Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Left Over Cranberry Sauce? Try this for breakfast!

I made a double batch of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. I LOOVE homemade cranberry sauce and I wanted to have lots of left overs to create other yummy things with it. With my food issues I've been eating lots of oatmeal. I never used to enjoy oatmeal in the morning but I've found that I feel so much better if I take the time to sit and enjoy a warm bowl of oatmeal. It truly will last me through until lunch with a satisfied (not stuffed) feeling. I have served it with almond butter and banana, raisins and pecans, Craisins and walnuts, and now my new favorite breakfast.....

Cranberry Sauce and Pecan Oatmeal For One
1/2 old fashioned oats
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons Homemade Cranberry Sauce (recipe below)
pinch of chopped pecans

Combine oats and water in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 5 minutes on power level 5. Stir, add Cranberry Sauce and chopped pecans and you are ready for a sweet, tart, satisfying and yummy breakfast that will keep you going all morning and then some! Enjoy

Cranberry Sauce:
2 bags fresh (or frozen) cranberries
2 oranges, use all the zest and juices
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
small piece of vanilla pod (if desired, could use a teaspoon of vanilla at the end of cooking if desired)

Combine ingredients on a large sauce pan. Heat over med-low heat stirring frequently until all berries have burst and the sauce is thick. Remove from heat and cool completely. Store in tupperware in the fridge or freeze in the freezer until ready to use. This is a double batch and will last and last. I usually divide mine in the fridge and freezer so that I have some for a while and then some for later when I run out stashed away in the freezer. This sauce is great for cocktails, topping brie, using on sandwiches or as a "jam" on muffins or toast. It would also be great in a smoothy.

Christmas Cookie Baking For Gluten Free Families.

I am still pretty sure that I have a wheat sensitivity. I do not feel as good when I am eating wheat so I have just decided to avoid it for a while. This inspired me to find some edible gluten free cookie recipes so I wouldn't feel totally deprived over the holidays. I found a recipe that mimics Peanut Butter Kiss Blossoms for Gluten and Peanut free eaters. This is my creation and my first attempt. It is very good for being a gluten and peanut free cookie however I would like to try it again using agave and perhaps an alternative to egg for dairy free as well.

Almond Butter Kiss Blossoms (Gluten Free and Peanut Free)
Printer Friendly Version

1 cup almond butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
about 24 Hershey's Kisses

Preheat oven to 350. Beat almond butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat until well combined. Roll dough into little balls and place on a cookie sheet.

Press balls in the center with thumb, back of spoon or using the Pampered Chef Mini Tart Shaper.

Bake cookies in 350 degree oven for about 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and place Kiss chocolates on the center right away. Move to a rack to cool completely. The chocolate will need some time to set. Once cooled these can be stored for a few days or frozen for up to two weeks. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Day 2010

 Turkey and dressing, pies and rolls. Yum. But what was the best part was having a lovely time with family.
This year we had my husbands family over for Thanksgiving dinner and it went off without a hitch. Everyone enjoyed good food and my favorite part- the kids playing.

My husband's brother

My Nephew, DD, BIL and BIL

DH and I

Me and my photo ready Princess

DH, me and Princess again

Simple Table with Pine Cone centerpiece, cranberry sauce in ice cream dishes and candles.

The kids HAD to blow out the candles.

DS-running from the camera with his bear.


My adorable nephew

Princess show's Abuela the Christmas Village (complete with DS's toys)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner

What's for Dinner? It's a week away!
I thought I would share with you all my favorite recipes for this season. I'd love to hear what your favorite dish or recipe is as well!


Turkey: Perfect Turkey
We made this recipe last year and it was literally the best turkey I've ever had in my life. My husband even loved it and he said he'd never liked turkey before he had this recipe.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Using my own recipe which I'm still playing with. I use broth and EVOO instead of milk and butter to create a healthier creamy mashed potato dish.

Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing:

Green Bean Casserole:
Here is a video recipe:
Alton Brown rocks my socks! If you aren't familiar with this Food Network Chef, I promise you will love his recipes!

Brussel Sprouts: I haven't decided on this one yet! I'm thinking cranberry and pecan but I may do a bacon and onion version.


Sweet Potato Casserole: Thinking up my own version with a lighter filling and a pecan streusel topping.

Cranberry Sauce:

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake:
Picture of Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes Recipe

Apple Pie:
I am still deciding if I will make a whole pie or do the "Pie in a Jar" recipe to give each family member a jar to take home.

