Saturday, August 7, 2010

Vegie Egg Rolls with Sweet and Sour dipping sauce

Let's just say that my husband has a new obsession!!! Which is very cool because before we met his idea of dinner was Combos and Mt.Dew! Two really do become one!
Chinese is such a treat, but sometimes scary ingredients and most of the time kind of pricey. These will save you money and you know exactly what is going into them! So take some time to try these out and you will be hooked too...

* Fill a pot half up with oil. Just enough to cover the egg roll when it's in. Begin to heat frying oil on Medium High heat. Put then end of a wooden spoon in to check if oil is hot yet. If it is hot, bubbles will quickly appear around the wooden spoon end.*
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper (or any seasoning you want on the filling)
Any desired vegies chopped tiny- could also add finely chopped chicken
Brocoli Slaw
Egg Roll Wraps
These ingredients can both be found on the produce
wall in the grocer store.


Saute Vegies in Olive oil. Add the slaw and allow to soften. Remove from heat and set aside. Lay out one egg roll wrapper on a diagonal. In the shape of a diamond. Spoon some of the vegie mixture across. Fold the bottom corner up and then wet the outside edges with water. Fold sides in and then roll up to the top. The water will glue the edges closed. Drop into hot oil and fry until the wrap is golden brown. Remove to baking rack with paper towels underneath to soak up dripping oil.

You can make the sauce before, during or after you make the egg rolls. Depends on your level of multi-tasking!

For the sauce:
1/2 cups unbleached sugar
1 cup of pineapple juice- canned pineapple in it's own juice works good.
2 TBSP honey
2 TBSP ketchup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
3 TBSP cornstarch stirred into 1/4 cup of warm water

Combine the sugar and pineapple juice over medium heat. Stirring often. Once it has come together and is smooth, add the other ingredients except the cornstarch mixture. Keep the heat on medium so it doesn't boil too quickly and turn into some sort of strange candy! When it begins to boil whisk in cornstarch until it thickens. Stir for another minute and set aside. This is where you should carefully taste it and determine if the sweet/sour ratio is to your liking. I think each person prefers it a little differently. Add a drop more vinegar or sugar to make it your own.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Amazing Grilled Pizza

With the beginning of summer, I began to explore my curiosity with grilled pizza. Finally tonight we had the opportunity to grill, but with a lack of desire for meat lately we decided it was time to conquer the pizza! What was our sweet victory reward??? Stone oven style pizza with amazing flavor and texture. So gather up all the necessities, get organized, light the grill and enjoy!

The necessities...
Pizza dough (my dough recipe is further down the blog if you are in need of a good homemade dough recipe)
All the desired toppings layed out and easy to access (sauce, cheese, vegies, garlic oil etc)
Large metal spatula to remove finished pizza


     Seperate dough into individual servings. Roll dough out to the desired thickness. The dough will puff up, so if you want a thinner pizza definitely roll out very thinly. Place dough onto grill and don't move until it begins to brown and moves off the grill easily. Flip the dough and then top with any desired toppings. Close the lid and allow to bake in the grill until cheese is melted. It's good to check once in a while with a gas grill to avoid charring from the open flame. Turn down heat if the crust is darkening too quickly. Remove pizza onto desired cutting surface.    

                                Hubby and I had SO much fun doing this together.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Strawberry Banana Muffins

Well another day another baking experiment! I had some strawberries and old bananas that I needed to use and I began to think of the possibilities of putting them together. I mean strawberry-banana anything is a great thing if you ask me. But beyond smoothies or ice cream toppings, I have never considered the possibility of the combination in a baked good. The muffins were a success and very simple to put together. They are moist with a nice texture and filled with just the right amount of hint of strawberry and banana. Walking into spring and summer, I am sure this is not the last time I will be making this yummy treat so that my berries don't go to waste. Oh what a shame! I will have to make these again. ;)

