Amish apple individual pies

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A friend of mine recently moved to Pennsylvania and she described these Amish individual apple pies.  Once I heard what it was I had to make one!  You wrap an apple in pie dough and bake it!  Well it’s a tiny bit more involved than that but not much. 

The other night the stars aligned and I had a craving, an apple and some pie dough in the fridge left over from a pumpkin pie I had made.

Pie dough (you can use your favorite recipe or possibly even the kind you buy in the store, although I can’t guarantee how good that will taste)

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tb sugar
  • 3 Tb ice water

This makes enough dough for a decent sized pie so it would probably make about 6 apples I think.  Whisk the flour, salt & sugar together, cut in cold butter or shortening until the mix looks like crumbs. Drizzle in the ice water 1 Tb at a time and mix with a fork until the dough comes together.  Wrap the dough in plastic and let it sit in the refrigerator at least 1/2 hour.  Roll out the dough.

Core the apples, I don’t core all the way through. I used a red apple I had sitting around but use your favorite baking apple, some people prefer the tart green Granny Smith for baking. I use a red apple like a Gala because I don’t like to add alot of sugar and the red apples have their own sweetness.  Put a pat of butter, brown sugar, sprinkle of cinnamon, ginger & clove in the core of the apple.  I don’t measure this I just eye it but I suppose it would be about a tsp of butter, and a tsp of sugar.

Meanwhile in a saucepan combine 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of water, 2 Tbs butter and some spices.  I used cinnamon, ginger & clove because that is what I like in my apples,  you can use whatever spices you prefer.  Bring this mix to a boil and then remove from the heat.

Wrap the apples in the pie dough, place in either individual ramekins or a baking pan with sides and pour the syrup over the top of them.  Bake in a 350 oven for about 45 minutes.  If you have enough syrup left, baste again at the half way point.

I must admit I shared this with my husband but next time I will make two so I don’t have to share!

Stuffed Turban Squash

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The first time I saw a turban squash I knew I had to possess one!  They are so gorgeous.  But I had no idea what to do with it. Internet search here I come (what did we do before the internet?)  This is what I found and I’ve never looked back.  My husband LOVES this dish and every fall whoever sees the striped beauty first always brings it home.

The recipe is super easy and open to lots of adaptation.

Ingredients

  • 1 turban squash
  • 2 Tb butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped small
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 1 lb pork sausage
  • 1/4 c breadcrumbs
  • 2-4 TB brown sugar (depending on your taste)
  • salt & pepper
  • any herbs you want to experiment with, hot chili? sage? etc

Preheat the oven to 350 F. First you must cut the top off the turban squash and remove the seeds from top & bottom (keep the top). Brush the cut edges with olive oil and put cut side down on a foil wrapped cookie sheet.  Roast the squash until mostly soft, depending on the size it will be at least an hour.  You want to be able to scoop some out but it will also cook a little more when you stuff it so you don’t want it to fall apart.

Saute the onion, celery & carrots in a saucepan in the butter or oil until tender.  Add the sausage and cook, drain any fat.  Mix in brown sugar, bread crumbs, salt/pepper and herbs if you want to use some (I usually like it as is).  Scoop out some squash and add to the sausage mixture.  Stuff the mixture into the squash, cover with the top and bake at 350 F about 25 minutes so the flavors can blend.  Serve!

I completely forgot to take a picture of the finished meal until it was …much…too…late………….

I was lucky to get a picture of these last remains.

My apologies, I’m a terrible food blogger but a wonderful cook! 

 

 

Kale, Quinoa & cheese casserole!

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So is this a “clean” recipe you might ask?  Somewhat.  Too much cheese can be a bit heavy but I think the other ingredients make up for it and what’s a little cheese between friends?!  The other ingredients are kale and quinoa, plus some eggs and I even added Greek yogurt….so there’s lots of protein and the kale is healthy right?  I’m totally justifying.  What the hell?  Let’s eat some cheese! Lots and lots!!!!  Cheesy goodness.  Whew! That’s out of my system.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs
  •  1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • salt/pepper
  • panko

Cook the quinoa, I get mine in the bulk section so I always soak in cold water for about 10 mins and rinse until the water runs clear.  Then add 2 1/2 cups water to the quinoa, bring to a boil, cover & simmer until the water is absorbed. While it’s cooking, cut the kale into bite sized pieces and either stir fry or saute until wilted.

