Thursday, May 31, 2012

Super Delicious Meringue Cookies

Super Delicious Meringue Cookies
I recently tried to make paleo meringue cookies and they were a flop both times because they wouldn't set up the way a normal meringue cookie should. So, I said "Screw this. Some things are meant to be eaten with sugar, lots of sugar!" I found a great recipe for chocolate meringue cookies. They were very simple to make, only took 13 minutes to bake and tasted just like a brownie. I love me some brownies!
Here's the original recipe, but I tweaked it to what I had in my pantry so here's my recipe!

1cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 1/2cups powdered sugar, divided
1/3cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2tsp arrowroot powder, or corn starch
2 egg whites, room temperature
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1/8tsp cream of tartar
1/8tsp salt


Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F.
Lightly spray two cookie sheets with non-stick spray.
Place 1/2 cup chocolate chips in small microwave-safe bowl. Cook in 15-second intervals until chocolate softens; stir until melted and smooth. Cool chocolate to lukewarm, about 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa, and arrowroot powder (cornstarch) in small bowl to blend.
Using electric mixer, beat room-temperature egg whites, vanilla, salt, and cream of tartar in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1 cup sugar in 4 additions, beating just to blend after each addition. Continue to beat until meringue is thick and glossy like marshmallow creme, about 2 minutes longer.
Beat in cocoa mixture. Fold in melted chocolate, then 1/2 cup chips.
Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake cookies 7 minutes. Reverse sheets and bake until dry-looking and cracked, about 6 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets 5 minutes and move to cooling rack to dry completely.

Eat and Enjoy!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Paleo (Flourless) Sweet Potato Bread

Paleo (Flourless) Sweet Potato Bread

There are days that I just love baking. I'll bake three or four things if I'm not busy with running the kids around or doing chores and the easiest thing is to throw everything into one bowl, mix and pour into a baking dish and set the timer and walk away. This is one of those easy receips!

Check out another easy paleo, flourless "bread" recipe found here. For those of you allergic to gluten, this is a great recipe as it provides lots of healthy fat and vegetables! My kids eat this and prefer it to unhealthy desserts. Try this out; you won't be disappointed!
1 1/2cup almond butter
2 eggs
1 1/2cups mashed sweet potatoes
2Tbsp maple syrup or honey
1/4cup unsweetened applesauce (Check out my applesauce recipe and it has cinnamon in it already!)
1 1/2tsp baking soda
1/4tsp cinnamon
1/4cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together (besides the pecans) in a food processor or beat on high with a mixer until smooth. Grease a 13x9 pan with coconut oil or olive oil and pour the mixture into the pan. Top with pecans and bake 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and serve.
Tip: If you have leftovers, cut into portion sizes, line a sheet pan with parchment paper and freeze for 1 hour then move to a freezer bag.

Eat and Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baked Corn on the Cob

Baked Corn on the Cob

This may very well be the simplest post I've ever done because the 'recipe' is the simplest I've ever done. I'm a baked-corn kind of girl. I'm not a fan of boiled corn since I think it looses all of its flavor in the water. Here's how to get the tastiest corn by baking it!
Shuck the corn and make sure the hairs are off of it. Get some tin foil and tear it into sheets that will hold one ear of corn each, making sure you have enough to cover it completely. Place about 1tsp butter on the tin foil, lay the corn on top and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper and wrap tightly. Place seam side up on a baking sheet and bake at 400degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove the tin foil. Cool slightly and enjoy!

You can also grill it this way and use any type of topping you'd like: Chili powder, Garlic Powder, Cumin.. whatever you have on hand!

Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Banana Peppers

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Banana Peppers

I love pickled banana peppers but have never tried fresh ones right out of the garden. My mom's friend was growing these "just to grow them" so she gave some for me to have. Just a note here, the smaller peppers are more spicy than the larger ones. They don't compare to a jalapeno spice or cayenne but they can surprise you!

Well, mom went online and found a recipe and let me try it and I was hooked. Bacon is awesome and if it's crispy and wrapped around something, it makes it even more delicious. You can create any type of stuffed pepper if you want to. Use chicken inside, scrambled eggs, crumbled sausage or make it however you'd like. The possibilities on this are endless.
Don't hate on the scraps for my compost bin!
Depending on serving sizes, 1-2 as a side, 3-4 as an entree:
Banana peppers
Bacon slices
Chopped Onion
Chopped Bell Peppers
Chopped Tomatoes
Shredded Cheese

Directions:Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut tops off banana peppers and butterfly from bottom tip to cut top (See pictures for reference). Remove seeds and ribs and stuff with the above ingredients. Wrap bacon around the peppers and secure it with a toothpick.

Bake at 400degrees for 8 minutes then broil on low for 5-10 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon. The peppers will soften, the cheese will have melted and the bacon will be crispy. Remove from oven and eat!
Sooooo good!

