Thursday, February 13, 2020

Feel-Good Apple Muffins

My sister passed on this super easy recipe.  I love it when you can just throw everything in to the blender and pour the batter straight from the canister!  I've made these several times because they are simple and tasty while still checking the low-processed-foods box.  Within the original recipe post, there are several links to similar muffin recipes that I can't wait to try.

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 8 medjool dates, pitted (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 12 apples, grated (about 12 cups total)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt and/or cinnamon (optional)
  • coconut / seeds / nuts / butterscotch chips (optional, for topping)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a blender until a chunky batter comes together.
  3. Pour batter into a greased or lined muffin tin. Sprinkle with butterscotch chips. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the tops gently spring back when you press into them.

  1. Sprinkle warm muffins with sea salt if you’re into that kinda thing. Serve warm or cold ALL DAY LONG. 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

These green chicken enchiladas were so easy to make!  The ingredients are simple and come together quickly.  However, to take the dish up a notch, I recommend the extra step of frying the corn tortillas in oil for a few seconds before filling.  It does up the calorie count, but adds a ton of flavor and texture that makes the enchiladas great!  I made several changes to the original recipe and ended up having enough filling to make an 8x11 pan of enchiladas

1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
2 cups (16 ounces) salsa verde
1 cup sour cream (you can also use 1/2 cup cream cheese to replace the full amount of sour cream)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped, plus more for serving
3-4 cups shredded cooked chicken, (amount from one rotisserie chicken)
1-2 cups shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack or Mexican cheese blend
12 (or more!) (6-inch) corn tortillas

    Preheat oven to 350.
    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat then cook onion until translucent, about five minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the salsa verde and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Remove skillet from the heat then stir in the sour cream and cilantro. Taste for seasoning, adjusting with salt, pepper or more sour cream if the sauce it too spicy.  
    Set aside 2 cups of the sauce for assembling the enchiladas.  Then stir the shredded chicken and half of the cheese into the sauce that has not been set aside.
        Grease an 8x11 pan.  Add about 1/4 cup of the chicken filling to the middle of each tortilla and roll into a cylinder. Repeat, lining up tortillas, seam-side down, tightly in the dish. Spread the reserved sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
        Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 minutes longer, until the cheese is melted. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Soup

What a delicious soup to start the New Year!  Thank you, Oh She Glows, for another great recipe.  I pulled this together quickly for a warm, hearty lunch.  The soup is budget-friendly (another reason I love lentils!), and the combination of spices gives it a delicious and interesting flavor.  I think you'll be satisfied with this soup even if you don't typically look for vegan recipes!

  • 1 tablespoon coconut or other oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1-2 tablespoons curry powder, to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped into bite-size florets
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 5-6 minutes, until translucent.  Stir in the ginger, 1 tablespoon of the curry powder, coriander, and cumin and sauté for 2 minutes more, until fragrant.

Add the broth and red lentils and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes more.  Stir in the cauliflower and sweet potato. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the cauliflower and sweet potato are tender. 

Season with the salt and pepper, and add more curry powder, if desired. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cilantro, if desired.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Best Shredded Kale Salad

Another fantastic recipe from a cookbook I checked out from the library, so I need to keep a record of this wonderful salad because we will definitely be making it again!  The pecans are the showstopper, and chopping the kale very fine makes the tough leaves easier to put down.  

recipe from Oh She Glows Every Day, by Angela Liddon

  • 2 medium bunches destemmed lacinato/dinosaur kale, rinsed and finely chopped (8 to 9 cups)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
For the pecan Parmesan:
  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pinches fine sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant and lightly golden.

  2. Remove the stems from the kale and discard.  Finely chop the kale leaves (the smaller, the better) and place in a serving bowl.
  3. For the dressing: In a mini food processor, process the garlic until minced. Now add the lemon, oil, salt, and pepper and process until combined.  You can also just mince the garlic by hand, and whisk all the dressing ingredients together if you don't have a mini processor.  Adjust to taste, if desired. Pour the dressing onto the kale and mix it into the kale with your hands, massaging the kale as you combine everything.

