April 20, 2014

Dark Chocolate Waffles

Almost everything I believed in strongly when I was younger has completely changed. There are a few things that have survived the years and life changes, but the major things that I was adamant and unyielding about I no longer believe in at all or nearly as much. I was determined in my early 20's that no one else could possibly understand how I felt and that everything I felt strongly about was of the utmost importance. Only I could understand things the right way and I knew that my opinions would only get stronger with age. Yeah, that didn't happen, not even remotely. I grew-up, I had kids, I saw the world from new eyes. I still believe in many things, but I also understand that opinions change with circumstance and that compassion is far more important than being right. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to not push something that you know is right because in the end it isn't what's needed. Oftentimes what's needed is just an ear to listen, not a mouth to tell us how to change things. As young women we want to change everything around us to make it better, change the world with our views. As older women we want to cherish the world that we have created and make sure that the loved ones we hold dear are sheltered from everything we had to endure. Age is a tricky thing, as women we are almost different people throughout our lives, each one unique and wonderful.

As a women in my middle 30's I still love chocolate. That hasn't changed much over the years, but I have made a shift from milk to dark chocolate. When I was younger I couldn't stand dark chocolate, now it's my favorite. This week I tried a new recipe for Dark Chocolate Waffles from the February 2014 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine.

This recipe has 11 ingredients. It takes 20 minutes of total time, all of which is active, and makes 6 servings. I made a number of changes to the original recipe. First, I adapted it to be gluten free by using a homemade gluten free all purpose baking mix. Instead of buying a bar of dark chocolate I used dark chocolate chips which I finely chopped. Buying the dark chocolate chips was much cheaper than buying baking bars or chocolate bars.

These waffles had a nice dark chocolate taste without being over powering. I would consider these more of a dessert waffles than something for breakfast, they are pretty sweet for something in the morning. As a dessert they were great plain or with whipped cream and my kids loved them. They also froze very well in case you don't want to eat the whole batch at once.

For the recipe go to Dark Chocolate Waffles.

April 15, 2014

Slow Cooker Curried Chickpeas and Spinach

Slow Cooker Curried Chickpeas and Spinach
My two kids are currently watching PBS nature shows. While most kids love movies, cartoons, etc., my kids love documentaries, history shows, and animal shows. At first I thought it was a phase, then the phase only got stronger. My oldest wrote about Christopher Columbus in his class journal last week. While most kids were writing about monsters, princesses, what have you, my child was writing a history paper. When his class goes to the school library he goes to the reference section and comes home with science encyclopedias, and he reads them cover to cover. Most of my kids odd behavior I blame on my husband and I. My favorite books are classics and I love social and medical documentaries. My husband was a history major and knows the answer to just about any history question you can ever ask him, and he doesn't just give a simple answer, he goes on for 30 minutes. Apparently my kids are following on the traditions that my husband and I started, hopefully they can find other people that share their same interests.

The males in my family love meat, I was a vegetarian for over ten years. To make everyone happy I make meat for dinner 5 nights a week. The other two nights I make vegan or vegetarian meals. Over the years my husband has grown to love many of the vegetarian meals we have tried and his cholesterol levels have stayed nice and low. Tonight I tried a new recipe for Slow Cooker Curried Chickpeas and Spinach from the April 2014 issue of the Food Network Magazine.

This recipe has 13 ingredients. It takes 4 hours and 20 minutes of total time, 20 minutes of which is active, and makes 4 servings. I only made a few changes to the original recipe. First, I ran out of curry powder so I used a tablespoon and a half of curry powder and a half of a tablespoon of garahm masala. For the cheese I used 8 ounces of Feta and increased the amount of spinach to 15 ounces. I microwaved the spinach and then rang all the water out before adding it to the rest of the ingredients in the crock-pot. Finally, I served the curry over brown rice.

The amount of salt in this recipe is perfect. The cheese adds just enough that it doesn't need to be further salted, which is nice since most recipes have to have a large amount of salt adjustment. If you aren't a fan of feta another type of cheese such as paneer would also work. My husband and I really liked this recipe. It was easy to prep in the slow cooker and made more than enough for two meals when served over rice.

For the recipe go to Slow Cooker Curried Chickpeas and Spinach.

April 14, 2014

Toasty Whole Grain Orange Muffins

Toasty Whole Grain Orange Muffins
I hate to eat at restaurants. A food blogger that hates restaurant foods sounds strange, but it's very true. I can list the number of restaurants I have ever thought wow this is great on one hand. Five fingers, that's it. Half of the list has been in other countries, whether for the company, the food or both, I'll never be a hundred percent sure, but they still make my top five. I have a much, much longer list of restaurants I have really disliked. The same restaurants that people have told me are so great, you must try them. I have and they weren't that great. So much of food has to do with the experience, not just the food on the plate. It's hard for one person to have the same feelings for a restaurant as another. Some of my favorite memories are associated with the Thai restaurant growing-up that was near our house. While the food was decent, the memories of eating with my mother makes me remember the restaurant as great.

My kids are eating me out of house and home recently. I haven't had as much time online, but I have still been cooking and baking up a storm. Last week I tried a new recipe for Toasty Whole Grain Orange Muffins from the April 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

This recipe has 14 ingredients. It takes 50 minutes of total time, 35 minutes of which is active. I made two versions of the original recipe, one gluten free and one as written. For the gluten free recipe I used a homemade rice flour blend. For the wheat flour muffins I used all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour. I found that both sets of muffins worked better cooked at 350 for 25 minutes instead of the 400 degrees for 15 minutes suggested by the recipe. I hate cleaning muffin pans so I used muffin liners on both batches. The clean up is much easier and that way my kids can just grab an individual muffin off the counter.

Both types of these muffins turned out well. They were best re-heated with butter or marmalade if you ate them after the first day. Fresh out of the oven the gluten free muffins were perfect and had a great light taste. As with most gluten free baked goods if eaten after the first day they needed to be warmed in the microwave for approximately 15 seconds. My kids really liked the regular muffins and thought they were best with jam and butter.

For the recipe go to Toasty Whole Grain Orange Muffins. 

April 7, 2014

Savory Smoked Salmon and Potato Chip Brunch Muffins

I love breakfast foods. There is something comforting and great about a giant stack of pancakes, whether they are eaten at 6 in the morning or 6 at night. Breakfast also always reminds me of my mother. Growing up weekday mornings where always rushed, but weekend breakfast were perfect. My mother would cook, we would talk and everything seemed right in the world regardless of what was going on outside of our family unit. Now as an adult I try to carry on this tradition with my own family. One of my family's favorite breakfast foods is smoked salmon, they love it with eggs, omelets, you name it. Today I tried a new recipe for Savory Smoked Salmon and Potato Chip Brunch Muffins from the April 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes 40 minutes, 25 minutes of which is active, and makes 12 servings. I only made a few changes to the original recipe. Since I was making this for my family and not myself I used regular all-purpose flour. I chose to use parchment to line the muffins as suggested by the magazine and I found that my muffins took 25 minutes at 350. I turned down the heat to make sure they browned without overcooking.

Since I couldn't eat this recipe I called in my guinea pigs/family for their opinions. My husband really loved these muffins. He said that the taste of the dill and salmon worked well together and they were a nice size to grab out of the fridge for a snack. My oldest son is a huge smoked salmon fan and was very pleased with these muffins as an after school snack. I am a fan of any recipe that uses a muffin pan, I love my muffin pan. Baking and cooking in a muffin pan is a great way to have portion control and makes for easy snacks for kids to be able to grab without help.

For the recipe go to Savory Smoked Salmon and Potato Chip Brunch Muffins.
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