I hope my ideas might inspire some of you. I am so excited to be hosting Thanksgiving this year and I'm happy to share the traditional foods that I grew up with in a new way! In the words of Paula Dean "Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll!"
<3 Sarah

Cute Thanksgiving Banner Idea

Check out this adorable Thanksgiving Banner by Alpha Mom

This would be super cute with felt cut outs if you wanted something a but more dressed up. I think I'm going to try it with the kids!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gotcha Day Fund For Jax!

This is one of those opportunities that I always hope for, the chance to help someone adopt. My friends Elizabeth and Jeremy are already the most amazing parents to their son Jax. He is their child.
There is this little thing (of huge importance) called a final hearing. Elizabeth and Jeremy have been waiting a very long time for theirs. It is the day that they will call Gotcha Day for their cherished son, Jax.
In order to make this happen they need to raise some funds! They need $5000 by the 28th of November to make this happen. Please consider giving. Even a few bucks will make a difference and help them achieve their goal.
Feel free to share this link on Facebook and pass along to your friends and loved ones.

(This is a post that is also on my other blog My hope is to reach everyone I know and that they will pass it along too).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Check out this weeks deals at Publix!

This week there are some great deals at Publix for free or almost free! Check out coupon match-ups at Southern Savers.
We will be stocking up on Schick razors,  Finish dishwashing detergent, Barilla pasta, Peter Pan peanut butter, College Inn broth, Craisins, Nutella, Rubbermaid items (great for gifting food items this holiday), Honest Kids juice pouches and lots more! Can't wait to see how much I save this week.

I also plan on buying lots of apples! $1.99 for a 3 pound bag of Red or Golden Delicious Apples. I will be making some apple recipes for the next few weeks for sure!

And don't forget .59 cent Kraft Mac N' Cheese!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Next Round of Freezer Cooking

This last week I made some freezer meals and it was a bit challenging. I am on a very restrictive diet for detox for another 2 weeks so finding recipes that I could eat was difficult. I wanted to still have the wonderful feeling of all the major prep work for meal time done in advance, but really didn't know what to make with my limited diet and this is what I came up with:

  • Spicy Red Beans served with rice and salad (bread for the kids and DH)
  • 2 batches Almond Crusted Salmon served with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted kale
  • 2 batches Homemade Fish Sticks (this on is one that I will not be able to eat but the kids and DH can)
  • Baja Tilapia Tacos (I can eat the grilled fish and DH and the kids can eat them as tacos)
  • 2 batches Mango BBQ Chicken Thighs ( I had to edit my recipe to leave out the sugar, it still tastes great!) served with rice and roasted green beans
  • Roasted Butternut Squash, Black-eyed Pea and Wild Mushroom Soup served with cheese and crackers, fruit and hot cider (I cannot eat cheese and crackers but the kids will like this and it will be a lovely cool evening meal)
  • 2 batches Arroz Con Pollo served with peas and cuban bread for the kids and DH ( used boneless breasts and thighs this time around for more kid friendly meal. I also substituted apple juice for wine.)
  • One batch of pancake mix for the pantry
  • One batch of waffles for the freezer (for the kids breakfasts)
  • Double batch of mashed potatoes with chicken stock instead of milk and EVOO instead of butter
  • Batch of "French Fries"

Recipes for Spicy Beans, Almond Crusted Salmon, Baja Tilapia Tacos and Roasted Butternut Squash, Black-eyed Pea and Wild Mushroom Soup coming SOON!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Too Much Sugar

I've been on a detox for over two weeks now and the process has taught me a few things. First of all, I'm on the detox because my liver had  excessive toxins probably due to allergic reactions to foods I was eating. I found out about a year ago I was allergic to yeast. I thought it was bogus because I've gone my whole life eating breads and never having any sort of reaction until a few years ago. But sure enough, as soon as I stopped eating yeast, my reaction went away. I had really itchy eyes with patches of eczema.  Soon though I noticed it was coming back. I started paying closer attention to labels of foods to make sure I wasn't getting yeast without realizing it. Sure enough, I found that almost EVERY single pre-packaged food and most seasonings have yeast. Chips have yeast, nut blends have yeast, crackers have yeast, soups have yeast, broths have yeast, the list goes on and on. 