In a bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, yogurt, spices, salt/pepper and the chopped garlic.  Mix in the quinoa, the kale and the cheese.  Pour into a greased 13 x 9 baking dish and sprinkle panko or bread crumbs on top.  Bake in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes.  Like all recipes you can adjust the amounts of anything including the spices to your taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And done!

The BEST pancakes ever….in my opinion.

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This summer when I was visiting my sister she made us delicious pancakes made with yogurt.  They were really fluffy and good.  I have a standard multi-grain pancake recipe I use so I thought….why not add yogurt and see how they turn out?  They were so wonderful that I have to share.  The basic recipe can be modified with any grains you like.  I don’t always make them the same way.  I’ve added cooked quinoa, cooked rice, oatmeal etc.  The version I like lately which is below has rice flour which makes them a bit crispier than usual and sesame seeds.  Please try these and definitely try changing up the combination of grains.

Oh so good.

Basic recipe

  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour (I usually keep this as the base but you do whatever you like)
  • 1/4 c corn meal
  • 1/4 c oatmeal
  • 1/4 c mix of rice flour & ground flax seed
  • 1 Tb Sesame seeds
  • 1 – 3 Tb sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tb melted butter or oil (coconut oil is tasty)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients together (just remember your grains should equal 1 1/2 cup total). Mix the wet ingredients together.  Add the wet into the dry until combined.  The mixture gets very thick, add milk if needed but the batter should be much thicker than regular pancake batter.   Heat a pan or griddle to a slightly lower temperature than you use for regular pancakes.  Cook until one side is golden, flip and cook until golden.  The batter may still be wet when you flip the first time but it will be ok.

Not your usual Blackberry cobbler

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Blackberry season is upon us up here in the Pacific Northwest.  The blackberries are at their prime and might last another week or two!  I love this time of year.  You can feel fall in the air but it’s still warm during the day and the blackberries are bursting out everywhere!  The blackberry bush is considered a weed and a pest to some. It will definitely take over a space if left unchecked and that is one of the things I like about living here. I can find blackberries most everywhere.  The trail I take my dogs walking on….blackberries, the empty lot across the street, blackberries, the walk around our block….you got it…blackberries!

I use this recipe every year (this is my second one this year so far)  and diet be damned, I will eat this and enjoy it mightily!  Oh and why is this recipe different from other cobblers I’ve seen?  The biscuit starts out on the bottom, the fruit on top and then a whole lot of water is poured over everything. It looks like it will be a disaster but it has worked every time.

Blackberry Cobbler  (You could probably use other fruit as well but I’ve only ever done it with blackberries)

Biscuit topping

  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c milk

Filling

  • 2 c berries
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c sugar (depends on how sweet the berries are)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1 tsp tapioca powder (optional)

Cream the butter & sugar together.  Sif the flour, salt & baking powder together and add to the butter mix alternately with milk.  The batter will be stiff, spoon into a greased 2 qt baking dish.  Preheat oven to 375F.

Spoon the berries over the biscuit dough. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and the tapioca powder.  Pour the water into the baking dish. Bake for 45-50 mins.  Fruit will sink, the biscuit will rise.  It’s done when golden brown on top.

Spring Salad for Summer!

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I’ve been on a road trip for the last two weeks!  I went all over California visiting family with family!  A wonderful trip.  What was not so wonderful was some of the eating I did….fast food is so easy on the road and when I was at my sister’s….well she likes eating as much as I do so we went to various restaurants and ate pretty well at home too.  There were a few dishes that she and her husband made for us that I had forgotten about and will have to add to my regular rotation as they are pretty healthy. Nicoise salad anyone?  I had forgotten how delicous that was.  I had also forgotten about the recipe I’m about to share with you.  It’s so healthy, tasty and cool for those hot summer days.  The only thing you have to cook is bacon which you can do ahead.  Yes I did say healthy and bacon in the same paragraph!  I don’t consider bacon to be bad in moderation.  In fact, bacon is damned good!

Bacon improves everything!

