Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Here’s a delicious treat for your weekend! This is a recipe that I posted a long while back, but it is buried in a post with another recipe. And since it is quick and fairly healthy, I decided to re-post. Plus, it’s summer, so who doesn’t love some ice cream?!

I should note that the original recipe is  not mine; however, I do not remember where I found it. This time around I did add a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, which was a nice twist.

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CHOCOLATE COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM
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2-14 oz cans full-fat coconut milk
2/3 c. sugar or agave nectar (I used coconut sugar)
1/4 c.  unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2  tsp vanilla extract (feel free to replace 1/2 tsp of vanilla with 1/2 tsp almond extract)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pour into the bowl of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serves 4.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I found this recipe in The Happy Herbivore cookbook. But as I didn’t notate that information, I’m not for sure. 🙂 I certainly cannot take credit for these. While these aren’t your typical melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies, they are good and a great healthy treat, with no added fat and not too much sugar. Plus, the are gluten-free! They have become our go-to dessert when we need a little sweet fix. Within 30 minutes you can enjoy warm cookies from the oven!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
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1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. non-dairy milk
1 c. gluten-free all purpose flour mix
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl combine applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and milk. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Pour dry ingredients into wet in three batches, stirring to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes.

Makes 15 cookies.

Zucchini Noodles

A couple of weeks ago I came up with the amazing and revolutionary idea to make zucchini noodles. While I’m more than certain that many people before me have done this very thing, it still felt like my idea. 🙂 While this post doesn’t contain an actual recipe, I’m going to share with you how I made my zucchini noodles. Perhaps it will inspire you as well!

I took my Pampered Chef julienne peeler (a birthday gift last year that I’ve used many, many times!) and cut down the length of a washed and trimmed zucchini, creating zucchini “noodles.” Once I’d sliced all my zucchinis into noodles, I placed the lovely green pile into a fine mesh colander and salted them with about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (the salt draws out some of the water from the zucchini).

Then I left it to drain for about 30 minutes, squeezing out the excess moisture before sauteing in a little butter and olive oil for about 5 minutes. I seasoned them with a little more salt, pepper, and Italian spices before topping the noodles off with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, a little sausage, and marinara sauce. It was delicious! I might even like it better then the pasta. And, if you’re a spaghetti noodle twirler, zucchini noodles will twirl around your fork too!

If you too would like to make zucchini noodles and don’t yet have a julienne peeler, I highly recommend you get one. 🙂 It’s a small gadget, but well worth the space it will take up next to your vegetable peeler. I also like to use it to matchstick carrots for salads or stir-fries (they cook up much more quickly!).

Stove-Top Baked Beans

The other night I made these baked beans for supper accompanied by a mixed green salad and biscuits. It was delicious, nourishing, and filling. I usually think of baked beans as a side dish, but we love this recipe so much that it’s our main course (since I first made this a couple months ago, it’s been in regular rotation). And Jeremy happily anticipates the leftovers in his lunch the next day.

I typically soak and cook my own beans, but canned work just as well, feel free to add more beans if you want them a little less saucy–I often do that. I love that this is so full of flavor and spice with just a hint of sweetness. Try this recipe, for a main dish or a side, you’ll be glad to have it in your repertoire.

STOVE-TOP BAKED BEANS
(slightly adapted from Ellie Krieger)
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1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz can tomato sauce
2-3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (opt.)
1/4 tsp black pepper
15 oz can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. water

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add all the ingredients up to the beans and whisk to combine. Add the beans and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid thickens, about 30 minutes.

Grandma’s Vanilla Pudding

Vanilla pudding. So simple, yet so versatile. I felt an acute desire to talk to Grandma as I worked on this recipe. I actually made two batches because my first attempt was lumpy. You see, I was having to make up the cooking directions because this recipe came with ingredients only and Grandma’s not here to ask how she made this. I still don’t think I have it down pat. But, I’ll clue you in to how I made this, and if you want to try your own way, go for it!

