Sunday, May 18, 2014

Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

Oooooh one of my favorite snacks.

These actually came about because I had bought some Cucumbers on sale, and needed to use them up so they wouldn't go bad.

This is a very easy recipe to make, my kids and hubby love it, my sister in law and niece love it, and I love it too.  Perfect little snack.

Refrigerator Pickles
Refrigerator Pickles
Adapted from: Allrecipes

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups white sugar
6 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced onions
Celery Seed to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.

Place the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables.

Refrigerator Pickles

Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator.

Bread Machine Ciabbata Bread

Bread Machine Ciabatta Bread of my downfalls.  I don't think there's anything on this earth that can quite compare with a slice of fresh bread, straight out of the oven, with a big slather of butter.  YUM!!!

I love my bread, and I love my breadmaker to get the dough going for me.  I'm not a big fan of the bread baked in the machine, the loaves just never come out like I want them to, but for getting the dough going, this is perfect.

So, here I leave you a Bread maker recipe for 2 delicious loaves of Ciabatta Bread.

Bread Machine Ciabatta Bread
Bread Machine Ciabbata Bread

1 1/2 cups Water
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/4 cups Flour; (4.06 cups of spelt)
1 1/2 teaspoons Yeast

Place ingredients into the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle, and Start. Dough will be quite sticky and wet once cycle is completed, resist the temptation to add more flour.

Place dough on a lightly floured board, cover with a large bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes. Lightly flour or use parchment lined baking sheets. Divide into 2 pieces, and form each into a 13x14 inch oval. Place loaves on prepared sheets, dimple surface, and lightly flour. Cover, and let rise in a draft free place for approximately 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degres F.

Bread Machine Ciabatta Bread

Dimple dough for a second time, and then place loaves in the oven, positioned on the middle rack. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. During baking, spritz loaves with water every 5 to 10 minutes for a crispier crust.

Bread Machine Ciabatta Bread

Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Bananas

Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Bananas

Well my friends, I am back on the healthy wagon.  I haven't been feeling quite myself lately, and it's not just because of the upcoming move, AGAIN, but because I haven't been eating very healthy lately.

I've slacked, I've put into my body a lot of junky fatty yucky food and I am feeling it.

So I need a change, and that means religiously following my Zumba exercises every day, counting my calories, drinking my 64 oz of water each day, but most importantly eating the food I love, just a healthier version and definitely doing portion control.

I can never completely diet, I can't cut out food or deprive myself of the things I love, because it never works, and I always fail in my attempts.

But eating healthier?  Everyone can do it, especially when you follow the amazing Gina at Skinnytaste.

I just came out of the kitchen, where I made a batch of the Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Bananas, and also some Muffins for my weekday breakfasts.

Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Bananas

Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Bananas

Servings: 6 • Serving Size: 1/6th • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 6 pts
Calories: 211.7 • Fat: 5.4 g • Protein: 5.6 g • Carb: 38.1 g • Fiber: 3.8 g • Sugar: 22.8 g
Sodium: 76.9 mg (without salt)

2 medium ripe bananas, (the riper the better) sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup honey (or agave)
1 cup uncooked quick oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup fat free milk (or any milk you desire)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly spray a 8 x 8" or 9 x 9" ceramic baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on the bottom of the ceramic dish. Sprinkle half of the blueberries over the bananas, 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon, 1 tbsp of the honey and cover with foil. Bake 15 minutes, until the bananas get soft.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the oats, half of nuts, baking powder, remaining cinnamon, and salt; stir together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining honey, milk, egg, and vanilla extract.

Remove the bananas from the oven, then pour the oat mixture over the bananas and blueberries.

Pour the milk mixture over the oats, making sure to distribute the mixture as evenly as possible over the oats. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries and walnuts over the the top.

Bake the oatmeal for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the oatmeal has set. Serve warm from the oven.

Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Bananas

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Blueberry Banana and Oatmeal Smoothie

I have been on a smoothie kick lately, especially enjoying experimenting with spinach, kale and other greens.

They are not only healthy, as I've said before, but can be very tasty.  I don't know why so many are scared at the thought of mixing fruits and leafy greens in a smoothie.....but I can understand because I was somewhat apprehensive at first.

Never fear, the wonderful Gina at Skinny Taste has tons of amazing, tasty smoothie recipes for us.

This is another one from her and I love it.

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
Blueberry, Banana and Oatmeal Smoothie
Source:  Skinny Taste

1/2 cup raw quick oats*
2 cups water
1/2 cup Almond Breeze vanilla unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 ripe medium banana
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp raw sugar
1/2 cup ice


Cook oats and water in a small pot for about a minute or two, stirring often until it becomes thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and let it cool a few minutes.

In a blender add almond milk, blueberries, banana, cooled oats, vanillas, sugar and ice. Blend on high until very smooth. Pour in a glass over ice. Enjoy!!

Makes 3 1/2 cups.

*Use gf oats to make this gluten-free.

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup

Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup

I have quite a few recipes that I've been meaning to share with you all, but just haven't found the time to do so.

You know as the end of the year approaches, school wise, we are in high gear and trying to get everything done as soon as possible so summer can officially start.

I've been cooking yummy stuff, and I do remember to take photos, just don't get around to posting them here, but I'm going to try and remedy that over the next few days, and really get everything up on the blog.

Starting with this delicious soup.  I know that the weather is warming up, but there a lot of you who are still seeing cold temperatures and even snow, so here's a great suggestion for a delicious dinner.

Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup
Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup

32 oz Dried Northern Beans
1.5 lb Bacon
2 Onions diced
1/2 lb Carrots diced
4 cloves Garlic - left whole or you mince it -
4 cup Water
1 Box of Chicken Broth
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Sort beans and remove any debris or rocks. Rinse beans under cold water.
Fry bacon in skillet till crispy.

Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6-8
Add more water if needed. Mash up some of the beans.
Salt & Pepper to taste and enjoy!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Homemade Flour Tortillas!

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Ok folks, I think it's time we stop spending money on things that can easily be made at home, using ingredients that you have in your pantry, and knowing that you don't have anything in there that you can't even pronounce.

I don't like to spend money on things that I know I can make myself, and I've been on a journey to make as many homemade items as I can.

For dinner tonight, I was making something that I haven't made in quite a long time.  Just some simple meat Enchiladas and nothing is better for those than warm tortillas straight from your kitchen.

Put aside all fears of complicated recipes, this one has only 3 ingredients, and I promise you, you will never buy from the store again.

Homemade Flour Tortillas
Homemade Flour Tortillas
Adapted from:
Makes 16

3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup warm water

In a bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.  Pour in the oil and water and mix well until a smooth soft dough forms.  (You can do this in your Kitchenaid mixer too).

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Dump the dough onto a floured surface, divide into 16 small balls, then flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Roll each ball into a 6 inch circles.

Place a non stick pan on the stove, cook each tortilla about 1 minute on each side until there are brown spots on each side.  Remove from the pan and stack them on a plate.  I place a clean kitchen towel on top to keep them warm.

If you're not using them right away, then don't cover them, let them cool down and them place them in a ziploc bag.  You can keep them at room temperature until the next day, otherwise refrigerate them.  You can also freeze them, they freeze very well and will stay good for a very long time.