October 30, 2014

Cumin Pork with Adobo Black Beans and Red Pepper Salad

I used to love Instagram. When it first came out I used it all the time and thought it was a great way to share my food photos and I quickly gained over 3,000 followers. Now it seems to be a little bit of a waste of time. It doesn't create any blog traffic the way that Pinterest does (Pinterest is awesome for blog traffic!), interaction is at a minimum, and there seems to be a large number of 20 year old girls taking photos of themselves in bikinis. Now I could rock a mean looking bikini if I wanted to, but that isn't something that at 36 I feel the need to want attention for doing. I think social media is stuck at a crossroads. One can only take so many selfies, be they making duck faces for Facebook, or full body bikini shots for Instagram, before the saturation point is reached. Then what. I think Instagram is at that point. How does it move from an over abundance of people taking photos of every little thing they ate and the full body bikini shot of them doing it, to something that can actually be of use to anyone from a business or professional point of view. In the mean time I refuse to start taking photos of myself holding a pie in a skimpy bikini for more likes.

My family is obsessed with pork. If my husband and two kids had their way we would pretty much eat pork everyday. While I love pork, I try to minimize the amount of pork, beef, and lamb that my family eats, so we only eat red meat approximately once a week. When we do eat pork it's normally in the form of pork tenderloin or bacon. The following is a recipe for Cumin Pork with Adobo Black Beans and Red Pepper Salad.

Recipe adapted from the Food Network Magazine.

Cumin Pork with Adobo Black Beans and Red Pepper Salad

  • 1 thinly sliced red onion
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from chipotle chili can)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 small red peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 15.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Cooking Directions
  1. In a small bowl combine half of the sliced red onion with the juice of 2 limes, `1/2 teaspoon cumin, a pinch of salt, and the chopped chipotle.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Rub the pork with 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin.
  4. Add the pork to the skillet and brown on all sides.
  5. Roast pork on a baking sheet in a 425 degree pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes (or until the temp reaches 145 degrees).
  6. Transfer to a cutting board, cover with foil, and let the pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the red peppers to the skillet that the pork was browned in.
  8. Cook the peppers for approximately 4 minutes, or until slightly softened.
  9. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water.
  10. Cook until the water evaporates, approximately 4 more minutes.
  11. Add to the onion mixture in the bowl.
  12. In another bowl add the black beans to the remaining red onion, 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cilantro, and juice of one lime.
  13. Slice the pork and serve with the peppers and beans.
  • You can substitute cooked beans for the canned. 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans is approximately equivalent to a 15 ounce can. 
  • If you don't use olive oil, canola, sunflower etc. can be substituted. 
  • Don't cut the cilantro until right before you are going to use it. Cilantro starts to lose flavor as soon as it's cut. That's why it's best to chop cilantro right before it is added to salsas etc. Cilantro is not one of the herbs that you want to pre-prep, just don't do it. 

October 29, 2014

Banana Eggnog Bread

My oldest is starting to get hormones. The hormones I don't mind, I could do without the back talking and general dislike of everything I do that goes along with it. One minute he will be angry and want nothing to do with me and the next he is wanting to sit next to me on the couch and cuddle. He is only 8, but he is definitely beginning to go thru puberty (thanks genetics for early puberty in my family!). My mother and I fought all the time when I was going thru puberty, I didn't think she could do anything right and I would be frustrated by the smallest things. I survived, but I definitely think it's easier to be the kid than the parent once hormones start kicking in. Plus my husband seems to be perfect, he's not baring the brunt of any of the dislike that is aimed in my direction. Apparently it's the beginning of years of good times to come.

Approximately twice a week I bake something for an after school snack. My two boys eat everything in site and without snacks they get cranky quickly. I'm a big fan of breads, sweet, savory, you name it. The following is a recipe for Banana Eggnog Bread that is great for this time of year.

Adapted from Taste of Home Nov. 2014 issue.