  4. For the Pecan Parmesan: Roughly chop the toasted pecans.  Place in a small bowl and add the nutritional yeast, oil, and salt, stirring until the pecans are thoroughly coated.

  5. Sprinkle the Pecan Parmesan all over the salad, toss in a handful or two of dried cranberries, and serve!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Heaviland Chocolate Mint Cake (chocolate birthday #3)

This was probably my favorite of the three chocolate cakes, but mostly because chocolate and mint is one of my all-time favorite combinations.  Right up there with chocolate and peanut butter!  The cake is super moist, but the topping/frosting is really the star of this dessert.  Make sure you leave time for the finished product to chill before serving.

Click here to see Jessie's post of the recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
2/3 cup shortening
2 cups boiling water
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt. Set aside. 
  2. Melt the shortening in the boiling water, then stir into the flour mixture until blended. Beat in the eggs, then stir in the vanilla. 
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool. 

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 drops green food coloring
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract 

  1. In a bowl, combine the frosting ingredients until smooth. Spread over cooled cake. 
  2. For topping, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter; stir in extract. Spread over frosting. Refrigerate until set.

Flourless Chocolate Torte (chocolate birthday #2)

I'd never made a torte before, but found this to be relatively simple, and it was a complete hit at my husband's 40th birthday party (especially with the men!).  I omitted the almond extract, but included some whiskey, and served it decorated with fresh raspberries and mint leaves.

you can find the recipe for this special dessert here

9 ounces good-quality dark chocolate — 65% or higher, finely chopped 
9 ounces unsalted butter (18 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
7 large eggs — at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
If you are feeling dangerous: a few tablespoons rum — bourbon, or whiskey 
Optional — for serving: powdered sugar, berries, and/or sweetened whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Grease and line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Grease again.  

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl, until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from heat and stir until smooth and totally melted. Stir in the sugar, then let cool for a few minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, fully combining between each addition. After all the eggs are added, continue to stir until the batter becomes thick, glossy, and utterly gorgeous. Stir in the vanilla extract, almond extract, and any optional boozy addition you desire.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, until the torte jiggles slightly in the middle but is not completely set. Begin checking at the 30-minute mark to ensure the torte does not overbake. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmold. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges and serve alone or with whipped cream, berries, or anything else your heart desires.

Ridiculous Chocolate Cake (chocolate birthday #1)

We did some serious birthday celebrating recently: two major 40th birthdays, and a special guy turning 12!  All three birthday persons requested chocolate cake.  And, to my baking delight, all three desserts were new-to-me recipes!  Not sure I'll ever make three different chocolate cakes in four days again, but it was a fun baking spree while it lasted!

the recipe for this extremely easy, moist, decadent cake can be found here

  • 1 (15.25 ounce) box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally grease a 10- inch bundt pan with butter or shortening and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine all the cake ingredients. Mix on low for 30 seconds until combined and then on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  2. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until the cake is set. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert the pan onto a cake plate. Cool completely before frosting.
  3. Frosting:
    1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed beat the butter, cocoa powder and powdered sugar until combined. Add in the vanilla and cream and beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.  
    2. Frost the top of the cake and garnish with more chocolate chips if desired.

    Tuesday, October 1, 2019

    "Pretend" Cookie Dough Balls

    These are to my favorite energy balls, but easy to make as a vegan and gluten-free option.  I used my vitamix to blend everything until the very last step, and just pressed the "dough" together with my hands, mixing in the chocolate chips at the end.
    Recipe from Oh She Glows Every Day, by Angela Liddon

    1 cup raw cashews
    1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
    1/2 cup medjool dates (best if they are room temp, i.e. soft)
    1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
    1 Tbsp raw cashew butter (could also use almond or peanut butter)
    1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips (non-dairy for the vegan version)

    In a food processor, combine the cashews and oats and process until a fine flour forms, 30-60 seconds.  Be sure not to process too long or the oils will release and the cashews will turn into butter.

