Kids in the Sink

Pomegranate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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You know those really intimidating looking fruits in the produce aisle that show up in the late fall and continue to taunt us half way through the winter?  You know, they’re red and kind of strange looking.  Pomegranates.  That’s what they’re called.  Immediately Youtube how to manage a pomegranate and be intimidated by them no longer!  Then go buy one and make these cookies.

These cookies… ohhh, these cookies.  I made them shortly before Christmas and we haven’t gotten around to posting them until now.  That’s ok, though.  And do you know why?  It’s because they’re cute and they’re red and white. Do you know why that’s significant?  Because in a few short weeks, Valentine’s Day will be here.  If you’re on Pinterest, Valentine’s Day has already showed up.  I was pretty surprised to already be seeing all that red splattered all over the screen and the cute ideas I can use for the kiddos but I quickly jumped on board and realized that these cookies would be super for that occasion!  They’re cute.  They’re tasty.  There’s fruit in them, for Pete’s sake, and Valentine’s Day is like the official sponsor of fruit desserts (chocolate covered strawberries, you hear me?).

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I dare say, these are better than the old stand by of boring chocolate covered strawberries or (God forbid) a dumb edible arrangement.  I’m sorry.  I’ve been burned by that company every. single. time. I have attempted to utilize their services on or around February 14th.  So, I’m not sorry.  The only thing I’ll be sorry about is if you don’t make these cookies.  You’ll be sorry about it, too, so do not make that mistake.  Make these for you and your sweetie or your kids or your best friend or whoever it is that you celebrate Valentine’s Day with.  Happy (way early) Valentine’s Day!

-Melissa

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White Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup pomegranate arils

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and vanilla and continue to beat until well combined.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  6. Stir in the oats and white chocolate chips.
  7. With a very gentle hand, stir in the pomegranate arils until they’re evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  8. Make 1-inch dough balls, spaced at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until just golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

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Baked Eggnog Donuts

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I know, I know. Eggnog is a “Christmas-ey” thing and its almost February. We should really be posting about Valentine’s Day treats and everything pink and red and chocolate and kisses and love. And that’s great. Except when are we EVER on time with holiday’s?
That’s right. Never. Maybe we accidentally get lucky once or twice, but usually we are just a few days before (read:a few days too late) or a few days behind (read:totally late). And these donuts are no exception. Not only are they not appropriate for the upcoming holiday, they are grievously late for Christmas.
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But who comes up with the length of time something is acceptable to consume? Who died and made that person king (or queen)? Down with it, I say! It’s still winter! And it’s colder now than it was in December anyways. So lets make eggnog a “wintery” thing and drink it until spring. Or eat it in baked goods.
And if you want, throw some pink heart sprinkles on top in lieu of the candy canes and call it a Chri-Valentine-mas donut. :)
-Heather
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Baked Eggnog Donuts
Makes about 12 donuts

Ingredients:

For the donuts:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg, at room temperature (Come on guys, you know I did NOT do this. And they were fine)
3/4 cup eggnog, at room temperature (I partially, kind of did this. Still fine.)
1/4 cup applesauce

For the glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp eggnog
Crushed candy canes (or Valentine’s sprinkles), for garnsih

Directions:

  1. For the donuts: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and spray 2 donut pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
  3. Add teh egg, eggnog and applesauce and beat until well combined. The batter will be pretty thick.
  4. Spoon the batter into a piping bag or large resealable plastic baggie. Cut the bottom (or corner), and pip the batter into the wells of the donut pans, filling each about 1/2 full. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the donuts spring back when lightly touched.
  5. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for a few minutes before removing the donuts to cool completely.
  6. For the glaze: While the donuts are cooling, prepare your glaze. In a small bowl big enough to dip the donuts into, whisk together the powdered sugar and the eggnog. If the glaze is too thick, try adding a splash of milk as the eggnog is thicker than milk. Whisk until desired consistency is reached. Garnish for whatever holiday you are decorating for and enjoy!

Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

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Shepherd's Pie

shepperdspie1It isn’t very often that my husband requests meals that aren’t pizza, spaghetti, tacos, or spicy chicken with noodles (recipe coming soon).  Every pay period, I menu plan.  When I’m near the end of my rope with recipes and I can’t take looking at another cookbook or food blog, I ask him if there’s anything he wants in particular.  As I said, he’s pretty easy.  He usually wants easy stuff.  That’s nice sometimes because it means he’s not hard to please.  But culinarily (is that a word?), I’m always ready to make something new and exciting.  He very, very rarely gives me a challenge in that department.

That is, until one day about a month ago.  On this evening before I was to go to the grocery store, I was making my menu and list as usual, and I still had two dinners to account for.  I asked him what he’d like and much to my surprise, he asked for something I’ve never made and had zero clue that he had even ever eaten before!  He asked for Shepperd’s Pie.  I’m a vegetarian.  I’ve made lots of meaty dishes before but I had never attempted something like this.  I started, of course, with my best foodie friend’s help.  Heather has a really funny history with this same dish, or some that resembles it.  See, her husband grew up eating it in a very specific way, and refuses to eat it any other way.  The way he likes it?  With boxed mashed potatoes and canned carrots and peas.

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Heather, being the Godly wife that she is, makes this favorite for her husband but she (rightly so) does not eat it.  Needless to say, I knew I couldn’t ask her for her recipe.  My husband would have liked it, I’m sure, because as I mentioned, he’s not at all picky.  But I just wanted something more natural and homemade for my man.  And just by the way, it sounds like such a manly meal, right?! It totally is, but don’t feel weird eating it if you’re a lady.

So, this is the recipe that I settled on.  It was simple enough that I knew I could do it and it seemed like a pretty traditional take on Shepherd’s pie.  Since I’m a vegetarian, I can’t actually vouch for this recipe on my own.  I can, however, tell you that my husband enjoyed it immensely.  He loved it. I think you will, too!

-Melissa

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Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

For the filling:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch thick
1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 cup dry red wine
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp minced fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp dried
1/2 cup frozen peas

For the potato topping:

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (all I had were yellow potatoes, which worked well)
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup hot milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large egg yolk

Directions:

  1. For the filling: Season the ground beef with salt and pepper and in a large pot, brown the beef.  Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Add oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add onion and carrot and a generous pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add broth, wine, and Worcestershire sauce and stir, taking care to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add thyme and reserved browned beef, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 25-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the potato topping.
  5. For the potato topping: Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.  You can test this by sticking a fork in the potato and if it goes in easily, the potatoes are ready.
  6. Draining the potatoes and place back in pot to mash.  Mash with a potato masher and then add in melted butter, hot milk, and salt and pepper.  I used a hand mixer here to get the potatoes nice and whipped.  Lastly, add the egg yolk and mix until combined.
  7. To assemble: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Stir peas into beef mixture and pour into a large baking dish.
  8. Drop large dollops of potatoes on top of the beef mixture and spread it out so that the potatoes evenly cover the beef mixture.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown.  Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.

Source: Taste and Tell

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Shepherd’s Pie

shepperdspie1It isn’t very often that my husband requests meals that aren’t pizza, spaghetti, tacos, or spicy chicken with noodles (recipe coming soon).  Every pay period, I menu plan.  When I’m near the end of my rope with recipes and I can’t take looking at another cookbook or food blog, I ask him if there’s anything he wants in particular.  As I said, he’s pretty easy.  He usually wants easy stuff.  That’s nice sometimes because it means he’s not hard to please.  But culinarily (is that a word?), I’m always ready to make something new and exciting.  He very, very rarely gives me a challenge in that department.

That is, until one day about a month ago.  On this evening before I was to go to the grocery store, I was making my menu and list as usual, and I still had two dinners to account for.  I asked him what he’d like and much to my surprise, he asked for something I’ve never made and had zero clue that he had even ever eaten before!  He asked for Shepperd’s Pie.  I’m a vegetarian.  I’ve made lots of meaty dishes before but I had never attempted something like this.  I started, of course, with my best foodie friend’s help.  Heather has a really funny history with this same dish, or some that resembles it.  See, her husband grew up eating it in a very specific way, and refuses to eat it any other way.  The way he likes it?  With boxed mashed potatoes and canned carrots and peas.

