Homemade Marshmallows

10173759_10152138040480326_749504309667395726_nRecently my boss brought in some homemade marshmallows to the office. They were amazing, fluffy, white, sweet puffs of deliciousness. I was inspired to make them myself as I love marshmallow everything! I used Alton Browns Marshmallow recipe and they turned out great. I did, however, run out of granulated sugar and compensated by adding some extra corn syrup. I think this made them feel and taste a lot more like what you would expect a marshmallow to be if you bought a big bag of them in a store. Not bad at all, however, the home made ones I was after were a tad more fluffy, so next time I will have plenty of sugar on hand!

10013982_10152138035905326_5647854166855334660_nI won’t go into the details of the recipe here, but it was fairly simple. It was my first foray into candy making and I was nervous. I will tell you, if you are also new to this, you really do need a candy thermometer (I got one at the grocery store for 3 dollars) and a stand mixer. I cant stress enough how much you will need a stand mixer. Even if you have the endurance to hold an electric hand mixer for 15 minutes straight, it would be quite a feat to do so while mixing this sticky concoction. Even my stand mixer was moving around from the viscosity in the bowl! Also, don’t expect to eat them right away! They need to cool for at least 4 hours before you can cut them out and devour them. It was hard to wait!

So, four and half hours later I have these yummy pillows of sugar. What to do with them?! Well its April, not much of a hot cocoa season anymore. But marshmallows and chocolate mmmmm…..

10150631_10152138062055326_3235906161928690389_nSo I decided to dip them in chocolate and top them with whatever I had laying around! Graham crackers? Check! Coconut? Check! So I made s’more marshmallows and coconut marshmallows and they turned out fabulous.

I simply melted a cup of semi sweet chocolate morsels in the microwave. You can use a double boiler if you want, but its soooooo much easier just to put them in a microwave safe bowl, pop that into the microwave for a minute, give it a stir, and pop it back in for another minute. Then just remove and stir until smooth. If you want to be more professional you can add shortening to the chocolate and do some fancy shmancy stuff, but I was working on the fly here!

Once chocolate is melted and smooth grab a marshmallow dip into chocolate and then dip lightly into your topping of choice – or you can just stick with plain chocolate. Let sit on a piece of parchment or a tray, plate, whatever until the chocolate hardens, about 2 hours. Store in an airtight container.

Pretty easy! Enjoy!!

April 14, 2014 at 10:18 am Leave a comment

Winter Minestrone

1513974_10151948350970326_269901050_nWhat to eat on a cold snowy night? Soup! Duh! This is one of my absolute favorites, it works for everyone – it’s hearty so meat lovers won’t mind, and it’s completely vegetarian, and can easily be vegan by making sure you choose vegan products. Most importantly it’s packed with nutrition and its delicious! I like to serve this with toasted sourdough or a rosemary ciabatta roll. Also, you can chop the veggies as fine or as large as you like, I prefer a chunky soup so I tend to chunk up the veggies rather than dice them, your call!

What you need:

  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (or more to your taste! I really use like 5 but that’s a lot for some people)
  • pinch of dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes (preferably without salt added)
  • 1 quart vegetable broth/stock (you can substitute chicken broth/stock if you like)
  • 1 14-ounce can of cannelini beans
  • 1 bunch kale, center rib removed and leaves shredded
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 box of ditalini pasta, cooked
  • freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

What you do:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat (I used a large dutch oven, but any large pot will do). Add the veggies and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flake, oregano and rosemary and cook another minute. Add the can of tomatoes and the broth, and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling cover and reduce heat to low, cook for 25 minutes. While the soup is cooking, prepare the ditalini pasta according to the package. After the soup has simmered, add the beans and the kale to the soup and let it wilt. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  ( You can also add more herbs to taste at this point as well) Right before serving stir in the red wine vinegar. Serve with a sprinkle in Parmesan cheese.

January 2, 2014 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes (Gluten Free)

Twitter4d76bbe_jpgSo now I have all this pumpkin pie puree…. what to do with it?! I was craving pancakes for lunch so I whipped up a batch of these yummy treats! They are made with Greek yogurt and they almost remind me of a thicker version of the breakfast crepes my boyfriend makes, which is a little denser and gooey-er than a regular pancake. I used a gluten free flour mix, but I think any type of flour would work in this recipe.