Eat and enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

In the News

I'm so excited that I made it in the local newspaper, the PNJ. Click here to view the full story. There are two of my recipes in the article as well.

I must say, I'm excited!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Inventory and Menu Planning

Inventory and Menu Planning

Part two of getting organized to shop out of your own home without spending any extra money. I plan on eating in my home for 16 breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I do have two B1G1 free meals that I plan on using my 'restaurant envelope' for. This is a list of what I currently have in my freezer, refrigerator and pantry. I wanted to show you everything I have and then I'll show you how I planned my menu.

Chicken Thighs
Chicken Legs
2 Whole Chickens
36 Sausages
2 Bags Sausage Crumbles
2lbs. Chili
56 Eggs
1Ctn. Egg Whites
1Pkg Bacon
36 Sausages
2.5Pkg Turkey Meat
1 Chicken, Shredded
Green Beans
Sweet Potato
Yellow Squash
Spaghetti Squash
Chicken Noodle Soup Ingredients
Green Beans
Spaghetti Squash
Bell Peppers
Banana Peppers
Red Potatoes
Yellow Squash
Baked Potatoes

3 Avocado
Coconut Oil
Coconut Milk
Sunflower Seeds
Olive Oil
Bacon/Bacon Fat

4 Cereals
Dried Fruits
Almond Butter
Maple Syrup
Granola Bars
Pop Tarts
Spaghetti Sauce
Baking Goods
Ice Cream
Frozen Pie Dough
Cookie Dough
Now that you see everything I have in my inventory, look at my menu. I've planned for lunches and dinners. I have enough food during the weekdays while my 8y/o is at school that I don't need to worry about cooking for him. My meals are for weekday dinners and weekend lunches and dinners. You'll see where I have a list for breakfast, snacks and food preperations. It's simple. It may be a bit of a challenge to come up with meals but I have over 100 food posts so browse my blog and check it out. Any new recipes that I will make, I will post those so keep an eye out for that. Also, I don't eat these meals in a numerical order. I choose what we all agree to eat that day and plan it from there. There's no rhyme or reason to my numbering.
Meal 1:
Meatballs, frozen
Spaghetti Sauce, fridge
Cucumber slices, fresh
Noodles, pantry

Meal 2:
Hamburgers, frozen
Green Beans, fresh
Red Potatoes, fresh

Meal 3:
Baked Potato Fries, fridge
Spinach Salad
Hush Puppies – 1egg

Meal 4:
Chicken Noodle Soup
Meal 5:
Chicken Empenadas
Corn on the cob, fresh

Meal 6:
Baked Chicken, frozen
Fruit Salad (apples, strawberries)
Yellow Squash, fresh

Meal 7:
Banana Peppers, fresh
Scrambled egg on top (1 egg)
Bacon slices
Sausage Crumbles
Meal 8:
Beans, pantry
Rice, pantry
Shredded Chicken

Meal 9:
Green Beans, frozen

Meal 10:
Turkey Sandwich
Cucumber, fresh
Baked Potato fries, fridge

Meal 11:
BBQ Chicken
Corn, fresh
Spinach Salad
Fruit Salad

Meal 12:

Meal 13:
Chicken Nachos
Sour Cream

Meal 14:
Sausage Crumble Bake

Meal 15 & 16:
Sonny’s BBQ B1G1 Sandwiches

Fruit Salad w/ coconut milk
Paleo Chocolate Bombs
Banana w/ almond butter
Granola Bars
Pop Tarts
Paleo Muffins
Paleo Banana Bread
Boiled eggs
Bell pepper slices
Cucumber slices

Chocolate chip pancakes/Waffles (Gluten Free recipe coming soon)
Breakfast bake with sausage crumbles, eggs, cheese
Scrambled eggs
Boiled Eggs
Omelet w/ egg whites turkey
Blueberry/Spinach shakes

Paleo Muffins
Chocolate Bombs
Paleo Banana Bread

Boil remaining eggs
Prep fruit salad
Slice veggies
Hush puppies
Assemble empenadas (dough in freezer already)
Bake chickens
Sausage crumble bake
Soak beans and cook
Make rice

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No Spending Money for 2.5 Weeks!

No Spending Money for 2.5 Weeks!

I am doing a budget where I spend cash at the grocery store and dining out, no longer using the debit card for those purchases. Well, I got a little 'buy-crazy' with some vegetables that I planted in my garden and I used my grocery money for that because, well, it's going to be food.. one day.. I hope. Honestly, I should have used my 'blow money' on those purchases but I didn't and I'm not going to buy anything else this month with regards to food!