Banana Eggnog Bread

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine butter and sugar and beat until well creamed.
  2. One at a time, add eggs.
  3. Beat well.
  4. In another bowl beat bananas, eggnog, and vanilla.
  5. Add to butter and sugar mixture.
  6. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mix well.
  8. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining nutmeg.
  10. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 60-70 minutes.
  11. Tent top of bread with foil if it browns too quickly.
  12. Cool for 10 minutes in pan and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  • If the batter is too thick add additional eggnog. I have made this a few times and the amount of eggnog has ranged from 1/4-1/2 cup. 1/3 cup seems to be approximately the right amount. 
  • Make sure to tent the bread if it browns too quickly. Sweet bread will often overbrown on the sides and be raw in the middle, so make sure that you tent the top if it starts to get browner than you would prefer before the middle has set. 

October 28, 2014

Sausage and Peppers Burgers

I don't dress up for Halloween. My husband takes my kids trick-or-treating, I stay at home, some years I hand out candy, but most years I don't. I don't dislike Halloween, I just am not a fan of the sugar rush that comes with all the candy. I'm a mean mommy, I don't allow my kids candy or junk food. I do bake things at home, but we have very few packaged foods in our cupboards besides rice, flour, and spices. My kids complain that I have only ingredients, but no food, Personally I don't see that as a bad thing. We eat fresh everyday and I make almost everything from scratch (with the exception of cereal which we don't eat, milk, eggs etc.). So on Halloween my kids become candy monsters. As soon as they come in the door, I take their treat bags. Most of the candy goes with my husband to share at work the next day and my kids are only allowed to keep one small plastic bag full of sweets, no suckers or sugared gum (I hate cavities). Honestly, I am looking forward to when they are old enough to want to go to parties and not door-to-door.

My family used to eat burgers frequently, but now we only eat them once every couple of months. We try not to eat a ton of red meat (my family is finally beginning to love tofu), so when we do eat burgers I try to make them different than the ordinary. This recipe for Sausage and Peppers Burgers combines two types of meat for a juicy and delicious burger combination. The recipe is as follows.

Recipe adapted from the Food Network Magazine.

Sausage and Peppers Burgers

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 6 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 red onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • warmed marinara sauce
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine the sausage, beef, garlic, oregano, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1.4 teaspoon salt in a bowl.
  2. After well blended form into 4 patties.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat add olive oil, peppers, and onion.
  4. Sauté until peppers and onions are browned and soft, about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Preheat a grill (or grill pan) to medium high heat.
  6. Add the burgers and cook until browned and cooked all the way through (4-6 minutes per side).
  7. Top with cheese for the last 2 minutes of cooking time.
  8. Add burger to bun, toping with peppers/onions, and warmed marinara sauce.
  • These burger can be made into smaller patties for children. I make my kids burgers into 1/8 of a pound since they couldn't finish a 1/4 pound burger. 
  • If you don't have a grill a grill pan or a skillet would also be fine for cooking the burgers on the stove. 
  • I have also tried this with chicken sausage and ground chicken. The taste was different (I also added Greek seasoning), but the flavors were still great together, plus it cut down on fat. 

October 27, 2014

Moist Double Chocolate Muffins

I had a baking fail kind of day today. Everything that I touched seemed to end badly. I tried a new Food Network Magazine for S'more Bread and it was a disaster. It didn't rise, was greasy, and ended up having to be thrown away, which I absolutely hate. I hate wasting food and my time on recipes that don't work. Most recipes I try at least work, they might not be great, but they work. However, then there are days like today where everything I try to make ends in utter disaster. Two separate recipes were complete failures and I felt like throwing in the towel half way through the day. Luckily I was able to bake a loaf of Banana Eggnog Bread that turned out great this afternoon and my stir-fry for dinner was delicious. Hopefully things calm back down tomorrow. Regardless never feel bad when you have recipe failures, they happen to all of us, including me. Just keep trying in the kitchen and in time you will have fewer failures, but don't feel bad about the failures that happen. Oftentimes a magazine or online recipe just isn't great, even if you make it perfectly.

