Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes With Marshmallow Ghosts

You guys. It’s been forever and ever since I’ve sat down to write. Part of it is I’m so full up on things to write about I never know where to begin… and, the other part is simply finding the time. Ever since we launched Relish Division last year I’ve been so blessed by God’s goodness with our business. We’ve been doing such fun work for the best clients… but, as one thing grows, something inevitably goes untended for a season. Gah. But, I miss you!

With all that said, I want to share something with you that you can’t help but smile about (and that any kids in your life will go bananas for):

Seriously, right??

Gluten free chocolate cupcakes topped with marshmallow ghosts.

How am I 44 years old and I’ve not made this until now?? Not only was cake mind-blowing moist (thank you, Izzy!!) but topping them with these ghosts (thanks for the inspiration Olivia!!) gave us giggles. Every ghost appears with its own personality… no matter how careful you are to try and pipe the icing perfectly. Some are alert, some look like they’re sinking away from you hoping you don’t see them, other’s look a little confused.

I love them… especially because they spread a little joy and awe instead of gore and fright.

Now, before I share the recipes with you, they are “gluten free” thanks to Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour. (Side note: I love baking, yet have never taken to gluten free baking until recently and, let me tell you: I’ve been using my tried and true recipes with this flour and this flour truly is a perfect replacement. I’ve been so impressed by it.)

HOWEVER, they are not sugar free… nor are they low in sugar. These babies are packed with some sweetness… but, remember: they’re not meant to be eaten by the tray full. They’re treats… and, everyone loves treats. So, keep them in that category, make them up, enjoy them… and, then back to quinoa and kale ūüôā

Anyway, without further adieu, here’s the recipes:

FOR THE CAKE
(I take no credit for this recipe. It is 100% Izzy’s – I just took her cake recipe and made cupcakes from it):

  • 2 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Bob‚Äôs Red Mill gluten free 1:1 baking flour
  • 1 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk or regular milk
  • 1 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powered, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla and mix again. Finally add the milk and mix one last time. JUST LIKE IZZY SAYS: The wet mixture might look a little strange at this point, but that is ok! It looks¬†really strange…. like you did something wrong. You didn’t. Just keep going.
  2. Add the flour mixture and the Greek yogurt to the wet mixture, one half at a time alternating between the two, starting with the flour. Give the batter one last mix until everything is combined.
  3. Fill your cupcake liners about 3/4 full, then bake for about 10-12 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).
  4. Set aside to cool before icing. (NOTE: They must be totally cooled, or the icing will melt right off. So, best to make them the night before. Otherwise, you can speed up the final cooling by putting them in the freezer for a bit before icing.)

FOR THE MARSHMALLOW BUTTERCREAM GHOSTS
(I take no credit for this amazing icing… it’s 100% Olivia’s)

  • 1‚Öď cups unsalted butter, softened
  • marshmallow fluff (about 1 container of 7oz-8oz tub of it)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon heavy cream
  • 2‚ÖĒ cups confectioners sugar
  • 24 Halloween eye candies or 24 mini chocolate chips to make the “eyes”. (I bought our eyes at Michaels)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and the marshmallow fluff. Beat until creamy and smooth.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and the heavy cream and beat until incorporated.
  3. With the mixer on low, slowly add the confectioners sugar. Once incorporated, turn the speed up and beat for 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  4. Frost cooled cupcakes (use a Wilton 12 tip) and decorate with the eyes.

If you make this, tag me on instagram @rebelgrain.¬†I’d love to see how they turn out for you – and I’d also love to see all the personalities that come out ūüôā

Ok. It’s Friday. Make it a good weekend, friends!

SIDE NOTE: Follow Bob’s Red Mill on Facebook and Instagram and watch for the release of the full length video – coming soon! And, yes, while my company, Relish Division, produced the recipe video for Bob’s Red Mill, the opinions are all my own ūüôā

Gluten Free Quinoa Carrot Cake

With kids back in school and LOTS of snacking happening, I’ve resurrected this gluten free carrot cake I made a few years ago… and, updated it just a bit with the addition of hemp hearts and a real cream cheese frosting. You can, of course, forgo the frosting and just serve it as a breakfast bread, too. (Actually, that’s been my favorite way to enjoy it: unfrosted and cup of coffee in hand.)