What You Need:

  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup GF All Purpose Flour
  • sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice

What You Do:

Whisk the ingredients together and scoop onto a medium to low pan that has been greased up, either with cooking spray or butter. You will want to grease your pan, these babies are sticky!  Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake, i cooked two at a time.  Check with a spatula on the cooked side to be sure it’s browned before flipping. Serve with maple syrup and cinnamon!

October 10, 2013 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

Sugar & Spice Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Twitter71e0916_jpgIt’s that time of year again!!! I got three sugar pumpkins from the CSA and I’ve set about to making pumpkin puree for all the seasons recipes. I use this great recipe from Raspberry Bloom, it’s super easy and the flavor is just unbeatable, so much better than canned!

Of course I have all these scooped out seeds to deal with, so of course I’ve chosen to roast them. I don’t remember how this recipe evolved, but regardless, it’s super yummy! I love the combination of spices and sugar, and of course the dash of Worcestershire sauce just really makes them special.

I hope you enjoy them too!

What You Need:
  • 2 cups of pumpkins seeds (cleaned)
  • 2 tsps of olive oil
  • ½ tap of sea salt
  • ½ tsp of onion powder
  • ½ tap of garlic powder
  • ⅛ of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp of powdered sugar
  • ⅓ tsp of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees, cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray or lightly grease with some canola oil. Add all the ingredients to a bowl, see pretty easy! Stir until all the spices have been mixed in and incorporated and the seeds are coated well. Bake at 275 for about 60 minutes and voila! Let them cool before eating, especially if you’ve got little kid hands getting grabby for the delicious snack.
They will store in the refrigerator for up to a year, only three months if left in the pantry.

 

October 10, 2013 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

Spicy Husk Cherry Chutney

2809040225_31d0c5170dEvery Tuesday I venture over to our friends farm, Stout Oak Farms, a certified organic farm in Brentwood New Hampshire. We belong to their CSA program (Community Supported Agriculture). This week I picked up the last bounty of the season and discovered a pint of husk cherries. I had never had one before, I didn’t even know what they were called. I had seen them in the various farm stores but never bothered to ask about them.

They are smaller than the size of cherry tomatoes and resemble a tomatillo.  The ripe ones are a pale golden yellow. They have a hint (just a hint) of tomato, but are much sweeter. They smell like fresh strawberries, have the sweetness of grapes, and have a vaguely pineapple flavor. And a little vanilla, too. A little strange, in the way the flavor catches you off guard, but so good! Also called ground cherries or strawberry tomatoes.   After doing my research on various recipes that these little gems would taste good in I decided to make them into a chutney. Although a recipe on a husk cherry pastry caught my eye, maybe next time!

What You Need:

  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • one small onion, minced
  • half jalapeno, minced (I kept the seeds for the spice, if you don’t want it too spicy discard them before mincing)
  • 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup husk cherries

What You Do:

Bring sugar and water to boil in a saucepan. Allow to boil for a few minutes until it caramelizes, gets bubbly and golden brown. Add the minced onion, jalapeno and vinegar. Be careful it will bubble up at this point. Stir a little until the mixture settles, add the husk cherries. Return to a boil and allow to bubble away for 7 minutes, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely and thicken up.  You can can it at this point if you’d like or store in the refrigerator. Chilling it will allow it to thicken even more, this chutney is a tad looser than your traditional mango chutney.

You can use this the way you would a mango chutney, or use it as an accompaniment to goat cheese on a hearty cracker, or you can even mix it with cream cheese and use as a spread or dip. Yummy!!

chutney0001

October 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

Flourless Chocolate Chip Blondies

flourless chocolate chip blondies

It seems to be a common occurrence around here that I crave something sweet on a monthly basis. I admit, i haven’t been eating so clean over the last 6 months, and hence the lack of posts here. BIg life changes can do that to you. I have since moved up to New Hampshire and taken a new job, among other changes. All this whirlwind and my ability to stick to clean eating has waned. But i am determined to get back on the wagon, and joining a CSA at Stout Oak Farm has been the first step! 

