Sunday, January 30, 2011

Granola Truffles

Only five ingredients in these wholesome little snacks.  They are so easy to make and healthy too!
Just roll up your sleeves and dive into the sticky goodness, you won't be sorry.
I pop a couple in my lunch bag to have on hand when I need an afternoon energy boost at work ~ so yummy!

Granola Truffles

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup honey or rice syrup
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl with a wooden spoon, mix peanut butter and honey together until smooth. 
Gradually add rolled oats, flax seed and mini chocolate chips. At this point you may need to mix with your hands.
Roll into balls and place on waxed or parchment paper.  They will be less sticky after a couple hours in the fridge.
Serve in cute little muffin cups or store them in a an air-tight container in the fridge.
Enjoy your healthy snack!

Linking to:
All Things Heart & Home
Fireflies and Jellybeans

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Special Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking cookies in January is much more fun than baking them in December.  There's no pressure. 
Just a Saturday with nothing to do but the usual laundry, cleaning and then baking cookies because you feel like it.

 I'll let you in on a little secret about me.  I like doing laundry - really. 
Turning those piles of dirty clothes on the floor into clean, nicely folded stacks is relaxing for me. 
Weird I know.

Anyway, I felt the urge to bake something.  Usually when I bake chocolate chip cookies I use my whole wheat recipe, but today I decided to do something different and I really liked how they turned out.  Thick, chewy and full of chocolate.  Yum!

Special Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe from V and Company

2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt (I only used 1/2 tsp)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 small package of instant vanilla pudding (3.4oz size)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 pkg. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Place your butter, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, vanilla pudding, vanilla extract and eggs into a large bowl and mix until creamy.  Gradually add the flour and mix until combined.  Add chocolate chips.
I use my small Pampered Chef scoop to place the dough onto my silpat-lined cookie sheets.
Bake for 9-11 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Or burn your mouth eating one or two right away, which I may or may not have done :)  Enjoy!



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Easy Peasy Smoothies

Fruit smoothies are great for a quick, healthly breakfast on the go or when ever you want a refreshing snack.
I use a Magic Bullet to make mine, but you could use a regular blender if you don't have one.

I freeze large slices of over-ripe bananas in a ziploc baggie just for smoothies.  This way I don't make banana bread out of them all the time!

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

1 banana - sliced
4-5 frozen whole strawberries (I use no sugar added)
1 cup soy milk
splash of orange juice
1 tsp. ground flax seed or wheat germ

Combine ingredients into a Magic Bullet or blender.
Blend for about 30 seconds or until smooth.
Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Serves one.

I drink mine out of a Mason Jar for extra cuteness :)

You may think the spinach and banana smoothie sounds kind of gross, but it's really yummy. You can barely taste the spinach and it's a great way to get a serving of veggies in your diet. Give it a try!

Banana Spinach Smoothie

1 banana - sliced
big handful of fresh spinach
1 cup soymilk
1 tsp. ground flax seed or wheat germ
1/2 cup crushed ice

Combine ingredients into a Magic Bullet or blender.

Blend for about 30 seconds or until smooth.
Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Serves one.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Homemade Vegetable Stock In Your Crock-Pot

You know those sad, limp looking veggies that are hiding out in the crisper drawer of your fridge?  The ones that you look at and wonder where in the heck the time went.  Or what about those vegetable peelings and ends you cut off and toss in the garbage?  Well don't throw them out any more, use them to make your own homemade vegetable stock. It's so easy and cheap too!

Everytime you peel some veggies or decide that some are just a little too "ripe" to use, simply toss them in a gallon size zip-lock baggie and place it in your freezer.  Keep adding to it until your baggie is full, then make yourself some homemade stock.  Use the stock to make soups or use it instead of water when making quinoa, couscous or rice. 

Try not to make fun of my crock-pot ~ I know it's out dated! 
It will be 25 years old in April.
We received it as a wedding gift in 1986 and it just keeps on going :)

Homemade Vegetable Stock

Gallon-size freezer bag full of vegetable peelings, ends, etc.
Salt and Pepper
2 Bay leaves

Place the frozen vegetable peelings in your crock-pot and cover them with water.
Add salt, pepper, bay leaves or any other herbs you prefer.
Place crock-pot setting on low and cook for up to 12 hours.
Using a strainer, remove all the veggies and bay leaves from the broth. 
You can also strain it again using cheesecloth, but I never do.
You can use the stock immediately to make soup or freeze it for later.
Now wasn't that easy!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Don't you just love the beginning of a new year.  A fresh start. 
I've been cleaning, organizing and plotting my strategy to lose 10lbs and get some exercise.
I've also decided that I am going to try to quit buying so many processed foods, especially those that I can easily make myself.  I've made these granola bars about five times now and I really like them.  The brown rice syrup and brown rice cereal can be found in the health food section of Martin's.  If you like chewy granola bars, give them a try.  I feel healthier every time I have one!

Now if I can only give this up. 
Ha, who am I kidding.  One thing at a time :)

Peanut Butter Granola Bars
from fannetasticfood

Dry Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup crisp brown rice cereal (I used Organic Koala Crisp)
3/4 cup seeds (I used sunflower and pumpkin)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/8 cup finely ground flaxseed

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Add all the dry  ingredients to a large bowl. Mix them together.

In a seperate (microwave safe) bowl, mix together the wet ingredients, then microwave them for about 20-30 seconds.  This will make it easier to mix and add to the dry ingredients since it is really sticky.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix.  Keep mixing until the wet binding ingredients are well distributed as possible.  Put some muscle into it!  Then put the mixture into a shallow pan and flatten it down.  Cut them into about 10-12 bars and store them in the fridge.  You can just store them in the pan, covered with foil, or seperately wrap them for eating on the go.

Linking To:
All Things Heart and Home