Now to count down the “Top 11 Recipes from 2011″ :)

11. Flourless Chunky Monkey Chip Cookies

10. Caramelized Onion, Butternut and Goat Cheese Pizza with a Grain-Free Crust

9. Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Bake

8. Turkey Stuffed Peppers

7. Banana Bread Quinoa Flake Bake

6. Banana Split for Breakfast

5. Baked Beet Chips

4. Southwest Quinoa Patties with Avocado Sauce

3. Roasted Fajita-Spiced Chickpeas

2. Banana Buddy Shake

And the number one recipe for the year is….
1. Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Aioli

Love, hugs and health to you all!

Nora :)

December 31, 2011 at 5:19 pm 6 comments

Chocolate Parfait the Healthy Way!

I enjoyed my chocolate “bruffins” (brownie-muffin) so much that I whipped  up another batch just a few days later. I froze half the bruffins in order to have a few on hand when I need a quick snack or when I am on-the-go. There’s nothing like having nutritious options on hand when my snack cravings hit!

I woke up a few days ago wanting something healthy, protein-packed but a little sweet as well. I thought I’d try a speedy breakfast parfait, which completely hit the spot – fruit sweetened strawberry jam and cubed chocolate brownie-muffins layered between creamy and thick greek yogurt. For a vegan and dairy-free option, substitute the Greek yogurt with coconut milk or soy yogurt with equally scrumptious results.

If you don’t have a batch of my chocolate bruffins on hand, (you should go bake some or) feel free to sub your favorite muffin (my cherry walnut oat muffins would work well) or leftover holiday quick bread in this recipe, it’s adaptable!

Enjoy this parfait as a hearty breakfast, an easy snack or a after dinner treat…I’ll let you choose :)

Easy Layered Chocolate Parfait

2 mini chocolate bruffins or 1 regular size bruffin, cubed (can sub your favorite muffin or quick bread if desired)
2 tsp fruit sweetened jam or jelly (I used strawberry)
6 oz plain Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt for vegan (coconut or soy)

mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings for serving OR chopped nuts, optional

Directions

1. In a half pint jar, mini trifle dish or glass, layer ingredients starting with the 1/2 of the yogurt, top with 1/2 of the bruffin/muffin, and 1 tsp of jam/jelly. Repeat with remaining ingredients, top with chocolate chips or nuts if desired and enjoy!

Serves 1

*If you prefer a more flavored yogurt, add in a shake of ground cinnamon or a dash of vanilla extract. I prefer the tart tang of plain yogurt, but if  this isn’t your thing, lightly drizzle with honey, agave or other sweetener for a sweeter base.

December 30, 2011 at 8:45 am 15 comments

Breakfast Scramblin’

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday full of love, happiness and good food :) Although I miss my parents and my family, I am very thankful to have spent Christmas with my in-laws! Laughs, good conversation and family friends along with a fire in the fireplace, home videos of Chris growing up, homemade pumpkin pie and a comforting Tex-Mex meal…that sums up our Christmas beautifully :)

I mentioned a few posts back that I’m really into eggs these days. I thought I’d show you through photos and recipes just how much.

Instead of professing my love for breakfast scrambles through multiple individuals posts, I thought I’d share a few of my egg/tofu concoctions in one single write-up…and in case some of you do not embrace the same adoration for these simple and quick dishes (or for eggs themselves).

For all the egg and/or brekkie fans out there, this one’s (or two or three) for you! I guess I was feeling extra generous :) It must be all the holidays! Of course, you could eat these scrambles for lunch or dinner as well…for me, scrambled type eggs usually remind me of breakfast but this doesn’t have to be the case!

This n’ That Kale Veggie Scramble

Ingredients

2 cups chopped kale (collards or swiss chard can be subbed)
1 cup of sliced red, orange or yellow bell pepper
1/3 small onion, diced or sliced thin (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 to 1 tsp Mrs Dash original salt free seasoning (or other all-purpose seasoning blend)
3-4 eggs, whisked (can sub crumbled extra firm tofu for vegan but may require extra seasoning)
2 tsp coconut oil, butter, ghee or earth balance spread, divided
1 green onion, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
nutritional yeast or shredded or crumbled cheese to taste, optional
optional fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, chives)

Directions

1. In a medium skillet, add 1 tsp of coconut oil and heat over medium-high. Add kale, bell pepper,  onion and Dash seasoning and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until onions are translucent and starting to turn golden brown.
2. Push veggies to the side of the skillet, add remaining coconut oil, let melt and pour eggs into the pan stirring occasionally until they are cooked through, about 2 minutes.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and nutritional yeast and/or cheese if using. Transfer veggies and cooked eggs to a serving plate, top with chopped green onions and serve hot!