1 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 mashed bananas
10 (or so) strawberries diced
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Melt butter and set aside. Mix brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and mashed bananas together. In seperate bowl combine dry ingredients then fold strawberries into the flour mixture. Add dry into wet ingredients and stir gently. Fill muffin cups. Bake @ 350 for around 2o minutes. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Our Favorite Pizza

Oh the love of pizza! It has gotten me through many trying times of pregnancy and many cold wintery nights of being snowed in. It is a dear friend! My passion for pizza has taken me in a few different directions and all of them begin with my fool-proof pizza crust. Whether it is topped with sauce or olive oil. Folded over into stromboli or covered in Nutella and strawberries... it is faithful. With a good crust recipe, the options for amazing pizza is endless. Use what you have laying around and see what you can create!!!!

1 1/2 cups of warm water ( 35 seconds in a microwave is usually good)
2 TBSP unbleached sugar (or honey, agave, brown sugar, etc)
1 packet yeast (2 1/2 tsp.)
Mix together and let sit for 10 minutes

3 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP olive oil
Any garlic and herbs if desired

Stir in 2 cups flour, salt, and olive oil and any other seasonings you desire. As it begins to come together dump out onto a well floured surface. Begin to knead your dough and continue until it is firm and not sticky. Place into a oiled bowl and cover. If it is cold or drafty, place into the oven for one hour.  If you have the time, press all the air out and allow it to raise again. If you need to use it at this stage it is okay too. Press dough out onto an oiled pizza stone and bake for 5 minutes at 450 degrees. Remove and top with the desired toppings. Continue baking until toppings are at desired results :)

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pie

Mother's Day! We needed some fresh hints of spring so I decided on strawberry pie. But we were also torn between something chocolate, we were celebrating a bunch of ladies after all!!! So this idea was born! And what a revelation! This pie is fresh and delicious that cures and need for chcolate.  

*See below for an additional crust recipe and a chocolate free variation*

Ingredients for the pie crust: (Although, you can use any pie shell you want)
1 cup of unbleached flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of cold water

Ingredients for the pie:
2 quarts fresh strawberries- diced
3/4 cup unbleached sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup chocolate chips
2 TBSP Heavy Cream

Ingredients for the homemade whipped cream:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 TBSP powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

For the Olive Oil Pie Crust, simple mix the four, salt, sugar, olive oil into a crumb consistency. Add the water and stir into a ball. Dough will be very sticky. Roll out with lots of flour. Fill pie shell and fold under the edges to create the crust. Grease the bottom of another pie pan and put it in on top of your pie dough. This will hold your shell down in shape while you pre-bake it. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the top pie pan and bake another 7-8 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Slice the strawberries into thin slices. Arrange 1 package of the diced strawberries into the prepared pie crust. Heat the other package of diced berries combined with sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. While that is heating, whisk together cornstarch and water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. If it does not thicken, make another small batch of the cornstarch paste. When thickened up, pour mixture over the raw berries in pastry shell.

Melt the chocolate chips over simmering water. Stir in cream. Then spread over the strawberry mixture. Chill for several hours before serving. 

In a small bowl, whip cream until it starts to thicken. Add 3 TBSP of powdered sugar and vanilla. Continue to whip on highest speed until soft peaks form. I covered the whole pie with the whipped cream You can serve it with just a spoonful on top if you like it better that way.

This pie was super easy! The most work was the pie shell. You can buy one if you wanted to. I tend to just make things because it's cheaper, but either way it is wonderful....Enjoy!!!!

