Thursday, May 29, 2014

We're going to Disney!

This time tomorrow my family and I will be in the happiest place on earth: Walt Disney World!! Harper does not know a thing about it. Thankfully we are flying and not making the 20+ hour trip by car. (That would be miserable.) Trips do need snacks no matter if they consist of a 20 hour car ride or a 2 hour plane ride. These cookies will fit the bill. Nobody wants to be hungry in Disney. There are too many AWESOME other things to do. 
Peanutty Double Carob Cookies (6)
 
Peanutty Double Carob Cookies makes about 4 dozen ½ cup butter ½ cup peanut butter
¾ cup honey
1 egg 1 cup flour 1 cup carob powder 2/3 cup rolled oats ½ tsp salt ¾ tsp baking soda 1 cup chocolate chips 1 cup peanuts
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and oil a large cookie sheet. Cream together the butter, peanut butter, and honey. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add the egg and butter mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir until it all comes together. Form a couple of tablespoons of dough at a time into disks and arrange on the baking sheet. Cook for about 10-12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.
 

 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Veggie Burger to Soothe your Cravings

When you're fresh out of ground beef, chicken, turkey, or any sort of meat, a veggie burger may be the only answer to your burger cravings. I am so very glad that I had no meat in sight to make into patties, so I had to substitute in what I did have. That happened to be some delicious feta along with quinoa, sweet potatoes, and a ton of other awesome ingredients. These burgers turned out to be amazing. Whether you are a vegetarian or just out of meat like I was, you have to try one of these patties smashed between a soft bun.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Feta Burgers (2)
 
Sweet Potato Quinoa Feta Burgers
Makes 8
1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
½ cup cooked black beans
½ cup dry quinoa
½ cup water
1 cup crumbled feta cheese            
½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
½ tsp ground cumin
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of cayenne pepper powder
 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and oil a large baking pan. Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a small pot with a lid. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until all the water has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. Add all of the ingredients except for the feta into a food processor. Process until everything comes together. Mix in the feta. Divide the mixture in 8, and make each ball into a patty. Bake for 30 minutes. Increase the heat to 450, and bake an additional 10 minutes.
 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

It has been nice and hot here this past weekend. Homemade ice cream is a great way to beat the heat. Strawberry cheesecake ice cream is a great way to enjoy a traditionally baked dessert without ever having to crank up the oven. It's delicious! 

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (5)
 
Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
16 ounces softened cream cheese
3 cups milk
½ cup agave nectar
½ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strawberry jelly
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Blend together the cream cheese, vanilla, agave, milk, and sugar. Store in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Using an ice cream maker (mine is from Cuisinart), pour the cooled mixture into the frozen ice cream maker’s attachment bowl. Let the machine run for 20-25 minutes. Once the ice cream is creamy, pour it into a sealed container. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, and finally swirl in the jelly. Freeze for at least 3 hours. You may need to let it thaw on the counter for 10 minutes before scooping out and serving.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Customized Graduation Cards

The great thing about homemade graduation cards is that you can customize them to fit your recipient. I made this card to reflect the graduate's school colors, mascot, and graduation year.

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This kind of customization would be hard to find in a store bought card. Especially in the case of a small, private school like the one the girl who will be receiving this card goes to. It's just another benefit of making things homemade.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Pancake Pizzas!

It's a pizza. No, it's a pancake. It's a pizza pancake! A pancake pizza! This easily thrown together pizza requires no kneading, rising, or baking. It's cooked on the stove, so you don't even have to warm up your oven.


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Cut into cheesy, gooey slices, this pizza pancake is the ultimate mix of two of America's favorite dishes. It's your excuse to have pancakes for dinner or pizza for breakfast. It's pretty much the best thing since notomato sauce.

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Giant Pancake Pizza
4 eggs
3 ounces milk
1 cup flour
Dash of salt
Dash of Italian seasonings
¾ cup tomato sauce or notomato sauce
¾ cup shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese

Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, and salt. Preheat a 12" skillet over medium heat with a little oil in the bottom. Pour in the batter, and put the lid on the pan. Cook until the top is done and the bottom of the pancake is golden brown. Meanwhile, mix together the Italian seasonings and sauce. Spread the sauce on the giant pancake, sprinkle on the cheese, and cover with the lid again. Cook until the cheese has melted.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Delicious Muffins

These became my ultimate favorite muffin recipe this semester. They were my go-to late night snack after a long shift at work and quick breakfast on busy mornings. You would never know that sweet potatoes are hidden inside these chocolaty muffins. They lend a delicious texture and gooeyness that you would certainly miss without them.
 