What I love about this cake is that it tastes as decadent as a regular carrot cake and is so, so moist… but, it’s completely free of all purpose flour. Plus, it takes about 10 minutes to mix up, 25 minutes to bake, and no time to devour ūüôā

Here’s all you need:

KITCHEN TIP: Why are my eggs sitting in a bowl of water, you ask? Because room temp eggs are ideal for baking… so, when you pull them out of the fridge for a recipe, a quick soak in warm water does just the trick.

DRY INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Sugar
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Seed Hearts
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

WET INGREDIENTS:
3 eggs
1/4 cup apple sauce
2 TBS grated ginger
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup pre-cooked Bob’s Red Mill Tricolor Quinoa
1 1/2 cups grated carrots

ICING:
1 package of cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

TO MAKE:

Preheat oven to 375.
Add all dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to incorporate.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs; then, add the apple sauce, grated ginger and vanilla and whisk again.
Fold the wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and then fold in the grated carrots and the pre-cooked quinoa.
Line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper, pour in the batter, and bake for 25 minutes.

Allow cake to cool before icing.

Ta-da!

SIDE NOTE: Follow Bob’s Red Mill on Facebook and Instagram and watch for the release of the full length video – coming soon! And, yes, while my company, Relish Division, produced the recipe video for Bob’s Red Mill, the recipe and the opinions are all my own ūüôā

GLUTEN FREE Peach & Blueberry Upside Down Cake

If you’re looking for something to do with all the amazing peaches arriving at the farmer’s markets this month, THIS. Use all peaches, or blend fruits like I did. Either way, know this: this is a VERY easy WOW-FACTOR dish everyone needs in their repertoire.

While I typically use regular all-purpose flour for this cake, this was the first time I attempted working with a gluten-free flour. And, let me tell you: this Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour¬†performed EXACTLY like my regular flour. The cake was light and moist… and, tasty as all get out. So, if you’re wanting gluten-free, THIS IS IT.

PREP TIME: 30 minutes / COOK TIME: 30-40 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

SUGAR GLAZE / FRUIT LAYER

  • 3 TBSP salted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups peaches, skinned and sliced
  • 1 cup blueberries

CAKE BATTER

  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Large Eggs (room temperature… or ‘flash warmed’ in a bowl of warm water)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla

STEP 1:

Preheat the oven to 350¬įF and prep your fruit.

STEP 2: PREPARE THE BATTER

  1. Whisk or sift together the flour, baking power and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time. Beat until smooth and fully incorporated.
  3. Stir in half the flour mixture, then the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients.  Do not over-mix; stir just until the flour is barely incorporated into the batter. Set aside.

STEP 3: MAKE SUGAR GLAZE / FRUIT LAYER

Melt butter in a 10″ cast iron skillet with stove on medium high. Add brown sugar and whisk the sugar into the butter to bring to a slow boil. Wisk for 2-4 minutes until the mixture is thick and smooth. Remove from heat.(NOTE: If you don‚Äôt have a cast iron skillet, you can caramelize your butter and sugar in any skillet. Then, once melted, simply pour the sugar mixture into a baking pan before moving to next step.)

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE THE CAKE

  1. Arrange the fruit in the bottom of the pan. If it’s in slices, you can create a pinwheel design around a circular pan Рor, get creative. Set aside.Gently dollop the batter over the fruit then gently smooth with a pastry spatula so there is an even layer of batter over all the fruit.
  2. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until: a) the top of the cake is golden brown, b) it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and 3) a toothpick comes out clean. (NOTE: Sometimes the fruit bubbles up and over. You can place a sheet pan on the shelf under the cake to catch any drips.)
  3. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a cooling rack.¬† Let the cake settle for a minute, until any fruit that has leaked up the sides has stopped bubbling.¬† (TIP: Do not let the cake completely cool or it will be very difficult to get it out of the pan.)!¬† Run a knife around the edges of the cake.¬† Place your cake plate over the cake and, using hot pads, carefully flip the cake over.¬† Gently remove the cake pan.¬†Here’s a peek into how it all comes together in my¬†FINEX cast iron 10″ skillet:

NOTE: Follow Bob’s Red Mill on Facebook and Instagram and watch for the release of the full length video – coming soon! And, yes, while my company, Relish Division, produced this video for Bob’s Red Mill, the recipe and the opinions are all my own ūüôā And, yes, that’s actually me in the video making the cake from scratch.

