Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

I have to share this recipe!  I will eventually start sharing more entree recipes, but I must say that desserts are so much fun to make.  I'm really enjoying my attempt at making desserts and sweet breads a little more on the healthy side.  I've made this recipe 3 times in the last 2 weeks, so I hope that you enjoy them!  You'll find that I like muffins and cakes to have a very smooth texture, so I always finely ground nuts and oats to get a smooth, moist texture.  However, that's totally my preference and I'm sure they will taste wonderful if you change the recipe to suite your family's liking.  :)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats (ground in food processor if desired)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 egg
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (also finely ground in food processor)
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt                                                                                                                                       1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Combine oats and milk and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease each cup of one 12-cup muffin tin.
2. Stir egg, applesauce, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the walnuts into the oat and milk mixture.
3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add oat mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moist. Fill each cup of one 12-cup muffin tin 2/3 full.                                                                                              4. Combine remaining brown sugar and ground walnuts with cinnamon in small bowl.  Sprinkle tops with the remaining brown sugar and pecans.
5. Bake at 375 degrees F for 18-20 minutes. 
Recipe adapted from All

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Week 22 - Not much cooking. . .

Well, there's not too much cooking going on this week as we are about to head out on a cross-country adventure!  However, I wanted to go ahead and post for this week to try to keep you motivated to menu plan.  I most likely will not be posting menu plans for the next month, but I'll try to post recipes and pics of yummy food that we eat along the way.  We're taking a family road trip to Nebraska, Colorado and California and we'll be gone for the whole month of July!  My hubby is working remotely while we're on the road and we'll be staying with friends along the way and ending at a family reunion on Alain's side in California!  We are SO excited!  Here's a map of the USA.  I wanted to insert a Google map of our journey, but ran out of time. 

Here's my attempt at a menu for this week:
Sunday - Garlic shrimp with lime
Monday - Chicken stir fry with mushrooms, broccoli and white rice
Tuesday - Out to dinner
Wednesday - Cheese tortellini with tomato sauce
Thursday - Pizza
Friday - On the road (out to dinner)
Saturday - On the road (out to dinner)

Happy cooking to Everyone!  I'd love to see your menus for this week!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week 21

Big birthday bash for both girls is over and done!  It was so much fun!  We missed a few people who couldn't make it, but overall is was a wonderful party!  My girls are getting so big (8 and 5)!  The time really does fly by way too fast! 

Here's a picture of our sweet chickens!  We've never actually named them, but we just fondly call them "the girls."  We started with 6 babies, 1 died as a chick, 2 grew into roosters and the last one was eaten by a coyote or possum.  These "girls" are survivors and they are munching on some leftovers in this shot.  Zach loves to get the eggs and bring them in.  He's fascinated by them.  I never imagined (in my wildest dreams) that I'd ever own chickens, but my hubby can be quite convincing. . .

So, we got to go to Aurelio's one more time last night and I must say it was delicious!  I got to share it with my FIL, my BIL and his girlfriend as well as my mom!  They all seemed to really like the pizza.  I overate, so I now know that I need to pace myself with pizza.  I've recently come to the conclusion that dairy and I don't get along well.  I've never really liked milk, but always loved ice cream and cheese.  Recently, I noticed that I struggled with serious sinus problems after eating ice cream and I've noticed a huge difference in the amount of sinus issues I have now that I don't eat it anymore.  I've been hesitant about cutting off all forms of dairy (since cheese is a wonderful gift), but last night made me think that I just have to watch the amount of cheese that I take in at one time. 

So, here's the menu for this week:
Sunday - Father's Day (Grilled Mahi-Mahi, roasted potatoes, green beans, asparagus)
Monday - Chicken tacos, black beans, white rice, zucchini
Tuesday - Mini Meatloaves (I cook them in muffin tins or mini loaf pans), roasted veggies
Wednesday - Tomato sauce with spaghetti (zucchini noodles for adults)
Thursday - Chicken breasts with walnut pesto
Friday - Fajita burgers
Saturday - Out to Dinner

I'd love to see what you all are cooking!  Post your menus in response!  It's encouraging to everyone if you share!  ;)

Happy cooking to all!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week 20

We are expecting a crowd this weekend because we are celebrating both Annabelle and Emilie's birthdays with family on Saturday!  Annabelle's birthday is in early June and Emilie's in in early July, so it's going to be easier to have everyone come just once to visit to celebrate both girls!  Our house will be full (which we love) and there's be lots of people here to spoil the kids and a few to do the dishes too.  ;)

So, here's my menu for this week:
Sunday - Grilled salmon, roasted cauliflower and yellow squash
Monday - Mahi-Mahi, black beans, broccoli
Tuesday - Mexican beef (picture above served in "Paleo" style)
Wednesday - Baked chicken
Thursday - Thai Shrimp
Friday - Brats and grilled food
Saturday - Aurelio's Pizza!