 
 
 
chocolate sweet poato muffins (4)
 
 
Chocolate Sweet Potato Muffins
makes 15
1 cup flour
1 cup cocoa or carob powder
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup agave or honey
¾ cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 ripe banana
½ cup milk
1 ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and oil a muffin pan. Using a high speed blender, blend the oats, flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda together. Pour the dry ingredients out into a large bowl. Use the blender again to blend together all the remaining ingredients except the chocolate chips. Add the wet and dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin pan, adding in the chocolate chips if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Zoku Pops!

A new addition to my house since I went away to college is a Zoku Popsicle Maker. I always have to experiment with any new type of cookware, and this frozen treat maker is no different. I have been brainstorming new recipes that I can try out on it. My first was a strawberry- avocado pop.

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Avocados probably are not the first fruit that comes to mind when you think of a dessert, but it went very well in these pops. That's coming from someone who does not even like avocados. (We had one about to go bad, and I had to find something to do with it.


You can layer these pops between the avocado and strawberry mixtures, or make them two different pops all together. They are great alone, or as a flavor combination.



Avocado and Strawberry Pops
Makes 18
1 banana
1 cup yogurt
½ cup milk
6 tbsp maple syrup
2 cups strawberries
1 avocado

Blend the milk, yogurt, and banana together. Pour 1 cup of the mixture out. Add the strawberries and 2 tbsp maple syrup, and blend. Place the strawberry mixture in a bowl, and clean out the blender. Pour the separated 1 cup of the banana-yogurt mixture back into the blender along with the remaining maple syrup and avocado. Blend until creamy. Pour the two mixtures into your popsicle maker (I used a Zoku Quick Pop Maker for 7 minutes) and freeze.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Graduation Pop-Up

Here is another graduation card. Graduation is getting closer and closer. College graduations have already passed. This card will not take you too much time if you are running behind, but it is not dull at all.

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You may think that the outside is cool, but wait until you open it up. Pop-ups are the best!

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I based this card off of this. There is a nice tutorial for making the pop up. The rest is up to your own imagination!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Strawberries!

Strawberries are finally in season, and I cannot get enough of the delicious berries. They are perfect in just about everything, and are even incredibly good just by themselves. It is incredibly appropriate that today is National Pick Strawberries Day. I don't know where there are any strawberry farms around here, but I think it would be super fun to go strawberry picking. I would probably eat more than we took home. For now I will just have to be satisfied with using the strawberries from the store. With a delicious parfait like this, I won't suffer much.

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Strawberry Chia Parfaits
Makes 2
1 cup Greek yogurt (vanilla or plain)
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp water
½ cup milk

Whisk together the chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla, water, and milk. Let it stand for one hour, whisking every 15 minutes or so to prevent clumping. Refrigerate overnight. To assemble the parfaits, put about ¼ cup yogurt in the bottom of two glasses. Add a layer of strawberries followed by a layer of the chia pudding. Finish the parfait off with another layer of strawberries, yogurt, and topped with more strawberries.

 

 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Turkey Burgers!

I had never eaten a turkey burger before trying these. I was always too afraid that they would not measure up to their beef counterpart, but I had no reason to fear. Turkey burgers are amazing! I think that these are just as good as if not better than your average beef burger. They would be even better smashed between some Greek yogurt hamburger buns or hamburger buns for two.


turkey burgers (3)
 
Turkey Burgers
serves 6
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1 egg yolk
½ tsp garlic powder
Dash of cayenne pepper powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl with your hands until just combined. Divide the mixture into 8 balls, and press them flat into patties. Heat a pan over medium heat with about a teaspoon of oil in the bottom. Cook one to two of the burgers at a time, flipping once the bottom is golden brown. (It takes about 5 minutes per side.) Once the burgers are cooked fully through with no pink in the middle, remove them from the pan and repeat the process with the remaining patties.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Head Start on Summer Crafting

I am home for summer break, and I have already been busy crafting. We have a lot of family friends who are graduating this year, so I have a long list of graduation cards to make. Harper and I got a head start yesterday.
 