Serves 2

Recipe Notes: If using tofu in place of eggs, add in with the veggies in step

The second scramble came about when I had a small amount of cooked beans leftover and a new jar of salsa – thus, an quick cajun-ish dish was born! The first photo in this post is also of the cajun bean and egg scramble…just in case you were wondering…

Cajun Egg and Bean Scramble

Ingredients

1 cup sweet bell pepper, sliced or diced (I used red but orange or yellow are fine)
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onions (red, white or yellow onions are ok too)
2 cups chopped collard greens, stems and ribs removed (spinach, kale or chard can be subbed)
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 tsp cajun seasoning mix or more to taste (for a homemade cajun seasoning, click here)
1 cup of cooked black or pinto beans
2 tsp coconut oil, divided
3-4 eggs, whisked or 3/4 cup crumbled tofu for vegan
salt and pepper to taste

salsa for serving

Directions

1. In a medium skillet, add 1 tsp of coconut oil and heat over medium-high. Add bell pepper, onion and saute for 3 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add in collard greens, garlic and cajun seasoning until greens begin to wilt.
2. Add in beans and stir to combine.
2. Push veggies and bean mixture to the side of the skillet, add in remaining coconut oil, let melt and pour eggs into the pan stirring occasionally until they are cooked through, about 2 minutes.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer veggies and cooked eggs to a serving plate, top with salsa and serve hot!

Serves 2

And last but certainly not least…a nutty tofu scramble with mushrooms, walnuts and bell pepper…SO delicious. After all the rich holiday foods I’ve eaten, I am seriously craving this dish right now! And this hearty meal was served with superfood breakfast cookies…oh yes, that recipe is to come :)

Vegan Tofu, Mushroom and Walnut Scramble

Ingredients

2 tsp coconut oil, earth balance or other oil
1/2 block of drained and pressed extra firm non-GMO tofu, crumbled
1/2 to 2/3 cup diced or sliced mushrooms
1/4 – 1/3 cup green bell pepper  (red/yellow/orange work ok too)
2 green onions, chopped
1 -2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp tumeric
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts (pine nuts or pecans would probably be good too!)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
drizzle of gluten free soy sauce, Bragg’s liquid aminos or tamari (I used about 1-2 tsp)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a medium skillet, add coconut oil and heat over medium-high. Add bell pepper, onion and tofu and saute for 4-5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
2. Add in garlic, green onions, turmeric, walnuts, nutritional yeast and soy sauce and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium and let cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Serves one large or two small

Happy Noshing!

December 27, 2011 at 9:00 am 9 comments

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Merry Christmas to you and your family! Wishing all of you the best and lots of love :)

Chris and I are blessed to be able to spend the holidays with his family this year up in Montana. We are spending a week in Big Sky, hanging out, celebrating a birthday in the family and also working on a few yogurt shop errands for our upcoming store opening (hopefully mid or end of January).

Family is flying in this afternoon so Chris and I will be able to have our own little Christmas together and then continue to celebrate this evening with my inlaws. Instead of breaking out a roasted turkey and all the fixin’s, we will be enjoying a laid-back Tex-Mex meal for Christmas dinner (this is a tradition on his dad’s side)– Tamales, mexican rice, beans, chips and salsa and desserts are on the menu.

Just in case you needed a little more sweets this holiday season, I am here to share grain-free almond sugar cookies…and look how festive with Christmas trees! :)

Cut-out Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

1/3 cup butter, ghee, Earth balance or coconut oil, softened (use Earth balance or oil for vegan)
1/4 cup maple syrup, brown rice syrup, honey  or agave (use any but honey for vegan) (can add another Tbsp for sweeter)
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 egg or 2 egg whites, whisked OR for vegan, omit and add 2 Tbsp more of oil/earth balance or you could try blended tofu
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1/4 to 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

optional: 1/2 to 1 tsp ground cinnamon

melted coconut butter for “icing” or your favorite icing
raisins, dried fruit, sprinkles, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips etc for decorating

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (almond flour through soda and cinnamon). In a smaller bowl, mix together butter/ oil though eggs and extracts.
2. Add wet ingredients to the dry mixture and combine until a dough forms. If it’s too wet, add more almond flour, it too dry add a teaspoon of milk or water until the dough comes together. Divide dough into three balls, wrap in plastic and chill dough in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Working one ball of dough at a time (keep remaining dough in fridge, this helps keep the dough together and more workable), place ball of dough on top and lay another sheet of between 2 large pieces of parchment paper and roll out until ¼ inch thick.
5. Remove top piece of parchment paper and cut out cookies with cookie cutter of choice. Carefully place cut outs on a prepared baking sheet and bake about 8 minutes or until edges are golden brown*.
6. Cool completely and enjoy or top with melted coconut butter or icing and decorations and dig in!

Makes 22-30 cookies (depends on shape and size of cookie cutter)

*If dough is sticking, sprinkle a bit almond flour on one piece or parchment paper prior to rolling.

* If you are baking one batch of cookies at the same time, place the baking sheet and cut out cookies in the fridge while cutting the remaining cookies out to help best maintain their shape while baking.

And a cookie all dressed up! That’s all from me for now :) Enjoy the holidays!

December 25, 2011 at 9:00 am 26 comments

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