Waffles you can feel good about {Coconut & Vanilla Bean Waffles}

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Waffles. I love them. I have a basic recipe that I’ve used for years, but since I’ve been learning about food and what is actually healthy {and even redefining my definition of healthy}, I’ve been revamping my old recipes to fit this new definition.  The recipe that I used to use called for refined sugar and vegetable oil, but I have replaced those yucky ingredients with coconut palm sugar and coconut oil.  I have also changed the type of all-purpose flour and baking powder that I use.

Now, I definitely don’t recommend eating these every day.  I have these, maybe, once a month, and always on Pancake Sunday.  This recipe is simply a healthier approach to waffles.  Next time you are craving a fried, doughy cake drenched in maple syrup, instead of reaching for that box of mystery ingredients, try this recipe! Your body will thank you!

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Coconut & Vanilla Bean Waffles

Makes six 7″ waffles.

1 3/4 cups unbleached, unbromated flour (Bob’s Red Mill is a good one)

2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar

1 tablespoon non-aluminum baking powder

1/4 teaspoons salt

1 3/4 cups almond milk (or your choice milk)

2 eggs

1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil

1 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)

Plug in the ol’ waffle maker or preheat your stove-top waffle iron.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, mix milk, eggs, & coconut oil together. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and use the tip of a small knife to scrap the beans out. Add them to the milk mixture. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until combined. The mixture will be slightly lumpy.

Butter your waffle iron, if needed, then spoon about 3/4 cups (depending on the size of your iron, mine is a 7″ iron) onto the iron.  Cook them however you normally cook waffles, top with pure maple syrup, and enjoy!

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Come back tomorrow to see what I do with these little cuties:

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Oh, and don’t forget about my current giveaway from MilkNMore! It ends on the 31st at midnight. Have a great Tuesday!

Healthy Pasta Salad with Cucumber-Lime Vinaigrette

This pregnancy has me craving cold dishes. I have probably made 5 different pasta salad variations in the past 3 weeks.  I just can’t get enough of them! Plus it’s a good way for me to get more raw vegetables in my diet, which I need even more since I’m, you know, growing another human being.

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A healthy pasta salad?

Take a look at those beautiful colors! Any dish with that many colors has got to be packed with tons of good stuff, right? And as long as you use whole grain pasta, there will be nothing bad about this salad.

Pasta Salad with Cucumber-Lime Vinaigrette

half a box of your choice of pasta salad noodles (I chose penne)

1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and chopped about 1/4 inches thick

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces 

1/2 to 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes (your preference)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (took me 3 juicy limes)

1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or another flavorless oil, like canola)

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like things spicy)

generous amounts of salt and pepper for seasoning

Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl toss cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, and cilantro to mix well. In a small bowl mix lime juice, oil, honey, red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour vinaigrette over pasta and vegetables.

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It keeps pretty well overnight in the refrigerator, so you can make this dish ahead of time. It’s great for Saturday BBQ’s or potluck dinners at church. You can make it gluten-free, too, by replacing the noodles with gluten-free noodles, of course.

5 pins that make my mouth water

My friend, Amanda (who will be moving to Yuma at the end of the year!!!!) keeps pinning very naughty, delicious, mouth-watering desserts. I have no idea why she wants to torture my pregnant eyes and belly. She knows I have little control over my cravings at this point in my life. Shame. Anyway, I thought I’d share a few of the best looking pins. I will be making most of these in the near future since I’m working at the CPC now and can share my sweet goodies with the ladies there!

1. Skinny Vanilla Bean Donuts

Skinny Vanilla Bean Donuts copy

2. New York Style Cheesecake Cupcakes

New York Style Cheesecake Cupcakes copy

 

3. To Die For Banana Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

 

To Die For Banana Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting copy

 

4. French Toast Sticks with Cream Cheese Filling

French Toast Sticks with Cream Cheese Filling copy

 

5. The Best Banana Pudding Ever!

The Best BAnana Pudding Ever copy

So, as you can see, I am craving mostly bananas and cheesecake. Also peanut butter, but she didn’t really pin any great peanut butter recipes. That is probably a good thing, though.

Enjoy your weekend!!