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I found the template and idea for this card here. I made some minor size/ detail changes on my card, but I definitely recommend using these instructions to at least base your card off of.

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You can store a gift card inside this awesome pouch. Money and gift cards are all that grads want, so this card is just like the gift and gift wrap all in one.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Whole Grain Coffee Cake

I do not really know why coffee cake is called coffee cake. It does not have any coffee in it. (At least mine doesn't.) I do not wonder why this coffee cake is called 'healthy'. It is purely delicious while giving you a serving of whole grains.


strawberry cream cheese coffee cake (5)
 
This coffee free coffee cake is especially good since it is filled with delicious strawberry preserves. You cannot go wrong with some good preserves.
 
strawberry cream cheese coffee cake (9)
 
Did I mention it is a cream cheese coffee cake too? Yeah, it just keeps getting better and better.
 
 
strawberry cream cheese coffee cake (7)
 
Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
For the cake:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup sugar
1 cup room temperature cream cheese
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 egg whites
½ cup apple sauce
 
For the Filling:
2/3 cup strawberry preserves
For the topping:
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp honey
2/3 cup instant oats
 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” round pan with tinfoil (I used a pie pan because that’s what I have.), and spray it with oil. Mix the oats, oil, and honey together. Set it aside.
To make the cake, mix together the first four cake ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the egg whites together in a separate bowl. Add in the sugar, applesauce, cream cheese, and vinegar. Mix the wet and dry ingredients.
 
To assemble, spread half of the cake mixture into the pan with a rubber spatula. Cover the top with the preserves. Spread the rest of the batter on top evenly. Sprinkle the topping over top.
Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before removing to a cooling rack or cutting.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is the first Mother's Day ever that I have not been with my mom. It is her first Mother's Day without me. I wasn't able to make her the extravagant lunch like I did last year or even deliver a gift in person. I did get to call her and send her this card.

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My mom is the best mom in the world. I am so glad to have her in my life, and I am blessed to be able to claim her as mine. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 9, 2014

My Masterpiece

When you think of people who have created masterpieces, you think of people like Beethoven or Michelangelo. You typically wouldn't think of a 18 year old college student unless they were some type of child prodigy.

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Well, this is my masterpiece. Does it make you want to reconsider what you think an artist is? Or does it just make you drool a bit? Either reaction is fine by me. :)

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In fact, I enjoy creating masterpieces like this tart on a regular basis. You can just call me the next Mozart of the home cooking/ baking world. Or you could just enjoy the recipe. I sure did.


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Peanut Butter Tart with Chocolate Cheesecake Filling
For the crust:
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
½ cup roasted peanuts
15 pitted dates
2 tbsp peanut butter
2/3 cup water

For the filling:
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups Greek yogurt
½ cup honey
½ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the crust, soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes. Combine all the crust ingredients into a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until everything comes together. Immediately spread the mixture into a tart pan with a spatula. Spread it evenly around the bottom and sides.

Clean out your blender and add in all the filling ingredients. Blend until there are no more lumps and everything is well incorporated. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours. You may have to let the tart thaw for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Blackberry Jam Muffins

These beautiful and delicious muffins may just appear to be normal muffins.
blackberry jam muffin (1)

 
But taking a bite inside reveals the truth. What pairs better with a sweet cornmeal and oatmeal muffin better than delicious blackberry jelly/ jam? It's the little hidden surprises that make life great. These muffins are one of them. :)
blackberry jam muffin (4)
 
Blackberry Jam Muffins
Makes 12
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
½ cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup softened cream cheese
1 cup applesauce
¼ cup melted butter
2 eggs
½ cup blackberry jam

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and oil a muffin pan. Using a high speed blender, blend the oats into a flour. Stir the oats, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, flour, salt, and cornmeal together in a large bowl. Use the blender again to blend together all the remaining wet ingredients except for the jam. Add the wet and dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed. Put about 1-2 tablespoons of batter into every muffin hole. Top with 2 teaspoons of jam and a few more tablespoons of batter.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Turkey Lettuce Wraps

My mom always talks about these amazing lettuce wraps she gets at P.F. Chang's. I've never had them (I don't know if I've even ever been to P. F. Chang's.), but I decided that I wanted to try my hand at making some.

