Sunday, January 27, 2013

S'mores Shake

 I heard about a recipe for a marshmallow shake circulating the internet and I thought to myself, how about I take it a step further and create a s'mores shake! So that's what I did.

This is super yummy and perfect for enjoying near a fire!

S'mores Shake
  • 1 bag jumbo marshmallows
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 3 cups creamy vanilla ice cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 box of graham crackers 
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted 
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar 
  • 1 king size Hershey milk chocolate bar 

In a medium sized bowl, crush cup of graham crackers into crumbs enough to make 1 cup. Add melted butter and brown sugar. Stir together until it forms a crust crumble.Set aside.

On a cookie sheet, place 1/2 bag of marshmallows in a row. Turn oven to broil. Place in oven for 2 to 3 minutes, until completely charred.Take out of oven and let cool.

Repeat this step but only let the marshmallows toast, so they are slightly burnt.Take out of oven and let cool.

In a blender, pour milk, sour cream, ice cream, vanilla extract and charred marshmallows. Mix for 5 minutes. Pour in a large glass about 1/3 of the way. Add layer of crust crumble, repeat until filled to the top. Top with crust crumble, graham crackers and a big toasted marshmallow!
It's always fun to have a little helper!

Friday, January 18, 2013


So what is polenta? Well, I asked myself that very question when I picked it up on the pasta isle at Walmart. It looked very interesting indeed. It was packaged like a tube of ground hamburger but it's yellow as it's made from corn meal. It's a substitute for pasta and very popular in certain parts of Italy. At our house we like to try new things.

I put together this fun polenta dish that was very tasty! I used my own homemade bottled sweet spaghetti sauce from garden grown tomatoes. Here is quick version of it.

  • 1 pkg of Polenta
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella
Heat a skillet to medium high. Add oil. Slice polenta and add to hot oil. Fry until golden brown. Add a pinch of salt. Remove from heat.

In a separate frying pan add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, salt, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder and cinnamon. Stir and let simmer on medium high until it becomes a thick sauce.

Arrange polenta slices on a platter and top with sauce. Sprinkle cheese and parsley over top. Enjoy!

Cookie Butter Waffles with Creme Fraiche

Wow! This is superb! I never knew what I had been missing out on until I went to a real Belgium waffle house in Salt Lake City where they make authentic Belgium waffles. Nothing like any American Belgium waffle I have ever tasted. The batter is sweet and they used something called pearlized sugar in the batter which makes it crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Almost like it was deep fried. Then there is a Belgium topping called Speculoos which you can buy online or at Trader Joes. It's a creamy spread made from crushed cookies. It tastes like cookie butter. Almost as though they used waffle cones and cookies. Then they serve it with creme fresh which looks like whipped cream but is much creamier (whipped longer) and has a little tang to it.

So I went home and experimented with what I could get just from Walmart. I found Lotus brand Biscoff spread. Very close to speculoos but not quite the same. It also is a cookie butter made from Biscoff cookies. Much creamier and smoother than the speculoos. I had to make my own creme fraiche since that is something I have only seen in Germany. My makeshift creme fresh works very well! You must use the Greek style plain yogurt - or it won't work at all. The Greek style yogurt is a completely different consistency, flavor and texture than the cheap American plain yogurts. It's what they use in Europe. here is the brand I chose.

Cookie Butter Waffles with Creme Fraiche

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup Greek style plain yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • (4 cups oil for frying)

Creme Fraiche
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup Greek style plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsp sugar
In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk. yogurt, vanilla, butter and sugar. Stir well. 

Heat waffle iron. Pour batter in and cook waffles. When waffles are all finished. Heat deep fryer or pan with 4 cups of oil. Heat on medium high. Fry waffles about 1-2 minutes on each side (they float so you have to turn them) until golden crisp. Lay on paper towel to absorb oil.

In a medium bowl add whipping cream, vanilla and sugar. Beat with mixer until whipping cream is quite stiff. Add yogurt and blend for 30 more seconds. 

While waffles are hot, spread cookie butter spread over the top. Top with scoop of creme fraiche. Sprinkle powdered sugar over top. Add fresh strawberry slices. Enjoy!

Lemon Balsamic Mushroom Penne

This is super delicious and super healthy! Especially if you use whole wheat penne. I created this one night as a quick, easy, and flavorful dish for the family. It was a hit!

The glaze I used is Monari Federzoni Sweet Onion Balsamic Glaze which I found at Walmart. I love it on fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and salads. It adds the perfect sweet and tangy flavor to any dish.

Also, the essential lemon oil I used in this recipe was amazing! Just a few drops and the whole kitchen smelled like I had just zested a lemon. You get all that lemon flavor without the bitterness from the peel our sourness from the juice. Love it!

Lemon Balsamic Penne
  • 1 box of penne
  • 2-3 fresh medium sized tomatoes, halved and then quartered
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil (I use doterra)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • Sweet balsamic glaze
Cook penned according to directions on box. Drain and rinse. Place back in pot. Stir in 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Turn pot on medium heat. Add mushrooms and continuously stir until mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach and tomatoes.

