Monday, February 28, 2011

Whole Wheat French Bread

Okay so this might not really be "French Bread". I was already making bread, like I do every week, and my kids asked for Spaghetti for dinner. I thought it would be fun to have some nice garlic type bread to go with it. Since I already was kneading the dough I thought I would experiment with it to see how it turned out. I thought it looked beautiful when it came out, and my kids and husband loved it! Maybe someday I'll learn how to make real french bread, but for now this is a lot easier for me. Hope you like it as much as my family did. :]
Whole Wheat French Bread
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon gluten
2 teaspoon dough enhancer
In a small bowl add yeast and pour half of the warm water over top. Pour the remaining water into your mixer and add honey. Stir honey until it dissolves. Then add salt, oil, and one cup of flour and mix. When yeast has doubled in size add it to your mixer and begin mixing. Add another cup of flour and the gluten and dough enhancer. When that is mixed in completely continue added the remaining cups of flour until the dough pulls off the edges of the bowl and is still slightly sticky (you may need to add more flour). Then knead for 10 minutes. Grease a cookie sheet. When dough is finished kneading, take 1/3 to 1/2 of the dough and form a long snake shape loaf. Let it raise until it doubles in size.
Preheat oven to 400*F. Before putting loaf into oven take a sharp knife and cut a few diagonal lines in the top. Bake for 20 minutes. When the bread is finished baking let cool for 5 minutes.
Turn your oven onto broil. Then cut loaf into 1/2 inch slices and place back on cookie sheet. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder to the butter. Mix well and then spread a little on each piece of bread. Sprinkle with dried, crushed up, parsley leaves. Put back into oven under the broiler until slightly toasted, about 2-5 minutes watch carefully so they won't burn. Then enjoy!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fun Food Find Friday!!

Our Fun Food Find for today are from the company Yummy Earth, their Organic Candy Drops. I really liked these. I loved eating the old root beer barrels growing up. These remind me of those but a more healthy option. My kids love these. When they come home with treats that they got from school I have these on hand to trade them for the refined sugar treats.
I found these at the health food stores.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quick Chicken Stir Fry

I love anything chicken stir fry. When I saw this recipe (which I can't find now so you can look at the original) it looked good and like the name of the recipe, who doesn't like quick meals? It turned out very nice. Your typical, but oh so yummy stir fry. I think the best thing about stir fry is, is that you can use all different kids of vegetables and it will taste good. For the picture I used broccoli and red and yellow small sweet peppers. So just use what ever you have in your fridge.
Quick Chicken Stir Fry
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups warm to hot water
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons better than bouillon
2 tablespoons braggs liquid aminos
2 1/2 cups cut up vegetables
2 cloves garlic minced
2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed small
1 can sliced water chestnuts (I cut mine up even smaller because my kids don't like them as much, that way they can't even tell they're in it)
2 cups hot cooked rice
Combine the 1 1/4 cup hot water with the better than bouillon and braggs; set aside. Then combine the 1/4 cup cold water and the cornstarch in a separate cup until smooth; set aside.
In a skillet, cook chicken and garlic until chicken turns white. Add the vegetables and cook until they're tender-crisp, cover and stir occasionally. Add the bouillon mixture to the skillet. When it comes to a boil add the cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens. Serve the chicken mixture over the cooked rice and enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Widsom Wednesday!!