To dress up my dish of pudding, I sautéed chopped apples and pecans in butter with a few sprinkles of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. But you could choose to drizzle a puree of frozen berries over top. Or a dollop of fruit jam. Or just eat it plain-jane vanilla. The possibilities are endless. Simple, yet versatile. Not too sweet, leaving room for tastes to shine through. So much about this recipe reminds me of Grandma.

GRANDMA’S VANILLA PUDDING
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2 c. milk
3 Tbsp honey or 1/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
3 Tbsp cornstarch or 6 T. flour
1 tsp vanilla
Garnish with fruit, coconut etc.
Heat milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking frequently to prevent scalding. Beat eggs and honey or brown sugar together. When milk is steaming, slowly whisk in egg mixture.
In a small bowl add cornstarch, dip a few spoonfuls of the hot milk/egg mixture into the bowl and using a fork or whisk, mix until smooth. While whisking, slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture and continue to whisk until pudding thickens.
Turn off heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into several small bowls, or one larger bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface. Refrigerate until cool.
To serve, top with desired fruits or nuts.

Grandma’s Easy Chicken Salad

For many summers, we would drive up to Grandpa and Grandma’s and spend a long morning blueberry picking at a nearby blueberry farm. Grandma always packed a picnic lunch and after picking 70+ pounds of blueberries, we’d head to a local park for lunch. Something I’ve always appreciated about Grandma was her care and preparation of balanced meals, the picnic would include fruit, raw veggies, homemade cookies, sometimes chips, and sandwich makings–bread, peanut butter and jelly, condiments, lunchmeat or this chicken salad.

Grandma gave me this recipe at one of my bridal showers. Although the recipe is typed up (her exact recipe is below), in her neat handwriting she signed the bottom corner with Grandma C.

This comes together quickly and is just right for seasonings and flavors. I usually make a fruited chicken salad, so I found this sweet pickle version a lovely change. We enjoyed it with crackers, but it would make a perfect sandwich as well.

GRANDMA’S EASY CHICKEN SALAD
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1/3 c. finely chopped celery
1/4 c. chopped sweet pickle
2 tsp finely chopped onion
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
1 1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken

Combine celery, pickle, and onion. Combine next four ingredients; fold into celery mixture along with chopped cooked chicken. Cover and chill.

Grandma’s 5 Cup Salad

First, thank you for your kind thoughts and comments. We had a long but beautiful weekend with our family – lots of tears, lots of laughter, and lots of memories. We have a great big, supportive family and it was truly wonderful to be together even for such a sad occasion. We miss her but we rejoice for her.

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A few years back, I was planning and hoping to compile a family cookbook and began collecting family recipes. I still hope to do that. Instead, we had the best kind of interruption and found out that #3 was on the way very quickly – surprise! We learned of our youngest in early July and he was born mid August. His adoption was finalized in November. Whirlwind. Sometimes I still think we are recovering and he is 3. 🙂 My sweet Grandparents were some of the first people I called with the news of our eminent arrival. They were excited for us. I have pictures of my grandma holding him when he was maybe 4 or 6 weeks old. She loved babies and she got to see him quite a bit those first few months as we had 3 family weddings within 6 weeks.

Anyway, I was looking through the recipes she submitted – some were new to me and others were old standbys. This recipe is the latter. It’s quick, easy, and delicious. I most remember it coming to picnics – we are big on pitch-ins and picnics in our family. Oh and I must mention that one thing I really admired about my Grandma is that she regularly tried new recipes. A funny thing is that she sometimes apologized for her food which was, in fact, nearly always delicious. It was not fake modesty, it was genuine humility – she was definitely not a praise seeker.

So here is her 5 Cup Salad to kick off our time of tribute to one of our favorite cooks and one of our favorite people! I made it just as she wrote and chose to add pecans because I think that is mostly what she did. She really liked nuts. You could easily add both coconut and nuts but then it would be 6 Cup Salad or you could add 1/2 and 1/2 or just pick your favorite.  Also, I used red grapes. I’m pretty sure this salad was served at the funeral dinner on Saturday or at least several like it.