YOU CAN DO IT: Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Walnut Balsamic Salad

DSC04842 (1) I’m a big believer that we women need to feed ourselves well if we expect to have the stamina to do all life calls on us to do. And, the better we feed ourselves, the better those we’ve been entrusted with will be fed and loved.

Today I want to share with you one of my favorite things to prepare and keep on hand: roasted brussels sprouts. Roasted veggies, in general, are divine… and,if you have them on hand, they make a perfect foundational ingredient for numerous less-than-5-minute power meals. I’m always roasting sliced¬†sweet bell peppers, cauliflower, root vegetables. The process is the same for every veggie (although the time in the oven may vary depending on the nature and size of what is being roasted).

Okay – so back to the brussels sprouts.

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Next,to prepare the brussels sprouts, trim off the stem end, cut them in half, and peel off the outer layer of skin. (Since I peel off the outer layer, I rarely wash them before using them.) Then, place them in a bowl.

DSC04786

Drizzle about 1/4 cup of good quality olive oil* per pound of brussels sprouts. (*TIP: different varieties of olive oil really do affect the taste of your finished dish. So, keep that in mind when shopping for ingredients.)

DSC04791

Sprinkle 1 tsp of sea salt per pound of brussels sprouts…

DSC04806

And about 1 tsp of black pepper per pound.

DSC04808

Stir to coat all the brussels sprouts evenly and then pour out into a single layer on sheet trays.

DSC04818

Roast in your preheated oven for 10-14 minutes. (NOTE: I’ve seen recipes that say roast brussels sprouts at¬†400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. For the love – no, no,no! If you roast for that long at that high of heat, you will burn the brussels sprouts and they’ll¬†start to stink of hydrogen sulfide since¬†heat-activated enzymes go to work on the sprouts’ nutritious sulfur compounds. Yuck. (I think overcooking is why many people are completely adverse to brussels sprouts.)¬†It’s very important to roast only long enough to brown and soften.)

They’re done when they look like this:

DSC04820

DSC04822

Transfer all the roasted brussels sprouts into a large bowl.

Now… on to turning these roasted beauties into a salad!

Using one of the sheet trays you roasted on, pour 1/2 cup of whole walnuts. Using a flat-bottomed glass, crush the walnuts like this:
DSC04824

…so you end up with pieces like this:

DSC04827

Put the tray back into the oven and toast¬†the walnut pieces for about three minutes. Take the pan out, give ’em a quick stir, and return them to the oven for another three minutes.

Pour the toasted walnuts into the bowl with the roasted sprouts and then here is where you do something very simple: drizzle some really, really good balsamic over the whole bowl. Now, here’s another tip: just like different¬†olive oils offer a unique flavor, the balsamic you use will also offer a unique flavor.¬†¬†Really good aged balsamic should be thick – almost like syrup, and it should have a tangy sweet taste, not a vinegar taste. So, for this recipe (or any recipe where the balsamic is used as a stand-alone ingredient (versus blended into a dressing), I’m using the good stuff.

DSC04830

DSC04834

Stir all the ingredients together and viola! You have a salad: roasted brussels sprouts & walnut balsamic salad.

DSC04836

DSC04842

DSC04846

Pair a cup of salad with a cup of quinoa… or, add a couple hardboiled eggs and call it good. No matter how you eat this up, I promise: you’ll be satisfied and ready to keep on keepin’ on.

So, tell me: how’s your Advent coming along? You ready for Christmas yet?

Thankful you’re here ūüôā

The Hope Chain: RECLAIMING ADVENT with FREE PRINTABLES!

 

NewBloggerCollageBW Yesterday marked the official start of  Advent Рthe countdown to Christmas, the day we will celebrate the arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ: our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

I admit that many years I’ve spent this season wrapped up in the ‘stuff’ of the holiday. The busyness. The stress. The shopping. The things. (Don’t you get exhausted just thinking about it?)

This year, however, a group of sweet gals and I have joined together to go against the grain and RECLAIM ADVENT.