Natural Remedies

Happy Wednesday! It's nice to be back posting on Wednesday. I don't know what happened last week, but I'm here now. I'm excited to share with you some natural remedies today. You might be saying to your self, "why would I talk about natural remedies on my healthy food should taste good blog?" Well, I'll tell you. I've said before that knowledge is power, so on Wednesday I talk about stuff that can help you to be healthier. These natural remedies all have to do with things you have in your kitchen or spices and flowers that are grown on the earth. So it really does have to do with food.
In the home I grew up in there were lots of natural home remedies. For example, if we had a stomach ache my mom would take 8oz of warm water, add a cap full of apple cider vinegar, and a spoonful of honey. You might think that sounds gross, but actually it's not gross at all when you're not feeling good. And it really does work. I also give it to my kids when they have upset stomachs. My husband, who didn't know about vinegar and honey until after we were married, is a bigger believer than I am. He'll make some up and drink it when one of our kids are sick so he won't get sick, and most of the time he doesn't get sick. Now that I'm older I know more about why that works. When your Ph is out of balance it can cause stomach pain. Apple Cider Vinegar can balance the acid in your stomach, your Ph, making it easier to digest your food.
Another thing we always had was Thick'n Milk. It's basically a roue with a little milk, so it's really thick. Then you pour it on a plate and top with cinnamon and sugar. I always loved eating that when I was sick and I couldn't keep anything down. Cinnamon is very soothing on the stomach.
Now that I am older and have kids of my own, I've done even more research on natural cures. I love essential oils and what they can do for the common cold, flu, and other little things like ear aches (I'll talk more about essential oils another Wednesday). The reason I've decided on this topic today is an article I came across entitled, "Natural remedies for the 15 most common aches, pains, and health complains". I love that this article talks a little bit about vinegar for your stomach so you don't think I made it up on my own. :] Also it talks a little bit about things that essential oils can do. For example, using peppermint or lavender oil for headaches. It really does work! I do it all the time. Or using peppermint for when you are nauseous. I used that a lot when I was pregnant. Something I wanted to add to their list of things to do if you have heart burn or acid reflux is to eat raisins and bananas to help calm down the burning. There were some things in the article that I had never heard of before. Did you know that Cayenne pepper can stop bleeding and sooth the pain? I didn't know that. The next time I cut myself cooking, I'm going to try it. I would suggest reading the article. I recommend clicking here and reading the entire article for yourself, you might find it interesting. Here's to a Happy Healthier you!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vegetable Quesidillas

I hope everyone (that lives in the states) had a great President's Day yesterday. I know we did! It's always nice to get together with family for any holiday.
I've been wanting to find easy and quick dishes that have lots of vegetables in them. I found this recipe and couldn't wait to try it. It was very easy, quick, and the flavor was wonderful! I've made these several times for lunch when I didn't have left overs to eat. :] I added some cooked chicken once too and they were great as a dinner. So there are a few different things you can do with this recipe, and it's gluten free!
Veggie Stuffed Quesadillas
2 small green and/or red sweet peppers, cut into thin strips
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon butter or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon parsley
3 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese
5 6 to 7 inch whole wheat or brown rice tortillas
low fat sour cream
Preheat oven to 425* F. in a large non stick skillet cook sweet peppers, onion, and garlic in butter for 3 to 5 minutes or until they are crisp-tender. Stir in cumin and chili powder, cook and stir for one minute more. Stir in parsley. Set aside. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese over half of 1 side of each tortilla. Top with pepper onion mixture. Fold tortilla in half over peppers, pressing slightly. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place tortillas on a large baking sheet. Brush tortillas with a little butter. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Then turn off oven and turn on broil on high for 2 minutes, this makes them nice and crispy. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve warm. Dip in salsa and sour cream, and enjoy!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fun Food Find Friday!!

The Fun Food Find for today is from Yummy Earth, their Organic Gummy Bears. These have great flavor. I love that they come in little packages. So they are easy to take around with you. They can easily take the place of fruit snacks or other treats that your kids might be given in class.
I found these at the health food store.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

A couple of weeks ago all of my children were sick. When I decided to make my mother's chicken noodle soup I couldn't believe that I hadn't shared the recipe with you! It truly is the most wonderful chicken noodle soup I've ever had. The flavors are amazing, and if you don't have a whole chicken on hand it is really easy to substitute with chicken breast. I am, however, a little embarrassed to share this picture with you. I had to use white flour noodle, the last in my house I promise, because I was out of whole wheat egg noodles. When you make it with the wheat noodles the flavor is more Hardy, not mention it is much more healthy for you. :] So on a cold day, like the one we're having today, make some of this chicken noodle soup to warm up your insides and make your home smell wonderful too!
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole chicken, or 4 large boneless skinless chicken breast
4 1/2 tablespoons better than bullion
3 1/2 quarts water
1 small onion, diced
1 package whole wheat egg noodles
4 small potatoes, cubed (peeled is optional)
7 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 can green beans
1-2 tablespoons parsley
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, boil chicken in water with onion and better than bullion; covered, until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Remove chicken from broth. Add potatoes and carrots and boil for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove chicken from bones and cube. Add noodles, meat, green beans, and parsley to boiling water. Boil, covered, until the noodles are al dente and vegetables are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to your taste, serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spelt Onion Rings