GRANDMA’S 5 CUP SALAD

1 c. mandarin oranges, drained
1 c. pineapple chunks, drained
1 c. seedless grapes
1 c. coconut or nuts
1 c. sour cream

Mix and serve.

(P.S. I’ll add the printable link later – my computer is in the shop and I don’t have a pdf writer on my back up one.)

Overnight Coffee Cake

In case you still haven’t set your Christmas breakfast menu, let me offer this delicious coffee cake! My favorite part is that you make it the night before and refrigerate it overnight before baking. In the morning you can stick it in the oven and hit snooze a couple more times or send your significant other down to stick it in while you stay asleep – I would, of course, never  do that (hehehe). This recipe is delicious and you are a total rockstar for effortlessly serving a warm cake.

I like to pair this with egg casserole which can also be made the night before AND they can be baked at the same time. WIN! Now you will actually need to accept an award for your fabulous, organized, awesome breakfast – I promise I’ll keep the easiness a secret from your admirers… 🙂 The awesome thing about this egg casserole is that you can customize it for your taste – you can add veggies, herbs, different meats, or various kinds of cheese – it is an all-time family favorite!

You will thank your self for getting it done the night before and you will love the results! I serve with coffee and tea and with fruit juice and/or fruit salad. Since it’s the holidays, sometimes we will sneak in some of our favorite(!) eggnog from the local creamery or a wonderful champagne cocktail or sparkling wine. Delish!

OVERNIGHT COFFEE CAKE
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3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. yogurt (or sour cream)
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons milk

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with yogurt. Pour into a greased 9×13 in. baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon; sprinkle over coffee cake. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. Combine confectioners’ sugar and milk; drizzle over warm coffee cake.

My Kitchen View: Freezing & Marinade

I recently spent a few hours putting some meals in the freezer. It’s not generally my style – you may have noticed that there really aren’t many casserole recipes here. However, I like the concept of easy, go-to meals and despite my general lack of excitement about casseroles, I decided I could make it work. So, many of the meals were meat in marinade which means all I need to do is thaw and grill. My kind of summer meal!

The meal round up (my sister helped and we made 26 meals in a matter of a few hours!) included burgers (ground turkey & beef combined), meatballs, taco meat, pizza kits (dough, sauce, browned meat & onions, and cheese frozen together), sweet and sour chicken, pork roasts in marinade, BBQ drumsticks, marinated chicken and pork. So far, we have really enjoyed everything. I plan to do this a few times a year to make life a little easier on the days I work or for when I just need a break from cooking. It’s really makes meals pretty easy – I just add a salad or steamed vegetables and fruit or bread to make a complete meal. 

First, you need to start with fresh meat. DO NOT thaw and re-freeze meat. Add the desired portion into a freezer bag or container and pour in marinade. Clearly label the package and include the date. Place in freezer until ready to use. I try to remember and stick the meat I want for a meal in the refrigerator the day before we are going to eat it.  

Here is a marinade recipe that made a lot – I was able to use it on about 5 or 6 packages of meat (good thing we liked it! :)). I used it on pork chops and chicken breasts. We’ve tried it on the pork and it was wonderful! We sauteed some baby bella mushrooms in butter and topped the pork chops with them for serving. Delicious!

MARINADE (adapted slightly from from allrecipes.com)
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1 1/2 c. canola oil
3/4 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 Tb. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 Tb. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried parsley)

In a medium bowl, mix together oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Stir in mustard powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. Use to marinate meat before cooking as desired.

Market Fresh: Pearl Onions

Generally speaking, I have not been a recent fan of Taste of Home but the March issue had surprising number of recipes I was interested in trying (and so I must give them a little credit!). It featured several onion recipes and I tried the glazed pearl onions with great success. they were very easy, a little high in sugar & fat, and very good. 🙂 They are a wonderful side dish and wold be especially good served with steak.

 

GLAZED PEARL ONIONS – adapted very slightly from Taste of Home, March 2011
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1 package (16 ounces) frozen pearl onions, thawed
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

In a large skillet, saute onions in butter until tender. Add brown sugar and mustard; cook 2 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley. 6 servings.