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Heather, being the Godly wife that she is, makes this favorite for her husband but she (rightly so) does not eat it.  Needless to say, I knew I couldn’t ask her for her recipe.  My husband would have liked it, I’m sure, because as I mentioned, he’s not at all picky.  But I just wanted something more natural and homemade for my man.  And just by the way, it sounds like such a manly meal, right?! It totally is, but don’t feel weird eating it if you’re a lady.

So, this is the recipe that I settled on.  It was simple enough that I knew I could do it and it seemed like a pretty traditional take on Shepherd’s pie.  Since I’m a vegetarian, I can’t actually vouch for this recipe on my own.  I can, however, tell you that my husband enjoyed it immensely.  He loved it. I think you will, too!

-Melissa

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Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

For the filling:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch thick
1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 cup dry red wine
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp minced fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp dried
1/2 cup frozen peas

For the potato topping:

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (all I had were yellow potatoes, which worked well)
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup hot milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large egg yolk

Directions:

  1. For the filling: Season the ground beef with salt and pepper and in a large pot, brown the beef.  Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Add oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add onion and carrot and a generous pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add broth, wine, and Worcestershire sauce and stir, taking care to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add thyme and reserved browned beef, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 25-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the potato topping.
  5. For the potato topping: Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.  You can test this by sticking a fork in the potato and if it goes in easily, the potatoes are ready.
  6. Draining the potatoes and place back in pot to mash.  Mash with a potato masher and then add in melted butter, hot milk, and salt and pepper.  I used a hand mixer here to get the potatoes nice and whipped.  Lastly, add the egg yolk and mix until combined.
  7. To assemble: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Stir peas into beef mixture and pour into a large baking dish.
  8. Drop large dollops of potatoes on top of the beef mixture and spread it out so that the potatoes evenly cover the beef mixture.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown.  Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.

Source: Taste and Tell

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Brussel Sprouts Grilled Cheese

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I don’t like brussels sprouts.  Wrong.  I used to not like brussels sprouts.  These days, it is really very seriously competing for first place for my favorite vegetable.  It all started with this brussels sprout crostini.  My world was forever changed.  This grilled cheese, though, has even topped that amazing appetizer.

I got it.  You’re still stuck on the fact that we put brussels sprouts in a grilled cheese.  You’re still stuck on how everyone uses brussels sprouts as the example of the most detestable vegetable you could ever be asked to try.  The vegetable that kids shudder at.  Wrong.  All wrong.  The likelihood that you, too, would enjoy brussels sprouts in a chopped and sauteed fashion is pretty high.  In fact, I convinced my mom to try this sandwich even though she had strong opinions about them originally.  Strong, negative opinions, that is.  One bite and she was a convert.  This is the woman that often refuses to try foods that she previously disliked, because she’s just that sure that she won’t like it now.  I love my mom.  My hard-headed mom.  And I made her love a new vegetable!  I’m done trying to convince you.  I’m moving on. Jump on board or get off the train.  What does that even mean in a food blog context?

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Crusty bread, salty butter, melted cheese, and tangy balsamic vinegar.  This might be what my heaven looks like.  Seriously. I want to eat it every day. I bought two pounds of brussels sprouts yesterday and I have three loaves of English Muffin Bread (I know, yet another shameless plug for this bread of ours but it is the best crusty bread for toasted sandwiches!) in the freezer and I’m ready to hunker down and eat me some veggie-stuffed grilled cheese.  Oh, and just let me add this, the sauteed brussels sprouts with a few shakes of balsamic vinegar are great on their own.  So, if I were you, and I have definitely been you, I would make extra and eat and/or serve them as a side dish because they reheat fantastically!  I dare you to not fall in love with this vegetable.

-Melissa

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Brussel Sprouts Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

1/2 pound brussels sprouts, stems removed and chopped or shredded
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
balsamic vinegar to taste
12 ounces of havarti cheese, shredded or sliced (I’ve also used provolone and tuscano with great results)
8 slices crusty bread bread
softened butter for spreading

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add olive oil.  Saute minced garlic for about 30 seconds and then add in brussels sprouts.  Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until brussels sprouts are wilting and turning golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Return the pan to the burner over medium low heat.  Butter each slice of bread on one side and place butter-side down in the pan.  Top with cheese, brussels sprouts, balsamic vinegar, and more cheese.  Top with another slice of buttered side up bread.
  3. Cook each side until golden brown and serve hot.  And be ready for your opinions of brussels sprouts to be totally changed forever.  And ever.  Amen.