A couple of weeks ago my parents took us out for lunch. We went to a place called Ice Berg. My husband ordered their onion rings. They were huge!! They smelled so good and I wish that I would have been able to eat them. So I went home and started to search the Internet for healthier recipes for onion rings that are baked, not fried. I found a few, but they just didn't taste all that good. So I decided to make up my own recipe, and let me tell you we have a winner!! These onion rings are perfect! They have more flavor than any onion rings I've ever had before. The onion is cooked perfectly and the crust is delightfully crunchy, and yes they are baked not fried. What more could you want? I served these during our Supper Bowl party and they were a huge hit. My in-laws loved them! I hope you do too!
Spelt Onion Rings
2 small onions
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
dash of salt
1 cup spelt bread crumbs* (about 3 slices of spelt bread, click here for recipe for spelt bread)
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 eggs, beaten
vegetable non stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 450*F. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil. Cut off both ends of the onions. Then slice the onions into 1/4 inch slices. Separate into rings and place in bowl of cold water. (The smaller inside rings save for another use) Combine spelt flour, baking powder, and salt in a shallow dish. Put eggs into a separate shallow dish. Combine bread crumbs and garlic powder in a third shallow dish.
Working with one onion ring at a time, remove ring from water, shake off any excess water, dip into flour mixture making sure to coat entire ring, shake off any excess flour. Then dip floured ring into egg mixture coating entire ring, shake off any excess egg. Next dip into bread crumb mixture, making sure to coat entire ring. Place ring on lined cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Continue the same dipping method with remaining rings.
Bake in oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and turn each ring over and spray with cooking spray. Return to the oven and cook for another 8 minutes. Let cool slightly then serve and enjoy!!
*For my spelt bread crumbs, I cut three slices of my spelt bread and then leave them out over night for drying. Or I put them on a plate in my window seal in the sun for quick drying. I found that to make the crumbs it is easiest to put the slices of bread (broken into smaller pieces) in my blender and blend until fine.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolate Covered Eatable Roses

Happy Valentine's Day!!
I hope that today you have lots of good, fun, and a little healthier food! :]
A couple of years ago I wanted to give some of my friends something a little different for Valentine's Day. I don't remember where I saw the idea for eatable roses, but I knew it was the way to go. Who doesn't love roses that you can eat?! I haven't been able to find a healthier substitute for the red and pink dipping chocolates. So if you know of any, please let me know about them. For now, this is how they are. I really like the way they look, and what can get better than chocolate covered strawberries for dessert?! :] Hope you like them. Chocolate Covered Eatable Roses
Fresh Strawberries, washed
Red dipping chocolate
Pink dipping chocolate
Green food coloring
1/4 cup water
Pull off the leaves of the strawberries. Do NOT cut off the leaves, they will not look like rose buds if you cut the strawberries. Add greed food coloring to water. Do as many drops as you need to make it as dark as you need it. Then, using a Q-tip, paint the skewers green. Insert a painted skewer into the strawberry where the stem used to be. Melt the chocolates according to packages directions. Dip the strawberries into the melted chocolate. As you finish dipping slightly spin the strawberry making the chocolate create lines. This makes the rose look more like a rose bud. Stick the now covered strawberry into a vase, or cup, or Styrofoam for drying. Once the chocolate is dried and set up, they are ready to go. I like to put them with real babies breath and leaves, just like real roses. Be creative and Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fun Food Find Friday!!

Our Fun Food Find for today are the sprinkles I mentioned on Monday, Let's do Sprinkles. These are made with evaporated cane juice, they are gluten free, and they taste good too. I don't use them a lot, but when I have they have never disapointed me or my children. :]
You can purchase them online. I've found them at You can also find them in the health food stores.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Strawberry Vanilla Heart Cake