In a small bowl add lemon juice, lemon essential oil, 2 Tbsp olive oil, garlic powder, salt and a dash of pepper.Stir well and pour over pasta. Toss and coat pasta. Spoon onto serving plate. Sprinkle parsley over top and drizzle balsamic glaze. Enjoy!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cauliflower Crust Pizzas

Another Pinterest delight! I was skeptical at first but in the end it exceeded my expectations big time! You wonder how in the world does grated cauliflower turn into or taste like pizza crust. Then when you put it in the oven you worry it will come out mushy or soggy. Nope! It really was a delicious, crisp, thin pizza crust! In fact we wished we would have doubled the recipe because 4 just wasn't enough.

I love that I can now enjoy pizza without feeling bloated from all the carbs. I felt perfectly satisfied after eating this! I think it's great for people with gluten allergies too. So worth making!

Cauliflower Crust Pizzas

Cauliflower Crust (Makes 4 individual pizzas)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups riced cauliflower (grate the cauliflower on a cheese grater)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh julienned basil
Pizza Toppings
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (1/4 cup per pizza)
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • Basil Ricotta (recipe below)
Note - I used mozzarella slices, shredded pizza blend cheese, onions, baby spinach leaves, and salami for my toppings.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl, combine riced cauliflower, basil, eggs and mozzarella. Divide into 4 amounts and press evenly into a pizza crust shape on the baking sheet. (At first you will wonder how this messy crust will turn into pizza crust. I was worried. Trust me - after it comes out of the oven it's really like a thin pizza crust! Not mushy at all)

Bake crust for 15 minutes. Add sauce and toppings and bake another 5 minutes. Carefully use a thin  spatula to remove pizzas from pan. Enjoy!

Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce

This is super delicious!! My husband is not a fan of cranberries but he loved this! I don't know what it is about berries and cheese but this is a perfect marriage!

Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce

  • 3/4 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 16-ounce brie round
  • Zest of one orange
  • 2/3 cup walnut pieces
  • Crackers for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the top of the rind from the cheese using a serrated knife, and discard the rind. Place the cheese, cut side up on an oven safe plate or bowl. Just make sure to use a larger plate or a bowl so your cheese doesn’t start oozing off the plate like mine is in the above photo. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the cranberry sauce. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is soft and warm. Sprinkle the top with orange zest and walnuts. Serve immediately with crackers.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos

I love these!! The taco filling is so creamy and filling! I love things that are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside. 

Crispy Black Bean Tacos
  • 2 C. black beans, cooked
  • ½ C. red onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 4-6 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Hot sauce
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
In a medium bowl, add beans along with red onion, cilantro, and spices. Add a pinch of salt and lightly mash all of the ingredients together. Grate your cheese and have it ready as well. In a large, non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet, add a few tablespoons of oil and heat over medium-high heat.

Add one corn tortilla at a time and let each get hot in the oil for a few seconds. Then add about 1?4 cup of the bean filling to one half of the tortilla. Top with a sprinkle of grated cheese.Using a spatula, carefully fold the tortilla over so it forms a shell. Press down lightly on the tortilla so it holds its shape.

As the first tortilla cooks, move it to the side and do a second one. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to get 2 or 3 tacos at once. If you have a griddle you can do even more at once. Cook each taco for about 3 minutes per side until they are nicely browned and crispy.

When flipping the taco to cook on the other side, use a spatula and flip the taco toward the fold so the filling doesn’t fall out.

Serve tacos with toppings like hot sauce, salsa, avocados, and sour cream.

Cheesy Garlic Potato Patties

My mom gave me this idea after a holiday dinner when we had a lot of mashed potatoes left over. It was genius! It's a great way to enjoy mashed potatoes. Soft, cheesy and velvety on the inside and crispy golden on the outside. We used real potatoes but instant would work just fine!

Cheesy Potato Patties
  • Medium sized bowl of mashed potatoes (stiff yet velvety)
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
  • 3-5 eggs
  • 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp oil
It works best if your mashed potatoes have been refrigerated over night and are very cold. They are easier to form and hold shape. Stir in 1 tsp garlic, salt & pepper and 2 1/2 cups of shredded cheese. Shape into patties and set aside on plate. In a soup plate add 3-5 whisked eggs. In a second soup plate add 2 cups bread crumbs. Stir garlic and 1/2 shredded cheese into bread crumbs. Heat up a skillet to medium high heat and add 3 Tbsp oil. Dip patties in egg mixture coating both sides evenly and then roll in bread crumb mixture, until all sides are covered. Place patties right away into hot skillet. Fry until golden brown on the outside. Serve with your dipping sauce of choice!

Sweet and Spicy Bacon

I found this on Pinterest and I loved it! It makes a nice little snack, side or appetizer.

Sweet and Spicy Bacon
  • 1 package of bacon (I use turkey bacon)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • (optional) Nutella
Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange bacon sliced onto baking sheet making sure slices do not overlap.  Mix together sugar, chili powder and pepper. Sprinkle over bacon. Bake for approximately 8 minutes. CAREFULLY flip bacon slices and sprinkle sugar/pepper mixture onto slices. Return to oven and bake for an additional 8 minutes.

Try dipping bacon in Nutella, or you can spread the Nutella over the bacon!