Source: How Sweet Eats

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Donut Muffins

donutmuffins3 I got a doughnut pan for Christmas.  I actually got like sooooooooooooo many wonderful kitchen things for Christmas.  I got a square brownie pan, mini bundt pan, awesome knives, a fancy metal/magnetic bar thingy for the knives, a mini doughnut pan, vanilla paste, whole wheat pastry flour, a jumbo cookie scoop… the list goes on and on.  My family loves me.  Wow, what a tangent.  I’m so good for those.  I was blessed beyond belief with kitchen things (and otherwise) at Christmas.  Enough about that.

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The whole point in telling you that I got a doughnut pan was to let you know that after that, I went on a doughnut pinning frenzy.  Like with a dozen new recipes of baked doughnuts galore.  That’s why it’s kind of ironic that I’m bringing you a muffin that is reminiscent of a doughnut.  I found this recipe a long time ago, back when I was all, “man, I wish I had a doughnut pan.  Since I don’t, let me make a muffin that tastes like one.”  You can probably relate to that because not everyone has a doughnut pan, ya know? You should get one, just because they’re awesome and make such a quick prep for breakfast or snack.  But if you don’t have one, you can totally make these muffins and trick your stomach into thinking you do.

-Melissa

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Glazed Doughnut Muffins

Ingredients:

For the muffins:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg, to taste
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk

For the glaze:

3 tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp hot water

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and spray thhttp://www.closetcooking.com/e liners with cooking spray to ensure the muffins come out easily.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer or a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and sugars until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Mix in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.
  4. Stir in half of the flour, then milk, then the other half of the flour and stir until just combined.
  5. Evenly distribute into the muffin tin.  Each cup will be almost full.  Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center of the muffins comes out clean.
  6. While the muffins are baking, whisk together the ingredients of the glaze until smooth.
  7. Once muffins are mostly cooled (about 10-15 minutes), dip each muffin into glaze and wait for glaze to harden.  If desired, you may glaze muffins twice.  The glaze is super delicious so you may want to do that, if you have the patience and will powder to wait long enough.

Source: My Baking Addiction

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Beany Baked Potato

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That is not a very flattering name for a meal.  Beany is not a good description or something that you would necessarily jump up and say, “Yeah, let’s eat that!” about.  But, nonetheless, I am not that clever in coming up with names for things so beany baked potato is what we have here.

Don’t let the name put you off, though.  This potato is some serious good eating.  And if you’re anything like me some people, you’re in need of some light meals in your arsenal.  My husband just told me to use the word arsenal.  I feel like it sounds militant but he said I’m a militant foodie so we’ll roll with it.  So, after binge eating for the whole month of December and half of November eating a little more than we should have over the holiday months, this meal is perfect to lighten the load.  It’s filling and good for you and super simple to make.  Served with a side salad or maybe some roasted broccoli, it would make a great meatless dinner or by itself as a light lunch.  I served it with just sour cream (greek yogurt, actually) and cheese but as I look at the pictures, I’m seeing now that it probably would have been delicious and even prettier with a bit of chunky salsa.  Definitely trying that next time.  Or you try it and tell us how it was.  Yeah, that.

Happy Monday, friends! Make it a good one!

-Melissa

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Beany Baked Potato

Ingredients:

4 freshly baked potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
4 ounce can diced green chiles
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
For serving : cheese, sour cream/greek yogurt, avocado, cilantro, salsa
Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and chili powder.  Saute until fragrant, a couple minutes.
  2. Add green chiles, black beans, and 3/4 cup of water to skillet and stir.  Cook until heated through and slightly thickened. I cooked for about 5-10 minutes because I wanted a thicker mixture.
  3. Slice hot baked potatoes down the middle and top each evenly with bean mixture.  Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!