When I saw this cake on Studio 5 I was so excited to try and make it. Of course a healthier version. I made their flag cake for the 4th of July and it was a huge hit to say the least. I love this cake too! I can't wait to show it to people. I made it a little early so I could show you, so you could make it for your Valentine's dinner.
At first glance it looks pretty plain, just all white. Then when you cut into it there is a heart inside! It is made with Strawberry and Vanilla cake with whipped cream for the frosting. The strawberry cake turned out so moist and delicious, a perfect fit for the heart in the center. The vanilla cake is the perfect complement to the strawberry. I think the thing I am most proud of is that it looks great and I didn't have to use a red velvet cake. They have soooo much food coloring in them, I get a little sick just looking at one. And on that note here are the recipes I used for the Strawberry and the Vanilla Cakes.
Vanilla Cake
2 cups kamut flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon guar gum or xantham gum
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups evaporated cane juice
2 eggs
3/4 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup rice milk
Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper; set aside. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, guar gum, and evaporated cane juice. In a large measuring cup add the tablespoon of vanilla. Add enough rice milk to the measuring cup until it measures 1 cup. Then add to flour mixture along with the eggs and applesauce and mix well. Divide batter between the two cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until a tooth pick in the center comes out clean. Cool on cooling racks. When cakes are cool cut both cake round in half. Take one cake and frost one of the half's with whipped cream (recipe below) and place the other half on top. Repeat with second cake After they are frosted, just in the center, cover and freeze. While freezing make Strawberry Cake.
Strawberry Cake
3 cups spelt flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon guar gum or xantham gum
2 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice
3 eggs
1 cup rice milk
1 1/4 cup pureed strawberries (add 2 tablespoons of evaporated cane juice to the strawberry puree)
5 drops red food coloring (optional, it just depends on how red the batter is already from the strawberries)
Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, evaporated cane juice, and guar gum. Then add the eggs, rice milk, and strawberry puree. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Do not over bake. This cake will rise and then fall. This makes it a little more moist and sticky. It needs to be that way to put into the other cakes. Let it cool. After it cools, break up the cake with a fork. Set aside until ready to put into the center of the vanilla cake.
For assembling directions it really is best if you watch the video to understand. Click here to watch the video.
Whipped Cream Frosting
3 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pour cream into large bowl. With a hand mixer start mixing on low speed, gradually increasing the speed until the cream becomes thick. Then add organic powdered sugar and vanilla. Continue mixing until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated.
A little extra!!Because the frosting is whipping cream, it made the vanilla cake a little more sticky when I carved out the middle heart shape. It was perfect for making cake balls! So you actually get two desserts out of one!
Just smash the left over cake together. Roll into small balls. Put the balls back into the freezer until frozen. Then dip into melted chocolate or carob. Let set up and enjoy!Gotta love that! Hope you like these desserts and much as we did!!
Edit: Lisa once again asked me to link this recipe to her sweets for saturday's post on her blog, "sweet as sugar". Go check her out. Thanks Lisa!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wisdom Wednesday!!

5 Most Popular Supplements

Two weeks ago I talked about a program that can help you, a little, to know what vitamins/supplements you should be taking. So when I came across this article I thought you might find it interesting. It lists the 5 most popular supplements and or vitamins that people are taking. The first thing to start the list surprised me, it was Fish oil. I thought for sure it would be a multi vitamin, but that came in second. Fish oil is important because it has the omegas that are essential for your body. I was really glad to see that Vitamin D came in third, and then Calcium was right behind it in fourth. Both of those are extremely important. To find out more about vitamin D, I talked about it on a previous Wisdom Wednesday, click here. You can click here to see the whole article on the most popular supplements. I hope that you are looking at the food that you are eating and the vitamins/supplements you are or are not taking. It is important for our health to be getting the essentials. And on that note, here's to a Happier Healthier all around you!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Heart Shaped Pancakes

Every year, without fail, we have heart shaped pancakes topped with whipped cream and strawberries for our Valentine's breakfast. My kids love it! And let's face it I love it too. I love making things, especially holidays, more special for my kids.
So here is how you do it. Use the recipe found below for the batter. Using a large spoon, drop some of the batter making a circle and drag part of that batter down diagonally to the left. Take another spoon full of batter, off to the right of the first circle, make another circle and drag part of that batter diagonally to the left meeting the end of the last diagonal line you made. You might need to add extra batter to the diagonal slants. Don't worry, they won't all be perfect as you can see from my picture. It takes just a little bit of practice, but not much. They are pretty easy and as long as you get the basic shape they'll look just great.
Then top with whipped cream and cut strawberries, yummy! I tried to cut the strawberries into heart shapes too, but that never seems to work out for me. Oh well at least I tried. :] Have fun with it, and happy baking!
Heart Shaped Whole Wheat Pancakes

3 cups whole wheat
3 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rice milk
3 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-6 drops of red food coloring
Mix whole wheat, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Then add eggs, milk, oil, food coloring, and vanilla and mix well. If you like your pancakes a little more thin you can add more milk. Pour onto a 375* griddle. Turn when bubbles begin to pop and edges begin to dry. Top with whipped cream, recipe below, and fresh cut strawberries. Enjoy your fun Valentine's Breakfast!
Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pour cream into a large mixing bowl. Start mixing on low speed and gradually increase speed until cream beings to thicken and soft peaks form. Turn mixer off. Then add sugar and vanilla. Turn mixer back on starting with a slow speed, increasing as the sugar and vanilla mix in. Mix until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated when not using.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Candy Cane Valentine's Suckers

