Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Butternut Chocolate Chip Cookies

     Name one occasion where cookies don't solve all that ails you!?  ....ummm, I'm listening!?  Butternut Chocolate Chip Cookies not only encourage world peace, they will sooth your aching soul...or just generally put a smile on your face.  Each of these 34 adorable cookies are only 28 calories (yes 28, that is not a typo), 2g net carbs, and 1.3g protein.  Try these gluten free, sugar free and guilt free treats if you are ready to make a good day great!

Ingredients for 34 cookies~
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
1/2 cup mashed Butternut Squash, (I half mine, seed, dice, steam and mash)
1/2 cup unsweetened Applesauce
1 Tablespoon Molasses
1/2 cup Lakanto Monk Fruit~use code Paige20 at checkout for discount
1 scoop Quest Salted Caramel Protein Powder
1 Extra Large Egg
1/2 cup Oats, ground in Magic Bullet to powder
1/4 cup Coconut Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
Dash Cinnamon
Dash Vanilla
2 Tablespoon Lily's Stevia Sweetened Dark Chocolate Chips

     Mix all ingredients til well blended, drop by level Tablespoon on Silpat lined cookie sheet, bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  Enjoy  :)

Butternut Banana Donuts

     Life just keeps getting better and better...or should I say butter and butter....as in Butternut Banana Donuts!  If you haven't used pureed steamed Butternut in your baked goods you are missing out...big time!  Each of these 8 Donuts are only 115 calories, 6g net carbs and 8g protein.  Have one for a snack, have two for breakfast or have 3 for a meal!  I would feel very good about encouraging these as a well balanced lunch...how's that for nutrition with a smile!  If you love a moist decadent treat, these really fit the bill!  :)

Ingredients for 8 Donuts~
2 Tablespoons melted Coconut Oil
1/2 (approx 2oz) small ripe Banana
1/2 cup Oats, ground to powder in Magic Bullet
1/2 cup steamed and pureed Butternut Squash, (I half mine, remove seeds, dice, steam and mash)
1/2 cup Lakanto Monk Fruit~use code Paige20 at checkout for discount
1 Extra Large Egg
1 scoop Quest Salted Caramel Protein Powder
1/4 cup Peanut Butter Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
Dash Cinnamon
Dash Vanilla
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1/2 scoop Quest Salted Caramel Protein Powder
3 Tablespoons 30 cal/cup Almond Milk
1 Tablespoon Lakanto Confectioners Monk Fruit~use code Paige20 at checkout for discount
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1 Tablespoon Lily's Stevia Sweetened Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Tablespoon 30 cal/cup Almond Milk
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1 Tablespoon Pecan Chips

     Mix first set of ingredients til well blended, using mixer is necessary, should yield 2 cups batter.  Drop by 1/4 cup into Pam sprayed Donut tin, bake at 375 for 12 minutes, remove and cool.  Meanwhile, mix second set of ingredients and dip cooled Donuts into frosting and rest on wire rack.  Lastly, mix third set of ingredients in microwave safe bowl, heat for 20 seconds, stir til smooth, add to ziplock baggie, snip corner and drizzle with chocolate.  Garnish with Pecan Chips.  Enjoy  :)

Tucuman Empanadas

     So many heart felt life moments happen in the kitchen, it's the center of the home.  Is there any warmer feeling than working in the kitchen with those you love!?  I had a treasured experience learning how to make Tucuman Empanadas from my sweet daughter in laws mother when she was here visiting from Buenos Aires.  She told me that these are named after a very important state in Argentina, in the northern region, and this is the recipe they use in that area.  How often do you get a chance to learn of someones culture in the kitchen, what a rich opportunity!  I hope you will give these a try and feel a little more worldly thru this exposure to authentic South American fare!  From their heart to my heart, to yours!  Besos  :)

Ingredients for 30 Empandas~
5 cups Flour
1 cup Water
1/3 cup melted Lard
1 Tablespoon Salt

     Mix thoroughly, wrap in Saran Wrap and chill in fridge for 2 hours.  Remove and divide into approx 1.5-2 inch balls, press into a circle, working the dough with your fingers to form a circle, then lay on counter and use a rolling pin to form uniform flat circle that is approx 5 inches in diameter.  Use a cereal bowl to lay upside down on dough and use a knife to trim to perfect circle.  Rest in fridge til ready to use.  There may be excess dough left over, return to fridge to chill til ready to use for another purpose.

