Friday, August 31, 2012

BBQ Labor Day Round-up

Since this weekend in the United States people are celebrating Labor Day, I thought it would be fun to do a food round-up all revolving around the BBQ grill & summer. So here are 15 food items you can serve at your family/friends get together from drinks, side dishes, main meals, and dessert! 

  1.  Grilled Pesto Shrimp

Here is a nice light, but full of flavor sauce for shrimp kabobs that everyone will enjoy from skinnytaste.

2. Grilled Pizza

Instead of heating up the house during these hot summer days, use the BBQ to grill your pizza, giving it that delightful brick oven taste. Use your favorite toppings or try out the recipes below by simply clicking on the photo. And for a healthier whole grain pizza dough, use this recipe.

Grilled Artichoke-Mushroom Pizza Recipe

3. Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges:

Nothing I love more is sweet potatoes in any form, so why not make some sweet potato wedges and grill them! Top them with this unique salsa recipe found here.

4. Cauliflower Buffalo Bites + Blue Cheese Dressing

Want to serve more vegetables or are a vegan, well this is a perfect recipe to serve as an appetizer pleasing guests while the BBQ gets going. Plus they will be totally shocked how tasty these are! Find the recipe here.

5. Mexican Grilled Corn

One of my favorite BBQ sides, is corn. Here is the ultimate grilled corn recipe using Mexican style to add some flavor. 

Mexican Grilled Corn à la Cooks Illustrated

6. Spicy Vegan Chili Burgers

This delicious veggie burger uses kidney beans & brown rice to create the patty.   This recipe  definitely hits the spiot with a perfect combination and a wow with flavors.

7. Watermelon Lemonade

Serve wedges on watermelon at your BBQ feast or turn it into a lovely drink to quench your guests thirst. Check it out the recipe here.

8. Blueberry Lemonade

Here is a interesting and fun twist on your average lemonade using blueberries! Find the recipe here.

9. Strawberry Pie:

Use up those last summer strawberries with this surprisngly gluten-free recipe & will satisfy anybody's sweet tooth.

10. Grilled Chicken Bruschetta:

How about this grilled chicken recipe, stepping it up a notch by making it a fancy with tomatoes and basil-- you could even add some mozzarella cheese and make it a caprese style dish. 

11. Cram on Kebobs:

There are endless ingredients to skew on and BBQ, but here are a few delicious and perfect summer kebob ideas here.

12. Healthier Hot Dog

Hot dogs are always an easy and delicious treat, but often times they are filled with unknowns... not so good. So click here for some better brands, as well as healthier options to choose from. And you can  look here for a Manchego Cheese and garlic recipe.

13. Grilled Berry Crisp:

This dessert is a perfect treat as it is overall natural, has only a few ingredients, as it uses its own juice for an exquisite but not so guilty pleasure, and on top of that are already packed in an individual serving. Just place it wrapped on the grill, check out the recipe here.

14. Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars:

Here is a not so healthy treat, but these portions are perfect for guest to indulge and enjoy the classic taste of  blueberries and sweet creamy texture its combined with, cheesecake! 

15. Steak Tacos w/ Chipotle Cherry Salsa

Who could pass up these beauties-- juicy hearty tacos packed with interesting flavors to make a simply irresistible and fun BBQ get together using this recipe.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Banana Overnight Oats

 These have been my go to breakfast for the last couple weeks during these HOT summer days. This breakfast is definitely more hearty, healthy, and filling than your average breakfast cereal. Not to mention that it takes a few minutes to prepare the night before and in the morning just grab and go. You can certainly change up the ingredients to what you enjoy and be excited every morning to consume your oats. Check out another overnight oat recipe here, Pumpkin.
Banana Overnight Oats: (serves 1)
1/3 cup oats
1/2 cup water
1/3 milk or yogurt
1/2 banana, mashed *
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon

Optional Toppings:
Fresh/ dried fruit
Nut Butter
Crumbled muffin

* The banana acts as the sweetener as well, but if you are not a fan of banana, replace with 1 tbsp of your choice sweetener.

The night before combine all the ingredients in a bowl or tupper ware, place in fridge. In the morning, oat mixture will be thick, top with desired ingredients, and enjoy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Coconut Quinoa Stuffed Portabellos

These stuffed portabellos have a ton of flavor, nutritious, and very filling. As well as, can be very versatile adding any veggies to the mix, pairs well with just about anything, and a quick dish to cook up. The coconut flavor is just incredible, a perfect compliment to the nutty taste of quinoa. I topped mine with a little sprinkle of chili flakes as I always love to add heat to my dishes and served it with broccoli and cubed sweet potatoes. 