Valentine's Day is just one week away!
I have always loved Valentine's Day. When I was little my mom and dad would wake us up with a special valentine or the valentine would be placed on our plates before breakfast. Then when I went to Jr. High and High School a rose would always be sent to me by a secret admirer. I didn't figure it out, that it was my dad, until I was in High School. :] So I've tried to make it fun for my kids too. So starting today we are making all of our yummy treats! I've made these suckers for a few years now. I can't remember where I got the idea from. They are so easy, cute, and always impress people who haven't seen them before. So I hope you did what I told you to do, and bought extra candy canes when they went on clearance after Christmas. :]
Pre heat your oven to 225*F.
First, you start off by unwrapping your candy canes. I always use the organic ones I told you about here. Then you decide what size you want them. In this picture you can see that I have four different sizes. The one on the far left is full size, meaning I didn't break off any of the candy cane. The other 3 I broke off part of the bottom of the candy cane.
Then you place them on a cookie sheet as shown here, with sucker sticks at the bottom.
Put them in the oven for six minutes, you'll need more time if they are not organic.
When they come out the candy canes will be just soft enough for you to pinch the two sides together. Both at the top and over the stick, as shown here. If they are not quite soft enough put them back in the oven for another minute. You do NOT want to over bake them!!

If you do slightly over bake them the candy cane will start to melt out to the side. You can take a tooth pick and along the edge push the melted part back.
When you are finished pinching them together place on wax paper and push slightly down so that they lay flat on your counter. You have to do this before they cool, or they will break. You'll notice in this picture that two of the Suckers have their sticks up in the center of the heart.
That is so you can fill the heart with white chocolate, then top with organic sprinkles (I'll show you what kind I use this Friday). I got that idea from the February Family Fun magazine this year. If you are not going to fill them, leave the sucker sticks just at the bottom of the heart.
When they are dry this is what they look like. So cute, so easy, and I was surprised at how delicious the white chocolate was with the peppermint. Oh so good!!
This is my favorite size of this suckers. I think they are cute this size. I broke off about an inch of the bottom to get it this small.
Last year, this is what my son gave to his teacher in school for Valentine's day. The mug I got from the dollar store. Then I put Styrofoam in the mug. Then stuck suckers in. The recipe for the other heart shaped aguave suckers is found here. After that put some confetti to cover the Styrofoam. When your all finished, wrap the whole thing with cellophane and tie with a bow. So fun, creative, unique, delicious, and the teacher loved it of course! Have fun making your Candy Cane Valentine's Suckers!
Candy Cane Valentine's Suckers
12 organic candy canes
1 package white chocolate
12 sucker sticks
sprinkles (Gluten free)
Preheat oven to 225*F. Spray a cookie sheet with non stick cooking spray. Unwrap candy canes and place together forming a heart shape on prepared cookie sheet. Break off bottom of candy canes to desired heart shape. Place one sucker stick between two candy canes at the bottom of the heart shape (remember, if filling with chocolate place sucker stick slightly up into the middel of the heart shape). Put cookie sheet in oven for six minutes. Remove from oven and pinch together the two candy canes both at the top where the heart meets, and also the bottom where the stick is. Make sure to really cover the sucker sticks with the melted candy canes. Transfer to wax paper and push down slightly on candy canes to make sure they are flat to the counter top and let cool. Melt chocolate in glass bowl in microwave according to package directions. Fill center of heart shaped suckers with chocolate. Add sprinkles. Let cool and completely dry, then enjoy!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fun Food Find Friday!!

For our Fun Find today I thought it was about time I shared with you what "Better than Bouillon" is. It is a thick chicken base. I love it for several reasons. First, I love the flavor, it is so much better than normal bouillon, thus the name. Second, it doesn't have any MSG in it. Third, it is organic and only has a few ingredients in it. And fourth, it isn't that expensive. I've used it in many of my recipes. If something calls for a half of a cup of chicken broth I don't like to open a can and waste the rest of it. With Better Than Bouillon you can measure out what you need.
I buy this at Costco.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Double Chocolate-Peppermint Crunch Cookies

I always get excited to bake with chocolate or carob. Why you might ask. Well because I can use a black bean puree and cut the fat out almost completely! I just love being able to tell someone, after they have eaten one of my cookies that it is fat free and has fiber in it. They are always so shocked and I love it! So I was extra excited when I saw this recipe. I thought it would be a fun cookie for valentines day. We always make sugar cookies, found here, and we still will. But chocolate is a great valentines flavor so these will be great for that too! I hope you like these as much as I did. The peppermint flavor is just perfect and very addicting. I couldn't stop eating them, so I stuck them in the freezer. They freeze great! When I wanted another one, on a different day of course, I put it in the microwave for 15 seconds and it came out tasting like I just took it out of the oven! So delicious!