2 pounds Beef Flank Steak
2-3 stalks of Celery, diced
1-2 Carrots, diced
2 white Onions, diced
6 large or jumbo Eggs
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder
2 bunches diced Green Onions
Lard for skillet

     Add Beef, Celery, Carrots and half of the diced white onions to large stock pot, cover with water and simmer for one hour and 20 minutes.  While simmering, add the Eggs to the stock pot and cook for 10 minutes, then remove the Eggs, allow to cool, when cooled then shell, dice and set aside.  When meat is done cooking, remove, reserve the liquid and dice into very small chunks.  Add enough Lard to bottom of heavy skillet to coat well, add remainder of diced white Onions til cooked thru, then add diced meat, season with Garlic, Chili, Cumin, Paprika and Salt to taste, add enough of the reserved liquid to keep mixture moist, then stir in diced Egg and Green Onion.  Assemble a small bowl of water, your Dough circles and filling.  Wet the edges of your circle, add a couple spoons to center (make sure to leave any juices in the pan), fold in half and press the edges together, use a fork to tine them sealed, or use the fold over method if you are familiar with it.  Repeat with remaining ingredients, Bake on Silpat or foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or til starting to brown.  Enjoy  :)  PS  They eat this dish similar to how we eat Pizza in the U.S., there are no side dishes served to accompany this...and these are so delicious you would not want to bother with anything else!  ;)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Butternut and Brussels

     Nothing represents cooler temperatures like a pan of roasted veggies!  And, if you really want to be all fancy, try mixing a couple of varieties (and yes, I intermingle my Produce all in one pan...#efficient)!  I love the color combinations, extra rich flavors, and the smooth/crunchy textures all in one luscious bite.  So many options, so little clean pans...  Next time you're in the kitchen, create your own favorite and enjoy the wonder of Fall Produce!

Brussels Sprouts, cleaned, trimmed and halved
Butternut Squash, halved, seeded and diced
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Honey (more for additional sweetness)
1/4 cup chopped Walnuts
1/4 cup Cranraisins

     Add cleaned diced Veggies to parchment lined roasting pan, (Hot Tip:  have "Produce Guy" cut your Squash for you...better his fingers than yours).  Mix Vinegar, Oil, and Honey and drizzle over Veggies, toss to coat well.  Bake at 425 for 30 minutes,  stirring after 15 minutes.  At the 30 minutes mark, stir once more and sprinkle with Walnuts and Cranraisins and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Enjoy  :)

Fall Produce

     If you took a poll, I bet you would find that Fall is the favorite time of year for the majority of people...agree!?  Thought so!  I don't know if it's because of the cool crisp air, football games, apple cider, festivals, hot chocolate or cozy sweaters...and I don't really care.  All I know is it makes me have all the "feels".  Don't you love driving down the street noticing all the colors changing on the trees.  Even the Produce section in the Grocery Stores take on a life of it's own.  Berries, Corn and Melons take a back seat to Squash and Root Vegetables.  Hence, your kitchen changes seasons with the new offerings.  Here are a few of my favorite cool weather rock stars: Acorn Squash,Butternut Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Yams, Parsnips, Zucchini and of course, Pumpkin!  Follow along and see what I create as I pay homage to the most spectacular months of the year!

Apples:  Fall is high season for Apples, but they are so delicious and in abundance that they are readily available all year long.  Apples can be used in so many ways, pies, cakes, turnovers, caramel, pancakes, fritters...or my favorite way, plain.  They make a perfect snack.  Add a little cheese or peanut butter if you want to add some protein.