Coconut Quinoa Stuffed Portabellos: (serves 2)

2 large portabello mushrooms
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 handful of spinach, chopped
dash of pepper & salt
chili flakes (optional)

Bring a small sauce pan with quinoa and coconut milk to a boil, cover, and lower heat to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add in peas & spinach, mix, and cover. Let cook for another 5 minutes or until milk is absorbed. Meanwhile, place portabellos on a lightly greased pan and let cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan, place on plates and top with quinoa mixture. Serve alongside other delicious sides and if desired sprinkle with chili flakes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oatmeal Cookie Dough Frozen Yogurt

This ice cream was inspired after seeing this lovely recipe, cookie dough frozen yogurt, however it's obviously not so healthy... so this could possibly the strangest frozen yogurt recipe of all time, using beans as its base, yet all the while seriously tastes extravagant and delicious. I mean who can pass up eating cookie dough, let alone cookie dough ice cream & it's not ice cream with cookie dough... that's old news ;)
All the while this frozen yogurt packs in a ton of protein, it's creamy, satisfies that sweet tooth, packed with nutrients, and is filling-- it's that perfect snack or dessert!
I didn't have any chocolate, but of course you can just do a chocolate chip cookie dough if your not a fan of oatmeal or your favorite cookie dough recipe and turn it into a frozen yogurt treat. The possibilities are endless and so much fun! 

Oatmeal Cookie Dough Frozen Yogurt: (serves 4)
Adapted from: tasty kitchen
2 tbs apple sauce
1.5 tbs butter
2 cups chickpeas
1/4 flax seed meal
1/2 ground oats
1/2 oats
1/4 sunflower seeds
1/2 raisins
3 tbs honey
1-2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 - 1 cup sugar*
1 cup Greek yogurt

*Depending what Greek yogurt you use (sweetened, flavored, plain) will change sweetness, as well as your taste buds so adjust accordingly.

Combine chickpeas, apple sauce, butter, honey, and vanilla in a food processor or blender (note: you will have to scrape the sides down if using a blender) and puree until completely smooth. Toss in flax seed meal, ground oats,cinnamon, salt, and pulse again. Pour mixture into a freezable container such as a cake pan, glass baking dish, or even a heavy duty tupper ware. Add oats, raisins, sunflower seeds to the mixture and combine. Pour greek yogurt and 1/2 cup sugar, mix, & taste. If it is not sweet enough, add in more sugar. Make sure the mixture is completely mixed through, spread evenly along tray. Cover with plastic wrap or a tight lid and freeze for at least a few hours, if not overnight. To serve, remove frozen yogurt from freezer at least 10 minutes to soften and garnish with an oatmeal cookie.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Creamed Cornbread Muffins

 School started back up this week, so yesterday I got to meet all my new students. I am teaching 4 different English classes this term, which they are all a pleasure and it was exciting to see the personality of the classes. I am looking forward to seeing how the students improve upon their skills and to see what they are capable of. 

On another note, surprisingly,  I have found it rather difficult to find a really great corn muffin recipe as often some are too dry, crumbly, tasteless, bitter... and I am always trying out new recipes to find the perfect one. While this one was scrumptious and hard to eat just one, I still want to find a perfect more cake-like recipe. This time around I simply made some corn bread though just because I had a can of cream of corn in the cupboard I wanted to use up. Honestly, I usually don't like to use canned items, but this was an exception... I hate putting things to waste. But I am sure glad I did use it, as this cornbread recipe really hit the spot. It was fluffy, but dense, moist, flavorful, and had little pieces of corn, which gives them an interesting combinations of texture. This corn bread muffin was especially delightful paired with honey.
Creamed Cornbread Muffin: (makes 12)
Adapted from: Jules Food

1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
1/2 oat flour
1 cup yellow corn meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp honey
15 oz can of creamed corn
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup apple sauce

Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Grease or line muffin tin (also can be made in a pan). Whisk together flour dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk wet ingredients together. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry, being careful not to over mix, just until thoroughly combined. Let batter sit for 5 minutes and then pour into muffin pan, each muffin almost reaching the top. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and toothpick comes out slightly clean, you want to keep the muffins moist. Serve with honey.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Personal Pumpkin Pie

Who says pumpkin pie is for fall only, satisfy that craving all year long with this INSTANT delightful treat for one. I actually saw this recipe on pinterest and had an open can of pumpkin to use up, left over from some pumpkin overnight oats recipe and thought I would give it a  try. Well needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed every bite reminding me of my favorite pie that I can now enjoy all year round. It tastes very similar to the real thing although not as decadent. It is a rather healthy indulgence, as its low in calories & even packs in some protein.

