Cashew Cookie Larabar

larabars

Have you ever been out and about…STARVING…but you want to grab something quick and healthy?  I don’t know about you, but have you ever looked at the ingredients of those so called “healthy” energy bars?  All I know is they can’t be that healthy with all of those ingredients, you know the ones that we have no idea what they are.  Enter the Larabar, a preservative free bar made with only real food.  I came across a recipe for making these bars on 100daysofrealfood.com.  Let me tell you, this is the easiest recipe to make and just like the Larabar that you can buy at the store, there are minimal ingredients and no preservatives.  I can’t wait to see what other combinations I can come up with…I hope you try them because they are so good!  🙂

Ingredients:
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 Tbsp water

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Combine dates

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cashews

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peanut butter

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and water

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in a food processor and puree until mixture starts to stick together.  Add a little more water if needed to help the mixture come together. 

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Pick up date mixture and using you hands, work to squeeze it together into one big clump.

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Mash it down on a cutting board or sheet of wax paper to form into one even rectangle shape using the side of your hands (or a knife) to make the edges straight.

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Cut into 12 even squares.  

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For best results store in the refrigerator, although bars can be stored at room temperature.  

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Enjoy 🙂
xoxo

Recipe adapted from 100daysofrealfood.com

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Lemon

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About 1 1/2yrs ago, while celebrating my niece’s Christening, my brother served these AMAZING Brussels sprouts! They were so good that I immediately ordered the cookbook that night and couldn’t wait until it arrived! I’ve always thought Brussels sprouts were ok…I mean they were just ok, but now after having them cooked this way, I can’t get enough of them. The mixture of the Brussels sprouts with the bacon, lemon and butter is so good that my mouth is watering for them as I speak! Needless to say, this was a definite must have addition to our Christmas Eve dinner. The great thing about this dish is, it is such an easy recipe to make that I’ve even cooked it on a busy weeknight. So for all of you out there that say “I don’t like Brussels sprouts”, wait until you try these…you will change your mind!

Ingredients:
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
Sea salt
1 to 3 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon
1 large lemon, halved lengthwise
2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

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In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the sprouts until tender, almost 5 minutes.

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Drain and spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Taste and sprinkle with salt if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the bacon in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch chunks. Cut the lemon in half again lengthwise, then cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick. Cut the butter into 6-8 slices.

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Scatter the bacon over the Brussels sprouts.

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Scatter the lemon on top.

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Scatter the butter on top. Drizzle with the olive oil and grind a little pepper over all.

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Roast on the oven’s top rack until the sprouts are browned in spots, about 15 minutes. Using a metal spatula, turn the entire mixture over to help it cook evenly and return the sprouts to the oven until they are well browned, about 15 minutes longer.

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Serve immediately.

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Enjoy! 🙂
xoxo

Recipe adapted from: Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors

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Caramelized Bacon

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If anyone knows my husband, they know his love of bacon. Seriously, it may be bordering on an obsession! However, I guess I can’t completely blame him because I may be encouraging it slightly. Last year for Christmas I got him a cookbook dedicated to bacon and this year I got him a bacon press that he could use for his wonderful BLTs. You should have seen his excitement when he realized I was going to be making this new caramelized bacon recipe…he started washing his bacon press immediately! Much to his disappointment, with this recipe, the bacon is cooked in the oven. Let me tell you, the caramelized bacon was pretty addicting. Not only did my husband of course love it, but many of my family members kept going back for more. This recipe will definitely be one that is requested over and over again. I’m sorry Dear, but the bacon press will have to wait for another day. 🙂

Ingredients:
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup chopped or whole pecans
2 teas kosher salt
1 teas freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teas ground cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 lb thick-sliced applewood-smoked bacon

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil (for easy cleaning) and place a wire baking rack on top.

Combine the brown sugar and pecans in a food processor and process until the pecans are finely ground.

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Add the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and pulse to combine. Add the maple syrup and pulse again to moisten the crumbs.

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Cut each bacon slice in half crosswise and line up the pieces on the baking rack without touching.

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With a small spoon, evenly spread the pecan mixture on top of each pice of bacon, using all of the mixture.

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Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is very browned but not burnt. If it’s underbaked, the bacon will not crisp as it cools.

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While it’s hot, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature.

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Enjoy 🙂
xoxo

Recipe adapted from: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

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Parmesan Crisps

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Do you want a low carb option to add to your favorite soup? These parmesan crisps are so easy to make, they are a low carbohydrate choice, and are much more tasty than the old stand-by saltines. Recently we had a smaller version of these crisps on a Caesar salad at a local restaurant and they were so good that it got my mind wondering to where else I could add these tasty crisps. Really the options are endless, but most recently we added them to our Tomato and Spinach Soup. It was amazing and added such a great flavor! So grab your favorite Parmesan Cheese, your cheese grater and start grating 🙂

Preheat oven to 400 deg.