Double Chocolate-Peppermint Crunch Cookies

3 cups carob chips or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 heaping cup carob powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup black bean puree
1 cup evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 large eggs
4 organic candy canes (found here), coarsely crushed
Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Melt 1 3/4 cup of carob chips in medium glass bowl, go here for directions. In another bowl, whisk flour, carob powder, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum; set aside. Beat bean puree and evaporated cane juice using an electric mixer until smooth. Add both extracts; beat until smooth. Add eggs; beat to blend. Beat in melted carob chips. Add dry ingredients and blend. Stir in 1/2 cup carob chips. Dough will be sticky. Place dough in fridge while oven preheats.
Preheat oven to 375*F. Measure 1 level tablespoonful of dough; roll dough between palms to form a ball. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough spacing cookies 1 1/2 inches apart. With the back of a spoon, slightly push down on balls. Cookies will not spread very much. Bake cookies until cracked all over and a tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 12 minutes.
Cool cookies on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment paper to racks to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Melt 3/4 cup carob chips in glass bowl. Spread melted carob on cookies, then sprinkle with crushed candy canes. When carob is set up, serve and enjoy!
Lisa From "Sweet as Sugar Cookies" has invited me to put this recipe on her blog. Go check her out!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wisdom Wednesday!!

Grocery Shopping

Today I want to talk about Grocery Shopping. What we bring home from the store is what we are going to eat when we are home. So I'm going to ask you a question, "What is in your shopping cart?" Do you bring home healthy food or do you bring home more snack foods? Here are some tips that I've learned over the past few years on how to do your grocery shopping so you are bringing home more healthy foods.

First, and most important, is never good to go to the store hungry. I'm sure you've heard of that one before. I think I remember my mother telling me this one. But it is true. When you are hungry your blood sugar is low so your body wants to raise those levels quickly. That is bad because then you will think more about sweets rather than fruits or vegetables or something better for your body. Eat before you go grocery shopping.

Second, have a list prepared. If you sit down and plan out your menu for the week, writing down a list of ingredients you need, you'll be more likely to buy what you need and not the snacks and sweets you don't need. Well that's if you stick to that list.

Third, avoid the inner isles. When you go into most grocery stores, at least here in the US, you'll find most of the healthy things such as the deli and produce sections on the outsides of the isles. Go straight for the produce section and fill your shopping cart up there first. Then go get your bread and meats. Then if you have to go down an isle, only go down where you need to get the items on your list. If you go up and down each isle you are more likely to buy things you don't need and more treats.

Fourth, when possible go to the grocery store alone. If you have children leave them home. Again I say when possible. I have three small children, so I don't get to do this all of the time. But it really is so much easier when you are on your own. You don't have to say no or give in to them when they want a treat. If you go with a friend or your spouse they can also put things into your cart that might not be on your list. My husband is usually the one to buy the unhealthy chips and snacks in our family. So I try and do most of the shopping. :]

Fifth, read the ingredients listed on the things you are buying. You should know what is being put in the food you are eating. So read the labels! If there are things on the label you can not pronounce it probably is not good for you.

Sixth, be careful when going into some health food stores. Just because it is considered a "health food store" does not mean that everything in the store is healthy. I've been in these health food stores before and I couldn't believe some of the things they were selling and saying they were healthy. Just be aware and again read the labels.

If you have other tips I would love to hear them. Happier Healthier Eating and Grocery Shopping!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

When I saw this recipe, I knew that I needed to try it and use my new found enchilada sauce. It turned out so delicious! It really is a great Mexican dish. If your family doesn't like Mexican food you'll like this dish. If your family already like Mexican food this will be a great addition to your list of favorites.
Chicken Enchilada Pasta
1 12oz pkg. whole wheat or quinoa macaroni shells
3 large green or red sweet peppers, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 16oz. can fat free refried beans
3 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning mix found here
10 oz homemade read enchilada sauce found here (you'll need to double the recipe)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups tortilla chips, crushed
avocado dip (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350*F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse; drain and set aside. In a skillet cook sweet peppers, onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, beans, taco seasoning, and enchilada sauce. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in noodles to coat. Transfer to a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese and chips. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Serve with avocado dip and/or sour cream. Enjoy!