dinner (11) bread (10) dessert (7) quick and easy (7) cookies (6) pasta (6) muffins (5) snacky (5) Paleo (3) Pie (3) chocolate (3) lemon (3) basics (2) breakfast (2) shrimp (2) soup (2) Pizza (1) apple (1) beverages (1) cake (1) dressings/sauces (1) nuts (1) prep (1) pumpkin (1) side dish (1)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb (whole wheat) Coffee Cake

by Naomi

Sorry for the long delay, Amy is traveling across the country and I really should have been more on top of things and gotten a post out sooner. Tis the season for strawberries and rhubarb. I have tried to go strawberry picking a couple times this year but they've been picked out both times. Luckily I have Tuttle's (America's oldest family farm!) to provide me with their very own strawberries and rhubarb. Not quite as fun as picking my own but it will have to do.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Italian Dressing

I can hardly express how many unusual circumstances that contributed to the making of this dressing. But alas, I'll attempt it, since I have a food blog and all. The first order of business is to assure you that I've eaten salad only once in the past four (or more) years. So you can imagine how very strange it is indeed that I made or ate salad for dinner.

I've spent the last 9 months cooped up inside, studying my life away. My escape was pumpkin muffins, which means that escaping came with a few unfortunately side-effects. One point for the "you should have a salad" motion.

I also had hot dogs and cheetos for lunch yesterday. Make that two points for the salad.

I miss my mom, and this is the recipe she always made growing up. It's from a cookbook of hers that falls open to this page--Joy of Cooking if memory serves me correctly. I hardly ever ate salad as a kid, but she also used this on pasta salad, which I ate PLENTY of. Sentimental value definitely warrants a third point.
I've been crazy busy the past few weeks, and will continue to be right up until next Friday morning, when my husband and I will hop in our car and drive across the country and move back to my hometown. I needed something simple and fast and that didn't require any special dishes or kitchen tools. At the moment all of our things are boxed up in our trailer, and we're just borrowing essentials until we leave.

The answer to all of my problems: a big chunk of iceberg lettuce (because I'm apparently afraid of vegetables that actually have vitamins in them) with Mom's Italian dressing drizzled over it!

But don't worry, I also pulled out some chicken breasts strips that I'd baked yesterday and dipped those in the dressing too! Ah, such a well-rounded meal. Someone please get me a nutritionist.

Italian Dressing
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil (or other oil, but don't refrigerate the dressing if you use olive)
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid, so you can shake it vigorously before use. Commercially-made dressings must have some sort of added ingredient that help everything stay mixed longer, because this stuff separates almost faster than you can pour it out. So shake well!

And please remember that dressing is mainly oil, so you probably don't want to drown your attempt at a healthy dinner in the stuff. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shrimp slaw

by Naomi

I've been really into shrimp lately, especially the recipe I found for "Zippy Summer Shrimp" on which is presented below as part of a take-off on cole slaw. This is similar to those slaws with ramen noodles except without the ramen. Perfect for a hot summer night!

We will begin with the shrimp. Peel and rinse.

Melt coconut oil in skillet
 (sorry, blogger insists these two pictures are centered....)
Saute garlic

Add in paprika and cayenne

 Add shrimp and lemon juice

 When shrimp is cooked, season with salt and pepper (pay no attention to how I used 1/2 instead of 1/4 teaspoon salt. I have made this several times and of course the time I photograph is the time I messed up. Don't make the same mistake, it was awful!)

Set shrimp aside to cool.
 Toast sunflower seeds in skillet, stirring constantly

When they look like this, remove from heat and allow to cool.

While the shrimp and seeds are cooling chop up some cabbage, shred some carrots and wash some bean sprouts

Mix up the dressing: sesame oil, olive oil, honey, soy sauce, lemon juice and water

Mix shrimp, seeds, veggies and dressing. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow flavors to mix and dressing to soak in. This is perfect for me since 95% of our dinners I make ahead (we get home from track practice or the gym starving and with no patience for cooking).