As my beautiful friend, Krista Gilbert, author of Reclaiming Home, says, “Traditions matter, no matter the age. They provide a strong anchor of family identity and also make the season special. They offer a chance for us to break up the monotony of everyday life and infuse fun, connection, and meaning into Christmas.”

Amen.

With fostering tradition and building memories in mind, the 8 of us created the THE HOPE CHAIN Рan old-school link chain made up of daily activities that will help us build fun, connection and faith in 15 minutes or less.

25AdventActivities_Feature

Here’s the scoop:

The Hope Chain

What it is: An Advent chain with one activity for each day of December leading up to Christmas that promotes fun, connection, and faith.

How to use it: Print + cut the activities into strips. Form strips into a chain in order (they are numbered). Each day (carefully) tear off the bottom chain as a family and do the activity listed when you have a 15 min. window. Start on Dec 1st for 25 Days of Advent, ending on Christmas day.

You will need: Printer, Paper, Stapler / Tape

Hashtag: We’d love for you to hashtag your family doing the advent activities throughout the season. Use the hashtag #thehopechain

Because these bloggers are so much fun, each one has a different design of The Hope Chain. You can choose the one that fits your home décor and colors best!

Here’s my styled Hope Chain:

EJ_BlogPost

Download it here.

EJ_BlogCollage

 

Take your pick and HAVE FUN celebrating
this most wonderful time of the year!

**All links will open in a new tab. Pick the best to match your decor.**
KG_BlogPost

Krista Gilbert
kristagilbert.com

Alexandra Kuykendall
alexandrakuykendall.com

TS_BlogPost

Tammy Strait
graceuncommon.com

AH_BlogPost

Allison Hendrix
thehouseofhendrix.com

JI_BlogPost

Jamie Ivey
jamieivey.com

EJ_BlogPost

Elisha Joyce
rebelgrain.com

JW_BlogPost

Jessica Wolstenholm
graceformoms.com

KK_BlogPost

Positive Message Tees w/a Purpose
asyouwishdesignjewelry.com

I hope you’ll join me – and us! I’ll be looking for your on Instagram – so connect with me @rebelgrain and share how The Hope Chain is brining FUN, CONNECTION and FAITH into your Advent season.

Much love to you… and looking forward to watching this journey unfold ūüôā

Thanksgiving Soaks Dry Bones

Soaking Dry Bones THINK THESE

I am thankful for my home… a place so unlike the home I grew up in. Here, my children know love, peace, comfort. Here we have hugs, giggles, memories, traditions. Here, no matter what we’ve met in the world, within these walls,¬†Jesus is. Here is where we exhale… where there is safety… where there is refuge from the world. Here is where we shake the dust off our feet, find renewal and REST in His goodness because here,¬†HE IS WELCOME¬†– and His spirit fills this space.

I am thankful for my good man… my good, GOOD man.¬†A man that faithfully wakes every morning and goes to work without complaint.¬†A man that loves to love us – with roaring fires when it’s cold, tickle parties when they’re needed, a tune on the ukulele when spirits are down, homemade waffles and bacon on Saturday mornings. A man that is funny, patient, kind, thoughtful, true; a man that laughs heartily, serves diligently and never tires of doing right. A man that loves me, his woman, with¬†his every breath…¬†and can still catch my eye across a room and melts my heart.¬†A loyal man, a strong man, a man after the heart of our Father¬†and who is perfect for me in every. single. way.

I am thankful for motherhood and these babies that make me ‘mama’. Ah, motherhood¬†– the journey of refining, humbling, strengthening; an exercise where I am daily reminded that I¬†must decrease and He must increase.¬†A journey where I’ve had¬†breathtaking,¬†beautiful highs around one bend, and then thick,¬†dark, muddy valleys around the next. My babies –¬†His treasures and my greatest gifts. Every single quirk, challenge, difficulty, difference, tear I’ve shed – thankfulness abounds.

I am thankful for what I’ve left behind… thankful¬†I’ve been broken over and over and over – and that, through every crushing of self,¬†He’s¬†bloomed¬†compassion, forgiveness, empathy, humility. I’m thankful He has seen me fit to discipline… and that by His discipline, I¬†get to¬†experience¬†the fullness and peace that abounds when I willingly sacrifice my will for His.