So with that in mind, on to the recipe. I make a lot of muffins (most of which turn out). My kids love them and I love that muffins are easy for little hands to hold and eat. Chocolate is always  favorite in my house and these Moist Double Chocolate Muffins are moist and full of chocolatey goodness.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

Moist Double Chocolate Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1 egg
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine dry ingredients (first 4 ingredients) in a bowl and stir.
  2. Combine oil, yogurt, egg, vanilla, and milk in a separate bowl.
  3. Stir.
  4. Stir dry ingredients into bowl with wet ingredients.
  5. Add 3/4 cup chocolate chips, stir well.
  6. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin and fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full with batter.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the tops of the unbaked muffins.
  8. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Let cool for 10 minutes in pans and they move muffins to a cooling rack.
  • Muffin liners can be used instead of greasing the muffin cups. This saves time and if you are making them for a party keeps hands cleaner (plus they look great on display). 
  • I prefer semi-sweet chocolate chips for baking, but dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips can also be substituted. I have not tried these muffins with peanut butter chips, but I bet the combination would be delicious! 
  • I have used both Greek yogurt and regular in these muffins and both types worked. I often bake with Greek yogurt since it's higher in protein and the fat free version works well in baking (I prefer to eat 2 percent if it's not being used in baked goods). 
  • I have not made these muffins gluten free, but I have tried similar recipes with success using an all-purpose gluten free baking mix and xanthan gum (1-2 tablespoons). 

October 26, 2014

Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches Using Dave's Killer Bread

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer as a MomsMeetsSM blogger,
I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

My kids are sandwich obsessed. They will literally eat anything on a sandwich, including cereal (they have done this more than once). I try to make all my bread from scratch, but even I have those weeks where I run out of time or I'm not feeling up to spending hours in the kitchen. Three weeks ago was one of those weeks. My throat was hurting, my kids were acting up, and things were just in general chaos in my house. Luckily I had been sent a few loaves of Dave's Killer Bread to try out in my home kitchen and I came up with two sandwiches that were easy to put together and delicious. 

If you've never tried or heard of Dave's Killer Bread here's the background info. Being originally from the Pacific NW myself, I love that Dave's Killer Bread started as a favorite organic bread at the local farmer's market in Portland, Oregon. In less than a decade they have become the number one selling organic bread in the country. All of their bread is non-GMO, organic, and available in 12 varieties. Plus each slice has as much protein as an egg. 

So what did I make with the Dave's Killer Bread I was sent? I made the following two recipes, my kids preferred the Fried Banana and Peanut Butter Sandwiches, while my husband liked the Curried Egg Salad.

Recipe modified from Allrecipes.com

Fried Banana and Peanut Butter Sandwich

  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 2 slices Dave's Killer Bread
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Cooking Directions
  1. Butter one side of two pieces of bread.
  2. Flip the buttered side of the bread over and spread the peanut butter on the unbuttered side.
  3. Place the sliced bananas on top of the peanut butter.
  4. With the buttered side of the bread on the outside place the other piece of bread on top of the sandwich.
  5. Heat a skillet with a small amount of butter on the stove over medium heat.
  6. Place sandwich in the skillet and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com 

Curried Egg Salad

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mango chutney
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 chopped scallions
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. In a bowl combine all the ingredients except the eggs, celery and scallions.
  2. After stirring well, add the eggs, scallions, and celery.
  3. Place desired amount of egg salad between two pieces of bread and enjoy!

For more information go to the following websites: 

Frontier Soups Review

Discloser: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

It's fall and the weather where I live has been all over the place. Some days it's 35 in the morning and 70 in the afternoon and other days it just stays cold all day. The start of colder weather always makes me a little miserable. I love the foods, smells, and beauty of fall and winter, but I hate cold weather. To combat the cold I make a lot of soup in the cooler months. When I say a lot, I mean a lot, normally at least twice a week. Recently, I was given the chance to try Frontier Soups and share my experience with all of you.