I got this recipe from someone at a pot luck. Jason tried it and stated that we must have the recipe.  I only changed one thing to make it healthier, substituting half the mayo with Greek yogurt and reducing the original amount of sugar.  Below is the recipe for Spring Salad… a delightful treat. Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of crispy bacon
  • 2 cups of chopped brocolli
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup red grapes
  • 1 cup green grapes (I use the tiny champagne grapes)
  • sliced almonds (as much as you like)
  • raisins or dried cranberries etc (again as much as you like or leave out)
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tb white or rice vinegar
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 1 Tb honey
  • salt and pepper

Chop all the green vegetables, add the grapes, bacon, nuts if you are using them and raisins.  You can also use chopped apple if you prefer or even some berries although this will change the taste.  The salad is really versatile though so feel free to experiment.  Then mix together the mayo, Greek yogurt, vinegar and sweeteners and pour over the top.  Next time I might use all Greek yogurt but I didn’t want to shock Jason too much this time in case it didn’t work out.  He didn’t notice the substitution at all so I have high hopes!  This salad is best if it sits in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the flavors blend.

Enjoy!

Mango blueberry protein muffins

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More protein muffins!  Can you stand it?!  I love them. I eat them every day! Things like these make life enjoyable nowadays.  You can have your frosting covered cupcakes, I am not the least bit jealous.  Actually I’ve never really liked these new cupcakes with tons of frosting anyway, too much frosting. Now a yummy scone on the other hand? Now I’m jealous. But I can have those on my cheat day.

Here’s the back story…awhile back I made a mango, candied ginger quick bread.  I took it to work and everyone loved it. One lady in particular loved it so much she asked for the recipe.  But somehow hers did not turn out which was disappointing as she wanted to make it for her new daughter-in-laws bridal shower.  So I offered to make if for her…turns out she needed at least 10!!!  So I made 10…in my tiny little kitchen….in the middle of my clean eating 12 week challenge…and they smelled heavenly.  I won’t lie, I made one for my cheat day and ate 3 pieces and didn’t feel one bit guilty.  But I still had lots of mango puree left over.  I thought about recreating the quick bread in a protein muffin but it’s crystalized ginger, which means lots of sugar. Back to the drawing board.  I had plenty of wonderful blueberries! That would be a winning combination. Oh and I added Chia seeds, what’s the big deal about Chia seeds?  They are good for you….and they remind me of poppy seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I use Whey)
  • 1T baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 T Chia seeds
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mango puree
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 T honey (if you like it sweet, you should use more)
  • 1/2 c blueberries

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet ingredients in another, except the blueberries.  Fold the wet into the dry and do not overmix.  Gently fold in the blueberries. Separate the batter between 12 greased muffin tins (or use silicon cups) and bake for 20 mins.

The pictures below are courtesy of my beautiful step daughter.

Soft Chicken tacos

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I love roasted peppers and look for any reason to toss them into a recipe.  If you’ve never roasted a pepper you really should try it. It adds a smoky flavor to a dish. I roast all kinds, hot, mild, bell, I’ve even been known to roast a tomato.  And tomatillos, if you’re making a green enchilada sauce, you must roast them first.  After I bought a big handfull of assorted peppers and roasted them I knew I would have to make soft tacos with them!

The process….wash the peppers and place them on tinfoil, you can cover a baking sheet with foil or do as I do and just put the foil straight onto the rack in your oven.  No need to put any oil on the pepper like you do when you roast other vegetables, turn the oven on broil and keep an eye on the peppers.  You’ll notice that the pepper skin starts to blister and even turn black, this is exactly what you want.  Turn them to the other side so that all sides get really dark.  Pull the peppers out and place them in a plastic bag for at least 5 minutes. Somehow this helps in removing the skin.  Then you just peel the skin off and pull out the inside seeds. Done!

I had some leeks so I decided to use them instead of onion.  I browned the leeks and some chopped garlic in about 1 1/2 T of coconut oil. I then added chicken that I had marinated for hours in lemon juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, oregano and salt & pepper.  I cooked that until the chicken was done and then I added a bit more of the above spices and the chopped peppers. It smelled so good.

I served it on whole wheat tortillas with black beans, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro. Quick and easy and yes, clean!

For those of you who have been following this blog and the changes that have occured, I am still on the Body for Life 12 week challenge and am starting week 7.  I’ve lost about 5 pounds but more importantly, I’ve dropped 4% bodyfat!!!  4% of my body has changed from fat to muscle!  To me that’s more important than the number on the scale because muscle looks better than fat, takes up less room than fat and burns calories even when resting.  All fabulous reasons to get out there and move and make some muscle.