Source: Everyday Food Magazine, December 2012

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Veggie Chili

vegchili3Ok, yeah, hi.  We did it again.  Last year around the holidays, we kinda quit blogging for a hot minute.  Or a month. Whatever, who’s counting? This year, it happened again.  It hasn’t quite been a whole month, though! So that’s progress, folks. Progress, I say.  And really, there were good reasons.  Heather and her whole crew got the God forsaken virus known as the flu.  Bad.  Really, really bad.  And me? Well, um… I was busy worrying if my friend and my Godchildren would make it through to see another day in a flu-filled world.  Alright, alright.  I didn’t have as much of an excuse.  Except that I got lazy and I was really enjoying my time at home with my husband and kids.  Sue me.  It’s not like you missed us that much, anyway.  No bigs, because we’re back.

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How’s 2013 treating everyone?  2012 was the year I lost all the baby weight and then some.  And then December came and I gained back some of my “then some.”  I was really enjoying the lighter side, fitting into jeans I couldn’t even wear in high school.  So now that it’s January, I feel ready to jump back on the wagon and start eating right again.  Not a diet.  That’s silly and trendy and no, I’m not getting a gym membership.  I am, however, going to fill the tires on the double jogger stroller with air (again) and commit to eating healthy and exercising more.  You know we’re mostly healthy eaters around here.  We don’t count calories and we don’t restrict ourselves too much.  Everything in moderation, right?  The moderation part is the part I have trouble with.  But, God willing, I’ll get it figured out!

This chili is a great way to start off the new year. It’s super cold in most places right now, and even here in NC.  Who doesn’t love a nice warm bowl of chili to warm them up on a cold night?  I love this chili because it’s so simple, quick, and healthy.  Another huge plus in my book is that it freezes well, so I can take a single serving portion from the freezer and have a home made meal in minutes.  It’s a win, friends.  With a big dollop of greek yogurt, maybe a pinch of shredded cheese and a couple crackers, this is the way to start out your new year!  Happy New Year, everyone.  We missed you!

-Melissa

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Veggie Chili

Ingredients:

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp chili powder
2 bell peppers, seeded and diced (we prefer red, yellow, or orange because they’re sweetest)
1 zucchini, diced
1 squash, diced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 cups corn (frozen, canned, or fresh)
2 cups black beans (or one can, if not using homemade)
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Once hot, add onion, celery, garlic, and chili powder.  Saute until onions are almost translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add bell peppers and saute for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add zucchini, squash, oregano, and cayenne and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in corn, black beans and salt and cook at least another 5-10 minutes.  I like to to cook it a little longer to let the flavors meld together and let it the juices cook down a bit.  I probably cook it for a total of 45-50 minutes.

Source: A lady from some web forum somewhere on the internet back in 2007.  Sorry lady, I don’t know who you were.

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Cheesy Quinoa Bites

quinoabites1Quinoa.  How do you say that again?  QUIN-OH-AH.  Haha, no, just kidding.  It’s KEEN-Wah.  It’s a super healthy grain that is way better for you than rice or other starches and so… we’re trying to like it.  Well, Heather is trying to like it.  I, Melissa, actually really enjoy it in most of it’s forms.  We liked it raw in these muffins and also cooked in a yummy summery salad.  It’s pretty surprising that although we cook with quinoa fairly often, we’ve only blogged it twice.  Until now.

To continue with our appetizers for the month of December, we’re coming at you with a healthy little snack.  This is one that’s been a staple in the house for about a year now.  This is the quinoa dish that finally brought Heather around to enjoying it!  She likes the quinoa cooked in some sort of broth, that’s a must for her.  I don’t necessarily cook it in broth every time, but I prefer it that way too.  It’s just not a deal breaker for me.  But if you don’t much like quinoa, you should probably cook it in some sort of broth so it has lots of extra flavor.

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Then there’s the veggies.  And the cheese.  Use what you have.  The recipe that follows uses cheddar cheese with spinach and carrots but I’ve also successfully made these using roasted broccoli and parmesan and even sweet potatoes and cheddar.  Yum.  A tiny bit of flour and two eggs bring this little snack together to form a pretty well-balanced dish.  In fact, my little guy eats these for lunch at least once a week.  Because that’s right, folks, they freeze well too! I tray freeze them for him to have on days where lunch is crazy and unplanned.  I can just pull out a healthy meal for him and it’s thawed in less than an hour, or in 30 seconds in the microwave.  Can you bring these to a party with your friends?  I think yes. People will be pleasantly surprised that there are actual veggies in it rather than just cheese and bread.  Not that there’s anything wrong with cheese and bread.  At all.