    Add the dates and process again until the dates are finely chopped.

    Add the maple syrup, cashew butter, vanilla, and salt.  Process until combined.  The dough should stick together when you press it between your fingers.  If it's too dry, add a teaspoon of water and process again.

    Pulse in the chocolate chips until combined.

    Line a large plate with parchment paper, Remove the blade from the food processor.  Using your hand, grab a tablespoon of dough and roll/press it between your hands into a ball.  Set the ball on the lined plate and relate with the rest of the dough.

    Child the dough balls in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  This just firms them up a bit, but you can enjoy them at room temperature, too.  Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer for up to 1 month.

    Monday, September 23, 2019

    Chicken and Lentil Soup

    Another great recipe for the instant pot from Skinnytaste One & Done cookbook.  This recipe also uses sazon seasoning, so if you try this one, you should make your own sazon seasoning and make the Arroz con Pollo as well!  

    1 lb dried green lentils

    12 oz 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, all fat trimmed
    7 cups water
    2 tbsp chicken bouillon
    1 small onion, chopped
    2 scallions, chopped
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    3 cloves garlic
    1 medium ripe tomato, diced (I used one can diced tomatoes, drained)
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp cumin
    1/4 tsp oregano
    1/2 tsp sazon* (I used my homemade blend, you could also use paprika)
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

    Place all the ingredients into the instant pot, stir and cover.  Use "Soup" button and cook 30 minutes.  When done, and the pressure releases, shred the chicken and gently stir (so you don't mash all the lentils). 

    *You can purchase sazon seasoning from a store, but I made a batch of my own and have had fun finding other recipes for its use.  This is the recipe I used:

    Sazon Seasoning Mix
    1 Tbsp ground coriander
    1 Tbsp ground cumin
    1 Tbsp turmeric
    1 Tbsp garlic powder
    1 Tbsp salt
    2 tsp oregano
    1 tsp black pepper

      Arroz con Pollo

      This recipe comes from the Skinnytaste One & Done cookbook.  I'm borrowing a friend's instant pot, and the jury is still out on whether I need one of my own.  But this recipe was delicious and super easy to make.  I made several changes, which I included below.

      2-3 chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
      1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
      1 tsp sazon seasoning*
      1/2 tsp garlic powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      3 tsp olive oil
      1/2 onion, chopped
      1 red bell pepper, chopped
      3 green onions, thinly sliced
      1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
      2 garlic cloves, minced
      1 1/4 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice
      1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn)
      1/4 cup tomato sauce
      1/4 cup pitted green Spanish olives, plus 1/2 Tbsp brine
      1 tsp chicken bouillon

      Season the chicken with the vinegar, 1/2 tsp of the sazon, the garlic powder, and salt.

      Press the sauce button on an electric pressure cooker.  When hot, add 2 teaspoons of the oil and cook the chicken until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

      To the pressure cooker (still on sauce), add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, onion, bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the rice, 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons water, the frozen mixed vegetables, tomato sauce, olives, olive brine, remaining 1/2 teaspoon sazon, and the bouillon.  Stir well.  Return the chicken to the pot.

      Seal and cook on high pressure for 27 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the chicken and rice are cooked.  Quick or natural release, then open when the pressure subsides.

      To serve, place 1 cup rice on each plate, top with 2-3 chicken chunks, and garnish with cilantro and hot sauce, if you like.

      *I'd never used sazon seasoning before.  You can purchase it from a store, but I made a batch of my own and have had fun finding other recipes for its use.  This is the recipe I used:

      Sazon Seasoning Mix
      1 Tbsp ground coriander
      1 Tbsp ground cumin
      1 Tbsp turmeric
      1 Tbsp garlic powder
      1 Tbsp salt
      2 tsp oregano
      1 tsp black pepper

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