 

Mexican Mash

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Once again I have Janetha over at mealsandmovesblog to thank for this recipe.  I’ve modified it a bit but it’s quite tasty.  I think I’m getting the hang of what foods to eat on this challenge and how to combine them.  If you haven’t heard yet, I’m doing the 12 week Body for Life challenge.  12 weeks of clean eating and exercising!! What happens after the 12 week challenge is over you might ask?  Well by then I will have started some new habits and will continue on this path.  I am actually enjoying myself and have noticed a few changes in my body overall.  I’ve dropped a few pounds too! The one thing that has kept me on track is that one day a week I can eat whatever I want….anything in any amounts!  What I’ve found though is that the further into the challenge (I’m starting week 6), the less I really want any super-sweet things to eat. My so called cheat days are actually pretty boring lately.

On to the meal!  This is a casserole with lots of tasty things in it and with Mexican flavorings.  I wouldn’t call it too authentic though!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground turkey (or chicken)
  • about a cup or more of brocolli (the original called for bell pepper but I didn’t have any)
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 6 mushrooms chopped (or more to taste)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 can black beans (14 oz can)
  • 2-3 diced tomatoes
  • 1 can green enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • roasted Poblano chilis, chopped (about 3)
  • roasted Serrano chilis, chopped (if you like the heat and as many as you like, or Jalapeno etc)
  • taco seasoning (I make my own which I will share at the end)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • avocado, cilantro, salsa etc for garnish

My taco seasoning uses chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano & cayenne pepper in varying proportions. I don’t measure I just kinda eye it so I’ve written it in the order I use from most to least, you can taste it or just smell it!  Oh and salt.

Saute the onion, brocolli, onion & mushrooms in about 1 Tb olive oil.

Add the ground turkey and cook until browned. Add the taco seasoning, the roasted chilis and add the enchilada sauce.  Remove from heat and add the rice, the black beans and the tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Add the Greek yogurt to the mixture and combine everything really well.  Transfer it all to a 9 X 13 baking dish and sprinkle with cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for about 25-30 minutes.  You can uncover the dish for the last 5 minutes or so to brown the cheese a bit.

Makes about 4 servings depending on the people. I had about a cup to a cup and a half for a serving and Jason had double servings (as usual!). There was enough left for both of us to eat some for lunch.  I would say it could serve 6-8 people who don’t eat seconds and thirds!  Garnish with avocado slices, cilantro, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, salsa etc.

 

Balsamic chicken and peas, so delightful!

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I had the most wonderful dinner and I wanted to share it. Unfortunately I only got a picture at the very end but you don’t really need pictures of chicken and peas in the raw do you?!

So I go to mealsandmovesblog alot for clean eating ideas. Thanks Janetha!  I don’t feel like I have the whole thing down yet but I’m getting there and I’m starting to improvise a bit so I based this dinner on hers with just a few little tweaks to make it my own.  I’m still eating clean and doing the Body For Life 12 week challenge, I ma lmost done with week 3. I’ve been going to the gym 5 days a week (6:30 AM anyone?) and I actually love working out. I’m even learning to love cardio because really I’m only doing 20 minutes!  High intensity minutes but still….on to the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 12 oz skinless chicken breasts cut into small cubes
  • 1 red onion diced small
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (to taste)
  • 2 cups of frozen peas (steaming first makes it all cook faster)
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 2Tb whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tb dijon mustard
  • 1 Tb dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lowfat milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt/pepper

In a large skillet heat about 1 Tb olive oil over med and add chicken. Salt & pepper and sear on both sides. Add onion & garlic and saute for about 5 mins.  Sprinkle with flour and stir (the flour will help the sauce to thicken up later).  Add the white wine, then the chicken stock, thyme, balsamic and mustard.  Simmer until liquid is reduced by about half (or more). Remove from heat and add milk & parmesan.  Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed.  I served this over brown rice but you can also use whole wheat noodles, quinoa or whatever whole grain you prefer.

On to the pictures!  I had cleaned my plate by the time I realized that I really enjoyed this and wanted to share!

That’s how good it was!

Luckily there was enough for seconds and Jason allowed me to take a picture before he ate his next plateful.

It’s been a fun journey so far. I’ll be posting more of the interesting “clean” recipes I’ve been making soon.  Meat muffins anyone?!  They sound horrid but they are wonderful.  I’ll tempt you with the thought of chicken, apples and rosemary….yum.