Rotini Bake

I have never been too big on leftovers, but lately I’ve been including one leftover night in my weekly meal plan just to give me a little more time to spend with Milo on the days he goes to preschool.  Although I don’t love the idea of serving my family something that was cooked previously, they don’t seem to mind too much, so I guess it’s okay…as long as I don’t do it more than once a week! 

This rotini bake is pretty simple and not fancy at all. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal paired with a nice, green salad! And if you’re into the whole leftovers thing, it keeps great for a day or two in the fridge.

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Rotini Bake

1lb whole grain rotini pasta

1lb ground beef

1 28oz jar of marinara sauce (my favorite is Newman’s)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 15oz container ricotta cheese

1/2 cup of pasta water

2 cups mozzarella cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook pasta until al dente (save a 1/2 a cup of the pasta water!) and brown beef in a skillet. In a large bowl or in the pot you cooked the pasta in, combine the pasta, beef, tomato sauce, basil, parsley, ricotta cheese, water, and salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a large casserole dish. Mine was 3.75 qt and was up to the top. Top with mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes. This will serve 6 in one sitting, or 3 for two nights!

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Enjoy!

Enchilada night!

My husband spent about a week out in the middle of nowhere in 115 (probably even more!) degree heat. So I wanted to make him a special dinner on the night he came home. He loves anything Mexican when it comes to food. His favorite thing that I make is shrimp tacos.  If you’re good, I might share the recipe one day!

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Quick Enchiladas

Makes about 12 enchiladas

2 chicken breast, boiled, and shredded

half an onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small can diced green chilies

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

about 2 cups of your favorite enchilada sauce *I normally make my own, but was in a hurry, so I used the canned sauce*

2 cups shredded cheese 

12 corn tortillas

Cilantro and green onions to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Heat some oil in a small pan and cook onions and garlic until the onions are nice and soft. Add the spices to the pan and cook for about a minute. In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, onion mixture, green chilies, 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup of shredded cheese, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of cilantro.

Heat the corn tortillas in the microwave between two damp cloths to soften them up so they don’t break while you are stuffing them. Oil a casserole dish big enough to hold 12 enchiladas. I also like to put a few tablespoons of sauce in the bottom of the dish. Fill the tortillas with about 2 tablespoons of filling, roll, and place in the dish seam side down.  Top enchiladas with remaining sauce and remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove foil, and bake for 5-10 more minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

Top the enchiladas with cilantro and green onions. Enjoy!

Simple and sweet stir fry

I love to cook stir fry. It’s so easy, takes a small amount of time, and only uses one or two dishes! I also like a sweet sauce along with something sweet in the stir fry, like pineapple!

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I used pineapple, water chestnuts, broccoli, sweet onion, and baby bella mushrooms, but you are more than welcome to use whatever combination of veggies you love. Sam has been gone for the past few days (due back tonight, yay!) so I went meatless but you can add meat if that’s your style. Me? I’d be happy if I never saw meat again!

Simple & Sweet Stir Fry

Serves 2

1 cup Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

Half of a sweet onion, sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup broccoli florets

1/2 cup pineapple, chopped, about 1 inch cubes

small can of sliced water chestnuts

Olive Oil (to cook veggies in)

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons raw honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sirracha *or more if you like it spicy*

1 teaspoon corn starch mixed with 1 tablespoon warm water

1 cup cooked brown rice *I like to cook mine in chicken or vegetable broth for more flavor*

For the sauce, mix soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sirracha, & cornstarch mixture together in a bowl and adjust sweet or spicy flavors if needed. Make sure you mix the cornstarch with the water separate from the sauce and then add that mixture to the sauce. Otherwise, you’re going to have clumps of cornstarch floating around your sauce.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and cook the mushrooms and onion on medium-high heat until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, broccoli, water chestnuts, and pineapple and cook for 5 more minutes or until the broccoli is tender.  At this point, I like to add some soy sauce to the cooking veggies, about 3 tablespoons.  Add the sauce to the veggies and cook and stir for about 2 minutes or until the sauce starts to get thick and bubbly.

Serve the vegetables over the rice, making sure to spoon some of that yummy sauce over it!

Enjoy!