I am thankful that because of His great mercy, we are not consumed. That we awoke with breath in our lungs Рand opportunity to be His hands and feet today.

I am thankful He is REAL… He loves me… He called me… He saved me. I’m thankful that no matter what is¬†going on in this world, no matter what circumstances threaten to sweep me¬†away, HIS TRUTH REMAINS. In the midst of brokenness, heartache, distraction, He holds my face in His hands, looks me in my tear-streaked eyes and says, “FOCUS ON ME. Do not fear – I have you! I’ve told you before that in this world you WILL have trouble – and yes, it is heavier now that it ever has been. But do not worry! Remember, I have overcome the world and I WILL NOT LEAVE YOUR SIDE.”

I’m thankful I can choose¬†turn off the TV.

I’m thankful I can choose to unplug.

I’m thankful I can choose PEACE¬†in the face of chaos, LOVE in the face of HATE, TRUTH in the midst of lies, JOY in the mist of DESPAIR.

I am thankful I AM FREE… I AM HOPEFUL… I AM CERTAIN THAT I AM HIS. And that, when my bones are dry from the overwhelming brokenness all around me,¬†¬†all I have to do is be still and willing to hear Him¬†SPEAK¬†LIFE¬†that renews my soul.

PRAYER: Father, this world is in chaos. Hatred. Division. War. Doubt. Fear. Hopelessness. In the midst of this darkness, equip Your children to be Your Light!¬†May we be people focused¬†on You: on what is TRUE, NOBLE, RIGHT, PURE, LOVELY. May we be gracious people, kind people, generous people… and, through us, may people taste and see that YOU ARE GOOD. Thank you, Father, for your pure, unconditional love… and for your patient heart that would see no one perish. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

YOU CAN DO IT: Homemade Salted Quinoa & Fruit Energy Bars

DSC04671 If you’ve been with me awhile then you know “SmartyBars”.

I started making SmartyBars in my kitchen back in 2009 when Seb was in the 2 year old constant snacking phase. I struggled to find prepared snack items that weren’t fortified (meaning they were so stripped of nutrition in processing they had to re-add the vitamins back in), or amped up on processed sugars, or filled with chemicals.

The other issue I struggled with was, while I had no problems getting¬†him¬†(or the rest of my family) prepared with good snacks while we were on the go, I was constantly running on empty. My lack of attention for my own well being meant I fell into a pattern of either a) not eating, b) eating everyone’s leftovers and lasts (half a piece of cold toast, the last bite of banana, the cold crumbled scrambled eggs), or c) lots of fast food.

I had simply allowed motherhood to run me ragged… and, because I had stopped seeing how I nourished myself as a big deal, I was tired, achy, cranky and developing a palate that craved salt and sugar constantly.

SmartyBars were the concoction that got me back on track. I pulled together the best whole ingredients I could find and figured out a way to stick them all together in ONE snack. I wanted something that would be nutritious, would fend off hunger, digest well and keep my mind sharp. SmartyBars ingredients were prized for all of those things.

Fruit.

Quinoa.

Oats.

Walnuts.

That’s it. Only four ingredients went into my SmartyBars and, because they were so clean and pure, I got myself (and my cravings) back on track.

I had a manufacturer for¬†SmartyBars for a couple of years and sold them through my website and several local stores. Then, in 2013, I manufactured my very last batch and shut the company down. (Thankfully, however, the Lord used SmartyBars as the springboard for NBC Food Fighters, this Rebel Grain blog and to launch me as the Quinoa¬†Queen! So, no regrets ūüôā )¬†Today,¬†however, I’m going to show you how to make your own SmartyBars… and, let me tell you, if you’re looking to get back on track and retrain your cravings: THIS IS IT.

While my original recipe was just four ingredients, the version I’m making today is a little more tasty with a few additional ingredients:

DSC04613

DSC04609

DSC04595

DSC04597

You’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups of precooked Royal Quinoa (or you can use 1.5 cups of Royal Quinoa flakes)
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free whole oats (regular oats are fine, too, if you’re not gluten free)
  • 1 cup of whole, raw almonds
  • 1 cup of unsulfured dried apricots (NOTE: sulfur¬†is the preservative that¬†gives typical dried apricots the bright orange look; unsulfured apricots are¬†dark brown (like mine in the photo), but they taste WAY better without the preservative. Find them in bulk bins at some grocery stores.)
  • 2/3 cup of dried, pitted cherries
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey
  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut¬†oil

I like to rehydrate the fruit just a little bit so it’s easier for the food processor to work with. To do this, simply add the dry fruit and about 2¬†TBSPs of water into a shallow, lidded pan.