So, I started making my own foods from scratch for the most part. This means fresh ingredients, no more fast fix. I realize to most people this might seem really overwhelming but truly what I found was that it was not that much more work if I plan well and make things in multiple batches. I avoid foods like chips (although I love the blue corn and flax tortilla chips by Archer Farms at Target, they are my snack weakness with a little homemade hummus or salsa!), snacks, and store bought seasonings. It is really hard to avoid yeast while eating out so I rarely do. If I do I try to order the most "whole" foods on the menu like grilled salmon, salads or items without breading and sauces. 

This all made me start to consider foods more seriously. How many of us are eating things all day long and not even realizing it?  Sugar is in everything. Yeast is in everything. MSG is in almost everything. Processed foods contain so many additives that we are barely eating "real" foods anymore. So many kids have issues with sugar and yet we have food industries that are literally pumping us full of the stuff from our breakfast cereal to the ketchup served with dinner. 

The detox is a week of "fasting" with eating only green veggies and shakes. This was a very hard week. I was always hungry, tired and felt a little "weak". It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought though. Truthfully, I mostly always feel tired and fatigued. Some days I even felt I had more energy than before the detox. I really was hungry all of the time though, and that is with eating a ton of veggies. This week I get to start eating real foods again, with loads of restrictions. I am eating no dairy (eggs, milk, cheeses), no wheat, no processed foods, no sugars, no caffeine. When I had my first breakfast after the fast it was so yummy but I could hardly believe it was. I don't think I've eaten oatmeal without a big spoon full of sugar since I was a baby! I had a serving of oatmeal with about a teaspoon of almond butter and a sliced banana. It was so sweet, perfectly so, and delicious. Granted, I was starving...but I'm telling you it was really tasty. 

Then, later on I had an apple for a snack and it tasted like the best apple I'd ever had. So sweet and perfect. It got me thinking, my taste buds have just been conditioned to the sweets. I wonder if this will keep up since I am still off of sugar for about 3 more weeks. I'll have to keep you posted but I am thinking that I might have really changed the way I think about food here. Foods in pure forms are so good and they get ruined by processing. How much healthier would we all be if we ate fewer foods from a box and started eating fresh, whole, clean foods instead. 

By the way, do you know how hard it is to find a cereal with no added sugars? Really hard. I found one worth noting. Natures Path Millet Oats. It is sweetened with pear and apple juices and made with millet and oat flour. It is really very good and I recommend it to anyone who is avoiding wheat and sugars.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Scones With Pumpkin Butter Icing

There is nothing I enjoy more than a seasonal treat like a Pumpkin Scone. Every year when Starbucks starts carrying their seasonal fair I get a little giddy. But honestly, their scones aren't nearly as good as this homemade version. So bake a batch, bring them into the office or "Boo" a neighbor. Bring them to a housewarming or flash freeze them before baking for a baked fresh (with no effort) treat for breakfast.

Pumpkin Scones with Pumpkin Butter Icing

For The Scones:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2  tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 Tbs. cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 Tbs. milk, cream or half and half (I used 2 Tbs. milk and 1 Tbs. cream)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
For The Icing:

  • 1 cup 10x powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs. pumpkin butter
  • 1 Tbs. milk
Preheat oven to 425. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Add the butter and press with a fork or use mixer until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. In a seperate bowl combine the wet ingredients and add them to the dry. Fold in until mixture is forming a ball. Place dough onto a floured surface and roll just till mixture is about 2 inches. Cut into halves, halves again and halves again. Place on cookie sheet and brush with cream or milk. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Combine the sugar, milk and pumpkin butter in small bowl. Stir until combined and smooth. Allow the scones to cool most of the way then drizzle the icing over the tops. Serve with a spiced latte or one of your favorite fall blend teas. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Check out this weeks deals at Publix!

Take a look at southernsavers for some great deals at Publix this week. I will be on a detox (boo) and will not be doing much cooking all week but there are some great deals for stocking up on trick or treat candy, oatmeal and school snacks for the kids.

Pumpkin Sausage Pasta

This recipe is one of my all time favorite fall recipes. It is earthy and warms you to the core. Shop the BOGO sales for great deals on pasta and parmesan cheese. I want to try this with mushrooms as a vegetarian dish as well.

