The Jen Hatmaker Sandwich

 

 

I follow the blogger/writer Jen Hatmaker and love her. The other day she posted this sandwich she makes on “grocery store” days – you know, the days when you go grocery shopping and then come home and don’t feel like touching food to cook for dinner because you are done. with. food. (I get it). Her description of this sandwich was so easy and yummy that I had to try it! Everyone in the family loved it!

The Jen Hatmaker Sandwich

1 loaf ciabatta bread
Pesto
Marinara Sauce
Mozarella Cheese, sliced
Salami
Ham
Lettuce
Tomato
Basil

Slice the ciabatta bread in half. Spread the pesto, then layer with meat and cheese. Next layer the veggies and top with spoonfuls of marinara sauce. Place in a baking dish and cook at 350 for 15 minutes. Enjoy with a side bowl of marinara for dipping.

Elderberry and Echinacea Syrup

 

Making your own elderberry and echinacea syrup is so easy! And cheaper too than buying it in the store. You can make this healthy immunity boosting syrup with just elderberries, or you can add the other ingredients. At first sign of illness, we drink bone broth, cut out all sugar, take some echinacea tinctures and drink herbal tea! Add this syrup too and you’ll put your cold dead in it’s tracks. Thanks to OhLardy website for this recipe and info! I buy all my herbs on Mountain Rose Herbs online.

Echinacea fights inflammation, bacterial and viral infections. It is good for the immune and the lymphatic systems. It is helpful for allergies, colds, flu and other infections.

Elderberry fights inflammation and relieves coughs and congestion . It enhances immune system function, lowers fevers and soothes the respiratory tract. It is very effective against flu viruses.

Cinnamon counteracts congestion, warms the body and enhances digestion.

Clove has antiseptic and anti parasitic properties.

Ginger fights inflammation and stimulates circulation and digestion. It is a strong antioxidant and has antimicrobial properties. It is helpful for headache, indigestion and vomiting, among other ailments.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup elderberries
  • 1/4 cup dried echinacea
  • 1 inch or so of ginger
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 cup (or less) of raw honey

Method:

  1. Mix all ingredients, except honey, in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes or so.
  3. Strain.
  4. Let cool.
  5. When cool, add honey in to taste.
  6. Then pour into jar.
  7. Keep in refrigerator and use within 2 months.

Kerry’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamonroll

 

I’ve tried lots of cinnamon roll recipes, but Kerry’s is the best!! And the easiest!! This is what we eat every Christmas morning.

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup butter
3/4 sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
2 packages dry yeast
1 cup warm water

Boil 1 cup of water and add butter, sugar, and salt. Let sit and cool until luke water. In a separate bowl, add yeast and luke warm water. The water needs to be warm enough to activate the yeast but not too hot, which would kill the yeast. Let sit until bubbly. Add eggs and yeast mixture to the cooled water/butter/sugar/salt mixture. Then mix in flour, 3 cups at a time. Dough should be somewhat wet. Refrigerate and cover overnight.

The next morning, roll out dough. Smear generously with softened butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Roll up and slice. Place rolls in a large baking dish, bake at 350 until golden brown on top.

Cover top with a cream cheese frosting or powdered sugar frosting and serve!

Annemieke’s Dutch Meatballs

My lovely friend Annemieke is Dutch, and when Alice was born she made us these amazing Dutch meatballs! I’ve been craving them ever since, and yesterday my Christmas wish came true and Mieke gave me a Dutch seasoning packet and the recipe to her famous meatballs. You’ve got to try these. Delicious!! You DO have to buy the dutch seasonings online. I’m sure you could make your own, but I used the pack that Mieke gave me. You can purchase the same one here.

Picture Credit: Alice lovin’ her meatball!

Ingredients:

1 Cup Bread Crumbs (don’t do progresso, just plain simple bread crumbs like panko)
1 egg
1-2 tbsp ketchup
1 stick butter
1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 seasoning packet (salt, corriander, pepper, ginger, mace, nutmeg, cardamon, chile, majoram)

Directions:

Mix breadcrumbs and seasoning packet together. Beat egg with ketchup. Mix all ingredients with meat and make 4-6 large meatballs. Heat butter on medium heat until melted. Place meatballs in pan. Sear for 4 minutes on top, then 4 minutes on bottom. Turn heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Served with potatoes or over rice.

Picture Step by Step Chicken Soup Tutorial

Here is a step by step picture tutorial on how to make your own nourishing chicken soup.  In our house, we use quinoa instead of noodles, but Chicken Quinoa Soup just doesn’t have the same ring to it ask Chicken Noodle Soup!  So, if you prefer noodles, go ahead and skip the quinoa prep parts, but I do highly recommend you try it with quinoa instead because of the wonderful nutritious value of this super grain.

Do youself a favor when you make this – make it BIG so that you have some to freeze for the future, when you are feeling under the weather, and you need a quick hardy soup on hand.  I always feel infinitely happier when I know there is frozen soup in my freezer!!