Personal Pumpkin Pie: (serves 1)
Adapted from live laugh eat

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg white
ground clove
pumpkin pie spice
1 tbs sweetener
granola or crushed cookie/ graham cracker

In a microwavable safe mug or bowl, mix all the ingredients together until well combined, cook in microwave for 2 minutes. 
Remove from microwave & if desired from mug carefully as it will be hot and  the texture should be slightly spongy, dense, and still creamy. 
Top with granola or a crushed cookie/ graham cracker & enjoy/

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pinto Bean Curry

I am a big fan of curries, the taste, texture and consistency, as well as its versatility. This is an easy, light, and minimal ingredient take on Rajma Masala Curry using leftover pinto beans. It may not be as authentic but I assure you it is incredibly delicious. I paired it with some quinoa and broccoli, but by far my favorite way to eat it is on top of a sweet potato (pictured below)-- I ate this combination for days straight as it's a perfect combination! But you can serve it with some brown rice, or naan bread, use this recipe here.

Pinto Bean Curry: (serves 4)
1 tomato, diced
1 can tomato sauce
2 cups pinto beans, rinsed & drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 green chili or jalapeno (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika
                                                                                 2 tsp curry powder

Place olive oil in a sauce pan, saute onions for a couple minutes, add diced tomato, garlic, chili pepper, and let cook for another minute. Next, add all the spices. Mix thoroughly and let meld together for about a minute or so. Add the tomato sauce and beans. Let simmer for 10 minutes to heat beans. Note: if curry is getting too thick, add a little water or broth. Add spinach and fold into curry. Cook for another minute, remove from heat, and serve with, bread, rice, quinoa, or in a baked sweet potato.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Whole Grain Pancakes

These pancakes are packed with whole grains, fluffy, and super delicious, not to mention heart healthy! Top with some fresh fruit or drizzle some agave syrup or a delightful berry compote. As you can see, I topped mine with some sliced bananas & a little drizzle of Agave syrup. These pancakes will please anyone's craving for the ultimate pancake breakfast.

Whole Grain Pancakes: (makes 9)

3/4 cup oat flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk*
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp sugar*
Optional add-ins:
dried fruit
fresh fruit
chocolate or carob chips

*If you do not have buttermilk, or wish to use a lower fat milk, simply combine  1 1/2 cup milk +1 1/2 tsp vinegar  or use yogurt.  
* Also, for the sugar content, I actually omitted this considering that later I would top with some sweetener anyways-- I didn't want double the sugar. It's up to you.

Grind oats and flax seed in a blender or food processor to make flour. NOTE: If not using actual buttermilk or yogurt, combine milk and vinegar mixture and let sit while making batter. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, stir. In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients, egg, apple sauce, milk, vanilla. Pour wet into dry ingredients, stirring thoroughly to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow batter to thicken. Heat a skillet spritzed with oil and pour about 1/4 cup batter into pan. Cook for a minute or so until bubbles appear, flip, and let other side cook for a about 30 seconds. Repeat, should make about 9 pancakes. The batter by the end might be too thick, just add a little milk for a more pour-able consistency. Serve with a berry compote or drizzled with syrup.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fried Quinoa

We love ourselves some fried rice, but often times it can be on the unhealthy side, so this is a clean eating version that still packs in all the flavor. This is a great quick meal that can be cooked in under 20 minutes and includes a variety of nutrients-- protein, fats, vegetables. Fried quinoa can be served by itself or as a side dish to some teryaki or orange chicken, yum! And you can of course just use rice in replace of quinoa, but I suggest brown rice as it's a whole grain. Enjoy!

Fried Quinoa: (serves 2)
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 egg
1 small carrot, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 onion slices, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame seeds

In a small sauce pan combine quinoa and water, bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to simmer for about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Whisk egg and cook in a large pan like a scrambled egg, remove and set aside. Pour oil in pan, add onions and let simmer for a minute or two. Add in garlic, carrots, peas and cook for another 5 minutes. Toss cooked quinoa into the pan, mix, and add soy sauce. Let cook for another few minutes, stirring often. Add cooked egg, combine. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with sesame seeds and optional green onions.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Devotional from Dietrich Bonhoeffer #2

"Those who follow Jesus’ commandment entirely, who let Jesus’ yoke rest on them without resistance, will find the burden they must bear to be light. In the gentle pressure of this yoke they will receive the strength to walk the right path without becoming weary.…Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? We must take this question to him who alone knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy."

Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. 
Matthew 11:28–30

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
   teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
   for you are the God of my salvation;
   for you I wait all day long. 
Psalm 25:4–5

[source from Bible Gateway]

Being a disciple of the Lord is not only believing in Jesus, but following Him. We have to trust that  along our journey even when we don't understand or know where we are headed, that God surely goes before us and is with us, following Him with complete joy.

I pray that you might clearly hear the call of discipleship and might experience following Jesus with joy in every moment of your life. Blessings!

Monday, August 6, 2012

(Gluten-Free) Bread Thins

Well I have been on a search to look for a healthier bread here in Mexico, but have been unsuccessful-- trying to find one without sugar being the second or third ingredient... so I found this recipe and decided to attempt making my own version of Bread Thins, all the while making it gluten-free & sugar free! It turned out pretty good  for being a mere experiment, but I know I will be making it again as it was easy, but perhaps in a loaf form. What's cool about this bread is I just used leftover pulp from making coconut milk, but if you want to make almond or even rice milk, you can use that left over pulp or simply replace with flour. The original recipe is raw and calls for a dehydrator but I did some reading and found if you put you oven on a very low setting, you can get about the same results. I enjoyed this bread in a few different ways, sandwiches, burgers, or dipped in hummus. What's also great is you can add really anything you would like to give it flavor, sweet or savory. They have a soft, yet dense texture, as well as packed with a ton of flavor and healthy nutrients-- you don't have to worry about filling up on empty calories.

(Gluten-Free) Bread Thins: (makes 6)
Adapted from: Nouveau Raw

2 cups pulp or flour*
2 cups oat flour (gluten-free)
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp seasoning (your choice, I used Italian)
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, minced
sesame seeds

Preheat oven to only 115F degrees. Mix chia seeds and water to create gel mixture, this acts as a glue and helps bind the dough. Make oat flour in your food processor or blender until it reaches a fine consistency. Add flax meal (which you can also just make by pulsing in a blender), seasoning, salt, and garlic and pulse until combined. Next, toss in pulp, chia gel, and lime/lemon juice. Blend until everything is mixed thoroughly and dough sticks together nicely. Note: you may need to add water depending on how moist your pulp is, if so add 1 tbsp at a time. And may also need to use a spoon to scrape sides, as well as to help mix the dough.
Remove batter and make balls out of 1/4 cup batter for each bun. Then flatten dough out with your hands about 1/4 in thick and gently place on an oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with sesame seeds if desired and gently press down to secure seeds in place.
Place in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes until a slight golden brown and edges no longer stick to the pan, should be easily removable and the centers should not be doughy. Serve toasted, in sandwich form, or plain. Store in sealed container in the fridge. 

*For the pulp, like I mentioned earlier I used coconut, but you can you really any leftover pulp from making a milk, or simply use a mix of flours or ground nuts/seeds.

Make chia gel.
Make oat flour.
Toss in pulp & all other ingredients in blender, combine.

Shape into buns & sprinkle on sesame seeds.
Bake in 115F degree oven for 45-60 minutes.
Serve as you would like.

My favorite way to eat these bread thins is as a delicious grilled portabello sandwich paired w/ some cilantro jalepeno hummus or bbq sauce ;)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Nori Wrap

This is such a simple and quick meal to put together and satisfies my craving for sushi when I don't have the time to make rolls. Also a great way to eat your veggies & low on carbs as the nori sheet serves as the wrap. Stuff with your favorite ingredients, avocado, chicken, hummus, asparagus-- whatever you have on hand!

Nori Wrap: (serves 1)
1 Nori sheet
avacado, slices
carrot, matchsticks
cucumber, sliced
alfalfa sprouts
jalepeno, sliced & seeded (if preferred)
bell pepper, sliced
* Feel free to include anything you would like
Place the nori sheet flat, layer ingredients with wet base first (avocado/hummus/etc) in the middle, roll nori sheet, cut in half or even in small bite sizes, and enjoy with some salad, rice, or soup.

Have an incredible and blessed weekend! 

Worship the Lord with gladness; 
   come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 
Psalm 100:2-3