DSC04627

Turn the pan on high and, when the water sizzles, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Allow the fruit to steam for about a minute or so.

Next, using a slotted spoon (so that you don’t add any additional water to the mix) add your fruit into the bowl of a food processor….

DSC04629

and process until smooth, like this:

DSC04638

Scrape the fruit puree away from the sides of the bowl, and then add in the rest of your ingredients:

DSC04646

Process all the ingredients together for¬†about 30 seconds to a minute… and then, you should have a mixture that looks like this:

DSC04648

NOTE: It may be necessary to scrape¬†the fruit puree out of the processing bowl and then work the ingredients in two batches. It all depends on the strength of your processor and the stickiness of the mixture. ¬†You’ll know if it’s necessary because the processor will be moving too slow to break down the ingredients.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and press the mixture to about 1/2 inch thick. Then sprinkle the top with a little flaked coconut and some coarse finishing salt (optional):

DSC04650

DSC04653

DSC04654

Now, place¬†the prepared tray into your oven at 200 degrees¬†for 15-20 minutes. (This isn’t really ‘baking’ the bars, it’s simply allowing some of the moisture to evaporate.)

Remove the tray, cut the bars into your preferred sizes and then, with a spatula, carefully place all the bars on a drying rack:

DSC04656

Allow the bars to ‘air dry’ for as long as possible; then, store in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for grab and go snacking.
DSC04665

This recipe makes about 24-28 bars (depending on how large you cut them and how much you eat BEFORE you press them onto the pan¬†ūüėČ )… and, start to finish, you’re looking at a time investment of about 30 minutes.

DSC04657

DSC04661

The best part? If you make these yourself you’re saving a ton of $$$$ by not buying the prepackaged options. And, honestly, I think these taste a thousand times better than anything you can buy off a shelf.

DSC04659

Give them a try… and play with the recipe, too! Here are some other ideas:

  • If you like more texture,¬†don’t process all the ingredients together. Make the fruit puree as I described, then add it to a bowl with your honey, coconut oil and dry ingredients. You can use your hands to squeeze it all together and then, when it’s all fully incorporated, press it onto the pan and follow the rest of the directions.
  • You can use any dried fruit or nuts you prefer! Just follow the general guidelines for fruit/nut/grain ratios and you’ll be fine.
  • Substitute the precooked quinoa for quinoa flakes. If you do this, you remove a lot of the water content from this recipe and the bars will have a longer shelf life. (It’s the precooked quinoa in this recipe that requires they be refrigerated.)

I hope you’re inspired to make these… and, if you do, I’d love to know what you think!

Thanks for reading ūüôā I love having you here. ENJOY!

DSC04668

Quick & Creative Mealtime Challenge: A FRIGIDAIRE GALLERY¬ģ GIVEAWAY

With more and more families leading active lifestyles,¬†home-cooking has been put on the back burner while fast food, takeout and grab-and-go options have heated up‚Ķ am I right?¬† Well, one of the reasons I‚Äôve been so blessed by¬†my¬†partnership with Frigidaire Gallery¬ģ is because,¬†just like¬†my¬†heart is to inspire YOU to cook more at home, they want to inspire you in the kitchen, too!

That’s why today¬†my friends over at¬†Frigidaire Gallery¬ģ¬†are¬†offering you a chance to win a¬†featured¬†Frigidaire Gallery¬ģ appliance packed with time-saving, easy-to-use innovations. And, the hope?¬†That you’ll be inspired¬†to create a¬†quick, easy and creative meal that will¬†appeal to¬†all¬†of us¬†on-the-go families.

FR_KraftBanner_2_2[2]

Here’s the scoop:

Starting today, you¬†can enter the “Quick & Creative Weeknight Meal Challenge” by visiting www.frigidaire.com/contest to submit a quick and creative meal idea for a chance to win a featured¬†Frigidaire Gallery¬ģ appliance of your¬†choice AND¬†have your¬†recipe developed by a “well-known home chef and blogger”… me!