Adobo Chicken

It’s no secret that I love Giada’s recipes (see HERE and HERE).  I make sweet & sticky drumsticks ALL OF THE TIME.  I mean, at least 3 times a month.  So delicious. Anyway, I was watching her show the other day and saw her making the Adobo Chicken and I knew I had to make it soon or I would die.  Thankfully, I quickly gathered the ingredients and made it just in time.

So, so, so very delicious.

So, so, so very delicious.

You must make this ASAP. I think that I have decided that it is on the same level (Level “Amaze-balls”, as my sister-in-law says) as sweet & sticky drumsticks.

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Just follow the link I provided in the first paragraph to this amazing recipe! I served cilantro-lime rice and broccoli alongside these lovely drumsticks.  I want to let the chickens who sacrificed their lives know that they did not die in vain.  Their drumsticks fulfilled any chicken’s ultimate destiny.  Thank you, chickens.

If you’re still searching for something to make for tomorrows big game, this would be a great dish!! Have a wonderful Saturday!

Delicious and easy banana pudding

I stumbled upon a recipe that could be the death of my size 2 jeans. I was cleaning out my closet, trying to get rid of clothes and purses that I didn’t use anymore and in the pocket of one of the clutches I was giving away I found the recipe for the amazing banana pudding that a nice lady named Mrs. Ruth from Gethsemane Baptist Church always makes.  I knew she had given me this recipe at my bridal shower, but I wasn’t sure where I had stashed it until then. Why was it tucked away in some random purse? I have no clue…probably to protect myself from it.

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Anyway, I decided to make it despite the danger it could possibly do to my waistline. It is day 5 of the banana pudding occupation and I am still managing to fit into my jeans. I have decided to share the recipe with the rest of the world..or at least with my readers. I got to looking around and it turns out that this is a pretty basic recipe for banana pudding. I am thinking of adding cream cheese to the next batch…which won’t be anytime soon..probably 3 years from now.

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Mrs. Ruth’s Banana Pudding

Serves about 12

3 packages instant vanilla pudding (the regular size, not the jumbo boxes)

5 cups cold milk

8 oz. container of cool whip

8 oz. container of sour cream

3 – 4 bananas for layering

1 box of vanilla wafers for layering

Mix vanilla pudding and milk in mixing bowl for 2 minutes on medium speed. In a separate bowl, mix sour cream and cool whip together and fold into the pudding. Layer the pudding with the bananas and wafers. I like to start with a layer of wafers, just so there is a solid bottom. Then, refrigerate until ready to serve!

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New Years Eve 2011

It’s okay that Miles has decided to stay cozy in my womb because this Momma is going to party it up, kid-free, tonight! And by “party it up” I mean that I am going to a NYE party and I’m going to eat lots of sweets, drink sparkling grape juice, and drive my husband around. Hopefully I’ll go into labor from all the excitement, but I doubt it.  Anyway, I’m here to share the amazing dessert that I made for the party.  I am not sure what it is called, but in my earlier years as a “wankster” (*side note – I first typed “wangster” but quickly backspaced after looking at the word for a whole 2 minutes) I called this dessert “the shiz”.  Since I am more wise and at the mature age of 25, I have decided to rename it “cinnamon-cream cheese tortilla won tons”, because, well, that is what they are.  I was just too stupid to figure that out back in high school when my good friend, Nikki, introduced them to me.  A word of caution – these things are FREAKING AMAZING, hence the formal title they held, and very addicting, and very fattening, so if you make them make sure you are taking them to someone else’s house so they can eat them all. =)

My husband took this picture and was very proud of it.

Cinnamon-cream cheese wontons

Makes 40 wontons

You will need:

10 – 8inch burrito tortillas

1 can of PAM butter spray (you won’t need the whole thing)

About 1/4 a cup of cinnamon-sugar (McCormick’s actually makes this, already mixed)

8oz block of cream cheese

1 regular size tub of Cool Whip

1 cup of powdered sugar

toothpicks

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C)

Heat tortillas in the microwave (according to directions) to make them pliable. On a cutting board, spray both sides of a tortilla with PAM butter spray and sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon sugar on each side, just enough to lightly coat each side of the tortilla.  With a pizza cutter, cut the tortilla into 4 sections.