 Ta da! This would be a great side dish at a cookout (even w/o the shrimp if you're worried about it sitting out).  Noodles would make it a fuller meal but that wouldn't adhere to my paleo diet. Mind you the dinners I make are often just one course of a proper meal. And that is not because we don't eat much, ha! The post-meal snack is equally as large- PB&J or eggs for the man of the house and trail mix or some baked good for me. Maybe someday I will master making more than one dish as once!
Shrimp Slaw Recipe

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 pound of shrimp (peeled)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Heat coconut oil in skillet, add garlic and cook until translucent. Sprinkle in cayenne and paprika. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Pour lemon juice on top of shrimp. Continue stirring until shrimp are pink and opaque. Season with salt and pepper. Allow shrimp to cool while preparing the rest of the slaw.

Toast 1/4 cup sunflower seeds in skillet, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool.

Mix together the following in a large bowl:

1/4 large cabbage (about 3 cups) shredded
2 carrots shredded
1 cup bean sprouts

 Dressing: Whisk all ingredients together

 2 Tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 c olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons soy sauce
 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons water

Combine vegetables, shrimp and dressing, mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chocolate Sheet Cake

I've had Pioneer Woman's chocolate sheet cake on my "to make" list for months now. I'm not a big fan of plain old chocolate, but I LOVE chocolate cake (as long as it's plain. No frosting, please!). I've also never made a cake. GASP. I know, kind of embarrassing. But you know what? NOT TRUE ANYMORE. Because this morning I woke up with a desperate need for chocolate cake! My husband was still sound asleep and unable to stop me from fulfilling my dreams of cake for breakfast, so I went right ahead and did it!

I should note that I only made half of the cake, partly because I didn't think the edges of my baking sheets were tall enough to corral the sloshy batter, and partly because I knew I'd eat the whole batch within a day or two, and I'd rather be guilty of eating a half cake than a whole cake. The self-controlled adult in me would prefer it, at least. My taste buds and inner 5-year-old would happily eat an entire chocolate cake! 

Let's see this thing in action!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Paleo Fudge Brownies

During the Paleo diet intensive I was very very grumpy about not getting to eat chocolate. My husband was seriously concerned about my chocolate addiction. I guess he didn't know how dependent I was until he saw me without it! Chocolate is only forbidden because of the other ingredients (such as sugar) in it so cocoa powder and cocoa nibs or cacao nibs (whichever spelling your prefer) are welcome components of the Paleo diet. The first time I made these, the man who will eat anything particularly if it's healthy wouldn't touch them! I didn't use the cocoa nibs and rolled them into balls so they would be like truffles. They were dry and not sweet enough, kind of dirt-like but I still ate them because I needed something resembling chocolate. Take 2 was much better. I used more sweetener and liquid and rolled the balls in cocoa nibs for added texture. Take 3 which I will share with you is basically the same but in brownie/fudge form.

Without further ado, I bring you Paleo Fudge Brownies....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pancakes and Waffles

My extensive research has shown that most people believe pancakes and waffles are for special occasions only. My goal is to prove you all wrong!

I guess I should start with a disclaimer. I used to be one of those people who only made pancakes and waffles on special occasions or especially relaxing weekends. Then I married a man with the fastest metabolism I've ever encountered...and he also forgets to eat. And he doesn't like food. But he likes waffles! So I make them almost every morning, because it's my best chance at cramming a full breakfast into him before he has a chance to forget to eat. I've learned how to make it a daily affair without cramping my routine!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Paleo Shrimp Veggie "Noodles" with Asian Style Sauce

Big News!
The writing team is doubling! My delightful sister, Naomi, will be joining us from now on. She and her husband are doing the Paleo Diet (which she’ll explain in her post), so she’ll be adding some exciting, healthy meals and snacks for the rest of us to try! I hope you enjoy her as much as I do!