And forgive the quality of my pictures.  I’m not going for a food blog award here.  These are iPhone photos taken in my small messy kitchen with poor lighting.  It’s real life folks.  Real life.

And onward to the soup!!

Step 1: Peel and chop half an onion.  Ignore the Safeway receipt.  

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Step 2: Sauté chopped onion with a few pats of butter in a stock pot or dutch oven.

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Step 3: Peel and mince a few cloves of garlic, add to the sautéing onions


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Step 4: Toast 1 cup of quinoa in a saucepan for about 6 minutes. Just quinoa in the pan, nothing else. You will know it’s done toasting when you can smell it. Don’t let it go too long or it will burn. If you need to, put a timer on it!


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Step 5: Chop several stalks of celery

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Step 6: Add chopped carrots. These are extra carrots and green beans that I had over the summer, so I chopped them up and tossed in a freezer bag. Perfect and easy to put in soups when you are short on time! I put them in the soup completely frozen. Freezing pre-chopped veggies is amazing and so helpful.  How did I just learn about it?  Life changing!!


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Step 7: Add herbs. Here I am using fresh parsley. If you have it, great. If you don’t, no worries. Allow veggies to cook until softened.  Also add some salt.


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Step 8: By this time, you should smell your quinoa toasting up nicely. Measure 1 3/4 cups water, preferably boiling hot, but it’s ok if it’s not.

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Step 9: Add the water to your quinoa

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Step 10: Add a tbsp of olive oil to the pot with the water and quinoa. I don’t measure, just a quick pour.

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Step 11: Add a tsp of salt to the quinoa. 

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Step 12:  Bring quinoa to a boil, then down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Step 13:  Revisit your veggies.  Add spices.  These are my favorite cast of characters.  Just a pinch or two of the turmeric will give a nice flavor.  I like to be generous with the garlic salt and other seasonings.  Other yummies to add are dried onion, onion salt, thyme.

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Step 14:  Add your cooked chopped chicken.  Stir to get them covered with the flavors and cook for a minute.  This is where already cooked chicken from the freezer comes in very handy – preferably if you made a roast chicken and shredded the extra meat!  Also another great way to save $, one whole chicken can make several meals if you roast it, then shred it, make broth, and soup.  Our family of 5 can use one 4 lb chicken for 3 meals.  You rock, roast chicken! 

(here it is out of the fridge)

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(then chopped and in the soup!)

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Step 15:  Add your homemade chicken broth until the veggies are completely covered, and then some.  Yes, homemade broth.  It’s where all the nutrients and healing “powers” of the soup come from.  Store bought broth does not have the same nutritional qualities.  But if you are pressed, store bought is OK.  Just promise me next time you’ll do homemade, ok?  

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Step 16:  Bring to a boil.

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Step 17:  Once your quinoa is done, it should look like this.  Add to your soup.  I like to add all of it.  I think it makes a hearty soup and keeps you full longer.  Of course, if you are doing noodles instead, add the cooked noodles now.

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Step 18: Check your flavors.  Taste, adjust, taste taste, adjust more!!  I always end up adding more salt and seasonings.  Just use a clean spoon for every taste.   🙂  And voila!  Your soup is done!  Super healthy, warms up up inside (which helps fight germs, too!), veggies, bone broth gelatinous goodness to keep your immunity up, and all the delights of the complete protein, high calcium, magnesium, and iron of the lovely hardy gain quinoa.  Eat!  Enjoy!  (remember to stir well when serving because the quinoa is heavy and sinks to the bottom).

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Overnight Steel Cut Oats

I’m not sure how I’ve had this blog for so long without posting the overnight slow cooker steel cut oats recipes!!! Seriously, we LOVE these. They are amazing. Monica at the YummyLife has several different flavors and we love them all. Apple Cinnamon, Cherry Almond, Banana Coconut, and Pumpkin Pie! Plus her steps on how to make your slow cooker act as a double broiler are genius. Throw all the ingredients in your crock pot and go to bed – clean up is super easy – and when you wake up your house smells delightful. I particularly enjoy these recipes on mornings when everyone has to rush out the door – no stress already made breakfast!

Tonight we are making Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal. But check out her site, there are links to all the other flavors as well. Yummy Life indeed!

Pumpkin Chili

A delicious fall dish – lovely combo of flavors! I was able to do a bit of freezer clean out too! I don’t remember who told me about chopping up extra summer veggies (like the abundance of bell peppers we had this year) and freezing them – but whoever did is a lifesaver! Didn’t need to chop up a single veggie for this dish – all was pre-chopped in my freezer and ready to go. Same with the precooked frozen beans! So so easy and cheap. Love things like that!

Because I made this without going to the grocery store first, I made adjustments as you will see. Originally thought I would be halving the recipe because I didn’t have 2 lbs of meat, but I think in hindsight I could have used the full amount of pumpkin and pumpkin spices and it would have been just fine! However if you are nervous about the idea of the pumpkin flavor, you can keep it in half like I did and it will taste more like a traditional chili.

Thanks to Jessie at Bites for this fun fall dish!