Next, and this may be a little tricky for some people, but you’re going to take the two bottom points and fold them in together, overlapping each other so that you form a little cone.  I used toothpicks to hold them in place, and had to play with it a few times to find a way that worked.  I ended up doing this weird teepee thing that I can only show you in a photo:

It's not really a teepee, but you get the picture, right?

 

I tried just one toothpick at first, but the cones were going flat in the oven.

You can bake them in a muffin pan, or on a cookie sheet.  Just don’t get discouraged if they come out of the oven looking a little flat.  Not all of them will be perfect little cones, but you can still spread the cream cheese filling on them and enjoy.  Bake them at 350 for about 10 minutes.  I like them to be pretty crispy, so just pay attention to the edges and when they start to get brown, the cones should be done. You can make the cones a day in advance or the morning of, but I recommend waiting to put the filling in until the last minute because you’ll need to refrigerate them if you’re not going to eat them right away, but refrigerating them over night might make them soggy.

For the filling, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and the whole tub of cool whip together until it looks like a smooth, white cream cheese dream-come-true:

…about 3 minutes on medium speed.

Now for the fun part! Put the filling in a pastry or zip-lock bag and cut about an inch (maybe a little smaller) opening at the corner.  Try to fill the shells up as much as possible, really getting to the bottom of the cone.  You might not use all the filling, unless all 40 of your shells turned out to be perfect cones (if that is the case, please let me in on your secret!!).

Oh, momma...

Refrigerate them until dessert time! I have managed to refrain from devouring any of them (I’m saving myself for tonight). I did let Sam have one and he said “They are good…almost too good” with a hint of suspicion in his voice, like I put drugs or something in them. Anyway, have a happy New Years Eve, everyone!!

 

 

Easy Mexican Pizza

Today one of my friends pinned a mexican pizza recipe.  The photo made my mouth water and I knew right then and there that Sam and I would be having Mexican pizza for dinner tonight.  I didn’t end up using the recipe that she pinned, instead I decided to throw it together myself and use a cheater packet (the McCormick taco seasoning packet) instead of making up my own taco seasoning, which is super easy, by the way. I am just really lazy this week (1) because it’s my birthday week and (2) because I have been pregnant for 10 months now and I think I’ve earned the right to slack on a few things, especially in the kitchen.

My sweet husband just told me that “dinner tonight was restaurant quality! Best Mexican pizza I’ve had made by a white woman in Japan!”  He then informed me that the restaurant he was referring to was Taco Bell, and laughed hysterically.  I did not think it was all that amusing.  But seriously, he loved the Mexican pizza.  It was gone in less than 2 minutes and when he learned that I threw away the rest of the meat, he threw a temper tantrum, kicked off his trousers, and ran around the house in his underwear yelling “I NEED MORE MEAT!!”  Don’t tell him I told you that. Anyway, here’s the recipe!

Easy Mexican Pizza

Makes 4 pizzas

8 (8 inch) flour or corn tortillas

1 can refried beans

1 lb lean ground beef

1 garlic clove – minced, diced, whatever…

1 small red onion – diced

1 package of McCormick’s hot taco seasoning

1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)

2 roma tomatoes – seeded and diced

1 jar salsa

2 green onions – sliced thin

1 package of mexican cheese

*optional – taco sauce, lettuce, sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (or 180 degrees C).

Cook the beef, onions, and garlic until the beef is done. Add the taco seasoning and a little bit of water (no more than 1/4 of a cup, just so it’s not super dry).  Spray a cookie sheet with PAM or something of the like and arrange 2 or 4 of the tortillas (however many you can fit) on the cookie sheet. Take a spoonful of beans and spread on each tortilla, top with a little bit of cheese, then top with some meat, and add another tortilla on the very top.  I sprayed the tortillas with a bit of PAM to make them extra crunchy since I was using flour tortillas.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Remove pizzas from oven, top with some salsa, tomatoes, green onions, and cheese, then stick those bad boys back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and looks ooey-gooey.  After you let them cool, top with taco sauce, sour cream, whatever floats your boat! Enjoy!