TAKE NOTE: ALL ENTRIES MUST BE SUBMITTED BY OCTOBER 23, 2015.

I’ll be selecting THREE¬†WINNERS based on the following:

Creativity.
Speed of preparation.
Ease of cooking.

(Oh, and I also want to see you use¬†at least TWO KRAFT¬ģ ingredients¬†in the recipe.)

Here’s my example of what your entry might look like:¬†

“I marinate Tri Tip steak in a mixture of mayo, dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic, fresh diced parsley, black pepper and sea salt,¬†then I roast it in my oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.”¬†

That’s it… simple!

Here’s how my idea plays out in the kitchen:

Simple, creative ingredients:

1 Tri Tip roast, 1/2 cup of mayo, 1/4 cup of dijon mustard, juice from a lemon, 1 handful of rough chopped fresh parsley, 2 garlic cloves (smashed), 2 TBSP black pepper, 2 TBSP sea salt

MARINADE RECIPE:  1/2 cup of mayo, 1/4 cup of dijon mustard, juice from a lemon, 1 handful of rough chopped fresh parsley, 2 garlic cloves (smashed), 2 TBSP black pepper, 2 TBSP sea salt

 

Easy to prepare:

 

IMG_1500-e1443811402434-768x1024

(With less than 5 minutes) Mix all ingredients in a bowl to create the marinade... then, place the meat in a large plastic bag with the marinade and allow to sit for at least 1 hour (but up to 24 hours)

(With less than 5 minutes) Mix all ingredients in a bowl to create the marinade… then, place the meat in a large plastic bag with the marinade and allow to sit for at least 1 hour (but up to 24 hours)

Easy to cook:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and roast the meat on a roasting pan for 15 minutes per pound Рand, in the last three minutes of cooking, turn on the broiler so the meat and ingredients really sizzle on top.

Remove meat¬†from the oven, place on a cutting board (or plate), and cover with tinfoil for at least 10 minutes.¬†While meat is resting you can prepare the table or the other sides… and get ready to enjoy!

Delicious to serve:

IMG_1560

Thinly slice the meat against the grain and serve with roasted potatoes, a hearty-spinach salad, or (my favorite) a simple quinoa salad made with roasted veggies and a little olive oil.

Now… YOUR TURN ūüôā

Please SHARE this opportunity with your friends and family and GET YOUR ENTRY IN BEFORE OCTOBER 23rd!! I’m looking forward to seeing all your creative ideas.

DISCLAIMER:
Yes, this¬†post is sponsored by Frigidaire Gallery¬ģ… but, as always, the recipe and all¬†opinions are my own.

Portland’s AM Northwest: Roasted Spiced Pumpkin Quinoa Parfait

IMG_1767
If you love pumpkin spice, then you’re in heaven these days. Everything is coming up pumpkin spice: lattes… cereal… chips… yogurt… creamers… Twinkie… Peeps.

Most of these ‘pumpkin spice’ foods, however, are very little (if any) pumpkin or actual real spice. (Always read the labels – especially on ‘healthy’ foods!) And, for me, I love pumpkin and spices way too much settle for nothing but flavor. I want the good stuff – the REAL stuff… and I know¬†you do, too!

That’s why today, on AM Northwest (KATU, Channel 2 here in Portland), I showed Dave how to cut and clean a pie pumpkin, how to spice it before roasting, and then how to turn the delicious spiced pumpkin into this:

IMG_1796

IMG_1804

Seriously, peeps, THIS IS AMAZING. Wonderful texture, just the right amount of sweet, and a perfect tangy touch from the greek yogurt. Most importantly, though, while you’re getting your pumpkin spice fix, you’re also getting a fix of some amazing nutrients and goodness. (Just look at how nutritious pumpkin is!)

So, roast up some spiced pumpkins, cook up some quinoa, and store both in your fridge ¬†this week. That way, no matter how busy your day gets,¬†you’ll have exactly what you need on hand¬†to satisfy your cravings¬†and keep you powered for your calling.