Grate cheese, I used the shredded option.

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Pour a heaping tablespoon of Parmesan onto a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet and lightly pat down. A silicone baking sheet is highly recommended. Repeat with the remaining cheese, spacing the spoonfuls about a 1/2 inch apart.

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Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool.

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Top your favorite soup with the crisp.

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Enjoy 🙂
xoxo

Recipe adapted from: Food Network

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Tomato and Spinach Soup with Parmesan Crisps

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It is getting so much colder outside and the only thing that sounds good to me is soup. When my husband was growing up, they had soup every night with their dinner, so out comes the soup pot and we are making soup 🙂 I love tomato-based soups, so when I came across this recipe it looked really good but I wanted to alter it a little, so I added the spinach and parmesan crisps on top. We were at a restaurant recently and they had parmesan crisps on their Caesar salad. It was so good and it gave me the idea of adding it not only to salads, but also to soup.

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped carrot (1 med)
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup celery
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2/3 cup vegetable juice
2 teas sugar
1/2 teas dried Italian seasoning, crushed (I instead used basil and oregano)
1/4 teas salt
1/8 teas ground black pepper
1 to 1/4 cup water
2-4 cups spinach
Parmesan crisps

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In medium saucepan heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add carrot, onion, celery; cook for 5-8 minutes or until tender.

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Stir in tomatoes, vegetable juice, sugar, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

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Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes; cool slightly.

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Transfer tomato mixture, half at a time, to a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until smooth. (I left the mixture in the pot and used an immersion blender which worked great).
Stir in enough of the water to reach the desired consistency.

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Add spinach and again either blend in blender or use an immersion blender to mix spinach in soup.

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Serve with parmesan crisps on top.

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Enjoy 🙂
xoxo

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications: Soup

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Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Cookies

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I think I have an addiction to Pinterest! I’m serious, there are so many cute holiday cookies that I want to make but I know that there is no way that I’ll be able to make them all nor will my waistline appreciate it, but that is what friends and neighbors are for, right? 🙂 When I saw these adorable cookies, I thought that I would have to attempt these. What I discovered is that they aren’t that hard to make, but don’t try to put the pretzel antlers into the cookie because it doesn’t work. What I did is to dip the pretzels in chocolate and place them on the parchment paper. Next I laid the chocolate covered Nutter Butter cookie on top of them. Wilton makes these candy eyes which worked perfect, and then I used a red M&M for the nose. They turned out so cute that I can’t wait to add them to the Christmas cookie tray. I wonder what I will make next???…Back to Pinterest 🙂

Ingredients:
Nutter Butter cookies
Wilton Dark Cocoa Candy Melts
Wilton Candy Eyes
M&M’s
Small pretzel twists

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Melt chocolate in a double boiler.

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Dip cookies into the chocolate.

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Break pretzels into “antlers”, dip in chocolate and place on parchment paper. Place chocolate dipped cookie onto antlers.

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Place candy eyes on reindeer’s face.

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Add red M&M for Rudolph’s nose.

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Place cookies in the refrigerator to set and keep chocolate from melting. Once set, remove from parchment paper and enjoy!

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Happy Holidays and enjoy! 🙂
xoxo

Recipe adapted from Pinterest.

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Chocolate Mint Holiday Cookies

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Have you ever had the Joe Joe’s Cookies from Trader Joe’s? Now I’m not talking about the Joe Joe’s that you can get anytime of the year, but those that only make their appearance around the holidays. Candy Cane Joe Joe’s…AMAZING!!! Not only do they have these wonderful treats, but when I was there the other day they had Chocolate Covered Candy Cane Joe Joe’s. Let me just say that my hubby quickly devoured this box…well maybe I had one or two 🙂 My hubby asked me the other day if I was going to Trader Joe’s again and I know without saying, he wants more of these cookies. Since we don’t live that close to Trader Joe’s I thought there’s got to be a way to make these cookies or something like it. My cookies may look different, but they are YUMMY 🙂 I hope you like it and if you feel like having Holiday cookies in July, now you’re able to 🙂

Ingredients:
Mint Oreo cookies
Wilton Dark Cocoa Candy Melts
Candy canes

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Melt chocolate using a double boiler until smooth.

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Meanwhile crush candy canes.
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Dip Oreo cookie into chocolate covering it completely. Tap fork against side of pot to get rid of excess chocolate.

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Place cookie on parchment paper and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

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Refrigerate until set and chocolate hard.

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Remove from refrigerator and serve. (Chocolate will start to melt if left at room temperature too long.)

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Enjoy 🙂
xoxo

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