So what are Frontier Soups? Frontier soups are an easy way to get dinner on the table within only 30-45 minutes. The soup mixes are all-natural, with no added salt, preservatives or msg. Plus many of the soups are gluten free, which to me is important since I can't eat gluten. Additionally all the corn and rice ingredients are non-GMO, which is something a lot of people are looking for in their foods today.

Frontier offers a variety of mixes including: South of the Border Tortilla Soup Mix, Connecticut Cottage Chicken Noodle Soup Mix, Florida Sunshine Red Pepper Corn Chowder Soup Mix, West Coast Kale and Quinoa Vegetable Soup Mix, Mississippi Delta Tomato Basil Soup Mix, and Little Schoolhouse Alphabet Soup Mix. I was sent a big pack of soups to try and I will share my experience with the two I photographed, Quinoa Vegetable Soup Mix, and South of the Border Tortilla Soup.

The first soup flavor I tried was the South of the Border Tortilla Soup. I added shredded chicken from a chicken I had roasted the previous day. The soup was easy to put together and by adding chicken it made it a meal. The only complaint that my family had was that it needed a little more salt. I was fine with it, but I rarely salt anything, so I'm not the best person when it comes to salt content.

The second soup that I tried was the Quinoa Vegetable Soup Mix. I added butternut squash as the package suggested. I found that it needed longer to cook than the package stated and needed additional chicken stock. My soup came out more like a quinoa bowl, than soup. I wasn't able to taste this soup since quinoa doesn't agree with me, but my husband and two boys ate it. They liked the flavor, but once again though it needed a little more salt. 

Overall, I like how easy the soup mixes are to put together. For my family meat needed to be added, with 3 males they just can't do without a meat protein in soups. I like how most of the soups are gluten free, since I have celiac disease and can't eat gluten. The only downside to the soups were that some of them needed more seasoning and/or salt, but that can easily be added when preparing. Also make sure that you cook to taste, I found the suggested times weren't long enough to fully hydrate some of the ingredients. 

To learn more go to the following links: 

October 23, 2014

Sweet Asian Meatballs

My youngest son is not a morning person. He wakes up angry and stays angry pretty much until the bus comes in the morning. By the afternoon he is normal again, happy, and content. It's not that he doesn't get enough sleep, he does. He just hates waking up in the morning and lets his feelings be known to everyone around him. Most mornings I have to get him dressed and carry him half way to the bus stop. This isn't bad since he is skinny and only 5 years old. However, I'm hoping that he starts being more of a morning person before he gets taller and bigger than me.

I have had a lot of baking recipes lately since they are the easiest to have time to photograph. Fresh foods such as meat have to be photographed pretty much as soon as they're made without allowing them to get cold so they can still be eaten for dinner. This week I have finally gotten back into my blogging grove and feel that after almost 3 months my schedule has finally settled now that both of my kids are in school. So the recipe I am sharing today is for Sweet Asian Meatballs, the recipe is as follows.

Adapted from Taste of Home.

Sweet Asian Meatballs

Calories per serving: 52
Fat per serving: 2 g

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp plus 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine turkey, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, ginger, and minced garlic in a bowl.
  2. Shape turkey mixture into balls (approximately 1 inch, I ended up with 25 total).
  3. Place meatballs on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, turning once to ensure even browning.
  5. Combine remaining soy sauce, molasses, tomato paste, Tabasco, and vinegar in a sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  6. Add meatballs and cook 5 minutes, or until sauce has reduced.
  7. Serve as an appetizer or with rice for a main dish.
  • If you don't have Tabasco, another type of pepper sauce would also do. 
  • I prefer 93 percent lean ground turkey. A leaner cut ends up too dry, and fatter cuts end up grisly and fatty. 

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