Here’s the segment:

Here’s the detail:

2 pie pumpkins, stems cut off, sliced in half, and all strings/seeds scraped out

Spiced rub: 2 TBSP butter, 2 TBSP honey, 1 TBSP ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg, 1/2 tsp vanilla

  1. Melt the butter in the microwave for 10 seconds and, using a fork or small whisk, mix until all the spices are fully incorporated.
  2. Evenly divide the butter/honey mixture into the two halves of the pumpkin and, using a spoon, spread the mixture all over the meat of the pumpkin.
  3. Place the pumpkin halves skin side up on a sheet pan and roast in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes (or until you can puncture through the skin with a fork).
  4. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow to cool before scraping all pumpkin meat from the inside of the skin. DONE.

Finally, as I say in the segment, KEEP YOUR SEEDS! Clean them and roast them… JUST LIKE THIS.

Let me know if you try this! Thanks for reading ūüôā

Royal Quinoa Pasta: The Perfect Friend For Your Leftovers

IMG_1548

Whew, big week in my heart. Lots going on… lots of hope, creativity, and EATING.

Yes, we are always eating in our house, which means I’m always cooking¬†and loving on my babies and my man through my food. What happens a lot, though, is we end up with lots of odds-and-ends in our leftovers.

Whenever I take stock of our leftovers I pretend I’m playing “Chopped”. (If only they’d put me on the show already… you hear that Food Network? PUT ME ON CHOPPED!) I look at the foundational ingredients, think up some unique way to add another flavor layer or texture and then – boom! – a brand new meal.

Today I want to share how I used leftover salmon and saut√©ed broccoli to make a delicious, bright quinoa salad. The twist? Instead of using quinoa grains like I typically¬†do… I used this:

IMG_1530

The Green Quinoa Royal Quinoa fusilli pasta¬†has become a favorite of mine. I’ve been using it in place of regular pasta in COLD¬†pasta salads (they are very tender noodles, so hot applications tend to make them disintegrate)… and, not only do I appreciate the nuttier flavor of quinoa pasta, I¬†really appreciate how it doesn’t leave me feeling ‘stuffed’ (like regular pasta often does).

Now, before I share the recipe with you, here are SPECIFIC TIPS for using Royal Quinoa pasta:
  1. Bring the water to boil, add 1 TBSP of olive oil, and 1 tbs of salt before adding the noodles.
  2. Cook the noodles for about 5 minutes – you want them al dente.
  3. They are very, very tender – just like egg noodles. So, don’t overcook them or let them sit in the hot water after cooking.
  4. Immediately drain and rinse noodles under cold water to stop them from cooking any further.
IMG_1538

Once my noodles were cooked, I put them in a big bowl with my leftover salmon and leftover saut√©ed broccoli….

 

IMG_1539

Then I chopped up some sweet cherry tomatoes and a little red onion…

 

I used my favorite tool in the kitchen - my Microplane Zester - to add the zest of one lemon...

I used my favorite tool in the kitchen – my Microplane Zester – to add the zest of one lemon – and YES, YOU MUST ZEST!!…

Then I squeezed the juice from the zested lemon, drizzled some olive oil, sprinkled some black pepper and sea salt, threw in a big handful of baby spinach and some chopped fresh parsley and – BOOM – this:

IMG_1546

I bet your mouth is drooling, isn’t it. Y.U. M. Seriously. On days like this I have no problem being the “Queen of Leftovers and Lasts“… especially when I see the¬†delicious beauty that can come from a little playfulness.

So, if¬†you’re looking for a new way to mix up your leftovers, think of these Green Quinoa Royal Quinoa fusilli noodles… and let the creativity flow!

Have a great, relaxing, NOURISHING weekend everybody… and come back on Monday for some BIG NEWS on a BIG GIVEAWAY.

(This post was sponsored by Green Quinoa – but, you know me and my love for quinoa… and you can trust this¬†recipe and opinions are all my own. ūüôā )

BTW: once you have your delicious salad to sit down and enjoy, I hope you'll join me on the 31 day challenge I started yesterday - just click here or here to keep up with the daily posts.

BTW: once you have your delicious salad to sit down and enjoy, I hope you’ll join me on the 31 day challenge I started yesterday – just click here or here to keep up with the daily posts.