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P. F. Chang's probably makes them look all fancy, and they probably have the right kind of lettuce. Sorry, but I'm a poor college kid. I used the lettuce they give us in the dining hall. At my college they let you get a to-go box, so I stock up on all my veggies at the salad bar. It significantly decreases my grocery bill. Anyway, these might not be P. F. Chang copy cats, but they sure are good. Just roll them up and enjoy!

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Turkey Lettuce Wraps
serves 2-3
4 ounces ground turkey
½ cup diced mushrooms
¼ cup diced water chestnut
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced bell pepper
2 tbsp diced green onion
1 tbsp soy sauce
dash of garlic powder
oil, as needed
lettuce

Lightly oil a large pan, and heat it over medium heat. Add in the diced vegetables. Sautee the vegetables, stirring the mixture occasionally. Add the turkey, chopping it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the turkey is completely browned. Stir in the garlic powder and soy sauce right before you remove the pan from the heat. Serve wrapped in lettuce leaves.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! I hope everyone has had a good celebration of the very Americanized Mexican holiday. I decided that there was no better way to celebrate than by sharing a very popular stereotypical Mexican food with a twist. Guacamole was eaten by the Aztecs way back in the 1500s, but it's still just as good today. This version is for guacamole hummus with a roasted bell pepper twist. What is more Mexican than avocados and red bell peppers? You tell me.





Roasted Red Pepper Guacamole Hummus (2)
 

Roasted Red Pepper Guacamole Hummus
makes about 1 ½ - 2 cups
½ cup dry chickpeas
2 large cloves of garlic
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
small handful of fresh cilantro
10 ounces roasted red peppers
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
dash of cayenne pepper powder
salt and pepper, to taste

Put the chickpeas in a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil for two minutes, cover, and remove from the heat. Allow the chickpeas to soak in the hot water for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas. Combine them with 2 cups water. Simmer over medium low heat with the lid tilted to let some steam escape until all the water has been absorbed, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Put the garlic on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 45 seconds. Combine all the ingredients into a food processor. Process until creamy. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

You should also try my plain guacamole hummus.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May Memory Verse Chart

The lady I help teach Sunday school with at church was gone today, so I had the kids to myself. (Until the boys started wrestling and a guy had to come in to help keep them under control. Yeah, it was a tough day.) This month's verse is Galatians 6:9, so I made a little chart to mark off who said their verse each week.

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins

Last night I told you that I could not possibly come up with another chocolate muffin recipe. I was so very wrong. I had never made chocolate ricotta muffins before. Yes, I managed to find another way to slip chocolaty goodness into a muffin pan in a unique and delicious manner. I will never say never again....

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Chocolate Ricotta Muffins
Makes 12
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup milk
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 bananas
¾ cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and oil a muffin pan. Using a high speed blender, blend the oats into a flour. Stir the oats, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, flour, salt, and cocoa powder together in a large bowl. Use the blender again to blend together all the remaining wet ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Add the wet and dry ingredients together along with the chocolate chips, stirring until just mixed. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin holes.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Peanut Butter- Sweet Potato Hot Cereal

Sorry that I have not posted in a couple of days. I just was not feeling very motivated. Also, I have not really been making as many cards or new recipes as I used to. (Hopefully that will change over the summer.) There's just not enough time in the day. Plus, I have been on a chocolate muffin and cheese stick kick. I already have recipes for both egg roll wrapper mozzarella sticks and baked mozzarella sticks along with a ton of different chocolate muffin recipes. I finally decided to get out of my recipe rut, and made this amazing hot cereal. Be warned, it makes a lot. You can serve it to a crowd or have a premade breakfast for the whole week.


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Peanut Butter- Sweet Potato Hot Cereal
serves 6
1 1/2 cups hot cereal (such as steel cut oats, Scottish oats, or Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal; not rolled oats)
5 cups water or milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 large sweet potato
1 large banana
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup honey (optional)

Blend the banana, water, peanut butter, and sweet potato together. Bring the mixture to a simmer in a pot over medium heat. Add in your desired hot cereal, and cook for the length designated on the package. Once the cereal is done, stir in the honey and cinnamon, and enjoy.