My tiny helper!
*Recently I discovered a super quick and easy way to make pie crust. This one is an all butter crust made in the food processor!
Ingredients: Makes one crust. Double for a pie with a top crust.
1 1/4 cup of flour- I used whole wheat pastry flour
1 TBSP of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick of cold butter- sliced into thin pieces
1/3 cup of cold water
Pulse the dry ingredients to combine. Add the butter and turn on until a fine "sand-like" crumb develops. Slowly add in the cold water, a little at a time, with the processor running. When your dough begins to form and ball up, it's ready. You may not use all the water. Remove and roll out onto a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. So easy!
* A chocolate free version is delicious too! Just omit the chocolate ingredients, and add in the zest and juice of one lemon to the simmering strawberries. Very fresh and light. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Banana Poppy Seed Bread

It is beginning to seem like there are healthy versions for just about any recipe that you desire to make and banana bread definitely has it's renditions... but this is not one of them!!! My family was begging for banana bread and usually I pull out the flax seeds, honey, and whole wheat and make a baked good that I can feel good about giving them. But this was not a healthy recipe day. This was a lazy Saturday spent indoors being cozy while it rained and rained outside. This bread is soft and cakey. Has a wonderfully textured top that adds to the decadence of the bread. So save this one for when you are ready for some desert!

Preheat oven for 350 degrees

5-6 extra ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup oil
3 Eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3-4 tsp of cinnamon (depending on your taste for spice)
a dash of nutmeg
3 tsp poppy seeds

I use a mixer to soften the bananas. Then I add the sugar, vanilla, oil and eggs to the bananas. I add in 2 1/2 cups of flour. To the other 1/2 cup of flour stir in the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Continue mixing as you add the remaing flour mixture. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Chocolate chips are an awesome addition to this bread too! And muffins are fun too!

Bake at 325 degrees for around an hour depending on what type of baking pan you are using. Just be aware that when you start smelling it, you should probably check it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Mix Salad with Manderin Oranges, Roasted Slivered Almonds, and Raspberry Vinegarette


My new-found go to meal or snack that is amazingly easy but bursting with vibrant flavors!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spiced Plum Upside Down Cake

On a dreary and rainy day I often want to feel the warmth of my oven and have my house filled with the smell of baking comfort. Last Sunday afternoon  I found myself thinking that it was the perfect day to bake something full of spice. Needing to use up some plums, I came up with this delicious and rather beautiful plum cake! It has a hint of sweet and tart surrounded by the warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg. This is very simple but looks so elegant. When I saw the end result I realized that it would be the perfect desert for the holidays or a dinner party. It's so beautiful!  It is simple gourmet.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

3 tablespoons butter 
1/4 cup brown sugar

Coat a 9 inch round pan with baking spray. (I used a silicon pan) Melt butter and brown sugar in the oven until bubbly. Set aside.

1/3 cup soft butter
1 cup unbleached sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
4 black plums, pitted and thinly sliced

Cream the butter, and sugar together. Add egg, vanilla, and milk. Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg.

Lay out the sliced plums to cover the pre-baked butter and brown sugar mixture. Make any design you desire. Pour out the batter to cover the plums and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Try switching up the fruit to make a brand new creation! Or line the outside of the pan with plums and fill the inside circle with fresh blueberries. The possibilities are endless!!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ginger Snap Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Although I am not a longtime fan of biscotti, my love for coffee is growing as big as my love for any other food group! In my developing ritual of enjoying some french-pressed decaf at night, I began thinking of having something to add onto my coffee treat. Mainly for the evenings that we have good friends over for late night games of Settlers of Catan. So I passed quickly by scones, because seriously no one needs to be eating those at night, and stopped at the thoughts of biscotti. I found some basic recipes and went from there with my experimentation. I had chocolate chips, of course, and ginger snaps. The rest is just biscotti history! These are wonderful cruchy and perfect for dipping. The official description from my trusted guinea pigs was a cookie form of Mexican hot cocoa. In my own words..... divine!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coffee
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
7/8 cup unbleached sugar
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
8 crushed up ginger snaps
1 cup of chocolate chips

Mix the wet ingedients. Add the dry ingredients.

With wet hands form the dough into a square measuring the desired width of your biscotti.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Until firm.
LOWER OVEN temperature to 275 degrees.
Allow cookie square to cool until it is cool enough to touch. Then with a serrated knife, slice to the desired sized biscotti . Spread the sliced biscotti out around your baking sheet. And place back into the 275 degree oven for around 25 minutes or until your desired crunchiness!

Dunk and enjoy!!!!