Greetings Chop, Mix, Bake, Creat-ers!

I am honored to be joining you, though really I have been here all along as the annoying reader who has to comment on every single post. I am just a proud big sister :)

Before I share this very un-Amy dish, I must introduce some important terms. The first is the "food hangover". A food hangover is what happens when you eat way too much before you go to bed. The late night munchies hit, you indulge the craving, you sleep, you wake up feeling horrendous. The feeling the next morning is a combination of full, hungry and upset stomach accompanied by a slight headache and remorse. You grill your spouse as to why they didn't stop you, vow to never eat before bed again and make them vow to fight you to the death if you try. This happens about once a fortnight (haha love that word!) in our family with varying degrees of severity. Oh except Dad who never ever gets them because he has great self control and my husband who.... um.... does everything with gusto! It's a great quality at work, at the gym, around the house...but dangerous in regard to late night snacks. He gets them at least once a week. 

This dish is brought to you by the food hangover. This particular food hangover resulted from almonds (my attempt at a healthy snack) followed by Twizzlers and who knows how much LIFE cereal straight out of the box while watching the Cosby show at my parents Friday night (this Friday night gathering is known as "Clumping" which you may learn more in the future). Mom keeps Twizzlers on hand just for me, thanks mom.

So I woke up Saturday morning with a lump in my stomache, a headache and massive guilt, grilled my husband, vowed to never eat before bed again and made him vow to fight me to the death....

Enter the Paleo diet (term introduction #2). I had played around with the Paleo diet before but never gone all out. The Paleo diet is based on what ancient man ate, hunger-gatherer foods, aka the "caveman diet". They don't eat any grains, dairy or legumes which I don't personally think are evil but it certainly limits the options to healthy ones (mainly meat, fruits, vegetables and nuts). I am not an expert and may not have gotten everything right so google it if you want more info. The food hangover was the perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf and give this diet a try (by "diet" I mean "way of eating" not "restrictive, temporary change in eating habits for the purpose of losing weight that you are going to regain as soon as you go off the diet").

The first dinner I made while on the Paleo diet is this: Paleo Shrimp Veggie "Noodles" with Peanut Sauce. PS. peanuts are not really paleo because they are legumes so the hard core paleo folks would use some other nut butter (cashew or sesame tahini would work well). I had always wanted to try some kind of vegetable "noodle" dish where you cut the veggies up into long thin strips and cover them in a delicious sauce which is perfect when you're not eating grains.
Sorry no pictures of the process and a less than stellar picture of the final product because this is my first ever food blog post. I'm setting myself up to win "most improved"!

  • Cut up your red peppers into long thin strips
  • Cut your cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out of the seeds, then cut into long thin strips
  • Peel carrots and use a thick peeler to make ribbons
  • Cook your shrimp (my shrimp were the cooked frozen kind since that was all I had, but I later used the Zippy Summer Shrimp recipe from and highly recommend going that way) Chicken would also work if you're not a shrimp person. 
  • In a saucepan combine nut butter, sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, and a little rice wine vinegar (I don't measure because it takes half the fun away but I promise I  will make a serious effort to measure for future recipes because I know some people need measurements.)
  • Wisk until the nut butter has melted and all ingredients are well mixed.
  • Pour sauce over "noodles" and shrimp, top with sesame seeds and decide the Paleo diet isn't half bad.
Note I also made rice for the man of the house who was/is following a slightly less restrictive "whole foods diet". I don't know if there is an official name for this style of eating but it is all WHOLE foods, nothing processed like flour or sugar. After a brief intense week eating exclusively Paleo I expanded into a whole foods eating pattern with some flexibility. Currently about 80-85% of what I eat is Paleo, about 10% is whole but not paleo and about 5-10% is neither. My whole non-paleo foods are oats and legumes. My non-whole non-paleo favorites include homemade whole wheat pizza, blue corn chips, chocolate and ice cream.