-Melissa

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Cheesy Quinoa Bites

Makes 12 large bites in a muffin tin or 24 mini bites in a mini muffin tin

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked quinoa
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Spoon the mixture evenly into the greased muffin tin and with the back of the spoon, pat each cup down so that it’s well packed.
  4. Bake mini bites for 15-20 minutes or large bites for 20-25 minutes.  Let sit for 5 minutes and then remove from tins and serve hot.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Curvy Carrot

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Faith Friday + Oreo Truffles

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Now that I’m a stay at home mom, (Ahhhhhhhhh!!! My dream come true!) I decided to start waking up at 0′dark thirty when the husband gets up to read the Bible.  What’s wrong with me? I don’t know.  Whatever.  But I have to do it some time because if I waited until I have a free moment, that would be never.  The devil would win and that’s not good for business.  Do you have a routine for quiet time? Any tips for me?  I was struggling to figure out a good time and that’s what I came up with.

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So anyway, this morning during my quiet time, I flipped open my Bible to Job.  I figured, that’s a good book to read again.  Wrong.  That book is sad!  I only read the first chapter and good grief, I was depressed.  Then I had to think about it a little more and really let it sink in.  God allowed Satan to test Job using all of his things, but wouldn’t allow him to actually lay a finger on Job himself.  God had such faith in Job, knowing that he wouldn’t falter or curse His holy name, even when everything he had in his life was taken away.  And guys, Satan really brought his A game.  Satan took all of his animals, which were his livelihood, and even his precious children.  But still, Job praised God.  Not just praised Him, but fell to his knees to praise Him! Wow.  Just wow.  Is anyone else feeling a little… guilty?

The thing Job remembered, even when it seemed like his life was being torn away from him, is that our God is sovereign.  Why would God allow such a thing to happen to such a faithful servant of His? Well, friends, that’s not for us to know.  That’s where faith comes in.  We have to believe that His plan is so much better than ours.  Like, SO much better!  It’s so easy to get bogged down by stuff.  When someone messes with our stuff, that’s when things get real.  We get serious. Seriously angry or depressed.  But do we ever get serious about praising Him when things get all messed up?  Do we ever throw ourselves down on our knees and just worship Him for what He is?  I’ve seen a few people in my life that praise Him even in the worst of storms, but it’s definitely not the norm.  It’s not our natural instinct.  It’s something we have to work at and ask God to improve in us.  It is what He expects of us, and I pray that during this Christmas season, we could remember that.

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It’s so easy to get caught up in this “season” and make it about stuff.  This Christmas, if things don’t go exactly our way, let’s remember Job.  And not just because his story seems so tragic, but because he served the Lord the way that we all should.  He believed in God’s timing and never spoke a curse about it. I bet if we give that kind of faith a try, we would all benefit.  Happy weekend, friends.  Be blessed!

-Melissa

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Oreo Truffles aka Oreo Crack Balls

Ingredients:

1 package Oreo cookies
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
12 oz semisweet chocolate
2 tbsp coconut oil (or shortening)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or blender, process whole Oreo’s until they are finely ground. You could even put them in a plastic bag and bust out the rolling pin. Go old school. Either way, try to get them as finely ground and smashed as possible.
  2. Place ground Oreo’s into a large bowl with the cream cheese. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until it is well combined and all of the crumbs are moistened.
  3. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop out Oreo mixture and roll into balls. Place on cookie sheet and chill in refrigerator.
  4. While the truffles are chilling, place your chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth and glossy. You could also do this in the microwave in 30 second intervals.
  5. When the chocolate is melted, take the truffles out of the refrigerator and  coat them in the chocolate. I used a spoon to coat them and picked them up with a fork, shaking off any excess chocolate. Return to refrigerator to chill until set. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Seriously, they can last a while. But they won’t. Trust me.

Source: A recipe we found somewhere on the Internets a looooong time ago

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