So back to the issue at hand, a sweet treat that the whole family could enjoy! I came across this photo on Pinterest and they just looked so ooey gooey delicious! The recipe and photos here are from the Ambitious Kitchen, and I highly recommend checking out the other amazing recipes she has! Happens to be that they pack a nutritious punch too, with chickpeas, organic nut butter and maple syrup. With some tweaking you could have these treats be anything – organic, gluten free, vegan…. just depends on the specific ingredients you buy!

The batter alone was satisfying, i could have eated just that! But i continued on to bake these delicious treats and oh man, right out of the oven they were amazing. Everyone in the house from 5 years old to 37 years old was very happy indeed and nobody knew they were healthy, gluten free or vegan! (I am secretly converting everyone to vegetarians shhhhh). Anyway, i put the leftovers in the refrigerator, i wasn’t sure exactly how to store them, and they were still pretty good. I do recommend heating them up for 15 seconds in the microwave, they taste better that way!

What you need:

  • Oil (peanut, olive, canola et.)
  • 15 oz. Garbanzo Beans (otherwise known as chickpeas) drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup all natural and organic nut butter (i used peanut butter because it was less expensive, but i would like to try it next time with my favorite almond butter, Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (agave works well and ig you dont care about being vegan honey is another alternative)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips or carob chips (honestly, i’m not trying to be vegan, i just used organic chocolate chips)

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease an 8×8 pan with your chosen cooking oil
  3. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor (i guess you could use blender or food mill if you didn’t have a food processor) and process until smooth.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips
  5. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan (wiping the spatula with some more cooking oil will help with the sticking)
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown. Its ok if it looks underdone, no eggs = no salmonella, and they are gooey!
  7. Cool pan for 20 minutes (you can also sprinkle with sea salt for a little extra oomph!)
  8. Cut into squares – should makes 16 blondies, but i cut mine a little bigger :)

Recipe and Photos from The Ambitious Kitchen

September 19, 2013 at 8:44 pm Leave a comment

Guilt Free Eggplant Parmesean

538100_10151351842410326_1321919986_nI love comfort food, and of course Italian food. Hearty home cooked meals were always my specialty, but led to a lot of growing waistlines in our house. I wanted to create a healthy clean version of one fo  my favorite dishes, eggplant parmesean. Actually pretty darn easy, but I wanted to add this to the blog to show you that eating healthy and clean doesn’t need to be difficult AND cooking a delicious and beautiful meal doesn’t need to take all day or require a culinary degree!

I like to eat eggplant whenever I can, because I like it! My husband does not, and while he travels on business I load up on this yummy veggie :) It’s also super nutritious. Eggplant is a good source of fiber, source of Vitamin B and minerals such as magnesium and manganese. Purple eggplant contains a substance called Anthocyanin. Anthocyanins can prevent high blood pressure, hepatosis (disease due to deficiency of vitamin E or selenium), and enhance vision at night.

I like to serve this with a salad on the side, and if you’re feeding a crowd or maybe others who aren’t as into gluten free, organic clean eating type things, you can throw some pasta on the side. I chose to serve a caprese salad on the side because its my favorite, also I had the ingredients on hand and I recently purchased the Blaze Fig and Balsamic Glaze and I am addicted to itI  But any side salad will do, or none at all, whatever you want!

This dish is probably the easiest thing I can think of. My version is not dairy free, but you can easily substitute the grated cheese for something like Daiya Mozarella Shreds, they are pretty good too.

Guilt Free Eggplant Parmesean

What You need

  • 1 Large Purple Eggplant (you can probably use whatever eggplant you like best)
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Shredded Cheese, Italian Blend  (about 8 oz)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh Basil for garnish

What you do

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and wipe the baking dish with some olive oil
  2. Slice the eggplant thickly (about half inch)
  3. Layer half the sliced eggplant in the dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon some of the tomato sauce evenly over the eggplant and top with half the cheese.
  5. Create another layer with the rest of the eggplant, season with salt and pepper, cover with sauce and cheese
  6. Bake about 20 minutes – until eggplant is tender and cheese is melted and browning slightly
  7. Remove from the oven, garnish with basil serve and EAT!

You can find the recipe for the caprese salad here

February 20, 2013 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

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