Pumpkin Sausage Pasta - Printer Friendly Version

Serves 6-8
1 pound pasta, cooked (I used Buitellini linguine because it was BOGO)
1 15 oz can pumpkin (not pie filling, regular pureed pumpkin or you can roast and puree your own)
1 lb. turkey sausage (I used Jenny-O because they were on sale and I had coupons making it $2.99 a pound)
1 drizzle around the pan of EVOO
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup of cream, half and half or fat free half and half
salt and pepper to taste
chives or fresh chopped herb of your choice.
shaved parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package. Drain and set aside.  With a large saute pan, do a drizzle of EVOO around the pan and heat over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until tender about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook (you may have to remove sausage from casing) until browned. Add can of pumpkin puree and stir well. Add cream and salt and pepper to taste, stir until combined and warmed through. Add pasta to sauce and serve with a sprinkle of fresh chopped chives and shaved parmesan cheese.

Cost break down:
2 boxes Buitellini fresh linguine $1.09 ( $2.19 each with BOGO and two .55 cent q's)
1 can pureed pumpkin $1.59 (Publix brand)
Parmesan Cheese $2.25 (Digiorno Parmesan was BOGO @ $4.49 each)
1 pound sausage $2.99 (Jenny-O was on sale for 3.99 and I had $1 off q)
Cream, had on hand
Chives, from my garden
Total cost to make this dish:  $7.92

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oven Baked Fish "Sticks"

I really don't enjoy frozen fish sticks. Besides the fact that frozen fishsticks are not yummy, they are also processed and are higher in bad fats and also contain preservatives and additives. Ever since I saw Jamie Oliver talk about how chicken nuggets are made (blender of skin, fat, odds and ends, resulting in gross pink stuff - see video here: I haven't wanted to eat any sort of nugget or fish stick or anything that isn't fresh cuts of meat. So, I ran across this recipe from kalynskitchen that uses fresh fish like Tilapia for a breaded and oven baked fish stick. I know my son who is the world's pickiest eater actually likes fish sticks, so I thought I would give this a go. This is my version of this family friendly dinner using a yeast free alternative to breadcrumbs. You could also substitute with ground Chex or a Gluten Free cereal for a Gluten Free version.

Oven Baked Fish Sticks (Yeast Free)
adapted from kalynskitchen

1 # fresh tilapia
2 cups Publix Greenwise Flax Flakes
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp. Old Bay Spice
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning.
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 egg
1 Tbs. mayo (I used garlic herb mayo because I had some from BOGO's to use up)
splash of water
Pam Cooking Spray

In your food processor or mini prep add cereal, almonds and seasonings and process until about the consistency of panko breadcrumbs. In small bowl whisk egg, mayo and splash of water. Cut fresh tilapia into strips and dredge the strips into the egg mixture, and then the breadcrumb mixture. Place on well greased cookie sheet (I grease the pan with Pam ). Bake at 400 degrees about 6-7 minutes, then flip and bake for an additional 6-7 minutes or until fish is flakey. Serve with steamed rice with broccoli and cauliflower along with tarter sauce or ketchup.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Bread French Toast (yeast free recipe)

I have been on a yeast free diet for about a year and a half now. While I still enjoy many types of food sometimes I really miss bread. Especially french toast. I made a mean french toast with lots of cinnamon....
So, I decided to try making a version of French Toast with Pumpkin bread to see how it would turn out. I'm glad I thought of it because I actually like it even better than regular french toast!

Here is how I did it:
I used a recipe for Pumpkin Bread from The Foster's Market Cookbook: Favorite Recipes for Morning, Noon, and Night  and baked one loaf of bread as well as muffins and doughnuts (see previous post for more on that). One recipe makes a lot so if you just want one loaf, half the recipe. Make sure you wait a day or so to let the bread breath.

Pumpkin Bread French Toast

1 loaf pumpkin bread. sliced.
2 eggs
1/2 c lowfat milk (could use almond milk)
1/4 blueberry juice (could use apple)
1 1/2 tbs. pumpkin butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon

Whisk mixture until well mixed. Dip slices of pumpkin bread in batter and brown in a large saute pan for about 3 minutes per side. Place in a baking dish in a single layer and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy with real maple syrup, or warm pumpkin butter.

Pumpkin Bread Batter

It's the time of year when cinnamon, spice and pumpkin scents the air! There is nothing more Autumn than the smell of freshly baked pumpkin spice bread. I always find that when I bake pumpkin bread there is enough to do 2 loaves, but I only have one loaf pan. What to do with that extra batter? How about some Pumpkin Doughnuts?

Yes, that was a success! Here's how to do it:
Pour batter into well greased (I used PAM non-stick spray) doughnut pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack. When cool, dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon and let the kids have at them!


You can also add some nuts, raisins, craisins or chocolate chips to the batter and use a muffin pan. Muffins freeze well and thaw fast for an on the go morning breakfast.

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