Have a great week!  Happy Cooking!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I've been wanting to make this chocolate zucchini cake for a very long time, so I signed up to make 3 people meals this week (2 for new babies and one who is in the hospital) and decided this was the time to try a new recipe.  It just so happened that I had lots of zucchini in my refrigerator, so all of the stars aligned for me to make this recipe.  I've slightly adapted the recipe from a great recipe blog,

Well, I can tell you that this recipe is absolutely delicious!  The texture of the cake is so light, but it has subtle hints of cinnamon and orange zest!  I've made it twice this week if that is any clue as to how popular this cake is at my house! I've made a few adjustments that make this a downright "healthy" chocolate cake by substituting applesauce for all of the butter and decreasing the original amount of sugar.  You can choose to follow the original recipe if you prefer, but below you'll find my version! 

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe (adapted from Simply Recipes)

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
    1/2 cup cocoa
    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    3/4 cup applesauce
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    3 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 teaspoons grated orange peel
    2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
    1/2 cup milk
    1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans (pulsed in a food processor)
    Glaze (directions follow)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

1. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

2. With a mixer, beat together the applesauce and the sugar until they are smoothly blended. Add the eggs to the applesauce and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a spoon, stir in the vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini.

3. Alternately stir the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition.

4 Pour the batter into a greased and flour-dusted 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes (test at 45 minutes!) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; turn out on wire rack to cool thoroughly.

5. Drizzle glaze over cake.

Glaze:  Mix together 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Cut in thin slices to serve. Makes 10-12 servings.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Basil - Walnut Pesto Recipe

So, I was supposed to include this in yesterdays post and forgot, but here's a great recipe for pesto.  I got tired of buying pine nuts to make pesto because they are expensive and I don't use them for anything but pesto.  Now I just use whatever nuts I have around my house.  Walnuts are my favorites right now, but I've used pecans and they are just as delicious as any other nut.  Our basil plants are growing like crazy in our garden, so I'll be making a lot of this over the next month or so. . .

Walnut pesto

2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup walnuts (lightly toasted in a 350 F oven if desired)
2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put the garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it’s finely chopped. Add the walnuts and pulse again to crush them. Add the basil, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the pesto is pureed. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

I got this recipe online and typed it up in a document, so I can't remember where it came from.  I'm thinking a blog, so please forgive me not giving credit to the owner.  I've altered it to fit my needs, so it's a little different that the original. 

Happy Cooking Everyone!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Week 19 - Chicago Pizza. . .

Well, I must say that I had a wonderful meal tonight!  I recently discovered that my favorite pizza from the south suburbs of Chicago (my hometown) was opening a location in Marietta!  God bless Aurelios Pizza for coming to a location within 15 miles of my home!!!  So, tonight was an unofficial opening that the owners only announced on facebook.  They announced that they would open at 4pm and I will tell you that there was only one table available when my family and I arrived at 4:30pm!  How amazing is that? 

We are the first customers ever, so I was completely expecting this to be a learning curve for the wait staff (and it was), but the pizza was amazing!  I've been going to this pizza place since birth and it is my "definition" of everything good and pure about pizza.  Check it out in East Cobb at 1255 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, GA 30068! 

So, I should probably get the menu up since I am a day late with it!  Sorry, but my sweet Annabelle had a birthday on Sunday so we've been busy around our house.  She's 8 now and she is definitely letting us know that she is one whole year older every chance she gets!  So sweet!

Here this week's menu:
Sunday - Out to dinner
Monday - Aurelio's Pizza!
Tuesday - Seared Shrimp, basil and walnut pesto (recipe follows), roasted cauliflower
Wednesday - Seared Mahi-Mahi, black beans, white rice, roasted asparagus
Thursday - Baked chicken, carrots, potatoes
Friday - Spaghetti with meat sauce
Saturday - Turkey burgers, roasted sweet potatoes and potatoes, broccoli

So, I'd love to hear what all of you will be eating this week!  Let's encourage one another here! 

Happy meal planning to you all!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Week 18 - Hotlanta

Well, I'm very late this week posting, but I'm sure we're all a little off this week with the holiday!  So, I'll do my best to post the menu for this week from Tuesday through Saturday. 

School is officially out for the summer!  It's been wonderful to sleep in, play with kids and not worry about any schedules.  Alain decided to celebrate the end of school with a large watermelon!  The kids loved it.  I'm always amazed how quickly a watermelon disappears at our house. 

I hope that all of you were able to enjoy the Memorial Day holiday!  The kids and I went up to Tennessee to see my Mom & Step-Dad while the hubby traveled to Florida to spend some time with his family doing some manual labor.  It was a great weekend!  We went hiking with my mom and I had my first tick.  Turns out the stupid tick was attached to the back of my knee for 4 days before I found it all swollen and full of my blood!  YIKES!

Here's the menu:
Tuesday - Hamburgers and hot dogs (leftover from my mom's barbecue)
Wednesday - Breakfast for dinner (Eggs, pancakes and hash browns)
Thursday - Mexican beef tacos, black beans, asparagus, pico de gallo
Friday - Shrimp pesto, roasted cauliflower
Saturday - Seared Mahi-Mahi, roasted zucchini and carrots

Happy Cooking to Everyone!  Let's see your menus!  Don't be bashful!