Acorn Squash:  Its shape resembles an Acorn, hence the name.  This is one of the most perishable, and only lasts a few weeks in storage.  Most commonly baked, but also can be microwaved, sauteed or steamed.  These can be easily stuffed and used as a sweet or savory side dish.  And, considered a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium and manganese.  I also find this one of the easiest in the Squash family to cut in half!  #bonus

Butternut Squash:  Sometimes known as Butternut Pumpkin, it has a sweet, nutty taste similar to Pumpkin.  When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer.  It is a good source of Fiber, Vitamin A,C and E, Manganese, Magnesium, and Potassium.  Although technically a fruit, it is most used as a vegetable that can be roasted, sauteed, pureed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, breads and muffins.  Since this is a little bit tough to cut, I always have my "Produce Guy" cut mine in half for me (better his fingers than mine...); however, that being said, a simple trick is to pierce, add to Crock Pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-5 hours.  When cool enough to touch, you can halve, scrape the seeds and remove the pulp.  Otherwise, if wanting to dice and roast, then you need to cut in half, remove seeds, use a potato peeler to shave skin, then dice as needed.


Spaghetti Squash:  When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw Squash, when cooked then magic happens, the flesh can be easily forked away from the sides into ribbons or stands like Spaghetti.  There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that you can't top on Spaghetti that you can't top on Spaghetti Squash.  To prove my point I am going to add a perfect 10 recipes for you to choose from! (Hot Tip: this is another example of when I ask the "Produce Guy" to cut this for me before I take it home)  We should rename this "Healthy Pasta"!










Brussels Sprouts:  These leafy green vegetables are typically an inch or so in diameter and look like miniature cabbages.  They were originally cultivated near Brussels, Belgium from which they derived their name.  These may be considered the step child of the vegetable world, however I have come to be quite fond of them.  High in nutrients, Brussels can be roasted, steamed, or one of my favorites is to use them in a Slaw.  Hop on Pinterest and explore all that these under utilized guys have to offer!  A simple method for roasting is to clean, trim and halve, add to a foil lined cookie sheet, drizzle with Olive Oil, season with Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder and bake at 425 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  This is a wonderful side dish to any main course.

Eggplant:  The spongy, absorbent fruit of the plant is widely used in cooking in many different cuisines, and is often considered as a vegetable, even though it is a berry by botanical definition. As a member of the genus Solanum, it is related to the tomato and the potato. Like the tomato, its skin and seeds can be eaten, but, like the potato, it is not advisable to eat it raw. The capability of the fruit to absorb oils and flavors into its flesh through cooking is well known in the culinary arts.  So many opportunities for fun Fall dishes!


Yams or Sweet Potatoes:  Who doesn't love a good Sweet Potato...(love usually is proportionate with the number of carbs...) but, have no fear, these are the good carbs...however, all things in moderation.  A 4oz portion is considered a serving, steer clear of the mega spuds.  These are rich in complex carbs, fiber and beta-carotene and can be baked, pureed, mashed and used plain or topped and stuffed.  Great in soups, savory dishes, cakes, muffins and pies.  Sweet Potatoes are one of my favorites, and I use it as a sweetener and moisturizer in many of my baked goods.



Parsnips:  This root vegetable is closely related to the Carrot, and becomes sweeter in flavor after winter frosts.  These are usually cooked, but can also be eaten raw and I have found them the best roasted.  It is true that the later the year yields the sweeter results.  Parsnips are a good source of Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber, and especially high in Potassium.  This is not a commonly used option, so I would issue a challenge to broaden your horizons and give Parsnips a whirl.

Carrots:  Carrots are a root vegetable, and although used frequently during the summer, due to their bright orange nature, they are a perfect addition to Fall.  Sweet or savory, Carrots are used from snacking to cakes, to a roasted delicate side dish.


Pumpkin:  What can we say about Pumpkin!?  It represents all things Fall, a Fall without Pumpkin would be like a Witch without a hat...there's just something missing.  Is there any other food used as much for decor as well as nutrition!? ...don't think so!  Unlike other Squash, I prefer to buy my Pumpkin already prepared in a can, you can make your own, but why would you!?  (feel free to make your own...#freak)  This is one of the most popular crops in the United States, and for good reason, these are used in Pies, Cakes, Muffins, Breads, Pancakes, Waffles and many other savory dishes as well...have you ever had Pumpkin Soup!?  There are so many options that all you have to do is type Pumpkin in my search bar and watch over 50 recipes pop up!  Famous for Fall, enjoy this super star while capturing everyone's attention this time of year!









Zucchini:  Along with certain other squashes and pumpkins, the zucchini belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. It can be dark or light green. A related hybrid, the golden zucchini, is a deep yellow or orange color.  Zucchini is perfect all year round, but Fall have many favorites!