2 pounds ground beef (I used 1.3 lbs)
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced (Used a medley of colored peppers)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained (instead 2 cups black beans, 2 pinto)
1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice (Didn’t have much of this, subbed in a cup or two of chicken broth, added a small can of v8)
1 (28 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz. can canned pumpkin puree (I used half although I wish I had used more)
1 T. pumpkin pie spice (also used half since my pumpkin use was half, but could have done more)
1/4 cup chili powder (taste your chili first before you add in the chili powder, you might prefer more or less)
2 t. cumin (used half)
2 T. white sugar (did not use sugar, instead a small spoonful of honey)

In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until brown; drain. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes. Stir in beans, tomato juice, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder and sugar. Simmer 1 hour.

Banana Rum Steel Cut Oat Pancakes

bananarum

 

As I’ve said many times here on the blog before, Andrew makes pancakes to kick off Saturday mornings! It’s such a “look forward to” event, that we have had a hard time cutting it out, even with our changes in eating habits. I will say that there are some “healthier” versions of pancakes out there, and we’ve tried a lot of them.
Today, Andrew made this recipe and it was amazing. I like to think of it as an “in between” naughty and clean eating recipe for pancakes. The benefit is that the refined sugar level here is incredibly low – in fact he used maple syrup instead of the white sugar it calls for. Of course if you add the topping, it’s more decadent, but super yummy! And you can use your leftover steel cut oats from the previous days breakfast if you have them.

The variations allow you to make this vegan or not, and how to make them without rum (although I think you should make them with rum if you have it!).

Banana Rum Steel Cut Oat Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dry steel cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal (see notes for substitution)
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup of milk (I used unsweetened flax milk – but use what you have around)
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream or yogurt (2 more tablespoons of nondairy milk if vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon spiced rum
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Cook the oats according to package instructions. I used a quick cooking variety that takes less time and uses less water. When it’s finished remove from heat and stir in the flax meal. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl combine the oatmeal with all of the wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. With a gentle hand slowly stir until just moistened. Do not over mix or your pancakes might be tough. This isn’t the kind of runny batter you get out of a squeeze bottle in a store. It will be pretty thick.
  5. Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour the pancakes onto a medium hot skillet. You can lightly coax it into a circular shape, but work quickly. When the edges of the pancake start to look dry, flip to the other side and cook a few more minutes. Makes about 10.

Variations

  • I don’t cook with eggs, which is why I add the flax meal. I know this is an unusual ingredient. You can try leaving it out and just adding an egg into the liquid ingredients. The batter would be a little thinner but they should still work just fine.
  • If you don’t have any rum on hand, you could use a bit of vanilla extract in its place.
  • For a lower calorie alternative you can use a sugar free substitute in the pancakes and skip the maple topping, which adds about 100 calories per serving. Some light whipped cream with sliced bananas could be a healthier option.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 5

Calories: 217

Maple Banana Rum Topping

Summary: Liven up the maple syrup with fresh banana and a splash of rum.

Ingredients

  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup, warmed
  • Splash of rum, to taste

Instructions

  1. Stir it all together and serve over pancakes. Easy!

Preparation time: 2 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Calories: 100

Kassidy’s Tropical Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friend Kassidy made these cookies for me once – I was hooked! A delicious alternative to regular cookies. These are great because they are vegan, plus gluten & dairy free!

 

Update:  I increased the almond flour by 1/4 cup and added a scoop of pureed pumpkin.  Cookies were much more “cookie” like, meaning they held their shape better and consistency was good!  Pumpkin flavor was very slight and almost unnoticeable.

2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 agave nectar (I use a bit less honey)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate (73% cacao or higher)
1/2 cup chopped toasted nuts (walnuts, cashews, macadamia)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Directions:

Preheat over to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, combine coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Fold in the chocolate, nuts, and coconut.

Spoon the dough 1 tbsp at a time onto the prepared baking sheets, pressing down with the palm of your hand to flatten, leaving 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake for 7-10 minutes, until lightly golden. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes, then serve warm.

Gluten Free “Paleo” Pumpkin Bread

Fall is in the air! Ok, no, it’s not. Here in the San Francisco bay area, fall is about 2 months away. But we can pretend! I harvested my butternut squash from my garden a few days ago (woohoo!), roasted it, and decided to cook up some fall. This is a fun recipe from Elana’s Pantry because the sugar content is low and there is no refined flours. Gluten and Dairy free!  I found this bread to be light and fluffy – unusual to find for almond flour baking.

Instead of stevia, I used a bit more honey. You don’t need to use a food processor if you don’t have one.  I just mixed by hand!  Cook in a mini loaf pan if you want the bread to form a “loaf” like shape.

Picture Credit thanks to Elana’s Pantry

Pumpkin Bread

  1. In a food processor combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and spices
  2. Add pumpkin, honey, stevia and eggs and pulse for 2 minutes
  3. Scoop batter into a mini loaf pan
  4. Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes
  5. Cool for 1 hour
  6. Serve