I do have about $40 left to go out to eat so on the following Monday's in May, we are going to Sonny's (BBQ joint in Pensacola) through their drive through and ordering a pulled pork sandwich, since they are B1G1 (buy one, get one free up to 5 deals). That will save me a day to plan a dinner and I can use up the money in my restaurant envelope. I will buy 3 and get 3 free, saving the meat for lunches.. Not too bad for about $10!

I know I'll have to buy the baby some more milk but that's the only thing I'll spend money on the rest of the month.
So, if you're ever in this situation, here's what I recommend.
1. Take inventory on every food item you have, whether it's frozen, fresh or pantry items. If it's food, write it down.

2. My inventory sheet consists of these categories.. you do what you'd like but this is how my mind wants to see the items:
Protein, Veggies, Fruit, Fats, Miscellaneous

3. Write down every item you have under each category. My list has separate pages so it doesn't create a visual cluster.

4. If you're a weirdo like me type it out using a columns to make life easier. I don't want to flip through pages when I can just check out the columns on one piece of paper.

5. Print out your inventory sheet. 'Nuff said.

6. After you've inventoried everything, plan a menu around what you have.
*If you don't have a particular item, such as an onion, ask a family member or neighbor if they have a surplus they'd like to get rid of. Also, if you know any generous gardeners with an abundance of fruits and veggies, ask them to give you some. As a novice gardener, I want all of my surplus to go to my family and friends that will eat it instead of it being thrown away. Ask! The worst that could happen is someone saying no.
*If you have a lot of veggies and fruits but hardly any protein, ask your family or friends if they'd like to get together for a meal. Tell them what you have and ask them to bring over the protein. Nothing like spending time together eating good food, right?

7. Do a meal swap! If you have plenty of one item, make enough to pass out to one or two others. When you have a side, they can provide another side or two proteins (one per person). That way, you'll be consuming three total meals just for giving them a side dish.

8. Freeze away! If you have a surplus of some items that will go to waste if not cooked, freeze it. Using the flash freezing method, you can easily store away a ton of veggies. You can also flash freeze proteins, fruits and baked goods by lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut the baked goods into individual servings and freeze up to 1 hour then transfer to a freezer-safe container. With the fruits: wash, peel, chop, dry and then freeze on parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 1 hour then transfer to a freezer-safe container. For proteins: I prep it by rolling out meatballs, or making hamburger patties or butterflying chicken breast then freeze individually up to 1 hour then transfer to freezer-safe container.

9. Don't fret! If this is your first time doing an inventory on your foods, don't fret. If it becomes overwhelming, step away and come back to the list or menu at a later time. Food is your friend :)

10. This will save you money! I promise, if you have a small stockpile of foods, you will save money by eating out of your refrigerator, freezer and pantry. I was thankfully given some fresh vegetables from a friends garden. If you don't know anyone with a garden, and you don't have one yourself, think about doing something called square foot gardening. Lots of information online about it.

Later on, I will be making a menu from my inventory and will provide that with the recipes (if any aren't already blogged) and will link that back to this blog post.

Make your food, and your money, work for you! Do not be a slave to it. You are the owner of it and no one can take that knowledge away from you. Manifest Destiny!!!!!!!! :)

Good luck!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Scones

I never was a huge fan of blueberries until this year, really. We have a local blueberry farm that has blueberries the size of a quarter, sometimes bigger! I found one today that was as big as a half dollar. Each variety tastes different but still has that blueberry quality to it. The type of blueberries I'm using today are from the Palmetto bush and they have a slight lemon flavor, but sometimes they taste just like strawberries.
I wanted to make a dessert to take over to my moms that didn't have a lot of sugar in it and wasn't chocolate so I thought of making a blueberry scone. I made cinnamon-sugar scones last year and tweaked that recipe a bit to make these today. Huge blueberries that I hand-picked, a tiny bit of sugar and just a few minutes of baking time and these are ready in a snap!

2cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 egg, separated (save the egg white for the topping)
3 tablespoons honey
1/2cup whole milk
1/2-2/3cup blueberries (not frozen. If frozen, simply run warm water on them to bring to room temp, the drain)
1 teaspoon sugar (for the topping, do not mix into batter)

Preheat oven to 400degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter until it looks crumbling, similar to sand. You can use your hands like I did, or a fork or pulse in a food processor.
In a separate dish, combine the egg yolk, honey and milk. Stir this into the dry mixture until just combined. Fold in the blueberries. Smooth it out to an 8" circle, about 1/2" thick and score into whatever shape you like. I score it into triangles like a pizza. You can also use cookie cutters or the rim of a glass to make circular ones if you want.

Scramble the reserved egg white and brush on top of the scones. Sprinkle the sugar on the top.
Place on baking sheet and bake at 400degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes.
If you want to make a glaze, add powdered sugar and a little tiny bit of milk to a bowl and combine. The mixture should be nice and thick. Too thick? Add a little more milk. Too loose? Add a little more powdered sugar.

Eat and enjoy!